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Phoenix Rising
A Harry Potter RPG
Where I Have Always Belonged 
9th-Oct-2006 06:52 pm
dressy
If someone had told me a few days ago when we headed to Greece after our wayward men that Lavender and Oliver would be getting married, I would have thought them crazy.

But here we are. Still in Greece, all alive, and about to see my best friends get married. No that's not right. My brother and someone who has come to be as much of a sister to me as Hannah was.

I put a charm on Kaylee's hair to make it hold its curls and we continue to bump into each other as we get ready and all of us are giddy and laughing.

“Thank you so much for bringing her Megan. Justin's going to be so surprised,” I say looking over at her smiling.

Megan returns my smile. “We had fun, didn't we, Kaylee?”

“We did, Auntie Meg,” she replies as I finish tying her dress.

“Stay right here and be good, will I help Aunt Lav get ready,” I tell her, giving her a hug and going to were Lavender is.
 
9th-Oct-2006 07:03 pm (UTC)
I can't help but smile as I glance around the room. True, I don't know Lavender as well as I know Susan, but I do care about everyone in the room, as well as those who are getting ready in another room, the boys. I can't believe how much I would have missed if I had not allowed myself to recover from Ian's death.

“Auntie Meg?” Kaylee asks and I can't help but smile at her. I never thought I would be called an Aunt, but I am pleased by it. She is very sweet and I can tell how much Susan and Justin love her. Even I love her and I barely knew her before we came here.

“Yes?” I ask, crouching slightly so that I am more at level with the young girl.

“Will Mr. Justin be surprised to see me?” she asks and I nod.

“He will be very surprised and very happy,” I tell her and tap her nose gently, which causes her to giggle.

I move to step around Padma and almost trip over my own two feet. The shoes still aren't here, but I am not too worried about it at the moment. My feet have finally recovered from what they went through at Susan's wedding.

I manage to glance into a small mirror and reapply some make up. I wonder how we will ever figure out who brought what. I doubt we will, but that doesn't bother me too much. We are like sisters as it is.

At that moment there is a knock on the door and I go to answer it. I can't help but smile when I see Cassie with Liam.

“Someone is here to see you, Lav,” I announce.

When Liam sees Lavender, he toddles over to her, arms outstretched to her. He is an adorable toddler and I can't help but smile when Lavender picks him up, kissing him.

“Cassie, I am glad you could both make it.” She sounds relieved and sets Liam down so that the finishing touches can be completed. It was difficult to throw a wedding together so quickly, but we pulled it off well.

Liam, now toddling around the room, finds almost everything interesting. He grabs a bottle of perfume and I dash to get it from him. Not that smelling good is bad, but it is in a very breakable bottle.

I take it from him carefully. “Thank you, Liam,” I smile when he gives it to me with very little resistance. I set it back down, but make certain it is out of his reach. Having a toddler is difficult work from what I have heard. Glancing to where I last saw Liam. I see that is true.

He is now starting to crawl under the bed. I rush over to grab him. He is making it quite difficult and as I pull to get him out from under the bed, he keeps moving his legs. I move to try and avoid them and my hem gets under my foot. All of a sudden find myself on the bed after loosing my footing. I find myself looking at everything upside down, including Kaylee, who is still on the bed.

“Are you okay?” Susan asks.

I look at all of them for a moment and start to giggle. I can't help it. Then I start to laugh. I was always told you have to be able to laugh at yourself and I am finding it quite easy. I don't know why except that my heart feels light and it must have been funny.

“I am fine,” I manage to respond, getting to my feet again. The others look a bit surprised by my sudden fit of laughter, but they look pleased too. Liam pokes his head up, looking at me and I grab him quickly then spin him in a circle. “You little trickster,” I smile.

He smiles back. He already is a charmer, and at such a young age. Much like Oliver.

For a moment, I am shocked to realize I have barely thought of Ian since we started getting ready. Yet, due to that reason, I know I have moved on. Completely. I know no one will ever replace him, but I would not want that. I think of Wayne and I can't help but smile again.

I enjoy spending time with him and I find it amazing how comfortable I feel around him, yet I still get an odd sensation of butterflies in my stomach.

Lavender is proving with her marriage that a person can have a second chance for happiness. I think I have found my chance with Wayne. Now, I just need the courage to tell him. I don't know what his reaction will be, but from what I have been told, he feels the same way.

“Megan,” Susan speaks up and she has a mischievous shine in her eyes.

“What?” I ask.

“You've got that look again.”

I blush. It is the look she said I had when I think about Wayne. “Well, good,” I smile.
9th-Oct-2006 07:05 pm (UTC)
A few minutes ago when I was helping Lavender get dressed something occurred to me; the wrong twin is at this wedding. Lavender was Parvati’s best friend for years, she was the one Lavender moved to France with. But somehow, fate switched things up on us and I’m the one here. I miss Parvati, especially at a time like this. Maybe Dean and I can go to Thailand before we go back to London. Home just seems rather empty again without Parvati there. It reminds me why I went to Egypt after Hogwarts, even though it feels like a life time ago.

“You look beautiful,” I tell Lavender as I straighten the back of her dress. She smiles and thanks me before looking over to where Susan is calling her.

I peak in the mirror and pin back a few stray hairs without knocking into anyone. The room is so tiny I don’t think there’s actually room for all of us and our beauty products. I’m just trying to help Lavender as much as I can without getting in the way. I know what I look like doesn’t matter today; today is Lavender’s day. Sometimes I wonder if I’ll ever have my turn walking down the aisle, or at least filling out forms at the Ministry like Parvati. But then I look at Dean and realize that just being with him is what’s important. We’ve never discussed it, but I don’t know if after Zara he doesn’t want to attempt to get married again. We actually have a lot of things to discuss.

Lavender looks a little anxious as the time is drawing close for the ceremony to begin. I know it’s not her first marriage, and I think she’s brave for looking for love again. Merlin knows I didn’t think I could trust my heart with anyone again after the Diego fiasco. But she and Oliver are very happy together, and they’re going to have a baby. I can’t help but smile as I think about having a family with Dean. One day we’ll be ready.

I look at Susan and I know she’s happy in her marriage with Justin. I don’t know Megan very well, but from what I’ve gathered she’s happy in her relationship with Wayne. There’s been so much death and fighting in our pasts, yet somehow we’ve all managed to find ways to be happy. It’s amazing how resilient the heart can be. I know that Lavender and Oliver will have a long and happy marriage.

9th-Oct-2006 07:08 pm (UTC)
Padma kneels to adjust the hem of my dress as we wait for the ceremony to start. Liam is busy galloping around the room shouting "barooooom" and waving his arms around. I assume he's busy blocking Quaffles in his little world and I have to laugh at the intense look of concentration on his little face. So much like Oliver... and that thought causes my stomach to jump and my breath to quicken.

It's silly to be so nervous. I mean, it's not like I haven't done this before. It's different this time, my inner voice whispers. This time you know what love is.

I look at myself in the full length mirror Susan transfigured. I have to admit that with the short amount of time to prepare, the dress is stunning. The fabric clasps on my left shoulder and is held by a gold brooch graced with the figure of Artemis. The material had pooled around my feet, but Susan remedied that by grabbing a length of gold cord from the curtains in the hall and used it as a belt. The bottom of the dress has designs woven in gold thread and brush against my feet as I move around the cramped room.

I remember the day I married Armande. I remember how he looked when I walked down the aisle to meet him. He was so handsome. His dark hair perfectly combed back showing off his face. His black dress robes perfectly pressed and his shoes shined. Looking back on it now, it was a bit too perfect. Like a set on a stage. The players all in place and each moved choreopgraphed so there would be no mistakes. I much prefer this small setting to the circus of my first wedding.

"Here you go," Megan says as she hands me a smaill spray of Hyacinths and Crocus. She places a few of the bright flowers in my hair, murmuring a spell to keep them in place. She steps back to take a look at her handy work and nods in satisfaction. I opted to wear my hair down, just as Oliver likes it. The tiny buds sway with my hair and I'm pleased with the effect.

"Thank you," I hug Megan briefly and then sit on the small bed in the center of the room. Susan, Padma and Megan are still attempting to get ready and keep bumping into each other. I wish the larger room we had shared last week had still been available, but the nurses had moved us in here. We were all elbows and knees in this tiny room. I'm surprised no one has ripped their dress yet.

My eyes cloud for a moment at the thought that my parents would not be attending my wedding. I tried to contact them by owl and floo, but Mrs. Portlow said they were in America touring one of my father's new businesses and would be unreachable until the end of the week. I did want them there, but I wasn't going to wait to get married. I almost lost Oliver once, I wasn't taking any more chances. Liam tugs on my dress and I reach down to pick him up. He's gotten so big! Will his brother grow so fast? Will the days that I hold them fly by so quickly, that I'll barely have time to catch my breath?

"Where are they with the shoes?" Padma mutters. "They're late!"

"They'll be here," Susan's voice is muffled as she pulls her gown over her head. "That man, Arois, assured me that the shoes would be here before the wedding."

"It doesn't matter," I tell the room at large as I sway back and forth with Liam. "I'd go out there naked if I had to."

9th-Oct-2006 07:08 pm (UTC)
Megan throws back her head and laughs. "I bet the men would love that!" I can picture the look on their faces and I guess the others can too as we all start laughing together.

"Ah, but Dean would have eyes only for Padma," I joke. "Justin for Susan, and Wayne for you."

Megan blushes furiously and ducks her head. It's cute to see her get worked up over Wayne. They are so good together and I'm happy if things work out between them.

"How much time is left?" The nervousness is back with a vengence and I give Liam back to Cassie as my whole body has started to shake. Liam howls his dispelasure of leaving me, but soon quiets when Cassie gives him a Cauldron Cake.

"About twenty minutes or so," Susan answers. I pace to the window and look down on the garden. It seems to be glowing with a golden sheen and my eyes tear up. In so many ways, this is more perfect than my first wedding. I feel someone standing next to me and glance over at Susan.

"It's funny," I say quietly. "I'm so nervous. I've been married before and it feels like the first time. You know?"

"The first time didn't count," Susan states. "This is your first real marriage. If anyone deserves to be happy, it's you and Oliver."

"Thank you for being my friend." I choke out as I embrace her. "You're my sister. And it means so much to me that you're here."

"I'll be there for you. Always." Susan and I cry together and, strangely, I don't feel nervous anymore. I feel empowered.

"Cassie," I wipe the tears from my eyes and face her. "Please take Liam to see his father. I know Oliver will want him there." I hand Cassie Liam's toy broom and kiss his little lips one last time.

Cassie, holding Liam, dashes from the room after Padma gives her directions to where the men are getting ready. I take a deep breath and smile brightly.

"I'm getting married!"
9th-Oct-2006 07:10 pm (UTC)
I sit on the windowsill of Dean and Oliver’s room looking down to the healing gardens and the beach below. Lavender and Oliver will be able to hear the waves crash over the rocks as they exchange their vows. It’ll be awhile before I sit on beach without looking again...

Megan comes in to announce that it’s nearly time to go downstairs, startling me and causing me to lean back against the window which rattles and feels really loose. I’m just about the remark that she’s lucky Wayne is here to rub her feet from the pain of high heels again when I see that she isn’t wearing any. I had to feel sorry for my and Susan’s wedding party. The lady’s shoes looked horribly uncomfortable.

"Justin, mate, get away from that window," Dean tells me. "We don’t have time to wait for you to figure out how to levitate as you fall out and mess up the garden.”

I’m just about to retort but I really can’t argue. I had thought my luck was changing but I guess I was wrong. I’m about to turn away from the window when something catches my eye. I rub my eyes and shake my head, not wanting to tell my friends what I see.

In the middle of the garden there are statues of mythological and philosophical figures. Artemis with her stag has just stepped from her pedestal and is reaching into a sac and spreading golden fairies about the garden where Lavender and Oliver are to exchange their vows.

It is now that I realize that the magical portraits at Hogwarts share the same magic as these statues do. The spirits or memories of the person in the portraits or three dimensional likenesses are able to move freely between from one rendition of themselves to another without border or realm restriction.

If I were Lavender, I’d be concerned about those golden fairies and bugs that are now fluttering and spreading fairy dust over everything. As much as Artemis liked Oliver’s form, they’re liable to bite the bride and steal the groom.

"Justin?" Oliver comes over and puts his hand on my shoulder, further startling me. I have no idea why I’m so nervous. It’s not my wedding. I suppose it’s because this whole affair is about family. Liam will be here and Lavender looks like a goddess herself. I know that because I’d gone to check on Susan a few minutes earlier and nearly got hexed from the room when someone thought it might be Oliver coming in and seeing the bride before the wedding. It was the best compliment I’ve ever gotten. I was quickly deflated though when the girls saw that it was just me. Okay, so I’m no Oliver but really, ‘oh it’s just Justin?

"Yeah? Oh, sorry," I tell Oliver, looking at him now that he’s almost fully dressed. I point out the fairies and Oliver looks like he knows all about them.

"Lavender hired a florist who rents fairies," Oliver tells me, but I point out that the flowers haven’t arrived. I try to explain that Artemis was the one who put the fairies and fairy dust all over the garden but Oliver just smiles at me indulgently and if it wasn’t his wedding day I’d feel a bit annoyed. He doesn’t have time to contemplate what goes on in my head. I’m hardly in a position to make him believe that I saw Artemis in the garden. In fact, most of us haven’t discussed what happened in the labyrinth. I think I’m the only one who hasn’t written off what happened as a dream from some noxious vapours or something.

It never fails to amaze me that even those who are Purebloods can so easily dismiss the magic that is all around them. I wonder if my eyes are so open for it because I am Muggle-born and the only one in my family with any magic.

Constant Vigilance! echoes in my mind in Mad Eye Moody’s voice. Okay, I’ll be the only one ready to hex Artemis if she tries to make one of her magical fairies bite Lavender so she can have Oliver. I know Lavender was all ready to fight a goddess for Oliver if necessary and Artemis let him go. I also know that women change their minds.
9th-Oct-2006 07:11 pm (UTC)
I hear the familiar stumping of Moody and I feel my shoulders relax as he enters the spacious room, telling me that he’ll keep an eye on the pesky pixies during the wedding and that he hates statues that won’t stay still. Good, I’m not crazy, or if I am, I have really good company. If Moody ever needs help bashing some trash bins, I’m his man.

I shake hands with Mad Eye Moody and thank him for all he has given me by forcing me to stay here and figure things out for a bit. He mumbles something about being happy to attend a wedding instead of a funeral and goes to join Madame Rosmerta who incidentally helps to run the tavern where I found help from the Order last week after we had found the Horcruxes of Hera.

Mad Eye and Madame Rosmerta, ‘Rosie’ as he calls her are getting married soon and he’s confided in me that he’s thinking of adopting Catherine. He had called himself too old to adopt a child in front of Madame Rosmerta who scolded him that if he was too old, she wasn’t. I think Mad Eye will be like me, wedding bells and the pitter patter of little feet that can already walk but can’t walk alone.

I hear a knock on the door just as Oliver tells me to finish getting ready. It’s Susan. Her arm is being tugged around the doorframe by a tiny hand.

"Kaylee?" I ask, my heart skipping a beat. Susan smiles at me and nods as Kaylee peaks her head around the doorframe. There I stand with boxers, dress socks, and robes which I’ve managed to pull closed. Thank Merlin for robes. My parading around in various states of dress days are over! I have a daughter now.

I grab my trousers and rush behind the curtain as a pair of cufflinks hits me in the head as they fly over the curtain rail.

"Ouch!" I yell as Kaylee giggles and Oliver tells her she had better get used to this sight.

I hug Susan and pick Kaylee up. I can’t help but take in her huge grin as she laughs when I tickle her. I haven’t missed being the tooth fairy. Two tiny rows of little perfect teeth wait for the wonder of the night they will come out.

Oliver is holding a small bow tie, no doubt for Liam. He claps me on the back and congratulates me on becoming a father. It’s kind of ironic. I always pictured hugging and kissing my child for the first time in a hospital. This isn’t how I’d pictured it by a long shot but it’s better than I could hope for now.

"You sent for her?" I ask Susan, my voice cracking just a bit.

"That was okay, right?" Susan asks worriedly.

"Alright? It’s perfect," I tell her. Kaylee still calls me Mr Justin. Someday I’ll have to let it slip that I also go by the name of Santa Clause and the Easter Bunny and maybe someday, I’ll even go by the name of Daddy.

Dean is giving Lavender away. I can imagine it’ll be like giving away one of his favourite pieces of art. He’ll still see her a lot but things change. Lavender will be with Oliver a lot more now and he will be with Padma a lot more or so it would seem by the silly grins on their face each time they see each other nowadays.

I can’t believe that even this hospital has a hoverchair policy and Oliver must be pushed outside by someone. I owe him one. I’ll let Liam ride with Oliver when he gets here. His uncle Wild Child as he has taken to trying to call me, will show him what flying really feels like.
9th-Oct-2006 07:11 pm (UTC)
"Okay, Kaylee, we have to let the men get ready for the wedding," Susan tells Kaylee.

"Can I stay with Mr Justin?" she asks, blinking big. I’m a goner from the start.

"Of course she can," I tell Susan. We’re nearly dressed. I don’t see how much trouble she can get into here with us.

Susan’ s face tilts up and she lets out a small laugh. As she walks down the hallway, barefoot, I find myself following her magnetically. I want to hug her before she puts on high heels. I wasn’t used to looking straight into her eyes during our wedding ceremony with her three inch spikes. I much preferred the dance and the hugs when she fit just under my chin like always.

"You look amazing," I tell her sincerely. Her Grecian gown hugs her curves and with her hair down and bare foot, she is perfect to me. Her feet are even perfect. I’d like to start with her pinky and nibble...

"Mr Justin, what’s a kilt?" Kaylee asks at the wrong moment and I know I’d better get back into the room with Oliver, Dean, and Wayne to defend myself against any stories they may be filling her head with.

As I step back into the room, all the blokes are laughing wildly. Kaylee has a small bottle in her hands.

"I made it myself. It’s boy perfume," she explains as the room fills up with the scent of fresh peaches. A splash lands on Dean who proceeds to sneeze loudly. She must have gotten into some of Susan’s bath oils to make this.

"Susan!" I yell helplessly as my wife disappears around the corner, her gown trailing behind her to join Lavender, Padma and Megan. This wedding is going to be one gold fairy dust, peachy keen crash course into being a daddy.
9th-Oct-2006 07:14 pm (UTC)
I sneeze again as Kaylee and her boy perfume exit with Susan. I don’t know where Kaylee got that or what’s in it, but the peach smell reminds me of Padma. Although, I’m not allergic to Padma, thank Merlin.

Justin, Oliver, and Wayne are finishing up the last minute touches on their robes, and I can’t help but feel happy for all of them. They all seem to have found someone special in their lives – Justin has Susan and now Kaylee, Wayne seems to be happy spending time with Megan, and Oliver and Lavender are getting married and will make a family with Liam and the new baby. It’s hard to believe that my friends are making families already …

I’m jolted out of my reverie by Justin who is adjusting Oliver’s robes and giving him last minute advice, “Now just make sure you don’t lock your knees otherwise you might fall on your face.”

This elicits a good laugh from all of us. “Justin, that’s rich coming from you,” I say exchanging looks with Wayne. No doubt, both of us are thinking about Justin’s bachelor party.

Wayne grins and pats Oliver, who only nods, on the shoulder.

“And just leave your hands at your side. You’re not supposed to clench them. You know, because it’ll give you sweaty palms which might cause you to drop the ring,” I add as I give Oliver a quick visual inspection to make sure he’s not accidentally tied his shoe laces together.

Oliver nods stiffly again, looking like he’s committing this to memory.

I smile. Both of my mates are going to be married men soon. It’s a testament to how much things have changed this past year. I remember when I met Justin after Hogwarts – it was a result of the Hellstrom case. Who would’ve ever guessed that a werewolf running lose around the Unit and a potions addiction would eventually lead to a friendship? And Oliver, the eternal bachelor (or so I thought), who is always cool under pressure seems to be more nervous than I think I’ve ever seen him. I recall him sitting across from me at my birthday party at the Horse and Hound, surveying me coolly, only to find out later that he mistakenly thought Lav and I were an item. Then there’s Wayne, admittedly I don’t know him well, but he’s a nice bloke. I give him credit for dealing with Hannah’s death in such a dignified way. It’s not easy moving forward and opening up to someone else. I wish him and Megan all the best.

Who would’ve ever guessed then that our choices would lead us here to Crete, to this sea-side town of Kastelli-Kissamos, to this hospital garden, to this gathering of friends, to this moment. I can’t think of a better outcome for our journey to Greece. I silently thank the powers that be for everyone’s safe return, especially Padma’s.
9th-Oct-2006 07:16 pm (UTC)
Just then, the Marriage Officiant strides into the room and Oliver snaps to attention. The short, silver-haired man with a friendly face and thick Greek accent pulls Oliver to the side of the room and begins to run through last minute details such as where to stand, to always look into the bride’s eyes when speaking, carry a handkerchief for any tears, and to make sure his wand isn’t in his pocket because accidental magic can happen in emotionally charged situations. “Having one’s trousers and pants spontaneously combust in the middle of the vows are distracting,” he says with a wink as Oliver pales. “We wouldn’t want any injuries now, would we?” he says tapping his wand lightly on his behind.

“At least we’re already at a hospital,” I whisper out of the corner of my mouth. Wayne snorts and then quickly covers his mouth, pretending to be overtaken by a coughing fit as the Officiant launches into a review of the wedding vows with Oliver.

Justin looks slightly concerned and says quietly, “I had my wand during our wedding and I was a right mess of nerves.” Then he grins, “Good thing I didn’t set my kilt on fire otherwise everyone would see a full moon.”

“Well that wouldn’t be anything new,” I snort, recalling his unique balcony entrance to the Gala on an out-of-control flying carpet.

“I think my luck is changing,” Justin says confidently motioning toward his eye. “I didn’t end up like Mad-eye for one. Although the eye patch looks tough, maybe I should wear it anyway – I think Susan really likes it,” he finishes wagging his eyebrows.

Justin, you mass of hormones.

“An enchanted glass eyeball goes well with the DA teaching position at Hogwarts though,” jokes Wayne, jabbing Justin with his elbow. “Constant vigilance!”

Suddenly, there’s a loud squeal. All three of us look up from where we’re conversing as a young witch enters the room carrying a toddler who immediately drops the toy broom he’s carrying and waves his arms, reaching for Oliver.

“Little man!” Oliver’s face erupts into the first non-stressed smile I’ve seen all day. In a few long strides he’s across the room and has Liam in his arms. Oliver bounces him up and down as Liam screeches with laughter, his eyes sparkling as he throws his head back.

This is why Peru and Greece were worth it, I think to myself, suddenly feeling emotional. Then I notice that everyone in the room is smiling and tearing up like a bunch of teenaged witches as we watch the family reunion. Liam pats the side of Oliver’s face with a chubby hand and snuggles into his shoulder as Oliver hands the nanny, Cassie, Liam’s bow tie.

“I missed you, Little man,” says Oliver quietly like nobody else is here.

Justin blinks rapidly and quickly pulls his eye patch from his pocket. “My eye is acting up again,” he mutters, stuffing it over his face. Wayne is fiddling with the sleeve of his robes and not looking at anyone.

“Er … yeah,” I say, clearing my throat. “It’s Kaylee’s boy perfume again – I’m allergic to it, you know.”

Then Wayne taps on his wristwatch and announces that we have to get moving. Apparently, I’m not the only bloke around here who is time challenged. I can’t help but wonder why Padma didn’t come to fetch us – she’s always early. I hope that everything is alright with Lavender.

Suddenly, everything snaps back into action at twice the normal speed: The Marriage Officiant hurries off, his robes billowing behind him. Oliver assures Liam that he’ll see him soon. Liam begins to sniffle as he’s deposited back into Cassie’s arms. Justin and Wayne jump into action and begin to fix up Oliver, attempting to dab the drool off of his robes. I wish Oliver all the best and hurry off down the hall just as I hear Liam begin to cry as he’s carried off bowtie and all to the hospital gardens where the wedding will begin shortly.
9th-Oct-2006 07:16 pm (UTC)
I find the room where the witches are supposed to be getting ready and knock. I’m a little nervous – I’ve never given anyone away before. When Lav asked me to walk her down the aisle, I was surprised, but honored. I can’t think of a better way to celebrate one of my oldest friend’s marriage. The door creaks and a dark eye fringed with long eyelashes appears in the crack between the door and the doorframe.

“Hello, I’m here for a delivery and a pick up.” I smile, holding a violet that I plucked from one of the hospital’s floral arrangements on the way up to the crack.

Padma pokes her head out of the door and smiles as she takes the flower. I lean down and give her a kiss. “You look nice,” I say.

She shakes her head and grins. “You’re horrible, Dean. You haven’t even seen what I’m wearing.”

“I know,” I tell her quietly and I grin like a fool. “But you always look nice.”

She makes a quiet joke that I’m still trying to flatter her to get back on her good side and that I better do more than say fancy words to her, but she tucks the flower into her hair carefully. She’s smiling. I think that I’d do pretty much anything to make her smile like that.

“Padma, who’s there? Is it the shoe delivery person?” Susan’s voice drifts through the crack in the door. She sounds a little strained.

“No, it’s me,” I say as I look over Padma’s head and into the room. “It’s time to get –”

“Dean, don’t look!” Padma’s hand clamps over my eyes.

“Why? I’m not the one getting married –”

But I guess someone must be indecent or something, or maybe there’s some secret wedding rule that good friends of the bride who just happen to be male can’t see her, or that weddings in Crete on Tuesdays forbid the person giving away the bride to enter a room of all women because Padma’s hand doesn’t move.

“What should we do?” Susan asks.

“Maybe we should Floo them again?” I think that’s Megan’s voice.

There’s a rustling of fabric and the sound of people bumping into each other.

“I just checked with them ten minutes ago.” Padma’s voice issues from in front of me. “They’re supposed to be coming with the shoes.” I can smell her perfume. It smells good, like peaches. And I’m not allergic to it.

“Uh … Oliver is waiting.” I try to tap on my watch. But because I can’t see, I miss and poke Padma in the shoulder. She shushes me and returns to the shoe debate. I can barely believe that I’m ready before she is! This is almost too funny. I smother the grin creeping onto my face because I don’t want to get in trouble. Shoes are serious business to women – Pug taught me that.

“Should we wait, then?” That’s definitely Megan.

“I’m getting married to Oliver today no matter what.” Comes Lav’s voice from somewhere to my right. “A pair of shoes isn’t going to stop me. I’m not wearing shoes.” There’s a tone of finality that makes it clear that this is the final ruling on the matter.

There silence and then laughter.

“Can I see again?” I ask finally.
9th-Oct-2006 07:19 pm (UTC)
I don't know why we came down here so early. They wouldn't even let me walk. Justin had to push me down here in the hoverchair because of healing center policy. Justin suggested we let Liam ride in my lap on the way to the gardens. His high pitched squeals and giggles echoed down the hallways throughout the building. But we came down so early that I'm now getting a bit antsy wondering what's going on. All this waiting makes for a nervous groom and lets silly insecurities grow.

Maybe Lavender changed her mind.

I know Lavender loves me. That's one worry that I am over. She loves me, but maybe she realizes she doesn't have to marry me to keep me. I'm in this for as long as she'll have me.

Taking a deep breath and relaxing my hands so they don't get sweaty, I try to focus on Lavender. She wouldn't back out of this on me. Not now. I just have to keep reminding myself that she wants this as much as I do this time.

Charmed music begins all around us. I sit Liam down between me and Justin and start to stand. I feel a hand on my shoulder and hear a voice whispering, "You're supposed to stay in your chair until you're released. It's policy."

I turn to see Justin with a teasing grin on his face. I continue to get up anyway. "Justin, I am not going to get married in that contraption. I'm going to stand like a man. Besides," I begin, a playful smile of my own in place, "I want to pull her very close when I finally get to kiss her for the first time as my wife."

I turn in time to see that Megan, Padma, and Susan have all taken their places. The music changes.

This is it!

Dean appears with Lavender on his arm and suddenly there is no one else in the garden but the two of us.

Lavender looks so perfect that poor Aphrodite herself couldn't hold a candle to her.

I'm so glad I listened to the Officiant and didn't place my wand in my back pocket.

She comes closer and I'm totally mesmerized by the entrancing image she's creating.

Her golden hair shines as it falls softly around her shoulders and down her back. The adoring flowers only add to its perfection. A desire to wrap both my hands in the soft curls almost becomes overwhelming.

Her white gossamer dress accents her delicate movements while flowing with the gentle flower scented breeze, wrapping around her feminine shape and caressing each sensual curve.

She's perfect.

I can't believe she's going to truly be mine.

Dean escorts her to stand before the Officiant. Clearing his throat, the Officiant begins what I've dreamed of for a long time.

"Friends, we have been invited here today to share with Oliver and Lavender a very important moment in their lives. In the time they have been together, their love and understanding of each other has grown and matured, and now they have decided to live their lives together as husband and wife."

"Who supports this couple in their marriage?" he asks and looks pointedly at Dean.

"I do," Dean says boldly. He takes Lavender's hand and places it in mine. The enormous reality of what we're doing hits me but it's something I want and won't back down from.

"Me too," Justin chirps in. he almost seems to be bouncy on the balls of his feet.

"And I," Susan adds. She smiles at Lavender and I as Megan, Wayne, and Padma join their support.

The Officiant clears his throat. "Marriage is not something to be entered into lightly. If any person can show just cause why they may not be joined together ? let them speak now or forever hold their peace."

"I object!"
9th-Oct-2006 07:21 pm (UTC)
The breath I didn't know I'd been holding gets stuck in my throat. I spin around to see whose speaking before I decide whether to give them a quick death or a slow torture. The sight before me leaves my mouth hanging open and my head spinning with the unanswered question - Why?

Kurley

I notice behind him is the nurse from St. Mungos that I introduced to him, moving a large present over to the side out of the way. Kurley saunters up the aisle in a way that only Kurley himself could pull off. He stands between me and Lavender. He leans in to kiss Lavender's cheek.

"I object to any party starting without me," he says in his royal attitude way. My heart suddenly doesn't feel so heavy anymore. "Even though my dear old friend, Oliver, has decided to keep my gift for himself, I support this marriage also."

Kurley nods at me and all I can do is smile at him before he joins his nurse to watch the rest of the wedding. Hopefully he watch the rest quietly,

The Officiant looks flummoxed by Kurley and the proceedings but gathers himself and moves on the best he can.

"The solemn vows made here today are serious as is the new life you are joining to share together. Can you please face each other to say your vows?" We face each other and bring our joined hands between us.

As if I wasn't entranced by Lavender before, there is a glow about her that draws me in. All at once I'm being elbowed by Justin to say my vows. My balance not completely restored yet from my injuries, I stumble a little before Justin catches my elbow and puts me to right. I was so lost in our own private world that I completely missed Lavender saying her vows.

Now it's my turn. I want her to know but it's a little daunting to say in front of all these witnesses. I feel Lavender's silky dainty fingers caress the back of my hand and everything starts flowing from me – witnesses be damned.

"Lavender," I begin, "before I met you, my life was all planned out. I knew what I wanted and how long it would take me to do each step. But then I went out with some friends and met a small blond slip of a witch. She turned my life upside down and it's been chaos ever since. The funny thing was how much I liked the chaos that came from her being in my life. I realized that I didn't have to have everything planned or know what I wanted for my future. You changed my life from that very first night we met and I'm thankful for it. You, Lavender are my best friend, my love, and my life. You are my present, my future, and my everything. I vow today to try to be that for you for the rest of our lives."

My throat hurts from talking around the lump lodged there. My vision of Lavender blurs when I see the tears released from her expressive eyes. I fight my own tears but one lone tear escapes. I move to catch it but a soft hand wipes it away.

Lavender is smiling and I just want this to be done so I can be alone with her finally.

"Now is the time for the exchanging of rings. Lavender, if you will begin," the Officiant instructs her.

Lavender slowly moves the ring onto my finger. "I, Lavender, give you, Oliver, this ring as an eternal symbol of my love and commitment to you."

Again the severity of everything impresses on me but this time, it is a joyous feeling. A complete feeling.

I slide Lavender's ring onto her finger. "Lavender, with this ring I thee wed. Take it and wear it as a symbol of all we shall share."

This is it. It's the moment I've been waiting for. I just have to wait for the Officiant to give the word. I just hope my impatience doesn't show.

I believe the Officiant senses my hurry. He smiles and says, "By the power vested in me, I now pronounce you husband and wife. You may now kiss your bride."

Finally!
9th-Oct-2006 07:22 pm (UTC)
As our lips meet I swear I can see fireworks.

It's always been like that with us and, Merlin willing, always will be.

Oliver has one of his hands in my hair, the other is caressing my neck. I make a small noise of appreciation at that and Oliver groans before deepening the kiss.

"Ah hem."

"Ah hem!"

I finally feel someone poking me in my back and I pull reluctantly away from Oliver. The officiant looks at us under beetled brows before letting out a loud breath.

"Now that we can continue," another long stare. "May I now introduce Mr. and Mrs. Oliver Wood."

Cheers erupt from our friends and I feel as if my smile is a mile wide. We're married! I look down at the simple, yet elegant ring gracing my finger and thank every star in the sky for bringing Oliver to me.

Oliver grasps my hand and I give him a smoldering look that promises untold pleasures that night. He swallows audibly and catches me close for a passionate kiss that leaves me breathless. I'm definitely looking forward to being alone with him.

Our friends come up to congratulate us. Susan and I are hugging and laughing as Justin and Dean slap Oliver on the back. Megan and Wayne are glancing shyly at each other and then Padma blocks my view as she hugs me. This is the happiest day of my life.

Cassie brings Liam to Oliver and for a moment it's just the three of us. Oliver places his hand over my stomach and gets a silly grin on his face. He puts Liam between us and tells Liam he's going to be a big brother. Liam looks at Oliver in cofusion before he cranes his neck looking around for his little brother. I laugh and ruffle his hair playfully as he turns tear filled eyes to me in frustration. Before he can start wailing at not finding what he was looking for, I place gentle kisses on his cheek.

"No Liam," I say gently. "Your little brother is in here." I put my hand above Oliver's and watch as Liam leans forward and puts his little hand on mine.

"Bwotha?" he chirps. "Out."

Everyone laughs and Oliver swings Liam up and tosses him in the air. "Sorry Little Man. He needs to finish... er... cooking."

"Cooking?" I frown at him and he gives me a sheepish look. "That's what you come up with?"

Oliver shrugs. "I'm not good at this." I sigh and shake my head. I give Oliver another kiss as he wanders off to talk to Dean, Justin and Wayne. Susan, Padma, Cassie and Megan are standing nearby chatting happily among themselves. Liam squeals as he sees a butterfly and squirms out of my arms to chase it. I walk away from the group a bit and notice for the first time the golden dust that lines the ground. I also notice a statue of Artemis and smile.

He is a fine man. Startled, I look at the statue, but it remains still. The voice is echoing in my head. You will live long lives and have many children and grand children.

Thank you. I say in my mind. For everything.

I feel a warm hand caress my cheek before all goes silent. The path I took to get here was often rocky and hard, but I'm where I belong and I wouldn't change one minute of it for the world.

"Lavender!" I turn and see all of my friends... no my family standing there. Oliver holds his hand out to me and I rush across the lush grass as he sweeps me up in his arms.

I'm home.
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