Countdown to Action
Chapter 17: Countdown to Action
Lennox Manor was located on the outskirts of a small Scotish village. Unbeknowst to its Muggle population, the town was slightly famous for being the birthplace of many great witches and wizards troughout the centuries. Like Minerva McGonagall for instance. Or another aspiring young wizard nowadays – Angus Lennox. Unlike the McGonagall´s manse however, Lennox Manor was huge, with a large, lovely garden which had many fences and even a few smaller greenhouses added over the years, yet still retaining a lovely appearance. All in all, it was a beautifull place to live, however with one tragic flaw...
"I swear... if this place needs something – anything – its a woman´s touch."grumbled Lily as she made her way to a nearby closet, washing supplies in her arms.
True, Angus and Susan DID do a bit of cleaning yesterday in order to spare the others a LOT of work, but it barely even scratched the surface. As agreed, Lily, James and all the Weasleys came in the moring in order to prepare the house for the wedding. As expected, they found old Sean Lennox positively immersed in his research as well as the two sons. Lily and James came to know Angus´ family since the summer before the boys´ second year and though she personally didn´t agree with them on many accounts, she couldn´t deny that they were good people. One of the things she didn´t like was, that the House was a vrtual pig-site.
Suddenly she felt an all-too familiar pair of arms wrap around her from behind and heared the door of the closet snap.
"You know, Lil... Prongs needs a woman´s touch too..."murmured the voice of her husband as she felt his lips start to assault her neck in loving kisses.
She quickly set everything she was holding onto a small shelf infront of her (lucky she saw it before James shut the door) and instinctively reached to the top of his head, her fingers roaming trough his untidy hair, surpressing a giggle.
"In that case, I suggest Prongs should go for a little run trough the nearby forest. I´m sure he´ll find a few females that would be interested."
She heared James give out a whine of protest as he turned her around in his arms.
"Prongs is only interested in this female."he said in a sulky voice before his lips found hers.
Once again – as was the case in all these years – she couldn´t resist... no matter how hard she tried.
"J... James... James... Jamie, stop!"she whispered as she felt his hands unbuttoning her shirt.
"Oh, come on, Lils... who´s gonna notice? Everyone´s busy, Molly´s running them all ragged and Sean is still in the cellar with his research with Arthur and Padfoot is in the garden with Pura. Plus the kids are still at the Zabini Estate or at Hogwarts. We have plenty of time..."he whispered and Lily could easily tell, even in this pitch-black darkness, that he was wiggling his eyebrows mischievously.
She bit her lip as her husband once more started to assault her neck – it was starting to become (as it always did) all too tempting.
"You... do realize... that we have our precious son´s wedding to prepare..."she whispered, but her next words were stiffled by James´ passionate kiss – her reservations had crumbled to dust.
"Like... I... said. We... have... time..."whispered James between the kisses.
Lily couldn´t help but giggle.
"You´ll... never... change... James... Potter..."
Once again, she was completly sure that her husband was giving her his trademark lop-sided grin, that positively screamed of mischief.
"You should know, love..."he said teasingly before once more locking lips.
The passionate make-out session endured for only a mere moment when the door opened.
"Don´t bother, Angus. I know where the cleaning supplies are ke-..."
Lily and James separated and froze instantly, as did the person who opened the door – none other than...
"H...Harry!"breathed Lily, her face positively exploding in color – it was almost the same shade as her hair.
Dispite blushing a matching shade of red, James fixed him a sheepish grin.
"Oh... son... we... we didn´t expect you... you´re early, aren´t you..."he stammered James.
Harry´s green eyes were wide-opened, his face in a mixture of shock and embaressment, feeling fairly sure that this would haunt him in his dreams tonight unless Ginny would do something about it.
Without a single word, or a change of expression, Harry shut the door, leaving his parents in the darkness of the closet again.
"Bloody hell... busted... AGAIN..."mumbled James, letting out a sigh.
He could feel Lily´s hands move away from his back and he was sure, that she used them to cover her blushing face.
"... oh, Merlin... I´ll die of embaressment... and YOU...! We have time, huh?! Nice way of spoiling everything, all because you can´t keep your bloody ever-teenage hormones at bay!"she scolded, her voice uncharacteristicly high as she quickly started to button-up her shirt.
James however shook his head and chuckled.
"Oh come on, Lil... I mean... its not like the first time he walked in on us. We should all be used to it by now... I mean... since he was five..."
"JAMES! DO NOT REMIND ME OF THAT !"she positively squealed.
James actually laughed, remembering the time when their 5 year old son ran into the Master bedroom (excited about some new discovery of his, eager to show them) when they have been in bed completly... um... preoccupied. Sending him into the other room at once, the...activity was instantly off and the task fell to him (as Lily was way too embaressed to do so) to try to explain what was going on to the curious little tyke – which wasn´t easy, since even then he was a perceptive child that asked the most pointed questions. In a strange way, James found that he missed those times... but now however...
"James Charlus Potter, which part of this embaressing situation do you find funny?!"growled Lily, but James´ snickering only doubled.
"I´ve just realized something... Ginny will be living with us at the Cottage, won´t she?"
"Yes... so?"she asked and James snickered mischievously, the snicker sending her back in her memories - all the way into their first-year at Hogwarts in fact.
"Weeeeell... let´s just say, that I am looking forward to... finally get some payback for all the walking-in on us."
Now Lily giggled as well, her embaressment subsiding a bit.
"You should be ashamed of yourself, James. Being so mean on our sweet little son."she mock-scolded him gently.
Chuckling, James moved in for a peck on her lips.
"Like you said, Lils – I´ll never change."
The large dungeon was as dark as ever. Now fully recovered, Barty Crouch grinned as he entered the room along with Rodolphus, Mulciber and Dolohov. The location of this secret prision was known only to the Death Eaters closest to Lord Voldemort. During the recent reign of terror Voldemort set it up in order to hold the captured or abducted witches and wizards and even after his apparent death at Hogwarts, its secrecy and prisionersstill remained. And it weren´t lenient numbers at all. Over three hundred men, women and children were there, bound by enchantments and kept in reserve for special tasks – as this one.
"We will be taking ten or so of these Mudbloods (he pronounced the word as something disguisting that besmirched his mouth) to assist us with the task at hand. Mulciber, you take thirty with you to assist Wormtail´s team in his mission. Don´t forget, the greater havoc you cause, the better. Also I understand, that the Dark Lord wants a few of them to assist with something in the Mudblood´s home."said Barty.
Mulciber gave an angry huff.
"Wouldn´t know much about that. The pesky little rat wouldn´t say – The Dark Lord has appointed me the leader for this mission, you shall be informed of his orders before we start."he said, imitating Wormtail´s squeaky voice.
"I never could understand, why the Dark Lord prizes a pathetic wizard like him."growled Rodolphus angrily, envy eating away what remained of his heart.
"He is much more capable than one would think. And let´s not forget, that the Dark Lord knows best. He always knows."said Barty, glaring the two Death Eaters, who backed away at once.
Peter Pettigrew, as a fellow Death Eater, fellow spy and fellow co-conspirator became one of Barty´s only friendships he had, albeit a bit rocky – the man was a bit cowardly, but still possesed a cunning mind. Nevertheless he was "The Dark Lord´s left hand", while he was the "right hand". And the work he has put in with Thicknesse had enabled the perfect cover for him and his team to do their task of utmost importaince.
"Hurry up and pick your servants, Mulciber. As Wormtail mesaged me, he and Rabastan are already assuming their positions. Supply them with the wands we nicked from Ollivander´s a year back."
At Barty´s instructions Mulciber stepped forward an looked at the captive people, drawing out his wand.
"Imperio"he said, pointing his wand at the first man.
"Arthur Septimus Weasley! You get away from that compyu... compt... OH, that THING at once! Our only daughter is getting married in a few short hours and you see it fit to play with some infernal muggle machine?!"rang Molly Weasley´s voice from the upper room.
"B... but Molly, dear... I have never seen such a thing before... its very fascinating... I swear, just a small look and..."whined Arthur to no avail as his dear wife was dragging him away from the room – away from the research lab´s king-sized computer.
"This is NOT the time to be drooling around some muggle contraptions! We have a wedding to prepare and nothing is done around here! You will NOT be slacking off until everything is over and done with!"
"Yes, dear..."said Arthur in a meek voice and allowed himself to be led into the other room.
The large hall room was filled with busy people, the room being transformed and decorated in bright colors. Roger Lennox was looking around in pure amazement Though his little brother was a wizard, he rarely got to see any magic at all.
Bill enlarged the table, so that it would seat all the guests and Charlie instantly conjured more chairs, that drew a gasp of pure awe from Roger. Molly was running around, apparently organizing where everyone should sit for the reception, conjuring little name-tags as she went, a paper in her free hand – this was her baby girl´s wedding afterall, and she wanted everything to be perfect.
"... and the Evanses should sit here, Sirius and Amelia here... Susan and Angus next to them of course, so the Lennoxes should be here, right next to Angus that´s right... and we will need to conjure up a place for the pets to dine as well – I´m sure Harry will have all his snakes here and there´s Angus´ panther and Callidora´s little pig... I swear... animals on a wedding... FRED, GEORGE! WHAT DO YOU TWO THINK YOU´RE DOING?! HARRY AND GINNY WILL BE SITTING THERE! TRANSFIGURE THOSE CHAIRS BACK THIS INSTANT!"
Percy glared his younger twin brothers, while Bill, Charlie and Ron chuckled. The seats reserved for the bride and the groom now resembled two thrones – one in red and gold colors with a large lion´s head at the top, the other green and silver with a large cobra head on its top – they could NOT make the House preferences plainer.
"C´mon Mum. We want our Gin-Gin to stand out. I mean the lovebirds deserve to have special seats."said Fred.
"Our baby sister deserves a throne on her wedding day. We´re sure she will hardly complain."nodded George.
"Plus we want to show Harry, that he´s one of the rare few snakes we actially like."nodded George grinningly.
"And let´s not forget, that this is a uniuqe case here – a Gryffindor and a Slytherin marrying out of love."added Fred with the same grin.
"Not true boys."said a new voice before Molly could give out an angry retort.
James and Lily entered the room, James grinning in appretiation at the two chairs.
"My Mum was a Slytherin herself – she was a Black and except for Sirius all of them were Slytherins. But Molly, I´m afraid I have to agree with the boys – our newlyweds deserve to stand out for this beautifull day."
Molly gaped at him.
"But James... surely..."
"Let´s vote on it – who´s for the thrones everyone?"he quickly asked brightly and Molly saw, that all of the boys raised their hands – even Arthur, smiling gently had his hand up.
"Sorry, Molly... you´ve been outvoted."said James pleasantly, but she looked like she still doesn´t want to give-up..
"Forget it, Molly. They won´t back down from this. Let´s just be glad we haven´t left the decorating to Callidora. C´mon... the two of us should go help the other girls in the kitchen. Knowing our guests, we shall need a fantastic ammount of food. I´m sure James and Sirius for instance will be pigging out like there´s no tommorow."said Lily, shooting a cheeky grin on her husband.
Ignoring the childish exclamation of her husband, she and Molly departed for the kitchen giggling like school girls. The large kitchen had never been so clean, or full. Fleur, Tammy, Audrey and Alice were all giggling about something as a red-faced Hermione continued to cut the vegetables.
"Oh shut up... Ron just has a healthy appetite, that´s all."she grumbled as the four giggled again.
"Don´t we know it, Mione. But he expressly said as I recall, that only your cooking is as good as his Mum´s."chortled Alice, grinning at the blushing girl, who remembered the last summer, when she invited Ron over to the Granger House in order to intorduce her boyfriend to her parents and ended up preparing the dinner for all of them – something which apparently left a giant impression on Ron.
Molly couldn´t surpress a gentle smile – she had crushed both her and her youngest son in her hug as soon as they told her, that their engagements have been repaired, she always liked Hemione and was happy that she will be a part of the family.
"We have a small problem, though... we´ve used up the little food supply this kitchen had."announced Angelina from the cooking stove.
"Not to worry. I have a specialist force on the job."
As if on cue, the back-door of the kitchen opened and in walked Susan Bones giggling. She had only one small bag in her hand, which raised a few curious eyebrows in the room. However right after her came Angus, his muscular hands holding no fewer than ten giant bags, filled to bursting by various grosseries, sweets, snacks and God-knows whatever else.
"Blimey... what did you do, Mrs Potter? Sent them to buy out the entire shop?"whispered Tammy in good humor.
"Well.. I´m not sure, what everyone will be in the mood for, so I´ve had them get a little bit of everything."said Lily brightly.
"A little bit, Mum?"asked Alice slyly, eying the enormous bags Angus was setting on the nearby empty table.
Angus came up to Lily and made a sallute.
"Mission completed, mein general..."he said proudly and the kitchen erupted in giggles.
Lily mock-salluted him back.
"At ease, soldier. Anyway, I´m very thankfull for getting us the supplies on the oh-so-extensive list. Thanks for keeping an eye on our soldier for the mission, Captain Susie."she said, winking at Susan who giggled.
"My pleasure Mrs Potter. But my sweet soldier didn´t need any watchfull-eye on him. I assure you that he took up to his mission with much enthusiasm."
Lily grinned as she came closer to her flashing a look at Angus´ back as he was busy rummaging one of the bags for something.
"And I´m sure he insisted on carrying all the bags home, leaving your hands free."she said slyly.
"Of course, Mrs Potter. This muggle-born muscle-man is a real gentleman indeed. Anyway, down in the shop I´ve had the pleasure of meeting He who must not be named of the muggle world."
Except Lily and Angus everyone stared at her wildly, not knowing who she meant. Both Lily and Angus shared a chuckle.
"Ah, so you´ve met McRushley then, you should feel priviledged – I haven´t. But Angus tells me, that he´s not as bad as Sean makes it to appear."said Lily, knowing the stories from Angus.
"Well... he´s a bit snobbish... a bit pompous too, but I found him to be a nice person."said Susan smiling a bit.
"Just don´t let Pops hear you said that. Don´t forget, he´s the You-know-who at this house. Anyway... if that is all, we should probably get going into the West Wing to prepare the place as well. Entschuldigen Sie mich, mein general."said Angus, once more salluting Lily, who grinned at him – knowing Angus´ gift for foreign languages, especially German which he and Harry used to joke with her sometimes.
"Schnell, schnell, schnell..."she commanded with humor, shooing the two away from the kitchen.
The two promptly took the order and hand-in-hand they raced towards the West Wing of the Lennox Manor.
"No wonder you look up to her as your surrogate Mum, she´s very sweet."noted Susan as they came to a halt on the corridor.
"Yeah well... I´m kinda envious of Harry for having a cool Mum like that. I mean... you know my Pop... I love him, but he can be so bull-headed sometimes."he said with a smile.
Susan giggled and wrapped her arms around him, standing up on her tip-toes to peck his cheek.
"You´re the one to talk about being bull-headed, Big Moo."she whispered with a giggle.
Angus grinned at her sheepishly. Just yesterday he decided on letting her know one of his greatest secrets – his unregistered Animagus form – wishing to be honest with her. And her reaction was much better than he expected. Plus the way she called him "Big Moo" just now sent pleasant shivers down his spine, the bull in his heart stirr from his slumber.
"I love you, Susie."he said passionately, locking lips with her.
Halfway during the kiss he felt his sweet Hufflepuff gently guiding him forwards into the supply closet, to which door she had opened. Grinning into the kiss, he closed the door behind him and the moment pleasant darkness reigned, he deepened the kiss, relishing the feel of her small and gentle hands roaming up and down his bare muscular arms – the girl couldn´t get enough of it as well, loving the feel of his strong, firm muscles.
"Wait up Ginny. I´ll just place this stuff into the..."
The door opened and Harry Potter had once more found himself on walking in on a snogging couple. Though thistime he kept his face absolutely neutral, muggle cleaning supplies in his hands.
"Sorry. I´ll just put these here..."he said, placing the cleaning supplies on the ground near Angus´ feet.
"... don´t let yourself be disturbed, you two. Carry on, please..."he finished quickly, shutting the door and leaving the couple once more in darkness.
"Honestly..."he thought as he went towards a giggling Ginny – he had told her of his earlier find mere moments ago.
"... do ALL Animagi snog in closets?!"
For a small moment he wondered if he would find Sirius and Amelia in some closet before the end of the day.
"Oh forget it... "he thought as Ginny took him by the hand and kissed him sweetly.
"Harry... you know... three pairs of sweethearts can play this closet-snog game."she said, grinning mischievously.
Harry´s green eyes twinkled.
"For some reason... this Gryffindor mischief of yours is starting to grow on me..."
Ginny giggled, pressing herself closer to him.
"Better get used to it Potter, because you will be stuck with it for life."
"I can live with that."said Harry huskily before moving in for a passionate kiss.
The kiss barely endured a second when...
"OHO! I didn´t expect to catch you so soon and without any effort! WAHOO! Lion Daddy strikes back!"exclaimed James, looking like a first-year who just won his very first Gobstones game – something that made Ginny burst out in laughter.
Harry on the other hand fixed his father with a mortified look.
"D´you mind, Dad? Unlike you and Mum, we are still in old enough to be snogging like teenagers."he informed James in a silky voice while shooting him a mock-glare.
"Harry... must you be so mean to your dear old Dad?"whined James theatricly, giving him a puppy-eye stare.
"Yeees Harry... can´t you see, that your dear Dad still wishes to behave like a teenager dispite how... old he is?"teased Ginny, giving him a sly look.
James gave a theatrical moan and pretended to burst into tears.
"Oh, the agony of it all... my lovely daughter-in-law already thinks of me as an old man... next thing you know, they´ll be pushing me on a wheel-chair."
"If you keep walking in on us like this, Lion Daddy... we just might."said Ginny sweetly, pulling out her wand and wiggling it in the air.
Grinning in appretiation, James raised his hands in a mock-surrender.
"Okay, okay... you got me. Anyway you two... I think you should go prepare for the wedding. But first, I want to talk to you, Harry."
Harry rolled his eyes.
"Dad... if this is about the closet, then..."
"Its not about that at all."said James, cutting him off and making a curious look appear on his face instantly.
"This morning I have heared a most curious thing and... well... can we talk alone, please? Sorry about this, Ginny."
The tone in his voice was pleasant, yet Harry could detect a note utmost urgency in it.
Ginny was curious as well, but already had an idea what the issue might be about.
"Okay then. I´ll go get ready with the other girls and leave you two to talk."
Harry couldn´t restrain a smile.
"You are amazing, love."he muttered before pecking her lips again.
Winking at him, she left and the two men decided to go down into the garden. As soon as they reached it, two black blurs dashed past them. Pura was running around, jumping and changing courses, accompanied by a joyfull big black dog – barks and roars were heared troughout the garden. Apparently Pura and Padfoot were having a blast just chasing eachother. Harry couldn´t surpress his laughter. When he hadn´t heared his father´s however, he knew the issue was serious.
"Harry... Draco was made Head of the Vigilantee Task Force... but I´m sure you know it perfectly well yourself."
Looking at his face, he saw that his father had been both serious and worried.
"Look... when you joined the Juniors, you... you hadn´t told me or Mum a thing. I understood somewhat... you wanted to protect us as well as Alice and Neville. Thistime however... Harry... I want you to tell me. I doubt you five Slythrins would be the ones to just be sitting around when clearly you stand against Fudge, Kellen and their enigmatic whims."
Harry bit his lip. He was expecting for some time now, that this conversation might come up... his Dad was Head Auror afterall. He suddenly felt James place a hand on his shoulder. They locked eyes and Harry saw the strength in his Dad´s hazel ones.
"You asked me once before son... to trust you. I cannot do so if you don´t trust ME. So now Harry, I ask you to trust me... please... whatever it is... whatever at all... trust me with the truth."
Harry took a moment to think... he recalled the numerous things he had done since his first year in Slytherin... the number of times he brought worry and concern onto his loving parents – only to have them stick by him no matter what happened... all the things he had done up until now with his friends... and Ginny – the great step in life he would be taking in just one hour or so... then Tom Riddle and all he knew of him – the one who didn´t trust and confide in anyone, JUST the person he never wanted to become... and Albus´ youthfull mistake, the one secret the Headmaster decided to share with HIM and not Neville...
"If there EVER was a time to place your trust in your father, it is NOW Potter."he said to himself and made his mind up in one instant.
He reached into his pocket for his wand and with a cassual flick two simple chairs appeared out of nowhere.
"Sit down, Dad..."he said in a quiet voice.
With another wave from his precious Cedar wand, two bottles of Butterbeer zoomed from the door leading to the garden, flying neatly into their hands.
"Its time... I told you... everything."
Albert Runcorn was smiling. Dressed in his muggle disguise all morning, he finally had some luck. In the local grossery store of the small Scotish town they were surveying he had finally seen two of the suspects – Susan Bones and that muscled Mudblood. And after speaking with the old lady who headed the store, along with a brilliantly dressed old man named McRushley for nearly half an hour (sweet Merlin, these dirty Muggles sure loved to talk), he found out that the "big manor up the hill" was hosting a party of sorts. At once he felt a surpreme sence of truimph. Though his people returned from Hogwarts two hours ago, telling that the suspects were on their lessons or in detention, he knew they might try something... something like a swift marriage for instance. Swiftly rushing to the safe-house they had in the town – a simple house that once belonged to a Ministry Official and was now abandoned – commanding his team to regroup there before his arrival.
"This is IT!"he thought with wild excitement.
He couldn´t even express how much he wanted to rush up to the Manor and arrest the whole lot of them. Those stupid teenage brats who think they can stand-up to Madam Kellen, the blood-traitor Weasley family, the head-strong miss richeous Amelia Bones, and also the stuck-up Aurors Black, Potter and his filthy Mudblood of a wife and last but not least the Hogwarts traitors, who seem to take take pride in teaching young witches and wizard to be catastrophically disobedient. It was a shame Dolores Umbridge didn´t have enough time over her Professoring to teach the stupid brats some maners. Well, HE would rectify all that. By catching the scum, he would forever cement his place with Madam Kellen and even move up in ranks and become the Head of Auror Office. True, he had failed the Auror examinations years back, but with Madam Kellen... well who would care about some stupid tests or qualiffications?!
The very thought of himself as the Head Auror made him run faster – it was his DESTINY.
He swiftly opened the door of the house and stepped inside. The house itself was dark and grim, almost scary. Moving into the main room, which had no furniture he saw, that all the members of his team had been present and accounted for. In his excitement, he failed to see that all of them were surveying him with blank, almost dead looks in their eyes – as though they didn´t have a mind of their own.
"All right everyone. The time has arrived. Everyone will take up their positions as planned. We´ll tacticly encircle the entire damn Manor and at the signal, everyone will burst in to the place and arrest everyone. Be sure to get up the Anti-Disapatarion Jinx, so that none of them can escape. And do not forget – stun, bind and disarm. Imperius and Cruciatus Curses are allowed as well, but Madam Kellen wants them all alive. Well now, let´s get to it, people."he said happily, grabbing his trademark black trenchcoat and turning towards the exit.
However... there was no sound behind him.
He turned around and saw the twenty witches and wizards just standing there, staring at him blankly.
"I said... we´re leaving NOW."he bellowed angrily – he hated it, when his orders weren´t followed.
"HEY! I said MOVE OUT NOW!"
Once again there was absolutely no responce from anyone in the room.
"What the hell is wrong with you p...?!"
Before he could finish he felt something move behind him. Turning around he saw a shorter fat man with watery eyes and large front teeth grinning at him.
"Sorry. Change of plans, Runcorn. Imperio"
Harry barely paid any attention at all to what the wedding official was saying. From Dray´s SMS, he had expected Runcorn and his lot positively bursting towards Lennox Manor more than an hour ago. Blaise and Angus had set up many Detection Charms and just to be sure, he had Naja roam the outskirts of the Mansion several times now. So far, there has been no activity at all – which was exactly what was making him uneasy.
"If they´ve given up on surveilance, I´m a flobberworm."he thought nervously as the wedding official looked to Ginny.
"Do you, Ginerva Molly Weasley take this man to be your lawfully wedded husband? For richer or poorer? In sickness or health? In happiness or sorrow? In life or death?"
"What´s wrong, though?! If they were to disrupt the wedding they should´ve done so already..."he thought furiously, his mind trying to come up with an explanation.
"I... I DO."exclaimed Ginny in an expression of utter happiness, sending most of the women in the row behind them (her Mum and Mum-in-law in the lead) into tears of pure joy.
"Al and Sev said, that Runcorn´s lot had been at Hogwarts, seeing our Polyjuice copies in class or detention... could they actually have fallen for such an easy trick?! Runcorn was bound not to do so..."
"Do you, Harry James Potter take this woman to be your lawfully wedded wife? For richer or poorer? In sickness or health? In happiness or sorrow? In life or death?"
With all the will-power he could muster, he wrenched himself back into the real world and was at once rewarded with the sight on his beautifull bride – positive, that he had never seen anything more beautifull in his LIFE.
"I DO."he answered in a strong voice and without a second´s hesitation.
The single, radiant smile Ginny had shot him made him sure, that he could positively LIVE on the sight alone, no matter how much he fretted about other things right now.
The wedding official raised his wand high into the air.
"It doesn´t make sence though... Dray warned us..."the almost-alien thought of worry invaded his mind yet again, even if he didn´t want it there for the moment.
"I now pronounce you..."
"Oh, screw it... who in the hell CARES right now?!"
"...man and wife."exclaimed the wedding official, a pure gold rope of light shooting from the tip of his wand and enclosed around the pair of them.
Angus and Hermione, who were standing right behind them gave them their sunniest smiles as a shower of golden stars from the wedding official´s wand fell upon the two.
"You may now kiss your bride."exclaimed the official happily.
Ginny grinned at her new husband happily as she drew nearer – happy to see, the twinkle in his eyes, positively bursting with emotion.
"I will love you forever, fireball."his voice, though at normal levels, could be heared for everyone.
Ginny´s grin grew from cheeky to mischievous.
"You´d better, Potter."she said just as loud, promting a few snickers from the crowd – especially James, Fred, George, Sirius, Albus and Aberforth.
As soon as their lips touched and a passionate kiss ensued (both were sure it was made of neverending love), a tremendous applause shook the garden of Lennox Manor.
"Too late Kellen... Sneaky Snakes – one, Ministry Morons – zero."thought Harry happily as he felt Ginny deepen the kiss even more, applause and cheers .
Amidst all the cheering and applauding no one could see, that there was one person in the crowd, who wasn´t cheering at all. Neville was watching the scene with a sence of extreme excitement that was almost alien to him, his eyes flashing blood red and a devilish smirk crossing his features, making him seem almost inhuman.
"Well, Potter... I hope my wedding gift will be to your liking. And we shall see... I shall know by the end of the day, or merely see sweet little Ginny become a widow on her wedding day. Which will, in any case, only be an added bonus to my right hand´s work."he thought with cruel satisfaction.
His plan was sheer, pure, perfect genius. In one swift strike he would be able to strike back at the wretched Junior traitors, his old enemies and the Ministry idiots, effectively shuffling the cards of this beautifull game. And the identity of that Masked bastard will be finally known to him... He knew, he must tread carefully not only because of that old fool Dumbledore, but also taking into consideration what Daphne had told him about Harry Potter – he was clearly someone, he would have to be carefull when dealing with, though that in itself was challenging.
He reached into his pocket to touch the small blue ball he had copied and placed enchantments on.
Deep in Level One at the Ministry, Pius Thicknesse, deep in cnversations with many Ministry high-ups including Cornelius Fudge and Athena Kellen, felt the ball in his pocket warm up.
The same held true at the coastline of the North Sea in the pocket of Barty Crouch, diguised in a traveler´s cloak along with all of his fifteen cohorts.
And also on the outskirts of the small Scottish town in the pocket of Peter Pettigrew, surrounded by over fifty Imperiused puppets, Rabastan and Mulciber.
As one, though in completly different places, Thicknesse, Barty and Wormtail grinned cruelly. THIS was the signal they have been waiting for.
"The Mission BEGINS!"