Disclaimer: NOT Blonde, Not rich, not living in Britain, initials are not JKR therefore don't own. Love the characters and the setting so I am just playing, I get nothing but the reviews my readers give me. Authorship shared with Darkshadowedrose. Beta read by Alix33.
A/N: The chapter title comes from the equivalent chapter in The Goblet of Fire. And some sections lean heavily on JKR's work. As for Dudley's derogatory comments about girls last chapter. I don't agree. Sometimes however teenage girls do give that impression. Usually it's because they believe being smart or standing for something makes them less attractive. Harry while strong, fairly good- looking, and honorable tends to be emotionally remote and cynical, and he's still dealing with the teenage annoyances of acne and a cracking voice not to mention a shyness stemming from lack of confidence in this area of his life. He'll get there with a little(or a lot) of patience on the part of a certain gray eyed moon goddess.
Trust is a Relative Thing
Chapter 51 Quidditch World Cup
The morning of the 23rd, Harry was pleased. He'd managed to get all of his school stuff together, so he had absolutely nothing on his plate when he got back, aside from spending time doing art and being at the dojo. The dance classes were proving to have had an unexpected benefit, Harry's kendo skills had improved. He looked forward to seeing how much more improvement he could get in before school started. His mirror buzzed. "Yes, Cassandra."
"My informant that has dark ties just told me something major is planned at the Quidditch World Cup. He doesn't have a lot of details just that that element seems to be gathering and planning something for that event."
"Grand. True terrorists then. Alright, write down what you've got. Bring it to the Alley with you. Madame Bones will be there. We'll pass it to her then. I'm willing to bet they're already on a heightened state of alert, but forewarned is forearmed. Thank your source, a galleon or two. If it proves accurate, bump it up to ten. I'll make sure we have an emergency plan once I've seen the site."
"Right. See you in half an hour."
Harry went to his trunk and pulled his weapon stash out and added it to what he was taking. He wished his family goodbye and portkeyed to Potter Place then flooed to the Leaky Cauldron. He wasted no time in heading to Quality Quidditch where he added some beater bats to his weapons cache. When everyone else arrived in Diagon it was ten minutes of minor chaos as everyone got themselves sorted and ready for the portkey. Cassandra handed Harry the report. Harry asked her and Remus to make sure all his friends would unquestioningly pass as muggle, not that it was hard since most of them had seen Harry in muggle clothes at frequent points.
"Do you have your Mirror?" Harry asked Cassandra.
"Hand it here."
"You won't need it, you'll be with me."
"Right." Cassandra pulled it out.
Harry went over to where Amelia Bones was. "Ready, Susan?"
"I think so."
"Then go take your spot. I need to talk to your aunt for a minute." Harry handed Amelia Bones the report and Cassandra's mirror.
"Read the note, if you have questions and you probably will, mirror me. We'll have to talk later. I estimate an hour and a half should allow us to have the camp set up. I should be able to talk by then. It is urgent and important. I know you're busy, but don't put this off. Got to go. Thank you, Madame Bones."
When they arrived they were met by a group wizards "Noon, Diagon Alley"
Casandra checked with the coordinator, then came back and said. "We go that way and head to the second field. We've a large space reserved with Mister Payne."
The boys buddied up to carry the two crates and three bags that contained the camping things, while the girls trailed behind them admiring the view.
The site in Mr. Payne's field was close to the woods that housed the International Quidditch Pitch. Harry marshaled the males to set up the campsite while dispatching the girls with three large magically expanded and lightened buckets to collect water from the spigot. The other boys were surprised at how quickly and efficiently Harry organized them and had the camp set up. The walled sixteen by twenty four foot tent, included a camp kitchen that was on the leeward side of the tent and sheltered from the view of muggles. The tent also hid a large area that Harry figure could house a campfire circle or with some modifications a workout space. Once the girls got back from getting water he called them all into the tent.
"Okay, a couple quick announcements. As some, if not most, of you know I'm a somewhat paranoid S.O.B. So it won't come as a surprise that given my enemies I have something of a spy network built and in place. Just before we left I got word that Death Eaters are planning to create a rumpus here at the Q.W.C.. Yes, Susan, I gave your aunt what I had, which wasn't much. But since I'm nominally in charge of the safety of this group, I am telling you. One, I want you aware that the possibility exists so no one panics if something starts. Two, I'd like to get suggestions of things we can do to make sure we stay safe even if things do happen. Finally, I also want to make sure everyone knows each other, so I'll go around and introduce everyone and how they relate to me. I'll start with our adults. Most of you know the first one, Remus Lupin, from when he was our professor. The next is my godfather, Sirius Black. The third is my lovely and talented assistant Cassandra Yaxley. We will be joined, when her other duties allow, by Madame Amelia Bones.
"So, guys, trying to sneak into the girls' room: very bad idea."
Harry paused while the snickers died down. "Next are my teammates: Monty, Adrian, Ferris, and Charles we will be joined by Marcus later tonight and by Draco for tea tomorrow before the game. Friends that have chosen to join us are: Neville, Aaron, Blaise, Ernie, Michael, Hermione, Susan and Hannah. Tracey will be joining us for the game as well as tea before, and Daphne will just be here for tea. Saving the best for last is Zinnia," The house elf popped in. "Who's chief cook and bottle washer of this outfit, be nice or she may not feed you. I've seen the menu and it isn't something you want to miss." Zinnia blushed emerald and popped back out. "Most of us know each other at least a bit, so let's take advantage and get to know each other better. Now, I think I'll turn it our to our resident defense expert to start discussing our safety. Remus?"
Remus was a bit surprised, but he supposed he shouldn't be. "As most of you are underage, I'd say stay in groups and stay near one of us adults."
Cassandra spoke up. "For the record I am not a qualified adult where defense is concerned."
"Remus, are there any wards we can put on this tent to make it a minor fortress?" Harry asked.
Remus looked at Sirius. Sirius frowned thinking hard he had always been the ward expert of the marauders. "Maybe, we should also probably plan an escape route just to be on the safe side." Sirius said.
Harry's mirror buzzed. "Okay, you two work that out; I've got to get this."
Harry stepped into the adult room since both of the them were busy in the main room. "Madame Bones." he said calmly activating the mirror.
"Where did you get this and is it credible?"
"My assistant has a few clandestine functions she performs for me. One of those was building a network of informants for me. She believes the source to be a credible one. I trust her judgement."
"Then why are you and my niece at the Q.W.C.?"
"Because a life lived in fear, is a life half lived. Rest assured, Madame Bones, I am not taking our safety lightly. Remus is here and he has been the best defense professor Hogwarts has had since I've been attending there. Moments ago I informed everyone of what was in that note. We will be on our guard and even as we speak plans are being made to insure that this group, at least, will stay safe."
Amelia frowned. Lord Potter was right, but damn she hated the thought of Susan being in any kind of danger. With her increased budget she had more aurors in training than she'd had since the last war ended but they weren't ready. Most her forces were already on security at the Q.W.C. But maybe she could get a few more there if she put final year trainees with the aurors on duty elsewhere. And she could put Trainee Tonks with Susan when she herself wasn't there. "Is there room for one more person there, Lord Potter?"
"Yes, Madame, there is. I even have an extra ticket to the game."
"I'll be sending an Senior Auror Trainee to you, she'll be acting as personal security for Susan. Because I am DMLE Susan might be a priority target. I also will privately authorize you and your group of friends, if something starts feel free to fire spells back. I won't be able to live with myself if you can't defend yourselves. I'll take care of any underage magic warnings. BUT that is only if something starts."
"Understood, Madame. I promise to keep Susan safe for you."
"I'll come at tea, and bring Tonks with me then. And I'll keep this mirror on me, buzz me if anything starts."
"I'll let Zinnia know, and of course I'll let you know. I very much doubt anything will happen until after the game anyway."
"What makes you say that?"
"More people will be here. People will be off guard; half will probably be drunk, either from drowning their sorrows over losing or celebrating a win. Easier to start a bunch of chaos then. Anything else?"
"No." Amelia thought through his reasoning and figured he was probably right. "Thank you, Lord Potter."
Harry went back out.
Sirius sat at the table, parchment in hand working out the wards. The other boys were chatting in a desultory fashion and the Hufflepuff girls had drawn close to Hermione as if to hide their fears in the skirts of her Gryffindor brashness. Remus wasn't in the tent so Harry figured he was out scouting escape routes.
"Relax, guys. I just got off a mirror call with Madame Bones. She's sending a Senior Auror Trainee to us to provide a little extra security, and if trouble starts she told me she'd look the other way if we wind up defending ourselves. Plus she's carrying a companion mirror, if something starts there will be no delay in letting the DMLE know. It's not like we're defenseless. I mean, come on, we're all fit. Over half of us have at least some defensive training in martial arts, and I didn't come empty- handed. I brought some weapons." He went to the room he was sharing with the quidditch team and pulled out the beater bats he'd just bought, the bokken he and Neville knew how to use, and his shuriken sheath.
"But, Harry, it's Death Eaters." Hannah protested as he returned to the room.
"Yeah, what's your point? They are still people, Hannah. One person, or maybe a dozen. But how many people will be here, a fifty thousand? More? Even if half of them run away we still will outnumber the Death Eaters. My point is don't let fear rule you. Use your head, use what you know and what we have at hand and you'll be fine. Stick with the group; we'll watch each other's backs."
Harry's teammates thought about what he said and realized he was right. The beaters reached over and took two of the beater bats to examine them, nodding their thanks.
Sirius was surprised. Harry had just given this group of kids tools, most of them mental ones, for their own safety. His own inclination would have been not to tell these kids anything, and just put himself into a state of hyper-alertness. But with just a few words Harry had them more alert but not in a fearful way just a watchful one. That Bones would listen to a boy surprised him. He wondered what Harry had done that Madam Bones would give him that much credit.. He shook his head. "Harry, can I borrow your elf? I need some paint, to paint some runes on your tent here."
"Yes, Master Harry."
"Sirius here has an errand he needs you to run."
"What does Mr. Sirius need?" the elf asked.
Sirius wrote down what he needed. "Gautier's probably has all of this. Here's a draft to cover the cost with Gringotts, you'll need to fill in the amount."
"I bees right back." Zinnia took the list and popped out.
"So what will these wards do?" Harry asked his godfather.
"Well, in this situation I think Death Eaters may try to drive the crowd by using fire. So the first ward I'm putting on is a fire resistance ward. While most houses get them I don't know of anyone who has ever put them on a temporary structure like a tent before. I can almost guarantee this tent won't burn with anything less than a fiendfyre. Next if a crowd the size of this one panics and starts running it's a lot like a herd of stampeding hippogryphs. They can do a lot of damage through a stampede. In this a walled tent, like this one, is a big advantage. Was there a reason you chose this tent?"
"Two actually, I told Cassandra I wanted a tent big enough to house twenty four comfortably that would go unnoticed in the muggle world. She looked at muggle shops first so she knew what to look for, then found this one at the tent dealer's in Diagon Alley. He was thrilled to get rid of it. It wasn't magical enough for most wizards."
"It works to our advantage because by activating this second rune ward the walls will become hard like a wattle and daub house."
"I'm impressed. That should do a lot to protect us as compared to most tents." The other teens, overhearing Harry's comment, seemed to relax a bit an broke into groups to settle into the rooms.
"I have to say, Bambi, I'm pretty impressed as well. With a few words you had this group of kids in a mindset that will do a lot to protect them in a worst case scenario."
"Yes, well, they know me, and for some reason trust me to look after them. I'll reimburse you-"
"No need, it's my privilege and my pleasure to do this as your godfather. I thought about adding a ward that would keep all but our group out, but I didn't think I could get it to work."
"Hmm...Could we create a perimeter with something and just not activate it unless it's needed?"
Sirius thought hard. "Maybe. I'll think some more."
Harry left him and spent the next ten minutes or so getting his friends to relax and settle in. Then he put on the WWN and he and Neville started an impromptu dance party after moving the main room's furniture around to create a large enough space.
Forty minutes later everyone had flung themselves down into chairs to catch their breath. Zinnia moved among them with a tray stocked with cokes, butterbeer, lemonade and ice water. And with a snap of her fingers the table and benches were back in place. After everyone had a drink she came around with a tray of canapes, and biscuits.
"That was fun." Hermione declared. "So what other entertainment do you have planned for us, Harry?"
"Well, I got Cassandra to get an assortment of games both magical and muggle so we will have those to play this evening. I figure that between now and tea, we can go walk around, see what the various vendors have for sale, see who all is here that we know, that kind of thing."
"And for tomorrow?"
"Tomorrow morning I have a Twister tournament planned. Followed by another walk around then I figure we'll come back have lunch take a nap so we're rested for the game. Then games again until tea. Then of course the main event. After the game and a good rest, I was thinking we could do another dance party and just kick back. Do whatever we decide to do as a group."
"Throw in a workout or two and I'll be entertained." said Blaise. "I've missed the group workouts, sad though that is to say."
Remus, who had watched the last five minutes of the dance party was amused by the tone Harry set for the group. He said. "After tea tonight I want to add a drill where we practice getting from this tent to the woods and for us to establish a meeting point there in case we get separated, as well as go over general security procedures for the group."
"Sounds good." Harry agreed.
Madame Bones arrived a couple hours later trailed by the senior trainee she was leaving with Susan. She was somewhat surprised that Harry took her through what he'd told his fellow students, what protections had been placed on the tent and what plans were in place in the event of an attack. She knew Sirius before his incarceration and as things were shown to her she felt the worst of her concerns for Susan's safety falling away.
Sirius mentioned trying to come up with a ward he used to know that would protect the tent and the kids even more. He was frustrated he was having trouble remembering it. Amelia couldn't help but think that there lay one more bad thing to blame on Azkaban.
Tonks had been very surprised when Madame Bones had come and given a briefing to the the Senior Trainees shortly after lunch. She and her fellow auror trainees had been surprised that they would be getting a chance to act as full aurors before their training was finished, most would be paired with an on duty auror in places like Hogsmeade, Diagon Alley, and the Ministry. Only Tonks had asked, "Why?"
The answer had been,"We have received a credible report that some Death Eaters intend to start something at the Q.W.C. Therefore I'm pulling more experienced aurors for that location. At the same time I can't leave other areas undefended. Trainer Dalton has your duty assignments. Trainee Tonks come with me.
"Am I in trouble?"
"No, I have a special assignment for you. As you know, you're the only woman in your training group, I am picking you for this duty because of that fact."
After Tonks followed Madame Bones from the briefing room to her office, she was told, "My niece, the next Lady of the Bones family, is at the Q.W.C. I can't justify putting a full auror on her for security when they may be needed elsewhere, but I can put you there. Go home get three days' worth of clothes, including one semi nice outfit, and meet me back here in half an hour."
So now Tonks was here in a tent with her cousin, and a bunch of teens. She watched as the group got a security briefing from one of the hottest guys she'd ever seen. It was impressive, perimeter alert wards, active wards that would protect the tent from fire and limited physical damage, and wards that would lock down the tent when they were away from it, an escape plan and a rendezvous point. For a bunch of civilians the group was security conscious. If everyone were like this the aurors would barely have any work to do. She noted that when they left the tent most the boys carried something that could be used as a weapon in addition to their wands. Beater bats being the most popular choice. Harry Potter and Neville Longbottom both carried long swordlike sticks and Harry was actually carrying throwing stars. It was clear they weren't taking the threat lightly. She was going to like this duty. So far the food was to die for, she was going to get to attend the Q.W.C. and it seemed that everyone she was with was clued into security. It was brilliant.
That evening was fun they played a couple wizarding games before Harry pulled out a muggle game called Werewolves of Miller's Hollow. The next two hours were hilarious as the group were dealt role cards and they began the rounds of elimination trying to find which people had been dealt werewolf cards before all the villagers died. Harry played the moderator's role with panache, displaying a gift for storytelling and keeping the game on track. At the end of the first game the villagers won but only two villagers were left. Everyone was laughing about some of the defenses people used during the game. Zinnia came in with hot chocolate and biscuits.
Ferris said, "That was amazingly fun, Potter. You say this is a muggle game."
"Yes. Werewolves don't hold quite the same fright factor for muggles that they do for magicals. The part of me that was raised in the muggle world doesn't really get it either. I mean think about it. Yes, on the night of the full moon a person who is a werewolf is a danger to themselves and others. But what about the rest of the month? They are still people with the same feelings and needs as everyone else. I mean sure, there are some werewolves that are evil because they don't care if they hurt someone, but should all werewolves be painted with the same brush. There are some that are good people but they get a bad reputation and penalized for the person they are one night out of twenty eight, doesn't seem fair to me."
Most the people in the tent frowned because they had never thought of it that way. They all knew Professor Lupin was a good person and they all knew that he had been dismissed from Hogwarts post because he was a werewolf.
Remus felt touched he hadn't done much for Harry but here he was trying to make others see the wrongness of how werewolves got treated. Remus felt a trickle of acceptance that he never thought he would get from Harry after his many mistakes and wondered if it was real.
Aaron felt the introspection had gone on long enough. "Next game!"
Harry grinned. "Okay, Uno or Pictionary?"
It was almost eight the next morning and Madame Bones had already left, when people started rolling out of bed. Games last night had gone on until the wee hours of the morning. Harry sipped the tea Zinnia gave him before pulling the cadre together for a workout. Tonks, Remus, and Sirius were surprised to see the teens pulling on sneakers and stretching out. "What's going on?"
"Workout." Blaise muttered.
The Slytherin quidditch team stuck their heads out of their room.
"Hi, guys, care to join us?" Harry cheerfully asked.
"Wha' for?" Ferris asked.
"My version of a conditioning workout." Harry said.
Their eyes widened. It was fully accepted by Harry's teammates that Harry was by far the fittest member of the team, it was also widely accepted in the Slytherin dorm that he was slightly insane. "No thanks," most of them said before heading back into their room for more sleep.
Marcus, however, had been told if he increased his fitness level he might get playing time sooner by the coach of the Bats. So he said, "I'm game."
Remus said, "I'll stay here, and guard the fort." He grinned at Sirius and Tonks and said, "Have fun."
Tonks and Sirius put on their own trainers. Sirius thought he'd be fine. Paige had made working out a part of his recovery. Tonks had physical training as part of her auror training, so she figured she'd be good as well.
Harry started them on a run, looping around three of the fields three times. Aaron was the only cadre member who didn't do all three loops, and even he did two. Marcus, Sirius and Tonks wished they had only done two. To their surprise when they got back to the campsite the teens still weren't done. The teens, including Aaron, went through a tai chi workout of roughly thirty forms. After requesting the adults cast some cushioning charms on the ground, they sparred in pairs for almost twenty minutes. Harry, who had been supervising the spar for the most part, smiled and said, "Good job, I can tell you haven't slacked off this summer."
Michael smiled back and said, "Knowing what we would be coming back to in September? None of us would dare. How far do you think we ran?"
"I estimate each loop at about 2k." Harry answered.
Hermione groaned, "It's a good thing my mum doesn't know that I can run that far or she'd be entering us in the New Year's Run. It's 10k. Six is more than enough."
Ernie, Susan, and Hannah all razzed her, "Just because you would rather sit and read..."
"Can we have breakfast now?" Neville half whined.
"Yes, Nev. We can have breakfast." Harry snickered.
As they entered the tent they were hit with the wonderful sight and smells of corned beef hash, eggs, grilled sausages, grilled tomatoes, english muffins, belgian waffles, bran muffins, strawberries, pineapple, blueberries, toast, coffee, tea, milk and juice. They dove into the food with gusto.
Michael groaned as he finished. "Harry, you may be a harsh taskmaster, but for a reward like this, I am not complaining."
Zinnia, who was in and starting to clear, blushed.
"Indeed compliments to the chef." Harry said.
"Hear, hear." was said by most everyone.
"So who's ready for Twister?" Harry asked, his eyes twinkling madly.
Hermione groaned. "Harry, I just ate."
"Just joking. I figure we kick back for an hour or so. That should give everyone a chance to clean up. Then Twister, I figured single elimination tournament style with the winner getting ten galleons to spend. This morning's workout changed the schedule slightly instead of a walkabout this morning we'll do a sightly early lunch then walkabout until three or four, followed by a rest. The rest of our guests are to arrive for tea at half seven, if that meets with everyone's approval."
"So, Harry, what exactly is Twister?" Aaron asked.
"I bet it's a muggle game." Adrian said.
"You would be correct, but it can be pretty funny and fun." Hermione said.
Later as Sirius, Remus and Tonks watched the teens and Cassandra playing the game, they talked softly .
"So, what's your impression, Padfoot?"
"These kids are easily more impressive than we were. James would be bursting his buttons."
"What makes you say that?"
"I thought I was pretty fit but I gotta tell you, Moony, that workout this morning showed me the difference between being fit and being an athlete. Those kids are athletes."
"No kidding. I'm glad my trainer at the auror corps and Amelia didn't see that or I would be in the doghouse with my fellow trainees."
"What makes you say that?"
"I was feeling like a wet noodle when we got back from that run but then those kids did the rest of that stuff. Amelia is always saying those of us in the corps have got to be fitter than any wizard or witch out there or how are we supposed to catch the bad ones. If those kids are half as smart as they are fit they'd be shoo-ins for the corps."
Remus smirked. "They are. They study together and all of the ones Harry's age are in the top quarter of their year. Harry and Neville even passed their government test the first time they took it."
"Cor, you're joshing me, right?"
"Nope. I got it out of Cassandra." Remus said.
"Dang, I took it like three times. I got 80, 87, and 92 respectively."
"James and Frank would definitely be proud." Sirius sighed as he sipped on the tea Zinnia brought him. "What blows me away, is the way Harry is such a leader. He is in front when he needs to be, but he always seems to know instinctively when he needs to be supporting from behind."
"No kidding, I never would have pegged Slytherins for being open to playing a muggle game, but look at them. They're having a blast, and they way they just accept the presence of Hermione Granger..." Tonks trailed off.
Remus smirked. "I was a bit curious about that myself so I asked Aaron about it this morning while you lot were doing the third lap. Apparently when Harry was a firstie he made his feelings about pureblood prejudice quite clear by taking on the most vocal and powerful proponents of it in the house and effectively gutting them, regardless of size or power. As result even the Slytherins who believe in it are extremely hesitant to mention it in Harry's hearing. The kids here are his friends or at least his teammates. They know how he feels about it and can see for themselves it's malarkey."
"I'm really glad he gave me another chance."
"Me too, Padfoot."
Harry made it to the semifinals in Twister. He lost to Blaise. Neville who had been a bit of a dark horse until the semis, lost to Hannah. Harry teased him about being distracted by Hannah's charms, which set both of them to blushing. So now everyone was watching the final round.
Aaron announced the first move. Aaron had been in charge of the spinner throughout the game because it was a way to include him in the actual play, since Harry judged his participation as dangerous because of his bone condition. Aaron hadn't minded once Harry explained to him. "Left foot green. Right hand blue. Left hand blue. Left foot yellow. Right foot green."
The contortions grew as the changes continued. Blaise found himself embarrassed when the changes gradually had him half wrapped around Hannah who was equally embarrassed. Both of them had great strength and balance thanks to the cadre's workouts, but finally the inevitable happened Blaise crumpled when attempting to get his left foot to the yellow taking Hannah down with him. Harry laughed as he handed a red-cheeked Hannah her prize.
There was much laughter and joking as they sat down to a lunch of pizza, green salad, and fruit. Pizza was a new food to many of them, but that didn't stop them from polishing off twelve twelve inch pizzas.
After their lunch had a chance to settle, they set out. They saw several people the knew. Cedric Diggory of Hufflepuff was in a tent just a couple rows from their own. They saw Cho Chang of Ravenclaw. As they continued to walk around they saw groups from all around the world. There were wizards from Africa, United States, Peru, Brazil, and India and those were just the countries they recognized. They took their time making the rounds and examining the stalls of the vendors. Harry found a bead necklace and earring set paired with bangle bracelets that he thought Luna would like at an Indian vendor's table and was starting to bargain when they heard a voice call. "Harry! Blaise!Aaron!"
Most the group spun around. "Tracey! And Daphne!"
"It's so good to see you.!" Daphne came forward and embraced the female members of the cadre, then she stopped short of doing the same for the boys. She was followed by Tracey, who was less restrained and just hugged everyone.
Daphne introduced the boy who was with them."Everyone this is Giles. He attends Beauxbatons. Giles these are my friends: Susan Bones, Hannah Abbot, Hermione Granger, Neville Longbottom, Michael Corner, Ernie MacMillian, Aaron Yaxley, Blaise Zabini, and Harry Potter."
"A pleasure." Giles' S gave away his French origin by sounding more like a Z. "And the others?"
"They are my house's quidditch team: Adrian Puccey, Clarence Montague, Ferris Urquhart, and Charles Warrington. They are Harry's friends and teammates, I don't know them very well. I assume the adults that are with them are acting as guardians for the group but I've no idea who they are." Daphne told him.
"Care to stroll with us then?" Harry asked.
Harry smirked when Daphne pouted cutely and gave puppy dog eyes to her affianced."S'il te plait, Giles!"
"If it pleases you, ma petite."
Harry turned and finished making his bargain.
"Where is Luna?" Tracey asked.
"Sweden, she's gone creature hunting with her father." Harry answered. "She'll be back next week."
The group walked around at one point they ran into a group of Giles' schoolmates. They bought omniocculars for the game and other game related souvenirs. Harry also picked up various trinkets for birthdays and Christmas for his friends. He thought the almost world market attitude here was fun. As they strolled, Harry told Daphne and Tracey about the warning they had and suggested when they went back that they make sure their families were prepared. In a way Harry felt bad, because he wished everyone at the Q.W.C. could be warned. However he'd notified the authorities and his friends beyond that it was not his responsibility. When they got back to the tents where Daphne, Tracey, and Giles were staying, Harry extended an invitation to Giles' family to join them for tea as well.
They ran into Ron, Fred and George Weasley, but other than nods of acknowledgement they didn't talk. Had Ron and Harry been alone they might have, but not in a group setting. Neville strayed from the group long enough to tell Ron to warn his family about the potential pending attack but like Harry he acknowledged the limitations of what they could do.
The group returned to the tent and settled down for a two to three hour siesta. Harry was the first to rise from his nap. He checked on the meal preparation with Zinnia only to be shooed away. Tea was going to be served more cocktail style so he had Remus and Sirius help him by transfiguring the long table into twelve small, taller tables and the benches into taller stool type chairs. Cassandra was putting tablecloths on the tables and changing the tone of the tent's main room from dorm casual, to something a lot more elegant. The instructions/ invitations Harry had sent out had indicated that this tea was going to be a bit dressy, but still a casual occasion. Harry smiled when Hermione emerged from the girls room wearing a light floral chiffon summer dress. Its only nod to wizarding fashion was its tea length hem. Harry was wearing chinos, a button up shirt, and a navy blazer.
Hermione got her first look at the changes to the room and at the food on the serving table and said, "Wow!"
Harry smiled. Cassandra and Zinnia had definitely put the wow factor into tonight's menu. It featured cuisines from around the world all put out in a tasting style display. Four salads, eight appetizers, two soups, five miniature entrees, and half a dozen desserts. All put out in a convenient format to aid in a social, moving group to group, sort of meal. There were three types of tea in addition to coke, butterbeer, lemonade and water to drink. Harry figured the only way someone would be hungry at the end was if they refused to try new things and even then it would be hard.
The rest of the tent's occupants drifted from their rooms and were likewise impressed. Everyone had started to hit the serving table when the first of the non resident guests appeared. Harry made a point of greeting Giles' family in French. Giles' mother responded, "Parlez-vous francais, Monsuier Potter?"
"Un peu, Madame, un peu." (A little bit, ma'am, a little bit)
About then Draco showed up with his mother in tow. Harry moved on to greet this next set of guests.
"Draco, so glad you could make it."
"Thank you for inviting me. As you can see I brought my mother with me. Mother may I present our host, Lord Harry Potter. Harry, this is my mother, Narcissa Malfoy."
"Mrs. Malfoy, a pleasure to meet you. As you both can see the tea is a sort of serve yourself and socialize sort of affair. Be welcome and enjoy."
Narcissa Malfoy wasn't sure what she'd been expecting. When Draco had begged to be allowed to come and have tea with his teammates instead of attending the dinner the Parkinsons were giving, Lucius had frowned, especially when he heard Potter was hosting. But Narcissa disliked Violetta Parkinson, so she persuaded Lucius to allow her to escort Draco to this party. She still wanted to thank Lord Potter for rescuing her son from that filthy man. To get here and find both her cousin and her niece here was sort of surprising. The food and the format of this party was unlike anything she had ever been to before, but she had to admit it suited the venue and the company perfectly. The Greengrasses were very acceptable company as were the de Vereignes. Lord Potter seemed the consummate host talking to all his guests and smoothly moving from group to group. She estimated that he would approach her and Draco again within five minutes. At almost exactly five minutes he approached.
"Draco, Mrs. Malfoy, is everything agreeable for you?"
"Indeed, Lord Potter. Everything is much better than I expected. Thank you for inviting us. I must say I think I got the better end of the bargain. My husband is at another party you see, and it fell to me to escort Draco this evening."
"Well, his loss is our gain, having a beautiful woman such as yourself joining us makes our evening brighter. And please call me Harry, Lord Potter sounds so stuffy"
Narcissa couldn't help it she chuckled, "Harry, you are a flatterer." She semi-scolded in a scandalized tone. "You must tell me about these dishes we're eating tonight."
"I know what some of them are, but I left the planning of tonight to my assistant and to my chief cook Zinnia. How about I introduce you, and Cassandra can tell you what you want to know."
"Mother, may I..?"
"Yes, Draco, you may go discuss quidditch with your teammates."
After Draco was out of earshot, Narcissa took her chance, "I want to thank you."
"For the invitation? No need, Draco is my teammate."
"No, for helping my son, when you had no reason to, against that monster."
Harry's emerald eyes snapped to hers and glittered coldly. "No thanks are needed there either, Mrs. Malfoy. I was merely doing the right thing. It cost me nothing and it needed doing."
"Perhaps, but I've noticed a positive change in my son since that time and I know you've been roommates. Your influence has been beneficial. Draco has been less spoiled and more responsible, and even if my husband doesn't appreciate it, I do."
About then they got to Cassandra, Harry spoke smoothly, "Mrs. Malfoy, may I present Cassandra Yaxley, my assistant, and the one woman in my life I couldn't do without. Cassandra, this is Mrs. Malfoy. Mrs. Malfoy was asking me about the menu."
"Harry, you need to stop trying to butter me up, or one day that silver tongue of yours will get you in trouble. " Cassandra softened the scold with a fond smile. She turned to Mrs. Malfoy, " It's nice to make your acquaintance. The menu is a bunch of different things from all over the world. It's an up and coming trend for a party like this, to just have a few bites, or tastes, of various foods." She lead the way over to the table. Harry followed because he wanted more to eat. "The salads are: a caprese salad, a honey mustard salad with greens, asparagus, baby beets, goat cheese and pralines, asian slaw, and a Moroccan carrot and raisin salad with rose water. The soups are: vegetable bisque, and miso. The appetizers are: spanakopita, portabella napoleons, goat cheese with fig sauce on rye, vegetable samosas, california roll, oni-guri, shrimp with mango salsa, and buffalo wings with ranch dip. The entrees are: florentine quiche, a lamb chop with a scoop of tabouleh and cucumber mint sauce, chicken satay skewer with rice and steamed vegetables and peanut sauce, mini american hamburgers also known as sliders, and american chili. Last are the desserts which are: tropical fruit salad, white chocolate mouse, key lime delights, carrot cake bites, strawberry shortcake trifles, and mini apple crostas."
"It's an original menu, with a unique and appealing display, Miss Yaxley. Have you worked for Lord Potter long?"
"Since I graduated from Hogwarts."
"And is he a good employer?"
Harry who had just taken a large bite of a lamb chop blushed at Cassandra's praise. He left to join his teammates in discussing tonight's match. Shortly after eight the guests that had just come for tea left after thanking their host. Tracey stayed since her seat at the upcoming match was with Harry's group.
"So did everyone eat enough?" Harry asked.
Sirius grinned. "I think you'll have to roll me to the match."
"Me, too." Came from most of Harry's teammates and the boys of the cadre.
"A lot of that food was strange, but it was really good, Harry." Hannah stated.
"Indeed unique." Amelia Bones stated.
Everyone returned to their rooms to change into more casual and warmer clothes before heading to the pitch. Since the students had to leave their weapons behind, the adults were glad that Amelia was with them and provided an extra wand.
Harry smiled as the announcer's voice echoed, "Ladies and Gentlemen...welcome! Welcome to the final of the four hundred and twenty-second Quidditch World Cup!" He cheerfully joined in the noise the crowd was making. The Bulgarian team mascots had all the males in their group standing up at attention, that was, until Tonks fired off a series of sticking charms making sure they stayed in their seats.
The leprechauns put on a much more welcome display, at least until Marcus reminded them that leprechaun gold faded after a few hours.
Harry waited impatiently while the teams and officials were announced. Finally the moment he'd been waiting for came. Harry wanted to gage his abilities as a seeker as compared to international standard players, so he alternated between watching the seekers' antics and scanning for the snitch. He kept an ear on what was being announced in terms of game action. He couldn't help but wince the time Krum ploughed Lynch. But he also couldn't help but be aware of how the Irish team was dominating the pitch. He realized how foolish he and the other guys had been when the veela that were the Bulgarian team's mascots distracted the official. Inwardly he vowed never to be caught in their allure again. He winced in sympathy when Krum got hit in the face by a bludger fired by the Irish beater Quigley. Finally Harry and the Irish Seeker spotted the snitch. Krum couldn't have been more than a second behind. Harry honestly thought the Irish seeker would get the snitch, but apparently Krum wanted it that smidgeon more than the Irishman because a quarter-second later he had it. It was a surprise finish to the Quidditch World Cup. The Announcer's voice echoed "IRELAND WINS! KRUM GETS THE SNITCH- BUT IRELAND WINS- Good Lord, I don't think any of us were expecting that!"
"Why did he do that?" Susan asked. "Ireland was a hundred sixty points up."
Hermione answered her. "He knew they wouldn't catch up, that the Irish were too good. It was brave of him. He looks a terrible mess, doesn't he."
Most everyone agreed and gathered their belongings as the announcer said. "Let's have a really loud hand for the gallant losers-Bulgaria!" They looked towards the top box where the award ceremony was happening. Harry cheered loudly when they showed Krum, and again when the Irish National team raised the trophy.