Well I'm happy I finally got something to post. As I've said before I've gone back to college and thus fanfiction concerns are now secondary. I've received a lot of PMs (most of them asking when story A, B, C is being updated) as well as several reviews over the last few months and my time being what it is, I haven't been able to answer them all. Worse still I've marked some down as read in my mailbox so I have no reminder to go back to a specific review. That being said I've modified my habits to try and notice in future.
As a general rule everything I write is going to be on hold so that means that everything is going to face longer gaps between updates. I will keep on working on fanfiction when I have time, I've already done 2,000 words of the My Brother Chapter after this, but my workload is about to increase so you have been warned… again.
Please review (By the way massive thanks, the last chapter got 30 reviews, more than any other so far and the average is now 13 reviews a chapter, including chapter 9).
After Emma talked with him, Percy became much happier, or as Ron would put it: tolerable. So much so that after he returned with Emma, a number of people, Weasley and otherwise were looking at her as if asking: 'what did you do to him?'
Ever since meeting her, Percy had been affected by Emma. Then again he wasn't the only one. It was as if she had some strange power over the people around her.
"What on Earth did you say to Percy?" Asked Ginny later.
"You can't tell anyone, it's very personal to him." Said Emma seriously.
Hermione, Ginny and Demelza all nodded. It was late that evening and the four pyjama clad girls were having a late night discussion, as girls tend to do.
"Penelope dumped him."
"What?" Said Ginny, suddenly looking guilty. She and her other brothers had all been rather intolerant of Percy since he became moody. "I thought…"
"He's been keeping it to himself, I encouraged him to go talk to your parents. I think he will after the World Cup. The poor soul's been pouring his heart into his work." Emma told them sadly.
"Why'd she dump him?" Said Hermione. "They looked so very… very… happy…"
Ginny, Demelza and Emma looked at each other in confusion and limited concern as Hermione's face began to look a bit disturbed and even a little haunted.
"Are you ok Hermione?" Asked Emma in concern.
"I'm fine." She replied. "Just thinking about that… swimming party… But really why, what happened to them?"
"She met someone at the beach?" Said Emma. "A Muggle, That's all he knows."
"But that was really cruel." Protested Ginny on behalf of her brother. "How could she do that? Oh when I see her again, I'm gonna use my Bat-Bogey."
"Ginny, she's in Hawaii. Do you know where that is?" Said Emma.
"So what, she's got to come back some time." Reasoned Ginny.
"So where's this leave you?" Said Demelza.
"What do you mean?" Asked Emma in confusion.
Hermione too looked like she had no idea what Demelza was talking about. Ginny on the other hand was another matter.
"Come on you've expressed an interest in Percy already." Said Ginny. "He's now single. What are you planning to do now?"
"Uh… I've expressed interest in Fred and Colin before and they've not even been in relationships." Said Emma.
"You fancy Fred and Colin?" Said Hermione. "Who are you going for?"
"No she thinks she might fancy Fred or Percy or Colin." Said Demelza.
"Excuse me I'm right here." Protested Emma. "I'm currently not going for anyone. Colin is our friend which can cause some complications. Fred is cute and he can make me laugh like no one can, but he is quite a bit older than me. Then Percy… He's actually an adult now and I'm not even a teenager yet."
"I never thought of it like that." Said Demelza thoughtfully. "I mean my parents are about five years apart in age… not that they're a good example of people… but still it's not the same when you're our age."
"So, if both Colin and Fred asked you out… would you say yes?" Asked Hermione.
"No that's bigamy." Said Emma.
"You know what I mean." Said Hermione in exasperation.
"And for the record that's not legally speaking bigamy, it's just schemey." Joked Demelza. "Though it might be nice to be wanted."
"I don't know." Admitted Emma. "I suppose a stretch I'd say yes to Colin. But only really because he understands me better than Fred, we always spend time with him."
"Fred's cuter though." Said Demelza.
"Hmm." Remarked Emma, she wasn't too sure she agreed. "Would you guys mind if Colin, hypothetically were to…"
"God no." Said Demelza.
"Of course not." Said Ginny.
"What about Fred?" Asked Emma.
"I would forever judge you. But no." Said Ginny.
"I'm not bothered either way." Said Demelza. "Neither of them are tall enough to please me. Ron's only fourteen and he's already outgrown his twin brothers."
"You fancy Ron?" Said Hermione looking at Demelza.
"Hell no." Said Demelza outright. "He's cool enough, but I just can't bring myself to like him enough to want to date him. Don't worry Hermione, he's all yours…"
"I… I don't… know what you're talking about…" Stuttered Hermione.
"Is there another person you fancy?" Said Emma.
"Harry perhaps?" Said Demelza.
"No way… Harry and I… we're more… friends than… than…"
"You can say it." Said Emma. "He thinks of you as a sister as well."
"Awe!" Said Demelza and Ginny in remarkable synchronicity.
"Harry thinks that?" Said Hermione in pleasant surprise.
"Uh huh. He's very fond of you and Ron. You were there for him when I couldn't be." Said Emma.
Hermione blushed… "So Ginny, Demelza, Anyone you particularly fancy?"
"Apart from my brother?" Said Emma.
She and Hermione grinned at each other, now that they had been grilled about their crushes they were eager to return the favour. Though there was some disappointment.
"No." Said Ginny and Demelza.
"I'm not even sure I'm that interested in Harry now." Admitted Demelza. "I still love him as much as I used to, but in terms of boyfriends I need someone tall. I mean really giant… but sweet like Harry would work."
"So you're still for the big and strong." Said Emma.
"I'm still for Harry." Said Ginny. "He may not be the boy I imagined about while growing up but he is so much more than that now."
"I think you've got a much better chance than you did a year ago." Said Emma.
"You do?" Said Ginny, the excitement on her face evident.
"Yeah he hasn't really thought about Cho since the Ravenclaw match, at least he's said nothing to me, and also certain times he's behaved around you… He seems much more interested in your friendship than he did in our First Year."
Ginny had a distinctly hopeful look on her face.
"But that will probably change when he next sees her again." Said Hermione.
Emma glared at Hermione, but… "You may be right." She conceded. "Harry has been distracted since the Ravenclaw match, what with Sirius, Remus and the chance to sit Defence early."
"You'll get through to him eventually." Said Demelza soothingly. "Let's face it, even on the off chance Harry and Cho try dating, it would never last. She's just too different…"
"There are other words I'd use." Said Ginny.
"Me too, but that wouldn't be helpful." Said Emma. "Look, you've got a good friendship with Harry. Just…"
"Build on it." Said Hermione. "Because no matter our early crushes, true love is based on friendship."
"Wow." Said Demelza. "That was deep, read that in a book did you?"
"Uh… well…" Hermione stuttered then looked down, the other girls burst out laughing. Mrs Weasley came by to tell them to go to sleep, reminding them they had an early start the next morning.
An early start the next morning was an understatement. Everyone was up just in time to the top of the sun rise and, considering it was mid-early August, that was very, very early.
Emma and the girls half walked and half wobbled between Ginny's room and the shower before they all made it down to the kitchen to find Harry, Ron, Colin, Fred and George all looking half dead.
Meanwhile Percy and Mr Weasley were talking about the day ahead.
"I spoke to Mr Fawcett personally." Said Percy. "They couldn't get tickets so we don't have to worry about them. But I am more than certain the Diggorys will be there, well maybe not Mrs Diggory but…"
"Yes, Amos wouldn't miss something like this for the world." Said Mr Weasley. "He's lucky his department isn't involved in this kerfuffle, I'm barely involved and most of my activities the last two months involve making sure foreigners don't bring in Magical-Muggle artefacts."
"Ah Ginny, Emma everyone." Said Mrs Weasley. "Come and sit down. I've got some extra bacon in the oven." She waved her wand and an extra jug of orange juice floated over to the table.
"Ah good morning Emma." Said Percy happily. "I would suggest you all eat up, it's a long walk up Stoatshead Hill."
"The World Cup is being held up a hill?" Said Harry.
"Oh goodness no, it's in Wiltshire." Said Percy. "We need to get a portkey from Stoatshead though."
"Where are Bill an' Char-ra-lie?" Asked George through his yawns.
"They're apparating." Said Mrs Weasley.
"So they get a bit of a lie in." Said Fred. "Lucky the… them."
"Actually you can apparate now Percy, don't you want a lie in?" Asked Ginny.
"I fancy the walk." Remarked Percy dismissively.
Emma smiled to herself. It seemed that Percy was trying to end his self-imposed seclusion. Even Ron would later admit that he seemed much more open than he had the last month or so.
"Well we'd best be off." Declared Mr Weasley. "We don't want to keep Amos waiting."
Chairs shuffled as everyone at the table began getting up to leave.
"George what's in your pocket?" Said Mrs Weasley suspiciously.
Much to Fred and George's fury, Mrs Weasley extracted a large quantity of joke sweets from their pockets via a summoning charm. The twins got into a furious argument with their mother of which they came of worse. Mrs Weasley had taken their recent career aspirations and low exam scores with great offence and had no qualms about expressing her disappointment.
It had been obvious the twins had been hoping to try and sell some of their items at the Quidditch World Cup. They left the Burrow with grumbles and mutinous thoughts.
"I'm looking forward to seeing Viktor Krum." Said Ron. "I'm going to support Ireland of course, but Krum is the best Seeker in the world."
"Won't he win the match for the Bulgarians then?" Queried Demelza.
"Not necessarily." Said Ginny. "Professional Quidditch Matches are very different from the sort we play. Gaps far larger than 150 points are not all that uncommon, although for the most part if team has that many points lead over their opponents they more often than not have a superior Seeker. But Ireland has won most of their matches thanks to the most awesome Chaser team work."
"Hey Ron, your sister knows more about Quidditch than you do." Said Colin.
"She does not." Protested Ron.
Much of the rest of the walk was spent with Ron trying to demonstrate how much he knew about Quidditch. So much so that Hermione snuck up to Percy and made him jump by asking him details about some cauldron legislation.
Harry on the other hand lapped up the conversation, he had not had much experience of Quidditch outside Hogwarts. When Harry got involved, the twins too got involved.
Emma in the meantime despaired at her brother's and her other friends' obsession with the upcoming sport. She wasn't adverse to going to a game, it was actually quite nice to be at a game where there was no chance… well… little to no chance… well… hopefully Harry wouldn't get injured or nearly killed if other people were playing the game. But she didn't want to discuss every minute detail of the sport imaginable before she even got to the venue. Unfortunately, Ginny was just as eager as Ron and Harry, Demelza was gaining greater and greater interest by the second and Hermione had resorted to an even more boring discussion to pass her time.
With that in mind, she turned to the one person she could rely on to talk about anything she wanted. Colin.
As prospective Third Years, they were eagerly anticipating Hogsmeade, especially after Harry and the others in his year had come back with sweets and stories. Sweets seemed to be Colin's main interest however and Emma found herself remembering a certain request Katy made the previous year.
"I've been putting aside money for months now." Said Colin "I've got ten galleons dedicated to our first trip. It's going to be so cool."
"You are not going to buy ten galleons worth of chocolate." Said Emma warningly.
"I… I wasn't…" Said Colin pleadingly.
"Or ten Galleons worth of sweet anything." Said Emma.
Colin's face betrayed him. "You meanie."
"I know, but I promised your mother. Which reminds me, if you're going to be buying lots and lots of sweets, you're going to have to cut down on the Butterbeer and cake." Said Emma.
"What? No." Colin Protested.
"Also I'm going to have to make sure you eat enough healthy things. Maybe not too healthy though, baked potato with spinach is a crime against nature." Said Emma, more to herself than anyone else.
Poor Colin was terrified at the prospect of having his diet controlled by Emma. One of the great benefits of going to boarding school was that his mother couldn't dictate what he chose to eat. Unfortunately it seemed Katy now had an emissary at Hogwarts.
Eventually they reached the top of the hill.
"Right everyone look for the portkey." Said Mr Weasley.
"Father there is an easier way." Said Percy. "Accio!"
All of a sudden a mouldy looking boot flew across from further away.
"Hey!" Called a voice.
The party turned to see tall a middle-aged man with a slightly stubby face run after the floating boot while a familiar tall boy in his late teens following him. Percy had the boot float about in front of him.
"Hey Cedric!" Called Harry happily.
The boy turned and smiled at his Gryffindor rival. "Hey Harry, Emma, everyone."
The others gave their greetings too.
Emma noted that Demelza was looking quite interestingly at Cedric. Then again Hermione wasn't exactly averting her eyes. Even Ginny seemed to look at him with some interest. She herself had to concede that he was very handsome.
"Well is there are still a few minutes before the portkey leaves." Said Mr Diggory. "Do you know of anyone else round here that is due to arrive?"
Mr Weasley shook his head. "The Lovegoods have been there a week now. The Fawcetts couldn't get tickets, no one else from our side of the hill has tried. You?"
"No, we're the only ones as well." Said Mr Diggory. "I suppose we'd all best take up positions. It will be rather crowded."
"If you like I could take a few by side-along apparation?" Said Percy.
"That might be a good idea." Said Mr Weasley. "But do you know where to go?"
"Yes father, I risk assessed the arrival point." Said Percy. "Emma, Ginny, care to join me?"
Emma and Ginny looked at each other shrugged and left with him.
"I hate Apparating." Remarked Emma on arrival.
"I still think it's better than the Knight Bus." Said Ginny.
"You get used to it eventually." Said Percy. "I personally think it's much more comfortable than a Portkey."
The three of them had materialised on the side of a deserted hill. Deserted that is except for two ministry officials who'd badly attempted to dress as Muggles.
A minute or so passed before the portkey group arrived, most of them on their bums, and were directed towards a campsite some twenty minutes' walk away. The Diggorys' tent was at a different site so they said goodbye before confronting Mr Roberts who had to be obliviated before his transaction with the Weasley-plus party could be finished.
"It'll be a bit of a squeeze but I think we'll be fine." Said Mr Weasley. "The girls' tent is just next to ours."
"A bit of a squeeze?" Said Demelza incredulously. "This things a blimmin' TARDIS."
"What's a TARDIS?" Asked Mr Weasley in confusion.
"A Police Box that's bigger on the inside." Replied Ron.
Everyone turned too looked at him with mixtures of confusion and surprise.
"Where did you learn about a TARDIS?" Asked Colin.
"What's a TARDIS?" Asked Harry.
"Didn't you ever watch Dr Who?" Said Hermione. "Ron and I watched it during the summer."
"We've never taken much time to watch the TV." Replied Emma.
After a few minutes confusion, and a look around the girl's tent, Mr Weasley let everyone wander off to see if they could find their friends. Though he gave Emma, Colin, Demelza and Ginny a collection of saucepans and a kettle. But they had arrived early and Bill and Charlie were not arriving for a while so they were told to take their time.
"Hey Harry, Ron, Hermione!" Called a familiar voice.
The trio turned to see Geoffrey trotting up to them happily.
"You guys just arrived?" He Asked.
"Not twenty minutes ago." Replied Hermione.
"Lucky you." Said Geoffrey. "My parents and I have been stuck here for a week."
He gestured to his tent. Well if one could call it a tent. It was not shaped like the Muggle tents that Mr Weasley had acquired. It looked like a scale model of a medieval castle complete with mote, which strangely seemed to be inhabited by hundreds or thousands of tadpoles.
"I'd show you round, but Mum and Dad are still asleep and man can they snore. Last night they forgot the silencing charms I heard them then…" Geoffrey trailed off looking quite flustered.
"You've been here a week?" Asked Harry.
"Yeah. Vicky and Natalie arrived a few days ago but Luna and Neville have been here twice as long. By the way, Luna wants to talk to you after the game Harry." Said Geoffrey. "You want to come and see Vicky and Natalie? They should be up now."
They agreed and went with him.
"Would you guys knock it off?" Protested Colin to his friends. The poor boy was absolutely mortified. A few minutes earlier, the four of them had decided to collect the water and take it back to Mr Weasley, because the campsite was going to take ages to explore. Whilst queuing, they had been witness to an exchange between a Ministry wizard and a Muggle ignorant wizard who were in the process of debating clothes.
"Archie, you can't dress in that." Said the Ministry wizard, indicating the pink floral nightdress.
"I bought it in a Muggle Shop." Protested Archie. "Muggles wear them."
"Muggle women wear them. Men wear these." The Ministry wizard indicated a pair of pinstriped trousers he was carrying.
"I'm not putting them on. I like a good healthy breeze round my privates thanks."
The girls dropped all the pans they were carrying and retreated away in a fit of giggles until Archie had left and then returned to Colin to help collect the water.
Unfortunately Archie had given them ideas, which led poor Colin to his current predicament.
"I think you would suit a dress Colin." Said Emma, enjoying the boys suffering. "Would you care to try, I'm bound to have something your size."
"Emma." Whined Colin in despair.
"How about that checked one you bought last year?" Suggested Demelza. "You know the one you chose with the help of Mrs Creevey?"
"It's not happening." Protested Colin.
"Maybe you can try a pair of my shoes?" Offered Ginny. "Bill got me a great pair of heels for my Birthday last year, they're a bit small for me now. You're a size 6, right Colin?"
"I'm not wearing any girl's clothes." Said Colin, completely red in the face. "Guys don't wear dresses."
"Professor Moody does." Argued Emma. "I would love to see you in a kilt Colin."
"Oh come on!" Whined Colin.
Eventually the girls took pity on their friend and stopped the torment.
"Thanks girls, Colin." Said Mr Weasley. "If you're interested, the Lovegood's tent should be in just the next site over."
"Hey guys!" Said Vicky. She pulled Geoffrey into a big hug and a good morning kiss.
"They've been like that every day we've been here." Remarked Natalie. "Honestly it's just like this at Hogwarts."
"You're free to find your own boyfriend Natalie." Said Vicky in reply.
"Well I tried yesterday, remember. But for some reason Uncle Kingsley is against me hanging out with the Americans… and the Russians… and that really cute African guy."
"Why don't you try finding someone our age?" Suggested Geoffrey. "I'm sure that African guy you stalked was in his twenties."
"Everyone our age is a midget." Complained Natalie. "Honestly, you're barely a millimetre taller than Vicky and I'm taller than both of you."
"Is your Uncle here?" Asked Hermione, intent on changing the subject.
"Somewhere, but he's on duty. For some reason the Ministry is letting him stay in a tent in this makeshift city of ours." Said Natalie. "He's not the only one."
"Do you know where Luna and Neville are?" Asked Harry.
"Ya. They're in the next site along, we can show you." Offered Vicky.
Emma's contingent got to the Lovegood tent quicker than Harry's.
When they got there, they spotted the blond-haired girl snogging Neville on the Balcony.
The Lovegood tent resembled a peach coloured house on stilts, though it was obviously made of cloth.
"Maybe we should leave them in peace." Suggested Emma.
"We could…" Said Demelza. "I'm sure Luna would forgive us for interrupting…"
"Maybe, but if any of us were in the same position she'd give us our space." Countered Ginny.
"Back to the tent then?" Said Colin.
They turned and walked back through the makeshift city, on the way they conveniently met Harry's groups and said hello to Vicky, Natalie and Geoffrey.
"I know. Those two have really turned things up." Said Natalie, envy in her voice. "Honestly, I think Neville is right out of his shell now. From talking to Luna, it sounds like he was afraid someone at school would shout at him for kissing her."
"Make's you wish for a guy of your own doesn't it." Said Demelza.
"Sister, you've no idea." Said Natalie, slinging an arm over the Cornish girl.
"Yes. Natalie has gotten your appetite for the big boys." Said Vicky. "Fortunately her Uncle is keeping her from going after the all these adult men."
"Spoilsports." Grumbled Natalie.
"Anyway, Luna and Neville will be in the Top Box with you guys." Said Geoffrey. "So you can say hi to them then."
"By the way." Said Vicky "You guys are so lucky, we dregs are going to be only two thirds up from the ground."
"Yeah next time the world cup is in Britain, Harry you're to book the entire top box for the Guild. Remember that." Said Natalie.
"Got it." Said Harry.
Everyone laughed. Still a few of them couldn't help but imagine what the Guild would look like in thirty years, forty years, fifty, or however long it was until the world cup was again held in Britain. Would it be remembered? And if so would it be remembered for the right reasons?
"Ahoy there." Called Bill. "Did you have a nice wander?"
Those part of the Weasley-plus group returned to their location and greeted Bill and Charlie who'd made their journey from the Burrow.
"Having fun Mr Weasley?" Said Hermione looking at the patriarch with some amusement. Ever insistent upon acting like Muggles, Mr Weasley had emptied half a small match box trying to start a fire.
"He won't let me start a fire the normal way." Said Charlie.
"You do it like this." Said Emma, taking a match his hand. "You do it firmly but only enough to scrape the side. It's like buttering bread, too light and it doesn't spread, too harsh and you tear the bread."
She then handed them back to him and after a couple of tries, Mr Weasley got a fire going.
"Arthur!" Called a jolly voice.
Everyone turned to see a big and burly blond man with a nose that looked like it had been broken a few times dressed in Wimbourne Wasp Quidditch Robes.
"Ah Ludo." Greeted Arthur happily. "Everyone, this is Ludo Bagman, he's gave us the tickets."
"I still feel I owe you lot for that… well…" Bagman trailed off. "Who'd have thought I could sort out everything with the Goblins just like that?"
"How are your payments going?" Asked Bill. "I worked very hard to get you that deal."
"Good, good, I paid most of it in early." Said Bagman. "I've not even been gambling, though I must admit."
"If you'd like to make a bet…" Offered George.
"We'd be most interested…" Continued Fred.
"Boys." Snapped Arthur sternly, a hint of anger in his voice. "You and I will talk about this later."
"Don't worry Arthur, they meant no harm." Said Bagman dismissively. "My recovery is going quite well. But never mind that, we're expecting a completely cloudless sky for the next 24 to 36 hours. Couldn't ask for better Quidditch weather."
"That's good to here." Said Mr Weasley.
"Mr Bagman, delighted to make your acquaintance." Said Percy politely.
"My son Percy." Said Mr Weasley. "He's just joined the Ministry. Working for Barty right now."
"Ah excellent. I imagine you've had a hand in organizing this whole thing."
Percy nodded, his ears turning a tad pink.
"So who else have we got, did you use all the tickets I sent you?"
"Yes, all my children are here. Bill and Charlie here came from Egypt and Romania respectively, and this is Fred, George and Ron, my daughter Ginny, the rest are friends of Ron and Ginny's: Hermione Granger, Demelza Robins, Colin Creevey and Harry and Emma Potter."
Bagman's eyes bulged out at the mention of Harry and Emma. "B… both of them…" He exclaimed in excitement.
Harry and Emma were expecting a scene of some sort, but thankfully a witch approached and diverted Bagman's attention.
"Mr Bagman sir?"
Bagman turned to see her, his cheerful expression now seeming very forced. "Ah Bertha, what boring stuff have you got for me to sign now?"
"The unions again sir. They're protesting the levy set for the final." Said Bertha. "The tax office has relented but they want to speak to you about why it was imposed in the first place."
"It can wait until after the final." Said Bagman. "Thank you for telling me."
Bertha nodded absentmindedly "Everyone is wondering where you're off to. Mr Crouch has been looking for you as well…"
"Yes, yes, whatever…"
Bertha's eyes lingered on the people her boss was hanging around with, Emma felt her gaze was a bit intrusive, as if she was trying to learn something. But Bagman's assistant gave up and walked off.
"Sorry about that." Said Bagman. "Bertha is quite incompetent, she came back from holiday late. She missed her Portkey back, and a second one I arranged for her."
"Miss Jorkins used to work for Mr Crouch." Said Percy, "I gather he is quite fond of her."
"She used to be quite a competent assistant." Said Mr Weasley. "But something happened a while ago and she's been a bit…"
"Yes she's been shuffled around the Ministry like a Bludger in a Falcons game." Said Bagman, seeming to rub his crooked nose absentmindedly. "Quite honestly I'm not surprised Crouch had her redistributed… ah talk of the devil."
Harry, Emma and the others recognised the old man and his stern expression the second they saw him. Since seeing him in the Entrance Hall at Hogwarts nearly two years ago, Harry had learnt a lot about Crouch's time as head of the DMLE. It was because of this man that Sirius never got a trial but it was also thanks to him that so many Death Eaters were in prison. There was also the fact that he kept Emma's identity secret until she could go to Hogwarts. In all honesty, he had mixed feelings.
"Ludo." Said Crouch in a greeting that had the warmth of an arctic glacier. "I've been looking for you, the Bulgarians want another twelve seats added to the Top Box."
"Oh is that what they wanted? I thought it was something to do with tweezers." Said Bagman.
"Also while I have you here, Arthur I have Ali Bashir protesting your continued embargo and he is demanding you meet him to discuss opening trade." Said Crouch.
"Oh not again." Grumbled Mr Weasley. "I keep telling him, carpets are on the list of Muggle Artefacts that are banned by the Registry of Prescribed Magical objects. There are actual laws stating they are illegal."
"He is quite insistent, he thinks you are unfairly barring the product from Britain." Said Crouch.
Mr Weasley sighed. "This is because I got permission to test my car."
"Can I make you a cup of tea Mr Crouch?"
"What… oh thank you Weatherby that would be nice."
On the way to the stadium, Harry and Emma ended up buying seven pairs of Omnioculors for themselves and the immediate members of the Guild. Ron protested, but Harry managed to convince him to accept it as an early Christmas present.
As the name suggested, the Top Box was at the top of the stadium.
"I wonder if the Wizarding World will ever invent the lift." Pondered Demelza.
"They have already." Said Emma. "We used them at the Ministry, no one else has them yet though… Least as far as I can tell."
"Can't they put one up here, just for us?" Asked Demelza.
"Everyone would want to use it." Said Harry. "We must be nearly there by now?"
"I see sky." Called Ron.
The group rushed the last few steps before arriving at the very top of the Quidditch World Cup stadium.
"Look, there's Luna and Neville." Said Ginny.
Sure enough the two friends that the rest of the Guild had yet to say hello to were sitting on the other side of a metal railing where the press were segregated from the rest of the Top Box spectators by a lowly metal railing between the seats.
The group made its way round the stands. When Luna saw them her smile brightened up.
"Hello everyone." She said, her voice barely audible above the noises of the crowds.
"Hey Luna, Neville." Greeted Emma, hugging her Ravenclaw year-mate over the railing.
"Geoffrey gave us your message, we saw him and the girls earlier." Said Harry, exchanging a hug. "I'm not bothered either way, but are you sure you want to meet right after the match?"
"Might as well." Said Luna. "We're camping next to a large group of Irish supporters, they're quite musical but also very loud. So there is not much chance of sleep, but it does provide a nice background atmosphere."
Ginny turned to face her father, "Daddy. Can we please go?"
"Well let's see how long the match lasts." Suggested Mr Weasley. "This may last for days, it has before."
"Thanks." Said Ginny, pulling him into a hug.
Several Wizards from the Ministry began taking their seats and many of them strolled over to say hello to Arthur. Percy was eagerly using the opportunity to say hello to as many people as possible, though even he lacked any enthusiasm when Fudge brought the Malfoys up.
At first it wasn't much of an issue. Harry and Emma hypothesised that his meetings with the Potters had been so disastrous in the past, that Fudge kept his distance. But the Malfoys weren't the only people he was in company with. There was also a man well-dressed in black velvet robes trimmed with gold.
The group heard Fudge introduce him as the Bulgarian Minister for Magic.
The man looked around a little, when his eyes settled on their general direction and widened in excitement, Harry thought the Minister must have recognised him. He didn't, but he did trot over in great delight.
"Uh… Mr Oblansk?" Fudge called out uncertainly as he followed after the man.
Harry, Emma and those around them had their eyes on the approaching man, so they didn't notice Luna's face light up.
"Albert!" She joyfully greeted, reaching over the metal railing so she could hug the Bulgarian Minister. The British Minister arrived, along with the Malfoy family, looking rather shocked at the man's recognition of the thirteen-year-old girl.
"Ah… Miss… Miss…" Fudge stuttered.
"Lovegood." Said Luna. "I believe you know my father, he did a piece on the Heliopath army in the Ministry of Magic basement the other week. Do you remember? You gave a comment."
Fudge's eyes bulged wide open. All three members of the Malfoy family looked sneeringly at Luna, and those around her, as if they were deviants and a disgrace to the Wizarding World.
Eventually though Fudge managed to get a few words out. "You speak Bulgarian?" He said "Could you perhaps translate, I haven't been able to establish a dialogue."
"Really?" Questioned Luna in confusion. "Albert, have you been playing tricks on Mr Fudge here?"
The way Luna said "Mr Fudge" for reasons that are beyond understanding made all her friends in the Top Box and the Press Box burst out laughing, as well as a few others.
"Maybe a leetal?" Admitted Albert Oblansk. "But you 'ave to admeet." He turned to face his British counterpart "It vas quite vunny!"
It was not a coincidence that the laughing intensified after the pigeon English of the Bulgarian Minster. Mean Fudge's facial expression conveyed a high level of irritation.
"Y… you speak English?" Said Fudge after a second. "You've had me doing ridiculous gestures for hours."
"Oh come now Meester Fudge…"
Emma thought she would die from laughing, Ron came very close to passing out.
"… it vas only a leetle yoke."
The Bulgarian Minister then took Fudge's arm and steered him back towards their seats.
"Come, I vud like to 'ear some more of these 'eliopaths."
"Th… there are no Heliopaths… there's no such thing…" Stuttered Fudge his entire demeanour indicating a newfound discomfort from Minister Albert.
"Oh come now, don't be so modest… I vud love to 'ave my own army of 'eilios but sadly my people vill not approve tha' budget…"
Ron managed to avoid passing out, but he did end up coughing hard from laughing so much.
"Scoffing like that in public. You are a disgrace." Sneered Lucius, before walking off.
"Well he seemed cheerful." Said Ginny.
"Who cares, he's just a bigot bastard from a family of bigots." Remarked Demelza.
All three Malfoys turned to glare at her, they had obviously heard that comment.
Demelza however paid them no mind. "So Luna, why didn't you tell us you knew Albert there?"
"I did. Last year, remember?" She reached into her robes and pulled out her necklace that looked like a seashell. "He gave me this in Australia."
Emma's mind flung back to the previous summer, on the train to Hogwarts just before their first encounter with a Dementor. "Oh yeah. So Albert's 'new job' was Minister for Magic?"
"Yes." Said Luna. "He was really happy to be able to go on holiday to join our expedition, mainly because he normally doesn't have the time."
"Well he seemed like a nice man." Said Hermione.
"He is rather." Said Luna. "Once when a little boy lost his teddy bear in a house fire, he personally knitted him a stuffed Hippogriff and animated it to move about. He's a very kind man, very good with children."
"I have a question though?" Said Emma. "If Fudge didn't speak Bulgarian, why didn't he get a translator?"
"Mr Crouch usually fills the role." Said Percy. It seemed that he'd run out of hands to shake. "His House-Elf is there though, so imagine he'll be along shortly."
Emma glanced over. Sure enough, next to Fudge's seat was a House-Elf sitting with her hands clasped over her eyes.
"Aw poor soul, she looks terrified." Said Emma sympathetically.
Percy looked over. "Possibly. She has a nervous disposition. I'd imagine she doesn't like heights."
"Oh not another knew broom?" Said Hermione all of a sudden.
Everyone turned to see what she was looking at. It seemed that a giant magical blackboard was advertising magical produce.
"Hermione Bluebottles are training brooms." Said Ron. "There better than anything I own but they're not knew and they've nothing on most other brooms. They're for parents with young kids. That's why they say they're fun for all the family."
Ron then held up his Omnioculors and began scanning through the crowd.
"Wicked. You can do instant replay." Ron commented with excitement. "I can make this guy pick his nose again and again."
"Ooh let me try." Said Colin. Though why he was asking Ron was beyond anyone seated, he had his own. Colin lifted his own and looked round the crowd. "Wow! The zoom on this is way better than any camera I've ever had, including the magical ones."
After a while, the stadium became well and truly packed. It was obvious that Harry, Emma and the rest of the people in the Top Box were incredibly lucky. Most of the other rows did not appear to even have chairs. In fact many of them seemed overcrowded. Emma's rather comfortable position made here feel a tad guilty for the others below her.
Ludo Bagman, the only one apart from Crouch yet to turn up, charged into the Top Box and took his position.
"Are we all ready?" He asked those around him.
"Ready when you are Ludo." Said Fudge. The British Minister seemed relieved not to have to continue talking to his Bulgarian counterpart.
"Sonorous!" Bagman incanted. "LADIES AND GENTLEMEN. WELCOME TO FINAL OR THE FOUR HUNDRED AND TWENTY SECOND WORLD CUP! IRELAND VERSUS BULGARIA!"
The crowd surrounding the pitch roared in excitement, Harry was sure Muggle towns and villages for miles around must be disturbed by this, regardless of magical countermeasures.
"AND NOW!" Roared Bagman again. "IT'S TIME FOR US TO WELCOME THE MASCOTS. SO PLEASE WELCOME THE MASCOTS FROM THE BULGARIAN NATIONAL QUIDDITCH TEAM!"
"Oh my." Said Mr Weasley excitedly. "Veela!"
Considering what happened next, Harry was glad that Mr Weasley warned him. He'd read up a little on Veela, only an idiot like Malfoy would consider them a dangerous creature and even for Harry's blonde-haired nemesis that was a bit of a stretch. They had a magical ability to seduce members of the opposite gender. Harry was focused what little he'd learnt from Dumbledore in Occlumancy lessons just in time to see woman who were amongst the most beautiful he had ever seen.
As the music started and these beings of utter beauty began dancing he felt and overwhelming urge to do something to impress them. He closed his eyes and refocused his mind. He sensed the incoming magic and forced it out of himself. Harry felt much more in control, though he could still feel his desires, despite the fact that they were suppressed.
"Ron what on Earth are you doing?" Said Hermione.
Harry turned to see Ron and Colin had both risen to their feet and looked like they were trying to climb over the stalls in front of them. Demelza grasped Colin round the wrist and Hermione placed a hand on Ron's shoulder, each of them forcing the boy back.
"What are these things?" Harry heard Neville say.
"Veela." replied Luna.
He glanced over at the two in the Press Box and saw that Neville appeared to be holding on tight to his girlfriend, as if afraid she was the only thing keeping him from floating away.
Once the Veela stopped; Ron, Colin and many men and boys round the entire pitch snapped out of whatever trance they had been under. Many of them began protesting at being cut off from this source of… Veela essence, Ron amongst them.
Colin in the meantime snaked arms around the two on either side of him, Emma and Demelza, in the hope that they could keep him to Earth in the event of another Veela moment.
After a few minutes, Bagman seemed to regain his senses and the protests calmed somewhat.
"AND NOW. PLEASE WELCOME THE IRISH MASCOTS."
Ron gave Harry ten Galleons that had showered around him, Harry took them, knowing Ron would feel better about having paid for the Omnioculors. Ginny wanted to do the same, but could only find half the amount. Emma accepted it anyway though.
The Quidditch Match that followed was rougher than anything Harry had ever personally been through, though not by much.
"That is one hot Seeker." Commented Demelza. "Boy he's tall."
"Of course he's tall." Said Hermione. "He's probably nearly twenty."
"Actually I think he's still a teenager, not long out of school." Offered Ginny.
"So that's what? Five years older than me." Demelza calculated. "It could work."
Everyone looked at their Cornish friend in amusement.
"Aiming high are you?" Said Emma.
"In more ways than one." Replied Demelza smirking. "Wouldn't you go for him?"
Emma looked over him and immediately said "No way, I know you like big guys, but he's twice as tall and twice as wide as me. I admit its muscle but still he'd break me, and then Harry would have to go to prison for murdering an international superstar."
"I don't know he's a pretty good Seeker, I might have to remediate any punishment to a mere painful and torturous experience." Said Harry.
Emma turned to glare at Harry who winked then hugged her.
Having seen her brother and others play Seeker before, Emma still didn't know that much about Quidditch, not like the boys and Ginny did anyway, but she could tell that Krum was an expert. No offence to Harry but he would not have been able to pull off some of those moves "Well maybe one day. In fact no maybe, one day Harry will make that Krummy lad look like Neville on a broom." At that last thought, Emma glanced guiltily at Neville, though there was no denying he was terrible on a broom.
"I rather feel sorry for Lynch." Said Hermione. "He's been hit more times since the start of the game than Harry has in all his matches combined."
"Not including the training he hasn't." Said Harry. "Anyway it's his own fault. He's not looking where he's going. Only Malfoy would fall for that many tricks in a game."
As Harry finished speaking, both Bludgers collided into Lynch's head and he fell fifty feet before got himself back in order and levelled out ten feet from the ground.
"Must admit he can take a fair few hits though." Said Harry.
"AND KRUM HAS THE SNITCH!" Called Bagman. "AMAZING, IRELAND WIN BUT BULGARIA GET'S THE SNITCH. NO ONE COULD HAVE EVER GUESSED THAT."
In an alternate reality, Bagman was paying leprechaun's gold to his creditors unaware that this was not a good idea.
"I want you back by eleven." Said Mr Weasley. "The tents should open to Ron and Ginny's wands."
"Thanks Dad." Said Ginny.
After the hour or so it took to get out of the Stadium and into the tent city, the Guild met up in the Lovegood tent.
"Where's your father?" Asked Emma.
"With the press, now that the match is over he will be doing a post-match analysis." Answered Luna.
They were still waiting at the tent for Vicky, Natalie and Geoffrey to arrive. About ten minutes later, they did and everyone went inside.
Vicky was looking particularly smug for some reason, Geoffrey looked a little flustered and Natalie for her part just looked amused.
"We need to be back by half ten?" Said Natalie. "You?"
"Eleven." Replied Emma.
All of a sudden, they heard a dozen or so musical instruments start playing and the sounds of hundreds of probably drunk Ireland supports began singing off key in Gaelic.
"Well that's some music." Commented Demelza.
"Anything's better than those Veela." Countered Geoffrey.
"They got to you too?" Said Ron sympathetically.
"Yeah Vicky and I had to stop him from climbing over the railing and dropping forty feet to the ground." Said Natalie. "Though it wasn't me he ended up clinging to out of fear for his safety."
Geoffrey glared at his best friend. "We've been going out for 6 months, I am allowed to hug my girlfriend. Anyway, it kept me from doing anything stupid."
"We went through the same horror." Said Colin, though he had a rather stupid grin on his face.
"You guys got up too?" Asked Geoffrey, feeling less embarrassed.
"Everyone except Harry." Said Ginny.
"But I was tempted." Remarked Harry modestly. "Thank Dumbledore for Occlumancy."
"You mean that's all that kept you back?" Said Ron.
"Yeah, it was actually quite easy to control myself once I got my mind under control. But like I say, tempted."
"Neville also was tempted, but I kept him close. He seemed to hold onto most of his senses." Said Luna.
"Geoffrey too." Said Vicky. "How did we manage that."
"The Veela effect is basically seduction." Said Harry. "But if you have someone whom is more important than… certain things… they can keep you from becoming… distracted. You four have been in meaningful relationships for months now, so I would have been surprised if you couldn't hold the effect at bay just by touching."
"How many creatures have you read up on?" Asked Demelza.
"Well I prefer to think of Veela as just another kind of witch or wizard." Said Harry. "But there have been cases in the past where people have duelled against them and lost control of their senses. But as I say, it takes only basic Occlumancy to overcome it."
"Where are Veela found?" Said Ron.
"Anywhere." Said Harry. "There is some prejudice against them, but it's not like it is with Werewolves. They originated from the Balkans originally but they exist all over the world."
"Talking of exotic dancers is interesting and all, but can we please discuss lawyers now?" Said Emma.
"Veela do more than just dance." Said Harry. "Apparently their hair has magical properties not unlike a unicorn's."
"Whatever." Said Emma. "Luna do you have a bloke who can fight our cause in the courts… a lass would also be acceptable to of course."
"I have spoken with him and he is open to doing business with you, though I did not tell him you were the Potters. I did tell him your age and that you had the finances to fund a case in the medium term."
"Can this be done in the medium term?" Said Hermione. "Overlooking the fact that we're up against an establishment that will oppose us vehemently and ruthlessly at every opportunity, there is a lot of law to overturn."
"He will discuss finances with you, if you agree to meet him." Said Luna. "However I should warn you, he neither supports nor opposes Werewolf rights."
"What?" Said Harry. "But what about our campaign, and the counter campaign?"
"He thrives on the idea of a challenge, he is one of the best lawyers in Britain." Said Luna.
"I don't know." Said Hermione. "This sounds a little dodgy, not to mention Harry and Emma will likely lose most of what their parents left them."
"Give us a little faith." Said Emma. "Anyway, we can still meet him, see what can be expected."
"I don't know." Said Hermione "I think we would be better raising awareness."
"But that would bleed our money dry anyway." Said Harry. "You're forgetting, the Ministry don't want any more W.A.R.T.s…"
Several people broke out sniggering.
"…the original point of this lawyer idea was to at least stop the Ministry from taxing our funds away."
"Besides." Said Emma. "We still haven't met any other werewolves apart from Remus. I want to meet some people from Dùn Blaidyn."
"Have you managed to convince Remus to get in touch for you?" Asked Colin.
"Not yet, but give me time. I am the daughter of Lily Potter, that gives me an unbelievable amount of leverage on some people."
"Some people, basically means Remus and Professor Slughorn." Said Harry. "Especially the latter."
"That aside, I think we should meet the Lawyer first, he may not wish to have anything to do with people from Dùn Blaidyn. The Ministry is out to get the people who live there after all." Said Emma.
"He won't have a problem." Said Luna. "There is no official order to arrest the werewolves. I got a letter from him a few days after arriving here. He says that there is no legal barrier to forming a Werewolf group, only institutional and political pressures to discourage them. He also says that unless specific people are declared criminals or the Ministry issues a legal order denying werewolves legal rights then he has no legal reason not to work for us."
"But I bet the Ministry will complicate things." Said Vicky. "I know my father would do all sorts of things to try and disrupt your court case. When he thought I wasn't listening, he was discussing with my Mum the possibility of preventing werewolves from gaining access to education."
"You mean not even allow them to attend Hogwarts. As students?" Questioned Emma.
"Yeah." Said Vicky. "I mean I doubt he'd be able to make that the law for a couple of years, but…"
"We need to talk to your lawyer." Said Harry. "By the way what is there name?"
"The firm is known as Carrow and Boot." Said Luna. "Well actually it's now just known as Legal Boot's. They dropped the Carrow after the war, but my Daddy and many others still refer to it as that."
"Carrow?" Said Emma. "Are they related to the Carrows in our year?"
"I think they're his Grandchildren." Said Luna. "But it's the lawyer Robert Boot I want you to speak to. I don't actually know Mr Carrow."
"Do we know any Boots?" Asked Harry.
"No." Replied Ron and Neville.
"Yes." Said Hermione. "There's a boy in our year, Terry Boot."
"Who?" Remarked Ron. "He's not in Gryffindor. Is he a Slytherin?"
"No." Said Hermione. "He's a Ravenclaw. I'm not sure what he's like though, he doesn't talk much."
"He's a bit private." Said Luna. "He tends only to speak when spoken too, but he's close friends with two other boys in his year and House. Terry is Robert's grandnephew."
"As interesting as that is, do you trust this Lawyer?" Asked Harry.
"Yes." Said Luna. "He successfully overturned a piece of legislation allowing Purebloods to be exempt from the International Statute of Secrecy and he successfully stopped the Ministry from censoring the Quibbler over a scandal at the Department for Magical Transportation ten years ago. My Daddy trusts him, my Mummy trusted him and I believe he will prove himself reliable to us."
Harry nodded. Luna was an excellent judge of character and someone he strongly trusted, as he trusted everyone in this tent.
"Let's leave the Guild business be for now." Said Emma. "How about we use this opportunity to enjoy being together again, lord knows Harry and I will have very little time for any of you the rest of the summer."
So that's what they did. They opened some Butterbeer and passed round a tin of biscuits. Discussions were mainly focused on the World Cup Final but there was also talk of other plans for the summer.
"Please?" pleaded Demelza.
"Demelza, we have a ton of work to do and we still need to find time to meet the lawyers and the werewolves." Said Harry.
"Make it the last or second last day before we go back to Hogwarts." Suggested Emma. "Those will be your best bets, I really want to meet your siblings again, but we have to focus on our studies as much as possible."
"Yay. Thank you." Squealed Demelza. She hugged Emma tightly.
"I think we should be heading back now." Said Hermione. "It's after ten and I'd rather get through the city of tents before the crowds start getting too rowdy."
As if an unknown power heard her concern, there was a loud bang followed by some cheers.
"Well nice to know the Irish are having fun." Said Ron. "Dad will want us back as soon as possible."
When they looked back on their time growing up, those in the Guild would see this as the start of what was to come in darker times. Dark times that were getting closer and closer as days, weeks and months were passing. In the distance there was smoke and fire.
"What the hell?" Yelled Natalie over the chaotic noises of the crowds.
"Our tents are that way!" Said Geoffrey. "What's going on?"
By this stage, none of the surrounding people were in the mood for celebrating. Panic was beginning to settle into the crowds of Quidditch fans and many were now starting to run for the forest. Some had gone a step further and apparated away in fear of their lives.
"What do we do?" Asked Emma.
"Look in the air." Said Demelza, pointing in the sky. "Aren't those the Muggles who run our campsite?"
"We're underage." Said Luna. "There are Aurors and other Ministry Wizards about. They will handle the situation."
"But…" Began Emma. But she was cut off by the appearance of a weasel Patronus.
"Take Refuge in the Forest. Do not return unless told." Came Mr Weasley's voice, then the weasel vanished.
"Well that settles that." Said Hermione as if the adult's word was law.
"Alright." Said Harry.
"But Harry…" Argued Emma.
"This isn't our fight Emma." Said Harry. "We need to stay out of the way, we'll only cause problems if we don't."
Emma nodded reluctantly. Harry took a hold of her hand and didn't let go.
"Alright, head to the forest and stay together." Harry ordered. "Don't run, and try and keep as many people in sight as possible. If you notice someone missing let me know and we'll all stop. Try and keep an eye on me."
Everyone nodded. One of the tents not so far away suddenly caught fire as a stray curse struck it.
"Check where your wands are, but don't take them out of your pockets." Said Harry.
He checked his own. But unlike the others his wasn't in a pocket, but up his sleeve.
Mad-Eye had shown him how to place a clip on his watch so that he could keep it attached to his wand whilst it was hidden up his arm.
With Emma's hand firmly enclosed in his own, he found it easier than normal to move slowly. His friends had often complained at how fast Harry could run. But at this time it was important to stay together. Every so often, he would check to make sure the rest of the Guild was there, but it was difficult keep track of the ten of them.
Nevertheless they all made it to the forest.
"I hope my Daddy's ok." Said Luna looking at the fires. There were several burning tents some of them in the direction of the Lovegood one.
"He'll be fine." Said Neville. "He was with people, some of them close friends."
"I suppose." Said Luna, but there was a hint of worry in her voice. Neville put his arms around her.
Harry realised that he'd never seen the blonde-haired Ravenclaw this vulnerable before.
"Can we contact him?" Queried Emma. "Like Mr Weasley did, with his Patronus?"
"I don't know how." Explained Harry. "I didn't even know there was a way to use one to contact other people."
"Anyway, there are plenty of Ministry people who would like to charge Harry for using Underage Magic." Reasoned Hermione.
"But wouldn't this count as an exception?" Argued Ginny.
"Not with some people." Countered Hermione. "It would be best if we waited."
"Are you sure it's wise for a Mudblood like you to linger." Drawled a very familiar voice.
The Guild turned to see Malfoy leaning against a tree.
"You want to say that again you yellow-haired sack of crap." Growled Geoffrey who stepped forwards with his fists clenched.
"Mind your manners Hooper, or I'll see your Mudblood father out of his job." Snarled Malfoy.
"Oh please." Countered Vicky with a sneer. "Your father can't bribe the cleaning witches after what he did a year ago. The Board of Governors aren't the only ones who hate your guts. The Education Authority does too."
Malfoy glared down at them. "I'm not going to take this from a bunch of Mudbloods and Blood Traitors."
"Then I suggest you scram." Said Harry. "Before the twelve of us decide to teach you a lesson, the Muggle way."
Malfoy seemed hesitant. "You wouldn't dare."
"Why not." Said Neville. "Everyone at school knows you like blaming Harry for absolutely nothing. Everyone knows you're a spoilt brat, a liar and a drama witch Malfoy, what makes you think we can't beat the crap out of you and get away with it."
It was a mark of how far Neville had come since running off the stool with the Sorting Hat still on his head three years ago. He had a girlfriend, a large group of friends, a descent academic performance in school and now he had just made the school bully flinch.
"Fine, it's beginning to stick of Muggle here anyway. If I were you three I'd run, they can tell a Mudblood from a proper wizard a mile away."
Malfoy ran off, just as Ron picked up a stone and threw it at him. It missed and split into two as it hit a tree.
"What is his problem?" Said Emma.
"His problem is that he's never gotten over the Chamber of Secrets incident." Said Hermione. "Don't forget, his was using the chaos to try and ruin the Weasley family reputation as well as gain better control of Hogwarts. That plan backfired, first Draco became public enemy number one and then his Dad was forced out of the Board of Governors."
"Yeah." Said Vicky. "Despite what he said, his Dad can't fire Geoffrey's."
"What's your Dad do?" Asked Emma.
"He's mainly coordinates the Muggle Studies Curriculum, but he also advises Astronomy and he invigilates for O.W.L and N.E.W.T exams. Most of his work is Bureaucratic though." Said Geoffrey. "Malfoy can't get him sacked can he?"
"No." Said Vicky, "Malfoy has no respect in the Wizarding Education Authority. As well as the Chamber of Secrets stuff, they regarded his attempts to discredit Hagrid as nothing more than petty vengeance for getting kicked off the Board of Governors. He's made a lot of enemies and some of those enemies have friends in the Authority."
"How do you know so much about this?" Said Natalie.
"My Mother is very interested in how Education is run." Said Vicky. "She's been keeping track of Malfoys' influence in Hogwarts and the Authority. She hates his guts, and my Dad's Muggleborn so he was never going to be on good terms with him."
"Do you think we should move further into the forest?" Said Ron. Much more of the tent city had caught fire.
"Let's stay here for now." Said Harry. "Despite what Malfoy said, they're not coming this way and I'd rather be where we can see what's going on."
"I wonder where our brothers are." Said Ginny worriedly.
"I'm sure they're fine." Said Emma. "Though they're probably worried about you…"
"Percy, Charlie and Bill will be helping the Ministry with your Dad. The twins will stick together." Said Hermione. "They'll be fine."
"But who's doing this?" Wondered Natalie. "From the way Malfoy was talking about it… it sounded like…"
"Death Eaters." Said Harry.
"That can't be right." Said Hermione.
"I wouldn't be so sure." Said Harry. "There are enough of them that escaped Azkaban, it's been nearly thirteen years since the war ended, people from all over the world are here and with Ireland having won the World Cup, don't you think there's a good chance some of them might be drunk."
"This does seem the sort of thing Death Eaters would do." Said Neville. "Some of my relatives have told me stories about them tormenting Muggles."
"I can't believe they'd do something like this." Said Emma. "The war ended over a decade ago, can't they just move on?"
"It was a pretty bitter war." Said Harry. "Just before Voldemort fell, it didn't look like it was going to end anytime in the next five years, some say it would still be on now."
"Do you believe that?" Said Hermione.
"Doesn't really matter, the war ended. But we all know that there are some who still like to do this kind of thing." Said Harry looking over the Muggles.
"Look on the bright side." Said Geoffrey. "If they're real Death Eaters, then this might allow an opportunity to reopen old cases and get gits like Malfoy senior in prison."
"Don't count on it." Said Harry. "I can just imagine Malfoy's lawyer concocting something along the lines of regressed Imperious Memories mixed with Alcohol."
"Still, it's sure to cost him some gold and respect." Said Demelza.
"Maybe." Said Harry. "But I would like Malfoy at least in prison. We all know what he did to Ginny last year."
Harry looked to his best friend's sister, he knew she had long gotten over what happened, he even had a hand in helping her. But that did not change what that man had tried to do.
Everyone jumped at the sudden high pitched screech, which was followed by a huge thud as a House-Elf slammed against a tree near where the Guild was.
"What the…" Began Ron.
"Who's there?" Called Harry. He looked passed the tree, but saw nothing but darkness and trees. Then…
They heard a voice unlike any they had ever heard before "Avada Kedavra!"
Harry and Emma, who was right next to him, quickly dropped and the curse flew over their heads and impacted a tree behind them.
Harry trained his wand into the area.
"Flipendo Maxima!" Harry's red sparks exploded in the section of the forest where the Killing Curse had come from. He then got to his feet, but crouched low in case another came his way.
The sparks seemed to impact… something… but Harry wasn't sure what was going on, he couldn't see the caster.
Suddenly a flaming yellow curse shot towards him. Harry recognised it immediately. The Explosion Curse, Confringo.
He did the only thing he could.
Harry's shield provided a block for himself and Emma. The shield gave way, but because of the angle the curse was fired at, the shockwave was deflected upwards. Harry and Emma were alright, but their friends were knocked off their feet unconscious or dazed. In the meantime the bulk of the shockwave had escaped upwards and with it had torn the branches and leaves from the trees.
"Emma, check the others." Roared Harry.
The assailant fired off another curse, this one a Blasting Curse, not as powerful as an Explosion Curse and capable of being blocked… and deflected.
The curse bounced off Harry's shield and impacted a tree to the left of where it had come from. The tree exploded, and bits of wood debris seemed to collide with thin air. This confirmed Harry's suspicion. His opponent was either under an Invisibility Cloak or a Disillusionment Charm.
"Flipendo Maxima!" Harry incanted again. But this time he knew what to look for.
He noticed his sparks bounce off of the texture of his opponent, giving him a target.
His opponent sent a series of hexes and jinxes his way, but Harry deflected them with his Shield Charm, then rapidly and without warning cast a non-verbal Expulso. The curse missed the person's body, but it hit the ground and exploded in front of the assailant, Harry saw the ground further behind hurl up dirt as the invisible person got knocked onto his butt.
"A… Avada Kedavra!" He groaned out weakly.
Harry dropped down and the curse once more impacted a tree.
"Morsmorde!" Harry didn't recognise the incantation, but he recognised the spell. From the ground he could see a green coloured skull rose from the where the assailant was located. All around them, Harry and his friends could here screams.
He had barely risen to his feet when suddenly without warning, about a dozen wizards popped all around the area and incanted "Stupefy!"
Not sure whether they were Death Eaters or not and knowing only it was he and his friends who were in the line of fire, Harry did something he had never tested before.
As the appearing wizards were on the first syllable of their Stunning Charms, Harry was already halfway through his incantation.
A massive shield erected itself around Harry and absorbed the Stunning Charms. Harry should have probably guessed they were Aurors, but someone had just incanted the Killing Curse in his direction twice within a minute. So he moved onto stage two of his theory.
He slammed his left arm over his eyes, gripping tightly to block his vision before incanting "Lumos Maxima!"
To those who had not covered their eyes, the effects were very similar to those of a flash bang grenade. Everyone, except Harry, was blinded by the sudden light the intensity of which was further enhanced by the texture of the shield.
Harry dismissed his shield and incanted at one disorientated wizard "Stupefy!" He was about to take down as many others as he could when he heard a familiar voice.
"Stop. That's my son and daughter. Harry stop these are Aurors."
Harry redirected his next Stunner into the ground, but stood ready to act if any more spells came his way. One of the Aurors, managed to overcome his disorientation – somewhat – and aimed his wand at Harry.
Harry non-verbally lifted a shield charm reflected the spell right back at the Auror, immobilising him with his own curse.
"Stop this now, put your wand down Potter." Barked a man.
Harry recognised him as Mr Diggory, Cedric's father. But he didn't put his wand down.
"I'm not putting anything down, they attacked me." He said.
"Harry calm down." Pleaded Mr Weasley. "Just tell us, did you see who cast the Dark Mark."
"Uh… he was over there somewhere." Said Harry. He lowered his wand but he didn't put it on the ground or in his pocket.
"Before he cast it though, he tried to kill us." Emma piped up, drawing attention from the Ministry Wizards. "He used the killing curse… twice."
"There was also an Explosion Curse and a Blasting Curse." Said Harry. "There was some other stuff to, but I think I managed to knock him to the ground, even if he got up some of your stunners may have hit him."
"What did he look like?" Demanded Crouch.
"I don't know." Said Harry. "I couldn't really see him… just where the spells… I think whoever it was, was either under an Invisibility Cloak or a Disillusionment Charm."
Crouch rounded on him. "Are you certain?"
"Yeah." Replied Harry. "Bits of tree kept impacting thin air roughly where the spells were coming from."
Crouch marched over to the location and lifted his wand. "Homenum Revelio!"
The wand lit up, but Harry knew that meant nothing, there were people all over the place, it didn't necessarily mean there was an intruder. Crouch would know.
"I can't find anyone." Said Crouch. "Did you see anything else?"
"Uhh…" Harry trailed off.
As they were talking, the rest of the Guild had been revived by Mr Weasley and Mr Diggory, as had the two Aurors Harry had taken out.
"The House-Elf." Said Hermione. She pointed to where the creature and been flung aside.
Crouch went straight for the elf and examined it. "That's my House-Elf." He said.
"What's your House-Elf doing here?" Said Mr Diggory.
"I'll find that out later." Said Mr Crouch.
"I think we should find out now." Said Diggory. "I am from the Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures. If your Elf has been involved in the appearance of that Mark, then I want to know about it."
Not taking no for an answer, Mr Diggory went over to Winky the House-Elf and revived her.
She woke up looking scared. "Master Barty, Master Barty…"
"Elf." Said Diggory sternly. "Do you know who cast that?"
He pointed at the Dark Mark.
The House-Elf screamed.
"She can't know." Emma reasoned. "She was unconscious when it was conjured."
Crouch turned to look at Emma. He seemed quite relieved she'd said that.
"But wouldn't it have been the same person that stunned her." Said Ginny. "Do you know who stunned you?"
Winky squealed. "Me no seeing anyone. Me no know who fired spell. Me looking for Master Barty."
"Sir, we have a wand!" Called one of the Aurors. While the House-Elf was being questioned by the Mr Diggory, the Aurors decided to search the area for evidence.
Diggory and Crouch looked at the wand.
"Does this belong to any of you?" Demanded Diggory.
"I don't think so." Said Harry. He had asked everyone to check their wands before they left the campsite.
The Guild began rummaging through their pockets. No one was missing a wand.
"It probably belonged to whoever attacked us and sent that thing up into the sky." Said Emma.
"I would hold that line of thought Miss Potter." Said Crouch. "I think I recognise that wand."
One of the Aurors took out a sheet of parchment, wrapped it around the wand, tapped it with his own, then took it off.
"What are they doing?" Said Demelza.
"It's a testing method." Replied Harry. "All wands sold are registered with the Ministry by law. They're trying to see who owns it."
"Wh… that can't be right?" Said the Auror looking over the sheet.
Crouch looked it over. "I believe it is. Someone must have nicked it from his pocket."
"But… he's the Min…"
"I know who he is." Snapped Crouch, "I also know he's a clumsy and incompetent buffoon."
"Barty!" Said Mr Diggory in shock.
"I seriously doubt that he was the one who tried to kill Mr Potter and his friends, despite how much motive he has." Said Crouch looking at Harry.
"But how could they have gotten the wand?" Asked the Auror. "He's the Minster for…"
"I told you, Fudge is an incompetent buffoon. I would encourage you to ask him when you return it to him but first…"
Crouch trained his wand on the stick in question.
The wand imitated the green skull that was cast mere minutes previously.
"This is definitely the wand." Said Crouch. "Now Mr Potter, asides from yourself, did any of you use magic?"
"Uhh…" Harry trailed off, surprised at the question.
"I used the levitation charm to get a few of our friends out of the line of fire." Said Emma.
"Well I think we can agree there were extenuating circumstances." Said Mr Crouch. "But think before you cast magic again, you're underage."
"You mean just let someone fire Killing Curses at me?" Asked Harry incredulously.
"I mean, consider whether breaking the law is worth the risk next time." Growled Crouch. "As you were under attack, I will recommend to the Improper Use of Magic Office that you not be penalised. But we will have to report it."
"I think these children have told you all they can, and they clearly have done nothing wrong so if you don't mind I would like to escort them back." Said Mr Weasley.
"Yes, yes, fine." Replied Crouch.
"I have no problem with it." Said Diggory.
The Auror Harry had stunned looked irritably at him as if he didn't agree with the more senior members, but said nothing.
"Come on." Instructed Mr Weasley.
They dropped Luna and Neville off at the Lovegood tent, thankfully both it and Mr Lovegood appeared intact.
Geoffrey was not so lucky. His parents were fine, a little shaken but otherwise alright, however their tent was now a smouldering wreck. They got permission from the security wizards and left the campsite by apparation along with their son.
Natalie's Uncle was alright though, however he was a bit grumpy about not having been able to catch any of the Death Eaters.
"So they were Death Eaters?" Said Ron, once the Weasley group had returned to their tent.
"It seems so." Said Mr Weasley. "I would say they're the Death Eaters who've avoided being sent to Azkaban."
Ron and Ginny's brothers were all already back, Bill, Charlie and Percy had minor bruises and cuts from having helped the Ministry. When they filled them in about what happened at the edge of the forest, Percy looked shocked.
"Crouch's elf was attacked?" Questioned the man's employee. "I wonder who would have the gall to do that."
"I don't know." Said Harry. "But I can't help but wonder who he is. He attacked us and if I didn't know some of the stuff I know, he could have killed all of us."
"You sure it was a he?" Asked Mr Weasley.
"Certainly sounded like one." Reasoned Emma. "Why did he attack us? Did he recognise us or something?"
"Why would whoever it was, want to kill you?" Said Percy in confusion.
"Because he's a Death Eater and we're the Potters." Said Harry.
"Oh." Percy shifted uncomfortably.
"My guess is he recognised me when I called out to him." Said Harry. "Though I didn't know I could be so recognisable."
"Maybe it was Malfoy." Suggested Ron.
"It didn't sound like him." Countered Harry.
"Yeah but think about it, his son was with us just before we chased him off." Said Ron.
"But how would he have gotten his Dad to us so quickly, and what about the House-Elf?" Said Hermione. "No something weird is going on here. I think we were just in the wrong place at the wrong time as the man was passing through the woods, to or from the mob that materialised here."
"Whoever it was is a very dangerous person." Said Harry. "Killing Curses, an Explosion Curse, a Blasting Curse. If someone who can just cast those on a whim managed to avoid Azkaban, then he is a very dangerous man."
"Maybe it was Sirius Black." Suggested Bill.
"It wasn't." Said Emma, suddenly and almost outrageously.
"Are you sure?" Said Mr Weasley. "Black is very dangerous…"
"Not as dangerous as the Ministry like to claim." Said Harry. "Don't forget, we met him. He had many opportunities to kill us, and he didn't. I'm not sure we'll ever see him again, anyway didn't he leave the country?"
"He was spotted in France shortly after you lot encountered him, and he was spotted in Germany about a month later. But we've not had any sightings of him since, he may have snuck back into the country." Said Mr Weasley.
"Possibly." Said Harry, Emma and a few others looked at him incredulously. "But after I saw him, I'm not convinced he's that dangerous to anyone, also… the voice… it sounded…"
"I know." Said Emma. "That didn't sound like Black, or any voice I've ever heard… it sounded…"
"Demented…" Remarked Demelza.
"By the way, what happened to the Robertsons?" Said Harry, suddenly remembering the Muggles that were being tormented.
"They're fine." Said Mr Weasley. "As soon as the Mark appeared in the sky, the Death Eaters dropped them and then ran off."
"Why would they run away?" Said Harry "Surely they'd be overjoyed to see that Mark."
"Anything but." Said Mr Weasley. "You-Know-Who has been gone for over a decade and those followers who avoided Azkaban have done nothing to find him. If he returned then they would be more scared than any of us. Now I think we should all get some sleep and get an early portkey back to Stoatshead Hill tomorrow."
Harry didn't sleep much that night. That man, whoever he was, tried to kill him and he was still out there. Mr Weasley's comments about the other Death Eaters made sense, Voldemort was not the forgiving type, those who denounced him after his downfall would not get a warm reception if he was revived. That man though, was he a truly loyal follower? If he was then Voldemort had a very dangerous ally.
Harry would have to be careful. They would all have to be careful.
There was a long queue to the portkey the following morning. However a quick check on numbers revealed that there were enough apparators to take everyone back by side-along.
So Bill, Charlie, Percy and Mr Weasley all took two people each by the arm and materialised into the Burrow Orchard.
A few seconds after arriving, Mrs Weasley came running frantically out of the building and engulfed everyone.
"Oh thank goodness you're all alright." She said.
When she found the twins she hugged them so tight, their faces began to pale from lack of oxygen.
"I shouted at you before you left, I kept on thinking what if You-Know-Who had got to you both and the last thing I ever…"
"I think we should go inside." Said Mr Weasley.
It soon became apparent what the problem was.
"Of course it would be Rita Skeeter." Growled Mr Weasley.
"Who's she, a journalist?" Asked Demelza.
"She's a gossip columnist." Said Percy scathingly. "She has it in for… well she has it in for anyone she fancies ruining."
"She's a complete menace, and likes to print half-truths, even though she knows they're probably false. Honestly, there were no bodies removed from the forest. No one died and how did she learn about the Minister's wand." Said Mr Weasley.
"You mean Fudge's wand was stolen?" Asked Mrs Weasley in surprise.
"Yes and someone tried to kill us with it." Remarked Emma rather carelessly.
Mrs Weasley gasped. She urgently and swiftly pulled people into hugs at random.
"Hey, hey, it wasn't us… it was Ron and Ginny and the others." Pleaded Fred.
Mrs Weasley calmed down enough to begin making breakfast, Colin and Emma voluntarily helped her. She was still shaken enough that she didn't object.
"I'm going to have to go into the office this morning." Said Mr Weasley.
"What. But Arthur you're on holiday." Mrs Weasley tried to reason.
"I know, but thanks to these rumours the Ministry will be in chaos."
"I should go in as well." Said Percy. "Mr Crouch will need all the help he can get right now, anyway I finished my report so I might as well hand it in."
Mrs Weasley looked rather frustrated at them.
"Just remember to come home at the end of the day." Said Emma.
Percy turned to smile at her, much to the confusion of most of the people present. "Don't worry Emma, I will be back in time to say goodbye."
Harry and Emma had to resume their studies tomorrow, so Mr Weasley had planned to take both them and Demelza and Colin home after dinner.
"Maybe you could just stay here a little longer." Said Mrs Weasley.
"We can't." Said Harry. "Our studies resume in the morning. The only reason we're not working today is because Professor Slughorn had to come back from the Cup as well."
"Oh well, if you're sure." Said Mrs Weasley.
The group retreated to Ginny's room with the Prophet that Mr Weasley had left on the table.
DEATH EATERS ATTACK WORLD CUP: DARK MARK APPEARS FOLLOWED BY AN EXPLOSION. MINISTRY REFUSES TO COMMENT ON DEATH TOLL. SOURCE INDICATE FUDGE'S WAND WAS RESPONSIBLE FOR MARK
Mere hours after the World Cup's epic conclusion, people in Death Eater garb held a Muggle family hostage and attacked the tent villages set up to accommodate people who were visiting from all over the world. For the first time in almost 13 years the infamous Dark Mark was seen in the skies on the outskirts of the tent city. Those who still remember the days of the war will be well aware that Death Eaters often cast the mark after committing murder. There was a large flash that occurred seconds after the mark appeared in the skies.
However, despite rumours and sources inside and close to the Ministry indicating that at least a dozen people lost their lives, the Ministry has refused to confirm or deny this. There are also reports that the wand belonging to our Minister for Magic, Cornelius Fudge, was used to cast the Dark Mark and murder twelve Hogwarts school children.
"Murder 12 Hogwarts schoolchildren?" Questioned Demelza. "Are they talking about us?"
"Well we are a group of twelve." Reasoned Harry.
"Guild of twelve, but that's beside the point we're all still alive." Countered Emma.
"Should we do something about this?" Asked Demelza. "Say write to the paper and tell them that we're probably the twelve and…"
"NO!" Said Ron and Ginny loudly causing everyone to jump.
"Sorry." Said Ron. "But Skeeter is bad news. She'll use you to mess things up."
"Just wait until more articles are printed in the next few days." Said Ginny. "She fancies herself as a character assassin. Of course she's done it so often that people rarely believe her, but…"
"We're best to just stay out of this." Said Ron.
"But what do we do when someone lets slip Harry cast that flash?" Asked Emma.
"I think I'll call that technique the solar flare." Said Harry thoughtfully.
"Whatever. What are we going to do, cause someone will learn it and let slip to Skeeter." Said Emma.
"We'll deal with that if and when the time comes." Said Harry. "It's not like we did anything wrong."
After lunch, Harry, Ron and Hermione went to Ron's room and left Emma with Ginny, Colin and Demelza.
"Are you sure we can't convince you to stay?" Said Ginny.
"I'm sure." Said Emma. "Asides from anything else, I left Mopsus at Privet Drive with only enough food out until tonight. I can't count on the Dursleys to feed him and I'm already expecting his litter tray to be full."
"Yuck." Remarked Demelza at that image. "Are we sure it was a good idea to leave your relatives alone with him?"
"He's fine, the wards Professor Dumbledore put up last year protect him and Hedwig as well. Also for some reason, Mopsus likes to attack my Aunt while she's a goose. Merlin knows why."
"Are you two really going to be working all summer?" Asked Colin.
"Except to visit the lawyers, the werewolves and if there's time Demelza's brothers at the beach." Said Emma. "What about you three? Planning anything?"
"I might do something with Hermione." Said Ginny. "But with Harry so busy, she's been spending a lot of time with Ron. I'm really not sure if I want to interfere."
"You think they might be getting together soon?" Asked Demelza.
"Maybe." Said Ginny. "But they're both stubborn and like to antagonise each other so you never know."
"What about you two?" Said Emma.
"Just mainly hanging out." Said Colin. "More or less what we did last year. Though a trip to Newcastle might be fun."
Both Mr Weasley and Percy came home on time for dinner. Ron commented it was the earliest Percy had ever returned since getting a job.
"You would not believe how chaotic things are right now." Said Percy. "Our office has been inundated with complaints about the security measures and the Ministry is being inundated with demands for compensation for damage caused during the riot."
"Sounds like you're going to be busy?" Said Emma.
"I am." Said Percy as he sat down at the table, relieved to have the weight off his feet. "Also Mr Crouch is very disgruntled. I'd guess he's been having problems at home, if it weren't for the fact he lives with no one but a House-Elf."
"Maybe he's just a bit shaken about what happened at the World Cup." Said Bill. "Let's face it, how many years since that mark was in the sky?"
"Not enough." Said Charlie.
The younger people at the table looked at Bill, Charlie and Percy with a little worry. It was only really dawning on them that the three oldest brothers were old enough to remember the war. They had been eleven, nine and five when it ended. Bill would have just started Hogwarts.
"Well let's not let sick minded men bring back those memories." Said Mrs Weasley. "Your uncles wouldn't want that now would they?"
"I suppose." Said Bill morosely.
The atmosphere at the dinner table brightened considerably once food began to fill everyone's plates. The Guild began making plans to catch up over the summer while repeatedly politely declining offers from Mrs Weasley to stay the whole summer.
"Who should go see Luna's friend though?" Said Ginny. "Because if we all go it will seem strange."
"Well Harry and I should go obviously." Said Emma. "Luna too, she is the one who gave us the name."
"Hermione too." Said Harry. "Let's face it, no one else is as competent taking notes."
"Am I going to become the secretary?" Said Hermione in mock irritation.
"If you like." Said Harry. "But let's face it, you and Luna between you are the best ones for…"
"Paying attention to what people are saying?" Said Hermione.
"Boring people yes." Said Emma.
Hermione glared at the younger Potter.
"Who else needs to come?" Said Ron.
"No one else needs to I guess." Said Harry. "But since Hermione's going to be staying here anyway, you and Ginny might as well come with her."
Mrs Weasley, while they were talking looked suspiciously at them. They had been careful not to mention words like lawyer, werewolf, or anything else that might draw her attention. If she didn't think Harry and Emma should be studying to earn qualifications early, then she wouldn't like the idea of them spending what little extra time they had starting a major court case.
After dinner, Mrs Weasley took Harry and Emma back to Privet Drive while Mr Weasley took Demelza and Colin back to Hepton.
"You know we don't mind having you for the holidays." Said Mrs Weasley.
"Thanks, but we're already having to transport between here and Professor Moody's house." Said Emma. "Honestly we'd be pretty bad guests if we stayed, we're better off staying here."
Mrs Weasley look like she wanted to say something else, but she didn't. It seemed she'd accepted that Harry and Emma were going to do their studying.
When they arrived at Privet Drive, the Dursleys glared at them but did nothing else. Harry half expected them to try locking the front door again, but it seemed they'd learned that particular attempt to keep the Potters out was ineffective.
Mrs Weasley hugged them both goodbye. "Just remember if you have any trouble…" She looked at the Dursleys making sure that they were listening "…just drop us an owl."
They bade Mrs Weasley goodbye then ignored their relatives as they sought sanctuary in their bedroom.
"I guess we're back to work tomorrow." Said Harry.
"Yup." Said Emma, but she looked troubled. "Harry can we talk about the man who attacked us?"
"What is it?" Said Harry.
"Voldemort's… he's already met one Pettigrew. What if he's met someone else, one of his other Death Eaters?"
Harry frowned once she'd said that. For a moment he said nothing. "I could say that I doubt this has anything to do with him. But I would be lying, and you'd know it."
Emma nodded. "He's coming back isn't he?"
"I don't know, but I think he's going to try." Said Harry. "He tried with the Philosophers Stone, but… well you know what happened there. I'm sure he'll find another way, then there was what that Diary did just over a year ago."
"He's tried again and again to come back. Do you think he'll manage it?" Said Emma.
"He's going to keep on trying." Said Harry. "So long as he's out there, in spirit or body, he will be a threat to me, you, and anyone who opposes him."
"And Muggles who don't know he exists." Said Emma.
"That's why I'm so interested in Defence. Voldemort, from what I can tell was a great fighter but he understood the Dark Arts like no other and wielded magic that few can even comprehend, never mind overcome." Said Harry.
"You're preparing for your next encounter." Said Emma in understanding.
Harry nodded. "When I faced off against Quirrell, I could barely hurt him. It took our blood protection to defeat Voldemort in that instance. Then against the Basilisk none of our spells, not even our best ones, could penetrate its armour."
"Harry what are the chances that Voldemort would have another Basilisk?" Said Emma incredulously.
"He can grow his own, remember that page book Hermione found, it had rough instructions on how to grow one. He's also a Parselmouth so he can control it to. Anyway, there are other creatures that are just as resistant to magic. Dragons, Giants and to a lesser extent trolls, though I now have the knowledge of how to kill them."
"Giants?" Said Emma. "They're real?"
"Yes." Said Harry, "And they're not easy to kill. During the war, Voldemort managed to ally himself with them and they invaded Britain."
"Invaded?" Said Emma.
"Giants have been extinct in this country for centuries, but not in Europe." Said Harry. "By my understanding it was the closest he came to taking control of the Magical World here. This was early on in the war though, all the giants were killed or expelled by 1977. There is speculation that Voldemort was implementing plans to bring some back in the last few months of the war but…"
"I still can't help but wonder what it must have been like during those years." Said Emma. "You saw how haunted Ginny and Ron's oldest brothers were."
"I hope we don't have to find out, but we probably will." Said Harry. "If it wasn't for what Dumbledore did, then it's likely that the war would have been prolonged even more. Maybe even lost."
Emma nodded, Voldemort feared Dumbledore during the war and from stories they'd heard from Remus at Hogwarts, it sounded like he had good reason to.
"It is a bit unnerving. I get the feeling…" Emma trailed off
"I get it to." Said Harry. "What happened with us back in Godric's Hollow. It didn't solve the problem, it just stopped it. There is every chance we could end up at war again."
"Let's not dwell on it now though." Said Emma. "We've got two weeks left of intense studying to do, not to mention we need to find some time for the werewolves."
Harry nodded. "Alright, do you want to use the bathroom first?"
The two of them got changed and went to bed. But they both kept private thoughts about what had happened the previous day. Someone had tried to kill them, probably on impulse but the fact that someone could so callously cast those spells like that was worrisome.
I originally planned for Emma's wand to be stolen, but the plan for its retrieval was a lot more… chaotic let's say. I do admit to planning Albert's interaction with Luna ages back. See chapter 19 Missed by the Ministry.
I've also been working on my notes for this story an awful lot and for other stories. I've gone rather overboard on the Next Generation, I've already planned the full names (first, middle and last) and birthdays of 33 children who will make up the next generation. Admittedly some are the same as canon but you have to admit, 33 is a lot, and there are more to conceive.
Feel free to leave reviews.