To think, it had all begun with the Hermione Granger’s casual mention of Muggle dentistry.
“You mean they just dig around in your mouth looking for holes in your teeth?” George asked, not believing what he heard.
“Well, there’s obviously more to it than that. They have to go to school for years to learn as much as they can about mouths and proper hygiene,” Hermione replied from across the Weasley kitchen table, shooting death glares at Harry and Ron, who both were laughing at the twins’ incredulity.
Harry and his friends had been talking with the twins about their early childhood memories while they stayed at the Burrow in the days prior to Ron and Hermione’s wedding. Harry could hardly believe his friends had finally managed to get their acts together and admit that they belonged with each other. He almost thought it might never happen.
“Not to mention all of the regulations on their equipment.”
“Like what?” asked Fred.
“Well, first of all, not everybody gets to distribute laughing gas,” Hermione answered. “It’s very well regulated, and making sure that the proper dose is administered is a key to making sure the surgery doesn’t hurt, or the patient doesn’t get too much.”
The twins immediately perked up at the mention of a laughing gas.
“What are you on about, Hermione? Muggles don’t have magical gasses.”
“It’s not magical, George. It’s simple chemistry,” Harry chimed in. “Muggles have been using it for years in surgeries all across the world. It’s a chemical called nitrous oxide, and they use it so the patient doesn’t feel any pain.”
“But why is it called laughing gas? It seems like nobody’d be laughing too much if they had to go into those Muggle emergency rooms you hear about.” More than a hint of curiosity coloured Fred’s tone.
“Well, it makes people laugh a lot. It gives a feeling of euphoria.”
“What does?” At that moment Harry was given his own bit of euphoria as Ginny Weasley walked into the kitchen. “Is that all that’s left?” she asked, looking at the fruit plate her mother had left for the group. “Honestly, Ron, why can’t you ever leave any of the pineapple for me? Oh, Harry! You’re here. I hadn’t realized. How’ve you been?”
Can it get any hotter? Harry wondered to himself. He didn’t understand why the temperature had suddenly risen so high, or why everyone was looking at him. He realized that Ginny had said something to him. Oh no! What did she say?
“Uh. What?” was all he could manage to come up with. Well played, genius. You’re truly a master of the English language.
“Never mind that,” Fred interrupted. “How do we get a hold of this laughing gas you’re talking about, Hermione? Where do you buy it? I’ve got some ideas.”
“Oh, come on, Fred. She’s not going to fall for that,” George answered his brother’s questions. “I think it’s about time we checked on the shop for the evening. Have to make sure the new girl knows how to lock up properly.” He added the last bit after seeing everyone’s suspicious looks. Harry seriously doubted they were going to talk about anything but their newly discovered chemical.
The twins departed, and Ginny sat down at the table across from Harry. Five years after they had stopped seeing each other, she seemed perfectly capable of having a polite, and even pleasant, conversation with him. For the weeks following the break-up, there had been a few unpleasant instances. Drooble’s bubbles should never be used that way, Harry thought to himself. Crookshanks would have agreed with me. Picturing the grumpy ginger cat covered in the purple sticky mess made Harry let out a small snort of laughter.
“I know what you mean, Harry,” Ron said. “It’ll be interesting, to say the least. I wonder if they’ll be able to pull it off by Friday.”
Harry gave him a blank look. “What on earth are you talking about, Ron?”
“You’re laughing at the twins, right? Friday’s the first of April, mate.”
“Oh! Of course I was,” Harry tried to cover up his blunder, but felt his cheeks redden when he realized Ginny was giving him a funny look. Good job, you dolt. Now she thinks you’re mental. Wait. Why should that matter?
~ * ~
April Fool’s Day had come and gone without any serious mischief from the twins, a fact that made Ron and Harry distinctly worried. What could they be planning that would make them miss their most revered holiday?
On the fourth of April, only two days before her wedding was to take place, Hermione Granger had another one of her increasingly frequent panic attacks.
“What do you mean they can’t cater? They’ve already agreed to it!” Hermione shouted into the fireplace, tears of anger streaming down her cheeks. Their previous caterers had backed out, citing an important client whose business took precedence over the Granger-Weasley wedding, and now Ron and the twins had to deal with the fall out.
“Easy now, Hermione,” Fred replied. “I’m sure you could find someone who’d be available.”
“I say, Fred. Doesn’t Angelina work at the Leaky Cauldron? She might be able to work something out with Tom. Why don’t you give her a shout, Ron? Or better yet, get Harry to take care of it. I’ve always thought Tom had a soft spot for him.”
Hermione brightened at George’s suggestion. “You really think he’d be able to?” she sniffed.
“Couldn’t hurt,” the twins replied.
~ * ~
The wedding ceremony had gone off without a hitch, though to see Hermione’s fussing, one could only have expected the apocalypse. Harry watched at the reception as his two best friends danced together, Hermione looking radiant in her gown, and Ron beaming all the while in his black dress robes, both of them looking very much in love.
He sighed and took another sip of his champagne, feeling the bubbles burst in his mouth, spreading a warming, happy feeling throughout his whole being. I guess it really does go straight to your head, he though to himself.
He watched the assembled crowd of friends and family and could not help but wonder if he might some day have a ceremony like that. He pictured the event in his mind. It would be a simple affair, with a few close friends, and of course the Weasleys. They were the closest thing he had to a real family. He could not help but wonder what Ginny Weasley might look like in a wedding gown.
The prospect delighted him, and he looked around the ballroom to see where the red-headed witch had gone. Much to his surprise, he found her walking over to him with a grin on her face, matching his own.
“Care to dance, Harry?” she asked.
He finished off his glass of champagne, and again felt that feeling of happiness wash over him like he had when she had come into the kitchen at the Burrow.
“I’d be delighted,” he answered.
They moved out onto the floor and as he took hold of her hand, he felt a sense of contentment flow through him. Suddenly an image popped into his mind, and he burst out laughing.
“Am I really that bad?” Ginny asked, looking at him, puzzled.
Her expression only made him laugh harder. He could still see the calm satisfaction in her eyes from that evening several years ago, when she had got her revenge on him.
“Bubbles!” Harry shouted, between fits of laughter. “That night! When you put that expanding gas into my Drooble’s Bubbles!”
Seeing her startled and embarrassed look did nothing to end his mirth.
“The cat! He was sticky!” Nothing had ever seemed funnier to Harry than seeing his own reflection in a mirror, as he held Hermione’s cat, Crookshanks, sitting on the floor. The two of them had been covered in the sticky purple substance and both of them had to be shaved almost completely to remove the gum from their hair, though Harry suspected it might have been worse for the cat.
Looking distinctly worried for his mental health, Ginny took Harry aside, and had him take a seat at his table, next to Fred and George.
“Watch him for a minute,” she instructed the twins. “I’m going to grab Mum and see if she can’t figure out what’s wrong.”
The prospect of Mrs. Weasley inspecting him filled Harry with glee, and he giggled as Ginny left in search of her mother.
“Here, Harry,” said Fred. “Have something to drink while you wait.” He handed Harry another full glass. He emptied it within seconds.
The relative calm of the room was destroyed when a glass shattered, and a roar of laughter erupted from a table across the room.
Mr. Weasley was doubled over laughing, his spilt champagne on the floor, while Ginny and Molly Weasley looked at him in horror.
“He’s laughing!” shouted the older man, as though it were the height of comedy, and all around the room similar scenes began to unfold.
All of this became too much for Harry as gales of laughter erupted all around him. He looked at the other guests at his table, tears blurring his vision. Fred and George were sitting there with smug expressions on their faces, watching the chaos around them.
Then it hit him. Bubbles, he thought.
“You two!” he shouted. “You put that gas in the bubbles!” The concept soon had him rolling on the floor laughing, as he saw the fruits of their labor around him. People laughed at their shoes, their plates, even at the others in attendance. It was truly a sight to see.
“It’s really not all that difficult. Just a few minor alterations in the recipe at the Leaky Cauldron,” George told Harry. He turned to Fred. “I told you that partnership with Tom would be a good idea.”
“Hermione’s going to hex you into oblivion!” The concept of Hermione’s reaction once she found out who was responsible had Harry in tears of laughter once more.
“Never fear, Harry. We always have an escape plan!” George nodded at Fred, and the two burst into peals of raucous laughter. They left the table, shouted something to the confused Ron and Hermione about seeking justice, and with two pops Disapparated from the room.
It was then that Harry remembered why he was at the table. He stood and looked around at the chaos, trying to find Ginny. He spotted a swath of red hair, and was gradually able to make his way across the room to where she was trying to help her father stay upright. Her task was only made more difficult once Mr. Weasley spotted Harry.
“Harry!” he shouted. “Ginny was just talking about you! Did you know that she still –” His sentence was cut off by his roar of laughter at seeing Ginny turn a deep crimson.
~ * ~
“Did you know that she still –” Her father was unable to complete his sentence as he looked at her and saw her expression. Apparently she was quite the comedienne.
Thank God for small miracles, Ginny thought to herself.
She looked at the staggering, grinning mess that was Harry James Potter, and felt her heart fill with something warm. There he was, The Boy Who Lived, smiling and laughing like a child. He was the hero who defeated the Dark Lord, but was barely able to walk unassisted. Her heart nearly skipped a beat when she heard what he had to say.
“Yeah! Me, too!” Harry said through a burst of laughter. All at once the glee drained from Harry’s face as he realized what he had said, and his cheeks burned with embarrassment. With that, he mumbled something about checking on the bride and groom and ran from the hall.
Did he really just say that, or was I dreaming?
~ * ~
The bride and groom said their vows, and the minister pronounced them husband and wife. The groom leaned down, closed his emerald green eyes and gently kissed his red-haired bride for the first time. Relatives cried tears of joy, and friends beamed as the couple walked down the isle.
Ginny turned to her husband as they left the chapel into the cheering crowd, “Harry? We didn’t use the same caterers that Ron and Hermione did, right?”