“Are they talking?” Harry had his back to the fireplace.
“They are” said Luna. She had the ghost of a smile on her lips. “And connecting. They have that wonderful glow about them. It seems we had the right idea. This party is just the right frame to get them together without the whole world gossiping.”
“Just friends and family gossiping then?” Harry grinned. “Once they come out there, the gang will be all over them.”
“True. Unless we take steps. I’ll take the garden, you the house? Let’s give them a little grace period.”
Harry nodded. It wasn’t that much of a chore, most of the gang were clustered around the various comfy spots in the large living room.
Ron, Hermione, George, Angelina and Parvati were at the dinner table, each trying to conquer the world in a cut-throat game of Risk.
“Who’s winning?” he asked.
“Hermione, again,” said Ron. He looked up and gave a small nod to the nook where Draco and Ginny sat. “You’re all right with that?” he asked softly.
“I am, Ron, I am.” said Harry. “That’s why I’m here. They might work out, so could you hold off on the inquisition?”
“He will, don’t worry, as will we all, right?” said Hermione, who had just managed to wipe out George’s african encampment. The others frowned for a moment until Hermione nodded towards the fireplace.
“I’d still rather have her with you.” muttered Ron.
“It didn’t work out, Ron. We’re better friends now than we ever were during our marriage. We were too young and too damaged.”
“We weren’t older, Hermione and me.”
“True.” Harry sighed. “Maybe it’s because you really love each other. I’m not sure we ever did.” He ran a hand through his hair. “I think we were more in love with the happy ending than with each other.” Harry glanced over where Ginny was still talking. Her left hand had found Draco’s right.
“Let’s talk about it later, okay? You’re good otherwise? Drinks? Food?”
“We’re fine, Harry,” said George. “Now go away, I need to make sure Mongolia stays faithful to the Emperor of Heaven.”
“Oh, you wish,” said Angelina. “The People’s Army will free the peace-loving mongolian people from your heavy-handed occupation.” She took up the dice. “You check on the kids, Harry, I need to decimate my husband’s troops.” she added with a grin.
“Hey, why are you all ganging up on me?” Harry heard George complain while he left.
He wandered over to where the kids were gathered. Not that the expression fit anymore. With the exception of Lorcan and Lysander, his stepsons, all of the children had finished Hogwarts and were of age.
“All good here?” Harry asked as he reached the couch. “Hey dad,” said James, “we’re fine. And we do know where the kitchen and the bar are, if we need anything.” he added with a smirk.
“Are you OK, dad?” asked Lily with a look at her mother.
“I am, Leeloo” said Harry. “That’s why I’m here. Lorcan, Sander, Hugo, Rose, I know you’re not really involved, but anyway, I wanted to ask all of you to give Ginny space. Don’t crowd her.”
“We won’t.” said Albus. “Right?” He looked around and got the nods he was asking for.
“I think I’ll get myself another sandwich” said James and got up. “Come with me for a moment, Dad?”
“What do you think they’re talking about” asked James softly when the had reached the sideboard doing buffet table duty.
“The past, I’d guess.” Harry glanced over. Draco and Ginny were still deep in conversation.
“Draco and you were enemies, right? You hated him during the war. So why are you suddenly OK with that?” asked James.
“For one, it’s not important whether I am OK with it or not.” said Harry. “Your mother can make her own decisions. Two, yes, I hated Draco. He was a cruel spoilt little bastard in Hogwarts. A cruel little bastard who had his whole world collapse and his parents almost die. I know the war changed him, James. Astoria wouldn’t have left him if he hadn’t. He’s a pretty decent human being nowadays. And he brought up Scorpius right, from what you told me. So while I might wish your mother had found somebody better, I don’t think he’s bad for her. Now.”
“I just hope she finds something good.” said James. “I know we did the right thing. I know that you and mum are friends now. Better than you ever were. We all can see that. But still. You found Luna pretty quickly, but mum, she’s been alone all these years. And I’m not sure –“ He trailed off.
“Not sure that she just takes the next guy who shows an interest? Ginny must have been more discreet with you than with me. I know she never was short of admirers after we separated. But she didn’t take up with anyone.”
“This time, though,” Harry looked over. Ginny’s hand was resting on Draco’s knee and the way they looked at each other led Harry to believe that this time Ginny might have found what she was looking for. “This time, she might get lucky.”
“I hope so, Dad, I hope so.” James watched openly now, as he didn’t think Draco or Ginny would break out of their bubble soon. “We never wanted her to be alone. We wanted both of you to be happy. And we’ve always been worried about Mum. I hope she finds something like you have with Luna. Where is Luna anyway?”
“She’s out in the garden, making sure with the others that Ginny stays unbothered.”
“I should have known.” said James. “Let me guess, it was her idea, right?”
“Yes, it was.” Harry shrugged. “She’s a lot smarter than I am. I’m truly lucky to have her.”
“Oh.” said James softly and his widened eyes told Harry that something was happening. He turned around and saw that Draco had gotten up. With a tight smile Harry watched as Draco cupped Ginny’s face in his hands. Harry and his son looked at each other. “I think I should go back to the others.” said James. “I guess Mum will want to talk to you.”
Harry just nodded, not taking his eyes of Ginny and Draco. Ginny had just slapped Draco’s shoulder and now they were both laughing.
Harry looked over at the Risk game and saw that they had all noticed but were studiously avoiding more than quick glances. James had rejoined his siblings and kept talking softly.
While Draco offered Ginny a hand to help her stand, Harry noticed Luna in the doorway with a soft smile on her face. He gave her a small nod and she turned away to go out again.
Harry hadn’t seen Ginny smile like that for a long time. With a bit of a wistful smile he watched them exchange soft words. Then Ginny looked at him. She said something to Draco and walked over to Harry. From the corner of his eyes, Harry saw the shadow of a scowl flit over Draco’s face, but it was quickly replaced by an adoring expression as Draco focussed on Ginny’s back.
“So,” Ginny had reached him. “Luna or you?”
“Luna or me what?” Harry was momentarily confused.
“Who of you invited Draco to the end-of-summer burnt food offerings?” asked Ginny.
“Luna had the idea, but we both invited him after we thought about it.” Harry said, “Luna noticed the looks he gave you at the last Falcon’s game.”
“Oh!” said Ginny, “I didn’t even see him then. So I suppose I also have Luna to thank for the missing Ron explosion?”
“No,” said Harry, “that was me. Luna’s outside by the barbecue heading off Neville and the rest of the gang.”
“Thank you.” Ginny kissed him on the cheek. “Sometimes I wish we could have worked out.”
“I do too, but –“
“No, the kids were right. We didn’t work. Maybe if we had gotten together later, after we both had a little more experience with life. Maybe a little more experience with love, too.”
“Maybe,” said Harry. “Maybe we were never meant for each other. So you and Draco?”
“I think so, yes.” Ginny looked back at Draco who was still by the fireplace, looking a little lost.
“You don’t need it, but you have my blessing. I hope you can make each other happier than we were.”
“I hope so, too.” Ginny gave him a soft pat on the cheek. “Now I better go and get him out to the garden to thank Luna. Talk later?”
“Later.” Harry agreed and watched his ex-wife take his ex-enemy by the hand and lead him out to the garden.