Harry Potter, the Deathly Hallows and the Story of What Might Have Been

Gotimtim

Disclaimer- No I don't own Harry Potter or the copyright to any of those works. I do use some of Rowling's previously published work here in this story- specifically some lines from HP and the Deathly Hallows. This is done to help set the tone for the story and is essential to the story being told. Please note no disrespect or infringement on the works of J.K. Rowling should be taken or inferred.

A/N- READ THIS FIRST! - This is my attempt at an Alternate Universe/Infinities concept story. I had a question; one that gives many authors that first spark to write a story- What if?

First to define my concept (anyone who has read any of the Star Wars Infinities books will be familiar with this): What if you take a key moment from the story and change it? What if Harry had shaken Malfoy's hand in The Sorcerer's Stone? What if Harry had let Ginny lie in the bottom of the Chamber of Secrets? How would that have changed the stories that we know and love today?

My story here follows that concept- It starts with the Wedding Chapter of DH and goes on from there. As a result, it will not be DH and may not be entirely Epilogue compliant. However, it is a story I wanted to tell, and one that has occupied my thoughts since I first wrote The End of Innocence. **Note that this story is entirely independent of the previous two- It should stand on its own**

I ask you that if you read this story, you do so with an open mind, and judge it for what it is. A different take on an already existing book. All of the events from the first six books are considered to have occurred.

There will be some writing that will be from Ginny's POV, and not just Harry's alone.

Any mistakes in canon, descriptions, or previous story lines are just that- mistakes of mine where I did not pay enough attention to detail.

I would of course be happy to hear your thoughts and feelings on this idea, and this story. Therefore, with that, I bid you good fun and good reading! Gotimtim

Chapter 1

A Wedding Surprise

Ginny was looking out the window of her mother's room and down onto the lawn. She could not help but smile at the sight of Harry. Fred and George had "borrowed" a couple hairs from some poor muggle boy down in the village of Ottery St. Catchpole using a summoning charm. Now having been rechristened as "Cousin Barney," Harry looked completely different and more than a little uncomfortable as an exact copy of that boy. All thanks to those few hairs and some Polyjuice Potion.

Right now he, Ron, Fred, and George were busy helping wedding guests to their seats. Ginny sighed inwardly; today was the day. Bill and Fleur would be married and she would have a new sister. Well at least a sister-in-law anyway. She had always wanted a sister but Fleur would not have been her first choice. Hermione was much more preferable. Too bad Ron did not seem to agree though. Maybe someday her goofy brother would come around.

Now, Ginny and Gabrielle DeLacour were up in her mother's room getting the final additions done on their outfits for the wedding. As bridesmaids they had to be perfect. Ginny looked away from the window and Harry on the other side of it to look at herself. She could not help but smile. She was sure Harry would like the dress. Sure that he would and that Auntie Muriel would not. Oh well, it wasn't Auntie Muriel's wedding so who cared what she thought anyway?

As Ginny took a seat on the bench of her mother's old, beat up dressing table, she let her mind drift back to yesterday and those few stolen moments with Harry. She felt the tightening of the pit of her stomach when she thought about that kiss that she and Harry had shared. It was so much more passionate than any that they had shared before. She could feel the emotion behind it and knew that Harry did as well. He had to have. His arms had been around her and he certainly didn't make any efforts to stop it. Quite the opposite in fact. And then Ron had to come bursting in and break that beautiful moment.

In that moment, she could have cursed her brother. She was so angry with him, so hurt that he had to come and ruin that blessedly perfect moment. Maybe at some point during the wedding, if the situation played out just right, maybe she could corner Harry and get one last kiss from him. One last kiss to take with him when he, Ron, and Hermione left to go after You-know-who.

Ginny inwardly cringed at the thought of them finding him. She didn't like the way that Hermione looked at Ron and Harry now. Ever since Dumbledore had died, the way she looked at them had changed. Not just Hermione either, Ron and Harry too seemed to be changed by that event. Harry most of all.

She had once tried to get Hermione to open up about it. Being closer to Hermione than to either Harry or Ron, she figured that her best chance to find out about what was going on and what it was they planned to do would come from her. However, Hermione would only smile at Ginny and tell her it really was better that she didn't know. Better for who, Ginny wondered, was it better for her or for them?

Harry had let her know right after the funeral that he would not be coming back to Hogwarts. He broke off his relationship with her and told her it was for her own good. That he could not stand it if You-know-who took her and tried to use her, Ginny, against him. He had said it was for her own protection.

For her part, Ginny understood. She knew that eventually Harry would break things off with her. What she didn't know then, what she could not know or even had any way of knowing was how much he breaking things off with her would hurt.

She did not let Harry see her cry. She was not happy with him for making this decision but she knew him well enough to know that he would not change his mind. So when the train from Hogwarts had dropped them off at King's Cross Station and he went home to spend his last remaining days with those wretched Dursleys, she fell into the car from the Ministry and the tears began. Breaking up with a boy had never hurt like this. Her mother had held her and even Ron, of all people Ron, had been gentle and kind to her. Her father looked at her sadly and could only smile and tell her that eventually things would get better.

Ginny looked out the window again to see that Harry, or Cousin Barney as he would be called for the wedding, was currently talking to Ron about something. He was smiling. They seemed to be sharing some kind of joke.

Seeing the two of them like that, talking and acting for the moment in such a carefree manner put a funny feeling in her stomach. Ginny didn't know what it was or what might be causing it, only that it sat there and wouldn't go away. As her mother and Madame DeLacour began working on Ginny's hair and putting the final touches on it, she let her thoughts wander towards Harry again.

That funny feeling in her stomach wouldn't go away. She had this strange notion that she wasn't going to be seeing Harry again. Not for a very long time anyway. This was not a thought that made her happy. She decided something in that moment. Whatever may happen at this wedding tonight, she Ginny would not let Harry out of her sight any longer than absolutely necessary.

She knew that Harry, Ron, and Hermione were going to leave to go do whatever it was that they were going to do after the wedding. Her gut told her it would be very soon after the wedding, maybe even tonight. Ginny wasn't about to let Harry go off without her. She decided that in that minute, whatever it took, that she would be going with him and to Hell with what anyone else thought or felt about it. Having waited five, almost six years for Harry to notice her, she wasn't going to let him go just as easy as that. Not if she had anything to say about it.

Then it was time. Ginny and Gabrielle followed their mothers out of the room and down the stairs to join the wedding procession.

"Oh Maman!" Fleur cried, "To theenk zat in just a few minutes, I weel be married!"

Ginny watched thoughtfully as the two exchanged excited hugs. Then Fleur turned towards her sister and smiled down at her, "And zen it weel be your turn! Leetle Gabrielle, you are growing up way too fast!"

"Maybe eet can even be 'Arry Potter I marry!" Gabrielle sighed with a smile.

Ginny wanted to smack her, but didn't. Instead she shared a look with her mother who smiled at her. She noticed that her mother had tears in her eyes.

She suspects they're up to something as much as I do, Ginny thought.

She didn't get a chance to ask her mother what it was that she was thinking about. The signal in the music was given and it was time for them to take their walk down the isle. Ginny kept her head held up high and didn't let her thoughts or feelings reflect on her face. This was her big brother's day. It wasn't going to be ruined by her.

Ginny's stomach did a little flip when she saw Harry. She did her best to hide a blush when she saw his eyes widen ever so slightly at the sight of her. She kept her eyes forward and resolved not to say anything or worry about anything for the time being. She would let the memory of the pleased and happily surprised look on Harry's face at seeing her carry her through the next few hours. She took her place in front of the alter where the ceremony would take place.

The little wizard, the same one who presided over the burial of Professor Dumbledore Ginny sadly noted, stood up and announced:

"We are gathered here today to celebrate the union of two faithful souls..." The little wizard began. The wizard went on but Ginny was distracted for a moment when she heard Auntie Muriel say rather loudly,

"Yes, my tiara sets off the whole thing nicely, but I must say, Ginevra's dress is far too low cut."

Ginny grinned widely and looked around at Harry, winked at him, and then turned to face the little old wizard as he went on with the wedding vows. She couldn't help but let her mind go back to the previous spring, when she and Harry had taken long walks alone around the school grounds. Finding the lonely, secluded places where they could just enjoy being with one another.

It was like another time, maybe even like living someone else's life. Ginny treasured those moments more than she could ever put into words. It was the time when her dreams of being with Harry really did come true.

She wondered if Harry ever thought of those days as much as she did. She yearned to know if they meant as much to him as they did to her. She felt a lump form in her throat, and could feel the tears forming in her eyes.

"...do you, William Arthur, take Fleur Isabelle..."

At least being here at the wedding, people would think the tears she had would be tears for her brother and the occasion. No one would need to know that she had tears in her eyes for an entirely different reason. Ginny swallowed hard and stifled a grin when she heard the sounds of Hagrid trumpeting from the back, holding onto one of his huge handkerchiefs...

"...then I declare you bonded for life."

Ginny watched as the little white haired wizard waved his wand high over the heads of her brother and his bride. A shower of silvery stars fell upon them and spiraled around their figures. Applause broke out through the marquee. Bill and Fleur were married.

At an announcement from the little wizard, everyone stood up. The chairs were moved to the sides of the marquee, and a golden dance floor formed in the middle of the area. The band took up their positions around a podium and began to play.

Ginny, seeing people coming to gather around and congratulate the new couple quickly got in line. She hugged her brother and Fleur, congratulated them, and then moved away.

Standing off to one side a little bit, she watched as Harry and Ron moved off towards a table way at the back of the marquee. Grabbing a glass of pumpkin juice, Ginny decided to ask Harry for a dance. Ron couldn't get mad at her for wanting to dance with Harry at a wedding and even he wasn't crass enough to cause a scene in front of everyone. Ginny could have just one song alone with him. For just one song she could hold him close and maybe make him understand how much she was feeling. Make him know how much she needed him.

Then her dad stepped in front of her, "Ginny, can I have this dance?"

Ginny smiled at her dad. He had always been so kind and understanding. She could dance with her dad; there would still be time to dance with Harry.

"Sure dad," Ginny smiled happily and let him lead her out onto the dance floor.

They began to dance around when her dad started speaking to her.

"I know this summer was difficult for you,"

"What do you mean, dad?"

"Ginny, your mother and I, we're not blind. We know how much it hurt when Harry..."

"Dad please, don't. Not here," Ginny said tearfully.

"I'm sorry," her dad said, "What I was trying to tell you is that I was impressed with how well you handled yourself. You know, what with what happened to Mad-eye, and to George. You were wonderful and that really helped your mother a lot."

"Thanks, dad," Ginny said not sure where he was going with all of this.

"You also handled Harry being here well too."

Ginny felt the tears coming to her eyes and looked away.

Her dad had that look in his eyes like he wanted to say more but didn't get the chance. The song ended and Ginny was asked to dance by Bill.

"Hello there, little sister," Bill smiled down at her.

"Alright, Bill?" Ginny asked him.

"Never better," Bill smiled back happily.

"I really am glad for you and Fleur. I can tell she really loves you,"

"Thank you, what about you?" Bill asked glancing side long at their newest "cousin" who was at the moment talking to an old man whom Ginny vaguely recognized.

"I don't know what you mean..."

"Ginny, I remember those letters you used to write me. Remember them? The ones from when you first started going to Hogwarts?"

"What about them?"

"You finally got what you wanted," Bill whispered quietly in her ear, "What are you going to do about it?"

Ginny looked at her brother's eyes and then down at her shoes.

"I don't know that there is anything I can do about it," she said bitterly.

"Why not?" Bill prodded her.

"Because they're not going back to school..."

"That doesn't mean that afterwards, when it's all over..."

"Do you really think that there is going to be an afterwards?" Ginny asked her brother hopefully, "I don't think he does,"

"That's because he's in the middle of it, and right now I don't think he can see much more than the task he has ahead of him."

"What kind of task?" Ginny wanted to know, suddenly curious.

Bill looked away for a moment,

"Bill..." Ginny began,

"I'm sorry; I really don't know much about it. I only heard them talking a bit about leaving..."

"Harry's going to hunt down You-know-who. Ron and Hermione are going with him." Ginny said. She remembered Harry all but admitting this just yesterday, in her room, right before they kissed...

"He's what?" Bill asked, stunned.

At that moment though the music ended. Bill and Ginny's conversation was interrupted by Fleur's mother who came over and wanted a dance with Bill. Not feeling like she could say no, Ginny let her brother go dance with his new Mother-in-law. She wanted to get that dance with Harry. She was going to get that dance with Harry.

Remembering her earlier decision that Harry wasn't going to just go away and leave her, Ginny started making her way over to where he was sitting. Auntie Muriel was now sitting there next to "Cousin Barney" and that old man. It was with a sudden realization that Ginny made the connection- she did know him. At least his picture anyway. That was old Elphias Doge!

He'd written that obituary in the Daily Prophet about Professor Dumbledore. That must have been why Harry was sitting next to him, Ginny knew that Harry took the death of Professor Dumbledore really hard.

Ginny stepped outside the walls of the marquee and quickly and quietly moved around so she could enter by where Harry was sitting. Judging by the look of shock and horror on his face, the conversation he was witnessing was not a pleasant one, Ginny thought. She could just hear Auntie Muriel making a comment that had both of the men listening to her looking very unhappy;

"...oh, we all know you worshipped Dumbledore; I daresay you'll still think he was a saint even if it does turn out that he did away with his squib sister!"

"Muriel!" Old Mr. Doge exclaimed.

Ginny looked at Harry who looked like he'd just received the shock of his life. Ginny's heart went out to him. What her Great Aunt was saying couldn't have been easy for him to hear. And what was this about Professor Dumbledore? He had a squib sister? And just what did Auntie Muriel mean when she said he did away with her?

"..did nobody ever see her, Elphias? Why did half of us never even know she existed, until they carried the coffin out of the house and held a funeral for her? Where was saintly Albus while Ariana was locked in the cellar? Off being brilliant at Hogwarts, and never mind what was going on in his own house!" Auntie Muriel went on. Then Ginny heard Harry say in a shaken voice, "What d'you mean, locked in the cellar? What is this?"

Ginny was angry with her Aunt now. Didn't she know the effect of what she was saying was having on them? On Harry? Didn't she see the way they were reacting to her words? Ginny had a good mind to hex her aunt right there except that she knew that her mother would give her bloody hell over it.

Ginny sat there listening as Auntie Muriel went on to talk about a funeral, a fight Professor Dumbledore had with his brother, she really was not painting a nice picture of her old school Headmaster. She watched Harry's face as he was listening to all of this and knew he was taken by surprise with those statements as much as she was.

Wanting nothing more than to run forward and to put her arms around him, Ginny sat there and continued to listen. It would do no one any good if she suddenly appeared to be fawning over some distant cousin. The very idea of it brought an unbidden smile to her lips.

When they started talking about Rita Skeeter, Ginny listened some more;

"...oh there are ways of bringing back memories, and I'm sure Rita Skeeter knows them all," Auntie Muriel said. "But even if Bathilda's completely cuckoo, I'm sure she'd still have old photographs, maybe even letters. She knew the Dumbledores for years...Well worth the trip to Godric's Hollow."

Ginny watched as Harry choked upon hearing this pronouncement. Old Doge reached over and pounded him on the back. Harry asked about Bathilda Bagshot living in Godric's Hollow.

"Oh yes, she's been there forever! The Dumbledores moved there after Percival was imprisoned, and she was their neighbor."

Watching Harry closely, Ginny noted how affected he was by hearing this news. Why shouldn't he be affected? She thought, He's from Godric's Hollow too. It doesn't look like anyone ever mentioned any of this stuff to him.

Just as Ginny was preparing to move in and rescue Harry from the scene unfolding around him, Hermione suddenly appeared. She was talking about how she just couldn't dance any more. She and Harry were just beginning to have a bit of a conversation when something large, shining and silvery came falling through the canopy and landed on the dance floor.

Ginny recognized the slow, deep baritone voice of Kingsley Shacklebolt coming from the Patronus. It was making an announcement. One that sent a sudden chill of fear running down Ginny's spine:

"The Ministry has fallen. Scrimgeour is dead. They are coming."

Ginny grabbed her wand from where it was hidden in her dress just as she watched Harry and Hermione jump up and grabbing theirs. She followed them headlong into the now panicking crowd.

All over the place people were running and many were disapparating. That meant that the Ministry enchantments must have been broken.

Ginny heard Hermione cry out; "Ron! Ron, where are you?"

The two pushed their way through the now chaotic dance floor, Ginny hot on their heels. She listened to them calling for Ron and pushed people out of her way as she tried to catch up to them. She was getting a dreadful feeling in her stomach, like a steel knot that refused to unwind, as Harry and Hermione were pulling away from her.

Hermione was really close to sobbing now. Spells, curses and jinxes were flying everywhere. Ginny had to duck and weave around them as well as the crowd she was desperately trying to break through.

Finally, Ginny had her chance. She saw Ron approaching Harry and Hermione, moving quickly. Quickening her own pace, Ginny caught up to them and grabbed hold of Harry tightly around his neck and shoulders just as Ron caught hold of Hermione's free arm. She felt a sudden turning and a very unpleasant squeezing sensation.

She knew they were moving away from the wedding. They were moving through space and time but to where she didn't know. Then, as suddenly as the sensation had begun, it stopped. They were standing in the middle of a street full of a lot of people. People who were beginning to turn and stare at them. They were muggles.

"Where are we?" Ginny heard Ron say.

But before anyone could answer him, Harry had roughly caught hold of Ginny's wrists as he disentangled himself from her grip. Ginny looked up at Harry only to see first anger, then surprise, then shock, then anger again race across his features.

"Ginny?" Harry exclaimed. He was at a sudden loss for words.

Ron and Hermione turned to follow Harry's gaze. Ginny looked back at them, defiance in her eyes. She took a deep breath and let it out. She'd done it. She had managed to not let Harry leave her again. She wouldn't be sorry for doing it either. She'd made up her mind and this was just the way things were going to be. She looked Harry in the eye and smiled,

"Surprise," Ginny said. It was all she could think of in that moment to say.