If at First
Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter or affiliated characters, places, and things. They all belong to J.K. Rowling and affiliated companies. Also any information from Pottermore is the property of JK Rowling and Sony. This particular plot is mine however. And to make it seem more cohesive to the original stories I am using some of the lines from them, but they are not my material. They came for the excellent mind of their owner.
A/N: Thanks for all the reviews, and about Susan's parents I had a small bran fart about them being dead, so since I have regained my senses I am keeping them as it would take too long to take them out.
A/N2: Sorry I haven't updated in a while, but my grandfathers just passed away and I will be moving out of the house at some point so I've been holding off on writing. I hope I will be able to get back up and running soon. Cheers!
Chapter Ten: Breaking News
Harry kept looking over his shoulder at Hermione who looked less than pleased that she now owned a house elf. She kept scowling at him though he didn't know if that was due to owning a house elf or what they had learned from Mrs. Greengrass about Barty Crouch Sr. In either event he knew that he was in for an ear splitting argument within the next day or two- scratch that the next few hours. Harry could hear it now.
"How could you do this to me Harry," Hermione's voice wailed in his head. "I can't believe you did this to me. I am now the owner of a slave! This is rich, really rich Harry!"
Yep that something she would say. All though maybe he could convince her to change from freedom of the elves to the improvement of their conditions; after all they did want to serve. It just so happened that they wanted to work for people, for free of course.
"HARRY, ARE YOU LISTENING?!" snapped Hermione.
Harry looked around the tent. Mrs. Greengrass was shaking her head in disapproval about something. Mr. Weasley was smiling as though Harry had just stepped in something rather foul. While Sirius and Kyle were laughing hysterically, and his other friends and girlfriend were giggling and chuckling at his expense.
"Uh, not really." Harry said sheepishly.
"HARRY JAMES POTTER BECAUSE OF YOU I AM NOW PART OF A BROKEN SYSTEM THAT ENSLAVES AN ENTIRE RACE! To be honest I shouldn't be surprised at all about this. You've always done things without thinking them through first, furthermore how am I supposed to explain this to my parents?!" Hermione seethed with anger.
"With tender love, affections, and care?" the smile on Harry's face deceived no one.
"Hermione it's not slavery if they want to serve, and a majority of house-elves want to serve, and remember what my mum said." Daphne said in protest.
Hermione sighed. "I remember, but you have to understand in today's societies such a thing isn't done anymore… well within most civilized societies anyway."
"Hermione they want to serve, and not everyone treats them like shite." Tracey said cuddling up to Susan.
"Language Tracey!" chided the more mannerly of the women in the tent.
"What it fit the situation," Tracey said calmly. "Besides I am no worse than Sirius."
"Nice deflection Spots, but I have no desire to get involved in this argument." Padfoot said through snippets of laughter.
It didn't take long for them all to start feeling tiered, and they were ushered off to bed. As they went their separate ways Harry and Daphne gave each other a kiss goodnight. As Harry drifted off to sleep his thoughts were on the girl in the other tent that held his heart and mind. When Harry awoke the next morning Mr. Weasley and Sirius were ushering the boys out of the tents. All four tents were packed up magically, and they made their way to take an early Portkey back to Stoatshead Hill. Along the way they saw Mr. Roberts talking with a member of the Ministry about what had happened last night. Harry just caught the tail end of the conversations. "So my daughter won't be like those monsters?"
"No Mr. Roberts she won't. Those people in black robes were the worst of our kind, and those not in black robes and mask were just drunk." A woman with an Auror badge explained.
At the look of concern on Harry's face Mr. Weasley told him not to worry that everything would be fine, and that if need be there were place the little girl could stay if her parents didn't want her around. The Portkey area was crowded with people trying to get back home, and they managed to get an old cardboard box back to Stoatshead Hill. The walk back to the Burrow was a quiet one with everyone sticking closer together than normal. Susan and Tracey were holding hands and walking rather briskly at the moment. Just like last time Mrs. Weasley ran up to them engulfing Mr. Weasley in a hug and then jumping over to the twins in a dual hug slamming their heads into each other.
"Ouch! Mum- you're strangling us-"
"I shouted at you before you left!" Mrs. Weasley sobbed a little. "It's all I've been thinking about. What if You-Know-Who had got you, and the last thing I ever said to you was that you didn't get enough O.W.L.s? Oh Fred… George…"
Harry had to bite back a laugh as Fred and George rubbed the side of their heads as their father dragged their mum back to the Burrow. Once inside Mr. Weasley asked Charlie to get his mum some tea. Hermione brought Mrs. Weasley the tea Charlie made, into which Mr. Weasley insisted on pouring a shot of Ogdins Old Firewhiskey. Bill then handed his father the news paper.
"I knew it," said Mr. Weasley heavily, "Ministry blunders…culprits not apprehended…lax security…young witch put in mortal danger…national disgrace… Who wrote this? Ah of course… Rita Skeeter."
"That woman's got it in for the Ministry of Magic!" said Percy furiously. "Last week she said that we were wasting our time quibbling about cauldron bottoms when we should be stamping out vampires. As if it wasn't specifically statedin paragraph twelve of the Guidelines of the Treatment of Non-Wizard Part-Humans-"
"Do us a favor Perce," said Bill yawning, "and shut up."
Harry took this time to chat with Daphne and drowned out the chatter about the rest of article. When Mr. Weasley stood up and went to put on his robes before heading off to the Ministry. Percy followed after finishing his cup of tea. Given the look his friends were giving him he thought it best to finally tell them what was going on.
"I'm going to put my things up want to join me Marauders?" Harry asked.
"Marauders?" asked Mrs. Weasley.
"Yes that would be me, Hermione, Daphne, Tracey, and Susan." Harry said while waving off Mrs. Weasley's concerns. She gave them a look like she would normally give the twins. "Don't worry Mrs. Weasley we will stay out of trouble, promise." He smiled at her.
"I remember Sirius and your father using that name." she said coolly. "Don't act like Sirius please?"
"I won't ma'am." Harry said as he led them upstairs. He was still holding Daphne's hand as he walked up the stairs. Once inside Ron's old room he turned to them. "So let me guess you want to know what's going on?"
"No Harry, we want to have mind numbing sex." Tracey replied as she closed the door.
"Tracey!" Hermione, Daphne, and Susan said as one.
"What it's not like the idea hasn't crossed his mind." She pointed at Harry. "Besides I think he knows what we want to know any way."
"Well I think I might, but unless you tell me I wouldn't know for certain." Harry could feel a smile tugging on his face.
Daphne grabbed a pillow and threw it at him. "Prat, what is going on at Hogwarts and who cast the Dark Mark?"
"Well the first is easy to answer. They are restarting the Triwizard Tournament this year."
"You've got to be kidding!" Daphne, Hermione, and Susan said as one.
"Nope," he smiled over at his girlfriend. "As for the Dark Mark it was Barty Crouch Jr., and no I don't want to turn him in as that might put someone else's life in danger."
"But why not, my aunt could put an end to it quickly." Susan said curtly.
"It would alter all the events in the future so much that there would be no way I could help save as many lives as I would like to save." Harry looked over at Hermione. "My last time through last year Professor Trelawney gave a prediction, she went into a trance and gave a prophecy about Voldemort's return."
"You mean she was telling the truth?" Hermione asked bewildered.
"Yes she was. Most of the time she is just spitting out rubbish, but when she really has a vision you'd know it. She will never remember giving it though so don't bother asking her about them." Harry looked at Daphne. "Even though there will be an age restriction of seventeen for the Tournament I will be entered against my will. And if it all goes the way it did last time Voldemort will return to full power by the end of June."
The room fell silent. Everyone in the room looked at one another. Tracey and Susan wrapped their arms around one another. Daphne hugged Harry tightly as well. Hermione looked lost in thought probably trying to figure ways that Voldemort could return to life. Harry wanted to tell her what he had seen, but he figured she'd want to know more. After a while Tracey looked over at him.
"You know you tell us all these horrifying things, but you never tell us anything that might help us in the important things. Like the test at school." Tracey said curtly.
Everyone snickered about this. Conversation turned to things that were a little bit less terrifying. Daphne and Tracey wanted to prank Draco senseless now that they had mastered their animagus forms. They had been learning from Sirius ways to prank people in there animagus forms. In fact if they weren't pranking Sirius in their normal forms they had been pranking him as animals. The funniest one that they had done was Hermione hiding under a lid that Sirius had been told a cake resided. The only thing that stopped Sirius from cursing her was Harry disarming him the moment he lifted the lid. Of course the revenge prank had left Harry wearing Hermione's clothes and vice versa. Daphne, Susan, and Tracey laughed historically at this.
"I say that now that Ronald is a Malfoy we can add him to the pranking as well." Tracey said with a grin crawling across her face.
"How are we going to do that? He isn't even at Hogwarts anymore." Daphne said.
"We could always mail it to him." Hermione said curtly. "I just can't believe that he moved in with the Malfoys."
"I can." Harry reflected back on the note John had given him last year. 2 May 1998. He didn't understand the importance of that date, but whatever was coming up would define the life the Weasleys would be forced to live because of the choices Ronald has made. "You once told me he was jealous of my fame, and he was. Given that I have a larger growing group of friends this problem must be steroidal at the moment."
"Steroidal?" asked Daphne.
"They are performance enhancing drug taken by corrupt professional athletes in the muggle world. I would say that if professional qudditch players knew about them you would have the same problem muggles do."
"So they are like the strength enhancing potions banned for qudditch play?" Susan asked.
"Yes, but unlike those potions steroids carry long term side effects beyond uncontrollable anger." Hermione said matter of factly.
"Back to Ronald's prank please." Daphne said. "I say we send him a tarantula charmed to grow once the present is opened."
"Isn't that a repeat of Web's gift?" Susan asked.
"Yes, but I have plans for it. We could do it as a gift from a long time 'fan girl'." Daphne said with a smile. "You know what would be funny is that Tori's animagus form is that of a spider."
"That would be funny." Tracey said with a grin. "She might be able to crawl up Ginny's leg at that point."
"Tracey!" Daphne yelled. "Stop trying to make my sister play for the other team!"
"I am doing no such thing." Tracey lightly touched her chest. "I am just telling you what I see. She is smitten with the red-headed tiger."
"I think she just doesn't want to think of her sister romantically involved with anyone at the moment." Harry said with a smile.
Everyone started laughing as Harry tried to doge another pillow.
Ron and Draco were laughing hysterically at the Daily Prophet's accounting of the events at the World Cup. Ron in particular was laughing at the way his former father's name wasn't even used. He was hidden within the crowd that asked about the Dark Mark hopping that it had actually been the Dark Lord.
Ron had lost a three galleon bet with Draco about that too. Just thinking about the Weasley senior made brought to mind Potter. Just the mere thought of the arrogant prat was enough to make his blood boil.
"Thinking about Potter again Ronald?" Draco asked.
"Yeah, and I can't wait to see the look on his face when I show up to school in a couple of weeks." Ron said coldly.
"Who says we have to wait till we get to the castle. I always try to get under his skin on the train." Draco started smiling at this point. "We could also hit on Greengrass while we're at it."
"I've always wondered why you did that."
"I wanted to turn him into an ally originally like Crabbe and Goyle, but you prevented that. Now I do it to annoy him, and hopefully he does something stupid enough to get himself expelled like he did in second year."
"If it had been up to Professor Snape he would have been you know." Ronald said as he took a drink of some elderberry wine.
"I know Professor Snape said as much, but McGonagall is his head of house so he wasn't able to." Draco snarled. "That bint has been a thorn in my side since I started school. I still can't believe she expects me to do my own work!"
"That's the one thing I will miss, getting that mudblood Granger to do my homework." Ron said laughing. "What do you think Ms. Beaver-teeth will say when she sees me?"
Draco started to talk like Granger. "Ronald do you honestly think your better than me now? Just wait until I tell your mum what you've done."
"Yep that sounds like her alright." Ron said between chuckles. "Wonder if she'll ever resort to magic to fix that little problem of hers."
"I doubt it. Mud-bloods are set in their barbaric ways, and will never change." Draco took his last sip of elderberry wine. "Come on we have to be up early tomorrow for a meeting with Dad about you getting your mark when the Dark Lord returns."
"That's right. I regret not being able to enjoy the fun they were having last night." Ron said he took on last drink of wine.
"Don't worry the moment you take your mark you will be a part of it all."
The Marauders ran into Kings Cross shielding their animals as best they could. Hedwig looked more annoyed than Crookshanks. Mr. Weasley like last time went in earlier to work to help 'Mad-Eye Moody' stay out of Azkaban. As they made their way to the train Harry wondered if they would be seeing Ronald today. They got on the train towards the back, and as the got on Harry noticed a strawberry blond climbing on the train. He could tell it was a guy, but he was too far away to tell if it was Ronald. The group found an empty compartment, and they started putting up their trunks. Fred and George went off to join their friends. Tori and Ginny walked to do their own thing. Harry smiled as he watched Tori inch her way closer to Ginny. He walked back to say goodbye to the Weasleys and Sirius. The twins tried to get their mum to tell them what was going on, and when Sirius tried to tell them Mrs. Weasley just stomped on his foot.
"Alright Harry what is going on this year?" Fred asked.
"Well they are canceling quidditch." Harry said.
"WHAT?!" screamed Fred and George.
"They are going to be doing the Triwizard Tournament again, and that will be held at Hogwarts so…"
"We can enter?" asked George.
"I don't know. See you guys." Harry started walking back to the Marauder compartment. Lucky was staring at him.
"What took you so long?" asked Daphne.
"The twins wanted to know what was going on this year. I don't want to change everything." Harry sat down next to Lucky and put his arm around her. "So have we decided on our first official prank?"
"Well we already declared it to be Draco." Tracey looked dejected.
"I'm not saying we change anything," Harry looked at his friends, "but I think we could add someone to them."
"Ron." Everyone said together.