Catherine or Cate
Pool Deck, Villa de Soleil
"Get out of my sun!"
Harry cracked an eyelid to see who was standing Isla's sun as she lay on the banana lounge beside him at their private hotel in France.
"I mean it!" the older witch growled.
Swapping a grin with Neville Longbottom, Harry closed his eye again. "I think Nev's contemplating how best to be a little brother, Isla," Harry said.
"You lay one hand on me, Longbottom, and you will regret it," Isla threatened.
"I won't need to," Neville replied.
Harry opened his eyes again and noticed the red bucket floating over Isla's head as Neville controlled it with the simplest of wandless magicks, of which he had spent the school year strengthening. Sirius and Jasper were standing behind him grinning like Cheshire cats.
"So much for a relaxing family holiday," Harry commented as the bucket dropped, covering Isla in icy pool water, filling the air with her screams.
Isla launched herself off the banana lounge to chase a far more athletic Neville around the pool. The way her body moved in her bikini was more than enough to capture Jasper's full attention leaving an amused Sirius to lay down on the dry banana lounge on Harry's other side.
"I'm glad I never had a sister," Sirius declared, and turning his face to the sun.
"I'm glad you and magic gave me one," Harry said, referring to Isla being Sirius' biological daughter, and the ancient spell she, Neville and Harry had performed the previous summer to make them siblings in every way but blood. Harry turned his face to his godfather, and returned the genuine smile the other man gave him.
"You and I are lucky, kiddo," Sirius said, conjuring sunglasses with a wave of his hand. "We got to pick and choose the people who matter, those who are made to be part of our families and we picked well."
Both raven haired men turned and looked over their shoulders to the far side of the pool where Jasper was holding onto Isla as Neville sprayed them with water making her shriek.
Harry grinned to Sirius and with a jerk of his hand, and a little demon magic, the other three members of their family were pulled into the pool that separated them before, with elaborate splashes, Harry and Sirius joined them.
Knight's Stadium Crafting Room, Lakeside
Oliver came out of his broom induced trance and spotted Fran leaning against the doorway, their coach right behind her.
"I didn't miss training, did I?" Oliver asked grabbing his wand and performing a quick tempus charm.
"Just the Summer Flying School final meeting," Coach declared. "Not that it matters to you too much. You and Fran have other duties. I sent Ron Weasley to find you and he came back amazed and told me and Fran he thought you had finished the broom."
"Have you?" Frances Towler asked a huge smile lighting up her violet eyes.
Oliver smiled back. "I think so. I think I have finished them all."
"Them all?" Ron Weasley asked appearing from behind the coach.
Oliver opened up the parchments on the table and the three people entered the room and looked them over.
"There are four broom designs here, Ollie," Fran said.
"One for each position," Ron said, picking up the scribblings and holding them between himself and Coach. "This one has manoeuvrability spells on it, suited to a keeper, while this one has just plain acceleration ones, far more suited to the way a seeker flies."
Oliver grinned at Coach's surprise. "I told you that Ron was a bit of a genius in certain things."
"Tinkering, logic and strategy only," Ron said with a rueful smile. "I'm a bit like Dad and a bit like Mum, I can see that now."
Oliver stood and wrapped an arm around the younger man. "You've grown up, second littlest Weasley. It makes me so glad that you won the Coaching Cadetship this summer. You're a good player, but you brain was meant for stats, analysis and helping coach here."
Ron blushed and Oliver grinned before holding out the broom.
"This is a keeper's broom. I've already flown it. How about you and coach go and test it?"
"Come on, son!" Coach declared grabbing Ron's shoulder with one hand and the broom with the other. "Frantic, fill Wood in about what happened at the meeting."
Oliver watched the Knights coach and Ron leave the room before he turned back to Fran.
"What's up, beautiful?" Oliver asked seeing Fran sitting on the far counter just looking at him.
"I need to talk to Harry about my role here at the club because I won't be playing this coming season," she said softly.
"What?" Oliver said in alarm. "You're not going back to the Harpies are you?"
Fran shook her head. "I am now a Knight and that will never change. Ollie…"
Oliver moved around his work bench and tilted Frances' face to look up at his own.
"I'm pregnant. And for the safety of our unborn child, I'm not going to play this season while I'm pregnant or while he or she is very young. Next season maybe…"
Oliver bent a little at the knees and lifted Frances up to his height.
"Seriously?" he asked in a whisper, wiping tears from Frances' face as they appeared. "Please tell me you are happy."
"Deliriously," she replied quietly. "My career isn't over. It's on hold while I take up motherhood for a bit."
Oliver grinned. "That sounds mighty good to me!"
"Oliver," Frances said. "Are you afraid that we're too young?"
"Not at all," Oliver replied. "If we time it perfectly and we have a couple of sets of twins we could have a Wood-Towler quidditch team while you and I are still playing age."
Frances laughed through her tears and Oliver kept brushing them away.
"Let's get one healthy baby, with ten fingers and ten toes before we consider a quidditch team," Frances replied.
"Deal! One thing at a time," Oliver replied, and slowly he bent his head to kiss her firmly on the mouth. "Showing appreciation to the mother of my child, comes first."
"And lots of it," Frances replied with a giggle.
Luigi's Restaurant, Le Boulevard
Susan threw her head back and laughed at the story Draco was telling about Blaise from their first year.
"That's not fair, Draco!" the coffee coloured skinned teen complained, grinning.
"Life isn't fair," the blond replied punctuating his statement with an air stab of his linguini laden fork. "What I learnt this past year is you have to even the playing fields as best you can and get on with things."
"Hear, hear," Susan agreed saluting with her water glass. "And what a year!"
Blaise chuckled. "I think Dumbledore tried to kill Harry with death glares twenty times during first term alone."
"My end of year count was sixty six, but if you include the glares sent to any of us, especially either of you two, it blows out to three hundred and fourteen that I saw and counted. Although Professor McGonagall has a tally of four hundred and six," Draco declared, making the luncheoning trio dissolve into more laughter.
"You spoke to Professor M about it?" Susan asked. "That's so funny she was counting."
"She loves the changes we made," Blaise returned. "Plus it was probably a good way to pass the time during staff meetings. I heard there were a lot of rants from our illustrious headmaster."
"Not surprised," Draco declared. "Are you eating that, Su?"
Susan looked down at her last piece of ravioli and handed her plate to the blond.
"I don't know where you're putting all those carbs, Draco," she commented with a shake of her head.
"I'm finally going to grow," Draco replied. "For Merlin's sake, Harry was taller and broader than me by the end of the year."
"He also works out three times a week," Susan replied with a smirk. "The Hufflepuff girls loved it when he and Ron and Nev went running once it warmed up again."
"What else do Hufflepuff girls love?" Draco asked cheekily and was rewarded with a punch to his arm.
"Patil twins. Wave!" Blaise said, waving to the twins who entered the restaurant with both their parents. Belatedly, Susan and Draco copied his gesture.
"I wonder what Harry has on the agenda for this summer," Susan said. "It's not like Blaise and I can rewrite the curriculum and amend the Hogwarts Charter again."
"Oh, I am sure Harry has something fabulous planned," Draco said with a smirk.
"Where is Harry?" Blaise asked.
"Isla took Neville and him to the south of France. Some time apart from Helena Fortescue and Ruby will do them both good," Susan declared.
"When do you think Harry's just going to man up and admit he's totally besotted by Ruby?" Blaise asked.
"Not sure," Draco replied. "But you should have your mum make a competition out of it in one of those magazines she's pumping out."
"I totally regret not buying up more Daily Prophet shares while they were cheaper last year," Susan said sadly.
"It's making me a rich man," Blaise declared. "But then what happens is Harry convinces me to buy up land, build things and sell them on to the wizarding public for cost or less. It's made Lakeside and Hogsmeade great places. And you can't say I am doing nothing for my community."
"You're a generous man, Blaise," Draco said with a laugh. "I'm ordering tiramisu. Anyone else want dessert?"
The trio took a moment to order sweets before they returned to topic.
"No seriously," Susan said. "What do you think Harry has planned for this summer?"
Draco sighed. "All I know is Harry has a copy of the Ministry's book of heirs. Don't ask 'how' or 'why' but, and I am guessing, the 'what' is going to be a lot of fun."
Blaise looked to Susan in surprise and back to Draco. "Dray, is Harry trying to re-establish the lost houses?"
"Imagine what that will do to the voting on the Wizengamot with all those unknown votes. I only know this because that is what was all over the desks in the study at the Black Townhouse here in London. It looks like Mother and my aunt Andromeda have been researching long and hard and have been looking at which laws they want to overturn," Draco said. "And I know that your aunt has had dinner with them three times in the last month, Su."
"Oh my dear Merlin!" Susan said with a surprised giggle. "Harry… he's taking over the world."
"He's doing one better," Blaise disagreed. "He's changing the way we think. In a battle with Voldemort for the hearts and minds, who do you think is going to win? Voldemort cannot win if the people love Harry, and he is not forcing or intimidating them into change, he's springing it on them and has an entire spin crew in my Mum and Alana making everyone see things his way."
"The people who have been complaining about Hogwarts have been a minority, but a loud one," Susan agreed.
Draco shook his head. "But Adrianna played it smart. She rebutted all of Albus Dumbledore's arguments with ones from Aberforth or Madame Marchbanks or one of the Heads of House. She didn't even mention Harry even though under Professors Snape, McGonagall, Flitwick and Sprout there is you two, and you were inspired by Harry's idea."
Susan looked thoughtful, chewing on her bottom lip and both young men waited for her to speak.
"What if we greased the skids?" she said slowly. "I know people in the ministry."
"What do you mean?" Blaise asked leaning forward.
Susan sat straighter as she gained confidence. "Imagine some of the younger employees, or those who already have rented one of the townhouses or apartments in Lakeside or Hogsmeade. How much influence would they get if they are seen with one of us? Or are photographed in the Daily Prophet with one of us? Or if they can say, 'Susan Bones and I had lunch the other day and she gave me these tickets to the Knight's game at the end of the month. Do you want to come with me?' Imagine how much influence they would suddenly have and how much support they would give us."
Draco slowly let the smirk slide across his face. "Sophia Wood is already going out with Penelope Clearwater's brother Thompson. She could organise a friendly dinner and I am sure we could organise a photographer."
"You brilliant manipulative man!" Blaise said laughing. "All right. I'm in. Susan, we have our goal for the summer. Who do you want to start with?"
Susan giggled happily. "I have no idea! I just came up with the idea. But I think we should try to get that dinner to happen tonight or tomorrow night, because we have less than two months before we can find ourselves limited in our capacity to influence community improvement."
"We should also get your Aunt a boyfriend," Blaise said sitting forward. "That would cause a stir. She's spent too long raising you and avenging her brother…"
"Ooh!" Susan said with a smirk. "That could be fun! Do you know who would be helpful with all of this? Madame Longbottom. She's a quarter French and knows people. And Auror Moody had a German mother. He still knows people. That's why he's our best man on international cases even though he has been retired for fifteen years."
"We'll make friends with people in the departments that require international contacts and we will give them all free, but conditional, tickets to the quidditch games," Draco declared. "So we have a plan."
"Game on!" Susan said, surprising her dining compartments. "It's what Ron Weasley says when it's time to make things happen."
"You know Astoria Greengrass has her eyes set on him," Blaise remarked.
"Of course I do," Susan said, smirking once more. "She can thank me for training him later."
Blaise laughed and Draco shook his head. "I think, Miss Bones, you have been practicing that smirk in the mirror, but I will forgive you, because it really suits you."
"And they say you have no charms, Draco…" Susan replied cheekily joining Blaise in laughter over Draco's disgruntled expression.
Headmaster's Office, Hogwarts School for Witchcraft and Wizardry
Albus Dumbledore took yet another headache potion even though the school year was over and his headache inducing students were gone for the summer.
He'd just spent hours looking over the charter that had been changed the previous summer and had discovered that the only way to change it required ratification from three quarters of the board or half the board and all four heads of house. The board weren't going to change anything their children, grandchildren and great grandchildren were benefitting from so much no matter Albus' past influence. That was gone. And none of his staff were going to help him change it either. The number of staff had doubled in the past year and his Deputy for one was loving all the extra time she had because she wasn't patrolling corridors at ten in the evenings.
The staff, because he could no longer call them 'his' staff, had bonded and accepted and encouraged the new subjects and syllabi that had been put in place. They had even done catch up Defence classes and as a result the Defence scores on the OWLS and NEWTS were the highest they had been for three decades. The potions scores were even up and he had caught Severus smiling three times in the last term alone.
Albus grumbled as Minerva's cutting words about overworked staff rang in his ears. No, his staff were no longer over worked and they were enjoying themselves. Severus was even being social, and was wearing colours other than black, and had cut his hair off.
It was so frustrating that these changes had occurred without his permission or guidance and what was worse - he couldn't do anything to change them.
Resigned, Albus settled back in his chair and looked over the Wizengamot notes for the upcoming meetings. Something he did still have some degree of control over. With a wave of his wand he also turned on his gramophone to play chamber music. It was lucky he did, or he would have heard the motorbike doing burn outs on the lawn outside his office window and that would have really ruined his evening.