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N.E.W.T.s and Beyond by potterfandamon

Format: Novel
Chapters: 16
Word Count: 100,683
Status: WIP

Rating: Mature
Warnings: Contains profanity, Scenes of a sexual nature

Genres: Humor, Romance
Characters: Harry, Ron, Hermione, Draco, OC, OtherCanon
Pairings: Harry/Ginny, Ron/Hermione, Draco/OC, Other Pairing

First Published: 11/08/2013
Last Chapter: 01/19/2017
Last Updated: 01/19/2017

Sequel to Harry Potter and the Dark Blood Line. Please read that first if you want to know any of the OC. This picks up right where the previous story left off. I think this will go through the next year maybe more. Hard to say for sure. Title may be altered at a future date. If so I'll let you know.

Chapter 1: Meeting with the Minister
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Minerva McGonagall sat in the Headmaster’s office at Hogwarts. Two of her new professors sat with her. They had been discussing one of the unusual occurrences at Hogwarts this year. There were so many first year students that it had been impossible to give them the one on one attention many required. The numbers were exasperated by the fact that many of the first years were muggle-born and knew nothing of their magical abilities until this year. The lack of progress and the difficulties performing magic led to an overall lack of enthusiasm amongst the younger students.

“So what do you think Tyler? How can we catch the students up and build their confidence and get them excited about their studies?” She addressed the American ex-auror she had hired to teach Defense Against the Dark Arts this year. He was a fairly large wizard at nearly six feet and a stocky build. His dirty-blonde hair was trimmed short. His bright eyes sparkled with excitement to educate and pass his knowledge. His rounded face was accented by a neatly trimmed beard and mustache that suited him well.

“There are a few things we can do to catch them up. I think if the rest of the teachers are up for it we should offer a summer semester for them.” Tyler had a soft voice but when needed, he could command the attention of a classroom. “I also feel like we should petition the Wizengamot to allow the students an opportunity to study at home with their parent’s supervision, at least those with wizarding parents. And I think it’s too late to implement it for this year but having fourth and sixth year students tutor their younger housemates would help. So many of the older students seem to be above the expected level and we can’t waste that.”

“Yes I believe we have Mr. Potter to thank for that. A lot of those students were part of his D.A. group if I’m not mistaken.” Rebecca Long spoke up. She was an unusual witch. She was a half-blood with a love of muggle candy that reminded McGonagall of Albus. She usually wore earrings that looked like the colorful chocolate pieces. She was fairly short about as tall as Pomona Sprout. Minerva remembered how much Rebecca had loved Transfiguration during her time at Hogwarts and now her former student was a respected teacher in her own right. Minerva had kept the N.E.W.T. level class though, she just couldn’t stop teaching.

“I have to agree. I have heard the same from the other professors especially about the older students. Your suggestions are very good Tyler and it will give me something to discuss with the Minister.” She seemed apprehensive though. “We still need a way to entice those that are struggling to want to learn more.”

“Well why don’t we arrange a practical magic demonstration. Not teachers mind you but other students. Show them what they can learn if they apply themselves.” Rebecca suggested; she knew a young impressionable student just might be influenced.

“I think that would be wonderful. In fact I have the perfect student in mind. I was trying to plan some way to test his practical skills before the N.E.W.T.s start.” Minerva let the edge of her lips curl into a smile.

“Who would that be Minerva?” Tyler asked.

“I will keep that bit a surprise for now. Be prepared for Sunday after lunch. I have a feeling we’re in for quite a show.” He was going to hate the idea at first but he would do it to inspire others. That was just the type of man Harry was. “Now I think its time to get to class. I have to contact the Minister.” The professors left her office as she grabbed a small pinch of floo powder and tossed it into her fire.

Kingsley Shacklebolt silently cursed as he ran through the Ministry. He had just finished talking with the Headmistress and was late to get to the Department of Magical Transportation. He was meeting a very important portkey and didn’t want to miss it.

He checked his watch as he slipped into the lifts and pressed the button for level six. It was already eleven-forty. He tapped his foot impatiently as the lift banged and crashed upward. Finally the doors slid open and he rushed out of the lift as quickly as possible. He ran down the corridor to the portkey office and then through a side door labeled “International Portkey Arrivals.”

“Two minutes to spare.” He breathed a sigh of relief. “I’ll handle this next arrival Ms. Davis.” The Minister took the parchment she was holding. As he expected the next arrival was coming from Brazil and was with a new experimental portkey designed to negate the affects of the time zone differences.

“Of course Minister. I’ll just take my lunch a little early.” She relaxed and left the room. The sudden appearance of the Minister for Magic was enough to shock anyone.

Kingsley placed a silencing charm on the door and heard a squelch as it sealed. He wanted to talk to the arrivals and wanted to make sure nobody could interrupt them or overhear their conversation. Finally the clock struck eleven forty-five and five people spun into view holding piece of rope with a time turner attached.

“Welcome back Harry. It’s so good to see you.” Kingsley’s voice boomed maybe a little louder than he intended. He hadn’t anticipated the affect the disorientation would have on his young friend and his reaction time.

The experiences he had gone through had made Harry a little more cautious than other times in Brazil. He had his wand pointed at the Minister before anyone could react. He hadn’t really been expecting a personal greeting. “What assignment were you working on when we first met?”

The ex-auror smiled. “Constant vigilance Harry, Moody would approve. I was working on tracking down your godfather, Sirius Black.” His shoulders relaxed as Harry stowed his wand.

“It’s good to see you Minister.” Harry stepped off the arrival platform and gave the man a quick hug.

“What just happened here?” Elimar asked Mariana who was watching the pair intently.

“Welcome to England. A country where ‘Arry has had be on his guard since he found out he was a wizard.” Mariana tried to explain. “It’s also a country that values him so much that the Minister for Magic would welcome him home and not even flinch when Harry pulls a wand on him.”

The rest of the group nodded their understanding. “Now do you all understand English at least a bit?” The Minister addressed the teens that had just arrived as well. The exchange between Mariana and Elimar had been in Portuguese. They all nodded to him. “Great, I must steal Harry for a meeting for about two hours or so in the mean time I have arranged for you to tour the Ministry and have lunch in the cafeteria. Afterward Harry can take you to Diagon Alley before you head to Hogwarts tomorrow.”

“I guess I’ll make the arrangements for our stay tonight, Kreacher!” Harry called.

“Master, welcome home,” Kreacher appeared with a crack and bowed low.

“Thank you Kreacher. Please take these trunks to the house. At least five of us will be staying tonight and I might have a couple other guests for dinner so please get some things to prepare a nice traditional meal.” The elf bowed and left with the trunks that had been left on the platform. “Before we go Minister let me do one more thing.” Harry tapped his head and his shortened hair lengthened to shoulder length brown locks. His nose shortened and widened slightly. He completed the look by tinting his glasses and changing their shape. “Now nobody should recognize me.”

“Very impressive Harry, you should score well in concealment and stealth at the academy.” Harry didn’t respond. He knew he would be telling the Minister about his decision before long. Kingsley unsealed the door and opened it to find the young assistant he had sent for. “Mr. Jones please take these young visitors on a tour of the Ministry and then for lunch. Anything they want to eat will be covered by me. I will meet you with James here in about two hours.”

“Of course Minister.” The young man responded. “Please come with me.” Harry smiled as his friends filed out of the room. He followed behind the Minister as they went toward his office. He had only been warned about this meeting a few minutes before leaving but he was always happy to talk with Kingsley.

Harry appreciated the anonymity his new look afforded him. He was able to walk through the offices without anyone looking at him twice. Although there were a few raised eyebrows at the Minister walking with someone nobody had ever seen. After a short ride in the lifts they arrived at the Minister’s office. There was already someone waiting for them.

“Good afternoon Gawain. I’m glad you got my message. Please come in and we’ll have lunch. I promise this isn’t about work.” The man breathed a sigh of relief and eyed Harry as he followed. Kingsley pressed his palm against the door to his office. The door clicked and swung open without him touching it further.

“Oh Minerva I wasn’t expecting you. It’s nice to see you today.” Gawain spoke as he entered the office behind the Minister. Kingsley took a seat behind his desk and conjured an extra seat on the other side as there were only two regularly.

“Good to see you too Gawain,” Professor McGonagall addressed the man before noticing Harry. “Merlin’s beard is that you Mr. Potter? What have you done to yourself?”

“Potter, you mean Harry Potter?”

Harry chuckled as he undid the transfiguration on his hair and face. It returned short and black and his glasses appeared normal. “Just some simple transfiguration professor, I thought it would be easier to walk through the Ministry that way.”

“Well I see Headmistress Roberta was right about your skills improving. That was some very impressive work.”

“Especially since he performed the spell without uttering a word, and less than a minute after he arrived by international portkey.” Kingsley added for McGonagall’s benefit.

“Truly?” Gawain asked. “That is extremely impressive. Now can I ask why we’re all here?”

“Oh yea that.” Kingsley responded as if just realizing the reason. “Well Gawain I invited you specifically because I wanted to introduce you to Harry.”

“Minister I hate to cut you off. But I know why you invited Mr. Robards here and I think it will be a disappointment if you carry on.”

“So Harry why don’t you tell me why Gawain is here and we’ll see how right you are.”

“He’s here because he is the head of auror department. And to your knowledge the only career I had ever showed interest in was becoming an auror.” Gawain sat up a little excited at the revelation. “Unfortunately Minister and Headmistress I have had a change of heart. I cannot risk a career as an auror. There is too much in my life at stake.”

“Harry I want you to be happy no matter what you choose so why would I be disappointed by you changing your mind?” Professor McGonagall was just as surprised as the others she hadn’t expected this.

“Do you not remember the promise you made to Umbridge? I’m going to force you to break that.”

“Harry you could never disappoint me. I wish you the best of luck in your future no matter what you decide.”

“Thank you professor, that means a lot to me.” Harry smiled genuinely. “Now that I have gotten that off my chest I am happy that Gawain is here because he can hopefully give me some advice.” Gawain who was crestfallen to gain and lose a recruit so quickly perked back up. “Since I plan to have a long and full life I would like to do some studying by correspondence so if I ever change my mind I won’t necessarily have to start at the beginning.”

“Well I think that is very admiral and prudent planning.” Gawain looked over the young wizard. “In order to know where to begin we would have to test your current abilities.”

“I can help with that. In fact the reason I am here was to ask a favor of Harry.” The headmistress found the perfect opportunity to bring up her plan. “Many of the younger students at Hogwarts have been struggling with courses this year. We are planning some additional lessons and possibly even a summer session to get the students to the level required. However in order to get them interested in these sessions we need to build some enthusiasm with the students. I was hoping you’d be willing to give a practical magic demonstration Sunday to show what a quality education can do. It would also help us determine if we need to give you any special focus to pass your tests.”

Harry took a moment to think about her request. “Well I won’t mind assisting you especially since your needs match up well with mine. But wouldn’t someone like Hermione be more skilled at something like this?”

“She may know more spells, which is very hard to say given the spells you learned at Amazonis. But you are much more powerful and will produce more impressive results.”

“Well since I’m sure none of the new students saw your cat why don’t we start with an animagi demonstration and go from there.” Harry suggested to his professor.

“That is a wonderful idea Harry. But don’t think I didn’t notice your mention of animagi. You perfected the change didn’t you? Well don’t just sit there blushing show us.” Harry had indeed been blushing furiously.

Harry examined the room and found a spot where he could change into the griffin and spread the wings. Harry began to walk to the corner and allowed the change to take affect. He heard the gasps behind him as he turned. He bared the fangs in his mouth and growled. Finally he sat back and spread his magnificent wings to let them get the full effect.

“Harry that was amazing, let me think of how we can use that without scaring the students.” Professor McGonagall said after he had changed back to his normal form. “We can talk about the details tomorrow night.”

“Well I think that settles the business we have, except for this Harry.” Kingsley passed him a rolled up parchment. “That is your apparation license that you have rightfully earned. Now Gawain I’m sure you were already planning it, but I expect you to observe the demonstration Sunday. I know it’s your normal day off so feel free to come in late Monday.” Kingsley said kindly understanding he was asking a lot of his department head. “Now let’s have some lunch and get Harry back to his friends.”

“So Mr. Potter since you do not plan on pursuing a career as an auror what are you going to do?” The Headmistress asked after getting a plate of food. A rather impressive spread had been provided and a side table.

“Well Headmistress I received seventeen offers last week and one in particular stood out. I believe I will be accepting it.

“Seventeen offers to do what?” Gawain asked again confused.

“Why to play quidditch of course. Harry is a natural and has been the seeker for Gryffindor since his first year.” McGonagall responded while the Minister studied the group.

“I also set the record at Amazonis for fastest capture last week.”

The adults studied him closely before going back to the question at hand. “So what team will be gaining the honor of having you join them?” Kingsley was generally pleased with his friend even if he was a little disappointed.

“Well every team except one offered me a tryout. One team though offered me a guaranteed spot on the team with one condition.” Harry explained. “I plan on accepting the position with the Cannons and in order to fulfill the condition I’m hoping to take Ron with me.”

Gawain heard Kingsley sigh even more disappointed then before. “Am I to guess we just lost another auror sir?” Kingsley nodded. “Well I will evaluate Mr. Weasley Sunday evening and prepare some correspondence courses for him as well. You never can be too prepared.”

Over the next hour Harry caught up on all the occurrences from the previous year. They discussed the trials of the captured death eaters. Minerva explained the changes Hogwarts had undergone to compensate for the additional students. Kingsley discussed changes to the Ministry in both organization and personal. It had taken almost six months to clear out all suspected Voldemort sympathizers. Many departments would be understaffed for years. It was then that Kingsley decided to slip into the conversation that the muggle Prime Minister had discussed the war with the Queen and she wanted to knight Harry in a private ceremony following the school year. Harry knew better than to try to resist. The only bright side was only those he personally invited would be in attendance.

Finally Harry brought the topic of conversation around to a situation he had wanted to discuss. He asked Kingsley and Minerva about their progress on locating the Granger’s. Now that school was finishing up Harry wanted to give back to one of his best friends. Kingsley confessed that international relations were still strained but he had managed to gain some help and leads. However he wouldn’t discuss any of this until after the school year finished.

Harry left lunch and went toward the atrium again accompanied by the Minister. He had transfigured his hair and glasses and was again practically unrecognizable.This was a good thing because they passed Percy on the way to the lifts. When the lift came to a halt and Harry stepped out he froze. In the center of the atrium where the fountain once stood was a large white marble stone. He knew it was to be positioned there but he stared intently at the war memorial.

His friends watched closely as Harry walked around the large white stone. His hand ran over various names. Some he hadn’t been expecting since they were part of the first war. Many brought tears to his eyes as he thought about them. His parents were listed there right next to Sirius, Tonks and Remus. Severus Snape had been placed next to Lily. Alastor Moody was on the side that featured many aurors and Order members. Fred Weasley was listed there along with Neville’s parents. Even though they hadn’t died they were still casualties of the war. Cedric, Lavender and Collin Creevy had been placed together and Harry smiled to see Dobby’s name appear on the marble as well. It was an elegant symbol of sacrifice and remembrance.

“Thank you for lunch Minister. Now I’m going to take my friends to Diagon Alley and do some shopping. Can you give them my address so we can find it afterward?” Kingsley nodded and presented a small piece of parchment so that each of his friends could read it. He then shook Harry’s hand as they made their way to a floo. Harry taught them how to properly pronounce “The Leaky Cauldron.” Each one then took a handful of powder and tossed it into the fire before disappearing themselves.

After arriving at the bar of the small inn, Harry led his friends through the door to the back and tapped the bricks to open the door. He marveled at the change that had undergone the alley in the past year. None of the storefronts were empty people were walking around cheerfully greeting one another. There was no fear in the shoppers as they walked by. Nobody paid any special attention to Harry or his friends while they walked toward the large marble building at the end of the street.

“Why don’t you guys go in there and look around while I do my business at the bank.” Harry gestured to Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes as they passed the brightly colored store. “Just don’t say too much to anyone with bright red hair. I don’t want them to know I’m here yet.”

His friends smiled. Harry had explained he wanted to surprise his friends in England when they were making plans to arrive with him. They left to examine the joke shop as Harry walked into Gringotts. He passed Bill Weasley who never even glanced his way and approached the head goblin. Without causing a distraction he presented his wand and was led to his vaults. He was glad he had taken Fleur with him when he went before leaving for Brazil. She had helped negotiate an agreement that allowed Harry to continue to use the bank and prevented the goblins from seizing his assets. In the end he had agreed to pay for the damages and Fleur had arranged for Charlie to have a dragon hatchling delivered as soon as possible. Harry of course had not told Hermione about this knowing how she would react.

Harry first stopped at a vault filled with galleons. He filled his money pouch knowing he had some stops to make and proceeded to another vault that he knew held his family’s jewelry. A glass case on the right hand side was his target. It was filled with small boxes containing engagement rings and wedding bands. He had been here last year and seen one set he knew he would want to give Ginny. It was a plain yellow gold band or at least he thought it was. A medium sized diamond was surrounded by two deep red rubies that reminded him of his Gryffindor colors. On the outside of the rubies were two emeralds that were bright like Harry’s eyes. The wedding band had two each of the jewels in the same configuration. Harry pocketed the black velvet box and returned to the waiting cart for the nauseating ride back to the surface.

Harry exited the bank and made his way into a small shop across the alley from the Weasleys’. “Can I help you sir?” The attendant looked up as Harry walked in.

“Yes I placed an order about a year ago and need to pick it up.”

The witch looked over him expectantly. “We don’t usually keep orders on hold for that long Mr. Potter but I know there were extenuating circumstances. Let me get your packages.”

She left into the back room and returned with a large rectangular package levitating and a smaller cube shaped bundle under her arm. “Can you hold the larger one and deliver it across the street Monday?” She nodded as Harry stowed the smaller package in his bag and made his way across to the joke shop to join his friends. They stopped in a few more shops before Harry lead them by side-along apparation to the square where his house stood.

The outside of the house didn’t look very different but Harry could see small changes. None of the windows were cracked as they once had been and the glass was cleaner. Harry opened the door to the house and stepped in. He held the door open but nobody stepped over the threshold.

“’Arry this is a wizard house. As the owner you actually have to verbally invite us in.” Leticia explained laughing at Harry’s perplexed look.

“Sorry, please everybody come in.” Harry moved away from the door as his friends filed in. He took a moment to absorb the changes that had been made. The entrance was no longer dark and dreary. A skylight allowed sunshine right down through the entire stairwell to the entrance. The stairs had been adjusted slightly for this purpose. “Kreacher come here.” Harry called to the elf.

“Master is home. I hope you are pleased with your house.”

Harry knelt to look the elf in the eyes. “Kreacher it looks wonderful. Why don’t you give us the grand tour and explain the changes you made.”

Kreacher walked them through the large house. They started with fancy dining room then started up the stairs. Harry marveled at the change to the drawing room and Mrs. Black’s attitude. She greeted him warmly as they entered the room. He examined the expanded Black family tree that now included the Potters.

“Believe it or not I am glad you are still here Mrs. Black. You too Phineas, I’m glad Hermione removed you from her bag.” Harry addressed the portraits in the room.

“If Kreacher and the house can accept you nephew I certainly can too. I apologize for the way I treated your friends, especially Ms. Granger.”

“Nephew, how was it I never knew that?”

“I do not know why Sirius chose to not reveal it. Perhaps he didn’t want to force a relationship that you might not have wanted.” Harry slumped a little “Of course I’m not your direct aunt. My sister married your grandfather.”

“I learned that recently in my family’s album. I’m proud to be a Black, a Potter and an Evans.”

Harry expected her to react negatively to the mention of his mother. Instead the portrait smiled warmly. Kreacher continued the tour of the house. There was a small office on the same floor as the drawing room and a couple of bedrooms along with a bath. The next floor up held four bedrooms with two loos shared between them. Each had their own color scheme and design. Harry loved the rooms and finally let Kreacher lead him to the top floor.

The entire top floor was devoted to a master suite. There was a balcony at the top of the stairs allowing one to look all the way to the front door. The bedroom had a king size 4-poster bed. Three doors led off the room. The first was to a large walk in closet. The second was to a bathroom that rivaled the one in Patricia’s house. There were two sinks a shower and a huge bathtub. Harry imagined reclining in the tub. Finally the third door lead to another office that he suspected could be converted to a nursery when time came for kids.

“Kreacher this is beautiful. I’ve heard stories of how it looked before and this is amazing.” Mariana complemented the small elf.

“Kreacher, Mariana is right. Please tell me what I can do for you, anything at all name it.”

“Master I must think about that. I’s is not use to being asked what I want. For now I will return to the kitchen to start dinner. It will be served at seven.” Harry led the way back down the stairs and left his friends in the drawing room. They were planning to pick out rooms to crash for the night. He wanted to see the kitchen for himself and he needed to invite a couple extra guests.

He entered the kitchen and heard Kreacher working in the pantry. The kitchen wasn’t drastically changed though it was much improved. The long table had been polished to a shine and the cabinets had been repaired. There were new appliances and granite counter tops. It was elegant and yet simple. Harry knew he had to thank Molly Weasley as well.

Harry used his wand to light a fire in the fireplace and grabbed the pot of floo powder. He hoped he would find her at home. “Andromeda, Andromeda are you there?”

“Merlin’s beard Harry you scared me.” She was wiping her hands on a towel at her waist. “Where are you calling from?”

“I’m at home Andromeda.” The charm on the house prevented him from saying the name. “Would you and Teddy like to join me and some friends for dinner before I have to be at Hogwarts tomorrow?”

“That would be lovely dear. We’ll be over shortly. Kingsley has already provided me with the address knowing you wouldn’t be able to resist seeing your godson.” Harry nodded as he pulled his head from the fireplace.

Harry sat at the end of long table after getting a pumpkin juice from the cooler. Kreacher had stocked well this afternoon. Not five minutes later the fire turned green and Andromeda stepped out with a struggling toddler. “Haree!” The little boy’s turquoise hair turned dark black and his brown eyes matched Harry’s green.

“Hey there big man, when did you learn my name?” Harry took the little kid from his grandmother. He had only met Teddy one other time. That had been at Remus and Tonks funeral. Still the pair had bonded.

“I’ve shown him pictures of you Harry.” Andromeda sat down at the table across from where Harry was. “I’m surprised at your invite why are you here so early, the term has almost a month left.”

“They wanted me to be here for my N.E.W.Ts. It wasn’t my idea but the professors think it’s for the best so here I am, juice?” She nodded and he poured her a glass. He filled Teddy’s sippy cup as well. “Kreacher can you get my friends and invite them down here to meet our guests?”

The elf disappeared with a crack. “What friends are those?” Andromeda asked.

“Professor McGonagall invited some of the Amazonis students to a graduation ball. Some of my friends are in their sixth year so they got to come early.” Harry explained before taking another sip of his drink. Teddy had settled into Harry’s chest and was napping quietly.

The door opened and Leticia led the group into the kitchen. She only got a few steps in when she froze. “’Arry Potter how could you not tell us you have a son?” Her scream echoed off the stones of the kitchen. Harry smiled at her knowing how things looked. She was steaming mad.

“You’re right I should’ve told you. More importantly I should introduce you to Teddy’s mother.” Harry gestured to Andromeda and gave her a sly wink. She was trying to suppress a laugh. “Don’t look so shocked. I am quite famous here. And older women do have their benefits.”

“This isn’t a laughing matter ‘Arry.” Mariana picked up the criticism. Ana Paula was too stunned to talk.

Finally Teddy woke up and started to cry. “Ana Paula would you mind holding Teddy for a moment?” The girl looked over him suspiciously but took the toddler in her arms.

The act had the desired affect. Teddy’s hair returned to the bright blue color and his eyes mimicked Ana Paula’s brown ones. “Girls please meet my metamorphmagus god-son Teddy.” He smiled wider. “Oh and his grandmother Andromeda, I probably don’t need to explain what happened to his parents.” Harry looked at Mariana knowing she’d understand.

“That was pretty funny ‘Arry.” Elimar finally found his voice. “But can you explain what a god-son is.” Harry explained the situation to Elimar who knew the least about his past. When he explained his relationship to Teddy Elimar translated the word.

Before long Kreacher announced dinner and served a Variety of traditional dishes. Harry enjoyed the shepherd’s pie and his favorite treacle tart for dessert. His friends found the experience unique and the girls took turns passing Teddy around the table. The young boy entertained the girls by changing his hair color and eye color. However every time he got near Harry he adopted the black hair and green eyes Harry was famous for. Andromeda told the teens about her daughter and son-in-law. Before long the group decided to head to bed. The heavy English food affected their bodies along with the excitement of the day.

“Sleep well guys. We’ve got another fairly busy day tomorrow. Big quidditch match to watch.” Harry smiled leaving his friends on the landing with the four bedrooms before heading up to the master suite. He settled into the large bed that seemed very lonely without anyone to share with but he finally fell asleep. His dreams were filled with visions of an attractive redhead flying on a broom.

AN: Well so the sequel starts. I will be posting a few more chapters in the next few days since I've had quite a few requests.

Chapter 2: Quidditch Stars
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Ron woke up before the four other boys in his dorm. He had been playing on the Gryffindor quidditch team for three years but he still got a little nervous before matches. He tossed his legs off the left side of the bed. He had picked this bed on purpose. It was on the right hand side of the semi-circle that made up the room. It was the closest to the loo in their room which was immediately to the right as you entered the room.

The dorm was darker than most of the others due to being buried in the center of the castle. They had some magic windows but they were showing a beautiful night scene, which didn’t provide a lot of extra light. Ron headed toward the entrance to the loo when his shins ran into something hard.

“Bloody hell!” He yelled falling over the object blocking his path.

Within seconds Neville was awake pointing his wand toward Ron who was now sprawled on the floor. “Ron what the hell happened?” The other boys were starting to stir. As more of them woke up the lights in the room started to brighten.

Ron finally got a look at what had caused him to trip. “When the hell did we get a sixth bed in here? There’s nobody else to move in.”

“Well the good news is we got an additional loo now.” Seamus jumped off his bed and went to the new door that was opposite the original one.

“So whose bed is this you think?” Dean asked examining the dark red curtains.

Draco looked around the room thoughtfully. There were now five beds with red curtains and one with green. He appreciated that he could keep his colors even with the Gryffindors. “Think logically guys. There is only one person who would need a seventh year bed with red curtains.”

“He’s right and that trunk certainly looks familiar.” Ron said looking over the box that was at the end of the bed. “What do you guys think, does it mean what Draco thinks it does?”

“I don’t think there’s any other explanation, Potter’s back.” Draco said not unpleasantly but not overly excited. He grabbed his towel from the end of his bed. “We’re all up now, may as well get a good breakfast before the match.”

Ron hurried quickly to get to the shower as well. He wanted to talk to Hermione before the match. And hopefully he could do so before Ginny got to the great hall.

Ginny came into the great hall for breakfast unusually early she had already talked to Harry and wanted to eat a good breakfast before the match. She saw Hermione sitting at the table near where the team would sit to eat. She was surprised to see her brother there already as well. The pair was whispering quietly and stopped as she sat down. Before they were interrupted she was sure Hermione said Harry’s name.

“What’s that about Harry?” She asked grabbing a piece of toast off a pile.

“Oh Ron was trying to guess if you had talked to him already this morning.” Hermione responded innocently.

Ginny eyed her brother carefully making him squirm a bit before answering. “Of course we did. He wished me good luck and told me to knock their knickers off.” Ron smirked at his sister. “In fact he seemed rather awake and refreshed for what is it there like three a.m.?

Hermione nodded not adding anything else to the conversation as more students started to filter in. Before long the rest of the Gryffindor team was at the table and Ron was animatedly discussing strategy before the match. They were using an untested seeker who had earned time on the pitch but still wanted to make sure that the chasers had complete control of the match. The Ravenclaw team looked absolutely terrified. They had improved through the course of the year but they were a distant last place in the standings. They could spoil the Gryffindor chances to take the cup with a significant victory but nobody liked their odds. Their captain silently wished for a quick relatively painless match.

Harry apparated into Hogsmeade with his friends after a wonderful breakfast had been served by Kreacher. The group walked along the main road and the Brazilians marveled at how similar the village looked to Cruzeiro del Sul. Harry was glad to see the stores were mostly full and even a few new ones had opened up. He made sure to stop into Honeydukes to pick up a bar of his favorite chocolate. He didn’t know if he’d have time to stop after the match so he took advantage of the time. Ana Paula loaded up with sweets as did Mariana. The others just got a few samples to try the British confections.

Harry pointed out the various sites of the village as they progressed toward the school. A few other people were making their way toward the gate and Harry swore he saw Dhruv Kalra the captain of the Tornados. The group passed the station where the train would arrive and came around the final turn in the road.

Harry strode up toward the open gate unaware that his friends had stopped walking. Elimar had a sugar quill sticking out of his mouth but it was clear he didn’t taste it. The girls all had similar wide eyed expressions as they looked at Hogwarts for the first time. After a few steps Harry realized he didn’t hear his friend’s footfalls and turned to look at them. He remembered all too well the first time he saw the castle and knew what they were feeling.

“Just wait until tonight. It is even more amazing then.”

The comment brought his friends back to the present. They followed Harry through the gates with the trickle of people who were here for the quidditch match. Professor McGonagall had given them seats away from the students so that Harry could keep his presence a surprise. He wasn’t sure she would agree to the request but when Harry said it could affect Ginny or Ron’s performance the former head of Gryffindor house relented. She was still extremely proud of her house’s quidditch performances.

Harry pointed out various features of the castle as they made their way to the pitch. He knew he would have to give them a more satisfactory tour once they arrived for good. They made their way to the seats with ease and Harry again noticed the wizard who reminded him of the captain of the Tornados. In fact there were a few witches and wizards sitting around him that looked familiar.

“’Arry is that Gwenog Jones sitting in front of us?” Ana Paula tried to whisper but was too excited.

Harry took a moment to look at the witch in question. She was trying hard to keep a straight face but finally a smile cracked her thin lips. “I believe it is. I’d always heard she was famous around the world. Although in this country I think I’m a little more famous.” Harry was goading the witch on purpose. He knew he was succeeding when the small smile disappeared from her lips. She had a look that could rival McGonagall. “Now that I think about it, I’m probably more famous in your country too. After all Gwenog only plays quidditch.”

“Do you have something against quidditch player’s young man?” Gwenog stood up and turned to face him. She was a fairly tall witch with a beater’s build which made her rather intimidating.

Harry smiled and peered over his tinted glasses at her. He wanted her to see his eyes before he brushed back the transfigured bangs of his hair to expose the scar above his right eye. Gwenog smiled realizing who he was and nodded at him. “No Ms. Jones but I imagine that my friends would like an autograph and didn’t know how to ask.”

Leticia, Mariana, and Ana Paula looked on expectedly as Gwenog reached into her dark green robes. She pulled out what looked like a deck of muggle playing cards. She passed a card to each of the girls and even Elimar took one. “You can expand these to a full size poster. Would you like one…?”

“James… and yes please.” Harry provided.

She handed him one of the small cards that had her autograph and a message written on it. “You might need to start carrying stacks of these yourself.”

“You might be right, especially when I join the league next year.” If Gwenog was surprised she didn’t show it. She sat back in her seat. “I hope you’re here to scout Ginny.” Harry whispered in her ear as the teams came onto the pitch.

“Her and Madam Hooch as well, I want to see if I can convince her to lead our player development.”

“Is Madam Hooch really that good?”

“Harry with you and the two graduating Weasleys, Madam Hooch has produced seven world class quidditch players in the past ten years. That’s unheard of. In fact Quidditch Monthly is doing a cover story on her.”

“I never really thought about that.” Harry honestly answered. “Do you happen to know who is doing the story? I think I have something to contribute.” Harry had a stroke of inspiration from something he had once seen in a muggle magazine. Though he wasn’t sure where.

Gwenog nodded and handed Harry a piece of parchment as cheers erupted from the students. Ginny had scored her first goal.

“Ms. Jones, I know traditionally you send a letter to those you want to have tryout but would it be possible for you to meet here tomorrow morning after breakfast? It would mean a ton to Ginny to meet you and would probably help secure her spot as a Harpy.” Gwenog smiled and nodded before turning back to the game.

A while later, after Ginny had scored a few more goals the Harpies captain turned back to Harry. “So who are you planning to play for James? I heard about the seeker’s challenge last week that was impressive.”

“I’m only mildly surprised I never got another letter from you.” Harry blushed at the compliment. “I’m hoping to take Ron and join the Cannons. They offered both of us a spot if we joined together.” He barely whispered the second part.

“Both you and the keeper, you could turn that team around in a year or two. Especially with how famous you two are. It’s a shame that of all the stars Madam Hooch has turned out only one of them was a witch, too many wizards.”

They shared a smile. “Speaking of the Cannons, can you point me to Jason Kodysz? I wanted to ask the same favor of him I asked of you.” Gwenog pointed to a tall thin wizard sitting toward the front row of their section.

“I’m sure you’ll make him a very happy team president.”

“Thanks for the vote of confidence Ms…”

“James if you call me Ms. Jones one more time I’ll slap you. It makes me feel old. We’re going to be rivals. You can at least call me Gwen.”

“Sure Gwen. Thanks for all the help.”

She smiled kindly but she was nervous. The Cannons had been in the basement of the league for the past decade or more but with two young very promising players they were bound to attract attention from skilled, experienced veterans. Perhaps I should’ve sent that second letter. Gwenog thought to herself as the match progressed. She was pleased to hear that Ginny was interested in the Harpies. Although most young witches fantasized about her team, and very few had ever turned down a tryout offer.

The game progressed as expected with Ginny calling plays for the chasers and opening a commanding lead over Ravenclaw. Ron was brilliant in goal and directed the beaters to build a stifling defense. The match trudged along as the snitch remained stubbornly out of sight to the seekers on the pitch. Harry and Ana Paula had spotted it a few times and discussed tactics on approaching it without letting your opponent know. They conversed in Portuguese when it came to tactics. Harry didn’t want Gwen to learn his abilities too well.

Gryffindor had opened a two-hundred point lead in the three hours they had been playing when finally the seekers took off after the snitch. Harry didn’t recognize either of them and watched intently as they dove and chased the tiny golden ball. Finally with a quick turn and roll the Ravenclaw seeker got her hand on the ball. Gryffindor had won the match and the cup even though their opponents had caught the snitch.

Harry made his way toward the front of the stands to talk to Jason Kodysz about meeting with him and Ron in person. As he left Gwenog turned to Ana Paula. “I saw you last week at the seeker’s challenge too. You have a lot of potential. Keep working hard and you might hear from me next year.” She left without another word and Ana Paula was blushing mightily when Harry returned to their seats.

“What was that all about?” Harry asked as he returned.

“I guess I need a new broom ‘Arry.” She was excited but looked downcast. “Gwenog saw the seeker’s challenge and said I had potential.”

“She’s right you do. Let me talk to Mariana’s dad. He might be able to get an older model firebolt at a deal.” She smiled as he led them back toward the castle’s gates.

They hadn’t gone far when a voice cut through the air. Professor McGonagall announced the traditional quidditch cup presentation would take place the following morning after breakfast. Harry was already planning on showing up at breakfast and now he had even more reason. Elimar though made a comment that brought him back to reality.

“I don’t know who that red-head was but man she can play. She was pretty hot too.” He said offhandedly.

“Be careful Elimar. She’s taken and her man is pretty strong.” Mari spoke up. “Not to mention she has six older brothers, including the keeper.”

“Brothers I can sweet talk.” He folded his hands behind his back nonchalantly as he walked.

“Let me run down the brothers for you Elimar.” Harry cut in. “The eldest was head boy, became a curse breaker in Egypt, married a half veela and got mauled by a werewolf. The second eldest played seeker for England you might remember him from the match last summer.” The group all nodded. “When not playing quidditch he is a dragon handler in Romania. The third is another head boy an assistant to the Minister and probable Minister in the future. After that you have the twins, one of them didn’t survive the war unfortunately but they created everything you saw in that joke shop yesterday. They know more about charms than just about anybody I ever met. I’ve also never seen a pair of beaters who work together as good as them. The last one, the keeper is my best friend. He followed me through everything including destroying Riddle. Oh and I hear he has his own chocolate frog card too.”

Elimar still didn’t seem too concerned. Ana Paula on the other hand was impressed. “That’s all one family ‘Arry?” Ana Paula asked since the others had met them.

“Yea, they are an amazing group.” Harry agreed.

“Well like I said. I can sweet talk the brothers. And I’m more than willing to hex the boyfriend.”

The next instant he was hanging upside down by his ankle. Mariana giggled at her friend. “I forgot to mention ‘Arry would be the jealous boyfriend.” Elimar paled at the site of Harry holding a wand and looking him over.

“I swear I didn’t mean it ‘Arry.” The younger wizard didn’t know how upset Harry was.

With a light flick of the wand Harry released the spell. As Elimar picked himself up off the ground Harry greeted him with a smile. “No worries, I don’t blame ya. She is a hot little witch. But she could hex you faster than any of her brothers. And don’t make me tell Sabrina what you said.” Harry smiled as they continued toward the village.

Elimar walked behind Harry as they journeyed back into Hogsmeade. “Is she really that strong?” He asked no one in particular.

“Yea, last year on ‘Arry’s birthday she nearly cursed him and Luciana for that matter. And none of her brothers were willing to stand in her way.” Mariana explained. “She held her own at the battle that was here last year from what I hear.”

“They wouldn’t stand in her way because they thought Harry needed to be cursed Mari. You know that.” Leticia added. Everyone laughed and they passed out of the school grounds.

The group fell silent as they entered the village. Elimar had forgotten about the battle the castle had seen. Now that he was reminded he looked at the castle in a new light. Some of the stones didn’t seem to have the same shade. The windows were the same way. He then noticed the Marble tomb on the far side of the lake. He saw the school and students with new respect. They had gone through hell and somehow resumed some form of normalcy.

It was eight o’clock in the evening when Harry returned to the gates of Hogwarts. Professor McGonagall had left him an owl with Madam Rosmerta at the Three Broomsticks. She wanted to discuss the plans for his magic demonstration the following day. Harry quickly agreed thinking it was better than winging it and sent the owl back quickly. Additionally he asked the Headmistress to deliver Dumbledore’s pensieve to Arthur Weasley’s office. She sent a patronus back assuring him everything was set and he could meet Hagrid at the gates.

Harry stood waiting still disguised as James as he waited for the first magical friend he had ever made. Before long the large frame was silhouetted against the school that shone brightly. Hagrid stepped close enough for Harry to see his usual smile shining through his bushy beard. He took a long look at Harry as he opened the gates. His smile disappeared as he beckoned the young wizard through the entrance.

“Whats wrong Hagrid. You don’t seem very cheerful.” Harry asked kindly.

“I’m sorry. I was expecting someone else.” He tried to force a smile. “The Headmistress said a special friend was at the gates and needed to be brought straight to her office. I thought you were someone else. What is your name by the way, you seem very familiar.”

Rather than answer directly Harry undid the transformation of his hair. “It’s good to see you again my friend.” Harry patted his friend’s elbow. He still couldn’t reach higher.”

“’Arry bloody hell it’s good to see you.” Hagrid’s smile returned genuinely. He crushed Harry with a hug. “Why didn’t you say something sooner?”

Harry smiled sheepishly as he recast the spells on his hair. “I’m trying to keep it a little bit of a secret until tomorrow. I hope you won’t spoil the surprise.” Hagrid smiled almost as mischievously as a Weasley. “And you seemed so disappointed I just had to tell you.”

“I can keep quiet ‘Arry I promise. Now let’s get you to the Headmistress.”

They walked in silence until they reached the statue blocking the entrance to Professor McGonagall’s office. “Home” Hagrid gave the password and the statue leapt aside.

“Enter Hagrid.” The headmistress spoke before they could even knock. “It’s good to see you again Harry. Did you enjoy the game today?” He nodded as he conjured an overstuffed chair like Dumbledore favored. He preferred them to the hard-backed chairs the Headmistress had in her office. Harry swore Dumbledore smiled in his frame overlooking the group.

“Very much so, I look forward to attending the ceremony after breakfast and seeing Ginny and Ron hoist the cup. After that I need the use of a classroom.” Harry then explained what he planned for the following morning. The professor was not at all surprised by his revelations about Ron and Ginny’s future and agreed to let him use one of the classrooms after the cup was presented to Gryffindor.

“Now Harry I think tomorrow we should start with some magical creatures.” Harry nodded. “That is why I had Hagrid bring you here. He can arrange to have Buckbeak there along with some other creatures that students can learn about. Can Fawkes be present as well?”

“I think he would be. I think maybe we can have a griffin present too that you and Hagrid could teach about.” Harry gave a sly wink to his professor.

“I’m not sure that would be safe Professor.” Hagrid was troubled for once. “I could keep a Griffin myself but I wouldn’t want to risk the children.”

“Do not worry Professor. Harry is speaking of a very special creature that will not harm anyone.”

“I also think that a demonstration of your animagus would make a nice opening to get the young kids attention. Much like you did our first year.”

“I agree, I was actually disappointed that I didn’t get to show that this year. Then after the creatures we can move to charms. Professor Flitwick is most excited to see what you can do.”

“Actually professor I think we should start with transfiguration.” Harry argued. “Charms are amazing but not as visual. At N.E.W.T. level transfiguration is much more impressive looking. I think it will help catch their attention.”

“You make a good point so what do you have in mind?” Harry explained his thoughts to his Professor. Even though he had only had a day to think about it he had thought of quite a few spells that could be entertaining and show his skill. Of course he kept some of the plans quiet hoping to surprise even McGonagall when the time came.

They hammered out some additional details and then swapped stories of the past year. Harry found he loved talking about his experiences at Amazonis. Finally he excused himself and left the office. He checked his watch as he went. It was nearly ten o’clock. Perfect timing, he thought as he proceeded to the first floor office for his next meeting.

Chapter 3: The Weasley Court for the Incredibly Foolish
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Arthur Weasley ran a hand through his thinning hair. He never imagined a teaching position would involve so much work. He was only halfway through grading the papers of his fifth year students and with O.W.L.s coming up this assignment was incredibly important. He wanted to be able to give them their essays back during class Monday so that they could go over them. The tests were merely weeks away and the more revision they got in the better.

He also knew shortly he would have to leave his office and make his way to Gryffindor tower. There was bound to be a party going on and it was his duty as head of house to make sure it didn’t keep the students up too late. He was just comparing a sentence in an essay to a book to ensure its accuracy when there was a knock on the door.

“Come in.” He called not wanting to leave his place in the book.

The door opened to reveal George. Arthur regarded him kindly. The past year had been roughest on him with the loss of his twin. Things seemed to be improving now that he was seeing Angelina. He wasn’t quite the same though. Sometimes he would make a joke and look to his right for a follow-up only to realize that no one was there.

“Hey dad, I was at the Hogsmeade store today. I’m glad you invited me up.” George embraced his father warmly. He didn’t comment on the confused look his father had.

“I don’t know what you’re talking about George but it’s good to see you too.”

“Arthur did I hear George come in?” Molly peeked from their apartment that attached to his office. “Oh I did, George it’s great to see you. What brings you here?” She questioned as she enveloped her son in a bone crushing hug.

“I’m not sure mum. I got a message supposedly from Dad saying he wanted to see me at ten.”

Her response was cut off by the fire in the office turning a bright green. A few moments later Bill stepped out. “Sorry I meant to be here sooner but we just got Victoire down to bed.” Bill brushed soot off his robes as he spoke. “Oh George, mum and dad invited you too eh?”

Bill clapped his younger brother on the shoulder and then proceeded to be pulled into a hug by his mother. Another knock on the door interrupted the small reunion.

“Now who could that be?” Molly asked still holding her eldest son closely.

Percy strode into the room without being asked in. “Mum dad it’s nice to see you. The Minister said you had something for me.”

If they had been surprised by the appearance of the others Percy showing up was enough to make Molly cry. “Oh Perce it’s been so long it’s great to see you.” She wiped tears from her eyes. “I still don’t get what you’re doing here.”

“Personally I was delivering a dragon to the preserve in the Hebrides. My boss asked me to do it and Professor McGonagall thought I should pay you guys a visit. It was a weird time request but now I see why.”

“Charlie you’re here too!” Molly shouted and released Percy who gasped for air. “Oh the only ones missing are Ron and Ginny.”

“Maybe I should go get them. I’m sure they would love to see their older brothers.” Arthur offered.

“I would really rather you didn’t. That would ruin the reason I got everyone together.” The red-heads stared at the figure in the doorway in disbelief.

Harry had disillusioned himself after meeting with McGonagall and waited in the Muggle Studies classroom near the door to the office. He watched as first George than Percy and finally Charlie passed through the classroom and into the office. He saw that Bill had arrived by another method and assumed it was the fireplace that stood to the side.

Everyone had arrived that he needed to speak to and just then he heard Arthur suggest getting Ron and Ginny to join them. He couldn’t allow that plan to proceed so he removed the spell and announced his presence.

“I would really rather you didn’t. That would ruin the reason I got everyone together.”

Molly was about to rush to her surrogate son when Arthur held her back. Harry certainly looked like he had spent a year in tropical nation. His skin was darker and hair somewhat bleached out. He couldn’t be sure and none of his son’s took the risk. Five wands were leveled at the dark haired wizard.

“If you’re Harry you know the drill.” George said with his wand leveled at Harry’s chest.

He thought for a moment before speaking. He really hated to use this one but it was the best way. “I used my tri-wizard winnings for start-up funds for Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes.” George lowered his wand and the others followed.

“Harry James Potter you did what!” Molly screamed.

“I guess that cat is out of the bag.” George smiled as Molly finally got her hold on Harry to give him a hug.

“Don’t you dare scare us like that ever again.” She was shedding tears again.

“So just wait a minute here.” Percy interrupted. “Harry did you say that you arranged for all of us to be here. Why would you do that?”

“Oh god Harry you’re not about to do what I think you are, are you?” George asked both impressed and scared at the same time. Harry smiled sheepishly and blushed slightly. “Oh Merlin Harry, use your brain. Do you really want to do this?”

“Do you think I could survive the outcome if I didn’t?” George nodded his approval. One down, five to go, he thought.

“What are you talking about George?” Charlie said forcefully. “Harry why did you arrange this?”

Suddenly Harry’s throat went very dry. Charlie seemed to be upset and Harry was second guessing his plan. He looked around at the red-heads knowing this may be worse than facing Riddle. He was not looking forward to admitting what he was about to say.

“Well since you asked so nicely Charlie, I’ll tell you.” Harry ran a hand across his hair. “After events of the past two years I have come to a conclusion. So with that in mind I arranged to have you all here to ask a very important question.” Percy groaned in understanding and Arthur smiled at Molly. She still appeared confused. “Since so many of you know what I’m about to say I might as well say it. I am here to get all of your permission to ask Ginny to marry me.”

“I did a lot of soul searching this past year.” He continued before they could react. “I did as Ginny asked including dating other women and I know it hurt her in the process. When I was kidnapped from school and saw what happened to the others the only thing that kept me sane and allowed me to get through it was hopes of seeing Ginny again. I even considered fleeing the country once I was able to escape just so I could be with her. But I couldn’t leave without knowing my friends were safe.” The Weasleys looked at him surprised. They had never expected such an admission from Harry. “Once I returned to school we’ve talked at least once and often twice every day and I am certain she feels the same way as I do.” He was speaking from the heart, professing his love for the youngest of the Weasleys. But he didn’t know how to finish his sentiments. Instead he conjured an overstuffed chair again and sat down.

The group surrounding him was stunned by the admission. Only George had initially picked up on the purpose of the meeting. Charlie cracked his knuckles menacingly and Bill smirked at the thought of what they could do to him. The silence was broken by three sharp bangs. Percy had conjured a gavel and knocked it on Arthur’s table. “I now call to order the Weasley court for the incredibly foolish.”

George smiled at his pompous brother turned comedian. “The court is so called to order. Arthur Weasley presides, witnesses for the persecution: Bill, Charlie, Percy and Molly Weasley.”

“The court for the incredibly foolish,” Harry raised an eyebrow questioningly. “And shouldn’t that be prosecution George?” Harry asked nervously. “And you didn’t mention yourself.”

“No Harry in this trial persecution is probably more accurate. That is part of the reason that it’s being called the court for the incredibly foolish. You’re putting your future in the hands of some people who may hurt you for it.” Molly provided, trying to reassure him by patting his shoulder. Although she seemed supportive it was hard not to worry. Harry didn’t notice the glare she gave her two oldest boys. “And George you can list me as a witness for the defense. Harry doesn’t have to convince me. I’ve seen the love sick eyes on your sister.”

“I appreciate that Mrs. Weasley. Although you may want to leave for this, you may not want to hear some of the questions and answers.” Harry was starting to regret this decision.

“No Harry if you can take it. So can I.” Molly smiled reassuringly. “And from now on you can call us Molly and Arthur dear, or if things go well tonight, mum and dad.”

“Now this goes against my better judgment but I am going to allow this questioning to proceed, mostly because two of you seem to want to resort to violence.” Arthur stared at his oldest sons. “That is on one condition.” Arthur sat behind his desk that now seemed raised like the tiers of the Wizengamot. “I will not allow you to be hypocrites. I believe Harry will answer your questions honestly but I will not allow you to judge him for things you too have done. Harry doesn’t need your permission, he doesn’t even need mine. But here he is seeking our acceptance to join our family and we treat family fairly.”

George nodded and agreed quickly. He noticed his brothers were less quick to do so. He knew what they were thinking but he respected Harry for what he was doing. If he survived this experience he would truly be one of them.

“We agree to your terms so let’s begin.” Charlie addressed his dad before quickly turning toward Harry. “Harry are you still a virgin?”

“Charlie you can’t possibly ask that.” Molly cried.

Before Charlie could respond to his mother Harry answered the question. “No I am not. I anticipated this question would be coming but I honestly didn’t expect it to be the first thing that was asked.”

“Perhaps that was a little tactless on my part.” Charlie didn’t seem to be nearly as embarrassed as his mother. “Next, how many women have you shagged?”

Molly wanted to yell at her son again but she held off. Harry had volunteered for this and she was going to stand behind him. She noticed that Harry put more thought into this answer.

“Based on your choice of words I would say zero Charlie.” George looked intrigued by the answer as did Arthur. “I have never blindly jumped into bed with some random girl, or had one-night stands.”

“Let me re-phrase then Harry.” Bill spoke up sensing his younger brother was at a loss. He understood what Harry was talking about. “Harry how many women have you slept with.”

Harry sighed and took a deep breath before answering. “Three” He swore Molly was going to feint when he answered. She looked nearly ready to. Her sons though looked furious. “Don’t look at me as if I’ve done something wrong. I doubt any one of you save Percy could say that you’ve only been with one girl.” Now was his time to assert himself before he could be made to look like the villain.

“What makes you say that Harry?” Surprisingly it was Arthur who asked. He was definitely curious as to what brought about this conclusion.

“Charlie and Bill have lived fairly exciting lives traveling around the world. They have good paying jobs and money to burn. Well Bill less so these days.” Harry explained. “Not to mention even with the burns and scars they are good looking guys. I’d be willing to bet girls can’t stay away.” Bill and Charlie both reddened slightly.

“What about me?” George asked.

“I know about the Yule Ball George, Ron told me everything.” Harry challenged. “And now I hear you’re dating Angelina. I bet she can tell us how identical you two were.” It wasn’t often George was speechless but now he had no response. Although George swore he could hear a snicker from Harry even though his lips never moved. His brothers on the other hand couldn’t contain their laughter. Harry had been sure though to not mention Fred’s name. He knew it could be hard on them. “Not to mention you’re all very passionate red-heads. Now can any of you say I’m wrong?”

“I can Harry.” Percy admitted his ears getting redder by the second. “My number isn’t one either. I’m seeing someone new mother. We’ll be coming around for dinner once you’re home for the summer.” Molly nodded but didn’t add anything to the conversation.

“Remember what I said about being hypocrites boys. Harry answered honestly and from the looks of it none of you are innocent.”

“Don’t you go passing the buck Arthur Weasley. I know about the month you spent dating Jean in our seventh year after our first break-up.” Molly admonished her husband who turned a little red.

“I believe I can say the same thing about you and Leo at the same time.” Both adults were embarrassed at the admissions they had just made in front of their children.

“Oh Harry this is bloody brilliant.” George could barely talk. He still held his sides from laughing so hard. “Bill do you have anymore questions on this topic or can we finally move on.”

The laughter stopped immediately and Bill appraised Harry questioningly. “I do have one more, a two part question.” Bill studied Harry for a few moments before continuing. “How many of those three girls have you made love to and how do you know?”

Arthur looked over his son with a renewed respect. Bill was not willing to judge Harry for something he too had done. He chose his words carefully and knew Harry’s response would go a long way to gaining Bill’s approval.

“Even though I don’t think either one of us knew it at the time only one.” Harry admitted almost sadly. “That time was a spur of the moment passion but it was unique. The other girls were special to me at the time but there was something missing in the physical part. It just wasn’t the same satisfaction.”

“Go on Harry.” Arthur prompted. He knew exactly what Harry meant. But he wanted to hear Harry describe it.

He took a few moments before finally being able to put his thoughts into words. “Bill please imagine it’s your birthday at the burrow. You’re looking forward to your favorite dessert after dinner. Well dinner comes and instead of the dessert you were expecting your mom serves something else. While it is delicious and leaves you full its not emotionally satisfying as knowing your mom put the effort into making your favorite just for you.”

Bill smiled and nodded at the description. Focusing on food was a good way to relate to his brothers and Bill could see his brothers were ready to believe Harry. Although Charlie still looked angry at the entire situation. However he knew in order to approve he would have to get Harry to admit who the girl was. “Why do you say neither of you realized it at the time.”

“Because the very next day she told me that what had happened changed nothing in our relationship and put me on an airplane.” Harry had made the statement most of them didn’t want to hear. None of them wanted to think of Ginny like that even though she was an adult and of age. However, they knew that he wouldn’t sleep with anyone else before leaving the country.

“I knew you were the one that did it. I tried to tell everyone else but they would never listen to me.” Percy shouted in Harry’s face. “I can’t believe you put Ginny through that.”

“Percy what in the name of Merlin are you talking about.” Harry felt venom in Percy’s words. “I didn’t put Ginny through anything more than I put myself through.”

“So you really don’t know about the twins Harry?”

“Twins, what twins are those? I know about quite a few twins but none involving Ginny.”

“I’m talking about the twins Ginny gave birth too in March. I can’t possibly believe you never knew.”

Harry felt like he had been punched in the gut. Did he go off to an exotic paradise and leave Ginny to fend for herself? He’d never do that intentionally but why would Percy lie? He was the straight shooter of the family. Anyone else he wouldn’t believe. The facts didn’t add up though, Ginny had played in the amateur quidditch tournament. She had played in every Gryffindor game this year. And someone would’ve let the secret slip if not Ron or Hermione then Hagrid or Molly would. Harry let a smile crack his lips and buried his head in his hands.

“Oh Merlin Percy thank you for telling me, I knew something was off with Ginny during our conversations. If she couldn’t share that with me she must not care about me as I do. I’ll just leave now. Maybe one of my old girlfriends will take me back.” Harry stood to walk out the door swinging his bag over his shoulder as he went.

Charlie smirked happily. “I knew he wasn’t serious about her.”

“Harry wait you don’t have to go. We don’t feel any different about you. We still want you around.” George stopped Harry at the door.

Harry smiled still looking at the door. George was such a good actor. Finally he let a chuckle escape his lips. “Did you honestly think I believed you Percy?” He turned to see the family staring at him intently. “If it was anybody else I would’ve laughed in their face but you are the least likely to pull that type of trick. However the facts just didn’t make sense.”

“What lead you to that conclusion?” Percy wasn’t ready to admit defeat.

“First off had that actually happened I probably would’ve been beaten into pulp the second I walked in the door or at least slapped by Molly.” Charlie and Molly nodded their agreement. “Next had Ginny been pregnant none of you would’ve allowed her to continue playing quidditch this year. She’s played in every game so far. And finally someone would’ve spoiled the surprise. Maybe not anyone in the family, but surely Hagrid or Hermione would’ve let it slip. So all in all you played a good part but it just didn’t make sense.”

“Well I’m sorry you feel that way Harry. He is telling the truth.” Molly added from behind him. Harry knew it still wasn’t the truth but he had to push harder.

“Well then Molly, I want to see them. They’re barely two months old. If Ginny is celebrating with the house then they must be here. Someone has to keep an eye on them.”

“Damn ok you got us. It was worth a try.” George finally relented. “When did you know?”

“When he started to fake cry and threatened to go back with an old girlfriend. He wanted to get a rise out of you boys.” Arthur chuckled behind his desk. “And it worked didn’t it Charlie?” Charlie shrugged rather than reply. “Think about it Charlie, if Harry didn’t genuinely want to be with Ginny he wouldn’t be here. If he was just looking for sex he just admitted he already got that and could probably get it again. Hell Harry could probably get any girl in the school if he wanted and quite a few older witches too.” His son’s looked furious at what he had said though none could truly deny the honesty. “Tell me though Harry, what would you have done if you actually believe Percy.”

“I would’ve called Kingsley and we would be having a wedding right now if Ginny would take me. If not I’d leave her alone for now and set up vaults for the twins so that they never struggle to pay for school. I would keep in touch so the children wouldn’t think I didn’t love them but I wouldn’t force my presence or love on anyone.” Percy nodded. That was the reaction he had hoped for.

“Harry sit back down. I have some very tough questions that have absolutely nothing to do with your sex life.” Charlie directed. It was not a request. Harry did as he was told and waited for Charlie. “Harry do you remember how Ginny screamed when she saw you in Hagrid’s arms coming from the forest?”

Harry gave an involuntary shudder and nodded. “I will never forget that sound. It was the most heart wrenching thing I’ve ever heard.” He already knew where this was going. He was prepared but it was going to mean a little bit of a story.

“How can you assure us that Ginny will not suffer the pain of losing you any time soon?”

“You might want to sit down for this answer. It is going to take a while. Harry conjured chairs for the rest of them. Before I tell you about the steps I’ve taken to make sure Ginny never feels that pain again. Let me explain why it was necessary for you all to feel it once.”

The Weasleys settled into the chairs he had conjured. They knew he was about to tell the story of when he had disappeared and where they went. “First things first, do any of you know what a horcrux is?” Bill’s sharp intake of breathe confirmed that at least one of them knew. He wasn’t surprised it was Bill. “Bill will you explain the concept please. You might be able to explain it better than I.”

Bill dove into the explanation and described it elegantly. George let out a whistle at the end. “So now you’re going to tell us Voldemort created a horcrux and you left to destroy it.”

“Please call him Tom Riddle. The less we use that made up name the better. And no George he didn’t make a Horcrux.” He put extra emphasis on the word “a”.

“What was the point of telling us about the magic?”

“I had Bill explain that because he made six horcruxes and we had to find them all.” The gasps from around the room confirmed the understood the severity of the situation. “Two of them were luckily destroyed before we left. Dumbledore destroyed Marvolo Gaunt’s ring. And in my second year I destroyed Tom’s diary from Hogwarts.”

“You mean the one that possessed my poor Ginny.” Molly started to cry again, although Harry wasn’t sure if she had ever stopped.

Harry confirmed the identity of the diary and then proceeded to describe the events that had happened starting with Bill’s wedding. Harry brought out the pensieve to show his memories from various parts of the story. Arthur smiled realizing that it had been Harry he spoke with that morning at the Ministry. It had been that conversation that put the Weasleys on alert to be ready to hide if needed.

Harry glossed over Ron’s leaving the group in the woods although Bill looked at him questioningly. Before going into the Gringotts break-in Harry shared the memory of Malfoy Manor. Molly wept openly watching Harry and Ron trying to escape the dungeon and hearing Hermione’s screams. “This exact situation was my greatest fear. That is why I ended things with Ginny the first time. Yet it still played out, just not for me.” Harry couldn’t help but cry as he remembered what his friend had been through. Molly put a comforting arm around Harry’s shoulder as the scene played ended with Dobby’s death. After watching the Gringotts’ memory and escape the final night was relived.

Harry skipped through many of the scenes from that night. It was just extra filling and if they followed everything they would be watching memories all night. He showed them everything he felt was important including the memories that Snape had left him. Molly and George had a few choice words for Dumbledore when it was revealed that Harry was a seventh horcrux. Most of the group was crying quietly as they followed Harry on his solitary walk to the forest. They watched him pause and felt the inner turmoil as he was tempted to grab Ginny and run. He carried on and the Weasleys finally started to understand what the trio had been through. Everyone even Bill shuddered when Harry used the stone to resurrect the marauders.

They all watched in silence as Harry stepped into the clearing and confronted Tom. They gasped as he took the killing curse in the chest. He had never even attempted to defend himself. Hagrid’s anguished cries filling their minds and Harry’s emotions surrounded them. They felt his love tying him to the world of the living. The feeling of wanting to ensure that nobody ever felt the pain he had experienced. But not just that love, they also felt the pure love he had for Ginny. Harry attempted to show them what happened when he passed to the other side but even though he remembered it he couldn’t share the memory.

“So that’s why Kingsley went lenient on Narcisssa.” Percy commented as they watched her lie to Riddle. Harry nodded his agreement. Arthur fumed with anger as Riddle tortured what he thought was Harry’s dead body.

Finally they followed Hagrid and the death eaters back to Hogwarts toward the final confrontation. They all heard Ginny scream and Harry pulled them out of the memory. “I don’t think we need to watch more than that.”

“Harry show me your chest.” Molly commanded. He pulled his shirt up and exposed the lightning bolt shaped scar that now adorned his pectoral muscle.

The Weasleys looked pale and Arthur pulled a bottle of firewhiskey from his desk and poured everyone a glass. “To you Harry.” He added before downing the glass. His wife and sons raised their glasses and followed his lead. “Now, how much of this does Ginny know?”

“I told her the entire story before I gave my interview with Xeno. I didn’t share the memories with her but maybe she should see them at some time.”

“That might be a little overwhelming Harry. It’s enough to give me nightmares and I’ve made a living breaking curses.” Bill commented. “You really had no idea you would survive the walk did you?” Harry shook his head and Bill poured another drink looking dumb-struck at the thought.

“You know Harry in the end they never knew you had broken into the Ministry.” Arthur added trying to steer the question back to the topic at hand. “So can you answer Charlie’s question now?”

“Yes sir, I’ve already talked to Kingsley and turned down a position with the aurors. I know if we are ever seriously threatened and the Order is needed we will all be there but I am not going to make it my job to capture dark wizards. I won’t make Ginny a widow at 25 or 30. I want a long happy life.” He explained nervously. “Also as you may understand I can’t risk the elder wand falling in the wrong hands so dueling dark wizards constantly doesn’t appeal to me.”

“Well Harry we know you’re not the type to sit back and do nothing. So what are you going to do?” Charlie asked finally coming around.

Harry produced the bright orange parchment he had received a week prior and passed it to Charlie. He let out a low whistle and passed it to Bill. It wasn’t long and everyone had read it. “Does Ron know yet?”

“No Jason Kodysz is going to be here tomorrow to discuss it in person. For that matter so will Gwenog Jones.”

“Why is she coming Harry she’s only interested in recruiting witches.” Percy asked not making the connection.

“In case you didn’t know your sister just lead Gryffindor to the house cup. She’s one of the best chasers I’ve flown with. So basically I’m hoping to make both her dreams come true tomorrow.” Harry admitted.

“So I assume that means you have a ring already Harry?” Molly asked rather excited. Harry handed her the small velvet box he had taken from his vault. She looked over the rings and once again had to fight her tears. “Arthur look at this.” She handed him the box.

Arthur looked closely at the rings and studied Harry. “You took these from your vault didn’t you Harry?”

“How did you know?”

“Because Harry, we saw these rings on their original owner. These are the rings your dad gave your mom.”

Harry felt tears sting his eyes. He had no clue that this set had belonged to his parents. He suddenly felt he wasn’t worthy of those rings. “I think I’ll return them to the vault then.”

“No Harry, we knew your parents well and I think they would’ve been delighted to know that Ginny was wearing your mum’s rings.” Molly hugged him gently. “And the rings are lovely. Ginny will love them.”

“Now Harry, I have one final question. How do you know that my little girl feels the same way about you that you do about her?”

Harry had planned answers for all the previous questions. He had expected them. This one though caught Harry off guard and he had to improvise. His bag was still underneath the chair and he moved the paper-wrapped package aside and pulled out a pair of socks. Arthur looked at him curiously until Harry extracted the small glass ball from the center.

“Ginny can you hear me.” He felt foolish talking to the little ball in front of her family but he waited.

“Oh Harry, its great to hear from you, you should’ve seen the match. We won, but it was close because we didn’t catch the snitch but we kicked butt.” He could hear the smile in her voice more than he could see it in the small mist figure.

“I knew you could do it Gin. Has the party wrapped up yet?” She replied affirmatively so he continued. “I’ve got a question though for ya hun.”

“Sure Harry what’s going on?”

“When was the last time you cast a patronus?”

“The day before you left for Brazil, Flitwick hasn’t made any of us D.A. members perform the charm this year.”

“I know it sounds strange but can you cast one for me?”

Ginny didn’t question his request. But she thought of her happiest memory and let the emotions fill her. She cast the spell and watched the figure take shape. “Harry why is my patronus a lioness? It was always a horse.”

“I would rather tell you in person Ginny. Can you wait till then?”

“Of course Harry. It’s only a few weeks away. Although I think I know why.”

“I’m sure you do, but you had a long day get some sleep. I love you Ginevra Molly Weasley.”

“I love you too Harry James Potter.”

He tucked the small ball back into the socks he used to protect it before looking over the assembled group. “The fact that you get away with calling her Ginevra is strong evidence. But how was that going to prove anything?” Charlie was still uncertain.

Harry didn’t respond but rather cast a patronus of his own. The mist formed into a powerful cat with a large mane. It was unmistakably a male lion. Harry released the spell before talking. “I first saw this patronus at Halloween last year. However the day before I left I cast the spell it and still took the stag shape. This is why I said we didn’t know it at the time but we made love that night.” He blushed deeply and hid his eyes.

“Well I believe I have seen everything I need to. Even if I wanted to stand in the way I cannot deny my daughter her happiness. All in favor of letting Harry join the Weasley clan.”

George’s hand flew up immediately. Percy and Molly followed just a moment after. Bill regarded the young man before raising his hand in support as well. Only Charlie looked at him suspiciously. He was struggling internally and he hated to admit his sister was all grown up.

“Charlie, your sister is of age. She worked hard so she could finish school this year.” Arthur explained. “We know Harry inspired that but she is a strong intelligent witch.”

“Besides Charlie when this eventually does happen and Ginny asks Harry what took him so long do you want it to be your name that caused the delay?” George smirked as his brother got even more uncomfortable.

Finally Charlie waved his wand refilling the glasses that everyone had. “Good luck Harry. I’d rather face dragons than the wrath of my sister.” He raised the glass and his family followed.”

Arthur banged the gavel one more time. “Court dismissed, welcome to the family.”

“Thanks dad.” Harry beamed and was crushed in a Molly hug.

A few minutes later the family was lost catching up on various things when Bill spoke. “You know dad when I got the invite, I thought you wanted to talk about this.” Bill passed his father a parchment with a Gringotts’ letterhead.

Arthur appeared concerned. “Harry were you trying to bribe your way into our family?” He smiled as he asked knowing Harry would never do that.

Rather than respond to Arthur Harry directed a question at the eldest son. “Bill what happens to a wizard’s vault when they die with no will and no next of kin?” Harry asked knowing already what had happened. One of Gringotts’ goblins had asked him to be a witness to an account transfer.

“The money usually goes to the Ministry, with Gringotts keeping a portion almost like a finder’s fee.”

“And if said wizard or witch dies in a wizard’s duel and not of natural causes?”

“To the victor go the spoils. But I’m still not understanding where you’re going with this.”

“Yesterday at Gringotts, when I visited my vault, one of the goblins asked me to be a witness to an event that occurred on May 2nd 1998. I witnessed and gave my account of the wizard’s duel between one Molly Weasley and one Bellatrix Lestrange.”

“Oh Merlin Harry, is this the balance of the Lestrange account?”

Harry shook his head. “No this is just what was Bellatrix’s vault. The money is to do with as you wish Molly. I’m sure large portions of it will be donated since I know you think it’s unclean.”

“I will put it to good use yes Harry.”

“Wait Harry if that applied to mom and Riddle never expected to be killed…” Percy asked expectedly.

“Yes Percy exactly what you think, he spent years murdering entire families such that the final person would have no will. He inherited everything from them. Gringotts wasn’t going to allow me access to any of my vaults. Fleur leveraged this law in my favor.”

“That sly minx, how much are we talking about Harry?” Bill questioned cautiously.

“Not as much as we could have been. I didn’t want the gold but I had to take some of it. So thirty percent goes to the Ministry, thirty to the goblins, thirty to a foundation I set up and ten to me. Kingsley told me that the money has been keeping the Ministry going for the past year and helped them through a very trying time. I’m told the goblins keep finding estates that I own. Apparently I gave them double their normal fee so they help me to help themselves.”

“Bloody hell Harry, you should’ve started the conversation this way. I would’ve never even questioned you.” Bill admitted.

“As dad said I didn’t want to appear to be bribing the family.”

“Harry you realize that percentage is only liquid assets. You still inherit anything additional in the vaults.”

“That explains how I furnished Grimmauld Place so well. It seemed like every time I went to your vault there was furniture there I never saw before. I thought I was losing my mind but it makes sense.” Molly remarked.

“Well you did a wonderful job mum thank you.” He smiled as her tears threatened to flow again. “I stayed there last night after having lunch with Kingsley. I also made a stop at the shop it looks great George.”

“Thank you Harry but I was wondering if we could perhaps talk in private for a minute.” George asked. His smile noticeably forced.

Harry nodded as George approached. Harry kept by his seat and waited for George to talk. His brothers gave them a wide berth out of respect.

“Harry what’s it feel like to die?”

Harry knew where the question came from. He also knew he was one of a few people who could actually answer it. He took a deep breathe before answering. “As we saw Sirius say in my memories. It’s quicker than falling asleep and just as painless. If where we go afterward is anything like where I went then we have nothing to fear. From what I understand we will be reunited with loved ones and know no pain. Of course I could be wrong but I’d like to think otherwise.”

“Thank you Harry. You don’t know how much it means to me to know that I might see Fred again on the other side.”

“Don’t get all mushy on me. We have a reputation to uphold.” A disembodied voice came from under Harry’s seat.

“Fred is that you?”

Harry grabbed his bag and pulled out the brown rectangular package. He removed the wrapping with a flip of his hand. The bracelet he wore channeling the magic. “You just couldn’t keep quiet could you?” He admonished the portrait of Fred. “I knew I should’ve put you to sleep.”

“Hey at least I didn’t comment when you were talking to George about Angelina.”

“Yes but you couldn’t help but laugh could you?”

“Harry what in Merlin’s name is going on? How can you be talking to Fred?” George looked like he was ready to cry or punch something at a moments notice.

“Last year I commissioned a portrait. It is similar to the ones of the Headmasters of Hogwarts.” Harry explained turning the portrait to face the family. Fred sat on a pile haphazardly stacked skiving snackboxes. He was wearing his black dragonhide jacket and a Weasley jumper. He smiled and waved at his family from the painting.

“It’s great to see you all. Tell them the rest though Harry.”

Harry passed the painting to George who really did cry now. “There are seven copies of the small frame, one for each of you to put in your home. On Monday a life-sized version will be delivered to the shop in Diagon Alley. That way Fred can always be there to keep an eye on things with you George.”

Harry gathered the portrait frames and distributed them to the remaining family. He gave Molly three copies. “Hold on to these for Ron and Ginny. At least until they have a place to put them. Hopefully one of them will go in the drawing room of Grimmauld Place.”

George sat in a corner talking to the portrait of his twin for a long time. Nothing could ever replace Fred but having that little piece of him to share stories with had already made George happier. Before long the gathering broke up and Harry walked with George and Charlie to the gates. Percy and Bill took the floo to get home quicker.

It was well past midnight by the time Harry arrived at the Three Broomsticks where he and his friends were staying the night. They were in two adjoining rooms which shared a loo. Harry entered his room to find the lights on and everyone sitting around waiting. The girls were seated on his bed while Elimar was reclining on his own. It had been a long day but none of them could relax until they knew the response. He was grateful for their thoughtfulness but hid any expression as he looked over the group.

“Well?” Mari finally asked realizing he wasn’t going to come out and say it.

Harry stood by the door looking tired and dejected. “Well we talked and I told them a lot about what happened to me that they didn’t already know. Her brothers questioned my purity.” His friends snickered at the comment. “In the end,” He paused drawing out their impatience. “They said yes!” He screamed and hugged his surrogate sister. The others cheered and quickly followed overjoyed for his happiness.

Madam Rosmerta was glad the students were the only ones staying in her inn that night. The cheer they lifted up at his news nearly shook the building. She couldn’t help but smile and be happy for Harry as well. His friends had explained where he went after he had gone. They had come down for dinner in the bar. They all were nervous and it only took a little coaxing to get Elimar to confess everything.

She had stayed awake watching the bar until he came back in. It was still relatively early but the patrons had cleared out a little while ago. She closed the door and locked everything securely as she heard the cheer from the upstairs room. She knew that if anyone deserved a lifetime of happiness with the one he loved it was Harry.

A/N: I hope you enjoyed this chapter as much as I did. I had more fun writing this one than I have with many others. I can't help but smile when I think of this scene playing out.

Chapter 4: He's Back
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Harry stood at the back of the great hall under a disillusionment charm. His friends were along the back wall with him similarly disguised. They had arrived fairly early to sneak in before too many students were crowding the door. They watched as the mail arrived and Harry saw Ginny and Ron both get multiple brightly colored parchments. He noticed Ginny didn’t get a dark green one and looked dejected. His guilty feeling almost made him drop the spell and tell her the truth right away.

The great hall filled relatively quickly and stayed filled as students waited for the presentation. Had this been tried a few years ago the Slytherins may have left after breakfast not wanting to watch Gryffindor get the cup. Instead they stayed and talked while waiting for Professor McGonagall to begin.

“Arthur there are four people disillusioned at the back of the hall.” Tyler Woodbridge gripped his wand tightly and leaned over to talk to his coworker. “Is it something we need to be worried about?”

“No Tyler. Actually there are five people and we are expecting them. I have a feeling one of their spells is so powerful you might not be able to see any signs of it.”

Even though Arthur assured him the guests were expected, the fact that one of them had produced a disillusionment charm so powerful he couldn’t see the edges made him nervous. He had been trained in looking for the signs of the charm and was rarely fooled. The only person who had cast the charm and fooled him with it was none other than Dumbledore. He wondered who could produce such a powerful spell but was interrupted by the start of the presentation.

“Good morning students.” Professor McGonagall addressed the assembled group. All talk ceased in the room. “I’m glad to see everyone up and around so early. I know it’s a Sunday and you’d all rather have a lie in but I think a new tradition for the quidditch cup is in order. Before that however I have an announcement to make. After lunch we will be having a N.E.W.T. level magic demonstration by one of our students. First year students are required to attend but I think everyone will enjoy the show.” There was a brief explosion of noise as many people spoke at once. The Headmistress raised her hands to quiet the students. “Now let’s begin the presentation.” At this the small stool used for the sorting appeared with the large silver cup on it. “Would the Gryffindor quidditch team come up here and we will present the cup.”

Ron and Ginny had already planned this and took the entire team up. This included the younger students who helped with practice but hadn’t actually had a chance to play. They stood on either side of the Headmistress with their team arranged behind them.

“I know this year the deck was a little stacked in favor of Gryffindor. They had a very experienced team and many players in their final year. It will be interesting to see what next year brings. Maybe some of you will be standing up here in their place.” She took a moment to gaze over each table. “Now it is with pleasure I present the quidditch cup to Gryffindor.” Ron and Ginny approached and each reached a hand to grasp one of the handles on the large cup. It was then that it went flying.

Professor Woodbridge smiled. The fifth visitor finally showed up. His disillusionment charm was breaking as he cast a summoning charm on the cup. At first only his wand arm was present but as the cup got closer more of his body became visible.

Ginny was furious as the cup leapt from her grasp. She was already angry at the disappointment from her letters for quidditch teams and now someone wanted to play a trick on her and Ron. The cup flew to the back of the great hall in what seemed like slow motion. She had already pulled her wand when a voice froze her in her tracks.

“As captain of the Gryffindor quidditch team, I accept.” The disillusionment charm broke the culprit held the cup aloft. His hair was short and not quite as black as they remembered. He had a tanned complexion and bright green eyes behind his glasses. The famous lighting-shaped scar on his forehead stood out with his bronze skin.

A smile lit across Ginny’s face. “Harry!” She ran down the aisle between the Ravenclaw and Hufflepuff tables before anyone else could react. Harry levitated the quidditch cup next to him and grabbed Ginny by the waist spinning her around as she got to him. She planted a series of kisses on his face as people around the great hall started to whistle and cheer.

“Gin I’ve missed you so much.” Harry said pulling her into a long hug.

Ron cleared his throat loudly interrupting the two. “I knew you were back. Your bed and truck appeared in our room yesterday.” Ron had ran up the aisle too although not as quickly as his sister.

“And you didn’t think to tell me.” Ginny punched Ron in the arm.

“We had a cup to win.” Ron admitted. Ginny nodded and breathed in Harry’s scent. It was one of the things she smelt when she was near amortentia.

Finally others had managed to get up from their seats they all wanted to welcome Harry back to Hogwarts. It was then that his friends removed their own disillusionment charms. Most of the students backed away at the sudden appearance of four strangers. Hermione however greeted Mariana and Leticia warmly.

“Attention!” Professor McGonagall’s amplified voice cut through the chatter of the students. “I know many of you will want to welcome Mr. Potter and his companions from Amazonis but for now please let them sit and get some breakfast. We have plenty of time for a reunion.”

Harry handed the quidditch cup to Ron as the students filed back to their seats. He took a place at the end of the Gryffindor table with his friends and the Gryffindor quidditch team. The noise in the great hall returned rather quickly. Harry enjoyed a couple of pastries while Ginny rested her head on his shoulder. He wrapped a hand around her waist soaking up her presence and the familiar smell of her hair.

“So what’s wrong Gin? You’re happy to see me but something else is weighing on you.” Harry asked.

Ginny smiled weakly at him. He knew her so well. “I didn’t get a letter from the Harpies Harry. I want to play for them so badly but I’m just not good enough.”

“Oh Gin I’m sorry. I’m sure you can impress them at their open tryouts. Don’t they hold those every year as well? I know you’re good enough to make it.” He gave her a reassuring hug. “How about you Ron, did you get any offers.”

“Yea three,” Ron answered with a mouthful of Bacon. “None from the Cannons though. I think they’re the only team I would ever consider playing for. Not that I’m going to play.” Ron was slightly wistful trying to convince himself that he didn’t want to play quidditch.

Harry smiled knowing what he had planned. In fact Jason and Gwen were due back at any time. He needed to get to the classroom that Professor McGonagall had lent them. “Let me go greet your parents then we can go to a classroom and catch up on the past year. I’m sure there is so much to tell. You can meet me the transfiguration classroom. I’ve already arranged it with Professor McGongall.

The others left as Harry approached the head table. He hugged Molly and Arthur warmly. “Do you want to join us in the transfiguration classroom for the rest of this morning’s activities?” Harry asked Molly.

“We’ll be there in a few minutes but let’s introduce you to some of the new professors.” Arthur answered. “First this is Professor Woodbridge.” Arthur indicated the stocky wizard on his right. “He has taken over Defense Against the Dark Arts this year. He’s a retired American auror.”

Harry shook the man’s hand and nodded his head. Arthur then stood and directed Harry toward a short witch sitting on the right hand side of the Headmaster’s chair. “And this is Professor Long. She has taken over first through fifth year Transfiguration.” Harry shocked most of the people in attendance by embracing the professor warmly, the Brazilian traditions still in his habit. After a few moments he politely excused himself to join his friends.

Harry walked back up beside the Gryffindor table. “I’ll be back in a little while guys. Until then enjoy Hogwarts and my classmates. They’re a pretty good group.” He addressed his friends who smiled still enjoying the food.

He proceeded toward the entrance of the great hall when he was met halfway there. “Harry I want to talk to you.”

“Draco, I had heard you were making the most of your second chance.” Harry extended a hand to the blonde wizard hoping to bury old grudges.

“I have tried.” Draco agreed grasping his hand. “My mother has a lot to do with that. She would like to see you sometime. I know Azkaban isn’t pleasant but after the school year would you come with me?”

“I owe your mother my life Draco. Of course, if you need anything at all just ask and I will try.”

“How about a place to live once the school year is out, they still haven’t settled our estate.” Draco replied cheekily.

Harry didn’t even hesitate. “Done, and bring Pansy along as well if she feels the same way as you. I have a seven bedroom house and only two or three bedrooms will be used this summer.”

Draco was floored by the offer. “I’ll tell her now. I think being on her own again would be devastating.” Harry started to walk away as Draco turned his back. “Oh and Potter! Treat her well she deserves it.”

“You’re absolutely right Draco. I will never let her go again if I can help it.” Harry smiled warmly. “Draco, thank you for what you’ve done this year for her. She needed the perspective and the friend.”

“We both did.” Draco replied and returned to the Slytherin table and started to talk with Pansy. Harry left the hall and proceeded toward the Transfiguration classroom where his friends were waiting.

“What is taking that prat so long?” Ginny was pacing around the class. Getting more worked up by the moment.

“Gin I’m sure it was mom and dad keeping him busy. They haven’t seen him in a year either.” Ron sat on a desk with Hermione sitting in the chair next to him. Her head was resting on his knee.

Ginny sighed in disgust and continued pacing across the room. “You know you’re going to wear the stones away if you keep that up.” Harry leaned against the doorframe watching her. Even as frustrated as she was Harry was still enamored by her beauty.

“Come here you prat. We have a year of catching up to do.” Ginny waggled a finger at him.

“Oi, not while I’m in the room. I just ate breakfast.” Ron shouted trying to look offended.

“Oh like you and Hermione keep your hands to yourself in my presence? Especially last summer right after Harry left.”

“She’s right Ron.” Hermione agreed. “We were horribly insensitive last year.”

“It doesn’t mean I have to enjoy watching my best friend snog my sister.”

“You don’t have to watch, or enjoy it. But it will happen.” Harry spoke while quickly crossing to the front of the classroom. He gave Ginny a passionate kiss before sitting on the teacher’s desk. Ginny sat next to him with her legs crossed.

“Well Harry what are we waiting for?” Hermione asked after a few moments of silence.

“I wanted Arthur and Molly here when we discussed this.”

“Since when do you call them Arthur and Molly and what is this?” Ginny asked nervously.

Harry cursed silently at the slip up. “This is our future.” He tried to explain not giving her an opportunity to question his use of her parent’s first name.

They sat silently for a few more moments before a light knock on the door caught their attention.

Molly, Arthur and Professor McGonagall all came in the room. “Mr. Potter, Ms. Weasley what do you think you’re doing sitting on my desk.” She said sternly but with a slight smile tugging her lips.

“Imagine how she would’ve reacted if she came in while we were snogging on her desk.” Ginny said cheekily causing the professor to turn red.

“I would’ve been given detention and twenty points for Gryffindor.” Harry smiled nudging Ginny lightly.

“Oh the detention is guaranteed Mr. Potter. But what makes you think you would warrant the twenty points?” The professor recovered and looked appraisingly at Harry.

“Well I am Ginny’s inspiration and Gryffindor did just win the Quidditch Cup. I figure you owe me about twenty.”

“Touché Mr. Potter, now what are we all doing here?”

“Well I wanted to bring you here to discuss our options for the future. I know this may come as a shock but Friday afternoon I told Kingsley I would not be joining the aurors at the end of the year.”

Ginny and Ron were surprised by the announcement. But Hermione had focused on a different part of his announcement. “Friday afternoon? When exactly did you get back?”

“Friday for lunch with the Minister, I had some errands to run.” Harry admitted.

“Ok enough of that. What are you going to do if not be an auror Harry.” Ginny asked. She was happy Harry wouldn’t be fighting dark wizards constantly.

“Well I was thinking of accepting one of the seventeen offers I got last week.” Harry admitted.

“Seventeen? Harry that’s more offers than there are teams in the league. You must have gotten some international looks too.” Ron was shocked as Harry nodded. “So which team is it that you’ll be joining?”

“I think that’s my cue.” A tall wizard with intelligent eyes and thinning hair walked into the classroom. He was wearing bright orange robes.

“Jason Kodysz, I can’t believe it’s you.” Ron jumped to his feet and shook the man’s hand. “I’ve wanted to meet you for a long time.”

“The pleasure is all mine Mr. Weasley.” Jason smiled at Ron’s enthusiasm.

“Wait Harry you’re going to play for the Cannons.” Ron was less happy. “They’re my favorite team and yet they couldn’t give me an offer to join you.”

“I’m sorry Ron.” Jason Kodysz admitted. “We were going to recruit you but Mr. Potter’s presence had already brought us a solid keeper.”

“Harry how could you? Aside from being an auror like you playing keeper for the Cannons was my greatest dream.” Ron looked ready to take a swing at Harry.

“Ron you got three offers today right?” Harry asked and Ron nodded. “How many of them wanted to give you a tryout?”

“All three of them, what’s that have to do with it.”

“Ron the Cannons offered me a guaranteed spot. Maybe not starting but a spot on the team if I could convince their keeper recruit to join me.” Harry had to fight his smile.

“I would’ve thought you could convince them to pick me instead.” Ron’s eyes grew a little misty. “It’ll be weird not taking this next step together. Although I guess trying out for the Wasps couldn’t hurt. Maybe Jason will make a trade for me before long.” Ron tried to force a smile.

Harry pulled out the orange parchment he had in the pocket of his cargo shorts. “Read this Ron.”

Ron looked over the letter suspiciously before looking over Harry and Jason. “Is this for real Mr. Kodysz?” Jason nodded. Ron shouted and leapt. “I’m the keeper you were talking about. We’re joining the Cannon’s. They gave Harry and I guaranteed spots to join together.” Ron hugged Hermione tightly and then did the same with his parents. Professor McGonagall smiled at his excitement. “But Harry what about the aurors; the Ministry can really use us.”

“We are going to study by correspondence while we play. If we ever change our minds we won’t have to start from scratch.” Harry explained as Ron continued his celebration. “What’s the matter Gin? Aren’t you happy for Ron?”

“Oh Harry you just made his dreams come true and here I am crying because I’m jealous.” Ginny buried her head in his shoulder. “You couldn’t do the same thing for me.”

“Oh he couldn’t Ms. Weasley?” Gwenog Jones had come into the room while everyone had been distracted.

“Hey Gwen how are you today?” Harry smiled at the Holyhead captain.

Any response she could think of died on her lips. “Harry James Potter how could you let me think I wasn’t good enough.” Ginny tried to be angry but she was smiling too brightly. “So Ms. Jones do I dare hope you have a letter for me.”

“I do Ms. Weasley.” Gwenog pulled a dark green letter from her pocket and handed it to Ginny. “Don’t be too mad at him. He knew I was there to recruit you and asked me to come in person.”

Gwen and Jason then sat with Molly and Arthur discussing the life of a quidditch star. Charlie had never seriously considered the career so this was as new to them as it was to their youngest kids.

“So Hermione what do you have planned for the magic demonstration.” Harry asked.

“I’m not doing it. The first I heard about it was this morning. I thought it would be you doing it. Now that I know you’re back that is.”

“You’re the best with the spells. But if you didn’t get asked I have no idea who did.” Ron admitted. The group returned to silence various thoughts going through their heads.

“Jason, Gwen what do Ron and Ginny need for brooms?” Harry asked during a break in the conversations.

“Well Harry I think Ginny would do well with a firebolt or firebolt 2. She doesn’t need the firebolt S model that you fly. It’s just too fast for a chaser.” Gwen said appraising Ginny lightly. “I would look at the firebolt 2 specifically. In case we need Ginny to step in as a seeker. We’ve been watching you fly for a while young lady.” Ginny blushed at the compliment. She was only getting a tryout with the Harpies but it seemed Gwen had already thought of a place for her.

“Firebolt S?” Harry inquired. “I fly a Firebolt 5.”

“Firebolt renamed it when they officially released the broom. It has become the class of seekers but too fast for other positions.” Jason explained. “If I’m not mistaken you may be the only person in the world with a broom labeled as Firebolt 5.”

“Ron on the other hand would do well with a new nimbus. They are more maneuverable and really suite keepers well.” Jason added.

“Perfect, we’ll be going to Diagon Alley as soon as the school year ends.” Harry decided. “I won’t take no for an answer, consider this an investment in your future.” Ginny and Ron both blushed at the thought.

“And before long you’ll all have your own sponsorship deals so you won’t have to spend your own money.” Gwen added.

About an hour later Jason excused himself and prepared to leave. “Harry, Ron these are for you. He presented each of them with a small metal pin with the Chudley Cannons logo on it. Occasionally the cannonball would fly off the logo and around the pin before settling back on. “These identify you as a member of the team and give access to the team facilities. We’ll have an agent around shortly to work out your rookie contracts.”

Gwen had a similar gift for Ginny and left shortly after her Cannons counterpart. “Everything Jason said about the Cannons is the same for us Ginny. Except we’re girls and we’re usually more famous, although for you that might not be the case.” She smiled at Harry and left the room.

“Once your tests finish we’ll throw a party at the burrow for all of you.” Molly gushed at her kids. “I’m so proud of you all, not just for this but for working so hard to finish your schooling after all you’ve been through.”

“We should probably head back to the great hall though. The magic demonstration is coming after lunch and I want to eat quickly.” Professor McGonagall started to leave and the others got up to follow.

“Ron can you stay for a minute? I need to talk to you.” Harry asked. Hermione gave him a questioning look but Ginny took her arm and led her out the door.

Harry sat back on the professor’s desk while Ron sat on the student’s desk in the front of the classroom. “Ron do you trust me?”

Ron was taken aback by the question. “Harry after everything we’ve been through I trust you with my life.”

“What about with Ginny’s?”

“What do you mean?”

“Ron do you trust me with Ginny’s life? Let me rephrase the question. If I wanted to propose to Ginny would I have your blessing?”

Ron’s hands clutched and Harry was afraid his friend was about to punch him. Finally after what seemed like a minute Ron relaxed. “As much as I complain about seeing the two of you snog, it would mean the world to me if you joined the family. Shouldn’t you be asking my parents this though?”

Harry pulled the small velvet box out of his shorts and handed it to Ron. “I already did last night. However I wanted unanimous approval.”

“Isn’t that a little hard?” Ron joked thinking of his large family as he looked over the rings. “They are beautiful and I’m sure Ginny will love them.”

“Ron last night I told your entire family everything about our year on the run. I confessed my love for Ginny and asked for permission.” Ron looked at Harry like he was crazy. “Charlie and Bill held out for a while but in the end they had to admit giving me permission was easier than facing Ginny.”

“Smart men my brothers. If they didn’t stand in the way I won’t either.” Ron got up and gave Harry a tight hug. “Good luck, I hope the moment is perfect no matter what. Now let’s go grab some food.” Harry sighed at his friend. “What?”

“Nothing changes with you. I just get permission to propose to your sister and the next thing that happens is you want food.”

Ron shrugged and held the door open for Harry. “It didn’t seem like that big a deal to me. Some day though I think I’ll know the feeling.”

Harry smiled as the walked back toward the great hall. He was happy to see Ron and Hermione were so close. He really hoped that one day he would get to see Ron propose to her as he was planning with Ginny.

A/N I am so happy to hear all the reviews for the previous chapter. It seems everyone enjoyed it as much as I did.

Chapter 5: Magical Demonstration
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Ron and Harry walked through the courtyard toward the entrance hall to have lunch. Quite a few students were standing around the courtyard seemingly waiting for lunch as well. Harry tried to push through to the entrance hall but stopped when four haggard looking Brazilians cut him off. They were covered in what looked like pink paint.

“Let me guess you guys met Peeves?” Harry tried to hide a smirk. Ron was less successful. They nodded. “What happened?”

“The ‘Eadmistress and the large professor ‘Agrid I think is his name. They asked all the students to leave the great ‘all.” Leticia explained trying to siphon some of the paint out of her hair with her wand. It wasn’t cooperating. “They told us there would be lunch served in the courtyard and we could come back in once everything was setup.”

“And that’s when that ‘orrid Peeves decided to welcome us to school.” Mariana added.

“Come on I’ll show you to the loo so you can get cleaned up.”

“What’s a loo?” Mariana asked following Harry back through the courtyard.

“Oh it’s what we call a bathroom. I’m not sure why we call it that.” Harry smiled as he showed them the first floor bathrooms.

“By the way ‘Arry a professor wanted us to give you this once we were alone.” Mariana smiled a little embarrassed. “I think the Peeves attack was just to get us away from the other students.” Harry took a piece of parchment and as soon as he grabbed it he felt the familiar pull behind his navel.

The world stopped spinning and Harry found himself in the great hall. He was impressed by the transformation it had undergone in the short time he had been gone. The four house tables were removed and rows of chairs took their place. There was a small table with various school items on it. The entire front half of the hall was devoted to cages of varying sizes.

Buckbeak lay on some comfortable hay on one of the cages right at the front. Harry approached and bowed deeply watching the magnificent hippogriff closely. When his bow was returned Harry approached the cage and stroked the soft feathers of his head. “It’s good to see you boy. Has Hagrid been treating you well?”

“Of course I have Harry.” Hagrid proclaimed excitedly. “I wouldn’t be doing my job otherwise.”

“So what am I doing here?”

“You’re going to be getting that griffin you spoke about and putting him in the cage opposite beaky here.” Hagrid explained pointing out a large cage on the other wall of the hall. “We also need to summon Fawkes. There is a nice perch up front for him.”

Harry summoned the phoenix and directed him to the perch. He then examined some of the other creatures that had been collected. A thestral was in the cage next to buckbeak. What appeared to be a dragon hatchling was in a cage all by itself in the back of the room. A crup with its dual tails was in another small cage. Harry was sure Hagrid had gone beyond what had been planned. However this gave them plenty of different creatures to talk about.

“I think we’re about set for the presentation so why don’t you take your place Harry.” Professor McGonagall gestured toward the open cage. Harry walked toward it and let the transformation take place. He settled into the warm hay that Hagrid had provided and waited for the proper moment for his presence to be revealed. Hagrid went and opened the doors to the great hall as the headmistress became a cat and settled onto the table they had arranged.

“So who do you think is going to be giving this demonstration?” Ron asked Hermione as they led the younger students into the hall.

“My guess would be Justin.” Hermione had thought about it. “He’s a muggle-born and we are trying to inspire the young muggle-borns. Since I know it’s not me that is the most likely person.” She gasped as they saw the changes in the hall. She recognized the cat sitting on the desk and a few of the creatures in the cages were familiar to her but they were things she had seen before. She was most intrigued by the large black cat lying in a cage on the left of the room. “Ron I think that’s a griffin. I know it doesn’t look like a normal one but I think I can see its wings.”

“Really that means they went all out for this.” Ron left to examine the cages as Hermione directed the younger students to seats up front.” His gaze was drawn to the large black cat with jet black hair. The color was familiar as was the brilliant green shade of its eyes. The only blemish on his black fur was directly above its right eye. A small patch barely tinged brown in the vague outline of a lightning bolt. Ron smirked at the realization.

A few minutes later Ron joined Hermione with a familiar Weasley grin on his face. Hermione knew better than to ask. Ron would never tell her what he knew if it would ruin his plan. Seeing that almost the entire school was present including their four guests Hermione amplified her voice. “Thank you all for coming. I am glad to see so many of you have decided to join us for this. Now we will begin as soon as the Headmistress arrives.” She knew the headmistress was standing behind her and knew the animagus transformation had happened by the students gasping.

“Thank you Ms. Granger.” Professor McGonagall smiled overlooking her assembled students.

“I wonder where Harry is.” Hermione said to Ron after she took a spot on the right hand side of the room. She didn’t pay attention the Headmistresses’ opening words.

“Oh I’m sure he’s just in the loo. He’ll be back soon.” Ron was still unsuccessfully trying to hide a smile.

“You think you know something Ronald. I am not going to forgive you for hiding things from me.” She slapped him playfully on the shoulder.

“How’s this I bet you that that griffin is not in fact a griffin.”

“Ok I’m game what are the stakes?” Ron whispered something in her ear causing her to blush fiercely then smile. “Ok you’re on.”

Hagrid had finished showing Buckbeak to the students he taught them about showing proper respect and their unique properties. He had taught them about thestrals which regrettably many of the older students could now see the horses. With each animal he had a different student volunteer and show what he was describing. This was particularly important since only two first years could see the thestral.

After a few more lessons Hagrid finally brought out the griffin. There was a thick leather collar around its neck attached to a strong metal chain that Hagrid held. Hermione was excited that she had been right. Although she was curious as to why it looked that way. Hagrid of course explained that any large cat could be bred into a griffin. He also explained that the animal was not a pure griffin, but rather the offspring of a griffin and a jaguar. This allowed the animal to be tamer than its pure-bred cousins.

Hagrid allowed the chain to slacken and the animal took flight over his head. Hermione marveled at the raw power of its body and the size of its wings. After a few circles the animal landed and nuzzled close to Hagrid. “Now as we have done with the others does anyone want to volunteer to assist me? I would prefer a seventh year student for this.” Hagrid’s voice boomed with excitement.

Nobody volunteered quickly. Griffins were powerful magical creatures and required the utmost care to handle. Eventually though Ron stepped forward. “I’ll give it a go Hagrid. You’ve never let me come to serious harm before.” Ron left the side of the hall where he had been standing with his classmates. Hermione watched nervously as Ron slowly approached the large animal. Finally he was close enough to touch it and reached his hand to pat the beast on the nose.

Suddenly everything went to hell. The griffin grabbed Ron’s wrist in its jaws and threw him over its head. It roared and leapt onto his chest shredding and tearing his robes. Hermione and Molly both screamed in horror, many of the younger students were too shocked to react though a few started to cry. Hagrid was trying to pull the animal off Ron by its chain. Hermione pulled her wand out and was about to cast any spell she could think of when Ron stood up.

His clothes were tattered but his body had not been touched. “I know something you don’t know Hermione.” He smiled like Fred and George used to when pulling a prank. “That is not a griffin.” He pointed to the animal behind him that was licking his large paw looking rather bored.

“Ron why would Professor Hagrid say it was a griffin if its not?”

“Because a good prank is hard to pass up.” Harry spoke up after changing from his griffin form. The students cheered and laughed at the joke. He bowed and stepped to the front of the table. Ron and Hagrid cleared the area quickly after Harry mended Ron’s clothes. “Good afternoon my name is Harry and I will be demonstrating some magic for you today. And since we have already started lets continue with some transfiguration.”

Hermione swore under her breathe. She had actually believed him when he said he was not participating in the demonstration. Harry had nearly given her a heart attack and now he was laughing and joking at the prank he had pulled. Worse yet she had lost the bet and Ron would be an insufferable git until she paid up. Ginny however was clutching her side she had been laughing so hard. She had picked up the twins’ sense of humor.

“Now I know many of you have started to learn how to turn some objects into animals and back. While that is amazing it pales in comparison to what you will learn in the next few years.” Harry started his presentation. “For example you can change your clothes as needed. Say you’re too lazy to put on your pajamas.” Harry tapped his clothes and his shorts and t-shirt were replaced by a pair of flannel pants and a dressing robe. “

“Or you’re late for class.” He joked replacing the pajamas with his Amazonis robe. “Sorry wrong school.” With a wave of his wand the tan robes transformed into his black Hogwarts’ ones.

“Or maybe you want to hit the beach but forgot your trunks at home.” His clothes changed one more time to his favorite blue swimming trunks.

Many of the younger students gasped at Harry standing there in very little clothing. Ginny wolf-whistled staring at his body, Harry had toned his muscles in the year away partially with quidditch and partially with the training he did with Joao Luiz. He had become fairly buff and it was accentuated by his tan. Ginny admired the scar on his chest. She knew it was a mark of bravery and made him even more attractive to her.

“Ha I always knew Ginny was lying about the tattoo on your chest.” Romilda Vane called out, although she like many of the other girls was smiling a little greedily at the view.

“You know professor I never understood how these rumors start.” Harry crossed his arms and smiled at Professor McGonagall looking thoroughly uninterested in the rumors. “No Romilda I do not have a tattoo of a hippogriff on my chest. It’s a Hungarian Horntail and it’s on my back.” Harry turned to expose the ink covered upper portion of his back. The students and teachers gasped at the image presented there.

A large black dragon with yellow eyes was curled up around a clutch of eggs. What appeared to be an arena was in the background. The dragon was breathing a bright blue flame across the nest. Six of the eggs were the usual cement colored but one of them was golden. He had gotten the tattoo the final weekend he was in Rio. Harry was sure Don had realized what he had done when he slapped his back and Harry winced. However the older wizard never brought it up and Harry had not told anyone other than his dorm mates about it. He only told them because they were bound to see it while changing or showering.

“Harry James Potter what did you do to yourself.” Molly shouted from the hall opposite Ron and Hermione. The rest of the adults were arranged there as well. Everyone started to chuckle expecting a famous Molly tirade.

“Sorry mum.” Harry looked downcast and changed his clothes back to their original look. Molly looked as if she wanted to say something else but she was also choked up.

“Ron did Harry just call her mum?” Hermione whispered. Ron nodded an affirmative. “What do you think it means?”

“Hermione if you think about it for a few minutes you will understand what it means. I just can’t believe he stopped her that quickly.”

Before she could respond Harry started talking again. “Sorry for that distraction kids. Now lets move on to some of the other fun things we can do with transfiguration. Professor Long do you mind assisting me for a moment.” Harry conjured up an old quill and an ink bottle and waved his wand over each one. They both glowed blue although different shades while Harry whispered something in the professor’s ear. She nodded. He gave her first the ink bottle then the quill. As soon as Harry released the quill the professor disappeared.

“Mr. Potter I invited you to do a demonstration of magical abilities. Am I to understand that one of the first things you made was an illegal portkey?” Professor McGonagall shouted.

“No ma’am I did not make an illegal portkey.” Harry replied as Professor Long popped back into the room holding a large treacle tart. McGonagall relaxed a little at his declaration. “I made two of them.” The headmistresses head snapped back instantly her lips thinning. “I missed lunch thanks to Peeves, and Professor Long was nice enough to fetch this from the kitchen.” Harry took a bite of the dessert before continuing. “That ladies and gentlemen was a portkey. You can use them to transport you just about anyplace. It’s a little disorienting at first but you get used to it. Now I need some volunteers to demonstrate some more transfiguration.”

Harry watched the room waiting for someone to be brave. Surprisingly the first person to agree was Luna Lovegood. She skipped to the front of the hall just as care free as always. “Wow you Gryffindors should be ashamed of yourself. You’re supposed to be brave. Luna since you volunteered you get to pick an animal for me to change you into.”

“Well my patronus is a hare.”

“Say no more.” Harry tapped her head lightly and Luna was replaced with a large white hare. He conjured a large mirror toward the side so Luna could admire her look.

“Me next Harry.” Ginny said coming to the front. She was expecting to be turned into the lioness like her patronus instead Harry waved his wand and a beautiful red horse stood in her place. Both changes caused the students to cheer loudly.

“Dean, Seamus come up here for me.” Harry directed his dorm mates as nobody else was volunteering. As they did Harry waved his wand across Dean’s face and he underwent several changes. His hair grew longer much like Lee Jordan’s and he sprouted a thin goatee on his chin.

“I like it Harry that is awesome.”

In turn Seamus got a full beard and flowing red locks. Harry also transfigured his clothes into a Celtic kilt. Seamus took a lot of pride in his Irish heritage and appreciated the change.

Harry thoughtfully looked over the room thinking how best to proceed. “Ok now I need Pansy, Padma and Parvati please.” He smiled as the three girls came up and stood at the front. Padma and Parvati gave him a hug and welcomed him back. Pansy was reluctant and rather nervous. “Now watch this.” Harry again waved his wand and this time Padma now looked exactly like Pansy. Harry brandished his wand again and all three girls then looked exactly like Parvati. One final wave and all three girls were returned to normal. He thanked all three girls. “Anyone else?”

Hannah Abbott came up and whispered in Harry’s ear. He smiled at her and nodded. She had been standing by Neville and had been trying to get his attention for most of the year so she let Harry assist with that. Harry waved his wand a few times and instantly curled Hannah’s naturally straight hair and gave it a brilliant shine. Her clothes transfigured into a lovely yellow sundress that hugged her curves and had a rather revealing neckline. It was exactly what she had wanted and it had the desired results as Neville along with many of the other boys had equal looks of shock on their face. Harry gave Neville a slight wink and Neville smiled in comprehension.

“Harry will you do my hair for the graduation ball?” Hermione asked.

The entire school laughed as Harry bowed. Hannah left the raised area and returned to where she had been standing. She was extremely pleased to see Neville looking her over as she stood next to him. Harry was just about to ask for more volunteers when Professor McGonagall interrupted.

“Why don’t we go on to some charms Harry?”

“Of course ma’am.” Harry returned Luna and Ginny to their normal shape and banished everything that was on the table. He walked behind the table and looked thoughtfully over the group.

Without saying a word Harry conjured a water glass. He shrank it to the size of a thimble then enlarged it to almost the size of a bucket. He waved his wand over the table and six others appeared across the table. Harry made some motions with his wand that appeared to have no effect. Then he pointed his wand at the center glass and it started to change colors about every five seconds. About a second after each change the other six glasses mimicked the center glass. Professor Flitwick nodded approvingly at the display.

As the glasses changed color Harry concentrated before waving his wand over the glasses. To most students they had all disappeared. However seven people saw one glass a piece. “Mr. Potter would you care to explain that piece of magic you just did.” Professor Flitwick hated to interrupt but he wanted to confirm his suspicions.

“Of course professor, first I used a doubling charm to create the six additional glasses. I then cast a protean charm so that any change applied to the center glass was applied to all the others.” Harry explained. “That was why I used the color changing charm to show the effects. It took me a moment to finally do it but I then cast the fidelius charm on the main glass and if I did things properly only seven people should see a glass. In fact you should only see the original one.”

“Mr. Potter that is impossible to do.”

“Shall we test the theory Professor?” Harry smiled. “Hermione please reveal the location of the glass you can see.” Hermione announced she saw the first glass from the left and it was sitting on the table. Instantly everyone else could see it. “Justin how about you?” Justin indicated the glass completely on the other side of the table from Hermione. It appeared to everyone else. Professor Flitwick had seen enough to confirm that Harry had done what he said but he continued to reveal the cups. He had even stored the location of one of them inside a first year he didn’t even know.

“It appears I am mistaken Mr. Potter. Please continue.” Harry smiled waving his wand over the center glass one more time, each glass sprouted wings and the other six took off. Harry grabbed the center one and stuck it to the table. He waved his wand over it one more time.

“Ron, Draco do you mind filling that glass with water for me?” The students agreed and started to use aguamenti to pour water into the glass.

Harry conjured one final glass and walked around the table. He filled the glass with water. Then he started an incredibly quick series of charm. First he froze the glass. Then dropped it and let it shatter. He repaired it and levitated it around the room. Then he banished it to the back wall before summoning it back to him. As it got close to him he let it hover right in front of him.

“How is that glass coming guys?” Harry asked the two behind him.

“This is taking forever Harry. How big do you expand it to?”

“If I did the charm right eight feet, by eight feet, by eight feet.” Harry smiled and disillusioned the glass and then removed the charm.

“Minerva I would recommend an impervious charm on yourself.” Flitwick whispered to the Headmistress as he cast the charm over his own body.

She looked over the short wizard comprehension dawning. She silently cast the charm and laughed to herself as she realized Harry’s plan.

“I think I’m running out of charms except for one.” Harry announced to the school as Ron and Draco continued to fill the glass. “I want to talk about this last one. It is called a patronus and is a positive energy being. It is difficult to conjure effectively but with the right teaching and mental prep you can learn it as well. The patronus will take the form of an animal when fully developed and the animal will depend on a variety of things. The animal can also change over time as you and your magic matures.” Harry smiled as he concentrated and cast the charm.

The lion burst from his wand and walked up the center aisle through the hall. Harry heard Ginny try to hold in an excited squeal. He winked at her as she smiled at him. A silent understanding to talk later passed between them. “Hermione do you want to cast yours?” She nodded and said the incantation causing her otter to come and run around the legs of the young students. Other animals joined including Luna’s hare and Professor McGonagall’s cat.

Finally Ron’s dog joined the party running around the room. “So you finally finished filling that glass.” Harry smiled knowing it was time.

“I swear Harry it seems like you screwed the expansion charm up. I know that was more water than what you said.”

Harry removed the sticking charm from the table and the final cup flew into the air. It settled right above his head. He tapped his head casting an impervious charm over his body. “You’re right Ron. In fact its about seven times more water than I told you.” Harry cast a bubble-head charm before pointing his wand to the ceiling and the glass above his head. “Reducto”

Mcgonagall was too impressed to be overly upset. Professor Flitwick had seen this coming and Harry had put a lot of thought into this plan and had demonstrated various difficult charms in its execution. The first glass exploded showering Harry and those around him with water. Some of the first years laughed at him until the other six glasses that nobody had remembered exploded as well. Harry’s protean charm had insured that they all had the undetectable expansion charm. They split the water Ron and Draco produced as they filled the first one. Finally when Harry destroyed the original they all followed. The entire school was soaked. The only ones saved were Harry, Flitwick and McGonagall.

“Bloody hell Harry you’d make Fred and George proud.” Ron smiled. Not even affected by mentioning his brother.

“I agree Mr. Potter although I wouldn’t have expressed it quite so bluntly Mr. Wesley.” Professor McGonagall looked over Ron sternly who blushed brightly. “I would have also said you’d give James and Sirius a run for their money. I think now you need to dry off the students.”

“Well I’ll give it a shot.” Harry cast the strongest drying charm he could think of. It ended up coming out as a blast of hot wind. Many of the students looked like they had been on a roller coaster. “Sorry about the hair Hannah, I was rather proud of that.” Harry admitted now that she looked rather windswept. “Anyone still damp?” Nobody answered or indicated that the charm didn’t have its desired affect. “In that case I think with that little incident our demonstration is at an end. Unless there are any questions?”

It took a moment but finally a small blonde first year student raised her hand. “Mr. Potter sir can we see you duel someone?”

Harry smiled at her nervousness. “What’s your name and what house are you in?”

“Abby and I’m in Ravenclaw.”

“Professor Flitwick will you remove ten points from Ravenclaw?” Abby looked at him shocked. A few of the other students looked at her angrily as the sapphires climbed to the top of the hour glass. “Don’t call me mister or sir.” He smiled at her. “Now please add fifteen points for Abby being brave enough to ask what I’m sure so many others wanted.”

The sapphires fell back into the bottom of the hourglass and Abby smiled brightly at Harry. “So will you Harry?”

“How can I say no to such an innocent request?” He looked over the assembled group while twirling his wand around his fingers. “Any volunteers?”

This time nobody moved. Harry looked at the group and chuckled. “None of you, not even the old D.A., how about it Draco? We’ve never dueled properly.” The blonde wizard shook his head. “So not a student.” Harry started to pace while thinking. “How about you Headmistress?” She shook her head.

Harry continued to pace and looked toward the back of the hall. “How about one of you two?” Everyone in the hall turned to see where Harry was pointing. Two aurors stood whispering in the back corner of the hall. Gawain whispered in the American’s ear, Professor Woodbridge shrugged his shoulders then drew his wand.

“I guess I’m volunteering Mr. Potter.” Harry smiled as the new professor approached. Tension started to fill the room as Harry smiled at the man. Professor Woodbridge took his spot across from Harry and studied the younger man. “Don’t go too easy on me Mr. Potter. I am a trained auror.”

Harry smirked and bowed deeply. “You keep in mind what happened the last time I dueled in this room.” He spoke in a voice that few could here.

Professor Woodbridge paled at the thought and returned the bow. He couldn’t tell if Harry was bluffing or was actually that confident. Harry waited patiently and before long Woodbridge cast the first spell. The pair started slow casting and blocking jinxes and hexes. They picked up speed and both were firing spells as quickly as possible. Harry would dodge and deflect the spells with his seeker reflexes.

The spells progressed in difficulty as the speed increased. It became more difficult to deflect and more important to shield or dodge. Harry almost lost as a particularly strong hex didn’t deflect properly and nearly hit his face. He was able to duck at the last minute but just barely.

After a few minutes with neither of them getting particularly close Harry noticed movement in the crowd. It appeared that Gawain was trying to get the drop on him. The head auror had slipped behind some students and was pulling his wand to send a spell at Harry. He saw an opening as Woodbridge cast a quick but weak disarming spell. Harry let his shield slip and turned to his right. The charm caught him in the right arm and his wand leapt from his grip. Woodbridge looked surprised but Harry smiled as the professor dropped his guard.

Harry continued the turn and caught his flying wand in his left hand. He completed the turn and shot red spells from both the wand and his bracelet. They both found their targets catching the aurors off guard. Professor Woodbridge fell to the ground stunned.Harry had shot between the heads of two first years to hit Gawain, he lay stunned as well.

The duel ended so quickly nobody knew how to react, especially watching Harry perform apparently wandless magic. He had no intention of telling anyone at Hogwarts about the bracelet. Without saying anything to the gathered crowd Harry revived the Defense teacher. Harry helped Professor Woodbridge to his feet. Professor Flitwick had revived Gawain at the same time. The aurors shared a look then stowed their wands. They started to clap and then took turns shaking Harry’s hand. This led to the entire school cheering. Harry bowed to his classmates and walked toward the back of the hall. He didn’t need to say anything else. He could tell by the looks on the younger students faces that they wanted to be just like him. Professor McGonagall actually smiled as she could already hear the students asking when they would learn to do some of that. Ginny met Harry at the back of the hall and snaked an arm around his waist. Together they left the great hall for a walk around the grounds.

Harry and Ginny sat on a couch in the room of requirement. At least Harry was sitting. Ginny was reclining with her head on his lap. They had been catching up on the previous year. It started with a walk around the black lake and then a couple of hours under their favorite tree. They returned to the castle for dinner before hiding away in the room. They were taking their time to build their relationship again. They hadn’t even been snogging. The couple just wanted to get to know one another again. Although they were now more certain of their feelings than ever before Harry didn’t want information to come up and have Ginny row with him. Instead he told her everything he could think of, including his relationships with Luciana and Adriana.

Ginny had just finished telling him of her year. Which had taken considerably shorter time since it was no wheres near as interesting as Harry’s. Outside of the news that a random death eater had been spotted and then quickly captured nothing went amiss. Ginny had less success trying to date others. She and Neville had gone to Hogsmeade one weekend before Halloween. It seemed that lots of the couples Harry had seen the last time he was at Hogwarts had changed.

Neville and Luna had called it quits over the summer realizing the reasons they had been together were wrong. The fear that they may not live to see another day seemed to push quite a few people together. Hannah had had a whirlwind relationship with Justin Finch-Fletchley after the battle but it too didn’t last. Ginny saw now though that there might be something budding between Hannah and Neville. Luna had been talking to a boy by owl but Ginny couldn’t get the girl to admit who it was.

Ginny had also gone on one awkward date with Dean during the summer. But it was just too weird. In the end the only halfway realistic attempt at following the directions she had given Harry had come with Draco. It wasn’t the same level and Ginny knew it probably never could be. She and Draco had been intimate a few times but she always felt something lacking afterward. Harry couldn’t be upset that Ginny had done that. Although he would’ve preferred it to be anyone besides Draco, no matter how much he had changed.

“So Gin are we back together then?” Harry ran a hand through her long vibrant hair.

“I think we have been for a few months Harry.” Ginny smiled up at him. “All those times we talked just showed me how much I truly cared.”

“I agree entirely but then again I am biased.” Harry admitted as he smiled. He shifted slightly and rested his left hand on Ginny’s stomach.

“You know Harry you can’t make me forget what you called my mom today.” Ginny said sweetly looking into his green eyes. “Nor can I forget the form your patronus took.”

If Harry could move he would’ve shifted nervously in his seat. “You’re not one to beat around the bush are ya?”

“I’m not a patient girl when I have my sight set on something I want.”

“I guess there is no point in holding off any longer.” Harry sighed but smiled brightly. He opened the small box he was holding on her stomach. “So Ginevra Weasley will you make me the happiest wizard in the world?”

Ginny looked toward her stomach and smiled brightly. She didn’t trust herself to speak but pulled Harry’s face to hers and kissed him deeply. “Nothing would make me happier.” Although suddenly the color drained from her face and she looked thoughtful. “I know you asked my parents for permission, but what are we going to tell my brothers?”

Harry slid the ring onto her finger where it glowed slightly fitting her perfectly. “If they don’t like it we’ll hex them. We’re both of age now.” Harry smiled already forming a plan to tease Ginny a little more.

Ginny nodded but bit her lip thinking. “Other than family do you mind keeping this news private for now Harry?” She asked seriously.

“I don’t mind but why? I thought girls loved to brag about these things.”

“Oh we do but I don’t want to think that the Harpies put me on their team because I’m the future Mrs. Potter.” Ginny actually seemed scared.

“Of course hun.” Harry kissed her gently. “We won’t tell anyone until you’re ready.” He kissed her again and this time the kisses became deeper and passionate until they were lost in each other’s arms.

“You should’ve seen him Albus. He was so much like his parents.” Professor McGonagall sat in her office talking to the portrait of her mentor. “The transfiguration skills were all James. The charms were so much like Lily. And then the prank he pulled while demonstrating the magic was worthy of the marauders. Not to mention the devilish grin he got when he pulled it off. I swear he’s as much Sirius’ son as James’.”

“I always knew he had it in him Minerva.” Dumbledore’s eyes twinkled. “I expect that with the defeat of Tom that Harry’s power will continue to grow rapidly. Now he can put all his potential to mastering himself and not an internal turmoil.”

“What turmoil is that Albus?” He had mentioned it a few times but she could never get any additional information.

“I think Harry will tell you himself before long.” Dumbledore smiled one last time before feigning sleep.

“That man will never stop speaking in riddles.” She smirked before heading up to her quarters. It had been a long day and a rest was in order.

A/N: Please don't hate me for the tattoo. Its a little light fluff and entertainment. Hope you enjoy.

Chapter 6: Magazines and N.E.W.T.s and Magazines
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The first week back at Hogwarts was all Harry needed to settle into a routine. So far his favorite class was his seventh year Care of Magical Creatures. Hagrid loved having Harry back and Harry enjoyed having a class with just Ginny and Luna. Hagrid allowed them to study all manner of creatures and most of the classes were hands on lessons emphasizing care and maintenance. The class was perfectly sized for lessons such as these.

The rest of his classes dragged slowly on. The professors were individualizing last minute assignments to prepare students for their tests. After his demonstration his only practical work came from potions and herbology. In his other classes his focus was solely on the theory that would be required to pass. After classes he spent his evenings with Ginny or touring the castle with his Brazilian friends.

Harry and his friends wore their tan school robes around to their classes. Harry really enjoyed explaining to Draco what house Leticia and Ana Paula were in when he saw their pink and green sleeves. They all sat together for most meals but the Brazilians had each been given a bed in a different house in order to mingle with more students. Everyone was enjoying the experience and making new friends as the year wound down. It seemed only the fifth and seventh year students were feeling the stress.

Hermione had gone crazy with revision schedules and had taken Ron along with her. They spent every free minute in the library. Harry and Ginny studied but they refused to let it control their life. Ron truly envied them but he knew he couldn’t argue against his girlfriend. He had been tested by Gawain and knew he could handle the job as an auror but still needed the grades required. So with that information in his head Ron resigned himself to a weekend of studying while his best friend and sister went and did Merlin knows what.

That Saturday Harry woke up feeling excited. He was planning on sneaking out of the school with Ginny and going to Hogsmeade. They had spent a lot of time together but he wanted to spend some quality time just the two of them. He smiled constantly as he showered and started to get ready. That always happened lately when he thought about Ginny. His thoughts were interrupted when he heard Fawkes apparate into the room and then disapparate just as quickly. He saw a hastily written message lying on his bed and groaned as he read it. He knew his plans had been discovered.


Meet me in Arthur’s office immediately. Do not go anywhere else until you have. Ginny will be meeting us shortly as well.


He had no idea how anyone had found out about his plans but he was disappointed that they would have to be cancelled. After pulling on his usual tank top and shorts, he made his way to the Muggle Studies classroom and knocked on Arthur’s door.

“Come in Harry.” Arthur called. Ginny had already arrived. Molly sat across from Arthur while he sat at his desk working on papers. Ginny was leaning against the wall with her arms crossed. She knew Harry had something planned for today though he wouldn’t tell her what. Now she knew her parents were going to ruin it.

Along with Ron and Hermione, Arthur and Molly were the only ones who knew of their engagement. So far all four had been wonderful about giving them time alone, although not as much as the couple would’ve liked, and treating them as adults. Ginny still didn’t know what caused the change in her parents.

“Thank you for coming so quickly Harry. There is something you and Ginny need to see before you face the other students today.” She was very serious and her hands were covering some particularly glossy parchment.

All thoughts of them ruining his plans vanished from his mind. This was something more serious though he didn’t know what. “Show us.” Harry said softly looking Molly in the eye.

“This was delivered in the mail last night as it is every week Harry.” The glossy parchment she was covering up turned out to be a copy of Witch Weekly. The cover was a scene he would not soon forget.

The picture had been taken the previous Sunday. It was done during the magic demonstration he had put on for the students. He was wearing his blue swim trunks and had his back turned to the camera. His tattoo and back muscles were clear in the picture but the headline was the worst. “Britain’s Most Eligible Bachelor!” It proclaimed loudly. “Find out which young wizard owns this inked up back and sexy bum on page 12.” It was then he noticed the picture had been blurred so you couldn’t make out his face without going to the actual article.

Ginny snatched the magazine from her mother and flipped to page 12. Harry looked over her shoulder to see other pictures included. Of course the first picture posted was a reverse of the cover. He was still wearing his swim trunks and no shirt and this time his scars were visible. He smiled appreciatively at the picture. He wasn’t happy about it but they certainly made him look good. Ginny however was scanning the article rather incredulously. She let out a snort of laughter. “What a load of bullocks.” She forced a smile as she threw the magazine down. Harry grabbed it quickly so he could read the article.

It only took a few minutes before Harry crumpled the magazine in disgust. He wanted to chuck it but needed it. Contrary to Ginny’s reaction the article was incredibly accurate. That fact hurt him more than if it was just pure junk. They had started with Harry’s history as a fighter. Mentioned in passing was the good he was doing with his vast fortune since the end of the war. Of course the brief mention still seemed to emphasize he was quite rich. They then transitioned to discuss how he was no longer pure and virtuous having enjoyed the company of multiple “steamy Latin lovers” while in Brazil. This fact led the writer to describe in rather vivid details her favorite parts of Harry’s body. This more than anything else made his stomach turn, he had no idea who the witch was but she was bound to be older and maybe even married and she was describing him like a prized piece of beef.

After making Harry as attractive as possible they moved to diminish his relationship with Ginny. She had been described as a love ‘em and leave ‘em girl. Guessing it would only be a matter of weeks before Ginny grew bored with Harry yet again and dumped him. Although she had had a few boyfriends Harry knew she was never like that. Ginny would always give an honest attempt at her relationships. But in the end her heart had always waited for Harry. Unfortunately they were able to accurately describe Ginny’s greeting Harry, as having thrown herself into his arms. Ginny was described as rather plain and not particularly attractive. “Anonymous sources” believed that she had used some sort of love potion to secure her boyfriends. George Weasley was singled out as the likely source of the potions. The article urged the Minister to have Harry tested for any signs of the potions. They added a snippet about the Weasley’s wealth which served to emphasize that Ginny needed to be desperate in order to attract someone as special as Harry.

His anger welled up inside of him and Harry walked quickly out of the office. Ginny followed behind quickly practically running to keep up with Harry’s longer strides. “Harry please wait up.”

“I’m sorry Gin.” He slowed his pace to let her catch up. He ran a hand through his hair as he thought about his next move. “I need to talk to the Mariana and find out who has been talking about my relationships in Brazil. And then we need to find Dennis Creevy.”

“Why Dennis?”

“Who else would’ve taken those photos Gin?” Harry sighed. “I’m sure he didn’t mean it but I need to know who gave them to this rag.”

He tried to contain his anger but when he opened the door to the great hall all eyes were on him. Almost every conversation died immediately. Mariana and his friends were talking quietly sitting at the Gryffindor table and he stalked up to the end of the table. They seemed oblivious to his anger and in fact paid no mind to him at all. He slammed his hands on the table interrupting their conversation. “Does anyone want to tell me why a magazine knows about my Brazilian relationships?”

He had used Portuguese trying to keep too many people from eavesdropping. “What are you talking about ‘Arry?” Mariana asked.

Harry pulled the magazine out of the pocket of his shorts and handed it to Mariana. “Read this.” He gave it to Mariana. Leticia leaned over her should and read the article as well. Harry’s anger abated slightly as his friends slowly read through the article. He knew it would be slow going, reading a language was a bit different than speaking it.

“So what part of this are we supposed to be responsible for?” Mariana asked more than a little put out by his attitude. However she worried what could happen if his anger turned toward them.

“Ginny is the only person in this country who knows I was with more than one girl at Amazonis. The only way the author could know it as well would be from one of you four.” Harry growled as Ana Paula and Elimar read through the article as well.

“’Arry other than Adriana who did you date?” Elimar spoke up putting the magazine down. “This is the first I’ve heard of you going with anyone else.”

“Oh Merlin you hooked up with Luciana didn’t you?” Mariana looked shocked.

“Oh there’s no way. She tried to kill him and Adriana.” Ana Paula tried to reason.

“How else do you think Luizao managed to kidnap me and two girls?” Harry blushed and ran a hand through his hair as the four studied him closely. “I was in her room and went down to try and help the girls fight the intruder. I got hit by the charms on the school.” The school defenses would ordinarily be a cause for a laugh but Harry was clearly not in the mood.

“’Arry not even I knew you had done anything with Luciana until right now. Either someone else knew and revealed the info or it was just a lucky guess.” Mariana got up from her seat. “I can’t imagine how difficult it was for you to be with someone who turned out that way.” She gave him a warm sisterly hug. “Take a seat and enjoy breakfast while we fill Ginny in on the conversation. She looks confused and about ready to hex me for hugging you.”

Harry sat next to Mariana and directed Ginny to the spot across from him. She indeed look ready to hex Mariana. Ana Paula gave a quick rundown on what had been said. Ginny looked over Harry’s friends and smiled they seemed to have effectively quelled Harry’s anger. She knew it wasn’t over but Harry was at least relaxed.

“Um Harry can I ask you something?” Harry looked to the end of the table. Pansy was standing with what was clearly a magazine in her arm.

“I think you just did Pansy but go ahead.” Harry smiled at the girl.

“First thank you for your offer, Draco and I will both be accepting.” Pansy seemed to have been deeply touched by Harry’s offer to share his house. “And secondly would you sign this for me?” She held out a copy of the magazine he had just been discussing. “I know you’re probably less than happy about this, but given our past relationship it would mean a lot to me.”

Harry wanted to be angry but couldn’t muster the feeling. He smiled knowing how difficult it had been for her to ask the question. Their past relationship was rocky at best but Pansy really did seem to be trying to change. “Ok but don’t tell anyone else I did this for ya.” Harry took the magazine and the self-inking quill she had and scribbled a short message and his name on the inside page rather than the covers so it wasn’t immediately obvious.

She smiled as she pulled the magazine close to her chest. “Ginny don’t do anything to lose him. There are plenty of girls who are just waiting for the opportunity.” Pansy said before biting her lip and blushing like she had just revealed a deep secret. This comment seemed to put Ginny on edge.

Harry started to relax as he ate breakfast. He still wanted to take Ginny out of the school and was thinking of a plan when the morning mail arrived. He paid no attention to the owls as he spread marmalade on a slice of toast. He only looked up as the first owl landed in front of him. Before long eight others arrived.

Harry grabbed an envelope off the claw of a small barn owl. He slit it open and pulled the parchment out. As he unfolded the letter a small piece fell out and landed on the table. Harry was too distracted by the letter to notice it at first.


I was so happy to pick up this week’s copy of Witch Weekly and see that you had returned to our country. It is amazing that they chose to name you the youngest ever Bachelor of the Year. I can’t help but imagine how thrilled at the honor you are. Before long you’ll be just like Gilderoy. (Harry wanted to gag upon reading this)

Unfortunately I couldn’t help but notice that a thin young girl is trying to get her claws into you. I hope the Minister looks into the allegations of love potion. Someone as special as you needs to look out for the crazies of our world. I hope you don’t rush too quickly into a relationship. You have seen only so much of the world and what it has to offer. You should take some time and see what other interesting things may be out there. I’m hoping the little present I included will help you see what you might be missing.

I hope to hear from you soon.

Melanie Harris

Harry couldn’t say anything as he looked over the letter. He knew the rest of the owls were probably delivering similar messages. It was then he noticed the small square that had dropped out of the envelope. He picked it up instantly realizing it was a photograph and turned it over to look at the front.

Harry felt his face go red as he looked at the image. Melanie was a full figured witch with large breasts and hips. She wasn’t much older than he was and was very pretty. In the picture she was also stark naked. The figure in the image wiggled her hips seductively and blew a kiss at Harry. He had never felt so disgusted that someone would think this would somehow affect his feelings for Ginny. He folded the picture into the letter. “Ana Paula burn this.” He was deathly serious as he handed the letter across the table. Ginny quickly snatched it from his outstretched hand. “Gin don’t, you won’t like it.”

Ginny didn’t care she had a feeling what the letter was and seeing Harry blush only helped to confirm it. She scanned the letter quickly and then looked at the picture. She blushed as deeply as Harry. “Ok Ana Paula burn it.” There was more than a hint of anger in her voice.

“Mariana please sort through these other letters. I’ll read anything that isn’t some witch throwing herself at me. Anything that is like that, have Ana Paula burn.” Harry was looking over Elimar’s shoulder as he spoke. His anger returned full force after the letter. Dennis Creevy had picked the worst possible time to walk into the great hall.

Ginny turned to follow his eyes. She swore when she saw Dennis. “Harry just go and talk with him. Don’t do something that will get you expelled right before your newts.”

Harry tried to slow his breathing. He piled a plate with food and grabbed the magazine before standing up from his seat. He tucked the magazine in his pocket. It was then that Dennis saw him and turned to leave the hall. He was practically running. Harry pulled his wand out and thought quickly Accio Dennis. He didn’t know if it would work but suddenly Dennis was flying towards Harry’s hand. If Harry hadn’t been so angry he would’ve laughed at the site of the young man’s legs moving forward but his body flying backward. He grabbed the Dennis’ shirt and shoved the plate of food into his hands. “Come on Dennis we’re going for a walk. I made your breakfast so you won’t starve.”

Harry walked with Dennis out of the great hall and onto the school grounds. He didn’t have to force the young man. After Harry had summoned him Dennis followed quickly and quietly. The pair walked to the deserted quidditch pitch and took a seat in the stands. Harry dropped the magazine in Dennis’ lap. “Ok Dennis, spill it.”

“I know I took the pictures Harry.” Dennis started while taking a piece of toast off the plate. He couldn’t even look at the magazine. “I know I developed them in my dark room in the astronomy tower. What I don’t know is how they ended up in that magazine. The last thing I remember was bringing them into the common room the evening after you returned to wait for Ginny. I wanted to give them to her since I thought she would enjoy them.” Dennis reddened a little bit and looked down at the food. “I found myself in a chair in the common room the pictures were gone and I had no memory of how I got there.”

Harry cast a warming charm on the plate to keep the food while he studied the boy. Dennis was in his O.W.L. year since he couldn’t attend school the previous year. He was a brave and loyal student whom Harry knew would never betray him on purpose. Harry couldn’t help but feel his anger slip away as he tried to find out what had happened.

“Dennis with your permission I would like to look into your memories. I think we both need to know what happened or else you will be stressed about it as well.” Harry put a hand on his friend’s shoulder and tried to smile.

“You’re right Harry. I’ve been worried about those photos and didn’t know how to bring it up to anyone.” Dennis relaxed a little. “I’m ready whenever you are.”

Harry looked Dennis in the eyes and concentrated. He had never used this magic before and had only learned it since Joao Luiz had wanted to teach him occlumency. He quietly whispered the incantation “legilimens.”

Images and emotions flowed through Harry’s mind. He could immediately sense that Dennis was not being entirely truthful about his plans for the photos. But he didn’t seem to be lying when he said he didn’t know what happened to them. He dove into deeper memories finding the one that showed Dennis the last time he had the photos. Harry’s mind probed gently to try and unlock the secret of the memory without causing unusual pain.

It was then he saw Dennis walk into the common room. He made his way toward the stairs when the memory went cloudy. Harry muttered a memory restoring charm and things cleared considerably.

“Dennis is that your batch of pictures from today.” A voice called from near the fireplace. “I’d really love to see the ones of Harry. I know you took plenty.” It was Romilda Vane. Somehow Harry was not surprised.

“They are, but they are for Ginny. I won’t be sharing them with anyone else. If she wants to share them she can.” Dennis replied staring down the older girl.

“Come on Dennis just a little peak. I promise to make it worth the effort.” Romilda growled seductively into his ear and kissed him on the cheek.

“I don’t want anything you have to offer.” Dennis replied before turning toward the stairs to his dorm.

Harry wanted to shout a warning as Romilda pulled her wand and shot a body bind curse at Dennis. It hit him square in the back left him frozen on the floor. Romilda grabbed the folder of pictures and sent a friend to her room for some potion that Harry had never heard of.

“You should’ve taken me up on my offer Dennis. It would’ve been a lot more fun than this.” Romilda whispered in his ear. She levitated Dennis to a chair near the fire. She then poured the potion down Dennis’ petrified throat. The memory started to cloud again and Harry understood the potion had been used to erase any recollection of the encounter.

Finally Harry broke the connection and studied his friend. “Thank you Dennis. You stood up for me and Ginny and that’s what friends do. I think Romilda needs a little payback but that will take time and planning. For now I’m going to spend time with Ginny. Enjoy your breakfast.”

Harry left after patting Dennis on the shoulder. He returned to the great hall and told Ginny what had happened. He noticed that there were no letters left on the table it seems they had all been burned by Ana Paula. As planned Harry spent the rest of the day with Ginny while silently plotting a prank that could get the justice that Romilda deserved. He didn’t have any definite plans but he had a few good ideas. Ginny of course repeatedly suggested a simple bat bogey hex was more than enough. Harry laughed at the simplicity but thought she deserved something more direct.

A little over a week later Harry, Ginny, Ron and Hermione sat through the theory section of their first N.E.W.T. It was transfiguration and the theory part certainly lived up to its name. All four were exhausted by the end of the three hour test and they still had the practical to go through. They all ate lunch in silence even Hermione who usually wanted to rehash all her exams. In what seemed to be no time at all the bell rang and they left to go to the transfiguration classroom one final time.

Rather than entering the classroom students were grouped up in the hall. A few students at a time were called in and then later a few more. The students would never come back out the same way. They were called in groups of four. Hermione was in one of the first few groups and Draco followed about halfway down the line. After what seemed like hours of waiting Harry was called in with a group of his peers. He smiled at Ginny as he released her hand and entered the room. The transfiguration classroom had been transformed for the test. There was a hallway running down the center of the room and two doors off to each side. Temporary walls were put in place that ran all the way to the ceiling separating the spaces from each other.

Harry was directed to enter the first door on the left while the rest of the group went into other doors. He entered the door and when he closed it all sound from outside of the room ceased immediately. The rooms were charmed for privacy. An unexpectedly young wizard was sitting in a chair on the right side of the room. He seemed to be younger than any of the professors at Hogwarts. He held a clipboard with a long piece of parchment attached, in the center of the room surprisingly stood a pensieve.

“Ah Mr. Potter.” The man smiled and stood approaching Harry and extending his hand. Harry shook it reluctantly but relaxed a little. “My name is Robert; I will be administering your transfiguration practical. This is going to be a bit of an unusual practical. Professor McGonagall explained that you demonstrated some exceptionally powerful transfigurations during a magic demonstration last week so right now we are going to go through her memory of that event so you can explain the magic you did.”

Harry smiled as the man led him to the pensieve. This was going to be an easier test than he originally thought. He dipped his head into the shallow basin and fell into the memory with the Robert landing beside him. They were standing in front of Professor McGonagall as Hagrid brought the griffin-Harry out of the cage.

“I’m not sure why she started the memory here.” Robert said a little surprised.

“I am, keep watching and I think you’ll be impressed.” Harry smiled knowing what was coming.

Robert flinched as the griffin started to maul Ron. He looked shocked and speechless until Ron stood up laughing. He was even more surprised when the griffin turned into the black haired boy who stood near him. Robert made a few notes on his parchment as the memory Harry started to speak to the assembled group.

“So what did you do here Harry?” The memory stopped as Harry’s clothes morphed into his pajamas.

“Keep the memory going there is a series of three or four changes.” Harry replied. When they got to the point where Harry stood in front of the school in his swim trunks Harry spoke again. “I did a series of switching spells with the clothes in my trunk. It was in my dorm on the third floor. That is except changing the Amazonis’ robe into a Hogwarts’ one. I don’t have any school robes so I just changed one set of the ones I did have.”

“That is very impressive work let’s continue.” Robert waved his wand and the memory continued. “Ok the tattoo is that a transfiguration or the real thing?”

Harry pulled down the top of his shirt to reveal the edge of the ink. “It’s the real deal.”

Robert smiled and made a note on his parchment as Harry conjured the quill and ink bottle. He made another check as both the items turned blue. His quill flew across the parchment as Professor Long disappeared and reappeared with the treacle tart. “Ok let’s stop it there again for another explanation.”

“Of course, as you are aware I conjured those objects and then transfigured them into portkeys.” Harry smiled thinking over things. “They were different than normal portkeys. The first one was set to activate when Professor Long touched it. The second one activated by a code word from the Professor. Of course we could also have done one that activated at a specific time but it wouldn’t have been practical for that purpose. It might be obvious but the first one took her to the kitchens and the second returned her, that is the real reason I had her bring the tart to prove she went where I intended.”

Robert smiled making yet another note. He let the memory start again and this time let it run through the rest of the transfiguration demonstration. There was nothing that really needed to be explained. Before long they were pulled out of the memory and stood back in the testing room. “Well Harry I think I’ve seen everything I need to. You will get your results about a week after the testing finishes. That way you can be ready to apply for any jobs. Do you have any questions?”

Harry shook his head and left the room. He was the first of the group of four to finish and was directed out a back door. He was instructed to return to his common room and not speak to anyone about the details of the test. Harry took the long way back to the third floor and was ambushed by Hermione as soon as he entered the common room.

“I can’t tell you about it Hermione.” Harry tried to brush her away. “Not until after all the testing.” Hermione could tell that Harry’s test hadn’t exactly been normal but her desire to revise for her next test overwhelmed her curiosity.

The rest of the week passed similar to Monday. In fact Harry had an almost identical practical exam for both charms and defense. He again dove into the pensieve to show what he had demonstrated. His charms’ tester admired how Harry had used multiple complicated charms together to prank the entire school. Although she required he demonstrate a few additional charms once they returned to the classroom. Robert was again his administrator for his defense practical and had Harry demonstrate the ability of his bracelet after seeing Harry stun both his Professor Woodbridge and Gawain.

In all only Tuesday’s potions practical gave him difficulty. His Herbology practical had been fairly straightforward. He was pretty sure he aced his Care of Magical Creatures test as well. The testers had taken the three students as a group and had them work with very dangerous and unpredictable creatures. Nobody got hurt although Harry narrowly missed having half his hair singed off.

By the end of the week he and the rest of his classmates were mentally exhausted. They had partied the Friday night to celebrate the end of their exams. Harry had shared one of the bottles of beija he had brought from Brazil and more than a couple bottles of firewhisky were enjoyed. Even Hermione had a couple drinks as she realized she was at the end of her academic career. Shortly before the party broke up three owls arrived delivering packages to Ginny, Ron and Harry. They hid the packages explaining to their classmates that they would see what was delivered in the morning.

Harry woke late Saturday morning but was absent the headache he thought a few of his friends were experiencing. Ron and Draco both swore as they were crawling out of bed. Ron had to use Harry’s bed for support as he made his way to the shower. Harry smiled as he pulled the package he had received the night before out of his night stand.

Harry knew what to expect but had kept it quiet from everyone including Hermione. He Ron and Ginny along with a few others were on the cover of Quidditch Monthly. The cover photo had been taken at the quidditch pitch the previous Sunday afternoon. Hogwarts stood in the background of the photo. The headline proclaimed “Hogwarts a Quidditch Factory? Madam Hooch has produced seven world quality quidditch stars in the past ten years.” Madam Hooch stood in the center wearing her referee robes. She was surrounded by seven robed figures.

Ginny sat on the box that held the quidditch balls dressed in the dark green robes of the Harpies. She held a quaffle in her hands. The article emphasized that Ginny was not yet a permanent member of the team but sources inside the Harpies’ had told the reporter that Gwenog had the highest hopes for the young chaser. Harry stood immediately to the left of Madam Hooch and Ron on her right both wearing the bright orange robes of Chudley. Next to Ron stood Charlie and then Oliver Wood, Charlie wore his English robes from the Quidditch World Cup. Wood had his Puddlemere United robes on. Next to Harry stood Aaron and Justin Ford both wearing the emerald robes of the Kenmare Kestrals.

Harry was pleased with how the cover had turned out. He had spoken with the article’s author, who turned out to be Lee Jordan, and suggested the picture for the cover. In the lower right hand corner was a blurb for an article he had agreed to as well. “Harry Potter announces his intention to play for Chudley.” He had already been sent a write up about the article and approved the story. Lee had done a great job with both articles and Harry was relieved that it was a friend writing the story and not someone who would twist the facts.

Dean was first to leave the showers and Harry handed his friend the magazine. He kept his promise to let his friends know what was going on. While Dean looked over the articles Harry took a shower as well. He dressed casually and for the first time pinned the Cannons’ badge to his shirt. He had signed his rookie contract the previous Sunday as well but had Jason had kept it a secret until Harry’s article appeared in the magazine.

“So Harry you’re really not going to be an auror but instead play quidditch?” Neville asked a little surprised.

“Yea Neville I am. I don’t want to fight for the rest of my life. For now I just want to live the life we fought so hard for. What about you?” Neville had never really talked about it his plans so it made Harry curious.

“I’m going to apprentice with Professor Sprout. I think she wants me to take her job before long.” Neville responded handing the magazine to Harry now that everyone had read it.

“That’s great Neville. You’ll do well for sure. How about you Dean?”

“Actually Harry I wanted to ask you if you could direct me to the wizard that did your back?” Dean said rather nervously.

“So you want a tattoo of your own? Shouldn’t you have bigger life goals?” Ron asked sarcastically.

“More like he wants to use his artistic abilities and open his own shop, isn’t that right?” Harry guessed and Dean nodded. Seeing Harry’s tattoo was the first time Dean thought of a career that he could use his artistic ability in an enjoyable way. “Brilliant, I’ll let Guillermo know to expect you sometime after school is out.” Harry gave a look toward Seamus to continue the conversation but he just shrugged his shoulders.

“Thanks Harry that means a lot to me.” Dean smiled saving Seamus from having to admit his indecision. “How about it Draco, do you have any grand plans?”

“I doubt anybody will hire me with my parent’s past.” Draco sat on his bed. Nobody had really thought about how the wider wizarding community would view Draco. “And my grades have never been particularly outstanding.” Draco shook his arm adjusting the sleeve of his dress shirt.

Harry instinctively twitched his arm toward his forehead but caught himself before anyone else noticed. He swore he felt a twinge in his scar, but it was gone just as quickly. “Draco I’ll vouch for you if it will help. I’m sure Ron and Hermione will too.” Harry tried to reassure the Slytherin. He couldn’t help but feel sympathetic to his plight.

“I’m not sure how much good it would do and I’d rather make it on my own.”

“Why don’t you talk to George then?” Ron said excitedly. “He’s expanding overseas soon and is going to need competent businessmen to run his stores. If there’s one thing you do know it’s the ins and outs of business. And maybe getting out of the country would be a change of pace you could benefit from like Harry.”

Draco got a sly smile. “That might be a plan. Even if you did make it sound as horrible as possible.” Ron’s smile disappeared but Draco patted him on the shoulder. “I will keep that in mind. I do get on well with George. I’m ready for breakfast though, are you and Harry ready to face your adoring crowd?”

Harry rolled his eyes and made his way toward the door. He was meeting Ginny near the great hall. In truth they were both rather nervous about the reaction of the students. Quidditch was the main sport in the wizarding world and professional players were extremely popular. As the group left their dorm Hermione met them in their common room. It was a cozy space with a fireplace and newer furniture than in any of the others. There were a few couches some comfortable armchairs and a pair of long wooden tables that could be used for studying. Everything was a mixture of colors since all the houses were represented.

Ron gave his copy of the magazine to Hermione who read over it as they walked toward the great hall. “Wow Harry, Lee did a great job on this.”

“I know Hermione. I was so glad to find out he was the author.” Harry smiled as they got closer to the hall. His nerves were fading knowing that no matter what he had his friend’s support. His smile widened as he saw Ginny waiting.

She looked beautiful; of course Harry was biased in his thinking, but rather anxious. Most every witch dreamed of playing for the Harpies at one point in time and now she had that opportunity. She was worried that her friends would be jealous or worse that she would let them down. She had pinned her Harpies badge on the right side of her shirt.

Harry gave her a hug and a quick kiss as she started to breathe a little heavier. “It’ll be ok Gin. We know you’re good enough to make it.” He kissed her left hand where the ring was disillusioned. Hermione had helped with localizing the spell so that Ginny could wear the ring but nobody else would see it. She smiled lightly as the group entered the great hall.

It took a few moments for the students to realize who had walked in for breakfast. Once they had the noise was deafening. Everyone cheered and was standing to get a better look at Harry, Ron and Ginny. Harry continued walking to his normal spot at the Gryffindor table but Ron and Ginny stood stone still. Neither of them could really believe the reaction at first but soon Ron was waving to students and taking a bow before walking on. Ginny however blushed mightily and practically ran to sit next to Harry who laughed at her reaction. Soon students were coming over to talk to the three of them directly.

Many of the students wanted autographs from all three of them. A few just wanted to ask opinions on the rest of the Quidditch League and other teams. Ron was happy to oblige and give his opinion, at least until Hermione reminded him that all of his opinions could get printed and seen by other teams. Ginny relaxed a bit as the young girls told her how excited they were to know her. They didn’t care if she wasn’t officially on the team the fact that she was trying out and was given the opportunity made them believe they could do anything. Everybody wished her luck as Harry and Ron started to talk with Hermione about careers. Hermione had received offers from most departments in the Ministry and was sorting through them.

Many of the girls graduating with them seemed to be in the same boat as Seamus. Hannah was planning on working with her uncle at the Leaky Cauldron. The Patil twins had been talking about working for their parents who owned an import business specializing in magical items from Asia and the Middle East. Beyond that most of the students who would soon be graduating seemed to be drifting without a definitive direction. Hermione silently hoped that N.E.W.T. grades and her friend’s decisions would prompt others to start seriously contemplating their options.

The mail arrived and only one letter came for Harry. He smiled as he looked over it. The letter was nearly three pages long and was not from an adoring fan. He tucked it into the pocket of his shorts while he enjoyed seconds on breakfast.

Nobody noticed when breakfast ended. Students were still lined up to talk to Harry Ron and Ginny. In fact they didn’t leave their table most of the day. Once the younger students left, their close friends had questions they wanted to ask. Ana Paula in particular spent a lot of time talking with Ginny about the tryouts. She had embraced the idea that she may be in the same situation next year.

By the time dinner came around the students started to cramp. They had been sitting literally the entire day. None of them really minded they had hardly ever had a day where they could sit and talk about anything that came up. Harry walked around the great hall talking with various students who caught his attention as they ate dinner. He took a few minutes and sat at the Ravenclaw table with the D.A. members. He talked with some of the young Slytherins and was surprised to find out there were three muggle-born students sorted into the house this year. His hope for a Hogwarts’ whose houses interacted more like those at Amazonis had been pushed ahead by these revelations.

Harry returned to his spot at the Gryffindor table about the time Professor McGonagall arrived. “Mr. Potter are you ready to meet your friends tomorrow?” She asked kindly as Harry sat with his friends.

“Which friends are those Professor, the ones arriving before lunch or the ones arriving late afternoon?” Harry smiled at her shocked look. “Fleur told me.” He smiled.

“What did Fleur tell you Harry?” Ginny asked surprised that she was just hearing about it. She had spent most of the day talking to the girls of the school and just now realized it was the evening.

Harry glanced at Professor McGonagall before explaining. “Well apparently word of our graduation party reached Beauxbatons. I think Fleur mentioned it to Gabrielle. Well Madam Maxine asked if her sixth and seventh years could join and of course Professor McGonagall accepted. Gabrielle complained to Fleur since she is too young to attend and she let the secret slip that the Beauxbatons students would be arriving tomorrow.” He explained. “Fleur and Bill will also be helping chaperone since they speak French. I hope that doesn’t upset anyone.” Ron and Ginny looked like they were about to protest. “Of course your parents will be giving them the night off from watching Victoire.”

Professor McGonagall smiled and left the table. Harry had dropped the bomb that she hadn’t wanted to mention to Ron and Ginny. She feared their reaction even though Arthur and Molly had been there the entire year. Surprisingly the two teenage Weasleys took the news in stride both of them knew they would be graduating soon and would be on their own. They didn’t worry about one final evening.

“Come on Ginny, let’s go enjoy the evening. I think we are going to have a long day tomorrow.” Harry stood and took Ginny’s hand. He couldn’t help but smile as he saw Ana Paula, Leticia and Elimar start to get excited because their significant others would be joining them soon. Ginny couldn’t help but notice Mariana didn’t share in their enthusiastic conversation and wondered why she was single.

A/N: This chapter took longer to post then I hoped. I needed things to flow a little bit and I had to revise quite a bit. Chapter 7 is going to be a change, it will be the first time an entire chapter is done from Ginny's perspective rather than Harry's. With the way the story is planned more of these chapters are coming down the pipe so we have to start somewhere.

Chapter 7: Ginny Meets the Other Woman
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Ginny rolled over for what she thought must be the hundredth time. She just was not able to get comfortable. She had been so worried about announcing her intention to join the Harpies to the school that she had completely forgotten that Harry’s friends from Amazonis would be arriving the following day. Now she was lost pondering thoughts over what type of person Adriana was.

As she lay in bed thinking she chastised herself for being foolish. Harry wanted her, he had proposed to her. She wore his ring on her finger. If he truly loved Adriana would he have even returned to Hogwarts? All the arguments sounded logical and great in her head but she just couldn’t quite convince herself.

Ginny felt all her troubles stemmed from what she had learned about Adriana. Mariana admitted that she was one of the best looking girls at the school and usually had any guy she wanted. On occasion that included breaking up couples. Mariana did tell Ginny that Adriana hadn’t dated anyone after breaking up with Harry and that was rather unusual. Of course Ginny’s brain told her that was because Adriana was in love with Harry even if he didn’t feel the same way. With a loud sigh she resigned herself to not getting any more sleep and pulled the curtains from around her bed.

She looked out the window from Gryffindor tower and saw the sun peaking over the horizon. It was still early but it gave her plenty of time before breakfast. She was going to remind Harry of why she was the one, even if she did have to compete with not only the Brazilians but the French to do it. She cast her patronus and sent a message to Hermione asking for the older woman’s help before making her way to the bathroom.

Hermione arrived in the dorm a few minutes after Ginny had finished in the bathroom. After her shower she spent time brushing out her hair and making it shine as much as possible. She looked over herself in the mirror trying to think of what she could do to improve on her appearance. She rarely wore makeup and she had never put it on without help. That was hopefully where Hermione came in.

“Ok what we want to do is make sure it appears that you’re not wearing much if anything at all.” Hermione was saying as she was searching through her bag. Ever since she had started to date Ron, Hermione had become more feminine and concerned about looks. And for once Ginny was grateful for the change.

“Right, but what am I going to wear today?” Ginny wasn’t convinced that the minimal approach was the way to go but she trusted Hermione. Hermione knew Harry better than almost anyone, and knew what he liked about his fiancé.

She had been looking through her wardrobe wearing her bathrobe as she examined her clothes. Nothing in particular seemed to stand out enough. “Ginny just dress comfortable. Be at ease with yourself. Hermione too looked through the wardrobe and pulled out a pair of tan shorts that hugged Ginny’s curves and came to her mid-thigh and a deep red sleeveless shirt. It was going to be a warm day and Hermione came prepared with sun blocking cream as well for Ginny’s freckled skin. “These will do nicely now let’s get you ready.”

Ginny followed and let Hermione lightly apply the makeup. Afterward Ginny admired her appearance in the bathroom mirror. Her face appeared unchanged yet seemed to be more perfect and noticeable. She definitely needed tips from Hermione. Finally she dressed in the shorts and shirt and left with her friend for breakfast.

Even though it was getting close to a normal breakfast time the great hall was still relatively deserted when the two entered. “It seems everyone is having a lie in.” Ginny said looking around. She noticed Mariana sitting at the end of the Ravenclaw table and went and sat with the girl.

Mariana looked up and her eyes showed tinges of red in the corners. “Bom Dia” She said quietly before catching herself. “I’m sorry, I mean good morning.”

Hermione smiled at the girl. “Nothing to be sorry about, it’s natural to use your native language especially when you’re as exhausted as you are now. So what’s on your mind?”

Mariana sighed and looked at the two girls. “Boys of course.” She gave a weak smile.

“You too huh?” Ginny remembered seeing the girl look less than enthusiastic as they were leaving the table last night. She had seen her with a boy at Harry’s birthday last summer but it seemed things had changed. She started to grab some of the tropic fruits that had become regular features at the breakfast table. She found she loved the pineapple. It was incredibly delicious. And even more so once Elimar taught her how to use a wand to eat it up. “I tossed and turned all night thinking that Harry was going to see Adriana again and just forget about me.” Ginny admitted rather sheepishly.

Mariana snorted. “You really are dense aren’t you?” She smiled though Ginny pouted in a hurt manner. “Harry is head over heels for you girl. I’m still surprised he hasn’t asked you to marry him.”

Ginny paid attention to her pineapple so Mariana wouldn’t see the guilty look on her face. “So Mari what boy is tugging at your heart?” Hermione asked grabbing the girl’s attention.

“Bruno of course, I think I love him but he went all noble on me. He didn’t want me to be stuck in the long distance relationship in school.” She wiped a non-existent tear from her eye. “I guess if anybody understands that it’s you Ginny.”

Ginny rolled her eyes. “You got that right sister. Damn noble git broke my heart to try and protect me. “

“Oh please Ginny; there was never any doubt back then that he loved you. Honestly you were more devastated when you found out about Adriana right before Christmas. I thought it would be a month before Ron could walk straight with the curse you used on him.” Hermione was laughing now.

“Oh what happened?” Mariana brightened up.

“Well you know how Harry is on a chocolate frog card.” Mariana nodded. “Well his is part of a set. It features Harry, Ron, myself, Ginny, Neville and Luna.” Hermione explained. “Obviously they didn’t know where Harry was to send him his copy but we each had a complete set delivered a week or so before Christmas break.”

“When it happened most of us were initially upset that it would be done without our consent. Shortly afterward though we got used to it and we all got together one night and compared our cards and laughed about how absurd they were.” Ginny explained.

“None of us had really read what Harry’s card said until that night.” Hermione added. “You’ve read it right?” Mariana nodded again. “Well Neville read it out loud for us. When we got to the point about Harry enjoying the company of many pretty ladies Ginny laughed and dismissed it out of hand. You know Harry well. I’m sure you know he never really moved on his feelings, at least not quickly.”

Mariana sighed knowing what she had heard, but it never meshed with the Harry she knew. “I’ve never really seen that actually. In between Lori and Luciana before school, and then Adriana throwing herself at him the second day of school, the only time Harry moved slow was with Luciana after breaking up with Adriana and...” Mariana paused in thought, she was about to mention her experience with Harry. Just as quickly she changed her mind. “I didn’t even know about Luciana until a few days ago.”

Ginny groaned over the stories. Harry had told her about all this but hearing it from someone else made her question things again.

“Ok moving on from that well what you said is basically what Ron said. Except I don’t think he knew anything about Lori because he never told me so we need to talk.” Hermione was trying to lighten the mood again.

“So Ron spilled the beans on Adriana in one fell swoop immediately after Ginny dismissed the notion of Harry as a player?”

“Basically yea.”

“Oh Merlin that couldn’t have been good.”

“Well Mariana have you heard of Ginny’s bat bogey hex?” Hermione asked trying not to giggle. Mariana confirmed she was familiar. “Let’s just say Ginny’s was exceptionally powerful that night and it hit Ron in the bottom. Apparently that is not something that should ever happen.”

This time Mariana couldn’t stop herself. She collapsed into peels of laughter. Luna joined the girls at the table and started on her breakfast.. “Did I miss something funny?”

“No you were there for this one. We were telling Mariana about the night we read Harry’s frog card and I hexed Ron.”

“Oh I felt so bad for Ron but he wouldn’t let us help him get it sorted out.” Luna offered.

“I can’t imagine why.” Ginny winked at Mariana as she took a drink of her juice. All the girls laughed loudly

“Hey girls having a good morning?” Harry interrupted their laughter. Ron and Neville stood behind him at the end of the table watching the laughing group.

Hermione suppressed a giggle looking at Ron. Ginny blushed brightly and went back to her fruit after looking at Harry. He was wearing a similar outfit to her today although his shorts went nearly to his knees. His shirt was almost the exact same shade as hers. They looked as if they had planned it that way. Especially since they were both wearing their team badges on the right side of their chests. Harry’s eyes lit as he looked over Ginny and his smile widened.

She smiled slightly at him trying not to blush. He sat down next to her and kissed her on the cheek. “So what were you talking about that was so funny?”

Ginny blushed again as she looked at her brother and his bewildered expression. “We were talking about why a bat bogey hex should not be applied to a bum.” She winked at her brother who seemed to pale and blush simultaneously.

“Please don’t tell Harry about that.” Ron stuttered and begged his sister.

“I won’t Ron I promise.” Ginny said sweetly. Harry looked at her and raised his eyebrows questioningly. Ginny just shrugged her shoulders and went back to her breakfast.

Harry started on his meal and the group fell into easy conversations about their plans for the day. Ginny listened as Harry explained he wanted to fly and keep in shape for the upcoming season. He knew he would need to be in good shape to get actual playing time. Ginny agreed and before long she was walking down to the pitch with Harry and Ron. Hermione had ran to the library to grab a book to read while the rest flew.

Once they had gotten to the pitch and changed into their quidditch robes the group took off. Ginny started by flying around the stadium a few times. She always loved to feel the wind through her hair even if she had it pulled back to keep it out of her face. After a few laps she started with some loops and sharper turns thinking of times when she would need to avoid bludgers and opponents. Ron was circling his hoops and was practicing moving quickly to the side to stop incoming shots. After about ten minutes Ginny released the snitch for Harry to chase and grabbed the quaffle.

She practiced her penalty shots making more than Ron stopped until two other brooms joined her. “Why don’t you practice with Harry? He could use the competition and Mari and I can give Ron a workout.” Leticia held her hands out to receive a pass. Ginny nodded and tossed the quaffle to the girl. Mariana still looked exhausted but seemed reenergized by being on her broom.

Ginny sped off toward Harry and started to shadow his movements. This was pretty difficult as Harry was flying around the pitch quicker than she remembered. His head seemed to be working non-stop looking for any glint of the golden ball. Ginny watched him rather than look for the snitch herself. She immediately knew when he had spotted it. His eyes focused , he gripped his broom a little tighter and started to lean forward. Ginny followed his eyes and immediately sped forward quicker than he was moving. She got the jump on him and pulled a few feet ahead as they approached the ball that was hovering over the stands.

Just as quickly Harry pulled up beside her and started to lean his shoulder against her. He was a lot more solid than she remembered and weighed a fair amount more than her. She couldn’t keep her line straight and instead rolled underneath her broom so that she was flying below him and he couldn’t use his weight as an advantage. Unfortunately Harry was on a much better broom and before long he pulled ahead. Ginny tried to keep up but in the end she fell a few feet behind as Harry caught the snitch.

It was then that Ginny noticed the crowd that had gathered in the stands. A loud cheer erupted from them as Harry held the ball aloft. Bruno had joined the group and was knocking a lone bludger at the two chasers who were taking their best shots at Ron. Ginny noticed even more students coming down from the castle many carrying brooms of their own. Unfortunately before they could get a real pickup game going madam Hooch’s whistle pierced the morning air.
She was standing near the entrance to the pitch next to the new locker rooms that Ginny had helped build the previous summer. Ginny had returned to the school shortly after returning from Brazil. She wanted to use the library to study for her exams and really needed time away from Ron and Hermione. Much of the castle had been repaired but Headmistress McGonagall had allowed Ginny and Madam Hooch to redesign the locker rooms. They had two main rooms to be used for pregame briefs. Each led into two smaller rooms with shower facilities attached to each one. With this setup boys and girls no longer had to walk all the way back to the castle to shower and change. It was an extremely welcome addition especially after rainy or snowy practices.
Madam Hooch blew her whistle once again and the students that were in the air began to land nearby. Ginny worried that they had done something wrong and was more nervous as the headmistress joined Madam Hooch as she and her friends started to land.

Professor McGonagall waited for all of the students to gather before speaking. “I’m sorry to interrupt what was sure to turn into a brilliant game but Harry our first group of guests will be arriving soon. I would like you, and the five other heroes of Hogwarts to greet them.”
Ginny snickered at Harry’s confused look. “Harry that’s what the called frog card set we’re in. I’ll show you the rest of them later.” She said sweetly taking his arm. “I guess that means our game is done for now. We’ll have to do this again this week.”

The headmistress smiled at Ginny. “That reminds me Harry. After the Amazonis students arrive I’d like to meet with you Henrique and Ron. And at some point I’d like to meet Adriana as well.” Ginny tensed up as she gripped Harry’s arm as he nodded to the headmistress. She couldn’t tell what was going on in his head and instead gently directed him to the locker room.

“Thank you for the notice Headmistress. We should probably put these new locker rooms to use so we’re presentable before they arrive.” Ginny smiled innocently.
“Yea those are a real treat.” Harry smiled at her, causing her heart to flutter in her chest. “You did a great job designing them Gin.” He kissed her cheek as they walked into one of locker rooms. Ron had already disappeared into the showers.

Ginny took a moment to appreciate the work she had done. One wall was taken up by a large diagram of the pitch so plays could be drawn up. Various quidditch memorabilia decorated the rest of the room. Madam Hooch had secured robes from many famous players and quaffles from famous matches to decorate the room. Between the doors leading to the actual lockers and showers were four posters, one of each of the house teams. Ginny loved the poster of her team. Her eyes misted a little as she thought she would never play for Gryffindor again.

Harry let go of her arm and watched her expression. He left her side and studied the poster with a slight smile. Ginny couldn’t imagine what he had planned. Finally after nearly a minute Harry grabbed a piece of parchment off the table taking up half the room and transfigured it into a copy of the poster. “This will look good in the house at Grimmauld Place.” He smiled and gave the poster to her after shrinking it.

“Oh Harry, thank you.” Ginny crushed him in a hug and a deep kiss.

“Oi you two knock it off.” Ron yelled walking out of the locker room drying his red hair. “We only have a little bit of time before the Beauxbatons students arrive.” Ron left the room without another word and even winked at Ginny as he passed.

Ginny pulled Harry tighter worry again filling her body. “I guess he’s right.” She spoke into Harry’s chest before inhaling his musky scent. She felt Harry’s strong hands separate her body from his.

“I’ll see you after the shower.” Harry walked toward the shower room and began to peel off his robe. Ginny couldn’t help but stare at his back that was wearing nothing but a tattoo as he went through the door.

“Her cheeks flushed as she stepped into the shower herself. The image of Harry’s naked back fresh in her mind. He knew what he was doing. I’m sure of it. She thought to herself. Ginny stepped out of the shower and was drying off when she noticed Hermione standing in the locker room.

“Alright we need to fix your make-up. I knew I shouldn’t have let you go flying after we put in all that effort.” Hermione sighed but smiled and pushed Ginny onto one of the benches in the room and began rummaging in her small bag.

Ginny didn’t even have a chance to fully dress herself as Hermione brushed her eyelids and cheeks. Minutes seemed to drag by and she was sure the Beauxbatons students would arrive by the time they were ready to leave. Hermione worked quickly though and they left the locker room less than ten minutes after she got out of the shower.

Harry and Ron stood waiting and Ginny felt her cheeks blush thinking about Harry walking toward the locker room again. He gave her a tiny chaste kiss on the cheek as she wove her arm around his waist. Unable to resist Ginny grabbed his neck and planted a passionate kiss on his lips. She wiggled her tongue into his mouth without waiting for an invite. She could hear her brother making a gagging noise and tried to ignore Hermione’s giggles but finally she broke the kiss.

She could tell it had caught Harry off guard. He took a deep breath and smiled. Ginny melted into his arms as she looked into his green eyes. She was being foolish Harry loved her and she loved him. They were meant to be together and nothing would separate them again if she had her way.

“Come on we need to get to the entrance. The others are there already.” Hermione had peaked out of the locker room and back toward the castle door. Ginny saw that she was right as what seemed to be half the students were standing outside, Leticia and Mariana had waited outside the other locker room and the group walked toward the castle together. Ginny and Harry waved to Hagrid as they got closer to the castle. He was dressed in a rather fashionable outfit that wasn’t overly fancy. Ginny reasoned that Madam Maxine had helped with it. He was setting up a large pen near his house to stable the horses flying in from France.

Neville and Luna were sitting on the steps to the castle as the group arrived. Neville was holding hands with Hannah Abbott. Luna was looking at the sky and Ginny wasn’t sure if she was staring toward nothing or watching for the light blue house sized carriage that Beauxbatons used to travel in large numbers. Those students who weren’t waiting outside were clustered in the entrance hall. Most of these were younger kids who weren’t present the last time the school had welcome guests.

Harry sat next to Luna and Ginny settled between his legs on the step below him. She leaned her head against his chest and let her body relax. She was surprisingly tired after the short workout. If Ron and Harry felt the same way they didn’t show it. Ginny realized she would need to fly more often and regularly to get through her tryout. She resolved to talk to Harry about all this once they got through the next few hours.

It wasn’t much longer and a loud whinny echoed across the school grounds. Ginny had been watching the sky over the lake and out towards Hogsmeade. The sound came from over the forbidden forest and there she saw the large carriage being pulled by the twelve extremely large winged horses. The sound drew the students who had been in the entrance hall toward the door.

The carriage circled once low over the grounds before coming to a rest less than a hundred feet from the school entrance. “Madam Maxine always did like to make an entrance.” Professor McGonagall chuckled from behind her students. Ginny studied the professor not believing that she had just heard a chuckle from the normally strict woman.

Ginny and her friends stood as the door to the carriage opened. Madam Maxine stepped out first, her imposing frame filling the large door. Subconsciously the students behind her friends and the headmistress took a step back. The students were all familiar with Hagrid but many didn’t know what to expect from the headmistress from Beauxbatons.

She was just as Ginny remembered her. Her dark hair pulled back elegantly. Her olive-skinned features showed no signs of any damage from her expedition with Hagrid. She gave the students a warm smile that brightened her dark eyes. She still wore the opal jewelry and black satin robes. After a few moments looking over the castle she made her way to the entrance hall.

“Madam Maxine, c'est bon de vous voir. Comment s'est passé votre voyage?” Harry let go of Ginny’s hand and approached the headmistress with his arms spread.

Madam Maxine’s smile brightened as she looked at Harry. Ginny couldn’t hear her reply but was even more amazed as she knelt and embraced her boyfriend warmly. Harry greeted the older lady with a gentle kiss on each cheek. Moments later they were lost in a conversation as the rest of the students exited the carriage.

“What in the name of Merlin just happened?” Ginny stood staring at Harry’s back as he talked with their guest.

“’Arry forgot to mention his language classes didn’t he?” Mariana answered smiling and watching from the side. “After his powers started to grow ‘Arry actually started to get bored in class. Not the theory parts of it but practically speaking, he perfected spells amazingly fast. The headmistress suggested he work with some of the professors on learning additional languages since he has such an affinity for them.”

“Extra school work doesn’t sound like something Harry would jump at though.” Hermione was just as confused as Ginny and sounded rather doubtful.

“He’s been doing lots of extra work this year.” Mariana answered. “He was jogging and dueling before classes with our defense teacher. Roberta told him that Dumbledore started learning languages at a young age to facilitate his future career choices and that was it. ‘Arry dove into work; he speaks great Portuguese and Spanish. His French is pretty good as you just saw and his Italian is passable. I’ve heard he wishes to learn Mermish too though I’ll never understand why.”

Hermione was dumbstruck by the revelations of her best friend. She had never known Harry to put that much focus into anything before. Ginny though responded to Mariana. “It’s because Dumbledore could. Harry really admires him and anything that he can do to be like him he will do it.”

“I’ll do what?” Harry asked wrapping his arms around Ginny’s waist and nuzzled her neck. Madam Maxine was now talking to Headmistress McGonagall and her students were mingling with the Hogwarts’ students who had been waiting.

“Most anything to try and be more like Dumbledore.” Hermione responded. Ginny silently thanked Hermione for answering since Harry’s actions left her speechless.

Harry didn’t respond and Ginny felt moisture on her bare shoulder. She didn’t hesitate and wrapped an arm around his waist. She guided him toward the black lake and their favorite tree.

When they got to the tree Harry loved so much Ginny wrapped her arms around his waist. She buried her head in his shoulder and held him as he let the emotions out. Ginny knew this last week at school was going to be tough on Harry. The school was a place he felt at home and safe. He would be leaving that now. After a few agonizing moments when Ginny felt helpless to console Harry finally he sniffed loudly and lifted his head off her shoulder.

He looked around mildly surprised at where they were. “Thank you Gin,” He kissed her cheek. “Sometimes the loss just hits so hard and I don’t know how to react. I really needed that.”

“Don’t mention it hon. Do you want to sit for a while or would you prefer to grab some lunch?”

“Let’s do both.” Harry smiled the grin that had captured Ginny’s heart. “Winky!” Ginny was surprised he didn’t call for Kreacher but didn’t question him as the small elf popped unsteadily into view.

“You called for me Mister Potter sir? Hic!” A loud hiccup shook her body. It was obvious the elf was drinking butter beer. Whether it was again after Dobby’s death or still from her dismissal, Ginny had no idea.

“Yes Winky, could you please bring us some lunch. It has been a long morning and we’d rather enjoy the beautiful weather.”

Winky perked up noticeably at the request. She, like Kreacher, was happy to serve someone when asked. The environment at Hogwarts was not to her benefit and she was suffering from it. The elf nodded at the request and disappeared almost silently.

“I wonder how she dissapparates so quietly. Kreacher is really loud and Dobby was even more so.” Harry mused as he stared out over the lake.

“Harry I think you should ask Professor McGonagall about making Winky your servant at Grimmauld Place, if it’s ok with Kreacher that is.” Ginny blurted it out without thinking and only added the second part when she remembered that Kreacher was there.

Harry didn’t look at her and for a while, she thought she had said something terrible. “I think you’re right. Kreacher is getting older and Winky is not happy in this environment. I need to meet with the Headmistress so I’ll ask her then, as long as Kreacher has no objections.”

No sooner had Harry finished talking then Winky returned looking rather pleased with herself. She was levitating a small plate of sandwiches and a larger plate full of fresh fruit. She also had a two green bottles that Ginny didn’t recognize but Harry did.

“Oh guarana thank you Winky. This will make my day.” He took one of the bottles and took a big gulp greedily. Ginny couldn’t help but notice the elf smiling brightly and seeming to sober up by the second. “Try it Gin, it’s like ginger beer only way better.” Ginny took a tentative taste and then a much larger drink as she savored the flavors. Harry was right. Before Ginny could offer her thanks to the elf she was gone. Ginny reclined against the tree as she enjoyed the lunch. Before long she had ate her fill and the lack of sleep started to take its toll on her body. She drifted into an easy sleep without realizing she was tired.

Ginny wasn’t sure if she was dreaming but there was no doubt she was treated to the best wake up possible. First she felt a gentle stream of air on her ear. This followed a gentle brush of lips on her cheek. Finally she felt Harry press his lips to hers as she woke fully and returned the kiss. She smiled as she broke it and looked over her fiancé. “What was that for?” She asked rather sheepishly.

“Well it seemed mean to wake you any other way. And it’s time to head to the train station.”

The happy feeling in her chest plummeted to Ginny’s gut. Her body’s reaction caught her off guard. She truly thought she had accepted everything but the reminder filled her with dread. She was not going to get over these feelings until she actually met this other girl. There was no denying it. However she couldn’t stand to let Harry think she was scared so she put her best smile on and let him pull her to her feet. “Well let’s go say hi.”

Harry took her hand as they made their way to the castle’s doors. Hermione and Ron were already waiting and talking with Draco. Ginny felt a small pang of guilt about how things had ended with Draco but he seemed to have moved beyond it as well.

“Coming with us to meet the other guests Draco?” Harry asked and Ginny couldn’t tell if he was generally curious or forcing conversation.

“No I think I’d rather relax in my room tonight. I don’t need to meet your fan club.” Draco sounded rather depressed and even annoyed about it. Ginny noticed a twitch in Harry’s face but it promptly disappeared.

“Draco, they’re just his friends. You know as well as I do that it’s nothing more than that.” Ron tried to deflect the accusation.

“Besides when they get a look at you the girls will all forget about me.” Harry smiled blushing a bit and ran a hand across his hair. Draco’s head snapped up quickly and questioningly. “Yea, Brazilian women love someone who doesn’t have the typical brown hair and eyes. You will be popular with our guests.”

Draco allowed himself a small smile. “I guess someone needs to be there to save you Potter.”

“That’s the spirit.” Ginny felt relieved that Draco would be coming and could maybe move on. “Are we set to go?”

“As soon as Professor Long gets here, she is supposed to walk with us. Technically we’re still not allowed to leave school grounds unless we’re escorted by a professor.” Hermione smiled at the thought of five of the most powerful young wizards and witches needing an escort.

It was only a minute or so of awkward silence when Professor Long came jogging up to the group. “Sorry to keep you waiting. It’s been a busy day getting everyone settled.”

“Not to worry Professor. Are we ready to go?”

“We are indeed Ms. Granger, or should I say Hermione. The tests are finished it is past time you start addressing us as your equals. You may call me Rebecca. I am sure your other professors feel the same way.” She smiled with assurance and began the trek to the front gates.

Ginny looked around the school grounds in the afternoon light. The school had been her second home for these past seven years and now that time was quickly coming to an end. The walk to the gates and down into Hogsmeade was one she had taken many times. Her mind could wander as her feet guided her to her destination helped along by Harry’s arm around her waist.

The group was passing through the gates when a voice called from behind. “Hey wait up we’re coming too.” Ginny looked to see Elimar and the other Brazilians jogging to catch up. She had forgotten that these student’s had close friends and significant others arriving on the train. The group waited for the Brazilians to catch up before continuing on.

About fifty feet past the gates Ginny noticed an odd black stone next to the road. It stood out to her because as they passed it Harry’s body shivered against her arm. He didn’t seem to notice or if he did he didn’t bring it up. Rebecca Long led the way to the Hogsmeade train station. Ginny wished they could go into town and stop at one of the stores, or better yet have a nice dinner with just Harry.

Before she could get too lost in her daydreams they were climbing the steps to the platform. Her breathe caught in her throat as they heard the far off whistle of the Hogwarts’ Express. Ana Paula and Leticia were practically bouncing as they tried to catch a glimpse of the train coming down the tracks. Their excitement stood in stark contrast to Ginny’s dread. Finally the scarlet engine came around the corner. It wasn’t dark enough yet for the headlight to be on but the light shining off the polished front made it easy to see.

Ginny saw that most everyone was excited as the train grew closer. Even Draco couldn’t suppress a smile. She tried to smile as her boyfriend’s eyes lit up with anticipation. Her anxiety grew with each moment, finally the engine pulled to a stop with a loud release of steam. For a moment nothing happened then various doors began opening along the train’s side. The first person to step off was an incredible short witch whom Ginny thought was rather attractive.

“Professor, it’s good to see you again. How was the trip?” Harry greeted the short witch with a light hug.

“Professor?” Ginny questioned looking at the young face.

“Yes Camila is our Care of Magical Creatures professor.” Mariana said.

“’Enrique I missed you so much.” Leticia cried as she launched herself through the growing crowd and into the arms of the curly haired wizard. Ginny remembered meeting him the previous year and smiled as he waved from over his girlfriend’s head. Bruno was standing behind him and Ana Paula was hugging another boy in the group though not with the same reaction as Leticia had.

Harry was talking with Camila as more people filtered by and greeted Ron and Hermione. Elimar finally got excited when a shorter dark haired witch squeezed through the crowd and gave him a small kiss. Ginny couldn’t understand what she said but she was sure she understood the meaning.

As the students were milling around the crowd cleared and 4 witches were approaching Harry. Two of them stood out to Ginny as the most beautiful women she had seen. They looked at Harry rather sternly before the tallest one spoke. “Ok ‘Arry take your shirt off and turn around.”

Ginny was just about to speak out when Harry spoke. “Adriana what kind of greeting is that?” Now that she knew it was Adriana she didn’t want to speak up.

Adriana sighed in frustration. “Fine,” She adopted her most horrible screechy voice. “Oh ‘Arry it’s so good to see you, I missed you so much, how have you been? Now take off your shirt and show us your back.” She was more insistent this time.

“Calm down Adriana, I’ll be happy to. As soon as you tell me how you knew.”

“Ana Paula sent the magazine to Jorge, Jorge showed us, ‘Enrique confirmed the presence.” Ginny stifled a laugh as Adriana seemed to be getting aggravated or at least was playing well. She noticed though that many of the students were watching the interaction as well.

“They did, did they?” Harry answered pulling his wand and looking around the crowd for the two boys. He smiled the whole time but Adriana crossed her arms impatiently. “Oh ok fine.” Harry relented and started to pull the red shirt over his head. He turned and presented his back to the girls. “Happy now?” He asked returning the shirt to its proper place.

“Very thanks ‘Arry.” Then to Ginny’s horror the witch smiled brightly and pulled Harry into a warm hug and kissed his cheek. “It is great to see you.” Harry followed hugging the other girls the same which allowed Ginny at least pause to relax.

“Great now that that’s over with come on I want to introduce you to someone.” Harry pulled Adriana away from the group and led her right to Ginny.

Adriana didn’t even wait for an introduction. “You must be Ginny. I have heard so much about you and it’s a pleasure to finally meet.” The witch gave her a tight sincere hug.

All the insecurities Ginny had melted away as she hugged the other witch. “I have heard many things about you as well. Don’t worry it was all good.” Ginny smiled.

“Oh I’m sure it wasn’t. But thank you for saying it.” Adriana took Ginny’s arm as the large crowd started off the platform. Night had fallen during the arrival so Harry and Rebecca led the way. Ginny watched as Harry spoke with another of the witches from the group of four that had confronted him about the tattoo. Draco was walking alongside the girl as well and the three shared a laugh.

“So Ginny did the ‘Arpies come calling?” Adriana asked walking along with the well-worn path.

It took Ginny a moment to understand the question. Adriana had a thicker accent than the others she had met. “Well take a look.” She replied proudly and displayed the badge adorned to her shirt.

“That is so wonderful for you. ‘Arry always said you would play for them one day.” Adriana looked a little wistful. “He doesn’t know it but he talks about you constantly. Even when we were together you were never far from his mind.”

Ginny was astonished by the frank admission and the cordial attitude Adriana had toward her. “So you’re not upset or jealous over things.”

“Jealous, oh yes extremely, ‘Arry is such a sweet man and cares so much I can’t help but be jealous. But upset, no it wasn’t meant to be, I overreacted to him hugging another girl and he showed me how wrong my head was. Perhaps someday I will meet a man that makes me as happy as I was with him, even if I did ruin it.”

“How did you ruin it? Harry never explained that.”

“It was the day he got your letter after you found about the frog card. From what I’ve gathered you didn’t know about me then.” Ginny nodded her agreement but remained silent. “Well ‘Arry was upset and had written a lengthy and not the friendliest reply. You see the girl up there.” She gestured to the girl walking between Harry and Draco. Ginny looked up and knew which girl Adriana was talking about. She noticed again Harry gave a light shudder as he passed the black stone. She nodded again. “That’s Celia; she is the absolute sweetest girl imaginable, kind of a female version of ‘Arry. She cares so much and hates to see people in pain. Well she talked to ‘Arry and asked about the card and he told the truth like he always does and she comforted him as best possible. Well he felt better and she gave him a hug and I walked in on the embrace.”

“And you overreacted?”

“I accused him of enjoying the celebrity and using it to take advantage of people.”

“Bloody hell I can’t believe he didn’t curse you.” Ginny appreciated Harry’s typical reaction to those situations.

“Maybe not but he ended it with me and we only just became friends again during the whole ordeal, I really regret wasting that much time without his friendship.” Ginny could see tears forming in the taller girls brown eyes.

“You still love him don’t you?” Ginny choked up asking the question.

“I may always love him Ginny.” Adriana nodded. “I won’t interfere with your relationship if that’s your worry but I can’t help the way he made me feel special and cared about. I don’t know if you know but I didn’t have the best history with boys.”

“I know, I was up all night worrying that Harry would see you and forget about me.”

“You have nothing to fear from me Ginny. There are things about Harry I will certainly miss but I can’t ruin someone else’s chance to be happy.”

Ginny and Adriana walked through the gates and talked as many of the other students stopped to stare at the castle. The conversation they had was helping them both sort through their feelings and the pair was connecting through their mutual affection.

“So what is it you’re going to miss about him?” Ginny was thinking of the things she loved most about Harry.

“I will miss the way he used to hold me. It was firm and strong yet his hands were gentle and kind. I’ve never felt anything similar.”

“That’s his seeker skills coming through. He probably doesn’t even realize it but I know what you mean. It feels so good to be held so lovingly and strongly.”

The girls had long since separated from the group heading into the castle instead they continued to walk around school grounds.

“I’ll take your word for it. I’ve never played the game much. And I’m really going to miss how he would wiggle his…” Adriana cut off and blushed.

“You were gonna say how he wiggles his leg while shagging.” Ginny laughed loudly and blushed deeply. “Yea that is pretty awesome.” She added in a low voice causing Adriana to laugh.

Ginny was really enjoying the conversation now. She seemed to have misjudged the type of person Adriana was. And she had never talked to another woman about this sort of thing. Harry had told her how open Brazilians were about a number of things and this was evidence of that. Ginny was upset at herself for getting worked up about a girl she didn’t even know. Though she had heard the stories it was hard to reconcile the two parts into one person. Somewhere along the line Adriana had changed quite a big. Either Harry or the traumatic experiences were the cause and she didn’t know which. The pair continued their walk laughing and swapping stories neither realizing how late it was getting.

A/N: Thank you all for your patience. I had some serious computer and life issues that delayed this chapter. I also found it really difficult to write from Ginny's point of view. I'm hoping it gets easier as things progress.

Chapter 8: The Row
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Harry sat with Ron and Henrique in the headmistress’s office. They had just finished dinner after walking up from the train. The Great Hall was incredibly full with the additional students. Ron and Henrique had talked at length about quidditch while Harry talked with Bruno and Mariana. He noticed a little bit of tension between them and hoped it would leave soon.

Overall the atmosphere in the hall was one of celebration. The exams were done and all that was left was a week of making friends and enjoying the early summer weather. Dinner wrapped up with Professor McGonagall formally greeting the guests and directing Professors Flitwick and Woodbridge to show the students to where they would be staying. The magic of Hogwarts made sure there would be enough space to accommodate everyone. Although Harry was a little saddened to hear that the room of requirements had been co-opted for the Amazonis’ students, he had used the room a couple of times to spend some time with Ginny. He noticed that Ron looked a little disappointed as well.

After the greeting and dismissal the three followed the Headmistress through the castle to her office. Harry had to force his friend to walk, Henrique wanted to stop and look at the castle every few minutes. Even more so once the headmistress took a shortcut that went from the first floor up to the third with no effort. Now they all sat in her office waiting for the purpose of this meeting.

“I’m sure you are all very curious about my asking you here.” The Headmistress started but stopped as Henrique put up his hand. She looked at him appraisingly.

“Before you go any further ma’am, I just wanted to say thank you on behalf of my classmates. We have grown rather fond of ‘Arry this past year. I know Ron agrees with me but ‘e is more than my friend ‘e is my brother.” Henrique spoke honestly and clapped a hand on Harry’s shoulder. “We all appreciate the opportunity to ‘elp ‘im celebrate this next step. It means the world to us.” Ron nodded his agreement and put his hand on Harry’s other shoulder.

Harry felt his eyes burn and looked at Dumbledore’s portrait. His former professor was not even feigning sleep as he watched the young men. “Thank you for taking good care of my friend this past year Henrique. That means just as much to me.” The portrait spoke and Harry thought for sure Henrique was going to faint. There were portraits at Amazonis that moved and talked but very few that would truly interact.

“Your appreciation is ‘igh praise to me Professor Dumbledore. I am proud to ‘ave earned it.” Henrique smiled a little embarrassed.

“I believe that is enough pleasantries for the moment. We could probably go on for a while but Minerva has something important to ask.” Dumbledore smiled and appeared to drift off to sleep but Harry knew better.

“Yes as Professor Dumbledore said I wanted to ask you something, although it’s not overly important.” The young men looked at the witch in anticipation. “As there is nothing scheduled for Friday since the younger students will have completed their exams I wish to hold a quidditch match.” The three smiled brightly already thinking of the possibilities. I have spoken with Madam Maxine and unfortunately she doesn’t feel that Beauxbatons has the players to field a team so I am hoping to have one comprised of our Amazonis guests and one built from Hogwarts’ sixth and seventh year students, with you two as captains of course.” She gestured to Ron and Henrique. Immediately Harry’s heart sunk. He would be forced to choose which team to play for.

“So why did you bring Harry in with us Professor?” Ron hadn’t caught on to the dilemma yet.

“Because Mr. Weasley he is going to be the most coveted member of both teams and in order for either of you to build an effective squad you need to know if he will or won’t be on your team.

Ron’s face paled as he looked at his best friend. He then glanced at Henrique who wore an equal look of dread. They had both just declared Harry was a brother to them and now they were going to be competing for his decision. Harry though was thinking about it from a competitive point of view. Whichever team he flew for would have an advantage. Amazonis could field a very good team without him since Ana Paula could seek in his place. He wasn’t sure if Hogwarts would be able to cover the seeker position without sacrificing Ginny as a chaser. He wanted to give her a chance to work on that before her tryouts. As much as he wanted to declare his intention to play with Ginny and Ron it just didn’t seem fair. Finally he came to his decision in which he hoped everyone would be happy.

“Professor, I have made my decision with one caveat if it is agreed to by all.” He stated bluntly. McGonagall nodded and he continued. “I know Amazonis can field a complete team with their available students. I do not know if Hogwarts can do the same with only sixth and seventh years, so I have decided that I will captain the Hogwarts team on condition that if needed I can pick a seeker from all of Hogwarts myself excluded.”

Ron was about do a dance when he stopped. “What do you mean excluding you?”

“Ron listen; Henrique is a non-player captain and that fact is extremely beneficial. He can observe and plan with a cool head and alter the game plan as needed without having to worry about playing.” Harry explained his decision. “I will take the same position as Henrique for Hogwarts and will help you build a team that can win.”

“I think this plan is the best to balance the teams ‘Eadmistress.” Henrique agreed with his friend. He had been shocked that Harry would miss a chance to play. “I agree to ‘is request on being able to pick a seeker from any year if no one is available from the final two. ‘e is making an incredible sacrifice by opting to not play and I know I can trust him to keep his word.”

Professor McGonagall nodded. “Very wise decisions all around, it is getting late so if there is nothing else you wish to discuss you can head to bed. Harry I believe you can show Henrique to the 7th floor. We’ll announce the match to the school at breakfast.”

Ron and Henrique stood to leave but Harry remained seated. “I do have something else I wish to discuss Headmistress.” He was sure to be formal and polite. She nodded politely as the other boys sat back down. “I need to talk to Kreacher and get his opinion but if nothing comes up I would like to take ownership of Winky.”

The portrait of Dumbledore no longer tried to appear asleep and the Headmistress looked over Harry carefully. “Why?” It was all she felt was important. Harry was not one to willingly do something like this since he had facilitated Dobby’s release.

“To her benefit, she is still drinking butterbeer and is extremely unhappy as a freed elf.” Harry explained honestly. “She served us lunch this afternoon and I saw her sober up before my eyes at being given one task. She needs to feel wanted and appreciated and have genuine interaction with those she is serving. She does not get that here at Hogwarts and it appears to be harming her.”

Professor McGonagall’s lips twitched as she tried to resist smiling. “A wonderful answer Harry, I too have seen her state and struggles but could not think of a solution. I think you are right and if Kreacher does not approve we will find a new family for Winky.”

“Thank you Professor, we will head to…” A sharp knock interrupted the rest of his sentence.

“Enter” Professor McGonagall called.

Harry was surprised to see Camila and Professor Woodbridge enter quickly. Both looked worried and seemed to have run through the castle. “Headmistress we have a problem.” Woodbridge spoke quickly. “One of the Amazonis students was not at dinner and hasn’t been seen since arriving.”

“Which one?” Harry asked not thinking about speaking out of turn.

“Adriana” Camila answered.

“Oh shite this is bad.” Harry swore.

“What’s wrong Harry?” Ron was a little stumped.

“Ron I don’t remember seeing Ginny at dinner do you?” Harry asked and both Ron and Henrique paled at the realization.

“Am I missing some piece of information?” Professor McGonagall spoke up sternly.

“Adriana and Ginny were walking up together from the train station professor.” Harry explained. “Ginny seems to be missing as well and there is a chance they might not get along very well.” Harry was nervously rubbing his neck hoping the next question wouldn’t come.

“Why is that Mr. Potter?”

“Because Adriana would be one of ‘Arry’s so called Latin lovers” Camila said frankly. Harry frowned at the mention. “Yes Mr. Potter I read the article too.”

Professor McGonagall looked ready to curse. “Harry do you have the Marauder’s Map.”

“Gave it to Ginny last summer, should we send a patronus to her?”

“Maybe but hard to say, if Adriana had foul intentions it might cause her to react while Ginny is distracted.”

“I really don’t think Adriana has any bad plans. I just don’t know anything for sure.” Harry admitted. “But I do have a way of getting us there.” He pulled out Fawkes’ feather from his mokeskin pouch and summoned the phoenix. “So who’s ready for a really unique feeling?”

Harry grabbed one of Fawkes tail feathers and the rest of the group did the same. “Take us to Ginny.” He said and in a flash all six had disappeared.

They reappeared in the dark forest about 50 feet from the tree line. Harry could see through the trees that they were near Hagrid’s hut. One light was burning in the windows and silhouetted Adriana and Ginny against it. The two were brushing one of the large winged horses that pulled the Beauxbatons carriage. Harry breathed a sigh of relief to see both were safe and seemed to be enjoying themselves.

“Good their safe.” Progressor McGonagall whispered. Adriana laughed loudly at nearly the exact same time. Ginny joined in a moment later.

“Oh Merlin it’s worse than I thought.” Harry groaned. “They’re not fighting they’re getting along.” Camila laughed at his attitude.

“Why would that be a bad thing Harry?” Ron asked.

“Because Ron if they are getting along, it means they have most likely been talking about the one thing they have in common.” McGonagall smiled a little bit as well. “That would be Harry.”

Ginny’s voice cut through the night air suddenly. “What do you mean he exposed your body to the entire school?”

Harry blushed as Henrique laughed at the memory. “Mr. Potter do you have some explaining to do?” McGonagall’s lips thinned and turned stern.

“Levicorpo should never be used on a girl in a dress even in a sanctioned duel.” Harry responded not looking at the professor. He couldn’t trust himself not to grin at the memory.

“Don’t be too upset ‘Eadmistress. Adriana punished ‘Arry properly.” Camila said covering a small smile.

McGonagall looked at Harry and raised her eyebrows questioningly. “First she cursed me in the back and sent me to the hospital. Then she kissed me.”

Ron and Henrique both laughed at Harry’s discomfort. “We’ll let you go deal with this. Besides I want to apparate by phoenix again.” Henrique laughed and took hold of one of Fawkes’ tail feathers as the bird settled on his shoulder. “That was really awesome.” The rest of the group took hold of one of the feathers and with another flash they had left Harry alone.

He watched for a little while longer as the girls brushed the mane of the horse. He was so relieved to see Ginny safe and the pair getting along. However he thought a prank was in order since the girls had worried everyone. Almost effortlessly he morphed into the jaguar body and stalked closer to the tree line. He was nearly silent and his black fur made him next to impossible to see as he moved through the trees. He finally got to the edge of the tree line and crouched low to the ground where it would be even harder to see him.

Quietly at first he started to growl deep in his chest. He let it build inside of him almost like a car motor. Adriana looked around first hearing the noise but finding no source for it. Ginny noticed it too at the same time Harry opened his mouth and let the full extent out into the air. Both girls dropped the brushes as the horses ran to the other end of the paddock. Adriana seemed more scared but even Ginny became nervous as Harry charged out of the woods snarling.

Neither girl screamed so Harry stopped a foot away from them. He returned to his normal form and chuckled. Ginny started to laugh as well but Adriana still seemed upset. “What was that for ‘Arry.”

“It’s almost curfew which isn’t too much of a problem but Camila was dead worried about you Adriana.” Harry’s smile vanished as he stressed the importance. “And when I realized you were with Ginny I kind of was worried about you both.” He admitted rather nervously.

“Nothing to worry about love.” Ginny assured him and took his hand. “Adriana and I have had a very honest conversation and I think we’ll be good friends.”

Harry looked rather nervous. “I hope you’re not going to gang up on me.” He tried to force a smile.

“No of course not.” Ginny answered kissing his cheek.

“Maybe” Adriana replied kissing his other side.

“Women” Harry muttered taking Ginny’s hand. “Let’s get back to the castle before they send out the troops.

Harry was up rather early Sunday morning. He made his way to the sixth floor office where Professor Slughorn worked between classes. He had promised to help a friend and needed a potion to make it work. Harry knew it would be difficult to convince the professor so he knocked on his door early Sunday morning hoping to catch him off guard. He rapped his knuckles on the hardwood door and listened to the sound echo.

Harry could hear Slughorn get out of bed and mumble a few things. He couldn’t make out the words but he didn’t think he wanted to. The door flew open and the professor had a look of pure loathing. “Do you know what time it is? What on Earth could be so bloody important?” His expression softened seeing who was calling at his door. “Oh Harry m’boy sorry for the reaction, you of course are always welcome. Come in come in we’ll have a cup of tea, or coffee if you prefer after your time away.”

“A nice strong cup of tea would be lovely Professor.” Harry smiled at the change. “Would you like me to have my house elf bring us some breakfast as well, he has been working in the kitchens here while I was away.”

“Please do, that sounds nice. And have him bring the tea as well; it will give us a chance to catch up on the past year. I daresay we have not had a conversation about your experiences yet.”

Harry did and soon he and Slughorn were enjoying a small breakfast and a large pot of tea. Harry told the professor about Karolina and her way of teaching a class. Slughorn agreed with Harry that the potions dungeon could use some redesign to improve ventilation. “Perhaps we should’ve addressed that during the castle repairs.” He said staring at nothing in particular. “This conversation has been rather enlightening Harry. It is always wonderful to hear how others do the same task as I do. Thank you as well for having your elf bring us breakfast. It was nice to enjoy it up here and not have to walk down to the Great Hall.”

“My pleasure sir and I appreciate you taking the time to talk with me. I haven’t had any chance to talk to you since I returned, what with exams and no dinner parties to attend.”

“Yes maybe I should plan one for this final week. Although the school is rather crowded I would rather not give the wrong impression. I can think about that but honestly I think it’s time we start our day. I know you’re due down in the Great Hall for an announcement before much longer.”

“You’re absolutely right sir but I did have one favor to ask of you. Well actually it’s for Hermione I really hate to ask since I fear you think I only came for that reason.” There was more truth to this statement than Harry cared to admit. “She wanted me to find out if you had any stores of polyjuice potion. She wants to test and see if someone took the potion with my hair in it if they would have my tattoo as well. Apparently it has never been done and she wants to report the findings.”

“That is a very interesting theory. One I’d be interested in hearing about.” Slughorn seemed excited.

“Well sir if you are providing the potion I’m sure Hermione would allow you to observe the experiment or more likely experiments as Hermione likes to be thorough. Or if your schedule is too full we could prepare an advance copy of the report for you.”

“That would probably be the best course Harry.” Slughorn stood from the table and went to a closet. He pulled out a rather large jar of the grey potion. “The jar has been charmed to keep the potion at the optimal temperature. Hermione just needs to spoon it out and serve it to whatever poor lad volunteers for her experiments. Ron I presume?”

“I believe that is her plan. Thank you Professor, we’ll make sure it’s put to good use and you get a nice report.” Harry smiled and shrank the jar so he could tuck it into his pocket. “Now as you said I have to get to the Great Hall for an announcement.” Harry smiled and left the office. He had been longer than planned so he had to run to make it to the hall in time.

The room was packed with all the extra students and the noise was almost more than Harry could handle. It seemed though that Professor McGonagall was waiting for his arrival because a moment or two after he sat down she stood to address the school. Surprisingly the noise in the hall died almost immediately. It seemed that everyone knew that her announcements were good news these past few weeks.

“I have two brief announcements to make then I will let you get back to this beautiful Sunday. As this is the final week of the term and there are only a few things left to wrap up class and tests I have decided that on Friday there shall be a quidditch match.” Most of the noise returned to the hall rather quickly. A few moments later it died again as the students realized more was to come. “This will not be a traditional match with a team comprised of students from one house. Instead this match will pit teams comprised solely of sixth and seventh year students. One team will be fielded by Hogwarts the other by Amazonis.” A cheer rose from the students in excitement and this time took longer to quiet. “These teams will be captained by one student from each school, Mr. Potter has graciously volunteered to captain the Hogwarts team and forego playing himself.” The crowd was more subdued this time and there was quite a bit of disappointment from those who had never seen him fly in person. “The Amazonis’ team will be captained by Mr. Henrique Ferreira.” Harry smiled as his friend stood and gave a little wave. His classmates were incredibly excited. Henrique was one of the best strategists in either school. “Finally in preparation for the graduation ball next Saturday will include one final trip to Hogsmeade. Older students please remember you will be leaving early Sunday and not to put off your packing. Now have a great day.”

She sat down and the students finished eating and gradually left the room. Harry waited until he saw Draco get up to leave and hurried to catch up to him. “Draco can I talk to you for a moment?” He had made it to the courtyard before Harry could catch him. Harry noticed Celia waiting by the doors looking a little disappointed and he smiled.

“What do you want Potter? I’ve got plans today and would rather not be delayed.”

“I’ll only take a moment and I don’t blame you.” Harry again glanced at Celia trying not to smile too much especially with Draco’s attitude. “As to what I want, I want you to play seeker on Friday.”

Draco’s expression softened. “Why me? I’m not that good.”

Harry sighed a bit. “Yes you actually are. You’re the best seeker in the sixth or seventh year excluding me and Ginny. And I need Ginny to lead the chasers if we’re going to have a chance at winning. I also know you have a broom that’s comparable to what Ana Paula will be riding so you can give her a challenge.”

“Ok Harry. I’ll do it.” Draco hesitated as Harry held out a hand. His arm twitched but he grabbed a hold of Harry’s and tried to let the past go.

“I’ll let you know when we’re going to practice so we can get the team together.” Harry smiled and started back toward the hallway that led to the kitchens. He needed to talk to Kreacher about Winky. He passed many Hufflepuff students on the way and greeted them as he passed. He came to the large picture with a bowl of fruit and tickled the pear just as Adriana came up behind him.

“Hey where we going?” She said putting her arms around his waist. Harry knew it was innocent flirting but didn’t want any other students to get the wrong idea.

“Down to the kitchens, I need to have a discussion with Kreacher, my house elf.” Harry replied pulling open the portrait.

“Awesome let’s go.” Adriana slid past him and through the portrait. Harry followed her but nearly ran into her back as looked over the room that was the size of the Great Hall directly above it.

Before she could resist multiple elves were seating her at a table and giving her treats. Harry couldn’t resist taking a piece of his favorite tart while searching for Kreacher. He knew he could have summoned the elf but he wanted to address Kreacher as an equal. Finally Harry found him scrubbing a brass pot so large that if it was turned over the elf could stand up inside of it without touching the bottom.

“Kreacher just the elf I wanted to see.”

“Oh master I didn’t hear you. You must think I am a horrible servant.” Kreacher bowed low and dropped the scrub pad.

“No Kreacher you are wonderful and that is something I wish to discuss with you. Would you rather continue cleaning or sit down for a moment?”

Kreacher looked thoughtful then gave the pad to another elf. “Hogwarts is not truly my home. I am mostly helping where needed but am not always needed. I am ready to return to the house of Potter.”

“That is less than a week away Kreacher. Tell me though did the Black family only have one house elf? It seems a pretty big place to handle the cooking and cleaning chores especially for a big family.”

“We used to have more. Slowly they died off and it became difficult to find replacements. It will be difficult to cook and clean with you bringing guests to the house but Kreacher will manage.”

“Kreacher we never properly discussed what you’d like as a present for the house remodel. Would a companion and co-worker to keep you company at the house be acceptable?”

Kreacher looked thoughtful and understandably concerned. “You’re not trying to replace Kreacher for something bad?”

“No Kreacher I trust you and I want you to take care of my house, but I don’t want you to hurt yourself in the process. In a way it would almost be a promotion since you’d be the head elf.” Harry looked at Kreacher’s large bluish eyes.

Kreacher smiled a bit at the new title. “Did you have an elf in mind?”

“I have spoken with Professor McGonagall. We both believe Winky would be happier serving in a house where she feels needed and appreciated. However, you would have to approve.”

Kreacher actually smiled a bit. “I think you are a kind and just master. We shall tell her at once and give her the week to sober up. If she can manage then I agree.”

Harry nodded his agreement to Kreacher’s plan. “Winky! He called and before long the elf came stumbling up to him.

“Yes Mister Potter?”

“Winky from now on you will be addressing him as Master.” Kreacher spoke up rather commandingly. “Kreacher is the head elf for the Potter home. We would like you to work with us. This is contingent on you getting and staying sober. I will not have a drunken elf in my house.”

Winky started to sob and Harry swore Kreacher had gone too far until she wrapped her arms around his leg. Thank you so much Master. I will be a good elf to you.”

Harry smiled and patted her back. He gave a brief nod to Kreacher. “I will have a find tea towel made for you like Kreacher wears. For now though listen to him and clean yourself up. Be prepared to leave the castle Sunday morning.”

Harry stood and separated the elf from his leg. Winky was smiling brightly and already seemed changed. Suddenly Adriana came over and hugged Harry tightly. “That was a very sweet thing you did. I know you wouldn’t take an elf unless it was to help them out.”

“Thanks, now I have to plan some quidditch practices and spend some time making a strategy. Henrique is smart he’ll be hard to beat.” Harry smiled going over the plans as he left the kitchens. He let Adriana out through the portrait first then walked through the hall back toward the castle entrance beside her. Adriana like Henrique marveled at the castle features and Harry walked with her for quite a while rather than return to his room on the third floor.

It was close to noon once they had walked through most of the castle. Harry decided his planning could wait a little while longer and they walked toward the Great Hall for lunch. They had just toured the trophy room with Adriana taking time to look for Harry’s individual awards when they made their way toward the staircases. Adriana had been talking about how much she was enjoying the chance to see Harry’s school when her words were cut off. This followed a second later by a scream.

Harry turned to look at Adriana and discovered bats were attacking her face. He couldn’t believe the site. “Ginny! Why did you do that? I know that was your hex.” He screamed to the staircase. Many students were on their way to lunch and looked over the railings.

“I’m just staking my claim. I’m reminding Adriana that you’re mine.” Ginny smirked from the next landing down. Harry was amazed he hadn’t noticed her there before.

“Ginny I told you I would never do anything to stand between you and Harry.” Adriana cried as she finally succeeded in removing some of the bats.

“Yet as soon as you think you’re out of my site you can’t keep your hands off him.” Ginny growled.

“Ginny you can’t let jealousy control you. Just like I can’t, you’re going to be a famous quidditch star with many guys wanting to get to know you and spend time with you.” Harry had already been warned about this from Gwen and knew what both of them were facing. “If I got jealous of every guy who smiled at you or wanted to hug you or take a picture with you I’d curse most of England and probably half the wizards in Europe.”

“Well then maybe I shouldn’t add that stress for you.” Ginny turned and stormed away.

“What in bloody hell do you mean by that?”

“Figure it out for yourself. But if you’re going to continue hanging out with her, maybe we shouldn’t spend time together.”

“Fine if that’s how you feel, but you’re still chasing for Hogwarts on Friday so you better be comfortable listening to my directions.”

Ginny made a rude gesture at Harry and then disappeared down the staircases. Harry wanted to follow but knew better than to further provoke her. Instead he turned his attention to Adriana who was sitting on the stairs with her arms around her knees. He sat on the step next to her and put an arm around her should to comfort her.

“’Arry that’s not a good idea, I truly don’t want to come between you and Ginny. She shrugged the arm off and stood. “I’m sorry.” She made her way up the staircase without another word. Harry sat for a while pondering what had happened.

Outside of quidditch practice very few people saw Harry the next few days. The exception was when he helped Hermione with the polyjuice potion experiment. However he only agreed after assurances that Hermione wouldn’t use the opportunity to try and bring them back together. Adriana and Ginny were avoiding most people as well. Hermione and Mariana tried to talk with the girls both together and separately but no progress was made. Nobody seemed to understand what exactly had happened but rumors were buzzing around the school.

Ron and Henrique were beyond confused. They told Hermione about what had happened in Professor McGonagall’s office and afterward. The last they saw the girls were getting along and having a good time. Ron told his friends that Harry hadn’t been sleeping in their dorm. His bed was untouched every morning. At one point Hermione became so worried she talked to Professor McGonagall and Molly Weasley. Both were worried about the kids but as all were of age there wasn’t anything in particular that could be done. Ron even asked Draco if he had any thoughts but the boy’s attitude had turned sullen in the past few days.

Friday came and the quidditch match was uneventful. Ginny and Harry didn’t speak unless it involved the match and even then it was stiff and overly polite. Harry captained well and his team had amassed a small lead, unfortunately Ana Paula was the better seeker and beat Draco to the snitch. Amazonis won the match though by only a 40 point margin. Most fans from all three schools agreed that Hogwarts would probably win with their team at full strength. Once again after the match Harry disappeared. He wouldn’t be seen again until the following morning as students readied themselves for the trip to Hogsmeade.

OK please don't freak out yet. More will be revealed throughout the course of the next few chapters. I hadn't wanted to post this chapter alone but the next one was taking too long.

Chapter 9: The Graduation Ball
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Students from all three schools were queuing in the entrance hall. There was an excitement in the air. The graduation ball was going to be a lot of fun for the older students. A few of the younger students were upset that they wouldn’t be able to attend and had expressed their disappointment. However at breakfast Professor McGonagall announced that she and Madam Maxine had made arrangements to hold one such occasion annually for sixth and seventh year students. The schools would alternate hosting the event so all students would get a chance to visit the other school. This news disappointed the Hogwarts’ seventh years but not enough to ruin their celebration.

The students were starting to leave the castle in small groups when Harry came down the stairs to the entrance hall. He looked rather upbeat and happy. Henrique did a quick glance around to see if he spotted Ginny but the red-head was nowhere in sight. He breathed a small sigh and laced his fingers through Leticia’s. He studied his friend’s actions as Harry approached a group of younger looking witches.

“Hello Romilda, you look lovely this morning.” Harry said with a smile.

Romilda blushed at the compliment not entirely believing that Harry was talking to her. “Thank you, you look well yourself. We’ve been worried about you since you haven’t been around these past couple of days.”

“No need to worry. I’ve been thinking and doing some soul searching. Would you like to walk down to Hogsmeade with me?” Harry asked rather abruptly and directed her toward the door paying no attention to the stares he was receiving, although Romilda was very aware of the ones coming her way. “That is if your boyfriend doesn’t mind.” Harry added almost as an afterthought.

“He doesn’t, I mean I don’t have a boyfriend.” She blushed at her mistake. Harry didn’t seem to notice as they left the castle, after a thoroughly unnecessary search by Filch, and started down the well-worn path. “So any particular reason you wanted to walk with me.”

“I wanted to talk to you. In all the craziness of these past few years I never got the chance to meet as many of the Gryffindors as I would like.”

Romilda couldn’t believe her luck. Harry was spending time with her going to Hogsmeade. If she could swing it maybe she could get an invite to the ball tonight. Otherwise she wouldn’t be able to go since she repeated her O.W.L. year rather than trying to take them after the horrible teaching the previous year.

Harry smiled lightly as Romilda wove her arm through his as they walked. They walked through the gates and passed a black stone that Harry recognized. He remembered it from the walks since he returned from Amazonis. Today like all the other trips it made him feel funny whenever he passed it. He was sure Ginny had noticed it last week but she never mentioned it so he didn’t want to bring it up.

“You ok Harry? You just sort of shivered.” Unfortunately for him Romilda was bolder about personal things.

“I’m fine just a chill ran up my arm.”

They continued walking through town and Harry went to get some sweets at Honeyduke’s. He avoided George’s store not wanting to explain why he was walking with someone other than Ginny. After a while they got hungry and Harry suggested The Three Broomsticks. Romilda declined she couldn’t help but notice how everybody seemed angry at her. No matter what school they were from and even people in town glared wherever they went.

“I think I’d just rather go back up to the castle. I have to pack up and get ready for the trip home tomorrow.”

“Oh I figured you’d want to get ready for the ball.” Harry said rather glumly.

“I’m still a fifth year Harry. I didn’t think I could take my O.W.L.s with the Carrow’s lessons. And nobody in the sixth or seventh years asked me to go.”

“Well I’m sorry to hear that. It’s been a rather nice day. If you have a suitable outfit you could come with me. I wasn’t even planning on going after this week but I think people would be upset if I didn’t.”

Romilda’s heart leapt. She had been hoping for this since Harry had asked her to go to Hogsmeade with him. She was sure the night would be tough to get through with the other student’s feelings but she didn’t care. She had one chance with Harry before he left Hogwarts and she was going to take it. If she worked things properly he would be all hers for the summer and beyond.

“I think I can find something to wear tonight. We should probably head back to the school though. I’ll need to start getting my packing done now.” She tried to look pensive and thoughtful. In reality she had the perfect dress. “I’ll just grab some lunch from the Great Hall and head to Gryffindor Tower.” She didn’t trust herself to sit still close to him so she wanted to get away and relax before she had to start planning.

After the walk back to the school and the usual inspection by Filch Harry sat and enjoyed a small lunch in the practically deserted Great Hall. Everyone else was still at Hogsmeade. At least the students were. Many of the teachers had entered the hall since. He noticed that Professor Flitwick was amongst them and Harry had a question burning his mind.

Without thinking about it Harry approached the head table ignoring the glances from the professors. He knew some of them were upset with him but he wouldn’t let that temper his curiosity. “Professor Flitwick do you think you could answer a question about some charms.”

The short professor was caught off guard by the sudden question but nodded. He gestured to the empty chair to his right. Professor Trelawney usually sat there but Harry hadn’t seen her since his return. “What questions did you have Mr. Potter?”

“Mostly I was wondering if an object could be charmed to have an effect on one specific person.”

Flitwick took a spoonful of his soup and pondered the question. “It is possible though it would usually involve layering a few specific charms in the right order and strength. It would not be easy to do and would be very easy to get wrong.” Looking over Harry he continued. “Do you feel like you’ve been affected by a charm in some way?”

“Not directly no, now that you’ve answered my first question. But whenever I make the trip to Hogsmeade I feel a bit unusual when passing a point about 50 feet beyond the gates. Nobody else seems to be affected by it when we walk by thus my curiosity.”

“That is rather curious situation. When did you first notice this?”

“It’s happened to me every time I’ve gone through the area since arriving back in the country. “ Harry was trying his best to describe the situation.

“Mr. Potter does this happen to occur whenever you pass a shiny black stone next to the path.” Professor McGonagall asked from the other side of Professor Flitwick. She seemed to be trying hard not to blurt out some secret.

“Yes Professor it does. Is there something special about that stone?”

“The stone is very special. It is the only thing that stands out when looking from my office and over the grounds towards Hogsmeade. As such that is how far out I extend the school’s wards. After the attack I thought it would be foolish to leave them at the gate which is obvious.”

“Professor, are you saying that I’m feeling the wards of the school without any sort of tools.”

“I know you know it’s possible. That would certainly be my guess. It happens to me as well, although I always attributed it to my bond with the castle.” The Headmistress seemed rather pensive. “Why don’t we do a little testing tomorrow on the way to the platform? The three of us can leave a little before the others.”

“Sure professor I would appreciate that. Now I’m going to enjoy my lunch and get ready for the party tonight.”

“Speaking of which Mr. Potter, are you sure you know what you’re doing with Ms. Vane?” She was deadly serious. “We all know of her history with you and your friends.”

“Professor I appreciate your concern. But trust that I know what I’m doing.”

Harry left the head table and made his way to sit back down at the Gryffindor one. The Great Hall was significantly fuller now though it was almost exclusively young wizards. Harry wasn’t surprised as the witches would be getting ready for the ball. He was about to sit when Hermione interrupted him.

“Oh no you don’t mister,” She grabbed his arm and pulled him along. “You’re needed in our common room.”

“Hermione if this is about this morning I’m not going to explain myself to you.” Harry was rather angry at her attitude.

“I am upset over that but I trust you to do what’s right for you… and Ginny.” She added after a moment. “However right now there are about forty witches in our common room that want their hair done.” She smiled as he stopped struggling and started to walk with her.

“Forty huh, that would mean our seventh years plus some of the sixth years or some of the girls from other schools.” Harry seemed a little stumped. “I think we’re going to have to do some planning.” Hermione smiled at his determined look as they arrived at the portrait that blocked their common room. There was no password the portrait of the Hogwarts crest knew every person who should be living in the dorms beyond and allowed only them or their guests.

Harry was shocked to see all the girls chatting and discussing their clothes for the evening. He could hear conversations in French, English and Portuguese. Most of the girls were wearing dressing gowns so they wouldn’t have to pull clothes over their heads afterward. Unfortunately some of the girls were wearing less and Harry couldn’t help but be a little embarrassed.

“Um Hermione?” He blushed and turned back toward the portrait they had just come through.

She looked at him then comprehension dawned on her. “Oh right.” She put two fingers in her mouth and whistled loudly. All the conversations stopped immediately. “Ladies there is a man present so please make yourself decent so he can help. Also if you have any pictures of how you would like your hair done please have those handy.” There was a bit of rustling before Hermione let Harry know he could turn around.

Harry wasn’t sure why he had been roped into this since any seventh year should be able to do the transfiguration that was required. He thought maybe the girls would want to brag that Harry had helped them get ready for the dance. Maybe tell their kids and grand kids about how wonderful the evening was. He didn’t linger on these thoughts as Hermione directed him to a corner of the room. Someone had conjured a barber chair as well as a couple of mirrors in the corners. Harry was surprised to find Fleur already seated in the chair.

“Fleur it is great to see you again. But I’m afraid there is not much I can do to make a half-veela more beautiful.” Harry greeted the French witch and kissed her cheeks lightly.

“That may be true but your magic is very strong so you can give my hair a style that should hold all night.” She smiled at him and Harry was surprised to find he was unaffected. He could tell she had used her charms because some of the girls were infatuated. “Besides, I have a picture of what I want done.” Fleur produced a picture that Harry recognized. It was one of her, Viktor, Cedric and Harry standing together. Harry recognized it from the Yule ball. They looked so different now. Viktor and Fleur had matured had had more defined features than four years prior. Harry of course had grown into a man. Harry was a little saddened seeing Cedric but Fleur patted his arm and brought him out of his stupor.

“This I can do no problem. Also I need a copy of this picture.” Harry studied the picture as it moved and Fleur waved to him. He gave it nearly a minute to see as many angles as possible and get the image in his head. Finally he set the picture down and waved a wand of Fleur’s silvery blonde hair. The hair curled and bunched around the back of Fleur’s head. It was a simple design but it pulled her hair up to keep from being overly warm in the early summer weather.

“Perfect thank you ‘Arry.” She stood to leave.

“No sit I have a something I wish to ask you.” Harry conjured a chair nearby. Fleur sat and Harry started looking over another picture. He had been thinking about a situation and knew she could handle his request.
“Do you think you’ll ever return to work at Gringotts?” He asked still studying the photo. “I know you enjoyed it and improving your English but with Victoire at home I’m sure you would rather be there.”

“You’re right on all accounts ‘Arry. Ideally I’d enjoy a job where I could do most of the work from home or a private office where I can teach Victoire in my spare time. We don’t need me to work Bill makes plenty of money but I do go crazy at home at times.” She looked up at Harry and smiled. “It would be difficult to find something that suits my needs with Gringotts.”

Harry waved his wand over Natalia’s hair, he had been studying pictures from her 17th birthday celebration, and then turned back to Fleur while Hannah Abbot sat down. He wasn’t sure what to say to her so he took a few seconds to do Hannah’s hair as well. He simply replicated the look from the magic demonstration. “Fleur I want you to come work for me. I figure I could match what Gringotts was paying you.” Harry said bluntly causing most of the girls nearby to stare at him.

“’Arry that is a generous offer but what would I do?” Fleur was stunned. “What skills do I have that you could use.”

“You remember taking me to Gringotts before I left for Brazil.” She nodded as Harry waved his wand over the brown hair of a Beauxbatons student he didn’t know. She had provided some great pictures though so he barely had to concentrate. “Well I set up a charitable foundation that a large portion of Riddle’s money has been flowing into.”
“What about it ‘Arry?” Fleur was still too shocked to think.
“I need someone to manage it. Make investments so the fund doesn’t run dry, determine the payouts to those in need.” Harry didn’t notice the girls listening to his story. “I figure you could do that from Shell Cottage or if you think it’s necessary from an office at Diagon Alley. I’m sure Molly would be willing to help if needed.”

“Oh ‘Arry that would be wonderful, I can keep busy and keep Victoire with me. When do you want to start?”

“Once we get back from Australia. That’s our next step.” Fleur nodded.

“What’s in Australia ‘Arry?” Celia asked taking her seat in the chair. Harry nodded to Hermione as he looked over the picture Celia provided. Her hair was slightly above her shoulder and Harry wasn’t sure he could do too much with it.
Hermione told the others what she had done to her parents in order to keep them safe. Quite a few of the girls had tears at the edge of their eyes that they were trying to wipe without affecting their makeup.

Harry was discussing plans with Celia throughout the story. She admitted that she had strong feelings for Draco and really wanted to impress tonight. Finally after some work Harry was able to use a charm to make her hair shine and slightly lightened the color of it. Harry then was able to add some subtle curls that framed her face and gave her a sophisticated look. She gave Harry a kiss on the cheek before leaving the chair. For a moment nobody moved and it was then some of the boys started to arrive back from their time in Hogsmeade.

“I feel like I’ve died and gone to heaven.” Seamus said loudly from the entrance to the common room.

“All of you get out.” Pansy threw a pillow at the boys.
“Right we don’t want to ruin the surprise. Go down to the Great Hall and Harry will let you know once we’ve cleared out.” Hermione pushed Ron and the others out the portrait hole.

“Hey how come Harry gets to stay?” Ron tried to protest as he got shoved out of the portrait.

“Ron he’s doing our hair and it’s been the only chance I’ve had to talk to him about Ginny.” She whispered to her boyfriend.

“Right he won’t say anything with me there for sure.” Ron kissed Hermione. “That is great thinking I’ll make sure you guys aren’t interrupted.”

Hermione returned to the common room that was rapidly starting to empty. The Hogwarts’ seventh years would head to their dorms once Harry had helped them with their hair and small groups of the other students would leave as well. It wasn’t much longer and only a few of the girls were still sitting around talking quietly.

Harry had finished in what he thought was impressive time for the amount of magic he had to do. He was feeling a little drained from putting so much effort into the spells. He wanted to make sure nothing tragic happened during the party to disrupt anyone’s time. Finally he took a seat in the chair himself and took a moment to breathe and relax.
“So does this mean it’s our turn?” Harry looked into the mirror to see Mariana standing behind him. Hermione was standing next to her. Mariana had her wand out and was examining the back of Harry’s head. Conversely Hermione was standing unnaturally stiff and looked rather cross.

He sighed as Mariana walked around to examine the front of his hair. “Out with it Hermione, don’t hold back.”

She crossed her arms defiantly though Harry could no longer see her reflection. “Why did you do it Harry?” Harry could feel the hurt and betrayal in her voice.

“What did I do Hermione?”

“You asked Romilda to the ball tonight. I mean if you’re not with Ginny I understand but you asked the girl who caused Ron to be poisoned.” Hermione sniffed at the memory.
“She did what? And you asked her to the ball.” Mariana grabbed a handful of Harry’s shortened hair and pulled his head up to look at her.

“Ouch that hurts.” He smacked her hand away. He stood from the chair and stormed toward the portrait hole. “After everything I have been through do you really feel a need to judge my life choices and what I’m doing for my happiness?” He walked through the portrait hole and it closed behind him without a touch.

“Oh Merlin Hermione what did I do?” Mariana slumped onto a couch in tears. She felt horrible for her actions and hurting Harry again.

“You mean what did we do?” Hermione sighed putting an arm around the other girl. “Curse him for making us care so much. I guess all we can do is try to have fun tonight and at some point try to talk to Adriana and Ginny again. I doubt they’ll even be there. I just don’t think Harry could be happy with anyone other than Ginny ever again.” Hermione admitted before leaving the common room to get dressed.
Mariana stood to leave and Natalia took her arm. The girls from Harry’s house and year in Brazil were the only ones who were still there. “Come on, we should talk.”

Romilda wore a dress that was between pink and red. She had gotten it as a Christmas present the previous year. Her parents though it would cheer her up since she had been having some problems adjusting to repeating the fifth year. Most of her friends were doing the same and she enjoyed their company but school just wasn’t the same. It wasn’t until Harry returned that she realized how much his energy fed the entire populace.

She thought she had gotten over Harry during the two years he hadn’t been at school. But she had never realized how much the rest of the school craved his presence. And then when he suddenly returned she got so caught up that she wanted him bad. Now was her chance and she was going to use all of her abilities to make him see it. She slipped a tiny potion vial into her dress knowing she would use it if the opportunity presented itself.

Romilda walked through the castle alone not wanting to talk to anyone. She was scared but she focused on the task at hand. She would prove to Harry that she was the one for him. This night could change her life forever and she wouldn’t let anything ruin it. She stopped as she looked down the final flight of stairs at the entrance hall. Harry was standing casually by the banister but not looking up at her. Instead he was conversing with some of the students from Amazonis.

“Good evening Harry.” She said trying to be polite. She couldn’t help but be nervous she had never been around the foreign students much.

“Ahh Romilda, how nice of you to join us. You look lovely tonight.” Harry smiled and surprisingly gave her a light hug. “This is my friend Henrique and his girlfriend Leticia.”

Romilda was surprised when the curly-haired wizard kissed her lightly on each cheek and the witch gave her a hug as well. Although she noticed there was no hint of a smile on Leticia’s face. In fact it looked as if she would like to curse Romilda rather than hug her.

She tried her best to ignore the uneasy feelings and took Harry’s hand as he stood talking. She was amazed by the ease that Harry transitioned from English to Portuguese as he spoke with different people, although he seemed to have a bit of an accent on his English pronunciation.

After an agonizingly long time in which Romilda tried to avoid any interaction with other people the Great Hall doors opened and the students were allowed in. Having not been to the Yule ball the year of the tri-wizard tournament Romilda was amazed at the transformation of the room. It was decorated in spring colors that were muted to suite the formal environment. Three banners hung along the back wall, each sporting a crest of one of the schools that was in attendance.

Chaperones were placed around the room at various tables many were people who had recently graduated. She saw Bill Weasley and his wife Fleur talking with another French couple. Fleur and the other man seemed to be having a rather excited discussion. Harry led her to a table fairly close to the dance floor and sat down. She hadn’t seen Ginny or Adriana and was more than a little surprised that they would skip such a party.

The table filled with a mix of people many of which seemed to rush to sit at the same table as them. Well not her as much as Harry. In fact nobody sat next to her. The seat remained empty as one of the Amazonis’ girls who came without a date took the seat two spots down. Finally the seat was taken but it was by none other the Amazonis’ professor who had traveled with the students.

“I hope you don’t mind me joining you for dinner the seats filled up rather quickly.” Camilla said with a slight smile to the group.

“Not at all Professor, we are celebrating entering a new point in our lives and would enjoy a little insight. Most of us don’t know what to expect.” The girl on the professor’s right spoke up. Harry had introduced her as Natalia.

“Well I can certainly answer some questions but let’s enjoy our lovely dinner first.”

Everyone started to order off the menu that was placed on top of their plate. Romilda was surprised to find a number of the beverages were alcoholic. Although when she tried to order one nothing happened.

“Professor McGongall is very skilled. You can’t order the alcoholic drinks if you’re under seventeen.” Camilla had leaned over and explained.

“It was more a curiosity thing than anything else. I’ve never really had a drink before.”

“How old are you Romilda?”

“I just turned sixteen.” She was old for a fifth year student thanks to the Carrows but was young for her class since very few had taken the O.W.L.s in the summer.

“Then have a small glass of my wine.” She shrank her goblet to a smaller size and passed it to Romilda taking the girl’s larger glass and filling it for herself.

Romilda tasted the red liquid. It was fruity and not too sweet. She definitely preferred butterbeer and ordered one of those instead. Camilla chuckled at the girl’s reaction and began to eat her tenderloin meal. “It’s not for everyone but it does grow on you as you get older.”

Dinner passed rather quickly and conversation returned to the future. “So next steps, tomorrow your test scores will be waiting for you when you return home and soon after job offers will be coming in. The transition from student to employee living on their own is the hardest on muggle-born students. ” Camilla explained to the students. “Many employers factor that in and give an advance or a signing bonus. If you are hired by a Ministry they have transitional housing for that purpose. And some professions such as Aurors have training academies that people live at while training. In fact the Ministries have received your grades already and interested departments will begin recruiting recent graduates. Your ministry here ‘Arry is particularly desperate and has been recruiting anyone they possibly can including wizards graduating from schools in other parts of the world. Kingsley has resisted the urge to lower the hiring standards to fill the positions though. That will help insure that the Ministry can still be effective.”

Harry nodded but Justin spoke up from the other side of the table. “What about employers outside of the Ministry. The bank employs wizards and the shops at Diagon Alley.”

“Those businesses usually work through family connections and word of mouth. It’s definitely possible that your achievements will garner some attention, not just here but all over the world.” Camilla did her best to explain.

“So muggle-borns could have some difficulty finding employment if not for the ministry.” Justin seemed a bit put out by the realization.

“Unfortunately that can be the case at times. Some businesses advertise in the paper but more often than not word of mouth is how things get passed. Maybe your generation will be the ones to change things.” Camilla was diplomatic and before long any extra food disappeared along with their plates. “I guess that is the sign for the true fun to begin.” She excused herself and made her way to a corner of the room and stood with Professor Woodbridge.

Music filled the room as a relatively unknown band took the stage. Professor Long had recommended the group to the Headmistress and explained the ball was a good chance to give young musical groups exposure. The headmistress agreed and Professor Long reasoned that within a few years playing the graduation ball would be a big step to success for many unknown groups.

Students started to mingle between their tables and a few couples made their way to the dance floor. Ron and Hermione were among the first as the group started with a slow song. Soon after Neville and Hannah took a spot on the floor and Neville held her close.

“Would you like to dance Harry?” Romilda asked getting her hopes up.

“Not yet. At the moment I just want to enjoy the evening and music.” He smiled lightly. “Would you get me a butterbeer from the table?”

Romilda smiled and left to get the drinks. Dinner had just finished so nobody else was near the table. With a quick glance to make sure she wasn’t being watched, she took the small potion bottle from her dress and poured it into Harry’s drink. She wasn’t going to let anything ruin her chance.

She returned to the group that was still mingling at the edge of the dance floor even though more couples had joined. She passed Harry the bottle without looking at him worried that her expression would betray her intentions. Although she watched out of the corner of her eye as he put the bottle to his lips to take a drink.

“Adriana don’t drink that.” Harry’s voice commanded from behind them. Romilda turned and was stunned to see Harry and Ginny standing with Bill and Fleur. They were wearing the outfits she had seen on the couple talking with the older pair earlier. “Professor Slughorn would you please take that bottle and test it, I think you will find it has been laced with a love potion.”

Nobody moved, in fact everybody was too busy looking at Harry standing with Bill and the Harry standing with Romilda. The Harry standing with Bill and Ginny nodded his head to the other and the one with the butterbeer handed it to Professor Slughorn. Shortly afterward his skin started to bubble and a few painful seconds later Adriana stood where the 2nd Harry had been.

“I can see you put the polyjuice potion to use Harry.” Slughorn studied him suspiciously.

“We did sir. But not before we conducted the experiment we told you about. Here Adriana let me help you with those robes they look so much better on me than you.” He waved his wand over the girls head and the robes changed to a lovely blue dress. “Thanks for your help.” He kissed her cheek before turning his attention to Romilda.

Romilda had tried to back away but found she was stuck to the floor. Before Harry could say anything to her through the Headmistress’s voice cut through the room. “Since this afternoon you assured me that you knew what you were doing, Mr. Potter I believe you have some explaining to do.”

“I’m not the only one Professor. But I will gladly explain my actions. Would you rather speak privately or have everyone hear it, it is not personal.”

“Be that as it may I think it would be best to speak in private. Tyler will you accompany us to the entrance hall? And Ms. Weasley you can release Ms. Vane. She will be accompanying us as well” Ginny released the binding spell on Romilda as the others started toward the door. Professor Woodbridge walked behind the group. He closed the doors behind them as Professor McGonagall studied Harry. Her eyes narrowed as she looked him over waiting for an explanation.

“This all started with the magazine article in witch weekly. Thanks to some help from Dennis Creevy and some slight memory charm I discovered that Romilda had stolen the photos Dennis had taken during the magic demonstration and then poisoned him to forget the encounter. I have no doubt Romilda was the unnamed source who talked bad about Ginny and her family.

“Is this true Ms. Vane?” Professor McGonagall intervened. After Romilda remained silent except for looking at her shoes the headmistress continued. “Since you have nothing to say in your defense I can only assume that Mr. Potter is speaking the truth however it doesn’t explain why you went through an elaborate ruse to trick the school into thinking you and Ginny were broken up.”

“Professor if I had brought the story to you in the beginning the only option would be for Romilda to be arrested and taken away for trial. As much as I despise her actions I would rather not see her in chains. So now you can punish her for possession of an unapproved potion and give her some sort of summer detention.” Harry genuinely hoped she would learn her lesson. “I think this should be her last warning though.”

“You’re right Harry.” It was Professor Woodbridge who spoke. “If her actions against Dennis are as you described, and then made public, she would be looking at time maybe in jail or at least confined to her house. Now as long as Adriana decides not to pursue charges of attempted poisoning we have a rather minimal issue best handled by the Headmistress.”

Professor McGongall nodded and gave Harry the slightest nod indicating she felt he had made the right move. “I will speak with Adriana but I daresay that Harry has already insured she will not want any charges brought up.” Harry winked at the headmistress and tried not to smile. “Ms. Vane please return to your common room. We will meet this summer to discuss an appropriate punishment. I would like you to think of what that might be.”

Romilda nodded and turned to leave the room. She saw now that there was no longer hatred but mostly pity. Harry met her at the stairs and spoke quietly.

“Romilda I’m sorry to have tricked you like that. However I didn’t want you to get into serious trouble and I hope you will realize how lucky you are to get by with a slight embarrassment.”

Tears filled her eyes and she nodded. “Thank you for looking out for my future even if it did hurt my feelings. I am strong enough to move on.” Harry and the two professors returned through the doors to find Ron and Hermione waiting. Neither of them looked pleased with the evening’s events.

“You let us believe for an entire week that you two had had a huge row.” Hermione spoke. It was obvious Ron didn’t trust himself to. “Neither of you were seen where were you?”

“The room of requirements, we were enjoying the hospitality of the Amazonis’ seventh years and they were telling me about Harry’s adventures.” Ginny said rather nonchalantly, she joined Harry by the door and wrapped an arm protectively around his waist.

Hermione looked at Henrique incredulously. He put up his hands innocently. “Don’t blame me. I’m not going to get in front of Ginny, Adriana and ‘Arry. Although I wish they would have let us tell Mariana and Leticia. Those two have been going crazy.”

Harry rubbed a hand over his head where Mariana had pulled his hair earlier. “Don’t remind me.” He smiled and with that joke the tension broke and the room returned to its festive environment. Harry approached Professor Slughorn who looked rather upset. “Professor here is the remaining potion. Believe it or not we did use it for the experiment I told you about. Though it was actually more my idea than Hermione’s. You will receive a copy of our report and I’m sorry that I tricked you into assisting our plans.” He returned the mostly full jar of potion to the professor who smiled a little bit.

“It’s not the first time m’boy. And since you were doing something to the benefit of another I cannot find too much fault.” Harry smiled and gave the portly professor a warm hug. “Thank you for everything sir. You really made a difference even if you didn’t realize it at the time.” Slughorn regarded Harry’s words and simply nodded.

“Blimey Harry are your school events always so interesting.” A voice from Harry’s past sounded behind him.
Harry turned to see his cousin standing with a Ravenclaw student from his year. He was wearing a very fashionable black tuxedo with a blue vest and tie to match the girl’s dress. Dudley was even more fit than Harry remembered and seemed to be taking good care of himself. Harry couldn’t resist the urge and pulled him into a large hug.

“Dudley I wondered when you would be making an appearance. Hiding out were you?” Dudley smiled a bit.

“Not really. I had so many questions about the castle that Lisa was finally able to get me to shut up for a few minutes so we could come over.” Dudley gestured to the brown haired witch who stood to his left.

Lisa Turpin was an atypical Ravenclaw, not that she wasn’t exceptionally bright but that she rarely spoke or answered questions in class. Harry had never interacted with her much except for declining an invite from her to the Yule Ball in their 4th year. “So Lisa you’re the witch who has stolen my cousin’s heart.” The girl blushed at the comment and remained quiet. “How did you two meet and what do your parents think of this Dudley?” Harry was genuinely happy for his cousin but he worried what his uncle may do.

“We met in hiding two years ago.” Lisa answered for him. “My family was hidden in the same building as your cousin. His dad didn’t want anything to do with me but Dudley was curious so we talked and became friends and then eventually more.” Lisa took Dudley’s hand and kissed him lightly on the cheek.

“As for mum and dad well mum’s thrilled that I found someone who makes me happy. She divorced dad last year after the trip to Massachusetts. She realized how horrible they had been to you and how serious I was about Lisa. It wasn’t just some fling and if she was going to be in my life she was going to have to accept your world.”

“So you understand any children you could have will most likely be like us?” Ginny could hardly believe what she was hearing. She had heard the rumors when Lisa had turned down requests from other students but was just as surprised as Harry. Dudley played prominently in Harry’s past and it wasn’t usually good.

Dudley nodded his response. “Part of the reason the Headmistress allowed me to attend tonight is so I might get a better idea of your world.”

“I’m happy for you Dudley; do you have any plans for your future career?” Harry and Ginny made their way to the dance floor while talking with Dudley and Lisa. Both couples shared a dance while talking.

“I am going to the policing college. I want to do some good in the world like you talked about.” If Harry had been surprised before it was nothing compared to how he felt now.

“That is very noble.” Ginny replied; holding onto Harry as they danced nearby still talking. “And tomorrow Lisa will have her final exam scores and will no doubt be recruited by the Ministry. She is after all one of those clever Ravenclaws.”

The group shared a laugh and Harry focused on enjoying the dance with Ginny. He had spent a week pretending to be fighting and even though they could be themselves when in the room of requirement he had hated it. Ron and Hermione joined the dance as well.

After a few dances Bill came over to the group. “Mum is throwing a party tomorrow night. She wants to celebrate your grades and finishing school before you leave again. You’re all expected to be there including Dudley and Lisa. She insists that you attend before settling in at Grimmauld Place.”

They all nodded and Bill left them alone. He wasn’t much older than the group and remembered all too well how embarrassing family could be at the wrong time. “We’ll need to tell Mariana and a few others about the party and I need to be up early to meet with Professor McGonagall one last time.”

This announcement was news to Ginny but she didn’t press Harry about it. She knew eventually he would tell her about it. He had told her everything about his year on the run and his year away and hadn’t kept anything secret that she knew of.

After a few more dances, Adriana approached Ginny and asked to steal a dance with Harry. With the ruse they had worked during the week she hadn’t had a chance to find a date. Ginny truly didn’t mind and took a moment to dance with Dudley while Lisa sat for a few moments talking with some friends.

As midnight approached and people started to leave Harry and Ginny took the task of inviting people to the burrow. Mariana was invited along with Bruno, Henrique and Leticia. Ginny of course invited Adriana and Draco and Pansy since they would be staying at Grimmauld place as well. Draco was hesitant at first but agreed when Celia insisted on it.
The night ended well and Ginny left Harry at the portrait in the third floor hallway. She made her way to Gryffindor tower alone knowing that they both needed to ready for the trip home.

After changing into his bed clothes and magically packing his trunk, Harry settled into his four-poster bed for the first time in a week and for the last time ever. There was no talking as the others did the same. All of them had memories that were swirling around in their heads. Only Neville had thoughts and plans to return to the school in the near future. They would all miss the school but it was so much more so for Harry. Hogwarts had been his home and the place he loved the most ever since he first arrived. Now he was moving on and it was time to let go and begin his life as an adult with Ginny. With her on his mind he drifted off to an easy sleep.

Harry was jostled awake what seemed like only moments later. His scar burned but not in a painful manner. In fact the feeling was almost pleasurable. Almost as quickly as it appeared it was gone. He looked around the room and most of the curtains were closed. Only Draco’s bed was unoccupied. Harry sighed and went back to sleep understanding what he must do.

A/N: OK so it was only one chapter and the fight wasn't real. Hope you all enjoyed this so far.

Chapter 10: The Black Rock and Leaving Hogwarts
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A/N: In my story I have tried to stick with canon as much as possible. In this chapter there are a few deviations from the established story but I had already laid the base of the tale in the first story.

Harry was awake shortly after the sun was up. Even though it had been a late night he was excited about the morning’s activities. The students would be leaving between eight thirty and nine to reach the train. That was earlier than normal but with the extra students the time was needed to get everyone settled. He sent a patronus message to Ginny letting her know to meet him for breakfast and be ready to leave at eight. That would give them an extra half hour to experiment with the school’s boundaries before heading home.

After a shower and shave Harry dressed in a comfortable pair of shorts and a loose shirt. He packed his bed clothes in his trunk along with Fawkes’ perch. “Go enjoy the day. We’ll settle in at home tonight.” The phoenix apparated out of the room, which had no real windows. Once he was satisfied that everything was tucked away he called for his elves. “Kreacher, Winky.” He tried to keep his voice low to not disturb the others who were still asleep.

The elves arrived with low pops and bowed deeply. Harry was glad to see that Winky was doing much better than the previous week. She wore a plain red tea towel now and it was impeccably clean. Her legs no longer wobbled as she stood and she was not hiccupping. “It’s time to head home Kreacher.” He stated unnecessarily. “I would like you and Winky to stock the ice box and make the house ready for guests then go to the burrow. Mrs. Weasley is throwing a big party tonight and I want to help her as much as possible.” Both elves nodded and were gone with a light pop.

Harry left the dorm and was the first student in the Great Hall. He took a moment and looked around the magnificent room one last time. His nostalgia was interrupted by a red-haired witch wrapping her arm around his waist. “Come on let’s grab breakfast.” Ginny said before moving to the Gryffindor table. Harry noticed that McGonagall and Flitwick had arrived and were halfway through their breakfast already.

Harry enjoyed a cup of coffee, some fruit and a croissant. A breakfast indicative of the guests the school was entertaining. Ginny took a few moments to grill some pineapple with her wand before devouring it as only a Weasley could. Harry smiled at his fiancé as she ate the fruit. “I hope Kreacher can keep us supplied in pineapple at Grimmauld Place.” He said rather nonchalantly.

Ginny gagged and nearly choked on her bite. “Sorry, that caught me off guard. Sometimes I can’t believe it. I knew it was happening but you saying it just made it all the more real.” She blushed at his smile. Ginny wrapped her arm around Harry and leaned a head on his shoulder. “Things are going to be different for us now. One last adventure and then we start real life.”

“An adventure with you by my side seems like the best possible thing.” Harry kissed her forehead. “Besides real life is playing quidditch for now. It can’t be that bad, although Kingsley and Gawain may have me studying a lot just in case.”

“Yes in case you get all noble and have to go defend the world again as only you can do.” Ginny sighed but Harry could tell she was joking.

“If that situation does arrive, you’ll be the first to know and I will gladly take you with me if you insist.”
“You better believe you’re taking me with you.” Ginny smiled and ate one of the pastries from the table.

Many students were coming down for breakfast when Professor McGonagall got up and started to leave the head table. Harry checked his watch and noticed it was time he made his way to the gates. “We should get going. That is if you want to know what this is about.”

“I’m not letting you keep any more secrets from me.”

She grabbed another pastry and walked beside him out of the castle. Professor McGonagall was waiting by the doors and walked alongside them. “Professor Flitwick is heading up to my office. Depending on what happens I might have him add or remove some of the wards.”

“Professor what exactly are we doing?” Ginny asked as they walked. “Harry only told me about this meeting last night after the ball.”

“Well we only arranged it yesterday at lunch.” Professor McGonagall smiled at the girl. “We are going to see just how powerful Harry is.”

“How so?”

“Well it is my belief that Harry has been feeling the school’s wards whenever he leaves. He has presented some compelling evidence and though he wasn’t aware of it does seem likely.”

“The school’s wards…” Ginny said out loud yet more to herself. “You mean the black stone by the path?”

“Exactly Ms. Weasley, that stone marks the edge of the wards. How did you come to that conclusion?”

“Harry shivers any time we walk by it, like he just got doused in cold water or something. I thought it was odd. Now it makes sense. I remember Bill once told me he could feel really powerful wards in the pyramids when he was breaking curses.”

“That is interesting Ms. Weasley. Had I known about that I would have had Bill join us this morning.” They were nearing the gates now and she slowed her pace. “I don’t think we will need him though.”

Professor McGonagall came to a stop halfway between the gates and the stone in question. “Ms. Weasley I would like you to go first. Harry has trouble with what I’m going to ask so I want to give him more time. Please relax your mind and try not to think of anything.” Harry realized now why she had said what she did. “Now once you feel like you have a relatively clear mind I want you to walk forward. Keep your eyes closed and see if you can feel when you pass the stone. Now Harry I want you to begin trying to clear your mind as well.

Harry began the process which he knew would take him a few minutes. He closed his eyes to better concentrate and tried to drown out the sounds around him. He barely registered when Professor McGonagall told Ginny to stop walking and open her eyes. She was disappointed to find she had gone 20 feet beyond the stone without feeling any difference.

Before long all Harry could hear were the sounds of the nearby forest and the wind rustling through the trees. Then he felt her lips brush against his ear. “Go ahead and walk forward I’ll make sure you don’t stumble.” Ginny whispered in his ear and took his hand. They walked together slowly Ginny following Harry’s pace and helping him find his footing with nothing more than gentle pressure on his hand.

Harry didn’t know how far they had been walking he felt the ground beneath his feet and the wind in his longer but still fairly short hair. Then he felt something else. It started in the fingertips of his right hand. Ginny held his left so he balanced the right away from his body. It felt like a tingle maybe like static electricity he learned about in muggle school. It became stronger and soon felt like a small vibration. In his mind Harry could picture where they were standing and in his mind’s eye he saw a thick golden curtain shimmering in front of him. He knew without knowing how that he was seeing the wards surrounding the school.

“Professor I can feel it. It’s like a tingle in my arm and a light vibration.” Harry explained. “In my mind it’s like looking at a golden curtain or rain.”

“I feel the same feelings when I’m near it but I can’t see it in my mind. Let’s see about some thing.” She launched some blue sparks from her wand. This was the signal to Professor Flitwick.

The diminutive professor began a series of complicated wand movements and incantations. A few minutes later he finished and waited for the next signal. Professor McGonagall said nothing and waited.

“What just happened professor?” Harry asked, keeping his eyes closed and relaxed.

“What do you mean Harry?”

“The vibration in my arm has increased a little, and just now the color changed, it’s duller more a bronze than gold.”

“To answer your question Professor Flitwick just added an additional ward. This one is not used very often because while powerful it has a component of dark magic to it. It seems that you may be able to not only sense the wards but whether the magic behind it is light or dark in nature. That is truly amazing. I wish we had more time to experiment but I can’t bring down the wards and rebuild them with completely dark magic ones like I would to try and truly test it. Maybe if your trip to Australia goes smooth we can arrange an afternoon meeting with Bill and Fleur since I’m sure he is more than capable of building and removing many wards. But for now your classmates are coming and it is time to say goodbye.”

Harry opened his eyes and looked around. He stood five or six feet in front of where the wards ended. He had been shocked that he was so far away from them when he first felt it. But he knew when he “saw” the wards how far away he stood. Even though he could no longer “see” the wards he could still feel the vibration running up his arm. The feeling disappeared when his thoughts focused on leaving. It seemed as of right now he had to have a relaxed mind and not focus on anything to feel the effects.

“Thank you Professor for one final lesson.” He held his hand out to the headmistress.

The older witch looked over him and then her normal stern expression broke into a rare genuine smile. “The honor and pleasure have been mine Harry.” She took his hand and pulled him into a hug. “It is important to remember that we leave now as equals. You never need to address me as Professor again though many students find the habit hard to break.” She then pulled Ginny into a hug as well. “The same goes for you to Ginevra. I do hope you learn to love your full name. It has a rich history and elegant sound.”

Ginny smiled, she didn’t dislike her name but she had always been Ginny. “Thank you Pr… Minerva.” She blushed slightly but the headmistress only smiled brighter.

“Your test scores will be waiting for you at the burrow. I am sure all of you will be pleased.”

“If Hermione didn’t break the record for most Owls she won’t be.” Ginny grinned.

“What about me?” Hermione called from the gates. People were starting to filter down from the school. The Beauxbatons students separating and making their way to their carriage while the others walked toward Hogsmeade.

“Nothing Hermione.” Ginny called back then winked at Harry. He gave her a light kiss, their first real kiss of the morning. “I knew something was missing from my day.” She said with another smile as Ron and Hermione joined the couple.

Professor McGonagall watched the young group. Their dynamic had changed in recent weeks. In the past they were four friends. Now though they were two couples. It was obvious in how they sat at the table for meals. When they walked together Harry and Ron stood to the outside subconsciously preparing to defend those they loved for an increasingly unlikely attack. Ginny and Hermione always stood together in the center Ginny on the left and Hermione on the right as they faced you.

“You guys were up and on the go rather early. What were you doing?” Ron asked standing next to Hermione and across from Harry as the group often did when talking together. He eyed the headmistress a little bit.

“I’ll let you four discuss that while I finalize the arrangements for the summer. It won’t be long and we’ll have some second years here for some extra lessons. It has been an honor to teach all of you. I will see you all tonight.” She sent a blast of red sparks from her wand to let Professor Flitwick know it was ok to remove the extra ward. Then she walked back toward the castle.

The group started to walk toward Hogsmeade and the train, Ginny smiled as Harry once again shuddered while passing the edge of the wards. “We were up early so we could discover more about my fiancé’s incredible powers.”

“Ginny not so loud someone could hear you.”
Hermione admonished her friend before realizing there was nobody within 20 feet of their group. “But do tell me what it is that Harry can do now.”

Harry and Ginny relayed the story and what they had learned this morning. It took the rest of the walk to the platform to fully convince Hermione of the details. She just couldn’t believe it was possible. It wasn’t the ability to feel the wards that she doubted but that Harry could almost see them and even perceive their nature. Of course now she wanted to go straight to the library and do research and see if anyone else was ever like that. She also wanted to arrange her own set of tests.

“Hermione we’ll have plenty of time for that after Australia. You can use the library at Grimmauld Place all you want.” Hermione stopped in her tracks as they got to the platform.

“Oh Harry we don’t even know where to begin with that. Just planning this trip could take weeks.” Tears welled in her eyes.

“Hermione we have been through much worse. We simply need to talk to Kingsley. He has some leads for us and won’t steer us wrong. And hopefully he will give us some studying to do while we’re traveling right Ron?”

“I hope so. I’ll need to do something. I’ll get bored beating you three at chess all day.” Ron laughed at his own joke.

“Hermione I think you should practice flying on Ron’s broom while we’re getting ready to travel.” Ginny said suddenly. “We’re all going to get new ones for quidditch so you can use his and if we need to travel a great distance you need to be comfortable.”

Hermione paled. She disliked flying on brooms. However she knew what Ginny said made sense. “I will think about that. But now we need to say our farewells.”

She was right many of the teachers were waiting on the platform. Hagrid was crying into a tablecloth sized hanky. Being the first students to arrive at the platform, Hagrid rushed over to them quickly. “I’ll miss ye lot so much.” He was still able to pull all four of them into one hug with his massive arms, though he was much gentler than they remembered.

“Oh I’m sure you’ll see us around.” Harry remarked struggling to get his head out of the fabric of Hagrid’s shirt. “What kind of friends would we be otherwise?”

“The absolute worst Harry.” Professor Sprout came and embraced the young wizard. “Do come and visit Neville and me next year. I’m sure you four can turn a few students’ heads just by walking around.”

“Thank you Pomona we will be sure to consider it, if we’re not too busy with practices and life.” Harry smile at the thought of walking through a group of star-eyed first years who had never seen him in person before.

After more goodbyes and requests to visit the four finally were able to board the train and settle into their cabin. There was a lot of noise as more students filed in, occasionally one would peek through the window before continuing on. Just before ten, when the train was set to depart, the door slid open. Celia stood timidly in the door with Draco looking over her shoulder. She looked a little nervous and he even more so. His collared shirt buttoned tight around his neck and at his wrists.

“You don’t mind if we join you do you?” She asked Harry in rushed Portuguese. It seemed that she wasn’t overly confident in her English.

“Sure let me just grab something from my trunk first.” Their trunks had magically appeared when they settled in the cabin and Harry climbed up on his seat to grab a small potion vial he had been given in Brazil. “Come in, sit and relax.” Harry smiled and spoke in English so the others knew what was happening.

Harry sat near the window on the right side of the room. Ron sat opposite him and Ginny and Hermione next to the men. Draco sat next to Ginny and Celia took a spot next to Hermione. Before long the train started moving and they were on their way home. The sat in silence for a while before Harry started chuckling. He continued getting louder and before long holding his side as he laughed loudly.

“Mate you’ve gone barking what is so funny?” Ron said studying the unusual actions of his friend.

“He’s always been barking if you ask me. All you Gryffindors are, always running into danger.” Draco tried to make a joke but it was much too serious. Ginny tried to smile but knew there was a grain of belief in his expression.

“It’s just all of us. We’re sitting here like timid first years too afraid to talk.” Harry continued laughing. “We’ve got to get over this insecurity especially if we’re going to be living together.”

And with that Ron and Ginny understood the humor and ridiculousness of the situation. Before long they were laughing just as strongly as Harry. Hermione and Celia chuckled a little but were rather restrained. Draco forced a smile but his heart wasn’t truly in it. “About the living arrangements Harry…” Draco started but was cut off.

“Yes about them.” Harry stopped laughing and turned serious quickly. “I’m afraid we’re going to have to make some changes or you won’t be allowed.”

“What kind of changes?” Draco eyed him suspiciously. He never fully trusted Harry and was always wary.

“Changes to your attitude.” Harry said bluntly and Draco recoiled like he had been punched. “You’re sullen and angry and lashing out. If it wasn’t for Celia here I don’t think you would’ve had any fun in the last few weeks. And I know you had fun last night.”

Draco seethed with anger. “You have no idea what I did last night and it is none of your business.” He adjusted the sleeve of his shirt as Harry felt the twinge in his forehead.

Harry had hoped he would be wrong. He couldn’t explain how any of this was possible. However there was no real other explanation for it. “I do know Draco and it really isn’t any of my business. I hope to stay out of your business in the future unless you wish me there as a friend. However I know there have been two versions of you around Hogwarts this year. The version that was friendly and likeable and made Ginny even temporarily forget about me.” The words stung Harry but he continued. “Then there was the angry fighting young man like at Christmas and the past few weeks since I’ve returned.” Draco didn’t say anything as Harry stood and faced him. “I’ve noticed, and I wonder if anyone else has, that in the weeks since my return you’ve stopped wearing short-sleeved shirts. Even in the midst of this summer heat.”

“So my fashion needs to change now?” Draco stood while also moving toward the door.

“Not at all Draco; nor would I presume to tell you how to dress. But I do know you’re covering something up and believe it or not I do want to help you.” Harry tried to reason and stressed his sincerity but Draco was too used to fighting with Harry.

“I have no idea what you’re talking about. I don’t have to listen to your baseless accusations.” He turned toward the door and Harry grabbed his left wrist. His hand followed pulling the sleeve of Draco’s shirt up to his elbow. Harry knew what was waiting but the rest of the room was silent as the black tattoo was revealed.

“Harry how did you know?” Hermione was stunned, although she had drawn her wand when she saw the dark mark on Draco’s arm. So had the others except for Celia who was too shocked to move.

“I think it might be a connection to what we were doing this morning.” Harry tried to wrap his brain around what should be impossible. The caster of the spell was dead the mark should have disappeared. “Somehow Riddle made the spell so it could persist after his death. And after all those years fighting him I became tuned to his magic I guess.” Harry couldn’t say after being a horcrux though he hoped his friends would understand. “I’ve felt bits of Draco’s emotions like I did during fifth year with Riddle, including his pleasure last night.”

Draco actually blushed though he still looked furious. “You’ve caught me with the mark what are you going to do now? Turn me over to the aurors I’ve done nothing wrong.” He tried to pull out of Harry’s grip.

“Everyone put your wands away.” Harry had never drawn his but he did as others stowed theirs. “Ron please hold Draco, tightly but try not to hurt him.” Ron moved and wrapped his arms around Draco’s chest and pinned his arms to his side.

Harry spoke quickly in Portuguese and explained the situation and what he had planned to Celia. She had been scared out of her wits until Harry explained the history and what the dark mark was. She nodded and stood next to Draco and took his hand. Draco relaxed at her touch and Harry proceeded.

“Ginny it may help if you hold Draco’s other hand. This may be fairly intense.” Ginny did as he suggested and Harry was glad the shades were drawn in the room. Finally he pulled a small vial from his pocket. “Draco stay calm and let me explain. This potion was given to me by the man who did my tattoo. It combined with an incantation can be used to remove the ink from my back. I am going to try and remove the mark from your arm. It will be painful but if it works you will be more in control of your emotions.”

Draco didn’t struggle and actually appeared relieved. He nodded and opened his mouth. Harry passed the potion to Hermione and then had Ginny hold up Draco’s arm so the mark was exposed. Hermione pushed the vial of potion to Draco’s lips and he drank it willingly.

Almost immediately Draco started to scream. Hermione panicked and cast langlock on him silencing the sound though the pain was still evident in Draco’s face. Rather quickly Draco’s skin became translucent. Soon Harry could see the muscles in his neck and the forearm he was focused on. It was a truly interesting site but not one he could linger on. He wasn’t sure how long the potion’s effects would stay and quickly cast his spell. “Expello atramento”

For a moment nothing seemed to happen. Then Draco’s body convulsed in new pain as thick black smoke started to pull itself out of his arm. It started slowly but its pace quickened; after about a minute Draco collapsed into Ron’s arms and the smoke hung in the air. Hermione used her wand to direct it into the vial that had held the potion only minutes earlier.

“I think that went rather well.” Ron said breaking the silence of the room. “Especially with how our plans usually work out” Harry couldn’t help but laugh at the comment. The others followed even Celia who still looked exceptionally worried.

“It’ll be ok. Trust me he will be the same man you love, maybe just a little bit nicer.” Harry put an arm around her shoulder and squeezed it reassuringly. “Now let’s make him comfortable while he recovers.” Celia sat next to the window while Harry and Ron lay Draco’s head across her lap. She had tears in her eyes and Harry knew the pair had bonded rather quickly. Ginny sat with his feet in her lap while the other three took the opposite bench.

“We could probably wake him up but I’d rather let his body recover from the shock if possible.” Hermione said to no one in particular. “But if we get to King’s Cross and he’s still out we might have to.”

The plump little witch pushing the cart of treats came and left without any of them getting much. The situation with Draco had left them hungry but as they wanted real food not sweets. Unfortunately there wasn’t anything like that on the train. About halfway through the trip Harry stood up like he’d been shot.

“Oh bollocks I just remembered none of you know my address!”

“You’re right Harry. The charm was recast and we never were privy to the location again. We’ll need to get it from the secret keeper.” Hermione confirmed his thought. Harry smiled and immediately summoned Fawkes and then sent the Phoenix off to Kingsley with a brief note.

Moments later the phoenix reappeared with a small note in his beak. Harry read it and passed it to the others. Just as they were finishing Draco started to stir.

He opened his eyes and studied Celia’s face for a while before smiling. “It’s gone. I can’t feel its influence.” Her confused look betrayed her ignorance of the situation. “I’ll tell you more about it tonight. There are a few things you need to know about me if you’re serious about being together.” Celia didn’t answer him but instead pulled him into a strong kiss.

Ginny and Harry shared a smile. Both were truly happy that Draco seemed to have moved on. “So what were you saying about the living arrangements Draco?” Harry asked innocently as if the previous incident had never happened.

“I’m not even sure I care what I was going to say. But Pansy and I need to know where you live.”

“Yea I just had the secret-keeper send a note. Go ahead and read it then I’ll go find Pansy.” Draco did and Harry stood to leave the cabin.

“Do you want me to go with you Harry?” Ginny asked.

“No stay you guys catch Celia up on some of our history. She only knows the big stories. It might help her understand a little about our past.”

The group had picked one of the first cabins in the train right near where the prefects would normally sit. So Harry turned toward the back of the train and made his way along the corridor. Students were gathered in the hall here and there trading chocolate frog cards or discussing plans for the summer. All conversation stopped as he passed, a few of the students said hello as he walked by but most seemed too intimidated to speak. He had really hoped the way he addressed the students at the magic demonstration would put them at ease.

About halfway through the train Harry found Pansy sitting in a cabin with various other girls from his year. He knocked and opened the door and all talking stopped in the cabin. “Am I interrupting anything?”

“Not at all Harry, come in take a seat.” Pansy gestured to an empty spot. She giggled lightly as she spoke.

“I wish I could Pansy. However I’m just here to give you this.” He held out the note and let her read it. He burned it afterwards knowing that the fewer people who knew the address the better. “Meet us on the platform at King’s Cross and we’ll head to my house before the party tonight.”

“Sure Harry, see you there.”

“And we’ll see you at the party tonight Harry.” Susan Bones said from the seat near the window.

Harry nodded and returned to the cabin. His friends were laughing about some story or another when he returned. The rest of the journey into London passed quickly with all the stories they were sharing. Finally the train pulled into the station and the students started to collect their belongings. Harry took a minute after grabbing his trunk to look around the train one final time. Then he stepped out onto the platform ready to head home.

Chapter 11: Graduation Party
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Molly Weasley was bustling around the kitchen of the Burrow. She had begun preparations for the last minute party the night before while Bill and Fleur chaperoned the dance. She usually liked to reserve these celebrations for closer to the end of summer but this year the season was going to be unusually busy. She wasn’t sure when but she knew her two youngest would soon be traveling halfway around the world to help Hermione find her parents. Kingsley had mentioned that he wanted to speak with Hermione about that soon when he accepted the invitation to the party. Unfortunately the presence of the Minister meant that Bill would have to strengthen the wards of the house during the day. She hoped he had slept well.

She had spent the previous night making desserts and preparing as much of the food as she possibly could. She peeled potatoes and vegetables. She washed them and let them soak overnight to prevent any browning. The food preparation was going well but nothing had been started in the garden. Molly was at a loss for how to get the garden area prepared in time. Arthur was helping her by babysitting Victoire but she still needed some additional hands if she was going to be ready.

She was just about to send a message to Shell Cottage to get Bill and Fleur to assist when two small pops sounded behind her. The Burrow’s wards prevented any wizard from apparating into the building but she was not surprised to see that an elf could pop in if needed. However the appearance of two elves caught her off guard.

“Kreacher good morning, how are you this fine day?” She smiled at the elves.

“I am well Madam Weasley.” He bowed deeply. “Master has directed Winky and me to assist with the party tonight in whatever way possible.”

The other elf bowed as well at the introduction. “Ahh Winky it is nice to meet you. I have heard about you from my husband and children. They met you during the quidditch world cup five years ago if I’m not mistaken.”

“You are correct Madam. It was a most shameful time for Winky as I was dismissed by my former master, now Master Harry has blessed me with another opportunity to be of service to a great wizarding household.”

Molly understood this as well. She had heard Hermione complain about how horrible life had been for the elf at Hogwarts. “I appreciate that very much and will have to give Harry his favorite dessert tonight. Can you get started on the treacle tart that we worked on at Christmas Kreacher? I was just about to call for Bill to assist with the preparations in the garden. Once he arrives we’ll divide our forces and give the kids a party they won’t soon forget.”

Kreacher bowed deeply and set to work. He called out various directions to Winky and before long the kitchen bustled with activity. For a little while Molly was able to sit back and watch as they continued the work she had started. She took this temporary lull to enjoy a cup of tea and some time with her husband and grand-daughter.

“How long has it been since we’ve been able to sit and enjoy a cup of tea together?” Arthur asked a little wistfully.

“Not long since we did it regularly at Hogwarts.” Molly answered cheekily. “But here at home it’s been ages, probably since before Charlie was born honestly.” She smiled thinking of the happy memories that had passed through the house. Soon they would be spending most of their time alone except for the occasional visit with grandkids. “Speaking of Bill I should send him a message so we can get his help.”

Molly left the kitchen where the elves continued working and approached the fireplace in the sitting room. Rather than use the floo she had decided to make use of a different mode of communication. “Fred can you hear me?” She called to the empty portrait frame. She felt foolish but sure enough a few seconds later Fred walked in from the right side of the frame and sat in his chair.

“Of course mum. No need to shout. How have you been?”

“Busy as a billywig. Would you mind popping over to Shell Cottage and asking Bill and Fleur to come by when they get a chance? I could use the extra help.”

“Sure I’ll have them here in a sec.” And with that he walked out of the left side of his frame.

After sending the message with Fred she returned to the kitchen. Out of habit she checked the clock on her way past and the 4 shortest hands all read “Traveling.”. It was getting close to noon so of course they would be safe and sound on the train. Molly didn’t know that a few minutes earlier the hands moved to “Mortal Peril” as Draco teetered on the edge of succumbing to the darkness inside of him.

Molly sat back at the table with Arthur and her tea. Only a few minutes later the fire flared green as a figure spun into view. Fleur came out first and didn’t bother to brush the dust from her cloak as she rushed to pick up Victoire. “’Ow iz my baby girl thiz morning? Were you well behaved for your gran gran?” Molly blushed at the pet name especially since Arthur had spent most of the time with the girl.

“She was a perfect angel Fleur.” Arthur commented. “Would you like a cup of tea?”

“I think the girls can enjoy that. We have work to do.” Bill answered as he cleaned his cloak off and deposited it on a chair. It was much too warm to wear it other than to collect the ash from traveling. Arthur nodded and the men left and made their way to the garden. They were joined shortly by Winky who helped prepare tables and chairs in the orchard for a large gathering. Molly and Arthur had invited all of the Hogwarts’ and Amazonis’ graduating classes as well as many members of the Order and some of Harry’s family from Brazil. In total well over a hundred people were expected.

Arthur had more than a few stacks of wood that he used for the fire places of the Burrow. Winky would help transfigure each piece into a chair or table as needed while Arthur put everything in place. Bill started to work on the wards and was joined by a ministry auror who always verified the defenses wherever Kingsley would be present. In this way the work passed rather quickly and Arthur had time to charm lights and faeries into the trees to illuminate the environment after the sun went downBefore long Arthur retired to his shed to finish his graduation gift to Harry.

Harry and Dudley appeared at the front gate of Grimmauld Place with a loud pop. They were the last to arrive. Dudley promptly vomited over the ground. Harry, and after the initial trip, along with Hermione had brought everyone there by side along apparition. Dudley and Lisa came along though they would not be staying at the house Dudley wanted to see where his cousin lived. Harry also had wanted to ask if his cousin had stayed in the castle the previous night but hadn’t had a chance to.

Molly had wanted them to come straight to the burrow but after the events on the train the group decided a shower was in order and wanted to dress and look presentable. He hoped that she was busy enough that she wouldn’t mind the slight delay, or get the impression that they were doing something inappropriate.

Harry opened the door to the house and led his guests in. Ginny, Ron and Hermione stepped through the door and almost immediately stopped. They couldn’t believe the change that had gone through the old house. They stood in the entrance marveling at the changes that had been made in the short time. “Do you mind if we come in too?” Dudley asked rather nervously worried he might be doing something wrong.

“No need to be so timid.” Draco smiled at Dudley. “Hey you lot move it.” He addressed the three still standing in the entrance hall.

They cleared more space and allowed the rest of the group to enter the room. Draco vaguely remembered the house but it had been years since his parents had visited. Harry had everyone leave their belongings by the doorway and then began a tour of the house. He started with the kitchen which he was unsurprised to find fully stocked and then worked his way upstairs. Dudley paled and nearly fainted when he encountered a portrait that talked. Phineas laughed at the reaction.

Harry and Ron had to drag Hermione from the library as the group continued to the third floor. Everybody looked at each room and finally Harry took them to the final floor. He loved the top floor so much since the landing looked over the entrance where light streamed through the skylight. As much as he loved the changes he delayed in showing everyone else his room. If he was alone with Ginny he wouldn’t hesitate. He knew she would share it with him one day. He tried to avoid the question by looking over the balcony to the entrance hall below. Eventually though everyone’s curiosity built and Hermione finally asked.

“Harry what’s behind these doors? Is it something you don’t want to show us?”

Harry almost blushed at the question. He couldn’t admit that he didn’t want to so he decided to share it. “It’s the master suite. Honestly I’m not used to it yet but I don’t mind showing it.” He opened the double doors and exposed the room to his friends.

For a while nobody talked as they looked over the four rooms. The suite was extremely impressive and beautiful. Finally Dudley spoke. “Man Harry you have this beautiful house and to think you used to live in a cupboard under our stairs.” Dudley didn’t mean it as an insult but nobody was prepared for the reaction the simple statement caused.

Celia’s reaction time to pull her wand and round on Dudley was quicker than even Harry could imagine. Rage flashed through her brown eyes. Draco tried to grab her arm but she shrugged out of his grip with an unexpected strength. “Tell me I didn’t understand what he said ‘Arry. Tell me my English was wrong… please.” She looked at Harry, the anger in her eyes was replaced by a pleading urge to be wrong, and they glistened with unshed tears. Still her wand hovered mere inches away from Dudley’s chest right above his heart. Lisa tried to step between the pair but Celia pushed her wand into Dudley’s flesh.

Harry had forgotten that many of his classmates in Brazil knew nothing of his life before he joined the wizarding world. “I wish I could but you heard him correctly. His parents, well more accurately, his dad was a bully. He treated me more like a servant than a person. That changed slightly when I got my first Hogwarts’ letter.” Harry paused before continuing and placed his hand over Celia’s and she reluctantly lowered her wand. To his credit Dudley did not appear frightened but rather prepared to attempt to defend himself if needed. “Things dramatically improved before my fifth year when Dudley was present with me during a dementor attack. You’ve felt their effects you can imagine how that would feel to a muggle who cannot even see them. Tell her what happened Dudley.”

“Harry once explained to me what a dementor does. It makes you relive the worst experiences of your life.” Dudley paused struggling to speak. “I didn’t really relive any particularly horrible times but instead I saw how I was like my dad and how I was a bully and would end up like him one day. I was traumatized by the truth and barely spoke for days. It was then I resolved to not let myself turn into a monster like him.”

“So you had felt some measure of shame for the way you treated Harry and the dementors brought it out.” Hermione concluded for Dudley. He nodded his reply.

Celia responded by first hugging Harry and then Dudley. “I’m sorry for my reaction.”

Draco who seemed to be in much better spirits since the incident on the train spoke up. “No need to apologize. There are many people who likely would’ve cursed Dudley for that even if most of it wasn’t his fault. Just like there are many who would like to curse me for my father’s actions.” The group stood silently for a moment looking around Harry’s room.

“Merlin’s beard this group is mental. What on Earth did I get myself into?” Pansy hadn’t spoken since they arrived at the house but the blunt statement broke what tension remained.

“So Harry which rooms are we going to sleep in?” Hermione asked sensing finality to the conversation and wanting to steer it back to the topic at hand. They needed to get ready to go to the Burrow soon.

“For right now I think Draco and Celia on the 2nd floor with the drawing room.” Harry wasn’t sure how Celia got included exactly but they had the room to spare and didn’t mind the extra company. In fact he welcomed it if she was a positive influence on Draco. “I’ll be up here and you four can divide the other rooms as you see fit.” Harry thought about it. “Draco, Celia obviously I don’t mind if you two choose to share a room, the same goes for you as well Ron, Hermione. I just don’t want to give Molly the wrong impression and she try to insist on Ginny and you moving back to the Burrow.”

Ginny crossed her arms and sat on the edge of the bed. Harry could already tell she was steeling her self for an argument. “Don’t go all noble on me. I don’t care what she says I’m going to sleep up here with you. She can’t stop me Harry we’re all adults. Not to mention you’ve already told her we’ve shagged.” Ron made a noise halfway between a growl and a snort. Nobody else could muster a response to that statement.

“Fine you win. But you’re telling your mom. I’ll have no part of that conversation.” He smiled but was not exactly optimistic. “That means there would be space here for you Lisa. It might make transitioning to a job easier. We have a connection to the floo as well as secluded places to apparate. If you can’t say yes now at least think about it, of course I would be happy to help Dudley find someplace nearby so you two can be close. I’m not sure if he could get in and out of the building on his own.”

“I will think about it. I’ll have to bring it up to my parents as well. Unfortunately your name won’t have the same clout as it would with an ordinary wizarding family.” She smiled lightly and nodded her agreement to talk to her parents.

Harry left the room and peered over the banister down to the entrance where their trunks were. He levitated them two at a time to the appropriate landings and then brought his trunk into the room. Ginny followed with hers. “Get changed and be ready to leave in half an hour, I’ll let Molly know to be expecting us shortly.” Everyone else left the room rather quickly to get settled.

The fireplace in the burrow turned green six times in relatively quick succession. First Ginny than Lisa, Draco, Pansy, Hermione and Ron stepped out into the now very crowded sitting room. Harry and Dudley appeared outside the garden gates. Luckily Arthur had finally tightened up the anti-apparation ward so guests didn’t have to walk too far. Dudley seemed to be getting used to the feeling and didn’t vomit this time.

“I do hope you’ll be more careful with the ash. A guy can get dirty hanging around a place like this.” Ron was helping Hermione remove soot from her hair while the other girls were all helping each other when the voice made them stop.

Ron looked at Ginny thinking for sure he had gone mad. “Was that Fred?” He asked more to reassure himself.

“Of course it was me you foolish bloke. Who else would be able to un-ironically use the phrase ‘hanging around’ in our sitting room?” Ron finally spotted the painting of Fred hanging over the mantle. Harry had forgotten to tell Ron and Ginny about it in the adventures and pranks that had been played in the last few weeks of classes.

“Oh Fred! It’s so good to see you but how is this possible?” Ginny had tears in her eyes as she looked over her brother’s face. One she knew so well but had missed so much.

“Harry ordered this painting. Smart bloke you got there Ginny. Keep your claws in him if you can.” Fred winked at her from the frame and she couldn’t help but laugh. “There is a large one of me at the store in Diagon Alley, and then smaller frames for each of you to keep at home. It really helps to keep in touch.

During the interaction Harry and Dudley had finally come in the entrance to the Burrow. Dudley kept insisting he had to go turn off the stove even though Harry reminded him that he didn’t own one. Finally after a minute or two Bill saw their interaction and removed the muggle repelling ward he had put up. He hadn’t known Dudley was coming. Harry felt a familiar shiver as he crossed the threshold and realized this sensation would be fairly permanent. It was definitely less intense at the Burrow than at Hogwarts though.

Now Harry stood staring at the clock on the wall between the kitchen and the sitting room. Molly’s clock was the only thing on that wall and Harry was as shocked to see his name on one of the hands as Ginny had been to see Fred in a portrait. Molly came out of the kitchen to see him stuck in the door.

“Harry dear come on in, there’s no need to stand in the door.”

Harry practically ran to the older lady and squeezed her in a tight hug. “You always said I was as much your son as anyone else’s and now you made it official. Thank you.”

“Oh Harry it was nothing. It gave us quite the scare when you disappeared from school though.” Molly patted his back and he embraced her.

“Oh I imagine it would.” Harry smiled releasing his grip on the lady. “So have you been busy cooking all day?”

“I started last night. Kreacher and Winky have been an immense help thank you for sending them by.” Molly turned a little serious now. “So have you all settled into Grimmauld Place?”

“I know you had wanted us to come straight here but we wanted to drop trunks off and shower and change before imposing on your generosity. That and we might be late tonight and there are sleeping arrangements to discuss.” Harry admitted the last part reluctantly. Though Molly smiled, Harry knew he was going to have the conversation that he had insisted Ginny have.

“So Ginny is insisting on sharing that magnificent master suite with you am I right.” He nodded. “Your generation is different than ours Harry. You’ve grown up in danger and it led to relationships being formed quickly and maybe moving faster than you ordinarily would.” Molly thought again about how much things had changed. “You are as good as a son to us, as you just said, and you’ve already admitted the extent of your relationship and the depth of your love. Magically speaking you two are pretty much married already. All that is left is for you two to make it official someday. I hope you will take precautions so that you don’t become parents until you’ve both discussed it and decided the time was right.”

“I appreciate the honesty mum. I was rather frightened of how this conversation could go. Do you want me to send Ron and Hermione to you so they can get the same speech?” Molly looked a little nervous. It appeared that she hadn’t prepared herself to have to accept both of them growing up. She seemed to have focused on letting go of Ginny.

“Yes Harry that would before the best. Then you all can go out to the orchard and begin the party. Some guests have arrived and the rest should be arriving before long.”

Harry made his way to the sitting room where Fred was telling a story about some prank he and George pulled on Ron. Ron was blushing profusely but everyone was sharing a laugh. Harry sat on the couch next to Ginny. “I’m sorry to interrupt Fed but your mum wants to speak with Ron and Hermione.”

The couple got up and made their way toward the kitchen. “Oh take me with you I want to see this.” Fred yelled causing a new round of laughter to emerge.

“What is that all about Harry?” Ginny asked snuggling closer to him.

“Oh I just had the conversation with your mum that I wanted you to have.” He smiled although Ginny looked nervous. “Nothing to fear my love, she was ok with it. I think she has been preparing herself for it for a while, it was the thought of Ron that made her nervous.”

“Um Harry now that we’ve taken care of that thing would you still be willing to go and meet my mother?” Draco asked as they relaxed in the sitting room.

“Of course Draco, I hate to guess what would have happened if we had gone there and you still had it on.”
“I agree that could have been terrible.”

“It probably still will be if the dementors are there. Both of us have horrors in our pasts and reliving those experiences is never fun.”

“I always made fun of you for how badly you were affected but I always wondered what do you see?”

“I don’t really see anything but I hear my mother begging for Riddle to spare my life. I’m amazed my mind even remembers that moment but it comes back every time.” There was silence for a while amongst the young witches and wizards. Only Ginny had known this fact about Harry. Lisa and Celia seemed to take the admission to heart.

Before we were attacked you were having nightmares about someone named Cedric. “Would you tell me about that?” Dudley joined in the conversation interrupting any comment Draco may have had.

Harry was surprised by Dudley’s question. “I think I mentioned it in one of my letters last year. He was killed at the end of my 4th year. I know I told you about the Maze.” Dudley nodded and looked like he wanted to say something else but Harry spoke first. “But now it appears it’s time to party.” Ron and Hermione returned both looking rather red in the face. They shared an embarrassed smile before the group proceeded through the kitchen and out the back door to the orchard. This time Ginny did take the portrait of Fred with them so he could join the festivities.

As Molly said many guests had already arrived. Most notably the Amazonis’ students since they really didn’t have any more specific plans for the day. There were a few members of the order along with the majority of the Weasleys. That included much of the extended Weasley family as well. This was truly going to be a celebration to remember.

Harry mingled with a few classmates and made his way toward the refreshment table for a drink. He was not only thirsty but incredibly hungry however he didn’t want to spoil his dinner so he resigned himself to just having a butterbeer. As he got close to the table he was met with a rather imposing silhouette that he recognized. “Don it’s great to see you again.” He hurried forward and embraced him warmly.

“It’s great to see you too. Mister Future star of the Cannons. Or is that Stars. He added as Ron came up behind Harry and shook the large man’s hand.”

“Thanks, we’re both excited to try and improve the team.” Ron and Harry had agreed that that was a solid response to any reporters and it just came out of Harry’s mouth.

“Practicing your cliches already? That’s a solid strategy.” Don smirked. “Usually it takes a few years before a player gets practiced at those.” He smiled again and waited for a response. Harry had none so Don brought up something he had wanted to discuss for a few months. “So Harry I’ve shown you mine you show me yours?” The older wizard’s eyes sparkled as if he was in on some deep secret.

Ron was a little perplexed by the question. “Show what? What is he talking about Harry?” Harry had just grabbed a butterbeer from the table and hadn’t even opened it so he passed it to Ron.

“He’s talking about the dragons living on both our backs.” Harry fought a smile and pulled his green shirt over his head and exposed his back to Don. He had gotten used to asking and since most people had already seen it he didn’t mind. He was just happy nobody was asking about the faint scar on his chest.

Don looked over the tattoo for a few moments while taking a sip of his drink. “Guillermo does excellent work. He didn’t do my dragon but he has touched it up occasionally to keep the ink fresh.”

“That he does. One of my classmates is going to travel to Rio this summer to see about working with him. He’s a really good artist already.”

“Well that sounds interesting. I’ll have to drop in and check up on your friend. Maybe invite him to dinner. What’s his name?”

“Dean Thomas, I’ll introduce you two tonight. I think he’ll be here. Is Christina here?”

“Oh of course Harry, she and Fleur are probably surrounded by witches who want to see the babies. And that probably includes your godson as well, or should I say son?” Don smiled again revealing the still crooked teeth that Harry had come to symbolize his surrogate father.
“That was certainly an entertaining prank. Too bad I couldn’t get away with that more often.” Harry laughed and took a drink off the table. “I’ll continue to greet people and I’m sure I’ll run into her before long.”

“Hold on Harry. I kind of want to see this other dragon now.” Ron said looking rather eager.

“I figured you would have seen pictures Ron. You seem to have so much quidditch knowledge.” Ron shook his head and reluctantly Don removed his polo to show the blue dragon across his back. Harry realized then that Don rarely wore robes unless he was doing something official or in public.
Ron looked over the bright blue dragon before commenting.

“Sorry I think Harry’s is cooler, mostly because I was there when he battled it.” Don smiled and then looked confused.

“I don’t think I recall hearing about you battling a horntail. Did I miss something?”

“I doubt it; it was the first challenge of the tri-wizard tournament. I didn’t have to battle the dragon so much as get past it and grab the golden egg.” Harry explained. “I’m sure you could probably guess but I used my broom for that one.”

“So after a horntail the seeker’s challenge was a piece of cake. You made Viktor and Gustao look like amateurs.”

“Was it really that impressive?” Ron chimed in. “I mean I know they stopped after two events but I haven’t heard most of the details.”

“Ron he won the obstacle course by 2 seconds and opened up nearly a second gap in the 2nd challenge. He practically left a pile up on the pitch when he went toward the ring.” By this time the discussion had attracted a few other listeners.

“There was no practically to it. I’m still sore from that collision. Viktor drove me into the pitch like I was vermin. Add that with the time Harry put me into the goalpost I would swear he had it out for me.” Ana Paula grabbed Harry’s bottle and took a drink of his butter beer. “This is pretty good; it’s sweeter than cerveja, we need to get some of it in Brazil.” She handed the bottle back to Harry who didn’t react to having her steal a drink from him.

For a moment Ron was speechless. “So you did that against Krum and Ana Paula, but who was the third. I’m not familiar with Gustao.”

“Gustao is how the Brazilian fans refer to him. You may know him better as Gustavo Giamatti.”

“The Transylvanian Terror? You can’t be serious; he led Transylvania eight years ago.” Ron sputtered. “He was amazing and still probably in his prime.”

“Well the Brazilian weather fought him for a while. Then around Christmas some young hot shot told Gustao that if he didn’t improve the job was his.” Don seemed to be enjoying embarrassing Harry.

“Oh come on I didn’t put it that way.” Harry protested. “Besides they went on to win the cup with my inspiration and Gustao agreed to the seeker’s challenge on the basis that his team wouldn’t make me an offer no matter what.”

“You actually said you would take his job Harry. How did that even come up?” Harry recounted the story for Ron and the rest of the assembled listeners.

“Well that reminds me ‘Arry. The Cruzeirense offered me a position in charge of player development.” He said trying not to sound too boastful.

“I guess that news deserves a toast.” Don said. “To future careers no matter where they lead.” The gathered group raised whatever glass or bottle they had been drinking from.

“It sounds like my son is starting the festivities without us.” Harry had been surprised to see Don but it was nothing to seeing Joy. He couldn’t imagine the US Minister traveling overseas just for his party.

“Minister it is wonderful to see you again. Are you here officially or just for our little party.” Harry greeted Joy as enthusiastically as he did Don.

“A bit of both honestly Harry, I need you to introduce me to Kingsley. Our ministry has been trying to reestablish normal relations and need to iron some details out. Do you think you could help us out there?”

“Once he arrives I’d be happy to introduce you. It’s a shame you missed an opportunity at Christmas.”

“That is a shame but I appreciate the help. I’ll be at that table over there for the evening just stop on by.”

After leaving Don and the others Harry continued to walk through the spectacular party. Tables were arranged throughout the orchard and people were talking around each one. Harry listened to some conversations with some friends and swapped stories with others. He loved seeing everyone gathered together and couldn’t imagine when he would get the chance to see it again. After a while he stumbled upon Kingsley and spoke with the Minister. After a few minutes catching up on the tests and the latest news Harry passed Joy’s message on to the Minister. Kingsley seemed pleasantly surprised at the news and excused himself to find the Minister himself. Harry offered to introduce them but Kingsley insisted he could manage on his own and again thanked Harry for the message.

Shortly after Kingsley left. Arthur’s voice filled the orchard calling everyone’s attention to the part of the orchard furthest from the Burrow. “Please everyone find a seat and we will begin dinner. Afterward Minerva and Roberta have some letters to pass out to the students.”

Harry looked around and finally found Headmistress Roberta sitting at a table with Headmistress McGonagall. He was shocked to not see her before but he noticed perplexed looks on many of his classmates. Apparently she had done a good job of concealing her presence.

Harry found Ginny and the couple walked together toward where Arthur was standing. There was one smaller table with only six seats. Hermione, Ron and Molly were already in three of them and were waiting patiently for the others. Once everyone seemed to be settled Arthur’s voice spoke again. “Now let’s begin our wonderful dinner and then we can continue with the festivities.” Tables began filling with food as Harry and Ginny arrived at the small table.

Harry and Ginny sat down and immediately Ron started to pile food on his plate. The rest of the table followed and soon the orchard was filled with the sounds of a wonderfully prepared dinner. There was little conversation shared and when Arthur stood following the dinner any conversations ended quickly.

“Welcome everyone to our graduation celebration. Thank you all for coming on such short notice. It is a bit of a bittersweet moment as we celebrate our two youngest children, Ron and Ginevra, finishing Hogwarts and beginning life on their own. And of course they’ve brought two wonderful young people into our lives that we will never forget. Even without all their accomplishments Harry and Hermione would be as much a part of our family as our own children.”

This announcement received a loud cheer. Ron and Ginny’s brothers seemed to cheer the loudest and longest. After it died down Arthur continued.

“As I said before shortly the Headmistresses of Hogwarts and Amazonis have some business to attend to and then we will get to the task of presenting some graduation presents. So now everyone please be polite as I give the floor to two lovely ladies.” Arthur led a light applause then returned to his seat at the table.

The headmistresses stood in front of the gathered crowd. “I’m not really sure what to say as we don’t usually do something like this.” Professor McGonagall said. “Mostly I must say I have never been more impressed with a group of students as those that were able to persevere and excel in their studies. This year I am happy to award more owls per student than ever before.”

“I really do not have anything to add. So without any further ado we would like to present you with your test results.”

The two witches waved their wands without any extravagant movements and soon sealed letters were dropping onto the table in front of each graduated student. Hermione caught hers before it even touched the table and was breaking the seal. Ginny was just as excited to see her scores. Harry and Ron smiled but took their time taking the letters.

Hermione let out a small shout and tears welled in her eyes. She passed the parchment to Ron before he managed to even look at his own scores. Ron looked over the scores and tried to act surprised. “Oh Hermione I’m so happy for you.” He gave her a soft kiss on the cheek. “Of course you would have straight O’s. Nine NEWTs, that is truly amazing.”

“Well it’s not as many as Percy or Bill, I wish I could’ve taken those other courses but…”

“Hermione given what you went through in your eight years, nine owls and all outstanding is extraordinary.” Arthur objected. “You will be able to get any job you want with scores like that. Although I know you have received quite a few offers already.” Hermione blushed and smiled
“So who’s next to share with the class?” Molly joked looking at the other three. Ron and Harry still hadn’t removed their scores from the envelopes so Ginny went next.
“Let’s see, Arithmancy outstanding, thank you Hermione for that one. Care of Magical Creatures, outstanding, Charms outstanding, Defense Against the Dark arts…”

“Outstanding naturally,” Arthur interrupted. “Every member of the DA got that score this year. Professor Woodbridge was so pleased.”

“Way to ruin the moment dad.” Ginny chided before continuing. “Herbology, exceeds expectations, Potions exceeds expectations and Transfiguration outstanding. Seven NEWTs in total, and 5 of them outstanding.”

“That is well done Ginny. We are very proud of you.” Molly added from Arthur’s side.

By the time Ginny had finished Harry and Ron had a chance to look over their scores. Harry decided to spare his friend. “So I guess I’ll go next. I have outstandings in Care of Magical Creatures, Charms, Defense Against the Dark Arts, Herbology, and Transfiguration. Exceeds expectations in Potions, five out of six isn’t bad.”

Ron looked at his scores nervously. He was always nervous when it came to being compared to others. It started with his brothers and then Harry and Hermione. Finally with a deep breathe he spoke. “I got outstanding in Defense Against the Dark Arts obviously, Charms and Herbology. Exceeds expectations in Transfiguration and Potions, I can be an auror if I decide quidditch isn’t my calling.”

“I never doubted you for a minute Ron. Especially not after the testing you did with Gawain.” Kingsley’s deep voice sounded behind him.

“Good evening Minister. Thank you for joining us tonight.” Molly said. “Can I help you with anything?”

“No, due to some commitments I need to leave somewhat early tonight but I was hoping to make some appointments with three of our guests of honor before I must leave.”

“Which three?” Ron asked feeling his face flush.

“I was hoping to speak with you and Harry about the training you’ll be doing by correspondence and then would like Hermione to meet with me to discuss her career options and your trip to Australia.” Hermione smiled brightly at the thought but Ginny looked a little depressed to be left out. “Don’t look so upset Ginny. If you fail to make the Harpies, which I highly doubt, we will be meeting with you to discuss your options as well. I’m told you had often thought about a career as a healer.”

Ginny blushed at the remark. She had considered it at some point. “Well do you mind if I join Hermione when you meet? We were all talking about a trip to Diagon Alley and we can do it in two groups that way.”

“The information may be a little personal so I will leave that decision up to Hermione.” Kingsley replied after a moment. “In either case I expect you boys to be in my office at 9 am. Hermione we can meet at 11 if that’s ok with you.” She nodded and Kingsley excused himself.

Before everyone could get too distracted and return to a full party mode Arthur and Molly stood again. “Now we have one last piece of business to attend to before we can finish enjoying this beautiful evening.” Arthur spoke to the crowd.

“I know none of them expected anything before the first announcement and all of them would say that a gift is unnecessary, we disagree. So we would like to invite the four of them up here so we can embarrass them a little with our love.” Molly smiled and invited the four up.

Harry and Hermione moved first. Harry loved being treated as family and this was simply another occasion of that. Ginny and Ron stood more reluctantly but they were optimistic that in the end they would enjoy this.

“Now Hermione we will start with you. As you are still relatively undecided on the path you will pursue we gave a lot of thought to what you may need in the future and we came up with something that may come in handy.” Winky and Kreacher popped into the orchard, while Arthrur was speaking. They had a large object covered by a sheet between them. “I believe these will come in handy.”

Arthur held a key ring out to Hermione and she took it. There were seven keys total and each one was slightly different. “What are these for?” Hermione asked as the sheet vanished and revealed Moody’s old seven chamber trunk. She looked at the gift suspiciously.

“Go ahead and open it.” Arthur suggested and Hermione did. The first compartment was filled with books on a variety of subjects. She didn’t get to open any other when Molly spoke.

“We also adjusted the last compartment to be just like all the others. You can fill them with whatever you want or need. It may not be practical for travel all the time but it is wonderful for making use of limited storage space.”

“Thank you so much. It means a lot to me.” Hermione smiled and wiped a tear from her eye. She was amazed that they could think of something so perfect for her when she wouldn’t have thought of it herself.

“Feel free to take anything from the Grimmauld Place library that peaks your interest. Just keep it separate so we can sort them out later.” Harry added with a smile and Hermione smiled and nodded at his offer.

“Now Ronald and Ginevra, your presents were decidedly easier to pick out. And I’m sorry to say we’re going to spoil a little bit of Harry’s plans.” Molly patted his shoulder while Harry smiled. With that little tidbit everybody knew what gifts the Weasley children would be receiving.

Winky and Kreacher popped out and back again with two long packages that were unmistakably broomsticks. The two red-heads tore through the paper and discovered the exact brooms that their coaches had recommended for quidditch play. Ginny shouted in delight and ran to embrace her father and mother. The broom remained hovering in the air where Ginny had let go of it.

Ron was more embarrassed at the generosity. “Mum you shouldn’t have. We’ll be able to get our own soon enough.”

“We did it because we love you and want the best for you. Now once you get back from Australia you will turn heads at Chudley. I’m sure if you need anything else you’ll be able to provide it.” Ron still had a heavy heart but his enthusiasm soon outweighed any negative feelings.

Finally Arthur looked at Harry. “Harry we couldn’t have asked for a better friend to Ron and Ginny. Half of our family is alive thanks to your actions. I have been hard at work with Hagrid while at Hogwarts this year to make this perfect. I hope you like it.”

Harry wasn’t sure what to expect as Krecher and Winky remained where they had when they arrived with brooms in hand. At the opposite side of the orchard near Arthur’s workshop a bight electric light fired up. This was immediately followed by a large engine coming to life. The engine released a throaty bellow and many in attendance covered their ears.

Harry didn’t cover his. Instead he looked through his tear filled eyes as Hagrid drove a sleek motorbike through the crowd to where he stood. With a final rev of the engine Hagrid throttled down and turned the bike off. Harry took a moment to look over the bike. It was nothing like it had looked the last time he had seen it.

The frame and body were a glossy black. Green flames covered the tank and were featured again on the fenders. The twin pipes were large and polished to gleaming silver. The bike looked absolutely beautiful. Harry looked over the tank and saw a few extra buttons and noticed the ones on the handlebar had been removed. The bike was meant for cruising and not for battle now.

“The side-car is in the garage still. We couldn’t get it fixed all the way in time so it’ll have to wait a few weeks. But we can help you learn to drive between now and then. I would rather you learn on your own before taking Ginny out.” Arthur smiled but Molly looked shocked at the suggestion.

“You never told me you had recovered the side-car Arthur.” She tried to growl between her teeth but she ended up laughing. Try as she might she had already known this was a given outcome and there was nothing that could stop her now grown kids from living their life.

“Oh mother you know better than to think I wouldn’t want to go with him.” Ginny smiled and kissed her mother’s cheek. “Besides we fly brooms together already.”

Harry smiled and embraced Mrs. Weasley. “Thank you for letting them do this. I know you couldn’t have fully supported the idea but it is one that I love.”

“Oh Harry it’s our pleasure. All of us, Hagrid included. Now go enjoy the party and see the rest of your friends. I expect you all back here for dinner tomorrow night before you have to go to the Ministry.”

Harry and Ginny spent the rest of the party comparing grades with their friends and discussing future plans. Unlike the first half of the party they walked together hand in hand. Many of the Amazonis’ students were returning to Brazil the following day. A few, like Celia, would be staying a little longer but most needed to begin job searches of their own.

The party started to wrap up about midnight. Guests excused themselves after wishing the graduates lots of luck in the future. More than a few presented cards and other small gifts. All these were left on the kitchen table as the group prepared to return to Grimmauld Place. Dudley and Lisa left after inviting Harry and Ginny to dinner with Petunia and Lisa’s parents on Tuesday. He agreed to have dinner after Dudley promised it would be a relaxing time.

Everyone went straight to bed when they arrived back at Grimmauld Place. Kreacher had promised a nice breakfast would be ready and he would have their gifts delivered before everyone woke up. Harry was the last to retire after making plans with his elf. He took the stairs quietly trying not to disturb anyone who may be sleeping. He removed his robe and slid under the cool soft sheets and curled his body around his fiancé. Ginny was still awake and give him a kiss and snuggled into his arms. Both thought they could get used to the sleeping arrangements.

Chapter 12: Kingsley's Mission
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The traditional Sunday night dinner at the Burrow was unusually large. Don and Christina had spent the night at the Burrow with Joy, Mariana and Ana Luiza. Everyone who was staying at Grimmauld Place was there. Charlie was still in the country and brought Rosaline with him. Percy wasn’t present but even so the Burrow was full to bursting.

Molly had anticipated the crowd and planned dinner in the garden. Luckily the weather cooperated and dinner passed without incident. After dessert the large group sat enjoying a cup of coffee or tea as they preferred. Conversation ranged across a variety of topics. Harry and Ginny had sat at the end of the table with Don and Christina across from them and Joy at the end.

“So Minister did you have a productive meeting with Kingsley?” Harry asked taking a sip of the dark brown coffee in his cup. Joy sat immediately to his left.

“It was just some preliminary discussion but it was productive. We’ll work out some details in the next coming days. I appreciate the introduction it was beneficial to meet in an unofficial capacity and speak frankly.”

Harry nodded. “I understand how that could be beneficial. So where is Dan this time? It seems you tend to make trips alone.”

“Technically everything other than this weekend is an official trip so Dan chose not to come. He told me to pass on his congratulations knowing you would do well on your exams.”

“It would have been good to see him again but I can understand not wanting to be limited. However, there is much he could’ve done across the country since he has so much free time.”

Joy leaned close to Harry and whispered barely loud enough for him to hear. “If he knew any of what Arthur has been up to in that shed of his Dan would’ve spent the entire trip in there. He loves to tinker with muggle technology. I won’t tell Arthur or we’ll never be able to separate the two once they get together.” She chuckled and Harry shared a knowing smile. Ginny raised her eyebrows questioningly and Harry told her he would tell her later.

“Son I do believe it is time.” Joy said although no one seemed to know what she meant besides Don.

Don looked over the crowd. Seeing a break in the conversations and the signs that the evening may begin to break up soon he stood. “Can I have everyone’s attention please?” What conversation had been going on stopped quickly. “I had wanted to give my gifts to the graduates last night but Firebolt only received authorization to import them this morning. And no you will not be receiving another broom.” Don smiled and retrieved four duffel bags that looked familiar to Harry. Two of them were bright orange one was a dark green and the last was a plain tan color.

“Are those what I think they are?” Harry asked remembering the one Don used for travel during his quidditch days.
“That and more Harry.” Don was as excited as a kid on Christmas. “We took my original duffel and made some wonderful changes to it. Don grabbed one of the orange ones that Harry now saw had the Cannons logo on the side. “First the side pocket here for your broom that you’re familiar with right Harry?” Harry nodded as Don pulled a broom out of the pocket emphasizing the expanded slot. Then on the other side here we have 4 zippers. Each one accesses a pocket inside the bag. All four have been expanded this way you can keep clothes for daily use and practice separate. No need to have those practice robes smelling up your good ones.” He removed various items from different pockets as he was talking. “Finally if you open the top you have access to my absolute favorite feature.” He stepped back from the table and out of the garden. Don put the bag down on the ground and opened the top of it. He pulled a pole out of it and let it continue on its own.

The group watched as the pole came out and split into smaller pieces and spread apart. Fabric filled the spaces between the poles and after about fifteen seconds Don was standing inside a modest tent that matched the color of the bag. “Come on in guys you have to take a look.” Don called from the inside. Arthur joined the students as they filed into the tent.

The tent featured four rooms; the main room was a combination sitting room with a small fireplace and dining room with a wooden table big enough for four. A fully equipped kitchen stood at the back of the sitting room but was only half partitioned off by the wall giving someone inside the ability to look out the entrance. A loo was on the left and a bedroom on the right with a queen size bed and some closet and dresser space. Arthur let out a low whistle as he looked over the inside. “This is some pretty impressive magic. Where did you come up with the idea?”

“These are designed for the traveling quidditch player in mind but they are really useful for all sorts of travel.” Don answered appreciating the compliment. “I wish I could claim it was mostly my work but I just helped with the basics.” He changed his attention to the three young players. “Now you probably haven’t been told this yet but for quidditch matches you’ll have to be at the pitch at least three days beforehand and they don’t usually have places for the players to live. That was the reason for this idea.” Don’s news was disappointing to Harry and Ginny knowing they would have to separate on match weeks. “Any clothing you have in the bag will be in the closet and dressers when you expand it. Then you simply pull the bag down to pack it back up.”

He reached into the top most point of the tent. A small string extended to his hand and he pulled down sharply. A small circle of fabric followed and the unpacking process reversed and only a moment later he stood with an ordinary looking bag in hand. “These are not exclusive to you; Firebolt is sponsoring your entire teams to keep them uniform. The team owners are delighted by the improvement in the living conditions and the company has already fielded requests from many other teams.”

After repackaging the tent Don started back to his seat. He handed Harry the bag he had used for the demonstration and then passed the rest out. “I think you should retire to someplace more comfortable Don. Harry, Ron and Ginny need to know what to expect come September. They were pretty surprised at the statements you made.” Arthur said reassuming his spot at the head table. Harry and Ginny did indeed look a little down trodden but the news. Don nodded and started toward the Burrow.

“Since you guys may be a little while I think we’ll excuse ourselves and return to Grimmauld Place.” Celia added getting up and taking Draco’s arm. “I really want to look over that tapestry in the drawing room some.”

“If Harry doesn’t object I’d like to join you to continue the conversation I had with Draco last night.” George added. “And since you have a frame there Fred can be present as well.”

Over breakfast Celia revealed, rather accidentally, that Draco had taken Ron’s advice and talked to George about the shop. George was receptive of the idea and agreed to think about the possibility. Now it seemed he wanted to dig deeper into it.

“I have no objection if you know the address.” Harry replied, George paled while thinking then smiled.

“Of course I do. I was on the approved list you gave Kingsley, remember?” Harry nodded.

“Don’t tear up the place too bad.” He warned as the three excused themselves from the table.

Everyone else stayed at their spots as Don, made his way to the Burrow’s sitting room with the four behind him. Hermione knew that this would affect her as well. “Ron would you and Harry grab some drinks for everyone and then we’ll discuss what to expect.” Don said taking Arthur’s chair. The larger wizard’s frame sunk into the cushioning a fair amount.

Ron and Harry made their way to the ice box in the kitchen before settling into seats as well. Harry noticed that Fred’s frame was empty and assumed he was at Grimmauld Place.

Don rested the butterbeer bottle in his hands and leaned forward. “September is going to be here quicker than you expect and things are going to change for all of you. First will be the tryouts which will last a couple of weeks. During this time the team will be on lockdown. Nobody leaves the home pitch.” Don stressed the last part. “This is to build the team unity and chemistry. Ron and Harry you already know you have spots on the team so it will be easier for you, Ginny you technically will have to fight for your spot so for a time you may not feel welcome until it is official. Rumors from some friends point toward you being pretty much a lock but you can’t be over confident.” Ginny smiled but her eyes were determined.

“After the tryouts you will get a day or two off to return home and let your body recover as much as possible. Then you begin two-a-day practices. One in the morning followed usually by a study session coupled with your lunch. Then you have a second practice in the afternoon. This may be the most intensive quidditch playing you will ever do. Remember this is a full time job so eight hour days are the norm and sometimes longer.” Harry could tell Don was serious. He knew the older man wouldn’t lead them wrong. “This will last for the rest of September and will lead you into the first match of the year, the first week of October.”

“So what will the season schedule look like Don?” Hermione asked. She had pulled out a notepad and had been scribbling quickly on it.

Don took a drink of his butterbeer before continuing. “Practices will continue most days and most weather. I would spend your evenings during October perfecting the pepper up potion as well as the pain relieving potion. They will both come in handy. Ron what is the match schedule like here? I’ve never studied the league schedule only worried about international.”

“Teams play once every two weeks with a minimum of 8 days off between.” Ron replied without a hesitation. “Then one international match for the 20 or so players that are part of the rotation every month to 6 weeks. Usually this is during the league’s off week.

“So after each match you will probably have a day or two to recover, depending on the length of the break. Then you’ll be studying plays and strategy in the morning and practicing in the afternoon usually.” Don set his bottle down and took off his glasses. He pinched the bridge of his nose. “None of this is set in stone of course it’s all my best guesswork. I really wish we could talk to someone who played in the English and Irish league.” He seemed worried about setting the wrong expectation.

“The accuracy of the details pales in comparison to the information we need to be ready.” Ginny responded. “From what I’m gathering if we’re not doing something more important the three of should be flying.”

Harry nodded his agreement. “It seems like we may spend bits of time away from each other but you know how I feel about you Ginny and I won’t be happy unless you are.” Harry said not looking at her. Although she took his hand and snuggled closer to him.

“We’ll make it work love we always do.”

“Someone get me barf bag. I’m gonna be sick.” Fred’s voice shouted from the portrait frame. “He smiled as a butterbeer cork smacked the canvas. “I love you too sis.” Fred sat in his chair. “George just wanted me to let you know he’s all done talking with Draco. He reckons it won’t be much longer and Draco will be moving.”

Harry looked questioningly at the portrait. “I’ll let you talk to Draco about it.” Fred responded and seemingly fell asleep. Harry wasn’t convinced but he turned back to Don.

“Honestly I’m not sure what more I can tell you.” Don smiled. “As you said you need to fly as much as possible. You need to be able to handle five to six hours a day without getting overly winded. I think that is enough for tonight though. We should get back to the crowd before they get too restless.”

Harry downed his butterbeer in one long draught and had a better idea. “You guys go. Ginny and I will be taking a walk through the orchard.” Neither of them waited for a response as they exited out through the kitchen hand in hand.

“Bloody smart thinking.” Ron muttered to himself as they rejoined the group in the garden. “I wish I’d thought of it.” Hermione smiled as they returned to the table.

“Where’s Ginny and Harry?” Bill asked as the couple sat down.

“Took a walk in the orchard, they’ll probably catch up on some snogging by the pond.” Hermione answered.

Bill smiled and nodded. Before long he whispered something to Fleur and excused himself from the table. Fleur smiled as she played with Victoire at the table.

Ginny walked through the orchard hand-in-hand with Harry. It was a beautiful summer evening and Ginny relished the sunshine. She was worried that the trip to Australia would ruin the summer but she had discussed it with Hermione and even though it was winter the weather was quite mild compared to what England was used to. She caught a whiff of the flowers that surrounded the pond that was a stone’s throw away. She was about to suggest that they go and sit on the dock and rest their feet in the water when she stumbled.

“Is something wrong Ginny?” Harry asked as she fell to the ground next to him.

“Yes I can’t move my feet.” Ginny’s feet were indeed stuck to the ground. She was able to push back up so she was squatting. But with her feet planted in the ground she couldn’t stand up.

Harry pulled out his wand and was about to cast a spell when a low grumbly voice came from behind the trees.

“You don’t need to worry about the spell. I would never hurt Ginny.” Bill came around one of the apple trees and looked over the pair. “You Potter are another story. How could you think of asking my only sister to marry you without talking to any of us first?” He stepped up to Harry and shoved him hard. Harry stumbled under the force of the larger man.

Bill kept his voice low but Ginny could feel the malice and hurt in it. She regretted not telling her brothers immediately about their engagement. “Bill please it’s my fault. I asked him not to tell anybody besides mum and dad and Hermione and Ron. We couldn’t keep it a secret from them.”

Harry quickly got to his feet, Ginny was impressed that he didn’t raise his wand. “I’m sorry Bill. But I did ask your father, and Ron and I thought that was enough.” Harry stood still staring at the older wizard. He had to look up to look him in the eye.

“You know I really did like you Harry, savior of the wizarding world and all that.” Harry flinched at Bill’s declaration. “But then you go around our back and try to take our sister from us.”

“You keep saying we but you seem to be the only one here Bill.” Ginny objected. “And how did you find out anyway.”

“Between your mother and your brother there are few secrets we can’t get to little sister.” Charlie had appeared on the other side of Harry.

“Especially for a genius such as myself.” George added emerging from behind yet another tree.

“Well I guess the gangs all here so what are you going to do beat Harry into pulp until he agrees not to marry me.” Ginny felt tears in her eyes. Her chest was pounding in a panic.

“Don’t give them any brilliant ideas Ginny.” She saw Harry preparing to defend himself. Bill and Charlie pushed closer to Harry as Ginny struggled to free her feet. She saw Bill pull back to punch her fiancé and that was it. She closed her eyes so she wouldn’t have to watch.

It took Ginny a moment to realize that she heard no sounds of a fight. No punches no groans of pain. Nothing, cautiously she opened an eye and found an unexpected sight. Harry stood still surrounded by the three but they were talking amiably. Once he noticed that she was looking at him he smiled.

“Come now Ginny did you honestly believe I wouldn’t ask your brothers before asking you.” He smiled and she looked shocked. She couldn’t help but smile though as Harry had played her worst fear against her.

She felt the ground release her shoes and she stood up completely. “Whose idea was this?” Three fingers pointed toward Harry and he blushed slightly embarrassed. “I am going to curse you into oblivion Harry Potter!” She cried though it was hard to be intimidating when you had a large smile plastered across your face.

“Now Ginny if you do that before you’re married then you won’t inherit his VAST fortune.” Bill intervened and stopped her in her tracks. Ginny had never given much thought to how rich Harry actually was and soon she would be.

“How vast are we talking Bill?” She asked innocently as if weighing the options. She still held her wand in hand.

“As in vaster than any wizard in Britain and most of Europe.” Not even Harry had known about that information. It was a moment before Ginny spoke again.

“Well then in that case he’s forgiven.” Ginny pushed past Bill and stretched up to kiss Harry on the lips. She then tugged his shirt lightly so she could whisper in his ear. “You might be forgiven this time, but remember I get even and I have lived with Fred and George longer.” She smiled sweetly and without another word apparated away before he could respond.

“Well revenge is coming I hope it’s not too painful.” He said as the Weasleys laughed and walked with him back to the party. Harry relished in his ability to joke with his fiancé and hoped that it would continue through their life together. “I probably shouldn’t mention that I already had her named my next of kin just in case.”

The off-handed admission was only slightly surprising. The Weasleys knew that Harry loved Ginny and would want her to be taken care of if he was not able. “Yea don’t mention that to her, or mum for that matter.” Bill said only half joking. The rest of the walk passed in silence as they joined the dinner that was breaking up.

Kingsley Shacklebolt sat in his office looking over a large file. It was stuffed with information and data from the past eight years. Almost everything that Harry and Ron had endured was included. He was still curious on why the group spent nearly a year in the wilderness and weren’t seen until they showed up at Gringotts but that was a matter for another time. Now though he had Gawain’s reports and knew where to focus the young men’s training.

He peaked over the top of the folder as Harry and Ron entered the office. Gawain followed and stood by the door leaning up against the wall. The head auror had been surprised and impressed by both young men and had asked to be present for this.

“Good morning Kinglsey.” Harry said taking a seat across from the large desk. His eyes shown brightly with his smile and Kinglsey was pleased to see him look so relaxed. He felt a smile come unbidden to his face.

“Good morning Minister.” Ron added, much more professionally, taking his seat.

“It is a lovely morning yes. Although I had heard it could rain this afternoon. I hope that magical maintenance keeps the windows bright and sunny.” He smiled as the two men waited. “Now I’m sure you know why you’re here, so let’s get to it. I had Gawain fill out the standard evaluation we use whenever we have aurors or trainees coming in from overseas. We judge strengths and weaknesses and assign an auror to partner with them based on it. It works well to determine if you need some additional work in any particular field. So Gawain if you were evaluating these men as young aurors what would you suggest?”

The auror looked over Harry and Ron for a moment. “Practically speaking you both could skip the academy and work in the field alongside a senior auror today and be able to hold your own. You obviously need some training in the rules of law as well as learning investigative skills. These are things you couldn’t be expected to learn in school so that’s understandable.” He took a breath before continuing. “I would recommend you be assigned to a pair of experienced aurors and taught these skills. However since that can’t happen some book learning will have to suffice.”

With that Kingsley produced two small stacks of books. “The small book is our introduction to investigation. It is very useful and even in everyday life you can apply what you learn. The larger one is of course the rules of law for Britain. I have included a few notebooks that have quizzes and exercises you can work on to improve your retention. I expect that these will keep you occupied for a fair while.”

Harry and Ron nodded and each took one of the stacks. Both had brought their old school bag and the books quickly disappeared into them. Next Kingsley pulled out an envelope and slid two very small booklets out of it. Harry recognized the books as he had received a similar set from Professor McGonagall as he was preparing to travel to Brazil.

“Ron, here are your passports. I took the liberty of renewing your wizard one since it has been over five years.” Kinglsey passed them to the Ron. He looked over them and the information included within. “The red one is for muggle travel, I won’t go into the details as I’m sure Hermione will explain but to get to Australia you’ll be traveling by muggle methods. You’ll need your wizarding one when you come into contact with Ministry personnel in Australia. You still have yours from last year I assume, correct Harry?”

“I do yes sir. I wish we didn’t need two but I understand the need.” Harry nodded.

“Well they will come in handy in the future as you start to travel for quidditch. I have no doubt you and Ron may one day be asked to play for England.” Harry and Ron smiled but Harry’s didn’t reach his eyes. There was no sparkle in the green. “Was there something else you wanted to discuss with me Harry?” Kingsley was sympathetic to the things in Harry’s past that could cause him pain. “You don’t seem to be too happy about discussing the future.”

Harry was silent for a while and Kingsley worried he had asked the wrong thing. “Two things sir, first I’d like to arrange a trip to Azkaban for Draco and myself, possibly along with a third person. We would like to visit Narcissa.” Harry seemed relieved to express the desire. “I think Draco wishes to make amends and I know I need to thank her for saving my life.”

The request surprised the minister. He didn’t know Harry and Draco were even on speaking terms. He was happy to grant the request after finding out what Narcissa had done although he worried about sending Harry to the prison. “That shouldn’t be too difficult Harry but I think we can do one better. Narcissa has been a model prisoner and to all of your benefits I think we can arrange a meeting here in one of the courtrooms. Narcissa won’t risk extending her incarceration so she won’t be a risk to flee and I believe she has truly turned away from her husband’s beliefs.”

Harry genuinely smiled. “I think that would indeed be better. I don’t look forward to the next time I have to encounter the dementors.” Kinglsey nodded, after the battle he had a horrible experience anytime he came close to the dementors. Unfortunately as Minister that was fairly regular. “Secondly I would like to tell you how Tom Riddle prolonged his life. I give you this information in the utmost confidence. You know how dangerous knowledge can be and I don’t want things like this to become common knowledge.”

Harry’s first request was a surprise but this bit of news blew Kingsley out of the water. He appreciated Harry bringing it up. In order to properly plan he needed to know what he as dealing with. He knew the panic or worse temptation that could be caused by inaccurate or incomplete information in the wrong way. “Gawain please return to your office. I am sure some of this information will be of importance to you but a large portion may be personal and I would rather hear it myself to determine just how much to share.” Gawain nodded solemnly and exited the room. Gawain thought like Kingsley which was one of the reasons that the Minister had chosen him to lead the auror department. They had worked together for quite a few years and trusted one another’s conclusions.

The next hour was spent with a retelling of the life of Riddle and the year on the run. Kingsley was not altogether surprised to hear he had used a horcrux to sustain his life. He was shocked to hear that he had created six of them. Unbeknownst to Kingsley Harry glossed over the seventh horcrux but did go over most of the events during the Battle of Hogwarts. After the history lesson Kingsley was left with how best to use the information Harry had given him. Harry had said he would share the story with Minerva as well. Kingsley knew they would have to work together to make sure the details were limited but giving enough education to prevent students from dabbling in the magic.

“I appreciate the information and have a lot of things to consider Harry. I do have one more thing to ask of you, can you be here at six tonight for something special. I would go into more details but the Hermione and Ginny will be here any time now.” Kingsley assumed Ginny would be coming along. “Hermione will need to be here as well but I’ll tell her myself.”

“Why just them?” Ron sounded hurt not being able to participate.

Kingsley understood the reaction. Ron had spent years in the shadows of his brothers. And now he felt left behind by his best friend and girl friend. “They will explain in time Ron. For now know that I wish all four of you could participate.” Kingsley smiled reassuringly and Ron nodded though he still didn’t appear entirely convinced. “Since the girls will be arriving any time now I must take my leave boys.”

They both stood and left quietly. Kingsley slumped into his chair as the door clicked closed. It was still early so he asked his receptionist to brew a strong pot of tea. He was half tempted to open the bottle of oak matured mead he had in his lower drawer. The story and its implications left him drained. Harry was a far stronger man then even he had given him credit for. Kingsley sensed there were parts of the story that hadn’t been told but it was most likely personal and wouldn’t push for the rest. He wrote a quick message to Minerva explaining he wanted to meet with her once she and Harry had a chance to talk. The Headmistress would waste no time in setting up a meeting with Harry.

The Minister had just finished his first cup of tea when the door buzzed. He checked the magic monitor that he had on his desk and it revealed that his receptionist was escorting Ginny and Hermione into the office. His meeting with the boys had taken longer than he expected and he was just now starting to recover. He hoped meeting with the girls would be a little easier. He took a deep breath and pushed the small button next to the drawer on his desk. His office door swung open with Ginny and Hermione following close behind. “Thank you Shannon.” He waved to his receptionist as she closed the door leaving him with his guests.

Ginny and Hermione took the seats their boyfriends occupied shortly prior. Both looked nervously at the Minister waiting for him to speak. “Did you pass Harry and Ron on their way out? They were here longer than expected.” Hermione shook her head. “Right then how about a cup of tea and we’ll get down to business.” He poured a cup for each girl from the pot that was levitating just off his desk.

Hermione took a sip and nearly spit it back out. The look of disgust on her face was evident. “My apologies I asked for a very strong pot have some sugar.” Hermione added the sugar and Ginny followed. They tasted the tea and were satisfied with the sweetness. “First now, Hermione have you thought about what job you would like to take. It would be best to make the decision soon so we can let the department head know not to fill the position while you’re traveling.”

“I have narrowed it down to a job with the Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures and one with the Department of Magical Law Enforcement. I would like to assist house-elves and other underprivileged non-humans. However I feel our laws need to be adjusted as well, too many decisions and rulings favor pure-bloods and I could assist with that in the Law Enforcement office.” She hadn’t had a chance to talk about this with anyone other than Ginny. She knew she would have Ron’s support no matter what she decided but didn’t know how he would personally feel about her stance on magical creatures.

Kingsley thought hard about what she said. Hermione was incredibly intelligent and would do well at rewriting some of the laws. However she may have more passion for the Magical Creatures office. Kingsley really wanted to use her talents in both areas and he had already planned a way that would help. “Well Ms. Granger I think you can do both and would like to make a suggestion.” She nodded but didn’t speak. “I think you should take the position with Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures, it is an undervalued department that has received too little attention since the war. Given its state you would likely rise through the ranks quickly which will give you a great amount of influence in making changes.”

“That sounds intriguing Minister but how would I be able to help with rewriting laws in that position?”

“In that position you wouldn’t be. However as a member of the Wizengamot you would.”

Hermione couldn’t mask her surprise. Her mouth hung open and Kingsley smiled a bit at her reaction. “How, how is that even possible. It’s unheard of for someone so young to be on the Wizengamot, aside from the youth representative that is and nobody has held that position in years.”

“It is not unheard of Ms. Granger and currently there are many open seats that need to be filled. I can’t imagine anyone would object to your appointment.” Kingsley explained. “There are fifty seats total on the court and the Minister has the freedom of appointing a total of ten people to represent him or her. I have appointed three people so far and I would like you to be the fourth. I am hoping to get people with similar beliefs to you and me to start approving changed laws.”

“I would be happy to join the court but wouldn’t someone like Harry be more influential? He is the hero of the wizarding world after all.” Ginny snickered at the way Hermione said hero of the wizarding world. Harry hated that phrase.

“You may be right Hermione but Harry already has a seat on the Wizengamot, several in fact.”

“How can that be?” Ginny was stunned by the admission.

“Well Ms. Weasley as Minister I control ten seats as I mentioned. Certain department heads and deputy department heads are automatically given seats as well.” Kingsley explained the breakdown of the high court. “That’s roughly another ten, I can influence those seats by appointing people into the position but the Wizengamot has to approve of the appointment. The remaining seats which are the bulk of the court are made up of old wizard families. Many are pure-blood families that will resist this change others are more willing to compromise.”

“So I’m guessing these seats are passed through the family in wills just like any other possession.” Hermione interrupted.

“Yes and through wizard duels if no one is there to inherit it. The goblins at Gringotts have confirmed to me that during the war and the final battle that four seats transferred to ownership of Riddle and then by extension to Harry upon Riddle’s death. The Potter family already had one that Harry will be filling soon but he will need to fill those other seats.”

Ginny started to chuckle as she had a thought. “Did I say something amusing Ms. Weasley?”

“No Minister but I’m imagining you haven’t told Harry about this and when you do he’s going to feel the weight of the world trying to find three worthy recipients.”

Kingsley smiled. “You’re right, but why only three worthy ones.”

“There is no doubt in my mind that the first person Harry will appoint will be my dad. His love of muggles along with his influence of Harry has shaped his character so much.” Ginny was still chuckling. “Heck he might even give the other three to my brothers.”

“And there is one of the snags that Harry will run into. The family seats are restricted to one member of a particular family.” Kingsley regretfully admitted. He would love to have multiple Weasleys to support him. “Arranged marriages were often planned around seats on the court. You would be a Potter if you marry Harry so you’re out. I have no doubt Harry will give a seat to the Weasleys so I need Hermione to be one of my appointments since she will probably be a Weasley soon.” Both girls blushed and Kingsley continued. “In a perfect world I would appoint you and Ron alongside Hermione Ginny. However I have to be more tactful until some changes are implemented. You and your family will have to help Harry make these decisions based on who is likely to keep the legacy and who can help us change how our laws work.”

Ginny’s smile disappeared and she became rather determined. “I can help with that for sure. And I’m sure Hermione will too. But I think we have some other plans to discuss too.”

“Yes we do. And unfortunately that is just as complicated.” Kinglsey sighed. There was so much about leading the country and interacting with the rest of the world that he hadn’t anticipated when he took the job. Things were improving and with Hermione and Harry on the Wizengamot it would be easier.

“First as of right now we have no official relations with Australia. The country is on lockdown to all magical means of transportation from here until those are reestablished.” Kingsley explained.

“And I don’t suppose we can travel to France or Brazil where they like us and then go on?” Hermione asked and Kinglsey shook his head. No other Ministry would vouch for them, even if it was for Harry. “Ok so muggle transportation and passports.” Hermione had suddenly produced a notebook like she had while talking with Don. “I think I can renew my old one easily enough. It might be harder for Ginny and Ron…”

Kingsley held up a hand to cut her off. “I’m sorry Hermione maybe we should start with these.” He passed each girl two passports as he had with Ron. “I have taken the liberty of renewing it and requesting a magical passport be issued for you as well.” Hermione blushed. “I have also renewed your wizarding one as I did for Ron, Ginny. As well as requesting a muggle one for your travel. Now one of the most important facts about Australia is their wizard population started almost entirely with muggle-borns.”

“Right I remember Professor Binns telling me about this. In the 1700s muggles became fascinated with witchcraft and trying to find and eliminate witches.” Ginny explained. “They were lousy at detecting magic normally but Muggle-born witches and wizards could let it slip as kids both before they were of age to attend school and during the summer. Rather than risk their kids being burned alive, many families volunteered for the new territory and a few older witches and wizards journeyed to setup the foundation of a society. I believe they encountered a fair amount of indigenous people with magical talent but they hadn’t advanced to wand creation.”

“Exactly Ms. Weasley.” Kingsley was impressed by her memory; she was almost as bright as Hermione. “This does make finding the wizard community in Australia more difficult. They are very adept at blending in with muggles.” Kingsley explained. “Blood status means nothing to them as well which is why they cut off ties with us under Voldemort, I mean Riddle. Things have been strained as minister after minister bowed to the pure-bloods. But Riddle’s puppet government was too much. They didn’t want to associate with that mentality.”

Hermione nodded but both remained silent waiting for Kingsley to continue. “As a Muggle-born and a very clever one Hermione you are the perfect ambassador for me.” Kingsley tried to emphasize the importance of this mission. “Many Australians have distant family here so while they may be reluctant they should be interested in resuming normal relations. Now it gets complicated.”

“I can’t see how it could possibly be more complicated than it already is.” Ginny tried to joke but she was feeling overwhelmed.

“I said I have some contacts in Australia and this is true but they can’t reveal too much without getting in trouble. I can give you the basics but you’re going to have to go from there.”

“Ok what do we know?” Hermione was again ready to make notes.

“First the Sydney equivalent of Diagon Alley is located in a mall called the World Square Shopping Center, it is in Sydney proper. The wizard shops have always been in that area but they had to become hidden as the city grew and the mall was built around them.” He paused to let it sink in. “Once at the mall you will probably need to find a helpful witch or wizard to enter the wizard level, I don’t even know what it’s called. This is the first assignment I put in Ron and Harry’s auror notebook by the way. It will be a useful test.”

“Ok this is complicated. Are we sure there isn’t any way easier.” Hermione interrupted.

“I’m afraid not Hermione, I hate to ask so much of you four after all you’ve been through but in order to get you the information so we can reunite you with your parents we must convince the Ministry in Australia to help you.” He removed his hat. His office was getting warmer or he was stressed about what he was asking of his friends. He knew they were mature enough to handle it and this was relatively straight forward but it always seemed these three, well now four, were in the center of everything. “Once you gain entrance to the shopping district you have to present yourself to the auror’s office located there. It may take a bit of persuasion to convince them you hold the office you claim but they should take you to the Ministry to deal with the head auror. Her name is Melissa King; if you call her that she’ll curse you. Call her Myssy and tell her I sent you. She should take everything from there.

Hermione wrote furiously and Kingsley appreciated her enthusiasm. He knew that if they could get in touch with Myssy she could petition the Minister to resume official relations. If the Minister wouldn’t then she would at least help Hermione reunite with her parents. Hermione looked up realizing that he was no longer talking. “Is there anything else we need to do?”

“Yes Ms. Granger, you and Harry need to be here at six tonight to take your place on the Wizengamot. It will be a quick process for Harry but it will require a confirmation vote for you. You might have to prove yourself to some though I don’t think it will be too difficult. Most of the people that would dare oppose your appointment openly had seats that now belong to Harry.” He let the cryptic message hang in the air. His way with words was one of the reasons that Dumbledore recommended he join the ministry out of Hogwarts. He knew that these four could handle all he asked of them. His only worry is that someone might try to stand in their way and with their determination it could get ugly.

Hermione looked determined and ready to proceed. She wasn’t going to lose focus where her parents were concerned. “Did you have any more advice Minister?”

“Get yourself mentally prepared and make sure you are ready to go. When you are I will arrange for your tickets and any expenses will be covered under official business for the Ministry. For now though, let’s have some lunch.”

The girls smiled at the request and followed him as he led the way from his office to the cafeteria. Lunch was a welcome reprieve from the morning and soon they were departing as Kingsley returned to his office for some additional work.

A/N: This chapter took me a little longer because I had to make some plans on where things were going to be in Sydney. Unlike Brazil and Rio I know next to nothing about Australia so I'm having to figure it out as I go along. If anyone has any suggestions feel free to leave comments.

Chapter 13: The Wizengamot
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Hermione paced in the kitchen of Grimmauld Place. The clock in the entrance had recently chimed five pm and she was waiting for five-thirty. Harry was sitting rather nervously at the table nursing a nearly full butterbeer. He wasn’t sure why Hermione was so nervous since she knew what was going on but her emotions were rubbing off on him. If he told the truth he was more worried about the following evening.

Lisa had sent her owl and invited him and Ginny to her house for dinner to talk to her parents about moving into Grimmauld place. This wasn’t too bad but Dudley and Petunia had been invited too. Harry knew Dudley would be polite but his Aunt was an unknown factor. He pushed those thoughts to the back of his mind as Hermione sighed in frustration.

Hermione had told him there was nothing to worry about but she clearly didn’t feel that way about herself. Harry wanted to laugh at his friend since it had been her suggestion to wait until five-thirty. She rationalized that waiting would help avoid the normal crowd associated with the work day. Then they could enter and pass through security rather quickly. While the pair waited Ginny and Ron sat down the table watching in silent amusement. Ron still didn’t know what was going on but he trusted Ginny when she had told him not to worry and that she would explain after they left.

Finally after what seemed like an eternity the clock chimed five-thirty. Hermione sprinted for the fireplace and grabbed the small pot of floo powder. Harry took another swig of the now warm butterbeer and put it back on the table. He walked down the table and gave Ginny a light kiss. “We’ll see you later tonight. Make sure Winky lets everyone know its dinner time before Ron eats everything.” Ginny smiled and nodded. Hermione frowned realizing she had forgotten to say goodbye to Ron and walked down the table to do so.

Ron smiled as the pair returned to the fireplace and spun out of sight with a flash of green flame. “So what exactly is going on?” He asked Ginny as he sat back down. Kreacher brought a light dinner while Winky disappeared to get the others. Ginny recounted the conversation she had had with Kinglsey and Hermione.

Hermione stepped out of the gilded fireplace and onto the solid marble floor of the ministry. She used her wand to syphon any stray soot and cleared a space for Harry to step out behind her. The fireplaces both at Grimmauld Place and the Ministry were kept impeccably clean so there wasn’t much to clear off. Harry took a minute to inspect his dark blue robes that had been a gift from Arthur and then walked alongside Hermione to the atrium.

She had been right about waiting until five-thirty. The fireplaces for departures had small queues but nothing too bad and there were only a trickle of people coming in from the right hand side arrival fireplaces. Hermione thought they were probably the night shift and walked along with them until they arrived at the security desk.

The young man behind the desk looked as though he had been expecting them. “Ah Mr. Potter, Ms. Granger welcome to the Ministry. I’m sure you know the drill.” They did and each handed their wand to him in turn as he notated the information and returned it to them. He handed them two silver visitor badges. The personalized markings said simply “Wizengamot Meeting.” Harry released a held breathe reading the badge and the tension in his shoulders dissipated. He had expected much worse than simply a meeting of the Wizengamot. “Enjoy your visit; I dare say this may be the last time you have to stop at the desk.” He returned to his stool with a wink and picked up a copy of the Daily Prophet. Hermione shrugged at Harry’s questioning look and turned to leave.

“Oh where is the meeting being held? I completely forgot to ask this morning.” Hermione said suddenly as they stepped away.

“Right, the only rooms big enough for the whole Wizengamot are the courtrooms. Courtroom one is the one selected for tonight.

Harry thanked the man and then followed Hermione past the memorial stone and to the lifts. They waited for one to clank to a stop and the few people leaving for the day to clear out. They stepped into the lift as the gate slid shut and Hermione pressed the button for level 9. The lift noisily descended to level 9 and Harry stepped out and led the way to level ten.

“I know this is only a meeting but I always feel nervous about coming down here. We don’t have the best record with the courtrooms.” He said as Hermione walked beside him.

“Actually we’re undefeated. You were cleared of wrongdoing after fighting the dementors and we got away with the locket from Umbridge.” He smiled at her reasoning and relaxed a bit more. He was glad that whatever was happening he had Hermione there with him so he wouldn’t have to go it alone.

When they arrived at the tenth level Kingsley was standing there along with a couple other wizards. All of them had the intricate W of the Wizengamot on their robes. Kingsley noticed their approach and quietly excused himself from the conversation. He embraced Hermione warmly and gave Harry his hand. Harry pulled the man into a one armed hug. “Thank you for coming on such short notice. We’ll begin soon and we’ll start with you Harry.” Kingsley said rather quickly. He looked over his shoulder and noticed the others were entering the courtroom. “I have to go in now someone will be out to bring you in shortly.”

Harry took a seat on the bench opposite the door that Kingsley had disappeared through. Hermione however paced rapidly in the hallway. They couldn’t hear what was happening so they just had to wait patiently. They had been waiting for about a half hour when the door opened and Percy Weasley stepped out. “Harry, Hermione it’s good to see you. Harry please follow me and Hermione…” He waited for her to turn and focus on him. “Relax you have nothing to worry about.” He smiled and she nodded taking Harry’s seat on the bench.

Harry followed Percy into the courtroom. All conversation stopped immediately as he entered. There was no chair in the center and so Harry stood. Standing behind the podium was none other than Aberforth Dumbledore.

“Mr. Potter do you know why you have been brought before this meeting of the Wizengamot?” Harry noticed Percy scribbling on his parchment taking the notes of the meeting.

“No Mr. Dumbledore I do not.” Harry answered formally following the lead of Aberforth. “I only received the summons this morning.”

“Well take a seat Mr. Potter and we will explain. Now what do you know of the makeup of the Wizengamot?” He conjured a chair and Harry sat in it.

“It seems there are fewer people now than when I last sat before the court however I know nothing of how members are chosen.” Harry confessed.

Aberforth smiled and explained the court makeup as Kingsley had done for Hermione. As he mentioned the seats held by families and passed from generation to generation Harry understood his purpose at the meeting and realized now why the guard had mentioned they would no longer need to check in.

“So Mr. Potter now that you know a little more about the court can you guess why you have been asked here tonight.” Aberforth wrapped up with a slight twinkle in his eye that reminded Harry so much of Albus.

“I believe so. Based on what you’ve said I believe I am being asked to take the seat that was left to me when my parents died.” He explained. “I was not asked sooner because I was not of age and then certain factors prevented me from taking the seat.”

“You are half correct Mr. Potter. You will indeed be taking the seat left to you by your parents. Afterward your first order of business will be to find four suitable candidates to take the other seats you have recently inherited. As I mentioned only one seat may remain in each family.”

Harry nodded. The revelation was not wholly unexpected after he had inherited so much property but it was still a heavy burden. A few names immediately sprang to the forefront of his mind but he wasn’t sure how to proceed, other than the fact that without a doubt one of the seats would go to a Weasley.

“Now then Mr. Potter there is no official swearing in oath that must be taken. Words have power and depending on the wording an oath could prove exceptionally binding. As a member of the Wizengamot you must be able to use reason without being forced into a decision that may be morally wrong. You are however required to sign the roll of official members and take your seat next to Susan who I believe you know.” Percy presented an ancient scroll and opened it to the bottom which Harry added his name to the list.”

With his signature a stylized W appeared on his robe opposite his Order of Merlin shield. He sighed and ascended to his seat next to Susan. Harry had heard her aunt had been killed and it seemed she was one of the few people in her family left alive. Still she greeted Harry with a warm hug as he sat down.

“By the way Harry the W only appears during meetings and trials where identifying the members is truly important.”Aborforth smiled and again Harry was strongly reminded of Albus. “With that piece of business concluded is there any other new business we need to attend to.” Aberforth asked to the assembled group. Harry looked around and nobody moved at first. Then Kingsley stood.

“With your permission Chief Warlock I have an appointment to bring before the court for one of the open seats that it is my responsibility to fill.”

Aberforth nodded. “Proceed Minister.”

Kingsley stood and cleared his throat. “This person is one of the most intelligent witches I have ever met. Despite her young age she has been through many difficult situations which could have stumped others thrice her age.” He paused to take a breath. “I am recommending this person not only for her qualifications but for the hope that she might be able to help us open relations with Australia again. She has some connections to the continent and would serve well as an ambassador as a muggle-born she can relate to their experiences.” There were a few muffled whispers but they cut off quickly. “At this time I would like to nominate Hermione Jean Granger to become a member of the Wizengamot.”

The whispers returned but Harry could sense they were mostly excited. Overall the response to the news seemed positive. There were some nervous looks and Harry realized that pure-blood beliefs may extend beyond death eaters. He tried not to hold that against his fellow members but knew that things would need to change to prevent the prejudices from affecting society again.

With the announcement Percy again left his post near the podium and escorted Hermione into the courtroom. She stood in front of the chair that Aberforth had conjured for Harry. Unlike when Harry entered the room, the conversation continued for another minute until Aberforth called the group to order with a bang on his gavel. Hermione flinched at the sound but the rest of the room quickly quieted down.

“Good evening Ms. Granger are you aware of why you were invited here tonight.” Aberforth began in much the same way he had with Harry.

“Yes Chief Warlock.” She responded with equal formality. “The Minister informed me of his intentions this morning.”

Harry smiled finally fully understanding Hermione’s nerves. “Excellent, please take a seat I have a few questions for you.” Hermione sat but seemed stunned that Aberforth would question her appointment. “Now Ms. Granger we have all heard of your intelligence and how you assisted Mr. Potter in his quest to defeat Tom Riddle. However we are the group that not only administers justice but approves proposed laws and changes and must look at what is best for the wizarding community as a whole. With that said what skills do you have that you feel would benefit the Wizengamot?”

Hermione took a deep breath and a moment to think over the question. “More so than intelligence I am willing to speak my mind and be honest about my feelings. I will compromise when necessary but will stand by my convictions and principles.”

“And what are some of those principles.” A woman asked from next to Aberforth. Harry did not know who she was.

“Chiefly I believe that regardless of blood-status every witch or wizard should be treated equally under the law.” There was a light murmur mostly of agreement but certainly a few surprised tones. “I also believe that we should strive to find less harsh punishments. Crimes should certainly be punished but exposing those who have committed relatively minor offenses to the torment of the dementors may make the person worse rather than repentant.”

This comment caught Harry off guard. He had never heard Hermione talk about this. This comment was received much more openly by the other members of the court. Of course some would have had family members who had been put in Azkaban.

“Many of us know of your friends’ plans to play quidditch but details of your future plans have remained a mystery Ms. Granger. Can you enlighten us on those?” She wasn’t sure where the question came from but she answered it all the same.

“My immediate future includes a hopefully short trip to Australia. My parents have been in hiding and I hope to bring them home.” Hermione was surprised when nobody commented on the trip. “Beyond that I informed the Minister this morning that I would accept the offer from the Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures. The Minister indicated that department was still understaffed and could benefit from my presence.”

“That is very noble of you to put those talents to use in a department such as that. Some may say that is a waste but if you enjoy the work you will be an asset.” Aberforth finally smiled at Hermione and she noticeably relaxed. “Now does anyone else have additional questions for Ms. Granger before we proceed to a vote?”

An older wizard stood from the top row behind Aberforth and spoke. “Ms. Granger would you tell us what grades you received on your NEWTs. Much has been said of your intelligence, I think we would all like to hear the extent of it.”

Hermione smiled. “Absolutely sir, I received nine NEWTs, all outstanding.” She then went through the classes she had attended.

“And what about outside of class did you have any particular interests?”

“Well unlike my friends I’m not a fan of flying so I didn’t participate in quidditch. However I helped Harry and later Ginny and Ron Weasley as they were team captains to schedule practices and plan sessions. I was made prefect in my fifth year so I was responsible for those in my house as well as being named Head Girl for my final year.”

The man nodded and sat down. Before Aberforth could say something else a witch closer to Molly Weasley’s age stood. “Ms. Granger I have heard that during your time at Hogwarts you tried to free the house elves working there. Would you explain that action and how it will affect your decision making?”

Hermione blushed and coughed lightly into her hand. “That was the actions of a muggleborn who did not fully understand the relationship between humans and house elves. I believed the elves were unhappy in their position and would prefer freedom. I have only met one elf like that and he taught me the error of my ways. I will not attempt to force elves to be freed as they would not approve but if any were to show interest I would work with them and their master to come to an arrangement.”

There was a slight grumble from older members of the court but overall Hermione’s answer was diplomatic and honest. Aberforth waited another minute or so and nobody else stepped forward with any questions. “Well then since there appears to be no further questions does anyone object to proceeding with a vote?” He asked and waited patiently.

“Chief Warlock, I wish to object to a vote. It is highly unusual to appoint someone so young with no experience.” A wizard sitting nearly right behind Aberforth stood and spoke loudly. He was tall and rather young compared to most members of the court. He had a close cropped haircut and neatly trimmed beard both deep red. His voice was quiet and calm but thick with an Irish accent. “She is clearly not qualified and has been nominated solely due to her relationship with Mr. Potter.” Harry hadn’t expected it but the venomous way O’Brien said his name led him to believe he was a pure-blood sympathizer.

“It is indeed unusual but she is of legal age and has agreed to the appointment there are no bi-laws that would disqualify her.” Kingsley spoke for the first time since Hermione entered the court room. Though he remained seated while speaking his voice carried his authority “Your personal opinion on whether she should be accepted on the court can be expressed in your vote O’Brien.”

“I have raised my objection and it is not up to you to determine if it has merit Minister.”

“No it is up to me.” Aberforth’s voice sounded above the whispers starting in the assembled group. “And unless anyone can cite a rule indicating why Ms. Granger would not be eligible to hold a seat on this court I am going to rule that your objection has no such merit.” Aberforth banged his gavel silencing any conversations that remained.

A witch who sat next to O’Brien flipped through a thick leather-bound book quickly. She seemed to be trying to find such a rule. Before long she closed the book and shook her head at the Irishman. “I withdraw my objection but let the record stand that the vote proceeds under protest.” He sat with his arms crossed.

Aberforth sighed and nodded his head toward Percy who scribbled on his parchment before nodding back. “So noted, now those in favor of approving Ms. Granger’s appointment?” Most of the hands in the court went up though some reluctantly.

“Harry put your hand up.” Susan whispered in his ear while jabbing his ribs. Sheepishly Harry realized he was entitled to a vote and quickly put his hand up alongside Susan. Only a few hands failed to rise and Hermione was confirmed easily.

“Excellent Ms. Granger you are required to sign the scroll recognizing you as a member of the Wizengamot. As we told Mr. Potter there is no oath to take as it could force you to make morally objectionable decisions.” Aberforth explained as Percy presented the scroll for Hermione to sign. She did and the same stylized W appeared on her robes. She took her seat next to Harry and gave him a relieved smile.

“You did wonderfully Hermione.” He whispered to her.

“I agree.” Susan added from the other side. “I really thought they would be tougher on you.”

“Minister do you have any other business to conduct or can we hold the meeting adjourned.” Aberforth asked slightly irritated with the events so far.

“I do have one more piece of business but the court is not required.” Kingsley smiled at Aberforth’s relieved look.

With a bang of his gavel Aberforth declared the meeting adjourned. Most of the members stood but didn’t immediately make for the doors. They took time to greet one another outside of the formalities of the meeting.

Harry was surrounded by quite a few people while Hermione and Susan talked about their future plans. The conversation was interrupted by Kingsley. “Ms. Granger now that you officially a member of the Wizengamot I am appointing you as my personal envoy to Australia. Again it may be difficult to convince their Ministry but I will give you all the proper documentation to verify it.” Hermione nodded her acceptance. “Have either of you eaten dinner.” She shook her head. “I thought not.” Kingsley looked over Hermione’s head at Susan and Harry. “Susan, I hate to interrupt your conversation but is Ms. Abbot working tonight?” Susan nodded once. “Would you go to the Leaky Cauldron and have their largest private room prepared? We can then have dinner together and catch up on old times.” Susan nodded and politely excused herself from the room. “Harry would you mind contacting your house and inviting Ron with us and anyone else who wishes to come?” Harry was confused with the request but sent his patronus with a brief message. He knew Ginny would come but wasn’t sure about anyone else.

Twenty minutes later Harry was relaxing with a butterbeer and talking with Susan and Hannah. He sat holding Ginny’s hand with her head on his shoulder. She wasn’t saying much but was enjoying the time. Everyone from Grimmauld Place had come out and was enjoying themselves. Hannah was technically working but her uncle left her in charge of the private room since it was later in the evening and the dinner rush had passed. She left occasionally to grab cold drinks or bring up their dinner but mostly she sat and talked with her former classmates. Celia and Draco were sitting with Pansy and George who had been talking business at the house when the call came in. Ron and Hermione were speaking in hushed tones with the Minister about the plans for the trip. The details were coming together quickly since there wasn’t much to plan and Hermione felt they could leave soon.

George and Draco seemed to be getting more excited in their conversation and then suddenly George stood as if he had been kicked.” Ladies and Gentleman I have an important announcement to make.” The conversations stopped immediately. “The time has come for Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes to expand and we will be opening our first international location in the months to come.” He paused for the light applause. “With that in mind I’d like to introduce the managers of our soon to open location in Rio De Janiero, Draco Malfoy and Celia Barros.” Another light applause followed and Ron offered a toast to his brother and newest business partners.

Draco came and sat with Harry and the others a few minutes later. “Obviously this announcement means that we will be moving out soon. I wanted to thank you for your generosity. I know you expected me to stay longer but I cannot pass up this chance to be happy. We will be leaving as soon as we have a chance to meet with my mum and tell her what’s going on.”

Whatever Harry was going to say was interrupted as Kingsley was sitting nearby and turned in his seat. “That reminds me Draco, one of the reasons I wanted you guys to come out tonight. Narcissa is going to be moved here for your visit on Friday. I agreed with Harry that it would not do well for you two to suffer the dementors. She will be thrilled to hear you doing something good.”

Draco nodded and his eyes misted lightly. “I know it’s not much longer but once she’s released I hope she will follow us. I haven’t known Celia long but it is the first time in my life that I feel a girl genuinely cares for me for me. Even with Pansy we both knew it was just what our families wanted.”

“Celia is a great girl Draco. I couldn’t think of a more caring and compassionate person.” Harry smiled over Draco’s shoulder at his friend. “But as you said to me about Ginny, treat her well, she deserves it. I don’t want to hurt you but I will.” He finished with a wink. Ginny was surprised that Draco had felt the need to threaten Harry but was touched.

“Deal, please keep in touch Harry. You have helped open my eyes to all the hate I was feeling, well you, Ginny and the others. You all forgave me for my stupidity. I hope to hear from you as well Ginny.”

She nodded at his request. “I will miss you Draco but there are still a few days before we are forced to say goodbye.” She smiled lightly. He left the table and returned to his seat next to Celia. She wrapped her arm around his as they sat contently.

Before the conversations could get going again Kingsley stood. “Thank you all for sharing a lovely dinner with me. It is wonderful to be around so many bright young people who will soon be changing our world in wondrous ways. Some of you know what has happened tonight and others are in the dark so I would like to congratulate the two newest members of the Wizengamot Hermione Granger and Harry Potter.” The applause was lighter this time but still present. “I also would like to present these as well.” Kingsley then held up two pieces of leather that looked like wallets to Harry. “Ron these are for you and Harry.”

Both took the wallets and opened them. Ron sat dumbfounded looking inside. At the top was a ministry identification card and the lower side held a six pointed star with the words “Auror Junior Grade” engraved on it. “Minister what is this?”

“After meeting with you four this morning Gawain and I spoke. Given the nature of your mission to Australia it could only assist to have a little more clout.” He paused looking at both boys. “With Gawain’s recommendation you were both made Junior Grade Aurors, this is the rank held by academy graduates. Gawain said you could both skip the academy with your current abilities and with this you have. Should you ever change your mind that is. You are not on active status but you are on call. You will not be called upon unless the situation is truly dire but you now can use magical force with a fair amount of authority and leniency. Be sure to continue studying what I sent you. Your first exercise will be applied in Australia and Hermione will explain why later, so congratulations aurors.”

Ginny and Hermione hugged their boyfriends tightly as they received congratulations. Harry compared his badge to Ron’s and they were identical. The Id’s however verified that Harry was a member of the Wizengamot in addition and he knew that would come in handy. Harry was lost looking over the ID when Kingsley got his attention. “Harry, I have one final thing to ask of you my friend. I believe you should share what you told me with Minerva. Together we can help insure that something like Vold… Tom Riddle never happens again.” Harry nodded his agreement since he knew the next few days were relatively free except for learning how to ride the motorbike with Arthur.

The party seemed to wind down shortly after the announcements. Ginny and Harry excused themselves early in order to get a good night’s sleep. Harry was already starting to worry about dinner with Lisa’s parents and his aunt and cousin.

Harry was nervous as he waited for the car to pull up to his house. His aunt had insisted on picking him and Ginny up for dinner with the Turpins. Her insistence along with the letter coming by owl post made him feel a little better but he still wanted to make a good impression.

Ginny insisted that he looked great and that his aunt was different now. Dudley was happy and Petunia had to be accepting of her son’s happiness. He adjusted his tie for the fifth time while sitting on the porch of the house. “I’m glad your mom had this porch added. It will be nice in the future, especially after a long day of quidditch.”

“It definitely will.” Ginny replied from the chair next to him. She had her fingers laced through his. Her calm demeanor masked her nervousness. Harry’s aunt and cousin were the only true family he had left and she wanted to be accepted by them.

After another few minutes Harry asked Ginny a question she was surprised to hear. “Gin would you like to go out on a date with me Friday night?”

“Harry I’m your fiancee why would we need to go on a date?”

“Because we never have and we never get to spend time together just the two of us. Plus I’d like to take you to see my parents if you’d be interested.” Harry admitted squeezing her hand tightly. “I don’t know much about Godric’s Hollow but we could go out there early in the afternoon visit the house I lived in and go to the cemetery and then find a nice place for dinner.”

“I think that would be a lovely evening.” Ginny returned the squeeze and leaned over the arm of her chair to kiss him gently. It was at that moment that a green four door sedan pulled up in front of number 11 Grimmauld Place.

“I guess my aunt is driving. She must think Dudley is mad for pointing us out and she cannot see us.” Harry smiled as they stood. They stepped off of the porch hand in hand as Petunia stepped out of the car looking confused. When she saw the pair appear seemingly out of nowhere she was shocked but smiled tentatively. Dudley got out of the passenger seat and looked over the car at his cousin.

“Hello Aunt Petunia, I hope we have a better time than when last we met.” He was polite but very serious. The meeting at the airport over a year ago replayed in his head. Dudley had been friendly but his aunt was almost as upset as his uncle. He felt guilty though because he hadn’t seen his aunt a year and his first reaction was to test her sincerity.

Petunia paled slightly and looked away. Harry could see tears forming in her eyes. “I’m sorry Harry. Jealousy is horrible thing and it led me to hate my sister when I could not go to school with her. Then I allowed those feelings to be projected onto you by Vernon. I have been working with a therapist for the few months ever since Dudley and I moved out.”

Harry smiled lightly at the reaction. He had never expected the admission and knew this was his chance for a new relationship with his aunt. “I am happy to hear that Aunt Petunia. I hope that soon we can talk about mom and I can learn more about her.” He embraced his aunt warmly as she nodded. “Now though I’d like you to meet my girlfriend, Ginny Weasley.” Ginny extended her hand to the lady but was pulled into a quick hug.

“I heard many good things about you and your family while we were in hiding.” She wiped her eyes. “I couldn’t let Vernon know I was listening hoping to hear good news but I paid attention, especially as Dudley became more interested in Lisa.”

“Speaking of Lisa we are running late it’ll take an hour or so to get there and that’s if we don’t have to deal with London traffic.” Dudley spoke up from the other side of the car. Petunia checked her watch and nodded.

“You’re right Dudley. We have plenty of time to talk in the car. You drive and Harry you can ride up front with him.” Dudley came around the car and got in as his mother opened the back door and slid in behind him. Harry and Ginny followed and soon they were leaving London behind and headed north.

The car pulled into the driveway of a modest two story home a little over an hour later. Dudley had been pretty spot on with the timing and they had managed to avoid any major traffic delays. The time passed quickly as the conversation was very enjoyable. Harry couldn’t believe the difference in his family after the year apart. He got out of the car and looked at the house. It was green with white shutters, a decent sized front porch connected from the garage across the entire front side. A few chairs were scattered across the porch and Lisa was reclining in one with a book. She looked up as the car pulled in and jumped up quickly. She yelled something through the screen door before rushing off the porch to meet Dudley as he stepped out of the car.
“Duds it’s good to see you. I’ve missed you.” Lisa smiled and kissed him lightly. Petunia smiled brightly at her reaction.

Harry saw the screen door open and a woman who looked remarkably like Lisa stepped out onto the porch. “Come now Lisa let our guests come inside. She said sweetly while Lisa let go of Dudley and took his hand. They walked up the path to the porch while Petunia followed. Harry took Ginny’s hand and brought up the rear. Subconsciously he scanned the area for any signs of danger before entering the house.

“You must be Harry it is so lovely to meet you. We have heard so many things.” Lisa’s mother exclaimed extending a hand as He and Ginny came in the door. “My name is Jessi Turpin.”

“Yes I am Harry.” He said with a smile. “This is my girlfriend Ginny Weasley. Thank you for having us.”

“It is a pleasure Harry. And a pleasure to meet you as well Ginny, Lisa has told us much about you.” Jessi shook Ginny’s hand warmly. “Please take a seat in the lounge I’ll get some drinks while we wait for dinner. My husband Ed is in watching the telly feel free to join him.”

The lounge was immediately to the left of the hall and Harry followed Petunia in. Dudley and Lisa were already seated on the love seat holding hands. Ed was seated on one end of a long couch and stood as they walked in. He was a tall man, nearly a head taller than Harry. He was broad shouldered with thick arms covered in dark hair. His hair was thinning on top of his head and he sported a well-groomed goatee.
“It’s nice to meet you Harry, my name is Edward but everyone calls me Ed.” He shook Harry’s hand and Harry felt roughed calloused skin. Harry didn’t mention it but he imaged the man worked hard for a living.

“Thank you for having us Ed. It is a pleasure. I’m not sure if you overheard me introduce her to your wife but this is my girlfriend Ginny Weasley.” Ed nodded and shook Ginny’s hand as well. His large one engulfing Ginny’s much smaller one.

“Please take a seat.” Ed said then looked around the lounge. There was only the couch and love seat in the room and with all the guests there just weren’t enough spots. “I mean let me get you a couple chairs from the dining room for you.” He actually blushed a little nervously.

“No need, I’ll take care of it.” Harry smiled and waved his wand. Another love seat appeared across from the first. Harry sat in it along with Ginny while Ed returned to his seat smiling.

“Some of the things that magic can do are truly marvelous. Don’t you agree Petunia?” Ed smiled and sat back on the couch.

Harry watched his aunt as she looked around nervously. She sighed lightly as she began talking. “To be honest Ed I am still trying to get used to it. For many years I hated my sister because I couldn’t be like her and then when our parents fell ill I thought she had the power to make them better and wouldn’t. I held that against her for a long time until I started to understand the limits of magic.” Harry finally understood better why his aunt had been so angry at his mom and family for all that time. Jealousy played a small role but it was much deeper.

“Speaking of the limitations of magic won’t you get in trouble for using it in front of muggles?” Ed asked a little nervously.

“Ordinarily yes,” Harry answered. “However there are exceptions to the secrecy statute. The most notable is immediate family of wizards are exempt. That means most magic performed in this house will probably be ignored.” Harry smiled a little bit at Lisa’s surprised look. He was also amazed that he remembered part of the law book though he only had a short amount of time to read. “Also the magic was performed by a Ministry official so I don’t expect anything to come of it.”

“Ministry official, but Harry I thought you were going to play quidditch?” Dudley was stumped by his admission.

“I am but I was given a special test a few weeks ago and the Minister said I was qualified to earn a rank as a junior grade auror so I am on call if not actually working for the Ministry.”

“Blimey Harry that is amazing news.” Dudley and Petunia were surprised though Ed seemed a bit confused. Jessi brought some tea pausing a moment as she looked at the new loveseat. Ed gestured to Harry who just smiled again. After everyone was served Ed finally asked the question that had been on his mind while his wife took the seat beside him.

“Since I am still more than a little confused about your world outside of the school what is an auror Harry?”

Harry thought about it for a while. “Well I guess you could call us sort of a combination detective and special operations part of the law enforcement branch of the ministry. Aurors are tasked with investigating and finding those that practice the dark arts. It is very rare for qualified candidates to be accepted but my friend Ron, Ginny’s older brother and I have been granted the rank without having to complete the academy.”

“Well of course you were after defeating Voldemort but why are you on call.” Jessi asked fairly astounded at the young man who sat before her.

“Because I’d rather not make a career out of what life was like in school. I’d prefer to live with my friends and play quidditch.” He paused. “Has Lisa explained quidditch to you?” They both nodded and Harry knew that Dudley had learned of the game. “Speaking of living with my friends though I believe that brings me to the reason Lisa helped to arrange this dinner tonight.”

“Hold that thought for one moment Harry.” Jessi held up a hand to stop him. She then returned to the kitchen for a few minutes before returning to her seat. “Dinner will be ready before long so please you were saying?”

“Well Mr. and Mrs. Turpin I own a very large house in London. Many of the rooms are sitting empty and if you would not be against it I would like Lisa to move in with us, namely myself, Ginny and some of our close friends.”
“While we appreciate the courtesy but Lisa is of age and can make those decisions for herself. We will support her choice.”

Lisa relaxed greatly hearing her mother’s assertion. “I appreciate the confidence but I was worried that you would still see me as a child.”

Ed laughed heartily. “After you informed us you were going to the battle and told us that we would not be able to stop you from fighting for your future we both accepted you were an adult. Besides you can apparate, you can visit almost any time. Is this something you truly want to do?”

“I would like to be more on my own. Harry’s house is in London and it would make getting to work easier if I get a job in the Ministry. His fireplace can connect directly to the office. That and it would be closer to see Duds.” She squeezed his hand and smiled at him. Harry saw the deep love in both their eyes.

“Well I guess that’s settled then. When would you be moving?” Ed asked.

Before Lisa could answer Harry cut in. “It would likely be a couple of weeks. You see Ginny and I along with her brother Ron and his girlfriend Hermione will be leaving for Australia soon.”

A buzzer sounded in the kitchen and Jessi stood up once again. “Dinner should only be five more minutes.” She called. “Why don’t we come into the dining room and get settled?”

Harry helped Ginny stand after setting his still mostly full tea on the tray on the coffee table in the center of the lounge. Together they followed Ed through to dining room. The room was a fairly decent sized with a solid oval shaped wood table and comfortable looking chairs. Ed took the seat furthest from the kitchen and stood behind it while everyone else sat down. Harry and Ginny sat against the back wall with a view of the yard behind them. Dudley, Lisa and Petunia sat across from the couple with Dudley sitting between the two women in his life. Ed left the room quickly after they were seated and returned with a bottle of white wine. He popped the cork and poured a small amount into Petunia’s glass. She sniffed it lightly before tasting it.

“Excellent choice to accompany the roast, it smells absolutely delicious by the way Jessi.” She called into the kitchen so the other woman could hear.

Petunia was right and Harry’s mouth was watering as the smells filled the air. Ed poured wine for everyone even Ginny who was legally underage in the muggle world and then sat back in his chair. “Lisa will you help me with the food?” Jessi called through the open kitchen door. A minute later the two women came in carrying various dishes and finally a large pork roast was placed on the table.
A relaxed silence settled over the group as plates were passed and loaded with the spread. Harry quickly tried everything and it was wonderfully prepared. After a few minutes of eating Ed picked up where the conversation had left off.

“So tell us Harry why are you going to Australia, a graduation celebration?”

Harry wiped his mouth and tucked his napkin on his lap. “I wish it was so sir. Our friend Hermione is a muggleborn like Lisa. She was also highly targeted by the dark wizards during the war so in order to protect her parents she altered their memory and instilled an urge for them to move to Australia.” He explained to the group. “We are going to bring them home.”

“I am certainly glad we didn’t have to go through such drastic steps. The year in hiding was rough but we came through it and with some added family as well.” Jessi smiled at Dudley and Petunia who seemed genuinely happy about the occurrence. “Ginny we seem to be asking questions about Harry but what about you? What are you going to do in the future?”

Ginny blushed. “Well I have been offered a tryout to play quidditch as well. Harry thinks I’m a shoo in but I’m nervous about it. Mostly because I’m trying out for my favorite team, the all witch Harpies.”

“That would be interesting if you two end up playing against each other. Don’t let her show you up Harry.” Ed punched his arm lightly while everyone laughed. “Why quidditch for you though Harry? With your abilities and popularity you could likely land any job you wanted.”

“Exactly, I am fed up with danger and putting my life on the line every day. I’m eighteen, have the love of my life with me and money is no worry so why not do what I love.” There was a stunned silence at the way Harry casually remarked that money was no worry. “I’m sorry I shouldn’t have brought that up. I’m not used to these types of dinners.” He kicked himself for not keeping quiet.

“Nothing to worry about Harry, I understand your thought. If I was in your position I would not be working in the auto repair shop I am at now.”

“No instead you’d own the shop and would never come home.” Jessi replied with a cheeky smile.

“True, well that and maybe traveling a bit more with the woman I love.” Ed winked at his wife across the table.

“I do hope to travel more when the season is over. I would love to see the United States and Australia as a tourist. I’m told there are parts of Asia and Africa that are simply wonderful. But that is something Ginny and I haven’t had time to discuss yet.”

The conversation went through a variety of topics from there. By the end of the night everyone was comfortable and Lisa was looking forward to moving into Grimmauld Place once everyone returned from Australia. The conversation and drinks lasted well after dinner and by the end of the night Ed had insisted that Petunia and Dudley spend the night. He would not let them drive. Harry and Ginny however preferred to apparate home.

AN: Sorry for the long wait for an update. I have been helping a recently published friend proofread his next story. Updates should be coming quicker now.

Chapter 14: Concerning Narcissa
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AN: This chapter came to being rather unexpectedly and wasn't completely planned. Originally it was to be a small part of the chapter including the events that will be in chapter 15. As I dug into it I felt we needed to flesh out Draco and his transformation a little more so this gives a lot of information on Draco's life before,during and after the war.

Grimmauld Place was fairly deserted the rest of the week after Harry and Ginny went to dinner at the Turpin's. Draco and Celia were spending days with Pansy at the shop at Diagon Alley. Pansy was going to work for George while he was traveling in Rio to get the new store setup. They had also started talking about letting Pansy in on a similar deal to what Draco had agreed to.

Ginny and Ron were working with Hermione on flying. They weren’t taking it very fast but getting her used to trusting the broom and slowly building up speed. Hermione was nervous but Ron’s coaching and insistence that he wouldn’t let anything happen to her helped immensely.

Harry spent those days with Arthur working on the sidecar and taking lessons on the motorbike’s operation. Hagrid helped with those since he had driven the bike before. Early Wednesday Arthur and Harry went into a nearby muggle city to find a shop where he could buy protective clothing including a jacket, boots and gloves. He would have preferred to not need it but he bought a helmet as well. The store owner informed him that muggle law required it for anyone riding on the road. Arthur made sure they picked up a jacket and helmet for Ginny as well. He tried to pay but Harry insisted that since Ginny was his fiancee her safety was his responsibility. The ensuing argument wasn't very heartfelt or long lasting.

Wednesday night everyone gathered for dinner at the Burrow and Harry had Molly invite the Headmistress to dinner. Afterward he shared his story for what he sincerely hoped was the last time. Ginny sat with him and gave him the strength he needed as he relived some of the toughest moments of his life. Minerva was stunned by the information especially upon hearing about the sheer number of horcruxes Riddle had created. She also understood Dumbledore's comment as to why Harry's magical skill had grown so rapidly in the past year. After his retelling Minerva offered to help his language lessons when he had time by teaching him Scots. Parts of the Peverall family had settled in Lowland Scotland after Ignotus' death. She left the burrow more impressed with Harry and his friends than ever before. It was becoming a common occurrence when his story was shared.

Thursday found everyone following the same routine except that Arthur took Harry to take his driving test and get his license in the afternoon. Harry had dedicated nearly sixteen hours to lessons in two days and had advanced remarkably fast. The motorbike was easy to fly though not as maneuverable as his broom. The difficulty was training his hands and feet to work independently while driving on the ground.

Friday promised more of the same for most of them. Draco, Celia and Harry however were planning for a meeting with the Minister and Narcissa. Draco was nervously excited hoping that she would be proud of his decisions in the past year. They gathered in the kitchen of Grimmauld Place wearing normal robes as everyone else left for the Burrow. Harry led the way to the Ministry with Celia following him and Draco coming last.

They made their way up to the Minister’s level and sat outside his door waiting for their time to go back down to the holding cells. Draco didn’t know how long the wait was so he laid his head back and thought over his situation some more. He felt Celia lightly grip his hand while his thoughts drifted.

Draco was skeptical about Harry. He owed so much to the Gryffindor but had never been asked to do anything in return. His mother would have spent the rest of her life in Azkaban had it not been for the written testimony Harry submitted. Now he had a wonderful girlfriend that Harry had introduced him to and a very solid career opportunity. Much of his family’s fortune had been confiscated but there was still enough that Draco likely wouldn’t have to work much in his life. This didn't appeal to him as he knew he would grow bored and would be tempted to dabble with dark magic again. Plus George had some amazing inventions he was excited to work with.

These thoughts passed quickly as he sat in the Ministry with Harry and Celia. Instead he thought of everything that he and his mother had been through and brought them to this point. He was nervous and excited all the same. It had been a year since he had seen his mother; his life had changed drastically in that time. At the time of their arrest he thought that he would be spending a large portion of his life in prison for bearing the dark mark and being associated with the assassination of Dumbledore.

Dumbledore, just thinking of the former Headmaster made his chest tight and pangs of regret surge through his body. After his father had failed in his mission during his fifth year Draco was sure they would all be killed as an example. That never came to be, instead he was given his own mission and the dark mark was branded onto his arm magically. It was up to him to kill Dumbledore and bring honor to his father. He spent a year making half-hearted attempts to kill the headmaster while working on his true plan. He had succeeded in getting his forces into the castle undetected and disarmed Dumbledore without a fight. He was on the verge of sealing his fate but in the end killing Dumbledore wasn’t worth it.

He didn’t want to be like his father or the Dark Lord. It had taken him years to realize that no matter how they were born all wizards should be given the same opportunities and treated equally by law. He was about to accept the offer to go into hiding when the rest of the death eaters showed up. He was going to be forced to kill the man, and then Snape appeared and did the deed before fleeing the castle.

The Dark Lord was not forgiving that Draco couldn’t do it. He was tortured for hours and then forced to watch his mother endure similar tortures as well. Some of it at the hands of his father. Then the family was banished to their house. They had essentially been exiled but in a way he was relieved. He would not be tasked with doing the Dark Lord’s bidding. He and his mother stayed out of his father’s way and avoided the other death eaters as much as possible. When his aunt started to keep prisoners in the basement Draco did his best to keep them comfortable behind her back.

When Potter was brought in with Weasley and Granger he lied Bellatrix's face to try and protect them. She tried to force her way into his mind to see the truth and it was his strong defense that confirmed it. He didn’t know why he protected them but felt that Potter was the key to the Dark Lord’s demise. When they broke out of the dungeon he half-heartedly tried to stop them and only put up a fight when Harry wrestled his wand away along with the others. He wanted to see the downfall but didn’t want to be left without protection.

Then came the final battle at Hogwarts itself. The Dark Lord would not allow anyone to remain back. He sent Draco into the school to cut off Harry’s search. He Crabbe and Goyle were the only ones who knew how to access the come and go room besides the Dark Lord himself. Draco would have preferred to go alone so he could help Potter but he had no option but to take those two. Crabbe foolishly killed himself with the fiend fire and then the most humiliating thing ever was Harry having to rescue him. That didn't matter in the grand scheme of the night as Harry's victorious look indicated that they had accomplished their task. He was grateful but he couldn’t show it and instead he tried to hide in the castle. He was found by another death eater and had to lie about his change of heart. This led to him being saved yet again as Potter ran by and earned him a punch in the face for recanting his expressed desire to change.

It wasn’t long after the battle that the aurors came calling for his father. Pansy’s and his parents were arrested and sent off to Azkaban after their trial. He and Pansy were given suspended sentences with the stipulation that it was their last chance. Since they were of age the teens were able to live in the Malfoy’s summer home near the coast. Their mansion had been confiscated in a raid after several dark items were found. The last day he saw his mother was the day they sentenced her to three years in Azkaban.

Pansy and Draco were able to live a modest life. It was harder to live without a house elf and learning to cook without a teacher was incredibly difficult, even with magic. In the middle of August a package arrived containing robes and school supplies for both him and Pansy. A letter from the headmistress advised them that they were welcome to return but any prejudices or acting out would not be tolerated. Draco could accept the stipulation but it was harder for Pansy. She hadn’t been directly hurt as badly by the Dark Lord’s fall and still held on to some of his beliefs. It was at that time that Draco knew for sure that any romantic relationship was over between them.

School started as it always did on September 1st. He and Pansy apparated into Hogsmeade rather than take the train to avoid being attacked, they still did not have the best reputation and wanted the teacher’s protections as they encountered their classmates. The welcome feast went well enough but afterward they were left alone with the rest of the “eighth” years in their common room.

The students weren’t violent but they weren’t exactly welcoming either. Just like at the feast only Ron Hermione and Justin had been willing to acknowledge them. It took a fair amount of convincing to even allow them beds in the dorm. Their refusal was so adamant at first that Draco nearly went to the Headmistress to request dorms in the dungeons with the rest of the Slytherins. In the end beds were located amongst the others and the pair was reluctantly accepted.

The school year started rough but Draco did moderately well in his classes now that he could focus on the work. He spent most of his free time in his bed reading or wandering the grounds anything to distract from the fact that he had no real friends. Halloween came around and he nearly skipped the party, he went reluctantly as the Griffyndors insisted he would prefer it to sitting around. He ended up talking with Ginny Weasley most of the night. Going to the party that night turned out to be the best decision he had ever made.

After that he started to make true friends. Ginny would sit by him in class and they would study together. This led to others joining them and setting aside their old grudges. It wasn’t much longer and he asked Ginny to Hogsmeade with him. She was reluctant at first, Draco knew she still cared a lot about Harry but he couldn’t help the feelings that were developing.

By Christmas he and Ginny were fairly serious to the point that he had been invited to the Burrow to celebrate. The rest of the holidays were boring and he sulked in the nearly deserted school. He fell into a deep depression as the mark that somehow persisted on his arm caused him to think crazy thoughts. The mark had been invisible until Harry returned but he still felt it all that time, it drove him toward solitude and to lash out at others. It was the presence of friends and someone to care about that silenced the voice and over the holiday he had no such comfort.

Once he was out of St. Mungo’s he made sure to be around people he liked and cared about as much as possible. Pansy started to come around more and more as well. Together they did their best to put aside the past and start focusing on the future. Draco’s letters to Harry increased after he received the surprising Christmas present. Harry’s stories of his school were amazing and interesting to read even if Draco had no idea where he was.

Classes after the holidays were hectic. Tests were coming up and homework became an avalanche. There was much less theoretical work in class though. Almost everything was practical. Draco enjoyed that but was buried in homework.

Valentine’s Day provided a wonderful distraction especially since Hermione had included him in their revision group. She was efficient, well planned and absolutely insane he concluded. But He was also learning a lot. However Valentine’s was reserved for him and Ginny, they snuck out of the castle and had a wonderful dinner in Hogsmeade. They were both old enough that it didn’t appear odd. After sneaking back into the castle they retreated to the come and go room for some time alone away from prying eyes especially Ron who wasn’t always so agreeable about the relationship. It was that night that Draco and Ginny took their relationship to the next level.

The next few weeks with Ginny and his new found friends were wonderful. As he had become accustomed to, it wasn't meant to last and instead came the instance with the clock and Harry’s disappearance from school. Ginny would spend days with her mom just staring at its face waiting for the hand with Harry’s name to move. Draco tried to comfort her as much as possible and she fell asleep with him one night. She woke up in a cold sweat screaming Harry’s name. After telling him about her nightmare and how much pain it caused Draco knew that Ginny still loved Harry and he couldn’t compete with that. Quietly he broke off their relationship advising Ginny to search her heart and she would understand.

Oddly enough the act seemed to strengthen their friendship. Ron and Hermione seemed to be more inclusive and even Pansy felt his pain. The voice that emanated from the mark was still there but it could not compete with the love he felt from his friends. That was until Harry returned.

Harry’s return brought forth all the jealousy Draco had always felt. His friends didn’t pay attention to him and all the good feelings that had been pushed his way were gone. The mark took advantage and along with the proximity to Harry again became visible. He started to wear long sleeve shirts to make sure that nobody could question him about it. Then she entered his life thanks again to Harry.

Celia was different than a lot of girls that had come from Amazonis. She wasn’t breathtakingly beautiful like some of the others but she was unbelievably sweet. She sat and listened to him talk and helped him connect again. But it was hard, the mark had grown powerful and insistent in the short time in Harry’s presence. Ideally Draco would stay away but they were planning a quidditch match and Harry was the captain. They couldn’t help but spend time together. After the match though Draco resolved to separate himself from them and let the mark recede once again.

The night of the graduation ball Draco spent the night with Celia in the room of requirements. The room had transformed into a wonderful representation of a dorm. It had a common room with lots of comfortable furniture, there was plenty of room for everyone and separate dorms for each sex. However that night quite a few private rooms appeared that various couples occupied. At first Draco simply sat on one of the couches with Celia talking but before long she took the initiative and moved onto his lap. Draco felt like his head was going to melt as she pressed her lips to his. It wasn't long and she led him to a room that appeared just for their use.

The day Draco left Hogwarts he resolved to leave his friends and find solitude. If he was going alone it would be a horrible decision. But Celia had agreed to take the next step with him though she demanded he tell them directly. They would beat themselves up if Draco disappeared without any explanation and Pansy especially would take it hard. Reluctantly he agreed since it was a new experience that others cared about what he was doing.

Celia had to practically drag him to the room on the train. Even just sitting in the same room Draco could feel his mood darken and the mark try to affect him. Rather than fight it Draco used the anger and started a fight with Harry. He was going to leave them that way instead of admitting the problem. The plan turned on him when the mark was exposed to the rest of the room. His anger was tempered by fear of joining his father in Azkaban.

Then Harry proposed something so wonderful so incredibly unexpected that Draco couldn't resist the attempt. He was going to try and pull the mark out of his skin. It never crossed Draco's mind to not trust the wizard he had despised so much growing up. He relaxed and opened his mouth to take the potion that was offered.

Granger gave it to him and instantly he regretted it. His skin burned and felt like it was ready to peel away. He tried to close his eyes and block out the pain but his eyelids were clear just like the rest of his skin. He felt his tongue stick to the roof of his mouth and he continued to scream but no sound came out. He heard Harry say a spell but couldn't concentrate on what. At first he thought the pain was for naught but then it happened. Slowly at first then steadily quicker the tendrils eased from his mind and black smoke started to pull from his forearm. After a time the smoke stopped and he had a moment to reflect on how alone he felt in his own head before everything went black.

Draco was happier than he ever remembered after that fateful train ride. He and Celia lay in bed each night talking about his past. During the day he planned for what was originally to be his future but the more he planned the more it included Celia. He talked to George about the business opportunity Ron had suggested. George had a brilliant business model for his expansion stores. Draco would pay a flat rate for the right to sell the company name and products. He would then buy all his merchandise from George at slightly above cost and could sell it for whatever he could charge. He could keep all the profits save for a relatively small annual renewal to the naming rights. Draco approved of the idea and even helped draw up the contract. When they went to Gringotts to have the goblins note the contract and transfer the initial license fee Draco was astonished to find it had been covered by George's silent partner. Draco reasoned he knew who it was but he kept quiet. George advised Draco that he could open as many stores as he wanted in Brazil with each one holding a similar agreement if he found the first one to be successful.

After learning more about the store Draco was impressed at the complicated magic required for many of their products. Fred and George may not have finished school but they were highly skilled none the less.

He was jolted from his memories by the Minister opening his door and greeting Harry warmly. Kingsley did the same with Celia and shook Draco’s hand kindly as he stood up and shook the cobwebs from his mind. “I am happy to hear about your progress this year Draco. I know things must have been tough but you will be stronger for it. Now come with me and we shall visit with your mother. I will have lunch provided as I’m sure you have much to talk about.”

Draco followed as Kinsley walked down a hall. His normally heavy footfalls were cushioned by the thick purple carpet. They past a few thick wooden doors, after a short walk they came to a door flanked by two stern looking witches. Kingsley was about to enter the door when Draco stopped him. “We’re not going down to the holding cells?”

Kingsley smiled at his surprise. “Goodness no Draco, we are trying to make you comfortable. Your mother can attest that we have redesigned the prison as well to aid those with shorter sentences fight the dementors' effects.” Draco smiled and reached out to open the door. “Please Draco you and Celia need to leave your wand with the guard here. They will remain here until your business is concluded and it will be returned to you at that time.

He hated to give up his defense but he felt he could trust Harry. He noticed the Minister wasn’t making him leave his wand behind and felt it was because Harry was officially an auror now. He took his wand and handed it to the witch on the right and Celia did as well. He slowly opened the door to see a conference room. There was a table with four chairs on each side and then one chair at each end. The room was bright with a few magical windows on the walls and bright posters on others. There at the end of the table was the woman he had come to see. Her hair was lighter than he remembered and it wasn’t put up as she used to keep it. Instead it was still damp, possibly from a shower. Her clothes were the same ones she had worn to court but they had been kept in good shape by the Minister. It seemed he was trying to improve conditions.

She looked up at the sound of the door opening. Her eyes shown as her son walked in the door. She stood and in an instant they were in each other arms. Draco wrapped his arms protectively around her as she wept with joy into his chest. No matter what had happened in the past she had always loved Draco more than herself and wanted the best for him.

It took a minute for her tears to stop but when they did she gave him a strong hug. “It’s so good to see you.”

Draco blinked away the tears that were in his eyes as well. “It’s good to see you too. I’m so grateful the minister allowed you to visit. Have they been treating you well?”

She nodded as he released her from their embrace. “Please sit down we can discuss that along with everything else. The Minister has arranged for me to stay here tonight so we don’t have to rush anything.” She took a seat on the side of the table and Draco took the one next to her immediately. Celia nervously sat across from the woman. Harry was about to join them but Kingsley took his arm and stopped him from entering the room.

“Harry you are technically on duty right now so please make sure nothing happens to any of them. I am not expecting trouble but I feel better knowing you are here.” Harry nodded and then took the seat right next to Celia.

Narcissa took a butterbeer from the ones that had been left on the table and took a long drink. She gave a slight sigh as the cool drink flowed down her throat. The others followed opening drinks of their own. “So Harry I heard you were with Ginny Weasley but this obviously isn’t her did you get a new girlfriend?” A smile played at her lips as she teased the young man.

Celia spit her butterbeer out and Harry smiled. “No Narcissa, Celia isn’t my girlfriend, she’s Draco’s. If you want to get technical I sort of introduced them.”

Narcissa’s eyes brightened. “Not how I would have preferred to meet you but it is a pleasure Celia.” The pair shook hands across the table.

“It wasn’t my first choice for a date but Draco does know how to show a woman a good time.” Celia replied rather cheekily stunning both Harry and Draco in the process.

“She’s feisty Draco I like her.”

“I’m glad mother because that is part of why I wanted to talk to you.”

Her eyes darkened a bit on her son. “You’re not running away with her because she’s pregnant or something right?”

“Merlin’s beard mum is that the first thing you come to when I say we need to talk about my girlfriend.” Celia giggled and Narcissa still looked at Draco a little suspicious. “I guess you might be half right though.”

Narcissa gave Draco a look the likes of which Harry had only ever seen on Molly Weasley. He imagined most mothers had one but none had ever been directed at him, something that he was incredibly thankful for.

Draco sighed and seemed to grow younger under her glare. He hadn’t wanted to drop the news so suddenly. "Mum, I've been offered a job with my own business to run. I know I probably don't have to work with what we have left of dad's fortune but I can't just sit around the cottage."

"I don't understand how that relates to my earlier comment."

Draco stretched his hand across the table and took Celia's. "The store is in Rio De Janeiro and Celia would be running it with me."

Narcissa's eyes widened in shock and then a genuine smile came across her face. "Draco if it makes you happy that is all I have ever wanted for you."

Tears that he had been holding back flowed freely down Draco's face as he embraced his mother again. "That means more to me than you can ever know. For the first time I feel like I can make my own decisions."

"I understand Draco. Your father was very controlling and when he wasn't there the Dark Lord took over. You are your own man and capable of making your own decisions. Now what type of business are you going to own?"

"I have partnered with George Weasley to open a branch of Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes. The agreement we have requires me to get product straight from him at very near cost and then I can sell at my own rates. We have also agreed that I can expand to more stores if I desire with the same setup."

"That seems like a very good agreement for both of you. I know you can handle the business and the twins did always have unique and marketable ideas. You have to respect the work they put into everything."

Conversation then turned to the events of the past year. Draco caught Narcissa up with everything. That included talking about Ginny which Narcissa found rather amusing as Harry got uncomfortable. When conversation turned to Celia, Narcissa was surprised that they had only known each other for such a short time. She didn't question it and to Harry's surprise never asked about his friend's blood status.

Time seemed to fly as the group was lost in conversation and in what seemed like no time there was a knock on the door. After sharing a look with the others Narcissa spoke. "Enter."

Kingsley came in followed by Aberforth Dumbledore. The older wizard looked uncomfortable but gave a light smile causing his eyes to twinkle. Kingsley carried a few scrolls that he placed on the end of the table. A third wizard followed them carrying a tray of sandwiches and a basket of fruit.

"As it is nearly noon I thought lunch was appropriate. And then I have a little business to attend to." Kingsley said settling into the chair next to Draco. Aberforth sat next to Harry opposite the Minister and dug into a sandwich. Narcissa eyed the stack greedily. Her look did not go unoticed. "Narcissa as much as I have tried to improve the conditions at Azkaban I know it is hard to eat at times. Please go ahead." The witch nodded but still maintained her composure.

"Minister this is the second time you have mentioned the improvements at the prison would you mind telling us about that?" Draco asked.

"Actually I would like to hear that as well. Hermione seemed very adamant at the meeting about changing things." Harry added. Draco was only mildly surprised that she would care about the treatment of prisoners.

"Well firstly we have redesigned how prisoners are held. The human guards and those with the shortest sentences are housed in the middle of the prison. This keeps them fairly well away from the influence of the dementors. They now patrol only around the outside of the island and not within the prison directly."

"Why keep them at all. They are vile creatures who feed on all that is good." Celia spoke for the first time in a while. She hadn't said much at all but she was there to give her strength to Draco.

"There really isn't any other alternative. If we banished them they would breed exponentially outside of our control. Draco do you remember what London was like in the summer before what would have been your seventh year?"

"It was horrible, dreary and cold and just unhappy. I heard muggle suicides increased nearly 100 percent due to the effects. Of course I was rather happy about that at the time."

"You are correct and without control the dementors would likely spread to other parts of Europe. They are not sentient but their instincts will drive them to find any large city to feast on." Aberforth added speaking up after having finished his sandwich.

"Correct and rightly or wrongly those other ministries would blame us and require us to assist in corralling them. While it is not a perfect solution keeping the dementors contained is better for us right now." Kingsley explained.

"I have heard stories from a few former residents." Harry stated. "Narcissa would you say things have improved?"

She paused to finish her sandwich as well. After a sip of her butterbeer she collected her thoughts. "Compared to the prison my husband visited I would say things are greatly improved. The dementors barely affect me and I have not been ill-treated by the guards."

"Still I imagine you are enjoying this time away and cannot wait to leave there for good." Kingsley added with an unexpectedly suspicious tone.

"Well of course I can't wait to get out of prison. But I'm not going to try and escape if that's what you're insinuating. I made my bed by not fighting my husband's beliefs and I am serving my punishment. In two years when my sentence is up I intend to live a better life perhaps I will follow my son to Brazil." Draco blushed and smiled at her assertion.

"I guess that is my notice that it is time to move to official Business. Minister if you would please join Harry and I on this side of the table." Aberforth spoke suddenly opening one of the scrolls. Kingsley moved and sat next to Abeforth. After he was settled Abeforth continued. "I am calling this Wizengamot tribunal to order. Harry you and the Minister are representing the Wizengamot in this." Draco panicked. Was Harry about to turn on him and put him in prison for the mark he had helped remove. All fear vanished as Aberforth spoke again. "Narcissa it is the recommendation of the warden of Azkaban that you be granted early release."

The news couldn't have been a bigger surprise. He had never hoped that he might be free with his mother before the end of her sentence. Kingsley had looked cheerful at giving the news but now he looked serious.

"Before you get too excited there are a couple conditions you must agree to before we can secure your release." Kingsley added stopping Draco's heart for a moment.

His fear turned to anger. "What more could you possibly ask of her?!" He shouted at the Minister. "You said so yourself she has been a model prisoner and you truly believe she has been repentant." He stopped as Kingsley held up a hand.

"These conditions come from the Wizengamot and the aurors or I would not bring it up. Unfortunately I am not all powerful but if you are willing to listen I think you will find the conditions rather agreeable." He smiled as the blonde wizard crossed his arms in frustration.

Aberforth looked over his parchment. "The first condition is that you Narcissa Malfoy will be on probation for the next two years. Any instances of dark magic or artifacts being found in your possession will result in the reinstatement of your complete sentence with the possibility of additional time."

"I understand and can happily abide by that condition. I had already requested that Draco remove anything dark from the cottage he was living in so there will be no temptation."

"I am sorry to say that the second condition of your release will prohibit that being necessary for the time being." Aberforth sighed. Draco was preparing for awful news. "Narcissa for the remainder of your three year sentence you are to be expelled from Britain."

"Expelled from Britain. This is my home and where my family is. It is all I know." Draco tried to console his mother as she broke down into the first sad tears he had seen. "Where am I to go?" She choked through the sobs.

Kingsley smiled again and Draco fought the urge to put a fist in his jaw. He seemed so smug and arrogant about the torture that was being inflicted on her. "Narcissa please look at us." Kingsley spoke kindly. "We would not do this to inflict harm on you. Once I received the request from the Wizengamot I reached out to a friend that is in our debt. You are going to be welcome in Brazil alongside Draco and Celia."

Draco's head snapped back to the minister. He had been wrong about the man. He wasn't arrogant or intentionally hurting them he was truly trying to help. "Are those the only two conditions?" He asked for his mother. Both Kinglsey and Aberforth nodded. "When can she leave the prison?"

"She already has Draco." Kinglsey beamed now. "She will be held here at the Ministry until you are ready to travel to Rio. At that time she will be released on her own accord but she will have to report in to the aurors in Brazil as she would here."

Draco nodded but Narcissa smiled brightly. "Thank you Minister it means a lot that you see that some people can change. It gives me hope for the future."

"The fact that you two have changed gives me hope as well. Now Harry please sign these release papers as witness to the clemency of her sentence. I will speak with George and see how quickly he can be ready to leave. The sooner you are free the sooner you can leave the rest of your old life behind."

Draco stood and took the Minister's hand as Harry quickly signed the parchment. "Thank you sir. I will make sure we make the most of this second chance."

"See that you do." Harry responded rather sternly before passing the parchment back to Aberforth. "I saved the Brazilian Minister's life so I think that is how Kingsley was able to arrange this."

"I understand Harry. Thank you as well for everything." Draco paused then reached across the table to shake Harry's hand too. Harry didn't hesitate as he gripped the hand firmly.

"If you don't mind though I'd like time to speak with just my mother and Celia. We need to start building a new life and Harry has a date tonight." He smiled at the shocked expression. "Come on Ginny couldn't stop bragging about it." Harry smiled as well and nodded his head conceding the point.

"I understand Draco. We will leave you three. Now that all the information is out your wands will be returned as you now realize how incredibly foolish it would be to try and escape now. You are all free to visit Narcissa from now until the time you leave for Brazil." Kingsley said standing up. Aberforth resealed the parchment scrolls before shaking hands with Draco as well. He followed Kingsley out the door. He turned one last time to look at them and Draco saw a wide smile and a twinkle in his eye that reminded him so much of Albus.

Harry was the last to leave and Narcissa met him at the door. "Thank you for everything Harry. You saved my son and now have given us a second chance at life. I can never repay you for that."

"Yes you can." Harry asserted to her surprised look. He took her by the shoulders and looked into her blue eyes. "Live a good life and be happy. Move on from this horrible experience and help Draco as he builds a future for all of you." He pulled her into an awkward hug that she soon reciprocated.

"Go and enjoy your date." She smiled as he bade goodbye to his friends and left the room. "You won't regret this." Narcissa said as the door closed.

Chapter 15: Date Night
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Ginny paced in the lounge of the burrow. She was wearing jeans and a peasant shirt that was tight to her bellybutton and then flared around her hips. It was a pale pink that she would've hated growing up. Her brother's would have picked on her for wearing anything remotely girly like that but things had changed once most of them had moved out. She was free to be herself. She would have preferred something even more feminine for her first real date with Harry but he was taking the motorbike and her dad had given her a full run down on safety precautions. Unfortunately that included wearing protective boots to keep from hurting her feet should anything happen. She had spent fifteen minutes staring at her reflection convincing herself that the outfit actually looked good on her.

It was getting close to two in the afternoon and nobody had returned from the Ministry. Ginny was starting to wonder what was taking so long. She had tried to occupy her time by giving some flying tips to Hermione but in the end she was ready right around noon and had been waiting rather impatiently for her fiancé. She was just contemplating sending Harry a message when she heard the fire flare up in the sitting room. Harry stepped out wearing jeans and a blue and grey rugby style shirt. He had his black leather jacket in one hand and his equally dark helmet in the other.

"Oh you're here what took you so long!?" Ginny cried giving him a kiss before he could properly orientate himself to the room.

Harry returned the kiss and embraced Ginny lightly. "I wish I could tell you. I fear it would spoil Draco's surprise. You will likely have to wait until tomorrow as I assume we'll all be out too late." Ginny hated surprises but knew Harry would share his secrets with her. If he wouldn't talk then it was not his to share and she appreciated the loyalty.

"Harry, Ginny do you need a snack before you leave?" Molly called from the kitchen. She had been watching her daughter most of the day and noticed that she hadn't eaten.

"I just ate mum." Harry answered. He loved being able to call her mum and had been using it whenever possible. "Do you need anything?" She shook her head eager to get going but a small rumble escaped her stomach.

"Ok maybe something quick so we can get going."

Ginny disappeared into the kitchen and shortly after George came through the fire into the sitting room where Harry was waiting. "Harry I'm so glad I caught you. I had asked Fred to let me know when you came back and it took a little while to find me once you did." Harry looked at the empty portrait frame a little confused but let George continue. "I developed something for you and Ginny. I have made my extendable ears wireless and modified them to both send and receive. I believe if installed in your helmets it'll make communication easier so you're not tempted to remove them."

"Well that's great. We were just about to leave how long would it take to install?" Harry smiled handing his helmet to George.

George pulled the modified extendable ear from his coat pocket and attached it inside the helmet with a quick wave of his wand. "Just that long, now all I need is Ginny's."

Harry summoned the red and green helmet from the kitchen where it sat with her riding jacket. In an instant George finished the installation and set it down on the table. "I thought I saw my helmet come flying in here. What did you do to it George." Ginny was a little suspicious." She had a biscuit in one hand and her jacket in the other but she still was intimidating.

"See for yourself Gin." George passed it to her. "I modified both and he knows what I did."

Harry gave her a reassuring look and then took his own helmet and slid it on his head. When he saw Ginny do the same he tested the connection. "Gin can you hear me?"

"Yea Harry, that is really cool." Ginny removed her helmet and made sure it wasn't affecting her hair. "Thank you George it was going to be impossible to talk while riding with those."

Her brother bowed with a flourish. "Have fun you two, be careful out there though. You never know." He kissed Ginny's cheek and left toward the kitchen to procure one of Molly's biscuits.

"Well Gin shall we?" Harry moved to the door and opened it for her. She nodded and followed putting on her jacket as they went.

"Can you teach me that cooling charm you learned in Brazil before we leave? These jackets are hot."

"I can but since we'll be flying you might not need it. Why don't you wait until we get going and we'll see how we feel?" She nodded as he pulled the bike out of the shed her father had kept it in. The sidecar was still not fully repaired but neither minded as Harry took control and Ginny wrapped her arms around his waist. They accelerated down the lane activated the invisibility booster, engaged the flying gear and soared into the air. Once airborne Harry activated a new invention of Arthur’s that muffled the sound of the powerful bike so it wouldn’t attract attention as they passed overhead.

The trip to Godric's Hollow took nearly two hours. Ginny was glad they didn't put cooling charms on their clothes as she was actually chilly. The jackets were well ventilated and let air flow through the fabric well. Harry circled the town once to get the layout before landing on a deserted strip of road and deactivated the invisibility.

They drove through town mindful of the speed limit and any pedestrians. There was not a lot of vehicle traffic on the roads. On the outskirts of town they passed an auto body shop and didn’t notice the owner came running outside staring as the bike passed. They passed by an apothecary and a grocer. Near the center of town they passed by a pub and the only hotel in the town. They didn’t immediately see any other restaurants but Harry knew they could always go somewhere else for dinner if they couldn’t’ find something in town. He parked the bike in the small lot on the side of the church opposite the cemetery.

Harry noticed the man he presumed was the preacher look out the window. He imagined that at first glance they looked like a couple of hooligans. He gave a light wave to the man as he removed his helmet. He stuck it on the peg that Ginny had been using to rest her feet. Ginny shook out her hair as she removed her helmet and put it on the opposite peg. Harry used his bracelet to cast the dark sticking charm he learned in Brazil on the pegs and a repelling charm around the bike. He didn't want anyone to tamper with it especially with the magic modifications.

Harry took Ginny's hand and walked toward the street. They used the sidewalk to cross in front of the church and entered the small cemetery. Neither of them talked as they walked through the headstones and stopped in front of his parent’s. He stood there silently for a while imagining what to tell them. He knew they couldn’t really hear him but he didn’t care. Harry opened his mouth to speak but no words came out. He suddenly felt the pain of loss harder than ever before. He became very angry as well. He had no family to share in his happiness. Nobody he could brag to about finding the love of his life and express the joy of hearing her say yes to his proposal.

Without warning he unleashed a primal yell toward the sky that was a clear blue in stark contrast to his mood. If it was appropriate it would be dark and angry with lighting forking through the clouds. He collapsed onto his knees weeping as his anger abated and the emptiness he felt took precedent.

Ginny grew very worried as she watched Harry. He had been cheerful as they traveled but was quiet in the cemetery. She knew he was struggling with what to say but was alarmed as his sadness was replaced with a rage she had never seen before. He screamed in what seemed like agony before falling on the ground.

Ginny knelt beside him as Harry knelt crying. She wrapped her arm protectively around him as he sobbed into her shoulder. It took longer than she would have imagined for him to compose himself but gradually the sobs stopped. She looked into his bright loving green eyes that were tinged red. “What happened Harry?”

Her voice was so sweet and full of love that he nearly started crying again. He knew Ginny was going to stand by him no matter what. “I’m sorry Gin. I was thinking about what to say and then I realized that there was nobody I could to brag to about our happiness. I have no close family that I can tell about how much I love you and how excited I am that you said yes. Even if my aunt is coming around I am still essentially alone as far as family is concerned.”

His confession brought tears to her eyes. She remembered how her family had celebrated every milestone of each of them. “Oh Harry I’ve never thought about that. You have suffered so much and every time we turn around things remind you of it.” She threw her arms around his neck and very nearly cried herself. She held back though knowing it would make things rougher on Harry to see her so upset. After a moment she regained her composure and looked at her fiancé again. “Love I know it is not the same but you do have plenty of family. They may not be blood but they love you just as much.”

He looked at her suspiciously and Ginny read the question in his eyes. “I don’t mean my parents and brothers either Harry. I’m talking about the Shaffer’s in Brazil, Minister Joy in America, Neville and his gran. She loves you just as much as she loves Neville.” He gave her a look of surprise that still had questions. “You’ve never really heard her talk about you and him have you?” He shook his head. “She is so proud of both of you for what you overcame with what happened to your parents. And you can’t forget the rest of the order. Kingsley, Minerva, Hagrid and the rest, they all love you just as much as my family.”

He finally nodded and he felt the tears dry up in his eyes. She was right and he couldn’t help but admit it. She was always good at helping him see the bigger picture. “You’re right Gin. On all counts, nothing will ever replace what I have lost or could ever replace my parents or Sirius or Remus but there are others that care.” He removed his glasses and wiped his eyes. He looked over at the polished marble stone. “Sorry about that Mum and Dad.” He smiled. “I’m sorry we haven’t come by sooner but life has been full of adventure.”

“The war is over and we won. We lost a lot of friends along the way but I’m sure you know that since they’re there with you now.” He thought of how Sirius, Remus and his dad would act together. “Life is moving on. There have been no reports of death eater activity in months. Pure-blood sentiments still exist but Hermione and I are working to change that thanks to the seat on the Wizengamot you left me. Hermione you might remember was here the last time and she’s with Ron now. You may know him as the youngest Weasley boy.” Now that he started talking the words seemed to flow out of him.

“Speaking of the Weasleys I wanted to bring a very special one here today.” He took her hand and squeezed it gently. “This is Ginny. She means the world to me and has been by my side through so much. Even if it meant letting me go and find myself she still supported me. I love her with all my heart and she has agreed to marry me.” He choked up a bit thinking of the next thing. “I gave her your rings mum. I hope you wouldn’t mind. Molly said you wouldn’t but I can never be too sure about things.” Ginny stood stunned at the admission. Harry had never told her where he had gotten the rings.

“Dad I’m going to play quidditch professionally. I know you would be happy with anything I chose to do. I had thought about being an auror but I can’t risk the elder wand falling into the wrong hands again and I’d rather be near Gin as much as possible. Remus has told me she is an awful lot like mum and she can hex as good as any of her brothers. She’ll keep me in line and make sure that if I try to run off and save everyone that I don’t do it alone.” Ginny smiled at his admission. “I’m not really sure what else to say other than Petunia and I have somewhat made up mum. I will have to talk to her about coming here sometime. I love you both and miss you so much.” Tears started to flow as Harry conjured a single rose and laid it in front of the stone.

Ginny stood looking at the stone and the single rose sitting in front of it. She didn’t know why she felt the need but she wanted to add her own message. “Mr. and Mrs. Potter thank you for this wonderful man that you brought into my life. I know you didn’t have the chance to raise him properly but he seems to have inherited many of your best qualities from what I’m told. Maybe a few of the not so best ones either.” She heard Harry chuckle lightly but continued. “Harry is a wonderful man who has treated me well, even if he is a tad overprotective. Don’t worry mum I’ll break that habit since I know you wouldn’t sit back and let James take on the danger alone.” The couple shared a smile as Ginny called Lily mum. Harry also knew she was right about his mother. “Many people have said that you would be proud of him and approve of our marriage but as Harry said we wanted to come and tell you all about it.” She looked toward the sky as she continued barely above a whisper. “Please know that I love him with all my heart and have made it my life’s goal that he is happy no matter what he does. And no matter what I’ll be by his side.”

She clutched his hand tighter as they stood together looking at the stone. Harry wasn’t sure how long they were just standing there but his hand started to hurt. Finally with a look at the sky he turned to walk out of the cemetery. They walked slowly through town and passed by the memorial in the center. Ginny took a moment to look at it as she saw the appearance change to Harry with his parents.

Harry pointed out where Bathilda Bagshot’s house had stood. It had been a year and a half since his and Hermione’s escape from Nagini. The backfiring spells had left the house in shambles. Unlike Potter Cottage the old house had been cleared away and it appeared new construction would start soon. Ginny knew what had happened there and clutched his hand tighter. Finally Harry came to where his family’s cottage stood. It looked much the same as it had when he last visited. Although the well wishes on the railing had increased noticeably. The new ones all seemed to be from after Tom’s defeat. Some thanked him others told him to run for Minister and at least one was a marriage proposal. Ginny frowned at the note written in red but Harry smiled and pulled her into a tight hug. “I know this isn’t necessarily the most romantic setting for a date but I wanted you to see where I was born and where my parents are buried.”

“Harry I’m spending time with the man I love. Anything we do is wonderful.” She smiled as they started to walk back down the road.

Together they walked through the small town peering into shop windows and occasionally entering the stores. Harry knew there was large population of wizards in town but he did not spot most of them unless they stared at him a little too intensely. Occasionally he would see a magic store that was hidden but that was the exception. He was starting to wonder how he would be able to spot an Australian wizard in a crowd when he was having trouble in Godric’s Hollow. These thoughts left his mind as he noticed someone looking at him strangely.

About half a block ahead of them another couple was walking towards them. They were older than Harry and Ginny he thought they looked to be in their late 40’s. The man had a few tattoos on his bare arms and a faded black t-shirt. The logo was barely present anymore but Harry vaguely recalled it as a brand of motorbike. He wore leather riding pants and carried a leather jacket in his arm. It wasn’t his outfit though that brought him to Harry’s attention. It was the odd way the man was looking at him. It wasn’t the intense stare of a wizard who was amazed to be in his presence. His head was cocked to the side and he was looked as if he was questioning his own eyes. As they got closer the man broke into a smile and rushed up to Harry and pulled him in a hug.

“James it is you. I can’t believe it. After all these years letting us think you had died in that gas explosion.” The man released the hug and looked at Harry at arm’s length. “You look just like you did the last I saw you.”

“Paul that isn’t James you’re scaring the young man.” The kindly lady grabbed her husband’s arm.

He pulled out of her grip. “Don’t be daft woman. You heard the bike come into town they drove right by our shop. I built that engine and customized that bike for Sirius. I can tell it anywhere even with that new paint job. James is the only other one he would let drive it. If this isn’t James then who are you?”

Harry’s eyes started to well with tears. Paul backed away balling his hands into fists and looking hard at the young man. His wife however was more tactful. “Son what he says is true. He did customize that bike, would you mind telling us where you got it?”

Harry fought back the tears a bit. “Sirius left it to me in his will. He was killed three years ago.” He looked the lady in the eyes.

Before he could continue, she gasped and put her hand over her mouth. “Paul this isn’t James. It’s Harry!”

“Could it be?” Paul looked closer at Harry now. Their eyes met for the first time and lingered for a second. He pulled Harry into another tight hug. “Blimey it is you Harry. You look just like your father ‘cept your eyes.”

“Yes those are Lily’s.” His wife added. Harry flinched a little at the pronouncement. “I always wondered why there was never a headstone for you in the cemetery.”

Harry didn’t know what to say. Paul and his wife seemed to pick up on his feelings and changed topics. “I’m sorry for scaring you Harry. You are Harry right?” Harry nodded and the man smiled. “I’m sorry about your folks and Sirius. They were good people.”

“By the way Harry my name is Donna. I’ve already sort of introduced you to Paul here.” She extended her hand and he took it.

“Thank you ma’am.” He glanced around quickly and noted that nobody was paying attention. “This is my fiance’ Ginny”

“Pleasure to meet you Ginny.” Donna smiled and shook her hand as well. “So Harry what brings you to the hollow?”

“Um I brought Ginny to see where mum and dad lived and where they’re buried. Her parents knew them.” He ran a hand through his hair before continuing. It’s was also intended to be our first date outside of school since we both just graduated.”

“Oh we didn’t know. We’ll leave you two to your evening. Congratulations on your graduation and your engagement.” Donna said and started to take Paul by the arm. “Do stop by the shop sometime Harry we’d be glad to talk to you about your parents.”

“Ma’am I think we’d rather do that now if you don’t mind. We’ll be traveling to Australia soon and then we’ll be working once fall comes.” Ginny spoke up suddenly. Harry was surprised. He had wanted to say the same thing but he didn’t want to ruin their night out.”

“Are you sure Gin?” He asked tentatively.

“I’m sure. You said it yourself that this was not necessarily the most romantic date and since I didn’t get to dress up like I would have wanted you’ll just have to take me out one night in Australia.” Her smile lit up her face and Harry wanted to snog her right there. She was so perfect and understanding.

Paul nodded and Donna smiled. “Why don’t you two go grab the bike and bring it to the shop? We can have a nice dinner at our place. Do you remember our shop? You passed it on the way into town.”

Harry nodded and Ginny followed as he left to return to the church to pick up the bike. As expected the bike was untouched. Harry was pulling it up to Paul’s garage just a few minutes later. The older man gestured to the side to park it alongside a beautiful blue bike with gold trim. Harry looked over the bike appreciatively as he stood by it.

“That one is Donna’s." He explained and Harry noticed that Ginny's eyes brightened a bit. "She loves to ride with me but just as much she likes to drive herself. The feel of the open road and the wind in your hair is amazing. Although you have to be careful around towns and wear your helmets like you have been. Come on inside though we will be more comfortable there.”

He led the way through the garage and to a stairwell in the back. Up the stairs was a small flat that sat directly above the garage. “Ginny I’m going to have to do a bit of shopping at the market to make a dinner for four. Would you like to come with me?” Harry saw Donna give Ginny a look telling her there was more to the request and Ginny seemed to understand.

“That sounds lovely. My mom taught me quite a bit about cooking, so I’d be happy to help.” Harry gave her a kiss and patted her on the bum as she exited back down the stairs. His heart swelled as she gave him a mischievous smile.

Paul went into the kitchen and Harry looked around the flat. It wasn’t large but it was comfortable and seemed to suit the couple. “Beer Harry?” Paul called.

“Uh Sure.” Harry replied. He knew it would have more alcohol than a butterbeer so he needed to be careful. He heard Paul pop the caps off two bottles and brought them out.

“So I am sure you have a few questions for me I’m guessing you never got to know Sirius well if you haven’t heard of me before.” He sat in a well-worn chair in the lounge and gestured to Harry to take the other. The only other furniture in the room was a coffee table a standing floor lamp and a telly. The lamp flickered a bit as Harry sat below it. He calmed his mind as he had studied and took a deep breath.

Harry paused and covered the delay by taking a sip of the dark beer. It was a new experience for him to have regular beer and he wasn’t sure if he enjoyed it. He tried to think of a way to explain that he never met Sirius until recently. Finally he played it close to the truth. “You’re right I do have some questions. I never met Sirius until I was 13. I wasn’t at my parent’s house the night of the explosion. My aunt and uncle were babysitting me and giving my parent’s the night off. I guess it was just lucky.”

Paul didn’t say anything but studied Harry carefully. “Sirius was my godfather and I likely would have lived with him but a few days after the explosion he was framed for a murder. The police claimed he had murdered another of my parent’s friends in his grief. Sirius believed that friend had killed my parents.”

“Please tell me Sirius didn’t go after Remus.” Paul said almost pleadingly.

“No not Remus. He could never do that to my parents. The person in question wasn’t as close to my parents as they were. He faked his death and Remus believed Sirus was responsible until he was found alive about 5 years ago.” Harry was trying hard not to mention it had been Wormtail since he wasn’t sure how much Paul might know about him.

“Great so Sirius was released. But do the police know if your parents were killed or if it was a tragic accident?”

“I’m not sure they were ever able to prove anything. It was never mentioned to me. I’m sorry.”

“It’s ok Harry. You’re here and you survived. That in itself is a miracle.” Paul smiled and took a drink of his beer. “So what are you going to do with your life? I know your dad didn’t really need to work but he would have been bored doing nothing so I assume you’ll be doing something.”

“You mean doing my fiancé doesn’t count?” He cheekily responded. Paul sat stunned staring at Harry. Each was wondering who would crack first. Finally Harry let a smile crack his lips, a moment later Paul’s laughter filled the room.

“It seems you knew Sirius well enough to gain some of his more mischievous traits.”

Harry smiled at the compliment. Paul’s response gave him time to think of a proper answer. “Thank you that is a compliment of highest regards to me.” Harry bowed at the waist. “In all seriousness, I’m going to be living in London with some friends as we start University. My cousin has already completed one year studying to be a detective and I’ll be joining him with that.”

“I think that is very admirable of you Harry. When I first realized who you were I was kind of hoping you’d be moving into your grandparents place on the edge of town. It’s such a beautiful estate.”

“My grandparent’s place?” Harry was confused. He had never seen the full contents of his parent’s holdings.

“Oh you’re so young. The lawyers may not have revealed it to you yet but come on I’ll show you.” He stood up and walked out of the sitting room and down a hallway. At the back of the flat was a sliding glass door that opened to a balcony that extended beyond the building.

Paul opened the door and stepped out onto the balcony. Harry followed and marveled at the view. They were only on the second floor but Paul’s shop was high enough up the hollow that he could look over most of the other roof’s and across town. Paul let Harry take in the sites before he pointed out a road. “See that road that goes out of town up and out of hollow.” He pointed it out still holding his beer in his hand. Harry nodded. “Follow that with your eyes and then on the ridge you see the tree line above that you should see the top of the Potter Manor.”

Harry did as he was directed and his mouth hung open as he took in the top floor of a huge manor house. He knew there were two other floors to it. Harry and Ginny had spotted the manor while circling the Hallow and wondered who could live there. The manor was beautiful and there were numerous buildings around it and the manicured grounds were extensive.

“That is amazing. I never knew. I always thought my parent’s cottage was the family home.”

Paul chuckled. “Harry I daresay that isn’t the only large home they own. James was never one to brag but he mentioned houses in other countries that he had spent summers at while growing up.”

“I’m sure you knew my dad from a young age but how did you meet Sirius?” Harry leaned on the railing of the balcony and looked over the village. He loved his home at Grimmauld Place now that it had been remodeled but he could certainly understand the allure of living in the country.

“I met Sirius shortly after he returned from school in what he called his sixth year. I never really understood that but that’s private school for ya. He was 17 and had run away from home.” Harry recalled Sirius telling him a little about that. “I was a few years older and I had just opened the shop. Sirius came to me looking for work. Well I couldn’t pay him much especially since he had no real mechanical knowledge but boy could he fix cosmetic work dents, dings, scratched paint you name it and he could make it good as new. Normally I couldn’t even tell something had been damaged. And he would work incredibly fast. He could get jobs done in half the time it would take me and I’m no slouch.”

Harry chuckled. “Yea Sirius has always been special.” He knew that Sirius had used magic to do the repair work.

“Well by the end of the summer when it was time for him to return to school business was steady and I could pay him more than I had originally offered. Sirius helped whenever he was back from school and it was over Christmas break that we built my first custom carburetor.”

“That’s the piece right above the pipes on the right hand side it brings the air in and mixes it with fuel. That combined with the exhaust pipes I make gave the bike a unique sound. Well the following summer Sirius was again working for me and instead of payment we built a custom bike for him instead. He didn’t need the money as bad and he really wanted that bike. And now you have it.”

“That is amazing.” Harry smiled thinking of his godfather. They stood in silence for a moment before Paul stood up quickly.

“Actually that story reminds me I have something to show you.” Paul said leaving the balcony and returning through the flat. Donna and Ginny were back and busy in the kitchen when they passed through. “We’re taking a quick trip to the barn Donna.”

She gave her husband a knowing smile. “Ginny is a wonderful cook Harry. We should be done in about twenty minutes or so.”

“It does smell delicious.” Harry commented with a loving smile at his fiancé.

“Indeed, we’ll be back in time to enjoy it.” Paul led Harry back down the stairs and through the back of the garage. They passed under the balcony they had been standing on and headed for a decent sized white washed building. The building looked like an old wood-paneled barn and had a large metal door that was big enough for cars to pass through and a normal sized one that was padlocked shut.

Paul opened the lock on the door and led Harry in. It was oppressively dark in the room and Harry heard Paul click on a switch. Lights overhead buzzed to life but just barely lit up. The longer they stood there the brighter it got. Before long Harry could make out various shapes some covered in tarps and others standing bare. There were probably fifteen cars in various conditions and a few motorbikes as well.

Harry followed as Paul picked his way between cars and piles of parts before arriving at the very back of the barn. There standing in the dim light was a tarp that may have been colored at one point but was a dull grey now. “This is what I wanted to show you Harry.” With a quick tug on the tarp a sleek red and gold motorbike was exposed. Though covered in dust one could easily see how beautiful it was meant to be. Harry could see some similarities to the bike he road but it was obviously different. The one thing he knew for sure was the same was the piece that Paul had explained was the carburetor.

Paul’s eyes grew misty as he looked over the old dusty bike. “Sirius asked me to build this for James the year your parents died. It was supposed to be a Christmas surprise. I was nearly finished with it Halloween night. I moved it out here the next day and haven’t looked at it since.”

“You never once thought of selling it or anything?” Harry was amazed.

“I owe my entire business to Sirius. I thought he’d come by and tell me what to do with it. Now though I think I know.” Paul smiled lightly. “I know you’re riding Sirius’ bike and probably don’t want to give it up. But this one is technically yours, I can get it cleaned up and have it ready for when you and Ginny return from Australia if not then you could give it to her for Christmas.”

Harry could feel the smile spreading on his face. He knew that Ginny would love to ride and fly together on the bikes. It would be a wonderful experience to travel together. “I think she would love that. She is every bit the daredevil I am. Can you not redo the paint though?”

“I can leave the cosmetic work other than cleaning it up a bit. But why would you do that?”

“Well Ginny’s dad is the one who did the new paint job on my bike. I think he would like to do the same for hers. How long would it take to get it running mechanically?”

Paul looked thoughtful at what Harry had said. “Honestly if the shop is slow a week at most. If we’re busy, maybe a month. The bike was brand new when I stored it. It shouldn’t need much repair.”

“Excellent I’ll be in touch in about a month or so to make arrangements for pickup.”

“Great, I’ll pull the bike out of here soon and start working on it.” Paul clapped his hands together excitedly. “Now though let’s go get some dinner.”

Harry and Ginny enjoyed dinner immensely. It was not the date they were expecting but it was a wonderfully informative trip. They spent quite a bit of time talking with Donna and Paul about various things. Some of it about his parents, mostly happy memories the older couple had. Harry had formulated plans to talk with Bill about what exactly he owned. He remembered that Bill had said about only liquid assets were being donated to the Ministry or his foundation and realized he likely had inherited more property than he could ever use. Before long though he would have to visit the manor and see what was there.

Harry and Ginny didn’t talk much on the flight home. Thoughts were running through their heads. Harry was glad for the helmet because he couldn’t suppress the smile at how Ginny would react to having her own motorbike. He knew she would love the feeling of being in control as much as she loved her own broom. As they started to land outside of London and proceeded to Grimmauld Place Harry was figuring out how to convince Ginny to learn the operation of the bike.

Hermione was waiting for them on the front porch as Harry parked the bike. “Harry, Ginny I’m so glad you’re back. I just received this from Kingsley.” She held up a thick envelope. Her excitement was palpable as the pair walked up to the porch.

Harry smiled at his friend as Ginny took the envelope. She opened it quickly and scanned over the letter. “Oh Merlin’s beard I need to get packing.” She ran into the house shoving the envelope into Hermione’s stomach.

Harry took the envelope and parchment from Hermione and read it quickly. His smile got bigger as he headed back toward the motorbike. “Harry, where are you going?” Hermione called.

“I’ve got to park this at the Burrow. I can’t very well leave it sitting out here if we’re going to Australia on Sunday. I’ll let Molly and Arthur know we’re leaving so he can look in on the others.” Hermione nodded as Harry sat on the bike again. He pulled his helmet on and started to get excited. He hadn’t been expecting the trip to be coming so soon but was relieved to get going. He waved to Hermione and started the engine. He was already planning on what he needed to accomplish before leaving. Obviously he needed to pack but he also wanted to re-read the information Kingsley had assigned for their first homework. He sincerely hoped Ron had studied it as well.

AN: Ok Australia next chapter. I have been looking forward to it but there was so much I wanted to get done first. I hope you enjoy, please leave reviews.

Chapter 16: Arrival in Sydney
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The flight to Australia left at seven Sunday morning. Harry had hosted a family dinner at Grimmauld Place and then retired to bed early. They were up at half past three to eat a light meal before the ministry cars arrived to get them to Heathrow by 5. The trip to the airport was uneventful but navigating security was difficult. They each checked their duffels that Don had given them and carried an expanded rucksack for the plane. Each had a change of clothes and toiletries to refresh themselves during their layover in Dubai. Hermione was disappointed they couldn’t leave the airport at that time but she understood the security rules. In addition to the necessities Hermione and Ginny had loaded their packs with books. Harry had packed his auror study books and some snacks for the plane courtesy of Kreacher and Winky. Ron on the other hand loaded his pack with food and shoved his books in the last bit of open space. Their wands were tucked away in their packs and all silently hoped nobody would pay too much attention to the bags.

Harry and Hermione passed through security without any issues. Ginny was scrutinized a bit more closely but it was Ron who attracted all the attention. He was staring at the metal detectors and x-ray machines. He was fascinated by the technology and had at one point started to ask if magic could do the same thing. He saw Hermione’s stern look and shut up. It wasn’t enough however and his actions earned him additional screenings. The guards were about to investigate the expanded pack but Harry silently cast a confundus causing the guard to allow them through. Hermione wanted to scream at Ron especially since Harry had now performed magic on a muggle and felt horribly about it. She held her tongue though Ron could feel the anger radiating from her.

Once through security the trip went much smoother. Their total travel time was over 22 hours but with the time zone change they didn’t land in Australia until four in the afternoon on Monday. After a relatively short cab ride they arrived at their hotel right across the street from the World Square Shopping Centre and settled into their suites. Kingsley had booked a two bedroom suite with a lounge connecting the rooms. It gave privacy and community. The suite was booked for as long as required and the hotel had been informed the party was a group of young British dignitaries. The young couples had been treated to spa treatments and dinner once they had settled in their rooms. They slept well that night recovering from jet lag and anxious to begin their search.

Harry snapped his mobile phone closed. Hermione had suggested getting them the first day at the mall. She reasoned they would need to communicate effectively while on different floors. He quickly agreed and they picked up four of the devices. He and Hermione had just been discussing plans for dinner. She was quickly growing frustrated after three days of looking around and finding no signs of the wizarding shopping district. Harry, Ron and Ginny were enjoying the days as they got to experience new sites and went to dinner at a different restaurant each night. The previous evening they had enjoyed Latin cuisine and while out Ron had spotted a French café that smelled wonderful. Thinking of the previous night’s food made Harry’s stomach rumble. It was nearing lunch time and he hadn’t eaten much at breakfast. Hermione’s anxiousness to make some progress was rubbing off on him as he desperately hoped to reunite her quickly with her parents. Harry hated to admit it but he felt like a failure for not having spotted a single magical person in the busy mall.

With a sigh Harry pulled out his mobile again and held the seven button to speed dial Ginny. They had agreed on seven since it was the number both had worn in quidditch the previous year. “Hey Harry.” She said as the phone connected.

“Hey Gin, it’s nearing lunchtime, did you want to grab a quick bite since so far we’ve had no luck?”

“Sure I’m famished myself already.” Harry smiled thinking of the large breakfast the hotel had served.

“Great I’m just going to use the loo first. You said it was in the back of that bookstore right?”

“Yea just walk straight through the back. I’ll meet you at the eclestalater thing.”

Harry laughed. “It’s an escalator Gin.”

“Oh yea that. Well see you soon. Love you.” The line disconnected before he was able to respond.

Harry chuckled to himself as he walked through the concourse to the bookstore. Today was the first day he had actually stayed on the ground floor of the mall observing as he had been on the second and third floors previously. He saw the bookstore and walked through the rows of shelves toward the back wall.

The loo was connected to the main store by a sparse white hallway with a few posters that appeared to be expanded copies of book covers. The women’s was on the left and the men’s straight ahead of the entrance that separated them from the rest of the store. Harry noticed a security door further to his right that was labeled “Employees Only.” He didn’t give it much thought as he proceeded into the men’s room.

Harry left the loo and moved to his left to hold the door open for a man who was waiting to use it. It was then that he felt his right arm vibrate as it dangled closer to the door down the hall. Without thinking he let go of the door to the loo and approached the security door. As he got within a couple feet the tingle grew and Harry knew that the door was highly warded. He stepped back into the book store and started walking quickly toward the escalator to meet Ginny. He pulled his phone out again and held the number three to autodial.

“Hermione I think I’ve found it.” He said into his phone without any precursor. She nearly screamed in excitement from the other end of the line.

“You did? Where? Tell me, no wait show me.”

Harry smiled at her reaction. “Get Ron and meet Ginny and I at the escalator on the first floor. I’ll show you.” The line went dead without response. Harry imagined his friend calling Ron quickly and yelling at him to meet downstairs as quickly as possible. Ron would understand and move quickly or he would complain about being hungry and ask about lunch. Harry hoped it wasn’t the latter. Ron would pay dearly for that.

Ginny could see the excitement as he came jogging up to her by the moving stairs. “Gin I think I found the door.”

“Where, how, when…? She questioned not needing to say more.

“The employees only door by the loo in the bookstore. I felt the wards on it after I finished.” She smiled at the explanation and gripped him in a tight hug around the neck. Gin could feel tears of relief welling inside of her at the thought that her friend would soon be reunited with her family.

Ron and Hermione came bounding down the escalator not wanting to wait for the stairs speed. Harry was thankful that nobody was in the way.

“Let’s go Harry. While on the way you can tell us how you found it.” Hermione said pulling Harry by the hand. She stopped when she realized she didn’t know where they were going.

Harry recounted the story as they walked to the store. Hermione slapped her forehead like she had forgotten something extremely important.

“Of course the door would be warded. I should have had you walking around trying to feel for it the whole time. We’ve wasted three days just looking for people standing out amongst the crowd.”

“It’s ok Hermione. We’re progressing now. We’ll get through that door and find the aurors.” Ron tried to sound confident but he wasn’t sure if they could figure the door out.

The four walked through the book store quickly and approached the door. Hermione put a series of warding spells on the entry way to prevent any patrons or employees from interrupting their investigation of the door. She gripped Ron’s hand tightly as Harry relaxed and cleared his mind. He closed his eyes and felt around the edge of the door finding the edges of the wards.

Harry focused as he felt the extension of the wards around the door. The magic came into view in his mind as he pictured the site in front of him. The wards were dull in color but not exceptionally dark. As he examined the door the letter O in Only started to glow brighter. He quickly took his wand and pressed against the letter. That was followed by the P in Employees glowing brighter. A smile tugged at his lips as he the third letter lit up and he realized what was going on. He finally did laugh at the absurdity of the spell when he pressed the N. With that the wards lowered and Harry cleared the site from his mind. The door melted away and was replaced by a glowing portal. Hermione gasped and quickly removed her spells from the entry way.

In a very un-Hermione like way she went first through the portal. She kissed Harry’s cheek and nearly ran through the entrance. Ron followed almost immediately with Ginny and Harry going last. He practically leapt through the portal anxious to join his friends and continue their journey.

Harry came through the portal on the other side and his eyes were met by the harsh glare of the nearly noontime sun. They had been transported outside to a narrow cobblestoned street. He only had caught a glimpse of the shops and surroundings before he ran into Ginny’s back.

“Gin, what’s going on?” Harry asked, but quickly realized what had happened. Separating the entrance from the shopping district itself was a narrow 20 meter section of path. The path had a small meadow that extended on either side that was filled with flowers giving the entire area a friendly inviting atmosphere. That atmosphere was interrupted by the four witches and two wizards standing halfway between the portal and the district proper. They all wore blue uniforms with badges on their chest and had their wands pointed at the newly arrived group.

“Bollocks” Harry said more to himself than anyone else.

“At least we found the aurors easily enough.” Ginny tried to smile.

“Alright you, hands where we can see them. If you reach for any pocket without direction you will be stunned and bound.” One witch standing third from the left spoke loudly. The teens kept their hands raised well away from their bodies to show compliance. “Watkins prepare the holding cells in the office we may have use of them.” One of the male aurors nodded and disapparated without a sound.

I need to learn how to do that. Harry thought admiring the silence with which the man disappeared.

“Alright you four,” The witch spoke again. “You are obviously not from around here as everyone knows we stopped using that entrance years ago. It was only maintained for emergency purposes. And my officer watched your entire interaction. Who taught you to feel magic like that?”

Harry sighed and stepped forward slowly not lowering his hands but wanting to look the woman in the eye without Ron in front of him. “I learned from Albus Dumbledore.” Harry wasn’t entirely lying as Dumbledore had taught him such things were possible but McGonagall had helped him unlock the skill.

However the admission gave him the reaction he was hoping for. The auror relaxed a bit and the tension left her shoulders. Knowing the group before her was close with Dumbledore gave her better feelings about their motivations.

“So you’re Brits eh.” She smiled lightly looking them over more closely. “You with the black hair,” She gestured at Harry. “Please produce some identification and tell me what you’re going to do before you do it.”

“Yes ma’am.” Harry responded politely. “My wand is tucked on my right hip. I am going to turn my right side to you and remove my wallet from my rear pocket.” She nodded and Harry did as he had directed and pulled his wallet out. The witch summoned it wordlessly and examined the ID inside.

“Hmmm… Harry Potter, age 18, member of the Wizengamot.” She spoke to herself examining the id and then the badge. “Auror, junior grade, wait auror junior grade at 18?” She looked at Harry in shock and amazement. Without another word she cast a Patronus and sent it flying away. “You will all accompany me and the others to our office. Please keep your hands where we can see them. I would truly hate to have to stun you.”

They could tell she was serious and walked behind her and another auror. Two others followed behind them. None of them did anything to make the aurors suspicious in fact the group was too busy looking over the district they walked through. Many people stopped and watched the group pass. There were quiet whispers; some suspicious of the group’s intentions, others wondered if they were famous. Harry and Ginny shared a knowing smile realizing it was a combination of the two. They passed various shops that had a much more modern look to them than could be found in Diagon Alley.

After a few minutes walking down the cobblestoned lane the group stopped and entered a two-story building. The walls were light grey stucco with large glass doors and a few windows. Above the doors a black sign with metallic gold lettering read “Auror’s Office Bizzo District Branch.” Ron chuckled at the sign. Harry found the word bizzo funny as well.

“It’s Aussie slang for business. It’s a pretty obvious name but it’s truly ours.” One of the aurors said as they passed below the sign.

The lobby to the building had a large desk with a witch sitting behind it. She stood as the aurors walked in but was waved to her seat by the one who appeared to be in charge. A sign to the left indicated that holding cells and interrogation were down a side hallway. Instead the group was led to the right and up a stairwell. The second floor of the building was devoted to personal use for the aurors. There were a couple meeting rooms but the main floor was filled with comfortable couches and chairs with tables here and there. A couple aurors were looking over some files and barely acknowledged the group as they moved toward the back of the building. The lead auror relaxed into a chair and gestured for the others to sit around the coffee table with her.

The auror she called Watkins came running into the room. “I’m guessing you won’t be using the holding cells then?” He asked quickly.

“Correct in fact it would be better if you ran to Anton’s and have him send over about ten lunch specials. Myssy will be joining us soon and it’s already after twelve.” Watkins turned around and was gone just as quickly as he had come. The lady then turned her attention to Harry and his friends. “My name is Captain Reynolds. I am in command of this branch of the aurors. You’re Harry Potter, the boy who lived, the chosen one and all that.” She stated and waved a hand rather dismissively that made Harry chuckle. She returned the smile happy to see he was enamored by his fame. “That makes you Ron and Ginny Weasley and Hermione Granger am I right?”

“Yes ma’am. You are correct; do you know why we’re here?” Hermione asked excitedly.

“No I don’t. But Myssy mentioned we might run into you four sooner or later. I just didn’t expect it to be through a magically sealed door that only Aurors knew how to open.” She eyed Harry suspiciously.

“Hey don’t look at me; I wasn’t the one who set up that absurd way through. I figured that was something that was done for normal every day people.” Harry put his hands up reflexively and smiled at the auror.

She returned the smile and exposed brilliantly white teeth. She had light brown skin and dark brown hair. Her nose had clearly been broken more than once and she had a scar near her left temple. It wasn’t much but it did mar her otherwise flawless skin.

“I sent my Patronus to Myssy. She will want to speak with you directly. I couldn’t tell her why I sent for her so she may come in a bit hot-headed.”

“Reynolds, what in the name of Merlin was so important you had to pull me from my lunch meeting with the Chief Magistrate!? We are just getting things lined up the way we need them.” Reynolds was laughing to herself and pointed at Harry who stood up to greet the head of the aurors.

“That’s my fault ma’am. Apparently I broke into the district today.” Harry said not being able to contain his light smile.

Myssy turned on him in a flash. Her eyes flared in anger. Harry was reminded of Molly Weasley on the occasion when she was truly angry with Fred and George. The smile faltered on his face as he looked her in the eye. “And just who might you be?” The witch commanded raising her voice but not quite screaming. Her eyes flicked over his face and lingered slightly on his forehead. “Oh thank Merlin, Mr. Potter it’s you.”

The anger faded and Myssy smiled wide. “Reynolds great job on maintaining secrecy, I apologize for my reaction.”

“No apology necessary ma’am. I understand the need.” Reynolds nodded to her boss and sat back in her chair. Myssy took the open chair next to her.

“I’m glad you are here Mr. Potter, but I’m sorry to say that I am going to have to place you under arrest and take you to the Ministry.” She said rather plainly as a wizard arrived with their lunch delivery. “Oh you had Anton’s brought in. That’s great.” Myssy picked up one of the boxed lunches and opened it.
“I’m sorry ma’am I must have misheard you. What do you mean you are going to arrest Harry?” Ginny spoke quietly next to him. He shivered feeling the malice and determination in her voice. Ginny would take on the fully trained head of the aurors without a second thought. At that moment he couldn’t have loved her anymore.

“Of course Ms. Weasley, what else am I to do?” She said to the confused group. Harry noticed that even the captain was surprised. “According to our Minister, Harry, you are dead and Voldemort remains in control of the British Ministry. That is why we have not reestablished relations. So I will have to hold you on impersonation and fraud charges until you can verify your identity.” She smirked slightly at Harry.

“Well this just keeps getting better and better.” Hermione summed up Harry’s sentiments. “Now we have another obstacle to overcome in order to get help.”

“Don’t be troubled Ms. Granger. Once the identity issue is resolved all your obstacles will be removed and we will be able to fully cooperate. I can’t get into the details but let me just say the Minister is worse than Fudge ever was.”

“I am going to cooperate ma’am.” Harry replied. “How should we address you since you’re being rather formal at the moment?”

“Oh I was wasn’t I. Well I hate to be presumptuous but if you don’t mind me using your first names since everyone addresses me as Myssy that would be simpler.” She took a bite of the sandwich she had pulled from the box and everyone else took that as a sign to dig in.

“Personally I would prefer to be called Harry. I can’t stand being called Mr. Potter.” He replied after swallowing a bit of his sandwich. He wasn’t sure what it was or if he liked it but it was interesting.

“I understand Harry.” Myssy lost some of the smile she had. “As I said I am going to have to have you arrested and placed in the Ministry’s cells. Your friends will be free to leave as they are not as famous as you and the Ministry has not spread information about them.”

“But what are you going to do with Harry then?” Ginny asked still eyeing the witch suspiciously.

“We will put him on trial and prove he is indeed Harry Potter. I cannot go into specifics but revealing your survival to the country will bring about a great change.” She looked Harry in the eye almost pleading with him to trust her. He didn’t, but he did trust Kingsley and he knew his friends would help him out if it came to that.

Ginny looked over Myssy suspiciously as well. Harry felt the anger emanating from her still. “Gin, please trust Kingsley. He said we could trust Myssy and she can help us.” He took a moment and wiped a bread crumb from her lip. “You will have Hermione with you and you know she’s smarter than anyone else we know. She will get this taken care of quickly.” Ginny nodded and relaxed a bit. She didn’t like this idea especially if the Minister was truly corrupt. Harry could find himself in even more danger.
The rest of lunch passed relatively quickly and quietly. After they were done Myssy spoke again. Captain please take Harry to the Ministry and get him processed in. Harry please turn your wand over to the Captain, you can hold onto everything else you have brought with you. She gave him a sly smile that meant she likely knew his bracelet could be used just in case.

“You can use the first office over there to say goodbye to Ginny. You have five minutes Harry.” Captain Reynolds said pointing to an open door in the corner.

Ron looked at the captain in a scandalized manner before Hermione smacked his chest. He didn’t say anything though as Ginny led Harry to the office that had been indicated. Five minutes later Reynolds knocked on the door. Harry came out looking disheveled and handed her his wand. Watkins followed as they left the office the same way they had come in.

“Ok now that Harry is gone this is what you three can do to make this process as easy as possible.” Myssy turned serious and addressed his friends. “The trial will likely be within a week or so, we can use Harry’s and your memories of the defeat of Voldemort but it would be best to have some witnesses from outside of Britain who could testify that he was indeed the same person before and after. Anyone with any clout or fame would help.”

“So this isn’t going to be as easy as you lead us to believe is it?” Hermione couldn’t resist the question.
Myssy sighed and looked at the young girl. “We’ll prove his identity. It will take some work. But trust me when I say this is the best way to go about it.” None of them said anything but nobody felt like trusting the auror.

“What do we do while we’re arranging this?” Ron asked speaking up for the first time. He was busy strategizing ways to convince the court.

“You can choose to stay where you’re currently staying or move to the hotel here in the district. I would recommend relocating here since it will facilitate communication with my office. Nobody else will know you are here beyond the few aurors that already know. I want your presence to come as a surprise.” The auror explained standing up and preparing to leave. “Reynolds should be back soon and can assist you with any changes or questions you may have.”

Myssy left the office while the three pondered the best way to help Harry. Multiple names came to Hermione’s mind immediately and she started to write them down. She needed to talk to Reynolds to make sure it would all be allowed. Ginny was beyond angry and took to pacing; occasionally she would glance at Hermione’s list or make a suggestion.

Reynolds returned about thirty minutes later and was bombarded by questions. She held up a hand to silence the three. Once the stopped talking she spoke. “Myssy gave me a quick run down on what we need to do. I will be happy to contact and bring in any person you believe can help make this as quick and painless as possible. In the meantime don’t worry about Harry, he was quite comfortable in the cell we put him in after we let him get his tent from the hotel. That is a truly wonderful invention.”
“Yes it is, we all have one.” Ron said without thinking. “You know they were designed for traveling quidditch players but I bet aurors could make use of them too. We should contact Don and see what Firebolt thinks.”

“Those were made by Firebolt? That’s interesting; yea I think our field aurors would love having something like that for their kit. Once we get this sorted out I would love to talk with Don. Is that the one you have listed here Don Shaffer?”

“Yes it is the same one.” Hermione explained. “He was Harry’s host father while Harry lived in Brazil. I was thinking if we can prove Harry was the same person while in Brazil we can bring in some people with more pull.”

“Good thinking Hermione.” Reynolds looked over the list curiously. “You have headmistresses of both Beauxbatons and Amazonis on here, as well as the Minister for Magic from the states and Brazil. You think all of these people would help Harry?”

“I’m sure of it. Harry saved the Brazilian Minister’s life last year. The US Minister is Don’s mother.” Ginny replied sharply. She was still not happy but was willing to help get this resolved quickly. “We just need to prove that Harry was the same while in Brazil as before, there are two people that can do that, well we can too, but the more voices the better.”

“And those two are?” Reynolds asked looking at Hermione’s ever growing list in amazement.

“Viktor Krum and Fleur Delacour,” Hermione replied. “Fleur is married to Ron and Ginny’s brother so Viktor is the better choice given his fame. Hopefully he is available to help.”

“Well the quidditch leagues haven’t started up yet so he should be on Holiday.” Ron said more to himself than anyone else. “I think we should use Fawkes to deliver letters once we have a solid list.”

“I don’t think you need to use your own owl. We have plenty of fast flying birds that can make the trip in time.”

“Fawkes is a phoenix. And you can send the official correspondence your way. We’ll send explanatory letters to them first so they are prepared.” Hermione corrected the auror.

“A phoenix really, that would be wonderful. That should alleviate some of the travel concerns. Although arranging for some of these people to travel may be difficult.” Reynolds was thoughtfully trying to figure out the logistics of bringing multiple Ministers to the courtroom.

“What about goblins and house elves?” Ginny said suddenly interrupting the conversation. “I saw a branch of Gringotts so bringing in the Goblin that handles Harry’s estate could be beneficial. And we know Kreacher and Winky can verify Harry’s ownership of Grimmauld Place.”

“Goblins can testify but house elves cannot. Unfortunately they are seen as property and could be ordered to lie so we cannot use them.”

“Right so we need to contact Gringotts. Fleur can help with that since she knows the Goblin that manages his estate.” Ron spoke up then checked his watch. “If we’re going to move our stuff from one hotel to the other we should probably do that and then we can explore around here tonight before dinner.”

Hermione looked at her watch and nodded. “I think that would be best.”

Myssy returned to the office of the Chief Magistrate after meeting with her aurors. She was optimistic that this turn of events was going to be beneficial for her country. The magistrate looked up as she came in. His name was Steve Knighton. He was also head of the Department of Magical Law. As such Myssy reported to him normally so a meeting like this was not unusual. Steve was young for a department head, just over forty. His skin a deep brown that occasionally shown with a red tinge. He stood just under 6 ft tall with short brown hair. He had a bald spot on the back of his head that he generally covered with a fedora. The hat always matched his suit he was wearing. Robes and tall hats were worn only for special celebrations. The influence of muggle-borns and aboriginal magicians combined for more casual, albeit odd choices of dress.

“I’m glad to see you’ve returned Myssy.” Steven spoke with a slow cadence. He hadn’t looked up as his subordinate entered the room. “I’m sure you can explain to me what was so important yet you could not speak of it directly.”

“Indeed director. I was just informed by Captain Reynolds that someone claiming to be Harry Potter was spotted breaking into the Bizzo District.”

“What do you mean breaking into?” Steven asked curiously finally looking up.

“He opened the door through the World Square Shopping Center. Sensed the magic and what was required to pass the wards. He didn’t tear them down, just opened them.”

Steven sat back and rested his elbows on the arm of his chair. His fingers touched in front of his nose. He often took this pose while thinking. It was common while playing chess or simply deciding what he wanted to have for lunch. “And you believe there was no malicious intent?” Myssy nodded expecting further questions. “What have you done with him?”

“I have had him arrested on fraud and impersonation charges. Due to innocence of his actions I don’t think we could charge him with breaking the wards. He is currently in the holding cells in the auror’s office here.”

Steven sat for a few moments making an occasional hmm sound as he was deep in thought. “And you are sure he is an imposter and not simply Harry Potter on holiday?”

“Quite the opposite actually, I’m certain he is who he says. You know I heard from Kingsley Shacklebolt in England. He told me Harry and his friends would likely show up sometime in the near future, now all four of them are here.”

“So this confirms our suspicions about the Minister.” Steven stated gravely. “Good thinking to bring Harry in. That will protect him as well as force the Minister’s hand. You have a guard placed outside the cell I am sure?”

“Of course, I have made sure that all the guards are amongst our most skilled and trusted aurors.”

“Perfect, I will go ahead and inform the Minister. And push to have this criminal brought to justice immediately.” He added a slight wink at the mention of criminal. “Are his friends preparing his defense?”

“As we speak, Captain Reynolds was directed to inform them and assist with everything. Harry seems to have a few famous friends who will make this case downright easy especially if you’re doing the questioning.”

“And I intend to do most of it.” Steven stood quickly. “I assume the Minister will have his own set of questions but we’ll steer the conversation properly. Now I am going to go meet young Mr. Potter myself. Thank you for the information.” Myssy nodded and followed her director out the door.

A/N: I wish I could explain the writers block that plagues me at times. I will never understand why I just can't get through a chapter. I'm glad I finally was able to post this one though. My next posting is going to be a one-shot. The title is the Veela vs the Goblins. I have alluded to Harry's wealth a few times and it's time to see just how vast it is and how Harry managed to keep it after the Gringotts break-in