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Two-hour-long school days: without a doubt, the best part of being home schooled.

I only own Carla Dursley. Everything else belongs to J. K. Rowling.

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Chapter 6 – Trick or Treat

In the weeks following Harry pulling Carla out of school, she had adjusted to home schooling well. While she was upset that she was not allowed to explore the castle, she enjoyed the relatively short hours that home schooling had. A couple of times, Carla had tried to listen in on Harry’s lessons, but she stopped when she couldn’t understand anything that he was saying. The weeks passed by quickly, and soon it two days before Halloween.

“Daddy?” Carla asked during one of Harry’s breaks. “Can we go trick-or-treating for Halloween?” Harry opened his mouth to answer, but no sound came out. After repeating this motion several times, he turned to her.

“Why don’t we talk about that later, sweetheart?” he asked, smiling calmly.

“Okay,” Carla said before grabbing a coloring book and a fistful of crayons from her bag and began rubbing the crayons all over the paper. Harry stole a glance at his watch, then walked back into his classroom, quietly closing the door.

“What the hell is trick-or-treating?” he asked himself.

That night, Harry was tapping his fingers on the table anxiously while the children were playing cards upstairs. A telltale crack emanating from the sitting room alerted him of Hermione’s presence, and ran into the sitting room to see her hanging her robe up.

“Hermione, thank God you’re here, I need you help,” Harry said quickly and nervously, “Carla asked me something and I don’t know how to answer.” Hermione blinked at Harry a couple of times before raising her eyebrow at him.

“Harry, she’s six. What could she possibly ask that could have you this wound up? Did she ask you where babies come from?” she asked, successfully containing her laughter.

“Ha, ha,” Harry laughed sarcastically. “No, she hasn’t asked where babies come from, and hopefully never will. She wants to go trick-or-treating for Halloween. What’s trick-or-treating?” he asked desperately. Hermione laughed for several seconds, but quickly stopped when she realized that Harry wasn’t laughing with her.

“You’re serious?” she asked. Harry nodded his head solemnly. “Umm...” she hummed awkwardly, “trick-or-treating is when kids walk around a mall or their neighborhood dressed up in costumes asking for candy,” she explained, frowning at Harry. “You’ve never even heard of trick-or-treating?” Harry furrowed his brow as he tried to remember.

“I remember when I was five, I saw the Dursleys coming in from something. Dudley was dressed as Superman,” Harry shuddered at the memory, “and complaining about how heavy his bag was. They never went after that. That was a particularly memorable couple of weeks,” he muttered darkly. Hermione decided that she did not want to know what he meant by that. “What about you?” Harry asked, turning to her. “Did you ever go trick-or-treating?”

“Nope,” Hermione said, shaking her head. “My parents wouldn’t allow it. The candy, mostly,” she said, shrugging.

“Great, then we can all go together!” Harry said excitedly, to which Hermione shook her head. “Oh come on, please?” he pleaded, wringing his hands together as if begging. Hermione glared at him, but within seconds sighed in defeat.

“Fine, but only for you, Potter,” she said, pointing a finger at him darkly.

“Oh Hermione, you know you love me,” Harry said cheekily. Hermione scrunched her nose at him and walked upstairs, muttering about work that she had to do. Chuckling to himself, Harry Apparated into his office upstairs to work on the latest stack of essays that he had to grade.

The next day, the four of them rode the Knight Bus to the nearest mall complex, swaying slightly as they stepped out of the vehicle.

“You know, Harry, you should really think about investing in a car,” Hermione said as she tried to regain her balance. “We can’t take the Knight Bus everywhere, and the four of us can’t fit on your motorcycle.”

“I know, I know, I’ll get a car...eventually,” Harry said absently as he held the door open for Hermione and the children to walk in. With Harry holding Carla’s hand and Hermione holding Ted’s, they walked through the mall, which had plastic jack-o-lanterns and fake cobwebs filling every corner in anticipation for Halloween. Finding a clothing store, they walked into the back where the Halloween costumes were. “Okay, kids, go and pick out a costume. One!” Harry said as the two children let go of their chaperones’ hands and attacked the clothes rack excitedly. Chuckling, Harry and Hermione began exploring the adult costumes in the next rack. “Hey, this would look good on you,” Harry said, pulling a Star Wars costume off of the rack and holding it in front of Hermione. Hermione ignored him, continuing searching the rack. Finally, she pulled a costume off of the rack and turned to face Harry.

“And you would look good in this,” she said, holding up the costume for him to see. Harry set aside the costume that he was holding to look at the label, which showed that it was an inflatable costume that depicted an old woman carrying a baby on her back.

“Not on your life,” Harry said, stepping away from her. “I’d rather face the Hungarian Horntail again than wear that.” Grinning smugly, Hermione hung the humiliating costume that she had picked out for Harry before resuming her search. A few minutes later, Harry felt someone tugging the leg of his trousers, and he looked down to see Ted and Carla standing next to him, each holding a costume in their hands.

“You found something?” Harry asked, taking the childrens’ costumes and looking at them. Ted had picked a Star Wars Jedi outfit, and Carla had picked a stereotypical witch’s outfit, complete with pointed hat. Draping them over his shoulder, he looked down and noticed that Carla was dancing nervously. “What’s wrong, Carla?” Harry asked.

“I got to go potty,” Carla whispered urgently.

“I’ll take her,” Hermione said, grabbing a costume and draping it over Harry’s shoulder before taking Carla’s hand to find the nearest loo. Harry looked down at Ted, who was standing innocently at Harry’s side.

“Do you have to go?” Harry asked. Ted shook his head vigorously. “Okay,” Harry said, pulling down the costume that Hermione had chosen. It was a witch’s outfit, similar to the outfit that Carla had chosen, only much larger. Throwing it back over his shoulder, Harry continued perusing the clothes rack, pulling out a dark blue wizard costume, decorated with small yellow stars and crescent moons. “Eh, why not?” Harry muttered rhetorically as he draped the costume over his shoulder and began tapping his foot while waiting for Hermione and Carla to return. Several minutes later, the two returned, Carla looking much happier. “Feel better?” Harry asked, to which Carla nodded happily. “Great; let’s go check out then.” After purchasing their costumes, they spent several hours at the bookstore at Hermione’s prompting before taking the Knight Bus to return to 12 Grimmauld Place.

The next day, Harry and Hermione simply lounged around Grimmauld Place, enjoying their Sunday off.

“I was thinking that we have dinner, then we go back to the mall to collect candy for a couple of hours, what do you think?” Harry asked as he lay on his couch, reading a Quidditch magazine.

“That’s fine,” Hermione said absently, reviewing a report from her job. Harry looked at the clock on the wall and stood up, groaning. “I just remembered, I’ve got to pick something up at Hogwarts. I’ll be back in a few,” Harry said as he Flooed to his office at Hogwarts. Almost a minute later, Carla ran in with a deck of cards.

“Where did Daddy go?” she asked. Hermione couldn’t help but smile slightly whenever Carla called Harry “daddy.”

“Daddy just left; he had to pick something at work,” Hermione replied.

“Oh,” Carla said, crestfallen, but immediately perked back up. “Want to play ‘go fish’ with us?” she asked, holding up the deck of cards. Hermione bit her lip as she looked between Carla and the report in her hand.

“Oh what the heck, the report can wait,” Hermione said to herself before turning to the girl in front of her. “Sure, why not?”

“Yay!” Carla yelled gleefully, running back up the stairs. Laughing to herself, Hermione laid the report face down on the chair and followed her upstairs.

When Harry fell out of the Floo in his office, he dusted the soot off of his clothes and began walking to the kitchen. However, on the way, he heard a voice that he really was not in the mood to deal with.

“Harry, my boy!” Horace Slughorn yelled jovially. The large man waddled up to Harry and laid a hand on the much thinner man’s shoulder. “Harry, do I have news for you!”

“Horace, whatever it is, I don’t want to hear it,” Harry said, brushing off the potion master’s hand from his shoulder and resuming his walk. The walrus-like man had to jog to catch up with Harry’s brisk walk as he attempted to get away from the annoying man.

“Harry, you do know that the Ministry Halloween Ball is tonight, and that Melinda Warren will be attending?” Slughorn pressed, apparently oblivious of Harry’s emerging temper. “I really do think that you two would look good together, and think of the publicity—” Harry abruptly stopped walking and spun around to face Slughorn, causing the larger man to jump slightly.

“Horace, you have been badgering me off and on for three years, and I give you the same answer every time, and yet you don’t seem to understand, so allow me to spell it out for you,” Harry said lowly, his eyes glowing slightly in anger. “Stop introducing me to your other little success stories, and stop trying to hook me up with women I don’t even know. How many times do I have to say ‘no’ before you get it? Besides, I have very important plans for tonight, so even if I was interested in these little parties of yours, which I’m not, I couldn’t go anyway. Now, I would appreciate it if you would leave me alone, good day,” Harry said before stomping away from Slughorn.

When Harry reached the portrait to the kitchens, he took several deep breaths to calm himself down before tickling the pear and opening the portrait to reveal the bustling kitchen.

“How can Sneezy help Master Potter?” the nearest house elf asked, bowing low. Harry grimaced uncomfortably at being called “master.”

“I was wondering if you had any extra pumpkin pies lying around,” Harry asked. Sneezy bowed again and disappeared with a crack. Several seconds later, the house elf returned with a large paper bag. Harry looked inside and rolled his eyes when he saw that there were ten pies in it. “Are you sure you have enough?” he asked Sneezy.

“Oh yes, we’s have plenty of pies, Master Potter,” the house elf said, his large ears flapping as he nodded his head vigorously.

“Okay,” Harry said as he picked up the bag. “I’ll see you guys on Monday; go back to whatever it is you were doing.” With the house elves now ignoring him in favor of their duties, Harry walked out the front door of Hogwarts and out of the wards, greeting whomever he passed on the way before Apparating back to 12 Grimmauld Place. After placing the pies in the refrigerator, Harry looked in the sitting room, but found it empty. He walked upstairs and heard laughter coming from his bedroom. He snuck in and saw Hermione, Carla and Ted sitting on his bed, cards in their hands.

“Got any threes?” Hermione asked.

“Go fish,” Carla said after Ted shook his head. Hermione snapped her fingers in disappointment before drawing a card. “Got and fives?” Carla continued, grinning when Ted handed her a card, a sour look on his face. “Got and sevens?” Leaving them to their game, Harry walked downstairs to begin preparing lunch.

That night, Harry prepared garlic chicken for dinner, along with garlic toast and garlic potatoes. By the end of the meal, everyone was filled with so much garlic that they couldn’t tell whose breath smelled worst. After brushing their teeth and changing into their costumes, they rode the Knight Bus back to the mall that they had bought them from, small bags in the childrens’ hands. For two hours, they wandered throughout the mall, the children announcing “trick or treat!” to the costumed people tending the stores, their bags filling up quickly. Finally, the childrens’ bags and eyelids were growing heavy, so they decided to call it a night and ride the Knight Bus back home.

“That was a fun night,” Harry said after they had tucked the children into bed. Hermione shrugged as she grabbed the report that she had abandoned that afternoon.

“It was okay,” she said as she grabbed a pen and began marking the report.

“Oh come on, you had a good time, admit it,” Harry said as he sat down next to Hermione and draped his arm over her shoulder. Hermione sighed as she lowered the report and laid her head on his arm.

“Okay, I had a good time, are you happy?” she asked flatly, although she was smiling. Harry grinned before giving her a light kiss on the head.

“Very,” Harry said as he slid his arm out from underneath her head and stood up. “I’m off to bed. Don’t stay up too late, Hermione,” he said as he left her alone to review her report. Sighing, Hermione shook her head as she continued her work. That man can be so adorably silly sometimes, she thought casually.
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