Jean, Chapter 15 Decisions, Actions and Consequences, Part 2

A/N: For those who have read it already, I've adjusted Ch 14 to explain that Ron (and the other Weasley kids) stay at Grimmauld semi-regularly due to the fact that their parents are heavily involved in taking care of the refugees from the Night of Terror. Molly much more so than Arthur; though if you'll recall, the patriarch is currently away looking for houses for said refugees with Mr. Granger.

7:30 pm, December 20th, 1993

Behind the kitchen walls, Number 12 Grimmauld Place

For House Elves the family name did not just signify a place to live and work, it signified their identity. When speaking of a particular House you may be identifying it's current Lord or Lady; thus House Black referred to Sirius Black as far as the wizarding public were concerned (not to mention Kreacher's point of view). Mentioning a specific House might also refer to the family as a whole as well or perhaps the financial and political power of that family.

The Black family line ran far enough back into history as to have it's very own set of traditions and lore. This of course had an effect upon it's servants; House Elves who served House Black were fanatical even by House Elf standards. It wasn't just a prestige or honor thing to them, it was the very way they thought and it affected every moment of every day they served their House.

For the Black family House Elves, one of those traditions was observing the guests of the House, both to collect information for the House as well as to learn as much as possible to anticipate the needs of their guests.

For a House Elf, there was no greater pleasure than to serve their Master before the Master's themselves even knew what they wanted. However, to show up with a full tea service as the conversation in the room turned towards the subject of food meant planning as well as fore-knowledge of the preferences and habits of the guests.

. . .

Kreacher listened carefully as the meeting played out in the room beyond one of his many observation points in the ancient home. He heard the silence after the mudblood left. His mind thought along different lines than wizards so he did not appreciate the silence for what it was: disbelief.

He wrung his long-fingered-hands nervously as he considered his gamble: he had placed a lot of trust in a creature he hated – a dirty blooded witch. But he had had no choice.

She had come to him while he was performing his duties – seeking him out while he was working was degrading to both of them; only a mudblood would not know that House Elves pride themselves on working unseen. His lip curled as he recalled how she had praised him and tried to ask questions about his tasks.

A Black family Elf needed no praise, gaining an immense sense of fulfillment from service, but the mudblood didn't know that. What she did know – what that filthy little witch knew when nobody else did – was that Kreacher needed to serve his House.

She had also figured out that Harry was not truly the Master of House Black. When the House Magic felt the absence of a living Master, it sought the next closest living Wizard with Black heritage. It was true that the Master had done the blood ritual with the boy when he turned eleven. So when the House felt the Black's noble blood flowing through the boy's veins – regardless of how tenuous – it acknowledged that blood as it's Master.

But Magic couldn't think. It couldn't know the Heritage of the child that the Master had slipped into the family tree. Kreacher served the House and believed that the Master could be 'helped' to return to 'right thinking', but the boy... Kreacher knew that the boy was unclean, and he could not allow the boy to pollute his House.

The ancient Elf was just happy that the child had not tried to claim Lordship. Though the pretender was compelled to bond with the House Magic at least once a week, he did not use that magic, so the bond was as weak as it could be without damaging the process. Kreacher was aware that should the Potter boy not continue the bond, he would die. And so would House Black.

Kreacher did not know what he would have done had the boy tried to Ascend. It made him a little twitchy when he thought of such things, so think of them he did not. Just as he did not think of how low he had stooped in showing deference to such a filthy mudblood just moments ago.

The manipulative filthy blooded witch knew what Kreacher wanted and she made a Vow to help as much as she could in return for his help. He reluctantly respected her commitment to his Master even as he washed every surface she touched after she left a room. The old Elf was only living for the day when his Master would be returned so he could finish his plans to return his House to it's rightful status.

Since the Master had officially placed the mudblood and her bloodless parent under the protection of the House, it meant that Kreacher could not slay her in her sleep as she deserved for desecrating the halls of his glorious home. He was not even allowed to poison her a little or loosen a stair step. Yet even as the Elf lamented his plight, his highly developed ears were following the conversation that would determine if his sacrifice of honor had any value. After all, the nasty witch might be his only hope of a future for his beloved House.

. . .

Inside the kitchen, Number 12 Grimmauld Place

Albus Dumbledore was impressed. In his many years of association with Severus Snape he'd rarely seen the man so completely caught unawares. The same could be said of his decades old friends Alastor and Minerva. Though his various other friends and allies spread around the kitchen table were much more likely to be caught flat footed, it was noteworthy that not one witch or wizard had any comment after the young witch left in a bit of a huff.

The headmaster knew he hadn't earned any points with the young woman for his curt dismissal; yet it was his learned opinion that it created the perfect timing to call a vote. He knew that two of the members were too proud to vote fairly should the teenager who had embarrassed them still be present.

Some might call him a manipulative old man, and perhaps it was true. However, timing was something of an obsession with the wizard with too many titles and not enough time. He leaned forward and took in the faces before him before clearing his throat at just the right moment.

"Now then, it seems that we have heard quite a lot of evidence, perhaps a bit too much," he laughed and received a few dry chuckles in answer. "Nevertheless it is clear that the youth of Miss Granger is quite well tempered by her drive and dedication."

Albus surveyed his audience, trying to get the main point across in just the right way. "Looking more closely at her laudable feat of gaining an ally in the family's servant - a feat all of us are not just impressed by, but we should also be aware of how tied to the House it reveals her to be. In addition, Miss Granger has also secured the forgiveness and trust of Mr. Potter."

The Headmaster pointedly ignored the clearly disgusted grunt of his potions master and pressed on.

"We have no time to return to the drawing table, and yet that is precisely what we must do if we take the information Miss Granger has provided," Albus paused, looking at Emmeline, "and do not include her in the mission. Therefore, I call a vote on the matter of including Hermione Granger in tomorrow's mission to free Sirius Black, all in favor?"

Four "aye"s rang out with various enthusiasm, with Severus drawling out "Tonks and Lupin vote 'aye' as well."

"Opposed?"

Sturgis Podmore seemed to grimace as he stated, "Nay, for Molly, not myself."

A grumble went up and Elphias Doge, perhaps the oldest Wizard present besides Dumbledore himself, piped up with a cheerful, "then that's an 'Aye' for Hestia then, isn't it?"

The general mood lifted though there was still mild bickering, Sturgis continued to glare at Elphias until the elder man cleared his throat. "What? It only follows as those two nay agree on anything outside of Molly's cooking and how cute the little ones are."

The laughter that followed seemed to be Dumbledore's cue. Smiling benignly, the old wizard began the process of re-assigning positions for tomorrow's critical mission.

Now if he could only decide how to handle the debacle with the Weasleys – theirs was a resource he could scarcely afford to lose, and Molly really did need the distraction of caring for the little ones here at Grimmauld Place. He suspected the twins to be sure, but the signs were obvious that a third spell was woven into Ronald's unfortunate circumstances. Now the only question was, who cast the first hex and how could he keep the distraught Molly from overreacting?

. . .

In the library, Number 12 Grimmauld Place

When Kreacher announced to Harry that 'his witch' would meet him in the library he was already there, so it was confusing to say the least.

Then Hermione stormed into the room and straight up to the table at the back of the room, fists clenched at her sides, hair frizzed and shoulders shaking.

Harry realized she was on the edge as he approached her tentatively. This startled him to a stop and then left him conflicted as to what he could do – what had he thought he was going to do when he charged over to her?

Meanwhile Hermione had seemed to settle down rather quickly. Her fists had unclenched and her hair had settled back into it's normal mass of unruly curls. This was the good news. The bad new was more than a bit distressing as he realized that she was crying quietly, her shoulders shaking just enough to make her curls move. What was he supposed to do with a crying girl?

Turning in place, she seemed first startled then … something else … to find him there. Whatever she felt, she launched into what he was starting to realize were her way of starting a hug – by almost tackling him. But she was still crying. She cried as he held on loosely. She cried as he stroked her back. She was still crying as his calves started to cramp (he had done drills for three hours this morning).

She still didn't stop crying when, desperate, Harry picked her up and sat with her on the big plush couch. He knew she wasn't all that big under all those curls; but the way she just curled into his lap made him feel simultaneously fiercely protective and nearly panicked for reasons he couldn't begin to fathom.

She did calm finally, laying half against the arm of the sofa and the rest of her in a tight ball against his chest. He calmed as well, and eventually their relaxation resulted in sleep. After over a day of planning and tense anticipation, neither of them could stay awake and they both wanted to put off thinking about what failure tonight meant.

. . .

St. Mungo's Hospital for Magical Maladies and Injuries, Fourth Floor – Spell Damage, Accidental Spell Damage ward.

Molly Weasley was livid as she glared at the oblivious old witch at the front desk. They had been in the waiting room for over half an hour now and three patients had arrived and been taken back to treatment since they arrived. Eleven other witches and wizards filled the cramped waiting room, roughly half of them victims, the rest family or friends. All of them seemed to have less interest in their own problems than they had in her poor Ronald's condition.

The oppressive atmosphere in the waiting room demanded something to distract you; too many pitiful moans and other even less pleasant noises emanated from the various victims filling the small room and coming from the narrow corridors beyond. The various strange and awful looking ailments of those gathered still could not compare to her own child's condition. At least he was still quiet, though according to Remus that was due to the initial effects of … of, whatever had happened.

Gazing down at her son, only her many experiences with the twins often destructive though sometimes ridiculous experiments kept her from wincing at his unfortunate appearance.

Colorful would be the kindest description, though the way that almost every other person in the waiting area openly stared, even Molly had to acknowledge that her son's appearance was truly bizarre.

A shock of brown hair adorned what appeared to be a bug-eyed bird head. His body was difficult to see with thick blooms of flowers randomly sprouted between the edges of what looked like armor plating, though she knew it was pliable. Where the bug-skin ended at his mid torso his body fluffed out into the back-end of a bird. A bird with a rather large bouquet in the place of tail feathers.

The unfortunate boy was propped up in a chair, the admonition to use no further spells upon him being repeated until Molly had snapped out a vehement "Alright I get it!" at the poor dear that had processed them in.

The red-headed witch glanced at Nymphandora Tonks who was speaking quietly with Remus Lupin. She wondered why the young woman hadn't used her Auror credentials to get her son faster service. When she had arrived at the refugee house she was working in, Molly had only seen the look upon the young Auror's face and simply demanded, "Who's hurt and where are they?"

To her credit, Tonks hadn't waffled about, simply telling her that Remus had Ron at St. Mungo's. Molly was through the floo by the end of "saint".

Then they had stood in the processing queue for ten minutes while a mean looking case of alchemical solution burns was sorted, they couldn't make up their mind what the reactive ingredients were in their own experiment! Thankfully Molly hadn't had to be the one to speak up as the next wizard in line – a very unfortunate fellow with one furry arm wrapped around his own waist three times – started to grunt and growl.

Broken from her reverie by Remus's soft laughter, Molly glared at the pair, acting like teens at a dance. Maybe had Nymphandora been doing her job instead of making eyes at her hopeful paramour, Molly's youngest son wouldn't have been the victim of such a terrible curse! What was going on in that house anyway? They had all of those Order members gathered right there, for all the good it did her poor Ronnie.

Earlier that morning, when Minerva flooed the news of an emergency Order meeting, the Weasley matron had immediately thought the worse: that her children were in danger again. Now she rued her decision to cook for other peoples children for the fifth time this week, a decision made once she'd learned the subject of tonight's "emergency" meeting.

Her reply to Minerva was, "Really, the subject of a child involved in Order business isn't worthy of a meeting, the answer is no of course." Perhaps she was a touch frosty and yet the Order membership rules were clearly established and after all she still had been very fond of the seven children still staying with the Crosby's.

"Weasley, Ronald?" A young voice called from the front. Molly was up and moving in a trice, sparing a glance to see that Mr. Lupin had her heavily bound son in his strong grasp. She always knew the phases of the moon around Remus and knew it was still a full week before the full. Thus she had no concerns about Lupin's 'condition'. It wasn't that she disliked the Professor, but nevertheless she instructed all of her children to keep careful track of the lunar cycle and to be careful around the lycanthrope during those dangerous days – and nights – once a month.

Ronald's current condition was proof enough that you could never be too careful as a parent.

Molly had given the young healer's apprentice all of the necessaries and Ronald was strapped to a magically inert bed for examination. The poor dear just wouldn't stop thrashing about.

A few minutes later, Molly was gratified to see a stately looking fully qualified Medi-Wizard enter Ronald's area.

"Good evening madam, I am Healer Knowles, I'll be the chief healer on your son's case. Please allow me to review the notes and make an initial diagnosis and then I'll need the details as best you can give them, alright?" Turning immediately to her son, Molly could hardly feel affronted by his abruptness as he was treating her Ronald.

Still, she eyed him carefully as he set to work. The older wizard cut a dashing figure in his immaculate gray robes. He seemed quite competent as he reviewed the chart then cast his own diagnostic charms and even drew magic samples from various areas around the poor dear's body. The apprentice dutifully took notes and the two spent some time in discussion.

A few minutes passed while the healers spoke in hushed tones across the room.

Molly cleared her throat.

The apprentice described the tests that the Medi-Wizard was running and said that it would be 'just a few more moments'.

The Weasley matriarch was not a patient woman in most circumstances. In this case, with her youngest boy looking like a blooming bug-bird, she had none whatsoever. Pretending to dig in her purse, Molly took hold of her wand and cast a spell she'd not had much use for since the children were all away. Nevertheless, her years of practice with the snooping spell yielded immediate results.

The conversation between the young witch and the much older wizard had turned to issues unrelated to their charge and it quickly became obvious that he was flirting with her. She could have been his grand daughter! More importantly, it was her son that they were ignoring in favor of exhibiting their disgusting behavior right in front of her.

Molly began to get agitated.

Squinting a little, the red headed witch began concentrating a few revealing spells on the unusually fit looking older wizard. With the many years of out-foxing her own twin proteges, Molly was quite adept at observing things that weren't quite right. Nodding once in satisfaction, she observed a few charms in effect upon the old goat. Still holding her wand in her purse, the one-time terror of Hogwarts halls canceled the restraining charm on the older man's shirt, allowing his impressive seeming chest to suddenly reveal itself as a rather unimpressive gut.

Before either of the healers could fully react, Molly snapped her purse shut with a satisfied *click*. Her words carried her glare as she inquired as to when her son would be treated.

. . .

Number 12 Grimmauld Place, entry parlor

The fireplace flared to life as the floo system gave a small *gong* to announce guests with a standing invitation.

Remus Lupin strode out of the flames and wandlessly removed the soot from himself and his charge. The youngest Weasley was going to be asleep for a few more hours due to potions, so he didn't stir as the older man carried him up the stairs into the room he stayed in when the Weasleys visited. There were to be no spells cast upon the boy – not even a simple levitation charm – for the next 12 hours, so Remus had transport duty. He was just glad to have an excuse not to be downstairs.

Remus mused that this would be the first time that he would be happy that Tonks was called in on her night off. With a little luck the two of them could hopefully avoid the infamous wrath of Molly Weasley. He'd have to see if he could get the story out of Minerva tomorrow as the wizard was sure that Albus would have his silver tongue put to the test tonight.

He'd heard Molly arrive moments after him and had barely gotten the boy put down on his bed before the shouting started. Motioning the door closed, Remus silenced it and sat down to read a book.

. . .

The twins had never actually heard of a person having been hit by a patronus before. When their mother's full sized mare burst through their door they definitely knew they'd been busted. Giving up their game of gobstones as lost, they picked themselves up and began debating on the uses of the patronus spell in gags as they went down the stairs to try to avoid their fate.

. . .

Minerva was smiling as she watched the sleeping couple. The scene of them cuddling on the couch was too precious to break up immediately, yet she knew if she dawdled, Molly would be coming along herself. How they had slept through the woman's tirade was baffling, but the stately witch didn't want this moment ruined since they'd managed the feat. She smiled wistfully at a stray thought, hoping one day to present the cute new couple with this memory.

The Deputy Headmistress knew that she had a soft spot for both of the teens, having learned about at least part of the troubles each had endured. It warmed her heart to think they could find some peace with one another.

The rumble of two sets of feet on the stairs brought her out of her reverie. 'My my I'm getting sentimental' she laughed to herself before sending a quick message to Dumbledore.

Stopping as she leaned down, Minerva realized the teens would be pretty embarrassed if she were to wake them. Shifting herself to her silent and furry form, she trotted back to the doorway before returning to normal; then closed the heavy dark door most of the way. A small wisp of magic puffed from her wand to both teens as she closed the door.

. . .

Safe : Trusted

time to wake up : time to wake up

Warm and Cared For : Soft and Relied Upon

Hermione, wake up : Harry, wake up

Hermione awoke with a somewhat painful crick in her neck, and found it odd that her chin was resting on her knees. Still, she felt very nice, so safe and warm, so she tried to stretch her neck just a bit to work out the sore muscle. The top of her head encountered something hard and she heard a small "oof".

Her first real thought was 'that's odd', quickly followed by 'where exactly am I?' and finished with the flashes of memory ending in being carried to the couch.

She peeked one eye open to see the deep burgundy of the plush couch. Glancing down there was definitely an arm – which she could now feel was wrapped around her side to join it's partner which enveloped her back and … held her thigh?

Harry awoke with his face full of curls which tickled his nose when he breathed out but smelled of flowers when he breathed in. There was the minor issue of tingling pains in his legs and right arm, yet he didn't want to change a thing. Despite the protests from his limbs, he couldn't remember having rested so well. A sudden clunk into his jaw made his mind come fully awake. Within a second he was fully aware that the soft warm bundle in his lap was a person.

A girl person.

He was holding Hermione in his lap and he was pretty sure his hand …

The pair scrambled to get apart. Instead of accomplishing this task, they both managed to end up on the thick, dark gray carpet in front of the couch in even more of a tangle.

Stammered apologies and nervous disclaimers blended into a yammer that neither understood as she finally stood and he levered himself up to the couch, massaging protesting legs with protesting arms.

Since he was sitting, she left. She didn't exactly run, but she moved quickly enough that the breeze felt good on her almost-painfully-hot-blush.

They both felt the loss of comfort in ways that only amplified their confusion. They didn't look at one another once both were present in the kitchen.

Hermione was terribly confused, not just by the jumble of her emotions or the odd look on Minerva's face – as if she was confused and disappointed – but just as much by the nod that the smiling Headmaster gave her.

Harry didn't have any time to think about his confusion once his wand was checked.

Molly Weasley demanded the wands from the twins and Harry. Severus then performed some charm on them, stating aloud some spell names – Hermione recognized the Latin and the first few from Harry's wand – and each of the wands were found to have cast one of the named spells on the list the Healer had given Molly.

The twins, for their part, only seemed impressed that a spell could recall wand use farther back than their relied upon Prior Incantato for escaping detection.

. . .

Molly simply stared coldly at Harry after she verified that he had recently cast the Entomorphis charm; one of the spells eventually identified by the randy old goat of a 'healer', once she had motivated him properly.

Harry had then been told "Sit down!" rather emphatically, but then he was ignored for the time being.

The disappointed mother had opened up proceedings on her own children, they were hers and she felt responsible, at least marginally, for their behavior. She had both boys washing the dishes by hand – all of them, never-mind that they were already clean – while she launched into her tirade.

"When will you learn that magic is not a plaything? How can you be so reckless after all of the times I've told you not to do experiments on people, and with your own brother? Again!"

And so it began. Molly paced as she chastised her gifted yet mischievous twins. Her tone wavered in pitch yet the volume never dropped below yelling.

Everyone else besides Harry and had cleared the room inside the first minute.

As the angry mother paced, her threats and admonishments boomed off of the kitchen walls. The only non-redhead in the room wondered if she had used a charm to amplify her voice as he reflexively ducked when she swung around in her pacing, her volume alone rattling him in his seat.

He struggled against memories that he'd thought long forgotten, but were apparently just buried. The angry words of a distraught and frustrated mother melded with phantom shrieks of indignance and bellows of rage. Of course the twins weren't having their attitudes physically adjusted as he had when his magic had acted up. The worse thing was, he didn't even know back then what it was that was happening, only that he was a worthless freak and..

Harry was shocked out of his inner turmoil as Molly's voice reached new decibel levels, he could feel the magic radiating off of her as she shouted.

"How do you expect your brother to ever trust you again? Can't you put aside your curiosity to consider the welfare of your own flesh and blood? You could have killed him, joining spells like that! Do you want your father and I to have to go through that again?" The last line was spit out with such fervor that Harry jerked up to look and found himself staring the raving redhead right in the eyes.

The problem was that Harry wasn't cowering any longer. He'd shaken himself out of his own remembered misery and realized that Molly didn't really scare him. In fact, he was becoming scared for her. Dumbledore had been very detailed in his instruction of his responsibilities to and the capabilities of House magic.
Like it or not, Harry was in some capacity, Lord of this house and he was aware that his blood-bound family magic was starting to see Molly as a threat against him.

What's more, he'd been listening to Molly rant at the twins for over ten minutes and he couldn't take much more of it. The young man may not have understood the love of a mother but he didn't think she was making any headway by exaggerating the facts.

Harry could understand the woman being upset with all that had happened to her family, but he hardly believed that Ron was in mortal peril. His classmate wouldn't be out of the hospital already if he had been anywhere near death's door, he knew for certain just how long they liked to keep you in a bed even for the slightest maladies.

Besides, it genuinely was an accident, and the way she'd been going on and on at Fred and George, as if they meant to purposely harm their own brother, just didn't sit well with Harry's sense of justice.

In the mean time, Molly seemed to have taken offense at Harry's apparent lack of remorse and had stopped her rant at her kids. She had moved to loom over the other 'attacker' as she had earlier referred to them collectively.

"What do you have to say for yourself, child? Did you think it funny that my son could have been killed on those stairs?" She waved her arm in roughly the direction of the scene of the 'crime'. "Would that have been entertaining? Were you going to hurt my baby on purpose?"

Harry's eyes widened at the implications of the woman's words. How could she say such a thing? It was an accident. Yes, his spell was designed to turn the target into a harmless bug – and Harry had lain awake some nights with the fantasy of a Dudley-bug-in-a-jar. Yet the charm was too powerful for Harry to maintain for more than a minute or two at the most. He had cast it without thought, a strange alchemy of knowing that he could cast the hex in the house, combined with a deep-seated memory of his cousin pounding down the stairs over his head. The two mixed with his many hours of drills - and his reflexive casting was the result. How could he possibly anticipate that someone else would also target his ill-mannered classmate?

Yet, with many years of unfair accusations and punishment as his teachers, he had learned his lesson well: if the angry adult said you were wrong, you were wrong, it was only a matter of what punishment they decided upon.

The problem was that he didn't feel like that terrified little boy anymore. In fact he had so many feelings welling up within him that he couldn't begin to count them, let alone name what he felt most. He was genuinely concerned about Ron, but felt bad for the twins, too. He was somewhat guilty but yet indignant as he didn't try to cause harm – it was an accident. He felt terrified at the idea that the ancient House magic could influence him and yet he was simultaneously concerned that the same magic might 'protect' him if the Weasley mother standing over him with her arms crossed – but wand out – crossed the line.

Then there were the swirling mass of confusing emotions over Sirius, and whatever was going on with Hermione, and the mess at school – he felt the House magic shift around him slightly. The Headmaster's warning had been very clear, he would be held accountable as an adult should anything happen due to House magic. Harry lowered his head and grit his teeth, he had to get hold of himself!

. . .

While the verbal assault raged behind the nearby door, Hermione was talking quietly with Dumbledore in the hall outside the kitchen. She felt terrible for Harry, she had last seen him sitting at the table, awaiting his turn like a man condemned.

When the yelling had started everyone left the room, Hermione was among the first out, led by the Headmaster. As the Order members passed her, most made meaningless comments, two even congratulated her, which caught her off guard.

Hermione did wonder what Minerva meant as she left with the comment, "I'm sorry things turned out this way." The older witch seemed strangely melancholy. This was very confusing because the discussion that she and her soon-to-be Headmaster were having was one of the most wonderfully satisfying she could remember.

In just a few sentences the old mage had informed her that she would not only be part of the mission, thus validating all of her hard work; in addition Hermione would be joining classes at Hogwarts in the spring term. His condition being that she had to do all the testing to clear first year between Christmas and the end of the holiday seemed to be as humorous to him as it was to her.

Hermione would start as a second year mid-term, a year below her age-mates. (Including Harry, she quickly and nervously dismissed.) The Headmaster was just talking about supplies when they both noticed the quiet, then the renewed rant, now apparently directed at Harry.

. . .

Molly looked down upon the child sitting at the ancient kitchen table. She didn't know much about the boy's history, Albus had mentioned some abuse in his past, but that was no excuse to pick on others. He lived a life of luxury with his god-father and her Ronnie had mentioned many times over the past years how bigoted and rude the boy behaved – and was there any wonder, with a role model like Sirius Black?

As to his current attitude, he had heard every word she had said to her sons yet he didn't appear all that bothered. Yes, his face had showed some remorse for a moment, but she had told the twins that Ronald could have died (which was only true in the most extremely technical of interpretations, but still!)

Yet Harry Potter seemed to be showing he was just as her Ronnie had described him these last two years: self-centered and careless about the welfare of others. Though his eyes were narrowed in thought, his expression actually looked more frustrated than anything.

He not only did not answer, he didn't even appear to be listening to her!

"Did you not hear me ask you a question Harry Potter?"

If anything, the boy seemed to have become defiant! His brow was knit over dark green eyes and his visage seemed to be one of gathering anger. Anger! As if he had any right to feel anything but shame.

"Answer me you spoiled little brat!"

Narrowing her eyes balefully, the red head's temper began to rule her common sense – a trait she'd shown to great effect with howlers many times in the last few years. Her over-wrought mind saw a boy who could have hurt her son and didn't appear to care. Seething with righteous indignation, she decided: Something had to get through to this boy. Perhaps if he were to see what it felt like to be turned into a bird like her poor boy he'd have more humility!

. . .

The young witch peeked under the arm of the tall old wizard as he opened the kitchen door. They had stopped talking when Molly's rant became shrieked questions apparently directed at Harry. The Headmaster opened the ancient wooden kitchen door and both of them peered into the somewhat gloomy kitchen.

Hermione could see the twins at the sink. She noted that Molly's long winded brow-beating had left the twins practically cowering as they carefully scrubbed the spotless pots and pans; though both were glancing over their shoulders at where Harry must be getting chewed out by the angry mother.

Unable to see past the voluminous purple robes, Hermione knew when the Weasley matriarch emotionally switched the gears of her ire on Harry. She felt him recoil at her accusations of intentionally trying to hurt 'her baby'.

Albus had just breathed in, ready to begin placating the raging red head when he realized that he had miscalculated. Molly had been through a great deal of strain in recent times and was doing something the aged wizard would never have believed: she was casting a hex at a child.

His wand had just reached his hand when a jet of red light streaked from under his arm. Molly Weasley collapsed in a heap and the twins turned to look in confusion.

"Fred, George, see if you can hold your temper long enough for me to get your mother off of Harry?"

Sighing deeply, the aged wizard knew that all his years as Chief Mugwump had given him less headaches than dealing with Weasley family politics. It was going to be a long night.

.o0o.

For transparency purposes, the official top three votes were:

1

Ducklifors - Transforms the target into a duck

11 votes 19%

2

Entomorphis - Transforms the target into an insectoid for a short time

9 votes 15%

3

Herbifors - This spell causes flowers to sprout from the victim

9 votes 15%

My thought is that the twins cause their victim to become a large fluffy bird, with bizarrely colored flowers for plumage.
Not 'harmful', but somewhat traumatic and definitely a clear warning from the fearsome twosome.

. . .

Many thanks to my wife and sister for stepping in again as my co-Betas :)

Recommended reading: Dearly Beloved by DigiFruit - Short and beautifully told, all of the happy fluffiness, with a really good story first!

Once again I am blessed with many reviews of Chapter 14, thank you to erbkaiser, Tellur, Medusa's Basilisk, old-crow, brighteyes2889, Monnbeam, Snn . Lx, lavanyalabelle, and Luna de Papel.

. . .

Blessings,

Majerus