Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended. J.K. Rowling created it all, and no money is being made from this work of fan fiction.
AN: I have no beta, and all mistakes are mine. This is an entry for the "Different Genres" competition in the "Family" category on HPFC. It is also an entry for the "Ghosts" challenge. It is post-DH and AU in that it establishes a committed relationship between Percy Weasley and Kingsley Shacklebolt. Percy and Kingsley are speaking to Fred Weasley after his death. Fred is now a ghost.
"So Percy, this man is your intended?" Fred's ghostly shape hovered above his grave, but even death could not obscure Fred's familiar grin.
Percy smiled in return at his younger brother. "You will do me a favor and not torment him! I know you well enough to know that if there is a way to prank people beyond the grave, you will already have found it." He turned to the man standing beside him. "Fred, I would like you to meet our current Minister of Magic, Kingsley Shacklebolt. I know you've met him before, but it seemed like a more formal introduction was in order."
Kingsley's smile was the practiced expression of a charismatic bureaucrat, but Percy could see the anxiety lurking in the dark eyes.
"Mr. Weasley, it is an honor to meet you, albeit under less than ideal circumstances." The smile slipped a little, and there was a bittersweet edge to it when he continued. "Though it is rather belated, on behalf of the wizarding world, I would like to thank you for your service. We could not have asked of you anymore than we received. We will not forget what you did."
Fred Weasley burst out laughing, a high, whistling laugh suited to the ghost that he was.
"Merlin, you two deserve each other! I thought there was no one who could be more proper than my older brother here, but you seem to have managed it. What a perfect match! But really, do you think you could try to call me Fred? I see no reason for you to stand on ceremony with the dead, especially since you are going to be my brother-in-law."
The anxiety seeped away from Kingsley's expression, and his smile relaxed. "Gladly, Fred. I must admit to not being well-informed about the limitations of ghosts. I know that you have been visiting George, but will you be able to attend our wedding?"
Fred nodded. "There should be no problem there, although, I wonder what people will say about a ghost attending a wedding."
Percy actually chuckled. "Since I intend for you to be one of my groomsmen, I think they will just have to learn to live with it. The Malfoys have provided me with multiple pureblood etiquette books, and not a single one of them mentions ghosts in the wedding party, much less where you are supposed to stand in the receiving line!"
They all laughed at that. Then, Fred drifted so close to Kingsley that the Minister could feel the slight chill radiating off the ghost.
"You are welcome in my family, Kingsley Shacklebolt. However, mark my words. I may not have a body anymore. But Merlin help me. If you break my brother's heart, I will haunt you for the rest of your mortal life and after!"
Kingsley raised his wand in respect to the ghostly Fred. "If I break his heart, Fred, I will most definitely deserve it."
He found it highly amusing that although he had been similarly threatened by every member of the Weasley family as well as Harry Potter and Hermione Granger, for sheer irony, nothing could beat getting told off by a ghost.