"Why do you think your coverage of our wedding would be better than anyone else's?" I asked for the umpteenth time that day. Harry and I had taken the world by storm with our press release, our explanation of everything, and our rule about only letting in ten reporters. When we set a date to have reporters come to be interviewed, we had to set aside a whole week instead. Every magical reporter on the planet, it seemed, wanted to be at our wedding. Harry joked that I should be flattered, but I wasn't.
"Gobstone Weekly wants a wider target audience. Can you IMAGINE how many people would learn about Gobstones if we could attend your wedding?" A very wiry man with huge glasses blabbed excitedly, clutching his notepad to his chest. Gobstones rattled in his pockets as he rocked back and forth excitedly.
"What details would you look for in our wedding to put in your magazine?" Harry asked with a surprisingly straight face. He was having way too much fun at this- I'd seen him sniggering when we interviewed the strange woman from Newt-tastical!
"Oh, just the wedding overall. Why focus on one part?" The man said cheerfully. Suddenly, I instantly liked him. He wasn't trying to lick our shoes; he wasn't trying to act interested to a point of worship, either. He simply wanted to cover our wedding.
"Well, we'll get back to you if you are selected. Thank you for your time." I said, and shook his hand. Harry saw him out, and I flopped back on the couch, stretching out with a sigh. I had lost track of how many reporters we'd done today, but I'd hated pretty much all of them. "He's on my list," I told Harry as he plopped down beside me, lifting my legs and putting them in his lap so that I could stretch out fully.
"Seriously?" Harry asked, surprised.
"Of course! I liked him better than the Daily Prophet anyway." I grumbled, and Harry started laughing.
"They are assuming that we'll pick them because they are such a popular name. What if we didn't let them in?" He asked, and I sat up with a wicked smile growing on my face.
"Can you imagine how angry they'd be?" I asked, and Harry snorted with laughter. "Who do we have so far again?" I asked, squeezing my eyes shut. My mind was fried.
"The Quibbler, Gobstone Weekly, The International Quidditch League, and Belfry." Harry rattled off, and I couldn't help but grin. No one took The Quibbler seriously, TIQL would only rant about how we were getting married on a pitch, no one expected us to let in a Gobstone magazine, and Belfry was a magazine for vampires.
"So much for normal, huh?" I asked, and Harry grinned, leaning down and swiftly kissing my temple, nearly knocking off his glasses in the process. My hand shot out and grabbed his collar before he could escape, bringing him back down for a real kiss. It was slow and sweet, Harry letting just enough of his weight press down on me. We canceled all of our other appointments that day and shagged right there on that couch, too carried away with our own genius to care about anything the media was saying about us. In the end, we never let in the Daily Prophet. We even let in the lady from Newt-tastical! in, as long as she promised not to bring in any newts. As soon as we had the media out of the way, our lives became hectic. I gladly quit my job, my only loss there being Marty and Alfonso. My 'stay at home mum' role quickly took hold then, and I was shepherding the kids from here to there, always doing my best to stay out of the media's sights as long as possible. I stopped caring about the headlines and what the world thought of me- they didn't matter anyway. It was my family and friends whose opinions really mattered.
Harry and I sat down over wine again to plan our honeymoon, which turned out to be harder than we'd thought. Mrs. Weasley would probably want to keep our kids indefinitely, and since Harry was, well, himself, he could get unlimited time off at work, but we didn't want to be gone for a long time. Most of the destinations in the travel book ranged from Africa to Iceland, but none of them really fit…us. Finally, after heated debate, flipping a coin and spilling of wine, we agreed on a place, and not a moment to soon. Our wedding, which had seemed far away before, reared it's semi-hideous head and dawned on us before we knew it. The day before, I got to stay with Hermione and Luna in the Common Room to Ravenclaw tower, just laughing, eating Bertie Botts Every Flavor Beans and joking around. Firewhisky was abundant. Harry was spirited away by Ron to another part of the castle for some fun, and I didn't question it. I already knew full well that Headmistress McGonagall would never allow strippers into the castle, and even if she did, it's not like Harry would love me any less if he had a bit of fun.
The next morning, I woke up very early, even before my two person entourage to look out of the Astronomy Tower at the grounds of Hogwarts. The place was emotional, more so for Harry than for me, but still emotional. I'd been at the battle, but only because Oliver Wood, who I'd seen rushing out of the International Quidditch League's building, had grabbed me, telling me that something urgent was going on and that he needed my help. I'd been leaving early, anxious to check on my parents and brother, but agreed. I'd never been spectacular at dueling, but I'd learned to protect myself when the Death Eaters rose again. I'd seen just snippets of Voldemort through the massive crowds that had packed the Great Hall to see his duel between him and Harry. It was a face I'd never forget. I'd been happy here at Hogwarts, an Acceptable student all through my years, a fantastic Quidditch player, and a semi-popular girl. That dream had ended so abruptly when Voldemort rose back to power that I'd forgotten all about those golden days. "Arlene, there you are!" Hermione said, sounding scandalized when I ducked back into Ravenclaw Tower. "You were driving us insane with worry- it's our job to get you ready, and when we got up, you were gone!" She panted a little after her rant, and Luna, who'd been 'insane' with worry turned dreamily away from the window and grinned, rolling her eyes.
"Hermione, did you honestly think that I was going to bail out?" I teased, and Hermione gasped.
"Don't joke about things like that! Now, come here, sit down, we have work to do." She ordered, and I obliged. Then, while Luna mostly watched, uninterested, Hermione did about an hour and a half of continuous spell work, doing my hair, my makeup, my nails, etc, until I felt like the Muggle toy 'Barbie'.
"I don't look like a Weird Sister, do I?" I asked Luna, and she laughed openly while Hermione scowled, thrusting a mirror at me. To my surprise, Hermione had gone simple with my hair and makeup, opting for a simple sleek bun with a flowery pin holding it all together, along with some magic, and light teal tones on my eyelids. "Hermione," I said very seriously, lowering the mirror, "I look amazing. You are the most gifted witch in the universe." Hermione blushed so hot, her whole face turned red, but she looked pleased. Then, she and Luna got ready for the next hour while I made small talk with a house elf that brought us breakfast and ate. When Luna and Hermione were ready, I got into my high heels and 'wedding lingerie' before slipping on the dress.
"Are you ready?" Hermione asked another hour later full of a mad hunt for the veil, which mysteriously walked itself across the room and under a chair, and adjusting the dress to satiate a nit-picky Hermione.
"Bouquet." I reminded, and Luna thrust the bunch of white roses at me, which I caught.
"Oh, Merlin," Hermione squeaked, and quickly dabbed at her eyes. I knew that this was going to be a bit emotional for her; she'd helped Ginny get ready for her wedding, and now she was gone.
"You better save those for the ceremony, Hermione. Humans can only produce a tablespoon of human tears every half an hour." Luna said factually, however, saving me from having to say anything.
"Let's do this," I said, mostly to encourage Hermione, and made the very long trek down from the tower and through the school to the left side of the field. Harry and I would be leaving from the right, but, for the moment, he should have been already on the field.
"Oooh, there are lots of people," Luna noted, standing on her tippy-toes to see around the white curtain hanging over the entrance to the stadium. "There's James, with the rings, Hagrid is already bawling, that's so cute-"
"Oh, Merlin," Hermione moaned again, diving for her own handkerchief.
"Hermione," I said, using a hand to grab her shoulder. "You are a witch, a strong, powerful witch." I said clearly, and she sniffed but drew herself up to her full height, flashing a quick smile, having pulled herself together. That's what I loved the most about Hermione- she could always pull it together in thirty seconds or less, as long as it didn't involve a romantic relationship she'd been in (or recently out of).
"Are we ready to begin? The reporters are in place, they all have cameras without flash, the groom is ready, the best man is slightly drunk but otherwise stable, your brother is coming shortly, Arlene, and all the guests are in their seats." Percy, Ron's brother, had insisted on running the actual day of the wedding, and he'd done a fantastic job. His bossy, to the point personality was exactly the kick in the pants my wedding had needed.
"Thanks so much, Percy," I said, and he just smiled with a tinge of sadness, before motioning over my brother, who was all dressed in his tux, a huge smile on his face. I felt a twinge of guilt- he'd have to see me getting married on a soccer field, and not the fantastic Quidditch Stadium we were actually in.
"Mum and Dad would be so proud," he said to me as Hermione and Luna started down the aisle, my bridesmaids. As soon as he said that, I thought I was going to bawl my eyes out. Instead, I just gripped his arm tighter and took a shaky breath.
"I know," I said quietly, and Vince gently lead me around the curtain and onto the field. It looked great. We were walking on a white rug, up to a white podium, decorated with white roses. Harry looked surprisingly nervous for his second marriage but devilishly handsome, his messy hair still not tamed. There was a mad volley of clicking from the media section, but no flashes. The large audience on each side of me was all standing, watching me pass by with a fondness, even though I'd never been personally attached to most of them. "I love you," I told Vince quietly when we reached the top of the aisle, and he kissed me on the cheek before handing me off to Harry and taking his seat by Michelle, who he was still dating. Harry's warm, slightly bony hand gripped mine and stayed tight throughout the whole ceremony, and I knew that he was fighting away his last demons of guilt for 'abandoning Ginny'. I just squeezed his hand back, feeling like I was 'stealing Ginny's husband'. We'd both tried to talk each other out of the ridicules we felt about marrying each other, but we hadn't succeeded before the wedding.
"Do you, Harry James Potter, take Arlene Lucy Sommers to be your wife?" The minister asked.
"I do," Harry said firmly, giving my hand a quicker, tighter squeeze, shooting a loving glance my way. As I looked at his face, things suddenly felt right, as if I'd fallen right into a place I belonged.
"And do you, Arlene Lucy Sommers, take Harry James Potter to be your husband?" The minister asked.
"I do," I said, and it came out much softer than I thought it would have. My eyes never left Harry's.
"Then I declare you bonded for life." The minister proclaimed, and shot silver stars above us in the air. Harry peeled back my veil as the crowd started to applaud and kissed me. We'd kissed each other a lot before, but for some reason, this kiss made me forget every other kiss I'd received before. It was so perfect, so right¸ that I knew I'd remember it forever. Harry pulled away, grinning down at me, and I felt my face smile until I thought I'd burst with happiness. I was married. I was married!
"Come on, love," Harry encouraged, took my arm, and walked us to the right, towards the party tent for reception, dinner, and happy hour. The night blurred by; Michelle and Vince left fairly early, wishing me all the happiness in the world. Mr. and Mrs. Weasley gave a toast to me that left me weepy for five minutes afterward. I must have danced with every guy there, Hagrid, Ron, Mr. Weasley, Aberforth, Slughorn, Neville, Vince, Rob, and, finally, Harry. I talked with Flitwick for a long time, who was old, but still teaching Charms at Hogwarts. He'd been my favorite teacher, and Charms had been my favorite class when I wasn't training for Quidditch. The night dragged on until Harry and I decided to leave. With a very large and slightly drunk goodbye, our crowd of guests cheered us away as we walked down onto the grounds to Apparate. As soon as we were clear, we were gone. Without further ado, we Apparated to outside of the International Quidditch Stadium, where the World Cup was held every year. I immediately hitched up my long skirt and ran. Harry growled playfully and chased after me as we ran inside the stadium, darted through all the empty security and made our way onto the field. Waiting for us were our two broomsticks. Used to sitting side saddle on a broom, I was shooting into the air as Harry was mounting his broom. We raced all along the stadium, just like the day he'd proposed to me. Then, Harry tackled me off my broom about a foot from the ground, and we landed on the springy turf in a heap.
"Ah, Quidditch," Harry sighed, looking up at the stars sometime later. We were both pretty much naked, lying on center field and staring straight up at the moon. I stretched, marveling at how soft the turf actually was on your skin.
"Gotta love it," I agreed, leaned over, and kissed him.
Many apologies, again and again, for losing momentum on this story; I didn't mean it, I swear. I've been trying so hard not to do that, but it gets me every time. A huge thanks to everyone who reviewed- you know who you are. It's people like you who motivate me to write, and I owe you more than I can give you. Stay tuned, I have more Harry Potter stories up my sleeves….