Harry is dragged to Bill and Fleur's wedding against his will, where he has to face his ex-girlfriend. What's a bloke to do? - Stare at her all night and try to hex the Frenchman she is dancing ...
Damn! Damn that bloody dress. Why can't they be wearing dress robes? That I could handle. This is complete insanity; that dress should be illegal. Why the bloody hell does she have to look so gorgeous? Why? Well, Potter, you know the answer to that: karma, simple as that, karma. You broke up with her at the funeral, and now you have to see what you're missing out on, which is a hell of a lot.
I wish I hadn't come. Ron and Hermione dragged me here. Even if the Weasleys are like my family ... she's my ex-girlfriend. I can't deal with her looking ... looking ... like that! She look so ... it's enough to make me break. And Merlin, I want to break when I see her standing there, looking like a goddess. I just want to take her in my arms and make her forget who she is. Yes, that is exactly what I want. I want to forget about anyone but us.
But can I do that? Can I be selfish? NO! The bloody world needs saving and I'm the only one who can save it. Great. I just want to be selfish for once. Can't I have what I want just once? Of course not. That is not the way of the life of Harry Potter, the-Boy-Who-Bloody-Lived.
Oh ... Fleur just walked down the aisle and I didn't even notice until Hermione elbowed me in the ribs. Hard. She is still not happy with my decision. I spare barely a glance at the bride. She pales in comparison to the angel that is Ginny Weasley. I continue to stare at the vision of beauty throughout the wedding. That dress really should be illegal, you know? The chocolate brown matches her eyes, and looks heavenly with the red curls flowing down the back.
Oh, Merlin ... please someone help me, curse me, anything ... that dress ...
Potter, get over it. She hasn't said a single word to you since you arrived. She hates you.
She hates you. Or at the very least, does not want to talk to you.
Good. Now if you hadn't broken up with her, for what was it ... her safety ... then you could be spending all summer snogging her brains out.
Oh just bloody shut up.
Fine, don't listen to me. Watch her all night long. Don't speak to her. Oh, look. She's dancing with Fleur's cousin. My, my, he is good looking, not that I'm noticing, of course, I'm a bloke. But she seems to be noticing. And they are dancing awfully close.
BLOODY SHUT UP! I can see her for myself.
"Harry, are you all right, mate?"
"Well, you've been, er ... you've been trying to tear at your napkin for the past few minutes. And your wand hand has twitched a few times, like you want to go for your wand."
"I do want to go for my wand. I want to hex that prat that's dancing with Ginny," I mumble in response.
"Well, Harry, if you don't want other boys dancing with her ..."
"Yeah, yeah, I shouldn't have broken up with her. I know that. But, I have to protect her." I pause for a second, spying the French ponce place his hands lower on her back. Too low. I pull my wand without even realizing it. "I'll kill the prat. He has no right to put his hands there. He has no right to put his hands anywhere on her."
"Harry!" exclaims Hermione, putting her hand on my right arm as I begin to stand. "SIT DOWN!" I sink into my chair, shooting deadly glares at the guy. If looks could kill, he would be dead a million times over. "Thank you. Now, it is not your place to go and protect her, not anymore ..."
"But, she's my-"
"No, she is not, not anymore. And you better not let her hear you say that, otherwise you will find yourself with bat-bogeys coming out of your nose. You made the choice to break up with her. Yes, you are trying to protect her, but Harry, she's still in danger whether she's with you or not. Would you rather have no time at all with her, all the while she's still in mortal danger, or would you rather have time with her, with perhaps no greater risk to her safety?"
"Hermione, no offense, but please shut it. I already know all this - she's safer when she is not with me."
"That's your decision to make, but since you made it, you can not go hexing every boy that shows interest in her. That's not fair to her."
"No buts." I watch as Hermione drags Ron, who has been silent during the exchange, onto the dance floor to dance.
"Hello, Harry," says a dreamy voice. I look behind me and see Luna Lovegood standing there wearing relatively normal clothes. She sits down in the recently vacated seat to my left as I turn back to stare at Ginny and prat-guy.
"Hey, Luna," I say absently. I notice Neville come up to Luna and hand her a drink, and sit in the seat next to her, sipping his own wine. "Hi, Neville."
An awkward silence stretches between the three of us. I continue to shoot glares at the prat who is still dancing with my Ginny. I mean, honestly, give other people a chance to dance with her! You cannot monopolize her time like that! I'm the only one allowed to do that.
"Harry, just ask her to dance." I am startled out of my musings on ways to kill the French pansy dancing with Ginny by Luna's surprisingly lucid voice. I look over at the two of them, Neville's arm thrown casually over Luna's shoulder, in surprise.
"Mate, you've been staring at Ginny for the past five minutes. Just go ask her to dance. And leave the wand," says Neville, holding out his hand for my wand, which I have just realized is once again in my hand.
"I am not going to ask her to dance." I say, putting my wand back in my robe's pocket.
"Yes, you are," insists Neville. Luna pulls out her wand and calls for my own, surprising me. The next thing I know, Neville is pushing me towards the dance floor and Luna is twirling my wand in her hand triumphantly, a strange smile adorning her face.
I realize that the song just ended, and the French prat is leading Ginny away for a rest before the next one starts. I glance back to Neville and Luna. Neville mouths 'go on' to me. I look back at Ginny once again, and feel like I'm hit in the gut. I hear the creature in my chest growl, and immediately know I have to go ask her.
I make my way over to her, my stomach deciding to go into a thousand knots, but the creature in my chest spurs me on. I see her look up as I approach, her face breaking into the first real smile that I've seen her wear all day. I can't help but smile back.
"Gin-" my voice catches in my throat, the last syllable of her name coming out as a croak instead the completion of a word. Brilliant, Potter. You can't even ask her to dance, yet you can snog her in front of a room full of people, one of which is her brother and your best mate? Just absolutely bloody brilliant. I try again, hoping that whatever gods there are, are kind to me. "Ginny ... do you ... erm ... would you like to ... I mean ..."
"Harry, would you like to dance?" she asks, saving my pathetic arse when I trail off. You are truly an angel, Ginevra Molly Weasley, an angel. I nod enthusiastically. I take her smaller hand in mine, barely registering the glares the French prat is now shooting in my direction, and lead her to the dance floor.
The song is a slow one. I look up and notice for the first time that it's a live band that's providing the music. The lead singer ... I do a double take. The lead singer is Angelina. She smiles at me when she catches my eye, and nods toward Ginny as she continues the slow ballad.
"What are you looking at?" asks Ginny. I nod in the stage's direction. She nods sagely. "Yeah, Fred got her band to play. They're going out, you know. Have been ever since the Yule Ball during the Triwizard Tournament. Mum just found out about it today. Had kittens, she did. I don't think I have laughed as hard as I did then since before ..." she trails off. We both know she was going to say 'since before Dumbledore's death,' but she can't say it. Neither of us can. So instead she says, "Well, just before."
We dance for a moment before I become aware that she is pressed against me. I pull back a bit, not wanting her brothers to kill me if they see how close we are dancing. She looks up at me and smiles again. I finally say something that has been on my mind since we began to dance.
"Ginny, why are you even talking to me?" I ask.
"What do you mean?"
"I broke up with you; I would understand if you didn't want to talk to me -" I'm cut off as she places two fingers to my lips gently. I kiss them automatically, drawing a smile from her. I jerk my head away, realizing what I am doing, and look pleadingly into her eyes. "Ginny, we can't do this. You and me ... it can't be done until I kill him. It just can't. If you died, I would die."
"Oh, Harry," she sighs. She leans her head on my shoulder, as if it has always been her place, which, I realize, it always has been, even if I didn't know it. My head automatically finds hers and I lean mine against it. "Harry, if you still feel like that, then I'm still in danger. He will use me no matter what. He won't care if you stopped going out with me or not. Anyone who looks at you knows that you still care about me, so you're not fooling anybody. I mean, you looked like you were going to kill Henri."
"You noticed that?"
"Of course. I could feel your eyes on me the whole time I was dancing with him," she laughed. "I'm actually surprised you didn't hex him when you came over."
"Luna stole my wand." I say this sheepishly, but am glad I said it when I hear her musical laughter.
"So she did. And she looks like she's twirling a baton." I follow her gaze and see Luna still twirling my wand, that triumphant look still on her face. I smile in spite of myself.
We dance in silence for a while, both our gazes still locked onto the triumphant Luna, Neville's arm still slung over her shoulder, while she twirls my wand. Angelina's voice is all around us, the instrumental and vocal parts of the music moving into an even slower melody. I realize that I have pulled Ginny closer to me, totally against my own will.
I look at her profile, the torch lights shining on her red tresses. I don't think I have ever seen her look more beautiful than she does at this moment. I want to kiss her even more as I see the stark profile the flickering torch makes of her face.
When she looks up from where she was still staring at Luna, I turn my head in the opposite direction quickly. But by the feel of her gaze on me, I know she knows I was watching her.
I look at her again, unable to take her staring into the side of my head. We lock eyes for what seems like an eternity. A soft smile tugs at her lips, and I feel one lift mine as well.
Her arms creep up from my shoulders to behind my neck as she pulls herself closer. Her hair now beneath my nose, I catch a whiff of her flowery scent that I have been dreaming about for the past month. The creature in my chest purrs in contentment.
My head rests against hers of its own accord. Her arms tighten around my neck and I reciprocate by tightening my own around her waist. We are pressed so close together, our bodies melding into one and our dance turning into nothing but slight swaying.
I don't know who makes the first move. I don't know who pulls back first only to come close to the other with their lips. It could be me, it could be her, or it could be both of us.
All I do know is that all of a sudden, our lips are touching: a soft and sweet kiss, but at the same time, a demanding, desperate kiss. It has been so long since our lips last touched, that I feel as if I'll go mad at the familiar feeling of her soft ruby reds.
It is pure ecstasy.
It ends all too soon for my liking. The song has ended and the moment is broken with the sound of Angelina announcing that the band is going to take a break.
We break away from each other when we hear Angelina saying this. Looking around at the newly discovered world outside our own, I notice that several people are watching.
All the Weasleys for one. Hell, practically the entire reception has their eyes on the two of us. I feel very exposed. Very out in the open. Vulnerable.
Great. Just bloody great.
Ginny disentangles herself from me, threading her fingers with mine as she does so. She leads me from the dance floor and out of the conjured tent. Our path out of the reception takes us past Neville and Luna, and the latter hands me my wand.
There are woods just outside the tent, and Ginny leads us straight towards the trees. She drags me through the trees in the direction of the river that marks the Burrow's property line. I remember going to it for the first time in the summer before my second year. Ron, Hermione and I also visited it many times during the summer after our third year.
Ginny sits me on a rock near the water's edge when we reach the bank of the river. She positions herself on the rock directly opposite, and quite close.
It is dark out here, so I take out my wand and conjure several balls of fire that I set to float in the air around us.
We are silent for what seems like an eternity; the only sounds around us being the splashing water as it rushes past in the river, the insects that buzz around in the trees, and the soft crackling of the balls of flame that I have conjured.
I look up distractedly and absently note that the stars are very bright tonight. As always, my eyes skip right over the stars and seek out the planet for which I have always looked whenever gazing into the night sky. I find it, sighing as the words from my first year come to me once again.
I look back at Ginny to see her watching the water as it flows past our perches on the rocks. I sigh once more and look again up into the sky. Another's words float into my head, words that I heard almost two years ago, when things were just gearing up in the war against Voldemort.
"In the past decade, the indications have been that wizardkind is living through nothing more than a brief calm between two wars. Mars, bringer of battle, shines brightly above us, suggesting that the fight must soon break out again."**
Firenze said that just after he had taken over teaching Divination. I think back on the words that my centaur professor had once said, and the words that I heard so long ago in the Forbidden Forest. They were truer than any I have ever heard.
With that thought, I make up my mind. I look back down at Ginny and let a sigh escape my lips at the sight of her. I am dazed for a few moments before my mind goes back onto the correct track. I say what needs to be said.
"Mars is bright tonight."
She looks up, startled at the sudden sound of my voice. "W-what?" she asks.
I smile at her and lean in closer, wrapping my arms around her waist and pulling her up into my lap.
"Mars is bright tonight," I say again, the smile on my face growing wider. "That means we haven't the time to waste." I dip my head for a short sweet kiss. I pull away almost immediately, gauging her reaction by her facial features. Her eyes are still closed and she still looks caught in the kiss. "Ginny, I'm sorry for breaking up with you. Please, forgive me, and be my girlfriend once again."
In response, she reaches up behind my head and pulls it down roughly, a sparkle in her eyes, to meet hers and kiss me hard.
When she pulls away, she whispers huskily into my ear, "Harry, I know why you broke up with me, but I never believed it was the best choice. I had hoped you'd realize it before now, but you were obviously suffering a bout of severe insanity." She smiles impishly up at me; Merlin, I missed that smile. "Besides, if you continued to be off your rocker, I had a contingency plan that Luna and Hermione helped me with. I was going to drive you completely mad with desire by dressing in the most outrageous ways."
"Are you sure you didn't put that plan into action tonight?" I ask, playing with a lock of her hair. "I mean, you look amazing tonight, and Luna did summon my wand. It seems like a pre-conceived plan to me."
"Hmm," she looks thoughtful. "I think Luna might've taken things into her own hands." She sighs and wiggles in my lap slightly, trying to get more comfortable, I think. "Oh well. It's not important now. I can tell you what is important, however."
"Oh, and what might that be, Miss Weasley?" I ask when it's clear she isn't going to go on.
"That you were a complete noble git for an entire month, and that we lost a lot of time that should have been spent snogging because of it," answers Ginny saucily.
"Oh. Well, I do believe you are quite correct, Miss Weasley." As I say this, I lower my head towards hers, slowly but surely, and we are both soon lost in our own world; Voldemort is forgotten, the wedding reception is wiped from our minds, and the only thing we can focus on is the feel of the other at every point we make contact.
And let me tell you, I don't hate this damn dress any more. In fact, I think I quite like it.
**direct quote from Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, chapter 27
A/N: Thanks to my pre-readers, Patty, Kevin, Skylar, and Jen...you all rock! and many thanks to Ladybug for her help on this ... she straightened out a lot of the instances where Harry wanted to go from being in the present tense to being in the past tense ... the little bugger ... :D