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Arthur and Molly invited Harry and Hermione over to the Burrow the following weekend for a planning meeting. Dan, Emma, Ron and Ginny were also there. Hermione came armed with a wedding planner. Many of the wants and desires discussed the previous week were quickly worked out. Harry desired to have the bonding ceremony at the church in Godric's Hollow. They discussed wedding dresses, tuxedos, the ceremony proceedings and the many reception details. Everyone volunteered to help so Hermione assigned and scheduled the things that needed to be done. Harry could see that despite all of the work and details, Hermione was enjoying herself. The next day, Hermione sent an owl and confirmed their mid-November reservation for the church and reception hall.

A week later, Hermione, Ginny, Katie, Molly and Emma spent the entire day shopping for dresses. They visited both magical and muggle shops. They returned to the Burrow late in the afternoon exhausted but very satisfied. The dress arrangements were completed. The guys had a barbeque dinner waiting, done without magic much to Arthur's fascination and the delight. Harry and Ron helped with the preparations. The following day, the guys went tuxedo shopping at Diagon Alley after lunch. They were back by mid-afternoon, mission accomplished.

The following Saturday, Harry took Hermione to the jewelry shop in Diagon Alley where he had purchased her engagement ring. Taking her hand, the shopkeeper said he had never seen the engagement ring sparkle more brightly or look more beautiful. Hermione smiled broadly. He told them that the glow of magical rings is the reflection of the love for between a husband and wife. Hearing they planned to bond using Vinculi Spiritu, the shopkeeper showed them rings that were appropriate for the ritual. The rings were different in metallurgy and the magic within them. This type of ring was sold only in matched pairs and sizing needed to be done very carefully. After much discussion, Harry and Hermione settled on a ring set they both liked and that also matched her engagement ring.

They walked to Florean Fortescue's and enjoyed an ice cream cone. Then, after spending some time in Flourish and Blotts, they visited George and Angelina at the joke shop. The shop was crowded and George would periodically demonstrate a product to the crowd with a sales pitch. Talking with Harry and Hermione, George said he had a lot of suggestions to liven up their wedding day. He was particularly proud of 'His and Hers Magic Dancing Shoes'. Not only did the shoes know all the dance steps, they also kept you from stepping on your partners' feet. And if that weren't enough, the shoes would also shoot magical flames and colored sparks depending on how the wearer stomped down on the heel. Harry thought the shoes were brilliant and smiled enthusiastically. Hermione however, told George that while being a great idea, the shoes weren't quite what she was looking for just now. George told Angelina that Hermione had always been a 'tough sell' and they all laughed. 

Later, Harry and Hermione went for a quiet walk in the park to talk and plan their honeymoon, some non-verbal conversation also occurred. The weather was turning cooler so a tropical destination was quickly agreed upon.  Harry would make the necessary travel and hotel arrangements.

While at the park, Hermione told Harry about the bonding ceremony and how she came to know about it. It happened on the first day she had helped with the rebuilding effort in the Hogwarts library. She found a dusty old book lying in a pile with other books on the floor. The book had a partially torn page sticking out. After mending the page with the repairo charm, the image of a griffin on the page had caught her eye. She had spent the next half hour sitting on the floor with the book in her lap reading about the ancient ritual. It was intriguing and interesting. She had gone back to the library after everything was back in order but had not found much additional information about the ritual.

"From what I read, the ritual suggests that other connections between a husband and wife are possible, like sharing thoughts, feelings and magical powers. The book mentioned couples in the past that had successfully bonded using the ritual. It described the type of people they were and the traits and attitudes they seemed to have in common."

"I think the relationship you and I have very much fits with the descriptions in the book. Like our deep and trusting friendship. We're honest, truthful and caring with each other. We can talk about anything and we have consideration for each other's thoughts and opinions. Our thinking is both common and complementary. We know the right thing to do for each other and when one of us is weaker, the other compensates for it by being stronger. There's concern and aide for others when it is in our power to do so. Harry, we've been doing these things since our first year at Hogwarts."

They decided to talk to McGonagall about the ritual. They also wanted to ask her to officiate at the ceremony. Hermione sent an owl to McGonagall and received a reply the next day. McGonagall asked them to come to her office that week to discuss it. The best man and maid of honor would also need to be present at their meeting. Ginny and Ron were free that Friday evening so they planned on having dinner together in the Great Hall and then speak to McGonagall afterwards.



"Good to see you all," said McGonagall. "Please come in and be seated."

Harry, Hermione, Ron and Ginny entered the headmistress' office and sat down in chairs in front of her desk.

McGonagall seated herself behind the desk and said to Harry and Hermione, "I was so pleased and happy to receive your owl. Congratulations to both of you! I am honored to accept your invitation to officiate at your bonding. I am most proud and impressed by your choice of the Vinculi Spiritu ceremony."

Hermione said, "Thank you headmistress. Could you tell us more about it?"

"It is an ancient bonding ritual. The couple seeks to unite themselves in body, mind and spirit resulting in an enhanced relationship with each other. The ability of the couple to share thoughts telepathically is likely to develop. This is not forcibly reading private thoughts but a willful act of giving a thought to a spouse. Rarer is the ability of the couple to experience some of each other's strong feelings such as happiness, pleasure or pain. Most rare, is the ability of the couple to combine their magical powers which greatly intensifies the strength of a mutually cast spell. Each of these abilities, if present, is under willful control, and each individual must consent. The degree to which any of these abilities develop varies with each couple and is based on their relationship, moral character and attitude toward others."

Harry said, "That is so extraordinary. Do many couples use this ritual?"

"Not many. The prerequisites and the ritual itself require much commitment and dedication. And there is no guarantee that any of the abilities will develop. Like any bonding, magical or muggle, it is the husband and wife that freely initiate, sustain and grow the bond as they desire. Friendship, love, purity of both individuals and a true commitment to each other for life, are essential requirements for this type of bonding."

Hermione asked, "How is the bonding accomplished?"

"It is done over three days. The first day focuses on perceptions and interaction with the physical. Things such as sheltering, protecting, care during sickness and making a home for the family. It involves non-magical labor and self-denial through fasting. The second day involves personal reflection and meditation, the replacement of a corrosive thought or attitude with a life giving one. The third day is the ceremony of the spirit bonding. It is similar to a normal bonding ceremony in form, but it is much more. Each person pledges the essence of his or her being to the other. There are special incantations and charms that are used. A deep magic is called forth which elevates the bonding to a spiritual level. It is a most serious and unbreakable bond."

Everyone sat in silence for a moment. Hermione turned to Harry and softly said, "So what do you think Harry?"

He looked at her and said, "I would have never imagined all the things we've learned and experienced in the magical world. This bonding ritual might be the beginning of another wondrous part of it. I love you more than I can say and want our magical life together to be the best possible. And even if these abilities don't happen with us, we'll still have each other and our love and friendship. We should do it. How do you feel?"

"Ever since reading about it, I've felt it was something that should be experienced. I love you so very much and the chance to make our marriage so special is too great an opportunity to pass up."

McGonagall smiled and said, "Very well then, we shall proceed. Have you chosen a date for the ceremony?"

Hermione said, "Yes, it will be on the third Sunday in November to minimize the impact to our studies here at Hogwarts." Then, with a smile she said, "Harry and I also want to arrange some time away together."

McGonagall smiled warmly and said, "I think arrangements can be made. Please speak with each your professors to make arrangements for your lessons and assignments."

McGonagall said, "Do either of you have any further questions for me at this time?"

Harry looked at Hermione and then said, "No headmistress. Thank you."

McGonagall said, "If you and Hermione would wait downstairs in the Great Hall, I would like to speak with Ronald and Ginny. They will return to you shortly."

Harry and Hermione got up and left the room. After they had left, McGonagall said, "As best man and maid of honor, you have an active role to play in the bonding ceremony. You will help perform the logistics of the three day ritual so that Harry and Hermione can focus fully on its personal aspects."

Ginny said, "That might be a challenge, particularly with Hermione. She likes to plan things ahead of time." Ginny looked at Ron who was nodding with a smile.

McGonagall smiled and said, "Indeed. But you are all close and trusted friends. You should have little difficulty."

McGonagall took two small books from her desk drawer and handed them to Ron and Ginny. Then she said, "These books will tell you what needs to be done so you can prepare. The three of us will have additional meetings to ensure your full understanding. Just to quickly summarize what you will do ..."

She spent a few minutes going over the general content of the book. Then, McGonagall said, "Please keep the information private so as not to burden Harry and Hermione. The two of you may discuss the books content with each other. We will meet again next week."

"Thank you headmistress." said Ron.



Ginny and Ron rejoined Harry and Hermione in the Great Hall.

"My word!" said Ginny. "This is an exceptional bonding you two are undertaking. It goes well beyond just 'tying the knot'."

Everyone smiled. Then, Ron said, "Yeah. I've never heard anyone in the Weasley family talk about this ceremony. I know you two can do it and you'll be successful."

Hermione said, "Thanks to both of you. I hope it won't be too much trouble for you. What did McGonagall talk to you about?"

Ginny said, "We can't say too much about it now. But we'll be meeting with her a few times to go over it in more detail. This is so exciting!"

Ron said, "Yeah, and it's no trouble at all. We want to do whatever it takes to make your bonding day just the way you want it." Ginny nodded enthusiastically.

Hermione said, "But there must be something more you can tell us so Harry and I can prepare."

Ginny and Ron just looked at her and shook their heads.

Harry said, "Hermione, I think Ron and Ginny are very serious about this. They'll make sure things are done right. Thanks Ron, thanks Ginny. You two, any your whole family, are simply the best."

After a brief moment, Hermione reluctantly nodded and said, "Okay."




On the evening before the beginning of their three-day bonding ceremony, Harry and Hermione were at their flat making final preparations. Hermione was still going over and rechecking her wedding planner. Harry had boxed up the last of the decorations for the reception.

"Tux?" said Hermione.

Looking at the contents of the box and closing it, Harry smiled and said, "Ron has it at the Burrow."

"Wedding dress with Mum." said Hermione to herself.  ... "Flowers, candles, guestbook ..."
 
In the living room, there was a flash of green light and a whoosh as Ginny stepped from the fireplace. An instant later, there was another flash and Ron stepped into the living room.

"Harry? Hermione?" said Ginny. "We're here."

"We'll be right there," called Hermione from her bedroom.

A moment later, a box floated out from the hall. Harry guided the box with his wand and set it on the floor by the sofa.

"Hi! That's all the decorations for the church and reception hall. They've been charmed to float into position by themselves. Just open the box in each room."

"Okay. I'll make sure it gets done," said Ron as Hermione joined them studying her wedding planner.

Without looking up from the planner she said, "Ron, you and Ginny have the rings?"

Ron looked at Ginny and smiled. "Yes Hermione, we have them safe."

After another moment, she closed the planner and handed it to Ginny. "I think everything that needed to get done is done." Then, with a slight concerned and sheepish look, she meekly said to Ginny, "Check it over once more ... just to be sure?"

Ginny smiled and said, "Yes, I will." Then with a determined expression she said, "Hermione, you need to put the planning out of your mind now. Don't think about it anymore. There are more important preparations to be made, you and Harry."

Hermione opened her mouth to say something. Ginny gave her a stern look. She closed her mouth and nodded.
 
Grinning, Ginny said, "Any last minute goodbye time needed?"

Hermione smiled, "No, we did that a few minutes ago. But ... since you asked ..." Hermione flung herself at Harry embracing him tightly and kissing him. ...

"Ahem ..." said Ron. Ginny giggled as Hermione released Harry and he staggered slightly.

Ron said, "I reckon you both remember all of this but McGonagall wants us to go over it with you one last time. You can't see or talk to each other until the ceremony on Sunday. You can only use magic for reasons of security and safety. If you need anything, ask us. You must witness the sunset each day, Ginny and I will help with that."

Harry and Hermione nodded.

"Okay, anything else before we go?" asked Ginny. Everyone looked at each other in silence. "Right then, Hermione, you're with me." She took Hermione's hand.

Hermione looked at Harry and, in a quiet lonesome voice said, "Bye Harry."

"Bye Hermione. See you in a few days."

There was a whoosh and a pop as Ginny and Hermione disapparated.

"Ready mate?" Harry nodded and took Ron's hand. They disapparated and instant later.

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