Harry opened his mouth, but no words came out. There was nothing but a gut-wrenching scream, as he fell upon her.
Harry could feel himself shaking, gripped by overwhelming fear and disbelief. He raised his head from her shoulder, desperately wishing that he knew what to do. His darling Ginny, lying on the floor in Remus' kitchen. He gripped her hand tightly.
"Ginny? Gin? Please be all right. I love you, Gin, I need you..." His voice trailed away as he let his head drop again. He was still shaking, and now he was sobbing without being aware of it. His hand tightened on hers, desperately.
She squeezed his hand.
Harry's head jerked up, staring at her. "Gin?" he whispered hoarsely, not daring to believe he'd truly felt her move.
Her eyes blinked.
She took a deep breath, then closed her eyes.
"Gin?" he whispered again. "Can you hear me?"
She swallowed, then opened her eyes and he could see her attempting to focus. "Harry, is that you?" Ginny murmured, reaching one hand toward his face.
Harry closed his eyes and swallowed hard as her hand cupped his cheek. "It's me. Are you all right? How do you feel?"
"I'm all right. A bit shaky." Harry sighed with relief, letting his head drop for a moment as he tried to will his heart to stop pounding.
Ginny stroked her fingers across his cheek. "Harry...why are you crying?" she whispered.
Harry looked up, his eyes brimming with tears of relief now. "I thought I'd lost you forever. I'd never forgive myself if you..." His throat tightened, and he couldn't complete the thought. He wrapped his arms around her, pulling her close and burying his face in her hair. "I'm so sorry, Gin. I love you, and I've been horrid. I'll never let you go again."
Ginny dropped the blasted wand from her hand without even glancing at it, and wrapped her arms around Harry's trembling shoulders, pressing her face against his shoulder. "It's all right, Harry. Everything will be all right, somehow. I love you so much. I just want you to be happy again." She drew back slightly and captured his face in her hands once more. "If Gefinn's spell didn't fix this, something else will. I know it."
Harry shook his head, his eyes boring into hers. "I don't care anymore, Gin. I don't care if I have to beg on the streets as a Muggle. I just want you. You're all I'll ever need."
Ginny wrapped her arms around his neck. "You won't have to, Harry. Somehow, things will sort themselves out. We'll talk to Dumbledore again. We'll go back to Durmstrang. We'll - what?" Ginny broke off in confusion as Harry suddenly smiled. A huge, heart-felt smile, the like of which she hadn't seen from him in quite some time.
"What?" she repeated. Harry just smiled more broadly.
"I don't care, Ginny. I just want you."
"But - " she began again, but Harry interrupted her.
"Would you please shut up?" His smile softened slightly, his eyes warm on hers. "Please?" he whispered. "I don't want to talk about it. I just - just kiss me, Gin."
Ginny's arms tightened around his neck and they leaned toward each other. Their lips met, softly, then more firmly, the kiss deepening, intensifying.
Harry's lips met hers and he groaned. In a very strange way, it nearly felt as though he was kissing her for the first time. That urgency, that surprise of newness was there, and it was all he could do to not get lost in her arms. So much had happened, yet all he knew at that moment was that no matter what, he'd never be away from Ginny again. He loved her with every fiber of his being. His heart was bursting with his love for her, his unfathomable joy at having her in his arms, his heart, once more.
She clutched at him, kissing him desperately, as if trying to let her own emotions show him everything she'd been through.
Suddenly, the room was filled with a dazzlingly white light, almost as bright as before. The kiss broke abruptly as they both reacted to the light, clutching at each other, holding each other against this new onslaught.
But it was different this time. It was bright, but not blinding, not hurtful. It was soft, radiant...glowing. Dazzling sparkles filled the air, rainbow-like prisms of light that danced and glittered around them, swirling and spinning through the air. The sparkles coalesced, forming glittering ribbons of light that swirled together, tighter and tighter, until they became a whirling ball in the center of the room.
With a sound like a rush of wind, the ball suddenly enveloped them both, whirling over them, and then seeming to dive into their very bodies as it disappeared as suddenly as it had come.
Harry's eyes met Ginny's, and he knew that he must look as dumbfounded as she did. But then... he gasped. He could feel that glow, deep within him. He looked down at his chest, almost surprised that he wasn't glowing visibly.
"Ginny?" he gasped.
She nodded shakily. "I feel it, too. Is it - is it what I think it is?" she whispered.
He nodded, shaking again. "I-I can feel it!" He rose to his knees, clasping her hands, and they stood together, clinging to each other, seeking the safety of each other's arms as if they were storm-tossed ships seeking ports of refuge.
"Ginny, I -" Harry began, but he was interrupted by a shriek, as of a wind howling in the night. They both jumped, whirling to try to identify the noise.
And suddenly, from out of nowhere, a voice could be heard.
"Your love has overcome all obstacles!"
It was Gefinn's voice.
With another ear-splitting shriek of rage, Gefinn appeared in the room.
Ginny pushed herself deeper into Harry's embrace. Harry looked at Gefinn and instantly knew who she was.
"You're the monster who did this to my Ginny! Get out!" he roared, his love surging through him, fueling his desire to protect Ginny from ever being hurt again.
But the goddess just stood there in silence. Harry watched her carefully. She loomed over them, her power radiating from her. She turned to look at them, and then looked at Harry.
"No!!" Gefinn cried, suddenly. "NO!!" Her voice echoed through the stillness of the house.
"What is it?" Ginny whispered to Harry. He shook his head ever so slightly. He had no idea why this creature was here, but he didn't trust her an ounce, and he knew that he and Ginny were essentially unarmed, since Ginny's wand was blasted.
"CURSES on you two!" screamed Gefinn. "Your love has overcome my magic!"
Harry tightened one arm around Ginny, carefully moving his other arm toward the counter-top behind him, hoping he could find something - anything! - to use as a weapon. His hand brushed against something heavy, and he seized it, not even noticing what it was.
Gefinn stepped toward them, her eyes intent on Ginny.
Harry spun, pulling Ginny behind him with one arm, trying to shield her. With the other arm, he flung the object in his hand with all his might at Gefinn's head.
The heavy goblet struck her full-force between the eyes, and the water in it splashed all over Gefinn's robes, soaking her.
"Stay away from us! Leave us! Never bother us again!" he cried, looking around frantically for a real weapon, although some bit of logic in his brain was trying desperately to tell him that nothing in that kitchen was going to harm an immortal goddess.
Gefinn screeched, clawing at herself. "Instead of hurting Ginny, this is killing ME!! I'm IMMORTAL!! I'm not SUPPOSED to die!!" she shrieked.
Harry and Ginny stared, horrified, as smoke began to drift out of Gefinn's robes. She began to shrink, still screeching.
"CURSES on you, Potter!" Her hands clawed at her throat, ripping her necklace away from her flesh. "It's this stone! Ginny's GIFT!! Her love for you is in this stone! And it's in yours!" She staggered toward them, her hands reaching for his throat, for the pendant that Ginny had made him, so long ago now.
Harry and Ginny dodged, backing further away from Gefinn.
The goddess stumbled, dropping to her knees now. "Arrggghhhhh!!!!! I'm mmeeeeellllttttiiiinnnnggg...!!" Her robes were visibly smoldering now, as she slowly disintegrated in front of their very eyes.
They stared disbelievingly at the greasy, smoking spot on Remus' kitchen floor. Gefinn's necklace lay in the center of the spot, the gem that Ginny had made glowing softly. Suddenly, the gem exploded, and the rainbow dazzled light spun outward once more, but this time, it became a beam of light, and it lanced its way into the pendant at Harry's throat.
He gasped, his hand darting instinctively to clasp his pendant. "Ow!" he jerked his hand away. The pendant was hot against his hand, but he couldn't even feel it against his throat.
Ginny's eyes opened wide in surprise. "Harry! It's glowing!" She looked up at him. "Is it hurting you?"
He shook his head, confused. "N-no, it's - it's fine. Like always." He paused. "What do you think she meant?" he whispered, not daring to hope.
Ginny shook her head silently. "I don't know," she whispered. "But she's right. I was thinking of you, of how very much I love you, when I made both these stones."
Harry gathered her in his arms again. "I love you, Gin. I've always loved you. I will always love you." He stared into her eyes, drowning in the ocean of love that shown out of them. He lifted his hand to stroke her cheek, and she leaned toward him. Their mouths met again, clinging to each other, as they kissed fervently, desperately.
Harry could feel the glow within him again, warmed by the power of Ginny's love.
Suddenly Ginny drew back. "Harry!" she gasped. "I felt it!"
Harry's eyes widened. That glow was still within him, even without kissing Ginny. And suddenly he knew.
It was that still small center of his being. That feeling that he'd been missing for so very long. That feeling he thought he'd never feel again.
Harry looked around the kitchen in amazement, then back at Ginny. "I want to take you home," he whispered. Ginny nodded.
"We can - you can hold on to me in the Floo," she murmured.
Harry shook his head. "No, I -" he paused. "I'll take you," he murmured, and she nodded. He could tell by her expression that she was uncertain of what he meant, but he could feel it... he could do this. He closed his eyes, held Ginny tight against him and concentrated on the Burrow.
He could feel it happening.
He opened his eyes again, and realized they were in the center of the kitchen of the Burrow.
Molly and Arthur looked up at them, startled and amazed.
They smiled, both of them reaching out to hug her, letting themselves be enveloped by her. After several long moments, Molly pulled back, wiping tears from her eyes. "What happened?" she whispered. "Did it work, Ginny?"
Ginny's smile radiated happiness. "We're not sure of exactly 'what' happened, or 'how'..." she began, but Harry gently gripped her arm, stopping her.
"Hang on a moment, I want everyone here," he whispered. She nodded. He closed his eyes, concentrating.
And suddenly...the room began to fill with people, obviously shocked at their sudden appearance. Sirius, Remus, Ron, Hermione, the twins and Pauline, Bill, still in his work robes from Egypt ... they all just appeared in the kitchen.
Molly and Arthur stared, open-mouthed as their family appeared. "H-how...w-what?" Molly stammered.
"What happened?" Hermione gasped. "I was at Hogwarts! I couldn't have Apparated..." Ron put his hand over her mouth.
"We know," he muttered, grinning at Harry.
Harry grinned back. "I don't know how it happened, Hermione," he began. "I only know that I knew it would work."
He hugged Ginny to him more tightly. "I don't understand everything about it, but it's obvious - I'm a wizard again!"
Ginny beamed at the shocked faces that surrounded them. "And not only that, he's the most powerful wizard EVER!"
They were surrounded, overwhelmed, overpowered, by the embraces that followed. More tears, more hugs, more smiles.
Suddenly two voices broke through the hub-bub. "PARTY!!" yelled the twins. Wands were drawn, and spells were cast.
In no time, the back garden of the Burrow was twinkling with fairy lights. Wizarding lanterns appeared, illuminating the gathering twilight. Tables appeared, decorated and lighted. Molly was running back and forth between the kitchen and the garden, trying to create a meal worthy of such an event. Harry finally broke away from his godfather for a moment to catch Molly as she hurried past.
He caught her elbow and smiled warmly. "Mrs. Weasley, please...you've done so much for me for so long. Please, just - just have everyone sit down. It will be fine."
"Fine?!" Molly sputtered. "Harry, this is too wonderful for things to be fine! I need to -"
Harry smiled and shook his head, stopping her.
"Please? Just trust me, all right?"
Reluctantly, Molly nodded. Sirius had heard the exchange between them, and he quickly stepped in. He amplified his voice, then announced, "Harry and Ginny would appreciate it if everyone would take a seat, please!"
Everyone gathered around the tables and seated themselves, with Harry and Ginny standing at the head of the table, their hands intertwined. He glanced at her, rather nervously, and she smiled and nodded at him. His voice amplified, carrying to all of them, Harry began.
"I wanted to thank you all for all the help you've given me all these years, even when I was being a prat about it all." He smiled rather sheepishly as everyone chuckled. "I just thought perhaps I could do something to help this celebration a bit." He grinned as he released Ginny's hand.
Harry closed his eyes for a moment in concentration. He clapped his hands twice, and then held them out towards the tables before him. Gryffindor house banners began to ripple in the breeze, suspended in midair. "Let the feast begin," he said.
The tables in front of them were now piled with food: roast beef, roast chicken, pork chops and lamb chops, sausages, bacon and steak, boiled potatoes, roast potatoes, chips, Yorkshire pudding, peas, carrots, gravy, ketchup, and, for some strange reason, peppermint humbugs. The plates filled magically with all the assortment of foods available, each to its specific diner's preference. When they were filled, Harry raised his hand again at the head of the table. "If I may," he began, as his friends quieted, "I have a few words I'd like to say."
He took a deep breath. "Nitwit, Blubber, Oddment, Tweak. Thank you."
Everyone clapped and smiled, turning to each other in joy, thrilled at the marvelous assortment of foods offered them. Ginny pulled Harry close. "That was beautiful," she murmured, a tear in one chocolate eye.
When dinner was over and the guests had begun to rise from their chairs, Harry stood again, and the noise quieted instantly. "I would like to make a very public request," he said seriously.
He turned to Ginny. "Ginny, for longer than I first wanted to admit, I have loved you. You are my heart, my soul, my love and my inspiration. I know we said we'd wait, but I have to know. Now. Will you marry me? Tonight?"
Ginny smiled, her great eyes filling with tears as she stood, and he wrapped his arms around her. "Oh, my darling Harry, I'd marry you in a minute."
Harry gazed down at her, and the guests released a collective sigh. "You won't have to wait that long," he said. He kissed her tenderly, then stepped back and clapped his hands again.
A shining ball of light began to descend from the tops of the trees. It grew larger and larger, and finally landed at the other end of the table. Dumbledore was walking towards them, his body glowing in a ball of light.
Dumbledore landed on the ground. He was wearing a white shimmering robe with a matching pointed hat with silver ribbons flowing from its tip. His white beard and long white hair had fairies flying within them, and as he floated towards Harry and Ginny, his eyes twinkled more brightly than they ever had.
"Professor Dumbledore!" gasped Harry. The former Headmaster's appearance startled even him.
The man before them seemed to be thinking for a moment, then his powerful voice rumbled, "Ah, yes. I was called Professor Dumbledore before. But now I am Professor Dumbledore the White. I have returned to aid you as you begin the journey of your life together."
"Harry. Ginny," he said, approaching them and clasping their hands together. "It is my honor, joy and gift beyond any other to join you in holy wedlock. Your love has proven you have the power to survive anything together. The fates may throw the worst they have at you, but you will walk through their fires and be stronger in your love. With this marriage, we bond not only your powerful love, but your magic as well." He waved his arms, and the gust of wind that movement created shook the very foundation on which they were standing. "You are the most powerful witch and wizard in the world. Your children and your children's children, throughout your entire posterity, will be blessed with magic beyond all recognition, and they will go forth to bless the magical and Muggle worlds as one."
"Because your love and your bond is known, and your dedication and persistence is known to all those gathered here, I now pronounce you: husband and wife." He beamed at them both, and then looked over his glasses to look at Harry, his eyes twinkling almost mischievously. "You may kiss your bride," he said with a warm smile.
Harry looked at his watch. "Fifty-five seconds," he grinned. "Not bad."
He looked at Ginny and felt as if his face would split in two from the smile he knew he was wearing. He gathered Ginny into his embrace, and leaned in. His lips touched hers and for a moment, the world stood still.
Not a sound was heard around them as they kissing tenderly. It was though all of those gathered had been Petrified.
As they parted, the family surrounding them burst to life once more, clapping with enthusiasm. Professor Dumbledore the White placed one hand on Harry's shoulder, the other on Ginny's. "Your love will bless your lives always. Ginny, my dear, there is no need for you to return to school, nor to compete your NEWTs. Your love has given you power beyond what the NEWTs can show. Harry, my boy. You have done more than we could ever have asked, and shown yourself worthy of more than we could ever expect. You are truly blessed above all men." And with that, he smiled at them again, then closed his eyes, laid one finger aside his nose, and disappeared once more.
The twins whistled; Remus and Sirius approached Harry and Ginny and pulled them into an embrace. "I'm so happy for you," Sirius whispered into Harry's ear.
Harry turned to look at his godfather and smiled. "Thanks. She's the best thing that ever happened to me," he said.
Mr. and Mrs. Weasley approached Harry and Ginny, and Remus tapped Sirius on the shoulder and gestured that they should leave. Mrs. Weasley was looking down at her hands, but Mr. Weasley had a hand on the small of her back, encouraging her on. "Harry," she began, her voice quiet and low. "Harry."
Harry smiled, released Ginny and reached for Mrs. Weasley. Before he could control himself, he wrapped her in his arms. She laid her head on his shoulder and wept. "We love you so much. We're so glad you're a part of our family now," she murmured.
Harry closed his eyes as he held her. "A family..." he whispered. "I have a real family." Mrs. Weasley hugged him fiercely once more. Harry finally opened his eyes, and smiled at Ginny, who came around to pat her mother on the back.
"It's okay, Mum," she said. Mrs. Weasley moved to her daughter, burying her face in her shoulder and weeping as though her life depended on it. Ginny said, "I'm going to see if I can help her calm down," and Harry nodded as she and Mrs. Weasley walked off.
He was alone now, standing in front of Mr. Weasley. "Harry," he said, "I'm proud of you, son."
"Thanks, Mr. Weasley," Harry replied. "I'll take really good care of her."
"I know you will, son, but I do have one request to make of you."
"What is it?"
"Stop calling me Mr. Weasley. My name is Arthur. Or Dad."
Harry stood in shock. "D-dad..." he uttered, incomprehensibly. He tried again. "Dad." It was steadier this time. "It almost feels wrong to call you Dad, you know?"
"Why is that, son?"
"Because I have a dad... and he's dead. And no matter how powerful I may be, I can't bring him back."
Arthur nodded, then suddenly wrapped his arms around Harry and hugged him powerfully. "I know," he murmured quietly. "But I just want you to know that you may, if you ever feel it's right. And the same goes for Molly." Harry nodded, his face buried in his father-in-law's shoulder. He suddenly gasped in realization. "What?" Arthur asked, pulling back slightly to look at Harry.
Harry raised his head to look up at Arthur. "It-it just hit me. You're my father-in-law!"
Arthur burst out laughing, and hugged him again. "Yes, I am, my dear boy." He mussed Harry's hair, then grinned at him. "And don't you forget it!" Harry felt himself blushing as he nodded, grinning as well.
"I only wish Charlie and Hagrid were here to enjoy this lovely day with us," said Ginny, siding up to Harry. Harry put his arm around her.
"No reason they shouldn't be," he said, lifting him arms again. He clapped twice, and a shot of lightning streaked across the sky.
Two figures appeared in the distance, walking toward them. One had shocking red hair, the other was huge with a long beard. They walked steadily toward the group, then paused for a moment to point at the Burrow and stare at each other before breaking into a run.
Charlie reached the house first. Molly stood, statue-like, unsure of whether she was delusional or was indeed seeing her second-born son. He stopped his run twenty paces from her and began to walk toward her.
"Yes, Mum, it's me. I'm home," he said before throwing himself into her embrace.
"Charlie," she cried, her face smothered in his robes. "You're home!"
Mr. Weasley came up behind his son. He was obviously shocked and confused, but a heartbeat later, he was hugging Charlie from behind. Charlie reached to hold his father's hand as the group stood with their mouths agape as they took in the sight. Soon, Charlie let go of his parents and approached his siblings.
"Bill," he said solemnly. "It's good to see you." Bill's face was streaked with tears and as he grabbed his brother into a hug, he began to cry aloud. Percy, the twins and Ron couldn't restrain themselves any longer. They all joined into the group hug, crying and shaking with joy and amazement. Harry stood on the fringes, not wanting to interfere with the family time.
"Ginny," he said to his bride. "Why don't you go welcome Charlie?"
Ginny stood beside him, obviously too shocked to move. He gently prodded her toward her brother.
Slowly, Charlie disentangled himself from his brothers and turned to look at her. "Ginny," he began, but she didn't ever let him finish the thought. Within a moment, she was running to him, and threw herself into his arms, nearly knocking him over where he stood.
Hagrid stood on the sidelines, Remus and Sirius at his sides. None of them wanted to barge in on anyone's private moments. Harry turned and saw Hagrid, who was watching the proceedings with amusement on his scruffy face.
"Hagrid!" Harry called, running to the giant who had first introduced him to the wizarding world. He buried his face in Hagrid's big wooly coat as Hagrid returned the hug enthusiastically. As Harry pulled away, tears streaming down his face, he felt something pecking at him. He looked down; a baby bird was nesting in Hagrid's front left pocket. It was upset with Harry for having smushed three of its siblings.
"I'm sorry, birdie," Harry whispered to the little thing. "Let me help you."
He clapped his hands again, lower down and more softly this time, and the three birds sprang back to life. The bird looked at Harry and almost managed a smile with its beak. The four birds flew out of Hagrid's pocket and made their way to Ginny. Two of them settled on her shoulders while two others, still flying, picked up various strands of her hair in their beaks.
"What... What are they doing, Harry?" Ginny called, rather nervously.
"They're just being friendly, Ginny," he called back. "Don't worry about it."
Ginny smiled, and within moments, her hair was done up in an intricate hairdo on the top of her head. Streamers and ribbons flowed from it. The birds hovered in the air in front of her for a moment, as though waiting to be told their job was appreciated.
Ginny tentatively reached up to touch her hairstyle. "Thank you," she whispered to the birds. They smiled at her and flew away, re-entering Hagrid's coat with a collection of squeaks and whistles.
"Ginny," called Harry once more. "They like you. They think you're pretty."
"How... how do you know that?" Ginny asked, walking towards her husband.
"I can hear them. I understand them. I can understand all the animals around us now. Those lizards," he pointed to the ground, "are arguing about where the best place to get some fresh water is, and those mice..." he pointed to a group of bushes nearby "...are wondering if we're eating any cheese."
Harry began making a series of strange sounds. Chirps, grunts, squeaks and hisses escaped his mouth as he faced different areas of the yard. After a few moments, he looked up. The entire group of people there had huddled around him, and they were looking at him strangely.
"Harry..." began Mr. Weasley hesitantly. "What did you just do?"
"Well," Harry began. "I told the mice where to get the best cheese, the lizards where the fresh water pond was, the bunnies where they could go to get some... er... privacy, the birds where the good nesting material is, and the chipmunks what song we'd like to hear them sing."
"Chipmunks?" Percy muttered.
"Song?" Sirius mumbled.
"Sing?" Fred and George said as one.
Harry reached down and picked up a stick. Clearing his throat, he began to tap a beat on the back of the chair in front of him.
"Ah one - ah two - ah one, two, three, four."
In unison, the chipmunks began to sing.
"You're my soul and my life's inspiration You're all I've got to get me by... You're my soul and my life's inspiration Without you baby, what good am I?"
Laying the stick down and reaching for Ginny's hand, he slowly drew her into a waltz. The rest of the people present paired up and began to dance as well.
"Molly," sniffed Mr. Weasley to his wife, who was dabbing her eyes while watching the dancing couple.
"Aren't they perfect together?"
"Oh yes, dear, they are."
The second verse began and Harry noticed that there were more voices singing along. He lifted his head from Ginny's shoulder and realized that a group of house-elves had appeared. Some were singing with the chipmunks, but others had formed a conga line and were dancing around the buffet table. Another group had started a game of "how low can you go" under the table, which was levitating about a foot off the ground.
Out of the corner of his eye, Harry noticed two animals heading for him. A unicorn with a golden wreath strung around her neck, and a beautiful stag were walking alongside each other. There was a shimmer between them, and Harry recognized it instantly. It was their love. He stopped dancing and pulled Ginny to stand by him.
"Harry?" Ginny began.
"Shhh..." he said. "Wait."
The stag approached Harry and began to nuzzle his arm.
"Dad," Harry whispered, tears filling his eyes.
The unicorn approached and nuzzled his other arm.
"Mum, is it really you?"
The unicorn neighed and swung its horned head.
Harry petted the lovely animals, and began talking to them in their own languages.
"I missed you so much," he said, tears springing to his eyes. "I never thought I'd see you again."
"We were always with you, in spirit, my boy," replied James.
"We love you, son," said Lily. "We'd never leave you."
"I wish I could change you back," Harry sniffed, wiping his eyes on his robe sleeves. "But JKR killed you, and I can't compete with her magic. She has many more publishers and distributors than I do. I'm only on the internet; she's all over the world in hundreds of languages. I can't compete with that, no matter how powerfully magical I may be."
"We know," said James. "We understand. We still want to be here for you. Now that's you're an OmniLanguagite, you can communicate with us."
"I'd love to have you around," sniffed Harry, gathering James' and Lily's heads in his embrace.
They stood together for a minute, before Lily cut in.
"Er... Harry?" she said. Her voice sounded strange, Harry noticed.
"Yes?" he asked, still holding them tightly.
"If you don't want us to die, you better let go. You're choking us."
Harry sheepishly released his parents. "Sorry," he mumbled. James gently nudged Harry's shoulder, his eyes twinkling at his son. Then he looked up quickly, as Sirius and Remus hesitantly approached. Harry beamed at his godfather and friend, knowing they recognized his parents. As they moved closer to James and Lily, Harry returned to Ginny's side.
A tinkling sound caught everyone's attention. Fred and George were standing on the still-levitating table, each holding a goblet in one hand, a fork in the other.
"May I have your attention please?" Fred announced
"We would like to say just one thing," interrupted George.
"Hip, Hip, Harry!!" he began, and within an instant, the others joined in.
"HIP HIP HARRY!!! HIP HIP HARRY!!!"
Harry stood with his arm around Ginny, holding her tightly. As the cheers died down, he looked into her eyes.
"I've never been happier," he whispered.
"Nor I," she smiled back.
Tearing his gaze away from Ginny, he smiled at the group before him. "And now," Harry began, his voice echoing with authority, "I shall build my family a home."
He clapped his hands again. Out of nowhere, bricks and sheets of wood and metal began appearing. They began to assemble themselves in the back garden. Within moments, a first floor was completed. Within a few more moments, a second floor was up, and within a total of a minute (Harry timed it - he wanted to know just how powerful he really was) a whole new house was standing in the Weasleys' large back garden.
The gardens were fully planted - roses, begonias and tulips littered their front lawn. A mailbox in the shape of a heart was planted by the doorway, and the pathway to the door was shaped as an H intertwined in a G. It took them all of a minute to get to the front door, but once inside, they started in awe.
A sound from behind them startled them. They turned around. A huge snake, larger than any they'd ever seen before, was creeping its way up the path.
"That's an Ashwinder!" Remus gasped. "They will torture or kill anything they see! Be careful!"
Hermione stepped in front of him. In her hands was a jar. In the jar was a beetle.
"I know I'm out of sync with canon, especially considering the fact that Order of the Phoenix is coming out in just a few months," she said apologetically, "but this has to be done!"
She opened the jar lid and threw the beetle onto the pavement. Immediately, the Ashwinder swallowed it whole.
James approached the snake. It was rearing; the hissing coming from its mouth was loud and very disruptive (especially considering that Molly and Ginny were listening to the "What a Girl Wants" soundtrack in the living room).
"You hurt my son!" he snarled, his eyes narrowed. "And now I'm going to hurt you!"
"What?" asked James, turning to his son in disbelief. "This ... this creature nearly killed you. And Ginny. She did kill Hagrid and Charlie. How can you let her live?"
Harry turned and pulled out his wallet. Inside was a little card, no larger than his Gringotts Visa card. Wildlife Preservation Fund, it read.
"I can't go around killing animals," he stuttered. "It's not right. Not when I make a sizeable contribution to this charity every year."
"Fine," said James, reluctantly. "We'll let her live." He picked the snake up with his antlers and tossed her into the nearby bushes. "Don't ever bother us again!" he snarled at her. He narrowed his eyes at her and she slid off into the distance, never to be heard from again.
Harry slowly returned to consciousness. He sighed, listening to the bluebirds singing outside their window. The scent of flowers and citrus fruit was just tangible in the air wafting through their garden bedroom. He felt Ginny stir slightly beside him, and moved one hand to pull her closer to him. He felt her turn toward him, and he sleepily opened his eyes to find her smiling at him. He smiled in return. "Happy tenth anniversary, love," he whispered, leaning in to kiss her tenderly.
Ginny's arm moved to hold him tightly against her body. "Happy anniversary, darling," she murmured.
He rolled onto his back, holding her against him so that she nestled onto his shoulder comfortably. He raised one hand to stroke her hair. "You're so beautiful, Gin," he whispered. "You look just as beautiful as the day we were married."
Ginny raised up to look at him, smiling radiantly. "You're just as handsome as ever, Harry. It's because we love each other so much. It's a magic all its own."
Harry smiled and kissed her again, then groaned softly as the alarm clock began to sing to them. "Love, love will keep us together..."
"Well, I suppose we should be getting up, if we want to get the children off to school on time," he sighed.
Ginny smiled, kissed her husband again, and nodded. "I suppose we must," she agreed, then rolled out of bed and picked up her dressing gown from the chair. She moved to her bureau and began to brush her hair. Four bluebirds flew through the window with ribbons in their beaks and began to braid them into Ginny's hair while two canaries brought fresh miniature orchids to arrange perfectly in the perfect French braid in her perfectly beautiful hair.
Harry smiled as he rose from the bed. He no longer needed his glasses, for which he was still thankful every morning, as he greeted the world with perfect vision. He smiled again as Ginny sang along with the birds. He paused briefly to kiss Ginny sweetly on the cheek, then moved toward the bathroom to shower. He smiled up at the ceiling above him as the rainbows shifted their patterns. He sighed in contentment as he stepped through the sparkling glass door into the spacious shower that resembled a woodland glade. He glanced upward and smiled at the eyes that met his.
"Good morning, Ollie. Nice and warm, please," he smiled politely at his friend.
"Oh, of course, Mr. Harry, sir. Just as you like it," replied Oliphaunder the Oliphaunt, who had shown up a few years ago and said that he'd heard of the great and wonderful and kind and wise Harry Potter, and he could think of nothing he would prefer to do with his life than to help Harry. Ollie began to spray Harry gently with perfectly warm water, and Harry began to take another perfect shower for another perfect day.
A short time later, Harry returned to the bedroom, perfectly showered, shaved and dressed. He sighed slightly at his reflection in the mirror. "What is it, my love?" Ginny asked, obviously concerned.
"Oh, the same old thing. Don't worry, I'll be fine in a moment."
Ginny came to him to wrap her arms around his waist. "Harry, I love you. It doesn't matter."
"I know, Gin, and I know I'm silly, but ... why is it that I can do so much, yet I still can't make my hair lie flat?"
Ginny sighed with him as they mourned together. "I don't know, dearest. But we'll survive. Our love will prevail."
Harry sighed again, then straightened his shoulders and smiled at his wife. "It's all right, my love. Let's go and wake the children."
"Oh yes, love. Because, of course, they won't waken 'til we call them, they're such perfect little dears."
So, together, they went to wake their children. Harry went into each of the boys' bedrooms, waking the eight-year-old boys first. James and Sirius sat up and smiled at their father as soon as he gently kissed their foreheads. Then they happily climbed out of bed and went to help him wake their brothers.
They went then into the bedroom of the four-year-old twins, Torrance and Christopher Remus, and they awoke as perfectly happily as their older brothers. Harry smiled at their beautiful little faces, all with emerald green eyes and messy black hair. He sighed again (inwardly, so as not to disturb the children) at the boys' hair. Some things, even magic couldn't fix.
Ginny had gone to waken their six-year-old daughters, Joanna and Sharlene, and then to the bedroom of their two-year-old daughters, Tonya and Chloe. As Ginny opened the curtains in each room, more bluebirds and canaries flew into the rooms to help braid and flower each girl's hair. Of course, each girl sat perfectly still and perfectly patiently so that her beautiful copper hair would be perfectly prepared, while their beautiful chocolate brown eyes glowed with happiness.
Harry and Ginny watched their children as they readied themselves for the day. Their hearts swelled with pride. Harry glanced again at his beautiful bride. He was delighted that their combined magic had made her four pregnancies so easy to bear. Each pregnancy only lasted two months, and had absolutely no side effects or difficulties in any way. Ginny was as slender and shapely as ever, and they hadn't ruled out having more children in the future, because it was all such a perfectly wonderful experience.
Once the children were dressed, they all went to breakfast together, which had been lovingly prepared by Dobby and Winky and their children. Harry and Ginny, of course, had never wanted the elves' children to actually work, but Dobby had insisted that it was the only way they would learn elvish magic properly, so Harry had reluctantly agreed to let Elvis and Priscilla help with small chores around the home.
As the children were seating themselves, Harry was drawn inevitably to the area just outside the kitchen window. He went slowly, climbing carefully up the railing. Ginny watched him go, only slightly worried now. He'd become better at balancing, over the years. Once at the peak, Harry sighed, feeling the wind in his face as the rainbows danced overhead, the sun shining down around him in a golden halo of light. Harry raised his arms to greet the morning, and as always, he couldn't suppress his shout of happiness. "I'M KING OF THE WORLD!!" he bellowed, happiness bubbling from every pore of his perfect being as he looked out upon their back garden, where the baby unicorns frolicked on the perfectly groomed lawn near the merry-go-round.
From below, he heard Ginny call quietly, "Love of my heart, we all know that, but please come down and eat before the food is no longer perfectly warm."
"All right, love," he answered, dropping lightly to the ground and going to join his family.
While they were eating breakfast, a beautiful black owl appeared at the table, and presented Harry with a piece of parchment. He thanked the owl, showed him to the owl treats, and then read the parchment. He frowned slightly as he did so.
"Is it bad news, dearest?" Ginny asked, as she helped Tonya and Chloe with their strawberry waffles.
Harry shook his head. "Not especially. It's just a note from Sir Viktor saying that he and Lady Maid Marian can't make it to our party this evening after all. Lady Maid Marian isn't feeling well. He says he thinks the new potions that Snape prescribed will help though... something to do with reducing the guilt brought on by torturing underage wizards when she was under Imperius. I'm not quite sure what he means, but as long as she'll be well again..." he trailed off and took a sip of his tea.
"Yes, I suppose you're right. I'm sure it is quite difficult to forgive yourself for inflicting that type of pain," Ginny agreed perfectly.
"At least all the family will be here this evening," Harry added.
"This is true, love. Sirius and Remus and their families, and of course, Mum and Dad, and Bill and Fleur, and Charlie and Katie, and Percy and Penny, and Fred and Angelina, and George and Alicia, and Ron and Hermione, and of course all of our one hundred and thirty-seven nieces and nephews. And have I mentioned today, dearest, how wonderful it was of you to give them the magical pregnancies as well, so that theirs only lasted six months each?"
Harry sighed. "Thank you, love. I only wish that I'd been able to give them as much magic as we have, but alas, there is only so much one man can do at times."
"And have I mentioned yet today that it's wonderful that you were able to un-werewolf Remus?"
Harry smiled. "I'm glad I could help," he murmured, taking a bite of his perfect French toast.
Just as the children had finished breakfast, the strains of "Love is in the air...every sight and every sound..." began to play throughout the house.
"Oh!" squealed Joanna and Sharlene, in perfect unison.
"It's the doorbell!" cried James and Sirius, in perfect harmony.
"It's Hagwid!" sang Torrance and Christopher Remus in perfect pitch.
"YAY!!" added Tonya and Chloe, clapping their tiny hands in perfect rhythm.
Hagrid appeared to escort the older ones to school. He tucked Tonya and Chloe into his pockets to carry them while he held the hands of Torrance and Christopher Remus. James and Sirius and Joanna and Sharlene joined hands and happily skipped along behind him as they all waved goodbye for the day. Hagrid had been their nanny since the eldest children had been born - he'd insisted that no one else could do the job properly, and they'd agreed happily.
Harry and Ginny watched as their children left with Hagrid; they now had the rest of the day to themselves to prepare for their anniversary celebration that would take place that night. They loved watching their children bask in the sunshine and rainbows that always danced around their home. They had replicated the idea of the ceiling of the Great Hall at Hogwarts, but they had decided that they'd known so much torture and heartache in their last years of school that they wanted to see only sunshine and rainbows for the rest of their lives. And so it was, for the more than two hundred and fifty years that Harry and Ginny lived together in their enrapturously happy home.
A/N: This... concoction was originally posted at GryffindorTower.net as a "surprise" for the Queen of Angst, Ashwinder. Her story, "Long Road Home," was inspiring many of her readers at the time to demand some sort of relief from the angst. This is what happened when several of those readers teamed up to create their own version of a "happy ending." You can find the REAL Chapter 23, and the rest of "Long Road Home" here.
This was written by Sherylyn and JoGoldenSnitch, with much help and input from Caitlyn and Tori.