Chapter 18 : Open Invitation
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“Oh, well, not all of us can go back. The spell only can handle two or three people. It just depends on the ages and such. But it does take a little while to prepare.”
“How do you prepare a spell? That just doesn’t seem possible.”
“Well, Ginny, certain spells need a potion to be drunk before they can be cast, or they need the victim incapacitated. It’s actually quite common, especially with ancient spells, and the oldest of the runes.”
“Ok then Brett, how long does it take to prepare for the potion?” Harry asked, thinking the man was just pulling their legs.
“Oh, a little over a month. We could go back over Christmas break. Probably around New Year’s. Only if we get started right now, but it might be better to wait a week or two after break because, well it would just give us more time to get everything so we don’t screw up the potion.”
“Who’s going to brew it?” Ginny asked.
“Oh, I'm sure I can Brett. I just need the directions. I'm sure all the ingredients would be at the house, yes?”
“Yeah, but you probably won't find all of them in the storage room. They might be with all the, er, other stuff.”
“Other stuff? Is this going to use dark magic?” Hermione asked, standing up and leaning forward onto the table.
“No, no honey. Not dark magic. But the ingredients, well, most of the potions that come from the time this was made, five six hundred years ago, use what might now be considered, questionable elements.” Josi looked at Brett, wondering if she had explained it right. Hermione would definitely not like it if she knew what exactly the ingredients were. And they couldn’t tell Draco because he would tell her and she would refuse to have anything to do with it.
And because Brett had suggested it, she would have nothing to do with him. Neither wanted that.
“Fine then Mum, go ahead and lie. I get it. Really I do. You just don’t want me to know that you're using dark magic, which obviously you are, so that I won't dislike Brett more simply because he suggested it.
“But you're wrong because I won't dislike him more. The fact of the matter is, is that this potion could help us defeat Voldemort. And as long as he’s dead and gone, I don’t care. You should really stop thinking you know me because I don’t think you do. You know the girl that comes home over the breaks, with Muggle parents. I'm different as a witch, completely different.
“I hate dark magic, I hate it. But that doesn’t mean I won't let someone else use it, someone good who doesn’t use it all the time. Someone who isn’t using it to destroy, to kill, to do whatever the hell else Voldemort is using it for. I won't hate them for it. I won't.
“Now I have to get back and do some schoolwork. Goodbye.” And then she walked out of the door they had come in. Everyone looked around at each other, wondering what had happened.
Finally Draco said, “Disliked more? I didn’t even know she didn’t like you Brett.”
“I don’t think anyone did,” Ginny said quietly.
“Really? I thought it was obvious,” Brett replied as he looked at the group of his daughter’s friends. After a moment, Draco stood up and said, “I'm going to go too. Nice seeing you again Josi. Anything you might need, my father probably has beneath the wine cellar if you don’t have it.”
He paused for a moment, wondering if he should ask. After he had halfway turned back to the door the words from his lips, “Would you guys like to join mother and I for Christmas? I mean, I know mother liked you, both of you. And I'm sure she would like Hermione.” He turned to look at the Weasleys and Harry, “You're welcome to come as well. Mother said she loves big holidays, always thought that’s what Christmas should be about. It's still a month away, I know, but just think about it.” He directed his last comment at Josi and Brett, before he finally left.
“Granger! Wait up,” Draco said as he watched her move down the hill towards Hogwarts.
“Malfoy? Why are you following me?” she asked as she drew her scarf more tightly around her neck.
“I'm going back to school, too. You know, you shouldn’t be walking these streets alone. Who knows who’ll pop out from around the corners.” He was smiling at her, and she couldn’t help but smile back even as she shook her head.
“You're so strange. So why are you following me, really?” she asked as they continued the long tread back to Hogwarts.
“Well, I sort of just invited Brett and Josi, and well, everyone we were just with, to my house for Christmas.”
“I know what you said, that wasn’t a ‘what did you say’ what, that was a ‘what did you just say’ what!”
“That didn’t make any sense; you said the same thing twice.”
“Nevermind Malfoy. Did you really invite my parents, Ginny, Harry and Ronald to your house for Christmas?”
“Well, yes. I asked your parents because Mother is friends with them, well, she used to be anyways. And I couldn’t just ask them and not invite your friends, that would just be rude. Of course, they will probably say no, unless we invite the whole Weasley clan, which would be fine by me. The twins were always funny, with all their pranks. And Mrs. Weasley, she always seemed like a good person. Otherwise Potter wouldn’t like her as much as he does, right? No probably not.
“And sure, I don’t really know about the rest of the family but you like them so surely they aren’t horribly annoying, or anything like that. Of course, there’s plenty of room at the manor for everyone to have their own room, and if any of the older Weasleys are married, then they can bring their wives or whatever.”
“Malfoy will you please stop rambling, and slow down? It would be very beneficial to the conversation if I could actually understand what you're saying.”
“It’s fine. Just, why did you decide to invite them anyways?”
“Because I figured you wouldn’t come unless they were all there,” he very nearly whispered as he ran one of his gloved hands through his hair.
“Well, don’t you sort of need to invite me first? I mean, what if they all said yes and you didn’t invite me? Then where would I go for Christmas?” she asked, laughing at his suddenly horrified expression.
“Oh, oh Merlin.”
“What?” she asked him, the remnants of the laughter still on her face.
“I haven’t even asked you yet! Merlin I am so stupid!” he exclaimed, hitting himself once on the forehead.
“Well, don’t beat yourself up over it,” she laughed again, and he couldn’t help but chuckle at the double meaning of her words as he had, literally, been beating himself up over it not a minute before. Then he playfully glared at her and replied, “Well then maybe I just won't invite you and you’ll have to find something else to do for Christmas.”
“Oh I'm sure I can find something. Besides, Hogwarts is beautiful at Christmas, and Hagrid needs someone to stay and visit him.”
“I'm sure he can manage. Hey, Granger?”
“Would you like to spend Christmas with me and my mother? And possibly your friends, if they decide to accept?”
“I would love to Malfoy,” she laughed as he slung an arm over her shoulder, “And I suppose Hagrid can manage without us.”
I have asked Hermione Granger and her parents to join us for Christmas. I would also like to extend the invitation to the Weasleys and Harry Potter. I know how you so enjoy large family holidays and so I was hoping to help you get one.
I know we have not had one as far as I can remember and I thought that maybe we can create one. Hermione is very dear to me and her friends are very dear to her.
May I extend to them the invitation Mother?
My Dearest Son,
How thoughtful you are. I did not know of your new acquaintances. I would very much like of you to invite them for Christmas. They can stay as long as they like. Those who come from school, well, we can just pick them up at the station.
The Dark Lord has not called on me as of late and I have put up many new security spells and changed many of the codes as well. We shall be safe here.
Bella has not contacted me for the holidays, I doubt she knows they will be arriving soon, so enraptured is she with that evil. I hope of you the best my son, and shall see you at the train station.
Draco read the letter over many times before it finally hit him. His mother had finally repented the Dark Lord, had finally gone against Him without Him even noticing. They would be safe; they wouldn’t have to worry about killing for Him, ever.
Aunt Bella, well, she didn’t really matter, she had never loved them. Yes, they had loved her, for it was cruel to not love family, but she had never loved them back. And now, being as enamored as she was with that which they had given up, well, this was for the best.
Smiling, he realized he had still to write Mrs. Weasley to ask that they join the Malfoys for Christmas. He just couldn’t think of how to word it. Finally he decided that formally would not be what she wanted; well, not completely formal anyways.
Mr. and Mrs. Arthur Weasley,
I would like to for you and your family to join us for Christmas. I have already asked your three children here at Hogwarts to join us. Granted I did not give them much time to answer before I left them.
I have already extended an invitation to Hermione and her parents. They have agreed and wish that you and your family will join us as well. And yes, I mean everyone. Bill and Charlie, and their families, and the twins should they wish to accept this invitation.
Should you and any of your family decline, Mother and I wish to you the happiest of holidays together.
“Arthur, Arthur did you see this?” Molly Weasley asked her husband as she picked up the letter brought in by a beautiful snow owl.
“Seen what Molly?”
“Draco Malfoy has sent us invitation!”
“Hm, he writes quite well.”
“Well of course he does, he knows how to write well for formal notes and letters and such. We got sent a formal invitation to join him, his mother, and the Grangers for Christmas.”
“Wait, Draco Malfoy has invited the Grangers, Muggles, for Christmas? And now he is inviting us? Molly, are you certain…?”
“Oh, I don’t know, we can write Ginny or Hermione. He did say he had already asked them,” she said excitedly.
“What does he mean three children? We only have two, Ron and Ginny.”
“Well, dear I assume he is including Harry. Oh, what a smart boy. Here comes Hedwig now. That was fast.”
“Of, course Molly dear. They wouldn’t want to let us wonder for too long.”
“It says, ‘Dear Mr. and Mrs. Weasley, I trust you have received Malfoy’s invitation for Christmas. I dearly hope you will accept it. You see, he and I have grown close over the year so far and he so generously asked my parents and I to join him and his mother for Christmas. We have some very important news to share with you, as soon as possible, that cannot be conveyed by letter. We hope to see you there.’
"And there’s a post note from Ginny, ‘Mum, I think we should all go. It would be so much fun. Plus Malfoy, he told me his mother loved big family holidays, and wouldn’t it be nice to help her have one?’ Oh Ginny dear,” Mrs. Weasley laughed as she placed a hand over her heart.
“Well, Molly dear. Would you like to go?”
“Oh, yes, yes that would be lovely. I never thought the boy was bad. I knew he was good, really.”
“I suppose you better reply to those letters then. Well, you really only need to accept Draco’s invitation. He will probably tell him. We can let the boys know later. I just want to know when we go there and when we leave.”
“Oh, they’ll let us know Arthur. Now, let me send off the letter, that beautiful owl is sitting in the kitchen still, seems to be simply waiting for response. Then we’ll go to bed."
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