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Oh, dear, a sequel: Cakes and ale: the Englishman - Wemyss's Appalling Hobby:
From the Party Guilty of Committing 'Gate of Ivory, Gate of Horn'
wemyss
wemyss
Oh, dear, a sequel: Cakes and ale: the Englishman

Cakes and ale: the Englishman

 

_________________________________

 

Harry had seen the children put to bed before he’d Apparated away. Now it was night, and Ginny waking, sleep far from her as her husband was far. She was not, of course, worried. She was a Weasley by birth, and, if they did not parade the fact, the Weasleys were as much a Service Family of long service as were their Muggle cadets, the Wellesleys. And, naturally, she knew perfectly well that Harry could and should Take Care of Himself: none better.

 

No, surely it was merely the excitements of the day that left her sleepless. The children were peaceably asleep, safe and happy and sweet-smelling from their baths, deceptively angelic-seeming, and Kreacher and Winky were to hand for any need. It was a soft and pleasant night.

 

It had been a lavishly exciting day, after all. Rampageously so. The service at the Cathedral, you know. The new duchess of Cambridge, their future Queen Consort, was lovely, and eminently suitable. Ginny smiled to herself, secretly, in the sheltering dark: Harry had given their future Sovereign and his wife an approving look, and that look had by no means been wholly political or military. Harry had yet an eye for a well-turned ankle, after all, and HRH the Princess William possessed that quality in full measure. And Harry had also an eye for a handsome lad, as well, and both the duke of Cambridge and that other and princely Harry were assuredly that – as was James Middleton, reflected Ginny, although he did have rather a look of the young Tim Curry ... and that was curiously apt, if rumour were to be credited (Ginny wasn’t as mad for Muggle culture as her father was, but Wizardom had not unnaturally embraced certain cult films).

 

Harry’s appreciative eye did not fret Ginny in the least. To the contrary. She knew, if Harry chose not to know, that she was not the prettiest Witch of her generation: a trifle thin of lip, a trifle mulish of jaw, and with all the temperament that was the privilege of red hair. Nor, of course, was she – even now, after three children and a rather more sedentary career than she’d had as a professional Quidditch player – the well-upholstered sort, to be vulgar about it: not that Harry preferred that in any case. In fact, her rather boyish charms and rather masculine jaw had prompted more Witches than Wizards to chance their wands with her: flattering, in its way, but hopeless, although she’d always been polite in declining offers.

 

And yet Harry was hers, and she, his, a marriage of true minds and truer hearts that admitted no impediment, and the fact that the Hero of the Wizarding World, with that world at his feet, had always cleaved to her only, was a profound pleasure. She never worried that he might fail to come home by reason of some intrigue or entanglement, any more than she might do: they were neither of them the sort to misconduct themselves in that fashion. She remembered, half-drowsing, something Harry had said on several occasions, when his duty impelled him to address breaches of Auror discipline and the Queen’s Regulations: ‘Adultery, mostly, sexual misconduct of one or another sort, at least there’s little drunkenness and no mutiny ... very tiresome, mind, it really bloody is ...’ – and so it should be, she thought. Much preferable to have to deal only with truculent squaddies awash in beer and fighting in pubs, or hapless subalterns who’d forgotten mess meetings and gone dancing: you couldn’t – she was, she had been, an Auror’s wife for long enough to realise – you simply couldn’t very well put a roving CSM or adulterous Major on jankers, alas.

 

And of course, she told herself quite sternly, one wasn’t at all worried that Harry should fail to come home to her for some direr reason. It was quite impossible that the-Boy-Who-Lived-turned-Master-of-the-Hallows should come to any harm. Silly to be wakeful, really.

 

It was, surely, the excitements of the day now past that kept one from sleep. There’d been the actual royal wedding the day before – and really, those hats: even Hermione had admitted that Muggle-borns had no room whatever to say anything about Wizarding fashions for Witches, after that – and then the blessing of the union at the new couple’s first appearance before their future Wizarding subjects; and it all did rather jumble, and perhaps jarred just a trifle, with the Second Sunday of Eastertide, the translated Feast of St George, and the odd coincidence of Remembrance Day in the Wizarding world. Harry had of course said he’d be home in time for that, and one didn’t at all worry that he mightn’t. It was simply that these coincidences were a bit out of tune, surely, that kept one awake.

 

St George’s Day ... if there were any saint in the kalendar that her brother really oughtn’t to have been named for, really, it was George. (This was sensible: Harry mustn’t be worried for and over, but George was always a good, sound subject for a sister’s concern. He was capable, was George, of justifying any number of sleepless nights – he’d certainly done so for Mummy, and unquestionably had he done for Angelina, and yet did do. Yes: one might very properly spend the time, whilst awaiting sleep, in contemplating the vexing problem of George.)

 

On the one hand, dear Kingsley must be sleeping soundly the sleep of the just at having got through the Wizarding world’s introduction to the future royals without any of George’s mischief. No doubt the Ministry as a whole had been holding their breaths, and must now, surely, be feeling that the age of miracles is not past. George could so easily have made the day so much more exciting, in rather uncomfortable ways.

 

On the other hand, a George who was not indulging a trick of the old rage was a George who bore watching; and the anniversary of the victory was, after all, the anniversary of Fred’s death. Not all the glory in the world could make up for that. The problem with the Honoured and Glorious Dead is that they are dead, after all, and that they are honoured and glorified is cold comfort. Creed or no creed, the communion of saints and the resurrection of the body and the life everlasting notwithstanding, the survivors – and what it was for a twin, Ginny could only imagine – the survivors wanted a good deal of faith to carry on, really. No, George bore watching at this time of year. In fact –

 

‘Mummy?’

 

‘James? Whatever are you doing, awake and wandering about?’ She exchanged a glance with Winky, who was, of course, hovering behind her charge, and nodded a dismissal. ‘Oh, do get up here, then, and under the comforter, you little hoglet, you’ll never stay warm wandering the house.’

 

James snuggled in, gratefully. ‘I was watching, Mummy. Keeping an eye on things. The way Daddy does, you know. He said I was the Wizard of the house while he was away.’

 

Ginny suppressed both a smile and a sigh of exasperation. Harry really wanted to choose his words more carefully. Then again, her own father had said the same sort of thing to Bill, she’d heard, in circumstances not dissimilar....

 

‘Yes, well, you’ll want your rest for that, dear. Do go back to sleep.’

 

James was drifting off already. Ginny smiled. She knew perfectly well that Al should be next, and Lils make her way after, within ten minutes, if that.

 

_________________________________

 

In the hour before dawn, Harry Potter returned to his home and family to find, as he’d expected, Ginny drowsing amidst their sleeping children. She woke at his footfall, and they simultaneously cast charms so as to prevent the children’s waking.

 

‘Remarkable,’ said he, smiling. ‘I’m hardly away for the night, and I’m displaced by these bed-hogging sprogs.’

 

‘It went well.’ Ginny’s statement was just that, a statement, not a question.

 

‘Very smoothly,’ said Harry, stifling a yawn. ‘Well, for the forces of justice and righteousness, at least. A Muggle formation which, like Wizardom, does not officially exist, got things sorted with admirable celerity – once they started. Naturally, the evening as a whole was the usual business of lengthy boredom briefly enlivened by a few brief minutes of applied violence. And you needn’t give that wifely look, it was the Americans’ show entirely, and the Muggle Americans’ show at that. All I did was to keep an eye on the perimeter.’

 

‘Oh? “All”? And afterward?’

 

‘Well, I will admit that there was a bit of a dustup there. Officially, the Pakistan Government – Muggle – was a Very Helpful Ally and lured the target into a trap and All That. Unofficially, the ISI chaps and the liaison between the Wizarding Raj and the Muggle state got a hell of a wigging. There mayn’t have been any rockets fired on the target, but there was damned well a departmental rocket or three. Naturally: I mean, it’s like discovering Voldemort living above the saloon bar down the Cauldron, isn’t it. Or in the gatehouse at Daysbridge Barracks.’

 

‘And did you barrack anyone, darling?’

 

Harry strove to look innocent, and failed miserably. ‘Ah. Well. I did have a few words for the District Commissioner and my Muggle counterparts. The diplomats were appalled, but Justin and Kingsley backed me by Floo. I really could not stand there and listen to them try and spin their way out of this; I finally asked if, perhaps, they’d thought that the compound was inhabited by a retired cricketer who’d got rich by spot-fixing. It wasn’t well received.’

 

Ginny giggled. It was enough to penetrate the charms and wake the children, who immediately tackled their father.

 

‘Yes, yes. I see you were all good children: the house is still standing. Yes, I’ll hear all about it, and I’ll tell some of what I was doing last night. No, not now: not if you want to go to Gran’s for a special holiday breakfast – ah, I see that shifted them. Thank you, Winky, Kreacher.’

 

‘I’m glad you’re home, darling.’

 

‘As am I: Blighty, home, and beauty, my dear. I think we’ve time to renew our acquaintance before we take the little terrors to the Burrow and make ourselves sober for the observance at the Cenotaph, don’t you? And it is good – mmm, more beautiful even then when we married, you are: it must be magic – it is good to be back in civilisation. You cannot ask an Englishman to slay dragons on water and tea, you know. No, my wench, don’t you move from there, you’re all the intoxication I want just now....’  

 

_________________________________

 

St George he was for England,

And before he killed the dragon

He drank a pint of English ale

Out of an English flagon.

For though he fast right readily

In hair-shirt or in mail,

It isn’t safe to give him cakes

Unless you give him ale.

 

St George he was for England,

And right gallantly set free

The lady left for dragon’s meat

And tied up to a tree;

But since he stood for England

And knew what England means,

Unless you give him bacon

You mustn’t give him beans.

 

St George he is for England,

And shall wear the shield he wore

When we go out in armour

With battle-cross before.

But though he is jolly company

And very pleased to dine,

It isn’t safe to give him nuts

Unless you give him wine.  

 

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FINITE  

 

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8 comments or Leave a comment
Comments
noeon From: noeon Date: May 3rd, 2011 04:54 pm (UTC) (Link)
*cheers*

I've just been reading about DLS writing Busman's Honeymoon and I kept expecting Kreacher, Winky, and Bunter :))

More seriously and less allusively, very well done indeed.
wemyss From: wemyss Date: May 3rd, 2011 08:11 pm (UTC) (Link)

Thank you.

Vy much indeed.
germankitty From: germankitty Date: May 3rd, 2011 05:17 pm (UTC) (Link)
Very nice. :) A fitting ending to both day and story!
wemyss From: wemyss Date: May 3rd, 2011 08:11 pm (UTC) (Link)

Thanks.

Glad it pleased.
sgt_majorette From: sgt_majorette Date: May 3rd, 2011 06:07 pm (UTC) (Link)
ahhhhhhh...
wemyss From: wemyss Date: May 3rd, 2011 08:12 pm (UTC) (Link)

Yes.

THAT'S how it happened.
From: optasia Date: May 4th, 2011 12:17 am (UTC) (Link)
I'm relieved to know what really happened in Pakistan. :)
wemyss From: wemyss Date: May 4th, 2011 02:40 pm (UTC) (Link)

As are we all.

Magic. Also, Enigma.
8 comments or Leave a comment