Chapter 24 - 5,962 words
Everyone was huddled outside the tent, gossiping about what had just occurred a few minutes ago during the wedding. Maybe believed that her brothers Fred and George had something to do with it, one of their annoying pranks, but Ginny knew better than to assume it was them, despite their behaviour and their knack for pranking people at the wrong time (causing the person being pranked a lot of embarrassment) she knew that even they knew that it would be wrong to pull a prank during their brothers wedding, they had some semblance of common sense to realise that would definitely be a wrong move to make. Others believed they were under attack by Death Eaters and Voldemort, the gas in the air filled with poison or some other harmful chemical. Ginny couldn't help but snicker every time she walked past someone as they threw around their speculation to the gathered crowd, most of whom gasped audibly and clasped a hand over their heart in shock, prompting her to roll her eyes and carry on through the throng of people, looking for a certain dark-haired bespectacled boy.
She hadn't seen Harry since they were inside the tent and even though it was only a few minutes ago that everything had transpired she couldn't help but feel a bit nervous. While she didn't for a second believe they were under attack she still had no idea what the gas in the air was, was it harmful? Was it going to start affecting them sometime soon? She didn't have the answers which greatly annoyed her, especially since her brothers wedding was getting ruined by the minute.
Looking around she finally spotted Harry over by her parents who were currently trying to calm down an irate looking witch, upon closer inspection Ginny realised it was her Aunt Muriel who was out of her wits shouting preposterous things like 'We're under attack!' and 'Get the children to safety'. All in all it wasn't one of her finer moments she mused to herself.
Slowly she made her way over to them, hoping that her parents could calm Aunt Muriel down before she made it over to them, the last thing she needed was another crazy person on her hands. A small part of her felt sympathy towards her parents who hadn't been lucky enough to catch her Aunt in a more stable condition, but more than anything she was just glad it wasn't herself who had to deal with her. Harry noticed her coming over to them and met her halfway which she was incredibly thankful for.
"Are you okay?" he asked the moment he was in front of her. A voice in the back of Ginny's mind began muttering about how she could handle herself and at one point said 'Does it look like I'm injured?!' She forced that voice down so she didn't accidentally say what she was thinking out loud then gave Harry a smile and responded with "I'm fine".
It seemed that answer didn't seem to satisfy him because a moment after she'd answered he began checking her over, looking for any signs that would tell him she was hurt. Once satisfied that she was in fact 'fine' he sighed in relief then dragged a hand across his hair causing it to stick up more than it usually did. Despite momentarily being annoyed with him for being over protective she gazed at his hair longingly, wanting to trace her own fingers through his hair which she knew he loved. But she gathered now wasn't the most appropriate time to do that.
She was dragged out of her musings by a loud groan coming from Harry, setting her focus back on him she realised he was staring at her with a somewhat pained expression on his face. Puzzled, she started thinking that maybe he'd asked her if she was alright because he'd been affected by the gas. She was about to question him, but before she could he opened his mouth to speak.
"Don't do that" he suddenly rasped out, closing his eyes and exhaling through his mouth shakily.
Ginny - now completely puzzled - frowned at him and tilted her head to the side a bit, like a dog does when they're confused. "What do you mean? Don't do what?"
"Don't stare at me like that" he answered, opening his eyes and making his face relax before continuing. "You know I like it when you run your hands through my hair, it's not fair looking at me like that when you can't do that while we're surrounded by most of your family, loads of distant relatives and Fleurs' family" he finished slowly in a whisper.
Understanding washed over her and after a few silent minutes ticked by a small smirk graced her features, alarming Harry considerably. It was that mischievous look she got when she was planning something devious. Normally she'd only reserve that look towards Fred and George which he found hilarious, but now that the look was aimed at him it was a different story.
"Ginny" he said slowly, being cautious so as not to say anything more that would undoubtedly provoke her further.
"Yes Harry?" she replied in a sweet sing-song voice, taking a step towards him, causing him to gulp audibly and take a hesitant step back.
Before he could say anything more on the matter they were both interrupted by the man who was marrying off Bill and Fleur (much to Harry's relief). He was starting to address everyone who was still gathered outside, which caused Harry to look around and note that quite a few guests had left, obviously deciding it wasn't worth sticking around.
"Could I have your attention please" the man began, making everyone fall silent and devote their attention to him. He had his wand pointed at the side of his neck and was using the sonorous spell on himself so nobody would have trouble hearing him. "A lot of people have been asking me if the wedding will proceed and the answer is yes, it will. However, it seems we'll have to move it somewhere else due to some... unfortunate circumstances"
Ginny sniggered at his choice of words, 'unfortunate circumstances' was a bit drastic to surmise, especially when no harm was done whatsoever. Yes it was a shame that it stopped the wedding but it was only momentarily, no lasting damage was made and the wedding would proceed as planned. She was once again dragged from her musings by what was said next.
"Are we under attack? Is the gas in the tent poisonous?" a little girl at the front of the crowd asked in a shaky voice. Most people around her either rolled their eyes or laughed a little to themselves at that ridiculous notion, but others were looking at the man intently, waiting for him to give an answer.
The man pulled at his shirt collar nervously, this wasn't how the day was supposed to go, and did he even have any jurisdiction to answer that question? Although technically he didn't even know if the gas was poisonous, he highly doubted it was though due to the lack of people suffering from it. The question remained: should he answer the question?
"No it's not poisonous, chances are it was either someone pulling a stupid prank or it was some kind of animal. Yea'd know if it was dangerous 'cause yea'd be affected by it by now" a gruff voice explained matter-of-factly. Everyone looked around them searching for the owner of that voice, one by one their eyes landed on Alastor Moody. Relief flooded through them all like a dam breaking upon realising that if an Auror - or ex-Auror in his case - said it wasn't dangerous then chances are it wasn't.
Feeling somewhat relieved upon hearing that the ceremony official decided to move things along, not wanting to delay the wedding any further than it already was. Another reason for why he wanted to quickly change the subject was because he knew it wouldn't be long now before more questions about the 'gas' would surface soon. "Well now that that's been cleared up, let's talk locations. Where are we moving the wedding to?" he asked jovially, clapping his hands together and smiling at the crowd.
Whispering erupted amongst everyone almost immediately after that, each one suddenly forgetting about the incident that happened not even half an hour ago and voicing their opinion to each other about where the wedding could be held. They all bombarded their suggestions onto the ceremony official who immediately regretted asking that question.
"Underneath the oak tree"
It was Ginny who'd said that - well I say said that but it was more shouted, drowning out everyone else's voices. All eyes averted to where she was standing beside Harry who squirmed under their stares. Ginny didn't seem the least bit perturbed by them and simply straightened her posture, silently daring anyone to disagree. People seemed to pick up on that for they sensibly kept their mouth shut.
Harry was a bit confused at first, not knowing where she was referring to, but then thought presumably she was referring to the only oak tree they have down by the river. Ginny ignored everyone around them (who were still staring at her with questioning looks painted on their faces) and walked over to where Bill and Fleur were standing, she whispered in their ears for a few minutes while everyone else watched and waited, then she hurried back to where Harry was, a big smile plastered on her face. Harry gave her a questioning look but didn't say anything, he figured he'd find out what she's so happy about later.
It was close to midday when everyone had finished trailing down to the river, heading in the direction of the huge oak tree which stood alone towering over all the surrounding grass, encasing each strand of grass in a comfortable shade against the scorching summer sun. It's there that all the guests could be seen, thankful that they too could be shielded from the sun which was currently hanging over their heads trying to drench each morsel in heat.
Ginny and Harry had hung back so they could stroll through the grass rather than do what the others were doing, which was practically speed walking. They were walking in companionable silence, enjoying their limited time together. It wasn't long now until the 1st of September where they'd be going back to Hogwarts and despite looking forward to going back they were also hoping time would slow down so they could have more time together.
With Harry in his sixth year a lot of his time will be taking away with mountainous piles of homework and on top of that he'd be preparing for his Newts. Ginny was starting her fifth year which summed up one word, OWLS. They knew that they'd both be too busy to see each other alone much which would weigh on them a lot, though they had talked about it a bit during the week, trying to plan out times they could spend together without Ron and Hermione being with them.
Ginny felt Harry's hand brush against hers, sending a jolt of electricity up her arm, then a few seconds later he gentle grabbed it and entwined his fingers through hers slowly, almost like he thought she wouldn't notice what he was doing if he was extra slow about it. This thought caused Ginny to giggle slightly and roll her eyes at her oddity, only she would think something like that during a nice moment.
"Do I want to know what you're giggling about?" Harry asked cautiously, afraid of her answer. As much as he liked girls - especially a certain girl - he just didn't understand them one bit, 'Why do they randomly erupt into fits of giggles for no apparent reason? Do I want to know what she's giggling about?' But him being the true Gryffindor that he is, he decided to brave it and asked the question that plagued every males minds.
"Nothing, I was just thinking something silly that's all" Ginny replied cryptically. She began humming to herself whilst gently swinging their entwined hands back and forth. Harry watched her, waiting for her to elaborate on what she'd said, surely there had to be more to that than just 'thinking something silly'. But as he waited with bated breath he realised that she had indeed finished with her answer to his rather brave question.
"Oh.... okay" he mumbled quietly.
A few minutes of walking and he'd completely forgotten about her - want of a better word - giggle outburst as the unruly heat had sapped most of both their energy and had caused their concentration to deteriorate as the minutes ticked by, with the speed they were walking it wouldn't be a surprise if they made it to the oak tree and the wedding was finished, with Bill and Fleur already on their honeymoon.
"Remind me again why I suggested the oak tree as the place they could get married?" Ginny said while turning to him expectantly, panting slightly due to exhaustion.
"I was hoping that you'd tell me why you did it, 'cause I haven't got a clue" Harry responded with.
Grunting at his lack of helpfulness she went back to focusing on trooping through the field, uncomfortably aware of the sweat coating her skin from the heat. Her hair was plastered to her scalp and looked as though someone had poured water all over it, and the intensity of the heat was causing her to feel dizzy. It was just her luck to attend her brothers wedding red-faced and caked in sweat, 'I must look a right mess' she thought sourly.
Out of the two of them the one suffering the most (in Harry's opinion) during this heat wave was Harry since he was wearing a black suit that Mrs Weasley had picked out for him for the wedding, he was roasting in it and wanted more than anything to take it off. It was like the suit was drawing in the heat from the sun, like his body was a host and his suit was welcoming in the heat as guests.
He envied Ginny right now because she was wearing a light dress that didn't cover her whole body so fresh air could easily get to her skin. Her skin...
He was pulled from his thoughts as Ginny began waving a hand in front of his face. Blushing crimson he quickly took a fascination with his shoes, keeping his eyes glued to them as he walked. He was completely enraptured by her exposed skin on her neck down to her collarbone that he'd practically been gawking at her as uncensored thoughts unwillingly entered his mind.
Absently he wondered if she'd noticed him staring at her like that, he hadn't exactly been discrete about it and he had an inkling that she'd seen the lust in his eyes.
"Like what you see?" she asked teasingly, causing him to jerk his head up and turn to face her, almost tripping over his own feet in the process. So she had noticed him staring, a brief thought crossed his mind that maybe she wasn't embarrassed about it, although if he looked closely he could just make out the faint blush creeping up her neck and onto her cheeks.
"Uh... I-" he stammered.
"-We could continue from where we were before if you'd like"
Harry wasn't entirely sure if he'd heard her right, they were on their way to her brothers wedding so it was understandable that he was having doubts about what he had thought he'd heard her say, but, as she stepped in front of him - halting his movement - all his doubts were swept away.
Ginny snaked her arms around his neck and pressed her lips against his, the kiss starting off slow but becoming more urgent with each passing second. Harry responded by wrapping his arms around her waist and pulling her as close to him as he could, his hands started trailing down her back slowly as her fingers raked through his hair causing him to shudder. He moved his lips to behind her earlobe and then began trailing kisses down her neck, feeling her quickened pulse vibrating against them.
His wandering lips found her collarbone and he placed feather light kisses along it before he felt hands tugging on his suit, unfastening the buttons. He shrugged the blazer off his shoulders quickly and let it fall to the floor behind him, then he placed both his hands on either side of Ginny's face and continued kissing her while she went to work undoing his shirt buttons.
Once all the buttons were undone she parted the shirt and put her hands on his chest, idly tracing light patterns with her fingers from his chest to the bottom of his stomach, just grazing the top of his trousers which he was rather uncomfortably highly aware of. Thoughts overpowered his rational thinking that they should stop now before anything happens, it was hard for him to block out those rather explicit thoughts and Ginny certainly wasn't helping matters.
She could tell by his hesitance that Harry was torn between continuing with what they were doing and being responsible and breaking it up, which made it all the more fun for her because she knew that if they kept this up any longer Harry would eventually give in and let his mind shut off so he wouldn't be able to hear that nagging voice in the back of his head telling him to stop.
Deciding to tease him a little so he'd make a decision faster she removed one of his hands from the side of her face and placed it on her chest in the middle where her skin was exposed due to the dip in the v-neck. Slowly, she pushed his hand sideways so the tips of his fingers were partially inside her dress.
"You're going to be the death of me" Harry moaned out after breaking the kiss. He was still trying to will himself to break this up and make his way over to the oak tree for the wedding but was finding it very difficult to do so, especially now.
Ginny lifted her head up and looked him in the eye before saying, "Better me than Voldemort" At first Harry didn't know how to respond, that reply had taken him by surprise, but as he watched her with a blank expression on his face a smile tugged at her lips telling him she was just joking around.
"... True" he admitted in a whisper before once again capturing her lips with his own...
A little while later they'd both arrived at the oak tree, looking a little ruffled and unkempt with their hair askew. Thankfully they hadn't missed the whole wedding although because of their lateness they had made an unwanted entrance. From the suspicious looks Mrs Weasley was giving them it was safe to assume she was going to be having some words to say to Ginny after this whilst her brothers have a few words with Harry. Something neither were looking forward to.
Hurrying to take their seats to steer people's eyes from them the ceremony official continued from where he was interrupted, shooting the two of them a furtive look before proceeding.
Tuning out what the tiny man was saying since it had nothing to do with why everyone was here, Ginny let her eyes wander around her surroundings, drinking everything in. She loved being by the oak tree, there were so many fond memories she had here, old and new. This is where she had read her Hogwarts letter, inviting her to attend, when she was eleven. It was here where she had her first go on a broomstick, stealing Bill's from the broom shed and heading out here to avoid being seen by her family who, at the time, thought she was too 'fragile' to ride a broom.
Another memory, a recent memory, sprung to the front of her mind which made her smile. It was one from yesterday right after Mrs Weasley had caught her and Harry in the middle of one of their 'activities' and had separated them. In hindsight she figured it had been a bad idea to make out in the bathroom, especially when said bathroom was shared between all the Weasley's and any guests that happened to stay over.
Ginny had just finished helping her mum out with some chores and she'd been given the all clear to leave by her before heading outside and venturing towards the all too familiar oak tree, or as she called it: her escape. She'd sat down underneath the tree, leaning against it and shielding herself from the Burrow so she couldn't be seen. As much as she loved her family even she had her limits of how long she could stand them.
And then a few minutes later she had been startled by something to her left, at first she'd thought it was the wind but that thought was quickly trampled on as it occurred to her that wind didn't focus on a specific area to blow wind at, which was currently on her neck. After wearing a confused look on her face for about five minutes a sudden thought crossed her mind.
She'd been right of course as said person appeared out of thin air, clutching a black silky cloak in his hand and a coy smile dominating his features. With the way the moonlight was cascading onto his skin it sent a slight shiver down her spine, he'd looked ethereal in all his splendour, his green eyes illuminating in the darkness and if Ginny looked closely she could just make out the light of the moon reflecting onto his emerald eyes.
When he had sat down at the side of her? She had no idea, she was still slightly dazed by his appearance from before. But one minute he was standing in front of her and the next he was brushing his shoulder against hers to catch her attention as he rested against the tree. It took her awhile to collect herself and she was thankful that despite the full moon being out it was still pleasantly dark enough for her to hide her blush from him, 'Why did he have this much of an effect on me?'
They had sat there talking for hours about everything and nothing, and when they weren't talking they were met with companionable silence which they welcomed with open arms. Sometime during the night they'd fallen asleep in each others arms, Ginny leaning against Harry's chest with her head nestled on his shoulder comfortably while his arms were wrapped around her protectively.
As the sun had begun its rising they'd both been shaken awake by a disgruntled Bill who didn't look quite happy about finding the two of them there like this.
Bringing her attention back to the wedding as she was reminded about Bill, she glanced over at him, remembering the conversation they'd had just before the wedding when he'd asked her what she thought his wedding would turn out like. It took all her strength and willpower not to outright laugh as she caught sight of his expression.
"Look at Bill" Ginny instructed Harry, nodding her head slightly in her brother's direction while smirking. Not understanding what she seemed so amused about he directed his attention to Bill and noticed that he looked quite apprehensive for some reason.
"What did you do?" he questioned, furrowing his brows in confusion. This caused Ginny to laugh and then try to cover it up as a cough as a few of the guests had turned to face her looking rather annoyed that she was being disruptive.
As they all turned back to watch the ceremony Ginny leaned over and whispered in his ear, "I told him my version of what I thought his wedding was going to be like and some of it's come true because they're getting married under the oak tree" she explained with glee.
Though still not quite understanding what was going through that head of hers he decided to just watch everything play out, he knew that if he asked questions now he'd likely be her accomplice in this so it was safer for him to be kept in the dark. Even though she hadn't outright said she was up to something he could definitely tell she was, she had the Weasley trademark mischievous look that was normally worn by Fred and George before they pranked someone.
It wasn't long before Harry noticed something approaching from a distance, he couldn't tell what it was at first, it was unrecognisable but as it got closer and closer to where the wedding was being held he realised that it was a garden gnome.
Wondering if Ginny had something to do with this he turned to her with an accusing look on his face, he wasn't completely surprised when she wouldn't meet his eye and all that did was answer his unspoken question. This was her doing. He couldn't stop the laugh that escaped his lips as he noticed more gnomes approaching, charging in a pack which made it look as though they were being attacked.
"This might ruin his wedding" Harry informed her while watching the gnomes make their journey towards them, who still had a ways to go even though they were running as fast as their little legs could go.
Ginny shrugged her shoulders before responding, "It's going to be a wedding that people can't easily forget" and she was right about that as everyone else had now seen the pack of gnomes heading their way, once again halting the wedding. Mrs Weasley looked to be on the verge of hexing everyone as the guests started reacting by either talking about it or standing up and panicking.
Ginny thought it was a bit silly for people to be freaking out over it, they were just gnomes after all, the worst thing they could do is nibble on your finger. Not very dangerous in her opinion. Although it isn't exactly pleasant either, being bitten.
Most of the gnomes were heading towards Bill and Fleur, probably because they was the centre of attention during this special occasion, what better way to ruin the wedding than tormenting the bride and groom. And that's just what they did, some of them were advancing on Bill, going extremely slow to toy with him while others made their way towards Fleur, surrounding her.
Harry and Ginny watched as they started attacking Bill, latching onto his feet and legs, trying to bring him down as though he was a giant. Some of the others began throwing mud at Fleur, caking her wedding dress in the sloppy substance much to her horror. Ginny could only imagine the amount of money it cost to buy that, but she still didn't have the heart to feel guilty about it, it wasn't like they got on very well.
Mr Weasley, who'd just finished calming down his wife before she could step in and send hexes left, right and centre, ran over to them to help his son out as the gnomes had succeeded in bringing Bill to his knees and were now in the midst of climbing onto his back and pulling on his hair, which was involuntarily making him cry out. He'd tried his best to stifle the cry but it was to no avail, he was even biting his bottom lip in an attempt to trap the sounds that were escaping from his mouth. All that did was cause his lip to bleed and it looked as though it was starting to swell.
What had made this scene even more embarrassing was that all the guests who weren't currently being harassed by the ferocious things were close enough to hear Bill's whimpering, whether they were amused by this or concerned was anybody's guess. It was safe to assume they had no intention of stepping in and helping the poor bloke.
Eventually Bill had managed, with much effort, to get back to his feet somewhat shakily but it seemed his standing was in jeopardy as this act caused the disgruntled gnomes to scream what sounded like... a battle cry? And were trying to take his feet from out under him again. Ginny had no idea if it was indeed a battle cry that she'd heard but she had to admit that thought did amuse her.
"Bill hold still, I'll get it!" Mr Weasley ordered before aiming a kick at the little vermin that was currently hanging from Bill's waist. His foot connected with something and for a moment Mr Weasley thought that he'd hit the target, that is until...
"That's not a gnome" Bill squeaked out before once again collapsing to his knees, gasping for breath. But this time for an entirely different reason than before.
Mr Weasley began apologising profusely to his eldest son while trying to keep the gnomes from attacking to two of them, though it seemed they were only targeting Bill. Not having enough time to dwell on that fact he banished that thought from his head for the time being and continued protecting his son.
Ginny woke up suddenly with a frown on her face, it took her a few minutes to gather her surrounding and after a few silent seconds went by she realised that it had all just been a dream. Shaking her head at the oddity of her dream she sat up and thought about it. She had no idea why she'd dreamt about Bill's wedding or why she'd ruined his wedding in the dream. Even though it was highly amusing watching Bill being trampled on by garden gnomes from their own garden.
Bill awoke with a start, pushing the covers away from him slowly so as not to wake Fleur, he swung his legs off the bed and sat on the edge. That had to be one of the weirdest dreams he's ever had, a skunk forcing him to leave the tent and then being attacked by gnomes and to top it all off his dad kicking him in his... yeah definitely his strangest one yet.
And what was more strange was that it was Ginny who had orchestrated the whole affair, his baby sister who he'd been nothing but kind to her whole life. He'd have to keep a close eyes on her today just to avoid any of that happening. Another reason why he would be keeping an eye on her, as well as Harry was because for some strange reason he'd also dreamt of them two messing around with each other.
He tried really hard to get those images of them two kissing out of his head, it certainly wasn't something he ever wanted to picture. Bill knew that he'd probably end up being harsh towards Harry today, even though it was only a dream it was still Harry that was all over his sister so he figured that was justify-able, wasn't it?
Knowing that he wouldn't be able to get back to sleep after that dream and that it would be pointless trying, Bill stood up, walked over to his bedroom door and opened it then stepped out of his room, completely oblivious to Fred and George who were crouched down hiding round the corner of his room smirking, as if they'd just pulled a prank on someone and was seeing their reaction.
Still feeling a little angry and nauseated at his dream he shook his head and headed downstairs, hoping that his wedding would go a lot better than it had in his dream...
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