Has it really been THREE years since I updated this story. Sigh. I can't promise fast updates, but we'll try for quicker than that next time.
If you notice any inconsistencies or spelling issues, please let me know and I will correct them. I am rushing this so it can be out several days before the American elections.
Disclaimer: Sigh…I still do not own Harry Potter or any of the recognizable characters in this story.
There are many many sites on the web which describe Beauxbatons. None of them are entirely consistent with the others. So…you will probably find "discrepancies" from your own known reference as I try to blend all of the descriptions together.
July 31st continued.
The Weasley twins had been invited to join the teens traveling back to France, but they had politely declined. Harry discovered they wanted to stay behind to keep up with their mail-order business.
"Besides," George had said as they were seeing everyone out of Grimmauld place, "What if Mum was to discover one of our mail order items around?"
"Or an order owl shows up here?" Fred added.
"Nothing like a Howler...
"to disrupt a nice vacation."
"There's also the fact that Sirius hasn't retaliated for our….eh…" Fred started.
"Inexcusable misuse of our extendable ears," George finished as he and his brother glanced around nervously.
"And we would prefer not to present him many opportunities," Fred explained.
"Especially somewhere, like the Delacour home, where he's spent time and we have not."
"Giving him an…uh…advantage."
"Do you think I would need such an advantage?" Sirius asked. He had snuck up on the group and was smirking when the twins nearly jumped out of their trainers. When the twins didn't answer, he turned to Harry. "I think we need to get moving." Sirius took two steps toward the door and then looked back at the twins. "Oh…and you might want to upgrade those wards you have around your room." With a smirk he turned and walked out the door leaving the twins looking nervously at one another.
"What did you do?" Harry asked as he glanced back at the door.
"Absolutely nothing," Sirius replied with as his grin widened.
"Why don't I believe that?" Harry asked.
"Believe what?" Hermione asked.
"Sirius did something to the twins for trying to listen to our conversation," Harry explained.
"Actually, I'm telling the truth," Sirius replied holding up his hands in an 'I'm innocent' posture. "I did absolutely nothing. But just like you, the twins will never believe it. They'll spend the next week looking for the prank that doesn't exist."
"That's…that's brilliant," Hermione replied. "Use their own suspicions and imagination against them."
"Exactly," Sirius responded. "They'll be sleeping with one eye open, checking every bite of food they eat, never believing that I didn't leave some elaborate prank. Of course I did have an elaborate prank in mind, but decided this was better…and less…mentally disturbing."
"What could be more mentally disturbing than what you are doing?" Hermione asked.
"Well…" Sirius started with a smirk as he glanced about to make sure no one else was listening, "I just happen to know that Molly and Arthur use a particular silencing spell on their room when they are going to be…amorous shall we say. I had thought about putting up a ward on the wall between the twins' room and theirs that would not only nullify the spell, but amplify all sounds."
"You mean," Hermione turned a bit green as she swallowed, "When Mr. and Mrs. Weasley….?"
"Yep," Sirius replied with a smirk. "But I decided against it. I mean I like a good prank, but Fred and George don't deserve that." He turned to the whole group. "Now Fleur, can you side along Gabrielle?"
"Oui, zough she could apparate herself as well," Fleur replied.
"You can apparate?" Ginny asked her friend.
Gabrielle nodded. "We learned earlier in ze summer after…what 'appened. We have been learning many things."
"I wish…." Ginny started but Sirius interrupted her.
"We really must go or Alain will be put out," Sirius said. Turning to Fleur, "Yes I know Gabrielle, Harry and Hermione could all apparate directly there, but let's keep it legal for now. You take Gabrielle, I'll take Harry and Hermione and Arthur you take yours."
"Appy Birthday 'Arry," Alain said when the teens arrived at the French Embassy moments later.
"Thanks," Harry replied. "Sorry we're late."
"Zat is quite alright," Alain smiled. "Did you have a good early party?"
"It was great. Hagrid sent me dragon skin and Fleur, Gabrielle and Hermione got together to get me a really nice watch."
"He thought I should line my cloak with it so I'm ready for Gabrielle's and Fleur's tempers; not to mention Hermione's."
"Ah…well 'opefully you don't need it too often," Alain said with an amused grin. "Now shall we? Your friends are already in ze departure area and we 'ave a few things planned for today. Apolline 'as been planning today for ze last week."
"And what is Mamam planning?" Fleur asked.
"And spoil ze surprise?" Alain replied. "I will only say zat we will be flooing to Melangique from Paris."
"Where?" Hermione asked.
"Melangique…eet is like 'Ogsmeade," Fleur replied excitedly. "Eet is where Beauxbatons is…maybe I can show you where I went to school." Fleur's eyes widened as she looked at her father. "Zat's it isn't eet? Ze party is going to be at Beauxbatons?"
Alain winked at his daughter and smiled.
"Are Madam Maxime and Hagrid back then?" Hermione asked remembering the letter from Hagrid.
"Are zey gone somewhere together?" Alain asked in surprise. "I knew zat Olympe took a leave of absence for ze summer, but I did not know she was traveling with 'Agrid."
"According to Hagrid's note they are," Harry replied. "Something for Dumbledore."
"Ah… zen I might know what is…." Alain started and then stopped. "We will discuss it later. Apolline just threatened me with dire consequences if we aren't zere soon. If we delay too much longer, I might need to borrow zat dragon skin."
After a lengthy portkey to Paris, they flooed to what appeared to be an official building they later learned was the Administrative building or City Hall of Melangique. From there the large group stepped out onto a cobblestoned square in the middle of a small village.
"It's beautiful!" Hermione gasped as they exited the building into fresh mountain air. Fashionably dressed witches and wizards were walking in and out of the various stores that obviously were selling the latest clothes, candies and books. In the middle of the square was a fountain surrounded by children and their parents who were watching the water dance in a decidedly magical fashion. The beauty of the village was enhanced by the mountains that rose high into the sky surrounding the village.
"Pyrenees?" Hermione asked as she turned to Fleur.
"Oui," Fleur replied as she looked around.
Harry's eyes had immediately went to a store were various brooms could be seen along with easily recognizable Quidditch supplies. The only thing that puzzled him was most of the items for sale in the window were pink. "Is there an all-girls French Quidditch team?" He asked.
"Non," Gabrielle answered. "Pink is ze color of ze Quiberon Quafflepunchers."
"Ze most famous team in France," Fleur explained. "Zey 'ave won ze French league many times."
"You should know that Harry," Ron said. "They play in pink robes." The last words were made in a derogatory tone.
"And your favorite team plays in bright orange," Hermione huffed. "What's the difference?"
"Orange is not pink," Ron blustered as he made a face at the thought of his favorite team playing in PINK robes.
"No it's…." Hermione started but Harry cut her off.
"That's enough," Harry said. "Let's not argue today. It's my birthday."
Hermione looked sheepish as she nodded, but then leaned over and kissed her bondmate. "No arguing on your birthday." She agreed. "But if he annoys me tomorrow…." Hermione finished mentally.
"Les chariots?" Fleur asked her father as she looked around for the carriages that she would normally ride to and from Beauxbatons. "Or are we going to walk?"
"Neither," Alain replied. "Your maman wanted everything to be special today so…" He stopped and with a smile he nodded upwards into the sky, "zere is our means of transport now." All eyes turned to look where he was staring but they could not see anything.
"Hermione…Hermione…" A feminine voice called from the air and as it called, it got closer until it was right in front of them. The air seemed to waiver and then two carpets appeared. Apolline was on one with Hermione's mother beside her and Victor Krum was flying the other one.
"Mum…Victor?" Hermione asked as several people started talking at once.
"Harry…Harry…It's Krum!" Ron was stammered as he pulled on Harry's sleeve and pointed at the young man who wasn't more than 6 feet away.
"Joyeux Anniversaire 'Arry," Apolline said as she stepped off the carpet and gave the young man in question a hug.
"Did you see me Hermione," Her mother was exclaiming excitedly. "We flew…we actually flew on carpets."
"What are you doing here?" Hermione asked her mother.
"We're here for Harry's party of course." Jean Granger replied. "We wouldn't miss it; especially with all of those reporters about and everything. "
"I presume magical reporters or whatever they are called," Mrs. Granger explained. "They started showing up about two days ago so I presume your bond was announced?" When Hermione nodded she continued. "Wards are preventing them from actually coming onto the property, but they are being annoying."
"Of course you are more zan welcome to stay as long as you want," Apolline said.
While Hermione was questioning her mother, Harry had turned to Krum and asked the same question. "What are you doing here?"
"I vas invited to your party," Victor explained. "How could I say no? Especially after she," He nodded toward Apolline Delacour, "explained what she had planned."
Harry raised a questioning eyebrow to his future mother-in-law.
"You shall see," she replied with a smile. "Now everyone on ze carpets."
"I thought flying carpets were illegal?" Ginny said tentatively eyeing the floating conveyance.
"Zey are illegal in your country," Alain explained to the Ginny, "but not in ours. We 'ave found zat carpets, with proper invisibility and notice-me-not spells, are quite convenient for families."
"Daddy and I use them frequently when we travel," Luna added.
There was initial confusion as to who would fly with whom, but finally Harry and his fiancées, along with Alain climbed onto the carpet with Apolline and Jean Granger while Sirius, Ron, Ginny, Luna and Neville rode on the one being flown by Krum. Finally everyone was settled and the carpets rose into the air.
The air around them waivered as the invisibility setting were initiated then the carpets started picking up speed as they moved out of the town.
"Zer it is!" Fleur shouted excitedly over the rushing air as she pointed to a large Chateau visible in the distance. It had a large four story main building with two connecting wings. One wing rose an impressive six stories. In front of the Chateau was a large perfectly rectangular lake. Surrounding the school were immaculate gardens filled with numerous flowers, large areas of grass and off in the distance six scoring hoops rose into the air above what was obviously a Quidditch pitch.
"Zat is ze…ze…primary building," Fleur said excitedly as they came closer to the academy. The building had large windows on every level. "And zat is our dortoirs…eh dormitories," She continued as she pointed to the six story west wing.
"And zat is Flamel Fountain," Gabrielle said as equally excited as she pulled on Harry's robes and pointed at large fountain in the middle of what looked like a park with trees and numerous flowerbeds. "It has healing properties and…it's beautiful. Eet was named after ze Flammels."
As the carpets got closer to the buildings, Harry could see a fairly large group of people waiting in front of the main building. Richard Granger was doing his best to not stare at Bernadette, while Remus was standing next to Professor Berceau; Tonks, wearing a pig nose, was leaning on the young French Auror trainee the bonded had met in Alain's office. Dumbledore, standing next to two women, was standing away from the rest of the group.
"Tonks," Harry exclaimed as he saw the pink-haired Auror.
"Hi there Birthday Boy," Tonks yelled up with a grin as the carpets came visible. She then turned to her escort. "See what happens when you leave them alone for a week. They grow up." When the carpets landed, Harry and his bondmates rushed to greet her. Tonks winced when someone hugged her a little tight around the waist.
"Sorry," Hermione said.
"I'm just a bit tender," Tonks replied as she smiled again. "The healers say it'll be a week or two before all of the pain goes away. Not even allowed to shape change anything but extremities until I'm cleared."
"So…" Harry started. "The nose is a protest of sorts?"
"Nope." Tonks replied with a mischievous grin. "This man once told me that I would be beautiful to him even with a pig nose. I'm making him prove it while he spends the day taking care of me."
Paul's cheeks darkened in a blush.
"He's a bit shy, but I'll whip'm into shape soon enough," Tonks added with a wink. "So…how'd you enjoy those pictures Harry?"
"What pictures?" Harry replied as his face morphed into confused look.
"I was waiting for you to be here," Sirius spoke up. "You did help me get them."
"Oh…in that case, hope you enjoy your present from Sirius and me," The pink-haired witch grinned as she tussled his hair.
Fleur got a suspicious look and turned to Sirius, "You didn't have Tonks take on ours or other women's appearances for those kinds of pictures did you?"
"Uh…no," Sirius replied but then he adopted a thoughtful look as he rubbed his chin. "Though…there is always Christmas."
"Oui, Noël…eet is a time to burn a yule log," Fleur replied with a raised eyebrow. "Do you wish to be ze yule log?"
"Zat won't be necessary," Bernadette said as she took Sirius' arm. "I will make sure zis bad doggie behaves."
"Gabrielle and Fleur, why don't you show everyone Beauxbaton while we finish setting up," Apolline said. "Zen meet us at ze Quidditch pitch in an 'our."
"Oui Mamam," Fleur replied as she took Harry and Hermione's arms while Gabrielle hooked arms with Ginny.
"Before you go," Dumbledore said as he walked up. "May we speak to Dobby? Though I would love to stay and share these festivities with you, I, unfortunately, have much I need to do. I also need to escort Mrs. Tonks and Ms. Malfoy back home."
It was only then that Harry noticed Draco's mother was one of the women who had been standing near the Headmaster. He was about to say something when Neville started stammering as he turned white as snow and pointed at the black haired woman next to Narcissa. "B….Bella…trix Les…"
"I am not my sister young Longbottom," the black-haired woman said as she smiled. "My name is Andromeda Tonks."
"Wait…" Harry exclaimed. "I remember Sirius mentioning you; said you married a Muggle-born."
"No offense to you Narcissa," Sirius said as he joined the group, "But Andromeda here is my favorite cousin. No, Neville, it's not Andromeda you need to fear, but her heathen of a daughter if you happen to mention her first name."
"You're going to pay for that one 'cos'," Tonks said.
"Well, as much as a warm family argument can be," Dumbledore interjected, "I truly would like an opportunity to interview Dobby about what he might know."
"Of course," Hermione said prompting the bonded to move a few meters away. "Dobby?"
The little elf popped in beside them almost instantly. "Bon joy. What can Dobby do for Miss Hermione?"
"Shall we take this private conversation away from the rest?" Dumbledore asked as he indicated with his arm the direction everyone should walk.
"We will be right back," Hermione said to the Weasleys, Luna and Neville when they started to follow. "Unfortunately this is something personal." She then followed the rest until they were all about twenty paces away from the main crowd.
When they stopped, The Headmaster waved his wand in an intricate pattern. It was obvious to what the spell was when all sound ceased from around them.
After receiving a nod from Dumbledore Hermione turned to Dobby, "We have a few questions about a time when you were still with the Malfoys. Would you be willing to answer them?"
Though Dobby looked nervous he replied. "Dobby would be glad to answer anything."
"Dobby," Harry started. "When we first met in my bedroom, you told me the threat wasn't from 'He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named', but later you told me it had been a clue because it happened when he could be freely named; does that mean you found out about the diary before he changed his name? Before he was Lord Voldemort?"
Dobby cringed at the name, but he started bobbing his head up and down. "Dobby was there. Dobby saw the man who would become…him give the diary to my mas… to Malfoy."
"Did you happen to see him give something similar to anyone else?" Hermione asked hopefully.
Dobby's head once again started bobbing up and down, this time even more rapidly. "Dobby did! Dobby saw him give something to Dobby's old Mistress' sister."
"Bellatrix LeStrange?" Dumbledore asked.
Dobby again nodded.
"Can you tell us what it was? Or describe eet?" Fleur asked with a hint of excitement that they might have a lead on another Horcrux.
"Dobby can!" Dobby answered as again his head started bobbing up and down in a very hyperactive fashion. "It was a small gold cup about this big." Dobby held out is hands to indicate a size. "It had something engraved on it…like a small animal."
"Would this be the cup?" Dumbledore asked as he took out his wand and conjured a small gold cup with two handles and badger engraved on it.
"That is the cup," Dobby replied excitedly. "That is the cup Dobby saw the Dark Lord give to Dobby's old Mistress' sister before he could not be named!"
"Though this is excellent news," Dumbledore said, "I must remind everyone that we have no idea where it is hidden."
The elation everyone had been feeling, was dampened but not extinguished. They all knew that knowing what they were looking for brought them one step closer to eliminating it.
Narcissa Malfoy was feeling both miserable and angry. Dumbledore had promised her that he would help in locating and rescuing her son and she had believed him. When he had told her that he had ascertained that Draco was alive and expected to attend Hogwarts, she had been grateful but still devastated that her child and her home were missing. Narcissa had been ever so grateful to her elder sister Andromeda for the comfort she provided, especially when her own child was hurt. Though Narcissa had had to disassociate herself from her sister when she had been disowned, she had always missed her elder sister, especially once Bellatrix had developed into the evil twisted person she became. Now, though at what was obviously the lavish birthday party for the Boy-who Lived, she felt very much out of place. Those who didn't glare at her in anger were completely ignoring her.
Andromeda could sense her sister's discomfort. "I'm sure Dumbledore will be finished soon. He did mention he needed to speak to Mr. Potter and his friends."
Narcissa didn't bother answering, but did turn her gaze on the Headmaster and the teens. What she saw outraged her. "How DARE he!" She thought as the frustration of the last few days broke through. She stormed over to the group and grabbed Dumbledore by the arm.
With the silencing ward up, none of the party heard the approaching witch. It was only after she came through ward and grabbed Dumbledore's arm that they reacted.
"HOW DARE YOU!" Narcissa shouted. "HOW DARE YOU STEAL FROM MY SISTER'S VAULT TO GIVE THE BOY-WHO-LIVED ONE OF HER POSESSIONS?"
"Narcisssa," Dumbledore said in a calming voice, "Whatever do you mean?"
"THIS!" Narcissa yelled as she pointed at the Hufflepuff cup. "IT WAS IN MY SISTER'S VAULT AND NOW YOU HAVE IT, OBVIOUSLY GIVING IT TO POTTER FOR HIS BIRTHDAY!"
Though the Headmaster's eyes widen a little, he gave nothing else away. Nor did the bonded who all understood what Mrs. Malfoy's words meant. "Please Ms. Malfoy, you have it all wrong."
"OH? Do I?" Narcissa snarled. "Then explain THAT!" She was still pointing at the small gold cup.
"If indeed the Hufflepuff cup is in your sister's vault, then I can understand your misunderstanding and anger. But in this case will you please do a 'finite' on this cup. It's only a conjuration," Dumbledore said continuing in his soft voice. "Hermione had a question about the founder's treasures and I just conjured Hufflepuff's cup to show her the smallness in size."
Narcissa's eyes still held a glare, but after the cup vanished with her finite, her demeanor indicated more of embarrassment.
"Though I would like to discuss with you how your sister came into possession of one of the founder's relics," Dumbledore stated, "that is a conversation for later. Let me finish up with these young people and then we can return to England."
Narcissa only nodded as she glanced at the teens then walked back to where Andromeda stood.
"Well it appears we now know where the Horcrux is located," Dumbledore said once he had ensured the privacy ward was still up. "But we can work on how to retrieve it at a later time. For now, enjoy the party."
"Thank you sir," Harry said.
"I never got a chance to ask how your training is coming along," Dumbledore continued. "Have you had any luck tapping your potential?"
"Not yet," Harry replied. "But now that we are back where we can use magic again, I'll keep working on it."
"Good." Dumbledore replied and was about to take down the privacy ward when he remembered something. Oh…I almost forgot." He said as he reached into his pocket and pulled out an envelope. "Before I give this to you, I have to ask if you have damaged your wand Harry?"
"No," Harry replied as he pulled the instrument from his wandring. "Why?"
"This is, shall we say, a birthday gift from Fawkes," The Headmaster explained. "It is one of his feathers which, of course, makes up the core of your wand. In his own way, he was quite explicit that you should have it."
"I wonder why?" Harry murmured as he took the envelope.
"I'm sure it will eventually become obvious," Dumbledore replied as he took down the ward. "Now please enjoy your day."
"Now, let us show you our school," Fleur said as she and Gabrielle each took one of Harry's arms before waving for the rest of their friends to join them.
For the next hour, the teens wandered the halls of the huge French Chateau. Finally, after seeing the dining hall, the dormitories, and the various classrooms, they made their way over to the pitch. When they arrived, there were a lot of people surrounding a large table. Magically hanging over the table was a sign that read 'Joyeux Anniversaire/Happy Birthday Harry and Neville". On one side of the table was what appeared to a small Quidditch pitch while on the other side there was a structure that looked like a greenhouse, but upon closer examination, both of the structures were actually edible delicacies made of cake, tarts, chocolates and fruits.
"Joyeux Anniversaire once again 'Arry," Apolline said as she gave the young man another hug. "And you as well Neville. I 'ope you both like your cakes." The last she said as she motioned toward the two edible structures.
Harry was stunned. Not only at the cakes and decorations, but at all of the people who were there for him. Not only the Delacours and Grangers, but Tonks and her beau, Remus and Rachelle, Bernadette, Dobby and Winky, and…Cedric.
"Cedric?" Harry asked.
"Well I couldn't pass up a rematch, could I?" The young man in question replied with a smile.
"Zat is zee surprise zat Apolline has been working on," Alain replied as he laid a hand on Harry's shoulder. "We understand zat you like to play Quidditch but 'ad no chance zis year, so…" He raised his other hand and made a circular gesture and then pointed to the Quidditch clubhouse where the doors flew open. Pink robe after pink robe flew out as fast as their brooms could fly as several of the Quiberon Quafflepunchers started circling the stadium. There were seven of them.
"We," Cedric said as he glanced at Krum, "are going to have a little Quidditch game this afternoon."
"With professional players?" Harry asked.
"No player is allowed to play in their normal spot," Krum explained. "And you and Cedric are seekers. Vat about the rest of you?" His question was asked of the rest of the teens.
"I'd like to try chaser," Ginny replied instantly but a look of sadness appeared on her face. "But I don't have a broom."
"Zat will not be a problem," Alain replied. "Ze Quafflepunchers brought zeir spares."
"Really? I…I can fly a professional broom?"
"Oui," Alain replied. "And you?" That question was addressed to Ron who was standing, open-mouthed staring at the circling broom-riders.
"He wants to be a keeper," Harry replied for his friend. "But he's never played at Hogwarts."
"Keeper?" Cedric asked. "Going after Oliver's spot?"
"Uh…yeah," Ron replied as he continued to watch the sky as the pink-clad Quidditch team started to land.
"What about you Hermione?" Harry asked. "You've been pretty good with me on a broom."
"That's flying WITH you," Hermione declared, "not trying to kill myself chasing balls around in the sky."
"Ow about referee zen," Apolline suggested. "I presume you know all of ze rules?"
"Of course she does," Ron said with a snort that caused Hermione to blush.
"Just fly near the ground looking up," Harry suggested when it looked like Hermione was going to decline again. He knew she still felt unsure of flying high. "I'm sure there are others who can also referee."
"Well…I guess," Hermione relented. "For your birthday."
"What about you Neville?" Harry asked. "What position?"
"Eh…maybe later," The young man in question replied nervously.
"Nonsense," Krum said. "ve vill just be having fun. How about Beater?"
"Just pretend the bludgers are Snape's head," Harry suggested.
"Let's do it Neville," Luna said with her eyes lighting up. "Beaters I mean. We can each be beaters."
Finally the sides were designated. To make it fairer for Ron, they decided that if the opposing team got more than 50 points up, then one of the goals at his end would be closed up so he only had to defend two goals. The Quafflepuncher's keeper also volunteered to stay near him to give advice.
Soon everyone was having fun playing Quidditch.
"Having fun?" Harry asked Hermione as she blew her whistle once more and indicated that one of the Quafflepuncher beaters playing chaser had committed a foul.
"What are you doing…Down here," Hermione started in her mind but finished out loud when Harry flew beside her.
"Down here?" Harry asked as he indicated toward the ground. "Hermione, you haven't been near the ground for the last twenty minutes."
Hermione looked down and realized that she had been so focused on the game and the rules that she had completely forgot about the height she was flying. She then looked back at her bondmate. "That's not going to get you out of flying with me."
"Wouldn't dream of it," Harry replied and blew her a kiss before starting to fly away in search of the snitch once more. A whistle blew behind him and he looked back to see who Hermione was calling a foul on.
"Intentionally trying to distract an official by making sexual gestures at him or her," Hermione said loudly as she pointed at Harry. "Sorry, but it's a rule."
In the stands, an Auror approached Alain. "Sir, there is a gentleman at the gates asking for you. He said it's important he speak with you today."
"And the gentleman's name?"
"He wouldn't say," The Auror replied. "He…eh…he just insisted we tell you that 'dead men do have tales they can tell' and to give you his wand."
Alain first reaction was to tell the auror to get rid of the man who would interrupt the party but then his eyes widened as he glanced at the wand. He knew that wand instantly. It was a wand he had seen many times, but most recently it had been in the picture the American Embassy had sent over. It had been laying next to the dead body of his old friend. It was Marl's wand. The sense of loss that had plagued Alain for the last few days was replaced with a sense of hope. A tear tried to escape the corner of one of his eyes. "I'll come immediately." He said to the Auror before turning to Apolline. "I'll be back shortly; hopefully with another guest for the party."
Apolline had felt the change in Alain's mood and a quick mental question appeared. "Is it possible?"
Alain lifted the wand and showed it to her. "I…I don't know, but I can hope."
It was a few minutes later when Apolline felt the surge of happiness and astonishment from her husband. "It is him! He…he'll tell his story tonight, but for now he'd prefer to not be seen right now. I've sent him to our house."
The Quidditch game ended an hour later when both Harry and Cedric caught a glimpse of the Golden Snitch about the same time. A well placed bludger from Luna, who had shown surprising talent at the position, forced Cedric to dodge allowing Harry to grab the snitch and end the game.
"Not going to be fair," Cedric said as he walked beside Harry leaving the field. "I thought Bell, Johnson and Spinnet were the best chasers in the school the last couple of years, but now you're going to have Weasley waiting to take one of their spots. With you at Seeker, my Puffs are going to have a tough go for the next few years."
"You never know where talent might be hiding," Harry said. "You might have your own star hiding in your dorm."
"True," Cedric agreed. "I can only hope so." A bit of silence fell between them as they walked. Then Cedric continued. "At least you won't have Wood next year."
"Ron didn't do too badly out there," Harry replied as he looked over at his former best friend. Ron was walking beside the Quafflepuncher Keeper moving his hand in a fashion that seemed to indicate that he was describing a particular save or play. "I think he might be an acceptable Keeper next year."
"He did pretty well, but he's nowhere near Wood's level," Cedric replied with a grin. "As for myself, I can only hope he doesn't improve any."
"I have to admit I was impressed with your officiating," The Quafflepuncher coach said as he passed Hermione who was walking with Fleur. "You must have been following Quidditch your whole life to know the rules so thoroughly."
"Actually sir, I'm muggleborn and only found out about Quidditch four years ago and I really don't follow it outside of watching Harry play at school."
"But you know the rules better than most of my players," The coach exclaimed. "Where did you learn them from?"
"Ermione is a very avid reader," Fleur said with a grin.
"But the rules aren't written anywhere," The coach complained. "Not all of them anyway."
"Yes, I was quite put out over that when researching the sport when Harry started playing," Hermione explained. "But then I remembered that in 'Quidditch Through the Ages', it is mentioned that all seven hundred fouls occurred in the first Quidditch World Cup game in 1473. So once I tracked down the fouls committed in that competition I had a list of all of the rules."
The coach stopped and watched the young witch in amazement. His hand went to his head as he thought of the countless months he had spent tracking down the various fouls that could be committed in a Quidditch game. Even now he had only documented six hundred and forty-six of them. Finally he hurried to catch up. "Uh…miss, do you think you could give me a copy of that list?"
"Time for ze cake and presents," Apolline called to the hungry and tired group of Quidditch players. "Arry; Neville," Come blow out ze candles." She indicated the cake structures. Harry's Quidditch stadium cake now had small candied players on brooms carrying candles, while Neville's had plants which had slithering tentacles that kept moving the candles. Each looked at the other before taking deep breaths and blowing out the candles.
Harry and his bondmates sensed a mood change in Alain and Apolline but couldn't quite place it. They both seemed happier but they all presumed it was because Harry's birthday was progressing so well.
"So where is this great present?" Harry asked Sirius when the cake had been eaten.
"I think it's something that should wait until we get back to the Delacours this evening," Sirius replied. "It's a bit personal."
"Zere is also another present zat will be waiting at 'ome," Alain said. "One I think Miss Tonks would be interested in as well."
"But his fiancées already said I couldn't help him service his wand," Tonks said with a mischievous grin then continued. "Oh…is Harry getting a new broomstick for me to ride on again?"
"In your current condition, you couldn't handle it Tonks," Fleur said.
"Fine," Tonks pretended to pout then with a grin she turned to Paul. "Besides, I think Paul has a pretty good broomstick I plan to ride as soon as I'm healthy again."
The young auror trainee's sputtering as he tried to figure out how to respond to Tonk's words had everyone laughing. When Tonks whispered into the young man's ear, his face turned red, but the smile that emerged gave everyone an idea of what she had said.
"Well we did bring your present Harry," Richard Granger said as he lifted a large and what appeared to be heavy box and set it down in front of Harry. When Harry opened it, he found a set of Callaway Big Bertha clubs with graphite shafts.
"I've been told there is a great golf club near the Delacours that I would love to go play," Richard said. "Want to join me?"
"That would be great," Harry replied.
"IMPERIO!" Draco almost shouted as he pointed his wand at the bound witch. Though her eyes were wide with fear, it was obvious the spell had not worked.
"Shouting does nothing young Malfoy," Voldemort hissed. "Your will is what matters." He turned his wand on the witch and said quietly. "Imperio." Instantly the fear in the witch's eyes disappeared. The Dark Lord glanced at the young wizard. "See, it is just a matter of your will being stronger than theirs. Distracting them also helps." He turned back to the witch. "Show your young master how much pleasure you can provide him orally."
As the ropes disappeared, the young witch quickly got to her knees in front of Draco. Looking up with desperate longing she licked her lips and started to reach into Draco's robes.
"Go ahead and enjoy young Malfoy. Find out the power that awaits you when you master the spell. You can have her, or any mudblood at your feet where they belong."
As Draco felt the witch start to do what she had been commanded to do, he couldn't help but imagine that mudblood Granger or Potter's Veela in front of him; obeying his every command. A sneer broke over his face as he grunted his release.