Chapter Twenty-Four: Sixth Sense
Friday, 3rd of April 2004 –I See Dead People.
Until I opened my eyes and saw the ghost of a beautiful woman staring back at me, I thought my move to Potter Hall went off without a hitch. I mean, I adore the Castle, with its rich family history, but something was always missing. I couldn't skid through the place in my pants, socks, and sunglasses holding a hairbrush as I belted out rock tunes at the top of my lungs. Castle Potter despite the rich history didn't feel like home, it was just too big and impersonal. Potter Hall isn't. It still feels like home despite receiving a ghost as a housewarming gift.
In most cases, a person's first reaction upon seeing a ghost would be to scream bloody murder and race out the room. Mine was not. First, this was not the first time I'd seen a ghost. My old boarding school was full of ghostly encounters. Secondly, I'm thirteen and well, all I could think of was . . . she's beautiful.
I guess you are probably questioning my sanity. Well, it's my blog and I can write what I want to. And right now, I want to write about ghosts. Everyone keeps writing letters wanting to know more about my life. To be honest, I don't know why, I'm just Harry. But since I was convinced to create a website you're stuck with me and have a bird's eye view of how boring my life actually is. The most exciting thing that has happened to me lately was waking up and discovering the beautiful Emeline staring back at me.
Yeah, her name is Emeline. My ghost has a name, wicked, huh.
Emeline's tall, her black hair tamed into a braided coil around her head and she wore a closed body gown, robe a l' angelise, but it didn't have the fullness of the skirt that made Marie Antoinette so famous.
Okay, I know you're like how do you know what type of gown this chick's wearing? Well, I recently discovered tons of historical clothes and hired a historian to go through and label the clothes for an exhibit I'm opening soon. By the way, you're going to have to check it out when it opens that and the new car museum are going to be awesome. I'm rambling aren't I? I tend to do that at times.
Anyhoo, unfortunately the historian at the Castle is also my history tutor. Part of my 'lesson' is to help her sort through the clothing of the period of history we're covering. She gives me assignments to discover which of my ancestors might have worn a specific piece of clothing, what time period they lived in and write a paper about what their lives were like. Rachel, my tutor, says it's a more proactive way of learning history. I say she tricked my sorry butt into doing the job I hired her to do. We argue about that every day. You'd think that since I'm supposedly the boss, I'd win. I don't. Rachel smiles, pats my head, and shoves her newborn in my face when I try to argue. The baby gets me every time, Leslie, her daughter is very cute.
Anyhoo, I'm rambling. You're the one who wanted to know about my life. So what do you think? Who am I? Eccentric genius or a block who is just a sandwich short of a picnic?
When Emeline smiled at me, I figured she was more of the Casper variety entity and not a vengeful spirit about to mutter 'get out' and have me levitating off my bed and spinning around in circles with a foaming mouth. If I was wrong, I figure I could just blame puberty for my demise, because like I said she's beautiful. So convinced Emeline was like Casper, I introduced myself. Hey, I'm an Englishman and it's the polite thing to do.
She laughed and introduced herself as well, her name is/was – what is the politically correct way to address a ghost- Emeline Seddon, but her birth name was/is Emeline Potter and she was one of my distant ancestress.
Emeline came up from Kent when she heard I had renovated Potter Hall. Emeline, the youngest of four, married a military man from Kent back in the 1700's. Her husband died during the Battle of Dettingham in 1743- yeah, I had to look that up too. Rachel, my history overseer made me write a report about the battle when I told her about Emeline. I mean really, I'm telling her a cool story about meeting a ghost and she assigns homework! Rachel's scary. She reminds me of my closest female friends who have instilled in me a healthy fear of smart, beautiful, kickass women.
I'm rambling again aren't I. History sucks despite Rachel being a thousand times better tutor than my previous professor was. Anyhoo, once Emeline had gotten the news of her husband's death, shock had her running through her manor in Kent in tears when she tripped down the stairs and fell to her death. In Kent she's known as the Wailing Widow.
Emeline's father, who had been my ancestor's younger brother, built Potter Hall. It had been in her branch of the family for generations until her Potter line died out and the house became absorbed back into the main Potter branch during my grandfather's lifetime. When Grandfather Charlus married, he decided that Castle Potter was too much for his small family and moved to Potter Hall. Cool, huh? I asked Emeline if she would stick around, because hey it would be cool to live in a house with a ghost and at least Emeline was done with puberty. My old school had a ghost who died when she was still going through puberty and jeez, I wouldn't wish her on my worst enemy.
Despite my offer, Emeline prefers to stay in Kent and wreak havoc with the occupants of her old home. The family can't see her like I can, so she has fun stealing their keys, turning on lights, and wailing on the anniversary of the night she learned she was a widow. Apparently it's boring being a ghost and she has to find her entertainment any way she could and since unlike the people squatting in her home-her words not mine- I could see her, which would make it harder for her to 'prank' me. When she mentioned pranking, I knew she was a definitely a Potter. Emeline promised to visit often to check up on me and for the stimulating conversation. I told her to stop by the castle on her way home and haunt Rachel so she could give her advice on the clothes for the exhibit. She loved that idea. A ghost Emeline may be, but she's still a girl and girls are weird like that.
Anyhoo, so not only do I have the Queen as a guardian, I have a ghost guardian as well. Now the question you need to ask, is this the truth or am I full of crap and making this all up?
Besides the little hitch with Emeline, I love my new home. I've attached a picture of my kitchen, because I got a craving for candy while writing this blog post. Isn't my kitchen awesome? It's designed to look like a Victorian General store and all those bins are actually filled with candy. It all fits in with the modern Victorian, steampunk vibe I got going on. See the copper sink, copper hood, and the steel pedestals on the stools. Cool huh.
I love steampunk. The librarians in Surrey got me hooked on it when I was a wee mite and used to hide out in the library to keep away from bullies. FYI, bullies are stupid and tend to avoid libraries like the plague so run into a library and learn something-public service announcement over. My favorite librarian, Annabeth had hooked me onto Jules Verne, H.G. Wells, Phillip Pullman and the like. Then I would sit in the library and watch movies on their VCR, one of my favorites was Wild Wild West with Will Smith, it was corny, I know, but I loved it. Me and a friend of mine went and saw League of Extraordinary Gentleman this summer, did you see it? It was awesome.
So, that's where I got the idea for a steampunk home. My interior decorator Sherry Gardner reeled me in a bit, so instead of it screaming steampunk and being too over the top, she got the idea across with little touches throughout the house. Instead of steampunk, she calls it modern Victorian, so I just went along with what she said. It's better not to argue. Remember what I said about beautiful, intelligent, kickass women. They are scary.
Anyhoo, I need to get going. My best mate's term ended yesterday. His parents gave him permission to spend Easter break with me, and he's arriving today. I'm going to introduce him to the pleasures of dirt bike racing and make him eat my dirt. Not that I'll be much better, I've only ridden a couple times, but it's awesome if you can get a dirt bike and revel in the need for speed. Maybe, I'll include pictures in my next post.
Have a great holiday.
Harrison James Sirius Potter, Eleventh Earl of Welburn.
Harry strode through the barrier hiding Platform 9 and ¾ with Haruhisa and Sean at his side. A veritable sea of wizards gaped and parted as if he were Moses, they were waves, and he had just parted the Red Sea. He endured the sly and speculative looks, fearful looks, whispers, and excited murmurs from young children who pointed at him as if he were the main attraction of a circus show. The looks no longer fazed him; it was strange what a body got used to.
A familiar shriek rent the air, louder than all others. Mrs. Weasley cut a swath through the crowd as people either jumped out of her way, fearful of being caught up in the whirlwind or were just blown over. Mr. Weasley trailed behind his wife casting apologetic glances at whoever Mrs. Weasley had knocked down in her excitement to get to him. She stopped in front of him and engulfed him in a bone-breaking hug.
"Hey, Mrs. Weasley, Mr. Weasley," Harry greeted once he could breathe again.
Mrs. Weasley pulled back and began patting his body, checking to make sure he hadn't starved to death. She was going to be disappointed. Although he was still skinny, over the last few months, he developed a lot of weight and muscle to where he no longer looked emaciated.
"Are you sure you don't want to stay at the Burrow?"
Harry sighed. The woman never gave up. "Yes ma'am. I just moved into my new house and I'm eager to settle in and show Ron around. With me not being at Hogwarts, Ron and I don't get to spend much time together, when it's just me and him, so this week is going to be great. Thanks for allowing Ron to stay with me."
Mrs. Weasley looked as if she were about to protest but after a nudge from her husband, she sighed. "I trust you boys will be safe."
"Of course, Mrs. Weasley, my guards won't let anything happen to us. We'll mostly hang lose at Potter Hall. I doubt we'll leave the grounds."
Harry decided that it won't be in his best interest to mention the dirt bikes, new Quidditch pitch, or the new racing ATV's he brought with he and Ron in mind. From the look of amusement on Mr. Weasley's face, he supposed that some of his excited ideas and plans had made it back to the office.
A whistle came loudly from the distance cutting off whatever else Mrs. Weasley could've thought up to prevent Ron from coming for the week and get them in her clutches. Seconds later, the red and black Hogwarts Express came to a stop at the platform and students emerged from the train. Luckily, with the Weasley's fiery red hair, they were easiest to spot and one of the first families who had managed to reunite. Harry found himself surrounded by redheads who were chattering a mile a minute while Ginny looked him over as she sighed heavily as if he'd strangled her familiar. He'd forgotten how utterly overwhelming the Weasley's could be en masse.
Ron, sensing his unease, pulled him aside and engulfed him in a manly hug. "Hey mate! Can't wait, this is going to be awesome."
"Have you said goodbye to your family?"
Ron nodded and eagerly began to gather his trunk when Harry saw Hermione, Luna, Daphne, and Tracey make their way toward him he glomped Luna while he grinned at the other girls.
"Hey guys? Got any plans for the break?"
Hermione was spending a week at his place in Verbier with her family. They would be spending the time hiking, relaxing, and sightseeing, since Hermione wasn't much of a skier. Luna was going camping with her father to search from some elusive magical creature, Daphne was going to the French Rivera with her family, and Tracey was staying home to learn more about the family's business as her father was impressed with how much she'd matured over the last several months. It turned out her family owned a large hop cultivation farm in Kent and sold the hops the farm produced to beer makers magical and muggle alike. He wished them all a great holiday before he and Ron took a port key back to Potter Manor.
"Blimey Harry," Ron breathed as they landed at the front door of the stately home. He swung around in disbelief as he took in the home, and the herd of stag frolicking across the manicured lawn.
"Wait till you see inside. Hungry?"
Ron snorted. "You're seriously asking me that?"
Harry chuckled and pulled Ron into the kitchen where the house elves had prepared authentic Italian pizza and fizzy drinks for dinner, which Ron had never had before. His mate inhaled the pizza like a convict who had been released from solitary after spending months living off bread and water.
After they ate, they crashed in Harry's media room. Ron, they discovered had a passion for gritty crime dramas and had the annoying habit of guessing what was coming next and being eerily accurate with his predictions, no matter that he'd never seen the show before or had no inkling of how non-magicals lived or interacted. They were in the middle of the first series of Messiah and munching on popcorn when Ron finally spoke of something other than the television.
"Mate," Ron began hesitantly.
"Thanks for what you've done for my family."
"What do you mean?"
Ron rolled his eyes. "I've never seen my father so happy and confident. He's even standing up to Mum. It's because you gave him a job that not only fed his passion for all things muggle, but pay enough for him to provide for his family."
"I didn't give him the job, I just threw his name out there as someone who could be a good fit for the position."
"Right," Ron said disbelievingly, "just like you didn't have anything to do with Percy achieving his dream of going to university and the twins studying like mad for their O. so they could get the startup money for their shop."
"Yup it's just coincidence that I'm involved at all."
Ron snorted. "Well thank you for the coincidences. It literally changed my family's life and I think the best thing that ever happened to me is when you let me sit with you inside your train compartment that first year."
Harry flushed. "Me too."
After that uncomfortable conversation, the week got back on track. He and Ron invented an awesome new game involving paint ball guns and ATV's, which took over the week. In between the paint ball battles, dirt bike challenges, ATV races, Quidditch, and swimming, he and Ron talked. He told him about Takashi, everything that had been going on with Dumbledore and the truth behind the scene with he and Luna. And as they talked, Harry was strongly reminded at how blunt and insightful Ron had always been and came away with some of the best advice on how to handle all the changes in his life.
"But, you don't need me to tell you what to do," Ron had said as he tossed his decimated apple in a discrete trash can in the dining room. "You've been handling everything mate. Look at all you accomplished in what a little over what, eight months."
Harry, idly twirling a strawberry under a chocolate fountain looked up to lock eyes with his best friend and pseudo brother. "I'll always need your advice. You're one of the most brilliant thinkers I've ever met."
"I doubt that," Ron grumbled though his face lit up in pleasure. "If I was so brilliant, I would've thought of a way to get us out of Sunday dinner with Mum."
"Well every superhero has his Kryptonite. It just so happens that Mrs. Weasley is yours."
Ron chortled. They had watched the Superman series last night and Ron had become entranced with the mythical caped crusader.
Startled he and Ron looked around until they saw Lady Cordelia Potter, otherwise known as the Fat Lady glaring disapprovingly down at the couple housed inside a Victorian painting Harry had found inside his vault. The painting was of some giggling ancestors snogging each other while they sat inside a rowboat on a lake. The man sat behind the woman and his hands kept disappearing underneath the woman's voluminous skirts.
"Grandma!" the man exclaimed horrified.
"Tiberius." Lady Potter sniffed.
Harry and Ron couldn't help but giggle madly while they watched the man scramble away from the girl and wipe his hands on his trousers.
Lady Potter turned to Harry and curtseyed. "Forgive the interruption Lord Potter, but I have some information I think you might be interested in."
Harry rose from behind his chair, approached the portrait, and bowed. "Of course Lady Potter. I'm honored you've placed such faith in me. What information do you have?"
"The headmaster, aware that there is nothing he can do to wrest your guardianship away from the Crown without serious consequences is now attempting to write a bill that will more strictly monitor the education of magical children throughout Great Britain. He is using the massive educational changes Hogwarts has recently undergone as an excuse for his education reform bill that will standardize magical education. On the surface it looks like a progressive bill that will improve the lives of children, but if you read between the lines . . .. If his bill is approved, there is a chance that being educated at a magical school will become mandatory instead of non-compulsory as it is now."
Harry growled. Would the man ever quit? Really, all joking aside who was the real Dark Lord. Voldemort or Dumbledore?
"Thank you Lady Potter, do you know when he attends to present the bill?"
"At the Wizengamot meeting next month."
Harry crossed his arms over his chest and scowled. It looked like his slight reprieve from Dumbledore was over. It was time he began fighting fire with fire.
*Hiya. I seriously apologize for the long delay. There has been some serious stuff going down in my real life that has taken precedent over fanfiction and I hadn't had the chance to be on the computer for long stretches of time to edit. I seriously apologize and hope to do better in the future. It also didn't help that the last several chapters were chapters that I had to write from scratch mostly and were not in the original rough draft for the story. But we're almost done with what is technically Harry's third year and will start the fourth year shortly.
*Thank you for all your patience and support and PM's. I really, really, really appreciate it. As always, I do not own Harry Potter or Ouran High School Host Club.