Chapter 55 – A Week of Finishes and Possibilities
The speculations began the next morning when the three Potters arrived at the Great Hall for breakfast. To a person, almost every student and the majority of the professors had a copy of the Daily Prophet or the Quibbler in their hands. Fred clapped Harry on the back and handed him a copy of the Prophet. Its headline read "Minster of Magic Cornelius Fudge Restores Order". The headline of the Quibbler Luna handed Ginny was just a little different (as it usually was): "River Troll Found Crocheting with Acromantula Webbing at Secluded Ministry Area".
Harry tried to hide a chuckle as he remembered the three of them airlifting the troll back to that first of the many guardians along the pathway. Ron complained quietly to Harry about the lack of mention of the rescue mission but Luna's quick elbow to the ribs finished that conversation.
Seamus found Harry's eye before he sat down and beckoned him over. "There's a small report on page 11 about evidence appearing of 65 Dementors being killed. Knowing how much they are attracted to you, you didn't actually run into them and pay them back for attacking you on the train, did you?"
Harry tilted his head to one side. "Me? Little scrawny me going after them? I hardly think so. It frankly sounds like something Dumbledore or maybe Lord Gryffindor might try."
"Good, because even though you're a good wizard Harry, it sounds a little suicidal to attempt something like that."
'You have no idea' Harry thought. "I have enough drama in my life with two wives and Professor Snape. I needn't seek out anything more."
"Hey, said wives standing right here!" Ginny said as she slapped Harry lightly on the arm.
"Sorry Ginny, Harry. I didn't mean to imply anything. Hey, do you think the griffins might have done it?"
"I don't know; it's not like I can read their minds or anything like that." Harry moved away from Seamus and found a clear spot at the table for Hermione, Ginny and him. Harry cleared his mind about the rampant speculations happening around him and poured a cup of tea for Hermione.
In the middle of the meal, Dumbledore stood and made the announcement that due to some unscheduled room renovations, the third year Defense Against Dark Arts final would be delayed for an hour and a half. Sirius came down from the professor's dais with his own copy of the Prophet. He quietly told his son and wives that Gracie had been released to go home that morning and that Neville's grandmother was going to be taking care of her until he returned to Grimmauld Place. The Potters and the rest of their friends cheered at that bit of good news and Sirius laid the folded paper in front of Hermione and walked away.
Hermione noticed the article that Sirius had left for them to read and pursed her lips before she pointed it out to her spouses. The article stated the Senior Undersecretary Delores Umbridge would be starting her own personal investigation into the deaths of 'key Ministry representatives' that had been killed 'outside London'. Harry's green eyes flashed dangerously as he interpreted that 'someone' was upset about the death of so many Dementors at the Cavern of Doomed Souls.
Harry finished his breakfast and announced that he was going back to the Hearth to do more reviewing for the DADA and Ancient Runes. Both Ginny and Hermione thought that would be a very good idea and left the table with Harry after warning Daphne mentally where they were actually going….
Auror Nervish was quietly enjoying being back at work after watching the Dementors for most of the previous day and being with the search party that discovered Bellatrix Whatever-was-her-last-Name-now. He was even happy to be working the Visitor's Desk as many of the returning witches and wizards had stopped and greeted him as they came to work. It was almost time for his morning break when the crowd of people milling around the Entrance Hall suddenly parted to reveal three very distinctive individuals coming toward him.
Morthen stood as Lord and Lady Gryffindor and Lady Slytherin almost marched across the Hall with outright anger and determination on their faces. Visible waves of magical energy seemed to just flow off them and Lord Gryffindor's staff was emitting small lightning bolts with every stride he Nervish, knowing full well his official duties and obligations regarding proper security, only held up three visitors passes for the trio as they went by him. All three nodded in acknowledging him and Lady Gryffindor actually patted his shoulder and said "Thank you Morthen" as she clipped the pass to the front of her low décolletage. The three barely broke stride as they passed the Visitor's Desk and headed directly for the elevators.
Feeling the need to do something constructive, Morthen called out to the leader. "Lord Gryffindor… Robb?"
Robb Loxley spun around with a quick and handy smile. "Yes Auror Nervish?"
"Please try to remember that other people are going to be tasked with cleaning up any sort of 'mess' you might create, wherever you three are headed. I would find it…unfortunate and a conflict of my personal interests if I were ordered to try and escort you out."
Lord Gryffindor nodded in understanding. "We shall be very brief in our visit then. Thank you for your concern."
Lady Gryffindor turned backed briefly as she entered the elevator. "You may want to consider taking your lunch break outside today Morthen. The proverbial shite is about to hit the fan."
Auror Nervish returned to the Visitor's Desk and practiced some meditation techniques he was wont to do lately after encountering 'some' visitors. He heard a small explosion from somewhere and the whole building rocked once briefly. Morthen kept his eyes closed and thought about the possible relationship between butterflies and firewhiskey. It was a very peaceful interlude for him.
Ten minutes later, Morthen was tapped on the shoulder and opened his eyes to find that Madame Bones was holding out the three visitor passes he had given out to the two Ladies and Lord. "They had a previous appointment to get to so they dropped these off in my office before leaving the building. Yes, I know you can't apparate out of here but those three don't seem to care very much about official rules. I would warn you not to make eye contact with Minister Fudge if you happen to see him today. He's a little… unsettled from his last meeting."
Madame Bones smiled, winked and headed back for her office. Morthen wondered if he should ask the Minister's secretary out for a drink after work. It might be a very fascinating discussion…
Daphne was waiting on pins and needles in the Hearth. She had been told that her close friends had been headed for the Ministry and that Harry had been less than happy about whatever he had read in the paper. She was surprised however when Dobby suddenly appeared with the three Potters. Dobby bowed to her once and promptly disappeared. Harry, Ginny and Hermione however were holding themselves up because they were laughing so hard they could hardly have stood otherwise. Daphne smiled as she saw the three happy faces and broke into their hug to join them. When the Potters had sufficiently recovered to speak, the three headed for the couches and chairs. Harry pulled Hermione into his lap while Ginny pushed Daphne down into a chair and hopped up in her lap and kissed her.
"So what did the three of you do? You looked about ready to skin someone alive when you left. Is this something that will appear in the Daily Prophet tomorrow?"
Harry began laughing all over again and Hermione just smiled and hugged him harder. Daphne watched as Ginny wipe the happy tears from her eyes and began quietly to explain their morning's brief disappearance.
"Sirius pointed out an article that Madame Umbridge was going to launch her own investigation into what happened to the Dementors."
"Not that horrid witch. She's bothered you enough."
"That's what we all thought. So we went and did something about it. Lord and Lady Gryffindor along with Lady Slytherin made an unannounced visit to Minister Fudge. His very nice secretary tried to tell us that Minister Fudge was busy in his office and not receiving visitors."
"Is she still alive? Daphne asked half seriously.
"Robb pointed out to her that Minister Fudge didn't really have an office as he pulled down three of the walls that were surrounding him. He also attached Fudge's very impressive desk to the ceiling. The secretary minded her P's and Q's after that."
"And Minister Fudge?"
"Was more than happy to listen to us talk to him after Robb parked his staff right in Minister Fudge's lap."
"Harry, you didn't actually threaten the Minister did you?"
"Not exactly Daph, but my staff seemed a bit restless today and floated and hopped around a little. I can't help it if the very Honorable Minister Cornelius Fudge got poked a few times by the magical object."
"Sometimes in very sensitive areas" Ginny added with a devilish grin.
Daphne started smiling as she imagined the three with her having a few direct words with the less than heroic head of the Magical government.
"Did he listen to what Robb, Tallulah and Bethesda had to say to him?"
"I really think he did" Ginny said as she squeezed Daphne and kissed her cheek. "And he had some marvelous ideas."
"Oh, he did? Like what?" Daphne couldn't begin to imagine what the three Potters had convinced the Minister of Magic to do. But it would have to be something significant for the smiles that were on their faces.
"Senior Undersecretary Umbridge has proven her loyalty and worth to the Minister and Ministry and she will get a well-deserved promotion."
"Do I dare ask?" Daphne said smiling.
"She is now the Senior British Ambassador for Goblin Relations in Outer Mongolia."
"The only goblins that I think are in Outer Mongolia are excavating old ruins, temples and mines for magical artifacts."
"But think of the prestige, the honors, the … official uniform and let's not forget the very snazzy business cards that are involved."
"But she might rather quit than actually have to work with the Goblins."
"Exactly" said a smug Hermione.
Daphne now understood the twinkle that was firmly fixed in Harry's emerald eyes; she liked that look a lot. "So what other types of things did Minister Fudge approve of?"
Harry's grin faded just a little bit but he looked very proud of his next bit of news. "Tomorrow's Prophet and Quibbler are going to print the full deposition Peter Pettigrew gave to the Ministry when he was captured before. Under Veritaserum, Wormtail confessed that he was the real secret keeper for James and Lily Potter and he was the one to kill all those muggles in the fight with Sirius all those years ago."
"That's brilliant Harry. Sirius will be finally free to walk around without all that uncertainty hanging over his head."
Hermione nodded her agreement and kissed her husband one more time. "It will be really official next Friday when the full Wizengamot meets to consider putting aside the false judgment against Sirius Black and to award him reparations for being falsely imprisoned for over 11 years. I hope you'll consider going with us and watching Robb vote the Greengrass proxy in exonerating Lord Sirius Black."
Ginny shrieked suddenly and rose off her impromptu chair. "She just goosed me!"
Daphne rose and pushed Ginny gently back into the chair. "I'll give you some more later if you'd like." She kissed Ginny lightly on the lips and looked toward Harry and Hermione.
Ginny yelled out "Incoming!" and Hermione had just enough time to dive out of Harry's lap before Harry was covered by a full bodied Slytherin that seemed to be trying to reach Harry's tonsils with her tongue. Both Ginny and Hermione cheered Daphne on and were still smiling when Harry finally had to come up for air.
"That was…" Harry struggled for words.
"Too enthusiastic? Too much? Too forward?" Daphne seemed a little concerned about Harry's reaction but he smiled at her. "All of the above but I guess I'll just say … too wonderful!"
Daphne grinned a little evilly and prepared to attack him again but an alarm on Harry's watch went off. "Ack! As much as I like to continue this with you and the others we have to go take our DADA exam. Rain check for after supper?"
Daphne nodded very enthusiastically and started gathering up her books and robe to walk down to the DADA room. She took hold of Harry's hand briefly and gave him a gentle kiss.
"Ginny, Nonnie - I think I'm ready now to watch how you two really take care of Harry."
Harry's eyes popped wide open but Hermione slapped Daphne gently on the arm. "Now see what you did? He'll be walking around with that goofy grin on his face all day. And who do you suppose the twins and others are going to blame for that?"
Ginny laughed and slipped an arm around Daphne's waist. "Didn't we warn you? There's always something going on with Harry."
The three girls exited the Hearth arm in arm with Harry followed them. He realized halfway down the first stairway that Hermione was right. He couldn't think of a single thing that would remove the smile from his face now. He started whistling as he caught with the three most important people in the world to him.
Friday morning was the day of the makeup finals for Mr. and Mrs. Potters and one Lady Greengrass. It was also the last of the NEWT exams (Transfiguration) for the seventh year students. A less than brainy sixth year Slytherin wizard by the name of Bevis Haverdump let his happiness at being finished with exams override any sense of propriety he may have had. He was overheard saying to one of his friends that "Greengrass must certainly be shagging Potter with all the time she's spent smiling at him."
That statement, although spoken at a reasonable volume, was heard throughout the Great Hall in one of those momentary silences that seem to occur in public places at the oddest moments. All conversations ceased immediately and eyes turned toward Daphne, Harry and the unfortunate Mr. Haverdump. Harry and his wives immediately stood in anger but Hermione mentally convinced Harry to remain quiet.
Daphne Greengrass dropped her silverware with a noticeable clatter and walked in full Ice Princess mode to Haverdump's spot at the Slytherin table. "How dare you!? To speak such obvious tripe about both me and Lord Potter in a public place."
Lady Greengrass began emphasizing her outrage with blows to Bevis's face as she vented further. "How dare you (Slap) insult not only me (Slap), one of your own housemates (Slap), but Lord Potter (Slap), his wives (Slap) and our friendship? It is beyond all common decency (Slap) and I should declare a Blood Feud (Slap) between our Houses (Slap) but I am too much a Lady (Slap) to sink to that level with a person of your obvious low metal and moral (Slap) standards."
Daphne's cheeks were red with embarrassment and anger as she finally finished her speech. A slightly groggy Bevis was about to respond to her speech when Daphne turned back to him and stopped his standing up. "I have one more thing to say to you."
Mr. Haverdump was watching Daphne's right hand closely as it had been the one to apply the emphasis to her anger so he never saw the left cross that seemingly came out of nowhere to bust him on the nose. He flew backward off of his bench with Harry, Ginny, Hermione and about half the Gryffindor table applauding her action.
Not to be uninvolved, Astoria had quickly come to aid her sister and stood over the fallen Slytherin as he grabbed his nose in pain. "You are less than an honorable jerk." She transfigured his robes to bright pink and dropped a full tureen of porridge from the Slytherin table on the wizard's head before hugging her sister. "You must get Harry to teach me that punch Daphne."
By that time, Professor Snape and Madame Black had arrived at the table to assign demerits and check on the injuries. Daphne threw her head back when she was docked twenty five points and spoke loudly. "I accept the demerits but I consider that Mr. Haverdump now owes me a life debt as I won't be reporting this to Lord Gryffindor, my guardian. He most certainly would have challenged that miscreant to a Wizard's Duel about my honor. I don't have to tell anybody here what that would have meant to this 'boys' life expectancy."
The hush in the Hall was broken by gasps as both wizards and witches alike considered what the result would probably be in facing such a powerful wizard as Robb Loxley. Fortunately or not, one Bevis Haverdump finally realized the huge blunder he had made and he struggled to his feet. He soon fell back to his knees to formally apologize to Lady Greengrass and convinced Professor Snape that he had been the one in error and that Daphne should not be punished for responding so 'kindly' to his horrible insult.
Daphne didn't respond to any words from Haverdump but turned and departed the Great Hall with every shred of bearing and dignity that was at her command. Astoria, Ginny, Hermione and Tracey hurried to catch up with the indignant witch and Harry slowly walked over to the Slytherin table. He spoke down to the 6th year that was still dripping porridge and on his knees in shock. "You would do well to avoid seeing my family or Lord Gryffindor's ward for the rest of this school year. I personally regret that we don't wear chainmail gauntlets these days as you would have probably hit by one of those from me."
Draco and many of the other Slytherin witches and wizards applauded Harry as he walked away. He eventually caught up with his wives, Tracey, Astoria in the Storm Room where they were scheduled to begin their History of Magic exam. Daphne was holding an ice pack on her wrist and apologized to Harry. "I didn't keep my wrist straight like you said Harry and tweaked it just a little bit. Luckily it's not my writing hand."
The door to the room slammed shut suddenly and Hermione felt some privacy wards being thrown up. Harry grabbed Daphne around the waist and hoisted her up and around. "That was bloody marvelous. I don't imagine anyone will ever think anything even mildly scandalous about your behavior from here on out."
Harry let Daphne down and kissed her cheek. Hermione came up and placed a hand on Daphne's shoulder. "Ron said this once to me but it also applies more to you - 'Brilliant, absolutely scary mind you, but brilliant nonetheless'."
There was a knock on the door and Harry released the privacy spells and went over to open the door. Professor Lupin stood there and looked cautiously in. "Is it all right for us normal wizards to enter?"
Daphne blushed and curtseyed to the professor when he entered. "I'm sorry for creating a spectacle Professor Lupin. It might have been handled differently."
"Not without giving Mr. Haverdump an acceptable out for his crass behavior. Your demerits have been removed and Mr. Haverdump was last seen heading directly toward the owlery. Some students reported to me that they heard hear him muttering about asking his father about transferring to Durmstrang. "
Harry smiled and joined his wives in hugging Daphne again. Remus cleared his throat a little pointedly and Astoria and Tracey wished the four of them good luck on the exam and left the room. A few minutes later the four students were fully concentrated on answering a series of questions on Goblin war chiefs of the 14th century.
The last of their exams passed quickly under the supervision of Professor Hagrid that afternoon and the semi-extended Potter family relaxed and had a wonderful private supper in the Hearth.
Saturday was not only the start of the last Hogsmeade weekend for the many weary and stressed out Hogwarts students, but the release of Dee Granger from the Hogwarts infirmary. Dee had been more than ready to go home the previous day but Madame Pomfrey had insisted on another day of observation just to make sure that Hermione's mother had fully recovered from the many Crutiatus curses she had received.
Harry and Hermione were more than happy to adjust their plans for the morning but when they, Astoria, Ginny and Daphne stopped at the infirmary, Dee and Tony insisted on inviting them all to come home with them. Hermione was flustered for a bit but thought that it might be a nice chance for Daphne, Astoria and her parents to get to know each other. With Hermione holding on to her father's hand and Harry escorting her mother, the floo at the Granger house soon passed all seven people into their living room. While Ginny insisted on giving the two Greengrass girls a tour of the house and back yard, Harry and Hermione followed Dee and Tony into their kitchen so they could have a short talk with them.
Tony was searching the refrigerator for some drinks for everyone while Dee had started checking the cupboards to see what she could prepare for everyone's lunch later. Both paused when Hermione asked them to stop for a second so that they could talk to them. Both parents pulled up chairs and set around the kitchen table and waited for what their daughter and son-in-law had to say. It was Hermione that nervously started. "Harry, Ginny and I feel just horrible that we didn't do a better job of protecting you Mom. We've talked Harry into not blaming himself for absolutely everything bad that happened to you."
Dee had some tears in her eyes at the statement. "You can't be everywhere at once Harry and we don't hold those criminal's behavior against you. Really the idea; I don't want you to blame yourself."
Harry hung his head just a little bit. "As much as I would like to believe that, it all comes back to me versus Tom Riddle. In spite of that, I intend to take every precaution from now on to ensure your and Tony's safety."
Raising his voice just a little bit, Harry called out. "Twyless, Bowilt?" Two house elves appeared next to Harry and made a slight bow to him and Hermione. Both the male and female elf had the standard uniform with the Potter crest on the collar. Tony started protesting but Hermione cut him off. "Dad, Mom these are two elves that found themselves without a home or masters to work for and with. We understand you'd rather do things around here yourself but I would like you to consider their point of view. They asked Harry to join and bind them to Potter House and find decent work for them. Their last Masters mistreated them and Harry hoped you wouldn't mind the assistance and protection. One would be here at the house and one would be at your office when you would be working. Totally invisible of course but keeping a careful eye on things."
Tony looked very skeptical but it was Dee that turned to her daughter. "Do you really think this is necessary dear?
Hermione didn't hesitate a second. "Yes, we do. But this is only a temporary solution unless you want to make it permanent. We want someone trustworthy to keep guard on you and these two will fit that bill."
Dee looked toward the female elf. "Twyless, we aren't a magical family and don't know a lot about house elves. Are you sure you want to be here?"
Twyless nodded her head. "Yes, we would consider it an honor to help and protect you and Lady Hermione's father. Both Lord Harry and Ladies Ginny and Hermione have told us how kind and generous you both are."
Tony shook his head. "This may be a difficult transition for both of us. Don't you draw some of your magic from the bond with the masters and mistresses? We have none."
"We are members of House Potter now and this is but one way to help the Lord and those he holds important to him. We would like to serve him, his ladies and you Mr. and Mrs. Granger."
Tony and Dee stared at each other for a long couple of seconds and then Dee nodded. "Okay. Is Harry paying you two?"
"Yes, Mrs. Granger. Nine knuts a week for each of us and he is making us take three days off a month. Whether we want to or not." Twyless looked very sad about the fact that they had to take days off from work but Harry and Hermione were sure that the four would work out a schedule that satisfied them all.
Tony spoke up. "If you are staying here, you may make your own rooms out of anywhere upstairs except our bedroom. And you must call us Dee and Tony. None of this Mr. and Mrs. Granger formality. Bowilt, do I pay you for the butterbeers or other food we need to get for the household?"
Harry spoke up. "I have an account at the Leaky Cauldron for drinkables of all sorts. All you have to do is tell Tom to add it to my bill."
Hermione smiled. "And for food, you can still do your own shopping and if they want to fix something else they can take it from Potter Manor."
"You seem to have thought of everything Harry. Bowilt, would you mind getting a dozen cold butterbeers and placing them in the fridge?"
"Of course not, Mr… Tony. I will be right back." Bowilt disappeared with a soft pop as Twyless asked Dee what and when she would like for lunch for the group. Dee rolled her eyes. "Twyless, you and I will probably end up sharing the cooking duties and we can trade recipes. Making breakfast for Tony and I would be really appreciated though. I hope it's not against the rules for you and Bowilt to sit and eat with us. We would like to get to know you and hope you'll consider yourselves part of our family now."
Twyless was staring at her new mistress with a very happy expression on her face as Bowilt popped back into the kitchen with a basket of cold butterbeers. Harry 'told' Ginny that they were done with the main part of their discussions and the three girls came downstairs from exploring Hermione's old room. Tony was handing out butterbeers when Ginny said that they had one more thing for Dee, Tony, Daphne, and Astoria. Dee and Tony threw slight glares at their daughter and inlaws while Astoria and Daphne try to protest against a present.
"This isn't exactly a present" Harry said. Ginny reached into the pocket of her jeans and held out four link chains with old brass keys attached to each one. Hermione took two and put one each around Dee and Tony's neck. Harry took the other pair and placed one around Daphne's neck and then Astoria's.
"So what are these exactly" Tony asked.
"We thought we give you all an emergency portkey. It was Harry's idea to make them real keys so you couldn't forget what they were. Please wear them or keep them on you at all times. All you have to do is grab them firmly and say the word 'Sanctuary'. That will activate them and you'll be at Potter Manor in about two seconds."
"You might not like that ride Dee and Tony but it will pull you out of danger quickly." The four recipients nodded their agreement and fingered the portkeys around their neck.
"Don't try it Astoria!" Ginny said. Astoria rolled her eyes but stuck the key and chain underneath her top. Everyone was settling back down in the living room for a talk when the floo flared up again and Sirius and Gracie exited the green flames. Dee got out of her seat and rushed to hug Gracie. They had evidently gotten a lot closer during their forced captivity at the hands of the Death Eaters and Dee now ranked Gracie right up there with Ginny in terms of relative.
Harry greeted Sirius with a hug and asked him why he was here. Sirius smiled at his daughter. "I was prompted to ask my daughter to the graduation ball. So she is going shopping with everyone else and I've been told that we menfolk aren't allowed to go with them or see their selections until tomorrow night. Tony I hope you don't mind me hanging out with you and Harry for a couple of hours."
"Of course not. Make yourself at home."
Hermione and Ginny stood up to come over to Dee. "Do you want to come with us Mum and help us shop?"
"As fun as that sounds, I think I'll stay here and rest. Are you sure it's okay for the lot of you to go unsupervised?"
"Auror Tonks has been looking for a girl's day out for a long time so she agreed to meet us at the Leaky Cauldron. So we're not totally on our own."
"Okay but you and Ginny have to promise me that you won't buy anything that would make Harry drool too much at the dance."
"Go have some fun then." Ginny and Hermione kissed Dee and Harry and hugged the rest of the men in the room. Astoria gave Harry and Sirius a hug but Daphne impulsively kissed Harry quickly on the mouth before running to the fireplace and flooing to the Leaky Cauldron with the others.
Harry turned around to see some very questioning looks from his mother- and father-in-law. "That? I guess it's time to explain that. We were going to tell you, Molly and Arthur next week but now is as good a time as later. Daphne's and Astoria's parents were killed by the same Death Eaters that held you and the others hostage. We got a letter from Gringotts a few days later about Mr. and Mrs. Greengrass's wills. What they did in their wills was…."
Ten minutes later Harry was staring a little fearfully at his wife's parents. Tony was certainly glaring at him but Dee was having a difficult time controlling her giggles.
The graduation ball was the time for the 7th year students to relax and have a fun and proper celebration of their Hogwarts experience. The flashiest robes and best dresses were on display from all the students but especially those who had finally finished their learning experience at the old school.
The 7th years were to enter the transformed Great Hall last to receive the attention and congratulations of the rest of the students and staff. Before that happened, there was quite a lot of conversation and attention generated by the arrival of a third year - Harry Potter. He not only arrived with both his wives on his arm but two other witches who were firmly ensconced on the arms of the two Mrs. Potters. It was obvious that the four very attractive witches had coordinated their outfits with the colors of Harry's dress robes in mind. Ginny's dress was deep red with red highlights that seemed to shimmer and sway with her every breath. Hermione had a dark grey outfit with dark green satin piping that matched her husband's sparkling eyes. Daphne Greengrass wore a satin blue gown with a black sash belt with the house badges of Greengrass, Gryffindor, and Potter displayed prominently. Her sister Astoria was almost the mirror opposite in a black lace long-sleeved gown with a blue belt and the same three House badges on it.
Harry escorted the four ladies to a large table where Ron and Luna were already sitting. Harry held the chair for each of the four ladies and kissed each of their hands' as he sat them. They had barely begun talking when another small shock went through the Hall; shy bashful Neville Longbottom escorted not only Susan Bones but Hannah Abbott into the hall. When questioned by Harry as the three sat at the same table with them, Neville just shrugged his shoulders with a look that just seemed to say "I'm just as surprised as this by you." Neville did seem happy with both his dates and the three seemed to dote on each other throughout the rest of the evening.
The seniors eventually entered and the feast began in earnest. When everyone had finished with the meal, the tables were pushed back and the dancing part of the evening commenced. Professor Flitwick was the oonly one to win the money of off one of the twins many pools as he was the only one to correctly predict that Harry would dance first with his sister Gracie. After that, Harry danced almost every dance with the four ladies he escorted in. Sirius took a turn around the floor with Astoria once and the two of them laughed and giggled so much together that they couldn't name the song they had danced to five minutes later. Hermione, Ginny and Daphne danced occasionally with other wizards that approached them courteously but only danced slow dances with their escort. As it was a progressive dance, with the younger years leaving earlier in the evening, Harry made sure that the last dance before Astoria left for the Slytherin dorms was with him. She curtsied formally at the end of the number and was very happy when Harry winked and kissed her forehead.
When the bell rang for the departure of the third years, Harry, Hermione and Ginny escorted Daphne back to her dorms and gave her plenty of hugs before bidding her goodnight. The Slytherin had one more card to play however and the three Potters were surprised to arrive back at the Hearth to find Daphne and Dobby waiting for them with mugs of hot chocolate. Dobby smiled and departed back for Potter Manor and the four teenagers spent the evening talking and just cuddling together until they all fell asleep.
Draw-down week, as the days before the Hogwarts express took everyone home was called, was a time for assigning summer reading and projects and reviewing the tests that they had just finished taking. In Transfiguration Professor McGonagall cast the spell to reveal if the third year Gryffindors had the potential to become an animagus. While a high number of the third year Gryffindors tested positive, she warned them all that having the potential did not mean that everyone could apply themselves successfully to the difficult and magically demanding process. Professor McGonagall kept her own counsel on who she might be the most likely to achieve that ability, but she informed her husband that a good number of the Potters and their close friends might be running though the Forbidden Forest in a couple of years.
Wednesday morning was finally the time for the Griffins to bid farewell to Hogwarts and head northward. It was accomplished with a lot of formal parting language but not before Harry and his wives got another extended ride on the back of the huge magical creatures. Crimarron was so happy to be able to take to the air again that she invited both Daphne and her awestruck sister to ride with her as she did a number of acrobatics around her family. Harry, Ginny and Hermione screamed their approval from the other griffins as well as laughed at the surprised looks on the Greengrasses faces. Harry promised that the griffins would visit the magical creatures at their northern home for at least a couple of days in the summer. The five griffins flew low over the Quidditch pitch before ascending and disappearing over the Forbidden Forest.
The low stress of the week was time for saying goodbye to classmates and making plans for the summer. Plans for the summer took a long time for the Potters and Greengrasses to iron out. Each of the wizards and witches had specific plans and objectives that they wanted to do singly or in a group with the others. By the time Thursday, June 16th rolled around, Ginny and Hermione were more than willing and anxious to spend at least three or four days with their parents and families. Harry had accepted an invitation to Greengrass Manor where he would spend time relaxing and beginning to train both Astoria and Daphne in defending themselves better.
The train ride back to King's Cross was a nice time for enjoying each other's company and reviewing the kind of year that had passed at Hogwarts. It had been typical Harry Potter type of year – very low points of despair and pain with some truly exceptional moments to treasure. Harry looked at where Daphne and Astoria were giggling at some story Ginny was telling them and had a moment of sadness at the loss of Mr. and Mrs. Greengrass. It was an unbelievable close reminder of his own difficult start in life but the pair had weathered the storm and had come out of it stronger and wiser. Although Harry was uncertain about his own future, he hoped both girls would continue to be part of his life as well as the Sirius and Gracie.
Family reunions were the norm at Platform 9¾ but the one this year between the Potters, Grangers and Blacks drew some attention from all the parents and returning students. It was a small mob of people that freely handed out hugs, kisses and greetings to one another. Harry stood back for one moment and considered the enlarged family he was happily part of. That contemplation didn't last long as George and Fred grabbed him and carried him over everyone's heads to receive a crushing hug from Molly. As the various families broke off to gather trunks and head for their own houses, Harry was seized in fierce hugs and kisses from his wives. They both said they would come to Greengrass Manor when they got to missing him too much and Harry said that they would soon get tired of him mentally talking to them every other second. Harry received final kisses from Ginny and Hermione to the catcalls from Fred, George, Percy and Ron. Harry waggled his fingers at them in the now old threat and they waved goodbye as they exited the portal. Harry went and helped Daphne and Astoria with their trunks, shrunk them down and exited the platform with each girl holding onto one of his hands. There was a sound of a portkey and then Harry Potter was off on his summer holiday.