EPILOGUE

"Ready?" Henry, Nora's dad, asked her.

Seeing the tears in her father's eyes as he looked at her, she asked, "Are you ready?"

"I... I am," he said unconvincingly, and Nora rolled her eyes and laughed at her father's theatrics. "Mum was not like this at all when we were getting changed," she muttered.

"Enough sass please," he replied, wiping his eye on his handkerchief. "She's better at hiding her emotions. She didn't cry until three days after our own wedding, while I was a mess."

"I know," Nora laughed, moving to fix her father's tie. "I've seen the pictures," she whispered.

"I just can't quite believe I'm giving away my little girl," he said, shaking his head. "It's all just come round so fast."

"You've had almost five years to look forward to this day!" Nora said, with a scoff. Because her dad really had had a lot of time to prepare himself. It wasn't as though this relationship had sidled into view. "It can't have been that much of a shock."

"I have not!" Henry complained. "It's too soon and you're all too young to be getting married."

"You have so, Dad," Cat said, laughing as she walked up to the duo who stood outside a pair of heavy and large wooden doors.

"And remember, you were young when you married Mum," Nora added.

"Twenty, if I recall correctly?" Cat asked happily.

But Henry was too distracted to reply when Cat stopped beside Nora. Seeing his girls all dressed up to celebrate a wedding seemed too much for Henry, and let out a small sob and held out his arms. Nora laughed and stepped forwards, making sure she didn't touch Cat or her dad too much, lest she mess up any of her hair or make-up. She smiled when she realised that Cat did the same.

"Okay, remember," Cat said, "just focus on the top of the aisle. If you're nervous and forget to walk, it's right together, left together, right-"

"I got it, thanks," Nora replied, laughing. "I'm more worried about Dad being super slow!"

"I will walk at a good speed," Henry pronounced, shaking his head. "We have all practiced, and I will remember my place. But... someone push me if I need to speed up or slow down a bit," he added sheepishly.

Nora and Cat laughed and then Nora said, "Mum's already in, so I guess there's nothing left to do but wait."

But the silence was filled just one second later by the sound of soft piano as the doors begun to swing open. Nora, Cat and Henry jumped to the side to make sure they weren't seen by the guests and shared one last hug while the music got to the right place for them to begin to walk.

"I love you," Nora said to Cat quickly, taking the proffered bouquet from where it was floating in the air in front of her.

"Love you too," Cat said, grinning, and then she began to walk ahead to the slow beat.

Only, when she got to the entrance of the hall, she turned back and hissed, "Dad!"

Henry's eyes widened and he gasped and ran over to his youngest daughter, taking her arm quickly. Nora heard booming laughter from the hall and, grinning, fell into step behind her sister and father.

They knew it wasn't traditional anymore for the bridesmaid to go in after the bride, but they had found that Neville's grandma was a rather strict and traditional woman, and they hadn't thought that saying no to this request was worth it. Not when Neville and Cat had already given her the fright of a lifetime - Cat being a Muggle and wanting a mixed wedding and all.

They had also gone off-script for the clothes - Neville's groomsmen - Dean, Seamus, Harry and Ron - were all wearing navy blue Muggle suits. The sole bridesmaid - Nora - was wearing a knee-length Muggle dress to match.

But they had done Augusta proud with the main outfits. Neville himself was standing proud in a set of Muggle-ified dress robes which looked a lot like an exaggerated version of the Muggle coat and tails.

Cat had also met in the middle, and was wearing what looked to their Muggle guests as a Lord of the Rings inspired dress, with fine button detailing on the back, long sleeves which dropped at the wrist, and an elaborate headdress. Cat and Neville, in Nora's opinion, really lucked out that the Lord of the Rings adaptations had come out in the cinema over the past few years, and so it looked like it was a dress inspired by Arwen and not, as it truly was, Witches robes topped off with a goblin-made diamond Longbottom family tiara.

Nora grinned when she saw Neville wipe his eyes, and tried not to laugh when Cat reached her husband-to-be and wiped his tears away before placing a long kiss on his cheek.

Taking Cat's flowers, Nora moved to stand at the side of the bride until she was allowed to sit, when she made her way to George and held his hand tightly in hers.

"Where's the line for making fun of Cat's new name?" George whispered towards the end of the ceremony.

"She's now Catherine Wharton-Longbottom," Nora replied, shaking her head, "there's no line."

"Brilliant."

xXx

Later, when the speeches had been said and the first dance finished, George and Nora found themselves dancing together slowly, surrounded by other happy couples.

The wedding had gone off without a hitch, and all of the magical decorations had been remarked upon by the Muggles in attendance, but put down to some clever lighting and intricate invisible wire. These had been Cat's two worries, and so she was now happily dancing with her husband without a care in the world.

Nora stared over at her for a while, smiling at her sisters happiness. It had been a long slog for the two, but finally, after Cat had finished her degree Neville had popped the question and now a year later they'd married, both keenly aware that their match was still somewhat unusual.

"It's us next," George sighed, pulling Nora tighter to him. His smile fell when she simply laughed. "I'm serious," he said, shaking his head when she continued to laugh. "Nor, I'm not joking."

Nora sobered and pulled back slightly so that she could see his face properly. "You want to marry me?" she asked, frowning.

George raised an eyebrow. "Of course I do. Why did you think I didn't?"

"Well, you've never mentioned it so I just assumed you weren't interested in that," she admitted sheepishly.

"You thought I wasn't interested in getting married?"

"Well, yeah. I mean we've watched most of our family and friends plan their weddings and get married and you never mentioned it once, so I just assumed you weren't interested."

George stopped swaying and stared at Nora with an odd expression on his face. "You assumed I wasn't interested in getting married and you stayed with me anyway?"

"Well yeah," she said, frowning, conscious that people were beginning to stare since they were no longer dancing, and no longer smiling. "Not wanting to get married doesn't mean you don't want to be with me. And anyway, I wouldn't have said yes before last year."

"Why not?"

"Well… I mean I wasn't really in the right place before," she said, thinking about the fact that she'd finally taken all of her NEWTs, spent a year as a full-time investigator for Arthur's department, and just about to start a job in the Department of Magical Games and Sports, having found a love of Quidditch (spectating, not playing much to George's frustration).

"But can we talk about this later? Please?" she asked, looking around.

She didn't really want to get into it all just that second, but his seeming reluctance to get married had bothered her, but she'd never wanted to say anything since he'd proved his commitment in other ways like suggesting they looked for a flat so they could live together, or helping her through her exams and encouraging her life goals.

In short, over the years she'd just gone along with the idea that George wasn't the marrying type, safe in the knowledge that he loved her and that was enough for her.

"Well," he said, pulling her close to begin their dance again, "I wish you'd told me. I just thought you wanted to be more settled. That's what you said when I first asked you to move in with me and you turned me down."

Nora rolled her eyes. "You asked me to move in one day after we'd got back together, and I didn't fancy living with your brother," she reminded him.

"He's not that bad," George replied, looking over to his brother who was dancing with his wife, Angelina, and their young son, Georgie.

"On the whole he's great, yes. With you, he's awesome too. But Angelina signed up for him leaving his socks all over the place. I did not," she said divisively, and George threw his head back and laughed.

xXx

The next evening, once Nora was safely tucked up in bed after helping with the wedding and after post-wedding family dinner had ended, George broached the subject of marriage once more.

"Nor?" he whispered, gently rubbing her back to wake her.

Nora grumbled and cuddled into her pillow. Could he not tell she was tired?

"Nor?" he whispered again.

Nora answered with a groan and a sleepy, "What?"

"Will you marry me?" he asked.

Nora opened her eyes and stared at the window by the bed for a long moment. She paused for a long time and then set her face into a glare.

George whispered, "Wrong time?"

"Do you really think straight after my little sister's wedding is the right time?" she asked quickly in a whisper, even though they were alone in their house so no one could have overheard. "If I say we got engaged the day after her wedding she'll be happy for us, but everyone else will think we were trying to steal her thunder or worse, they'll think I leant on you for a proposal because my little sister got married before me."

"Well, I could ask tomorrow?" he suggested with a shrug.

Nora groaned and shook her head. "No, because I have my first day of my new job tomorrow and we're meant to be celebrating with dinner with our parents and Andromeda," she said, settling back into her pillow.

She was glad that Andromeda had continued to be in her life since she'd reconciled with George and started to understand her place in this magical world.

The older witch had been a real help and wonderful guide over the past few years, and Nora had become quite close with Teddy, Tonks and Remus as a result. Remus had even helped to tutor Nora and she'd managed to get an O in her Defence Against the Dark Arts NEWT. To say she'd been chuffed would have been the understatement of the century.

George had been so over the moon at her result that he'd released a new range of Pygmy Puffs early in celebration and inadvertently led to the busiest Tuesday Diagon Alley had seen outside of term holidays in about twenty-three years.

"What about during our holiday next month?" he asked after a beat, stopping to press a long kiss to her shoulder while he waited for her reply. "I could ask you at that waterfall you were telling me about?"

Nora let out a frustrated cry and rolled onto her back to stare up at her love. "No. Because if you're really going to ask me, I want you to be you and surprise me with it. Now I'm going to be expecting it to happen then. So you have to promise right now that you won't, otherwise I'll say yes but I'll be disappointed that it wasn't a surprise, and if you decide not to do it then after all, I'll be disappointed too and it'll hurt just the same."

"Fair enough, I'll think of something better. And I definitely shouldn't ask again now?" he asked, narrowing his eyes.

"No," she replied immediately, "Definitely not. Why don't you talk to Fred about it?" she asked after a moment.

"I did. He said sooner the better," George admitted. "He was a bit horrified it hadn't come up before if I'm honest. Said I'm so level headed that he just assumed we were saving up for a bigger wedding than his, or we'd just decided to just not get married."

He rolled onto his back with a sigh. There was a small snap and Nora's eyes widened when she turned her head and saw a small box in his hands.

"When did you get that?" she asked, sitting up to take the box from him.

He held it out of reach and shook his head. "No yes, no ring," he said simply.

"How long have you had it?" she asked again, dropping her arm. For some reason she just hadn't thought that he'd bought a ring yet.

"I bought it the week after we got back together," he admitted, smiling at the look of shock on her face. "What? If you could forgive me for all that I just figured you were in it for the long haul."

"You're crazy," she whispered, smiling brightly now.

"Crazily in love with you," he replied, rolling over to place the box into his bedside drawer. "Can't believe you underestimsted me," he said, shaking his head as he rolled back so that he leant over her.

Nora smiled and gently stroked his chin. "I will say yes. And it doesn't have to be grand or anything. Something like this but in a few weeks would be perfect."

"I know, don't worry. I will put absolutely no effort in," he said, laughing when she rolled her eyes and whacked him on the chest. He grabbed her hand and gently traced her fingers.

"How're you feeling?" he asked quietly.

"Bit apprehensive, but excited," she said, knowing he was talking about her new job. "You okay?"

"Yeah, yeah I'm good. I'd be better if this hand had a ring- ow! Okay!" he said, laughing as Nora began hitting him with her pillow.

"Love you," he said once she'd stopped hitting him and was straddling his waist, smiling down at him.

"I love you too," she said, pushing her hair out of her eyes. "And... since we're both awake…" She leant down to kiss him slowly.

"What are you doing?" she asked, breaking their kiss when he'd rolled them back so that he was on top of her.

"Well," he said slowly, shifting slightly to finally grab something from her bedside table, "I think we both had the same idea, but we've got to be careful so..."

Nora grinned and nodded immediately, but her face fell when he pulled out a new pack of cards and said, "We've been working on a version of controlled-explosion exploding snap."

Seeing Nora's unimpressed expression, George had the good sense to run, though he did so with a loud laugh, and he let her catch him in the hallway.