Disclaimer: I don't own Harry Potter or any of the characters, I just like to play with them
Getting Along Just Fine
Harry had just arrived with Dumbledore, the voice of an angry woman assaulted him as he entered number twelve, Grimmauld Place. Mrs. Weasley was complaining to Remus Lupin about the twins. She had never gotten over the fact that they hadn't found 'respectable' jobs at the ministry. She ignored the fact that only one of her sons had followed in their father's footsteps and that that son was, at the present moment, persona non grata with the entire Weasley family.
"This joke shop business has absolutely no future!" Mrs. Weasley was gesturing wildly with the spoon she was using to stir stew with.
"They seem to be doing rather well with it though, Molly," said Lupin, ducking the spoon as she swung around with her retort.
"It won't last, you know! People will get bored, realize they've got better things to do with their time." She was facing Lupin, one hand on her hip the other still holding the spoon which she was now shaking at poor Remus.
Lupin however seemed no worse for wear. He hadn't sought out this confrontation or conversation, you be the judge, but he held genuine affection for Molly Weasley and was by now used to her occasional rants.
Dumbledore greeted the pair while Harry snuck quietly past the open kitchen, thankfully unnoticed, where he met a sniggering Sirius Black who knew better than to find himself in Molly's eye line when she was on a tear. Harry looked back at Mrs. Weasley and Professor Lupin and rolled his eyes at Sirius who grinned and patted him on the back, "Good to have you home, Harry."
"Hiding in your own home, Sirius?"
"Heavens, yes," answered Sirius. "I've learned better than to find myself in her company when she's like this."
Harry laughed and continued up the stairs to the room he shared with Ron last Christmas. He was so glad to have Sirius back, the few months that he had been trapped behind the Veil were some of Harry's worst. He was the closest thing Harry ever had to a loving family; something in him broke when Sirius died.
Sirius was the first person in recent history to fall in the Veil so the ministry had launched a full investigation. While the Unspeakables had done their research Dumbledore had worked furiously to get Sirius' name cleared. He wasn't sure if the ministries efforts would bear fruit but it would be a horrible welcome home to be thrown back into Azkaban. Dumbledore had secured Sirius' pardon a mere week before he was retrieved.
Harry opened the door to his room and found Ron and Hermione arguing about something, it took them a moment to notice him in the room. Hermione stopped in the middle of a thought to throw her arms around Harry and give him a huge hug, "Great to see you Harry!"
Ron stood to shake his hand, "How'd the muggles treat you this summer?"
Harry pulled his trunk into the room, closed the door and settled himself on its edge. "Let's just say I'm really glad to be back with you lot. So, what were you two discussing?" Harry took the diplomatic approach.
"Hermione won't let up on Sirius about Kreacher. I was just pointing out that she might give the guy a break. If it weren't for Kreacher he wouldn't have ended up in the Veil." Harry thought Ron had a fair point but knew better than to jump in on either side just yet.
"And I was simply explaining that had Sirius been nice to Kreacher all along he wouldn't have had a reason to go to Malfoy" Hermione had the lofty air of someone who knew better than you and was just trying to catch you up to speed.
"Facts are facts though, Hermione. Kreacher did go to Malfoy, Sirius was trapped in the Veil. You can hardly blame Sirius for being angry about it." Harry had listened to both points of view however when it came down to it he would usually side with Sirius.
Hermione was about to deliver her rebuttal when they heard a soft knock on the door, "It's Ginny, can I come in?"
Harry, who was closest to the door stood to open it. He pushed his trunk a little more out of the way to let her in the room. Ginny sauntered through the door, closing it behind her.
"Mum is on a tear, she's got half the house hiding out. I'm really pleased that Fred and George are doing so well but honestly I could just choke them." Ginny was rolling her eyes and shaking her head at the current state of the house.
"So how did she get started?" Harry knew Mrs.Weasley must have been set off by something.
"Oh, right," said Ron. "You haven't heard, Fred and George went and got themselves engaged!"
"At the same time?" Harry knew the twins did almost everything together but this did seem to be pushing it a bit.
Ginny nodded her head and giggled. "Fred asked Angelina and George asked Alicia. Mum says they 'won't be able to support their families in the long run and that they'll be poor examples for their many children.'"
Everyone laughed at Ginny's mock of her mother.
"So what did she say when Charlie and Katinka got engaged or Bill and Fleur? They haven't chosen the usual route either." Harry was surprised that Mrs. Weasley could take such a soft line on her two oldest sons and yet come down so hard on the twins.
"Well, they were pre-Percy. I think mum can only take so many non traditional careers in her family." Ron delivered his opinion like a wise sage with deep Weasley family knowledge.
Ginny nodded, "It's definitely the pre-Percy thing. She's overlooking Bill and Charlie's careers and has set her sights on jobs in the ministry for the rest of us."
There was another soft knock on the door, not waiting for it to be answered Sirius stuck his head through the door, "Dinner's ready."
Four teenagers sprung into action, Mrs. Weasley had gotten so preoccupied with her displeasure that she was late getting supper on. The whole house was hungry and waiting on dinner with loudly growling stomachs. When they reached the dining room they noticed that there were quite a few Order members joining them for dinner. They all exchanged a look before settling themselves into their respective places, they each had a single item in mind, the extendable ears.
With so many people around the table dinner was a loud, raucous event. By the time Mrs. Weasley had magicked the dishes away to be cleaned little group conversations had formed around the table. Into this scene walked Kreacher, muttering under his breath about mudbloods and blood traitors. Before Harry had time to order Kreacher out of the dining room Sirius was on his feet, he physically lifted the elf off his feet and threw him bodily from the room, a murderous glint in his eye.
"Its long past time I enact a long standing family tradition. Your head's going on the bloody wall you little murderous wart!" Sirius had his wand raised as he continued in the direction he had thrown the elf.
Hermione was on her feet, her wand raised as well, "No, Sirius! He can't help it!"
"Maybe Hermione but I am long past caring!" Sirius was undeterred by her outrage.
"If you hurt that elf it makes you no better than someone like Malfoy!" Hermione was fairly shrieking, desperate to shock him into the realization of what he was about to do.
Sirius turned and regarded Hermione with a cold stare, "I would remind you whose house you are in Hermione."
"That would be mine," Harry's voice carried over the two fighting Gryffindors, firm and steady leaving Sirius no room for rebuke. Sirius lowered his wand and dropped his shoulders, impressed with his godson's ability to stand up to him while also being annoyed by it.
Hermione visibly relaxed but it was too soon, "Hermione, drop it." Harry's tone and facial expression told Hermione all she needed to know of his opinion on this matter. Picking fights with Sirius over Kreacher had likely led to this current encounter. Left to his own devices Sirius would have grumbled and raged but no actual harm would befall the elf. He had been pushed to this point, pushed by her.
Hermione broke into a sob, pushed past Sirius and ran up the stairs to the room she shared with Ginny. With a dramatic sigh Ginny left the dining room to console her friend, patting Sirius on the shoulder as she left.
Harry looked over his shoulder at Dumbledore who nodded, he looked back to the elf, "Kreacher I want you to go work in the kitchen at Hogwarts. You'll remain there until you hear otherwise from me." The elf snapped his fingers and was gone with a soft pop. Harry looked at his godfather once more and shrugged his shoulders, he'd only stepped in because things were getting way out of hand.
Sirius had never been more proud of Harry. He had allowed that bossy swot to get under his skin and had released his ire at the elf. Why couldn't she just let him alone about it? Nonetheless, he was the adult, he should have better control of himself. Well, at least the elf was out of the house now.
Sirius turned and went up the stairs to his room, pausing by Hermione's door. The soft sobs from Hermione and quiet consolation from Ginny tugged guiltily at his heart. He would apologize to her tomorrow. They got along fine unless the topic at hand was his family's wretched elf. He had always held the girl in genuine esteem and was sorry to be the cause of her current state.
Sirius retired to his room and hopped into his shower. He and Remus had plans to do a pub crawl and if all went accordingly he wouldn't be waking up in number twelve, Grimmauld Place.
A/N: Well, I actually have an outline for this one. I think it will come just under 20 chapters. I love to hear what you think. I absolutely live for reviews!