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Final Chapter 1

Final Chapter 1

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Published by Sharath Chandra
fan fiction of harry potter
fan fiction of harry potter

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Published by: Sharath Chandra on Nov 15, 2010
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11/15/2010

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You are viewing a story from harrypotterfanfiction.com Harry Potter and the Final Chapter by LMB3 View Online Format: Novel Chapters: 110 Word Count: 646,272 Status: COMPLETED Rating: Mature Warnings: Strong Language, Strong Violence, Scenes of a Sexual Nature, Substance Use or Abuse, Sensitive Topic/Issue/Theme Genres: Drama, Romance, Action/Adventure Characters: Harry, Ron, Hermione, Sirius, Neville, Ginny, Albus, James (II), Lily (II), Rose Pairings: Harry/Ginny, Ron/Hermione, OC/OC, Other Pairing First Published: 01/29/2008 Last Chapter: 03/22/2008 Last Updated: 08/19/2010 Summary: UPDATED Legend tells of a weapon, the Sword of Souls. The ebony blade cut a path of destruction through the centuries. Passed from Wizard to Wizard by death, its goal is to create the death, suffering, and blood it craves and to collect evil souls to add to its own power. Merlin, the greatest wizard who ever lived fell to the ebony blade of the Sword of Souls. Thirteen hundred years later, The Sword of Souls may be Harry Potter’s only chance to rid the world of Voldemort forever. Will the price of Voldemort’s destruction be Harry's soul?

Chapter 1: Chapter 1 - Past and Present [View Online] [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter] Description Legend tells of a weapon known as the Sword of Souls. The ebony blade has cut a path of destruction through the centuries. Passed from Dark Wizard to Dark Wizard by death, its only goal is to create the death, suffering, and blood it craves and to collect evil souls to add to its own power. Merlin, the greatest wizard who ever lived fell to the ebony blade of the Sword of Souls. Thirteen hundred years later, The Sword of Souls may be Harry Potter’s only chance to rid the world of Voldemort forever. But will the price of Voldemort’s destruction be Harry’s soul? In 1945, Albus Dumbledore defeated Gellert Grindelwald, transferring the allegiance of the Elder Wand to Dumbledore…but what other weapon of immense power called Grindelwald it’s master? Upon Grindelwald’s defeat, his home, Castle Grindelwald, which stands in the Black Forest of Germany, became magically sealed, and no magic has ever been able to open it. Did Grindelwald possess a
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harrypotterfanfiction.com :: 65,000 Ha… weapon of untold power, far greater than the Elder Wand? Did the Sword of Souls call Grindelwald it’s master? What other secrets lay within the sealed within the castle, and how can it be unsealed?

In Harry Potter and the Final Chapter, the lives of Harry, Albus, the rest of The Twelve, and their friends will be turned upside down, as a final confrontation with the Dark Lord approaches. It has been almost five years since Albus nearly died in the Chamber of Secrets. Voldemort has not been seen or heard from since…but that is about to change. Even as Harry Potter and his son prepare to celebrate the birthday they share, unbeknownst to them, Voldemort is about to walk the earth again. As Voldemort and Harry both seemingly race to find the weapon that each believes to be their key to final victory, can Harry, Ginny, Ron, Hermione, Neville, and Sirius guide their family through another year at Hogwarts? Voldemort is not the only challenge they face. As the first Triwizard Tournament to be held at Hogwarts since 1994 approaches, old friends will return, and new friends will be made. Young love will be tested, and new loves found. Before the year is over, Harry will travel to Castle Grindelwald and Nurmengard Prison. He will travel to Stonehenge, the most ancient and magical site in Britain, and he will seek out the tomb of the Founders themselves. The Twelve and their friends will face dragons, magical swords, enchanted daggers, love, hate, ghosts, ancient books, funerals, proposals, weddings, exams, graduation, unicorns, nightmares, the press, and so much more, and perhaps the biggest questions of all…who will not survive? Harry Potter and the Final Chapter, is (my version) of the conclusion to the story of Harry Potter. Author’s Note This is a sequel to “Harry Potter and the Legend of the Twelve”. I have updated this story. I have corrected some typos and grammar errors. (Yes, I fixed all the question marks.) I have rewritten some lines here and there and added a little bit in a few places. None of the essential elements of the story have been changed. I fixed a few canonical issues, though some items that came out following my beginning this story have still been ignored. I’ve also added two very important authors’ notes concerning the relationships in this story. This is my second novel length Harry Potter Fanfiction. This story is around 644,000 words and one hundred and seven chapters, plus two epilogues and an alternate ending epilogue. I have previously written a One-Shot, "Chapter 37, Picking up the Pieces," which is my take on the unwritten 37th Chapter of "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows". I would recommend reading that before reading this, as there are a number of references to that story. I also wrote a novel length Fanfiction called Harry Potter and the Legend of the Twelve. You really need to read that before reading this one. I had intended that all three stories fit into established canon including Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, as well as other items J.K. Rowling has stated are true in interviews, but not included in the Epilogue to DH. However, knew canon has been revealed since I began this that contradicts my story. This story is meant as the ninth Harry Potter story, picking up where the Legend of the Twelve left off. I set out to tell a story of an ending to Harry’s story, and this one does just that. As you probably noticed, this story is rated "Mature," and includes "Scenes of a Sexual Nature" among the warnings. I don’t feel that it’s "graphic", but it is there. I have had a few comments on this story that all of the relationships fall into the category of "Love at First Sight". Some do, certainly, but I don’t feel that most do. I don’t want to give things away, so I’m
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harrypotterfanfiction.com :: 65,000 Ha… going to put a note at the end of the story with my comments on this issue. It is item #7.

Chapter 1 – Past and Present Harry James Potter is known by many titles throughout the Wizarding world. The Boy Who Lived, The Chosen One, The Savior of the Wizarding World, as well as whatever other glory filled titles the Daily Prophet has come up with to sell newspapers. The only titles that matter to Harry Potter however, are the ones the people he love know him by, husband, father, godfather, uncle, and friend. No other title had, did, or ever would matter, except possibly grandfather some day, but he was much too young for that. Harry sat on the polished stone bench in the garden of his home in Godric’s Hollow. The garden was filled with beautiful flowers, several large trees that gave wonderful shade in the hot summer months, and a large ornate fountain that filled the air with the sound of splashing water. Harry loved to sit here on summer days with Ginny at his side. When the children weren’t around they loved to kiss each other and hold each other on this bench. It was a beautiful Saturday afternoon, two days before the birthday he shared with his son, Harry’s forty-third, Albus’s seventeenth. Harry was working on what he always did for a few hours on Saturday afternoon. He was trying to find out more about the ‘The Prophecy of The Twelve.’ Harry would only spend a few hours a week, usually Saturday or Sunday afternoon, on the prophecy. Sometimes that would entail reading books about Merlin. Other times, he would review copies of documents from Wizarding libraries or museums that could pertain to the prophecy. Many times he would just reread the prophecy and his notes looking for something he hadn’t seen before. In the five years since Voldemort’s return, Harry had found nothing but vague references to the prophecy. Harry had contacted Susan Bones to see if anything else had been discovered in the castle in Romania that she had been working at. He didn’t tell her about the thirteen-year-old box, as her memory had been Obliviated. He told her a story about being interested in Romanian castles. Susan told him all about the dig, but there was nothing else of consequence found in the excavation. Susan Bones was now the Curator of the Wizarding Museum of Britain, and Harry had been in contact with her recently regarding their vast collection of Merlin artifacts. Since Harry had found out no more about The Twelve than he knew the day the ancient book had come into his hands. He had expanded his search to include researching Merlin’s life in the hopes of finding something, but he had thus far come up empty. Though his efforts had proved futile, Harry had kept the promise he had made to himself five years earlier. He didn’t let Voldemort’s return rule his life. Of course, since Voldemort had not been seen in five years, that wasn’t as difficult as it could have been. It had taken a long time, but Harry finally came to terms with his children’s role in what was to come. As much as he felt responsible, he knew he had no control over what was coming. He would certainly try to protect them all from of what was to come, but he knew that would not be possible, at least not completely. Harry vowed to do whatever he could to help them through it, and to stop Voldemort once and for all. One thing had really helped Harry put what had happened to Albus in the Chamber of Secrets behind him. Three years after Albus nearly died there, the Ministry of Magic approved the destruction of the Chamber of Secrets. The statues were destroyed, and the entire chamber was filled with stone and debris. The pipe allowing access to the chamber was also destroyed. No one would ever enter the chamber again. Harry thought it was long overdue, and it helped put the terrible things that had happened there behind him. After the events of his first year as a teacher, Harry had met with the Minister of Magic, Kingsley Shackelbolt. He told Kingsley everything that had happened, except for Susan Bones’ involvement, as
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harrypotterfanfiction.com :: 65,000 Ha… he didn’t want to involve her. Kingsley immediately had given Harry status as Special Investigator attached to the Office of the Minister of Magic and put the Department of Magical Law Enforcement on notice to watch for evidence of Death Eater activity. Kingsley effectively made Harry the most powerful law enforcement officer in the Wizarding world in Britain, much to the dismay of Head Auror Williams, who was now, once again, Harry’s subordinate. Harry had received reports of all Dark Magic encountered by the Department of Magical Law Enforcement ever since. Over the years, he had personally investigated a few incidents that were reported to him, but nothing ever surfaced that was connected to Voldemort.

Each morning for the past five years, Harry woke up and checked the next page in the book to see if any new words had appeared. None had in the five years since they received it. Only Albus, of the younger six members of The Twelve knew of the book. Harry felt Albus had to know, but Ginny, Ron, Hermione, Neville, and Sirius all agreed with Harry, there was no need to worry the others about it yet. They agreed they would tell them when the time was right, which would hopefully not be for many years. As for Harry’s life that didn’t involve Voldemort, the last five years had been wonderful. Harry never thought he would enjoy teaching as much as he had. It was rewarding to pass on the information he had learned to the next generation of witches and wizards. Being back at Hogwarts was wonderful as well. His home was wherever his family was, but as they were all at Hogwarts, it was just that much better. The castle was a special place for all of them. Sirius had been Harry’s assistant since his second year teaching, and had really taken to teaching as well. Sirius said he was going to get a place of his own after that first year at Hogwarts, but Harry and Ginny insisted he stay with them. Sirius refused to take back the inheritance he had left Harry. The money Sirius had received from the Ministry for his false imprisonment was more than he would ever need. Ginny had also enjoyed teaching flying and coaching quidditch. Harry loved how happy she was after practice or a match. She had forgotten how much fun it was to be on a broom nearly every day. The years she spent as Quidditch Correspondent for the Daily Prophet had meant little time for flying. She had really taken to being Deputy Headmistress as well. Ron was still Auror on Station at Hogwarts, seeing to security, except when occasionally called away for a brief assignment. He loved it. Harry would tease Ron, that if the Chudley Cannons could just win a championship, Ron would have everything he ever wanted. Ron was still his old self. If there were one thing Harry could always count on, it was that Ron would never change. He was still as goodnatured and fun to be around as ever. Hermione, Harry now knew, was born to be the Headmistress of Hogwarts. She had made a lot of changes at Hogwarts. It was now 2023, and many of Hogwarts practices hadn’t changed in hundreds of years. She had updated a lot of the old practices, much to the approval of the students. First and foremost, she had discontinued to the mandatory wearing of hats that had been tradition for hundreds of years. Robes were still required of course. Professor McGonagall had passed the previous year. Before she died, Harry, Ginny, Ron, Hermione, Neville, and Sirius had gone to visit her. Professor McGonagall told Hermione what good hands the school was in now, and how proud Albus Dumbledore would be of how Hermione ran the school. Harry was quite sure this was true. Neville was still teaching Herbology, and was as much a part of the family as ever. Harry knew he always would be family, for as long as he lived, and would be by their side when something happened. His loyalty was without question. Harry just wished Neville had a little more personal happiness though. He had never married, and Harry knew, he was often very lonely, something Ginny had made it her personal mission to remedy, but this far without success. The last five years saw the New Marauders become even closer than they were that first year. They
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harrypotterfanfiction.com :: 65,000 Ha… were all as close as brothers and sisters. They continued their extra training in defense and combat, and as of the end of last year, as a unit of seven, could have taken an army alone. In some ways, it still bothered Harry that his children, niece, nephew, and their friends had had to learn to fight, but he knew it was necessary. Harry also knew how things were about to change this year. The New Marauders were splitting up.

Heading into Albus, Carly, and Rose’s seventh year, a lot of changes were in store for the New Marauders. Jason Wood had received an offer to play for his father’s quidditch team, Puddlemere United, as soon as he graduated. In his first game just last night, he had silenced the critics who had said he only got the position because his father was the coach of the team. He helped the team annihilate the Chudley Cannons, much to Ron’s dismay. James and Danny would be entering the Auror program in the fall. This would leave the New Marauders with only five members. James had done very well in school, and had become nearly obsessed with his defense training. He was as good a fighter as anyone Harry ever knew, and he would be an outstanding Auror. Harry was sure he would be Head Auror some day. James had changed a lot from the start of his second year at Hogwarts. Everything that happened to Albus had made James become much more serious. He had become a fine young man, and Harry was very proud of him. Harry thought James seemed lonely sometimes though. He had been quite the charmer when he first went to Hogwarts, but since the end of his second year, he hadn’t dated very much. He spent most of his time on training, though there was a girl he had hung out with quite a bit. She had graduated a year ahead of James. As far as Harry knew, they had never dated. Harry was never really sure why that was. Rose was as smart as ever, and still Albus’s best friend. She had become Carly’s best friend as well. The three of them were inseparable. They reminded Harry so much of himself, Ron, and Hermione. Rose’s grades were the equal of her mother’s much to Hermione’s delight. Rose and Danny’s relationship had grown over the years, and they were now very much in love. Everyone thought that Danny was just waiting for Rose to graduate before he proposed. Ron was less than pleased. Ron had a great deal of difficulty, seeing Rose as anything but his little girl, which had become a topic of many arguments between them. Rose would occasionally seek refuge with the Potters when she argued with her father during the summer months these last two years. It was far easier for her to avoid her father at school. Lily, Harry’s little princess had grown up so much. She was now fifteen years old, and heading into her fifth year in the fall. She had already decided she was going to be a Healer, and had read every book on healing she could find. Lily could already do many healing spells that should have been far beyond her abilities. She seemed to have a gift for it. Hugo was still very much the prankster he had been, but was also very interested in Defense Against the Dark Arts. He was likely to follow in his father’s footsteps and become an Auror some day, unless the allure of the joke shop got him, as he could always work at Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes. Lily and Hugo were best friends, which worked out well, as Lily could heal his injuries when he had been practicing his dueling, or when a prank backfired. The latter rarely happened. Hugo had become very shy when it came to girls, and started to remind Harry a lot of Ron. Hugo always attended the school dances, but always alone. Then there was Albus. Albus in fact had the ability to do advanced wandless magic, as they had suspected. He had been practicing it for years, and when he did pull out his wand, it was only because others were around, and he didn’t want to make it known that he could do wandless magic as easily as he could. The fact that there was no spell he couldn’t do wandlessly would have been a cause for concern to some. Not even Albus Dumbledore was able to do wandless magic on that level, and that was bound to scare some people. Albus wasn’t sure what he wanted to do after school. He had thought of possibly teaching, but he was still undecided. He knew he didn’t want to be an Auror. Albus knew someday Voldemort would return, and he wanted to make sure that it was the last time he would have to deal with a Dark Wizard. That
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harrypotterfanfiction.com :: 65,000 Ha… not withstanding, Albus had helped Harry a great deal with his research into Merlin, and often accompanied him on trips to museums or to meet with historians and to examine ancient documents and books looking for clues. Albus was not one to shirk his responsibilities. Harry just wished he could have grown up before having to deal with them. It seemed having to grow up fast was something he had passed on to James and Albus, along with his messy black hair.

Carly, wanted to be a writer after she was finished with school. She wasn’t sure what she wanted to write yet, but she knew that was what she wanted to do. Although in their defense training, she could defend herself as well as anybody, she didn’t enjoy the training the way the others did. She was much quieter and reserved. Harry had to smile thinking about how Carly had really become part of the family. Harry loved her like she was his own daughter, and couldn’t imagine life without her. He knew one day she would be his daughter-in-law. Albus and Carly had been so very much in love for so long now, it was almost like they were already married. Those first three years, they were so close, always together, always holding hands and stealing kisses. Then came fourth year, and whenever you couldn’t find them, everyone knew they were somewhere snogging. Unfortunately, Carly and Albus’s relationship was why Harry was going over his notes in the garden and not in his study on this day. Something had happened between Albus and Carly last week. They had hardly spoken since. They didn’t seem angry, but it was like they couldn’t look at each other. Harry didn’t know what was wrong, but it had to be serious. In six years together, they had never had more than a minor argument that was quickly forgotten. Ginny had decided that she was going to talk to Carly and try and find out what was wrong. Lily was in Diagon Alley with Rose, shopping, and James was with Danny and Jason celebrating the Puddlemere United victory over the Chudley Cannons, so this was the perfect day for Ginny to approach Carly. Harry had decided he would make himself scarce while Ginny tried to find out what was wrong and see if she could get them to talk. Harry hoped that Albus and Carly would patch things up today, as the day after tomorrow was a big party for Albus’s seventeenth birthday, and Harry knew how miserable they both had been this past week. He hadn’t seen either of them smile in days. They would have little interest in a party. He hated to see them like this, but Harry thought that if anyone could help them through whatever was wrong, it was Ginny. ~ Ginny walked down the hall of her home toward her daughter’s bedroom. She needed to know what happened between Carly and Albus, and thought she might have better luck finding out from Carly than from Albus. She knew how in love they were, and something had to be very wrong for them to be so distant with each other. As she passed the living room, she saw Albus sitting on the couch, staring into the fireplace. It was not lit, as it was very warm. He was just staring at the empty fireplace. "Hey, Al," said Ginny. "Hey," said Albus softly, not looking towards his mother. "I just baked some chocolate chip cookies," said Ginny with a smile. She knew how much Albus loved warm chocolate chip cookies. "No thanks, Mum," said Albus flatly. "Maybe later." Ginny sighed. She had never once seen Albus turn down chocolate chip cookies.
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Ginny headed to Carly’s room and knocked on the door. "Carly, can I come in?" asked Ginny through the door. "Just a second," Carly called back. Ginny could hear the sniffles, and thought Carly had to be drying her tears. "Come in." Ginny opened the door, and entered the room. "Hi, Mum," said Carly, as she sat at her dressing table staring into the mirror at her own reflection. Her hand clutched the phoenix charm hanging from the chain around her neck. It was the first present Albus had ever given her. Ginny knew it still had Albus’s blood on it from that terrible day in the Chamber of Secrets. It was Carly’s most prized possession. Ginny smiled inwardly. It had taken nearly two years for Carly to start calling them Mum and Dad. It was never anything they spoke about, it just happened one day, then more and more frequently. In every way that mattered, Carly was as much her daughter as Lily. It still made Ginny very happy that they had made her part of their family. Carly was such a kind, caring, loving girl. She deserved to have a family that loved her. Ginny walked over and pulled a chair close to Carly and sat down. It was obvious Carly had been crying, her eyes were red, and weren’t quite dry. Ginny put her hand over Carly’s on the table and gave it a little squeeze. "What’s wrong, sweetheart?" asked Ginny. "Whatever it is you can tell me. I want to help." Carly just stared into the mirror. She wanted so badly to talk to someone. Carly felt as if her heart had been turned to stone. She just wanted someone to tell her that everything would be all right. "I can’t," said Carly. "I really want to…but you are Al’s mother. I can’t talk to you about this, it’s too weird." "Carly, in every way that matters, you are as much my child as Albus is," said Ginny, giving her a smile. "Even if it is weird, I want you to tell me. Whatever it is, we’ll deal with it." Ginny was beginning to worry. If Carly thought it was ‘weird’ to talk to her about it, then she had a pretty good idea they were delving into something very personal. The thought that Carly could be pregnant crossed her mind, but she wasn’t going to jump to any conclusions. Whatever it was, Ginny would do whatever she could to help. After a few moments of silence, Carly finally spoke. "Mum, have you ever doubted that Dad loves you?" asked Carly barely above a whisper. "After you two started dating, I mean." Ginny was somewhat taken aback. She knew Albus was completely, totally, and madly in love with Carly. Everyone could see it. He was completely devoted to her. Ginny had no idea what could prompt Carly to ask that question. Ginny thought the best thing to do was to answer Carly’s question. "Well, there was just one time," said Ginny slowly. "What happened and how did you know he really loved you?" asked Carly. Her voice was flat, and she had another tear rolling down her cheek. "It’s a long story," said Ginny, gently wiping the tear from Carly’s cheek. "You remember the story about how he defeated Voldemort, how Dad walked into the forest expecting to die?" Carly nodded. It was a story she couldn’t forget.
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harrypotterfanfiction.com :: 65,000 Ha… "Well, I thought since he hadn’t said goodbye he didn’t care anymore," said Ginny. "The next day, he said he couldn’t have done what he had to do if he had tried to say goodbye, and he told me he loved me. I’ve never doubted how much he loves me since." Ginny paused. "Carly, tell me what happened. Whatever it is, it will be all right, I know it."

Carly sat a minute and decided she had to tell someone. "All right, I’ll tell you," said Carly with a sigh. "Last week…the night you and Dad went out to dinner and Lily and James were out, Albus and I were on the couch snogging." Carly got a far away dreamy look on her face for just a moment. "I love it when he kisses me like that." Ginny smiled inwardly, Albus had apparently inherited his father’s gift for kissing. "I wasn’t even thinking," said Carly with a shrug. "I can’t really think when he kisses me. I don’t even know if I meant to say it…but I did." She stopped. "What did you say?" asked Ginny. "I said…’make love to me Al’," said Carly, another tear rolling down her cheek. "I don’t even know if I really meant to say it. I love him so much, but maybe I was just caught up in the moment. I don’t know." For a moment, Ginny wasn’t sure what to say. "Carly…I assume that you and Al have never…been together?" asked Ginny. "No," said Carly. "We haven’t." Carly chuckled mirthlessly. "I should have noticed before…Al has never even suggested it." Ginny had to think about this for a minute before replying. Was she surprised by that answer? It wasn’t anything she gave a lot of thought to. Having had older brothers who meddled in her life and over protective parents, Ginny vowed not to be that was. Of course, she wanted to protect her children from anything that would hurt them, but she wouldn’t smother them. She made every effort to always be there to guide her children in all things, but she refused to pry into their personal lives. Ginny had been young and very much in love once upon a time. She couldn’t pretend that if Harry hadn’t been gone sixth year that she would not have wanted to be closer to him. Albus and Carly were both intelligent mature young people. They were both capable of making the decision that was right for them. Carly had grown into a beautiful young woman. Nearly every boy in their year was jealous of Albus. Albus had grown into a very handsome young man, nearly a head taller than Carly and with muscles well defined from quidditch, and a smile that made most all the other girls weak in the knees. They had grown up. Ginny knew how often she would walk into the living room and find Albus and Carly in each other’s arms on the couch. Often times they were snogging, but sometimes, they were just holding each other. Over last two years especially, Ginny could see a change in how Albus and Carly acted with each other. They didn’t seem like love struck teenagers. They had when they were younger, but not anymore. If she didn’t know they weren’t. Ginny might mistake them for a married couple. Ginny had to admit, if she had really thought about it, she would have assumed, after six years as a couple, they probably had been together. That was obviously not the case. "All right," said Ginny with an understanding smile. "I see how you look at each other. You’re in love, and you aren’t children anymore. There isn’t any shame in wanting to be closer to Al. I know when you’re with the person you love you can get carried away. I’m sure Al understood when you changed your mind."
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harrypotterfanfiction.com :: 65,000 Ha… "You don’t understand, Mum," said Carly softly, a note of exasperation in her voice. "It wasn’t like that."

Ginny was more confused now than ever. "Carly, what exactly happen?" asked Ginny, trying to get to the root of the problem. The tears began to fall freely from Carly’s eyes. "He freaked out," said Carly with a sob. "He stopped kissing me, and remembered he had some homework to do. He was stuttering and practically ran out of the room like he was afraid to be near me. I didn’t know what to think. Since then, I’ve tried to figure out the problem was, but I just don’t know. Is he not attracted to me? Am I so unattractive he had to run away? Does…does he not love me?" With that, Carly broke down completely, and started sobbing uncontrollably on Ginny’s shoulder. Ginny was stunned. She put her arms around Carly and rocked her gently, trying to calm her. "Carly, did you try to talk to Al about it?" asked Ginny. She wanted to make some excuse for Albus. Maybe he wasn’t ready to take that step, that was perfectly understandable, but to run away like that? She would not have thought Albus capable of doing something so insensitive. She was sure there had to be some explanation, but she couldn’t fathom what it was. "No," squeaked Carly said through her tears. "He hasn’t looked me in the eye since then. He has stayed away from me." "Carly, you need to talk to him," said Ginny. She pulled Carly off her shoulder to look her into her tear filled eyes. "You need to talk to Al. I’m sure there must be a reason. He’s probably just to embarrassed to tell you that he isn’t ready." "I can’t," said Carly. "I couldn’t face it if he doesn’t love me anymore." "Carly, I know that is not the case," said Ginny. "Al loves you. Maybe he just isn’t ready." Carly kept crying, insisting she couldn’t talk to Albus. "All right, would you like me to talk to him?" asked Ginny reluctantly. Ginny wanted Carly to do it, but she was afraid to let her go on like this. It had already been a week and Carly was a mess. "No," said Carly. "You can’t tell him what I told you. Please, promise me you won’t tell Al. Please promise me." Ginny was reluctant to make that promise, but right then, she needed to do anything she could to calm Carly down. "All right, but please talk to him," said Ginny. Ginny just sat there for a long while, holding Carly and letting her cry and trying to reassure her that everything would be all right. ~ Late that night, Ginny was lying in bed. Harry was just coming in from the bathroom. He slipped into bed and put his arms around her. "Are you all right, love?" asked Harry softly. "You’ve been distracted all afternoon." "I had a talk with Carly today," said Ginny slowly. "It seems while they were snogging, she asked Al to make love to her." "Well, frankly, that’s not really that hard to imagine," said Harry. "They are so in love." "When Carly asked him, Al freaked out," said Ginny with a sigh.
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Harry was not sure if his hearing had gone on him. "Did you just say…" began Harry. "Yes I did. Our son’s girlfriend asked him to make love to her, and he ran away from her," said Ginny shaking her head. "Now she thinks he’s not attracted to her, and he doesn’t love her." Harry was stunned on so many levels. Ginny finished telling him the entire story, and he was still stunned. "She won’t speak to him about it?" asked Harry still flabbergasted by what Ginny had told him. "She’s too upset," said Ginny with a sigh. "I promised not to say anything to Al, but you haven’t made that promise." "You want me to speak to him?" asked Harry. "Couldn’t I fight a dragon instead?" "You’re funny," said Ginny in an annoyed tone. "I’m sorry, I’m just so shocked," said Harry softly. "I have no idea what to say to him. I can understand if he didn’t think he was ready of course. I mean…I certainly wasn’t ready for our first time. He really ran away?" "Apparently," said Ginny. She couldn’t help but smile as she thought of the first time she and Harry had made love. "It wasn’t that you weren’t ready, Harry. You were more than ready, you just couldn’t take a hint." Harry just looked at her with an annoyed grin for a moment. "Fortunately, you lost patience with me," said Harry. As much as Ginny would have liked to talk about that wonderful night, they still had to try to find out what was bothering Albus. "Whatever is bothering Al, unless one of us speaks to him, it isn’t going to get any better," said Ginny. "Carly wouldn’t even come out of her room for dinner tonight, and Albus is hardly eating. Whatever is wrong, he is upset about it too." "All right. Tomorrow Al and I are going to see Susan at the museum," said Harry with a sigh. "She owled me that I have been granted permission to view several ancient texts believed to have belonged to Merlin. I’ll talk to Albus tomorrow while we are out." "Don’t forget to mail that package to your Aunt," said Ginny. "You said you would send her the photo of all of us. That was a nice touch adding the words ‘Digital Photo Frame’ to the edge of the frame so she could display it." "Thanks," said Harry with a smile. "I have my moments." Harry nodded. He had no idea what to say to Albus. Harry certainly would understand if he was nervous or wasn’t ready. Lord knows he wasn’t ready all those years ago, but to run away, something else had to be wrong. There had to be more to this story. Chapter 2: Chapter 2 - The Crux of the Problem [View Online] [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter] Chapter 2 – The Crux of the Problem Early the next morning, just after seven-thirty, Harry and Albus flooed to the Ministry. That morning, Harry didn’t do something he had done every day for five years. He forgot to check the book to see if
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harrypotterfanfiction.com :: 65,000 Ha… any new text had appeared. He had been awake most of the night trying to figure out what to say to Albus, and he forgot about the book completely in the morning.

Harry and Albus left the Ministry and walked toward the Wizarding Museum of London. On the way, Harry tried to bring up the subject of Carly though he still wasn’t sure what to say. "So, Al, I noticed you and Carly haven’t been talking much lately," said Harry. "Is everything all right between you two?" "Fine," said Albus. His tone was flat and emotionless. "Anything you want to talk about?" asked Harry. "There is nothing you can’t talk to me about." "No," said Albus in the same tone. Albus knew his father was trying to find out what was going on between him and Carly, but Albus didn’t want to talk about it. Albus was so angry with himself for reacting the way he did, and he couldn’t tell anyone what happened. He knew he had to get up the courage to talk to Carly, but he was sure she could never forgive him for running away from her like he did. He could never forgive himself for it. Harry wasn’t sure where to begin, so he thought he would wait until after the museum and try again. Harry knew he was really just stalling for time to think of what to say. ~ The Wizarding Museum of London was fairly nondescript to Muggle eyes, enchanted to look like an abandoned warehouse. To magical eyes, however, it was a beautiful cathedral like building, housing countless treasures of the Wizarding world. As happened anywhere that Harry went, many people pointed and stopped to watch him as he passed. Harry and Albus made there way to the Curator’s Office, and Harry knocked on the door. "Come in," called a female voice from the other side of the door. Harry and Albus entered the office. "Harry," said Susan with a smile, "I haven’t seen you in years, how are you?" Susan stood from behind her desk and greeted Harry with a hug. "It’s so great to see you Harry." "You too, Susan," said Harry with a smile. "Susan, this is my son Al." "Pleased to meet you," said Albus, sticking out his hand for her to shake it. Susan shook Albus’s hand. "My you look just like your father when he was in school. I can almost picture you teaching us at the D.A. meetings, Al." "You were a member of Dumbledore’s Army?" asked Albus. He was sure his father had mentioned it once, but he had forgotten. "Yes, I was…I am," said Susan with a grin. "Once a member, always a member… Zacharias Smith being the possible exception. Your father taught me, and so many others, how to defend ourselves. We owe him a great deal…many of us owe him our lives." "I wouldn’t really go that far," said Harry embarrassedly. "I just showed you how to do the spells. You all had to learn them, you had the hard job."
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harrypotterfanfiction.com :: 65,000 Ha… "He is a really great teacher," said Albus with a smile.

"And he’s far too modest," said Susan. "Yeah, he is," said Albus with a grin. "Well, I’m sure you’re anxious to examine the books," said Susan changing the subject since Harry was starting to blush. "Let me get them, I’ll be right back. Please have a seat at the table." Susan left her office via a side door. Albus and Harry sat at a large polished wood conference table on one side of the office. Albus examined the room. There were filing cabinets along one wall, with many papers in need of filing on top of them. The desk was simple, and covered with papers. It was obvious a lot of paperwork was done in here. The only decorative item in the office was a painting above the fireplace. It was not a portrait whose occupant could move, but an actual painting. It appeared to show a wizard with a flowing white beard being attacked by a cloaked figure with a sword. Albus thought it was odd, the sword looked like it was the centerpiece of the painting, as if the two wizards were less important. The sword itself was quite odd. It was painted as if it was made of black metal, and seemed to have some kind of gem set into the handle. The gem almost seemed to shine right out of the painting. A few minutes later, Susan returned with the five books Harry was to examine. They were each magically sealed into a container, and she unsealed them and put them on the table. She sat down at her desk and started going through some papers. "Let me know if you need anything," said Susan. Harry and Albus examined the books for a few minutes. There did not appear to be anything to do with The Twelve in any of them, and no text that was not seen by anyone else. "There doesn’t appear to be anything we’re looking for," said Harry after about twenty minutes with the books. "I’m sorry, Harry," said Susan. "I wish they could have been more help." "I do appreciate your time, Susan," said Harry. "Thank you." "No problem at all," said Susan with a smile. "I’m sorry it took a month to get the approval pushed through. If not for the Minister’s letter, it could have taken four to six months. Please, as long as you are here, let me give you a tour of the Museum." Harry turned to Albus. "What do you say to a tour, Al?" asked Harry. "Sure, sounds like fun," said Albus. What Albus didn’t say was he would do anything not to return home to spend another day sitting alone on the couch without Carly in his arms. It was especially hard not being near her since Albus had been thinking about asking Carly to marry him. He had thought about getting a ring and proposing on his birthday, but he couldn’t think of doing that now, not after what he had done. With these thoughts in his mind, home was that last place he wanted to go. Susan gave Harry and Albus the grand tour of the museum. They had many fascinating exhibits, and as Curator, Susan, was able to show them a number of things no ordinary visitor ever saw. They finally got to the largest and last exhibit on the tour, the Merlin Room, the largest collection of Merlin artifacts in the world. The room was enormous, and filled from wall to wall with displays of artifacts believed to belong to
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harrypotterfanfiction.com :: 65,000 Ha… Merlin, as well as a timeline of his life. These items were all well documented, and Harry already knew the room contained nothing about The Twelve. He had visited here several times before Susan became Curator.

At the end of the room, Albus saw a painting. It seemed to be the same one that was in Susan’s office, only much larger. "Miss Bones, isn’t that the painting in your office?" asked Albus. "Yes, it is, and for the third time, call me Susan," said Susan with a laugh. Harry laughed as well. "Yeah, sorry," said Albus with a grin. "Susan." "The one in my office is a smaller copy of this original," said Susan. A wizard named Giacomo Pelligrini painted it about five hundred years ago. You’ve probably never heard of him, but you might know him by a different name. He was also known as Leonardo da Vinci." "Leonardo da Vinci was a wizard?" asked Harry in surprise. "Of course," said Susan. "It was as da Vinci, towards the end of his life, that he was known in the Muggle world." "What is the painting called?" asked Albus. "It is called, ‘La Morte di Merlin’," said Susan. "That translates to, ‘the death of Merlin’." "Is this supposed to be an actual depiction of Merlin’s death?" asked Harry. "Yes," said Susan. "I’m not surprised you’ve never heard the story, it’s an old legend, that few put any stock in. It is a great story though, sometimes told to children. Why don’t we all get a cup of tea and I’ll tell you about it?" ~ When the three of them returned to Susan’s office, they sat at the table. Susan had asked her assistant, a young woman named Miranda, to fetch them some tea. "I have a question," said Albus. "How can da Vinci have painted the death of Merlin, he didn’t live until hundreds of years after Merlin’s time." "Well, da Vinci claimed to have had a vision, that was so real, he felt he was actually transported back into the past where he witnessed Merlin’s death and spoke to him before he died," said Susan. "It sounds unlikely, but that is what Leonardo da Vinci claimed." Miranda brought in the tea, and they each filled a cup. "What exactly is the legend?" asked Harry. "Well the legend surrounds the sword in the painting," said Susan. "It was known as the Sword of Souls. The legend says the sword was forged thousands of years ago by a Dark Wizard. As you can see, the sword was unique. It was black as you can see in the painting, and had a large diamond on the hilt, which was supposed to be the source of the sword’s power. The sword was supposed to be indestructible by anyone but it’s master. The sword made its master incredibly powerful and immortal as long as he was not defeated. If the sword’s master was defeated, the victor became the sword’s master. The sword acted as a wand, allowing a wizard to focus his magic through it, but with a few differences. It was not governed by wandlore, and it was incapable of casting the Killing Curse."
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harrypotterfanfiction.com :: 65,000 Ha… "Why is that?" asked Albus curiously. "Wouldn’t a Dark Wizard have wanted to be able to cast the Killing Curse?"

"One would think so," said Susan with a shrug. "According to the legend, the sword was created as a weapon to kill. The sword wants to cause death itself, not cast a spell to do it." "You make it sound alive," said Harry. "Well, according to legend the diamond on the hilt contained the souls of its masters who fell while wielding it as well as the evil souls slain by the sword," said Susan. "The sword’s master could call fourth the souls from within the sword to do his bidding, with a spell inscribed on the hilt of the sword." Susan paused. "Let’s see, what else was there. Oh, I almost forgot. The legend says Merlin put a curse on the sword before he died." "What kind of curse was it?" asked Albus. "The souls in the diamond on the sword were supposedly indestructible," said Susan. "Merlin bound the fate of the souls within the diamond to that of the sword. If the sword were to be destroyed, the souls would be destroyed along with it. They would be completely wiped from this life and the next." "Is any of this real?" asked Harry. "Or is it just a legend, a story told to children, and nothing more than that." "The existence of the painting, seems to indicate it could be true," said Susan. "However, if it were true, the sword would still exist wielded by a near immortal with power to rule the world. Unless someone destroyed it, but I find it unlikely that anyone would destroy a weapon of such power after obtaining it, even if they weren’t evil, the allure of having such a weapon to fight for good would be overwhelming. I would say since no one is running around ruling the world with it, most likely it is just a legend." "Probably," said Harry with a laugh. If that did exist, it certainly would be the type of thing Voldemort would use, Harry thought. "There is however, one account of someone claiming to have the Sword of Souls in the last one hundred years," said Susan. "It was claimed to be in the possession of Gellert Grindelwald." Harry and Albus looked at each other. Everyone knew the story of how Gellert Grindelwald was defeated by Albus Dumbledore nearly eighty years ago. What everyone didn’t know was that Voldemort had killed Grindelwald while looking for the Elder Wand twenty-five years ago. That was a closely guarded secret of the British and German Ministries of Magic. Most believed that Grindelwald had died of natural causes. "Of course, no one can confirm that," said Susan. "When Dumbledore defeated Grindelwald, every effort was made to enter Castle Grindelwald in Germany, but no one has ever been able to enter the castle and find out what is inside. Many have tried, but even after Grindelwald’s death, whatever spell is keeping people out still remains." Harry and Albus thanked Susan. It was now two o’clock in the afternoon, and they had not had lunch, so they headed to the Leaky Cauldron to eat. ~ At the Leaky Cauldron, Harry and Albus sat in a booth in the back, out of the way. Harry couldn’t help but think of the sword, something about it was familiar, but he couldn’t put his finger on it. He decided it wasn’t really important. No one knew where it was or even if it was real, and if Grindelwald really had it, there was apparently no way to get it from his castle.
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harrypotterfanfiction.com :: 65,000 Ha… Harry and Albus ate in silence. After they were done, Harry decided that he had to talk to Albus about Carly, and decided to be direct.

"Al, your mother had a talk with Carly. Carly is very upset," said Harry. He was careful not to sound accusing. Albus closed his eyes and took a breath. "I don’t blame her," said Albus. "I’d be upset if I were her too." "Al…Carly told your Mum what happened," said Harry slowly. Albus opened his eyes wide. "Did Mum tell you?" asked Albus. "Did she tell you what happened?" "Yes," said Harry with a now. "Would you like to talk about it, Al?" Albus just sat a moment. The last person he wanted to talk to about this was his father. Albus knew he had broken the promise he made to his father years ago. Albus didn’t really feel he had any choice though. "All right. Do you remember the summer before fifth year, we went to stay at the Burrow for two weeks?" asked Albus. "Yes, I do," said Harry. Harry wasn’t sure where this was going. "That first day we all went swimming," said Albus. "I had always thought Carly was beautiful, but that day she was wearing a Muggle bathing suit. It had about as much material as a handkerchief. That was the first time I really, really noticed…and well…" "I think I understand," said Harry, trying to alleviate his discomfort at the conversation. "I couldn’t stop thinking about her," said Albus. "I thought about well…you get the idea." Harry nodded. He had been a teenage boy once too. "I also thought about…what could happen," said Albus slowly. "I know there is a potion, but it isn’t one hundred percent effective." "You were afraid Carly would get pregnant?" asked Harry. Albus was very responsible, but somehow this seemed odd to Harry. Albus sighed. "Yes, but that wasn’t all." said Albus. "I was afraid if we had a child…I couldn’t protect a baby from Voldemort. He’s still out there and he wants everyone we care about dead." Harry just stared at Albus. He couldn’t think of a single thing to say. Harry tried to open his mouth, but he couldn’t speak. Harry would have given anything for his son to have never had to think about something like that. "I’m sorry, Dad," said Albus shaking his head sadly. "I know I said I wouldn’t let Voldemort rule my life. I broke my promise, but I was so afraid he would take my child. I don’t know why, but I was terrified. I decided I couldn’t risk that happening." Albus paused and took a breath. "More than once Carly and I got pretty intense snogging, but I never let it go any farther than that. I can’t count the number of cold showers I’ve taken in the last two years." Harry still couldn’t speak. "The worst part is that I had thought about it so much lately," said Albus. "I had decided Voldemort be damned, I love Carly and I want to marry her and I want to have a family with her. I was going to get
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harrypotterfanfiction.com :: 65,000 Ha… a ring and ask Carly to marry me tomorrow. I just freaked out that night. She asked me to make love to her and my brain shouted ‘run you can’t’ and then I…freaked out. Now I’m sure she hates me. How could I have been so stupid?"

Harry finally found his voice. "First, Al, I’m not upset with you," said Harry. "I understand completely why you were afraid. You shouldn’t have had to live with this. No one should have to live with what you have had hanging over your head." Harry paused. "None of that matters now. Carly thinks you aren’t attracted to her, or that you don’t love her anymore." "What," said Albus in complete shock. No, she couldn’t think that. How could she think that? Albus couldn’t believe what he was hearing. What had he done? "You need to talk to her," said Harry. "I will," said Albus. He was about to stand to leave, but stopped. Albus decided he was going do to what he had wanted to. He was going to ask her to marry him. "Dad, I need some money from my account at Gringotts." Harry and Ginny had set up accounts for each of their children that would become theirs on their seventeenth birthdays. They could get money earlier, but only if Harry or Ginny approved it. Harry didn’t have to ask what Albus wanted the money for. "All right," said Harry. "Let’s go." ~ A/N: After creating the name Sword of Souls, I did a google search and found a book with that title by Douglas S. Taylor. So, I had never heard of it before, but just to avoid copyright issues, I wanted to note the existence of that book. Chapter 3: Chapter 3 - Matters of the Heart [View Online] [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter] Chapter 3 – Matters of the Heart After going to Gringotts, they went to the jewelry store in Diagon Alley. It was the same store at which Harry searched for a ring for Ginny so long ago, and then went back the next year to purchase an engagement ring. It was the same place Albus had bought Carly the phoenix charm that she never took off. "Dad, would you mind waiting out here?" asked Albus. "I would really like to do this myself." "Of course," said Harry with a smile. "Good luck." Albus went into the store and started looking around. "Can I help you?" asked the witch behind the counter. Albus realized it was the same witch who had been there the last time, when he bought Carly’s charm. She was obviously getting older. She walked stooped over a bit and leaned heavily on the counter. "Yes, I’m looking for an engagement ring," said Albus. "That’s wonderful," said the witch with a smile. "I always love selling engagement rings. Makes me feel good to see a young couple starting out. You are a little young though aren’t you?"
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harrypotterfanfiction.com :: 65,000 Ha… "Tomorrow is my seventeenth birthday," said Albus with a smile. "I’ve been in love with her since I was eleven. I figure we’ll get married next summer after we are both done with school."

The witch smiled and showed Albus some rings. All were nice, but they didn’t seem right. Then, Albus saw it. "Can I see that one?" asked Albus pointing to a ring in a box in the display case. The witch pulled out the box and placed it on the counter. It was gold, with a diamond. It wasn’t as big a diamond as some of the other rings, but this one had four small stones around the diamond. Two were sapphires that perfectly matched Carly’s eyes, and the other two were emerald’s that perfectly matched Albus’s eyes. It was perfect. "I’ll take it," said Albus. "Would you like it inscribed?" asked the witch. Albus thought a moment. What could he inscribe on the ring. After a minute, it came to him and he told the witch what to inscribe. The ring was the easy part. Now he had to apologize and see if Carly would forgive him for being the world’s biggest git. Then he had to find a way to propose to her. ~ When Albus got home, he walked into the living room to find his Mum, sister, and brother. His Mum was reading a magazine, and Lily and James were playing Wizard’s Chess. "Is Carly in her room?" asked Albus. Ginny just nodded to him. Albus headed for Carly’s room. When he got to the door, he took a breath and knocked gently on the door. There was no response. He knocked again, but got no response. Albus slowly turned the doorknob and pushed the door open. "Mum, I don’t want any dinner," said Carly. She was sitting on the edge of her bed facing away from the door. "Carly," said Albus as he entered the room and shut the door. Albus could see her tense, but Carly didn’t say anything or move. Albus walked over to the other side of the bed and sat sown next to her. She had obviously been crying and Albus knew he had made her cry. It made him sick to his stomach. Albus didn’t sit too close. All he wanted to do was put his arms around her, but he knew he had to explain first. "Carly, I’m so sorry," said Albus. "I had no idea you thought it was about you. My running away had nothing to do with you." Albus hung his head as he spoke. He couldn’t believe what he had done to her. "What do you mean, Al?" asked Carly confusedly. Albus looked up at her, to see she was looking at him now. Their eyes met, and he just said it all. "I’ve loved you for so long. I’ve wanted to show you just how much I love you, but I’ve been afraid to," said Albus.
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harrypotterfanfiction.com :: 65,000 Ha… "Afraid of what?" asked Carly, still staring into his eyes. "Were you afraid to be with me?"

"No," said Albus, reaching out putting his palm against her cheek. "All I could think about was that if you got pregnant…what if Voldemort came back and I couldn’t protect our child from him. I’m so sorry, Carly. I’m so sorry. When you said ‘make love to me’, every worry about what could happen flooded my mind and I just lost it. I never thought you would think I wasn’t attracted to you or that I didn’t love you. I love you so much and I always will. You are so beautiful. No other girl can even come close. You’re my whole life." Carly threw her arms around his neck, and he put his arms around her and pulled her into his lap. He had so missed holding her. It was only a week, but it felt like years. Albus wasn’t sure how long they just sat there holding each other, his face buried in her beautiful red hair. He drank in the scent of her vanilla perfume and the strawberry soap Carly used. At one point he thought the door creaked open, but it quickly closed if it did. Finally, they pulled apart. "Can you ever forgive me?" asked Albus as a few tears were trickled from his eyes. "I should ask you the same," said Carly forcing a weak smile onto her face. "I should have had more faith that you loved me. I guess…it just hurt…think that you didn’t want me." "Never ever think that," said Albus. "God, I’ve wanted you for a long time. You are the hottest witch in the entire world." Carly smiled. "Thank you, Al," said Carly. She grinned. "You’re not so bad yourself." Albus smiled. "So, can we put this behind us?" asked Albus. "We have a whole month left of vacation, and I would like to enjoy it with you before we go back to school." Carly smiled broadly at him and nodded. Albus leaned in and kissed her. ~ Late that night, just after midnight, Lily was sitting in her room, studying yet another book on healing spells. Since she was nine years old, all she had ever wanted to be was a Healer. A big part of the reason was all the time Albus spent in the Hogwarts Hospital Wing that year. All she wanted then was to heal him. Although Albus was fine, the desire to be a Healer had never faded. After not being able to sleep, and reading for two hours, she finally closed her book and thought she would go have a midnight snack. Lily was just about to walk through the living room to the kitchen, when she realized that she wasn’t the only one still awake. She looked from the door and saw Carly and Albus snogging each other senseless on the couch, completely oblivious to her presence. Under normal circumstances, Lily would be only too happy to go in and interrupt them, telling them to get a room as the Muggles say, or something of that nature, but she had seen how miserable they had been this past week, and she loved them both too much to spoil their reunion. Truth be told, she was a little jealous. Lily had never had a boyfriend. She had gone on a few dates, Halloween Dances and Hogsmeade weekends, but never more than one date with a boy. It would be nice to have a boyfriend who was as devoted to her as Albus was to Carly. It would have been nice to just have a second date. Lily had never even had a real kiss. Lily just sighed, and took the long way around to the kitchen without disturbing the lovebirds. She found there was someone else awake. Her Mum was sipping tea in the kitchen. "Mum, what are you doing up?" asked Lily. She grinned. "Are you chaperoning the two in the other
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room?" "No," said Ginny with a laugh. "I’m pretty sure they don’t need it." Lily looked quizzically at her mother. "Don’t ask," said Ginny with a smile. "I was just having a snack. Can I interest you in some treacle tarts?" Lily smiled. Treacle tarts were her favorite and she loved the individual treacle tarts her mother made best. "Sure," said Lily. She got a plate from the cupboard and sat down at the table across from her mother. She took a treacle tart from the plate on the table and started eating. "So, are you enjoying the new books of healing spells you picked up?" asked Ginny, before she took another sip of tea. "Yes," said Lily with a nod. "I can’t wait to get back to school and try some out. If someone is unfortunate enough to get hurt of course." Lily tried to hide a grin, but couldn’t. Ginny laughed. "You just keep hanging out by the pitch, and you’ll have plenty of minor injuries to heal," said Ginny. "Just make sure you don’t try anything too difficult. I remember the time your father had all the bones in his arm removed by a badly cast spell to mend a broken bone." "Don’t worry," said Lily. As she ate some more treacle tart, she thought back to Albus and Carly and how she wished she had a boyfriend who cared so much. Ginny thought she saw something in her daughters face. "Lily, are all right?" asked Ginny. Lily shrugged. "Mum…why is it I can’t find a boyfriend?" asked Lily in a pained tone. "I’ve been on some first dates, but never second ones. Am I really that awful that no one even wants a second date." If not for the pained tone in Lily’s voice, Ginny might have thought she was kidding. "Lily, you just haven’t found the right boy yet," said Ginny sympathetically. "One day you will." "How, Mum?" asked Lily. "I spend all my time reading healing books. It’s not like I’m one of the really pretty girls." Ginny stared at Lily with her mouth open. "Lily, how can you say that," said Ginny. "You are beautiful. Didn’t you notice when we went to the beach just after school got out, I kept having to keep your Dad from hexing all the boys that kept staring at you." "Really?" asked Lily. "They really were?" "Yes, really," said Ginny with a smile. Ginny stood up and drew her wand. She conjured a mirror on the table, and then took Lily’s hand. She pulled Lily out of the chair and in front of the mirror. Ginny stood behind her looking at the mirror over Lily’s shoulder. "See, you’re beautiful," said Ginny. Lily looked at her reflection. Seeing their faces side by side in the mirror, it was very clear they were mother and daughter. They had the same cheekbones, the same nose, and the same long red hair. Lily thought it was like looking at her own future. Her mother was so beautiful. Maybe her mother was right. That still didn’t explain why she couldn’t seem to find a boyfriend. Her mother could read the expression on her face.
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harrypotterfanfiction.com :: 65,000 Ha… "There is a boy out there for you, sweetheart," said Ginny, before kissing Lily on the side of the head. "You’ll find him eventually. You’re only fifteen you have plenty of time. Just because Al and Rose found love early, doesn’t mean you won’t find it eventually. Everyone is different. Look at Hugo, he’s never even had a date." Ginny put her arms around Lily and hugged her.

"Thanks, Mum," said Lily, as she rested her head on her mother’s shoulder. "I’m going to bed," said Ginny, as she vanished the mirror. She kissed Lily on the forehead. "Don’t stay up too late, and don’t bother the two of them in the other room. They are making up for lost time." Ginny left the kitchen to go to bed. Lily sat there for a few more minutes. Maybe her mother was right she thought. Maybe there was someone out there for her. She just hoped she would find him soon. Lily was tired of always being so lonely. ~ The next morning, Harry woke up at the usual time. Ginny was already up, he knew she would be in the kitchen cooking him and Albus a special birthday breakfast. Harry got dressed and sat on the edge of his bed a minute before heading into the kitchen. Harry suddenly remembered that he hadn’t checked the book yesterday. He picked up ‘The Prophecy of the Twelve’ from his nightstand, and flipped to the page that had foretold the events of May second, 2018, then to the next page, and stopped breathing as soon as he did. There on the page that had been blank for so long, were words. Harry cursed himself for not checking it the day before. Harry read the words on the page. The final chapter begins. The Dark Lord will seek out that which was taken from him long ago to be his resurrection. The Dark Lord’s follower shall spill blood, not so innocent, signaling the beginning of the Dark Lord’s quest. Harry read the words several times. What had been taken from Voldemort long ago that could be his resurrection? Who was this follower and whose not so innocent blood would be spilled? There was nothing he could do about it now, so Harry put the book back on his nightstand, and went to breakfast and to enjoy his birthday. Harry refused to dwell on it, but knew the time to tell James, Rose, Carly, Lily and Hugo everything had come. It was not exactly the birthday present he wanted. In the kitchen, Harry was greeted with a chorus of ‘happy birthday’ and hugs from Ginny, Lily, and James. Albus and Carly were nowhere to be seen. There was also one person he hadn’t expected in the kitchen. "Sirius," said Harry happily, hugging his godfather. "I thought you were going to be gone another week." "I finished up early," said Sirius. "I checked out all those Merlin artifacts in the French Museum, but there was nothing relating to what we are looking for. There didn’t appear to be anything for you to put your eyes on either." Harry knew exactly what that meant. There were no books worth checking for hidden words. "Well, I’m glad you’re back," said Harry sitting down at the table to eat. They all ate and talked. About twenty minutes later, Carly came in. "Happy birthday, Dad," Carly said,
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giving Harry a hug. "Thanks, Carly," said Harry. Carly sat in her chair and yawned before spooning some eggs onto her plate. "Late night?" asked Lily with a smirk. "Kind of," said Carly absently. "Did Al ever manage to find your tonsils?" asked Lily, the smirk still on her face. Under normal circumstances, this comment would have made Carly blush, but she was so happy having made up with Albus, that not only didn’t she blush, but also she had a comeback ready. "No, but we’ll just have to keep trying until he does," said Carly with a smile. The entire room erupted in laughter. A moment later, a bleary eyed Albus came in. "What did I miss?" asked Albus with a yawn. "Apparently Carly’s tonsils," said James, earning him a slightly reproachful look from his mother, but there was another round of laughter from all but Albus who had no idea what James was talking about. After everyone wished Albus happy birthday, and hugs were exchanged, they all sat down to eat breakfast. Shortly after breakfast the party began as the guests started to arrive. Ron, Hermione, Rose, Hugo, Danny, Molly, Arthur, Neville, and Jason all arrived and the party began. Those who did play played quidditch in the morning. They spent a lot of time just sitting around the living room and in the garden, just enjoying each other’s company. After lunch, they started to drift into groups, Ginny, Hermione, and Molly to the kitchen, Carly, Lily, and Rose to Lily’s room, James, Jason, Danny, Albus, and Hugo to the back yard, and Harry, Ron, Neville, Sirius, and Arthur to the living room. ~ In Lily’s room, Carly, Lily, and Rose were engaged in some ‘girl talk’. "So, what did happen between you too?" asked Rose curiously. "I saw Al…well, it must have been the day after whatever it was happened, and he was more miserable than I’ve ever known him to be." "Well…we were snogging, and I sort of asked him to make love to me," said Carly. Rose raised her eyebrows, but Lily wore an expression that clearly said, ‘it’s about time’. "I didn’t plan to ask him…it just came out." "Well, what happened?" asked Rose before the impact of her question registered. "On second thought, I don’t want to know the details." "Me neither," said Lily with a grin. "Oh stop," said Carly, swatting Lily playfully in the shoulder. "He just didn’t think we were ready, and he’s right. I just got carried away. He was blaming himself. I was blaming myself, that’s all it was. We worked it out." "I’ll say," said Lily with a smirk. "I thought he was going to inhale you on the couch last night." After the laughter subsided, Carly turned toward Rose. "How are things with you and Danny?" asked Carly.
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"Wonderful," said Rose with a dreamy look on her face. "He is so wonderful. Carly, between you and I, we have the two most wonderful men in the world." A smile curled Rose’s lips. "Danny has become a little bolder when we’re alone. He likes to nibble on my neck and I just feel like…wow. He knows I want to wait until I’m married before…well you know. He’s fine with that, but…God…when he nibbles my neck I just shudder." Carly smiled, Al knew just the spot below her ear to make her shudder like that. "I know one day you two will be married," said Carly. "I just have a feeling." Rose smiled. Marrying Danny was what she wanted more than anything else in the world. Then her smile saddened. "In a month I’m going back to Hogwarts and he’s going to Auror training," said Rose softly. "I’m going to miss him so much." "Oh, Rose," said Carly, giving her a hug. "I’m sorry. I guess I just take it for granted that Al is always around since we are in the same year. I never really thought of you having to be apart from Danny." "I’m sure he’ll visit," said Lily. "I mean, after all, your Mum is Headmistress, I’m sure she’ll bend the rules and let him drop by and visit." "I know, I just hate to be away from him," said Rose. He sad faced turned stony. "Of course, my Dad is just thrilled Danny won’t be around." Rose’s tone was of complete disgust. "He still doesn’t like Danny?" asked Carly sympathetically. "No he doesn’t, but that’s only half of it," said Rose through gritted teeth. "He would have a problem with anyone dating me. If he had his way, I wouldn’t go on a date until I’m fifty." "It can’t be that bad," said Lily. "It is," said Rose. "I started flooing home from Danny’s parent’s house, I couldn’t even get a goodnight kiss at my house, let alone a good snog. I think my Dad cast a spell to let him know when we were coming home. Somehow he is always on the porch when Danny and I get home. One of these days he’s going to have to realize I’m not a little girl anymore. He still thinks I’m eleven. He hasn’t noticed I’m an adult now." "He’ll come around, Rose," said Carly. "He just cares about you. Give him time, I’m sure it will all be all right." "We’ll see," said Rose dejectedly. "At least you have someone. You two are both so lucky," said Lily. "I’ll probably end up an old witch all alone with an owl and a half dozen cats." "Someone is out there for you, Lily," said Rose. "You are beautiful, smart, and have a great personality." "So my mother tells me," said Lily with a sigh. "Well…what about…Tommy?" asked Carly as she tried to suppress a grin. "Are you kidding?" asked Lily, almost angrily. "I wouldn’t go out with that muscle bound git if he was the only boy in the world." Rose and Carly looked at each other. "She noticed his muscles then," said Rose trying not to grin.
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Carly nodded. "Yes, she did, didn’t she? That’s awfully interesting," said Carly, who was likewise trying not to grin. "Not funny," said Lily in annoyance. "I do not fancy Tommy Morgan. All I do is argue with him. I got stuck with him as a partner in Potions class last year and we spent more time arguing than working on our potions." "You just keep telling yourself that," said Carly with a smirk. Lily cast the first pillow to be followed by a full-fledged pillow fight. ~ In the living room, Harry, Ron, Neville, Sirius, and Arthur were enjoying a glass of Ogden's Old Firewhisky. Harry was quietly drinking his firewhiskey. He was thinking about what the book said. He had tried not to, but it was impossible. "You’ve been awfully quiet, Harry," said Ron. "Yeah," said Neville. "Have some fun. It is your birthday." "I’m trying, guys," said Harry. "It’s just that, well…there was some new writing in the book this morning." They were all silent. Harry and the others had told Arthur and Molly about the book. They knew they would find out when someone let something slip, and they thought it better to let them know. Sirius finally broke the silence. "What did it say?" asked Sirius. "It said, ‘the final chapter begins," said Harry. "I presume that means that the beginning of whatever end there is to all this has begun." "Sounds reasonable," said Ron. "And…ominous," said Arthur. "Then it said, ‘the Dark Lord will seek out that which was taken from him long ago to be his resurrection’," said Harry. "What was taken from him that he can use to resurrect himself?" asked Sirius. "I don’t know," said Harry. "The last line was the most puzzling. It said, ‘the Dark Lord’s follower shall spill blood, not so innocent, signaling the beginning of the quest’." Since we haven’t heard so much as a peep out of Voldemort in the last five years, I assumed he didn’t have any followers." "Well, at least it says follower and not followers, one can’t be that bad," said Neville. "All he needed was Pettigrew to return fourth year," said Harry. "I think it’s time we tell them. James, Carly, Rose, Lily, and Hugo need to know. We said we would tell them when it looked like there was something to tell them. It looks like now is the time." Harry paused, thinking of Albus and their conversation at the Leaky Cauldron. Maybe things would have been easier on Albus these past few years if they had all known. "Tonight then?" asked Ron questioningly.
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harrypotterfanfiction.com :: 65,000 Ha… "Yes," said Harry. "I think we need to do this now, and everyone is already here."

"I’ll make sure Molly and I leave early enough for you to talk to everyone," said Arthur. "Let’s not worry her." Ron nodded. He remembered how protective his mother was of him and Ginny when the Order of the Phoenix began to battle Voldemort the last time. She would go positively spare if she knew something was going to happen. Just knowing Voldemort would return and that they were in danger sent her into a six month long fit about children fighting wars. Harry looked towards Ron and extended his empty glass towards him. "Pour me another mate, I think I’m going to need it," said Harry. ~ In the kitchen, Ginny was telling Molly and Hermione about Carly and Albus’s problems. They had both heard from Rose that something had happened, but Rose didn’t know what. "Those two poor dears," said Molly shaking her head. "So in love, with such terrible things to think about. Arthur and I were married by the time we were their age. We never had to worry about things like that. Of course, they really shouldn’t be thinking of sex until they are married, but then I’m not naive enough to think it doesn’t happen." "I’m just glad they worked it out," said Hermione with a smile. "I think we’re all just waiting for their wedding date." "They are definitely heading that way," said Ginny happily. "Al and Carly have been for a very long time." "How is Lily doing these days?" asked Molly. Ginny frowned. "All her friends have been dating, some have boyfriends, and she’s never been on a second date," said Ginny. "She’s only fifteen, but she seems so lonely. I kind of wish Lily would meet someone." "Rose tells me all she does is argue with that boy, what was his name, Tommy Morgan," said Hermione. "Rose thinks he fancies Lily, and Lily fancies him too." "Not another relationship like that," said Ginny with a smirk. "Like what?" asked Hermione, though she was pretty sure she knew exactly what Ginny meant. "I spent…how long watching you and my brother argue before you finally kissed him," said Ginny with a laugh. "Good thing you did too, or you might still be waiting." The three of them all laughed. "So," began Hermione once she had stopped laughing, "do you think Albus is going to enter the tournament." "I doubt it," said Ginny, a shiver running down her spine at the thought. "He knows what happened to Harry when he was forced into the Triwizard Tournament. I doubt Al would enter. He doesn’t look for excitement." Ginny paused. "I would be terrified if he did." "I wish we didn’t have to have it at all," said Hermione with a sigh. "Since the reinstatement of the Triwizard Tournament in 2013, this is the first time Hogwarts will host it. We don’t have a lot of choice. I am a little happier with it being a team competition now. I think it’s a lot safer this way. With a two
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harrypotterfanfiction.com :: 65,000 Ha… person team, they can watch each other’s back."

"Do you think Rose will enter?" asked Ginny. "I doubt it. She loves a challenge, but I can’t see her doing that," said Hermione. "That reminds me, you’ll both be happy to know, I have it on good authority that Charlie will be around for a while this fall." "Dragons for the tournament?" asked Ginny, nervously. She would be glad to see her brother, but was a little worried about having dragons around. "Yes," said Hermione. "I tried to convince Percy that the competition is too dangerous, but ever since it was reinstated in 2013, no one has been killed, and they feel it is important to foster international magical cooperation. I tried to talk them out of the dragons, but it was no good. I think dragons are going to be a tournament tradition for a long time." "When are you going to tell them the quidditch cup is canceled?" asked Ginny. Hermione smiled. "I won that battle," said Hermione. "I told Cho and Percy I was not canceling quidditch. Our teachers would not sacrifice any normal parts of the academic year for the Tournament, including sports. I said the Ministry would have to provide enough staff for the tournament. They agreed." "That’s wonderful," said Ginny with a smile. "Albus would be crushed if he didn’t get to try and win the cup one more time." Ginny was very glad James had graduated last year. When he was twelve, Ginny would have said he would absolutely have entered the tournament. He was not quite as enamored with adventures like the tournament after what happened to Albus in the Chamber of Secrets, but it was something he might do. She wasn’t really worried about Albus. "How was the tournament last time?" asked Ginny. Hermione had spent most of the 2018-2019 school year in France for the tournament leaving Ginny in charge at Hogwarts. "No one was hurt badly," said Hermione. She frowned. "All I could think about the whole time was how scared I was for Harry fourth year. It gave me nightmares." "We all were sacred," said Ginny with a shiver at the terrible memory. Ginny had never let on to anyone just how scared she was back then. She knew a thing or two about nightmares too. "It’s still dangerous, but there have been a lot of changes since the tournament when we were in school," said Hermione. "I think things will be fine." Hermione wished she felt as confident as she sounded. ~ Out in the garden, the boys were also deep in conversation. "So, where is everyone else?" asked Jason. "I expected to see Fred, Teddy, Victoire, and Hagrid at least." "Uncle George, Aunt Linda, and Fred are vacationing in Greece," said Albus. "Teddy and Victoire have been living in France for two years, and they couldn’t get back. Uncle Percy is, well, Uncle Percy. He’s busy at the Ministry. Uncle Charlie couldn’t get away from Romania, and Uncle Bill and Aunt Fleur are in Egypt for a few months, he is doing some curse breaking for Gringotts. Hagrid needed to stay at Hogwarts, apparently the giant squid has been ill lately, and it isn’t pretty."
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"James, you will tell me what Auror training is like right?" asked Hugo. "I think I am going to enter when I graduate if they will take me." "Sure I’ll tell you all about it," said James. "I’ll be graduated before you start, so I’ll have all the details for you." "Three years," said Danny sadly. "Three very long years." "Danny, I know you’ll miss Rose, but she loves you, you don’t need to worry," said James with a sympathetic smile. "She’ll be waiting every time you visit her." "I know," said Danny. "It’s just, with what happened second year…he’s still out there. I know she can take care of herself, but I worry about her." "She’s my best friend, I won’t let anything happen to her, I promise," said Albus reassuringly. "Besides we haven’t heard a word out of Voldemort since then. There is no reason to think he will return now. I’ll keep an eye on Rose." "That’s if you can get any time between classes and snogging Carly," said James with a laugh. They all laughed except Albus. He just smiled and put his hand on his pocket that contained a small box. "So James, are you excited about Auror training?" asked Jason. James had to admit he was not as excited as he might have been. He felt very much like Danny did. Ever since that day in the Chamber of Secrets, he was always close by to keep an eye on the New Marauders, and Albus especially. He was their leader, and he was worried about his brother, sisters, and cousins. He knew how powerful a wizard Albus was, James was always amazed at Albus’s wandless magic, but it still worried him not being there for his family. He felt like he had to look out for them all. "I guess," said James. "I’m going to miss Hogwarts. There is something about that castle, you know, something special. I just hate to leave it." ~ A while later, everyone gathered in the living room so Harry and Albus could open presents. Harry got, among other things, some books on Defense Against the Dark Arts, and a book called ‘A History of Hogwarts Quidditch’, which featured two chapters on his years as the Gryffindor Seeker. Albus got some books and five large boxes of his favorite candy, lemon drops. He was a little surprised his parent’s had not given him a pocket watch, as it was a tradition to give a wizard a pocket watch when he came of age, but he didn’t think much of it. He didn’t really need a pocket watch anyway. Carly was sitting next to Albus on the small couch. When he got to her present, he could see she was excited for him to open it. He unwrapped the package and opened the box to find a gold pocket watch on a gold chain. Albus took it out of the box and turned it over. On the back of watch was an engraved heart with ‘Albus & Carly’ engraved inside it. He turned to Carly. "Thank you, Carly, I love it," Albus said, leaning over and giving her a kiss. "Open it," whispered Carly with a smile. Albus raised an eyebrow, but did as she said, and pressed the button to open the watch face. Instead of hands, it had little Golden Snitches that told the time. Albus smiled, thinking that’s what she had wanted him to see. Then he realized what really was that she wanted him to see.
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harrypotterfanfiction.com :: 65,000 Ha… On the inside of the lid of the watch were two pictures. Albus knew these pictures well. He had larger versions of both that he kept on his nightstand. He never went to sleep without looking at them. On the left was the picture of him and Carly kissing at the Halloween Dance first year. The larger version she had given him for Christmas first year.

The one on the right was taken on Carly’s seventeenth birthday in April. Albus had begged his parents and Aunt to let Albus take her to London after classes were over that day. He hadn’t thought he had any chance of convincing them, but surprisingly, they didn’t put up much of an argument. Albus had borrowed a camera and taken Carly to a Muggle carnival. He had taken the picture at the top of the Ferris wheel. Carly was smiling and blowing a kiss at the camera when he took the picture. Albus closed the watch and turned to look at her. "I’ll always keep it with me, love," said Albus with a smile. Then he leaned in and gave her a kiss. They had a big cake for Harry and Albus, and after they had their fill of cake and some other wonderful desserts Ginny and Molly had made, they all sat around the living room talking. Albus looked around the room a moment at his family and friends. Uncle Ron was sitting on the couch between Albus’s mother, and Aunt Hermione. His father was sitting on the arm of the chair next to his mother. Albus was sitting next to Carly on the small couch. Everyone else was scattered throughout the room. Albus had considered a romantic setting to propose to Carly, but he decided that it was right to do it with the family around. Everyone was talking, so Albus just decided it was time to do it. Albus took a breath, stood up, and took a step forward. As he turned around he caught his father’s eye. Harry knew what Albus was about to do, and nodded encouragingly. Albus was standing in front of Carly. "What is it, Al?" asked Carly, looking up at him curiously. Albus knelt down on one knee in front of her. He could hear gasps behind him. It didn’t take a genius to know what he was about to do, though at the moment, Albus wasn’t sure how he was managing to do anything. His heart was pounding in is ear like a drum. Carly sat forward on the edge of the couch, her eyes were wide. She was unable to speak as she realized what was about to happen. Albus still wasn’t sure what he was going to say. He pulled the small box out of his pocket slowly to give himself another moment to think. He reached out and took her left hand in his. Albus took a breath, and looked up, right into Carly’s eyes. As soon as green met blue, emerald met sapphire, he knew exactly what to say. "Carly, six years ago, I boarded a train, thinking it was taking me to Hogwarts for the first time," said Albus. "What I didn’t know was that I boarded that train…so I could meet you. I’ll never forget that night at the Halloween Dance when I told you I loved you…because you said you loved me too. I remember waking up in the Hospital Wing…" "Which time, Al?" came Uncle Ron’s voice from over Albus’s shoulder. It was followed quickly by the distinct sound of two elbows hitting Uncle Ron in the ribs, and a groan. Albus smiled. "As I was saying, I remember waking up in the Hospital Wing," said Albus. "You were asleep in the next cot over, holding my hand. I knew then, that we would always be together. I made a promise to you that year to always be there for you. I love you, Carly, with all my heart. I love you and I always will. Carly…will you marry me?" Albus opened the box, containing the ring. He held it up in front of Carly so she could see the
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harrypotterfanfiction.com :: 65,000 Ha… inscription, ‘I love you and I always will’.

Carly had trouble getting her mouth to work to speak, and she was trembling. "Yes," Carly finally squeaked out with tears of joy in her eyes. Carly’s hand was shaking badly, but Albus managed to slip the ring on her finger. She looked at the ring, the diamond with the two emeralds and two sapphires around it. They both stood at once, and Carly put her arms around his neck and hugged him. Albus put his arms around her and lifted her right up off the ground, holding her tight. Behind them, clapping and cheers could be heard, but as far as Albus was concerned, at that moment, there was the two of them and no one else in the whole world. Chapter 4: Chapter 4 - The Beginning of the End [View Online] [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter] Chapter 4 – The Beginning of the End For nearly an hour, everyone wanted to see the ring, and the congratulations flew from every direction. It was a great time. Albus kept his arms around Carly the whole time, except for when he was getting a hug or having his hand shaken. Albus had to smile. Carly couldn’t stop tearing up every time she looked at him. Finally, Carly excused herself. After ten minutes, when Carly hadn’t come back, Albus went to check on her. He found the door to her bedroom slightly ajar. "Carly," said Albus as he pushed open the door. "Oh, Al," said Carly, as she wiped tears from her cheeks. She glanced towards the clock on her wall. "Sorry, I didn’t realize I had been gone so long." Albus saw the photo album open on her lap, and new instantly what she was doing. Albus smiled understandingly and sat down beside Carly, putting his arms around her. "They would have loved you…almost as much as I do," said Carly, blinking back a few more tears. She was looking at a picture of her parents. They were smiling and waving out of the picture. "I’m sorry," said Albus sympathetically. "I should have realized this is what you were doing. He kissed her forehead. "I wish I had gotten to meet them too." "And if you had, we might never have met," said Carly in a barely audible whisper. Carly watched her parents smiling out of the frame. It was always in the back of her mind that all the happiness she had with Albus would never have happened if they had survived. It was a terribly painful reality for her. Carly took a deep breath, and closed the photo album. "I know wherever they are they are very happy for us," said Carly. "I love you so much, Al. Come on, we should get back out there." ~ Molly and Arthur left around six o’clock, just after dinner. By eight o’clock, the dishes were cleared and everyone was again gathered in the living room. Albus and Harry both thought it had been their best birthday ever. Albus was engaged to Carly. He could never get a better birthday present than the women he loved saying ‘yes’.
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Harry was so happy for Albus and Carly. Harry thought of how much happiness he had had with Ginny over the years, and knew Albus would be just as happy with Carly. He could only hope that some day James and Lily would find that kind of happiness. Unfortunately, thinking about the future, reminded Harry that they still had something they needed to do. Harry hated to do it, but they were all there, and it really couldn’t wait. Harry looked to Ron, and Ron nodded, knowing it was time they did what they had to, and told everyone about the book. Harry stood up, but before he could say anything, the fireplace erupted in emerald flames, and a familiar face appeared. "Harry," said Kingsley, "I need you immediately. Something has happened, and I need you to meet me." Harry walked to the fireplace, and dispensed with any niceties. The tone of Kingsley’s voice gave Harry an ominous feeling. "Where, Kingsley?" asked Harry. "The graveyard in Little Hangleton," said Kingsley. "Hurry." Everyone in the room could see Harry stiffen at those words. They all knew what had happened there. When they first told the children about what happened all those years ago, Harry had left out the horrible details of that night, but over the years, all of those details had been discussed. Everyone in the room knew how terrible Harry’s first trip there had been. Harry didn’t need to hear any more from Kingsley. The graveyard in Little Hangleton was where he watched Cedric die and a nightmare return to life so long ago. "I’ll be right there," said Harry. Kingsley nodded, and disappeared from the fireplace as the flames returned to there normal color. "Ron, come with me," said Harry. Ron nodded and stood immediately. "Everyone, please stay here until we get back. Until we know what’s happened…I don’t think anyone should leave." "What’s going on?" asked James, the anxiety of hearing that this had to do with the graveyard in Little Hangleton was clearly evident in his voice. Lily was sitting beside James, and she reached over and took her brother’s hand as much for her own comfort as for his. "When we get back, we will explain everything," said Harry, giving Ginny, Hermione, looks that told them exactly what he was referring to. "I’m coming too," said Albus, pulling himself away from Carly. Carly had clamped her arms around Albus when Kingsley’s call came in. She was reluctant to let go of him. "No, Al, stay here," said Harry. "No, Dad," said Albus forcefully, but not disrespectfully. "I need to go. I don’t know why…but I feel like I should." Harry stared at him a moment, and then nodded. If the book was right, Albus could be destined for a meeting with Voldemort. Excluding him was probably not a good idea. Albus turned back to Carly. Her face was filled with fear, and she seemed on the verge of tears. "I’m sure we won’t be too long," said Albus softly. He leaned down and kissed her. "What happening, Al?" asked Carly in a trembling voice.
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harrypotterfanfiction.com :: 65,000 Ha… "Don’t worry, we’ll explain everything when we get back," said Albus. He kissed her forehead. "I love you."

Harry, Ron, and Albus headed outside, leaving several very confused and a room full of anxious people behind them. "Albus, you haven’t taken your apparition test yet, you’ll have to side-along apparate with me," said Harry. Albus nodded. He had this feeling, like this was important, like something was beginning, something ominous. Albus took his father’s hand, and with a "pop," the three of them disapparated. ~ Harry, Ron, and Albus apparated in front of the gates to the graveyard in Little Hangleton. Harry just stood there for a moment, looking at the gates. He had only been here twice. The night Cedric had died was still fresh in his mind, twenty-eight years later. He would never, could never, forget that awful night. The second time Harry had come here was just before he returned to Hogwarts for his seventh year. It had taken some debate in the ministry, but eventually it was decided that Voldemort’s body should be buried with the Riddle family. Harry had come to make sure he was buried. He just felt he needed to see that he was truly dead. It seemed like kind of a waste now, since Voldemort had returned, buried or not. "Are you all right, Harry?" asked Ron, putting his hand on Harry’s shoulder. "Yeah, Ron," said Harry absently. "I’m all right." Harry led Ron and Albus into the graveyard, towards where a number of Aurors and Ministry officials were milling around. As they approached the group, Kingsley broke away and came towards them. "Thank you for coming, Harry," said Kingsley. "I’m sorry, I know today is your birthday. I am sorry I couldn’t make it to the party." "That’s all right, Kingsley, I understand," said Harry. "The Minister of Magic’s work is never done. Now… what has happened?" Kingsley took a deep breath, all the time looking right at Harry. "Someone has stolen his body and wand," said Kingsley slowly. "We think it happened yesterday morning." One of the new lines of text in the book flashed through Harry’s mind at Kingsley’s statement. ‘The Dark Lord will seek out that which was taken from him long ago to be his resurrection’. That had to be it. Voldemort had taken back his body, but why? "Can I see the grave?" asked Harry. "Of course, just give me a moment to clear everyone out so you can have some privacy to examine the area," said Kingsley. Kingsley hurried off, and started to move people away from the grave that had once held the earthly remains of Tom Marvolo Riddle. Harry turned to Ron and Albus. "What does this mean, Dad?" asked Albus anxiously. Albus wasn’t sure why anyone would want Voldemort’s body, but he knew it couldn’t be for anything good. "I don’t know, Al," said Harry. "There was some more text in the book today. We were going to tell
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harrypotterfanfiction.com :: 65,000 Ha… everyone everything tonight, but Kingsley’s call interrupted us."

"Harry, Kingsley’s coming," said Ron looking over Harry’s shoulder. Harry turned to see Kingsley coming towards them. "Everyone is cleared out," said Kingsley. "Take as much time as you need." "Thanks, Kingsley," said Harry as Kingsley passed him heading for a group of officials that were gathered a ways away. Harry, Ron, and Albus walked toward the grave. The tombstone still stood where it had since Harry was last in the graveyard. The name, ‘Tom Marvolo Riddle’, was still clearly readable. Someone had however, scraped off the date of death, as if to correct a mistake. There really wasn’t much to see. The ground had been dug up with a spell, leaving a rectangular hole in the ground with smooth sides, as if four great blades had cut straight down into the ground and pulled the earth straight up whole. The dirt and grass was dropped in a heap a little ways away. The coffin still lay in the hole, the top was flipped open, and it was empty. Harry, Ron, and Albus looked around. There was nothing else to see. No sign that anyone had been there other than the whole in the ground and the scratched out date on the headstone. "What do you think, Dad?" asked Albus. "I think someone stole Voldemort’s body," said Harry flatly. "I think he meant beyond the obvious," said Ron. "Sorry," said Harry as he rubbed a hand across his scar. "I really don’t know what to think." "It’s all right, Dad," said Albus. Albus realized the scar on his right hand was tingling slightly. "Can you feel that he was here too?" "Yes," said Harry. "He was here. The part of him that was in us is long gone, but I think as long as he lives, he will always bare some small connection to us through our scars." They stood there silently, each contemplating what it all meant. Suddenly, Albus and Harry each screamed in pain. Harry, clutching a hand to the scar on his forehead. Albus clutching his right wrist as the scar in his palm burned. Both fell to there knees. Ron just looked on in shock. He didn’t know what to do. "I saw something," panted Albus as the pain subsided. "I was watching someone…kill a woman. She was being strangled, and I felt…" "Satisfied," said Harry. "Voldemort was satisfied and quite pleased with himself. The woman was Pansy Parkinson. Scorpius Malfoy was killing his mother." Harry could still see it in his mind, Scorpius had his hands around her neck, and he appeared to be enjoying it as she gasped and choked out words begging her son not to do this, as his hands squeezed tighter and tighter. Harry had noticed one of his wasn’t like the other hand. His left hand was silver, like Pettigrew’s hand that Voldemort had given him. Albus suddenly realized his father was right, it was Scorpius Malfoy he saw in the vision, older, but it was definitely Malfoy. Vision, was that even the right word for it, Albus wondered? Kingsley had come to where they were near the headstone with two Aurors when he heard Harry and Albus scream.
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harrypotterfanfiction.com :: 65,000 Ha… "What is it?" asked Kingsley, his concern written all over his face.

Harry and Albus were still on the ground recovering from the vision. "They had a, well, a vision, I guess, Kingsley," said Ron. "That’s a good a name for it as anything," said Harry. "We were seeing through Voldemort’s eyes, like I used to." Kingsley looked on grimly. "Is there anything I can do?" asked Kingsley. "Yes," said Harry still kneeling on the ground trying to catch his breath. "I need an address for Pansy Parkinson. She might still be going by Pansy Malfoy." Harry paused. "And I need a date of birth for Scorpius Malfoy, her son." Kingsley turned to one of the Aurors beside him. Without a word the Auror nodded and apparated away with a "pop." "Shouldn’t take too long," said Kingsley. "Pansy Parkinson works at the Ministry as a clerk in one of the offices. I don’t recall which one." "Let’s give them a minute," said Ron to Kingsley. Kingsley nodded, and turned to head back to where the other Aurors and Ministry officials were gathered with Ron and the other Auror close behind. Harry managed to get to his feet. It had been so many years. Harry had nearly forgotten how painful seeing through Voldemort’s eyes could be. Harry knew if he was seeing through Voldemort’s eyes, then he had been resurrected and was no longer the black mist that left Albus’s body in the Chamber of Secrets. Harry extended a hand down to Albus. Albus looked up at his father for a minute. "Was it always this bad?" asked Albus. "It was even worse than when he was inside my head in the Chamber of Secrets." "Yes, it’s always this bad," said Harry. "Fortunately, it only seems he drops his guard and when he is extremely happy or extremely angry." Albus took his father’s hand. His father helped him to his feet. Albus was white as a sheet. "I’ll have Uncle Ron take you home," said Harry. "No. I’m not going anywhere, except to get to the bottom of this," said Albus in a determined tone. "He has to be stopped. I promised you I would let you deal with him, but we have to find him first." Harry nodded. He knew there was no point in arguing. When Albus made up his mind, arguing with him was useless. "Dad," began Albus hesitantly, "while I was seeing Scorpius strange his mother, I felt…" "No," said Harry shaking his head. "It wasn’t what you felt, it was what Voldemort felt. Do not ever confuse the two." Albus nodded. "All right," said Albus. "What I don’t understand is how is this connection possible? I thought you and Voldemort shared a connection because a piece of his soul was inside you. I guess… he could have left something behind inside of me, but then how could he affecting you too?" This was a very good question, but one that Harry thought he might have an answer to. He had often wondered about his connection to Voldemort. Harry always wondered if there was more to it than Professor Dumbledore thought.
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"It’s our scars themselves," said Harry. "I don’t think Professor Dumbledore ever thought that my scar was in and of itself significant, it was just a mark left by the backfiring curse. The fact that you got the same scar when you came in contact with Voldemort suggests that there is more to it. Professor Dumbledore thought it was the piece of Voldemort’s soul inside me that connected us. I’m not sure that was completely true. I think the scar itself was and is linking us. It won’t do him any good since he can’t stand to be in our minds. Our ability to love will keep him out. However, when he lets down his guard, we will see into his mind whether we want to or not. When Ron and Hermione were hunting for the Horcruxes with me, there came a time when I could manage the pain. I think that was only because I actually had his soul inside me, and it was actually allowing me to manage the connection, like I had somehow broken the will of that piece of soul to resist me. Without it, I don’t think I can control the visions anymore than I just did." "So that means we can expect more of these cheerful experiences," said Albus with a mirthless chuckle. "Can’t you use Occlumency against him? I wish I’d learned it." "I tried," said Harry, shaking his head. "It didn’t help. I think that supports our scars being the connection." "Is there any way to break it?" asked Albus. "I mean…this could make life difficult." "I don’t think so," said Harry. "I don’t think the connection between us would ever be truly severed… until he or us are dead. Al, are you…all right?" Albus was staring up into the starry sky. "Have I made a mistake, Dad?" asked Albus, as he looked toward his father. His eyes couldn’t hide his fear. "Should I not have asked Carly to marry me?" "No," said Harry forcefully. He put his hands on Albus’s shoulders. "I nearly pushed your mother away to protect her once. Do not make that mistake, Al." A moment later, Ron returned to them. "I have the address," said Ron. "It’s not far from Grimmauld place, why don’t we apparate there, then we can walk to Pansy’s flat. I told Kingsley we would be leaving. He said to let him know if you needed anything and to keep him informed." "Ron, what about Malfoy’s birthday?" asked Harry. "It was yesterday, July thirtieth," said Ron. "I assume that means something." Harry nodded, he had a pretty good idea what that meant. "Let’s go then," said Harry. Albus took his father’s hand, and they all apparated away. ~ They didn’t say much during the walk from Number Twelve Grimmauld Place to Pansy’s flat. Harry kept thinking about what all this could mean. Was Voldemort coming for them? Was an attack imminent? It couldn’t be thought Harry. If it were Voldemort and Scorpius, they would need followers if they were to attack. If Voldemort had gathered an army there would be signs of it. He was pretty sure he knew why it was all happening now though. Albus on the other hand had only one thought, Carly. He had to protect her. His father was right. Pushing her away would be a mistake, and it was one Albus was determined to not make. Pushing her away wouldn’t make her safe, stopping Voldemort would, and that is what he had to do. Albus couldn’t get the image of Scorpius strangling his own mother out of his mid. Scorpius was a monster and Albus knew he was capable of anything. He could be very nearly as dangerous as Voldemort.
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harrypotterfanfiction.com :: 65,000 Ha… When they reached Pansy’s flat, Harry and Ron drew their wands and approached the door cautiously. Albus didn’t need a wand.

"Al," whispered Harry. "Stay here." Albus was about to protest, but he nodded and waited in the hall. Harry tried the doorknob. It wasn’t locked and Harry pushed the door open and entered the flat with Ron right behind him. In the hall, Albus heard Ron exclaim, "bloody hell!" Albus couldn’t wait. He entered the flat, prepared to wandlessly cast a spell if necessary. Albus saw something he would never forget. In the vision, Scorpius was strangling his mother. Albus thought the vivid image of her eyes bulging out as she gasped for breath, and the sadistic grin on Scorpius’s face would stay with him forever, but now, Albus knew Scorpius hadn’t stopped at strangling her. He had ripped her to pieces. It looked like a pack of wild animals had ripped her apart. There was blood everywhere, and body parts were strewn about as if a bomb had gone off inside her. Albus ran into the hall, fell to his knees and got sick. Harry and Ron quickly followed him to the hall and knelt down beside him. "Al," said Harry sympathetically. "Are you all right?" "Fat lot of good I’ll be fighting Voldemort getting sick like this at the sight of blood," said Albus bitterly. He couldn’t believe he had gotten sick like a little child. "I’ve thrown up at loads of crime scenes," said Ron. "Your Dad can tell you all about it. I used to have a very weak stomach. At crime scenes I sometimes looked like I had gotten a hold of a Puking Pasty." Albus laughed, his anger at himself ebbing. "Thanks, Uncle Ron," said Albus appreciatively. Harry conjured Albus a glass of water, and after Albus had a minute to calm down, Harry helped him to his feet. "Ron, let Kingsley know what happened here," said Harry. "I think Al and I are going to go for a walk, and we’ll meet you at home shortly." "Sure Harry," said Ron, and with a "pop" he was gone. Harry and Albus walked in silence down the street a little ways and found a small park. They sat on a bench, and for a few moments, said nothing. "I’m sorry, Al," said Harry, breaking the silence. "I didn’t want this life for you." "It’s not your fault, Dad," said Albus. "You didn’t choose this." Albus paused. "We’ll stop him. I won’t let him hurt us anymore. I’m ready for him." Harry looked at his son next to him on the bench. The young boy who was afraid of Thestrals and being sorted in Slytherin was gone. Harry saw the man his son had become, and it made him proud beyond words. "It’s going to be a difficult evening," said Harry. "James is going to be very upset that we never told him about the book." "Yeah, he will," said Albus with a nod. "I just hope Carly isn’t angry with me for not telling her."
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harrypotterfanfiction.com :: 65,000 Ha… "We wanted to protect them," said Harry with a smile. "You could have told her, but you didn’t for the same reason. You can’t help trying to protect the people you love. Carly may be upset…but look on the bright side…Carly doesn’t have your Mum’s temper."

Albus laughed. "This is true," said Albus. "Thanks, Dad." "We better get home, Al," said Harry with a sigh. "This is not going to be pleasant. I’ve been dreading it for five years." "They all know Voldemort didn’t die," said Albus trying to reassure his father that everyone would take it well. "They knew he would return someday. They might be a little upset they didn’t know the truth, but I’m sure it will be all right." Harry nodded. He wished he were as certain as Albus was that everyone would take it all right. He thought Lily and Hugo would understand. Carly might be upset, but she couldn’t stay mad at him or Albus. Rose was too logical and thoughtful to let it upset her. James on the other hand, he might take it very badly. Chapter 5: Chapter 5 - Coming Clean [View Online] [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter] Chapter 5 – Coming Clean When Harry and Albus walked through the front door, everyone including Ron was already sitting in the living room. Everyone looked a little nervous. Albus immediately went and sat next to Carly, put his arms round her, and gave her a kiss. He could feel her relax in his arms, her tension melting away. He was glad of it, but he hated that she was worried. Harry retrieved the book from his bedroom and returned to the living room. He surveyed the group before him. Albus had his arms around Carly on the short couch. Danny had his arms around Rose in a large chair. Ron was holding Hermione’s hand on the couch. Lily was sitting next to Ginny also on the couch. Hugo, Jason, and James were standing behind the couch. Neville and Sirius were each in a chair. Everyone was silent. "All of you recall what happened five years ago on May second," said Harry. "I don’t need to remind you. What you don’t know is what happened earlier that year." Harry explained how Hermione had received the box with the memory and list of names from Susan Bones, and how the story that Neville’s Grandmother told him seemed to fit with it, and how they tried to find out more, but couldn’t. Then he explained learning of the existence of the book, and finally receiving the book from Kingsley on May second, 2018. "The reason we didn’t tell all of you about this was that we really didn’t know any more than what had already happened," said Harry. "I told Al because, he and I are the only ones who can read the book. No one else can see the text. We’ll get to why that is later. In light of what happened today and tonight, we thought the time had come to tell you." "What did happen?" asked James, a touch of anger in his voice. "I’ll get to that, but first I need to tell you what was in the book back then," said Harry. "The book starts with this passage to me." Heed my words Savior. This book will tell you what is to come, and also what has transpired, but only
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harrypotterfanfiction.com :: 65,000 Ha… when the time is right. It can and will change. The future can be changed by sheer force of will. Destiny cannot be denied.

"What does that all mean?" asked Hugo curiously. "Well, we think it means the book will foretell the future, as well as record the past, which it seems to do," said Harry. "Unfortunately, it seems we won’t know the future until the time is right. The future can change, it’s not written in stone, but destiny can’t be changed. We already know the book can change, we saw it happen." "What changed?" asked Carly. "Why did it change?" Albus knew what was coming and held her a little tighter as she leaned back against him. He looked at his father. Harry got the message. Albus turned Carly a little in his arms until she was facing him, a questioning look on her face. "Dad will give you all the details, but the book said I was going to die in the Chamber of Secrets," said Albus. After Fawkes saved me…those words had vanished." Silence filled the room, as everyone looked toward Albus and Carly. Albus felt Carly shudder in his arms, a look of terror in her eyes. Albus pulled her back so her back was against him again, his arms wrapped tightly around her. "It’s all right, love," whispered Albus soothingly into Carly’s ear. Don’t think about it, it didn’t happen." Carly nodded, and put her hand on top of Albus’s across her stomach. A moment later, Harry continued. "This passage was signed by Merlin," said Harry. "We believe he wrote the book." "Merlin himself?" asked Lily with wide eyes. "Then that’s why you’ve done so much research on Merlin these last few years." Harry nodded. "The book goes on to tell the story of my life," said Harry. "It’s written as if it was a prophecy, but having lived the events, it matches the things from when I was in school exactly. It’s the next page that is going to come as a bit of a shock. James, Rose, Carly, Lily, Hugo you are involved in this." Harry looked toward Ginny who gave him a reassuring nod. Harry began to read the words form the next page of the book. It will come to pass, that The Twelve shall gather. Twelve witches and wizards bound by friendship and blood. The fate of the world rests with them. Led by the Savior, they will do battle with worst evil ever known. If they fail, the world will forever be bathed in darkness, blood, and death.The Twelve The First. He is the Savior. It falls to him to defeat the Dark Lord, eyes of emerald he has and the weight of the world on his shoulders. The Second. The Savior’s mate, fiery in appearance and personality ever stands by the Savior’s side as the source of his strength. The Third. The Savior’s brother, courageous, passionate, and of good humor, he is ever ready to aid the Savior in his quest.
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The Fourth. The Savior’s sister, she is the teacher her spirit as unbreakable as diamond her friendship as strong as steel. She is the Savior’s conscience. The Fifth. The Savior’s friend, the life giver, he possesses loyalty unquestioned, and bravery beyond measure, he will fight to the last for the Savior’s cause. The Sixth. The Heir’s brother his protector, a warrior born possessing courage and bravery beyond measure. The Seventh. The Heir of the Savior, heir of the power to vanquish evil, it will fall to him to defeat the Dark Lord if the Savior falls. The Eighth. The Heir’s mate, the source of his power, her love is without question, her resolve, unyielding. The Ninth. The Sage, the Heir’s friend, her wisdom is her strength, and her knowledge is her power, she shall be the Heir’s conscience. The Tenth. The Healer. She is caring and loving with an unbreakable will her healing touch can save them all. The Eleventh. The Trickster, cunning and clever, and loyal to the end his good humor will provide balance. The Twelfth. The Counsel, returned from beyond the veil, his advice is invaluable to the success of the quest. These Twelve, warriors all, must face the Dark Lord if his evil is to be vanquished forever. If the Savior and the Heir fall, only a great act of evil can destroy the Dark Lord. There was silence for several minutes. "I’m The Sixth," said James. He wore and unreadable expression "I’m The Eighth," said Carly in a whisper. "I’m The Ninth," said Rose. As she said it, it was obvious to everyone that Danny tightened his arms around her. "I’m the Tenth," said Lily. She had an awful feeling in the pit of her stomach. "I’m the Eleventh," said Hugo with a grin. "Merlin thought I’d be cunning and clever. Smart bloke, Merlin was." Most of them laughed, albeit fleetingly. After a few more minutes of silence, James spoke again. "This is why we trained," said James. "You knew the twelve of us would have to face Voldemort one day." James was looking right at his father, and Harry could tell he was very angry. "Yes," said Harry. "We suspected it early that year, and once we had the book we knew." "James, you…all of you have to understand," said Hermione trying to help calm James down. "If we had known anything for sure, we would have told you." "We had hoped you would all be out of school before anything happened," said Ron with a sigh. "It
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hasn’t worked out that way." "What exactly did the book say would happen that day Albus almost…you know?" asked Carly. She finished the sentence with a shiver. The thought that Albus had nearly died was really starting to set in, and Carly felt as if her blood had turned to ice. Albus kissed her cheek. That helped a lot, it always did when she was upset about something. Harry turned the page and read the words. As the ninth month dawns in the thirty-sixth year since the Dark Lord first fell, two souls shall meet. One bathed in loss, shall be cleansed, the other wrapped in fear shall be released, as they heal each other. On the anniversary of the Dark Lord’s first fall, two hearts will beat as one, and the Dark Lord will mark the vessel of his return. On the anniversary of the Dark Lord’s second fall, a baptism of blood will open the door for the Dark Lord’s return. A noble sacrifice born of love, bathed in innocent blood will delay the Dark Lord’s rise. "Those first two parts are about us, Al," said Carly turning to look him in the eyes. Albus nodded. "I didn’t know any of that until after it was all over," said Albus. He smiled. "I guess we were just meant to be." Carly nodded to him and turned back around settling against him again. "When we first looked at it, the last line was a little longer," said Harry. "It said, ‘as one of The Twelve falls.’ Those words had disappeared after we came out of the Chamber of Secrets." "Why are you telling us this now?" asked James. The anger was still evident in his voice, and he was leaning on the back of the couch, squeezing it so hard his knuckles were white. Harry stared at James for a moment. James just stared back. His hardened expression was unflinching. "Well for the first time in five years, yesterday, I didn’t check to see if any new text had appeared in the book," said Harry. He grinned. "What can I say? I forgot." "You’re forgiven," said Ginny, trying to lighten the atmosphere. "Just this once." After a moment of muted laughter during which James expression never changed, Harry continued. "This morning, the next page had this text," said Harry. Harry turned the page and read. The final chapter begins. The Dark Lord will seek out that which was taken from him long ago to be his resurrection. The Dark Lord’s follower shall spill blood, not so innocent, signaling the beginning of the Dark Lord’s quest. "Yesterday, Voldemort’s body was stolen from his grave," said Harry. "That’s why Kingsley called for me to meet him. While Ron, Albus and I were in the graveyard, Albus and I had a vision, a lot like the ones I used to get. We could see what Voldemort was seeing." "I thought the piece of Voldemort’s soul inside you was destroyed," said Ginny, alarm evident in her voice.
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Carly couldn’t take it anymore. She turned partially in Albus’s arms and put her arms around him, and buried her face against his neck. He could feel her tears on his skin, and did his best to comfort her. Harry explained his theory about his and Albus’s scars to all of them. "That would make sense, Harry," said Hermione thoughtfully. "I agree, there was never an adequate explanation for your scar." "That settles it mate," said Ron with a smile. "You’ve got the Headmistress’s seal of approval." Hermione shook her head, but couldn’t hide her grin. "What was in the vision?" asked Rose, moving them back on track. "We saw Scorpius Malfoy," said Harry. "Scorpius was murdering his mother. We confirmed that, she’s dead." Harry left out the condition they found Pansy in. He didn’t think Carly especially could handle that right now. "Yesterday was Scorpius Malfoy’s seventeenth birthday. I believe that must have something to do with it, but I’m not sure what yet. In the vision, Scorpius appeared to have lost his left hand." "That could have had to do with the injury that…he sustained the day he disappeared," said Ginny. "Yes," said Harry. "That is one possibility. It’s also possible he lost it the same way Peter Pettigrew did. So, I guess really, the most important thing is that Voldemort is back. Eventually, he will come." After a few minutes of silence, Harry spoke again. "That’s really all we know," said Harry. "Jason, Danny, even though you aren’t in the book, you were there at the beginning, and I thought you should know. Please don’t discuss this with anyone outside of this room." Both nodded. "This is a lot to digest," said Ginny. "I think we should all get some sleep and discuss this some more in the morning. Ron, Hermione, why don’t you all stay here tonight, and we can all talk in the morning. Danny, Jason, you are welcome to stay." Danny nodded. He had never been so scared in his life. The thought that Voldemort would eventually be coming to kill them all, to kill Rose, was almost more than he could handle. "I can’t stay," said Jason. "I have early practice tomorrow, I really need to get home." He paused. "Thanks for inviting me, I had a great time." Jason turned and headed towards the door, then stopped and turned around. "I had a contract with the New Marauders long before Puddlemere United. If you ever need anything…I’m just an owl away. Don’t hesitate to call." Jason walked over to where James stood against the wall, his arms crossed. He had finally decided to stop trying to strangle the couch. Jason clapped him on the shoulder and then left. Sleeping arrangements were quickly made. Ron and Hermione would take the guest room. Rose would stay with Carly in her room. Hugo would stay with Albus, Danny would stay with James, and Neville would stay with Sirius. After some sleeping bags were conjured, and goodnights were said, everyone headed for there rooms, but all knew there would be very little sleeping that night. Chapter 6: Chapter 6 - Conversations [View Online] [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter] Chapter 6 – Conversations

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harrypotterfanfiction.com :: 65,000 Ha… That night a lot of different conversations were taking place at the same time in the Potter house. Most however, related to the very same subject. The return of Voldemort, and the revelation of ‘The Prophecy of the Twelve’ were worrying them all, but how they handled it and reacted to it was quite different.

Ginny sat in her room, brushing her hair as she did every night. It was one thing she preferred to do without magic. Her hair was never quite as well brushed when she used magic. It had been quite a day. She had known this was coming for five yeas, but it didn’t make it any easier. Her family was in danger. She had known that for six years, but now it seemed so much more real now that they all knew. She had seen a lot of shock in Rose, Lily, and Hugo’s faces, and the fear in Carly’s face was heartbreaking. However, it was the anger in her oldest son’s face that concerned Ginny. In the bathroom adjoining their bedroom, Harry leaned on the sink and stared at his own reflection in the mirror. More specifically, he stared at the scar on his forehead. He had forgotten how much it hurt when he saw through Voldemort’s eyes. Harry had to admit, Albus reacted to it better than he had so long ago when he first started with the visions. Harry knew Albus much stronger than he ever was. Harry emerged from the bathroom to see Ginny was already lying in bed, lying under the covers. She appeared to be lost in thought. Harry slid into bed beside her, and put his arms around her, pulling her close to him. "Are you all right?" asked Harry softly. "That was an awful lot tonight." "It was," said Ginny. Ginny really didn’t want to discuss Voldemort any more tonight. She smiled as another topic entered her mind. "So, what do you think about our son and daughter’s engagement?" Harry smiled. "Well, to tell the truth, I already knew," said Harry. "We went to get the ring in Diagon Alley yesterday. He told me he had been thinking about it for a while, but with everything recently, he wasn’t sure she would say yes." "They will be very happy," said Ginny. After a moment Ginny’s smile disappeared. AS hard as she was trying not to think about everything else, she couldn’t help but worry about James. "What is it, love?" asked Harry. "Are you all right?" "I’m all right," said Ginny sliding her arms around her husband’s neck. "I’m just worried about James. He seemed so angry tonight." "I know," said Harry with a sigh. "I think he is angry with me, probably for telling Al and not telling him. I’ll try and talk to him tomorrow." "They will all have to fight, won’t they?" asked Ginny, a little bit of fear in her voice. "Yes," said Harry. "I will do whatever I can to prevent it, the future can be changed after all." Harry paused. "But, if destiny cannot be changed, I fear they will have to fight. You know we can’t protect them from it." "I know," said Ginny. "I’m just worried about them." "Me too," said Harry. "Tomorrow, we have to make sure they know they have to live their lives, and when it happens, we will deal with it. I won’t have them spend their time worrying about this…like I did all too often." "Yeah," said Ginny. "I know. We waited five years for something. It could be five more before we get anything else. Just don’t forget, you have to live your life as well."
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harrypotterfanfiction.com :: 65,000 Ha… "I know, Ginny," said Harry looking deep into her beautiful brown eyes. "They are far better prepared than we were, and they have all of us standing beside them. I’m scared for them, but they are strong, smart, and well trained. They’ll be all right."

Harry leaned down and kissed Ginny, deeply and passionately. "Are you trying to make me forget what’s going on?" asked Ginny with a breathless smile when he broke the kiss. "Is it working?" asked Harry with a grin. "As a matter of fact it was," said Ginny. "Good," said Harry, as he leaned in and kissed her again. ~ Ron and Hermione were both sitting up in bed in the guest room. Neither had said anything since they had left the living room, but both knew what the other was thinking. Finally Ron broke the silence. "Are you all right, love?" asked Ron, turning to her. Hermione just stared straight ahead for a moment. "I don’t know," whispered Hermione. "I knew this day was coming, but I wasn’t really ready for it." Ron put his arms around her and hugged her. Hermione rested her heard on his shoulder. "I know," said Ron sympathetically. "I’m afraid for them too. At least Rose and Hugo seemed to take it well." Hermione chuckled. "They took it better than I did," said Hermione. "They take after you like that, they don’t really let too many things bother them. They just roll with the punches. I’m just scared for them." "Hey, Rose is the smartest witch at Hogwarts since her mother, and Hugo may be a practical joker, but you know he can handle whatever gets thrown at him," said Ron. "They’ll be fine." Ron paused. "To be honest, I was more worried about Danny." "What do you mean?" asked Hermione quizzically. "Did you see how he was holding Rose?" asked Ron, an edge of anger evident in his voice. "If I see his hands all over my daughter again, I’m going to kill him, and end up in Azkaban, but it will be worth it." Hermione frowned. "Come on Ron," said Hermione exasperatedly. "He wasn’t doing anything wrong. He just had his arms around her waist. In fact, did you see the look on his face? He was completely scared to death when Harry was reading from the book. He loves her." "I’ll give him something to be scared to death of," said Ron coldly. Hermione sighed. "Ron, she’ll always be your little girl," said Hermione. "You just have to accept, you’ll have to share her with Danny." "Share her with Danny," said Ron indignantly. "She’s just a kid." "She’s seventeen years old, Ron," said Hermione with a sigh. "She is an adult whether you want to see it or not. You better stop treating Rose like she’s eleven. If you don’t she’s likely to take off with him and not come back. It really upsets her when you treat her like a child." Ron opened his mouth to say something, but didn’t. He closed his eyes and took a breath. "I know,"
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harrypotterfanfiction.com :: 65,000 Ha… said Ron with a sigh. "I just can’t help it. She’s my little girl."

"Ron, I know you don’t want to see it, but you should be happy that she has found someone that she loves," said Hermione. "I couldn’t ask for a better man for Rose. He’ll always love her, and he’ll never hurt her. If you’d give Danny a chance, you’d see that." After a few minutes of silence, Hermione decided to change the subject. "Ron, I was thinking, we should probably increase security at the school," said Hermione. "Just in case." "I was thinking the same," said Ron with a nod. "Maybe we can hire a couple of security guards to help keep an eye on things. I’ll see if I can find someone tomorrow. I’m a little bit uncomfortable with having to host the tournament, but I suppose there is no way around that." "Well, I’m sure Viktor will keep his students in line," said Hermione hiding a smile. "I’m really looking forward to seeing Vickie again," said Ron sarcastically. "Ron don’t be jealous," said Hermione with a grin. "I’m a one wizard witch, and that wizard is you. Besides, there was never anything serious between Viktor and I." "I know," said Ron softly. "I’m just nervous you’ll realize you could have had better than me." "There is that," said Hermione, trying unsuccessfully to suppress a laugh. "Thanks, love," said Ron. His next comment was quelled when she kissed him. ~ "What do you think, Sirius?" asked Neville as he rolled out his sleeping bag on top of the mattress he conjured on the floor of Sirius’s bedroom. "I think Harry handled that well, but I can tell he’s worried," said Sirius as he lay down on his bed. "I’m worried about him, he would take it all upon himself if he could." "Yeah, that’s Harry," said Neville, as he lay down and zipped up his sleeping bag. "I guess we’ll have to keep reminding him, we’re all with him to the end." "Did you see James reaction?" asked Sirius. "James was very upset." "Yeah, that was hard to miss," said Neville sarcastically. "He was more than upset. I thought he was trying to strangle the couch for a minute. The others seemed to take it well though, except for Carly." "Well, you can hardly blame her," said Sirius with a sigh. "After all she has been through, then Albus proposes and it gets marred by this. Poor thing." Sirius was quiet for a moment. "This is going to get ugly, Neville." "I know, Sirius," said Neville. "I’ve known that for a long time, but whatever happens, we’ll deal with it. My whole family is on Voldemort’s hit list. He’ll have to get through me to get to any of them. I’m in this to the end." "Amen to that," said Sirius. Sirius couldn’t help but think about the question he still had never answered these last six years. Why had he returned from the dead? There had to be something more than just to be ‘The Counsel’, and give them all advice, though he certainly seemed to do that all the time. He had often wondered why it hadn’t been James or Lily who returned from death. Either would have
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harrypotterfanfiction.com :: 65,000 Ha… done anything to spend time with Harry and they were so deserving of it. Sirius felt so unworthy of this gift, especially after what happened the night James and Lily died. Peter Pettigrew had betrayed them, but Sirius felt what he had done was just as bad. He had never told a soul what happened that night, not even Remus. Sirius closed his eyes to sleep, knowing that another nightmare was soon to come. One thing he knew for sure, he deserved every one of them.

~ When James and Danny went to James’ room, both were very quiet. Danny rolled out his sleeping bag on the floor and lay down. "Are you all right, mate?" asked Danny from the floor. James was sitting on the edge of his bed, staring at nothing. "Fine," said James. "Why wouldn’t I be? I just found out my parents have been lying to me for five years." "James, you know they did it to protect you," said Danny reassuringly. "It wasn’t like knowing would have made any difference." James was quiet for a moment. James was so angry that his father hadn’t told him. He could have helped them if he had known. The book said he was supposed to have been protecting Albus. He could have done that if he had known. "It doesn’t matter now," said James with a sigh. "Are you all right, Danny? With the grip you had on Rose, I was surprised she could breath." Danny stared at the ceiling. "I’m scared to death, James," said Danny softly. "I love her more than anything. Someday I want to marry her. I don’t know what I would do if anything happened to her, and I can’t stomach the thought of being away from her." The thought sent a shiver down his spine. "Rose will be all right," said James. "Hell, you’ve seen her in training. I wouldn’t want to mess with her she’s downright lethal. Except of course if there is a thunderstorm." "Don’t mention her thunderstorm problem in front of her," said Danny grinning. "She is libel to knock you on your backside." Danny had to smile. James was right, Rose was a fighter. But she was so much more. Rose was kind, gentle, caring, beautiful, and so smart. She was the sweetest girl he had ever met, but was so strong at the same time. Danny knew James was right. Rose could more than take care of herself. Still, he was worried. How could he not worry about her having to face Voldemort? How could he go to London for Auror training while she was in danger? "If you’re that worried, you could always marry her," said James. It won’t help you this year, but you can get a flat in London and then you won’t have to be away from her. "Al is marrying Carly, so why not?" "James, please don’t be offended, but everyone knows your family is one of the wealthiest Wizarding families in Britain," said Danny with a sigh. None of you act like it, like some of the rich people do, but, well, I don’t have money. I can’t just get married, like Al can. I need to get through Auror training first and make enough money for a ring and so I can buy a house." Danny knew that Rose was going to work at the Ministry, but he was old fashion. Danny thought he at least needed to be able to take care of her, even if he didn’t have to, before he asked her to marry him.
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James never thought of his family as wealthy, but the truth is, they were. He had a trust fund he received on his seventeenth birthday, and didn’t need the income from being an Auror. It was just what he wanted to do. "Sorry, Danny," said James. "I really don’t think about money, you’re right, I’m sorry." "Don’t be," said Danny with a chuckle. "Your family has always been good to me, and never judged me for not having money." They were silent for a few minutes. James had been thinking about something from the moment his father read the passage calling him, ‘the Heir’s brother his protector’. How could he go to Auror training when Merlin himself had entrusted him with protecting Albus? James knew Albus didn’t need protecting. James was loath to admit it, but with Albus’s wandless magic, he couldn’t take Albus in a fight if his life depended on it, though they were about evenly matched in hand to hand combat and with swords. Did any of that really matter though? "Danny, I’m not starting Auror training in the fall," said James slowly, his mind made up. Danny was not surprised to hear this. He had been having similar thoughts. He couldn’t leave Rose with everything going on. "Then what are we going to do?" asked Danny. James didn’t even think twice when Danny said ‘we’. "We should get a place in Hogsmeade and find jobs there," said James. "At least we’ll be close to them." "Agreed," said Danny. Auror training could wait until this was over. Unfortunately, that would also mean that asking Rose to marry him would have to wait as well. He would be there for Rose no matter what. He just hoped she would be all right with it. ~ In Carly’s room, she and Rose were both sitting cross-legged on her bed talking. Rose had changed into her pajamas, but Carly was still dressed as she was going to meet Albus later. So far, they had avoided discussing the prophecy and were talking about Albus’s proposal. "I thought my heart stopped when he knelt down in front of me," said Carly with a dreamy look on her face. "Al must have practiced that speech for hours," said Rose with a smile. "I’m so happy for both of you. Have you ever discussed wedding plans or the future or anything like that, I know you haven’t had time to talk tonight?" "No, we haven’t," said Carly with a shrug. "That’s why I wanted to meet him later, so we could talk about what we are going to do." Carly smiled. "I knew years ago someday he would ask me to marry him, and I’ve dreamt of it, but I wasn’t expecting it tonight. I haven’t really thought about what we do now. I’m just so happy." Just then they heard a light knock on the door. "Come in," called Carly. The door opened, and Lily poked her head in. "Hey," said Lily. "Would you mind if I stay with you two tonight. I really don’t want to be alone." "Of course," said Carly. The look on Lily’s face was troubled. Lily came in and closed the door behind her. She had a sleeping bag under her arm and was already wearing her pajamas. She dropped the sleeping bag on the floor before joining her cousin and sister on the bed.
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"What’s wrong, Lily?" asked Rose with concern. Lily hung her head for a moment. When she looked up, it was clear she had been crying. "I was just sitting in my room thinking about what the book said," said Lily, as she wiped away a stray tear. "It said I was ‘The Healer’." "Well, it makes sense," said Carly. "That’s what you want to be, right? What is it, Lily?" "You’re obviously upset," said Rose. "What’s wrong?" Lily took a deep breath. What she had sat in her room thinking about scared her terribly. She had suddenly realized she was crying. "I know Healers lose patients," said Lily. "I know sometimes Healers have to make life and death decisions. Not every injury and illness can be cured." Her voice started to crack a little bit as she spoke. "What if I’m supposed to heal one of our family…and I can’t? What if I have to make a decision that could cost someone I love their life?" "Oh, Lily," said Rose, putting he arms around her while Carly took her hand. "What if one of us is going to be hurt fighting Voldemort and I’m meant to save them and I can’t," said Lily. Tears were now running freely down her cheeks. "You can’t think like that, Lily," said Carly sympathetically. "You already know more healing spells than any witch your age ever has. Whatever happens, you’ll be able to do what you are supposed to do." "I guess," said Lily, drying her eyes. "Here I’ve been worrying about not having a boyfriend, and I should have been spending that time learning more healing spells." "Come on, Lily," said Rose. "You can’t think that way. I’m scared too. I’m supposed to be ‘The Sage’. I’m afraid I won’t think of something I’m supposed to and someone will get hurt. Obsessing over it won’t help you, it’ll just make you miserable, and that won’t help anyone, especially you." Lily nodded. She knew Rose was right, but the thought that the people she loved could die because she couldn’t heal them was hard to put out of her mind. "I feel bad. You all seem to have it so hard," said Carly. "It seems I just have to love and support Al. I don’t have any doubt I can do that." The thought of Albus reminded her she wanted to meet him at midnight, and it was now eleven forty-five. "Don’t feel bad," said Lily mustering a smile. "Just because I’m beating myself up with worry, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be happy." Carly nodded and smiled. "I’m meeting Al at midnight, I want to talk about some things with him," said Carly. "Lily, you take the bed, I’m not going to sleep much tonight anyway." Carly looked at the ring on her finger and smiled. "I’m a little too excited to sleep." Lily smiled. "You’re going to be a beautiful bride," said Lily. "Thanks," said Carly. Carly got up from the bed and gave Lily a hug and a kiss on her forehead. She still looked miserable and Carly hated to see her sister upset. Carly headed for the living room, and found it deserted. She sat down on the couch to wait for Albus. As she did, she started to daydream about the wedding and her future as Mrs. Carly Potter. ~
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Albus sat at his desk in his room. He was still wearing his jeans and jumper. He had not gotten undressed because he knew he was going back out again to see Carly. It was eleven thirty, and Hugo was already asleep in his sleeping bag on the floor. Hugo had thought it was cool that he was part of the prophecy. Hugo thought it was an honor that Merlin himself had called him a ‘trickster’. Albus knew Merlin had got that part right. Hugo had been responsible for numerous pranks during his time at Hogwarts. He couldn’t get away with much at home as everyone knew enough to be on the lookout. Hugo’s most epic prank was during last year’s Gryffindor versus Slytherin quidditch match. Hugo had cast a spell on the pitch so that when Slytherin scored a goal the pitch smelled like rotten eggs for five minutes. His mother had given him a month’s detentions for it, though truth be told, Albus was pretty sure Aunt Hermione was nowhere near as upset as she acted. Uncle Ron was as proud as could be, at least when Aunt Hermione wasn’t around. The thought of quidditch made Albus smile. He was pretty sure he would be team captain this year and they would be trying to bring Gryffindor its seventh consecutive cup victory. With James, who had been team captain since Victoire graduated, Danny, and Jason gone, it left Albus as Seeker, Rose and Hugo as Chasers, and Tommy Morgan as Beater. He knew they had a Keeper as Joshua Green who would be a fourth year this year had been an alternate last year and was quite good. The team still needed a Chaser and a Beater though. Albus had thought everyone, except James had taken the news that evening pretty well. He was worried about Carly of course. It was really the shock of finding out that he was apparently supposed to have died that got to her. Carly had asked him to meet her on the couch at midnight, she wanted to talk to him, but she didn’t say about what. Carly hadn’t said much of anything about what his Dad had told them. Albus thought she might be upset with him for keeping it from her for the past five years. It wouldn’t do any good to dwell on it though, and it was just about midnight. Albus quietly opened the door so as not to wake Hugo, and left his room. As he approached the doorway to the living room, he heard someone talking. When he got to the door, he saw Carly on the couch talking to her self. "Mrs. Albus Potter," Carly said to the empty room with a dreamy smile. "Carly Potter." Albus smiled. Since she was trying out the name, at least she couldn’t be too awfully mad at him. She went on saying the name she would have when they married over and over, and Albus just looked at her. She was so beautiful with her long red hair, her smile that could light up a room, and bright blue eyes, and she certainly wasn’t eleven years old anymore. She was gorgeous. She still wore the necklace with the four charms on it. As Albus just looked at her, he had to smile. Carly really was going to be his wife and they would spend the rest of their lives together. When she said ‘Carly Potter’ again, Albus decided it was time for them to talk. "I like it, I think we should keep it," said Albus with a smile, as he walked into the room, over to the couch, and sat down close beside her, putting his left arm around her shoulders. Carly blushed a little. "I was just trying it out," Carly said with a smile. "What do you think?" asked Albus. "I think it’s perfect," said Carly with a grin. Carly looked towards Albus’s right hand. She lifted his hand from his lap and looked at his palm. She traced the lightning bolt scar with her finger. She did that a lot when they would sit together like this. "Did it hurt when you had the vision?" Albus wasn’t going to lie to her. "Yes," said Albus. "It hurt a lot."
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Carly brought his hand up to her lips and placed a soft kiss on the scar. "Does that makes it all better?" asked Carly with a laugh. "Yes it does," said Albus with a smile. His smile vanished. "I wish everything could be fixed so easily." Carly decided to change the subject. "Did you like your birthday presents?" asked Carly. "Your present was my favorite birthday present ever," said Albus. "I’m glad you like the watch," said Carly with a smile. Albus looked into her eyes. "I love the watch, but that isn’t the present I was talking about," said Albus. He lifted her left hand and looked at the ring. "You said yes." Albus put both arms around her waist pulled her close almost onto his lap and she put her arms around his neck. Albus kissed her deeply, and then moved to kiss her favorite spot behind her ear for a minute. Carly let out a contented sigh, and he felt her shiver. "Now, that you are relaxed, what did you want to talk to me about?" asked Albus. Carly settled back down beside him. "I wish you had told me about all this," said Carly softly. "If I had known, I might have understood what happened last week. I knew Voldemort was still out there, but I guess I didn’t realize what that really meant." "I know," said Albus with a sigh. "I just didn’t want to worry you. We’ve been so happy since first year, I didn’t want to ruin it." Carly nodded. "It just explains so much," said Carly with a shrug. Something suddenly occurred to Albus. "You don’t think I proposed because of what the book said, do you?" asked Albus with concern in his voice. "No, I don’t, but I wouldn’t care if you did," said Carly. She paused. "I love you, Al, and I’ve dreamt of being your wife for so long. I know you proposed because you love me, not because a book told you we should be together." "Good," said Albus with a smile. "It just explains what happened first year," said Carly. "I’ve always wondered why we both knew so quickly we were meant to be together. If Merlin saw it thirteen hundred years ago, I guess we were just meant to be." "Is that all that you wanted to talk about?" asked Albus. He suspected that wasn’t really it. "No," said Carly with a sigh. "What are we supposed to do now, Al? Are we supposed to plan a wedding and get married?" She paused. "Are we supposed to have a family, not knowing what is going to happen?" Albus thought that might have been what she wanted to talk to him about. "I think that’s exactly what we are supposed to do," said Albus. "I think next summer, after we’ve graduated, we should get married. Maybe in August, and I won’t try to plan it around defeating Voldemort. When he shows up we will deal with him." "August sounds nice," said Carly, as she put her head on Albus’s shoulder. "And then, well, we’ve never really talked about having a family, have we?" asked Albus.
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Carly smiled, but didn’t move, she was too comfortable leaning against her fiancé to move. "You know, Al, I’m not ambitious like Rose," said Carly with a yawn. "She’ll be Minister of Magic one day, I’m sure of it. I just want to write books and be a mother. That and being your wife is all I really want. I guess I’m a little like Grandma Weasley. By the way, have you given any more thought to what you want to do after school?" "Other than be your husband and a father," said Albus with a chuckle. "Well, I think I might like to teach. I know I could be an Auror or work for the Ministry, but I really don’t want that life." "Teaching sounds nice," said Carly with another yawn. She snuggled closer to him. "You sound tired, love," said Albus softly. "Yeah, I am," said Carly with yet another yawn. A moment later, Albus could tell she was fast asleep. He knew he should probably be uncomfortable sitting on the couch the way he was, but he was actually quite comfortable with Carly in his arms and he was not about to wake her. Albus kissed her on her forehead, and put a pillow behind his head, and a few moments later he drifted off to sleep. Chapter 7: Chapter 7 - The Weight of the World [View Online] [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter] Chapter 7 – The Weight of the World The next morning, Ginny woke up early. She got dressed and headed for the kitchen to start breakfast. With thirteen people to cook for, it was going to take a while. When she walked into the living room, she saw Carly asleep in Albus’s arms on the couch. Albus was slouched over to one side, and Carly was partially lying on top of him. Ginny had to smile. They were such a cute couple, they were so right for each other, and not because some old book said they were. Carly had a look on her face of complete happiness, even while she slept. The fire had gone out and it was chilly, so Ginny got a blanket and covered them up. Ginny went into the kitchen and started making breakfast. A few minutes after she started, Hermione came in. "Good morning," said Hermione. "Can I help with breakfast?" "No thanks, I’ve got it," said Ginny. She had spoons magically stirring bowls and pots. Breakfast was well in hand. Molly Wesley’s daughter never needed help in the kitchen. "I see that the newly engaged didn’t call it a night when the rest of us did," said Hermione with a grin. "I can’t say I blame them." "No, they didn’t," said Ginny with a smile. "I’m so happy for them. They are going to be so happy. What are you doing up so early?" "Ron still snores," said Hermione and both of them laughed. "Well, that’s my brother," said Ginny. "Louder than the Hogwarts Express." "Good morning," said Neville as he entered the kitchen and sat down.
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harrypotterfanfiction.com :: 65,000 Ha… "Good morning," both Ginny and Hermione replied.

"Hermione, I’m going back to Hogwarts this afternoon, I have some plants that need tending too," said Neville. "I’ll probably stay there through start of term." "Neville, why don’t you stay with us?" asked Ginny. "Have some fun this summer. You always spend most of the summer holiday at the castle all by yourself." "No, with everything going on, you and Harry should spend time with James, Albus, Carly, and Lily," said Neville. "I have plenty to keep me busy, and you don’t need me hanging around here." "Come on, Neville," said Ginny. She walked up behind him put her arms around his neck and kissed his cheek. "You’re family." "And I appreciate that, Ginny, but I really have a lot to do," said Neville with a smile. "Thanks, thought." Neville could never tell any of them just how much he really did appreciate it, but he couldn’t spend all his time with the Potters and Weasleys, and he did have work to do. Ginny wasn’t going to push. She knew Neville was lonely and hated to think of him all alone in that castle. Hagrid was there though, so at least he would have some company. Neville had never had a serious relationship. Ginny thought he almost did with Hanna Abbott, but that didn’t work out. Ginny wished he would find someone, but knew he was so shy, that it wasn’t very likely. "Neville, as long as you are there, some people from the Ministry will be there to make some preparations for the Triwizard Tournament, they may have some questions," said Hermione. "If you can’t answer them, just let me know." Neville nodded. "Not a problem," said Neville. "I’ll take care of things." "Good morning," said James from the doorway. "Morning," said Danny, who came in right behind James. "Good morning," said Ginny, Hermione, and Neville at the same time. "Aren’t you two up early?" asked Hermione. "I figured you would sleep in." "Neither of us slept very well last night," said James. His voice left little question he was still upset about last night, and it had made sleeping difficult. Hermione and Ginny looked at each other, they knew James was angry. Danny on the other hand looked worried and a little bit scared. They knew he was worried about Rose. Though Ron didn’t like Danny, Hermione did like him very much. She thought he was a wonderful boy and knew he was completely devoted to Rose. Hermione knew they would be very happy one day. She just needed to get Ron to come around about Danny. "Do you want to talk about it?" asked Ginny, looking right at James. "No," said James flatly. "I don’t." Ginny decided to let it drop for now, and let Harry talk to him. Danny sat down in a chair next to Hermione. Hermione put a hand over his on the table and leaned over and whispered to him. "Don’t worry Danny, she will be all right," said Hermione. "Try not to think
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harrypotterfanfiction.com :: 65,000 Ha… about it, it could be years, and you don’t want to spend all that time being miserable."

Danny nodded. It didn’t make him feel any better about Rose’s safety. "Thanks, Mrs. Weasley," said Danny softly. "So, Hermione, is everything all set for the start of school?" asked Ginny. Any discussion would be better than the funeral atmosphere that had settled over the room with James and Danny’s arrival. "Almost," said Hermione. "Ron and I were talking last night. I think we are going to hire some security help. With all that’s going on it would be helpful to have a couple of other people to help Ron keep an eye on things." James had a sudden thought go through his mind. He gave a sideways look towards Danny, who looked up at him at the same moment. James knew they were thinking the same thing. The rest of the family slowly trickled into the kitchen, except for Albus and Carly who were still asleep on the couch. They gathered in the dining room for breakfast, as they couldn’t all fit at the kitchen table. In the living room, it was Albus who awoke first. He could smell breakfast, and although they weren’t loud, could hear the family in the dining room. Albus looked at Carly. She was still asleep. He had never had the opportunity to watch her sleep like this. For a few moments, he just watched her. She was as beautiful asleep as she was awake. He leaned over and began to softly kiss her lips. After a moment, she started kissing him back. After several minutes of kissing, Carly opened her eyes and smiled. "What a wonderful way to wake up," said Carly. "You’ll have to wake me like that again sometime." "Hopefully many, many times," said Albus with a smile. "Did you sleep well, love?" "Best night’s sleep I’ve ever had," said Carly with a smile. "How could I not? I had the word’s best pillow." Albus laughed. "Well, at least I’m good for something," said Albus. "We should probably go have some breakfast before they eat it all." "Do I really have to move?" asked Carly with a laugh. "I really like it here." They got up and headed for the dining room. "Good morning," they both said as they entered the dining room. They were greeted by a chorus of ‘good mornings’, and sat down to breakfast. Everyone was at the table. There was a lot of discussion of the previous days events. It was Hugo that finally asked the important question. "Uncle Harry, what are we supposed to do now?" asked Hugo. "Do we go back to school as if nothing happened next month, or are we supposed to do something to stop Voldemort?" "Yeah," said Lily. "Should we be doing more training? We all know how to defend ourselves and to duel, but should we be doing anything else to prepare?" Harry took a breath, and looked around at Ginny, Ron, and Hermione before answering. "The only thing to do is to go on living our lives," said Harry. "Eventually, something will happen, and we’ll deal with it then. Don’t obsess over it. We will continue training though." There were nods all around the table, except notably from James. He was staring at his plate and he
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~ A little later in the morning, Ron was out in the garden. He sat on the bench in the garden and just enjoyed the warm sun for a few minutes. Yesterday had been such a stressful day that he was happy for a few peaceful minutes. "Uncle Ron," said James as he walked into the garden, with Danny right behind him. "Hey James," said Ron purposely ignoring Danny. "What are you up to?" "We wanted to talk to you," said James as he and Danny came up in front of Ron. Ron stood to meet them. "Sure, what’s up," said Ron to James, still ignoring Danny. "Aunt Hermione said you were hiring some security help for Hogwarts," said James. Ron suddenly thought he knew where this was going. If he had thought about it a little bit, he would have seen it coming. "Yes, I think I’m going to hire two security guards," said Ron. "Why do you ask?" "We want to apply," said James purposefully. "Well…what about going to Auror training?" asked Ron. "You can’t do both." "We can go later, next year or the year after," said James. "It doesn’t matter." "It’s best to start your training right away," said Ron. "You really shouldn’t put it off." "You didn’t start right away," said James. "You worked for two years with Uncle George at the store after you graduated Hogwarts before you went to Auror training." "True, but I needed your Dad to go learn everything so he could teach me first," said Ron with a laugh. Danny chuckled while James face stayed determined. "I also had my own Chocolate Frog Card for helping your Dad defeat Voldemort," said Ron seriously. "They would have taken me to Auror training no matter what. You can wait and start late, but they won’t necessarily take you." "Do you really think they would turn me down?" asked James, raising an eyebrow. "The name Potter does tend to open doors. I hate to use my name to open doors like that…but now and then…well…you do what you have to do." Ron knew he was right. The son of Harry Potter was not going to be turned down for Auror training because he took a year or two off after school. Danny on the other hand didn’t have the connections. Ron was considering whether or not he cared about that. Ron almost asked them why they were doing this, but it would have been a stupid question so he didn’t bother. "Danny, you haven’t said much," said Ron is his best, ‘you’re dating my daughter you better fear me’ voice. Danny opened his mouth for a moment, but said nothing. He decided to put all his cards on the table. He really thought he had nothing to lose.
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"Mr. Weasley, I know you don’t like me," said Danny looking Ron square in the eyes. "I’m really sorry about that, I really wish you did like me, but I can’t do anything about that. It doesn’t matter…I’m not going anywhere as long as Rose loves me. I don’t deserve her, and she deserves better than me, but I hope to God she never realizes that. I love Rose more than anything in the world, and I want to be there if something happens. I know she doesn’t need me to protect her, but I still want to be there. I’m scared for her." That was awfully honest of Danny, thought Ron grudgingly. Worse than that, Ron was reminded of himself. Perhaps he and Danny weren’t all that different. Ron put that thought out of his mind and vowed to never to think that again. He reminded himself that this was the boy with his hands all over his daughter. Still, right at that moment, Ron was finding it awfully hard to dislike Danny. Ron thought maybe he should try being as honest with himself as Danny had been with him. Ron knew he couldn’t get two better security guards. The best he could hope for were either retired Aurors or members of the Magical Law Enforcement Squad. He was tempted to say no to Danny to keep him away from Rose, but as much as he hated to admit it, Hermione was right. He was going to have to accept Danny sooner or later. "All right, since you both have passed the entrance tests and background checks for the Auror program, and since I personally know of your skills, I can justify hiring you both. There are two conditions. First, James, you need to tell your father." "I’m an adult," said James angrily. "I don’t need his permission." James was angry with his father already. He really didn’t want to talk to him at all, let alone to ask for his permission to take a job. "I’m not telling you to ask for his permission," said Ron calmingly. "You are quite right, you are an adult and you don’t need his permission. But your father is my best friend. I’m not going to lie to him. He needs to know. I won’t hire you unless he knows." James thought a moment. He really didn’t have any choice. "Fine," said James. "I’ll tell him. I don’t want to tell my Mum or anyone else, not until term begins." "I have to inform Aunt Hermione, she is the Headmistress of the school," said Ron. "I know she will keep it confidential if that’s what you want. Besides, your Mum is going to kick your tail from here to Surrey when she finds out. None of us want to be the one to tell her, I can guarantee you that." James knew Ron was right. His mother was going to be livid, and Ginny Potter livid was a terrifying sight to behold. His mother would just have to live with that. Either that or she’d kill her brother for hiring him. "What’s the other condition?" asked James. "I’ll need a moment with Danny," said Ron. "Could you leave us alone, James?" James nodded and headed back into the house. "Have a seat, Danny," said Ron, trying to keep any loathing from his voice. To his own surprise he managed to. Danny complied and Ron sat next to him. Danny wasn’t afraid of his girlfriend’s father, but he was somewhat intimidated by him. Ron was trying to decide what he wanted to say. He knew very well, that in all probability, someday Danny would be his son in law.
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"Danny, you do realize, there is no guarantee that you will be able to get back into the Auror training program," said Ron. "I know," said Danny. "I just can’t go off to training when Rose is in danger. If Auror training won’t take me later, then I’ll do something else. It’s not as important as Rose." Damn, thought Ron. That was just the answer he would have given in Danny’s position. Ron really wasn’t left with a lot of choice. Perhaps it really was time for him to be honest with himself. "I’m sorry if I’ve given you the impression…that I don’t like you," said Ron, forcing out the truth he never had admitted before. "You’re a good man, Danny, I just don’t like you dating my daughter, but then…that’s my problem, not yours." Ron paused. "Really, I don’t think there is anyone I’d like if they were dating Rose." Someday if you…have a daughter…you’ll understand. I just wanted you to know that, but I will deny saying it if you tell anyone." Danny chuckled. "Thanks, Mr. Weasley," said Danny. "I really appreciate it, and don’t worry, I’ll continue to cower in fear." "Good man," said Ron with a grin. "I hope someday I do know what it’s like," said Danny with a smile, feeling more at ease with Ron than he ever had. "I’m sure someday Grandpa will remind me of this conversation when that day comes." "Don’t push you luck, kid," said Ron with a scowl. "Sorry," said Danny. Ron grinned. "I promise, when the time comes for you to reapply to the Auror program, I’ll make sure they take you," said Ron. "I have a bit of pull with them you might say." "Thank you," said Danny. "I really appreciate that. I know Rose would too…if she knew, which of course she won’t." "You’re learning," said Ron with a grin. Danny left Ron. Hermione was right. He was going to have to share Rose with Danny. Ron knew it was going to be very difficult to do so. He just couldn’t let go of her being his little girl. "Grandpa," muttered Ron. "God help me." ~ James went for a long flight on his broom that afternoon. He was so angry at not being told the truth these last five years. He could have helped them. If nothing else, he could have kept a closer watch on everyone, especially Albus. It was his job to protect him after all. They had already almost lost Albus once. As James flew his anger waned and was replaced by disappointment. Was it that his father didn’t trust him? James just needed to understand why they hadn’t told him. Perhaps it shouldn’t have mattered, but it did. That night, Harry was sitting in the living room reading a book he had received for his birthday. He was alone. The Weasleys, Danny, and Neville had all gone home that afternoon. It had been a trying couple of days, but they had a month to rest, relax, and enjoy their summer before returning to school, and Harry was going to enjoy it as much as possible.
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harrypotterfanfiction.com :: 65,000 Ha… He did have the ‘Prophecy of the Twelve’ with him, and would check for new text every once in a while. Harry couldn’t not keep it with him and check it, Mad-Eye Moody had taught him too well for that.

Harry was engrossed in the book and didn’t notice when someone came into the living room, until they dropped down in the chair opposite where Harry was seated on the couch. Harry thought he could almost feel the temperature in the room drop about ten degrees. Harry looked up to see James sitting in the chair. Harry had been looking for an opportunity to talk with James, but James had made himself scarce all day. James’s jaw sat set, and the scowl he wore could have melted led. Harry wasn’t really sure how to approach this. He knew James was very upset, he had hardly said a word during dinner. James didn’t give Harry a chance to say anything. "Dad, why didn’t you tell me about the prophecy?" asked James bluntly. There was no point in beating around the bush. "James, we didn’t tell anyone except Al," said Harry with a sigh. "It isn’t like we were just keeping it from you." "But why, Dad?" asked James. "I understand why you told Al. I do, and have no problem with that, but I still don’t understand why you didn’t tell me. Did you not trust me?" "No, James, that’s not it at all," said Harry. "We didn’t want you to worry about this. It could have been years. It was years, before we knew anything more." "But I could have helped, Dad," said James angrily. "The book says I’m supposed to be Al’s protector. I would have made sure he was safe all this time. I had a responsibility and I didn’t even know it. What if something had happened to Al?" Harry took a breath. James had just illustrated the problem completely without even realizing it. "Albus is fine, and that is exactly why we didn’t tell you," said Harry slowly. "What does that mean?" asked James confusedly. "James, you can’t take everything in that book literally," said Harry. "We didn’t tell Lily either, and she has wanted to become a Healer for years, right?" "Yes," replied James slowly. "I still don’t see the point. "Well it happened just the way the book said it was supposed to, without us telling you all about the book," said Harry. "You say you could have made sure Al was safe all this time. I think you’ve done exactly that, and since before we had the book. You’ve always looked out for your brother, even though you used to get on each other’s nerves and argue when you were younger. You didn’t need a book to tell you to look out for him. You just did it." James thought about what his father had said. He had always looked out for Albus before they went to Hogwarts. Was that really all the book meant? Was he really taking it too literally? That seemed difficult to swallow. "Surely the book must mean more than that," said James, a note of apprehension in his voice. "I mean…it must." "Maybe…but maybe it means exactly that," said Harry calmingly. "You can’t take it too literally, James." Harry paused. "James, you are an awful lot like me. I was afraid you would find out what was in the book, and put the weight of the world on your shoulders. I just didn’t want that for you. I know what
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that is like." James had to admit, his father was right. He would have taken it upon himself to protect everyone he loved. That is what he was doing now. Is some ways, he had been doing that for a long time. Maybe his father was right not to tell him. Now that he knew though, he was going to do his job. He would protect Albus, whatever it took. "I’m sorry, Dad," said James softly. "I didn’t think of it like that." "Its all right, James," said Harry sympathetically. "I don’t blame you for being upset with me. This is going to be hard for all of us." James took a breath. "There is something else, Dad," said James. "I’m not going to Auror training in the fall." Harry was shocked. Being an Auror was all James had wanted to do since he was small. "Why, James?" asked Harry. He knew it was a stupid question as soon as it was out of his mouth. "Don’t answer that. I already know." "Uncle Ron is going to give Danny and I jobs as security guards at Hogwarts," said James. "He said the one condition was that I tell you." "James, you don’t have to do this," said Harry. "You should go to Auror training. If something happens, we will contact you." "So I can do what?" asked James incredulously. "Identify the bodies." Both were silent for a moment. The enormity of the statement was sinking in for both of them, and it hung in the air like thick smoke. "Dad, I’m not twelve years old anymore," said James. "I know damn well what all of us facing Voldemort means. It means we may not all make it. When it’s over, I don’t want to look back on what I could have done while we bury someone. I couldn’t…I couldn’t live with that." Harry just stared at him a moment. He knew James was right. He knew it all too well. James had just said what they were all thinking, and no one wanted to face. Harry couldn’t argue he would do the same thing in James position. He would not turn away when the people he loved were in danger either. It wasn’t in him to do it, just like it wasn’t in James. "All right, it’s your choice, James," said Harry. "I can’t make you go, and I won’t interfere if Uncle Ron is going to hire you. I just hope you know what you are doing and have thought this through." Harry paused. "I assume Danny isn’t going to Auror training either." James nodded. "I’m going to go to bed," said James. "Please don’t tell anyone we’re not going to training. Mum’s going to have a fit, and I would rather put that off as long as possible." Harry nodded. James was absolutely right. Ginny was going to have a fit. That might even be putting it mildly. James got up and left the room. Harry just sat there. It was exactly what he didn’t want to happen. James was putting his life on hold because of Voldemort. It was James life though, and Harry knew he couldn’t interfere. More than anything though, he knew James was right. James had said the one thing Harry had tried not to think about, but always knew was true. They might not all make it. Harry tried to read some more, but he couldn’t concentrate. He tossed the book on the coffee table
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harrypotterfanfiction.com :: 65,000 Ha… and just sat there. It was going to be a very long year at Hogwarts. Not only with the prophecy, but Harry was uneasy about the Triwizard Tournament. He knew he shouldn’t be. He knew that Albus, Carly, and Rose wouldn’t enter, and Lily and Hugo were too young. Something about it just gave him a bad feeling.

Chapter 8: Chapter 8 - Into a Brick Wall [View Online] [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter] Chapter 8 – Into A Brick Wall The month of August went by far too fast for the Potters and Weasleys. They spent a week together at the Burrow with Arthur and Molly, and a lot of time at their homes, just having fun. It was a great month of vacation, something Harry was grateful for, as the future was so uncertain. The book had not revealed anything else, and Harry and Albus had no further visions, so they went about their lives. Albus, Carly, and Rose all took their apparition tests. All passed without splinching themselves. When September first arrived, the secret that James and Danny were not going to Auror training had been kept. Only Harry, Ron, and Hermione knew. Harry was sure Ginny was going to be angry when she found out he hadn’t told her, but James asked him not to tell anyone, and Harry had respected his son’s wishes. Harry was slightly annoyed that James wasn’t going to tell her until they got to King’s Cross and he boarded the train. That would leave him all alone to deal with Ginny’s temper. Of course, he had dealt with it many times and had become quite good at defusing her. Let her rant for a while, always agreeing with whatever she said no matter how ridiculous, and then say something sweet and funny. It worked every time. Harry was very proud that Albus had been selected as Head Boy as well as Gryffindor Quidditch Captain, and Carly and Lily were Prefects. Albus had been a Prefect for two years already, but this was Carly and Lily’s first year. Rose was Head Girl, to no one’s surprise. Harry knew Albus was looking forward to trying to win the Quidditch Cup for the seventh consecutive year, something that had never been done before. As they had done for the previous five years, Harry and Ginny took Albus, Carly, Lily, Rose, and Hugo to King’s Cross. Ron and Hermione were at school seeing to last minute preparations, and Harry and Ginny would apparate to Hogsmeade after the train departed. James and Danny were with them under the guise of seeing the New Marauders off, but Harry knew they had sent their belongings on to Hogwarts already, and were to travel on the train. Everyone would know they were coming back to school soon enough. Then the dung would really hit the fan. The bright red Hogwarts Express sat on the tracks waiting to depart for another year at Hogwarts, white smoke drifting lazily out of the smoke stack. Harry couldn’t help but smile. He always felt his life really started the first time he boarded this train. Except for that wonderful day he spent with Hagrid on his eleventh birthday, there was little before that worth remembering. The group of nine stood together on the platform. Trunks had already been loaded on the train. Rose was waiting for a goodbye kiss from Danny, but he was standing a ways away from her. She didn’t know what was wrong. He had been acting strangely for the last week. She had assumed he was just upset they would be apart, but she expected him to be holding her right now, and it seemed like he couldn’t look at her. She really wanted him to hold her and give her a kiss. She had a fight with her father because she and Danny hadn’t come home until two o’clock that morning and Rose was still upset about that. She had spent most of the night in her room crying. "We’ll see you tonight," said Ginny, giving Lily a hug. "Have a good trip."
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"We will," said Albus. "James, when do the two of you start Auror training?" James took a breath. There was no more waiting. "We aren’t going to Auror training," said James in such an off hand manner, he could have been discussing the weather. The kneazle was out of the bag, and it didn’t take long for his mother to go into full-blown pissed off witch mode. "What," exclaimed Ginny. "What happened?" Everyone else, except Harry, was too stunned to speak. Harry just didn’t have anything to say. James looked at Danny and nodded. Each produced a shiny gold badge with the Hogwarts logo and the word ‘SECURITY’ beneath it. "We are working at Hogwarts as security guards this year, Mum," said James. "Don’t be mad at Dad, Uncle Ron, or Aunt Hermione, we asked them not to say anything, we thought it would be easier if you didn’t know ahead of time." "Why, Danny?" asked Rose in shock. Danny walked towards her, put his hands on her shoulders, and looked into her eyes. "I couldn’t go off to Auror training with everything going on," said Danny. "I couldn’t do it. I would do nothing but worry about you. I want to be there to protect you." Rose stared at him for a long moment, and then turned away and boarded the train without a single word. "Damn," said Danny under his breath. He knew this was going to be bad. She was mad, and Rose had the famous Weasley temper. "James, you need to go to Auror training," said Ginny sternly. It wasn’t meant as a suggestion, it was very clearly an order. "No, Mum, I don’t," said James taking a breath before he continued. "I need to go to Hogwarts with my family." Ginny was fuming. How could James do this? All he ever wanted to do was be an Auror, and how could Harry not have told her about this. Ginny rounded on Harry like an angry dragon. "You knew about this," snarled Ginny through gritted teeth. Harry started to open his mouth, not really sure what to say, but was cut off by James. Frankly he wasn’t terribly upset about that. "It’s not his fault, Mum. I asked him not to say anything," said James, just as the whistle sounded indicating the train was ready to depart. "You be quiet," hissed Ginny, her eyes flashed with anger. "I’ll deal with you later." Albus, Carly, Lily, Hugo, and Danny knew that this was there cue to board the train, and they did so without another word, leaving James, Harry, and an irate Ginny on the platform. "Harry, how could you let him do this=?" demanded Ginny. "How many times have we said we can’t let Voldemort rules our lives?" Again, Harry started to open his mouth, but was cut off by James. Again, this didn’t upset Harry in the least. "He didn’t let me do anything," said James indignantly. "I’m an adult, and I made my decision. Neither of you have any say in the matter." With that James turned and boarded the train. Another blow of the whistle, and the train started to roll out of the station.
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Ginny just stared at the train for a minute. Harry walked up behind her and put his hands on her shoulders, hoping to calm her down, but she pulled away and stormed off down the platform and through the barrier to the Muggle part of King’s Cross. Harry followed her. "Ginny, where are you going?" asked Harry as they emerged on the other side of the barrier. "Do not speak. Follow me," ordered Ginny in a tone that made Harry feel like a Dementor had just flown in. Harry knew Ginny too well to argue. He followed as she led him to an empty waiting room in the station. When they got inside, Ginny whipped out her wand, cast a silencing and locking charm on the door and rounded on Harry again. "Why didn’t you stop him?" demanded Ginny. Harry started to open his mouth, but she didn’t wait for him to answer. He was starting to get used to that. It was better to let Ginny get it out of her system anyway. It was not possible to win a direct argument with her. "All we’ve ever talked about is living our lives," said Ginny angrily, as she began to pace back and fourth in front of him. "We said we would not let Voldemort rule our lives or our children’s lives. What is the first thing James does, he gives up what he has wanted to do all his life because of Voldemort." Harry again tried to speak, but Ginny wasn’t done yelling and pacing yet. "We shouldn’t have told them," said Ginny waving her arms in the air, now close to hysterical. "We should have just kept the book to ourselves, and dealt with it." She paused. "Are you going to say anything Harry, or are you going to stand there?" Harry dropped onto the bench and just looked up at his wife who had finally stopped pacing. Her brown eyes were on fire, and she was breathing heavily in her anger. "You’re beautiful when you’re hysterical, did you know that?" asked Harry in an offhand tone. For a moment, Ginny’s temper was about to flare, but then it subsided, completely diffused by Harry’s comments. She knew Harry was right she was being hysterical. She also knew James was right. James was an adult and could make his own decisions. The anger left her eyes, and she calmed down. After a minute, she dropped onto the bench next to Harry, and leaned over, putting her head against his chest. "I’m sorry, Harry," said Ginny softly. "You’re right." Harry put his arms around her. "No, you’re right to be upset," said Harry kissing her forehead. "I am just as upset he isn’t going to Auror training, but you didn’t hear what he said to me when he told me. I just couldn’t argue with him after what he said." Ginny sat up and looked at Harry. "What did he say?" asked Ginny curiously. Harry took a deep breath. "I told him we would contact him if anything happens," said Harry. Harry paused. "And he said, ‘so I can do what, identify the bodies’. I just couldn’t argue with him." Tears filled Ginny’s eyes and she threw her arms around Harry’s neck and hugged him tightly. "I’m sorry," Ginny whispered through her tears. "It’s all right," said Harry as he put his arms around her and pulled her close to him. "I know, you only want what’s best for him, but I think this is best. He needs to be there."
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"I know," whispered Ginny. A few minutes later, Ginny had finally calmed down. "We really should get going," said Harry. "I think we ought to grab butter beer at the Hog’s Head before we head up to the school. We can say hello to Aberforth and relax a little. Ginny nodded. She took out her wand and canceled the locking and silencing charms. They both stood and apparated to Hogsmeade. ~ The Hogwarts Express rumbled down the tracks toward another school year. Albus, Rose, Carly, and Lily did their duties as Head Boy, Head Girl, and Prefects. James and Danny did a security check of the train. When Danny was done with his security check, he returned to the compartment where he knew Albus, Rose, Carly, Lily, and Hugo would be. He found James outside of the compartment. "Everything all set, James?" asked Danny. "With security, yes," said James apprehensively. "I thought I would tell you, Rose is in the next compartment. She wanted to be alone." Danny sighed. "No sense putting it off," said Danny. "Good luck," said James. "Just don’t forget, she has a mean right hook." James tried to laugh as he said it, but it was the truth, and Rose had inherited her Grandmother’s Weasley temper. With that, James went into the compartment to sit with Albus, Carly, Lily, and Hugo. Danny took a breath and walked to the next compartment. He quickly opened the door, turned and closed it again. "Rose…" he started to say as he turned around, but he didn’t get anything else out. As he was turning, a fist connected with the left side of his head, sending him to the floor, with the side of his head throbbing. It took him a second to get his bearings. Danny’s left eye was already starting to swell shut. He had never been hit so hard in his life. He’d once taken a bludger to the side of the head and it hadn’t seemed as hard as the punch he just received. Rose was standing over him with a scowl on her face. She turned away and sat down by the window. Rose stared out at the countryside as it passed, though she wasn’t really looking at anything. Danny managed to get to his feet and fall onto the bench across from her. He was a little dizzy from the fall. "You’re angry," said Danny softly. "Figured that out all by yourself?" snarled Rose. "You’re a regular Albus Dumbledore, you are." Danny didn’t think he had ever seen her mad enough to hit anyone like that, let alone him. "Look Rose, I can do my Auror training later," said Danny. Rose turned to him with fire in her eyes. "You think this is about Auror training?" asked Rose with such a rush of anger, the window beside her cracked. "This has nothing to do with Auror training." "All right," said Danny, trying to be calm. "Then what is it about?" Danny was afraid he already knew the answer. "My father treats me like I’m a little girl," said Rose. "I’m not a little girl anymore. I can take care of myself. I thought you were different, Danny." "Rose, I know you can take care of yourself," said Danny. His next sentence was quickly shouted
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down. "That’s funny," yelled Rose. "You seem to think I need your protection." "Rose, it’s not like that," said Danny desperately. "I can take care of myself, Danny Finnigan," said Rose. "I’m not a helpless little girl. I could take every student in that school in a fight or in a classroom. I neither need nor want your protection. You don’t need to worry about me. I want nothing more to do with you." He couldn’t have heard her right. It wasn’t possible. She was mad, but surely she hadn’t meant it that way it sounded. "Rose," said Danny softly. "Rose, you don’t mean…" "Yes," said Rose. "We’re through, Danny. Get out of here. I don’t want to talk to you ever again. I hate you." Danny was on the verge of tears. His breath was caught in his throat. He felt like he was suffocating. Rose was everything to him, how could she be breaking up with him? "Rose, please," said Danny. His voice was strangled. "I love you Rose. I want us to get married someday." "Well I want someone to notice that I can take care of myself," growled Rose. "I guess none of us get what we want." Danny’s heart shattered into a million pieces. A knife in his chest could not have hurt more. It wasn’t just the words, but the hatred in her voice. "Rose, please," said Danny desperately. The tears now started to fall from his eyes. "Get out," bellowed Rose. "Get the hell away from me and stay away." Danny stood up. He wanted to die. He wanted the earth to split open and swallow him. This was his fault. How did he let this happen? He slowly walked to the door and pushed it open. He looked back at her for a moment. She was staring out the window again. Danny opened his mouth to say something, though he didn’t know what. "Go," Rose commanded. Her voice was cold and full of anger. "Fine, Rose," said Danny, barely above a whisper. "If that’s what you want…fine, it’s over." With that Danny slid the compartment door shut. The tears were still falling from his eyes. His swollen left eye stung and throbbed. He felt like he had run full speed into a brick wall. How could this have happened? He should have known she would react badly to his wanting to protect her. What could he ever do to fix it? She hated him and there was nothing he could do. It was over. Just like that, he had lost everything. ~ Hugo and Lily were sitting on one bench in their compartment talking about their classes for this year, and Lily was telling Hugo about her Prefect duties. Hugo wanted no part of being a Prefect, and he was quite amused with the extra work it meant for her. Across the compartment, on the other bench, Albus sat against the window, his arm around Carly. They were just enjoying the ride. James entered the compartment and sat down next to Carly. "James, I can’t believe you aren’t going to Auror training," said Albus, still in disbelief. "I just couldn’t go with everything going on," said James. "Besides, someone has to look after all of
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you." "Sure, James," said Albus with a laugh. "Is Danny in the other compartment with Rose?" asked Carly. Hugo and Lily stopped talking to listen to James’ answer. "Yes," said James. "I hope they can patch things up." "How mad was, Mum?" asked Lily. "She was pretty mad," said James with a sigh. "I feel bad for Dad, she must be letting him have it and it isn’t his fault." At that moment, they heard a crack and a thump from the next compartment. They all looked around at each other. "You don’t think she hit him do you?" asked Albus. "It’s certainly possible," said Hugo. "You don’t know how upset she’s been with Dad lately. They’ve hardly spoken in a week except to yell at each other. Every time Danny brings her home Dad’s waiting on the porch. He keeps asking where they are going or where they have been. He treats her like she’s a first year or something. She didn’t say a word to him this morning. They had another argument last night. I was asleep and it woke me up. I swear the house shook." All of a sudden, they could hear Rose. She was yelling. They couldn’t hear the words, they were too muffled by the walls and rumble of the train, but they knew she was really laying into Danny. "Wow," said Albus. "I’ve never heard her that upset." "I have," said Hugo. "Usually it’s after Dad has prevented her from getting her goodnight kiss from Danny." A few moments later, the door of the compartment opened and Danny came in. They stared at him in shock. His left eye was swollen nearly shut. Tears were on his cheeks and his good eye was red. He looked like he had gone ten rounds with a Mountain Troll. "She broke up with me," said Danny in a strangled whisper. "No, she must just be upset," said Carly. "She wouldn’t break up with you, Danny. Rose loves you more than anything." "No," said Danny as a few more tears trickled down his cheeks. "Rose says she hates me…and it’s over." Danny dropped into the seat opposite James, next to Lily. Lily put her arm around his shoulder and tried to comfort him. "Danny, she doesn’t mean it," said Lily reassuringly. "Rose really loves you." "No she doesn’t," said Danny blinking back more tears. "You didn’t hear her. She doesn’t love me anymore…she hates me. I’ve ruined everything." "I’m going to go talk to her," said Albus. Albus got up and quickly left the compartment. "Danny, she’s just upset," said James. "I’m sure she’ll come around."
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harrypotterfanfiction.com :: 65,000 Ha… "No," said Danny. "I don’t think so. It’s over."

Lily sighed. "At least let me heal your eye," said Lily. "No," said Danny. "Leave it." In some small way, maybe the pain in his eye would dull the pain in his heart. ~ Rose sat staring out the window of the compartment. She heard the door click as Danny closed it. She was so upset she could have put her fist through the glass, which already had a crack in it. She hadn’t done accidental magic like that since before she was a first year. How could Danny do this to her? He gave up his chosen career like it was nothing. There was no guarantee he could get back in the program. Her father certainly wouldn’t help him. He hated Danny. Rose only got angrier thinking how happy her father would be when he found out. Rose knew Danny was waiting until he had money for a ring to propose. She didn’t care, he could have given her a handful of dust and said ‘marry me’ and she would have said yes in a second. Now he had given up being an Auror. What else would he do? She knew he would never ask her to marry him until he could support them, even though she fully intended to work at the Ministry. She heard the latch on the door click. "Get out, Danny," said Rose in a dangerous growl, without turning to the door. "I don’t want to see you." "Rose," said Albus. "It’s me." Rose didn’t say anything. Albus shut the door behind him and sat next to her. "Are you all right?" asked Albus softly. "Just fine," said Rose in an emotionless tone. "Why wouldn’t I be?" "I don’t need to be your best friend to know that’s a crock," said Albus dryly. "You just broke up with Danny. You’re not fine at all." Albus’s presence was calming. His was always the voice of reason in her head when her temper got the better of her. Rose’s mind started to wrap itself around reality. She had broken up with Danny. She had told him that she hated him. The realization of what she had done and said started to sink in as she stared out the window at the darkening countryside. She had ended it. How could she have done that? She loved him more than anything, and she had thrown it all away. Now she had to live with it. All the time she had sat alone in the compartment before Danny came to see her, all she could think about was how angry she was with her father and how Danny was behaving just like her father would. The thought was like a poison, turning her into an explosive. When Danny had come in, she had exploded. The tears began to roll slowly down her cheeks. "It’s for the best," said Rose in a strangled tone, as she fought the sobs that were trying to get out. Rose hadn’t turned towards him, but Albus didn’t need to see her face to know she was crying. Albus put a hand on her shoulder, and gently turned her to face him. He saw the tears streaking down her face and the pain in her eyes. "It’s for the best," Rose whispered again.
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harrypotterfanfiction.com :: 65,000 Ha… Albus pulled her into a hug and held her as she cried into his chest sobbing.

All Rose wanted to do was to run to Danny and tell him how sorry she was, but she couldn’t do that. Not after the horrible things she said to him. He could never forgive her for what she said not to mention that she had actually hit him. It really was over. Albus just held her and let her cry. He hated to see any of his friends in pain, but Rose had been his best friend for as long as he could remember, and it cut out his heart to see her like this. He knew he couldn’t help her with this. There was nothing he could say or do to make it better. He had seen the look on Danny’s face. Whatever she had said to him, it had destroyed him. Albus wasn’t sure Danny and Rose could ever put this behind them. ~ Danny said nothing for a long time. Lily and Hugo resumed their discussion of the coming year, though Lily held Danny’s hand, which he appreciated. James and Carly chatted about nothing in particular. They all felt so bad for Danny, and knew Rose couldn’t be in any better shape in the other room. The compartment door opened. A boy with light brown hair and blue eyes walked in. Lily stiffened. She didn’t want to deal with Tommy Morgan right now. He had been in her potions class last year and they did nothing but argue. "Hi, Tommy," said James. "James, Danny, what are you doing here?" said Tommy, surprised to see them. "We are working security at Hogwarts this year," said James. "Great," said Tommy. Tommy tuned toward Danny, seeing his eye. "What the heck happened to you? It looks like you went ten rounds with a Mountain Troll." Danny didn’t say anything. Carly answered. "He had a bit of a row with, Rose," said Carly. "Oh," said Tommy. "Well, then I guess that would explain the eye. Do you guys mind if I stay for a while?" "Not at all," said Hugo, motioning him to the seat next to Carly. Lily gave Hugo a look that could have turned Hugo to stone, but he just grinned back. "Did you have a nice summer, Lily?" asked Tommy with a warm smile. His heart was racing. It did that every time he was near her. If only he could manage to tell her that. "Fine, Morgan," said Lily. Lily suddenly realized he had called her by her first name. He always used to call her ‘Potter’. She also wondered what was with the smile. It was a nice smile though, Lily thought. She mentally slapped herself=. She didn’t want to think that. She wanted nothing to do with Tommy Morgan. "I hear you are a Prefect this year, Lily," said Tommy. "I guess we’ll be spending a lot of time together, I’m also a Prefect." "That’s nice," said Lily absently. "Where’s Al?" asked Tommy. "He’s with Rose," said Carly. Carly nodded in Danny’s direction and Tommy nodded back. "So, any idea who is going to fill the open spots on the quidditch team?" asked Tommy.
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"I don’t know," said Hugo with a shrug. "We need a Keeper, a Chaser, and a Beater. Tommy noticed the ring on Carly’s finger. "Carly, am I imaging it, or are you wearing an engagement ring?" asked Tommy. "Albus proposed," said Carly with a smile. "Congratulations," said Tommy. "I think everyone was wondering when he would ask you. I’m really happy for you." "Thanks," said Carly, looking at the ring and for about the millionth time, imagining being Mrs. Carly Potter. "Well, I have got to get back to my compartment and change into my robes," said Tommy. Tommy got up and headed towards the door. "I’ll see you all at the feast." Tommy looked at Lily and smiled again, then left. "Well that was interesting," said Carly, trying to hold in a grin. "It looks like Tommy fancies someone." Carly was looking right at Lily. "Oh please," said Lily coldly. "It doesn’t mean anything at all. Just because he smiled at me doesn’t mean he fancies me." "He didn’t smile at me like that," said Carly. "Me either," said Hugo suppressing a laugh. Chapter 9: Chapter 9 - The Tournament Announced [View Online] [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter] Chapter 9 – The Tournament Announced High atop one of the towers of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, Hermione sat behind her desk. In the two chairs in front of the desk sat Ginny and Ron. They were talking while they waited for the delegation from the Ministry of Magic who would be overseeing the Triwizard Tournament. Kingsley Shackelbolt, Minister of Magic, Percy Weasley, Director of the Department of International Magical Cooperation, and Cho Chang, Director of the Department of Magical Games and Sport, would be overseeing the tournament. "I’m really sorry, Ginny," said Hermione shaking her head. "James is an adult, and asked us not to tell you. He and Danny were certainly the best men for the job." "I know, Hermione," said Ginny with a sigh. "I’m not mad at the two of you. I just can’t imagine what is going through his head." Ginny paused. "I knew we were all in danger, but when Harry told me what he said…" Ron was sitting in a chair next to his sister. He put an arm around her shoulders. "I’m sorry too," said Ron. "I probably shouldn’t have hired them." "It’s not your fault," said Ginny. "He would have stayed close by another way, he still wouldn’t have gone to Auror training." Ginny paused. "I just worry about him. Even without knowing about the prophecy, he changed so much from when he left for school when he was eleven. I thought for sure he would be married before he graduated, and he hardly dates at all now. It seems like all he does is defense training."
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"He will be all right," said Hermione. "James is a good boy, and I’m sure everything will work out just fine." Ginny decided to change the subject. "So, Hermione, are you looking forward to seeing Viktor again?" asked Ginny. As soon as she said it, she knew she had made a mistake. "I’m sure I’m looking forward to that just as much as Harry is looking forward to seeing Cho," said Hermione with a grin. "Touché," said Ginny with a laugh. Ron just rolled his eyes. Just then, the fireplace erupted in emerald flames. Hermione, Ron, and Ginny all stood up from their chairs to meet the new arrivals. Out of the emerald flames stepped Kingsley, Percy, and Cho. "Hermione, Ron, Ginny," said Kingsley as he moved towards them. "It’s great to see all of you. I hope everyone is well." Hermione came around the desk to greet them. "Hello, Kingsley," said Hermione with a smile. "It’s great to see you." Kingsley hugged Hermione and Ginny, and shook Ron’s hand. "Percy," said Ron coolly, shaking his brother’s hand. Though all his brothers had accepted Percy back into the family, and mostly forgiven him, Ron had not forgiven him in the least and only tolerated him when he had to. As far as Ron was concerned, Percy hadn’t just walked out on the family, but had also turned his back on Harry, when Harry needed his support the most. "Hello, Ronald," said Percy, just as coolly. Percy turned to Ginny and Hermione, greeting them both with hugs. Cho just held back, Ginny noticed. Ginny decided to extend an olive branch to her husband’s first girlfriend. Ginny never did like Cho. "Hello, Cho," said Ginny with a smile, as she walked over to her, "It’s been a long time." Ginny stuck out her hand and Cho shook it. "It has been a long time," said Cho. "How is the family?" "Very good," said Ginny. "Albus just got engaged." "That’s wonderful," said Cho with a smile. "Whose the lucky girl?" "Carly Jones, the girl we adopted five years ago," said Ginny. "I remember hearing about that," said Cho. "That was s wonderful thing you and Harry did. Back in school, I knew Harry would be a good father someday." "Why didn’t I hear about this engagement?" asked Percy from behind Ginny. "Because you never come over when you are invited," said Ginny with a smirk as she turned around. "Albus proposed to Carly on his birthday." "Oh, yes," said Percy. "I had tournament meetings all that week. I had meant to come. Perhaps next time."
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harrypotterfanfiction.com :: 65,000 Ha… Same old Percy, Ginny thought. Ginny might have felt like Ron did about Percy, but after Fred died, she couldn’t stay mad at him anymore. "Sure, Percy," said Ginny. "You know you’re always invited." She caught Ron rolling his eyes and scowled at him.

After all the pleasantries were exchanged, the six of them sat down at the conference table to discuss the tournament. "Well, I believe we have most of the items already settled," said Hermione. "There is just the matter of this fourth task…and the Press." "Yes," said Cho. "The committee planning the Triwizard Tournament wanted to add a fourth task. One of the three champions, or rather teams of champions, will be eliminated following the third task. The fourth task will directly pit the two remaining teams against each other. While the first three tasks will be judged, the winning team in the fourth task will be the Triwizard Champions." "Well, as you all know, I am not thrilled to have the tournament at all, but if we must, then I guess that sounds fine," said Hermione evenly. "I know Charlie will be here this evening to see to the accommodations for the dragons and for the venue for the first task. I think that takes care of everything. The Goblet of Fire will be delivered on October twenty-ninth, and the champions selected on the thirty-first. Accommodations have been reserved in Hogsmeade for yourselves and the other tournament personnel. Also, the Hogwarts Express will make a special trip to bring the Durmstrang Institute and the Beauxbatons Academy delegations to Hogwarts from London, and quarters will be prepared for them within the castle. I have been in contact with both Deputy Headmaster Viktor Krum of Durmstrang Institute and Deputy Headmistress Gabrielle Dubois of Beauxbatons Academy. Everything seems to be in order for their students academically. Classrooms have been set aside for their use. I think we have nearly everything covered. There is just the question of the Press." The word ‘Press’ gave Hermione a bad taste in her mouth. "Yes," said Cho. "After much debate, your request to have the Press barred from Hogwarts for the tournament has been approved." "Thank God," said Ginny with a sigh. She had been a little worried they were going to allow the press in again. Hermione smiled. She had a lot of rather painful memories of fourth year, and the ones that didn’t involve Harry being in danger or Ron being dense, involved Rita Skeeter being a poor excuse for a human being. "That’s excellent," said Hermione. "The Ministry will be providing press releases in regards to the tournament before and after all events," said Cho. "Known members of the media are banned from attending the tasks. It took us a while to work out how to do it, but since this is a school full of underage wizards, we are restricting those attending to the immediate family of students, any family of the Champions, and of course dignitaries whose entry will have to be approved. This doesn’t mean that some members of the Press will not gain entry as immediate family of students, but they will be restricted to the same areas as everyone else, they will not have access to students." "All of the Aurors at the gates will have strict instructions to make sure your three…friends…from the Daily Prophet aren’t allowed in," said Kingsley. "Lord be praised," said Ron sarcastically. Kingsley grinned. "Marietta had a fit when I owled her," said Kingsley. "I’m sure Rita Skeeter and her son will be looking for all kinds of angles to attack me now. Of course, I don’t care in the least. They do it all the time anyway." Everyone laughed except Percy, who Ron had decided years ago was incapable of understanding
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humor. "The one exception to barring the Press will be your visits to Hogsmeade," said Cho. "I have informed Head Auror Williams that I want a significant number of Aurors and members of the Magical Law Enforcement Squad in Hogsmeade to control the Press," said Kingsley. "That would be wonderful," said Hermione. "Thank you both, I think keeping the Press out is the right decision. So, is that everything?" "Not quite," said Cho. "There has been a lot of discussion about selection of the champions. Since a team of two will represent each school, there was discussion as to whether they should both be chosen by the Goblet of Fire, as they were the last two tournaments, or should a single champion be chosen and then select their teammate. A point was also made that a champion should be able to stand alone, and not have a partner if they so desire. The decision by the committee is that one champion will be selected by the Goblet of Fire, and they will have the option of standing alone, or selecting a partner at the Weighing of the Wands ceremony which will be a bigger event than in the past." "Why would someone stand alone?" asked Ron. "That used to be the idea of it, but wasn’t it changed specifically to make it safer for the champions?" "That is true," said Percy. "No one expects anyone to choose to stand alone, but it was felt the option should be there." "All right," said Hermione. "Before I forget, I do like the change in how the tasks will be announced, giving the champions twenty four hours notice of the first, third, and fourth task to prepare, it will give them a chance to prepare so no one is going into a task with no idea what to expect." "That was the committees thinking as well," said Kingsley. "No one wants a repeat of the last Triwizard Tournament at Hogwarts." There was silence throughout the room. "Cho, I’m…I’m sorry," said Kingsley. "I forgot…" "It’s all right, Kingsley," said Cho as she forced herself to smile. "It was…a very long time ago." The look in Cho’s eyes told a much different story. "Well, I believe that does it," said Percy. "I believe the students will be arriving shortly, so we should go so you can prepare for the feast." "We’ll look forward to seeing all of you again in October," said Hermione. They all stood and headed for the fireplace, when something on one of the shelves caught Cho’s eye. She moved towards the bookshelf looking at a book enclosed in a glass case. "Is this a first edition of ‘Hogwarts: A History’?" asked Cho with surprise in her voice. "Yes," said Hermione with a proud smile. "Ron gave it to me for our first anniversary. It’s one of my most prized possessions." "Wow," said Cho. "They are quite rare. We have one in the Ministry Library, but I didn’t know anyone else who had a first edition." Kingsley threw some floo powder into the fire and said, "Ministry of Magic," and he and Percy stepped into the flames.
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Cho move toward the fireplace, but did not follow them immediately. She turned to Ron, Hermione, and Ginny. "I know none of you are particularly happy to have the tournament here this year," said Cho. "If I had my choice, after what happened…well, you know…I would never have the tournament repeated. I was overruled." Cho paused. "Anyway, I am sure everything will go fine this year." Cho smiled, and stepped into the emerald flames. "She never got over Cedric, did she?" asked Ginny sadly. "I don’t think so," said Hermione. "She’s never been married. It’s hard to get over losing someone like that." "We had better get down to the Great Hall," said Ron. "The students will be arriving soon…and I’m starving." ~ In the Great Hall, Harry, Neville, and Sirius were sitting at the teacher’s table. They didn’t really have anything to do before the feast but wait for it to begin. Harry looked out over the room. He rarely ever saw it empty like this. It looked so different than it did when it was full of students. Harry couldn’t imagine how many meals he had eaten in here over his years as a student and a teacher. Of course, it wasn’t a meal that was his most vivid memory of this room. Neville and Sirius sat to Harry’s right, and were chatting about the tournament. It would very soon be the number one topic of conversation in the school. "Sirius, who do you think is going to enter from Hogwarts?" asked Neville. "Well, there are a couple of Ravenclaw seventh years who do very well in Defense Against the Dark Arts, Dexter Mulligan and Horace Bookworth," said Sirius. "They both seem the type to enter something like this. It’s hard to say, a lot of them may put their names in, but the Goblet of Fire is only going to select a worthy candidate, it doesn’t pick at random. Anyone you think might enter?" "No," said Neville with a shrug. "I teach Herbology, it’s not like I get to see a lot of bravery and daring." Neville and Sirius both laughed. "You’ve been awfully quiet Harry, what do you think?" asked Sirius. "I think as long as Al, Carly, and Rose aren’t entering, I really don’t care," said Harry. "I’m not happy about the whole thing. After what happened…" Sirius put a hand on Harry’s shoulder. "Sorry, Harry," said Sirius. "That’s all right," said Harry taking a deep calming breath. "It was a long time ago, I’ve come to terms with all that." Harry wasn’t sure if he was trying to convince them or himself. The door to the Great Hall opened, and in walked Hermione, Ginny, and Ron. "Hey guys," called Harry. "How was the meeting?" "Nothing unexpected," said Hermione. "They are not allowing any Press this time," said Ron with a smile. That miserable insect and her
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offspring aren’t getting in." "Thank God," said Harry emphatically. "You took the words right out of my mouth," said Ginny with a laugh. The door to the Great Hall opened, and a familiar voice called, "is this a private party, or is anybody welcome." "Charlie," exclaimed Ginny excitedly. She turned and ran to meet her brother who was walking toward them. Ginny threw her arms around her brother and hugged him as the others also came down to meet him. "It’s so good to see you, Charlie," said Ginny with a big smile. "You really should come home more often. We all miss you." "You sound just like, Mum," said Charlie with a laugh. "Hey, Charlie," said Ron, giving him a hug after Ginny finally let go. "How was the trip from Romania?" "Not bad," said Charlie. "I’m glad I didn’t have to come with the dragons this time. I just have to worry about where we are housing them and the venue for the first task." After everyone else greeted Charlie, Ron excused himself to go meet with Danny and James when the Hogwarts Express arrived. It was a lovely night, juts a bit of a chill in the air, and Ron enjoyed the walk. Ron arrived at Hogsmeade station, just in time to see the train pull to a stop. James and Danny were among the first to depart the train. As they walked towards them, Ron could tell something was wrong. "What the hell happened to you?" asked Ron when he saw Danny’s swollen eye. "Did you get hit by the train? "I walked into a door," said Danny absently. Ron was about to say something, when Rose walked by. She had a scowl of her face and her eyes were red. She walked right by them like none of them were there. "Did this door by any chance have bushy brown hair, a chimera’s temper, and take your not going to Auror training baldy?" asked Ron. "That sounds about right," said Danny sadly. "However, you missed the part where she broke up with me." Ron stared at him open mouthed for a moment. "I’m sure she was just upset, Danny," said Ron. Ron couldn’t imagine Rose would break up with Danny. Even stranger Ron couldn’t imagine why it bothered him as much as it did. "You weren’t there," said Danny. "She hates me. She doesn’t want anything to do with me. It’s all over." Ron couldn’t believe it. He was stunned. "I’m sure she’ll come around," said Ron. "Why don’t you go to the Hospital Wing and get that looked at." "No, we have work to do. I’ll take the far end of the platform," said Danny. "Is that all right with you James?" James nodded and Danny turned and hurried toward the other end of the train. His shoulders were
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slumped. "What the hell happened?" asked Ron as he turned to James. "I don’t know the details, but I’ve never seen anyone look like he did when he came back from talking to Rose, and I’m not talking about the eye," said James. "Devastated is the only word I can come up with. He looked like…well…he had lost the love of his life." "Well, I’m sure she’ll come around," said Ron. "She has a nasty temper, but she’ll calm down and they’ll patch things up." Ron just couldn’t believe Rose would really break up with Danny. "I’m going to head back to the castle. When everyone is up to the castle, tell Danny to go to the Hospital Wing to have his eye looked at. Tell him it’s an order." "I will," said James. "He’s just being stubborn. He wouldn’t let Lily heal his eye either." As Ron walked back towards the castle, he realized he hadn’t even asked James and Danny if there were any problems on the train. He was so shocked at what happened between Rose and Danny it slipped his mind. Ron would never have thought that Rose and Danny breaking up would bother him, but it really did. Last year, he would have been thrilled, but he knew Rose had to be as heartbroken as Danny was, and he didn’t want to see either one of them like that. Ron also had a sick feeling thinking back to the argument he had with Rose when she and Danny didn’t come home until two o’clock that morning, and he hoped that didn’t play into it. Unfortunately, Ron was pretty sure it did. ~ In the Great Hall, the New Marauders gathered at the Gryffindor table. Rose had said nothing to anyone, and was seated beside Albus. Carly was on his other side, and many of their fellow Gryffindors had already noticed the ring on her finger, and were offering their congratulations. Rose felt guilty, but with her breaking up with Danny that was something beyond guilt. She really didn’t want to hear how happy everyone was for Albus and Carly. She also noticed that Tommy Morgan had sat next to Lily across the table. It all just made her feel worse. Hugo passed two second years a couple of Ton Tongue Toffees, and even that didn’t help Rose’s mood. She could see up at the teacher’s table, her Dad whispering something in her mother’s ear. When her mother looked alarmed, and then right at Rose, she knew word of her break up had reached her mother. She was sure to be getting a visit from her mother tonight. The last thing she wanted to do was talk about it with her or anyone else. Rose watched as Ginny led the first years in and to the front of the Great Hall. Were we ever that small, Rose wondered? Rose remembered the night she was sorted into Gryffindor. She was sorted and went to the Gryffindor table and sat beside Danny. Danny smiled at her and congratulated her. That used to be a great memory. Rose watched as Ginny placed the Sorting Hat on the first year’s head. "Henry Rollins," said Ginny. Several moments later the Sorting hat called, "Slytherin!" The poor boy was obviously not happy. He smiled weakly and headed off to the cheers of the Slytherin table. The sorting continued as everyone cheered for the students sorted into their houses. Rose just couldn’t bring herself to care enough to cheer for them. Rose saw James enter the Great Hall and go to a seat at the teacher’s table. There was an empty seat next to him, obviously for Danny, but Danny was nowhere to be found. The guilt Rose felt as she thought of Danny made her sick to her stomach, and she was glad he wasn’t there.
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The Sorting Hat put five boys and five girls in Gryffindor. When the ceremony was over, her mother stood and she watched as she gave her speech. "Welcome," said Hermione with a smile. "I’m sure you are all as excited as I am to be back for another year at Hogwarts. I would like to welcome all of our first years. I’m sure you’re all very exited. I have a few brief announcements before we begin the feast. First, and foremost, Hogwarts will host the Triwizard Tournament this year." Murmurs could be heard throughout the Great Hall. Most students, including the New Marauders had forgot that this year was the tournament year. "Oh, no," said Albus softly. "I forgot about the tournament." "What is it, Al?" asked Carly. "In the past they canceled the Quidditch Cup when Hogwarts hosts the Triwizard Tournament," said Albus. "No quidditch." "This will mean, that delegations from Durmstrang Institute and Beauxbatons Academy will be staying with us beginning at the end of October," said Hermione. "For those of you who might not be familiar with the Triwizard Tournament, it was started more than seven hundred years ago as a way of bringing together the three largest magic schools in Europe. When the tournament was reinstated in 2013, a number of changes were made to the rules. A champion will be selected from each school. Each champion will then designate a partner if they so choose, or they can choose to stand alone. All champions must have reached the age of seventeen by October thirty-first. There are no exceptions. Selection will occur that night, so the Halloween Dance is canceled, however, the Yule Ball, which is a traditional part of the tournament, will be held this year. The three teams will compete in three magical tasks during this year. When the three tasks are complete, the two top teams will compete against each other for the Triwizard Cup." Hermione paused and took a breath. She didn’t want to say the rest, but she had to. "Eternal glory to the victors, along with one thousand galleons each." "Who needs eternal glory," said Albus with a frown. "I just need quidditch." "You have me," said Carly, hiding a smile. "I suppose I can make do," said Albus with a grin, leaning over and kissing his fiancé. "I was just really looking forward to one more year of quidditch." Rose wanted to get up and leave. Their happiness was driving her mad. It only made her feel worse that she felt that way. "A few other announcements," said Hermione. "We have no staffing changes this year, but we do have two additional staff members. James Potter and Danny Finnigan will be working security with Auror on Station Weasley." There was a cheer from the Gryffindor table. "Let’s see. Oh, yes, I nearly forgot. In the past, the Quidditch Cup has been canceled for the tournament, however, I have informed the Ministry they will need to provide all the staff for the tournament, as I will not cancel the quidditch season." Thunderous applause erupted throughout the room, but especially at the Gryffindor table. Rose heard Albus give a sigh of relief, and Tommy and Hugo gave a cheer across the table. Rose honestly didn’t care about quidditch at that moment. Her mother proclaimed the feast to begin. Rose sat a minute, then got up to leave. She didn’t want to eat anything. "Where are you going, Rose?" asked Lily.
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"To bed," said Rose. "I’m…not feeling very well." Without another word Rose walked down the length of the table and exited the Great Hall. She started toward Gryffindor Tower, but didn’t get very far. Rose was not terribly surprised. "Rose," called Hermione hurrying down the hall. Rose stopped and closed her eyes for a moment. She didn’t want to do this now. She really didn’t want to do this ever. "Rose," said Hermione when she had caught up to her daughter and come around in front of her. "What happened? Your father said you and Danny broke up." "We did," said Rose without a trace of emotion in her voice. "Why, Rose?" asked Hermione. "What happened? Please tell me." "It’s no one’s business but ours," said Rose flatly. Rose pushed past her mother and continued to Gryffindor Tower. Hermione just watched her go. She could see the terrible pain in her daughter’s eyes and it broke her heart. Ron had not given her any details, and she needed to know what happened so she could try and help. Rose could be so stubborn, Hermione knew if someone didn’t do something, she and Danny might never get back together, and she knew how in love they were. No matter what had happened, Hermione knew nothing could have changed that. So Hermione did the only thing she could, and headed to the Hospital Wing to see Danny. Chapter 10: Chapter 10 - Broken Hearts [View Online] [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter] Chapter 10 – Broken Hearts Hermione walked down the hallway toward the Hospital Wing. She knew how in love Danny and Rose were, and knew they were both hurting. She couldn’t help but think of how angry she had been at Ron fourth year when he didn’t ask her to the Yule Ball, and then for how he acted at the Ball because she had gone with Viktor. Of course that wasn’t the only time she was mad at him. Sixth year, was even worse with Ron dating Lavender Brown. Hermione might not have forgiven him when she did if he hadn’t been poisoned. She didn’t like to think about that. Hermione had to smile though, after everything that happened between them, things turned out wonderfully. She just hoped they would turn out that way for Rose and Danny. When Hermione pushed open the door to the Hospital Wing, Madam Jennings was tending to Danny. Ron had said Rose hit him, but not how bad it was. As Hermione walked closer, she could see his eye was nearly swollen shut. Rose had apparently inherited her mother’s right hook, Hermione thought. "You know, Mr. Finnigan, I thought when you graduated I wouldn’t be healing you anymore," said Madam Jennings. She handed him a potion. "Drink this." Hermione watched as Danny drank the potion, and his face screwed up. "I couldn’t stay away," said Danny. "I missed the tasty potions." Danny wasn’t laughing as he said it. Madam Jennings harrumphed, then turned and noticed Hermione standing there. "Headmistress," said Madam Jennings. "How are you?"
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harrypotterfanfiction.com :: 65,000 Ha… "I’m fine," said Hermione with a smile. "I just wanted to check on your first patient of the year."

"Oh, well, it seems our new Security Officer here…walked into a door," said Madam Jennings. The sarcasm was dripping from her words. "He’s all right though, no permanent damage. The potion will heal it by morning. He can go. I’ve recommended not upsetting his…um…door…again." Hermione nodded to Madam Jennings who turned and went to her office. "Walked into a door indeed," muttered Madam Jennings as she went. Hermione just stood there a minute looking at Danny. Danny was looking at the floor with his one good eye. Danny wanted to crawl into a hole and die. He already had his heart broken. Danny really didn’t want to have to explain it to his former girlfriend’s mother, though he had always liked her, and she had always been very nice to him. "Headmistress Weasley, I’m sorry…um…I missed the feast," said Danny lamely. He couldn’t look up at her. Rose had her mother’s eyes, and he couldn’t look at them right now. "Don’t worry about it," said Hermione. She sat down on the cot opposite Danny and continued to stare for a minute. "A door, huh," she said with just a touch of sarcasm. "Yeah," said Danny, still looking at the floor. "A door with a good right hook…and pretty brown eyes." A tear trickled from Danny’s good eye. He continued to stare at the floor and wiped the back of his hand on his cheek. Hermione got up from where she sat and went to sit next to him, putting her arm around his shoulders. "Danny, I know how much she loves you, and I know how much you love her," said Hermione comfortingly. "Tell me what happened." Danny knew there was no way around it. He told her everything. He did his best not to cry, but the tears leaked out of his good eye and stung his bad eye, which was beginning to heal. "Rose said she hates me," said Danny fighting back tears. "I don’t know what I’m going to do. I can’t imagine my life without her." Hermione knew it wasn’t Danny, Rose had been mad at, not really anyway. "Danny, she doesn’t hate you," said Hermione. "She loves you. Your wanting to protect her just pushed the wrong button and set her off. She’s been like a dragon ready to strike lately because she and Ron have been fighting so much. I know she will come around." "I hope so," said Danny. "It just hurt me so much, and I’m not talking about my eye. I still love her though. She could never say anything to change that." Hermione hugged him, and he hugged her back. "Why don’t you give it a couple of days?" asked Hermione. "Let her cool down. I just saw her, and I’ll bet anything she’s crying herself to sleep right now." Danny stood up and started walking towards the door. He couldn’t talk about Rose anymore. "She won’t be the only one," muttered Danny under his breath, but it was just loud enough for Hermione to hear. ~ Since September first was a Friday, they had two days before classes began. Saturday morning, Albus woke up and looked around his empty dorm. With James, Jason, and Danny graduated, and five new Gryffindor first year boys in another dorm, Albus was left all alone. After six years with three
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harrypotterfanfiction.com :: 65,000 Ha… roommates it was strange to wake up without his friends.

Albus showered and dressed, and headed for the Gryffindor Common Room. The first thing he had to do was talk to Rose. He had never seen her so devastated, as she was last night. Carly and Lily were going to try to talk to her, but Albus knew Rose better than anyone. She loved ‘girl talk’ with Carly and Lily, but when something was really bothering her, especially something that was hurting her like this was, she would only talk to him. That changed a little after Rose and Danny had been together for a few years of course. She started talking to Danny when things bothered her, but Rose would always seek out Albus if what was bothering her was about Danny or if it was about her father giving Danny a hard time. When Albus entered the Common Room, Lily and Carly were sitting on the couch talking. There were a few other people around, but most had gone down to breakfast already, as it was already nine o’clock. Being Saturday, a lot of people were sleeping in too. "So are you going to admit you fancy Tommy?" asked Carly with a smile. "It’s obvious to everyone else." "For the last time I don’t," said Lily in exasperation. "He’s arrogant and egotistical. You should have heard him all last year in Potions class. He acted like he knew everything there was to know about making potions." "Are you sure he wasn’t just trying to impress you?" asked Carly. "Maybe he was just too shy to ask you out?" "Please," said Lily rolling her eyes. "Good morning," said Albus walking up behind the couch. He leaned down over the couch and kissed Carly. "Good morning," said Carly with a smile. "Has Rose come down yet?" asked Albus. "I wanted to talk to her about what happened yesterday. I want to make sure she is all right." "No," said Carly with a sigh. "She wouldn’t get out of bed. I don’t think she’s all right at all. I thought I heard her crying during the night, but when I asked if she was all right, she said she was fine and then I saw a flash of light. I’m sure she cast a silencing charm. I didn’t want to push, but I’m worried about her." "We tried to talk to her before we went to bed," said Lily sadly. "She wouldn’t talk about it. She kept telling us to leave her alone." That’s exactly what Albus was afraid of. "I’m going to go talk to her," said Albus. "You can’t go into the girl’s dorm," said Lily. "Head Boy remember," said Albus with a grin. "I can go anywhere." "I’ll remember that," said Carly with a smirk, causing Lily to roll her eyes. Albus headed up the stairs and knocked on the door of the seventh year girls’ dorm. He got no response, so he knocked again. After another moment with no response, he turned the doorknob and opened it a crack. "Rose," called Albus. "Leave me alone, Al," Rose said flatly. "I don’t want to see anybody."
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harrypotterfanfiction.com :: 65,000 Ha… Albus pushed the door open and entered the room, but didn’t see Rose. One of the beds still had the curtains drawn. Albus walked over to it, assuming it had to be Rose. He had never actually been in the girl’s dorms before.

"Rose, I’m going to open the curtain," said Albus. "Leave me alone, Al," said Rose for the second time. "Go away…please." Rose’s voice cracked just a little. Albus pulled back the curtain and tied it up. Rose was still in her pajamas, sitting on her bed with her knees pulled up under her chin and her arms wrapped around her legs. Her eyes were red and puffy from crying and lack of sleep. She was a complete mess. "Oh, Rose," said Albus with a sigh. "You should have woken me up." He hated to see her so upset. He sat down on the edge of her bed and gathered Rose into a hug. "Leave me alone, Al," Rose said for the third time, but even as she did, she buried her face in his chest, holding on to his jumper for dear life. Albus just held his best friend for a few minutes as she cried. "Now, tell me what happened," said Albus after she had calmed down a little. I’m sure it’s not as bad as you think." "You’re wrong," said Rose. "I ruined everything. I was so mad after he said he wanted to be here to protect me…and it wasn’t even him I was mad at." "Your Dad?" asked Albus. He already knew the answer. "Yeah," said Rose, trying to wipe the tears from her cheeks. "Night before last, Danny and I went out to dinner. We went to the park in Ottery St. Catchpole. I was so upset we were going to be apart this year. I just wanted him to hold me, and we sat on a bench and he did. It was such a nice night, we lost track of the time. We didn’t get home until two o’clock in the morning." "Then your Dad gave you a hard time?" asked Albus. "Yes," said Rose. "He tells me I’m too young to be out all night. I am so sick of him treating me like a little girl." "He loves you, Rose," said Albus. "He just wants to protect you." "I know," said Rose with a hint of anger in her voice. "It’s just time he realizes, I’m not a little girl anymore." "All right," said Albus. "So what exactly happened with Danny?" "Well, I was furious after he said he wanted to be here to protect me," said Rose. "I was mad at him, but it was my father I was really angry with. I sat in that compartment with my blood boiling. It was just a matter of time before I lost it. So of course, I acted like the little girl my father thinks I am and threw a tantrum." "And a punch," added Albus. "I don’t know how I could have done that," said Rose, tears falling from her eyes again. "He came into the compartment, and I just lost it and decked him. It was a sucker punch. He didn’t even see it coming. How could I do that?"
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harrypotterfanfiction.com :: 65,000 Ha… Albus knew there was more. It wasn’t the punch that made Danny cry, a punch he could have taken. "What else, Rose?" asked Albus. "Danny knows you have a temper, and I’m sure he would have forgiven you on the spot for hitting him. There had to be something else."

"I told him we were through," said Rose in a shaky voice. "I told him I hated him." Rose began to cry harder. "Then he said he wanted us to get married some day and I told him I wanted someone to notice I can take care of myself and that none of us are getting what we want. How could I say that, Al? What have I done? I’ve ruined everything." Albus just held her. He wasn’t sure what to say. This explained how devastated Danny was. "You have to talk to him, Rose," said Albus. "I can’t," said Rose. "Not after what I said to him. I don’t deserve forgiveness. I was so horrible to him, it was unforgivable." "Give it a few days Rose," said Albus. "I know he still loves you. Nothing you could have said would ever change that." She didn’t say anything she just continued to cry. Albus held her for a while. He wasn’t sure what else to say to her. ~ In the Great Hall, James had just finished breakfast. He and Danny had done their morning security sweeps. James came to breakfast, but Danny went back to bed. He really hadn’t slept last night. James was about to go and see if Albus wanted to get in some sword practice. They hadn’t done much sword practice during the summer. Before he could stand up, he heard someone walk up behind him. "James, I would like to talk to you," said Ginny. "Sure, Professor Potter," said James flatly. He was still annoyed with her reaction on the platform, and he was unhappy she had taken it out on his father. James turned around and his mother had that unmistakable look on her face that screamed ‘don’t push me’. "I’m sorry, Mum," said James with a sigh. "Come with me," said Ginny. James followed his mother into the chamber through the door behind the teacher’s table. James was behind her, so he couldn’t see her face. Ginny wasn’t mad at him. She had been, but now she just wanted to make sure he was really all right with his decision to put off Auror training. Once they were in the chamber and the door had closed behind them, Ginny turned and hugged James tightly. "Are you all right, Mum?" asked James, hugging his mother back. "Yes, sweetheart, I’m fine," said Ginny with a smile. "I just needed a hug. Are you sure about putting off Auror training?" James had thought that was what she wanted to speak to him about. "Yes, I am, Mum," said James without hesitation. He broke away from her and walked towards the fireplace, leaning one hand against the mantle, and looking into the flames. "I have to be here."
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Ginny walked over to him and put a hand on his shoulder. "I wouldn’t be able to live with it if anything happened to any of you while I wasn’t here to try and stop it," said James. "I know," said Ginny with a sigh. "You are just like your father." James chuckled. "So I’ve been told," said James. "Come on," said Ginny with a smile. "Let’s go for a walk. We don’t get to spend any time together anymore. Or are you too old to go for a walk with your Mum?" James turned and smiled at her. "Never," said James. "I would like that." ~ Albus finally got Rose calmed down a little, though she still refused to talk to Danny or leave her dorm. Albus hoped maybe Danny would try and talk to her, Rose was too stubborn to make the first move, but with her in her dorm, that was not very likely. After getting Winky to bring them breakfast, Albus left her to meet up with Carly. Albus and Carly had wanted to tell Hagrid about their engagement, but had not had a chance. He was too busy at Hogsmeade Station herding the first years into the boats. Albus always wondered what that was like, since he never came over on the boats. Albus walked to the Entrance Hall and found Carly waiting for him. "Hi, Al," said Carly with a smile as he approached. Albus walked up to Carly and put his arms around her and kissed her. "Please do me a favor?" asked Albus. "What favor?" asked Carly. "If you ever say or do something you regret, promise you’ll remember I will always forgive you, no matter what it is," said Albus. Carly knew immediately he was talking about Rose and Danny’s fight on the train. "How bad is it?" asked Carly. "Pretty bad," said Albus. "I don’t know what to do. I think we just need to leave them be for a while and hope that with some time Rose can forgive herself for what she said. Danny would forgive her in a second, but she’s sure he wouldn’t. I guess we just wait and see." Albus and Carly walked to Hagrid’s house. Along the way, Albus told Carly all about what Rose said happened between Rose and Danny. "That’s awful," said Carly. "I know how upset Rose has been with her father lately. I never thought she would take it out on Danny." "She didn’t mean to," said Albus. "You know Rose, her temper has almost as quick a trigger as Lily’s. That’s really saying something." It was a warm sunny day, so they enjoyed their walk, changing the subject to something less depressing than Danny and Rose’s problems.
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harrypotterfanfiction.com :: 65,000 Ha… "So, who do you think will enter the Triwizard Tournament?" asked Carly.

"I don’t know, I just know I want no part of it," said Albus. "Not after what happened to Dad when he was in school." "Not that I want you to, I don’t, but you know you would beat anyone," said Carly. "You’re the best, Al." Albus laughed. "Maybe I would win," said Albus. "I know I could win it and you know I could win it. That is more than enough for me. I don’t need to prove it." "Good," said Carly with a smile. "I would be so scared if you were competing. I know it’s very dangerous." When they got to Hagrid’s house, they knocked on the door. They had so many great memories of visiting with Hagrid over the years. A moment later the door opened. "Al, Carly, it’s great to see you," said Hagrid with a smile. "Come on in." "Hi, Hagrid," Carly and Albus said at the same time as they came in. They soon found there was someone else visiting Hagrid. "Uncle Charlie, how are you?" asked Albus. "Mum said you’ be here, but I didn’t know you had arrived." "I’m great, Al," said Charlie with a smile. "I love Romania, but it’s nice to get home for a bit. I hear congratulations are in order for you two." "Congratulations," said Hagrid turning to Carly and Albus. "For what?" Albus put his arm around Carly, and gave her a smile. "We’re engaged," said Carly holding up her left hand with the ring Albus had given her. "Wonderful," bellowed Hagrid. "Congratulations, I always knew you two would get married, right from first year." "Thank you," said Albus with a smile "Would you care for some tea?" asked Hagrid. Carly and Albus decided to stay for tea. They chatted with Charlie and Hagrid for a while. The subject of the Triwizard Tournament came up. It didn’t take long for Albus to realize why Charlie was at Hogwarts. "Uncle Charlie, will there be dragons in the Triwizard tournament?" asked Albus. "Well, I shouldn’t say…but yes," said Charlie. "It’s not going to be a secret for too much longer. When they get here around the middle of October, it will be pretty hard not to know they are around. They are awfully noisy." "So, have you two made any wedding plans yet?" asked Hagrid. "No," said Carly. "Not really. Just that we plan to have the wedding in August, but we haven’t thought about much else." "Well, then you have lots to do," said Charlie. "I’m sure my sister is already deep into the planning. Have you picked a best man and a maid of honor?"
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harrypotterfanfiction.com :: 65,000 Ha… "Well, I hadn’t thought about it, but I’ll ask James to be my best man," said Albus. He turned to Carly.

Carly hadn’t thought about whom her made of honor would be. There were only two options, but should she pick Rose or Lily. She was so close to both of them, and she didn’t want to hurt either of them. "I don’t know yet," said Carly. "I really haven’t thought about anything yet. I guess I’ve been too happy to really think about it yet." A little while later, Carly and Albus decided they should head up to the castle. They said their goodbyes and left Hagrid and Charlie to talk about dragons. Carly was very quiet as they walked back towards the castle. Albus knew that something was bothering her. "Is something wrong love?" asked Albus. "You are very quiet." Carly stopped walking and turned to Albus. "I hadn’t thought about who my maid of honor would be," said Carly. "Do I choose Rose, or Lily?" "Oh," said Albus. "Sorry love, I’m afraid I can’t answer that. I’m actually glad I don’t have to. That’s a tough one." "Thanks," said Carly with a sigh. "You are a lot of help." "I’m sorry," said Albus, leaning in and kissing her softly. "I don’t know how I could choose between my sister and my best friend. You’re as close to them as I am. I really don’t know what to tell you, I wish I did." "I know," said Carly. "Well, at least I don’t have to make a decision right now. Do you really think your Mum is already planning?" "You have met Mum, haven’t you," joked Albus. "I am pretty sure Uncle Charlie was right. She has probably started planning it in her mind, if not on paper." Chapter 11: Chapter 11 - The Secret Squad [View Online] [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter] Chapter 11 – The Secret Squad Sunday night came and that meant family dinner in the Room of Requirement for the Potters and Weasleys. Rose had said she wasn’t coming, but her mother told her attendance was mandatory in her Headmistress voice, so Rose reluctantly dragged herself out of her dorm to dinner. It was like most family dinners from the previous six years, except there were a couple of people missing. Jason and Danny had almost always attended family dinners after the New Marauders started to get close. They were family. Jason was of course, now playing for Puddlemere United. Danny on the other hand had decided not to come tonight. Rose had hardly eaten or said a word to anyone all evening, for that matter, she hardly spoke to anyone since they got to Hogwarts. Hermione hated to see Rose in such pain and decided that since she had some time to calm down, she would talk to her later that night. After dinner, the men left the table to sit by the fire, while the women stayed at the table to discuss wedding plans.
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"Do we need to make these decisions now?" asked Carly. "The wedding won’t be for nearly a year." It wasn’t that she didn’t want to talk about wedding plans, but she had no idea who to pick to be maid of honor, and she was sure that would come up. "You can never start too early," said Ginny with a smile. "I remember planning my wedding with my Mum. I promise I won’t get as carried away as she did. I can still hear her, ‘it’s my only daughter’s wedding, and I want it to be absolutely perfect’. I was sure she was going to drive your Dad completely mental." "Yeah," said Lily, "I’ve heard all of Uncle Ron’s stories. If he had not kept Dad calm, he would have run." "Possibly," said Ginny with a laugh. "I want your wedding to be perfect Carly, but as long as it makes you happy it will be." Carly could see Ginny was trying to hold back her enthusiasm, but her mother had come prepared with a list of items that needed to be discussed. The ‘where’ was easy, Carly wanted the wedding at home in the back yard and the garden, and they would put up a big tent for the reception. They decided the guest list could wait. Carly wanted friends and family, but that would still be a rather long list. When the discussion turned to dresses, that’s where things got difficult. "Carly, we should probably go shopping for a dress in the spring," said Ginny. "Have you given any thought to the colors for the bridesmaid and maid of honor’s dresses." "A little," said Carly. "I think I would like green dresses for the bridesmaids. Then Al can wear black dress robes with green trim." "To match his eyes," said Ginny with a smile. Carly nodded. It would be very much like her own wedding Ginny thought. That was also done in green and was held outdoors at the Burrow. "Carly, who is going to be your maid of honor?" asked Hermione. It hadn’t occurred to her that this could be a sticky question. "Well, I don’t…um…I don’t know," said Carly, unsure of what to say. "Carly," said Lily as she realized what the problem was. "You should pick Rose as your maid of honor. She’s older, and I’ll be very happy to be a bridesmaid." "Really," said Carly, her relief clearly evident in her tone. "I’ve been so worried what to do since it occurred to me yesterday. I didn’t want either of you to feel bad." "Lily should be your maid of honor," said Rose as she stood up. "I won’t be any fun anyway. Goodnight, I’m tired. I’m going to bed." With that Rose left the Room of Requirement, closing the door behind her. "Oh I’m sorry," said Ginny, but Rose was already gone. "I didn’t even think when I brought up the wedding plans that it might bother Rose." "It’s all right, Ginny," said Hermione. "It gives me a good excuse to talk to her." Hermione got up and left to find Rose. By the fire, Harry, Ron, Sirius, Neville, James, Albus, and Hugo were all chatting. Albus and James were talking about some extra training time on Saturdays for hand-to-hand combat and with swords. When Albus saw Rose leave and Hermione follow, he sighed.
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harrypotterfanfiction.com :: 65,000 Ha… "I don’t know what to do about Rose," said Albus with a shrug. "She is so stubborn, I don’t think she’ll ever talk to Danny."

"I talked with Danny, and I don’t see him talking to her either," said James shaking his head. "He still loves her, but she really hurt him with what she said. Heartbroken doesn’t begin to describe it. Danny really thinks she hates him." "Have you ever seen two people who were so right for each other as Danny and Rose?" asked Albus. "They are perfect together." "Besides you and Carly?" asked James with a laugh. "No." Albus had to smile, and then remembered something. "James, speaking of Carly and I, I was wondering, would you be my best man?" asked Albus. "I was wondering when you were going to ask," said James with a grin. "I would be honored little brother." While James and Albus’s conversations continued, Sirius was telling Hugo the story of a prank he had pulled when he was in school and it was giving Hugo an idea. Harry, Ron, and Neville were having a far more serious conversation. "Anything new in the book?" asked Neville. "Not yet," said Harry with a sigh. "I keep checking, but I haven’t found anything new." "It seems really random," said Ron. "I mean, Voldemort must have been doing something all these years. I’m sure he was training Malfoy until he came of age and could help resurrect him. Yet, the book didn’t bother tell you any of that." "The book is a mystery," said Neville. "We can’t expect it to make sense." "It didn’t give us enough warning to stop Malfoy from resurrecting Voldemort, or to stop him from killing Pansy," said Harry. "I hate to say it, but you could almost say those things were meant to happen, otherwise the book would have given us more notice." Ron decided they needed a cheerier subject. "So, when are the Gryffindor quidditch tryouts?" asked Ron. "I hope they can win the cup again, seven straight years has never been done before. I would love to see Rose and Albus as the first two seven time Quidditch Cup winners." "Tuesday," said Harry. "Unfortunately, the Headmistress scheduled a faculty meeting for that time, so none of us are going to be able to go to tryouts." "Lovely," said Ron with a sigh. "Oh well." ~ Rose walked down the hallway towards Gryffindor Tower. A week ago, she would have loved to be Carly’s maid of honor, in fact, after Albus proposed, it was the first thing she had thought of. Rose could imagine herself in a beautiful dress, dancing the night away in Danny’s arms, stealing kisses whenever her father wasn’t looking, and thinking about the wedding they would have one day. Now, Rose thought it would be all she could do just to attend the wedding. As she walked, she heard footsteps behind her, and she knew it was her mother.
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harrypotterfanfiction.com :: 65,000 Ha… "Rose," said Hermione, as she caught up with her daughter. "Can we talk?"

Rose stopped and turned to face her mother. "What do you want to talk about?" asked Rose, her tone was flat and emotionless. "I want to talk about what happened between you and Danny," said Hermione. "He is absolutely devastated." "There is nothing to talk about, Mum," said Rose. "I was mad at Dad and I took it out on Danny. I can never ask him to forgive me for what I said. I certainly can’t forgive myself for it. I just have to learn to live with it." "Please, Rose," pleaded Hermione. "Please talk to him. He still loves you. I know he does. I spoke to him, he’s crushed, but he still loves you." Rose just shook her head, and looked at the floor. Hermione moved towards her and pulled her into a hug. "Please, Rose," said Hermione softly. "Don’t throw it away because you made a mistake." "It’s not that simple, Mum," said Rose softly, as she returned her mother’s embrace. "I shouldn’t be forgiven after what I said." Rose pulled away from her mother and headed toward Gryffindor Tower. Hermione just stood there and watched her go. As she did, her thoughts turned to Ron, who had caused this whole mess with his over protectiveness. Hermione had tried not to interfere in Rose and Ron’s arguments. She really thought with some time, they would work it out, and getting into the middle of it wasn’t going to help. She really didn’t think Ron’s over protectiveness would do anything more than annoy Rose. She now realized she was wrong. Unfortunately for Ron, Rose wasn’t the only Weasley with a temper. ~ Late that night, Ginny and Harry were sitting on the couch in their quarters. Ginny was reading a quidditch magazine, and Harry was reading a book he received for his birthday. Ginny yawned. "I’m going to bed, are you coming?" asked Ginny. Harry marked his page, and closed the book. "Yes, I just want to check the book before I go to sleep," said Harry. Harry reached for ‘The Prophecy of the Twelve’, but before he could pick it up, there was a knock at the door. "I’ll get it," said Ginny, as she got up and walked towards the door. "I wonder who it could be at this hour?" Ginny opened the door to find Ron standing there holding a pillow and blanket. "Hermione and I had a fight," said Ron dejectedly. "I was banished from our quarters and told if I tried to come back without permission she would turn me into a hamster and feed me to Crookshanks. Could I use your couch?" "Sure," said Ginny trying to suppress a laugh. "It’s not like it’s the first time." "Thanks, Ginny," said Ron. "Just rub salt in an open wound."
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"Look on the bright side, mate," said Harry with a grin. "Crookshanks is more than thirty years old. That’s old, even for a Kneazle. You could probably outrun him." "Thanks, Harry," said Ron. "Some best friend you are." Ron dropped down on the couch beside Harry. "What happened?" asked Harry. "Well, first she yelled at me," said Ron. "Then I told her she was absolutely right and that it was my fault entirely, and I was completely and totally wrong. Then she threw me out." Ginny, who had sat back down, and Harry looked at each other then both turned to Ron. "What did you admit was all your fault?" asked Ginny. "Danny and Rose breaking up," said Ron shaking his head. "If I hadn’t thrown a fit when she got home the other night, well morning really, she wouldn’t have blown up at Danny. Hermione is right. It was all my fault, and I can’t do anything to fix it." Harry and Ginny both nodded. "Give it a night Ron," said Harry. I’m sure she’ll forgive you tomorrow." "I don’t know Harry," said Ron. "Hermione said, among other things, I might have ruined Rose and Danny’s lives. I mean…we’ve all seen Hermione angry, but…well…I thought she was going to really turn me into a hamster for a moment." "Hermione’s just upset," said Ginny. "I’m sure everything will be fine, just give it a few days, just give Rose and Danny some time to patch things up and I’m sure Hermione will forgive you then, too." Ron just sighed and looked at the floor. Harry picked up the book from the table and flipped it open. "Bloody hell," said Harry shaking his head. "What is it?" asked Ron. "There is something new in the book," said Harry, and then Harry read the new text on the page that started with ‘the final chapter begins’. The Dark Lord seeks that which is of no use to him. Only the blood of The Savior can reveal its secrets. They were all silent for a moment. "What do you think it means?" asked Ginny. "I don’t know," said Harry with a shrug. "Obviously Voldemort is looking for something, and he thinks he can use it but he can’t. Only…my blood…will reveal its secrets." "We better figure it out," said Ron. Ginny leaned against Harry. "Any ideas?" asked Ginny. "No…I think we need to sleep on it and we can discuss it some more in the morning," said Harry. "It won’t do us any good to lose sleep over it." ~ The next afternoon, when classes were over, eleven members of The Twelve were gathered in the Room of Requirement discussing the new passage in the book. Hermione was in her office. She had discussed the passage with Harry, Ginny, Neville and Sirius that morning. She claimed she had work to do, but Harry and Ginny both knew she was just avoiding Ron.
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"What could he be looking for?" asked James as he paced in front of the fire. Albus was standing at one end of the fireplace staring into the flames. The others were on the couches and chairs. They had yet to come up with anything helpful. "A weapon," suggested Sirius. "Possibly," said Harry. "But what weapon?" "Look," said Ginny. "We’ve been at this for an hour. We aren’t getting anywhere, why don’t we go have dinner?" "Sounds good to me," said Hugo. "Me too," said Lily. Ron, Neville, Rose, and Carly nodded their agreement. James and Albus stayed where they were and made no move to leave. Everyone else got up except Harry and headed for the door. Sirius was about to get up, but Harry gave him a look, which Sirius knew meant ‘please stay’. "Coming, Al?" asked Carly. "No," said Albus shaking his head. "I’m not hungry." Ginny looked to Harry who nodded towards the door. A moment later, Harry and Sirius were left sitting on one couch, and Albus and James were standing by the fire. "Something on your mind boys?" asked Harry. It was a stupid question, but Harry wasn’t sure what else to say. James dropped into the couch opposite them. "Why don’t we go after him," said James. "I say we find him and make sure he can’t hurt anyone ever again." "Where would we look for him?" asked Sirius logically. "I don’t know, but doing something beats doing nothing," said James. "James, I know you want to do something," said Harry. "Believe me, I’ve had five years to want to do something. It will drive you crazy if you let it." "So I’m supposed to just wait and see what happens?" asked James. "Yes," said Albus, still looking into the fire. "There is nothing to be gained by running around the countryside looking for Malfoy and Voldemort." "I can’t just sit here," said James bluntly. "Yes, you can," said Albus. "Really, what choice do we have? Do you want to run off, then not be here if he attacks?" James was quiet. He knew they were right. Running off looking for them would cause more harm than good. "Look, I understand what you’re going through," said Harry. "There is nothing to be gained by being rash. I’ve made that mistake before." For a moment that comment just hung in the air.
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Just then, the door opened, and Hermione came into the room. "Harry, Kingsley just flooed, he needs you at the Ministry immediately," said Hermione. "He didn’t say why." Harry and Sirius stood up. "Albus, James, you wanted to do something, why don’t you come with me," said Harry. "Sirius, Hermione, let the other’s know where we’ve gone." ~ Harry, James, and Albus flooed to the Ministry and made there way to the office of the Minister of Magic. Harry had given up believing in coincidences a long time ago. Kingsley summoning him within a day of new text appearing in the book was not a coincidence. "Do you think Voldemort has attacked?" asked James as they walked down the hallway toward Kingsley’s office. "I have no idea, James," said Harry. "You know as much as I do." Harry did have a bad feeling that something had happened. "We’ll find out soon enough," said Albus. When they arrived at Kingsley’s office, his assistant waved them immediately into the office. Harry opened the door and led them into Kingsley’s office. "Harry," said Kingsley as he stood from his desk, and came around it to meet them. He extended his hand and Harry shook it. "How are you boys?" "Fine," said both Albus and James. "What is it, Kingsley?" asked Harry. "Has something happened?" "Let’s sit down and talk," said Kingsley in a tone that made it clear that something was very wrong. The four of them went over to a conference table in Kingsley’s office and sat down. Kingsley’s office was nice, but not ostentatious as Harry was sure it had been under Fudge. There was a desk with three chairs in front of it, and a conference table with chairs on both sides. A couple of paintings adorned the walls. There was a portrait above the fireplace. It was empty, but Harry knew it was another one of Professor Dumbledore’s portraits. He had been asleep in his portrait in Hermione’s office when they left. "Last night, four wizards were found murdered," said Kingsley. "Who were they?" asked James. Kingsley seemed to ponder the answer. "Albus, James, I need your word that what you are about to learn of does not leave this room," said Kingsley. Both James and Albus nodded. "Harry, what do you know about the Secret Squad?" asked Kingsley. Harry’s eyes went wide. "I thought they were a myth," said Harry. "Are you telling me the Secret Squad is real?" Kingsley nodded.
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"What is the Secret Squad?" asked Albus. "The Secret Squad is supposed to be a team of four wizards, all highly trained as Aurors or Hit Wizards," said Harry. "They report directly to the Minister of Magic, and most importantly, they don’t exist." "What do you mean they don’t exist?" asked James. "When a new team member joins the Secret Squad, they join for life, giving up who they were," said Kingsley. "They are erased from all records of the Wizarding world, and their existence removed from the memory of anyone who knew them. They simply do not exist. They take on jobs that…well…no one will ever know about." Kingsley paused. "All four members of the Secret Squad are dead." "How did it happen?" asked Harry in shock. Although he never really knew if they existed or not, the stories said they were the best of the best. "I had contacted them last night by owl about a routine briefing on missions they were undertaking," said Kingsley. "When I got no response this morning, I went to investigate." Kingsley paused. "I found them all dead, tortured." "Was it Voldemort?" asked Albus. "I don’t know for sure," said Kingsley. "Last night, there was a break in at the British Library. We got wind of it from the Muggle Prime Minister. The break in was magical. We cleaned up the mess, but when I found out what was taken, I put two and two together." "What was taken?" asked Harry. Harry had a sneaking suspicion he knew where this was going. "A collection of ancient books that once contained a certain book that is now in your possession," said Kingsley. "I used the Secret Squad to retrieve it six years ago. There was no other way to get it out of the British Library." "Dad, how could Voldemort know about the book?" asked James. "I don’t know," said Harry. "And I have an even better question. How did Voldemort find the Secret Squad?" "I’m afraid I can answer both questions," said Kingsley. "Even though we knew how Pansy Parkinson died, we have been investigating her death, including her activities just prior to her death. We believe she broke into my personal records storage undetected, but we have no idea when. That is the only place there would be any record of the Secret Squad’s activities. I never mentioned what the book was in question, but I did note your name in the file. I’m sorry Harry." "So then Pansy must have been looking in the records for information when she found Dad’s name," said Albus. "And then Scorpius killed her to cover their tracks," said James. "I don’t think so," said Harry. "I had assumed Malfoy was waiting until he was of age to resurrect Voldemort and then kill his mother. What if Pansy was working with them this whole time? She could have helped them resurrect Voldemort, and then with Scorpius of age and able to do magic without being detected, they didn’t need her anymore. Scorpius had a lot of reason to hate his mother. In that vision, he was not killing her because he needed to or was ordered to. He was enjoying it. Voldemort wouldn’t bother cover his tracks." "Right," said James. "If he did want to cover his tracks, he would have reburied the empty coffin and
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harrypotterfanfiction.com :: 65,000 Ha… no one would have known his body had been dug up at all."

"Exactly," said Harry. "So, when he went after the book and they couldn’t find it, then he went after the Secret Squad," said Albus. "Who told him nothing, I assure you," said Kingsley. "They would never have told him anything, they would have died first." "So Voldemort doesn’t know what is in the book, just that I wanted it," said Harry. "It would seem so," said Kingsley. Something occurred to Harry. "Kingsley, is Pansy’s flat still intact, or has everything been removed?" asked Harry. "It was searched, but beyond a number of books on the Dark Arts, Head Auror Williams reports nothing out of the ordinary," said Kingsley. "It has been left as it was found, except the blood and…body parts were removed. "Thank you, Kingsley," said Harry. "We better get back to Hogwarts, I want to go check out the flat myself in a day or two. Could you send me a copy of Pansy’s employment history, and everything else you have on her?" "Of course," said Kingsley. "I’ll have it owled to you in the morning." As Harry, Albus, and James walked down the hallway, James asked the same question that was on Albus’s mind. "Dad, what does this mean?" asked James. "I don’t know," said Harry. "The new passage in the book seems to say Voldemort was looking for the book. We know that only Al and I can read it, so even if he had the book it would be of no use to him. It makes sense. I just don’t see why the book would bother tell us this. It just doesn’t seem to help us any." Why the book would tell them something that seemed so pointless, Harry could not imagine. If Voldemort couldn’t use the book, and he didn’t know where it was, or exactly what is was, what was the point? There had to be some reason for that passage to appear in the book, but what was it? Harry knew that was a question he needed to answer. Chapter 12: Chapter 12 - Forgiveness and Answers [View Online] [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter] Chapter 12 – Forgiveness and Answers Rose walked toward the pitch. It was Tuesday afternoon, and time for quidditch tryouts. She had not wanted to come to tryouts, but Albus told her the whole team had to be there while the Beaters, Keepers, and Chasers tried out. Truth be told, she didn’t want to do anything at all. Not even quidditch. She was just too miserable. Rose kept trying to talk herself into talking to Danny, but she couldn’t do it. She had avoided seeing him since the train ride. She couldn’t face him. Her heart ached to apologize and tell him how much she loved him with all her heart. Rose knew she had no right to think he would forgive her, and even less
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right to ask him to. As Rose approached the pitch, Albus was already in his quidditch robes standing with Hugo and Tommy who were also ready for tryouts. "You’re late Rose," said Albus as she walked by them toward the changing room. "Stuff it, Potter," said Rose without even looking at him, as she continued toward the changing room. She immediately hated herself for treating Albus that way. Albus was the one person she could always count on. He didn’t deserve that. "If she doesn’t talk to Danny soon, she’s going to drive us all crazy," said Hugo exasperatedly. "She bit my head off this morning for making a joke. It was a good one too." "Yeah," said Albus. "You should have seen her in class the last two days. She’s not paying attention, not taking notes. She loves going to class, and now it’s like she doesn’t care. I don’t know what to do with her." "Well, maybe some quidditch will take her mind off it," said Tommy with a shrug. "Maybe," said Albus. "I’m going to go try and calm her down before she scares away the potential players." Albus went into the team room, knowing Rose always left her broom in the rack in there and would have to retrieve it before going to the pitch. He sat on a bench and waited for her. After a few minutes, she still hadn’t come out of the girls’ changing room, and she had been in there more than long enough to change. Albus go up and knocked on the door. "Go away," came Rose’s voice. "I’ll be out in a minute." Her voice was strained. Albus took a breath and pushed open the door. Rose was just standing in front of her open locker, staring at it. She hadn’t changed into her quidditch robes. "What is it, Rose?" asked Albus. Rose was silent for a moment as she stared into her locker. "I forgot it was in here," said Rose barely above a whisper. Albus walked over to where she was standing in front of her open locker, and saw the picture of Rose and Danny at the Halloween Dance fifth year on the inside of the door. "Rose," began Albus, but Rose cut him off. "I’m fine, Al," said Rose. "Look, I’m sorry I snapped at you before, you didn’t deserve it. I seem to do that a lot lately. Please go, I need to change." "Are you sure you’re all right?" asked Albus. "Yes, I’m fine," said Rose unconvincingly. Albus just nodded, but he didn’t leave. He pulled her into a hug and held her for a moment. "Thanks, Al," said Rose softly. She really had needed a hug. She just wished it had been Danny hugging her.
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"Anytime," said Al. "No thanks necessary. Don’t be too long, tryouts are going to take a while." Rose just nodded and Albus headed out the door. ~ Danny walked along the outskirts of the castle grounds, doing a routine check for anything unusual. With the protection spells that guarded Hogwarts, the odds of his finding anything were slim, but that was the job he had taken. He really wasn’t paying much attention to what he was doing. All he could think about was Rose. He missed her so much. As he walked, he came to a very familiar place, the quidditch pitch. How many days had he spent flying over the pitch practicing with Rose? He couldn’t possibly have kept track of them all. Hours spent tossing the quaffle back and fourth, and racing around the pitch, then after practices sneaking off behind the stands to lie in the sun warmed grass and snog. He would give anything to hold her in his arms and kiss her. He knew that would never happen again. As he got closer to the pitch, he could see Gryffindor was holding tryouts. Hugo, Albus, and Tommy were working out the Keeper candidates. Before Danny had realized it, he had altered his course away from his patrol, and was standing beside the pitch, mostly hidden by the stands, not far from the place he and Rose used to go after practice. It was from there he saw Rose. She was hovering about twenty-five feet off the ground on the far side of the pitch. Her back was turned to the tryouts, and she was just staring off into the sky. It was the first time he had seen her since they broke up on the train. He had made sure he was never anywhere that they could run into each other. Just looking at her now, his heart began to ache at the thought that she hated him. Danny heard a whistle from above, and saw the keeper candidates land. A few minutes later, a new group, armed with Beater’s bats, was in the air and Albus began the Beater tryouts. Danny was only slightly aware of all of this, as he was still staring at Rose. Even though her back was towards him, he could picture her face. Her pretty brown eyes he loved to gaze into. Her soft lips he loved to kiss. He could practically hear her sigh when he would he would run his fingers through her soft brown hair. He would give anything just to see her smile at him, and to hear her sigh like that again. "You look like a love sick puppy," said a voice from behind him. "Leave me alone, James," said Danny miserably. "I’ll get back to my patrol in a minute." "Forget your patrol," said James. "Why don’t you go talk to her. You’re both making yourselves miserable, and I know if you just talk about it, you can work it all out." "She hates me," said Danny softly. "What would be the point?" James rolled his eyes. Danny and Rose had to be the two most stubborn people he knew. "You know that’s not true," said James. "No I don’t," said Danny, still staring at Rose. "I don’t know that." That is when Danny saw the bludger heading straight at Rose. "Rose!" ~ It took Rose a few minutes to change into her quidditch robes. The picture in her locker had really gotten to her and after Albus had left her she had begun to cry. Rose had been so happy when it was
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harrypotterfanfiction.com :: 65,000 Ha… taken, and now she knew she would never be happy again. She retrieved her broom from the team room and dried her tears before heading to the pitch.

Albus, Hugo, and Tommy had already begun tryouts for the Keepers. They had it well in hand, so Rose flew off toward the other end of the pitch, and just hovered in the air. She tried to think about anything but Danny, but everything reminded her of him. Even just sitting on her broom in the air, reminded her of all the quidditch practices and games they had spent together on this pitch. Rose heard a whistle, and knew that Keeper tryouts were over. She knew she should go help the others with Beater tryouts, but she just couldn’t do it. She just sat, looking at nothing in particular. All of a sudden, she heard someone scream her name. Just as she turned to see who it was, everything went dark. ~ Rose Weasley opened her eyes, but everything was fuzzy and dark. She had no idea where she was for a moment. Her head was throbbing and her shoulder ached painfully. She blinked a few times, and could now see she was in the Hospital Wing. "Hey, you’re awake," said a voice. Rose turned her head a little to the right and saw Albus was sitting in a chair by her bed and she realized he was holding her hand. "You gave us quite a scare, Rose. I’m glad you’re awake." "What happened?" asked Rose groggily. "Is my Mum here?" Rose suddenly realized she sounded like a scared little girl asking for her mother and rolled her eyes. Albus smiled, knowing exactly what she was thinking. "Your Mum and Dad went to get some sleep," said Albus. "You’ve been out more than twenty-four hours, it’s nearly midnight, and they’ve been frantic. My Mum and Dad just took them to make sure they got some rest. Carly, James, Hugo, and Lily were dragged off to bed by Sirius and Neville a couple of hours ago." "What the hell happened?" asked Rose. "What do you remember?" asked Albus. It was all sort of fuzzy to Rose. "I was sitting on my broom, not paying attention to practice," said Rose. "Then suddenly I heard someone scream my name, but before I could turn to see who it was, everything just stopped. Next thing I remember is waking up just now." "You were hit in the head with a bludger," said Albus. "When you fell you landed hard on your shoulder. You were very lucky, Rose. If you hadn’t started to turn just before it hit you…well…I’d rather not think about that." A bludger would certainly explain the pain in her head, Rose thought. Someone had saved her life. "Who tried to warn me?" asked Rose, wincing at the pain in her head and shoulder. "Danny," said Albus. "I didn’t see him at the pitch," said Rose softly. Danny warned me, thought Rose. Well, of course he would warn her, he wouldn’t want to see her get hurt. That didn’t mean anything. "I think he was hiding so you wouldn’t see him," said Albus. "You don’t remember anything after being hit?"
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"No, nothing," said Rose. "What happened?" Albus took a breath. "Danny was the first one to get to you," said Albus. "You were unconscious. He picked you up and ran with you to the Hospital Wing." "Yeah, well, he works here, that’s his job," said Rose. She knew full well what Albus was trying to imply, that Danny still cared. Rose knew that was impossible. He couldn’t care for someone who was as awful as she was. "Rose, Danny ran, not walked, carrying you from the pitch all the way to the castle and up to the third floor," said Albus. "Have you ever tried to run while carrying another person? Trust me, it’s not easy. When he got here, he nearly collapsed he was so out of breath from running all that way, Madam Jennings had to give him a Draught of Peace to calm him down, she was afraid he would pass out. Danny beat me here by more than a minute. He was carrying you and I couldn’t keep up. He’s been frantic Rose. Your Mum held him while he cried." "He…really cried?" asked Rose. Could Danny really still care even after the terrible things she said? Could he still love her? No, Albus had to be exaggerating. "Yes, he did," said Albus. "He was hysterical. Madam Jennings finally made him take a Sleeping Draught an hour ago so he could get some rest. I practically had to force it down his throat." Albus nodded towards the opposite side of her cot. Rose turned her head and saw Danny asleep in the next cot. A tear escaped Rose’s eye. Albus gently brushed it away. "Rose, talk to him," said Albus. "We all hate seeing you both like this. We all care about both of you, and though neither of you seem to know it, we all know how much you still love each other." Rose didn’t say anything she just laid there. She couldn’t respond to that. "I’m going to go tell everyone you are awake," said Albus. Albus smiled and gave her a kiss on her forehead. "Don’t scare me like that again." Albus left the Hospital Wing, leaving an eerie silence in the room. Rose sat up in bed, ignoring the pain in her shoulder and the throbbing in her head. It was a little cold, but she was glad to realize she was wearing her warmest pajamas. Her mother must have changed her Rose thought. She put her legs over the side of the bed, expecting her feet to hit cold ground, but found that her slippers were on the floor beside her. Her mother thought of everything. Rose sat on the edge of her bed looking at Danny sleeping in the next cot. The pain in her head and shoulder was nothing compared to the pain in her heart and soul. Unfortunately, those injuries couldn’t be healed magically, or by any other means for that matter. Rose closed her eyes for a second, then slipped her feet into her slippers and painfully stood. She walked over to Danny’s cot. She sat down on the edge of the bed and watched him sleep for a minute. She could tell, even with his eyes closed he had been crying. The tearstains were still on his cheeks. Rose shivered. Even in her warmest pajamas, it was still very cold. "I’ll never forget my first night at Hogwarts," said Rose softly. "I was so upset that my Mum was Headmistress. You said all the right things, you gave me a hug, and you made me laugh. I already had a crush on you, but I didn’t know then, that I would fall in love with you. I knew you were special though…I’m so sorry Danny." She couldn’t look at him and say what she had to say so she turned away as the tears started to slide down her cheeks. "I didn’t mean any of it. I was angry with my Dad, and I took it out on you. I was disappointed that you didn’t go to Auror training, because I know you won’t ask me to marry you until you can afford a ring. I’m so sorry Danny. I’ve never stopped loving
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harrypotterfanfiction.com :: 65,000 Ha… you. I know you can never forgive me for what I said. I can’t ask you to. You deserve someone who will treat you better than that." Rose looked back at Danny. She didn’t notice fresh tears had slid out from under his closed eyelids while she spoke. She leaned down and softly kissed his lips. What she wasn’t expecting was that he would kiss her back.

Danny started to kiss her, and for just an instant, she started to pull away, realizing he was awake, but only for an instant. Danny put his arms around her and pulled her down on top of him. They continued to kiss deeply and passionately, neither of them knew for how long, nor did they care. Finally, they broke apart, and looked into each other’s eyes. "Danny…how long were you awake?" asked Rose. Danny smiled, as Rose brushed away her tears ad then the tears from his cheeks. "Al lied," said Danny. "I never took a Sleeping Draught, I couldn’t sleep until I knew you were all right. Albus kept telling me that you didn’t hate me." Danny looked away for a moment, then back. "I didn’t believe him. He told me to pretend I was asleep when you woke up and maybe you would admit how you felt." "I’ll have to thank him, I didn’t know he was so devious," said Rose trying to smile, but failing. "Can you ever forgive me Danny? I’m so sorry for what I said to you. I didn’t mean a word of it." "I love you too much to ever let you go, Rose," said Danny with a smile. "No matter what you said or say, of course I would forgive you." "I love you too, Danny," said Rose. She laid her head on his chest and listened to the steady beat of his heart. She never wanted to move from that position again. She slid her hands under his shoulder and held onto him. "One day, Rose, we will get married," whispered Danny. "I promise." "You know, you might not get the chance if my Dad finds me lying on top of you like this," said Rose with a laugh. Danny felt Rose shiver from the cold. He smiled and then pulled the blanket over them both and pulled it tightly around them. "I’m pretty sure I’m safe," said Danny with a laugh. "I believe she said something about a hamster and feeding him to Crookshanks. Besides, I’m willing to risk it. Why don’t you get some sleep?" Rose thought that going to sleep at that moment in Danny’s arms was the best idea she had ever heard. ~ The afternoon following Danny and Rose’s reconciliation, Harry, Ron, and James flooed from Hermione’s office to Number Twelve Grimmauld Place and then walked to Pansy’s flat. Albus had wanted to join them, but he had quidditch practice. Harry had found nothing helpful in Pansy’s file, but brought it with him just in case. Once inside, they could see the blood and body parts had been removed. Harry could still picture the gruesome site he saw the last time he was there. "What are we supposed to be looking for, Dad?" asked James as he, Harry, and Ron started searching the flat. "Didn’t Head Auror Williams already conduct a search?" Harry and Ron just looked at each other for a second then back at James. Harry smiled. "There is something you need to remember about Head Auror Williams, especially since you will probably be
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harrypotterfanfiction.com :: 65,000 Ha… working for him some day," said Harry. "He is a pea-brain."

"And that’s an insult to pea-brains everywhere," added Ron. James laughed. "I’ll keep that in mind," said James. The three of them continued to search the apartment, but found nothing out of the ordinary for a clerk working at the Ministry of Magic. They found Pansy’s diary, but it didn’t contain any information of importance, just a lot about how she hated that Draco was becoming a wimp and that she couldn’t put up with Scorpius’s behavior. They did note the last entry was made May second 2018 the same day Scorpius killed Draco. They knew that had to mean something, but what it was, they didn’t know. The three were standing in the living room trying to decide if they had missed anything. It was a very small flat. There were five doors in the living room. The front door of the flat, a door to the small kitchen, a door to the bedroom, one to the toilet, and one to a small closet. "Ron, what’s wrong with this flat?" asked Harry thoughtfully as he stared around the room. "I’m not sure…but you’re right…something is off," said Ron. James had no idea what they were talking about. "It’s not big enough," said Harry. "Well, it’s a really small flat," said James confusedly. "No," said Ron. "Your Dad’s right. The building is bigger from the outside than it is on the inside. We are definitely missing something." Harry put the file on Pansy he was holding down on the couch, and opened the closet door. They had already searched it thoroughly. It was an ordinary closet. Harry pulled his wand from his pocket. He pointed it into the closet and muttered an incantation. Suddenly the closet disappeared, revealing another room. Harry turned to Ron. "Now that’s what I call being good investigators," said Harry with a laugh. "No one can stop Potty and the Weasel." "Excuse me," said James with a laugh. Ron and Harry smiled. "I became an Auror two years after your Dad," said Ron. "He had enough pull to get us assigned as partners when I started. We solved more cases than any pair of Aurors ever had in their first year as partners. We were having dinner one night and your Mum said, ‘No one can stop Potty and the Weasel’." "It’s something Draco Malfoy used to say to insult us when we were in school," said Harry. "We kind of liked it though when we were partners, and it kind of stuck. We haven’t worked together on a case since I started teaching." They turned their attention back to the room, and they discovered, as soon as they walked through the door, they could smell the unmistakable odor of decaying flesh. Harry quickly cast a spell so they couldn’t smell it. They could see the source in the corner. They walked over to the body lying on the floor. Even after so many years of decay, there was no mistaking the snakelike face of Lord Voldemort. One of his legs had been cut open and a bone removed. It was a gruesome scene. "I guess he didn’t need all of his old body," said Ron disgustedly.
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"Apparently not," said Harry. "Shouldn’t he be less…well…whole," said James. "He has been buried for twenty-five years, shouldn’t he be nothing but bones?" Harry knew James didn’t have a lot of experience with dead bodies. Harry had far too much. "As not but the you will learn in Auror training, bodies of anyone involved in any kind of Dark Magic are enchanted to decay in the event they ever need to be dug up," said Harry. "There is some decay, of course, he should last a good hundred years before he’s only bones. Unfortunately, after they are dug up enchantment disappears, hence the smell."

They turned their attention away from the body. There was a bed in the room, and a desk, as well as several bookcases filled with books and a large dresser. There were no decorations at all on the walls. The light in the room was provided by the sunlight through two windows. There was a cauldron in the middle of the room. The wooden floor beneath it was scorched from a fire. The floor must have been enchanted not to catch fire. "Anyone want to bet we just found out where Scorpius Malfoy has been for the last five years?" asked Ron. "I think you’re right, Ron," said Harry. "James, check out the dresser, Ron, take the desk, I’ll take the bookcases." James searched the dresser. "Nothing here but clothes," said James. "The sizes suggest a teenage boy. Must be Malfoy." "All these books are on the Dark Arts, and ancient weapons. Some are even fictional stories about ancient weapons. Not all of them are magical, there are some Muggle books too, including a bible," said Harry. Harry thought the books looked well used. "I’ve got something," said Ron. James and Harry joined Ron at the desk. Ron was holding a journal. The spine was very cracked. It was obviously well used. "This journal contains notes on all kinds of weapons," said Ron. "It’s in Pansy’s handwriting, it’s the same as her diary. Wands, swords, knives, spears, and any kind of weapon you can think of. They are all legendary weapons. Excalibur, the Blood Axe, the Death Stick, the Spear of Destiny, and dozens of others both Muggle and magical, I’m pretty sure many of them don’t even actually exist…but you never know." "He must be searching for a weapon," said Harry. "He knows he can’t come after me with an ordinary wand." "All these pages have dates when they were begun. The last one is three years ago. It looks like the next page has been torn out," said Ron. "The books look worn, someone has obviously used them a lot," said Harry. "So, what do you think it means?" asked James. Harry thought a moment. Things were starting to fall into place. "Bloody hell," said Ron. "What is it?" asked Harry.
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"The last page of the journal," said Ron. "It has some kind of spell on it. I’ve never heard of it before. ‘Bone of the father, unknowingly given…’" "That’s it," said Harry. "That’s the spell Pettigrew used to resurrect Voldemort in the graveyard. How could he have used that spell again? Even if he substituted his own bone for his father’s bone, which would make sense, he would have needed my blood. He could not have had my blood." Harry’s eyes went wide as he remembered something. "Wait here." Harry left the room, and returned a moment later carrying the file on Pansy. "Damn," said Harry. He had hoped he had remembered wrong, but at least it made sense. "What is it?" asked James curiously. "Pansy was part of the Ministry team that planned the destruction of the Chamber of Secrets," said Harry. "She was all over it." James suddenly realized what had happened as well. "Al’s blood was all over the floor," said James. "We never cleaned it up. She took Al’s blood. Even dry, it must have been enough." "All right," said Ron. "We know how he was resurrected, and that he is looking for a weapon, which the missing pages seem to indicate he found. But why kill Pansy?" "Maybe he didn’t need her anymore," said James. "Scorpius couldn’t perform magic without being detected until he was seventeen. There is probably a spell around this room so he could practice, but once he turned seventeen, he didn’t need Pansy anymore." "But why wait until Scorpius turned seventeen to be resurrected?" asked Ron. "Couldn’t Pansy have performed the ritual?" "Maybe he didn’t completely trust Pansy," said Harry. "In the vision Albus and I had, Scorpius had a silver hand like Pettigrew did. He must have cut if off as part of the ritual. Maybe, Voldemort didn’t know if Scorpius could truly choose to be his servant until he came of age. He couldn’t risk it not working. This explains everything." "Well, almost everything," said James shaking his head. "We still don’t know what weapon Voldemort is going after." "You’re right, James," said Harry. "We know more than we did, though." Harry turned toward the body of Voldemort. He pointed his wand at it. "Incendio!" Voldemort’s body burst into flames. Harry watched, as the fire consumed the flesh. After several minutes, all that was left was scorched bone on the now scorched wood floor. Harry pointed his wand again, "Destructo Totalus!" The bones disintegrated completely. "He won’t be using that body again," said Ron. "At least now, we have some answers," said James. "We have some idea of what he is up to. I wish knew where he was." "Yeah," said Harry as he took a deep breath. "Me too." Chapter 13: Chapter 13 - The Prank [View Online] [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter] Chapter 13 – The Prank
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Life in the castle for the month following Harry, Ron, and James visit to Pansy’s flat was fairly ordinary, though it did take three weeks for Hermione to finally forgive Ron, and let him come back to their quarters. They had discussed what they discovered and concluded with the rest of The Twelve, as well as Danny who had resumed attending family dinners. All were in agreement. Voldemort was looking for a weapon he could use against Harry. However, as Albus pointed out, he was unable to kill Harry with magic in the forest in 1998 because he had used Harry’s blood to resurrect himself. If that were the case, then what could it mean that he had used Albus’s blood this time? Was there a purpose behind that, or was that simply the only blood they had access to? Could Voldemort be looking for a weapon that would negate this problem? All were good questions, but there were few good answers. Word of Rose and Danny’s reconciliation spread quickly throughout the school. It was hard to miss, as Rose received a rose by owl at breakfast everyday for two weeks. Rose felt a little bad about it since the breakup was all her fault, and Danny was sending her roses. She finally convinced him he didn’t have to do it any longer. The New Marauders resumed their training. Albus and James made it a point to work on their sword fighting skills each Saturday, as long as it wouldn’t interfere with quidditch practice. On a Saturday morning, in early October, James and Albus were having their usual workout alone in the Room of Requirement. The sounds of their swords clanging filled the room as Albus and James dueled. "Is that all you got, Al," teased James with a laugh as he sidestepped a jab by Albus. "You do realize, that I could beat you with a little wandless magic without hardly thinking about it?" asked Albus, as he blocked James sword. "Of course I know that," said James at he ducked Albus’s sword. "You know as well as I do, that you don’t cheat." "Well, if you get any better, I might have to," said Albus blocking James blade. "You might not leave me any choice." They continued to duel for a moment, then James caught Albus off balance, and Albus fell on his backside, his sword flying from his hand. James held his sword with the tip in front of Albus’s face for a second, and then gave him a hand up. "You got me again," said Albus. "Just don’t get a big head. Pull out your wand and you don’t stand a chance." "Agreed," said James with a laugh. Albus and James took seats on opposite couches for a much needed break. James conjured two bottles of water and they each took one. After some water and a moment to catch their breath, Albus brought up a question that had been on his mind. "James, have you ever wondered why Dad had us start practicing with the swords?" asked Albus. "It’s not something wizards typically encounter."
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harrypotterfanfiction.com :: 65,000 Ha… "I have wondered that," said James with a nod. "I certainly think it’s possible the weapon Voldemort is searching for could be a sword, but how would Dad have known that? There is nothing about that in the book. He can’t use a wand against Voldemort, so I can see his need to possibly use a sword."

"He told me he wouldn’t keep anything from me," said Albus shaking his head. "I don’t know but there has to be a reason." "Well, whatever it is, we’re both damn good with a sword," said James with a grin. Albus laughed. "Very true," said Albus. "You know, when Dad and I visited the Wizarding Museum of Britain the day before my birthday, Susan Bones told us a story about an ancient sword, the Sword of Souls." "What was the story?" asked James. "To be honest, I don’t recall the details," said Albus. "Carly and I weren’t really speaking so I had a lot on my mind. I didn’t really commit it to memory." "I can understand that," said James. "You had more important things to deal with. Do you remember any of it?" "It was the typical ancient weapon with magical powers," said Albus. "Susan said there was little evidence it actually existed. It was really a story to tell children." "Well, Voldemort is looking for something," said James with a sigh. "When he finds it, he will be coming." "Yeah," said Albus absently. Albus had been thinking a lot lately about the promise he made to his father. If Voldemort were looking for a weapon, the end would be coming, and when that happened, Albus knew he had a promise he would have to keep. "James, I’ve never told anyone this, but the day I woke up in the Hospital Wing and Dad showed me the book, he made me make him a promise, a very important promise," said Albus. "What kind of promise did you make?" asked James. "You know how the book says that if something happens to Dad, I will have to face Voldemort?" asked Albus. James leaned forward. "Yes," said James. "He told me, I am not to face Voldemort, unless he…can’t," said Albus. "Unless he’s dead you mean," said James slowly. Albus nodded. He wasn’t able to bring himself to say it. "Well, we’ll just have to make damn sure that doesn’t happen," said James. Albus just nodded and decided to change the subject. "How’s Danny doing?" asked Albus. "With all your patrols, I don’t see him much." James laughed. "Danny is great," said James. "Ever since he and Rose got back together, he’s the happiest person on earth." "Rose too," said Albus with a smile. "I’m glad they got back together. You might have another best
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man’s job to fill before too long." "Could be," said James with a chuckle. "Any idea who you are going to ask to the wedding?" asked Albus. Albus wanted to ask his brother about something, and that question seemed the best way to open the door. "I’ll probably go alone," said James absently. "As best man, I will have too much to do to entertain a date anyway." "What happened to you, James?" asked Albus. "You used to be a real charmer. Hell, in primary school all the girls wanted to hang around with you. The first time you met Carly I wanted to hex you. Since that year…you’ve hardly dated at all." James didn’t answer immediately. He knew why, but really didn’t want to say it. "It just seemed like other things were more important after what happened," said James evasively. "I thought so," said Albus. "I’m sorry." "Al, it’s not your fault," said James. "You didn’t ask for any of this. I just realized after what happened in the Chamber of Secrets that things like what Dad, Uncle Ron, and Aunt Hermione went through were not fun and exciting. I vowed to be ready for what was coming, and training was a better way to prepare than dating. Besides, I’ve never really met anyone I really liked anyway." Albus knew James last statement was a complete lie. "And what about Lucy?" asked Albus. "Things with Lucy couldn’t work out," said James staring at the floor. "Why couldn't it?" asked Albus. "She was beautiful, and she was really nice. I know she liked you, and the two of you hung out all of your fourth, fifth, and sixth years." "She didn’t have red hair," said James trying to avoid the real answer. "Would it interest you to know the name Roux means red head in French?" asked Albus. Lucy Roux had been a year ahead of James. She was very pretty with blond hair and pale green eyes and James heart stopped every time she smiled at him from his third year on. Before that, she had rarely ever spoke to James, though he never really understood why she didn’t like him so much, or why it changed so much third year. She was the one girl that seemed to be immune to his charm, and she was the one girl he really fancied. They got to know each other some during James third year, and then hung out together constantly during his fourth, fifth and sixth years. James couldn’t really deny that he did like her, maybe more than liked her. He really wanted to ask her out fifth and sixth year, but he also knew she was planning to move to Paris after school. She talked about it all the time when they hung out. Her parents had moved to London from France when she was born because they wanted her to attend Hogwarts. She was hoping to work in the French Ministry of Magic after graduation. James hadn’t seen her since they got off the train at the end of her seventh year. She had hugged him and kissed his cheek on platform nine and three quarters. James was sure that the kiss lingered a little longer than it should have. But she had then smiled and walked away. He never expected to see her again. If he closed his eyes, he could still see her walking away, her long blond hair swinging, as she turned to look back and smile at him. "No it wouldn’t interest me to know that," said James. "It just couldn’t have worked out between us." He decided to change the subject. "Let’s go another round with the swords."
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harrypotterfanfiction.com :: 65,000 Ha… The look on James face told Albus that this was a painful subject. "I’m sorry James," said Albus, "I didn’t realize you felt that strongly about her."

"It’s all right, Al," said James softly. "We all have things we regret in life. Some…like this…you just can’t help. I couldn’t ask Lucy out. We were already spending a lot of time together as friends, and if I had let myself…" "If you have let yourself what?" asked Albus. James hesitated. He had never told anyone. "If I had let myself, I would have fallen in love with her," said James, pausing a moment and mentally cursing himself for continuing this conversation. "Who am I kidding? I was in love with her. She had my heart, and I never even kissed her…not once. She was going back to France. Her heart was set on it. I could never ask her to give that up, and I couldn’t go. I had to stay here." "I’m sorry, James," said Albus. "I knew you liked her, but I didn’t realize how much. I’m sorry." "It’s all right, Al," said James. "I let go of my feelings for Lucy a long time ago." Albus saw the look on James face. "Are you trying to convince me…or yourself," said Albus. "Just get your sword," said James flatly. Albus’s question hit far too close to home. James had picked up his quill to write Lucy a letter more times than he could count. It was easier to try and forget her, but it was something James had never managed to do. ~ A week later it was time for the first quidditch match of the year, pitting Gryffindor against Hufflepuff. Albus had indeed selected Joshua Green as the Keeper, as he had assumed he would. After tryouts resumed following Rose’s accident, Albus selected Amanda Bentley, fifth year as the new Beater, and Blake Smith, third year as the new Chaser. The team was looking good, and Albus was sure they had an excellent chance at the cup. In the team room, Tommy and Hugo were trying to keep the three new team members calm. It was far from an easy task. "Joshua, you’ll do fine," said Hugo. "Don’t worry about it." "James was one of the best Keepers Gryffindor has had in the last fifty years," said Joshua. "That’s a tough act to follow." "How do you think I feel?" asked Blake. "I’m replacing Danny. The records he, Rose, and Hugo set are untouchable." "Don’t worry about it," said Hugo. "You’ve done great in practice." "You’re awfully quiet, Amanda," said Tommy. Tommy thought she looked slightly green. "I’m trying not to vomit again," said Amanda, before she stood and quickly ran into the bathroom. She returned a minute later. "Feel better?" asked Hugo trying very hard not to laugh. "Yes," said Amanda. "I just hope I don’t get sick on the pitch."
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harrypotterfanfiction.com :: 65,000 Ha… In the small room off the team room, Albus and Rose were just finishing talking strategy.

"So, how do you think it will go?" asked Albus. "I think our seventh cup is in the bag," said Rose with a grin. "It would be cool to be the only two players in Hogwarts history to win the cup seven times." "Well, if Joshua, Amanda, and Blake play as well as they have in practice, it should be ours," said Albus. "Do you think Hugo has something planned?" "I’m sure he’ll try to top last year," said Rose. "At least he warned us to cast a spell so we couldn’t smell anything during the match last year." "Yes, and a good thing too, or you might be minus a brother," said Albus with a grin. "You would have had to stand in line," said Rose with a laugh. "We better get out there if you want to give them a pep talk. They looked very nervous." Albus nodded, and they headed into the team room to find their teammates. "All right Gryffindor," said Albus as Rose took a seat with the rest of the team. "We all know we have a chance to win our seventh consecutive cup this year. That’s never been done before. We need to put that out of our minds and play one match at a time. Are you ready?" "Yes, we’re ready," was the enthusiastic reply from the team. "That’s what I like to hear," said Albus with a smile. "Now, I know for some of you this is your first match. Joshua, Amanda, Blake, you have done fantastic in practice. Don’t worry. Amanda, if you need help look to Tommy. Blake…Rose and Hugo have been playing together for four seasons. They anticipate what each other are thinking. Stay alert and ready, but let them take the lead. Joshua, you’ll be fine, you could have been Keeper last year, if James wasn’t here. Now let’s get out there and show Hufflepuff why we’ve won six straight cups." ~ In the stands around the pitch, Ron, Harry, and Sirius were waiting for the match to begin. Harry was very quiet, and had been since he took his seat. "You haven’t said much, Harry," said Sirius. "Is everything all right?" "Besides a madman bent on killing me and everyone I love, and searching for a weapon to do it with, just fine," said Harry sarcastically. "Easy, mate," said Ron sympathetically. "I know you’re worried, we all are, but you can’t do anything about it right now. Try and take it easy and enjoy the match." "I know," said Harry. "I just don’t understand why I have that book if it isn’t going to tell me anything useful. It didn’t give me warning so I could save Pansy, or the Secret Squad. I just don’t get it, it doesn’t make sense." "I am sure that when the time is right, you will figure it all out," said Sirius. "You always do, Harry." "I did it once, Sirius," said Harry shaking his head. "And if you’ll recall, among my mistakes along the way was getting you killed." Before Sirius could respond, the crowd began to cheer.
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"Here they come," said Ron. Harry saw the Gryffindor team emerge from the team room, and saw Albus and Rose, go to the edge of the pitch for good luck kisses from Carly and Danny, and so Carly could give Albus her necklace to wear for luck as she always did. This was new for Rose and Danny, they were used to sharing their good luck kiss on their brooms in the air. "Does he really have to kiss her like that?" asked Ron pathetically. "Come on, Ron, they’re in love," said Harry. "Don’t you remember the way you and Hermione were when you were young and in love? I can. You two spent seventh year locked at the lips." "I guess, but do I have to see them do it?" said Ron with a sigh. "You’re one to talk you know. Ginny told me you wanted to hex all the boys looking at Lily at the beach this summer." "That’s different," said Harry sternly. "They were ogling her. Danny loves Rose. That’s a big difference." Sirius laughed. "What’s so funny?" asked Ron curiously. "It’s still hard for me to believe that the same two boys I knew so long ago are now fathers," said Sirius. He smiled. "And darn good ones, I might add." "Thanks," said Ron and Harry at the same time. By now, the team was in the air, and Ginny had released the quaffle. A few rows away, Carly and Lily were sitting together. "Do you think they have a shot this year?" asked Lily. "Now that James, Danny, and Jason are gone, it might be tough." "I think they do," said Lily. "Hugo and Rose are fantastic at Chaser, even without Danny, and Tommy might be a better Beater than Jason." Carly smirked. "Is he now?" asked Carly. "I didn’t realize you followed Tommy…I mean…quidditch so closely." Lily turned red. "I don’t," said Lily coolly. "Come on, Lily," said Carly with a grin. "If you fancy Tommy, just talk to him. I see how he always tries to hang out with you, he obviously fancies you, but you hardly ever talk to him." "I don’t know," said Lily. Lily finally had to admit to herself that she really did fancy Tommy. "It was easier talking to him when I hated him." "Why, Lily Potter, I never would have thought of you as shy," said Carly trying to suppress a laugh ad failing. "Stuff it, Sis," said Lily with a scowl. Then her expression softened. "Do you think he really fancies me?" "What’s not to fancy," said Carly with a smile. "You’re beautiful, smart, and fun to be around. You just need to find the right boy who appreciates you. Maybe it’s Tommy, maybe it’s not, but you have to give him a chance." "Thanks," said Lily. Lily wasn’t sure how she was going to talk to Tommy. She just got so tongue tied
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when he was around. Over the pitch, Rose and Hugo were flying toward the Hufflepuff goal passing the quaffle back and forth. The score was still zero to zero. Finally, Hugo faked a shot to the left hoop, and passed to Rose, who scored on the right hoop. As soon as the quaffle passed through the hoop, the grass covering the pitch changed color. It turned red and gold, with a giant Gryffindor seal in the center. It continued to do so each time Gryffindor scored, and the Gryffindor fans loved it. In the teacher’s box, Hermione covered her face with one hand, more to help cover her amusement than out of exasperation. She knew her son’s handiwork when she saw it. Hermione wouldn’t admit it, but it was a fine bit of magic and she was proud of Hugo’s magical talents. At least there was no rotten egg smell, so a couple of detentions would suffice. Gryffindor went on to win easily 370-40. They would not play their second game until January, so they had a nice long break. In the Gryffindor Common Room, the party lasted late into the night. It was Gryffindor’s nineteenth consecutive win to extend the record, and everyone was celebrating. They had a Wizard’s Wireless on, and some of the Gryffindor’s were dancing. Most of the songs were old Weird Sisters songs. Albus and Carly were sitting on the couch, watching in amusement as Tommy was trying very hard to talk to Lily. "Is she really that shy?" asked Albus. "She’s never been shy before." "I don’t think she’s fancied anyone like she fancies Tommy," said Carly with a grin. "We never really got to enjoy that awkward phase, did we?" "Nope," said Albus with a smile. "Thank God, because I never would have gotten up the courage to speak to you…and I would never have been happy in my life. Across the room, Tommy was standing next to Lily trying to strike up a conversation. "So, did you enjoy the match?" asked Tommy nervously. "Yes," said Lily with a smile. "It was a great match. You all played really well." That sounded so lame, Lily thought. "Thanks," said Tommy with a smile. All right, I have her talking, now for the next step, thought Tommy. "Lily, would you like to…dance?" "Sure," said Lily with a little more excitement than she meant to. Her heart had leapt into her throat and she just managed to get the word out. They walked to where some of the other Gryffindors were dancing. Just as she turned to face him, the song ended and a slow song started to play. Some of the Gryffindors stopped dancing, but some of the couples decided to dance. Lily was looking for an exit. She would never have agreed to dance to a slow song. Tommy could see in her face that she was uncomfortable. "If you would rather not, its all right Lily," said Tommy trying to hide his disappointment. "No, I would like to dance," said Lily. She had no idea what made her say that. She was handed an exit, and she had no idea why she didn’t take it. She put her hands on Tommy shoulders, and he put his hands on her hips and they began to dance.
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harrypotterfanfiction.com :: 65,000 Ha… "So, you’re the only one in your family who doesn’t fly?" asked Tommy. That was so lame, thought Tommy.

"Yeah," said Lily with a laugh. "I never liked flying. The first time my Dad took me on a broom, I’m told I screamed bloody murder." In Lily’s head, she was screaming bloody murder at herself. Why did I just tell him that? "I remember flying class first year," said Tommy. "I think you got just high enough off the ground to pass." "I think my Mum gave me a break too," said Lily with a smile. "Flying isn’t for everyone," said Tommy with a smile. "Maybe sometime you could go flying with me?" Please say yes, thought Tommy, over and over again. "Sure," said Lily with a smile. "Sounds like fun. How about tomorrow." What am I doing, I’ve completely lost my mind, Lily thought. "How about we go right after lunch?" asked Tommy. "I’ll meet you in the Great Hall at noon, and we can eat lunch and then go flying." "Sounds great," said Lily with a smile. The smile was covering the terror she felt at the thought of being in the air. Aunt Hermione didn’t like to fly, but she would if she had to. Lily was downright terrified of being off the ground. "It’s a date then," said Tommy with a smile. All she could do was nod. The word ‘date’ hit her brain like an anvil. She had a date with Tommy Morgan, not to mention she was slow dancing with him and really, really enjoying it, having moved a little closer to him than she had been. She wasn’t sure quite how she had got to this point, but she was very happy to be here. And then tomorrow, she had to go flying. Lily was in trouble and she knew it. ~ Late that night, after the party had ended, Carly and Rose were sitting on the couch in the Common Room talking about the wedding. They were the only two in the room, as everyone else had gone to bed. "I agree, green is a great color," said Rose. "You’ll look great in green as my maid of honor," said Carly. Rose and Carly had not discussed the wedding since the night at family dinner when Rose said Lily should be maid of honor. Rose hadn’t thought about it since. "You still want me to be maid of honor after I turned you down before?" asked Rose. She really did want to be her maid of honor. "Of course," said Carly with a smile. "I know that was all about you and Danny." Rose smiled. She was really excited to be maid of honor. "Thanks, Carly," said Rose. "I really can’t wait." "Hey, did you see Tommy and Lily dancing?" asked Carly. "Yeah, I did," said Rose. "When I saw them about to dance, when the slow song started, I thought for
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sure she would take off." "I wanted to," came a voice from behind them. It was Lily. She walked over and plopped down on the couch beside them. "Why didn’t you?" asked Rose. "I don’t know," said Lily with a sigh. "He even said it was all right if I didn’t want to dance, and I did anyway. I was so nervous. I’ve never really slow danced before." "Well, you certainly looked like you were enjoying yourself," said Carly. "Every time I looked up at you, you too seemed to have moved closer together." "Yeah, well, I think I was enjoying it a little too much," said Lily with a sigh. "I don’t know what possessed me, I agreed to go on a date with him." "That’s wonderful," said Carly. "I’m sure you’ll have a great time." "No it’s not wonderful," said Lily with a look of fear on her face. "Why not, Lily?" asked Rose. Lily took a deep breath and let it out slowly. She still couldn’t believe it. "I agreed to go flying with him," said Lily. "Oh, my," said Carly just barely above a whisper. "I’ve heard the stories about your first flight." "You just barely passed flying first year," said Rose. "It didn’t hurt that your Mum was the instructor. Everyone knows how terrified you are of flying." "Tell me something I don’t know," said Lily exasperatedly. "I don’t know what came over me. He made the suggestion and I just agreed without thinking about it. I must have been thinking of having him with his arm around me. I swear I thought my hips were on fire when we were dancing, I thought I was going to burst into flame. Is it getting warm in here?" Carly laughed. "Well, well, well," said Carly. "It appears my little sister is growing up." "I remember the first time Danny and I slow danced," said Rose with a smile. "It was third year at the Halloween Dance. We were so close together. It felt like the temperature in the room had gone up a hundred degrees. Don’t worry about going flying, Tommy is a great flier, I’m sure he won’t drop you." Rose was trying to suppress a laugh. "Thanks, Rose," said Lily exasperated. "I really needed that," ~ The next day, Lily met Tommy for lunch. They had a nice lunch and got to know each other, since most of the previous talking they did was arguing in Potions class, they really didn’t know a lot about one another. Lily was surprised to learn that Tommy’s parents were both Healers at St. Mungo’s and he wanted to be a Healer someday. Lily told Tommy all about how she wanted to be a healer, and how much she had already learned about healing spells. After lunch, they walked down to the pitch and Tommy retrieved his broom. Lily had been so distracted all morning that she hadn’t brought her cloak. She was wearing jeans and a fairly thin jumper, so she was cold. Tommy was only wearing a t-shirt and jeans, but he had brought his cloak.
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"Are you sure this is a good idea?" asked Lily as Tommy walked up to her with his broom. "I mean, it isn’t really considered safe for two people to ride a broom, is it." "Not if they are racing or playing quidditch, but it’s completely safe for a leisurely flight," said Tommy with a smile. "Lily, I don’t want you to come flying if you don’t want to." "No, it’s all right, Tommy," said Lily almost holding her breath in fear. "I really do want to go flying with you." Tommy mounted his broom, and helped Lily onto it in front of him. She gripped onto the broomstick tight. "Relax," whispered Tommy. Tommy reached an arm around her waist and pulled her close, as Lily released her death grip on the broomstick. He whispered in her ear again. "I promise, I won’t let you fall." Lily shivered. Whether it was the cold, Tommy’s warm breath on her ear, or the fact that with the back of her shoulders pressed against his chest, she could tell just how muscular Tommy was, she wasn’t sure. Tommy let go of her for a moment. She wasn’t sure what he was doing. He said an enlargement charm, and a moment later, he had wrapped his cloak around both of them. It was suddenly very warm under the cloak. "Is that better?" asked Tommy. "Much," said Lily, as she tried unsuccessfully to relax against him. She was so scared that they were about to take off. They rose into the air. Lily was holding her breath and had her eyes tightly closed. She had her hand on Tommy’s arm that was around her waist, holding on for dear life. After a moment, Tommy whispered in her ear again. "Relax, I’m not going to go too fast," said Tommy. "You can open your eyes, just don’t look straight down." Something about Tommy’s voice in her ear compelled her to do has he suggested. Lily opened her eyes and did as he said. She looked straight ahead. After a few moments, she started to relax. They did a few laps around the pitch, never getting father off the ground than the top of the stands. After a little while, Lily took one hand off of Tommy’s arm, and put it over Tommy’s hand. When they finally landed, Lily opened Tommy’s enlarged cloak and stepped right off the broom, grateful to be back on the ground. She was a little off balance and started to fall, but Tommy caught her in his arms as she fell across the broom. He smiled down at her, holding her in his arms. Lily couldn’t breathe. For a moment, she thought he was going to kiss her, and found she wanted him to more than anything. "I’m not interrupting anything am I," said a voice. "James, no," said Lily as she pulled herself out of Tommy’s arms and up on to her feet. "We just went flying, I fell getting off the broom." "I see," said James with a smirk. "Thanks, Tommy, I had a great time," said Lily, suddenly more nervous than she had ever been. "I did too," said Tommy with a smile. "Maybe we can do it again some time?" "Sure," said Lily with a smile. She turned, and as Lily walked away at a brisk pace, passed James and shot him a look that would have curdled milk.
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harrypotterfanfiction.com :: 65,000 Ha… James turned back to Tommy, but didn’t say anything.

"She lost her balance, and I just caught her," said Tommy nervously. "That’s all." James laughed. "You don’t think I’m going to play the overprotective brother do you, Tommy?" asked James. "You’re more likely to need protection from her than vice versa, she can be frightening when she’s angry. She can make Rose look tame, and you saw what Rose did to Danny." "I’ll keep that in mind," said Tommy. James started to turn away, but stopped. "Do be nice to her though," said James sternly. Chapter 14: Chapter 14 - The Trials of Neville Longbottom [View Online] [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter] Chapter 14 – The Trials of Neville Longbottom Hermione hurried down the hallway towards the entrance hall. She was just going to make it in time to meet the delegations from Durmstrang and Beauxbatons. The Ministry had decided to tone things down this year. That’s why the delegations were arriving via the Hogwarts Express instead of by their own, more dramatic means. It also meant that quarters and classrooms had to be prepared inside the castle. Hermione was late because she had been seeing to some last minute details. They were not going to have the students gather on the front steps as they had in previous years. The Hogwarts students were already gathered in the Great Hall. Kingsley, Percy, and Cho from the Ministry, as well as herself and Ginny and their families were going to greet the Durmstrang and Beauxbatons delegations in the Entrance Hall. In the Entrance Hall, Kingsley, Percy, and Cho were standing together talking. Harry, Ron, and Ginny were standing together and also talking. James, Albus, Carly, Lily, Rose, and Hugo were standing together talking as well, but most of their talking was complaining that they had to wear their dress robes for the evening. They wouldn’t have minded if it was a dance or something, but this seemed silly to dress up for. "I should go say hello," said Harry nodding toward where Cho was standing with Kingsley and Percy. Ginny looked annoyed, but nodded. Ron grinned, but said nothing. He wasn’t going to invite a retort from Ginny concerning Viktor’s imminent arrival, which he was no more pleased about than Ginny was with Cho’s presence. Harry slowly walked over to where Kingsley, Percy, and Cho were talking quietly. "Hello everyone," said Harry. "Hello, Harry," said Kingsley and Percy. Cho had her back to Harry and turned around. "Harry, how are you," said Cho stepping forward. She seemed to hesitate, not quite sure how she should greet him. Harry made it easy, moving towards her and giving her a brief hug, which she returned. "I’m good," said Harry. "I haven’t seen you in a long time. How are you?" "I’m all right," said Cho with a smile. "Work keeps me busy."
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harrypotterfanfiction.com :: 65,000 Ha… At that moment, Hermione entered the Entrance Hall, and took immediate charge of the situation. "Everyone, take your places, they will be here any minute," said Hermione.

Hermione, with Ron, Rose, and Hugo would greet the delegations first. Then Ginny, would greet them with Harry, James, Albus, Carly, and Lily. Then Kingsley, Percy, and Cho would greet them. Everyone moved into their places, just as the front doors opened. In walked a familiar, though older figure from the last time Harry had seen him at Bill and Fleur’s wedding. "Viktor," said Hermione warmly. "Hermione," said Viktor with a broad smile. "It has been such a long time. You look absolutely wonderful." "You too, Viktor," said Hermione. Viktor gave Hermione a brief hug and kissed her on each cheek. Harry saw Ron stiffen as this was happening, and had to stifle a laugh at Ron’s jealousy. "How do you enjoy teaching, Viktor?" asked Hermione. "Well, when my quidditch days were over, I couldn’t think of anything better than teaching flying and coaching quidditch," said Viktor. "When the Deputy Headmaster position was offered to me, I could not turn it down." "Viktor, you remember my husband Ron," said Hermione beginning the introductions. "Of course, Ron, how nice to see you," said Viktor extending a hand. "Viktor," said Ron, shaking his hand. Ron hid it well, but to those who knew him, it was quite obvious Ron was not happy to see Viktor Krum. "These are our children," said Hermione, "Rose and Hugo." "Such a beauty just like your mother," said Viktor with a smile, as he bowed to Rose and kissed the back of her hand. "Thank you, sir," replied Rose, slightly embarrassed. Viktor shook Hugo’s hand and moved on towards Ginny as his students introduced themselves to Hermione and the Weasleys. Hugo noticed one of the Durmstrang students as moved down the line towards him. She was short, especially compared to Hugo who was quite tall. She was beautiful and had long black hair and hazel eyes. She looked to be about his age. Hugo’s heart stopped when she looked at him and smiled warmly. Hugo made it a point to smile at her, but she just shook his hand when he introduced himself, and didn’t introduce herself. Hugo was sure he had never seen such a beautiful girl in his entire life. Even though he could only see her face as she was wearing dark red dress robes and a fur parka, his imagination seemed to have developed a mind of its own. He found himself imagining what she might look like in tight jeans and a jumper. Somehow he was sure she would look fantastic. Hugo assumed she didn’t speak English. If she did, maybe he might have even got up the courage to talk to her he thought. Of course, he knew he wouldn’t have. He was hopeless with girls, and he was sure he always would be. He even felt slightly jealous of Lily who used to be in the same boat, but now seemed to be dating Tommy, though she denied they were ‘dating’. "Viktor, you probably don’t remember me, Ginny Potter, Deputy Headmistress," said Ginny with a smile as she shook his hand.
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"Oh course I do," said Viktor with a smile. "I remember you from your brother’s wedding. It’s nice to see you again." Viktor turned to Harry. "How have you been Harry? It’s been far too long." Viktor grabbed Harry’s hand with both of his. "It’s good to see you, Viktor," said Harry. "You’re right, it has been a long time." "These are our children," said Ginny, "James, Albus, and Lily, and Albus’s fiancé Carly Jones." Viktor turned toward them. "It was my greatest honor to compete against your father in the last Triwizard Tournament at Hogwarts," said Viktor. "It was an honor to be bested by him. He was a true Triwizard Champion." "Thank you, Viktor," said Harry, though Harry had never felt that was true. "I have a bottle of very good, very old firewhiskey. I was wondering if you would join my friends and I for a drink this evening?" "I would be honored," said Viktor happily. The greetings continued until the entire Durmstrang delegation had been greeted. They waited off to one side of the Entrance Hall for the delegation from Beauxbatons. Beauxbatons had sent their Deputy Headmistress, Gabrielle Dubois, Professor of Herbology. They had also sent a representative from the French Ministry of Magic, who was a former Hogwarts student, Class of 2022. After Hermione greeted them both, she of course remembered the representative from the French Ministry from her time at Hogwarts. The Beauxbatons delegation moved toward Ginny, but didn’t get to the introductions immediately. "James," said the French Ministry representative moving towards him, a note of complete shock in her voice. "Lucy…what are you doing here?" asked James, equally as shocked. It was all he got out as she ran up to him and threw her arms around his neck. He returned her embrace and all he could think about at that moment was how many times he would have loved to hug her when they were both students. The only other time they had hugged was the last time they saw each other. For a moment James thought his brain shut off. "I am the Assistant to the Director of International Magical Cooperation in the French Ministry of Magic," said Lucy. "He asked me to attend in his stead as his wife is expecting a child. It’s been so long James, I thought you graduated last year." Lucy’s smile made it plain, she was very glad to see him too. "I did, I’m working security for Hogwarts this year," said James as his brain kicked back in. "I decided to put off Auror training for a year." "That’s wonderful," said Lucy as she finally let go of James. "We must catch up. How about we go to the Three Broomsticks after the feast?" "I would love to, but I have to do a security sweep right after the feast," said James, unsure of exactly what he was expecting when he made his next statement. "Let’s say eight o’clock, I’ll meet you here." For a moment, he just stared at her, not believing she was really here, and then he snapped out of his fog and introduced Lucy to his parents, and siblings, though they all remembered her. "Deputy Headmistress Gabrielle Dubois," said the Beauxbatons Herbology teacher as she shook Ginny’s hand. "Ginny Potter, Deputy Headmistress," said Ginny. Ginny introduced Harry and the children.
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After they had greeted the Beauxbatons delegation, and the Durmstrang and Beauxbatons greeted each other, the Potters and Weasleys entered the Great Hall to take their places and introduce their guests. ~ In the Great Hall, Neville and Sirius sat next to each other at the teacher’s table, waiting for the Durmstrang and Beauxbatons delegations to join them. "What’s taking so long?" asked Sirius. "The natives are getting restless." The students were beginning to get a little bit loud. They had been waiting for nearly half an hour. "You know how these formal things go, Sirius," said Neville absently. "Everyone has to greet everyone else. It takes time." Sirius thought he detected something in Neville’s voice. "Are you all right, Neville?" asked Sirius. "You sound down." "I’m fine," said Neville unconvincingly. That was not true at all. In fact, Neville was feeling pretty lousy. He would get this way once in a while. He would sort of look at his life and realize he would always be alone. He had the Potters and Weasleys who thought of him as much as family as they did each other, which he appreciated more than he could ever tell them. Still he had no blood relatives left, and wished he had someone special in his life. His grandmother, the only parent he ever really knew had passed away ten years after he graduated from Hogwarts. That had been hard. She was a bit frightening, but she was all he had. He missed her. He even missed being afraid of her. His Great Aunt and Great Uncle had died around the same time she did. Five years later his parents passed away, first his father, then three months later his mother. It was strange, since he never really knew them, but that didn’t make it any easier to lose them. He still went to St. Mungo’s once in a while, not to see anyone, just to go there. It was the only place he had ever known his parents. They had been there since he was just over a year old, having been tortured into insanity by Bellatrix Lestrange. When Neville went to visit his parents, his mother would always give him bubblegum wrappers. They were the only thing he ever received from his parents, and every time his grandmother would tell him to throw them away. He had never told a soul, but he still had a box under his bed that contained every bubblegum wrapper his mother had ever given him. The one person who was nearly family to him was Lily. It was one of the happiest days of Neville’s life when Harry and Ginny asked him to be Lily’s godfather. He loved her like she was his own daughter. They had dinner together every Valentine’s Day since she was old enough to know what Valentine’s Day was. For the last six years, Valentines dinner had been for three, as Sirius always joined them. Lily seemed to have a soft spot in her heart for lonely people. Even thinking of Lily had him down at the moment. He knew Lily had gone flying with Tommy Morgan a few times, and she seemed really happy about it. He was happy for her, but it reminded him, he didn’t have anyone. He had never really had a serious relationship. Neville wasn’t particularly handsome, he wasn’t a particularly powerful wizard, and he was a Herbologist, and spent most of his time potting plants in the Greenhouses. Not exactly a recipe for meeting women, let alone falling in love. He had a few girlfriends, and dated quite a bit right after he was in school. Word of his standing up to Voldemort spread, and it
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harrypotterfanfiction.com :: 65,000 Ha… made him seem quite the hero. The relationships never lasted long though. Years after they were at Hogwarts, Neville thought he might have a future with Hanna Abbott, but that hadn’t worked out. She went off to Auror training, and it just wasn’t going to work out with him at Hogwarts.

It wasn’t that he was unhappy. Neville was very happy teaching Herbology, and he loved the Potters and Weasleys. He just would have liked to have someone so he wasn’t so lonely. Not terribly likely Neville thought, forty-three year old Herbology teachers aren’t exactly in demand. "Do you want to talk about it, Neville?" asked Sirius. Sirius had become a good friend over the last six years. Neville didn’t know Sirius at all before he died, but he had got to know him quiet well since he returned. He was always easy to talk to and ready to listen. Like Neville, Sirius was an adopted member of the Potter and Weasley families having no family of his own. "No thanks, Sirius," said Neville. "I’m fine. Thanks." A few minutes later, the doors of the Great Hall opened and the Potters and Weasleys came in and took their places. Harry sat down next to Neville. "You guys will not believe who is here with the Beauxbatons delegation," said Harry. "I couldn’t believe it. "Who is it?" asked Sirius curiously. "Do you remember that girl that James used to hang around with a lot his fourth, fifth and sixth years?" asked Harry. "She was a year ahead of him." "Yeah, really pretty girl, long blond hair I think," said Sirius. "What was her name?" "Lucy Roux," said Neville. "She was a very nice girl." "Yeah," said Harry. "You should have seen her when she saw James. She threw her arms around his neck. He didn’t act it, but I could see it in his face, he was very glad to see her." "I always wondered why he never asked her out," said Sirius. "They seemed so close. If I hadn’t known they weren’t dating, I might have thought they were the way they were always together." "Before I forget, I invited Viktor to have a drink tonight with Ron and I," said Harry. "Can I count you two in as well?" "Absolutely," said Sirius. "How about you Neville?" "Thanks, Harry, but I think I’ll pass," said Neville. Before Harry or Sirius could try and talk him into it, Hermione went to the front of the teacher’s table, and the room quieted. "As you know, tonight marks the arrival of our guests from Durmstrang Institute and Beauxbatons Academy," said Hermione. "First, I would like to introduce Minister of Magic Kingsley Shackelbolt, Director of the Department of International Magical Cooperation, Percy Weasley, and Director of the Department of Magical Games and Sports, Cho Chang. They along with myself and the heads of Durmstrang and Beauxbatons will serve as judges for the Triwizard Tournament." Neville watched with little interest as Kingsley, Percy, and Cho made their way to the teacher’s table and took their seats as the students applauded politely, though the reception certainly couldn’t be called warm.
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"Now, I would like to introduce Deputy Headmaster, Viktor Krum, and the students of Durmstrang Institute," said Hermione. As Viktor Krum led his students towards the front of the Great Hall, there was a great deal of applause. Few hadn’t heard of the great Bulgarian Seeker. The Durmstrang delegation was dressed in dark red robes, and most wore fur parkas. Neville was just as disinterested in the Durmstrang delegation as he was of the Ministry’s representatives. At the front of the Great Hall, Viktor took his seat at the teacher’s table and his students found seats at the Slytherin and Hufflepuff tables. "Now, I would like to introduce from the French Ministry of Magic, Assistant to the Director of International Magical Cooperation and graduate of the Hogwarts Class of 2022, Lucy Roux, and Deputy Headmistress, Gabrielle Dubois, and the students of Beauxbatons Academy," said Hermione. Neville was only half paying attention as the Beauxbatons delegation made their way into the hall, all dressed in robes of pale blue silk. That was until he saw her. At the head of the Beauxbatons delegation were two women, one of whom he recognized as Lucy Roux. It was the other woman he was staring at though. She was not particularly tall, about Neville’s height, as he wasn’t terribly tall himself. She looked to be about his age, with short curly brown hair and a pretty smile. She wore thin glasses. What Neville really noticed was her eyes. She had brown eyes that looked warm and inviting, like pools of melted chocolate. Neville knew she didn’t exactly fit into the classic mold of a beautiful woman, but never the less, the only word Neville could think of to describe her was beautiful. Harry noticed Neville was staring and had his mouth hanging open slightly. "Are you all right, Neville?" asked Harry. "What," said Neville, coming out of his fog. "Yeah, I’m fine." "You seemed miles away for a minute," said Harry curiously. "I’m fine," said Neville with a nod. The woman Neville was watching went and sat at the opposite end of the teacher’s table, and Neville lost sight of her. For the rest of the night, Neville couldn’t get her out of his mind. He wished he had been paying attention and got her name. It really didn’t matter though, Neville thought. It wasn’t like he was going to talk to her or anything, so there really wasn’t any point in knowing her name. ~ It was ten minutes before eight, and James walked down the hallway towards the Entrance Hall to meet Lucy. All through dinner, as well as while he did his security sweep she was all he could think about. He had never thought he would ever see her again. He really wasn’t prepared to. He knew it shouldn’t matter. It was a long time ago, and though he couldn’t deny he was in love with Lucy, that was then and this as now. Still, knowing it and believing it weren’t necessarily the same thing. It had been three weeks since Albus had brought up Lucy to him. During the last three weeks, James had done all he could to put that conversation and Lucy out of his mind. James had never failed at many things, but at that he failed miserably. Each time James closed his eyes, he could see her pretty face, her warm smile, her sparkling pale green eyes, her long blond hair, and her figure, dear God, her figure. Lucy had a tremendous body. Each movement, whether it was as simple as shifting her weight from one foot to the other while standing in the common room talking, to leaning back in her chair and stretching her arms as she
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harrypotterfanfiction.com :: 65,000 Ha… always did, seemed to be trying to break down his will to resist her. If he hadn’t known she wasn’t, he would have thought she was part Veela.

James couldn’t count the number of times he wanted to take her in his arms and kiss her when they were in school together. When he saw her tonight and she hugged him, he didn’t want to let go, ever. James kept telling himself he had to keep his distance. She was going to go back to France at the end of the year, and nothing had changed for him. He couldn’t go to France. Of course, none of this mattered, James told himself. She was just looking to catch up with an old friend. Lucy never said anything to indicate that she felt anything more than friendship for him. Besides, Lucy had to be married or at least seeing someone. She was too perfect not to have found someone. She was just too perfect, period. When he arrived at the Entrance Hall, Lucy was waiting for him. When James saw her he realized what a fool he had been. His feelings had never gone away, as much as he wanted them to. Somehow over time, even with the picture of her in his mind, he had nearly forgotten just how truly beautiful Lucy was. The image in his mind paled by comparison. Lucy still had the same long blond hair she had in school that was just begging him to run his fingers through it. She still had the same pale green eyes that he could get lost in if he let himself. Her smile was like looking into the sun. She had been wearing a robe that matched the Beauxbatons school robes earlier. Now, she was dressed in tight Muggle jeans and a jumper, as he was, but her jumper, which said ‘Gryffindor Quidditch’ across it, was far too tight, and left little to the imagination. She always wore jumpers that were far too tight, ever since his fourth year. James didn’t, until this moment, realize just how in love with her he was. He had thought that he had been in love with her, but that it was over more than a year ago, and that he wouldn’t feel the same way. It had to be true that absence makes the heart grow fonder. He was more in love now than he was then. His heart seemed to stop beating at the site of her. He was in trouble. For a moment, James considered turning and going to bed after a prolonged cold shower. He couldn’t let himself feel this way about her. He had responsibilities. He had to protect his family. He tried to turn around, but he couldn’t move. He was rooted to the spot unable to look away form her. Then it was too late. Even as much as he knew this was a mistake, he couldn’t walk away. "There you are, James," said Lucy happily. She ran over to him and hugged him tightly. "Are you ready to go?" He returned her hug, savoring the feeling of having her in his arms, perhaps for a little longer than he meant to. "Absolutely," said James with a smile as he pulled back. ‘Let’s go." Lucy took his arm and held on as they walked. They talked all the way from the castle to the Three Broomsticks. He told her about his last year of school, and how he decided to delay Auror training to take the Security job at Hogwarts. He didn’t tell her why he did this though. He also told her how all the New Marauders were doing. Lucy was never a member of the New Marauders, but she was quite friendly with all of them. Then she told him all about what she had done in the last year. She had moved to Paris as she planned and gotten a job as a clerk in the Department of Magical Games and Sports office. She received several promotions since, and was now Assistant to the Director of the department. It was like she had never left. Even after a year apart, James could talk to her as easily as he ever could. The sound of her voice was like music to him, and when she laughed his heart ached to kiss her. He knew he shouldn’t have come.
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When they arrived at the Three Broomsticks, Lucy found a small table in the back while James got two mugs of hot butterbeer and joined her. James noticed there was no wedding ring on her finger. He told himself he shouldn’t have noticed, but it was too late, and his mouth took over, shutting off his brain. "So, Lucy, are you dating anyone?" asked James. Damn, why did you ask her that when the answer doesn’t matter, James screamed in his head? "No," said Lucy with a sigh. "I just…can’t seem to find the right guy." Something about the way she said it was like a dagger in James’ heart. He felt like he was responsible for that. "You will," said James softly. "How about you, James?" asked Lucy. "How about me, what?" asked James, still trying to comprehend how she wasn’t seeing anyone. "Are you seeing anyone?" asked Lucy with a laugh. "Oh…no," said James. "I haven’t been seeing anyone." Lucy nodded, and they were quiet for a moment. "James, I have a confession to make," said Lucy with a sigh. "What is it?" asked James. "I lied. I wasn’t surprised to see you earlier," said Lucy, biting her bottom lip nervously. "What do you mean?" asked James. Her admission made his heart begin to pound in his chest, though he wasn’t sure why. "The French Ministry, as part of the preparations for the tournament, received a list of all Hogwarts staff," said Lucy. "When I saw your name, I asked the Director if I could attend. He had planned to, but didn’t want to leave his pregnant wife, so it worked out perfectly." James digested this information for a moment. She had come because he was at Hogwarts? She had come to see him? His heart beat even louder than he thought possible. "Why, Lucy?" asked James breathlessly. That was really all he could get out. Lucy had been staring at her mug of butterbeer. She looked up and there eyes connected. "I needed to ask you something," said Lucy slowly. "I couldn’t do it by owl…it had to be in person." James could not have looked away from her if he had wanted to. Their eyes were locked on each other’s, connected as if by some invisible force. "What did you want to ask me?" asked James. His mind was racing as he continued to stare into his eyes, her beautiful eyes. "I had to know why you never asked me out," said Lucy nervously. "I woke up every day for three years, hoping that it would be the day you would ask me. I’ve had lots of dates in the last year while I’ve been in France. All I keep asking myself is why they asked me out…and you didn’t." After several long moments, James finally got his mouth to work. "You were going to France after you graduated," said James in a breathless whisper. "I couldn’t ask you not to, it was your dream, and I couldn’t go with you to France. I…I cared too much a bout you to ask you not to go. I didn’t want to
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hurt you." Lucy was quiet for a moment. "I’m here now," said Lucy, a hopeful look in her eyes. The meaning of that statement and the longing in her voice was unmistakable. A thought crossed James mind. "Can I ask you a question?" asked James. "Sure," said Lucy softly. "Were you trying to get my attention wearing those tight jumpers all the time?" asked James with a smile. Lucy smiled. "Yes," said Lucy. "I was trying to make sure you’d notice." "You didn’t need to," said James. He could resist no longer. James leaned across the table and kissed her as she kissed him back. He had waited three years for this kiss. For three years James had fought the desire to kiss her, every single day, telling himself it could never work out, denying himself the one thing he wanted most. For another year, even though she wasn’t there, subconsciously he had still desired it, but he just wouldn’t admit it to himself. Now that he was kissing her, he regretted every minute he hadn’t. They finally broke apart and stared into each other’s eyes. James reached across the table and took her hand in his. "Now what do we do?" asked James shaking his head slightly. "At the end of the year you’ll be going back to France and I can’t go." "I don’t know," said Lucy. "But we do have until the end of the year to figure that out. I think we’ve wasted enough time, don’t you?" James wanted to fight it, but he had fought it for so long, he couldn’t anymore. "Let’s get out of here," said James. "This table is putting entirely too much distance between us, and I know a perfect place we can go to make up for lost time." "What exactly did you want to make up for?" asked Lucy as if she didn’t have an idea already. "To make up for three years of missed snogging," said James with a sly smile. "Lead the way," replied Lucy. ~ In the Room of Requirement, Sirius and Ron were standing by the fire talking, waiting for Harry, Viktor, and the firewhiskey. Ron would have settled for just the firewhiskey. "Did you see that git? He practically had his hands all over Hermione," said Ron testily. "He does it again and there will be a problem." "Come on, Ron," said Sirius trying no tot laugh. "The hug was brief, and the kisses on the cheeks are not uncommon between friends. Fourth year was a long, long time ago. You’re just still upset you didn’t ask Hermione to the Yule Ball. She loves you anyway, though heaven only knows why." "Thanks, Sirius, that really helps," said Ron in exasperation. "You need to spend less time with my sister." "You know me," said Sirius with a twinkle in his eye and a mischievous grin on his face. "I’m The
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At ten o’clock, Harry and Viktor walked through the door of the Room of Requirement. Harry was carrying a bottle of firewhiskey. "Hey, mate," said Ron to Harry. He turned toward Viktor. "Are all your students settled in, Viktor?" Ron was trying to be friendly, but he found it very difficult. "Yes, thank you," said Viktor. "The accommodations are wonderful." "Viktor, I don’t think you have met my godfather, Sirius Black," said Harry. "Sirius, this is Viktor Krum, Deputy Headmaster of Durmstrang Institute." "Nice to meet you, Viktor," said Sirius, extending his hand. "Likewise," said Viktor shaking Sirius’s hand. "I must admit, when word reached Durmstrang that Sirius Black had returned from the dead, no one believed it." "I’m full of surprises," said Sirius with a laugh. The four of them sat on the couches and sipped firewhiskey and talked for quite a while. Viktor told Harry about how after his quidditch career was over he received offers to coach professionally, but he was tired of all the intensity of professional quidditch. He opted to teach flying at Durmstrang and was very happy doing that. "So, Harry, your son is to be married," said Viktor. "You must be very happy. Have they been together long?" "I am very happy," said Harry. "They actually met first year, and it was love at first sight. She was an orphan, and we adopted her. It was only a matter of time before he proposed." "That’s wonderful," said Viktor with a smile. Around midnight, Ron decided he was heading to bed. He said his goodnights and left. It was obvious he had not enjoyed the company. "I think Ron is still upset about my taking Hermione to the Yule Ball," said Viktor with a chuckle. "I can’t say I blame him." "No," said Harry shaking his head. "He might be telling himself that, but I think he’s still upset about what he didn’t do back them. I think he still regrets not asking Hermione to the Yule Ball. They are married and happy, and it still bothers him." "Viktor, I’m a little surprised an international quidditch player like yourself has never married," said Sirius. Viktor chuckled. "You would think an international quidditch player would have no problem finding a wife," said Viktor. "Unfortunately all the women I’ve dated were all in love with the international quidditch player, and not Viktor Krum." Viktor paused and looked at the floor. "Only one woman ever saw me as me, and she was in love with another long before I met her. Not even an international quidditch player can compete with true love. I never stood a chance." Viktor looked up at Harry. "Harry, you and Ron are very lucky men. There are far more important things in life than being an international quidditch player." "Thank you," said Harry. Harry knew exactly what Viktor meant. ~
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The next morning, Harry got up early. He had not forgotten how Neville was at the feast, and he wanted to make sure he was all right. After finding a potion to deal with the mild hangover he had from the previous night’s firewhiskey, Harry headed toward the Greenhouses. Neville was always up early and in the Greenhouses taking care of some plant that needed his attention. As Harry walked toward the Greenhouses, he saw Hagrid, out for a morning walk of his own. "Good morning, Hagrid," said Harry with a smile. "Morning, Harry," said Hagrid. "You’re up early." "Yes," said Harry. "I’m on my way to see Neville." Hagrid nodded. "You’ll never guess who I saw this morning," said Hagrid. "Who did you see?" asked Harry curiously. "Well, I was out taking a walk, not far from the Whomping Willow, and I heard its branches moving as usual," said Hagrid. "Then it stopped. I looked through the bushes, and you’ll never guess who had just touched the knot to stop it from moving." "Who was it?" asked Harry. "It was James," said Hagrid. "He wasn’t alone. I was about to move out of the bushes to say hello, but I saw he was helping that girl from the French Ministry out of the hole, and then, well, I wasn’t going to interrupt them. They were snogging like there was no tomorrow." Harry grinned. "They went out to catch up last night," said Harry. "I guess they must have caught each other." Hagrid laughed. "I guess you’re right," said Hagrid. "Well, I have to get going, I have lots to do. Have a good day." "You too, Hagrid," said Harry. As Harry continued toward the Greenhouses, he couldn’t wait to tell Ginny about James. She would be so happy to know that, catching up had turned into a date. Ginny worried about James being alone so much. Harry couldn’t help but think of the times he and Ginny had snuck off to the Shrieking Shack to snog when they returned to school seventh year. What would they have ever done without his Invisibility Cloak, Harry wondered. When Harry arrived at the Greenhouses, as he expected, Neville was already working. He looked kind of distracted. "Morning Neville," said Harry. "Good morning," said Neville. "What brings you to the Greenhouses Harry? "I was just wondering if you were all right," said Harry. "You really seemed kind of down last night. Is anything wrong?" "I’m fine Harry," said Neville with a frown. He knew Harry was just worried because he cared, but Neville really didn’t want to talk about it. "You know how I get sometimes."
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"Yeah, I do," said Harry. Before Harry could say anything, there was a knock on the Greenhouse door. A moment later the door opened. "Good morning, Professor Potter," said a soft voice with a mild French accent. Gabrielle Dubois walked into the Greenhouse. "Please, Miss Dubois, call me Harry," said Harry to the Deputy Headmistress of Beauxbatons Academy. She nodded. "Please call me Gabrielle," she replied with a smile. Harry realized that Neville had not been introduced to her. "Neville, this is Gabrielle Dubois, Deputy Headmistress of Beauxbatons Academy," said Harry. "Gabrielle, this is Neville Longbottom, Herbology teacher here at Hogwarts, and one of my best friends." "Then you are just the person I am looking for, Professor Longbottom," said Gabrielle with a broad smile. Neville was speechless. She was even more beautiful close up. "Hello," said Neville. "W-What can I do for you? Please…call me N-Neville." Harry suddenly realized whom Neville was staring at when the Beauxbatons delegation entered the Great Hall last night, and fought the urge to laugh at Neville’s shyness. "Well, my mimbulus mimbletonia seems to have outgrown its pot," said Gabrielle. "I was wondering if you might have a larger pot and some soil." "You have a mimbulus mimbletonia?" asked Neville. She was perfect. "Yes," said Gabrielle. "It keeps me company in the Greenhouses." She smiled and shrugged. "You teach Herbology?" asked Neville. His heart was pounding in his chest so loud he thought for sure Harry could hear it. "Yes," said Gabrielle. "Herbology has fascinated me since I first went to school, and I have been teaching it almost since I graduated." Neville stood speechless for a moment, and then his brain began to function again. "I have plenty of poil and sots," said Neville. "Soil and pots I mean…sorry." Gabrielle smiled. "Wonderful," said Gabrielle. "I’ll be right back with my mimbulus mimbletonia. I left it in the sun." Gabrielle left, and Harry was finally able to let the grin spread across his face that he had been suppressing. "Well, Neville," said Harry. "I think I better be going." "No, Harry," said Neville almost pleading. "Please don’t go. Stay and…I don’t know, keep me from making an arse of myself." Neville looked frightened. "Neville, just talk to her," said Harry. "It doesn’t take a Legilimens to know you noticed her last night. Not to mention you two couldn’t have more in common. Just talk about Herbology and get to know her. Offer to show her your mimbulus mimbletonia." "But, Harry, what do I say to her?" asked Neville. "I’ve never been any good at talking to girls. Even when I’ve been on dates, I never did much talking."
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"You talk to Ginny and Hermione all the time," said Harry, suppressing a laugh. "Surely that’s practice enough?" "Harry," said Neville, a touch of annoyance in his voice. "You know this is different. I don’t know what to say to her." "Just talk to her," said Harry with a supportive smile. "Trust me, you will be fine." At that moment, before Neville could beg Harry to stay, Gabrielle returned carrying her mimbulus mimbletonia. "I’ve got to be going," said Harry. "I’ll see you both later." Harry left the Greenhouse. He now had two things to tell Ginny that would make her very happy. Chapter 15: Chapter 15 - The All-New Goblet of Fire [View Online] [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter] Chapter 15 – The All-New Goblet of Fire At two o’clock that afternoon, the entire school, as well as the Ministry, Durmstrang, and Beauxbatons delegations were gathered in the Great Hall, waiting for the arrival of the Goblet of Fire. This was not the same Goblet of Fire used in the last Triwizard Tournament at Hogwarts. Before the tournament was reinstated in 2013, a new Goblet of Fire was constructed to be completely unconfoundable. No one wanted a repeat of the last Triwizard Tournament held at Hogwarts. Ron, Danny, and James were on the platform at Hogsmeade Station, waiting for the Hogwarts Express to arrive with the Goblet of Fire. James yawned. "So, James, you were out awful late last night, or should I say awful early this morning," said Danny. "Actually, technically, since you didn’t get back until seven o’clock this morning, I guess that would be considered all night." Danny had a devilish smile on his face. Ron raised his eyebrows. "Oh," said James tentatively. "I thought you were still asleep when I came in. Lucy and I lost track of time." James was blushing slightly. "Easy to do when you’ve spent all night snogging," said Ron with a grin. "Yeah, I know the feeling," said Danny, not quite thinking of the ramifications of the comment. Ron looked at Danny, but before Danny could try to back out of his comment the whistle from the Hogwarts Express blew and they turned to see the train. "Saved by the bell," muttered Danny under his breath. The train pulled to a stop in front of them. "Why didn’t they just send the goblet yesterday with the Durmstrang and Beauxbatons delegations?" asked James. "They didn’t want anyone to question the integrity of the Goblet of Fire," said Ron. "If it were on the train with the Durmstrang and Beauxbatons delegations, some one could claim they had the opportunity to tamper with it." "I thought it was supposed to be unconfoundable," said James.
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"Well, that’s what they say," said Ron. "I mean, in reality, with the right spell you can do almost anything." A man Ron was very familiar with stepped off the train. "Head Auror Williams," said Ron flatly. Ron thought escorting the Goblet of Fire was about the only thing Williams was qualified to do. "Yes, Weasley," said Head Auror Williams. "Here is the Goblet of Fire." Two Aurors stepped off the train, each holding one handle of a wooden box. The box did not appear old, as the box of the original Goblet of Fire did. It was a simple polished wooden box with gold hinges on the back, a gold latch on the front and gold handles on the sides. The top of the box bore the seals of Hogwarts, Durmstrang, and Beauxbatons. "Thank you," said Ron, as he nodded to James and Danny. James and Danny each took one side of the box from the Aurors, and the three of them headed for the castle. ~ In the Great Hall, Hermione was sitting at the teacher’s table going through her speech in her head. She really could have done without the tournament this year. She didn’t need more speeches. The threat of Voldemort was never far from her mind, and she was left little time for researching potential weapons he might be looking for. The doors to the Great Hall opened, and Ron, James, and Danny walked toward the teacher’s table. James and Danny were carrying the wooden box Hermione knew contained the Goblet of Fire. They placed the box on a stool in front of the teacher’s table, and went to take their seats. Hermione stood and walked around the teacher’s table and over to the box. "Welcome everyone," said Hermione. "The Goblet of Fire will select the champions for the Triwizard Tournament." Hermione took her wand from her pocket, and tapped the top of the box three times, once each on the three seals of each school. The box opened, revealing the golden chalice encrusted with gems and embossed with the seals of all three schools. It was much different than the old Goblet of Fire, however, the blue flames did resemble the original Goblet of Fire. Hermione levitated the Goblet of Fire out of the box and the box closed. She set the goblet on top of the box. "Anyone aged seventeen and over may submit their name to the Goblet of Fire," said Hermione. "All you must do is write your name and school on a piece of parchment and put it in the goblet. The Goblet of Fire will be placed in the Entrance Hall until Halloween night, just over two days from now. After the Halloween feast, the Goblet will select the champions for the Triwizard Tournament. An age line will be drawn around the goblet to ensure underage students are unable to enter. I must impress upon any of you wishing to compete that this tournament is not a game. It should not be entered into lightly. Champions chosen to compete by the Goblet of Fire our obligated to do so. Putting your name in the Goblet of Fire constitutes a binding magical contract. There can be no backing out. Please be very sure before you enter. On November second, following dinner, we will have the Weighing of the Wands ceremony. At that ceremony, the selected champions will designate their partner for the competition, or choose to stand alone." Hermione levitated the stool, box, and Goblet together, and walked out into the Entrance Hall. She set it down and drew the age line around it. At the Gryffindor table, Albus, Carly, and Rose were discussing the tournament. They were all curious to know who would enter. "You aren’t going to enter, are you, Al?" asked Rose.
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"As I’ve said before, no," said Albus with a laugh. "Trust me, the last thing I’m looking for is eternal glory." "That’s good," said Carly. "I think I would faint if you were in those tasks." "Not to worry, love," said Albus. "Are you entering Rose?" "No," said Rose. "I don’t need that kind of stress. I can’t think of a reason anyone would enter. I’m worried enough about N.E.W.T.s." "Come on," said Carly. "You have nothing to worry about. You are the smartest witch in our year. No one else come close." "I know," said Rose with a grin. "Modest isn’t she," said Albus with a laugh. "Come on, let’s go see who is entering." At the teacher’s table, Harry and Ginny were chatting about the tournament, when Ginny noticed Neville leaving the Great Hall with Gabrielle Dubois. "Harry, did you just see what I saw?" asked Ginny, a little excitement creeping into her tone. "You’ll have to be more specific love," said Harry with a chuckle. "Neville was talking with Gabrielle Dubois," said Ginny. "They appeared to be having quite a friendly conversation and left together." Harry smiled. "Yes, I meant to tell you," said Harry. "I think Neville has a bit of a crush on Gabrielle. I went to see him this morning, and she showed up looking for soil and a pot for her mimbulus mimbletonia. I think it was love at first sight, at least for Neville." Ginny smiled. "It would be so great if they started dating," said Ginny. "He’s such a good person, he deserves someone to love." "He does," said Harry. "Just remember, they just met. Don’t start planning the wedding yet. Oh, by the way, I heard something else this morning it might interest you to know." "What did you hear?" asked Ginny. "Our oldest son made it home kind of late last night," said Harry. "That’s not surprising," said Ginny. "He and Lucy haven’t seen each other for more than a year, I’m sure they had a lot to talk about." "Well, when I say late last night, I mean seven o’clock this morning," said Harry with a grin. "Hagrid saw them coming back from the Shrieking Shack. He said they were snogging like mad." "Really," said Ginny with a huge grin. "I always had a feeling about them. I still don’t know why he never asked her out. I just hope he doesn’t get hurt. I’m sure she’s going back to France when the tournament is over." It was at this moment Harry noticed another couple leaving the hall together. "Are Lily and Tommy going flying again?" asked Harry. "They have been flying just about every afternoon for the last two weeks." "Careful, Harry," said Ginny with a smirk. "She’s a big girl. You are starting to sound like my brother."
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"I’ll shut up now," said Harry putting up his hands in defeat. "Good idea," said Ginny with a laugh. ~ That night, the Potters and Weasleys gathered in the Room of Requirement for dinner as they did every Sunday night. As they ate their dinner two people were conspicuous by their absence. "Where’s James at?" asked Sirius. "And Neville, for that matter." "Neville is having dinner in the Great Hall," said Harry. "He’s discussing some Herbological issues with Gabrielle Dubois." Everyone had seen Neville with Gabrielle that day. They were talking and laughing and seemed to be enjoying each other’s company. "James told me he was going out to dinner with Lucy," said Ginny. "I told him he could miss family dinner just this once. It was funny he was practically begging me." She didn’t notice as a smile crept across Harry’s face. "Where did they go?" asked Hermione. "They apparated to London," said Harry. "James managed to get reservations at The Feather of the Phoenix." "How did he manage that?" asked Hermione in shock. "That’s the best Wizarding restaurant in all of Europe, not to mention one of the most romantic places in the world. It takes six months to get a reservation, longer for holidays." "He did one better than a reservation," said Harry. "Chef Olivier is going to personally prepare them a seven course dinner." "How did he manage that?" asked Ron in shock. "Well, James isn’t one to drop the Potter name, but in this case, he made an exception," said Harry with a laugh. "He really wanted it to be a special night." "Well, I’m not surprised," said Albus absently. "What do you know?" asked Ginny, knowing Albus knew something she didn’t. "Oh, nothing," said Albus. Albus didn’t’ really mean to say anything. He wasn’t going to tell anyone about his conversation with James from a few weeks ago. "What is it, Al?" asked Carly. "Nothing," said Albus. "I just think James felt a lot more strongly about Lucy than he’s ever let on to anyone, maybe even more than he’s admitted to himself." The Potters and Weasleys finished there dinner, and moved to sit by the fire and talk like they always did. "So, who put their name in the Goblet of Fire?" asked Ron. Albus, Carly, and Rose rattled off a list of names of students they had seen enter. They didn’t know
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harrypotterfanfiction.com :: 65,000 Ha… the Durmstrang and Beauxbatons students who had entered, but nearly all of them who had come who were of age, entered. Only a few younger students made the trip.

"You didn’t enter Al, did you?" asked Harry, just wanting to make sure. "For the thousandth time, Dad, I didn’t," said Albus. "I’m not interested in eternal glory." Harry gave a visible sigh of relief. "How about you Rose?" asked Harry. Rose was about to say that she had not entered, but before she could Ron spoke. "Are you kidding, Harry?" asked Ron with a laugh. "Rosie wouldn’t want to do something crazy like that." Rose’s temper began to flare. Danny, who was seated next to her with his arms around her, held her a little tighter, hoping to calm her down. It didn’t work, not even a little. "And what’s that supposed to mean?" asked Rose, her eyes already on fire. Everyone except Ron had noticed Rose was angry. "You wouldn’t want to do something like that," said Ron absently. "It’s far too dangerous, you might get hurt." "You mean it’s far too dangerous for your little girl, don’t you," said Rose angrily. "I shouldn’t be surprised, I should expect it by now." "No, I didn’t mean it like that, Rosie," said Ron. He really hadn’t, but he hadn’t really been thinking when he opened his mouth, a habit Hermione had said he had since the first day they met. "The hell you didn’t," bellowed Rose, pulling herself from Danny’s grasp and getting to her feet. Rose was tired of this. Her father treated her like a little girl all the time, and she wasn’t going to take it anymore. "Rose," said Hermione. "He didn’t mean it that way." "Rosie…" began Ron, but he didn’t get to finish the sentence. "Don’t call me Rosie, I’m not a little girl anymore," said Rose. "My name is Rose Molly Weasley, not ‘Daddy’s Little Girl’." She turned and headed for the door. Danny jumped to his feet and hurried after her, but when she reached the door, she turned to Danny. "I would like to go for a walk alone," said Rose flatly. Danny knew the tone. It was an order, not a request. The last time he heard it, he had just been on the receiving end of a right hook he would never forget. "All right," said Danny. He wasn’t going to argue. Rose left and Danny went back and sat down. "Sorry, I know I should go after her, but I’m just not that brave." "She’ll be fine," said Hermione slowly. "She just needs some time to calm down. She’ll be all right." Rose has such a quick temper. "I’m sorry," said Ron with a frown. "I really didn’t mean it like that." "I know," said Hermione with a sigh. "It’s just that you’ve treated her like a little girl so often, that she has become very sensitive to it, even if you didn’t mean it like that." Ginny decided to change the subject. "Anyone have any plans for Hogsmeade this weekend?" asked Ginny. "It’s the first Hogsmeade weekend of the year." Ginny noticed a smile cross Lily’s face when she said that. "What is it Lily?"
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"Nothing," said Lily, trying to remove the smile from her face and failing. "That’s not true, Lily," said Hugo, with a devilish glint in his eyes. "Tommy asked Lily to go to Hogsmeade with him this weekend." Lily turned to Hugo with a death stare. "I’m not telling you anything anymore, Hugo," said Lily. She took a breath and let it out. "Yes, Tommy asked me to go to Hogsmeade with him." "That sounds like fun," said Ginny, trying not to make a big deal about it, but she could tell Lily was thrilled about the date. "Hogsmeade sounds like fun this weekend, we should all go," said Harry. It would be fun and he could keep an eye on Tommy and Lily, Harry thought. "You have meetings about the tournament this weekend," said Hermione with smile. "Sorry to ruin the fun." "Oh, right," said Harry. Ginny just grinned. It really wasn’t that Harry was specifically worried about Lily and Tommy going to Hogsmeade together, but she was his daughter, and he did worry about her. He would just have to live with it. He didn’t want to be like Ron. ~ Around eleven o’clock, two people made there way down the hallway towards the guest accommodations set up for the visitors to Hogwarts. Lucy held on tightly to James arm. "I had a wonderful time tonight," said Lucy with a smile. "I’ve never enjoyed a meal so much…and it was even better because it was with you." "Me too," said James with a smile. They reached the door of Lucy’s room, and Lucy turned to him. "Would you like to come in for a drink, James?" asked Lucy, nervously biting her bottom lip. James wasn’t sure exactly where walking through that door would lead, though he had a pretty good idea. The night they spent snogging in the Shrieking Shack, could have become something more, and he could tell they both had wanted it to. James hadn’t let it though. Nothing was going to change that Lucy was going home at the end of the year. He knew walking through that door now would be a mistake, no matter how badly he wanted to. "I don’t really think I should," said James. Lucy nodded, the disappointment evident on her face, but he knew she understood. He took her in his arms and stared into her eyes for a moment. He leaned down and kissed her. As he did, he didn’t notice that someone had come around the corner at end of the hall. The kiss was passionate, and filled with meaning. They broke apart, both breathing heavily. "Goodnight Lucy," said James breathlessly. "I’ll see you tomorrow." "Goodnight," said Lucy with a smile. "You can count on it." Lucy entered her room and closed the door. James just stood there a moment. After several seconds, he raised his arm and almost knocked on the door, but he didn’t. When he turned to head to the small Common Room he shared with Danny, he saw
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harrypotterfanfiction.com :: 65,000 Ha… his father walking towards him down the hall. James walked to meet him.

"Hi, Dad," said James. "How was family dinner?" "Good," said Harry. "I would ask how your dinner was but I just saw that kiss. I think I can figure it out from there." James blushed slightly. "Yeah," said James. "It was great." "James, can we talk for a minute?" asked Harry. "Sure, Dad," said James. "I’m just heading to my Common Room." Harry and James walked down the hallway. "I never realized you felt that way about Lucy," said Harry. "Can I ask why you never asked her out?" "Dad, I think you know," said James with a sigh. "She was going to Paris after graduation. She decided that when she was in fourth year. It didn’t matter how I felt, I knew I couldn’t go with her or ask her to give that up." That was precisely what Harry was afraid of. "James, you can’t let Voldemort rule your life," said Harry. "We’ve had this conversation before." "I can’t ignore him either," said James solemnly. "Dad, I thought about this a lot. Fifth year…I fell in love with her, but I knew it could never work. I’m not sure what we are doing now. She’s going home at the end of the year." He paused. "She came back for me Dad. Lucy knew I was here, and came back to see me. I don’t know what to do." Harry had no idea James felt that strongly about Lucy. James never showed it at all. "Does she feel the same?" asked Harry. "I haven’t told her how I really feel," said James. "I think she knows though, and I think she feels the same. What am I going to do Dad? I would go buy a ring tomorrow if not for…" James stopped, but Harry knew what he was about to say. "I don’t know what to tell you, James," said Harry sympathetically. "You are in an impossible position. I guess the only thing to do is to listen to your heart. It will tell you what to do when the time is right." "Thanks, Dad," said James. Unfortunately, that didn’t help James any. His heart had been what had made this so difficult to begin with. "Are you off to bed?" asked Harry. "No," said James with a sigh. "I need a very cold shower." ~ Around midnight, the Gryffindor Common Room was deserted, except for Albus and Carly who were on the couch. It was a cold night, but the fire was blazing, and they were curled up under a blanket. They were snogging as they usually did when they were alone. Albus didn’t want to stop. It was warm with her under the blanket, and he did love to kiss her like this. There was one thing he couldn’t get off his mind though. His best friend had not been seen since dinner, and he was worried about her. "I really, really hate to leave you, love," whispered Albus, after several minutes of kissing below Carly’s ear and feeling her shudder in his arms. He wasn’t sure how long they had been kissing, it had been
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harrypotterfanfiction.com :: 65,000 Ha… either minutes or hours, Albus was never sure when she was in his arms. "I better go look for Rose. She still hasn’t come back, and I’m getting worried."

"You’re probably right," said Carly with a sigh. "I’m sure she’s fine, but she’s stubborn enough to sit up somewhere all night, and we have classes tomorrow." As if on cue, Rose climbed through the portrait hole and into the Common Room. "Rose, I was just about to go looking for you," said Albus. "Are you all right? You’ve been gone for hours." "I’m fine," said Rose absently. "One of these days I’m going to make my father realize I’m not a little girl anymore." Rose smiled. "I didn’t mean to interrupt the two of you. Please, continue. I’m going to bed, goodnight." "Goodnight," said Carly and Albus at the same time. Rose walked to the stairs and headed up to her dorm. "She’s still upset," said Carly. "Yes, but you know Rose, she’ll be all right," said Albus. A grin spread across Albus’s face. "Now, where were we?" ~ Monday morning, Neville went looking for Harry. He needed to talk to him about a problem. Harry had a first period Defense Against the Dark Arts class, and Neville arrived at Harry’s classroom just as the class was ending. "Don’t forget, I want your essay’s on identifying inferi by the end of the week, class dismissed," said Harry as he sat back down behind his desk to make some notes. Neville walked up to Harry’s desk. Harry was still writing, and hadn’t noticed Neville. "Harry," said Neville. "Hi, Neville," said Harry looking up. "What’s up?" "Can I talk to you for a minute?" asked Neville nervously. "Sure, let’s step into my office," said Harry. He was worried because Neville looked awfully nervous. Harry and Neville went into Harry’s office. And each sat in a chair. "So, what’s up, Neville?" asked Harry. "I need your help Harry," said Neville anxiously. Harry was slightly alarmed by the fearful tone in his voice. "Sure Neville, what’s wrong?" asked Harry. "I am desperate, Harry," said Neville. "I want to ask Gabrielle to go to Hogsmeade with me this weekend, and I have no idea how." It took every iota of Harry’s self control not to laugh. "Just ask her, Neville," said Harry. "I saw you together all day yesterday. I think she fancies you."
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harrypotterfanfiction.com :: 65,000 Ha… "We had a great time," said Neville with a smile. "We talked all day long. We talked about Herbology, and she told me about her family. I told her about mine, and she was so sweet, she listened as I told her all about my family. You know that is not an easy story to hear."

"Then what’s the problem, Neville?" asked Harry. "It sounds like you two really hit it off. Is she married or seeing someone?" "No, she isn’t," said Neville with a sigh. "Harry, I haven’t been on a date in ten years, and then it was with someone Ginny fixed me up with. It’s not like I haven’t asked girls out before, I have. I dated a lot in those years after school, but it’s been so long, I don’t know what to do." Harry couldn’t keep a straight face any longer. Harry laughed. "Neville, you obviously fancy her, just say, ‘would you like to go to Hogsmeade with me this weekend’," said Harry. "I don’t get it, why does it sound so much less lame when you say it," said Neville putting his face in his hands. Harry almost said jokingly, ‘because I’m the famous Harry Potter’, but Neville was clearly upset, so he wasn’t going to tease him. "Neville, just ask her," said Harry. "The worst she can say is no. If she does then you haven’t lost anything." "I guess you’re right, Harry," said Neville. "She’s just so perfect. I’ve never met anyone like her. Gabrielle has memorized One Thousand Magical Herbs and Fungi by Phyllida Spore," said Neville. I’ve only managed to memorize about nine hundred." "Then ask her," said Harry shaking his head and laughing. "Maybe you can ask her to help you memorize the last one hundred." Chapter 16: Chapter 16 - The Stupidest Thing I've Ever Done [View Online] [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter] Chapter 16 – The Stupidest Thing I’ve Ever Done The castle was abuzz with talk of the Triwizard Tournament. Only the Potters, Weasleys, and a few other people really knew what happened to Harry when he was a Triwizard Champion all those years ago. This gave them a somewhat different perspective on the tournament. While it was true, that the worst of what happened to Harry had more to do with Voldemort than with the tournament itself. The fact was Harry had faced a dragon, nearly drowned, and never wanted to find a way through a maze, even on paper, again. It was true, that efforts were made to make the competition safer, and there were few injuries during the last two tournaments, but it was still dangerous. For Harry, it brought up thoughts of Cedric. It was such a waste. Cedric was struck down for being in the wrong place at the wrong time. He died for nothing. Harry had let go of the guilt, but it was still a painful memory. It didn’t help that it was the forty-second anniversary of his parents’ deaths. Halloween always depressed him. He had come to terms with their loss long ago, but he still missed them. Just after lunch, Harry went for a walk down by the lake. He didn’t have a class that period, and since most students did, no one was around the lake. At least he thought no one was around.
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harrypotterfanfiction.com :: 65,000 Ha… Harry skipped a few stones across the lake. He wasn’t thinking about his parents and about Cedric. He heard a noise and looked around. It sounded like someone crying. He walked over towards a group of trees. Cho Chang was sitting against a tree crying.

"Cho, are you all right?" asked Harry concernedly. "Harry," said Cho in surprise, as she got to her feet and wiped the tears from her cheeks. "I’m fine. It’s just…with the selection tonight…I keep thinking about…Cedric." "I know," said Harry with a sigh. "Harry," came a voice from behind him. "Viktor," said Harry turning around to see Viktor Krum standing there. "Miss Chang, are you all right?" asked Viktor. "Yes, thank you," said Cho. "Please, call me Cho." Viktor nodded. The three stood silent for a moment. Finally it was Viktor who spoke. "I think we are all here for the same reason," said Viktor. "With tonight’s selection, I’ve thought about Cedric Digory a lot. I worry about the new champions, whoever they are." "I do too," said Harry. "It’s hard not to." "I came down here to drink a toast to Cedric," said Viktor. Viktor raised a hand, which held a small bottle. "My grandfather was a Muggle. He owned a vineyard in Bulgaria. The wine from Krum Vineyard was known all over the country. He used these small bottles, as he could not afford equipment to use larger ones. Had he had the money to distribute it internationally, he would have been very rich, but alas that was not the case. Eventually, he had to close the winery. This is the last bottle of his wine left in the world that I am aware of. It is very old, and I am told among the best of the vintages he produced. I would be honored if you would share it with me." "It would be an honor," said Harry as he walked over to Viktor. Cho just nodded, as she continued to wipe tears from her cheeks, and followed Harry over to where Viktor stood. Viktor removed his wand from his pocket and transfigured some rocks into three glasses. The small bottle was barely enough to fill the three glasses, and Viktor gave one to Harry and one to Cho. Viktor held up his glass, as did Harry and Cho. "To Cedric Digory, he was a great champion," said Viktor. "And a great friend," added Cho. The three of them drank, Cho and Viktor downing half their glasses in one gulp. "To the new champions," said Harry raising his glass. "Let God protect them." The three drank, Cho and Viktor draining their glasses. "It is wonderful wine, Viktor, thank you," said Harry. "Yes, thank you," said Cho. "I must be going. I have a meeting to attend." "Let me escort you," said Viktor, offering Cho his arm with a smile. Cho took his arm and returned his smile and they headed for the castle.
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harrypotterfanfiction.com :: 65,000 Ha… Harry turned and looked out at the lake. He raised his glass, which still held some wine. "To James and Lily Potter," said Harry as a single tear escaping his eye. He finished the wine and spent a while just standing there looking out over the lake.

~ The Great Hall was decorated for Halloween. In the enchanted sky, jack-o-lanterns lit with candles hung, suspended magically in the air. Bats were fluttering around in the sky. Following the Halloween Feast that evening, the entire school, and all the invited guests, sat in rapt attention waiting for the Goblet of Fire to choose the Triwizard Champions. At the Gryffindor table Albus was watching intently, waiting for the selection to begin. "You seem awfully interested for someone who didn’t enter," said Carly. "Is there something you want to tell us?" "Yeah," said Lily. "You would almost think you had entered." "No," said Albus shaking his head. "I’m just curious who is going to be selected from Hogwarts. You don’t know how many students and teachers have asked me if I entered. They seem to think that since I am a Potter I would definitely be selected." "I’m sure whoever is selected, they will represent Hogwarts with honor," said Rose. "We’ll find out soon enough." "I tried ten different spells to get past that age line," said Hugo with a sigh. "There was no way through it. It was quite frustrating." Rose laughed. "Would you like to know why?" asked Rose with a grin. "It’s no accident that you had no luck getting through." "What do you mean?" asked Hugo curiously. "Mum put an extra protection on the age line so that you specifically couldn’t get through it," said Rose. "Even if you managed to get through the age line, the extra protections were blocking you." "Mum thinks of everything," muttered Hugo. Just then, Hermione came walking into the Great Hall, levitating the Goblet of Fire with its brilliant blue flames to the front of the Great Hall. She set it down in front of the teacher’s table. "In a moment, the Goblet of Fire will begin to make its selections," said Hermione. "The chosen champions will come up when their name is called, and proceed through the door behind the teacher’s table into the next chamber where they will receive their first instructions." Hermione waved her wand, and all the candles except those in the jack-o-lanterns above went out, leaving an eerie half darkness throughout the room. The sky was starless and cloudy adding to the eeriness. Everyone seemed to hold their breath waiting for the Goblet of Fire to make its decisions. Suddenly, the flames in the Goblet of Fire turned red, and sparks of every color flew from the flames for a moment. As they ceased, a column of red flames shot upward, throwing a piece of smoldering parchment into the air. Hermione snatched the paper from the air as it fell. She unfolded the parchment, as the flames in the Goblet of Fire turned back to blue. "The Champion from Durmstrang is…Stefan Popov," said Hermione to thunderous cheers from the Durmstrang students. A tall muscular boy with short black hair and eyes so brown, they were nearly black stood from among the Durmstrang students. He wore a scowl on his face, even in victory. Albus
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harrypotterfanfiction.com :: 65,000 Ha… noticed he had a scar on his left cheek running nearly from his chin to his eye. Viktor Krum patted new champion heavily on the back before Stefan walked to the front of the Great Hall, bowed briefly to Hermione and continued into the next chamber.

"He looks like a cheery fellow," said Albus. His friends all chuckled at his observation. A moment later, the flames in the Goblet of Fire turned red again. Sparks of every color flew from the flames for a moment. When they ceased, a column of red flames shot upward with another piece of parchment. It landed in Hermione’s waiting hand, as the flames returned to blue. "The Champion from Beauxbatons is…Sophie Leroy," said Hermione to cheers from the Beauxbatons students. A very pretty girl, rather short, with short blond hair and brown eyes stood from among her fellow students. She smiled broadly, receiving a brief hug from Gabrielle Dubois, then walked to the front of the Great Hall, bowed briefly to Hermione and continued into the next chamber to join Stefan Popov. "One to go," said Albus. "I can’t wait to find out who it is." It took a few moments, but the Goblet of Fire’s flames again turned red, sparks flew from it, and a piece of parchment shot up on a tongue of fire. Hermione grabbed the piece of parchment from the air and began to unfold it. "The Champion from Hogwarts is," but Hermione stopped as the read the paper, her mouth hanging open slightly. Even in the dim light, Albus could see all the color drain from her face. His Aunt looked white as a sheet, as if a vampire had drained every drop of blood from her body. Her lower lip trembled slightly. For just a moment, Albus thought she was going to faint. As Hermione looked at the paper her heart leapt into her throat. It took her a moment to regain some semblance of composer, and she read the name on the parchment. "R-Rose Weasley," said Hermione just barely loud enough to be heard. The Hogwarts students erupted in applause and shouts of congratulations, all except the four seated around Rose. Rose knew this could happen. After she yelled at her father at family dinner she had entered the tournament, hoping she would have a chance to prove to him she was not a little girl once and for all. She had gotten her wish. "Rose," said Albus in a breathless whisper. Albus looked to Carly who stared at him with a blank expression of disbelief. Rose stood without a word and walked towards her mother. Her mother just stared at her. She was still white as a sheet, and her mouth hung slightly open. She had never seen such terror in her mother’s eyes. She nodded to her as she walked past. Seeing the look in her mother’s eyes, Rose suddenly felt selfish. She saw her Aunt, Uncle, Sirius, and Neville staring at her with stunned expressions on their faces, and she saw her father, he was as pale as her mother, maybe more so. She wasn’t sure, but she thought she saw tears in his eyes. Rose walked into the chamber. She saw the Durmstrang and Beauxbatons champions standing by the fireplace chatting. She heard some of the portraits give a cheer as Rose entered, but Rose ignored them. Rose went right over to her two opponents. "Hello, I’m Rose Weasley," said Rose numbly. "My name is Sophie Leroy," said the girl from Beauxbatons in a French accent. "It’s nice to meet you. Isn’t your mother the Headmistress?" She extended her hand to Rose "Yes, she is," said Rose as she shook her hand. "It’s very nice to meet you too."
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"Stefan Popov, Durmstrang," said the boy extending his hand towards her. He spoke with a heavy Russian accent, but in spite of the scar, dark eyes, and lack of a smile, that gave him a menacing look, his voice was warm and friendly. "Nice to meet you," said Rose, as she extended her hand to shake his. He took her hand, bent down and kissed the back of her hand. He straightened up and smiled at her. Before anyone could say anything, the door opened, and in came Kingsley, Percy, Cho, Hermione, Viktor, and Gabrielle. "Congratulations, champions," said Kingsley with a smile. "I know you want to get back to your school mates and celebrate your selection, so I am going to turn the proceedings over to Miss Chang rather than make some long speech." He smiled. "I’m sure you all appreciate that." Kingsley nodded to Cho, who stepped forward. Rose noticed, her mother had stopped just inside the door, and the color had not returned to her face. Her expression was blank, and it made Rose feel terrible to see her like that. "Congratulations again, champions," said Cho with a smile. "Now, two nights from now, we will have the Weighing of the Wands ceremony. At that ceremony, you will designate your partners for the competition, or choose to stand alone. The first task will not take place until mid November. Twentyfour hours before the event we will meet with yourselves and your partners and inform you of the coming task. The specific rules for each task vary, so you will receive them at that time. You will be judged by, Mr. Shackelbolt, Mr. Weasley, myself, as well as your school heads." "I will not be judging," said Hermione breaking herself out of the fog that had settled over her after calling Rose’s name. Ginny had even had to dismiss the students in the Great Hall. Hermione couldn’t even speak to do it herself. "It would not be appropriate for me to be a judge under the circumstances." "I believe you will be completely impartial," said Viktor emphatically. "How do you feel about it Gabrielle?" "I agree," said Gabrielle. "I have no objection to your judging." "Thank you, but I would prefer not to judge," said Hermione. "I have the utmost confidence in the five of you to fairly judge the competition." "Very well, that is your choice," said Cho. "Champions, that is all for now, except I should warn you, the Press has been barred from these events. However, if you leave the castle, be prepared to be hounded by reporters. Goodnight, and congratulations again." "I will order Aurors to Hogsmeade this weekend," said Kingsley. "They will have orders to keep the Press from bothering any of you." Everyone started to file out of the room, except Rose, Hermione, and Percy. Percy went over and took Rose’s hand. "Congratulations, Rose," said Percy. He kissed her on the cheek. "I’m sure you’ll make the family proud." "Thank you, Uncle Percy," said Rose. Percy turned, and nodded to Hermione as he passed her, leaving Rose and Hermione alone. Hermione walked towards Rose. "Look Mum," said Rose, preparing for an argument, but the argument didn’t come. Hermione pulled Rose into a hug, so tight, Rose couldn’t breathe. Hermione just held Rose for several moments. Rose hugged her mother back.
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harrypotterfanfiction.com :: 65,000 Ha… "I love you, Rose," whispered Hermione after a few long moments.

"I love you too, Mum," said Rose, as they broke apart. "It’s all right." Hermione took her daughter’s face in her hands. "You entered after you argued with your father on Sunday, didn’t you?" asked Hermione, already knowing the answer. "Yes," said Rose with a sigh. "That wasn’t why I did it, though. I intend to represent Hogwarts with distinction and honor, and win the Triwizard Tournament." That was not entirely true, and Rose was sure her mother knew it. Hermione had so many competing thoughts running through her mind. She was terrified for Rose, but at the same time she was proud of her. Hermione could see the fear behind her daughter’s eyes, but also heard the courage of a true Gryffindor in her convictions to compete. "I know you will," said Hermione. "Please promise me you will be careful." "I will," said Rose. "Will Al be your partner?" asked Hermione. "No, I plan to stand alone," said Rose softly. "I did this myself, I didn’t tell anyone. I won’t pull anyone else into this with me." Hermione wanted to scream, but she knew it would do no good. She would leave this argument to Albus. She knew Albus would never stand for Rose facing this alone. "I need to get back to my room," said Hermione. "Your aunt and uncle were taking your Dad there. He is…not taking it very well. Stay here a moment, the whole school is out there waiting, and a small number of them want to come in and see you." Rose nodded. She knew who was waiting to come in. Hermione walked to the door and looked back for a moment, mustering a smile for her daughter. Rose noted the color still had not returned to her face. Hermione left and closed the door behind her. Rose took a breath she knew what was coming. A moment later the door opened, and Albus, Carly, James, Danny, Lily, and Hugo all came in. They all had blank looks on their faces. "Why, Rose?" asked Albus an expression of utter disbelief on his face. Rose saw that Danny stayed to the back of the group with an unreadable expression on his face. He was quite pale, like her parents, and she thought he was shaking slightly. "I wanted to be the Hogwarts Champion and represent the school," said Rose emphatically. "I can win this tournament, and I plan to." "You mean we," said Albus pointedly. "I’m not letting you do this alone, Rose." Carly swallowed. She felt terrible, but this was the first thought she had when Rose’s name was called. She knew Albus was going to do this, and it scared her terribly. "No," said Rose softly. "I chose this…and I will stand alone." "Like hell you will," said Albus angrily. "Carly, Lily, Hugo, why don’t we get out of here, and leave them alone," said James.
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harrypotterfanfiction.com :: 65,000 Ha… They nodded their agreement, and each gave Rose a hug before they left. Just before James left he stopped. "I almost forgot," said James. James reached into a pocket of his robes, and pulled out a cloak. "Here, use this, it’s my Dad’s Invisibility Cloak. I went and got it when I realized the students would be staying out there ready to congratulate you, and I didn’t think you would be up for that." James tossed the cloak to Rose who set it on a chair.

"Thanks, James," said Rose gratefully. "I appreciate it." "James, why don’t you all meet us in my dorm room in twenty minutes," said Albus. James nodded, and left the room. When the door closed, only Rose, Albus, and Danny remained. The tension in the room hung in the air like fog. "I am not letting you do this alone, Rose," said Albus forcefully. "Well, it’s not up to you, Al," said Rose. "This is my decision." "Rose, you have been my best friend since I was old enough to know what a friend was," said Albus, the anger in his voice was gone, replaced by desperate concern. "You are like a sister to me. I will not let you face this alone. I can’t do it." "I am already putting my parents through hell," said Rose slowly, now having said it aloud for the first time. "I won’t put your parents through it as well." Albus stared at her a moment. "You have two days to come to your senses, Rose," said Albus sternly. "We’ll be waiting for you in my dorm. Use the cloak, things are crazy out there." Albus turned and left without another word. Rose knew his anger was only because he cared. She had to try and convince Albus that this was the right thing for her to do. First though, she had someone else she had to talk to. Danny slowly walked to Rose, and stopped just in front of her. Rose was looking at the floor. She didn’t want to see the fear she was sure was in Danny’s eyes. Danny reached up and gently lifted her chin so they were looking into each other’s eyes. "Let’s leave Rose," said Danny bluntly. "We can leave, change our names, and move far away. I don’t want you to do this." Rose knew he meant it. "Don’t be silly, Danny," said Rose with a laugh, trying to lighten the mood. The laugh quickly left her. The fear in his eyes and voice was clear. "I’m not being silly, Rose," said Danny fearfully. "People have died during the tournament. I won’t lose you Rose." Rose took Danny’s face in her hands. "I love you, Danny, and I promise you, I’ll be fine," said Rose reassuringly. "I’m a…pretty good witch." Rose smiled as she finished. "You are an incredibly powerful witch," said Danny. "No sane person would ever question your abilities and skills. This isn’t about that. I love you Rose. I’m afraid for you." "I love you too, Danny," said Rose softly. She slid her arms around his neck and she kissed him deeply for several moments. Danny put his arms around her and held her as they kissed, not wanting to let go. He would have apparated far away at that moment if he could. He would have given up his family and friends, only Rose mattered.
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harrypotterfanfiction.com :: 65,000 Ha… "Will you please do something for me, Rose?" asked Danny in defeat.

"What is it?" asked Rose softly. "Let Al be your partner," said Danny, nearly pleading. "I’ll feel better if you can look out for each other. Besides, you will have a better chance to win together." "No," said Rose shaking her head. "I need to do this myself, and I won’t put Carly and Al’s parents through it. I feel awful enough putting your and my parents through this." Danny closed his eyes for a moment. He hoped when he opened them this would all be a bad dream. No such luck. "All right," said Danny softly. He would do anything if she would reconsider. "Aren’t you scared, Rose?" "Yes. You know Danny, this might be the stupidest thing I’ve ever done in my life," said Rose with a chuckle. "So far," said Danny with a smile. He was just barely holding it together, but he knew he had to be strong for Rose. Rose laughed. "Thanks, Danny," said Rose with a smile. "You can always make me laugh when I need it most." "Now, get the cloak, and let’s get to Al’s dorm," said Danny. "You don’t want to face the mob out there. You are a celebrity now." ~ In Ron and Hermione’s quarters, Ginny and Harry were trying with little success to calm a hysterical Ron. Stunning was fast becoming an option. "What have I done?" asked Ron for the hundredth time. He was seated on a couch, and Ginny had her arms around her brother, trying to calm him down. He was shaking and as pale as a ghost. "My daughter is going to have to face a dragon because I’m a dung brained prat," said Ron hoarsely. "A dragon! A bloody dragon!" "She’ll be fine Ron, she’s strong and a powerful witch," said Harry, though inside he was as afraid as Ron was. Ron had witnessed what Harry faced in the tournament, but Harry had experienced it. Ron could never really understand what it was like. "Oh my God," said Ron, his voice even more pained. "I just realized, Al will be her partner, won’t he? I’ve done this to him too. I’m so sorry." The same thing had already occurred to Harry and Ginny, and they were trying to remain calm and having more success than Ron, though not much more. "I’m so sorry," said Ron again to Harry and Ginny, as he buried his face in his hands. They didn’t notice the door open and Hermione come in. "They will be fine," said Ginny with far more conviction than she felt. "She says she is going to stand alone," said Hermione softly, as Harry turned towards her. "She will not select a partner." "She can’t be serious," said Harry in disbelief. "Knowing Rose’s stubbornness it really wasn’t so hard to
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believe she would do that." "I didn’t argue with her," said Hermione with a sigh. "We all know Al. He is going to fight her on that tooth and nail. I didn’t think there was a point in my fighting her too." Ron stood from the couch and walked to Hermione, putting his hands on her shoulders and looking into her eyes. "I am so sorry, Hermione," croaked Ron with tears in his eyes. "I never thought something like this could happen. I opened my mouth at dinner, and I wasn’t thinking. This might be the stupidest thing I’ve ever done. I just should have kept my mouth shut. I am the world’s biggest idiot." "Yes," said Hermione softy, as she put her arms around him and hugged him tightly. "You are the world’s biggest idiot…but you’re my idiot." Harry nodded towards the door, and Ginny got up from the couch and followed him. They didn’t speak until they were in their bedroom. Ginny put her arms around Harry and buried her face in his shirt. "Al’s going to be Rose’s partner isn’t he?" asked Ginny already knowing the answer. "Even if he has to Imperius Rose to do it," said Harry. "He would never let her go through this alone, not in a million years. He will find a way to convince her." "I’m scared, Harry," said Ginny. "I’ve only ever been this scared that day in the Chamber of Secrets with Albus, and well, all the times you were in danger." "I know," said Harry comfortingly. "But remember, it’s just a tournament. She wasn’t forced into it, and they have made efforts to make it safer. They are much better prepared than I was. They’ll be all right, I’m sure of it." Harry knew he had to be strong for Ginny. Inside he wanted to scream, but he had to hold it together for her. He could only imagine what was going through Carly’s mind. He knew he could do nothing but watch and pray. He hoped that would be enough. ~ In Albus’s dorm room, he sat on the edge of his bed with Carly next to him. She had her arms around him in a death grip. She knew very well what was going to happen. On another bed that had been James’ for seven years, Lily sat cross-legged. James sat beside her with her arm around her. Hugo sat on the edge of another bed. They were waiting for Danny and Rose in silence. There silent vigil continued for several more minutes, until the door finally creaked open. Danny came in alone, but when he closed the door, Rose swung off her uncle’s Invisibility Cloak. She handed it to James. "Thanks, James," said Rose. "Every Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, and Ravenclaw, and I think a few Slytherins were waiting to congratulate me." Albus was in no mood for small talk. "Rose, are you going to let me be your partner?" asked Albus flatly. "No," said Rose, looking toward Danny who had taken a seat beside Hugo. "I have thought about it, and this was my decision, and I will represent Hogwarts. I am going to stand alone." Albus was trying to remain calm, but it wasn’t really anger he was feeling. He would have had a better chance of containing anger. What he was feeling was fear. He had only been this afraid for a person one other time. That was when Voldemort was going to kill Carly in the Chamber of Secrets. He was just as scared now as he was then. As calmly as he could, Albus stood from the bed and took a moment to collect his thoughts. "Rose, I
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harrypotterfanfiction.com :: 65,000 Ha… can’t make you pick me as your partner," said Albus. "If I could make you, I would without any hesitation. I want you to think about something very carefully. How do you think everyone in this room will feel, how will your parents, my parents, Sirius, Neville, and all our other relatives feel if something happens to you in the tournament?"

The words hung in the air, so thick, none of them could breathe. Albus’s implication was clear. Carly was sitting on the bed behind where Albus stood, and Albus could swear he could hear her heart beating from three feet away. Rose just stared blankly at him. He could see the fear in her eyes, yet the tone of her voice had betrayed none of it. "This tournament is not a game, Rose," said Albus as tears were beginning to fill his eyes, he could not contain his fear any longer. "People die in this tournament, Rose. You know the story. The first task is a dragon, Rose. Ask yourself how everyone will feel if you die, Rose. How do you think I’ll feel if you die and I might have been able to prevent it?" Albus now had tears running down his cheeks and he was breathing heavily. "You are my best friend, Rose. I love you. I won’t be able to live with myself if anything happens to you and I could have prevented it." Albus couldn’t breathe, and he couldn’t stand there another minute. He walked right past her without another word and left the dorm. By the time he got to the hall he was running. He didn’t stop until he was at the top of the Astronomy Tower. Albus looked out over the darkened Hogwarts grounds. His family was everything to him. He couldn’t imagine losing any of them. He had been willing to die to protect them first year. He couldn’t live with himself if something happened to Rose. Albus knew how upset Carly had to be, how torn she must be. Carly was nearly as close to Rose as he was, but to help Rose, he would be putting himself in harm’s way. Albus knew what that was going to do to Carly, but he didn’t have a choice. Albus had never been so torn, yet he knew what the right thing to do was. "Do you want to talk about it?" asked a voice from behind him. "No, Sirius, I don’t," said Albus as he tried to dry the tears from his cheeks. "How did you find me anyway?" "I am ‘The Counsel’ after all, I know where those who need to talk are," said Sirius in an overly dramatic voice. Albus turned around and looked at him for a moment. "In other words, you have my Dad’s map," said Albus shaking his head. Sirius took his hand from behind his back and held up the parchment Albus knew to be the Marauders’ Map. "Guilty as charged," said Sirius with a laugh. "Though, honestly, it was my and your grandfather’s map first." Sirius paused. "I thought you might want to talk." "No, Sirius, unless you can talk some sense into Rose, there is nothing you can say to help me," said Albus bluntly. Albus turned away and leaned heavily on the windowsill. Sirius walked up beside him and sat against the windowsill beside him. "No luck convincing her then?" asked Sirius. "None," said Albus. "She’s stubborn. She might be the most stubborn person I’ve met in my entire life." "Seems to be a trait of the Potters and Weasleys," said Sirius with a laugh. "No argument here," said Albus with a sigh. Albus took a deep breath and let it out slowly. "What am I going to do if she doesn’t come to her senses? How can I stand by while she faces a dragon and who
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knows what else?" "You mean like the rest of us are going to have to?" asked Sirius. "You aren’t the only one who loves Rose, we all do." "But I’m the only one who can help her," said Albus. "None of you can compete." "All right," said Sirius with a nod. "I’ll grant you that. Imagine how Danny feels." "I already know how Danny feels, because Carly is going to feel the same way if I compete with Rose," said Albus. "That kills me, but it doesn’t change anything, and I know Carly understands that, just like Danny does." Sirius sighed. "You know it’s easier to help your brother and father, they aren’t quite so logical," said Sirius in exasperation. "Yeah, well, sorry. I could be hysterical if it would make your job easier," said Albus with a mirthless laugh. Sirius laughed. "All right," said Sirius. "Just think about one thing for me. I agree, most likely, the best thing is for Rose to select you as her partner. You are safer together than she is alone. But what do you think it would be like for her, if she does that…and something happens to you. She doesn’t want you in danger, just like you don’t want her in danger. Think about that one for a while." Sirius left Albus alone. Albus stood there for a long time looking out over the darkened grounds of Hogwarts. The moon was barely visible, and provided little light. Albus had to admit, he had not thought about that possibility. What if they both competed and something happened to him? It would devastate Rose, knowing she had selected him to compete with her. Albus was a lot surer of what was best before he spoke to Sirius. In any event, it was out of his hands. All he could do was hope Rose made the right decision. Chapter 17: Chapter 17 - Weighing All the Options [View Online] [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter] Chapter 17 – Weighing All the Options Neville walked slowly down the hallway toward the Great Hall for breakfast. He hadn’t slept much the previous night. He was sure none of the Potters and Weasleys had either. Last night’s selection of Rose, as a Triwizard Champion, was a shock to say the least. It wasn’t that she couldn’t handle it. Neville knew she would be a great champion Hogwarts would be proud of. They just never expected her to enter, and they were afraid for her. Neville arrived at the Great Hall. It was early, and most people were still asleep. Only a few dozen students were sitting at their house tables eating breakfast, and doing homework. Neville took his seat at the teacher’s table, and a moment later, breakfast appeared before him. As he spooned some eggs onto his plate, he heard someone walk up and pull out the chair next to him. "Good morning, Neville," said a voice in a mild French accent. He could hear Gabrielle’s smile in her voice. Neville couldn’t help but smile as he looked to his left to see Gabrielle sitting down beside him. "Good morning," said Neville cheerfully. Neville momentarily forgot about Rose’s selection, as he looked at the woman seated next to him. They had spent so much time talking during the last three days, he felt like he had known her forever. He was very much smitten with the Beauxbatons Deputy Headmistress. He had never felt like this about anyone before.
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"You must be very proud," said Gabrielle. "You have told me how close you are to the Weasleys. I’m sure Rose will be a great champion." This brought Neville’s momentary joy at seeing Gabrielle to a halt. "I think she will be, and I am very proud of her," said Neville. "I’m just worried about her. I have never forgotten the last tournament at Hogwarts. I wasn’t sure Harry was going to survive it. Poor Cedric Digory didn’t." "I’m sorry," said Gabrielle sweetly. "But I am sure Rose will be all right. Do you know who she is choosing as her partner?" Neville had bumped into Sirius last night. Sirius had filled him in on all he knew. "Well, as of now, Rose plans to stand alone," said Neville. "Oh," said Gabrielle. "Why?" "I’m not sure, but that’s what she says," said Neville with a shrug. "Harry’s son Al is trying to talk her into selecting him. They are best friends and he doesn’t want her to stand alone." Neville just stared at his plate for a moment. He was really worried about both of them. Suddenly, Gabrielle leaned over and kissed his cheek. Neville turned to her and stared at her with a mildly shocked look on his face. She had just kissed him. It took a moment to sink in. "You looked like you needed that," Gabrielle said with a warm smile. For a moment he gazed into her chocolate brown eyes. "Thanks," said Neville with a grin on his face that he just couldn’t hide. "I did." They ate breakfast, chatting about some exotic plants they had each encountered. He loved just talking to Gabrielle, it didn’t matter the subject. Finally, Neville summoned all of his Gryffindor courage to do what he had been trying to for the past two days. "Gabrielle, this weekend is a Hogsmeade weekend," said Neville. "The third year and above students are allowed to go into Hogsmeade, and a lot of the teachers take the opportunity to go themselves. I was planning to go shopping and have lunch on Saturday. Would you like to join me?" Neville was very calm on the outside, but as he finished, his insides were quaking. He was sure she would say no. Why would anyone want to go out with him? "Neville," said Gabrielle in a mock surprised tone. "Would you be asking me to go out on a date with you?" Neville’s courage suddenly evaporated faster than a snitch flied down the pitch. "Um…well…I mean… uh," stammered Neville stupidly. Gabrielle laughed. "You are very, very cute when you get flustered," said Gabrielle with a smile. "I would love to, Neville. Why don’t we meet here for breakfast at eight o’clock and then we can go." She was smiling from ear to ear. "That sounds wonderful," said Neville with a smile. Neville didn’t notice, but just then, Ginny and Hermione entered the Great Hall through the main doors. He might have noticed, but his heart was doing somersaults in his chest. "I must go," said Gabrielle, "I have a meeting to attend." She stood up and leaned down and kissed Neville’s cheek, lingering for just a moment. Neville turned to her, "What was that one for?" asked Neville with a smile. "Did you think I needed another?"
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harrypotterfanfiction.com :: 65,000 Ha… "No, not at all," said Gabrielle. "That one was just because I wanted to." Gabrielle smiled, and then winked before she walked away.

Gabrielle passed Ginny and Hermione as they walked toward the teacher’s table, exchanging ‘good mornings’. Ginny and Hermione walked right up to the table in front of Neville. Neville had been finishing his breakfast and hadn’t noticed them, but did now as they stood in front of him. He looked up. "Good morning," said Neville. They both stared at him for a moment. Both were smiling. "Is there anything you would like to tell us?" asked Hermione. Then Ginny chimed in. "By ‘would like to tell us’, Hermione means, spill it," said Ginny. ~ Ginny was sitting in her office going over some paperwork. She had just come from having breakfast and getting the news Neville was going on a date. She was so happy for him to have a date. She had no idea if it would lead anywhere of course, but just for him to go on a date was enough. If not for her worry about Rose and Albus, she would have been in a very good mood. A good nights sleep had given her a little more perspective on the competition, as it had for Harry and Hermione. It was dangerous, but Rose was a very powerful witch, and if Albus did compete, he was a very powerful wizard. They would be all right. Ron was still a mess though because he blamed himself for all of it, and it was hard to argue with that. As Ginny continued her work, she heard a knock at the door. "Come in," called Ginny. The door opened, and Carly walked into the room closing the door behind her. "Hi, Mum," said Carly softly. Carly had her arms wrapped around herself as if she was cold, but it was quiet warm in the office with the fire going. "Hi," said Ginny. She could tell by the look on Carly’s face something was wrong. "What’s wrong, Carly?" "I’m a terrible, awful person," said Carly with a sniffle. "I’m truly rotten." "Well, I know that isn’t true," said Ginny sweetly. "Why don’t we have a seat and you can tell me what’s wrong." Ginny got up from her desk and sat down on the couch. Carly joined her, sitting right next to her as if she was afraid not to be near her. Ginny could see that Carly eyes were red from crying, and she was shaking. Ginny didn’t wait for her to say anything. She conjured a blanket and wrapped it around her. Ginny pulled Carly into a hug and held her for a moment. "What is it?" "I just…I don’t want Al to be Rose’s partner for the tournament," said Carly in a strangled whisper. "That’s terrible of me. I love Rose like a sister, but I’m so afraid for Al." Carly began to cry, as Ginny was sure she had probably done all night. "It’s all right," Ginny cooed in her ear. "That doesn’t make you a terrible person. It makes you human. I don’t want Al to compete either, but I know if it is at all possible for him to convince Rose he will, and it’s probably the best thing for both of them." "I don’t know how I can watch Al compete," sniffled Carly. "I can barely watch him play quidditch without holding my breath. I’m scared to death at the thought of him competing. How did you watch Dad compete?"
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harrypotterfanfiction.com :: 65,000 Ha… Ginny was hoping Carly wouldn’t ask that question. Ginny had never talked to anyone, not even Harry about what that year was like for her. Even though she knew Harry just thought of her as Ron’s little sister back then, she still had a crush on him as she had since before her first year even started. It wasn’t until her fourth year, Harry’s fifth that she really tried to move on, thinking he would never notice her. During the tournament, she was still very hopeful that one day Harry would see how she felt and would feel the same way about her.

Ginny thought back to those days. She was always so strong on the outside. Everyone thought she wasn’t prone to crying like a lot of girls. She was just a lot better at hiding it. On the inside, she was never really as strong as she seemed. That year Harry competed, was one of the most difficult of her life. It was even worse than first year with Riddle’s diary. When she found out the first task was a dragon, she cried herself to sleep every night until the first task was complete. She was sure Harry would be eaten by the dragon or burned to nothing. Then when Harry was all right when the task was over, she cried herself to sleep for days afterward. They were tears of joy that he was all right. As the second task approached she did the same, she was sure he would drown in the lake or be eaten by the giant squid, but again Harry was all right, and she cried tears of joy. Then as the third task approached, she thought, how bad could a maze be? There was nothing more to worry about. She never told a soul that for months after Cedric’s death, she would wake up having seen Harry and Cedric arrive via the cup portkey. But in her nightmares, it was always Harry who was dead. Ginny had suffered silently. There was no point in doing otherwise. Harry didn’t have feelings for her and she didn’t want to appear weak. She felt this was a story Carly needed to hear. "Carly, I am going to tell you what that year was like for me," said Ginny. "But you have to promise it is just between us. I’ve never told anyone what that year was like for me…not even your Dad." Carly nodded. Ginny told her the story. Her terror when Harry was named a champion, and how she felt as the tasks approached and as she watched them, and her nightmares after the last task. "Carly, it was harder for me because your Dad didn’t notice me then," said Ginny. "He didn’t love me at least not like he loves me now. I didn’t have him to put his arms around me and tell me everything would be all right. You have Al." Carly slid a finger over her engagement ring tracing the edges. She did have Al. "But Mum, what about Rose," said Carly. "I feel so guilty not wanting Al to compete with her." "I know," said Ginny. "I do too, but you can’t feel bad because you don’t want to see someone you love get hurt." They sat for a while longer talking. Ginny tried to ease Carly’s fears, but she knew, her fears would be there as long as Albus and Rose were in danger. Ginny shared them. ~ In the Headmistress’s office, Hermione was meeting with Cho, Gabrielle, and Viktor about the Weighing of the Wands ceremony. Hermione was only half paying attention. The ceremony was largely a formality. The only item of importance was the selection of partners. Hermione was not looking forward to that. "Well, that about does it," said Cho. "We seem to be all set for tomorrow night’s ceremony." Cho stood, and thanked the three of them and made her way out of the office. Hermione could have sworn Cho smiled at Viktor, and he smiled back before she left, but Hermione was only half paying attention.
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"I must run," said Gabrielle. "I need to go into Hogsmeade." "Oh," said Hermione curiously. "I thought I heard you were going this weekend." "Yes," said Gabrielle with a smile, "Neville has invited me. However, I was not planning to go on a date while I was here. I didn’t really bring anything to wear for a date." Hermione nodded and Gabrielle said goodbye to Viktor and left. "So, Hermione, we haven’t had any time to talk," said Viktor. "How are things?" "I love being Hogwarts Headmistress," said Hermione with a smile. "I never thought I would enjoy it this much, but I do." "I know what you mean," said Viktor. Viktor could tell Hermione was distracted. "Are you worried about your daughter?" "Terribly," said Hermione with a sigh. "I know she is a gifted witch, and she will be fine. I just wish she would reconsider and not stand alone." "Stefan has already selected his twin brother as his partner," said Viktor. "I am sure Rose will make the right decision. Do not worry. She is smart and strong…just like her mother." "Thank you, Viktor," said Hermione with a half smile. Something she had been meaning to ask him occurred to her. "Viktor, can I ask you a personal question?" "Of course," said Viktor. "Why have you never married?" asked Hermione. Viktor was silent a moment. "I have never found the right woman," said Viktor. "I have a hard time believing that," said Hermione raising an eyebrow. "After all, you are…" "An international quidditch player…yes, I know," said Viktor with a laugh. "I thought I might have found her once, but unfortunately…she already loved another." A wink and another laugh told Hermione whom he meant. "I really need to be going. Believe it or not, I have to go to Hogsmeade. Gabrielle is not the only one to have a date this weekend and I need to pick up a couple of things myself." They both laughed, then Viktor stood, bowed to her, and then left the office. Viktor has a date, Hermione thought. She remembered the smile she thought passed between Viktor and Cho. "Well, I’ll be," said Hermione in surprise, out loud to her empty office. "I didn’t see that coming." ~ Just before midnight that night, the night before the Weighing of the Wands ceremony, Rose was sitting on the couch in the Gryffindor Common Room. She was alone. She wished Danny was there, but he had to go home for the night to see his father about something. He didn’t say what. He would be back tomorrow though, and Rose looked forward to his return. As Rose stared into the fire, she weighed her options. She could stand alone, and face whatever was to come alone. Since she had brought this all on herself that was really the right thing to do. On the other hand, she could ask her best friend in the world to put himself in mortal danger for her. She did not want to admit it, but she was afraid. She would have had to be a fool not to be afraid, and if there was one thing Rose was not, it was a fool. She kept asking herself if she was more afraid of
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harrypotterfanfiction.com :: 65,000 Ha… facing it alone, or of Albus getting hurt because she let him compete with her. That was no contest. She couldn’t put Albus in danger.

What was it that really brought her to this point, Rose wondered? It wasn’t just her father treating her like a little girl. Rose could pretend it was all she wanted, but that wasn’t it, not all of it anyway. It was her need to prove to everyone she wasn’t a little girl anymore. If everyone else saw her as a strong, brilliant witch, as was claimed, why was it then that she always felt they doubted her? Did they really doubt her, or did she doubt herself, Rose wondered? She thought back to first year. The first thing she did at Hogwarts was think she couldn’t live up to her mother’s academic achievements, achievements she had since matched and surpassed. As she sat, staring into the fire, she didn’t realize anyone had come into the room, until someone dropped down into the seat next to her. "Hi, Al," said Rose. She didn’t even have to turn to know it was Albus. "Hi, Rose," said Albus. "Look, Rose, I wanted to apologize." "What do you have to apologize for?" asked Rose turning towards him. Albus was staring into the fire. "I was out of line last night," said Albus softly. "What I said about your not thinking about the rest of us. I’m sorry. That wasn’t fair." "Don’t be sorry, Al," said Rose. "You are right. I wasn’t thinking about anyone but myself. It wasn’t until I saw my mother’s face when she read my name that I realized how selfish I was. I’m the one that should be sorry." Albus put his arm around her shoulders. "I want you to know something, Rose," said Albus. "I want to be your partner for the tournament. I know you don’t need me. You don’t need anyone’s help to do anything. I want to do it. I want to compete so we can win." "Even if I believed that, Al…and I don’t…I can’t," said Rose shaking her head. "I can’t put you in danger because of something I decided to do. I am sure the Durmstrang and Beauxbatons champions already had their partners selected before they put their names in the Goblet of Fire. I have no right to let you do this now." Rose paused. "I wish I could believe that you really thought I didn’t need anyone’s help to do this." "Rose, you can do anything." said Albus emphatically. "I know it…we all know it." "I wish I believed that you felt that way," said Rose. "I’m not sure anyone thinks I can." Albus knew Rose never let on to anyone that she wasn’t quite as confident in herself as everyone thought she was. "You know Rose, we are all worried about you, but we all know you can do this," said Albus. "Well, I will be standing alone, so I guess we’ll find out if I can do it or not," said Rose softly. Albus sighed. "All right Rose," said Albus dejectedly. "If you truly want to do this yourself, then fine. I can’t make you select a partner. But if you aren’t picking me because you don’t want me to get hurt, then you are being foolish. I’ll be hurt far worse if anything happens to you than if I compete and get hurt myself. Please don’t be selfish again." Without another word, Albus got up from the couch and headed to bed. Was Albus right, Rose wondered? Was she being just as selfish by not selecting a partner as she was by putting her name in the Goblet of Fire to begin with? Should she select Albus, and put him in danger
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harrypotterfanfiction.com :: 65,000 Ha… too? She would feel so much better with Albus at her side in this. She couldn’t deny that, no mater how hard she tried.

As Rose continued to ponder her options, she heard the portrait swing open. She didn’t really care who was coming in and didn’t look. "Rose," said a familiar voice. "What is it, Dad?" asked Rose softly. They were the first words she spoke to him since family dinner on Sunday, not that she had spoken to him much at all since the night before they returned to Hogwarts. She really wasn’t interested in another argument. "Could I speak to you?" asked Ron. "Please." He sounded so dejected. "I guess so," said Rose absently. She was expecting an argument, and was braced for his usual attitude towards her. She didn’t notice the pained look in his eyes, or that they were red from crying. Ron went over and sat down on the couch next to Rose. He didn’t sit too close to her, though all he wanted to do was hold his little girl in his arms. His little girl, Ron thought. That’s what caused this mess to begin with. She wasn’t his little girl anymore. He had to accept that. "Rose, I have some things I need to say," said Ron softly. He had to remind himself not to call her Rosie as he had since the day she was born. "I’m so sorry, Rose. I never meant to push you into this." He paused. "I remember the day you were born…I was a complete wreck. Your uncle almost had to stun me to calm me down." Rose chuckled. She couldn’t help it. Her uncle had told the story many times. "The first time I saw you, I vowed that I would always protect you and keep you safe," said Ron. "Ever since you were born, you were always my little girl." Ron smiled. "I remember all those times you were afraid of thunderstorms. You would sit on my lap by the fire in the living room and hold on to me for dear life. When the storm was over and you finally fell asleep, I would carry you to your room and tuck you in. I know you’re still just as afraid of storms, but you don’t need me to hold you anymore." Ron paused. "When it was getting close to your time to go to Hogwarts, I wasn’t sure how I was going to let you go. When your mother was offered the Headmistress position I was so happy I wouldn’t have to let you go. It would have been better if I had stayed in the regular Auror Department…but I didn’t. If I had, maybe I wouldn’t have been so blind to your growing up. Somewhere along the way, I should have realized you just didn’t need my protection anymore. You don’t need anyone’s protection. Rose, you are a strong, brilliant witch who can do anything you put your mind to. I want you to know that I do know that." Ron paused. "You stopped being my little girl a long time ago, and I never really noticed then. I am very, very proud of you, Rose, and I’m so very sorry I pushed you into this." Ron was still staring into the fire. He didn’t notice the tears in Rose’s eyes. Rose stood up from her seat, and sat in her father’s lap and put her arms around him, laying her head on his shoulder. He put his arms around her. "Dad," said Rose. "Yes," said Ron. "If you want…it’s all right for you to call me Rosie," said Rose with a smile. Ron smiled and kissed her forehead. "I love you, Rosie," said Ron. "I love you too, Dad," said Rose. "I want you to know. It wasn’t just because of what you said at dinner that I entered the tournament. I want to prove to everyone I can do this. I’m not sure anyone
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really believes that." "Just please be careful," said Ron softly. "Let Al be your partner." "No, Dad," said Rose flatly. ‘I am scared, but I can’t put Al in danger to make it easier on myself. I can’t do that." Ron sighed. He promised himself that he wouldn’t argue with her. "It’s your decision, Rosie," said Ron. "Just make sure you’ve made the right one…and that you’ve made it for the right reasons." ~ Down by the lake, two people were walking in the moonlight hand in hand. "Are you all right, James?" asked Lucy. "You seem very quiet tonight." "I’m worried about Rose," said James softly. "And I’m worried about Al. I’m not sure whether it would be worse for him to compete with her or for her to compete alone." Lucy stopped walking, and pulled him toward her. He was much taller, and when she put her arms around him, the top of her head was just under his chin. She laid her head against his chest. "I know you’re worried, but I’m sure they’ll be fine," said Lucy. James put his arms around her. It felt so good to hold her. Having her close was comforting. "I wish I was so sure," said James softly. "It’s just…I can’t protect him." "I think it’s sweet that you want to protect your little brother," said Lucy with a laugh. "I don’t think he needs it though. The way I hear it, everyone thought he should have been the Hogwarts champion to begin with, but he didn’t enter." James knew he had to tell her. "Lucy, do you remember what happened at the beginning of May during Al’s first year?" asked James. "Yeah," said Lucy curiously. "He was in the hospital wing for weeks. No one ever knew why though. What happened, James?" She pulled back a little and looked up into his eyes. James swallowed hard. "If I tell you something, do you swear, on my life, you will not repeat it to anyone?" asked James. "Of course, James," said Lucy, tightening her arms around him a little bit. Something in his tone scared her. "You can tell me anything." "Has the French Ministry of Magic received any alerts to watch for Dark Magic," said James. "Specifically, to look for Death Eaters who might be following Voldemort?" Lucy looked at his in confusion. "Yes," said Lucy with a nod. "Everyone thought it was just precautionary. Everyone knows your father defeated him a long time ago." "He did," said James. "Albus’s first year…Voldemort came back from the dead." James told her the whole story, the memory, the list, the Resurrection Stone, the book, everything that happened in the Chamber of Secrets, and everything that happened in the past few months. He had to tell her. He couldn’t not with what else he had to say tonight. "James, I had no idea," said Lucy with concern in her voice. She was holding him so tight now he could barely breathe. "Why are you telling me all this? I’m glad you did, it explains so much…but why now?"
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James looked up into the stars for a moment and took a deep breath. He let it out slowly, and looked back down into her beautiful pale green eyes. "Because, Lucy…I’ve fallen in love with you," said James. "I fell in love with you a long time ago. I denied that to myself for so long. I don’t know what I will do when you return home at the end of the school year, but I had to tell you how I feel. You needed to know everything first." "James, do you know how long I’ve wanted to hear you say that?" asked Lucy. She had tears glistening in her eyes. "We’ll figure something out. I love you too. Nothing else matters." James leaned down and kissed her. James had so many reasons to see Voldemort stopped once and for all. Now he had one more. Chapter 18: Chapter 18 - What She Knew She Had To Do [View Online] [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter] Chapter 18 – What She Knew She Had To Do After dinner on November second, the Great Hall was emptied so that it could be prepared for the Weighing of the Wands Ceremony. The room had been completely reconfigured. The long house tables were gone as was the teacher’s table. Where the teacher’s table normally sat, were three rows of chairs facing the hall. There were enough chairs for all of those who normally ate at the teacher’s table including the officials from the Ministry, and teachers from Durmstrang, Beauxbatons, as well as some other invited guests. In front of them were eleven chairs set in three groups of three and a group of two at the far right. Each group of chairs had a golden cloth barrier placed in front of them, noting that they were the most important seats in the hall. In place of the house tables were rows of seats for the students. The enchanted ceiling showed a starry night sky. The teachers and students’ seating was beginning to fill up, but there were enough seats for everyone. Albus, Carly, Lily, and Hugo were seated in the first row with Albus on the aisle, having been the first to line up in front of the doors to the Great Hall. Although Lily and Hugo had been chatting, Carly just held onto Albus’s right arm with a vice-like grip. No one was speaking to Albus, his face made it clear he didn’t want to talk. Carly could feel how fast his heart was beating. She knew he was worried about what Rose was going to do. Carly knew there was no decision that would not worry her. She was in a no win situation, so she was calm, having already accepted either outcome. She was glad she had spoken with her Mum. It made her feel better about it though her fears still remained. Although Albus was not speaking, he did place his left hand on top of hers on his arm. He was scared, and didn’t know how he would react if Rose chose to stand alone. In the teacher’s section, James was sitting with Lucy on one side holding his hand and a very nervous Danny on the other. "She’ll be fine, Danny," said James reassuringly. "I know Rose will do the right thing and select Al as her partner. It would be foolish not to." "I’m glad you are sure, James," said Danny slowly. "You do know Rose has been known to be a bit stubborn sometimes." "I can’t argue with that," said James with a sigh. A few seats away, Harry, Ginny, Ron, Neville, and Sirius were seated. Ginny had made Ron take a potion to keep him calm, though she was wishing she had brewed a stronger one. None of them were
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harrypotterfanfiction.com :: 65,000 Ha… speaking, they were all too nervous.

The doors to the Great Hall opened, and Cho Chang walked into the hall. As she did, the students, many of who were talking, quieted. Cho walked to the front of the hall and turned to face the students and begin the ceremony. "I would like to welcome everyone to the Triwizard Tournament, Weighing of the Wands Ceremony," said Cho. "I would like to begin the evening by introducing a very special guest who will conduct part of tonight’s ceremony. It is my pleasure to introduce someone who needs no introduction, one of the greatest wand makers in the world, Mr. Augustus Ollivander." Applause filled the Great Hall, as Mr. Ollivander made his way slowly down to where Cho stood. He was so much older than Harry remembered him from the last time he saw him when Albus had purchased his wand. Mr. Ollivander was walking slightly stooped over, and was leaning heavily on a cane. When he reached Cho, he bowed to her slightly, as he was already in a perpetual bow and turned toward the assembled students in the hall. "I am honored to conduct tonight’s Weighing of the Wands Ceremony," said Mr. Ollivander with a smile. He then took a seat on one of the two chairs together in front of the teachers’ section. "It is now my great pleasure to introduce from Durmstrang Institute, Deputy Headmaster Viktor Krum and Triwizard Champion Stefan Popov," said Cho. The applause was polite from the Hogwarts and Beauxbatons’ students, but very loud from the students from Durmstrang, as one would expect. Viktor Krum and Stefan Popov, wearing their red dress robes, made there way to the front of the Great Hall. Both bowed slightly to Cho and took two of the seats in the left most group of three chairs. A decision to go with dress robes rather than school robes had been made as this was considered a formal event. Cho waited a few moments for the applause to die down. "It is now my great pleasure, to introduce from Beauxbatons Academy, Deputy Headmistress Gabrielle Dubois and Triwizard Champion Sophie Leroy," said Cho. As one would expect, polite applause was heard from the Durmstrang and Hogwarts students as Gabrielle and Sophie Leroy made their way to the front of the Great Hall wearing their powder blue dress robes. They bowed slightly to Cho and took two of the seats in the middle group of three chairs. Outside in the hall, Hermione was standing with Rose, waiting to be introduced. They were dressed in red and gold dress robes, the colors of Gryffindor House. It had been a minor controversy, as some thought it was inappropriate for the Headmistress to wear the colors of Gryffindor House. However, the general consensus was that it was a sign of respect for the champion’s house. "Are you ready, Rose?" asked Hermione. "No," said Rose nervously. Twice she had turned to look at the main doors and considered making a break for it, but she kept telling herself she couldn’t do that, though at the moment she was having trouble coming up with a reason why. Hermione smiled and pulled Rose into a hug, which Rose returned. Hermione wanted to ask her if she was going to select Albus as her partner, but she didn’t. "You’ll do fine, Rose," said Hermione. "I am proud of you, and I love you." "I love you too, Mum," said Rose, holding onto her mother tightly. "I suppose they would notice if I didn’t go in there."
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"I think so," said Hermione with a chuckle. "I was afraid of that," said Rose with a sigh. Rose was as ready as she ever would be to go and do what she had decided to do. She was going to stand alone. They could hear Cho inside the Great Hall. "It is now my great pleasure, to introduce from Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, Headmistress Hermione Weasley and Triwizard Champion Rose Weasley," said Cho. The applause was deafening as Hermione and Rose entered the Great Hall, it was so thunderous, that the windows actually rattled in their frames. Rose couldn’t hear any of it though. All she could hear was the pounding of her own heart, which threatened to burst from her chest at any moment. When they reached the front of the Great Hall they bowed to Cho, and took seats in the remaining group of three chairs. Rose looked up to realize Albus was seated directly in front of her in the first row on the aisle. His jaw was set and his expression blank, except for his eyes. His piercing emerald eyes were pleading with her. They were begging her to select him as her partner. He stared, nearly unblinking at her. His stare pierced her soul. No. She made her decision, and it was the only one she could make. She could not put Albus in danger. She would not do that to him. Instead she would tear his heart out by not selecting him. She just wanted to crawl into a hole and never come out. "We will begin with the selection of the Triwizard Champion’s partners," said Cho. "Mr. Popov, if you please." Cho stood aside, and Stefan Popov walked to the front of the Great Hall. "I select as my partner for the Triwizard Tournament, my brother, Anton Popov," said Stefan loudly. As expected, the Durmstrang students cheered, as Anton Popov made his way from his seat to the front of the Great Hall, greeting his brother with a brief hug, and then following him to the sit with Viktor. Rose hadn’t noticed that Stefan Popov had an identical twin brother among the Durmstrang students. Anton Popov of course, had no scar, but seeing them together, it was obvious that they were twins. "Miss Leroy, if you please," said Cho. As Sophie Leroy walked to the front of the Great Hall, Hermione took Rose’s hand, down below the golden cloth barrier so no one in front of them could see it. Rose held her mother’s hand tightly, like she did when she was small and afraid of something. At that moment, Rose felt like she was about five years old, and was tempted to leave her seat and seek the comfort of her father’s arms. "I select as my partner for the Triwizard Tournament, Danielle Girard," said Sophie with a smile. The Beauxbatons students cheered, while the rest of the students in the hall applauded politely. Danielle Girard was tall, thin, and very pretty with long black hair and blue eyes. She was much taller than Sophie Leroy. The two partners hugged briefly and took their seats next to Gabrielle. Roses heart was pounding so hard she thought for sure she would pass out. She just barely heard Cho say, "Miss Weasley, if you please." Danny was sitting on the edge of his seat. James had his hand on his shoulder trying to keep him calm, but Danny barely noticed. Ginny had discretely cast a calming charm on Ron as he looked like he was about to pass out from the
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harrypotterfanfiction.com :: 65,000 Ha… stress. The potion wasn’t strong enough. Neville and Sirius cast each other a nervous look. Harry was just numb. Somehow, he knew exactly what was going to happen, as if it were already written.

Already written, wondered Harry. He had checked the book that morning, and there was nothing new. He made a mental note to check it again tonight. He didn’t know why, but something made him think he would find something new. Rose let go of her mother’s hand reluctantly. As she walked toward the front of the Great Hall, everything seemed to go into slow motion. She was no longer looking at Albus, but she could feel his eyes boring into her. The room was so quiet, you could have heard a pin drop. All Rose could hear was the booming sound of her own heartbeat, like a thousand drums all being struck at the same instant, over and over and over again. She knew what she had to do. It was the right thing to do. Wasn’t it? It seemed to take hours to walk the few steps to the front of the Great Hall. "I…" said Rose, but nothing more came out. After several seconds that seemed like days, Cho said, "Miss Weasley?" Rose turned to her and nodded, then looked back out over the crowd, then to Albus. She saw his expression hadn’t changed, but the look in eyes had changed from pleading to fearful. She had never seen fear in anyone’s eyes like that before. She had never felt that kind of fear from anyone. Then something occurred to Rose. Was it Albus’s fear she was feeling, or was it her own? She closed her eyes for a moment and took a breath. She let it out slowly and did what she knew she had to do. "I…select as my partner for the Triwizard Tournament, Albus Potter," said Rose. The applause was so loud, not only the windows, but also the very stone walls of the castle seemed to shake. Harry and Ginny, as well as Neville and Sirius were both relieved and worried at the same time. Ron in one thought thanked Merlin for his daughter’s decision and cursed himself for pushing them into this. No matter what Rose said, Ron blamed himself for this. Danny nearly leapt from his seat, but James’s hand on his shoulder, held him in his seat. James wasn’t surprised at all. Lily and Hugo shared that thought, they were sure she would take Albus as a partner. Carly just shut her eyes as she let go of Albus’s arm. Albus finally let out the breath he hadn’t realized he had been holding for so long he felt light headed. He stood and walked the few steps to Rose. He was the only one who noticed the tear trickling from her eye. "I’m so sorry," Rose whispered in his ear as he hugged her. As they broke apart he said just one thing, though she couldn’t hear him over the thunderous applause, she knew what he said. "Thank you," said Albus. They went to there seats. Albus could see the look on his Aunt’s face. It was one of tremendous relief and immense gratitude. It took a few more minutes for the applause to die down. As it did, Cho walked back to the front of the Great Hall. "May I present the Triwizard Champions!" said Cho. All six champions stood, as the applause again caused the castle to shake. After a moment, the applause subsided and the champions sat down. "Now, Mr. Ollivander will conduct the Weighing of the Wands ceremony," said Cho. "Mr. Ollivander, if
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you please." Cho went and took her seat beside Mr. Ollivander, as he stood and walked to the front of the Great Hall to begin the ceremony. "Mr. Popov, please step forward and present your wand," said Mr. Ollivander in an official tone. Stefan Popov stood, walked to Mr. Ollivander and held out his wand to him. Mr. Ollivander took his wand and examined it. "Hornbeam, twelve inches long, very rigid, unicorn tail hair core," said Mr. Ollivander. He pointed the wand in the air and red sparks shot from it. "Very nice." Mr. Ollivander handed the wand back to him, and he returned to his seat. "Mr. Popov, please step forward and present your wand," said Mr. Ollivander again. Anton Popov stood, walked to Mr. Ollivander and held out his wand to him. Mr. Ollivander took his wand and examined it. "Hawthorn, eleven and one quarter inches, quite springy, dragon heartstring core," said Mr. Ollivander. He pointed the wand in the air and red sparks shot from it. "Fine workmanship." Mr. Ollivander handed the wand back to him, and he returned to his seat. "Miss Leroy, please step forward and present your wand," said Mr. Ollivander. Sophie Leroy stood, walked to Mr. Ollivander and held out her wand to him. Mr. Ollivander took her wand and examined it. "Chestnut, nine and one half inches, somewhat brittle, dragon heartstring core," said Mr. Ollivander. He pointed the wand in the air and red sparks shot from it. "Beautiful." Mr. Ollivander handed the wand back to her, and she returned to her seat. Harry, as he watched the proceedings, thought the Weighing of the Wands ceremony was much more formal than it had been in his day, but then the selecting of partners was the important part of the evening and they didn’t have that back then. Harry was glad of that. He could never have selected anyone. He knew how hard it had been for Rose to select Albus as a partner. "Miss Girard, please step forward and present your wand," said Mr. Ollivander. Danielle Girard stood, walked to Mr. Ollivander and held out her wand to him. Mr. Ollivander took her wand and examined it. "Mahogany, ten and one quarter inches, pliable, Veela hair core," said Mr. Ollivander. He pointed the wand in the air and red sparks shot from it. "Very nice." Mr. Ollivander handed the wand back to her, and she returned to her seat. Rose knew it was her turn. She really didn’t want to go through this now. She just wanted to talk to Albus. She knew she didn’t have a choice though. "Miss Weasley, please step forward and present your wand," said Mr. Ollivander. Rose stood, walked to Mr. Ollivander and held out her wand to him. "This one looks familiar," said Mr. Ollivander with a smile as she took the wand. "Rosewood, ten inches, slightly springy, dragon heartstring core." This was something of a family joke, Rose with the rosewood wand. It was slightly annoying to Rose, but the wand chooses the wizard or witch, not the other way around, and joke or not, she loved her wand. Mr. Ollivander pointed the wand in the air and red sparks shot from it. "Very nice," said Mr. Ollivander.
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harrypotterfanfiction.com :: 65,000 Ha… He handed the wand back to her, and she returned to her seat.

"Mr. Potter, please step forward and present your wand," said Mr. Ollivander. Albus stood, walked to Mr. Ollivander and held out his wand to him. "Ah, the very last wand I ever made," said Mr. Ollivander with a smile and a bit of longing in his voice as he took the wand from Albus. "Holly, eleven inches, supple, phoenix tail feather core. Much like your father’s." Truth be told, the wand was exactly like Harry’s. Though the tail feather was not from Fawkes, it was otherwise identical to Harry’s beloved wand. Though Albus rarely used it anymore, except when people were around, he was never without it. Mr. Ollivander pointed the wand in the air and red sparks shot from it. "I almost hate to give it back to you," said Mr. Ollivander with a smile. He handed the wand back to him, and Albus returned to his seat. Mr. Ollivander returned to his seat, as Cho rose and moved to the front of the Great Hall to conclude the ceremony. "Thank you, Mr. Ollivander," said Cho, as polite applause echoed throughout the room. "That concludes the Weighing of the Wands Ceremony. Thank you all for coming." ~ In Hermione and Ron’s quarters, they sat on the couch with Ginny while Harry sat in a chair. They had been mostly quiet, all lost in thought. "Did you talk to Rose last night, Ron?" asked Hermione. "I wanted to wait up for you and ask you last night, but I was so tired, I fell asleep." Ron smiled, thinking about his talk with Rose. "Yes," said Ron. "I think Rose and I are all right. Now if I can just survive the tournament, I’ll be all set. Harry, Ginny…" Ginny cut him off. "If you apologize one more time, I am going to hex you so badly you’ll never be the same," said Ginny. She was not angry she was just annoyed. "They’ll both be fine," said Harry emphatically. "There is something that we need to talk about though." "What is it?" asked Ginny curiously. "Cheating is a traditional part of the tournament," said Harry with a sly smile. "I intend to give them as much help as I can." "I’m with you," said Ron. "We’ll do all that we can to help," said Harry. "There is something else I need to tell you. I’m not sure how you will take it. I’m not sure how I am taking it." "What is it?" asked Hermione. "I checked the book right after the ceremony," said Harry. "I just had this feeling there would be something new. It said, ‘as the eleventh month dawns, The Heir and his friend shall embark on the trials they must endure’." Harry’s words were met with silence for a moment. "That doesn’t sound too bad," said Ron, trying to stay calm.
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"No, it doesn’t," said Harry. He had to admit, it could have been much worse. "I do plan to have the book with me and open during the tasks." "Good idea," said Hermione with a nod. "You ought to charm it to look like a text book or something," said Ginny. "I already did," said Harry with a smile. For some reason Harry couldn’t fathom, the new words in the book didn’t bother him. It almost seemed to make sense that the book would record the events of the tournament. It had recorded his tournament from so many years ago. Still, Harry was going to redouble his efforts to figure out what Voldemort was up to. ~ For the first time in days, Danny’s heart was not locked in a vice. He knew it was due in part to the fact that the person he loved most in the world would not face the Triwizard Tournament alone. However, the fact that she was in his arms and he was snogging her senseless probably had a lot to do with it as well. Danny and Rose were curled up on one of the couches in the Room of Requirement. The Weighing of the Wands ceremony ended just an hour earlier, and Danny practically dragged Rose from the Great Hall to the Room of Requirement. As he broke another searing kiss, Rose looked into his eyes. She smiled. "If I had known you would react like this, I would have become a Triwizard Champion a long time ago," said Rose with a breathless laugh. "It’s not everyone who gets to snog a Triwizard Champion," said Danny with a smile. "Certainly not one as drop dead gorgeous as you are." Danny leaned in to kiss her neck. "Oh, stop," said Rose. Rose never thought of herself as gorgeous or beautiful. She knew she wasn’t bad looking, but wasn’t like Carly who drew every boys attention when she walked into a room. She was pretty enough for Danny and that was all that mattered to her. "You always sell yourself short, Rose," said Danny. "And it’s not only because you don’t seem to think you are beautiful, which by the way is complete and utter nonsense. You are the brightest witch in this school. You could take anyone in a fight. You said that to me once, but I’m not sure you believed it. You need to believe in yourself. I believe in you." At the mention of what she said to him on the train, a wave of guilt swept over her. "If you believe in me, if everyone believes in me, then why did everyone want Albus to be my partner?" asked Rose, softly. "Why didn’t anyone think I could do it alone." She paused and then spoke, more to herself than Danny. "And why did I give in?" "Rose, you don’t have to stand alone to prove you aren’t a little girl anymore," said Danny before he went back to kissing her neck. "I wish I believed that," said Rose, as she sighed from Danny’s last series of kisses against her skin. "Maybe having the courage to admit you need help is the true sign that you aren’t a little girl anymore," breathed Danny against her neck. "My boyfriend, the philosopher," said Rose with laugh. Danny didn’t laugh, but he did stop kissing her neck and he pulled back from her.
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Danny stared into her beautiful brown eyes. "Rose, at the risk of upsetting you, and I more than anyone know how dangerous that is…the only one who truly thinks of you as a little girl…is you," said Danny. For just a second, her temper began to flare, but it stopped. Was Danny right? Was her near paranoia at being treated like a little girl by her father and everyone else really because that was how she saw herself? She took his face in her hands, and kissed him. It was a soul-searing kiss the likes off which they had never shared before. "Wow," said Danny when they broke apart, a dumbstruck expression on his face. "I’ll need to come up with more pearls of wisdom if I’ll get kisses like that for them." Rose laughed and hugged him tight. "As much as I hate to, I have to go," whispered Rose. "I have to talk to Albus, and it can’t wait until morning." Danny kissed her goodbye, and she left him there. He also had someone he needed to speak to. He wasn’t looking forward to it, but it had to be done. ~ It was nearly ten o’clock, and Albus and Carly were sitting next to each other at a table in the Gryffindor Common Room working on homework. "I can’t do any more of this tonight," said Carly. She couldn’t stop thinking about the tournament. "I don’t know how you can be so calm, Al." Albus put his arms around her and held her close. "Simple," said Albus before he gave her a soft kiss. "I’ve been through far worse than anything the tournament can throw at me." Carly knew exactly what he meant, but it didn’t make her feel any better. She was afraid for both of them. She traced the edges of her engagement ring with one finger. "Promise me nothing bad will happen to you, Al," said Carly. "Promise me we will get married in August and have lots and lots of children, and we will be happy until we are old and gray, and then be together forever." Her voice had an edge of pleading to it. Albus smiled. He knew how frightened she was of losing him. What happened in the Chamber of Secrets had always been with her. It was a constant worry that someday he wouldn’t be able to keep his promise to always be there for her. Some people might call her needy, but having lost her parents, and then nearly losing him her fear was very understandable. "I promise you, we will get married in August," whispered Albus in her ear, before kissing just below it. "I promise you, we will have as many children as you want. A whole school full if it makes you happy." Carly giggled a bit at that and smiled, as he kissed below her ear again. "And I promise you, we will be happy until we are old and gray, and then be together forever." Albus kissed below her ear again, and she shuddered. "I’m going to hold you to that," said Carly with a half smile. "As much as I’m tempted to let you keep kissing me all night, I think I’m going to head to bed. It’s been a long day and I’m really tired." "I would expect so, I can’t imagine how much energy you used holding onto my arm at the ceremony…I think you cut off my circulation," said Albus with a laugh. "I’m going to keep working on this. I want to wait up for Rose. I need to talk to her."
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harrypotterfanfiction.com :: 65,000 Ha… They shared a goodnight kiss, and Carly packed up her books and went up to her dorm. Albus continued to work on his homework for a little while. He turned when he heard the portrait swing open, and he saw Rose climb into the Common Room. She came right over to him.

"Al, can we talk?" asked Rose. "Yes," said Albus. "I wanted to talk to you too." Rose looked around. There were still a few people in the Common Room, most with their noses in their books, or chatting quietly in small groups. "Could we go somewhere more private?" asked Rose. "Sure, let’s go up to my dorm," said Albus. Albus packed up his books and led her up the stairs to his dorm room. Once inside, Albus dropped his bag of books by the foot of his bed and sat down. Rose sat on the bed opposite him, facing him. "I’m so sorry, Al," said Rose shaking her head. "I never meant to involve you in this." "Rose…" began Albus, but she cut him off. "No, Al," said Rose. "Let me finish. I was all set to stand alone. It was what I planned to do all along so I could prove I could do this. I started to say it…but I couldn’t get the words out. Then I saw the fear in your eyes. I had never seen or felt such fear. Then I realized, while I saw the fear in your eyes, it was my own I was feeling. I couldn’t do it. I gave in to my fear and now you are trapped with me in this. Danny would tell you I did the courageous thing to ask for help. I didn’t do it out of courage, I did it out of fear." Rose put her head in her hands and began to cry. Albus got up from his bed and sat next to her on the other bed, putting his arms around her. "Danny is right," said Albus softly. "It took courage to stand up there in front of the whole school and select a partner, to admit that you couldn’t do it by yourself. Everyone was expecting you to select a partner, but that didn’t matter. You had taken it upon yourself to stand alone to prove something. Admitting you couldn’t was the most courageous thing I’ve ever heard of." "Right," said Rose with a chuckle. "This from the person who stuck a dagger in his chest to save his family, and I’m supposed to be courageous." "That’s funny," said Albus with a smile. "I always felt I took the cowards way out." Albus had only ever admitted that to one person before. It was two years ago. He was at the Burrow, everyone else was outside, but he was in the kitchen with Grandpa Weasley. Somehow, what happened in the chamber came up while they were talking about Albus’s parents. He told his grandfather that he had always felt that somehow he should have been able to fight Voldemort without trying to sacrifice himself. Albus had felt he took the coward’s way out. His grandfather had set him straight. "Have you hit your head recently?" asked Rose. "You can’t be serious? I saw you stick that dagger in your chest. Once the horror wore off and you were all right, I was, and am, sure it was the bravest thing I’ve ever seen anyone do." "I’m very serious, Rose," said Albus with a nod. "I’ve only told that to one other person. I told Grandpa once. He told me, that a true hero does not see his own actions as heroic or extraordinary or courageous. Sometimes a hero even feels what they did was wrong, that they should have done it better. If you feel like a hero, you probably aren’t one, he said. What you did tonight was truly heroic, Rose. At least I think it was. According to Grandpa that’s all that matters." Rose was quiet for a moment as she thought about what Albus said. "I thought I was supposed to be
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harrypotterfanfiction.com :: 65,000 Ha… ‘The Sage’?" asked Rose with a laugh as she dried her tears.

"That’s all right," said Albus. "You can come up with the next deep thought, this one is giving me a headache." After a few minutes of laughter, Rose was the first to speak. "Thank you, Al," said Rose. "I don’t know what I would do without you." "What are best friends for, if not to make you laugh," said Albus. "Now, I hate to get serious on you, but just how are we going to deal with a dragon?" asked Rose. I don’t know about you, but I haven’t faced one lately." "That will depend a lot on what we have to do," said Albus. "From what I have heard, stealing a dragon’s Golden Egg has been the traditional first task. We really won’t be able to do much but study up on dragons until we know for sure." Chapter 19: Chapter 19 - First Kisses [View Online] [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter] Chapter 19 – First Kisses The weekend following the Weighing of the Wands Ceremony was a Hogsmeade weekend. On Saturday morning, James and Lucy, Albus, and Carly, and Rose and Danny, all met up just outside the castle. They were planning to spend the day in Hogsmeade doing some shopping, and then going to lunch at the three broomsticks. They walked, the couples arm in arm, towards Hogsmeade chatting. "Have you given any thought to how you will tackle the dragon?" asked James. "They are not exactly easy beasts to handle." "No," said Albus. "We really haven’t." "We have been researching dragons, but until we know the specific rules of the task, we are kind of stuck," said Rose. "Yeah," said Albus. "Depending on the type of dragon, it changes the strategy. For that matter, we don’t want to plan to attack on a broom, then find out the task takes place underground." All laughed except for Danny and Carly. "I’m sorry love," said Albus sweetly, giving Carly a kiss on the cheek. "It’s all right," said Carly with a weak smile. "I suppose it’s better to laugh than cry." Rose gave Danny a smile, which he returned half-heartedly. "Let’s not think about that today," said Rose. "I’m all for that," said Danny. As they walked into Hogsmeade, they suddenly realized they had forgotten something, the Press. It was like a crowd of reporters and photographers were just waiting for them, which was not far from the truth. They crowded around the three couples, as flash bulbs were going off. James and Danny immediately went into full security guard mode and stepped in front of the others.
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harrypotterfanfiction.com :: 65,000 Ha… They demanded the reporters keep their distance. Lucy, as an official of the French Ministry flashed her credentials and did the same. The reporters and photographers ignored them for the most part.

Rose stood dumbstruck. She had never expected this. Carly threw her arms around Albus and buried her face in his neck. She really couldn’t deal with all this and she was shaking in Albus’s arms. Albus just stared at the mass of Press before him in disbelief. One of the reporters pushed past James and went up to Rose, grabbing her by the arm and pulling her a few steps away. "Peter Skeeter, Daily Prophet," said the man. He had dirty blond hair, a heavy jaw, and wore thick glasses in front of amber eyes. He was quiet short. "Can I ask you a couple of questions?" Before Rose could tell him to get lost, Danny grabbed him by the back of his jumper, and forcibly pulled him away to where the other reporters were. "If you, or any of you, put your hands on her again, the only question you’ll have to ask is how to find a Healer," snarled Danny, his anger dripping from his voice. "Come now," said Peter Skeeter drawing himself up to his full, yet unimpressive height. "Haven’t you ever heard of freedom of the Press?" He stopped addressing Danny, and addressed another of the group. "Miss Jones, how do you feel about your fiancé placing himself in mortal peril." Albus’s disbelief faded, left behind was just one thing, rage. Both Danny and James knew they had to restrain Albus, but before they could hardly think to do so, Albus pulled away from Carly and moved her towards Rose who pulled her into a hug, as she was now crying freely. Albus walked right to Peter Skeeter, put one hand around his throat and lifted him as high in the air as he could. Peter Skeeter struggled, but Albus was far too strong for him. In a voice, wandlessly magnified to a booming tone that could be heard for miles, Albus roared, "YOU WILL NEVER SPEAK TO HER AGAIN!" Albus let go, and Peter Skeeter fell to the ground in a heap, scattering the other reporters and photographers around him. Just at that moment, he could hear yelling. A group of about forty Aurors began to apparate into the area. "Are they bothering you, Al," said a voice Albus recognized. "Auror Abbott," said Albus as he took a deep breath to try and calm down. "Yes they are. They are upsetting Carly." Auror Hanna Abbott was an Auror Albus knew very well. She was a friend of his parents from school and a one-time member of Dumbledore’s Army. She had visited with his parent’s many times and was always very friendly. Hanna motioned to some of the other Aurors with her, and they began to remove the reporters from the area to shouts of ‘freedom of the press’ that were ignored. "Sorry, Al," said Hanna. "The Minister ordered Aurors to Hogsmeade to control the press, unfortunately, that pea-brain Head Auror Williams didn’t think it was necessary. As soon as the Minister found out, he, as the Muggles say, ripped him a new one." "Thanks, Hanna," said Albus. Albus went back to where Rose still had Carly in a hug and took Carly in his arms. "Carly, I’m so sorry about that," said Hanna. She paused as Carly calmed down a bit. "I have not seen you since I heard the news. Congratulations on your engagement."
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"Thank you," said Carly mustering a half smile, as she wiped the tears from her cheeks. "Can I see the ring?" asked Hanna with a smile. Carly held out her hand. "It’s beautiful, and it looks great on you." "Thank you," said Carly, her smile a little warmer as thoughts of her engagement drove some of her fear away for the moment. "I need to get going," said Hanna. "It was nice to see you all, I just wish it was under better circumstances. The press will not bother you again today, I will see to it." After some goodbyes, Hanna left the six of them alone. "Al, I’m sorry, I hate to ruin the day, but could we head back to the castle?" asked Carly miserably. "I’m really not in the mood to be out anymore." "Of course, love," said Albus sweetly. "James, can you pick up some things for us at Honeydukes?" That was really the only place we had to go. "Of course," said James. "What do you want?" "Get me three of boxes of lemon drops," said Albus. "You and your lemon drops," said James with a laugh. "You know, Dad said they were Dumbledore’s favorites. Must be something to do with people named Albus." "Must be," said Albus with a laugh. They had been his favorite candy since he was little. "Also, get a dozen chocolate frogs for Carly." Carly was resting her head on his shoulder, and looked up at him with sad eyes, she was still upset. "Make that two dozen." "No," said Carly. "As much as chocolate frogs make me feel better, I don’t want to be fat for my wedding." Albus raised an eyebrow at her. Carly smiled at him, then laughed. "That’s the smile I like to see," said Albus to Carly and gave her a quick kiss. He hated to see her upset. "Two dozen," said Albus to James. "Thanks, and we’ll see you later." Albus and Carly headed back toward the castle. "She was awfully upset," said Rose. "I don’t know how she’s going to make it through all this. I can’t believe I’ve done this." "Hey, everyone will be fine, we’ll all make it," said Danny pulling Rose into a hug. He couldn’t help but think about what Skeeter had said to Carly about ‘mortal peril’. Carly wasn’t the only one who was scared. "Let’s go," said James. "We should go to Honeydukes, then get to the Three Broomsticks for lunch, I’m starving." "Sounds good to me," said Lucy with a smile. Danny pulled out his pocket watch. It was gold and extremely old. His parents had given it to him for his seventeenth birthday. It had belonged to his grandfather. "It’s almost ten o’clock," said Danny. "We should get going."
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Rose nodded, and they all headed for Honeydukes. ~ Neville and Gabrielle had met in the Great Hall for breakfast as they planned. They talked all through breakfast. Neville could have sat and watched her talk for hours. Neville was beginning to wonder if he could get through a day without seeing her. After breakfast, they walked arm in arm into Hogsmeade. Neville didn’t ever remember being so happy in his life. They did some shopping, and found themselves in Honeydukes, surveying the racks and displays of tempting sweets. "I so love sugar quills," said Gabrielle, as she picked up a box of them. "I’m partial to Licorice Wands myself," said Neville, picking up a package of his favorites. He also picked up a box of chocolate cauldrons. They headed to the counter. "I’ve got them," said Neville, taking the sugar quills from Gabrielle as she reached into her purse for money. "You know just the way to my heart," said Gabrielle with a smile, and she gave Neville a kiss on the cheek. That was four, Neville thought. She had kissed him twice earlier this week, and once that morning. This made four. Each time was etched in his mind. Neville had not quite got up the courage to kiss her yet, but he was working on it. Maybe today he could get up the courage to give her a kiss on the cheek. An actual kiss on the lips, well, he thought he might keel over if he tried, so he decided that would have to wait for a while. Neville paid for the sweets. Mr. Flume gave him a wink, when Gabrielle turned away for a moment. Neville came here often, and knew Ambrosius Flume and his wife fairly well. His wife was always asking Neville when he was going to find a nice girl and settle down. As Neville and Gabrielle walked towards the door, it opened, and James, Lucy, Rose, and Danny came in. "Hello," said Neville and Gabrielle at the same time. "Hello," said the four teenagers. Neville noticed two of their usual group, were missing. "Where’s Al and Carly?" asked Neville. "Reporters and photographers," said Rose. "They ambushed us. Carly was pretty upset, so she and Al went back to the castle. I swear if that Peter Skeeter gets in my face again, I’m going to feed him to the giant squid." "I can’t believe that hippogriff’s backside Rita Skeeter reproduced," said Neville angrily. "That woman is walking filth." None of them had ever heard Neville say anything like that in their lives. He saw the looks of shock on their faces. Gabrielle looked at him questioningly. "There aren’t too many people I despise like I do Rita Skeeter," said Neville. "Fourth year, when Harry was in the tournament, she wrote awful things about him, and wrote even worse things about Hermione."
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harrypotterfanfiction.com :: 65,000 Ha… "My Mum has a small locked chest under her bed," said Rose with a nod. "Dad says she keeps a copy of each thing Skeeter wrote about her in it. She keeps it so she never forgets there are always truly vile people in the world."

"How did you manage to get rid of the reporters?" asked Neville. "Kingsley sent Aurors to keep them at bay," said James. "They were late because of Head Auror Williams. Hanna arrived just in time to drive them off though." Hanna Abbott, thought Neville. The one and only relationship he ever regretted ending. He had dated Hanna after they had been out of school for a while. He really liked her, but she had decided to become an Auror, and with him at Hogwarts, it would never have worked out. Just his luck, he would probably run into her. Neville and Gabrielle left Honeydukes and walked down the street, not going anywhere in particular, just enjoying the day. "Shall we go to the Three Broomsticks for lunch?" asked Neville. "I heard of another place," said Gabrielle. "Ginny was telling me about it, Madam Puddifoot's Tea Shop." Neville made a mental note to send Ginny a poison ivy scarf. Only couples went there, and while Neville really wanted to think that maybe, he and Gabrielle could consider themselves a couple someday, he wasn’t sure he was ready to go to such a romantic place. After all, he hadn’t yet had the courage to kiss her yet. Also, the décor at Madam Puddifoot’s really nauseated him. "Sure," said Neville with a smile. "Anything you want." They walked towards High Street towards Madam Puddifoot's Tea Shop. As they walked, they bumped into a couple more familiar faces. "Hi, Lily, Tommy" said Neville. "How are you two this morning?" Lily and Tommy were walking down the street hand in hand. "Great Neville," said Lily. "Yes, great, Professor Longbottom," said Tommy. "Where are you two off to?" asked Neville. "Just for a walk," said Lily. "I think we’re going to head out towards the Shrieking Shack." "Have a good time," said Neville. "Just remember, Tommy, you be a perfect gentleman. You are with my goddaughter." Neville winked, letting them both know he was kidding. Neville and Gabrielle continued down the street toward Madam Puddifoot's. When they arrived, they went inside and got a table. They ordered tea and sandwiches and talked as they ate. The frilly, tacky décor that Neville found quite nauseating didn’t bother him so much after a while. Not much was going to bother him while he was with Gabrielle. After they ate and paid the bill, they got up to leave. As they were leaving, they bumped into Cho Chang, and Viktor Krum. They exchanged pleasantries, and Neville and Gabrielle continued out into the street. "I’ll have to remember to tell Hermione and Ginny about that," said Neville. "I wouldn’t have expected to see those two together."
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They continued walking. They had been walking arm in arm, but were now holding hands. As they walked, they bumped into the one person Neville didn’t really want to see, when his date with Gabrielle was going so well. "Neville," exclaimed Hanna when she saw him. She hurried over and gave him a hug, which he half returned. "Hi, Hanna," said Neville uncomfortably. He didn’t know what to say. He hadn’t seen her in quite a while. "Hanna, this is Gabrielle Dubois, Deputy Headmistress of Beauxbatons Academy." "It’s a pleasure to meet you," said Gabrielle, shaking Hanna’s hand. It was not lost on Hanna that Neville and Gabrielle were holding hands. "Well, I won’t keep you, I have Auror duties anyway," said Hanna. "Have a nice date…err…day." Neville turned bright red. "Thanks, Hanna," said Neville. Neville and Gabrielle continued to walk, now back towards the castle. They were alone, along the road leading from Hogsmeade back to Hogwarts. "Neville, can I ask you something?" asked Gabrielle softly. "Sure," said Neville. "Have you ever been in love?" asked Gabrielle. Neville stopped walking, as his brain came to a crashing halt. He turned and looked into her eyes. "I thought I might be once," said Neville. "It wasn’t going to work out, so we both moved on. It was a mutual decision." Why did she ask him that he wondered? "Was it Hanna?" asked Gabrielle, staring back at him. "How did you know?" asked Neville in confusion. Gabrielle smiled. "I could tell," said Gabrielle, "I think the expression is, you were the one that got away. I could see it in her eyes." "I don’t know about that," said Neville with a laugh. "But yes, Hanna and I dated. I really fancied her, but we were too different and it was never going to work out. It was a very, very long time ago and I’m well over her." They were still looking into each other’s eyes. Neville looked into the pools of melted chocolate that were so warm and inviting. He didn’t think. He just acted. Neville leaned in and kissed Gabrielle’s lips. He had only meant it to be a brief kiss, he wasn’t brave enough yet for more, but she put her arms around his neck, and didn’t let go. Neville had never kissed anyone, nor been kissed like this before. Neville put his arms around her as they continued to kiss. The kiss was passionate, a full-fledged snog that Neville didn’t want to ever end. When they broke apart, Neville looked into her eyes. "Do you believe two people could be destined to meet?" asked Gabrielle with a bright smile. Neville had known Albus and Carly long enough to know it. "Yes," said Neville. "I think they can. Why?" "Do you believe in love at first sight?" asked Gabrielle softly.
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"Yes, I do," said Neville. He had experienced it the first time he had laid eyes on her. He knew that now. "Me too," said Gabrielle. "Me too." They continued to walk to the castle, in silence, holding hands. What they didn’t know is that they were being watched. It wasn’t intentional, but as they were walking up the road toward the castle, Harry and Ginny were walking towards Hogsmeade. They had a little time between meetings, and wanted to do some shopping. When they saw Neville and Gabrielle coming towards them holding hands, Ginny pulled Harry behind a tree and put her hand over his mouth. Ginny watched Neville and Gabrielle kiss with excitement, and waited until they were out of site to let go of Harry’s mouth. "A simple, ‘be quiet’, would have sufficed," said Harry after Neville and Gabrielle had gone. "I feel like a peeping goblin." "Come on, Harry," said Ginny with a smile. "I didn’t want to disturb them. They looked like they were enjoying their walk. I just had a felling something was going to happen. I think maybe, it was their first kiss." Harry smiled thinking back to a first kiss between two teenagers after a quidditch match, so many years ago. That was the moment he had found happiness. "Do you remember our first kiss?" asked Harry softly, pulling her close to him. "Of course, " said Ginny with a laugh. "So does the entire Gryffindor House from that year. You didn’t know what you were doing." "Thank you, love," said Harry with an annoyed grin. "You do recall it was only the third time I had ever kissed a girl, right? I wasn’t exactly in practice. I did get better, you know." "Did you?" asked Ginny with a smirk. "Well," said Harry with a grin, "I’ll have to remind you." ~ Lily and Tommy walked down the path that led to the Shrieking Shack. They were holding hands. She had finally admitted to herself that not only did she really fancy Tommy, but also she felt a little stronger than that about him. He was so nice to her, and so kind, not at all like he had been in class last year. He wasn’t hard on the eyes either. Truthfully, he was downright hot. Lily had wondered why exactly it was that he argued with her so much in Potions class the previous year. He never argued with her now. She decided that it didn’t matter. One thing still had Lily a little perplexed. Tommy still hadn’t kissed her yet. Not even a peck on the cheek, and they had been dating for nearly three weeks. She had actually given him every opportunity short of throwing herself at him. When they came back from an evening walk one night, she had him walk her right up to the stairs to her dorm. She stepped close to him and thanked him for the lovely evening, all the time looking into his eyes. All he had done is smile, say he enjoyed it too, and walked away. Lily had thought he was going to kiss her that first time they went flying, when she fell and he caught her. Then James had to show up and end any chance of that. Lily, having never been on a second
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harrypotterfanfiction.com :: 65,000 Ha… date before, had never actually been kissed by a boy, not really anyway. A few pecks on the cheek didn’t really count. It wasn’t that she wanted to start snogging at the drop of a hat like Albus and Carly or James and Lucy, though when she looked into Tommy’s eyes, the idea was quite appealing. It would have just been nice to know that at least he fancied her too. The handholding was giving her hope though.

Lily didn’t know it, but the same thing had been on Tommy’s mind. He had so wanted to kiss her that first day they went flying before James showed up. He probably would have if they weren’t interrupted only because he wasn’t thinking, he was just going to do it. For some reason, since then, he couldn’t quite get up the nerve to do it. Even when she had practically asked him to with her eyes, he didn’t have the courage as other people were around. Tommy had fancied Lily for a long, long time, much longer than Lily knew. Unfortunately, all he seemed able to do was argue with her last year. At least he had got beyond that Tommy thought. He had to admit, he found her father somewhat intimidating. The thought that he was dating the great Harry Potter’s daughter was a little bit hard to imagine. Professor Potter had always been nice to him, even since they had been dating, but he just made Tommy so nervous, even though Tommy knew it was pretty silly of him to be nervous. When they arrived at the Shrieking Shack, they just looked at it for a moment. "Do you think it’s really haunted?" asked Tommy. "No," said Lily with a smile. "I know for a fact that it is not." "How do you know?" asked Tommy curiously. "Do you remember Teddy Lupin?" asked Lily. "He was Assistant Gamekeeper for a few years, then he married my cousin Victoire." "Oh, sure," said Tommy. "Teddy was a good guy." "Well, his father, Sirius, and my grandfather were the original Marauders," said Lily. "I know," said Tommy. "I’ve heard all of Sirius’s stories, everyone has." "Well, what Sirius leaves out of the stories, is that Teddy’s father was a werewolf," said Lily. "Don’t tell Sirius I said anything, he doesn’t like to talk about that." "No problem," said Tommy. "The Shrieking Shack is where Teddy’s father used to go when the moon was full so he wouldn’t hurt anyone," said Lily. "That was before the Wolfsbane Potion was discovered." "Wow," said Tommy. "I had no idea. How did they get inside? I thought no one could get into the Shrieking Shack?" "Well, there is a hole beneath the base of the Whomping Willow, and it leads to a tunnel that leads to the Shrieking Shack," said Lily. "Oh," said Tommy. "Must be a nice place to go to be alone." Why did I say that, Tommy screamed in his head. "Must be," said Lily. I wouldn’t mind finding out, thought Lily. They stood there for a while. It was a little chilly, and Lily faked a shiver. Tommy put one arm around
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harrypotterfanfiction.com :: 65,000 Ha… her, bringing a small smile to her face.

Tommy wasn’t sure what to do. He really wanted to kiss her, but every time he thought about it he got nervous. He decided to try a new approach. "Hey, Lily, said Tommy. "What is it with your brothers? All I ever see is Albus snogging Carly and James snogging Lucy." Suddenly he wasn’t sure how that question was supposed to help, but he decided to run with it. Lily laughed. "Well, I have heard, though I really would have preferred not to know, that the Potter men are rather adept snoggers," said Lily with a laugh. "It apparently runs in the family from what I’ve been told." "Does that extend to the Potter women as well?" asked Tommy. I didn’t just say that did I, screamed Tommy in his head. How lame. It took Lily a few second to formulate a response. She didn’t want to say the wrong thing as she thought Tommy was fishing for an opportunity. "Well, I don’t know…why don’t you find out?" asked Lily turning to him. Tommy didn’t need any more of an opening than that. Tommy leaned in and kissed her gently. She kissed him back. After a moment, they broke apart. "Well," said Lily, trying not to sound like her dream had just come true, even thought they had, and it was wonderful. Tommy looked into her eyes for a moment. "Hard to say," said Tommy with a grin spreading across his face. "I think I’ll have to do some more research." Lily smiled. "You know…I think we can arrange that," said Lily. She knew she would never forget her first kiss, and she was sure it wouldn’t be her last kiss with Tommy. ~ That evening, as the sun was setting, Rose and Danny stood on the bank of the lake, watching the sunset. It was a beautiful clear night, and the sunset was beautiful. The brilliant red, orange and yellow reflected off the water. Danny was standing behind Rose with his arms around her and she was leaning against him. "This is so beautiful," said Rose with a smile. "Yeah you are," said Danny. She smiled. "Well, I won’t argue with you," said Rose. "That’s a first," said Danny. She gave him a playful little jab in the ribs with her elbow, but she had a smile on her face. She loved how he made her laugh. It was one of the things she loved most about Danny. Danny took a breath. He had been looking for the opportunity to do something for three days. He let go of Rose, and took half a step back. She turned around to see why he let go. "What is it, Danny?" asked Rose. He cupped her cheek in his outstretched hand and just looked at her for a moment, his beautiful Rose. He took a breath, then kneeled down on one knee.
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Rose’s eyes went wide, and she gasped. Her mind went blank. It was so obvious what was about to happen, but she was unable to form the thought of what it was. "Rose," said Danny, reaching out and taking her left hand. "For a long time now, I knew I would do this one day. With all that happened lately, I couldn’t wait any longer. I wanted to make sure you had extra incentive to come through the tournament safely." He paused. That was the easy part. He reached into his pocket and removed a small box. He opened the box, revealing a gold ring. Sitting on top of the ring was a small diamond. Around the setting of the diamond, etched into the gold were roses. "Rose, I can’t imagine my life without you. I love you. Rose Molly Weasley, would you do me the great honor of marrying me." "Yes," said Rose as tears of joy welled in her eyes. She almost screamed it she was so happy. Danny slipped the ring onto her finger and stood up. She practically leapt into his arms and kissed him. After several minutes, they broke the kiss, and she settled her head against his chest, never wanting to be farther away than she was from him right now. "I know the ring isn’t much," said Danny. "No, Danny," said Rose softly. "It’s absolutely perfect. There is not a ring anywhere I would love more. I love it." Danny smiled. "I love you, Rose," said Danny. "I love you so much, Danny," said Rose softly, as the tears began to leak from her eyes. "I’ve never been so happy in my entire life." She paused, as she remembered something. "If I hadn’t seen you with it this morning, I would think you sold your grandfather’s watch to buy it. Does this have anything to do with why you went to see your father?" "Yes," said Danny. "He was thrilled beyond words to lend me the money for the ring. He’s so happy for us." "I’m sorry," said Rose with a sigh. "I know you didn’t want to do that." "It’s all right, Rose," said Danny with a smile. "You are far more important to me than my pride. Besides, borrowing money from my Dad wasn’t really the hard part. I knew he would be happy to do it" "What was?" asked Rose absently as she snuggled against his chest. "Asking your Dad for permission," said Danny slowly. "You did what?" asked Rose in disbelief, pulling back to look at him. "I know its old fashioned," said Danny. "I just felt it was the right thing to do." "Did he actually say yes?" asked Rose. "I can’t believe it if he did." "He said yes," said Danny with a smile. "He gave me a hug and said he would be proud to have me marry his daughter." Rose stared at him in disbelief. "It helped that your Mum was there, and if he said no, she would have fed him to a Blast-Ended Skrewt," said Danny with a laugh. Rose laughed. "That sounds about right," said Rose, settling back against him. She held on tight. She
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didn’t want this moment to end. "Actually, he was quite sincere," said Danny. "I think he is really happy for us. There was something about a threat if I ever hurt you, but I never would so it’s not a problem. Besides, I would be more afraid of you than of him anyway." Rose just smiled as she held onto him, standing by the lake. She would never let him go and she would never forget their first kiss as an engaged couple. Chapter 20: Chapter 20 - Beyond This Place, There Be Dragons! [View Online] [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter] Chapter 20 – Beyond This Place, There Be Dragons! For two weeks, things at Hogwarts were pretty good for the Potters, Weasleys, and their friends. Everyone was thrilled at the news of Danny and Rose’s engagement, and they were happier than anyone had ever seen them. Neville and Gabrielle spent every spare moment together. Lily and Tommy continued their ‘research’, but somehow, Tommy could never reach a conclusion, forcing them to continue their ‘research’. Lily had never enjoyed research so much before. The school at large however, was counting the days until their Champions ‘The Dream Team of Potter and Weasley’, as the student body had dubbed them, would represent Hogwarts in the Triwizard Tournament. There were badges and posters all over the castle. The school was completely behind them, and at every turn, they were showing their support. Harry thought this was a great thing for Albus and Rose. The majority of the school thought he had cheated to enter the tournament so long ago, but this time, even many Slytherins were openly supporting ‘The Dream Team of Potter and Weasley’. Harry thought that had to at least make them feel a little better about everything. Harry was mistaken. For two weeks, the Hogwarts Champions, and their fiancés gave little thought to the tournament. Albus and Carly and Rose and Danny spent as much time together as they could. They never discussed the tournament. Only when Albus and Rose would discuss dragon strategies, would they discuss it, and even then, never when Carly was around. As the first task drew closer, Rose and Albus started to get nervous, and Carly and Danny became horribly afraid that something would happen to the people they loved. Around ten o’clock in the evening on November twenty-fourth less than thirty-six hours before the first task of the Triwizard Tournament, two couples sat before the fire in the Gryffindor Common Room. Carly, who had cried herself to sleep for nearly a week, had finally fallen asleep in Albus’s arms on the couch. It was obvious she wasn’t sleeping much, and Albus already planned to have a Sleeping Draught ready the next day for her, for the night before the tournament. Danny had Rose in his arms, but neither was asleep. He was holding her tight, so tight he could feel the beat of her heart against his chest, and he was feeling every last beat as if his life depended on it. He too could not sleep, but he was taking a different approach than Carly. He had taken to going to the Room of Requirement at night, and enchanting a magical opponent to practice dueling. He had battled enemies with every imaginable weapon from wands to swords, to medieval weapons that defied description. More than once in the last week, James woke up and checked Danny’s room to find he hadn’t been to bed. Each time, James had found him in the Room of Requirement, having nearly passed out from complete exhaustion and over exertion, having pushed himself well beyond reason to take his mind off of the coming task. James had managed to get him to the Hospital Wing and cleaned up on those
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harrypotterfanfiction.com :: 65,000 Ha… mornings without Rose knowing about it. James knew she would beat herself up for it, and she had enough to worry about.

As they sat before the fire, not talking, just enjoying the comfort provided by the people they loved the most, the portrait hole opened. None of them paid it any mind. Harry and Ron, having just come through the portrait hole, looked upon the four people by the fire. They didn’t want to disturb them, they looked so peaceful and happy, but Harry and Ron knew they had to do this. "Al, Rose," said Harry softly. "I hate to disturb you, but you need to come with us. It is very important." Rose didn’t want to. She wanted to stay in Danny’s arms and never move again, but she knew if her father and uncle were there, it had to be important. Rose pulled away from Danny. As soon as she did, Danny’s heart ached to feel her heartbeat, but he nodded to her and tried to smile, but failed. She got up to join her father and uncle. Even with the roaring fire, Danny suddenly felt cold. Albus gently slid Carly off his lap and onto the couch. He covered her with a blanket and kissed her forehead before joining Harry and Ron. "Let’s go," said Harry, and Ron, Albus, and Rose followed him through the portrait hole. Danny just sat on the couch, looking into the fire. A few moments after Harry, Ron, Albus, and Rose had left, Carly began to talk in her sleep. "Al…can’t be…no…Al…no…please…no," said Carly in her sleep. "Carly, wake up," said Danny, as he moved beside her and shook her gently. Carly awoke with a start. She was shaking. "Where’s, Al," asked Carly shakily. "He and Rose went with your Dad and her Dad," said Danny. "I think you were having a bad dream." Rose continued to shake. It was far worse than any nightmare she had ever had before. Strangely, she knew what she had seen in that nightmare was impossible. She was even becoming hysterical in her sleep. "Don’t tell, Al," said Carly, still shaking. "I don’t want him to know." "All right," said Danny softly. He put his arms around her. "I won’t tell him. I haven’t told Rose about mine either. Try and get some sleep. I’m going to wait here until Rose gets back anyway." "Thanks, Danny," said Carly appreciatively. She pulled the blanket more tightly around her, and then laid her head on his shoulder, and soon fell asleep again. ~ "Where are we going?" asked Albus as he, Rose, his father and his uncle descended the stairs. "You may not be aware of this," said Harry with a laugh. "But cheating is considered a traditional part of the Triwizard Tournament." "We’re going to try and get you an edge," said Ron.
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harrypotterfanfiction.com :: 65,000 Ha… "Or at least level the field," said Rose. "I’ll bet the other champions are doing the same thing we’re doing."

"Quite likely," said Harry. "Fortunately, we have someone on the inside." When they reached the Entrance Hall, Harry stopped and pulled his Invisibility Cloak out of the pocket of his robe. "Here you too, put this over yourselves," said Harry. Albus and Rose did as they were instructed, and followed their fathers out the doors of the castle and towards the Forbidden Forest. They walked for a while, until they approached a clearing. Albus and Rose could see torchlight illuminating the area. As they got closer, they started hearing blood curdling roars and the sounds of wizards casting spells. When they reached the edge of the clearing, they could see them. "My God," said Albus. He had never seen a dragon in person. Rose had a vice-like grip on his arm. Before them were three dragons. Two appeared to be asleep, but the third was very much awake and fighting the dragon keepers spells. It looked quite unhappy. "Harry, Ron, how are you," said someone moving towards them. As he got closer, Albus and Rose could see it was Uncle Charlie. "Hi, Charlie," said Harry. The three shook hands. "Thanks for letting us have a look, Charlie," said Ron. "Not a problem. Well here they are," said Charlie. "Beautiful, aren’t they?" Harry just stared at them for a moment. "I’ve been far too close to two dragons in my life," said Harry. "I could have done without seeing another." Not only had Harry had to deal with the Hungarian Horntail in the Triwizard Tournament, but also he, Ron, and Hermione had flown out of Gringotts on a nearly blind dragon while searching for the Horcruxes. Neither were particularly happy memories for any of them. "One was enough for me," said Ron slowly. "Well, you said you had some questions about dragons," said Charlie. "What can I tell you? If anyone can’t hear me, feel free to get a little closer." Charlie gave a wink. He knew Albus and Rose were somewhere close by under Harry’s Invisibility Cloak, and Charlie was going to help his niece and nephew anyway he could. "What kinds of dragons do we have here?" asked Harry. "Well, this one on the right is a Chinese Fireball," said Charlie. Harry knew Krum had faced a Fireball in the tournament years ago. Albus and Rose looked at the dragon on the right. It was asleep. It was about thirty feet long, covered in scarlet scales with gold spikes around its face. "In the center here, we have a Antipodean Opaleye," said Charlie. Albus and Rose could see how different the Antipodean Opaleye was from the Chinese Fireball. It had scales that were a pearly white color, and it seemed to glow in the darkness. It was about the same size as the Fireball. "Now, here, we have the wild card," said Charlie. "If I had my way, we wouldn’t have brought this one at all, but they wanted one dragon who was significantly different than the other two to make the
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harrypotterfanfiction.com :: 65,000 Ha… random dragon selection mean something. Do you recognize the breed, Harry?"

"Hungarian Horntail," said Harry softly. He would never forget that breed. Albus and Rose could see this dragon was easily fifty feet long and breathing fire in an attempt to get away from the Dragon Keepers who were casting spells trying to calm it. It had black scales with bronze horns that looked almost gold in the torchlight. It had a horned tail and it looked very, very unhappy. "Yes," said Charlie. "I wish it were that simple though. "It’s not an ordinary Hungarian Horntail. It has a mutation." "What do you mean a mutation?" asked Ron. "One in about one hundred dragons is born with a mutation," said Charlie. "There are a number of different mutations. What we call the Withered Wings Mutation makes a dragon incapable of flight, having deformed wings. There are a number of others, but only one actually makes the dragon stronger by making it less susceptible to certain spells. This particular Hungarian Horntail has the Iron Eyes Mutation." "What the hell does that mean exactly," Rose blurted out, before clamping a hand securely over her own mouth. "My, your voice has changed, Ron," said Charlie with a smirk. Ron cleared his throat dramatically. "The Iron Eyes Mutation gives the dragon a second eyelid. It is completely clear, so it stays over it’s eyes constantly, and protects its eyes from any injury. The Conjunctivitis Curse is one of the most effective against dragons, but it won’t cause a dent in a dragon with the Iron Eyes Mutation. It also filters out any attempt to charm the dragon into a trance. It makes them really hard to handle. This one also happens to be particularly bad tempered and downright nasty." "Any suggestions with how to deal with these things in the competition?" asked Ron. Ron noticed Harry’s gaze was still fixed on the Horntail. "With the Opaleye and the Fireball, I would go with the Conjunctivitis Curse or try to charm it into a trance," said Charlie. "Either should give you enough time to get the Golden Egg." "And what about the Horntail?" asked Harry. "Well, you can try to distract it and get in and get out quickly," said Charlie. "Other than that?" asked Ron. "Don’t draw the Horntail," said Charlie. ~ At nine o’clock the next morning, after a sleepless night for both, Albus and Rose walked into classroom eleven where they were to meet and receive their instructions. After learning what they did from Uncle Charlie the previous night they went back to the common room. Albus carried Carly up and put her in her bed, while Rose and Danny said goodnight. Rose went to Albus’s dorm room and they talked for a good two hours before Rose finally went to her dorm to go to sleep. They had decided, whatever the competition would entail, they had to plan for the Horntail, and have the Conjunctivitis Curse as their backup, as neither was particularly good at trances. When Albus and Rose entered the classroom, the normal classroom desks had been removed. There
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harrypotterfanfiction.com :: 65,000 Ha… was a table, shaped like a half circle. On the flat side were six chairs, spaced so that it was obviously meant for the three teams of two in the competition. There were six more chairs spaced equally evenly on the rounded side of the table for the judges.

Albus and Rose were not the first to arrive. Sophie Leroy and Danielle Girard, the Beauxbatons Champions were already there, standing to one side of the room talking quietly. Rose had met Sophie Leroy after the Goblet of Fire selected them, but she had not met Danielle Girard, and Albus had not met either of them. "Hello, Sophie," said Rose. "This is Albus Potter, my cousin." "Nice to meet you, Mr. Potter," said Sophie. "Please call me, Al," said Albus shaking her hand. "This is my partner for the tournament, Danielle Girard," said Sophie. "Nice to meet you," said Danielle. When introductions were concluded, they stood in an uncomfortable silence for a moment, not sure what to say to their opposition. Before anyone could say anything, the door opened. In walked Cho Chang, Viktor Krum, and the Durmstrang Champions, Stefan Popov, and Anton Popov. "Good morning," said Cho. "As soon as the other judges arrive, we will begin." The Durmstrang Champions came over to where Albus and Rose stood with the champions from Beauxbatons and introduced themselves. Albus was surprised. They did not look particularly friendly, but seemed very personable. The door to the classroom opened again and Percy, Kingsley, Hermione, and Gabrielle entered. After greeting the champions, they all took their seats. "For the first task, scoring will be as follows," said Cho. "Each judge, and I remind you, at her request, Headmistress Weasley will not be judging, will award zero to ten points based on your performance, the total of your five scores will be your score for the first task. Are there any questions?" There were none. Albus and Rose glanced at each other, both thinking the same thing. They just wanted to know what they had to do. "All right, let’s go over the first task," said Cho. "Tomorrow at nine o’clock, you will all report to the tent that is being set up adjacent to the quidditch pitch. This tent is divided into five areas, a medical area, a common area, and an area for each team to prepare for your task. The order you will attempt the task will be the order in which the Goblet of Fire chose you. Each team will have to capture a Golden Egg being protected by a dragon. The egg contains your instructions for the next task without which, you cannot complete the next task. The dragon will be chained down with an unbreakable chain in the center of the pitch, so it cannot take off, but will have some slack to fly a short distance into the air. The pitch is being converted to a suitable environment, with large rocks and stone walls to provide you cover. You are allowed your wands, but cannot bring anything else. Once you have captured your egg, the Dragon Keepers will move in and restrain the dragon. Are there any questions?" "Is anyone allowed in the tents with us?" asked Rose. She was thinking about Danny and Carly. They would want to wait with them. "Yes," said Cho. "You are allowed one person each to stay with you while you wait for your turn. Are there any other questions?" None were forthcoming, so after a moment, Cho spoke again. "Good luck to all of you," said Cho. "We
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harrypotterfanfiction.com :: 65,000 Ha… will see you at nine o’clock tomorrow morning in the common area of the tent. Anyone you bring with you should remain in your area of the tent until just before your turn. Durmstrang’s task shall begin at ten o’clock sharp. There will be thirty minutes between each or your turns so the Dragon Keepers can move the dragons into place."

Albus and Rose headed directly to the Room of Requirement. They were planning to spend the day there strategizing. Danny and Carly were going to stay away so they could plan. Albus and Rose both knew this was not going to be easy. ~ Sunday morning came, and Albus, Rose, Carly, and Danny slowly walked toward the tent. Albus and Rose were dressed in their competition robes. They were in Gryffindor colors and each had their name on the back. Carly and Danny were wearing Muggle clothes. It was a little before nine o’clock. None of them were speaking. Everyone was too nervous. Rose and Albus thought they had come up with a good plan. They were confident, albeit afraid. They had a long talk after their planning about just how scared they were. They both felt better after they talked. The tent was fairly large. They entered through a small opening into the common area. No one else was there. On one side of the common area was an opening. It led through a short covered walkway to the pitch. Above the opening were the words, ‘Beyond This Place, There Be Dragons’. "That’s charming," said Albus. "As if they had to put up a sign." "Yeah," said Danny. "It’s not like we thought that was the bathroom." They all laughed, albeit halfheartedly. Another opening led deeper into the tent like a hallway. On the right side were three smaller areas, and on the left was the medical area. The medical area was fairly large, which made Carly even more nervous than she already was. It was as if they were expecting injuries. Once in their waiting area, Carly and Danny sat down. Enough chairs were provided for four people in each waiting area. Carly had taken a mild calming potion, but it was doing little to help her. Danny’s expression was just blank. "We’ll be right back," said Albus. "We won’t be long," added Rose. Albus and Rose headed to the common area. "Are you ready for this, Rose?" asked Albus. He wasn’t sure he was. "Ready as I’ll ever be," said Rose slowly. They entered the common area just before nine o’clock. The other champions were already there, but the judges had not arrived yet. The six champions stood there for a moment, before Stefan Popov spoke first. "I just want to wish all of you good luck. May the best team win," said Stefan. He seemed genuine, thought Albus. The others all echoed his sentiments, and they waited for the task to begin. The judges came in, and Rose could see the look of worry on her mother’s face. Hermione was afraid. She knew that Rose and Albus were strong and smart, and would be all right. The thought of her baby girl and a dragon though, was almost too much. "Welcome Champions," said Cho. She carried a small cloth bag. "Mr. Popov, please reach into this bag,
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harrypotterfanfiction.com :: 65,000 Ha… and pull out one of the dragons inside."

Stefan stepped forward and put his hand in the bag. He pulled out his hand, and held it open, revealing a small dragon moving around in the palm of his hand. It was scarlet. "The Chinese Fireball," said Cho. "Miss Leroy," said Cho. Sophie stepped forward and stuck her hand in the bag, pulling it out carrying a white dragon that was glowing slightly. "The Antipodean Opaleye," said Cho. "Miss Weasley," said Cho, holding the bag out to Rose. It was unnecessary, but Rose stuck her hand in the bag and pulled out the miniature Hungarian Horntail. "The Hungarian Horntail," said Cho. "Good luck to all of you. Please return to your own areas of the tent. At ten o’clock, the competition will begin with Durmstrang. Everyone except Hermione, Rose and Albus left the common area. Rose went to her mother who pulled her into a hug. "Be careful, Rose," whispered Hermione. "I love you." "I love you too, Mum," said Rose, holding her mother tight. Rose and Hermione broke apart. Hermione walked over to Albus. "Your Mum is not allowed in here, she asked me to give you this, and she pulled him into a hug. "Good luck, Al," said Hermione. Then she whispered in his ear, "I hate to ask you, but please look after my baby." They broke apart and Albus smiled and nodded to her. He and Rose headed for their area of the tent. "Well, luck doesn’t seem to be with us," said Albus. "Somehow, I expected that we would draw the Hungarian Horntail." "Yeah," said Rose. She had expected it as well. In fact, she had been sure of it, and she had no idea why. They returned to their area of the tent where Carly and Danny were waiting for them. Their plan was set, so they were just going to spend a while with the people they loved while they waited for their turn to begin. ~ Outside, the entire Potter and Weasley family was assembled. Not only those at Hogwarts, but all the extended family was in attendance as well. Bill, Fleur, Victoire, Teddy, George, Linda, Fred and his girlfriend Eileen, Percy’s wife Penelope and their son Ignatius, Arthur, and Molly were all there. Teddy and Victoire had traveled from France, and Bill and Fleur had returned from Egypt just in time to attend the first task. Harry, Ginny, Ron, Sirius, Neville, James, Lily, and Hugo all sat nervously. Lucy and Tommy sat next to James and Lily holding their hands. No one was talking. They were all far too nervous. Harry had ‘The Prophecy of the Twelve’ open on his lap, now enchanted to look to anyone else like a potions textbook. Nothing new had appeared. Harry was sure something would appear, he just didn’t know if he wanted to see what it would say. "Is the potion working?" asked Harry.
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harrypotterfanfiction.com :: 65,000 Ha… "I think so," said Ginny. "How do you feel Ron?"

"Look at the pretty dragon," said Ron with a dopey smile. He was completely oblivious to what was going on around him. "Can I have a dragon, Mommy?" Ginny turned to Harry. "At least he stopped shaking," said Ginny. "Maybe for the next task I’ll make the potion a little less potent." "Look at the pretty clouds," said Ron absently. "That one looks like a bunny rabbit." Ron pointed into the sky at a cloud that had no resemblance whatsoever to a bunny rabbit. "That might be a good idea," said Harry. "I think if the dragon came up to Ron right now, he would try to hug it." Harry would have laughed, but he didn’t find anything funny just then. Harry looked out at the pitch. The stands were full on both sides of the pitch. The Chinese Fireball was chained down in the center of the pitch next to its eggs, one of which was the Golden Egg. The grass of the pitch was gone, replaced by rough stone ground. Arranged randomly, were large boulders and short stone walls all over the pitch to provide cover for the champions. With the length of the chain, the dragon would just barely be able to reach the farthest barrier just inside the entrance from the champions’ tent. "Here come the judges," said Ginny nervously. "Its time." Harry put his arm around her and kissed her cheek. "It’s going to fine," said Harry trying to calm her fears which he felt. Ginny nodded, and rested her head on his shoulder. Cho, Kingsley, Percy, Hermione, Viktor, and Gabrielle all walked to the judges’ table. Even though she would not score the task, Hermione would stay with the judges, as she would participate if any discussion were necessary amongst the judges. It was just ten o’clock. A cannon sounded, and the two Durmstrang Champions came out of the tent. Cheers went up from the Durmstrang students in the crowd. The Chinese Fireball was sitting in front of the pile of eggs, and immediately roared at them. They ducked behind the nearest barrier just in time as the dragon sent a shaft of flame toward them. "Accio, my broom," said both of the Durmstrang Champions at once. Harry could see what they were trying to do immediately when they mounted their brooms and kicked off from the ground. They were trying very much the same thing he did in the Triwizard Tournament. They were flying around the dragon, trying to get him to take off. The dragon however, was not cooperating. It shot fire at the two broom riders, while they used Protego charms to block it. Finally, after nearly fifteen minutes, the uncooperative dragon spread it’s wings and flew into the air, still tethered to the ground by the chain. Stefan Popov started to fire stunning spells at the dragon, which did nothing but annoy it, but seemed to keep its attention. Meanwhile, with the dragon’s attention diverted, Anton Popov tried to swoop in and capture the Golden Egg. However, the dragon saw Anton, and turned away from Stefan. Anton managed to grab the egg, but the dragon landed heavily trying to stop him and damaged some of it’s own eggs in the process. Anton flew to meet his brother, and they landed by the judges’ table. Each judge held up a card, Cho seven, Kingsley eight, Percy eight, Viktor seven, and Gabrielle, eight. The judges conferred momentarily, including Hermione. "Your score for the first task is thirty-eight points," said Cho. "Your scores would have been higher, but it took far too long to retrieve the egg and the dragon damaged several of its eggs, which is a mandatory deduction." "Thank you," said Stefan and Anton with disappointed looks on their faces, though Krum seemed to give them a look that said ‘well done’. Stefan and Anton went and sat down in the stands to watch
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the other champions compete. Harry watched as the Chinese Fireball was calmed down and removed from the pitch by the dragon keepers. Harry looked back to the book in his lap, but there was still nothing new. The dragon keepers brought the Antipodean Opaleye in and chained it in place. A few minutes later, Sophie Leroy, and Danielle Girard emerged from the tent. Cheers were heard from the Beauxbatons students. The Opaleye did not appear to care that they were there, and just sat beside its pile of eggs looking rather bored. Sophie Leroy pointed her wand at the dragon, and cast the Conjunctivitis Curse. The dragon began to writhe in pain. Danielle, as Sophie continued to curse the dragon, ran to the eggs. Before she could pick up the Golden Egg, the dragon thrashed towards her knocking her to the ground, and causing Sophie to break her concentration for an instant. Sophie instinctively moved toward her fallen comrade, but the dragon chose this moment to roar, and then shoot flame at Sophie. She managed to duck behind a stone wall, as the flames passed. She was just slightly too slow and the back of her robe was burned. Danielle was not badly hurt, just bruised. She managed to get the egg while the dragon was occupied with Sophie and then Danielle got away. As Danielle made her way to the judges’ table and the dragon keepers calmed the Opaleye, Sophie was taken to the medical area of the tent. Her burns were not severe according to the Healer who tended to her. Each judge held up a card, Cho nine, Kingsley eight, Percy nine, Viktor eight, and Gabrielle, seven. The judges conferred momentarily, including Hermione. "Your score for the first task is forty-one points," said Cho. "Due to Miss Leroy’s injury, there is a mandatory deduction." Danielle smiled a little. She thought they would do better. She headed into the tent to check on Sophie’s condition. Harry just looked on. He knew what was coming next. He closed his eyes for a moment and under his breath he said, "I wish you were here Professor." ~ In the tent, Carly sat on Albus’s lap, clinging to him in one chair, while Danny and Rose each sat in a chair holding hands. They knew it would be time soon. Suddenly, they heard a commotion in the hallway of the tent. The four of them rushed to the hallway to see Sophie Leroy being carried on a stretcher. They could smell burned flesh. "She’ll be fine," said one of the Healers, seeing the four of them. "It really isn’t that bad. Some burnhealing paste and she’ll be as good as new." The four of them watched as Sophie was taken into the medical area. They returned to their seats, knowing they had less than half an hour. After a few long minutes, Albus broke the silence. "You two should go take yours seats now," said Albus. He knew saying goodbye was going to be hard, and he and Rose needed time to prepare themselves mentally for what they had to do. Danny and Rose both stood, and Danny pulled Rose into a hug. "Be careful," Danny whispered in her ear. "I will," said Rose. "I love you, Danny." "I love you too, Rose," said Danny.
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harrypotterfanfiction.com :: 65,000 Ha… Danny leaned down and kissed her, then kissed her neck for a few moments, causing her to shudder. She really loved it when he did that.

"There’s more of that for you later," whispered Danny. Rose smiled. "I’ll look forward to it, love," said Rose. "Try not to worry." Carly had not moved from Albus’s lap. She didn’t want to let go him. "Do I really have to go?" asked Carly. "Yes love," said Albus. "I’m sorry." Carly slowly got up. Albus did as well and pulled her into a hug. "Don’t forget, you made me a promise," said Carly as a few tears fell from her eyes. "Have I ever broken one yet," asked Albus with a smile as he brushed her tears away. "No," said Carly mustering a weak smile. "You haven’t." "And I never will," said Albus. Albus wished he felt as confident as he sounded. "Will you do something for me, Al?" asked Carly. He nodded. She reached behind her neck and unclasped the necklace she had worn since her eleventh birthday. "Wear this." "Of course," said Albus. She fastened the necklace around his neck. Albus kissed Carly, and Carly joined Danny by the door. "Good luck," said Danny, and he and Carly left to take their seats. As they left Carly thought back to the nightmare she had two nights earlier and again last night. It was a terrible nightmare, and even worse to think of it right now. She did not know where such an awful thing had come from. For a moment, she considered running back to Albus, but she knew she couldn’t. She pushed it out of her mind. Albus and Rose each sat back down. Albus was thinking of the book. His father had told them that it talked about them, saying that their trial had begun. He knew his father would be checking it during the task. Rose had something she needed to say. "Al, before we do this, I have to say something," said Rose, but Albus cut her off before he could continue. "Rose, I swear, if you say you’re sorry one more time, or if you dare say anything remotely like ‘goodbye’, the dragon will be the least of your problems," said Albus in a tone half way between stern and mocking. Rose laughed. "All right, Al," said Rose. "No more apologies." Albus really couldn’t listen to her apologize again, and if she said ‘goodbye’, as if one of them wouldn’t make it, he was sure he would cry. He just couldn’t do that right now. Twenty minutes later, a ministry official came and told them it was time. They walked to the common area, and under the sign that said ‘Beyond This Place, There Be Dragons’. They were still standing inside the walkway. Rose stopped walking. "What is it?" asked Albus. Rose hugged him tightly for a moment. "Thank you for being my best friend, Al," said Rose. "I don’t
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know what I’d do without you." Albus smiled. ""That cuts both ways, Rose," said Albus. "Now, let’s go teach this bloody dragon whose boss." Albus and Rose walked out onto the pitch, and there was a deafening cheer, louder than any quidditch match they had ever been to at Hogwarts. It was as loud as the World Cup they had been to a few years ago. For a moment, Albus caught a glimpse of his family up in the stands. Carly was sitting next to his father. Before he had a chance to think anymore, he heard it. The dragon roared and shot a stream of fire at them. Rose and Albus each dove a different direction, Albus behind a short stone wall, and Rose behind a large boulder. Each immediately began to execute their plan. "Accio my rucksack," said Rose, swishing her wand in the air. "Accio Dad’s Firebolt," said Albus. Albus was careful to use his wand as he did so, even though it was unnecessary. The dragon roared again, and reigned fire down where he knew they were hiding. The boulder and stone wall protected them. A moment later, Rose caught her rucksack as it sailed toward her. She opened it and removed her Uncle’s Invisibility Cloak. She threw the cloak over her and cautiously moved down the pitch. The dragon was still spitting fire towards where Albus was, but had stayed rooted to the spot next to the eggs. She got as close as she dared, and then waited for Albus to do his part. After Albus saw Rose put on the Invisibility Cloak, he knew it was his turn. He waited a moment, and as soon as his father’s Firebolt was in his hand, he jumped on it and flew into the air. The Hungarian Horntail continued to send streams of fire at him, but between Protego shields and his adept flying skill, he was avoiding the flames completely. After two minutes, the dragon still hadn’t left the ground, Albus decided to do something to entice it off the ground. He pointed his wand at the dragon, "Stupefy," said Albus. It worked, and the Horntail flew into the air to the length of its chain. It was a very unhappy dragon. Rose, seeing the Horntail in the air ran toward the eggs. She grabbed the Golden Egg, pulled it under the Invisibility Cloak and ran back towards the tent entrance. The next several minutes would be the longest of Albus’s life. The Dragon pulled hard on the chain. The chain pulled out of the ground, and snapped up violently, hitting the Horntail in the head, causing it to come crashing to the ground. As the dragon thrashed, it whipped its tail around. Rose never saw it coming. Those who witnessed it would later say it wasn’t the sound of the dragon’s tail hitting Rose, or her soul piercing scream as she flew through the air, but the sickening crunch that was heard when she hit one of the boulders that told them she was dead. Rose slid off the rock into a heap, the Invisibility Cloak sliding off of her as she fell. She still had the Golden Egg clutched in her arms. She did not move at all. Albus watched the scene in horror. Rose wasn’t moving. The Horntail turned towards her and was about to pounce. Albus sent stunning spell after stunning spell at the dragon finally getting its attention, before it went after Rose. Suddenly Albus realized the Horntail wasn’t tied down any longer. Albus turned his broom and shot away. A few moments later, the Horntail was right behind him. The dragon was as fast as his father’s Firebolt. Albus could feel its roars and the beat of its wings behind him. Albus bobbed and weaved as he flew out over the Forbidden Forest. He was just barely staying ahead of the dragon, and would have been caught already if not for the incredible speed and maneuverability of his father’s Firebolt.
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Suddenly Albus felt a talon slash open his back. He knew he was cut open and the pain was excruciating, but he had to ignore it. He continued to fly, just barely staying on his broom. He couldn’t think what to do. It was all he could do to stay ahead of the dragon. Albus needed a weapon. He turned back towards the castle with the Horntail right behind him. As he approached the castle, he summoned the only weapon he could think of. "Accio Sword of Gryffindor," yelled Albus pointing his hand at the castle. Albus was approaching the castle fast, and saw the window shatter as the sword flew through it. Using every bit of seekers prowess he possessed he grabbed the sword out of the air and continued over the castle, with the Horntail right behind him. Now that Albus had the sword, he had to figure out a way to use it. Unfortunately, the Horntail didn’t give him a chance. Albus turned towards the lake, and flew low over the water, hoping the Horntail wouldn’t try to fly too low over the water, and he could get some distance between them. Albus was wrong. Out over the lake, the Horntail got a talon on him again. The force threw Albus from the Firebolt, and he flew through the air, landing in shallow water hard, on the far side of the lake. The Horntail landed behind him creating a huge splash, and it raised its massive head high into the air. Albus looked up, barely able to move, knowing he had broken at least one leg if not both, and a number of ribs. All he could think was that he had to raise the sword, which he thought was still in his hand, but he couldn’t be sure, he was very disoriented, and unable to look away from the dragon’s head above him. The dragon looked down on him, and Albus knew what was about to happen. The dragon roared, and opened its huge mouth, bearing its massive razor sharp fangs. It brought its head toward Albus. Its fangs were heading right for him. Only two thoughts went through Albus’s mind as the jaws of death itself moved ever closer to him. Before his world went black he thought, ‘Please let Rose be all right’ and ‘Carly, I’m so sorry.’ Chapter 21: Chapter 21 - A Little Firewhiskey Goes A Long Way [View Online] [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter] Chapter 21 – A Little Firewhiskey Goes A Long Way Albus was flying. It was warm, and he could feel the sun on his face, and the wind in his hair. It was calming. He always loved to fly. The strange thing was, Albus always flew on a broom, but he didn’t seem to have one. Was he flying himself, he wondered? He knew levitating charms, but actually flying? Nothing seemed to be holding him up. What was keeping him off the ground? It was then, for the first time he looked down. There was no ground. Albus realized all around him was endless sky. Or was it sky? It seemed like sky a moment ago, but now he wasn’t sure. What appeared to be blue sky with puffy white clouds, now seemed to fade together. He seemed to be floating in a white mist. It was all very confusing. Suddenly, the sensation of flight left him. He was lying on something. It felt like grass. He realized his eyes were closed, and he opened them. Everything was fuzzy. He sat up, as things started to come into focus a little, but he still couldn’t tell where he was. He was wearing jeans, and his favorite jumper. It was the one Carly gave him last year for his birthday. The thought of Carly made him smile.
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As he turned his head, he realized he was wearing something around his neck. He reached up and felt a necklace. Carly’s necklace. Why was he wearing Carly’s necklace he wondered? He tried to remember anything before the sensation of flight, but he couldn’t seem to. Albus sat another moment, as things came into better focus. He realized he was at Hogwarts. He was near Hagrid’s house, sitting in the grass. Albus pulled himself to his feet. He felt tired, and he ached all over, his head throbbed, and he was nauseous. He had never had such a headache in his life. The throbbing was like a heard of hippogriffs stampeding through his head. Albus’s left hand felt strange, like it didn’t belong to him or something. He flexed it and it seemed to move all right. Must just be his imagination, Albus thought. Something else was off, but he couldn’t put his finger on it. He just didn’t feel like himself. Albus looked around. Something was definitely wrong. Nothing felt right at all. Then Albus realized Hagrid’s house was gone. Albus took a few steps towards where Hagrid’s house should have been. He tripped on something, and went sprawling to the ground. He slowly picked himself up, the fall doing nothing for his aches and pains, or his headache. He looked down to find six empty firewhiskey bottles. He had tripped over one of them. Albus looked back to Hagrid’s house, not completely comprehending any of what he was seeing. All that was left of Hagrid’s house was the foundation, and that was overgrown with weeds. How could this be? Then Albus started to look around. His head was getting a little bit clearer. The grounds were a mess. It looked like no one had maintained them in years. Albus decided to head to the castle and find out what was going on. When he reached the main doors, he got a shock like he had never had in his entire life. The doors appeared to have been blasted off their hinges. It didn’t look recent, it must have happened years ago, but that was impossible. Albus suddenly felt panicked. He ran into the castle. He looked in the Great Hall. It looked like a battle had taken place a long time ago. He checked Gryffindor Tower, his parents’ quarters. It was all destroyed and deserted. Something terrible had happened here, and it hadn’t happened recently. Albus ran back outside of the castle, fell to his knees, and got sick. What was going on? What had happened here? He tried to think of the last thing he remembered before he woke up, but he couldn’t remember anything. "I told you we would find him here," came a voice from above him. Albus looked up. "Sirius? Neville? What…what the hell happened to you? Sirius…what happened to your eye?" asked Albus in disbelief. Sirius and Neville stood before him, but in a state in which he had never seen them before. They looked like their clothes, not to mention themselves, had not been washed in months. They were so thin Albus thought they would fall down where they stood. Sirius wore an eye patch over his left eye. He wore a sword in a sheath on his back. A dagger was sheathed in his belt. Neville carried a sword on his back as well, and a hatchet hung from his belt. It was only now, Albus realized, how much older they both looked, years older, many years older. "You know, Al, a little firewhiskey goes along way," said Sirius. "Did you have to drink the whole case at once?" "What are you talking about?" asked Albus confusedly. "I’ve never even tried Firewhiskey."
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"You don’t expect me to believe you don’t remember drinking that whole case of firewhiskey, do you?" asked Sirius. "The bottles are over there on the ground." Sirius looked at Albus. "Al, don’t you remember that I lost my eye in the battle at the Ministry. That was nearly fourteen years ago, and you were right beside me the whole time. You and Neville apparated me out after I was hit." Albus was still kneeling on the ground. He tried to get up, but fell on his backside. What was going on? Fourteen years? Albus was sure he had gone completely mad. "I wasn’t in a battle fourteen years ago," said Albus, nearly pleading with them to make sense. "I was three years old…and you were dead." "He must have drunk a lot more than one case," said Neville shaking his head. Neville walked over to him and pulled him to his feet, he held on to Albus to steady him. "How old do you think you are, Al?" "I turned seventeen this past summer," said Albus, confusion dripping from his voice. "What is going on?" Neville looked at Sirius. "He’s drunk himself back to before it happened," said Neville. The look on Neville’s face turned to one of longing. "I wish I could do that." Sirius walked up to Albus. "Al, what’s the last thing you remember?" asked Sirius. Albus thought. Then, slowly, it came to him. "The Triwizard Tournament," said Albus. "Rose and I were in the tournament. We were trying to steal the Golden Egg from the Hungarian Horntail." Sirius and Neville looked at each other for a moment. "We better show him," said Sirius softly. "There’s no point putting it off." "Do we have to?" asked Neville with a pained expression. "Maybe he’s better off like this. I know I would be better off…if I didn’t know." "You know he’ll remember eventually, Neville," said Sirius shaking his head sadly. "Not even firewhiskey can make it go away for good. Best to get it over with." "Somebody tell me what the hell is going on," screamed Albus as he ripped himself from Neville’s grasp. "Where is everyone? Carly. I want to see Carly right now!" "Easy, Al," said Sirius, a look of terrible sadness on his face. "Come on, we have to show you something. Then we’ll explain." Sirius started to walk and Albus followed him. Neville was following behind him. Albus felt like they didn’t want to give him a chance to run. What was going on? He was so confused. Albus just wanted to see Carly. Whatever was going on, it would be all right as long as she was with him. They were walking, Albus realized, toward the pitch. As they came around the castle, what he saw made him gasp. Neville grabbed his shoulder from behind, but they didn’t stop walking. The pitch was gone. Just a field of overgrown grass remained. No stands, no locker rooms. In the center of the field was some kind of statue. As they got closer to the statue, Albus could see it was a large bronze statue of a phoenix with its wings outstretched. When they got close, he could see there was a plaque covered in dirt on the base of the statue. Sirius drew his wand and cleaned the dirt from the plaque. "Read it, Al," said Neville softly. Albus read the plaque.
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For all of those who died, November 26, 2023, they shall live on in our hearts forever. We shall never forget them. "That was the day of the first task of the Triwizard Tournament," said Albus absently. "That was fifteen years ago today, Al" said Sirius softly. Albus looked from Sirius to Neville and back. He really didn’t comprehend what they were telling him. He thought about the state of the grounds. Could it have been fifteen years? That wouldn’t explain the state of the school. Albus looked down at the ground and realized the jumper he was wearing was faded, dirty, and tattered on the edges. Carly had given it to him last year, but it looked years old. How could this be true? This had to be some kind of dream. No, some kind of nightmare. "That’s impossible," said Albus shaking his head. "This can’t be. My Dad will know what’s going on. Where is he?" "No, Al," said Neville with his bottom lip trembling. "It’s true. Believe me, I’ve wished it weren’t every day for the last fifteen years." "When Rose was struck by the dragon, you tried to draw it away," said Sirius. "It did follow you, and it caught you in the shallow part of the lake. You killed it with the Sword of Gryffindor. How you survived it’s jaws clamping down on you, losing just your left hand, I still don’t know. It was a miracle." "My hand," said Albus in disbelief. Albus looked at his hand. Could it be this was true and that is why it didn’t feel right? "It’s not real, Al," said Neville shaking his head. "It’s magical. It works just like your real hand though. You’ve always said it doesn’t feel quite right." Albus just stared at them mouth open. "Al, there is more," said Sirius with a sigh. "Before the Horntail followed you, it flew into the air, and we gathered around Rose on the pitch, to see if there was anything we could do." Sirius paused, a tear escaping his eye and his voice becoming more strained with each word he spoke. "The Horntail landed again before it followed you. It happened so fast. It was barely a moment and it was all over. Read the names, Al." Albus suddenly felt as if his blood had turned to ice water. He turned and looked at the plaque and read the list of names upon it. Gabrielle Dubois Eileen Edmonds Danny Finnigan Victoire Lupin Teddy Lupin Tommy Morgan Ginevra Potter
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Harry Potter James Potter Lily Potter Lucy Roux Arthur Weasley Bill Weasley Fleur Weasley Fred Weasley George Weasley Hermione Weasley Hugo Weasley Ignatius Weasley Linda Weasley Molly Weasley Penelope Weasley Percy Weasley Ron Weasley Rose Weasley Albus stood in shock. It couldn’t be. Everyone he loved, his whole family, was dead. They had been dead for fifteen years. "Neville and I just made it out," said Sirius. "Kingsley, Cho, and Krum just made it as well. I still don’t know how we made it." Neville was looking at the statue. "I still carry the ring," said Neville in a haunted, dead tone. "I was going to ask Gabrielle to marry me." Albus’s heart was pounding. His parents, James, Lily, Rose, Hugo, all his aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandparents, were all dead. He couldn’t wrap his mind around it. Nightmare didn’t begin to describe this. Then Albus realized as he stood there staring at the names, that there was one name missing. "What happened to Carly?" asked Albus, in a near panic. Sirius and Neville were both quiet. "What happened to Carly," Albus bellowed as he grabbed a hold of Sirius’s shirt and shook him. "Tell me! Tell me where she is! I have to see her!" Neville grabbed Albus by the shoulders and held him. "We grabbed her and pulled her away just in time," said Sirius, but his voice betrayed something, but Albus wasn’t sure what it was. "She’s alive," said Albus. "Take me to her! I have to see her now. Please take me to her." All Albus
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"We…we can’t, Al," said Sirius with tears in his eyes. "You were in the hospital for months. We tried to help her through it. We stayed with her night and day. She was sure you were never going to wake up. Everyone else was dead. It was too much for her. She…" "What happened to her?" screamed Albus. "Tell me! Tell me what happened!" "She jumped off the roof of St. Mungo’s," said Sirius, as tears slid freely down his face. "I’m so sorry, Al. We tried to stop her, but we were too late." The pain in Sirius’s voice was evident, but Albus couldn’t hear it. She was gone. Carly was dead. For a moment, his mind raced, then he felt himself start to fall, then nothing. ~ Albus opened his eyes and sat bolt up right. "Where am I!" yelled Albus. "Carly! Carly! Where are you?" "Easy," said Sirius, grabbing him by the shoulders and laying him back down. "You’re home, Number Twelve Grimmauld Place." For a moment, Albus was going to say this wasn’t his home. Then he remembered waking up at Hogwarts and talking to Sirius and Neville. Everyone he loved was dead. Carly was dead. The nightmare was real. "Do you remember anything from the last fifteen years?" asked Neville who was seated on the other side of the bed from Sirius. He wore an expression of deepest sympathy. "No," said Albus in a breathless whisper. "Nothing. Please, tell me what’s happened. Sirius, you mentioned a battle at the Ministry. Even if…they all died…surely the school wouldn’t have been closed." "Maybe we should wait until you are stronger," said Neville. "No, " said Albus. "Please tell me." Albus needed to know what else had happened. He couldn’t stand not knowing. "All right," said Sirius slowly. "Seven months after the first task of the tournament, Voldemort attacked Hogwarts with Death Eaters. He killed almost everyone, students, teachers, and poor Hagrid. Hagrid didn’t even fight back. He was devastated by what happened and spent seven months drunk out of his mind." Sirius shook his head as if to try and clear the memory from his mind. "We, the three of us, managed to flee to the Ministry for help, but when we got there, we found Death Eaters ransacking the place. We tried to fight our way to the Minister’s office to get Kingsley, but he was already dead. While we tried to escape, I was hit with a spell. That’s how I lost my eye. You and Neville got me back here. That was the day the war started." "War?" asked Albus. "We went to war with Voldemort?" "Yes," said Sirius, "I’m afraid so. For nearly a year, we all fought. We kept losing ground and people as Voldemort gained more and more followers. Then…" Sirius stopped and looked away. "What happened?" asked Albus. What else could there possibly be? "Al…you quit," said Neville. There was an edge to Neville’s voice, but at the same time, understanding. "I…quit?" asked Albus in confusion. "What do you mean I…quit?"
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harrypotterfanfiction.com :: 65,000 Ha… "You came to me one day, and said you weren’t fighting Voldemort anymore," said Sirius. "You could not do it any longer. You had nothing left to fight for and you didn’t care anymore. Then you gave me this." Sirius reached for the handle of the sword sheathed on his back. He pulled it out. It was only now Albus realized it was the Sword of Gryffindor. He hadn’t noticed the jeweled handle. "You have lived here alone since then. The fighting is mostly up north. London belongs to him, and he doesn’t concern himself with anyone who isn’t fighting against him."

"We’ve visited you every year on the anniversary," said Neville with a sigh. "When we got here this morning, and you weren’t here, we went looking for you. We found six empty bottles of firewhiskey here, enough to knock out a hippogriff. We thought you might have gone to Hogwarts. That’s where we found you and the rest of the case, empty. With all the firewhiskey you’ve drunk over the years, you’ve built up a bit of immunity. Twelve bottles should have killed you." "Let me up," said Albus. "He pushed Sirius aside and swung his legs over the side of the bed. He was about to get up but stopped. Sitting on the nightstand, were the two pictures he always kept by his bed. The picture Carly had given him that first Christmas of them kissing at the Halloween Dance, and the picture of Carly at the top of the Ferris wheel on her seventeenth birthday. He took them in his hands. All he wanted was to hold her, to talk to her, run his fingers through her beautiful red hair. He just wanted to kiss her one last time. But he couldn’t. She had been dead for fifteen years. They had all been dead for fifteen years. Albus placed the pictures back on the nightstand. He forced himself to stand, every bone in his body ached, and he still had a pounding headache. He still didn’t remember any of the last fifteen years, but he was thankful for that. He limped to the dresser and looked in the mirror. There was no denying it. He looked much older than thirty-two. He had a beard and a scar on his left cheek. He hadn’t even realized that before. For a moment, he just stared at his own reflection. "How could I have done that," said Albus absently. "How could I quit fighting, when that bastard was still out there hurting people?" Sirius put a hand on Albus’s shoulder. "Don’t be too hard on yourself, Al," said Sirius reassuringly. "It was hell for you. When you woke up we had to tell you everyone was gone. You tried three times to kill yourself in the first few months. I was amazed you lasted as long as you did in the war. It was terrible, constantly losing ground, losing people who we had fought beside. We are only barely holding out now. We don’t blame you for walking away." "Is Voldemort still out there?" asked Albus, already knowing the answer. "Yes," said Neville. "We are still fighting Voldemort’s Death Eaters, but he has complete control over Britain and most of Europe. He is so strong now. I don’t know that we can ever stop him. All we can do is hope for a miracle." How could this have happened? Almost everyone he ever cared about was gone, and he had quit. That bastard was still out there hurting people, and he walked away. What kind of a person was he? He had nearly died to save his family once, but when the rest of the world was in danger, he walked away? What kind of person does that? Albus pulled back his left fist and punched his reflection, shattering the mirror. He couldn’t stomach looking at himself for another second. He was disgusted with himself. He never thought he could be such a coward. Albus went back and sat on the bed for a minute, and looked at his left hand. It barely hurt, and didn’t bleed. It wasn’t real. Nothing was real to him anymore. Albus knew he had to do something. "Sirius, can I have the Sword of Gryffindor back?" asked Albus softly. Neville swallowed hard. "You won’t hurt yourself, will you?" asked Neville concernedly.
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"No," said Albus shaking his head. "There isn’t anything left that can hurt me more than I have already been hurt." Sirius and Neville looked at each other a moment. "It’s yours," said Sirius. "I’ve been keeping it warm for you." Sirius handed him the sword. Albus picked up the pictures off his nightstand. He slowly removed them from their frames. He looked at them for a moment, watching Carly blow him a kiss atop a Ferris wheel a lifetime ago. He slipped them in the pocket of his jeans. Albus lay the Sword of Gryffindor on his bed and hugged each of them in turn. They were the last of his family. Sirius and Neville each hugged him back. "I’m going to stop Voldemort," said Albus as he picked up the Sword of Gryffindor. "Do you know where he is?" "Yes," said Sirius. "His headquarters was built on the remains of the Ministry." "Then let’s go," said Albus. "Al, if you want revenge," began Neville, but Albus cut him off. "You think I want revenge, Neville?" asked Albus leaping up from the bed. "Revenge won’t bring them back. It won’t bring Carly back to me. Revenge will get me nothing! I HAVE NOTHING!" Tears now fell freely from Albus’s eyes. "If it was about revenge, I never could have stopped. I never could have quit. I’m going to do what I should have done a long time ago. I’m going to make sure he can never harm another living soul." "Al, you can’t just go after him," said Neville. "We need a plan, and more help. He has thousands of Death Eaters. We’re with you to the end, but we have to be smart about this." "No, Neville," said Albus emphatically. "I’m going now. I’m going to make damn sure he never hurts anyone again, ever." Albus turned and pushed past them. He heard them behind him, telling him to wait, but he paid them no heed. He descended the stairs and walked out the front door and into the street in front of Number Twelve Grimmauld Place. He began to walk toward the Ministry. He didn’t think he was strong enough to apparate without splinching himself. Suddenly the ground shook and he fell, landing hard on his shoulder. He turned over, realizing that something huge was standing over him, blocking out the sun. Then he realized what had knocked him from his feet. Standing over him was the Hungarian Horntail. It roared, and brought its open mouth towards him. Albus screamed. Chapter 22: Chapter 22 - The Healer and The Henchman [View Online] [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter] Chapter 22 – The Healer and The Henchman Harry kept his eyes closed until the crowd began to cheer and he opened his eyes to see Albus and Rose emerging from the tent. He saw the Horntail shoot flames at them, and looked down for a moment, with his eyes closed again, not wanting to see. It was just a few moments later he opened his eyes. It was then that he saw the words in the book that had not been there before.
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The Trials Commence. The Heir shall face a great beast, and only if he is found worthy, will he rise like the phoenix from the ashes for the second time, but a price he will pay. Only The Healer can save The Sage. Harry barely had a minute to think about what it said, when he heard the loud "crack" as the chain that held the dragon came free from the ground. He watched the Horntail crash to the ground. It was barely seconds later that Rose’s soul piercing scream filled his ears followed by a sickening crunch as she crashed into a boulder and slid into a heap. He saw the Horntail turn towards Rose and Albus fire stunners at it. Harry saw the massive beast rise into the air, chasing after Albus. People in the stands were screaming. It was bedlam as people tried to run from the stands afraid the dragon would return. Only the members of the Weasley and Potter families and their friends rushed onto the pitch. Harry in his mind was screaming at himself, ‘help Albus, help Albus’, but somehow he couldn’t. As he and his family around him ran to where Rose had fallen, they stopped frozen in their tracks. Hermione was already their, cradling her daughter in her arms. There was no question, Rose was dead. "No," screamed Hermione, an agonizing scream Harry would never forget. "Please no! This can’t be happening!" Ron dropped down beside her, the potion having worn off, crying uncontrollably over his fallen little girl. Harry never saw anything like it before. Rose’s legs were at odd angles, obviously both broken, as were her arms. Rose’s neck was clearly broken, and the side of her head was one big bruise. Her eyes were open, and vacant of life. Her once brown hair was now caked in blood. Harry had seen a lot of terrible things in his life, but this was one of the worst. Harry stood there in shock, and looked around him. Carly had fainted at the sight of Rose’s body, caught by James who was setting her on the ground as Lucy helped him. Danny knelt down, on the other side of Rose, opposite Hermione and Ron. As he took the hand of the woman he loved and held it to his face, a look as if a Dementor had ripped his very soul from his body was etched onto Danny’s face. The other judges, Healers, and some of the Dragon Keepers stood around them as well, in complete shock. The sounds of screaming and crying were all around, and Harry felt as though he would die where he stood. Then he remembered the words of the book. ‘Only The Healer can save The Sage.’ As the words filled his mind, he looked and saw as Lily pull herself out of Tommy’s arms. Her eyes were vacant as if she was in a trance. She stepped forward from the group and fell to her knees next to Hermione at Rose’s head. She placed her hands on Rose’s head and a moment later there was a brilliant flash of light knocking them all to the ground. A moment later, Harry picked himself up off the ground. A Healer had crawled to Rose, and was holding a wand over her. Hermione, Ron, Danny, and Lily, had been blasted back by the flash. Harry could not believe what he was seeing. Rose’s broken limbs now appeared to be straight. Her head no longer sat at an odd angle from her body, and the bruising on her face was gone, leaving her as beautiful as she ever was. Only the blood in her hair indicated anything had happened to her. "She’s alive, but just barely," said the Healer in shock. "We have to get her to St. Mungo’s fast, I’m not sure she will make it to get there. I’m not sure why she’s breathing now." "Her too," said another Healer, who Harry now saw holding a wand over Lily. "She’s just as weak, barely breathing." Harry’s head was spinning. Out of reflex he grabbed Ginny before she could run to Lily. "Let the healers
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harrypotterfanfiction.com :: 65,000 Ha… do their work," said Harry breathlessly as he released the breath he didn’t realize he had been holding.

Ginny looked up at him with fearful eyes, tears streaming down her face. She nodded. She knew he was right. As he looked into her eyes, at the same moment, they both had the same thought. ‘What happened to Albus?’ ~ Harry Potter paced back and fourth in front of the fireplace in the chamber behind the Great Hall. All the portraits in the room were empty. When he entered and the portraits had all asked at once what happened he screamed at them. None of them had returned since. Harry could barely wrap his mind around what had happened to his family just three hours ago. His world had come crashing down around him. All he wanted to do was be with Ginny, James, and Carly right now, but he couldn’t. There was something he had to do first. Harry had to know who had done this to his family. Harry had reasoned that someone had to have tampered with the unbreakable chain that held the dragons. It was the only explanation. How they had made sure Albus and Rose would get the Horntail, he didn’t know. Only the Dragon Keepers had access to the chains and pitch. It had to be one of them. He would start there. The door opened, and in walked Kingsley. His face was grim and his jaw was set. "Harry, you don’t have to do this now," said Kingsley. "I can have an Auror do it. You should be with your family." "Yes I do have to do this," snapped Harry. Harry took a breath. "I’m sorry, Kingsley. I have to know why this happened, and I am not leaving it in anyone else’s hands, especially not that moron Williams. He’s done enough. Do you have any more information on what happened?" "Yes, Harry," said Kingsley walking over towards him. "First, I am so very sorry. Cho, Viktor, and Gabrielle feel awful as well. Percy is beside himself. We have already delayed the second task until spring. It was originally to take place in December." "You mean it won’t be canceled?" asked Harry in astonishment. "How can you not cancel it, three people are…" Harry stopped. "I’m sorry, it can’t be canceled," said Kingsley with a sigh. His voice indicated how badly he felt. "If I could, I would cancel it." Harry closed his eyes for a moment. He had expected this. Nothing would cancel the Triwizard Tournament. "I know," said Harry. "Binding magical contract garbage and all that crap. If not for that, my children wouldn’t be…" Harry couldn’t finish the sentence. Harry composed himself. "I’m sorry, Kingsley." "Quite all right," said Kingsley with an understanding smile. "You are more than entitled to be upset." After a silent moment, Kingsley returned to the issue at hand. "I had ordered Williams to provide a large contingent of Aurors, Hit Wizards, and members of the Magical Law Enforcement Squad to be at the task in case anything happened, but he had less than ten Aurors standing by. If we had more Aurors, we could have done something when the dragon got loose. As it was, those who were here had all they could do to control the crowd. Fortunately, a number of Order of the Phoenix members were attending the task. I have relieved Williams of duty permanently, and named Hanna Abbott, Head Auror in his place." "Good," said Harry with a nod. "She is an excellent choice. She will do a wonderful job. Has she found anything?"
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"Yes," said Kingsley. "The chain was sabotaged, enchanted to break when enough force was applied. The Horntail was much stronger than the other two dragons, and was able to break the chain. You were right. This was not an accident." The thought that he had been right didn’t give Harry any comfort. He had almost hoped it was an accident. "Charlie has gone over the list of Dragon Keepers with Hanna," said Kingsley. "Six Dragon Keepers made the trip with each dragon. Another six, including Charlie came to set up the pitch and holding areas ahead of the others. Eliminating Charlie leaves twenty-three suspects. Three of them and Charlie have shared a flat for nearly fifteen years. They are best friends and Charlie knows they can’t be involved." "And what about the rest of them?" asked Harry. "Well, eliminating them brings the number of suspects down to twenty," said Kingsley. "Twelve others are senior Dragon Keepers, having worked for years at the Dragon Reservation with Charlie. It doesn’t seem possible it could be any of them. Dragon Keepers are a fairly close knit group and Charlie doesn’t feel they could have done it." "So that leaves eight," said Harry. "Yes," said Kingsley. "Charlie doesn’t know any of them well enough to eliminate them. All have worked on the Dragon Reservation for less than a year." "What are their names?" asked Harry, as he stared into the flames. "Let’s see," said Kingsley, removing a small piece of parchment from his pocket and unfolding it. "They are Leon Burr from Germany, Jonas Olsen from Norway, Sara and Emma Andersen from Denmark, Marek Nowak from Poland, Jeffrey Andrews from Britain, Joshua Taylor from Britain, and Amy Quinn from Ireland." "Do we know anything about them?" asked Harry. "Hanna has been over their records," said Kingsley. "We have complete histories on everyone working on the tournament. All had thorough background checks. We can’t find anything that even suggest any of them would do this." Harry knew one of them was responsible for this. He intended to find out which one it was, and why they had done it. "Now that we have a list of suspects, how do you want to handle this?" asked Kingsley. "I can have them interrogated." "No," said Harry shaking his head. "Have them brought to the Great Hall. I will interrogate them myself." "Harry…" began Kingsley, but he didn’t get another word out. "No, Kingsley," said Harry emphatically. "I’m going to find out which one of them it was that did this. I have a plan. Please send Hanna in to see me. I need her to do a few things." Kingsley nodded and left Harry alone. Harry continued to stare into the flames. He would do whatever he had to do to uncover the truth. If his plans didn’t work, he knew there was always the Cruciatus Curse. Unforgivable or not, he would have answers.
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~ Harry entered the Great Hall. The eight Dragon Keepers were seated in a semi circle of chairs. Harry walked up in front of them. He looked at each of them in turn with a gaze that would have made a dragon cower in fear. There were five men and three women. All looked a little afraid. They should have been a lot afraid. Harry had worked over the years to become an accomplished Occlumens and Legilimens. He only used Legilimency in extreme situations, and this was such an occasion. "Legilimens," said Harry. Harry suddenly realized someone was shielding all of the Dragon Keepers’ thoughts from him. He could force his way into their minds, but that could have caused them injury, and he knew he had seven innocent people in front of him. He would have to figure out who was responsible before breaking into their mind. Fortunately, he already had a plan B ready. He closed his eyes for a moment to prepare himself, and then put plan B into effect. "Occlumens are you?" asked Harry, in a tone of complete and total loathing. "No matter. One of you murdered my son and my niece, and my daughters are both still unconscious. I’m going to find out which one of you sabotaged that chain, even if I have to Crucio every one of you into insanity to do it. You’ll beg me to kill you before I’m done with you." Before Harry could speak again, the door to the Great Hall opened. "Harry," said Hanna hurrying to him. "You must get to St. Mungo’s…it’s Lily." Her expression was grave. Harry looked daggers at the Dragon Keepers for a moment with an angry snarl on his face. "You will stay here until I return," said Harry through gritted teeth." Harry followed Hanna out of the Great Hall. A moment later the doors to the Great Hall closed. "He’ll kill us all," said Amy Quinn in a thick Irish brogue with panic in her voice. She was terrified beyond words. "He’s bluffing," said Joshua Taylor in a disbelieving voice. "He wouldn’t follow through. He just wants to scare us." "That’s Harry Potter," said Emma Andersen loudly. "He defeated Voldemort. You don’t think he would kill us all to avenge his children? We’re all as good as dead." "Which one of you was it?" asked Jonas Olsen accusingly. "I won’t die for what one of you did. No way." "Us?" asked Marek Nowak indignantly. "How do we know it wasn’t you?" There was anger in his voice. "How do we know it wasn’t you?" asked Sara Andersen absently. "We’re all going to Azkaban if he can’t decide which one of us did it. Please, whichever one of you it was, admit it and spare the rest of us." "It wasn’t me," said Marek Nowak, the anger still in his voice. "How dare you accuse me Sara. Who do you think you are?" "We must stay calm," said Leon Schmidt, though the last thing he was, was calm. "Getting upset will accomplish nothing." "You want us to be calm?" asked Jeffrey Andrews with a laugh. "Right, let’s be calm and wait while he decides what to do with us." They continued to argue. For nearly an hour they bickered and accused each other, coming close to blows several times. They all denied being involved. All but one accused at least one other of the group.
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harrypotterfanfiction.com :: 65,000 Ha… Finally, Harry had seen enough. He swung his Invisibility Cloak off. The others realized he was there and almost immediately all were silent. They were all holding their breath, not knowing what was going to happen to them.

Harry walked to one of the group, grabbed him by the back of the shirt and pulled him forcibly from the Great Hall as the others looked on in shock. The Dragon Keeper in Harry’s grasp was too shocked to even protest. Harry forced the Dragon Keeper down the hall with Hanna, and Kingsley close behind. The Dragon Keeper tripped several times, and Harry forced him up, nearly carrying him like a rag doll. They finally arrived at their destination. Hogwarts no longer had a Caretaker, as the Auror on Station had absorbed most of his duties after Argus Filch’s retirement. His old office had been empty ever since them. Harry pushed the Dragon Keeper into the unused room. He had literally used the man to open the door, whacking him against it, and a trickle of blood was escaping the corner of his mouth as the impact with the door had split his lip. Harry threw the man to the ground hard. "Why did you do it?" asked Harry, an edge to his voice Kingsley and Hanna had never heard from him before. "I didn’t do it," protested Jeffrey Andrews. "I swear it wasn’t me. Please, you must believe me, I didn’t do it!" Harry kicked the man in the stomach as he lay on the floor, now doubled over in pain. "You’re lying," said Harry. "Your fellow Dragon Keepers all accused another. You didn’t, because you knew they weren’t guilty. I’ve interrogated far better liars than you." "No, I swear it wasn’t me," said Jeffrey Andrews. "I swear it wasn’t! I think it was Marek Nowak. He’s the type to do something like this!" Harry reached down and lifted the man to his feet by his throat. He smashed him hard into the stone wall. Andrew groaned in pain. "Legilimens," said Harry staring daggers into Andrews’ eyes and pointing his wand at him. Harry was inside Jeffrey Andrews mind. He saw him sabotaging the chain. He also saw him charming the miniature dragons used by the Champions to select their dragons so that only Rose could grab the Horntail. Harry pushed further into his mind, revealing more. Jeffrey Andrews was a Death Eater. He saw a meeting, where Scorpius Malfoy and Voldemort were addressing a crowd of cheering Death Eaters. Harry pulled out of Andrews’ mind. Andrews was unconscious, twitching slightly. Harry let go of him, and he crumpled to the ground in a heap. Harry reached down and took Andrews by the left arm. He pulled back his sleeve, and saw the symbol he hadn’t seen in years. "The Dark Mark," said Hanna. Harry had forgotten that Hanna and Kingsley were even there. Harry let go of Andrews’ arm. "Voldemort is raising an army of Death Eaters again," said Harry. "I’ll have Andrews taken to Azkaban," said Kingsley. "Please do that," said Harry with a nod. "Put all Aurors, Hit Wizards, and Magical Law Enforcement personal on alert and alert the Ministries of Magic all over Europe." Harry paused for a moment. "Is there no way this tournament can be canceled?" "No, Harry," said Kingsley shaking his head. "I’m sorry."
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Harry already had known the answer, but he had to ask. "All right, I’m going to St. Mungo’s," said Harry. Harry had too many thoughts rushing through his mind as he ascended the steps to Hermione’s office to floo to St. Mungo’s. This tournament was going to continue to be a target, no matter who was competing, and Voldemort was obviously preparing for something. Had he found the weapon he was seeking, Harry wondered? Was he just preparing for when he would find it? Harry didn’t know, but he knew he would have to find out. For now, though, his family needed him. ~ It was now five hours since Harry’s world came crashing down. They had to enchant the waiting room at St. Mungo’s to be larger as there were far too many people in the room. The entire Potter and Weasley families, as well as Danny, Lucy, Tommy, Gabrielle, Cho, and Viktor were gathered there. Cho, Viktor, and Gabrielle were officially there to represent the tournament. However, the tournament was the farthest thing from their minds. Just outside the room, Harry, Ginny, Ron, and Hermione waited for news, unable to do anything but hold each other and hope. The Healers who were there had brought Rose and Lily immediately to St. Mungo’s Hospital for Magical Maladies and Injuries. There was not yet any explanation for Rose being alive and her injuries apparently healed, nor for what had happened to Lily. Rose and Lily had made it to St. Mungo’s alive, and the Healers were still working on them. It had taken nearly two hours for the Aurors and Order members to extricate Albus from the jaws of the Hungarian Horntail on the shallow side of the lake. Albus had driven the Sword of Gryffindor right into the Horntail’s brain, the basilisk venom infused in the sword helping to kill it instantly. The Dragons jaws had closed around Albus though, and even in death, the jaws of a dragon are not easily parted, even by magic. They expected they were recovering Albus’s body as they tried to get to him, but somehow found him alive, though only just. His injuries were so severe, the Healers who brought him to St. Mungo’s thought there was little point. Harry had tried to speak to some of the Aurors who brought Albus in, but they would not discuss his condition or injuries. Something in the way they acted caused Harry to worry even further. Even someone without medical training could tell how grave his condition was. Harry tried to hope for the best. Harry’s ruse with the Dragon Keepers had exposed the guilty party, Jeffrey Andrews. By letting them think that Rose and Albus were dead, they really believed Harry would do anything he had to, to expose the guilty party. Watching them argue over who was guilty had let Harry figure out which one of them had done it. There was a reason he was the best interrogator the Aurors ever had. It gave Harry no comfort to know Andrews was on his way to Azkaban. To add to Harry’s thoughts, not only were Albus, Rose, and Lily in grave condition, but also Voldemort was raising an army again. That problem would have to wait. It was as they stood there in the hallway, that Harry remembered the book. He was holding it in his hand. He had been holding it since he had returned to the hospital. "The book," said Harry softly. Ginny looked up at him, as she had her arms around him and was leaning on him. Ron and Hermione turned to him. They were holding each other as well. "Just before the Horntail broke free, there were new words in the book," said Harry. He opened the book and read the words.
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The Trials Commence. The Heir shall face a great beast, and only if he is found worthy, will he rise like the phoenix from the ashes for the second time, but a price he will pay. Only the Healer can save The Sage. "‘If he is found worthy’," said Ginny questioningly. "‘A price he will pay’." "‘Only The Healer can save The Sage’," said Ron. "My God," said Hermione softly as she put a hand over her mouth. "Lily…did save Rose’s life." Hermione paused and closed her eyes. She had known it, but it was so hard to imagine. "Please, let Lily be all right. She has to be all right." Hermione began to cry softly. Ron put her arms around his wife and held her tight. "They will all be all right," said Ron, but even as he said it, he wasn’t sure he believed it. As they stood there, Danny came out of the waiting area. He had the same look as if his soul had been ripped away that he had on the pitch hours earlier. "Has there been any word?" asked Danny in a whisper. "No," Hermione said as she tried to dry her tears. "Rose will be all right Danny. She’s strong. She’s a fighter." Danny nodded, but his face told a different story. He was afraid Hermione was wrong. He turned back into the waiting area. "That poor boy," said Ginny. "James had to nearly carry him here from Hogwarts. He was nearly hysterical." At that moment, a Healer came down the hallway towards them, stopping when she reached the four of them. She was tall, with short dark hair and wore glasses. She looked exhausted, but could not possibly be as tired as the four people standing in front of her. "Excuse me, Mr. and Mrs. Weasley, Mr. and Mrs. Potter, I have some news on your children," said the Healer. "Do you want to talk separately, in private?" "We are all family," said Ron. Ginny, and Harry nodded as the four of them moved a little closer together. "We can talk together." The Healer nodded. "Rose is alive," said the Healer. "I can’t tell you why or how. She should have died instantly. The Healers who witnessed what happened were sure every bone in her body was broken, and when they saw her right afterwards, they said she was dead. No one could have survived those injuries. I can’t explain how or what Lily did, but Rose’s injuries are completely healed. Lily literally… brought her back from the dead. Efforts to revive Rose have failed. She is extremely weak. All we can do is hope she wakes up on her own." "At least she’s alive," said Ginny, who turned to Harry and put her arms around him. Ron and Hermione were locked in an embrace, both were crying softly. "What about our son and daughters?" asked Harry. Harry knew Ginny was too afraid to ask the question. "Carly is fine, she just fainted," said the Healer. "When we revived her we had to give her a Sleeping Draught. The poor girl was completely hysterical, screaming, ‘he promised, he promised’." The Healer paused. "She will be fine physically. I can’t speak to her mental state."
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harrypotterfanfiction.com :: 65,000 Ha… "And what about Lily?" asked a voice from the doorway into the waiting area. They looked over. It was Tommy. He had been standing there since The Healer arrived. He was coming out to ask if there was any news. "Sorry," said Tommy, "I didn’t mean to…"

"It’s all right Tommy," said Ginny. The Healer looked to Ginny, who nodded. "I can’t tell you what happened to Lily," said the Healer. "The Healers on scene said she appeared to heal Rose somehow. I can’t tell you if that somehow happened or not, but Rose being alive seems to suggest that is what happened. Lily is very weak, but otherwise seems uninjured. Unfortunately we cannot revive her either. We’ll just have to wait and see what happens." "I’ll tell Danny about Rose," said Tommy quietly. The look on his face said he didn’t feel much better with this news. He went back into the waiting area. "And what about Albus?" asked Hermione. Hermione couldn’t help but think about the last thing she said to Albus. If he had not acted, the dragon would surely have ripped Rose apart. He had made it possible for Lily to save her. "He is the biggest mystery of all," said the Healer. "The dragon’s fangs pierced his chest and back. It should have killed him instantly. Somehow it missed any vital organs, and I can’t explain that at all. He should have bled to death, but he didn’t. He broke nearly every bone in his body. Potions have taken care of the broken bones, and severe bruising, but he will be awfully sore for quite a while. We have repaired the wounds to his chest and back. There was…one other injury." The Healer seemed to be at a loss for words. "What is it?" asked Harry. Harry couldn’t imagine what could be worse. The thought made him shudder. "Albus’s left hand was crushed," said the Healer. "It had already become infected in the two hours it took to get to him. There was nothing we could do. Some injuries and damage…we just can’t repair. We had to amputate his left hand. We can provide him an enchanted hand when he is stronger and wakes up. It will be as good as his old one and even look like his own hand. It will take him time to get used to it. He is still unconscious. We don’t even want to attempt to revive him until he has some time to heal." Ginny looked up at Harry with tear filled eyes. "He’s alive," said Harry forcing a reassuring smile onto his face. She nodded and leaned her head against his chest. "Can we see them?" asked Hermione. "Not yet," said the Healer. "Perhaps in the morning. We have quite a few complex healing spells around Albus, Rose, and Lily. It’s best not to disturb them. I wouldn’t try waking Carly up for a while either. I think it’s best she gets some rest." They thanked the Healer and she left. "I’ll tell everyone," said Ron, kissing Hermione on the cheek, and then disappearing into the waiting area. "I’m sorry," said Hermione softly. "Sorry for what?" asked Harry. "This wasn’t your fault. It wasn’t anyone’s fault except that bastard, Voldemort." "When I was in the tent with them," said Hermione, her voice strained. "I asked Albus to look after Rose. He saved her from that dragon." Hermione put her face in her hands. "No Hermione," said Ginny. Ginny threw her arms around Hermione. "He would have done it anyway. It’s
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harrypotterfanfiction.com :: 65,000 Ha… who he is, he would never let someone he loves get hurt if he could help them no matter what it cost him."

A moment later they broke apart, and Hermione nodded. "Come on," said Harry. "Let’s go sit down. We aren’t doing ourselves any good out here." Harry knew they had a very long road ahead of them. Chapter 23: Chapter 23 - Tea Parties and Fairy Tales [View Online] [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter] Chapter 23 – Tea Parties and Fairy Tales The vigil at St. Mungo’s for Lily, Rose, and Albus continued for two days. Carly was revived the next day, and Ginny and Harry held her as she cried for hours. She finally did calm down, but she had hardly said a word to anyone. Her expression was as vacant as Danny’s. Most of the family eventually had returned home, or to the Burrow to await word of Lily, Rose, and Albus’s conditions. Sirius, Neville, and James returned to Hogwarts, as did Lucy, Gabrielle, and Viktor. Cho too, returned home. Someone had to run Hogwarts, and Hermione and Ginny weren’t returning to the school anytime soon. Hermione made Neville Acting Headmaster, and Sirius Acting Deputy Headmaster. Sirius was sure that Minerva McGonagall was turning over in her grave at the thought. It was Wednesday, November twenty-ninth, three days after the first task. Sirius had gotten up early and headed down to see Hagrid. Sirius had something on his mind. Who was to counsel The Counsel Sirius wondered? Who better than Hagrid? Sirius knocked on the door to Hagrid’s house, and a moment later the door opened. When Hagrid saw Sirius, his heart stopped. "Has…has something happened?" asked Hagrid. He was afraid something had happened to Albus, Lily or Rose. "No," said Sirius shaking his head. "There is no news, good or bad. I was just wondering if you had a few minutes to talk." "Of course," said Hagrid relieved that nothing had happened. "Come on in, I was just about to have some breakfast. Would you like something to eat?" "Just some tea, Hagrid, thanks," said Sirius. Sirius went inside and took a seat at the table he had sat at so many times before. Hagrid got him a cup, poured him some tea, and sat down. "So, Sirius," said Hagrid. "What did you want to talk about?" Sirius was quiet for a moment. "I’m worried about Harry," said Sirius. "I’m really getting worried about him." "I am too," said Hagrid. "Merlin forbid anything happens to any of them, Harry is likely to blame himself." "I know," said Sirius with a nod. "It’s more than that though." "What do you mean?" asked Hagrid curiously.
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"Kingsley and Hanna told me what Harry did when he interrogated the Dragon Keepers," said Sirius shaking his head. "He let them think they were alone and waited for one of them to give themselves away." "It worked, didn’t it?" asked Hagrid. "Seems like a good idea to me." "Yes, but it was awfully reckless," said Sirius shaking his head. "Andrews could have easily killed the others." Sirius swallowed hard. "I don’t think Harry even cared." "Harry would have stopped him," said Hagrid. "He would never have let anyone get hurt, not Harry, he’s too good a person for that." "Would he have?" asked Sirius. "I’m not so sure. He is almost obsessed with that damn book. In some ways it was easier for him last time. He didn’t have the children to worry about and had less information. There’s more Hagrid." "What else is there?" asked Hagrid as he took a gulp of his tea. "He practically beat a confession out of Andrews," said Sirius. "He used Legilimency to get the information, but he beat him up pretty good too. Hanna and Kingsley said they had never seen Harry like that. I think the pressure of dealing with Voldemort all these years has gotten to him. I really can’t say I blame him if it has. He’s had so much pain in his life." "Harry’s strong," said Hagrid. "I’m sure he’ll be all right. He survived losing his parents and everything else." "Yeah, he did survive that," said Sirius softly. Sirius couldn’t help but think about how much of Harry’s pain he had caused. ~ In the Great Hall, James, who was now temporarily in charge of security, was sitting at the teacher’s table having breakfast. He hadn’t slept in days. He had nightmares when he would try to sleep. He kept seeing things that scared him more than anything else had in his entire life. He didn’t want to close his eyes. James knew he had let Albus down. He should have done something. When that chain snapped, he should have done something to stop the Horntail. He at least should have gone after them. Instead, he ran, as if compelled, to where his cousin had fallen. He witnessed Lily seem to literally raise Rose from the dead, only to fall unconscious. James remembered when they were little, how many tea parties he and Albus sat through with Lily. They would have preferred to do nearly anything else, but they could never say no to her. She was so sweet and loved to spend time with her big brothers. She would sit the three of them at the little table she had in her bedroom, and place some of her stuffed animals in other chairs, and they would have imaginary tea and sandwiches. James and Albus always thought it was so stupid, but they humored her anyway. James would give anything to sit with them both and have an imaginary tea party right now. Nothing would have made him happier. "Good morning," said a voice from behind him, snapping him out of his memories. Quite frankly, he didn’t want to think about his memories anymore, and was glad for the distraction. "Good morning, Lucy," said James absently. She sat in the chair beside him. "You look awful, James," said Lucy,
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harrypotterfanfiction.com :: 65,000 Ha… "Thanks," said James absently. "I feel awful, so at least I’m consistent."

Lucy ignored his attempt at humor. "Have you slept at all?" asked Lucy as she put her palm against his cheek. He covered her hand with his. "No," said James. "I see the same thing every time I try to sleep." "What do you see?" asked Lucy sympathetically. "I have nightmares," said James. "I see headstones bearing the names of all the people I love." He turned to her. "Including yours." "Oh, James," said Lucy placing her head on his shoulder and her arms around his neck. "Come on, you need some sleep." "I know," said James. "But I just can’t sleep. I even tried a Sleeping Draught and it didn’t help me any at all." James and Lucy left the Great Hall and walked to James quarters. They went and sat on the couch in the Common Room he shared with Danny. Danny was still at the hospital. James didn’t expect he would be back anytime soon. "Do you want to talk about it?" asked Lucy. "What is there to talk about?" asked James. "I’m supposed to be my brother’s protector, and I damn near let him get eaten by a dragon. Not to mention, nobody knows if my sister or cousin are ever going to wake up. "You are far too hard on yourself," said Lucy with a sigh. "You can’t take responsibility for all of it. You’re just one man." "So I’ve been told," said James with a sigh. "That’s not all that’s on your mind, is it?" asked Lucy. She could tell there was more he was holding back. "How is it that you know me so well?" asked James with a grin. He leaned over and kissed her deeply, and for the briefest of moments, he didn’t think of anyone but her. He pulled back a moment later and reality returned. "Wow…you are a great kisser, have I told you that?" asked Lucy breathlessly. She always marveled at how it made her feel when he kissed her. "You have mentioned it on several occasions, it runs in the family," said James with a little laugh. He put his arms around her. She was right, that wasn’t all that was bothering him. "My Dad says Voldemort is forming an army. He’ll be coming and we’ll have to face him. I never thought of facing Voldemort without Al until now." "Then we’ll stop Voldemort," said Lucy emphatically. "And I know Al will be right there with us when we do." "We," said James questioningly. "I’m not going anywhere," said Lucy with a smile. "I’m never going anywhere. I’m not much of a fighter, but you can teach me. It might take a while, but I’m, sure you can get me into fighting shape. Come on now, you need to get some sleep."
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harrypotterfanfiction.com :: 65,000 Ha… The thought of Lucy facing Voldemort with them did nothing to improve the way he was feeling. That scared him as much as anything else did. He couldn’t lose her.

James nodded, and he got up and he headed for his room. He was so sleep deprived he didn’t even realize she was right behind him until after he dropped down on the bed. She lay down with him and put her arms around him and lay with her head on his chest. "I thought you said sleep," said James with a smirk. "Yes, I did," said Lucy, with a giggle. "And I meant it, you’re completely exhausted. I was hoping that maybe…I would be able to keep the nightmares away." James put his arms around her and pulled her close. A few minutes later, he finally fell asleep, feeling the steady beat of her heart. ~ Neville Longbottom was not at all comfortable as Acting Headmaster of Hogwarts. He was much more suited to teaching, than administration. He just wanted to spend time with his plants, though lately, he was finding that one thing or rather one person in his life had become far more important than any plant ever could be. He had hardly been anywhere near the Greenhouses in days, but he had missed seeing Gabrielle far more than seeing his plants. He had spent so much time thinking about her lately. He had always wondered after his relationship with Hanna had ended, if he had been in love with her. Having never been in love before, he didn’t know what it was like. He knew now, that he was never really in love with Hanna, but he was completely and totally in love with Gabrielle. He couldn’t imagine his life without her. What he didn’t know is what to do about it. Neville had bought a ring, and had it in his pocket for several weeks. He hadn’t told anyone about the ring. He knew they hadn’t known each other that long, and even when he bought the ring, he told himself he was going to wait a while. With all that happened lately though, he was wondering if he should wait or not. Neville was now thinking that life was too short not to act on your feelings. He knew waiting wouldn’t make any difference. He was completely in love with Gabrielle and wanted to marry her. There was one problem he couldn’t get around. He couldn’t leave the Potters and Weasleys, not with Voldemort still out there. Could he ask Gabrielle to leave France, to leave her family, and Beauxbatons behind? That was a lot to give up, especially just for him. He wasn’t sure he even had the right to ask her to do that. In Hermione’s office, Neville was meeting with Cho, Viktor, and Gabrielle. He had hardly had any time to spend with Gabrielle in the past few days. He had been looking for a chance to talk to her, but was finding it difficult to find the right time. The right place was easy since there was only one right place for this conversation. "Well, that about does it," said Cho. "The second task will be in February, the third in April, and the fourth in June. Miss Leroy has made a complete recovery. If Albus and Rose are unable to compete, the competition will continue with just two teams of Champions." Cho closed her eyes and shook her head. She hadn’t quite meant to say it so coldly. "I wish we could cancel the whole thing," said Viktor. "Me too," said Cho slowly. "But we can’t." Cho and Viktor excused themselves and left them, but Gabrielle remained. Both she and Neville stood up.
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"I have hardly had a moment to see you, Neville," said Gabrielle as she walked around the desk and put her arms around him. "I miss you." Neville stood and put his arms around her and kissed her deeply, savoring the feeling of having her in his arms. Neville thought that kissing Gabrielle was the most wonderful feeling in the world. "I missed you too," said Neville. "And I missed your kissing me like that," said Gabrielle with a smile. "Me too," said Neville with a grin. "Any word from the Hospital?" asked Gabrielle. "No," said Neville with a sigh. "No news is better than bad news." "I suppose," said Gabrielle. Gabrielle could read his thoughts. She cupped his cheek in her hand and looked into his eyes. "Lily will be fine. They will all be fine." Neville managed a weak smile. "I really hope you’re right…Gabrielle, can we take a walk?" asked Neville. "Sure, I have some time," said Gabrielle with a smile. "I would love to." Neville and Gabrielle left the office and walked down to the Greenhouses, talking about nothing of consequence along the way. Both were just enjoying being together. When they arrived at the Greenhouses, Neville got two chairs and placed them in his favorite part of the Greenhouses. It was where his favorite plants were kept. There were also quite a few flowers in this part of the Greenhouse, making it very romantic. At least it was to a pair of Herbologists in love. They sat down, and Neville decided the time had come. "Gabrielle, have you ever thought of leaving Beauxbatons?" asked Neville. "Have you ever thought of leaving France?" "I love France and Beauxbatons very much," said Gabrielle. "My whole family is all around Paris. I do love it there. I’ve never thought of leaving, but…then I’ve never had a reason to leave." She looked into his eyes. "Why do you ask, Neville?" For a moment, Neville just stared into her eyes, the warm chocolate pools he could stare into forever. He was so in love with her, he thought his heart would burst. Neville never thought he could feel this way. He summoned all his Gryffindor courage. "Would…would I be enough of a reason?" asked Neville, his voice barely above a whisper. "I guess that depends on what you mean," said Gabrielle softly. Neville could see it in her eyes, and knew they were both thinking the same thing. He reached into his pocket and pulled out a small box and opened it, revealing a diamond ring. Gabrielle gasped as she saw the ring, and then looked back into his eyes. "Neville," said Gabrielle breathlessly. "I love you Gabrielle," said Neville as he took her left hand in his. "Recent events reminded me how precious life is, how it could end in an instant with no warning. Life is too short to put things off, especially when you know what you want. I always wondered why I never could make a relationship last. Now I know…it was because I was waiting for you. Gabrielle, will you marry me?" "Yes, Neville," said Gabrielle with tears in her eyes. "I will marry you. Neville, you are more than enough
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harrypotterfanfiction.com :: 65,000 Ha… reason for me to leave France and Beauxbatons. I’ll go anywhere, as long as I am going with you."

Neville, with tears in his eyes, slipped the ring on her finger and kissed her. He had never been so happy in his entire life. Now, he just needed for the rest of his family to be all right, and his life would be perfect. ~ The sun was setting over London. If not for the state of mind of the single person standing on the roof of St. Mungo’s Hospital for Magical Maladies and Injuries, he might have thought it was a beautiful sight. As it was, the only beauty he could see was the picture in his mind of the fifteen-year-old girl laying several floors below him in a hospital bed. The girl he was honored to call his girlfriend. The girl he…well he wasn’t really sure how he felt about her. He had thought about that a lot lately. They hadn’t been dating all that long, but he had to admit to himself, he had fancied her for a very, very long time before he ever got up the courage to ask her out. During third year, he started to notice Lily. She was so beautiful and so very nice, but he never could talk to her. He spent the first few weeks of third year trying to talk to her, but he never could. He didn’t know why, he was never really shy around girls before and she was very, very nice. He had many opportunities to talk to her, but never got out more than a hello. He made the Gryffindor House quidditch team third year, and since six of the eight New Marauders were on the team, he started spending some time with them, but he still couldn’t seem to talk to Lily. Last year, luck landed him with her, as his partner in Potions class. Somehow whenever he tried to talk to her while they were doing their assignments, they ended up arguing. He didn’t mean to argue with her. He desperately wanted to ask her out. It just seemed to happen. As the year went on though, he looked forward to Potions class more and more. As bizarre as it was, he would prefer to argue with her than not talk to her at all. Those arguments became important to him, because it was really the only time he got to talk to her. He spent a great deal of time over the summer thinking about her. Truth be told, he thought of little else. She was so beautiful with her long red hair and her brown eyes, and that smile that could light up a room. Even when she argued with him, she was never really nasty, even though her temper was legendary. Tommy told himself no matter what happened he would ask Lily out during the coming year. He had finally got up the courage to do that after Gryffindor won their first quidditch match of the year. It took a few weeks, but he finally got up the courage to kiss her when they went to the Shrieking Shack. They had snogged quite a bit since then. He loved to kiss her, and she certainly seemed to enjoy it just as much. She was really becoming very, very important to him. How important, was the question he just couldn’t answer. The last time he saw her was the day of the first task of the Triwizard Tournament. He was holding her as they saw Rose lying dead in her parents’ arms. She broke free of his grasp and had miraculously saved her cousin’s life. Since that day, Tommy hadn’t left the hospital, but he hadn’t seen her either. He just couldn’t see her like she was now. Lily’s parents had told him he could sit with them in her room. Only one person was allowed in Albus’s room and Carly was camped out in there, so they were spending their time in Lily’s room. Tommy just couldn’t bring himself to go in. He couldn’t bear the thought of seeing her. Tommy hadn’t cried since he was little. It wasn’t a macho thing, he just didn’t. Every time he thought of going in to see her, not knowing if she would be all right or not, he got this feeling behind his eyes, and an ache in his chest. He couldn’t go into the room.
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harrypotterfanfiction.com :: 65,000 Ha… Now he stood on the roof of St. Mungo’s looking at this beautiful sunset, and wanted nothing more than to have her next to him so he could put his arms around her and kiss her. He tried to figure out what it all meant.

As he stood there, he heard the door that led onto the roof creak open and turned around. "Hi, Hugo," said Tommy before turning back to the sunset. "Any changes?" "No," said Hugo as he walked to the railing along the edge of the roof Tommy was leaning against. "No changes at all. What are you doing up here all alone?" "I needed some air," said Tommy. "It’s awfully stuffy in the waiting area." "Yeah," said Hugo. "Me too." Hugo paused. "Have you been in to see Lily?" "No," said Tommy. "I just…can’t go in there." "It took me a couple of days myself," said Hugo sadly. "I finally made it in to see her though. My sister too." "How does Lily look?" asked Tommy. "Good, like she’s sleeping, just like Rose," said Hugo. "I heard my Mum and Dad talking about Al. He’s in really bad shape." Hugo paused. "You should go see Lily, she would want you to come see her." Tommy stared down the side of the building for a moment, then looked back up. "I can’t Hugo," said Tommy softly. "Hugo, I think I’m…I don’t know. Maybe…I love her." "No kidding," said Hugo with a laugh. "I think you’re the last to know." Tommy looked at Hugo in confusion. "What are you talking about?" asked Tommy. "Tommy, she’s my best friend," said Hugo. "I can see it in her face, when you enter the room. She’s happier than she was before you walked in. Her eyes light up when she looks at you. You two remind me a lot of Albus and Carly. If you two aren’t in love, no one is." "Really?" asked Tommy. He couldn’t believe what he was hearing. "Hugo, I wanted to ask her out for so long, I know I felt something, but how could she fall in love with me so quickly." "Come on, Tommy," said Hugo. "She has had her eyes on you for two years. She wouldn’t admit she was really happy you were her Potions partner last year. That is until you started arguing with her all the time." "Does she really feel that way?" asked Tommy, more asking himself than Hugo. "Tommy, when was the last time you two were in the same room and you weren’t holding hands?" asked Hugo." Tommy thought. He didn’t know. Was he really in love, he wondered? Was that what seemed to dance in his mind just outside of his comprehension? Hugo saw the quizzical look on his face. "Go see her," said Hugo. "Consider yourself lucky. I’ve never even had a date." "I keep seeing you talking to that girl from Durmstrang," said Tommy, momentarily pushing his own feelings from his mind. "Yeah…well…I’ve tried to talk to her," said Hugo with a sigh. "She obviously doesn’t speak English. I’m
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harrypotterfanfiction.com :: 65,000 Ha… just wasting my time anyway. I’m no good with girls. She just smiles and hurries away from me."

"Keep at it," said Tommy encouragingly. "I did." Hugo chuckled. "I’m just wasting my time," said Hugo with a sigh. "She’s absolutely drop dead gorgeous, she can have any boy she wants…I just tell jokes." "She definitely has a pretty face," said Tommy a mischievous grin spreading across his face. "I don’t think I’ve ever seen her without robes on though. Something you want to tell me?" "Nope," said Hugo shaking his head dejectedly. "I’m using my imagination. God, I’m so pathetic." ~ A short while later, Tommy walked down the hallway towards Lily’s room. He knew Hugo was right, no matter how hard it was for him, he had to go in and see her. He stopped at the door, realizing suddenly that his heart was pounding like it never had before. He took a breath and was about to walk into the room, when Ginny came out. "Hi, Tommy," said Ginny with a weak smile. "Do you want to come in and see her?" She knew how much he did, but he had not been able to bring himself to do it. "Yes, Professor Potter," said Tommy softly. "Her Dad went to get something to eat," said Ginny. "I was going to send my Mum an owl, but I can come in with you if you like." "No, that’s all right," said Tommy. "I would…I would really like a minute alone with Lily if that’s all right." "Of course," said Ginny with a smile. She could see the pain in his face, and she gave him a brief hug before heading off to send the owl. Tommy walked into the room slowly, his heart pounding in his chest. There she was. Lily was in the bed, propped up against some pillows. She looked so peaceful, like she was just sleeping. On the stand by her bed was a large vase full of flowers, lilies. He knew they were her favorites. Tommy walked slowly over to the far side of her bed and sat down on the edge of the bed. He took her hand in his, gently running his thumb back and fourth over the back of her hand. Even asleep she was just as beautiful as she was awake. Her fiery red hair had obviously been well cared for by her mother. His heartbeat slowed, the nervousness seemed to have gone. A tear escaped each eye and he blinked to keep others at bay. All he wanted in the world was for her to wake up. He would give anything for her to wake up. He would give up quidditch and flying forever just to talk to her again. He knew now, he did love her, and it broke his heart to know he might never get the chance to tell her. If she would just wake up he promised himself he would tell her how he felt, even if she didn’t feel the same way. As he just watched her sleep, she reminded him of a Muggle fairytale his mother used to tell him when he was little. He couldn’t remember what she called it, but it was about a beautiful princess trapped in a deep sleep by an evil witches curse. She was awoken by a kiss from a prince. Tommy always imagined himself as the prince when his mother told him the story. Tommy smiled. He knew that Lily’s father always called her his little princess, though never when anyone else was around. He had slipped once though when Tommy was there. As if compelled by something he didn’t understand, he leaned down and gently kissed her lips, lingering for a moment. Her lips were as soft and warm as ever, but she didn’t kiss him back. He pulled back,
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harrypotterfanfiction.com :: 65,000 Ha… and she was still asleep. He hadn’t really expected anything else. Perhaps he had hoped, but after all, it was only a fairytale.

"Please wake up, Lily," said Tommy softly. He lifted her hand and held her palm against his cheek. The tears fell freely from his eyes, and he had to close them as he began to sob softly. "I’ve never seen you cry before," said a voice. He was sure he was hearing things, but his eyes snapped open to see the most wonderful sight he had ever seen. Lily was awake and smiling at him. He let go of her hand, took her face in his hands, and looked into her eyes. "Lily," said Tommy in disbelief. "You’re awake." "Yes," said Lily confusedly. She had never seen Tommy so upset. "I was having a dream. I was in a meadow picking flowers. It was wonderfully peaceful and I felt great. I still do as a matter of fact. Suddenly you appeared in front of me. You took me in your arms and you kissed me. Then you vanished. I heard you say, ‘please wake up’. Then I heard you crying and I woke up. What happened, where am I?" Tommy didn’t answer. He pulled her into a hug and held her tight. Lily didn’t know what was going on, but put her arms around him. "Thank God you’re all right, Lily," said Tommy, now crying again. "I thought…I thought I was going to lose you." "I’m all right, Tommy," said Lily. She hugged him back. Lily could feel him shaking and had no idea what had happened to upset him so much. She was now vaguely aware she was at St. Mungo’s. Why was she in the hospital? Tommy was going to do what he told himself he would. He pulled back from her and looked into her eyes again. "I’m going to let your parents explain what has happened, they should be back any minute," said Tommy. "I do have to tell you something though." "Yes," said Lily. "Lily, I’ve wanted to ask you out for two years," said Tommy. "I never could. I’m so glad I finally got up the courage. Lily…I love you. I wasn’t sure if I did, until I came in here just now, but I know it now. I love you more than anything." Lily felt the tears build up in her eyes and begin to fall. "I love you too, Tommy," said Lily. He pulled her close and kissed her. She wrapped her arms around his neck. It was unlike any kiss they ever shared before. They broke the kiss and looked into each other’s eyes for a moment, it was at that moment that they heard a crash. The pulled apart and turned to see Harry and Ginny. Harry had been carrying a tray of food, but when they walked in and saw Lily was awake, he had dropped it. "Lily," said Ginny as she ran to the bed and threw her arms around her daughter. Tommy got up from the bed and stood next to it as Ginny and then Harry hugged Lily. "We were so worried," said Ginny. "Did you just wake up?" asked Harry. Tommy suddenly felt like he should go. He felt like he was intruding on something. He started to move towards the door. "Where are you going, Tommy?" asked Lily.
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"I thought you might like to be alone," said Tommy. "Please stay," said Lily with a smile. Tommy looked toward Harry and Ginny who both nodded. Tommy smiled, moved a chair beside Lily’s bed and held her hand. "Mum, what happened?" asked Lily. "Why am I at St. Mungo’s?" "What is the last thing you remember?" asked Ginny. Lily told them about the dream and Tommy kissing her. Tommy was slightly uncomfortable at this point, but Harry didn’t seem bothered, and Ginny turned to him and smiled. "The last thing I remember before that was the first task of the tournament," said Lily. Suddenly Lily’s expression changed to one of horror. "Rose was dead. I moved toward her and placed my hands on her head. I don’t know why. Then I don’t remember anything until the dream." "Lily, we don’t know how, but somehow, you saved Rose," said Harry. "She is still unconscious, but somehow it seems like you brought her back from the dead." "Thank God," said Lily. Then she remembered something, and her heart was filled with fear. "Did Albus get away from the dragon?" Ginny and Harry looked at each other for a moment. They knew they had to tell her about Albus. Neither of them wanted to, but they knew they couldn’t keep it from her. Tommy took a deep breath. He knew Lily was going to be very upset. He held her hand a little bit tighter. "Lily," said Harry softly, a tear escaping his eye. "Albus didn’t get away from the Horntail." ~ Two days after Lily woke up, Rose and Albus were still unconscious. The Healers still could not revive Rose, and they were not ready to try reviving Albus. Ginny sat alone in a vacant room that had been set up for the Potters and Weasleys to use to sleep. She was tired, but was only able to sleep for a few hours at a time. Lily had been released from the hospital, having completely recovered. She, Tommy, and Hugo had returned to Hogwarts. Lily and Hugo didn’t want to go, but Ginny and Hermione had convinced them and promised to send owls twice a day. Lily had taken the news of Albus’s condition badly. She was very close to her brothers. She wanted to try to heal him like she did for Rose, but Ginny and Harry forbid it. They didn’t know what had happened when she healed Rose, and it had left her nearly dead. They forbid her from trying to heal anyone else. Ginny was nibbling on a sandwich. She could tell she had lost a little weight with as little as she had eaten in the last five days since the first task of the tournament. It was now December first. She was beginning to wonder if Rose and Albus would be all right by Christmas, but she quickly pushed the thought away. That was more than three weeks away. It surely couldn’t be that long she told herself. It just couldn’t be. As Ginny sat on the edge of the bed, her thoughts turned to another member of her family. Carly had not spoken since the day after the task. They were still only allowing one person at a time in Albus’s room. Carly gave Harry and Ginny both time with Albus, but it was clear, every minute she was away from him was agony for her. Harry and Ginny both understood, and only stayed with him for a little
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harrypotterfanfiction.com :: 65,000 Ha… while, then let her go back in with him.

Carly had been through so much in her life, loosing her parents when she was barely ten years old, then nearly losing Albus twice first year after having fallen in love with him. Now this. No one deserved to go through so much pain, least of all that sweet girl. "Mum," came a voice from the doorway, interrupting Ginny’s thoughts. "Carly," said Ginny. "What’s wrong?" "Nothing," said Carly shaking her head. Her expression was one of complete and utter hopelessness. "Dad’s in with Albus. Can I talk to you for a minute?" "Of course sweetheart," said Ginny, patting the side of the bed beside her. Carly sat next to Ginny and Ginny put her arm around her. Carly leaned against her and put her head on Ginny’s shoulder. "What is it, Carly?" "Why do these things keep happening to us, to Al?" asked Carly softly. "Are we not supposed to be happy? I mean, is it too much to ask that we are able to be happy without the constant threat of death hanging over us? It seems like we’ll never be safe and happy." Ginny had often wondered that herself. She had come to an answer a long time ago. "Carly, those of us who have fallen in love with Potter men seem to have a hard time of it," said Ginny. "Your Dad and Al have important things they have to do, destinies to fulfill. It’s not easy for us to watch what happens to them and be powerless to help them, but it’s the price we pay for loving them. We need to enjoy every minute with them…as if it could be the last." "It’s not easy is it?" asked Carly. Ginny smiled sadly. "No it isn’t," said Ginny softly. "It’s not easy at all. But I wouldn’t trade your Dad for anyone. I know you feel the same way about Al. Al will be all right, don’t worry." "I know he will be," said Carly softly. "He made me a promise, and he has never broken a promise he’s made to me." Carly reached her hand up, then realized she wasn’t wearing her necklace. She left it on Albus. She had done that many times, as she was so used to wearing it. "Why don’t you get some sleep, Carly?" asked Ginny. "You’ve hardly slept in four days, you are exhausted." "I’ll just sit here a minute, Mum," said Carly with a yawn. Carly still had her head on Ginny’s shoulder. A few moments later, Ginny could tell she was asleep. She gently laid Carly down on the bed and covered her with a blanket. She tried to fix Carly’s long red hair as best she could without waking her. It was a bit of a mess. Ginny kissed her forehead and headed out to check on Rose. Ginny walked down the hallway to Rose’s room. Inside, she found exactly what she had for the last five days. Ron and Hermione were sitting in chairs on one side of the bed. They were holding one of Rose’s hands between theirs. On the far side of the bed, Danny held Rose’s other hand. He had fallen asleep in the chair. He had leaned forward as he fell asleep, and actually had his head resting on Rose’s stomach. Exhaustion had overtaken him again and Ginny knew Ron and Hermione didn’t want to risk waking him to move him. He hadn’t closed his eyes for more than a couple of hours in the past four days. "Any change?" asked Ginny softly, not wanting to wake Danny. "No," said Hermione. "Any change with Al?"
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"No," said Ginny shaking her head. "Carly is sleeping, she couldn’t stay awake any longer." Ron had been sitting there, looking at his beautiful little girl for more hours than could count. She looked so peaceful he thought. He would give anything if she would only wake up. He blamed himself for all of this. If Ron had the slightest doubt about Danny’s devotion to Rose, it was long gone. Since they were allowed in here, except for few minutes once in a while, he hadn’t left. He held her hand, and talked to her. He barely ate, and even when sleep had finally overwhelmed him, he still held her hand. Ron could not ask for a better husband for his little girl. Ron needed something to take his mind off of Rose, even if it was no more pleasant. "How’s Harry?" asked Ron. He knew very well, the answer was ‘not good.’ "Same," said Ginny. "He still opens that book at least every five minutes. I’m worried about him. Sirius is worried too. Hanna stopped by to see how they were, and she told me what happened when he interrogated the Dragon Keepers, and then afterwards." "She told us too," said Hermione shaking her head. "That’s not like Harry." "I’m a lousy best friend…I need to talk to him," said Ron with a sigh. "Hey," said Ginny, putting her arms around her brother’s neck from behind and hugging him. "You have enough to worry about. Harry couldn’t ask for better friends." "Ron’s right," said Hermione, a phrase she rarely ever uttered. "We should go talk to Harry." Hermione’s guilt over Albus had not waned. She knew Albus didn’t save Rose because she asked him to take care of her. He did it, because he had to. It’s who Albus had always been. He would never, not try to help someone in danger. It still didn’t make it easier. "Do you know where Harry is?" asked Hermione. ~ Harry stood where he had spent a lot of time the last five nights. He was on the roof of St. Mungo’s, looking out over London. It was late. The stars were bright. He remembered little from Astronomy class, but there was one constellation he could always find with ease when it was visible in the sky. It was like he was drawn to it, the constellation Phoenix. Unfortunately, this was not the phoenix he really wanted to see. It was very cold, being the first of December, but Harry didn’t feel it. He was only wearing jeans and a jumper, but the biting cold could not penetrate his mind, and he had been numb for days, so his body felt nothing either. There were only two things Harry could think about. Albus had to be all right. He had to be. The book as much as said he did…unless. Could it be that he hasn’t been judged worthy? Could it be that Albus was even now fighting to prove his worth even as he lay in the bed unconscious? "Professor, if you can hear me…I’ll trade myself for him," said Harry to the empty roof and sky above. "I’ll do it right now, just please arrange it, I’m sure you can. It doesn’t matter what happens to me, just let him be all right." The tears Harry had been holding in check for days fell freely from his eyes. "I don’t think it works that way, Harry," said a voice from behind him. Harry started to turn, but realized he could barely move. He hadn’t noticed until Ron’s voice snapped him back to reality, that he was shaking, it was far colder than he had realized or felt.
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harrypotterfanfiction.com :: 65,000 Ha… "My God, Harry," said Hermione admonishingly. "You’re freezing. Do you want to end up in a bed downstairs too?"

"If it will…save Al…then yes," said Harry through chattering teeth. "Let’s get him inside," said Hermione. She grabbed one arm while Ron grabbed the other. Harry was too cold to protest. They dragged Harry inside and down the stairs. They found an empty room, and pulled Harry into it, laying him down on the bed. He was still shaking. Hermione took her wand from her pocket and cast several warming charms over Harry, and then covered him with several blankets. It took a few minutes, but Harry eventually stopped shaking. "Are you trying to kill yourself?" asked Hermione in her best Headmistress tone. "If it would save Al, I’ll line up right now," said Harry absently. "To answer your question, no, I wasn’t trying." "Come on, Harry, they will both be fine," said Ron. His tone told a different story. "And you know that how, Ron?" asked Harry. "Did your years of Healer training tell you they would be all right? Have you seen the future? Maybe you could channel Trelawney and find out what is going to happen." Ron and Hermione were quiet for a moment. They really didn’t know what to say him. They understood his pain. "I’m sorry," said Harry with a sigh as he covered his face with his hands. He didn’t mean to take it out on them. "All I can think about is Al and Rose…and…" "And what?" asked Hermione softly sitting on the edge of the bed and taking his hand. She knew what he was going to say. Harry just stared at the ceiling for a moment. "And Voldemort," said Harry. "One way or another, I’m going to destroy that bloody bastard. I don’t know how, but I intend to find a way to make sure he can never come back. I’m going to make sure he can never hurt anyone again." "Harry," began Ron, but he didn’t get another word out. In an eerily calm voice, Harry spoke. "I’m going to find something that will destroy him," said Harry. "Even if it has to be the darkest magic ever devised. The Killing Curse isn’t good enough obviously, so I will try something else. He will not hurt anyone I love again." Hermione and Ron just stared at him for a moment. Harry wasn’t raving. He wasn’t yelling. What he had said had no more passion or anger than one might see from someone ordering breakfast. It was a little frightening that he was so calm. "Harry, I know you are scared, but it’s all right," said Hermione. "Al will be all right." "No one will be all right, as long as Voldemort exists," said Harry. "The book says I am to destroy him… and so help me God, I will." Ron thought for a moment about Harry’s words. He had thought the same. "He’s right," said Ron. Hermione looked up at him in disbelief, but the calm determined look on Ron’s face told Hermione he meant it. "You know he’s right, Hermione. How many people that we know, that we cared about, have died because of that bastard? Fred, Lupin, Tonks, Dumbledore, Cedric, Mad-Eye, Dobby, Colin, and how many more? Harry’s right, one way or another he has to be destroyed." Ron turned to Harry. "I’m
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harrypotterfanfiction.com :: 65,000 Ha… with you Harry, no matter what it takes, no matter what happens to us, we will find a way to destroy him once and for all. I’m with you to the end, mate."

Harry just nodded, grim determination on his face. Hermione thought a moment. Were they right she wondered? She knew they were. "Fine," said Hermione with a nod. "Someone has to make sure you two don’t do anything stupid along the way. We all started this together when we were eleven years old…and the three of us are going to finish it. What are we going to do?" Chapter 24: Chapter 24 - A Ghost From the Past [View Online] [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter] Chapter 24 – A Ghost From the Past Where am I, thought Rose? She couldn’t see or feel anything, not even her own body. It was like she was surrounded by darkness, somehow disembodied. For some reason, it wasn’t that disconcerting. She felt at ease, and strangely calm. The last thing she remembered was picking up the Golden Egg and pulling it under the Invisibility Cloak. She turned to head for the judges table, sure they had scored well, and were about to win the task, when something hit her from behind. She had a vague sensation of flying, but that was the last thing she remembered. But where was she now? She didn’t know how long she pondered that question. Minutes, days, weeks, months, or even years. Slowly, things began to change. She realized she could feel her own body, and she could move. It was just a little at first, but more as time passed. She realized she was lying down on something. It was a hard surface. She was lying on her back. She realized she had her eyes closed. She opened her eyes and tried to look around her. She seemed to be surrounded by darkness, but it began to brighten almost immediately. She was in some kind of room. It was strangely familiar as if she had been there before. It was all out of focus, but she knew the room. As she lay there, Rose realized that she was not wearing any clothes. She was completely naked, but strangely it really didn’t bother her at all. Rose felt completely at ease. It was like nothing was abnormal at all. She sat up, and the room began to come into focus around her. She had been right, she did know this room. It was the Ancient Runes classroom she had spent so many classes in. It was one of her favorite subjects. Suddenly, realizing she was in a Hogwarts classroom, being naked began to make her somewhat uncomfortable. She wished she were not naked for the first time. Before the thought had even completely formed in her mind, robes appeared on the floor in front of her. She had thought it and suddenly they were there. Rose stood up. She picked up the robes and put them on. They were warm and soft, and seemed to have been made to fit her. As she stood there, she realized, she had never felt so good in her entire life. She felt wonderful. She continued to look around the room. It was definitely the Ancient Runes classroom. The desks were arranged as they always were and the walls were exactly the same as they always had been. Somehow though, it was different. It was too quiet.
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The Ancient Runes classroom was not far from the owlery, and the owls normally made quite a racket during class. Rose also realized the light pouring in the windows was not the normal sunlight, but somehow a more brilliant light. It was bright white, and brighter than any light she had ever seen. At the same time it did not bother her eyes. She couldn’t see anything outside the window but the brilliant white light. If the Hogwarts grounds were there, she could not see them. They had to be there, didn’t they, Rose wondered? As she stood pondering all this, none of which made any sense, she felt very lonely. She wished someone was there she could talk to. This all felt so strange to her. Rose felt, rather than heard the door of the classroom slowly open. She turned away from the windows to see a man with red hair standing in the doorway, wearing a lurid green dragon hide jacket. She knew him immediately. At least she thought she did. "Uncle George," said Rose quizzically. Why was her uncle here she wondered? Even stranger, why did he appear so much younger than he was? "Close, but no cigar as the Muggles say," said the man who was apparently not her uncle with a grin. "I’m much too handsome to be mistaken for George, not to mention I have both my ears. I’ll try not to be too offended." He smiled warmly at her. "Come now, I knew your mother, she was the smartest witch I ever met, and I know you are her equal. You know who I am, just use that brain of yours that your father is always bragging to everyone about." She thought for a moment. There was only one person he could be, but that was impossible, wasn’t it? He had died twenty-five years ago. "Your Mum would be very disappointed if you didn’t figure it out," he said with a smirk. "Come on, it’s not that hard." "Uncle Fred," said Rose quizzically. "But you’re…" "Dead," said Fred with a smile. "Worm food, pushing up daisies, living impaired, permanently horizontal, six feet under, and my personal favorite, taking the big dirt nap. I just love Muggle terms for being dead. I never used to pay much attention to Muggles, but I’ve found my Dad was right, they are awfully interesting." She just stared at him for a moment, mouth open. Then a thought occurred to Rose that hadn’t before, and her blood ran cold. "Am I dead?" asked Rose in barely a whisper. She couldn’t be. It would destroy her parents. For a moment in her mind, she could see them crying over her grave. Then even worse, she couldn’t even image what it would do to poor Danny. He would never recover. At the thought that she would never see Danny again a tear escaped her eye. Fred walked to her and put his arms around her. She held onto him, afraid that the answer was ‘yes’. She was dead, and she would never have Danny hold her in his arms again and run his fingers through her hair. She would never get to walk down the aisle with him. She would never get to make love to him on their wedding night. She would never have him hold her hand as she gave birth to their children. She would never be a mother. She would never have the career she wanted. She would never see the people she loved again. "Don’t cry," said Fred soothingly and he kissed her forehead. "You’re not dead." He smiled. "You have far too many important things to do to be dead. The world needs you, Rose…more than you can possibly imagine." She sighed with relief. "I thought…" began Rose, but Fred cut her off.
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"Don’t worry, you will be back with Danny before you know it," said Fred. A devilish smile crossed his lips. "I’m just sorry I won’t be there to pass out Ton Tongue Toffees and Canary Creams at the wedding." Rose laughed and dried her tears. She went and sat in the same chair at the same desk she had for so many classes. "If I’m not dead, then what am I doing here?" asked Rose. "I assume this isn’t really the Ancient Runes classroom at Hogwarts?" "Hey, I just came to keep you company," said Fred with a laugh. "I don’t have all the answers, but you’re right, this isn’t really Hogwarts. I’m not going to tell you what happened, you’ll find out soon enough. Besides, you won’t remember any of this anyway." Rose thought about what Fred said. As she did, she yawned. She realized she was awfully tired. As the thought entered her mind, a bed appeared at the front of the classroom. "I think it’s time you take a nap," said Fred. Rose nodded, a nap sounded like wonderful idea. She stood and Fred took her hand and led her to the bed. She lay down. Fred spread a blanket over her. She felt warm, the bed was awfully comfortable, and it would be so wonderful to sleep in. Her eyelids felt very heavy. Fred sat down on the edge of the bed and smiled. "Comfortable?" asked Fred. "Yes," said Rose with a yawn. "Very." Fred looked away for a minute. Rose saw a sad look on his face. "Rose, could I ask you do to me a favor?" asked Fred. "If I can, sure," said Rose with another yawn. "I would be happy to." "Would you give someone a message for me?" asked Fred. "Sure, but I thought you said I wouldn’t remember this," said Rose. "Well, maybe you will remember this one thing," said Fred. He leaned down and whispered the message and whom it was for in her ear. Then he kissed her forehead. "Now, you go to sleep. You need to get some rest." She nodded. "Thanks, Uncle Fred," said Rose with a yawn. "I’m really glad I wasn’t all alone here. Thank you." "Anytime," said Fred with a smile. "Perhaps we’ll see each other again sometime. You never know what the future will bring." A moment later, Rose’s eyes closed, and she drifted into a peaceful sleep. ~ Danny Finnigan walked slowly down the hallway of St. Mungo’s. He carried a bouquet of two-dozen red roses. Roses were Rose’s favorites. Danny was thinking about the same thing he had been thinking about for the last nine long days. Would Rose come back to him, or would he spend the rest of his life in that room, holding her hand,
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harrypotterfanfiction.com :: 65,000 Ha… and praying for a miracle? He would never leave her side, no matter what happened. No matter how long it took, he would wait for her. Rose was his entire world, his beautiful Rose. His life meant nothing without her.

After the first five days, he had been convinced by Hermione that running himself into the ground wasn’t going to help her. As he had done on each of the last four days, he had left her for a couple of hours. He showered, changed his clothes, and had something to eat, not that he had much of an appetite. He didn’t sleep. What little sleep he did get was in the chair by her bed when he couldn’t keep his eyes open any longer. Each time he returned to her, he brought another two-dozen red roses to put by her bedside. Hermione had told him, she charmed them so they would stay fresh, but it was the only thing he could do. It wasn’t much. It really wasn’t anything, it certainly wasn’t going to make her wake up, but it was better than nothing. At least he knew when she woke up she would have her favorite flowers by her bed to brighten that depressing room. Danny had cried for the first two days, but he had since run out of tears. His eyes were red from lack of sleep. Even after cleaning himself up, he still looked a mess. As he walked down the hall, he saw a familiar face. James was standing outside of Albus’s room. They had finally started allowing more than one person into Albus’s room, and he knew James had come for a visit. James looked up to see Danny walking toward him. "Dear God, Danny, you look like hell," said James. He hadn’t seen him in a few days and he even looked worse now than he did then. "I feel like hell," said Danny absently. "I feel like I’m in hell." He would have made a joke, but his sense of humor had evaporated days ago. Danny wasn’t sure he would ever laugh again. "I just saw Rose," said James. "She looks good. I know your staying with her is helping her. I’m sure she’ll wake up soon." "That makes one of us, James," said Danny hollowly. "I think I’m going to spend the rest of my life sitting by her bed waiting for her to wake up. I will if I have to. I don’t have any reason to leave here without her." "You can’t think like that, Danny," said James. He could see the despair in his best friend’s eyes. He didn’t know what else to say to him. "I have no faith left, James," said Danny. "If I could trade my life for hers, hell, if I could trade my life for five minutes with her, I would. Nothing else matters anymore. Nothing will ever matter if I lose her." James gave his best friend a hug, then leaned back against the wall. He didn’t know what to say, so he tried to changed the subject, albeit, not by much. "Jason was by a few minutes ago," said James. "He has a game and he couldn’t stay, but he said he’s thinking about everyone." "How’s Al?" asked Danny absently. He only half heard what James said about Jason, he was barely awake. "Same," said James. "They still don’t think he’s strong enough to try reviving him yet. He’s still very weak." "I need to go," said Danny. "I’ve been away from Rose too long already." "Keep your chin up, Danny," said James. "She’ll be all right."
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Danny just nodded and continued down the hall to Rose’s room. He took a breath at the door. He always did, to steel himself for going back in. It was so hard to see her like she was. He walked into the room, and found as he almost always did, Ron and Hermione sitting by her bed holding Rose’s hand. "Hi, Danny," said Hermione, standing to meet him with a brief hug. "I’ll put those in a vase." She took the roses from Danny, removed her wand from her pocket, and conjured a vase. She put the two dozen roses in the vase, charmed them to stay fresh, and put them with the other six dozen already on the table next to Rose’s bed. "I think we’re going to start running out of room pretty soon, Danny," said Hermione with a smile, trying to lighten the mood. "I know," said Danny, with no trace of humor. "No more roses." Hermione hugged him again. The look of complete hopelessness on Danny’s face was heartbreaking. Hermione knew he loved Rose more than anything and was completely devoted to her. Hermione was going to be proud to call him her son in law someday. Danny would make Rose very happy. She just needed to wake up. "We’re going to go get something to eat, Danny," said Hermione giving him a little smile. "Would you like us to bring you anything?" "No thanks," said Danny shaking his head. He went around to the far side of Rose’s bed and sat down in a chair, taking her hand. Ron stood and kissed Rose’s forehead. He looked at Danny. "Take care of her, we won’t be long," said Ron. Hermione kissed Rose’s forehead as well and gave Danny a smile, and both of them left. They always made it a point to give Danny some time alone with Rose. Danny looked down at Rose. She was propped up in the bed against a pile of pillows. She was as beautiful as ever, his beautiful Rose. He ran a hand through her bushy brown hair. He had to smile. She always complained how terrible her hair was, but Danny loved her hair. He loved to run his fingers through it when he held her. Her mother had been brushing it every day. Danny leaned down and kissed her lips lovingly, feeling how warm and soft they were, and wanting more than anything for her to kiss him back. She didn’t. He settled into his chair beside her bed and held her hand to his cheek. The warmth of her hand was soothing, if only a little bit. When they were alone he would talk to her, but he had run out of things to talk to her about. All he had left was what was in his heart. "Please come back to me, Rose," said Danny. "I can’t live without you. I won’t live without you. You have to wake up." Danny’s eyes were heavy. He had so little sleep lately. His eyes began to close and he started to fall towards her, catching himself several times. Finally, he was out cold and fast asleep, his head resting on her lap. Danny wasn’t sure how long he slept. He began to dream that Rose was in his arms, and she was running her hands through his hair. He always loved it when she did that. It was such a wonderful dream, and he never wanted it to end. Something woke Danny, and he opened his eyes. He knew instantly he had fallen asleep again. He was
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harrypotterfanfiction.com :: 65,000 Ha… looking towards the foot of the bed. He was about to pull himself up and sit back in the chair, when he realized, he still felt her soft hands sliding through his hair.

For a moment, Danny was almost afraid to move, assuming he was imaging it. He didn’t want to lose the moment, the feeling of her hands in his hair. He slowly moved his hand up to his hair, and suddenly a hand closed around his. He quickly sat up and turned towards her. Rose was awake, and smiling at him, her beautiful brown eyes sparkling. "Hey sleepy head," said Rose with a smile. "I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to wake you. You looked like you needed a nap." "Rose," said Danny, in a strained voice tears falling from his eyes. "What’s wrong, Danny?" asked Rose a look of concern crossing her face. "What’s happened, Danny? Where are we?" Rose didn’t get an answer. Danny moved from the chair to the edge of the bed, and threw his arms around her. He pulled her close to him and buried his face in her hair, tears still streaming from his eyes. Rose put her arms around him and held him tight. She had no idea what was happening. She had awoken up to find him asleep with his head in her lap. She had no idea where she was or why, but he was there, and that’s all that really mattered to her. She had run her fingers through his hair, she could not resist, but she hadn’t meant to wake him. He was obviously very, very tired to have fallen asleep like that. "I thought I had lost you, Rose," croaked Danny between sobs. "Danny, I’m fine, I’m all right," Rose whispered soothingly as she rubbed his back. She had never once seen him this upset. They sat just like that, Danny holding on to her as if his life depended on it, and Rose, trying to reassure him that she was all right. Finally Danny calmed down. He pulled back to look into her beautiful eyes for a moment, then he kissed her, deeply, desperately, as if he had been waiting or his whole life for this kiss. He never wanted to let go of her. When they broke the kiss, Danny just stared into her eyes smiling at her. She stared back smiling for a moment. It was now that she realized he looked absolutely awful, and her smile faded to a look of concern. "You’re pale, have you been eating?" asked Rose. "You look like you’ve lost weight. Danny, you look like you haven’t slept in a week. Please tell me what’s going on." "More like nine days, Rose," said Danny softly. He didn’t know how to tell her what had happened. "Rose, I saw you. You were dead." Rose stared at him in disbelief. "Dead," said Rose. "What do you mean I was dead? I’m fine. I feel great. Danny, please tell me what happened?" Before Danny could answer, they heard someone exclaim from the doorway, "Rosie!" It was Ron. Hermione was standing beside him, a look of shock and relief on both of their faces. Behind them were Arthur and Molly who had come to visit. Danny let go of Rose, and moved off the bed and into the chair. "Dad," began Rose, but before she could say anything else, Ron threw her arms around her.
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harrypotterfanfiction.com :: 65,000 Ha… "I thought we lost you, Rosie," said Ron. He pulled back, and moved aside, as Hermione threw her arms around Rose. They both had tears in their eyes.

"Are you all right, baby?" asked Hermione. "Yes, I’m fine, I feel great," said Rose. Arthur and Molly also hugged her. "Are you sure you’re all right, Rosie?" asked Ron. "Yes, Dad," said Rose. "Please, someone tell me what’s going on. The last thing I remember I had retrieved the Golden Egg, then something hit me hard. That’s the last thing I remember." Even as she said it, there was something else. "Wait, there was one more thing. Grandma, I think…I have a message for you." "A message," said Molly quizzically. How could she have a message for her, Molly wondered? "What message and from who?" "I don’t know how," said Rose. "Uncle Fred wanted me to tell you…he’s all right and he loves you. You shouldn’t worry about him." For a moment, Molly stood there in shock. She wondered how for just a moment. How didn’t matter. Molly put her arms around Rose and whispered in her ear. "Thank you, Rose," whispered Molly. She had always worried about him. Even though he was gone, he was still, her son. Hermione didn’t know what to make of that, but decided it was less important than telling Rose what had happened. "Rose, what you felt was the dragon’s tail hit you," said Hermione. "The chain broke, and hit the dragon in the head, causing him to crash to the ground. As he thrashed he hit you with his tail. Rose, I don’t know how to tell you this…but you were dead. You were dead in my arms. You were gone." "But I’m fine, I feel great," said Rose in disbelief. How could she have been dead? "This is impossible." "Lily healed you," said Ron. "We don’t know how. You both ended up unconscious and very, very weak." "Is Lily all right?" asked Rose suddenly scared that something had happened to her cousin. "Please tell me she’s all right." "She’s fine," said Danny reassuringly. "She woke up four days ago, and she’s just fine. She’s gone back to Hogwarts." Rose could not overstate her relief. "I don’t know what I would do if anything had happened to her because she saved me," said Rose with a sigh of relief. The room became very quiet. All she could hear was the beat of her heart. She realized, no one had mentioned Albus. If all of that had happened, what had happened to Albus? Albus would be here unless… She could not complete the thought as a sudden terror welled in her chest. She had to know what had happened. "Where is…where is Albus?" asked Rose, as the terror welling within her became visible in her eyes. "Where is he?" Hermione sat down on the edge of her bed and took Rose’s hands in her own. "Rose, I don’t know how to tell you all this, so I’m just going to tell you," said Hermione. "The dragon was coming after you, and Albus got its attention with some stunners. It flew after him. He managed to summon the Sword of Gryffindor, but the dragon caught him and knocked him off his broom into the shallow side of the lake.
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harrypotterfanfiction.com :: 65,000 Ha… Albus managed to kill the dragon, but ended up trapped in its jaws. Somehow, he is alive, but…he is in bad shape Rose. Really, really bad shape."

Rose began to cry. Albus had saved her. Albus never should have been there. She should never have selected him as a partner. "It should have been me, not Al," said Rose, her voice strained. "This is all my fault." Hermione pulled Rose into a hug. She needed to make Rose understand it was not her fault, but before could say anything a voice came from behind her. "It’s not your fault, Rose…it’s mine," said Harry softly. "One of Voldemort’s Death Eaters did this. It’s because of me." Before anyone could protest, Harry clutched his forehead and screamed in pain. He fell to the floor, writhing in agony. Ron fell to his knees and tried to hold Harry so he wouldn’t hurt himself. As suddenly as it started, Harry stopped. "Susan…Voldemort…is killing…Susan," panted Harry as he still clutched his hand to his scar. "She’s dead." At that moment, before anyone could even comprehend what was happening, they heard commotion in the hall, and saw several Healers running by the door in the direction of Albus’s room. Harry knew what was happening. A moment later, James came running into the room a look of horror on his face. He saw his father on the floor, but it didn’t register with him. "Albus had some kind of seizure," said James. "They think they’re losing him." Chapter 25: Chapter 25 - The Master of the Sword of Souls [View Online] [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter] Chapter 25 – The Master of the Sword of Souls "Help me up," said Harry. Ron helped Harry to his feet, and held onto him for a moment while he regained his balance. "Are you all right, Harry?" asked Ron. "No…not really," said Harry. In the vision, he had seen Voldemort killing Susan Bones. Voldemort cut her open from her hip to her shoulder with a knife. It was one of the most gruesome violent things Harry had ever seen. Susan’s assistant must have heard Susan scream, and walked in as Voldemort was apparating away. Then the vision ended. Harry knew it was over. There was nothing he could do for Susan. He had to worry about Albus. Harry started to head for the door, when Ginny came around the corner. She was dragging a nearly catatonic Carly with her. The look on Ginny’s face was one of horror. "The Healers say to stay here," said Ginny with tears in her eyes. "They said Al’s heart stopped. They are trying to resuscitate him."
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harrypotterfanfiction.com :: 65,000 Ha… No one spoke. Danny sat on the edge of Rose’s bed and held her as she cried into his shoulder. James took Carly from Ginny’s grasp and maneuvered her into a chair, where he held her as she cried. Ron and Hermione, Arthur and Molly, and Harry and Ginny each held each other. The only one who spoke was Harry.

"I had a vision," said Harry as he tried to stay calm. "Albus must have had it too. That must be what did it. It was too much for him in his present condition." "What was the vision of, Harry?" asked Ginny. Harry looked at her for a moment. Then he nodded. He knew doing something was better than standing there doing nothing. "Voldemort was killing Susan Bones," said Harry. "My God, Susan," said Ginny. "We must tell someone." "Her assistant found her as Voldemort left," said Harry slowly. "I’m sure the Ministry already knows about it." "Is there any hope?" asked Hermione gravely. Harry shook his head. "She’s gone," said Harry. "She never had a chance." Harry didn’t know what to do. His son lay, possibly dying, a few rooms away. He needed to go find out why Voldemort killed Susan, even if it was too late to help her, he owed her that much. Voldemort would not have gone to see her without a reason. Voldemort was enraged. Whatever he wanted from her, he didn’t get it. Before he could ponder this further, a Healer came into the room, the same one who had spoken with them that first day they came to St. Mungo’s. "Albus is all right," said the Healer reassuringly. "We aren’t sure what happened. Whatever it was stopped his heart momentarily, but we were able to resuscitate him. We don’t know what caused it though, he is otherwise stable." "I know," said Harry. "Albus and I both get…for lack of a better term…visions. It was shocking and painful. That must be what did it. I collapsed in here just as it must have happened." "Do you get them often?" asked the Healer. "This is the first one since the end of July," said Harry. "Well, he is still very weak, but he is stable, as long as he doesn’t have any more of them, he should be all right for now," said the Healer. "You can go back in and see him in a little while." It was then that she noticed Rose sitting up in bed holding Danny. "Miss Weasley, I see you are awake. How do you feel?" "I feel fine," said Rose, through her tears. "Can I…can I see Albus?" "Why don’t we clear everyone out, and I’ll examine you," said the Healer. "If everything is in order, we will discharge you and you can see your cousin. I’ll be back in just a few minutes." The Healer left them. "Since Al’s all right, I have to go find out why Voldemort attacked Susan," said Harry. Ginny looked up at him. She didn’t want him to go, but she knew he had to. She nodded. "I’ll go with you," said Ron.
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harrypotterfanfiction.com :: 65,000 Ha… "Me too," said James. Ginny went over and held Carly so James could go.

"All right, let’s go," said Harry. As he headed for the door, he stopped. He turned to look at Ginny and Carly. Carly was crying. He wanted to say something, but there was nothing he could say that would help. He turned, and continued out the door. ~ When Harry, Ron, and James flooed from St. Mungo’s to the Ministry of Magic, they knew immediately that word of the attack had spread. The Ministry was in lockdown. Aurors were everywhere, and a siren was going off. Two Aurors ran up to them about to ask what they were dong there, but when they saw whom it was, they stopped. "Sir, Head Auror Abbott just dispatched us to get you," said the Auror. "Is this about what happened at the Wizarding Museum of Britain?" asked Harry. "Yes," said the Auror. "We were told to fetch you at St. Mungo’s and bring you right to the museum. Head Auror Abbot and the Minister are already there." "Let’s go then," said Harry. The two Aurors escorted Harry, Ron, and James out of the Ministry. They walked to the Museum. They would have flooed, but the Ministry had shut down floo access to the Museum until they had control of the situation. When they turned a corner, toward the Museum, Harry, Ron, and James stopped dead in their tracks. They all stared at the glowing green skull with a snake coming out of its mouth. The Dark Mark hung above the Museum. Ron and Harry looked at each other. They had not seen the Dark Mark in so long. They could have gone a lot longer without seeing it. The two Aurors stopped walking when they realized those they escorted had stopped. "You didn’t know about the Dark Mark?" asked the second Auror who had not yet spoken. "We assumed you had heard about it." "No," said Harry. "We knew what happened inside. Let’s go." Harry and Ron started to move, when they realized, James was still staring at the Dark Mark with a blank expression. "Are you all right, James?" asked Harry. "I’ve never seen it before," said James. "I’ve heard about it, of course, but it’s not quite the same as seeing it." "I remember the first time I saw it," said Ron. "It was at the Quidditch World Cup the summer before fourth year. It really made an impression." "Yeah," said Harry. "James, are you going to be all right?" "Yeah, Dad," said James shaking himself out of his fog. "I just wasn’t really prepared you know. You’re right Uncle Ron. It does really make an impression."
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harrypotterfanfiction.com :: 65,000 Ha… Harry, Ron, and James, led by the two Aurors, arrived a short time later at Susan Bones’ office. In the outer office where Susan’s assistant’s desk was Hanna was sitting in a chair talking to Susan’s assistant Miranda.

Hanna stood and came over to them immediately, dismissing the Aurors with a nod. They could tell from the look on her face this was not good. "Kingsley just left to try and get some control on the Daily Prophet, but he’s afraid, news of the Dark Mark will be all over the papers tomorrow," said Hanna. "Everyone will be talking about Voldemort returning by tomorrow. I’m surprised they found you so quickly." "We already knew," said Ron. "I got a little advanced warning," said Harry, absently rubbing his scar. "A vision?" asked Hanna curiously. "Yes," said Harry. "It…nearly killed Albus." "I’m sorry Harry," said Hanna shaking her head. "Ron, how’s Rose doing?" "She just woke up," said Ron smiling in spite of how bad he still felt about Albus’s condition. "She seems fine." "That’s wonderful news," said Hanna. "Harry, you need to speak to Miranda, Susan’s assistant, immediately. She says she has a message for Harry. I can only assume she means you, she hasn’t said anything else." "What exactly happened to her?" asked Harry. Harry could see she was in bad shape even from where they were across the room. "As near as we can figure, she walked in just as Voldemort apparated away," said Hanna. "Susan was still alive we think. We think she told Miranda to tell you something before she died." Harry nodded and they all walked over to where the young woman sat. She had a blanket around her, and a blank, vacant expression. Even with the blanket around her she was shaking slightly. Her clothing was covered with blood, but Harry was pretty sure it wasn’t hers. "Miranda," said Harry softly, kneeling down in front of her. "Do you remember me? I came to see Susan this past summer. My name is Harry Potter." She looked at him for a moment. Harry wasn’t sure if she understood what he was saying. Finally she began to speak. The words came slowly as if she was having trouble remembering them. "Harry," said Miranda, as much statement as a question. "Yes, Miranda," said Harry. "Susan…was still alive…when I found her," said Miranda. "There was so much…blood…he sliced her open." "I know, Miranda," said Harry. "I’m so sorry you had to see that. I know how hard this is, but I need to know, did Susan say anything?" Miranda nodded. "What did she say, Miranda?" asked Harry softly. He didn’t want to push, she was obviously in shock,
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but he had to know. "She said, I had to tell Harry…he’s looking…for the sword…but she didn’t…tell him anything," said Miranda slowly." "Did she say anything else?" asked Harry. "She couldn’t," said Miranda, a look of terror in her face. "She couldn’t say anything else…she was dead…in my arms." Miranda began to cry. Harry put his arms around her and gave her a reassuring hug, then got back to his feet. "Hanna, she can’t tell us anything more," said Harry. "Get her to St. Mungo’s." Hanna nodded and motioned for two Aurors standing in the corner. They escorted Miranda from the room. "Did he do anything else while he was here?" asked Ron. "Yes," said Hanna. "He was seen apparating into the Merlin Room. He removed the painting, La Morte di Merlin from the wall. He ripped the frame to pieces, then apparated away." "Is that when he came after Susan?" asked James. "It seems that way," said Hanna with a nod. "Miranda seems to have been in here, when Voldemort apparated into the office." "She must have gone into the office when she heard Susan scream," said Harry. "Did he take anything?" asked James. "The Assistant Curator, Reginald Blackman is in the office checking the files. Two drawers were ransacked," said Hanna. "He’s trying to figure out what was taken." "Let’s go talk to him, Ron," said Harry. "James, wait here." "I can handle it, Dad," said James emphatically. Harry hesitated a moment. He knew James never saw anything like what was in this room. If he were going to be an Auror, he would have to sooner or later. "All right, James," said Harry. Harry pushed open the door and entered the office with Ron and James right behind him. He knew what he was going to see and still wasn’t prepared. The pool of blood on the floor was enormous, all around Susan’s body. In the center was Susan. She had been slashed from hip to shoulder with a blade in Harry’s vision. He had seen gruesome scenes before, but this was different. He knew Susan. She was a friend. Harry looked at James. He looked a little green, but was handling it. Harry was very proud of that. He knew James would make a great Auror one day. Harry, Ron, and James walked to the side of the room where the filing cabinets were. Two Aurors were with the Assistant Curator, aiding him in checking the files. He was a short, balding wizard with a blond handlebar mustache, and he was going through some drawers of paperwork. "Mr. Blackman," said Harry. "My name is Harry Potter."
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harrypotterfanfiction.com :: 65,000 Ha… "I know who you are," said Reginald Blackman absently. "Everyone knows you. Please call me Reggie, everyone does." He seemed flustered, but that was to be expected under the circumstances. "Did you know Susan?"

"Yes," said Harry. "She was a friend." "She was my friend as well, Mr. Potter," said Reggie as he took a deep breath. "Reggie, please call me Harry," said Harry. "Were you able to determine if Voldemort took anything?" "Yes, it seems he took two files," said Reggie with a sigh. "I have copies in my office, let’s go there and I’ll get them for you." The four of them left the office, and met Hanna and Kingsley in the outer office. "Hello, Harry," said Kingsley. "I can’t stop this from reaching the press. They also know the accident at the Triwizard Tournament wasn’t an accident. We managed to keep the reporters away when they thought it was an accident, but I’m afraid, they will start showing up at St. Mungo’s. "I’ve already dispatched Aurors to handle them," said Hanna. "Thank you, Hanna," said Harry appreciatively. "Kingsley, I’ll let you know what I find." "If you need anything, let me know," said Kingsley. Down the hall from Susan’s office was the Assistant Curator’s Office. In the office, which was much like Susan’s, only without the painting above the fireplace, Reggie retrieved the files from a filing cabinet and handed them to Harry. "I’ll be in the outer office if you need anything," said Reggie. "Please, take as long as you need. I can have copies of the files made if you need them." After Reggie left the office, Harry, Ron, and James sat at the conference table and Harry looked at the two files. "This first file is on the painting, ‘La Morte di Merlin’, ‘the death of Merlin’," said Harry. "That’s the one Voldemort destroyed. There isn’t really anything here that Susan didn’t tell Albus and I this summer, just the previous owners. It has been in the Museum’s collection since 1985. In 1985, the Museum purchased it from a private collector, Gerard Romano, a wizard who lived in Venice, Italy so it could be added to the permanent Merlin Exhibit. He claimed a distant cousin from Britain had given his family the painting around 1612. It doesn’t have a first name, but the cousin was a member of the…Peverell family." "Your family owned it, Harry?" asked Ron. Harry was descended from the Peverell family. That is how the Invisibility Cloak, once owned by Ignotus Peverell came to be in his father’s possession. "Apparently so," said Harry. "According to this, a member of the Peverell family was given it as a gift by Leonardo da Vinci shortly after he painted it in 1510. Leonard da Vinci had been a friend of the Peverell family." "Was the painting thoroughly examined?" asked James. "According to this, a small secret compartment was found in the frame, but it was empty," said Harry. "Voldemort must have been looking for something in the compartment in the frame. I can’t think of why else he would have destroyed the painting."
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Harry wasn’t sure what to make of this. Could it just be a coincidence that his family had owned the painting? What could have been in the secret compartment? It was small, so it could not have contained the Sword of Souls. Since it was empty Harry knew at least for now, that it was a dead end and Voldemort didn’t have whatever he was looking for. "The other file is on Gellert Grindelwald," said Harry. Harry scanned through the file on Grindelwald. There was nothing here that Harry didn’t know about Grindelwald already. Voldemort had to be interested in Grindelwald because he claimed to have the Sword of Souls. Fortunately, nothing in the file seemed to help in that regard. "There was a black sword in the painting in Susan’s office," said James. "Is that the sword Susan was talking about?" "Yes," said Harry. "When Albus and I came here this summer, Susan told us the story of the Sword of Souls. That has to be it." "What does that have to do with Grindelwald?" asked Ron. Harry looked around the office hoping he would find what he needed. He did. He removed his wand from his pocket and summoned the pensieve that was sitting on a table next to Reggie’s desk, and placed it on the table in front of them. Harry placed his wand to his temple and removed a shiny strand of silver, neither liquid nor gas, and dropped it into the pensieve. He touched it with his wand and Susan Bones appeared out of the pensive. The memory of Susan telling Harry and Albus about the Sword of Souls played, and they listened. "Is it real?" asked James his eyes wide. "It must be," said Ron. "I didn’t think Susan thought so," said Harry. "Voldemort thinks it is though. I’m beginning to think so too." "Could Gellert Grindelwald have really had it?" asked James. "Possibly," said Harry. "I think we need more information. James, please ask Reggie to come in here for a minute." James nodded and went to get Reggie while Harry returned the memory to his head. James returned with him a moment later and they both sat down. "Reggie, I need to know who the foremost expert in Britain is on Gellert Grindelwald," said Harry. "I need information on him." "That’s easy," said Reggie. "Dr. Dieter Braun." "Doctor," said Ron quizzically. "He’s a Muggle Healer?" "No," said Reggie. "He is very much a wizard. He has obtained multiple doctorates at Muggle universities. He’s the most knowledgeable historian, Muggle or wizard, in all of Europe. He’s definitely the man you want." "He is an expert on Grindelwald?" asked Harry. "He should be," said Reggie. "His entire family was murdered by Grindelwald in 1943. If there is anything Dr. Braun doesn’t know about Grindelwald, I would be shocked. He’s ninety years old, but he looks good for a man of his age."
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"How can we contact him?" asked Harry. "Well, he is fairly hard to see," said Reggie. "He might see ‘Harry Potter’, but I would go alone. You might be turned away if you all go. He lives in the Scottish Highlands, in a castle overlooking Loch Ness. Floo to the Whispering Wand. It’s a small wizard pub, restaurant, and rooming house not far from his castle. Ask for Nelson at the bar. Nelson will point you to the castle. He’s an old friend of mine. Tell him I sent you." Harry thanked Reggie and filled Kingsley and Hanna in on his plan to seek out Dr. Dieter Braun. Outside the Museum, Harry, Ron, and James stood together. "All right, I’m going to go see Dr. Braun," said Harry. "You two should both get back to the hospital. I don’t want Ginny and Hermione to worry." "No," both Ron and James said at the same time. "You heard Reggie," said Harry. "He may not see me if I don’t go alone. I’ll be fine. Don’t worry about me." "I could wait at the pub, Dad," said James. Harry thought a moment. There was no harm in that he supposed. "I do want to get back and see Rose," said Ron, the conflict on his face was clearly evident. He wanted to go, but… "Go, Ron, we’ll be fine," said Harry. "You may have to help control the press now that they know the incident at the tournament was not an accident. Tell Ginny, I don’t expect to be gone too long, but we might not be back until morning. Tell her not to worry." ~ Harry and James returned to the Ministry and flooed to the Whispering Wand in Scotland. It wasn’t that far from Hogwarts. Harry and James looked around for a moment. It was a nice, clean place, with shiny wood floors. There were only a couple of people at tables in the pub, and one bartender drying glasses with a rag. He was short and burly with short blond hair, in his mid forties. Harry and James walked over to the bar. "Good afternoon," said the bartender. "He just looked at Harry for a moment. "I’ll be, Harry Potter right here in my own place. It’s an honor Mr. Potter." The bartender extended his hand. Harry then James shook the bartender’s hand. "Thank you, please call me Harry. This is my son James," said Harry. "Pleased to meet both of you, what can I get you?" asked the bartender. "Nothing, thanks," said Harry. "Reggie told me to ask for Nelson." "And found me you have," said Nelson with a smile. "Nelson Wallace at your service. Why did old Reggie point you in my direction." "I need to find Dr. Dieter Braun," said Harry. "It is easy enough to find his castle, but getting him to see you is another matter," said Nelson. "Out the door, turn right, and look for the castle, it’s a ways down the road. Knock on the door, and if he answers, you’ll have to talk him into seeing you. If he won’t see you, you can hang around here. Every
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harrypotterfanfiction.com :: 65,000 Ha… few days he comes down from the castle for a drink and a bit of conversation with me, but he rarely talks to anyone else. He likes his privacy."

"Thank you, Nelson," said Harry. He turned to James. "Why don’t you stay here and wait for me. If I’m not back by supper time rent a room." "When do I start to worry, and come after you, Dad?" asked James seriously. "If I’m not back by morning, send word to Uncle Ron," said Harry. "I’m sure there is nothing to worry about." James nodded reluctantly, and Harry left him at the bar, turned right out the front door, and headed down the road. The road was right on the water, and on his left, Loch Ness stretched out before him. It was beautiful, but awfully cold. Maybe he could bring Ginny here for their anniversary, Harry thought? He knew she would love this place. After a twenty-minute walk, he could see the castle on the side of a hill on his right. It wasn’t anywhere near as large as Hogwarts, but it was still a castle, and was impressive looking. Harry walked up to the door of the castle. It was a rather large wooden door. Harry grabbed the knocker and clanged it several times. He waited and a few moments later, the door creaked open several inches. Harry couldn’t see anything in the darkness. "What do you want?" asked a voice, none too pleasantly. "I have no appointments today." "No, I have no appointment," said Harry. "Then leave me alone," said the voice. The door began to close. "Wait," said Harry. "My name is Harry Potter, I need to see Dr. Dieter Braun. It is very important I speak with him." The door creaked open, and Harry could now see the man. He was of average height and build, with short dark hair and bright amber eyes. He was stooped over and leaning on a cane. Harry assumed he had to be a servant. "My name is Dr. Dieter Braun," said the man Harry had thought was a servant. "Please come in, and tell your son to remove the cloak, he isn’t fooling anyone. I have more than enough spells surrounding this place to see through anything." It took Harry just a couple of seconds to figure out what Dr. Braun meant. "Take off the cloak, James," said Harry in an exasperated tone as he turned around. James swung the Invisibility Cloak off. He had a guilty look on his face. "Didn’t I tell you to wait in the pub for me?" asked Harry. He knew he should have known James wouldn't wait at the pub. "Well, I thought it was more of a suggestion really," said James with half smile. James stuffed the Invisibility Cloak into his robes. "Come on," said Harry shaking his head with a laugh. Harry and James went inside, and Dr. Braun closed the door. Harry knew he would have done the same thing that James had. Harry stuck out his hand, but Dr. Braun didn’t shake it. "Dr. Braun, this is my son James," said Harry. "I’m sorry to disturb you." "Come, let’s sit and you can tell me what was so important that you had to disturb me," said Dr. Braun
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harrypotterfanfiction.com :: 65,000 Ha… in an annoyed tone. He turned and walked down a hallway. James gave Harry a questioning look, but Harry just shrugged, and they both followed Dr. Braun down the hall.

They emerged into a room. It was not well lit, but not dark either. The room was decorated with all manner of armor, weapons, paintings, and statues. It looked much like a museum. Dr. Braun motioned them to three chairs in front of the fireplace. Harry and James moved towards the chairs, but James stopped for a moment when he noticed a picture sitting on the mantle above the fireplace. He moved towards it. "Dr. Braun, is that you and…" James stopped. "I thought she was just a myth." "Not at all," said Dr. Braun, with a bit of a smile, the first hint of cordiality he had shown. "The Ministry has been trying to keep her under wraps for years, they even have the magical community believing she is a myth. I would offer to introduce you, but she tends to spend these months at the southern end of the Loch. She comes up this way in the spring. She’s quite friendly, you just need to know how to entice her out of the loch." "How is that?" asked James, still disbelieving what he saw in the picture. "She loves Bertie Bott's Every Flavor Beans, though I don’t know why," said Dr. Braun with a laugh. "I once got a hold of a skunk spray flavored one, and haven’t eaten them since. She absolutely loves them though, just bring a big box down by the shore, and she’ll pop right out for a chat if she’s around. Kelpies are terribly misunderstood. Muggles can’t actually see her, except when she wants to show off." "She can talk?" asked James in disbelief. Harry gave James a look that said, now’s not the time, and James and Harry took their seats, as did Dr. Braun. "I’m sorry if I have been rude," said Dr. Braun taking a deep breath. "It’s just that I really don’t like having guests here. However, I couldn’t very well refuse an audience with the Harry Potter now could I? Would you like some tea?" "That would be nice," said Harry. "Thank you." Dr. Braun waved his hand, and a tea service appeared on the small table between Harry and James chairs and the one in which Dr. Braun sat. He waved his hand again, and the tea poured itself. "Now," said Dr. Braun, taking a sip of his tea. "What can I do for you?" "I need some information, and I’m told you are the foremost expert on Gellert Grindelwald," said Harry getting right to the point. Dr. Braun’s face darkened. "Yes," said Dr. Braun. "I have spent my life studying the butcher who murdered my family." "I’m really sorry," said Harry. "That must have been awful." Dr. Braun was silent for a moment. "If anyone can understand, I am sure you can Mr. Potter," said Dr. Braun. "I am of course quite familiar with your story." Harry nodded. "Now, what do you need to know about Grindelwald?" asked Dr. Braun. "I need to know if he had the Sword of Souls?" asked Harry getting right to the point.
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Dr. Braun froze, and his teacup fell from his hand and shattered on the floor. "Why do you ask?" asked Dr. Braun, just above a whisper. Harry knew a look of intense fear when he saw one. "I don’t know if word has reached this area yet, but with today’s events, it will soon," said Harry. "Voldemort has returned and I think he’s looking for the Sword of Souls. I know Grindelwald claimed to have it. Do you know if that’s true?" "What do you know of the Sword of Souls?" asked Dr. Braun slowly. There was a note of suspicion in his voice. Harry could understand that. Harry told him all he learned from Susan Bones about the Sword of Souls and about what had happened at the museum earlier in the day. Dr. Braun looked at Harry as if he was trying to decide if he was telling the truth. After a few long moments, he finally replied. "Gellert Grindelwald did have the Sword of Souls," said Dr. Braun. "Of that I am completely certain." "How can you know for sure?" asked James curiously. "Because he killed my father for it," said Dr. Braun. Harry stared at Dr. Braun in surprise. "How is that possible?" asked Harry. Dr. Braun took a breath and sighed. "They story of the Sword of Souls you know is true," said Dr. Braun. "When I was born, my father was already well over three hundred years old. He had killed the swords’ previous owner long ago. My father used it to amass quite a fortune, but he did not seek power, though he always felt the sword called him to do just that. He did occasionally fall to the sword’s allure. When he publicly opposed Gellert Grindelwald, Grindelwald came to kill him or take him to Nurmengard. Either was an acceptable outcome for that butcher." Dr. Braun paused. "It was 1943, and I was ten years old. Grindelwald came to our home. He first fought my father. I know now, he carried the Elder Wand, and that was how he killed my father so easily." "How do you know that?" asked Harry. The secret of the Elder Wand was one Harry kept closely guarded. Only his friends and family knew. "I have friends within the German Ministry of Magic," said Braun. "They knew exactly what Voldemort was looking for when he killed Grindelwald in 1998." "Is the Elder Wand more powerful than the Sword of Souls?" asked James. "I don’t know why Voldemort would want the sword if it wasn’t more powerful." "The Sword of Souls is far more powerful than the Elder Wand," said Dr. Braun with a nod. "My father lost his battle with Grindelwald because he never truly embraced the power of the Sword of Souls. The sword is many times more powerful than the Elder Wand." Harry nodded and Braun continued. "Grindelwald killed my father and took the sword," said Dr. Braun. His expression was pained. "He then killed my entire family…my mother, my two brothers, my three sisters, all of my grandparents and my three uncles. He slaughtered them like they were cattle. I hid in a cupboard under the stairway, and he didn’t find me." Avoiding a monster in a cupboard under a stairway. That was an interesting bit of irony, Harry thought. "That’s awful," said Harry. "I’m sorry." "It was…a long time ago," said Dr. Braun softly. "But thank you."
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"Do you know where the sword is now?" asked James. "Grindelwald was so enamored with the Deathly Hallows, that he kept the sword as a trophy, nothing more," said Dr. Braun. "He never realized what he had. I assume it is in Castle Grindelwald, but I never found a way to enter it, neither has anyone else. I tried many times." "Why did you try to find it?" asked Harry. Dr. Braun sighed. "I felt I had a right to the Sword of Souls as it belonged to my father," said Dr. Braun. "In reality, the Sword of Souls would never have recognized me as its master. Only through killing the sword’s master can its ownership be passed. I believe only one person can wield the sword… and I’m talking to him." "Me?" asked Harry in disbelief. "How could I be the master of the Sword of Souls?" Even as Harry asked the question, he thought he knew the answer. "It’s very simple," said Dr. Braun. "The Sword of Souls is not governed by wandlore, so the passing of the sword did not take the same path as the Elder Wand. Gellert Grindelwald killed my father, and Voldemort killed Grindelwald." "And I killed Voldemort," said Harry. It all made perfect sense. "Yes, it is interesting both the Elder Wand and Sword of Souls found their way to make you their master, even if they did take very different paths," said Dr. Braun. He frowned. "Mr. Potter, please listen carefully to what I say. The power of the sword is a tremendous temptation, even to the noblest, most well intentioned person. You have the power to destroy it. The Sword of Souls must be destroyed. I don’t really know what I was going to do if I found the sword. I likely could not even have held it. I’m very glad I didn’t find it." "Do you think I would be able to enter Castle Grindelwald?" asked Harry. "I truly doubt it," said Dr. Braun. "The sword was not important to Grindelwald. Your being its master would mean nothing to him. I don’t know how to get in, but your being connected to the sword wouldn’t have anything to do with it. I doubt your being master of the Elder Wand would help. Albus Dumbledore could not enter Castle Grindelwald either, and he had the Elder Wand when he tried. I can’t think of anything that has not been tried. Everything was always a dead end." They talked for a little longer, trying to find anything else that might help them, but Dr. Braun had no more useful information for them. Harry thanked Dr. Braun, and he and James left. They walked back towards the Whispering Wand. "What do you think, Dad?" asked James. "I don’t know, James," said Harry with a shrug. "Since I don’t know how to get the sword, I don’t know if this helps us any. At least Voldemort can’t use it, or if it is in Castle Grindelwald, he can’t get to it either. It’s getting late. Let’s get some dinner at the Whispering Wand, and get a room for the night. I’m hungry and I’m beat. We can get back to St. Mungo’s first thing in the morning." Harry was having another thought about the Sword of Souls, but he didn’t want to share it with James just yet. If he could get the Sword of Souls and kill Voldemort with it, he could trap his evil soul in the sword, then destroy the sword and destroy Voldemort once and for all. He knew Dr. Braun thought he should destroy it if he got it, but Harry was sure he was meant to use it to kill Voldemort. The problem was how to get the sword. Braun didn’t have the answer, so he would have to look elsewhere, but he wasn’t sure just where to start. For now, though, he had to think about Albus. As long as Voldemort couldn’t get the Sword of Souls
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either, they were safe. Chapter 26: Chapter 26 - I Don’t Want To Live Without Him [View Online] [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter] Chapter 26 – I Don’t Want To Live Without Him "Do you think one of us should go get her?" asked James. "You know…before she hurts him?" As James stood outside of Albus’s room in St. Mungo’s, he was referring to his mother. Ginny had just found Peter Skeeter trying to talk to Carly in Albus’s room. Ginny was in the process of removing him from the building. Peter Skeeter was finding out why her Weasley temper was legendary. "No," said Harry. "She won’t hurt him…not badly anyway, and we are in a hospital after all." Harry was trying not to laugh, though he was tempted to let himself laugh. It might be a long time before he laughed again. "Besides…I think right now, she can use the distraction." "You miserable piece of filth," yelled Ginny. She had Peter Skeeter, and was levitating him down the hall by his ankle. She was ‘accidentally’ bouncing him off of the walls, ceiling, and floor, as they went down the hallway towards the stairway. Ginny was not happy. "Please put me down," begged Skeeter, nearly in tears. "Oh, I’ll put you down all right," growled Ginny. Ginny winced a little in mock sympathy. "Oh, that had to hurt." Ginny had just accidentally whacked his head on the landing as they descended the stairs. She still had him upside down. "Please," begged Skeeter. "I’ll never do it again." "That goes without saying," said Ginny. "Next time I will throw you off the roof." Ginny arrived moments later with the helpless reporter at the front desk of St. Mungo’s. "This one seems to have got by you," bellowed Ginny to the Aurors standing guard. She removed the spell and Skeeter crashed to the ground in a heap. "See that it doesn’t happen again." Ginny rounded on Skeeter who was cowering on the floor. "And as for you, you obnoxious, worthless, lowlife pile of dung, if you come near any member of my family again it will be the last thing you ever do," growled Ginny. "And just so you don’t forget." Ginny pointed her wand at him and said a spell, the one she was famous for when she was in school. Suddenly giant bat-bogies were flying around Skeeter’s face attacking him. He jumped to his feet and ran for the exit screaming. Ginny smiled as he ran. "That will teach you to mess with the master of the Bat-Bogey Hex!" Ginny stormed up the stairs. She had walked into Albus’s room with Lily to find Peter Skeeter badgering Carly with questions. Carly was crying hysterically. Before Ginny could move, Lily had beaten her to the punch, literally. She hit Skeeter in the gut with a punch that the strongest Muggle boxer would have envied, and doubled him over, and then she kicked him, very, very hard, in a rather sensitive area actually lifting him off the ground. Then Ginny took over. It was an awfully satisfying experience, though one she hoped not to have to repeat. She was fairly certain Peter Skeeter would not be back to bother them. Unfortunately, Ginny knew that when she arrived back at Albus’s room, she would be returning to reality. Her little boy was terribly weak, and getting weaker by the hour, weaker by the minute. The Healers said they didn’t expect Albus would last much longer, and there was nothing more they could do for him.
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harrypotterfanfiction.com :: 65,000 Ha… Everyone had come to see Albus today, anticipating that the end was near. No one said it out loud, but everyone knew they had come to say goodbye.

Hermione and Ron had said they would stay, but Ginny told them they needed to go be with the family at the Burrow where the rest of the Weasleys and their friends had gathered to wait. Kingsley had some people from the Ministry overseeing things at Hogwarts, as Hagrid, Sirius, and Neville were all at the Burrow. Harry and Ginny were going to make Lily go to the Burrow as well. Lily had three times tried to heal Albus, and Ginny and Harry had decided they would not risk letting her stay. They didn’t trust her to be there when the end came. James was going to take her to the Burrow and stay with her. They were about to say goodbye to Albus, when they went in and found Skeeter. Soon, Ginny, Harry, Carly, and Rose would be left to wait for the end that they had all, save Carly, begun to accept was coming. They had fought it, but they had little fight left in them. Albus was going to die, and there was nothing Ginny could do or say that was going to change that. She was going to lose her little boy. Ginny tried to think of the last five years as a wonderful gift. Albus should have died in the Chamber of Secrets his first year. The miracle of his survival had given them Albus for five more wonderful years. Perhaps he was living on borrowed time since then. Perhaps that debt had finally come due. Ginny knew it would be no easier for everyone else than it was for her. James blamed himself. The book had called James, Albus’s protector. Now James felt he should have saved him. Lily thought she had the power to save him, but Harry and Ginny couldn’t let her risk it, healing Rose had nearly killed Lily. All Rose could do was blame herself for taking Albus as a partner in the competition, even though it was Albus who had begged her to. Harry blamed himself, because he blamed himself for everything. He didn’t need a specific reason. Ginny was the only one who really placed the blame where it belonged. She knew this was Voldemort’s fault. That didn’t help her much. It didn’t change what was going to happen. The person, who really worried Ginny, was Carly. As much as Carly had cried these last two weeks, as Albus got weaker and weaker, Carly became more convinced he would never break his promise to her. According to Carly, Albus couldn’t die because they were going to be married in August, and have a family, and grow old together. Carly was in complete and total denial. Ginny was afraid Carly would never recover from this. This was going to destroy Carly. In some ways, Ginny knew that trying to help Carly deal with losing Albus would be even worse than losing Albus. Carly was strong, she had to be to get through what happened to her parents, but where Albus was concerned, her strength had limits. The book said Carly was the source of Albus’s power, but Ginny new, that Albus was the source of Carly’s strength. As Ginny walked down the hall, she could see Harry and James nearly carrying Lily out of Albus’s room. She didn’t have to ask why. Ginny hurried down the corridor towards them. "No, Lily," said Harry. "We can’t let you try to heal him. We won’t risk it. I’m sorry, but we just can’t let you." "But I know I can save him," cried Lily through her sobs. "I can save him, Dad, please. I saved Rose. I know I can save Al." "Lily," said Ginny as she arrived next to them and put he arms around her little girl, hugging her tight. "I know you want to save Albus, but we won’t risk your getting hurt. Ginny pulled back and looked Lily in the eyes. "And you know Al wouldn’t want you to risk hurting yourself, right? He would be very angry if anything happened to you. He loves you too much for that." Lily nodded, the tears still sliding down her face. "But, Mum, I don’t want him to die," said Lily, breaking into sobs again. Ginny pulled her into a hug again. "None of us do, Lily," said Ginny as she blinked back her own tears.
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harrypotterfanfiction.com :: 65,000 Ha… "But some things just can’t be prevented." She held Lily for a moment longer. There really was little else she could say. "James, you two should go."

Ginny let go of Lily, and hugged James. "I’m sorry, Mum," said James. "No more of that," said Ginny. "It’s not your fault. It’s none of our faults." As she said that, she could feel Harry cringe, but Ginny didn’t say anything. James slowly shook his head disbelievingly, put his arm around Lily, and led her away. Ginny put her arms around Harry, tears in her eyes and hugged him tight. "Are you ready to go back in?" asked Harry softly, putting his arms around her. Harry didn’t know what to do. Albus was going to die. He had to accept that and be strong for his family. He had been keeping his tears at bay all day, but he was quickly reaching his limit. Compounding Harry’s feelings, he had received a message two days earlier that his Uncle Vernon had passed away. He certainly felt no great loss, but wanted to go to the service for Aunt Petunia. She had visited over the past few summers, and Harry had gradually forgiven her for his childhood. He couldn’t go though, not with Albus’s current condition. "Yes," said Ginny. "I’m a ready as I’ll ever be." "Then let’s go," said Harry softly. Harry and Ginny walked into Albus’s room. Carly was seated where she always was, on Albus’s right, clutching his hand in both of hers, tears sliding down her cheeks. They just kept falling silently, as she clutched his hand, falling from her chin, and splashing onto she bed. Harry had never seen anyone shed so many tears in his life, and Harry had seen and shed far too many long before Albus ever encountered the Horntail. Rose sat next to Carly, rubbing Carly’s back, trying to soothe her, her own tears sliding down her cheeks. The guilt she felt etched on her face. Ginny and Harry sat on Albus’s other side. Ginny placed her hand on his arm. There was no hand to hold. A bandage was wrapped around his wrist, where his hand should have been. They sat in silence, no one was sure for how long. They just listened to Albus breathing. His breathing seemed to get shallower with each breath. It wouldn’t be long now. The deafening silence was suddenly broken by Carly. "He really…he really isn’t going to wake up, is he?" asked Carly. At those words, Ginny closed her eyes for a moment. If Carly accepted the inevitable, Ginny hoped it would be easier, but Carly’s words cut into Ginny’s heart like a spear. It was as if Carly was begging someone to tell her she was wrong, pleading for someone to reaffirm the faith that until now had never wavered. As much as Ginny wanted to, she couldn’t lie to Carly. "No sweetheart, he isn’t going to wake up," said Ginny sadly. "We’ll all get through this," said Harry, trying to convince himself as much as anyone else in the room. He truly didn’t know that he could. "No, I won’t," said Carly. Her voice was calm, Ginny thought, much too calm. "We’re all here for you, Carly," said Rose softly. Rose was still fighting her guilt. It almost made it worse that no one else blamed her. Rose knew she had to be strong for Carly. "I don’t want to live without him," said Carly, as matter-of-factly as if she had mentioned the color of
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harrypotterfanfiction.com :: 65,000 Ha… the paint on the walls. "We may not get to marry, or have a family, or grow old together, but we can have forever together." The look in her eyes was what scared Ginny the most.

Ginny and Harry just looked at each other. They did not know what to say. The meaning of her words was clear. Before they could speak, as if he too realized the magnitude of what Carly was thinking, Albus’s breaths became strained. They knew it was time. Any minute Albus would be gone, and they would be left with a hole in their lives, they could never possibly fill. In years to come, none of them would ever speak of what happened next. The shock of it etched it in their minds permanently. No one needed to speak of it though, the knowledge that it happened, and that they had witnessed it, was all that was important. Albus gasped sharply, and they all thought that was to be his last. That however, was not the case. Albus’s eyes sprung open suddenly, and he screamed, a blood curdling scream that only the most horrible thing imaginable could produce, as if his very soul were being sucked out in that scream. Albus thrashed in the bed so violently, it tipped over towards Rose and Carly, throwing them back out of their chairs. Harry and Ginny quickly moved around the over turned bed. Albus was thrashing violently on the floor, his eyes open, staring wildly around at them, as if their very presence was scaring him more. "You’re all dead! I didn’t save you! I let you all die! I let you all die!" Albus screamed at them in terror. "Albus, it’s all right," said Ginny, as she and Harry knelt down on each side of Albus to try and calm him, but when they grabbed him he only thrashed more violently and screamed louder. "Fifteen years ago you all died! You can’t be here! I let you all die," yelled Albus, a look of utter terror still on his face. He was completely out of his mind with fear and grief. Carly and Rose finally picked themselves up from the floor and looked on in disbelief. After a moment, Carly did the only thing she could think of. Ignoring the fact that Albus was very likely to injure her as he thrashed around, she leapt on top of him, trying desperately to pin his much larger and stronger body to the floor. She took his face in her hands and looked into his eyes, seeing more fear than she had ever seen there before. "Al, it’s me," said Carly. "Please stop, it’s all right. We’re here." "No," screamed Albus. "You died! You died! You died!" Rose ran from the room to get a Healer, though with Albus’s screaming, she was sure she would run into them coming to them already. Finally, Carly did the only thing she could think of to try and calm him. She kissed him. At first, he fought her, trying to push her away, but she held her arms around him, like a vice and kissed him like she never had before. After a few moments, Albus began to relax. He wrapped his arms around her and kissed her back desperately as if his life depended on it. In his mind, Albus suddenly realized he had to be dead too, he was afraid that at any moment, she would be gone. Dead or alive, real or imagined, Carly was in his arms, and he cared about nothing else, but not wasting one second with her. Several Healers rushed in with Rose seconds later, and they just stopped, looking with disbelief at the scene. Harry and Ginny were kneeling down on either side of Albus who had Carly on top of him, and they were snogging like none of them had ever imagined anyone could.
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harrypotterfanfiction.com :: 65,000 Ha… "Maybe…we’ll give you all a few minutes," said one of the Healers slowly. "He appears to be…feeling much better." The Healers left with looks of astonishment on their faces, leaving Harry, Ginny, and Rose, still stunned at what had transpired.

Finally, after what had to be the longest continuous snog the world had ever seen, Carly pulled back from Albus and they looked into each other’s eyes. The terror in Albus’s eyes was gone, replaced by all the love he felt for her, and his confusion at not knowing what was going on. "Are we dead?" asked Albus, his voice strained. "No," said Carly smiling at him. "You have been in the hospital for two weeks, since the Horntail broke free at the tournament." "Two weeks," said Albus. Could it have been a dream sending him fifteen years into an unspeakable future, into a nightmare straight from the depths of hell? "Albus, let’s get you up off the floor," said Harry, his mind racing. Albus looked around and saw his parents and Rose. Carly slowly moved off of him, though he didn’t want to let go of her. Albus tried to get up, but he realized he was in pain all over, and weaker than he had ever felt before. He looked at his left arm, at the bandage where his hand should have been. "It wasn’t all a dream," said Albus absently. Rose and Carly flipped the overturned bed over, and put the mattress, sheets, and pillows back where they belonged. Harry and Ginny lifted Albus to his feet. He was too weak to stand, but they maneuvered him into bed. Ginny, Harry, and Rose each took turns hugging Albus. They all hugged him so tight, it made the pain he felt, worse, but he wouldn’t trade it for anything. Albus couldn’t believe they were here, that they were alive. "Someone tell me everything, please," said Albus. "I need to know everything that’s happened since the task started." "What is the last thing you remember?" asked Harry. "The Horntail chased me," said Albus. "He finally caught me, and I ended up in the shallow water. I remember thinking I had to raise the sword. I remember thinking please let Rose be all right." Albus turned to Carly. "And I remember thinking, Carly, I’m sorry." Albus paused. "Then I had the most awful dream I could ever imagine. The worst nightmare I could ever have. I woke up to find it was fifteen years from now. I had lost my hand, but had killed the Horntail, but before I did, it had killed all of you on the pitch." Albus decided at that moment, he would never reveal the rest of the details of the dream, if it were a dream. It had felt far too real to be just a dream. Whatever it was, it wasn’t real, and that was all that mattered. "That must have been awful, Al," said Ginny, trying to fix his hair, which was even more unruly than usual. "It was," said Albus. "It was." He closed his eyes for a moment and took a deep, calming breath. "Now, what really happened?" "You did kill the Horntail," said Harry. "And as is obvious, you did lose your hand. The Healers couldn’t save it. Just before it all happened, there was new text in the book. It said, ‘The Trials Commence. The Heir shall face a great beast, and only if he is found worthy, will he rise like the phoenix from the ashes for the second time, but a price he will pay. Only The Healer can save The Sage’." Albus thought for a moment. The dream, it must have been a test. He could only assume he had
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harrypotterfanfiction.com :: 65,000 Ha… passed it, but he didn’t really understand how. This was the second time he had seemingly risen from the dead, and his hand was obviously the price he had paid. The last part left Albus perplexed.

Harry could see the confusion on Albus’s face, and continued. "We gathered on the pitch after the dragon followed you," said Harry taking a deep breath. "Rose was dead." Albus looked towards Rose, but he could say nothing for a moment. Then he finally spoke. "You appear to be feeling better," said Albus swallowing hard. "You’re obviously not dead." "Lily healed her," said Harry. "Rose was healed but unconscious and Lily fell unconscious as well. Lily woke up three days later, Rose nearly a week after that. They are both fine." "Come here, Rose," said Albus. He couldn’t even wrap his mind around it. Rose had died and been healed, brought back from the dead by his sister. Rose smiled and moved closer. Albus put his arms around Rose and hugged her. "I’m sorry, I should have protected you," said Albus. "You do know, I decked the last person who said something like that to me," said Rose with a laugh as she hugged him back. "Under the circumstances however, I think I can give you a pass just this once." Albus and Rose broke apart, and Harry continued. "We found out one of the Dragon Keepers was a Death Eater," said Harry. "He sabotaged the chain." It seemed to all make sense, Albus thought. "I’m sorry I scared you all," said Albus shaking his head. "I seem to have a talent for that. Where is everyone else?" "We thought…the end was near," said Ginny, a tear escaping her eye. Harry put his arms around her. "We didn’t think you would last the night. Everyone came today and said goodbye, and we were… waiting." "I’m so sorry I put you all through that," said Albus closing his eyes for a moment. He felt so guilty, even though he knew it wasn’t his fault. "It doesn’t matter, Al," said Carly with a smile. "As long as we have you back, that’s all that matters." She leaned down and kissed him, not desperately like before, but lovingly, tenderly. He had kept his promise to her. Carly knew he always would. Albus shifted slightly in bed, and realized he was incredibly sore, not to mention hungry. "Can we get one of the Healers in here with a potion?" asked Albus wincing in pain. "I hurt all over. I’m starving too." "Sure," said Ginny with a smile. "They didn’t want to give you too many potions for the pain while you were unconscious. I’m sure they’ll have you feeling better in no time now. I’ll go get them, and I’m sure we can get you something to eat as well." Ginny left them to find a Healer. "Dad, I have a question that I almost hate to ask you?" asked Albus drawing a deep breath. "What is it, Al?" asked Harry. "I know it isn’t important, not compared to all of us being all right," said Albus, "But…did your Firebolt… survive?" Harry, Rose, and Carly all laughed. It was the first real laugh any of them had in the last two weeks. It felt great.
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harrypotterfanfiction.com :: 65,000 Ha… "When you fell off the Firebolt, the broom kept going a bit, it landed quite a ways from where you and the Horntail did," said Harry. "It’s fine. I even polished it up for you."

"Thank you," said Albus with a sigh of relief. His Dad’s Firebolt was his most prized possession, and he would have hated to lose it. Another thought occurred to Albus. "By the way, just out of curiosity, did we win the task?" "The official decision of the judges was that we had completed the task before the Horntail escaped, and as that was sabotage, we should not be penalized for that," said Rose. "We scored forty-nine points, first place." "Did Uncle Percy only give us nine points?" asked Albus with a laugh. Harry and Rose laughed as well. "Yes," said Rose with a smile. "He doesn’t believe in perfection apparently." "Did I miss the second task?" asked Albus. "I’m sure they haven’t canceled the Triwizard Tournament, not even for this." Carly shuddered at the thought of Albus competing again. She was sitting on the edge of the bed. Albus pulled her into a hug. "Don’t worry," said Albus. "They can’t be any worse than a dragon. Didn’t I make you a promise? I kept it, didn’t I?" She smiled at him. "Yes, you did," said Carly. "To answer your question," said Rose. "They postponed the second task until spring. I haven’t even looked at the egg, we can work on it over the Christmas Holiday." "That’s good," said Albus. "Did I miss anything else?" "Neville proposed to Gabrielle Dubois and she said yes," said Carly with a smile. Albus had the strangest thought. In his nightmare, Neville told him he still had the ring he had bought Gabrielle, but until this moment, Albus never knew about a ring. How could it have been in his nightmare…unless it wasn’t really a nightmare? "That’s great," said Albus. "I’m happy for him. I know what it means to be in love." Albus smiled at Carly, who smiled back. The Healers and Ginny came in and Albus was given some potions, which immediately made him feel a lot better, though he was still weak. The Healers said they would give him a new hand the next day and that he was very lucky, years ago, they would have had to fit him with a prosthetic hand, but now they could give him one that would be just like having his hand back. The Healers left them alone after that. Harry flooed the Burrow to let them know that Albus was all right, and they could come see him the next afternoon. After a big meal, Harry, Ginny, and Rose left for the Burrow to celebrate the wonderful news that Albus was all right. Carly stayed with Albus. She was curled up on his right side on the bed with her head on his shoulder and he had his arm around her. He knew Carly hadn’t slept hardly at all in two weeks, and he could tell she had fallen asleep. He just listened to the gentle sound of her breathing. She was there, and not going anywhere. For a moment, he looked at the bandage where his hand should have been. It was a small price to pay for saving Rose. Rose was worth any limb. He knew the Healers would give him a replacement, and if it were like his dream, it would be completely functional, even if it didn’t feel quite right. He knew how
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harrypotterfanfiction.com :: 65,000 Ha… bad Rose felt about it, but Albus would never give it a second thought.

Harry had told Albus all about the vision, and Susan Bones’ death. Albus couldn’t believe that story Susan had told them months earlier was actually true. His Dad’s trip to speak to Dr. Braun had proven that. Albus had been tired almost from the moment he woke up. It had been hours since he woke up, his eyes finally began to close, and he drifted off to sleep. ~ Albus apparated in front of Voldemort. He punched Voldemort in the face and sent him sprawling to the ground. "Stay away from him," yelled Albus, as he drew the Sword of Gryffindor from the sheath on his back, and stood before Voldemort prepared to duel. Suddenly Albus opened his eyes. It had been a dream. He was still in the bed at St. Mungo’s, and Carly was sleeping soundly with her head on his shoulder. He turned his head to his left. His father sat beside him in a chair. "I thought you went to the Burrow, Dad," said Albus groggily. "I did," said Harry. "But I just couldn’t sleep so I came back. Did I wake you?" "No," said Albus. "I just had the strangest dream." Albus told his father about the dream he had. Albus could tell from the look on his father’s face that it meant something. As soon as Harry heard the details of the dream, he had a pretty good idea what it meant. Albus had a similar dream to the one Harry had five years ago. The dream Harry never told Albus about. "Al, do you remember how I told you that Albus Dumbledore kept things from me, and how it upset me so much way back then?" asked Harry softly. "Yes," said Albus. Harry sighed. "I never knew what that decision was like for him and I never really forgave him for it," said Harry. "Not until the night I first showed you the book in the Hospital Wing. I promised you earlier that year that I would tell you everything. I’m sorry. I broke that promise that night. There was one thing I didn’t tell you, I didn’t think you needed to be burdened by it." Albus considered his father’s words. His first impulse was anger, but Albus could hear in his father’s voice, and see in his face how hard it was for him to make that decision not to tell him. He had not done it lightly. "All right," said Albus. "I understand. What didn’t you tell me?" "Before what happened in the Chamber of Secrets, I had a dream," said Harry slowly. "In the dream, I saw James fighting Voldemort. Voldemort killed him, and Lily killed Voldemort with the Killing Curse." "She wouldn’t," said Albus in astonishment. "Lily could never use an Unforgivable Curse. It’s just not possible." "After watching James die she could," said Harry with a sigh. "After what happened in the chamber, I had the dream again, but it had changed. I think I saw a similar dream to the one you just had. I saw you fighting Voldemort. He had the Sword of Souls, and you had the Sword of Gryffindor."
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harrypotterfanfiction.com :: 65,000 Ha… "What does it mean, Dad?" asked Albus.

"Al, the reason I didn’t tell you is…that I think it means I won’t be around to fight Voldemort at the end," said Harry slowly. Harry had thought this for so long, but this was the first time he ever said it out loud. "No, Dad," said Albus shaking his head. "It can’t mean that." A tear escaped Albus’s eye. "Maybe it just means I’m supposed to be the one to stop him." Then Albus remembered the promise he made that same night. "That’s why you made me promise to let you face him alone. I won’t Dad. I won’t let you face him alone." "You have to, Al," said Harry. "The book says the future can be changed. I think I’m meant to change what we’ve seen. I think I’m meant to use the Sword of Souls to stop Voldemort once and for all. Then I can destroy the sword, and Voldemort will be gone forever. I will be fine, but you must let me face him alone." Albus had to admit it all seemed to fit. It all made perfect sense. But did it make too much sense? "Are you really sure, Dad?" asked Albus. "Are you really sure that’s the right thing to do?" "I’ve thought about it," said Harry reassuringly. "Voldemort must be destroyed permanently, it’s the only way. I’ve been fighting him for as long as I can remember. Don’t forget, the book says destiny can not be denied." "All right, Dad," said Albus with a sigh. "How do we get the sword?" Harry laughed. "We don’t," said Harry with a smile. "I will figure that out. I want you to get your life back to normal and enjoy your last year of school as much as possible. Spend time with Carly, it has been so hard for her, and it won’t get any easier. You still have the Triwizard Tournament to deal with. You have all that to worry about. Please leave Voldemort and the Sword of Souls to me for now. Please." Albus didn’t want to say yes. He wanted to help his father find the sword. Albus knew his father was right though. All Albus really wanted was to spend time with Carly and all his friends and family, and be a student. The tournament was going to make that difficult enough as it was. "All right," said Albus. "But I need you to make me a promise." "What is it?" asked Harry. "No, fair is fair, make the promise, then I’ll tell you what it is," said Albus. "I suppose that’s only fair," said Harry with a grin. "When the end comes, I want to be there," said Albus. "I won’t interfere, Voldemort is yours, but I want to be there when you face him." Harry closed his eyes for a long moment. Albus didn’t have to say what he was thinking, Harry knew. Albus wanted to be there so if anything happened to him, Albus would finish what he started. "All right," said Harry. "I promise. I’m going to get going. Get some sleep, we’ll be back in the afternoon, the Healers said we should stay away until they get your hand taken care of." Harry kissed his son’s forehead and left. Albus knew his Dad was right about all of it. It made sense to use the Sword of Souls against Voldemort. His Dad was also right that he had to get his life back to normal and concentrate on the tournament. He just couldn’t help but wonder if this is how it was all meant to play itself out. He had little choice though. In any case, thoughts of what came next could wait until tomorrow. For now, he
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needed to sleep. Chapter 27: Chapter 27 - Heroes and Awards [View Online] [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter] Chapter 27 – Heroes and Awards That first night was tough for Albus. He awoke with nightmares several times. They were not like he had while he was unconscious, and were not of his fighting Voldemort. Now he kept seeing the Horntail killing his family, and Rose, lying dead in her mother’s arms. The worst of all, he could hear Carly’s scream as he watched her leap from the roof of St. Mungo’s. That was the worst part of all, the part that made him wake with tears in his eyes. When he would wake up, he would just look at Carly to remind him it was all just a nightmare. He thought he could get used to her sleeping beside him like this. That next morning after Albus woke up from his prolonged unconsciousness, he was fitted with his new hand. As he expected, it didn’t quite feel right, but then it wasn’t. It wasn’t really his. It functioned perfectly, and he had full feeling in it. It was a marvel of modern magical medicine. Albus knew he would always just know it wasn’t real, but it was really a small price to pay. That afternoon, everyone came to see him, all his family and friends. Albus would never forget when poor Lily came in and grabbed onto him and cried for nearly an hour. Lily wasn’t the only one crying that day. Even Uncle Percy shed a few tears, which Uncle George felt surely meant the world was to come to an end. Hagrid even came, and damaged several chairs in an attempt to stay for a visit, but Albus appreciated his coming anyway. They cried, talked, and laughed well into the night. Albus was much stronger the second day, and it was decided if he felt all right, the next morning he would be discharged with instructions for his potions, of which there were quite a few, to be sent to Madam Jennings at Hogwarts. Even though Albus had no memory of the two weeks in the hospital, he had more than enough of the hospital and was looking forward to returning to Hogwarts, to going home. Albus hoped maybe the nightmares would go away when he got back to Hogwarts. The last morning he woke up in the hospital, Sirius had come by for an early visit, and he and Carly, who refused to leave him alone in the hospital, were still asleep. Albus woke with a start having another nightmare. Sirius noticed something was wrong. Albus told him it was nothing, but he could tell, Sirius knew he was lying. It was not generally known throughout Hogwarts just how grave Albus’s condition had been, and only those close to him knew about his hand, and they were never going to say anything. That would remain a secret. When they arrived back at Hogwarts the next day, Albus and Rose had no idea what was waiting for them. Hermione had canceled classes for the day, and the entire castle as well as a delegation from the Ministry of Magic had a celebration in the Great Hall to welcome back Hogwarts’ Triwizard Champions. All of the Potters and Weasleys were there too. The celebration in the Great Hall continued throughout the day. Late in the afternoon, something happened that no one, except Harry, had expected to occur. Kingsley Shackelbolt walked to the front of the Great Hall and the room quieted down. Harry knew what was coming. Kingsley had asked him about it, and Harry had agreed, even though he knew Albus would feel the same way he had all those years ago. "I won’t take up a lot of your time with a longwinded speech," said Kingsley, to a smattering of humor
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harrypotterfanfiction.com :: 65,000 Ha… filled applause. "I do have some brief comments. I took over as Minister of Magic in a time when the Wizarding world was recovering from a terrible war. I was Minister of Magic for six months, before I had the opportunity to recognize the people who were most responsible for saving not only our world, but the Muggle world as well. There were a great many awards given out at that time. A number of those, who I had the great privilege of honoring, are in this room." Kingsley paused. "It was the single greatest honor in my tenure as Minister of Magic, to award the Order of Merlin First Class to Harry James Potter."

The applause in the Great Hall was thunderous. Harry, knowing he had little choice stood briefly and waved, then sat back down. He really didn’t like to think about having received an award for what he did, but then, this wasn’t about him now. At the Gryffindor table, Albus looked at Rose, not understanding what was going on. Rose just shrugged and turned away to hide her smile. She had a pretty good idea what was coming. It was the only thing that made sense. Albus knew how many awards members of his family had received for their courage and bravery in the battle against Voldemort. Neville had received The Order of Merlin Third Class, and Uncle Ron and Aunt Hermione had received The Order of Merlin Second Class. A number of other lesser awards were given to his Mum, his grandparents, Uncle Bill, Uncle George, Uncle Percy, and Uncle Fred posthumously. Albus didn’t know how his father’s award was relevant right now. "The reason I mention this," began Kingsley as if in answer to Albus’s thoughts, "is that today, I have the honor of awarding The Order of Merlin First Class to another Potter. Albus Severus Potter, on November twenty-sixth, 2023, did, without regard to his own safety, draw the escaped Hungarian Horntail away from the Hogwarts quidditch pitch and stands full of people. His actions saved countless lives, and further, his quick thinking allowed him to slay the beast before it could attack anyone else. They were truly the actions of a hero." Thunderous applause erupted throughout the room, and Albus sat stunned. Rose and Carly nearly had to push him off the bench at the Gryffindor table. Albus walked towards Kingsley. Had he really just been awarded one of the highest honors a wizard could receive? Apparently, he had. When Albus reached Kingsley, Kingsley shook his hand, and placed the shiny gold medallion hanging from a red silk ribbon, around his neck. He felt so undeserving of it. After all, what had he really done to deserve it? He was about to leave, when Kingsley grabbed his arm and whispered to him. "You should say something," whispered Kingsley The last thing Albus wanted was to give a speech, but he was trapped, and the room quieted, expecting something. "Thank you Minister," said Albus. He thought a moment. He really didn’t feel like a hero. "Thank you all for the great reception. I really don’t feel I deserve this. I just did what had to be done. Rose and I will continue to represent Hogwarts in the Triwizard Tournament to the best of our abilities. Thank you." Albus didn’t think he could have sounded lamer, but the ovation was thunderous. He returned to his seat and Carly, Rose, and Lily each gave him a hug. Albus looked at the golden medallion. He didn’t deserve it, but he did know someone who did. He would have to make sure it made it’s way into the proper hands. ~ Late that night, Albus and Carly were sitting on the couch in the Gryffindor common room. Passionate snogging had given way to tender, loving kisses, and the occasional kiss below Carly’s ear to make her shudder. Albus never wanted anything but to hold her in his arms and kiss her for the rest of his life.
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harrypotterfanfiction.com :: 65,000 Ha… "I’m so proud of you, Al," said Carly between kisses. "Can you imagine, my fiancé, Order of Merlin Winner, Triwizard Champion, hero, slayer of dragons, greatest kisser in the world? I am a very, very lucky girl."

Albus laughed. "Your fiancé is the only title of that group that I wanted," said Albus before kissing her again. "Well, I guess I can’t fight the greatest kisser in the world one either. The others just kind of happened." Carly looked into his eyes and thought she saw something that she had known was there, but never really saw, not like she did at this moment. It was desire. It was a burning desire for her. She felt the same for him. After everything they had gone through, she wanted to be closer to him, more than anything else. "There you are, at it again," said a voice from behind them ending the moment. "Hi, Lily," said Albus slightly annoyed. "Shouldn’t you be in bed?" "I’m on my way up," said Lily. "Goodnight." Albus remembered something he wanted to do. "Hold on a second, Lily," said Albus. Carly slid off of Albus’s lap, and Albus got up. He was still wearing the Order of Merlin around his neck. Every time he tried to take it off all afternoon and evening, everyone had told him to put it back on, so he had acquiesced rather than argued. "This belongs to you," said Albus as he walked to where Lily stood at the bottom of the stairs to her dorm. He removed the Order of Merlin from his neck, and put it over Lily’s head and lowered it onto her shoulders. "Al, what are you doing?" asked Lily confusedly. "I can’t take this. It’s yours." "I got lucky out there," said Albus with a smile. "That Horntail could just as easily have…killed you all, and me too. I may have saved a lot of lives that day by being lucky, but nothing I did could have saved Rose. This belongs to you. You are my hero…and I won’t take no for an answer." Lily just looked up at her brother for a moment. "I don’t know what to say, Al," said Lily slowly. "Thank you." "That’s more than enough," said Albus with a smile. He pulled his little sister into a hug, which she returned, and he kissed her forehead. "Now, off to bed, you have classes tomorrow. Carly and I have the rest of the week off." Lily smiled at him and headed up to bed. He walked back to behind the couch. He had something else that didn’t belong to him. He reached his hands behind his neck and unclasped Carly’s necklace. He put it around her neck and clasped it, then leaned down and kissed her. "That’s better, its back where it belongs. I’m going to bed," said Albus. "I’m kind of tired, it’s been a long day." "Goodnight, love," said Carly with a smile. "I’m going to sit here for a while." Albus kissed her again, and headed up to his dorm. Carly sat on the couch for a bit. She had something that was on her mind since the day after Albus woke up. She had the dream again, and it scared her terribly even though it still didn’t make a lot of sense. She had made a decision about part of it. The other part was much more difficult. ~
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harrypotterfanfiction.com :: 65,000 Ha… Albus was tired. He wasn’t exhausted, but when he looked into Carly’s eyes, he just didn’t trust himself. After everything that had happened, he really wanted to be closer to her than he had ever been before. She was so beautiful, he wasn’t sure he could have resisted suggesting they come up to his room, but he loved her far too much to suggest something she might not be ready for. In spite of what happened this summer, he wasn’t sure she wanted that now. Truthfully he wasn’t sure he was ready for that either.

When he entered his dorm he looked around. He had not been here in more than two weeks. It felt really good to be home. James and Danny had offered to stay with him for a few nights if he didn’t want to be alone. He had kept having the nightmares. Albus kept seeing the Horntail killing everyone he loved and Carly leaping off the roof of St. Mungo’s. He really didn’t want to sleep. He had told them he would be fine. He was in between wanting some time alone, and not wanting to be let alone. He had chosen alone. Albus got undressed, slipped on his pajamas, and slid into bed. It was cold in the castle, but the bed was nice and warm and comforting. He didn’t know how the house elves did it, but the sheets always felt soft, like they were brand new. Albus looked at his left hand for a moment and flexed it. This was going to take some getting used to. The Healers had said it was approximately as strong as his old hand, maybe just a bit stronger, not enough that he would notice. The big difference was that it wouldn’t bleed or be cut. He flexed his left hand. Good enough he thought, and well worth it. Albus had something to do the next day that was not going to be easy. He knew he had to do it though, no matter how hard it would be. No reason to dwell on it tonight, he thought. There was plenty of time to face it tomorrow. As Albus lay in his nice warm bed, between the comfortable sheets, he didn’t fall right to sleep. Truly he didn’t want to. He knew the nightmares would be there when he closed his eyes. He was very relaxed though, and he didn’t notice when the door of his dorm room opened and closed. He didn’t hear the soft footsteps approach his bed. He didn’t hear the soft "thump" as Carly dropped the robe she wore over her nightgown to the floor. Albus did notice when she slid under the covers and on top of him, he would have had to be dead not to notice that. For a moment, he was sure that he had stopped breathing completely. Carly slid her arms under his shoulders. Albus slid his hands up her back over the soft fabric of her nightgown. He could feel, even through the thin material, how smooth Carly’s skin was. He tangled his hands in her soft hair. For a moment, they just stared into each other’s eyes, both knowing what the other was thinking. After a moment, it was Carly who spoke. "I know the last time I said this, it caused a bit of trouble, but…" said Carly, but Albus stopped her with a gentle kiss. Albus pulled her close and whispered softly in her ear "Are you sure, Carly?" asked Albus. "I don’t want you to regret this." "I’m more sure than I have been about anything else in my entire life," whispered Carly softly. "Make love to me, Al." Albus smiled, and whispered back. "I’m not going anywhere," whispered Albus. "I never will." ~ The next morning Albus opened his eyes. The sun was coming in the window. It had to be around eight o’clock in the morning. He had not had any nightmares, and was not at all tired. That was somewhat strange, since he really didn’t get all that much sleep.
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Carly was asleep half on top of him, her head resting on the pillow right next to his. Albus could feel her breath on his neck, and the warmth of her body. She moved a little. "Are you awake?" asked Albus softly turning his head kissing her lips gently. "Yes," said Carly with a smile. "But I don’t want to get up yet." She snuggled closer to him. "Can’t we stay in bed a while longer?" Carly shivered a little. It was awfully cold being December. Albus pulled the sheets up around her shoulders, and pulled them tight around them both. "As long as you want, love," said Albus with a smile and another kiss. Carly smiled and snuggled a little closer to him again. Albus started to fall back to sleep, but he was interrupted rather abruptly. The door of his dorm room opened. "Are you going to sleep all day, Al?" asked Rose as she walked into the room. "We were waiting for you to go to breakfast, I think Carly already went down to…" Rose abruptly stopped, as she realized Albus was not alone. Carly, half way between mortified and wanting to laugh just buried her face in the pillow to stifle her embarrassment and her laughter. "Rose…I don’t think Carly went down to breakfast," said Albus matter-of-factly trying to hide a grin. The look of complete shock and embarrassment on Rose’s face was priceless. She was also now the same color as the flower she was named for. "I’m sorry," stammered Rose, who was very happy it was cold that morning. The nightgown, robe, and pajamas scattered on the floor was already more than she wanted to see. "I guess…I’ll tell everyone you’re…um…I’ll um…I’ll think of something." Rose turned and left pulling the door shut behind her as fast as she could. Albus and Carly burst out laughing. "You don’t think she’ll tell anyone do you?" asked Carly, still laughing. "No," said Albus. "She won’t tell a soul, but knowing our sister, when she sees the look on Rose’s face she’ll figure it out, and shortly after that everyone will know. Are you going to be all right with that, love?" "To be honest, I don’t care who knows," said Carly with a smile. "I spent the night with the man I love and am going to marry." Carly’s smile saddened. "I thought you were going to die three days ago. I think I’m entitled to be closer to you if I want, don’t you?" "You don’t hear me complaining do you," said Albus with a playful smirk. "If I took one more cold shower I was going to go crazy. Besides, it’s not the 1990’s anymore. Let’s just hope no one tells Grandma Weasley. We might never hear the end of it." Carly didn’t laugh. She was still too busy thinking about how they had almost lost Albus. A tear escaped her eye. "Hey," said Albus softly, wiping away the tear. "I’m fine now. I know you were scared, but I’m really fine now." "I know, Al," said Carly. "I just…I couldn’t have gone on without you."
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harrypotterfanfiction.com :: 65,000 Ha… Albus pulled her up on top him, and kissed her deeply.

"I know it was hard, but I’m here now," said Albus with a smile. "Don’t think about losing me anymore, all right, promise me." "All right," said Carly with a smile. "I promise." Albus pulled her close and kissed her again. "Shall we go to breakfast?" asked Albus when they broke the kiss. "How about we give Rose a chance to change back to a normal color first?" asked Carly with a smile. "We can always meet them for lunch." ~ Rose descended the steps from Albus’s dorm, swearing to herself, not to mention at herself, that she would never open a door without knocking for the rest of her life. She knew her face must have been the color of Carly’s hair. When she entered the common room, Lily, Tommy, and Hugo were waiting for her. "Where’s, Al?" asked Hugo. He noticed Rose was beet red and heading right for the portrait hole, not stopping at all. "They’re not hungry…I mean…he’s not hungry," stammered Rose, cursing herself again under her breath. "He’ll see us later. We better go. Danny’s waiting for me." Rose hadn’t missed a step heading straight to the portrait hole and through without another word. Lily burst out laughing, she was nearly doubled over she laughed so hard. Tommy and Hugo just looked at each other, then at Lily, like she had two heads. "What is it, Lily?" asked Hugo. "What’s so funny?" asked Tommy. "Come on you two," said Lily, as she tried to stop laughing. There was a note of exasperation at their cluelessness in her voice. "Let’s get to breakfast and I’ll explain it to you on the way." ~ In the Great Hall, Rose finally returned to her normal color as she ate breakfast with Danny, James, and Lucy. After the third time Danny had asked her what was wrong, she had whispered something in his ear, and he turned the same color she had. On the way to breakfast, Lily explained to Tommy and Hugo why Rose was so flustered. Neither said much after that. As Lily, Tommy, and Hugo were about to enter the Great Hall, Neville and Gabrielle came into the Entrance Hall. "Lily," said Neville. "Can we talk to you for a minute?" "Sure, Neville," said Lily walking over to them. "Good morning Headmistress Dubois." "Please call me Gabrielle," said Gabrielle in her mild French accent with a smile. Lily smiled in response. "We wanted to talk to you if you have a minute," said Neville.
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"Sure," said Lily. "What can I do or you?" "Well, we have begun to plan the wedding," said Gabrielle. "We are going to get married in April. I have one sister, but she will be busy with my mother at the wedding. We are the only girls in my family, all my cousins are boys, and I have no real girl friends. I know how close you are to Neville. Lily, I was wondering if you would be my maid of honor." "I would be honored," said Lily, hugging Gabrielle, and then hugging Neville. "Neville, who will be your best man?" "That’s my next job," said Neville. "You’ll find out. You should get to breakfast." Lily nodded, hugged him again, and headed into the Great Hall. "One down," said Gabrielle with a laugh. "Here he comes now," said Neville. Harry and Ginny were walking down the hallway towards them. "Good morning," said Harry with a smile. "Harry, I’m glad I ran into you," said Neville. "What’s up, Neville?" asked Harry. "I was wondering…would you be my best man?" asked Neville. Harry smiled. "I would be happy to," said Harry, giving Neville a hug. "Gabrielle, who will be your made of honor?" asked Ginny. "I asked Lily, and she said she will," said Gabrielle. Ginny squealed. "That’s wonderful," said Ginny. "Let me know if you need any help with the wedding." "Actually, I could use a hand," said Gabrielle with a smile. "That’s great," said Ginny. Ginny and Gabrielle went into the Great Hall to have breakfast and discuss the wedding plans. "Does Gabrielle know what she just got herself into?" asked Harry. "Ginny tried not to get too carried away with Carly’s wedding plans. I’m not sure she can do it again. "No," said Neville with a laugh. "I don’t think she does." ~ Just before lunchtime, in the Great Hall, Albus and Carly were sitting at the Gryffindor table, waiting for class to end and their friends to join them for lunch. Rose and Danny were the first ones to arrive. As they sat down, both turned red. "Relax guys," said Carly with a laugh. "Sorry," said Rose. "I promise I’ll knock next time." "I’m sure you will," said Albus with a laugh. "Don’t worry about it."
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James, Lucy, Hugo, Lily, and Tommy all joined them shortly. They talked and laughed, and ate lunch. It was good to have the New Marauders together again. Much of the conversation was about the Yule Ball. All of them were going, though Lily noticed Hugo was awfully quiet on the subject. "Are you all right, Hugo?" asked Lily. "I’m fine," said Hugo. "I’m going alone to another dance. I don’t mind it. I just have trouble getting all excited about it." "Come on Hugo," said Lily. "Just ask someone. A lot of the girls would jump at the chance to go out with you." "Come on, Lily," said Hugo. "You know I’m not any good unless I’m making a joke or pulling a prank. There is only so much of that I can do before I start annoying a date. I’ll go alone. I’ll be fine. Maybe you can dance with me once so I’ll only seem half as pathetic." "You know that’s not true right," said Lily. "You don’t always have to make a joke or pull a prank. You are smart and interesting, and I’ll bet you could even find a girl who thinks you’re halfway charming if you really look hard enough. You’re only annoying because you prefer the jokes and pranks." "Thanks Lily, I’ll keep that in mind," said Hugo with a laugh. "What about that girl I keep seeing you try to talk to?" asked Lily. "The girl from Durmstrang." "Oh, well, I’ve given up on her," said Hugo with a chuckle. "She obviously speaks no English and has no interest in me whatsoever." "It looks like someone has a crush," said Lily with a grin. "I don’t even know her name," said Hugo shaking his head. "I don’t know why I bother think about her. I don’t know her at all. She’s beautiful, but there are a lot of beautiful girls at Hogwarts. There is something about her, I just can’t put my finger on it." Conversations about the Yule Ball and other more mundane topics continued among the New Marauders and their friends. They were all just happy to be back together. "Carly," said Albus, "I’m going to go for a walk. I’ll see you later in the Common Room." Albus kissed her and stood up. "All right," said Carly with a smile. She knew where he was going and understood that he didn’t want her to go. She really wished he wouldn’t go alone though. "I’m up for a walk, I’ll join you," said James. He gave Lucy a kiss and stood. "Me too," said Danny. Danny kissed Rose and stood up as well. The three of them walked out of the Great Hall, through the Entrance Hall and down the steps of the castle heading towards Albus’s destination. "So, who asked you to keep an eye on me?" asked Albus, knowing their accompanying him was not just to go for a walk. James and Danny looked at each other. There was no point in protesting. "Dad didn’t want you to go alone," said James. "He knew you would go."
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harrypotterfanfiction.com :: 65,000 Ha… "No reason to be alone, Al," said Danny. "We’ll keep you company."

"All right, guys," said Albus. "If you insist on babysitting me." James decided to change the subject. "Did you sleep well?" asked James with a smirk. "I knew you would all know as soon as Lily figured it out," said Albus with a chuckle. "It’s not really a big deal. We are engaged after all." "You used to be more fun to tease, do you know that?" asked James, having not even got a mild rise out of his brother. "Well, rising from the dead does seem to alter your perspective a little bit," said Albus. "Sorry," said James. After that, they walked in silence. Albus had been thinking about this for two days. He had to see the quidditch pitch. He still had quidditch to play there, and he knew seeing it was going to be hard. He thought he should get it over with. That was going to be hard, but the second part was going to be worse. As they approached the pitch, Albus could see it had been restored to its normal state after the first task. The stone surface, stone walls, and boulders were gone, replaced by the neatly trimmed grass that the pitch usually had. Albus could almost picture the statue from his dream, bearing the names of the dead. Albus pushed it from his mind. He had to. If he thought on it too much, Albus knew it would consume him. It was just so horrible. Albus walked to the exact spot on the pitch where he knew Rose had fallen. Even without the stone to mark the location, he knew exactly where it was. Albus just knelt down at the spot where his best friend had died. James and Danny just stood silently for a moment, and then Danny knelt down beside him and put a hand on his shoulder. "I know how it feels, Al," said Danny. "She’s fine now, but she was on this spot dead. I see her lying in her mother’s arms in my dreams…in my nightmares." "Danny," said Albus. "You don’t understand, there was more, I…" Albus stopped. He didn’t want to discuss the dream. "Thanks, Danny." James and Danny just looked at Albus, perplexed. They knew something was bothering him other than the obvious, but they let it go. James and Danny followed as Albus walked toward the lake. When they reached the shore and he could see the other side, they saw Albus shudder. "You don’t have to do this, Al," said James. "Yeah, Al," said Danny. "It will be gone in a week." It would have been so easy to heed their advice, Albus thought. Just walk away, and in a week, he would never have to face the beast that took his hand and nearly killed him. "No," said Albus. "I need to face it now. If I don’t now, I never will."
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harrypotterfanfiction.com :: 65,000 Ha… They walked around the lake, the closer they got the more sick Albus felt, but he willed himself not to throw up. There, on the far bank of the lake was the body of the Horntail. Even though it had been weeks, the body had only been moved to the shore from the water. There were strict guidelines on what had to be done with dead dragons, as their body parts were so valuable. It took more than two weeks to prepare the body of a full-grown dragon to harvest all it’s valuable parts.

As they approached, Danny and James noticed that Sirius was talking to Charlie not far from where the dragon lay. Sirius and Charlie noticed the trio approach the dragon, stopped talking, and went to join them. Albus stopped just fifteen feet from the dragon’s massive head. Albus just stared at the beast. It was very dead. Some parts had already been harvested, but it was still largely intact. Albus knew he had to see it with his own eyes if he were to ever get any measure of closure. He could still see its jaws crushing down upon him. Now, in death, it looked almost pitiful. Albus knew the dragon wasn’t evil. It was a dragon, pure and simple. "Are you all right, Al?" asked Sirius. "I think so," said Albus. "I just needed to…" "We know," said Sirius. After a few minutes Albus turned his back on the dragon. It took a lot of courage just to do that. He had to concentrate, or he knew he would turn around to make sure it was dead. "I think I’m going to head back to the castle," said Albus. "Al, before you go, I have something for you," said Charlie. "It’s all right if you don’t want it, I’ll understand completely." "What is it?" asked Albus curiously. "There is a tradition among Dragon Keepers," said Charlie. "When one of us is forced to kill a dragon, we harvest the bone in the dragon’s neck just below the skull. It’s called the dagger bone, because, as you might imagine, its shaped like a dagger." Charlie reached into a pocket of his robe, and pulled out a piece of folded cloth. He unfolded it. Inside was a dagger in a dragon hide sheath. The dagger appeared to be made of bone. "The dagger bone, is one of the strongest substances on earth," said Charlie. "It is as unbreakable as diamond, and is as sharp as any blade ever forged. We wrap the handle with dragon hide and make a dragon hide sheath for it. We keep the dagger as a memento, in honor of the dragon. I wasn’t sure you would want it. I’ll get rid of it if you don’t. Don’t feel bad." Albus took the dagger and looked at it for a moment. He removed it from the sheath. It was like nothing he had ever seen before. Albus could tell just how sharp it was just by looking at it. The blade was about six inches long. Two protrusions formed the hilt, and the lower portion was rounded forming the handle. The dragon bone was bright white, in stark contrast to the black dragon hide tightly wrapped around the handle, forming the grip. The sheath was intricately made, and had Albus’s initials, ‘ASP’ branded into the dragon hide, and below that a symbol Albus had never seen before was also branded into it. It was a circle with a crossed sword and wand in front of a flame. "Thank you, Uncle Charlie," said Albus. "It’s amazing, it must have taken a long time to make. It’s beautiful." "It didn’t take too long," said Charlie with a smile. "I’ve had to take down a few of them myself, so I’ve
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had some practice." "What is this symbol?" asked Albus. "I’m not surprised you haven’t seen that before," said Charlie. "That is the symbol of the Dragon Slayer. In ancient times, before dragons were regulated and controlled, good warrior wizards who battled evil wore this symbol. They often were charged with slaying dragons that threatened people, hence the name, Dragon Slayer. It meant much more than that though. Those who wore that symbol were the most noble and righteous protectors of the innocent, revered by their allies, and feared by their enemies. It was the symbol of a true hero." Charlie paused a moment. "I don’t know anyone, except maybe your Dad who deserves to wear that symbol more than you do." "Thanks," was all Albus could say. He really didn’t think of himself as a hero. James and Danny stayed to talk to Charlie, while Sirius walked back around the lake toward the castle with Albus. Albus was still looking at the dagger as he walked. "I saw Lily this morning," said Sirius. "She told me all about how you gave her your Order of Merlin. That was a wonderful gesture." "It was really nothing, Sirius," said Albus. "I just got lucky with the Horntail. Nothing I deserved an award for." "Well, I thought it was an amazing thing to do," said Sirius. "Thanks," said Albus. "I think this dagger is a more fitting memento for me than the award was." "So, Al, how are you really?" asked Sirius. "I’m fine, Sirius," said Albus as he wrapped the sheathed dagger up in the cloth and placed it in a pocket of his robe. "The hand is working great, and I slept great last night." Sirius didn’t see the smile cross his face as he thought of Carly. "I have quite a lot of schoolwork to catch up on in the next few days, but once I do, things should be back to normal. Then Rose and I can begin to prepare for the tournament in the spring. We still have to figure out the Golden Egg." "You’re just like your, Dad," said Sirius with a chuckle. "You know damn well that’s not what I meant. I know you had a nightmare the other morning, and I suspect you still are having them." "I had no nightmare’s last night," said Albus. That was honestly the truth. "Yes, well, the way I hear it, you were…occupied last night," said Sirius. Albus stopped and turned to Sirius in disbelief. Did everybody know already? Albus agreed with Carly, he didn’t care. He was just a little shocked that word traveled so fast. "It’s a small castle," said Sirius with a laugh. "Word travels fast. Believe me when I tell you, your nightmares will return. Distractions, whether it be a night of passion, or…thoughts of revenge can only keep the nightmares away for so long." Albus got the distinct feeling only part of that was about him. "Sirius, what do you mean by, ‘thoughts of revenge’?" asked Albus. "Why don’t we have a seat, Al," said Sirius. Sirius and Albus sat down by a tree. Sirius was very quiet for a moment. "After your grandparents were murdered and I was imprisoned, I spent twelve years in Azkaban," said
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harrypotterfanfiction.com :: 65,000 Ha… Sirius slowly. "During those first few years, all I thought about was killing the rat. I was completely consumed by it. It was my reason for living. As time went on, my obsession with killing Pettigrew continued, but I began to have nightmares." Sirius was quiet for a moment. "I’ve never told anyone, but I had nightmares until the day I died. I still do sometimes, but not quite as often. I should have been there that night to help your grandparents. It’s haunted me every day since. Albus, the pain never goes away. I don’t know why specifically you are having nightmares now, but if you don’t deal with them…they will rule your life."

Albus had told himself he would never reveal all the details of him dream. He hadn’t had any nightmares last night, but he knew Sirius was right. They would come back. He really had to tell someone. He didn’t want to, but he knew he needed to. "When I was in the hospital, before I woke up, I had some kind of nightmare or something," said Albus. "Did my Dad tell you?" "He mentioned some terrible dream of a future," said Sirius. "But he didn’t give me any details. Why don’t you tell me about it?" "All right," said Albus. "In the dream, it was fifteen years in the future. The Horntail had killed our entire family, everyone except you, Neville, and Carly." "My God," said Sirius, a look of horror on his face. "That’s horrible, Al. I can’t image what that was like." "It gets worse," said Albus taking a deep breath. "Carly survived. You and Neville pulled her away from the dragon just in time. She survived the Horntail, but not losing everyone. You and Neville tried to help her, but…" "What happened?" asked Sirius almost afraid of what Albus was going to say. "She killed herself, Sirius," said Albus barley above a whisper. "While I was recovering, with everyone else dead, she couldn’t take it. She jumped off the roof of St. Mungo’s." "My God, Al," said Sirius shaking his head. "No wonder you are having nightmares." "I keep seeing it, except for last night," said Albus. "You might be right, the nightmares may return. But I know they aren’t real, I know everyone is all right. As long as I know Carly is safe, I don’t think I’ll have them anymore." "Knowing and forgetting are two different things," said Sirius. "Have you told Carly?" "No, I haven’t told anyone else, and I don’t plan to," said Albus emphatically. "My Mum told me Carly was a wreck when I was in the hospital. Just before I woke up, my Mum thought…Carly would hurt herself after I died. I won’t burden Carly with this. She has been through far too much already. Please keep this between us." "Of course," said Sirius with a nod. "Just promise me, if you need to talk about it, you will come to me. I’m always ready to listen." "I will," said Albus. Albus paused a moment. "Sirius, why haven’t you dealt with your own nightmares?" Sirius was quiet for a moment. "It’s simple, Al," said Sirius slowly. "I deserve my nightmares." Chapter 28: Chapter 28 - If I Could do it All Over Again [View Online] [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

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Albus, Rose, and all the Potters and Weasleys were very happy to start to get life back to normal. While in bed the second night after they returned to school, Albus and Carly had decided she was going to move into his dorm. It was already the worst kept secret in the castle, and honestly, they didn’t want to sleep alone anymore. They also didn’t care what anyone else thought. The Friday after they returned, Albus and Carly as well as Rose and Danny were invited to dinner by the Durmstrang and Beauxbatons Champions to celebrate Albus and Rose’s recoveries. Stefan and Anton Popov cooked several traditional Russian dishes as Russia was their home country, and Sophie and Danielle prepared some French cuisine. They had a lovely dinner and got to know their fellow Triwizard Champions. The tournament was supposed to be about international magical cooperation and making friends, and they were definitely doing that. They all wanted to win, but it was about more than that, and they all knew it. Albus, Carly, Rose, and Danny were all surprised to find that Stefan and Anton were escorting Sophie and Danielle to the Yule Ball, a first according to Rose. Rose had been reading up on the history of the competition, and knew everything there was to know about the Triwizard Tournament. Albus was surprised, though he should not have been, to find that Voldemort had also impacted Stefan and Anton’s family. Their great uncle was the famous wand maker Gregorovitch. Voldemort had murdered him while searching for the Elder Wand. Sophie and Danielle had friends who had lost relatives in the war as well. Voldemort’s evil had touched lives everywhere. Against Carly’ wishes, as she was worried he wasn’t strong enough yet, Albus held quidditch practice on Saturday. It was quite cold and the ground was covered with snow, but Albus hadn’t been on a broom in weeks, and as the weather got worse, there would be little time to practice. February would bring both the second task and their match versus Ravenclaw. A few warming charms were enough for them to get in a good long practice. On Sunday night, the family gathered for family dinner, the first one since the first task of the Triwizard Tournament. Family dinner had grown, as Lucy, Tommy, and Gabrielle were all now on the permanently invited list. Everyone was happy to have the whole family together again. After dinner, they sat by the fire and talked. As the night went on, everyone went to bed, accept Harry and Ron. They were seated opposite each other on two of the couches. "You do realize, you are barking mad Ron, don’t you?" asked Harry. "You’re a complete and total nutter who has gone round the bend." "I know, I shouldn’t be so nervous about it," said Ron with a sigh as if he hadn’t noticed exactly what Harry had just said. "It’s not like I haven’t done it a million times, just not for this. It’s like I have this mental block or something. I couldn’t do it twenty-nine years ago, and I don’t know if I can do it now. If I could do it all over again…" Harry laughed. "Wow, I can’t believe we’re having this conversation," said Harry. "We are talking about your wife, who loves you more than anything in the world, though as your sister likes to say, who knows why she does." "I know, Harry," said Ron. "It’s just…well…sometimes, I don’t know why, and I don’t want to mess it up." "You don’t know why what?" asked Harry, disbelief in his voice because he knew what the response was going to be. "I don’t know why she loves me," said Ron dejectedly. "She could have done so much better than me.
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Why did she want me?" Harry picked up a pillow from the couch and threw it at Ron. It hit him square in the face. He hadn’t seen it coming. "What was that for?" asked Ron angrily. "That was because you’ve replaced Percy as the world’s biggest git," said Harry emphatically. "It took you six years to get over your fear that she liked me more than you, and if she hadn’t kissed you first, you might still be pining over her. Wow Ron, I have to say it again. I can’t believe we are having this conversation. Come on, what are you afraid of, that Krum might have beat you to it." If Ron responded the way Harry thought he would, he just might pull his wand out and hex him. "The thought had occurred," said Ron miserably. "That’s it, Ron," said Harry throwing his hands in the air. "I can’t believe we are having this conversation. Now, Ronald Weasley, you get off your backside, and go talk to your wife. If you don’t, I’m going to kick your rear end all the way to your quarters and tell your wife what an incredibly giant prat you are." "She knows, Harry," said Ron, in exasperation with his own complete stupidity. "Believe me, she already knows." Harry rolled his eyes, and left without another word. Ron knew Harry was right. He was being stupid. Hermione loved him. Ron knew that. And he didn’t really doubt that in the least, except when he thought of things from back in school. He did so many stupid things when he was in school, and they were all in the name of his feelings for Hermione that he couldn’t admit. He had dated Lavender Brown in response to a non-existent relationship between Hermione and Viktor Krum. That nearly split them up forever. If he hadn’t nearly died when he drank that poisoned mead, he and Hermione might never have reconciled. He had so many opportunities to tell her how he felt back then and he didn’t. He would never forget the moment when Hermione kissed him in the Room of Requirement during the Battle of Hogwarts. Ron wasn’t even thinking. He just knew how terrible Dobby dying had been, and knew they couldn’t let the house elves die for their war, and when he said it, Hermione snogged him. Harry was right. If Hermione hadn’t kissed him then, he might never have got up the courage to tell her how he felt. Ron left the Room of Requirement, and headed for his quarters. As he walked down the corridor he saw two people locked in an embrace outside the entrance to Gryffindor Tower. The hallway was deserted, as it was getting late. He could tell who it was instantly. It was Rose and Danny, lips locked together for a goodnight snog. He fought down his impulse to act the father. They were engaged and in love, they had every right to do that. He quietly turned to the stairway without being seen to head for his quarters. Seeing Rose and Danny together made him remember how he and Hermione could have been that way sooner than they were if he hadn’t been such an enormous git. They were very much together for their seventh year, but he already had such strong feelings for her by fourth year. It took three years before she kissed him and he could tell her how he felt. That night they spent in his dorm room after Voldemort fell, Ron told Hermione how he had felt all those years, and he said everything he had kept bottled up for so long. Though they denied it the next morning, they made love that night, and he knew they would always be together.
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harrypotterfanfiction.com :: 65,000 Ha… He knew he had feelings for her back in second year. When he found out she had been petrified, he knew he felt something more for her than just friendship. They had now been married for twenty-two years. Why was it, that thinking about school made him doubt just how much Hermione loved him? It was so silly, he knew that, but he couldn’t put the thought out of his mind.

Ron got back to his quarters and went into the bedroom. He could hear Hermione in the shower. Ron got ready for bed and sat on the bed. He was going to just have to ask her. Just do it, don’t think about it, he thought. This shouldn’t be this hard. Ron looked down at the floor. There was a galleon on the floor. Ron leaned forward and picked it up. After looking at it for a moment, Ron smiled. It was Hermione’s Dumbledore’s Army galleon. She still carried it with her all the time. No one else from Dumbledore’s Army still had the coin. Ron knew exactly why Hermione still carried it. The door to the bathroom opened and Hermione came in, wearing her bathrobe. She smiled when she saw him. "Hi, honey," said Hermione. She walked over to the bed and leaned down and kissed him. "You dropped your galleon," said Ron holding out the coin to her. Hermione sighed. "Thanks," said Hermione, taking the coin. "Are you ever going to let it go?" asked Ron. "No," said Hermione softly. "Some things are easier to live with than let go of." "It wasn’t your fault," said Ron. "Let’s not talk about it," said Hermione shaking her head. "Instead…why don’t you tell me what’s bothering you?" "What makes you think something is bothering me, Hermione?" asked Ron, in exasperation. "Nothing is wrong." Hermione smiled at him. "I’ve had a long time to decipher your moods, the look on your face tells me everything," said Hermione with a laugh. She decided to drop it. She walked around the bed, changed for bed, and slid under the covers, leaving her galleon on her nightstand. "Are you coming to bed, Ron?" Ron slid under the covers, and rolled over close to her. He put his arms around her and kissed her deeply. "Now I know something is wrong," said Hermione when he broke the kiss. "How do you know?" asked Ron in disbelief. "When you have that look on your face and you kiss me like that I know something is bothering," said Hermione. "Out with it, we won’t get any sleep until you tell me." "All right," said Ron in defeat. He hesitated for a moment. "Harry already told me I was barking mad. Do you love me?" "Harry is right, you are barking mad," said Hermione with a laugh. "Of course I love you, now what makes you ask such a silly question." Well, he just had to do it. "For the last week, I’ve been trying to pluck up the courage to ask you to
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harrypotterfanfiction.com :: 65,000 Ha… go to the Yule Ball with me," said Ron with a sigh. "I know how stupid it is. We’ve been married for twenty-two years. It’s just that I did so many stupid things when we were in school. I had so many opportunities to tell you how I felt and I didn’t. I think this is the one I regret the most. If I had just asked you to the Yule Ball like I so desperately wanted to, we might have avoided all that stuff sixth year. I caused it all."

"Oh, Ron," said Hermione sweetly. She pulled his face towards her and kissed him. "We were both stupid. I could have told you how I felt too. I love you, Ron, and even though it was hard at the beginning, it all worked out in the end." Hermione smiled at him. "So, are you going to make me wait another twenty-nine years?" Ron smiled. "Hermione, would you do me the great honor of being my date for the Yule Ball?" asked Ron. "I would love to," said Hermione. "But Viktor already asked me." For a moment, Ron stared at her as if he had been struck in the head with a bludger, then Hermione began to laugh. "Thanks, Hermione," said Ron, as he too began to laugh. "You’re really funny you know that. I’ve been tearing my heart out all week over this and you make jokes?" "I’m sorry Ron, but after waiting twenty-nine years for that invitation, I think I’m entitled to have a little fun," said Hermione with a smile. "I would love to go with you to the Yule Ball." She pulled him close and kissed him again. When they broke the kiss, Ron gazed into her eyes. "You know I really don’t deserve you," said Ron shaking his head slightly. "I know," said Hermione with a laugh. She gazed into his eyes. "But then I don’t really deserve you either." Chapter 29: Chapter 29 - Like It Was Yesterday [View Online] [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter] Chapter 29 – Like It Was Yesterday "Are they ever going to be ready?" asked Hugo. "I’m not even waiting for a date, I’m waiting for all of your dates." Hugo was waiting with Tommy, Danny, and Albus. They were waiting for Lily, Rose, and Carly. James was meeting Lucy at her room, and was going to meet them at the ball. Tommy, Danny, and Hugo were wearing black dress robes, but Albus was wearing his emerald green ones that matched his eyes. They were Carly’s favorites. It was December twenty-first, the ball was being held earlier than usual this year. The next day the Hogwarts Express would be departing to take those going home for the holiday back to London. They were the only ones left in the common room, as everyone else fourth year and up was already waiting to go into the ball in the Entrance Hall, and Hermione had a less formal event for the younger students happening in the Room of Requirement. "You know girls," said Tommy with a shrug. "They take forever to get ready." "I don’t know what you are complaining about, Tommy," said Albus with a laugh. "Danny and I have been waiting for Rose and Carly to get ready for dances for six years. We have twenty more minutes
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before we even think about it." "Yeah, Tommy," said Danny. "But, at the risk of annoying your date's brother, they always look great, and it’s well worth the wait." As if on cue, Lily descended the stairs. She had her long red hair done up in a fancy bun on the back of her head, and she was wearing a green dress. It came down to just above her knees. It was fairly low cut. Lily usually dressed in jeans and a jumper under her school robes, none of which showed off her figure, which was enough to make any fifteen-year-old boy do a double take. Tommy had never seen Lily in a dress like this before. Stunning was the only word he could think of. Of course he couldn’t even get that one word out of his mouth, he had completely lost the ability to speak. Tommy just stared at her for a moment, mouth open. Albus watched for a moment in amusement. "You look like you’ve been hit with a bludger, Tommy," said Albus trying not to laugh. "Put your eyes back in your head, pick your chin up of the floor, and don’t forget to compliment my sister…and don’t forget she’s my sister. I did slay a dragon." Albus was trying to do this with a straight face. Neither James nor Albus ever worried about Lily like that, as she was more than capable of taking care of herself, but Albus couldn’t resist. "What was that?" asked Tommy as he returned to reality, still somewhat stunned. "Sorry, yeah, Lily, you look…wow." "Wow is good," said Lily with a smile. "And Al’s kidding, by the way, if I thought he wasn’t, I would deck him." "Shall we…um…go then," stuttered Tommy, still staring at Lily. "Or should we wait for…um…you know… them." "Rose and Carly," said Hugo with a laugh. "You might remember them." "Yeah, them," said Tommy with laugh. "They may be a while," said Lily. "Why don’t we go?" Tommy managed to stop staring at Lily long enough to kiss her on the cheek and hold out his arm to her. She took his arm and they left, with Hugo who didn’t want to wait anymore. Danny and Albus looked at each other for a moment and burst out laughing. "He’s never seen her in a dress like that before has he?" asked Danny. "I don’t think so," said Albus with a laugh. "Lily has grown up a lot, but she usually hides it. She doesn’t wear some of the really tight stuff a lot of the girls do. She’s really very modest about her looks." Danny smiled to himself. "Do you remember the first time you saw Carly like Tommy just saw Lily?" asked Danny. He was thinking of the first time he saw Rose in a rather sexy dress fourth year. "Like it was yesterday," said Albus, thinking back to the summer day before fifth year when he saw Carly in a Muggle bathing suit for the first time. "We are really lucky men, Al," said Danny with a smile. "We are each engaged to smart beautiful women who for some reason that I certainly can’t fathom love us when they could have any man they wanted."
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harrypotterfanfiction.com :: 65,000 Ha… "You are absolutely right, Danny," said Albus with a laugh. "And I can’t fathom it either. We have the two most wonderful women in the world between us. We are both very lucky."

They heard the last two people left in the girls’ dorm descending the stairs. Though Albus and Danny didn’t know it, they both had the same thought when they saw them. Their fiancés looked more beautiful each time they saw them. Rose had her brown hair done up in an elegant knot on the top of her heard. She was wearing a light blue, strapless, floor length gown. It was very elegant. Carly’s dress was red. It was backless and sleeveless, and made of smooth silk. She never failed to take Albus’s breath away when she dressed like this. Carly had left her hair down, because that’s the way Albus liked it. Albus knew, when she walked into the Great Hall, every eye in the room would be on her, but her eyes would only be on him. Albus and Danny walked over to their fiancés and greeted them with kisses. "You look incredible, Rose," said Danny. "Thanks. Danny," said Rose with a smile. "Carly you look…wow," said Albus with a smile. "I mean…wow." "Thanks," said Carly with a smile. She would never admit it, but she loved the fact that Albus could look at her and lose the ability to speak. The four of them made their way to the Entrance Hall. There they met Stefan Popov and Sophie Leroy, and Anton Popov and Danielle Girard. The four couples would make there way into the Great Hall to open the Yule Ball with the first dance of the evening. Ron was also there, waiting for Hermione. Ron and Hermione were to enter first, and then Hermione was going to announce the champions. The host school sponsored the Yule Ball, so unlike the Weighing of the Wands ceremony where Cho was in charge, as Headmistress of Hogwarts, Hermione was in charge of making the formal announcement of the Champions tonight. It was the one part of the Triwizard Tournament Hermione was looking forward to. "Hi, guys," said Ron. "Carly, Rose, you both look beautiful." There was a time when his daughter wearing a strapless, sleeveless dress bothered Ron, but she was an adult now. "Rose, you haven’t seen your Mum have you?" "No, Dad," said Rose. "Don’t worry, I’m sure she’s not standing you up…probably not anyway." She was trying to hide a smile. Before Ron could respond with a joke, Hermione walked into the Entrance Hall. She was wearing a dress as opposed to robes, which she usually wore for formal occasions. He immediately recognized the color and material. It was made of a floaty, periwinkle-blue material. The exact same material as the robes she wore to the Yule Ball twenty-nine years ago. She had her hair done up the same way she did that night. Ron walked over to her. "Wow," said Ron. "You look amazing. Really amazing, even better than you did at the last Hogwarts Yule Ball." "Thanks, love," said Hermione with a smile. "You don’t look too bad yourself." Ron was wearing black dress robes. He gave Hermione a kiss. "I do look good, don’t I?" asked Ron with a grin. "Shall we go in then?" Ron offered her his arm.
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harrypotterfanfiction.com :: 65,000 Ha… "Absolutely," said Hermione with a smile. "I’ve waited twenty-nine years for this. I don’t want to miss a moment of it. Lead on."

Hermione smiled at Rose and Carly as she walked by them into the Great Hall. The champions lined up, Stefan and Sophie first, Anton and Danielle second, Danny and Rose third, and Albus and Carly at the rear. The Great Hall had been reconfigured for the Yule Ball. The enchanted ceiling showed a clear night sky. The long house tables had been removed, and small round tables had been placed around the outside of the room, leaving a large dance floor. Where the teachers’ table normally stood, a band was set up. On the large drum was a brightly painted unicorn, the emblem of the band, the Unicorn’s Horn. The Unicorn’s Horn was of course, a wizard band, but they played every kind of music there was, Wizarding and Muggle. They would be starting off the evening with classical selections, and later would play a selection the students would find much more enjoyable. Ron and Hermione walked to the center of the dance floor, where Ron left her to stand at the edge of the dance floor with Harry and Ginny. "It is my great pleasure to welcome you all to the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry Triwizard Tournament Yule Ball," said Hermione with a smile. She paused for a moment as applause was heard throughout the room. When it died down, she continued. "Please welcome the Triwizard Champions. From Durmstrang Institute, Stefan Popov, and from Beauxbatons Academy, Sophie Leroy." She paused again for the applause as Stefan in his black dress robes, and Sophie in a yellow dress entered the Great Hall and took their places on the dance floor. "From Durmstrang Institute, Anton Popov, and from Beauxbatons Academy, Danielle Girard." Anton was wearing black dress robes, just like Stefan’s. Danielle wore light purple dress robes. They too took their place on the dance floor. "From Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, Rose Weasley, escorted by her fiancé, Danny Finnigan." Deafening applause filled the room as Rose and Danny entered the hall and took their place on the dance floor. Hermione could not hide her pride. As scared as she was for Rose being in the tournament, she could never be more proud of her daughter. "From Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, Albus Potter, escorting his fiancé, Carly Jones." Deafening applause filled the room again as Albus and Carly came in. Carly received a number of whistles, but Albus was used to that. He didn’t let it bother him, he wasn’t the jealous type, and after all, she didn’t pay them any mind. He knew a few flattering whistles at Carly were nothing to think twice about. Albus and Carly took their place on the dance floor. Hermione walked over to where Ron was standing. A moment later the music began to play and the four couples began to dance. After a few minutes, other couples began to join them, and the Yule Ball was in full swing. Against the wall on one side of the Great Hall, Hugo leaned against the wall by himself. He was standing in front of a fountain topped with an ice sculpture of a reindeer. The water was coming out of its antlers, and fell gently into the pool below, causing barely a splash. The lights in the Great Hall seemed to dance in the water, reflecting beautifully, almost romantically. Unfortunately, a romantic setting was of little use to Hugo. It truly didn’t bother Hugo, but it would have been nice to have a date to just one dance, Hugo thought. The only ‘dates’ he had ever had was when he escorted his aunt to the Halloween Dance when he was nine and ten years old. He was looking at the floor in front of him, having lost interest in the fountain. He wasn’t really paying attention to anything, when he heard someone lean against the wall beside him and sigh. "You really don’t recognize me do you?" asked a girl’s voice. Hugo looked to his right to see a sight that stopped his heart. The drop dead gorgeous girl with long black hair and hazel eyes that he had been trying to talk to for months was leaning against the wall beside him.
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She had always been wearing robes when Hugo had seen her before. She had such a pretty face, and beautiful eyes, and his imagination seemed to enjoy teasing him with how good she might look in something more flattering than robes. His imagination hadn’t come close to doing her justice. She was wearing a white dress with lacy gold trim. Her long black hair was, hanging down her back. It seemed to shine in the light from the fountain, making her look even more beautiful, if that were even possible. The dress wasn’t very low cut, but it seemed to fit her perfectly, and showed off all her curves, which could have put the hottest muggle actress to shame. She was much shorter than he was, but that was not surprising since Hugo took after his father, and was tall for his age. The dress she wore was fairly short, and was showing off her legs. Hugo had never known legs could be so beautiful. "Well, you act as though you’ve never seen a pretty girl before," she said, snapping Hugo out of his all too obvious examination of her body. Hugo was sure he turned the color of his hair, but she smiled that warm smile, not seeming to mind. He was a little surprised she did not have any accent since she was from Durmstrang. She sounded like she had been raised in Britain. "I’m…sorry," said Hugo not sure whether he was apologizing for not knowing her or for ogling her. "Do I know you?" In the back of his mind he was thinking, ‘I would really, really like to know you.’ She smiled warmly again. "Do you remember school before Hogwarts?" asked the mysterious girl. She continued not waiting for an answer. "When you were eight years old, you sat behind this really annoying girl who was constantly complaining about your jokes and pranks. Honestly, she was pretty full of herself, best student in class, etc. You used to give her a hard time about it. She kind of deserved it, because she was awfully nasty to you, though the jokes about her glasses and how short she was were a bit mean. Her Mum used to tell her you gave her a hard time because you had a crush on her and that was just how boys were. She never believed that. She moved away to Germany after that year, and ended up going to Durmstrang Institute and, due to her excellent academic record, was allowed to accompany the older students to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry for the Triwizard Tournament. Stop me when you figure this out Weasley, I know you weren’t the smartest in our class, but that really should be enough to figure it out." Hugo was staring at her mouth open. He now knew exactly who she was, but he couldn’t get his mouth to work properly. He couldn’t believe he hadn’t recognized her, but then, she looked much, much different now. That was actually the biggest understatement the world had ever seen. "Colleen," said Hugo almost in a whisper. "Colleen Manning. Wow. I’m so sorry…I didn’t even recognize you. You look…incredible…amazing…wow." "Why, thank you," said Colleen with a laugh. "I grew up a lot in seven years." "If you knew who I was, why didn’t you say anything until now?" asked Hugo. "You’ve been here two months." "Why don’t I answer that a little later," said Colleen with a smile. "Are you going to ask me to dance, or are we going to stand here holding up the wall all night?" It took Hugo a moment to wrap his mind around this. Of course, he remembered the little girl he used to argue with in primary school. Thinking back on it, he knew he had been downright awful to her. He would have understood if he’d hexed him when she first saw him. Hugo and Colleen went out onto the dance floor, and they started to dance. As they danced Colleen told Hugo all about her life the past seven years, and he told her all about his, leaving out a few details from first year of course. After several fast dances, a slow dance came on. Colleen seemed
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harrypotterfanfiction.com :: 65,000 Ha… happy to have a slow dance with Hugo. Hugo had never slow danced before, but he seemed to do all right, as she was smiling the whole time.

After the slow dance, they got some butterbeers and they sat down at one of the tables. "So, Colleen, are you going to tell me why you waited so long to tell me who you are?" asked Hugo. He really wanted to know. "Well, will you tell me something first?" asked Colleen with a smile. He knew as long as she smiled, he could never say no. "All right," said Hugo. "What do you want to know?" "Was my Mum right?" asked Colleen. "Did you have a crush on me?" A bomb went off in Hugo’s head. "Well…I don’t know," said Hugo, not really sure what to say. "I never really thought about it." Hugo smiled. "I thought I just enjoyed winding you up, and got a kick out of how angry you got. It certainly never bothered me when you were mean to me. Maybe your Mum is right, for an eight year old that’s a crush. So why did you wait so long to say hello?" "I don’t know," said Colleen with a sigh. "I just couldn’t seem to get up the courage in that first month. I don’t know why, maybe I felt bad because I was so nasty to you when we were in school together. Then I finally got up the nerve, and then well with your sister and cousins were in the hospital, and it didn’t seem like the right time." "Well, I’m, glad you said hello," said Hugo with a grin. "Lily promised me a dance so I wouldn’t stand by myself all night, but I much prefer dancing with you." While Hugo and Colleen were talking, on the other side of the room, Albus, Danny, Rose, and Carly were standing together talking, when their conversation was interrupted. "Rose, Albus, how are you," said Cho, as she walked up to where the four were standing. "Hello, Miss Chang," both Albus and Rose replied. "I would like to introduce you to some of our guests," said Cho. "This is Alec and Bogdan Yotov. Their father, Danail Yotov is the Minister of Magic of Bulgaria. As you know, though the location of Durmstrang is a closely guarded secret, the Bulgarian Ministry was given the task long ago of officially overseeing the school. Alec and Bogdan have come to represent their father. Their father had important affairs of state to attend to, and had planned to arrive in time for the ball, but since he will not be able to attend at all this year, he sent Alec and Bogdan to represent him." Cho introduced Albus, Carly, Rose, and Danny. "It’s nice to meet both of you," said Albus, extending a hand to Alec. "Yes, I am honored to meet you," said Alec. "Your heroism in slaying the Horntail has made the papers even in Bulgaria." "I was lucky," said Albus with a chuckle. "But thank you." Albus extended his hand to Bogdan. Bogdan hesitated before shaking Al’s hand. "Nice to meet you," said Bogdan coolly. Albus thought he was rather less friendly than Alec, not that he was looking for any praise, but it would seem a warmer greeting would be forthcoming from an official representative of the Bulgarian Ministry of Magic. Albus thought there was something off about Bogdan Yotov, but he just wasn’t sure
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what it was. Alec spoke with a heavy accent. He was tall and burly, with short dark hair, and brown eyes. Albus was pretty sure Alec was four or five years older than he was. He wore dark red dress robes. He seemed friendly enough, but that was in sharp contrast to Bogdan. Bogdan had short blond hair and blue eyes. He was tall like Alec, but far thinner. The family resemblance was obvious. Bogdan had an air of unpleasantness about him. He seemed to be about their age, but Albus assumed he had to be at least a year older or he would still be in school. Albus didn’t know what it was, but there was something about Bogdan Yotov that bothered him. With introductions concluded, they all chatted for a few minutes. The band began to play a different song, and Carly took Albus’s hand. "I love this song, Al, can we dance?" asked Carly with a smile. Albus was about to say yes, but Cho stopped him. "We need all the champions in the Entrance Hall for a few minutes for some pictures," said Cho. "Carly, Danny, I’ll get your fiancés back as soon as possible." "Sorry, Carly," said Albus. "But I would love to dance when I get back." Albus gave her a kiss on the cheek. "Miss Jones, would you give me the honor of this dance?" asked Bogdan Yotov. Albus was a little surprised Alec seemed friendlier. He might have expected it from him, but not Bogdan. "Sure, I would love to," said Carly with a friendly smile. "But only if you call me Carly. See you in a bit, Al." Carly took Bogdan’s arm and they headed out onto the dance floor. As Albus and Rose followed Cho away, Albus looked over his shoulder at Carly and Bogdan on the dance floor. "I think someone’s jealous," said Rose with a smirk. "Come on, Rose," said Albus. "You know I’m not. There’s just something bothering me about Bogdan Yotov." Albus and Rose went to the Entrance hall for pictures. About fifteen minutes later, they returned to the ball. Albus saw Bogdan and Carly still dancing. They were talking and seemed to be having a nice time. Albus stopped by the edge of the dance floor and watched them for a moment as Rose went to find Danny. Albus couldn’t shake the bad feeling he had about Bogdan Yotov. "Lose your date, Al?" asked Harry with a laugh coming up beside him. "Dad, have you met Alec and Bogdan Yotov?" asked Albus, still watching Carly dancing with Bogdan Yotov. "Yes," said Harry with a nod. "For just a minute, why?" "Something bothers me about Bogdan Yotov," said Albus. "I don’t know what it is." Harry looked out at the dance floor and saw Carly dancing with Bogdan Yotov. "I didn’t think you were the jealous type," said Harry with laugh. "Come on, Dad, it’s not that," said Albus. "I don’t know what it is. Can you have Kingsley check him out? Check both of them out?"
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"Sure, Al," said Harry. He was sensing Albus thought this was something serious. "I can do that. What do you think is wrong?" "I don’t know," said Albus with a sigh. "He seems unpleasant, but that describes two thirds of Slytherin House. I’m probably just being paranoid." "Al, I think you’ve earned the right to be a little bit paranoid under the circumstances," said Harry "I’ll talk to Kingsley about him right now. Everyone here from outside the school had to roll up their sleeve and prove they didn’t wear the Dark Mark. He’s not a Death Eater, but we’ll see what we can find out about him." "Thanks, Dad," said Albus. Harry headed off to find Kingsley. A moment later the dance ended, and Carly spotted Albus. She and Bogdan headed towards him. "Did you have a nice dance?" asked Albus, hiding his suspicions. "Yes," said Carly. "Thank you again Bogdan." "It was my pleasure, Carly," said Bogdan. "Mr. Potter." Bogdan nodded to him, then turned and walked away. Albus watched him go suspiciously. Regardless of what they found out from Kingsley, Albus was going to keep an eye on him. "What is it, Al?" asked Carly. "You aren’t jealous are you?" She was trying to stifle a laugh and starting to fail. "No…why does everyone think that?" asked Albus as he put his arms around her. "He may get to dance with you, but I’m the only one who gets to do this." Albus leaned in and kissed her. Across the dance floor, Hermione and Ron were dancing. They had waited twenty-nine years to dance at the Yule Ball, and were having an awful lot of fun. "Is it all you hoped it would be?" asked Ron with a smile. "Well worth waiting twenty-nine years for," said Hermione with a smile. They continued to dance, but Hermione noticed Ron seemed distracted by something. "Is something wrong, Ron?" asked Hermione. "I am trying not to let it bother me," said Ron with a sigh. "Kingsley told Harry and I this afternoon that there has been an upsurge of suspicious incidents all over Europe." "Death Eaters?" asked Hermione. "Looks like it," said Ron. Ron smiled. "But the Death Eaters don’t matter tonight. You’re all that matters to me in the whole world tonight." "My, my, you have gotten good at knowing just what to say," said Hermione with a smile. "How exactly did that happen?" "Simple," said Ron with a smile. "I’m just that charming."
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harrypotterfanfiction.com :: 65,000 Ha… Just then the song ended as Hermione laughed.

"Why don’t we get something to eat at the buffet," said Hermione still laughing. "I’m starving." "I thought that was supposed to be my line?" asked Ron with a laugh. Ron and Hermione got something to eat and went to look for a table. They found an empty table and went to sit down. Hermione looked around a moment, and looked toward the door. "Well, isn’t that interesting," said Hermione. "What is it?" asked Ron though he seemed more interested in his food at that moment. "It seems our son has made a new friend," said Hermione with a grin. "A very pretty friend." That got Ron’s attention. "Really, where?" asked Ron in surprise. "They just headed out of the Great Hall," said Hermione. "Well, it’s about time," said Ron. "He’s never even had a date." "You should talk," said Hermione incredulously. "Yeah," said Ron. "You do have a point. I however had already found the right girl, I just couldn’t tell her." Ron smiled. "I can’t argue with that," said Hermione. "You have to admit, Hugo has it kind of tough. He has the same sense of humor as the twins did at his age, and your lack of self confidence." "Hey," said Ron. "I don’t…" Hermione raised her eyebrows. "All right, he has my lack of self confidence," said Ron with a shrug. "Poor kid." ~ It started to get late, and Hugo and Colleen decided to go for a walk down by the lake. They were quite tired from dancing, but were having too much fun to call it a night. They retrieved their cloaks and changed their shoes for a walk in the snow. It was very cold outside the castle. They had talked and danced all night long. They had never been friends before, but Hugo found it very easy to talk to Colleen, and he had enjoyed their conversation. Hugo did remember, there was one question she hadn’t answered. "So Colleen, why is it that you moved to Germany seven years ago?" asked Hugo. "You didn’t say earlier." Colleen frowned. "Oh, well, my Dad was an archeologist," said Colleen, with a profound sadness in her voice that had not been there before. "He had an opportunity to work on the excavation of several ancient castles and ruins in Germany. My Mum and I are actually moving back to Britain this summer. That’s why I wanted to make the trip. I’ll be attending Hogwarts next year, in fact, my Mum is moving us in the spring, so at the end of the year I won’t be returning to Durmstrang at all." It was obvious from what she said, that something had happened to Colleen’s father. Hugo didn’t think he could not ask her about it. He stopped walking. "He was an archeologist?" asked Hugo turning toward her.
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She stopped walking as well. "He died this past August," said Colleen softly. "My Mum and I were out for the day, and he went to the market, and returned home to find someone had broken into the house. They were still there. They…" The look on her face told Hugo what had happened. He pulled Colleen into a hug. "I’m so sorry," said Hugo. Colleen hugged him back. "It’s been really hard…we were very close," said Colleen as she blinked back tears. "The saddest part is, they didn’t even take anything. They just trashed the place…and killed him." "That must have been terrible," said Hugo. Hugo wasn’t sure what to say, he was way out of his element. "Would you like to talk about it?" "Yeah, actually I would," said Colleen. They continued to walk down by the lake they were standing just in front of a rocky area of the shore. Colleen told Hugo all about her father, and how much she missed him. She hadn’t been able to talk to her mother about her father because her mother burst into tears whenever she tried to talk to her about him. "It’s been really hard at Durmstrang this year," said Colleen. "It’s always been hard, I’ve never really had any good friends there. I never really fit in at Durmstrang." "Well, you have a friend here," said Hugo with a smile. "It’s really nice…to have a friend here to talk to," said Colleen softly. When they arrived at the lake, Colleen looked out over it for a minute. Hugo stole a glance at Colleen while she looked out over the lake. She really was the most beautiful girl he had ever seen, Hugo thought. He thought about asking her out on a date right then and there, but assumed she had a boyfriend. Even if she didn’t, it wasn’t right to ask her out right now after she just told him about her father’s death. It was a friend she needed, and Hugo was going to be that. It didn’t really matter anyway, Hugo thought. He had never been on a date, so he wasn’t sure what to say to ask her anyway. She would never go out with him though, she was so beautiful, and smart, and funny and she could have any boy she wanted. He was now actually staring at her while she looked out over the lake. Just looking at her blocked Hugo’s thoughts out. All he could think about was how beautiful she was. "This is really a beautiful place," said Colleen. "Not as beautiful as you are," said Hugo softly. The words came out of his mouth without thinking and he turned away from her and looked out over the lake. That sounded like such a line, and after what she just told him about her father, how could he have said that. What a lousy thing to do. "Wow," said Colleen. "You are quite the charmer, aren’t you?" Her voice was even, betraying nothing of what she was thinking. "I’m sorry," said Hugo looking out over the water. "I shouldn’t have said that, not now after you just told me about your father. Not that I didn’t mean it, I did. I mean…you’re gorgeous…I’m just…going to shut up now. I’ve embarrassed myself enough for one night." Hugo closed his eyes. He had practically been babbling. This couldn’t get any worse. He wanted to be
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harrypotterfanfiction.com :: 65,000 Ha… her friend, and he gave her a line like that.

Hugo assumed she would be leaving now after his insensitive, unforgivable, thoughtlessness. It was terribly insensitive thing to say something like that, right after she told him about her father, not to mention how lame it sounded. She needed a friend, not a date. She would be gone in a moment, Hugo hoped, and then he could do something constructive like drown himself in the lake. Humor couldn’t get him out of this, and that was really all he was good at. He kept his eyes closed. He couldn’t face her. Suddenly, Hugo was shocked to find her warm, soft lips on his. He didn’t open his eyes. He felt her arms around his neck and put his arms around her, pulling her close, and kissed her back. Hugo hoped he was doing it right. He was only barely aware of the fact that she had been standing on the rocks in front of him. She would have had to climb up him to kiss him otherwise. He was now holding her up, her feet dangling several inches off the ground. After several moments she pulled back a little, but kept her arms around his neck, as Hugo continued to hold her against him in the air. Hugo opened his eyes as he was trying to catch his breath, to find her smiling at him. Hugo was speechless. "Everyone I know has walked on egg shells around me since it happened," said Colleen. "No one would listen to me talk about it, about how I felt. No one would just talk to me like I was a regular person. My boyfriend even broke up with me because he didn’t know how to act around me. What I really needed was someone to talk to and not treat me like I was made of glass. You don’t know what it means that you listened and cared how I felt." "Oh, well, I’m a great listener," said Hugo. "Anytime you want to talk. You don’t even have to kiss me afterwards…unless you really want to, then by all means feel free." Hugo smiled. Colleen laughed. "I’ll keep that in mind," said Colleen. "You know it’s been months since anyone could make me laugh." She just held onto him for a minute. "It’s getting late, would you walk me back to my room?" "Of course," said Hugo. He just stood there a moment looking into her eyes, still holding her against him off the ground. "You know, you’ll have to put me down so we can walk," said Colleen with a grin. "Yes, I was just trying to figure a way around that," said Hugo. "No such luck I’m afraid, we would look awfully funny if I carried you like this, though I can think of worse things." Colleen laughed again. Hugo liked the sound of her laugh. It was a beautiful sound. He set her down and offered her his arm as they walked back toward the castle. Chapter 30: Chapter 30 - The Necklace [View Online] [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter] Chapter 30 – The Necklace The day after the Yule Ball, the Hogwarts Express left with the students not staying for the Christmas Holidays. Included on the list of those not staying for the holiday were Rose and Danny who were going to spend Christmas with his parents in Kenmare, Ireland, James and Lucy who were going to spend Christmas with her parents in London, and Neville and Gabrielle who were going to spend Christmas with her family in France, something Neville was extremely nervous about. All of them except Neville and Gabrielle were planning to return to Hogwarts by New Years Eve.
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Just after noon on Friday, the day after the Yule Ball, Hugo walked into the Great Hall for lunch. He was also looking for Colleen. She hadn’t been at breakfast, and he was starting to worry. She was all he could think about all night and all morning. When he brought her back to her room, he summoned all his Gryffindor courage and kissed her goodnight. Colleen seemed really happy about it. Hugo looked around, but she wasn’t in the Great Hall. Hugo saw several of the girls from Durmstrang eating lunch at the Ravenclaw table. Hugo walked over to where they sat eating. "Excuse me, I’m sorry to bother you, but I was wondering if you knew where Colleen Manning is?" asked Hugo. "I haven’t been able to find her all morning. My name is Hugo Weasley." "I’m afraid she is in her room crying again," said one of the girls in a thick accent. The tone of her voice indicated she clearly felt bad about this. It was not lost in her accent. "What do you mean, crying again?" asked Hugo though he had a pretty good idea it was because of her father. "She lies in bed crying all the time since her father was killed," said another girl. "We’ve tried to talk to her, but it is a very personal thing losing someone close to you. She is two years behind us so we don’t know her well. I know she really hasn’t any friends even in her own year." "It’s not that anyone is mean to her," said a third girl. "Many of the students don’t speak English, and even those of us who do rarely do at school. It’s really hard to know what to say to her even when we do try and talk to her." "I understand," said Hugo. "I think I’ll go talk to her." "I saw you two at that dance last night," said the first girl who had spoken. "Colleen seemed really happy when you escorted her back to our Common Room last night. I think maybe Colleen would enjoy a visit." Hugo thanked them. He was about to head for her room, but realized she probably didn’t have breakfast or lunch, so he made some roast beef sandwiches, wrapped them up in a napkin, grabbed a couple of glasses of pumpkin juice and headed for the Durmstrang quarters. He was about to knock on the door of the Durmstrang Common Room, but before he could, the door opened. A rather unpleasant looking man stepped through the door. "Goodbye, Bogdan," said Viktor Krum from behind the man. "Goodbye, Viktor," Bogdan said, and walked away down the hallway. Viktor noticed Hugo standing there. "Hugo, to what do we owe the pleasure?" asked Viktor with a smile. "Hello, Headmaster Krum," said Hugo. "Good afternoon. I was wondering if I could see Colleen Manning." Viktor’s smile disappeared. "If you can get her to come out of her room, you are welcome to see her," said Viktor. He turned and Hugo followed him into the Common Room. It was not a large room, but it was comfortable, and had been decorated in red for Durmstrang. "I hear that she cries a lot, sir," said Hugo.
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"I’m afraid so," said Viktor. "She has never been comfortable at Durmstrang. We hate to lose her, she is a marvelous student, but I think she will be much happier coming to Hogwarts next year. Several of the teachers have tried to talk to her, but she just doesn’t seem comfortable. I think it is the language barrier. None of us speak English as our first language. She is in her room. She is alone, as she is the only fifth year girl who made the trip." Viktor looked at Hugo for a moment, and then smiled. "Normally, boys are not allowed in the girls’ rooms, but I think I can make an exception." Viktor waved his wand at the door, muttering a spell. Viktor gave Hugo another smile, and left the Common Room. Hugo walked up to the door and knocked, but got no response. He knocked again and still got no response. He took a chance and tried the door. It wasn’t locked. He pushed the door open a crack. "Colleen," said Hugo softly. "Can I come in?" "Hugo? One second," said Colleen. He could hear her sniffling like she had been crying, and Hugo assumed she was trying to dry her eyes. "All right, come in." Hugo pushed the door open. It was a simple dorm room, not much different than the boys’ dorms in Gryffindor Tower, except it was smaller, had only one bed, and one small window high up on the wall. Colleen was sitting on the edge of the bed staring at the floor. Hugo put the sandwiches and pumpkin juice down on the nightstand. "Can I sit down?" asked Hugo. Colleen was still staring at the floor sniffling, but nodded. Hugo sat down close to her and put his arm around her shoulders. "Are you all right?" asked Hugo. "You seemed happy when I brought you back here last night. Was my goodnight kiss that bad? I haven’t had much practice. None really." Colleen laughed through her sniffles. Then looked up at him and smiled. "Thank you," said Colleen. Her eyes were red and she obviously hadn’t slept much. "What for?" asked Hugo. "For making me laugh," said Colleen with a smile, finally stopping the sniffling. "And for the record, it was a great kiss. The girls at Hogwarts don’t know what they’re missing." "I’ve been telling them that for years, but they don’t seem to believe me," said Hugo shaking his head, and trying to hide a smile. Colleen laughed again. It really was a beautiful sound. Hugo knew he had to make sure she laughed more often. "Did you bring us lunch?" asked Colleen, as she looked toward the nightstand. "Yes, I thought you might be hungry," said Hugo. "I hope you like roast beef." "I love roast beef," said Colleen. She gave him a kiss on the cheek. They sat and ate their roast beef sandwiches and drank their pumpkin juice. When they were done eating, Colleen just leaned on Hugo a little bit and put her head on his shoulder. "Now, as much as I am prone to continuing the jokes all day, would you like to tell me what’s wrong?" asked Hugo. "I’ve heard that you cry alone all the time. I assume it’s because of your father." "Yes," said Colleen. "I do okay when I’m around people, like at the ball last night, but when I’m alone it’s really hard. I keep thinking about him and I dream about him when I sleep. I don’t sleep very much." Hugo knew he would be much better off continuing the jokes, but as much as they might make her feel
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harrypotterfanfiction.com :: 65,000 Ha… better for a moment, they weren’t going to help with the problem.

"Would you like to tell me about your dreams?" asked Hugo. "I would like to, but would you mind if we went somewhere else?" asked Colleen. "This room is awfully cold and depressing. Could we go somewhere a little cheerier?" "I know just the place," said Hugo. They stood and he took her by the hand and they departed for their destination, talking along the way. "What is your family doing for Christmas?" asked Colleen. "My sister went to her fiancé’s parents’ house, so my, Mum, Dad, and I are going to the Burrow," said Hugo. "That’s my grandparent’s house." "Sounds like fun," said Colleen, a touch of sadness in her voice. "Are you going home to see your mother?" asked Hugo. "No," said Colleen. "All of us from Durmstrang are staying in the castle." "Here we are," said Hugo, as they arrived at their destination. Colleen looked at him in confusion. They were staring at a blank wall in a hallway. "Where are we?" asked Colleen. "Do you trust me?" asked Hugo. "I think I do," said Colleen with a smile. "Here’s what I want you to do," said Hugo. "I want you to think of the perfect place for us to talk. Somewhere that makes you feel safe and happy. It can be a real or imagined place. Make it an indoor place. I don’t think this will work for an outdoor place, though I’ve never tried that. Anyway, concentrate on the place you need, and then walk by this spot on the wall three times." For a moment, Colleen looked at him like he had grown another head. "That’s all I have to do?" asked Colleen. "Yes, that’s it," said Hugo. "All right," said Colleen. Colleen thought for a moment. She smiled when she realized, there was only one place she could think of that was like Hugo described. She concentrated on that place, and then walked back and fourth three times. She looked at the wall in mild shock, as a door had appeared out of nowhere. "Excellent," said Hugo. He pushed open the door. "After you." Colleen hesitated for a second then walked through the door and gasped. She could not believe what she was seeing. Hugo came in and closed the door behind them. Hugo smiled. He had a pretty good idea where they were. "Hugo," exclaimed Colleen, turning and throwing her arms around him. "We can’t be here. How is this possible?" "It’s called the Room of Requirement," said Hugo. "It’s something of a Hogwarts legend. It becomes
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harrypotterfanfiction.com :: 65,000 Ha… whatever you require. My family has family dinner here every Sunday night. We do defense training here too. It can be almost anything you require. So, where are we?"

Colleen let go of him and tuned around to look back at the room. "This was my bedroom when I was a little girl," said Colleen with a smile. "Before we moved to Germany, we lived not far from you in Ottery St. Catchpole. I loved this room. It was the hardest thing to leave behind when we moved to Germany." Hugo looked around the room. The walls were light pink with white trim, with a dark red carpet. There was a big four poster with white lace curtains covered with a pink and white comforter. A small table was set up with a child’s tea set, with several chairs of stuffed animals around it. There was a white and pink dressing table with a mirror. On one wall was a painting of a meadow full of flowers. The sun was pouring in the windows, but you couldn’t see anything outside them but sunlight. There was a fireplace with a roaring fire. Above the fireplace on the mantle were some pictures. Colleen walked over and took down one of them. "I still have this one in my trunk," said Colleen. Hugo walked over beside her and looked at the picture. It was Colleen, she must have been about five years old, and her father was holding her while she sat on a toy broom. "Do you fly?" asked Hugo. "No, not really," said Colleen. "I mean, I like to, but I’ve had a few falls, I’m afraid I’m not very good on a broom." "Maybe we can go flying when the weather gets warmer," said Hugo. "I would like that," said Colleen as she put the picture back on the mantle. She went over and jumped onto the bed, lying down for a moment, and then pulling herself up into a sitting position, leaning against the pillows. "Come on." She patted the bed beside her. Hugo hesitated for a moment, and then sat down nervously. He swung his legs up on the bed and slowly pulled himself over beside her. He was just a little bit uncomfortable lying in bed with her. "Relax, Hugo," said Colleen with a grin at his shyness. "I’m not planning to have my way with you just yet." For a moment, Hugo’s face turned the color of his hair. Then Colleen started to laugh. "I thought I was supposed to do the jokes," said Hugo with a laugh. Hugo relaxed after that. "Now, do you want to tell me about your dreams." Colleen’s smile faded, and she held onto Hugo’s arm and put her head on his shoulder. "All right," said Colleen. "There are a bunch of them. I dream of when he used to take me to the park when I was little. I dream about Christmases we all spent together, and my birthday parties. I dream of when we went to the beach." "They sound like great memories," said Hugo. "They are but…" Colleen closed her eyes, and Hugo saw a tear slide down each cheek. "What is it?" asked Hugo. "There is another dream," said Colleen sadly. "Actually it’s a nightmare. I dream of when I found his body."
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harrypotterfanfiction.com :: 65,000 Ha… "Oh, Colleen," said Hugo. She hadn’t told him she found his body "I had no idea. That must have been terrible."

"I went in the house and found him when my mother and I got home that day," said Colleen. "There was blood all over the living room. He had been cut nearly in two. I remember I screamed when I walked into the living room. I keep seeing it when I sleep." Colleen began to cry and sob. Hugo pulled her into a hug and let her cry on his shoulder. He rubbed her back and whispered in her ear that it was all right. She cried for quite a while before she calmed down. When she finally did, she pulled back and looked into his eyes. "No one has let me talk about that since it happened," said Colleen. "I’ve needed to have someone listen for so long." "What are friends for?" asked Hugo with a smile. He leaned close and kissed her softly. They broke apart and just sat there on the bed a while. Hugo looked at her and something occurred to him. "Weren’t you wearing a necklace?" asked Hugo. "While I was hugging you, I thought you were wearing a chain." "Oh," said Colleen. "Let me show you." She pulled out her wand, pointed it at her neck, and muttered a spell. A gold chain appeared around her neck. "Why do you hide it?" asked Hugo. She pulled the chain out of her jumper, and let it hang down so he could see it. There was a small gold charm on the end of a fairly long gold chain. It appeared to be one half of a triangle, split jaggedly down the middle, a half circle and part of a vertical line was etched on it. Hugo looked closely. "Isn’t that half of the symbol of the Deathly Hallows?" asked Hugo. He was sure it was. "Why do you wear that?" "Well, when my parents and I first moved to Germany, my mother used to help out some of the local elderly witches and wizards," said Colleen. "There was this one nice old witch who lived next door to us. I used to play chess with her. Her name was Anna. She was bed ridden, and other than playing chess, she couldn’t do much of anything. I used to go play chess with her almost every day after school. One day she gave me this necklace. That night she passed away." Colleen stared at the bed I front of her a moment. "My Dad said I couldn’t wear it. He told me it was the symbol, half of it anyway, of the Deathly Hallows, but was also the symbol of Gellert Grindelwald. I begged him to let me wear it, so my Dad said I could only wear it if we put an invisibility charm on it, since it might offend people. I’ve worn it invisible ever since." "I can imagine it would have been difficult to wear it visible at Durmstrang," said Hugo. "Grindelwald is pretty unpopular there." "You’re right, he is very unpopular," said Colleen. "I don’t care that it was his symbol, I just wear it to remember Anna." "No reason you shouldn’t," said Hugo. Colleen yawned. "Are you tired?" asked Hugo. "Yes," said Colleen. "I don’t get much sleep anymore."
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"Here, lie down, I’ll stay with you," said Hugo. She lay down with Hugo’s arm around her. "Are you going to keep my nightmare away?" asked Colleen with a smile. "I’m too funny, nightmares can’t compete with me," said Hugo with a grin. Colleen laughed and smiled at him. "Thanks, Hugo," said Colleen. "Anytime," said Hugo. Colleen soon fell asleep. As Hugo lay there with his arm around her, he tried to figure out how he had got to this point. He would never imagine that not only would he have danced with someone at the Yule Ball all night, but that she would kiss him. Colleen was so very sweet and friendly. He wanted to spend more time with her. More than anything else, he wanted to take her pain away. ~ Ron and Hermione were sitting on the couch in their quarters. They had just returned from dinner. Hermione was going over some paperwork, and Ron was reading a quidditch magazine. "Are you all packed, Ron?" asked Hermione. "Mostly, love," said Ron. "I have a few more presents to pack." "Well, don’t leave it until the last minute," said Hermione. "I want to get to the Burrow by noon tomorrow." "No worries," said Ron. "I’ll get the last few things packed tonight as soon as I finish reading this, and we’ll be all set." They heard a knock on the door, and Ron got up to answer the door. "Hey, Hugo," said Ron as his son as he came in. "Hi, Dad, hi, Mum," said Hugo. "Hi, honey," said Hermione. "Are you all packed for the holiday?" "Well, I wanted to talk to you about that," said Hugo. He went over and sat next to his mother. She put her arm around him and kissed his forehead. "What’s wrong?" asked Hermione. She could tell something was bothering him. "Would you be terribly upset if I stayed here for the holiday?" asked Hugo. "Why do you want to stay?" asked Ron. "Grandma is looking forward to seeing you," said Hermione. "Why don’t you want to go to the Burrow?" "It’s not that I don’t want to go," said Hugo with a sigh. "I met someone and I don’t want to leave them alone for the holiday." Hermione smiled. "This friend wouldn’t happen to be very pretty and have long black hair would she?"
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asked Hermione with a grin. Hugo blushed. "Yes," said Hugo. "Do you remember when I was eight years old and argued constantly with that girl in my class?" "Vaguely," said Hermione. Truly she did remember, she thought it was cute that Hugo had a crush back then. "Well, that’s her," said Hugo. "She goes to Durmstrang, though she is moving back to Britain this spring, and coming to Hogwarts next year." "Wow," said Ron. "Are you two dating?" Hugo rolled his eyes, and Hermione stared daggers at her husband. "What did I say?" asked Ron. "I was just wondering." "I would like to," said Hugo. "I guess we sort of are." Hugo’s mind momentarily wandered. "I guess we are or she wouldn’t have kissed me." "She kissed you?" asked Hermione with a mixture of shock and excitement. Knowing he had never been on a date, she was pretty sure it was his first kiss. Hugo rolled his eyes. "Can I have a time turner to go back and make sure I don’t say that," said Hugo with a sigh. "Sorry," said Hermione she looked daggers at Ron again who was about to congratulate Hugo, but didn’t when he saw the look on his wife’s face. "Look, it’s not because I fancy her that I want to stay for here for Christmas," said Hugo. "Colleen’s father was murdered this past summer. She found his body, and she spends most of her time crying. She doesn’t really have any friends, and the holiday is going to be tough for her." "Oh, I’m so sorry," said Hermione sympathetically. "That poor girl. If you want to stay, it’s all right. You can spend Christmas with Uncle Harry and Aunt Ginny, they would be happy to have you spend Christmas with them. Grandma will understand." "Thanks, Mum," said Hugo with a smile. He gave his mother a hug and headed towards the door. "Goodnight." "Goodnight, Hugo," said Ron and Hermione at the same time as he left. "That’s an awful story," said Ron. "Well, he’s a good boy, he would never leave a friend in need," said Hermione. "How upset do you think your Mum will be?" "Well, if she’s too upset, we’ll just tell her Al and Carly moved into the same room, and she’ll forget all about being upset with us," said Ron with a smile. "You’re awful," said Hermione with a laugh. Chapter 31: Chapter 31 - God Rest Ye, Merry Hippogriffs [View Online] [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter] Chapter 31 – God Rest Ye, Merry Hippogriffs
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Christmas at Hogwarts was always wonderful. The snow outside the castle was deep. As usual, the members of the Potter and Weasley families and their friends who were staying at Hogwarts were enjoying a snowball fight on the morning of Christmas Eve. The sides had been drawn, boys against the girls. At the moment, the boys were winning. "They have us outnumbered," panted Lily as she tried to catch her breath. She was crouched down behind a large snowdrift with Carly, Colleen, and Ginny. A snowball splattered on the top of the snowdrift above them sending bits of snow and ice down on them. Carly and Colleen nodded their agreement. "Sirius does put us at a considerable disadvantage," said Carly. "If he turns into a dog to avoid a hit one more time," said Ginny, annoyance dripping from her voice. "I swear I’m going to hit him with the Fleas Jinx." "Come on out girls," called Hugo with a laugh. "You’ve lost, now come out and take your medicine," called Albus. The girls could hear Tommy, Harry, and Sirius having a good laugh at their predicament. "All right," said Ginny. "When all else fails." "We cheat," finished Lily with a devilish gleam in her eyes. "What do you have in mind?" asked Colleen with a grin. Ginny reached into a pocket of her parka and pulled out Harry’s Invisibility Cloak. She had thought they might need something to even the odds. "I need a volunteer to come with me under the cloak, and another volunteer to draw their fire," said Ginny. "I’ll draw their fire," said Lily. "I’ll come with you," said Colleen. Colleen and Ginny gathered up some ammunition. And pulled the cloak over themselves. They carefully stayed in the tracks that had already been made in the snow so they wouldn’t give themselves away. Lily dashed out from behind the snowdrift and ran for another a short distance away, taking a few hits in the process, but diving behind the other snowdrift and out of the line of fire. "Come on," said Tommy with a laugh. "You can’t win. Give it up." "Oh can’t we," the boys heard from behind where they stood. They barely had a moment to turn, realizing they had been duped. Ginny and Colleen having circled around behind them under the Invisibility Cloak peppered them from behind with snowballs, while Carly and Lily attacked from the front. The boys never stood a chance. Hugo and Tommy each took one in the face and hit the ground. Sirius tried to run, but was hit several times, slipping and falling in the snow. Albus got off a couple of shots, but he was hit from all sides at once and also went down.
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harrypotterfanfiction.com :: 65,000 Ha… Harry, suddenly alone, dropped the snowball from his hand. Harry knew when he was beaten. "I surrender," said Harry in a defeated tone raising his hands in the air.

"Take no prisoners," yelled Ginny as she ran towards him, snowball in hand. Harry turned towards his wife as she tackled him, smashing the snowball all over his face. She fell on top of him in the snow. "Do you yield?" asked Ginny with a smirk, now lying on top of Harry. Harry spit some snowball out of his mouth. "To you always," said Harry with a grin. He put his arms around her, pulled her toward him, and kissed her. "Mum, we just had breakfast," called Lily feigning disgust. "Then go inside," said Ginny with a laugh. "I need to get my victory snog." ~ That evening, they had a feast in the Great Hall. The entire Durmstrang and Beauxbatons delegations were there, as well as a number of students who had decided to stay for the holidays. Tommy’s parents were traveling abroad which is why he told everyone he was staying. In reality, his parents had planned to have him meet them, but Tommy had a very special Christmas present, and he wanted to be there to give it to Lily in person. After the feast, the Potters, Weasleys, and their friends went to Harry and Ginny’s quarters and sat in their living room. They had decorated it with a brightly lit tree, and garland all around the room. They talked and laughed and sung Christmas carols. All the couples were sitting close together. Hugo had an arm around Colleen. He had noticed as the day went on that she seemed to enjoy herself less and less. By now, the rest of the family knew what had happened to Colleen’s father, so no one commented on her somber mood. It was completely understandable. It didn’t help that she had not received one owl from her mother since she started school. Colleen figured her mother was busy preparing for the move, but she would still have just liked to receive one letter. After one final chorus of ‘God Rest Ye, Merry Hippogriffs’, everyone decided it was time for bed. They were all tired from the morning’s snowball fight. "Thank you for letting me share the day with you," said Colleen to everyone. "I had a wonderful time." She meant it sincerely, but everyone could tell she was quite down. "You’re welcome anytime," said Ginny, giving her a brief hug. "And we’ll see you in the morning, right?" "Absolutely," said Colleen. "Hugo, will you walk me back to my room?" "Yes," said Hugo. "But only so you can pick up your things, you won’t be staying in your room tonight." Colleen looked at him in confusion. "I’m all alone in my dorm, all my roommates have gone home and we have an extra bed anyway," said Lily with a smile. "You can stay with me tonight. There’s no reason you should stay all alone on Christmas Eve." "Thank you," said Colleen with a smile. "I would really like that." A while later, after Hugo walked Colleen to her room to get her pajamas, and then to Gryffindor Tower,
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harrypotterfanfiction.com :: 65,000 Ha… Colleen and Lily went up to her dorm. They changed into their pajamas and were seated cross-legged on Lily’s bed talking.

"So, you and Hugo seem to be enjoying each other’s company," said Lily with a smirk. Colleen smiled. "He’s so easy to talk to," said Colleen. "He’s a great listener, and so considerate of my feelings." Lily looked at here quizzically. "Are we talking about the same Hugo Weasley?" asked Lily. "My cousin, the walking joke shop?" Colleen laughed. "Yes, that Hugo Weasley," said Colleen. "He listens and makes me laugh. He’s not too hard on the eyes either." "Please," said Lily with a laugh. "He’s my best friend. I’ve been telling him for years he should ask someone out, but he’s always been far too shy. A lot of the girls would have jumped at a chance to go on a date with him." "Well, I’m just as glad he didn’t," said Colleen. She paused. "Thanks for letting me stay here tonight. I don’t really have any friends at school, and it’s nice to have another girl to talk to. I spend so much time all by myself, it’s depressing." "I hate to be alone in here too," said Lily. "You know what, since you’re supposed to be starting at Hogwarts next year anyway, maybe you can stay here for the rest of the year. There is a one in four chance you would be in Gryffindor House anyway, and you’re in my year. Maybe my Mum can arrange it so you can stay here for the rest of the year." "I would really love that," said Colleen happily. "Do you think she can?" "I’m sure of it," said Lily with a smile. "I’ll talk to her about it tomorrow." ~ On Christmas morning, everyone woke up early and went to Harry and Ginny’s living room. They sat on the couches by the tree and the fire, and they started opening presents. After most of the presents were opened, they found out, there were a number of very special presents that were being saved for the end. "Open this one next, Al," said Carly. Carly handed Al a small package. "You got me that new broomstick servicing kit love," said Albus. "You didn’t need to get me anything else." "Actually, there is something in there for each of us," said Carly. Albus unwrapped the package and looked at Carly quizzically. "You got me a chocolate frog?" asked Albus in confusion. "Open it," said Carly with a laugh. "The frog is for me." Albus opened the chocolate frog and gave the frog to Carly, who quickly took a bite. It was then Albus realized what this was all about. "I have my own chocolate frog card," said Albus in disbelief as he looked down at his own picture on the card in the package.
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harrypotterfanfiction.com :: 65,000 Ha… "It’s a special edition," said Carly. "I thought you would like to have one. Apparently, slaying a dragon makes you worthy of being commemorated."

"I’m almost afraid to turn it over," said Albus. "I’m sure they embellished whatever they said about me on the back. Thanks love." Albus leaned over and kissed Carly on the cheek. "Lily, open mine next," said Tommy. "There are two of them." "All right," said Lily with a smile, taking the two packages from Tommy. One was very small, the other was larger and obviously a book. Lily unwrapped the larger package first. It was a Muggle book. She had never heard of it before. "‘Sleeping Beauty’?" asked Lily quizzically. "It’s a Muggle fairytale," said Tommy with a smile. "It’s the story about a beautiful princess who falls into a deep sleep, and is awakened by a kiss from Prince Charming." No further explanation of the book was necessary. They all knew what that meant. Carly, Ginny, and Colleen all "awed". Lily was just speechless, and looked like she might cry. "Tommy, you set the bar awfully high for everyone else," said Sirius with a laugh. "Open the other one," said Tommy putting his arm around Lily. Lily unwrapped the other package and opened the small box. It was a heart shaped gold locket on a gold chain. "Tommy, it’s beautiful," said Lily. "Open it," said Tommy. "Read the inscription." Lily opened the locket. It had a picture of Tommy and Lily dancing at the Yule Ball inside. Lily saw the inscription on the inside of the cover. She read it and looked at Tommy with tears in her eyes. She threw her arms around his neck and hugged him and he hugged her back. After a moment, she pulled back and tried to dry her eyes. "Thank you so much Tommy," said Lily. "I love you." "I love you too," said Tommy, giving her a kiss on the cheek. Ginny had to smile as she watched them. "What does it say?" asked Ginny. Lily smiled. "It says, ‘to my Sleeping Beauty, from your Prince Charming. I’ll always be there when you need a kiss’," said Lily. "I suddenly feel ill," said Hugo, and they all burst into laughter, all except Lily who looked daggers at her best friend. "Here, Colleen," said Hugo. Hugo handed her a package. "Hugo, I didn’t get you anything, I didn’t get to do any shopping," said Colleen. "That’s all right," said Hugo. "It’s really nothing, but I thought maybe you would like it." Colleen smiled at him and unwrapped the package and opened the box. Inside was a framed picture of Hugo. In the picture he was smiling and waving.
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harrypotterfanfiction.com :: 65,000 Ha… "Thank you, Hugo," said Colleen. "I’ll keep it on my nightstand."

"That’s what I was thinking," said Hugo. "I thought if you needed to talk and I wasn’t around, at least you could talk to the picture." "That’s the sweetest thing anyone has ever done for me," said Colleen with tears in her eyes. She hugged him and gave him a kiss on the cheek. "I guess that’s the last of them," said Albus. "Shall we get dressed and go have breakfast in the Great Hall?" "There’s one more, Al," said Harry. Ginny looked at Harry quizzically, she didn’t know about any other present. Harry got up, and went into the bedroom. He returned a moment later carrying a very large package. It was long and narrow, and was wrapped in red and gold paper, the colors of Gryffindor House. Harry handed it to Albus, and sat back down next to Ginny. "It’s from me, Al," said Harry. "I trust you’ll let me borrow it if I need it." Albus looked at his father quizzically for a moment, and then unwrapped the package. He started to lift the lid, but when he saw what was inside, he closed it before anyone else saw. "I can’t take this, Dad," said Albus shaking his head. "Professor Dumbledore left this to you." "And I’m giving it to you, Al," said Harry. "What is it, Al?" asked Carly curiously. Between the shape of the box and knowing Harry was left it by Professor Dumbledore, Ginny knew exactly what it was. Albus slowly removed the lid of the box, and picked up the Sword of Gryffindor. Albus knew what this sword meant to his father. His father had used it to save his mother’s life when he was just twelve years old. "Thank you, Dad," said Albus. "I would say, hopefully I’ll never have to use it, but we both know better than that." Everyone left to get dressed. In their bedroom, Harry and Ginny were getting dressed. Harry had finished dressing and was sitting on the edge of the bed. "Harry, what did Al mean?" asked Ginny. "‘Hopefully I’ll never have to use it, but we both know better than that’." Harry sighed. There was no point in denying it. "Remember the dreams I had, Ginny?" asked Harry. "The one when James was fighting Voldemort with the Sword of Gryffindor. Then I had one where it was Albus fighting Voldemort?" "Yes," said Ginny. "Why?" "The day Albus woke up at St. Mungo’s, I went back to the hospital after we got to the Burrow when I couldn’t sleep," said Harry. "Albus told me he had a very similar dream, where he was fighting Voldemort with the Sword of Gryffindor. I told him about my dreams." Ginny closed her eyes for a moment and took a breath. "Do you think Albus will have to face him?"
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asked Ginny. "I hope not," said Harry. "I intend to find a way to get the Sword of Souls, and use it to destroy Voldemort permanently. I made Al promise he would leave Voldemort to me, as long as…I am able." Ginny sat down next to Harry and he put his arms around her. She wanted to argue, but how could she? Either her husband or her son was going to face Voldemort. She loved them both so much, she couldn’t imagine losing either of them. "Promise me you’ll be careful," said Ginny. "I will," said Harry. "But you know I have to stop him, no matter what. I can’t let him plague our family, or the rest of the world any longer." "I know," said Ginny with a sigh. "You wouldn’t be the man I love if you would stand by and let bad things happen." Harry leaned down and kissed her deeply. "I love you," said Harry. Ginny ran her finger over the heart shaped emerald ring on her right hand. She hated thinking about what could happen. Harry smiled. "Don’t ever forget, my heart is yours forever," said Harry. Ginny smiled. "I think of that every time I look at this ring," said Ginny. She looked up at him, the worry for him clearly evident in her face. "Don’t worry," said Harry. Just then, they heard a tapping noise on the window. They both turned and Harry saw an owl tapping on the glass. Harry got up and opened the window. The bird flew in and landed on the bed. Harry untied the letter from its leg and the owl flew away, out the window. "What is it?" asked Ginny. "It’s for me," said Harry as he read his name on the envelope. Harry opened the envelope and pulled out a piece of parchment. Dear Harry, I believe I may have some information for you in regards to what we discussed on your last visit. Please come to see me as soon as possible. Happy Christmas, Dr. Dieter Braun "Ginny, it’s from Dr. Braun, the historian I visited after Susan was murdered," said Harry. "He has information for me, I have to go." "All right," said Ginny with a sigh. "Please don’t go alone. Take Sirius with you." Harry was going to protest, but he knew it would make her feel better if he didn’t go alone. "All right, love," said Harry. He kissed Ginny and headed off to find Sirius. ~
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harrypotterfanfiction.com :: 65,000 Ha… Harry and Sirius stepped out of the fireplace in the Whispering Wand. It was deserted, being Christmas Day, but they were open. Nelson was at the bar, drying glasses, as he was the last time Harry had been there.

"Harry," said Nelson cheerfully. "Happy Christmas. What brings you here on the holiday? I hardly get any customers on Christmas." "Happy Christmas," said Harry. "I’m afraid I’m not here as a customer, I’ve come to see Dr. Braun again. Nelson, this is my godfather Sirius Black. Sirius, this is Nelson Wallace." "Well, well, Sirius Black," said Nelson, as he shook Sirius’s hand. "It is a real pleasure to meet you." "Likewise," said Sirius. "Can you stay for a drink before you go?" asked Nelson. "It’s on the house." "No, I’m afraid we can’t," said Harry. "We have important business with Dr. Braun, and unfortunately, it can’t wait." "Well, if I can get you anything later, I’ll be here," said Nelson with a smile. Harry nodded and began to move toward the door, but stopped and turned back to Nelson as an idea crossed his mind. "Actually Nelson, there is something you can do for me," said Harry. ~ Harry and Sirius walked along the road toward the castle. "That was a great idea you had," said Sirius. "She’ll absolutely love it. You best not forget the Bertie Bott's Every Flavor Beans." "I won’t," said Harry with a laugh. "I have been thinking about it since I was last here. I figured there was no time like the present." When they arrived at the door of the castle, Harry clanged the knocker and they waited. A few moments later the door opened. "Welcome, Harry," said Dr. Braun. "It’s nice to see you again. Thank you for coming. Please come in." Harry and Sirius entered the castle, and Dr. Braun closed the door. Harry introduced Sirius to Dr. Braun, and they went down the hallway to the same room that resembled a museum Harry had been in before. On the table was a small stack of parchment, but the room was otherwise the same as it had been on his last visit. "Please sit down," said Dr. Braun. Harry and Sirius sat down. "Thank you for contacting me Dr. Braun, I appreciate it," said Harry. "What information have you found?" "Through my friendship with the Minister of Magic of Bulgaria Danail Yotov, I recently received several reports taken by Aurors shortly after the defeat of Gellert Grindelwald by Albus Dumbledore in 1945," said Dr. Braun. "They included details of interviews with people who were known acquaintances of Grindelwald. I found one that might interest you." Dr. Braun took the top sheet off of the stack of parchment. "This is in German," said Dr. Braun. "It details an interview between an Auror by the name of Emmett Schultz and a German jewelry maker, a
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harrypotterfanfiction.com :: 65,000 Ha… wizard, by the name of Franz Schmidt. Schmidt claimed to have created a piece of jewelry for Grindelwald. Both Schultz and Schmidt died a number of years ago, so we have only the report to go on."

"What kind of jewelry was it?" asked Sirius. "A necklace," said Dr. Braun. "A gold chain with a gold charm in the shape of the symbol of the Deathly Hallows. Grindelwald’s instructions were clear. It was not to be enchanted in any way, as he was planning to enchant it himself. Schmidt said he got the impression that this was a wedding present for Grindelwald’s fiancé." "I thought Grindelwald never married," said Harry in surprise. Harry had been reading all he could about Grindelwald, and it was clearly stated that he had never married. "Well, the rumor that he married has been around for many years," said Dr. Braun. "It was believed he kept it secret so his wife would be safe from his enemies." Harry thought about this a moment. "All right," said Harry. "But what does this have to do with me being able to get into Castle Grindelwald?" ‘Maybe nothing," said Dr. Braun. "But maybe everything. A woman by the name of Anna Mueller was an acquaintance of Grindelwald. Anna Mueller died six years ago. Many believe she was his wife, but she would never admit to it. There are so many rumors about Grindelwald. It is very hard to separate fact from fiction." "What makes me wonder if that necklace is important is that Anna Mueller’s grave was robbed this past August," said Dr. Braun. "Until I came upon the existence of the necklace, it didn’t seem significant. It could be that the necklace was enchanted by Grindelwald to allow her entrance to the castle. It’s just a theory, but it makes sense." "Do you think it was Death Eaters looking for the necklace who robbed Anna Mueller’s grave?" asked Harry. "It is possible," said Dr. Braun. "Unfortunately, if the necklace is a way into Castle Grindelwald, I don’t have any idea where it could be. The Death Eaters could even have it if it was buried with Anna Mueller. Of course, all of this is conjecture, but I thought it might help you." Harry thought about what Dr. Braun was saying. If nothing else, this gave him another name to research. He had no luck finding anyone who was still alive and knew Gellert Grindelwald. Since Harry was last in Scotland to see Dr. Braun, he had asked Kingsley and Hanna to try and find anyone living who knew Gellert Grindelwald personally, but they had no luck so far. Dr. Braun had given them something even if it were not much. "Thank you, Dr. Braun," said Harry. "Please extend my thanks to Mr. Yotov. I had the pleasure of meeting his sons recently." "Sons as in more than one?" asked Dr. Braun, a look of surprise on his face. "I don’t see how that is possible." "What do you mean?" asked Harry. Suddenly Harry had a bad feeling in the pit of his stomach. "I met Alec and Bogdan Yotov several nights ago." "Alec, yes," said Dr. Braun. "You could not possibly have met Bogdan Yotov. It is a strictly guarded secret, but Bogdan Yotov is seriously ill. That is why his father has not been seen in public lately. He told me he was to travel to Hogwarts for the tournament, but with Bogdan’s illness, he sent Alec in his place."
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harrypotterfanfiction.com :: 65,000 Ha… "Then who is at Hogwarts claiming to be Bogdan Yotov?" asked Sirius.

Chapter 32: Chapter 32 - The Imposter [View Online] [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter] Chapter 32 – The Imposter Ginny arrived at the Great Hall to find Albus, Carly, Lily, Tommy, Hugo, and Colleen all having breakfast. They looked so happy. She enjoyed seeing her family happy like this. She loved her family so much, and loved that it kept growing. She really wasn’t sure if Hugo just had a crush on Colleen. They had only just got together. Ginny was a pretty good judge of people though. She thought just maybe there was something there, something real. It might be a long time before he realized it, but she was pretty sure he would one day. "I hope you saved some breakfast for me," said Ginny as she took a seat with them at the Gryffindor table. She grabbed a plate and some pancakes and syrup. "Where are Dad and Sirius?" asked Albus. "Your Dad got a message," said Ginny. "He and Sirius had to go out for a bit, they should be back later today." Ginny could tell from the look on Albus’s face, he would have gone if he had known. "They’re fine, Al. They went to see that German historian he visited a few of weeks ago, Dr. Braun." They ate and talked having a great time. Lily and Colleen talked about healing spells. Colleen, like Lily had wanted to be a Healer someday. She wasn’t sure though. She also shared her father’s love of archeology and still hadn’t really decided what she wanted to do. Albus and Carly were quietly talking about how great it would be to have Christmas with their own children in a few years. Before she knew it, she would be a grandmother, Ginny thought. She was far too young for that, but it would make her very, very happy anyway. Tommy and Hugo were talking about the Hogwarts quidditch season. Due to big wins by Slytherin over Hufflepuff and Ravenclaw, Gryffindor was going to have to win their next match big if they wanted to win their seventh consecutive House Cup. They had been in this position before though. Slytherin had always seemed to come up just short. Lily remembered she wanted to ask her mother something. "Mum, since Colleen is going to start at Hogwarts next fall anyway, would it be all right if she moved into Gryffindor Tower for the rest of the year, at least until she is sorted next fall?" asked Lily. "I think that would be fine as long as Headmaster Krum agrees," said Ginny. "Is that what you want to do Colleen?" "I would love to move into the tower," said Colleen with a hopeful smile. "It’s not that I don’t like my fellow Durmstrang students, but I really don’t have any friends among them. It would be great to have a friend to talk to." "Then I can tell her all the embarrassing things Hugo’s ever done," said Lily with an evil grin. "It will be so much fun!" "Oh, great," said Hugo as he covered his face with his hands. They all laughed. "That’s all right, Hugo," said Colleen with a grin, "I promise only to laugh at the really funny ones."
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harrypotterfanfiction.com :: 65,000 Ha… "Thanks, Colleen," said Hugo with an exasperated smile. "I appreciate that."

After they ate, Albus and Carly decided to go for a walk. Ginny and Colleen decided they would go to the Durmstrang Common Room and see if Viktor would allow her to stay in Gryffindor Tower. Hugo, Lily, and Tommy headed back to Ginny and Harry’s quarters to wait for Ginny and Colleen. Ginny and Colleen had a nice talk along the way. "So, how are you feeling today?" asked Ginny. "You seemed a little down yesterday. I know it must be really hard." "Yes," said Colleen with a nod. "It’s so nice to have Hugo to talk to. Lily and I talked last night too. They are both great listeners. It really helps." "I’m glad," said Ginny. "You know, if you ever want someone else to talk to, you can always come to me." "Thank you," said Colleen appreciatively. "I really appreciate that. I always used to miss my Mum and Dad when I was at school, but it was all right. Since the start of school this year I’ve missed her terribly. I really wish she would write to me. I know she’s busy preparing for the move, but still." "You’ve been through a lot," said Ginny comfortingly. "It’s only natural. I’m sure she must be very busy not to write to you." ~ Lily and Tommy were sitting on the couch in Harry and Ginny’s living room. Hugo was looking out the window at the snow, which was gently falling. Lily and Tommy were taking a few moments for a brief snog before her mother got back. "You know, I can hear you," said Hugo, still looking out the window. "I am actually here, in the room you know." "Yes, we know," said Lily. "You can snog Colleen anytime you like, it won’t bother us in the least." She went back to kissing Tommy. After a few moments, they stopped, and they just sat there holding each other. "Did you really like your gifts?" asked Tommy. "Yes," said Lily with a smile. "They are the best presents I’ve ever received." Lily put her hand on the locket. She leaned in to kiss Tommy again, when the door burst open and Harry and Sirius ran into the room. "Where is everyone?" asked Harry emphatically. It looked to all in the room like something was very, very wrong. "Al and Carly went for a walk, and Mum and Colleen went to see Headmaster Krum," said Lily. "What’s wrong, Dad?" "Everyone stay here," said Harry. Harry ran into the bedroom. "Bogdan Yotov is an imposter," said Sirius seriously. Before they could even digest this, Harry came out of the bedroom with the Marauders Map in hand. He scanned the map. "Oh my God," said Harry. "He’s in the Durmstrang quarters."
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harrypotterfanfiction.com :: 65,000 Ha… Harry was fast, but not as fast as Hugo, who was out the door ahead of him at a full run with Harry, Sirius, Lily, and Tommy right behind him. He was running so fast that he was starting to pull away from them.

All Hugo could think of was that Colleen and his aunt had gone there. They might be in danger. Colleen might be in danger. The thought made his blood run cold. Hugo was the first one to the door, but the door to the Durmstrang quarters was locked. Hugo already had drawn his wand as he ran. "Reducto," yelled Hugo, and a burst from his wand blew the door to splinters. Hugo ran into the room and to his horror, saw Bogdan Yotov, his right fist around Colleen’s throat. He had her lifted off the ground and was shaking her like a rag doll. "Where is the necklace you little bitch," bellowed Yotov, but in his haste, his hand was squeezing her throat so tight, she couldn’t reply. Yotov moved to point his wand at Hugo, but he was too slow. Hugo already had his wand pointed at Bogdan Yotov. "Diffindo," yelled Hugo. The severing charm hit Bogdan Yotov right above his right elbow, severing his arm instantly. Bogdan Yotov fell back screaming in pain and dropping his wand, crashing to the floor in a heap. Colleen also fell to the floor, the impact with the floor dislodging her from Bogdan Yotov’s severed arm. Colleen gasped for breath as Hugo lifted her up, she felt so small and frail in his arms. Hugo carried her into her bedroom, closing and locking the door. He was afraid Yotov might come in after them. Hugo gently laid Colleen down on the bed, tears were pouring from her eyes. "Are you all right?" asked Hugo, in a near panic. She nodded. Hugo leaned over her and hugged her tight for a moment. When he let go of her, he could see that Colleen was breathing easier now. She tried to talk but grabbed her throat. "Hurts," she squeaked out. Tears were still streaking down her cheeks. "Let me make sure it’s safe, and I’ll get you to the Hospital Wing," said Hugo. Colleen grabbed his wrist. "No," Colleen squeaked out, the pain evident on her face. "Can’t go. Get Lily." Hugo wasn’t sure why she couldn’t go to the Hospital Wing, but if she wanted Lily, then he would get Lily. Lily was excellent with healing spells and could at least help her somewhat if she couldn’t completely heal Colleen. Hugo kissed her lightly and headed back into the Durmstrang Common Room, wand at the ready. ~ Harry was about fifteen seconds behind Hugo. He had no ran through the open doorway leaping over the pieces of Bogdan Yotov’s arm. Harry saw Viktor Krum and Ginny on thought went through his mind. Could Ginny be dead? He wand, and Harry could see his other arm lying a few feet floor coming from where his arm should have been. idea Hugo could run so fast. By the time he splintered door, Hugo had already severed the floor, both were unmoving, and a terrible saw Bogdan Yotov was just grabbing his away. There was blood spreading all over the

"Expelliarmus," yelled Harry, pointing his wand at Bogdan Yotov. The wand flew from his hand. "Petrificus Totalus." Bogdan Yotov went stiff as the Body-Bind Curse hit him. Just then, Lily and Tommy came running
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through the door. "Lily, see if Mum and Headmaster Krum are all right," said Harry. Lily went to them with Tommy at her side. In Harry’s mind, he was praying that Ginny was all right. Nothing would matter if he lost Ginny, nothing. Sirius came panting through the doorway just then. "I’m getting too old for this," said Sirius trying to catch his breath. Lily stopped the bleeding from the cut on the back of her mother’s head. "Rennervate," said Lily, pointing her wand at her mother. "Lily," said Ginny groggily as she came to from the reviving spell. "Tell me what happened? Is Colleen all right?" "I think you were hit from behind, Mum," said Lily. "I stopped the bleeding, but you will need to see Madam Jennings to heal it completely. You’ll need a potion." Lily pointed her wand at Viktor and stopped the bleeding from the cut on his forehead. "I don’t dare wake him, it looks like he was hit very, very hard. I don’t know where Colleen is." On the other side of the room, Harry and Sirius were lifting Bogdan Yotov onto the couch. "Lily, can you stop this bleeding," said Harry. The Body-Bind Curse already lessened the bleeding, but Harry needed to release him, to talk to him. Lily came over and pointed her wand at Bogdan Yotov’s arm. "Dad, this is going to hurt him," said Lily. "Go ahead, I can take it," said Harry sarcastically. At the moment, Harry was more than happy to have pain inflicted on the imposter. He had obviously hit Ginny from behind, and it was all Harry could do not to strangle him. He waved his wand and released Yotov from the Body-Bind Curse. He screamed in pain. "Hold still," said Lily. She muttered the spell and the bleeding stopped, but Bogdan Yotov screamed even louder. "Good…I’m glad it hurt a lot," said Lily with anger in her voice as she left him and went to her mother’s side. Tommy was helping Ginny up, just as Hugo came running out of Colleen’s room. "Colleen’s hurt, Lily come quickly, please," said Hugo. He was on the verge of tears. Ginny, Lily, and Hugo ran into Colleen’s room. Tommy levitated Krum. "I’ll get him to the Hospital Wing," said Tommy to Harry and Sirius. Harry nodded. "Watch him, Sirius," said Harry. "I’m going to check on Colleen." Harry went into Colleen’s room. Colleen was still crying hysterically. Ginny was holding her as Lily tried to heal her throat. Hugo stood by a look of utmost concern on his face. "Is that better?" asked Lily. "Yes," said Colleen through her tears. "We’ll get you to the Hospital Wing," said Hugo. "It’s all right, don’t cry." "That’s not why I’m crying," said Colleen, her voice was strained and raw. "He wanted my necklace! He said he killed my mother! I need to know if it’s true!"
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The words hit Hugo like an anvil. In an instant, Hugo went from despair to rage. It broke his heart into pieces to hear the anguish in her voice and to think she had lost her mother too. Then the rage hit him. Hugo ran from the room, knocking Harry out of the way and almost to the floor. He stopped right in front of the man on the couch. The Polyjuice had worn off. The man in front of him no longer resembled Bogdan Yotov, he was older, but Hugo didn’t care. "Is it true?" demanded Hugo loudly. "Did you kill her mother?" "I gutted the bitch like a fish," said the man on the couch, the satisfaction was dripping from his voice. "She wouldn’t tell me where the necklace was. After I tortured her for an hour, it was obvious that was the truth, so I killed her. The Dark Lord commanded it!" Hugo pointed his wand at the man on the couch. Hugo’s rage had turned murderous. "Avada Keda-," but Hugo didn’t get any more of the Killing Curse out of his mouth. "Expelliarmus," called Harry from the door, his wand pointed at Hugo’s wand. Hugo’s wand flew into the air. Sirius grabbed Hugo with both arms, and held him. "Colleen needs you," said Sirius. After a moment, Hugo pulled away and ran into Colleen’s room, closing the door behind him. Ginny was now kneeling in front of Colleen who was sitting on the bed next to Lily. She was still crying with her face in her hands. Hugo went over to her. He hadn’t realized the extent of Colleen’s injuries before now, everything was happening so fast. The left side off her neck, from her chin to her shoulder was all bruised. Hugo had only seen bruising that bad on Rose on the pitch the day of the first task. If he had been a moment later, she might have died. The bruises were terrible, even with Lily’s healing spells, but Hugo knew that was not why she was crying. "Colleen," said Hugo, his voice cracking. "He says he did. We will check though, he could just be lying." Colleen just cried harder, and Hugo sat down beside her and pulled her into an embrace. He held her while she cried. Hugo wanted to do something, anything, to help her, but he could do nothing more than hold her. Ginny heard a scream of pain from the other room. Lily looked at her. Ginny knew what was happening. She drew her wand and pointed it at the door. "Silencio," said Ginny. They didn’t need to hear what was happening in the other room. ~ In the Durmstrang Common Room, Harry, wand at the ready, walked over to the man on the couch. "Gregory Goyle, I had hoped I would never see you again," growled Harry. Gregory Goyle was one of Draco Malfoy’s henchmen when he was in school. His father had been a Death Eater. His son had followed in his footsteps. "Why if it isn’t the great Harry Potter," sneered Goyle. "Where’s the Weasel?" Goyle snickered. "The Dark Lord said if I could to give you a message, Harry. He’s going to kill them all. He said he might start with your bitch just for fun." Harry knew, Goyle was just taunting him, but it didn’t matter. The rage within Harry was boiling, but he knew if he was going to get answers, he had to try and stay calm. "What are you doing here, Goyle?" asked Harry. "What do you want with the girl?"
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"I will tell you nothing, Potter," spat Goyle, with a laugh. Harry put his right hand on Goyle’s throat pushing him back into the couch. "Legilimens," said Harry. It didn’t work. Goyle was employing Occlumency, shielding his thoughts. They were strong shields. He had obviously been practicing Occlumency for a long time. Harry knew at that moment, he would have to cross a line if he wanted answers. Harry did so, with both feet. "Look into my eyes, Goyle," said Harry, his voice calm and cold. "If you don’t tell me what you are doing here, by the time I am done with you, you will be begging for me to let Voldemort torture you to death." For a moment, Harry could see a hint of fear in Goyle’s eyes. "You haven’t got the guts, Potter," said Goyle with a smirk. Harry took his left hand, and squeezed hard on the stump that was Goyle’s right arm. Goyle screamed in agony. For a moment, Harry continued to squeeze, then Harry let go. "Now, why are you here, and what did you want with the girl?" asked Harry calmly. Harry’s voice was just as calm and cold as before. Sirius was slightly unnerved. He had never seen Harry do anything like this before. It was a little scary. "Is that the worst you can do?" asked Goyle, laughing through the pain. "No," said Harry coldly. Harry pointed his wand at Goyle’s stump. "Relashio," said Harry, and a jet of hot sparks burst from his wand, hitting Goyle’s stump. Goyle screamed again. This time he didn’t stop screaming as the sparks had set his stump on fire. Sirius started to move forward, but Harry raised a hand to stop him as Goyle continued to scream. Harry pointed his wand again. "Aguamenti," said Harry. A jet of water flew from his wand, leaving smoldering embers on Goyle’s stump, which was now burned, and blistering. Goyle screamed several more times, before he was reduced to whimpers. "Now," said Harry, his voice still calm and cold. "Voldemort would Crucio you to death. I won’t. I’ll keep this up as long as it takes. It won’t kill you, but before we are done, you will beg me to kill you. I am not playing games." Goyle’s air of superiority vanished, leaving a quivering mass in its place. "He…wants the necklace," panted Goyle. "He thinks it will get him into Castle Grindelwald. He told me to get it no matter what it took." "What makes you think the girl has it?" asked Harry coldly. "Her mother used to help out the old woman who Voldemort thinks had the necklace," said Goyle still panting. "She would do chores for her around the house. She was the only one who ever saw the old woman." Goyle was still panting hard. "I killed her father looking for it. I couldn’t get close while the Aurors investigated, but I got to her mother after the girl left for school. The little bitch must have the necklace." Harry had heard enough and it only served to increase his rage. Harry grabbed Goyle by the collar and yanked him off of the couch. "Where are you taking him, Harry?" asked Sirius, a note of panic in his voice. Sirius had never seen
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harrypotterfanfiction.com :: 65,000 Ha… Harry like this before and he was worried about what he might do.

"For a little flight," growled Harry angrily. Like a shot, Harry dragged Goyle out the door. Sirius tried to grab him, but only succeeded in grabbing the Marauders’ Map from his hip pocket. Sirius dropped the map, but before Sirius could follow, Harry pointed his wand at him. "Impedimenta," said Harry. Sirius stopped, frozen in place by the Impediment Curse. "Harry, whatever you are going to do, please don’t," said Sirius. "Think about it please." Harry heard Sirius, but he wasn’t listening to him. He pulled Goyle down the hall, still whimpering in pain. Several minutes after Harry left, Ginny opened the door and found Sirius frozen. "Sirius, what happened?" asked Ginny. "You’ve got to go after Harry," said Sirius desperately. "I’ve never seen him like this. Use the map, it’s on the floor." Ginny saw the Marauders’ Map on the floor. She picked it up and searched the castle for Harry. She saw where he was and knew where he was going, and there would be only one reason to go there now. "Oh, no," said Ginny breathlessly. "Sirius, when the spell wears off, take Colleen to the Hospital Wing, and contact Kingsley to find out if it’s true that her mother is dead. Tell Kingsley we need to know immediately. I’ll go after Harry." ~ Harry dragged Goyle higher up the stairs to the Astronomy Tower. Harry wasn’t thinking. All he could feel was rage. Goyle had turned Colleen into an orphan. Another orphan created by Voldemort. Goyle could have killed Ginny. Harry could think of nothing else but Ginny lying on the floor, and him not knowing if she was dead or alive. When they reached the top of the Astronomy Tower, Harry dragged Goyle to a window and opened it, then dragged him back to the middle of the room. Harry grabbed him with one hand on his collar, and the other with a fist full of the back of his robes. "Can you fly, Goyle?" asked Harry, in a tone that was as cold as ice. Goyle’s eyes widened in terror, he knew what Harry was going to do and could do nothing to stop him. Harry ran toward the window pushing Goyle along, and flung him head first through the window. Goyle flew into the air and began to fall. He fell faster and faster toward the ground, a horrified scream escaping his lips as he fell towards his death. For a moment, Harry watched him fall, his rage leading him to wonder how much longer he would have to wait to see Goyle land. Then he remembered the last person who had fallen from the Astronomy Tower, whose last moment in this life was spent in the very spot that Harry now stood. What have I done? "Arresto Momentum," said Harry with his wand pointed at the falling Goyle. Goyle hit the ground with a dull thud, having slowed down considerably. Harry could hear the loud moan escape his lips. He was very much alive, if somewhat badly bruised. Harry saw Albus and Carly running towards him. They must have seen him falling.
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harrypotterfanfiction.com :: 65,000 Ha… Harry pointed his wand at his throat to magnify his voice. "Al, take him to the Hospital Wing," called Harry. "He’s a prisoner, keep him under guard."

Albus stared up at him a moment, then nodded and began to levitate Goyle away. Harry turned around to see Ginny standing there, staring at him. He had never seen such a look of shock on her face. "You always intended to do that," said Ginny. "You were just making him think you were going to let him die then save him, right?" For the first time since he saw Ginny lying on the floor of the Durmstrang Common Room, Harry thought about what was happening. He thought about what he was doing, about what he had just done. Did he ever intend to save Goyle? Or, did he intend to let him die? Harry was afraid he knew the answer. "You always intended to do that," said Ginny for the second time. "You were just making him think you were going to let him die then save him, right?" Ginny was almost pleading with Harry to say yes. He could see it in her eyes. "I…don’t know," said Harry pitifully. Suddenly it all hit him. What had he just done? What had he become? Harry leaned against the wall and slid to the floor. Ginny moved to him and knelt beside him. He looked up at her, and then away, he couldn’t look at her. He couldn’t after what he had done. "Are you all right Ginny?" She took his face in his hands and made him look into her eyes. "Yes Harry," said Ginny. "I’ll need a potion or two, but I’m fine. Are you all right?" "I didn’t," said Harry, his voice cracking. "You didn’t what?" asked Ginny. "I didn’t intend to save him," said Harry, as he realized the awful truth. He was going to kill him. "I’m no better than Voldemort." Ginny could see the look of horror at what he had almost done on his face. She sat beside him and put her arms around him. "That is not true," said Ginny. "What have I become?" asked Harry, more of himself than her. "You are a good person, the best one I know," said Ginny. "The best there has ever been, and with all the evil that has forced itself into your life, you snapped a little. You forgot for a moment you were one of the good guys." "How can I live with that?" asked Harry hollowly. "We all make mistakes Harry," said Ginny. "You almost had to bury your son a few weeks ago. You have been under incredible stress over Voldemort and that damn book. With all of that, you still did the right thing. The only thing that matters is that in the end, you did the right thing, even if you didn’t plan to." Harry thought about what Ginny had said. Maybe she was right. Maybe it was only important that he did do the right thing. Maybe. Harry put his arms around her and held her. "I’m sorry, Ginny," said Harry. "It’s all right Harry," said Ginny tenderly. "It’s all right."
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harrypotterfanfiction.com :: 65,000 Ha… Harry knew this could not continue forever. He had to get the Sword of Souls so he could stop Voldemort. He had to end this. If it continued, it would tear him and the people he loved apart. Once he had the sword he knew it would all be all right.

Chapter 33: Chapter 33 - The Awful Truth [View Online] [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter] Chapter 33 – The Awful Truth Hermione was sitting at her desk going over the notes from the mess that was Christmas Day at Hogwarts. It was just one o’clock in the afternoon, but it had already been a very long day. She had just gotten the news confirming the worst. She didn’t want to have to tell anyone, but she knew she would have to. "I can’t go anywhere can I," said Hermione trying to lighten the mood. She was sitting in her office with Harry, Ginny, and Ron. Hermione and Ron had rushed back from the Burrow as soon as they heard what happened. "You know us," said Harry absently. "Always making trouble." Ginny rubbed Harry’s back soothingly. He was still very upset. "All right, let’s get down to business," said Hermione. "Ron, I need to make a report to the Bulgarian Ministry of Magic. How are Alec Yotov and Viktor?" "They will be fine, they should be awake anytime," said Ron. "Goyle had Alec Yotov under the Imperius Curse since just after he left Bulgaria. Viktor was hit very hard by Goyle, but he will make a full recovery." "All right," said Hermione. "Ginny, how is Colleen?" "Madam Jennings’s potions finished the healing that Lily couldn’t," said Ginny, with a note of pride in her daughter in her voice. "She was going to try to get her to take a Sleeping Draught when I left them. Hugo, Lily, and Tommy are with her. Harry is going to wait until tomorrow to talk to her about the necklace. We don’t know where it is, she wasn’t wearing it and it’s not in her room or Lily’s dorm where she stayed last night, if she has it at all." Hermione couldn’t help but feel bad for Hugo. The first time he ever finds a girl he likes, and she is an emotional train wreck, Hermione thought. She knew it was terrible of her to think that, but she couldn’t help it. Even though he never would admit it, she knew Hugo was lonely never having a date for dances or Hogsmeade weekends. Hermione knew it wouldn’t be easy for Hugo to deal with everything Colleen was going though. She also knew Hugo would stand by Colleen, and she was very proud of him for that. "I hate to tell you this, but just before you got here, Kingsley flooed," said Hermione with a sigh. "He was about to floo you Harry with the information that Bogdan Yotov had to be an imposter when Sirius flooed him to tell him what had happened. He’s sorry he didn’t get the information sooner, but Bogdan Yotov’s illness is not public knowledge. Also, I hate to tell you, but Colleen’s mother is dead. They think she has been dead since September. She was not working as she was preparing to move back to Britain, and they are fairly well off. She had no friends, so no one noticed she was missing. I’ve contacted Colleen’s only living relative, an aunt. You won’t believe who her aunt is." As if on cue, the fireplace erupted in emerald flames. A very familiar blond, with long hair and protuberant silvery grey eyes, stepped out of the flames. All of them stood, and moved toward the fireplace, to greet the new arrival.
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"Luna," said Ginny is disbelief. "Hi, it’s been so long since I’ve seen you," said Luna Lovegood with a smile. "It was at your last wedding two years ago, right?" asked Ron. "How is…sorry, what is your husband’s name?" "Which one, I’ve had three?" asked Luna with a laugh. "That would be my third husband and hopefully last. Harold was his name, but we divorced last year. He couldn’t handle my work schedule." None off them could believe Luna Lovegood was here. Luna was not at all the same person she was in school. After school she began to search the world for the Crumple-Horned Snorkack and other ultimately fictional magical creatures that she had believed in. However, along the way she did discover quite a few new species of real magical creatures and had become quite well known for it in the Wizarding world. She married Rolf Scamander, the grandson of Newt Scamander. Unfortunately, the marriage didn’t last. Luna’s eccentricities were too much for him, and they divorced just two years later. Two year’s after her first divorce, her father’s death brought Luna down to reality, even going so far as to convince her to give up the search for the Crumple-Horned Snorkack, which she finally admitted did not exist. She did not wear the bizarre clothing and jewelry she used to anymore, with the exception on her radish earrings, which she always wore. She went to work running the Quibbler full time after her father’s death, and became a workaholic, and spent most of her time running the Quibbler as well as being the lead writer for the magazine. The Quibbler was now a huge operation employing dozens of reporters and printing staff. It was published in ten languages, and while it did publish its share of bizarre stories, it did contain mostly real news and articles, and was nearly as popular as the Daily Prophet. Luna had married twice since then, but both marriages had failed due to her obsessive work habits. The Potters and Weasleys stayed in contact with Luna over the years, but didn’t see her very often. Only Hermione knew why she was there. "I’m sorry," said Hermione. "We didn’t know." "That’s all right," said Luna. "I’m over it. I have the Quibbler, and it takes up all of my time. Who needs a husband?" Luna hugged each of them. "I wish this reunion was under better circumstances," said Luna sadly. "How is Colleen? Is she all right?" "Wait," said Ginny as she realized why Luna was here. "You are Colleen’s Aunt?" "Second cousin, or something like that," said Luna. "I was always Auntie Luna when Colleen was little." "I was just about to tell you that," said Hermione. "Ellen Manning was Luna’s cousin. Luna is Colleen’s only family." "I’m sorry," said Harry. "We didn’t know." "That’s all right," said Luna shaking her head. "I haven’t seen Eric, Ellen, or Colleen in years, not since they moved to Germany. Until today I didn’t even know Eric was murdered this summer. I have no experience being a parent, but Colleen is family, so I guess I’m going to learn. Incidentally, I feel awful having to ask, but how old is she?" "She’s fifteen," said Ginny. "Come on, I’ll take you to see her."
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"Thanks, Ginny," said Luna appreciatively. "I hope she has some friends with her." "Yes," said Ginny with a smile. "She does." Ginny and Luna headed for the Hospital Wing, and Hermione, Ron, and Harry sat back down. For a moment, Ron and Harry were speechless. "Wow," said Ron after a few minutes. "I like Luna and everything, but thinking of her as a parent…that poor girl’s going to be all screwed up." "Come on, Ron," admonished Hermione. "She’s doing the right thing in a tough situation, cut her a break." "I’m sorry," said Ron. "She isn’t as…odd as she used to be is she?" "No," said Hermione. "She isn’t." Hermione then realized, Harry had hardly said a word. "Harry, are you all right?" "No," said Harry absently. "I’m not all right." Hermione got up from her chair behind the desk, came around the desk and sat next to Harry. She put an arm around his shoulders. "It’s all right Harry," said Hermione. "We obliterated Goyle’s memory. He thinks he fell trying to escape. As far as Kingsley is concerned the rather extreme way you got the information from Goyle was justified under the circumstances." "Hermione," said Harry in exasperation. "Do you really think I’m worried about going to Azkaban? I could murder someone in broad daylight in front of fifty people, and no one would say a word against me. I’m The Chosen One, the Boy Who Lived, the Savior of the Wizarding World, the great Harry bloody Potter, blah, blah, blah. Or have you forgotten?" "Come on, Hermione," said Ron. "Even I know what’s bothering him." Hermione stood up and sat on the edge of her desk facing them, and looked back and fourth between them. "All right, then I’m the dense one today," said Hermione. "What is it?" Harry got up and went to the window. He looked out over the Hogwarts grounds. "The awful truth is, I’m no better than Voldemort," said Harry, his voice quivering slightly. "I was willing to do whatever I had to do to get what I wanted, and then I wanted Goyle to pay for what he did. I was judge, jury, and executioner." "Wait a minute," said Ron confusedly. "I just thought you were upset that Ginny got hurt." "I guess you both get to be dense today," said Harry shaking his head. "I almost murdered Goyle in cold blood. How could I do that?" Hermione went over to Harry and put her hand on his shoulder. "Harry, what you want is to protect the people you love," said Hermione sympathetically. "Do you think Ron would have done any different if he had come in that room and found me unconscious on the floor?" "Hold on a minute, Hermione," said Ron. "I wouldn’t have done what Harry did. I would have let him splat." Harry laughed in spite of how lousy he felt. "You know, I do know you are right," said Harry. "Things have been so hard lately. I made a terrible mistake, but I did the right thing in the end. I know all that, and eventually, I might even forgive myself for what I did."
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"Then what is it?" asked Hermione. Harry turned around and looked at the portrait of Albus Dumbledore. He was asleep. "Why is he always asleep when I come in here?" asked Harry. "I haven’t hardly ever spoken to the portrait after that night after Voldemort fell." Hermione smiled. "He knows you don’t like to talk to him," said Hermione. "He takes a nap whenever you come in here. If you want to talk to him you can wake him up." "No," said Harry. "What I need is the real thing. I didn’t let down a portrait. I let down Professor Dumbledore. That’s…that’s what I can’t forgive myself for." "Harry, you know Professor Dumbledore would be the first one to tell you that you are being too hard on yourself," said Hermione. Hermione pulled Harry into a hug, and Ron came over and put a hand on Harry’s shoulder. Harry put his arms around Hermione. "Thanks, guys," said Harry. "What would I do without the two off you?" "You would be brooding and depressed," said Hermione with a smile. "With us around you’re just brooding." Harry smiled. "There is that," said Harry. "The really hard part is I have to talk to Al. He knows Goyle didn’t fall trying to escape. I need to tell James too. I have to look them in the eye and tell him what I did." Harry and Sirius had not told anyone about Hugo nearly using the Killing Curse. Sirius said he would talk to Hugo as soon as he could get him away from Colleen for a few minutes, as Harry had enough to deal with. Harry felt like he was betraying Ron and Hermione not telling them, but he understood Hugo’s rage at seeing someone he cared for in so much pain. He would let Sirius handle it. Sirius was good at that sort of thing. Harry knew that from personal experience. ~ Ginny and Luna walked down the hallway towards the Hospital Wing. "How is Colleen handling it?" asked Luna. "She was having a hard time apparently since the start of the school year with her father’s death," said Ginny. "She’s never been very close to anyone at Durmstrang. Years ago, before her family moved to Germany, she went to school with Hugo. They weren’t really friends. It seems Hugo might have had a bit of a crush on her. She finally got up the nerve at the Yule Ball to tell Hugo who she was. I guess Hugo listened while she talked about losing her father. No one had done that. They seem to be quite close." Ginny had to smile. Luna smiled. "A budding romance?" asked Luna with a grin. "I can see it in Hugo’s eyes, he’s feeling something," said Ginny with a smile. "I don’t think he has any idea yet, and with Colleen’s current state of mind, I doubt he’ll figure it out for a long while, though I’ve been wrong before. I’ve had some experience with love at first sight." When they arrived outside the Hospital Wing, the sight on the bench in the hallway brought a smile to Ginny’s face.
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harrypotterfanfiction.com :: 65,000 Ha… Earlier, after things had calmed down, it all hit Lily really hard. Lily realized that her mother could have easily been killed. She held on to Ginny for nearly an hour crying on her mother’s shoulder. Lily was tough, but she was also very sensitive when it came to the wellbeing of the people she loved.

Ginny had left Tommy, Lily, and Hugo with Colleen when she left to meet with Hermione, Ron, and Harry. Now, Tommy was sitting on the bench in the hallway, and Lily was lying on the bench with her head on his lap. She had fallen asleep and Tommy was lovingly stroking her hair. When Tommy looked up to see Ginny, he nervously stopped stroking Lily’s hair, but a smile from Ginny told him it was all right. She was glad Lily had found someone who loved her so much, and that she was so happy. "Madam Jennings asked us to wait outside for a while so Colleen could get some rest," said Tommy quietly, not wanting to wake Lily. "I suggested Lily go get some sleep, but she didn’t want to leave. She wanted to be around when Colleen woke up." Ginny nodded. She would introduce Luna later. Ginny opened the door of the Hospital Wing and she and Luna went inside. They saw Colleen curled up on the cot with Hugo. His arms were around her, and she was partially on top of him, with her head resting on his chest. She was much shorter than Hugo, and the way she was curled up made her seem even smaller. Hugo’s eyes were open, but he was staring off into space. Viktor and Alec were in cots on the far side of the room. Madam Jennings came right over to them. "I’m sorry, Professor Potter," said Madam Jennings. "She refused the Sleeping Draught unless he would hold her while she slept. I don’t think it’s terribly appropriate, but under the circumstances I thought it more important that she sleep for a while, the poor thing." "That’s all right," said Ginny with a nod. "If that makes her feel better, then we shouldn’t deny her. My nephew is a perfect gentleman, I wouldn’t worry about it." Madam Jennings nodded. "She should wake shortly," said Madam Jennings. "I only gave her a mild Sleeping Draught." "Madam Jennings, this is Luna Lovegood, Colleen’s Aunt," said Ginny. "Luna, this is Madam Jennings, Hogwarts Nurse." "It’s nice to meet you," said Madam Jennings. "Once Colleen awakens, you can take her back to her quarters, or home, I’m not sure what your plans are." "I haven’t given it much thought," said Luna, "I’ll talk to her when she wakes up." Madam Jennings went into her office, and Ginny and Luna went over and pulled two chairs up beside the cot. Hugo noticed their arrival, and looked towards them. Ginny could now see his eyes were red and he had tearstains on his cheeks. "Are you all right, Hugo?" asked Ginny. She never expected him to be this upset. "Aunt Ginny," said Hugo softly, "I don’t know what to do. Colleen kept crying and crying. All I could do was hold her and she still cried. I don’t know what to do to make her feel better. I just want to take her pain away." It was tearing out Hugo’s heart to see Colleen in so much pain. Ginny gave him a sympathetic smile. She brushed the tears from his cheeks and kissed him on his forehead. "Hugo, right now you are doing the best thing you can do," said Ginny. "You are being there for Colleen when she needs you. She’s going to need you a lot. It’s going to be very hard for her. Can you be there for her?" "I’m not going anywhere," said Hugo, trying to muster a smile, but failing. "Have you heard from
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Kingsley? Is Colleen’s Mum…?" "Yes, Hugo, she’s gone," said Ginny sadly. "She’s been dead since September, they think right after Colleen left for school." Hugo closed his eyes for a minute and shook his head slightly. Then he opened his eyes. "I hoped he was lying," said Hugo softly. "We all did," said Ginny sympathetically. "Hugo this is Luna Lovegood. Do you remember her, she’s a friend of mine and your parents from school." Hugo thought for a moment. "Yes, I remember," said Hugo. He hadn’t seen her in a very long time. "Did the Nargels ever give you back your hair clips?" "Yes," said Luna with a laugh. The last time she had seen Hugo he was five, and she had misplaced her hair clips. She blamed the Nargels as she always did. "I understand you and Colleen have become quite close." Hugo considered a response for just a second. "It’s hard to get much closer than we are right now," said Hugo. Humor was preferable to reality right then. Reality was not Hugo’s friend right now. Humor, he was good at. Ginny and Luna looked at each other, both thinking the same thing. He had Fred and George’s sense of humor. "I was going to ask her to be my girlfriend today," said Hugo absently. Hugo felt bad even thinking about that with what Colleen was going through. "I can’t do that now, not when she is going through so much. Maybe someday." Of course, Hugo knew, that would never happen. He would soon be in no position to have a girlfriend. Before Ginny or Luna could tell him to just wait a few days and ask her, Colleen began to stir. She opened her eyes, and slowly lifted her head. "Aunt Luna," said Colleen, more a question than a statement. "Hi, Colleen," said Luna softly. "I wasn’t sure you would remember me, I haven’t seen you since you moved to Germany." Colleen was groggy and it took her a minute to realize where she was. "What am I doing in the Hospital Wing?" asked Colleen groggily. She looked up at Hugo, suddenly everything rushing back to her, and he could see the pain in her face. "My…my Mum’s gone…isn’t she?" Hugo nodded. "I’m sorry," said Hugo, kissing her forehead and tightening his arms around her. "They think she was killed just after you left for school." Colleen was quiet for a moment, a look of complete emptiness in her eyes. "I’m all alone," said Colleen. "No," said Hugo, a little more forcefully than he meant to. He looked into her eyes. "You are not alone. You will never be alone." Colleen looked up at him with a look of profound appreciation. That is what she needed to hear more than anything else. Luna smiled. "Colleen, could we talk for a while?" asked Luna. "Sure, Aunt Luna," said Colleen as she sat up. "I’ll go so you can talk," said Hugo. "I’ll come back soon, all right?" He knew that was probably not
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going to happen. Colleen nodded. Hugo sat up and gave Colleen a soft kiss and a smile, before standing to leave with Ginny. When Ginny and Hugo reached the hallway, Lily was awake, and Tommy had his arms around her. Albus was also there. Hugo went and sat down beside Albus. "How’s Colleen?" asked Lily. "She’s all right," said Ginny. "It’s going to be very hard for her for a while." "Maybe for more than a while," said Albus absently. It just occurred to Ginny that Carly wasn’t there. "Where’s Carly?" asked Ginny. "She’s asleep," said Albus. "I think all this brought up some painful memories. She was quiet upset, I got her to take a nap." Just then, Sirius turned down the hallway. "I’m going to check on Carly," said Ginny. "She’s in…" but Albus stopped. "I know where she is," said Ginny with a disapproving look. Ginny knew very well, as did most of the castle that Albus and Carly were living in the same room. Secrets at Hogwarts were rarely kept for very long. Hermione had told Ginny that there was a provision in the school by-laws from hundreds of years ago that allowed married students to live in the same room. Long ago it wasn’t unusual for students to marry while still in school, and the by-law was still in effect. It did not however make any specific reference to couples that were engaged but not yet married. Hermione deemed it a gray area, and told Ginny and Harry to deal with it as they saw fit. Harry had decided to stay out of it. Ginny couldn’t say she approved, but they were both adults and engaged, and considering everything they had been through, who was she or anyone else to interfere. Plus, she would never admit it, but if she could have gotten away with living with Harry seventh year she would have jumped at the opportunity. Ginny was many things, but a hypocrite was not one of them. "Can we see Colleen?" asked Lily. "She’s talking to her Aunt now," said Ginny. "Do you remember Luna Lovegood?" "Sure," said Lily. "Is Luna Colleen’s Aunt?" "Yes," said Ginny. "When they are done, Colleen will probably leave the Hospital Wing. Why don’t you all go back to my and Dad’s quarters and stay there for a while." Lily nodded, and Ginny headed for Gryffindor Tower to check on Carly. Ginny gave Sirius a smile as they passed each other. "Hey, guys," said Sirius as he arrived outside the Hospital Wing. A variety of greetings came from Lily, Tommy, and Albus. Hugo was quiet. "Hugo, I was wondering if we could have a chat?" asked Sirius. "I promise, I’ll have you back here
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harrypotterfanfiction.com :: 65,000 Ha… before you know it. I know you won’t want to be away from Colleen too long."

"We’ll stay with her," said Tommy. "Thanks," said Hugo. Hugo expected either Sirius, Harry, or his parents would be coming to talk to him about what he had nearly done, so he wasn’t going to protest. If his parents didn’t know now, they would at the trial, Hugo thought. "Sure Sirius," said Hugo. Hugo got up and slowly followed Sirius down the hall. A moment later, Harry came down the hallway. He was still upset about what he had done, and not exactly sure how to talk to Albus about it. "Hey, Al," said Harry. "Could you come for a walk with me? I want to talk to you." Albus very nearly said no. He was having trouble wrapping his mind around what his father had obviously done. He didn’t for one second buy the story that Goyle fell while trying to escape. He wasn’t sure if he was angry or not. He was really just confused. "All right," said Albus softly. Albus and Harry left leaving Lily and Tommy alone. Tommy could tell Lily was still upset by the look on her face. "Are you all right?" asked Tommy softly. She looked up at him. "My Mum could have died today," said Lily sadly. "No, Tommy. I’m not all right at all." Tommy already had his arms around her, but he pulled her closer and kissed her cheek. "I know you’re scared," said Tommy sympathetically. "She’s fine." "Tommy, I told you all about the book and what happened to Albus the first year I was here," said Lily. "You know it’s coming. Who knows if we are all going to survive?" "I know, love," said Tommy. "But when it comes, I’ll be right there at your side. I’m not ever going anywhere." Lily smiled at him. "Thank you," said Lily. Lily knew he never would. ~ A/N: I know some people will be upset with what I did with Luna. I tried but I just couldn’t write her the way she should be written. I think I justified her change in personality, though. Chapter 34: Chapter 34 - Letting People Down [View Online] [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter] Chapter 34 – Letting People Down In the Hospital Wing, Luna and Colleen sat on the cot. For a few minutes after Ginny and Hugo left, they didn’t really know what to say. Finally, Luna broke the silence. "I’m sorry, Colleen," said Luna sadly. "I should have been there for you and your Mum this summer. I didn’t know about your Dad until today…but that isn’t an excuse. If I wasn’t so engrossed in running the Quibbler all the time, maybe I would have sent an owl once in a while."
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"It’s not all your fault, Aunt Luna," said Colleen. "My Mum never wrote you either. She could have told you about my Dad, but she didn’t. Mum always kept to herself a lot, but completely since Dad died. She kept so much to herself, no one noticed she was dead for four months." Luna could see tears forming in Colleen’s eyes again and pulled her into a hug. "I’m sorry," whispered Luna. "Don’t worry, I’m going to take care of you, and I know the Potters and Weasleys well enough to know, that when you have one of them as a friend, you have them all." They broke apart and sat silently for a minute. Luna decided she needed to lighten the conversation a little bit. "So, Colleen, you and Hugo seem to be awfully close," said Luna with a smile. Colleen blushed. "Well, I knew him years ago, but we kind of didn’t get along," said Colleen. "It’s only been a few days. He’s so sweet and he makes me laugh. He’s a great listener." Colleen’s smile vanished. "I just realized we’ve never even gone on a date." "Oh," said Luna, "I assumed he was your boyfriend." "I don’t know," said Colleen. "Hugo has never called me his girlfriend. I was kind of hoping to be though." "You know, he seems to be really sensitive to everything you are going through," said Luna. "He might be reluctant to ask you for a while. I think you should bring it up." "I can’t do that," said Colleen, shocked that her aunt would even suggest such a thing. "It took me two months to get up the nerve to tell him who I was, and I was only able to do that because I went by myself to the Yule Ball and felt completely pathetic." Colleen paused. "So what am I supposed to do now?" "Well, I am your guardian now, so in the summer you will live with me," said Luna. "As far as school goes, Professor Potter already said you could move into Gryffindor Tower for the remained of the year and be sorted in the fall. However, with Headmaster Krum’s approval, Professor Potter said you could be sorted now, and officially become a Hogwarts student. It is possible though that you could end up in another house. That won’t matter to the Potters and Weasleys though. I was in Ravenclaw while they were all in Gryffindor, but we were all friends." Colleen thought for a moment. It would be so nice to officially start at Hogwarts. She was a little nervous about being in another house, but if Aunt Luna said it wouldn’t matter to the Potters and Weasleys what house she was in, then she would have to take the chance. "I would like to start Hogwarts," said Colleen. "If that’s all right?" Luna smiled. "Of course it is," said Luna. "We thought you might. Professor Potter said that tomorrow after breakfast, we would have a special sorting ceremony in the Headmistress’s office. Normally they do it in the Great Hall, but she thought you might not want to stand up in front of the whole school right now." "I appreciate it," said Colleen. There was something else Ginny had discussed with her on there way to the Hospital Wing, but Luna wasn’t sure how Colleen would react. "There is something else," said Luna. "I know we really don’t know each other at all, and that’s not your fault. I would really like to get to know you. Professor Potter said I could stay at Hogwarts until the end of the school year. That would give us some time to get to know each other. Would you like me to stay?"
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harrypotterfanfiction.com :: 65,000 Ha… "I would like that," said Colleen. "What about the Quibbler?"

"Oh, don’t worry about that," said Luna. "I have plenty of employees, and I can write my articles from here. Besides, you’re far more important." Colleen hugged her aunt. Even though she didn’t know her well, she could tell how much she cared. ~ Ginny climbed through the portrait hole into the Gryffindor Common Room. She had to smile as she thought of all the great memories she had of being in this room when she was a student. The room was nearly deserted being the Christmas Holiday. A few students were playing Exploding Snap in the corner, and a few others were talking on the couch. Ginny headed up the stairs to Albus’s dorm room. She knocked on the door but got no response. The door was locked. She knew Carly was alone, so she drew her wand. "Alohomora," said Ginny. The lock disengaged, and Ginny slowly opened the door. She could hear Carly sobbing softly. "Carly," said Ginny. When she didn’t respond Ginny went over and sat on the edge of the bed and pulled Carly into a hug and gently rocked her back and fourth. "Al said you were asleep." "I let him think I was sleeping," said Carly as she took a breath to try and calm down. "He’s got enough on his mind without my crying for people who have been dead for years." "For a moment, let’s ignore the fact that you know very well that there is nothing more important to Al than you," said Ginny. "Do you want to talk about it?" "No, I’m all right," said Carly softly as she took another deep breath. "It’s just when I heard Colleen’s mother was dead. I felt just like I did when I lost my parents." Ginny had a feeling there was more. Carly hadn’t looked her in the eye once since she entered the room. "That wasn’t all of it, was it?" asked Ginny. Carly pulled back and sat propped up in the bed, looking in front of her at the blanket. "Tell me what’s wrong," said Ginny sympathetically. Carly took another breath and let it out slowly, having finally calmed down. "Every time I hear a Death Eater has attacked someone, or killed someone…I’m afraid for Al," said Carly slowly. "I almost lost him once this year, and I am so afraid I’m still going to. I know Dad didn’t give him the Sword of Gryffindor for any other reason than to face Voldemort." "I thought that might be it," said Ginny. "We’ve had similar conversations before." "I know," said Carly. "It just really got to me today. I feel like I’m letting him down by crying about it. I know he needs me to be strong. I’m just not that strong." There was a knock on the door. "Come in," said Ginny. The door creaked open slowly. "Carly," said Rose as she came into the room. "Rose?" said Ginny questioningly. "When did you get back?" "Just now," said Rose. "I flooed Mum at the Burrow to say Happy Christmas and Grandma told me what happened. We came right back. I was actually happy to get away. James and Lucy are on the way,
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they should be here any time." Rose came around the other side of the bed and sat down. "What’s wrong, Carly?" asked Rose concerned about how upset Carly looked. "I can go if I’m interupting." "No Rose, that’s all right," said Carly shaking her head. Carly had stopped crying and was much calmer. "I’m just having a bit of a melt down worrying about Al. When I heard about Colleen’s mother…I flipped out a bit." "Do you mean Colleen, Hugo’s friend?" asked Rose. "I didn’t hear about that, I just heard that Bogdan Yotov was an imposter." Ginny and Carly told Rose all about Colleen’s mother and what had happened that day. "That’s terrible," said Rose. "I’m glad all of you are all right. I’m going to go find Hugo, he must be a mess." Rose left leaving Ginny and Carly alone. Carly had something on her mind since two days before the first task of the Triwizard Tournament. The dream she had that night and several more times was beginning to weigh heavily on her and she didn’t know what to do. "Can I ask you something, Mum?" asked Carly after Rose had left. "Of course," said Ginny with a smile. "How did you know you were ready to be a mother?" asked Carly. Carly always had a way of asking Ginny the question she least expected. Before she answered there was an obvious question she had to ask. "Carly, are you pregnant?" asked Ginny. Carly looked her right in the eyes. "No, Mum, I’m not," said Carly. "All right," said Ginny with a nod. "It’s a hard question to answer. I don’t think anyone is ever ready. I always knew I wanted children. Even when I was a little girl, I always knew I wanted a family of my own." Ginny smiled. "I learned from the best, so I thought I could do it, but honestly, when I found out I was pregnant with James, I was happy, but I was also scared. Why do you ask?" "Mum, what would you say if I said I was ready right now?" asked Carly. "What if I said I wanted to get pregnant now?" For a moment, Ginny was a bit speechless. It was certainly not unheard of for unmarried couples to have children, though it was far more common in the Muggle world. There were Wizarding couples that just didn’t believe in marriage. Hogwarts had a few pregnant teenagers over the years, though not many. Potions are not 100%, but they are much better than Muggle birth control options. No one could be naive enough to believe there weren’t students in the school who were having sex. Somehow though, none of that seemed relevant. There was something more behind this question. "I guess…I would want to know why?" asked Ginny, as she reached out and took Carly’s hand. "I love Al," said Carly, smiling for the first time since Ginny had come in. "I want to be his wife, and I want to be a mother. I want those things so badly that it hurts. Those are the only two things that matter to me." She paused. "I’m afraid that something is going to happen to Al, and I’ll never get either of them." Carly’s voice was even and calm. Her expression was blank.
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Ginny had no idea what to say. Carly had obviously thought about it. Ginny knew Carly would be a wonderful mother, and had no doubt that sometime next year she was going to be a Grandmother. Would a few months really make any difference? Before she even thought of what to say, Carly spoke again. "I’ve really thought about this, Mum," said Carly giving Ginny’s hand a squeeze. "I know I’m not terribly strong when it comes to Al being in danger. I’m not strong like Rose and Lily who I know could survive anything. When I thought Al was going to die…I had nothing left. I wanted to die. He’s a part of me. I’m not whole without him." "Carly, I hate to even think about this, but if something happened to Al, you might meet someone else someday," said Ginny. "No, I won’t," said Carly calmly. "We are meant to be together. I don’t know why, I just know we are. I really have thought about this, Mum. This isn’t just my thinking that if I have a child then I’ll have something of Al if something happens to him. I feel like I’m supposed to get pregnant. Like there is a reason I should." "Have you talked to Al about this?" asked Ginny. "No," said Carly shaking her head. "I know Al. If I say I want to get pregnant now, he’ll ask the same questions you have, smile, and say yes. I need to decide if it’s the right thing to do first." "What makes you think you are meant to be pregnant?" asked Ginny. Carly closed her eyes for a moment, and then opened them. "I had a dream," said Carly. "It was two nights before the first task. I’ve had it a few times since then. I was putting on my wedding dress and I was very pregnant. You, Grandma Weasley, Aunt Hermione, Lily, and Rose were all helping me get dressed, but you were all…sad. You weren’t crying, but you weren’t feeling as happy as I would expect on my wedding day." Carly paused. "I know this is going to sound crazy, but I think I was getting ready to go see Al on our wedding day. I think I was going to the graveyard." Tears began to fall from Carly’s eyes, but her voice remained calm and even, and her expression never changed. "That’s why I fainted when I saw Rose dead on the pitch. I thought Al was next, and I thought that the dream was going to come true. I think my dream was the future, and Albus was dead, and all of you were getting me dressed to go to the graveyard." Carly’s calm tone of voice and blank expression finally dissolved and Ginny pulled her into a hug and held her as she cried. "Carly, I wish you had told me," said Ginny softly. "That’s why you moved in with Al, isn’t it? You thought if you didn’t, you would never get the chance to be with him." "In part, but it wasn’t just about sex" said Carly through her tears. "It was so much more than that. I needed to be as close to him as any two people could ever be. I needed for us to belong to each other completely. I pray I’m wrong, and we will have a beautiful wedding in August, but right now, in every way that matters, as far as I am concerned, he is my husband and I am his wife." Ginny could tell how much pain this was causing Carly. Ginny knew enough about the things that had happened to all of them over the years not to dismiss the dream completely, and it was obvious Carly had carefully considered all of this. "It could have just be a bad dream, Carly," said Ginny trying to convince herself as much as she was trying to convince Carly. "It was far too real, Mum," said Carly. "But maybe it is. I just don’t think I’m willing to take that chance."
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Ginny thought about it. Did it truly matter if Carly was pregnant for her wedding? Ginny certainly wasn’t one to care what other people thought. She knew Carly would be a wonderful mother. Ginny also knew her Mum would throw a fit, but it wouldn’t be the first time, and she would get over it. Ginny pulled Carly up and looked into her eyes. "If you think it’s the right thing to do, then you should talk to Al," said Ginny with a smile. "Just leave Grandma to me." Carly chuckled through her sobs. "Thanks, Mum," said Carly. "I don’t know what I would ever have done without you in my life." Ginny smiled. "Scoot over," said Ginny. Carly slid over a bit and Ginny lay down next to her with her arm around her. "Get some sleep. I’ll stay with you." Carly just nodded and closed her eyes. Ginny knew a few minutes later Carly was asleep. ‘Grandma’, thought Ginny with a smile. Ginny thought she could get used to that. The thought that Albus might not survive all this was almost too much for her to bear. But she knew that Carly might be wrong. Ginny also knew the book said that the future could be changed, and she knew that if anyone’s will was strong enough to change it, it was Albus Severus Potter’s. ~ Sirius and Hugo entered the Room of Requirement. Sirius had already set it up for their usual family dinner room. The whole way to the Room of Requirement, Hugo had decided he would face his fate like a man. No blubbering, no begging. He would pay for what he had done. He knew it was going to kill his mother, and that was the part that would be hardest. Sirius and Hugo each sat on an opposite couch so they were facing each other. There were two icecold butterbeers on the table. Sirius opened his, and Hugo did the same, and they each took a drink. "Probably should have brought firewhiskey, I’ll never get any," said Hugo as he stared at the bottle in his hand. "Not where I’m going." Sirius looked at him in confusion. "What do you mean?" asked Sirius curiously. "Where are you going?" "To Azkaban," said Hugo as casually as if he were describing the weather. "After the trial of course." "Hugo, what in Merlin’s name are you talking about?" asked Sirius confusedly. "I used an Unforgivable Curse," said Hugo shaking his head. "That’s a one way trip to Azkaban." Sirius just stared at Hugo for a moment thinking he had lost his mind. "Isn’t that why you wanted to talk to me?" asked Hugo in a very calm voice. "Aren’t the Aurors coming to arrest me?" "Hugo, you aren’t going to Azkaban," said Sirius in disbelief. "Why not, Sirius?" asked Hugo absently. "Isn’t that what I deserve? I mean…I used an Unforgivable Curse. I…I was going to murder him." Sirius got up, moved around the table, and sat next to Hugo, putting and arm around his shoulders. It
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all finally made sense. "Hugo, you are not going to Azkaban, nor do you deserve to go to Azkaban," said Sirius emphatically. "I wanted to talk to you to make sure you were all right. You almost did a terrible thing, but Uncle Harry and I understand why you did it." "You mean…you and Uncle Harry aren’t going to turn me in?" asked Hugo astonishingly. "I just assumed you would. I mean…I used an Unforgivable Curse." "Hugo, we both love you, we’re family," said Sirius. "We would never turn you in for almost doing something. We wouldn’t have turned you in even if you had done it. We aren’t even going to tell your parents. We just wanted to make sure you were all right." Hugo thought about it. Since he first took Colleen in his arms in the Hospital Wing and she went to sleep, and he thought about what had happened, he had just assumed his life was over. It was much more than that though. "But, don’t I deserve it?" asked Hugo his voice becoming strained as tears began to form in his eyes. "I almost murdered him. I wanted…to kill him. I should be put away. Shouldn’t I?" Hugo covered his face with his hands. He was not given to crying very much, but he certainly was crying now. Sirius let him cry for a few minutes, conjuring a handkerchief for him. After he calmed down, Sirius ended the silence. "Hugo, you almost did a terrible thing," said Sirius softly. "Sometimes we make mistakes. You made a mistake. You didn’t do it because you are a bad person. You aren’t evil. You did it because someone you care for was in terrible pain. It wasn’t right, but it wasn’t done out of malice or hate. You need to be more careful not to let your emotions get the better of you, but don’t you dare think it makes you a bad person. You are like your parents. You’re a good person. I know you would never do something like that if you had stopped to think about it." Hugo thought about what Sirius said. "So what am I supposed to do now, Sirius?" asked Hugo with a sigh. "Well, first you thank God that Uncle Harry was there to stop you," said Sirius. "It was happening so fast, I didn’t even have time to raise my wand. You also remember not to let it happen again, and if you ever want to talk about it, you come see me." "You know, Sirius, you really have this whole ‘The Counsel’ thing down really well," said Hugo with a smile. Sirius laughed. "Now I know you’ll be all right," said Sirius. "Promise me though, if you need to talk, you’ll come to me." "I promise," said Hugo. Just then the door to the Room of Requirement opened. "Hugo, there you are," said Rose. "I’ve been looking everywhere for you." "I’ll be going," said Sirius. He got up and walked by Rose with a smile and then on through the doorway. Rose came over and set next to Hugo. "Are you all right?" asked Rose concernedly. "I just heard what happened."
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harrypotterfanfiction.com :: 65,000 Ha… "I think so," said Hugo. He wasn’t going to tell her what had happened. "Colleen’s going to have a tough time of it though."

"Yeah, well, we will all be there for her," said Rose reassuringly. "Any friend of yours is a friend of all of ours." "It’s just that I don’t know how to help her," said Hugo with a sigh. "Aunt Ginny told me to just be there for her. I feel like that’s not enough." "Sometimes that’s all you can do, Hugo," said Rose sympathetically. Hugo put his arm around Rose. "Thanks, Rose," said Hugo. "I appreciate that. Since you’re supposed to be the smart one, I guess I need to listen to you." Rose laughed. "One thing is for sure," said Rose. "Colleen couldn’t have picked a better person to make her laugh." ~ Harry and Albus retrieved their parkas, as it was very cold outside. They walked into the Entrance Hall, just as the door opened. They saw James and Lucy coming through the door. "Hey, Dad, Al," said James. Worry was clearly audible in his voice. "Is everyone all right? We came home as soon as we heard what happened." "Everyone is fine, James," said Harry reassuringly. "Hi Lucy, sorry we interrupted your Christmas with your family." "Not at all, Professor Potter," said Lucy. Lucy smiled. "My Mum was beginning to drive me a little crazy." James suddenly looked a little uncomfortable. "Where are you two off to?" asked James, changing the subject. "We are going for a walk," said Harry. "Why don’t you come along?" James looked at his father for a moment. He could tell from the look on his face something was wrong, and it was something serious. "Lucy, I’ll see you in bit," said James, giving her a kiss on the cheek. "All right," said Lucy with a smile. It was cold, and the ground was covered with snow, but it was a beautiful afternoon. The sun was shining, and reflecting beautifully off the snow. On the walk down to the lake, James told them why Lucy’s mother was driving her crazy. Lucy’s mother kept checking her hand for a ring. The suggestion was obvious. Albus filled James in on everything that happened, except Goyle’s flight from the tower. Albus didn’t know about his father torturing Goyle. They walked through the snow and stopped near the lake. It was right where Albus assumed they were going. Harry had stopped in front of the tomb of Albus Dumbledore. "You’re sure everyone is all right?" asked James. His father was so quiet that James felt something had to be wrong. "Mum is all right." "Yes, she’s fine, everyone’s fine" said Harry evenly. "The reason I wanted you two to come down here
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harrypotterfanfiction.com :: 65,000 Ha… is I need to tell you the rest." Harry paused. "I’m afraid I’ve let you both down. And I’ve let him down too. They didn’t need to ask to whom he was referring as they stood before the tomb.

"What are you talking about, Dad?" asked James curiously. "I have never been disappointed in you, and I never could be." Harry turned around to face his sons. "I’m sorry," said Harry. "I need…I need to tell you what I’ve done." Harry told them the story, the torturing of Goyle and the throwing him from the Astronomy Tower, and how he didn’t plan to save him, but thought of Professor Dumbledore, and then saved Goyle. In some ways, just telling them made it worse. For a moment, they were all silent. Albus stood stone faced. He saw Goyle fall from the Astronomy Tower. The rest didn’t come as much of a surprise given that. James was completely shocked beyond words. "I’m supposed to be better than that," said Harry shaking his head. "I’m sorry. Your Mum says the stress of everything got to me. She says that I’m a good person who made a mistake. I don’t know anymore. She might be right. What I do know is I let you down, and I had to tell you both what I did. I’m so ashamed of myself." A tear escape Harry’s eye. "I let Professor Dumbledore down too, and I wish I could tell him how sorry I am. Maybe someday I’ll get the chance to tell him." Harry turned around and looked back at the tomb of Albus Dumbledore. A moment later, he felt a hand on each shoulder. "You made a mistake, Dad," said James. "It happens. Mum’s right, what’s important is in the end you did the right thing." "Don’t be so hard on yourself," said Albus. He regretted being upset with his father earlier. "You’re not perfect, Dad. I’m certainly not perfect. I don’t think anyone is." Even as Harry heard Albus’s words, he knew he had heard the same words before. Harry had spoken those same words on this very spot twenty-five years ago. Harry remembered them as if it was yesterday, and He spoke them again, more to himself than to Albus and James. "‘You weren’t perfect. I’m certainly not perfect. I don’t think anyone is. We all make mistakes, and can only hope we have the chance to rectify them. Some can’t be rectified. I think maybe it’s how you live with those mistakes that matters most,’ James and Albus looked at each other quizzically. Harry turned around to face them. "I said that twenty-five years ago," said Harry. "I was right here, talking to Professor Dumbledore about his mistakes. I had almost forgotten what I said." "Sounds like good advice to me," said James. "From a very wise man," added Albus. Harry looked from James to Albus and back to James. There was not a trace of disappointment in their faces. They knew he was human, and he made mistakes, and they were all right with that. Harry pulled Albus and James into a hug. "Thank you," said Harry. After a few moments, they broke apart. "Why don’t you two head back up to the castle? I’m going to stay here for a bit." "Don’t stay too long," said James. "It’s awfully cold out here." Albus and James headed back up to the castle, leaving Harry alone.
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"Quite a pair of sons I have, Professor," said Harry with a prideful grin. His grin disappeared. "Someday I will get to tell you just how sorry I am for letting you down too." Chapter 35: Chapter 35 - Sorting Things Out [View Online] [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter] Chapter 35 – Sorting Things Out It was December twenty sixth, and after having breakfast, Colleen walked down the hallway toward the entrance to the Headmistresses Office. Hugo walked beside her, his arm around her. His arms around her were the only things that really made her feel like everything would be all right. Colleen wanted desperately to be his girlfriend, but she was afraid to ask him. She didn’t want to mess up what they had. He kissed her so often though, it certainly seemed like she already was his girlfriend. Hugo was a great kisser, and it was the only happiness she really had in her life anymore. She couldn’t afford to mess that up by looking for something more. "Are you all right?" asked Hugo as they approached the gargoyle that marked the entrance to the Headmistress’s Office. "Yes," said Colleen with a sigh. "As all right as I can be I guess." She smiled. "I want you to know, I could only sleep last night while I was holding your picture." Hugo smiled. "I’m glad I could help," said Hugo. "If you ever really need to talk to me in the middle of the night, if the picture isn’t enough, come get me. Anytime, I’m a light sleeper." Colleen stopped and turned to him. She stood on her tiptoes and took his face in her hands. Colleen pulled him down toward her and kissed him. "Hugo, I don’t know what I would do without you," said Colleen. She looked into his eyes when she broke the kiss. Hugo looked into her beautiful hazel eyes. He had told himself, he couldn’t think of himself, but she was so wonderful, he couldn’t resist. "We should go out sometime…on a date," said Hugo. Hugo took a breath. "Then everyone will know you’re my girlfriend." For just an instant, Hugo wondered if he had made a mistake, if he should have waited, or if he should have said it differently or if he had presumed too much. Hugo knew he hadn’t as she leapt up and threw her arms around his neck and hugged him. "There’s nothing I wanted more," Colleen whispered. It took them a few minutes before they could tear themselves away from each other. They reached the top of the steps to the Headmistress’s Office, and Hugo pushed the door open. Colleen was shocked at what she saw. She never expected this. Colleen had expected that Lily and Tommy would be there, as well as Hugo and Lily’s parents and her aunt. She didn’t expect to find James, Lucy, Albus, Carly, Rose, Danny, and Sirius there as well. She was nearly overcome as Hugo led her towards where the group was gathered around a stool. Hermione and Ginny stood on either side of the stool. Hermione smiled. "Now that everyone is here, we can proceed with the Special Sorting Ceremony," said Hermione. "Colleen, would you please have a seat."
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harrypotterfanfiction.com :: 65,000 Ha… Luna gave Colleen a hug. Colleen was nervous, but she also felt warmth she never thought she would ever feel again. She felt loved. She was touched by the realization that they had all come here for her, that Hugo was right she wasn’t alone and she never would be.

Colleen went to sit on the stool. She saw them all there, smiling at her. Ginny went over to the shelf where the Sorting Hat sat. "A Special Sorting Ceremony," said the Sorting Hat questioningly as Ginny picked it up. "Well, I guess I can do that." Ginny carried the Sorting Hat back to the stool where Colleen sat. Before she could place it on her head, all the current members of Gryffindor House in the room, began to chant, "Gryffindor! Gryffindor! Gryffindor!" Colleen wanted to cry. She had never had friends