Fleur and Bill's wedding has finally arrived, but (as usual) things don't go as well as planned when Harry's around.
And so the day of the wedding found Harry, Ron, and Hermione sitting in the second row of seats awaiting the arrival of Fleur to begin the ceremony. The Weasleys had attempted to get Harry to drink Polyjuice Potion to disguise himself for the wedding, but Harry had staunchly refused. Though they reluctantly agreed, Harry managed to convince them that with the tremendous security that accompanied the wedding regardless of his disguise, there was very little chance that any attack would make it into the wedding, and if one did, they would probably know about his disguise anyway.
Unfortunately, Harry had again underestimated the extent of his fame, and found himself accosted from the moment people began arriving for the ceremony. Luna Lovegood, after once again dropping a not-so-subtle hint about becoming his Mistress, had introduced him to her father, who seemed just as spotty as she was, though Harry quite honestly found it rather amusing. Sometimes he wondered if they truly believed what they said they knew, or if they were merely having everyone on. Ron's Great-Aunt Muriel in particular had proven herself to be quite persistent in badgering him about every aspect of his life, to the point where he had almost considered jinxing her. Thankfully, Ron eventually led her to her seat, leaving Harry to finish seating the few remaining guests.
Hermione's arrival had also been a highlight of the day. She looked absolutely stunning in her dress, which Ron had been uncharacteristically quick to point out. (No doubt a tip from his idiotic book) Harry, for his part, was unable to say anything because he knew he would have started gaping like a moron if he opened his mouth. It was the Yule Ball all over again, as Harry had once noticed that his best friend was, in fact, a woman. The soft, feminine curves and the beautiful skin. As it was, Harry couldn't keep his eyes off of Hermione, something she had noticed, if her soft blush was anything to go by. Unfortunately, the arrival of Viktor Krum interrupted the moment, and after another quick conversation between the group, they had all settled into their chairs waiting for the bride to appear.
A moment later Bill and Charlie stood up at the front of the marquee, both wearing dress robes, with large white roses in their buttonholes; Fred wolf-whistled and there was an outbreak of giggling from the veela cousins. Then the crowd fell silent as music swelled from what seemed to be the golden balloons.
"Ooooh!" said Hermione, swivelling around in her seat to look at the entrance.
A great collective sigh issued from the assembled witches and wizards as Monsieur Delacour and Fleur came walking up the aisle, Fleur gliding, Monsieur Delacour bouncing and beaming. Fleur was wearing a very simple white dresses and seemed to be emitting a strong, silvery glow. While her radiance usually dimmed everyone else by comparison, today it beautified everyone it fell upon. Ginny and Gabrielle, both wearing golden dresses, looked even prettier than usual, and once Fleur had reached him, Bill did not look as though he had ever met Fenrir Greyback.
"Ladies and gentlemen," said a slightly singsong voice, and with a slight shock, Harry saw the same small, tufty-haired wizard who had presided at Dumbledore's funeral, now standing in front of Bill and Fleur. "We are gathered here today to celebrate the union of two faithful souls… "
"Yes, my tiara sets off the whole thing nicely," said Auntie Muriel in a rather carrying whisper. "But I must say, Ginevra's dress is far too low cut."
Ginny glanced around, grinning, winked at Harry, then quickly faced the front again. Harry expected his mind to wander a long way from the marquee, back to afternoons spent alone with Ginny in lonely parts of the school grounds. But for some reason, his thoughts seemed inexorably drawn to the brunette witch beside him, placing her in Ginny's place in his memories. He shook his head quickly, shoving the traitorous thoughts aside.
"Do you, William Arthur, take Fleur Isabelle…?"
In the front row, Mrs. Weasley and Madame Delacour were both sobbing quietly into scraps of lace. Trumpetlike sounds from the back of the marquee told everyone that Hagrid had taken out one of his own tablecloth-sized handkerchiefs. Hermione turned and beamed at Harry; her eyes too were full of tears, and Harry found his hand moving up to brush the small drops away from her face, lingering on her soft skin for a moment longer than necessary.
" …then I declare you bonded for …"
Harry did not immediately notice that the wizard had stopped speaking midsentence. His eyes were focused on Hermione, as she smiled, practically radiating happiness. It wasn't until he heard a shout from the end of the aisle that he tore his eyes away from Hermione, only to watch an emerald green light shoot forward and blow the wizard backwards. Black cloaks began swirling around the wedding grounds, and their skeletal masks were briefly visible in the receding light of day.
Death Eaters had crashed the party.
Suddenly, the air was filled with colors as the Death Eaters unleashed their fury upon the unsuspecting wedding guests. Many of them screamed, attempting to run away, but caught by crossfire, many were felled before they even made it a few steps away from their chairs. Harry pulled out his wand, rushing immediately to defend the party. He Stunned two Death Eaters closest to him before their attention was drawn to him, but by then, the Order members had come to their wits and were exchanging blows with the invaders.
"Bloody bastards," grunted Ron from beside Harry. "Can't they take just one day off?" He ran off toward the house, leaving Harry and Hermione to take off in opposite directions, Hermione toward a group that Lupin and Tonks were fighting off, and Harry toward the altar, to help Bill and Fleur defend the more vulnerable guests as they attempted to flee.
"Sorry about your wedding, you two," Harry yelled to the still unmarried couple. "It seems none of us can ever catch a break."
Neither Bill nor Fleur replied, their faces etched with rage as they mercilessly attacked the group of 5 Death Eaters that were advancing toward them. Spells flared, and three of the Death Eaters fell to spells quickly. Harry Disarmed the fourth, following with a Bludgeoning Hex that sent him flying 20 feet backwards, where he did not move again. Harry only felt a slight twinge of worry that he might be dead, but the moment of distraction cost him, as the last Death Eater, frightened after seeing his cohorts fall so easily, yelled "Avada Kedavra," a millisecond before a hex took him out of commission. The bolt streaked toward Fleur, and Harry attempted to conjure a shield to protect her, but the spell simply phased straight through it. Fleur's eyes opened wide. Then, Harry watched as she was shoved aside by Bill and, seemingly in slow-motion, the spell impacted into Bill.
They both fell to the ground with an ominous thump. Fleur desperately shook Bill, sobbing uncontrollably, but Bill's lifeless eyes stared back unseeing. Harry looked around the battlefield, seeing the numerous bodies strewn across the ground. All dead or dying. Merely because they had attended the same party as him. And hatred welled up inside Harry as he let out an almost beastly roar that caught the attention of everyone there. "Hey, Death Eaters! I'm the one you want, so come and get me!"
The battlefield suddenly shifted as every cloaked figure began to fire at Harry, the valiant defenders unable to stem the tide that suddenly rushed toward him. Harry, meanwhile, found himself easily deflecting each and every spell sent toward him, as he filled with furious power. Every spell he cast in retaliation, whether Cutting or Bludgeoning, seemed to have increased by power almost tenfold, and the Death Eaters found themselves being cut open deeply enough to bleed to death within minutes. Bidden by some unknown force, he raised his left hand and a giant ball of fire shot out toward the cloaked figures, setting them on fire, screaming in agony as their flesh burned away. But still, they came. For every figure that Harry took out of the fight, another equally anonymous cloaked figure rushed in to take his place. Despite his newfound power, their numbers were simply too great to hold back.
Harry looked at the group of survivors standing near the Burrow, and his eyes found Hermione's. She looked on, frightened for him, and she shook her head desperately as she seemingly knew Harry's thoughts. He tried his best with his eyes to say he was sorry, as he turned on the spot, leaving the battleground behind, hoping that the Death Eaters would leave them in peace for now.
Moments later, Gnarl stood amazed as he watched the raven-haired wizard step out of the Netherworld portal. The power that engulfed the room was palpable enough to feel, so much so that even the normally unfazed Gnarl stood meekly. After a moment, in which Harry did nothing but breath heavily, Gnarl quietly muttered, "Sire?"
"…You were right, Gnarl…" Another moment of silence followed. "…I don't have enough power to destroy my enemies alone… " Harry slowly raised his eyes up to the Netherworld throne, revealing that his previously green irises had turned completely yellow, glowing with power. One look at those eyes, and Gnarl immediately knew that the Netherworld had a Master again.