Bad Guys and Broomsticks, 2nd story in the "Almost Happily Ever After" series, by JetLaBarge
BB Ch 1. Back from Vacation
This is the second of a planned 4 stories covering Harry and Ginny from the Battle of Hogwarts to the day Albus leaves for Hogwarts. It may help to read the first story, "The First Year," before reading this story. This story will cover Ginny's Quidditch career, but focus on Harry's growing power and influence as they capture the remaining death eaters.
My thanks to Beta readers FriendofMolly and PokePotterfan93 who helped with the start of this story.
Harry and Ginny got back from their vacation in North America Friday night, July 16, relaxed and eager to tackle the new year. They took special sleeping potions so they could get up the next morning for Percy and Audrey's wedding.
Ginny had no idea that she would spend eight of the next twelve months seeing Harry at most a day a week and an occasional all too brief evening. Even the off-seasons were hardly off, with at least eight hours of hard exercise or practice most days.
Harry did not realize how quickly capturing the kidnappers would become urgent and personal. A certain amount of failure seemed to be part of his job, and death would never be routine, no matter how many times he had to deal with it.
Saturday morning Harry and Ginny went over to Ottery St. Catchpole for the wedding. As soon as the Potters arrived at the New Burrow Arthur Weasley took Harry aside. "We are really worried about Nora Jones, Harry. The Jones family has been told that if they cannot get a lot of money to the kidnappers soon they will kill her very publicly."
"Do we have any idea where they are holding her?" asked Harry.
"We don't have even a vague idea," Arthur said. "We will talk in depth about this Monday."
Harry and Arthur then joined their wives as they went over to the wedding.
The Baker family was modestly wealthy, and had kept their money partly by living very cautiously and being very conservative. There was a strip of property that they owned, and there were 6 houses on the street that led off one of the main streets. Every house was almost identical, all story and a half houses with a bedroom down stairs and two bedrooms upstairs, all painted a little differently but in beige or off white colors with brown trim.
There was a great grandmother and father retired, grandfather who was in finance at the Ministry, father and uncle who had something to do with payroll at the Ministry, all married with wives that did not work, and an unmarried or widowed great aunt that had some secretarial function at the ministry who lived in one of the houses. The 6th house was newly built for Percy and Audrey, and was the family wedding present to the couple.
Everybody in the Baker family was polite, perfectly dressed, proper and as Ron said, "Pressed to Perfection." Even the relatives that did not live in the little subdivision were again as Ron said "Various shades of beige."
Suddenly everything strange about the Weasley family became painfully obvious. No one ever said anything about Bill's earring, his scarred face, or his long hair. Fleur was very beautiful, but being part vela, with her very long beautiful blond hair, not really "normal," certainly not average.
Charlie had his long hair in a ponytail, and had a face and hands scarred from encounters with dragons, and always wore dragon hide and rather unusual clothes.
George had not brought any jokes, and in fact he looked almost like the most normal of all, well except for the missing ear, which was scary in its own way. Angelica looked perfectly normal for a tall black woman with nappy hair about ¾" long, carrying a baby that was obviously part her and part George with a dark complexion but the reddest hair you could imagine. It was hard to imagine them staying quiet for half an hour; how they would hold the wedding in silence with George and Angelica there was an open question.
Ron was cracking jokes, and enjoying himself, kidding Hermione, who was simultaneously horrified and amused, and they were back in a lustful looking at each other mood. "Marriage makes me think of sex" said Ron, "and sex makes me think of …"
"Ron!" said Hermione, "When have you ever needed any excuse to think of sex?"
Arthur looked back at the two and motioned for them to be quiet. But Molly was just laughing.
Hermione's hair was always bushy, but since she and Ron had gotten engaged she had let it grow out, and almost out of control bushy brown hair down to your shoulders made its own statement.
Molly's robes were not exactly matronly; they were form fitting in a way to show off her bust and to sway as her hips moved, and she was looking at Arthur the same way Hermione was looking at Ron. Weddings obviously turned Molly on. Ginny softly said to Harry "I think my mother is as sexually adventurous as Hermione."
Harry said to Ginny "I think you are your mother's daughter.
Well, at least we look normal."
"Harry Potter with his scars and unruly hair fits right in with the beige family, I think," said Ginny. Harry cracked up at this.
"I'm the only normal one in the family," said Ginny, swishing her long red hair.
"Poor little Ginny Weasley," said Harry, "I just wish you weren't so quiet and shy!" shaking his head, and they looked at each other and laughed.
The wedding was held in a rented hall. Everybody on the bride's side was quiet, serious, and proper. The Weasley clan was properly led into the hall one couple at a time, and once they got into the hall they all tried to stay quiet and not laugh or talk, something that did not come easily.
The wedding ceremony was as short and normal as possible. A married cousin of Audrey's and his wife were best man and maid-of-honor. They both looked more worried than happy with their duties, and glanced at Mrs. Baker often with concern.
Arthur Baker walked down the aisle with Audrey, who seemed reasonably happy. The bride's parents said one conventional binding spell. Molly and Arthur knew a number of binding spells, and used them all. Molly made sure everybody heard the spells for sexual compatibility and for children. She wanted more grandchildren!
After the wedding there was a wedding luncheon. No speeches or toasts were allowed; it was obvious to Percy and the Bakers that if they allowed the wild Weasley clan to start speaking it would get out of hand, and they could not control what was said, and the Bakers were all for propriety and control.
Percy and Audrey were leaving on a weeklong honeymoon. George was trying to see how they could take wagers on how much sex they would have on their honeymoon, but no one could figure out how to prove which guess was correct. "You can bet they will not talk about it," said George.
"Do you think Audrey has even read the book?" asked Ginny.
"There are pages I cannot imagine her reading," said Hermione.
"I bet you have tried every one of them" said George.
"You better believe I have, George," said Hermione. "When you have a mate as sexy as mine you better believe we have tried everything, practiced until we are real good at it. I like to be successful in everything I do, and when you have a husband like mine homework is easy." Whenever Hermione got in one of these moods Ron got a little embarrassed, but it built up his ego tremendously, and it usually led to a fun but exhausting evening.
Molly obviously relished in these exchanges. She really was an earthy woman, and Arthur was continually amazed that he had married this force of nature. Harry looked at Molly and Ginny and realized that he too had married a forceful sexy woman, she had "Yessed him right into marrying her." Harry also realized that Aunt Petunia would fit right in with the prim and proper Bakers.
As the Weasley family went back to the New Burrow Ginny noticed Hermione muttering something to Ron, so after the family had gathered in the living room she asked Hermione "What were you complaining to Ron about?"
Everybody looked at Hermione, who said "Stupid Wedding customs."
"Like what?" asked Ginny.
"Giving away the bride, like she's PROPERTY!"
"It's not like that!" Ginny exclaimed.
"It is," Fleur confirmed, nodding her head at Hermione.
Hermione started in again, arms flailing in emphasis. "It goes back to the time when women were all but owned by men, first by their fathers and then by their husbands! The father is giving, GIVING his daughter to another man to be OWNED by him. I love my father but I'M NOT HIS PROPERTY! I'M NOT A PIECE OF MEAT TO BE GIVEN AWAY, or a slave. How can I be against house elves being owned if I let my father GIVE ME AWAY!"
"You don't want to march down the aisle at your wedding?" asked Ginny.
"Ron and I can march down together," Hermione replied.
Bill was laughing at this outburst. Hermione turned to Bill and said, "What's so funny?"
"It's not an acquisition, it's a merger," Bill said.
"Are you sure Hermione is not acquiring Ronny?" George asked. He turned to his father. "Maybe you could march Ronny down the aisle to Hermione?"
"It makes just as much sense!" Hermione grimly said.
"I'm sure Mum could make you satin wedding robes to match Hermione's wedding dress," Ginny said sweetly, her snarky smile evident.
Ron looked at his sister in horror,
Molly said with a straight face, "Strapless?"
Ron put his hands up to his chest, as he looked at his mother in mock horror. Molly was beginning to break out in laughter.
"High heels!" George volunteered.
As everybody laughed Ron got up and twirled around on his toes, and in his highest falsetto voice said, "The groom was elegant in a strapless robe, until it fell down to his knees, whereupon he daintily tripped and splatted down in front of his beaming bride." Ron ended this speech by falling down in front of Hermione, arms outstretched.
At this display even Hermione started to laugh.
"Bloody good thing I've already got my wedding clothes," Ron volunteered as he picked himself up off the floor.
"Lots of magical weddings do not have the bride being given away, but are much more like Harry and Ginny's, or George and Angelina's, where the couple and their witnesses just stand in front of the official that says the wedding charms," Molly said. "The procession is nice, and I guess lots of brides like showing off, but it's not necessary."
"It's not necessary in a Muggle Church wedding either," Hermione said. "My parents go to church; I did too and kind of miss it. I went to school with the pastor's daughter, one of the few children who was nice to me. The pastor says that Harry and Ginny, Ron and I can march down the aisle before him. There is no need for my father or anyone else to GIVE ME AWAY!"
George and Angelica had arranged for help to cover for them all day, not imagining that the wedding would be over so quickly, and no one else had to go anywhere, so the family spent the rest of the day together, mostly joking and telling stories and trying to overcome the proper wedding of Percy and Audrey.
Of course everyone had to hear about Harry and Ginny's vacation.
"We went to New York first," Harry said. "You go north until Europe and North America are just a few miles apart. The floo network goes all the way North. Then in North America there is a closet network that works something like the floo network, except the powder is dispensed automatically and you are going closet to closet.
"We flew around New York on our brooms, had lunch at the top of the world Trade Center, and toured the North American Ministry of Magic. In the evening we went to see a play."
Ginny said, "I think Harry would have spent all day talking to the Aurors at the North American Ministry if he had the time. They wanted to spend a lot of time telling Harry about the Pirate Witch Queen of the Caribbean, like they want HARRY"S help with that!"
Harry rolled his eyes and kept quiet at Ginny's rant. It was beginning to look like Al VanLente was recruiting Harry for the International Aurors, something that both excited and terrified him.
Ginny continued, "The next day we flew to the VanLente property on Lake Michigan. North America is huge! We flew all day and we were not halfway across the country."
Harry said, "We were only about a third of the way across the country. It was fun spending a day flying, but I'm glad we did not fly the rest of the way across the country. We spent over a week at the VanLente cottage on Lake Michigan. Al's father Bert lives at the cottage. He fought against Gellert Grindelwald alongside Dumbledore, and did he have stories to tell!"
"Speaking of stories," Ginny said, "There is a children's book, Harry Potter, the Boy who Lived, the Hero of Hogwarts. It's real strange reading about yourself, especially when you are reading your story aloud to a dozen grade school children. They wanted to know if Harry and I were really living Happily Ever After."
"What did you tell them?" asked Molly.
"That life was pretty good, but it was a lot more complicated than in the story book," Ginny replied.
Everybody agreed with Ginny.
Harry then said, "We finally went to San Francisco, where there is a Wizarding College. There also seems to be a lot of cooperation between wizards and Muggles around computer displays and how to see things, like sometimes the magicians imagine something and put it out in some sort of virtual display," Harry took out his wand and did one of the visual displays that magical people could create with their wands, something like a hologram, a common way of displaying things, "or communicating like with the DA coins, only more complicated, and then other people, mostly Muggles, figure out how to do it with Muggle technology."
"There are a number of very wealthy Silicon Valley witches and wizards," Bill said. "Steve is famous in the Muggle world."
Much of the rest of Saturday was spent in talking about Harry and Ginny's vacation.
Kreacher met Harry and Ginny as they arrived home, and Mabel was with him. Kreacher said they had added on to the elf quarters. Mabel was her typical sullen but subservient self. When Harry asked if she was upset she said, "Mabel is not boss. If Kreacher wants to waste master's money in making a nursery it is none of Mabel's business. Mabel never had a bedroom for herself and her mate, just a corner of the kitchen, and Kreacher spends good money on a nursery!" Mabel went muttering away.
Harry and Ginny turned to Kreacher, who said, "Azalea and Berry both having babies. Is a very good thing being a Potter/Weasley house elf. All house elf wives having babies." It turned out that the house elf couple at Bill and Fleur's house was pregnant, as was the couple at George and Angelica's.