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Phoenix Rising
A Harry Potter RPG
Justin and Susan: Our Wedding 
14th-Sep-2006 11:19 pm
weddings and funerals
Ever since I proposed to Susan and told her I wanted nothing else for my birthday than her hand in marriage, she has held me to an agreement that my heart made when she'd said yes but that my body has rebelled against and regretted ever since. I stand beside Ron, Oliver, Dean and Wayne, my best friends in the whole world pacing with anticipation of holding her body against mine again tonight. I think back to Susan's twinkling eyes and mischievous __expression as she roped me into believing that if from that day on until our wedding night, we practised abstinence we'd build up such intense desire that the honeymoon night would be as if we were two virgins again...Yeah, right, I'm not John Lennon and Susan definitely isn't Yoko Ono and no matter how that song goes, there's no going back!

Just the thought of her silken flesh beneath my finger tips again after the longest months of my life of getting not much more than my fourteen year old self used to get in the broom closets of Hogwarts, causes me to notice how tight my outfit is. Is it hot in here?

The dull hum of organ music fills my Grandparents garden which is alive with fall colours. I suddenly wonder why all the brilliant colours come out in fall when things are about to succumb to the bliss of winter's sleep. The vibrant and brilliant oranges, yellows, and shades of purple, in contrast to the quiet whisper of the first crocuses that peak out bravely from behind their blanket of snow when Spring knocks at winter's door with a gentle reminder that it's time to let old man winter take his rest. And then I realize that Susan is the Spring to my winter. She reminds me that even though the world is cold, if I can just push the snow aside, I will see that the world is also warm. There are Death Eater's still...winter. But there are children eating ice cream and laughing in the sun... Summer. Spring and Fall are those who love us, who buffer us on either side with a gentler time, a quiet word, a hand to hold, an ear to listen. We are truly blessed.

I stand there thinking all of all this stuff and then it hits me just why I'd failed poetry class in my Muggle schools when I was a child. After all of this deep, sentimental feelings, I become the Justin I know I am. Yep, my friends are the filling in the twinkies, and there isn't a woman alive other than Susan Bones who would take me on. I'm one lucky bloke!

And then it hits me

I forgot to write my wedding vows! Holy-mother-of-Merlin-in-pajamas! Oh my God, Justin calm down, think... I scold myself, wanting to kick my own shins but not knowing how to figure out the body mechanics it would take for such a maneuver.

"I need a quill! A Quick Quotes one if anyone has one!" All of my friends begin to fumble around on their persons for a quill and parchment. Bloody kilts! You can't hide a quill in a kilt! You'd be lucky to hide your excitement in the damn things!

It's pretty obvious no one has a quill so I take off out of the little room they like to hide the groom and all of his goofy friends in so no one can see them check out their own butts in the mirror or stand there playing rock, paper, scissors.

"Sorry!" I mutter to the organist as I take her music sheets right from the stand she's playing from. The music slides to a downward tempo as the astonished old woman follows me with her eyes, her glasses sliding down her nose as she follows me to where I finally find a quill...a huge white plumed quill. The quill that I will sign on the dotted line with... Where the bloody hell is the ink and why haven't wizards ever heard of progress! It's called a ballpoint you baboons!

I find a carafe of wine and tip some into a cup which spills when I stab the huge white plume into it...all over my white shirt and kilt of the Wood family colours and there isn't a charm in the world that is going to get that out before the wedding begins which is to begin in...What are all these people doing here? Why is the old woman playing the Wedding March? Why is Ron hissing at me to get back here...

I slowly look up into the faces of almost everyone I've ever known. The wine drips onto the music sheets obscuring the tiny little dots that now dance before my eyes. Each drop sounds like a bucket of water to me as I hear Oliver laugh and move forward down the set of steps I took in one leap to get down here for a quill. He pries the huge white plumed quill that is dripping blood red wine from the tip from my hands and places it back into it's little brass holder. But I have no vows...

I had no idea I'd be so nervous. I'm sure of the decision I've made to marry Susan and all that lingers in the back of my mind is that I hope that I don't widow her with my job being what it is. I sway a little on my feet once I reach the top of the steps and on one side Oliver holds my shoulder, on the other Ron does the same. Wayne tries to whisper comforting words and ends up looking like a bad ventriloquist.

"I didn't write my vows," I whisper to my friends, pleading with them to help me.

"Wild Child, you don't need written vows. Think song lyrics," Oliver suggests. And at that point, I catch a glimpse of white in the back that I know is Susan even though I can't see her fully. Suddenly it's as if I've never heard music before in my life I just want her here by my side so badly I stand here speechless for the first time in my life and probably the last time in my life when I actually need...well, a speech!

Think man think! What was it about the Spring getting up and cheesing off winter who wanted to hybernate longer or something....Oh hell, I'm going to talk about twinkies or something I just know it. I'm doomed.

A sea of faces smile as my sister Chrystian, my soon to be daughter, Kaylee and Liam all walk up the aisle together, Liam toddling proudly between the older girls looking toward his father, Oliver. Oh, my poor Godson is going to end up like me, I think as he trips on a wrinkle on the carpet and is picked up, sniffling slightly by the two little girls at his side. He smiles at each of them in turn. Or he will turn out just like his dad... Oliver grins at his son who is a chip off the old block in the charm and charisma department.

The three little ones are supposed to stand together, at least I think that's how it went during the rehearsal. I didn't realize there would be a test and apparently neither did poor Liam. He toddles up to Oliver who picks him up gently and lays his head on Oliver's shoulder. There is an audible 'awww' from the audience.

I've never understood the wedding march. No one walks that way except for in weddings...I guess that's how it got its name. As for me I feel like racing toward the back of the rows of chairs to where a magnificent tent stands and once in awhile one can catch someone glancing back this way.

"Wow," Oliver says quietly under his breath as Lavender comes down the aisle like a runway model. She was so meant for moments like this. Always the fashion guru for the girls in Hogwarts. I haven't seen Hermione in too long but it's true what they say about pregnancy agreeing with some women. She looks amazing and her gaze never leaves Ron's face as she walks towards us. Out of the corner of my eyes I see Mrs Weasley bat away an unwanted tear and I don't envy the speech Ron and Hermione will get about eloping and robbing her of this moment later on. You go, Molly!

Flashbulbs go off as I see Mr Weasley stand to get a picture of his new found daughter in law Penny. It's so sad. Another wedding Mrs Weasley was robbed of being a part of. I'm so glad that Harry and Ginny gave her one.

Megan looks nervous. Really nervous! It's clear that she doesn't like to be the centre of attention for her walk down the aisle. Wayne smiles encouragingly at her and I see her bring her gaze up from her shoes a bit more when he does.

And the music changes tempo again. I think my heart stopped. I don't need to breathe. The sight of Susan in her wedding gown and the fact that she is walking up this ten thousand miles of red carpet to get to me is all I need to live.

Susan is clasping onto my dad's arm so tightly that his jacket is wrinkled and pulled up to his elbow and I think he's losing all feeling in his hand but he grins madly as I hear him tell her to slow down and enjoy the moment. I think she was going to sprint. I wish my dad hadn't stopped her.

My mom sits in the front row sobbing openly and at least ten tissues are magically floating toward her. Oh man, the wizards forgot that this is a strictly Muggle affair! Mad Eye Moody, a hat concealing his magical eye sees what has happened and I see him take his wand out discreetly and cause a breeze to stir to make it look as if the tissues were merely blowing in the wind.

I watch the tissues take off like doves and no one seems to have noticed that they were in the shape of paper airplanes like the inter office memos at work are. I follow the flight of one as it caresses Susan's veil and the wind catches the edge of the light fabric and gives me a teasing glance at her beautiful face. She wears only a hint of makeup and her hair catches the gleam of the tiara my Grandmother has placed in her care now. Maybe one day it will go to our daughter.

My dad takes Susan's arm and places her hand in mine.

And I breathe again.

It's only now that I realize that I no longer stand beside my friends where I was told to stay during this part. I've walked, or floated, or run or Apparated halfway down the aisle. Dad laughs at me openly and let's me have my bride. He finishes the walk beside Susan and I.

Words are spoken and I don't hear them but I suddenly find myself being stared at as Susan giggles at me just a bit. I think it's my turn to talk...

"Let me check my notes..." I begin, looking down at the red wine that stains my shirt to see if they magically formed into words or something.

They haven't.

"Susan, I'm sorry, I didn't write any vows. In fact I don't recall ever having written you a love letter, recited you a poem, or any of the other things blokes that are more educated than me do. I still don't know why you chose me, but you did. You've brought me happiness I didn't know existed. You brought me back to life..." Only my friends and family will know that I mean figuratively and for real.

Tears form in the corners of Susan's eyes and I'd brush them away if not for that darn veil.

"I've loved you since we were twelve years old. You're the Spring to my winter..." I say lamely, wanting for all the world to just scoop her up in my arms and show her, rather than tell her how I feel. I've never been good at speeches. What was that thing about the filling in twinkies?

Somehow before I have only two more words to say, I've managed to let myself tear up as well. I have no idea why people cry when they're happy...

The question stand before me, before it's Susan's turn. "I do," I say, wanting the Minister to skip right to the kiss.
 
15th-Sep-2006 04:23 am (UTC)
He does!

I grin and cry at the same time. It's all seemed like a dream until now...

The minister turns to me and tells me to say my vows.

“Justin, you are my strength, my will, my soul.” I know it sounds silly compared to his, but I continue to try and put into words how much he means to me and how I will spend the rest of our lives making up for my mistake and lost time.

The minister then asks if I take Justin to be my husband. It takes everything in me not to scream YES as I look into Justin's eyes and say, “I do,” as the minister pronounces us husband and wife.

Justin pulls my veil back, and in true Justin style kisses me deeply, dipping me as friends cheer and whistle.

After the kiss, we motion for Kaylee to stand between us. We decided to present her with a daughter's ring and make our own vow to her as our daughter.
15th-Sep-2006 04:44 am (UTC)
My arms are getting sore from holding Liam for so long. I finally put him down and he toddles up to stand where Justin and Susan are standing with a smiling Kaylee in between them. She is so adorable and takes Liam's hand when he finally reaches her.

Justin kneels next to Kaylee as Susan steps closer behind him and places her hand on his shoulder. Justin and Susan present Kaylee with a daughter's pride ring. She looks so proud of it. It's probably the first jewelry she's ever been given. You can tell she already cherishes it and will take very good care of it.

Justin and Susan make the sweetest vows that even someone at Kayless age can understand. They pledge to love her and care for her for the rest of their lives. Her adorable face lights up as a brilliant smile stretches across it.

"As you are ours now, we are also yours," Susan says softly.

Kaylee looks back and forth between Justin and Susan for just a moment before crashing into Justin and squeezing his neck. She then turns and grabs Susan around the middle.

There's not a dry eye in the ceremony.

I look to Liam and know he's to young to understand that I feel the same way as Justin and Susan but don't say it enough. I doubt I could ever say it the way they did either. But I'm sure Liam understands all the same.

The minister pronounces them husband and wife. He pauses for a moment before smiling and pronouncing the three of them a family.

So many feelings bubble up at the pronouncements. I'm so happy for Justin and Susan and thrilled for little Kaylee. I'm also sad that my sister is now a married woman with a family of her own. It's a wonderful family and she couldn't have chosen better for herself but I still feel the need to watch over her. It's not my job anymore; it's Justin's now. I'll still be there in the wings if she ever needs me though.

I love Justin like a brother but he better hope she never needs me.

Justin and his new family walk back down the aisle. I look over to Lavender. She's beautiful. I can't believe how lucky I am. I know we'll never have anything like this wedding but I'm content with what we have now as long as she's with me. In some small way, I'm glad we won't have a wedding. I'm more of the elopement type bloke. In another way, I'm sad because no wedding means no marriage. But it's hard to stay sad on a day like today with the vision I see awaiting me to escort her.

Wedding or not, she's mine in all but name.
15th-Sep-2006 04:46 am (UTC)
The wedding is over and over all it went well. I know that everyone was waiting for something horrible to happen, especially since Justin is known to being accident prone. Yet, the ceremony was beautiful with only minor mishaps.

I take Oliver's arm as he escorts me down the aisle and I find myself smiling. After the attack, I have to admit that I was not truly feeling like myself. It took me time to heal physically and it was not until the chili cook off that I started to feel more like myself. I feel like things are back to normal now and I smile at Oliver, who gives me a sly wink.

As we all line up to be photograph, I find it quite easy to smile. I enjoy getting my picture taken and am quite at ease with it, which I know can't be said for everyone in the wedding party. Oliver, who is beside me, certainly is used to it as well and between pictures he is certainly acting like quite a ham.

The only bad part of these photographs is that I now find I am focusing more on my shoes. Actually, my feet which are in these very uncomfortable shoes. I am sorely tempted to take them off, but I know I can't do that. At that moment at least.

“You blokes are lucky, these shoes are painful,” I murmur to Oliver. I do not care what Vera says. Beauty does know pain and it is certainly these shoes. I wonder if any of the other girls are having trouble. I would be surprised if they weren't.

“I'll give you a foot massage,” Oliver tells me, whispering it close to my ear as if it is a secret and I can't help but smile as he wraps an arm around me.

Ron, who is standing near us, winces as Hermione elbows him in the ribs and says she wants a foot massage as well. I glance down and see she is wearing flats. I am a bit jealous, but I must admit that every girl deserves some pampering.

“I promise you'll get one,” he assures her, kissing her cheek before he playfully leans his arm on top of her head.

I watch the boys all get together for their photos. They all look like mannequins since there is not much for them to do but smile and stand in whichever way they are told. I would like a copy of such a photograph though since I doubt there will be anyway we can get them to all wear kilts again.

“Alright, I need all the bridesmaids and Lady Susan.” I figure they are using her first name as to not confuse her with Justin's mother or grandmother. Yet, I can see that Susan is clearly not comfortable with the idea, blushing.

Penny, Megan and I help situate Susan's dress around her for a portrait shot of her sitting in the grass. Behind me I hear someone say Sir Finch Fletchley and when I glance back I see they are speaking to Justin! He rolls his eyes at this and just allows for this to continue. Susan explained to me that it was a title passed down through the family where “Lady” and “Sir” were titles given. It had been used on Justin's parents earlier and they had not seemed comfortable with it either. Apparently Justin's grandparents, who are very kind and down to earth, are the only ones comfortable with their titles.

A few more photographs are taken and I can't wait until the reception. The music will be wonderful and I look forward to dancing with Oliver, no matter if my feet are still hurting at that point or not.

This thought is interrupted as I catch sight of a tray being carried past. I realize just how hungry I am and the reception seems even further away. There has to be a table around with food and drinks. Perhaps I can find a small appetizer.

I am startled out of this thought as the photographer announces that only the bride, groom and immediate family are still needed for photographs which means the bridal party is free to mingle with other guests.
15th-Sep-2006 04:48 am (UTC)
Am I so glad that is over! I have never had my picture taken that much in all my life. I had a staggering amount of pictures taken as a baby but I don't think they'd even stack up to the numerous ones I've stood in today.

I look around and notice everyone pairing back with their wedding partners. I make my way to Megan and offer my arm to her so we can follow the others.

It is so nice to be this close to Megan. We've been meeting for coffee every morning for almost a week. Everything seems to feel right.

Almost too right.

It does scare me a bit to think that I feel as comfortable with Megan in less than a week as I did with Hannah. I also feel extra pressure from spending time with Megan. Not from Megan herself but from myself. I don't want to let Megan take Hannah's place yet I can't help wanting to spend even more time with her and hoping she feels the same way.

Megan squeezes my arm slightly as her heels sink into the soft earth. I reach over with my other hand and place it over hers and hold on firmly to give her more support. She looks up and smiles.

My heart melts.

I know Megan would never try to replace Hannah as I wouldn't dare dream of trying to replace Ian but I could see us starting something different. Something new. Something for just us.

I look around and see the entire wedding party is still arm and arm. I'm not sure what this means... but somehow it works for me. Well most of it works.

I did notice how Dean had paused for a very long time to look at Padma as he escorted Penny down the aisle. Penny smiled knowingly with just a hint of sadness crossing her features for a split second. It didn't last long as today is a day for happiness.

I look over at Megan and realize something.

We are truly lucky to find happiness more than once.
15th-Sep-2006 05:02 am (UTC)
Penny squeezes my arm and then thanks me for escorting her. Her eyes dart behind me in the direction where Padma is waiting. “It's all right, Dean,” she says. “Weddings are a time to be with the ones you love.” Her eyes shine with unshed tears.

Love… I wonder if my feelings for Padma are that obvious.

But I don't think it's the right thing to do to leave Penny alone when I'm her bridal party escort, especially because this must be difficult for her so soon after Percy's death. “Penny, I'm fine,” I tell her firmly.

But she only smiles, shakes her head, and gently extricates her hand from my arm. “I need to speak with Molly about something, would you excuse me? Don't worry, I'll find you in time for the bridal party dance,” she adds quickly.

I shake my head as Penny weaves away through the crowd toward the unmistakable red head that could only belong to Mrs Weasley. Well, she doesn't have to tell me to spend time with Padma twice. Turning quickly, I scan the crowd for a crown of shining dark hair (Padma wore it down today and did whatever she does to get it all soft and curly).

I catch sight of her on the other side of the garden talking to Mrs Macmillan as Gwen and Max romp around them. I'm reminded that the Macmillans have finally finished packing up Hampstead Heath and are finally leaving for the Canary Islands tomorrow. They purposefully waited until after Justin and Susan's wedding so they could give their congratulations in person. I wish that Ernie could've been here.

Thinking of Ernie brings back all of the plans I've been doing the last couple of days. I've been making arrangements to go to Greece for the last Horcrux and I need to talk to Harry, Justin, and Oliver about it when the time is right. I haven't told Padma what I'm doing. Something inside of me is afraid that what happened to Ernie will happen to her. I don't think I could live with myself if I lost her, if I lost someone else who I loved.

Padma looks up and her eyes catch mine. She smiles that little secret smile and then quickly excuses herself. I meet her half-way across the garden and bend down to give her a kiss.

“Nice legs,” she whispers against my mouth before I reluctantly pull away.

I grin as I circle my arm around her. “Oh, yeah, better be careful what you say. Pretty soon I'll be the prettier one. I wouldn't want you to get jealous or anything.” Maybe this kilt isn't so bad after all if Padma's looking at my legs.

“The prettier one?” Padma arches an eyebrow and snakes her arm across my waist.

“Yeah, one as in 'one of a pair' and as in 'one member of this relationship',” I tell her as I run my hand down her arm and capture her hand in mine.

Her eyes dart to mine as her mouth forms a little 'O' that looks very, very kissable. She stares at me for a long while and I wonder if she can tell that something's changed since the portrait sitting. I want to tell her how I feel, but I just haven't found the right time ... yet. Telling someone you love them for the first time isn't something that you just blurt out in the middle of dinner, or when you're lacing up your trainers, or when you're thumping on their front door waiting for them to let you into their flat, or when you're standing in the middle of a public place surrounded by tons of other people.

Instead I say, “It's too late for you. You're stuck with me now.”

Padma's eyes sparkle and she squeezes my hand tightly. I wish I could get into her head right now so I could know exactly what she's thinking, never mind the fact that I supposedly have an inclination for Legilimency because I would never do that to her. But I can't help but wonder if she feels something special for me. Does she love me? I wonder how Justin navigated the awkward dance of a beginning relationship. It's been so long for me that I think I'm out of practice. But he must've done something right because now he's married to the woman that he loves.
15th-Sep-2006 05:02 am (UTC)
“That's unfortunate for you because you'll always lose now,” she says seriously.

Bloody hell, what is she talking about?! Lose? I don't want to lose her. Maybe she's caught onto me and trying to give me a major hint to get lost …

“Uh -” I begin, not knowing what to say.

Padma's face erupts into a smile. “Because your legs are much too hairy to be prettier than mine!” She throws her head back and laughs.

Ah, that's my Padma … everything is a contest with her. I smile and feel relieved.

Out of the corner of my eye, I catch sight of Wayne and Megan sitting together under the feathery canopy of a large willow tree. Megan's shoes are off and her feet are propped in Wayne's lap. He's rubbing them slowly, seemingly oblivious to everything and everyone else. Nice job, Hopkins.

“Maybe you can give me a foot message tonight because my legs are so pathetically ugly,” I say suggestively.

Padma swats me in the arm and tells me that I'm not the one wearing three-inch heels. I laugh and flex my fingers at her. “What are you going to do for me in exchange?”

She only smiles.
15th-Sep-2006 05:11 am (UTC)
Wayne and I find a small patch of shade underneath a tree after a number of wedding photographs have been taken. I sit down, fixing my dress so that I am fairly comfortable, knees pulled up slightly. It helps take pressure off my feet, which are hurting terribly. I slid the shoes off and am grateful to rest them on the soft grass, even for a short time.

Wayne is still attempting to figure out how to sit. "How should I sit in a skirt?" he asks.

"It’s a kilt," I remind him with a smile, trying not to laugh at what he is going through, but his _expression makes that difficult.

"That is what they call skirts for men," Wayne counters as he finally sits down, though he looks very uncomfortable.

"Well, it takes a secure man to wear a kilt," I manage, only a small bit of laughter escaping.

"Or a girly one," he replies. He is smiling as well though, so I know he isn’t too serious about his complaints.

This time I can’t help but laugh. "Well, you aren’t girly," I answer and have to blink a few times. I see Wayne do it as well and realize that there were more pictures taken than I first thought. All the flashes going off still are affecting me a bit and I wonder how Justin and Susan must feel.

Wayne finally starts to lean against the trunk of the tree and for some reason, a childhood rhyme I learned many years ago, before I went to Hogwarts, comes to mind. Where the names are supposed to be filled in, my name and Wayne’s slipped into place and I can’t help but blush. Wayne and I were not kissing in a tree. Or K-I-S-S-I-N-G, which is how it is said in the rhyme. I duck my head for a moment and realize that I like the green color. I never wore much of it, but it looks nice.

After a moment of this, I feel the flush in my cheeks lessen and I can finally look up at Wayne. He looks a bit more comfortable standing, but I can tell the kilt is still bothering him.

"Would you like something cool to drink?" he asks and I wonder for a moment if he thinks my blush is something caused by the warm day. However, it is a bit warm, which is why the shade of the tree seemed like a good place to come.

I nod and shift slightly so I can put the painful shoes back on. I love the dress, but the shoes are a completely different matter.

"Don’t worry, I’ll get it," Wayne offers.

"Are you sure?" I ask, having one shoe half on.

He nods. "I am sure." He smiles then. "You look pretty Megan," he admits and I can’t help but wonder if that is a blush I see on his features. "I’ll be right back." With that, and another uncomfortable tug on his kilt, he steps back into the sunlight and I lose sight of him as he goes around the side of the tent.
15th-Sep-2006 05:13 am (UTC)
I feel a bit odd, Wayne getting me a drink. I haven’t had anyone do that for me in a long time. People tried to be helpful after Ian died, but that was different. That meant it had been over a year since anyone had done this for me. I am touched by it.

He also called me pretty. I have to admit, I do feel pretty all dressed up like this. Though I do know that Vera was lying. She said beauty does not feel pain, but my feet still hurt.

As I rub my feet gently, I wonder about Wayne. He has been a perfect gentleman and I have really enjoyed our time together. It is different from our mornings where we have coffee because it is more formal. However, it could be a lot more awkward than this.

Wayne appears then with what looks like two cups of punch.

"Thank you," I smile, truly grateful.

"You are welcome." He is about to sit down, but then hesitates and hands me both cups while he attempts to sit down. He looks so cute that I hope the pain in my feet disappears so that we can dance at the reception.

"Bloody skirt…" he mutters as he finally manages to sit down, though he still looks uncomfortable. Since I am holding both cups, I can’t hide a smile, or small laugh I was trying to hold back.

"Are you laughing at me?" he asks.

I start to shake my head and then nod, unable to help it. "You look a bit uncomfortable," I explain as I hand him his cup before I shift slightly so at least one of us is comfortable.

"Well, you would be too if you had to wear this," he pointed out, taking a sip of his punch.

"I have worn skirts," I point out and expect a laugh. Yet, I don’t get one. I glance at him and the look I he is giving me is making me blush slightly. Since when did I so easily turn red? It never used to happen before. However, I don’t mind and I give a smile to Wayne, not even bothering to try and hide the color that I know has crept into my cheeks.

I take a sip of the punch, grateful for the cool liquid on my throat. I didn’t realize I was so thirsty until now. I finish about half of the cup, before lowering it to glance at Wayne again.

"This is good," I remark and he nods in agreement. "I hope no one as spiked it," I grin, giving him a pointed look.

"Who me?" he asks and feigns hurt.

"Well, badgers do know how to have a party," I say.

"The party was the bachelor party," he remarks and I can almost see him mentally kick himself for bringing it up. Seeing this, I am even more intrigued.

"What happened at the party?" I ask, taking another sip of my punch.

Wayne shakes his head. "What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas."

Vegas. I should have guessed. I have never been there, but its reputation is well known around the world. While I am intrigued, I am also not certain if I want to know about what happened there. I guess it is lucky they all were able to return and in one piece.

I see that Wayne is tugging at his kilt again and I can’t help but roll my eyes slightly before I put a hand over his to stop him. "It is fine," I assure him. "Just leave it alone."

Once he stops, I sit back down, now a bit closer than I was before. It is nice though.

Some movement out of the corner of my eyes catches my attention and I smile as I see Penny, Andrew, Fred, George, Ginny, Harry, Ron, Hermione and Mrs and Mrs Weasley. I am glad to see how happy they are as they get situated for a family portrait.
15th-Sep-2006 05:18 am (UTC)
I am sitting, rocking Andrew in my arms and watching the wedding reception with great interest. It's the first time I have seen the whole group together, and the fact that Percy isn't here is painfully clear. He should be here with his family, rejoicing in his sister's marriage and the coming of his nephews. I feel a tear coming to my eye but I blink it back. Today is a day of celebration. I make a decision...when I go home I am going to have a long talk with Percy. This has gone on too long.

I am jolted out of my thoughts by the voices of Ginny, Hermione and Fleur.

“Hi Penny. How are you doing?” Ginny says, smiling at me.


I smile back at her. “I'm doing great. Andrew has been really good today, and I think he's excited to meet his whole family.“

“He's so cute, Penny,” Hermione says, looking at my son.

“He definitely has the Weasley hair,” Fleur says with a laugh.

“And the Weasley lungs,” I say, chuckling, “which is why I'm glad he's being nice and quiet. He definitely has his Uncle Ron's appetite, from what I have heard about Ron. He's a little piggy when it comes to eating.“

”May I hold him, Penny?“

”Of course you may,“ I say, giving her the burp cloth I have over my shoulder, “but you better take this. He just ate and I don't want you to mess up that beautiful gown.“

She smiles as she takes Andrew from me and nestles him in her arms. “He's really getting big.”

“That he is. I can't believe he's over a month old already. The time goes so fast.“

I watch fondly as Ginny holds him for a few minutes, and then passes him to Fleur. I can tell that Andrew is going to have some cousins very soon. “It looks like the Weasley family is getting bigger all the time.“

I think to myself how nice it is to spend time with the family. I am really starting to feel accepted. It isn't long before another member of the Weasley family joins us...Bill.
15th-Sep-2006 05:20 am (UTC)
Justin and I can't take our eyes off each other as we try to greet our guest. I barely remember greeting the Lupins and Moody.

Finally, the announcer informs the guest that it is time for the first dance and Justin and I take the floor. As the band starts to play "Oh My Love" by John Lennon, Justin plus me close to him and begins to sing like he always does. I love it when he does that.

This has been the perfect day. I am in the arms of the man I love, who is now my husband, I have a daughter, and I have been accepted into a sweet and loving family.

As Justin spins me around and pulls me to him again I can't help but think that life can't get any better.
15th-Sep-2006 05:29 am (UTC)
It seems like a wedding is exactly what everyone needs to forget their troubles and be happy. I can remember this time last year I thought I'd be married to Diego by now. I think that if I had married Diego, I wouldn't be nearly as happy as I am right now with Dean. I can't help but smile as I watch him navigate the crowd with two flutes of Champaign. Dean may not be the most skilled dancer in the world, but he's a good sport and we had a great deal of fun. Besides, this time we both have our wits about us and didn't end up on the floor.

“Thank you,” I smile as Dean hands me the flute. “It seems that everyone has been bitten by the dancing bug today.”

“Don't get used to it,” he laughs.

“Does that mean I shouldn't get used to the kilt as well?” I tease. “I don't think your skirt is a decent length and I've been enjoying the show.”

“Very funny,” he replies, but he's grinning as well. There really is something about weddings that makes everything seem brighter. Even just sitting here with Dean makes my heart feel lighter. The only thing that would have made today perfect was if Parvati and Neville were here.

My mind jumps back to the empty room in my flat and the offer I've extended to Dean. He's never really acknowledged it and I've never officially offered, but he has to know what my intent was. I wouldn't offer my flat to a bloke I didn't care a great deal about; a bloke I love.

I feel all of the color drain from my face and quickly finish my Champaign. I don't know for sure that I love Dean. I mean, I know I care about him a great deal, and I know that my life is better with him in it, but love is a really big word to throw around.

“You all right?” Dean asks, reaching out for my hand. I smile and nod, giving his hand a small squeeze. His hands are so much bigger than my own; it amazes me that hands that produce such amazing art can still make me feel so protected.

“We should visit Neville and Parvati sometime,” I say, trying to take my mind off my feelings.

Dean nods. “Let's just give them time to get past their honeymoon period first.”

I grin and can't help but laugh again. “I imagine they're enjoying that period.”

Dean glances over to where Justin and Susan are dancing close. “I imagine they will, too.”

I can't help but envision Dean and I dancing at our own wedding day and enjoying our own honeymoon period. I feel my cheeks flush at my thoughts. I wonder if Dean has been thinking about the same things. He has been acting a little differently lately. It's made me a little nervous, but he's not acting differently the way Diego did when he started to pull away from me. Dean is his own person; a person that cares about me, that makes me laugh, that makes me feel safe. Dean is a person that I would want to spend the rest of my life with.

A slow melody starts to play and I smile at Dean, my emotions trapped in my throat. “Dance with me?”

“What about your aching feet?” he teases, but his tone is gentle as if he can read my thoughts.

“Don't hurt anymore,” I reply, and as Dean leads me on the dance floor I realize they don't. My heart is so full at this moment that I don't even feel my feet anymore.
15th-Sep-2006 05:30 am (UTC)
Tonight has been fabulous. Especially considering the witch I’m slowly swaying to the music with.

Ginny has slowly regained her appetite over the past few weeks. The result being midnight runs for me to pick up her latest craving and finding any plate of food I have picked over. Especially olives! I can’t stand the things myself, but I’ve learned to keep them on my plate to keep her happy tonight.

Tina has pulled some stunts tonight that would have drove the Dursley’s mad. The most recent being turning her Uncle Fred’s hair blue. I’ll have to remember to tell Ginny about when I did that to one of my primary school teachers. Still, my two ladies are having the time of their life and if nothing else seeing them happy makes me happy.

I cast my gaze over to Susan and Justin and wonder if we looked so happy the night we were married. I have to believe it, but Justin’s grin tonight would give Gilderoy Lockhart a run for Witch Weekley’s Best Smile Award.

I watch Justin whisper something into his bride’s ear and she blushes slightly. I almost tried to talk Susan into staying at The Phoenix House, I’ll admit I can’t imagine the place without her, but the truth is Penny is doing a lovely job, and Susan was destined for bigger things. She already has Poppy beat in bedside manner.

They’re back at Hogwarts together. Somehow, I can’t help but think Justin is a perfect fit for the Defence position at Hogwarts. The position was cursed for decades and now it is occupied by someone that is cursed with terrible luck, except when he married Susan. It is Karma.

I’m broken out of my thoughts as Tina tugs on my pant leg. “Dada eat?”

I glance over to Ginny. She smirks, “Baby’s hungry luv.” I roll my eyes. As I make my way over to fill yet another plate I realize they have trained me well.
15th-Sep-2006 05:33 am (UTC)
I've now covered eight magical acts so that the Muggles don't notice something is amiss. Three of which have been from my own child. Tina is too smart and her twin uncles are having a bad influence on her.

Thanks go Penny, I have been enjoying my pregnancy a lot more. I have continued to take the anti-nausea potion and consequently, Harry is losing weight. I reach over to his hors d'oeuvres plate and snatch up another bit of vegetarian food from him. I reason with myself that he probably didn't want to eat it anyway. The look he gives me, however, says otherwise.

Harry doesn't even say anything anymore, just sighs heavily as Tina races over and grabs a bit of fruit before running off to play with the children from Phoenix House again. “It's a good thing I love you two,” Harry grins at me and gets up to get more food.

“Thank you!” I call after him as I look around the wedding reception. It has been such an amazing year and not always in a good way. This time, however, it is all for the good. We've still got so many bad things happening that it has been a rough few months but this past full moon was not like the others. I don't really know what happened but I am thankful. Maybe this means that Lucius is losing his power.

“Ginny!” Penny calls my name and carting Andrew on her hip, makes her way over to me.

I hug my sister and steal my nephew from her. “How have you been?” I ask as I notice the bags under her eyes.

She gives me a small smile. “I've been better and that's what I wanted to talk to you about. I've got two new babies at The Phoenix House.”

I grin at Andrew, who is smiling toothlessly. “Ah, so that's what has the bags under your eyes.”

“I'm afraid so and they're tiny, Ginny. Just over three pounds.”

I gasp at that. A baby is usually born between six to ten pounds. “Do you need help?”

Penny bites her lip once and then nods. “That would be great, even if just for a few hours. They require a lot of care and I don't want the other children to be neglected.”

“I'll be over tomorrow to help,” I promise as Harry comes back with more food. Dropping any pretense that this was his food, I take the plate from him and begin to eat as Harry and Penny greet each other.

I look up as I hear Ron and Justin laughing over something. Harry grins over at them and then back at me. “I think I'm going to get some more food.”

“Oh good… I don't think this is going to tide me over.” I say it without thinking but it is the truth.

Penny laughs at the __expression on Harry's face.

“It doesn't get better,” she informs Harry.

Harry shrugs happily. “It doesn't matter. If she's not stealing my food then it's Tina.”

As if to prove his point, Tina comes over and tugs on Harry's sleave.

“I hungry Dada!”
15th-Sep-2006 05:42 am (UTC)
The bride and groom are gently swaying to the first dance of the night. It's been a long time coming for those two but they held on and made it. Next is the traditional father daughter dance. An idea occurs to me and I can't help but go with it. If Justin's dad wants the honor, we can announce a father daughter dance afterwards.

I lean over and whisper softly into Lavender's ear. "I'll be right back. I want to dance with the blushing bride."

Lavender shivers when I nip her earlobe. That's always been her sweet spot. I lean back and grin at the expression on her face. It's the one that always does something to me and she knows it.

She doesn't play fair but I'm not complaining.

"Try not to go too far because I have plans to dance with my witch after this," I barely choke out.

That witch will be the death of me.

I make my way over to the band just as they're finishing the first song. I whisper my request into his ear and explain the situation. He nods and then makes an announcement.

"Ladies and Gentlemen, it is now time for a different dance. This one is a new tradition for this family. It is the brother sister dance."

Everyone looks confused for a moment but I see Susan's eyes tear up a little as I make my way to her and offer her my arm. She takes it and in no time we are dancing across the floor ourselves.

"I hope I'm doing a little better this time without all the distractions as I did at the gala," I say. Why am I so nervous and making small talk now?

"You're doing just fine," she encourages me. "Thank you for doing this."

"Your welcome but I didn't do it for you," I explain to her. "I don't know if Justin told you but the kilts and the ribbons on your bouquet and all the flower arrangements are of the Wood clan colors."

"Justin did mention the men were wearing your family's colors," she says. Susan looks so happy right now that I can ever remember seeing her any other way. I know Justin is the cause of it and I hope his clumsy streak has ended because Susan should never look any other way than she does tonight.

"I wanted you all to wear the colors because you are my family. I was the last of my line until Liam came along. You and Justin are his godparents but you mean so much more to me. You are the sister that I never had and Justin is more than a mate. You are both my family and I wanted to show that."

If Susan looked misty eyed when the dance was announced, it is nothing compared to the waves of tears threatening to overflow now.

"Don't cry," I say lifting my sleeve to try to stop any tears before they escape. "You'll mess up your make up and as many pictures as we've already made, I'm sure there are still many more going to be taken."

A bright light flashes at us as if to prove my point. Susan laughs a little and I know that she's not upset at me for the liberties I took with her wedding tonight.

I look over and See Justin at his place smiling at us. He's a lucky man.

Looking back at Susan, I suddenly feel the need to lighten the mood. "You know Justin means a lot to me but if he ever hurts you I'll... well let's just say no amount of butt crunches will ever help him again."

Susan laughs and we finish our dance joking and laughing as normal brothers and sisters would.

Once the dance is over, I escort Susan back to her groom. I kiss her cheek and then place her hand into Justin's. "Be good to her," I tell him.

"I will," he promises. It's a promise I don't have to worry about being broken.

I turn and head towards Lavender for that dance I'm holding for her only. I'd rather go somewhere more private but that's for later. Right now we have appearances to make.

I just happen to glance towards the house and notice Nearly Headless Nick watching from the basement window. He watched the whole wedding from a window and ducked out of sight when Muggles would look his way. I had noticed him earlier and meant to alert others so we could visit him but hadn't had a chance to tell anyone.

I inform Dean as I pass and we decide to tell the other Gryffindors.

Of course the first Gryffindor I'm going to go tell is looking at me with a come hither look.

I don't need telling twice.
15th-Sep-2006 05:53 am (UTC)
Justin told me that Nearly Headless Nick, the Gryffindor ghost is here at the wedding but is hiding out in the basement of his grandparent’s house so as not to be seen by Muggles. At first I had wondered how he could watch the ceremony when there are no windows down there and then it dawned on me that of course Nick can walk through walls so surely he could see through them.

I find Padma talking to Professor Flitwick. The tiny little Charms Professor has had a tad too much wine and keeps wanting to bestow Justin and Susan some nice fairies to light up the garden. Professor McGonagall told him his nose is doing that job quite nicely as it glows from alcohol.

I take Padma by the hand as she excuses herself from our former teacher’s table and lead her down the steps of the stately manor.

"Dean, we’re grown ups, we don’t need broom closets or basements any longer," she laughs, stopping me three stairs down from where she stands.

"So this is what it looks like to see straight into your eyes and not be on tip toe looking up, eh?" she says.

"Well, those shoes are only three inches high," I reason. "If you add another say, foot, you’ll be nearly there."

"And just where is ‘there’? Padma asks me, tracing my jaw with her finger.

"Right...here," I say, placing her finger on my lips.

The moment is short lived however.

"Hello! What a nice surprise!" greets a voice that replaces the shivers from Dean’s touch with shivers of another sort. It’s Nearly Headless Nick.

"I don’t believe I’ve ever had the pleasure of catching the two of you snogging in a broom cupboard back at school but good things come to those who wait I’ve been told," Nick says cheerfully.

"Nick, how wonderful to see you!" Padma exclaims from my arms. I’d caught her when she’d leaped in fright when Nick had first appeared and it never occurred to me to put her down. I’ll have to thank him for his quick entrance, I think.

There is no time for a reunion however when we hear a maid coming down the stairs, calling up that she is getting more wine. She’s a Muggle, she’ll see him!
15th-Sep-2006 06:00 am (UTC)
I can’t help but laugh when I see the maid’s reaction. It was even more comical than the looks the first year students had when they first met the ghosts, and those were very funny. I feel a stitch forming in my side, but I don’t care. It feels good to laugh like this.

It appears that Nick feels the same way I do. “It is just like the first day of school with the Muggleborns,” he laughs as he puts his head back on his neck. I have to admit, even I was a bit surprised my first year, when I saw him take his head only slightly off his neck.

As the laughter dies down, I take a seat, Oliver beside me. “It never gets old, does it, Nick?” he asks.

“Never,” Nick admits with a grin. “That is what I was thinking was there when the Chamber of Secrets was opened. I now take a bit more care when it comes to scaring students. It doesn’t take much.”

“Tell us about it,” Ron remarks, though we have all heard the story, especially since he was hanging around the hospital wing complaining about sore after being petrified. It is an interesting story though, and it is like old times. I smile as Oliver puts an arm around my shoulders as Nick starts an account of his tale.

“I was in the halls, wondering about Mrs. Norris, that odd cat. Then I heard the sound of something or someone. I thought I could scare off whoever it was so that the attacks might stop. It wasn’t a student though! I couldn’t move at all! Those eyes seemed to be everywhere! But, being a ghost, I can’t die again. Though if that is the cause, perhaps looking could cause me to be alive again,” he chuckles. “It was quite difficult. A fan was needed to move me to the hospital wing and that took a long time. It is good I am so light,” he chuckled.

We all laugh at this and I notice Penny enter. “Hello there, Sir Nicholas,” she greets him and he gives a bow in response.

“Nicholas was just giving his encounter of when the Chamber was opened,” Hermione speaks up and Penny smiles at us knowingly.

“A wonderful story,” she agrees and I can tell Nick is pleased to have another captive audience member. He starts to tell it again, adding even more detail to it that it is almost like being there. I never thought Nick was much a storyteller, but he tells this one quite well.

“I would love to share more stories with you, but I must be going,” Nick informs us.

“It was good to see you again,” Oliver tells him and the rest of us echo in agreement. I was always glad to have as our house ghost. As I shift, my eyes catch sight of a clock and I am shocked that so much time has passed. There is only another hour left of the reception. I would like to dance at least once more with Oliver. However, now that my feet have had a chance to rest, they feel even more sore as I place my feet back on the floor and get to my feet.

“Why not just take them off?” Oliver suggests and I consider it. I know that I probably should leave them on, but as soon as I slip the first one off, I feel much better. Stepping out of the other shoe, I pick them both up carefully and find that I am much more comfortable in my bare feet, even though I am a bit shorter.

“That was a very good idea,” I tell Oliver.

“All I have are good ideas,” he teases before kissing me, which I am more than happy to return.

When we pull back, I see movement by the narrow staircase and see Wayne and Megan, followed by Justin and Susan coming down to greet Nick as well.
15th-Sep-2006 06:00 am (UTC)
It was so neat seeing Nearly Headless Nick again. The Grey Lady spoke well of him often and I remember him greeting us as Percy and I went to Hogwarts for the first time. I have to admit though, that the way he flops his head around is rather disarming.

As we go up the stairs, I take notice of a door slightly ajar. Remembering how Percy and I would often sneak around during Prefect duties and finding an empty closet to snog in, I grin wryly at everyone.

Putting my finger to my lips and motioning to everyone be quiet, I sneak over to the door and throw it open to reveal....Professor Sprout and some gentleman snogging to beat the band. I gasp loudly, and hear gasps echoing my own. Turning, I see the Hufflepuffs from the wedding party with astonished looks on their faces and laughing.
15th-Sep-2006 06:02 am (UTC)
I had my fair share of moments of being caught by Professor Sprout during my years at Hogwarts. However, it was never like this. Then I pause and shake my head slightly. I take that back. There had been that one time with Ian. We didn’t think anyone was coming. Luckily, we weren’t in such a…compromising position. It is odd to see the head for my former house acting like a student. And, I giggle, quite humorous.

I have never met the man that is, or was, snogging with Professor Sprout, but as soon as he opens his mouth, I know who he is. Hanklesphinkter, which is one of the oddest names I have ever heard, was someone I got to know by word of mouth from Dean, Ron and Justin. Apparently he took over the position as the DMLE shrink after the one before had been found to be selling personal information to Peter Pettigrew. He seems like a nice enough wizard, and it is clear that he quite free in his life style.

Justin comes up to me and grins, seeing Professor Sprout has turned an odd shade of red. It looks unnatural, but perhaps that is because we have never seen her blush like this.

“He’s a good guy,” Justin remarks. “And I can’t wait until it is your turn to go,” he grins.

“Why?” I ask. I am relatively new, so I have not officially met the man, nor have I had a session with him or the other shrink. I know that will probably be coming up soon.

“So you can tell us all about it when you him thspray out his words of wisdome,” Dean grins, adopting Hanklesphinkter’s accent and I frown, seeing that even just in interpreting, Dean has spit a bit. The boys see this as well and start to laugh. I can’t help but do it as well.

I glance over at the man. Perhaps it would be good to talk to someone. After so many losses, it might be good to open up to someone. However, opening up to strangers, no matter how comical they might be, has never been my strong suit.

Besides, I have friends I can talk to like Susan, Justin and the other Hufflepuffs. I look over at Wayne, who is still at my side and feel my fingertips brush his hand slightly. I have Wayne as well, I admit to myself. I know I could go to him if I needed to talk about something.

He glances at me when he notices that my hand has touched his and instead of pulling my hand away, I take his for a moment and give it a small squeeze.
15th-Sep-2006 06:07 am (UTC)
“Last dance!” the announcer calls.

Justin and I untangle ourselves from each other as Kaylee comes over to us.

“This is for you,” she says handing us a box. I open it up and inside is a beautiful picture frame with a picture of all the children at Phoenix House waving up at us.

“Thank you,” I say hugging her as the other children come running up to us.

I thank all of them as Penny announces it is time for them to go. I watch them leave, all of them groaning loudly, Kaylee among them. I wish she could stay with Justin’s parents instead of the orphanage.

As if reading my mind, Justin leans over and whispers, “Don’t worry, Love. We’ll get her the moment we get back.” He then pulls me to him and kisses me again.

“Lassie! Wild Child! Save it for later!” Oliver calls from over in the corner. I glance over at him and notice Ron and Lavender holding a wrapped box and Dean motioning us over.

“Here,” Lavender says handing me the one she is holding.

I open it, and inside is a first aid kit.

“Figured you would need it on the honeymoon with him around,” Dean says.

“Oi!” Justin says indigently.

“And this is for you, mate,” Ron says ignoring Justin’s protest and handing him the other package.

“It’s a honeymoon kit,” Ron explains, “complete with handcuffs. We know how much Susan loves to play Healer and the MLE.”

I turn red as Hermione elbows Ron and Oliver shouts, “Call her Red!”

“I think it’s time we take our leave,” Justin says wagging his eyebrows and shaking the box in his hands.

"I'm going to go change," I says looking Justin in the eyes.

He gulps.

"Need help?"

"No," I say smirking slightly as I make my way towards the steps.
15th-Sep-2006 06:08 am (UTC)
Justin’s so in love. His eyes follow Susan all the way up the winding staircase with red carpeting and huge bannisters. His feet start to follow his eyes but I’m tired and if he gets all the way up those stairs we’ll have to wait for...

"Save it for the honeymoon, mate," I laugh and grab his shoulders. He snaps out of his addictive stare at his new bride and comes over to say goodbye to Nearly Headless Nick.

Just as Justin and Nick start talking I feel my own shoulder grabbed and turn to face Lunch Lady Doris who apparently has expanded her duties in the cafeteria to catering as well.

Lunch Lady Doris proceeds to frisk me in the same manner as we MLE’s pat down a suspect for wands or other weaponry.

"Oi, my wife doesn’t touch me like that in public," I yelp, stepping out of her reach.

"I remember you," Doris tells me, her finger pointed in face. "You were in that Anger Management Class and had stolen condiments on your person from my cart.

"Well, that’s just a cafeteria, I wouldn’t do that here at my good friend’s Grandparent’s house now would I?"

"Count the horseradish," Doris commands as she stares at me. I’ve always said she’d have made a fine interrogator. She missed her calling in life. Even right now I stand here feeling compelled to confess that I’d taken extra crackers with my soup yesterday at work.

I watch incredulously as Doris walks up to Justin and hands him a huge crock of honey in the shape of a beehive.

"I knew it was you who stole the honey on New Year’s but when dear Tav told me that it was likely for your true love, Susan, who was sick and replaced the honey container with one that pours better; It’s a boy in white outfit and the honey pours out of a long green stick; well, I just couldn’t hold it against you...but don’t ever do that again," Doris warns Justin, who salutes her Muggle- style.

I look over at Tina, Harry and Ginny, enjoying the evening tea service. Hm, Harry’s acting like he had no supper the way he’s stuffing those little cakes into his mouth. I don’t think Justin’s eaten a thing all day. What is it about grooms? Harry was so nervous at his wedding I don’t recall having seen him eat either. Hermione and I of course, had no reason for all the nervous tension so we could eat all we wanted.

When everyone’s done saying goodbye to Sir Nick, I go off in search of Hermione. They have those really good puffed pastries with the chocolate covering she loves so much and if I let her miss them she’ll likely take back her forgiveness of my forehead tattoo of the scantily clad woman from Justin’s bachelor party.
15th-Sep-2006 06:10 am (UTC)
Nick and I give the in- the- air handshake and it feels so strange when his hand goes through mine, but it’s not an unfamiliar feeling. I’ve been dead before technically. Who would have thought that one day I’d be standing here in my Grandparent’s basement saying goodbye to Nick after my wedding to the woman who makes me feel more alive than the air itself?

The basement grows colder and Susan gasps as she joins me there. At the same moment I see Nick turn as a lady ghost, Victorian I think, glides through the wall. She looks at Susan and gasps.

"Sir Nicholas, how dare you tread upon my delicate sensibilities! You are already betrothed! And to one of those!" she sobs, pointing at Susan.

"Katerina, my love, you don’t understand. This young woman is not my betrothed. She is a bride of one of your own house," Nick exclaims.

The ghost stops sniffling and I’m reminded of Moaning Myrtyl as she wipes her see-through eyes on a handkerchief.

"Oh, well, in that case, I extend my congratulations," the lady says, taking Nick’s hand as Susan and I watch in fascination when the transparent hands connect and seem as solid to each other as ours do.

"Katerina is moving to Hogwarts with me," Nick says proudly. "And what’s more, she’s offered me the use of her head for the Headless Hunt."

At this proclamation, Susan’s jaw drops and Katerina reaches up and plucks her head off of her delicate shoulders, handing it to Nick, who kisses her lips while holding it up to his face.

"We’re getting married," says Sir Nick. "On my Deathday. Invitations will be sent by Thestral of course, just like the invitations to the Headless Hunt and Deathday parties.

"And to think we used owls to send ours," I whistle, as Susan laughs.

"May you always be willing to lend one another strength and your head if necessary," Nick smiles as he and Katrerina disappear.

"I wouldn’t want to be Susan in that bargain," Ron chimes in, coming back downstairs to tell us that the carriages have arrived to transport our wizarding guests to an Apparation point nearby.

When Susan and I get upstairs and out into the garden, we thank everyone for sharing our day with us. Most people think that this day happened against all odds but what Susan and I saw in the basement makes us think otherwise. We’ve promised to love each other ‘til death do us part,’ but I think now, not even death will stop our love.
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