The Harry Potter Universe belongs to J.K. Rowling. I'm just borrowing the characters for a while. This is for pleasure only, no profit is being made, and no copyright infringement is intended.
A/N: This story was originally written for smblack for the Harry and Ginny Seasons Fest which was organized by floo66 and katwoman_68 at Live Journal from the following request: "I'd like humorous and romantic, preferably not fluffy, but with a nice happy ending with giggles through out. :) I'd very much like it if you included the entire Weasley family in the fic. Requested summer elements: lake/boat ride."
The title was inspired by this poem by Li Tai-Po.
"When one has good wine, A graceful boat, And a maiden's love Why envy the immortal gods?"
On the last night of May, before Molly went to join Arthur in their bed, she flicked her wand at the calendar on the wall in the kitchen. She'd be relieved not to have to look at the strangely disturbing image of two haughty Hippogriffs frolicking under apple blossoms. The page turned to June 2013. It showed a picture of Porlocks guarding a herd of Abraxans. The shaggiest Porlock kept sneaking over to the basin of single malt whisky and returning to his duties looking very cheerful. Molly then used her wand to transfigure Friday, June 21, into a red sparkling '45'. "That ought to remind Arthur how we celebrated the Solstice forty-five years ago," she said as she climbed up the stairs to cuddle with her husband.
Arthur didn't mention their anniversary until the following Monday evening. "I had lunch with Ginny today and she asked me a question about our upcoming anniversary that only you can answer," he said as he ate the salad she had made from the baby lettuce and carrots already growing in The Burrow's garden.
"And that question is…?"
"What would you most like to do to celebrate our forty-fifth anniversary?"
Molly had given their anniversary celebration some thought. "Naturally, I'd like to have as many children and grandchildren as possible with us for dinner. I'd also like for the two of us to do is something romantic that we have never done. Remember the Muggle cinema that we saw where the pretty woman sat in the back of a rowboat under a parasol and smiled while the man who loved her rowed her around a lake? They had a picnic basket and the film faded to black when they were far out on the lake."
Arthur smiled. "That reminds me of a very old poem by a wise Chinese wizard that goes:
'When one has good wine, A graceful boat, And a maiden's love, Why envy the immortal gods?'
I think it is even better with a wonderful wife's love. I've always wanted to row around a lake with you in a flowery dress, holding a parasol and smiling at me. As ever, your wish is my command. I'll make the arrangements."
A week later Arthur told Molly not to worry about their anniversary. "Luna and Rolf Scamander have invited our whole family to their Science Centre at Moon Lake for that Friday and to stay overnight. Ginny and the boys will arrange everything."
As often happens, the plans grew more complicated as the time drew near, so Ginny Floo talked with Molly nearly every day about this, that, and the other thing. Ginny said that two of her brothers were not going to be able to come on such short notice. "Percy and Audrey have already purchased non-refundable International Portkeys to take their children for a visit to her father in Switzerland the afternoon that Hogwarts is out. George's wife also arranged for a visit to her family while George is doing the inventory at Weasley's Wizard Wheezes. Everyone else is able to come. Harry and I even have Teddy for the weekend."
Molly went to Diagon Alley with her best friend, Corrine Diggory, to look for a flowery dress with a parasol to match. They finally settled on one from Lady DuSult's Little Black Robes. It was light peach chiffon with giant tea roses all over and complimented Molly's now silver-highlighted red hair. She bought the matching hat, as well, for times that she wouldn't be lolling about holding a fancy umbrella. She also couldn't resist treating herself to one more article of clothing as a surprise for Arthur.
Molly and Arthur had a bit of a lie-in and a cuddle the morning of their anniversary. She made him his favorite breakfast, Eggs Arthur, before they both Apparated to Luna and Rolf's Science Centre for their celebration.
Luna went for a swim in Moon Lake the morning that the Weasleys were celebrating their anniversary. Molly had been a part of her life since before she had arrived in this world because Gaia and Molly both depended on Healer Mary Margaret Carroll during their pregnancies. Luna remembered Molly telling her about rocking her to sleep while her mother had been busy making tea. About-to-be-born Ginny had kicked her so hard that she woke up and began fussing again.
Thinking of being kicked awake by Ginny always made her remember what happened nearly nine years later. That afternoon, Luna had been helping her mother with a new spell that Gaia was trying to perfect. Her mother had patiently explained that it was to help witches and wizards understand nature more completely. When the spell went terribly wrong, Molly was the one who had found Luna hugging the special tree that her mother had melted into. Xeno had been too upset to care for her properly so he was willing to let Molly take her to visit for a few days. She and Ginny slept together in Ginny's bed.
While she and all the Weasleys were eating breakfast the next morning, Luna said, "Ginny hasn't changed a bit since before she was born. She can still kick hard enough to wake me up!" Her comment seemed to break the tension that they were all feeling because of the strange disappearance of her mother. Since she was an only child, she was grateful for all the time she spent playing with Ginny and Ronald. It was easy to pretend to be part of a big family when she was with them.
As she dried off and got dressed, Luna mused that she and Rolf seemed to be running conferences at home more often than they were going out into the field. It was probably because the boys had been easy to take along when they were content to be in front or back carriers. Now, nearly three-year-old Lorcan and Zander were good boys, but very active. Luna was certain that they were the most beautiful children in the world with their father's blond hair and prominent teeth and her gray eyes.
Molly and Arthur were the first to arrive at the Scamander Science Centre Apparation point on Friday morning. Luna, Lorcan, and Zander greeted them and showed them the secluded suite where they would be staying. Luna explained, "Daddy is currently in Sweden hoping to observe Crumple-Horned Snorkacks during the mating season. It is his theory that the males and females will have to mingle in the open in order to make informed choices about such an important life activity as mating."
Luna became aware that Molly and Arthur seemed to be trying not to laugh. She wondered if they'd been infested by Giggling Gadflies, but thought that they'd probably remembered one of the many jokes they'd told each other during their forty-five-year marriage. Maybe humor was a factor in long happy marriages.
Almost as soon as Luna and the twins got back downstairs, Hermione and a tired-looking Ron came through the Floo connection with seven-year-old Rose and five-year-old Hugo. After they had dusted themselves off, Hermione said, "Harry and Ginny and their children should be along soon with Teddy."
Almost immediately, Ginny stepped out of the fireplace with Lily in her arms. Zander and Lorcan shouted, "Yi-yee Una! Yi-yee Una! " As soon as Ginny put her down, she ran to them and kissed them. Teddy and James, hanging on to each other, just cleared the fireplace before Harry stumbled out carrying Albus and some shrunken luggage. Ginny took Albus so Harry wouldn't fall.
Luna took them to where they would be staying in three tents on the beach near the main house. As they walked, Luna said, "Molly and Arthur are changing into boating clothes in Daddy's suite. We will take pictures as soon as Bill and Charlie and their families arrive. You have time to unpack and get the children settled."
Luna opened the front door of the tent and they all admired the most recent version of the three-bedroom, two-bath tent. Harry said that this tent was bigger and better equipped than one they had slept in at the World Cup and while they were off on another adventure.
As soon as Luna got back to the main house, she and Rolf greeted Bill and Fleur and their four children. Charlie, Kathleen, and Leo were the final family to arrive. Luna asked her house-elves to show the grown-ups where they would be sleeping while she led Philippe, Victoire, Dominique, Louis, and Leo to the family-sized tent by the lake.
Luna smiled as Ginny hugged her two strawberry-blonde nieces and bent down to talk to her daughter and other niece, "Rose and Lily, Victoire is now in charge of the girls' room. Harry and I will be in the tent on the side next to where the younger boys are sleeping. Ron and Hermione are in the tent on this side. Teddy is the only one who can unlock the tent door once you are all settled for the night, but we will be able to hear any loud noise after lights out. Now, let's go and have our pictures taken with Grandmum and Grandpa."
Ron followed Hermione, Harry, Ginny and all the children back to the main house and greeted his two oldest brothers and their wives. The photographer posed everyone in front of a leafy wall. Molly and Arthur sat on a bench with the two youngest grandchildren on their laps and the rest sitting or standing beside them. Philippe and Leo sat on the ground in front of Victoire and Dominique. Each couple stood together behind the patriarch and matriarch. Teddy watched from the side but agreed to pose for a picture with just the children later so long as Zander and Lorcan were also included.
Ron found a comfortable lounge chair to sit in as soon as he wasn't needed in a picture, but Hermione soon found him and said, "Ron, we're exploring the lakeshore habitat with the youngest children."
Ron moaned. "I don't know anything about any habitat. Why can't I take a nap? I worked late last night."
"Rolf has already started on the hike around the lake with the older children and Bill and Charlie. Harry went too, because James wanted to do what Louis was doing instead of being with who he called 'the babies'. You should have seen Rose when he said that. It's a good thing she doesn't have a wand yet or she'd have hexed him."
"So I'm stuck with 'the babies'?"
"Must I remind you that two of those so-called babies are the-fruit-of-your-loins?"
Ron was not surprised that Luna and Hermione were in full teaching mode as they led the six youngest children down the path to the lake. They were pointing out weeds and talking about what an important role they served in the ecology of the shoreline. All the children had on Muggle life vests. Ginny and Lily were bringing up the rear with the Scamander twins. Ron wondered how she could tell them apart.
All of the shoreline explorers waved at Mum and Dad as they walked out onto the boat dock. Mum was wearing a floaty sort of dress that you could almost see through and was carrying a matching umbrella. Dad was carrying a small picnic basket with a bottle of champagne sticking out of it. Ron watched as his father gently helped his mother into the back of a rowboat with the picnic basket, and started to row out into the lake.
When the group that Ron was with got closer to the shore, Luna and Hermione took turns pointing out that they were walking on pebbles instead of sand like where the tents had been pitched. Ron looked back at the sandy beach and saw Fleur and Kathleen sitting in comfortable lounge chairs. Kathleen seemed to be writing in a notebook while Fleur was engrossed in a book. Ron wished he had been allowed to stay behind with them and nap instead of having to act interested in the flora and fauna of the lakeshore. The plants and animals weren't even magical, for Merlin's sake.
Ron got slightly more interested when Luna started passing out clear bowls and telling the children that they were magic undersea viewers. Hermione was helping Rose so Ron decided to help Hugo to try to see with his bowl.
Luna's twins and Lily put their faces into their bowls while pushing them into the water. Ron thought that they looked a bit like they had incomplete Bubblehead Charms. The four youngest were excitedly exclaiming over some minnows and tendrils of slimy marsh grass. Ron decided to Transfigure one of the puny little minnows into a bigger fish so they would really have something to look at. He watched in delight as he caused one of the minnows to turn into a small shark.
Ron could not believed what happened next. Lily screamed. Hugo tried to pull her away from the little shark. The twins yelled, "Tay away fum Yi-yee Una!" and waved their hands at it. The Transfigured shark vanished.
His father flew out of the rowboat along with both oars. Ginny swooped up Lily and Albus as Hermione grabbed Hugo and Rose. Luna put her arms around her twins and said, "That was some mighty powerful accidental magic, lads! You made the big fish go away and you saved Lily. It's too bad that some of your overflow magic hit the rowboat and knocked Lily's Grandpa out of the boat."
The twins looked proud.
Ron could see his father splashing around trying to grab the oars, so he looked at the rowboat to see if his mother was all right. He was horrified when Mum stood up in the middle of the boat. He was dumbstruck when she pulled her dress off over her head and dived into the water.
"Bloody hell!" screamed Ron.
"Buddy heh!" echoed Zander and Lorcan. Hermione clapped her hands over Hugo's ears.
"Blind me! I just saw my mother in the all-together!" sobbed Ron with his eyes closed.
"Open your eyes. Your mother has on a peach-coloured swimming costume," said Hermione, pointing to her swimming toward them, pulling the rowboat with a rope. Ron watched his mother and father swim to the shallow part of the lake. They arrived at the same time and stood hugging each other and laughing so hard that they were crying.
"The whole lake must be infested with Giggling Gadflies,' said Luna.
"Mollywobbles, this was not exactly the romantic rowboat ride that I had planned. I think we both need to take a shower and then let's have our picnic up in our room."
Mum smiled sweetly up at him and said, "I can't think of anyone else I'd rather take a shower with and then have a picnic and some bubbly in bed."
Dad chuckled and asked, "Ron, fancy taking Hermione and the children for a boat ride?"
Ron shook his head and went to see what was available for lunch. He needed food and then a long nap. He'd had enough excitement for a morning.
Bill felt refreshed when he woke from the nap that he and Fleur had taken after lunch. Everyone had needed rest whether they had hiked around Moon Lake or just stayed close to the boat dock.
When he and Fleur entered the dining room, he appreciated how well thought-out the seating arrangements were. The large dining table and the children's table both had place cards so that couples were together and that each of the young children was seated next to an older one. He and Fleur raised their eyebrows at each other when they saw Teddy hold out Victoire's chair before he took his place at the opposite end of the table. Best of all, there was a clear glass soundproof wall between the tables so that parents could be aware of what the children were doing but could enjoy dinner conversation without difficulty. Bill thought that this arrangement should be followed in many other settings.
When everyone was finished eating the locally caught fish and fresh produce, the house-elves removed their plates. Bill stood, held his wand to his throat and said, "Sonorus. I have been asked to be the master of ceremonies for Mum and Dad's forty-fifth anniversary. Percy and George were not able to be here but have left remarks. Before we start, I know that I speak for us all when I thank Luna and Rolf for their hospitality." There was a round of applause and Luna and Rolf bowed.
"It is our honor to provide you with a place for this celebration," said Luna. "Molly and Arthur have always welcomed me into their home so I am happy to welcome all of you to ours."
"Ginny, you're the youngest, so why don't you go first?'" said Bill.
Ginny stood up and said, "Is it possible to remove the barrier so the children can hear without Sonorus?" Rolf made a gesture with his hand and the glass vanished. The children looked surprised but remained where they were and listened quietly.
"Mum, I didn't appreciate everything you did for me until I was on tour with the Holyhead Harpies. For the first time, I had to get myself up in the morning, keep my uniform presentable, and find something to eat. Between you and the Hogwarts house-elves, I hadn't ever had to worry about such things. But it was after I married Harry and had to keep a household and care for James, Albus, and Lily that I realized that you must have had four of us in nappies at one time and that two of them were Fred and George."
Charlie called out, "Not to worry, little sister, the twins went commando as soon as they figured out how to pull them off."
Ginny blushed when Harry commented, "So that's where James got it from. I knew it wasn't from my side of the family."
"Dad, some of my earliest memories are of you carrying me around and singing to me so I'd stop crying. It must have been hard to have a screamer as your only daughter."
"You had him wrapped around your finger from the day you were born," said Bill. "Dad's little princess."
"It's still true," said Arthur with a smile.
"Thanks for showing me how two people can settle their differences and still stay in love,'" said Ginny as she went to the head of the table and kissed her parents.
"Harry, do you have anything to add?" asked Bill.
"Molly, you were the first witch I ever met. Well, a woman at the Leaky Cauldron must have been a witch, but she just shook my hand. You helped me when you didn't know anything about me. You took me into your home and heart. Arthur, you trusted me with your only daughter and have been like a father to me. I can't ever repay either of you for all that you have done."
Harry also kissed Molly and Arthur before he sat back down with tears glistening in his eyes. He and Ginny kissed. James and Louis groaned loudly.
"Ron, do you have anything to say?" Bill continued.
Ron stood up. "Hermione and I have prepared something," he said as she stood up and he sat back down.
"Ron and I want to thank you for all your love and guidance. Our marriage is stronger and we are better parents because of all that you have taught us." Hermione paused and glared at Ron who had found one last roll and was buttering it. She hissed, "Ron, don't you dare eat that roll when it's our turn to offer congratulations."
Ron tried to swallow the rest of the roll, stood back up, and said, "Mmm, Daa, you'f been da best hexampz to us." He quickly drank a glass of water. "You are the best parents I can imagine."
Molly started crying and Arthur put his arm around her as Hermione walked toward them and said, 'Thank you for making me feel welcome in your world and letting me be a member of your family." She kissed them both. Ron did the same.
"George left a picture and some remarks and helped Percy do one, too. He said this new technology is going to be a best seller." Bill held up a thick wand and pushed a knob on the side of it. A picture of George floated out of the tip. The children paid close attention.
Hermione murmured, "It's a hologram."
"Like Princess Leia," whispered Harry. Ginny and Ron nodded but most of the others looked puzzled.
"Hello, Weasleys!" said George's voice. 'I'm sorry that I can't be there in person, but I want to wish Mum and Dad all the best. They always blamed Fred and me for Mum's gray hair and Dad's thinning hair. We'll take credit for Mum's very attractive frosted look but, Dad, I guess we weren't as hair-raising as you always said we were. Thanks, Mum and Dad. We couldn't have done it without you." George bowed and his picture faded.
Bill pushed the knob on the side of the thick wand again and Percy's form and voice appeared. "I hope this new technology of George's works better than the first prototypes did. The pictures were so transparent they looked like ghosts, giving up the ghost." Percy laughed a little at his own joke before he continued, "Audrey and I and the children wish we could be with you to celebrate this momentous occasion but we had already ordered the International Portkeys and booked rooms at a hotel in Bern. Your love and encouragement have made me the successful wizard that I am today. Your forgiveness has made me a better husband and father. May you have many more happy years together and may our family bonds grow even stronger." Percy's picture disappeared.
"Charlie?" prompted Bill. Charlie and Kathleen stood hand in hand.
"Mum and Dad," began Charlie, "I know it was hard for you when I decided to work with dragons instead of becoming a professional Quidditch player. We could have used the money that I would have made playing, but you encouraged me to follow my passion. I think it is because you are both such passionate people." He turned toward his wife.
"Thank you for welcoming me into your family," began Kathleen, still holding Charlie's hand. "I agree that you both follow your passion, but I think you give all of us an even better example by being such true romantics. You love each other and show it in everything you do. I hope that Charlie and I will be as happy as you are now when we have been married as long as you have." She and Charlie went to the head of the table and kissed Molly and Arthur while everyone clapped.
"You and Charlie are a hard act to follow, but Fleur and I will do our best," began Bill. 'My beautiful wife has a thing or so to say."
"As usual," Charlie said to Kathleen in a stage whisper. Kathleen frowned at him.
"Muzzer Weasley and Fazzer Weasley, zhank you for raising my 'usband to be ze most considerate lover possible. 'E 'as all of your passion and concern for 'is loved ones. We 'ave already four shildren but may exceed ze seven you 'ad." Bill blanched and Fleur laughed. "Just joking, but if we did 'ave more, zhey would be magnifique."
Bill kissed Fleur and continued, "I agree with what each of you said. Please raise your glasses to Molly and Arthur, parents extraordinaire, and an example to us all. May you have many more happy years. We'll celebrate again five years hence." Everyone drank the toast.
Molly and Arthur stood together with their arms around each other. 'Mollywobbles, would you like to speak first?"
"Why break with tradition?" asked Charlie, as the grandchildren laughed.
Molly smiled sweetly. "If I didn't speak up for myself, I'd never get a word in edgewise with you lot. Thank you Luna and Rolf, for hosting our anniversary party. Each of our children has been eloquent in their praise of our long and happy marriage. However, I alone know the secret of our success. I picked the right wizard."
Arthur laughed and said, "Molly, you've done it again. That was supposed to be my line, only I'd have said that I picked the right witch. You've all heard me explain why we continue to be so happy many times. She claims that she was brilliant in marrying me when I was young and hadn't had time to develop bad habits." Arthur lowered his voice to a whisper. "Molly is almost nine months older than I am but I have always liked older women." Molly laughed and patted him on his bum.
"We've been through a lot together. We comforted each other when Fabian and Giddeon and all of our parents died. We survived Voldemort twice and lost our beloved Fred. Every member of our family was constantly in mortal peril; Molly's clock reminded us of that every day. I thought I would die when the strong and beautiful woman I married battled the Bitch Witch, but she emerged victorious. I can't imagine not being with the love of my life." Arthur and Molly kissed to a standing ovation.
"LET US EAT CAKE!" said Bill. The house-elves brought in a huge cake that said, "Congratulations Molly and Arthur". The happy couple cut it as they had cut their wedding cake forty-five years ago; both of them doing the honors and gently feeding each other the first bite.
A/N: This story has canon pairings of Molly/Arthur, Bill/Fleur, Ron/Hermione, Harry/Ginny, and Luna/Rolf. In addition, there are non-canon pairings and characters borrowed from St Margarets' universe: Charlie is married to Kathleen Pen and has a non-canon son, Leo, who is just younger than Bill and Fleur's non-canon first child, Philippe. St Margarets also made helpful suggestions to improve an earlier draft. My friend, Trelawney 2213, beta read and made suggestions that improved this story.