Chapter 19 : How to Tie a Bow Tie
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“Where the fuck are my shoes!”
“Hermione!” Ginny cried exasperatedly.
“Zere are children ‘ere!” Fleur cried.
“I can’t walk down the aisle barefoot!” Hermione was running Ginny’s bedroom in her wedding dress, frantically turning over every pillow and discarded piece of clothing. “They’ve got to be here somewhere,” she muttered, about knocking over the bottle of champagne that the girls had been sharing. Ginny snatched it quickly to prevent it from spilling. Merlin knows they were going to need every last drop.
“Don’t get your knickers in a twist, ‘Mione,” Ginny rolled her eyes. “They’re probably downstairs.”
“Well go get them, then!” She snapped, red in the face. A curl was already falling out of her updo, and if she kept tearing around like this she was bound to tear her dress.
“Hermione,” Ginny spoke slowly, not wanting to agitate the witch anymore. “Breathe in and out, please.” She placed her hands on her friend’s shoulders as Hermione’s chest heaved a few times. Finally, her breathing slowed to a moderately normal rate.
“Sorry,” she winced. “Minor panic attack.”
“Minor?” Fleur mouthed in the background.
“Hermione, look at me,” Ginny commanded. “Everything is going to be lovely. The marquee is set up, the guests are arriving, the boys are getting ready, the food is good, the music is done, Ron’s probably in his room hyperventilating right now – everything is going to plan!” The comment about Ron brought a twitch to Hermione’s mouth.
“No worries. Here, have another glass of champagne.” She grabbed the flute off the floor and flicked her wand, filling it up with bubbling liquid. “Now, I’ll run downstairs and find your shoes, and you sit here and make sure you don’t rip anything before you walk down the aisle, yeah?”
“Yeah,” Hermione replied with a small smile, taking a sip. Ginny gathered up the bottom of her airy, light blue gown and slipped out of the room. She could hear Hermione’s wail rise up behind her – “Oh Merlin I’m going to walk down the aisle!” – but she decided to let Fleur deal with this one. And where was Luna anyway? She had a tendency to wander off at the most inopportune times.
It had been by far one of the most stressful, crazy mornings Ginny had every experienced – and that was saying something, considering the fuss they made in the Burrow every September 1st. All the bridesmaids were ready – hair and makeup done, dresses on. Ginny had left her own shoes up in her room, ready to slip on last minute. She could already hear her mum fussing to her dad downstairs, waiting for everyone to get ready. From the open side door, the sound of chatter floated up from the garden.
As she reached the bottom of the stairs, Ginny took a quick peak out the window. Most people had taken their seats under the marquee, though there were a few still milling around. The late afternoon sun cast long shadows on the grass, giving the whole backyard a rosy glow that couldn’t be anymore perfect. Ginny smiled to herself, savoring the slight moment of peace, until a shriek from upstairs reminded her of her mission.
“Shoes, shoes, shoes,” she muttered under her breath, her eyes scanning the living room. Nothing. The kitchen, maybe? Muttering a quick greeting to her parents, Ginny slipped through the doorway into the sun-soaked room. There they were – still in the box on the table. Someone had forgotten to bring them upstairs with the rest of Hermione’s accessories. Ginny tucked the box under her arm, turning to head back upstairs.
“Hey.” Harry was standing in the kitchen in his tuxedo, almost ready except for the bow tie that hung undone around his neck. His hair was all over the place, per usual. He was far too close for comfort.
“Hey,” she replied, a little breathlessly. She shifted the box of shoes. “Almost ready?”
“Almost,” he replied with a sheepish grin. “Just had to get out of the room for a second. Ron’s freaking.”
“Herimone’s gone absolute insane,” Ginny laughed. “About threw my favorite jumper out the window when she couldn’t find her shoes.”
“Merlin forbid,” Harry smiled, his green eyes lighting up. Ginny swayed slightly, and immediately cursed the….however many glasses of champagne she had already drank. She was going to be stumbling down the aisle at this rate.
“Here,” she said suddenly, setting the shoes back on the table. “Let me do that for you.”
“Do what?” Confusion flitted across Harry’s face for a brief moment, before Ginny reached up and grabbed his bow tie.
“Hold still,” she commanded, her nimble fingers quickly tying it.
“How do you know how to tie a bow tie?” Harry asked quietly. Ginny could practically feel him speak he was so close, but she didn’t look up. Instead, she gave the bow tie a final tug.
“One of the blokes in Dad’s department got married about a year ago. Nutter that he was, decided to have an all-Muggle wedding.” She stepped back, grinning. “I had do tie them for every one of my brothers and Dad.”
“Well, thanks,” Harry replied. The space between them gave Ginny a chance to catch her breath.
“Well, I better be headed back upstairs,” she said airily, waving her hand in a general direction. He was making her slightly nervous, standing right there. With one last bright smile, she ducked around him and headed towards the door.
“Hey, don’t forget the shoes!” Bugger! As she turned around to get them, she was met with a box in her arms – Harry was handing them to her.
“Erm, thanks,” she told him, rearranging the box so it sat more comfortably in her arms. “Better get this to her before she throws another fit.” Another grin. “See you in a bit!”
“Yeah,” Harry replied, a bit distracted. “See you.” Ginny fled the kitchen quickly. What was that all about? She frowned. Since when she did find herself unsteady and short of breath in his presence? Furious, maybe. But lightheaded? Merlin, she must have had more champagne than she thought.
Shaking her head, Ginny hiked up the hem of her light blue dress and traipsed up the stairs, shoebox tucked firmly under her arm.
“Hermione!” She called out, approaching the door to her own childhood room. “I’ve got your bloody shoes!”
“Thank Merlin!” Hermione’s wail was muffled by the closed door. Grimacing slightly, Ginny steeled herself for the chaos she was about to willingly throw herself into. Only for Ron and Hermione, she told herself.
“Calm down,” Ginny rolled her eyes as she pushed open the door, revealing the mess her room was in. Hermione was sitting on the edge of her bed, the late afternoon sunlight streaming through the dusty windowpane and glinting off the top of her head. Her hair was sleek and pulled back into some elaborate updo that Fleur had done, and her cheeks were flushed with excitement.
She was radiant.
“Oh, ‘Mione,” Ginny sighed, a smile crossing her face. Hermione returned the smile, though hers was a little watery.
“You shouldn’t cry before your wedding, you know.” There was Luna’s dreamy voice, drifting up from the corner. “A plimpy might be attracted by all the water.” Ginny met Hermione’s eyes and the two girls stifled a giggle.
“Well, lez go,” Fleur chided, standing up from where she was sitting next to Hermione. “Ze wedding is starting soon and it needs ze bride!” She took the box of shoes from Ginny and handed them to Hermione, who slid her feet into the heels. Ginny stuck her own feet in her shoes, buckling the ankles with a flick of her wand, which she then tucked back under her dress into her garter.
“Alright,” she said, turning to the three other women. “Fleur, Luna, you ready?” They nodded, straightening out their dresses. Fleur patted her hair one last time.
“Hermione?” Ginny asked softly. The witch took a deep breath and nodded, her dress rustling as she stood up.
“I’m ready,” she replied, her voice wavering slightly. Ginny could see the tears welling up in her eyes already. Merlin, she wasn’t even going to make it down the aisle without crying.
“Let’s do this.”
The first strains of the waltz drifted through the thick afternoon air towards the side door, where Ginny was standing right behind Fleur. She couldn’t see anything over the taller witches head, but the silence and occasional rustle of silk told her Luna was making her way down the aisle, her bouquet between her hands.
Before Ginny even had time to think about what was happening, Fleur stepped forward and began walking down the petal-strewn aisle in their backyard. And suddenly, she could see everything – the white marquee, the rows and rows of chairs filled in with family and friends, and Ron standing in the front, looking slightly pale but wearing a huge grin.
“Gin, go!” Hermione gave her a small shove, and Ginny almost stumbled, recovering quickly and taking a step forward. Alright, Gin, you got this, she told herself. One foot in front of the other. Remember to smile! She found, however, that she already was. She could see Neville in the audience, sitting with his Gran, and there was Oliver Wood and his family. She could see all of her brothers lined up front, looking quite sharp in their tuxedos. Charlie standing proud and tall, Bill with eyes only for his wife, George with a wicked grin on his face.
Hermione was walking down the aisle now. Ginny could tell by the way that Ron’s face lit up, going from slightly pale and sickly one moment to absolutely glowing the next. Her smile widened. He was so pathetically in love.
Her eyes drifted over to Harry as she made her way closer. She expected him to be looking at the bride, like everyone else. Instead, as soon as she looked at him, she found him to be looking right at her.
She about missed a step.
Steadying herself, Ginny looked down for a moment, making sure her feet were going where she wanted them. When she looked back up, he was still looking at her. At first, his gaze was inscrutable. As soon as she caught his eye again, however, a little crooked grin appeared on his face.
She smiled back before she knew what she was doing. And then she was at the front. Her hands were a bit sweaty, clutching both her bouquet in one and Hermione’s in the other. Thank Merlin there was a bit of a breeze. A few tendrils of her red hair blew around her face. Her eyes scanned the audience, smiling at all the familiar faces she saw. They were all there to support her brother and Hermione.
She let out her breath. Merlin, she could never stay away from these people. Not even if she held a grudge against Harry for the rest of her life and he moved into the Burrow and she saw him all the time. He may have broken her heart, but without her family (as sprawling as it way, including people not technically related to her) she would be absolutely miserable. As in, without a heart altogether miserable. She may die old and alone, but she would always have her family by her side.
Including Harry, she realized. Her Mum had been right in one point she had made the other day – Harry had been part of the Weasley’s lives since he was eleven. If she considered Neville and Luna and Hagrid as family, then Harry should sure as hell be counted. And you know what they said about family.
You always had to forgive them.
Ginny took a deep breath, adjusting her grip around the bouquets in her hands. Her palms were still sweaty, and the ribbon tied around her bouquet was poking her in the wrist. They must have gotten the kind with wire in it, though Ginny had no idea why – you could always just charm the damn thing to stay in place.
Tearing her eyes from the audience, Ginny looked back over to where Ron and Hermione were standing at the makeshift altar, looking at the man who was to marry them. He had been speaking for a bit now, blathering on about true love and the institution of marriage in a flat, gravelly voice that made her a bit restless just listening to it. Then there had been a song; a beautiful traditional Irish love song that washed over the room from where the magical orchestra sat in the corner.
“Now, Ron,” the wizarding priest began. “If you could repeat after me.” Ginny straightened – it was finally time for the vows. Hermione was absolutely beaming, and Ron looked a bit like he had been hit in the head with a Bludger. Well, it was a far cry better than looking like he was about to vomit.
As Ron repeated his vows, Ginny found her eyes straying past her brother and his soon-to-be wife. Harry was standing stoically opposite of her, his eyes on the couple in front of him. Suddenly, Hermione began to speak and Ginny’s gaze snapped back up front. In that brief moment, however, Ginny had managed to take in the sharp lines of his shoulders under his tuxedo, the bowtie that she herself had tied just an hour ago, the way his hair, still slightly damp at the end in a misguided effort to keep it to lay flat, was curling slightly at his neck.
Without a conscious effort, her eyes flitted over once more. This time, he was looking back. Ginny’s eyes widened slightly. It was almost as if he felt her eyes on him a moment ago. He didn’t smile at her this time; his gaze was steady and serious. Even from the opposite side of the altar, Ginny could see the weight in his green eyes. It was a piercing gaze; Ginny almost felt like he was trying to see through the top of her head to see the thoughts flitting around there. If she didn’t know him, she might have guessed he was trying to use Legilimency.
Ginny blinked rapidly, focusing back on Hermione, shaking off the strange feeling that came with his attention. She wasn’t quite sure what to make of it – any of it. His gaze had been…intense. Yes, that was the word to describe it. It wasn’t his normal conflicted gaze or the sparkle his eyes had when he was happy. It wasn’t the glace that usual raised bile in her throat and caused a churning sensation in her stomach. It didn’t bring the normal hot red flash of anger or the curled fists and squinted eyes. In fact, when Ginny looked at him, she didn’t feel angry at all. She just felt….vulnerable. Like he could see right through her.
His gaze had been so steady that she almost felt uncomfortable; almost, but not quite. It was a bit like giving a presentation in class or getting robes fitted in Madam Malkin’s – a strange sensation that the attention was focused solely on you. Not that it was, of course. Hermione was repeating her vows now; every eye in the room was on them. And yet Harry was still looking at her. Ginny shifted from one foot to another, trying to focus on the words Hermione was repeating.
“In sickness and in health,” the wizard droned.
“In sickness and in health,” Hermione repeated, sounding a bit choked up.
She could feel Harry’s eyes on her. It was strange, though. Despite the fact that his gaze dredged up a plethora of emotions, anger was not one of them.
“Til death do us part.”
“You may now kiss the bride.”
As Ron leaned over to kiss Hermione, a cheer erupted from the crowd. The magical orchestra struck up a lively tune, and the breeze caused ribbons to wave and dress hems to flutter and the whole tent felt alive. A wide smile stretched across Ginny’s face as Ron finally pulled away from a very pink Hermione. She could see her mum crying in the front row, her dad’s arm around her. He looked pleased as punch. Even the crusty old priest cracked a smile. As she reached out to hand Hermione her bouquet as they prepared to walk back down the aisle, she caught Harry’s eye.
Author's Note: Hey! Without further ado, Chapter 19, and (finally) the wedding! Hope you enjoyed this, and the next chapter should be up soon. After all, everyone knows that the best part of a wedding is the reception....Thanks for reading and please review!
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