The Study Group, Part 1
Author's Note: Well, we are officially at Chapter 50 of the second book of the saga, and I still have no idea how many chapters this will be when it is completed. I don't even want to guess. With that in mind, I know I've called a couple of chapters the official end of Year 3, and reviewers ask me if Year 3 is actually over. As I told them, it is over as soon as the final exams are over for Year 3, and the official summer holidays begin.
The beginning of this chapter will describe a small time-skip. However the many beginning paragraphs are extremely important to the upcoming events in the story, so please bear with me.
As you can see by the chapter title, the next couple of chapters will be focusing on the Study Group and exams, instead of just one chapter. This chapter is pretty much just a tease to the whole Study Group thing, but there is an important event preceding it I wanted to do some focus on, and by the end of this chapter, you'll see exactly why I wanted it to be in two parts.
The first official week away from Hogwarts seemed to go by pretty quickly at Potter Manor.
On Sunday evening at the Burrow, after the Weasley family, Harry, and Sirius Black enjoyed a delicious meal, Harry and Ginny – after a long telepathic discussion during dinner - came to a decision to speak to Ginny's parents afterward. At the end of the discussion, it was decided that Harry and Ginny would spend the much of the month of June at the Burrow so they did not have to travel back and forth from Potter Manor to the Burrow everyday. Because Hermione was planning on staying at the Burrow as well, it was decided that Harry would be sleeping in Ron's room, while Ginny and Hermione would be in her room. Harry and Ginny had talked about this during dinner, and had decided they were both fine with it.
However, Harry and Ginny still spent the last whole week of May back at Potter Manor. Since Sirius and Amelia were busy at work most of the day, Harry and Ginny stayed at Potter Manor and tried to keep themselves busy and distracted. Since they didn't want to work on homework and exam revisions until they were at the Burrow, they focused on the other important thing they had to look forward in the coming months: getting into the Department of Mysteries and destroying the Time Pool.
They knew they needed Sirius and Amelia's help with this, as the easiest way to enter the Department of Mysteries was hope that Amelia would get permission, as Minister, from the Unspeakables for a tour, and have permission to go along with her. After asking Amelia about this on Monday evening, Amelia said she would work on it, but it would take some time. When Harry and Ginny told her they hadn't planned on doing anything until at least July, Amelia seemed a lot more confident about her answer. As of now, however, both Amelia and Sirius were extremely busy at the Ministry.
Amelia had her hands full with numerous tasks.
First of all was the aftermath of the Dementor Attack at Hogwarts. However, after a rant about this from Amelia to Sirius, on Tuesday evening that even Harry and Ginny had heard from as they were relaxing in their pool, Sirius had relieved her of those duties, so she could focus on other important things.
Then there was the Quidditch World Cup which would begin the first week of July. Wednesday afternoon, Amelia and Sirius had a meeting with the International Quidditch League, to reassure them that Lucius Malfoy was not going to be a problem. Sirius, who seemed to be angry about something that had happened earlier that morning – Amelia knew it had to do with his discussion with Draco Black, but he refused to tell her anything else – spent half the meeting ranting to the members of the IQL about how England deserved this, and no stinking Death Eater should stop them from having it. If the Cup moved to another country, this would give Lucius Malfoy and the Dark Arts a victory, and that was exactly what Sirius argued. After a grueling four-hour meeting, it was finally decided the Quidditch World Cup would still take place in England.
However, Amelia had no relief after this small victory. She still to meet with the Hogwarts Governors about keeping Hogwarts open. This, however, did not take long. During their meeting on Thursday, it took less than three hours for the Governors to decide to re-open the magical school. Almost every Governor had mentioned the Triwizard Tournament in their arguments against the opposition.
After this decision, Amelia's focus on the Triwizard Tournament became much more important. During the coming months of the summer, she knew she had to look forward to several meetings with the Department of Games and Sports, as well as the Ministers of Magic from Norway and France, and the Durmstrang and Beauxbatons Headmistresses.
Sirius Black was also extremely busy as the Head of the Auror Department. The ongoing hunt for Lucius Malfoy was keeping him at work very late as well as keeping him up at night. It did not help that he hadn't gotten very far during his all-important discussion with Draco Black on Wednesday. True, he had learned the huge revelation of child abuse toward Draco, but he still hadn't gotten any farther than that due to Narcissa Black kicking them out of the house. Sirius was absolutely angry afterward; his anger was directed toward Lucius Malfoy, but also partially toward Narcissa Black. He had many more questions in mind, and no idea when he would get the next opportunity to ask them. Draco was the key witness now, having the most information, and all that Sirius had learned was Lucius Malfoy had women and possibly underage girls for his pleasure as well as more evil intentions.
It didn't help that he had expressed such anger in front of his wife and the International Quidditch League. But once they mentioned the problem with Lucius Malfoy, his anger exploded. His mind had been full of the thoughts of Lucius' child abuse toward Draco, that he had lost control. Afterward, he was surprised Amelia hadn't kicked him out of the meeting. To make it worse, she was angry with him when he refused to tell her what he was angry about. He had decided she didn't need to know of the horrors he had learned about. Unfortunately, due to this argument and his refusal, Amelia had refused him a spot in their bed that evening, making him sleep in one of the other many bedrooms of Potter Manor. This didn't help his temper, and he was still angry the following day.
(Sunday May 29th, 1994)
Two funerals in two days, Harry said to Ginny, as he sighed deeply, I thought after all those funerals after the Battle of Hogwarts, that I'd never have to experience that ever again.
Back then, we could have never known we'd be where we are right now, Ginny said.
Ginny squeezed Harry's hand gently, and he looked at her and tried his best to smile in reassurance. He couldn't achieve one however.
It was late Sunday afternoon, and he and Ginny were currently sitting together in the middle of a group of chairs, spread out in four rows. They were currently in the small Greengrass Family cemetery settled on the grounds of the Greengrass Manor in Wiltshire.
On either side of them were Sirius, Amelia, Remus, members of the Weasley family, and Hermione Granger. Luna Lovegood and Neville Longbottom were sitting together in the row in front of them. Around them were friends and family of Daphne Greengrass. Harry could also see several Professors, including Dumbledore, Vector and even Snape – though he decided the latter wasn't too surprising, as he was her Head of House. In the front row of chairs, Daphne's parents sat next to Astoria Greengrass.
However, it was who he saw sitting near them that surprised him greatly. Draco Black was sitting next to Astoria, with one arm wrapped around her shoulders, as she leaned against him. Harry couldn't figure out what was going on there. He also noticed Draco's mother, Narcissa sitting next to her son. Kingsley Shacklebolt was standing nearby as their apparent guard. Several other Auror guards, including Tonks and Dawlish were seen around the group of chairs.
Daphne Greengrass' magnificent white casket was sitting on a metal table placed above a deep hole, where she would be buried. Behind the casket was an impressive looking marble headstone with Daphne's name, dates of her birth and death, and a passage Harry couldn't make out from where he was seated.
As he had stated, this was the second funeral in two days he had attended. Yesterday afternoon, he and Ginny had attended Penelope Clearwater's funeral. It was very different from today's setting. Penelope's funeral had been at a church in the town in which her family had resided. Because Penelope was a Muggleborn, it was a Muggle funeral. Every witch and wizard in attendance were forced to wear Muggle clothing, and a couple of those who had joined had to be turned away due to the fact that their choice of attire was inappropriate; while passable to Muggles, they looked much to eccentric for a Muggle funeral.
In attendance who were familiar to Harry, had been Sirius, Amelia, Remus, Tonks, and Percy Weasley - Percy had been the only Weasley who had attended that funeral – as well as Professors Dumbledore and McGonagall. Penelope's Head of House Professor Flitwick hadn't been able to attend due to the fact he did not look entirely passable for a Muggle, however, it was said he visited Penelope's grave many hours later.
Professor Dumbledore stood and walked over in front of Daphne's casket. He placed a hand on her casket for a moment, before turning to the group of mourners.
"Castor and Illiana have asked that I lead today's ceremony," Albus began. "As I told them upon their request, I would be honored to do so, however I wish it was not necessary. Castor, Illiana... young Astoria... those of you who were very close to Daphne, be it her family, close friends, Professors, or those who only made a memorable acquaintance with her, I assure you that I share your deep regrets and sadness for such a terrible loss."
Dumbledore bowed in respect toward Daphne's immediate family, before returning his attention to the rest of those in attendance.
"Many people do not know this about me," Dumbledore said, "for I have always been very quiet about such moments in my past. Many, many years ago, I, too, lost somebody who was around the same age as Daphne: my own sister, Ariana."
If anyone was going to react to such news about the aging Headmaster of Hogwarts, nobody did so. Harry decided it was probably the atmosphere of the funeral to thank for this.
"Ariana was very close to my heart," Dumbledore said, "And in comparison, as is every student who ever walked through the doors and halls of Hogwarts, Daphne Greengrass resides in a small place in my heart as well."
Harry could hear a few of the mourners crying softly, including Astoria, who was trying her best to pay attention to the Headmaster. In front of him Neville seemed to be shivering, but Harry didn't think he was crying yet; he also observed that Neville had yet to take Luna's hand in his, though she seemed to be offering it.
"The last few minutes of Daphne's wonderful life were arguably her bravest," Dumbledore continued, "Not only did she save her sister's life, she refused to stay behind in safe sanctuary, she returned to the Grounds of Hogwarts to help those others with the conflict. She sacrificed herself so that the conflict would be won. Other lives would have been lost without her help. My dear Astoria -"
The young girl, who had been crying into Draco's shoulder, raised her head when she heard her name. Albus smiled as he looked at her.
"I know you may blame yourself," he said to her, "I know you may think that this terrible tragedy would never have taken place if there was something you could have done differently. She did what she did for you, with you in mind, so that you could be here celebrating her life today with your family and friends."
Astoria nodded softly, and Albus smiled at her once more, before he turned his attention to everyone.
"When the future of our world looks back at the terrible event that took place a little over a week ago," Dumbledore said, "They will remember the heroes of the day, those who fought against the Dementors, protecting the students from a terrible fate. They will also remember the fallen. This tells me that Daphne Greengrass will never be forgotten, just as everyone of us will never forget her. As we say goodbye to her, I wish to remind everyone that where she is going is only the next great adventure. It is not a permanent goodbye. Those who care for her will see her again one day."
Dumbledore smiled and turned to the casket, where he placed a hand once again on the top of it. He murmured a few words under his breath, then turned back to the mourners.
"I know many of you want to say a few words about Daphne," Dumbledore said, "I ask that you do so now."
As Dumbledore returned to his chair, Castor and Illiana stood. Over the next few minutes, many of those in attendance including Astoria, Neville and Professor Snape, said a few words. Amelia stood up as well, and addressed Daphne's family, before addressing the rest of the mourners with a small speech in Daphne's honor. Neither Harry nor Ginny stood up; while they knew Daphne for a few months, neither knew her well enough to believe they could say anything of much importance that would relieve her family's minds. After all, as only a few people in attendance knew and had no wish to reveal, Daphne could not do a Patronus or defend herself against the Dementors very well. She had returned to the Grounds to find Neville and it had cost Daphne her life.
The funeral concluded with a closing poem by Dumbledore, as he, Illiana and Castor used their wands to slowly lower Daphne's casket into the ground and her final resting place. After the poem and the burial, every one in attendance was given red and white roses, dropping them in the six-foot hole, before leaving the area so that Daphne's immediate family could have last moments with her before the ground was covered.
After the funeral, the Greengrass family hosted a post-funeral supper set up by their house-elves behind the large Manor, where Daphne was the common subject among those in attendance. Draco and Narcissa Black had joined the Greengrass family at their table, piquing the curiosity of Harry, Ginny and their friends. However, nobody amongst the group seemed to want to reveal anything, and even Sirius didn't seem to have a clue as to what was going on. Harry had witnessed his Godfather having a discussion with Narcissa, however the conversation seemed rather heated, though it seemed to end on good terms.
Harry didn't have a chance to ask his godfather about the discussion, until they were at the Burrow after the funeral, which concluded at sunset. Harry, Ginny and Hermione – the latter who had only revealed her decision to the couple after the funeral – would be all be staying at the Burrow starting that evening; however, while Harry and Ginny would spend most of the month, Hermione was only staying until she had finished her exams.
Night was beginning to fall as everyone arrived at the Burrow via Side-Along Apparation. As Hermione and most of the Weasleys headed down the long driveway toward the Burrow, Harry and Ginny lagged behind to talk to Sirius, who had come along to accompany and say temporary goodbyes to Harry and Ginny.
"Sirius, do you know what was going on with Draco?" Harry asked, "He seemed very close to Astoria during her sister's funeral."
"Sorry, Harry," Sirius said, "Narcissa's keeping rather quiet about it. All she said to me was that it was between her, Draco and the Greengrass family, and she didn't want the information in public ears yet."
"You're the Head of her House!" Harry argued, "Surely this is need-to-know!"
"She assured me it wasn't anything dangerous," Sirius said.
"Really?" Harry asked, "Because you were having a rather heated discussion with her."
"We were discussing a time in which I could talk to Draco again," Sirius said, "I barely got any information out of him last Wednesday, and what he knows could be very important to my investigation into Lucius' where-abouts."
"She didn't seem too happy about that," Ginny said.
"Our last meeting didn't go very well," Sirius said, "I learned something from Draco which freaked out his mother and himself. And no, I am not telling either of you about it."
"Can you tell us anything?" Harry asked.
"Yes," Sirius said, "When you return to Potter Manor at the end of the month, we should be ready for your little quest into the Department of Mysteries."
"Is that all?" Ginny asked.
"This is something you've been looking forward to!" Sirius said, "It is quite important, isn't it?"
"Sure," Ginny said, "But it looks like you're also keeping something else from us."
Sirius smiled. "You'll find out tomorrow morning. Good luck with your exams, and please behave for Arthur and Molly. I know you won't be able to sleep in the same bed, so you may find yourselves battling temptation to keep your Bond happy. Remember Harry, We're almost two months from the day you turn fourteen. You know what happens then."
"Yeah, I know," Harry said.
"I expect I'll see you pretty soon," Sirius said, as the three of them reached the end of the driveway, "I might even be able to help you study for your exams. For now, this is a temporary goodbye."
Harry and Ginny briefly hugged Sirius, before saying goodbye. Then they walked into the Burrow as Sirius made his way back up the driveway. Mr. and Mrs. Weasley were in the kitchen having tea and talking amongst themselves when they spotted Harry and Ginny.
"We've already moved your things to your rooms," Mrs. Weasley announced; before leaving Potter Manor to attend the funeral, Harry and Ginny had magically transported their school trunks to the Burrow.
"Thanks, Mum," Ginny said.
"The two of you will be okay sleeping separately, yes?" Mr. Weasley asked.
"Yes, Daddy," Ginny said, "I don't think our Bond will punish us for something we cannot control. It isn't like Hermione can sleep in Ron's room."
Mrs. Weasley looked horrified at the idea, and Mr. Weasley only chuckled.
"Probably not the best idea, no," Mr. Weasley said, "Though I must say when it comes to the two of them –" he cowered when Mrs. Weasley looked at him rather suspiciously. "Well, I'll just say we'll see what the future holds in store."
"There is a couple hours until bedtime," Mrs. Weasley said, "So go and do what you wish."
Harry and Ginny walked into the living room, where they found Bill sitting, reading the Daily Prophet. When he noticed them, he smiled and looked over the top of the newspaper.
"Looking for Ron and Hermione?" he asked, "They went upstairs."
"Thanks, Bill," Ginny said.
"It will be good to have you here for a while, sis," Bill said, "Not the same without you around."
"Happy to be here," Ginny said.
"Hey, a bit of advice unless you wish to be hexed and cursed," Bill said, "Do your best to avoid Percy right now."
"Is he okay?" Ginny asked.
Bill sighed and looked over their heads toward the kitchen where his parents were. He then back at Harry and Ginny and lowered his voice, beckoning them closer. "Penelope's death hit him really hard. Last week, I caught him more than once in the barn firing hexes and curses in stacks of hay. I used to think his way of coping with things was to study or read. This new change is... well, it's worrying."
"You don't want Mum and Dad to know?" Ginny asked.
"They'll just worry more than I will," Bill said, shaking his head, "I've decided it is probably best if Percy stews over it for a while."
"Is he focusing on his NEWTs at all?" Harry asked.
Bill shrugged and looked at the ceiling. "I expect that is what he does when he is not in the barn or around the rest of us."
"That sounds more like the Percy I know," Ginny said.
Bill nodded. Harry and Ginny bid the eldest brother good evening, then headed up the stairs. Neither Ron nor Hermione were in Ginny's room nor the bathroom, so the couple continued up the stairs. They gingerly walked past the level where Percy's room was, then made their way up to the next level, where they found the door to Fred and George's room ajar a bit.
" – going to have to test them amongst ourselves first," Fred was saying.
"Not looking forward to the nose-bleeds," George said, "Though Fainting doesn't sound too great either."
"Maybe we can find some better test subjects," Fred said.
As long as they don't ask us, I'm just going to ignore them for now, Ginny said, as she stealthily shut the door.
Your Mum's not going to like it.
It'll be the same reaction she had last time, I expect.
At least we won't have to deal with that whole Ton-Tongue Toffee debacle with Dudley.
True, that might actually help them. If they be careful, they might actually get away with bringing their sweets to the Quidditch World Cup.
Harry had to cover his mouth with a hand so he wouldn't laugh out loud at the scene playing in his mind. Ginny grinned and led him up the stairs to the attic. Ginny didn't care to knock on the door, instead she immediately opened it. Therefore they had the pleasure of seeing Ron jump up in surprise from his bed. Hermione didn't react as such, though she scowled from her place on the floor near Ron's bed when Ron knocked her book out of her hand mid-jump.
"Bloody hell, you surprised me!" Ron hissed, "Can't you knock next time?"
"Figured it was okay since I will be sleeping her for the next few weeks," Harry said.
"Yeah," Ginny said, "Why? Were you doing something you didn't want us to know about?"
Hermione's jaw dropped a little as she glared at Ginny, though she stopped before Ron could see. Didn't matter, because he was too busy spluttering in their direction, as he plopped back down on his bed in surprise.
"N-no!" Ron stammered, "Of course not! What would I be doing?"
"I can think of a couple things," Ginny said, grinning; she winked at Hermione who blushed profusely.
"So," Harry said, "What are you doing?"
"Hermione's already decided to start her revising," Ron said, rolling his eyes, "Can you believe it? She told me she's had her nose in her books for the past week! You think she'd take a break!"
"I did not say I had my nose in my books, Ron," Hermione scowled, as Harry and Ginny sat down on the floor nearby, "But yes, I have been studying and revising the past few days. I think I've almost discovered what my magical core level is!"
"Brilliant," Ginny said, "You could give us some tips."
"Please don't give them tips right now!" Ron pleaded, "This is the last night before I have to get back into weeks of studying and stuff. Give me a few more hours peace."
Hermione rolled her eyes. "Fine. But you better promise you'll be back into student-mode tomorrow, Ron."
"Sure, student-mode," Ron said, grinning, "Studying a bit, sleeping in the boring classes, Quidditch practice, and a little bit more of studying – OW! Bloody hell, Hermione, I was joking, you didn't have to hit me."
Hermione had indeed smacked him in the knee, the closest body part she was near.
"Violence will be the last thing you have to worry about," she said, "when it comes to your Mum if you think you're going to be sleeping during the boring parts."
Ron scowled. "I believe I told you I was joking. So tone down your violence, woman."
"I think something's up with Draco Black," Harry said quickly, changing the subject.
This was a good thing because before this Hermione had narrowed her eyes, and looked ready to hit Ron with her Arithmetician's book. Now she was looking at Harry with raised eyebrows, an expression shared by Ron as well.
"Something's always up with Draco," Ron snorted. "Unfortunately, it seems we're going to have to deal with him again, because I'm sure his Mommy has plans on putting him back in Hogwarts."
"I can't believe you, Ron," Hermione muttered.
"Oh, what now?!" Ron asked.
"Draco just got rescued after months and months of being imprisoned by Lucius Malfoy," Hermione said.
"Exactly!" Ron scowled, "Malfoy will probably be searching for his son again, which means Hogwarts is once again going to be in danger because of the bloke. Obviously we can't trust Dementors anymore. It would be better for us all if he just never came back to school."
"We don't even know if he is coming back to Hogwarts, Ron," Hermione said.
"Good," Ron scoffed.
"However," Hermione said, "If he does go back, I think we should be a bit nicer to him.'
"Fat bloody chance!" Ron snorted.
"He must be feeling horrible right now," Hermione said, "Can you just imagine what happened during his time with Lucius Malfoy? We don't know how he was treated by the man. Draco might be a lot different when we see him again. I mean, did you see him today? He was comforting Astoria. Does the Draco we used to know seem like the type of person who would do that? He seems less... cold now."
Ron looked as if he disagreed with Hermione, though he didn't say anything.
"That is what I'm talking about," Harry said, "How close he was with Astoria today."
"Daphne told us the two of them were really good friends," Hermione said.
"She also told us that Castor Greengrass didn't want Astoria to have anything to do with him," Harry said.
"Obviously something changed there," Hermione said, "You saw how close they all were today."
"Exactly!" Harry said, "Something is going on there."
"Do you think there is something sinister going on with them?" Ron asked, "I mean – this is Draco and Narcissa we're talking about. They may not be Malfoys anymore, but..."
"Sirius talked to Narcissa," Ginny said, "He said it wasn't anything dangerous. However, he was keeping something from us. He said we'd find out tomorrow."
"I don't think that has anything to do with Draco," Hermione said.
"Yeah," Ron said, "Probably has something to do with the fact that you're here, doesn't it? I mean, like Hermione keeps pestering on about, we do resume student-mode tomorrow. Hey... I bet it has to do with Remus and Tonks. Remember, you asked Tonks if she'd help us study? She hasn't told you whether she and Remus are helping us or not yet, has she?"
"No," Harry said, shaking his head, "Not yet."
"So, maybe they made the decision and told Sirius about it," Ron said, "There you go. Secret discovered. We'll act all surprised tomorrow when they arrive, and Sirius won't know the difference."
"You're probably right," Ginny said.
Ron grinned, looking pleased with himself.
"Speaking of student-mode," Harry said, "Have either of you heard if Luna and Neville are joining us? I thought they'd tell us today, but they didn't."
"Luna's coming," Ron said, nodding, "Mum talked to her father last week to set it up. Neville... no, no letters from him or his grandmother."
Hermione shook her head. "Nope, none to me either. Maybe Luna knows..."
"I hope Neville's okay," Ginny said, "This whole thing with Daphne – I hope it didn't make him retreat back into his shell."
Ron snorted. "He isn't a turtle, Ginny!"
"I meant," Ginny said, "that he was doing so well before she died. Last timeline, he was... well, lets just say he's improved greatly this time around. Good friends, seems to do much better with his spell-work -"
"Not as good," Harry said, "He needs another wand. I'd buy one for him, but his grandmother scares me."
"Last timeline, he didn't improve too much until fifth year," Ginny said. "Hell, he didn't even have anything close to a girlfriend until his seventh year."
"We just have to help him," Hermione said, "We're his friends, we can do it."
All four friends nodded in mutual agreement. For the next couple of hours, they discussed random, less-important things, including what they had been doing so far, and what they would be doing during the summer. Ron and Hermione were interested to hear about Harry and Ginny's plans for the Time Pool. Ron was excited about the Quidditch World Cup, looking forward to listening to the games on the wireless. Harry and Ginny decided to keep the fact that he could be going to the finals secret for now. But it was fun listening to him wish he could go to a match.
Shortly before ten-o-clock, Mrs. Weasley opened their door, and told them it was time for bed.
I am thoroughly surprised she didn't come up earlier than now, Ginny said, as she left the room with Hermione, Two boys and two girls? So unlike Mum...
Guess she trusts us. Good to know.
I think Hermione wants to do some girl-talk. So this is when I say goodnight and I love you.
Love you too. Good night. See you in our dreams?
Harry felt Ginny leave his mind, though he left their link open in case she wanted to talk some more later. Ron helped him set up the cot and they changed into their pyjamas before settling into their separate beds.
"You all right, mate?" Ron said through the darkness.
"Yeah, why?" Harry asked.
"No reason," Ron said.
"Did your Mum ask you to keep an eye on me at night?" Harry asked.
"Only a bit," Ron said, "She has this weird theory that you and Ginny are going to – I don't know. She seemed very relieved when she found out you and Ginny would be sleeping in separate rooms."
Harry didn't have to think too hard about what Mrs. Weasley was probably thinking. He remembered when she wanted to give Ginny "The Talk", and she had mentioned theories about when their Bond would require them to become closer. Perhaps she thought that meant it would happen pretty soon?
Harry snuggled into his cot, imagining Ginny was next to him. It helped... a little. He was reminded of Sirius' warning of temptation and concentrated on sleep. Temptation seemed too great right now...
It was going to be a long month.
(Monday May 30th 1994)
Fortunately for Harry and Ginny they were able to share a couple of nice romantic dreams that evening, which kept their temptation at bay. Both Bond-mates were wide awake and happy the following morning at breakfast. Mr. Weasley and Bill had gone to work, so it was only Mrs. Weasley, Harry, Ginny, Ron, Hermione and the twins at the table. Percy hadn't come down from his room yet.
"Our school packets haven't arrived yet, have they Mrs. Weasley?" Hermione asked.
"No dear," Mrs. Weasley said, as she served everyone breakfast, "If they're coming today, they should come in the next couple of hours. Though they might not come until Wednesday, the first of the month."
"I was afraid of that," Hermione said.
"Brilliant," Ron said, "Means we might have a couple more days of freedom."
"Not so fast, Ronald," Mrs. Weasley said, as Hermione glared at Ron, "Today is the start of your study group, that was agreed on last week. There is plenty you could do. You still have your books, of course."
"There are assignments we could work on," Hermione said, "Those assignments that would have been due last Friday had we been in class. I expect they'll be part of our packets."
"A fine idea, Hermione," Mrs. Weasley said, "Breakfast first, however. By then, our guests should be arriving."
"Guests?" Ginny asked, "As in more than one?"
"Oh yes," Mrs. Weasley said, "Luna will be arriving in the next couple of hours, of course. In addition, Sirius talked to me yesterday and informed me that Remus Lupin and Miss Tonks will be arriving as well. And apparently they are bringing a guest along, though he didn't say who..."
"Neville?" Harry asked.
"Maybe," Mrs. Weasley said, "Though Augusta Longbottom seemed to think he was getting private tutors in June."
"Maybe she was talking about Remus and Tonks," Ron said.
"Perhaps," Mrs. Weasley said.
Suddenly, three cracks resonated through the air. Mrs. Weasley set down a plate of eggs and sausage in front of Harry, before she turned to the window.
"Ah, here they are now," she said, "Oh look, Sirius has come along. And also... oh. Hmm... no, no sit down everyone. Let them come in."
For everyone was indeed motioning to get a better look at their guests. A minute later, they could finally hear the voices of the arrivals. Sirius was talking to someone and he sounded a bit harassed. A moment later, Mrs. Weasley opened the door as Remus, Tonks and Sirius walked in. But it wasn't the three adults whom everyone else was looking at.
Draco Black was standing next to Sirius.
So, the study group just got a little larger. How will everyone react to Draco? You'll find out next chapter!