A Baby Wizard and His Cousin Harry- Halloween Hogsmead Weekend
When Harry and Hermione got back to Llyr with Duncan that day, they were surprised to find a food basket on the table and Dobby standing beside the table.
"What are you doing here?" enquired Harry. He wasn't really that surprised that Dobby was there. Actually, he was rather expecting the house-elf's presence a lot sooner. He knew that when he has the slightest need of anything, Dobby would be there.
"Dobby is here to help the great Harry potter, sir!" Dobby said cheerfully, his eyes shined with pride. "Dobby hear the great Harry Potter is busy with a new baby. Dobby is here to help!"
Hermione frowned. Ideas of house-elf freedom campaign clearly surfaced from all the things she was busy about again. "I thought Professor Dumbledore said that no house-elf will help, not even you, Dobby."
"Oh, I has talk to the great professor," Dobby beamed at his recollection of the greatest deal he had ever sealed. "The great professor say it is all right, because the great Harry Potter sir didn't ask me and I volunteered. The great professor say I is Harry Potter sir's house-elf now. I can stay here with Harry Potter sir all the time and take care of him, his little baby and his great friend." Dobby's eyes glistened with emotion. He was too happy at prospect of serving the great Harry Potter himself.
Harry smiled in relief. This would mean that he doesn't have to take Duncan to absolutely everywhere with him anymore. Of course, a lot of cousin interaction is great, but Harry was sure Duncan would not be a great person to have in class, not after his first nightmarish day of school. He was just about the hand Duncan over to Dobby before Hermione interrupted.
"Does this means Professor Dumbledore is not paying you anymore?" Hermione asked Dobby with concern. House-elf right seemed to be her top priority at that moment.
Dobby, with his mind focused mainly on his great Harry Potter sir, forgot about Hermione's passion for house-elf rights. "No, the great professor don't pay me no more. He say I is Harry Potter sir's house-elf now, he shouldn't pay me no more. I don't mind. Dobby is honored to look after Harry Potter sir." Dobby's eyes began to moist with happiness once more as he reminded himself that he belong to Harry Potter.
Uh-oh, wrong move Dobby! Harry screamed silently. He could sense Hermione's house-elf lecture composing. He knew that if he doesn't stop Hermione in time, he'll be standing there, listening to Hermione talking about house-elf for three hours straight. Worse, Hermione might turn Dobby's offer down and make him go back to Dumbledore so he could earn his one galleon a week wage.
"It's all right," said Harry quickly, "I'll pay Dobby myself. Since he's working for me now, it's only fair that I pay for his wages. I'll give you..." Harry was stuck. How much to give? Dobby got one galleon a week plus a day off per month with Dumbledore. Dobby was happy like that, but Hermione thought it was too little. "I'll give you... how about two galleon a week and a day off per month plus sick leave? I mean, three galleon a week...." Harry quickly changed his mind after receiving a glare of it-is-not-enough from Hermione.
Dobby immediately started to shake his head in disagreement. He obviously thought it was too much. "Harry Potter sir...."
Harry cut Dobby off. "Take it Dobby. Hermione is right, you should be paid for your work. Taking care of baby is a harder job than what you had before, and it's a full time job. Besides," Harry whispered in Dobby's ears, "Hermione won't let you help us out if you don't get paid."
This changed Dobby's protest into gratitude immediately.
"Great, now we're all settled and everyone's happy, let's get started with dinner," said Harry with satisfaction as he sat down with Hermione.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
A month passed since the school began. At first, Hermione was a little torn between her love for Duncan and house-elves. She wanted Dobby take great care of the baby boy whome she adored, but she also wanted to ask Dobby do a little as possible as she believed that the money Harry paid was really not enough to ask Dobby to do all that work. After a while, her love for Duncan won and after seeing Dobby really happy taking care of Duncan as well as managing Llyr for them, Hermione stopped mentioning about pay rises for Dobby. Now Harry, Hermione and Duncan had finally managed to adjust to their new lifestyle. Harry and Hermione took care of Duncan as much as they could in the evenings and weekends. During class time, Dobby would stay with Duncan back in Llyr. They got on really well and there were no more class disruptions.
Harry and Hermione usually spent their evenings together in Llyr with Duncan. They would study together and help each other with their homework, while Duncan would lie in his cradle and fiddle with his fingers and toes. Some nights, Harry would be gone for his Private Defense Against Dark Arts classes. Others, Hermione would be in the library, researching for a project or something similar. Life had been peaceful for them, though they did miss their friend Ron terribly.
Ron, now all tied up with his Head Boy duties, was a really busy man and hardly had time for his friends. He had only been in Llyr once since school began. He enjoyed his new role in school, but can't help acknowledge what he had missed as he saw his two best friends having fun with baby Duncan. Ron was still part of the Trio, as he would always be, but he seemed to be somewhat distended from the other two due to his lack of sharing in taking care of Duncan.
As for Duncan, he was as happy as a baby boy could be. Not only did his older cousin and his "girl" friend loved him, but every student not in Slytherine adored him. He even managed to melt every single Hogwarts' teacher's, with an exception of the dear Professor Snape, heart. Every day Duncan was growing. He was always cuter than the day before when he woke up in the morning. With his piercing Harry-green eyes and his soft light brown curls that had just appeared, Duncan had almost conquered everybody's heart.
Early morning on Saturday the 31st of October, Harry and Hermione were still asleep in Llyr as was Duncan. It was so peaceful and quiet. No body heard the Aphrodite statue moved and the door opened.
Ron Weasley was determined to spend his first Hogsmead weekend with his best friends, although he really had no time due to the fact that he was one of the two organizers for the Halloween Ball later that night. Also, he really wanted to sneak upon his best friends while they were sleeping. He had been dreaming about pulling this prank and embarrass Harry and Hermione ever since they "moved in" together.
Quiet as a mouse, Ron tip-toed through the door and sneaked into the living room. He paused in front of the three doors. He really didn't know which one was Harry and Hermione's. Last time he had only been in here for five minutes, barely enough to memorize the password.
Therefore, Ron took a guess. He opened the last door quietly. He knew at once that it was Duncan's room for an enchanted lamp on the table played a soft tune of lullaby.
"Lavender's blue, dilly dilly, Lavender's green When you are King, dilly dilly, I shall be Queen
Who told you so, dilly dilly, Who told you so? 'Twas my own heart, dilly dilly, That told me so," Hermione's sweet voice sang faintly from the enchanted lamp. Obviously, Duncan was addicted to Hermione's voice or else he wouldn't be able to sleep.
Chuckling softly to himself, Ron closed the door again. He smiled evilly at the door next to Duncan's. "Here, I come. My dear friends!"
Ron entered the large golden bedroom. Heavy breaths came steadily from the large bed at the center of the room. Ron checked in watch again. 6.00 am, perfect time for the wake up call!
So Ron sneaked right beside the bed and discovered a sleeping Hermione in pajamas snuggled beneath the blankets on the right side and a fully clothed Harry lying on top of the rest of the blankets on the left. Ron couldn't help but sighed at the sight. They looked... perfect together. Much as he hated to admit it, Harry had more chemistry with Hermione than he did and he was the one who had a crash on Hermione a year ago. It wasn't fair that they should call themselves "platonic" friends when they are not.
"Harry! Hermione! Wake up! It's Hogsmead weekend! You'll want to be up nice and early and go to Hogsmead with your poor busy old friend! Waki, waki!" shouted Ron as he pulled the blankets away, which caused Harry to roll towards Hermione and stopped on top of her.
"Go away, Ron!" complained Harry, still with his eyes closed, totally unaware that Hermione was underneath him. "I was had a late night last night. I need more sleep!"
Hermione couldn't breathe under Harry's body. She was also half asleep as she screamed, "Help! A giant had just captured me and sat on top of me! Harry! Ron! Pull it off, I can't breathe!"
Harry leapt into the air instantly. "Where's the giant? Where's the giant? I'll catch him and Avada Kedavra him!"
Ron was rolling on the ground, laughing. He had dreamed of this for so many times, but none of his versions had been this funny. Tear poured down his eyes as he laughed. Suddenly, Ron began to cough violently. He chocked on his own spit!
"Ron!" shouted two very much awake Harry and Hermione in unison, who had just realized that there were no giant in the room.
"That was... *cough*... classic!" chocked Ron as he laughed at the same time. "You should see... *cough*... your own expressions! *cough*... I wish I had Collin's camera with me before! Anyway," Ron wiped off a tear, "you two should get dressed and come to Hogsmead with me now. I'm busy and don't have much time."
Harry lay back down. "Can't you come back later? It's bloody six in the morning! I didn't get to bed until four hours ago. I need more sleep."
"Honestly," grumbled Hermione as she pulled the cover up and wrapped herself tightly in it, "can't you choose a more subtle way of doing this? I want to go back to sleep too. You know I always need to get up during the middle of the night to feed Duncan. Can't I have a break? Why don't you go to Hogsmead and we'll meet you up later."
Ron thought for a while. He really did want Harry and Hermione to go with him right now because he may not have time later. He needed a better reason though. "What if Duncan's awake? Would you still want to lie in?"
Both Harry and Hermione sat up. "What? Is he awake?" asked Hermione anxiously.
"Don't be silly, he isn't. Or he would have cried for us," answered Harry and they both lie back down again.
As if on cue, Duncan's cry came screaming from the next room. "Duncan!" both Harry and Hermione hopped off the bed and rushed to Duncan's room, where Dobby was already there and started to change Duncan's nappy.
"You'd really think those two are parents if you don't know then as well as I do," Ron said.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
"I still can't believe that I'm here, sitting in Honeydukes at seven o'clock in the morning!" grumbled Hermione as she held Duncan, who was chewing on a piece of Baby Chew, in her arms. Duncan's had just gained his first baby tooth that morning, which pain woke him from his sleep.
Ron selected several tons of extremely weird sweets from the shelves. "For the school," he said, but didn't say anything else on the subject.
"You know," yawned Harry as he pulled the Sugar Quill from his mouth, "I'm beginning to wonder if you really want us here. You look so... business like. I have to go back early today. I would have to catch up on my sleep if I want to stay up for the feast."
"Yeah, you do that," mumbled Ron. "I'll kill you if you fall asleep in the ball!"
Duncan chewed on the Baby Chew some more. He then opened his mouth and grinned. "Gaaa!" he said.
Hermione's attention immediately turned to the boy in her arms. "Look, he likes it! Harry, we must get more of that Baby Chew. Maybe he'll be happier in classes!"
"Of course we'll get more Baby Chew," smiled Harry lovingly as he looked at the pair before him. He paid for ten galleons' worth of Baby Chews.
After Ron paid for his sacks of interesting lollies, he bided his friends goodbye. "I must go back now. Really I should have only stayed for half an hour. I have more to do today than any other days. I'll see you in the evening. Ginny would be here soon, I suspect. Can I count on you to keep an eye on my baby sister?"
Harry and Hermione shrugged as Ron left. Hermione carried Duncan and Harry held their sweets as they headed for The Three Broomsticks.
Duncan was a real hit in The Three Broomsticks. Madam Rosmerta was drooling all over the baby when they first entered. (Are you sure he isn't your son? He looked so much like you and adorable too!) Hogwarts girls from Gryffindor, Ravenclaw and Hufflepuff surrounded their table as soon as they entered and thus stopped Harry and Hermione from knowing that Draco Malfoy and Ginny Weasley had just walked into the bar hand in hand.
"Ladies, thank you for coming. But I think Duncan really needs some fresh air now. So, if you please move out of the way, we'll take him out for a walk. Thank you!" Harry said to the large crowd after a seven hour siege.
Forty-five minutes later, Harry and Hermione successfully escaped from the mob of Duncan-fan-girls. They hid underneath a tree behind the Shrieking Shack. Harry and Hermione sat side by side beneath the tree with Duncan curled up cozily in their arms.
It was three o'clock and the weather was misty and slightly chilly. Wind blew against the tree Harry and Hermione were at, Hermione shivered. Without a word, Harry took off his cloak and wrapped it around Hermione's shoulders. Automatically, Hermione leant back into Harry's arms, her head against Harry's lean chest.
A warm and fuzzy feeling filled Harry and he held Hermione and Duncan in his arms. He closed his eyes and buried his nose in Hermione's hair. The scent of lavender shampoo Hermione always used filled Harry's nose. Harry sighed in content. Despite of the cold October wind blowing against them, they were warm. Unbeknownst to Harry, his hand began to draw little circles on Hermione's arm, where his hand was placed. Had anyone not known better, they would certainly melt at the family look Harry, Hermione and Duncan shared at that moment.
"Harry?" Hermione murmured, her eyes half closed.
"Hmm?" Harry didn't open his eyes.
"It's so nice here, I feel I could stay like this forever and never need to budge."
"I wish for that too."
Hermione didn't speak for a while.
"Is Duncan asleep?" asked Harry.
Harry sat up slowly. "I have to tell you something."
"What about?" Hermione was alarmed, but remained calm for the sake of Harry and the sleeping Duncan in her arms.
Harry began to fidget. "I... you know I'm having all those Private Defense Against Dark Arts classes with Dumbledore, right? I didn't get back until very late this morning. Last night I had a terrible class, I couldn't get a thing right. Dumbledore was exhausted and grave. He told me that he expect Voldemort to strike very soon now and if I don't get my work up to a good standard, we'll all be doomed. I'm scared and tired. I don't want to be Harry Potter anymore. I don't want to fight against the evil anymore. I just want to be... me. Why did Trelawney ever made that prophecy? If she hadn't, I would never have been marked and my parents would still be alive. If there was no prophecy concerning me, I would just be an ordinary boy, just Harry. I would be loved, just like everybody else. I would also be able to love without endanger anyone. I have lost so much just being Harry Potter, the Boy-Who-Lived. I'm afraid that I'll break."
Hermione tilted her head upwards and looked at Harry squarely. "Harry, you'll get it right. Don't worry, I'll help you. I know you are sick of being the Hero all the time, but there's got to be one somewhere when Voldemort is around. You are the hope of the world, light of the sky. You can't just give up now. When the time come, you'll meet Voldemort like a man and defeat him for good. I'm sorry about your parents, you know I have been for the last six years. But you haven't lost love all together. I love you and Ron loves you. All the Weasleys look at you as part of their family. You are loved and you are most certainly have to right to love anyone you choose. I know you love Ron and me and we don't care a bit about danger. All we care about is your well being. Stay strong, Harry. There's no one stronger than you."
Harry stared down at his best female friend's face. It was so sincere and kind and loving. Harry was ever so grateful to have a friend like her. He had the strongest urge to kiss her there and then, but that seemed to be such an un-platonic thing to do. Therefore, Harry smiled and thanked Hermione for cheering him up.
"We should go back now," said Hermione uncomfortably. She could kind of sense something going on with Harry's mind and that thing was kind of scaring her. "Duncan had been in the wind for a long time. I just hope that he won't get sick. Also, we have an Halloween Feast to attend. We'll want to straighten ourselves up before hand."
Harry reluctantly agreed. He really enjoyed sitting by the tree with Hermione and Duncan. "I suppose, but I want to skip the Feast tonight. I hadn't had a good sleep and my head is throbbing. Why don't you have a good time and I'll baby-sit Duncan for you?"
"Of course not," protested Hermione as she pulled herself from the ground. "Do you really think I'll have a good time knowing that you are somewhere in Llyr looking after Duncan with a severe headache? I'll stay back with you. I don't want to go to the Halloween Feast anyway. I'll just get some food off Dobby and you can go to bed nice and early while I read."
"Thanks," muttered Harry as they headed back to the castle. Half of him was glade that Hermione would stay with him. Half of him was slightly troubled. He was troubled, partly because of his Private class the night before, partly because he was still fighting down his urge to kiss his best friend. What will happen tonight, when I have to sleep beside her and be near her? What would I do? I'm afraid that I'd do something I shouldn't do. We are platonic friends, but why am I having such un-platonic thoughts about her? Something must be wrong with me!
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