A/N: SOORRRYYY!!! I know I've taken my time with this chapter but here it is!!! The next chapter might be a little while in the coming. I want to work on fixing the first couple of chapters. But I just wanted to get this one up first cause I know everyone's been waiting a long time for it. So here you are! Bear with me until I fix the first couple of chapters and then I will post the next chapter! ^^
Chapter 46: Moving In
The rest of the week passed quietly for the order. They ignored the mutterings about Dumbledore's stability and got to work on the power-stripping potion needed to bring Dumbledore down. Harry, Draco and Hermione spent most of their free time in the potion lab with Professor Snape working on the potion.
Meanwhile, Neville and his team (Daphne, Theo and Blaise) were working on getting ready for when they finally filed the long list of charges they had against Dumbledore. The rest of the group was working on their research projects as well as their revenge plans.
The weekend finally arrived and Harry made sure that everyone was free to help the oldest Weasley brothers move in. Harry hoped that, with the twenty of them helping out, Charlie and Bill could move in within a day. It was a dark, cloudy morning when the order met in the clearing close to Neville's greenhouse. They mounted their brooms and flew the short distance through the Forbidden Forest.
The brooms were shrunk by those with undetectable wands and pocketed. Walking up the front path they spotted Charlie and Bill waiting for them in front of their new home. It was a nice cottage, neither big nor small but just perfect for three. There was a big yard around the house that was overgrown and Neville frowned, not liking the damage he saw.
Harry's eyes took in every little detail from the backyard that was facing the forest, to the nearest house nearly half a mile away. Yes, he thought, this would do very well.
"Hey guys." Harry greeted the Weasley brothers. "Tonks not coming?" He wondered, looking around for the eccentric witch.
"No, she's got extra training sessions with Kingsley." Bill spoke after waving hello to the rest of the group. "She's graduating to full Auror soon and Kingsley wants to make sure that she's ready for her final exams."
"Oh right. Of course." Harry nodded his understanding. "Let's get started shall we?"
"Sure. Where do you want to start?" Charlie asked him.
"I think this would work better if we split up." Harry turned around and thought quickly. "Neville and Cedric, you guys take the garden. And to help you…Hermione, Theo and Blaise."
They nodded and headed off. Neville and Cedric were talking at top speed, neither of them happy with the state of the place. Theo and Blaise were sent to collect their gear whilst Hermione searched for paths and garden beds.
"Now, Cho, Ginny, Arianna, Hannah and Susan, I want you guys to work on cleaning the place. Be on the lookout for pests and other dark creatures. This place has been empty for a while." Harry recalled.
"Me? Cleaning?" Cho asked frowning.
"Yes." Harry stared her down. If they were to cure her of her materialistic ways then she would have to get used to these sort of tasks, Harry thought. "Have you packed?" He asked both Charlie and Bill.
"Done." Both nodded.
"And you have your new furniture?" He asked.
"Not completely…" Charlie admitted.
"Okay then the twins can help you look for the rest and bring your things here. Have you connected your floo?"
"Already done." Bill nodded. "We've changed the name to Shell Cottage. "
"Okay, that's one less thing to worry about. Draco, you know what I want you to do." Harry looked at his best friend. "Terry and Anthony will help you. Let's get to it."
Everyone went about their tasks except for Daphne and Luna, who looked at him questioningly. "No, I did not forget you guys." Harry smirked. "You're going to help me scout the area. Your animagus forms will have no trouble blending in unlike the others. Daphne, you scout by air, Luna, you can check out the neighbors and I will cover the ground."
"How are you going to go undetected?" Luna asked as most of his forms stood out in this part of Scotland.
"I'll be in snake form and will stick mostly to grassy areas. Anything else?"
Both girls shook their heads and Harry nodded. "Alright, let's do this then. Keep in contact." He said before transforming into his snake form. He saw Luna transform into her hare self in front of him and assumed that Daphne had taken to the skies. Harry and Luna made their way along the lane together until they reached the first house. Harry continued on heading for the park, a little way down, leaving Luna behind to check on Charlie and Bill's closest neighbors.
Luna called him out of the blue causing Harry to almost fall out of the tree where he had been spying on two families of red-heads. Harry.
Yeah, how did it go? He asked, regaining his balance and watching the two boys on the swings.
I think you might want to listen to this. Luna opened her mind to him and allowed Harry to listen to the conversation around her.
Come on, Ang! The voice registered in Luna's mind and Harry, too, recognized Lucy's voice. Lucille Spencer, the youngest in her family and the youngest in Harry's army, had been Luna's follower.
Patience! A new voice sounded; a female, elegant, refined and slightly annoyed. Chris, you ready, darling?
Here. My apologies, I have just received an owl from dear Vas. This time it was a man's voice, it was lightly accented and as cultured as the woman who had spoken before.
Anything important? There was a note of worry in the woman's voice.
Naught that cannot wait, I assure you. I shall floo back late tonight to see him. Now, let's make haste to meet our new neighbors, shall we? His speech was overly formal and Harry was able to pick up the slight tilt to his words that marked him as a foreigner.
Harry frowned and transformed into his falcon form. Luna. He called. Head back.
On my way. Luna replied as she ran back to the Weasley's new home.
See you soon. Harry replied in rush. Make sure they don't see you when you transform. Harry added before he searched for the raven. Daphne!
Yeah? She answered.
Head back. We have visitors.
Harry landed in the backyard to transform and looked around, walking to the front. Neville and Cedric were busily clearing the backyard close to the back fence so that Draco and his team could perform their task. When he reached the front he could also spot Blaise, Hermione and Theo working on the front.
Letting them continue their work Harry stepped inside to check on the cleaning crew. He had barely taken a step inside the house however when he heard Luna come around the house to greet Blaise. Turning Harry also noticed Daphne coming up the lane from the forest end at the same time that Lucy and the older couple was coming.
Ignoring Blaise and Luna's flirtations Harry headed for the front door of the house but he didn't get very far.
"Harry, visitors." Theo called, standing from where both he and Hermione were clearing a bunch of weeds.
Harry turned on the path and noticed that Lucy was there with the couple hovering uncertainly. Luna broke the ice by greeting her younger friend. "Hi Lucy, what are you doing out of Hogwarts?"
"Visiting my sister. I missed her…you're not going to turn me in are you?" Lucy asked uncertainly.
"Of course not. But only if you'll introduce us." Luna raised an eyebrow in a nice imitation of Arianna when she's curious. Arianna, in her turn, had stolen the expression from her aunt.
"Oh yeah. This is my sister, Angela and her husband, Christian Pederson." Lucy gestured. "Guys, these are my friends; Harry Potter, Luna Lovegood, Daphne Greengrass, Hermione Granger, Blaise Wilkes and Theodore Nott."
"It's nice to meet you." Harry stepped forward and extended his hand. "You must be the Weasley's neighbors."
"Yes, it's nice to meet you all as well; Lucy has told us all about you." Angela stepped forward gracefully taking his hand whilst Christian bowed over Luna's hand. "Am I to understand it that the two oldest Weasleys are moving in?"
"That's right." Daphne answered. "Bill and Charlie."
"They are out looking for new furniture at the moment. They shall return shortly." Harry smiled politely.
"We'd invite you in but the others are still cleaning the place up." Luna spoke next.
Harry drew his father's wand and transfigured some old branches into enough deckchairs for the six order members and the three visitors. "Please sit." He waved a hand.
After taking their seats Harry leaned forward. "So do you live around here?"
"Yes," Christian replied in his accented English. "Just down the road." He seemed hesitant to speak.
Harry frowned confused as Daphne picked up the conversation. "How long have you been in the neighborhood?" She asked as Harry addressed Luna silently. He's English was really good wasn't it? Why's he so hesitant to speak?
Yeah, a bit formal and accented but it was good. Luna replied. And I don't know.
"Not long, we've been married just over a year." Angela replied. "We moved in not long after."
"Christian?" Blaise leaned forward curiously. "What do you do?"
"I…" Christian hesitated, looking to his wife for help.
Just then the clouds broke and the group was hit with the morning sunlight. After everyone had adjusted to the light Harry looked at Christian and paused. Luna, looks like we were right. Harry commented.
"You're a vampire!" Blaise shouted in surprise.
"We…" Angela stuttered as she quickly conjured an umbrella and held it over them.
"It's okay." Harry re-assured her quickly. "We understand how hard it can be for you. My guardian is subjected to the same treatment. We won't put you through it."
"Of course, you still haven't answered my question." Blaise grinned, having gotten over the shock.
"Of course." Christian grinned having recovered from his brief encounter with the sun. "I hope you will forgive me for my English. It has been too long since I was last here."
"He was originally a Lord of the Norwegian house of Pederson." Angela replied for him. "However, now he spends most of his time acting as translator for King Vasilica. He hasn't been back to England since…when was it again?"
"1617. For dear William's funeral." Christian nodded, no longer worrying about his accent. "He taught me English."
"Shakespeare?" Theo said with amazement. "He's a legend. You knew him?"
"Certainly." The vampire nodded smiling. "He was the first true friend I had lost to time. He helped me navigate Elizabeth's court during our time in London."
"Forgive me if I'm prying," Luna asked, leaning forward with her endless curiosity blazing from her eyes. "However, I've always wondered how vampires deal with the passage of time."
Christian laughed softly, "No problems, I get asked that a lot. Vas' legal staff handles that for us. But in the beginning it was rather difficult. I had to migrate from country to country to avoid prosecution when people noticed that I wasn't aging the way I should be."
"How long have you been around?" Harry asked curiously in Latin.
"I was born in Kristiansand, Norway in the year 1430 and was changed in 1454, not long after my twenty-fourth birthday." Christian spoke in Latin, not even noticing the change in language.
Seeing the interest in his young audience Christian told them his story and the others settled in to listen to a good story-telling. "My creator was Prince Vlad although you probably know him as Dracula…"
Christian spun his tale and the others were so captivated that they were on the edges of their seats. Cedric and Neville came over not long after and joined them silently. Draco, Anthony and Terry finished their task and came over just as Christian was explaining about his encounter with William Shakespeare.
The girls finished with the cleaning and joined them as well. It wasn't until Christian's story turned to his days in the new world that the Weasleys returned. Christian paused and looked up. At this interruption to the best story they've ever heard the rest of the group turned around to see Charlie and Bill followed by their brothers and the Costa twins.
"Well, well, well. If it isn't Charlie Weasley?" Christian asked, his accent becoming more pronounced.
"NO!" Charlie exclaimed, happily surprised as he strode forward quickly to greet his new neighbor and old friend. "What are you doing here? Last I heard you were headed for the Middle East."
"I had planned on it, but then I met Ang here and well…besides…Vas always has a hard time letting me go." Christian admitted. "This way, he can summon me whenever he needs to. We live just down that way."
"That's true." Charlie agreed. "How is he these days?"
"Same as always. He took a wound not long ago and it's still taking it's time to heal." Christian sighed and gestured for the Weasleys to sit.
"I'm sure, he'll be fine soon." Charlie smiled knowingly. "Oh by the way, this is my older brother William Weasley. But we just call him Bill."
"Oh yes. Sorry. This is my wife Angela and I'm not sure if you've met her sister, Lucy?"
They shook hands politely and everyone took a seat.
"Yes, we've met. She's friends with my sister, Ginny." Charlie nodded in Ginny's direction.
"Of course. You seem close to your sister's friends…" Christian trailed off letting the question hang.
"It can't be helped. I'm a professor at Hogwarts now. I was talking to Ginny about helping me move in, but the others overheard. So they decided to chip in." Charlie explained without giving anything away.
"Well, is there anything we can help you with then?" Angela asked.
"I think we've got everything done." Bill admitted.
Harry asked the others. Draco?
Done. He nodded slightly.
Almost done. Just the front lawn left to do.
Ten minutes? Maybe twenty.
And Fred? Harry asked, although it was the other twins who answered to him.
I think we've got everything they need.
It won't take long to resize it all.
Then we're good. Harry nodded to tell Charlie that everything was done.
"I think we have everything under control." Charlie agreed. "Relax. What's been happening? How did the two of you meet?"
As Charlie and Christian got caught up the rest of the large group headed inside to help Bill and Charlie decorate and unpack. Meanwhile Neville and Cedric finished working on the front garden. It didn't take long before Shell Cottage started looking like a home. The girls started preparing lunch and everyone was pleasantly surprised to discover Mia and Cara's skills in the kitchen.
Charlie and Bill conjured two long tables in the backyard and the other boys helped bring things out and set the table. It wasn't long before they sat down to lunch. It was a loud boisterous meal; dishes were passed from one end of the table to the other several times over and the conversation topics were diverse. And conversation drifted in between several languages.
They were firm friends by the end of the meal and Harry believed that the couple were trustworthy and was considering adding them to his adult circle after he had spoken to Remus. The students prepared to return to Hogwarts and after promising to come over to watch the quidditch one day Christian also took his leave with Angela promising to come and visit when Tonks was home.
The rest of the weekend was spent in preparation for the final battle with Dumbledore. The researchers and the planners were going over Colin's list of charges and pulling out any book they found on similar cases. Draco, Harry and Professor Snape spent all of their time in the potions lab working on the power stripping potion. The others helped Neville to gather whatever ingredients were needed from the greenhouse.
Time passed quickly whilst they prepared for the changeover. They were able to get most of the other teachers on their side. Professor McGonagall was all for chucking Professor Trelawney out of the castle but Harry over-ruled her. They were quite unanimous though when they decided that Filch had to go. There was also the question of Hagrid. The guy was without a doubt an avid Dumbledore supporter and very replaceable in Professor Snape's eyes. Harry, on the other hand, didn't think it was necessary.
By the time Professor Snape and Draco agreed that the potion was ready it was Wednesday. Harry was working on his own potions for the infirmary when Draco called for his attention. Harry gestured for Arianna to help him watch his potion before he headed over.
"What's up guys?" Harry asked. He looked into their cauldron, fearing that something had gone wrong.
"It's done." Professor Snape announced shortly.
"Wonderful. I think we are ready. Let's do this tomorrow morning. The only thing is that we might not be able to get the Aurors here by breakfast and there is not…" Harry said, thinking out loud.
"Relax Harry!! There's heaps of stuff that needs doing first." Draco reminded him with a smirk.
"Oh yeah, you're probably right." Harry admitted.
"Besides, don't forget," Cedric added from where he was working on his potions homework. "Theo and Blaise have their first revenge prank today."
Harry whacked himself in the head. "I almost forgot! Thanks." He smiled gratefully. "Okay, maybe we can still do it tomorrow. Just at lunch or dinner instead."
"Well, if that's the case. Remus and I have a lot of work to do. If you'll excuse me." Professor Snape took his leave.
"I think I'd better tell the planners." Harry started heading out then paused and looked at those in the room. "Draco, can you help me finish off my potion? I've got some organizing to do. Hannah, help him clean up will you? Thanks guys. And finish up things here quickly, we need to be prepared for tomorrow."
"No problem Harry." Draco nodded as Hannah hurried over to clean up.
"Thanks." Harry gave them one last grin before he headed for the library.
Those in the potions lab rushed to finish their work, buzzing with excitement over tomorrow's final battle with Dumbledore.