The Master of Life
The Isabella Swan
By Mr. Intel
Chapter Seven — The Isabella Swan
Harry and Ginny appeared under a large oak tree in a park in the city of Esquimalt, just west of Victoria. Harry looked around in the mid-day sun to get his bearings and spotted the back of a familiar building. The sounds of waves and high flying gulls carried on a cool Pacific breeze. Beside him, Ginny shivered.
"You okay?" he asked, brushing his hands along the smooth fabric covering her shoulders.
She nodded and turned her face into his chest, wrapping her arms around his middle. He took a deep breath, inhaling her floral scent that made him giddy with happiness.
"I’m not going to hold back the next time I see Crackshot," she said.
Harry laughed. "Then let’s make sure you don’t see him for a while."
She sighed. "I just didn’t want our wedding day to end like that."
He held her out at arms length and looked into her eyes. "Our day isn’t over yet. It’s noon here."
She smiled and took his hand. "So what do you have planned?"
"Come on," he said. "Our accommodations are over here."
Ginny looked around and let him lead her through the park and onto a paved lane. There were no obvious hotels in their view and she immediately picked up on that. "Where are we staying?"
He shrugged. "Over here," he said with a vague gesture.
The lane turned into a series of worn wooden planks that became a boat dock. Where the dock came to a â€˜T’, there was a short, thin man holding a clipboard.
"We’re going on a boat?" asked Ginny with a sudden smile.
Again, Harry shrugged, wanting to maintain the suspense as long as possible.
"Ah," said the man as they approached. "You must be...?"
"Mr. and Mrs. Tonks," said Harry, using the false name Hermione had suggested. They would begin their stay in Canada as Henry and Jean Tonks to throw off suspicion to any would-be pursuers.
"Yes," the man said, checking his clipboard and then marked off a spot on the sheet with a pen. "Any luggage?"
Harry shook his head. "None."
Ginny shifted on her feet. "We do have some actually," she said, her free hand holding a familiar-looking handbag that Harry hadn’t noticed before. "Will there be space in our... room?" She looked at Harry queryingly as she said this last bit.
"You are in the Nigel Hawthorn suite as requested," the man said as if dishonouring their reservations would be an insult. "There are two closets that will provide ample storage. If more is needed, we can have your things stored in the vault under the captain’s chamber."
"We are going on a boat," Ginny said excitedly. There was a tuft of wind that filled their nostrils with salty sea air. Harry was just as anxious, and pleased that so far, she approved.
"This way, then."
They followed the man to the very end of the dock, past rows of small yachts and cabin cruisers to a ramp that ended at a majestic white sail boat. It stood in the water like a large, floating bird, its masts poking into the sky like huge, raised feathers. Harry counted over twelve portholes on the side, representing some of the cabins on the sailing yacht.
Their escort unhooked a felt chain from the post at the base of the ramp just as a burly black man in a dark navy uniform stepped off the ship. "Welcome to the Isabella Swan," said the captain in a deep, booming voice.
Harry took his outstretched hand. "Thanks. I’m Henry and this is my wife, Jean."
A flash of disbelief adorned the captain’s face and then he smiled. "Come aboard. You’re the first to arrive for tonight’s cruise, so you’ll have the run of the ship for a couple of hours. We set sail at dusk and put down anchor in port at dawn."
Ginny squealed with happiness. "I’ve always wanted to sail on a boat."
They followed the captain onto the first level below deck. "This is the dining lounge." The room took up half of the level, curving inward toward the front of the boat where a grand piano was situated. The back of the room held a large bar and several small tables. "All meals are served here unless you request it sent to your room." Another glance and another disbelieving look from the captain. "But you probably aren’t very hungry.... Let me show you where your room is."
He led them down a flight of narrow stairs and onto the berthing deck. "The Hawthorn suite is at the end of the hall. Here are your keys, Mr. Potter," he said staring at Harry closely.
Harry took the keys before he realised what he’d said. "I’m not..."
"Oh, come now," the captain said. "I’m no fool, and you’re not very good at concealing yourself. But you don’t have to worry about me." He chuckled. "I’m Kingsley’s cousin Rex. Rex August."
"He never mentioned...."
"Well he wouldn’t, seeing as how he just found out about your destination last night. Got a floo call from him this morning and that cost him a pretty sickle I can tell you."
Harry twiddled the key in his hand. "So you won’t give us away?"
The crow’s feet by his eyes crinkled as he smiled. "I think you’ll find that Canadian wizards are less enamoured with you than the British ones."
Harry stared blankly back, unable to fathom the freedom that presented itself from the very idea. There were wizards that didn’t worship him. "Thanks, Captain August."
"Any time, Harry," the captain said with a wink. "Enjoy your honeymoon."
The captain leapt up the stairs as if they had springs hidden under the narrow treads and they were alone.
"Shall we?" inquired Harry with a quiver in his voice, his palms sweating.
"We shall," said Ginny and they walked to the end of the hall. Their room took up the entire rear of the ship on this level. Harry worked the lock and swung the door open.
"I believe there’s a tradition about crossing a threshold or something," said Harry and Ginny took a step back.
"Don’t you dare," she said but the last syllable ended in a squeak because Harry scooped her up in his arms and strode through the door. He let her down as she glared daggers at him, but the smile in her eyes lessened the effect.
He closed the door and made a show of looking around the suite. It was larger than it appeared from the other side of the door and Harry realised was probably enchanted. The entryway had two sofas and a Muggle television mounted to one of the walls. A large doorway revealed a kitchen that sat opposite two rooms. "So... what you reckon there is to do on this boat? Seems like we should have brought a game or two with us."
"Play games?" asked Ginny, taking a step closer, her frustration at being manhandled through the door melting away. "What like Exploding Snap or Gobstones?"
Harry faced her and mirrored her movement. "Something like that."
"You’ve really planned this out, haven’t you?" she asked, her soft brown eyes searching his.
"Yeah, I have." He dropped all pretence. His entire world had narrowed down to the witch in front of him. "Ever since you said yes, I’ve been waiting and wondering."
Ginny’s hands were pulling his face down. "No more wondering. Unbutton my dress, Harry. We won’t be playing Gobstones tonight."
Ginny awoke hours later as relaxed as she ever remembered feeling. Her legs were entwined with Harry’s, and his arm was draped across her middle. She felt his breath pleasantly tickling the hairs in the small of her neck where his face was nuzzled. She sighed in deep contentment. The boat was rocking slightly, causing the orange sunlight from the porthole to bob across the wall. The distant sounds of seagulls filtered through the walls of the sloop.
All of those sensations, however, were nothing compared to the almost aching joy that filled her soul. Her lifelong dream of being married to Harry had become real and after all the pain they’d been through, it was satisfying to know that at least this one dream had come true. Her remaining hope was that Harry felt the same blissful happiness she felt.
There was a tap on the porthole window and Ginny pulled her body lightly but reluctantly from Harry’s grasp. She took a nightgown from the trunk next to the sofa and pulled it over her head. The tap at the window grew more insistent.
The brass catch on the porthole released easily and as soon as the window was opened, a bright orange bird slipped inside. She turned to see it alight on the footboard of their bed and had a minor shock when she recognized it as a phoenix. "Fawkes!" she cried, but then she looked more closely. It was a phoenix, but the bird in front of them was younger-looking, slightly smaller, and the pattern on his chest was blue, not gold. "Oh," said Ginny, slowly approaching the bird. "You’re not Fawkes are you?"
There was a piece of parchment attached to his leg. She quickly undid the note and read it.
Sorry I couldn’t get this to you before Crackshot crashed your party. Congratulations on marrying Ginny! You don’t know how happy it made me to see the two of you walk up the aisle together. Just like your mum and dad. They’d be proud.
I raised this little fella while I was on the run from the Death Eaters this spring. His name is Aiden, and before you ask, I bought the egg from a little Chinese wizard I met on my travels. He likes to eat fish.
"Aiden?" asked Ginny, trying the name with her mouth. He trilled in response sending chills up her spine.
Seeing Aiden reminded her of their wedding presents. She opened Hermione’s borrowed beaded bag and carefully searched it with her lit wand. "Aha," she said to Aiden and pulled out a tall, rectangular package. The wrapping paper was banished and the box opened to reveal a large bird cage. "Someone knew we were going to get a bird," she murmured and placed it on a table by the bathroom door.
"Want to see your new home, Aiden?"
The phoenix spread its wings and with a chirrup, glided over to the table and hopped in to the cage. He turned around the inside, which easily accommodated his large body and, apparently finding it satisfactory, placed his beak under his wing and fell asleep.
Being near the bathroom reminded Ginny that she needed to freshen up. It was getting close to dinner and they had skipped lunch altogether. The time change had also played havoc with them, as her body assumed it was close to two in the morning.
When Ginny returned to their bed, Harry was sitting up, staring at her with a disarming smile. Then he noticed Aiden inside his cage. "What’s that?"
"That’s Aiden," she explained and slid back under the sheets to snuggle up to him. "He’s a wedding present from Hagrid."
Harry looked back to Aiden. "He’s beautiful. Where did Hagrid get him?"
Ginny handed the letter to Harry.
"Wow," he said when he’d finished reading. "I didn’t think you could buy them at all. I wonder where he came from."
"I dunno, but I imagine from somewhere in the orient," said Ginny and her stomach gave a growl. "But it’s almost dinner time and I’m starving."
Harry waggled his eyebrows, rolled on top of her and pinned her wrists above her head. "Are you sure you don’t want to just order dinner in?"
Ginny moved her knees and quick as a whip, had reversed their position. "Yes, I’m sure." Then at Harry’s crestfallen expression, she kissed him and said, "Maybe we can come back here for dessert."
Properly motivated, they dressed into semi-formal clothes that Ginny had packed for both of them and were in the dining lounge just as the sun was setting on the Western horizon.
The piano was being worked by a brunette witch in flowing blue-sequined robes, sending out soft melodies that perfectly matched Ginny’s mood. There were windows around the entire deck, so that they could see the orange and red splashed western horizon and the dark green trees and houses on the east.
They followed the maÃ®tre d’ to their table, which was situated next to one of the floor to ceiling windows. "Your waiter will be with you shortly," he said before excusing himself with a stiff bow.
There were several other couples on the deck, but all of them looked older and much wealthier than Ginny felt. She turned to Harry, who was staring unabashedly at her. "How much did this cost?"
He took her hand. "Does it matter?" he asked.
Part of Ginny didn’t want to know — the part of her that loved surprises and mystery. Another part, however, the one that was raised by the most frugal of witches wanted to know because it must have cost an exorbitant amount of Galleons. "Of course it doesn’t matter," she replied, squeezing his hand. Then in a mock serious tone she said, "I still want to know."
"Well, there’s a reason why we’re only staying on the boat for a night," he said evasively.
Ginny wanted to press for more details, but their waiter arrived. "Good evening Monsieur and Madam Tonks," he said with a flourish. "The appetiser will be served momentarily. Your choices are marinated gulf shrimp with Spanish paprika and toasted Marcona almonds or a wild mushroom strudel with truffle whipped goat cheese."
Ginny mouthed "wow" to Harry. "They both sound good," she said out loud. "You pick, Har — I mean Henry." She blushed at her slip.
He searched her face and then turned to the waiter. "One of each, please."
"Excellent choice, sir," he said placing a copy of the local Wizarding paper on the table and walked away at top speed to the kitchen. Ginny had a feeling that he would have said the same thing no matter what combination they preferred.
There was a shout from the deck and somewhere a bell started to chime. Ropes were being thrown onto the dock and they almost missed the vibration of the main engine as it fired to life somewhere below their feet. Soon, they had slipped into Victoria Harbour and were breaking the white-capped peaks of the Juan de Fuca Straight. Out the eastern windows, they saw the shadow of a large sail being drawn up the main mast and as they gained speed, the engine noise died away.
There was a green salad and cream of fennel soup offered after the appetizer. As before, they chose one of each and shared.
"Harry," whispered Ginny as she cleansed her palate with a spoonful of raspberry sherbet. "There’s a man staring at us." He put the paper down and turned to look. "He’s the one with the big hat, smoking the cigar."
"I’m not too worried," said Harry, carefully folding the paper into thirds.
"What?" asked Ginny. "You should be very worried. We should have been in disguise. If someone recognizes us...."
"They won’t recognize us unless they’re British," Harry said calmly and pushed the paper toward Ginny. "Take a look. It’s on page twelve."
Ginny flipped open the paper to the correct page and began to read aloud. "British Ministry officials have informed the Canadian Minister that a Dark Wizard was recently killed in their country by a youth not yet finished with formal schooling. The Dark Wizard in question, whose name we were unable to ascertain at press time, had been accused of murdering several Muggle and Magical persons over the past few years. The youth responsible for his death is being hailed as a local hero, and intends to become a Dark Wizard catcher professionally."
Ginny turned the page, looking for rest of the article, but was surprised to find that there wasn’t any more. "That’s it?" she asked, quickly rereading it.
"Pretty nice, eh?" he said, reaching his hands behind his head and sliding down in his seat, a look of deep satisfaction on his face. "I’m finally somewhere people won’t trip over themselves every time I walk out the door."
"But," said Ginny, still trying to adjust to the abruptness of the reporting. "But you did so much for everyone, not just for Britons. How can they just gloss over it like day old soup?"
"It’s fine," said Harry, reaching out a hand to her. "I really don’t mind."
Ginny pressed her lips together. "I’m not going to let this happen." She turned the paper over to see who was responsible for this travesty of journalism.
"Don’t," said Harry, slipping the paper out of her hands.
"Give me that back," Ginny said sternly.
"What do you want them to do?" he asked, an amused smile on his face. "Erect a statue of me in the middle of town?"
Ginny’s lip twitched and her outrage drained out her toes. "No, I suppose not."
"Then let’s just enjoy being anonymous for once," he said. Ginny was about to murmur something about how Harry Potter would never stay anonymous for long no matter how ignorant people chose to be when their waiter arrived again.
They ate the main course as the Juan de Fuca gave way to open ocean; Ginny selected the seared scallops, brandade and lobster croquette while Harry had roasted rack of lamb with white beans and smoked paprika, on a bed of Swiss chard. The man in the hat didn’t stare at them the whole time, but Ginny caught him looking once or twice. He was sitting with a pretty witch that had obviously used too many Glamour Charms in her life. Her face was stretched unnaturally to hide the wrinkles and her makeup was over the top — the kind her mother used to point out on â€˜scarlet women’.
Lamps were lit as the last glimmer of purple twilight dimmed in the distance. The piano was joined by a violin and flute. When they finished eating, Ginny was stuffed to the gills, but pleasantly so.
"Would Madam and Monsieur care to select a dessert?" asked their waiter after clearing off their table with a flick on his wand. "We have an elegant white and dark chocolate mousse cake or a very refreshing citrus cheesecake."
Ginny felt her stomach and groaned at the thought of putting anything more in it. "I’m so full."
"How about one cheesecake with two forks," Harry said and the waiter tapped the table with his wand. A single plate appeared between them with a slice of lime green cheesecake.
"Please contact me if you have any other needs."
As the waiter departed, the man who had been staring at them stood and began to walk in their direction. Ginny nudged Harry’s foot with her own. "Here he comes," whispered Ginny, shoving a piece of cheesecake in her mouth.
"Howdy. I’m Joss Woodall and this is my wife, Candi." The man in the big hat extended his hand and Harry stood to shake it.
"Hello, I’m Henry Tonks." Harry motioned to Ginny. "This is my wife, Jean."
"Hello," Ginny said, also standing to shake their hands.
"I’m sorry for interrupting your meal," Joss continued as Harry and Ginny sat back down. "But I couldn’t help notice that you were a fairly young couple. And I had to meet anyone as young as you are and can afford this little pleasure cruise."
Ginny was dizzy with trying to work through the man’s heavy American southern accent.
"So I have to ask what you do for a living? Or maybe you have old money...."
Harry raised his eyebrows. "Er, well if you mean I inherited it, then yes, my dad and my godfather passed away a few years ago."
Joss stuck his thumbs behind his large steel belt buckle. "Well I’m right sorry to hear that. It sounds like you’ve lost a lot more than money can buy." He sounded oddly sincere as he said this and looking at his wife, who silently observed the scene, Ginny wondered if that was borne of experience or something else. "You like Quidditch, Henry?"
"Yeah," Harry replied, a twinkle returning to his eye. "I love it."
"Then I got something for you." He pulled something out of his coat pocket. "Here’s two tickets to the next Vancouver Vanguards game. They’re playing the Haileybury Hammers."
"Where’s the pitch?" asked Harry.
"They play at the Westwood Plateau Pitch in Vancouver. The pitch in hidden in the woods north of a country club, so you’ll have to Apparate in."
Ginny’s eyes lit up. A Quidditch game was a perfect way to spend time with Harry. "Thanks, Mr. Woodall."
"No thanks necessary, Missus Tonks — and it’s just Joss." He handed the tickets and another card to Harry. "That’s my cell number if you need anything else."
"Er..," said Harry. They didn’t have a way to phone anyone as far as Ginny knew.
"Don’t have a phone?" asked Josh, recognising the hesitancy on his face. "Just send me an owl, then. Working in the Muggle world as much as I do, a phone is as indispensable as a wand to you and me." He shook Harry’s hand one more time and tipped his hat to Ginny. "Be seeing you around."
As the Woodall’s left, Harry stared at the tickets pinched between his fingers. "That was weird."
"Sure, but free tickets!" Ginny squealed. "Ron says the Hammers are the best team in Canada. Half their team made it to the national team last year."
Ginny gushed all the way back to their room until the door was closed and her focus shifted back to Harry. They’d only had one dessert and Ginny was determined to make good on her promise of a second, more private one.
The open ocean was much choppier than the protected waters of the strait and even their large boat began to feel the effects of it. So it was with a grateful smile that Ginny accepted Harry’s offer of an Anti-Motion Sickness Charm. They strolled along the top deck to walk off their dinner, enjoying the clear, star-filled skies and cool wind blowing off the ocean. It was getting close to ten o’clock local time and Ginny was feeling very sleepy, but they hadn’t opened their wedding presents yet and Harry insisted that they go through them all before they went to sleep.
They sat on their bed, boxes and packages strewn out from the beaded bag before them. Ginny’s parents had purchased them a set of silverware, which Ginny recognized as being Goblin-made from the Gobbledegook inscription under each piece.
"How on earth did they afford this?" Ginny said despairingly.
Harry looked concerned as well. "There’s a note on the back of the box."
You should have let us pay for the wedding. Enjoy your honeymoon! — Mum and Dad
"Typical," said Ginny. "My mum is so stubborn."
"It’s no surprise where you get it, then," said Harry cheekily, which earned him a glare. There was a second where she considered threatening him with banishment to the sofa, but she would suffer just as much as he would, so she held her tongue.
Dishes, towels, and other practical home making implements were revealed as they whittled away the packages and sent them back, unwrapped into the beaded bag. "Oooh," said Ginny as she ripped open a book-sized one from Hermione.
"Who would have guessed Hermione would give us a book for our wedding," said Harry sardonically.
"But Harry," said Ginny, reading the accompanying note. "This is really useful. Find me a quill."
He did as instructed, searching through the bag for the writing set Percy had given them. "So what is it?" he asked.
"It’s a replicating journal. Hermione enchanted it herself, so it should be safe." It was made of fine leather and featured an engraved stag on the front. Ginny hesitated for a split second, and then scratched a short note onto the top of the first blank page.
Hermione, we got your present (finally) and are safe somewhere far from home. Are you all right? —Ginny
They waited as the ink dried onto the page. Thankfully, the page didn’t absorb the words as Riddle’s diary. Instead, the new words appeared below the first in a different colour ink and a drawn stag at the top of the page — matching the one on the front — began to gallop, indicating someone was writing on the other end.
Ginny! We’ve been so worried. Everyone at the wedding is fine, but there’s been some developments. Crackshot’s not going to let up on you. He’s posted a ten thousand Galleon reward for Harry’s capture.
Harry frowned. "Figures. We need to work out how we’re going to throw people off the trail permanently."
Do you think there’s a chance wizards in other countries would go looking for us?
Hermione’s next words were appearing quickly under Ginny’s.
There’s more. We left for Australia straight away to find my parents. Yes, Ron is with me, since he didn’t think it would be safe for me to go alone now that we’re accomplices to your disappearance. It isn’t very likely that they’d put a bounty on us, but...
There was a pause and Ginny thought maybe something happened with the spell, but the stag was still running. Then, more words appeared.
Oh, all right, Ron! Ron insists that I tell you that the only reason I let him come was because of his brilliant idea that we masquerade as Harry with the Polyjuice Potion in Australia. We did it this morning and it didn’t take the full hour before we were attacked by Australian hit-wizards. I distracted them and Apparated us back to our hotel so Ron could change back. The Australian Ministry is definitely helping search for you, Harry.
Harry wiped a hand across his face. "What are we going to do?"
More words were appearing.
We’re going to go find my parents today and then we’ll stage one more â€˜appearance’ before we leave for England. Please stay safe. Update us through the journal when you can.
Oh! There’s one more thing. Have you ever heard the name "McIsenrod"?
Harry shook his head and Ginny shrugged.
Neither of us has.
Well, I’ll have to do some research on it. When you left, Crackshot let it slip that he was looking for information on someone with that name. He made it sound like this person has something to do with the Elder Wand. Got to go! Take care!
The ink stopped flowing, and they could tell Hermione had left, as the dancing stag stilled.
"I can’t believe it," said Ginny after she shut the journal and stashed it on the nightstand. "Crackpot," she said, deliberately mispronouncing his name, "is going to get a rude awakening when we go home."
Harry nodded in agreement. "Once we figure out what to do about the Elder Wand, we can work on him."
Ginny turned to him. "Who do you think this â€˜McIsenron’ person is?"
"Dunno," he said. "But right now, we need to focus on us."
Ginny Vanished the paper wrappings and empty boxes. "How can you be so carefree?" she asked, her anxiety building. "The entire Wizarding world could be after you and you just want to relax?"
His hands found her shoulders and began to work the tension out of her muscles. "Mmmm," she said as she relaxed into his ministrations.
"I plan," he said, using the heel of his hand to move up and down the sides of her spine, "to have a proper honeymoon. People like Crackshot have taken away my childhood. They’re not going to take my adulthood away, too."
Ginny was powerless to disagree. All she could do was murmur a "whatever you say, dear," before she was fast asleep.
A/N: Isabella Swan is the main character from the Twilight series of books. Including her as the name for the ship Harry and Ginny spend their wedding night on is an homage to her character who, like Harry and Ginny, have waded through much sorrow and tribulation to be with the one they love.