Luna smiled at the warmth. She’d actually been expecting it for a while, but when it happened in the middle of dinner she was momentarily startled. Today she was sitting at the Gryffindor table. She and Dean traded house tables every day except Sunday, when he would pack a portable feast and they would find some privacy. She turned to Dean, and found that he too was grinning broadly.
Parvati, Padma, and Lavender were in the twins flat. Fabric, lace, thread, and all the other bits and bobs of sewing were scattered around the sitting room. They’d been in the middle of creating some fashionable clothing for Lavender. Clothing that would cover the scars, but not hide the beauty that was still Lavender Brown. A sudden intake of breath from Padma caught the other two girl’s attention, as she clutched at the necklace she was never without. Parvati looked to the mantle and smiled. Lavender held up her wrist and jingled her charm bracelet.
Seamus was out for his nightly run. It helped. Since the battle, really since Dumbledore’s funeral, things between him and his family had been strained. The running cleared his mind and helped him think clearly. He’d not been home much, but it was becoming more pressing that he return to Ireland and set things right with them. He rounded the last turn and headed back to Grimmauld, the little piece of metal bouncing on his chest, letting him know he was wanted.
Anthony Goldstein was minding the shop, and just saying goodbye to the last customer, when the smile crept across his face. He’d never expected to get the summons again, and he was surprised at the sudden joy the warmth in his pocket gave him.
Dennis Creevey stared out at the night. He had been the youngest, the smallest, but still they wanted him. His heart swelled with prided, and he wept.
Minerva McGonagall smiled from ear to ear, and she pulled the medallion from her robes. As she looked out over the great hall she noticed several students jumping excitedly and nudging their friends. Colin Creevey had once owned the small coin dangling from the chian. Harry had insisted that she keep it, and now she new why.
Neville Longbottom, erstwhile commander of Dumbledore’s Army, stopped in mid stride. He was walking hand in hand with Hanna returning from the greenhouses to the main hall for dinner. Good idea, Harry, he thought. Hanna snuggled into him. Yes, very good idea, Harry.
R.O.R 5/2 8pm Formal
“You guys!!!” Seamus yelled as he closed the door. “You could o’ told me!”
“Where would the fun have been in that,” Harry said laughing as he emerged from the dining room.
Hermione stepped into the hall. “We though we’d surprise everybody. The battle was a year ago Sunday, and Harry thought we should get the DA together,” she said.
“Yeah,” Ron said from behind her. “Lots of folks ‘ll be all morose and sad over who we lost, an’ we though, ‘fuck that, lets have a party an’ hoist a few for the fallen.’”
Seamus looked to Hermione. “You apparated all the way down from Hogwarts just to do the charm?” he asked.
“No, my fiancé lives here too you know,” she said as she snuggled into Ron’s chest.
Seamus screwed up his face. “Ah! Ya rot my teeth, the lot of ya,” he declared as he headed up the stairs. “I’m gettin’ a shower.”
“It’ll happen to you too, Shay,” Harry shouted up the stairs at him. “And we’ll tease the shit out of you when it does.”
“Never!!! I’ll be the last living bachelor!” and they heard the door slam.
“Very likely,” Mrs Black yelled from her portrait.
Kreacher, dressed in his finest butler uniform, greeted the guests as they entered the Room of Requirement. It was configured exactly as it had been for their practice sessions, except that there were long tables laden with food in the middle of the room. Elves wandered in and out of the room through a door that opened into the kitchens. Neville, Harry, Seamus, Ron, and Dean, resplendent in their dress robes, stood in a crescent watching the crowd assemble.
“There’s a lot more than when we were in fifth year,” Harry said. “You really expanded the membership, Nev. I don’t think I ever fully realized that ‘till just now,”
“We had to.” Neville replied. “There was just so much resentment among the students at what Snape and the Carrows were doing. They did all the recruiting for us.”
“Yeah,” Seamus said. “And General Longbottom here really turned into a proper leader.”
Neville turned to him, “You started it, Shay. If you hadn’t stood up in Muggle studies and hacked off Alecto, I wouldn’t have realized that we needed a strong resistance movement here at Hogwarts. Once it got rolling they couldn’t stop it though, could they?”
“Nope, I got meself cruciated twelve times,” Seamus said proudly. “Really pissed off Goyle when I told him me mam takin’ a switch to me was worse than his curse. The look on his face was worth it though.”
Harry put his hand on Nevile’s shoulder, “I’m sorry you guys had to take all that while we were off on the mission. Really, Neville, Shay, I don’t think I’ve told you how important what you did was. We wouldn’t have won if you hadn’t built the DA into a real army,” he said.
“That was all Nev,” Seamus said. “All Nev,” and he clapped him on the other shoulder.
“I had help, Shay, you not the least of it. Ginny, Luna, Ernie… Colin, everybody here and those that aren’t, they all made it happen. I just directed,” Neville said.
Seamus shook his head. “Modesty, what is it with you two?” he said looking at Harry and Neville.
“Dunno.” Harry said. “Suppose if you get the shit kicked out of you enough you realize just how important you really are, eh, Nev?”
“Yeah, isn’t a person in this room that doesn’t know what it’s like to be cruciated or something just as bad, so at least it’s a big club this time,” Neville said. “Not to change the subject, but whose idea was the elf band?”
Harry laughed. “Their’s, they wouldn’t hear of not serving food and drinks, and when I asked what they would really like to do, that was it. They said,” and he took on an elf voice, “‘Oh, Master Harry, if we could provide music for your party it would give us such joy.’ What could I do? Hermione was there, she’ll tell ya. It’s what they wanted. Besides, they’re pretty good, yeah?”
“Yeah, Harry,” Neville said. “I gotta admit I never thought I’d hear the Weird Sisters done on bagpipes, violin, accordion, tuba, and boron, but it worked. That lead singer, Dilly? She’s a free elf, right? She rocks!”
“Yeah, how could we know?” Harry said shrugging his shoulders. “Hey, what’s with these two?”
“…But, Luna, the lack of evidence leads to a conclusion on my part that there is a lack of existence. With no physical evidence of existence, no conclusion of existence can be made,” Hermione said. The dark blue of her satin dress shimmered as she and Luna walked by.
“Quite the contrary, Hermione,” Luna responded. “As I’ve said before, my you five look quite dashing tonight. Lack of physical evidence does not, in fact, lead to a conclusion of non existence.” Luna’s dress was a red so deep she appeared draped in magma.
Hermione’s head whipped from Luna to the group of men and back, trying to follow her friend’s train of thought.
“Um… yes, I understand that. I’ve had a few recent examples thrust in my face actually. The badgewonk is a good example, but an animal the size of a snorkack just couldn’t exist without leaving some trace behind.”
“It has, just like Pelly. Stories, and the people that believe them, that’s the evidence that the Snorkack exists,” Luna said earnestly.
“But belief is not evidence of existence.”
“I disagree,” Luna replied. “That is a matter of opinion about the nature of existence. If I chose to believe that the Snorkack exists, then, in the universe I inhabit, the Snorkack exists. Q.E.D.,” and she and Hermione drifted back into the growing crowd.
Dean looked over to Ron and said, “They are so alike.”
Ron laughed and shook his head. “I know. They’ll never admit it though, will they?”
“Never,” Dean said laughing. “How do you like Luna’s dress? She let me pick it out.”
“Luna is getting more beautiful by the day, mate.” Ron replied. “You’re gonna have to start watching your back soon. And yeah, she makes the dress look great.”
Harry shook his head. “How long have they been having that argument anyway?” he asked.
“Three years, nine months, and 2 days,” Neville said.
The other four looked at him, gaping.
“What, you didn’t know I was good at maths?” Neville asked.
Ron recovered first. “Sorry, not a clue mate,” he said, and they all laughed.
Parvati looked to the five laughing men. “Now there’s a sight to warm your heart, and maybe a few other places.” She nudged Lavender. Parvati was very proud of her friend. The pale blue dress they had designed clung to her form, emphasizing it without revealing the damage. As always, she wished the red and gold of the sari she was wearing looked half as good.
“They’re quite the group of dead sexy Gryffindors, I’ll give you that,” Lavender replied. “To bad they’re not available, or you could have some fun tonight.”
Parvati looked at her questioningly. “Harry, Ron, and Dean are taken, but Neville and Seamus are free agents.”
“Have you seen the way Hanna and Neville have been around each other?” Lavender asked her friend. “Those intense stares when they know the other one isn’t looking, the bashful blush when they talk, they way he straightens when she smiles, the way she brushes her hair back, I’ve seen that shit before.” She looked first at Hermione and then at Ron. “C’mon, Parv, you used to be able to spot that a mile off.”
“Well, maybe, but Shay?” Parvati said, as she twisted a shock of her long black hair around her finger.
Lavender looked at the handsome Irishman. “Shay is pretty hot, but I don’t know, I think he’s got some things to work out.”
Pavati saw a whole range of emotions whip across her friends face as the blonde girl looked across the room at Seamus. “Yes, well it’s just girls night tonight anyway. No romance screwing things up, just some fun and maybe a little dancing, if you’re up for it. Hey, there’s Anthony, Susan, and Eloise.”
“It’s good to see Miss Brown out and in company,” Professor McGonagall said.
Madam Pomfrey nodded, “Yes, you’d never know. The dress covers it well.”
Professor McGonagall smiled. “Very well, Miss Brown and the Patil girls did an admirable job. I saw a bit of a scar peek out from her collar when she greeted me, and a little on her thigh when she sat just a bit ago, but other than that she looks just like any of the other girls here. She doesn’t have a trace of the limp anymore.”
Madam Pomfrey smiled in agreement. “Her elder brother is a Muggle, and he studies an eastern martial art called ‘Kung Fu’. She’s been working with him for eight months now, and she’s very good. The moves and techniques she’s learned in the exercises and sparing have really kept her skin from tightening along the scar lines.” Her voice took on an awed tone. “But oh… when she’s in her werewolf form and does those exercises, it’s… beautiful and terrifying.”
“Well then, it’s a good thing she’s on our side isn’t it?” Professor McGonagall said taking her friends hand. “It was good of you to take her on as a permanent patient, Poppy. Your care, just as much as the work of those three girls there, saved Miss Brown,” she said nodding at Ginny, Luna, and Hermione at the drinks table. “I think the future holds more for the lass than any of us can guess. She was placed in my house after all.”
“Well her courage is certainly in full flower tonight. Professor Flitwick said in his high voice. “Look, she’s dancing with my Anthony Goldstein,”
I’m glad Professor McGonagall and the rest came,” Ginny said, her teal coloured dress complimenting her hair perfectly. “They deserve to see this place. They helped us so much.”
“Professor Flitwick was amazed,” Luna said. “He’d read about the room, but he had never seen it, and he’s convinced this is Rowena Ravenclaw’s work. He says Slitheryn would have made it so only pure bloods could use it, Huffelpuff wouldn’t have hid it, and Gryffindor’s charm work was very different from what we see here. I don’t mean to be house proud, but I concur with Flitwick. This is definitely Ravenclaw work.”
“I believe you’re correct, Luna,” Hermione said. “Gryffindor’s work is very different; it’s more emotional, more poetic. This is so literal and rational, just what you asked for with no frills or flourish, definitely Ravenclaw.”
“Stop the presses, they agree!” Ginny proclaimed.
“It happens,” the other two said in chorus.
Harry looked around the room. “Time to find the girls, oh, great here they come.”
“Hello, love. Is it speech time?” Ginny said as she walked up and linked her arm with Harry’s.
“’S why I love you so. I promise I’ll make it quick.” He turned to his friends. “You guys know how much I love this, right?”
“Better you than me, mate,” Ron said. “You’ve seen what a great public speaker I am.”
“If it was anything else I’d make Hermione do it like always.” Harry said.
“Hey! I don’t always speak for us,” Hermione said from Ron’s side. “You two talk plenty.”
“Oh it’s quite alright, Hermione,” Luna said. “I know I don’t mind when you speak for us as a group. For some reason I don’t always make a good first impression,” and she smiled at Dean, sharing some private joke.
“I love you,” he said, and gathered her in his arms.
“I’m aware,” Luna said in a soft husky voice, and then she kissed him.
“Ah, ya rot my teeth, the lot of ya!” Seamus said.
Dean put his hand on his friend’s shoulder. “When it happens to you, and it will happen, Shay, I will be merciless. Just lettin’ ya know my friend.”
“I told him the same thing Friday,” Harry said laughing. “Alright, public humiliation time,” He said bracing himself.
“You stared down Riddle in front of every one here and more,” Ginny told him. “This is nothing, love. Just go talk to your friends,” and she kissed his cheek.
“Have I told you I love you recently?” Harry asked her. He stole a quick kiss before walking to the stage and addressing the crowd.
“It was perfect, Harry, just perfect,” Ginny said. “And the impromptu lesson was great. Whose idea was that?”
“Your brother’s,” Harry said as they walked across the Gryffindor common room.
“Which one?” she asked.
“You know, the one on the couch over there with the Hermione attached.”
“Ah yes, the prat, go on,” she said smiling.
Harry nervously adjusted his collar. “Erm, well when I came home from the first day of Auror training and showed him, he insisted I teach it to him right then. Being able to accio your wand into your hand from your holster, pocket, or the floor even, will save one of their lives some time.” he said.
“Undoubtedly, did you see how fast Lavender picked it up? She’s so amazing these days,” Ginny said in an impressed voice.
Harry sighed. “Yeah, Kingsley really wants to approach her about being an Auror, but I don’t think she’s interested. Too many bad memories from the last fight she was in.”
Ginny nodded. “Probably, I’ll talk with her if you want, feel her out for you?”
“I’d rather do that myself,” Harry said grinning.
“Perv,” she said slapping his arm.
“You wouldn’t have me any other way,” Harry said hugging her. He looked over her shoulder to Ron and nodded.
“Hey, Gin,” Ron called to her, “got a question for you.”
Ginny kissed Harry, pulled herself from him, and turned to face Ron. “Yes, dear brother.
“D’ ya know what’s really special about tonight?” he asked.
“Do enlighten me, oh sage one,” she replied snidely, and taking a step toward him.
“Turn around,” Ron said smirking.
When she did, she found Harry on his knees before her. Her right hand flew to her face as Harry took her left.
“Ginevra Weasley,” he said. “A year ago I died, and my last thoughts were of you. Since then there hasn’t been a day, an hour, a minute that I haven’t thought of you, and of us together. There’s a lot that comes with being the wife of Harry Potter, and I hope the good far outweighs the bad. You are my life, Ginny. Will you become my wife? Will you marry me, Gin?”
Ron and Hermione sat grinning, watching the scene unfold. Harry had included them in his plan mostly because Ron had inadvertently opened the package Hermes had brought from Harry’s aunt. The ring was spectacular. It had belonged to Harry’s maternal grandmother, and when Harry had asked his aunt if there was something from the family, an heirloom that he could give Ginny, Petunia had eagerly volunteered her mothers ring.
All Ginny could manage was a vigorous nod. Harry passed his wand over her hand, and the ring, with its large central diamond flanked by two emeralds, appeared on her finger. Harry stood, and she threw her arms around him.
“I have never wanted anything more than I want this. I love you Harry Potter,” she said, and kissed him deeply.
Ron and Hermione rose from the couch, and after a long few moments Ron cleared his throat. “Some of us would like to congratulate the couple.” Nothing happened save for a soft moan from his sister. “Sometime tonight,” he said louder.
Harry and Ginny parted and laughed.
“He’s always going to be a prat, isn’t he?” Harry asked.
“Yes, but we love him anyway,” Hermione said as she drew Ginny into a hug.
“Two weddings is gonna drive Mum spare,” Ginny said to her soon to be sister. “We’re gonna have to work pretty hard to keep her from goin’ off the deep end.”
“I don’t know. She and my mum had ours fairly well planed before Ron even talked to her about it,” Hermione said chuckling. “I’d be willing to bet that there’s a book full of wedding plans and pictures back at the Burrow with your name on it.”
“I’m sure you’re right… sis,” Ginny said and hugged her again.
Ron wrapped his arm around Harry’s shoulder. “Well that’s the four of us spoken for, I wonder who’s next?”
“My money’s on Dean and Luna,” Harry said.
“That’s a good bet,” Ron said. “I’ve never seen Dean like he is with her.”
“I can tell you she wouldn’t say no,” Hermione said smiling. “That’s one of the best things that’s happened in all of this. Luna deserves some happiness, and Dean is so good for her.”
Just then the portrait hole swung open to reveal Neville Longbottom and Hanna Abbott sharing a deep and passionate kiss.
“’Course there could be a dark horse in the running.” Ron said, and they broke into laughter.
“Victorie!!!” shouted the chorus of voices.
Harry slammed the pint down on the bar at the Three Broomsticks. Hanna swept it from his hand, and replaced it with a full one. She’d been keeping an eye on the men’s consumption and was very close to cutting them off.
“Tha’s my love,” said Neville, “always got a full one ready.”
Hanna leaned across the bar and kissed him. “Enjoying your night, love?”
“’Course I am, the one night a year you let me get pissed in your pub. To Hanna!!!”
“You done good, mate,” George said, hugging Neville to him with one arm. “A good woman makes life worth living, an’ you got yerself a good one. Perfect really, she owns a pub ya lucky bastard.” George swayed noticeably as he let go of Neville and walked over to Bill, Harry, Dean, and Ron. “Who’s next? Have we done all the kids yet?”
“I’ve done mine,” said Ron.
“And me,” Harry put in.
“We’ve only got Billz und Gorges, wives, umm and Laven’er” Percy managed.
“That’s a good thing, boys cuase after that you’re done. You’ll never make your little outing if you keep going,” Hanna announced.
“That’s my love, always lookin’ out for us,” Neville said, and he hiccupped loudly earning a gale of laughter.
“Angelina!” George said as he held up his mug. “May she always welcome me back to her bed.”
“Angelina!!!” the group toasted, laughing.
Seamus raised his mug, “To me darling wife, Lavender!”
“Fleur, mother of my children, love of my life!” Bill said.
Only Hanna heard Dean as he raised his glass, and quietly said, “Luna,” before he drained it. She swallowed past the lump in her throat and took his glass.
“Alright, that’s the last order. Get going while it’s still light so you don’t get lost.” she told the very inebriated group of men.
“Thas’s my love…” Neville said, before Seamus and Dean hoisted him from the stool he was on, and dragged him to the door.
The tradition had started the night after the first anniversary of the battle. They had been in the Hogs Head getting remarkable pissed when the idea had occurred to Harry. The day before, had been one of tears and solemn remembrances, and then that night had been the first annual D.A. party. It had also been the night Harry asked Ginny to marry him. Harry had wanted the next night for just his former roommates and soon to be brothers, a bit of levity, and perhaps a bit of closure. So he had suggested this little hike. Only he knew where they were going; only he knew what he had done the night after the battle.
He’d woken late in the day, and wandered back down to the great hall. He’d expected it to be deserted; instead he found that it was packed. Students, parents of students, professors, elves, residents of Hogsmeade, and all manner of folk filled the hall. The dead had been moved to more secluded areas where the families could morn in peace. Harry had decided to wear his cloak for privacy, and he was glad he did. Luckily Ron and Hermione were sitting in their normal spots halfway down the inside of the Gryffindor table. He’d come up behind them, and whispered to them that he had one last thing to do before he joined them. Then he found Kingsley.
When he explained to Kingsley what he had to do, and why, he’d received no argument. He’d led Harry to the room where it had been kept and left him to it. Harry had waited until he felt it was dark enough and levitated the bundle out of the castle and into the forest. The trail he followed took him deeper and deeper until he came to a small hill. He selected a tree off the path and buried the bundle at its base. He cast a few concealing enchantments and left. Now they were back again to celebrate victory once more. No one but Harry could find the spot, but he unerringly led them there every year.
“Gather round, boys.” Harry said as he took up his usual position with his back to the tree.
“Hurry up Nev, um gonna bust here,” said Seamus.
“Come on guys, you know the order, Harry there, Ron next, then Dean, Seamus, Me, you Charlie, yeah that’s good,” Bill directed. “Then George, Percy, and Neville right there next to Harry.”
“Okay, Harry, let’s do it,” said George.
The nine men stood in a circle under the tree. Harry drew his wand and undid the concealment. The only trace left after all these years was a small dead spot were nothing grew.
“Right lads, whip em out,” said Charlie grinning.
The sound of nine flies opening at once was very loud in the quite of the forest, and as always, struck them funny. They were laughing as they all pulled their manhoods from their pants.
“Fuck you, arsehole!” Harry said, and nine golden streams poured forth onto the grave of Tom Riddle.