Alright, another chapter! Thanks to BlackPanther101 for reviewing this story! I also want to thank everyone who added this story to their Favorite and/or Alert list!
Dobby's Imaginary Sock
Disclaimer: I do not own the Harry Potter Series or the movie or book rights to Howl's Moving Castle.
All of his other cousins already stood around Uncle Ron and Hermione by the time James and his brother arrived. The two travelers looked tired, but large smiles graced both of their faces. Hermione held on to Uncle Percy's youngest daughter, Molly. Molly played with Hermione's long, bushy, curly brown hair. Dominique always said that it was Hermione's hair that made her look like a fairy princess. James had to admit it was her most distinguishing feature considering the number of redheads in the family.
Uncle Ron was a tall, fit man with shoulder-length red hair. It had grown a bit shaggy over the past few months, so it would be a surprise if Grandma Weasley didn't try to hack it off while his uncle wasn't paying attention. That would be a real shame. In James' opinion, there was nobody cooler than Uncle Ron.
Hermione and his uncle spent all of their free time on missions for the Order of the Phoenix or looking for their friend, the famous missing wizard Harry Potter. They would have been cool even if they were not looking for Harry, for hardly anyone in the Order saw more battles than his Uncle Ron and Hermione. Oftentimes they would take top secret missions that would take them deep into enemy territory. Despite the dangers, they always made it back alive much to the relief of his grandparents and the other Order Members. Uncle Ron and Hermione could have chosen to take up positions as Aurors for the French Ministry, but both of them refused since it would limit their freedom of movement. James thought that was very heroic. He could only hope that he would grow up to be as cool as Uncle Ron.
"James! Albus!" called out his uncle when he spotted his two approaching nephews. He wrapped two muscular arms around them in a bear hug. "How are my two favorite rascals?"
"But I thought I was a rascal!" protested Alastor.
Dominique rolled her eyes. "You don't cause half the trouble that James and Albus do," she said. "Don't start getting any ideas, though."
"We're great!" chirped Albus.
"Fantastic!" agreed James. "How was your journey?"
Uncle Ron grinned and whispered conspiringly to the two of them. "It went well, but I think I better wait until Grandma Weasley goes to bed before I tell you guys any stories."
Albus' eyes lit up. "I can't wait!" he exclaimed.
Grandma Weasley stuck her head out the front window of her house. It was a sprawling split-level home- two floors in some places and one floor in others- with each part made of different materials. Grandpa Weasley had found the place not too long after the Order had fled to France. It took some cleaning up, but soon the place became habitable. Uncle Ron and Hermione would stay there whenever they returned. Several other members of the Order called the place home as well. Uncle Fred called it the Ant Hill because of the way it rose in the middle. His mum had said it was more like a burrow than their old home in England, but no one had the heart to call it that. "Dinner is almost ready!" she shouted. "Come inside and wash up, all of you!"
Uncle Ron stood up and began to walk inside. "Thanks, mum!" he replied. "Let's go, everyone. It's best not to keep Grandma waiting."
It seemed that everyone in the Order had come to dinner that night. Grandma Weasley had made a large cauldron of beef stew that somehow fed everyone. Aunt Fleur had made fresh bread in the morning as her contribution, and his mum and Tonks had made pies. By the end everyone was very full. Albus leaned up against him as they listened to Uncle Ron tell a story.
"So we decided to take the mountain pass since the Death Eaters were in town," Uncle Ron said. "Looking back, it might have been easier to fight the Death Eaters because as we turned a bend we ran into five fully grown mountain trolls."
"Wow," breathed his cousin Louis.
"Well, I wouldn't say they were all fully grown," interrupted Hermione. "The one looked like it still had a year left until it was fully grown."
"It's practically the same thing, Hermione," groaned Uncle Ron, putting his head down on the table. It appeared as if they had had this argument several times already. His cousins giggled. "As I was saying, there were five mountain trolls. Fortunately, they didn't see us at first, so we ducked back around the corner. We were thinking about heading back when one of them caught a whiff of us hiding, so we had no choice but to fight them all. Hermione began to enlarge some of the rocks nearby them so that I could levitate them and use them like big bowling balls. We took out three of them rather quickly like that, but the last two were pretty persistent. I started hitting them with every hex I knew, but they just bounced right off their skin. Hermione, though, got in a better range and stunned the larger of the two. The other tried to charge, but I used a fire charm. It got badly singed, so it finally ran away. After that, we tied the four incapacitated ones down and passed through the mountains without any problems."
"That was awesome!" said James.
"That was completely dangerous!" disagreed Grandma Weasley. "You're lucky they didn't think of throwing those rocks back at you, Ronald."
"Sorry, mum," responded Uncle Ron. "I at least brought a friend. Hermione was brilliant out there."
"You helped me come up with a plan," argued Hermione. Her cheeks turned a bright shade of pink. "I would have panicked if I were alone."
Uncle Fred threw a napkin at them. "Just get married already!" he shouted. Everyone at the table besides Uncle Ron and Hermione began to laugh.
"I've told you already, Fred, we're not settling down until we find Harry," stated Ron.
"We want him to be there," affirmed Hermione.
Grandma Weasley gave them a sad but understanding look. "Well, I'm sure we'll catch a glimpse of him soon enough," she replied. "Now you kids go outside and play. We're expecting company from the French Ministry soon. You all can't be around here when the meeting starts. Victoire, you're in charge until it's over."
"Yes, Grandma," said Victoire.
James groaned. It wasn't that he didn't like his cousin, but he wanted to stay for the meeting. He knew he was only twelve years old and he wouldn't be much of a help. However, it was hard being on the sidelines of the war. He felt that there must be someway that he could help.
Albus tugged on his sleeve to get him to leave. They sat down outside Shell Cottage with their cousins and the Lupin kids. A few other members of the Order arrived before finally two members of the French Auror Department walked up the front path. James thought they looked pretty cool, but not nearly as cool as his uncle.
Teddy tried to get everyone to start a game of Ground Quidditch. They couldn't use flying bludgers or a snitch, so they had to settle with each side having a player on the outside who could cast leg-binding charms and having the referee hide the 'snitch' at the beginning of the game. It was kind of a mix between rugby and capture the flag. The game ended with Victoire's team being victorious (those Lupin kids were too clumsy for any kind of Quidditch), but the meeting continued.
They all sat back down and began to speculate about what was happening. "They must be arguing about something," decided Dominique.
"They could be planning something," responded Alastor. "It takes much longer to make a plan. Plus, someone would have come outside by now to get fresh air if they weren't agreeing."
"It could be both," stated Teddy. "Ron did say that he picked up an interesting bit of intelligence over the past couple months. They're probably having trouble deciding what to do about their lead."
"That's a good point," agreed Victoire. "Who do you think came up with the plan?"
"Probably Uncle Ron," reasoned Albus. He climbed a tree next to the cottage and sat down on a branch. James could no longer see his face, but every now and then his foot would swing out from behind the low hanging leaves. "He normally doesn't like returning to attend meetings, but today he seemed ready for dinner to end before it began. Grandma is such a good cook too!"
"But Kingsley usually makes their plans," retorted Dominique. "He has the most experience, for he was an Auror."
"Maybe they're the ones disagreeing," mused Emmeline.
"No way," said James. "It's probably those guys from the French Ministry. They always want to do things by the book."
The group argued for a little while longer before taking bets on who was causing the problem. Losers would have to jump into the sea. Anxiously they waited to see who would be the first to storm out of the meeting. They were certain it would be either the Ministry representatives, Ron, or Seamus Finnegan. However, when the door banged open it appeared as if all of them would be jumping into the sea. None of them had expected it to be Professor McGonagall.
McGonagall was the only spy they had inside Hogwarts castle. For some reason, the Headmaster of Hogwarts, Severus Snape, had worked out a pardon for the professors at the school. Hermione suspected that they wanted to keep the teachers around until they passed away to prevent parents from thinking that the entire staff was made up of Death Eaters. They had to swear loyalty to the school and for several years they were not allowed to travel abroad to conferences. A few years ago, though, Professor McGonagall obtained permission to attend the International Conference for Teachers of Transfiguration. She'd surprised them by coming to an Order meeting at that time. None of the other professors ever returned to the Order, but McGonagall came whenever she could. It seemed that the Death Eaters didn't suspect anything or didn't care that she might be in contact with the Order. His Grandma would always have a fit when she thought about how dangerous the whole situation was for the old woman.
Grandma Weasley followed McGonagall out, running to catch up with her. His cousins and the other children groaned, but Victoire was unrelenting. She herded the group down to the sea, away from what would obviously be an interesting conversation. James shivered as he ran out of the sea spray, his red hair plastered to his head. He would have to remember not to make a bet like this again.
As he pulled his shoes back on, he saw McGonagall apparate away. His grandma walked back to her house. That was when he saw Albus climb back down from the tree. He'd completely forgotten that his brother had been up there. James was rather sour that his brother had skipped out on his end of the bet, but then he realized that Albus had been in perfect range to hear McGongall and Grandma Weasley's discussion. He ran up the hill to where his brother was dusting himself off and pulled him around the side of the house.
"Hey!" protested Albus. "I'm going down to the sea. You don't have to drag me!"
"What were they saying?" James hissed.
"What?" asked his brother.
James clamped a hand over Albus' mouth. "You're being too loud," he whispered. "What were Grandma and McGonagall talking about?"
"Let me go!" retorted his brother. James stuck his finger in his mouth and then moved to stick it in his brother's ear. Albus struggled to get away. "Alright! You don't need to torture me to get information. All I heard was that McGonagall wouldn't stand for whatever they were planning. Grandma was worried, though, because she knew that Ron and the others wouldn't change their minds, and she didn't want McGonagall to say anything. McGonagall then promised she wouldn't say anything about it, but she wouldn't help them. That's when she left and Grandma went back inside. Happy now?"
James let his brother go and sat down on the grass. "It must be something big then," said James. "I wonder what would get her all upset like that?"
"Who knows?" inquired Albus. "Maybe they found a secret way into Hogwarts like that jerk Malfoy did."
"That's a possibility," agreed James. "I'm sure McGonagall wouldn't be happy if they were planning to invade the school. You would have thought, though, that she'd want to help get rid of the Death Eaters."
"It isn't practical for them to attack now," replied Albus. "They'd be surrounded even if they did succeed in taking the school. The Death Eaters have control over all of the United Kingdom."
The front door to Grandma Weasley's house swung open. Uncle Ron looked devastated as he sauntered out of the meeting. Everyone else seemed equally as grumpy. The representatives from the French Ministry talked heatedly with Kingsley. James craned his neck in order to try and hear what they were saying. Albus followed suit.
"I don't think it's possible," insisted Kingsley. He began to quiet down when the other kids came over the hill to talk to their parents. "In order for us to have even the smallest chance of succeeding we'll need even more people up in the air. If we had one more person, then it might be possible to make it work."
"We cannot afford to offer anozer agent," stated the first representative. "We don't want ze Death Eaters realizing zat we 'ave aligned ourselves with ze Order."
"You need another person?" questioned a younger voice.
Everyone turned to look at Teddy Lupin. He was carrying Molly in a piggyback.
"Teddy," said his mother.
"Mum, I'm seventeen," argued Teddy. He set Molly down. "That's old enough to be considered an adult in our world. You said that I'd be allowed to join the Order in May, but you still won't let me go to any meetings. I've been learning magic from you and Dad my entire life, so I wouldn't be a burden. Please, Mum, let me help."
Tonks exchanged a glance with Remus. They both looked torn, but Remus sighed in defeat. "If you feel that this is what is right, then I won't stop you," responded Remus.
Teddy smiled and walked up to his parents. "Thanks Mum. Thanks Dad," he stated. He hugged both of them. "I promise that I will be careful."
"We'll all keep an eye on him," said James' dad. All the other members of the Order chimed in in agreement.
Uncle Ron began to smile again, just like he had when James first saw him today. "Then it's settled," he affirmed.
"We'll need to set up teams," remarked Hermione. "Since everyone is here, let's set up teams now. I hope you all don't mind-"
Before Hermione could continue with her apology, everyone began to file back into the house. The atmosphere became more cheerful instantly.
"Come one," Tonks said. She pushed Hermione back into the house while leading her eldest son inside with the other hand.
"If you need any help, Victoire, don't be afraid to holler," stated Remus. His eldest cousin waved at Mr. Lupin as he shut the door.
It was all terribly exciting. The children began to whisper amongst themselves as they returned to the front yard of Shell Cottage to start another game of Ground Quidditch. There was one child, however, who was not so happy. James Longbottom was very jealous. Sure, Teddy was more qualified than he to go on a mission with the Order. He really looked up to Teddy. It was like having another cousin. As the oldest child in their generation, Teddy had always been special. He had been given more freedom to practice magic and everyone had pitched in to help him master spells and become the bright young wizard he was today. James wanted that liberty.
Now Teddy was in the meeting, a place James longed to be. He wanted to fight Death Eaters and bring justice to the world. It was a childish dream, but he had always been told to believe in his ideals.
"It's not fair," he grumbled.
"You're only twelve," responded Albus. It seemed that his brother knew exactly what he was thinking about.
"But at this rate, I'll have to be thirty before they let me join the Order," groaned James. He fell back on the grass. "I don't know any magic, so I can't help. I just want to be able to help Mum, Dad, and the others."
"Mum said that she'd teach us when we were ready," recited his brother. "We just have to prove ourselves."
That was the moment in which James got a brilliant idea. It was a bit reckless, but once he pulled it off there was no possible way in which his mother could continue to refuse teaching him magic. "Hey Al," he said, "do you know where Mum and Dad keep extra brooms?"
Albus glared at him. James almost shivered; it was the 'Ginny Look' as his dad called it. His brother's brown eyes seemed to spew fire and acid at him. "No, James, they'd catch you before you could take off," stated his brother.
"How would you know?" James asked. "They'll be too busy. I'm only going to follow them at a safe distance. If things get too dangerous then I'll turn around and fly home. I won't even attempt to use magic unless it's for protection."
"They'll see you," retorted Albus. "It'll just make Mum mad."
"I'll need a disillusionment lotion, then," replied James. "Uncle Fred and Uncle George should have some in their workshop. They'll be too busy to realize that it's gone. I've got to try, Al. They still see me as some snot-nosed little kid who keeps tripping over his feet. I must show them that I'm old enough to learn how to protect myself."
Albus began to rock his head in his hands. "Why can I never win against you?" he inquired.
"Because I'm older and smarter," countered James. "You can't tell anyone."
"Of course I won't," said Albus. "I'm coming with you, though."
"What?!" snapped James.
"You've never been good at flying," responded Albus. "You'll crash your broom if you go by yourself."
James flushed since he knew that his brother was right. "Fine," he muttered. "Just don't cause me any problems."
This was a much better length than the first. Anyhow, I hope you guys enjoyed Epic!Ron. My sister has been looking forward to seeing him for quite some time. Perhaps I'll sketch a picture of him sometime. I should also address a couple other things. First off, I used the names James and Albus for Ginny's kids since they were names used in the books. However, they are not the same James and Albus that are seen in the epilogue of the last book. Just wanted to clear up any confusion. Please review!