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

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Old September 6th, 2009, 1:27 am
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Re: Butterfly Kisses (Sequel to Harry Potter and the Return to Hogwarts)

Chapter 21
Herb Morrison vs. The Wizengamot

(Hermione's PoV)

The next couple of days were some of the toughest days Hermione had ever had in her life. Between Thursday and Friday, Hermione received three letters from Susan Bones. The first letter, told Hermione that Susan had written a letter to Herb's brother, telling him all about Herb's predicament.

In the letter, Susan had told Geoff that Herb had told her his story, and said how much Herb had given up for him in his life, and how much he was giving up for his brother now. She had asked Geoff to come to the Ministry of Magic on Friday and reveal himself to the Wizengamot and stick up for his brother, who had done the same for him all these years. She had also sent clippings from the Daily Prophet of Herb's arrest as proof to what she had said, including a clipping from Thursday morning's edition, which had stated that Herb would be put on trial in Courtroom Seven on Friday at eight-thirty in the morning, and could be sentenced to Azkaban for up to thirty years.

Hermione had read this same article early Wednesday morning. She couldn't believe her eyes when she saw the number of years, and knew that Kingsley had been behind it all.

The second letter from Susan also came on Thursday. It told Hermione that Bea Haven was indeed the judge who would be heading Herb's case. Susan had tried to persuade her to go easy on Herb during the case, and all Susan said was that she wasn't exactly sure what had been going through Bea's mind.

The third letter came Friday morning with the Daily Prophet, and all it said was that Susan hadn't received any letter back from Herb's brother, but that her owl had come back the day before with empty-talons, so she figured that the owl had found its target.

A good portion of the Daily Prophet was dedicated to the story of Head Judge Herb Morrison's case. One article said that Minister of Magic Kingsley Shacklebolt himself would be present for the case, and had also invited much of the media to be in the court room as well. It had also reported that Kingsley and his good friend, the Auror who had been skilled in Legilimens, would be taking the stand against Herb Morrison as well.

“They are certainly holding nothing back,” Ron said, at breakfast, as he was reading the Daily Prophet, “Aren't they?”

Hermione silently shook her head.

“Do you think Herb even has a chance of getting through this unscathed?” Ron asked.

“There is only man who can save Herb now,” Hermione said.

“Himself?” Ron asked.

“Besides himself,” Hermione said.

“Who?” Ron asked.

Hermione was about to answer, when she heard a pecking sound on the window.

“Another Ministry owl?” Ron asked.

Hermione stood up and rushed over to the window. She opened it up and took the rolled up piece of parchment from its talons and read it, her eyes going back and forth in a blur. She couldn't believe her eyes as she read it, and read over it a second time. What was Susan thinking? Could they actually get away with this? Could they be lucky enough?

“Looks like there is three people who can save Herb now,” Hermione said, “Herb included.”

“Who?” Ron asked.

“Lucius Malfoy,” Hermione said.

“Are you joking?” Ron asked, “After what Morrison has put him through?”

“I know,” Hermione said, shrugging, “I can't believe it myself. But it looks like he has made a bargain with Susan, and Susan has found a way to work it out.”

“What do you mean?” Ron asked.

“If Malfoy takes the stand,” Hermione said, “Susan says Narcissa will be free from her duties.”

“Take the stand?” Ron asked, “What could Lucius Malfoy possibly have to give that could be good enough?”

“A lot more than you know, Ron,” Hermione said.

Hermione knew there was only one real reason that Lucius Malfoy would take the stand. He had immunity from anything involving his history as a Death Eater, and if he revealed his story, he would be immune from any penalty.

“So are you going to tell me who this third person is?” Ron asked.

“I shouldn't,” Hermione said, “I don't even know if he'll show up today.”

“Well, whoever it is, Hermione,” Ron said, “I hope he shows up for Judge Morrison's sake.”

“So do I, Ron,” Hermione said, “So do I.”


“Bottom floor,” the cool voice in the lifts said, “Courtrooms One Through Ten, Department of Mysteries.”

Hermione followed a large number of witches and wizards out of the lifts. Many of them had cameras, and Hermione was sure she had been riding the lifts with many of the Daily Prophet reporters. Hermione immediately saw Susan waiting by the wall in front of Courtroom Seven. Susan saw her at once and motioned her over.

“Any sign of Geoff?” Hermione asked.

“Nope,” Susan said, frowning.

“You've been very busy over the past couple of days,” Hermione said, “How did you get Lucius Malfoy to take the stand.”

“Well,” Susan said, “I was having lunch after my meeting with Bea Haven yesterday and suddenly it came to me. There was one person in Herb's story, other than Geoff, who could help Herb out the most. The only problem is how to convince Lucius to do it. Then I remembered that his wife was working for us when she didn't really want to. I wrote Lucius a letter and asked him to meet me if he wanted to free his wife from her job. This morning, he met me at the Leaky Cauldron. Do you want to know what the first thing he asked me was?”

“Sure,” Hermione said.

“He asked me,” Susan said, “if the little boy that Herb Morrison once was ever came out of that closet.”

“He knew?” Hermione asked.

“He knew,” Susan said, nodding, “And he also somehow knew that Herb had told the story to me. I told him he had, and he told me that he'd help Herb only if I stuck to my promise. I told him that if Herb stayed out of Azkaban and kept his position of Head Judge, that he would definitely give a full pardon to the whole Malfoy family, including immunity.”

“But he has the pardon,” Hermione said.

“I told him that,” Susan said, “He said that as long as his wife was still working for the Ministry, that his pardon would never be official. Well, that is exactly what I had promised him to begin with. He also said that every one of his files that revealed him as a Death Eater had to be wiped clean and vanished into oblivion, and that none of it could ever show up in the Daily Prophet again. I told him that if Herb survived this trial, he would do everything in his power to make that possible. Lucius agreed.”

“Have you told Herb this yet?” Hermione asked.

“Yep,” Susan said, “I told him and his lawyer.”

“Who is his lawyer?” Hermione asked.

“Calvin Peters,” Susan said.

“I knew it,” Hermione said, “Somehow I just knew it.”

“Relax,” Susan said, “Calvin knows what he is doing.”

“Does Calvin also know Herb has a brother who was once a Death Eater?” Hermione asked.

Susan didn't reply.

“I thought as much,” Hermione said.

Hermione and Susan remained by the wall as scores of witches and wizards made their way into Courtroom Seven.

“Susan,” Hermione said, “Those aren't all reporters are they?”

“Herb Morrison has many friends,” Susan said, “Unfortunately, he also has many enemies who haven't made their way into Azkaban just yet. And that isn't the only surprise of the day, I promise you.”

“What do you mean?” Hermione asked.

“Since you started working with the Wizengamot, Hermione,” Susan said, “Have you noticed anything odd? I don't mean with the defendants. I mean anything that hits closer to home, as the Muggles say.”

“You mean with the Wizengamot?” Hermione asked.

Susan nodded.

“Well,” Hermione said, “I was always under the impression that the Wizengamot was a lot larger.”

“Right on the Galleon,” Susan said, “In every case you've participated in, the Wizengamot have always been numbered to a bare minimum. That is until today.”

“Susan,” Hermione said, “You're not saying...?”

“Herb is going to be tried in front of the whole Wizengamot,” Susan said.

“Oh, Merlin,” Hermione said, sighing.

Susan nodded.

“Do we have any chance, Susan?” Hermione asked.

“What did you say to Herb on Wednesday, Hermione?” Susan asked.

Hermione shrugged. Susan put a hand on her shoulder.

“There is always a chance,” she said, “Always.”

Hermione nodded timidly, and as she watched more and more witches and wizards walk into Courtroom Seven, she knew now who many of them were: several members of the full Wizengamot.

At eight-twenty, Hermione was sitting in her usual seat. Almost every chair around her was filled, and over half of the witches and wizards in the courtroom were dressed in the golden robes of the Wizengamot. Bea Haven, the judge for the trial, was sitting in Herb's chair. As Hermione looked at her, she only hoped that Susan had said something useful to her.

Down in the bottom three rows of seats, on the left side of the room, were a number of witches and wizards, all equipped with either a camera, or a large stack of parchment and a number of quills and ink. Some of the quills, Hermione recognized, were of the Quick-Quotes variety. Directly across from them on the other side of the room was a number of witches and wizards adorned in business suits and dresses. Hermione guessed they were the friends, and enemies, of Herb Morrison. As Hermione looked around, she didn't see neither Lucius Malfoy nor anyone who might have resembled Geoff Morrison anywhere, though she did recognize Narcissa Malfoy sitting a few rows below her. There was an empty seat beside her, and Hermione guessed there was only one person who this seat was reserved for.

The doors of the courtroom opened, and Minister of Magic Kingsley Shacklebolt walked in. Suddenly, he was surrounded in a blaze of camera flashes from the left side, and applause broke out from the right side. A few reporters started to ask some questions to him, but he raised his hands toward them and silenced them immediately, then took his seat on the bottom row. Hermione then recognized someone she hadn't seen until then: Cornelius Fudge was sitting in the chair next to Kingsley. On the other side of Kingsley was a man dressed in the attire usually seen on an Auror. Hermione only guessed that this was the Auror who had been skilled in Legilimency.

The doors of the courtroom opened once more, and a few more people arrived. One, and the sight of him made Hermione's throat tense up, was Lucius Malfoy. Hermione looked at Susan, who looked back at her. Susan was smiling, but Hermione wasn't sure. Would Lucius Malfoy go through with his story? Even more important than that, would Geoff Morrison even show up? Because, as far as Hermione was concerned, without Geoff Morrison's story, it didn't even matter if Lucius Malfoy took the stand or not.

Exactly at eight-thirty, the door opened yet again. This time, Herb Morrison walked in. He was being escorted by two Aurors, one of whom was the same Auror who had escorted Hermione and Susan to Herb's cell. Hermione also recognized the lawyer Calvin Peters, walking behind Herb. Hermione grinned at Herb, hoping he would see her. Herb sat down in the front row, on the opposite side of the Minister.

Suddenly, Susan Bones stood up and the entire room went silent as if someone had suddenly used the Silencing Charm in the room.

“The next case is Herb Morrison vs. The Wizengamot,” Susan said, “Honorable Judge Haven presiding.”

Susan sat back down, and Bea Haven leaned forward.

“Would the defendant rise?” she asked.

Herb Morrison stood up, followed by Calvin Peters.

“Herbert Morrison,” Bea said, “You are in front of the Wizengamot today as ordered by Minister of Magic Kingsley Shacklebolt, under the charges that you have connections to Death Eaters. Minister Shacklebolt also claims that you have not been entirely honest with him, and hopes that you will give your story today. He also wants the Wizengamot to be informed that Herb Morrison is, in fact, the defendant today, and should be treated as the defendant, and not as the Head Judge of the Wizengamot. Mr. Peters, do you have anything to say in the defense of your client before we start?”

Calvin stepped forward.

“Yes, Your Honor,” Calvin said.

“Bea will be fine, Mr. Peters,” Bea said, sighing.

“Of course,” Calvin said, “Mr. Morrison has informed me that he will be revealing his entire story today, and has also informed me that he has a witness for --”

Herb tapped Calvin's shoulder and whispered something into his ear.

“Pardon me,” Calvin said, “Two witnesses, if the other witness is here on time.”

“I have no wish to wait for your witnesses, Mr. Peters,” Bea said, “Is at least one of your witnesses here?”

“Yes, Bea,” Calvin said.

“Is there anything else you want to say before we begin?” Bea said.

“Yes,” Calvin said, “We request, because the Minister has offered his own participation for the Wizengamot's side of the case, and because he is obviously a very busy man, that the prosecution goes first.”

“Is there a reason for this request,” Bea said, “that has to do with anything besides the Minister's schedule?”

“Yes,” Calvin said, “My client feels that the Minister's statement will help him with his story.”

“I will accept it if the Minister has no objections,” Bea said, “Objections?”

Kingsley stood up and shook his head.

“Very well,” Bea said, “The Wizengamot calls Minister of Magic Kingsley Shacklebolt to the stand.”

Kingsley walked over to the chair in the middle of the floor and sat down.

“State your name for the Wizengamot,” Bea said.

“Kingsley Shacklebolt, Minister of Magic,” Kingsley said.

“Minister,” Bea said, “Can you please state your reason for charging the defendant?”

“I interviewed Mr. Morrison this past Tuesday,” Kingsley said, “during my on-going investigation. That day I had investigated the Wizengamot who had shown up that day, and only Mr. Morrison interested me enough to order him to a second interview.”

“Please be more clear, Minister,” Bea said, “Why was he the most interesting out of all your investigations?”

“I had a feeling that he was hiding something from me,” Kingsley said, “And during that first interview, I asked Franklin Sawyer to assist.”

“Franklin Sawyer,” Bea said, “the man who you've also asked to be a participant for the prosecution?”

“Yes, Bea,” Kingsley said. “He is skilled in Legilimency, and his knowledge in this art helps me, as well as the Auror Department, with many interviews. He assisted me in my interview with Herb Morrison, but he couldn't find anything.”

“Mr. Sawyer, will you take the stand with the Minister?” Bea asked.

Sawyer stood up and walked behind the Minister.

“Mr. Sawyer,” Bea said, “I'm sure many of the Wizengamot are not familiar with Legilimency. It has been quite a few years since many of us have had our education.”

Many of the witches and wizards on the right side of the courtroom laughed softly. Bea looked at them, and they stopped.

“Thank you,” she said, then looked back at Sawyer, “ Mr. Sawyer, as I was saying, could you please tell us about Legilimency?”

Sawyer gave his explanation about Legilimency. He also described Occlumency.

“So Occlumency is used to block Legilimency?” Bea asked.

“Yes, Your Honor,” Sawyer said.

“Has Occlumency ever stopped your attempts of Legilimency before?” Bea asked.

“Of course, Your Honor,” Sawyer said.

“Even when you are at the top of your art?” Bea asked.

“Yes, ma'am,” Sawyer said.

“Mr. Peters, may I see you up here for a moment?” Bea asked.

Calvin stood up and walked up the stairs, then past Hermione and over to Bea. Bea whispered something to Calvin and Calvin nodded. Bea whispered something else and Calvin nodded once again. Bea motioned for Calvin to return to his seat. He did so, and whispered something to Herb. Hermione could tell he looked a little concerned, but then nodded. Calvin looked at Bea and gave her the thumbs-up signal.

“Mr. Sawyer,” Bea said, “Are you aware that Herb Morrison is skillful in the art of Legilimency?”

“I heard the rumor, but I wasn't sure, Your Honor,” Sawyer said.

“So then it would be accurate to say,” Bea said, “That you were not aware that Herb Morrison is also skilled in the art of Occlumency.”

“I was not aware of that,” Sawyer said.

“The Minister says that you found nothing when you used Legilimency on Herb Morrison,” Bea said, “Is that correct?”

“I found nothing pertaining to what I was searching for,” Sawyer said.

“Which is what?” Bea asked.

“Any connections to Death Eaters,” Sawyer said.

“Could Occlumency have been the reason for your failure to find anything?” Bea asked.

“Yes,” Sawyer said, “Absolutely.”

“Thank you, Mr. Sawyer,” Bea said, “You may sit back down.”

Sawyer nodded and sat back down.

“Minister Shacklebolt,” Bea said, “I will ask you the same questions. Were you aware that Herb Morrison was skilled in Legilimency and Occlumency?”

“Not at the time of my first interview with him on Tuesday,” Kingsley said.

“You interviewed the defendant four times this week,” Bea said, “Is that correct?”

“Yes,” Kingsley said.

“You were unsuccessful to get the information you wanted?” Bea asked, “Is that true?”

“If it were not” Kingsley said, “we wouldn't be here today, Your Honor.”

“That is all, Minister,” Bea said, “Thank you.”

Minister stood up and returned to his seat.

“Will the defendant please take the stand?” Bea asked.

Herb stood up and walked over to the chair and sat down.

“State your name,” Bea said.

“Herbert Morrison,” Herb said.

“You've agreed to tell the whole story you've been denying, Mr. Morrison?” Bea asked.

“Yes, ma'am,” Herb said.

“Do you have any connections with Death Eaters, Mr. Morrison?” Bea asked.

“I do not,” Herb said, “But someone very close to me does.”

Many of the witches and wizards started to whisper and mutter about each other.

“Silence,” Bea said.

The whole room went suddenly silent.

“Thank you,” Bea said, “Any more of this and I will ask that anyone who is not a participant in this trial leave the courtroom.”

Bea sighed and looked at Herb.

“Mr. Morrison,” she said, “Are you telling me that the reason we are here today is because you are protecting someone close to you?”

“Yes, ma'am,” Herb said.

“Knowing that you could go to Azkaban for a maximum of thirty years if you are proven guilty?” Bea asked.

“Yes, ma'am,” Herb said.

“All right,” Bea said, “Are you ready to tell your story, Mr. Morrison?”

“I am,” Herb said.

“By all means,” Bea said, “continue.”

Herb started telling his story. The whole room was silent while he told the Wizengamot about his brother, how he had admired him, and how Geoff Morrison could have been a well-respected individual even today if certain events had not taken place. He then continued with the fateful day he had visited his brother at his house. He then explained how he had heard three people apparating into his brother's front yard.

“My brother then pushed me into living room closet and proceeded to the front door,” he said, “I heard three voices. Voices I had never heard before in my life. Voices that scared me.”

Hermione looked down at Lucius Malfoy. She noticed he was shifting uncomfortably.

“Then two men and a woman entered into the living room,” Herb said, “And Geoff followed them in.”

“Did you recognize any of these people?” Bea asked.

“At the time, no,” Herb said.

“What do you mean?” Bea asked.

“As the years went by,” Herb said, “Those two men and the woman's identities suddenly became clear to me.”

“And who were they?” Bea asked.

“Rabastan and Bellatrix Lestrange,” Herb said, “And Lucius Malfoy.”

“Known to the world today as three of the convicted Death Eaters,” Bea said, then turned her head, and Hermione knew she was looking at Lucius, “At least they were at the time.”

“Yes, your Honor,” Herb said.

“Continue,” Bea said.

Herb continued his story. He put in detail how Lucius and Rabastan had held his brother down as Bellatrix applied the Dark Mark to his arm, then dragged him out of the room.

“Did you see your brother any time after the day of his eighteenth birthday?” Bea asked.

Herb nodded and continued his story. He told them how he hadn't seen his brother for three years, and when his brother found him, he asked his brother to leave the Death Eaters and run away into hiding. He also told them about the Daily Prophet clipping and how he had intentionally sabotaged that edition of the paper.

“And I haven't seen him since,” Herb said, “I don't even know if he is alive.”

“I assume you are hoping your brother is one of your witnesses,” Bea said.

“It's a long shot,” Herb said, “I know.”

“All right,” Bea said, “Mr. Morrison, you may leave the stand. As for your other witness, Mr. Peters. I think I know who he is. Would you like to introduce him yourself?”

“Yes, your Honor,” Calvin said, “I call Lucius Malfoy to the stand.”

Hermione stared at Lucius Malfoy. After about thirty seconds, Lucius Malfoy stood up and walked down to the central chair

“Silence,” Bea said, preventing any remarks from the witches and wizards around the courtroom, “Let me make it perfectly clear that Lucius Malfoy has a Ministerial pardon against his charges as a Death Eater, and has promised that his dark days are over. I think this can be seen as Mr. Malfoy has agreed to take the stand. Mr. Malfoy, I assume you are here to back up Herb Morrison's story.”

Lucius looked as if he was swallowing back something fierce.

“Yes, your Honor,” he finally said.

“Were you, in fact, present in Geoff Morrison's house on the day Mr. Morrison is describing?” Bea asked, “Also referred to as Geoff Morrison's eighteenth birthday.”

“Yes, Your Honor,” Lucius said.

“Were Rabastan and Bellatrix Lestrange with you?” Bea asked.

“Yes, Your Honor,” Lucius said again.

“Why did you visit Geoff Morrison on the day of his eighteenth birthday?” Bea asked.

“We were there,” Lucius said, “because the Dar--”

He paused for a moment.

“I understand what you are trying to say,” Bea said, “You may continue the way you want with it. I promise there will be no interruption.”

She looked, with narrow eyes, around at the people in the courtroom.

“Sorry, Your Honor,” he said, “We visited Geoff Morrison because Voldemort requested it.”

“Had Geoff Morrison met with Voldemort before this date?” Bea asked.

“Yes,” Lucius said, “I cannot tell you the details of it, because I was not present for it.”

“Continue with what you do know, Mr. Malfoy,” Bea said.

“Voldemort requested myself and the Lestranges to meet with Morrison,” Lucius said, “And we were to brand him with the Dark Mark. It was an odd request, because Voldemort never allowed many people this privelege unless he trusted them. I don't know what Geoff did to gain Voldemort's trust. After he was branded, we took him back to Voldemort, where he became an official member of the Death Eaters. He--”

Suddenly, the doors of the court room opened and a man walked into the center of the courtroom. Lucius Malfoy looked at him with wide eyes. Hermione looked down at Herb Morrison, who looked as if he was about to cry.

“What is this intrusion?!” Bea asked, standing up.

“Sorry, Your Honor,” the man said, “But I was under the impression that I had been invited here.”

“Will you please tell us your name?” Bea asked.

“My current name is Daniel McMillan,” the man said, “But I was born under the name of Geoffrey Morrison.”

Cliffhanger! Okay, I know. Many of you guys probably saw that coming. But I had to go that way. This is getting very interesting. All of this I have written comes from my head, and I will understand if any of it could be too believable for canon, but this is the way I've imagined it.

More to come! Feedback would be wonderful.

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Old September 6th, 2009, 1:37 am
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Re: Butterfly Kisses (Sequel to Harry Potter and the Return to Hogwarts)

Chapter 22
Geoff's Story

(Hermione's PoV)

Like many of the witches and wizards in the courtroom, Hermione stared at Geoffrey Morrison. He did not look like the man, in the Daily Prophet clipping, who was growling at the camera. In Hermione's opinion, he looked like an older version of the boy in the picture that was taken the day of his graduation. His jet-black hair was short once again, and he had no facial hair. The only difference from the Head Boy he once was, was that he had no glasses now. He was wearing a business suit, complete with pants. Hermione noticed that the shirt's sleeves went all the way to his hands.

“You are the defendant's brother?” Bea asked.

“If Herb Morrison is the defendant you speak of,” Geoff said, “Then yes, I am his brother.”

“Mr. Morrison,” Bea said, “Your brother has told us quite an interesting story about you. The man sitting on the stand right now has also confirmed his story. I really have no words for it.”

“I've led a very interesting life, Your Honor,” Geoff said.

“Would you like to tell us about it?” Bea said.

“If it will keep my brother out of prison,” Geoff said, “I would only be happy to oblige.”

“All right,” Bea said, “You can return to your seat, Mr. Malfoy.”

Lucius stood up. He and Geoff traded short glances at each other, then returned to his seat. Geoff sat down in the central chair and looked longingly at his brother, smiling.

“All right, Mr. Morrison,” Bea said, “Tell us your story.”

“I'm not exactly sure what my brother has told you,” Geoff said, “Where should I start?”

“Lucius Malfoy spoke of you meeting with Voldemort sometime before your eighteenth birthday,” Bea said, “Is this true?”

“A week before my eighteenth birthday, in fact,” Geoff said.

“Why did you want to meet with Voldemort?” Bea asked.

“I assume you are asking me why I decided to become a Death Eater, Your Honor?” Geoff asked.

“Yes, Mr. Morrison,” Bea said.

“If I know my brother,” Geoff said, “He probably told you about my days at Hogwarts.”

“He told us a few things yes,” Bea said, “He explained how you were a top student, well-respected by your peers.”

“I'm sure many of my fellow students would have told you that,” Geoff said, chuckling, “Unfortunately, that's not all of it. I don't think they would be as compassionate if they knew the whole truth of my experience at school. It was the start of my seventh year. I was like many students going into their final year. I was very nervous about the whole thing. My reputation was quite well, and I didn't want to ruin it. I had searched for a way to improve my situation. I guess you could say I was trying to cure my anxiety. A couple weeks into the first term, a few students were passing out pieces of parchment, stating that what they offered could provide a brilliant future, not just in Hogwarts, but outside it. In reality, Your Honor, these were the youngest members of the group known as the Death Eaters.”

“Voldemort was recruiting students in Hogwarts?” Bea asked.

“Yes, ma'am,” Geoff said, “I would not discover the truth behind their quest for... oh... many weeks into the second term of my seventh year. I was inspired by their reasons. They told me that many members of their group led very promising lives and were destined to be a part of the high society of the wizarding world. Well, this is exactly where I wanted to go with my life. I couldn't resist. A couple weeks before graduation was our final meeting at Hogwarts. We were all supposed to meet Voldemort some time in the future. Someone would send a message to us. We would be informed where to go and when to be there. When the letter finally came, I met Voldemort. He basically interviewed me. He told me his recruits from Hogwarts had told him about me. He said he was very interested in me. After the interview, he told me someone would come by a week from then. That day was my eighteenth birthday.”

Geoff paused for a moment, then continued.

“That day,” he continued, “I waited and waited for the messenger to come by. I heard a knock on the door, and opened it, thinking it was them. It was my brother, Herb. He had come over to give me my birthday present. I couldn't have told him to leave. He would have asked me why, and I couldn't tell him. So I invited him in, hoping he would be gone from my house before the messenger was sent. During my brother's visit, the messengers came. I only expected one, but three came by. I hid my brother in the closet and invited the messengers in, praying they did not find Herb. They proceeded to give me what are called the Death Eater's Vows, and branded me with the Dark Mark.”

“Could you show us the Dark Mark, Mr. Morrison?” Bea asked.

“I'm afraid that would be kind of impossible,” Geoff said.

“Why is that?” Bea asked.

“The reasons why come later in my story,” Geoff said.

“All right,” Bea said, “Please continue.”

“After they branded me,” Geoff said, “They forced me out of the house and made me apparate with them. I arrived at a place where Voldemort and the Death Eaters were hiding at the time. From that moment on, I had become a Death Eater. Well, as I'm sure you know, later that year, Voldemort met his first downfall. The Death Eaters thought all was lost and that we were all doomed. So we ran. We fled from England, each into different countries, some as far as Russia as I've heard. I, myself, went to Ireland. Three years after my Branding Day, as the Death Eaters call it, fate played an interesting card. I picked up a Daily Prophet, interested in what was going on back home. I guess you could say I was home-sick. What should I find, but my brother's name. He had become an journalist. Around that time, I was once again confronted by one of my fellow Death Eaters, the same who branded me with my Dark Mark, Bellatrix Lestrange. She, too, had recognized my brother's name, and had given me a mission. She thought my brother could possibly become a threat to the Death Eaters. She didn't know he was a witness to my branding, though. She asked me to track down my brother. My mission was to recruit him into the Death Eaters, and he would become one of the Brand-less, those who were in our group, but didn't have the Dark Mark. We could only give the Dark Mark if Voldemort ordered it. Of course, Voldemort was gone at the time. If my brother didn't join the Death Eaters, I was ordered to kill him.”

“How did you find your brother?” Bea asked.

“It was easier than I had imagined,” Geoff continued, “He was still living at our parents' house. Though at the time, our mother and father were on holiday, so they never saw me. On my way to England, I started to have a change of heart. I knew I couldn't recruit my brother into the Death Eaters, and I wasn't going to kill him. So when I confronted him, I told him to run for his life, and said that if I could find him, the other Death Eaters could find him. Well, my brother has always been pretty brave. Brave enough for the both of us. He refused to run. In fact, he told me to run. Well, of course I had been thinking about it for some time, but I could never do it. It was his suggestion that made me do it. But I made a deal with him. Since he was the only person, outside the Death Eaters, who knew what I had become and knew I was alive, I made him promise to learn Legilimency and Occlumency in case anyone ever asked me about my whereabouts. I then said what I thought would be my final goodbye to him and ran off.”

“You didn't go back to the Death Eaters?” Bea asked.

“I couldn't,” Geoff said, “I had defied an order from a superior-ranked Death Eater. Unfortunately, it's very difficult to stop being a Death Eater, especially at the time when the whole wizarding world was looking for you and your group. I ran off back to Ireland, though far from my original hiding space. There I hid for two years, until a couple of Aurors found me and took me to an Irish prison. I escaped before they could take me back to England, and I knew I had to start my whole life over. I became Daniel McMillan and have lived with this name for fifteen years.”

“You said that showing us the Dark Mark would be difficult,” Bea said, “Why?”

“Well,” Geoff said, “After I changed my name, I realized I still had the Dark Mark on my arm. If I was arrested again, they would still know what I was. So I tried to make it vanish. It was pretty painful, and I was only mostly successful. I guess what is left on my arm is my punishment and the proof of what I really was for a portion of my life.”

Geoff rolled up the sleeve of his left arm, and showed his arm to everyone. The original tattoo was gone. What was left was what looked like scar tissue that partially resembled the Dark Mark. Parts of it were grotesquely reddish.

“Silence,” Bea said, preventing another outbreak of murmurs and voices before it could start again.

She then looked back at Geoff.

“That is quite the story, Mr. Morrison,” she said.

“I've lived with this secret for almost twenty years,” Geoff said, “I only reveal it now to help my brother, and prove that his only connection to Death Eaters was that he was once a young witness to a terrible scene, and that his brother had made the wrong choices at a crucial time in his life.”

“Thank you, Mr. Morrison,” Bea said, “You may take a seat.”

Geoff stood up and walked over to the chair beside his brother. When he sat down, his brother grasped him in a hug. Hermione felt a tear come to her eye and had to wipe it away quickly.

“Witches and wizards of the Wizengamot,” Bea said. “We began this day prosecuting a man for his crimes for connections to Death Eaters. It has been revealed that during the Minister of Magic's interviews with the defendant Herb Morrison, Herb used Occlumency to block Franklin Sawyer from discovering a deep, dark secret that he has had to live with for twenty years. We have heard three stories from separate witnesses, one being the defendant himself. All have revealed their details in an event that changed the lives of two men forever. If you were to ask me what I believe, I would have to say this. Herb Morrison has committed no crime. If keeping a secret, locked away in the back of your mind to where even you almost forget about it, is a crime, then I'm sure you could call many of us in here criminals.”

Many of the witches and wizards in the courtroom nodded and sent murmurs to each other.

“Silence,” Bea said, yet again, “Herb Morrison was a very young man when he witnessed a terrible act that someone very close to him was being put through. I guess the only question I have to ask to the Wizengamot is this: is the defendant in front of you guilty of the crime he has been charged with? All in favor of claiming guilt to Herbert Morrison, raise your hand.”

None of the Wizengamot raised their hand.

“All in favor of clearing the accused of all charges,” Bea continued, “Raise your hand.”

Bea was the first to raise her hand, and in a wave around the courtroom, the Wizengamot all raised their hand.

“Cleared of all charges,” Bea said.

Before the witches and wizards in the courtroom could react, Kingsley stood up.

“That is fine!” Kingsley said, “That is good. Herb Morrison has committed no crime. However! There is one man in this courtroom who is guilty!”

Many of the witches and wizards in the courtroom murmured to each other, some in loud voices. Kingsley pointed one hand at Geoff Morrison.

“Three people, including Geoffrey Morrison himself,” Kingsley said, “Have given testimony to the fact that Geoff Morrison is a Death Eater. As Minister of Magic, I order the Wizengamot to judge him of his crimes at this very moment!”

A couple of Wizengamot members near Bea leaned over to her and started talking in hushed whispers. Bea nodded and stood up. Then Geoff Morrison stood up again.

“Your Honor,” he said, “Minister. May I speak in my defense?”

“I think you have that privilege,” Bea said, “Wouldn't you agree, Minister?”

Kingsley visibly sighed and looked around the room.

“Let him speak!” a man's voice said.

“Give him a say in his defense, Minister!” a woman said.

“Order!” Bea said, tapping her wand on the table in front of her, then looked at Kingsley.

Kingsley nodded and motioned for Geoff to continue.

“Thank you,” Geoff said, “I am very aware of the charges the Minister of Magic have set against me. I knew when I came out of hiding that this might happen. But I did it anyway. I came here to help my brother get rid of the terrible charges that had been set against him, and I succeeded. My brother sacrificed a lot for me. He has kept this secret locked away for me. He almost went to Azkaban for me, and would have gone if I remained a coward. Twenty years ago, I made a very bad decision, and unfortunately I had included my brother in that decision. Thankfully, I didn't do anything worse, or this man in front of me, and in front of all of you, might not have even been here to tell you what he had witnessed as a young boy.”

He looked at Herb, then looked around at the Wizengamot, and the Minister.

“Seventeen years ago,” he continued, “a young man just starting down the road of adulthood taught me a lesson. When we were both in Hogwarts, he idolized me. I was the one who was supposed to show him how to succeed. I was supposed to pick him up when he fell. No, it wasn't our father's job. It was my job. I failed him. When he was still in the prime of his youth, Herb Morrison witnessed his brother, his idol, make a very wrong decision. He watched his brother not only fail him, but fail himself. I had quite the burden on my shoulders. As a boy of seventeen, it felt like the weight of the world. I had to show my brother how to succeed, and I couldn't even succeed myself. Oh, I was the Head Boy and the boy everyone looked up to and everyone named as the boy who was most likely to succeed and become Minister of Magic in his life. I let the praise get to me. It basically destroyed me, destroyed my confidence. So I made the wrong choices and set down the wrong path. I say it again. Seventeen years ago, my brother taught me a lesson. When I should have been the teacher, I was, in fact, the student.”

He looked down at scarred left arm.

“My brother taught me to forgive myself,” he said, “He told me 'Run, Geoff. Run and leave the Death Eaters. Run and don't look back.' I did. It took me two more years to run, but I did. It wasn't until my capture and escape that Herb Morrison's words sunk into my brain. From that moment on, I was never a Death Eater. Some people say that you can't stop being a Death Eater, but I say they are wrong!”

He pointed up at Lucius.

“Lucius Malfoy,” Geoff said, “the one-time Death Eater who held my arm down while Bellatrix Lestrange applied the Dark Mark onto my skin, has been pardoned of his crimes. Lucius, be honest with me. Can you honestly say to everyone in this courtroom today that you are no longer a Death Eater?”

Lucius stood up.

“I have been pardoned of my crime,” he said, “Like you said.”

“Oh yes,” Geoff said, “You have been pardoned. But pardon is only a word, no matter how official it sounds. Such as pardon the interruption, or pardon my intrusion. Well, pardon me, Lucius Malfoy, but can you show us your left arm?”

Lucius only stared at Geoff.

“I am not on trial here,” he said.

“I'd like to see this too, Mr. Malfoy,” Bea said, “Please show us your arm.”

Lucius sighed and pulled back the sleeve of his shirt. The Dark Mark was still clearly visible.

“It's only a mark,” Lucius said, to the gasps and murmurs of the crowd.

“Yes,” Geoff said, “Only a mark. A mark that I once had, but have painfully erased, just like I erased my past and started over. I ask again, Lucius. Can you honestly say you are no longer a Death Eater, even if you still have the mark?”

“That part of me was over long before Voldemort fell at the Battle of Hogwarts,” Lucius said.

“You see!” Geoff said, to the crowd, as Lucius sat back down, “You can stop being a Death Eater! It doesn't take a pardon from the Minister of Magic to give you that right. You have to earn it yourself. Fifteen years ago, I set out on that path and earned that right. So the Minister may lock me away in chains, the Wizengamot may call me guilty, but I am no longer a Death Eater. The Minister may say that I deserve to pay for my crimes. Oh, but I have. With this!”

He raised his scarred left arm again, then pointed at Herb.

“And I have paid for my crimes,” he said, “when I no longer became the twinkle in a young man's eye. I may have lost five years of my life due to my terrible choices as a youth, but my brother has lost twenty years of his life because of me. Because he had to hold back a terrible secret. That knowledge, the thought of what I did to him, is the cost I paid for my choices. I say it one more time. The Minister may lock me in chains, and the Wizengamot may call me guilty, but I am not a Death Eater!”

He looked around the room, then looked at his brother.

“Not anymore,” he said.

He sat down in the center chair and looked up at Bea.

“Thank you, Mr. Morrison,” Bea said, “It looks like we have a decision to make.”

Suddenly, one of the elder Wizengamot stood up.

“If I may, Your Honor,” he said, “I would like to suggest that the Minister give Geoff Morrison a full pardon from his crimes. It is obvious this young man is no longer a Death Eater, and no longer a threat to the wizarding world. He made the wrong choices as a youth, but that shouldn't be a surprise. Many of us have made wrong choices in our time. Some of them were made even years past our youth. I vote that the Wizengamot and the Minister of Magic grant a full Ministerial pardon on Geoff Morrison.”

The elder sat back down.

“Thank you,” Bea said. “I actually agree with that statement. Geoff Morrison is a man who realizes his mistakes. Each and every day, I see people come into these courtrooms who are indeed criminals, and many of them never realize their mistakes. They all think they are innocent. Geoff Morrison has already claimed that he was guilty for a period of his life. So, I will say this. Those who feel Geoff Morrison is still guilty for his crimes as a Death Eater, raise your hand.”

A handful of wizards raised their hand. Hermione wanted to yell at them, but she figured that these people probably had family members who were victims of Death Eaters, and they couldn't let their past leave them.

“Very well,” Bea said, “Those who feel Geoff Morrison is innocent of his crimes and feel that the Minister of Magic should give him a full pardon, raise your hand.”

Bea put her hand up, as did most of the Wizengamot.

“Minister Shacklebolt,” Bea said, “It looks like it is up to you.”

Minister Shacklebolt stood up and looked around at the crowd, who were all staring back at him. He then walked over to Geoff and looked at him.

“Stand up,” he said, to Geoff.

Geoff stood up.

“Geoffrey Morrison,” he said, “I, Minister of Magic Kingsley Shacklebolt, hereby... give you a full Ministerial pardon for your crimes and hope that you are indeed a changed man. For if you are not, you will be back in here and I doubt even the Wizengamot would claim you innocent.”

He offered his hand and Geoff took it. Most of the witches and wizards in the room, including Hermione, stood up and applauded. This time, Bea Haven did not request order in the court.

Fifteen minutes later, Hermione and Susan both made their way out of the courtroom, in search of two men. They found them standing against the wall, embracing in a hug. Hermione grinned as she and Susan walked over to them.

“I am going to take a guess,” Geoff said, “And say that it was one of you two ladies who sent me that letter.”

“I did,” Susan said, “But it was partially Hermione's idea as well.”

“Well, then I have to thank both of you,” Geoff said, “You reunited me with my brother after seventeen years.”

“I think it us who should thank you,” Susan said, “If it wasn't for you, Herb would probably be on his way to Azkaban right now.”

“It was my duty,” Geoff said, “I owed it to my brother since the day I pushed him into that closet.”

Suddenly, Lucius and Narcissa Malfoy appeared out of the crowd and walked over to them.

“Lucius, my slippery friend,” Geoff said, “I guess I should thank you, as well, for helping my brother.”

“I didn't do it for you,” Lucius said.

He looked at Susan, then looked at Herb.

“This young lady,” he said to Herb, motioning to Susan, “Promised me something in return for my testimony. She promised me that, if you ended this day as a free man, my wife would be free of her duties, and that any file that states me or any of the Malfoy Family as Death Eaters be destroyed, never to be seen again. If I am not mistaken, Herb, you are a free man, are you not?”

“Yes, I am,” Herb said, “And I give my promise to you, Mr. Malfoy, that I will do my best to fulfill your request.”

“Good,” Lucius said, “I believe that is all then. Gentleman... ladies... farewell.”

He stared at Geoff for about ten seconds, then walked away with his wife.

“How about lunch?” Geoff asked the three of them, “My treat. Is the Leaky Cauldron still around?”

Herb laughed.

“Yes, dear brother,” he said, “It is still around. And lunch sounds just fine.”

Twenty minutes later, they were all sitting around a table in the Leaky Cauldron.

“Here you are,” Tom said, passing around four bottles of butterbeer, “And lunch will be coming right up as well.”

Tom walked away, and Geoff suddenly chuckled.

“I can't believe ol' Tom is still the barman here,” Geoff said, “Do you remember, Herb, the summer before my last year at Hogwarts? I tried to ask Tom for a couple bottles of firewhiskey for us?”

Herb laughed.

“He almost banned both of us for life that day!” Herb said, chuckling.

“We had to scrub the whole floor here just so he wouldn't tell Mum,” Geoff said, then looked at the floor, “Still as grimy as ever. Some things never change.”

“So, Geoff,” Susan said, “What will you be doing now?”

“Well,” Geoff said, “After I treat you two young ladies to lunch, Herb and I are going to visit our parents. I think they deserve to know that their oldest son is still around.”

“Are you going to stay in England?” Hermione asked.

“Oh, no,” Geoff said, shaking his head, “I'm still Daniel McMillan in Ireland. I promised my wife and kids I'd be back in time for dinner. I'm just thankful I get to keep this promise.”

“You have a family?” Herb asked.

“Oh, yes,” Geoff said, “I have a boy and a girl. My boy's name is Herb.”

Herb smiled and wiped a tear from his eye.

“And my little girl's name is Sarabeth,” Geoff said.

“After our mother,” Herb said, grinning.

Geoff nodded.

“Do they know?” Herb asked.

“Do they know my true identity and that I was once a Death Eater?” Geoff said, then shook his head, “No. You're not the only Morrison whose been keeping secrets, little brother.”

Herb frowned, then nodded.

“I reckon this is a secret that needs to be kept,” he said.

Geoff nodded once again. Hermione looked at Susan and smiled. She knew that, not only had they succeeded in keeping Herb out of Azkaban, but they had also succeeded in reuniting two long-lost brothers. For the first time in a few days, Hermione felt better then ever.

Chapter finished! Whew, this was an emotional chapter. As I was writing Geoff's speech, I kept picturing as if it would happen in a movie. I didn't expect to write it so well.

Hope you liked it! Next chapter will hopefully be up in a few days. Feedback would be great!

Old September 21st, 2009, 5:42 pm
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Re: Butterfly Kisses (Sequel to Harry Potter and the Return to Hogwarts)

Chapter 23
Harpies vs. Chudley Cannons

Author's Note: First off, I will answer a reviewer's question. A reviewer asked me why Herb Morrison used Occlumency to protect his brother, then revealed his story later. Well, when I thought about Herb's story about his brother, I figured I'd do a nice little storyline where he reunited with his brother, and his brother saved Herb from going to Azkaban. Also, I didn't convict Geoff because he hadn't been a Death Eater for many years, much longer than Lucius hadn't, and I felt he needed to be redeemed for his mistakes. All right. I am going to skip some time once again, and I will describe important events during that time, at the beginning of this chapter.

The day after Herb Morrison's trial, the Daily Prophet recorded their best sales hike since the news broke out about Voldemort's defeat at the Battle of Hogwarts. Herb, Geoff and Lucius Malfoy's stories from the trial all became three different articles in the Daily Prophet. A couple hours after Hermione said goodbye to Geoff, the Daily Prophet had caught up with him and demanded an interview. He accepted. They had asked him if he could identify any of the people who had recruited students at Hogwarts for the Death Eaters. He said he couldn't, but guessed that every one of those former students probably perished some time during the Second War. An article also showed up in the Daily Prophet about Geoffrey reuniting with his parents. A picture above the article showed him hugging his parents, both whom were quiet tearful.

Minister of Magic Kingsley Shacklebolt took quite a lot of heat from both the Daily Prophet and the public after the trial. Even though he had granted Geoff Morrison full pardon, the Daily Prophet reporters still recognized the Minister's hesitation to do so. He was also criticized for his excessive interrogations with Herb Morrison during the week prior to the trial. At one point during the day after the trial, as many as three dozen owls found their way into the Minister's office, all with letters addressed to him. The Minister's distraught secretary also told reporters that he had heard quite a disturbance in the Minister's office when the Minister was out for lunch. The secretary rushed into the Minister's office, only to find that hundreds of letters were shooting out of the fireplace as well. The Minister denied rumors that many of those letters demanded his resignation.

Meanwhile, the Minister continued his investigations over the next few weeks, and the Daily Prophet reported that those investigations had been centered right at the Daily Prophet, and at the Minister's own personal staff.

The Monday after his trial, Herbert Morrison was back in his regular chair with the Wizengamot. He had hired a new staff member to replace Narcissa Malfoy as well. He even offered to promote Hermione, but Hermione declined, saying that she was happy being Court Respondent for a while. Herb accepted this, though he gave her a considerable raise. On her next pay statement, Morrison had attached a small note to it. The note read:

The Morrison family hopes you accept this pay raise, but know that all the Galleons in the world could not express our gratitude.

Hermione's handkerchief had been soaked by the time she mopped up her tears.

Harry and Ron's results of their trial exams came a week after their exam. Both had passed with flying colors. The training got more fierce as they had to prepare for the second of four exams that would come the following month. After the end of each day, Harry and Ron were both quite tired from the results of their training.

Meanwhile, Ginny's Quidditch training was just as fierce as ever. Three new plays were created during the rest of training camp. These plays, as well as the twenty-point play were practiced over and over again until they were finally perfected only a couple days before the first game of the season. The day before the game, the team was allowed to rest. According to Gwenog, it wasn't just a request, it was an order. Ginny was thankful for it. She definitely needed it if she was going to do well in their game against the Chudley Cannons.

(Ginny's PoV)

Saturday, the day of the Harpies-Cannons game, Ginny was awake bright and early. In fact, she was awake at four in the morning, a couple hours before the sun would even raise. Plain and simple, she was just too excited to sleep. She also had too many thoughts going through her head. She walked over to her closet and took out the large knapsack that was used for carrying her Quidditch uniform and everything else she needed for Quidditch. She opened it up, then rummaged around for something and pulled it out. It was a notebook that was full of plays and strategies. She turned on the small lamp on her bedside table and started to read the notebook.

On each page was a drawing of the full Pitch. There were also seven O's that were supposed to be the Harpies, and seven X's that were supposed to be the opposition. Each O and X were color-coordinated: yellow for the Seeker, black for the Beaters green for the Chasers and Red for the Keeper. The O's moved around the Pitch in a way that was supposed to represent the designated play. Ginny studied these plays until they were locked in her mind, then studied the hand-signals that Gwenog was supposed to signal to the Chasers to tell them what play she wanted them to do.

By the time she was finished, it was a little past six-o-clock. The game would be starting in six hours, and she was due in the Harpies stadium in five. A few days before, Gwenog took the team to the stadium so they could practice at their home turf. She also did this so those who didn't know where the stadium was could apparate there without getting lost. Ginny was also given ten tickets for her friends and family. She had given them to Harry, Ron, Hermione, her parents, Hermione's parents, George, Angelina and Bill.

After she had gone through all the plays and signals in her notebook, Ginny then treated her broom with the Broom Servicing Kit Ron had given her for her birthday. While she was doing waxing the broom, she heard a knock on her door.

“I'm awake, Harry,” Ginny said, “Come in.”

The door opened and Harry walked into the room.

“Just checking if you were awake or not,” Harry said.

“I've been awake for almost three hours,” Ginny said.

“Couldn't sleep?” Harry asked.

Ginny shook her head.

“Too excited,” she said.

Harry chuckled.

“I see you're preparing yourself for the game,” he said.

“As much as I can,” Ginny said, “Want to know something funny?”

“Sure,” Harry said.

“For some reason, I still don't feel it is enough,” Ginny said.

“Oh, you were bound to feel like that, Ginny,” Harry said, “It's pre-match jitters.”

“But I shouldn't feel like this,” Ginny said, “I've been playing Quidditch for a few years now.”

“Yeah,” Harry said, “But this is your first professional Quidditch game. All of the Hogwarts games were small-time compared to this.”

“Yeah, that's what Gwenog said,” Ginny said, nodding, “She said this game will be much different than anything we've ever played before.”

“She's right,” Harry said, “Professional Quidditch is rough. When we watched the Quidditch World Cup a few years ago, I've never seen anything like it. It was different than any Quidditch game I had been in.”

“That's the way the Professional Quidditch League is,” Ginny said.

“Well, I tell you what,” Harry said, “I'll make breakfast. Maybe that will make you feel better.”

“Sure”, Ginny said, smiling..

Harry smiled and left the room. Ginny dressed into normal clothes and picked up her broom and knapsack, then went downstairs for breakfast.

At a quarter till eleven, Ginny magically transported her broom and knapsack to the Harpies stadium.

“You'll be coming soon?” Ginny asked Harry, as they stood in the backyard.'

“Hermione's parents are picking me up after they pick up Ron and Hermione,” Harry said, nodding.

“All right,” Ginny said, “I'll look for you in the stands.”

“We'll be the ones cheering the loudest,” Harry said.

“I know,” Ginny said, “And Ron will be the only one cheering for the Cannons.”

Harry laughed. Ginny kissed him quickly, then backed up. She concentrated on the picture of the Harpies Locker Room in her mind and apparated. A moment, and a crack, later, Ginny appeared just outside the Harpies Locker Room.

She walked in, and saw Gwenog Jones and Big Bertha hunched over in their lockers, and Roxy Waters was doing sit-ups a few feet from Ginny.

“Hey, Ginny!” Roxy said, “Excited?”

“Yep,” Ginny said, though with less gusto then she hoped for.

“Nervous too, I see,” Roxy said.

“A bit,” Ginny admitted.

“It's natural,” Roxy said, “Even the captain gets nervous on game-day. Don't you, Cap?!”

“There you go again, Rox,” Gwenog said, “Admitting my deepest darkest secrets for me again. Thanks.”

Roxy laughed. Ginny walked over to her locker and opened it up. As soon as she did, she heard a big booming sound coming from somewhere nearby, though not in the locker-room, as a result, Bertha hit her head on the top of her locker.

“Oh, damn it!” Bertha said, rubbing the top of her head, “They're going to start that stuff already?!”

“Guess so,” Roxy said.

“What is that bloody racket?!” a voice said in a sharp French accent, from the other end of the locker room.

Chastity, Regina and Liliana all emerged from the bathroom, wrapped in towels, looking soaked. Ginny guessed that the sound must have interrupted their showers.

“It's okay, Liliana,” Gwenog said, staring at the wall, “It's the Cannons pre-game ritual.”

“Banging their hands and helmets and whatever else,” Roxy said, “on the wall that leads to their opponents locker room.”

“Yeah!” Chastity said, “Aren't we lucky?”

“It's partially why they're called the Cannons,” Gwenog said, “They make a racket the sound of a bloody cannon.”

“We're not intimidated!” Roxy yelled at the wall, “You can cut that out!”

“Smooth, Rox,” Bertha said, “Very smooth.”

Ginny started to change into her outfit, trying her best to ignore the noises coming from the Cannons locker room. As she put on her pads, the racket finally stopped.

“Thank Merlin!” Liliana said, “I thought they'd never quit!”

Suddenly another noise was heard. Regina Kavoff started to say something in Bulgarian, and it sounded like curse words.

“It's not the Cannons this time.” Bertha said, looking up at the ceiling.

“It isn't?” Ginny asked.

“Nope,” Bertha said, “That, Ginny, is what we like to refer to as our most loyal fans. First to arrive at every game, and the last to leave.”

“And first to tell you if you're the worst player on the team,” Chase said.

Ginny ignored Chase. It seemed there was still a heated rivalry between the two of them.

“Hey, Cap!” Roxy said, “How many people are we expecting today in the stands?”

“Near full capacity, the last time I heard,” Gwenog said.

“All right!” Roxy said, “The more the merrier, I always say.”

“Rox, when have you ever said that?” Chase said.

“All right, ladies,” Gwenog said, “You know the drill. Let's get out on the Pitch for pre-game warm-ups. Let's give our fans a sneak preview of our season, what do you say?”

Ginny tied her boots up tight and picked up her broom, then followed the other players out onto the Pitch. The Cannons players were already in the air on the farthest side of the Pitch, but as soon as Ginny and the others went into the air, the Cannons dove out of the air and landed on the ground.

“Don't like to share the air, do they?” Ginny asked Roxy, as they watched the Cannons walk back toward the locker room.

“No,” Roxy said, “They want us to think they have a top-secret play system. Part of their intimidation strategy. Well, you have to give them that. If they didn't have intimidation in their strategy, they'd have no strategy at all.”

“All right, Rox!” Gwenog said, “Enough chatter. Get over to the rings. We're going to do two-on-ones. I'll be the lone Chaser.”

Roxy flew around Ginny and over to the rings. One of the ground staff threw the Quaffle up to Gwenog who caught it. Gwenog passed the Quaffle to Chastity, then flew to the end of the Pitch. Chants of “Go Harpies” and Holyhead! Harpies! Holyhead! Harpies!” were started from the fans who were already sitting in the stands. Ginny grinned and waved at them.

“Hey, Weasley!” Chase yelled.

Ginny turned to Chase.

“Are you ready or are you going to sit there and wave your arms?” Chase asked

“I'm ready,” Ginny said, blushing.

“Good,” Chase said, “Because if you do that during a game, you're going to get knocked out by a Bludger and I'm not going to sweep you up off the ground, you got me?”

“Yeah, sure,” Ginny said.

“Good,” Chase said, again, “Can we start now?”

“Sure,” Ginny said again.

“Well, you go first, remember?” Chase asked.

“Oh, right,” Ginny said.

Ginny sighed, cursing at herself mentally for not paying attention. Chase may be strict and a pain in the backside sometimes, but Ginny knew she was right that time. Ginny sped off down toward the rings.


After a twenty-minute warm-up, Gwenog called everyone down to the ground.

“All right,” Gwenog said, after she followed everyone back into the locker room, “Great warm-up, but I have a couple complaints. First up, Beaters! Don't go chasing after the same Bludger, girls. Regina, I kept seeing you go after the one Big Bertha tries to hit. Remember, there are two of them.”

Regina nodded.

“Second,” Gwenog said, “This isn't really a complaint. More of a question. Chase, at the start of warm-up, you were delayed. May I ask why?”

Chastity looked at Ginny, who nodded. Chastity looked back at Gwenog.

“Weasley had a few pre-match jitters,” Chase said, “I was just trying to help her get accustomed to the crowd.”

“Understandable,” Gwenog said, “Professional Quidditch games have a lot more fans than school games. One of the more unknown strategies in Quidditch is home-field advantage, especially with more popular teams. It's a strategy, but it is also can be bad news. The crowds try to help us by confusing the other team and keeping them from hearing themselves. Unfortunately, it can also hurt us as well. It's understandable for rookies, though, so I'll let it pass for now, Ginny.”

Ginny nodded, then looked back at Chase. Why was she sticking up for her, especially when Chase knew that Ginny was a threat to her?

“All right,” Gwenog said, “This is the first game of the season. We got three new excellent players, a whole new strategy, and a new season to look forward to.”

She looked around at the team.

“I have to admit something, girls,” Gwenog said, “When I heard that many Quidditch players were going to go on strike, I wasn't very happy. Then I heard that three of my players, my friends, that I've played with for a few years, decided to join the strike and leave the team. Ginny, Regina, Liliana, I will say this right now. If the strike ended in five minutes, and Ice, and the other two girls came marching in the locker room, I would march them back out right again. The three of you have given me new hope. Over the last month, I've seen you all work your tails off for this team. Ginny, Liliana and Regina, I've never seen any rookies before you work as hard as you did. Every day after practice, I saw you beat tired. But you came back the next day and still did your best. I think we have a superb team this year. Earlier we talked about our fans out there.”

She pointed out toward the pitch.

“Those fans come back every year,” Gwenog said, “They don't care about a player strike. They don't care about money. They care about the game. They care about us. So let's give them what they want. Let's give them the game they've paid to see!”

“All right, Quidditch fans!” the announcer's voice echoed into the locker room, “Let's give a warm welcome to the opposition, the Chudley Cannons!”

Ginny heard a bunch of booing, and some cheering.

“All right,” Gwenog said, “There's our call. Hands together, Harpies!”

The other players stood up and put their hands out and Ginny followed suit. Gwenog was last.

“One, two, three,” she said.

“Go Harpies!” the team said.

Ginny, Gwenog and the rest of the players walked out of the locker room with brooms in hand.

“And now,” the announcer said, “Quidditch fans. Here are your Holyhead Harpies!”

“Go, go, go!” Gwenog said, as she flew into the sky.

Ginny followed Gwenog into the sky, as the rest of the team followed her.

“De Pierre, Kavoff, Weasley, Biggs, Crowe, Waters, and Jones!” the announcer called out.

Ginny followed Gwenog as the team flew around the Pitch. The crowd cheered in an almost ear-piercing roar of excitement. Gwenog then went to the center of the field, across from the Cannons players. Ginny went to her left, and Chase went to Gwenog's right. Ginny looked around at the crowd for Harry and the others, and found them cheering in some seats near the announcer's tower.

“All right!” a voice said below the players.

Ginny looked down. A short man in a referee's outfit was hovering below the players on a broomstick that must have towered over the man when he stood next to it. Ginny noticed a large chest in his hands.

'Captains!” the referee said, “Please shake hands!”

Gwenog reached her left hand out and the Cannons captain, who was also a Chaser, extended his right. Gwenog shook it.

“I will now release the balls!” the referee said, then opened the chest.

He unlocked the Bludgers from their latches, and they flew off in neck-breaking speed in two different directions. He then opened two little doors on the underbelly of the chest's top, and took out the Snitch, then let it go. The little golden ball flew off into the sky and toward the Cannons' rings. Ginny lost it, but when she looked at Liliana, it looked as if she was looking right at it. The Cannons Seeker, however, was looking right at Liliana. One of their Beaters, a female, jabbed the Seeker with her elbow, and the Seeker shook his head and looked as if he had just woken up from a particularly good dream.

“There goes the Snitch!” the announcer said, “Remember, that is what the Seekers have to catch in order for the game to end. Whoever catches it, earns one hundred and fifty points for their team, and it usually wins their team the game! Not always, though. We've seen plenty of games, including World Cup games, where it went the other way!”

“Let me give you a friendly season-opener reminder,” the referee said, “I know there are a few rookies this year. I've been a Quidditch referee for many years. In every game I've overseen, I say this before I even release this Quaffle. I want a nice clean game from all of you. We don't need no injuries or worse today. And with that...”

He blew his whistle and threw the Quaffle into the air. Ginny knew she wouldn't be the one to catch it, so she flew toward the opposing rings.

“And Harpies captain Gwenog Jones takes the Quaffle!” the announcer said, “And she heads down the Pitch!”

Ginny watched Gwenog as she flew in and out of the opposing Chasers, and away from a well-hit Bludger that would have hit her broom if she didn't turn left at the right moment. Ginny waved her arms to say she was open, and Gwenog threw her the Quaffle. Ginny caught it and headed down the Pitch. She ducked the same Bludger that almost hit Gwenog, and headed for the rings. She looked behind her. Cannon Chasers were headed her way, but Gwenog and Chase weren't open. She sped down the Pitch and before she knew it, she was just yards from the rings. She had to make a decision now. She headed for the right ring and faked a shot toward it, then through it toward the left ring. It sailed through!

“And the newest Harpies Chaser makes her first score of the season!” the announcer said, “And its the first score of the game! Great fake too! Harpies lead ten to zero.”

As Ginny flew past Gwenog, she saw the captain give her a thumbs up.

“The Snitch is nowhere to be seen, and the Quaffle is back in play!” the announcer said.

Suddenly, before Ginny knew it, one of the Cannons Chasers had the Quaffle and was zooming right between her and Gwenog.

“Bloody hell!” Gwenog said, “That guy is fast.”

She started down the Pitch and Ginny followed her. Ginny saw Chase get right up by the Cannons Chaser and bump into him. He bumped back and Chase got hit hard as she flew away, looking a little dazed. Ginny knew she had to do something. She flew around the perimeter of the Pitch. Behind her, Big Bertha hit a Bludger toward the Cannon who had the Quaffle. Another Chaser alerted him just in time and he ducked. This gave Ginny the time she needed. She flew toward the rings. The Cannons Chaser threw the Quaffle and Ginny flew right for it as it sailed toward the rings and caught it about seven feet before it could sail through the rings.

“Interception by Weasley!” the announcer said, “What a player!”

Ginny started down the Pitch, but saw the three Cannons Chasers come right at her.

“Ginny!” Chase's voice called out somewhere behind her.

Ginny looked around and saw Chase just below her. She threw the Quaffle to her, then sped under the Cannons Chasers and toward the opposing rings. Gwenog raised a hand up and Ginny saw two fingers raised on the hand. Gwenog wanted the twenty-point play, and Ginny knew she had to be a big part of it. Ginny sped down the field as Chastity was flying toward the rings on the other side of the field, all three Cannons Chasers and a well-aimed Bludger flying toward her. Suddenly Big Bertha hit the Bludger toward the Cannons Chasers and all three of them had to fly out of the way in order for it to not hit one of them.

“Oh! And Big Bertha frees Chase of her pursuers!” the announcer said, “Nice hit!'

Ginny saw Gwenog fly behind the rings, and Ginny flew toward the right ring as Chase flew toward the left. Chase attempted a score... and it sailed through the left ring! Gwenog then immediately caught the Quaffle and threw it to Ginny. Ginny didn't expect this, but caught the Quaffle by her fingertips then immediately threw it toward the left ring! And...

“It sailed through! There it is, Quidditch fans,” the announcer said to the cheering Harpies fans, “The legendary twenty-point play! And just like that, the Harpies lead by thirty!”

Fifteen minutes later, the game was still as fierce as ever. Ginny, though tired as ever, scored two of three more attempts, while Gwenog and Chase each scored an attempt of their own. On the Cannons side, they scored three of five attempts all by the Captain, who was faster than any Chaser Ginny had seen in Hogwarts. The score was now seventy to thirty, and Ginny had the Quaffle again.

She flew down the Pitch, swerving in and out of Cannons Chasers and a poorly aimed Bludger. She saw the other Bludger coming her way and passed the Quaffle to Gwenog who was near, then dove down toward the ground, then back up, sliding her feet across the grass and pushing up into the sky toward the rings. Gwenog and Chase were both passing to each other as the headed toward the rings. Ginny didn't know if Gwenog had signaled for another twenty point play, but it looked like they were going for it. Ginny flew toward the rings.

“After a close crash, Weasley gets herself situated,” the announcer said, “And attempts to catch up to her team mates and – oh! Was that the Snitch?! It is! And the new Harpies Seeker goes for it! And so does the Cannons Seeker!”

Ginny hoped Liliana could catch the Snitch before the Cannons Seeker did, otherwise they would lose the game. But Ginny couldn't think about that now. Gwenog was getting closer to the rings, and the Cannons Chasers were closing in on her. Suddenly, as Ginny flew closer to the rings, Gwenog passed the Quaffle to Chase, and got pummeled by the Cannons Chasers.

“Oh!” the announcer said, “And there's the Cannon's signature tackle! But Gwenog passed it to Chase just in time!”

Ginny didn't have time to see if Gwenog was all right. The Cannons Chasers were now charging for Chase. She had to get up there. Ginny flew as fast as she could up toward Chase and her pursuers. Chase was flying back and forth, trying to avoid the Cannons Chasers, and Ginny saw Chase spot her. Chase threw the Quaffle to Ginny, and Ginny caught it then flew up into the air and over the surprised opposition. She flew toward the rings.

“What speed!” the announcer said, “Weasley, the lone Harpies Chaser, heads for the rings. And on the other side of the field, Liliana De Pierre is in quick pursuit of the Snitch, and the Cannons Seeker is closing in behind her!”

Ginny headed for the rings. Right in front of her, Big Bertha passed her and hit a Bludger away from her, and it sailed toward the Cannons Keeper, who flew out of the way. Ginny attempted a shot right through the middle ring... and it sailed through!”

“Score!” the announcer said, “Nice hit by Big Bertha to get the Keeper away from the rings, and Weasley goes right in for the score! Oh, and the Seekers are going right after that Snitch. Looks like the game is about to end. Who is going to get the Snitch? The Seekers are right by each other. Closing in.... closing in... closing – oh! The Snitch takes a wild dive, and only De Pierre isn't fooled as she dives after it. Getting closer! She reaches for it... and she catches it! The Harpies win! The Harpies win!!”

Ginny cheered as Liliana flew around the Pitch, the Snitch in her hand. Ginny then saw Gwenog and Chase fly over to her. Gwenog looked a little dazed.

“You okay, Cap?” Ginny asked.

“Never thought I'd be on the wrong end of the Cannons signature play,” Gwenog said, “But I'm fine. Come on, let's take a victory lap.”

Ginny grinned and followed Gwenog and Chase around the Pitch as the other Harpies joined in.

About half an hour later, Ginny was in her regular clothes after getting cleaned up. Ginny and her teammates were gathered in the locker room.

“Impressive game, girls!” Gwenog said, “Liliana, I was watching that last pursuit for the Snitch and I must say... great dive! That little golden ball couldn't fool you, could it?”

Liliana shook her head and grinned.

“After every game we win,” Gwenog said, “I get to give out the game ball. Today, I give it to a girl who has impressed me more than any other player out there today. She showed guts. She showed what it is like to be a member of the Harpies! The game ball... goes to Ginny!”

Ginny grinned as Gwenog threw her a small version of the Quaffle. Bertha and Roxy both patted her on the back.

“Just don't ask me for a speech,” Ginny said, grinning, “Not my strong point.”

Everyone laughed.

“All right,” Gwenog said, “One more thing. After every game we win, this has always been my tradition. So, on Monday, you will have a day off. No practice. But our next game is in just two weeks. So on Tuesday, I expect you to practice as good as ever. For now, celebrate with your friends and families. I'm sure they want to congratulate you!”

Ginny grinned and walked out of the locker room. A group of fans were cheering for them all, and Ginny saw Harry, Ron, Hermione and the others talking at the back wall. She immediately walked through the cheering crowd and over to them. They saw her and cheered for her and patted her back. Harry hugged her and Ginny kissed his cheek.

“So what did you think, Mr. Granger?” Ginny asked Hermione's father.

“That,” Richard said, “was much more exciting than the football game I went to!”

“Hey, Ginny!” Roxy's voice called through the crowd.

Ginny turned.

“The girls are going to get a bite to eat at the Leaky Cauldron!” Roxy said, “You want to come? They can come too. Tom has given us the whole bar if we won the game.”

“Sounds great!” Ginny said, then turned to Harry and the others, “What do you say?”

Everyone nodded and agreed. An hour later, at the Leaky Cauldron, the bar was filled with the Harpies players and their friends and family. Ginny grinned as she looked around. Her nerves that she had felt earlier that day had all vanished. She felt like a real Quidditch player now.

A/N: Sorry for the delay. I had a lot of trouble writing that Quidditch game. It has been a while since I wrote a game, and had to think about it.

Right now, I'm having a bit of writer's block, but I will try to get through it. Hopefully the next chapter will come before too long.

For now, feedback would be great!

Old September 21st, 2009, 5:42 pm
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Re: Butterfly Kisses (Sequel to Harry Potter and the Return to Hogwarts)

Chapter 24
The Greengrass Home

Author's Note: Okay, so writer's block has officially found me once again. I am searching for possible ways to continue this story. The only problem I have is one that usually haunts me. I have plenty of ideas for later chapters in my story. The only problem I have is I don't know what to put in between my last chapters and those future chapters. The next ideas I have for the story don't happen until the middle of September and, right now, the story is at the end of August, so I am going to try to do some filler. I definitely don't want to skip too much time. So, wish me luck, and if the story sways from the storyline, you'll know why. Enjoy.

(Draco's PoV)

Draco woke up on Sunday morning and, for a moment, had forgotten where he was. Looking around the room, he suddenly remembered. He was in the guest bedroom of the Greengrass family home. The night before, he had finally given into Astoria's pleas and had accepted her invitation to come to her house for dinner and spend the night.

He had never visited Astoria's home before and was quite surprised to see that it was measurably smaller than his manor. Compared to Malfoy Manor, the Greengrass home looked tiny. Draco always imagined that the Greengrass family were wealthy. Maybe not as wealthy as his family, but enough money to have the pleasures in life others only wished for. He realized that, in many ways, it turned out that the Greengrass family and the Malfoy family were very different. His parents had associated with the Greengrass family before, but they always visited his house. The Greengrass family were also pure-blood, like the Malfoys and, unfortunately, few other wizarding families in the world.

Draco figured that was why his parents liked the Greengrass family. His mother seemed to have a kind of unwelcoming attitude toward Astoria, but his father had seemed to already welcome the youngest member of the Greengrass family as an official Malfoy family member. Draco wasn't exactly sure what he thought about that. Sure, he was in love with Astoria, though he wouldn't tell very many people that. But was it to the point to already welcome her as a part of his family? It was all very confusing to Draco.

He had never really been in love before. Sure, others would tell you that he and Pansy Parkinson had once had a thing. But to Draco, Pansy Parkinson was always like a sidekick or something. Just another faithful follower of Draco Malfoy. Like Gregory Goyle and the late Vincent Crabbe. But now when he thought of Astoria Greengrass and compared her to Pansy, there was really no comparison.

There was something he felt when he was with Astoria, and it was something strange. Something foreign to him. He was in love with her. Even if she was a little strange and unlike any other Slytherin he had ever met. No, not just that. She was unlike any other girl he had ever met. Sure she was a bit cheery to a point of annoyance sometimes, but he was okay with it. She was a part of him that he thought he had lost.

The days following the end of the Second War had been very strange for Draco. At the time, he was still thinking and dreaming about the traumatic experience of living alone in that safe-house, wondering if his parents were dead or alive. He also dreamed about when he had been captured by Death Eaters and had been their prisoner and then escaping into freedom. Though, to Draco, it was never really freedom. At least not for a while. When he had been forced to return to Hogwarts, he was still in a kind of stupor. A couple weeks into his final term at Hogwarts, Astoria started to spend time with him.

He used to think, back during those first few days of dating Astoria, that maybe she had been forced into it. Hell, maybe Draco's own father had been a part of it. Of course, that had been when he was in a state of depression, and he thought he wouldn't have been happy again. But Astoria's cheery attitude seemed to break him out of the stupor.

It turned out that Astoria was never really one of the popular Slytherin students. She was, in a way, in a solitary state of her own. She never had too many friends, and she was always studying in the dark shadowy corners of the Slytherin Common Room. Astoria had admitted this to Draco a couple weeks into their emerging relationship. She had admitted that she fancied Draco for some time, but her sister, Daphne, always told her to forget it. Daphne had been friends with Pansy, and she had always told Astoria that Pansy always talked about Draco, and that it seemed Pansy and Draco would be together forever. Draco had always wondered why Astoria always seemed so cheery when her own life seemed as depressing as his had been. But her attitude toward it all seemed to brighten Draco and that was probably one of the reasons Draco fell in love with her.

Draco was staring at the ceiling when his thoughts had been broken by a knock on the door.

“Draco?” Astoria's muffled voice called out on the other side of the door, “Are you awake?”

“Yeah, Draco said, still staring up at the ceiling.

“Can I come in?” Astoria asked.

“I guess,” Draco said, “Door's unlocked.”

The door opened and Astoria walked into the room and shut the door behind her, then locked it. Draco turned his attention from the ceiling and stared at her. The sun shone in through the window behind the bed and it made Astoria's blonde hair sort of sparkle. Her pale face seemed a little brighter in the sunlight. She walked over to the bed, leaned down toward Draco and kissed him briefly on the lips. Before Draco could even return it for more than a moment, she backed up and sat on the bed at his legs.

“How did you sleep?” Astoria asked.

Draco shrugged.

“More nightmares?” Astoria asked.

Draco didn't respond. His nightmares had become less and less ever since he had met Astoria, but he had some every now and then, and he never wanted to talk about them with her.

“Sorry,” Astoria said, “I know you hate to --”

“I slept fine,” Draco interrupted quickly, “I guess I'm just not used to sleeping anywhere besides my own bed.”

Astoria leaned into him and Draco thought she would kiss him again.

“You could have slept in my bed,” she whispered into his ear.

“With you?” Draco asked, his eyebrows raised.

Astoria backed up. She nodded, but Draco noticed a tinge of blush rising in her cheeks.

“I couldn't,” Draco said.

Astoria frowned.

“I mean I would have liked to,” Draco said, quickly, “But your sister--”

“Daphne knows to leave us alone,” Astoria said.

Draco's eyebrows raised once more. Her voice seemed to have lost a bit of its cheeriness.

“I couldn't betray your parents' trust, Astoria,” Draco said.

Astoria sighed and looked at him.

“You realize what today is?” Astoria asked him.

The change of subject surprised Draco.

“Er... Sunday?” Draco asked.

“It's the last day of August, Draco,” Astoria said, “I go back to Hogwarts tomorrow.”

“Oh,” Draco said.

“Yeah,” Astoria said, “Oh.”

She sighed and looked away from him.

“I haven't even begun to pack my trunk yet,” she said, “I'm absolutely dreading going back to Hogwarts.”

Draco looked at her. The sudden lack of cheer in her voice scared him.

“I thought you always liked Hogwarts,” Draco said, “And didn't you tell me you are in the running for Head Girl?”

She looked back at him and narrowed her eyes.

“What makes you think I like Hogwarts?” Astoria asked.

“I don't know,” Draco said, shrugging, “You were one of the brightest students in Slytherin. You seemed so happy.”

“Did you forget what I told you?” Astoria asked.

Draco shrugged.

“The only reason I've ever done so well in Hogwarts,” Astoria said, “Is because I've had nothing else to distract me. I never had very many friends. Does that seem happy to you?”

“I guess not,” Draco said.

“I'm happy with you, Draco,” Astoria said, “The only reason I seemed so happy was because I was with you. Be honest with me, do you remember anything about me before we started talking to each other at the start of the year?”

“I don't know,” Draco said, “I noticed you around Hogwarts. And didn't I just say I thought you were one of the brightest students?”

“I was more of the... suffer-in-silence type,” Astoria said, “As corny as it sounds, my only friends, before I met you, were the stacks of parchment in front of me, and the voices in my head. Really, the only person who talked to me was my sister. But as the years at Hogwarts passed by, she started hanging out with friends more than with me. I've always had my eye on you, Draco. You seemed so popular. You always had Crabbe and Goyle and... and Parkinson hanging around you. I was jealous. Then I saw you so alone when you returned to Hogwarts, and I felt a connection.”

Draco nodded. He had felt that connection as well.

“I know you had been taken prisoner by those Death Eaters,” Astoria said, “You told me that.”

Draco nodded. He had remembered telling her. It was the night she first kissed him. After that kiss, he had let go of everything that was hiding inside him. He never admitted it to anyone but, that night, many tears had come out as he had told her his story.

“I understood everything after that, Draco,” Astoria said, “And I knew I was right when I fell in love with you.”

Draco grinned, in spite of himself. Astoria grinned, but it was immediately wiped from her face.

“You'll visit me during Hogsmeade weekends, right?” she asked.

Draco sighed and looked at her. She looked back at him and her gaze bore into his eyes and directly into his mind.

“Sure,” Draco said, “I'll rent a room in the Three Broomsticks.”

“And you'll write to me?” Astoria asked.

“Sure,” Draco said, again, “At least twice a week.”

“If not more?” Astoria asked.

Draco nodded. Astoria grinned again.

“Somehow, that makes me feel a little better about going back tomorrow,” she said.

She crawled onto the bed and up to him. She kissed him, and Draco returned the kiss. Her kiss was so strong that Draco's head bumped into the headboard of the bed. Suddenly, there was another knock on the door. Astoria backed up and rolled her eyes.

“Astoria, are you in there?” a voice said.

“Just talking to Draco, Mum,” Astoria said, sighing.

“You're father and I are heading out early,” Mrs. Greengrass said, “You have everything you need for Hogwarts?”

“If I need anything, I'll get it at Diagon Alley,” Astoria said.

“All right,” Mrs. Greengrass said.

Draco heard footsteps walk away from the door. Astoria sighed in relief. She stood up from the bed.

“Oh, she's so annoying sometimes,” she said.

“I don't know about that,” Draco said, “Your parents are pretty nice.”

Astoria scoffed.

“Can I stay over at your place for Christmas break?” she asked.

Draco raised an eyebrow. That was quite unexpected.

“Why?” he asked, “I imagine this place is great around Christmas.”

“Draco, I'm serious,” Astoria said, “It will give me something to look forward to, and I'm sure it will be fun.”

“I'll think about it,” Draco said.

Astoria sighed, but she nodded. She leaned over to him and pecked him on the lips again.

“I'll just let you get dressed,” she said.

She walked over to the door and unlocked it, opened it, then left. Draco stared at the ceiling again. Was this really what he wanted for the rest of his life?

After he got dressed, Draco left the room and walked downstairs. The Greengrass family home was a two-story four bedroom home in the outer suburbs of London. It was definitely smaller than the Malfoy Manor and one of the main differences Draco first noticed was that there wasn't a single house-elf in the house. Usually, in the wizarding world, this was one of the first signs that a family wasn't of wealthy means. Even though most house-elves didn't require payment, most also never worked for low-standard families either. Draco didn't think the Greengrass' family was anywhere near low-standard, but the thought hadn't escaped his mind. Of course, when he thought about it, he also wondered if he really cared. Or if the reason he had thought about it was because he had always lived in the luxurious manor. When he walked downstairs, he heard voices in the direction of the dining room and kitchen. He walked over to the kitchen, but didn't go in.

“I don't think it is any of your business what I do with Draco, Daphne,” Astoria's voice rang out, “I don't ask you what you do with your boyfriends, do I? Though I guess I don't need to, either.”

“What's that supposed to mean?” Daphne asked.

“You need to put a silencing charm on your window, Daph,” Astoria said, “I hear it every time you climb in and out of it at night.”

Draco's eyebrows raised. What had he walked in on?

“H-h-how dare you?” Daphne said, her voice shaking.

Draco cleared his throat and walked into the room. Astoria was sitting on a stool behind the bar that separated the kitchen and the dining room. A plate of barely-touched pancakes were in front of her. Daphne was standing in front of the oven. Her hands were on her hips and she was staring at her sister.

“Good morning, girls,” he said, looking back and forth to each sister, “I hope I wasn't interrupting anything.”

“Nothing at all, Draco, darling,” Astoria said.

Draco saw Daphne roll her eyes.

“Hello, Daph,” Draco said to Daphne, “I didn't see you at dinner last night. Were you busy?”

“I was over at the Nott house,” Daphne said, “Theo's family had a party.”

“Theo?” Draco asked, snorting, “You dating him or something?”

“Or something,” Daphne said, “You know, Draco. Pansy was there.”

“Daphne,” Astoria said, her voice dark.

“It's okay, Astoria,” Draco said, holding his hand up, and looking at Daphne, “So what is Pansy doing these days?”

Astoria looked at Draco and narrowed her eyes.

“Brooding mostly,” Daphne said, grinning, “And asking a few questions. She knows you're with Astoria, so she figured I'd talked to you quite a bit. She's worried about you.”

“Worried about me?” Draco asked, scoffing.

“Yeah,” Daphne said, “It's no secret what kind of trouble you've been in since you ended up riding the coattails of the Dark Lord.”

“The Dark Lord's gone the last time I heard,” Draco said.

“Of course he is,” Daphne said, “The stories still fly around, though. You know... Pansy told me she was looking for you after the Battle of Hogwarts.”

“Is that so?” Draco asked.

“Yeah,” Daphne said, “She was quite worried about you. You disappeared after that, and Pansy thought you were dead.”

“I took a holiday in New York City,” Draco said.

“Oh, she knows,” Daphne said.

“How would she know that?” Draco asked.

“You don't read the Daily Prophet, do you?” Daphne asked, “Your parents' story ended up being big news. Their escape from Azkaban and rumors that they were the lead Death Eaters in their plans for revenge on the Dark Lord's downfall.”

“She doesn't know anything, does she?” Draco scoffed, “The Second War is over, Daphne. The Death Eaters are gone and my parents are alive and well, just like me.”

“I know,” Daphne said, “I know more than you think I do. You say the Death Eaters are gone, eh?”

“Of course they are,” Draco said.

“Shows what you know,” Daphne said.

Daphne smirked and walked past him, brushing his side with her shoulder as she passed. He turned, watching her walk out of the kitchen and down the hall.

“What are you talking about?!” Draco asked, shouting at her.

She disappeared around a corner, and Draco heard the front door of the house open and close. He turned back to Astoria.

“What is she talking about?” he asked.

“Who knows?” Astoria said, “She's mental.”

“Right,” Draco said, though he was still unsure.

“What's your interest in Pansy Parkinson?” Astoria asked.

“Nothing,” Draco said, “I was just giving your sister the satisfaction she wanted.”

“Why?” Astoria asked.

“So she'd leave us alone,” Draco said, “It worked, didn't it?”

“You don't still have any feelings for Parkinson, do you?” Astoria asked.

“Of course not,” Draco said, “She's nothing to me.”

“Are you sure?” Astoria asked.

“Yeah,” Draco said, “Astoria, don't worry. I'm not going to leave you for her.”

Astoria looked at her pancakes.

“Hey,” Draco said.

He walked over to her and sat on the stool next to hers.

“Is that what you are worried about?” Draco asked.

Astoria shrugged.

“It is, isn't?” Draco asked, “You're worried that I'll do something when you're gone at Hogwarts.”

Astoria looked at him. He noticed a tear in her eye.

“I don't want to lose you, Draco,” she said, “Ever since we started going out, I've found that I'm happier than I've been in years. These past few months have been wonderful. Now I'm going to Hogwarts tomorrow, and... and I won't see you for a while.”

“Don't you think I'm worried about it too?” Draco asked.

And when he said it, he suddenly realized he had been worried.

“I mean,” he said, “Look at you. You're more beautiful than you think you are. You don't think I'm worried that some Slytherin boy is going to see you and fall for you and hook you in?”

“You shouldn't be,” Astoria said.

Draco raised his eyebrows skeptically.

“It will never happen,” Astoria said. “I won't let it happen.”

He grinned. She playfully smacked him on the back.

“Damn you,” she said, grinning, “You've turned this on me.”

“You see,” Draco said, “You have nothing to worry about, as long as I don't have anything to worry about either.”

“Deal,” she said.

She grinned and leaned over to him and kissed him briefly. Draco looked at the pancakes and realized how hungry he was.

“Any more of those?” Draco asked, nodding at the plate of food.

Astoria shook her head and grinned.

“I can make some,” she said.

“Or I can steal some of yours,” Draco said, grinning.

Astoria pushed the plate away from him and Draco playfully pouted. Astoria rolled her eyes and Draco laughed.

Draco stayed around Astoria's house for most of the day. After breakfast, he helped her pack up her trunk for Hogwarts and she seemed happier throughout the day. Once or twice, he found his mind returning to the conversation he had with Daphne. Something she had said sparked something in his mind, but he couldn't put his finger on it.

A/N: Okay, short chapter, but I said it was only filler. There was a bit in the chapter that had to do with the storyline I'm planning, but I hadn't planned it before. It does lead to new possibilities for the story. Hopefully you liked this chapter.

When it comes to Draco and Astoria, I didn't have much planned, but I'm starting to like them in this story. I might add a little more with them, even though the main story is with the four main characters.

Feedback would be great.

Old March 30th, 2011, 2:32 am
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Re: Butterfly Kisses (Sequel to Harry Potter and the Return to Hogwarts)

Chapter 25
Salesman's Approach

Author's Note: Sorry for the extremely long delay. I totally didn't know where to go with this story, but now I have a few things in mind.

(Ginny's PoV)

Ginny woke up on Sunday, still elated from the previous day's Harpies and Cannons game. Never had she dreamed she'd be on a Professional Quidditch team, and do so well, especially during the very first match. She grinned privately to herself and got out of bed.

The calendar above the dresser said it was September 1st. It felt very strange to Ginny not having to go through the normal routine of hustle and bustle getting ready to go on the Hogsmeade express, bound to Hogwarts. Even before she went to Hogwarts, she had accompanied her mother and brothers to King's Cross to see them off. Now that long tradition was done... until she would do the same tradition with her own children, of course. The very thought of that sent blush to her cheeks.

She dressed quickly, and headed downstairs. Harry was in the living room, sitting on the couch. He seemed to be very busy. Ginny had to clear her throat to get his attention. Harry almost jumped when he heard her.

“Oh, good morning,” he said, “Just wake up?”

“It's only seven-thirty,” Ginny said.

“Is it?” Harry said, “Seems much later.”

“Really? How long have you been up?” Ginny asked.

“Since five-o-clock,” Harry said.

“What have you been doing?”

“Been studying for my next exam,” Harry said, “It is only a couple weeks away, and I realized I haven't done much. Oh by the way, Pig came over this morning. He had a couple letters from Hermione. One for each of us. I imagine they are pretty similar.”

Harry gestured to the coffee table. Ginny noticed the folded piece of parchment, and picked it up. She unfolded it and started to read:

Dear Ginny,

Ron's going to be busy studying for his Auror training exams. I imagine that will take all day, so I suggested he go over and study with Harry. And it's probably going to be pretty boring over there, so I thought you and I could meet at Diagon Alley, say, around nine? I have a few things I need to do, and would love some help. Don't want to say too much until we meet up.

If you can't meet up, send back a response. If none comes, I will assume you can make it! Hope so!

See you soon,

“Hermione wants me to meet her in Diagon Alley,” Ginny said.

“Yeah, that's what I figured from what she said in her letter to me,” Harry said, “Will you go?”

“You won't need help with any studying, will you?” Ginny asked.

“Not since Ron is going to come over,” Harry said, shaking his head. “We can work on it together. Go... have fun.”

“All right, I'll do it,” Ginny said, “I'll make a quick breakfast before I go. You have anything to eat yet?”

Harry shook his head again, his eyes still on the notebook in front of him.

“Been too busy,” he said.

“No problem,” Ginny said, and walked into the kitchen.


Just before nine, Ginny used the Floo Network to get to The Leaky Cauldron.

Hermione was sitting at a table, sipping a butterbeer and reading the Daily Prophet. Hermione saw her coming and waved at her. Ginny walked over to the table and sat across from her. As if summoned with a spell, Tom was at the table in an instant.

“Can I get you anything, Miss Weasley?” Tom asked.

Ginny was about to shake her head, but Hermione spoke up.

“Oh, go on and get a butterbeer,” she said, “My treat.”

“Sounds good,” Ginny said, both to Hermione and Tom.

Tom smiled and summoned a butterbeer. Hermione paid Tom for it.

“Have a good day, girls,” Tom said.

Ginny thanked Tom and opened the butterbeer bottle.

“Anything interesting,” she said, motioning to the Daily Prophet.

“Daily Prophet wishing good luck to the students going into Hogwarts,” Hermione said.

Ginny snorted.

“Why is that interesting?” she asked.

“Well, the Daily Prophet never really does that, do they?” Hermione replied.

“No, I guess not,” Ginny said, “Why are they doing it this year?”

“Kingsley's focusing on the Daily Prophet now in his investigation,” Hermione said. “I would bet anything, they are trying to get on his good side by writing about good stuff. There is nothing about the Minister of Magic in this edition of the Daily Prophet. Given the publicity he's had from Herb Morrison's trial, I doubt the Daily Prophet is finished with their articles about him. Now they are only just delaying it, since they are under investigation.”

“Do you think they have anything to hide?” Ginny asked.

“If they do, Kingsley will find it,” Hermione said.

Ginny nodded, and decided to change the subject.

“So in your letter, you sounded as if you had some kind of secret going on,” she said, “Spill it, Hermione. What do you want to do today?”

Hermione put down the Daily Prophet and grinned.

“Oh, it's not that big of a secret,” Hermione said, “It was just something I didn't want to say in a letter, because it wouldn't sound right. Ron and I have decided we better prepare for our wedding sooner instead of later.”

“Brilliant!” Ginny said.

“Yes,” Hermione said, “We don't know a date, yet, but I thought I'd go shopping in Diagon Alley and see what I can find... and that is where you come in.”

“Sure,” Ginny said, “What do you need?”

“When Bill and Fleur got married,” Hermione said, “Did you help your Mum with it at all?”

“Of course,” Ginny said.

“Great,” Hermione said, “Because I want mine and Ron's wedding to be the traditional wizard wedding, and I have no idea where to start.”

“Don't worry, Hermione,” Ginny said, “You asked the right girl.'

“Thanks,” Hermione said.

“Though we could also ask my Mum,” Ginny said.

“I thought so too, at first,” Hermione said, “Then I realized there was one little problem.”

“And that is?” Ginny asked.

“Ron made me promise not to include your Mum,” Hermione said, “Until we really had to.”

Ginny laughed.

“Perfectly understood,” she said, “She can go a little overboard.”


Ginny and Hermione entered Diagon Alley, and headed down the cobble walkway.

“What did you want to look at first?” Ginny asked.

“Oh, I thought we'd go to George's shop first,” Hermione said.

They headed toward Weasley Wizard Wheezes, and went inside. George and Angelina were nowhere to be seen, but an old man was standing near the cash register.

“Miss Granger!” the old man said, at the sight of them, “How do you do?”

“Do I know you?” Hermione asked.

The old man pointed his wand at himself and he changed into a younger gentleman.

“Gunther!” Hermione said, “How are you?”

“Same old, same old,” Gunther said.

“Ginny, this is Gunther,” Hermione said, “He was our security when Ron and I were working at the shop in Hogsmeade.”

“The elusive Ginny,” Gunther said, “George has told me quite a bit about you. Your Bat-Bogey Hex sounds impressive. You could look into being a part of security some day with that spell.”

“Not a good idea,” George said, walking up to them, “She'd scare every one away.”

“Ha ha,” Ginny said, sarcastically.

“Girl's day out, I presume?” George asked.

“Ron and I have decided that we better start on our plans for our wedding,” Hermione said, “Even if it is still months away.”

“Good idea,” George said, “Before you know it, the day will be here, and you might feel you have done nothing. So good to start now. Since you came into the shop, I take it you want my help?”

“Actually that is why I brought Ginny with me,” Hermione said.

“Well, great,” George said, “But if you need help, remember, I was the last to get married here.”

“Sorry, George,” Hermione said, “I need a woman's touch.”

“Speaking of,” Ginny said, “Where is Angelina?”

“It is her day off,” George said, “But if you ever need her help with wedding plans, and want a woman's touch, she's the right girl for it. So, were you looking for anything specific here?”

“Possibly your marquees,” Hermione said.

“Nice choice!” George said, “You've had experience with them, so I don't need to give you the salesman's approach. But, I'll give you this piece of advice. There is nothing better for your perfect day. You never know what kind of weather will interrupt your wedding, be it rain, snow, or unbearable heat. This gives you shelter from all of that. And since it is my dear brother who is betrothed, I will give you a discount.”

“Uh, George,” Gunther said, “I think that was the salesman's approach.”

George rolled his eyes.

“I wasn't planning on buying anything today,” Hermione said, “But I'll add it to the list.”

“I'll be sure to keep one saved for you,” George said.

“Thanks,” Hermione said, “We best be going. Much more to do. Nice to see you again, Gunther.”

“Say hello to Ron, for me, eh?!” Gunther said.

“Of course,” Hermione said.

(Draco's PoV)

“Ten minute notice!” the Hogwarts Conductor said loudly over the crowd, “The Hogwarts Express will leave in ten minutes!”

Astoria was one of the last students left on Platform 9 ¾. Her mother, father and sister had all said their farewells. Now she was standing with Draco, her hands grasped in his.

“The first Hogsmeade weekend seems so far away,” Astoria said, “Promise me you'll come?”

“When is the first one?” Draco asked.

“Halloween,” Astoria said, “Like it always is.”

“Halloween,” Draco said, “Hmm. You know, I was planning on scaring the little kids with my evil voodoo magic.”

“Draco!” Astoria said, almost in a whiny voice.

“Fine, I guess I can put it off for another year,” Draco said, “Of course I'll be there.”

“You better,” Astoria said.

“That sounds like a threat,” Draco said, “I almost forgot you were a Slytherin until just now.”

Astoria rolled her eyes.

“Promise me you'll avoid Pansy Parkinson,” she said.

“Wasn't even thinking of going anywhere near her,” Draco said.

“Good,” Astoria said.

“You better get going,” Draco said, “Train will leave any minute.”

Astoria pouted. Draco smirked and kissed her.

“I'm going to miss that,” Astoria said, “I love you.'

“Love you too,” Draco said, in barely a whisper.

Astoria smiled. With one last look at Draco, she made her way onto the Hogwarts Express. Draco was about to turn around, when he saw her once again, waving at him from one of the windows. Draco shook his head, grinning and waved back. A sharp whistle blew, and the soon the train had disappeared around the corner.

Draco walked back through the barrier, and found Astoria's sister, Daphne, leaning up against a wall. She was staring right at him. Draco walked over to her.

“What are you doing?” Draco asked.

“I wanted to talk to you, Draco,” Daphne said.

“If this is about me and Astoria,” Draco said, “Then back off.”

Daphne rolled her eyes and shook her head.

“What you do with my sister is hardly any of my business,” Daphne said, “It's easy to see she is madly in love with you. But no... that is not what I wish to talk to you about.”

“This is about our discussion in your kitchen, isn't it?” Draco asked.

“I thought you might have caught on to that,” Daphne said, a mischievous grin forming across her face.

She looked to her left and right.

“I think you deserve to know a little bit,” she said. “How about we take this somewhere more private?”

“You are not exactly someone I want to be seen on a lunch date with, Daphne,” Draco said.

“Then don't call it a date, Draco darling,” Daphne said, smiling. “Come on, you'll want to hear what I have to say.”

Draco sighed, knowing full well that this was probably a bad idea. But curiosity got the best of him. He had to go.

“All right,” Draco said, “Lead the way.”

“See you at the Leaky Cauldron then!” Daphne said.

Before Draco could complain that the Leaky Cauldron was a little crowded, Daphne disappeared with a crack. Draco looked around, to see if anyone had noticed. But the Muggles were going about their usual business. It was true: Muggles don't see anything, especially when it is in front of their nose.

Draco apparated quickly, and arrived outside the Leaky Cauldron. Daphne was waiting for him.

“Isn't this place a little crowded?” Draco asked, as he walked through the door with Daphne.

“So we'll sit at a corner table,” Daphne said, “Seriously, Draco, you worry too much. You shouldn't do that. It will give you early baldness.”

Draco rolled his eyes and followed Daphne over to a corner table in the darkest part of the Leaky Cauldron. Tom started walking toward them, but Draco shook his head. Tom froze for a moment, then walked back behind the bar. Draco sat across the table from Daphne. He tried his best to make it look like this was not a date, but knew there would be some curious looks. He just hoped nobody he knew saw them. If Astoria found out he was at the Leaky Cauldron with her own sister... well, he didn't want to think about that.

“Okay, Daphne,” Draco said, “Speak up. And don't take your time. I don't want to be here too long.”

“Okay,” Daphne said, “I'll get straight to the point. I take it you've heard all about the Minister's investigations within the Ministry of Magic.”

“Sure,” Draco said, “The Ministry is trying to make sure there is nobody working in the Ministry with any connections to Death Eaters.”

“Right,” Daphne said, “Not long ago, there was a Daily Prophet article about a certain trial. The man on trial was Ralph Fetcher.”

“Is that name supposed to mean anything to me?” Draco asked.

“No,” Daphne said, “But his wife's last name before marriage was Yaxley.”

Draco's eyes widened. A smirk crossed Daphne's face.

“Okay,” Draco said, “You've successfully peaked my interest. Go on.”

“Fetcher and Yaxley were the best of chums before Yaxley's untimely demise,” Daphne said, “Yaxley knew he was probably going to get killed by Aurors before too long, so shortly before his death, he talked to Fetcher. He gave Fetcher a list of names. Now, as far as I am aware, that letter has long since been destroyed, and we were never able to talk to him before his imprisonment.”

“Who is this 'we' you speak of?” Draco asked.

“I have yet decided if I shall reveal this to you yet,” Daphne said.

“Then continue,” Draco said.

“Well,” Daphne said, “for a while, we were trying to figure out who exactly could be on this list. The Minister's investigations were going all over the Ministry, so we were sure the list had names of workers, or past workers, from the Ministry of Magic. Then we met up with an individual whose name had been kept a secret from the Daily Prophet. A young man by the name of Thorpe. His father had died in the same battle that Yaxley died in. He was a part of the Aurors-in-Training, and had been forced to resign. He didn't know why until he learned of the fate of his father. He thought his father was in Azkaban, but apparently the Death Eaters had recruited him when the mass break-out happened. I'm sure you remember this, given that your parents were a part of it.”

“They weren't a part of it, Daphne,” Draco said, “They were hostages!”

“Fine,” Daphne said, “Anyway, that little revelation was a mighty treasure for us. Let me reveal something to you that only a fair few people know. The Minister of Magic is so obsessed with his little investigation, he doesn't realize he is looking in the wrong place.”

“What is the right place?” Draco asked.

“Not a 'what', Draco,” Daphne said, “But a 'who'. Shacklebolt is right about one thing. There is a new threat to the wizarding world.”

Draco looked at Daphne with wide eyes.

“I'll give you a hint, Draco,” Daphne said, “Who, out of everyone, would feel the most angry about what happened to the Death Eaters?”

Draco figured he knew the answer. He just didn't want to say it.

“Their families, Draco,” Daphne said, “More specifically, their kids.”

“What are you saying?” Draco asked, “You can't be possibly saying the Death Eaters' kids are going to get their revenge on the wizarding world.”

“Oh, come on, Draco,” Daphne said, “If your parents were killed by Aurors, wouldn't you want revenge?”

Draco couldn't reply. He honestly didn't know what the right answer was.

“You see,” Daphne said, grinning.

“Why are you telling this to me?” Draco asked.

“I thought you might want to be a part of it,” Daphne said.

“Why would you think that?” Draco asked.

“Oh, come on,” Daphne said again, “Your parents may have been pardoned by the Minister, but that does not mean they are going to ever have the respect they once had. The Malfoy name doesn't mean much these days. I mean....”

She scoffed.

“Your own mother was practically the assistant to a damn Mudblood, Draco!” Daphne said, “What do you have to say to that?”

Again, Draco was silent. Daphne only grinned. She took a napkin from its holder and took out her wand. She pressed her wand to the napkin, then passed it over to Draco.

“Read it,” Draco said, “Memorize it. Quickly.”

Draco looked down at the napkin. It was an address. As soon as he memorized it, the napkin disappeared in a flash of flame.

“If you are interested,” Daphne said, “Meet me at that address next Saturday. You'll learn a lot more than you did today. Good day, Draco. See you soon.”

Daphne winked, then stood up. She walked over to the clearing near the fireplace and apparated away. Draco just stared in front of him for a moment. What was he going to do? Why did Daphne tell him these things if there was a chance he could just go and report it to authorities. Of course, even if he did report it to authorities, he was going to need more proof. Like Daphne said... the name of Malfoy meant close to nothing these days. Nobody would truly believe him. Draco sighed. What exactly was he going to do?

Yes, Draco, what exactly ARE you going to do?

Hope you liked this chapter and forgive me for the extremely long delay. This chapter gives me so many possibilities to the future of this story.

Would love to see if there are still readers! Reviews would be grand!


Last edited by Fury; March 30th, 2011 at 2:54 am.
Old April 15th, 2011, 1:40 am
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Re: Butterfly Kisses (Sequel to Harry Potter and the Return to Hogwarts)

Chapter 26

Author's Note: Well, I was going to start this chapter with Harry's PoV, but I realized I haven't done much Ron and Hermione fluff for a while, and wanted some. Everyone loves fluff!

(Ron's PoV)

On Monday morning, Ron opened his eyes and realized that his arms were around Hermione, as she was sleeping. He smiled, wondering if this was some kind of dream. He had wanted to do this for so many years, ever since he had fallen in love with Hermione, and now it seemed too good to be real.

Hermione stretched under his arms, and sighed. Ron pulled away from her.

“Don't,” Hermione said, sleepily.

“Hmm?” Ron asked.

“I like this,” Hermione said, sliding back toward Ron, “Don't pull away.”

Ron smiled.

“That settles it,” Ron said, “I must still be dreaming.”

“No,” Hermione said, “This is real.”

“Good,” Ron muttered, “If was dreaming, I wouldn't want to wake up.”

Hermione chuckled lightly. With a little difficulty, she turned toward Ron and faced him. Ron kissed her lightly on the lips, and just when he was about to back away, Hermione pushed toward him and deepened it.

“Ron Weasley, look what you've done,” Hermione said, backing away.

“What I've done?” Ron asked.

“Messed me around like this,” Hermione said, “And this early too. I'll never be able to concentrate, you know.”

“That's a laugh,” Ron said.

“What is?” Hermione asked.

“The thought of you not being able to concentrate,” Ron said, chuckling, “I must be messing you around.”

Hermione laughed.

“I should be the one who is mad,” Ron said, “I still have loads of studying to do.”

“I thought you and Harry did all of that yesterday?” Hermione said, then scowled, “Don't tell me, you watched another football game.”

“No, promise!” Ron said, quickly, “Nothing like that! I wish we would have, cause it would have given us a well-deserved break. There's just.... so much to study for. I can't believe we are only a little over a month into this examination.”

“It will be over before you know it, Ron,” Hermione said, “And you will be a full-fledged Auror.”

“I hope so,” Ron said. “Seems like only half the class will make it all the way.”

“No way would they flunk you,” Hermione said, “After everything you've done for the wizarding world.”

“Harry's done more,” Ron said.

“Oh, you've done just as much,” Hermione said.

“Have I?” Ron asked, “It always feels like I am in the back seat.”

“What?” Hermione asked.

“Harry's the hero,” Ron muttered, “I'm just a side-kick.”

“That's not true!” Hermione cried, “You are just as good as Harry.”

Ron scoffed, and Hermione slapped him on the back.

“It's true, Ron,” Hermione said, “Harry didn't destroy the locket horcrux, you did. You were also just as much of the Battle of Hogwarts, and the final battle with the Death Eaters, as Harry was.”

“I ended up in a temporary coma,” Ron muttered, “And I couldn't even help m-my brother.”

Hermione gasped, and Ron knew why. He hadn't brought up Fred's death in so long. It was almost just a memory, and Fred deserved more.

“Ron, you've done so much,” Hermione said, “You can't do everything, you know. Even I can't.”

Ron remained silent.

“And Ron,” Hermione said, “You may not see yourself as a hero. But I do.”

Ron looked at Hermione.

“You are my hero,” she said.

Ron smiled a little.

“Don't be so hard on yourself,” Hermione said, “You'll get through the training, right along with Harry. I know you will.”

Ron nodded, slightly. He still wasn't sure, but if Hermione was, then it had to be true, right?


(Harry's PoV)

Harry arrived at the Auror Headquarters to find many of his fellow Aurors-in-Training in the front office. They were all talking amongst themselves, and there was a hint of confusion in the air. Ron, who had noticed Harry walk in, walked over to him.

“What's going on, Ron?” Harry asked, “Why isn't everyone in the locker rooms?”

“Apparently something happened earlier this morning,” Ron said, “Or that is the rumor that is going around. Someone said Shippe was in an urgent meeting with the Minister, and we were supposed to wait here for him.”

“Shippe is meeting with Kingsley?” Harry asked.

“That's the rumor,” Ron said. “I have to believe it, since he isn't here, and we're all crowded in here waiting. Wait, Harry, you don't think Kingsley has evidence against Shippe?”

“No, that can't be it,” Harry said, “Shippe is a pretty trustworthy person.”

“I'm glad you think so, Harry,” a voice said behind him.

Harry turned around. Shippe was standing in the doorway. He cleared his throat to get everyone's attention, but there was no need. Everyone was silent as soon as they heard his voice.

“As I'm sure you've heard,” Shippe said, “I just returned from a meeting with the Minister of Magic. He has brought me some troubling news. Who here is familiar with the Daily Prophet article recently about a man named Ralph Fetcher?”

Harry, Ron, and a number of the other Aurors-In-Training raised her hand briefly.

“For those who are not familiar, listen up,” Shippe said. “Ralph Fetcher was brought in front of the Wizengamot recently for connections to Death Eaters. The Wizengamot soon learned that Fetcher had a certain list given to him by a Death Eater, before their demise a few months ago. It is assumed that Ralph Fetcher still has knowledge of this list. The list is believed to have a number of names on it. These names are believed to be allies of the Death Eaters. This is a certifiable threat to the wizarding world.”

Shippe looked around at his audience.

“Minister Shacklebolt has told me,” he continued, “that sometime between the late hours of last night and early this morning, Ralph Fetcher escaped from Azkaban prison.”

“Impossible!” someone said.

“No way!” another person said.

“How did he do it?” Billingsley asked.

“We do not know,” Shippe said. “None of the guards at Azkaban heard anything during the night or earlier this morning. There was no invasion of outside forces.”

“Sounds slightly similar to Sirius Black's escape a few years ago,” Billingsley said.

Harry's eyes caught Ron looking back at him.

“Yes, I brought this up with Minister Shacklebolt,” Shippe said, “And I will tell you the same thing he told me. There is nothing similar. Sirius Black was innocent, and at the times Dementors guarded Azkaban prison. Black knew he was innocent, and so these positive emotions made him invisible to the Dementors. That is not the case when it comes to Ralph Fetcher.”

“What does this have to do with us trainees?” Ron asked, “It's the Aurors that will be searching for Fetcher, right?”

“Unfortunately most of the Aurors are busy with other investigations,” Shippe said.

Harry silently scoffed. He wouldn't surprised if those investigations had to do with the Minister's investigations.

“So Minister Shacklebolt has requested,” Shippe continued, “that the Aurors-in-Training are to be a part of the hunt for Ralph Fetcher?”

“What about our Exams this month?” a trainee said, “We're supposed to prepare for those!”

“I brought this up with the Minister,” Shippe said, “And he has suggested to me that this investigation is to be your exam for this month.”

Surprised chatter overtook the trainees. Harry looked at Ron, whose eyes were rather large.

“Okay, listen up, everyone!” Shippe said, “I am going to split you up into teams of three! First team: Billingsley, Weasley and Potter, come see me please!”

As Harry walked over to Shippe, he heard Ron groan silently. Harry instantly knew why. Billingsley was the last person Ron wanted to be associated with, especially with something like this.

“You three are to head to Azkaban prison,” Shippe said, “where the whole incident started. Interview the guards, search for evidence, and find out how Fetcher escaped. Understood?”

Harry, Ron and Billingsley nodded.

“Be careful in there, you three,” Shippe warned, “Watch your backs. Now, go to the locker rooms and prepare yourselves. Once you are ready, go to the fireplace at the end of the locker rooms. It has been connected to Azkaban. Good luck.”

Harry, Ron and Billingsley headed through the entrance into the Auror department and headed into the locker rooms.

“Have either of you ever been inside Azkaban?” Billingsley asked, as he opened his locker.

Harry and Ron shook their heads.

“I have,” Billingsley said, “Once on a tour.”

“Didn't think the public were offered tours into Azkaban,” Ron said.

“Oh, they're not,” Billingsley said, “You have to know the right people. In this case, my uncle. He was one of the first guards stationed there after the dementors were kicked out. He quit the job a few months after my tour there.”

“Why?” Harry asked.

“Most people can't take being in there,” Billingsley said, “That place doesn't just affect prisoners, Potter. The guards get affected too.”

“I thought it was the dementors who did that to the place?” Harry said.

“That's the general story, sure,” Billingsley said, “But then how do you explain the atmosphere around Azkaban after the dementors were gone?”

Harry looked at Ron. Ron looked a bit pale.

“Whoever built that prison,” Billingsley said, darkly, “Did so to make sure it made the prisoners lives a living hell. What they didn't plan out, was how it also affected everyone else. My advice is to watch yourselves, boys. Do the job we are sent to do, do it right, then we get out of there. If we can't find anything in an hour or two, we get out. You don't want to stay in there too long. Otherwise, you might just find yourself as a resident there.”

Harry and Ron exchanged glances, but didn't say anything. They dressed into work clothes in silence. No one spoke until they reached the fireplace.

“Remember to speak clearly, guys,” Billingsley said, as he took out some of the green powder from the small bag near the fireplace, and passed it to Harry and Ron, “Where we're going, if you go one grate too far, no one will find you for a long time.”

Billingsley looked at both Harry and Ron, and nodded to Harry.

“You go first, Potter,” he said, “Don't trod too far when you get there. Wouldn't want to lose track of you.”

Harry nodded. Billingsley threw some Floo Powder into the fireplace, and the fire glowed green. Harry walked into it.

“Azkaban Prison!” Harry said, clearly, and dropped the Floo Powder.

Instantly, his feet lifted away from the ground, and he was spinning dangerously through the Floo network. When he chanced opening his eyes, he saw a blur of fire and brick. No grates were in sight. There was, however, an inkling of a large body of water, and Harry knew it had to be the ocean. He looked in front of him, and gasped as he noticed a clear, almost blue-colored, barrier. He thought he would collide into it, but he slowly went through it, feeling a little strange as he did. Finally, after seemed like hours, his feet slammed onto solid ground.

The dust and soot made him cough, and when he was clear of it, he saw two men looking at him. They were all standing in a small dark room. The door beyond the two men looked like that of a vault door.

“Er....” he said.

“You must be Mr. Potter,” one of the men said, his eyes glancing up at Harry's scar, “We were told you would come. Are there more coming?”

“Should be coming shortly,” Harry said, brushing his hair down over his lightning-shaped scar.

Harry took a good look at the two men. It was hard to believe they were alive. They looked deathly pale, with large black spots around their eyes. They also looked skinny, almost weightless, as if they could just float above the ground like ghosts. Had Azkaban done this to them? Was everything that Billingsley told him true?

Harry didn't have time to ponder the answer before the dust and soot reappeared once again. Ron appeared near Harry.

“Who are these two blokes?” Ron muttered to Harry, sizing up the two men.

“We are guards of Azkaban,” the other guard said.

“Are you?” Ron said.

A moment later, the dust and soot appeared again, and Billingsley appeared.

“Ron, Harry,” he said, “Good, you made it.”

“Is this the last of you?” the first guard said.

“Yes, sir,” Billingsley said.

“Good,” the guard said, “Follow us please.”

The guards turned around and walked toward the door. One guard took their wand and tapped the door. Harry heard clicking sounds similar to that of Gringott's vaults. The door opened and one of the guards walked through it. Harry, Ron and Billingsley followed him. Harry heard more clicking behind him; the other guard was shutting the door.

“If you feel a little uneasy,” the guard in front of them said, “That is completely normal. There are elixirs in the main office to assist with you this. Fortunately, that is where we're going.”

“Elixirs, eh?” Ron muttered, low enough for only Harry and Billingsley to hear, “Wonder how well it works. Doesn't look like these two have taken too much.”

“You've noticed their appearances then?” Billingsley said.

“Who couldn't?” Ron asked.

“This is what happens when you spend too much time in the prison,” Billingsley said, “Pray that you are never assigned guard duty.”

As Harry walked with the others toward the main office, he couldn't help but notice the atmosphere. It was chilly and gloomy, and Harry wondered if it would ever end. It was like the dementors had never left the prison. The walls were gray and black bricks, many of which were dirty. He could feel the curse of the building all around him.
He suddenly remembered the day, many years ago, when Hagrid had come back from Azkaban, still shaking, and months later, teary-eyed because he was afraid of ever going to the place again. How could the guards even stand it?

Soon they arrived at the main guard office. A middle-aged man was waiting for them there. He seemed to look a little healthier than the guards that had accompanied Harry and the others to the office, but not by far.

“Here are the Aurors-in-training, as you requested, sir,” one of the guards said to the main.

“Thank you,” the man said, “You two may go.”

The two guards nodded and left the room immediately.

“I don't know if 'welcome' is quite the word for it in this situation,” the man said, “So I will not use it here. Thank you for coming. I am Derrick Hench, the head Auror here.”

Harry, Ron and Billingsley introduced themselves.

“It is rather peculiar that the Ministry has sent Aurors-in-training here,” Hench said. “It usually takes Aurors with great training to come here and be able to survive it. Though, as you could probably tell, we are lucky to be as healthy as we are. You three must be at the top of your class if the Ministry chose you to come here. Now, let me get to the reason you are here. As you probably know, a prisoner, Ralph Fetcher, escaped some time between the hours of eleven last night to five in the morning.”

“Do you know how he could have done it?” Billingsley asked.

“There were no intruders reported,” Hench said, “So that way of escape is out of the question.”

“What about an inside man?” Harry asked.

Billingsley, Ron and Hench all looked at Harry.

“Surely you must have thought of this, sir?” Harry asked Hench, “If this was during the night, every prisoner was in their cells. Someone had to open the cell for Fetcher.”

“You are suggesting that a guard assisted in Fetcher's escape?” Hench asked.

“I am,” Harry said.

“If this was so,” Hench said, “The guard would have escaped with them. All guards have been accounted for here in Azkaban.”

“Maybe they set him free,” Harry said, “And stayed behind so there was no suspicion their way.”

Hench stared at Harry for a moment.

“Potter has a point,” Billingsley said, “Have you interrogated the guards?”

“We haven't had the time,” Hench said, “The escape has caused quite a ruckus with the other prisoners. They believe that since Fetcher escaped, it makes their planned escapes much easier. We can't let a single guard be away from their duty.”

“Then you are lucky we are here, Mr. Hench,” Billingsley said, “We'll interrogate them for you.”

Hench looked at the three of them, studying them.

“Well, if you think you can do it,” he said, “You are very welcome to try.”

Harry and Ron looked at each other. Neither of them were trained in interrogation. This was going to be quite the test for the two.

“Harry, Ron,” Billingsley said, “Private meeting. Mr. Hench, if you please. We need to figure our strategy.”

Harry, Ron and Billingsley walked a few feet away into a corner.

“Harry, do you really think a guard let Fetcher out?” Ron asked.

“How else could he get out?” Harry asked, “He wouldn't have been able to open a cell door himself.”

“I agree,” Billingsley said, “But just in case... we need to make sure. I'll check his cell to see the door, and if it was damaged. You two are going to find out how Fetcher escaped from the prison.”

“How?”Ron asked.

“He must have apparated, right?” Billingsley asked.

“I thought it was impossible to apparate out of here,” Harry said.

“There must have been a way,” Billingsley said, “Find it.”

“What about interrogating the guards?” Ron asked.

“Hench can figure out the best way to sort that out,” Billingsley said, “We can't interrogate them one at a time, or else we'll be here for a while. Believe me, we do not want to do that.”

Billingsley walked back over to Hench.

“Mr. Hench,” he said, “We have a few requests. First, I am going to need a guard to accompany me to Fetcher's cell. I will need to investigate it. My two colleagues will also need an escort. They are going to try to find out where Fetcher escaped from. Can you do that?”

“Of course,” Hench said.

“Lastly,” Billingsley said, “We need you to figure out how to wrangle up the guards for interrogation. Obviously they can't all do it at once, or there would be a chance at another escape or riot. You must figure out how to accomplish this, and we will interrogate them when we are done with our tasks.”

“I think I can do that,” Hench said.

Hench took his wand from his pocket, and pointed it at the door they had come through. In an instant, the same two guards from before appeared.

“Sir?” one of the guard said.

“Guard Prentiss,” Hench said, looking at the smaller of the two guards, “You will accompany Mr. Billingsley here to Fetcher's cell.”

“Yes, sir,” Prentiss said.

“Guard Deakins,” Hench said, “You will accompany these two where ever they see fit to go. Understood?”

“Yes, sir,” Deakins said.

“Good,” Hench said.

Harry and Ron followed Deakins out of the office.

“Where should we look first?” Ron asked.

Harry pondered this for a moment. Then he decided.

“Deakins, is it?” Harry asked the guard.

Deakins nodded.

“During the last riot,” Harry said, “Where did the Death Eaters get in?”

Deakins raised an eyebrow, and didn't answer straight away. He seemed to have been thinking of his answer.

“On the west side of the prison,” Deakins said.

“How was the damage?” Harry asked.

“Pretty severe,” Deakins said, “It took some time to repair, and it still looks pretty messed up.”

“That is where we will go first,” Harry said to Ron, “If it is still weak from the last attack, the protections near that part of the prison can't be too strong. Fetcher might have been able to apparate from their safely without a barrier.”

“It's possible,” Ron said.

“Lead the way, Deakins,” Harry said.

Deakins nodded and walked down the corridor. Harry and Ron followed him.

After ten minutes of walking, Harry wondered when they would arrive at their destination. Harry had never realized just how big this prison was until he was inside it. Finally, Deakins stopped and turned around. They were in front of a very large wall. No windows were there.

“This is where the Death Eaters came in during the last riot,” he said.

“Okay, Ron,” Harry said, “Look around for anything suspicious. Any weakness in the wall.”

Ron nodded. Harry walked over to part of the wall in front of them, and started searching for clues. He closely examined the wall, every inch of it, but could not find any cracks or anything.

“Finding anything, Ron?” he asked.

“Nothing,” Ron said, “It's almost like it....”

Ron groaned.

“Like it didn't happen here,” Ron said.

Harry looked at Ron. Ron was looking behind them, at Deakins. Harry turned around, only to see Deakins pointing his wand straight toward him.

Cliffhanger! Was this ending obvious? Did you catch it early on? If you did, bravo!

Let me know what you think of this chapter! More to come soon!

Old April 17th, 2011, 3:00 am
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Re: Butterfly Kisses (Sequel to Harry Potter and the Return to Hogwarts)

Chapter 27

Author's Note: Some fans have been wanting more of Ron's participation in Azkaban. I have a very big thing planned for him, that hopefully will come in this chapter. I will warn you now. This chapter gets very emotional! Enjoy!

(Ron's PoV)

“Expelliarmus!” Deakins said.

Ron and Harry's wands leaped from their hands and flew toward Deakins, who caught them.

“You two are too meddlesome for your own good,” Deakins said, an evil smirk forming across his lips.

“It was you!” Ron said, “You allowed Fetcher to escape. Why?”

“I have my reasons,” Deakins said.

Ron chanced a glance at Harry. The look in Harry's eyes told Ron that he was thinking of a plan. But how were they going to get out of this? Could they keep Deakins talking long enough for someone to come along?

“You weren't alone in this, were you?” Harry asked.

Ron grinned privately. Harry must have been thinking the same thing he was. Keep Deakins talking, that's the trick.

“Someone else is involved,” Ron said, “Is it Hench?”

“No, Hench doesn't seem the type,” Harry said, his eyes still on Deakins.

“You two are pretty smart,” Deakins said, “Quite the team. A little too smart for Aurors in training.”

“Maybe you were just at the bottom of your class,” Harry said.

“If you even are an Auror,” Ron scoffed.

“Oh, I'm an Auror,” Deakins said, “I'm just one of the few who knows better than to play pet for the Ministry. You spend too long in this profession, boys, and you'll learn things. Things you would never believe. You think the precious Ministry has changed for the good? It's barely a step above how it was when the Dark Lord took free-reign.”

“Kingsley Shacklebolt made the Ministry a better place,” Harry said. “He made the wizarding world a better place.”

“Yeah,” Ron said.

“Shacklebolt is just as corrupt as Cornelius Fudge,” Deakins said, “Rumor has been going around in here that the two are working together to make the wizarding world, as you say, a better place. Is that true?”

Ron looked at Harry. He could tell in his expression it was true.

“You two are so blind with your dedication,” Deakins said, “I bet you don't even see the corruption that is right under your nose.”

“What do you mean?” Harry asked, “Spit it out!”

“He isn't going to tell us,” Ron snarled, “Why would he?”

“He has us where he wants us,” Harry said, “He's just dying to tell someone what he knows. Who would we tell? If his plan goes well, we won't even get out of here.”

Ron glanced sideways at Harry. What was he talking about? Did Harry really believe they were going to die here?

“Nice try, kid,” Deakins said, “I'm not telling you anything. Now, how about we just get this over with. I can just tell Hench a couple prisoners tried to escape, and killed you in the process. What are a couple prisoners' lives really worth when it comes to the greater good?”

“Greater good,” Harry said, “You know nothing about the greater good.”

“I suppose you think you do,” Deakins said. “Let me tell you something, kid. You may have defeated the Dark Lord. The precious Aurors may have taken out the Death Eaters.. But it isn't over. There are still those who are loyal to the Dark Lord's noble work! With you gone, Potter, it will make our job a whole lot easier.”

Ron's eyes widened. He looked at Harry. Oddly enough, Harry's eyes were closed. Had he given up?

Deakins pointed his wand at Harry, and looked at Ron.

“Don't worry,” he said to Ron, “You won't be parted from your friend for long. Ava--”

Suddenly, Deakins eyes went large, and he stiffened up. A moment later, he fainted to the ground. Ron looked from Deakins' stunned body. He then looked up and saw Billingsley there. Billingsley walked over to Deakins and nudged him with his foot.

“He won't be getting up for a little while,” Billingsley said, then picked up Ron and Harry's wands, “I think these belong to you.”

“How did you know?” Ron asked, as he and Harry took their wands.

“Prentiss,” Billingsley said, turning and pointing at something behind him.

Ron looked over Billingsley's shoulder. The guard, Prentiss, was floating in mid-air, bound and stunned.

“He tried to attack me,” Billingsley said, “But I was too quick for him. I realized he must have been behind Fetcher's escape. I was going to take him back to Hench, then I realized that Deakins might be involved, so I came looking for you.”

“You were right,” Ron said.

“Thanks,” Harry said.

“Did Deakins say anything to you?” Billingsley asked.

“Only that there are people still loyal to Voldemort's work,” Ron said.

“We knew of that possibility already,” Billingsley said.

“Does that mean our mission is over?” Ron asked, “We can take these two back to the Ministry and that is it?”

“We still need to make sure no one else is involved,” Harry said, “Deakins and Prentiss may not be the only ones here who helped Fetcher escape.”

“Harry's right,” Billingsley said, “This is our exam this month remember. We don't want to fail it just because we did the job only halfway.”

“Right,” Ron said, “Guess we should be going back to Hench then, eh?”

Ron pointed his wand at Deakins.

“Incarcerous!” he said.

Ropes appeared from Ron's wand and wrapped around Deakins' entire body.

“Mobilicorpus!” Ron said.

Deakins' body began to rise, then hovered in mid-air.

“Nice work,” Harry said.

“Lead the way, Harry,” Billingsley said, “I'll take the back and tow Prentiss along.”

Ron kept his wand pointed at Deakins, moving him along, as they followed Harry back to the main office.

“What is the bloody meaning of this?!” Hench said, as soon as he saw Ron and the others, “Two of my guards, stunned?”

“They were responsible for Ralph Fetcher's escape,” Billingsley said.

“Impossible!” Hench said, “I trust these two.”

“You should be careful with who you trust then,” Ron said. “Deakins was about to kill Harry and I before Billingsley stepped in.”

“Prentiss was about to do the same to me,” Billingsley said, “Luckily, I was quicker.”

“I-I don't know what to say,” Hench said.

“What about the other guards?” Harry asked, “Are they ready for interrogation?”

“You aren't telling me that you expect there to be more behind this?!” Hench said.

“Whether they are or not,” Ron said, “That is what we are going to find out.”

“If you please, Mr. Hench,” Billingsley said. “We don't have all day.”

The expression on Hench's face told Ron he was hiding back a retort. If he was, Hench didn't say anything. Instead, he walked past Ron and the others and headed out the door.

“Something's fishy with that man,” Ron said.

“I don't think so,” Harry said, “He just trusts his guards. It is understandable to see him shocked.”

“It is blind trust,” Ron said, “And to think these were Aurors.”

“I think we'll find these two,” Billingsley said, nodding to the stunned bodies of Deakins and Prentiss, “Are more than just Aurors.”

“What do you mean?” Ron asked.

“Can't say just yet,” Billingsley said, “I'd hate to stir up something and let it be false.”

“Well, Deakins is definitely allied with the Dark Arts,” Harry said, “The way he talked about Voldemort.”

“Yeah, 'the Dark Lord' and all that rubbish,” Ron said.

“Don't forget,” Harry said, “he was going to kill us to keep what he knows a secret.”

Ron stared blankly at Deakins. Harry was right. Their lives were on the line today. There was a good chance they wouldn't have made it out of Azkaban if it wasn't for Billingsley.

“What are we going to do about these two?” Harry asked, “Reckon we should take them to the Ministry before too long.”

“I reckon you're right,” Billingsley said.

“I've never transported a body before by magic,” Harry said, “Let alone two.”

“Me either,” Ron said.

“I'm sure we can find someone around here to do it,” Billingsley said.

“If we can find anyone trustworthy,” Ron said, “It'd be a right sight to trust someone, only to find out they are another traitor who transported these two to some evil bloke headquarters.”

Harry chuckled. At that moment, Hench walked back into the office.

“You're in luck,” he said, “I just caught up with a few guards who are available for questioning. I would be careful, though. They aren't too happy. This is their break, when they can eat and sleep, and they are usually pretty moody if they miss lunch.”

“We'll watch our backs,” Harry said.

“Is there anything else I can do?” Hench asked.

“Yes, actually,” Billingsley said, “We need to transport Prentiss and Deakins back to the Ministry for further questioning. The only way to do that way out here is by magical transportation, and unfortunately, we aren't trained enough to do that.”

“No need to continue,” Hench said, grinning, “I completely understand. I can take care of that. But protocol says that one of you needs to be at the Ministry to pick them up. I know the Auror department like the back of my hand. So tell me where you want to pick them up, and I'll do the rest.”

Harry, Ron and Billingsley looked at each other.

“Who's going?” Ron asked.

“Ron, you better go,” Harry said, “Billingsley and I are better with interrogation.”

Ron nodded instantly. He was happy for any chance to get away from Azkaban.

“We'll go with you to the fireplace,” Harry said, “There is no way I'm letting you go there alone.”

Ron nodded again. He looked at Hench.

“Transport these two to the Auror Locker rooms,” he said, “Twenty minutes should be enough.”

“Harry and I will be back soon to start questioning the guards,” Billingsley said, “Please have them ready then.”

Hench nodded. Ron, Harry and Billingsley walked out of the office, and headed for the fireplace.

“You know what to do when you get there, Ron?” Harry asked.

“Don't worry about me,” Ron said, “I'm just worried about you two. Don't want to spend too much longer in here.”

“We'll be fine and back before you know it,” Harry said, “I'll send an owl your when I am finished.”

A few minutes later, they arrived at the door to the Floo room. Billingsley took his wand out and pointed it at the door. A few clanking noises later, and the door was open. Ron walked in, and found a bag of Floo Powder on the desk.

“See you soon,” Harry said.

“Good luck,” Ron said.

He threw a handful of Floo powder into the fire, which turned green, then took another handful and walked into the fireplace.

“Ministry of Magic, Auror Locker Rooms!” he stated clearly, and dropped the Floo Powder.


A few moments later, Ron arrived in a cloud of dust and soot. The two stunned guards hadn't arrived yet, so Ron went to his locker and changed. It felt good to get out of his old clothes. It was like a weight had been lifted since he had left Azkaban.

“You do not want me as your enemy,” a voice said.

Ron slowly turned around. There was nobody there. Where did that voice come from? And why did it sound so familiar?

“I am more powerful than you,” the voice said, “And higher ranked.”

Ron crept down the row of lockers and turned the corner, hiding against the locker. The owner of the voice was near. He peered around the corner. Shippe was at the end of the next row of lockers. Another man, who Ron had recognized as one of his fellow Aurors-in-training, but couldn't remember the name, was pinned up against the locker.

“I-I-I don't know what you are talking about,” the trainee said, “I didn't see anything.”

Shippe stared at the trainee. It was a deep, dark stare. Ron instantly recognized it as Legillimency.

“Trying to use Occlumency on me, are you?” Shippe asked, “You're hiding something.”

“N-no,” the trainee said.

Crack! Crack! The two stunned guards appeared near Ron. He did his best to muffle his gasps, then looked at Shippe. Shippe was looking in his direction! Had he seen him?

“What was that?” Shippe yelled, “Who is there? Show yourself!”

Ron sighed. Shippe hadn't seen him.

“I will deal with you later,” Shippe said to the trainee.

Ron then heard two different sets of footsteps. One was faster, heading the opposite direction. And the other was heading his way! Ron hurried over toward the two stunned guards.

“Weasley?!” Shippe said, “What are you doing?”

Ron froze. He slowly turned toward Shippe.

“Er...” he started.

“I thought you were at Azkaban,” Shippe said, “Investigating Fletcher's escape. Where's Potter and Billingsley?”

Ron stared at Shippe. He didn't know what to say.

“Who are they?” Shippe demanded, pointing at the stunned guards behind Ron.

Ron decided it was best just to tell the truth. Shippe didn't know he was eavesdropping on him, so he didn't have to say anything about that.

“We believe these two guards helped Fetcher escape,” Ron said. “Harry and Billingsley are still at Azkaban, working on more leads. I was picked to take these two back here for interrogation.”

Shippe looked at Ron, then the two guards, then back at Ron.

“What proof do you have?” he asked.

Ron told Shippe what happened with the guards.

“He told you he was an ally of the Dark Lord?” Shippe asked, “Why?”

“He thought he was going to kill Harry and I,” Ron said. “He didn't think we'd get away to tell somebody.”

“Lucky for you Billingsley came to help then,” Shippe said.

“Yeah,” Ron said.

“Well, all right,” Shippe said, “Help me take these two to the holding cells, and then you can have the rest of the day off. I'm sure Harry and Billingsley will be fine.”

Ron nodded. He pointed his wand at the two guards and made them hover in air. He and Shippe escorted the two guards to the holding cells and put them in two separate cells.

“Hey, Weasley?” Shippe said.

Ron froze. Did Shippe actually know he was eavesdropping on him and the trainee?

“Good work,” Shippe said, “If we get the answers we need, you, Potter and Billingsley will have passed the second course of the exams with flying colors.”

“Th-thanks, sir,” Ron said.

“You may go,” Shippe said.

Ron hurried as fast as he could out of the Auror office. He had much to think about. How were Harry and Billingsley doing? Were they getting any more answers? Would they be away from Azkaban soon? And what exactly was Shippe talking to that trainee about?

A few hours later, Ron was at home, sitting on his living room couch. Over the past few hours, he had done a lot of waiting. Waiting for Hermione to get home so he could talk to her. Waiting for an owl to arrive from Harry, telling him what had happened after he left.

Neither had happened yet, and because of this, he had begun to do a lot of thinking. He was trying not think of anything that had happened today, and tried to think of happy thoughts, of Hermione. But after a while, he started thinking of Azkaban and the horrors within, and almost getting killed by a rogue Auror. When he tried his best to stop thinking of that, his mind went to Shippe. Shippe had looked so angry when he was talking to the trainee. What could have possibly happened? He tried to think back on the conversation the two were having. The trainee's voice... he was frightened. Shippe was a pretty intimidating guy, but would would Shippe have done to frighten him? Did the trainee see something that Shippe had done, or the other way around?

Ron turned on the telly, hoping to find a football game or something that could take his mind off of things. He flipped through the channels, but there was nothing on to his liking. The moment he turned off the telly, he heard a sharp click nearby. He looked toward the window, and saw Harry's owl Ares perched on the windowsill.

“Finally!” Ron said, walking over to the window.

He opened the window, and Ares flew into the room. Ron untied the letter from Ares' leg. The writing on the outside was Ginny's. What was she writing about? Had Harry not come back yet?

Ron quickly unrolled the letter and started to read.


Harry wanted to write this to you, but he was so weak when he got home, he could barely tell me what happened when I demanded information from him. I was about to write to you to ask what the bloody hell was going on, but he finally decided to talk. He wanted me to write to you about what he told me. He said that he and Billingsley interrogated almost two dozen guards, and as far as he could tell, none of them were suspicious. I assume you know what I am talking about, so I won't get into specifics. He then told me that Shippe gave him, you and Billingsley the day off tomorrow to recover from your trip to Azkaban.

Why the heck did he send you on a mission to Azkaban anyway? Is he mental? Harry said this was supposed to be your second exam, but I have never heard of an exam like this! I am sure Hermione hasn't either! If I had a right mind, I'd talk to Dad and get him to complain to Kingsley about this. You could have been killed today! Harry basically passed out as I was helping him into bed. Azkaban must have been horrible! I do hope you are okay. Please write back to me. I am very worried. If you don't write, I will come over and knock your door down. I do know where you live, remember!


“Bloody hell, Ginny,” Ron muttered, “Calm down.”

Ron was relieved Harry was okay, but he wondered how long Harry had been at Azkaban. Ginny said he had practically passed out when he came home. They had only planned on being there a couple hours to be safe...

Ron quickly found a quill and piece of parchment and started writing.


I am fine. Don't worry. I didn't stay as long as Harry and Billingsley did. And don't talk to Dad. Please. We knew what we were getting into. This is what Aurors do. We may just be Aurors-in-Training, but this is what we are training for.


Ron decided to keep the letter short. He didn't want to write about what he was thinking. If he was going to talk to anyone about what he had dealt with, he was going to tell Hermione first. He rolled up the piece of parchment and tied it to Ares' leg. Ares flew out the window.

Ron sighed and sat back down on the couch. As much as he didn't want to admit it in the letter, Ginny had a point about one thing. Why did Shippe assign them a mission to Azkaban, when they weren't fully trained yet. Shippe did sound rather impressed after Ron told him what was going on. And Shippe did give them a day off. He never did that. Ron didn't know if that was strange or not.

The front door opened, and Ron turned suddenly, only to see Hermione walk in.

“Hi, Ron!” Hermione said, “How was training?”

Ron sighed.

“Actually I'd like to talk to talk to you about that,” he said.

“Oh... okay,” Hermione said.

She walked over to the couch and sat down.

“Ron, you look kind of pale!” she gasped, when she got a better look at him, “What happened?”

“You remember Ralph Fetcher?” Ron asked.

Hermione nodded.

“Sometime during the night,” Ron said, “He escaped from Azkaban.”

Hermione gasped again.

“Kingsley told Shippe, our instructor,” Ron said, “And he told Shippe that the Aurors-In-Training would be in charge of investigating Fetcher's escape. The investigation would be our exam for this month.”

“I don't understand,” Hermione said, “The result of the exam would be if you can find Fetcher?”

“Or information relating to his capture,” Ron said, nodding.

“Kingsley gave you a mission that is supposed to be for actual Aurors?” Hermione asked.

“Yeah,” Ron said, “All the Aurors are busy with other things, I guess.”

“So what was your role in this mission?” Hermione asked.

Ron sighed silently.

“Harry, Billingsley and I were sent to investigate Fetcher's escape,” Ron said, then paused for a moment, “In Azkaban.”

“You went to Azkaban?!” Hermione asked, “No wonder you look so pale! What happened?!”

Ron explained meeting the two guards and Hench, then going to search for clues of how Fetcher escaped from Azkaban.

“Something was fishy,” Ron said, “The wall—it looked—well, it looked... normal. Like nothing had even happened. I turned, ready to ask the guard if he had taken Harry and I to the right place... and....”

“And what?” Hermione asked.

“The guard turned his wand on Harry and I,” Ron said.

Hermione's hands flew to her mouth.

“The guard,” Ron forced himself to continue, “he basically told us he had taken part in Fetcher's escape. He said he was an ally of Voldemort. Then—and then--”

Ron looked down at his hands, which were shaking. He had thought of this moment for a long while today. What was he going to tell Hermione?

“And what?” Hermione said, her voice muffled behind her hands.

“And.... Billingsley saved us,” Ron said.

He couldn't tell her just yet. He had to get the rest of the story done. Maybe then, he would tell her. But could he? Did he really want to let her know?

“He stunned the guard,” Ron continued. “He told us that the other guard, that was with him, had almost attacked him. Well, we brought back to the two guards to the guard office. I then went back to the Ministry, with the two guards, and they are now locked in a cell, or being interrogated. I don't know which.”

“How's Harry?” Hermione asked.

“He's okay,” Ron said, “He had stayed at Azkaban with Billingsley for a while, to interrogate more guards, you see. A couple minutes before you arrived, I got a letter from Ginny. Harry's back at his house, so I guess he is fine. He's kinda weak from the trip, though, but he seems to be fine.”

“I still can't believe Kingsley wanted you to do the mission,” Hermione said, “You could have been hurt!”

Until now, Ron hadn't looked up from his shaking hands. But now, it seemed it was time to tell Hermione. He knew it would come to this.

“Hermione,” Ron said, “I-I didn't tell you everything.”

“Okay,” Hermione said.

Ron didn't like the sound of Hermione's voice. It seemed to be quivering.

“Deakins, the guard who had attacked us,” Ron said, “He—I thought—there was a m-moment before Billingsley saved us that—that I thought Harry and I were going to die right there.”

Hermione gasped, and Ron could see tears pooling into Hermione's eyes.

“Ever since that happened,” Ron said, his voice on the verge of breaking, “I have done a lot of thinking about that moment. What if I had died?”

“Ron!” Hermione said, her voice breaking, “You didn't. You're okay!”

“No, Hermione,” Ron said, “I thought I really was going to die. I had never felt like that before in my life. Not during the Battle of Hogwarts, not during the battle with the Death Eaters, never. I have never felt like that before. All day, ever since it happened, I tried to figure out why I felt that. Why I felt really afraid.”

Ron looked straight into Hermione's eyes.

“It was only a few minutes ago,” Ron said, “When I saw you walk in, that I realized why.”

Ron closed his eyes. Was he about to say this?

“I was afraid, really afraid,” he continued, opening his eyes, “Because I realized I didn't know how you would feel if something had really happened to me. I realized that... I can't bear to think of what would happen. What if I ended up in another coma? And it was really long this time? What if I really died?”

“Ron, I--” Hermione began, but Ron put his hand up.

“Please, let me finish, Hermione,” Ron said.

Ron realized his voice was becoming hoarse. Something inside him seemed to be trying to stop him from doing what he was about to do.

“I'm not strong enough to go through being an Auror, and thinking about you at the same time,” Ron said. “Hermione, I-I can't.... I can't marry you.”

Tears started to pour from Hermione's eyes.

“Ron?” Hermione asked, “What are you saying?”

“After Fr-Fred died,” Ron said, “I was a wreck. I tried to keep it inside, but I was an emotional wreck. George was even worse, and Mum was--”

Ron did his best to look away from Hermione. He thought her tears would kill him.

“If I married you,” Ron said, “And then died during a mission, you would never be able to get over it. You are strong, but you're not that strong. I can't do that to you.”

“Are y-you breaking up with me?” Hermione asked.

“I-I-I,” Ron stammered, then swallowed, “I guess I am.”

Hermione's crying had become downpours now.

“Hermione,” Ron said, “I'm giving you this house. I can't take that away from you. I bought it for... for you.”

For some reason, he couldn't say “us.” Ron stood up and walked to the doorway. Hermione's sobs were almost deafening.

“I'll get my things later,” Ron said, “Goodbye.”

Ron opened the door and walked out of the house. It took all of his strength not to collapse onto the ground and cry. Tears began to stream down his face as he apparated to his next location.

Oh my goodness, the end of this chapter almost killed me to write! I must say right now I am one of the world's biggest Ron/Hermione shippers, and I never thought I'd ever do this in a fan-fiction. This put me in tears.

Well, it is probably obvious to you that some time soon they will get back together.... they have to, right?! When will that come? I don't know, but I hope you stick around for it!

Feedback would be great. Seriously, I want to know what you think. If you yell at me for breaking up the best couple, I understand.

Old April 17th, 2011, 6:40 pm
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Re: Butterfly Kisses (Sequel to Harry Potter and the Return to Hogwarts)

Chapter 28

Author's Note: Thank you for all your awesome reviews from the last chapter. As some of you said, it is rather obvious Ron and Hermione will get back together soon. Now it is my job to figure out HOW and WHEN to do so. I don't want to do it too quick, because that would seem kind of pointless right? This is going to be tricky. This chapter starts a few minutes before the last chapter ended.

(Ginny's PoV)

Ginny's day off from Quidditch practice had been quite boring... that is, until very recently. Even though it was her day off, she studied her Quidditch playbook because had nothing better to do. When she had finished with that, she had tried to watch the telly, but couldn't figure out how to work it.

When Harry returned home from training, he looked sick, almost to the point of collapsing...


Ginny was in the kitchen making dinner when the front door opened.

“Finally, you're home!” Ginny said, walking toward the living room, “Why did they keep you so--”

Ginny gasped. Harry was sitting against the backside of the couch, breathing hard. He was sweating profusely and he looked really pale.

“Harry, what happened?!” Ginny demanded.

Harry shook his head, still breathing deeply.

“Harry, tell me right now,” Ginny said, in almost a strict motherly voice that sounded much like her own Mum's, “or I will send Ares to Ron. He'll tell me if you don't.”

“Ron—already—know,” Harry said, in between breathing, “Help me to the couch, will you?”

Ginny helped Harry off the floor, and over to the couch.

“You've never come home from training looking like this!” Ginny said, helping Harry sit down, “What happened?”

“Been—Azkaban,” Harry said, “Mission.”

“Mission?” Ginny asked, “Harry, you're still in training. Why were you on a mission?” And did you say Azkaban?”

An odor of burning wafted in from the kitchen.

“Oh, bloody hell!” Ginny said, “Harry, when I come back in, you are going to tell me everything!”

Ginny raced into the kitchen, where the pot of boiling potatoes was steaming rather profusely.

“How water can burn, I don't know!” Ginny muttered to herself.

She waved her wand and the water and boiling potatoes vanished. She then took a washcloth and soaked it down with water, then raced back into the living room. She walked over to Harry, who was laying down, and put the washcloth on his forehead.

“Thanks, Ginny,” Harry said.

“You owe me now,” Ginny said, “Tell me what happened.”

Ginny listened to Harry's story.

“And then Ron left to take the two suspects to the Ministry,” Harry said, “I'm sure he's fine. He didn't stay too long.”

“Why did you stay?” Ginny asked.

“Billingsley and I,” Harry said, “We interrogated the other guards that were there. There were like two dozen or so. It took so long.”

Harry scoffed.

“Pointless, really,” he said, “We got nothing from them. They are as innocent as you and I.”

“Then you came home?” Ginny asked.

Harry nodded.

“Billingsley told me to come home when we got back to the Ministry,” he said, “He said he would do our reports. He could see the state I was in, and he was healthier, I guess you could say. He'd been there before... on a tour. So he knew what it was like to roam Azkaban.”

“It must have been horrible,” Ginny said, “I remember when Dad went for a visit. Ministry work, or something. He was different for a while when he came back, and he was only there for a few hours.”

“I'll be okay,” Harry said.

“No, Harry, you need some rest,” Ginny said, “Let me help you up to bed.”

Harry shook his head, but when Ginny glared at him, he nodded. Ginny helped Harry walk up the stairs. It was a little tough, because every few steps, it seemed like he was going to faint. When Ginny finally got Harry into bed, he was fast asleep.

Flashback ends

Ginny had written Ron a letter demanding to know how he was, and was now waiting for Ares to come back. She had almost decided to start on dinner again, but she knew if the letter came before she was finished, the dinner would probably burn again. Even with magic, she was never good as her mother when it came to cooking.

Soon, there was a pecking sound on the window. Ginny raced over to the window, opened it and allowed Ares in. Ginny took the letter from Ares and read it.

“Don't talk to Dad,” Ginny muttered, “Right. I still may do it. Sending Aurors in training to Azkaban for a mission. What were they thinking?”

CRACK! Ginny's head jerked toward the door. Was that apparation, or a car backfiring?

“Hello?” Ginny called, “Who's there?”

Ginny slowly walked over to the door. She thought she could hear something outside. She opened the door... and saw Ron on the steps. He was facing the other way, and he seemed to be shaking.

“Ron?” Ginny said.

He didn't seem to hear her. Ginny walked over to him. His face was between his knees, and he was sobbing.

“Ron?” Ginny asked, sitting beside him, “What happened?”

Could this have been from his trip to Azkaban? Had Ron been there longer than Harry thought? No, Ron had said in his letter that he was fine. But this was not “fine”.

“Ron?” Ginny repeated a third time, “What happened? Is it Hermione --”

Ron jerked away from Ginny. Ginny gasped. What had happened to Hermione?

“You tell me now, Ronald Billius Weasley!” Ginny said, using the same tone her mother used constantly.

“Ha-have you e-ever done anything you ever regretted?” Ron stammered, his voice full of sobs.

“Well, sure,” Ginny said, “Opening Tom Riddle's diary, for one. And... snogging boys I didn't really fancy.”

Ginny expected Ron to laugh, but he seemed to be shaking even more.

“Why?” Ginny asked slowly, “What did you do?”

Ron muttered something Ginny couldn't hear.

“What?” Ginny said, “Didn't catch that.”

“I left Hermione,” Ron said.

“What?” Ginny asked, “You mean you--”

“I broke up with her!” Ron said, his voice louder than before.

“Why?” Ginny asked.

“Cause I'm a bloody arse, that is why!” Ron forced out.

“So you broke up with her because you are an arse?” Ginny replied. “Ron, this is the girl you couldn't stop talking about over the summer before school started every year. This is the girl, that, when she said she would come over, you'd count down the days till she did. You didn't even do that with Harry!”

“You think I don't know that, Ginny,” Ron said.

“Then why did you really break up with her?” Ginny asked, “You were going to get married. Ron, she took me to Diagon Alley this weekend just to help her shop for your wedding.”

“If you are trying to help me,” Ron said, “This isn't working.”

“Just tell me why, then,” Ginny said.

“Because I thought I was going to die in Azkaban today!” Ron forced out.

“What?” Ginny said. “Ron, Harry told me what happened. You weren't going to die.”

“He said that because he is bloody brave,” Ron said, scoffing, “There was a chance, we both knew it. And... there is always going to be that chance. I can't do that to Hermione.”

“You just said it, Ron,” Ginny said, “There is always going to be that chance. If you ask me, it is a sad excuse to break up with a girl.”

Ron looked over at Ginny, his soaked eyebrows narrowed.

“Ron,” Ginny said, “Hermione loves you. I don't know why she does. I'm sure she told you why. But she does. Let me tell you from experience... you need to count yourself lucky with this.”

“It would have only broken her heart if I died,” Ron said.

“Oh, and you don't think her heart is broken now?” Ginny asked, “She's probably crying her eyes out.”

“You don't need to give me more reasons why I'm an arse,” Ron said, “I have enough.”

“Well, obviously you regret doing this,” Ginny said. “You should go back to her and tell her you are sorry.”

“She wouldn't take me back,” Ron muttered, “I broke her heart, remember.”

“Ron, if there is one person in this world who would take you back,” Ginny said, “It is Hermione Granger. You are lucky she is that way too. Otherwise, you wouldn't been friends with her past your first year at Hogwarts.”

Ron scoffed.

“I can't face her after this,” Ron said.

“Right,” Ginny said, “Some bloody Gryffindor you are.”

Ron narrowed his eyes.

“Gryffindors are supposed to be brave,” Ginny reminded him.

“Then I guess I should have been in Slytherin,” Ron muttered. “With the cowards like Malfoy.”

The front door opened, and Ginny looked over her shoulder. Harry was in the doorway.

“Harry, what are you doing out of bed?” Ginny demanded.

“I thought I heard Ron's voice,” Harry said, then looked at Ron, “I guess I was right. What's going on?”

Ginny looked at Ron.

“Do you want to tell him, or should I?” Ginny asked.

Ron scoffed.

“He broke up with Hermione,” Ginny said.

“Why did you go and do something like that?” Harry asked.

“Cause he's a bloody arse,” Ginny said.

“What she said,” Ron muttered.

“Poor girl,” Harry said, “I bet she's crying her eyes out.”

“That's what I said!” Ginny said.

“Ron, you better go and talk to her,” Harry said.

“I can't,” Ron said.

“If you don't,” Harry said, “Then I will.”

“Why?” Ron asked.

“Because I am not going to see my two best friends end up like this because one is a complete arse.”

“You don't even know why I broke up with her,” Ron said.

“Why, then?” Harry asked.

“Cause I almost got killed today!” Ron yelled.

Harry laughed.

“Shut up,” Ron said, “So did you.”

“Yeah, and you don't see me breaking up with Ginny over it, do you?” Harry asked.

“No,” Ron said, “Cause she'd kill you if you did.”

“It's true,” Ginny said.

“This is what we do, Ron,” Harry said.

“I can't think of what Hermione would do if I got killed,” Ron said.

“Oh, so you break up with her,” Ginny said, “And hope she'd just forget about you if you got killed?”

Ron didn't reply.

“You are a complete arse if you think that,” Ginny said.

“That does it,” Harry said, “I am going over and talking to Hermione.”

“Harry,” Ginny said, “You aren't feeling well.”

“I feel well enough for this,” Harry said.

Before Ginny could reply, Harry apparated with a CRACK!

“He's going to be the death of me,” Ron muttered.

Ginny sighed. She couldn't help, but agree with her brother.


(Harry's PoV)

Harry's feet landed on the front step of Hermione and Ron's house. Without caring to look if a Muggle noticed, he walked to the door, and knocked on it.

“Go away, Ron!” Hermione's voice echoed from inside the house.

“Hermione, it's Harry,” Harry said.

A moment later, the door opened. Hermione was standing in the doorway.

“You look... terrible,” Harry said.

It was true. Hermione's face, hair, and shirt were all soaked with tears. Just what had Ron done?

“You don't look too good yourself,” Hermione muttered, “Get in here, before the neighbors start talking.”

Harry followed Hermione into the house.

“Hermione,” Harry said, “Ron--”

“Don't say his name!” Hermione growled.

“What, so it's Tabooed now?” Harry asked.

“In this house it is,” Hermione said, “You say it, and I'll....”

Hermione growled again.

“You'll growl at me,” Harry said, “Great.”

Hermione rolled her eyes, walked over to the reclining char and forcefully sat down on it.

“Okay,” Harry said, “The couch looks more comfortable than that thing, but...”

“It's where he sat,” Hermione said, “When he—he...”

Tears began trickling down Hermione's face.

“He's pretty broken up about it, you know,” Harry said.

“Oh, so I suppose he went over to your house,” Hermione said.

“Yes,” Harry said.

“Good!” Hermione said, “He can stay there!”

“He still loves you, you know,” Harry said.

Hermione scoffed.

“And I know you love him,” Harry said.

Hermione scoffed again, even louder.

“Oh you don't, do you?” Harry asked. “Then why do you still have the engagement ring on?”

Hermione looked at her hand. She went to take it off, but Harry was there first to stop her.

“Believe me,” Harry said, “You don't want to do that.”

“Why?” Hermione asked.

“Because you'll take him back,” Harry said, “You always do. It is like this every time. He always comes crawling back with apologies. Heck, he was probably wanting to apologize about it as soon as he walked out the door.”

“Then why didn't he, Harry?” Hermione asked.

“Because he wasn't sure if you'd let him,” Harry said.

More tears leaked down Hermione's face.

“He thought he really messed up this time,” Harry said, “He keeps calling himself an arse.”

“Good,” Hermione said, the first grin of the night coming across her face.

“Harsh,” Harry said.

“He said he didn't want to marry me,” Hermione said.

“Did he say why?” Harry asked, though he already knew the answer.

“Cause he thought that if he died,” Hermione said, “I'd take it too badly.”

A sob escaped Hermione's lips.

“He's right,” she said.

“I wouldn't allow that to happen,” Harry said.

Hermione smiled softly.

“What did you say when he said this?” Harry asked.

“He wouldn't let me say anything,” Hermione said. “I tried to tell him that it wouldn't happen to him. But he kept interrupting me.”

“I think he only realized that after he left,” Harry said, “Hermione, do you want me to tell him you'll take him back.”

“Can't I stay mad at him for a few days?” Hermione asked.

“Wouldn't that make it worse?” Harry asked.

“Probably,” Hermione said, with a smirk.

“You're evil,” Harry said, “You want him to think you are mad at him.”

“I am mad at him,” Hermione said.

Another sob escaped her lips.

“And at the same time I want him back in my arms,” she said.

“Well, it is your decision,” Harry said.

“Bring him back to me, Harry,” Hermione said.

“Are you sure?” Harry asked.

Hermione nodded.

“Okay,” Harry said, “But you have to promise me three things.”

“Anything,” Hermione said.

“Don't kill him,” Harry said.

Hermione laughed. “I'll try not to,” she said, “And the second.”

“If you two split up again,” Harry said, “Tell him not to come to me.”

“Hopefully it never comes to that,” Hermione said, “And the third?”

“Don't let this happen again,” Harry said.

“I'll try,” Hermione said.

Harry smiled, then apparated, landing back on his front porch a moment later. Ron and Ginny weren't outside, so he walked back into the house. He found them sitting on the couch in the living room. Ron turned around so quickly, Harry wouldn't surprised if he had hurt himself.

“What did she say?” Ron asked.

“Well, she's promised not to kill you,” Harry said.

Ron's expression sank. “Is that all?” he asked.

“She said she'd take you back,” Harry said, grinning. “Oh, and you better give her a good explanation when you go back to her. She didn't say that. I did.”

“I don't know what I'm going to say,” Ron said.

“I think an apology is in order first,” Ginny said.

“I still don't want anything to happen to her,” Ron said, “If something happens to me and I--”

“Nothing's going to happen to you, mate,” Harry said, “I'll make sure of that. You'll live to be older than Dumbledore if I have my way.”

“I'm an idiot,” Ron said.

“Yes you are,” Ginny said, “But I think that is why Hermione loves you.”

“Well, time to go face fate,” Ron said, “Thanks, guys.”

“No problem,” Harry said, “Just don't do it again.”

“I'll try,” Ron said.

He then apparated with a CRACK!

“'I'll try',” Harry said, then laughed.

“What?” Ginny asked.

“That is exactly what Hermione said,” Harry said, “When I told her the same thing.”

“They really are perfect for each other,” Ginny said, smiling.

(Ron's PoV)

Ron landed on the front porch of his house. He took a deep breath, then walked up to the door and knocked on it. Ron heard the sound of hurrying footsteps. The door opened and Hermione was there, standing in the doorway.

Ron was suddenly reminded of when he had come back to Harry and Hermione, after leaving them during their hunt for the Horcruxes. Hermione's expression was almost identical to that moment.

“You complete arse, Ronald Weasley,” Hermione said.

Ron braced himself for what he thought was going to be another physical lashing from Hermione. But when she pounced on him this time, it was, to Ron, the most welcoming hug he ever had in his life.

“I'm sorry,” Ron said, his voice muffled into Hermione's shoulder.

“You better be,” Hermione said.

Though when she backed away, she was smiling. Hermione took Ron's hand and led him inside. Ron looked down at her hand.

“The ring?” Ron said, looking up at Hermione.

“I never took it off,” Hermione said, smiling.

“I don't deserve you,” Ron said, shaking his head, “I broke your heart and you still love me.”

“You may have broken my heart,” Hermione said, “But you also mended it just a moment ago when you showed up on the doorstep.”

“I'm sorry about everything I said,” Ron said, “I... the only thing that kept me going in Azkaban today was the thought of you. Unfortunately that backfired on me, I guess.”

“I can't say I blame you for saying those things,” Hermione said, “I would be really depressed if something happened to you.”

Ron sighed. Hermione took his hand.

“Look at me,” she said, moving closer to him, “That is something we have to live with. We don't know what will happen. That is the dangers of being an Auror. But Ron, I would never ask you to stop being an Auror. I don't want you to stop. You have the makings of a brilliant Auror.”

Ron smiled.

“I really don't deserve you,” Ron said.

“I really wish you'd stop saying that,” Hermione said.

“Make me,” Ron said, with a smirk.

Hermione grinned. She kissed him so passionately, Ron was surprised she didn't knock him over. He deepened the kiss, and she giggled a little, but didn't back away like he thought she would. Ron led her over to the couch and Hermione forced him onto it.

“You know,” Hermione said, “Because of the last discussion we had on this couch, I was ready to burn it.”

“Let's just forget about that, huh,” Ron said.

“You're going to have to try pretty hard to get me to do that,” Hermione said.

Ron grinned and pulled Hermione on to him.

“What do you have in mind?” he asked.

“I'm sure I can think of a few things,” Hermione said.

“You know,” Ron said, “I think I was right. I really don't des--”

Hermione kissed him before he could finish the sentence. Ron knew if he let her have her way, he wouldn't say much more that night.

Aaah, I couldn't do it. I didn't want them apart too long! I guess it is the Ron/Hermione shipper in me, eh? Yes, I'll blame it on that. I hope you forgive me if you wanted the separation to last a little longer. I was going to call this chapter “Reunion” but that would give way too much away!

Also, before you say anything, I know it is not possible to burn water. I was just trying to make it a little funny.

Definitely want to hear what you think about this chapter!

Old April 20th, 2011, 2:57 am
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Re: Butterfly Kisses (Sequel to Harry Potter and the Return to Hogwarts)

Chapter 29
Bad News

(Ron's PoV)

The next morning, Ron made a quick breakfast for him and Hermione, before Hermione had to go off to work. While he was cooking, there was a loud pecking noise on the kitchen window. Harry's owl, Ares, was sitting on the windowsill. Ron opened the window and let him in. Ron took the roll of parchment from the owl's leg, opened it up and began to read:


Ginny's going to be at Quidditch practice all day, and it is going to be bloody boring around here. Why Shippe gave us the day off, I don't know. I am feeling a lot better than I was yesterday. Anyway, I can't stay cooped up here alone, so I thought I'd go to Diagon Alley for a while around nine this morning. I figured since Hermione has to work today, you'll be alone too. If you want to come and hang out, meet me in the Leaky Cauldron at nine. We can discuss what happened yesterday after you left for the Ministry, since we didn't get the chance to do so yesterday.

Ron looked up from the letter. He suddenly remembered the strange discussion Shippe and the trainee were having. Until now, he had forgotten all about it. He continued reading the letter.

Speaking of, I hope you and Hermione sorted everything out. You probably did. You never could stay away from each other too long.

Hope you can make it,


Ron rummaged through the kitchen drawers, until he found a quill.

“Breakfast is burning, Ron,” Hermione said behind Ron.

Ron looked at Hermione.

“You look nice,” he said.

“Thanks,” Hermione said, “Er.... breakfast?”

Ron turned around. The bacon was turning black.

“Oh, bloody hell,” Ron said, turning off the stove.

“It's okay,” Hermione chuckled, “I like my bacon crispy.”

“Ares came with a letter from Harry,” Ron said, motioning to the owl, who was perched on the back of a chair, “Harry wants to meet me in Diagon Alley.”

“Aw, are you going to have a boys' day out?” Hermione joked.

“We didn't have time to discuss what had happened at Azkaban yesterday,” Ron said, “So he thought we could do that in Diagon Alley.”

Hermione left for the Ministry soon after breakfast. Ron showered and made himself look presentable, then watched the telly to waste some time until he had to meet Harry. A few minutes before nine, he apparated to the Leaky Cauldron, and found Harry waiting near the bar. He was talking to Tom the barman.

“Believe me, you won't find me anywhere near Azkaban,” Tom said, “Even though those bloody dementors are no longer there, just the thought of that place would give me the creeps.”

“It's worse than you could ever imagine,” Harry said.

“Hear, hear,” Ron said.

Harry turned around.

“Oh good, you made it,” Harry said.

“Can I get you anything, Mr. Weasley?” Tom asked.

“Nothing right now,” Ron said, “Thanks, Tom.”

“Hey, Tom,” Harry said, “If we take a table here, could you make sure we don't have eavesdroppers. Auror-in-Training stuff, if you get my drift.”

“Anything for you, Mr. Potter,” Tom said.

Harry thanked Tom, and Ron followed him to a table in the darkest corner of the room.

“I'm actually glad you thought of this,” Ron said, “Something happened yesterday after I came back to the Ministry, and I forgot to tell you about it.”

“What happened?” Harry asked.

“You tell me your story first,” Ron said.

“Mine isn't too interesting,” Harry said. “After you left, Billingsley and I had to interrogate the other guards.”

He scoffed.

“It was total waste of time too,” he said. “None of the other guards were in on it. Billingsley was so sure some of them were lying, but they all had alibis.”

“It makes sense when you think about it,” Ron said, “I'm sure the guards have to work in pairs wherever they go. So Prentiss and Deakins would have worked their shifts together. I wouldn't be surprised if they hadn't volunteered for it together. Two evil blokes like that. I'm sure the both of them had planned this whole thing months ago, and the opportunity came to them just recently.”

“You're probably right about that,” Harry said. “Now, go on, tell me what happened with you.”

“It's probably nothing,” Ron said.

“Tell me, anyway,” Harry said.

“Okay,” Ron said, “Well, when I came back from Azkaban, Prentiss and Deakins hadn't arrived yet, so I went to change clothes. Then I heard a voice in the room, and decided to investigate it. When I found it, it was Shippe. He was talking to one of our fellow trainees.”

“Who?” Harry asked.

“I don't know his name,” Ron said, “But I'm sure if I see him again, I'll recognize him.”

“What else happened?” Harry asked.

“Well,” Ron said, “Shippe sounded like he was threatening the bloke.”

“What?” Harry asked.

“Yeah,” Ron said, “The trainee guy sounded like he was scared. He kept saying 'I didn't see anything'. It sounded like Shippe thought he was hiding something.”

Harry stared, and Ron recognized the expression as one of a person deep in thought.

“What do you think?” Ron asked.

“No clue,” Harry said, shrugging, “Perhaps Shippe thinks the bloke is someone Kingsley is looking for in his investigation.”

“Yeah,” Ron said, “But if that is so....”

“Then why didn't Kingsley find out himself?” Harry said, finishing Ron's sentence. “Yeah, that is what I thought too. Was there anything else they said?”

“Shippe thought the bloke was using Occlumency,” Ron said.

“There you go, then,” Harry said. “We know one of Kingsley's weaknesses is someone using Occlumency on him. Didn't that Head Judge bloke Hermione works with do the same thing?”

“Yeah,” Ron said, “Yeah! That's right!”

“What happened next?” Harry asked.

“Nothing,” Ron said, “Well... Deakins and Prentiss' stunned bodies arrived right at that moment. Shippe heard them appear, and he let the trainee bloke go.”

“That's strange,” Harry said. “If Shippe thinks the guy is guilty of something, why did he let him go?”

“Yeah,” Ron said, “Pretty odd.”

“What's odd?” a voice said nearby.

Ron and Harry looked up. Billingsley was walking toward them, with Tom shortly in tow.

“I-I'm sorry, Harry,” Tom said, “This guy insisted he needed to talk to you.”

“It's all right, Tom,” Harry said, “I invited him as well.”

“You did?” Ron asked.

“Oh,” Tom said, “All right. Well, I'll just leave you then. Can't get any of you a butterbeer, can I?”

“We're okay,” Harry said.

“Well,” Tom said, “Okay, then.”

Billingsley sat down next to Harry.

“I invited Billingsley, Ron,” Harry said again, “I wanted to hear what happened after we left Azkaban.”

“Oh, well, okay,” Ron said, then looked at Billingsley, “So what did happen?”

“Shippe was so pleased with our work at Azkaban,” Billingsley said, “That I was able to assist him with Deakins' and Prentiss' interrogations.”

“Wicked,” Ron said, admirably, “You learn anything?”

“Only a little bit,” Billingsley said. “These two are very good at keeping things to themselves.”

“Get on with it, then,” Ron said.

“Even though Deakins led you two to the wrong spot in Azkaban,” Billingsley said, “He did tell the truth about something. Fetcher was able to Apparate out of Azkaban, because the damage to a portion of the wall on the east end of the prison has broken some of the protections. The Apparation barrier is ineffective there. Guards have now been posted there full-time.”

“So we know where Fetcher escaped,” Harry said, shrugging, “That doesn't help us one bit now.”

“No,” Billingsley said, “It doesn't.”

What else did you learn?” Harry asked.

“Fetcher's list is real,” Billingsley said, “Fetcher didn't just escape to be free. He was headed somewhere.”

“Did they tell you if Fetcher is the leader of this group?” Ron asked, “Or just the messenger?”

“They didn't say anything about that,” Billingsley said, “But I have to believe, and Shippe agrees with me, that he is just the messenger. Shippe believes it is highly possible Fetcher will turn up dead one day.”

“So Deakins and Prentiss helped Fetcher escape,” Harry said, “Just to let Fetcher give the list to somebody else.”

“Which means there is someone else out there,” Ron said. “A whole group of people. A new threat.”

“Yes,” Billingsley said, “Fetcher was the key to the threat. With him in Azkaban, this new group of bad guys couldn't do anything, because they didn't have their messenger. Now they do.”

“What is Kingsley doing about this?” Harry asked.

“I was wondering when you would get to him,” Billingsley said. “Shippe sent me a letter this morning, informing me of the aftermath this information has given us. I will tell you exactly what he told me. Now that there is a real threat to the wizarding world, the Minister of Magic has now taken all of his focus away from the Ministry. Except for one department: the Daily Prophet.”

“He still believes there are traitors inside the Daily Prophet?” Ron asked.

“No,” Billingsley said, “He is trying to make sure the wizarding world knows nothing about this new threat... at least until something can be done about it..”

“What?” Harry asked.

“You have to see his side,” Billingsley said, “The Second War ended less than a year ago, and everyone is trying to get back on their feet. What do you think would happen if news about a new threat came out?”

“So Kingsley is going to keep everyone oblivious,” Harry said, “until something actually happens.”

“That's smart,” Ron said, sarcastically.

“Anyway, the Minister is forcing the Daily Prophet to keep quiet about this,” Billingsley said, “Today, he is forming a new department: the Public Security Department. Their only job is to make sure that none of the information, that the Ministry knows about this new threat, gets out into the wizarding world. Unfortunately, that puts a lot of people's jobs at stake.”

“What do you mean?” Ron asked.

“Your fiancee, Hermione,” Billingsley said, “What does she do?”

“She's a Court Respondent,” Ron said. “She.... oh.”

“Exactly,” Billingsley said.

“Er... what am I missing?” Harry asked.

“Hermione's job is take notes for the Wizengamot,” Ron said, “And give them to the Daily Prophet.'

“And if Kingsley is barring the Daily Prophet from giving out crucial information,” Billingsley said.

“Then Hermione can't give her notes to the Daily Prophet!” Harry said.

“Exactly,” Billingsley said.

Ron looked at Harry, whose expression was glum. Ron knew exactly what he was thinking. He was sure Hermione was going to come home with bad news.

(Hermione's PoV)

Hermione was sitting at her usual spot in the high seats near the Wizengamot. The next case was due to start any minute. Susan Bones arrived in the room with Judge Morrison, and both walked up the stairs toward their usual seats. Hermione noticed that Susan seemed to be looking at her, but Hermione couldn't figure out the expression on her face. Was it sadness? What had happened?

“Susan?” Hermione asked, when Susan reached her row, “What's going on?”

“I'll... tell you after the case,” Susan said.

“Oh, okay,” Hermione said.

As Susan walked past her, Hermione looked at her. What did Susan want to tell her? Had something happened with Head Judge Morrison again? Before she could ponder the question any further, Morrison tapped his wand on the stand in front of him. The doors to the courtroom opened, and a number of men walked in. Two of the men were bound in magical shackles and escorted by Aurors. Hermione recognized one of the Aurors as Shippe, the man who trained Ron, Harry and the other Aurors-in-Training.

“This hearing is scheduled for Randall Deakins and Percival Prentiss,” Morrison stated.

Hermione looked at Morrison, then the two prisoners. The prisoners' names sounded familiar, but Hermione couldn't place them.

“Your charges,” Morrison continued, “are as follows: allowing a hgh-value prisoner, one Ralph Fetcher, to escape free from Azkaban, attempting to kill three Aurors-in-Training, and treason against the wizarding world.”

Hermione then knew exactly who the two men were. One of them was the man responsible for almost killing Ron and Harry. Could this have been what Susan meant? Could she have been apologizing for Hermione being in this situation?

“This is only a hearing,” Morrison said, “Your official case will start in one week. Until then, you will be in the custody of the Ministry.”

Morrison tapped his wand on the stand in front of him. The prisoners were then led out of the courtroom. The Auror, Shippe, however, had remained.

“Ah, yes,” Morrison said, “Auror Shippe. I know of your business here today.”

“Good,” Shippe said, “That will make it much more simple.”

Hermione heard a light cough from Susan down the aisle. She turned, to see Susan whispering something to Morrison.

“Auror Shippe,” Morrison said, “Would you allow a little time before you do what you have come to do?”

“Yes, your Honor,” Shippe said.

Hermione looked from Morrison to Shippe. For a fleeting moment, Hermione thought Shippe had looked at her while he was turning to leave.

“Hermione,” Susan said.

Hermione looked up at Susan.

“Can I speak to you for a moment?” Susan asked.

“Er... sure,” Hermione said.

“Come with me,” Susan said.

Hermione stood up and followed Susan toward the courtroom floor.

“I'm not sure if you heard,” Susan said, “It only just happened earlier today. I was only told about it from Morrison. Minister Shacklebolt is putting together a new department today. It is called the Public Security Department. Basically, it stops the Daily Prophet from giving news to the public that could start a panic. I assume you know about this apparent threat to the wizarding world, correct?”

Hermione nodded.

“Yes, well,” Susan said, “Unfortunately, this includes all news that comes in from the Wizengamot's court cases. I volunteered to be the one to tell this to you, and I want to apologize early for doing so. Because of this new order, the job of Court Respondent has been terminated.”

“You mean I'm... sacked?” Hermione asked.

“I'm sorry, Hermione,” Susan said. “I tried to do everything. I asked Morrison if he could do anything. He said he would try his best, and would contact you as soon as possible.”

Hermione couldn't believe it. She had lost her job because of Kingsley Shacklebolt?

“Are you okay?” Susan asked.

“I'll be fine,” Hermione lied.

She wasn't fine at all. She was just beginning to really love this job. She could see herself as a huge part of the Wizengamot in the future. Now... she wasn't so sure about that.

“Auror Shippe has been asked to escort you out of the Ministry,” Susan said.

Hermione nodded. Without another word, she walked out of the courtroom where Shippe was standing.

“Miss Granger,” Shippe said, “I am to escort you to the Atrium.”

“I know,” Hermione said.

Honestly, she felt like a prisoner.

“Follow me,” Shippe said.

She followed Shippe toward the lifts, and they walked into one. The gate closed with a loud bang, and it started to rise through the floors.

“You're Ron Weasley's girlfriend, aren't you?” Shippe asked.

“Fiancee, actually,” Hermione said, “Why?”

“He's quite the wizard,” Shippe said. “Though he does get his nose in things a little too much.”

“Excuse me?” Hermione asked.

“I know you and him have bought a house together,” Shippe said. “Those monthly payments have to be a pain to keep up with. It'll be worse, now that you are out of a job. I'd hate to see you lose your house cause Ron loses his job too.”

Hermione stared at Shippe.

“You tell Mr. Weasley to keep his nose out of my business,” Shippe said, “And he might have the makings of a fine Auror one day.”

Shippe's stare was like daggers. Hermione didn't know what to say. Finally, the lifts reached the Atrium.

“Follow me,” Shippe said to Hermione.

Hermione followed him toward the security desk, where she checked out her wand, and gave the security guard her Ministry badge. Shippe then escorted her to the Apparation-safe area.

“You have a good day, Miss Granger,” Shippe said, “And say hi to Ron for me, okay?”

Hermione nodded silently. She then apparated out of the Ministry and arrived at the house. Ron was waiting for her on the couch.

“Hey, Hermione,” Ron said, “You're home early. Something wrong?”

Hermione exhaled and inhaled. She tried to keep the tears out of her eyes.

"No," Hermione said, "I have some bad news."

End of chapter! So much has taken place in this chapter! Wow, it's crazy!

Hope you liked it! Feedback would be awesome!

Old April 24th, 2011, 1:57 pm
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Re: Butterfly Kisses (Sequel to Harry Potter and the Return to Hogwarts)

Chapter 30
Conspiracy Theories

(Ron's PoV)

Ever since Billingsley informed Ron and Harry of the new Public Security Department, the only person Ron could think about was Hermione.

The job of Court Respondent had a huge target on its head now. As long as there was a threat to the wizarding world, there was no way the Ministry would allow anything from the Wizengamot's cases to get out into the public.

When Hermione arrived with a CRACK, Ron was sitting on the couch in the living room, just waiting for the inevitable.

“Hey, Hermione,” Ron said, “You're home early. Something wrong?”

Ron could already tell something was wrong. He could almost see the tears already coming from Hermione's eyes. Right then, at that moment, he silently swore to himself he would try to do his best not to make Hermione cry again. He hated seeing her cry when she was unhappy. It tore his heart in two.

"No," Hermione said, "I have some bad news."

“Come sit,” Ron said, patting the cushion beside him, “You can tell me all about it.”

Hermione nodded and walked over to the couch.

Though Ron already knew what Hermione was going to say, he also knew it would be best if he let her talk about it. It might do more good than bad.

“So, what happened?” Ron asked.

“Have you heard anything about this new department Kingsley created?” Hermione replied.

Ron shrugged. He wasn't exactly sure what to say.

“Well,” Hermione said, “Kingsley created what is referred to as the Public Security Department. From what I can figure out, he is trying to keep the public safe by not letting them know what is really happening in the wizarding world. I guess the whole 'security' part of the department's name is to protect the wizarding world from itself if we start a riot because of the news of a new threat.”

“Well, it makes sense,” Ron said, then cowered under Hermione's glare, “Just a little.”

“Why?” Hermione asked.

“If you didn't know about this threat, Hermione,” Ron said, “And you found out there was one, less than two years after Voldemort's defeat, how would you react?”

Hermione began to reply, then stopped, and sighed.

“I guess I can see what you're getting at,” she said.

“Is that all you wanted to tell me?” Ron asked, “About this new department?”

“I wish,” Hermione said.

Ron frowned. He almost wanted to say that he knew what she was going to tell him, just so she wouldn't have to go through it again.

“Because of the new Public Security Department,” Hermione continued; Ron noticed that she said the department's name with much disgust, “the Daily Prophet is being watched. It can't print out anything that has to do with the new threat. I would also assume that Kingsley is going to make them print out good things: more arrests, convictions, things like that.”

“That's a load of tripe,” Ron said. “Doesn't that interfere with the Daily Prophet's freedom of press?”

“You'd think so, right?” Hermione asked. “But I guess Kingsley has looked over that little tidbit. Anyway, because of the barriers that the Daily Prophet is being put up against, this not only affects them, but many others.”

Hermione paused, and Ron put his hand on hers. Hermione smiled briefly.

“Ron,” Hermione said, “I was fired today. My job as Court Respondent is gone because of the new Public Security Department.”

“Can't you do anything?” Ron asked, “Can't the Head Judge --”

“He said he would try to do something about this,” Hermione said, nodding.

“Well, that is good!” Ron said, “He has some power in the Ministry, right?”

“Not enough,” Hermione said, shaking her head, “Ron, I really loved being a part of the Wizengamot. I... you remember how I used to say I didn't want to have anything to do with the Ministry, especially the Wizengamot, because I thought it was corrupt?”

Ron chuckled.

“I think you told that to Rufus Scrimgeour himself,” he said.

Hermione smiled briefly, once again.

“I was wrong, though,” she said. “The Wizengamot is wonderful. I've never seen a more honest group of law-keepers. The Muggle history is filled with corrupt law-men, and I thought that would pass over into the wizarding world too. But, the Wizengamot is much different. And I was really beginning to think I would be a part of it.”

“You still can be, Hermione,” Ron said.

“I'm not so sure, anymore,” Hermione said, “Ron, what are we going to do? This house... I thought that with us both having jobs, we could live in this house for quite a while, at least until we needed something bigger. But now...”

“Hermione, you don't have to worry about that,” Ron said, squeezing Hermione's hand, “What... what brought this up?”

Hermione paused, and Ron could see worry in her eyes. No, not worry. Fear. She looked scared.

“Hermione?” Ron asked.

“I ran into your trainer today,” Hermione said, quietly.

Ron's mouth went agape. He didn't expect this.

“What?” Ron asked, “Shippe?”

Hermione nodded slowly.

“What did he have to say?” Ron asked.

“He... said,” Hermione said slowly, “He said that you should keep your nose out of his business. He said that if you didn't, you would lose your job too.”

Ron swore under his breath. Shippe had no right saying these things to Hermione.

“Ron?” Hermione asked, “What was Shippe talking about?”

Ron didn't respond straight away, and was also not sure if he wanted to answer her question. He knew this could only worry Hermione more. But now it seemed Shippe had put Hermione in the middle of it.

“When I returned from Azkaban yesterday,” Ron said, “I overheard Shippe talking to somebody, a fellow trainee. I don't know who it was, but he sounded afraid. At first, I thought the trainee had done something and Shippe was punishing him. Now, it seems Shippe was doing something, and the trainee saw him. The only question is... what exactly was he doing?”

“Must be something bad,” Hermione said, “Otherwise, why would he want you to stay out of his business.”

“I've always trusted Shippe,” Ron said, “He seems like a great bloke. Seems crazy that he would be involved in this new threat.”

“You should have heard him, Ron,” Hermione said, quietly and fearfully, “His tone-of-voice, when he was talking to me, was just....”

Hermione visibly shuddered. Ron's eyes narrowed and he clenched his fists.

“I'm going to have a word with him,” Ron said, “Tomorrow.”

“Ron, no!” Hermione cried.

“No one talks to you like that, Hermione,” Ron said, “Nobody!”

“Ron, please,” Hermione said, almost begging. “You'll get kicked out of the Aurors before you even become one! Please, for me, for us, don't do this. If you lose your job, we lose our house!”

Ron stared at Hermione. Once again, she was right. It looks like Shippe had them trapped. He could turn Shippe in for suspicion of treason, but at the possibility that he could be kicked out of the Aurors, and, as Hermione said, lose his house, their house? He couldn't risk that.

“Okay,” Ron said, “I'll leave it alone... for now.”

“Thank you, Ron,” Hermione said, “That is all I ask of you.”

“I'm sorry you got fired,” Ron said.

“It's okay,” Hermione said, though she still looked on the verge of tears, “I'll find something else to do. I'm sure George would hire me, if nothing else works out.”

“I'd kick his bloody arse if he didn't hire you,” Ron said.

Hermione chuckled, which made Ron join in too.

“You've been through a lot today,” Ron said, “So how about I make you some lunch. It'll calm your nerves.”

“That sounds good,” Hermione said, “But hold on one moment, will you?”

“For what?” Ron asked.

“For this,” Hermione said.

She leaned in toward Ron and kissed him passionately, deeply on the lips.

“You really know how to work up a bloke's appetite,” Ron said.

“Thank you for being here for me today,” Hermione said.

“Where else would I be?” Ron said, smiling.

Hermione smiled back. Ron stood up and walked into the kitchen.


(Hermione's PoV)

Hermione was expecting a letter from Head Judge Morrison before too long, but by early the next morning, the only owl that had come along was delivering the Daily Prophet. Ron was still asleep, so Hermione decided to fix breakfast and read the Daily Prophet while the french toast was being made by magic.

There was nothing in the Daily Prophet about the sacking of Court Respondents, nor anything else about people losing their jobs To Hermione's amazement, there was also no announcement of the new Public Security Department or advertisements hiring for a new job in the Ministry. Had Kingsley already planned who would be a part of that department?

Hermione read through the pages of the Daily Prophet and came up one article where she found that her theory about what the Daily Prophet was doing was absolutely correct. The article read:

Two Azkaban Guards Charged
As Former Death Eaters

It has been widely rumored that there are still
Dark wizards walking free in the wizarding
world, and this rumor has been confirmed as
true. Yesterday, two men were charged with
treason and followers of Lord Voldemort.

Randall Deakins, 45, of Sheffield, and Percival
Prentiss, 49, of Bradford were brought into the
Wizengamot yesterday morning. It was
discovered after the end of the First War and
the first fall of Lord Voldemort that Deakins
and Prentiss enlisted in Auror training. Before
the first fall of the Dark Lord, they were two
of the young members of the group known as
Death Eaters. It was revealed that, when the
Dark Lord returned just a few years ago,
Deakins and Prentiss excused themselves
from the Aurors temporarily with the story
that they had to protect their families.

In truth, they were rejoining amongst the
ranks of the Dark Lord's “most trusted
followers”, as was stated by Prentiss during
the trial yesterday. After the defeat of Lord
Voldemort, they reinstated themselves as
Aurors, and were enlisted as guards at
Azkaban Prison.

It is believed that the two former Death Eaters
were planning on releasing prisoners from
Azkaban, and recruiting them for the next
possible threat to the wizarding world. We are
happy to say that this plan has been averted
with the new convictions.

Have no fear, readers. The wizarding world
remains safe, thanks to, in part, of the Minister
of Magic, Kingsley Shacklebolt, and the Wizengamot.

Hermione shook her head, disgusted. It was almost as if the hearing she had been a part of yesterday had never taken place at all! The simple hearing had now been made out to look like it had been an actual trial of the two Azkaban guards. Even though she was pleased that the two guards were going to be convicted of crimes, it was horrible to think they had been convicted on lies.

“M-m-morning, Hermione,” Ron's sleepy voice called out, as he walked into the kitchen.

Hermione looked up briefly and smiled.

“Breakfast smells good,” Ron said, “What is it? Oh, french toast! Wicked.”

Hermione nodded, her eyes still on the Daily Prophet.

“Anything interesting in there?” Ron asked, nodding to the newspaper.

Hermione slid the paper across the table, almost ripping it in the process. While Ron read the article, Hermione served the french toast.

“Those two evil blokes were Death Eaters?” Ron asked, his eyes still on the article.

“I doubt it,” Hermione scoffed.

“It says here,” Ron said, pointing to the article, “In their trial they said they were two of Voldemort's most trusted followers.”

“Ron, that article is rubbish,” Hermione said, deliberately setting the plate of toast on the Daily Prophet, “You notice how it said there was a trial yesterday morning?”

“Sure,” Ron said, shrugging, “So what?”

“I was there yesterday morning,” Hermione said, “There was no trial. It was a simple hearing setting up the trial for a later date. Prentiss and Deakins didn't say a word during the whole thing.”

“So the Daily Prophet lied?” Ron asked.

“Yes, and I don't think it was their own doing either,” Hermione said, “There were no mentions of the sackings or hiring of Ministry workers. You'd think that, since there is a creation of a new department, there would be advertisements seeking workers, right?”

“I guess,” Ron shrugged again.

“There's nothing,” Hermione said. “I'm sure Kingsley already had hired the Public Security Department members before he even put the department together.”

“I could see why he would do that,” Ron said. “If he wanted the department to get to work right on spot, he would have hired the members of it beforehand. It's a smart move.”

“Well, it seems they are doing their job then,” Hermione scoffed, “Hiding the truth from the wizarding world. There was no mention at all of Ralph Fetcher anywhere in there. Well, there is good news in all of this.”

“What's that?” Ron asked, taking a bite of his french toast.

“They can't hide the fact that you, Harry and Billingsley caught Deakins and Prentiss, can they?” Hermione asked.

“We might even get medals out of it!” Ron said, chuckling.

“They never mentioned you in the article, though,” Hermione said. “That's a little strange. There was nothing about who caught Deakins and Prentiss.”

“I might find more about that while at work,” Ron said. “Speaking of that, have you gotten an owl from Morrison yet?”

“No,” Hermione said, looking over her shoulder towards the window.

“Cheer up,” Ron said, “I'm sure one will come.”


It turned out that Ron was right. A short time after Ron had left for the Ministry, an owl appeared outside the living room window. Hermione hurried to the window, opened it and let the owl in. She untied the roll of parchment from the owl and unrolled it, then began to read:


First, I want to say how deeply sorry I am for everything that happened to you yesterday. You are one of the brightest witches I have ever met and, if you pardon my words, you have a hell of a future ahead of you. You deserved to have a great job in the Wizengamot, more than anyone I've ever met. When I heard you were being fired, and for the most ridiculous reasons, I tried to fight against it. I asked the Ministry to give you another job in the Wizengamot, and they didn't say anything to me.

You saved my job as Head Judge (and kept me out of Azkaban), and I am going to do everything I can to repay you. I would have written this letter quicker, but I've been doing some investigating, and a little birdie told me that you may be interested in another career here at the Ministry. They were aware that you have a thing for House Elf rights. Well, I can't help you get started on Elf Rights, but I can help you go in the right direction. So, I am happy to say that, if you are willing, you have a job interview with The Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures next Monday at nine-o-clock in the morning. I'm sure you'll get the job if you want it. I gave them my own recommendation, and I think that is enough, if I say so myself.

It is my biggest wish that you find yourself back on the Wizengamot somehow, because I want to work with you again. But if fate doesn't happen like that, I wish you luck with the rest of life.

Your friend,
Herb Morrison
Head Judge – Wizengamot

By the time Hermione had finished the letter, tears were streaming down her face. She had always liked Herb Morrison because he was a brilliant Head Judge. But she had never believed that he would be as generous or as kind as he was in the letter to her.

Morrison was right. The department he had suggested was absolutely perfect for her, and even though she hadn't thought about it in a while, she did still want to help the House Elves with their personal rights. It was funny when she thought about it, but getting fired from the Wizengamot was actually a step in the right direction.

(Ron's PoV)

Ever since Ron had the discussion with Hermione about his trainer, Shippe, he had done a lot of thinking. He had promised Hermione he wouldn't confront Shippe, no matter how much he wanted to. Shippe had crossed a line he never should have been near in the first place.

Now, it was after noon, and Ron had considered himself lucky that he had not had any outbursts toward Shippe. Unfortunately, it seemed Harry had noticed. Ron kept noticing that Harry was looking at him strangely the past few hours, and it didn't surprise him when Harry brought it up.

“So, Ron,” Harry said. “I can't help but notice that you are acting rather odd today. Is something wrong?”

They were now having lunch in the Leaky Cauldron. There weren't very many people there at the moment, and that was the only reason he decided to tell Harry what had been going on with Shippe. He just hoped nobody was eavesdropping on them. He checked, cautiously, around the room, for any one using an Extendable Ear, or anything of the sort,

“Do you remember our discussion about Shippe yesterday?” Ron asked.

“Yeah, sure,” Harry said.

“I want you to forget everything I told you,” Ron said.

“Why?” Harry asked.

Ron looked down at his hands for a moment. He trusted Harry enough to talk about this with him, but what if Harry over-reacted?

“Well,” Ron said, “I guess I should start at the beginning. Hermione got fired yesterday, like we predicted, thanks to the new department.”

“Damn,” Harry said.

“Yeah,” Ron said, “After she was fired, she was escorted out of the Ministry by Shippe himself.”

“What?” Harry asked, surprised.

“Yeah, that was basically my response when she told me,” Ron said. “He told her to tell me that I should stay out his business.”

“He knew you overheard him,” Harry said.

“Yeah,” Ron said.

“We can't let him threaten you and Hermione like this, mate,” Harry said.

“Harry, you don't understand,” Ron said, “If we do something and Shippe finds out, I could be kicked out of Auror training. And so could you. I have too much on my hands to go through the guilt of you getting kicked out. If I get kicked out, and Hermione doesn't find a new job, we're in trouble with our house.”

“Well, we can't let Shippe get away with this,” Harry said.

“Harry, we don't even know what exactly he is doing,” Ron said.

“If he threatened you and Hermione,” Harry said, “It must be something pretty bad. I just wish I knew what.”

“Let things take their course,” Ron said, “If something gets out of hand, then we will cut in. I don't need something happening that gets us fired, because it won't solve the problem, and it will make things worse for us.”

Harry nodded.

“Okay,” he said, “You're right.”

“Thanks, mate,” Ron said.

The two friends ate their lunch in silence. But through out the rest of the day, Ron hoped that he knew what he was doing. What if Shippe was planning something really bad? What if he was a part of this new threat? Could Ron just sit by in fear of losing his job? At this point, Ron wasn't exactly sure if he could.

Chapter finished! I apologize if it seems a lot of things were repeated in this chapter. This was almost a filler chapter in a way, but I like the way it went.

Hope you did too! Feedback would be great!

Old May 5th, 2011, 3:03 am
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Re: Butterfly Kisses (Sequel to Harry Potter and the Return to Hogwarts)

Chapter 31
Meeting at Mayhem Street

Author's Note: Sorry for the delay! The arrival of the Deathly Hallows Part 2 trailer, and the current events, has interrupted my fanfiction writing!

The rest of week was not as eventful as the first half.

Now that Hermione didn't have to worry about looking for another job, she was free to do anything she wanted to until the interview on Monday. So she spent Thursday and Friday thinking of wedding plans. The date for her and Ron's wedding still hadn't been thought of yet, but the subject was on her mind.

She had always dreamed of having a wedding in the spring, amidst the newly grown flowers and nice weather. These were a sure thing at the Burrow, which would be the location of the wedding. A Summer date would also be a nice idea. The hot weather, that was always a sure thing in those months at the Burrow, would hardly be any bother. George's magical marquee would fix that right up. Whichever season she and Ron picked for their wedding, it still seemed like it was too close, and yet also too far away. Hermione had barely begun planning for the wedding, and to her it felt like she was studying for her O.W.Ls all over again.

Ron was trying to keep from avoiding Shippe's eyes and was having a hard time doing it. There were times when Ron thought that Shippe was using Legillimency on him. At those times, he tried his best to concentrate on whatever training he was doing at the time. He was also worried that Harry would break his promise and investigate Shippe further. Ron had also noticed ever since the day he had heard Shippe and the trainee talking, there had been no sign of the trainee at all. In fact, nobody seemed to bother asking where their fellow trainee had gone.

Ginny and the rest of the Harpies were practicing as hard as ever for their upcoming match against the Puddlemere United team, which was scheduled for the Saturday after next. Puddlemere United was one of the best teams in the league. Gryffindor's former Keeper, Oliver Wood, would be playing in the game, and Ginny knew a little about him from watching him back in her first year (though back then she was mainly keeping an eye on Harry), and was helping her fellow Chasers focus on Oliver Wood's techniques as a Keeper.


(Draco's PoV)

The first week of September had been quite rough for Draco Malfoy. Ever since his meeting with Daphne Greengrass, he hadn't been able to get much sleep. He had been thinking of what she had said. She trusted him enough to give him the address to a secret location Daphne was meeting at with her companions. But why did she trust him? Obviously, the Secret Keeper charm had been placed on the piece of paper, and had transferred itself into Draco when he read the address, so even if he wanted to tell the authorities, or anyone else for that matter, he couldn't. Had Daphne planned this all along?

Draco had come to two choices: Either ignore Daphne's request, and hope whatever they were planning would soon be stopped before they did too much damage, or accept Daphne's request and try to do his best to stop their plans without being caught.

When Draco thought of choosing the second, his mind went back to the Auror, Dawlish. Dawlish had went undercover inside the Death Eaters, to find out what they were planning, and was killed because of it. Was there a chance the same could happen to Draco? If Draco ignored Daphne's request, would Daphne and her friends come after him to make sure he didn't say anything about their plans?

He realized he was trapped. Daphne knew what she was doing when confronted him. He would have no choice either way. The thought of that was tearing him up from the inside.

What was worse, was Astoria and his parents had noticed. Astoria may have been far away from him, at Hogwarts, but she must have realized something was wrong when Draco didn't write to her a couple days after she left for Hogwarts. Astoria had demanded to know why Draco hadn't written her a letter, like he had promised. He tried to make up the best excuse he could when he wrote back to her:


Sorry I haven't written back to you. Without you here, it has become dreadfully boring, and I am trying to find something to do to pass the time. I may look for a job in Knockturn Alley or something. I'm sure Borgin and Burke's would hire me.

Don't worry about me, darling. Focus on your schoolwork. You have N.E.W.Ts at the end of the year. You don't want to fail them, do you? I'll see you on Halloween.


Of course he had no intention of applying for a job at Borgin and Burke's, but he needed an excuse. It looked as if he was going to have to go to Daphne's meeting and see what was going on. If he was going to take part in anything Daphne was planning, he had to make sure Astoria didn't know what was going on.

Unfortunately for Draco, Astoria wasn't the biggest problem he had to worry about. Astoria's only hint to something being wrong was the fact that Draco hadn't written a letter to her. Draco's parents, on the other hand, were around Draco most of the time, and they had already realized something was wrong...


It was already Thursday evening. There were only two nights before Daphne's secret meeting, and Draco hadn't come to a decision if he would attend or not.

Draco had been in his room for the past couple of days, staring out his bedroom window or the ceiling over his bed. He had silently cursed Daphne Greengrass many times for doing this to him. She had used his affection for her sister against him. All Daphne would have to do was make up some lies to Astoria, about Draco, and juist like that their relationship would be over. Daphne had Draco on the end of a very short leash.

Draco crept out of his bedroom and downstairs to find something to eat. As he walked past the living room, he heard his parents talking... about him. They were sitting in a couple of luxurious armchairs. A brilliant firelight made their shadows creep away from them for many feet.

“Cissa, darling,” Lucius said, “Have you seen Draco anywhere?”

“Holed up in his room again, I expect,” Narcissa said.

“Very odd behavior, don't you think?” Lucius asked.

“I guess,” Narcissa said.

“I think something is bothering him,” Lucius said.

Draco froze. Had his father realized what he was planning?

“Like what?” Narcissa asked.

Draco stared at the back of the armchair his father was sitting in.

“I don't know,” Lucius said. “I just hope he isn't getting in any trouble. Do you think it is an after-effect of being imprisoned by the Death Eaters for many months?”

“He's had plenty of time to get over that, Lucius,” Narcissa said. “Besides, he hasn't had to go through the troubles we've gone through. He hasn't had to deal with that—what did you say it was called?”

“Agorophobia,” Lucius said.

“Yes,” Narcissa said.

“I wouldn't be surprised it had overcome him once again,” Lucius said, “He spent so much time Astoria Greengrass, and I think she healed him.”

Draco smiled. His father understood a lot more about his relationship with Astoria than his mother did.

“Now that she is back at Hogwarts,” Lucius said, “Draco can't see her everyday.”

“I'm sure they exchange letters,” Narcissa said. “I've seen that owl come in and out from his room many times.”

“I wonder if he is trying to find someone else to spend time with,” Lucius said.

“Well, he must have other friends, wouldn't you say?” Narcissa said.

“I'm not sure,” Lucius said. “You know who his old friends were, Cissa. They are all the sons and daughters of Death Eaters. I'm sure they are the last people Draco wants to hang about with.”

“I'm sure he'll find some way to pass the time,” Narcissa said.

“Do you think we should help him?” Lucius asked.

“He's old enough to know what he wants,” Narcissa said, “I'm sure he can find out by himself.”

Silence empowered the room once again, and Draco walked away.

End of Flashback


Now, it was Saturday, the day of Daphne's meeting, and Draco knew his decision would come down to the last minute. Could he risk staying away and hope Daphne and her friends leave him out of this? Or did he have to go and just hope it wasn't as bad as he thought? He was debating this over breakfast, when his father walked into the kitchen. Draco and his father stared at each other for a moment, then his father turned to prepare something for breakfast.

Ever since he had overheard his parents' discussion about him, they hadn't brought it up anymore. But Draco was sure they'd find a way to talk to him about it, and therefore wasn't surprised when his father spoke up.

“Are you doing anything today?” Lucius asked.

“I... I might,” Draco said, slowly, “Why?”

“You don't get out of the house much, Draco,” Lucius said, “It is unhealthy.”

“You'd know all about that, huh?” Draco asked.

He immediately flinched, fearing his father would retort. Surprisingly enough, his father only sighed.

“Yes, Draco,” Lucius said, “I do know all about it. That is why I don't want it to happen to you. You haven't done very much since Astoria left for Hogwarts.”

“Well, you don't need to worry about me,” Draco said, “I-I-I'm going out later tonight.”

Draco's throat tightened. It seemed as if these words had finally cemented it. He was going to do what he had been fearing for the past few days. He was going to Daphne's meeting.

“Oh?” Lucius asked.

Before now, Lucius hadn't looked at his son since he turned to fix something to eat. But now, he looked at Draco, interested.

“Anything worth mentioning?” he asked.

“Nothing, really,” Draco said, shrugging. “Might see what some old friends are doing.”

Lucius stared at Draco, and Draco wished he hadn't said anything. He knew what his father thought when he said “old friends”. He remembered what his father had said...

“You know who his old friends were, Cissa. They are all the sons and daughters of Death Eaters. I'm sure they are the last people Draco wants to hang about with.”

“Then again, I might just take a walk in London,” Draco said. “See the sights, take in some fresh air. I haven't decided on what I am going to do.”

Oh, how he wished that was true.

“Well,” Lucius said, “I hope you have a nice time.”

“I will,” Draco said, if only to make his father happy.


That night, Draco apparated to his destination. He arrived at the end of a long, dark and shadowy street. The houses looked exactly the same as the next one, which Draco found was rather boring.

The sign on the street corner near him read “Mayhew St.”, though a second glance at it, and Draco noticed that the “w” had been had been painted over with an “m”, so that the sign now read Mayhem Street. Draco laughed silently, trying to ignore the shudders crawling up his spine. Mayhem. That would sound like the type of place he'd end up in.

He began his trek down the street, searching for the address from the piece of paper. He soon realized that, although the houses looked the same at first, there were some distinct differences. In one house, a window had been knocked out and boarded over. On another house, Draco could just make out a sign on the door that read “Quarantine”. At another house, a sign on a gate going into the backyard read “Beware of Dog.” An additional sign below it read “We Mean It.”

As Draco looked through the numbers on the houses, he found an odd mistake. At one section of the neighborhood, the numbers were 246, 248, and 250. On the other were 245, 247 and 251. When Draco realized what number was missing, he remembered it was the address: 249 Mayhew St. He looked back up at the houses, and to his surprise, a new one had appeared! Draco paused, then snickered in disbelief. How could be be so shocked? This was obviously the magic of the Secret Keeper Charm at play.

Draco stared at the house for a moment, but not to gaze at its design. Now that he had arrived, he was wondering if he should turn back. His brain was telling him to leave, but his feet weren't moving away from the house. They were actually moving toward it. Soon, Draco found himself outside the front door.

“I know I am going to regret this,” Draco said, as he knocked on the door.

A moment later, the door opened and Daphne was standing in front of him.

“Draco, darling!” Daphne said, “You made it! Come in!”

“Would you stop it with the 'darling' rubbish?” Draco asked.

Daphne smiled and turned around. Draco followed her into the house.

“So who is all here?” Draco asked.

“You'll see,” Daphne said, in almost a sing-song like voice.

Daphne's cheery attitude sent chills down Draco's spine. He wondered if the whole Greengrass family was this cheery, then realized that Daphne was probably just playing with him. Astoria's happy attitude was welcoming to Draco. Daphne's attitude was borderline insane.

Daphne led Draco down the narrow hallway and into a large livingroom. Draco didn't have time to take a look at the room. He was too busy staring at the other guests. There had to be at least two dozen people crowded into the combined livingroom and dining room. He didn't recognize most of the guests, except for those seated around the dining room table. Draco shook his head. He should have known.

The guests seated around the table were Pansy Parkinson, Gregory Goyle, Blaise Zabini, Theodore Nott, and two others that Draco thought he had recognized from Hogwarts. In fact, they looked like they were around Astoria's age, and Draco wondered why they weren't at Hogwarts. He took a short glance at each of them. Most of them looked shocked at the fact that he was there. Pansy Parkinson, however, seemed to be quite pleased. She hadn't taken her eyes off of him since he had walked in.

“Draco!” Goyle grunted.

“Well, Daphne, it seems you have done the impossible,” Blaise said, “I thought this one was gone for good.”

“All it took was a little motivation,” Daphne said, looking over her shoulder at Draco, “Isn't that right, darling?”

Draco scowled at Daphne's repeated use of the word “darling”, and to his surprise he wasn't the only one. Pansy didn't seem too happy with Daphne's pet name either.

“Go on, Draco,” Daphne said, “Take a seat. We are going to begin pretty soon, but I thought we'd let you catch up first. I promised I'd tell you more, didn't I?”

Draco didn't respond. Instead he took a seat between Blaise Zabini and Theodore Nott.

“I assume you are wondering who all of these people are?” Daphne asked, nodding to the crowd in the living room.

Draco looked at them. A couple of them seemed to be staring at him, but most were going about their own business.

“Let me guess,” he said, “those who are angry the Death Eaters and Voldemort are gone?”

“Yes, and no,” Daphne said, “It actually goes deeper than that with many of them. Over half of our guests tonight are either the children or relatives of dead or imprisoned Death Eaters.”

“Guess I missed them at the family reunion,” Draco said, sarcastically.

Daphne was about to say something, but Blaise raised a finger.

“Go on, Blaise,” Daphne said.

“I am sorry for interrupting, Daphne, but I am curious,” Blaise said, then turned to Draco, “Why are you here, Draco?”

“Daphne invited me,” Draco said.

“She gave you an invitation, sure,” Blaise said, “But you didn't have to accept it.”

“Your point?” Draco asked.

“I am just saying,” Blaise said, “Most of us are here because we are relatives of the fallen Death Eaters, or we feel hatred for what was done to them. You, Draco, on the other hand. You're different. Your parents were pardoned from their crimes as Death Eaters. You have no reason for being here.”

Draco smiled. If he was going to play his part in this, he was going to do it right.

“No reason, you say?” Draco asked.

Blaise nodded. Draco caught Daphne's eye, and noticed she looked quite curious to see what he was going to do.

“You're right, Blaise,” he said, “I am quite different from the rest of you.”

“You see?” Blaise asked, looking around the table, “He admits it. He shouldn't be here.”

“Not so fast, Blaise,” Draco said. “Do you know why I am different from the rest of you?”

Blaise looked at Draco. He shrugged.

Draco laid his left arm on the table. With a little difficulty, he slid the sleeve of his shirt up away from his arm. Blaise, Daphne and the rest of the people at the table gasped. There it was as dark as it had ever been... the Dark Mark, tattoed on his arm when Voldemort had given him the mission to kill Albus Dumbledore.

“Is that real?” Goyle grunted.

“Does it look fake to you?” Draco asked.

Goyle grunted again, but shrugged his big shoulders.

“Holy Merlin,” Blaise said, “I thought it was just a rumor.”

“Don't tell me I have no reason for being here, Blaise,” Draco said, “I have more of a reason than anyone.”

“You are full of surprises, Malfoy,” Daphne said.

“That's Draco for you,” Pansy said, a smile returning to her face as she stared at Draco.

“Any other inquiries as to why I am here tonight?” Draco asked, ignoring Pansy.

Silence empowered the table. Draco rolled down his sleeve.

“I didn't think so,” he said, “Daphne, I believe you wanted to continue?”

“Thank you,” Daphne said. “Draco, we are all gathered here tonight because we believe the Dark Lord Voldemort and his loyal Death Eaters were treated unfairly when they were murdered in cold blood at the Battle of Hogwarts, and the battle at what we like to refer to as Hero HQ. There were many times when the Ministry could have captured the Death Eaters for imprisonment instead of killing them, and leaving many of us here without our family members. I believe you know that Goyle lost his father at the battle of Hogwarts.”

Draco looked at Goyle, who was staring at his hands on the table.

“He is not alone,” Daphne said, “Many gathered here tonight lost family members during the battles as well.”

Draco looked around at everyone gathered in the living room. Many looked emotional.

“We believe these deaths could have been prevented,” Daphne said. “I don't think you were present in the Great Hall before the Battle of Hogwarts began, so I will let you in on a detail you may have missed out on. You do remember the Dark Lord's great speech that evening, do you not?”

Draco nodded. At times, the speech echoed in his ears, Voldemort's cold chill of a voice so loud it felt as if he was near.

“Voldemort had requested that Harry Potter give himself up,” Daphne said.

“Twice,” Goyle grunted.

“Thank you, Gregory,” Daphne said, still looking at Draco. “Yes. Voldemort requested this twice. The first time he did so, it was before the battle had even started. Before lives were lost. Before our friends had been killed. I remember it clearly, as do many of us who were there to witness it that fateful night. After Voldemort's speech, our own Pansy, here, pointed Harry Potter out to everyone. At that moment, the battle could have been prevented. However, it did not. Everyone else guarded Harry Potter, letting the battle proceed. The Slytherins, however, were sent out of the castle, when all we wanted to do was stop the Battle of Hogwarts from even happening.”

“Many Slytherins came back to the battle though,” Draco said, “To help.”

All around the table, Blaise, Goyle, Nott, and Pansy were shaking their heads.

“No, Draco,” Daphne said, “We came back to make sure our families, and families of our friends, had not been affected, just like everyone else did. We lost friends that night as well. Oh yes, Harry Potter's followers lost many friends. But do they ever count our friends in that list? Your late friend, Crabbe...”

Across the table, large tears leaked from Goyle's eyes.

“Was Vincent Crabbe ever remembered?” Daphne asked Draco. “Did you ever see his name mentioned in the Daily Prophet?”

Draco thought back. Indeed, he had never seen Crabbe's name mentioned.

“No,” Daphne answered for him, “It was not there. You'd think that Crabbe, a fallen student of Hogwarts, would be mentioned along with the other fifty-plus that had fallen. Did you see a single Death Eater's name, or Voldemort's name in the Obituaries after the Battle of Hogwarts? I saw quite a few names from the other side of the war in there. None for us. The only times I saw our friends ever mentioned were when they were brought down as murderers.”

“Our friends and family were murdered too,” Nott said.

“Did our fallen friends and family get the same funerals as the rest of them?” Daphne said, then shook her head, “No. The Dark Lord Voldemort was sent to the depths of the Hogwarts Lake. Not exactly a funeral fit for a king.”

Nods of appreciation were heard all around the room.

“Statues and memorials have gone up everywhere,” Daphne said, “Dedicated to Harry Potter and the heroes of the Battle of Hogwarts. The names of the fallen are seen there. But I haven't seen a single name from our side on that list. The Ministry calls Voldemort and the Death Eaters monsters. But they have never taken in account that we lost people too... to those monsters at the Ministry.”

More nods of appreciation, along with murmurs of agreement.

“That is why we are here,” Daphne said. “We are here to make sure our side gets recognized. We won't let our fallen friends and family be forgotten. That is what we are fighting for.”

Daphne looked at Draco, and everyone in the room followed suit. They were waiting for him to respond. What was he going to say?

“Draco, you lost an aunt at the Battle of Hogwarts,” Pansy said. “Bellatrix Lestrange was your family, wasn't she? Did you see her name anywhere besides the lists of those who attacked Hogwarts?”

“Pansy is right, Draco,” Daphne said, “You are a part of this cause just as much as the rest of us. That is why I approached you at King's Cross last weekend. I hoped that you would support this. So... will you?”

Draco found it hard not to agree with them. Bellatrix Lestrange was indeed family, and she had not been remembered after the war, other than the fact that she was a part of Voldemort's Death Eaters.

“I'm in,” Draco said.

The meeting that night turned out to be a recruitment rally. Draco had been the last to join. Daphne then announced that their next meeting would take place the following Saturday. Most of the men and women at the meeting had left soon after, leaving only Draco and his former classmates alone at the house.

Draco excused himself temporarily to get some fresh air. So many thoughts were going through his head, he was surprised to find he could hold them all. What was he doing? He had originally come because he was curious about what was going on, and who was a part of it. Had Daphne really convinced him to join? If the answer was yes, what would his mother and father think of that? Would they support him if he told them his reason behind it was to avenge Bellatrix?

What would Astoria think of this? She'd probably overreact if she found out Draco was in the company of Pansy Parkinson. She wanted him to avoid Pansy. If he joined up with this group, that would be next to impossible.

Draco walked back into the house, and walked toward the kitchen to get himself a glass of water. As he was walking, he overheard voices. Daphne and her friends were talking.

“Still stand by what I said earlier, Daph,” Blaise said, “I can't believe Draco is here tonight.”

“I was pretty surprised myself,” Daphne said. “I wasn't sure we were going to be able to convince him. Then Pansy clinched it for us, I think.”

“Me?” Pansy asked, “What did I do?”

“You mentioned Draco's aunt, Bellatrix,” Daphne said, “You reminded him that he lost someone too at the Battle of Hogwarts, just like the rest of us.”

“Oh,” Pansy said. “Yes, I guess I did.”

“I think you can do a lot more than that, too,” Daphne said.

“What do you mean?” Pansy asked.

“Do you remember our discussion earlier tonight?” Daphne asked.

“Oh... oh yeah,” Pansy said.

“What are you two going on about?” Nott asked.

“Just a little something to seal the deal,” Daphne said.

Draco heard a chair slide back, and then footsteps. Draco hurried down toward the kitchen, and found a glass. He quickly filled it up with water. Suddenly, he footsteps behind him, and turned around. Pansy was standing there.

“Oh, hello,” Pansy said, “I didn't know anyone else was here. I was just going to get me a drink.”

Pansy looked down at the glass in Draco's hand.

“Water,” Draco said.

“I was thinking of something a little stronger,” Pansy said.

She walked over to the refrigerator and opened it up, then took out two bottles. Draco instantly recognized them as firewhiskey. Pansy smiled and walked over to Draco. She offered one to him. Draco looked at the bottle, then her for a moment.

“Oh, come on, Draco,” Pansy said, “I didn't poison it.”

Draco sighed, then poured out the glass of water. Pansy smiled, popped the cap off both bottles and handed one to Draco. Draco took it. Pansy took a gulp of hers, and Draco resigned and took a sip of his. It burned in his throat.

“I'm glad you decided to come tonight,” Pansy said.

“I'm sure you are,” Draco said.

“Come now, Draco,” Pansy said, “Do you have to be like that?”

“Do you think I don't know what you are playing at?” Draco asked. “Pansy, I am over you. I'm with Astoria now, and I-I love her.”

“Wow,” Pansy said, “She must be quite the girl.”

“I thought you knew her,” Draco said, “She is Daphne's sister, you know.”

“Draco,” Pansy said, “you have it all wrong. I'm not trying to get back with you.”

“Right,” Draco scoffed, “That is not what Daphne said. She told me and Astoria that you talk about me all the time. How you really miss me.. Face it, Pansy, you're not over me. Too bad for you, since I am over you.”

“You've said that twice now, Draco,” Pansy said, “Kind of tells me you really don't believe it.”

“That's the firewhiskey talking,” Draco said.

“What do you see in Astoria,” Pansy said, “That you never saw with me?”

“A future,” Draco said.

Pansy's jaw dropped. Draco smirked and set down the bottle of firewhiskey.

“See you next week,” he said.

He walked out of the house, then apparated back to Malfoy Manor.

Oh, how I loved this chapter! The meeting was so much better than I hoped for, and I loved the last discussion with Pansy.

Probably won't get back to Draco for a few chapters. His story has definitely branched out, though.

Hope you loved the chapter! Reviews would be brilliant!


Last edited by Fury; May 5th, 2011 at 4:06 am.
Old June 18th, 2011, 3:29 am
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Re: Butterfly Kisses (Sequel to Harry Potter and the Return to Hogwarts)

Chapter 32
Out With The Old...

Author's Note: Sorry for another day. I've had a few things going on, personally, and also a little writer's block kept me from writing up a new chapter. Not to mention just as I was halfway done with this chapter, the final DH2 trailer came out, and there went my mind again. It was blown. I'll say that right now. Stopped me on concentrating on anything else for a while.

(This chapter will be in Ron's PoV)

Ron and Hermione slept in on Sunday morning, and when the doorbell rang, Ron thought it was in his dreams until Hermione nudged him.

“Hmm?” Ron said, sleepily, his eyes still closed.

“I think someone is at the front door, Ron,” Hermione said, “Could you check?”

“What is someone doing here this early?” Ron grumbled.

“It's not that early,” Hermione said, “It is a little after nine.”

“Oh, I guess I slept in,” Ron said.

“We both slept in,” Hermione said, smiling, “Can you go check the door please?”

“I'm going, I'm going,” Ron said, sitting up.

He put his trainers on, then walked out of his bedroom. He walked over to the front door and opened it. Harry was standing there.

“Harry?” Ron asked, “What are you doing here?”

“Were you asleep?” Harry asked. “I didn't know. I'm sorry.”

“I guess I am awake now,” Ron said, “What's going on?”

“Can we come in?” Harry asked.

“We?” Ron asked, looking around.

He leaned out of the doorway and saw Billingsley standing there.

“Oh,” Ron said. “Yeah, come on in.”

Harry and Billingsley walked into the house and Ron shut the door.

“Ron?” Hermione called, walking out of the bedroom, “Who was it... oh! Hello.”

“Hi, Hermione,” Harry said, “Sorry, I didn't realize you and Ron were still asleep.”

“It's okay,” Hermione said.

“Hermione, this is our fellow trainee,” Ron said.

“Call me Billingsley,” Billingsley said, “Everyone else does.”

“Nice to er... officially meet you,” Hermione said. “Ron's told me a little bit about you.”

“So what is going on?” Ron asked.

“I'm going to assume that, since you just woke up,” Harry said, “you haven't read the Daily Prophet yet.”

“Nope,” Ron said.

“As of a couple hours ago,” Harry said, “Shippe was arrested for suspicion of treason. I didn't know about this until Billingsley came over to my place. I hadn't received the Daily Prophet before then, but the story is in there.”

“What?” Ron asked, shocked. “Harry, you didn't say anything to the Ministry, did you? About what I heard. I told you not to.”

“I told the Ministry nothing,” Harry said.

“Did you?” Ron asked Billingsley.

Billingsley didn't answer right away.

“Billingsley?” Ron asked, “Did you tell them?”

“I need to tell you two something,” Billingsley said, “And I hope you will understand why I didn't tell you before.”

Both Ron and Harry stared at Billingsley. What exactly was he up to?

“I am not an Auror-In-Training,” Billingsley said. “I was doing an undercover job there for Kingsley, looking for any untrustworthy individuals. I was paired up with Sam Thorpe to begin with under Kingsley's orders, because he was the first person Kingsley was suspicious of, and he is actually the reason Kingsley's investigations began from the start.”

“So if you are not an Auror-in-Training,” Ron said, “Are you an Auror?”

“Not exactly, Ron,” Billingsley said. “I am actually the leading man behind the Public Security Department.”

“What?” Ron asked.

“It was my idea to begin with,” Billingsley said, “Before Kingsley's investigations even started, I was thinking about the security of the wizarding world. I created the department, because I felt the Daily Prophet was giving out too much information about the goings-on inside the Ministry. I knew that if any rumors emerged about a possible threat to the wizarding world, then it would cause panic. I didn't want that to happen, so I brought my ideas to Shacklebolt. He was extremely happy with the idea, and agreed with it basically right away.”

“So you are the reason Hermione lost her job?” Ron asked.

“I guess you could say that, yes,” Billingsley said, “And I want to give my most sincerest apologies for that. I knew there would be jobs affected by this.”

Ron looked at Hermione, but couldn't figure out what she was thinking.

“Hermione?” Ron asked.

“If you told me this when I got fired,” Hermione said, “I would have probably been mad. But it is okay now. I have an interview tomorrow for another job. So no harm done, I guess.”

“So did you have anything to do with Shippe getting arrested?” Harry asked.

“Oh, yes,” Billingsley said. “Ron, I am sure you've been trying to figure out who the trainee was that Shippe was arguing with the day you came back from Azkaban, right?”

“Yeah,” Ron said. “You know who he is?”

“Yes,” Billingsley said. “He is not an Auror-in-training. He is another member of the Public Security Department. He is not familiar to you because he was a new rookie who came into the training department a couple weeks ago under my order. His job was to get Shippe worked up, to get him to admit some things. That was my idea. What I didn't expect was that it would happen right in front of an Auror-In-Training.”

“Me,” Ron said.

“Not you in particular, but it went that way,” Billingsley said. “I am sorry you got mixed up in it. I understand Shippe may have threatened you. You can rest assured that those threats mean nothing. Shippe will most likely be convicted of treason against the wizarding world.”

“So Shippe is involved in with this threat?” Harry asked.

“We believe he tried to recruit Aurors-In-Training to join those involved in the Dark Arts,” Billingsley said. “There were a few trainees whom Kingsley had pinpointed in the investigations, and they admitted to meetings with Shippe. At first we thought the trainees were lying just to underhand Shippe. But the reports were becoming too numerous to be a story between a group of scoundrels.”

“I wonder what this means for us,” Ron said, “Shippe was our only trainer.”

“Kingsley told me this morning that you will have a new trustworthy trainer by this time tomorrow morning,” Billingsley said, “One who has had thorough background checks. In fact, I believe they were a personal favorite of Kingsley in the Auror department when he was a part of it. And with that, I best be off. Have some things I need to do in the Public Security Department. Ron, Harry... it was nice to work with both of you. I hope that just because I am no long your fellow Auror-In-Training, that this won't be the last time we speak to each other.”

“Sure,” Ron said.

“You bet,” Harry said.

“Great,” Billingsley said. “Oh, and if you will, please do not mention my undercover work. I've already handled everything, so there will be no confusion as to why I do not show up for training tomorrow.”

Billingsley smiled and walked toward the door, opened it, left and closed the door behind him.

Ron stared at Hermione and Harry for a moment. He didn't know what to say. So much had gone on in so little time.

“Pretty crazy stuff, huh?” Harry asked.

“Did he tell you any of this before you come over?” Hermione asked him.

“Nope,” Harry said, shaking his head. “He told me about Shippe. I told him I was going to come over here, and he asked if he could come along. I guess he wanted to give his story just once.”

“He must like you two to reveal something like that,” Hermione said.

“I think he just trusts us more,” Harry said, “after our experience at Azkaban.”

“Yeah, an occasion like that can bring people together,” Ron said, laughing shakily.

Suddenly, a cracking sound of someone apparating was heard just outside the front door, causing Ron, Hermione and Harry to turn toward it.

“Was that Billingsley leaving?” Ron asked.

“No,” Hermione said. “That was the sound of someone arriving, not leaving.”

Hermione walked over to the door and opened it. Ginny was standing outside the door.

“Ginny?” Harry asked, “What are you doing here?”

“Can I come in?” Ginny said, in a barely audible voice.

Ron looked at Ginny. Something was wrong. He also noticed there was redness around her eyes. She looked as if she had been crying.

“Sure,” Hermione said.

Ginny walked past Harry and Hermione and straight over to Ron.

“What's wrong, Ginny?” Ron asked, as Hermione closed the front door.

Ginny reached into a pocket in her jeans and took out a piece of parchment. She handed it to Ron, who opened it. The writing on the parchment was from his mother. He started to read it:


What we have been dreading for a while now has finally happened. Errol passed away late last night. He died peacefully in his sleep, I think. I went to go feed him this morning and found him laying in the barn. We're going to have a small private funeral tomorrow here at the Burrow, some time around noon. Please tell Ron, if you can. Make sure he knows.


Ron had to read the letter three times before he looked away from it. Poor Errol. The bloody bird may have annoyed him, but he was like family.

Ron looked up at Hermione and Harry, both of whom were staring at him. It took him a moment to put what he had just read into words.

“Errol passed away last night,” Ron said, quietly.

Hermione's hands went to her face and cupped her mouth.

“Oh, Ron, Ginny,” she said, “I'm so sorry.”

“He was old,” Ron said, with a sigh, “I'm surprised he lived this long.”

“Mum's arranged a private funeral for Errol,” Ginny said, “Tomorrow around noon.”

“We'll be there with you,” Harry said.

Hermione nodded in agreement.


Hermione was up before Ron, and he found her in the kitchen. Smells of delicious food surrounded him as he walked in.

“Seems like a lot of food for breakfast,” Ron said.

“Only part of this is for breakfast,” Hermione said, “I am making a couple dishes for the meal after the funeral.”

“Oh, you didn't have to do that,” Ron said, “I'm sure Mum is preparing all of that as we speak.”

“I just feel like I should,” Hermione said, “Your mum's going to be a wreck today. I know she loved that bird. So I feel like I should take some of the burden off her hands.”

“Hermione, I know you more than you think I do,” Ron said, “There is something else going on. What is it?”

Hermione sighed. She waved her wand toward the stove and counter, and the food started to prepare itself. She then turned around and looked at Ron.

“You know after I got sacked from my job,” she said, “that I started working on plans for our wedding, right?”

“Yeah, sure,” Ron said, nodding.

“As I was doing that,” Hermione said, “I had so many thoughts going through my head. One that kept coming back to me was 'what if I was just overstating my time with your family these past few year?' Most of the time I was at the Burrow because you and Harry and Ginny are my best friends, and away from Hogwarts, you were my connection to the wizarding world. I felt that maybe I wasn't as welcome into your family as Harry was. I had my parents, who love me, and have no problem with me being a witch. But Harry... his relatives, they were so nasty to him, and your family recognized that. He was always welcome at your place, just so he could get away from those nasty Dursleys. He was already like family.”

Ron seemed to already know what she was going to say, but he knew she wouldn't let him say anything until she was finished, so he kept listening.

“I just never felt like part of the family,” Hermione continued. “Not like Harry did. Now I want to try to feel that way, and if it means helping your mother with the family meal, then that is what I am going to do... even if she doesn't know it.”

Ron just stood there, looking at Hermione. If she only knew, she wouldn't say these things. Hermione looked at Ron, as if telling him to say something. Ron burst out laughing.

“What in Merlin's saggy left trousers could you possibly be laughing about?” Hermione asked, surprised.

“Oh, I was just thinking how incredibly oblivious you are, especially for being so incredibly smart,” Ron said.

“Oblivious?” Hermione asked, “Me?”

“Yes, you!” Ron said, chuckling, “How in the world could you ever think my family would not think of you as one of them. We aren't even married, and to them, you could already be a Weasley. If you had the ginger hair, they'd probably make you an honorary Weasley right then.”

Hermione blushed a brilliant shade of pink.

“But,” Hermione stammered, “Harry – he --”

“And who's to say there is a rule in the world,” Ron said, “that says you can only accept one person, outside your family, as an honorary family member?”

Hermione blushed again.

“Honestly, Hermione,” Ron said, “If my family didn't like you, do you honestly think you would have spent as much time at the Burrow as you did?”

“I guess I am just being silly, aren't I?” Hermione asked, “Pre-wedding jitters.”

“Massive pre-wedding jitters,” Ron said, “Considering it isn't for quite a few months.”


When Ron and Hermione arrived at the Burrow around eleven, Harry and Ginny were already there, along with Mr. and Mrs. Weasley, Percy, George, Angelina, Bill, Fleur, and baby Victoire. All of them (except for Victoire who was nestled in her baby seat) was sitting around the large picnic table in the back of the house when Ron and Hermione arrived

“--- and he smacked into the window –- wham, just like that!” Percy said, his hand slamming onto the table at the right time.

Most of the table's occupants erupted in laughter. Mrs. Weasley, though, wiped a tear from her eye. It seemed Hermione was right: Ron's mother was most affected by the death of Errol.

“Oh, I am sorry, Mum,” Percy said, recognizing the look on his mother's face.

“It's okay, dear,” Mrs. Weasley said, “If we didn't recall those moments in Errol's life, there wouldn't be very many to recall. He always seemed to be doing things like that – oh, Ronald, Hermione, you've made it.”

Mrs. Weasley stood up from the picnic table and walked over to Ron and Hermione, hugging them both.

“Of course,” Ron said.

“We wouldn't miss this,” Hermione said. “Oh, I brought a couple of dishes for the meal. They are in the kitchen.”

“That was very thoughtful of you,” Mrs. Weasley said, “Thank you, dear.”

Hermione was about to respond, but was interrupted by a loud crack from someone apparating. A few moments later, Hagrid appeared walking around the Burrow toward them.

“Ah, Hagrid,” Mrs. Weasley said, “I'm so happy you received my invitation.”

“Couldn' miss this fer the world, Molly,” Hagrid said, “If it wasn' fer Errol, I migh' still be in Azkaban. He was the one who delivered my release papers so many years ago. Turned up a bit late, if I 'member correctly, but he got there. That's the important part, I guess.”

Hagrid chuckled lightly to himself.

“Well, since I think everyone is here whom I had invited,” Mrs. Weasley, “How about we start this a little early? Best to get it over with, I say.”

Everyone followed Mrs. Weasley toward the edge of the Weasley's barn. A small hole had already been dug out. Mr. Weasley walked into the barn and returned shortly after with a small shoebox and a shovel. He looked at the shoebox in his arms, then looked at everyone else huddled around.

“We are gathered here today,” he began, “to honor, and lay to rest, not only an loyal owl, but a loved member of this family. Even though his last few years were not the best of his life, as he continued to age, he stayed loyal and continued to do the work he was bred to do. I remember one memorable day when he delivered a letter to my office when I worked in the Misuse of Muggle Artifacts department. He came in to deliver the letter crashed into a model airplane, destroyed it and I spent the next week putting it back together. Didn't even use a repairing charm because I wanted to put it together myself. I hadn't had that much fun at work in quite a while!”

Ron, George, Harry, Hagrid and Ginny laughed.

“That is all thanks to Errol of course,” Mr. Weasley said.

He looked around, expecting someone to speak up.

“I remember, Mum,” Ron said, “You sent me that Howler after Harry and I took the Ford Anglia to Hogwarts. Errol delivered it and crashed into my bowl of cereal.”

“I remember that!” George said, laughing, “Even before you opened the Howler, your cheeks were as red as your hair!”

“Each time one of us would get our Hogwarts letter,” Bill said, his eyes transfixed on the shoebox, “Errol would be the one to send it. He'd always arrive late. I remember wondering if I got into Hogwarts, and fussing all day because I thought it wouldn't come. And he came back late with my letter, and I was so happy, I hugged the bloody bird so tightly he passed out. If you hadn't been so happy with my Hogwarts letter, Mum, you probably would have yelled at me for making Errol faint.”

“The summer before my third year of Hogwarts,” Harry said, “Ron, Hermione and Hagrid sent birthday presents for me. They came all at once, and I remember Hedwig and the Hogwarts owl having to help Errol into my bedroom at Privet Drive. He looked so helpless, but I felt so grateful. He was carrying a package that seemed way too big for him, and he delivered it right to my bedroom. Even though he was tired, he made sure he delivered that package.”

“Every one of these stories tell me that we all have something to remember Errol by,” Mr. Weasley said. “He may have become old and tired and slow, but he made us laugh, and he always brought our letters, no matter how tired he was. Errol, I know you are up in that big Owlery in the sky, but you are down here in our hearts, and in our memories.”

Mr. Weasley took out his wand, and made the shoebox hover. He lowered it into the hole in the ground.

“I thought we could each shovel some dirt into it,” he said, “Then do the rest of the job with magic. Errol couldn't do magic when he sent his letters and packages. So it would be a nice way to honor him.”

He picked up the shovel, stuck it into the pile of dirt, then dropped the dirt into the hole. He passed it to Ron, who did the same, and everyone took their turn. Hagrid had so much trouble, and he almost broke the small shovel in his hand. Mr. Weasley then used magic to levitate the rest of the dirt into the ground and even it out.

“Rest in peace, Errol,” Ginny said.

“Thank you, Errol,” Ron said, “For everything.”

Everyone said their goodbyes, then returned to the Burrow. Although there were many discussions during their afternoon meal, the number one topic was Errol.

Wow, sorry this chapter took so long. Writer's block is a pain. Didn't even plan on the part with Errol in this chapter, then it came to me!

Hope you all liked the chapter. More should be coming soon!

Feedback would be awesome!

Old June 26th, 2011, 9:25 pm
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Re: Butterfly Kisses (Sequel to Harry Potter and the Return to Hogwarts)

Chapter 33
In With the New

Author's Note: In my last chapter I made a little mistake. When talking to Billingsley, she said she had an interview “tomorrow”, meaning the day of the last half of my chapter. It was actually supposed to be “Monday”. That interview happens in this chapter. First off, I'll comment on a review I got:

TheForestpaw13 (of Fanfiction.net) “I would like to see more of Ginny and her Quidditch team”

Ginny's next match is coming up pretty soon. Time-wise, it is scheduled for the end of the week from when this chapter starts. I have quite a few things to do within the next few chapters, but I will try to add that in as well!

(Ron's PoV)

Breakfast was simple that morning, since both Ron and Hermione had to be at the Ministry of Magic early.

Hermione's interview would start at nine, and she spent most of breakfast reading over her resume and researching the history and details of the Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures.

Ron, on the other hand, wanted to be at the Ministry of Magic rather early in order to impress the new trainee who was starting today. He had no idea who this person was, but he wanted to start off on the right foot with them. If that meant getting there before anyone else, that was what he was going to do.

Ron finished his bowl of cereal quickly, rinsed it out, and headed out of the kitchen. Behind him, Hermione cleared her throat. Ron turned around.

“Leaving so soon?” Hermione asked.

“I told you,” Ron said, “I want to be there to--”

Hermione was giving him that pouting look that he found so adorable. Ron grinned and walked back over to Hermione. He kissed her briefly, but softly, on the lips.

“Good luck with your interview,” Ron said, “I'm sure you'll get the job.”

“Good luck with the new trainer,” Hermione said.

Ron smiled and headed out of the kitchen, then over to the fireplace. A few moments later, he was walking out of one of the Ministry's fireplaces and toward one of the lifts. To Ron's surprise, Harry was standing inside the lift.

“Decided to come early too, have you?” Harry asked, grinning.

“Thought it was probably best,” Ron said. “Better to be really early than late, and get in trouble with the new trainer.”

“Yeah,” Harry said.

Harry pushed a button on the wall, and the lift started to sink into the ground.

“So, Hermione's interview is today, right?” he asked.

“Nine-o-clock, yeah,” Ron said.

“Great,” Harry said. “Which reminds me: Hermione's birthday is next week. Have you planned anything yet?”

Ron's eyes widened. Hermione's birthday? Next week?

“You forgot your fiancee's birthday, didn't you?” Harry asked.

“No!” Ron lied, but too quickly, “No...”

Harry grinned, and nodded.

“You forgot her birthday,” he said again.

“Yes,” Ron resigned, “What I am going to do?”

“Relax,” Harry said, “It is still over a week away. I am sure you'll figure something.”

“Yeah,” Ron said, “Thanks for reminding me, mate. I owe you one.”

“Hey, what are best mates for?” Harry asked. “Though I suppose I could have let you forgotten, and had a good laugh.”

Ron rolled his eyes. The lift doors opened to Level one, which floored the offices of the Minister of Magic and his personal staff. A young lady who looked only a few years older than Ron walked into the lifts.

“Good morning,” she said.

“Good morning,” Ron and Harry said.

The lady smiled and turned around. Ron couldn't help but look at the lady. She was taller than Hermione, and had long, blonde hair that went halfway down her back. She wore tight jeans and a rather tight leather jacket. In the reflection of the lifts, Ron could see that the young witch had bright blue eyes and rosy lips.

Harry cleared his throat, and Ron looked at him. Harry raised his eyebrows, as if trying to ask Ron something. Ron shrugged, but Harry just shook his head.

“Level Two,” the cool voice said, “Department of Magical Law Enforcement, including the Improper Use of Magic Office, Auror Headquarters and Wizengamot Administration Services.”

The lift doors opened and the young witch walked out. Ron and Harry paused for a moment, then walked out as well. They stood very still, at the entrance of the lifts, and watched the young witch walk down the hall. Harry hit Ron on the shoulder.

“What was that for?” Ron asked.

“You were gawking, Ron,” Harry said, “You couldn't take your eyes off her in the lifts.”

“I was just... admiring her,” Ron said.

“Uh-huh,” Harry said, “And what would Hermione say if she caught you?”

“Er... I...” Ron said, then sighed, “I didn't think about that. I don't know what I'd do if she caught me.”

“Relax,” Harry said, “I doubt we'll ever see that girl again.”

Ron sighed in relief. Harry laughed, and shook his head.

“Come on,” he said.

Ron followed Harry toward the Aurors' office. Soon, they arrived in the locker rooms. No one else was there: Ron and Harry were indeed the first to arrive.

“So who do you think our new trainer is?” Ron asked, as he changed into his training outfit.

“Didn't Billingsley say it was someone that Kingsley admired?” Harry asked.

“Yeah,” Ron said. “Hey, maybe it is someone from the Order! That'd be wicked.”

“You're just saying that because you hope they would give us an easier time,” Harry said.

“Well, whoever it is,” Ron said, “I hope it's a better bloke than Shippe.”

“Billingsley did say that the new trainer was trustworthy,” Harry said, “So I have no doubts that they'll be better.”

Ron and Harry finished changing clothes and walked out toward the training room, in search of the new trainer. They walked over to the trainer's office, and, at first, Ron couldn't believe his eyes. The lady from the elevator was sitting at Shippe's old desk.

“It can't be,” Ron whispered.

“Well, she did get off on the same floor we did,” Harry said, grinning.

“She is our new trainer?” Ron asked. “She doesn't even look old enough to have enough years as an Auror to qualify to be a trainer!”

“Well, if she is the one that Kingsley trusts,” Harry said, “Then she must be pretty good. What do you say? Should we go welcome her?”

Before Ron could say “No!”, Harry knocked on the door. The new trainer looked up. She nodded her head, and Harry opened the door. Ron muttered under his breath as he walked into the office with Harry. This was not going to go too well. He just knew it.

“Ah, if it isn't the two gentleman from the lifts,” the young lady said, “I should have known you two were Aurors in training. I'm going to take a guess and say you are Ron Weasley and Harry Potter.”

“How did you know that?” Ron said, almost accusingly.

Ron regretted asking the question, because he thought he knew the answer. Everyone knew who Harry was, and of course, he, Ron, was one of the heroes of the Second War, though he never really saw him as one. Would this new trainer know that?

The trainer picked up a large folder. It read “Aurors-In-Training”.

“I've been looking through the profiles to see who I am going to be dealing with,” she said. “Trying to sort out the promising recruits from the failures. I do not waste my time on failures.”

The trainer looked at Harry, then Ron.

“But I don't think I have to worry about failures with you too,” she said, “Do I?”

Ron and Harry shook their heads.

“Good to know,” she said, “I am Allison Fawning. As you have probably guessed. I am your new trainer.”

“The Minister of Magic chose you?” Ron asked.

“I felt very honored when he chose me to train the new recruits,” Allison said, “Like you, and like every other Auror there has ever been, I too was an Auror-in-Training. I wasn't exactly the best recruit. I didn't pass with flying colors. I wasn't the top of my class, like you two seem to be. But I passed. I was almost a failure and I could never get over that. That is why I try to sort out the achievers from the failures. The failures don't get you anywhere. They waste your time. Luckily we won't have to deal with them for long. I'm sure the next exam at the end of the month will sort them out.”

“Exam?” Ron asked, “End of the month? But, we already passed our exam this month.”

“What?” Allison asked. “You mean investigating an Azkaban breakout?”

Ron and Harry nodded. Allison laughed. But Ron could tell it wasn't the humorous kind.

“That was Shippe's exam,” Allison said. “But Shippe was a failure. Chose to go the path of the Dark Arts. You will be dealing with my exams from now on. If you pass these, you should be proud to call yourself an Auror. Now if you two gentleman wouldn't mind, I need to continue my paperwork before training begins.”

She motioned toward the door. Harry and Ron walked out of the office, and closed the door behind them.

“She's nice,” Harry said.

“Uh-huh,” Ron said.

“What's the matter with you?” Harry asked.

“Remember our earlier conversation?” Ron asked, “Lets just say you don't have to worry about anything. That conversation was a real turn-off.”

Harry laughed.

“Can you believe we have to do another exam this month?” Ron asked. “I thought we were free until next month. Just something else we have to do. I really hope Kingsley knew what he was doing when he chose that one.”


(Hermione's PoV)

Hermione arrived at the Ministry of Magic thirty minutes before her interview. This gave her enough time to get through the hustle and bustle of early morning controlled chaos the Ministry was known for, and arrive at the Department for the Regulation and control of Magical Creatures well before she was expected to be there for her interview.

At precisely nine-o-clock, a man in his forties walked through a door behind the clerk's desk.

“Hermione Granger?” the man said.

Hermione stood up from the chair she was sitting in and walked over to the man. Hermione noticed the name-tag on the man's shirt read E. Bowman.

“Follow me, please,” Bowman said.

Bowman led Hermione through the door, and into a fairly narrow hallway. A few moments later, they arrived at a couple of large oak doors at the end of the hallway. Bowman opened the doors, and Hermione walked through them. They were in a large, majestic office that rivaled the Minister of Magic's office. Maroon carpet covered the floor. On the other side of the room, a large ornate desk stood with a leather-backed chair sitting behind it, and a couple of chairs on the other side. Behind the desk, a window was placed. Hermione knew that the window, like every other window, and the the types of weather, in the Ministry was fake, and placed there by the Magical Maintenance to make everyone happy. The appearance of the stormy weather outside the window made Hermione think that the Magical Maintenance wasn't happy themselves.

“Please be seated,” Bowman said.

Hermione took a seat in one of the chairs in front of the desk. The first thing she noticed was the gold nameplate that read: Ephraim Bowman, Director.

“As you can see by the nameplate,” Bowman said, as he rounded the desk and took a seat, “I am Ephraim Bowman, and I am the director of this department.”

“It is a pleasure to meet you, sir,” Hermione said. “But I am confused. I expected to be interviewed by someone... well...”

“Someone with less duties than myself,” Bowman said, smiling, “Yes. That is usually the normal protocol. But when I saw your resume, and saw that you were referred here by Head Judge Morrison, I volunteered to take your interview myself.”

“I feel quite honored,” Hermione said.

Bowman chuckled.

“It is a pity that the new Security Department cost so many jobs in the Ministry,” he said, “Department heads usually have a say in the creation of new departments and new jobs, but I didn't get the memo about the Public Security Department until it was already created. It seems the department's creation was bypassed over the normal laws around here.”

Bowman picked up the folder on his desk and thumbed through it briefly.

“Hermione, can you tell me why you would like to join this department?” Bowman asked.

“Well, sir,” Hermione said, “While I attended Hogwarts, I found myself in situations where I found the treatment of magical creatures hardly fair. Do you recall the trial of the hippogriff Buckbeak?”

“Yes, of course,” Bowman said. “Back then, I wasn't the head of this department, so I didn't have much control over the proceedings, but I found it highly unfair what had happened to the poor beast. Wrongly accused of a brutal attack when it was later proved that the victim was hardly injured at all. If this department had only spoken to Madam Pomfrey at the time, I feel the hippogriff would have been innocent. I was actually quite relieved when I found out it had escaped, though I never found out how it had accomplished such a feat.”

“You basically summed up everything I was going to say, sir,” Hermione said, “I was a witness to the original attack, and Draco Malfoy, the victim, wasn't that injured at all. I felt, as I do now, that if I could have had a part in the investigation, I would have done as much as I could have to make sure the innocent, or guilty, plea was one-hundred percent correct. That is why I want to join this department. Because I believe the magical creatures have just as many rights as we do, and to see the cruelty against some of them is just too horrible.”

“Like house-elves?” Bowman asked.

“Sir?” Hermione asked.

“I read in your resume that you were interested in the liberation of House Elves,” Bowman said.

“Well, er... yes,” Hermione said. “I've seen so many at Hogwarts, and I felt disgusted at the they they were treated. They were just treated like... like...”

“Slaves,” Bowman and Hermione said.

Hermione looked at Bowman. Bowman smiled.

“We are very much alike, you and I, Miss Granger,” he said. “I, too, have always seen the unfairness of the treatment of House Elves. Unfortunately, many of the workers here in this department, including the former director, are all owners of House Elves. And unfortunately, like most owners of House Elves, they never see the brutality you and I see. So they never care for the idea of liberating them. But I think you and I may be able to change that. It will take some time, of course, and, if you are a part of this department, you will be required to do other duties before then, but I believe in the future we may be able to achieve this dream that, at the moment, is only a fantasy. I can't promise it, and it may take a few years, but maybe down the line you'll be the head of that department you want so much.”

“You mean I have the job?” Hermione asked.

“You had the job before you walked into this department,” Bowman said, “Head Judge Morrison made sure of that. I wasn't so sure at first until I read the stuff in this folder. Even then, I wasn't sure. But this interview... you impress me, Miss Granger. Together, we might be able to do a lot. Perhaps you can help revolutionize this department.”

Hermione smiled. “Thank you, sir!” she said.

“You're very welcome,” Bowman said. “Now, where should we put you to begin with in this department? You seem to be interested in magical law as well, given that you first took a job in the Wizengamot. So how about we place you in the law division of the department. You'll be the assistant to one of the... well, I refer to them as lawyers. And I think I know the perfect one to place you with. He is a, excuse the term, newbie in this business. He is learning the ropes, just like you. And he has been looking for an assistant who can keep up with him. I think you'll be able to do that, eh?”

“I'll certainly try to, sir,” Hermione said.

“Brilliant!” Bowman said. “You start tomorrow at nine-o-clock, but how about we meet him now? He shouldn't be too busy at the moment.”

Hermione nodded.

“Wonderful!” Bowman said.

Hermione followed Bowman out of the office. They walked down to a door near the other end of the hall, and went through it. Yet another narrow hall was seen. Bowman walked down to the second door on the right, and knocked on it.

“Come in!” a voice said.

Bowman opened the door, and Hermione followed him in. She immediately noticed the young man sitting behind the larger of the two desks in the small office. He was rather handsome and had short, blonde hair, brown eyes, and was dressed in a white and brown business suit.

“Brady, you have a new assistant,” Bowman said, “She will be starting tomorrow, but I thought you two would want to meet, since you will be seeing each other a lot now. Hermione Granger, this is Brady Sexton.”

“It is nice to meet you,” Hermione said.

“The pleasure is all mine,” Brady said.

Hermione smiled. Even Brady's voice sounded handsome.

“I'll just let both of you get acquainted,” Bowman said. “Hermione, I will see you tomorrow to talk about stuff like your paycheck.”

Hermione nodded. Bowman walked out of the office.

“The office is rather small,” Brady said, kind of apologetically, “I guess that is what I get for being a newbie.”

“It's great,” Hermione said.

“You know,” Brady said, “You look rather familiar. Have we met?”

“I don't think so,” Hermione said.

“When did you graduate Hogwarts?” Brady asked.

“Last term,” Hermione said, “But it was my eighth year. I wasn't able to attend Hogwarts for my seventh.”

“That explains it,” Brady said, “I was three years above you in Hogwarts. Ravenclaw. I probably saw you around the Great Hall sometimes. You always hung around Harry Potter.”

“Yeah, we're best friends,” Hermione said.

“Brilliant,” Brady said.

“So what are you working on?” Hermione asked.

“A new case,” Brady said, “Just came in this morning. A dragon in Romania got loose and burnt down half of a small village and damaged an ancient castle nearby. Ministry of Magic was sent to make sure the Muggles blame it on an earthquake and a forest fire. Only problem with that is the town wasn't near a forest before it got burnt down.”

“What do you mean?” Hermione asked. “'Before?'”

“Obliviators had to go and wipe the memories of all the villagers clean and magically create the illusion of a large forest around the town. But I, on the other hand, have to deal with the dragon. I am due in Romania tomorrow to investigate. Hey, that means you can come along as well. Nice first day for a job, eh?”

“Yeah,” Hermione said, grinning.

“Well, I have to work on the arrangements for the trip,” Brady said, “So I will see you tomorrow. Have a nice day.”

“See you then,” Hermione said, smiling.

Hermione left the office, and headed back toward the Atrium. She went to the Apparation-safe point and returned home. She felt happy that she had a job once again, so soon after she left. She couldn't wait to tell Ron, and laughed to herself when she imagined what he'd say to the thought of S.P.E.W coming back sometime in the future.

Rather short chapter, but I thought it was good. You might notice a couple similarities between both parts of this chapter, something having to do with new characters. Also, I was going to have the character Hermione works with be someone more familiar, like a fellow classmate of Hermione's. But I couldn't think who would be a good one, so I made a new character.

Hope you liked the chapter! Feedback would be great!

Old June 28th, 2011, 7:21 pm
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Re: Butterfly Kisses (Sequel to Harry Potter and the Return to Hogwarts)

Chapter 34
Mountain Ranges and Robots

Author's Note: This chapter is mostly going to focus on Hermione, but I am going to try to get Ron in a little bit.

(Hermione's PoV)

Hermione had prepared a nice big dinner for herself and Ron that night, in celebration of her new job and Ron's new trainer. When Ron got home, he looked pretty exhausted.

“Rough day?” Hermione asked, when Ron walked into the kitchen.

“Mmhmm,” Ron said, “Something smells good.”

“Pork chops,” Hermione said, smiling, “See?”

Ron walked over to Hermione, and put his arms around her.

“I wasn't talking about the food,” he whispered into Hermione's ear.

Hermione blushed. She wrinkled her nose in mock-disgust.

“You, on the other hand, don't smell good at all,” she said, though she grinned.

“It's a manly smell,” Ron said.

Hermione laughed.

“Go take a quick shower,” she said, “Dinner will be ready when you are done. Then we can talk about my new job and your new trainer.”

Ron mumbled something under his breath, but before Hermione could ask, he walked out of the kitchen. Hermione stared at the spot Ron was just at. What was wrong with Ron's new trainer? Did he not like them?

As promised, dinner was ready and on the table when Ron returned to the kitchen.

“So,” Ron said, as he started on his meal, “How did your interview go?”

Hermione recognized how quickly Ron had started the conversation. It seemed he didn't want to talk about his trainer just yet.

“Pretty well, I think,” Hermione said. “The head of the department is really nice. He actually supports my idea for House-Elf liberation.”

“He likes the idea of spew?” Ron asked, through a mouthful of potatoes..

“S.P.E.W,” Hermione said, rolling her eyes, “Yes. Though he seems to be the only one. He said it might take a few years, but the department could come along, and I could head it.”

“So you didn't get the job?” Ron asked, “Wait, no, hold on. You said you did get a new job.”

“Of course I did,” Hermione said. “I am working in the law branch of the department.”

“Like the Wizengamot?” Ron asked.

“Sort of,” Hermione said. “We deal with the court cases that have to do with magical creatures. Well, not me. I am just an assistant. I work for a lawyer. He's a rookie, just like me.”

Hermione paused. Ron looked like he was frowning.

“A rookie, huh?” Ron asked. “So... I guess he must be pretty young.”

“He was three years above us in Hogwarts,” Hermione said.

“A fellow Hogwarts student,” Ron said, “That's great.”

“Yeah, he was a Ravenclaw,” Hermione said. “Anyway, I start tomorrow, and it looks like I am going to have quite a first day at work. A dragon in Romania got loose and made quite a mess, and he has to go sort things out.”

“And you'll be going along with him?” Ron asked.

“I am his assistant,” Hermione said, “So yeah. Shouldn't take too long. I hope.”

Ron nodded, staring at his food.

“Your turn, Ron,” Hermione said.

“What do you mean?” Ron asked.

“Your new trainer!” Hermione said, “What are they like?”

“Sh-- they are okay, I guess,” Ron said. “I can see why Kingsley picked this particular one. This new trainer, Fawning, they don't like failures.”

“So Fawning is definitely better than Shippe?” Hermione asked.

“Oh yeah,” Ron said, “Leagues better. Only bad news I got was that we have to do another exam this month.”

“Another one?” Hermione asked.

“Shippe's exam didn't count, I guess,” Ron said, shrugging, “Even though Kingsley approved of it, and you know, we did figure out a few things about a fugitive. I guess he just wants us to forget Shippe and start new with Fawning.”

“What does Harry think of Fawning?” Hermione asked.

“I'm not sure,” Ron said. “But you can never tell with Harry, can you?”

He chuckled.

“So... an escaped dragon,” Ron said, “That sounds like fun!”

Hermione nodded. The rest of the conversation during the meal was just small talk. Whenever she'd try to bring up the Auror training again, Ron would quickly change the subject. Hermione couldn't quite put her foot on what was going on with Ron when it came to his new trainer, but perhaps he just didn't know too much about them. Hermione didn't know much about Brady Sexton, so she couldn't comment too much about him either. There was also the fact that she found this Sexton guy sort of attractive, but didn't want to admit that to Ron at all. She knew how Ron would react, because he was the same way with Viktor Krum, and Hermione wasn't ready for one of those arguments.


When Hermione arrived at her office the next morning, Brady was already there. He was kneeling next to a small fireplace that Hermione hadn't noticed before. In fact, if she was right, it hadn't been there before.

“Of course, Minister,” Brady said to the fireplace, “I am going to do everything I can.”

“You better,” a voice said, with a heavy Romanian accent, “Those dragons are highly valuable and I don't want to lose any because of some accident.”

Hermione looked over Brady's shoulder and saw a face in the fireplace. He had a long black beard and looked pretty gruff.

“You know how many Galleons Norwegian Ridgebacks cost these days?” the Romanian Minister of Magic said, “If this keeps up, that hag who calls herself the Norwegian Minister of Magic is going to make trade of these Ridgebacks illegal! I can't have that! So you better be able to do something! I am trusting your British department on this, and I better get some results!”

“You will, Minister,” Brady said, “I'll talk to you soon.”

“Hmmph,” the Romanian Minister grunted.

Hermione heard a whooshing sound and the Romanian Minister's face was gone from the fire. Brady stood up and turned around.

“Oh!” he said in surprise, “Hello, Hermione.”

“Problems?” Hermione asked.

“Nothing to worry about,” Brady said, “Just had to get permission from the Romanian Minister of Magic before we could go to Romania today.”

“Is that a portable fireplace?” Hermione asked.

“Brilliant, isn't it?” Brady asked, “Picked it up recently. Great for quick Floo conversation. Not good for Floo travel though. Can't take it with you in the network. So, you ready? I'm not exactly sure how long we are going to be in Romania. Might take all day. So I want to leave as soon as possible.”

“How are we getting there?” Hermione asked.

“Apparation,” Brady said, “I've had my office temporarily designated safe for it. Have you been to Romania?”

“No,” Hermione said, “I've always wanted to go though. Is that going to be a problem... that I haven't been there, I mean?”

“Not at all,” Brady said, “We can go just go using Side-Along Apparation. Do you know what that is?”

“Oh yes,” Hermione said, “I've had to use that plenty of times.”

“Brilliant!” Brady said.

He offered his hand. Hermione was about to ask what he was doing, then she realized it was part of the Side-Along Apparation. Hermione reluctantly took it.

“Nice ring,” Brady said, noticing Hermione's engagement ring.

Before Hermione could say “thanks”, she felt that familiar tug that meant Apparation was beginning. Soon, she felt as if she was being pulled through a straw, into darkness. A few moments, and one deep exhale of breath, the feeling went away. She opened her eyes and found herself and Brady standing in a lush green field surrounded by mountains.

“Welcome to the Surejan Mountain range,” Brady said, “home to one of the most well-known dragon reserves in the world. Well, well-known to the wizarding world. The reserve is in a valley in the mountains.”

“Is it hidden to Muggles?” Hermione asked.

“Not exactly,” Brady said, “The Romanian Government is not well-known for their love for the Muggle population. In other words, they don't really care about them. But the Muggles find this range quite treacherous. No Muggle who has hiked this range has ever returned.”

“That's horrible,” Hermione said.

“Yes,” Brady said. “Well, we better get going. We have a little bit of a hike ahead of us.”

“We're walking from here?” Hermione asked.

“Yeah, sorry about that,” Brady said. “It isn't a good idea to apparate to reserve. We could land in the middle of a herd, and trust me, you do not want to do that. Besides, this hike could do us some good. We didn't talk too much yesterday. We could get to know each other a bit more.”

Hermione couldn't believe it. Was her new boss flirting with her? Did he not notice the engagement ring on her finger? Hermione was about to say something, then she realized... perhaps he didn't mean it that way. Perhaps he just meant just that they should know each other, given that they would be working together now. Didn't the director of the department say the same thing?

“Er... sure,” Hermione said.

“Follow me, then,” Brady said, “The reserve is this way.”

“Have you been there before?” Hermione asked, as they started walking toward the western mountains.

“Once or twice,” Brady said. “This isn't the first time I've had to deal with a dragon here. Of course, last time it wasn't this bad.”

“What happened last time?” Hermione asked.

“An irresponsible rookie dragon trainer got badly burnt,” Brady said. “It was his own bloody fault though. He wasn't paying attention. But of course, he didn't see it that way. He thought it was the dragon's fault, and so did his wealthy mother. The mother was all complaining about how her 'baby boy' could have been killed by a ruthless dragon. She tried to sue the reserve. But I figured out the rookie trainer was just bad at his job, and he got fired, and the reserve was saved. The Romanian Minister of Magic took a liking to me after that. So now I guess I am the only one he allows to come from the department.”

“What about me?” Hermione asked.

“You're my assistant,” Brady said, grinning, “There's no problem, trust me.”

Hermione nodded.

“So how long is this walk?” she asked.

“Ten miles or so,” Brady said, “With this rough terrain, it could take us a couple of hours. Good thing we left early. I suppose we could have brought a couple broomsticks to make it quicker--”

“Oh, no thank you,” Hermione said, chuckling.

“You don't like to fly?” Brady asked.

“No,” Hermione said, laughing shakily, “Though I can't say I haven't done it before. I just don't like the feeling. I like keeping my feet on the ground.”

“That seems like a very Muggle-ish thing to say,” Brady said.

“Well, my parents are Muggles,” Hermione said, “So I guess it comes to me naturally.”

“So you are Muggle-born?” Brady asked.

“Yeah,” Hermione said, slowly. “Is that going to be a problem?”

“No, not at all,” Brady said. “I hope you don't think I am anti-Muggle or anything. Definitely not. I was just surprised. I heard you were the smartest witch in your year. So I just assumed...”

“I was just big on studying I guess,” Hermione said.

“I'm surprised you weren't in Ravenclaw,” Brady said.

“Oh, it was the Sorting Hat's second choice,” Hermione said, “But it placed me in Gryffindor, and I am happy it did.”

“So,” Brady said, “You are a genius Gryffindor who doesn't like flying. Do you like Quidditch?”

“Oh yeah,” Hermione said. “Of course I don't play, but I like to spectate. One of my best friends is a rookie with the Holyhead Harpies. In fact her next game is Saturday, I believe.”

“Wicked!” Brady said.

“You like Quidditch?” Hermione asked.

“Yeah,” Brady said. “I could have played for Ravenclaw, but my parents never supported that idea. They believed it was a waste of my skills.”

“Well, maybe I can scrounge up a ticket for you,” Hermione said, “You could meet my friends and see the game.”

“Sounds great!” Brady said.

Hermione smiled.

“Long way to go,” Brady said, “Guess we should better concentrate on that.”

Hermione nodded and they started their ten-mile trek toward the dragon reserve.

(Ron's PoV)

“Stupefy!” Ron bellowed out.

Ron watched as a red beam raced toward something in the distance. It then hit the target.

“Yes!” Ron said, “Wait... what?!”

The target was still moving toward him. He had been in this exercise for nearly fifteen minutes, and this was the first time he was able to get good look at his target. What he saw, he could not believe. His target did not look human. In fact it looked something similar to what his father liked to work with in the garage, back at the Burrow.

He had hit the target with a stunning spell. The target should have gone down, but it didn't look like it had even been harmed. In fact, it looked like it was getting ready to attack again.

“Ron, get down!” Harry yelled, from somewhere to Ron's left.

Ron dove to the ground just as a spell flew overheard. He rolled sideways behind a concrete wall.

“You okay, Ron?” Harry asked, as he crawled over toward Ron.

“I'm hiding behind a wall that is more-or-less an illusion,” Ron said, “And being cursed at by something that is not human! Yeah, Harry, I'm bloody spectacular!”

Another red beam flew over Ron and Harry's heads.

“Ten minute warning,” a cool voice said over head.

“Oh, yeah, and we are on a timer,” Ron said.”I almost forgot about that one.”

“Oh, calm down, mate,” Harry said, “We've done tougher things than this before. We just need to plan out a strategy.”

“A strategy?” Ron asked, “What strategy can we use against a... what did you call it? A Borot?”

“A robot,” Harry said, “It isn't human. It runs mechanically.”

“Mechanically?” Ron asked. “Mechanical things aren't supposed to work around magic!”

“That's it, Ron!” Harry said. “Fawning had to know that, right? It is common knowledge.”

“Well, yeah,” Ron said, “So?”

“So, maybe she made it to where we can't curse the robot,” Harry said, “We have to do it physically.”

“Physically?” Ron asked.

“Yeah, you know, punch it,” Harry said.

“That sounds mental,” Ron said.

“It is the only idea I have,” Harry said. “We just have to trust it.”

“Okay,” Ron said.

“We just need to dodge the spells and get toward the robot,” Harry said.

“How do we do that?” Ron asked.

“We need a distraction,” Harry said.

“Okay,” Ron said, “Like what?”

Harry stared at Ron. Another red spell went overhead.

“Harry?” Ron asked.

“I'm thinking!” Harry said.

“Think harder!” Ron said.

Ron raised his head. He could see the robot clearly. It was coming closer toward them.

“Harry?” Ron asked again.

“Ron,” Harry said, “What is your Patronus?”

“What?” Ron asked.

“Your Patronus!” Harry said, “What is it? A dog, right?”

“Yeah,” Ron said, “A Jack Russel terrier. So? This isn't a dementor and you said magic wouldn't work against this thing!”

“Ron, it is the perfect distraction!” Harry said. “Patronuses can't be harmed, so it can just run around the robot. The bloody robot wouldn't know what to do, and we can go up and attack it.”

“Brilliant!” Ron said, “Okay...here goes nothing.”

Ron focused on a happy thought. Destroying this robot and showing Allison Fawning that her bloody ideas couldn't fool him. That seemed good enough!

“Expecto Patronum!” Ron bellowed.

A silver dog erupted from the end of Ron's wand.

“Go for the robot!” Ron commanded.

The Patronus barked and ran around the bush and headed toward the robot. Ron and Harry stood up. Ron watched the dog as it jumped toward the robot. The robot tried to curse the dog, but the spell went through the Patronus, and Ron and Harry had to run separate ways to dodge the spell as well. Just when Ron thought the plan wasn't going to work, the robot turned toward the Patronus.

“Okay, Ron!” Harry said, “Let's go!”

Ron nodded and charged the robot. He took one swinging punch at the robot and with a striking blow that sent a small pain through his knuckles, Ron hit his target and the robot fell to the ground. Ron was about to kick the robot, when the cool voice rang overhead.

“Exercise over,” it said, “The trainers are victorious.”

The walls and buildings surrounding Ron and Harry vanished, as did Ron's Patronus.

“Impressive,” Allison said as she walked toward Ron and Harry, “Very impressive. You two are the first to get past my exercise today.”

“Great,” Ron said.

“You not only learned that patience is the key to victory,” Allison said, “But so is knowledge and teamwork. Magic, however, and spells, and curses. They are not always the key to victory.”

“Is that so?” Ron asked.

“Yes,” Allison said. “Ron, is it true that you are not knowledgeable in the art of wand-less magic?”

“I guess,” Ron said.

“And what would you do if you were disarmed?” Allison asked. “And you couldn't get your wand?”

“Hope my partner could help me?” Ron asked, nodding to Harry.

“What if you were alone?” Allison asked.

“You just said teamwork is the key to victory,” Ron said, “So I wouldn't be alone.”

“But if, Ron,” Allison said. “If you were alone, and you couldn't use magic, what would you do?”

“Use my hands and legs,” Ron said, “Like I did with your little toy.”

“Exactly,” Allison said, “And that was the key to this exercise. My robot resisted magic because I wanted it to. It was weak to physical attacks. But your fellow trainers who went before you were so used to using magic. That is a weakness in the wizarding world. We like magic. We use it too much. It has become a part of us, and sometimes I think that is not a good thing. For instance, the common wizard would not even think of using physical attacks. You two did. I am very impressed.”

“I guess we're your typical uncommon wizards then,” Harry said.

“Yeah,” Ron said, “I guess so.”

“Well, you two rest up,” Fawning said, “More training will come pretty soon. I'm very curious to see if you have any limits.”

Ron looked at Harry, who looked back at him. He could tell Harry was thinking the same thing he did: whatever Fawning was thinking, he wasn't sure he wanted to know what it was.

Okay, so I didn't get to the dragons this chapter, because I am saving that for next chapter.

What did you think of this chapter? What do you think of Brady and Fawning, and Ron and Hermione's actions around them?

More coming soon! Feedback would be amazing!


Last edited by Fury; June 29th, 2011 at 1:26 am.
Old July 19th, 2011, 4:22 pm
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Re: Butterfly Kisses (Sequel to Harry Potter and the Return to Hogwarts)

Chapter 35
The Surejan Dragon Reserve

(Hermione's PoV)

Just like Brady had said, the walk to the Surejan Dragon Reserve lasted almost two hours. Over all, it was a pretty nice jog. At least for the first three-quarters of a mile. Throughout the last thirty minutes of the journey, Hermione and Brady could already hear the thunderous roar of the dragons in the reserve.

“Most Muggles mistake that sound for thunderstorms,” Brady said, after they had heard the roars for the first time, “Even if there are no clouds.”

“Most?” Hermione replied, “What about the ones who are smart enough to know it is not thunder?”

“You don't want to know,” Brady said darkly.

After that conversation, Hermione kept very silent until they reached the reserve. The only thing Hermione could hear was the sticks and leaves crunching beneath their shoes, and the thoughts in her head.

All throughout the journey, Brady kept doing strange things. Hermione would catch Brady looking back at her and she'd look away as if she didn't notice. He had also tried to help her over a couple of rather large fallen logs, when she knew she was capable of doing it herself.

The more she thought about it, the more she couldn't ignore it. She knew Brady was flirting with her, and she needed to tell him about Ron.

“Hey, Brady?” Hermione said, finally speaking up.

“Yeah?” Brady asked, turning toward her.

Just as Hermione was about to reply, she was interrupted by another loud roar from a dragon, except this one was very close.

“Oh!” Brady said, grinning, “Looks like we are there! The valley should be just over this hill.”

He turned around and headed over the hill. Hermione sighed to herself and followed him. As soon as she reached the hill, she saw one of the most stunning views she had ever witnessed. Surrounded by mountains, a large bowl-shaped valley was set into the earth. It was as if someone had removed a large mountain in a range and flattened it into a valley. The outer rim of the valley looked as if it had suffered a great forest fire. Trees and leaves and grass had all been burnt to a crisp, so it looked like a large black circle had surrounded the dragon reserve.

“Quite a sight, isn't it?” Brady asked.

“Y-yes, it is,” Hermione said, breathless at the mix of beauty of the valley and sheer horror of the destruction of the forest around the valley, “But it looks so burnt. That's horrible.”

“Oh, yeah,” Brady said, “Don't worry, that is an illusion.”

“What?” Hermione asked.

“Trust me,” Brady said, grinning, “Come on, you'll see what I mean soon.”

Brady started down the mountain toward the valley, and Hermione followed.

“Keep an eye on the ground,” Brady said, as they walked into the burnt part of the forest.

Hermione did so. It took only a couple of minutes before Hermione realized what Brady meant by illusion. When Hermione had reached the center of the burnt section of the forest, it was no longer burnt. It looked as lush and green as the rest of the forest.

“Oh wow,” Hermione said.

“Great, isn't it?” Brady asked, “This whole reserve and the surrounding forest is under the safety of one giant illusion. If Muggles were to journey over here, the only thing they would see is a burnt part of the forest. But because of the magic, they'd forget about it soon after.”

“So it is unplottable,” Hermione said.

“Of course,” Brady said, “Unfortunately the unplottable portion only surrounds the valley. The Romanians wouldn't allow what they called 'foreign magic' to take up a vast portion of their country. So unfortunately, when a dragon gets past the unplottable portion and into a part of the mountain range where Muggles can venture into, it gets pretty nasty. The Romanian Minister of Magic trusts our department to back them up when stuff like this happens. The dragons are pretty valuable to this country. Their participation in the Triwizard Tournament a few years ago did quite a bit of good to the financial situation for the wizarding population in this country.”

“I can understand their usefulness,” Hermione said.

“Good for you,” Brady said. “That is what makes you a welcome addition to our department.”

Hermione smiled, but when Brady smiled back, Hermione immediately regretted it. He seemed to still be flirting with her. Brady seemed to realize that she had noticed this, because he cleared his throat.

“We better go,” he said, “They are expecting us. Don't want to be late.”

Hermione nodded. Brady walked on, and Hermione followed him. It took another ten minutes to get to the edge of the reserve.

“Ah, our welcoming party is here,' Brady said.

A man was walking toward them, and he looked very familiar to Hermione. In fact, it only took a mere moment before Hermione recognized the ginger-headed wizard. It was Ron's brother, Charlie.

“Hermione?” Charlie asked, looking over Brady's shoulder towards Hermione, as he walked up toward them.

“Charlie!” Hermione said, “I should have realized I'd see you here.”

“You two know each other?” Brady asked.

“My youngest brother, Ron, is her boyfriend,” Charlie said, “Or fiancee, I guess I should say.”

“Engaged,” Brady said softly, though enough for Hermione to hear him, “The ring. I should have guessed.”

Hermione ignored Brady and looked at Charlie.

“So nice to see you, Charlie!” she said to him.

“How long have you been working with Brady?” Charlie asked.

“Just started this morning,” Hermione said, “This is the first thing I got assigned to.”

“Brilliant!” Charlie said, “I guess we should start, Brady.”

“Huh?” Brady asked, still obviously gobsmacked at the revelation with Hermione, “Oh yeah. Er... guess I should ask the obvious question first. Have you found the dragon yet?”

“Yes,” Charlie said, grinning, “We found him resting beside one of the larger lakes in Romania. It was closed due to recent flooding, so no Muggles were there. Thank Merlin for that.”

“Indeed,” Brady said, “It would have added more unwanted trouble. At least you found it, that could lessen any issues the Romanian Ministry of Magic have with you.”

“I thought the Romanian Minister of Magic had no problems with the dragons,” Hermione said.

“He doesn't, Hermione,” Charlie said, “Unfortunately for us, the Minister actually has no say in this.”

“It is the bloody Romanian Wizengamot,” Brady said, “In my few months of law, I have never had more trouble with anyone than I've had with the Romanians.”

“Yes,” Charlie said, “We here at the Surejan Dragon Reserve feel it is very lucky that we are under British jurisdiction.”

“So wouldn't that mean,” Hermione said, “that it would be the British Wizengamot you'd have to deal with?”

Charlie and Brady shook their heads.

“No, Hermione,” Brady said, “The British may own the reserve, but everything outside of the reserve is Romanian property.”

“Including the small village and castle the dragon attacked,” Charlie said.

“Next question, Charlie,” Brady said. “Has anyone from the Romanian Ministry of Magic visited the reservation yet?”

“Not yet,” Charlie said, “But we received a letter, not thirty minutes ago, that a couple of representatives would be arriving soon.”

“Wonderful,” Brady said, “As the lawyer assigned to this case, I am going to have to be here and speak with them.”

Brady turned to Hermione, though she could tell he was still avoiding too much eye contact.

“I'm sure you need a rest after the hike,” he said. “I'm not going to need you until the Romanians get here, so you can rest up.”

“Better yet, Hermione,” Charlie said, “How about I take you on a tour of our reserve? That is if Brady doesn't need me for anything.”

“I just need to look at that dragon,” Brady said, “But I'm sure I can find it myself.”

“It is in section F,” Charlie said, “Tell the two men there I said it was okay to go there. The dragon is under pretty high security right now. We're trying to let it calm down. We don't want it having too big of a fuss when the Romanians come.”

“That is probably for the best,” Brady said, “Enjoy the tour, Hermione.”

Before Hermione could reply, Brady walked away.

“That young man seems to have taken a liking to you already, Hermione,” Charlie said, as he watched Brady walk toward the enclosed sections, “More than just as a co-worker, I mean.. I take it you hadn't told him about Ron.”

“I was going to,” Hermione said, “But he kept interrupting me. I feel really bad.”

“Oh, you shouldn't take it too badly,” Charlie said, “Even if you weren't with Ron, it usually isn't a good idea to pair up with a fellow co-worker. Believe me, I've had my fair share of those experiences. Oh... don't tell Ron that. I think he is under the impression I am.. as the phrase goes... married to my work.”

Charlie chuckled, and Hermione laughed as well.

“So how are you and Ron doing?” Charlie asked, “If you don't mind me asking.”

“Pretty well, I think,” Hermione said, “A rough patch here and there, but every couple has that.”

“Well, let me say that I hope it works out with both of you,” Charlie said, “You'd be a welcome addition to our family, Hermione, if I do say so myself.”

“Thanks,” Hermione said, blushing.

“Well, what do you say we get on with the tour?” Charlie asked, “We can visit Norberta first. She's closest to us. Perhaps she'll remember you after all these years. You did help her get here.”

Hermione nodded, and followed Charlie toward section A.

“The dragons are separated in sections,” Charlie said, “Every letter of the alphabet represents a section here.”

“I thought the dragons would be together in herds,” Hermione said.

“Most of the time they are too territorial for that,” Charlie said, “Sometimes we are lucky to get a couple to become mates and they can pair up together. But even that becomes a problem. We don't have very many female dragons around here. Mating season can be very dangerous, let me tell you.”

Hermione didn't know whether to laugh at that or not, but she was saved any response when Charlie announced that they had arrived at section A. Hermione had expected the sections to be enclosures or cages, but she was standing in front of a wide open field filled with lush grass and trees. Sections of it were burnt and trees were torn up by the roots. Hermione walked closer to it, but Charlie held out a hand, stopping her.

“Trust me,” Charlie said, “You don't want to get any closer yet.”

“Why?” Hermione asked.

Charlie just smiled. He kneeled down and picked up a small stone, then threw it toward the field. Suddenly, a spark came out of nowhere, and the rock turned into dust.

“Oh!” Hermione exclaimed.

“We want the dragons to feel at home,” Charlie explained, “that is why they are in open fields and not enclosures. But we don't want them to escape. So we have to keep – for want of a better term – force-fields around the sections. They are invisible, of course, so it gives the dragons that illusion of freedom.”

“That is sort of barbaric,” Hermione said, “Has anyone ever walked into one of these force-fields?”

“Nothing ever comes without a price, Hermione,” Charlie said, a hint of a smile in his lips, “Fortunately the force-fields are almost harmless. Just enough power to scare the dragon back from them. Basically to a human it is like being hit with a stunning spell.”

“So how did the dragon escape from its section?” Hermione asked.

“We're still trying to figure that one out,” Charlie said.

“Do you think someone let it out?” Hermione asked.

“That's a possibility,” Charlie said, “But that would mean we have a leak in the reserve, which is not possible. I trust every one here at the reserve.”

“Is it possible someone came into the reserve without your knowledge and let the dragon out?” Hermione asked.

“Not highly likely,” Charlie said, shaking his head. “This place cannot be apparated into or out of, as you already know, since you had to hike here. As for the Floo Network, there is one fireplace here, but it is highly secured and only used for emergency purposes. Most of the time, the only way it is connected to the Floo Network is for direct conversation, and not as a means of travel. It is much faster than Owl Post and, when you are working with one of the most unpredictable creatures in the world, it is very nice to have.”

Hermione was about to respond, but was interrupted by a very loud roar.

“Ah, I think Norberta is coming now,” Charlie said.

Hermione strained her eyes to look around for the dragon. Then, suddenly, she saw something large in the sky in the distance. Without warning, the large dragon dove from the sky and landed a few yards in front of Charlie and Hermione. Hermione almost screamed, but stopped herself. Norberta looked a lot different than Hermione remembered her as a baby, but she could still recognize her a bit. Norberta was as large as a house and half as long as a Quidditch Pitch.

“One of Norberta's favorite tricks,” Charlie said, “The swan dive.”

Hermione watched Norberta's eyes, as she looked back and forth from Charlie to Hermione. Then the dragon's eyes rested on Hermione.

“She recognizes me,” Hermione said, breathlessly, “Doesn't she?”

“Told you she might,” Charlie said, grinning.

He walked forward toward the edge of the force-field.

“How are you, big girl?” Charlie asked the dragon.

Hermione heard a soft purr resonate from Norberta's throat. Charlie turned to Hermione.

“Come forward,” he said.

“Er... I don't know,” Hermione said, timidly.

“You're perfectly safe,” Charlie said, “Do you think I'd let a future Weasley get hurt?”

Hermione blushed at the words “future Weasley” and walked forward, though slowly. Norberta purred softly once again.

“She's saying hello,” Charlie said.

“Hi Norberta,” Hermione said, “It's been a long time.”

Norberta purred once again, then without warning she let out a large roar and backed up. Charlie stood in front of Hermione, guarding her.

“What's wrong, girl?” Charlie asked the dragon.

Hermione looked at Norberta's eyes. They seemed to be looking past her. Hermione turned around. In the distance, over the hill she and Brady had walked over earlier, she could see a large plume of smoke.

“I think I know what is bothering Norberta,” Hermione said, nudging Charlie, who was trying to calm down the great dragon.

Charlie turned around.

“What in Merlin's name?” he growled.

“Is that from one of your dragons?” Hermione asked.

“I don't know,” Charlie said, “Come on!”

Charlie ran forward, heading toward a large group of buildings, and Hermione followed. Brady and a group of wizards and witches met them at the nearest building. The sign on the building read “Security”.

“What is the meaning of this, Mr. Weasley?” Brady asked Charlie, as he pointed toward the plume of smoke.

Hermione looked up at the smoke which was getting darker and more massive.

“Pascal!” Charlie said, yelling into the group of wizards, “Head count!”

“All dragons are accounted for, Charlie,” Pascal said, “I only finished checking them just a few minutes ago.”

“Forest fire?” Hermione asked.

“The forest around here is magically protected from fire,” Charlie said.

“Could it be the Romanians?” Brady said, “Could be some kind of signal. Romanians are known for making an entrance.”

“I have a strange feeling,” Charlie said.

“Charlie, I would like some answers!” Brady asked.

Charlie ignored Brady.

“Okay,” he said, “Basil, take our guests into the security building! Make sure no harm comes to them.”

“Harm?” Hermione choked.

“Yes, sir!” Basil said, “Come on, sir, miss.”

Hermione and Brady walked into the Security building. As she walked in, she heard Charlie talking to Basil.

“What's going on, Charlie?” Basil asked.

“Red alert,” Charlie said.

“Sir?” Basil asked.

“You heard me,” Charlie said. “You know what to do.”

“Y-yes, sir!” Basil said.

“Remember what I said, Basil,” Charlie said, “If any harm...”

“You have nothing to worry about Charlie,” Basil said.

Basil walked into the office, and Hermione saw Charlie and the large group of wizards and witches head off toward the smoke.

“What is a red alert?” Hermione asked.

“Red Alert,” Basil asked, as if reciting something he had read, “Dragon reserve under attack. Contact the home Ministry of Magic, in this case, Britain, and request immediate help.”

“Under attack?” Brady asked, “Preposterous.”

“Did you not see that smoke, Brady?” Hermione asked.

Brady seemed to ignore Hermione as he sunk into a chair. Basil walked over to the fireplace on the other side of the room. He picked up a paper bag and knelt down in front of the fire. He stuck his hand in the paper bag and then threw a handful of green Floo Powder into the fire.

“Britain Ministry of Magic, Auror Office,” Basil said.

Hermione watched as Basil stuck his head into the fire. She was reminded of when Harry had done the same thing back in her fifth year to talk to the house-elf, Kreacher. A few moments later, Basil backed away from the fire.

“Blast!” he groaned, “Where could they be?!”

“Nobody is there?” Brady asked, “You're serious? Perfect. Now what do we do?”

“I have an idea,” Hermione said, walking over to the fireplace.

“What are you going to do?” Basil asked.

“Call someone I can trust,” Hermione said, as she grabbed a handful of Floo Powder, and knelt toward the fireplace.


Cliffhanger! I think it is probably obvious who Hermione is going to contact, don't you? I decided to end this chapter now, cause the rest of what I had planned would take quite a bit, and this would be a long chapter. So it will take place next chapter!

Hope you liked this chapter! Feedback would be great!

P.S. How did you like the Deathly Hallows Part 2 movie? I haven't seen it yet, but I'll see it soon, probably two days from when this was posted. It'll be awesome!

Old July 22nd, 2011, 8:20 pm
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Re: Butterfly Kisses (Sequel to Harry Potter and the Return to Hogwarts)

Chapter 36
Red Alert

Author's Note: This chapter starts a few minutes before the last chapter ended.

(Ron's PoV)

Ron and Harry were taking a well-deserved break in the locker room after a thoroughly difficult morning. Allison was so impressed by their rumble with the robot, and she wanted to see if they could do more. She had discovered how talented they were on brooms, and the next challenge she assigned them was to duel each other in mid-air while on broomsticks. Ron and Harry flew around the training room and sent spells back and forth to each other for a good ten minutes before a well-aimed spell by Harry made Ron lose control of his broomstick and he was sent crashing into the ground. Ron wasn't badly injured but he was sure he'd have bruises the next morning.

“Mad, that woman is,” Ron muttered, taking a large gulp from his bottle of butterbeer, “And to think... I thought she was rather attractive at first.”

“I believe there is a common phrase for that,” Harry said, grinning, “You can't judge a book by its cover.”

“You sound like Hermione,” Ron said, “We're talking about women here, not books.”

“That is not what I meant,” Harry said, “I – oh, nevermind. But I'll say this for Allison, she's a whole lot better than Shippe.”

“Better?” Ron asked, “She's completely mental. Setting that metal piece of junk on us? Making us duel each other on broomsticks? She's going to kill us before we become Aurors... yeah, Harry, she's a lot better than Shippe!”

“I just meant that she isn't a bleeding traitor,” Harry said.

“I'm glad you think so,” a voice said.

Harry and Ron turned. Allison was standing at the end of the row of lockers.

“Like I said earlier,” Allison said, as she walked toward Ron and Harry. “I am very impressed with the both of you. You outrank everyone of your peers and even Aurors who have been in the field for years. I read your file, Mr. Potter. You could be an Auror already, but you enlisted in the training program. Why is that?”

“Maybe I wanted to prove to myself that I am as impressive as you think I am,” Harry said.

Allison laughed, mirthlessly.

“I seriously doubt that, Mr. Potter,” she said, “You won the Triwizard Tournament. You defeated the most powerful Dark Lord the world has ever known. Is that not impressive to you?”

Ron had to admit. Allison had a good point. She knew what she was talking about.

“No, Mr. Potter,” Allison said, “I think I know why you joined the training program. Your best friend, Mr. Weasley here, enlisted the same day as you.”

“What is wrong with that?” Ron asked.

“You are probably wondering, Ron,” Allison said, “Why I put you and Harry against each other on broomsticks earlier. Is that right?”

“It was on my mind,” Ron said, shrugging.

“I put you two against each other,” Allison said, “Because I feel like you two seem to be trying to help each other through the training program. You two seem to be inseperable.”

“You said it earlier,” Harry asked, “We're best friends.”

“That may be,” Allison said, “But sometimes that could be a bad thing. You two are limiting yourselves. You are not proving just how great an Auror you can become.”

“What happened to us being impressive?” Ron asked.

“You're impressive as a pair,” Allison asked, “But I haven't had a chance to see how impressive you are while you are not assisting each other. So, starting tomorrow, I am assigning both of you to different training partners. Only then can I see your true potential as future Aurors. I'm sure this has come to some shock for you, so you two can have the rest of the day off to prepare.”

Allison smiled, turned around and walked back down the aisle.

“She's mental!” Ron said, “She can't do this!”

“She's our trainer, Ron,” Harry said, “I think she can. Besides, I have a feeling this is only temporary.”

“Temporary?” Ron asked.

“Until now, we haven't been told what our test is for this month,” Harry said, “Allison did say we were the most impressive out of everyone in the program. So we have a different test than everyone else.”

“So you think Allison is testing us?” Ron asked.

Before Harry could speak, he was interrupted by a distant voice.

“Hello?” a very familiar voice said, “Is anyone there?”

Harry and Ron turned.

“Is that Hermione?” Harry asked.

“I think so,” Ron said, jumping up.

Before Harry could say anything more, Ron was running toward the direction of Hermione's voice. Before long, he found himself at the fireplace. Hermione's head was in the roaring fire.

“Ron!” Hermione said, “Thank goodness.”

“Hermione?” Ron asked, as he heard Harry's footsteps behind him, “What's wrong?”

“I'm at the Surejan Dragon Reserve,” Hermione said, “I think we're under attack! There's smoke coming from over the hill.”

“What can we do?” Harry asked.

“We need help,” Hermione said, “We tried to contact the Auror office, but nobody answered.”

“We should tell Allison,” Harry said.

“Are you mad?!” Ron asked, “I don't trust her enough for this.”

“What are you going to do then?” Hermione asked, “Because it needs to be quick.”

“Harry and I will go,” Ron said.

“I can't ask you to skip your training,” Hermione said.

“We were given the rest of the day off,” Harry said, “I agree with Ron. We'll go, Hermione.”

“Okay,” Hermione said, “But hurry!”

Hermione's head disappeared from the fire.

“Do you think we should Apparate?” Harry asked.

“It'll take too long to get to the Apparation-Safe area in the Atrium,” Ron said, “Besides, the Surejan Dragon Reserve is where Charlie works, and he told me you can't apparate into the Reserve. We'll have to take the Floo Network. It should be open since Hermione was able to use it to contact us. I'll go first.”

Before Harry could reply, Ron grabbed the bag of Floo Powder from on top of the fireplace, grabbed a handful of the powder, and walked into the fireplace.

“Surejan Dragon Reserve!” Ron said, clearly.

Ron closed his eyes as he was lifted off of his feet. After half-a-minute of spinning and twisting, he landed on solid ground. He opened his eyes and walked into the dust and debris. When the dust cleared, he saw Hermione standing in a small room with a couple of wizards. One was looking through a window, while the other was sitting in a chair, looking absolutely terrified.

“Harry will be here in a moment,” Ron said.

“Harry?” the man in the chair asked, “Harry Potter? Oh thank Merlin, we're saved.”

“Who are you?” Ron asked the man.

“This is Brady, Ron,” Hermione said, “My boss.”

“Interesting bloke,” Ron muttered, low enough for only Hermione to hear.

Hermione cleared her throat.

“Brady,” she said, “This is Ron, my fiancee.”

“Pleasure to meet you,” Brady said, though he did not look at either Ron or Hermione.

Suddenly, the window behind Ron and Hermione exploded. Without hesitation, Ron pulled Hermione onto the ground, narrowly dodging the shards of glass flying around them. Before Ron could look up to see what had happened, he was surrounded by a plume of dust and debris.

“Hello?” Harry's voice came out from near the fireplace, “Ron? Hermione? Where are you?”

“Harry!” Ron said, “Get down!”

A moment later, Ron heard a brief thud and Harry was crawling over toward him and Hermione.

“What in the bloody hell is going on?” he asked.

“A window just exploded!” Ron said, “I haven't had the chance yet to see what else is going on.”

“Oh no!” Hermione moaned.

Ron immediately turned around. Hermione was kneeling over the man who had been standing by the window. Several deep cuts along the man's face and body told Ron that the man was now deceased.

“Do you know his name?” Ron asked.

“Basil,” Hermione said, softly, “He was one of the security here. He was ordered to look after Brady and I.”

The dust and debris cleared and Ron walked over to the window. He peered out of it. In the distance he saw green and red spells flying toward a large group of witches and wizards who were running toward the buildings. No – not running – fleeing. Hermione and Harry stood next to Ron and looked out the window.

“Oh no,” Hermione moaned again, “Those are the dragon trainers who were headed over the hill towards the smoke.

“Looks like they met up with some opposition,” Ron said.

Suddenly, Ron noticed a very familiar ginger-haired wizard exchanging spells with his pursuers.

“Charlie,” he muttered.

Without hesitation, Ron ran for the door, ignoring Hermione and Harry as they called out his name. He ran out the door and headed through a group of wizards who were trying to head for safety.

“Protect the dragons!” one wizard said, “They're after the dragons!”

“Forget the dragons!” a panicky witch yelled, “Save yourselves!”

Ron ignored the screaming and yelling. He was only focused on getting to his brother.

“You – will – not – take – the – dragons!” Charlie bellowed, each word separated by another spell he cast at the incoming opposition.

Only a brave few had stayed with Charlie to help hold off the enemy. Now that Ron had gotten a good look at the opposition, it seemed there were at least three dozen of them, outnumbering the force that were trying to hold them off by at least two-to-one.

“Protego!” Ron yelled, pointing his wand toward Charlie, as a number of spells headed his way.

To Ron's surprise, the shield was more powerful than he intended: the spell had actually forced a number of the opposition to stumble back onto the ground. When Harry and Hermione joined by his side, he realized what had happened. All three of them had done the same spell, combining the force.

“Ron?” Charlie asked, turning around momentarily to see where the spells had come from, “What are you doing here?”

“Hermione contacted us through the Floo Network,” Ron said, “Said you had a bit of trouble on your hands. Harry and I came to help.”

“It's Potter!” a wizard on the opposing side bellowed.

Suddenly, the opposing side had stopped running toward them, and this caught Ron off guard. What had stopped them?

“Well?!” a witch said in the group, “Let's nab him! He'd be an added bonus to our treasure!”

“No!” bellowed the wizard who recognized Harry, “You know our orders. Retreat at once!”

One by one, the opposing witches and wizards all disappeared with resounding cracks of Apparation.

“What the bloody hell?” Ron asked, “Where did they go?”

“They must have disabled the Apparation barriers,” Charlie said, “But the question isn't where, Ron, it is why did they go? They outnumbered us greatly. They could have taken us all down and kidnapped the dragons easily.”

“Harry,” Hermione said.

“What?” Harry asked.

“No,” Hermione said, “They mentioned you, Harry. Something about orders. It was like you weren't part of their plan.”

“That hag seemed eager to nab him,” Ron said.

“Then why didn't she try?” Harry asked, “Charlie said it. They could have taken you all down.”

“I think they weren't prepared for that,” Hermione said.

“Well, then,” Charlie said, “You scared them off, Harry. If you didn't, we wouldn't have had a chance. Thanks for that.”

Hermione still seemed doubtful.

“Now, if you'll excuse me,” Charlie said, “I need to round up my crew and make sure the dragons are all safe. Hermione, I think you better make sure your boss is okay. He seemed out of his wits when I saw him last.”

“I'm glad you think of me so greatly,” Brady muttered behind them, causing everyone to turn. “I see you scared them off. Nice one.”

“Yes, well, I better get going,” Charlie said.

Charlie seemed eager to avoid Brady, and Ron was beginning to agree with him. There was something about Brady he didn't like. In fact, if Ron wasn't seeing things, Brady seemed to be looking back and forth between him and Hermione.

“Well, Hermione,” Brady said, “It doesn't seem as if the Romanian Ministry of Magic were even going to come today. It seems those... whoever they were... were the ones who sent the letter announcing the arrival of the Romanians. I'm going to finish up here, but I think it'd be all right if you had the rest of the day off.”

“Are you sure, Brady?” Hermione asked.

“You've done enough for today,” Brady said, “See you tomorrow.”

Brady walked away, without another word.

“Nice bloke,” Ron commented.

Ron noticed that Hermione looked rather distraught about something.

“Is something wrong?” he asked her.

“No,” Hermione said, shaking her head, then sighed, “Maybe. I don't know... I'll tell you later.”

“Well, I think we need an early lunch after this,” Harry said, “My house. I'll even make something myself.”

“You can cook?” Ron asked, skeptically.

“Your sister had the same exact reaction the first time she caught me cooking,” Harry said, grinning, “Come on. We should go before the apparation barrier closes again.”

Ron took Hermione and Harry's hands and all three apparated to Harry's house at the same time.

“Ginny's probably going to be training late,” Harry said, as he led Ron and Hermione into the house, “Big game on Saturday.”

“That's right,” Ron said, “Puddlemere United, I almost forgot.”

Ron followed Hermione and Harry into the small kitchen. Harry started cooking up something that, in his words, was going to be a “surprise”. Ron and Hermione sat at the table, and Ron couldn't help but notice that Hermione looked awfully distracted. Hermione caught his glance and shook her head. Ron took that as “I don't want to talk about it around Harry.” The problem was... Ron didn't know exactly what Hermione was not wanting to talk about.

“So what do you think those evil blokes wanted with the dragons?” Harry asked, as he turned on the stove.

“Probably planning on using them in a future attack,” Ron said, “We can't ignore the possibility of an attack now.”

“We can't,” Hermione said, “But I'm sure the Ministry will. You wait and see, there will be nothing about this in the Daily Prophet tomorrow.”

“I wouldn't be surprised if your friend, Brady, is being hounded not to say anything as we speak,” Harry said.

Hermione nodded but said nothing. Harry set a frying pan on the stove and put something in it. Ron heard the sound of grease bubbling and cracking in the pan. Harry sighed and turned to Ron and Hermione, temporarily ignoring the pan.

“So are we just going to ignore the fact that my name was brought up by some evil blokes?” he asked, his voice a little louder than normal, “And that somewhere along the line, their plan is to kidnap me?”

“Harry,” Hermione said, sighing.

“What, Hermione?” Harry asked, his temper rising, “You expect me to not say anything about it? Apparently I'm the target once again for a group of wizards who looked like they could rival the Death Eaters, and are probably planning some kind of attack that we know nothing about! Do you think I should just ignore that?”

“Of course not, Harry!” Hermione cried, “I wasn't saying that.”

“You weren't saying anything,” Harry said, “That's the problem.”

“Don't you have a go at her!” Ron snarled.

“No, Ron,” Hermione said, reaching a hand over to Ron's and covering it, which calmed down Ron greatly, “He's right. We shouldn't ignore this. We learned some troubling news today. You're still a target, Harry, even after the fact that Voldemort is gone. Now we just have to find out who they were.”

“Can't the Auror department do that?” Ron asked, “We have enough on our plates at the moment.”

“I don't think so, Ron,” Hermione said, “If we tell the Ministry about this, they'll probably accuse us of rumor-mongering.”

“They can't do that!” Ron said, “Not with the witnesses we have. My brother, Charlie, for one.”

“That's just it, Ron,” Hermione said, “The Ministry will end up with some half-baked theory that we are starting rumors, and have brought Charlie into it as well. Even if we bring in Charlie's co-workers as witnesses, the Ministry will end up saying that we made Charlie tell his co-workers to say what we want them to say.”

“That's completely rubbish!” Ron said.

“She's right, Ron,” Harry said, “If we brought it up, we'd probably be in trouble, even if it is true. We don't need anymore trouble than what we are already dealing with at the Ministry already.”

“What are you talking about?” Hermione asked, looking from Harry to Ron.

“Our trainer decided to split us up,” Ron said, “We're not training partners anymore.”

“Why?” Hermione asked.

“Apparently,” Harry said, “Allison has translated 'best friends as partners' into 'helping each other get through the training program'.”

“Basically she thinks we're cheating,” Ron said.

Hermione only grinned, which surprised Ron.

“What's that?” Ron asked, pointing to the grin, “You think Allison is right, don't you?””

“Have you forgotten how much time I spent with you in classes at Hogwarts?” Hermione asked, “I know you cheat.”

“That's different,” Ron said, “Harry's not the best person to copy answers off of. You are.”

“Thanks for that, mate,” Harry said, sarcastically, returning back to the frying pan.

Hermione gave Ron a look that clearly said “you deserved that.” Ron didn't know how to respond, so he said the only thing he could think of.

“So, what's for lunch?” he asked.


Ron and Hermione returned home a couple hours after their lunch with Harry (which turned out to be breakfast food, much to Ron's confusion. Breakfast for lunch?). When they arrived, an owl was perched on the windowsill in the living room. Hermione took the scroll of parchment from the owl, and the owl flew off. She opened it, and read silently. Ron just watched her eyes, wondering what she was reading.

“It's from Brady,” Hermione said. “It seems the Romanian Wizengamot and our Wizengamot are quarreling over who has the rights for homeland advantage in the escaped dragon case. It looks like the Britain Wizengamot gets the case, but the Romanians will have half of their Wizengamot join ours. Brady's on the defense, so I'll have to be there, I guess. It takes place next Monday.”

“Sounds exciting,” Ron said.

Hermione nodded.

“Speaking of Brady,” Ron said, “Are you going to tell me what was bothering you about him earlier?”

“It's not too bad,” Hermione said. “Please don't overreact when I tell you, okay?”

“I'll try,” Ron said, slowly.

“I think Brady was trying to flirt with me today,” Hermione said.

She paused for a moment, as if checking Ron's reaction.

“Go on,” Ron said.

“It's nothing really,” Hermione continued, “We were hiking in a mountain range for two hours, just to get to the reserve. Well, he kept trying to help me over fallen tree logs and stuff like that, and kept giving me these glances. I tried to tell him about... you know, you and me... but something always seemed to interrupt us. Finally, it was brought up, except it was Charlie who brought it up. Brady's acted different ever since he found out.”

Ron grinned, and Hermione raised her eyebrows, which only made Ron grin more.

“What?” Hermione demanded, “Tell me what you're thinking!”

“I'm not the least surprised that Brady has a crush on you,” Ron said, “I'd be offended if he didn't!”

“You're kidding,” Hermione said.

“Look at you,” Ron said, “Your absolutely beautiful. It'd be mental for anyone who just met you not to fancy you.”

Hermione blushed.

“So, you mean you're not jealous?” she asked, “Or mad?”

“No!” Ron laughed, “Why should I be?”

“I don't know,” Hermione said, “It's just you. You're known to... react and get jealous like that. Krum, for example. I know how jealous you were during the Yule Ball. Of course, then, I thought it was for different reasons.”

Ron laughed again.

“Hermione, that was when you weren't my girlfriend or fiancee,” he said, “Back then I thought I lost you, and that is why I was jealous. I have no reason to be jealous now.”

Without warning, Hermione pounced on Ron and kissed him fully on the lips.

“And what was that for?” Ron asked, grinning.

“I'm so relieved,” Hermione said, “I was afraid to tell you cause I thought for sure you'd be mad at me.”

“Actually, I'd feel very bad if I got mad at you for that,” Ron said.

“Why?” Hermione asked.

“I'm kind of guilty of the same thing,” Ron said, “I think Allison's been trying to flirt with me.”

“Your new trainer?” Hermione asked, then smirked, “Is she cute?”

“I've seen cuter,” Ron said, grinning.

Hermione kissed Ron again.

“Good answer,” she said.

Weird place to finish, but I thought it was okay. Wow, as I was writing this, I was thinking... I have a long ways to go with my story... I want to end it sometime around the start of the new year (in the story), and with perhaps some epilogue chapters months later... and it is only the second week of September in my story. This could take forever!

Anyway, hope you liked the chapter! Reviews would be wonderful!

Old July 28th, 2011, 12:38 am
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Re: Butterfly Kisses (Sequel to Harry Potter and the Return to Hogwarts)

Chapter 37
The Danger Room

(Ron's PoV)

When Ron woke up the next morning, Hermione's side of the bed was empty. Ron dressed and readied himself for what was sure to be an unpredictable day: he would be starting training with a new partner instead of Harry, as assigned by Allison Fawning.

He hoped it would be temporary, as Harry said. He hoped this was just a test Allison was giving him and Harry and that it wasn't permanent. Allison didn't understand the friendship between Ron and Harry. She couldn't read about something like that in her precious folders she had concerning every one of the Aurors-in-training. No folder could possibly sum up the seven-plus years of unyielding friendship between Ron and Harry. No high-and-mighty trainer could ever split Ron and Harry up, and Ron would prove it if it was the last thing he did while enlisted in Auror training.

He knew things Allison didn't. Allison seemed to think that Harry was helping Ron coast through Auror training. Ron, however, knew he and Harry were strong on their own, and even stronger together.

Ron looked at himself in the mirror. He almost didn't recognize himself. He had grown a bit rugged and needed a shave, but he knew Hermione wouldn't allow this. She liked seeing stubble on Ron's chin, ever since she had given him some for his transformation during the Gringotts Heist, while on the hunt for the Horcruxes. At the time, Ron had complained about the stubble, but over time he realized it seemed to be a turn-on for Hermione.

Ron finished up and headed into the kitchen. Breakfast, french toast by the delicious smell of it, was fixing itself on the stove. Hermione was sitting at the table, her face hidden behind the new edition of the Daily Prophet. Ron sat down at the table, and cleared his throat.

“It's awfully rude to interrupt someone when they are reading the morning paper,” Hermione said, though she was smiling when she set the paper on the table.

“Anything of interest?” Ron asked, pointing to the paper.

“No mention of the attack at your brother's reserve,” Hermione said, “As we predicted.”

“As you predicted,” Ron corrected her.

Hermione smiled, then frowned as she looked down at the paper.

“There is an article about the dragon escape case for next Monday though,” she said.

“Well, at least they allow some things to be in the paper still,” Ron said.

“I'm not too sure that is a good thing,” Hermione said. “The article really hinted at making the Romanian Ministry of Magic look bad. They said the Romanians ordered their Wizengamot to join ours so our Wizengamot wouldn't cheat on the case. I don't believe that at all.”

“What do you think they are doing?” Ron asked.

“I think this is the new direction the Public Security Department is focusing on,” Hermione said. “Give the public some ridiculous story like this. Ridiculous but it could be believable if you didn't know any better. That way, the public will focus on this new story and the Public Security Department wouldn't have to worry about news of this new threat getting out.”

“Doesn't sound too mental, if you ask me,” Ron said, shrugging, “Hey, speaking of your case... I really hope it just lasts a day.”

“Why?” Hermione asked.

“Well,” Ron said, “Your birthday... isn't it the day after the case?”

“Yes,” Hermione blushed, “You remembered my birthday?”

“How could I forget?” Ron asked, grinning, “I hope you can get the day off. I might be able to get the day off myself.”

“I'm sure Brady will allow that,” Hermione said, “Since it is my birthday. Why? Have you planned something?”

“Of course I have!” Ron said, “But I'm not going to tell you yet. It is a surprise.”

Ron was completely honest. He had planned something. Before he and Hermione left Harry's house the previous day, Ron wrote a note for Ginny, and left it to Harry to give it to her. Now he was just waiting for her response. Without it, he was sure his plan wouldn't work, and he would have to think of something else.

“Oh, I hope it is good,” Hermione said, grinning.

“You aren't even going to try to get me to reveal my plan?” Ron asked, raising his eyebrows.

“Oh, I could if I wanted to,” Hermione said, “I know you can't resist my charm.”

“I thought it was you who couldn't resist my charm,” Ron said.

Hermione only smiled, and proceeded to serve the french toast.


When Ron arrived at the entrance to the Auror training facility, Harry was waiting for him.

“Good morning, mate!” he said.

“You sound strangely happy,” Ron said.

Harry shrugged.

“Oh, before I forget,” he said, “I gave Ginny your letter, and she wrote back.”

Harry dug into his pockets and pulled out a small roll of parchment, and handed it to Ron. Ron unrolled the parchment and read it:


Good idea! Did you think about that on your own? I'm kind of surprised. Just kidding, it is a wonderful plan for Hermione's birthday. But I thought Hermione had a fear of heights? Aw well, I'm sure you'll figure something out.

I'll ask Gwenog and see if I can get you and Hermione access on Tuesday. Look for Harry's owl tonight!

Good luck!

Ron kicked himself mentally as he looked at the letter. He had forgotten about Hermione's fear of heights and distrust on a broomstick. Ron shrugged to himself; he'd worry about that when the day came.

“Thanks mate,” he said to Harry.

“Something to do with Hermione's birthday?” Harry asked, grinning, “That was fast. A few days ago, you didn't even remember her birthday was coming.”

“You read my letter,” Ron accused.

“No, mate, not at all,” Harry said, holding up his hands in surrender.

“Then how did you find out?” Ron asked.

“You forget your sister's my fiancee?” Harry asked, “She'll tell me anything.”

“You better not tell Hermione,” Ron said.

“I'm hurt!” Harry said, shocked, “Do you honestly think I'd do that?”

“I guess not,” Ron said, “I just don't want to ruin this surprise for Hermione.”

“I'm sure she'll love it,” Harry said, “Anyway, we better get going. Allison wants to see us in her office.”

Ron didn't need to ask why Allison wanted to see them. He felt he already knew what this was all about. He just shrugged and followed Harry to Allison's office.

“Are you ready for this?” Harry asked Ron.

“I wish it wasn't happening,” Ron said, “But I'm more than ready to prove Fawning wrong.”

“That's the spirit,” Harry said.

Harry tapped on the door of Allison's office. The door opened, and Ron followed Harry inside. Allison wasn't alone: two Aurors-in-training that Ron had seen frequently, but never had a desire to speak with, were standing near Allison's desk. To Ron, the two trainees reminded him of Draco's goons, Gregory Goyle, and the late Vincent Crabbe. If these two had been at Hogwarts the same time as Ron and Harry, Malfoy would have taken a liking to them even if they weren't in Slytherin.

“Good morning, boys,” Allison said, with a juicy smile that Dolores Umbridge herself would have been jealous of, “I'm sure you've seen these two gentlemen around here before.” Allison motioned to the two Aurors-In-Training near her. “But I'm sure you've never had the time to give formal introductions. This is Taylor Rossi and William Golding. They will be your new training partners. I'm sure I don't have to introduce you two gentlemen to these two.”

“Harry Potter,” Golding said, walking over to Harry and offering his hand, “It will be a pleasure to train with you.”

Harry shook it. Ron looked at Rossi. If he had his choice between the two, he would have picked Golding. Rossi seemed like the kind of guy who admired violence. Ron wouldn't have been surprised if Rossi had joined the Auror training corp just so he could curse people. He liked to think he was pretty tall, but Rossi seemed to tower over him by at least a few inches. Rossi had big, bulky arms, and probably had to wear sleeveless shirts just to get by. Ron was sure Rossi was part troll, or had a giant for a distant relative.

“I'm sorry,” Rossi grunted at Ron, “I don't know your name.”

Of course, Ron thought, they recognize the Hero of the Second War, but not his best mate who was right there with him.

“Er... Ron Weasley,” he said, “Nice to meet you.”

Ron extended his hand.

“Taylor Rossi,” Taylor grunted.

Taylor took Ron's hand, and Ron flinched at the power of his grip. Ron let go of Taylor's hand, in fear that it would get crushed by his strength.

“Wonderful!” Allison said to the four of them, “I'm sure you and your training partner will quickly become good friends.”

Ron did his best to hold back a snort. He didn't see how he could become good friends with Rossi.

“I'll give you a little time to change and get to know each other,” Allison said, “Then I want the four of you in Training Room D.”

Ron and Harry looked at each other with raised eyebrows. Training Room D, otherwise known as the Danger Room, was strictly for the most advanced trainees. Ron knew he and Harry could be classified as advanced, but he knew nothing about the ability of Rossi and Golding.

“Are you sure?” Harry asked.

“Quite sure,” Allison said, smiling, “You may go. Pip pip.”

Ron, Harry, Rossi and Golding walked out of the office and headed for the locker room.

“Training Room D,” Rossi grunted, “What is it?”

“You've never heard of it?” Harry asked.

Rossi and Golding shook their heads. Ron groaned silently. His new training partner might as well have been a rookie, with no experience whatsoever, if he had no idea what the Danger Room was. While Harry explained to Rossi and Golding what the Danger Room was, and Ron looked at the horrified expression on the face of his new partner, he thought back to the first, and only, time he had been in the Danger Room.

Or tried to.

He couldn't remember much of what happened during his first session in there, owing to the fact that he had nursed a mild concussion afterward and had come home to a panicky Hermione. According to her, he had looked as if he was going to drop any moment, and he was surprised he did not. The only other time he had ever felt that way was when he came home from his mission at Azkaban.

“Danger Room,” Golding said, snapping Ron out of his thoughts; Harry had finished with his explanation, “Good name for it.”

“Yeah,” Rossi grunted.

Ron looked at Harry, and he knew his best mate was thinking the same thing that was on his mind:

They have no idea what they are getting into.


Ron tried to delay the inevitable as long as he could, but twenty minutes later he found himself, Harry, Rossi and Golding standing in a small room. Just beyond the door in front of them was the Danger Room. There was no way they would know what they were in for until they walked into it. Allison walked through the same door and smiled, shutting the door behind her before anyone could look through it.

“Welcome to Training Room D,” Allison said, “If I read your files correctly, I believe Mr. Potter and Mr. Weasley have had a little experience in this room, while Mr. Rossi and Mr. Golding have not. Is that correct?”

Ron and the others nodded.

“Perfect!” Allison said, “This will work out nicely then. One partner has experience, one partner does not. It will even things out, I think. Now, I bet all of you are wondering what you will be doing, is that right?”

“Fighting bad guys?” Rossi grunted.

“You could say that,” Allison nodded. “Technically, you are right. While one pair is hiding, the other pair will search for them. I believe the Muggles call it 'Hide and Seek.' Then you will switch sides. Except this will be different than a mere children's game. When you find your target, you have to make sure they can't run away.”

“How?” Golding asked.

“Oh, I think you can figure that one out,” Allison said, smiling, “Follow me.”

Allison opened the door behind her again and walked through it. Rossi and Golding walked through it, then Harry and Ron did the same. What Ron saw. he could not believe.

The room had been transformed to look exactly like a common city block, complete with sky scrapes, parked cars, trucks and double-deckers, and (Ron had to do a double-take to make sure he wasn't seeing things) citizens walking down the sidewalks. Even though the room was deep below the surface of the earth, the illusion of a bright blue sky rose high over the sky-scrapers. Like the Great Hall at Hogwarts, it was as if the room had no ceiling at all, but opened up into the heavens.

“Impressive, isn't it?” Allison asked.

“Uh-huh,” Rossi said, his mouth hanging wide-open as he marveled at the sight in front of him.

“As an Auror,” Allison said, “You will be dealing with every type of environment imaginable. Given that we live in, and around, the capital of England, we have to deal with environments like the one behind me more often than not.”

She started pacing back and forth in long strides, looking at each of the four Aurors-in-training looking at her.

“As an enforcer of the law,” she continued, “one of the oaths you will be sworn to protect is the Statute of Secrecy. More often than not, your enemy will not care about our Statute of Secrecy when running away from you. They will do anything to make sure they survive an encounter with you, even if it means endangering everyday citizens... especially Muggle citizens. The bad guys do not care if Muggles can see them casting spells like a madman. It is your job, as an Auror, to protect the safety of everyone, including Muggles, while apprehending the criminals. Is this understood?”

Ron and the others nodded.

“You will notice that there are citizens walking about out there in the environment behind me,” Allison said, “As the good guys, it will be your duty to protect them, while apprehending the bad guys, who can do whatever they need to, in order to keep away from you.”

“Those citizens,” Harry said, “Are they real?”

“I think, Mr. Potter,” Allison said, “that will be something you will have to find out on your own.”

Ron's eyes widened. There was no way the Ministry would allow common citizens, especially Muggles, be a part of something as dangerous as this... was there? Ron looked at Harry. He seemed to be thinking the same exact thing.

“So,” Allison said, “Mr. Potter and Mr. Golding, you two will start as the bad guys. When I say 'go', you will hide amongst the buildings, trying to stay away from Mr. Rossi and Mr. Weasley, while they try to apprehend you. You will have five minutes before they go after you. Good luck, gentlemen. You may go... now.”

Ron watched as Harry and Golding walked toward the buildings. Allison waved her wand, and a large brick wall appeared a few feet behind her, blocking Harry and Golding from Ron's sight.

“Er... do Taylor and I have permission to think out a plan?” Ron asked.

“Feel free,” Allison said, “Planning procedures is a basic tool to capture a criminal.”

“Uh... right,” Ron said.

He grinned privately. There was no better time to prove to Allison that he didn't need Harry to get through Auror training, and that he was doing just fine by himself. He turned to Rossi.

“All right,” he said to Rossi, “We know the basic area of the environment. Harry and Golding could be anywhere, but I don't think we'll have to worry about them going into buildings.”

“Why?” Rossi grunted.

“Most criminals do not like close combat,” Ron explained, “because most of the time they are not as experienced in dueling against Aurors. Also, they would want to find a fast way to escape if Aurors had the upper hand on them, and Aurors could easily make the building Apparation-proof.”

Ron briefly glanced at Allison, who looked quite impressed.

“It makes sense,” Rossi said.

“Taylor, as Harry told you,” Ron said, “the Danger Room is the most dangerous training room we have to deal with. Everything in this room is much more than an illusion. They may appear and disappear, but everything is solid. Do you understand?”

Rossi shrugged. Ron groaned silently. Harry must not have explained things well enough.

“Look,” he said, “In the illusion training rooms, if an explosion happens, and something like a tree comes toward you, it will just go right through you and will not hurt you. The Danger Room is different. It is the closest thing to real-world situations as they come. It is here to prepare us for these situations. If there is an explosion here, and debris hits you, you will feel it, and you will get injured... or worse.”

Taylor's eyes widened in fright.

A flash of memory went through Ron's mind... the last time he had been in the Danger Room. A tree falling on him, and Harry pushing him out of the way just in time, as very large branches still managed to clobber the both of them.

“Be careful out there,” Ron said, another glimpse of a tree branch sweeping through his mind, “and we'll get through this.”

Taylor nodded. Allison waved her wand and the brick wall disappeared.

“Your turn,” she said to Ron and Rossi, “Good luck.”

Before moving, Ron thought for a brief moment. He had to get to shelter before panning out his surroundings. Harry and Golding would know where Ron and Rossi were coming from.

“All right,” Ron said to Rossi, “Follow me and stay close!”

Rossi nodded. To Ron, Rossi seemed the kind of guy who didn't like to be given orders. But it also seemed that fear of the Danger Room had softened the big guy. Ron knew his new training partner would listen to his every word if it meant he would get through this. Ron had to hand it to Allison: she actually knew what she was doing giving this kind of training situation to new partners. It would certainly unite or break them on the very first day.

Ron stealthily ran toward the nearest building, while Rossi imitated him. He crept toward the corner of a building, hidden from sight, but was able to look around at his surroundings. It was incredible, like he was standing in a section of London. How was he going to find Harry and Golding in this before they found him?

“Er... Ron?” Rossi said.

“What, Rossi?” Ron asked, annoyed; he didn't need Rossi interrupting his concentration.

“Do those people seem different to you?” Rossi asked, pointing to the group of citizens walking down the sidewalk in their direction.

Ron looked toward where Rossi was pointing and realized what he was talking about. The citizens seemed to be walking together in straight lines, and were facing forward, not looking anywhere else but the direction they were heading in.

“They look like they are under the Imperius Curse,” Rossi said, “Don't you think so?”

“Allison wouldn't do that,” Ron said, more to himself than Rossi, “Would she?”

“If these people are real,” Rossi said, “And they are Muggles. That means they are not here on their own.”

“Right,” Ron said, “But we can't worry about that right now. We have to find Harry and Golding. Follow me and stay right behind me.”

When he saw the Muggles, he knew exactly what he was going to do. He ran toward the group of Muggles and stood in the middle of them. None of the Muggles looked at him or Rossi, but Ron didn't have time to worry about that now. Nearby, he saw a line of parked cars along the street. He ran over to one of them. Rossi's footsteps behind him told him his new partner was nearby.

“Rossi,” Ron said, “Go on the other side of the street behind that truck when I tell you to. Be careful.”

Rossi nodded.

“Go... now,” Ron said.

Rossi went in between the two cars and ran across the street. Suddenly, Ron saw a red beam of light come from behind a building down the street. It hit a jeep, a couple cars away from the truck Ron had ordered Rossi to hide behind, and the jeep exploded! Ron dived to the ground to avoid debris, and was almost hit by a flaming tire which flew over his head and landed on the sidewalk.

Ron hurried to his feet and looked around for Rossi. Miraculously, the truck he was hiding behind had not been damaged at all, and Rossi was uninjured, but shaken. Rossi ran back over to Ron.

“I'm not doing that again!” Rossi said.

“You did fine,” Ron said, “In fact, you did better than fine. They gave their position away.”

“You saw them?” Rossi asked.

“They are hiding behind a building just down the street,” Ron said.

“What are we going to do?” Rossi asked.

“We're going to do a sneak attack,” Ron said, “And I'm going to be the bait. You are going to find a back away around and arrive at that smaller building back there. I'm going to walk down there, and hopefully they will be distracted long enough.”

“Can't I do that?” Rossi asked.

“Harry wouldn't be fooled if he didn't see me coming down the street,” Ron said, “We know each other too well.”

Rossi nodded. “Okay,” he said, “You can be bait.”

“Don't get lost,” Ron said, “I don't want to be alone if they corner me. I'm going to need you to come up behind them if that happens. You better be there.”

“I will,” Rossi said, “You can count on it.”

“Good,” Ron said, “Go, I'll run ahead and distract them so they don't see you go around. Now!”

Rossi ran back the way they came and disappeared around a building while Ron ran ahead, making sure to stay behind cars as he did. Suddenly, another spell came barreling toward him and he ran toward the protection of the building just a few feet away before the car he was hiding behind exploded. A car door missed him by a few inches, but he heard it hit something with a sickening crunch. Ron turned around, looking at the car door, and saw a pair of feet sticking out from under it. Ron's eyes widened as he ran over to the door. He knelt down and touched one of the feet. It felt rather cold... and rather like metal instead of skin.

“The citizens,” Ron muttered, “They're all robots. Of course. Just more of Allison's creations.”

“Stand up, Auror!” a voice said behind him, “Drop your wand!”.

Ron cursed silently. He had been so worried about the possibility of someone getting hurt, that he had forgotten his opposition had known where he was. Ron stood up, dropping his wand on the ground with a clatter. He turned around. Golding was pointing his wand at Ron. Harry was walking up behind him.

“Where's your partner?” Harry asked.

“He's...” Ron said, then paused quickly.

They didn't know Rossi had split away from him and was coming through the back way. He had to stall, and his mind went to the robot under the car door. He just nodded, motioning to the car door. Golding and Harry looked at the car door, and saw the pair of feet. Harry's eyes widened.

“You got me,” Ron said, “I was too focused on my partner to go after you two.”

Golding looked at Harry. “Does that mean we won?” he asked.

Ron looked at Harry, whose eyes motioned from Ron to the car door.

Hurry up, Rossi! Ron thought, Where are you?

“Keep your wand on the Auror,” Harry said, “I'm going to check who is under the car door. Something doesn't smell right.”

Ron's eyes followed Harry, as his best friend walked over to the car door. Any moment Harry would find out Ron was alone.

“Look at me, Auror!” Golding said.

Ron turned his attention back to Golding, then saw something moving over his shoulder. Rossi was hiding behind a car. Ron heard Harry move the car door.

“It's not his partner!” Harry said.

Harry stood up and walked over to Ron.

“Where is he?” he asked, “Where's your partner?”

“Here!” Rossi said, “Stupefy!”

Rossi's spell hit Golding in the back, before he had time to turn. Golding fell to the floor, stunned. Ron dove to the ground in the direction of his wand and picked it up.

“Get down, criminal!” Rossi said, pointing his wand at Harry, as Ron stood back up.

“I give up,” Harry said, going to his knees, “You got me!”

“The victors!” Allison's voice came from behind Ron, “Weasley and Rossi!”

Ron turned around. Allison was walking toward them.

“Revive your partner, Potter,” she said, “And prepare for your turn as the good guys.”

“Yes, ma'am,” Harry said. He looked at Ron, “Nice job, mate.”

Ron smiled.

“Yes, Weasley,” Allison said, “Nice job. You too, Rossi. I guess my robots can't fool you, can they, Ron?”

Ron smiled.

“I'm very surprised that you were more worried for the health of a citizen,” Allison said, “More than you were for your safety, or your mission.”

Ron tensed up. Had he made a mistake.

“You remembered the number one priority of the Aurors,” Allison said, “Keep casualties to a minimum, and you still managed to apprehend the criminals. Very good job.”

“I wouldn't have done it if didn't try to capture me,” Ron said.

“That's their mistake, not yours,” Allison said, “Whose idea was it to split the two of you up?”

Rossi pointed to Ron.

“I wouldn't usually suggest that as something you should do,” Allison said, “Especially if it just you and your partner on the mission, but it seemed to work for you in the end. Top marks to the both of you.”

“Top marks?” Ron asked, “But a citizen died, and a few cars exploded. Muggles would probably notice, wouldn't they?”

“That is what the Memory Charm is for, Mr. Weasley,” Allison said, smiling, “And you can't always protect Muggles on every mission. Especially in this kind of environment. Top marks. Now get ready to be the bad guys this time. Find a place to hide. The Aurors will be coming soon!”

Allison smiled again, and walked away.

“Top marks,” Rossi said, “Brilliant.”

“Yeah,” Ron said, “Thanks for backing me up there.”

“Almost didn't find you,” Rossi said, “I was walking a different way, until I heard Golding's voice. Lucky he is so loud.”

“You did brilliant,” Ron said.

He grinned. Maybe having Rossi as a partner wasn't so bad after all.


Ron and Rossi didn't have as much luck as criminals. They were able to stay away from Harry and Golding a lot longer, though their session ended when Rossi accidentally led Ron into an alleyway that turned out to be a dead end. Rossi felt rather bad, but Ron only blamed the performance on the fact that they didn't have much experience in an environment like this. Also, Harry and Golding had the advantage of knowing the area more since they were hiding in it first.

When Ron arrived home after training, Harry's owl Ares was waiting for him with Ginny's letter. Ginny had been successful, and Gwenog had offered to keep the Harpies' Pitch open for a couple hours after practice. Ron would be able to take Hermione to the Pitch around five-o-clock the evening of her birthday. Ginny also offered to have a private birthday party at Harry's house.

While Ron was reading the letter, Hermione had arrived home.

“Anything interesting?” Hermione asked.

“Just planning your birthday party,” Ron said, “Hope you aren't doing nothing at five in the evening, cause I'm planning on something for you then, then afterward, we're going to go to Harry's for your party.”

“Brilliant!” Hermione said, grinning, “My parents sent me a letter this morning, and they offered to take me out for my birthday earlier in the morning, so I'll make it back in time for your surprise. How does that sound?”

“Perfect,” Ron said, grinning.

He would make sure Hermione's birthday would be her most memorable yet.

End of chapter! I do have Hermione's birthday chapter planned, but it will probably be three or four chapters before that happens. Next chapter is... well, it will be a surprise.

If you are a fan of X-Men, you'll notice similarities between the Danger Room in this chapter, and the one in the X-Men comics. I got my idea from that. Hope you liked it!

More coming soon! Feedback will be awesome!

Old July 29th, 2011, 5:30 am
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Re: Butterfly Kisses (Sequel to Harry Potter and the Return to Hogwarts)

Chapter 38
Secrets and Spies

Author's Note: I know the Messenger Patronus Charm is usually used by the Order of the Phoenix, but I think every wizard would be able to do it, so it is going to be used in this chapter. This chapter will be in multiple PoVs, and some will be in PoVs I haven't used before now.

(Daphne's PoV)

Daphne Greengrass was having a bad day.

It had been almost twenty-four hours since she had ordered a group of her cohorts to go to the Surejan Dragon Reserve and steal a number of dragons. She had sent Blaise Zabini as the leader of the mission, and she hadn't heard anything from him. What had happened?

It was a simple task. She had picked this Reserve because of the news of the recent dragon escape. These particular dragons were a feisty bunch. They would be of great use to her plans. Daphne's plan of attack had been perfect. She had written a letter to the Surejan Dragon Reserve impersonating a member of the Romanian Ministry of Magic, telling them to expect a team of wizards. The trainers would have been too busy worrying about the consequences of the recent escape and they wouldn't have predicted a possible attack. They'd stand no chance against the surprise attack.

So why had Blaise not contacted her yet, as he had been ordered to do?

Throughout the day, Daphne remained in her room, trying to avoid contact from her parents. They knew nothing about Daphne's role as leader in a rogue group of wizards, but she knew they were getting suspicious about her action as of late, owing to the conversation they had the previous night during dinner...

Flashback begins...

It was a rare occasion for the Greengrass family to have a proper family dinner around the table as of late. Daphne was too busy with her own life, and most of the time she would just catch an occasional bite. But that evening was different. Alaric Greengrass, formerly an Unspeakable, had been promoted and no longer had to work in the gloomy shadows in the Department of Mysteries. Katrina Greengrass had been so pleased that she had called for a special occasion for the family, sans Astoria, of course, who was at Hogwarts.

“A toast!” Katrina said, lifting up her glass of firewhiskey, as Daphne and Alaric did the same, “To a grand promotion!”

“Congratulations, Daddy,” Daphne said, feigning the sweet-mannered girly attitude she had gotten over months ago, but was still trying to hide under, whenever she was around her parents.

Alaric grinned at his daughter, and tapped her glass with his.

“It was a complete surprise, of course,” he said, his usual pompous manner resonating through his voice, “There had been rumors that a promotion was in the works for somebody, but I hardly believed it would be me. I hoped, of course, but that was just about all I could do. Anyway, I no longer have to work in the cramped conditions of the Department of Mysteries. I am now, if I remember correctly, a 'Purveyor of Mysterious Magical Artifacts', which basically means I get to travel the world discovering artifacts instead of studying them.”

“Well, it is about time, in my opinion,” Katrina said, setting her glass down, “I was beginning to think you would never lose the pale complexion from the lack of sunlight.”

“So, Daphne,” Alaric said, as he begin to cut up his T-bone steak, “After my promotion, I was thinking of things. The Ministry is in dire need of more Unspeakables, and I could put in a good word for you if you wish to become one.”

“Me? An Unspeakable?” Daphne asked, then laughed, “No, thank you, Daddy. I'm not good at keeping secrets.”

“Rubbish,” Alaric said, “You take after me quite well.”

“I couldn't, Father,” Daphne said, “Besides, do you see someone like me cooped up in a place like that down there?”

“She does have a point, Alaric,” Katrina said, “Remember when you took her on a tour of the Department of Mysteries? Something was off about her for a week.”

“Well, you have to do something, sweetheart,” Alaric said, “You've been out of Hogwarts for, what, a year and a half now?”

“I have a few things lined up,” Daphne said. “In fact, I'm in the middle of things right now.”

“Does this have something to do with a boy?” Katrina asked, “I talk to Aretha Zabini, you know. She says Blaise gets a lot of visits from Sasha.”

Sasha was Daphne's gray owl. Daphne blushed at the suggestion. She did fancy Blaise a bit, but she would never tell him. Besides, she was too focused on her mission to get mixed up with him like that.

“Mum!” Daphne said, pink color rising in her cheeks, “We're just friends!”

“Daphne, your mother and I are just worried about your future,” Alaric said. “You are a bright young lady with a lot of talent. You can have a bright future if you put your mind to it. I just fear you are wasting that.”

“I'll be fine, Daddy,” Daphne said, “You don't have to worry about me.”

Alaric smiled, but Daphne could see that her father was worried. She was worried too. Did her father find her actions as of late suspicious?

Flashback ends

Daphne sighed, as she looked at the small family portrait on her desk. Her father, mother and sister were all staring up at her from it. Daphne turned the portrait face down.

It would be unbearable if her parents ever found out what she was doing. She was one of the few members in her rogue group that still had both her parents. They never got mixed up in the Death Eaters, and she knew they would never support her idea, even though they were both purebloods and proud Slytherins.

Daphne took her wand from her pocket and pointed it toward the floor.

“Expecto Patronum!” she whispered.

A large silver chameleon appeared from the tip of her wand and crawled onto the ground.

“Send this message to everyone in the group,” Daphne instructed the Patronus, “'Unplanned meeting, tomorrow evening at seven on the dot. Usual place. Attendance is required.' Go now. Make haste.”

She watched as the silver chameleon leaped through the closed window and disappeared out of sight. She then fell back onto her bed and stared up at the ceiling. When she was younger, she used to stare at the ceiling all the time, thinking it would give her answers to all of her problems. Sooner or later, she would find the answers she was looking for. These days, however, it seemed the answers just wouldn't come.

Daphne emitted and annoyed sigh, and closed her eyes. Even though she wasn't tired, she wanted to drift off to sleep. There was nothing else she wanted to do with her life. At least at the moment.

Daphne Greengrass was having a very bad day.


(Astoria's PoV)

Astoria Greengrass was also having a bad day.

Astoria was known by her peers as a rebel Slytherin. She was unlike the rest of the Slytherins in many ways, the main reason was that she was too cheerful most of the time.

But, as of late, she wasn't too cheerful at all. She had been bitten by what Muggles called “the love bug” and it had really affected her. In fact it had affected her so much, she had almost refused to come back to Hogwarts for her final year of school. Only two things had convinced her to come back: the threat that her parents would disown her if she dropped out, and the fact that Draco promised that he would write to her more often than not.

At the moment, being disowned by her parents didn't seem so bad. Especially if it meant that she'd be able to see Draco again. Draco had not stopped writing letters to her, but recently, he seemed so distracted and depressed. Astoria knew that Draco must have been missing her as much as she was missing him. She hated to see him like this. If it wasn't for Draco's repeated promises that he'd see her during her first Hogsmeade weekend (even though that was still over a month and a half way), she'd run away from Hogwarts and go to him this very minute.

Even though it caused her fellow Slytherins to give her odd looks, Astoria did her best to keep up her cheerful appearance. She was the odd one out, sure, but if she changed her ways, her peers would have known something was wrong. That was something she didn't need to deal with right now.

As it was, she was afraid her Professors had already seen a change in her. For the second time in a row, she had gotten a poor grade on her Transfiguration homework. It just so happened that Astoria was quite skilled in Transfiguration, which was usually a good thing. But now Professor McGonagall seemed to have noticed the dramatic change. On the most recent piece of homework she was given back, earlier that day, there was a note attached. It had read:

Miss Greengrass, I have recently seen some changes in your schoolwork as of late. I am worried, to be honest. Normally, I would request that you would have an appointment with Professor Slughorn, your Head of House, but I feel I need to take matters into my own hands. Please come to my office this evening at half-past-six. Password is Cat Tails.

As soon as she had left class, Astoria had set an Incendio spell on the small note. She knew that burning the note wouldn't make Professor McGonagall forget her request, or excuse her from going, but it made her feel better. She knew exactly what McGonagall was going to ask her, and Astoria didn't know how she was going to answer it.

Astoria checked her watch: it was a little past six... less than thirty minutes till her meeting. She wouldn't be able to have dinner until after the meeting, but she hardly cared. The way her stomach was acting from the stress, anything she would eat would probably have come back up.

She left the Slytherin Common Room and headed for the Headmistress' office. She gave the password to the gargoyle out front, who moved aside, letting her through and up the stairs that led to the office. When she arrived just outside the door, she heard voices.

“I understand you are about to speak to a student in my house, Minerva,” a raspy, pompous voice said, “I expect you won't be too harsh on them, right?”

“I don't think I ever been particularly harsh to any one of the Slytherins, Phineas,” McGonagall's voice rang out.

Astoria knocked on the door, which opened immediately. She walked into the office.

“Miss Greengrass!” Phineas Nigellus Black's portrait said, “Good evening!”

“Please sit down, Miss Greengrass,” McGonagall said, pointing to the chair in front of her desk.

Astoria did so.

“I'm sure you have figured out why you are here tonight?” McGonagall asked.

“I did poor on a couple of pieces of homework,” Astoria said.

“Yes,” McGonagall said, “Most of the time, I don't have meetings personally with students when this happens. I usually let the Heads of Houses handle it. But I was curious this time. You are one of the brightest students of your year, especially in Transfiguration.”

“Do you hear that?!” Phineas said, “A Slytherin is one of the brightest students. Not a Ravenclaw. Do you hear that?”

“Yes, yes, we're very proud,” the portrait of Severus Snape said, yawning, behind McGonagall, “Do be quiet please. Some of us are trying to sleep.”

“Thank you, Severus, Phineas,” McGonagall said, without taking her eyes off Astoria. “As I was saying, Miss Greengrass, before I was rudely interrupted, you are one of the brightest students of your year. I was quite shocked to see not one, but two, pieces of homework from you that were done poorly. Can you tell me why you did so poorly.”

“I don't know,” Astoria lied.

“Oh, I think you do,” McGonagall said. “Can I give you my theories?”

Astoria hesitated, but nodded.

“I think there is a certain someone in your life, Astoria,” McGonagall said, “And I think he is already out of Hogwarts, so you cannot see him everyday, and this affects you greatly.”

“What did she say?” the man in a portrait, who was holding an ear-horn to the side of his head, asked.

“The young lady is in love, Basil,” Everard's portrait said, causing Astoria to blush.

“The young lady is missing her glove?” Basil asked, “Well, that isn't something to worry about at all!”

“Love!” Everard said, “She's in love, you deaf dimbo!”

McGonagall cleared her throat. Basil and Everard went silent.

“Well, Mrs. Greengrass?” McGonagall asked, “What do you have to say?”

“I....” Daphe said, not knowing exactly what to say, then paused and looked at her hands resting in her lap.

“I can see by your loss of words that I'm probably correct,” McGonagall said, grinning. “I will only tell you this. You are not the first student or the last in these hallowed halls who has fallen in love with someone who is no longer a student here.”

“Minerva,” Albus Dumbledore said, “Are you possibly saying that you –?”

McGonagall cleared her throat again, and Professor Dumbledore stopped immediately.

“You, Professor?” Astoria asked.

McGonagall narrowed her eyes in the direction of the portrait of Professor Dumbledore.

“Yes,” she said, resignedly, “When I was a student in school, I had fallen in love with someone who was a year ahead of me. So, when the time came for me to enter my seventh year, he had already finished. But he gave me some good advice. He told me to focus on my schoolwork, and that he'd promise to be there when I finished up.”

“My boyfriend sort of told me the same thing,” Astoria said, “He told me to focus on my exams and schoolwork, and that he'd come to Hogsmeade the first weekend we get to go.”

“You are more fortunate than I was,” McGonagall said, “I didn't have the novelty of a Hogsmeade weekend back then. Our headmaster was too strict then.”

McGonagall had narrowed her eyes in the direction of one of the portraits, but Astoria couldn't tell which she was looking at. McGonagall then looked back at Astoria.

“My only advice is to focus on your schoolwork, Miss Greengrass,” McGonagall said. “If you need another 'oomph!' in the right direction... well, I usually have to forbid Hogsmeade passes to those who do poorly in their schoolwork.”

She raised her eyebrows, and Astoria only smiled.

“I'll be sure to do that, Headmistress,” she said.

“Very well,” McGonagall said, “Off you go.”

Astoria stood up and walked toward the door. She then turned around.

“Headmistress?” Astoria asked. “I'm curious. This love of yours. Whatever happened to him?”

“Oh, I don't know,” McGonagall said, “We only lasted a couple of years after I left Hogwarts.”

Astoria's eyes widened.

“I hope you and your boyfriend have more luck than I did, eh?” McGonagall said, giving a rare smile.

Astoria nodded. As she walked out, she heard Phineas Nigellus Black's portrait speak up.

“Now, Headmistress,” he said, “I'm interested in hearing more about this boy --”

“Oh, do shut up, Phineas,” McGonagall said.

Astoria sighed as she walked down the stairs. As she promised McGonagall, she would try to improve on her schoolwork, but at the same time she would be counting down the days to Hogsmeade weekend, and she hoped Draco was doing the same.

(Draco's PoV)

Hogsmeade weekend, however, was the last thing on Draco's mind at the moment. He had just been visited by Daphne's silver Chameleon Patronus with information concerning the next meeting, which just so happened to be the next evening.

He was beyond thankful his parents weren't home at the moment, because Daphne's voice had resonated throughout the house, and his parents would have surely heard her voice and the announcement of the meeting. He was doing well enough keeping the information of what he had been doing the past few days silent, and this would have ruined that completely. Daphne was going to get a mouthful when he saw her. He'd make sure of it.

Time seemed to fly by for Draco. Before he knew it, he found himself on Mayhew Street once again, walking up to the house that the meeting was taking place at. Pansy met him at the door, when he knocked on it, and she welcomed him in with a smile. Obviously she had forgotten the end of their conversation the previous Saturday. Draco would have to do his best to avoid Pansy that night.

“Draco's here,” Pansy said, as she and Draco arrived in the dining room.

Draco noticed that, unlike last Saturday, the house seemed rather empty. Only his former Slytherin classmates were in attendance tonight.

“So we're just missing Blaise,” Daphne said.

“He's probably too embarrassed to show his face,” Nott said, snickering.

“What's going on?” Draco asked, as he took a seat at the table.

“Well, I was going to wait until Blaise was here so he could give his side of the story,” Daphne said, “But maybe he doesn't deserve to defend himself just yet.”

“Excuse me?” a voice behind Draco asked.

Draco and the others turned. Blaise was standing in the doorway. Daphne stood up and walked over to Blaise.

“How about you tell us what happened on Tuesday, Blaise?” she asked him.

“What about Tuesday?” Draco asked.

“Start off from the beginning,” Daphne said, “To let the others catch up.”

Blaise didn't respond for half of a minute. He was too busy staring at Daphne and the others. What had happened? Finally he spoke up and Draco listened as Blaise started on his tale. He spoke of how Daphne had ordered him and a small portion of their group to go to the Surejan Dragon Reserve in Romania, in an attempt to capture some dragons. He explained that the dragon trainers were expecting the Romanian Ministry of Magic in a visit to talk about the recently escaped dragon. Draco had heard about the dragon escape, so he wasn't particularly surprised about that part.

“I led the group through the mountain range,” Blaise continued, “And things immediately went wrong. A dragon roared in the reserve, and the sound was so loud it spooked a couple of guys. One guy accidentally let off a spell from his wand and it caused a large tree to set on fire. Before we could extinguish it, smoke had already billowed into the sky. The dragon trainers knew we were coming. When we got over the hill and had a view of the Dragon Reserve, a small resistance of dragon trainers were there, ready to stop us. Unfortunately for them, we had too many on our side. After a bit of a fight, they started to retreat.”

“Wait,” Daphne said, “They were retreating. It sounds as if you won. So why didn't you get any dragons?”

“I'm not finished,” Blaise said, “Anyway, we charged after them, and were casting spells in every direction and the dragon trainers, at least the brave ones, were doing the same. Then just as we got close to the reservation, something happened we didn't predict: Harry Potter, and his friends Weasley and Granger were there.”

Draco shook his head. Of course. Why wasn't he surprised?

“Wait,” Daphne said, “Harry Potter was there?”

“Yeah,” Blaise said, “And he wasn't part of our plan, Daphne, you know that. So basically we had to get out of there. We all just apparated. I'm sorry, Daphne. I really am --”

Daphne raised her hand, stopping Blaise.

“Potter,” she muttered, “What in Merlin's hell was he doing there?”

“I have a theory on that,” Theodore Nott said, “Well, actually more than a theory.”

“You did a better job, than Blaise, I assume?” Daphne asked.

“Of course,” Nott said.

“What am I missing here?” Pansy asked, “What's going on?”

“I gave Nott a mission,” Daphne said. “I had him spy on Harry and his friends, just to see what they were up to. What did you find out, Theodore?”

“Quite a bit,” Nott said, “Granger and Ron Weasley are living together, and have been doing so for a little while. Apparently they are engaged to be married.”

“Pureblood mixing with mud,” Pansy sneered, “Holy Merlin, what is our world coming to?”

“They aren't the only happy couple,” Nott said, “Harry Potter himself is engaged to Ron's sister, Ginny.”

“Get on with it,” Daphne said, “I'm not interested in Potter's love life. I want to know why he was at the dragon reserve.”

“I have an answer to that as well,” Nott said. “On Monday, Granger started a new job with the Department for Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures. She's an assistant to a rookie lawyer.”

“Let me guess,” Daphne said, “This lawyer was assigned to the dragon escape case.”

“Exactly,” Nott said. “Apparently, the lawyer went out to the Reserve, and Granger tagged along. From there, it is probably easy to guess what happened. Thanks to the billowing stack of smoke, the Aurors must have had a fair warning.”

“Like I said,” Blaise said.

“It was reported that the Floo Network,” Nott said, ”was connected from our Ministry to one fireplace at the Dragon Reserve. Granger must have gotten hold of Potter and Weasley. Weasley's eldest brother is one of the main trainers at the Reserve, and his fiancee was there, so of course he wouldn't pass up going to help. Potter came along, and you know the rest.”

“Like I said, Daphne,” Blaise said, “Potter was no part of our plan. We couldn't capture him then, not out in the open. I was lucky they didn't recognize me. We were classmates together, remember? If he saw me, our whole group here would have been in jeopardy. We had to get out of there.”

“I understand, Blaise,” Daphne said.

“What is our next move?” Pansy asked.

“We stay put,” Daphne said.

“Are you serious?” Goyle asked, “We're not doing anything?”

“We should be thankful we have Nott as a spy,” Daphne said. “That is all we need right now. If we were to do anything too rash right now, the Ministry is sure to notice. We can't risk it. So we stick to information-gathering right now. Nott, you will continue your work. It is excellent. The rest of you... lay low. I don't want to hear anything happening with any of you. When I figure out the next move, I'll give you a Patronus message, like yesterday. Meeting's over. Nott, Pansy, and Draco, stay behind. I need to speak with you. The rest of you are free to go. I mean it guys. Lay low.”

Blaise, Goyle and the other two boys which Draco couldn't remember stood up and left.

“How deep are you in, Theodore?” Draco asked.

“I have my secrets, Draco,” Nott said, “Lets just say that I have ways to get all this information, and nobody would look at me any different.”

“Impressive,” Draco said.

“Draco and Pansy,” Daphne said, “I need to the two of you to do something for me... together.”

Draco stared at Daphne. Did he hear her right. She wanted him and Pansy to do something?

“What happened to that lay low rubbish?” Draco asked.

“I wasn't going to mention this around Blaise and Goyle, and the others,” Daphne said, “Blaise has failed me once, I don't trust Goyle as far as I can throw him, and I don't know the others well enough to even remember their names. You and Pansy, however, I feel I can trust.”

“What do you need us to do?” Pansy asked.

Draco grimaced. He didn't like Pansy's use of the term “us”.

“Nott had informed me early on about Weasley and Granger living together,” Daphne said, “We know where they live, but I'm not going to risk doing anything to them. However, I need a couple of long-term spies, emphasis on couple. You two are going to move in together to a house that opened up down the street from Weasley and Granger and keep an eye on them.”

Draco caught a grin form across Pansy's face.

"I've had a batch of Polyjuice Potion prepared," Daphne said, "that will last a month, and I'll have more when that is through. You need to figure out someone to impersonate and transform into them whenever you leave the house. I do not want Granger and Weasley to recognize either of you. Got it?"

"Yes," Pansy said.

“And if I refuse?” Draco asked.

“Then we'll tell your parents,” Daphne said. “And we'll tell my sister what you've been up to. I know that is the last thing you want.”

“Fine,” Draco grumbled, “Give me a couple days to talk to my parents about this. I need to figure out what to tell them without making it sound suspicious.”

“Sounds good,” Pansy said, “It'll give me a couple days to set everything up.”

“Can I go then?” Draco asked, “Since It looks like I have a lot of things to think about.”

“You're excused,” Daphne said.

“See you in a couple days, Draco,” Pansy said, with a grin.

Draco rolled his eyes and turned around and headed straight out the door. What had he gotten himself into?

Dun, Dun, Dun! Wow... that whole part with Draco and Pansy came into my head just as I was writing it. That surprised even me. What is going to happen? How is Draco going to deal with this? Even I'm not sure!

But for the next few chapters, I'll be going back to the main four! Ginny's Quidditch Match versus Puddlemere United is next!

What do you think? Feedback would be amazing!


Last edited by Fury; July 29th, 2011 at 5:39 am.
Old August 1st, 2011, 3:01 am
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Re: Butterfly Kisses (Sequel to Harry Potter and the Return to Hogwarts)

Chapter 39
Siren's Song

Author's Note: I was recently asked what Daphne's motivations are behind why she is doing what she's doing, since her parents are alive and still high up a part of the wizarding community. Well, I can answer that since it is has no real part in the rest of the story. Basically she believes what Voldemort did was right, and between that, and the fact that her friends lost their parents, and she wants to help them avenge them, that is why she is part of this rogue group. Plus she is a smart leader. She was the perfect choice.

Also, originally this was going to be in Ginny's PoV, during the Quidditch Match, but I have decided to go a different route.

After the madness of the Danger Room, Allison had toned down Ron and Harry's training just a little bit. Ron was continually impressed by Taylor Rossi, and his first impressions of the big guy had been all for naught. Allison had Ron and Rossi practicing two-on-two dueling for the next few days. When she had announced this, Ron thought that she was going to put him against Harry and Golding once again. But over the next couple of days, he and Rossi didn't train against Harry at all. In fact, he rarely saw his best mate except for lunch breaks.

When Ron had brought up the odd strategy to Harry, Harry said that Allison was most likely trying to use them to help raise up the experience of the other trainees, He said there was no point of putting them against each other when they were the best trainees in the corp, because it would get rather boring and pointless just to do that over and over every day.

Meanwhile, Hermione was looking forward to the dragon escape case that would come the following Monday. Brady seemed to act very strange after the attack at the dragon reserve. Hermione didn't know whether it was the attack, or the aftermath of him realizing she was engaged that had him acting so strangely. She didn't want to think it was the latter, because he had only known her for a day when he found that out. Brady seemed like the kind of guy who liked to get into confrontations of words, and not wands, so Hermione assumed the attack on the reserve must have affected him greatly.

Whatever it was, Brady seemed rather focused on the case on Monday and nothing else. He'd give Hermione things to do, but mostly he had her take his Owl Post that came in. He seemed to avoid eye contact with Hermione, but she didn't take this as bad. Brady seemed really dedicated to his work and she knew he'd want to do everything to win the case on Monday.

Ginny and the Holyhead Harpies would be facing Puddlemere United on Saturday, and this match was going to be one their most difficult matches of the season. Puddlemere United was one of the most fierce Quidditch teams in the league. They had won the Quidditch cup several times, and several of their players in the past had been a part of the Quidditch World Cup for their respective countries.

Each and every practice had been fierce and fast and strong. Each time a Harpies player would make a mistake, Gwenog Jones would be on them, making sure they corrected their mistakes and never did it again. When Ginny asked Big Bertha if Gwenog had ever been like this before, Bertha shook her head and said that Gwenog only did it for training against Puddlemere United. The Harpies had lost many times against Puddlemere, and Gwenog had never forgotten that. Ginny vowed that she'd do everything she could on Saturday so that the Harpies wouldn't lose the match. She knew she'd have to be perfect.

Ever since Daphne had shocked Draco with his new mission, Draco had been a wreck. He could have abruptly refused Daphne, but she had played the blackmail card. He didn't want his parents to know what was going on, and he didn't want Astoria to find out either. It would break his heart if either found out, but, for unknown reasons to him, Draco thought it just might kill him if Astoria found out. He wanted to blame this on Astoria, for giving him that stupid promise to stay away from Pansy, but he blamed it on Daphne. Daphne must have known about this promise to Astoria, and now she was using it against Draco.

Draco spent most of the day after the meeting trying to figure out what to say to his parents. He'd be abruptly leaving Malfoy Manor without any warning, and he knew his parents would find that very strange.

Finally, on Friday, one day before his self-made deadline, he confronted his parents. He told them that he had a new job planned out, and that it was so unpredictable he had to be around his boss. He told his parents that the job was confidential and they couldn't know what he was doing, but that it paid good money, and would set him up for life without their help. Draco knew his parents were skeptical about this new job, but he also knew their pride for him would win out. They wanted their son to have something to do with the rest of his life, and to them, this new job was just the exact thing Draco needed. Draco only wished his parents knew exactly how wrong they were.

(Hermione's PoV)

Ron was already up when Hermione woke up on Saturday, the day of Ginny's Harpies match versus Puddlemere United. She took a quick shower and headed for the kitchen. Ron, however wasn't in the kitchen. Hermione found him standing at the living room window, looking out it.

“Good morning,” Hermione said, when she walked up behind him.

Ron jumped and turned quickly.

“Blimey, Hermione!” he said, “You gave me a fright!”

“What are you looking at?” Hermione asked.

“We have new neighbors down the street,” Ron said.

“Really?” Hermione replied.

She walked over to the window and peered out of it. A large moving street was parked in front of a house down the street.

“Must be Muggles,” Ron said, “Our lot usually don't use moving trucks.”

“We did,” Hermione said.

“No, we didn't,” Ron said, “The moving company came with the rental company, remember?”

“Right,” Hermione said, “Anyway, we should welcome our new neighbors!”

“What?” Ron asked.

“Oh, come on, Ron,” Hermione said, “It's tradition.”

“No one welcomed us to the neighborhood,” Ron reminded Hermione.

“Spoilsport,” Hermione said, sticking out her tongue.

“Fine,” Ron said, with a annoyed sigh, “But later. They're just getting things moved in. We shouldn't interrupt them just yet.”

“We can do it before we leave for Ginny's game,” Hermione said, “It's at three. That will give me time to make something for them.”

“Another tradition, I suppose?” Ron asked.

Hermione smiled. Ron rolled his eyes and returned to the window.

“You shouldn't spy on them,” Hermione said, as she walked toward the kitchen. “It's rude.”

“Just keeping 'constant vigilance', Hermione,” Ron said.

Hermione shook her head and grinned.


Hermione had baked a plate of cookies for the new neighbors, and it was decided Hermione and Ron would visit them the neighbors at noon. This would give them enough time to get to the Harpies arena, where the Quidditch match was taking place, but also give enough time to have a nice conversation with the neighbors if the situation called for it.

So at noon, Ron and Hermione walked down the street to the new neighbors' house. They knocked on the door, and waited a few moments.

“They must be busy,” Ron said, when no answer came right away, “We should just go.”

“Be patient!” Hermione insisted.

“Okay,” Ron muttered, “I just think this is bloody--”

“Hello?” a muffled female voice said on the other side of the door.

“Hi!” Hermione said, “We're your neighbors from up the street. We saw that you just moved in and thought we'd welcome you. We... er... brought you cookies.”

“Er... how lovely,” the muffled voice said, “I'm not exactly decent. Can you wait a couple of minutes?”

“Sure!” Hermione said.

“I'll be right there!” the voice said, “Sorry!”

Hermione heard faint footsteps walking away.

“Can we just go?” Ron asked, “Obviously we interrupted them at a bad time. She didn't exactly sound excited.”

“That would be quite rude,” Hermione said, “We don't want to make a bad first impression.”

“Fine,” Ron grumbled.

“Be nice,” Hermione said.

A couple minutes later, the door opened. A young lady in her late twenties was standing there. She had long, blonde hair and a nice slim body.

“Hello!” she said.

“Hi,” Hermione said, “We're your neighbors from up the street. We thought we'd come and welcome you to the neighborhood. I'm Hermione, and this is Ron.”

“Hi,” Ron said, lamely.

“What a lovely gesture!” the lady said, “My name is Lauren. My husband, Parker, is just inside. You can come in if you want to.”

“Well, actually,” Ron said, “We need to be --”

“We'd love to,” Hermione said, stealthily stomping on Ron's foot, “If only just for a little bit.”

“Come on in,” Lauren said.

Hermione and Ron walked into the house, and Lauren led them through to the living room. The house looked similar to their house. The kitchen and living room were in the same location, except that it was a mirrored image. Lauren's husband was sitting on a rocking chair, reading a book. He had short red hair, and was dressed in a leather jacket and jeans.

“Parker, honey,” Lauren said, “We have guests. This is Ron and... I'm sorry, dear, I don't know how you pronounced it.”

“Hermione,” Hermione said, grinning.

Parker looked up at Ron and Hermione.

“Nice to meet you,” he said.

“They brought some biscuits,” Lauren said.

“Delicious,” Parker said.

“Parker and I just moved here from France,” Lauren said, “Parker has a job in... actually I'm not supposed to talk about it. Confidential stuff, if you get my meaning. What about you?”

“I'm a dentist,” Hermione lied, smoothly, “Ron is a...”

“Also a dentist!” Ron said.

Hermione looked at Ron. He seemed to be acting rather nervous.

“Well, then,” Lauren said, “We might have to look you up, then! Especially if we have at these lovely looking cookies. I'm just going to put these in the kitchen. Feel free to sit down and make yourselves at home.”

Lauren smiled and disappeared into the kitchen. Hermione looked at Ron again. His eyes were darting around the room.

“What's wrong?” Hermione whispered to Ron.

Ron shook his head.

“So,” Parker said, “Do you two like football?”

“Love it!” Ron said, chuckling, “Can't get enough.”

Lauren returned.

“Well, I'm sure you still have loads to unpack,” Ron said, “We actually have something we need to attend to. We just wanted to say hello and welcome you to the neighborhood. I'm sure we'll see each other again.”

“Are you sure?” Lauren asked.

“Er... yeah,” Hermione said, “We couldn't stay long. We just wanted to give you the cookies and say hello.”

“Oh... well, okay,” Lauren said, “Thank you for the cookies. I'm sure we'll see each other again.”

“Yes,” Hermione said.

Lauren led Hermione and Ron to the door. Ron quickly went out and Hermione followed him. They started walking up the street.

“What was that all about?” Hermione asked Ron.

“They're one of us!” Ron said, “Wizards!”

“What?” Hermione asked, “How do you know?”

“A picture on the wall in the living room moved,” Ron said, “The guy in the picture stood up from his chair and sat back down.”

“Oh,” Hermione said, “So we have a couple new wizards on the block.”

“They were sure trying hard enough to make themselves look like Muggles,” Ron said, “That is really suspicious if you ask me. Our lot don't usually try that hard, even around Muggles. We just usually trust the fact that most Muggles don't notice magic that much.”

“What do you think is going on?” Hermione asked.

“Maybe nothing,” Ron said. “But I'm going to keep an eye on them over the next few days.”

“Do you really think you need to do that?” Hermione asked.

“Constant vigilance, Hermione,” Ron reminded her, “Let's wait till we get back to the house before we apparate to the stadium.”

Hermione nodded. When she and Ron returned to their house, Ron, ignoring Hermione's questions, quickly applied a few magical locks to the front and back door. He then grabbed Hermione's hand and they apparated to the Harpies stadium.


The Harpies Stadium was already erupting in a fairly peaceful uproar. The match wouldn't start for another hour, and the crowd was already filling the seats. Luckily for Hermione and Ron, they had VIP seats, as was common for the family and close friends of the Quidditch players. Harry was standing near the ticket booth waiting for them.

“Great day for Quidditch!” Harry said, “Your parents and George and Angelina are already up in the VIP section, Ron! I told them I'd wait for you two.”

Ron nodded, though he was silent. Hermione wondered if Ron was still thinking about the new neighbors. Harry seemed to notice because he confronted Hermione while Ron walked ahead toward the stadium.

“Something wrong between the two of you again?” Harry asked.

“No, of course not!” Hermione said.

“Something's bothering Ron,” Harry said, “That much is easy to see. What is it?”

Before Hermione could answer, a flock of fans dressed like actual Harpies landed on the ground and started cheering around them, chanting “Harpies, Harpies, Harpies!”

“I'll tell you later!” Hermione said, laughing, “We should get to our seats!”

Harry nodded, and Hermione and Ron followed Harry toward the VIP section. The stadium was so large, it took almost half-an-hour just to get there.

“You'd think VIPs would have an easier time getting to their seats,” Ron said, out of breath, as they arrived at the VIP section.

“I better not be hearing you complain about such glorious seats, Ronald Weasley!” Mrs. Weasley said.

“No, Mum,” Ron said.

Hermione and Harry grinned as they joined Ron in three empty seats behind Mr. and Mrs. Weasley, Angelina and George.

“Beautiful day for a Quidditch match!” Mr. Weasley said.

“Er... Dad,” Ron said, “Can Hermione and I talk to you for a moment? Privately?”

Hermione caught a quick glance from Harry. She could just see the cogs turning in his head. He looked a little suspicious. Perhaps she should have told him earlier.

“Harry can come too,” Hermione said, and when Ron looked at her questioningly, she said, “I promised we'd tell him too.”

Mr. Weasley glanced back and forth at Ron and Hermione.

“Er... sure,” he said, “Come on.”

Hermione, Ron and Harry followed Mr. Weasley just out of hearing range.

“Okay,” Mr. Weasley, “What's going on?”

“You two didn't get married without me knowing, did you?” Harry asked.

Mr. Weasley made a choking sound, while Ron and Harry shook their heads violently.

“No, nothing like that!” Hermione said.

“Are you bloody mental?!” Ron asked.

“Well, I had to check, didn't I?” Harry replied. “You seemed to be acting rather odd, and that is all I could think of.”

“So what did you want to talk to me about?” Mr. Weasley asked, who had a look of relief wash across his face.

“We have new neighbors down the street,” Ron said. “Hermione and I visited them to give them a nice welcome, and well... at first we thought they were Muggles. Their house, and the way they decorated it definitely seemed the way a Muggle would do it. You know, what I mean, right, Dad?”

“Yes,” Mr. Weasley said, “Most of the time wizards decorate so.... oddly, I guess you could say... so Un-Muggle-like, that you'd have to be thick to not notice something was off if you were a Muggle. It's been a pain with the Ministry. But hardly anyone cares about Muggles that way anymore. So what was off about your neighbors? Obviously you think they are wizards?”

“I was almost convinced they were Muggles,” Ron said, “Until I saw a picture moving.”

“It could have been the television,” Harry suggested, “Televisions have moving pictures.”

“This was a portrait, Harry,” Ron said, rolling his eyes, “I do know the difference. Anyway, Dad, I know you have friends in the census department and I was hoping you could request to see if these two are wizards.”

“I might be able to do that,” Mr. Weasley said, “What are their names?”

“Lauren and Parker,” Ron said, “We don't know their last names.”

“We know they moved here from France,” Hermione said, “If that helps.”

“I'll see what I can do,” Mr. Weasley said, “Is there any reason I should be worried about this?”

“No, Dad,” Ron said, “I just think we should be cautious, given that – you know.”

“I do,” Mr. Weasley said, “I agree with you, and I will try to get you those answers by Monday. Now how about we take our seats? I believe I hear the Pre-game announcements!”

Hermione, Ron, Harry and Mr. Weasley returned to their seats, just in time to hear the last name on the Puddlemere United team announced, the Keeper, Oliver Wood. Harry, Ron, Hermione, Angelina and George cheered for Oliver, causing a few people to look up at them.

“Oh, shut it,” George said, to the onlookers, “We're still rooting for the Harpies. Oliver Wood's a friend!”

“And now, Quidditch fans,” the announcer said, “Here are your home-team Holyhead Harpies!”

“Here she comes!” Mr. Weasley said.

“De Pierre, Kavoff, Weasley, Biggs, Crowe, Waters, and Jones!" the announcer called out.

If it weren't for the magical charms placed around the stadium, the resonating cheer that surrounded the stadium would have probably been heard by confused Muggles for miles and miles.

“There she is!” Mr. Weasley said, proudly, as Ginny flew past the VIP seats, and waved at everyone.

“As the players from both teams get ready to begin the game,” the announcer said, “Acclaimed Quidditch Referee, who has been a part of 750 matches, both as a celebrated Chaser, and official Alec Salvatore steps out onto the field.”

“Salvatore?!” George said, “Not him! He was Chaser for Puddlemere United! He'll give favors to his old team!”

“Makes it a bit more interesting,” chortled Mr. Weasley.

“Alec Salvatore gives his traditional pre-match speech to the players,” the announcer said, “and he releases the Bludgers, followed by the Golden Snitch. I'm sure you don't need reminded that the game can't end until the Golden Snitch is caught. Whichever seeker catches it earns 150 points for their team. Salvatore takes the Quaffle from the chest, blows his whistle and throws the Quaffle in the air! Every one of the Chasers on each team goes in for the Quaffle, can't tell who is who! And someone breaks out of the crowd with the Quaffle... who is it?”

“It's Ginny!” Ron said, grinning.

Hermione recognized that unmistakable flow of ginger hair and knew Ron was right.

“Ginny Weasley!” the announcer said, “Rookie Chaser for the Holyhead Harpies! Weasley takes the Quaffle and heads down the Pitch toward the Puddlemere rings!”

Hermione watched as Ginny passed the Quaffle to Gwenog Jones, then flew out of the way to avoid a well-aimed Bludger from a Puddlemere Beater.

“Oliver Wood knows how to play,” Angelina said, “Hope Ginny and the other Harpies know how to work around him.”

“Jones passes the Quaffle to Chase Crowe,” the announcer said, “Crowe just flies away from the grasp of Jackson, the Puddlemere Chaser. Weasley flies ahead, Crowe passes it to Weasley, who passes it to Gwenog, who is close to the rings. Oooh, she nearly gets clobbered by a Bludger and has to pass it away. Jackson tries to grab it and... no, Weasley snatches it out of his grasp! She's close to the rings – she's close – she – she scores! Nice fake and toss by Ginny Weasley! Puddlemere Keeper Oliver Wood went completely the wrong way!”

Hermione, Harry, and the Weasleys joined the cheers of the rest of the Harpies fans!

“Ginny must have learned a lot from watching Oliver while he was at Hogwarts to get past him like that!” George said, sitting back down, “Never seen him get faked out like that before!”

“The Harpies lead 10-0!” the announcer said, “and Puddlemere Chaser Strauss takes the Quaffle and heads down the Pitch! But you can bet your Harpies are tagging right along behind him! Big Bertha swings her club and aims a Bludger right for the lead Puddlemere Chaser and – ooh, nice block by Puddlemere's own Beater, Hoggins! The Bludger boomeranged back to Big Bertha, who had to duck out the way! I have never seen Big Bertha have to dodge her own Bludger! Back to the Chaser action, Harpies' Captain Gwenog Jones tries to intercept the Quaffle, but Strauss passes it to his fellow Chaser, Jackson! Jackson heads for Waters and it is just Chaser vs. Keeper now! Jackson throws and....”

There was a loud, simultaneous groan coming from three-fourths of the stadium.

“Jackson scores,” the announcer said, “The Harpies Keeper Roxy Waters was too slow! 10-10 all tied up and Chase has the Quaffle.”

Nearly an hour went by in the match, and it was all tied up once again. The match had gone back and forth... sometimes the Harpies would get a twenty or thirty point lead, then Puddlemere United would come back and tie it up. Hermione could see that Ginny was getting really tired. She'd slow up her reaction time, but she was still getting a good number of the scores.

The score was now 170-160, in favor of Puddlemere.

“This match is too close,” Ron said, “Whoever gets the Snitch will win.”

“Ginny Weasley has the Quaffle and is heading for the Puddlemere rings!” the announcer said, “She looks unstoppable out – ohh, what's this? I think Humphries, the seeker for Puddlemere sees the Snitch! He's certainly chasing something! And De Pierre is hot on his tail! She's faster than him that's for sure! Can she catch up before Humphries gets his hands around the Snitch. Whoever grabs the Snitch wins the game for their team!”

Suddenly, Hermione heard faint ethereal music playing somewhere.

“Where's that music coming from?” Harry asked.

“I don't know, but it is really loud!” George said.

“Loud?” Angelina asked, “I can barely hear it at all.”

“De Pierre's part Veela,” Mr. Weasley said, “Plug your ears, boys, I think I know what is about to happen!”

Ron, Harry, George and Mr. Weasley plugged their ears.

“Just watch the Harpies Seeker!” Mr. Weasley said.

Hermione watched De Pierre, as she flew closer to the Snitch and Puddlemere's Seeker. Then, De Pierre started shaking her head back and forth, her long white-blonde hair fanning out behind her.

“Look at the Puddlemere Seeker!” Angelina said.

Hermione did so. The Puddlemere Seeker looked absolutely dazed. He dived downwards away from the Snitch, and before Hermione could yell out, the Puddlemere player crashed into the ground with a sound that echoed around the stadium! The faint ethereal music stopped.

“I was unaware how dangerous Veela powers were for someone who is just part-Veela!” Mr. Weasley said, “Outstanding!”

“The Puddlemere Seeker has crashed!” the announcer said, “This one is all but over! De Pierre flies toward the Snitch... the other players are just watching her.... she reaches for the Snitch and – she – grabs it!!! Harpies have won the match! 310-170!”

Hermione, Ron, Harry and most of the stadium cheered and clapped.

Going into the game, Puddlemere was the sure-shot to win. They were one of the best teams in the past seasons, but nobody could have predicted the way this one would end.

“I can't believe something like what De Pierre did is legal!” Hermione said, as she, Harry, Ron and the rest of the Weasleys waited out in front of the Harpies locker room for Ginny a while later.

“Oh, quit complaining, Hermione,” Ron said, “We won!”

“They were once illegal,” George said, “But the heads of the league decided to make it legal.”

“The fans love it,” Mr. Weasley said, “and the Magical Games and Sports committee love to see the excitement like that.”

“It just seems to brutal,” Hermione said.

“Well, she can only do it to male Seekers,” Angelina said, “As you could tell, it doesn't affect us girls. So she has to use her skills against females. I'm sure Gwenog Jones knows all about De Pierre's powers. She probably doesn't allow her to use it unless it comes down to when they really need it, like today.”

Before Hermione could reply, the locker room doors opened and Ginny and the rest of the team walked out. Ginny immediately walked over to Harry and the others.

“Nice job, Ginny!” Angelina said.

“I did my fair share,” Ginny said, “But De Pierre... she won it for us.”

“We were just discussing her,” Harry said, “She has quite the touch.”

“I never thought she'd use that in a game,” Ginny said. “She said it was because of how long the game had gone on. She was getting pretty tired and couldn't control herself. She blacked out, and next thing she knew, she had her hands around the Snitch, and medi-wizards were crowding around Puddlemere's Seeker on the ground. Gwenog didn't sound as if she really cared, though. She might have something to say about it on Tuesday, when our next practice is, but right now she's just too happy.”

“She should be!” Mrs. Weasley said, “As should you. Great game!”

“Thanks, Mum,” Ginny said, “Well, I need to go see some of the fans.”

“We're going to head to The Leaky Cauldron,” Mr. Weasley said, “You can catch up.”

“Deal,” Ginny said, and followed the rest of the team toward the crowd of roaring fans.

Chapter finished! Couldn't figure anything after that! Hope you liked the Quidditch Match. Never wrote one in the PoV of part of the audience, only with the players! But the situation called for it.

Hermione's Birthday will come in two chapters, but got to do something for the next chapter first!

Hope you liked the chapter! Feedback would be awesome!

P.S. I got into Pottermore Beta the first day! Hell yeah!


Last edited by Fury; August 1st, 2011 at 3:33 am.
Old August 31st, 2011, 2:09 pm
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Re: Butterfly Kisses (Sequel to Harry Potter and the Return to Hogwarts)

Chapter 40
Mistaken Identity

Author's Note: I'd like to apologize for the delay. I've been busy with other things lately.

I was going to wait to reveal who the new neighbors were, for those people who didn't really figure it out, but what I planned out wouldn't work out, so the beginning part of this chapter will have to do with that. This chapter will revisit a scene in the previous chapter, except in a different PoV.

(Draco's PoV)

Draco didn't like his new house. It was too cramped, too unlike Malfoy Manor, and too Muggle-ish. It also only had one bedroom. One bedroom wouldn't have been too bad if he was living by himself. But he was roommates with Pansy Parkinson, because of a new mission Daphne had given them.

Draco was really starting to regret his original idea of going to that first meeting more than two weeks ago. If he hadn't gone, he wouldn't have been stuck in this stupid situation. He wouldn't have had to worry about his parents finding out that he was mixed up with a bad crowd again. He wouldn't have to worry about Astoria finding out he was around Pansy Parkinson again, which had been the one person he promised Astoria he would stay away from.

And now he and Pansy were living together cause of this stupid mission. He couldn't even call it a mission. He and Pansy were acting like Muggles, spying on Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger. But why? Daphne gave strict orders not to do anything to Weasley and Granger. They just had to watch them. Of course, that part of this whole ordeal wasn't too bad, or so he had thought. Because he and Pansy had had a close call the day before... a very close call...


Draco was laying on the couch, reading one of the Muggle books that Pansy had brought with her when they moved into the house. The books weren't the only things that had to do with Muggles. Almost everything in the house was something that would normally be seen in a Muggle house.

This had all been Daphne's idea. Draco and Pansy were to pass off as a Muggle couple, which meant they had to live like Muggles. Draco felt like he was in hell. This was worse than the safe-house he had been in.

Pansy, on the other hand seemed to be enjoying it. At the moment, she was unpacking things and placing them around the house. She was also making a lot of noise, while doing it. Pansy set down a lamp rather hard on the coffee table near Draco. Draco was surprised she hadn't broken it.

“Could you be more quiet, please?” Draco asked Pansy as he stared at his book, “I'm reading here.”

“You could help me, you know,” Pansy said.

“No, thank you,” Draco said.

“Draco, I know you hate this,” Pansy said, “But we are going to be living together, while we watch that blood traitor and his Mudblood fiancee. So you better get used to it.”

“Well, I'm sorry if I'm being complicating,” Draco said, sarcasm ringing in his voice, “We're not exactly in the best position here. I mean... you had to go and purchase a one bedroom house, didn't you?”

“We're supposed to be posing as a young couple with no kids,” Pansy said, “It would look strange if we had two bedrooms.”

“Maybe we're a couple with relationship problems,” Draco said, “I'm sure we'll have no problem passing that off.”

“What is your problem?” Pansy asked.

“You don't get it, do you?” Draco asked. “My problem is having to stay in a house with you. You do remember that I am with Astoria, right?”

“How could I forget?” Pansy scoffed, “You mention her all the time.”

“Because I'm in love with her,” Draco said.

Pansy stared at him.

“You love her?” she asked, scoffing. “I doubt it. She's not your type.”

Draco slammed his book on the coffee table and stood up. He looked at her.

“Wrong,” Draco said, “I've changed quite a bit since you and I broke up. Astoria is a great girl, and I will not let anything ruin my relationship with her.”

Draco thought he could see tears in Pansy's eyes. He hardly cared.

“You still have feelings for me,” Pansy said. “I know you do. I'll find a way to prove it.”

“I'd like to see you try,” Draco said.

Pansy walked over to him and kissed him. She had done it before he could react, and for some reason unknown to him, he was letting her kiss him. He had forgotten how her lipstick tasted, and how much he had used to like it. She wrapped her arms around him, and Draco did the only thing his mind could think of at the moment. He kissed her back and held her face in his hands.

Suddenly, a knocking sound interrupted them. They let go of each other, and Pansy spun around.

“Look out the window!” she ordered Draco.

Draco's kiss with Pansy was still going through his head as he walked over to the window. His eyes widenedas he peered through the curtains.

“It's them,” Draco said.

Pansy's eyes widened.

“Bugger!” she said, “What could they be doing here?!”

“Probably greeting their new neighbors,” Draco said.

Pansy narrowed her eyes.

“Okay,” she said, “I'll tell them to wait a moment, and then we'll take the Polyjuice Potion. Go get it ready. Now.”

Draco nodded. Pansy walked over to the door, and Draco walked toward the hallway.

"Hello?" Pansy asked.

"Hi!" Hermione Granger's voice said, "We're your neighbors from up the street. We saw that you just moved in and thought we'd welcome you. We... er... brought you cookies."

"Er... how lovely," Pansy said, "I'm not exactly decent. Can you wait a couple of minutes?"

"Sure!" Hermione said.

"I'll be right there!" Pansy said, "Sorry!"

Pansy turned around and Draco realized he was still standing in the opening of the hallway.

“What are you doing?” Pansy said, “I told you to prepare the potion! Go! We only have a couple of minutes to do this!”

“You had to be nice,” Draco said, as they walked into the bathroom, “You could have told them to come back later.”

“I'm sorry,” Pansy said, nastily.

She bet down and opened the cupboard below the sink. She took out a large plastic bottle with a mud-like potion inside, as well as two glasses and two small boxes..

“I was distracted by you kissing me,” Pansy said, as she opened the bottle.

“You kissed me,” Draco said.

“You kissed me back,” Pansy said, “Don't deny it.”

Pansy grinned, as she poured the Polyjuice Potion into the cups.

“Get the hairs out,” Pansy said, “And don't mix them up.”

“Like I want to be a girl,” Draco said, rolling his eyes.

A minute later, they had transformed. Draco looked at himself in the mirror. He had short red hair that grossly resembled a Weasley. Draco looked at Pansy, as he followed her out of the bathroom. She had long blonde hair and a rather slim body. She looked rather attractive.

“The potion only lasts an hour,” Draco said, “So don't get too comfortable with Weasley and Granger.”

“As if,” Pansy said, scoffing. “Grab your book and sit in that chair. Don't mess this up, Draco. Or should I say Parker.”

He was about to ask what Pansy would be named, but he realized he didn't care. As Pansy walked over to the door, Draco grabbed the book from the table and sat down in the rocking chair. Draco listened to the conversation at the door.

"Hello!" Pansy said.

"Hi," Hermione said, "We're your neighbors from up the street. We thought we'd come and welcome you to the neighborhood. I'm Hermione, and this is Ron."

"Hi," Ron said.

"What a lovely gesture!" Pansy said, "My name is Lauren. My husband, Parker, is just inside. You can come in if you want to.”

Draco rolled his eyes. Why was Pansy being so kind to them?

"Well, actually," Ron said, "We need to be -"

"We'd love to," Hermione said, "If only just for a little bit."

"Come on in," Pansy said.

Draco returned his attention to his book, as Pansy led Ron and Hermione in.

"Parker, honey," Pansy said, "We have guests. This is Ron and... I'm sorry, dear, I don't know how you pronounced it."

Draco tried his best not to roll his eyes. Pansy knew how to pronounce Granger's name. Such a lame attempt at trying to pass off as strangers.

"Hermione," Hermione said, grinning.

Draco looked up at Ron and Hermione.

"Nice to meet you," he said.

"They brought some biscuits," Pansy said.

Draco looked at the tray of cookies.

"Delicious," he said.

"Parker and I just moved here from France," Pansy said, "Parker has a job in... actually I'm not supposed to talk about it. Confidential stuff, if you get my meaning. What about you?"

Draco stared at Pansy. A confidential job? What the hell was she playing at?

"I'm a dentist," Hermione said "Ron is a..."

"Also a dentist!" Ron said.

Dentist? Draco had no idea what that meant.

"Well, then," Pansy said, "We might have to look you up, then! Especially if we have at these lovely looking cookies. I'm just going to put these in the kitchen. Feel free to sit down and make yourselves at home."

Pansy smiled and walked into the kitchen, leaving Draco alone with Hermione and Ron. They were whispering something, but Draco couldn't hear it. He thought he should say something to them, to appear friendly, but he didn't know what. He didn't know if he was a friend or enemy to them right now. He wondered what a Muggle would say in this position. He then figured it out, hoping it would pass off. Ron and Hermione probably didn't know anything about it anyway.

"So," Draco said, "Do you two like football?"

"Love it!" Ron said, chuckling, "Can't get enough."

Draco stared at Ron. Did he know what football was, or was he just trying to act like a Muggle? Pansy returned.

"Well, I'm sure you still have loads to unpack," Ron said, "We actually have something we need to attend to. We just wanted to say hello and welcome you to the neighborhood. I'm sure we'll see each other again.

"Are you sure?" Pansy asked.

"Er... yeah," Hermione said, "We couldn't stay long. We just wanted to give you the cookies and say hello."

"Oh... well, okay," Pansy said, "Thank you for the cookies. I'm sure we'll see each other again."

"Yes," Hermione said.

Pansy led Ron and Hermione out of the house. Draco stood up and went to the window. They were heading back up the street.

“Ugh, I thought they'd never leave!” Pansy muttered.

“Really?” Draco asked, “You seemed pretty eager to invite them in.”

“We have to look friendly, Draco,” Pansy said, “Daphne's orders. We can't look like a threat. We're just supposed to look like a couple of neighbors.”

“Right,” Draco said, “Funny how they were trying so hard to pass off as Muggles. What is a dentist?”

“It's a Muggle job, I guess,” Pansy said, “They work on people's teeth. I think Hermione's parents are dentists. That must have been where they got the idea.”

“So?” Draco asked, “What do we do now?”

“We could go back to what we were doing before they interrupted us,” Pansy said, grinning.

Draco rolled his eyes.

“That was a mistake,” he said. “It'll never happen again.”

Pansy just grinned.

“What?” Draco asked.

“We'll see about that,” Pansy said.

Draco scoffed and went back to his book.

Flashback ends...

“Since when did you know how to cook?” Pansy asked.

Draco snapped out of his thoughts. He realized he was still standing in the kitchen cooking bacon and eggs.

“I had to cook for myself when I lived alone,” Draco said, “I certainly didn't have any house-elves with me to do it.”

“Oh,” Pansy said, “Well, I find that rather admirable.”

Draco rolled his eyes. He knew she was trying to flirt with him again. He decided he needed to change the subject rather quickly.

“I was thinking about something while trying to get to sleep,” he said.

“Probably how that couch is so uncomfortable,” Pansy said. “You know, you could sleep in the bed with me.”

“No, thank you,” Draco said, “What I was thinking was... Weasley looked rather suspicious yesterday. I noticed his eyes kept darting around the room. I think he was trying to figure out if we're Muggles or something more.”

“Oh?” Pansy asked.

“Yeah,” Draco said. “You – er – don't seem very worried about that.”

Pansy smiled. “They won't figure out who we are,” she said, “Trust me.”

“What do you mean?” Draco asked. “Do you forget that Weasley's father is a rather highly-ranked in the Ministry now thanks to the new Minister being chums with him. Arthur Weasley knows how to get answers. All Ron has to do is ask him to find out about the current wizarding census.”

“Not a problem,” Pansy said, grinning.

Draco stared at Pansy. What was she playing at? Was this another one of her tricks, or was she thick enough to not worry about such obvious problems?

(Hermione's PoV)

Breakfast was magically cooking on the stove, as Hermione sat at the table doing research for the Dragon case tomorrow in front of the Wizengamot. She looked up just in time to see Ron passing by the kitchen door and heading toward the living room. She didn't need to ask him what he was doing, because it was rather obvious.

“Ron,” Hermione said, “You don't need to spy on our new neighbors.”

“I do,” Ron said, walking back toward the kitchen, and looking at her, “Constant Vigilance. At least until I know that they can be trusted. There is just something about them. I swear I saw a portrait moving in their house yesterday, and I need to know.”

“Maybe you --” Hermione began, then sighed and shook her head.

“What, Hermione?” Ron asked.

“Maybe you were seeing things,” Hermione said. “You did seem rather nervous to meet them. It happens.”

“I don't think I was seeing things,” Ron said.

Hermione sighed and looked back down at her parchment. Ron sat down in the chair across from her.

“You don't think they're wizards, do you?” Ron asked.

“I see no reason to think that, yet,” Hermione said. “We haven't seen a single owl coming out or in their house. And that is the most common use of communication.”

“Maybe they don't have friends,” Ron said, “They just moved from France. Or said they did.”

“They don't have a fireplace,” Hermione said, “As close as their house resembles this one, that is one of the things that is different. Wizards rely so much on Floo Powder these days, that they'd want a house with a fireplace.”

“Well,” Ron said, “Didn't you say your boss had a portable fireplace? Maybe they have one of those.”

“Magic leaves traces, Ronald,” Hermione said, “You know that. You don't think either of us could pick up a trace?”

“I told you,” Ron said, “I did pick up a trace. That portrait!”

“Maybe it was a shadow,” Hermione said.

Ron sighed. Hermione dropped her quill then took Ron's closest hand in hers.

“I know you think they are wizards,” Hermione said, “I know you want to keep constant vigilance. I admire that. It is what will make you a great Auror. But until we know whether or not they are wizards, we have to keep an open mind about it. We can't just think they are wizards, and then reveal that we are also wizards. How would that look if it turns out they are Muggles?”

“Okay, I see your point,” Ron said, “We'll wait for --”

Suddenly, Hermione heard a light tapping sound coming from the window behind her. She turned quickly. A Ministry owl was sitting there.

“We already have the Daily Prophet,” Hermione said.

“Must be from Dad!” Ron said, “He did go into work today. Maybe he already found out about our new neighbors.”

Ron jumped up and walked over to the window. He took the roll of parchment from the owl, and dropped a sickle into the owl's pocket. The owl flew off. Ron sat down at the table and unrolled the parchment. Hermione watched Ron's eyes as they darted back and forth. A couple minutes later, Ron sighed and set the parchment down.

“You were right,” he said.

“What?” Hermione asked.

“According to Dad,” Ron said, “the census couldn't find a single trace of magic in the residence. The only traces of magic around here have come from our house. The Ministry looked up their names too. They are who they say they are. They're Muggles.”

“So it is finished?” Hermione asked.

“I guess so,” Ron said, frowning. “Some great Auror-in-Training I am. Can't even tell a Muggle from a wizard.”

“Ron,” Hermione said, soothingly, “Anyone of our kind could make the same mistake. Especially if they were in your position. You will make great Auror. You wanted to make sure that they were being honest. I admire that.”

Ron smiled.

“I wont spy on them anymore,” he said. “I promise.”

“Good,” Hermione said, “leave them be. Besides, it might be nice to have a couple of Muggle friends. They seemed pretty nice.”

“Yeah,” Ron said, “They did, didn't they?”

Hermione smiled and returned her attention to her research. She would be very busy the next day with the court case, even if she was just a lawyer's assistant.

(Draco's PoV)

Draco stared at Pansy. While Draco was eating his breakfast, Pansy had just tried to explain her reasons as to why they wouldn't any problems with Weasley and Granger finding out who they were.

“So, let me get this straight,” Draco said. “The census – that is the Ministry of Magic wizard census – believes we're Muggles?”

“Yes,” Pansy said, grinning.

“Even though there have been numerous traces of magic running through this house?” Draco asked.

“Yes,” Pansy said.

“How did that happen?” Draco asked.

“Take a wild guess,” Pansy said.

Draco thought of the possibilities. He then realized that it was obvious.

“We have someone on the inside in the Ministry?” Draco asked.

“Very good,” Pansy said, “Yes, Draco. All they have to do is watch out for anyone who decides to go snooping around in the census department, and use a simple Confundus Charm. If the Mudblood and her blood-traitor lover even think there is a trace of magic here, it'll end up on the records as their residence being the only trace of magic on this whole block. We're in the clear to do our mission. And Granger and Weasley won't even know the difference.”

Pansy grinned and walked out of the kitchen. Draco grinned as he watched her walk out. Pansy was rather smart about this whole thing. He just wondered if he admired or for that... or if it made her much more dangerous.

Wow, I love this chapter! Sets up the future of this story rather well! What will Draco do about this? Is he still trying to figure out how to prevent Pansy and the rogue wizards from doing what they are set out to do? Or has Pansy gotten him wrapped around her finger? You'll have to wait and see!

As I said before, sorry for the big delay. Was pretty busy, and then I realized what I wanted to do with this chapter. Hope you liked it!


Last edited by Fury; August 31st, 2011 at 2:29 pm.
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