The garden of the Burrow was alive with chatter and laughter. Fairy lights floated in the air above the table as all the Potters and Weasleys relaxed, recovering from yet another of Molly's delicious dinners, this one a belated birthday celebration for Rose. The late June weather was perfect for sitting out under the stars.
The pinging sound of one of Molly's goblets being tapped with a knife rang through the garden at the Burrow. Hermione lowered her glass and looked around at the family, all of whom had all turned in her direction. She rose.
"I have something I'd like to share with you all," she said, looking nervous. Ron stared at his wife, frowning.
"You're not pregnant, are you?" George called from the end of the table. Everyone chuckled.
Hermione smiled. "No, I'm not," she assured them. Ron looked a little relieved. "I was told today that I have the authority to share this with all of you, as it involves all of us—in a roundabout way." She bit her lip. "In order to…attract publicity, and get the bid for the Quidditch World Cup to be played in England, the Ministry will be…they'll be playing the Triwizard Tournament again this year. At Hogwarts."
Molly's eyes widened. She reached for Arthur's hand and held it. Arthur's eyebrows contracted as he frowned, disturbed. For the most part, everyone else was muttering, with concerned, worried looks on their faces.
The only difference was Fred, who turned to Albus and James. "That's not fair!" he said indignantly.
Roxanne swatted her brother. "Shut up, you idiot! This is serious."
"Easy for you to say," Fred muttered. "You've got another year left!"
"It's not like any of us would be allowed," Lily hissed to her cousins. "Look at them all." She nodded to the family gathered around the table.
Percy looked livid as Audrey rubbed his arm, trying to soothe him. George had a worried frown on his face, and Angelina was glancing nervously at them all.
"Damn," Hugo breathed, leaning over to Lily on his left. "Look at your dad." James, Albus, and Lily's eyes all sought out Harry, sitting beside Ginny at the far end of the table.
Hermione seemed to have noticed his expression as well. "Harry?" she asked quietly.
Harry didn't move his eyes from the tablecloth, where he had been pointedly staring for several minutes. Rose, Molly, and Lucy, who sat on Lily's left, leaned forward, trying to see what was going on.
"Sweetheart," Ginny said in a low voice, putting a hand tentatively on Harry's shoulder. Still he said nothing, merely shook his head. Ginny looked up desperately at Hermione. "Are—are they banning under-seventeens?" She glanced nervously at the far end of the table, where Lily sat with her cousins and brothers.
"Of course," said Hermione quickly. "They'd never allow—"
"Because that worked last time," Harry muttered bitterly. Everyone stared at him, but he still didn't look up.
"Mate," Ron said, trying to catch Harry's eye. "Harry, this…this isn't like last time. You know that." He looked uncomfortably around the table. "It's not going to happen again."
Harry made a noise of disgust and stood. "Excuse me for a moment." He turned and walked into the house.
Ginny placed her napkin on the table, looked apologetically at her family, and rose to follow Harry.
Several moments of uncomfortable silence followed their departure. Hermione sat down, looking horrified with herself.
"Roxy," Arthur said. "Hugo, Lily?" All three looked at their grandfather. Arthur looked seriously at each of them. "None of you are to enter your names. Am I clear?" His voice was unusually firm. Roxanne opened her mouth to argue.
"Roxanne Marie Weasley, don't you dare," Angelina said threateningly. Roxy sat back, looking put out, but she nodded.
"Hugo?" Arthur asked.
Hugo shrugged. "I can live with that," he said. Fred, James, and Albus gaped at him, appalled and incredulous.
"Of course," Lily said honestly. "Never going to happen. I promise."
Hey! So here we go, this is my gigantic project finally begun. Many thanks to my wonderful beta, LVB, you are the best! Hope you all enjoy.