Sunday 2 February 2003

bOne Hundred and Eleven Days: Plan, What Plan?/b

'GINNY!' Ginny shouted her name at the top of her voice. The windows in the kitchen of The Burrow rattled in protest.

Molly, her arms folded, shook her head firmly. Harry and Arthur, who stood near the stairs, watched Ginny and her mother glare at each other. They looked at each other questioningly as the immovable object which was Molly faced the irresistible force of Ginny. The two men mutely agreed that neither of them would intervene.

'No!' Molly's response was firm, and almost as loud as her daughter's demand, 'Ginevra Molly! That is your name, the name we gave you, so that iwill/i be the name to go on the on the announcement, and on the invitations, too.' Molly unfolded her arms, turned her palms outwards in a gesture of conciliation and, in a very small voice added, 'Please?'

Ginny looked at Harry and at her father, but both men remained unspeaking and impassive. Ginny glared at her fiancé through narrowed eyes, demanding that he speak. He smiled at her and finally broke his silence.

'Harry James Potter is going to marry Ginevra Molly Weasley,' Harry told her. 'Like it or not, they will announce your full name at the ceremony, mine too.' He very wisely did not add, i'The invitation is just a piece of card, it isn't important enough to argue about.'/i Instead, he watched in silence and waited for Ginny to reach a decision. As he did so, he thought back to the night before last.

On Friday evening he'd taken his soon-to-be brothers-in-law out for a drink, to announce that, after their long engagement, he and Ginny had finally set a date for their wedding. After several hours, and rather a lot of beer, each of the Weasley men had given him advice, some more useful than others.

Bill had said, "She'll tell you that she values your opinion, that you're iboth/i getting married, but she's a girl, she'll have been dreaming about, and planning, her wedding since she was … I dunno … six … probably. Just nod your head and agree to everything. If she tries to force you to make a decision, do it immediately, and be definite. Then back down iinstantly/i if it's the wrong decision. You'll know if you've said the wrong thing, believe me."

Charlie hadn't been any help. He'd simply said, "Don't ask me, I think that you're crazy to get married.' Then he'd leaned across the table and added, "But if you ditch my sister now, Potter, I'll kill you."

Percy had said, "Believe it or not, there iis/i a difference between cream, parchment and plain white for the invitations and place settings and all that other stuff. And it is ivery important/i to choose the right colour. All I can suggest is that you try to guess which one she prefers and choose that one. But idon't/i ask her! Whatever you do, don't ask her."

George had slurred, "I'm with Charlie, there are so many pretty girls out there, why get tied down to only one?" Then he'd glared. "If I ever catch you looking at another girl, Potter, I'll use you for iSectumsempra/i practice, and it won't be on your lug! Still, why get married … unless she's pregnant … she's not pregnant … is she? But … Ginny … I don't want to hear about sex … why are you talking about sex?"

Ron had said, "Bill and Percy are right, mate. This is Ginny's day. A lot of the time she pretends not to be girly, but deep down, she is. She knows what she wants, too, she always has. So just let her have it. It will save on the arguments, trust me. But watch out, she's really sneaky, like Hermione. You can't just agree with her immediately, she'll get suspicious. You'll be in real trouble if she suspects that you're just nodding without thinking about it to keep her happy. Pretend to consider the options carefully, and watch her.

'The wedding bit is easy; all you have to do is stand next to her and look happy. You should be able to manage that; you've had years of practice." Ron had smiled when he'd said that, and then he'd turned serious.

"Just ignore dragon-boy and lugless. We all know that Charlie prefers dragons and George has "property of Angelina Johnson" tattooed all over his body, despite what he pretends. You iwill/i be happy. I am. So, just go with the flow and try to look like you're interested, especially when they start talking about flowers and boring stuff like that. And if Ginny and Mum argue; for Merlin's sake leave 'em to it."

Ginny finally came to a decision, interrupting Harry's reverie.

'All right, Mum,' Ginny told her mother. 'I'll compromise. The invitations can use my full name, but the table setting will say Ginny Weasley!'

'No it idefinitely/i will not,' her mother said smugly.

Ginny took a deep and angry breath; she looked ready to explode again.

'It will say Ginny Potter.' Molly smiled as she corrected her daughter. 'We don't sit down and eat until after you become Mrs Potter, remember.'

Ginny's fury dissipated instantly and she beamed happily.

'Ginny Potter,' she said slowly, as she tried the name out. 'Mrs Potter.' She stretched out her hand, 'Hello, Mrs Weasley, I'm Mrs Potter.' Molly ignored the outstretched hand and pulled her daughter into a bone-crushing hug, sniffing loudly as she did so.

'Mum,' Ginny continued wistfully. 'Does it take long to get used to having a new name?'

'I really can't remember,' Molly smiled. 'I'm used to it now, but my wedding was thirty-three years ago.' She lost herself in memories.

'And a beautiful bride you were, too, Molly,' Arthur Weasley told her fondly.

'Mr and Mrs Arthur Weasley would like to invite "whoever" to the Wedding of their daughter, Miss Ginevra Molly Weasley, to Mr Harry James Potter.' Harry read the draft invitation aloud before Arthur and Molly lost themselves in reminiscences. 'The wedding will take place at The Burrow, Ottery St. Catchpole on Saturday, 24th May, 2003, at 11:00 a.m. Are we agreed?'

'Trying to back out?' Ginny asked mischievously.

'The wording, Ginny,' Harry explained patiently. He strode across to his fiancée, pulled her into his arms, and lightly kissed her nose. 'Do you agree to the wording? The invitations are only the beginning. We've got a lot more planning to do.'

'Mrs Potter, Ginevra Molly Potter, Ginny Potter, Mrs Ginny Potter.' Ginny continued to experiment with her name.

'Ginny,' Harry tried to bring her back to the discussions.

'Yes, okay, that will be fine,' said Ginny, waving her hand in a dismissive gesture.

Harry kissed her forehead and exchanged a smile of success with Molly.

'So, seating arrangements come next,' said Molly. 'The top table first. Ron's asked if he and Hermione can sit together.'

'Well they can't!' Ginny said. 'Hermione wouldn't let Harry and me sit together at their wedding. Ron can have Luna instead.'

'That should be fun.' Harry grinned.

Ginny smiled and looked thoughtfully along her mother's kitchen table. Imagining it as the top table, she pointed at the chairs as she went through the seating arrangements. Molly hastily scribbled the names down.

'Bridesmaid Luna, Best Man Ron, Mum, you, me, Dad, Matron of Honour Hermione,' Ginny chuckled. 'Oh I'm so glad they got married first—I don't ever want to be a Matron of Honour.'

'Not even for Luna?' Harry asked.

'I'll probably be a Grand-Matron of Honour by then, Harry,' Ginny snorted. 'She hasn't had a boyfriend since Michael; she's much too busy siphoning Wrackspurts or something. But don't interrupt, … "We've still got a lot more planning to do" … remember. So: the Matronly Hermione, then Page Boy Teddy, and finally Bridesmaid Victoire. I'm not sure about Victoire. By the time we get to the wedding breakfast I expect that she'll want to be with "Maman".'

'She might be happy poking Teddy until he reacts,' Harry observed, 'she likes it when he turns his hair "vert".'

'iVert/i? I thought "blur" was her favourite colour,' observed Ginny.

'Keep up, that was last month,' said Harry, laughing. 'But we've got three more months. She might be able to say turquoise by then.'

'She hasn't mastered blue or green, yet,' Ginny observed.

'She can say "bleu" and "vert" perfectly,' said Harry. 'I think Fleur is only speaking French to her, except when Bill's around. Unfortunately, Teddy doesn't speak French.'

'They're both rather young,' Molly once again voiced her concerns.

'Teddy will have had his fifth birthday by then, and Victoire will be just three,' said Harry. 'Hermione and Luna will look after them during the service, and afterward.'

'Luna's at the other end of the table,' Ginny pointed out. 'It will be up to Hermione.'

'That's good, she needs more contact with children,' announced Molly.

Harry winked at Ginny. Molly had two grandchildren, Victoire and Dominique. Percy's wife, Audrey, was due a month before the wedding. Molly, however, was obviously impatient for more. Ron and Hermione, although married for less than six months, were already being expected to oblige. He and Ginny were anticipating similar pressure as soon as they married.

'What about the other tables?' Molly asked, her eyes still gleamed as she dreamt about the prospect of more grandchildren and she continued unthinkingly. 'Do we mix up the families or…' she stopped, embarrassed, '…sorry, dear.'

'That's all right, Molly,' Harry told her. 'I think that mixing family and friends will be the best idea. I shudder to think what might happen if you put all of the Harpies on one table, they need to be split up for everyone's protection.'

'We could put them all with Auntie Muriel, she'd enjoy that,' suggested Arthur. He managed to keep his face straight for almost ten seconds after he'd made the suggestion. Ginny had already collapsed in a chair, laughing hysterically.

'They're a nice, well behaved bunch of girls,' fibbed Ginny eventually, 'and they've already organised my hen night.'

'I thought that Hermione was going to do that,' said Harry worriedly.

'Don't you trust me?' Ginny teased.

'You, yes. The Harpies, no!' Harry told her seriously. 'Especially not Tegan.'

'I'm inviting all of the DA girls, too, Harry, don't worry,' Ginny reassured him.

'I can have a word with Susan and Lavender at work,' Harry mused. 'They'll keep an eye on you all.'

'Susan probably will! But you've no chance with Lavender. She'll be out for a good time, you know that! But they'll both be off duty,' Ginny protested. 'A hen night is not an Auror mission.'

'I'm a Senior Auror,' Harry reminded her. 'And they both work for me. The Harpies iand/i the DA girls, how many is that?'

'If everyone comes, there will be almost thirty of us. I've invited a few others.'

'The female members of the England Squad,' Harry guessed.

'Yes,' confirmed Ginny. 'And Fleur, who's said yes, and Audrey, who's said no. She probably wouldn't have come anyway, but as she's already got a Slughorn-sized belly she's got a very good excuse. Demelza and Fenella are coming too.'

'So, with Fenella that's three members of the Auror Office. Is it true about Demelza?'

'She's tied in to her contract with the Tornadoes, Harry. I know that the Harpies management want her, and I saw today's Daily Prophet, but I don't think that she will be my team mate next year,' said Ginny. 'What about your stag night, Harry?'

'Ron and Nev are going to organise it. I want something quiet, but I don't suppose I'll get it.'

'You won't, I guarantee it. But Ron will keep an eye on you, he always does. And my brothers will make sure that you don't misbehave.' Ginny grinned. 'Who are you inviting?'

'The DA blokes, Hagrid and most of the men in the Auror Office, even Robards has said he'll be there. If he is, that will put a real damper on the night. I've suggested that they invite Parvati's husband, Parindra, too.'

'Seating,' Molly reminded them. 'You have months to organise stag and hen parties.'

'We could keep the immediate family together, and mix up the rest,' suggested Ginny. 'Bill, Fleur, Dominique, Charlie, Percy, Audrey, Weasley sprog three…' Ginny was interrupted by her mother.

'Do not call my third Grandchild "sprog three" Ginny! If she's a girl, she will be Molly. If he's a boy, he will be Arthur! Percy and Audrey have already decided on the names,' said Molly proudly.

'The creeps,' Ginny whispered, rolling her eyes. 'Okay, Mum. So, next to Arthurmolly we'll have George, Angelina and the Dursleys, plus Dudley's girlfriend. Is he still going out with Daisy?'

Harry nodded. 'Yes. I phoned him last week to tell him the date and Daisy answered the phone. I think she's moved in with him. That won't please Aunt Petunia! But Vernon and Petunia probably won't come, anyway.'

'Mr and Mrs Vernon Dursley do not regret that they will be unable to attend,' Ginny grumbled deeply. She tried to puff out her cheeks but, unusually for her, failed to capture the true nature of Harry's uncle's voice. 'Vernon has a prior appointment washing his car and Petunia will be much too busy observing her neighbours' lives to actually have a life of her own.'

'Ginny,' her mother scolded. 'Why on earth must you be so rude about Harry's only relatives.'

'Because I've met them, Mum,' said Ginny, grinning.

'Anyway, that's thirteen at a table. It won't work,' Molly announced, having quickly counted the names.

'We can't inflict Dursleys on anyone else,' Harry said. 'Perhaps we could give them a table to themselves ... in a separate tent ... a hundred miles away.'

'Harry,' Molly scolded gently. 'Not you, too! I know that you don't really mean that.'

'And I know that you do,' Ginny whispered in his ear.

'We can put them with Bill and Charlie, and move Percy and George to another table,' said Molly.

'We could just put everyone's names in a hat and draw them out randomly,' suggested Harry, winking at Ginny.

Ginny's eyes lit up, 'That's brilliant, Harry,' she said, 'that will get everyone talking.'

'No,' Molly pronounced. At the same moment her husband, a mischievous tinkle in his eyes said, 'So long as you keep couples and families with small children together…'

Arthur and Molly stared at each other. Molly refolded her arms; Arthur merely raised an enquiring eyebrow.

'Arthur,' Molly began.

'We could try it and see, Molly,' Arthur suggested. 'I'll write down all the names and we can put them in a hat and draw them out randomly. We could always change them around later, if it doesn't work.'

Molly looked sceptically at her husband.

'I think that it's a good idea,' said Ginny. 'We can't have Harry's family on one side and ours on the other, Mum. It would be one table for four Dursleys, and four tables of ten, at least, for the Weasleys and Prewetts. And why keep the friends together? We could try mixing things up, pulling names out of a hat. Keeping all of the Weasleys and Prewetts together is boring; there are simply too many of them.'

'There will be one less Weasley when we get married,' said Harry quietly. Ginny slipped her arms around her fiancé's neck, stood on tiptoe and kissed him.