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Butterfly Kisses (Sequel to Harry Potter and the Return to Hogwarts)



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Old February 4th, 2009, 5:22 pm
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Butterfly Kisses (Sequel to Harry Potter and the Return to Hogwarts)

Chapter 1
A New Beginning


Summary:
Post DH. Pre-Epilogue. Sequel to Harry Potter and the Return to Hogwarts. This story follows the relationships of Ron and Hermione, and Harry and Ginny. The Second War has finally come to an end. Ron and Hermione are engaged, but neither are sure they want to get married anytime soon. Harry and Ginny are trying to move on to the next stage of their relationship. Ginny moves into Harry's house and both try to cope with each other as well as their new careers. Shipping: Ron/Hermione; Harry/Ginny; others. Multi-PoV.

Author’s Note: This is the sequel to Harry Potter and the Return to Hogwarts. If you have not read that story, I strongly suggest you do, or you may be confused about some of the content in this story. This will be in Harry’s PoV.

---------------------------

Harry Potter was under attack. He was crouched on his knees, hiding behind a large stone wall. Two red beams shot over his head. Beads of sweat ran down his forehead and stung his eyes, half-blinding him. He wiped away the sweat with his free hand. In his other hand was his wand, and the best offensive spell he could think of was on the tip of his tongue.

“Psst!” a voice whispered to his right, “Harry!”

Harry turned his head. His best friend, Ron Weasley, was crouched on his knees just a few feet away. He held up two fingers. Harry knew he was using a form of sign language, which was used for occasions when they would need to use stealth.

Harry and Ron were Aurors-in-Training. They were only a few months into their training, but it was already intense.

The Ministry of Magic had offered Harry a position with the Aurors, informing him that he wouldn’t even need to go through the Training. Harry had agreed at first, because he was needed for a special mission that, if successful, would end the Second War once and for all.

Harry, the Aurors, and the wizarding world itself, were victorious. The last remaining Death Eaters were either dead or in Azkaban prison, under the highest security the Ministry of Magic could give. There were very few Death Eaters alive and none of them were a large threat to the wizarding world anymore. The few that had not been killed in the final battle of the Second War had surrendered.

After the Second War had ended, Harry realized that he was not experienced enough to be an Auror without the proper training, so he enlisted into Auror training with his best friend in the world, Ron Weasley.

“Two enemies?” Harry whispered to Ron, asking for the confirmation.

Ron nodded.

“How far?” Harry asked.

Ron put up two fingers again then made a circle with his thumb and forefinger.

“Just tell me!” Harry whispered, trying to keep his voice to a minimum, “We are close enough.”

“Harry,” Ron whispered, “We need to know --”

“Ron,” Harry interrupted him, “If we keep this up, they are going to find us. Those stunning spells were well-aimed.”

“I don’t think so,” Ron said, “They might have been warning shots, or a trick of some sort. Perhaps they were trying to scare us into showing ourselves?”

“Perhaps,” Harry said, “We can’t be too sure. Where are they?”

“Twenty yards away,” Ron whispered, “Maybe thirty.”

“Maybe?” Harry asked, then shook his head, “Never mind. What should we do?”

“You’re the leader here, mate,” Ron said.

Harry sighed.

“Are they close together?” he asked.

Ron peered slightly over the wall, then ducked quickly.

“I don’t see them anymore,” he said.

“When you saw them,” Harry said, “Were they close together?”

Ron shook his head. Harry nodded and thought for a moment. If he was the opposition, what would he do in this situation?

“They are trying to trap us,” he finally said, “We need to split up.”

Ron looked like he was about to argue, but stopped himself. He nodded.

“I’ll go this way,” Harry said, nodding behind him, “You go that way.”

Ron nodded. Harry turned and crept against the wall, making sure he was hidden. When he got to the end of the wall, he peered around it. Ahead of him was a grove of trees. Inside the grove, it was so dark that he couldn’t see much farther into it than the first row of trees. He looked for any sign of movement, and when he couldn’t see any, he hid behind the wall.

“Harry?” Ron whispered with a hiss.

Harry looked at Ron, who pointed at his eyes, then pointed to Harry. Harry sighed. Ron was using sign language again. Harry guessed he would have to give in and use it as well, even though he wasn’t an expert at reading it, especially when Ron was trying his feeble attempts at it. Harry knew Ron was asking him if he saw anything. Harry shook his head and pointed at Ron, who also shook his head. Ron pointed at himself then moved his fingers in a walking motion. He pointed at the grove of trees. Harry gave him the thumbs up. Ron disappeared behind the other side of the wall and Harry peered around his side of the wall. He watched Ron creep up slowly to the edge of the tree-line. A few moments later, Ron hid behind a large tree and peered around it. He then turned and looked at Harry and shook his head. Harry gave him the thumbs-up and sighed. It was his turn.

He moved into the open and quickly moved to the tree-line. He hid behind the nearest tree and peered around it, looking for any movement. He couldn’t see anything, but as he was going to turn his head, he saw the slightest trace of movement out of the corner of his eye. It was only for a second, but he swore he saw a foot about twenty feet away. He hid behind the tree and looked at Ron, who was looking at him with a questioning gaze. He pointed to his eyes, then put one finger up then two and connected his thumb and forefinger to form a circle. Ron nodded. Harry put his free hand up, his fingers close together, and then moved his fingers in a walking motion: the instructions for “stay until you see something”. He then pointed to himself then into the grove. Ron nodded.

Harry moved around the tree and ran quickly and quietly to the tree in front of him. Suddenly, he heard a “WHOOSH!” and the sound of a small boom, followed by the sound of a tree falling. Harry peered around the tree. Another tree, just a few feet ahead of him, had fallen to the ground. Parts of it had shattered. Harry knew it was the after-effects of a Reducto curse. He cursed silently. The enemy had seen him and had only missed Harry by feet. This meant the enemy knew where he was. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw Ron moving to another tree.

Harry peered around the tree and looked for movement. He thought he saw a wand, but it might have been a stick on a tree. Suddenly, that stick moved, and Harry knew it was someone with a wand.

“Stupefy!” Harry whispered, pointing his wand at the target.

The red beam hit the tree, sending large splinters flying. Harry saw movement, and he knew his spell had scared the enemy. Harry ran to the fallen tree and dove behind it. He crawled on the grassy floor to the trunk of the tree, his wand straight ahead. He then saw a black boot about ten yards away. His enemy had revealed himself. Harry grinned and started to move when he heard a distant explosion. He turned, fearing that Ron had been hit. He gave a sigh of relief when he saw Ron crouched behind a tree. A few feet from him, another tree had fallen; pieces of it were everywhere. Harry could tell that Ron was breathing hard. He knew he had to end this soon. But first, he would need to get the enemy near him before he could help Ron.

He turned back around and looked for the black boot once again. It was nowhere to be seen. Harry swore, but continued toward the general direction he had seen the boot. He heard another “WHOOSH!” just in time and ducked as a red beam flew over his head, missing him by inches. His enemy had seen him once again. Harry inhaled and stood up.

“Stupefy!” he yelled, pointing his wand straight ahead.

Harry heard a thud, similar to that of a body hitting the ground. He crept along the trees until he discovered the stunned form of his enemy laying on the ground.

“One more,” he whispered, and hid behind another tree.

He looked around for Ron, and found him creeping along the trees. He wondered if Ron had seen the other enemy. He crept along the trees until he got a few yards behind Ron.

“Psst!” Harry whispered.

Ron turned around and pointed his wand. He then sighed.

“I could have hit you!” he whispered.

“One enemy is down,” Harry whispered, “Where is the other one?”

“Somewhere ahead of us,” Ron whispered.

Harry nodded and looked around. He then saw what resembled a stick, but wasn’t going to be fooled this time. He knew it was a wand.

“Cover me,” he whispered to Ron.

Ron nodded and Harry walked ahead of him.

“Reducto!” Harry yelled, pointing his wand at the tree, where he saw the wand.

He saw the enemy dive to the ground to get away from the tree. The spell hit its mark, and the whole tree exploded, but Harry was only focused on his enemy. He hurried, not caring about stealth and found the enemy. His enemy saw him too and pointed his wand.

“Expelliarmus!” Harry yelled, before his enemy could say anything.

The wand flew away from the man’s hand and Harry ran up to him, pointing his wand at him.

“I surrender!” the man said, raising his hands.

“Training exercise is over,” a loud voice said somewhere above Harry, “Potter and Weasley are victorious.”

Suddenly, the trees and grass vanished around Harry, and it was soon revealed he was standing in a large room. White floors and walls surrounded him. The only sound was applause. Harry looked up and saw a man hovering on a broomstick high above him. The man landed swiftly on the ground a few feet away from Harry.

This man’s name was Rolph Shippe. He was one of the higher-ranked training officials of the Auror Division.

“Excellent session, Harry,” Shippe said, “You too, Ron.”

Harry looked over his shoulder and noticed Ron was walking over to him.

“Billingsly!” Shippe said, “Revive your teammate and hit the showers!”

“Yes, sir,” Billingsly said, getting to his feet.

“Don’t forget your wand,” Shippe said.

Billingsly grumbled and walked over to his wand.

“What was that, Billingsly?” Shippe asked.

“Nothing sir,” Billingsly said, his face going red, “Just congratulating Potter and Weasley.”

“Apparently they couldn’t hear you,” Shippe said.

Billingsly cleared his throat and looked at Harry and Ron.

“Nice session,” he said.

“Thanks mate,” Harry said.

Billingsley nodded, picked up his wand and walked in the direction of his Stunned teammate.

“You two continue to impress me,” Shippe said to Harry and Ron, “Though I have to say I did notice a few faults today.”

“Faults, sir?” Harry asked.

“Too much chatting,” Shippe said, “You need to improve on your sign language techniques and your non-verbal spell work. You were lucky that Billingsly and Thorpe need to improve on their accuracy.”

“You’re telling me!” Ron exclaimed, “I was this close from being impaled by the debris from a tree.”

“Nonsense,” Shippe grinned, “The trees are illusions. They would have passed right through you. “

“Illusions?! “ Ron asked, “Rubbish! Our spells hit them like they were solid!“

“Part of the illusion, Weasley, “Shippe said, “While we are on the subject, how did you like the landscape?”

“It looked pretty real to me,” Harry said, “But I must ask, sir. Why did you pick a grove of trees? There are very few places like that around England, right?”

“You have to be ready for every possible situation, Potter,” Shippe said, “While it is true that you will be fighting in buildings and on streets most of the time, there are a few occasions where you will be fighting in places like that grove.”

“Yes, sir,” Harry said.

“You will be happy to know you were the first Aurors-in-Training to use this room,” Shippe said. “It is a new concept that the Ministry has decided to use, and it gives Aurors a hands-on experience. You can thank the Minister of Magic for that idea. Anyway, I think you two deserve a break. Hit the showers and you can start your weekend early. Your prize for winning the training session.”

“Thanks, sir,” Harry and Ron said.

Harry and Ron left the room and headed for the showers.

“New concept,” Ron scoffed, “Right. It’s a feeble imitation of the Room of Requirement if you ask me.”

Harry grinned and nodded.

----------------------------------------

“So what do you say?” Ron asked, as he and Harry reached the Atrium of the Ministry, “A late lunch at the Leaky Cauldron?”

“Sure,” Harry said.

Harry and Ron apparated and arrived at the Leaky Cauldron a few moments later. They walked over to a vacant table by the window and sat down.

“I suppose I’m buying, eh?” Harry asked, “As always?”

“Hey, I am trying to save up!” Ron said.

“Good afternoon, gentleman,” Tom said, walking over to their table, “What will it be?”

Over Tom’s shoulder, Harry noticed the blackboard near the bar. It read: “Friday Special: Fish and Chips and your choice of pie. Two Galleons.”

“I’ll have the special today,” he said to Tom, “And a butterbeer.”

“Same for me, Tom,” Ron said.

“Coming up!” Tom said.

He walked away from the table.

“So I take it you are still trying to get that flat here in London?” Harry asked Ron.

“Of course,” Ron said, “Hermione and I can’t live at the Burrow for the rest of our lives, no matter how much Mum likes the concept. Besides, I want to be closer to the Ministry. I swear, if I keep up my almost-daily trips of using the Floo Network, I’ll never get the lingering smell of soot away from me. Plus, Hermione is going to be working in the Ministry soon, and she wants to be close to the Ministry as well.”

“She still has that interview on Monday, right?” Harry asked.

“Yep,” Ron said.

“What is she going for, again?” Harry asked.

“Court Scribe, I think,” Ron said, then scoffed, “She could have any job she wants, and she picks Court Scribe? I keep telling her that she could do much better, especially with the results she got on her NEWTs. Did I tell you she told me that if she doesn’t get hired soon, she is going to try to start up S.P.E.W again?!”

Harry laughed, though knowing Hermione Granger as well as he did, he knew she was probably very serious about it.

“Speaking of leaving the Burrow,” Ron said, “Have you talked to Ginny lately?”

“She sent me a letter a couple days ago,” Harry said.

“So that is where Frederique went,” Ron said, “Mum was trying to find him. She wanted to send a letter to Bill and Fleur. Probably wanting to know how Victoire is doing. I swear she wants to know how Victoire is every other day. I’m surprised Bill hasn’t banned our owls from Shell Cottage. Anyway, what did Ginny want?”

“She’s told me she’s going to have that talk with your parents this weekend,” Harry said.

“Really?” Ron asked with a sigh, “Guess I will have to be cautious this weekend. I don’t want to be anywhere near Ginny or my parents when that discussion is going on.”

“Relax, mate,” Harry said, chuckling, “It won’t be that bad!”

“We are talking about the same discussion, right?” Ron asked, eyebrows raised.

“If you mean the discussion,” Harry said, “where Ginny wants to tell them she wants to move in with me, then yeah.”

“I don’t know why she had to wait until now,” Ron said.

“Quidditch training starts next month,” Harry said, shrugging.

“That is what I am talking about,” Ron said, nodding, “She’s cutting this pretty close.”

Harry nodded. He had to agree.

Ginny wanted to move in with him in order to be closer to the Holyhead Harpies’ training camp, which was taking place about twenty miles north of London in a secluded location. Harry knew that Ginny couldn’t afford a place near the camp and that she would have to resort to traveling. The best way to do that which would be to apparate. Ginny didn’t trust apparating very far, but she had told Harry she would be fine if she lived in London. Harry knew this was probably an excuse, albeit a good one, to live with him. He was happy to invite her into his home. It was very lonely living alone in his grandparents’ old house, even if he had the usual twice-a-week visits by his neighbor: a nice, elderly Muggle woman who had been friends with Harry’s grandparents and father.

A moment later, Tom walked over to the table, a tray floating alongside him.

“Two Specials with Butterbeer,” he said, handing Harry and Ron their plates, “Give me the heads-up when you are finished and desert will follow.”

“Thanks, Tom,” Harry said.

“Before I forget,” Tom said, “Ron, have you spoken to George lately?”

“Not since he and Angelina got back from their honeymoon,” Ron said, shaking his head, “Why?”

“Customers of mine keep wondering when his shop will re-open,” Tom said.

Weasley Wizard Wheezes in Diagon Alley had been destroyed at the beginning of the year by Death Eaters. The attack had been the result of the Death Eaters trying to steal products that George had been creating. It had been reduced to rubble and had been blocked off by Ministry workers. The store in Hogsmeade, which had replaced Zonko’s the previous year, was the temporary headquarters at the moment.

“Last time I heard,” Ron said, “The place was close to being rebuilt.”

“It’s one of the greatest sources of income for Diagon Alley,” Tom said, “I know a lot of people who would like to see it reopen.”

“If I talk to George,” Ron said, “I will pass that message on to him.”

“Good,” Tom said, “Enjoy your lunch, boys.”

Harry and Ron smiled, and Tom walked off.

“I’ve been wondering, Harry,” Ron said, “Have you thought about getting a new owl? You don’t have any way of sending letters now unless it is a response. I’m not trying to offend the memory of Hedwig, but --”

“I know, Ron,” Harry said, “Yes, I’ve been thinking about it. I guess I could get a new one after we get through here.”

“I think it would be a good idea,” Ron said, “Especially if Ginny is going to move in with you soon.”

Harry nodded. After lunch, Harry and Ron went to the Owl Emporium in Diagon Alley. Harry looked around at the owls.

“Have one in mind?” Ron asked.

“I don’t know,” Harry said.

“What about an eagle owl?” Ron asked, “Oh, wait, that’s what Malfoy has, never mind. Oh, damn! I forgot. Harry, I need to go get some more Floo Powder. We’re almost out at the Burrow. I will do that now while you are getting an owl. See you back at the Leaky Cauldron.”

Harry nodded. He continued to look around. A few minutes later, he saw a black and grey owl staring at him.

“How about you?” Harry said quietly to the owl.

The owl hooted.

“I see you have your eye on Ares,” the clerk behind the desk said.

“Err… Ares?” Harry said, his attention still on the owl.

“He once belonged to a friend of mine,” the clerk said, “My friend died during the Second War.”

“Oh, I’m sorry,” Harry said.

“Ares found his way here last September,” the clerk said, “I knew who he was, and wondered why he had gone so far from his home. Well, a few hours later, I was told of his owner’s death. Some people are afraid of Ares. They say he is unlucky. But I say it’s rubbish. Ares is a wonderful owl.”

“Well, if he was your friend’s owl,” Harry said, “I’d hate for you to lose him.”

“You look like a good wizard,” the clerk said, “I think my friend would have been happy to know that Ares has found a good home. He is a trustworthy owl.”

“Well, if you insist,” Harry said, “I think I’ll take him.”

The clerk smiled and Harry took the cage. He paid for Ares, then walked back to the Leaky Cauldron. He spotted Ron at the bar when he arrived.

“Nice choice, Harry,” Ron said, looking at the owl, “He looks a bit -- well, scary.”

Ares poked his head forward and clapped his beak.

“I think you hurt Ares’ feelings,” Harry said.

Ron scoffed.

“Well, I guess you probably want to take him home,” he said, “I should get back to the Burrow anyway. See you Monday?”

“If not before then,” Harry said.

“Oh, I almost forgot!” Ron said, “Mum wants you to come over for your birthday. I know it isn’t for a couple of weeks, but she wanted me to tell you. I think she is planning a party.”

“Of course she is,” Harry grinned, “Tell her I will be there.”

“She’ll be happy to hear it,” Ron said, “See you, mate!”

He walked over to the fireplace and stepped in it. A moment later, he disappeared up in flames.

“Beautiful owl, Harry,” Tom said.

“Thanks, Tom,” Harry said, “His name is Ares.”

“After the Greek God of War,” Tom said, “Interesting. Hope it isn‘t a sign of things to come, eh? Guess we’re lucky we got Aurors like you in the wizarding world.”

“Auror-in-Training,” Harry corrected him.

“Of course,” Tom said.

Harry magically transported Ares and his cage to the house, then apparated.

---------------------------------------
Well, this is only the start of the story. I hope you like it.

I have a couple ideas for the next few chapters, but I will need more before I continue this story much farther.

Feedback would be welcomed!


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Old February 4th, 2009, 11:11 pm
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Re: Butterfly Kisses (Sequel to Harry Potter and the Return to Hogwarts)

Chapter 2
The Talk


Author’s Note: This will be in Ginny PoV. During the chapter, I will still call her parents Mr. and Mrs. Weasley.

Ginny Weasley woke up on Saturday morning. It was still early in the morning at the Burrow. Ginny could only see the sun a bit over the horizon. She dressed and walked down to the bottom floor. Her parents were in the kitchen.

“Do you have to go into work today, dear?” Mrs. Weasley asked her husband.

“Only if I am unlucky, Molly,” Mr. Weasley said, his face hidden behind the Daily Prophet.

“I thought Kingsley wanted you to meet with the Muggle Prime Minister,” Mrs. Weasley said.

“I have an appointment with him Monday,” Mr. Weasley said, “You know, I think he is finally getting used to my weekly visits? He doesn’t look flustered when I Floo into his office anymore. Perhaps he has other reasons to be flustered. The new millennium begins soon, and he‘s expecting London to be packed. That is why I have to meet him. He wants me to assure him that there won‘t be any… err… I think he used the phrase ‘evil voodoo magic‘ to ruin his big party. I have lost count on how many times I‘ve told him that he has nothing to worry about.”

“Poor man,” Mrs. Weasley said, “Maybe I should make something for him. Nobody says no to my pies, you know! Morning, Ginny! You‘re up early.”

“I-I know,” Ginny said, failing to stifle a yawn, as she sat down at the table, “I wanted to get in some early Quidditch training by the barn. I thought Ron would be awake. He said he would help me train.”

“Maybe you should take a day off, dear,” Mrs. Weasley said, “I keep telling you that you’re going to tire yourself out before it’s time for the training camp.”

“I’ll be fine, Mum,” Ginny said.

Ginny had been trying to get in as much pre-camp training as she could over the past few weeks. She figured she wouldn’t have a chance once she moved up to London… whenever that was. She still hadn’t set up a date to move in with Harry. She hadn’t even told her parents that she was going to move in with Harry. Earlier in the week, she had decided to tell them sometime during the weekend. Now it was the weekend, and she couldn’t figure how to break it to them. She could tell them now: it was seemingly the perfect time. Perhaps her Mum would be too tired to react too badly.

It was true. She didn’t know exactly how her parents were going to react to her decision. Over the past couple of nights, before she went to bed, Ginny had rehearsed the discussion over in her mind. She would say it was only for her career, and she would have better access to the training camp if she lived in London. She could save the little money she got for the signing bonus by moving in with Harry. Harry had already told her that she could move in, so that wasn’t going to be a problem. Of course, she knew that Harry would never have turned that down. He was alone in his house and the only company was that neighbor of his.

Ginny hadn’t been able to talk to Harry face-to-face since George and Angelina’s wedding. He had been so busy with Auror training, that his only free time was on weekends. Of course, Ron got to see him every weekday, since he was going through Auror training as well. Ginny had long given up asking him how Harry was every day, knowing that her persistent questions would only annoy him sooner or later.

Besides, Ron was busy, even when he was home. There were very few moments when he and Hermione weren’t spending time together. It was getting to the point where Ginny began to wonder whether either of the two were getting annoyed by the other one’s presence.

Suddenly, a loud hoot broke Ginny from her thoughts.

“Frederique’s back, Mum,” she said, rolling her eyes.

Frederique was the Weasley family’s new owl. Bill and Fleur had given them the owl for Christmas. He was the replacement for Errol, whom in Ginny’s opinion was lucky to still be alive, given his age. At first, Ginny liked Frederique, and the owl seemed to like her. At least to the point where the owl chose not to dig his sharp talons into her arm when Ginny handled him. But recently, the owl’s loud hoots were enough to drive anyone crazy. The only good thing about it was that the gnomes seemed to hate it as well, and there were very few in the yard these days.

Mrs. Weasley opened the window, and Frederique flew into the house. Ginny noticed that a piece of parchment was in its talons.

“I was beginning to worry about him,” Mrs. Weasley said, “I sent him to Bill’s last night. I guess Fleur let the owl stay over for the night. It is a pretty long trip, to be honest, and Fleur loves the owl, of course.”

Frederique perched himself on the fireplace, and Mrs. Weasley left the kitchen. She returned a few moments later, reading the piece of parchment.

“Oh, wonderful!” she exclaimed, “Bill and Fleur are going to come over today. They will bring Victoire of course. I‘ve been wanting them to visit, but it is a bit of a hassle for them to come, of course. Victoire is still too young to travel by magical means. I don‘t envy Bill and Fleur. Do you remember all that travel we had to do in the car when the children were Victoire‘s age, Arthur?”

“Hmm? Oh yes,” Mr. Weasley said, behind the Daily Prophet, “Though I can’t complain. If it wasn’t for that, I wouldn’t be fascinated with car engines and those contraptions.”

Mrs. Weasley muttered something, but it was silenced over the sound of footsteps from above. Ron and Hermione walked down the stairs and into the kitchen.

“Good morning, dears,” Mrs. Weasley said.

“M-morning, Mum,” Ron said, with a yawn.

“Do you still want to train with me?” Ginny asked Ron.

“I just got up, Ginny!” Ron said, “Besides, I won’t be able to concentrate unless I’ve had something to eat.”

“Oh, go on,“ Mrs. Weasley said, “Breakfast won’t be done for a little while.”

“Let’s go, Ron,” Hermione said, “It will give you a good appetite, and I’ll watch!”

“Fine,” Ron muttered.

Ginny, Ron and Hermione walked out of the Burrow and up to the barn. The area near the barn was the only secluded area around the Burrow where they could fly on their broomsticks. It was surrounded by large trees, so it was out of Muggle eye-sight. A few magical precautions had also been placed over the years so that the occasional plane wouldn’t be able to come near if anyone was flying their broom.

The barn and its surroundings were also not the perfect choice for Quidditch. They could only play half-pitch Quidditch, given the size. The barn’s door and windows were used for the rings, and they were uneven and nothing like the standard Quidditch rings. And because of the magical precautions, none of the balls could fly past the tree-line nor the barn. But the Weasleys had practiced this way for many years and they were used to all the restrictions by now.

“So how should we do this?” Ron asked, as he and Ginny walked into the barn to retrieve their brooms.

“Chaser versus Keeper,” Ginny said, “And we’ll use a Bludger as well.”

“We don’t have a Beater,” Ron said.

“The Bludger can fly around wildly,” Ginny said, waving a dismissive hand, “We’ve done that before.”

“No bloody way!” Ron exclaimed, “Have you forgotten? Hermione is going to be watching us. She could get hit!”

“Fine,” Ginny said, with a sigh, “No Bludger.”

“Good,” Ron said.

Ginny grabbed the Quaffle from the box. It wasn’t a standard Quidditch Quaffle, but it worked well. Ginny and Ron walked out of the barn, mounted their brooms and flew off into the sky.

“Chaser versus Keeper” was the term used for standard Quidditch practice. Because of the home-made Pitch, it wasn’t anything as close to normal Quidditch practice and games, especially when there was only one Chaser. Ginny wouldn’t be able to pass the ball to any one, which meant she couldn’t confuse Ron. She wouldn’t be able to fly around the barn, because it was out of bounds past the door and windows. Today, it was all about skill: Ginny’s skill at accuracy, and Quaffle-throwing, and Ron’s skill of blocking the rings.

“So we play to one-hundred?” Ron suggested.

“Sure!” Ginny said.

Because of the limits of the area, the Weasleys had to make up some of their own rules. For one-on-one sessions like this, they had their own points system. Because the door was so much lower than the windows of the barn, it was harder to get the ball through it. Every time the Quaffle made it through the door, however, it would be twenty points. The two windows were ten points each. Every time the Keeper caught the Quaffle, they would get ten points if it was aimed for the windows; twenty if it was aimed for the door.

Ginny juggled the Quaffle between her hands and studied Ron’s concentration. She inhaled, and exhaled, then flew at top speeds around the tree-line. She made a beeline for the barn and threw the Quaffle toward the left window. Ron lunged toward it, and barely missed it, as it sailed through!

“Ten-zero!” Ginny said, “Me!”

“Lucky shot,” Ron muttered, as he retreated into the barn to get the Quaffle.

He threw the Quaffle back to Ginny, who caught it. She turned around and flew back to the tree-line.

“Window or door,” she muttered to herself, studying the rings. She looked at Ron, then grinned. “Door.”

She flew off toward the barn and dived toward the ground. She dragged her feet just above the ground, which was one of her favorite things to do. The thrill of it always gave her a jolt of adrenaline. She flew back into the sky. Once she was near the barn, she aimed the Quaffle toward the door. This time, Ron noticed what she was doing, and flew toward the Quaffle, grabbing it by his fingertips! Ginny swore.

“Twenty-ten in favor of me!” Ron said, grinning, as he threw the Quaffle back to Ginny.

“Nice catch, Ron!” Hermione cheered from the sidelines.

Ron winked at Hermione, and Ginny rolled her eyes as she flew back to the tree-line.

Fifteen minutes later, Ginny was up seventy to fifty. Ginny hadn’t made a door-shot yet, even though she had tried once more.

She stopped at the tree-line and flew higher into the air, then took a nose-dive as she headed for the barn. The rush of wind coming toward her was too strong for her to lift the Quaffle, and she knew she was going to have to steady herself. She decided for a surprise shot. Ron was looking up at her, probably expecting the Quaffle to come at him at any time. When Ginny got in line of the windows, she stopped to a sudden halt. Ron looked surprised, and Ginny took her chance. She faked the Quaffle toward the left window and aimed it to the right. It sailed through, as Ron fell for the fake and lunged toward the left.

“Eighty-fifty,” Ginny said to herself, as Ron retrieved the Quaffle, “If I can make a door-shot, I will win. If Ron catches it, he will be back in the running though.”

Ron passed the Quaffle back to her and Ginny flew back to the tree-line.

“I have to do this,” Ginny said, “All or nothing.”

She took a deep breath and headed for the barn at top speed. She flew as if she was headed for the windows, then twenty feet from the barn, she dove toward the ground. Before Ron could tell what she was doing, she threw the Quaffle toward the doorway. She held her breath as Ron lunged for it. He missed it by an inch and it sailed through!

“The winner!” Hermione said, “Ginny!”

Ginny and Ron landed on the ground.

“I had a feeling you were going for the doorway,” Ron said, “I should have gone with it.”

“I got lucky,” Ginny said.

“Great game!” Hermione said.

“Yeah, it was,” Ron said, “Anyway, I’m starving!”

Ginny realized she was starving as well, so she and Ron stored their brooms in the barn and, with Hermione, they walked back to the Burrow.

“Are you going to have that discussion with Mum and Dad today?” Ron asked Ginny, as they headed for the Burrow.

“What?” Ginny asked.

“Well, you haven’t told them you want to move in with Harry, right?” Ron asked.

“Oh,” Ginny said, in realization, “No, I haven’t. I guess I should do it before too long if Bill and Fleur are coming over today.”

“They are?” Ron asked.

“Mum wrote to them last night,” Ginny said.

“Figures,” Ron said, “Well, just warn me when you talk to Mum and Dad about it. I don’t want to be anywhere in the vicinity.”

Ginny rolled her eyes.

-----------------------------------------------
It was soon nearing noon, and Ginny had still delayed her fateful discussion with her parents. She knew it wouldn’t be that bad, but she still wasn’t too sure how they would react. She then decided that she would put it off until Bill, Fleur and Victoire arrived, figuring that it might be a little easier with Bill there.

Suddenly, Mrs. Weasley’s announcement rang through the house that Bill, Fleur and Victoire had arrived. She was already halfway up the driveway when Ginny, Ron, Hermione, and Mr. Weasley walked out of the Burrow. She embraced Bill in a hug, then Fleur. Ginny’s mother had become much closer to Fleur ever since Victoire was born.

“How is my granddaughter?” Mrs. Weasley asked, with joy, as Ginny and the others caught up.

“Very tired, Mum,” Bill said, “It was a long trip, but she slept most of the way.”

“She eez a very quiet baby, thank goodness,” Fleur said.

“Are you hungry?” Mrs. Weasley asked, “I’ve been preparing a big lunch.”

“Of course we are,” Bill said.

“I offered to make a big breakfast this morning,” Fleur said, “But Bill was afraid he wouldn’t have room for your wonderful cooking, Molly.”

A hint of blush rose on Molly’s cheeks. Fleur didn’t notice, as she was busy opening the back door of the car. She unfastened Victoire’s baby seat and carefully lifted it out of the car.

“Do you have to bring in the seat, dear?” Bill asked.

“I don’t want to wake Victoire up, Bill” Fleur said, “She eez still very tired.”

“It gets so heavy, though,” Bill said, “Let me take it in, then.”

“Oh, very well,” Fleur said, with a sigh.

Bill walked over and lifted up the baby seat. Fleur grabbed the purple diaper bag, and they walked toward the Burrow and everyone followed.

“Let me help with lunch, Molly,” Fleur said, as Mrs. Weasley walked toward the kitchen.

“Nonsense, you’re a guest,” Mrs. Weasley said.

“I insist!” Fleur said.

“Oh, all right,” Mrs. Weasley said, with a sigh, “It’s a family recipe. Maybe I can teach it to you, then.”

“Wonderful!” Fleur exclaimed.

Bill put the baby seat onto one of the chairs around the table. Ginny and Hermione walked over to it.

“Now, girls,” Mrs. Weasley said, almost in a scolding tone, “Don’t wake her up.”

“We won’t, Mrs. Weasley,” Hermione ensured her.

“I swear,” Ginny said, “Victoire keeps growing every time I see her.”

“Ginny’s right,” Mrs. Weasley said. “You know, Fleur, I think I have some of Ginny’s old baby clothes. They might be able to fit her.”

“Fleur’s mother has already given us some of Fleur and Gabriella’s baby clothes, Mum,” Bill said, “She insists on giving us hand-me-downs, so I think we have enough.”

“Nonsense!” Mrs. Weasley said again, “You can never have enough baby clothes! Why, when Ron was a baby, we had to use some of your baby clothes because Ron went through his quickly.”

Hermione giggled.

“Mum!” Ron said, embarrassed.

--------------------------------------------

Half an hour later, lunch was ready and everyone was seated around the table.

“So, Ron,” Bill said, “How is Auror training?”

“Pretty good, I guess,” Ron said, shrugging.

“Oh, don’t be so modest, Ron,” Mr. Weasley said, “I’ve had a discussion recently with one of your trainers. He is very impressed.”

“That’s great,” Bill said, “It is very hard to impress wizards like that. Especially Aurors. They are a rare breed.”

“That eez true,” Fleur said, “But I must wonder. The Second War eez over. The Aurors aren’t going to have much work now, are they?”

“Being an Auror isn’t just about fighting in wars, Fleur,” Mr. Weasley said, “Aurors were around long before the First War even started. While it is true that Aurors have become much more important and, in a sense, much more popular since the Wars, they still have very important roles in the wizarding world. A select few are used for defending the Ministry and the Minister himself, while others are used to defend Azkaban, though that has only come into effect recently, of course. Many others are used to apprehend the common criminal. But everyone in the wizarding world knows there will always be the chance of a new threat to us. That is why more and more wizards and witches have decided to become Aurors.”

“And even then,” Bill said, “Not everyone of them are destined to become Aurors.”

“Ron will be a great Auror,” Hermione said, “He‘s already proved that.”

Ron blushed.

“Speaking of that,” Bill said, “Ginny, are you ready for your Quidditch training camp? When is that, next month?”

Ginny nodded.

“I’ve been practicing enough,” Ginny said.

“Almost too much,” Mrs. Weasley said, “She insists on training almost every day, if not every day. I keep telling her she is going to tire herself out by the time the camp comes around. There is such things as doing something too much.”

At this, Victoire opened her eyes and started to cry.

“Ooh,” Fleur said, “I think someone needs to be changed. Excusé moi.”

“I can help, Fleur,” Mrs. Weasley said.

“No, I can handle eet,” Fleur said, standing up and taking Victoire out of her seat.

“All right, dear,” Mrs. Weasley said, with a sigh, “You can use my bedroom.”

Fleur nodded and picked up the diaper bag, then walked out of the kitchen and up the stairs. Ginny then realized that there was no better time than now to have that discussion.

“There is a reason I’ve been training a lot,” Ginny said.

“Oh?” Mrs. Weasley asked.

“I just have this feeling I won’t be able to have much of a chance before too long,” Ginny said.

Ginny looked at Hermione and Ron, who nodded.

“Harry and I have been sending letters back and forth over the past couple of weeks,” Ginny continued. She quickened her words, afraid that if she stopped she wouldn’t be able to say everything. “And I’ve come to a decision. The Harpies’ training camp is much too far from here for me, and I know that between training, and traveling, I would get exhausted quickly. I can’t apparate from here to the camp and back without increasing the chance of splinching myself. And while I would appreciate it, Dad, I can’t expect you to be able to take me to the camp, as well as be able to go to work, everyday. So I think it would be best for me if I was closer to the camp. What I am trying to say, Mum and Dad, is that I want to move to London and live with Harry.”

Ginny felt that she did very well, but, at the same time, she felt as if her parents would argue with her. There was no expression in her parents’ faces, so she couldn’t figure out their reaction.

“Harry has already said I could move in with him,” she added, “So that isn’t going to be any trouble. I know that I won‘t be able to train any more because we will be so close to Muggles, and that is why I‘ve been training so much here.”

“Well, you’ve certainly thought a lot about this,” Mr. Weasley finally said, “That is easy to see.”

“I don’t know,” Mrs. Weasley said.

“Molly, it’s hard not to agree with what she’s said,” Mr. Weasley said, “It’s true. I wouldn’t always be able to take her to camp, and it is a long way from here to there. I’d hate for her to splinch herself because it was so far. Not to mention that she is going to be too tired to be able to apparate all the time, especially such a long distance.”

“I agree with Dad,” Bill said, “If Harry has already given her permission, then I’d say it would be okay.”

Mrs. Weasley didn’t immediately answer, and Ginny could tell that her mother was having a battle inside her mind. Give Ginny permission to move out of the Burrow, even though the thought of it was hard to bear? Or refuse and possibly endanger her life and the chances of a successful career?

“It wouldn’t mean that I would leave here forever,” Ginny said, “I’d visit whenever possible, of course. And you could always visit us. Harry wouldn‘t refuse a request for you to visit, you know. And I wouldn‘t leave right away. Training camp doesn‘t start for another month. I still have time.”

“You certainly make a good argument, Ginny,” Mrs. Weasley said, “I couldn’t refuse even if I wanted to. Your father says yes, so I guess I will say yes too.”

“Thank you,” Ginny said, relieved.

Before Ginny could say anymore, she heard footsteps coming down the stairs. Fleur had returned.

“Victoire decided she was hungry as well,” she said, walking into the kitchen with Victoire in her arms, and the diaper bag over her shoulder, “So my absence was a little longer zan I expected.”

“That’s to be expected, of course,” Mrs. Weasley said.

She then got into yet another story of when one of the children, Bill this time, was a baby. Bill’s face was a delicate shade of red all the way through. Mrs. Weasley seemed so attached to Victoire all afternoon, and the two of them had fallen asleep for a few hours in one of the large, comfortable chairs in the living room. Meanwhile, more discussions between Hermione and the Weasley family went on. Bill, Fleur and Victoire left a little after five-o-clock, only after Bill had to insist that it would be very late by the time they got home if they didn’t leave then.

-----------------------------------------------

Another chapter finished!

I thought Ginny’s discussion about moving in with Harry would last a little longer, but it seems everything was perfect, so I kept it at a minimum.

As I said at the end of the last chapter, I need to think of more ideas for the story before I continue this much further. I am also trying to work on my own original story, which I hope to publish in the future, so I am dealing with two things at once. So the next chapter might not be up for a while.

Hope you enjoyed the chapter! Feedback would be welcomed!


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Old February 6th, 2009, 4:31 pm
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Re: Butterfly Kisses (Sequel to Harry Potter and the Return to Hogwarts)

Chapter 3
Telephone Etiquette


Author’s Note: This will be in Hermione’s PoV.

Hermione woke up on Sunday morning in Bill’s old bedroom. She didn’t get out of bed immediately, but only stared up at the blank, yellowish-brown ceiling. The faded colors of the ceiling were even more indistinguishable, as Hermione began her early morning thoughts that she normally went through as she tried to wake herself from the night’s sleep.

She looked around the bedroom. It had been designated as Hermione’s bedroom for as long as she remained at the Burrow. The only time she would have to resort to the old option, was if Bill, Fleur and Victoire decided to visit for more than a day. The “old option” was sleeping on that flimsy, old cot in Ginny’s room.

Ginny was happy to have her room to herself again, though as Ron’s parents learned the previous day, Ginny wouldn’t need her room for too much longer. Hermione, as well as Ron, were happy enough that Ginny was moving in with Harry. Hermione could tell that Ginny was slightly unhappy being away from Harry for so long. She knew that Ginny was jealous of her and Ron. It was not normal jealously, though. It was only to the point that Hermione and Ron’s continued close proximity to each other had become unbearable for her. Though as Hermione thought more and more about it, she figured it couldn’t be any more unbearable than when Ron had his short fling with Lavender Brown.

It was true, Hermione and Ron hadn’t been apart very long since she had moved into the Burrow. The only time Ron was away, was during Auror training. Hermione and Ron’s relationship was very advanced for the time they had been a couple, though they hadn’t taken those ultimate steps of true love. But their feelings for each other wasn’t too much of a surprise, given the fact that they had been best friends since they were eleven. They had their ups and their downs, fights and make-ups, but in the end it had brought them closer together.

While it was true that Hermione and Ron were engaged, there was no foreseen date for the wedding, something that both were agreed upon. Neither were past their teen years, and they were barely graduates of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. The Second War was over, so there was no real reason for Hermione and Ron to speed up their romance, which was perfectly fine for the young couple.

The only major step they wanted to take, as soon as possible, was the fact that they wanted a place of their own. Even if there was the chance it would be a small one bedroom apartment, they were fine with it. It didn’t matter whether or not they were comfortable enough to sleep in the same bed so early in their relationship, no matter how advanced it was. Both were capable of coming up with the best accommodations to suit their needs.

Hermione’s dreams of her and Ron moving into a house of their own weren’t as selfish as one would think. More to the point, it would be more convenient than anything. If Ron could get his way, the house would be in London. This meant that it would be closer to the Ministry of Magic. The cost of the bag-a-week usage of Floo Powder was already digging its way into the Weasley’s small sum of money. True, Ron was able to dip into his fund from the money he got during Auror training, but he was trying to save his earnings for the house. Hermione was trying to get a job at the Ministry (her interview would be the following day) and if she was able to start her job, it would just dig deeper into the Floo Powder fund. Both Ron and Hermione were aware of this, and that is why they wanted to get their house as soon as possible.

Though, in Hermione’s opinion, Ron hadn’t put much thought to a house in the past few days… or if he did, Hermione hadn’t heard anything about it.

A knock on the door interrupted Hermione’s thoughts. Hermione smiled, knowing it was Ron. She and Ron always had their private discussions early in the morning, before the house would become active with chatter and wandering eyes.

“I’m awake, Ron,” Hermione said.

The door opened a moment later, and Ron walked in, completely clothed for the new day. Hermione smiled privately, knowing that Ron hadn’t been able to get over his childish fear of having his fiancée see him in his pajamas.

“Good morning, my love,” Ron said, closing the door.

Hermione tried to respond, but a yawn deemed her incapable of one.

“Just wake up?” Ron asked.

“A few minutes ago,” Hermione said, “You?”

“I’ve been up for about a half-an-hour,” Ron said, “Already took a shower.”

As Ron sat at the end of the bed, Hermione had only noticed then that his hair was still a bit damp.

“That’s a bit of a role-reversal,” Hermione said, surprised, “Isn’t it me who is always awake at least an hour or so before you?”

Ron shrugged, but Hermione heard a small laugh under his breath.

“I guess I couldn’t sleep any longer today,” he said, “I had too many thoughts in my head, and they were interfering with my dreams.”

“Oh?” Hermione asked, curious.

She didn’t know if she was more curious about his dreams or his thoughts. Though, she knew that if Ron’s dreams were anything like hers, he wouldn’t have been able to wipe the blush from his cheeks that usually matched his adorable ginger-red hair.

“Ginny’s conversation with my parents yesterday didn’t scare me as much as I thought it would,” Ron said, “It actually made me think.”

“Looks like you’ve done a lot of thinking recently,” Hermione said, holding back a laugh.

“Probably enough for a year or more,” Ron said, grinning.

Hermione couldn’t help but laugh.

“It seems strange to think,” Ron said, “that this house that was once full of children, will be soon empty to the point that it will almost be a ghost town. Ginny is moving in with Harry before too long. I think I heard her telling Bill that she planned on moving with Harry soon after his next birthday.”

“When was this?” Hermione asked, “I thought she would have told me first.”

“I think the idea of it scares her,” Ron said, “And she could only confide the idea with a close family member.”

Hermione was about to respond with a “What am I? A stranger?” response, when she realized that Ron was probably right. As much as she wanted to believe she was a part of the Weasley family, Hermione wasn’t close enough just yet. No matter how much the engagement ring on her finger said otherwise.

“I don’t think she wanted to talk about it with Mum and Dad,” Ron said, “She had already heard their decision, and if you remember, Mum was conked out on the old love seat with Victoire all afternoon. While Dad approves of the decision more than Mum does, Ginny still believes any further discussion could change Dad’s mind.”

“And Bill’s her oldest brother,” Hermione said, understanding.

“Even if that wasn’t true,” Ron said, “I don’t think she would have confided in me. I was surprised she let me hear the conversation. I don’t know if you have noticed or not, but I think Ginny’s trying to avoid us.”

“I’ve noticed,” Hermione said, with a frown, “And while I disapprove and think she is being unfair, I can’t blame her. But what can you do?”

That last bit was supposed to be rhetorical, but of course that whole concept went through one of Ron’s ears and out the other.

“I don’t think I could do anything,” he answered, “Like I said, I was surprised she let me within listening range.”

“All right, let’s have it,” Hermione said, “What did she say?”

“Nothing too bad,” Ron said, shrugging, “If I could put it simply, I would say her birthday present to Harry is moving in with him, and if she got her way, her last moments here at the Burrow would be the time before Harry returned back to his house.”

“She wants to move in with him on his birthday?” Hermione asked, incredulously.

“I guess so,” Ron said, shrugging, “But like you, I can’t blame her. She’s madly in love with Harry.”

“Are you okay with that?” Hermione asked, knowing Ron’s protective side when it came to his sister.

“My feelings are the same they were before Ginny decided to move in with Harry,” Ron said, “Comparing to every boy at Hogwarts, and every boy I’ve ever known, I know no one better for Ginny than Harry.”

Hermione raised her eyebrows. She was very surprised about this.

“Why?” Ron said, in a suspicious tone, “Are you okay with it?”

“My only concerns are that she is taking this a little too quickly,” Hermione said.

“Are you serious?” Ron asked. It was his turn to be surprised. “We may be older than Ginny, but technically we have been out of Hogwarts no longer than she has. And if you remember, Ginny and Harry have been together longer than we have, if you don’t count their short separation from each other. Besides, if you want to compare their relationship to ours, I think we‘re the ones who are moving too quickly. Look at us. We‘re engaged and we aren‘t out of our teens.”

“Yes, but that is why we have no plans to get married any time soon,” Hermione said, “As far as that goes, are rings are no more than promise rings, even though the promise is much bigger than just an adolescent gift.”

“You don’t see our engagement any more than that?” Ron asked, frowning.

Hermione gasped. Had she really said it in a way that made it sound that bad?

“Of course not!” she said, quickly, “As I’ve told you many times, this engagement ring means more to me than any other piece of jewelry I could have in my life. I didn’t mean that at all. I’m just saying that we are no closer to getting married than if we were just a couple. But that is only because we know better. It doesn‘t mean I don‘t love you any less. In fact, I love you more.”

Ron’s expression turned from sadness and shock to one of sudden comprehension.

“But what does that have to do with Ginny?” he asked.

Hermione sighed. Because of the way the conversation had turned, she had forgotten Ginny for a moment. She tried to get back on track.

“Er… where were we?” Hermione asked, “I honestly forgot what I said.”

“You said that you thought Ginny was taking this thing a little too quickly,” Ron said.

“Oh yes,“ she said, remembering, “Well…you can’t possibly believe Ginny when she says her first reason for moving in with Harry is so that she has easier access to the Quidditch training camp.”

“Why shouldn’t I believe it?” Ron asked, “It’s the same reason we want to move to London.”

“I don’t think it is,” Hermione said, shaking her head, “We’ve always been close to each other since graduation. We see each other every day. When was the last time Ginny was able to talk to Harry face-to-face?”

Another round of comprehension dawned on Ron’s face.

“Oh,” he said.

“You see,” Hermione said, “Ginny misses Harry. Some simple writing on a piece of parchment is no competition to a face-to-face conversation, especially when the two people are in love. Take it this way. We are running low on Floo Powder, right?”

“What does that have to do with anything?” Ron asked.

“Just bear with me, please,” Hermione said, impatiently, “What if you had to move in with Harry? What if, say, we weren’t able to afford Floo Powder, no matter how strange that sounds, and in order for you to get to work, you would have to live with Harry. Meanwhile, Ginny was now with Harry, and their relationship mirrored ours. How would you feel? Remember, I wouldn’t be up there. I would be here at the Burrow until I was able to afford enough money to move into a flat.”

“You don’t expect me to picture Harry and Ginny’s love-life, do you?” Ron asked, disgusted.

Hermione rolled her eyes. Ron was completely missing the point.

“Let’s just say you were just as annoyed as Ginny is now,” Hermione said, “I only want to put you in her shoes, metaphorically speaking.”

Ron took a moment to think about that.

“I wouldn’t be able to stand it,” he finally said, “It’s hard to picture being away from you for that long.”

“That is exactly what I am talking about,” Hermione said, “Now do you see how Ginny feels?”

“Damn,” Ron muttered, “Poor Ginny.”

“Poor Ginny,” Hermione agreed.

“But that still doesn’t mean her intentions are only towards Harry,” Ron said, “You know how much she loves Quidditch. She’s been waiting for the opportunity to be a professional Quidditch Player, not to mention being able to play with the Harpies, her favorite team. You can’t tell me that if Harry didn’t agree with her, which wasn’t in question anyway, she would still find a way to move closer to the camp.”

“And Harry,” Hermione said.

“And Harry,” Ron agreed.

Hermione smiled.

“My thoughts weren’t just on Ginny’s future with Harry, you know,” Ron said.

Hermione blushed, thinking that she probably knew what Ron was thinking when he wasn’t around her. Ron blushed too, noticing Hermione’s reaction.

“I didn’t mean that!” he said, “I mean, I can’t help but agree with some of Ginny’s intentions. She wants to move up to London to be closer to the training camp. Even if that isn’t her only reason, it is one of her reasons. And it made me think that my reasons aren’t different then hers. Er… you are still going up to London tomorrow to have that interview, right?”

“Yes,” Hermione said, “I figured I would go with you. My interview is close to the time you have to be at work.”

“Well, if you get the job,” Ron said, “It will be another person in this house who has to travel a long way to get to work. So, I think we need to solve our travel problems sooner than later. I’ve taken care of that. If everything goes right, I’m going to meet with the real estate agent after work tomorrow.”

For the first time since Ron had entered her room, Hermione sat up straight.

“Tomorrow?” she asked, her tone a mixture of shock and confusion, “You mean… you found a house?”

“Earlier this week,” Ron said, grinning, “You’re the first person I have told.”

Hermione gasped and lunged at Ron, hugging him.

“Why didn’t you tell me before?” she said, still in his arms.

“I didn’t think you’d be this excited,” Ron said, laughing.

Hermione playfully slapped Ron on the back then backed up.

“Of course I’m excited!” she said, “When can we see the house? What does it look like? Where is it?”

“Not so fast, Hermione,” Ron said, his face shockingly straight (in Hermione’s opinion) for someone who had just delivered excellent news, “I haven’t exactly set an interview time with the agent yet.”

“But,” Hermione said, raising an eyebrow, “You just said you were going to meet --”

“I said if everything went well, Hermione,” Ron said.

Hermione’s excitement sank almost into non-existence.

“Oh,” she said, flatly.

“The agent is a Muggle,” Ron explained, “Which means I have to be careful with my means of contacting him. He would probably freak out if his mail was delivered to him by an owl. Which means I have to get Dad to dig out his -- what’s the word? Telephone?”

Hermione could feel her excitement quickly disappearing into oblivion. Ron was not an expert when it came to the telephone. Hermione quickly decided she had to take this into her own hands.

“I think I am going to have to instruct you in telephone etiquette,” she said.

“What do you mean?” Ron asked.

“Honey, I could count on my fingers how many times you’ve used the telephone,” Hermione said, almost in an apologetic tone, “And I wouldn’t get anywhere near the end of one hand.”

“So, I haven’t used the telephone in a while!” Ron said, waving a dismissive hand.

“Yes, and when you did,” Hermione said, “You angered Harry’s uncle to a dangerous point!”

“That was years ago, Hermione!” Ron complained.

“And you haven’t used the phone since,” Hermione said, “Have you?”

“I -- well, I would have if -- I didn’t think -- no,” Ron stuttered, frowning.

“It will be easy to learn how to use the telephone properly,” Hermione said, “For starters, you don’t yell into the reciever. If you yell at the agent, he will hang up. Believe me. There are only two reasons someone would yell into a telephone. One, if they were angry, and two, they had bad reception.”

After a moment, she said “Though I could probably understand the bad reception. Magic does interfere with electricity quite a lot.”

“You and my father would have a nice discussion about that,” Ron joked.

“He’s tried to get me to talk with him about it, believe me,” Hermione said, giggling.

A sudden shuffling of feet was heard outside the bedroom door. It disappeared a moment later.

“Probably Ginny,” Ron said, noticing that Hermione was looking at the door.

“I don’t know,“ Hermione said, after a sudden thought, “What time is it?”

Ron looked behind Hermione’s shoulder, out the window.

“Judging by the sun?” Ron said, “Almost seven. Why?”

“It might have been your Mum, Ron,” Hermione said.

“Nonsense,” Ron said, “She’s downstairs cooking breakfast by now.”

“Still,” Hermione said, “You know how she is when it comes to you and I in the same bedroom.”

“We aren’t doing anything, Hermione,” Ron said, a slight annoyance in his tone, “It’s not like we’re… err… sleeping in the same bed, you know.”

Hermione narrowed her eyes slightly, having a feeling that Ron wasn’t saying exactly what was on his mind. She shook it off a moment later, however, deciding it was in her mind.

“This is one reason I want us to get our own house,” Ron said, “We don’t have to sneak around to get a bit of privacy. And we can sleep in the same bed…”

Ron immediately blushed.

“I mean,” he said, “Only if you want.”

Hermione didn’t answer straight away.

“What size is this house you’re talking about?” Hermione asked him.

“Not as big as Harry’s,” Ron said, “I didn’t expect to be our permanent house. It’s… err… only one bedroom. Not big enough for…”

“For what?” Hermione asked, though she felt she knew the answer.

Hermione could tell that Ron was almost regretting his last line.

“For a family,” he finally answered, his face nearly as red as his hair, “I mean… you do want a… family, right?”

Hermione cringed, though Ron didn’t notice. There it was. The other F-word. Hermione hadn’t put much thought into it. It was one of greatest dreams to have a family with Ron. But she knew she was nowhere near ready for it. Even mentioning it scared her.

“Well,” Hermione finally said, “Of course I do, Ron. It’s just --”

“I know, Hermione,” Ron said, “That’s still a long ways away.”

“Not that long,” Hermione said, “It’s just…I mean…”

Hermione sighed. What did she mean?

“At the moment, I can’t imagine me in your mother’s position,” she said, “No offense to her.”

“I don’t want seven children, if that is what you mean!” Ron said, his eyes wide.

Hermione laughed. Ron may have taken her reaction wrong, but it was true that he wasn’t that far from it.

“Anyway,” Ron said. Hermione smiled at the change of subject, “This house isn’t going to be a permanent one. It’s one bedroom, like I said. But if you are worried about sleeping arrangements, I’m sure I can get a comfortable couch.”

“We’ll worry about that when it comes,” Hermione said, nodded

Ron laughed, and Hermione knew it was one of relief. Suddenly, more footsteps, though it might have been the same ones, walked past the doorway. Hermione was relieved that they didn’t stop.

“I think we should get down to breakfast,” Ron said.

“I agree,” Hermione said, “But err… maybe you should leave while I get changed, you think?”

Ron blushed. Hermione grinned and leaned into him and kissed him. Ron returned the kiss and for a moment, neither backed away. Hermione backed up a moment later, however. She had to catch her breath, but couldn’t tell whether that was from the lack of oxygen or the kiss itself.

“Okay, I really do need to get dressed into normal clothes, Ron,” she said.

Ron nodded, apparently lost for words, and got up from the bed. He walked to the door and turned around.

“I love you, Hermione,” he said, when he found his voice.

“I love you too, Ron,” Hermione said, “More than you know.”

“More than I deserve,” Ron said.

Hermione didn’t know whether to kiss Ron again or throw a pillow at him. She knew she needed to get dressed, so she did the latter. The pillow barely missed Ron, who laughed, and walked out the door. Hermione rolled her eyes, but smiled anyway.

----------------------------
Hermione walked out of her room, dressed for the day. She felt that she should take a shower, but decided it wasn’t that important since she took one the night before. Ron, of course, was waiting outside her door. They walked down the stairs to the bottom floor, then into the kitchen. Ginny, who was sitting at the table, sighed in exasperation.

“Don’t you two ever come down the stairs separately?” she asked.

“No,” Ron said, simply.

Ginny rolled her eyes, and Hermione giggled. She sat down with Ron at the table. Mr. Weasley had his face behind the new edition of the Daily Prophet. Mrs. Weasley was at the oven, cooking breakfast. From the delicious aroma, Hermione deducted that she was fixing bacon and eggs.

“Dad, I was wondering,” Ron said, getting comfortable in his chair, “Do you know where your telephone is?”

Mr. Weasley lowered the Daily Prophet.

“I think it is in the garage,” he said, “I’d have to search for it.”

“Why couldn’t you just Summon it, Arthur?” Mrs. Weasley asked.

“It’s in a pile of things, if I remember right,” Mr. Weasley said, “I wouldn’t want to make a mess, Molly.”

Mrs. Weasley sighed. “What do you need it for, anyway, Ron?” she asked.

“I need to call… err… someone,” Ron said, “It’s a Muggle, so I can’t give a message by owl post.”

“A Muggle?” Mrs. Weasley asked, her hands on her hips, “What is this all about?”

Ron paled and looked at Hermione. She nodded, knowing that Ron should just tell his parents. They knew that Ron and Hermione were wanting to get their own house.

“I have to talk to a real estate agent,” Ron explained, slowly as if he was thinking about every word as he said it, “I met with him earlier this week, and I need to see if I can get an interview.”

“A real estate agent?” Mrs. Weasley asked.

“I told you I was trying to find a house in London, right?” Ron asked.

“Yeah,” Mrs. Weasley said, slowly, “Though I didn’t expect it this soon.”

“I don’t even know if I will get the house, Mum,” Ron said, “It’s hard to say.”

“Molly, we’ve discussed this,” Mr. Weasley said, “We can’t keep our children from having a life of their own. They’re not prisoners.”

“I know,” Mrs. Weasley said, “It’s just a surprise.”

“I’m not completely sure that I’ll get this house,” Ron said, “I don’t know the agent’s decision yet, of course.”

“I’ll go find the telephone after breakfast, Ron,” Mr. Weasley said, “It has to be in there somewhere. Perhaps next to the batteries and stuff…”

It didn’t take long for Mr. Weasley to find the telephone. But coming from the loud noises in the garage, it sounded as if he had given in and summoned it, probably knocking over a pile or two of stuff.

“Everything should be in order,” Mr. Weasley said, returning into the room, “I think it will work without all of the magical interference. Fingers crossed though!”

Hermione was still tutoring Ron on telephone etiquette.

“Don’t yell into it,” she said, “Stay calm.”

“I know, Hermione,” Ron said.

“You know the number, right?” Hermione asked.

“Er… yeah,” Ron said, “Hang on.”

Ron retreated up the stairs and returned a few minutes later with a green-colored piece of paper. He walked over to the telephone and froze.

“Ron?” Hermione asked.

“I can’t tell one number from the other,” Ron said, “What’s with all those letters?”

Hermione sighed.

“I’ll do it,” she said, snatching the piece of paper from Ron.

“Gee,” Ginny said, “Who’s more excited, Ron or Hermione?”

Ron and Hermione both rolled their eyes. Hermione dialed the number and put the phone up to her ear.

“It’s ringing,” she said, “Here. Remember…”

“Stay calm, yes,” Ron said, put the phone to his ear, “Hello? Yes, is this Mr. Wycott? Yes? This is Ron Weasley. We met Wednesday?”

Hermione could hear undistinguishable conversation coming from the other end of the line.

“Yes,” Ron said, “About that house. I’m pretty interested in it. I’d like to come in sometime tomorrow afternoon to take a look at the house, if that is okay with you, I mean.”

Pause.

“Four-o-clock?” Ron asked, “I think I can work that out. Meet at the house? Sure. Yes, I have the address. Great! See you there! Oh, yes, goodbye.”

He noisily put the phone back on the hook.

“So?” Hermione asked.

“He wants to meet me tomorrow,” Ron said.

Hermione squealed and hugged Ron.

“Did I do good?” Ron asked.

“Of course,” Hermione said, “You did perfect.”

Hermione smiled, and she couldn’t be any happier. If everything worked out, Hermione and Ron would have a house to themselves soon. That, more than anything, made Hermione feel as if she was really starting her life with Ron. At the moment, that didn’t scare her at all.

-----------------------------------------
Chapter finished! Whew, this chapter was longer than I expected, but I am happy with that. I really didn’t expect Ron and Hermione’s conversation to last that long, but I’m also happy with that.

Next chapter continues with Hermione’s PoV. Yes, the house will be in it!

Feedback would be great!


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Old August 8th, 2009, 7:03 pm
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Re: Butterfly Kisses (Sequel to Harry Potter and the Return to Hogwarts)

Chapter 4
Hermione and the Hearing

Author's Note: First off, let me give my sincerest apologies about the delay in my writing. I realize it has been over half a year since my last update, and I know there were many readers who have been waiting and waiting for the next chapter. Over the past few months, I've been sorta busy. Between moving out of state to loss of internet, to other personal matters (and writer's block here and there), along with me trying to write a movie-script, I haven't found time for writing my story. Hopefully I can get back into a normal pace of updating. Though at the moment in time, I am still without internet at home and have to go to the library, though I can still write at home. Anyway, I will try to write more, and hopefully this starts off a long string of chapters. We'll see. This chapter will be in Hermione Point-of-View.



Hermione and Ron left the Burrow early Monday morning and traveled to the Leaky Cauldron via Floo Powder. They ordered a hot breakfast from Tom and sat down in a private corner.

“Are you all prepared for your interview?” Ron asked Hermione.

“Ron, you've asked me that at least a half-dozen times,” Hermione said, impatiently.

“Sorry,” Ron said.

“Yes, Ron,” Hermione said, “I am as prepared as I can be.”

Or at least Hermione hoped she would be. She may have been the smartest witch of her age, and absorbed everything the professors at Hogwarts had taught her, but in the seven years at Hogwarts, and the few years she had in public school before she learned she was a witch, she couldn't remember a time where they had taught her about how to prepare for a day like this. You would think that the Career Advice sessions she had taken with Professor McGonagall, or the number of pamphlets that were given to her would have helped her prepare for it. But she couldn't think of one morsel of information that would have prepared her for this.

Asking advice from her parents didn't help much either. Oh, sure, they could have given her the normal advice, and they actually did in a reply letter after Hermione had told them she was going to apply for a job. That specific part of the letter had read...

... all you have to do is be sure to stay calm. Don't stutter, dear, though that was never a problem with you. Probably due to lack of sugary substances in your diet all those years. You have kept away from sugar lately, haven't you? Be prepared, oh, but don't show up to the interview with a whole notebook of how you prepared. Just the information you need. Too much is sometimes a bad thing, remember that. You will do fine, honey, your father and I are sure of it.

Of course, Hermione knew, the interviews in the wizarding world could be a bit different. And if they were, how were her Muggle parents supposed to help her with that?

Ron didn't need much of an interview when he became an Auror or (as he insisted on being called) Auror-In-Training. He was always saying how it was thanks to Harry that he got the job, but Hermione knew better. Minister Kingsley Shacklebolt knew how well Ron could fight and how brave he was (Gryffindor, true at heart), and Hermione knew it was thanks to that that Ron was now in Auror training.

“Then you'll do fine,” Ron said.

Hermione smiled, so she wouldn't reveal any of her worries.

“Before you know it,” Ron said, “You'll be through with it, and you'll be the newest official member of the Ministry of Magic.”

“It sounds great when you say it,” Hermione said.

“That is because it will be great,” Ron said.

“Okay,” Hermione said, “So, when do you get out of training today?”

“Three-o-clock on the dot,” Ron said, “As always.”

“Okay,” Hermione said, “Then I'll ask the taxi to be here at three-fifteen.”

“Another taxi?” Ron asked, “Why can't we apparate?”

“You told me you didn't know exactly where the house was yet,” Hermione said.

“Right,” Ron said, slowly.

“So we can't apparate there if we don't know where we are going, Ron,” Hermione said.

“Okay,” Ron said, “So why can't we take the Knight Bus? They'll know where it is, and they'll get there quicker than a bloody taxi.”

“Uh-huh,” Hermione said, “And what if the guy we're supposed to meet --”

“Mr. Wycott,” Ron said.

“What if Mr. Wycott were to be there when we arrived on the Knight Bus?” Hermione asked, “Muggles can't see the Knight Bus. How would it look if we just appeared out of nowhere?”

“I didn't think about that,” Ron said.

“Ron,” Hermione said, sighing, “If we want to get this house, we have to make sure we think of everything. Okay?”

“Okay, Hermione!” Ron said, a little loudly, “Bloody hell, you're acting like this is the Ministry Heist all over again.”

Hermione was about to retort, but a response fell short. Ron was right. She was being a bit over-the-top about all of this.

“I'm sorry, Ron,” she said, finally, “I just want us to get this house so badly.”

“I know,” Ron said, “Don't worry. I think we'll do fine. And if we don't, we always have a Confundus charm handy.”

“Ronald!” Hermione said, shocked.

“I'm joking, Hermione,” Ron said, “Bloody hell.”

“Breakfast!” Tom announced, as he walked over to their table.

Tom served the plates (which were floating next to him) to Hermione and Ron.

“Will that be all?” Tom asked.

“Yep,” Ron said.

“Looks wonderful, Tom,” Hermione said.

Tom chuckled.

“Enjoy,” he said, and walked away from the table.

Ron grinned and immediately started on his stack of pancakes. Hermione just smiled and watched him. She may have been known to criticize him about his food habits, but it was just a part of him that he would probably live with all of his life. If he did, it wouldn't matter to her. After all, it may be a little disgusting, but it was just one of those cute things he did. Ron looked at her and gulped down a piece of pancake, then frowned at her.

“Something wrong?” Ron asked.

Hermione noticed that a small bit of syrup was on his chin.

“No,” she said, smiling at him, “Nothing at all.”

---------------------------------

Twenty minutes later, Hermione and Ron arrived at the Ministry of Magic via Floo Powder. They walked over to one of the lifts together. To their enormous relief, it was almost empty. Only an elder witch, and a wizard who looked only a few years older than Hermione were standing there.

“Another day, another galleon,” the elderly witch muttered, as the lifts closed.

“Weasley,” the young man at the back of the lifts said.

Ron and Hermione turned around.

“Billingsly,” Ron said, “How are you this morning?”

“Not too well,” Billingsly said, “Thorpe resigned.”

“Really?” Ron asked, “Why?”

“Apparently there is an investigation going on with the new recruits,” Billingsly said, “If there is anything fishy about your past...”

Billingsly moved a thumb across his neck.

“Then you're out of the Aurors,” he said.

“What was wrong with Thorpe?” Ron asked.

“You know those late recruits the Death Eaters were rounding up in the last few months before their defeat?” Billingsly asked.

Ron nodded.

“Apparently Thorpe's father was one of 'em,” Billingsly said, “Yeah, he went to Azkaban after some crime, and the Death Eaters who were locked up apparently got to talking to him. The rest, as they say, is history.”

“But what does that have to do with Thorpe?” Ron asked.

“Come on, Weasley,” Billingsly said, “You should know better than any of us. Well, other than Potter.”

“What is that supposed to mean?” Ron asked.

“Minister Shacklebolt, himself, is the one who is leading the investigation,” Billingsly said, “He wants to make sure that none of the new Auror recruits are here for other purposes than Auror training. Everyone knows Potter is an Auror-in-Training, it ain't no secret. So wouldn't you think that if the Death Eaters were going to try to come back into power, it would be through their kids? I mean, the Death Eaters themselves are locked up or worse. Of course, Thorpe says that wasn't his intention. But the 'powers-that-be' say that Thorpe could have been easily influenced. I don't know what they told Thorpe, but he resigned just this morning. I'm just coming back from seeing him out of the Ministry.”

“So what's Thorpe going to do now?” Ron asked.

“Dunno,” Billingsly scoffed, “But they aren't going to let him get a job in this building, are they?”

“Not likely,” Ron said.

Suddenly, the cool voice overhead announced the floor with the Auror's Department. The lifts opened and Billingsly forced his way past Ron and Hermione.

“Well, see you later,” Ron said to Hermione, “Good luck.”

Hermione kissed Ron's cheek, and Ron walked out of the lifts. He waved back to her, and she waved to him as the lifts closed.

“Aw,” the elderly witch said with a sigh, “young love.”

“Excuse me?” Hermione asked.

“Did you say something, young lady?” the elderly witch said.

Hermione raised an eyebrow, confused, but then shook her head.

“No ma'am,” she said, “Nothing.”

The elderly witch just smiled. Hermione turned around and ignored the witch. But she couldn't ignore the feeling that there was something familiar about the witch. She just didn't know what...

A minute later, the lifts stopped at the very bottom and opened. Hermione walked out. She then turned and looked back into the lifts. The elderly witch was still there.

“Are you getting out, ma'am?” Hermione asked.

“Hmm?” the witch said.

She looked around.

“Oh, phooey!” she said, “I missed my floor.”

“Oh, okay,” Hermione said.

The lifts closed and Hermione turned and walked down the hallway toward the courtrooms. Her interview would be in one of the smaller courtrooms, Courtroom B, reserved for small cases. She walked toward the courtroom, and knocked on the door.

“Come in,” said a voice.

The voice sounded a little familiar to Hermione. She opened the door and walked in. The courtroom was so dark, she was positive she had entered the wrong courtroom. But then again, there was that welcoming voice...

“Hermione!” the voice said.

Hermione got her first shock of the day at that moment. Her old classmate, Susan Bones, was sitting on the bottom row of benches. A clipboard was in her hand.

“Susan?” Hermione asked, as she walked forward .

Though, at that moment, she wasn't sure if it was Susan or not. She looked different then when Hermione usually saw her at Hogwarts. Her hair, which was normally down to her shoulders, was pulled back into a tight bun. She was wearing a very official-looking business dress. As Hermione got into the middle of the room, she looked around. She couldn't see most of the room, only just past the first half-dozen rows or so.

“What are you doing here?” Hermione asked, “I thought I was supposed to be meeting the head --”

“Head Judge Morrison is a little busy at the moment,” Susan said, “I am his assistant.”

“Oh?” Hermione said, “Well... congratulations.”

“Thanks,” Susan said, “Though I don't think I'd have this job if it wasn't for my late Auntie Amelia.”

Hermione smiled.

“Anyway, I will be conducting this interview with you today,” Susan said, “Would you take a seat over here?”

Hermione nodded and walked over to the bench where Susan sat. She sat down near Susan.

“I believe you want to be Court Scribe, Hermione?” Susan asked.

“Well... yes,” Hermione said.

“I am a little surprised at this, Hermione,” Susan said, “I mean, it is no secret that you had one of the highest NEWT scores in our year. You could easily be in my position, even without a famous relative. Hell, you could have almost any job in the Ministry if you wanted it.”

Hermione blushed.

“I guess you want to start off small,” Susan said.

“Well,” Hermione said, “Unless you think --”

“I'll tell you what, Hermione,” Susan said, “Let's just see how well you do as a Court Scribe. Now, don't take this as a bad thing, but if I don't think you look well-fit in the job, we'll move you somewhere else. Just to see where you are more comfortable.”

“Does that mean I have a job?” Hermione asked.

Susan just smiled.

“We'll see,” she said.

“But I haven't even shown you any papers,” Hermione said.

“Hermione, I must admit something,” Susan said, “I kind of lied earlier. Judge Morrison isn't busy. When I heard your name, I volunteered for the job. I knew how well you might be able to do with this job. When I heard your name, the cogs started going around in my brain. They were saying 'Hermione Granger could have any job she wanted, and yet she wants to be down in these dark, cramped courtrooms, eight hours a day, except for lunch breaks. What are you going to do about it, Susan?' Hermione, let me admit another thing. I kind of admired you in Hogwarts. You always seemed to be in the shadow of Harry, and you didn't mind the darkness.”

“Well,” Hermione began, “It wasn't really like --”

“With your brains, I thought the Sorting Hat was bonkers not to have put you in Ravenclaw,” Susan interrupted her.

“Well, I could have been,” Hermione said, “But --”

“Hermione, believe me,” Susan interrupted her once again, “You don't have to try to impress me. You already have in Hogwarts. The only reason you'd have to show me those papers is for official reasons. I want to see what you can do.”

“Well, what do you want me to do?” Hermione said.

“I was hoping you'd ask me that,” Susan said, with a grin.

She looked up, and Hermione looked up too, wondering what Susan could possibly be doing. Suddenly, the room went much lighter. Hermione's eyes went wide, and her jaw almost dropped to the floor. About a dozen rows up, a number of very official-looking witches and wizards were sitting in a long row.

“Er...” Hermione said, completely in awe.

“I hope you don't mind that your interview will be mainly in the hands-on approach,” Susan said.

Hermione gave a timid little laugh and shook her head.

“Good,” Susan said, smiling, “Follow me.”

Susan started walking up the steps toward the bench where the witches and wizards were. Hermione followed her up and toward the middle of the row. The most official-looking was the wizard in the middle of the row. Hermione only recognized him from a picture she vaguely remembered seeing in the Daily Prophet at one point or another.

“Head Judge Morrison,” Susan said, “This is Hermione Granger.”

“Nice to meet you, Miss Granger,” Morrison said.

“It's an honor, your honor,” she said, then blushed, realizing what she said.

The other witches and wizards s******ed, and Morrison gave them all stern looks. He then looked back at Hermione and chuckled.

“Please, Miss Granger,” Morrison said, “Everyone who works for me calls me Herb.”

“Of course,” Hermione said.

“I hope this isn't too much of a shock for you,” Morrison said.

Hermione looked for a response, but couldn't find one good enough. Morrison chuckled again.

“Well, once you are out of that shock,” Morrison said, “I'd like you to take a seat at the end.”

He pointed to Hermione's left.

“You are about to participate in a small matter,” Morrison said, “Though, if I remember my history, it might be wise to say that you may have a little interest in this case.”

Hermione wasn't sure what he meant, but she had to say something anyway.

“I hope that doesn't prove to be a problem,” Hermione said.

“Oh, Court Scribes don't have a vote in a case,” Morrison said, “But if I heard right, you might not be on that job for long, will you?”

Morrison smiled at her.

“Um, well,” Hermione said, not sure what to say.

“We'll get to that later,” Morrison said, still smiling, “Please take a seat.”

“Yes, your Honor,” Hermione said, then caught herself, “I mean Herb.”

Morrison chuckled. Hermione walked down to the end of the row, and sat in one of the two empty seats. In front of her were a set of quills, ink a large stack of parchment. Susan took the seat next to her.

“I usually sit next to the judge,” Susan said, “But since part of this is your interview, I've been asked to sit with you in case you have a question.”

Hermione nodded. She looked down the row. Morrison put his wand to his throat.

“Will the members of the defense please come in?” he asked, his voice raised from the Sonorous spell.

The doors opened. A moment later, an elderly woman stepped into the middle of the courtroom. Hermione recognized her as the elderly witch who was with her in the lifts. If this was who Morrison spoke of, she wasn't sure what interest Hermione had in her. They had only met (if you could call it that) in the lifts not thirty minutes ago.

“Er... ma'am?” Morrison said, “I think you might be in the wrong courtroom.”

“I wouldn't be so sure of that, your honor,” the elderly witch said.

Suddenly, she took out her wand.

“What in the blazes?” Morrison asked, loudly.

“Oh, don't get your knickers in a twist, Morrison,” the witch said, in a voice that Hermione was only too familiar with.

The witch tapped her head with the wand, and suddenly, a plume of smoke appeared where she was standing. Confused murmurs were heard among the witches and wizards.

“Er... sir?” Susan asked Morrison.

Morrison waved a hand to silence Susan. His only concentration was on the now disappearing plume of smoke. The smoke disappeared and Hermione silently swore. Standing where the smoke had been a second before... was Rita Skeeter.

“How dare you walk into this courtroom,” Morrison yelled, “and play this game of charades, Miss Skeeter! Just who do you think you are?”

“Do you want me to start writing?” Hermione whispered to Susan.

“I don't know,” Susan whispered, “I guess so.”

Hermione quickly picked up the quill and wrote what had happened when Rita had first entered. She started writing Morrison's remarks of outrage, when Susan coughed lightly. Hermione looked at her.

“Not a good idea,” she muttered.

Hermione was about to question her, when she realized what she meant. With a quick spell, she made the last line of ink disappear.

“Every one of you know precisely who I am,” Rita said.

She looked up and down the line of wizards and witches, then to Hermione. Hermione looked up. Rita's blue eyes were the only thing brighter than her blonde hair, and they stared through her spectacles, right into Hermione's eyes. She grinned, showing her marvelous teeth.

“Yes,” Rita said, “Every last one of you.”

Hermione ignored her and started writing again. She walked over to the bench and sat down, right where Hermione had been sitting only a few minutes before. Hermione scowled silently. She should have known that old woman was Rita Skeeter in disguise. Hadn't she muttered the words “young love”? Hadn't those words been used by Rita during the Tri-wizard Tournament? Hadn't the words been precisely about her, Hermione? Hermione scowled again at her ignorance.

“I don't know why you say I was playing charades, though, Morrison,” Rita said, “You should know very well why I was in disguise. I mean...”

She laughed her annoying throaty laugh. Hermione wrote some more, trying to ignore Rita.

“I am a celebrity,” she said, “I just can't simply walk into a place like this and not expect to be horded by my lovely fans. It would have been a mob. Innocent bystanders would have been trampled on like flies. Why, you should thank me for having the decency to disguise myself. Hmm?”

Hermione rolled her eyes as she wrote some more.

“That is not the point, Miss Skeeter!” Morrison said.

“Oh?” Rita said, “But isn't that the reason I am here today? To defend my rightful name as a celebrity. Hmm?”

“You could say that,” Morrison said.

“Mmhmm,” Rita said, smiling again.

“The exact reason you are here, today,” Morrison said.

Shuffling of papers were heard. Hermione looked down the row. A witch was going through papers and giving them to Morrison.

“The exact reason you are here today,” Morrison said again, “Is because of some of the content in your new book – 'The Second War: Victory or Vicious?'”

“The book isn't even out yet,” Rita said, “How would you know about its contents?!”

Morrison laughed lightly.

“Miss Skeeter,” he said, “Apparently you don't know me that well at all. You see, I was one of many of Professor Albus Dumbledore's many friends. I read your last book, and would personally have to say that some of the hub-bub in your book was downright rubbish.”

Many of the witches and wizards, including Susan, looked surprisingly at Morrison. Hermione just grinned. Finally Rita had what was coming to her.

“Not to mention,” Morrison continued, “That your manners of extracting information would quite possibly be frowned upon by many of your peers. I believe it was you who said that it isn't hard to get information out of someone if you know how to do it. Miss Skeeter... are you aware that if a person takes too much Veritaserum in a small period of time, the effects of that potion could be harmful to them.”

Rita scowled and stared at Morrison.

“The effects of the potion, Veritaserum,” Morrison said, “Could make a person lose their mind. It could be easily mistaken for the long effects of the Cruciatus Curse, which is just as, if not more, horrible and unspeakable.”

Unforgivable, even, Hermione thought as she wrote down every one of Morrison's words on her parchment, a smile on her face that could outshine even Rita Skeeter's, who wasn't smiling at the moment.

“A while before Bathilda Bagshot was found dead,” Morrison said, “There was a few worrisome comments about her given to some of the Healers at St. Mungo's. Most of them said the same thing: Bathilda Bagshot, as wise as she once was, was not exactly in her right mind at the time-being. 'Off her rocker' one even said. Now, Miss Skeeter, it is widely known that you finished your book roughly a month after Albus Dumbledore died, am I correct?”

“Yes,” Rita simply said.

“Well,” Morrison said, “the first worrisome comment given to the healers at St. Mungo's came just about a week after your book was published.”

“Ol' Batty could have been off her rocker long before Dumbledore kicked the bucket!” Rita said in a very nasty, defensive voice.

“Oh, that is correct,” Morrison said, “But if that is true, could you have possibly gotten all that information out of her for your book if she was in that state of mind?”

“Everyone journalist and writer has their secrets of extracting information from somebody,” Rita said.

“I think it was your attempts of extracting information that put her that way,” Morrison said.

“Oh, you do?” Rita said, a large smile returning to her face, “Well, unfortunately, regrettably, Bathilda Bagshot isn't around anymore to give you that information. So, I think we are through.”

Rita stood up.

“We are not!” Morrison yelled, making Rita, Hermione and Susan all jump.

In mid-jump, Hermione had messed up the last line on the parchment. She made it vanish then rewrote it. Meanwhile, Rita sat back down.

“This hearing is not just about your means of extracting information from Bathilda Bagshot,” Morrison said, “It is about information you had received for your latest leather-bound sack of rubbish.”

Rita turned up her lip at the comment.

“As well as the way you have acquired said information,” Morrison said, “Miss Skeeter, you said in one of your interviews, that you had a secret source at the Battle of Hogwarts. Well, it is time for you to give up that secret, right here in this courtroom.”

“That would be... impossible,” Rita said.

“Oh?” Morrison asked, “And why is that?”

“Because the only reason I was able to get that source's information,” Rita said, “Was if I took an Unbreakable Vow that my source would never be revealed. If it was revealed well...”

Rita shuddered slightly. Hermione knew why. If she had broken the Vow, she would have been killed by the spell itself.

Everyone looked at Morrison. There was seemingly no way past this.

“That's it then,” Hermione whispered to Susan, “No way of getting any more evidence, right?”

“Head Judge Morrison is very cunning, Hermione,” Susan whispered, “You see, he is a skilled Legilimens.”

“Ohhh,” Hermione said, grinning.

She looked at Morrison again. He was studying Rita. Could he be using Legilimency on her?

“I don't think so, Miss Skeeter,” he finally said, “Someone like you wouldn't use the Unbreakable Vow. You could break it subconciously, and not even know it. Then poof, the end of Rita Skeeter, killed by her own greed.”

“Ha, shows how much you know,” Rita said, “My source did --”

“Oh, I have no doubts that someone offered you information in trade for the Vow,” Morrison said, “Only you didn't accept their offer... did you? Oh, you had a source. The ultimate source. Much more unbreakable than the Unbreakable Vow. Shatterproof. Spell-proof. You were your own source. I mean, it would have been easy for you to go unnoticed. The Battle of Hogwarts was so hectic, nobody would have noticed a reporter buzzing her away around, getting her own little scoops for her next best-selling novel.”

Hermione grinned. She knew where Morrison was headed. Knew it right when she heard him use the term “buzzing”. The only question was... how did he know? As far as she knew, there weren't many people who knew. She was one of the few, herself.

“Rita Skeeter,” Morrison said, “I know one of the tricks of your trade. Witches and Wizards of the Wizengamot. Sitting below you, staring right up at us with that knowing in her eyes, is none other than... an unregistered Animagus!”

Gasps were heard among the witches and wizards. Rita Skeeter looked as if she was shooting daggers out of her eyes, right at every member of the Wizengamot who had her fate in their hands.

“Miss Skeeter,” Morrison said, “I'm sure you are aware that to be an unregistered Animagus is illegal. I'm sure you know how much trouble you could be in. Am I correct?”

Hermione expected Rita to decline that knowledge.

“Yes, your honor,” Rita said, “Unfortunately for you, once again, you have no proof, Morrison.”

“I can easily get that proof,” Morrison said.

Before Rita could react, Morrison stood up and whipped out his wand. He muttered a spell, and suddenly, Rita disappeared. The witches and wizards were shocked, but Hermione saw a small glass bottle on the floor. She couldn't see it very well up where she was, but Hermione swore there was something moving around in the bottle. Morrison tapped the desk in front of him with his wand. A moment later, two wizards dressed in Auror robes walked into the courtroom.

“Would you please bring that bottle and its contents up here, gentleman?” Morrison asked.

One of the Aurors went to the center of the room and picked up the bottle. He then walked up to where Hermione and the others were sitting, and put the bottle on the desk in front of Morrison. Hermione could now clearly see the beetle in the bottle, as well as the marks on its eyes that looked to be in the shape of Rita Skeeter's glasses. The bottle shook as the beetle buzzed around angrily.

“Ladies and gentleman,” Morrison said, with sheer glee, “Rita Skeeter.”

Murmurs were heard among the witches and wizards.

“What say you?” Morrison asked, “Have we been given enough evidence to lock Rita Skeeter up for reasons that she is an unregistered Animagus?”

“Aye”s were heard among the Wizengamot. Morrison looked at the bottle.

“Rita Skeeter,” he said, “You are hereby sentenced to a period no shorter than three years, no longer than five years at Azkaban prison for illegally practicing the art of the Animagus. How do you plead?”

The beetle buzzed more angrily around the jar.

“Aurors,” Morrison said, “Take Miss Skeeter to Azkaban.”

The Aurors nodded and walked down the row, passed Hermione, then down the steps and out of the courtroom.

“Miss Bones,” Morrison said, “Please go to the Daily Prophet office. I think they will be happy to know of the breaking news about one Rita Skeeter. Tell them that the detailed story will be given to them as soon as possible.”

“Yes, sir,” Susan said.

She got up from her seat and walked down the stairs and left the courtroom.

“Miss Granger?” Morrison said, “Would you please come over here? Bring your notes as well.”

Hermione smiled and nodded then got up from her seat and walked over in front of Morrison. She handed her notes to Morrison, who quickly read through them. He then looked at her and grinned.

“This is very good, Miss Granger,” he said.

“Thank you,” Hermione said.

“This is too good for Court Scribe,” he said, “So, I tell you what. The Daily Prophet is looking for a Court Respondent.”

“Sir, I don't think I'm meant to be a journalist,” Hermione said.

“Oh, then you'll be perfect for this,” Morrison said, “You see, as Court Respondent, you'll be overseeing each and everyone of my cases. The Daily Prophet is always wanting the inside information on the cases I judge over. That will be your job.”

“I thought that was what a Court Scribe did,” Hermione said.

“Court Scribes are only the authors of the records,” Morrison said, “And between you and me, they are very busy. It is the bottom of the metaphorical judicial food chain. You deserve better than that. This job may only be temporary, Miss Granger. You never know. Before too long, you may be up where Susan is.”

He lowered his voice to a whisper.

“And between you and me,” he said softly, “I think you'd deserve it more.”

He grinned and Hermione just smiled.

“So what do you say?” Morrison asked.

Hermione considered it for a moment.

“I'll do it,” she said.

“Wonderful!” Morrison said, “As for when you work, you don't really have a strict schedule. You will just be with me during my cases. While it is true I may have a few cases on one day, I may not have any for a few days on end. Right now, you have your first assignment. Once Susan tells the Daily Prophet about this breaking news, I'm sure they'll be buzzing themselves. I need you to perfect these wonderful notes and give them to the Daily Prophet. While they will have the job of making sure the rest of the information is right, none of your words will be touched. Over the years, of course, the Daily Prophet has been known to alter the truth in the paper. But recently, they stick to the truth. So whatever you decide to give them, will be in the paper. As I said, your name doesn't have to be in the paper unless you want it to be. Is that all right for you?”

“Yeah,” Hermione said.

“Wonderful,” Morrison said, “It will be a pleasure to work with you, then. You may go.”


Hermione smiled and walked down to the courtroom floor. She sat on one of the benches, and looked over her notes. Thirty minutes later, she walked out of the room, as the new Court Respondent for the Wizengamot.

----------------------------------------------
End of chapter! Yes, I know I promised the house would be in this chapter, but it will be in the next one. As I started writing this, I planned that the interview would be very short, and then it would go straight to the house, but then all of this came to mind as I wrote, and I surprised myself with the Rita Skeeter idea.

Hope you liked it. More to come, I promise!

Feedback would be wonderful!


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  #5  
Old August 8th, 2009, 7:05 pm
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Re: Butterfly Kisses (Sequel to Harry Potter and the Return to Hogwarts)

Chapter 5
The New House

Author's Note: This chapter will be in Hermione and Ron's Point-of-Views.

(Hermione's POV)

“... floor, Daily Prophet Headquarters,” the cool voice overhead said, as the lifts opened.

Hermione walked out of the lifts and down the narrow hallway. Interdepartmental memos were flying in and out of doorways, and up and down the hallway. Hermione had to duck as one rather large memo flew just over where her head had been a moment before. At the end of the hallway, a large plaque on the door read:

DAILY PROPHET HEADQUARTERS


Below the title were various important staff members' names. Hermione opened the door, walked through it, and almost ran headlong into Susan Bones.

“Watch it!” Susan exclaimed, then saw who it was, “Oh, Hermione! Was hoping to see you before you left. What are you doing here? Did you get the job? Are you the new Court Scribe?”

“No,” Hermione said, “Actually I am the new Court Respondent.”

“That would explain why you are up here,” Susan said, “Well, congratulations. Does that mean we won't see each other as much?”

“Actually, I work directly with Head Judge Morrison,” Hermione said.

“Oh, great!” Susan said.

“I'm up here to give the notes on the Rita Skeeter case,” Hermione said.

“You better go then,” Susan said, “After I gave them the news about that, they were pretty furious wondering where the rest of the story was. I told them that I didn't have it, but someone would get it to them. You didn't hear it from me, but it could go on the front page of tomorrow's edition.”

Hermione almost choked. Her notes could be on the front page of the Daily Prophet?

“Well, I better get going,” Susan said, she turned, then turned back to Hermione, “Oh, before I forget!”

She opened the folder she was carrying and handed a piece of parchment to Hermione.

“Take that to the security desk in the Atrium,” Susan said, “You'll get your Ministry pass and all the information you need in a little pamphlet. Did Herb give you a schedule for work?”

“He told me he didn't really have a schedule,” Hermione said, “And that I would work his cases, so I would work when he had one.”

“That doesn't help much, does it?” Susan said, shaking her head, “I swear... Morrison is as sharp as a tack, but not enough common sense to fill a cauldron. Oh, don't tell him I said that! Well, I tell you what. See me tomorrow, and I will have the schedule of all of Morrison's cases for the next couple of weeks. That should help.”

“Yeah, sounds great,” Hermione said, “Also I'd hate to ask this already. But I never got any information from Morrison on my salary?”

“Oh, we'll discuss that later,” Susan said, waving a dismissive hand.

“Oh, all right,” Hermione said.

“Welcome to the team, Hermione,” Susan said, “I'm so excited we're working together.”

“Yeah,” Hermione said, “Well, I better get these notes to the Daily Prophet.”

Susan nodded and waved goodbye, then left the office. Hermione walked up to the front desk.

“Do you have an appointment?” the witch at the desk said, without looking up.

“Er...” Hermione said, “Actually I have the notes for the Rita Skeeter case.”

Suddenly, the door behind the desk opened, and a man walked out, looking frustrated. Hermione was surprised when he had walked over to her.

“You're the one with the scoop on the Skeeter case?” he said, quickly.

“Er, yeah,” Hermione said, “I was the Court Respondent for the case. I have all the notes here --”

Right when Hermione showed him the stack of parchment, the man took it from her quickly. He sped-read over it, nodding and grinning.

“Yes, yes,” he said, more to himself than Hermione, “Exactly what I need.”

He looked at Hermione.

“Well,” he said, “Miss -?”

“Oh... Granger,” Hermione said, “Hermione Granger.”

“Miss Granger,” he said, “You did this?”

“Yes, sir,” Hermione said.

“Good,” he said, “Very good.”

He took out his wand and conjured up a piece of parchment. He handed it to Hermione.

“Give this to the front desk,” he said, nodding to the desk, “Everything should be correct.”

Before Hermione could ask what the parchment was, the man rushed back into the office. Hermione walked over to the desk.

“Yes?” the witch asked.

Hermione handed her the piece of parchment. She took a long glance at it, then to Hermione. She raised an eyebrow, then opened a compartment in her desk. A shuffling of metal was heard. She then stuck out a closed fist to Hermione. Hermione put out her hand, reluctantly. Ten large galleons dropped into it. Hermione looked surprised.

“Er...” she said, “What --”

“Your payment for your scoop,” the witch said, “Must have been a good one. Most people only get seven, if that.”

“Well, thanks!” Hermione said.

The witch just smiled. Hermione stood there, not sure what to do next.

“Anything else?” the witch asked, looking up at her.

“Huh? Oh, no,” Hermione said.

“Well, see you later then,” the witch said.

Hermione nodded and walked back out of the office, pocketing the ten galleons.

-----------------------------------

(Ron's POV)

At half-past-two, Ron and Harry were in the locker room in the Auror Department. Both looked very tired, as they dressed back into their normal clothes.

“So you're seeing that house today?” Harry asked Ron.

“Yeah,” Ron said, “I'm meeting the real estate guy at the house in about an hour-and-a-half. Hermione's coming along. I'm supposed to meet her at the Leaky Cauldron in a little while.”

“She had her interview today, right?” Harry asked.

“Yeah,” Ron said, “I hope she did well. She was pretty nervous this morning. You should have –“

Suddenly, Billingsly walked past Ron and Harry in the locker room. He took a quick glance at them, then walked on.

“It's like he thinks we're the reason Thorpe is gone,” Ron whispered to Harry, as he watched Billingsly disappear into the next row of lockers.

“Rubbish,” Harry whispered, “Why would he think that?”

Ron shrugged, not having a good answer.

“It's Thorpe's own fault he didn't tell the Ministry about his father,” Harry whispered, “Thorpe was lucky he wasn't brought up on charges for something.”

Suddenly, a locker door slammed and Billingsly quickly appeared in the row of lockers that Ron and Harry were at.

“You going on about Thorpe, are you?” he asked, loudly.

“No,” Ron lied, “Of course not.”

“I don't believe you,” he said, “You know as well as I do Thorpe deserved to be with us. A dream ruined all because the Ministry feels threatened again.”

“Hey, we agree with you, mate,” Harry said, “People aren't always like their parents.”

“Yeah, you're right,” Billingsly said, “So why did this happen to Thorpe?”

“Thorpe left on his own,” a familiar voice said, “It was nothing any of you did.”

Ron, Harry and Billingsly looked down at the other end of the lockers. Shippe was standing there.

“And there was nothing,” Shippe said, “any of you could have done.”

“You know as well as I do that that is total rubbish!” Billingsly said, “He was forced to resign because of his father!”

Shippe walked, in a quick pace, down to Ron, Harry and Billingsly. He got in Billingsly's face.

“Look, Billingsly,” he said, “I tried to help Thorpe. I did everything I could try. I told them he was a wonderful part of this department, and that he could have a bright future as an Auror if he trained well. They didn't listen to me.”

“I don't believe that,” Harry said, “I know Kingsley Shacklebolt. He would listen to reason.”

“I don't think you know the Minister as well as you think you do, Potter,” Shippe said, “Ever since he started this investigation, I hardly recognize him. If you ask me, I think he's changed ever since the Second War ended. He wants to make sure something like that never happens again, and he'll do everything he can to make it that way.”

Shippe took a quick glance at Ron, Harry and Billingsly.

“I trust that the three of you don't have any bad marks in your past,” he said, “I'd hate to lose my three best students.”

Without another word, he turned and walked back down the row of lockers and disappeared to the left. Billingsly looked at Harry and Ron and shook his head, disgusted. He walked away and went the same way as Shippe.

“I think I should talk to Kingsley,” Harry said.

“Why?” Ron asked.

“Something's not right here,” he said, “You know him as well as I do. Would the Kingsley we know act like this?”

Ron shrugged.

“Absolute power corrupts absolutely,” he quoted.

“Not when it comes to Kingsley,” Harry said, shaking his head.

Harry put on his trainers, tied them and shut the locker door. He took his things and walked away.

“See you, mate,” Ron said.

Harry waved a hand toward him, and then disappeared to his right. Ron finished getting dressed and headed for the Atrium.

-------------------------

When Ron arrived at the Leaky Cauldron via Floo Powder, it was almost three-o-clock. He found Hermione sitting at a window-side table by herself. She was half-way through a Butterbeer, reading what looked to be like a large pamphlet.

“One butterbeer, Tom,” Ron said, nodding to the barman.

Tom nodded. Ron walked over to Hermione's table and sat across from her. Hermione smiled at him.

“I called the taxi,” she said, “It'll be at the end of the street in about fifteen minutes.”

Ron nodded.

“So?” he said.

“So... what?” Hermione asked.

“So... the interview!” Ron said, “How did you do?”

“Oh, right,” Hermione said.

Ron listened intently, as Hermione told him what happened in Courtroom B and the Daily Prophet Headquarters. Hermione only paused a moment when Tom brought Ron his drink and Ron paid for it.

“You're kidding!” Ron said, taking a large gulp of butterbeer, “So ol' Skeeter got what was finally coming to her? Mum will be ecstatic!”

“Kind of how I felt,” Hermione said, “Anyway, I first went into the interview expecting to be one of the Court Scribes. By the end, Morrison told me I was the newest Court Respondent and would report on everyone of his cases.”

“Isn't he the bloke who is the Head Judge?” Ron asked.

“Yep,” Hermione said.

“So you're a part of the Wizengamot?” Ron asked.

“Er... the very bottom, if I am,” Hermione said.

“Still, that is pretty good,” Ron said.

“Yeah,” Hermione said, “And what is more, it seems that if I have a good 'scoop' for the Daily Prophet, I get paid for it from them as well. I got ten galleons just for giving my notes to them.”

“Wow,” Ron said.

“Yep,” Hermione said.

Ron and Hermione finished their drinks and left the Leaky Cauldron, then headed down to the end of the street. A couple minutes later, the taxi arrived.

“33 Bank Street,” Ron told the cabbie, when he and Hermione stepped into the back of the car.

“I know where it is,” the cabbie said, “It will be about a thirty minute drive. I tell you, this is a strange neighborhood to meet you two in. Never hear a good story around here. You wouldn't believe the folks I get around here. Dressed in funny-colored cloaks even when the days are scorchers!”

Ron and Hermione just nodded.

“Oh, I'm sorry,” the cabbie said, “Didn't mean to pry.”

The cabbie started the time-clock and drove down the road.

---------------------------------------------

The journey took roughly thirty minutes, just as the cabbie promised. The cabbie didn't say much, probably thinking that Ron and Hermione were just like the “folks” he saw around the Leaky Cauldron. Throughout the ride, Ron was debating whether or not to tell Hermione to modify the man's memory, but he thought better of it.

“Here we are,” the cabbie finally said, as he stopped on the curb in the middle of a street of houses, “Thirty minutes, just like I said, eh?”

Hermione smiled and paid the man with Muggle money. Ron followed her out of the car, and the cabbie tipped his hat.

“You two won't be needing a ride back, will ya?” he asked.

“Nope,” Ron said.

“Good day, then,” the cabbie said, and drove off.

Across the road, parked outside a one-story house, was a dark-blue Toyota. The door of the car opened, and a man walked out. The man was in his mid-fifties, and he was wearing a black business-like suit. He looked a little large around the middle. A briefcase was in his right hand.

“Mr. Weasley, you are early.” the man said, moving his free hand over his eyes to shade out the sun.

“Better than late,” Ron said, as he and Hermione walked over to the man, “Oh, Mr. Wycott, this is my fiancee, Hermione Granger.”

“Sal Wycott,” Mr. Wycott said, shaking Hermione's hand, “Cape and Wycott Realties. Miss Granger, you said?”

“Yes, sir,” Hermione said.

“You wouldn't be related to the dentists with the same name?” Mr. Wycott said, “Richard and Helen?”

“They are my parents,” Hermione said, nodding and blushing.

“Well, this is a grand surprise!” Mr. Wycott said, “They always talk about their daughter, but I always forgot your name. Best dentists in the city, you ask me. You tell them hello for me when you talk to them, will ya?”

“Sure,” Hermione said.

“Well, Mr. Weasley,” Mr. Wycott said, looking at Ron, “I take it that you would like to see the house?”

Ron nodded. Mr. Wycott put out a hand, indicating the house behind him. Ron looked at it. At first glance, it looked like your normal one-story house. Two windows, adorned with shutters, were on each side of a mahogany door. The door had brownish siding. A stone walkway led to the door. Small Bushes stood under each window. A Chimney stuck out of the side of the roof, indicating that the house came with a fireplace.

“You will be happy to know that this is one of the nicest low-priced houses on our list,” Mr. Wycott said, leading Ron and Hermione down the stone walkway, “Oh, its one bedroom, of course, so most of our customers pass over it. They all have young children with them. But it does come with the option of being furnished. Cape and Wycott Realities are allied with a beautiful furniture store, and they cut their prices for us. That's always a plus among our hopeful house-owners.”

Mr. Wycott sure knew what he was doing, Ron thought to himself, as he listened intently to the man.

“Shall we go inside?” Mr. Wycott asked.

Ron and Hermione nodded.

“Very anxious,” Mr. Wycott said, grinning, “I like it.”

He walked over to the door. On the wall was a small white box with a number-pad on it. The realty's logo was on it.

“Once the house is purchased,” Mr. Wycott said, “This will, of course, be removed. It is only for our realtors access. We don't lose keys this way. Years ago, we didn't have these. We lost keys all the time. Bad for business you know.”

He laughed and touched four digits and Ron heard a small, quick beep. Mr. Wycott opened the top of the box and reached inside. He took out a small brass key.

“Here's the little devil,” he said.

He unlocked the door and opened it.

“Ladies first,” he said, glancing at Hermione.

Hermione smiled and walked inside. Ron followed and Mr. Wycott came in behind him. They were inside a good-sized living room. The fireplace was the first thing Ron noticed. It was marble-topped, with stone on the sides that matched the sidewalk outside. Ron mentally made a note that, if they got the house, he could connect it to the Floo Network.

“As you see, this is, of course the living room,” Mr. Wycott said, “The fireplace is wonderful for those cold nights we always get here in Merry Ol' London. The house isn't furnished yet, of course, but if you were to purchase and want that option, the movers would be here at your convenience, and they always promise to move everything in themselves. If you will, the kitchen is this way.”

Mr. Wycott led Ron and Hermione toward the kitchen.

“Now, a downside to the house,” he said, “is that you don't have a dining room that many of the houses are known to have. But the kitchen...”

Ron and Hermione walked through the archway and into the kitchen.

“... is big enough for a nice table to eat at, as you can see,” Mr. Wycott continued, “And it already comes furnished with the goods.”

The kitchen was indeed big enough. Ron thought it was even a bit bigger than the Burrow's kitchen, and definitely less crowded. Black marble covered the counter-top.

“If you follow me,” Mr. Wycott said.

Mr. Wycott led them back through the living room and down a hallway at the other end. A door on each side of the narrow hallway each led into rooms, while a sliding door at the end of the hallway looked like it led into a backyard. Mr. Wycott opened the door on the left. It led into a small lavatory. Black and white tile covered the floor and the walls were white, and adorned with red roses. Mr. Wycott opened the other room.

“And of course, the bedroom,” Mr. Wycott said.

As Ron walked in, he found that the bedroom was a little bit bigger than his bedroom at home, and far less crowded, even without all the furniture. The walls and carpet were maroon-colored.

“It comes complete with a walk-in closet, and a wonderful view of the backyard,” Mr. Wycott said, “Also, I'd imagine it is quite cozy on cold nights.”

He chuckled, and Ron tried his best to hide the color rising on his cheeks.

“The backyard,” Mr. Wycott, “is rather small, but I imagine it would be nice enough for the two of you and a few guests should you ever want to have a party or something.”

The backyard, Ron noticed as he walked into it, was definitely much smaller than the yard he was used to at the Burrow. It was kind of open, but he could modify that so no Muggles would look in, in case magic was being used.

“That's the end of the tour,” he said, looking expectantly at Ron and Hermione, “I can give the two of you time to think it over if you want.”

Ron and Hermione nodded.

“I'll just be inside,” Mr. Wycott grinned.

Ron watched Mr. Wycott walk back into the house.

“What do you think?” he asked Hermione.

“It's brilliant,” Hermione said.

“Rather small,” Ron said, “But it won't be permanent, of course. Definitely cozy.”

He laughed, and Hermione shook her head, grinning.

“Can we afford it?” Hermione asked.

“You're the expert,” Ron said, then lowered his voice to a whisper, “You know, on Muggle money. What do you think?”

“I think,” Hermione said, “that I really like this place. Another plus is that it is definitely bigger than George's flat.”

Ron had to agree. Ron and Hermione had to live above George's shop in Hogsmeade during the few weeks they worked there, after George got injured. At times, Ron felt very cramped in that place.

“Should we take it?” Ron asked.

Hermione looked around at the back yard and at the house. She smiled at Ron and nodded.

“Brilliant,” Ron said, “Let's go tell Mr. Wycott the good news.”

Ron and Hermione walked back into the house, and found Mr. Wycott standing in the middle of the living room looking through papers. He looked up at them, questioningly.

“So?” he asked.

“We'll take it,” Ron said.

“Brilliant!” Mr. Wycott exclaimed, walking over to them and shaking Ron's hand, “When do you plan on moving in?”

Ron and Hermione looked at each other.

“First of the month?” Ron asked her.

Hermione nodded.

“Perfect,” Mr. Wycott said, “Tell you what. I'm going to be pretty busy all week, so I won't have time to work through the papers until Friday. How about I give you the address for my building and we meet there on Saturday to do the papers? I can give you the key then. Of course, if you change your mind, you can always call me too. Sometimes people change their minds. Cold feet. Too soon sometimes, you know. Especially for a young couple like yourselves. All understandable. But if you don't change your mind, meet me on Saturday like I said. We'll work it all out and I'll schedule the movers before you move in. You do want the place furnished, right?”

Ron nodded.

“Wonderful,” Mr. Wycott said, “Well, if there are no more questions, I think that is all for today. It was a pleasure meeting the both of you.”

Ron and Hermione smiled and nodded. A few minutes later, after assuring Mr. Wycott that they would just call another taxi, Ron and Hermione watched as Mr. Wycott left in his car down the road. When they were sure nobody could see them, they apparated back to the Leaky Cauldron, then went to the Burrow via Floo Powder, to give the good news.

-----------------------------------

A/N: Another chapter finished! Well, Ron and Hermione have their house! Did you like it? I thought it was rather good for a one-bedroom house. As an American, I'm not at all familiar with European houses, so I hope it was good.

More to come! Feedback would be wonderful!


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  #6  
Old August 8th, 2009, 7:07 pm
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Re: Butterfly Kisses (Sequel to Harry Potter and the Return to Hogwarts)

Chapter 6
Firewhiskey and Fudge


Author's Note: This chapter will be in Harry's Point of View.

(Right after Harry's conversation with Ron ended)

“See you mate,” Ron said to Harry.

Harry said nothing, but waved a hand to him, giving a non-verbal goodbye. He didn't want Ron thinking that he was mad at him. Which was the truth. He wasn't mad at Ron. Ron did nothing wrong. At the moment, he was mad at the Minister of Magic, and had a perfect reason to be.

If the rumors were right about Kingsley Shacklebolt's involvement in this so-called “purge”, then he was already treading down the path his predecessors traveled down. It was fear that drove Ministers of Magic Cornelius Fudge and Rufus Scrimgeour into their crazy “Voldemort isn't back; the world, wizarding and Muggle alike, is perfectly fine” schemes, and the latter got himself killed for it. Of course, Voldemort was definitely not back. He was long gone, his body now rotting into nothingness at the bottom of the Hogwarts Lake. And his Death Eaters were either dead or locked away in Azkaban forever. Now, with this new purge that had been the cause of Thorpe's resignation, Shacklebolt seemed to be acting as if hell had broken loose once again and the Third War was about to start only months after the Second one ended.

Harry knew he had to do something about it. He had to find out what was going on in Kingsley's mind. Perhaps he could get Thorpe his job back in the process, as well. Thorpe might have been a rough individual that reminded Harry of the Slytherin House (and he wouldn't have been surprised if Thorpe was a Slytherin), but he definitely wasn't a future Death Eater (if the Death Eaters even had a future). Thorpe was a good man deep inside and he had all the makings of a fine Auror.

Harry walked out of the Auror Headquarters, nodding his head and giving silent greetings and goodbyes to every witch or wizard that passed him as he went. He walked into the crowded lifts, joining the witches and wizards who were leaving the Ministry for the day, though he wouldn't be leaving with them just yet. A couple minutes later, as the lifts gradually became more crowded, the doors opened at the first floor, where the Minister of Magic's office was located. Harry pushed his way past the witches and wizards, as more started coming on, and walked down the hall. At the end of the hall, a golden plaque on the large double-doors read:

KINGSLEY SHACKLEBOLT
MINISTER OF MAGIC

Harry forced his way through the doors, and walked past the secretary's desk. The secretary, an older man, who was a retired Auror that was put there for the Minister's protection, stared at him as he walked toward the door.

“Sir!” he said, “Sir! The Minister is very busy. He is in a very private meeting.”

Harry ignored him. The secretary moved with quick agility and arrived at the Minister's door before Harry could get there.

“The Minister is in a meeting with somebody, sir,” he said to Harry, “He is not seeing anyone else at the moment. If you come over to the desk with me, we can work out a special time that he can see you.”

“Oh yeah?” Harry asked, his rage building inside him at the man, “When? Two weeks from now? Two months from now?”

“The Minister is a very busy man, Mr. Potter,” the secretary said.

“So you do know who I am,” Harry said.

“Yes, sir,” the secretary said.

“You should also know that the Minister and I are friends,” Harry said, “We go back --”

“To the days of the Order of the Phoenix,” the secretary said, “Yeah, I heard it all, Mr. Potter. But I don't think that gets you a free pass to walk into the Minister's office, especially when he is in a very important meeting. Especially not for some teen punk, even if you did save the world.”

“You think so?” Harry asked, ignoring the last bit, fearing his rage would win over, “Maybe you should ask him.”

Harry stared at him, and crossed his arms. The man looked at him for a moment, then sighed and shook his head. Harry thought the man was still not going to let him through, but then the man turned his back on Harry, and looked at the door.

“Damn youngsters are going to be the death of me,” the secretary muttered, though Harry could hear him, “Think they know everything these days.”

He opened the door and peered his head through. Harry could hear Kingsley say something, though it was very indistinct.

“Yes, I know sir,” the secretary said, “You said no visitors. But Harry Potter is here. He says he needs to see you. It sounds very urgent, but I told him to –“

Harry heard Kingsley's voice again.

“Are you sure, sir?” the secretary said, “Yes. Yes, sir.”

He kept the door ajar, and turned to Harry.

“You may go in,” he said to him, “But you should count yourself lucky. Don't be too long.”

The secretary walked back to his desk, muttering what Harry thought sounded like, “little punks.” Harry walked into the room. Kingsley was sitting behind his large oak desk, his back against the large chair. But that was not who he was looking at. Former Minister of Magic, Cornelius Fudge, was standing in between the two chairs in front of the desk. He was looking right at Harry.

“Harry!” Fudge exclaimed, “What a pleasant surprise!”

“You wanted to see me, Harry?” Kingsley asked, looking right at Harry, his hands together, as if in prayer, on the desk.

Harry noticed that he did not look as pleased as Fudge at the sudden intrusion. Kingsley motioned his still-clasped hands to the empty chair on the left. Harry walked over to the chair and sat down. Fudge smiled and sat back down in his chair. Harry looked at Fudge, and had a sudden funny feeling that Kingsley Shacklebolt wasn't the master-planner of the purge that had taken place.

“Harry?” Kingsley asked.

Harry wrenched his attention back to Kingsley.

“You wanted to see me?” Kingsley asked again.

“Er... yeah,” Harry said, though he suddenly felt as if it wasn't Kingsley he should be talking to, “One of my fellow Aurors-in-Training, Thorpe, resigned this morning, and I couldn't help but think that you had something to do with it.”

Kingsley looked at Fudge, then back at Harry.

“I take it,” Kingsley said, “that you have heard about the investigations going on?”

“Yes,” Harry said, “I heard about that. And, if you want my honest opinion, I think it is bonkers.”

“Bonkers?” Fudge asked, his voice changing from pleasant to one quite darker, “I thought, out of everyone, you'd be the first one to praise these investigations. I mean, if I remember right, it was you who discovered the first Ministry worker who turned out to be working for the other side. Lucius Malfoy, remember?”

“If I remember right, Fudge,” Harry said, “It was you who thought I was going mad when I accused Lucius Malfoy of that.”

“Oh, the past is the past, Harry!” Fudge said, chuckling, “It's time to focus on the future.”

“And the future is deciding who is fit to be an Auror, and who isn't?” Harry asked, “If you ask me, Samson Thorpe is just as fit to be an Auror as I am. He's leagues better, I bet, Minister, than that senile old secretary of yours was when he was an Auror.”

“You misunderstand the meaning of the whole investigation,” Kingsley said, “The Aurors just aren't under investigation, everyone in the Ministry is.”

“Precisely!” Fudge said, “We must learn from our past mistakes, Harry.”

“And you start the investigation off by searching through the histories of the witches and wizards who are training to be Aurors?” Harry asked, “Look, just because Thorpe's father made a bad choice, doesn't mean his son has to pay for it! Look, why don't you just order Thorpe's father to come in and you can ask him --”

“Even if we had any questions, Harry,” Kingsley said, “Thaddeus Thorpe was killed in the final battle which you and I were a part of.”

Harry stared at Kingsley.

“He was crushed under the same rubble that put your friend Ron in a coma for a few hours,” Kingsley said.

Harry's throat went dry.

“We believe,” Kingsley continued, “that he was in one of the top rooms of the house when Mr. Weasley and Fenrir Greyback were dueling. When their battle brought down part of the roof, we believe that it crushed Thaddeus Thorpe, as well as Fenrir Greyback.”

So in a sense, Ron had a part in Thorpe's father's death. The thought made Harry's stomach clench.

“We only found out a few days ago that Thaddeus was one of them,” Kingsley said, “That's how long it has taken to go through all of the details of that battle. Magic or no magic.”

“Good riddance to a bad soul, if you ask me,” Fudge said.

Harry stared at Fudge.

“Still doesn't mean Samson Thorpe is a possible threat,” Harry said.

“Oh, it doesn't, does it?” Kingsley asked, staring at Harry, “Let me give you a little scenario. Our victory at the final battle of the Second War was big for the public morale. Huge. Epic, even. So, of course the Daily Prophet was going to try to dig their heels into every detail of it. They've followed the clean-up to the point of annoyance. I get owls flying in and out of my secretary's office delivering letters from Aurors who had cleaned up the whole thing, and from people in the Daily Prophet. The clean-up crew beg me to pass a law saying that the Daily Prophet reporters can't dig too deep into the work of the Aurors. The Daily Prophet reporters, when they aren't asking me to give more details of the final battle, complain to me that the clean-up crew is pushing them away or using spells to hide the details from them. It's maddening.”

“Now you know how I felt, Kingsley,” Fudge said, chuckling.

Kingsley ignored the former Minister.

“Sooner or later, Harry,” he said, “the Daily Prophet is going to get a hold of names of the unmentioned Death Eaters. I ask you, Harry. How would it seem to the public if they found out that the relatives of those named Death Eaters work right here in the Ministry of Magic? I have promised the public, over and over, that the Ministry is doing everything to get past the horrible, dreadful days when Voldemort and the Death Eaters reigned free in the halls of this place. And now, there are relatives, family members, of the Death Eaters working here?”

“You can't blame them on the bad choices someone else made, Minister,” Harry said.

“Harry, you don't understand!” Kingsley exclaimed, smacking the desk with a fist, “If you did, you'd be supporting this whole thing instead of questioning me about it.”

“Explain it to me then,” Harry said, simply, “make me understand.”

Kingsley sighed and stood up. He walked over to the fire and stared into it. Harry remembered (and it seemed a lifetime ago) when he watched Ron pace back and forth in front of the fire, just minutes before the final battle of the Second War. At the time, he wondered if Ron was just going to jump in the fireplace and Floo out of there. Harry, himself, had almost wanted to do the same. Now he wondered if Kingsley was thinking of doing the same thing. As Kingsley walked back and forth, Harry noticed that Fudge wasn't saying a thing. A minute later, Kingsley stopped, mid-pace, and looked at Harry.

“Harry,” he said, “What I am about to tell you cannot leave this room. Do you understand?”

“Yes, sir,” Harry said.

“If it does,” Kingsley said, “I will have no choice but to kick you out of the Aurors.”

Harry was about to complain. That seemed like a very extreme thing for the Minister to do. But Harry only nodded.

“Yes, sir,” he said.

Kingsley stared at him. Harry knew he was trying to see if he was telling the truth.

“Okay,” he said.

He walked back over to his desk and sat down. He stared at Harry.

“At this moment,” he said, “many of the more important details of the final battle have yet to be revealed to the public. Before the final battle, we didn't know the names of the prisoners in Azkaban who had escaped with the Death Eaters and had joined up with them. After the final battle, those prisoners were captured and sent back to Azkaban... at least those that hadn't perished in the battle.”

Harry nodded, silently wondering how many had perished along with Thaddeus Thorpe.

“Ever since that battle,” Kingsley continued, “The Ministry has been doing our best to discover the names of those who had been killed. At first, this was just to make sure that everyone in that battle had either been killed or captured. Originally, we wanted to know if any of the prisoners or Death Eaters had escaped. Then we realized that if the families of these prisoners found out that their...” he struggled to find the word, “loved ones were killed, then they just might want revenge.”

Harry nodded. It did seem like it could happen.

“Well,” Kingsley continued, “At first, the Aurors weren't having any luck discovering who those prisoners were. Then we started getting answers. A couple of the prisoners were wizards who had gone to Azkaban at a younger age and didn't have no family, as far as we could tell. Then just a few days ago, we discovered Thaddeus Thorpe. Well, when your instructor heard the name in one of the meetings, he immediately connected the man to your fellow Auror-in-Training Samson Thorpe.”

Harry remembered what Shippe had told him in the locker room.

“I tried to help Thorpe. I did everything I could try. I told them he was a wonderful part of this department, and that he could have a bright future as an Auror if he trained well. They didn't listen to me.”

“Shippe thought Thorpe was innocent,” Harry said, “You didn't listen to him, did you?”

“Shippe doesn't understand!” Kingsley exclaimed.

He sighed and paused for a moment.

“Please understand, Harry,” Kingsley said, “It is no secret that you and Ron Weasley were a part of that final battle. What if Thorpe found out that his father was a part of that battle? What if he discovered how his father died? Don't you think he would blame his death on you? Or Ron? I mean... Ron was only a few feet away from where Thaddeus would have been. Sooner or later, Thorpe would have found out that little detail.”

“Look, Minister,” Harry said, “If you're trying to protect me and Ron --”

Fudge laughed. Harry and Kingsley glanced at him.

“Protect you and Weasley?” Fudge asked, “We're not just trying to protect you and your little friend. Though now that you mention it, you should thank us for that. No, no, no. We are trying to protect the whole Ministry. The whole wizarding world!”

“Well, if you're trying to do this,” Harry said, “so it doesn't start another war, then I quite agree with it. But --”

“Of course we're trying to prevent another war,” Fudge said.

“Mr. Fudge,” Harry said, “I was starting to wonder. What is your involvement in this whole thing?”

“What are you getting at, Potter?” Fudge asked, “I may not be the Minister anymore, but I'm just as much a part of this Ministry as you are, if – if not more!”

“There are scores of witches and wizards who are part of the Ministry,” Harry said, “But they are not sitting in this office having a meeting with the Minister of Magic. But if you like, I could get them.”

Kingsley chuckled softly. Fudge, on the other hand, looked furious.

“I mean,” Harry said, “I would understand if you were just in here because you missed the old office. I can see how it would bring back some memories. But, to me, this doesn't look like a normal visit. Even the secretary outside said it was 'very important meeting' that the Minister was in.”

“I-I don't think that is none of your business,” Fudge said, flustered.

“Of course not,” Harry said.

Before Fudge could say something else, Harry looked back at Kingsley.

“Well, Minister,” he said, standing up from his seat, “I came up here to attempt to get Thorpe back his job, but it looks like that isn't going to happen.”

“Harry,” Kingsley said, “sit back down.”

Harry grinned. He sat back down in his seat and looked at the Minister again.

“You probably know Samson Thorpe better than I do,” Kingsley said, “Tell me about him.”

“Sir?” Harry asked, surprised at the turn of events.

“Well,” Kingsley said, “If you, as you say, came up here to get Thorpe his job back, then you must think highly of him. Now, forgive me, but I don't know much about Thorpe. Therefore, I want you to tell me about him.”

Harry opened his mouth, then paused. It was true, he didn't know much about Samson Thorpe.

“Well,” he said, “I know that he has the makings of a good Auror. He has his faults of course, but I'm sure you agree that everyone in the world has some of their own.”

Kingsley chuckled and nodded. He moved his hands in a “continue, please,” motion. Harry struggled to find more good things about Thorpe. It was true, he didn't see the man much outside Auror training.

“I take it that you don't know much about him,” Kingsley said, eyebrows raised.

Harry shook his head. Before Kingsley could say something else, he continued quickly.

“Still doesn't mean I think he shouldn't be allowed to return to Auror training, sir,” he said.

“Well, then,” Kingsley said.

Harry wondered at that moment what Kingsley was going to say next. Perhaps Harry should have tried to find more good things to say about Thorpe. Things that could have made Kingsley realize that the man wasn't like his father. Kingsley took a piece of parchment from a large stack and a quill. He dipped it in ink and started writing something down.

“Harry,” he said, as he wrote, “I believe you do know Thorpe better than you say.”

“You do, sir?” Harry asked.

“Oh, yes,” Kingsley said, “But if you doubt yourself, then this is what I think you should do. I think you should go visit Samson Thorpe.”

“Sir?” Harry said again.

“He lives on the outskirts of London,” Kingsley said, finishing up what he was writing. “I know this, because he told me after a long discussion. A moment later, his temper rose, and he stormed out of my office. Unfortunately, I couldn't tell him about his father.”

“You mean you want to tell him about his father?” Harry asked, surprised.

“No, Harry,” Kingsley said, handing Harry the piece of parchment, “I want you to tell him.”

“But,” Harry said, “I'm not sure --”

“You want Thorpe to get his job back, right?” Kingsley asked.

“Well, yeah,” Harry said, “But --”

“Go to his house,” Kingsley said, “Get to know him. Tell him about his father. It will be your choice to tell him exactly what happened to him. Then, and only then, ask him if he wants to get back into Auror training. If he does, I'll allow it, and I won't give another thought about it.”

“And if he doesn't?” Harry asked.

“Well, then,” Kingsley said, darkly, “For his sake, you just better hope we're wrong about his connections to the Dark Arts.”

----------------------------------

Harry walked out of the Minister's office, past the secretary who was giving him the nastiest of looks, and back toward the lifts. Once he was in the lifts, up toward the Atrium, it was only then that he looked at the piece of parchment. Written under Thorpe's address were the words:

“Watch your back. Good luck, Harry. You're going to need it.”

Harry stuffed the piece of parchment into his back pocket, as the cool voice overhead announced their arrival to the Atrium. Harry walked out of the lifts and over to one of the fireplaces, where he took the Floo Network to the Leaky Cauldron. On arrival, he declined a drink offer from Tom and walked out of the Leaky Cauldron. He raised up his wand arm. A second later, a rush of wind and the sound of creaking metal announced the arrival of the Knight Bus. Stan Shunpike walked out, followed by passengers headed for the Leaky Cauldron.

“Well, if it ain't Harry Potter!” Stan exclaimed, “'Choo looking for a ride?”

Harry only nodded and stepped onto the bus.

“Hey, Ern'!” Stan exclaimed, “Look 'oo it is. Harry Potter!”

Ernie just grunted. Harry sat down and Stan walked up to him. Harry paid Stan.

“Where 'bouts you headed?” Stan asked.

Harry said the address, and with a grunt from Ern and a creak of metal, the Knight Bus whooshed down the road.

“Ain't seen you in a while, have we Ern?” Stan said to Harry.

“How many times, Stan?” Ernie grunted, “How many times --”

“Yeah, yeah,” Stan sniffed, “Keep your hat on! So what'choo been up to, Harry? Heard you were an Auror, that's what I heard. Is that right?”

“Auror-in-training,” Harry said, simply.

“Oho!” Stan exclaimed, “'Ear that, Ern? Harry's going to make sure we don't have another Dark Lord on our hands.”

“Maybe he should take you to Azkaban then!” Ernie grunted, “Get you out of my hair, at the very least.”

Stan rolled his eyes.

“Dark Lord? Ha!” Stan laughed, then looked at Harry seriously, “Between you and me, I ain't got no evil blood in my body.”

Stan grinned, and Harry only nodded as he stared out the window at the scenery rushing by. Stan grabbed the Daily Prophet from his seat and opened it. Harry remembered the first time he had been on the Knight Bus. Sirius Black's face had been on the front page of the Daily Prophet Stan had been reading. It was almost as if Sirius was staring right at Harry. Somehow, thinking about it, it made Harry feel warmer inside.

“Looks like Rita Skeeter's new book is coming out soon,” Stan said, “Bet Ern' can't wait for that one. Prophet says it could have been out sooner, but it looks like Rita was waiting for the war to be officially over. Says she wanted more information.”

Stan put the Prophet down for a moment and looked at Harry.

“You ask me, I'd actually like to read that book,” Stan said, “Maybe she'll talk 'bout that final battle the Ministry's tryin' to hush up. You 'ear about that, Potter? Yeah, seems the Minister 'imself is trying to hush up that battle. Or that is what the Prophet thinks, anyway. Dunno if it is true or not. What'choo think 'bout that?”

Harry shrugged, thinking of the promise he made to the Minister less than thirty minutes prior.

“Yeah,” Stan sniffed, “Dunno either. I like the Minister. He's a good man. Hate to think any bad thoughts 'bout that one.”

Stan shrugged and went back to reading the Daily Prophet.

-------------------------------------------

Ten minutes later, the Knight Bus arrived at its destination.

“'Ere's your stop, Harry,” Stan announced, “Don't be a stranger, now.”

Harry nodded and hurried off the bus. Once he was clear of it, the bus roared down the street and disappeared into thin air. Harry saw the number seven, which was the number on the piece of parchment. The house was identical to the houses on each side of it. The only thing that was different was the lawn. It was high enough that Aunt Petunia herself probably would have called the police and demanded that the owner of the lawn be sentenced to life in prison for it.

Harry walked up the grey sidewalk toward the house. He knocked on the door. A minute later, there was still no answer. Harry knocked on the door again, louder this time. Five seconds later, the door opened. Samson Thorpe stood there. Harry immediately noticed the strong odor of what seemed to be firewhiskey.

“What is it?” Thorpe said, slurring his words a bit.

“Sam,” Harry said, saying the name Thorpe liked to be called, “It's me. Harry.”

“I know who you are, Potter,” Sam said, “Come on in.”

Harry walked into the house. Sam shut the door behind him and led Harry into the small living room. Harry spotted at least three empty bottles of firewhiskey on the floor near an old chair.

“Was having a one-man party,” Sam said, sitting down in the chair with force. “Not every day a wizard gets kicked out of Auror training without a warning.”

“Kicked out?” Harry asked, sitting on a couch, “Thought you resigned.”

“I did nothing of the bloody sort!” Sam yelled.

“Okay, okay,” Harry said, in a calming voice.

“Is that what they're saying?” Sam asked.

“They didn't tell you anything more?” Harry asked.

“No,” Sam said, “Shippe marches me up to the Minister's office. First I thought I was getting a one-way ticket right into being an official Auror. You see, he brought up Jasper too. So I thought we both had our names on that list.”

Harry knew that “Jasper” referred to Billingsly.

“Billingsly didn't get kicked out, though,” Harry said.

“No,” Sam said, “Apparently Jasper was just brought along to escort me out after the message was sent. They thought I might do something serious.”

Sam scoffed. He took his wand from the table next to his chair. Suddenly, two bottles full of firewhiskey came floating into the room and into his hands.

“You want one?” Sam asked.

“Er... sure,” Harry said.

Sam grinned and threw him a bottle. Harry caught it.

“Be a real party now,” Sam said, grinning and opening his bottle with his wand, “So... they get you too? Force you to resign?”

“No,” Harry said.

“Oh, they will,” Sam said, nodding seriously, “You can bet your wand on that. It's a purge, I tell you. A bloody purge. The Aurors don't matter no more, Potter. Yesterday's news now that Voldemort is gone.”

Sam scoffed.

“You know,” he said, “It's all my father wanted me to do.”

Harry listened intently. Now they were on the right subject.

“He wanted me to be an Auror, see,” Sam said, “I wanted to be a Quidditch Player.”

He put his hands up in quotes.

“Next big thing, Sam 'The Wham' Thorpe,” he said, “The best bloody beater in the whole world. My father took that out from under me. Then he was carted off to Azkaban.”

“Really?” Harry asked, trying to act surprised, “Why?”

“My mother was a Muggle,” Sam said, “She got in what the Muggles call a car accident. Apparently the Ministry took the investigation into their own hands. The head of the division that worked with Muggle stuff at the time. What was his name? Wait --”

Harry's throat went tight. It probably would have been Ron's father. That would have given the Ministry another reason Sam could have wanted revenge.

“Nope,” Sam said, “It was on the tip of my tongue. Forgot it. Anyway, my mother was killed in the car accident. They took her car into the Ministry, and whoever the guy was that worked on it must have messed up. Because apparently it seems that the car was tampered with. The Ministry went on believing that my father was the one who tampered with it. So they plugged him with my Mum's murder and carted him off to Azkaban. All because of some bloody mistake one of the Ministry workers must have made.”

Harry stared at Sam. Was what he said just the ramblings of someone drunk on firewhiskey? Or could it really be true that Mr. Weasley might have made a mistake and have been the reason Sam's father was sent to Azkaban?

“Sam,” Harry said, “Did you ever find out what happened to your father?”

Sam stared right at Harry.

“What do you mean?” Sam asked, “My father is still at Azkaban, of course. Though he should be right here with me.”

“Sam,” Harry said, “I don't think he is in Azkaban.”

“What do you mean?” Sam asked.

“You remember when the Death Eaters invaded Azkaban late last year?” Harry asked, “They took a few prisoners with them. I talked to the Minister earlier, Sam. They believe your father went with them.”

“Don't say that, Potter,” Sam said.

“Sam,” Harry said, “As far as I know, it's true. From what I heard, your father was there at the final battle of the Second War. The house caved in during the battle. Sam, I'm sorry to tell you this. Your father was killed during it. The Aurors only found out he was one of the dead a few days ago. And if he wasn't an Auror, then he was part of the Death Eaters.”

“No!” Sam bellowed, “You're wrong!”

Sam stood up, and Harry whipped out his wand.

“Protego!” he yelled, creating a shield around him.

Sam bounded off the shield and slammed back into his chair. Harry thought he would attack again, but Sam only shrank back in his chair. Harry heard sobs.

“I don't believe you,” Sam said, between sobs.

“I'm sorry, Sam,” Harry said.

“Leave me alone,” Sam said.

“Sam,” Harry said, “I --”

“I said leave me alone!” Sam shouted, “Get out of my house!”

Harry knew it was time to leave. He stood up and set down the unopened bottle of firewhiskey next to Sam. He left the house, shutting the door behind him.

“Goodbye, Sam,” he whispered, looking back at the house.

Harry apparated back to Leaky Cauldron. After a quick butterbeer at the bar to calm his nerves, he headed back to his home via Floo Powder. When he arrived, Frederique the owl was perched on the kitchen window. Ares, Harry's new owl, was hooting at him. Harry opened the window and let the owl in. He had two rolled up pieces of parchment in his talons. He dropped them in Harry's hands and perched himself on a chair. Harry filled up a bowl with bird food and another with water, and set them on the table. As Frederique started to eat, Harry looked at the two pieces of parchment. Clearly written on one was Ginny's handwriting reading: “Read mine first!”. Harry opened it up and read:

Harry,

I was going to write to you as soon as it happened, but Bill, Fleur and Victoire had visited on Saturday, so everything was a mess. Then I hadn't gotten around to writing this until just now. Anyway, I told Mum and Dad that I was planning on moving in with you. Dad was okay with it right away, but of course Mum had her usual “I don't know about this” comments. I tell you, if it wasn't for Dad and Bill backing me up, the whole thing would have gone south. But it looks like everyone is okay with it now. So I guess I can move in with you on your birthday. I mean, if that is all right with you of course. I know it might be a little quick, and let's be honest... moving up there just so I can be closer to the Quidditch camp isn't the main reason, right?

I really miss you, Harry. I wish you'd visit more often. I quit asking Ron how you are days ago, fearing he'd go off his rocker if I asked one more time. Course there wouldn't be many chances to talk to him anyway. He's always with Hermione every chance he gets. Surprised Mum hasn't said anything about it. I think, out of everything, that is the reason they want to find a new house. To get away from Mum, you know. I can't blame them. Speaking of, I think that is what they are doing right now, as I write this letter. Checking out the new house, I mean. They aren't back yet, anyway. You should have been here on Saturday. Apparently Ron had talked to the guy about the house sometime last week, and he called the guy on Saturday. Well, before then, Hermione was probably more jumpy about it then Ron was. She kept going on and on to Ron about how he needed to use the telephone. It was completely mental.

Anyway, I hope I was the first to tell you about the results of my conversation with my parents. I told Ron not to tell you, and that I would write to you sometime today. Oh, Hermione went in for her interview today. Ron might have told you about that. Hope it went well.

Well, if I don't see you before your birthday, then I just want to say I really miss you. This house isn't the same without you around. It's almost strange to think of the Burrow before you visited it the first time all those years ago. I love you so much. Can't wait for the end of the month.

Love always,
Ginny

P.S. Well, as soon as I finished the letter, I heard the fireplace go all bonkers, which could only mean that Ron and Hermione returned. I was right. They were pretty excited, but I think Hermione wanted to tell you herself. She hasn't been able to talk to you much either, apparently. That should tell you how much everyone misses you down here. I'll wait to send this until Hermione finishes her letter.


Harry guessed that the other letter was from Hermione. As he opened it, he found he was right. He read it:

Harry,

Guess what? Ron and I just came back from seeing the house. We love it! We're going to move in a couple days after your birthday. Of course Mr. and Mrs. Weasley were happy, but you could tell they were shocked too. First they find out Ginny's going to move, and now Ron is moving out. It will only be them in the house. I want to say so much about the house, but I'll let Ron tell you when he sees you at work. He's so excited.

Oh, also, I went in for my interview today. You won't believe what happened. Rita Skeeter was there. Yeah. She was the subject of my very first trial. I had to write notes down. It was definitely a hands-on interview. Oh, you remember Susan Bones? Yeah, she is the judge's assistant now. Anyway, Rita was on trial for her book and the way she got some of the information from her sources. Well, apparently she doesn't have many sources. She is the perfect source. You know when I told you that there was someone at Hogwarts who told Rita about the battle. Apparently she lied about that. Yeah, she turned into her beetle Animagus and got all the hands-on information herself. Well, she is still unregistered, and the Ministry found out. Well, long story short, she got sentenced to 3-5 years for being an unregistered Animagus. Serves her right.

Well, as for me, I went in thinking I would be a Court Scribe. Just copy down notes for trials all day. Well, I sorta do that, but I am the Court Respondent for... get this... the Wizengamot! Yep. Couldn't believe it. I work whenever there is a trial, and I take notes and give them to the Daily Prophet. I gave the notes on the Rita Skeeter case to the Daily Prophet and got 10 galleons for it. I was surprised.

Well, I should finish up. Sounds like Ginny wants to send a letter to you too. You know, Harry, you could come down more than once in a while and visit. Not just Ginny of course. All of us. We miss you. Not very fair that Ron is the only one who gets to see you almost every day, you know. And according to him, you aren't as busy as you say you are. Well at least now that me and Ron are moving up to London, we'll be able to see you more often. So excited... we'll have to invite you over. You'll love it!

With love,
Hermione


Harry wanted to write back to Ginny, Hermione and the others, but he thought it should wait. He didn't know how he was going to tell them about what he found out. How could he tell Ron that he might be the reason Thorpe's father is dead, and tell Mr. Weasley that he might have been the reason Thorpe's father was in jail in the first place? He didn't know how he was going to tell them that, if he even could.

He let Frederique out the window, then closed it and dumped the rest of the owl food into Ares' cage. Knowing he needed to get all of the stuff out of his mind, he made himself a quick dinner, then settled down to bed early. His dreams were clouded with thoughts of the final battle of the Second War. In his dreams, though, the faces of everyone of his enemies were replaced with those of Samson Thorpe.

---------------------------------------------------------
End of another chapter! Whew, when I started this chapter, I thought I wasn't going to get this one half as long as it went! Call me surprised!

Oh, and for those of you who might have caught Stan's comments about Rita Skeeter's book, remember, the Daily Prophet edition was from that day, not the next day which would have been talking about the big news about her trial. So the hype about her book would still be going on. Who knows? I might get into that article a little bit.

Anyway, I really like where this is going. When I started the story, I had no idea it would get to this. Now I may actually have some storylines! Yay!

Well, as always, feedback would be great! More to come!


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Last edited by Fury; August 8th, 2009 at 7:10 pm.
  #7  
Old August 8th, 2009, 7:09 pm
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Re: Butterfly Kisses (Sequel to Harry Potter and the Return to Hogwarts)

Chapter 7
No Title



Author's Note: This chapter will be in multiple PoVs. Again, during Ginny's PoV, I will still refer to her parents as Mr. and Mrs. Weasley. There is no title for this chapter, cause I don't want no spoilers.


(Ginny's PoV)

Ginny's footsteps were heard as she hurried down the Burrow's large staircase. It was so early in the morning, that Ginny's mother hadn't even started on breakfast, and the Ministry owl which delivered the Daily Prophet hadn't arrived yet. When Ginny arrived, Mrs. Weasley was the only one in the kitchen.

“You're up early, Ginny,” Mrs. Weasley said, as she shuffled through the cupboards, looking for the right pan.

“Yeah,” Ginny said, “Um, Mum, is Frederique back?”

“He returned in the middle of the night,” Mrs. Weasley said, “Though he didn't have anything with him.”

Ginny frowned and sat at the table.

“Were you expecting something?” Mrs. Weasley asked.

“I thought Harry might write back,” Ginny said.

“It must have been kind of late when Frederique arrived at Harry's house,” Mrs. Weasley said, “Maybe he was just too tired to respond. Didn't Ron say that Harry had a new owl?”

“Yeah,” Ginny said, “Ares.”

“Well, maybe we'll see Ares today,” Mrs. Weasley said, smiling.

“Yeah,” Ginny said, “Maybe.”

Mrs. Weasley sighed and took out a large skillet from the cupboard then shut the door. She took her wand from her pocket and pointed it at the skillet. She muttered a few indistinct words and a flame under the pot turned on, then the pan started to rock back and forth. She then sat down beside Ginny.

“I know how you must be feeling, Ginny,” Mrs. Weasley said, “When I was first dating your father, there were many times which I didn't see him for a few days or so. I'd sit by the window, waiting for his owl. You remember that owl before we had Errol?”

Ginny remembered it vaguely. There had been a barn owl in the family before Errol, but it had died when Ginny was four.

“I'd wait for that darn owl to come to my window,” Mrs. Weasley said, smiling as she reminisced, “Sometimes it didn't come by for days. Other days, when it did come, sometimes your father's letters were so short, I'd send back the letter itself and your father thought the owl had gotten lost.”

Ginny grinned, even though she swore she had heard this story before. More footsteps were heard, and Mr. Weasley walked down the stairs and into the kitchen. He yawned and sat down at the table.

“Daily Prophet hasn't come yet?” he asked.

“Nope,” Mrs. Weasley said.

“I thought as much,” Mr. Weasley said nodding, “Rumor around the Ministry is that the Daily Prophet was making twice their normal number of copies. It's supposed to be a big edition.”

“Well, if you were yesterday afternoon,” Mrs. Weasley said, “You would know why.”

“What do you mean?” Mr. Weasley asked.

“Hermione got a job at the Ministry doing something for the Wizengamot,” Ginny said, “And apparently she was there for a big case. She's the new court respondent, and she wrote down the notes for the case and sent them to the Daily Prophet.”

“What was the case?” Mr. Weasley asked.

“You'll just have to wait for the Daily Prophet,” Mrs. Weasley said, grinning.

“Why were you at work so long anyway, Dad?” Ginny asked.

“Apparently your father's meeting with the Muggle Prime Minister went long,” Mrs. Weasley asked, “You should have heard him last night when he came back.”

“Well, it wouldn't have been that long if it hadn't started three hours late!” Mr. Weasley exclaimed.

“Here we go again,” Mrs. Weasley said.

She stood up and started on breakfast.

“He's obsessing over this bloody millennium party of his,” Mr. Weasley said, “I don't know why. It's still a little over four months away. When he's not in meetings with those Muggle policemen of his, he's in meetings with the presidents and CEO's of some of the big stores around London. He's been so busy, he forgot about me.”

“But I thought the Ministry usually altered his schedule if you had a meeting with him,” Ginny said.

“So did I!” Mr. Weasley said, “Apparently Kingsley forgot about it. He's so busy with something else these days. I just wish I knew what. So anyway, yeah, the meeting was three hours late, and if you believe it, the Muggle Prime Minister was so flustered, he didn't recognize me at first. He wondered how I gotten into the office, then yelled at his very confused secretary, asking if she saw me. I had to explain I came in through the fireplace. That took another ten minutes to explain, when I know very well that he knew exactly what I was talking about. Then it took another three hours, give or take thirty minutes, to convince him that there wasn't going to be any Dark magic or Death Eaters threatening his precious party. I wouldn't be surprised if I have to meet him five more times before the party just to convince him again.”

Suddenly a loud hoot was heard from somewhere outside the house.

“Is it Ares?” Ginny asked, jumping up from the table.

“Don't know what Ares looks like,” Mrs. Weasley said, looking out the window, “Oh, nope. It's the Ministry owl delivering the Daily Prophet.”

Ginny sighed and sat back down. The Ministry owl landed on the windowsill. Mrs. Weasley opened the window, took the paper, and dropped a sickle into the pouch in the owl's beak. The owl gave a muffled hoot of thanks and flew off. Mrs. Weasley walked over to the table and dropped the paper in front of Mr. Weasley. He opened the paper, to where the whole front page was showing. Ginny almost laughed at the large moving picture. Camera flashes lit up the large square as it showed Rita Skeeter turning into a beetle, then turning back into her normal self, over and over again. A smaller picture below that showed Rita being ushered toward a fireplace. Apparently, she was screaming something, though it was silent and indistinct. The large print over the picture read:


BEST-SELLING AUTHOR, RITA SKEETER, SENTENCED TO 3-5 YEARS IN AZKABAN;
NEW BOOK CANCELLED

Ginny and her father both read the article:

Early yesterday morning, celebrated best-selling author
was spotted in the Ministry of Magic. Where, you ask?
Well, Courtroom B.

Oh, she wasn't there getting the first scoop on a new case.
No, readers. She WAS the case. A court respondent


“That's Hermione,” Ginny said, “She was hoping they would keep her name anonymous.”

She continued reading:

was there, taking notes for the whole case. The notes
can be seen, in whole, in the court respondent's
own writing, all on page thirteen. Interesting tidbits
you'll notice is that Head Judge Morrison, who was
the judge in charge of the case took everything
into his own hands.

You'll also see that Rita Skeeter, who is usually known
for her calm, resolved manner, as seen in many of her
interviews (some of which can also be seen be seen on
page thirteen), was positively raving during the
hearing. She insulted the late, great Albus Dumbledore
(which readers will remember was the star of her first book)
as well as Bathilda Bagshot, who she had interviewed
for her first book. While there were rumors that Rita
may have been the reason Bathilda Bagshot is not
with us anymore, it wasn't heard from Rita herself.


“Looks like they didn't put everything in Hermione's notes in the Daily Prophet,” Ginny said, “I swear she said that Rita had said something about Bathilda Bagshot.”

“There are some things they can't put in the newspaper,” Mrs. Weasley said.

“Or won't put in, rather,” Mr. Weasley said.

Ginny continued to read:


Late in the hearing, Head Judge Morrison accused
Rita Skeeter that she was an unregistered Animagus.
While Rita Skeeter practically denied these accusations,
the Head Judge proved his theories and in the end,
it was proven that Rita Skeeter can, in fact, turn into
a beetle. Because she is unregistered (which is illegal,
readers), she was sentenced to 3-5 years in Azkaban.

Her new book about the Second War has been canceled.
No word on if Rita will publish the book when she is released.
Reactions from the fans of Rita's can be seen on page
fourteen.


“Well, Rita's misdeeds finally caught up with her,” Mr. Weasley said, when he finished.

“Did I hear Rita's name?” Hermione's voice said.

Ginny turned. Hermione and Ron walked in.

“The Daily Prophet came,” Ginny said, “You're a star, Hermione.”

“What?!” Hermione gasped, rushing over to the paper and looking at it, “I thought --”

“Don't worry,” Mr. Weasley said, “They didn't mention you by name.”

Hermione sighed, relieved.

“I don't know why,” Ron said, “If it was me, I would have begged them to put my name in.”

“You two are up early,” Mrs. Weasley said.

“We're meeting Harry before we have to go into work,” Ron said.

Ginny almost jumped out of her slippers.

“You're going to see Harry?” she asked, “Can I go?”

“Relax, Ginny,” Ron said, “We were going to ask you.”

“Mum?” Ginny asked, looking at her mother, “Can I --”

“Oh, go on,” Mrs. Weasley said, “But get dressed, of course. You can't go in your nighties!”

“Mum!” Ginny said, embarassed.

“Oh and please ask Harry what he wants for his birthday,” Mrs. Weasley said, “And if he wants a big party or not.”

“You know he never wants a big party, Mum,” Ron said.

Ginny hopped out of her chair, almost overturning it, and ran upstairs to get dressed.

------------------------------------

Ginny spent so long getting ready that, by the time she got back downstairs, Hermione and Ron were standing by the fireplace with Mrs. Weasley. Mrs. Weasley was holding the small bag of Floo Powder. She sighed as she looked in it.

“Looks like we're almost out again,” she said.

“Don't worry, Mum,” Ginny said as she walked over to the fireplace, “I'll get some.”

Mrs. Weasley chuckled.

“What am I going to do when you guys are gone?” she said, a small tear pooling in her eye.

Five minutes later, Ginny, Ron and Hermione were all safely in the Leaky Cauldron. Ginny almost squealed when she saw Harry sitting at one of the tables.

“Ginny!” Harry said, “What are you doing here?”

“I accidentally let it slip we were coming to have breakfast with you,” Ron said, as he and Hermione sat across from Harry.

“Why didn't you write back?” Ginny asked Harry, when she sat beside him.

Harry sighed, and Ginny noticed a delayed response.

“Harry?” Ginny asked.

“What's wrong?” Hermione asked.

“Let's just say,” Harry said, “That I had a very interesting day yesterday.”

“You talked to Kingsley?” Ron asked.

Harry nodded. Ginny listened as Harry told her, Ron and Hermione about what had happened yesterday. He was in the middle of his story when Tom came by.

“Well, the whole gang's here!” he said, “What can I get you today?”

“Four specials, Tom,” Harry said, “I'm buying.”

“Coming up,” Tom said.

He walked away from the table.

“Okay,” Harry said, “Where was I?”

“You were at the part where you went over to Thorpe's house,” Ron said.

“Oh yeah,” Harry said, “Well, I went over to Thorpe's house to try to get him to come back into Auror training. When he answered the door, I could tell he was drunk on firewhiskey.”

“See, Ron,” Hermione said, “That is why I don't want you to drink that stuff.”

“Anyway,” Harry pressed on, “We got to talking, and...”

Ginny noticed a pause in Harry's story.

“What's wrong, Harry?” she asked.

“Ron,” he said, “You remember that final battle at the Death Eater's hideout, right?”

“How could I forget?” Ron asked, “What does this have to do with Thorpe?”

“Thorpe's father was one of the Azkaban escapees who were fighting there,” Harry said.

“Oh,” Ron said.

“There's more,” Harry said, quietly, “Thorpe's father was in one of the rooms at the top of the house when you were fighting Greyback.”

“Wait,” Ron said, “You're not saying --”

“When the roof caved in,” Harry said, “Thorpe's father got killed in the process.”

Hermione covered her mouth with her hand. Ron just looked shocked.

“So,” Ron said, “So I – you're saying – I might have killed Thorpe's father?”

“Ron,” Hermione said, “You said it was Greyback's spell that brought down the roof.”

“What if I'm wrong?” Ron asked, “I mean, I was sending all kinds of spells at Greyback. Besides, if you remember, I ended up in a coma. Maybe I forgot about some of the stuff that happened.”

“You couldn't have known,” Hermione said, “And even if you did, Thorpe's father was one of the bad guys.”

“Thorpe wouldn't see that,” Ron said.

“There's more,” Harry said.

Ginny, Ron and Hermione looked at him.

“Thorpe's mother was a Muggle,” Harry continued, “She was in a car accident a few years ago. Well, apparently the accident was investigated by the Ministry. Ron, the car was a Muggle object. So would that mean that it would have been sent to --”

“Dad's department,” Ginny said, “Dad would have still been part of it, and of course he would have wanted to look over the car. Just because it's a Muggle contraption.”

“What's this about, Harry?” Hermione asked.

“The reason Thorpe's father was sent to Azkaban,” Harry said, “was because he was accused of killing Thorpe's mother.”

“But you said she died in a car accident,” Ginny said.

“Apparently the car had been tampered with magically,” Harry said, “Well, if that's the case, your father would have been the one to discover that. Did your father ever talk about, perhaps, a hearing or something he would have been a part of?”

“He was in all kinds of hearings,” Ron said, “Most of them were for toilets that had gone mental or shoes that bit the feet of its victims. Stuff Fred and George would have thought to be hysterical.”

“Thorpe says that his father was wrongfully charged with a crime,” Harry said, “And he thought that whatever sent his father to prison happened because of that car. He thought it would have been a mistake on part of the person looking over the car – your father.”

Ron and Ginny looked shocked.

“Thorpe could have been wrong, Harry,” Hermione said.

“I see what you're saying, Harry,” Ron said, “Even if Thorpe was wrong, he would have thought he was right. And if he discovered who was behind it, he would have been furious.”

“When I was talking to Kingsley yesterday,” Harry said, “He told me that he had to let Thorpe go, because his father was working with the Death Eaters. I think he didn't tell me everything. I think he knew that if Thorpe ever found out, he would want his revenge. For the death of his father, and the original reason his father was in Azkaban in the first place.”

“I see,” Ron said, “Even though I wasn't the one to do it, I would have been connected to both of those.”

“Ron,” Hermione said.

“It's funny,” Ron said, “Yesterday I was actually thinking it would be a good thing if Thorpe was let back into the Aurors.”

“I don't think there is anything to worry about, Ron,” Hermione said, “I mean... Harry, didn't you say that they weren't going to let Thorpe back into the Ministry?”

Harry nodded.

“And then you have to remember,” Hermione said to Ron, “that Thorpe doesn't even know who is responsible for any of it.”

Ron nodded, though he still looked unsure. Tom came back over and served their plates. When everyone thanked him, he went back to the bar. Ginny noticed that Ron, who usually dug right into his food, was only playing with it.

“So, Ron,” Harry said, trying to change the subject, “Hermione said in her letter that you wanted to be the one to tell me about the house?”

Ron shrugged.

“It's great,” he simply said.

“Yeah?” Harry asked.

Hermione looked at Ron. She shook her head and looked at Harry.

“It's better than great,” she said, “I mean, of course it's only one bedroom, but the house is only temporary. But even then, its pretty nice. The real estate agent knew my parents too. He's one of their patients. I need to write to them today. Forgot to do it yesterday. Anyway, yeah, the agent said that the furniture comes with the house. The company who owns the furniture is a partner of the agency. So we don't have to worry about that.”

She looked back at Ron, expecting him to say something about the house. When he didn't, she turned back to Harry.

“So have you read the Daily Prophet today?” she asked him.

“Not yet,” Harry said, “But I swear, every time I turn around, someone is reading one. Did I see Rita Skeeter's face on the front page?”

“Yeah,” Hermione said, “But my notes are on page thirteen, I think. Well, most of them. They didn't put all of them in like the guy I talked to promised. Apparently they didn't want the public to know what had happened to Bathilda Bagshot. I was beginning to wonder if Morrison was bringing up more charges on Rita for that, so maybe he didn't want the public to know about it. I need to ask him. Harry? Something wrong?”

Ginny looked up from her food, and noticed that Harry was staring past her. Ginny turned around. She immediately saw what Harry saw. Draco Malfoy was walking through the Leaky Cauldron, towards Diagon Alley. He wasn't alone. A girl Ginny vaguely recognized was walking with him.

“Who's that?” Harry asked, nodding to the girl.

“Astoria Greengrass,” Hermione said, “Her sister, Daphne, was in our year.”

“What's she doing with Draco?” Harry asked.

“I think I know,” Hermione said, grinning.

“What do you mean?” Harry asked.

“Isn't it obvious?” Hermione asked, grinning, “They're dating, Harry!”

Ginny laughed.

“Oh, come on now!” Hermione said, “It isn't that surprising. Malfoy can date too.”

“How old is Astoria?” Harry said.

“I think she was a couple years younger than Daphne,” Hermione said, “So she's probably about to be in her seventh year.”

“I thought Draco was with Pansy Parkinson,” Ginny said.

“Pansy broke it off with Draco,” Hermione said, “When he wouldn't pay attention to her in sixth year. I mean, your fifth year, Ginny.”

“Oh yeah,” Ginny said.

“Well, I will say Astoria's much prettier than Pansy,” Harry said.

Ginny smacked him playfully on the shoulder.

“Ow, what?” he said, laughing.

“I heard that,” Ginny said.

“Oh come now,” Harry said, “Your leagues prettier than Astoria. I'm just saying she's prettier than Pansy.”

“Well, that isn't very hard to do, is it?” Ron said.

“Finally caught up, have you?” Hermione asked him.

“Yeah, yeah,” Ron said.

“Well, I think it is nice that Draco's found someone to be with,” Hermione said, starting on her breakfast, “especially if it will help him forget about everything that's happened to him.”

“I wonder how Lucius and Narcissa are doing anyway,” Harry said, “Haven't heard from them much since they got their pardon, have we?”

Ginny shook her head and started on her breakfast.

-------------------------------------------

(Draco's POV)

“Oh, it's finally looking so lovely here again, Draco,” Astoria said, as she and Draco walked down the cobbled pavement of Diagon Alley, “Remember how gloomy it looked not long ago?”

“Yeah, whatever,” Draco said, “How long are we going to be, anyway?”

“Oh, don't start it,” Astoria said, “I could spend all day here with you.”

Draco rolled his eyes at the way Astoria had said “with you”.

“Would you keep it down?” Draco muttered, “Bloody hell.”

He was fully aware that he had seen Harry Potter and his little group of friends in the Leaky Cauldron. He couldn't bear to think what they would say if they knew he was dating Astoria Greengrass. Though, it was very rare that he referred to it as dating.

Even though he had known Astoria for almost seven years, he hadn't paid much attention to her until his final year at Hogwarts, in which he had only returned because he was forced to, along with his father who had become a temporary professor for Defense Against the Dark Arts. His father was forced into the job by the Minister of Magic. Of course, his father was now done with that job, and ever since then, he rarely left the Manor these days.

Oh, any one of Draco's friends could have told you that he was actually much more fond of Astoria Greengrass then he let on. In fact, if it hadn't been for Pansy Parkinson, he might have started dating Astoria back in his days at Hogwarts, even if she was a couple years younger than him.

Astoria was quite beautiful, in his opinion. Her long blonde hair reminded Draco of a veela, though Astoria told him there was no trace of veela in her family. Astoria was pale, and she sort of reminded Draco of his mother. The only thing that might have been wrong with Astoria (well, enough to the point that he told his friends it was a turn-off) was that even though she was a Slytherin, she never acted like your normal Slytherin. She was very cheery. Almost to the point of annoyance.

The best thing about Astoria, though, was that being with her made Draco forget of his days of isolation in the safe-house, and the days when he and his parents had been captured by the Death Eaters. He used to have bad nightmares of that isolation, and rogue Death Eaters that would come and take him away. And bad nightmares of where they finally succeeded. Whenever Astoria asked him about those days, he either yelled at her and told her to forget it, or went deathly quiet.

“So, Draco,” Astoria said, batting her eyelashes at him, “What do you want to do?”

“What?” Draco asked, “I thought we were here to do your Hogwarts shopping?”

“Oh, that can wait,” Astoria said, “Besides, that was just an excuse to be with you. You know we only have a little over a month before I have to go back to Hogwarts? Then I won't get to see you for a while.”

She got closer to him and wrapped her arms around him. Draco looked around to make sure nobody was looking. He would probably die of embarrassment right then and there if they were.

“You will miss me, right?” Astoria asked.

“Yeah, of course,” Draco said, almost mechanically.

“You aren't going to cheat on me, are you?” Astoria said, pouting, “You know Daphne's friends with Pansy Parkinson, right? Daphne told me that Pansy's talking about you again. Apparently she misses you.”

Astoria scoffed in disgust.

“Draco,” she said, “I don't know what I'd do if I found out you left me for her.”

“I wouldn't do that,” Draco said.

Which was the honest truth. He wanted nothing more to do with Pansy Parkinson.

“Oh yeah?” Astoria said, “Prove it to me.”

Astoria backed away. She forced off a ring from her finger and showed it to Draco.

“Mum gave me it,” Astoria said, “She says it's a promise ring that Daddy gave her back when they were first dating. Supposed to have magical powers. Draco, I want you to wear it.”

“What's it do?” Draco asked.

“Nothing,” Astoria said, “Honestly.”

“I don't know,” Draco said.

“You don't want to wear it?” Astoria said, pouting.

Draco sighed.

“Oh, fine,” Draco said, “Give it to me.”

“I have to put it on your finger,” Astoria said, “Otherwise it's worthless.”

“You just said it does nothing!” Draco said.

“It's just the magic of the ring. Besides,” Astoria said, looking right into Draco's eyes, “It's romantic.”

Draco did his best to not roll his eyes. Astoria put the ring on Draco's finger.

“You do love me, right?” she asked him.

“Yeah, of course,” Draco said.

“Say it,” Astoria said, “Draco, I want you to say it.”

Draco scowled under his breath. Astoria looked into his eyes. He stared at her eyes, so beautiful, so mesmerizing, he was almost lost in them.

“I love you,” he said.

Astoria grinned.

“I love you too, Draco,” she said.

She kissed him, and he felt his face go hot. Though at the moment, he didn't know if it was embarrassment that it was in public, or if it was because of his feelings for her.

-------------------------------------------------

A/N: Whew! Another chapter done. Well, I was looking for a way to put Draco into this story, just cause I know I got a lot of response for how well I handled his character in the prequel to this story. Oh, and if your vision of Astoria is completely different than how I wrote her, I'm sorry. I just love the way I wrote her. I might put Lucius and Narcissa in the story somehow. I have ideas, but I don't know if it will work.

Time-line wise, there is still a couple weeks until Harry's birthday, which I can't wait for, but I should with a couple more chapters or so. We'll just see where it goes.

I love reading your feedback, cause it helps me with my story. So, as always, it would be wonderful to see it again.


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  #8  
Old August 12th, 2009, 4:30 pm
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Re: Butterfly Kisses (Sequel to Harry Potter and the Return to Hogwarts)

Chapter 8
Narcissa Malfoy's New Job



Author's Note: This will be in two different PoVs.


(Hermione's POV)

It was almost eight when Hermione said goodbye to Ron and Harry, as they left the lifts and headed for the Auror Department. Hermione was the only one left in the lifts, but it stopped a couple floors above the bottom floor that was her stop. Susan Bones stepped into the lifts. She was carrying a large folder of documents, as well as a copy of the Daily Prophet.

“Hey, Hermione!” she said, as the lifts closed once again, “Ready for your first official day at work?”

“Yep,” Hermione said.

“That's the spirit!” Susan said, “Hey, I was just reading the Daily Prophet at breakfast. Pretty exciting, huh?”

“What?” Hermione asked.

“Your notes being put into the Daily Prophet, of course!” Susan said, “That doesn't happen to everyone, now does it? They were great to read too, even if they were your first notes and they were on the biggest case of the year.”

“Biggest case of the year?” Hermione asked.

“Oh, come on, Hermione,” Susan scoffed, waving her hand, “You must have realized that Rita Skeeter was a common celebrity in the wizarding world, what with her books and stuff.”

“I wasn't too fond of her,” Hermione said.

“Well, if I can be frank,” Susan said, “I wasn't very fond of her either. You know she tried to write an “In Memory” article for my Auntie Amelia after she died? Yeah. That didn't go over too well with the family. But that's another story.”

Hermione nodded. The lifts opened and Hermione and Susan walked out of them.

“We're in one of the big courtrooms today,” Susan said, “We have a couple of cases in there. One before lunch and one after. And, if I may say, that latter case could be bigger than Rita's.”

“Who's it for?” Hermione asked.

Susan was about to answer, when the doors to one of the smaller courtrooms opened. Head Judge Morrison walked out, surrounded by four or five witches and wizards who looked like reporters. Hermione recognized Rita's old camera man, though she couldn't remember his name. He was standing near one of the Daily Prophet reporters and taking pictures of Morrison.

“Is there any chance that Rita Skeeter could appeal her case?” one reporter asked.

“Of course there is a chance,” Morrison said, “And if she does, I will make sure that I will be a part of it.”

“Will Rita Skeeter be charged, in any way,” another reporter asked, “with Bathilda Bagshot's death?”

“That investigation is still going on,” Morrison said, “I am not in charge of it. You'll have to talk to the Auror department about that.”

“Do you know who is the anonymous Court Respondent who took the notes for the Rita Skeeter case?” a third reporter asked, “I would love to interview them. It was quite the article.”

Hermione looked right at Morrison, when she heard the question. Morrison met her glance for a mere second, then looked back at the reporter.

“I have promised anonymity for the Court Respondent of that case,” Morrison said, “It will be his, or her, choice to give their name and decide if they want an interview. If any of you, or any other reporters try to discover the identity before that time, they will be brought up on serious charges, you can bet on that. And I will look over that case myself. This interview is over. I have a case to go to.”

The reporters tried to ask what case he was going to, but Morrison pushed through them.

“Don't talk to Morrison until we're safely in the court room,” Susan whispered to Hermione.

Hermione nodded and followed Susan into Courtroom E.

“Thank you for that, Herb,” Hermione said, when she, Susan and Morrison were in the courtroom.

Morrison turned to her and smiled.

“You're quite welcome,” he said, “Besides, I used to be in your position, and I was the Court Respondent for one of the Death Eaters cases after the end of the first war. Like you, I didn't want to have my name in the Daily Prophet then. I completely understand what you are dealing with, Hermione.”

Hermione smiled gratefully.

“Herb, I have a question,” she said.

“Yes, Miss Granger?” Morrison asked.

“There was one reporter who knows who I am,” Hermione said, “He was the one who took my notes. I'd assume he was the one who wrote the article.”

“Ah, yes,” Morrison said, “You don't need to worry about him.”

Hermione looked at Morrison, confused.

“He is a close, personal friend of mine, you see,” Morrison said, “Like you and I, he used to be a Court Respondent himself. He chose to go down the path of journalism instead. I trust, Miss Granger, that is not your path?”

“No, sir,” Hermione said.

“Wonderful,” Morrison said.

He smiled and walked up the stairway.

“It was I who alerted that reporter,” Susan whispered to Hermione, as they followed Morrison, “That was one of the reasons Herb told me to go to the Daily Prophet yesterday. We just wanted to make sure he was the first reporter on the scene.”

“Thanks,” Hermione said.

Susan just smiled.

----------------------------------------------------

The first of the two cases turned out to be a possible misuse of spells, or in this case, the use of an Unforgivable Curse. It was proven that the defendant, a man only a few years older than Hermione, had not used the Imperius Curse. The witness to the scene, who had thought they had heard the man using the curse on somebody, turned out to be seventy percent deaf. The case was basically over when Morrison realized he had to keep raising his voice so that the defendant may hear him clearly, and realized that the man probably had mistaken the spell for an Unforgivable Curse when it turned out to be the Impervius Charm, a charm used to keep things away from the caster. The case, which Hermione thought could have taken less than an hour, took at least twice as long, because it had to be medically proven that the witness was, in fact, deaf.

After the case, Hermione was very confused as to why someone as important as Judge Morrison would have to take a case like that. She asked Susan about it during an early lunch.

“Oh, believe me,” Susan said, “This isn't the first time Herb has had to deal with bizarre cases. Of course, you must understand that because the original charge was an Unforgivable Curse, that Herb was one of the judges who usually took on a case like that. And since Morrison is such a popular judge, his name always comes up first.”

She took a sip of butterbeer and laughed lightly.

“I remember a case Herb resided over,” she said, “Had to do with the ownership of a dragon. Well, of course, outside the colonies where dragons are kept, they are illegal to keep as pets. I don't know why anyone would want to keep one as a pet. Other than Hagrid, of course. Anyway, if you believe it, the dragon was actually brought into the courtroom, yeah!”

“No joke?” Hermione asked.

“Nope,” Susan said, “the defendant had tried to prove that it was just a bad experiment gone wrong. That the dragon was actually a dog that had been transfigured. Of course, spells were cast to attempt to reverse the enchantment. No spell could do it. The defendant just argued that it was a very good spell. He even tried to do those tricks that Muggles are known for. Throwing sticks and those fizzy things.”

“Frizbees?” Hermione asked.

“That's it,” Susan said, “Of course, the dragon went after the sticks. It was argued that the dragon was just highly trained. In the end, the man was found guilty, and sentenced to five years in Azkaban. Then two weeks later, one of the dragon colonies over in Romania got quite the surprise. One of their dragons turned into a dog!”

Hermione laughed.

“Bet the story is still told over there,” Susan said, “Herb gets a laugh out of it now and then at his parties. Anyway, the man is now free. Don't think he'll ever try to turn his dog into a dragon again though.”

“No, I guess not,” Hermione said.

“But for every one of the bizarre cases Herb as resided over,” Susan said, “There are, at least, three times more serious cases. Some just as serious as Rita's case. Just like this case we are about to witness.”

“Who is the defendant?” Hermione asked again.

“You'll see,” Susan said, grinning.

Hermione rolled her eyes.

“Please don't tell me it's another case that I might have personal feelings for?” she asked.

“Ask me that again in about an hour,” Susan said, before taking a long sip of butterbeer.

--------------------------------------

An hour later, Hermione was, once again, in her seat in Courtroom E. A large stack of parchment was beside her. She had a quill ready, along with five or six more sitting neatly beside a large bottle of ink. Susan was, once again, seated beside Hermione, though Hermione didn't question the matter. Head Judge Morrison was seated in the middle of the Wizengamot. All were conversing between themselves, but went silent when Morrison asked them to be. He stood up and looked at the door of the courtroom.

“Will the defendants please come in,” he said.

A second later, the doors squeaked open and two people walked in that Hermione immediately recognized: Lucius and Narcissa Malfoy. Behind them, looking enraged, was a man who looked to be the same age as Morrison. The man was dressed in a business suit and tie. He had a briefcase in his hand. Lucius and Narcissa sat down, calmly, but the man went to the middle of courtroom floor.

“Head Judge Morrison,” he said, and Hermione started writing, “May I state that my clients have been pardoned by Minister of Magic Kingsley Shacklebolt, and as so --”

“Are cleared of any charge,” Morrison interrupted simply, “against them directing to the term Death Eaters, Dark Arts or Lord Voldemort and their involvement with said terms.”

“Precisely,” the man said, “And may it also be known that the Minister proudly pardoned them, stating that any man or woman could change their ways.”

“It is known, yes,” Morrison said.

Hermione leaned over to Susan.

“Is it me,” she said, “Or do Herb and this guy seem more... chummy... than usual?”

Susan smiled.

“They were classmates at Hogwarts long ago,” Susan said. “Herb was a Gryffindor. Three guesses which house that lawyer was in.”

“Slytherin,” Hermione said, grinning.

“I'm not sure if it's true or not,” Susan said, “But I've heard rumors that every lawyer in the area used to be a Slytherin at Hogwarts at one point or another.”

Hermione wouldn't be surprised.

“However, Mr. Sears,” Morrison said to the lawyer, and Hermione continued, “This case does not directly affect that in which Lucius and Narcissa Malfoy have been pardoned to.”

“It does not?” Sears asked, “Am I wrong to say that this case is about the continued length of Lucius and Narcissa Malfoy's house-arrest.”

“It is,” Morrison said.

“And isn't the house-arrest,” Sears said, “An after-effect of --”

“The house-arrest, as you very well know, Sears,” Morrison interrupted, “was added after the pardon by the Minister of Magic. A deal was made that the pardon would last if Lucius and Narcissa volunteered themselves to some kind of charity work. Lucius Malfoy became the temporary Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, under the supervision of Professor Minerva McGonagall. He was to complete the term that retired Professor Emelius Browne would have been meant to finish. It was also decided for the boy's benefit, that Lucius and Narcissa's son, Draco Malfoy, would finish out his education, though in a 'fast-forward session.' Narcissa Malfoy, however, would not volunteer herself to a duty set out by the Minister of Magic. Is this correct, Narcissa?”

Narcissa did not answer.

“Narcissa Malfoy,” Morrison said, “had been quoted to say that she had 'felt that the duty requested by the Minister was beneath me, given the fact that I am a woman of such noble and important status'. End quote.”

Most of the Wizengamot looked disgusted.

“The Minister of Magic did not take this as a reason to omit her from her services,” Morrison continued, “And because of her refusal, she was condemning her and her husband to house arrest, even after her husband's service was finished at Hogwarts. This hearing, Mr. Sears, is to see whether Narcissa continues to deny that which the Minister requested upon her.”

“May I speak?” Lucius spoke up.

“This is your case, Mr. Malfoy,” Morrison said, “You may speak.”

“While I regret my wife's decision to deny the Minister's requests,” Morrison asked, “I also take responsibility for it.”

Hermione scoffed under her breath.

“It is true that the Malfoy line,” Lucius said, “And the Black line in which my wife's blood resides from, is looked upon as noble and important. As a fellow pure-blood, your honor, I trust you can see where I am coming from.”

“One's blood is not being judged here today, Mr. Malfoy,” Morrison said.

“I apologize, your honor,” Lucius said, “But wouldn't it, at the very least, have something to do with it? My wife's denial of the Minister's request traces back to the way she was treated from a child. She has never been known as a working woman. Even as an adult, all my wife has done has taken care of my son. Now, I feel responsible for that. Being the man of the house, I was the one who worked for our living. Even though I had inherited my wealth from my family, I still believed I had to work for it. So I think it could be understood that my wife simply did not accept her volunteer work because she wouldn't do it, but because she couldn't do it.”

“You know, as well as I do, Mr. Malfoy,” Morrison said, “That your theory is, for want of a better term, nothing but complete and utter rubbish. Every man and woman, witch, wizard and Muggle, in this world can work unless their body disables them from it. I see no disability ailing your wife. While I could understand that Mrs. Malfoy could have a touch of agoraphobia, I wouldn't bet on it. Because of the events surrounding yourself, Mr. Malfoy, your wife and your son earlier this year, I would guess that your past few weeks of house-arrest haven't been kind for you. The two of you need to get out of your house sometimes, I think. The only way this would work is if your wife, yes Mr. Malfoy, your wife agreed to the volunteer work.”

Narcissa and her lawyer talked in hushed whispers. Sears stood up and looked at Morrison.

“What is your suggestion?” he asked the judge.

“Well,” Morrison said, “it seems that my new Court Respondent – and this is no offense to you, Miss Granger – that she is too good at her job for her own good.”

Hermione didn't know whether to smile or look confused at this comment of Herb's. She didn't have time to ponder it. She was fully aware that Lucius and Narcissa Malfoy had finally noticed her. Narcissa looked at her with apparent hatred.

“It has come to my attention,” Morrison said, “that the Daily Prophet reports are wanting to know who the Court Respondent is. Miss Granger, however does not want to reveal her identity, otherwise she may be subject to more attention than she needs. So, Narcissa, your new volunteer work, starting tomorrow, will be to deliver Miss Granger's notes to the Daily Prophet. Now, Mrs. Malfoy, and this is the most important. If you were to, say, reveal Miss Granger's identity to the Daily Prophet reporters, the Minister of Magic will reverse your and your dear husband's pardon and you will be sent back to Azkaban with new charges. Is this completely understood?”

Mr. Sears whispered to Narcissa. Narcissa was shaking her head, but Lucius said something, and Narcissa nodded her head. Mr. Sears patted her on the back and stood up. He looked at Morrison.

“We agree to these terms,” Mr. Sears, “Narcissa will be here tomorrow morning at nine-o-clock.”

“She should know that if she does not show up for work at any time,” Mr. Sears said, “That she and her husband are subject to the reversal of pardon.”

“It is understood,” Mr. Sears said.

“Lucius and Narcissa Malfoy,” Morrison said, “From this point on, as long as you follow the rules set to you, you are now released from your house-arrest. Court is adjourned. Narcissa, please stay after to talk to my assistant Miss Bones and to get your Ministry pass.”

Morrison tapped his wand, indicating the end of the case. Susan stood up and walked down the stairs, following the Malfoys and their lawyer out the door.

Morrison stood up and walked over to Hermione who was finishing her notes.

“I do hope I didn't embarrass you, Miss Granger,” he said to her.

“No, sir,” Hermione said.

“You do not have objections to Narcissa Malfoy working with us, do you?” Morrison asked, “She won't really be working for us. Not directly. It is only a simple messenger job.”

“I'm fine with it,” Hermione said.

Morrison chuckled.

“Once you get those notes done,” he said, “take them and the other case's notes to the Daily Prophet. That man you met yesterday, his name is Miller. He'll be there to take your notes. Also let him be aware that Narcissa Malfoy will be delivering the notes to him from now on. After that, you are free to go.”

“Yes, sir,” Hermione said, “Good day.”

“Good day to you too,” Morrison said.

He smiled and walked down the stairs, then left the courtroom. Hermione had decided not to tell Morrison that she had problems in the past with the Malfoy family. She just hoped that didn't come back to bite her.

----------------------------------------------------
(Draco's POV)

Draco's date with Astoria ended at three-o-clock, though Draco felt it had gone on for days. He liked Astoria, to the point that he was, in fact, in love with her. But there were some points where she annoyed him. She was too cherry for her own good. Draco wondered if there was a way he could change that about her. He didn't want to leave her. He wondered, when he was alone and nobody was around to hear him, if Astoria Greengrass was the girl for him. If she could, possible, be the future Mrs. Draco Malfoy. Of course, he wouldn't admit that to anyone... yet. They would think he had gone soft or something, which he had most definitely not. Though, sometimes he felt as if his heart had grown two or three sizes in his chest ever since he had met Astoria.

After a very non-verbal goodbye and a promise that he'd see Astoria soon, Draco went to Malfoy Manor via Floo Powder. He was about to announce that he was home, when he heard the front door slam.

“We should fire Maximus, Lucius,” Narcissa said, almost to a point of screaming, “Never have I been so... so... humiliated in my life!”

“There was nothing more he could have done, dear,” Lucius said.

“Well, he didn't have to make me suffer like this!” Narcissa said, “Now I have to work with that... that Mudblood, Granger! And doing what? Work that any of our house-elves could have easily done. That's what!”

“Calm down, Narcissa,” Lucius said, as he followed his wife into the living room where Draco was.

Lucius looked away from his wife for a mere moment, and saw his son standing there.

“Son, what are you doing back so early?” he asked, “I thought you were spending the day with Miss Greengrass.”

“I just got back,” Draco said, “Where have you two been? What's mom raving about?”

Narcissa looked at Draco, then her husband. She looked kind of frightened. Lucius sat down in his large chair and cleared his throat.

“Son,” he said, trying to find the words, “Your mother and I haven't been completely honest with you.”

“What are you talking about, Father?” Draco asked.

“A couple days ago,” Lucius said, “You asked me why your mother and I never leave the house anymore. Do you remember?”

“Of course,” Draco said, “I thought it might have been the after-effects of our capture. That you just didn't trust anybody at the moment.”

“That's not... entirely true,” Lucius said, “You see... Minister of Magic Shacklebolt sentenced us to house-arrest shortly after your graduation from Hogwarts.”

“What?” Draco asked, “But he pardoned you. How could he --”

“I believe you know that my employment at Hogwarts was volunteer work,” Lucius said.

“Yes,” Draco said.

“Well, it was volunteer work that the Minister of Magic had ordered me to do,” he said, half-disgusted, “He also asked your mother to do volunteer work. Well, you know your mother. She has never done an honest day's work in her life.”

Narcissa scoffed.

“Oh, you know it's true, Narcissa,” Lucius said, without taking his eyes off his son, “Anyway, son, because of that, we were sentenced to house-arrest. Today, we were ordered to go into the Ministry of Magic and go in front of the Wizengamot. It was decided, in the end, that we were free of the house-arrest, but your mother had to do her volunteer work. So, starting tomorrow, your mother is messenger witch for the Wizengamot. And, if you must know, she works directly with your former classmate, Hermione Granger.”

Draco almost laughed. He could understand why his mother was so disgusted.

“It seems that Miss Granger has had a run with fame lately,” Lucius said, “And the Daily Prophet wants to interview her. The catch is that they don't know exactly who she is. Her job is, apparently, to take notes on the Wizengamot's cases and give them to the Daily Prophet. Well, now Head Judge Morrison has relieved some of her burden and given it to your mother. Now your mother delivers Miss Granger's notes to the Daily Prophet.”

“That doesn't sound so bad,” Draco said.

“Why don't you do it, then!” Narcissa said, her voice deep with rage.

“Dear, you know very well it must be you,” he said, looking at Narcissa, then back to Draco, “You see, son, if your mother doesn't do her job, or if she reveals Miss Granger's identity to the Daily Prophet, then that pardon that the Minister gave us will be reversed. As you can probably guess, that means that your mother and I would be going back to Azkaban.”

“And there is no way out of it?” Draco asked, “I mean, can't Sears --”

“Sears can go to bloody, rotten hell!” Narcissa interrupted, her rage rising higher.

“No, Draco,” Lucius said, ignoring his wife, “Sears can't do a single thing about it.”

He sighed and raised a dismissive hand.

“But there is no use crying over spilled potion, as the saying goes,” he said, “So, son? How did your... outing with Miss Greengrass go?”

“It was... nice,” Draco said.

“Oh, come now, Draco,” Lucius said, “You can't fool me. Do you have feelings for the girl or not?”

“Father!” Draco said, scoffing, “This isn't exactly the kind of discussion...”

His voice trailed off as his father stared at him. He sighed.

“Yeah, Father,” he said, “She's great. She's... she's bloody fantastic.”

“Well, that's wonderful!” Lucius said, “You know, I haven't spoken to Mr. and Mrs. Greengrass in a while. Perhaps we should invite them over for dinner sometimes. I would love to meet... what is her name? Astoria?”

“Yeah,” Draco said.

“I'd love to meet the girl who caught your eye, Draco,” Lucius said, “Dear, what do you think?”

“I think,” Narcissa said, standing up, “I'm going to take an early nightcap or three and go to bed early.”

“Dear, it's not even four in the afternoon!” Lucius exclaimed.

“Apparently my headache doesn't know how to keep time!” Narcissa retorted, and she left the living room, muttering.

Lucius looked at Draco, shaking his head.

“Son,” he said, “You better pray Miss Greengrass is never like that.”

Draco privately agreed, but then remembered that Astoria was so cheery that he probably wouldn't have to worry about that. At that moment, Draco realized that maybe there was no reason to change Astoria at all. Especially if it would mean that she'd never end up like his mother.

-----------------------------------------
A/N: End of another chapter! You know, as I was writing, I remembered why I really loved writing the Malfoys. But not as much as writing Harry, Ginny, Ron and Hermione, so of course there will be much more of the main two couples.

More to come soon! Feedback would be great!


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Old August 12th, 2009, 4:32 pm
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Re: Butterfly Kisses (Sequel to Harry Potter and the Return to Hogwarts)

Chapter 9
Harry's Birthday – Part 1



Author's Note: Well, I wanted to get to Harry's birthday, so I'll just do a time-skip, but I'll describe some of the more important events that happened up until then at the start of the chapter. This chapter will be the few hours before Harry's birthday. If I had the birthday, the chapter would have been really long! So this is part one.

As the days counted down to Harry's birthday, everyone was keeping busy, and the party was the last thing on everyone's mind.

After he had talked to his friends about his visit to Thorpe's house, Harry had decided it was best to not bring it up again. It was obvious Thorpe wasn't returning to the Auror department, and Harry hadn't given another thought about it since then. If anybody had asked Harry why he had been so interested in Thorpe's well-being, he couldn't have told them. Thorpe wasn't exactly the nicest person to talk to, even when he was completely sober. Harry was only interested in helping Thorpe that day because he had really wanted to find out what Kingsley Shacklebolt was up to. Since then, he hadn't gotten any more answers from Kingsley, and thought it was just best to leave the matter alone. It hadn't really affected him personally anyway, and he thought it was best that he didn't make it any worse.

Even though Harry was keeping silent about it, many of the other Aurors-in-Training weren't. Billingsly was one of many who were giving their own theories as to why Thorpe hadn't returned, and when they came to realize the truth of the matter, they were all boasting that they had no involvement in any way with Death Eaters. There were times when Harry thought Shippe would put an end to it, but it seemed Shippe didn't want to, or perhaps couldn't, talk about it. Harry had wondered if the Minister had now turned his investigations to other departments. And now it seemed that Kingsley was now investigating some his former co-workers in the Auror department.

A week before Harry's birthday, Ron and Hermione had another visit with the real-estate agent. It was a short meeting just to make sure they were still wanting to take the house, and when they answered positively, they were to fill out the paper work. After all of that was done, which Mr. Wycott happily referred to as “the boring part”, he told Ron and Hermione that all the furniture would be in the house by the time they moved in on the first of August.

Ever since the Rita Skeeter case and the Malfoy case, Hermione hadn't had many more interesting cases. Most were little things like the misuse of spells, or other minor crimes, while other cases had to do with the Minister of Magic's investigations. There were three cases in two weeks that had to do with the investigations. Two turned out to be nothing serious, though Hermione was sure the latter of the two could turn out to be a lawsuit. The witch did seem pretty angry toward the accusation that her past had been associated with the Dark Arts. The last of the three investigation-related cases turned out to be pretty interesting though. It had turned out that the witch was the wife of one of the lesser-known Death Eaters. She had changed her name when the Death Eater had been captured and had finally been caught. Morrison had convicted her of keeping crucial information from the Ministry and she was now in Azkaban for one year.

Hermione and Narcissa Malfoy had coexisted quite harmoniously. It was true, there were a few dark stares from Narcissa toward Hermione, but as long as Hermione's only conversations with Narcissa consisted of those that had to do with work, it seemed that Narcissa was doing just fine.

The week preceding Harry's birthday was a very busy one in the Burrow. Mrs. Weasley was planning the party, giving out invitations to friends and family. She had immersed herself in the plans and it was obvious why.

Ginny, Ron and Hermione would be moved out of the house by the following Monday, and they were packing their things, making sure they didn't forget anything, and were planning it all out. Because Ron and Hermione were working during the day all that week, they were packing in the late afternoon and at night. While the three of them packed, it was hard to ignore Mrs. Weasley's reactions to it. Most of the time, she was very teary, but no one could blame her. The house that once was home to nine witches and wizards was about to be the home of only two.

When Ginny wasn't packing, she was helping with the party planning. Her mother insisted that she had helped and Ginny was only too happy to help if it meant that it would keep her mother happy. But when she had a rare free moment, she was also training for Quidditch. The first day of camp would begin the second week of August, and it had seemed to sneak up on Ginny. She knew that she wouldn't get a single moment of training in in that last week before camp, so she was working harder than ever.

It was hard at first, but on Wednesday, three days before Harry's birthday, George wrote saying that he and Angelina had returned from their long honeymoon. They wouldn't open up Weasley's Wizard Wheezes until the first of the month, so they had some free time. Mrs. Weasley wrote back, inviting them both to the party, and Ginny adding her own request, asking George if he would come a few days early and help her with her training. It turned out better than she planned. George and Angelina turned up and were both happy to help Ginny with her training (if only because they wanted to keep away from Mrs. Weasley's party planning). So Ginny was able to get in some great training, and by the time the eve of Harry's party came around, Ginny felt she was ready.

----------------------------------------------------

(Ginny's POV)

On Saturday, Harry's birthday, Ginny woke up before sunrise and made sure that she was packed up and ready to move in with Harry as soon as the party was over. The night before, she wrote to Harry, telling him about her plan: after the party, she would magically transport her things to Harry's house and that would be it. Harry wrote back, saying he was fine with it, and that he had the spare bedroom ready for her. Ginny's reaction to that was of surprise and relief. Of course, she and Harry wouldn't sleep in the same bed at first. Both knew they weren't ready for it. But she was about to do what she had dreamed of for years: she was about to start her life with Harry.

One might say that to think about it would be to move to fast with it, but to Ginny, she felt she and Harry weren't moving that fast at all. Anyway, wasn't it true that Hermione had moved into the Burrow, with Ron, just days after she had graduated from Hogwarts? Now she and Ron were about to move into a house of their own. Compared to that, Ginny felt that her relationship with Harry was moving slow.

After making sure everything was ready, Ginny left her room and walked down to the bottom floor of the house. Her mother was in the kitchen. The aroma of Harry's birthday cake baking in the oven was mixed with the aromas of the early breakfast.

“Morning, Ginny,” she said, then frowned.

Ginny was about to ask her mother what was wrong, though she knew the answer already. Today would be the last time her mother would be able to say good morning to her. It would be the last time for a lot of things, Ginny realized. She wouldn't wake up in that small bed in her bedroom anymore. She wouldn't get to make her way down the staircase to the bottom floor anymore, basking in the aroma of an early Molly Weasley breakfast. Ginny smiled at her mother and hugged her.

“What was that for?” Mrs. Weasley asked.

“I know how you must feel,” Ginny said, “You're not the only one who realizes how much this place is about to change.”

“Oh, don't worry about that,” Mrs. Weasley said, smiling and waving her hand, dismissively, “I knew it was bound to happen, you know. I can't keep you here, from your life. I'll be fine, Ginny. It will just be like it used to be when you kids were away at Hogwarts. Except this time, you won't – won't be coming back.”

Ginny saw a tear in her mother's eye. She hugged her again and Mrs. Weasley smiled again.

“Don't mind me,” she said, “Being silly.”

“I'm going to take a walk around the property,” Ginny said, “For old time's sake, you know.”

“You might run into Ron and Hermione while you're out there, then,” Mrs. Weasley said, “They did the same thing. Went out about twenty minutes ago. I think they were heading for the lake.”

Ginny nodded and walked out the back door. She breathed in the fresh air and started off toward the lake. As she walked, she remembered all the days and nights she spent out there over the years. Eating dinner outside, when the whole family, and their friends, had visited during birthday parties. She laughed when she remembered the night before they went to the Quidditch World Cup, when Bill and Charlie were dueling with tables. Percy had yelled out his window, telling them to stop because he was working. She remembered the two weddings, less than two years apart, that had taken place in the field, under the marquee. She remembered dancing with Harry at the last wedding, and then wondered if she and Harry would get married under a marquee like that in the field there. How handsome Harry would look in a tuxedo as she walked toward him in her spectacular wedding dress. She blushed when she thought about that. It would definitely be a while before that moment, of course.

She broke away from her thoughts and realized she was almost at the lake. As she got closer, she saw Ron and Hermione sitting at the end of the dock. Their legs were dangling off the end of the dock. Ron had his arm around Hermione, and Hermione was resting her head on his shoulder. She realized they were watching the dawn sky as the sun started its traditional rise over the horizon. Ginny felt a pang of jealousy, realizing she had never actually watched the sun rise, nor set, with Harry. Maybe she and Harry could watch the sunset before they left for his house. She'd like that.

Ginny was about to walk away from Ron and Hermione and head to the barn, when Hermione looked up at the right time.

“Hey, Ginny!” she called, “Come over and watch the sunrise with us.”

Ginny shook her head.

“Come on,” Hermione insisted.

Ginny sighed and walked over to the dock. She sat down beside Hermione.

“It's so beautiful, isn't it?” Hermione asked.

“I've seen it before,” Ginny said, with a sigh.

“You won't get a view like this up in London,” Hermione said, “You can bet on it.”

“Watch it, Hermione,” Ron said, “You'll make her want to stay.”

“Your Mum would be happy with that,” Hermione said.

“Yeah,” Ginny said, “She talked to me when I came down to the kitchen. You know what she told me? 'It will just be like it used to be when you kids were away at Hogwarts. Except this time --”

“'This time you won't be coming back',” Ron said, in his best imitation of his mother, “She got you with that line too?”

“Yep,” Ginny said.

“She definitely has a way with words, Mum does,” Ron said.

“Yep,” Ginny agreed, laughing.

“Do you know when Harry's coming?” Hermione asked Ginny.

“In about three hours or so,” Ginny said, “It's what he said in his note.”

“You know,” Ron said, “I can think of somebody who will be very happy that you're moving in with Harry.”

“Who?” Ginny asked.

“Ares, his owl!” Ron said, “I swear that owl's been making the trip down here every couple of days.”

Ginny laughed.

“Yeah, that poor owl has had quite a work-out,” she said.

“Whose fault is that?” Ron asked.

“Well, he won't have to worry about that anymore,” Ginny said, “Anyway... so how is your Mum and Dad taking this, Hermione?

“Actually they're happier I'm moving closer to them,” Hermione said, “When I wrote to them last week that we had an official move-in date to the house, Dad offered to help move stuff into the house. I told them that the movers were going to have all the furniture in the house by the time we got there, and magic would do the rest. I can only guess how he reacted to that.”

“I'm sure they just want to see you,” Ginny said.

“I'll visit them after we get settled in,” Hermione said, “I have to pick up Crookshanks anyway. Poor cat. I've been so busy with work and stuff, I totally forgot about him. Bet he misses me so much.”

Ron scoffed.

“What's your problem?” Ginny asked him.

“Oh, nothing,” Hermione answered for Ron, “When I told him that I had to get Crookshanks, he went on a rant about Pigwidgeon and how Crookshanks would scare him too much. I told him that was rubbish. Crookshanks is used to Pig by now. ”

“Yeah, well,” Ron said, “If you don't get any notes from us, Ginny, you'll know why.”

Hermione rolled her eyes.

“Morning, guys!” said a voice behind Ginny, Ron and Hermione.

They turned around. George and Angelina were walking towards the lake. Since they had been helping Ginny out with her training, they had stayed at the Burrow.

“You trying to stay away from Mum?” George asked when they stepped onto the dock.

“Of course not!” Ginny said, quickly.

“Well, if you were, I can't blame you,” George said, “Course you know she'll find any way she possibly can to get you back here, you know?”

“Heh, right,” Ron said, “Like she got you.”

“Hey!” George said, “That was only because I was injured. I could have stayed in Hogsmeade.”

“That would have been a sight to see, George,” Angelina said, as she and George sat next to Ginny, “You wobbling around on your one good leg trying to get around the shop and flat. You would have hurt yourself more.”

George's face went as bright as his hair.

“I can't complain,” Ron said, “If it wasn't for that, Hermione and I might not have our new house. Most of the earnings we got helped a lot toward getting that house.”

“You're welcome,” George said.

“Have you had a chance to return to Diagon Alley since you got back?” Ron asked.

“We went yesterday,” George said, “If the builders are right, they'll have the shop restored in a couple of days. Ah, the glory of magic. Tom was quite happy to see us back. He said Diagon Alley seemed a little less cheerful without the store there.”

“How are you going to handle both stores?” Hermione asked, “It was quite some work for Ron and I just handling that one.”

“Lee Jordan's going to take over the management of the Hogsmeade branch,” George said.

“I thought you weren't talking to him,” Ginny said.

Ginny remembered that George's old girlfriend, Verity, had cheated on him with Lee Jordan. Of course, if it hadn't been for that, George and Angelina might not be married now. But Ginny couldn't help but wonder how George could forgive Lee for something like that.

“The past is the past, sis,” George said, “When Angelina and I were on our honeymoon, Lee and I sent notes back and forth. He said he's not having any luck with the radio deejay business. So I offered him the job in the Hogsmeade branch. He said he'd happily take it. Besides, if it wasn't for Lee, Weasley's Wizard Wheezes might not be as popular as it is now. He came up with some of the original items that made the shop what it is today. So I had to do him a favor.”

“Plus, it means George and I won't be apart as often as we would have been,” Angelina said, “I'm bloody happy with that, if you ask me. Especially if --”

She cut off and went silent.

“What is it, Angelina?” Hermione asked.

“Should I tell them?” Angelina said to George.

“Go ahead,” George said.

“George and I have decided to start a family,” Angelina said.

“Wow!” Ginny exclaimed.

“It may seem a little soon,” Angelina said, “I mean, we just got back from our honeymoon. But we're okay financially, so we thought 'hey, what the hell? Let's go for it.' Besides, there's nothing better, right?”

“You've been talking to my mother again, haven't you?” George said.

Angelina slapped him on the knee. She then turned and looked at Hermione and Ron.

“So, Hermione,” she said, “I can't help but notice that rock on your finger. When are you two going to – you know?”

Ron blushed.

“Oh!” Hermione said, “Ron and I've discussed it. We're not ready just yet. We're both okay with it.”

“That's good,” Angelina said, “Always good to make sure you're ready. George and I thought were completely ready to get married when the spring came around. Then we decided to wait, and look at us now.”

Ginny sighed under her breath, and looked at the sun as it climbed over the trees past the lake. Here her two brothers were, happily with the ones they loved, watching the sun rise, and there she was sitting by herself. She silently urged Harry to get there quicker, and wished that she could hear his voice, as he walked toward her on that dock. She turned around, as if her sudden wish might have made Harry appear right then and there. When he didn't, she stood up.

“I just realized,” she said, “that if I wanted one last ride on my broom before training camp, I better do it now.”

“Want us to join you?” George asked.

“No!” she said, a little too quickly, “I-I mean, I'm just going to do a little flying. You guys just watch the sun rise.”

“Oh, okay,” George said, “Well, have fun.”

Ginny nodded. As she left the dock, she turned around briefly. Hermione, once again, was resting her head on Ron's shoulder. She laughed at something Ron had said and kissed him on the cheek. Ginny sighed and headed for the barn.

She took her broom from the barn and was soon in the air. She felt free up there. Other than what she felt for Harry, there was no better feeling in the world. It was as if she was made for Quidditch. Thinking back, there was really nothing else she wanted to do with her life. If she hadn't been picked by Gwenog Jones to be a part of the Holyhead Harpies, she was not sure what she would have done. It was hard to think about, and she was relieved she had been chosen. She flew toward the lake, where the trees were much higher and hid her from possibly being sighted by Muggles.

She could see Ron, Hermione, George and Angelina sitting on the dock and talking amongst themselves. George said something that made Angelina laugh, and she pushed him playfully. Suddenly, George lost his balance and fell into the lake with a splash. George resurfaced and Ginny could hear Angelina, Ron and Hermione howl with laughter. George pulled himself back onto the dock, or so Ginny thought. Because, a second later, George pulled Angelina into the lake. Ron and Hermione stood up quickly, and backed away, probably so they wouldn't get pulled in as well. Angelina yelled at George, half-laughter in her voice, as she pulled herself back onto the dock. George pulled himself back up, and said something to Angelina. Ginny thought Angelina would just push him back in, but instead, she pulled George toward her and kissed him.

Ginny rolled her eyes, sighed and turned back in the direction of the barn. She landed and headed back to the Burrow with broom in hand, realizing she needed to bring it along with her. By the time she got there, Ron, Hermione and a very wet George and Angelina were walking up toward the Burrow from the other side.

“Looks like you two had some fun,” Ginny said to George and Angelina.

“It was George's fault,” Angelina said.

“Hey!” George retorted, “You pushed me in.”

“Cause of your loud mouth!” Angelina exclaimed.

“You two better dry up before you go in,” Ginny said.

“We left our wands inside,” George said.

“I have mine,” Hermione said.

She took her wand from her pocket and pointed it at George and Angelina. She muttered an incantation and a gust of hot wind (Ginny could feel it from where she stood) blew on them for a few seconds. They looked very windswept, but were also dry.

“And I thought Ron had a bunch of hot wind!” George said.

“Hey!” Ron said, “Watch it or I'll take you back down to the lake.”

George scoffed. Ginny followed the others inside. Her mother had finished cooking breakfast a few minutes later, which they enjoyed thoroughly, even though it was a simple meal.

------------------------------------------
(Harry's POV)

Harry slept in until eight-o-clock in the morning, then walked down to the kitchen to get some breakfast. His neighbor had baked him some cinnamon buns the day before and given them to him for an early birthday present. He ate a couple, then headed for the fireplace. He took some of the green powder out of the bag and walked into the fireplace.

“The Burrow!” he said, clearly, as he dropped the Floo Powder.

He felt his feet lift off the ground as he took the familiar journey through the Floo Network toward the Burrow. He tucked in his arms and closed his eyes as he passed fireplaces. A few moments later, his feet landed with a small thud. He walked out of the fireplace, into smoke and soot. He was about to take his wand out, when he heard a very familiar voice cast the cleaning spell. When the smoke and soot vanished, He saw Ginny for a mere second, before she ran over to him and hugged him.

“Let the man breathe, Ginny,” Ron said as he and Hermione came into view, “Don't want to suffocate Harry on his birthday.”

“You're a bit early, Harry,” Mrs. Weasley said, as she came in behind Ron and Hermione, “You look famished. Have you eaten anything.”

“A couple of buns,” Harry said, nodding.

Mrs. Weasley sighed.

“Well, at least with Ginny moving in, you'll eat better,” she said, though Harry noticed a tear in her eye when she said this.

“I'll never be as good at cooking as you are, Mum,” Ginny said.

“I think we'll manage,” Harry said.

Mrs. Weasley chuckled.

“We still have a couple of hours until the other guests come, Harry,” she said, “There aren't very many, I assure you. I know you don't like too much attention. Merlin knows you've had all the attention you need for a lifetime.”

“Cheers to that,” Harry said, chuckling.

“Well, I better get back to cooking,” Mrs. Weasley said.

She retreated back into the kitchen.

“Want to take a walk, Harry?” Ginny asked.

“Didn't you just take a walk not an hour ago?” Ron asked.

Hermione slapped him on the shoulder. Harry laughed and nodded to Ginny. They walked through the kitchen and headed outside.

“Oh, almost forgot,” Ginny said, “Happy birthday.”

She kissed him on the cheek, and took his hand as they headed down toward the lake.

“Is that my only present from you?” Harry asked.

“No,” Ginny said, “Mum and I met up with Ron and Hermione after work a couple days ago and went shopping in Diagon Alley.”

“I was wondering why Ron was acting all funny that day,” Harry said, “I said I needed go into Diagon Alley to pick up some owl treats for Ares, and he talked me out of it. Guess I know why.”

Ginny grinned.

“So you all packed?” Harry asked her.

“Yep!” Ginny said, “Though I don't want to leave until it gets dark.”

“Oh yeah?” Harry asked, “Why?”

“Just one of your birthday surprises,” Ginny said, grinning.

“Oh, let me guess!” Harry said, “George has new fireworks to show off? Perhaps some new modifications to his --”

“No,” Ginny said, “Well, maybe. I don't know what George has planned. Could be anything knowing him. But that isn't it. And don't you guess. You wouldn't be able to anyway, but I want it to be a surprise.”

“Okay, I promise,” Harry said.

“Good,” she said, and kissed him on the cheek.

“So how is your Mum dealing with you moving?” Harry asked, “I couldn't help but notice a few waterworks back there.”

“Oh, you know Mum,” Ginny said, “She won't accept I'm gone until I've left. Well, actually it's worse since Ron's moving as well.”

“He and Hermione are still moving into the house tomorrow, right?” Harry asked.

“Yep,” Ginny said, “I think Hermione said the movers are putting the last of their furniture in today.”

Ginny looked up at the sky, and frowned slightly.

“What's wrong?” Harry asked.

“Huh?” Ginny asked, then looked down, “Oh, nothing.”

Harry looked up at the sky. Nothing looked to be wrong, except there were a few stray clouds, though those were miles away. Harry shrugged and let it go.

“Have you been training?” Harry asked.

“Yeah,” Ginny said, nodding, “Enough to get sick of it. George and Angelina have been helping me.”

“So you're ready for camp?” Harry asked.

“Yep,” Ginny said.

“When does it start?” Harry asked.

“A week from Monday,” Ginny said, “I got a letter from Gwenog earlier this week. We train for a month and a half, then our first match is the first Saturday of October. Apparently we face the Chudley Cannons.”

Harry laughed.

“How does Ron feel about that?” he asked.

“I haven't told him,” Ginny said, laughing, “I'm afraid he'll beg me for tickets.”

“Oh, I can see it now,” Harry said, “He'll be rooting for the Chudley Cannons when his little sister is playing for the opposition. He'll get booed out of the stadium.”

“Or worse,” Ginny said.

Harry laughed, and Ginny held his hand and looked up at him.

“I'm so happy I'm moving in with you,” she said.

They stopped near the edge of the lake. Ginny's beautiful eyes were staring right into his. She was on the tips of her toes.

“Happy birthday,” she whispered, inches from his face.

Ginny kissed him, and he returned the kiss. It was bliss, and he felt as if there were nobody in the world besides him and Ginny, and he didn't care. Ginny lost her balance, and fell, bringing Harry down to the soft, dewy ground with her. She only laughed, before she leaned back into Harry and knocked him on his back as she kissed him again. His back was getting wet from the dew, but he didn't care. He felt that if anyone had interrupted the moment, he would have cursed them into oblivion. Luckily, no one interrupted them, and Ginny only broke their kiss when they were running low on oxygen. Ginny laid on his chest, resting on her arms. She was still staring into his eyes. Harry felt lost in her gaze. He put a hand to her face and brushed some hair away from her eyes. To him, there was nothing more beautiful in the world.

“I love you, Harry,” she said.

“I love you too, Ginny,” Harry said.

Ginny smiled and took his hand and kissed it.

“Hey, Harry!” a voice called.

Ginny sighed and looked up.

“What does George want?” Ginny asked, more to herself than to Harry.

“He probably just wants to say hi,” Harry said, “He hasn't seen me since he and Angelina came back from their honeymoon.”

“Well, he could have waited until we went back to the Burrow,” Ginny said annoyed.

She stood up and looked at George.

“He's coming down by himself,” Ginny said to Harry, “You think if he came down to say hello, he'd bring Angelina with him, right?”

“Well,” Harry said, “I guess so.”

“Oi!” Ginny shouted at George, “Can't you see we want our privacy?!”

“I think you'll have enough of that before too long, little sister,” George said, as he walked over to them.

“Ron sent you down, didn't he?” Ginny asked, “Yeah, I bet Hermione stopped him from coming, but he got you to come down. I swear to --”

“Whoa, Ginny, relax!” George said, “Don't fret. Ron didn't ask me anything. I came down by my own will.”

Ginny scoffed.

“Actually,” George said, “I was hoping to talk to Harry.”

“Well, go ahead,” Ginny said.

“In private, sis?” George said.

“Ugh,” Ginny groaned, “Fine. I'll see you back at the Burrow, Harry.”

“See ya,” Harry said.

Ginny kissed him quickly on the cheek, rolled her eyes at George and started walking back to the Burrow. Harry watched her.

“I hope you know what you're getting yourself into, Harry,” George said.

Harry looked at George. He suddenly realized this wasn't going to be a normal conversation. At first, he was surprised. He thought George would be the last person to talk to him about this.

“What do you mean?” he asked.

“Look, Harry,” George said, “I'm only talking to you about this because I don't want someone like Ron or Dad to do it. You think Ron's protective of Ginny? Right. He's no competition when it comes to my father.”

Harry looked at him skeptically.

“You don't believe me?” George asked, “When it comes to my father, Ginny will always be his little girl. She's his only daughter, and as so, it's a lot harder than when it comes to me and my brothers.”

“Look, George,” Harry said, “I can see what you're getting at. But the main reason Ginny's moving in with me is to be closer to her camp.”

“Harry, I may have done bloody horrible on my NEWT exams,” George said, “But that doesn't mean I'm as thick as a broomstick. Oh, it might be true that you only see this move as that. But Ginny doesn't. You know her as well as I do. She's as feisty as a flame.”

Harry didn't know whether to laugh or yell at George.

“I can tell how much Ginny loves you,” George said, “And I'm sure you love her just as much. Look, Harry. I'm not going to go the predictable 'protective big-brother' route that I'm sure Ron has gone down. I know you won't hurt my sister. I just don't want to see something happen between the two of you that would ruin your relationship. I speak from experience. I've been down the rocky road of relationships and hit many speed bumps. Of course I got back up. If I didn't, I wouldn't be happily married to Angelina. I just don't want to see you and Ginny get hurt.”

“Well, then you don't have to worry, George,” Harry said.

George stared at him. Harry noticed, for the first time, that he had the same color of eyes as Ginny. This didn't help much.

“I believe you, Harry,” George said.

He grinned and patted Harry on the back.

“I just hope you know what you're getting yourself into,” George repeated, though it was in a soft mutter.

Harry rolled his eyes.

“Well,” George said, “I think we better get back before we give Ginny enough time to plot her revenge.”

Harry laughed and agreed.

------------------------------------------------

A/N: End of another chapter! When I started this chapter, it was only going to be one part. Then I realized how long the chapter was getting and decided I better put it in two parts.

Part 2 is next!

Feedback would be great!


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  #10  
Old August 14th, 2009, 5:04 pm
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Re: Butterfly Kisses (Sequel to Harry Potter and the Return to Hogwarts)

Chapter 10
Harry's Birthday – Part 2



Author's Note: One of my faults when it comes to writing Harry Potter fan-fiction is gift giving. I've never been very good at thinking of good gifts. But I will do my best.

“So what did George want?” Ginny asked Harry, when Harry joined her on the loveseat in the Weasley's living room.

“Well,” Harry said, “you're familiar with the 'father-daughter's boyfriend talk', right?”

“Yeah,” Ginny said, raising her eyebrow.

“Well, this was sorta like that,” Harry said, “Only it wasn't about a wedding, and it was George talking to me instead of your father. Though apparently, as your brother said, it was probably better that he was talking to me instead of your father. Something about your father being worse than Ron when it came to your protection.”

“I'm going to kill George,” Ginny muttered, leaning forward on the loveseat.

“No you're not,” Harry said, pulling Ginny back and putting his arm around her.

“You're lucky it's your birthday, Harry,” Ginny said, “Otherwise, I might just have introduced you to my Bat-Bogey Hex.”

Harry laughed.

“Course you might see it anyway,” Ginny said, “if George interrupts us again.”

Ginny leaned in closer to Harry, and put her head on his shoulder.

“Ginny,” Harry said.

“Hmm?” Ginny asked, without looking up at him.

“I'm kind of surprised,” Harry said.

“About what?” Ginny asked, looking up at him.

“I thought you would, at least, be a little sad,” Harry said, “I mean...by the end of the day, you'll be leaving this place forever. Other than visits for parties and stuff, I mean.”

“I guess it hasn't hit me yet,” Ginny said, shrugging.

“Well, the day I left the Dursley's house forever,” Harry said, “I was walking around the place, reminiscing about certain events that had struck my memory.”

“But you hated that house,” Ginny said.

“Still doesn't mean it didn't affect me,” Harry said, “I lived in that house for most of my young life. And... well... you've lived here your whole life, other than when you went to Hogwarts. You love this place. You can't tell me you haven't thought about it.”

“Maybe a little,” Ginny said, “It will hit me before too long, I expect.”

Harry nodded.

“Still doesn't mean I don't want to leave this place,” Ginny said.

Harry nodded again.

“Harry?” Ginny said, looking up at him again, “You're being quiet.”

“I'm fine,” Harry said.

Ginny narrowed her eyes at him.

“No, you're not,” she said, “Harry, what did George tell you?

“What do you mean?” Harry asked, “I told you. It was --”

“No,” Ginny interrupted, “Tell me what he said.”

Harry looked at her, and he heard George's voice from their conversation a little while ago.

“You know her as well as I do. She's as feisty as a flame.”

“Well,” Harry said, “he--he told me that he had known what it was like to go down the road of relationships. And that he had a few problems, but he got over them.”

“He thinks we may have problems?” Ginny asked.

“No,” Harry said, “He --”

“He thinks we're moving too fast, doesn't he?” Ginny said, sighing.

Harry didn't answer.

“I knew it,” Ginny said, “I bloody knew it.”

She stood up, and before Harry could take her hand, Ginny moved away from him and headed up the stairs. Harry followed her, hoping she wasn't going to do what he thought she would do.

“Ginny!” Harry whispered.

Harry didn't want Mrs. Weasley to hear them. Who knows what she might say if she knew what they were talking about. But Harry figured he had a pretty good idea about what she might say.

“Ginny!” Harry whispered again, as he climbed the stairs.

Too late. Ginny had reached George's old bedroom. Harry hurried up the stairs, as Ginny pounded her knuckles on the door. The door opened a moment later.

“What?” George asked

“What did you tell Harry?!” Ginny said, almost screaming.

“Shh!” George shushed her, “Get in here before Mum comes up here.”

Ginny walked into the room. By this time, Harry had made his way up the stairs. George saw him. He gave Harry a “now you've done it” look and motioned his head toward the room. Harry followed him into the room. George shut the door. Angelina was sitting on the bed.

“Hi, Harry!” she said, “Happy birthday.”

“Thanks,” Harry said.

“What did you tell Harry, George?” Ginny repeated.

“Wait... one... more second,” George said to Ginny, putting up a hand.

He took his wand out of his pocket and pointed it to the walls. He muttered an incantation and Harry heard a creaking sound.

“There,” George said, “The walls are sound-proof now.”

“I don't want to know where you learned that spell,” Ginny said, disgusted, “Or why, for that matter.”

“Relax, sis,” George said, “Fred and I learned it a few years ago so Mum wouldn't find out we were making our products. I will admit it has several uses though.”

George grinned at Angelina. Ginny rolled her eyes, clearly disgusted.

“Now, what do you want?” George asked her.

“What did you tell Harry?” Ginny repeated a third time, “Did you tell him that he was moving too fast with me?”

Harry thought George would have been ready with an answer, but he looked speechless. Though it could have been that George didn't want to say anything that would have made Ginny any madder.

“Look, George,” Ginny said, “My relationship with Harry is none of your business. And don't bring up the 'protective big brother' rubbish. I had enough of that with Ron. And if you want to know, it wasn't Harry's request in the first place that I moved in with him. I brought it up, thinking it would have been a better option for me when it came to Quidditch training. Oh, and it wasn't a spur-of-the-moment thing either. We had the discussion at your wedding. So, yeah, we've had quite a while to mull things over in our heads. And if you hadn't noticed, we're as happy now as we were then with our decision.”

George looked at his sister, then turned to Harry.

“Harry,” he said, “If you would have told me all of that, we wouldn't be in this position, would we?”

Harry shrugged. George looked back at Ginny.

“Ginny,” he said, “It takes a big wizard to admit when he's wrong. And it seems that I was wrong about the two of you. I did think you were moving too fast in this relationship. I thought that perhaps Harry had asked you to move in with him, and you were so excited, that you accepted his request without thinking about it. But it seems you have thought a lot about it. Now, will you forgive me?”

Ginny stared at him and pondered her answer.

“I forgive you,” she finally said.

“Good,” George said, “Now, get out of here. The both of you.”

Ginny was only too happy to leave. Harry followed her out and they walked down the stairs.

“Well, that turned out better than I thought it would,” Harry said.

“Oh?” Ginny asked.

“Yeah,” Harry said, “I thought I was going to have to shield George from one of your hexes.”

Ginny laughed.

“I don't think it would have mattered,” she said, “George knows the Bat-Bogey Hex too well. He could have dodged it. Though I don't think he would have, especially with Angelina in the room.”

“You know,” Harry said, “I think I should ask George how to do that sound-proof spell.”

“Harry!” Ginny exclaimed.

“What?” Harry asked, “It sounds bloody useful if you ask me. Why, I bet George is testing it out right now.”

“Harry,” Ginny said, turning around, “Shut up or I'm going to hex you, even if it is your birthday.”

Harry laughed and followed Ginny down to the bottom floor. As he followed her, he privately agreed with George. Ginny was definitely as feisty as a fire.

----------------------------------

It was noon before most of the guests that Mrs. Weasley invited had arrived. Andromeda and Teddy were the first to arrive. Teddy, it turned out, had learned to walk. He was walking hand-in-hand with Andromeda, though Harry could tell that he was stumbling a bit.

“Just like his mother, he is,” Andromeda said, “Nymphadora couldn't walk two steps without tripping over something. I had hoped Teddy hadn't inherited that little problem. He's also learning how to talk, but we haven't been very successful.”

Teddy then said something that sounded like “hurry”.

“Did you hear that?!” Andromeda exclaimed, “He said your name. Well, either that or he wants me to hurry inside. Can't tell.”

Harry chuckled, and Andromeda brought Teddy into the Burrow. As they walked through the door, Harry noticed that his hair had changed from green to Weasley red. If he didn't know better, he would have thought Teddy was another Weasley relative.

Next to arrive was Bill, Fleur and little Victoire. Victoire was asleep in her baby seat as Bill brought it into the house, waving at Harry as he passed him. A couple minutes later, Harry heard a large crack and saw Hagrid walking down the driveway.

“'Arry!” Hagrid said, loudly, “'Appy Birthday!”

“Hi, Hagrid,” Harry said, “Thanks. I was wondering if you were coming.”

“Like I could miss your birthday,” Hagrid said.

“How's Grawp?” Harry asked.

“Great as far as I know,” Hagrid said, “I've only visited him a couple o' times. Just ter make sure he didn't get loose an' scare anyone in Hogsmeade.”

Harry grinned as Hagrid walked to the Burrow and ducked under the door-frame as he walked in. Harry thought Hagrid was the last guest. But a few minutes later, Harry noticed two more people turning into the driveway. He recognized one of them: Luna Lovegood. She was wearing a bright yellow dress, and was hand-in-hand with young man. It seemed that Luna had finally found love.

Luna and the young man walked up to Harry. Harry could tell at first glance that the man was probably a couple years older than him.

“Hi, Harry!” she said, happily, “Harry, this Rolf Scamander. His grandfather is the famous author, Newt Scamander. Rolf, this is --”

“I know who you are,” Rolf said, extending his hand, “The famous Harry Potter. Luna has told me all about you.”

“Nice to meet you,” Harry said, shaking his hand.

Luna and Rolf walked inside and Harry followed them. Rolf went around to meet the others, and Luna joined Harry on the couch.

“So how did you and Rolf meet?” Harry asked.

“My father interviewed his grandfather for the Quibbler once,” Luna said, “And Newt had brought Rolf with him. We became friends, and wrote back and forth for a while. Then one day a couple weeks ago when Rolf had visited, he asked me on a date. We've been together ever since.”

Luna grinned and blushed.

“That's great, Luna!” Harry said.

“Hi, Luna!” Ginny's voice rang out as she entered the living room.

Ginny walked over and sat on the other side of Harry.

“Rolf is pretty nice,” Ginny said to Luna.

“Yes, he's quite wonderful,” Luna said.

“So how is your father doing?” Harry asked.

“Oh, he is good,” Luna said, “He wanted to come to your party, but he told me to apologize on his behalf. He is very busy with the Quibbbler these days. Did you know that Rita Skeeter's Animagus might actually be a cousin of the Wrackspurt? Yeah! Daddy's trying to get an interview from Rita Skeeter. He remembered when she interviewed you about your story of what happened in that graveyard, Harry. It's one of the best selling editions of all time. He hopes that this time, she'll be the subject of a story for the Quibbler.”

“But Rita's in Azkaban, Luna,” Ginny said, “How is your father going to interview her?”

“Oh, yes,” Luna said, “Well, Daddy knows his way around Azkaban, and some of the Aurors who guard the place are big fans of his. Did you know some of them believe that the Dementors should go back to work in Azkaban? Yeah, Daddy's trying to get that story too. He hopes he can get some of the Dementors back to work and actually let them be paid for their work.”

“Luna, love,” Rolf said, entering the room, “Are you telling those stories again?”

“Oh, hush,” Luna said, then whispered to Harry, “Rolf doesn't believe some of the stories Daddy writes about. But he will.”

“Luna's trying to get me to work at the Quibbler,” Rolf said, as he sat next to Luna, “Did she tell you she's going to be one of the journalists there?”

“You failed to mention that, Luna!” Ginny said.

“Oh, it's nothing,” Luna said, blushing, “I always knew Daddy was going to give me a job. So it's not that surprising.”

“Well, I tell you what,” Ginny said, “If your father ever wants to write about the Quidditch league, I'll be happy to be interviewed.”

“You're a Quidditch player, Ginny?” Rolf asked, “In the Professional league? Which team?”

“Holyhead Harpies,” Ginny said, “I start training a week from Monday.”

Hermione and Ron walked into the living room.

“There you are,” Hermione said to Rolf, “I was hoping you'd tell me more about your grandfather. I love his books.”

“I'm afraid I wouldn't be able to tell too much,” Rolf said, “I don't know him very well. Before last summer, I hadn't seen him since I was a little kid. He's very busy, my grandfather is.”

“What's he doing now?” Hermione asked, “Any new books?”

“I'm not sure,” Rolf said.

“Oh, Rolf,” Luna said, “You shouldn't be embarassed.”

Luna turned to Hermione.

“Rolf's grandfather and my father are co-writing a new book,” she said, “After my father interviewed Rolf's father, my father and him got to talking about writing a book together. My father's always wanted to write a book, and who better to assist him than Newt Scamander? The book will be about all the creatures that my father and I search for. Crumple-Horned Snorcacks, Wrackspurts, you know, stuff like that.”

“And I'm not embarassed by my grandfather, Luna,” Rolf said, “If I hadn't visited him last summer, I would have never met you.”

Luna smiled.

“Oh, before I forget, Harry,” Rolf said.

He reached into his left inside coat pocket and pulled out a book.

“I wrote to my grandfather and told him I might be meeting you sometime,” he said, “My grandfather sent this back with him, and told me to give it to you.”

Rolf handed the book to Harry. It looked to be a very old copy of “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them”. He opened it. A short note was written on the inside cover. It read:

To Harry Potter, the Hero of the Second War,

Thanks for all you did for the wizarding world. You are more of a legend than I could ever be. I hope to meet you one day, and perhaps sit down for a discussion with you. I'm sure we can trade some pretty interesting stories!

Salutations,
Newt Scamander


Harry grinned and looked up at Rolf.

“Be sure to thank him for me,” he said, “It's great.”

“It's one of the very first editions of the book,” Rolf said, “A rare treasure, that is.”

“I will keep it safe,” Harry said.

“Sorry to interrupt your conversation,” Mrs. Weasley said from the doorway between the living room and the kitchen, “But if you guys want to eat, I will need some help setting up the tables and stuff outside.”

At that, everyone, including the guests, helped set up the tables, dishes and silverware outside.

------------------------------------------------

Fifteen minutes later, everything was ready. Mr. Weasley, who had been at work all day, arrived just in time for dinner, apologizing that he couldn't make it sooner.

“My office was next in line for Kingsley's investigations,” he said, when he sat down at the end of the table, “Well, of course, Kingsley knows about my background, but he was questioning many of my colleagues. A couple of them were pulled out of the office around noon, and I didn't see them by the time I left. Of course, most of the witches and wizards under investigation are those who had just joined the Ministry after the fall of Voldemort, and those who joined after the last invasion. The rumor is, around the Ministry...”

He looked at Harry, Ron and Hermione when he said the next bit.

“And I wouldn't be surprised if it hadn't gotten around to you,” he said, “but it seems that the new Ministry workers were poorly interviewed because, if you remember, a few of the Ministry workers had left for good fearing another invasion. Well, since then, they were trying to get their numbers back. Now it seems Kingsley is trying to make up for it with these investigations.”

“How many people have been sacked so far?” Bill asked.

“Oh, I think Kingsley mentioned somewhere near a dozen,” Mr. Weasley said.

“And everyone of those had some connection to Death Eaters?” Mrs. Weasley asked.

“Actually, very few,” Mr. Weasley said, “Most of them, if they had any connection to Death Eaters, it was a long distant relative or a next-door neighbor. It was also suspected that some those who had been let go may have had some random conversations with a known Death Eater at some point and didn't know who they were.”

“Well that is no reason to sack anybody!” Harry exclaimed.

“Like I said,” Mr. Weasley said,, “Kingsley's just trying to make up for past mistakes.”

“Will any of these people be sent in front of the Wizengamot,” Hermione asked.

“I know what you're thinking, Hermione,” Mr. Weasley said, “While it is true that Head Judge Morrison might be able to prove the innocence of many of these workers, it seems that Kingsley is being very final about the whole thing. I also believe that they don't want any of this being put into the Daily Prophet. Kingsley believes there would be mass-panic if that happened.”

The table went silent for a couple of minutes. It seemed everyone was thinking about this.

“What's the chance that someone in the Ministry could be associated with Death Eaters?” Rolf asked.

“There's already been at least one person,” Harry said to him, “He used to be in Auror training with me and Ron. I thought Kingsley was wrong about him, but his father was one of Azkaban escapees helping the Death Eaters in the final battle of the Second War. His father was killed in that battle, and Kingsley feared that the guy would want his revenge.”

“That's what the whole investigation is about,” Mr. Weasley said, “Making sure that doesn't happen. The wizarding world doesn't need something like this to happen just months after our victory.”

“Cheers to that,” Bill said, lifting his cup.

“Cheers” everyone around the table said, lifting their glasses as well.

After lunch, which ended with the cake Mrs. Weasley baked, it was time to hand out presents. Mrs. Weasley summoned them from her bedroom, and they came floating out of the window and onto the table. Harry opened them.

Ginny's was first. She gave him a heart-shaped locket that reminded Harry eerily of the Slytherin locket. Instead of an S, there was a H and G on it. Inside was a moving picture of Ginny. Ron and Hermione gave him a moving picture of them posing together. They were waving up at him.

Mr. and Mrs. Weasley gave him their traditional birthday sweater (green with H emblazoned on the front) and a assortment of homemade pies and other goodies. George and Angelina gave Harry a coupon to Weasley's Wizard Wheezes, as well as a dragon-hide jacket. Andromeda gave him a picture of Teddy riding on the broom that Harry had gotten Teddy for Christmas. Luna's present was a coupon for a lifetime subscription to the Quibbler.

Bill and Fleur's present surprised Harry. Bill had finally caught up with the goblin Griphook and somehow had recovered the Sword of Gryffindor. When Harry asked how Bill got it, Bill said that Griphook had realized what the Sword of Gryffindor meant to Harry and would only give it to Bill if it went straight to Harry. Harry mentally promised that he would thank Griphook if he ever met him again.

---------------------------------------------

According to Ginny, Harry would have to wait for his final birthday surprise. It would come a few hours later. Harry wondered, once again, if it was fireworks from George, but Ginny wouldn't have been that excited about it. It had to be something that Ginny had planned.

After everything was cleaned up, Harry, Ginny, Ron, George, Angelina and Bill entertained everyone with a game of Quidditch. It was Harry, Ginny and Ron versus George, Angelina and Bill. There would be no Snitch nor Bludgers for the game, so Harry and Bill each played as Chasers, and George played as Keeper. It would be first to two-hundred. Luna was the announcer for the game, and she entertained everyone as much as the Quidditch players, with her comments. Rolf, who turned out to be a big fan of Quidditch, but wasn't the type to play it, was the referee.

Ginny and Angelina were nicely matched against each other, and Bill turned out to be a good Chaser, so Harry had some competition, since he had very little, if any, experience as a Chaser. But Ginny proved to be as good as two Chasers. The barn was used for Ron's goal, and Mr. Weasley had conjured golden rings that looked sort of like halos, so that there could be two scoring sides. George was all over the place as Ginny and Harry scored back and forth. Ginny and Harry even tricked George with a couple of twenty-point plays, including the final game-winning score. In the end, Harry, Ron and Ginny won 200-130.

The game lasted almost two hours, and by then the sun was close to the horizon. As everyone else went back inside for refreshments, Ginny invited Harry for a ride on her broom. Since Harry was bigger than Ginny, he got in back, while Ginny got in front. When Ginny told him that she wanted them to fly together, Harry had a pretty good idea of her surprise, but didn't say anything. Ginny flew the broom high above the Burrow, but low enough so they wouldn't be seen by Muggles' wandering eyes.

Soon enough, they were facing the direction of the sun as it began its descent over the horizon.

“So is this what you were planning?” Harry asked, grinning.

“Well,” Ginny said, “Hermione had mentioned that you can't get anything as good as this up in London, what with all the congestion. And I wanted to watch the sunset with you before we went to your place.”

Harry smiled and noticed that Ginny suddenly went silent.

“Something wrong?” Harry asked.

“Heh,” Ginny said, “It finally hit me.”

“What?” Harry asked.

“That I'm leaving my home for good,” Ginny said.

Ginny looked down, and Harry knew she was looking at the Burrow.

“Do you remember when you first came to the Burrow?” Ginny said, “Right before I first went to Hogwarts?”

“Kind of,” Harry said.

“I remember being so excited that you would be visiting us,” Ginny said, “And that I didn't exactly know why I was so excited. I mean, at that time, I had a school-girl crush on you. But I thought it was just silly.”

“I do remember,” Harry said, laughing, “Ron said you wouldn't shut up about me all that summer.”

“It's true,” Ginny said, giggling, “Fred and George started getting so annoyed at me as well. Threatened to hex my lips together. I think it was around then that I started learning the Bat-Bogey Hex. Just something to get back at them if they ever tried to hex me. Didn't help much. It took me almost four years to perfect it.”

Ginny turned her head and looked at Harry.

“Did I ever tell you,” she said, “when I knew I was truly in love with you? It may seem silly, though.”

“You might have,” Harry said, “I don't remember.”

“It was when you saved me in the Chamber of Secrets,” Ginny said, “I know I was so young then, and at the time, I thought it was still a silly school-girl crush, but looking back, I do realize that I was truly in love with you.”

“It's not that silly,” Harry said, “What's silly is how long it took for me to realize it. If you asked me, I couldn't tell you why.”

“You had other things on your mind, Harry,” Ginny said, “With all the Voldemort stuff.”

“You never gave up on me, though,” Harry said.

“Nope,” she said, chuckling, “Even when Hermione told me to. Even when I saw you with Cho, and when I started going out with other boys. I never gave up on you. Because I knew you'd realize what I had known for a while.”

Ginny turned back around, and Harry looked at the sun. Its rays were gone, and now Harry could see it without having to turn away from it after a few moments. It was that red-orange color that brought a glow of the same color miles across the sky, as if it was waving goodbye to everyone for the day. It looked so radiant, so beautiful. You'd have to go miles above London to get a view like this.

“Happy birthday, Harry,” Ginny said, grinning and leaning back on Harry as she said it.

Harry only grinned. He was practically speechless from the view.

“I love you,” Ginny said.

“I love you, too,” Harry said.

Ginny leaned her head upwards and kissed Harry on the lips. Harry kissed her back and deepened the kiss. As the sun went beneath the horizon, they were still embraced in their deep, loving, passionate kiss.

-----------------------------------
A/N: I know it sounds selfish to have favoritism to my own work, but this is probably one of my favorite endings to a chapter in a while. It was just perfect, and I'm glad to have thought about it.

So, I hope you liked Rolf. I'm trying to work out some of the secondary character's relationships throughout the story. While they probably won't have much to do with the story, or their own PoV for a chapter, it still adds to it. Hope I was right about Rolf's character. Almost called him Rolph, though. Had to do a double-check. Oh, and I wasn't sure if Rolf was Newt's grandson or great-grandson, and I don't know if Newt is even alive in canon, but I did it that way, just to add a little to the story.

More to come! Feedback would be great!


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Last edited by Fury; August 14th, 2009 at 5:11 pm.
  #11  
Old August 24th, 2009, 8:23 pm
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Re: Butterfly Kisses (Sequel to Harry Potter and the Return to Hogwarts)

Chapter 11
Moving Day


(Harry's POV)


It turned out that George did have a fireworks show planned. When it got dark, George fired off a box of his special fireworks, some of which were being debuted at the party and hadn't been brought to the store shelves yet. After the fireworks show, most of the guests, except for Bill, Fleur and Victoire (who only stayed because Mrs. Weasley told them their drive would take all night and Victoire needed a good night's rest), left the Burrow.

Harry decided to stay for a little while longer, while Ginny said her final farewells to the Burrow. Meanwhile, Harry and Mr. Weasley magically transported Ginny's things and Harry's presents to Harry's house. Harry suspected that Mr. Weasley had something to say to him, and he was right. When the last of Harry's gifts disappeared from view, Mr. Weasley kept Harry behind.

“I can't tell you how much this ol' Burrow is going to miss Ginny,” Mr. Weasley said to Harry, as they both watched Ginny hug her mother, who had tears streaking down her cheeks.

“I think I know,” Harry said.

Mr. Weasley looked at Harry questioningly.

“Oh,” Harry said, “Ginny and I talked about it when... after the Quidditch game, I mean.”

Mr. Weasley just chuckled.

“To be honest, Harry,” he said, “Molly and I hadn't expected this to come too soon. I can't tell you how long it has been since it has only been me and Molly in this house. Now, after tomorrow, once Ron leaves with Hermione, it's just going to be me and her once again.”

“We'll visit whenever possible,” Harry said, “You know that. And you are always welcome to visit us.”

“Oh, I know,” Mr. Weasley said, “Ginny and Ron tell Molly and I that all the time. But it won't be the same, you know.”

Mr. Weasley went quiet and Harry knew he was looking back at the memories as if they were a photo book sitting in front of him. Mr. Weasley shook out of his thoughts and looked at Harry.

“Did any of us ever tell you,” he said, “ that the Burrow used to only have one or two bedrooms... oh... many years ago?”

“No,” Harry said.

“Yeah,” Mr. Weasley said, “Then we started building onto it as the children came along. You've probably asked yourself over the years if this place was held up by magic. I think the only answer to that would be... yes. If there was no magic in this house, it'd probably topple right on top of us.”

He chuckled. Ginny walked in, followed by Mrs. Weasley, Ron and Hermione. Bill and Fleur were putting Victoire to sleep in one of the old cribs Mrs. Weasley kept around whenever Bill and Fleur visited. Harry noticed that Mrs. Weasley was wiping tears away from her eyes with a handkerchief.

“Harry and I were just reminiscing,” Mr. Weasley said, smiling, “You ready to go, Ginny?”

“Yeah,” Ginny said, “I think I am.”

“Everything is at your new house,” Mr. Weasley said, though Harry noticed a bit of longing in his voice.

Ginny smiled and hugged her father. Mr. Weasley looked at her.

“My little girl's all grown up,” he said, chuckling.

“Oh, Dad,” Ginny said, blushing.

Harry hugged Mrs. Weasley.

“Oh, I'll be fine, Harry,” Mrs. Weasley said, “You just take care of our little girl, huh?”

“Of course, Mrs. Weasley,” Harry said.

Mrs. Weasley smiled, as Harry and Ginny walked over to the fireplace. Mrs. Weasley held the box open as Harry took a handful.

“The 'go word' for the Floo Network is 'home',” Harry said, “I took the liberty of adding your name to the list just yesterday, Ginny.”

Harry turned to Ron and Hermione.

“If you need help tomorrow,” Harry said, “you can always ask.”

“I think we'll manage, mate,” Ron said.

Harry nodded and walked into the fireplace.

“Home!” he yelled clearly.

He felt his feet lift off the ground and closed his eyes as he spun around. A few moments later, he was back safely in his house. He walked out of the soot and ash. All of Ginny's things, and his gifts were a few feet away. A few moments later, he heard Ginny's feet slap against the ground and she walked out of the fireplace. She took one glance around, then looked at Harry.

“I think I saw a tear in Mum's eye when I said 'home',” she said.

“Well, you can't blame her,” Harry said.

“Nope,” Ginny said.

Harry helped Ginny take her things up to her new bedroom. A bed was already there, near the window. The moonlight struck the bed in an odd, haunting way, though it also seemed to welcome Ginny to it. Ginny walked over to it and looked out it into the city.

“Such a different view than my old bedroom,” Ginny said, “Have to get used to waking up and seeing other houses instead of the lake.”

“I think you'll get used to it quicker than you think,” Harry said.

“Yeah,” Ginny said.

“Well, I'll let you unpack,” Harry said.

“Seems like I just packed up,” Ginny said, looking at the boxes.

Harry grinned. As he walked out the door, Ginny was placing her broom in the closet. He heard her whisper to herself, and swore she said “Hopefully this will all just be temporary.” Harry smiled to himself and walked back downstairs to grab his presents.

----------------------------------------------------

(Hermione's POV)

Early the next morning, Hermione was sitting at the small desk in Ginny's old bedroom. Bill, Fleur and Victoire were still asleep in their bedroom. Hermione's things were all packed up. The trunk was at the end of Ginny's old bed. Everything else Hermione needed, she would have to get from her house (she hadn't gotten used to calling it her old house yet) when she went to visit her parents. She had just finished a letter to them and was reading it over:

Dear Mum and Dad,

Well, today is moving day! By noon, Ron and I should be in our new house in London. It is kind of weird to think about it, but I am fine. I am over the anxious, nervous part.

Tomorrow, I'll come over and visit and get the rest of my stuff, as well as Crookshanks. I'm sure he misses me loads! Anyway, I'll be coming by Floo Network. You remember what that means, right? I'll be arriving by the fireplace, so don't get shocked when I arrive. I won't need any help moving anything, since I can just transport everything magically. I'm sure you want to see my new house, so you guys can drive me back since I don't really want to take Crookshanks to the house by magic.

See you then!

Love,
Hermione


As soon as she finished reading, she heard a tapping sound on the door. It was, of course, Ron.

“Come in!” Hermione said.

The door opened and Ron walked in.

“Good morning,” he said, “What are you doing?”

“Writing Mum and Dad a letter,” Hermione said, “Can I use Pigwidgeon?”

“Can't you use Frederique?” Ron asked, “Pig is nervous enough with all this moving stuff.”

“Pig will know where our new place is,” Hermione said, “He can just deliver this, then fly to the house.”

“Fine,” Ron sighed.

Hermione grinned and rolled the piece of parchment. She stood up and walked out of the room and, with Ron, headed for Ron's room. His room looked much different when most of the stuff in it was packed up. The Chudley Cannons posters had all been taken down, and in the closet there were only a few hangers left. Hermione walked over to Pig's cage and let him out. Ron caught Pig out of the air before he could go anywhere. Hermione attached the parchment to his leg.

“Take this to Hermione's parents,” Ron instructed him, “Then go to our new house. It is --”

“Ron, you don't have to tell him the address,” Hermione said, sighing, “He'll know where it is.”

“Fine,” Ron said again.

He opened the window and Pig flew out of it. Hermione looked at Ron.

“Have you said your goodbyes to the house yet?” she said to him.

“Yeah,” Ron said, “But there will be more to come, I expect.”

Ron sighed and sat down on his bed. He looked around the almost-empty room.

“So many memories in this house,” he said, “In this room alone.”

“Want to know my favorite memory in this room?” Hermione asked, sitting beside him.

Ron looked at her. Hermione knew he was trying to think of something that would qualify for it.

“It was one of the last times Harry, you and I were in here together,” Hermione said, “before we went to search for the Horcruxes. I kept crying over stuff, and you comforted me.”

“Then Mum came in,” Ron said, “and told us off for not helping with preparations for Bill and Fleur's wedding. She didn't want us to leave, remember. She didn't say that herself, but I just knew.”

“She isn't trying to stop you from moving, though,” Hermione said.

“Nah,” Ron said, shaking his head, “She knows it is inevitable. The house is paid for and all of the furniture is inside. Plus, when Dad senses that she is going to talk about it, he tells Mum that they can't stop us from leaving. I heard them last night, you know?”

“Oh?” Hermione asked.

“Yeah,” Ron said, “I was packing up the rest of my things shortly after Harry and Ginny left, and I heard Mum at the bottom of the stairs leading up to here. I expect she was coming up to talk to me, maybe a last-minute discussion. Anyway, I heard Dad say something, and then Mum walked back downstairs.”

“What did your father say?” Hermione asked.

“I don't know,” Ron said, shrugging, “Probably reminding her that she can't keep me here for the rest of my life. It's one of his favorite lines when something like this happens.”

Ron grinned and looked at the door, as if expecting his mother to come in once again.

“You know,” he said, “I think Dad is actually taking this worse than Mum.”

“I doubt it,” Hermione said.

“No, really,” Ron said, “I expect that when he tells Mum to cool it, he is actually telling it to himself. Or at least reminding himself that he can't stop me either. You would think that they would be happy about this. They haven't had the house to themselves in a long time, except when we were at Hogwarts.”

“They're just used to having kids around,” Hermione said, “You want to know what Dad said the night he and Mum came back from Australia?”

“Sure,” Ron said.

“He said,” Hermione said, “That even though my spell had made them forget about their life and stuff, that somewhere in the back of their minds, they knew they had a daughter. He said there were nights where he woke up in Australia and thought he heard me.”

“What does that have to do with my parents?” Ron asked.

“Nothing, I guess,” Hermione said, “It just means that not even magic can make a person forget about their children. Basically what I'm saying is your Mum and Dad are always going to be thinking about you, Ginny and your brothers. You can't stop them.”

“I wouldn't want to,” Ron said, “I just don't want to hear them griping about whether I am going to move or not. It's my choice in the end, isn't it?”

“I bet both your parents are happy with your decision,” Hermione said, “I'm not saying they're happy to see you go, cause you know they're not.”

“I know what you're saying,” Ron said.

“Well,” Hermione said, “you only have to endure their griping for a couple more hours. We're still leaving around noon, right?”

“If not sooner,” Ron said.

“No,” Hermione said, “Noon is good for me.”

“What's wrong with leaving sooner?” Ron asked, “You're worried Muggles are going to notice, aren't you?”

“Well, I'm sure there will be a few people peeking out their windows,” Hermione said, “Just to see the new neighbors. Remember, Ron, you're not living out in the country anymore. It's the city. The neighbors might be a little nosy.”

“Yeah, yeah,” Ron said, “No magic outside in plain view.”

“It also means,” Hermione said, “that if we ever have to take the Knight Bus, we'll have to walk down to the end of the block.”

“Why?” Ron asked, “Muggles can't see the Knight Bus.”

Hermione sighed and rolled her eyes.

“Did you forget what I told you the day we first went to see the house?” she asked him.

“Sort of,” Ron muttered.

“Even though Muggles can't see the Knight Bus,” Hermione said, “They can still see us, and they'll notice us disappear out of thin air.”

“Well, we probably won't have to take the Knight Bus, anyway,” Ron said, “I hate that thing, and Merlin knows I'll do everything to keep away from it.”

Hermione rolled her eyes again, but giggled anyway.

---------------------------------------

(Ginny's PoV)

Ginny woke up that morning and before she opened her eyes or sat up, she could smell breakfast cooking in the kitchen. Instantly, she thought about her Mum's cooking. She wiped the sleep out of her eyes, and looked around the bedroom, remembering where she was. She wasn't in the Burrow anymore. She was in Harry's house in London. She put on her slippers and walked down the stairs and into the kitchen.

Harry was standing at the stove. A frying pan was on one of the back burners.

“What smells so good?” Ginny asked.

Harry turned and smiled.

“Good morning, sunshine,” he said, grinning.

Ginny was still looking at the stove.

“Oh, yes,” Harry said, “Bacon and eggs.”

“I wasn't aware you could cook,” Ginny said.

“Growing up at the Dursleys,” Harry said, “I cooked breakfast almost every morning. Bacon and eggs was my specialty.”

“You never said anything about that!” Ginny said.

Harry shrugged, and turned back to the stove.

“Never came up, I guess,” he said.

“Well you could have fooled me,” Ginny said, “And my Mum too. Do you know what she told me before we left?”

Harry shook his head.

“She said that I'd probably be doing all the cooking,” Ginny said, “And she joked that I'd grow up to be just like her because of it.”

“Well, I could let you do the cooking,” Harry said, motioning to the frying pan.

“Looks like you're doing good on your own,” Ginny said.

“Well, I must be,” Harry said, “Haven't died from food poisoning yet.”

Ginny chuckled.

“Did you sleep well?” Harry asked.

“Better than I thought I would,” Ginny said, “I thought I'd get woken up by some Muggle's car horn. Dad was the one to warn me about that.”

“That's city life for ya,” Harry said.

“Is Ares around?” Ginny asked, remembering something she had thought about the night before.

“Asleep in his cage in the living room,” Harry asked, “Why?”

“I need to write to Gwenog Jones,” Ginny said, “I realized last night that even though I can apparate or use the Floo Network to get to the Quidditch camp, I need to figure out how I am getting there next Monday. Doesn't help to apparate or Floo if I don't know where it is.”

“Well, if you want to write the letter now, you can,” Harry said, “Breakfast won't be ready for another fifteen minutes or so.”

“You don't cook with magic?” Ginny asked, “It's much quicker.”

“Never tried it,” Harry said, shrugging, “I always cook the normal – the Muggle way, I mean.”

“Maybe I can teach you one day,” Ginny said.

“You're just happy to know that you won't have to do all the cooking,” Harry said, chuckling.

Ginny laughed as she walked out of the kitchen and back to her room. Before she had arrived, Harry had set up Ginny's bedroom for her. Near the bed was a desk and chair, so Ginny could write letters on it. Ginny had put her trunk near the closet. She went over to it and opened it up. The only thing inside it now was a stack of parchment, some quills and ink. She took them all out and set it on the desk. She then sat down, and started to write:

Dear Gwenog Jones,

We haven't had a chance to talk since the day you asked me to be a part of the Harpies. I'm pretty excited to start training camp, and ever since I got invited to the Harpies, I've been training like mad. Just yesterday, I moved up to London with my boyfriend, so I am pretty close to the training camp. The only problem I have is figuring out how to get to the camp. I was wondering if there was some kind of building I could Floo into. I can apparate as well, but as you can probably guess, I can't apparate if I don't know where the place is, or if I've never been there. If there isn't a place connected to the Floo Network, I'll find another way.

See you then!
Ginny Weasley


Ginny read over her letter. At first, she wondered if using “Dear” at the start was a bit too much for someone she barely knew. She decided it would be okay, and Gwenog probably wouldn't mind. She rolled up the letter and stood up. Near the desk was a poster of the the Holyhead Harpies prior to the player's strike. Ginny wondered how many of the players had stayed on the team and how many had left cause of the strike. Of course, Ginny knew that she might not have this position on the team if there hadn't been a strike. Ginny watched as the poster-figure of Gwenog score ten points against the opposing team, and grinned, realizing she could be on a poster like that by this time next year. She walked out of the bedroom and back downstairs.

------------------------------------------------------------
(Hermione's PoV)

Fifteen minutes to noon, Hermione and Ron were standing near the fireplace at the Burrow. Their belongings had already been magically transported to the new house in London. Mr. and Mrs. Weasley were also with them. Mrs. Weasley looked as if she was trying her best not to cry, though Hermione knew she'd be in tears before long.

“Mum,” Ron said, “You know you can visit us anytime you want to. You'll really like the house.”

“I know that, Ron,” Mrs. Weasley said, walking over to Ron and hugging him.

“And we'll be sure to come and visit when we can,” Hermione said.

“Of course,” Mrs. Weasley said, now walking over and hugging Hermione, “And we have that wedding of yours to look forward to, as well.”

Hermione and Ron blushed.

“Mum!” Ron said, “I told you before. That is still months away. Hermione and I haven't even talked about it yet.”

“Oh, I know, honey,” Mrs. Weasley said, “I was just saying...”

Hermione saw tears pooling in Mrs. Weasley's eyes. She chuckled softly, and wiped her eyes.

“You have everything packed up, right?” Mrs. Weasley asked.

“Yes, Mum,” Ron said, “It's already sent.”

“Well, if there is anything you forget,” Mrs. Weasley said, “You can always come back and get it.”

“Of course,” Ron said.

“Now, Molly,” Mr. Weasley said, before his wife could say anything else, “I think Ron and Hermione have everything set. They still have to unpack everything too when they get there.”

“Oh, yes, right,” Mrs. Weasley said, “Well --”

Tears went down Mrs. Weasley's cheeks as she hugged Ron and Hermione once more.

“You kids grow up so quickly,” she said.

Hermione smiled and walked over to Mr. Weasley, who had the Floo Powder ready.

“Thanks for everything, Mr. Weasley,” she said, “For letting me stay here.”

“Well,” Mr. Weasley said, “If I may say, you're just as much a part of this family as I am.”

Hermione felt tears in her own eyes, and she blinked them away quickly, taking the Floo Powder.

“Remember the 'go word'?” Ron asked her.

“Home,” Hermione said.

“Yeah,” Ron said.

Hermione smiled sweetly at Mr. and Mrs. Weasley, then walked into the fireplace.

“Home!” she said, clearly, dropping the green powder.

She always hated the Floo Network. She closed her eyes, and tightened her body close as spun around through the pathway and by fireplaces. A minute later, her feet landed on solid ground, and she walked out of the fireplace, amid a bunch of soot and ash. She cleared away the debris with a quick spell. The soot and ash disappeared, and walked away from the fireplace. A minute later, the soot and ash returned as Ron arrived. Hermione sighed and cleaned up the debris once again with a quick spell.

“I thought we'd never get out of there,” Ron said, “I swear it was like I was fighting just to escape Mum's hugs.”

Hermione chuckled. For the first time since she had arrived, she took a look around. As Mr. Wycott had promised, all of the furniture was in the house. Every piece of the living room furniture, from the couch, to the love seat, to the rocking chair, was made of oak. Even the wood on the television was in oak.

“Wow,” Ron said, “We have a television.”

“Yeah,” Hermione said, “Everything is so lovely. We'll have to remember to thank Mr. Wycott when we talk to him.”

Ron nodded.

“Okay,” Ron said, looking at the boxes on the floor, “First things first. What will the sleeping arrangements be?”

“Er...” Hermione said.

She hadn't had a chance to think about the sleeping arrangements. She realized that wasn't the only thing. She was so busy with work that she hadn't had any plans for the house.

“I can sleep on the couch,” Ron said, motioning to it, “It looks great.”

“Oh, Ron, I couldn't ask that,” Hermione said, “You're the reason we have this house.”

Ron grinned.

“So what do we do?” he asked.

Hermione thought about it. After a moment, she answered.

“Why don't we just,” she said, slowly, “share the bed?”

“You mean switch every other night?” Ron asked.

“No,” Hermione said, “I mean --”

“Oh,” Ron said, “Well... okay.”

“Are you okay with that?” Hermione asked.

“I am if you are,” Ron said, then after a moment, “Are you?”

“Well, think about it,” Hermione said, “We're living in the same house, and--”

“Hermione,” Ron said, “You know you don't have to answer everything like it's an essay question. It's just a simple yes or no. And it doesn't matter to me what your answer is.”

Hermione smiled.

“Yes, Ron,” she said, “I think I am.”

“All right,” Ron said.

Hermione wasn't sure what Ron was thinking at the moment, but he picked up a box of their things and took it toward the bedroom. Hermione followed him. The bed, like the furniture in the living room, was oak. It was a queen-size, definitely big enough for both of them. It was below the window, and the oak on the headboard sparkled in the sunlight.

“Cozy,” Ron said, grinning at Hermione.

Hermione rolled her eyes and started to unpack. Over the next few hours, they unpacked and put everything in the house to their liking. By the time they were done, Hermione knew that they had definitely made a right choice about the house, even if it was only temporary. When they were finished, Hermione and Ron sat on the loveseat near the fireplace. Just as they were getting comfortable, there was a pecking sound on the window behind them. They turned around. Pigwidgeon was on the windowsill. He was holding a letter in his beak.

“I told you he would find the house,” Hermione said, as she opened up the window.

Pig flew in, dropping the letter on Hermione's lap. He then flew over to his cage, which was standing on a table near the kitchen, and perched himself on it.

“I bet you're hungry, aren't you?” Ron asked him.

As Hermione unrolled the letter, Ron stood up and walked into the kitchen.

“What's the letter say?” Ron asked from the kitchen.

“Mum and Dad are happy that I'm much closer to them,” Hermione said, looking at the letter, “And they say I can come over around noon tomorrow, though they seem a bit worried about the Floo bit. Can't blame them.”

“Are they going to drive you back?” Ron asked.

“Yep,” Hermione said, “They really want to see the house.”

“Well, perfect,” Ron said, as he walked back out of the kitchen and over to Pig's cage, “That goes well with my idea.”

“Idea?” Hermione asked.

“I thought I'd visit Harry and Ginny tomorrow,” Ron said, “And see if they wanted to come and see the house. I figured we could make it a little get-together. Dinner and stuff, you know?”

“Good idea,” Hermione said.

“You like it?” Ron asked.

“It's brilliant,” Hermione said, “I'll order pizza when I get back tomorrow, since we don't have anything to fix.”

She thought for a moment.

“We do need to get some groceries though,” she said.

Ron agreed. They took the Floo Network to Diagon Alley and shopped for groceries. When they got back, it was only seven. Ron offered to make dinner, and Hermione was surprised to learn that Ron could cook. Apparently his mother had taught him when he was younger. Meanwhile, Hermione started writing a list of ideas for the house. She smiled as she started writing, fully realizing that she was finally starting her life with Ron.

----------------------------------------
A/N: Well, that was sort of a filler chapter. I have ideas for the next chapter and then I might hurry through the next week, cause I want to get Ginny started with her training camp. I have so many ideas for that!

Hope you liked this chapter. As always, would love to see your feedback!


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  #12  
Old September 3rd, 2009, 5:16 pm
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Re: Butterfly Kisses (Sequel to Harry Potter and the Return to Hogwarts)

Chapter 12
Pizza Party


Author's Note: To those who didn't read the prequel to this story, I have named Hermione's parents Richard and Helen. I've always thought that might be their names. Also, I've been told that I've been calling Euro football soccer (I call it that, cause I am American, of course), but I'll call it football from now on since this is in England.



(Hermione's PoV)

There have been many times in Hermione Granger's life where she appreciated the fact that she could use magic. The first night in the new house was one of those times. She had woken up to Ron's snoring three times during the night, and the third time, she put a silencing charm on him. The only problem about this idea, would be if Ron had woken up before Hermione did. Fortunately, he did not. When Hermione woke up, she took the silencing charm off of him.

She then dressed and went into the kitchen to make breakfast for her and Ron. A few minutes later, as Hermione was fixing pancakes, Ron walked in.

“Smells wonderful in here,” he said.

Hermione turned and smiled.

“Sleep well?” Ron asked.

Hermione didn't answer right away. She wondered if she should tell him the truth.

“What's wrong?” Ron asked.

“I slept fine,” Hermione finally said.

“I snored, didn't I?” Ron asked.

“Only a little,” Hermione said, getting back to the pancakes.

“Sorry,” Ron said, “Dad always referred to it as the 'Weasley family curse'. He and all my brothers snore as well. If it bothers you too much, I'll – ”

“No, no,” Hermione interrupted, “It's fine.”

Ron grinned and walked over to her. He put his arms around her from behind, and Hermione giggled.

“Ron!” Hermione said, still laughing, “You're going to make me burn the pancakes.”

“They'd probably still taste better than anything I make,” Ron said, kissing Hermione's cheek.

“You cook very well,” Hermione said.

It was the truth. Ron had made fried chicken and boiled potatoes for dinner the previous night, and Hermione loved it. Hermione sighed, knowing she couldn't resist being in Ron's arms, and took her wand out of her pocket. She had never cooked with magic before, but she knew the theory of it. She muttered a spell under her breath and pointed the wand at the frying pan. The spatula started flipping the pancakes on its own.

“You know,” Ron said, looking at the frying pan, as Hermione turned around in his arms, “It's a wonder why wizards use house-elves at all. Magic cooks and cleans just as good, or better, than them.”

“That is sort of what I've been saying all along,” Hermione said, “Wizards and witches should stop using house-elves to do their work. Especially when magic can do everything they can.”

“You're not going to start with that spew stuff again, are you?” Ron asked.

“It's S.P.E.W!” Hermione said, slapping Ron on the back.

Ron laughed.

“Ow! I was joking,” he said, “I know what it is called.”

Hermione sighed and stared into Ron's eyes. There were times where she just wanted to kick him, but there were other times, like when she was in his arms, where she didn't know why she had hated him at the beginning of their first year in Hogwarts.

“I'm happy being with you in this house,” Ron said, looking at her, “I don't know what I'd do if I was all alone in here.”

Hermione grinned.

“Probably go mental,” she said, laughing.

“Definitely,” he said.

He then kissed her, and Hermione returned the kiss. Before it could last more than a few moments, a noise was heard behind her.

“Oh!” Hermione said, breaking the kiss, “The pancakes are done.”

She ducked out of Ron's arms and served the pancakes. As she was serving them at the small table near the arched doorway, Ron quickly fed Pigwidgeon, who had just woken up. He then walked over to the table and sat down.

“So you don't have to be over at your parents' house until noon, right?” Ron asked.

“Yep,” Hermione said, “Why?”

“No reason,” Ron said, shrugging, as he dug into his pancakes, “I was trying to decide when I wanted to visit Harry and Ginny. I imagine they'll be home around noon, so I'll leave a little while after you do.”

“We still haven't finished unpacking.” Hermione said, “We barely did much yesterday. So we'll have to do that before we do anything. Also, I haven't had a chance to go into the backyard since we moved in.”

“I went out last night,” Ron said, “There's a table and four chairs out there.”

“We can always put these two out there as well,” Hermione said.

“For what?” Ron asked.

“For dinner tonight,” Hermione said, “Kitchen's not big enough for six people, and the back yard would be perfect. I'm sure it will be a lovely night outside tonight.”

“You're starting to sound like my mother,” Ron said, chuckling, “Planning ahead even for the smallest, and simplest, of get-togethers.”

Hermione blushed.

“I just want everything to be perfect,” she said, “I mean, this is our house now. We're going to be living here for a while, so I --”

“Relax, Hermione,” Ron said, “I know what you mean.”

“I am being a little dramatic about all this, aren't I?” Hermione said, grinning.

“Maybe a little,” Ron said, “But I can't blame you. It is kinda exciting, huh?”

Hermione nodded and started on her breakfast.

------------------------------------

After breakfast, Hermione started unpacking the boxes in the living room, while Ron started on the kitchen and bathroom. She had a stack of parchment, and some quills and ink near her at all times so she could add things to her list of ideas if anything came to mind. When Ron was unpacking in the kitchen, Hermione heard him chuckle at something.

“I can't believe I forgot about this,” he said, barely loud enough for Hermione to hear him.

“What is it, Ron?” Hermione asked.

He peered around the archway seperating the kitchen and the living room.

“You ever wonder how the Weasley family clock at the Burrow had come into existence?” Ron asked.

“Probably at one point or another, yes,” Hermione said.

“Dad made it around the time I was born,” Ron said, “Then when Ginny was born, he added her name onto it. Over the years, as we grew up, he put new pictures with our names. Anyway, a few days ago, I walked in on him working on something in his garage. He wanted it to be a surprise for you and me, but when I found out what it was, he made me promise not to tell you about it until moving day. Well, we were so busy yesterday I totally forgot about it.”

“What are you talking about?” Hermione asked.

Ron disappeared for a moment, then reappeared and walked over to Hermione. Something very large was wrapped in a small blanket. Ron unwrapped it. Hermione gasped. It was exactly like the Weasley family clock, except that it only had her and Ron's name on it.

“Holy Merlin,” Hermione said, in wonder.

“Dad said it was originally going to be our wedding present whenever that came around,” Ron said, “But he hadn't foreseen us moving out of the house before that day came. The night after I called Mr. Wycott, Dad started on this. I think he's going to make one for Harry and Ginny too.”

“This is... it's just brilliant,” Hermione said, grinning.

“It's one of my father's secrets,” Ron said, “He's good at stuff like this, but he got caught up in all that Muggle stuff and he put stuff like this down farther on his priority list. It's probably one of the reasons why Mum never really liked that he went into the Muggle artifact business. She knew he had much better talents, but that he always wanted to hide them.”

“I can't see why,” Hermione said, looking at the clock, “It's beautiful.”

Ron nodded and brought the clock over to the wall near the kitchen's archway. He hung it up, using a sticking charm.

“We'll have to take it down for a while when Harry and Ginny come,” Ron said.

“Why?” Hermione asked.

“Dad's request,” Ron said, “He wants to make sure their clock is a better surprise than this turned out to be.”

“It is a pleasant surprise,” Hermione said, “But I can understand his reasons.”

Ron smiled and returned to the kitchen. A few minutes later, Hermione heard the end of a wizard rock song, followed by a voice.

“That was the Weird Sisters singing 'Magical Melody',” the voice said, “Their first single since the death of their band-mate. You're listening to Wizarding Wireless Network.”

Hermione peered back into the kitchen and noticed the small radio sitting in the center of the kitchen table. It was the same radio they had used during the hunt for the Horcruxes. A more familiar voice was heard on the radio.

“Hey there!” the voice said.

“Is that George?” Hermione asked.

“Yeah!” Ron said, staring at the radio, “That git! He didn't say anything about being on the radio.”

“This is George Weasley,” George's voice said, “Owner of Weasley's Wizard Wheezes. I'm proud to announce that the store in Diagon Alley will be re-opening on August fourteenth. Just in time for back-to-school! Grand re-opening sale on all items, including the Skiving Snackboxes, guaranteed to give you freedom from classes with just a simple sample. Also introducing the new Blast-Bang Box, fireworks that are guaranteed to light up the sky as if it was morning! I just saw them myself recently, and I tell you, you don't want to miss them. Also, for those jokesters near Hogsmeade village, don't forget that the store there is open right now! Tell my good pal, Lee Jordan, that I sent you, and you'll get a buy one, get one discount on any one thing in the store! That's Weasley's Wizard Wheezes. See you there!”

“I swear,” Ron said, turning down the radio, “A couple days back from his honeymoon and he's already back to his old self. You'd think Angelina would have calmed him down, eh?”

“I don't think there is a single person who can calm George Weasley down,” Hermione said.

“Well, except for Mum,” Ron said.

Hermione grinned and returned to unpacking.

------------------------------------

At noon, Hermione traveled to her parents' house via Floo Powder. When she arrived, she thought that her parents would react badly about her arrival, but they weren't in the living room. She quickly cleaned up the dust and soot, and went looking for them. They were in the back yard, sitting on the lawn chairs, and talking to each other. Her father was the first to notice her arrival.

“Hermione!” Richard said, standing up, “We didn't expect you for a little while.”

“I said I would be here around noon,” Hermione said.

“Is it noon already?” Helen asked, “Time flies. Your father and I have just been enjoying the nice weather.”

“Come here and give your old man a hug,” Richard said.

Hermione walked over to her parents and hugged them.

“Did Ron come with you?” Richard asked.

“No,” Hermione said, “He's going over to his sister's house. She and Harry haven't seen my new house either. Ron thought we could all have a little get-together at my new house later. I was going to order pizza.”

“That would be lovely!” Helen said, “We have nothing better to do.”

“Have you seen Crookshanks yet?” Richard asked.

“Nope,” Hermione said, “I just arrived.”

“I bet he's up in your old room,” Helen said, “He loves it up there.”

“I guess I'll go up and see him then,” Hermione said.

“All right, honey,” Richard said, “Just tell us when you want to leave, and we'll go.”

Hermione nodded, though she figured she could stay around the house for a little while. With Ron visiting Ginny and Harry, there wouldn't be much to do at the house. She walked back into the house and went upstairs to her bedroom. When she walked in, she immediately saw Crookshanks laying on her bed.

“Oh, is that your bed now?” Hermione asked him.

Crookshanks sat up and looked at Hermione, his flat orange face smiling in a grin. Hermione grinned and picked him up, cuddling him.

“You missed me, didn't you?” she asked.

He purred, almost like a song.

“Well, you won't have to miss me any longer,” Hermione said, “You're going home with me and Ron.”

Crookshanks purred once again.

“Yeah!” Hermione said, “We have a new house. You'll love it. But you have to promise to leave Pigwidgeon alone.”

Crookshanks hissed.

“Oh, don't be like that,” Hermione said.

She put him back on the bed, and started packing up her things.

----------------------------------
(Ron's PoV)

Ron had forgotten to write to Harry and Ginny and tell them he was planning to come over, so he didn't want to use the Floo Network to get to their house. He decided to apparate to Harry's house, hoping that no one would see him appear when he arrived. He apparated right in front of the door, then took a quick look around. To his relief, nobody was peeking out any windows or outside that could have seen him. He knocked on the door. A moment later, the door opened. Harry was standing there.

“Hey, Ron,” Harry said, “What are you doing here?”

“Hermione went to visit her parents and pick up Crookshanks and her things,” Ron said, “So I thought I'd come over and visit.”

“Well, come on in,” Harry said.

Ron followed Harry into the house.

“I would have come by the Floo Network,” Ron said, “But it'd be like barging in.”

“Have to give a person a chance to deny you entrance,” Harry said.

“What?” Ron asked.

“Nothing,” Harry said, “Something Professor Dumbledore said once.”

“Oh,” Ron said, “Well, I also came over to invite you to my new place. Hermione's parents want to see the house, so I thought you and Ginny could come over as well. We were going to have a little get-together.”

“Brilliant,” Harry said, “Actually it would be perfect.”

“Really?” Ron asked.

Harry looked around for a moment, then back to Ron.

“I want to talk to you and Hermione,” he said, “About Ginny's birthday. I want to do something special, but I need some ideas.”

“Hermione would probably be better at that than I am,” Ron said.

“No offense, mate,” Harry said, “But I think you're right.”

Ron chuckled.

“None taken,” he said.

Ginny walked around the corner of the second level to the staircase.

“Hey, Ron!” she said, happily, “I thought I heard you. What are you doing here?”

“He's invited us over to his place for dinner,” Harry said.

“Brilliant!” Ginny exclaimed, “What are we having?”

“Pizza, I think,” Ron said, “Hermione's treat.”

“You've had pizza, right?” Harry asked Ginny.

“Er... I don't know,” Ginny said.

“I can't believe pizza isn't a delicacy in the wizarding world,” Harry said, shaking his head.

“Heh,” Ron said, chuckling, “Just when you think you know as much as you need to in the wizarding world, eh?”

“Oh, I wish that was true,” Harry said.

“So when are we leaving?” Ginny asked.

“Oh, doesn't matter to me,” Ron said, “Hermione's visiting her parents, and she was going to bring them to the house as well. I don't know when she'll be back. They're coming all the way from Oxfordshire. So... what have you been doing?”

“Not much,” Ginny said, “I wrote a letter to Gwenog Jones, asking her how I am going to get to the camp the first day. She wrote back and said the Floo Network would be connected, and not to worry.”

“It doesn't start for another week though, right?” Ron asked.

“Yeah,” Ginny said, then frowned, “Don't know what I'll do around here while Harry's at work.”

“Sight-see?” Harry suggested.

Ginny nodded. Deciding they didn't have to leave any time soon, Ron sat with Harry and Ginny in the living room and talked to them for a while.

----------------------------------------
(Hermione's POV)

An hour after she arrived at her parents' house, she was in the back of her parents' car, heading for her house. Her parents lived in Oxfordshire, so it would take a little while to get back to London. Hermione wondered if Ron would be at the house with Harry and Ginny when they arrived. Ron said something about leaving for their place shortly after she left, but he could use the Floo Network both ways, and he could have been back thirty minutes after he left. Of course, he knew she wouldn't be there, so he might have stayed for a while.

Because she was busy packing up the rest of her things in her old bedroom, Hermione hadn't had much of a chance for any deep conversation with her parents. She expected they would save that for the car ride. She was right.

“So, Hermione,” Richard said from the driver's seat, “How is your job? You haven't written about it since you started.”

“It isn't anything that's too confidential, is it?” Helen asked, “I know you're working for a judge.”

“Oh!” Hermione said, “No, no. It isn't anything like that. I've just been a little busy lately. Really, the only interesting thing I do is copy notes for each court case and they get copied into the wizarding newspaper. It's annonymous, so my name is never in the paper.”

“It must be good money if you can afford this house,” Richard said.

“Ron paid for the house, Dad,” Hermione said.

“And what does he do?” Richard asked.

Hermione thought she had told her parents what Ron did, but maybe they just forgot.

“He's an Auror,” she said, “Well, technically he's in Auror training.”

“Is that like the police?” Richard asked.

“Yeah, basically,” Hermione said, “My friend, Harry, is also an Auror-in-Training in well.”

“Have we met him?” Richard asked.

“Er...” Hermione said.

Honestly she didn't remember if Harry had ever officially met her parents. He might have seen them in the train station. Of course, she wasn't too sure how much her parents' memory had restored since their return from Australia. She had finally been able to find a way to restore it magically, but there were times when she thought that there were things they had forgotten.

“Well, you said he and Ron's sister are going to be at the house too, right?” Helen asked.

“They'll be there sometime today,” Hermione said, nodding.

“Well, we'll meet them then,” she said, smiling.

“Yeah, of course,” Hermione said.

Less than an hour later, they pulled up to the house. There was no driveway, so they had to park on the side of the road. When they walked in, Hermione noticed that Ron hadn't come back yet. At that thought, he wondered how he would come back with Harry and Ginny, and she deduced that they would probably arrive by Floo Powder. Hermione took her parents on a tour of the house. The only embarrassing moment of the whole tour was when her mother asked if she and Ron were sharing the bed. She decided to tell a little white lie, and tell her that Ron was sleeping on the couch, as they had originally decided. Hermione's mother looked a little relieved at this. Hermione felt guilty lying about it, but she decided it was okay. It was a very personal question to ask, she thought, even if it was her mother asking it.

While Hermione was showing her parents the back yard, she thought she heard a whoosh sound followed by a couple more minutes later. Hermione walked back into the house, and saw Harry, Ginny and Ron; Ron was magically cleaning up the soot and ash.

“Oh, you're here!” he said, when he noticed her walk in, “Are your parents here?”

Hermione was about to answer, when her parents walked into the living room.

Ron welcomed them to his house and shook their hands. He introduced them to Ginny and Harry. Hermione had decided that she didn't need to order pizza until around five, so they went into deep conversations. Well, all except her father, who was testing out the new television. Football was on: England against Spain. England had scored a goal as soon as Richard had turned it on and he cheered.

“When did Dad get so enthused about football?” Hermione asked her mother, as they led Ginny into the back yard.

Ron and Harry had stayed in the living room with Richard, and Hermione heard Harry telling Ron about the game.

“Oh,” Helen said, and Hermione noticed a little blush in her cheeks as if she was embarassed, “A friend of ours, a fellow dentist, won tickets to a game recently, and took your father with him. He had so much fun that he's now chosen to watch every game that comes around.”

Hermione started to explain to Ginny what football was, but Ginny put her hand up.

“When I visited Harry's relatives,” she said, “His uncle was watching it. Harry explained it to me. It's sorta like Quidditch, I'll say that.”

“Quidditch?” Helen asked.

“Ginny's a professional Quidditch player,” Hermione explained, “She starts her first training camp a week from Monday.”

Ginny then explained to Helen all the facts about Quidditch.

“Sounds like something Richard would love,” Helen said, laughing, after Ginny was finished.

“I'm not sure if any Muggles have ever been to a Quidditch game,” Ginny said.

“You've never played Quidditch, have you?” Helen asked Hermione.

“Mum, you know me,” Hermione said, “I hate heights. I only go on a broomstick when I have to.”

“I've never quite understood how broomsticks would be a good form of transportation,” Helen said, “They look downright uncomfortable.”

“Most have cushioning charms,” Ginny said, “Otherwise, yes, they would literally be a pain in the butt.”

Helen laughed.

“I'm going to make tea,” Hermione said, “Anybody want some?”

“Sure,” Ginny said.

“That would be lovely,” Helen said.

Hermione walked back into the house. As she went in, she heard her mother ask Ginny to tell her more about Quidditch. Hermione grinned and walked into the kitchen.

“Block that ring, I mean the goal!” Ron said.

Hermione laughed.

Great, she thought, Dad's going to make Ron a fan of the game. Just what I need.

Hermione made iced tea and cut a lemon into slices. She put three glasses on a tray and walked out of the kitchen.

“You boys having fun?” she asked as he walked past Ron, Harry and her father.

England scored another goal just as Ron was going to answer, then he turned back to the television and cheered.

“Tea's in the kitchen if you can get away from that,” Hermione said, rolling her eyes.

She walked back outside and served the tea.

--------------------------------------

Around five that evening, Hermione ordered three large supreme pizzas. While they were waiting for it, Hermione, Ginny and Helen set up the table. Hermione was going to ask the guys to help, but the game still had ten minutes to go, and she knew it was no use. When the pizza arrived forty-five minutes later, they sat around the table in the backyard. Sometime during the game, Harry and Ron must have told Richard about Quidditch, because now they were comparing football to it.

“Quidditch is much more physical than soccer,” Ron said, “There's none of those stupid penalties like off-sides and stuff.”

“Quidditch has no penalties?” Richard asked.

“Actually it probably has more penalties than football, Mr. Granger,” Harry said.

“Though, in football,” Hermione said to them, “I don't think anyone vanishes and turns up in the Sahara months later.”

Richard snorted into his tea.

“Maybe I will have to watch a Quidditch game!” he said, laughing.

Hermione rolled her eyes. She had meant that to be worse than it must have sounded.

“I'm not sure just yet how many tickets I can get,” Ginny said, to Richard, “But if I can get any, you can watch one of the games.”

Richard looked mighty happy about that. Hermione looked at her mother, and she knew what she was thinking: there's just no stopping them now.

Hermione's parents left around eight-o-clock, since they would have a little bit of a drive, and had to get up early the next morning. Harry and Ginny stayed and talked to Ron and Hermione. When Ginny went up to go to the bathroom, Harry spoke in whispers to Hermione and Ron.

“I've been trying to decide what I want to do for Ginny's birthday,” he said, “Any ideas?”

“Ginny's birthday is in the middle of the week, right?” Hermione said.

“Yeah, the eleventh,” Ron said.

“If you're planning a party,” Hermione said,”Wait for the weekend.”

“Yeah,” Harry said.

“We could have the party at your house,” Ron said, “Mum and Dad haven't seen your house and it's bigger than this one for a party of that size. Mum, of course, would want to have it at her house, but I know she and Dad want to see our houses. They can see both when they come up.”

“Yeah,” Harry said, “And then I can do something just for Ginny on her birthday.”

Hermione wondered for a moment just what Harry was going to do for Ginny. That exact subject was brought up when she went into the kitchen for more tea a few minutes later. Harry followed her.

“Can I talk to you in private for a moment?” Harry whispered to her.

Hermione nodded.

“I don't want to talk to Ron about this yet,” Harry said, “And I don't want you to mention it to him. I'll talk to him about it when I have to.”

“Okay,” Hermione said.

“You have to promise,” Harry said.

“Okay, I promise,” Hermione said, “What is it?”

Harry sighed, pausing for a moment. He looked at his feet then back to Hermione.

“I'm going to ask Ginny to marry me,” he said, “On her birthday, I mean.”

“Seriously?” Hermione asked.

“Yeah,” Harry said, “What do you think?”

“I think,” Hermione said, “it's brilliant. You are going to talk to Mr. Weasley about it first?”

Harry looked at her, but said nothing.

“It's traditional to ask that father for his daughter's hand in marriage, Harry,” Hermione said, “Even in the wizarding world.”

“Ron didn't ask your father, did he?” Harry asked.

“Harry, you know it wasn't planned when he asked me,” Hermione said, grinning, then sighed, “We talked to them a couple days after, though. They were happy with it, of course. You aren't worried about it, are you? Harry, Mr. and Mrs. Weasley love you.”

“I'm not worried,” Harry said, “I'm more... nervous about it.”

“You'll do fine,” Hermione said, smiling, “I'm sure Mr. Weasley will be okay with it, and I'm sure Ginny will say yes.”

Harry nodded.

“You won't say anything to Ron about it, right?” he asked.

“Harry, I promised,” Hermione said, “It's all up to you.”

“Good,” Harry said.

“You have the ring yet?” Hermione asked.

“It's my mother's old ring,” Harry said, nodding.

“Brilliant,” Hermione said.

Harry grinned and helped Hermione bring out the tea.

---------------------------------------
A/N: Couldn't figure another way to end it, so I ended it like that. Yes, I gave away my plans for Harry's popping the question, but I thought I'd bring it up. Ginny's birthday won't be for at least a couple of chapters. I have one or two chapters in mind before it.

At first, I thought this would be another filler chapter, but once everyone got to the house, it was better as it went. Hope you liked it!

Feedback would be wonderful, as always!


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  #13  
Old September 3rd, 2009, 5:19 pm
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Re: Butterfly Kisses (Sequel to Harry Potter and the Return to Hogwarts)

Chapter 13
The Talk (Part 2!)


Author's Note: For those who didn't read Return to Hogwarts, Harry talks about a vault in this chapter. It isn't his vault with the money. In Return to Hogwarts, Harry gets another vault that once belonged to his parents. It had been filled with furniture and stuff. If you haven't read Return to Hogwarts, please do. It's just as wonderful as this, I promise you.


(Harry's PoV)

Harry woke up the next morning, sweat covering his brow. It had been a rough night's sleep. He had been in bed for an hour that night before he even got to sleep. He had been thinking about his discussion with Hermione that evening. If he wanted to pop the question to Ginny on her birthday, he knew he'd have to talk to her father before then. He had argued this fact over and over with himself. In the end, he decided that he would have to do it before too long, and decided that if he could do it the next day, then he would. Well, now, the next day was upon him and he was having second thoughts again. He got dressed, and walked out of his bedroom.

He started to walk past Ginny's bedroom, then stopped. He opened her bedroom door slightly. Ginny was still sound asleep in her bed. She wouldn't be starting Quidditch training camp for a whole week and she could sleep in as long as she wanted. Harry watched her for a moment, imagining himself cuddled up next to her, waking up from a good night's rest, and seeing her in his arms. He smiled to himself, thinking this was what he wanted for the rest of his life. He was about to close the door when...

“Harry?” Ginny said, sleepily.

Harry looked back at her. Her eyes had opened a little.

“I thought you were asleep,” Harry said.

“I was,” Ginny said, “What are you doing?”

“Getting ready for work,” Harry said, “Thought I'd check in on you.”

Ginny smiled. She lifted a hand up and moved it in a come-here motion. He walked over to her, knowing what she wanted. He leaned toward her and kissed her. She returned the kiss, and almost pulled him onto the bed. Harry laughed.

“I have to get ready for work,” he said, still laughing.

“I know,” Ginny said, though she was pouting, “What am I going to do here without you?”

“You'll figure that out,” Harry said.

“Can I meet you for lunch?” Ginny asked.

“Sure,” Harry said, “Leaky Cauldron? At quarter-past-noon?”

Ginny nodded. Harry smiled, pecked Ginny on the lips once again, then walked toward the door.

“Harry?” Ginny said, again.

“Yes?” Harry said, turning back around.

“I love you,” she said.

“I love you too,” he said, smiling.

She grinned and pulled her covers closer to her and closed her eyes once again. Harry walked out the door, shutting it quietly behind him. He smiled to himself. This was definitely what he wanted for the rest of his life.

---------------------------------

After a quick breakfast, Harry went to the Ministry via Floo Powder. He walked into the lifts, and to his surprise, Mr. Weasley walked in a few moments later.

“Harry!” he said, spotting Harry and pushing through the crowd toward him.

“Hello Mr. Weasley,” he said, as the lifts closed and started its journey downwards.

“Ready for another day of work?” Mr. Weasley asked.

“Yeah,” Harry said.

Harry's thoughts went back to his discussion with Hermione the previous night. It was now or never.

“Mr. Weasley,” he said, “How busy are you today? I was just hoping we could talk in private sometime.”

“Quite busy, Harry,” Mr. Weasley said, “Another meeting with the Muggle Prime Minister. Though if memory serves me correctly, I should have a little break for lunch. We could meet at the Leaky Cauldron. When is your break?”

“From twelve to one,” Harry said.

“So is mine!” Mr. Weasley said, “How about that? We could meet there around, say, twelve-fifteen?”

“Sure,” Harry said, without pausing to think.

A light ding was heard, and the lifts opened.

“Oh!” Mr. Weasley, “Looks like your stop. See you for lunch, Harry.”

“Yep,” Harry said.

He moved through the crowd and walked out of the lifts. A thought came to mind as soon as he walked out of the lifts. He had also promised to meet Ginny for lunch at that very same place and time. He couldn't say what he wanted to Mr. Weasley, if Ginny was there. He turned and was about to tell Mr. Weasley that the lunch would have to be delayed, when the lifts closed. He swore to himself. He walked down the hall, pondering his next move. Should he cancel with Ginny, or Mr. Weasley? He really needed to talk to Mr. Weasley, and he could just make it up to Ginny with a nice dinner. He nodded, thinking this was the best idea, and he walked toward the Auror Headquarters, hoping he could find a messenger owl and some parchment.

He walked into the Auror Headquarters and over to the front desk. The secretary was drinking his first of many coffees and thumbing through a pamphlet. Harry cleared his throat to get his attention.

“Yes?” the man said, putting down his coffee.

“Do you know if there are any messenger owls around here?” Harry asked.

“Depends,” the man said, “Is your destination inside or outside of the Ministry?”

“Outside,” Harry said.

“Third door on your right,” the man said, “once you get into the hallway.”

“Thanks,” Harry said.

The man just nodded and returned to his pamphlet. A quick glance at the pamphlet told Harry that it was the same kind of Squib pamphlet Argus Filch once owned. The man saw Harry looking at the pamphlet, and put it down quickly. He went red in the face, and Harry didn't know if it was from anger or embarrassment. Harry turned away, anyway.

Anyone not familiar with the headquarters would not know what hallway the secretary was talking about. The front room of the Auror Headquarters looked, to the untrained eye, to be the only room. Harry, however, knew differently. He walked to the right of the desk and stood next to the wall. He tapped his wand on four places. The sign he made with his wand was the points, and the center bar, of the capital A, which, of course, stood for Auror. The arched doorway appeared, leading into a hallway, and Harry walked in. Near the end of the hallway was a door marked with a T. This was the door to head into the Training facilities. But he didn't need to go there just yet.

The third door on the right was marked with an O. Harry wondered if this meant Owls or Outside mail. He opened the door and walked in. The room reminded him of the Owlery at Hogwarts, except the only light inside the cylindrical room was at the very top. Harry knew where this light came from. Mr. Weasley had told him, years before, that the Magical Maintenance put light in places where it usually shouldn't be, given that the Ministry of Magic was underground. Near the center of the room was a podium. It had a large stack of parchment, quills and ink. Harry walked over to it and started writing:

Ginny,

Have to cancel that lunch-date. Looks like today will be a busy day for me. I'll make it up with dinner. See you later.

Love, Harry


Harry folded up the piece of parchment. He walked over to the owls and immediately found his choice. It was a snowy owl that reminded him, with a bit of sadness, of Hedwig. The only difference was that this owl looked a little off-color. Harry attached the letter to the owl's leg, and the owl flew out the door. Harry walked out the door and headed for the training facilities. When he arrived at the locker rooms, he noticed that Ron was there.

“Good morning,” Harry said.

“Morning, mate,” Ron said, grinning.

Harry studied his expression. He had made Hermione promise not to tell Ron about his plans. He immediately wondered if Hermione had broke her promise.

“You look cheerful,” he said.

“It's nothing,” Ron said, shaking his hand, dismissively, “Hermione's meeting me for lunch at Fortescue's. Want to join us?”

“I have something I need to do,” Harry said.

“Meeting Ginny?” Ron asked.

“No,” Harry said, “Been meaning to stop by my other vault and pick up a few things. Wanted to do that before I forget.”

It was a lie, though not too much of one. He had been meaning to go to his parents' old vault to go through some of the things that had been left in there. He only lied, thinking that he didn't want Ron to know of his plans to propose to Ginny just yet.

“Well, maybe afterward,” Ron said, “If you got time.”

“Yeah,” Harry said.

He dressed into his training clothes, making a mental note to visit his vault after his discussion with Mr. Weasley, if he had time.

-------------------------------------

At noon, Harry left the Auror Headquarters and made his way to the Atrium, where he went to the Leaky Cauldron via Floo Powder. Mr. Weasley was sitting at a corner table. Harry hoped that Ron wouldn't see them, and he also hoped Ginny got his letter. Either factor, if it had gone the opposite way, could mess up his plans. He walked over, greeted Mr. Weasley, and sat down across from him.

“I took the liberty of ordering a couple of specials,” Mr. Weasley said, “My treat. Hope you don't mind.”

Harry looked at the board that read the special: Fish and Chips and free choice of pie. One of Tom's favorite meals.

“Sounds great, thanks,” Harry said.

“If you don't mind me saying,” Mr. Weasley said, “When you asked me to talk to you in private, it sounded pretty important. Something wrong with work?”

“Oh!” Harry said, “No. Nothing like that. Work is just fine.”

“Wonderful,” Mr. Weasley said, “I only asked because Kingsley's been riding my department's coattails trying to find any bad apples if you know what I mean.”

“Yes, sir,” Harry said.

“Not that you have anything to worry about, of course,” Mr. Weasley said, smiling, “So... what did you want to talk to me about.”

“Well,” Harry said, clearing his throat, “As you know, Ginny's birthday is coming up.”

“Wednesday after next,” Mr. Weasley said.

“Yes,” Harry said, “I'm planning a party for her at my house that following weekend. I was hoping Mrs. Weasley didn't have anything planned. It's the first big opportunity to have a little get-together at my place, so...”

“I'm sure Molly will be delighted,” Mr. Weasley said, “Between you and me, she needs a little time away from the Burrow.”

Harry nodded.

“Are you planning anything special for Ginny's birthday itself?” Mr. Weasley asked.

“Yes, sir,” Harry said, “It's kind of what I wanted to talk to you about. I'm going to have a little private dinner with her somewhere. Maybe here. Though it isn't too...”

He then blushed. He was about to say “romantic”, but it wasn't quite the subject he wanted to talk to Mr. Weasley about.

“I know what you mean,” Mr. Weasley said, chuckling, “This place was around when Molly and I started dating. Tom was a bit younger, of course, but he was the bartender here even back then. Between you and me, it definitely isn't the type of place for a nice private dinner.”

Mr. Weasley winked. Harry grinned.

“Continue,” Mr. Weasley said, “I imagine you have more in mind.”

Harry paused for a moment. Did Mr. Weasley know what he was about to ask?

“Yes, sir,” Harry said, though slowly, “There was something I wanted to ask Ginny, but I think I need to talk to you about it first.”

Harry paused. This was the moment. He was starting to wonder if this was going to be harder than asking Ginny to marry him.

“Well,” Harry said, “My main reason for this discussion -- is that -- sir, I was hoping to get your permission for your daughter's hand in marriage.”

Harry sighed. He had said that last bit calmly, but maybe a little too quickly. He started thinking all kinds of things. Maybe Mr. Weasley would say no. Maybe he would tell him that he and Ginny were too young for this, especially since there was now no need to quicken a relationship. Maybe Harry should have gone the way Ron and Hermione went. Pop the question then talk to Ginny's parents about it. Hermione's parents seemed just fine with the whole thing. They love Ron.

“I expected this would come up sometime soon,” Mr. Weasley said.

Harry nodded. He couldn't help but notice that Mr. Weasley wasn't smiling nor frowning at the moment.

“After Ron and Hermione announced their engagement,” Mr. Weasley said, “Molly and I started talking about this exact thing. We wondered when some lad would be asking that very question you did.”

Harry almost flinched at the words “some lad”.

“Harry,” Mr. Weasley said, “You should know that Molly and I already see you as an honorary part of our family. You've practically lived at the Burrow when you were away from your relatives house, until you got your own house, of course.”

Harry nodded. Though he had mentally smiled at the words “honorary part of our family”, his expression was almost set in stone. He still wasn't sure of Mr. Weasley's answer.

“You love Ginny, right?” Mr. Weasley asked.

“With all of my heart,” Harry said, nodding.

“I thought so,” Mr. Weasley said, “And I can see that Ginny loves you.”

“Yeah,” Harry said.

“If Ginny says yes,” Mr. Weasley said, “Do you have any plans to...?”

“Oh!” Harry said, “Of course, we'd wait for a while for the wedding. It's just... I've gone over this in my head, night after night, and I see no better time... no perfect chance... to ask her than her birthday.”

“It does seem a good time as any,” Mr. Weasley agreed.

“Sir,” Harry said, “If you want to talk this over with Mrs. Weasley...”

“Oh, I'm sure it will come up,” Mr. Weasley said, nodding.

“I can wait for your answer,” Harry said.

“I don't think that's necessary,” Mr. Weasley said, “I already mentioned that this has been in my head for a while. And it has been in Molly's thoughts. I'm sure she'll agree with me... when I say I think it would be okay if you went ahead with your plans.”

Harry grinned, and almost cheered in excitement.

“Thanks, sir,” Harry said.

Mr. Weasley smiled. Out of the corner of Harry's eye, he saw Ron and Hermione walk out the back of the building. They were talking to each other, and didn't notice him or Mr. Weasley, who also saw them.

“Have you talked to Ron about this?” Mr. Weasley asked, looking from Ron to Harry.

“No, sir,” Harry said.

“You're wanting to wait,” Mr. Weasley said.

“Yeah,” Harry said.

Mr. Weasley chuckled.

“I think you probably noticed,” he said. “Ron has always been protective of Ginny. All of her brothers have. She's the only girl in the family, other than Molly, of course. I'm sure Ron still sees her the same way I do sometimes: that little red-headed girl stepping into Professor Dumbledore's office, after her troubling experience in the Chamber of Secrets, looking just as petrified as if she was one of the Basilisk's victims.”

Harry's mouth went dry. He took a sip of water. Mr. Weasley smiled.

“I guess you didn't realize that, huh?” he asked.

Harry didn't answer.

“You will,” Mr. Weasley said, “When you're in my position, you'll know just what I'm talking about. I guarantee it.”

Harry was thankful that any possible reply was interrupted by Tom bringing over two plates of fish and chips.

--------------------------------------

(Hermione's PoV)

Hermione smiled, privately. She was sitting at one of the little tables outside Florean Fortescue's Ice Cream Parlor, though her mind wasn't on her Strawberry-Chocolate Malt.

Ten minutes before, as she was walking toward the back of the Leaky Cauldron with Ron, she had seen Harry and Mr. Weasley in the corner of her eye. Both were looking pretty happy, and Hermione had wondered if Harry had asked him the important question of the discussion. When it looked as if Ron was about to look around the bar, Hermione spoke up.

“Bet it's a scorcher today,” she said, quickly, getting Ron's attention, “Florean's ice cream sounds wonderful right about now, eh?”

Ron had nodded, and this had quickened his pace out of the Leaky Cauldron.

Hermione looked at her engagement ring, smiling. There were random moments during her stay at the Burrow, when she was either in bed, waiting for sleep to overcome her, or around the perimeter of the lot during early morning jogs, that she looked at this ring and wondered if and when Harry, one of her best friends in the world, would be in her position with Ginny. Harry's entire life had been so troubling that Hermione just wanted to see him happy. There were few times when Hermione knew that Harry had been really happy, and she knew many of those times were when he was with Ginny.

She remembered when she first realized that Harry was starting to have feelings for Ron's sister. It was ironic, though, that it had happened shortly after her discussion with Ginny about him. It was back in the summer between her fifth and sixth year. That day, Harry had arrived at the Burrow, fresh from his journey with Dumbledore and his visit with Slughorn. Hermione had noticed that Ginny was eyeing Harry more than she normally would. She knew that Ginny had had a crush on Harry for quite some time. Harry, being the oblivious boy he was, hadn't noticed this at all. Hermione knew all about Ginny's attempts. It had been a part of that very discussion she was thinking now:

Flashback:

It was evening at the Burrow. Hermione was laying in her cot reading one of her school books for the new year at Hogwarts. She was immersed in the book, but even that couldn't keep her from hearing scratches from a quill. Ginny was sitting at her desk, writing on a piece of parchment.

“What are you doing?” Hermione asked.

“Writing to Dean,” Ginny said.

“Dean?” Hermione replied, “Dean Thomas?”

“Yep,” Ginny said, “He wrote to me just this morning. He asked me out.”

“Out?” Hermione asked, “Like on a date?”

“Yeah,” Ginny said, “He said at the end of the last term that he would write to me. We've been exchanging letters over the summer. Now he finally asked me out.”

Hermione grinned. She put down her book. It may have been surprising to someone like Ron, but this was more interesting than some school book.

“You like him?” she asked.

“I guess,” Ginny said, shrugging, “I mean... not as much as...”

Ginny sighed.

“Not as much as Harry,” Hermione finished for her.

Ginny nodded.

“Ginny,” Hermione said, sighing, “Please tell me this isn't going to be another Michael Corner thing.”

“I don't know what you are talking about,” Ginny said.

“Yes you do,” Hermione said, “You know as well as I do that you only went out with Michael Corner to see if Harry would get jealous.”

“Didn't work, did it?” Ginny asked, scoffing, “Only one who noticed was Ron.”

Ginny scoffed again.

“I know what you're thinking, Ginny,” Hermione said, “Michael Corner wasn't a Gryffindor, so it didn't affect Harry as much as you would have liked. Dean Thomas is a Gryffindor, and one of Harry's dorm-mates. So you're hoping that Harry will notice more.”

“Maybe,” Ginny said.

“Ginny,” Hermione said, sighing and standing up.

She walked over to Ginny.

“I think you need to just give up on Harry,” she said.

“Why?” Ginny asked, “So you can have him?”

Hermione flinched at Ginny's response. It was unexpected.

“My feelings for Harry are only platonic,” Hermione said, “Believe me.”

This was true. In terms of the way Ginny was talking about, Hermione secretly liked Ron more than Harry. Though she wouldn't tell Ginny that.

“So why do I need to give up on Harry?” Ginny asked.

“Because I think it will only break your heart,” Hermione said. “Ginny, Harry may not know this yet, but I don't think he's looking for a relationship.”

“Right,” Ginny scoffed, “What do you call what he had with Cho?”

“You know very well,” Hermione said, “that that was before what happened down in the Department of Mysteries.”

“So you're saying that just because Sirius is dead,” Ginny said, “that Harry doesn't want to love anyone?”

“No,” Hermione said, “I --”

Hermione paused. She couldn't tell Ginny what Harry had confided in her and Ron. She couldn't tell Ginny about the prophecy.

“I just don't think you should use Dean like that, Ginny,” she said.

Ginny sighed.

“Fine,” she said, “Since you don't think I'll get anywhere with Harry, I'll focus on Dean. Now can I get back to my letter?”

Hermione nodded and laid back down on the cot. Hermione noticed that Ginny was writing harder and faster than before. There would be a couple unexplained puncture marks in her letter when it was sent to Dean.

Flashback ends


Hermione had noticed that, even though she had talked to Ginny about it, that Ginny was still flirting with Harry. Harry may not have noticed, but Hermione did. Every time Hermione would bring it up with Ginny, Ginny would deny it, or would not talk about it at all. It turned out that Ginny had been succeeding more than Hermione had known, because Hermione had soon realized that Harry was indeed starting to fall in love with Ginny, and later, of course, Ginny had succeeded altogether.

Now it seemed that Harry and Ginny were about to be in the same situation Hermione and Ron was in. Engaged, without a foreseen date for a wedding. This made Hermione smile. She was, indeed, happy with Harry and Ginny. Even when she had told Ginny to get over Harry, she had really wanted to see them get together. Harry had definitely deserved it.

“You're awfully silent,” Ron said, breaking Hermione from her thoughts.

“Sorry,” Hermione said, “Just thinking.”

“About what?” Ron asked.

“I think,” Hermione said, “that even though there is no foreseen date for our wedding, we should start doing some plans for it.”

“Oh,” Ron said.

“Is that okay?” Hermione asked.

“Yeah,” Ron said, “I mean... we have to start sometime, right?”

Hermione nodded.

“It's not like we're going to Las Vegas and get hitched, right?” Ron asked.

Hermione grinned. After Harry and Ginny left the previous night, Hermione had turned on the television. There was a movie on about a couple who got downright wasted and ended up getting hitched in Las Vegas on a whim. This was the only reason Ron would have brought that up.

“Of course not,” Hermione said, “My parents would kill us.”

“My parents would kill us,” Ron said, “And Mum could get away with it, believe me.”

Hermione laughed. She expected Ron was about to say more, but at that precise moment, Draco Malfoy walked by, hand-in-hand with Astoria Greengrass. It seemed Draco hadn't noticed them, but Ron had changed the subject anyway.

“Looks like those two are more serious than I thought,” he said, whispering to Hermione and indicating Draco and Astoria with a nod.

“Yep,” Hermione said.

“I still say it won't last,” Ron said, “Draco's not that type.”

Hermione thought different, but she wouldn't say it. Draco was definitely not worth starting an argument over.

------------------------------------------------------------
(Draco's PoV)

Draco walked hand-in-hand with Astoria. He had originally planned to meet his mother for a light lunch, but when Draco arrived at the Leaky Cauldron, Astoria was there as well. Draco's mother wasn't around like she promised, and Astoria saw him, and begged him to have lunch with her. Draco had planned to go to Florean's for some ice cream, but when he noticed Ron and Hermione there, he veered Astoria off farther down Diagon Alley, knowing well enough that there wasn't a good restaurant anywhere down that way.

“Oh, I almost forgot!” Astoria said, “Mum and Daddy were so delighted with their visit to your house, that they want to invite you and your parents over to my house for dinner sometime this week.”

“Mum's pretty busy with work,” Draco said.

“Then maybe you could just come over,” Astoria said, grinning, “I'm sure my parents wouldn't mind if you stayed the night sometime.”

Draco raised an eyebrow. Just what did Astoria have in mind?

“Come on,” Astoria said, and Draco noticed a slight whine in her voice, “I go back to Hogwarts in less than a month. You know as well as I do that August always goes quicker than it seems. Before you know it, I'll be back at Hogwarts and you won't get to see me for a while.”

Draco sighed. There were times when he was quite happy that Astoria was going to be away for a while. Most of those times happened when Astoria begged him to do things, or wrote him so many letters that her eagle owl, Serenity, had almost fainted from exhaustion. Though there were also times that he knew he would miss Astoria. Draco didn't like to talk about the reasons behind those times.

“All right,” he said.

Astoria squealed lightly. Draco had to try his best to not roll his eyes.

“Draco, darling,” a familiar voice said behind Draco, “There you are.”

Draco turned around. His mother was walking toward him and Astoria.

“I thought you promised to meet me for lunch?” Narcissa asked.

“You were late,” Draco said.

“Had to drop off Granger's notes to the Daily Prophet,” Narcissa said, frowning.

“Good afternoon, Mrs. Malfoy,” Astoria said, politely.

Narcissa looked at her as if she had only just noticed Astoria was there.

“Miss Greengrass,” Narcissa said, nodding.

Draco was surprised her mother remembered who Astoria was.

“Come on then,” Narcissa said, to Draco, “I know a nice place in Knockturn Alley. The owners know me and your father. We almost always get a five-finger discount, if you get my drift.”

Draco nodded.

“That sounds lovely, Mrs. Malfoy,” Astoria said.

Draco wondered if his mother wouldn't allow Astoria to come along, but all Narcissa did was walk toward Knockturn Alley. Draco, hand-in-hand with Astoria, followed her. Astoria was still grinning. It seemed, Draco realized, that Astoria hadn't noticed that Narcissa Malfoy didn't like her son's new girlfriend very much.

-------------------------------------------------
Whew! Another chapter finished. Well, I hope you liked Harry's talk with Mr. Weasley. I loved adding Hermione's flashback in there. That is how I thought that particular discussion had gone. I just hope I was right with the timing of it.

Right now, it seems that Draco and Astoria's part in this story is just small stuff. I don't think I'll go too far into their relationship, though it seems I could be getting somewhere with it. I want to focus more on the main four (Harry, Ginny, Ron, Hermione) than anyone else in this story.

More to come! Feedback would be wonderful!


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  #14  
Old September 3rd, 2009, 5:20 pm
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Re: Butterfly Kisses (Sequel to Harry Potter and the Return to Hogwarts)

Chapter 14
The Holyhead Harpies


Author's Note: I really want to get to Ginny's first day at Quidditch training camp, so I will be, once, again, skipping some time.

The following Monday, a couple days before her eighteenth birthday, Ginny woke up bright and early. It was her first day at the Quidditch training camp, and she couldn't wait to get it started. Her broom was leaning against the closet door. She was due at the camp at eight-thirty, and would be arriving by Floo Powder.

Harry was already awake, working on breakfast, when Ginny walked downstairs.

“Morning,” Harry said, “Ready for training camp?”

“Ye-ye-yeah,” Ginny said, trying to stifle a yawn.

“Sounds like it,” Harry said, chuckling.

“Sod off!” Ginny said, though she chuckled as well.

“How long will you be there?” Harry asked.

“I leave at eight-thirty,” Ginny said, “And from what Gwenog said in her last letter, it looks like we train until five every weekday, with an hour break for lunch.”

“That's a long time,” Harry said.

“Yep,” Ginny said, “But I expected it.”

“Hope you won't be tired on Wednesday, when you come back,” Harry said.

“Huh?” Ginny asked, “Oh, yeah, right. Still not going to tell me where you're taking me?”

“Nope,” Harry said, grinning.

“Is it because you don't have a place picked out yet?” Ginny asked, raising an eyebrow.

“Of course I do,” Harry said, “And that's all I'll say on the subject.”

Ginny laughed. When she had received Harry's letter a week before, telling him that he had to cancel lunch, she expected that he had gone out and found a place that day. Ever since then, she had been attempting to get him to tell her where they were going. In a part of her mind, she didn't want to know where he was taking her, but also it had been a little game between them. Perhaps he would tell her, accidentally or not, perhaps he wouldn't. But that was part of the game.

Harry left for work at eight-o-clock. Ginny took a quick shower and dressed in jeans and a t-shirt. She hadn't received her training outfit or her game outfit, but she expected she would get both today. Half-way through her shower, Ginny had realized that she couldn't take her broom with her during her travel in the Floo Network. She decided to take her purse and put it inside. It was one of those magically-extendable purses that Hermione had given her for the previous Christmas, and her broomstick would fit inside nicely. It would also be protected from the heat inside the Floo tunnels. Ginny was thankful this would be the only time she had to use the Floo Network to go to the camp. She personally hated it.

So at eight-thirty, she walked over to the fireplace. Gwenog had told her in a letter that the keyword to get to the camp was “Harpies Training Camp”. She threw some of the green powder inside and said those words quite clearly, then immediately felt her feet lift the ground. She closed her eyes and pressed her arms to her side, holding the purse tightly in one fist.

-------------------------------------

A moment later, her feet touched solid ground. She walked out through the ash and dust, then took her wand from her pocket and cleared up the debris. She quickly realized she was in a building. The walls and low ceiling were stone. The only light was candles on the walls. She was in the middle of wondering just how close she was to the camp, when she heard a voice.

“Miss Weasley!” the voice said.

Ginny turned around. Gwenog Jones was standing under an open archway.

“Gwenog,” Ginny said, smiling, “Oh, or should I call you Captain Jones.”

“Only on the Pitch,” Gwenog said. “Anywhere else and Gwenog is just fine.”

“Yes, ma'am,” Ginny said.

“And none of this 'ma'am' stuff,” Gwenog said, “Makes me feel older than I am.”

Ginny grinned.

“I was beginning to wonder just how far I was away from the Pitch,” Ginny said.

“Not very far at all,” Gwenog said, “In fact... if you look behind you, up those stairs is the Pitch. Behind me is the locker room.”

“Wow,” Ginny said, “And here I thought I would have to walk a couple miles to get there.”

Gwenog chuckled.

“Follow me,” she said, “It's time to meet the rest of the team.”

“How many returned?” Ginny asked, following Gwenog into the locker room.

“Not very many,” Gwenog said, shaking her head, “Besides me, there is the other Chaser, one Beater and our Keeper.”

“Ice didn't return?” Ginny asked.

Illiana “Ice” Isaacs, the Harpies Seeker (now former Seeker it seemed), had been one of Ginny's favorite players not just on the team, but in the Quidditch league itself. Ginny had hoped to be able to meet her. Her nickname was Ice because she was cold as ice when it came to playing Quidditch... and just as slick.

“I see you know your Harpies,” Gwenog said.

“Yeah,” Ginny said.

“Ice was the first to leave when the strike was announced,” Gwenog said, “Can't say that wasn't a blow. But our new Seeker and Beater were both discovered by our Scouts, just like you were.”

“Where are they from?” Ginny asked.

“Our Beater is from Durmstrang,” Gwenog said, “And our Seeker is from Beauxbatons. Good luck trying to get too much English out of the Beater.”

“Durmstrang and Beauxbatons?” Ginny asked, “You're kidding. You know what kind of rivalry those two schools have?”

“Yep,” Gwenog said, “But we haven't had to pull the new girls apart from a fight yet.”

Gwenog chuckled. Ginny followed her until they ended up near a group of ladies. Ginny immediately recognized some of them. Gwenog cleared her throat.

“Ladies!” Gwenog said, clearing her throat.

They turned around.

“This is our newest Chaser,” Gwenog said, “Ginny Weasley.”

They looked at Ginny, and she blushed.

“I hear you're a big fan of the Harpies, Ginny,” one lady said.

“Yeah,” Ginny said, “You... you're --”

“Bertha Biggs,” Bertha said, standing and holding out a hand, “Beater.”

Ginny shook it and winced at the power of her handshake.

“We call her Big Bertha,” Gwenog said.

“Yeah,” Bertha said, “Cause they know I won't bludge 'em!”

The Keeper snorted. She then stood up.

“Roxy Waters,” she said, “Keeper. Don't mind Big Bertha. Her bark is worse than her bite.”

Bertha rolled her big brown eyes.

“Chastity Crowe,” the woman next to Roxy said, standing up, “I'm your fellow Chaser. Remember my face, 'cause you'll be passing me the Quaffle.”

“Nose down, Chase,” Gwenog said.

Gwenog then motioned to the girls at the back. They looked no older than Ginny, though one of them looked a lot bigger than her.

“This is Regina Kavoff, the other Beater,” Gwenog Jones said, motioning to the bigger of the two, “And our new Seeker is...”

“Liliana De Pierre,” the new Seeker said, a French accent pouring from her rosy lips.

Ginny only noticed then that Liliana's hair seemed to fan out behind her. Ginny knew immediately that she had to have some Veela in her.

“You're from Beauxbatons?” Ginny asked her.

“Oui,” Liliana said.

“My sister-in-law used to go there,” Ginny said, “Fleur Weasley, formerly Fleur Delacour.”

“Oui, really?” Liliana said, “My family is friends with ze Delacours.”

“Your English is very good,” Ginny said, thinking of Fleur's trouble when it came to speaking plain English.

Liliana smiled. Ginny began to wonder if Liliana's veela powers were one of the reasons she made the team.

“As you probably know already, Ginny,” Gwenog said, “The Harpies are the only all-female team in the league. We pride ourselves on that.”

“Yes,” Ginny said, “It's one of the reasons I love the Harpies.”

“Well, then,” Roxy said, “Then I think you'll be quite welcome on the team.”

Ginny grinned.

“All right, ladies!” Gwenog said, “Time to suit up in your training outfits. We officially begin in twenty minutes! Hustle, ladies.”

Ginny noticed that Gwenog was already in her training clothes. Gwenog left the locker room, leaving Ginny with the other girls.

“So, Ginny,” Roxy said, as Ginny found the locker with her name on it, “Got a guy back home?”

“Yeah,” Ginny said.

“What's his name?” Roxy asked.

“Harry Potter,” Ginny said.

Chastity scoffed.

“I've heard that one before,” she said.

“No joke?” Roxy asked Ginny.

“Nope,” Ginny said.

“Harry Potter?” Bertha asked, “The Hero of the Second War?”

“Yeah,” Ginny said.

“Wow,” Bertha said.

Ginny grinned, though she knew they wouldn't truly believe her until they met him. She changed into her training outfit, and took her broom out of her bag. She walked with the other girls out onto the Pitch. Ginny grinned as she looked around. It was exactly like the Quidditch Pitch at Hogwarts, except for the fact that it was surrounded by a forest.

“Quite a view, eh?” Roxy asked Ginny.

“Yeah,” Ginny said, “I suppose those trees are there to hide us?”

“Well, they're not there for the view, are they?” Chastity asked.

“It's just for kicks,” Roxy said, narrowing her eyes at Chastity, “The whole Pitch is hidden by magic. Charms and such.”

“Anti-Muggle charms, yeah,” Ginny said, “Just like the Quidditch World Cup.”

“Oh, it's just not to keep the Muggles away,” Bertha said, “You wouldn't believe how many spies we've had over the years from other teams. They're jealous of us, I tell ya!”

She laughed, and it almost sounded like a bark.

“All right ladies! Quiet down!” Gwenog commanded, “It's training time!”

Everyone quieted down immediately, Ginny noticed. She had heard that Gwenog Jones had a reputation for getting everyone's attention as quick as a snap. Apparently it was right.

“Since we have three new players on the team,” Gwenog said, “We're going do some trials for a little while, just to show everyone how good you play. Weasley and Kavoff. Get in the sky. Waters, get on the southern rings. Chase, assist Weasley. Okay...”

Ginny mounted her broom, as did the other players.

“This is what we're going to do,” Gwenog continued. “Weasley, you pass the Quaffle back and forth to Crowe. Chase, let Weasley attempt to score sometimes if she can. This is just practice, remember that.”

“Yes, captain,” Crowe said, nodding.

“Good,” Gwenog said, “Kavoff, you're going to be the only Beater in the sky for now, but there will also only be one Bludger. It will make it harder for you, but it is needed.”

Kavoff nodded.

“Get in the skies,” Gwenog commanded.

Ginny took to the sky. Gwenog threw the Quaffle to Chase, who caught it and flew into the sky. Kavoff took the bat and flew off toward the northern side of the Pitch. Waters took her position at the southern rings. Gwenog blew her whistle, and Chase quickly passed Ginny the Quaffle. Ginny caught it with ease, even though Chase threw it pretty hard. She flew off toward the rings. A few moments later, she heard a whoosh and flew toward the left. The Bludger flew by, missing her by a couple feet.

“Nice job, Weasley!” Gwenog said, her voice now magnified, “Kavoff, nice hit. Don't try to injure Weasley though! Remember, she's on our side!”

Ginny flew off toward the rings. Out of the corner of her eye, she saw Chase below her. She passed the Quaffle to her, and followed Chase toward the rings.

“Try a pass-to-pass maneuver,” Gwenog ordered, “It might confuse Waters!”

Chase passed the Quaffle back to Ginny, who passed it back.

“There you go!” Gwenog said, “Just like that!”

Chase passed the Quaffle back to Ginny, who was now close to the rings. She then faked a shot toward the left ring, and shot it toward the right. It sailed through!

“Yeah!” Ginny said.

“Nice score, Weasley!” Gwenog said, “Great fake! Don't think Rox saw it coming!”

If she saw it coming or not, Rox didn't answer. She took the Quaffle and passed it back to Ginny, though it was with a little force.

The trials continued until lunchtime. Halfway through the trials, Gwenog let the Snitch and the other Bludger out. The rest of the team took to the sky, and now Ginny was passing to both Chase and Gwenog. Waters caught three of Ginny's attempts at scoring, but Ginny also scored five others and assisted three scores as well.

Lunch, which was chicken and chips, had been brought by Gwenog. During lunch, Gwenog started up a conversation.

“During camp,” she said, mainly to Ginny and the other two new players, “We try to create new plays for the team. That way, we don't keep on using the same plays that we used the previous years. I find that it helps a lot. So if you have any special plays that you might have used during your time on your school teams, we'd love to hear them. Anything?”

Ginny immediately raised her hand. Gwenog nodded in her direction.

“The twenty-point play,” Ginny said.

“Aha!” Gwenog said, “I thought you might come up with that one. Ladies, I watched Ginny during her time at Hogwarts, and I must say that she impressed me. I'm sure all of you know what she's talking about when it comes to the twenty-point play.”

Everyone nodded.

“Yeah, it's pretty common here in the Quidditch League,” Roxy said, “A real nuisance for Keepers like me. I've been a victim of them many times. It's hard enough for a Keeper's morale when someone scores on you. Imagine what it's like when they score twenty points in one play.”

“It might be common in the Quidditch League,” Gwenog said, “But I've rarely seen anyone use it in the school leagues. It's a hard play. Either the Chasers mess it up or the Keeper's quick to the punch and able to grab that second attempt. But Ginny's team was able to make almost all of the twenty-point plays they attempted. I was amazed. Now, when it comes to the Harpies using the twenty-point play? Well, we've never used it before, so it would be a surprise to our opponents. It's just a little difficult in the Quidditch league, even if it is common, as Roxy says.”

“It's difficult because it is so common,” Ginny said.

”Exactly,” Gwenog said, nodding, “Anything else?”

Kavoff and Liliana didn't reply.

“That's okay,” Gwenog said, “It is the Chasers that usually make up the plays. But if you do figure out any new ideas, speak up. We'll try anything once.”

After lunch, they returned to practice. It was now two Chasers against one: Ginny and Chase against Gwenog. Ginny and Chase would have to try to attempt to score before Gwenog intercepted the Quaffle. The first attempt, Ginny tried to pass the Quaffle to Chase, Gwenog intercepted it. The second attempt, Ginny was able to score straight through the middle ring. The third attempt, Kavoff aimed a Bludger toward Gwenog, and Gwenog had to fly out of the way, letting Ginny and Chase use the pass-to-pass maneuver all the way to the rings where Chase scored an attempt through the left ring. The fourth attempt, Waters caught the Quaffle. Fifth and final attempt, Ginny was able to score through the middle once again.

Chase's turn for lone Chaser came next. Ginny and Gwenog scored four out of five attempts with ease. The other attempt, Gwenog swerved away from a well-placed Bludger from Biggs and dropped the Quaffle, which Chase caught.

Now it was Ginny's turn as lone Chaser. She intercepted three out of five attempts by Gwenog and Chase. On the other two attempts, Gwenog was able to score through the right and left rings respectively.

The last trial of the day was to do some attempts at Ginny's twenty-point play. The first attempt, Ginny and Gwenog used the pass-to-pass maneuver and was at the rings before Roxy knew it. Ginny flew around to the back, and Gwenog scored a goal right through the left ring. Ginny caught it before Roxy could and passed it back to Gwenog. This time, however, Roxy caught Gwenog's shot. The second attempt, Ginny and Chase tried this time to get the twenty point play. Ginny scored the first attempt with ease, and Chase caught it and passed it back to her. Ginny faked a right shot and went for the middle. It sailed through! Two of the other three attempts succeeded, but the last failed when Chase failed to catch the Quaffle after it sailed through for the first score.

“Nice practice today, girls!” Gwenog said, “Hit the showers and you are done for the day! Weasley, see me before you hit the showers.”

Ginny landed her broom near Gwenog.

“Yes, captain?” Ginny asked.

“Ginny, you impressed me today,” Gwenog said.

“You didn't do too bad yourself,” Ginny said.

Gwenog chuckled.

“I think the rest of the team likes you,” Gwenog said.

“I don't know about Roxy,” Ginny said.

“Oh, that's how she always is,” Gwenog said, “She's a little angel on the ground, but once she is guarding those rings, you swear she's liable to become the next Dark Lord.”

Ginny grinned.

“It's Chase you have to look out for,” Gwenog said, unexpectedly, “Chase is the second best Chaser on the team, behind me. She didn't get that nickname cause her it sounds like her name, you know. Anyway, It was that way even when our other Chaser was on the team. Now she sees that you could become better than her, and she's a little jealous. Happens to the best of us.”

“So, basically,” Ginny said, “I have a rival on the team.”

“You could say that,” Gwenog said, chuckling, “I'll keep an eye on her. She won't cross me. She knows me too well. I'll make sure she passes you the Quaffle when she has to, and that she doesn't do it too hard. I noticed she was a little powerful up there.”

“Wasn't too bad,” Ginny said.

“Either way,” Gwenog said, “Next time it could knock the wind out of you. We can't have that.”

“So you're just telling me to look out for her,” Ginny said.

“Perhaps,” Gwenog said, “You never know. Before too long, you and her might be the best of chums. For now, yeah, look out for her.”

“I'll keep both eyes open,” Ginny said.

“Brilliant,” Gwenog said, “Hey. I hear you have a birthday coming up.”

“Yep,” Ginny said, “Wednesday.”

“Well, how about that?” Gwenog said, “You doing anything special. Your boyfriend have anything planned?”

“Dinner somewhere,” Ginny said, “Real party isn't until next weekend.”

“I tell you what,” Gwenog said, “Wednesday, if it looks like you're doing as well as you did today, we'll only practice until lunch.”

“You don't have to do that,” Ginny said.

“I want to!” Gwenog insisted, “My present to you. It will give you enough time to get ready for your guy.”

She winked. Ginny blushed.

“Hit the showers,” Gwenog said, patting Ginny on the back, “Great job today.”

Ginny grinned and headed for the locker room.

--------------------------------------------------------
After magically transporting her broom and her training and game outfits to her house, Ginny apparated into the back yard of her house. She walked inside and saw Harry sitting on the couch. He was watching the news.

“How was your first day?” he asked her, when she sat down next to him.

“Great,” Ginny said, “Though I think I have a rival on the team.”

“Uh-oh,” Harry said.

“It's nothing,” Ginny said, “One of the Chasers is afraid I'll become better than her.”

“That's no surprise,” Harry said.

“Gwenog's giving me half the day off on Wednesday,” Ginny said, “So we can go to dinner earlier than planned.”

“Brilliant,” Harry said.

Ginny yawned, only realizing then how tired she was.

“You look warn out,” Harry said.

“Just tired,” Ginny said, “Haven't done that much practicing in... well, I don't think we never did that much practice at Hogwarts.”

“That many hours?” Harry said, “No, never. Even Wood wouldn't have done it. Of course, you weren't on the team then.”

“I expected it,” Ginny said, shrugging, “It isn't like the Hogwarts league. We have at least two games a month.”

“Did you ever think when you were younger,” Harry said, “That you'd be on a professional Quidditch team.”

“I dreamed I would,” Ginny said, “I dreamed I'd be flying right by Gwenog Jones, going toward the ring, dodging Bludgers and scoring the game-saving ten points.”

“Now you're doing it,” Harry said.

“Yep,” Ginny said, grinning.

Ginny noticed her eyes droop a little. She was pretty tired.

“You're definitely tired,” Harry said, “I think you should get a little shut-eye.”

“I don't wanna,” Ginny said, in a mock-whine.

“Just a little nap,” Harry said, “I'll wake you up when dinner's done.”

“I won't be able to sleep tonight if I take a nap,” Ginny said.

“You might be surprised,” Harry said.

“Fine,” Ginny said.

She laid back on the couch and draped her feet over Harry's legs. It took a couple minutes, but she dozed off into darkness. She was woken up by Harry a little under two hours later. Harry had made a pot roast and corn-on-the-cob for dinner.

“Bon appetite, sleepyhead,” Harry said, chuckling.

“It'll be your fault when I can't get back to sleep tonight,” Ginny said.

Harry only grinned. After dinner, Harry and Ginny cuddled on the couch and watched a movie. It was a movie about a man whose wife and daughter had been kidnapped. It was full of suspense and action. The movie ended with a car chase and the car ended up flying off a dock. The man had to jump in the water to save his wife and kid from drowning. As soon as the credits came up, Ginny was about to fall asleep once again. Harry helped Ginny up to her bedroom, where she fell asleep instantly.

-----------------------------------------
A/N: Another chapter finished! If you're wondering, all of the Harpies players, besides Ginny and Gwenog, are names I made up. It was easier than I thought it would be.

Hope you liked it! Ginny's birthday is next! Feedback would be great.


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  #15  
Old September 3rd, 2009, 5:23 pm
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Re: Butterfly Kisses (Sequel to Harry Potter and the Return to Hogwarts)

Chapter 15
Ginny's Birthday


(Harry's PoV)

Harry was worried that Ginny would continue to be tired when she returned from Quidditch training camp, but when she came back from the second day of camp, she didn't seem as tired as she had been the first day. On Wednesday, Ginny's birthday, Harry called the restaurant at a pay phone before he went into work that morning. He made sure that the reservation had been moved to six.

He had reserved a table at the Bon Cherie restaurant in London. Hermione had written him a letter a week before and had told him about the restaurant. It was one of her parents' favorite restaurants, and she said that it wasn't too expensive.

Before Harry left work, he went to the Money Exchange desk in the atrium of the Ministry of Magic, and exchanged some of his coins for Muggle money. He also called the taxi company and asked them to have a car at his house around five-thirty. He figured that would give him and Ginny enough time to get ready, as well as make it to the restaurant in time. Harry then headed home via Floo Network.

When he arrived, Ginny wasn't in the living room, so he wondered if she hadn't arrived home from practice yet. He knocked on Ginny's bedroom door anyway.

“I'm here, Harry,” Ginny said, “Just getting ready.”

“Taxi will be here around five-thirty,” Harry told her.

“All right,” Ginny said.

Harry went into his bedroom, and over to the closet. He reached up above to the shelf, and felt around for something. His hands finally found it and he pulled it down. It was a good-sized jewelry box. He opened it up and picked up the small maroon box. He closed the jewelry box, then put it back up in the closet. He opened up the maroon box. Inside was a golden ring with no jewel on it. It was the same ring his father had proposed to his mother with. Harry closed the small box and put it in his pocket. He looked at the mirror that covered half the closet door.

“I'm really going to do this, aren't I?” he whispered to his reflection, gazing at the box-shaped lump in his pocket.

He half-expected his reflection to answer back, but of course it didn't. Harry pulled out a large plastic bag that was hooked onto a hanger in the closet. Like his mother's ring, the tuxedo and dress pants inside the bag had come from his extra vault that was once his parents'. He figured it used to be his father's old suit. Harry had only worn it once to make sure it fit him. It didn't fit perfect the first time, but with a little magic he had been able to fix that.

He changed into the tuxedo and dress pants, putting the small maroon box inside his pants pocket. He made sure the lump wasn't visible and walked back out of his room. He could hear Ginny in her bedroom still. Harry chuckled under his breath, as he walked down to the bottom floor. It was amazing, he thought to himself, how long women took to get ready for stuff as special as this. He sat down on the couch carefully so as not to wrinkle his clothes and turned on the television. The last half of a football game was on. It wasn't England, his favorite team, so he wasn't that interested in it, but he watched it anyway.

Around five, he heard Ginny's bedroom door shut. He turned around, in time to see Ginny walking down the stairs. She was wearing a pink skirt with white button-down top and and heels. Harry was sure hadn't seen this dress before.

“How do I look?” she asked.

“Brilliant,” Harry said.

Ginny grinned.

“I bought this dress just today at Madam Malkin's,” she said, “She usually gives discounts if it is your birthday, so I thought I'd pick something out there.”

“You look... stunning,” Harry said.

“You don't look too bad yourself,” Ginny said, “Is that your father's old suit?”

“Yeah,” Harry said.

“Looks almost new,” Ginny said, “Magic probably helped with that. Mum always said it helped with preservation of clothes.”

“They don't teach you stuff like that at Hogwarts,” Harry said.

“Nope,” Ginny said, chuckling.
-------------------------------

At half-past-five, a horn honked indicating the arrival of the taxi. Harry and Ginny stepped into the car.

“Hi,” Harry said to the cabbie, “We're headed to --”

“Company told me,” the cabbie said, waving his hand dismissively.

“Want me to close my eyes?” Ginny asked Harry, jokingly.

Harry just grinned. Fifteen minutes later, the cab arrived outside the Bon Cherie restaurant. Harry helped Ginny out of the taxi, and Ginny looked up at the sign.

“Bon Cherie,” she said, “Never heard of it.”

“Hermione suggested it,” Harry explained, “It's one of her parents' favorite places.”

Harry walked over to the driver-side door and paid the cabbie.

“How long will you be?” the cabbie asked, “I'll come back.”

“Maybe a couple of hours,” Harry said.

“I'll come back in an hour and a half,” the cabbie said.

“Thanks,” Harry said.

“Oh, it's my pleasure,” the cabbie said, “I do it for a lot of folks. You treat that young lady good, mate.”

Harry nodded and the taxi drove away. Harry took Ginny's hand and walked with her into the restaurant. They walked up to the podium, where a man was standing.

“Six-o-clock reservation for Potter and Weasley,” Harry said to the man.

“One moment,” the man said.

He ran his finger down a piece of paper and smiled.

“Here you are,” he said, “Smoking or non-smoking?”

“Non-smoking,” Harry said.

“Right this way,” the man said.

The man led them toward a table with two seats. In the center of the table were two candles and a small flower basket. The table cloth, chairs and napkins were all maroon.

Just like the box the ring comes in, Harry thought as he sat down across from Ginny.

The man set a menu in front of Harry and Ginny.

“My name is Jacques,” he said, indicating his name tag, “And I will be your waiter tonight. As you can see we are pretty busy, so if you don't see me, tell another waiter or waitress and they will be glad to assist you. So, first off, what can I get you to drink?”

“Er... iced tea,” Harry said, “With lemon.”

“And for you, madame?” Jacques asked Ginny.

“Iced tea sounds great,” Ginny said, “With lemon as well.”

“Of course,” Jacques said, “I'll be right back with that. You can take a look at our wonderful menu, as well. I assure you, everything here is c'est magnifique!”

He smiled and walked away. Harry opened his menu and looked at it. Each option came in English, Italian and French. The text at the bottom of the menu read:

Ask your waiter about our wonderful specials!

A few minutes later, while Harry and Ginny were still looking through the menus, Jacques returned and served the two large glasses of iced tea.

“Would you like to know the specials for this evening?” he asked.

“Sure,” Harry said.

“First,” Jacques said, “we have ravioli on a bed of linguine. It comes with white-cheese, or marinara sauce. The other special is chicken lasagna. Each special comes with salad and breadsticks. Both are Chez Patric's specialties. I've had them both myself, and they are just... oh!”

He grinned and kissed two fingers. Harry almost chuckled.

“The lasagna sounds wonderful,” he said.

“I'll take the ravioli with marinara sauce,” Ginny said.

“Wonderful,” Jacques said, writing down the orders on a small slip of paper, “It should be ready in about... oh, twenty-five minutes or so. I hope that isn't too long?”

“No, it's great,” Harry said.

“I'll bring the salad and breadsticks in just a moment,” Jacques said.

He took the menus and walked away.

“Charming waiter,” Harry said, chuckling.

“Yes, he's just magnifique,” Ginny said, laughing softly, “Harry, this place is wonderful. I didn't imagine anything like this.”

“You expected ze Leaky Cauldron?” Harry asked, with a mock-French accent.

“It was on my list,” Ginny admitted, “It was where my father took my mother a few times when they were dating, and for some reason it stuck in my mind.”

“Yeah, your father told me,” Harry said.

He then swore under his breath. Ginny didn't know that Harry had talked to her father recently.

“When did you talk to him?” Ginny asked.

“Oh, just in passing,” Harry said, “In the lifts at the Ministry. It was when I told him about the party. We got to talking about your birthday, and he asked me if I had a place to take you for dinner. That was before Hermione told me about this place.”

“Oh,” Ginny said.

Harry decided the conversation was treading too close to the real reason he had talked to Ginny's father, so he changed the subject quickly.

“So how was camp today?” he asked her.

“Great,” Ginny said, “Gwenog surprised me at lunch today. She brought me a small birthday cake in the shape of a Quaffle.”

“Wow,” Harry said.

“Yeah,” Ginny said.

“Have you told them about me?” Harry asked.

“They asked on Monday if I had a boyfriend,” Ginny said, “When I told them it was you, they thought I was joking with them.”

“That's understandable,” Harry said.

“I guess,” Ginny said, “So, anyway, what have you been doing with Auror training?”

“Oh, same old, same old,” Harry said, “Though I found out today that we're having our first of four training exams next Monday.”

“Sounds scary,” Ginny said, grinning.

“That's not the worst of it,” Harry said, “The first exam isn't too important. It's just to see how we're doing. It's both written and practical. It's the last exam that counts. We don't take that until closer to the end of the year, but apparently at least one of the trainees will be kicked out of the Aurors after that exam.”

“Why?” Ginny asked.

“Just how the course goes, Ginny,” Harry said, shrugging, “Not everyone is cut out to be an Auror.”

“How did Ron react to that?” Ginny asked.

“Oh, you know him,” Harry said, “He's always nervous and anxious when it comes to exams.”

“Is it something Hermione can help him with?” Ginny asked.

“The written part, perhaps,” Harry said. “He can study for that. The practical part is all up to the trainees.”

“What's in the written exams?” Ginny asked.

“Procedural stuff, mostly,” Harry said, shrugging, “I'll be okay with it.”

“So you take one exam each month?” Ginny asked, “I mean there are four of them, and this is August so...”

“Every month except November,” Harry said, “Apparently November is when we will be preparing the most. From what the rumors are in the locker rooms, that is when we'll be training away from the Ministry.”

“It's amazing you're never that tired when you get home,” Ginny said.

“I used to be,” Harry said, “One of the things Aurors learn is to save up our energy.”

“With magic?” Ginny asked.

“Kind of,” Harry said, “It has to do more with the body.”

“Could I do it?” Ginny asked, “I could use that for Quidditch.”

“Maybe,” Harry said, “I'll think about it.”

Ginny nodded. She then stood up and told Harry she had to go to the little witches room. She kissed him on the cheek and walked away. Harry's hand brushed over the small maroon box in the pocket of his pants. His throat went a little tight, but it loosened up quickly. He knew this was the perfect time to ask Ginny to marry him. It was her birthday. There was no better day than that. So what was the problem?

Perhaps she would say no. Maybe she wasn't ready to move on to that step. Eighteen was pretty young, even if they had waited for a while, even over a year, to get married. Harry wouldn't blame her. He was only nineteen and it wasn't far off at all from eighteen. What if she said yes? If she did, would she think that Harry wanted to get married sooner rather than later? Maybe it was too soon for Harry to ask. Mr. Weasley seemed okay with it. Enough to accept the whole thing, anyway. So, surely, he thought they were ready for that step. Ron and Hermione were engaged and they were going to wait a while for their wedding day. They seemed perfectly fine with it. Though... Harry knew it seemed silly to judge his and Ginny's relationship on the basis of another.

Then there was another factor. It seemed a little silly to think about at that moment, though it came right to his mind. Harry and Ginny were sleeping in separate bedrooms. If Ginny said yes, would she think it would be okay for them to sleep in the same bed? Would it be okay? The bed was certainly big enough. It would be comfortable. Maybe a little too comfortable. It wasn't the first time it had come to Harry's mind either. When Ginny had fallen asleep on the couch and her legs were over his, Harry had started to think all about it. He had brushed it away from his mind, thinking it was too quick. Now, would it be too quick, if Harry asked Ginny to marry him and she said yes? Would it be okay... even... even if they didn't move to that ultimate step of true love? That thought alone tightened Harry's throat up once again.

Harry's hand, once again, brushed over the maroon box in his pocket, and that seemed to calm his down. It also seemed to strengthen his choice. It was true: the ring was in his pocket, and Harry had gone through all the trouble of getting a reservation at such a nice restaurant. The thought of it being Ginny's birthday came to the front of his mind again, and how perfect of a moment it was. Okay, so he would do it. Yeah... nothing to it, eh? Just ask and...

That thought alone brought up another list of questions. How should he ask her? Get on his knee and just do it? That seemed to be the routine way. Did he want to be routine about it? His whole life had certainly not been routine, even for a wizard. He sighed. Why were there so many questions accompanying the most important one of all?

Ginny returned to the table five minutes later, breaking Harry away from his thoughts.

“Are you okay?” she asked him.

Uh-oh. Did Ginny know what he was planning?

“Sure!” Harry said, a little too quickly, and maybe a little high.

He took a quick sip of his tea.

“I mean, yeah,” he said, “Just fine. Perfect. Maybe a little hungry.”

He put down his glass, and it accidentally knocked the roll of silverware near him onto the floor. He kneeled down quickly, picking it up, then realized where he was. Fate seemed to have put him exactly where he wanted to be...

------------------------------

(Ginny's PoV – a few minutes earlier)

Ginny walked out of the bathroom stall and walked over to the sink. She stared at her reflection in the mirror, adjusting and straightening her skirt. She had bought it for this special occasion, knowing that if Harry liked it, she could keep it for other occasions like this.

Madam Malkin, the seamstress in Diagon Alley, had suggested three dresses for Ginny. One was red, and it mixed horribly with her hair. Madam Malkin thought it looked great, but Ginny didn't like it at all. The next option was a golden dress, and it looked a lot like the dress Ginny wore for Bill and Fleur's wedding. It was beautiful, but it was also the most expensive of the three. The dress she had bought was the last of the three options. It wasn't Madam Malkin's favorite of the three, but Ginny loved it.

She twirled a couple of times in front of the mirror, making sure everything was nice. That everything was perfect.

She wouldn't say it out loud, but in the back of her mind, Ginny thought there may have been another reason, besides it being Ginny's birthday, that Harry had reserved a table at this beautiful, elegant restaurant. A bigger reason. Ginny had expected that it would come before too long. Sure, it made her nervous, but it also made her quite happy. Hermione and Ron were engaged to be married, and both looked as happy as anyone could be. Ginny wanted to be that happy.

It was true: she was extremely happy with Harry. Happy that she was with him, happy that what had originally turned out to be a dream, a school-girl crush, turned out to be real. She was happy that Harry had let her move in with him, and she knew that being close to the training camp was only a small reason he wanted her to move in. She knew he loved her, just as much as she loved him.

Now she wanted more. Though there was another voice in her mind, accompanying the cool, calm, happy voice that told her that one day, one day very soon she was going to get what she had been wanting for a while. These voices, at least to Ginny, had been owned by two figures.

In some book Ginny had read when she was younger – she couldn't remember if it was by Beedle the Bard -- a wizard was mentally stuck between two choices. Right and wrong. Right was in the bodily form of a tiny wizard in white: a good wizard. Wrong was in the form of someone, quite bigger than its counterpart, associated with the Dark Arts. Both appeared to the man on each shoulders, respectively. The wizard named Right (ironically it was standing on the wizard's left shoulder) told the man to do the good thing. In this case it was to help the little girl who was inflicted with a terrible curse. The wizard – actually, Ginny remembered, it was a warlock – named Wrong told the man to be on his way and ignore the girl. In the end, the wizard helped the little girl, and, in return, the parents of the little girl rewarded the man. In another version of the story, the two figures were also named Good and Evil, while in a third version they were named Happy and Sad.

Now Ginny felt like she had those two figures on her shoulders.

One figure, the good wizard, told Ginny that she was going to get what she wanted. That Harry had made sure this night was so special because there was something more on his mind than just celebrating Ginny's eighteenth birthday.

The figure on the opposite shoulder told her that she should just forget it. It was too soon for her to get what she ultimately wanted. That she had been wrong about Harry's choice to let her move into his house. The real reason behind it was what she had told her parents: an easier way to get to the Quidditch camp, and that she should believe that because it was what she told her parents, wasn't it? The figure, which was called Wrong, Evil, or Sad, also reminded Ginny that she was sleeping in the extra bedroom of the house. The bedroom that most people called “the guest bedroom” and that she was just a guest in Harry's house, be it temporary or permanent.

In reality, these figures were just two voices in the back of her mind, fighting an epic battle over which one had the better argument. Ginny stared at her reflection in the mirror, wondering which voice was right. She tore her gaze away, not wanting to think about it anymore, and walked out of the restroom. No matter the outcome, she promised herself that she would be happy anyway. It was her birthday after all. It only came around once a year, and you only had so many. It wasn't something you should waste on petty thoughts... no matter how loud and annoying they were.

Ginny returned to the table. She sat down, and Harry looked as if he was staring out into space. Ginny wondered if, like her, he was listening to voices in his head. Voices which were waging an epic war: their battlefield, Harry's brain.

“Are you okay?” she asked him.

“Sure!” Harry said.

Ginny almost laughed. Harry's voice sounded a little high. He didn't sound okay at all. She watched him take a drink of his iced tea.

“I mean, yeah,” he said, “Just fine. Perfect. Maybe a little hungry.”

Good enough explanation, of course. Ginny realized that she was also hungry. She was about to turn around and look to see if their waiter, Jacques, was coming with their salads and breadsticks, when she heard a thud. Harry had accidentally knocked his silverware off the table. He went to the ground and picked up the silverware, which were rolled up in a maroon napkin, tied by a small ribbon as green as Harry's eyes. Ginny then realized something that made her heart skip at least two beats. It seemed Harry was kneeling on the floor near her. Could he be...

Of course not! Uh-oh. There was that evil, sad, wrong warlock, his eyes gleaming with a red tinge, on her shoulder again. You know quite well that he had dropped his silverware and was picking them up.

Maybe that was a trick. There he was. The good, happy, right wizard with the calming voice. Maybe it was all part of his plan.

Ginny almost shook herself physically, as if trying to get those two figures away from her. She didn't want to hear those voices in her head. She didn't even want to think about which one was correct. Suddenly, Harry reached into his pocket and pulled out something. Ginny couldn't tell what it was, but knew it was small enough to fit in Harry's closed fist.

Told you. There it was again. That voice. Ginny knew, well enough, that it was the voice of Mr. Right. And for some strange reason it sounded a lot like Harry.

-------------------------------------

(Harry's PoV)

It was now or never. Had fate played its cards? Was it an accident that he had knocked the silverware off the table? Or was it deliberate? Harry gulped and reached for his pocket, pulled the box out, and held it in his fist. He looked at Ginny, afraid to look anywhere else, because he knew that there might be people staring, interrupting the moment. He finally decided to speak up.

“I have to admit,” he said, “I've been thinking about this night for a while. A little over a week would be more accurate to say, I guess. I wanted your birthday to be perfect. I mean, it's not every day that someone turns eighteen. In the Muggle world, eighteen is a pretty important day. I guess you can say it's just as important as the seventeenth birthday in our world, though you aren't usually woken up by an owl delivering a letter from the Ministry saying you are okay to use magic whenever you want.”

Harry realized he was jabbering. Strangely enough, it actually made him more calm.

“When we had our little seperation,” he said, “I immediately regretted saying those words to you at Albus Dumbledore's funeral. I regretted it up until the day I had you in my arms again.”

Harry thought he saw a tear in Ginny's eye.

“I realized then,” he continued, “that I didn't want that to ever happen again. I didn't ever want to feel that pain again. I say pain, because it was pain. It was like a monster feasting on my insides. Now I hope that you'll be the knight in one of those fairy tales and slay that monster.”

Harry wouldn't have been surprised if Ginny had laughed at him at that moment. That was a little corny, he had to admit it. He decided he just needed to get it out, before the words would stop in his throat and refuse to come out. He unclenched his fist and opened the box, showing Ginny the ring.

“Ginny Molly Weasley,” he said, his heart almost leaping into his throat, “Will you marry me?”

“Yes, Harry!” Ginny said in a whisper, “I will.”

Harry stood up and hugged her and kissed her. If anyone of the other guests eating at the restaurant reacted, he hadn't noticed. Harry put the ring on her finger. He then kissed her once again and sat back down at his chair. The good news was that his heart wasn't in his throat anymore. Maybe in his stomach now, though.

“This is the best birthday present,” Ginny said, looking at her ring, “I could ever ask for.”

Harry grinned. Before he could say anymore, Jacques had returned with two salads and a large basket of breadsticks. He told them that their main courses would be ready in about ten minutes. Harry thanked him and Jacques walked off.

He noticed Ginny was still looking at her ring. All the way through dinner, the ride home, and the two hours before he went to bed, he counted at least a dozen times when Ginny would glance at her ring. When he kissed Ginny good night (a kiss that lasted about ten minutes), he had almost invited her to sleep in his bed. He then decided (and he didn't know which part of his conscience voiced this decision) that it wasn't the best time, and that he should wait. If only for a little while.

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A/N: I had a really fun time writing that chapter. As I was writing it, the part with Ginny's PoV didn't come to me until I actually started writing it. Originally, I was going to have both the private dinner and the birthday party in the same chapter, because I thought it would be pretty short otherwise. But Ginny's PoV helped out a lot. I really liked writing it. I could just imagine the two little figures (sometimes they are also referred to as an angel and a devil) as I wrote them. That was pretty fun. If you are wondering who I thought might have voiced the evil side, I would probably say Voldemort. But that is just me.

Also, I don't blame you if you tell me, in your review, that Harry's proposal speech was a little corny. Because I would probably agree with you.

Anyway, the party will be next. That chapter might be a little short, but we'll see. Would love to see your feedback. I love it all and it helps me write. Indeed it does!


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  #16  
Old September 3rd, 2009, 5:26 pm
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Re: Butterfly Kisses (Sequel to Harry Potter and the Return to Hogwarts)

Chapter 16
It's My Party


Author's Note: During this chapter, in Ginny's PoV, I will still refer to her parents as Mr. and Mrs. Weasley.

(Ginny's PoV)

Ever since Harry proposed to her, and she said yes, Ginny had found herself glancing at Lily Potter's old ring whenever she had a free moment. When it came to the object itself, the ring wasn't all that special. Anyone who didn't have a precious connection to it could probably tell you that. It was just your normal golden band. There were no markings on the outside of it. There was no jewel encrusted into it, sparkling in the sunlight. The only markings on it were letters that were engraved into the inside of it:


J.P To L.E.P


Harry explained to Ginny that he would also put their initials on the other side of the ring when the time came.

One of those moments during each day was when she was laying in bed after waking up from a good night's sleep. She gazed at it while she waited for sleep to completely go away. She rubbed the ring with her finger, as if to examine it. If it was possible, she would have taken a copy of her memory of the proposal and put it into the ring, for later viewing. She never wanted to forget that moment for as long as she lived.

It was strange to think that just minutes before that wonderful event, she was staring at her reflection in the mirror of the restaurant's bathroom, asking herself if the moment was coming and thinking that it wouldn't come that evening and it might not come for quite a while. That moment seemed so far away, as if it had happened years ago. It was as if that moment was on the other side of a large wall. In a sense, it really was that way.

On one side of the wall, there was Ginny: Harry Potter's girlfriend, wishing and dreaming that something wonderful would come her way. On the other side was Ginny: Harry Potter's fiancee, feeling as if she was the happiest girl in the entire world. It seemed as if they were strangers, waving at each other, but not knowing who the other really was. Now the wall had come tumbling down and both embraced each other and it felt as if they had known each other all of their lives.

Ginny cherished the ring and it was one of her most prized possessions. It had once belonged to someone that Harry barely knew, but loved just the same. If something had happened to it, it would be like she had betrayed Harry. In fact, the only time Ginny didn't have it on was when she was playing Quidditch. During that time it was in her locker, safe and sound.

----------------------------------------------
Now it was Saturday, the day of Ginny's birthday party. In about five hours, Ginny's friends and family would be coming over, most of them seeing the house for the first time. Ginny knew that she and Harry would announce their engagement. It had been discussed the previous day. It was too important to be kept a secret. Besides, (and Harry had finally admitted this to her during that same discussion) Hermione and Ginny's father had known about Harry's plans anyway, and she was sure her mother knew about it as well. Harry told her that he had told his plans to Hermione, who had, in return, told him that he needed to speak to Ginny's father and get his permission.

For a little while, after this discussion, Ginny had wondered what it would have been like if her father had rejected Harry's request. Ginny would, of course, have been angry with her father, demanding to know why he had done such a thing and why he didn't trust Harry. She wondered if Harry would have gone through with it anyway, or would have put it off for another day. Of course it had turned out that Ginny's father had given his permission and everything was well.

During her discussion with Harry, they had also both decided that, like Ron and Hermione, they would put off their wedding for a while. They didn't need some celebration and a few words to confirm their love for each other. The wedding could wait, and why not? It wasn't like it would be illegal for Harry and Ginny to live together if they weren't married. Besides, it was almost as if they were already married, just without the celebration, words and official hoo-hah. Though there was still that one little factor...

Ginny was still sleeping in the spare bedroom. She knew (and the very thought made her heart skip a few beats) that, one day, it would become the bedroom of their future children, just as it had been the bedroom of James Potter when he was a child. For now it was Ginny's bedroom. There were times, usually when she was twirling the engagement ring on her finger, when she wondered just how long she would be sleeping in this bedroom. If her mother knew what she was thinking, she would have gone mental, but Ginny couldn't help it. Surely it was okay. in modern society, for a man and woman to sleep in the same bed when they were engaged. So why hadn't the subject been brought up?

There were times when Ginny wanted to bring it up, and she would get a few words out and Harry would change the subject. Of course, in all fairness towards Harry, there were times that Ginny was sure Harry was going to say something and she changed the subject. She also knew there were moments when Harry was standing outside her bedroom (in the nights she could see the shadows of his feet just under the door), and wondered if he was ever going to open the door and invite her to sleep in his bed with him. It hadn't happened yet, though. Though it didn't stop her from hoping. Every time she heard the creaking of Harry's footsteps as they passed her door, she wondered if that was the moment.

Of course, there was also the question regarding whether she would accept that invitation. She could hear her old friends, Right and Wrong, who hadn't shown their ugly faces since the night Harry proposed, arguing about whether she would accept or not. Sure, there was the fact that she really wanted to accept that invitation when it came. But there was also the thought (and the voice behind this thought usually sounded a lot like her mother) saying that she wasn't ready and that she should wait until she was Mrs. Harry Potter. It was what her mother and father had done. Her mother told her that fact all the time, and it had come up more and more during the last few days she had lived at the Burrow. Of course, she knew what her mother had really been thinking, had really been trying to say.

The thought itself made her blush. It wasn't like Ginny couldn't wait to take those steps of ultimate love with Harry. That fact, she was definitely sure of. She could wait, if only because she was a little scared about it. But if she slept in Harry's bed, it wasn't as if it meant they had to do that. Not everyone did. It was more about love and comfort than anything else. Ginny could imagine herself wrapped up in Harry's arms while she slept. She could imagine feeling his warmth, loving it even on the warmest of London nights. The morning after Harry had proposed to her, Ginny had woken up to find that she was cuddling her pillow in her arms. She had had a wonderful dream of Harry and wasn't too surprised to find that she had woken up in that position.

Ginny sat up, yawning and stretching, feeling her muscles wake up with her. She changed out of her pajamas and into clothes that were casual, but good enough for a nice family gathering as well. She walked out of her bedroom and then went downstairs. She found Harry cooking away in the kitchen.

“Good morning,” she said.

“Morning,” Harry said, though he didn't turn around, “I'm just making a simple breakfast. I'm also making food for the party, and it's taking up most of the kitchen.”

He laughed.

“I think I now know how your Mum feels when it comes to big parties,” he said.

“Can I help with anything?” Ginny asked.

“I thought you'd never ask,” Harry said, grinning.

Breakfast turned out to be French toast. Ginny was beginning on her second piece when Harry tore himself away from cooking and sat down to eat his breakfast.

“There is only one thing I don't want you to help me with,” Harry said, “I think you probably know what that is.”

“Hmm,” Ginny said, as if she was thinking very hard, “My cake?”

“Bingo,” Harry said.

Ginny grinned.

“Ares returned about thirty minutes ago,” Harry said, “He gobbled up his food and buried his head under his wing.”

“That poor owl,” Ginny said. “He's been so busy.”

“How else was I going to get the invitations out?” Harry asked, “I can only do it by word-of-mouth to so many people.”

“How many people did you invite?!” Ginny asked.

“Not too many,” Harry said, shrugging, “The last letter Ares brought was from your brother Charlie.”

Ginny knew what Harry was going to say before he said it.

“He had to decline,” Harry said. “One of the dragons just gave birth last night. I imagine it was quite hectic. But Ares was carrying a small box in his talons, as well as the letter. I'd imagine it is your gift.”

“Can I have it?” Ginny asked.

“Not until the party,” Harry said.

“Fine,” Ginny said, sighing.

“Are you nervous?” Harry asked.

Ginny didn't have to ask what Harry had meant.

“I thought we discussed that yesterday,” Ginny said.

“We did,” Harry said, “But you might have changed your mind.”

“Of course I'm nervous, Harry,” Ginny said, “We're going to be announcing our engagement to everyone we know and love.”

“You're not regretting that –?” Harry began.

“No!” Ginny said, quickly, “Of course not. Harry, I've never been so happy in my entire life. That doesn't mean that I'm not as nervous as the dickens!”

“It's okay to be nervous,” Harry said, “To be honest, I'm surprised I can talk, given the fact that my stomach feels like it is in my throat. It's why I'm doing so much cooking. I'm hoping it will calm my nerves. But it doesn't mean I'm not happy about the whole thing.”

Ginny grinned. With her free hand, she reached across the table and covered Harry's free hand.

“Harry, my whole family loves you,” she said, “I know you know that. There are times when I'm sure my parents have already accepted you as an honorary Weasley.”

“Yeah I know,” Harry said, “I'm surprised I don't have red hair because of it.”

Ginny laughed. Harry laughed with her.

“There is no need to be nervous about their reaction,” Ginny said.

“Then why are you nervous?” Harry asked.

“Now that you mention it,” Ginny said, “I don't honestly know. Maybe because speaking about it will make it official. I mean, of course it was official before, but now everyone will know about it. It won't be something only the two of us know.”

“Don't forget the two dozen or so guests and employees at the restaurant,” Harry said, chortling, “And your team mates.”

“Oh, they don't know,” Ginny said, “I'm sure they guessed, given the fact that I am wearing a new piece of jewelry, but they haven't said anything. You didn't invite any of them to the party, did you?”

“Well, I did think of inviting Gwenog,” Harry said, “But I decided against it.”

Ginny nodded.

“Do you know how everyone is getting here?” she asked.

“Now that you mention it, no,” Harry said, “Though I'm sure they're all smart enough to not apparate onto our front lawn when it would be in the open view of Muggles. I also made George promise not to bring any of his fireworks. Those things are too magical and our neighbors would definitely notice.”

“I could definitely imagine him trying anyway,” Ginny said, laughing.

“You're probably right,” Harry said, “But we definitely don't need the Ministry invading the party.”

Ginny agreed with that.

----------------------------------
It was eleven-thirty when the first guests arrived. Ron and Hermione arrived with Hermione's parents. By this time, Harry and Ginny had prepared most of the food for the party. The cake was in the oven, but Ginny had no idea what it looked like. As promised, Harry prepared that all by himself. Ginny hadn't been near the kitchen since Harry had started on it.

“The presents can just go in my bedroom for now,” Harry said, when Ron and Hermione walked in.

Ron and Hermione nodded. Both had gifts in their hands. They walked upstairs as Richard and Helen walked in.

“Oh, the game's on!” Richard said, grinning, “Great!”

Harry and Ginny had been watching the beginning of the England-France game while waiting for their guests.

“Now, Richard,” Helen said, “We're here for Ginny's party.”

“Oh, it's all right,” Harry said, “You're the first to arrive.”

Just as he said that, he heard a rumble behind him from the fireplace. Helen gave a cry of surprise when half the living room filled up with soot and ash.

“Mum, it's okay,” Hermione said, coming back down the stairs, “Someone's just arriving by the Floo Network remember.”

“I don't think I'll ever be used to that,” Helen said.

Harry cleared the debris away, and Mrs. Weasley appeared through it.

“Hi, Mum,” Ginny said, as her mother walked over to her and hugged her.

A moment later, Mr. Weasley arrived as well.

“Oh, great!” he said, after vanishing the soot and ash, “I was wondering if the Grangers would be here.”

“Mum, Dad,” Hermione said, “I don't know if you remember meeting Ron and Ginny's parents. It was quite a while ago. This is Arthur and Molly Weasley.”

“Pleasure to meet you,” Richard said to Mr. Weasley.

A round of handshakes were offered and taken between the four adults.

“Tables are set up in the back if you want to get some fresh air,” Harry said, “I'll just wait here for our other guests.”

Harry, Ron and Richard stayed in the living room, while Ginny and Hermione escorted Helen and Mrs. Weasley to to the back yard. Ginny's father went upstairs to put the gifts up.

“We got tea and lemonade out here,” Ginny said, as she sat down in one of the many chairs on the stone patio.

“So how was your birthday, Ginny?” Mrs. Weasley asked.

“Oh, wonderful,” Ginny said.

She covered her hands casually so they wouldn't see her ring early. She and Harry only wanted to have to announce their engagement once.

“Harry took me to Bon Cherie,” she continued, as her father walked outside and took the empty chair near her mother.

“Oh, that place is lovely,” Helen said, “Richard and I go there all the time.”

“Yes, it was quite nice,” Ginny said.

“What did Harry get you for your birthday?” Mr. Weasley asked.

Ginny couldn't help but notice that Hermione was grinning. Had she seen the ring already, or did she just know that Harry had proposed. It was Hermione whom Harry had talked to about it first.

“Oh, nothing really,” Ginny said, “I think he was waiting for the party. Besides, the dinner was enough. I was really happy.”

The words of her announcement were on the tip of her tongue. Why had she been so nervous about it this morning and now it was like she couldn't wait to reveal it? Ginny wondered if Harry was having this much trouble keeping it secret until the right time came...

-----------------------------------
(Harry's PoV)

It turned out that Harry was too focused on the game to have to worry about a conversation.

“Regan gets out in the open and is the lone man for the English team!” the announcer on the television said, “He's heading for the goal, and only the goalie is in his way of a big score!”

“De Fuente is a big man,” Richard said, “They don't call him the French Wall for nothing. Regan's going to have some trouble getting that ball past him.”

Harry watched as Regan ran close to the goal and attempted a score. He watched in silence as the ball flew through the air right toward the goal. De Fuente hit the ball with his head, but he didn't hit it right. It went straight into the goal for the score! De Fuente suddenly fell to the ground.

“Score! Sc – oh!!!” the announcer exclaimed, “De Fuente only got a piece of that ball, and it looks like that piece hit him square in the face. That's a mean hit, folks, I hope he is okay.”

“That was quite the kick too,” Ron said.

“Yeah,” Richard said, “Regan's no wimpy kicker, I'll tell you that.”

“We're going to have to cut to a commercial break, folks,” the announcer said, “It looks like De Fuente may be going into the locker room. The score is England: 2, France: 0. See you on the other side of the break.”

“That's why I love the game of football, kids,” Richard said, “Never know what is going to happen.”

“Quidditch is just as unpredictable,” Harry said.

“Yeah,” Ron said, “And there are no back-up players either. If someone gets hit by a Bludger, it may be over for them.”

“No back-up?” Richard asked, “What if someone gets seriously injured?”

“It's been known to happen,” Ron said, “Half the time the team has to forfeit.”

“And they let school-kids play it?” Richard asked, “People as young as twelve?”

“Even younger in Harry's case,” Ron said, “He was the youngest Seeker at Hogwarts in a century.”

“Wow,” Richard said.

“Ah, it's nothing,” Harry said, “Ginny's the better Quidditch player. I'm better at protecting people, I guess.”

“Well,” Richard said, “For both the sake of the Muggle world and wizarding world, I hope there isn't another Dark Lord for a long time.”

“Hear, hear!” Ron said.

Just as Harry agreed, he heard a cracking sound coming from the back yard, followed by another one, then Mrs. Granger shrieking again. Richard made to get up, but Ron put a hand up.

“It's okay,” Ron said, “Someone just apparated into the back yard. I'm sure it just surprised your wife.”

“I'll see who it is,” Harry said, “Just stay here. It looks like the game is back on anyway.”

Harry stood up and walked into the backyard. George and Angelina were walking over to Ginny and the others.

“You had to apparate, didn't you, George?” Mrs. Weasley said, crossly, “ You just about gave Helen a heart-attack.”

“How was I supposed to know you were all near the apparation point?” George asked.

“It's all right,” Helen said, “I'm fine. Only spilled a little of my tea, but it's nothing to cry over.”

“There is only a couple more guests coming anyway,” Harry said, “And I know they'll be arriving by car.”

George went into the house, escaping his mother's gaze, as Angelina sat down near Ginny.

“Put the gifts upstairs in my bedroom,” Harry said, as he followed George back inside, “Upstairs and to the right.”

He walked back into the living room and rejoined Ron and Richard on the couch.

“Looks like De Fuente may have a concussion,” Richard said, “They brought in a new goalie. England's lucky. This new goalie isn't the best in the league, if you get my meaning.”

George returned a moment later. He joined Harry, Ron and Richard in the living room. It turned out George knew nothing about football, and Richard explained it to him. The four of them soon got into a deep discussion about football and Quidditch as the game played on.

It turned out the last guests were a few minutes late, by a knock on the door at fifteen after noon announced their arrival. Harry answered the door. It was Bill, Fleur and Victoire; the latter was sound asleep in the baby seat Bill was holding.

Harry heard a sharp ding as he let the new arrivals in and shut the door.

“That's the cake,” Harry said.

He told Bill where to put the gifts and walked into the kitchen. He took the cake out of the oven. It looked as good as any cake he had seen over the years. He put it in the fridge to cool and walked to the back yard.

“Could I get some help setting the table?” he asked Ginny and the others.

Ginny, Helen, and Mrs. Weasley all stood up to help. Mr. Weasley and Helen started to set up the two tables.

“Harry,” Fleur said, “Where's your bathroom? Looks like Victoire needs a change.”

“Upstairs,” Harry said, as he followed Ginny toward the kitchen, “First door on the left.”

After Helen and Mrs. Weasley walked out with a plate and pot of food each, Ginny kept Harry back.

“So when do you think we should tell them?” Ginny asked in a whisper.

“I don't know,” Harry whispered, shrugging, “During dinner? Maybe after?”

“We'll see how things go,” Ginny whispered, “To be honest, I'm not really nervous anymore. Are you?”

“Haven't thought about it,” Harry whispered, “I'll probably be nervous as it gets closer.”

Ginny grinned and kissed Harry on the cheek.

“No peeking in the fridge, birthday girl,” Harry said.

“My birthday was three days ago,” Ginny said.

“Still your party,” Harry said, “No peeking.”

Ginny frowned and took a couple of plates and a bag of silverware out to the back. Harry grabbed the last tray of food, as well as the tray of cups. He chose to frost the cake after lunch. Would his and Ginny's engagement be revealed by then, he wondered, as he brought the food out to the backyard.

-------------------------------------
(Ginny's PoV)

As lunch started, conversations began all around the table.

“So, George,” Ginny said, “Harry and I heard your advertisement on the radio a few days ago. When were you going to tell us about that?”

“There are still things called surprises in this world, sis,” George said, grinning, “And that isn't the only surprise. I'm happy to announce that by this time next Saturday, the Diagon Alley branch will be back open to its full potential, with a few new additions, of course. And not just new items, either.”

“You've hired some protection?” Mrs. Weasley asked, “Please tell me you have. I don't want to see another repeat of --”

“Relax, Mum,” George said, “The two guards that were at the Hogsmeade branch will be working at the local branch now, and two of their friends will be replacing them. All four are retired Aurors and have their own little protection agency.”

“Speaking of Aurors,” Mr. Weasley said, “Harry, Ron, how is training going?”

“Pretty well,” Harry said, “We have our first trial exam Monday.”

“Which reminds me, Ron,” Hermione said, “You need to do some studying for that tomorrow.”

“Yeah, yeah,” Ron said.

“How's Quidditch going, Ginny?” George asked.

“Oh, brilliant,” Ginny exclaimed, “I'm still kind of tired when I get home at night, but that is to be expected.”

“Any rivals?” Ron asked.

“A fellow Chaser,” Ginny said, “But it's more jealousy than anything. Yesterday, she intercepted a pass during one of the scoring practices, and Gwenog got pretty mad at her.”

“Oh, I almost forgot,” Angelina said, “I've been keeping touch with Oliver Wood, and I told him that you got a position on the Harpies. He told me that he was one of the scouts for Puddlemere United, and he was boasting about his team.”

“We'll see,” Ginny said, “We face them the first week of October.”

“That will definitely be your most challenging game,” George said.

“Hey!” Ron said, “She plays the Cannons first. That's not going to be easy either.”

Ron was surprised when nobody agreed with him. Throughout dinner, Ginny kept glancing at her ring and she was still pretty surprised that nobody had said anything about it. As everyone was getting finished with their meal, and their conversations heightened as they continued, Harry looked at Ginny, who knew what he was silently asking her. She nodded, and then he mouthed something. Ginny understood it as “Do you want to tell them or should I?” Ginny sighed and nodded her way. She then cleared her throat and looked around at her family and friends. At one point, she thought she heard the two small voices in her mind again, but it was just Richard and Ron talking about the football game and wondering who was winning. She stood up and looked around.

“I'd like to say something,” she said.

After a moment, everyone went silent.

“First of all,” she continued, “I'd like to thank you all for coming to my party. It's just wonderful. Um... as some of you know, Harry took me out to eat for my birthday on Wednesday.”

Feeling her throat tighten up a little, she paused and looked at Harry, who nodded.

“As we were waiting for our food,” she continued, “I kept wondering what kind of gift Harry might have gotten me. Well, I want to say that he gave me probably the best gift I've ever gotten. Mum, Dad, everyone... Harry and I are engaged to be married!”

She lifted up her hand and wiggled her ring finger. Mrs. Weasley squealed softly behind her hand and stood up. Fortunately she was on Ginny's side of the table, so she didn't have to go very far to hug Ginny, who barely heard the rest of the table giving their congratulations through her happy tears. Her mother let her go and Ginny looked around the table. Ron looked as if he had water in his ears, but he was smiling happily. Hermione had happy tears in her eyes, and George and Mr. Weasley were both patting Harry on the back, and hugging him.

After about five minutes of congratulations, (which consisted of everyone demanding Harry to tell them how he proposed, and Harry obliging) Harry disappeared from Ginny's view. He returned a moment later with a frosted cake. It was sort of like the cake Gwenog had given her. It was a Quaffle, except there was also a large golden ring of frosting around it. Ginny thought this might have been meant to mimic her ring. Everyone around the table, except Ginny, sang a hearty rendition of “Happy Birthday”. Afterward, Harry summoned the presents, which flew out of Harry's bedroom window and into a pile on the table.

Ginny started opening them. Harry's present, although Ginny had considered the ring to be better than anything else he could have given her, was a golden charm bracelet. The charms were a heart and a lightning bolt, and Harry told Ginny that there was also a security spell on it. If Ginny was in trouble, and was wearing the bracelet, Harry would feel a magic spark inside, and he could apparate to her position.

Mr. and Mrs. Weasley gave her a watch that Mrs. Weasley had worn many times. They also gave her a basket of Mrs. Weasley's homemade goodies. Hermione gave her a bunch of magical items of the woman's variety (she said she found a new store in Diagon Alley that was perfect for it). Ron gave her a new deluxe broom polishing kit that came with a compass as well. George and Angelina gave her a goodie bag of things from the store, which was full of new items (“you got them before they hit the shelves!” George exclaimed). Bill and Fleur gave her a goblin-wrought golden necklace. Mr. and Mrs. Granger gave her a bunch of sugarless sweets and pastries. Charlie's gift, which Ares had brought back, was also a necklace, but this one had a genuine dragon's claw and tooth on it.

Richard, Harry, Ron and George disappeared quickly, and Ginny knew they were watching the end of the game. Ginny, Hermione, Mrs. Weasley, Angelina and Mrs. Granger all cleaned up the plates, while Bill and Mr. Weasley put up the tables. Fleur, once again, had to attend to Victoire. All of the guests stayed for a few hours, having more discussions as the hours passed. Ron and Hermione were the last ones to remain at the house, after promising Hermione's parents that they could get home on their own. As Ginny sorted through her presents in her bedroom, she heard a knock on her door.

“Come in,” she said.

The door opened. Hermione walked in. Ginny smiled, and Hermione hugged her.

“Oh, congratulations once again,” Hermione said.

“Thanks,” Ginny said.

“I saw the ring when I first arrived,” Hermione said, “But of course I wasn't going to say anything. I knew it had probably happened, to be honest.”

“Yeah,” Ginny said, “Harry told me that he talked to you at the beginning of the month.”

“It was hard keeping a secret!” Hermione said, grinning, “Especially from Ron. I swear, I thought he had found out somehow. When Harry was talking to your father, Ron almost saw them. I know he would have figured it out then.”

“I had a feeling it was coming,” Ginny said.

“Did you ever think you'd say no?” Hermione asked.

“Well, there was that little voice in my mind saying I should say no,” Ginny said, “That I should wait for a while. But I was ready for it.”

“You and Harry are going to wait for a while to get married, right?” Hermione asked.

“Yeah,” Ginny said, “We're fine with it. Besides, something may happen. I mean, you never know... right?”

“Do you think something will happen?” Hermione asked.

“Of course not!” Ginny said, “I'm very happy being with Harry. Why?”

“No reason,” Hermione said, “Just the way you said it.”

“What about you and Ron?” Ginny asked.

“We're great,” Hermione said.

Ginny thought that Hermione was keeping something from her.

“What is it, Hermione?” Ginny asked, “I know there's something. Woman's intuition.”

“Ron and I are sleeping in the same bed,” Hermione said.

“Really?” Ginny asked, and she heard a tinge of jealousy in her voice, “Since when?”

“Since we first moved in,” Hermione said.

“That long?” Ginny asked.

“Yeah,” Hermione said, “I couldn't let Ron sleep on the couch. I would have felt bad.”

“Yeah,” Ginny said, “Have you... you know?”

“Of course not!” Hermione said, “We're definitely waiting for that.”

“Wonderful,” Ginny said, “Just don't tell me when you start. The last thing I need to hear is --”

She laughed, not being able to say any more.

“Agreed,” Hermione said, “You won't hear it from me.”

Ginny turned to her bed, and frowned. If Ron and Hermione were sleeping in the same bed, surely it'd be okay for her and Harry --

“Ginny,” Hermione said, “I know what you're thinking.”

“Hmm?” Ginny asked.

“Call it woman's intuition,” Hermione said, echoing Ginny, “You're a little upset that you're still in this bedroom.”

“Maybe a little,” Ginny said, “But it's okay. I mean, I can see why you and Ron are sharing your bed. It's the only bed there. I have my own bed. It's pretty comfortable.”

“Just not comfortable enough,” Hermione said.

Ginny sighed and nodded.

“Why don't you just talk to Harry?” Ginny asked.

“No,” Ginny said, shaking her head, “It's his decision. Besides...”

She grinned.

“I think he'll ask before too long,” Ginny said, “I notice at night, you know. When he stands outside my door. He's debating with himself.”

Hermione chuckled.

“That can usually take a long time, you know,” she said.

Ginny laughed and nodded.

“Well,” Hermione said, “I'll let you finish up. I better make sure Harry and Ron are behaving. I just wanted to congratulate you again.”

“Thanks, Hermione,” Ginny said.

“Oh, you deserve it,” Hermione said.

Ginny grinned. Hermione returned the grin and left the bedroom. Ginny sat on her bed and sighed, looking at her door.

Staring at the door isn't going to make it any quicker, you know. There it was again. The voice of Mr. Wrong.

“Shut up,” Ginny said, out loud and returned to opening her presents.

------------------------------------
Chapter finished! Whew. I'm telling you. I had a tough time figuring out how to announce the engagement. It was more work than I thought. But I think it went well. As for when Ginny will get her next wish granted. Well, you'll just have to wait and see.

Next chapter will be the first of Harry and Ron's trial exams.

Feedback would be great!


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  #17  
Old September 3rd, 2009, 5:28 pm
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Re: Butterfly Kisses (Sequel to Harry Potter and the Return to Hogwarts)

Chapter 17
Trial Exams and Court Cases


(Ron's PoV)

The day after the party, Ron had decided to spend the whole day studying for his trial exam. Although the first of the four trial exams wasn't too important, it would still tell his instructors how well he was doing. So after breakfast, Ron retrieved his Auror trainee notebook from his bedroom and went to the living room.

“I'm going grocery shopping, Ron,” Hermione told him, “I'll be back in a couple of hours and I'll help you with your studying then. I better not come back and see you watching some football game or something. If I do, you'll be studying alone.”

With that, Hermione apparated with a crack.

“Yes, Mum,” Ron said.

He grinned. He knew Hermione would have cursed him if she heard him say that. He looked at the television remote and then to his notebook. He then took a quick glance around the living room.

“Maybe just for a few minutes,” he said, “She'll never know. Besides, it's not like I can concentrate right away.”

He reached for the remote, and when he touched it, he felt a small shock to his hand. He gasped slightly. Was that something Hermione had done? No. Of course not. He remembered something his father told him when he was younger. Electric objects tended to shock a person. The least dangerous was what his father called a static shock. Yeah, that's all it was.

He reached for the remote once again. Suddenly, the remote rolled away from him and ended up across the table on its back. Stuck to the back of the remote was a small piece of parchment. Ron leaned toward it and read:

I warned you, Ron.


Ron's eyes went wide, and he quickly started to study his notes. Occasionally, he would look at the remote and wonder if it would do anything else. As he waited for Hermione to return, he studied the hand signals, skipped over the history of the Aurors (he would get Hermione to help him with that), and started on a number of confusing maps.

Each hand signal were depictions of one or two hands, depending on the signal, that moved on the page and formed the appropriate signal, then returned to its original position. Ron went through each, creating the signals with his hand. On the bottom of each page was a single line of text written in bold. It read:


Practice each hand signal until you can memorize them without looking at the page.


The only hand signal Ron had trouble with was one that involved going upwards. Ron didn't know what it had meant exactly, wondering if it had something to do with getting on a broom, going up stairs, or just simply standing up from a crouch. The signal required Ron to twist one hand in his other, and with the other hand, he would point up in the sky. When he twisted his hand the way the picture depicted, it hurt his wrist, almost to the breaking point. He gave up, hoping his attempt was fine.

The maps, he found out, were just as hard. At least at first glance. When he read the description of what he needed to do, he found it turned out to be much simpler than he realized. On each map, (each had depicted some kind of single-story building, multi-story building, field, park, forest grove and multiple others; all maps had two copies of each), Ron had to figure out how he would go about taking down an enemy., which was represented in red. On one copy of each map, it was only two people, represented in blue, doing the job. On the second copy, it was four people, split into two teams. As the maps went on, there were more red dots showing up.

Ron was halfway through with the maps when he heard many noises at once behind him. Six large sacks of groceries appeared with six continuous pops. Finally, a cracking sound behind him announced Hermione had returned.

“Welcome back,” Ron said.

“How's your studying going?” Hermione asked, as she started putting the groceries away.

“I feel like I'm back at Hogwarts,” Ron said.

Hermione chuckled. Ron rolled his eyes.

“Anything I can help with?” Hermione asked.

“Yeah,” Ron said, “During your escapades in the Hogwarts library, did you ever read up on the history of the Aurors.”

“Of course,” Hermione said, “When Harry first announced that he was wanting to be an Auror, I spent my free time reading all about them.”

“That was five years ago, Hermione!” Ron said, with a sigh.

“I think I can manage to remember enough to help you out,” Hermione said, and to Ron, she really did sound like his mother, “Unless you think I can't, and just want to do it on your own.”

“No, no!” Ron said, quickly, “I think you can remember too.”

“I thought so,” Hermione said, grinning.

Ron finished up on his maps while Hermione finished putting up the groceries. When Hermione sat down with Ron on the couch, she looked over at the upended remote.

“I'll just pretend I didn't see that,” she said.

“Shocking,” Ron said, thinking of the spark that hit his hand.

Hermione chuckled. Ron pretended to ignore this, by loudly turning the pages back to the “History of the Aurors” section.

-----------------------------------------------

“All right!” Shippe instructed, “Take a seat. Doesn't matter where you sit.”

It was the next morning, and Ron and Harry were sitting in a make-shift classroom. At first, Ron thought he had never seen this room, but then he remembered it was the same room in which he and Harry had been training in the grove of trees a few weeks ago.

“This is the first of four trial exams,” Shippe continued, “Now, don't be too concerned. This exam is only a test to see where you are. It's the next three you have to worry about. And with that unhappy note, I'll explain a bit more of what happens today. First, you will be taking the written exam. This shouldn't take too long. You'll be surprised to hear that I was nervous about this part when I was in your position. Though I won't say just how many years ago that was.”

He winked and many of the trainees chuckled.

“The second part of your exam, which will take place after lunch,” Shippe said, “is your practical exam. There you will be with the trainee who was your partner during your practice trials. Only this time you will go through each trial against actual Aurors.”

Many of the trainees groaned. Shippe chuckled. He then raised his wand and suddenly a small stack of parchment appeared in front of each trainee. Ron looked at his. The top read: Auror Trainee Trial Exams One. Another whip of Shippe's wand and four quills and ink appeared.

“You may start... now,” Shippe said.

Ron put the top page away. The first exam was the maps. He sighed and looked around quickly, to see if anyone else was nervous. He suddenly wondered how Hermione was doing with her present court case...

--------------------------------
(Hermione's PoV)

About the time Ron and Harry were starting the written portion of their trial exams, Head Judge Herb Morrison was calling in the first defendant of the day. Hermione was seated at her normal place at the end of the Wizengamot's row, a stack of parchment, quills and ink ready for her. The doors of Courtroom Six opened and two men walked in. Hermione recognized one of these men. His name was Calvin Peters, and he was the attorney for defendants who didn't have their own attorney handy. The other man, whom Hermione didn't recognize, was looking quite nervous. Though, Hermione also noticed, he didn't look to be in a bad mood. The man was wearing what her father used to call “a poor man's tuxedo”: brown buttoned-down shirt and tie with blue jeans.

“Mr. Peters,” Herb said, as the man beside the attorney sat down, “I assume that you are the defendant's attorney because he doesn't have one otherwise?”

“Yes, your Honor,” Calvin said, “As is perfectly legal.”

As she started writing down her notes, Hermione thought Calvin Peters was definitely the over-defensive type of lawyer. She also knew that Herb Morrison didn't like those types of lawyers. This was going to be interesting.

“Of course it is,” Herb said, “The defendant in this matter --”

The man besides Peters stood up quickly, as if his backside had been burned.

“Is Ralph Fetcher,” Herb said. “He works in the Department of Misuse of Muggle Artifacts here in the Ministry of Magic, and has been a big name in Minister of Magic Kingsley Shacklebolt's thorough investigations.”

Hermione's eyes went a little wide, though it wasn't with much surprise. It seemed the Minister's investigations had moved from Mr. Weasley's new office to his old one.

“The Minister's investigations,” Herb continued, “have brought up quite some interesting information. Members of the Wizengamot, standing below you today is the brother-in-law of one of the convicted, and now deceased, Death Eaters.”

Hermione noticed that Herb hadn't named the Death Eater that was in question.

“Is that illegal?!” Fetcher said, in outrage, “I think not! So my sister married the wrong sort! She's still alive and kicking! She left the man, thank goodness!”

“Your sister may have left her husband,” Herb said, taking a piece of parchment from Susan Bones, “But it seems that you had quite the friendship with him, even after she left him.”

“We had a few drinks, yes,” Fetcher said, “I ask again, is that illegal?”

“And I assume,” Herb said, “That during your drinking bouts, you may have gotten a little intoxicated?”

“Perhaps,” Fetcher said, shrugging.

“Correct me if I'm wrong,” Herb said, “But people, even witches and wizards, under the influence of alcohol, in this case probably Firewhiskey, have been known to have quite some conversations. In this case, Kingsley Shacklebolt discovered enough information that aroused his curiosities. He informed me that the friendship you struck with your wife's ex-husband revealed that you may want some revenge for the death of this man.”

“No!” Fetcher said, “That's outrageous! How could you say that?”

“Your honor,” Peters said, “I think I would like to hear the evidence that the Minister has given you for this accusation.”

“Of course,” Herb said, “But, before I oblige, I want to know one thing, Mr. Peters. Were you ever a part of the discussions between Minister Shacklebolt and Mr. Fetcher.”

“No,” Peters said, “I only met Mr. Peters Saturday.”

“And he was interviewed last week, am I right?” Herb asked.

“Yes, your Honor,” Peters said, “My client was interviewed on Thursday and imprisoned in one of the temporary cells until he came into this courtroom. The Minister talked to him twice during that time, but I was never present.”

“So you didn't realize,” Herb said, “That there were others involved in the Minister's interview. Am I right?”

“Mr. Fetcher told me the Minister wasn't alone, yes,” Peters said.

“Well,” Herb said, “After the last interview, Minister Shacklebolt had this to say. He personally wrote a note and it was given to me for courtroom use.”

Susan gave Herb two pieces of parchment, and Herb looked at the top one.

“The Minister said,” he continued, “And I quote 'During the period of ten-o-clock in the morning to noon on Friday, the twelfth of August in the year nineteen-ninety-nine, I interviewed one Ralph Artemis Fetcher in an on-going investigation concerning the possibility that some of the Ministry's employees were allies to known Death Eaters. Accompanying me were two Aurors, one who had the wonderful and useful ability of Legilimency. During this interview, the Auror asked Mr. Fetcher about his conversations with his sister's ex-husband, a known Death Eater. The name of this Death Eater will not be revealed, by order from myself, in fear that it may spark public outrage. Mr. Fetcher was able to answer many of the questions, but was unable to cooperate on the most important questions. He couldn't remember, or at least that is what he thought, his conversations with the Death Eater during his bouts of intoxication.”

Herb waved his hand, and Susan took the top page away.

“The Minister continues to say,” Herb said, “that 'The Auror was able to find some pretty interesting information during his trip into Mr. Fetcher's mind via Legilimency. After thus, Mr. Fetcher was ordered to produce the string of memory for evidence in his court case. I have looked over the memory, and I approve of its use for the case. This should prove to be quite revealing. Salutations, Kingsley Shacklebolt, Minister of Magic.' End quote.”

Herb cleared his throat and leaned over to Susan. He whispered something in her ear and Susan nodded. She then stood up and walked down to the court room floor, then out the door.

“Aren't you going to say something?!” Fletcher said to Peters, “Perhaps an... I don't know... an objection to the matter?!”

“Mr. Fetcher,” Herb said, “Your attorney knows as well as I do that the Ministry's order cannot be overturned.”

Mr. Fetcher looked quite flustered. Herb reached into the pocket of his shirt and pulled out a vial. Hermione could see the silver strand that looked to her like a single piece of hair, but she knew it was a memory.

“My assistant,” Herb said, “has gone to get a Pensieve. This Pensieve is rather special. While most witches and wizards who want to view a memory have to usually look right into the bowl, those who use this Pensieve will be able to see a memory as if it was happening right in front of their noses, and they wouldn't have to move an inch. The memory we will use today, Mr. Fetcher, is yours. The same memory the Auror in your interview was able to retrieve. The same memory that the Minister says will be quite revealing.”

“Surely you can do something?!” Fetcher asked Peters.

“I can do one of two things,” Peters said.

“Which are?!” Fetcher asked.

“One,” Peters said, “I could ask you to reveal the contents of the memory yourself, so to avoid this procedure.”

“And the other one?” Fetcher asked.

“I could sit back and let things take their course,” Peters said, “I'm pretty interested to see what the Wizengamot have to show, if you ask me.”

Mr. Fetcher looked down at the floor as if all hope was lost.

“Option two then,” Peters said.

Just as he said this, Susan returned to the courtroom. Behind her were two Aurors carrying what looked like a large stone bird-bath. Herb stood up and walked down to the floor. He stood in front of the Pensieve.

“Now,” he said, “You will discover that Kingsley has tampered with the memory a little. He has done this to make the identity of the Death Eater anonymous. Are you and your client ready, Mr. Peters?”

Mr. Peters nodded. Herb used his wand to pop the cork of the vial. He then poured the contents into the Pensieve. Herb walked back up the steps and over to Hermione.

“Copy everything down,” Herb told her, “No matter what you see or hear. Understand?”

“Yes, sir,” Hermione said.

He smiled and pointed his wand at the Pensieve, and muttered a few words. He then returned to his seat. The contents of the Pensieve swirled around and, suddenly, the floor of the courtroom changed. Hermione instantly recognized the room that was appearing in front of her. It was the barroom of the Hog's Head.

Memory begins...

Ralph Fetcher walked into the dim-lighted Hog's Head and sat at one of the dust-covered bar stools.

“Firewhiskey, please,” Ralph said, his voice a little shaky.

“Coming right up,” Aberforth said.

A door behind Aberforth opened and a man walked out. It's whole figure was blurry, but Ralph looked as if he had instantly recognized the man. The man sat on the bar stool next to Ralph.

“You came,” the man said.

“Couldn't deny a drink or five,” Ralph said, chuckling, “How are you --”

“Oh! No names!” the man said, shaking a blurry finger at Ralph..

“Of course,” Ralph said.

“As to how I am,” the man said, “Well, not very well.”

“Are you sick?” Ralph asked.

“No,” the man said, “But it doesn't mean I shouldn't start my obituary before too long either.”

“Oh,” Ralph said.

“You know what I am, right?” the man asked.

“Yeah,” Ralph said, “But I won't say anything, you know that.”

“Good,” the man said, “It means you can be trustworthy.”

“Yes, of course!” Ralph exclaimed.

Aberforth put two cups of firewhiskey on the bar. Ralph and the blurry man each took one and downed them in one gulp.

“Does it also mean you'd do anything for me if I asked?” the man said.

“Er... yeah, of course,” Ralph said, “Bartender, two more!”

“I have a feeling I won't be in this world much longer,” the man said, “With my master gone and my colleagues planning who-knows-what, things could get bad.”

“No, of course not,” Ralph said. “I mean... you could run.”

The man lifted a blurry hand and patted his other arm.

“This says I can't,” he said, “So this is what I want you to do for me. I'm going to give you a list of names. You will memorize that list. Know it. It's important. You will then destroy the list. Obliterate it. Store it in your memory and put it somewhere even a skilled Legilimens or Veritaserum can't reach.”

Aberforth put two more cups of firewhiskey down. Ralph downed half of his in one gulp.

“How?!” he said, “I can't possibly --”

“I will teach you,” the man said, “Let me finish. You will then find the people on this list. You can rest assured that all of them will do what you ask. Which will be exactly what I tell you to ask.”

“Which is what?” Ralph asked, downing the rest of the glass of firewhiskey.

“Well, it's simple,” the man said, “Avenge my death, and the deaths of my colleagues.”

“I don't understand,” Ralph said, “Why do you think you'll –?”

“Die?” the man said, “I'm sure of it. Now, you won't have to go search for these people until my colleagues and I have passed on. It won't work until then.”

“Who are these people?” Ralph asked.

“They are like you,” the man said.

“Friends of your friends?” Ralph asked.

“Not just friends,” the man said, “They have deep connections. Strong connections. They won't refuse your request even if it kills them in the end. You are like that, right?”

“Of course,” Ralph said, nodding.

“Prove it,” the man said, “Take the Unbreakable vow. Our dear friend, the bartender, will help, I think.”

He raised a blurry hand and produced a wand, then pointed it at Aberforth.

“Imperio!” the man said.

Aberforth stood up straight.

“Help me and my charming friend for a moment,” the man said, “And get us more drinks! Free of charge, of course!”

The man laughed, and Ralph also gave a very shaky laugh.

Memory ends...



The memory dissolved and the court floor went back to normal. Hermione finished writing what she had seen in the memory, though she did it with shaky hands. She looked down at Mr. Fetcher and his attorney. Mr. Peters looked disgusted with his client.

“Well,” Herb said, “I will assume, Mr. Fetcher, that there is no possible way to get that list of names from you?”

“Absurd!” Mr. Fetcher said, “Tampered memory indeed! The whole memory is false if you ask me!”

“Are you saying you don't remember this?” Herb asked.

“I'm saying it never happened!” Mr. Fetcher said, outraged.

“Oh, it happened,” Herb said, “You just don't remember it. Possibly because of intoxication, or perhaps your friend, the late Death Eater, made you forget about it.”

“P-p-perhaps!” Mr. Fetcher stuttered, “And if I forget that, wouldn't you think I forgot the list of names! So everything is fine!”

“I think not,” Herb said. “It is easy to see that, while you won't admit it, you could be quite dangerous to the wizarding world. I only wish that you would have told us if you met with the people on that list, so that we could erase your mistakes.”

“There is no list!” Mr. Fetcher exclaimed loudly.

“Okay,” Herb said, shrugging, “So be it. Ralph Fetcher, I sentence you to fifteen years in Azkaban prison. Five for aiding and abetting a known Death Eater. And ten, as was requested by the Minister of Magic, to be given to anyone found involved in his investigation. Aurors, please escort Mr. Fetcher to Azkaban.”

“No!” Mr. Fetcher said, as he was led, in magical binding, out of the courtroom, “There is no list! I'm innocent! Innocent, you hear!”

“I would have never imagined something like this, your Honor,” Mr. Peters said, “Please know that I would never, knowingly, defend anyone connected to a Death Eater. Especially those who have had conversations with them.”

“You didn't know what Mr. Fetcher did,” Herb said, “So I don't think you have anything to worry about.”

“You think there is a list?” Mr. Peters asked.

“Yes,” Herb said, “I just hope, for the sake of the wizarding world, that Ralph Fetcher never got around to finding those people.”

Hermione silently agreed as she finished up her notes.

---------------------------------------------

(Ron's PoV)

During lunch at the Leaky Cauldron, in between their written exam and practical exam, Ron and Harry discussed the exams with each other.

“I have to admit,” Ron said, after taking a bite of his chicken sandwich, “I never thought there could be anything worse than the exams at Hogwarts. I was wrong.”

Harry chuckled.

“The maps and spells were pretty easy,” Ron said, “But that thing about the History of the Aurors? Do you honestly think we have to know about their history to become one?”

“I guess so,” Harry said, “Didn't Hermione help you with it yesterday?”

“Of course!” Ron said, “Still doesn't mean I didn't do rubbish on it.”

“Aw well,” Harry said, “We still have the practical exams to do.”

“Don't remind me,” Ron said, “You heard Shippe. We have to face real Aurors this time.”

“Can't be any worse than going against the Death Eaters,” Harry said, shrugging.

“Or Voldemort,” Ron said.

“Definitely,” Harry said.

Ron chuckled and took another bite of his sandwich. After lunch, Ron and Harry returned to the Auror Department. To their surprise, the room that, only an hour ago, was a classroom, now looked the insides of a large warehouse. Boxes stood in rows as high as twenty feet, and Ron guessed they were set up in a maze.

“This room in front of you,” Shippe said to the trainees, “has been transformed into a warehouse. Now, do all of you remember the maps section of your written exams?”

Everyone nodded.

“This warehouse is in the same layout as the 'warehouse map' from your exams,” Shippe continued, “So you can probably guess what is going to be happening. Two of those maps you worked on will be transformed into a real life, as you see with this warehouse. Now, to the interesting part. Somewhere among those stacks of boxes are two Aurors ready for you. Today they will be acting as the criminals. Now, while most criminals aren't as smart as your everyday Auror, there are some. And, as many of you know, there are a few who are smarter than the Aurors.”

“We won't have to face you, will we, Shippe?” Billingsly asked, chuckling to his new training partner, whose name Ron had forgotten.

“Not yet,” Shippe said, “But you will before the end of your training. And because of your lip, Billingsly, how about you and Markum venture into the warehouse first?”

Ron grinned when he noticed that Billingsly looked a little downtrodden. Billingsly and Markum walked toward the boxes.

“Remember, boys,” Shippe said, “You will be marked on how well you silently converse with your partner. That means sign language. You will also be marked on your use of spells. Good luck.”

Shippe raised his wand, and a broomstick flew up from behind one of the trainees and landed in front of Shippe. He mounted the broomstick and flew high above the boxes. Ron and Harry stood and waited for their names to come up while each of the trainees went through their trial exam. Billingsly and Markum were definitely the best of the trainees who had already gone in before Ron and Harry. Billingsly had disarmed both of the Aurors, though Markum's shirt had been scorched by a close spell that had been fired by the last Auror.

“Remember, Harry,” Ron said, as he and Harry waited, “No talking. Always use sign language.”

“I know, Ron,” Harry muttered.

“Well, it was never one of your strong points,” Ron said.

“Potter!” Shippe yelled from the sky, “Weasley! Your turn! Get into the warehouse.”

As Ron passed the two trainees that had gone before him, he noticed one of them looked dazed, as if he had just been woken up from being Stunned. Harry was standing behind one of the boxes at the entrance, so Ron stood on the other side. Both Ron and Harry took out their wands. Harry pointed to himself, then to his eyes and then around the boxes. Ron nodded. Harry peered around the box and then back to Ron and gave him the thumbs up, then the “follow me” sign.

Ron nodded and followed Harry. Both were crouched along the boxes, though it wasn't too necessary given the height of the boxes. Shippe looked pleased anyway. When Harry and Ron reached the end of the next row, Harry put his hand up to stop Ron. He then peered around the boxes and quickly backed up. He turned back to Ron. He held one finger up, then pointed to the boxes. Ron understood: one of the opponents was behind a box somewhere in the next row. Harry crept along the boxes and turned the corner. Ron followed him. Harry pointed at himself, then to his wand, then to the ground. Then he pointed to Ron and pushed his own hand forward. Ron knew immediately what the first part meant. Harry would cast a spell at the Auror, then duck, leaving Ron to fire a shot off and hopefully disable the Auror. However, Ron didn't know what spell Harry wanted him to use. Pushing his hand forward either meant Repulse or Stun. Repulse would certainly hurt the Auror, but it wouldn't disable him. So Ron decided to stun the opponent... if he could. Ron gave the thumbs up and Harry nodded and walked around the box.

“Expelliarmus!” Harry said, then ducked.

Ron could tell the shot hadn't hit its mark. He bounded forward and aimed his wand, though he didn't see the Auror.

“Stupefy!” Ron yelled, then ducked.

He crossed his fingers and listened. Suddenly he heard a groan and the sound of a body fall over to the ground. Ron grinned, but Harry didn't. He put up his hand and traced the letter F. Ron knew what that meant. Harry thought the Auror had faked being hit. He still might be ready for action. Harry repeated the “follow me” sign and then moved two fingers slowly. Ron nodded and followed Harry along the wall slowly and into the next row. As they inched farther down the row, they came upon the body of the stunned Auror. Ron had hit his mark. Harry repeated the “follow me” sign once again and Ron followed him. They crept along into the next row, but nobody was there. That meant the last Auror was somewhere in the second row. Ron gulped silently. He knew that many of the previous trainees had either been disabled, or almost disabled, by this last Auror. This could prove to be interesting.

Harry used the same line of sign language he had given Ron before their first encounter, then pointed to himself and his wand once again. Ron understood. Harry would fire, then duck, and Ron would do the same. Harry would send another spell and hopefully it would end it. Harry turned the corner and immediately fired down the row. He then ducked.

“Reducto!” Ron exclaimed.

The spell hit a stack of boxes, which fell down into the row. He immediately saw the Auror run out of the way. Harry stood up once again.

“Stupefy!” he exclaimed.

The spell hit the Auror with perfect accuracy, and the man landed in the boxes.

“Winners!” Shippe yelled from the sky, “Potter and Weasley! Nice finish boys!”

Harry and Ron grinned all the way back through the maze and out of it. The next part of the exam transformed the room into a large park, complete with a bathroom, playground, and many trees, shrubs and sidewalks. When everyone got a good look at it, Shippe took out his wand and pointed it at the park. Suddenly, it was surrounded by a large hedge that reminded Ron of the maze in the Triwizard Tournament.

“Just so you won't be eavesdropping on your fellow trainees as they make their way around the park,” Shippe said, “Now, this time it will be a little harder. Oh, there will still only be two Aurors you have to find. But you also have to find... this.”

Many of the trainees laughed. Shippe was holding a mannequin.

“Somewhere in that park,” Shippe said, “My little friend, the mannequin, has found herself trapped by two criminals. She can't go anywhere. She won't dare to go anywhere. Not until you find her. Of course, she won't want to go anywhere even then until the two scary criminals have been disabled. That is your mission. Find and disable the two Aurors and rescue my friend. Potter and Weasley... this time you are first. Oh, and this time you don't have to always use sign language. The park is very large. But be cautious. Also, if my little friend gets hit with a spell, that will make your score drop very far. Lives are at stake. Remember that.”

Shippe walked through a small opening of the hedge. A few minutes later, he then flew up into the sky on the broom.

“You may begin,” he said, his voice magically enhanced.

Ron followed Harry into the park. Their wands were raised. When they walked in, they took a glance around the park.

“All right,” Harry said, “My guess is that one of the Aurors is guarding the hostage. And if I'd have to take a stab at it, I'd say the Auror caught her using the loo.”

Ron tried his best not to laugh.

“So where would that put the other one?” he asked, “The playground?”

“That is what he wants us to think,” Harry said, “He's out there somewhere. Hiding behind a tree or a hedge. He was making his rounds before we arrived, and I'm sure he saw us.”

“Do you think we should split up?” Ron asked.

“No,” Harry said, shaking his head, “Follow me. Wand at the ready.”

Ron nodded. He followed Harry down a sidewalk that led to the playground.

“Thought you said he wasn't there?” Ron asked Harry.

“He isn't,” Harry said, “But look at the playground, then take a look around. What do you see?”

Ron looked at the playground. He then realized what Harry knew. From the playground, they would have a clear view of the whole park. But...

“You realize if we go there,” Ron said, “The Auror will see us?”

“He probably sees us right now, Ron,” Harry said.

Ron shuddered. He took a quick glance around, looking for any sign of a foot or a wand. He didn't see anything.

“Why doesn't he attack us?” he asked.

“He's probably far away from the bathroom,” Harry said, “So he can't warn his friend, and his friend probably wouldn't hear him. Plus he'd be outmatched.”

“Right,” Ron said.

Ron followed Harry toward the playground. He noticed that Harry was looking around at the slide, the swings, and then the small tunnel.

“Ron,” Harry whispered.

“What?” Ron replied.

“I think I might have been wrong,” Harry said.

Using sign language, Harry pointed toward the tunnel. Ron grinned and nodded. It would have been a perfect hiding place. Harry then motioned for Ron to go around to the other end.

“And watch out for crossfire,” Harry mouthed.

Ron nodded and headed for the far end of the tunnel, praying that his footsteps were silent. Harry counted down with his hand. Three... two... one. Ron looked into the tunnel. The Auror was there.

“Stupefy!” Ron yelled, pointing his wand at the Auror.

The spell missed, and the Auror crawled toward him with impressive speed for a man on his hands and knees. The Auror pointed his wand at Ron.

“Expelliarmus,” the Auror yelled.

It missed Ron by inches, though Ron could feel his wand moving a little as if trying to escape his hand. He tightened his grip, and had a spell on the tip of his tongue, when...

“Stupefy!” Harry yelled.

The Auror's eyes went wide and he then fell to the tunnel's stone floor. He was Stunned.

Ron looked at Harry, who gave him the thumbs-up signal. Harry then pointed toward the bathroom. Ron nodded. He followed Harry toward the bathroom in a slow, creeping motion. Had the Auror heard their voices?

“Okay,” Harry whispered, as they reached a tree near the bathroom, “We have to disable the Auror before he can hit the hostage.”

“Agreed,” Ron said, “How?”

“I'm sure the bathroom only has one entrance and exit,” Harry said, “and I'm also sure the Auror has full view of it.”

“Do you think he's holding the hostage?” Ron asked.

“Only if we're unlucky,” Harry said, “So... we're going to do the miss-hit maneuver. Only this time, you're going first. Right?”

“All right,” Ron said.

“Also,” Harry said, “When you fire off your shot, don't duck. Try to run out of the way, but head for the bathroom stalls. We have to make sure we get to that hostage before the Auror does.”

“Just be sure not to miss,” Ron said.

“Deal,” Harry said, “Come on.”

Ron followed Harry toward the bathroom, and walked into a pathway that was mostly surrounded (except for the top) by stone and brick. The door was roughly twelve feet ahead of them, but there was one problem. There was no door. It was only an archway. Harry motioned for Ron to go first. He crept along the wall, his wand out and ready for anything. When he got to the archway, he peered in, saw a shoe, and turned back. Ron nodded to Harry. He then concentrated, a spell on the tip of his tongue. He turned into the archway and pointed his wand straight.

“Stupefy!” he yelled.

The Auror, which he immediately saw, ducked and the spell missed. Ron ran out of the way and pushed his way through the closest door, which led to a toilet. The mannequin wasn't there. Ron cursed silently. He ducked to the floor and looked for the Auror.

“Stupefy!” Harry's voice yelled.

Ron listened for a sound of the Auror falling, but it didn't happen.

“Expelliarmus!” the Auror said.

He saw Harry's feet move and disappear behind the wall. Ron pointed his wand at the Auror's legs.

“Expelliarmus!” Ron said.

He then saw the Auror's wand roll across the floor.

“Stupefy!” Harry yelled.

The spell was so strong that, when it hit the Auror, the man slammed into the sink and mirror and sank to the ground, stunned. Ron stood up. By the time he left the stall, Harry had made his way to the other end of the bathroom. He opened a stall... and pulled out the mannequin. Ron grinned.

“The winners!” Shippe said, somewhere above them, “Potter and Weasley, and they save the hostage uninjured!”

Ron only noticed then that there was no ceiling to the bathroom, so that Shippe could watch what was going on.

Harry and Ron walked out of the park and through the hole in the hedge. Harry was carrying the mannequin with him. The other trainees cheered. Shippe landed on the ground in front of them.

“Potter and Weasley,” Shippe said, taking the mannequin from Harry, “Brilliant work. Perfectly done. Hit the showers. That's all for you today!”

Ron and Harry nodded and headed for the locker rooms.

“How did you know that first guy was in the tunnel?” Ron asked, as he and Harry walked down the hall.

“I didn't, really,” Harry said, “I just realized we hadn't even seen a trace of him since we got inside. And as I looked at the tunnel, I realized it is where I would have gone.”

“Well, you were right,” Ron said, “And not just about that, either.”

“Oh?” Harry asked.

“Yeah,” Ron said, “That practical exam was a lot better than the written one.”

Harry grinned and agreed, and Ron followed him into the locker rooms.

--------------------------------------
Another chapter finished! Well, when I started this chapter, I knew I wanted to have a court case, but I didn't know then how good it would be. It's setting up a storyline that I've had in mind for a while. And it is just getting started.

As always, would love to see your feedback.


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  #18  
Old September 3rd, 2009, 5:31 pm
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Re: Butterfly Kisses (Sequel to Harry Potter and the Return to Hogwarts)

Chapter 18
Foreseen and Unforeseen



(Hermione's PoV)

Hermione woke up the next morning, and looked at the clock beside the bed. It read 5:50. She glanced over at Ron, who was still asleep. He wouldn't probably wake up for another hour or so. By then, Hermione figured she could have gotten ready for work and started breakfast by then, even if she stayed in bed for a few minutes longer.

She stared at the ceiling, thinking about the court case from the previous day. She knew that once that case had been revealed to the public, thanks to her notes that were in the Daily Prophet, the story would probably be bigger than Rita Skeeter's imprisonment. Head Judge Herb Morrison had realized this as well, as he told Hermione and Susan, when he had invited them for lunch after the case was finished...

Flashback begins...

Tom, the Leaky Cauldron bar man, delivered two butterbeers and a coffee, wrote down what Herb, Hermione and Susan had ordered, and walked back behind the bar. Herb took a small sip of his coffee, smacked his lips in happiness and looked at Hermione.

“So what did you think of our latest case?” he asked her.

“It was quite... revealing,” Hermione said.

“That it was,” Herb said.

“Sir?” Hermione said, looking at her unopened bottle of butterbeer, “Have you talked to Minister Shacklebolt since he interviewed Mr. Fetcher?”

“Nope,” Herb said, “His assistant brought the letter to me.”

“Oh,” Hermione said.

“I take it you're wondering what he had to say about the memory we witnessed?” Herb asked.

“I can't say I'm not exactly interested,” Hermione said.

Herb chuckled.

“I have a feeling you'll find out before too long,” he said.

Hermione looked at him, questioningly.

“The Daily Prophet, Hermione, remember?” Susan whispered to Hermione.

“Susan is right,” Herb said, “I'm sure the Daily Prophet will be questioning him about it.”

“Speaking of that,” Hermione said, voicing a thought she had had for a while, “The Daily Prophet still doesn't know who is writing the notes for the court cases, do they?”

“Nope,” Herb said, “With Narcissa Malfoy delivering the notes, I don't think you'll have to worry about that. Now, back to the Minister of Magic for a moment. When his secretary gave me that letter, she also gave me another one.”

“About the case, sir?” Hermione asked.

“No,” Herb said, shaking his head.

Hermione looked at Susan. She looked as confused as Hermione was.

“It seems the Wizengamot is the next target on the Minister's list,” Herb said.

Susan almost choked on her butterbeer.

“But, sir!” she exclaimed, “Surely the Minister doesn't believe there is someone in the Wizengamot with connections to Death Eaters. I mean, each and every member of the Wizengamot were questioned directly by the Minister, before they could even be a part of it. Am I right?”

“All were interviewed before Kingsley Shacklebolt went into office, Susan,” Herb said, “Myself and a few others were interviewed by Cornelius Fudge, while the rest were interviewed by the late Rufus Scrimgeour.”

“But you know them well enough,” Susan said, “To know that they don't have any of those types of connections. Right?”

“I could answer that,” Herb said, “But never to the best of my ability. I wouldn't be one-hundred percent positive with my answer.”

“Even if you are a skilled Legilimens?” Hermione asked.

“Even so,” Herb said, and he took another generous sip of his coffee.

“When is Shacklebolt starting the investigations?” Hermione asked, though she felt she already knew the answer.

“Tomorrow,” Herb said, with a sigh, “And he will continue those investigations over the next few days, up until lunchtime each day. We will only have one court case a day, in the afternoons, until the Minister is done with his investigations.”

“What is your opinion of this?” Susan asked.

“If you asked me that before the case today, I would have told you that I am a little peeved with it, Susan,” Herb asked, “But after listening to the case today, I will say that the Minister of Magic could investigate only the Wizengamot for a year, and I would have no objections. I would be ashamed if any of my colleagues turned out to have connections with Death Eaters, or knew anyone, on a personal level, who had connections. Especially when we now know there are enough names to fill a list.”

His expression went grave, and Hermione wondered what Herb was thinking. She shrugged it away and finally opened her butterbeer and took a long swig.

Flashback ends


As Hermione lay in bed, she wondered if Herb was holding anything back from her and Susan yesterday. Even Susan had been surprised to hear that Kingsley Shacklebolt was turning his investigations to the Wizengamot, and as far as Hermione knew, Herb told his assistant anything that had to do with work. She didn't want to admit it, even to herself, but in the back of her mind, she wondered if Herb could possibly have any connections to Death Eaters, however small they may be. If so, the repercussions for that would be large.

Head Judge Herb Morrison was reputed to be the best in his job, and there were rumors that, when Amelia Bones was alive, he could have replaced her in a heartbeat. He was well-respected among his peers, and even the Daily Prophet, who followed the Wizengamot like hounds to a fox, seemed to fear him and would dare not cross him even with their right to publish whatever they wanted.

To Hermione's right, Ron emitted a loud snore, and it broke her from her thoughts. She remembered discussing the court case with Ron. How she couldn't wait to reveal it to someone close to her. Of course, Ron had been excited as well, and Hermione had almost forgotten all about Ron's trial exams. After Ron told her all about the written and practical exams with excruciating detail, Hermione told him about the court case. She remembered his reaction as if he had been telling her just that moment...

Flashback begins

“So it looks like this could be the start of the Third War, you think?” Ron asked Hermione after she finished with her story.

Ron was still in shock. His excitement of how well he had done with his exams seemed so distant now.

“I won't go that far,” Hermione said, “But it seems the wizarding world may have something really bad on its hands now.”

“And this Fetcher guy,” Ron said, “He refused to give the list of names?”

“He kept saying that there was no list,” Hermione said.

“You don't believe him, though,” Ron said.

“No,” Hermione said, shaking her head, “And neither does Herb.”

“And you couldn't see who Fetcher was talking to?” Ron asked.

“He was completely blocked from view,” Hermione said, “It was like looking at someone from behind a shower door. Everything was distorted and blurry.”

“But you said that that was all done by Kingsley,” Ron said, “Not by Fetcher himself?”

“Correct,” Hermione said.

“So Shacklebolt knows who he is?” Ron asked.

“Also correct,” Hermione said, “But he probably won't give the name up. He doesn't want the public to react harshly. Doesn't matter anyway. The Death Eater is probably dead.”

“So what is the matter?” Ron asked, “If the Death Eater's dead, and Fetcher's beginning a long stay at Azkaban...”

“I told you, Ron,” Hermione said, “Herb thinks Fetcher probably found everyone on the list by now. Fetcher's probably only the messenger anyway. They wouldn't have let him have too much important information, especially since he worked in the Ministry.”

“Perhaps Kingsley thinks there is a possibility,” Ron said, “that a few names from that list are working in the Ministry.”

“It's what I'd believe if I was in his shoes,” Hermione said, “The question is... what are these people planning?”

“We know it's about revenge, right?” Ron asked.

“Yep,” Hermione said, nodding.

“So they would want to avenge the people behind the Death Eater's deaths,” Ron said, “Most of whom are in the Ministry.”

“They wouldn't attack the Ministry,” Hermione said, “It's already been attempted and failed.”

“Then what could they be planning?” Ron asked.

“That, as the saying goes,” Hermione said, “is a good question.”

Flashback ends


Suddenly, six long bongs from Big Ben, London's famous clock tower, broke Hermione from her thoughts. Six-o-clock. Another long snore from Ron told Hermione that her fiancee was still asleep. Not even Big Ben could wake him. Hermione got up from her bed and started to get ready for work.

-----------------------------
As Hermione was halfway done with preparing breakfast, she heard an owl's long hoot. She looked out the window that stood over the sink. It was a Ministry owl delivering the morning's Daily Prophet. The owl landed on the windowsill, and Hermione opened the window. The owl flew in and dropped the newspaper on the kitchen table, then perched himself on a chair. Hermione inserted a Sickle into the owl's coin-pouch, and the owl flew back out the window. She pointed her wand at the pan that was frying the eggs, and muttered a couple words. The spatula and pan started moving on their own. Hermione sat down and picked up the newspaper. Large bold letters on the front page read:


WIZENGAMOT'S LATEST CASE REVEALS AN INTERESTING
TWIST ON THE MINISTER OF MAGIC'S INVESTIGATION



Hermione started to read the article:


On Monday, in Courtroom Six, the Wizengamot
were up bright and early with their first case.

Ralph Fetcher, a resident of Surrey, who worked
in the Department of Misuse of Muggle Artifacts
was called to present his defense in front of,
what was reported to be, the entire Wizengamot.

There, it was revealed that Fetcher's sister, who
was not present in the Courtroom, and has refused
to speak with the Daily Prophet, was once married
to a Death Eater, though the two had been long
separated. It is unknown where Fetcher's sister
will be questioned by the Ministry. It was also
revealed that Mr. Fetcher had been in contact
with his sister's ex-husband. The Minister of
Magic has refused to identify the Death Eater.

During the case, it was revealed that the Minister
of Magic had questioned Fetcher twice which led
Fetcher to be temporarily imprisoned at the Ministry
until his hearing. It was also revealed, that an Auror
who was skilled in Legilimens, was also present
for questioning. The Auror was able to find one
particularly interesting memory in Fetcher's mind
that hadn't been revealed to the Minister. This
memory was then given to the Minister of
Magic, and when he looked at it, he gave it to
the Wizengamot as evidence in Fetcher's case.

In the memory, Fetcher met with the Death Eater
who will not be named. The Death Eater's identity
was blurred out even from the Wizengamot. The
Minister had edited this memory so the Death
Eater wouldn't be revealed. Fetcher and the
Death Eater started discussing the latter's
possible impending death. The Death Eater told
Fetcher that he would be given a list of names that
Fetcher had to track down. The reason behind this:
those people would be greatly affected if the Death
Eaters were killed. The Death Eater believed
that those people would want their revenge for
the Death Eaters' demise. It was also revealed
that Fetcher and the Death Eater finished
the conversation with the Unbreakable Vow.

When asked by the Wizengamot for the list, Fetcher
denied having any knowledge about this list. Head
Judge Herb Morrison didn't believe him. He sentenced
Fetcher to fifteen years in Azkaban.



Below this article was another one which was just as interesting. Hermione read the header:


LATEST RESULTS FROM MINISTER OF MAGIC'S
INVESTIGATION COULD FORETELL A POSSIBLE ATTACK



Hermione wasn't surprised. It was the same exact thing that she and Ron had been discussing the previous evening. She started reading the article:


With the astounding new evidence in the Minister
of Magic's on-going investigation, it won't be a
surprise if the Minister puts the wizarding world
on high-alert.

Although neither the Minister, nor the
Wizengamot, were successful in retrieving the
important information from Ralph Fetcher, it is
still believed that the contents of the list given
to Mr. Fetcher by an unknown Death Eater could
be anything but good news for the wizarding world.

With revenge on the minds of unknown, possibly
countless, witches and wizards, it is to be believed
that new sparks of violence could be seen before long.
The question on the Ministry's mind: when? And
where will these attacks take place? Unfortunately,
it looks as if an attack could happen before the Ministry
has enough information to stop it.

Minister of Magic, Kingsley Shacklebolt had this
to say on the matter:

“It is unknown whether an attack is imminent,”
Shacklebolt said, when the Daily Prophet
asked him about an attack, sparking news
of this evidence, “But that does not mean
the Ministry isn't ready for it. As for the public,
if there are riots in result to this information,
all suspects of these riots will be sent
directly in front of the Wizengamot, with
a possibility of time in Azkaban.”

When asked where the Minister's next point
of investigation was going to be, Shacklebolt
declined to answer.




You could have asked me, Hermione thought, then remembered she didn't want anything to do with the contents of the Daily Prophet, other than her annonymous notes.

The bacon in the pan next to the eggs sizzled and Hermione closed the Daily Prophet and returned to preparing breakfast. A moment later, Ron walked into the kitchen. He walked over to Hermione and kissed her on the cheek, then sat down at the table.

“Your notes in the Prophet again?” he asked, glancing at the newspaper.

“Of course,” Hermione said, “They wouldn't pass that one by.”

“Oh, right,” Ron said, as if he had only just remembered what Hermione had told him the night before.

Hermione heard the sound of the newspaper being opened behind her.

“Well, at least they aren't denying a possible attack,” Ron said.

“Nope,” Hermione said.

“It's what Fudge and Scrimgeour would have done,” Ron said, “At least Kingsley's different.”

“Yeah,” Hermione said.

Yeah, Hermione thought, enough to include the Wizengamot, the most trusted group of witches and wizards in the Ministry, in the investigation.

“Are you okay, Hermione?” Ron asked, “You're kind of quiet.”

“Just tired,” Hermione lied.

“No,” Ron said, “It's something else. Something you haven't told me.”

Hermione sighed. She delayed response by serving the bacon and eggs onto two plates and taking them over to the table.

“What is it, Hermione?” Ron asked, “You can tell me.”

Hermione frowned. It looked like even breakfast wasn't going to stop Ron from wanting to know why Hermione was so silent.

“You know these investigations Kingsley is conducting?” Hermione asked.

“Yeah, of course,” Ron said, glancing quickly at the Daily Prophet.

“The Wizengamot is next,” Hermione said.

“What do you mean?” Ron asked.

“Just that!” Hermione said, “Morrison told me that Kingsley's turned his investigation to the Wizengamot.”

“Oh,” Ron said, “Hermione, if you're worried that Kingsley is going to ask you questions, you shouldn't be. You have no connections to Death Eaters, and Kingsley knows that. He knows you too, remember?”

“I'm not worried about me, Ron,” Hermione said, “What if one of the Wizengamot has something to hide? What if it's Head Judge Morrison who has something to hide? He's one of the most respected wizards in the Ministry. I just can't imagine if --”

Ron put a hand on one of hers, which was resting on the table.

“I don't think you have anything to worry about,” Ron said, “If Morrison is like you say he is, then I bet he will be the least of Kingsley's worries.”

Hermione gave him a reassuring smile, but she was still worried. It was woman's intuition, like she had told Ginny. This time, it was working overtime in her mind.

--------------------------------

With a ding, the lifts opened, and Hermione walked out onto the bottom floor of the Ministry of Magic. Susan Bones was standing by the wall outside of Courtroom Two. She put a finger to her lips and motioned Hermione over.

“Where's Herb?” Hermione whispered.

Susan nodded toward the courtroom in front of her.

“Is he talking to the Minister?” Hermione asked.

“Nope,” Susan said, “He hasn't arrived yet. Guess again.”

“The Daily Prophet,” Hermione said.

“Bingo,” Susan said.

The doors of Courtroom Two opened. Herb walked out surrounded by reporters and camera men.

“Has Ralph Fetcher revealed any more information about the list?” one reporter asked.

“Mr. Fetcher hasn't said a word since he arrived in Azkaban,” Herb said.

“Do you know the identity of the Death Eater Ralph Fetcher talked to at the bar called the Hog's Head?” a second reporter asked.

“No,” Herb said, “But the Minister of Magic does.”

The doors to the lifts opened. Kingsley Shacklebolt walked out.

“In fact, there he is,” Herb said, “Why don't you ask him?”

The reporters all walked over to the Minister, followed by their bumbling camera men.

“Minister!” one reporter said.

“Minister Shacklebolt,” a second reporter said, “What is the --”

“Those camera's flashes are quite blinding, I tell you,” Herb said, “You know, Hermione. I don't blame you for wanting to avoid --”

He nodded to the reporters. Hermione grinned.

“That's all I will say, folks,” Kingsley said, “No. No more. I'm quite busy right now.”

He pushed his way through the reporters and walked over to Hermione, Herb and Susan.

“Excellent,” he said, “Just the person I want to talk to.”

Herb nodded, as if expecting it would be him.

“Miss Granger,” Kingsley continued, “Can you follow me into Courtroom Two?”

Hermione nodded timidly.

“Judge Morrison,” Kingsley said, “When the rest of the Wizengamot come down, please ask them to wait until I call them in.”

“Of course, Minister,” Herb said.

Hermione followed Kingsley into the Courtroom. It was ironic that he had brought her in this room. She felt like one of the many defendants she had written about over the past couple of weeks.

“Before we begin, Miss Granger,” Kingsley said, “I want to assure you that you have nothing to fear. I know for a fact that you have no connections to Death Eaters.”

“Yes, sir,” Hermione said, “And please call me Hermione. We've known each other long before you became Minister.”

Kingsley smiled.

“Of course,” he said, “Actually that is what I was trying to get at. We have known each other since you stayed at Number 12 Grimmauld Place when I was a part of the Order of the Phoenix. I was hoping that little detail would help me with something.”

“Sure,” Hermione said.

“As you know,” Kingsley said, “I have quite the task ahead of me. I was hoping you'd help me a bit with it. I know you've only worked here for a couple of weeks, but I was wondering if you might have heard things. Things that the members of the Wizengamot might have said to you, or their colleagues. Anything would be helpful. Even if, at the time, it seemed small, it might be helpful now.”

“I don't think I know exactly what you are getting at,” Hermione said, although she was more than sure of it.

“Oh, anything that might have raised your suspicions,” Kingsley said, “Perhaps made the hairs on the back of your arms and neck raise. Particularly about Death Eaters, or connections to them.”

“Sir,” Hermione said, “The only thing I've heard concerning Death Eaters since I started this job, is what I've heard from the defendants of the cases I've written notes about.”

“Nothing from your colleagues?” Kingsley asked.

“No,” Hermione said, shaking her head, “And I'm not sticking up for them either. I witnessed Ralph Fetcher's memory scene, and I assure you, Minister, if there was something that could help you, I would tell you. I'm just as worried as you are about the contents of that list, and how many people Mr. Fetcher met before you interrogated him.”

Kingsley stared at her for a moment. He then smiled and nodded.

“Thank you, Hermione,” Kingsley said, “That's all I needed to hear. You may go.”

Hermione nodded and walked toward the door. She stopped a couple feet from the door and turned around.

“Minister?” Hermione asked.

“Yes, Hermione?” Kingsley asked.

“Do you suspect Judge Morrison of anything?” Hermione said.

“Not yet,” Kingsley said.

Hermione frowned. To her, “not yet” sounded a lot like “yes”.

“In fact, I'll be more assured of my answer when I speak to him,” Kingsley said, “Can you send him in, please?”

Hermione nodded. She walked out of the courtroom and over to Susan and Herb. She noticed that more Wizengamot members had arrived.

“Kingsley wants to see you, next, Herb,” Hermione said, trying to keep the worry away from her voice.

Herb smiled and walked past her and into the courtroom. Susan looked at her.

“What did he ask you?” she asked her.

Hermione wondered if she should lie or not.

“Nothing, really,” Hermione said, shrugging, “He asked me if I had any connections to Death Eaters. I said no, and he seemed happy with that answer.”

“That's all?” Susan asked.

“Yeah,” Hermione said.

“Wow,” Susan said, “I just expected more, I guess. I mean, everything we've heard about the investigation makes you think that the Minister's really laying the questions down thick with everyone he talks to. Doesn't it seem that way to you?”

“I guess so,” Hermione said.

“I guess he really trusts you,” Susan said, “I mean, I'm not saying he should. It's clear you have nothing to be worry about.”

Hermione nodded, but she frowned as she looked at the courtroom door. Susan was wrong. She had a lot to worry about. And every bit of it had to do with what was happening behind those closed doors.

-----------------------------------
Thirty minutes passed by and Herb still hadn't walked out of the courtroom. Though, ten minutes after Herb had walked in, two Aurors walked out of the lifts and into Courtroom two.

“That was Alex Macaulay,” Susan said.

“Who?” Hermione asked.

“The same Legilimens who had discovered Ralph Fetcher's hidden secret,” Susan said, “What could the Minister want with him?”

“You don't think it has anything to do with Herb?” Hermione asked.

“I don't know,” Susan said, “But I have a strange feeling it does.”

Hermione didn't need to ask where that feeling came from. She knew what it was: good ol' woman's intuition, sometimes more powerful than magic itself.

Another twenty minutes passed by, totaling nearly an hour since Herb had walked into the courtroom. Hermione and Susan were now sitting against the wall, staring at the door.

“What I wouldn't give to be a fly on the wall in there,” a Wizengamot member, a woman, on the other side of Susan said.

“I agree with you, Bea,” Susan said, “What is taking them so –?”

Before she could finish, the courtroom doors opened. Herb walked out followed by the Minister. Hermione looked at Herb, hoping to ask how the whole thing went, but there was no expression on the Judge's face. He walked over to where Hermione and Susan were standing, then looked at Bea.

“You're next, Bea,” he said, then looked at Hermione, “Hermione, it doesn't look like there is going to be a case today. You can go home early.”

“What happened in there?” Susan asked.

“I've been asked not to talk about it,” Herb said, “The only thing I can say is that Kingsley wants to see me again later today.”

Susan looked at Hermione. Hermione could tell that Susan looked really worried. She didn't blame her.

---------------------------
At home, Hermione spent most of the day watching TV while she waited for Ron to get off work. It was the only thing that kept her mind off the morning's events. She wondered if she would hear anything before the day was through, but nothing had come when Hermione and Ron sat down for dinner: pork ribs and Orzo pasta.

“You're still not worrying about that discussion you had with Kingsley, are you?” Ron asked her.

Hermione shrugged, sliding her fork through her helping of pasta.

“You told me he didn't suspect you of anything,” Ron said.

“He didn't,” Hermione said, “He practically asked me if I was spying on the Wizengamot. You know what that means, right? He suspects something.”

“Come, now,” Ron said, “The Wizengamot?”

“Yes, Ron!” Hermione said, a little louder than she wanted to be, “If Kingsley didn't suspect anything, why do you think he's conducting these investigations?”

“Because if he didn't,” Ron said, “the public, not to mention the Daily Prophet, would want to know why.”

“No,” Hermione said, “I don't believe that. Something's up. I know it.”

Suddenly, there was a tapping noise on the kitchen window. Hermione turned around.

“It's a Ministry owl,” Hermione said, standing up.

“We don't get the Evening Prophet, do we?” Ron asked.

Hermione shook her head, walked over to the window and opened it. The owl had a small piece of parchment in it's mouth. He dropped it into Hermione's open hand and flew off.

“Who's it from?” Ron asked.

Hermione shrugged and read the piece of parchment:


Hermione,

I thought I'd tell you before you found out in the Daily Prophet. Herb's been arrested. All court cases have been cancelled for tomorrow. No need to come in.

Susan


------------------------------
Cliffhanger! Whew, well I didn't think of this new twist until I started on this chapter. What repercussions will happen in light of it? Is the Head Judge really connected to Death Eaters? You'll find that out very soon!

Feedback would be welcomed.


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  #19  
Old September 6th, 2009, 1:22 am
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Re: Butterfly Kisses (Sequel to Harry Potter and the Return to Hogwarts)

Chapter 19
The Art of Occlumency



(Hermione's PoV)

Hermione went to bed that night without dinner. Her stomach hurt so bad from the news about Herb's arrest, and she felt that if she had eaten anything, it would probably have come back up. By the time Ron had come in for bed, Hermione was still awake.

“I put your leftovers in the fridge,” Ron said, as he climbed into bed, “Since you're staying home tomorrow, I figured you needed something for lunch.”

Hermione nodded and gave a weak smile.

“Still thinking about Morrison?” Ron asked.

Hermione nodded again. Ron sighed and moved closer to Hermione. She felt him take her hand in his. His thumb rubbed across the top of it, soothingly.

“I think Morrison will be fine,” he said.

“No, he won't,” Hermione said, “It isn't some misdemeanor, Ron. He's been arrested because he has connections to Death Eaters.”

“Maybe Kingsley's wrong,” Ron said.

“I don't know,” Hermione said, “Did Kingsley ever seem to you like the type of guy to make those kind of mistakes?”

“Not really,” Ron said, shaking his head.

Hermione frowned.

“That's not helping much, is it?” Ron asked.

Hermione shook her head. Ron moved closer to her and cuddled up against her, his arms around her stomach.

“Is this helping?” he asked.

“Maybe a little,” Hermione said, smiling.

Ron chuckled.

“You know,” he said, “You could still go to the Ministry tomorrow. I imagine if Morrison's being held in the Ministry, it's in the holding cells in the Auror Headquarters.”

“The holding cells are down near the courtrooms,” Hermione said.

“Not all of them,” Ron said, shaking his head, “There are still some in the Auror Headquarters, reserved for the more important prisoners. I'm sure if Morrison is anywhere in the Ministry, he'll be in there.”

“I can't go,” Hermione said. “I'm sure Herb will spend most of the day being interrogated by Kingsley and the Aurors.”

“All right,” Ron said, “It was only an idea.”

“Oh, it's a good idea,” Hermione said, “I mean, I'd really like to speak to him. We've bonded quite well since I started working for him. But I don't think I'll get a chance.”

Hermione figured the next time she'd see Herb, it would be in one of the courtrooms. Only this time, he'd be the defendant, and another judge would be at the head of the Wizengamot.

“Okay,” Ron said, “You should probably stay home tomorrow anyway. You've been working quite hard since you got that job. You deserve a break.”

Hermione nodded, giving another weak smile. Ron leaned toward Hermione and kissed her forehead. Hermione then kissed him on the lips, and Ron returned the kiss, deepening it. Hermione could feel his tongue against hers. She cuddled closer to him, still embraced in his kiss and, for the moment at least, she had forgotten all about Herb's arrest.

-----------------------------
When Hermione woke up the next morning, she found she was alone in bed. She took a quick glance at the alarm clock. Nine-fifteen. Ron would be at work already. Hermione sat up, and she saw a small piece of parchment laying on Ron's pillow. She picked it up and read it:

Hermione,

You were still asleep when it was time for me to leave, so I put breakfast in the fridge for you. Coffee is in the pot as well, just needs to be warmed up. The Daily Prophet is on the kitchen table, as well as another letter addressed to you. Don't know who it is from. See you when I get home.

Love,
Ron

P.S. Don't worry too much about Judge Morrison. I'm sure he'll be fine.


Hermione got out of bed and headed for the bathroom. She paused for a moment in the doorway. She didn't need to go anywhere today, so she didn't have to rush things. She decided she would take a long, hot bath after breakfast, then headed for the kitchen. As Ron had said, the Daily Prophet was laying on the table. A rolled up piece of parchment was sitting on top of it. Hermione went over to the fridge. A large sausage and cheese omelette was on a plate on the top shelf. Hermione took it out and put it in the microwave and set the timer. She then walked over to the table and sat down. Deciding to read the Daily Prophet first, she set the piece of parchment aside. She found what she was looking for on the front page.

“Of course,” Hermione said, to herself, “Nothing could be bigger news than this.”

She read the headline:


HERB MORRISON ARRESTED!!!
POSSIBLE CONNECTIONS TO DEATH EATERS?



Hermione sighed and started on the article:


Wizengamot Head Judge Herb Morrison has
been quite busy ever since the Minister of Magic
started investigations against Ministry workers
about possible connections with Death Eaters.
When Morrison sentenced Ralph Fetcher to
Azkaban, he had no idea that his own name would
soon be mixed into the Minister's cauldron
of suspects.

Tuesday morning, Kingsley Shacklebolt headed
down to the courtroom level of the Ministry of
Magic. His objective? Interrogate members of
the Wizengamot concerning any possible
connection with Death Eaters. It is doubtful
that even the Minister himself even suspected
what he would discover that morning. Morrison
was called into courtroom two, while his peers
(fellow members of the Wizengamot) waited
outside for their turn in the spotlight.

Fellow member of the Wizengamot, Bea
Haven, had this to say:

“A whole slew of us waited outside the
courtroom,” Haven said. “Judge Morrison
didn't come out of that room for fifty minutes.
When he did, the only thing he had to say
was that I was next for the Minister's questioning.
Never in my life would I have expected that
Herb Morrison could have had anything to do
with Death Eaters or the Dark Arts.”

Haven, meanwhile, walked away from her
interview with the Minister unscathed. This
can't be said for Head Judge Herb Morrison.
The honorable judge was called back into
the courtroom around three in the afternoon.
When he was seen once again, almost an hour later,
he was being taken out of the courtroom by
two Aurors, as well as the Minister of Magic.
Morrison was in magical bindings and he
did not say anything as he was escorted into
the lifts.

Minister Shacklebolt, however, had this to say:

“I have been given enough evidence by
Judge Morrison himself, as well as a skilled
Legilimens,” the Minister said, “to arrest the Judge.
However, this does not mean that he has
strong connections with Death Eaters. This is
just cautionary, in fact. But he will be staying
in a holding cell overnight pending further
questioning.”

This news will come as a surprise to much
of the wizarding world. Herb Morrison is
one of the most respected wizards ever to
be placed in the Wizengamot. His arrest is
certainly most shocking to everyone who
thought they knew the Head Judge.



As soon as Hermione finished the article, the microwave beeped. Hermione took out the plate and walked back to the table. She set down the plate, then made herself a cup of coffee and started reading the piece of parchment:


Hermione,

By now, you have probably read the article about Herb in the Daily Prophet. Herb is being held in one of the holding cells in the Auror Headquarters. I visited him yesterday. The holding cells there are measurably nicer than the holding cells near the court rooms. Unfortunately, Herb didn't have much to say to me. When I asked him if he was innocent, he only shrugged and didn't answer.

I talked to Minister Shacklebolt as well. He usually lets me talk to him about stuff concerning the Wizengamot, but he refused to say much about Herb, only telling me that there are still many questions to be asked.

Court cases have been suspended until Friday. Don't be too surprised if the first defendant on Friday is Herb himself. Take care of yourself.

Talk to you soon,
Susan

P.S. I'm going to be having lunch at the Leaky Cauldron around noon today. If you want to talk about stuff, I'll be happy to lend an ear.


Hermione pushed the piece of parchment aside and took a sip of her coffee. She wondered if she should accept Susan's invitation for lunch. Ron had thought she should stay home all day, and she did have leftovers from the night before that she hadn't touched at all, and were waiting for her in the fridge. Ron would probably ask questions if the plate was still there when he got home, and if she threw it in the wastebasket, Ron would probably find out about that too.

Perhaps she could meet Susan and only have a butterbeer or something. She probably wouldn't be very long and she could have the leftovers when she returned home. It did seem like a good idea. It sounded a lot better than lounging around on the couch and watching TV all day, right? Hermione decided to eat breakfast and take that nice, long bath she was planning on. Perhaps the answer would come to her after she had relaxed in the warm water for an hour or so.

Hermione looked at Susan's letter once again. There had been something strange that Susan said that Hermione had skimmed over the first time. Herb didn't have much to say to Susan when she talked to him yesterday. That wasn't like him, as far as Hermione knew. He was usually charismatic and outgoing. He didn't hold much back. And when she asked him if he was innocent, he didn't answer. Did that mean that he wasn't, in fact, innocent? If so, did it mean he was also ashamed about the whole thing? Or did he just not want to talk about the whole thing to anyone but the Minister?

She decided that these questions were too important to leave unanswered. And if she couldn't talk to Herb about it, and if there was no possible chance she could talk to Shacklebolt about it, there was only one choice left. She would meet Susan for lunch. There had to be a reasonable explanation about the whole thing. Herb Morrison was not the type of person who could possibly be connected to Death Eaters. Especially when he was the type of man who put people like them away in prison. He'd be the first person to tell you the consequences of something like that. Hadn't he just sent someone to Azkaban for fifteen years because of that same exact thing?

Hermione finished her omelette quickly, washed the dish and proceeded to the bathroom to fill the water for her bath. Suddenly her day, that had started with the thought of staying home, had become a lot busier.

----------------------------
At noon, Hermione arrived at the Leaky Cauldron via Floo Network. Susan was sitting in a shadowy corner at the other end of the restaurant. She was sipping on a bottle of butterbeer when Hermione walked over to her and sat down across from her.

“You got my letter, then,” Susan said.

“Yeah,” Hermione said.

“I just ordered me something,” Susan said, “I didn't know if you would want anything.”

“Oh, it's okay,” Hermione said, “I'm not very hungry. I had a late breakfast.”

Susan chuckled.

“It's been a while since I've had a late breakfast,” Susan said, “I'm so used to getting up around five-thirty and being down in the courtrooms at eight-o-clock on the dot. Even on the weekends, I'm up at five-thirty. My career has given me a... what do Muggles call it? What wakes you up?”

“Alarm clock?” Hermione asked.

“Yeah,” Susan said, “It's like I have an alarm clock in my head or something. I'm afraid it might be early-age insomnia or something.”

Susan chuckled again.

“How long have you been working for Herb?” Hermione said.

“Since about a month after graduation,” Susan said, “Auntie Amelia knew how much I wanted to work for the Wizengamot, just like her. Before she died, I was set to be her new assistant. When she died, I was still promised the job. And that's the story about how I got where I am today.”

“So you know Herb pretty well?” Hermione asked.

“Yeah,” Susan said, then frowned, “Or I thought I did.”

“You think he isn't innocent then?” Hermione asked.

“I don't know,” Susan said, and Hermione noticed she looked flustered, “When I got to know Herb, I started to idolize him. I thought he was the kind of person I wanted to be.”

“So you want to be a judge?” Hermione asked.

“Yeah,” Susan said, “It's mostly all I ever wanted to do, even when I was in Hogwarts. Every day at Hogwarts, I'd hear students say 'I want to be an Auror when I get out of here', or 'I want to be a professional Quidditch player' or 'I want to tame dragons overseas'. I never wanted any of that. I just wanted to be a judge like my Auntie Amelia. Ever since I became Herb's assistant, I just watched him go through his court cases, no matter how big or small they were. No matter how much attention he got from the media, he never let it get to his head. And he never let any defendant get to him.”

“Susan,” Hermione said, “You're talking as if Herb is dead.”

“Of course he isn't dead,” Susan said, “But it doesn't mean his career isn't.”

At that moment, Tom walked over with Susan's order. He then looked at Hermione.

“What can I get you?” he asked her.

“Oh, just a butterbeer,” Hermione said, “Thanks.”

With his wand, he summoned a butterbeer from the bar. It landed in front of Hermione. She paid him for it.

“Thanks, Tom,” she said again.

Tom smiled and returned to the bar.

“What makes you think Herb's career is dead?” Hermione asked Susan, as if their conversation hadn't been interrupted by Tom the barman.

“You did read my whole letter, right?” Susan asked her.

“Of course,” Hermione said.

“If Herb was innocent,” Susan said, “We'd be on our normal schedules like usual. A court case in the morning, and a court case after lunch. Now we don't have a court case until Friday, and it looks like it will be against Herb. I'm meeting his replacement tomorrow afternoon.”

“Anything could happen between now and Friday, Susan,” Hermione said.

“That is quite optimistic, Hermione,” Susan said, “But, no offense, it's coming from somebody who hasn't known Herb Morrison very long. You don't know how much this has changed him.”

“Of course I'm optimistic!” Hermione almost screamed, “You should be too. He has spent his whole career sending people to Azkaban for the same exact thing he has been charged for. He would have known the consequences. There has to be a reasonable explanation.”

“Like what?” Susan asked.

“Well, what do we know right now?” Hermione asked, “Kings – Minister Shacklebolt is investigating the pasts of Ministry workers, trying to find any connection to Death Eaters. We know he has help with it too. He has an Auror, who is a skilled Legilimens, accompanying him when he feels he has found an important lead. Ralph Fetcher's mind was searched by the Legilimens too.”

Hermione's eyes brightened. What if –?

“Susan,” she said, “You said Herb is a Legilimens, right?”

“Yeah,” Susan said.

“Would the Minister of Magic know this?” Hermione asked.

“I don't know,” Susan said, “Maybe. Most of the Wizengamot knows, but they are his closest friends. What are you getting at, anyway?”

“If Herb is a Legilimens,” Hermione said, “Then maybe he is skilled in Occlumency as well.”

“It's possible,” Susan said.

“Well,” Hermione said, “Those who are skilled in Occlumency train themselves to block Legilimency. We know that Minister Shacklebolt brought in that Auror when he interrogated Herb. If Herb had anything to hide, don't you think he would have wanted to block the Legilimens from that information. Especially if it had anything to do with what the Minister was looking for?”

“What are you saying?” Susan asked, “So now you believe Herb has these dark connections and now he wants to hide them?”

“Well,” Hermione said, “Minister Shacklebolt said that he needed to interrogate Herb more. We already know he interrogated him twice. Maybe the Minister thinks that Herb was blocking his mind from the Legilimens, and that means that the Minister thinks that Herb is trying to hide something.”

“But you said that Herb would only block his mind,” Susan said, “If he had something to hide.”

“I want to find out what that is,” Hermione said, “I have a feeling Herb is not as guilty as the Minister believes he is.”

“It's impossible,” Susan said, “I told you. Herb wouldn't talk to me.”

“When did you try to talk to him?” Hermione asked.

“Last night after he was put in the holding cell,” Susan said.

“And when did the Minister want to interrogate him again?” Hermione asked.

“This morning,” Susan said, “He's probably done now.”

“Did Herb know this?” Hermione asked.

“Yeah, of course,” Susan said, “What are you getting at?”

“I don't think Herb was ignoring you, Susan,” Hermione said. “You said he shrugged his shoulders at one point, right?”

“Yeah,” Susan said, “When I asked him if he was innocent.”

“I believe,” Hermione said, “he was meditating.”

“Meditating?” Susan asked.

“Witches and wizards skilled in Occlumency,” Hermione said, “have to train their minds to strengthen their power. I think that when you went to speak with him, he was in the middle of that exact process.”

“He had his eyes open the whole time, Hermione,” Susan said, “Don't you think --”

“Was there a guard watching him?” Hermione interrupted.

“All the time,” Susan said, and Hermione heard a sob come to her voice, “The Auror said that he – he was on –on suicide watch.”

“Rubbish,” Hermione said, “The Minister instructed him to say that.”

“Are you sure?” Susan asked.

“If Shacklebolt even suspected that Herb was skilled in Occlumency,” Hermione said, “he would have had a guard watching him. Of course, Herb would have known this, and if he was going to meditate, he would have to keep his eyes open.”

“He could have feigned sleeping,” Susan said.

“Not if he was sitting up,” Hermione said.

“So if Herb was using Occlumency,” Susan said, “What did he want to hide?”

“That, Susan,” Hermione said, “Is exactly what I want to find out.”

------------------------------
Okay, I know this chapter was a little short. But that is only because I want to put the next part in a whole new chapter. Now, I'm not entirely sure about the process of Occlumency, but I thought that what Hermione explained might have been pretty close. Also, I know I might be making Kingsley sound a little menacing, but it's just because of his investigation.

Feedback would be great!


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  #20  
Old September 6th, 2009, 1:25 am
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Re: Butterfly Kisses (Sequel to Harry Potter and the Return to Hogwarts)

Chapter 20
Herb's Tale


Half-an-hour later, Hermione and Susan were in the lifts all by themselves.

“We'll be able to talk to Herb, right?” Hermione asked.

“If nobody else is talking to him,” Susan said. “But the guard will be there at all times, remember?”

“That won't be a problem,” Hermione said.

“It will if you want Herb to tell us anything,” Susan said. “I have a feeling that the guard relays anything Herb says straight to the Minister.”

“Like I said,” Hermione grinned. “Not a problem.”

The cool voice overhead announced the floor with the Auror Headquarters, and the doors opened. Hermione followed Susan out of the lifts and down the hall. They went to a door labeled Auror Headquarters, and walked inside. Hermione had never been inside this room before, but it looked nothing like she expected. It was just a plain room with a desk at the other side of the room. A wizard was sitting at the desk. Another wizard was standing against the wall behind him. Hermione was reminded of the Royal Guard.

“Susan Bones and Hermione Granger” Susan said to the man at the desk, “to see prisoner Herb Morrison.”

“You both know and understand,” the wizard said, “the procedures for speaking to a prisoner?”

Susan and Hermione nodded.

“You may take your wands with you,” the wizard said, “But keep them in your pockets at all time. The Auror behind me will escort you to prisoner Morrison's holding cell. Also, reporters for the Daily Prophet have requested an interview with the prisoner at two-o-clock. Which means you only have a little over an hour to speak with the prisoner. I believe that is a generous amount of time, don't you?”

“Yes, sir,” Susan said.

Hermione nodded. The man looked at both of them and nodded. He then motioned to the Auror behind him.

“Please follow him,” he said.

Hermione was about to ask where exactly they would be following him to, when the Auror took out his wand and poked the wall four times with it. Suddenly, the section of wall disappeared. Hermione followed Susan and the Auror through the archway. The Auror led them to another door. On a plaque on the door were the letters H.C. Hermione noticed there wasn't a doorknob on this door. The Auror pointed his wand at the door and Hermione heard the sound similar to the mechanisms the Gringotts' vaults made when they were unlocked and opened. The door immediately opened and Hermione followed Susan and the Auror inside. Once inside, Hermione saw a long row of holding cells. They all looked like a normal prison cell should look like. The Auror led them to the end of the row and Hermione immediately saw Herb. He was laying on a make-shift cot in a small cell, and staring at the stone wall. The cot was the only object in the holding cell.

“You have visitors, Morrison,” the Auror said, then turned to Susan and Hermione, “I'll be sitting right over there.”

He pointed to a chair that had just materialized out of thin air.

“So no funny business,” he said, “You hear me. If I see anything I don't like, your conversation with the prisoner is over. Any funny business and you just might be Morrison's neighbor for the night. Understand?”

“Yes, sir,” Susan and Hermione said.

The Auror pointed his wand at the bars of the cell and three of them opened to make a door. Hermione followed Susan inside. A sound of scraping told Hermione that the Auror had taken his seat. He was now reading a copy of the Daily Prophet. Hermione dared not look at the Auror, but she muttered a lone word under her breath, and concentrated on the Auror.

“Muffliato,” she said under her breath.

Hermione glanced at the Auror. He was still reading the Daily Prophet.

“Okay,” she said, “We can talk freely.”

“Herb?” Susan said, looking at Herb, “Are you awake? It's Susan. Hermione's with me too.”

“I don't know why you came,” Herb said, still looking at the wall, “I'm sure you're just as ashamed with me as everyone else is.”

“We wanted to talk to you, Herb,” Hermione said, “We know you're innocent.”

Herb turned around and sat up.

“Nobody's innocent, Miss Granger,” Herb said, “Everyone who is in Azkaban or in these holding cells is just a little more guilty than everyone else.”

“We know you have no connections to Death Eaters,” Hermione said.

“Is that right?” Herb said, “Maybe you should read the Daily Prophet more.”

“So you do have connections with Death Eaters?” Susan asked.

“If I didn't,” Herb said, “Do you think I'd be locked up in here?”

“Hermione thinks she knows why you're locked up in here,” Susan said, “Don't you, Hermione?”

“You're a Legilimens, right, Herb?” Hermione asked.

Herb took a short glance at the Auror, then looked at Hermione. He nodded.

“You don't need to worry about the Auror eavesdropping, Herb,” Hermione said.

Susan raised an eyebrow at Hermione, then looked at the Auror.

“So you also know Occlumency?” Hermione asked.

Herb nodded again.

“Does the Minister know about this?” Hermione asked.

“He has his suspicions,” Herb said.

“Did you use Occlumency against the Auror that accompanied the Minister?” Hermione asked.

Herb nodded.

“Okay,” Hermione said. “Before I ask you anymore questions, I want you to hear what I think. Is that okay?”

Herb motioned her to continue.

“I think,” Hermione said, “that you have no connections to Death Eaters. But... I do think that someone close to you does have those connections, and you're trying to protect these people.”

Herb stared at her.

“H-h-how?” he said, “How do you know that?”

“Herb,” Susan said, “Hermione Granger wasn't given the title of Smartest Witch of Her Age for nothing.”

Hermione blushed.

“Although, Hermione,” Susan said, “I would also like to know how you know this information.”

“Nobody in their right mind,” Hermione said, looking at Herb, “could put away someone in Azkaban if they had been convicted of it themselves. They'd be too afraid. You were very confident when you put Ralph Fetcher in Azkaban for his connections to a Death Eater.”

Herb looked down at the stone floor. Hermione sat on the right side of him.

“Judge Morrison,” Hermione said, “Who do you know who has these terrible connections to a Death Eater? Who are you trying to protect, Herb?”

Herb looked at Hermione, then looked at Susan. He then returned his gaze back to the floor.

“If it wasn't for an event that happened almost twenty years ago,” Herb said, “I wouldn't be where I am today. I wouldn't be Head Judge for the Wizengamot, and I wouldn't be skilled in Legilimency or Occlumency.”

“Twenty years ago?” Hermione said,

“But,” Susan said, “That would be around the time --”

Susan looked at Hermione. Hermione knew what she was saying. It would have been around the time Voldemort had killed Harry's parents and almost killed Harry.

“Twenty years ago,” Herb said, “My older brother was at the turning point of his life.”

“You never mentioned that you had a brother,” Susan said, sitting down on the other side of Herb.

“This is the first time in twenty years,” Herb said, “I've ever mentioned his existence to anyone. Anyone who knew anything about him thinks he is dead.”

Susan looked at Hermione. Herb cleared his throat.

“Twenty years ago,” Herb said again, “My older brother, Geoff, was at the turning point of his life. He was a graduate of Hogwarts, at the top of his class, and he was destined for a headlining job in the Ministry. Many of the students and professors in Hogwarts said that he would become Minister of Magic before the end of his life.”

Hermione nodded. Geoff Morrison sounded like the kind of student Horace Slughorn would have wanted for his collection. So what had changed that?

“I was still in the prime of my youth,” Herb continued, “Fifteen years old and standing comfortably in Geoffrey Morrison's shadow.”

Hermione was surprised. She would have thought Herb was at least in his mid-forties. Time hadn't been very good to him, even for a wizard.

“The summer after he graduated,” Herb said, “Geoff moved out of my parents' house and into a flat in the outer 'burbs of London. He had no girlfriend, which was surprising to even me at the time. In Hogwarts, he had been Head Boy. There were rumors that he was snogging the Head Girl during his rounds and that she would be the future Mrs. Geoffrey Morrison. This wasn't true. The Head Girl was secretly with the best Seeker in Hogwarts. The problem was that she was a Gryffindor and he was a Slytherin. Even then, both houses were rivals. I'm sure you can guess the potential problems with the Head Girl's secret love. But that has nothing to do with my story.”

“What house were you and your brother in?” Susan asked.

“Oh, we were in separate houses,” Herb said, “I was in Ravenclaw. My brother was in Gryffindor.”

Susan grinned. Her mentor had been in the same house she was in.

“During the summer after he graduated,” Herb said, “I visited Geoff's flat exactly three times. The first time, it was just a dinner between brothers. We laughed and joked like brothers do. He asked me if there was anyone at Hogwarts who I had fancied. I lied and said there wasn't. To be honest, there was one girl. She would become Head Girl in her seventh year, and now I see her every day at work.”

“Bea Haven?” Susan asked, her mouth in a perfect O.

Herb grinned and nodded. Hermione remembered who Bea was. She was the lady who had commented on how long Shacklebolt was interrogating Herb, and she had also talked about Herb in her interview with the Daily Prophet.

“But again,” Herb said, “That has nothing to do with my story. The second time I visited Geoff, he wasn't there. I figured he had already started looking for a job. It was what he had told my parents in the letters he had sent them. The last time I visited my brother's flat... is a day I'll never forget as long as I live.”

Herb paused for a moment. He reached around Susan and lifted up the pillow he had been resting on. He took something from under the pillow and sat back up. Hermione saw two things in his hand. One looked like a photograph. The other looked like a very old newspaper clipping that was folded up.

“This is what my brother looked like on the day of his graduation,” Herb said, showing the photograph to Susan, then Hermione.

Hermione looked at it. To her, Geoff Morrison looked a little like Percy Weasley, though there were major differences. He had short jet-black hair, which could barely be seen under the tousled wizard's cap. His eyes, a strikingly piercing blue were staring behind a pair of horn-rimmed glasses. He was smiling and laughing. Far behind him, Hermione could see the Giant Squid jumping out of the Hogwarts Lake.

“And this,” Herb said, “Is how he looked only five years later.”

Herb unfolded the newspaper clipping. When Herb showed it to Susan, she gasped. He then showed it to Hermione. Hermione almost cried out. The handsome Head Boy-ish features of Geoffrey Morrison had all but disappeared. His hair, still black, was long and filthy as if it had been untended to for a long time. His nose looked as if it had been broken and repaired many times. His mouth, which had been smiling and laughing at Hogwarts, was growling and Hermione could see a broken tooth. But his eyes were what Hermione had been frightened of the most. Although the newspaper clipping was black and white, Hermione could almost see a red tinge in those eyes. Geoff was being held by two wizards that Hermione knew were Aurors. Above Geoff's picture, in big bold letters, were the words:


WANTED: DEAD OR ALIVE
GEOFFREY MORRISON


A reward, below the picture, offered 150 Galleons for capture. Hermione tried to think of what the picture had reminded her of. Then she remembered: it reminded her of Sirius Black's wanted poster.

“What could have possibly happened?” Susan asked, “Herb... what did you see that day?”

“I've never told a single soul,” Herb said, “what I am about to tell you. The day was Herb's eighteenth birthday. I had gone over to his flat to give him my present and the spend the day with him. I would be returning to Hogwarts the following week, and I knew I wouldn't see my brother for a while after this visit. I only wish I hadn't gone over to his flat that day...”

Flashback:

Fifteen year old Herbert Morrison whistled the Hogwarts Hymn to himself as he rode the Knight Bus through the streets of London. A small package was in his lap. Inside the package was a book about the history of the Ministry of Magic.

This, he figured, would help his brother get a job he deserved more than anyone in the wizarding world. Geoff Morrison had been searching for a job for many weeks, and Herb knew that Geoff could have gotten a job the week after he graduated from Hogwarts. He just hadn't visited the right people. Hopefully the book would point him in the right direction. Geoff loved books, Herb knew. He would definitely love this one.

Herb heard someone clear their throat. He looked up. The driver was looking at him.

“Still wanting to get off at the destination you requested?” he said.

Herb nodded.

“This is it, then” the driver said.

“Oh, right,” Herb said, “Thanks.”

“Be safe, kid,” the driver said, “I imagine you're far from home.”

“I'm visiting my brother,” Herb said, proudly.

The driver nodded and Herb walked off the bus. The Knight Bus roared into action and sped down the street, then disappeared into thin air. Herb walked up the street toward his destination. Three houses up the street was Geoff's house. Herb walked up the sidewalk to the house and knocked on the door. A few moments later, the door opened. Geoff looked surprised to see Herb.

“What are you doing here, Herb?” Geoff asked.

“I came to give you your birthday present, Geoff,” Herb said.

Herb nodded to his package. Geoff stared at him, then looked at the package.

“Oh, all right,” he said, “Come on in then.”

Herb walked past Geoff and into the house. He looked back to his brother, who was looking left and right out the door.

“Are you expecting somebody?” Herb asked.

“Huh?” Geoff said, turning his head to Herb, “Oh. Yeah, a friend is taking me out to eat later.”

“A friend?” Herb asked, “Do I know them? Is it a girl?”

“No,” Geoff said, “It's a guy. And you don't know him. I'm meeting him about a job.”

“A job?” Herb asked, “In the Ministry, perhaps?”

“You talk too much, you know that?” Geoff said, “Go sit in the living room. Do you want anything to drink?”

“You have butterbeer?” Herb asked.

“Always,” Geoff said.

Herb grinned. As he walked into the living room, he noticed Geoff look back at the front door. Herb sat down on the couch, and a minute later, Herb came in with two bottles of butterbeer.

“All right,” Geoff said, handing Herb a bottle and sitting beside him, “What did you get me?”

Herb handed him the package. Geoff tore it open and looked at the book.

“'A Thorough History of the Ministry of Magic',” Geoff said, reading the title, “You got me a book, little brother?”

“I know you want to get a job at the Ministry,” Herb said, “I figured this will help you. You don't like it?”

Geoff looked at the book, then looked back at Herb.

“No,” he said, then put a hand to Herb's head and scuffed up his hair, “I love it! Thanks. Be honest with me now. Did Dad ask you to get me this?”

“No,” Herb said, “I got it from Flourish and Blott's myself.”

“All right,” Geoff said, “I believe you. I tell you what. I'll start reading it when I get back from dinner with my friend. I might be reading it all night, you know?”

Herb grinned. Suddenly, he heard something that sounded like a whip cracking, followed by two more cracks.

“Oh, bloody hell,” Geoff said, suddenly.

“That came from the front yard, didn't it?” Herb said, “Was that somebody apparating?”

Geoff jumped up and pulled Herb to his feet. He took Herb's hand and dragged Herb over to a door with a bunch of rivets in it.

“G-Geoff!” Herb said, “I don't understand. What's going on?”

“Get in here,” Geoff said, opening the door and pushing Herb in, “Don't say a word. Nobody was supposed to be here with me when they got here.”

“B-b-but I don't understand, Geoff,” Herb said, frightened, “What's going on? Please, tell me!”

“Shh!” Geoff shushed him, “Be quiet. I'll explain everything later! Do you hear me? Don't... say... a... word.”

Herb nodded. Geoff shut the door. Herb looked around and realized he was in a closet. The only light coming through was from the many rivets in the door. Herb's eyes followed his brother as Geoff walked through the archway seperating the living room and the front hallway. Suddenly, he heard the front door open.

“Hi, guys,” Geoff said to someone, “Didn't expect you today. Look, I just sent my letter by owl earlier today. I was going to see him later this evening.”

“He got your letter, Morrison,” a gruff-sounding voice said, “He didn't want to wait.”

“H-h-he's here?” Geoff asked.

“Of course not!” another voice, this time cool and clear, said, “He's far too busy too make a house call for a grunt like you.”

“Well,” yet another voice, and this time Herb knew it was female, said, “Aren't you going to be kind and let us in?”

“Oh, uh, sure,” Geoff said, “Come on in. Perhaps we can go to the back yard?”

“We'll talk to you in the living room,” the second man's voice said, “I'm sure it's much cooler in there than it is outside.”

“Yes it is,” Geoff said, “To the living room then.”

Herb heard a door slam, then saw two unknown men and a woman walk into the room. Geoff followed them in. One of the men had white-blonde hair and looked pretty young. Herb thought he was the kind of man who was brought up quite well and might have even lived in one of those big mansions people like Herb only read about. The other man had black hair that led into a long ponytail. He also had a long mustache and a beard that ended in a knot. The woman had long black hair and she looked like someone who hadn't seen very much daylight. All three were wearing dark, black cloaks. This scared Herb the most. What kind of friends did Geoff have?

“Do you want anything to drink?” Geoff asked.

“No!” the woman said, “We don't want any of your... poison.”

“Poison?” Geoff asked.

“Now, Bella,” the man with white-blonde hair said, “Play nicely.”

“Hush, Lucius!” Bella hissed, “You're only here because my sister likes you.”

“Are you going to let her talk to me like that, Rabastan?” Lucius asked.

Rabastan just gave a gruff laugh.

“Geoff,” he said, “Rumor around the water hole is that today is your birthday. Is this true?”

“I'm eighteen today,” Geoff said.

“Eighteen?” Bella asked, “So young. Still... old enough for a tattoo, if you get my meaning.”

Rabastan laughed again.

“Tattoo?” Geoff asked.

“Yes,” Bella said, “Surely you remember what the Dark Lord asked of you?”

Herb's eyes went wide. The Dark Lord? That could only mean one thing: these people were Death Eaters! But... did that mean that Geoff was –?

“I-I remember,” Geoff said, “I just didn't think that I'd be qualified for – for something like this.”

“Qualified?” Bella said, in a high laugh, “You are more than qualified! Weren't you the best student of your year at Hogwarts? Didn't you tell the Dark Lord that? Didn't you tell him that rumors were that you were destined to become the future Minister of Magic?”

“Yes,” Geoff said, “But --”

“This is more than a privelege, Geoffrey,” Rabastan said, “Surely you should be grateful.”

“I-I am,” Geoff said.

“Well, then,” Rabastan said, “Take a seat.”

Rabastan pointed to a chair near Geoff. Geoff nodded, and as he walked over to the chair, Herb saw his brother take a short glance at him, then quickly look away. Herb could tell that Geoff looked frightened. Was his brother frightened for his own life... or for Herb's? Bella walked over to Geoff.

“Give me your left arm,” she said.

Geoff laid his left arm upwards on the arm of the chair.

“Lucius,” Bella said, “Hold his arm down. Rabastan, darling, hold his head back. We don't want him to struggle, do we?”

Rabastan went behind Geoff's chair and put one hand under Geoff's chin and the other on top of his head.

“Not so hard, darling,” Bella said, “We don't want to break dear Geoff's neck, do we?”

Herb saw his brother's left arm shaking, until the man named Lucius grabbed it and pinned it against the arm of the chair. Bella took out her wand and pressed the tip against Geoff's forearm.

“Geoffrey Morrison,” Bella said, “Do you promise to serve the Dark Lord for as long as you shall live? Nod your head, darling, that is all.”

“Say no, Geoff,” Herb said, under his breath, “Just say no.”

Geoff nodded.

“Good boy,” Bella said, “Do you promise to answer the call of the Dark Lord at all times?”

Geoff nodded.

“Do you promise to lay your life before the Dark Lord if he asks you to?” Bella asked.

Geoff nodded.

“And last, but not least,” Bella said, “Do you promise, as a loyal Death Eater, to be true to other Death Eaters around you, to never speak ill of them, and to never reveal yourself as a Death Eater to those who oppose the Dark Lord even under pain of death?”

Geoff nodded. Bella grinned. She looked from Geoff's eyes to his forearm. She then muttered something that sounded like a song. Geoff groaned and screamed. Herb wanted to burst out of the closet and tell them to stop. To leave his brother alone and get out of the house. But he knew he couldn't. He knew those people out there, those Death Eaters, would kill him and his brother as soon as he revealed himself.

Something formed on Geoff's forearm, and Herb knew what it was. He had seen this mark in Defense Against the Dark Arts many times. It was a skull with a snake protruding from its mouth. It was the Dark Mark.

“There!” Bella said, “Now that wasn't so bad, was it? In fact, it looks quite macho on you.”

“Yeah!” Rabastan said, “You'll get your pick of the girls now, fella.”

Rabastan laughed.

Flashback ends...


Hermione's eyes were wide and she realized she had tears streaming down her cheeks.

“I couldn't do anything,” Herb said, “Not a thing. I sat back while Lucius Malfoy and the two Lestranges branded my brother with that – that mark.”

“I don't know how you could have done it,” Susan said, “I would be screaming for my life. And to think... Lucius Malfoy was in one of our courtrooms, right in front of us, only a couple weeks ago, and you had to sit there knowing that he once participated in giving the Dark Mark to your brother.”

“That's not all,” Herb said, “There's more. After he was branded with the Dark Mark, he was led out of the house and went who knows where. The next time I saw him was almost three years later. Voldemort was gone, though now we know that was only temporary, and the Death Eaters were on the run. Every day after I witnessed my brother being branded with the Dark Mark, I started reading the Daily Prophet. I feared that I would see news of his capture or murder, but I didn't. Fast-forward to three years later. I had just graduated from Hogwarts. Top marks in my class. I don't know how I did it. I had nightmares almost every night of my brother turning into the next Dark Lord. I think the only reason I stayed sane was that I made a promise to myself to keep my brother's secret to myself. Nobody could know about it.”

Herb looked at the floor again.

“I told you that I started my career as a Court Scribe, right?” Herb asked.

“Sure,” Hermione said.

“That wasn't right,” Herb said, “I started my career as a journalist for the Daily Prophet. It would keep me close enough to the news so that if I ever heard news of my brother, I could find him. The trouble was... he found me.”

Hermione noticed that Susan's eyes went wide. She wasn't surprised. She was sure she had the same expression.

“He didn't try to recruit you, did he?” Susan asked.

“No,” Herb said, “Just the opposite.”

“He tried to kill you?” Susan asked.

“No, he couldn't if he tried,” Herb said, “There is a bond that siblings have. That bond probably saved me. He tried to tell me to run for it. If he could find me, then they could. I couldn't run. I was too worried about him. Actually, I told him to run. I told him to get away from the Death Eaters. I told him to hide. He said he would try, but that I had to do something in return. He told me that I had to learn Legilimency and Occlumency. He told me I had to learn this so I could block my mind if anyone asked me about him. He then ran off and I never saw him again. Well, that's not true either. The last time I saw him...”

He pointed to the newspaper clipping.

“Was two years later,” he said, looking at the clipping. “I had done pretty well for myself in the Daily Prophet. Bringing in high quality stories, while waiting for the one that would break even me. Then it came. By then I was the man in charge of completing the Daily Prophet and getting them ready for copies. One day, I saw this article on the chopping block. This picture was above it.”

He pointed to the clipping once again.

“The article below said that Geoff had been captured by Aurors while hiding away in Ireland,” Herb said, “He was taken to an Irish prison where this picture was taken. It said, that one night, Geoff escaped from the prison and was, once again, on the run. So there I was sitting in my office in the Daily Prophet headquarters with a choice: allow this article to be in that morning's edition of the Daily Prophet, or save my brother's skin and trash it. You can probably guess what I did. This picture you see is from the only copy of that article. The rest is gone. I made it disappear with a simple vanishing spell. Unfortunately the author of this article was the son of the head of the Daily Prophet at the time. When he didn't see his article, his father thought he lost it, and then he blamed me. He told his father about it, and I was fired. So what could I do? I had to make sure that I was keeping my brother safe, but in secret.”

“So you joined the justice career,” Hermione said.

“Bingo,” Herb said, “I was where I needed to be. Working my way to judge, having my reputation as top student at Hogwarts behind me. Plus I was safely at a point where I could make sure I see everything that was going on in the Wizengamot. At the time, many Death Eaters were being captured and sent in front of the Wizengamot. It was the perfect idea. Thankfully, my brother has evaded capture and to this day, he has somehow stayed in hiding or...”

“Or he is dead,” Susan said.

Herb nodded. Fresh tears fell from his eyes and onto the faded newspaper clipping.

“Now,” he said, “Here I am, and my past has finally caught up with me.”

“So nobody has ever made the connection between Geoff and you?” Susan asked.

“Never,” Herb said, “My parents think he is dead. They never knew he was a Death Eater. I never talk about him, so nobody knows who he is. Well, almost nobody. I have a feeling that Lucius Malfoy may have made the connection at one point or another, but he keeps it quiet. There have been times where I think that if I ever sent him or his family to Azkaban, he would reveal my secret. Doesn't matter now. Way I figured it, I have two choices: go to Azkaban for refusing to tell the Minister what I'm hiding from him, or tell him that he is wrong about me, but not pretty far from the truth.”

“Is there anything we can do?” Susan asked. “Maybe we could try and find your brother? Maybe he could stick up for you, like a big brother should do. I mean, he would be making up for his mistakes.”

“Yeah!” Hermione said, “Besides, it's his problem to begin with. He should be grateful to you for keeping his secret for all these years.”

“I appreciate it, ladies,” Herb said, “I really do. But I don't think there is a chance in the world.”

“If I know anything, Your Honor,” Hermione said, “I know there is always some kind of chance. This is what I think we should do. I think we should let this court date happen. There is only one chance that you will be able to get through this without being sentenced to Azkaban. Susan, do you think you can try and find Geoff?”

Susan looked shocked, but then she looked at Herb and nodded.

“I'll try my best,” Susan said, “I have my resources.”

“Okay,” Hermione said, “Herb, all you have to do is keep your story secret until Friday. I think we might just be able to pull it off.”

“All right!” the Auror's voice said, “Time's up. Daily Prophet reporters are going to be a little early it seems.”

“We'll do whatever we can, Herb,” Hermione said, “I promise.”

Herb smiled and nodded. The cell door opened and Hermione and Susan walked out.

“I hope you know what you're doing,” Susan said, as they made their way back toward the front room of the Auror Headquarters.

“So do I,” Hermione said.

“You know,” Susan said, “There might be one more factor on our side on Friday.”

“Oh?” Hermione asked.

“You know the judge I'm meeting tomorrow?” Susan said, “The judge who is scheduled for Herb's case? I'll give you three guesses who it is.”

“I have no idea,” Hermione said.

“Let me give you a hint,” Susan said, “Her name was mentioned during Herb's story.”

“Oh,” Hermione said, nodding and grinning, “Bea Haven.”

“Exactly,” Susan said.

“You think Bea Haven knows about Herb's crush on her?” Hermione asked.

“She will, Hermione,” Susan said, “I'll make sure of it.”

Hermione grinned. She may have been smiling, but her insides were screaming. She knew there was a chance that everything would work out in Herb's favor on Friday. But did Herb know just how miniscule that chance was?

-----------------------------------------
Cliffhanger! Whew. Well a lot of factors in this chapter could be very wrong. But, I thought it would work out best with my story.

I hope you liked this chapter! Feedback would be great.


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