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Old August 8th, 2007, 4:00 am
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The Godfather
 
Join Date: 02nd August 2007
Location: Jacksonville, FL
Age: 50
Posts: 1,127
You Are Cordially Invited...

This is my first attempt at fanfiction, of any type of fiction of any kind. To that end, please forgive my sparse dialogue that barely exceeds "See Spot run." I am working on that. The attached is the first three chapters of my vision of Harry and Ginny's wedding day, and the events that led up to it. Any feedback would be very much appreciated.

Chapter 1 – Today’s the Day

The rays from the breaking dawn began to filter through the drapes into his room. Groggy from the previous evening’s festivities, Harry Potter wearily opened an eye to glimpse the clock on the nightstand. Unaccustomed to the payment rendered on the morning subsequent to a night of drunken revelry, he sat upright, too rapidly, of course and felt a whirl of disorientation sweep over him. Slowly regaining his equilibrium, Harry moved his legs to the edge of the bed, his movement, much more deliberate, and placed his feet on the rustic hardwood floors of his room.

With a bit of trepidation, Harry surveyed his surroundings, taking in the room, his room, in his house, the house that he had inherited from Sirius Black, seven years ago. For a moment, he felt a tinge of regret for Sirius’ absence, for his parents’ absence, for the absence of many of those close to him. As the years had passed with the demise of Tom Riddle, Harry had been able to cope with the cost that the victory had demanded. But today, he allowed himself to bring forward the feelings of sadness, loss and guilt, because today, especially today, was a day that he had wished he could share with everyone that had any meaning to him.

Today, Harry Potter, the former “Chosen One”, the former “Boy Who Lived”, the current auror extraordinaire was going to get married. After years of trial, pain, indecision and choices, Harry was going to do something wonderful and lasting. He was going to marry Ms. Ginny Weasley at three o’clock this afternoon. Ginny’s face appeared to him on this thought, immediately erasing any hint of sadness, much like her presence over these past years had helped him to overcome the pain and guilt that accompanied the trials of Lord Voldemort.

Harry rose from his bed, and putting on his robe, headed down the steps to the kitchen. Everything about 12 Grimmauld Place had been refurbished or changed. Gone were Mrs. Black’s imposing portrait and its hate-filled diatribes. Gone was the tapestry of the Black family tree with its burned out faces and worrisome history. Harry and Ginny had spent countless hours changing the character of the residence to more reflect its current occupant. Bright colors filled the space and large, bay windows were installed in the front room to allow the sun to bring its warmth into the dwelling. Mrs. Tonks had given Harry a large door with an array of multi-colored stained glass panes as a house warming gift. The sun coming through the door’s glass offered a medley of lively colors dancing down the once-darkened hallway. The overall feel of the house had gone from one of gloom and desperation to that of a home. That’s how Harry described it to himself; it now felt like a home. Considering the fact that Harry had never really had a home of his own, the rightness of this house served to warm him every time he made the walk to the kitchen.

Harry meandered into the kitchen, not really knowing what he would eat. He was nervous and anxious to be sure, which was playing a mad game of tom-tom with his stomach. He still had a dull ache in his head, from the bachelor party that the Weasley boys had thrown him the previous night. As he contemplated the right morning concoction to have, the loud thunder and crack of an arrival to his home startled him out of his reverie.

“Good morning, Master Harry Potter!”

“Good morning, Kreacher.” Harry replied to the newly arrived house-elf. Harry’s response had been subdued, as his voice found itself competing with an overpowering case of cotton-mouth.

Kreacher noticed Harry’s apparent discomfort, “Master Harry, is there something wrong? Are you ill?”

“No, Kreacher, I’m just recovering from last night’s party. Thanks again for the wonderful feast, it was, as always, divine.”

“It was a great honor to serve my Master, especially on this day of days! Would you like Kreacher to make you breakfast?”

The idea of eating a rich, full breakfast caused Harry’s stomach to begin a new series of calisthenics, “No, thank you, Kreacher, I don’t know if I’m able to eat anything, right now.”

The house-elf bowed low, but kept one eye on Harry, taking in his general dishevelment. Having served several generations of Blacks, especially those given to general carousing, Kreacher knew instantly what was ailing his master.

“Perhaps there is something that I can make you that will help you feel better, Master Harry.”

With a shrug of his shoulders, which set off another staccato of the kettle drums playing in his head, Harry indicated that Kreacher should proceed.

In a matter of minutes, Harry found himself seated at the kitchen table with a mug of piping hot tea, spiced with an exhilarating mix of ingredients and a tray of pastries that weren’t overly sweet, yet were pleasing to taste. After a few bites of the food and sips of the tea, Harry found himself feeling immeasurably better. His head cleared, he found himself much more alert. Unfortunately, the butterflies still seemed to be doing somersaults in his stomach.

“My word! That was brilliant, Kreacher, that was exactly what I needed!”

Kreacher noticed his master’s mood lightening, but could not help but observe Harry rubbing his stomach.

“Master Harry, Kreacher has recipes to cure any hang over and most ailments. Kreacher knows of no remedy for when a man is nervous. If he may be bold, Kreacher can not wait for when Master Harry brings a mistress to his house. Perhaps, Kreacher may serve the children of Master Potter, too!”

With that, Kreacher apparated out of the kitchen, heading, more than likely, to attend to his duties in the Hogwarts’ kitchen. Harry stared, incredulously, at the spot his house-elf had just occupied. Nerves? The pit of his stomach was swirling because of nerves. Harry leaned back into his chair and chuckled to himself. Who wouldn’t be nervous? The love of his life, the reason, he felt, that his universe existed had said yes, and now, they were to be married.

Harry felt his eyes drifting up to where Helios, the owl Ginny had given him for his eighteenth birthday to replace his lost Hedwig, was perched.

“How did we get here?” Harry mused to his owl. How, indeed, thought Harry. How indeed.


Chapter 2 – Revelations

Harry sipped his tea and thought. His mind wandered to the months immediately preceding the Battle of Hogwarts. He and his friends had vanquished the evil of Lord Voldemort, and yet, no amount of schooling, no amount of experience could prepare him for the overwhelming sense of guilt and loss he felt.

Remus, Tonks, Fred, and many others had died at the hands of Voldemort and his minions. Harry found himself consumed with remorse and regret. As he attended the countless funerals and memorials to the fallen, Harry was driven deeper and deeper into a pit of sadness and despair. He started to isolate himself from his friends. Try as they might, Ron and Hermione could not get Harry to pull himself out of his gloom. Most importantly, Harry distanced himself from Ginny, who was experiencing her own loss and sadness. In Harry’s mind, he had caused Ginny’s suffering, and he thought that he had no right to make it worse.

The last of the fallen to be laid to rest was Fred Weasley. Harry had made the commitment to attend every service, every memorial, and this would be the last, and perhaps, the most dreaded. How could he face George, or Ron, or Mr. and Mrs. Weasley, since he had been the reason Fred died? How could he face Ginny?

The ceremony was subdued. The mourners filed into the temporary pavilion erected in the yard at the Burrows. All were respectful and sad. Even Aunt Muriel was said to have a tear in her eye. As the presiding wizard performed the rites, Harry stood stonily in the back of the crowd, head down and wishing the thing over. Lost in his own world, and wallowing in self-pity and despair, Harry felt the pressure of a hand in his. He looked down to find that Ginny had moved next to him and had taken his hand. Harry’s mouth moved to say something, anything, to convey how sorry he was, but Ginny moved her finger to his lips and made a motion to shush him.

When the funeral rites were concluded, and the crowd began to file out, Ginny pulled Harry by the hand outside. Without a word, she grasped his arm. Harry, understanding her intent, prepared himself for the sensation of blackness, as Ginny transported them away from the Burrows. In an instant, they were at their destination. They were at Godrich’s Hollow. Specifically, they were near the graveyard where his parents lay buried.

Harry turned towards Ginny, taking time to notice just how beautiful she was. Her auburn tresses were long enough to wrap around her shoulders, providing a fiery frame to the wondrous beauty of her face. Harry hesitated, as if he were blinded by a looking into the full sun, afraid of its brightness, but unable to prevent its imprint on his brain.

“Ginny, I’m sorry; this is all my fault…”

Ginny Weasley was no fool, nor did she suffer fools lightly. Being the youngest and the only girl among a family of seven headstrong children had groomed her to be her own woman. Her hair seemed to glow brighter, reflecting her mood. There was a coolness in her eyes as she contemplated the pathetic wretch before her.

“Harry Potter! I have had enough of this nonsense! I’ve allowed your time to cope! I’ve put up with your silly attempts to apologize to every wizard or witch who will listen. Most of all, I’ve put up with your hurtful attempts to shut me out, and I will not put up with it any longer.”

Ginny placed her hands on her hips, and stared in obvious anger at Harry. Her jaw thrust out and Harry could almost swear he could see steam vapor trailing out of her ears. Harry was taken aback. He had never considered that what he was doing would be considered hurtful; in fact, he thought he was paying his penalty for causing everyone so much pain.

“I thought that everyone blamed me. I thought you blamed me Ginny.” Harry held his palms out and up, in apparent supplication. Ginny would have none of it, “Oh don’t be ridiculous. No one blames you, the whole point of the war and the struggle was for all of us to make our own decisions, to be free to choose! Everyone who fought, chose to fight. Everyone who died, knew the risks! How dare you presume to cheat them and their memories of that freedom! And who are you to decide what’s best for me? What I need to hear and what I’m feeling?”

The exertion of finally getting the matter out, in the open, seemed to deflate Ginny. Harry, however, felt as if he’d been slapped, so much so, that he took a step back. He never realized the pain he’d caused, and not for the reasons that he thought. In the past, he’d always gone to Ginny. Even now, in his pain, he would always think of her. The idea that he was hurting him was like a knife to his gut.

“I never knew, I thought I was protecting you.” Harry finally whispered.

“Come off it, Harry. You thought you were being brave, being the hero. Well that time is past, it’s time to grow up. It’s time to move on and be the man you want to be, not the character in a story from a prophecy.” She paused, gathering her strength, standing taller, shoulders square, “It’s time for you to realize that you are not alone, you are part of a family that loves you. You need to understand that all of us care about you, all of us share in your loss, and that we love you.” Ginny dropped her head, unable to look at Harry, lest he see the tears swelling in her eyes, “I love you.”

Harry was dumbstruck. He could not believe his ears. No curse, no charm could impact him the way those last three words had. All at once, he was elated, and guilty, he was filled with hope, and regret. Truly, he thought, love is the most powerful magic.

“I love you, too”, was all he could muster.

Ginny looked up, and stared into Harry’s eyes, which were brimming with tears as well. She moved toward him, and in that single step, bridged a chasm of pain, misery and regret. Their lips came together in a kiss more passionate than any lover’s embrace, more tender than any caress and more needed than any hunger’s food. In that one, single moment, the last vestiges of anxiety and loss melted away, to be replaced by the oneness of true love, of two people finding each other and knowing how right and how real that can be.

Harry could scarcely believe what was happening. He had resigned himself to being alone, without comfort, without love. Yet here he was, and the most radiant woman he could ever imagine was in his arms. “I don’t ever want to be apart, ever”, he confessed.

“We won’t,” she said, “but under one condition.”

“What’s that?” asked Harry.

“Don’t ever shut me out again, ever. I want to know everything.”

“I don’t know where to start,” was all he could muster.

“Start at the beginning, tell me what you went through, tell me what you were feeling, tell me what you feared the most, and tell me what you felt when you thought you were going to die.” She hesitated at that memory.

Finally, she drew up, inhaled deeply and said, “Tell me everything.”

So, he did.


Chapter 3 - Commitment

Kreacher’s breakfast had made him feel better. His head was lighter and the tea seemed to adding a certain amount of energy. He noticed the newest edition of the Quibbler on the table and, with a nod to Luna Lovegood’s eccentricities, found himself reading it, upside down on the table. The headline emblazoned across the banner trumpeted his upcoming nuptials. With a smile, he noticed that Ginny’s picture seemed to have a more prominent place than his own. Even his reputation as “The Chosen One” could not overcome the popularity of the Holyoke Harpies best Seeker. This small fact, this juxtaposition of who he was, and how far he’d come, was the best indication that his life was becoming, well, normal.

His contemplation of peace and prosperity was abruptly cut short by a loud banging. From the din, Harry thought that Kreacher, or, better yet, a whole army of house elves had apparated into the house. When the noise did not subside, Harry realized that someone was knocking, rather loudly, on his front door. Walking down the hall, Harry could not imagine who would be calling on him at this hour. As he walked down the hall, Harry noticed a tall, misshapen shadow in the panes of the stained glass on his front door. In addition to the knocking, he could hear a loud voice, but very indecipherable. Harry reached the door, and opened it.

“Youb god do helb me, Habby!”

Standing in the threshold, was, as far as he could recognize, his best friend, Ron Weasley. The figure in front of him was tall, with a shock of red hair that was the trademark of the Weasley clan. However, instead of Ron’s pale, freckled countenance, the face of the person standing before him was a bright shade of purple, with bright yellow spots, instead of freckles. His lips were swollen, almost four times normal size and large blisters dotted his hairline.

“Ron? Is that you?” asked Harry.

“Ob courd id me! Youb god do helb me, Habby!”

“What happened? Wait, you know my wedding is today, Ron. You know you’re supposed to be my best man! What the blazes happened to you?”

Ron tried to mime out the circumstances of how he came to be in this pitiful state, but in the end, all he could muster was, “Deorde.”

“George?” asked Harry, “Was George using you as a tester again?”

Ron nodded his head, “Habby, yourb ab aborb, youb cab helb me.”

“I know I’m an auror, Ron, but I usually fight dark magic, not George Weasley’s Swollen Egg Puffs, oh, come in, let me see what I can do.”

Happily, Ron bounded into the house, and followed Harry to the kitchen. Harry pointed Ron to a seat at the kitchen table and went over to his bag, emblazoned with the emblem of the Office of Aurors. Reaching in, Harry pulled out a piece of blue cloth, about the length and width of a school scarf. Harry picked up his wand and uttered a spell, normally found to reverse magical viruses and enchanted the cloth with the healing properties. Harry moved to where Ron was sitting, and began to wrap the scarf around the periphery of Ron’s affected face and head.

“Just sit still, this should take affect in no time, you should be right as rain in about an hour, my boy,” said Harry with a smirk.

“Danks Habby! Yourb de besd! Goob ding yourb ab aborb!” With that Ron laid his head back to let the cloth work its healing on his face.

“Yes,” said Harry, almost to himself, “Good thing I’m an auror.”

Harry’s gaze drifted to his bag, almost a signature of himself as an auror as his broom was when he was a first-rate Seeker at Hogwarts. Harry fancied himself a very good auror. It was, upon reflection, the perfect job for him. Three years of training, trying to keep up with the senior aurors, especially considering he had not completed his N.E.W.T’s. Harry, though, had been through more battles with the dark arts, than most of the seasoned aurors. That fact alone, helped him flourish in his new career. Being an auror, however, had indirectly helped guide him to this moment.

Harry could remember alley. A non-descript place, dank and dark. The tip had said that a Death eater was in a hovel, down that alley. Given at that time that most of Voldemort’s Death eaters were either slain or in custody, Harry felt confident that he could handle whoever was hiding out in this place. Nevertheless, Harry had left word with his office of his whereabouts, and proceeded to investigate the existence of this Death eater.

Harry walked down the alley, his bag in one hand and his wand, in the other. The alley was narrow, with high walls. Doors dotted the length of the alley, with a large, wrought-iron gate at the end. Eyes searching for the door that the tipster had given him, Harry missed the shadows looming up behind him. A sense of dread overcame Harry, at that instant. Turning around, he saw, too late that the shadows building up behind him were four dementors!

Dementors! The thought astounded Harry, and chilled him to the bone. They were supposed to be run out of England, but here were four of the foul creatures, right here, in front of him.

Harry raised his wand hand up to conjure his Patronus.

“Expelliramus!” Harry’s wand flew from his hand. “Incarcerous!” Harry found himself strongly bound, unable to move. To make things worse, he still had no idea who his mysterious assailant was.

“Well, well, well, Mr. Potter.” The voice was oddly familiar, and haunting. As recognition dawned on Harry, a familiar itch began to form on his hand.

“I always told you that you were a bad person, a half breed, to boot.”

The various hues of pink and lavender stood in stark contrast to the bleakness of the alley. Dolores Umbridge stood triumphant over Harry’s bound form.

“You have ruined everything! Your lies have made the Ministry fouled with the infestation of those that lack pure blood! I have waited a long time to punish you for your insolence.”

“Crucio!”

The pain coursed through Harry’s body, extending to every nerve, every pore, and every ounce of existence. His tormentor stood over him, a slight smile on her face. The false image of a dowdy old woman, conveying a sense of pure evil and pure delight in his agony.

Harry screamed. The effect of the pain that was unrelenting, unstopping. Ms. Umbridge fell into lecturing Harry as to the errors of his ways. “Only when the lesson sinks in, only then will I give you the release you so richly deserve, you horrid, horrid man.”

The Crucio curse was said to be as effective as the intent of the wizard or witch wielding it.
To that end, Delores Umbridge had a large dose of intent for the object of her fury. She hated Harry Potter and she reflected that hate on the amount pain she was inflicting.

At length, Delores anger caused the pain to be too much to endure. Harry started to wilt and pass out from the experience. As he passed from light to darkness, Harry could have sworn he heard, “Stupefy!” then all went dark.

Later, Harry’s senses slowly returned. As he opened his eyes, he felt his body still lying down, but the dark alley was gone, replaced by the walls and beds of a ward in St. Mungo’s. His body ached, and yet he felt a warmth on his hand. Looking down, he saw a hand in his own. Following the arm that belonged to that hand, he saw a head of glorious red hair, in wild disarray. The face the hair bordered was that of angel, asleep, with the barest hint of worry lines around the eyes. Suddenly, as if feeling his eyes watching her, Ginny Weasley opened her eyes. For the moment, nothing was said, but the elation they both felt was readily apparent.

“I thought I lost you,” said Ginny, finally breaking the silence. “I don’t know what I would have done without you.”

Harry contemplated what she said. He could not think of a reply, so he smiled and gripped her arm. Her words echoed in his mind, and all he could think of was the reverse. He almost lost her. She was everything, and yet, while the pursued their careers, they hadn’t really lived for each other.

Finally, an inspiration, THE inspiration hit Harry, as sure as the scar on his head. He sat up, heedless of the hospital dressing gown he was wearing. He grasped her hand in both of his, uttering the first words he had said during the entire time he had been awake, “I don’t want to lose you, ever. Ginny Weasley, will you marry me?”

Ginny jumped practically leapt up into his arms. “Of course, of course, you silly man! What took you so long!”

As he held her, Harry felt the warmth of her touch, the scent of her hair, and knew he had made the right choice. He looked up, over her shoulder, suddenly realizing that sitting with Ginny had been her brother Ron, his now wife Hermione and Ginny’s parents. They had witnessed the entire exchange and had all been rendered speechless. Ron broke the silence, “Well, what kind of spell did that Umbridge woman hit you with, anyway?”


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