Chapter 23 - 3,941 words
It was the day of the wedding and everyone was in complete turmoil, all the Weasleys’ were rushing around the house frantically searching for things at the last minute, as usual, the delacours’ were in the midst of getting themselves ready for the afternoon instead of helping set everything up. Ron and Hermione were arguing with each other, probably about him walking in on her in the bathroom. It was a surprise Ginny could hear herself think with all this racket.
Right now she was pacing back and forth in her bedroom, trying not to panic, though it was proving quite difficult to not do just that. The wedding was in a few hours and she still hadn’t decided on what she was going to wear, it wouldn’t be so bad to go ask her mum for help, except she’d already promised her that she’d got everything ready, including what she’d be wearing.
She knew she should have listened to her and picked something out when she’d first mentioned it a few weeks ago, but she figured she had all the time in the world and the wedding was ages away - well it wasn’t ages away now. All the sensible dresses she owned were either too small for her or needed cleaning and there certainly wasn’t any time to wash any clothing now, not with how the day was progressing.
Not for the first time she thought about asking Hermione for some help but again she quickly banished that thought as the sound of her and Ron’s bickering carried up to her room, she didn’t want to interrupt that, and she also didn’t want to end up getting stuck in the middle of one of their arguments. Why did they always argue at the wrong time?
There was a knock at her door which she had left half open, turning to see who had come to disturb her a small smile graced her face as she saw that it was Harry. He smiled back at her then stepped inside the room, hoping to lighten her mood which he could tell was very low.
“Morning Gin” he said brightly. Normally Ginny would be thrilled to see him but with everything going on and her dilemma; right now she saw him as more of a cute hindrance than anything else... a very cute hindrance.
“Good morning Harry, since you don’t seem to be rushing around or panicking I’m guessing you’ve got all your things sorted and all you have left to do is get changed?” she asked him, feeling slightly envious of him right this moment due to the fact that he wasn’t having any problems with today.
Harry nodded his head slightly, “I was just on my way up to Rons’ room to change, but I could hear you pacing from downstairs so I came to see what was wrong. So, what’s wrong?”
“Mum’s going to kill me” she moaned out, walking over to him and burying her head in his shoulder. She snuggled up to him for comfort which he gladly obliged to, wrapping his arms around her and listening as she continued complaining about the predicament she was in.
“Well if you want me to join you on the opposing side of your mother you’re going to have to give me a very compelling reason to, why is she going to kill you?” he asked while chuckling at her behaviour. Ginny didn’t seem to think this was a laughing matter, so she hit him on his shoulder then mumbled her reasoning of why her mother was going to kill her.
“I told her a few weeks ago that I had something picked out for the wedding already so she would stop nagging me about it, but now the wedding’s here and I still can’t find anything to wear...” she was interrupted from her explanation as Harry placed a finger to her lips to silence her.
“It’s funny you should mention that, close your eyes” he moved away from her and went over to where her desk was but instead of looking at something that was on there like Ginny had thought he was going to do he ignored the desk completely and stuck his hand down the back of it, pushing it forward a bit so he could have enough room for his hand between the desk and the wall
“Harry I’m really sorry but I don’t have time for this right now...” Ginny tried telling him while watching him struggle to reach for whatever it was that was behind the desk. She didn’t have a clue as to what he was searching for, the only things that were probably behind there were scrap pieces of parchment or schoolbooks that had fallen, nothing Harry would find interesting. Maybe he’d dropped something of his down there when he’d studied in here with her.
“Just close your eyes” he repeated.
Sighing, she did what he had told her to do and closed her eyes, but like she had been trying to tell him before she really didn’t have the luxury to side track from what she was supposed to be doing, especially since she had to be ready a few hours before the wedding to help set things up, and she had the job of greeting everyone who turned up which she wasn’t particularly looking forward to.
“Okay now open them” she heard Harry say a few minutes later. Not quite sure what she was going to see she opened them slowly then gasped, Harry was standing in front of her holding a big flat rectangular box in his hands. The box was white and had a pink bow sitting on top with straps that wrapped around the sides.
He handed her the box and watched as she stared dumbly at it, not quite sure what to do with it. After some prodding from Harry she began to undo the straps from the box, going as slow as possible to avoid damaging any of it. With shaky hands she pried the box open and stared open mouthed at what lay inside. It was a dress, an emerald green dress made out of silk with three quarter length sleeves, it had elaborate ruffles on the waist and had a V-neck at the front and back of the dress. It wasn’t just the perfect dress for her it was the exact same dress that she’d been gawking at at the end of last year.
“...Harry I...” she started but stopped when she realised she had no idea what to say to him, she didn’t even think she could form a complete sentence right now, she was completely rendered speechless.
“I got it from Hogsmeade the last time I went with Ron and Hermione before summer started. I remembered you looking at it from the shop window before your friends dragged you away so I bought it as a present for you, It was when I’d started getting confused about how I felt about you” he confessed sheepishly to her, not knowing how she’d respond to his sudden revelation.
Ginny had completely forgotten about the dress she was holding the moment Harry had uttered all of that, in fact she forgot about everything, the wedding, the other people in the house, the only thing she remembered was what he’d just told her. She hadn’t realised Harry had seen her staring at the same dress she was now holding tightly in her arms.
“Wait a minute, how did you manage to hide it in my room? The only times you’ve been in here have been with me” she looked at him inquiringly with her arms folded across her chest, all traces of gratefulness for the dress disappearing for the time being.
“Well not exactly... when I first arrived at the Burrow I sneaked into your room under my invisibility cloak while you were helping your mum out in the kitchen and tried hiding the dress. I didn’t think it would be as difficult as it was, there wasn’t a lot of places I could hide it. I tried hiding it under your bed but there was something already taking up that space”
“My broomstick! So that’s how you knew about it, and all this time I’ve been thinking you’re psychic” she told him playfully, giving him a light push on his shoulder.
“Ha ha, yeah that’s how I knew about it. So since I knew you’d find it because your broomstick was under there the only other place I could hide it was behind your desk” he concluded, finishing his explanation and waiting to see what her verdict to this would be.
But it appeared she had stopped listening to what he’d been saying at some point, instead becoming fixated at the pretty dress that Harry had given her. She had that childish expression on her face again like when a child sees a toy in a shop and wants it.
“I can’t believe I’m even holding this dress, I’ve been wishing I could have it for months...”
“And now you do” Harry finished for her, happy that he’d gotten her the right thing. Ginny suddenly came out of her reverie as his words finally sunk in.
“But Harry I can’t...” she started.
“I’d better go so you can try the dress on, I hope it fits I had Hermione help me out but she didn’t know it was for you” he told her quickly, interrupting her before she could try to return his gift, that was the last thing he wanted her to do. She deserved that dress.
Ron’s voice carried down to them causing them both to jump slightly, they’d completely forgotten about the other inhabitants of the house.
“And that would be my cue to leave before your brother finds me in here while your about to change. Bye” he gave her one last smile before darting out of the room, heading in the direction of Ron.
Ginny giggled at his behaviour, “Bye Harry”
She studied the dress that was still clutched in her hands, it was perfect, but she still worried about the cost, after all that was the reason as to why she didn’t buy it herself when she’d seen it in Hogsmeade. Harry had spent so much on her and now she felt guilty about it. There was no way she could buy him anything that expensive and even if by some miracle she could she had no idea what she would get him. Sighing quietly to herself she began to change into the dress, there wasn’t time for her to dwell on things right now so she decided to wait until the wedding was over before mentioning anything to Harry.
Everything was finally ready, the Weasley back garden was set up beautifully with various decorations placed around the tent as neatly as possible. The tent that Bill and Fleur were getting married in was huge and just like the one the Weasley’s had used at the Quidditch world cup it was bigger on the inside, it was a dull grey colour on the outside but it more than made up for it as Ginny stepped inside and was met with an elegant ballroom with two incredible chandeliers hanging from - what would technically be considered - the ceiling.
Ginny stared with a dazed expression at the whole affair, she’d never seen anything so exquisite before and was surprised that this was actually theirs. She noticed that right at the far end of the tent was where her brother and Fleur were going to be married, the only indication being a beautiful wedding arch in the centre decorated by a garland made up of red a white roses twined all along the arch.
It seemed the colour theme was also red and white, the tables had white elegant tablecloths with a single vase in the middle of the tables filled with red roses. The carpet near the wedding arch was a deep blood red colour and the drapes that was part of the tent used as walls were snow white. Ginny was drinking every detail in, mesmerised by everything in the vicinity.
“So, what do you think?” A voice asked from behind her, she knew instantly who it was.
“I think it’s amazing. When you told Mum and Dad you wanted to get married in the back garden in a tent I wasn't expecting it to be this...” she trailed off as she continued taking everything in.
“Amazing?” Bill enquired with a raised brow and a slight smile tugging on his lips as he watched his little sister get enraptured by her surroundings. She nodded her response while watching her mum fuss over some flower arrangements with a young man who was shrinking away from her in fright. ‘Poor guy’ Ginny thought absently to herself.
“I told mum that he was in charge of the flowers but she said he wasn’t qualified for that” Bill said, nodding his head in the direction of the cowering man. “I tried telling her he’s a professional but as you can see she was sceptical about that and took it upon herself to arrange the flowers” he said with a chuckle.
“Self-proclaimed flower arranger” Ginny muttered under her breath while rolling her eyes. Bill let out a low roar of laughter - telling Ginny that he’d heard what she’d said, not that it mattered whether he had or not, that name had been floating around the entire Weasley household for over a week now so he’d be bound to hear it sooner or later.
“Do you have time to be stood here talking to me? You do realise the wedding will start in less than half an hour, right?” she asked him after seeing some more of the guests arrive and begin to talk to Ron who was also helping with seating people.
“Yes I’m aware of when my wedding will start thank you” Bill replied with another chuckle. “I was making my way to the front but I thought I’d talk to you first, I wanted to see what you thought about it all” he gestured to whole room to show her what he meant.
“I think it’s great, a lot better than what I expected”
“I’m afraid to ask you what you expected but at the same time I’m also curious to know how romantic you think I am so here goes” *taking a deep dramatic breath before*, “What did you expect today would be like?” he asked hesitantly.
“I thought you and Fleur would get married underneath the big oak tree near the river while some of the gnomes from the garden nibbled at your feet and Fred and George would pretend to fire spells at them to get them off you but funnily enough they would ‘accidentally’ hit you with most of their spells. Mum and Dad would spend most of the wedding yelling at the twins and you would stand there looking clueless about everything while scratching the back of your head”
Bill just stood there for a few minutes blinking at her, of all the things he were expecting her to say that definitely wasn’t one of them. Did she really think he was that unromantic?
“Yeah that’s the expression you’d have, remember that facial expression for later” Ginny told him while nodding her head, enjoying winding her brother up before he got married. Catching on to what she was doing Bill chose to ignore what she’d just said and decided to change the subject.
“So where did you get the dress? I don’t remember seeing you in that before”
Ginny blushed profusely and refused to meet his eye while she answered his question. “It’s new, a gift actually”. This caused Bill to furrow his brows.
“A gift? From who?”
Before she could answer Mrs Weasley came over to the two of them and told Ginny to hurry and start greeting the guests that were still arriving. Happy for the excuse to avoid answering Bill’s question she rushed over to some of her distant relatives who’d just arrived for the wedding. After directing them to their seats she looked back at her older brother to see him frowning and casting furtive glances at someone sat down in the second row of chairs waiting for the wedding to start. Taking a closer look at the person she realised it was Harry, which meant Bill had figured out who gave her the dress.
She didn’t understand why he was behaving so weird about it, he already knew they were going out so why was he staring at Harry as if he’d done something wrong? She continued pondering these thoughts while she greeted the guests, ‘So much for them being okay with us dating’ she thought grumpily.
“Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today to join William Arthur Weasley and Fleur Isabelle Delacour in holy matrimony...” Ginny listened half-heartedly as the ceremony official began the wedding, she was sat on the front row so she had no trouble seeing the small man with tufty hair, the only problem was that he had an annoying singsong voice which grated on her nerves.
She was still disturbed by the looks Bill was giving Harry, he was the one who convinced Ron to be okay with the two of them dating so why was he annoyed that Harry gave her a dress? She was a little annoyed with him, one: because it had nothing to do with him and she could date whoever she wanted to date, and two: she was supporting his relationship with Fleur, true she hadn't approved of them to begin with but now she was happy for the two of them.
Her mum was sat beside her on her right, crying into a worn handkerchief as she watched her eldest son tying the knot. Ginny wanted to roll her eyes - out of habit more than anything else - but refrained from doing so, she could understand her mother being so overwhelmed by this; especially considering the fact that this was the first time one of her children were getting married.
Refusing to look at her mother in case she burst into tears as well she reached over and squeezed her hand, continuing to stare straight ahead as the small ceremony man continued talking. It seemed her mother was grateful for she held onto Ginny’s hand tightly and rested her head on her shoulder.
The wedding continued on and it seemed to be taking Ginny’s mind off of everything that was bothering her, it was actually turning out to be a pleasant day. She had been expecting something to go wrong since that’s what usually happens where the Weasleys are concerned, there had never been a time when something didn't go wrong during one of their special occasions but it seemed like that unspoken rule was going to be broken today, everything had been going accordingly so far.
Apparently she’d spoken too soon, something was about to go wrong, she could tell because some of the guests on the other row began fussing about something. They were speaking too loud and disrupting the ceremony, once or twice she thought her mum might lose it, ditch her wand and strangle them all, she kept shooting the ones making noise death glares.
"If anyone has reason for these two not to wed, speak now or forever hold your peace." the ceremony official asked, directing his question to everyone seated - mostly the ones making noise.
"I can't take it any more!" one of them shouted suddenly, bolting from their chair and running out of the tent. Everyone stared in shock at the retreating persons back, not quite believing what was happening.
Ginny's attention was caught by the others who had been making noise, more and more of them began getting out of their seats and for some reason they were all covering their noses. It was like follow the leader, pretty soon all of the people sitting on the right hand side of the tent began rising from their seats and were screwing their eyes shut and placing a hand over their nose.
"So who vas the female who ran out of 'ere?" Ginny heard Fleur inquire to Bill, obviously thinking something had been or is going on with her and Bill.
"I have no idea, I think she might be my cousin" Bill replied while watching all the chaos that was happening to his right. Ginny rolled her eyes at her brother's denseness, clearly he hadn't heard her accusatory tone otherwise he would have had a better response than the one he gave.
It wasn't long before Ginny and the others figured out what all the commotion was about, as she breathed in she almost gagged as a foul smell entered her nostrils, causing her eyes to water at the stench. 'What is that?' she asked herself quietly while refusing to breath or open her mouth. The others around her got a whiff of the smell as well and were casting spells with their wands, hoping that would do the trick, the only problem was it seemed to be ineffective.
“Cast a spell to get rid of that smell” someone shouted but it was soon followed by a gagging noise as the person who shouted that tasted the smell that was dispersed in the air.
“It’s no use, every time I get rid of it it just reappears” another person replied sounding panicked.
“What in blazes name is that?”
“I think we should get out of the tent. Ron, Fred, George I want you to get all the guests outside while we try to deal with this” Mr Weasley ordered them, shoving them towards some of the guests that had passed out from the smell.
“But the wedding, we can’t put it on hold -” Mrs Weasley started but was interrupted by her husband.
“It’s already on hold, there’s no way we can enjoy the wedding with this foul smell lingering everywhere”. Before she could respond Mr Weasley began shepherding people over to the twins and Ron so they could escort them out, then he grabbed his wife and gently dragged her away from where the wedding had been taking place, using her handkerchief to cover her nose and mouth so she didn't breath it in.
Ginny rushed over to Bill, this wasn't right his wedding was supposed to be special and it was getting ruined by... well she had no idea what exactly was ruining it. The plan was she was going to reassure him that everything would be okay and the wedding would still happen today, but apparently he didn't need any words of encouragement, in fact he seemed to be extremely calm about the whole thing much to her surprise.
"Gin what are you still doing here, you should leave the tent, I don't know what the gas in the air is so I don't know if it's poisonous or not" Bill told her, grabbing her and Fleur by the arms and following everyone else out of the tent.
They were the last people in there so once they left the tent was completely empty... and that's when something decided to move out from under one of the tables at the right hand side. Something small and greyish black with a white stripe on its back and what appeared to be a tail. It looked dead and was covered in dirt, it was moving slowly around the room and basking in the smell it had created.