The Master of Life
All Is White
By Mr. Intel
Chapter Six – All is White
With Harry’s approval, Ginny wrote to Gringott’s that evening and the money was transferred to the various bill collectors the next day. Harry had agreed whole-heartedly that they shouldn’t inconvenience their parents when things were so tight financially. Now Ginny just needed her mum to fail to notice that her bills were paid before they left for Canada and the only repercussions would be a howler. Exploding letters were easier to handle than exploding mothers.
The morning of the wedding was busy for everyone. Harry packed at his flat, while Ginny sat in her room, knowing that it was the last time she’d see it as a single witch. Everything was changing, and it was happening a lot faster than she’d anticipated. Her eyes roamed over the vanity, over the ribbons hanging from the finials, the Weird Sisters posters, the photos of her, Hermione, and Luna at Hogwarts pinched into the mirror’s frame – all the memories of a life that was ending in the wake of a new life about to begin.
There was a knock at the door.
“Come in,” said Ginny wistfully.
Hermione entered, stepped over a pile of clothes in the middle of the floor, and sat carefully on her bed.
“You’re here early,” said Ginny as she moved to the padded chair in front of the vanity and began to brush out the tangles in her hair.
“Couldn’t sleep,” she admitted. “I’ll be in Australia by the end of the day and tomorrow, with any luck, my parents will know who I am.”
Ginny paused and looked at her friend through the mirror, who was staring at the floor. “Are you still going to ask Ron to stay behind?”
Hermione twisted a lock of hair in her fingers. “Yes. Besides, he has his job to think about.”
Ginny continued brushing, wondering why her brother was being such a prat about Hermione. He’d been so much better since they’d been hunting for Horcruxes, but now he was being ridiculous.
“He’ll come around eventually.”
With a sigh, Hermione flopped back on the rumpled bedcovers. “Will he?” she asked. “How long is ‘eventually’ anyway?”
Ginny couldn’t help the giggle that escaped her lips. “Who are you asking that to?” Then her smile relaxed. Something about the way Hermione was avoiding her eyes made Ginny wary.
Hermione giggled too, but it sounded different, almost giddy. “I guess you’re right. We’ve both been hopeless with our love lives haven’t we?”
“Quite hopeless,” Ginny agreed, wanting to prod Hermione for information. “But look at where all that pining got me.” She pointed to the open closet door and the bright white dress that dangled brightly from its hanger. “Mum was right; it’s perfect.”
Hermione rolled off the bed, still not glancing at Ginny and stood in front of the dress. “I wasn’t sure at first, but you really fill it out nicely. Harry’s going to go into shock when he sees you in it. It must be something about brides-to-be, because you were absolutely radiant when you tried it on.”
Smiling at the thought of a drooling, barely coherent Harry, Ginny finished brushing her hair and called Hermione over to the vanity. “Pull out your wand, Hermione and work some magic on my hair. I want to be radiant all day long and while you’re at it, you can tell me what’s really going on with you and my brother.”
Hermione seemed speechless and she finally met Ginny’s gaze. It was all there in her watery eyes, and Ginny knew why she’d been reticent about telling her.
They spent the next hour being silly and girly, and the tension of impending marriage seemed to lessen. Even the shock of Hermione’s news only seemed to add to her excitement. It was going to be a glorious day.
Harry sat with his back to the wall of his room, staring at a large pile of random things in the middle of the floor. Like his fiancée, Harry was packing for his last day in England for who knew how long. Harry wasn’t as excited about the process as he was about the result. It was just like leaving Number Four, he realised, but the feelings twisting inside of him were different – there was more anticipation and less of a pinch on his heart. He just didn’t believe he’d had so much stuff.
His feet dangling off the side of his bead, Harry visually inspected the pile. Old textbooks, dirty trainers, bits of broken quills and ripped parchment, robes that were three sizes too small, and a pile of holey socks. With a distant ache, he wondered if Dobby would have wanted them.
Shaking himself out of his reverie, he banged open his mostly-empty trunk, vanished the trash left inside and began to magic everything into it. He was leaving it all here, he decided. All his books, crumpled essays, clothes, everything. He was going to leave The Burrow with only the clothes on his back, and the wands in his pocket. They would just have to go shopping in Victoria when they portkeyed to the place Harry had prepared for them. With a smirk of satisfaction at planning at least the first couple of nights of their honeymoon, Harry finished tidying his room.
Ron poked his head in the door. “You got a minute?”
“Sure. Just packing,” replied Harry, vanishing another pile of trash that was hiding in the closet.
“I was just wondering,” he said, pulling his hand across the back of his neck. “Do you think that maybe you and Ginny... might be going a little fast?”
Harry stopped just as he was about to levitate his trunk into the freshly clean closet. “Why do you say that?” he asked.
Ron held his hands up between them. “I’m not trying to say it’s wrong. I was just thinking about me and Hermione and I don’t know if we’re ready....”
Harry sat on his beg again. “That’s a bunch of rubbish. The way I see it, this is the first time in my whole life that I get to make my own decision about something. There’s nothing forcing me to marry Ginny, and nothing that says I have to wait. It’s my decision and that’s pretty refreshing.”
Ron hesitated. “Don’t take this the wrong way, because I want you to marry Ginny, but... why her?”
Harry smiled. “You tell me something, Ron. When you look at your life in ten years, who do you see wearing your wedding ring and answering to Mrs. Ronald Bilius Weasley?”
Now it was Ron’s turn to smile. “That’s obvious.”
“Of course it is,” said Harry. “For me, it’s Ginny. So if we’re going to get married anyway, then what’s the point in waiting? I’m of age and for whatever mental reason, she wants to marry me, so why not now?”
Ron seemed to consider this. “Yeah,” he said after a moment. “Yeah, I reckon you’re right.” He turned and slowly walked out the door, muttering to himself until the crack of Apparition told Harry that he’d left.
Satisfied, Harry stood and sent the bulging trunk to the closet with the flick of his wand. He followed Ron out the door and as he began to close it, he turned back to look at the room one more time. It hadn’t been his room for very long, but it was a powerful feeling to know that after today, he wouldn’t ever be alone again. After today, he was going to be a new man.
Facing forward again, Harry slowly pulled on the knob until he heard the click of the latch. Then, he walked away.
At one o’clock that afternoon, the Wedding party had a quick lunch of sliced meats and cheeses, with some pumpkin juice to wash it down before they separated to their appointed duties. Arthur and Molly were responsible for overseeing the guests and the food respectively. Arthur marshalled Bill, Charlie, George, Percy, and Lee Jordan as ushers to conduct guests to their seats much as Harry, Ron, Hermione, Fred and George had done at Bill’s wedding the year before. Even though the actual date of the wedding had been kept vague to the public, they were under strict orders to allow invitees only.
Molly visited with the head caterer to make sure they didn’t need anything extra. As Harry and Ginny headed inside to change she caught her mother staring at her in askance, having paused in the middle of her conversation with the caterers. With a pained expression, Ginny murmured to Harry, “We’ll be getting an earful from her at the reception.”
“Don’t worry about it,” said Harry and turned her chin with his finger. “I can’t wait to see you later.” He felt something heavy settle in his stomach and gave her a quick kiss before she was pulled along to her room by an anxious Hermione.
Inside Ron’s bedroom, Harry shoved a finger into the collar of his robes, feeling claustrophobic. “Do I have to go out there now? Can’t I wait until the music starts like Ginny?”
Ron gave him a lopsided grin. “Nervous?”
“A little,” Harry conceded, brushing his hands needlessly down the front of his new robes. Maybe it was his nerves, but something about Ron was different. It was if the old, self-assured Ron was back and Harry was glad. “Why do I have to mingle anyway? Isn’t that what the reception is for?”
“It’s etiquette or something stupid like that,” Ron answered. “You’re supposed to greet the ‘important’ guests. Mum’s got this wedding stuff nailed down, Harry. I wouldn’t cross her.”
“No,” Harry agreed, “I wouldn’t cross your mother, either.” He frowned at his hair one last time and turned around, making sure he had the ball-point pen that was his Portkey to Victoria. “Let’s get this over with, then.”
The sun seemed hotter than it had been an hour ago, when Harry had left to change. The same white tent stood over rows of golden chairs, but the poles were covered in green and gold streamers tied in bows at the tops in place of the flowers. The carpet was red, instead of purple, and the balloons over the small platform where they would be married were slightly transparent and filled with confetti.
“Oi, Harry!” It was Neville. Harry and Ron walked over to where he was chatting with three familiar faces. Harry made a point to stand so he could see who was Apparating into the arrival area.
“Hey, Neville,” said Harry, scanning the people that had already arrived. Hagrid was at the hors d'oeuvre table eating an entire platter and Andromeda was holding Teddy, chatting with a witch Harry didn’t recognize. “Glad you could make it. Was your Gran able to come?”
He pointed to a knot of witches on the other side of the tent, among whom was his grandmother, Molly’s cousin Martha, and Professor McGonagall.
“Hiya, Harry,” said Seamus who was holding a sweating bottle of butterbeer. “Congratulations.”
“Thanks.” Harry and Seamus had been at odds in the past over Voldemort, but all was forgotten in light of the end of the war. Harry noticed that his other hand was entwined with Lavender Brown’s.
Ron shuffled nervously next to him. “Hi Lavender,” said Harry. “Good to see you.”
“Thanks, Harry,” she said, sneaking a look at Ron. “You look great.”
Harry didn’t know what to say and felt his smile freeze on his face.
“Go on and tell him,” said Dean from the other side of Lavender.
Seamus grinned. “I thought I’d be the first, but you beat me to it.”
Harry’s smile dimmed a bit. “I don’t understand....”
“I proposed to Lavender outside the Great Hall right after you killed You-Know-Who.” He beamed. “We’re going to have a spring wedding next year.”
“Congratulations,” offered Harry and Ron seemed to relax beside him. “That’s wonderful. You’ll make a great couple.”
“I think so,” said Lavender as she rubbed Seamus’ shoulder.
Seamus leaned in a little to Harry and with a conspiratorial whisper, said, “Let me know how it goes today... If you need any pointers...”
Harry’s face went beet red. “No!” he shouted and everyone began to laugh. Dean pulled a Galleon out of his pocket and slapped it into Seamus’ waiting hand.
“Good one!” said Neville, and Harry’s embarrassment faded.
More and more people were arriving. Weasley relatives that Harry couldn’t put a name to, but recognized from Bill’s wedding were ushered to their seats. More of Ginny and Harry’s Hogwarts classmates appeared, some on the arms of their parents since, like Ginny, they were still underage. One of them was Luna and her father, Xenophilius.
Harry walked over to greet her. “Hi, Luna.”
“You look much better than your picture in the paper,” she observed.
“Er, thanks,” replied Harry. He turned to Luna’s father, who was scanning the crowd. An odd combination of thoughts went through Harry’s mind. On the one hand, Luna’s father had tried to turn Harry, Ron, and Hermione into the Death Eaters. On the other hand, he was only trying to protect his daughter. “How are you, Mr. Lovegood?”
The older man seemed to only notice Harry’s presence just then. “Ah, Harry Potter,” he said with wide, slightly crossed eyes. Harry couldn’t figure out which one to look at. “I’m so very glad to meet you again. Perhaps if the chance presents itself, we can have a chat later?”
“Sure,” said Harry, who wasn’t the slightest bit anxious to visit with him. If what the Prophet reported about his continued interest in the Deathly Hallows was correct, Harry would have to be careful about anything he said to him.
A car arrived, sending dust into the air by the front of the Burrow. At first, Harry didn’t know who would come by Muggle transportation when he suddenly remembered who he had sent invitations to. It was a spur of the moment decision, thinking that they wouldn’t come anyway, but wanting to extent the offer nonetheless.
Two figures descended the walk from The Burrow and onto the grass of the paddock. One was a very round man with blonde hair and the beginnings of a moustache. The other was a woman, shockingly thin, but just as tall as her companion.
“Is that...?” said Ron, just now seeing the new arrivals.
Harry took a step forward. “Dudley?”
The seventeen-year-old extended a hand. “Congrats, Harry.”
Hardly able to reconcile the disparity of seeing Dudley at the Weasley’s house, Harry gaped like a goldfish. “You came!”
“Mum didn’t want me to,” he admitted without reference to Harry’s continued incredulousness. Harry finally took the offered hand. “But I reckoned if you were getting married, then the Voldie-thingy was dead and... well, I just wanted to see you one more time.”
Harry scratched his head, wondering if things could get any stranger. “Thanks.”
Dudley motioned to the girl beside him. “This is my girlfriend, Veronica.”
“Hi,” she said with a little curtsy.
“Er,” said Harry when he saw several platters of food floating behind Dudley directed by one of the waiters. “Does she know about...?” asked Harry quickly, deliberating about using the ‘M’ word.
“Yeah, I told her,” explained Dudley. “She thought I was mental, but...”
“Yeah,” repeated Harry. “It’s great that you’re here. I mean it,” he added for emphasis to try to make up for his less than enthusiastic welcome. “Things are different in Wizarding weddings.” He stole a glance at Veronica. “You may see some things that are a little... unusual.”
“There you are, Harry, dear,” said Molly, who had come from the house in a bustle. “It’s time for you to head to the front of the tent. Arthur’s just gone to fetch Ginny.”
Harry felt a rush of adrenaline dump into his veins as the reality of what was about to take place just seemed to occur to him. Everyone else seemed to dim out of his vision. “Okay,” he said as calmly as he could manage and began to move slowly to the opening of the tent. “See you later,” he called back to Dudley with a half-wave, who was then escorted with Veronica to their seats.
Molly bustled off to give more instructions to the band and they started to unpack their instruments. Harry walked into the tent, Ron at his side.
The red-carpeted aisle was lined with flowers and there were several witches and wizards chatting across it to each other. When Harry and Ron walked between them, they quieted. The guests stood up, waiting for the bride along with the groom and his best man and the silence was oppressive. The tufty-haired wizard was there, eyeing Harry with a practiced smile on his face. A large, heavy bee buzzed under the canopy and landed on one of the balloons. Then, the music began to play.
Everyone turned their heads to see Arthur and Ginny walking up the aisle. Enchanted faeries held her train aloft as Hermione and Luna walked slightly behind and to the side. Each girl was carrying a small bouquet of white roses. They were halfway up the aisle, the strains of music growing louder, when Harry looked into Ginny’s wide, teary eyes.
“Hi,” she said breathlessly, as if she had never walked so far in her life.
“Hi,” he repeated, unable to think of anything more articulate in the face of such beauty.
Arthur released his daughter and stepped to the side next to Ron. There was a rustling of robes as the guests took their seats.
The wizard officiating the ceremony gestured for them to kneel at the altar. Harry took the left side and Ginny the right, so that they were staring at each other, gently holding hands across the lace covered fabric. Mirrors popped behind their heads, and as Harry continued to stare at Ginny, he saw reflections of the mirror behind his own head repeated on into infinity. It was like staring into the future – into eternity and it was Ginny’s face he saw in its depths.
“Do you, Harry James, take Ginevra Molly...?”
Harry said ‘yes’ when he was supposed to and heard Ginny’s reply when she was asked the same question, but he never took his eyes off her. She stared back in a way that made the happiness in Harry expand so much he thought he would burst with the fullness of it. He barely heard the rest of the vows, thinking that there would be plenty of time later to view it in his pensieve.
“...then I now pronounce you bonded for life and all eternity.”
There was a rush of magic and golden stars swirled around them, descending until they rested on their heads in a crown and then melted away.
The mirrors disappeared and Ron let out a ‘whoop’, leading the applause with Hermione, Molly, and Arthur. The balloons burst with muted pops and scattered magical confetti that floated silver and pearls out into the air, surrounding them so that everything seemed to glitter and twinkle.
“Ladies, and Gentlemen,” said the officiator. “Please rise for Mr. and Mrs. Harry Potter!”
There was a groan of chairs and with the wave of a wand, the chairs vanished, appearing, Harry knew, outside the tent where waiters were already poised to serve dinner. The tent was opened and a fresh, late afternoon breeze rolled inside and across the now cleared dance floor.
Harry and Ginny stood and he took his new wife by the hand into the middle of the crowd. “I’m a terrible dancer,” he whispered as they embraced. The band, situated where the entrance to the tent used to be began to play a waltz.
“Just hold me, Harry, and move to the music. No one cares if you can dance.”
So he did. Soon, everyone else began to dance and Harry was pleased to see Hermione and Ron twirling around together around one of the silver posts. He never wanted to let Ginny go.
Hours later, after everyone had eaten dinner, and Harry and Ginny had hugged and chatted with everyone that wished them well on their marriage, they were seated under a canopy of stars, the Wizarding band playing light classical music in the background. Arthur stood at the centre table and tapped a fork to his glass, signalling the noisy hum of conversation to ebb.
“Ahem,” he said with a significant nod to Ron and Hermione, who were having a heated conversation that now carried across the paddock. They bustled to the table and sat without another word, though Harry thought Hermione would like to have a few more with Ron. “I’d like to propose a toast to my new son-in-law, and my daughter.” He raised a glass of red, elf-made wine. “To Harry and Ginny Potter. May they have many happy years of marriage together.”
“And have a great many children!” said a pink-cheeked Molly from beside him.
“Here, here!” said the crowd and they sipped their drinks.
Neville raised his glass next, but Harry was distracted by a commotion to his left.
Hermione was whispering fiercely at Ron again. “We need to, Ron; they’re leaving straight after the reception.”
Harry didn’t hear what Ron said, because he was facing away from him, but he saw Hermione set her jaw.
“Here, here!” they party chorused again, as Neville finished his toast and Harry absently sipped his wine.
Hermione leaned across Ron. “Harry, do you mind if I make an announcement?”
“You’d better,” said Ginny with a knowing smile. “I don’t think Ron’ll make it through the night if you don’t.”
Ron muttered something that Harry didn’t catch. Hermione stood.
“Excuse me,” she said and tapped her glass again. “I have something to tell you.”
Several witches and wizards turned to look at Hermione. “Actually, Ron and I have an announcement to make.”
“You better stand with her,” said Ginny to Ron. Harry furrowed his brow in confusion until he realised with a smile what was happening.
Ron stood. “Er...,” he said with obvious reluctance. “Hermione and I are engaged.”
There was a pause and then Molly positively squealed with happiness. George was the first one to congratulate him with a slap on the back and a whispered, “didn’t think you had it in you.”
In the midst of this new torrent of congratulations, Harry glanced at his watch and noticed that it was getting late. The portkey would activate soon. “Ginny,” said Harry softly and when she turned around, he felt her beauty take his breath again. “We... need to get ready to leave. The Portkey...” but he didn’t finish he sentence as there was a large commotion from the clearing that was the designated Apparition point.
“Let me through!” said a familiar, reedy voice. It was the Minister of Magic.
“Oi,” said Ron, who rushed forward with his wand outstretched. “What do you think you’re doing? This is an invitation-only wedding!”
“Stand aside,” said a wand-brandishing Dawlish, the former Auror that was now on Crackshot’s personal security detail. “Make way for the Minister!”
Harry frowned and heard Ginny growl like an angry lioness next to him. Hermione was running toward Ron, who was now in a shoving match with the other bodyguard. “Geroff!” shouted Ron. “This is private property!”
Crackshot made a beeline for Harry, his moustache stiff and rigid, defying gravity as it stuck out inches on either side of his nose. “I’ll have a word with Mr. Potter, if you please,” he said to Arthur dismissively as the older man attempted to head the Minister off. He strode right up to Harry. Ginny tensed beside him.
The Minister pulled out a paper from his robes and held it in front of him as if to read it, but never took his eyes from Harry. “By order of the Minister of Magic, you, Harry James Potter, are to surrender the wand known as the Wand of Destiny, The Elder Wand, or the Deathstick to the Department of Mysteries for analysis. Signed, Stanley Crackshot, etc., etc.”
“No way!” yelled Ron, who had wrestled his way closer to the Minister.
Harry shook his head. “I don’t think so.”
“You don’t have a choice,” said Crackshot. “This order gives me the authority to take you in for questioning and confiscate everything on your person.”
Harry narrowed his eyes and shifted his stance, his left hand firmly on the wand in question, ready to defend himself if necessary.
“That’s rubbish,” said Hermione, who stood next to Ron. “You can’t force Harry to turn over property unless you have a proper warrant signed by the Wizengamot. You’re authority doesn’t include the right to confiscate anything without it.”
Crackshot appraised Hermione shrewdly. “As the Minister, young lady, I have to power to detain anyone for any reason.” He turned back to Harry. “Come now,” he said with a significant glance at Ginny and held out his hand. “You don’t want to spend your wedding night in Azkaban.”
Ginny pulled out her wand in a flash, but Harry stopped her. “Don’t, Ginny. We don’t want to threaten the Minister, even if we think he’s a pompous waste of space.”
She relaxed, but kept her wand ready. Harry took her other hand. “You heard Ron, Minister,” said Harry slowly. “This is private property. Get out.”
“Dawlish!” yelled Crackshot. “Arrest Mr. Potter for contempt of a Ministry order.”
There was a bang and a flash of light and the wizard Ron had been wrestling was thrown twenty feet into a row of roses. Dawlish pointed his wand at Harry, who didn’t move except to squeeze Ginny’s hand and grasp the ball-point pen along with the Elder Wand. “Goodbye, Minister,” said Harry and he felt a hook pull at his navel, carrying him and his new wife away from The Burrow and across half the world.
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