Disclaimer: No characters belong to me, they go to the wonderful J.K Rowling along with some borrowed paragraphs.
"I cared about you too much," said Dumbledore simply, "I cared more for your happiness than your knowing the truth, more for your peace of mind than my plan, more for your life than the lives that might be lost if the plan failed. In other words, I acted exactly as Voldemort expects we fools who love to act,"
After a further hour of thoroughly exploring the Potter Manor, Harry and James returned to the living room. To Harry's relief, Bill was awake and was now propped up amongst the pillows on the spare couch. He was talking and laughing with the twins as Ginny and Hermione watched on with amusement. Mr and Mrs Weasley were huddled in the corner with Tonks, Remus, Sirius and Charlie the six of them wearing identical looks of slightly unnerving severity on their faces.
Harry noted that Mrs Weasley was not paying much attention to the conversation but was instead looking across the room at her children.
James left Harry's side as the pair walked into the room and made his way over to the three Weasley's, Tonks, Remus and Sirius. Within a mere second of joining their conversation a look of deep sincerity appeared on his face making him look older.
Harry watched him for a few moments before he walked over to Bill.
"Hey Harry," Bill grinned at him, "How are you?"
Harry smiled back, "I'm good, you?"
"Never better, elf-magic is brilliant," Bill replied with a laugh.
"We're gonna try and persuade Misty to lend us some," George said with a mischievous smile.
"I told you it's impossible," Hermione said in an exasperated voice, "Elf-magic is very powerful magic that can only be controlled by house-elves it also-"
"Hermione," Fred said, "We were joking,"
"Yeah but knowing you two you would actually think in a few hours time, oh you know what that's a good idea," Ginny pointed out.
Fred and George grinned.
"Yeah, we would," George laughed.
"What do you think they're talking about?" Hermione asked looking at the far corner of the room where the Order members were stood talking.
"The Death Eater attack most likely," Bill said, "We have leads where they are but that's all – leads and we can't exactly go running into someplace wands drawn and asking where Ron is,"
"So what are the Order going to do then?" Ginny asked hotly, "We can't sit around here waiting for something to come up!"
"I don't know Gin," Bill sighed, "But we'll figure it out, we'll find Ron,"
Fred and George suddenly stopped smiling. Harry sat down beside Ginny his stomach knotting. He was beginning to think that they'd never find Ron…
The fireplace was suddenly lit with emerald green flames. Harry looked around to see James stood beside it his wand drawn and pressed against the mantle place. Fleur Delacour stepped out from the fireplace.
She had not changed since Harry had last seen her, she was still tall and willowy with long silvery blonde hair and deep blue eyes and still as stunningly beautiful. Her eyes were currently filled with fear and she looked around the room almost wildly before her eyes fixed on Bill.
With impressive speed she crossed the room and threw herself into Bill's waiting arms.
"Nice to see you too," Fred and George said in disgruntled voices having been pushed out of the way by Fleur as she had raced across the room.
Ginny was pointedly glaring at Fluer her eyes narrowed in dislike.
"Oh, Bill! What happened?" Fleur cried.
"It's a long story," Bill sighed.
"The Burrow was attacked by Death Eaters," Remus said walking forward and all eyes immediately snapped to him as he spoke, "They were looking for Harry," He continued and Harry felt his stomach churn with guilt, "Bill was attacked by Greyback-"
Fleur gasped and turned to Bill, "Greyback! Zat man did zis to you?"
"If you're using the word man lightly then yes," Bill said with a scowl that made his scars more pronounced than ever.
"Monster would be more accurate," Mr Weasley said in an uncharacteristically angry voice.
"Actually there are a lot of other words that can be used-" Fred said with a devilish grin.
"-with closer accuracy," George smirked.
"Boys," Mrs Weasley said warningly.
The twins fell silent.
"George was attacked by a Death Eater as well," Remus continued as if there was no interruption, "Sectumsempra, he's missing an ear,"
"I'm going to miss that ear," George said.
"The Burrow was burned down, some of the Order are still there seeing if there is anything that can be salvaged from the wreck," Remus sighed before continuing, "The rest are looking for Ron,"
"Ron?" Fleur asked blankly, "What does he 'ave to do with zis?"
Ginny's eyes narrowed further.
"Ron was taken by the Death Eaters," Mrs Weasley snapped crossing her arms over her chest a slight tremor in her voice.
Fleur's stunning blue eyes widened.
"Oh my…" She whispered.
Mrs Weasley looked as if she was about to say something in response but Mr Weasley put his arm around her shoulders shaking his head slightly as he did and she remained silent.
"The Order are following any leads we have as we speak," Charlie inputted, "To see if they can find Ron we're staying here to make sure the kids don't try and find him themselves,"
"Kids?" Fleur repeated looking around before her eyes found Harry, they widened once again and before Harry could blink she had pulled him into a tight embrace and pressed a chaste kiss to each of his cheeks causing his face to burn.
"'Arry! I did not know you would you be at the Burrow so early!"
"It was an accidental thing," Harry mumbled feeling suddenly very awkward.
"We accept full blame," Fred grinned gesturing to his twin.
Fleur's eyes narrowed slightly and she looked around the room once again her eyes landing on James and Sirius.
"Ah, yes, I see why,"
Harry scowled. Did everyone know his Father was back from the dead before him?
Ginny looked as if she would very much so like to throttle Fleur and Harry didn't blame her. He wasn't feeling very fond of the French girl either.
Sensing the sudden tension in the lavish living room Remus said, "Why don't we go to the dining room now? The house-elves should have breakfast prepared now,"
"Good idea Moony," James said waving his wand at the fireplace casting a non-verbal spell that Harry presumed blocked the fireplace from anyone Flooing in or out from.
Tonks and Remus led the way out of the living room an odd silence filling the group, Mr and Mrs Weasley followed them, Mrs Weasley visibly fuming and openly glaring at Fleur who appeared to be oblivious to the glares she was receiving. The twins and Charlie followed their parents and Harry was quick to follow them helping Hermione practically drag Ginny from the room as she looked like she was about to curse Fleur into oblivion.
"That pompous, egotistical, self-centred bi-"
"Ginny!" Hermione said sharply.
Harry was barely able to suppress a grin.
"Well she is," Ginny huffed, "Did you hear how she spoke about Ron? It was like she was blaming him for the attack!"
Harry glanced behind them to see Bill and Fleur following them down the corridor, Fleur kissing Bill's scars and saying something to that was making the Weasley flush deeply. Harry quickly looked away.
"Oh Merlin I hate her!" Ginny hissed, "Why is she even here?"
"She's Bill's fiancée," Hermione sighed, "She has a right to be here and she's in the Order,"
"That doesn't give her a right to act like she is," Ginny said stubbornly, "The French tart,"
"Why do you suddenly hate her?" Hermione demanded.
"I don't hate her it's just that everyone, even Fleur, seems to have known about my Dad and Sirius before me," Harry replied with a scowl, "It just doesn't make sense for it to be kept from me for a week that they were alive,"
Ginny frowned, "You're right, that doesn't make sense,"
"I'm sure Dumbledore had his reasons," Hermione said, "Maybe it wasn't safe or something…"
"Not safe for me to know my Dad was alive?" Harry snapped.
Hermione sighed, she sounded exhausted and spoke in a voice that sounded as if it belonged to someone much older, "I don't know Harry, but you know Dumbledore only does what he does because he cares for you,"
Harry frowned but said nothing in return. He was suddenly reminded of the conversation he had had with Dumbledore after Sirius's apparent death, when he had been told of the Prophecy and what it contained and why he had not known the truth for so long – because Dumbledore cared for him too much.
His stomach knotted uncomfortably at the thought of the Prophecy, he'd been able to push it from his mind with the recent development of his Father and Sirius being alive and Ron being kidnapped but now it was back in full force, plaguing his mind like a toxic smoke.
They entered the dining room behind the twins.
Harry had already been in the room but he was still able to marvel at its beauty – quite gratefully so as it distracted him from thinking about the Prophecy. It was a large cavernous room like the rest of Potter Manor and was not unlike the Great Hall at Hogwarts.
The roof looked to be nonexistent but was in fact a large expanse of glass panels that crisscrossed together in a multitude of colours reflecting the early morning light into the room in every colour on the colour spectrum.
A large mahogany table that was large enough to seat fifty, maybe even sixty, people dominated the room, the legs of the table and the accompanying chairs ended in clawed feet. The table was covered in a cloth made of fine crimson silk, James had told Harry that it was as old as the Potter Manor and had countless spells on it to prevent it from ever ripping or becoming dirty.
Glass doors were situated on either end of the dining room and deep set bay windows lined the walls framed by deep sapphire silk curtains. During their tour, James had explained to Harry that each resident at the Potter Manor had added their own trait to the house and more often or not they would add something that represented their house at Hogwarts.
"Whoa, is that a Quidditch Pitch?"
The question came from both Fred and George who were leaning at separate windows looking out at the grounds surrounding the Manor.
"Yeah, mind you it hasn't been used for nearly twenty years," James replied, "My Granddad built it for my Dad because he kept on breaking the windows playing Quidditch indoors,"
"Because you and Sirius never did that," Remus intoned in a dry voice.
"Not often," Sirius smirked.
"Reminds me of the Great Hall…" Ginny mused from beside Harry.
"Yeah, that was my first thought," Harry replied glancing out of the window finding the bright light of the morning to be almost mocking.
There was a loud crack that echoed throughout the room and Misty the house-elf appeared in the room. She wore a white apron over her towel embossed with the Potter crest that had several food stains down the front.
"Breakfast is ready," She informed the room in her squeaky voice, "Misty is bringing it with other elves tis our jobs after all, Misty is asking for Sirs and Misses to all sit,"
When no one moved she snapped her long fingers together and the chairs slid out with an audible scrape along the wooden floor.
"Sit," Misty repeated before she vanished with another crack.
"I'd sit down if I were you," James advised sitting down himself, "She won't hesitate to use elf magic to force you to,"
"Speaking from experience?" Harry questioned as he sat down in the nearest seat in between Ginny and Hermione.
"Yeah," James replied back with a grin, "She's a unique elf I'll give her that,"
"You haven't met Dobby," Harry argued, "Now that's a unique elf,"
"Dobby? Is that the elf who warned us last year about Umbridge during the D.A meeting?" Ginny asked.
Harry nodded, "The very same, he was also the one who sent the Bludger after me in my Second Year, he thought that if I was injured enough I'd be sent home,"
"He needs to find a new definition of injured enough," Fred said shaking his head, "That Bludger could have killed you,"
"Do you make near death experiences a yearly thing or something?" James questioned.
Ginny grinned, "Yes he does,"
Harry scowled, "I don't do it on purpose!"
"You attract them far too much though Harry," Hermione said fairly, "It's a little worrying,"
"Extremely worrying," Sirius clarified with a grin.
"I reckon it has something to do with being the Boy Who Lived," George mused.
Bill rolled his eyes as he draped his arm, lazily, over Fleur's shoulders, "Of course it does you idiot,"
Fleur giggled kissing Bill on his now scarred cheek before saying, "It is because he 'is brave and zey know zat 'Arry would be able to stop them!"
"I think recklessly brave would be more accurate," Hermione muttered.
"You were the one who hit Malfoy," Harry retorted.
Many pairs of eyes turned to Hermione who blushed at the sudden attention.
"What?" She demanded.
"You hit Malfoy!" Fred said goggling at her.
Hermione's blush deepened, "Well – yes! He was insulting Hagrid, it was when Buckbeak was going to be executed!"
"He looked like he was going to cry Hermione," Harry said.
"I think we underestimated her," Fred smirked.
Hermione blushed, if possible, even more reducing several people to laughter, though Harry noticed that she looked rather flattered.
Several loud cracks rung throughout the room as a dozen or so house-elves appeared in the dining room. Harry watched in mild amazement as they circled the table setting platters of food down as well as gleaming silver and gold plates and matching cutlery.
He was taken by surprise when he was suddenly tackled clean out of his seat and to the floor. He blinked owlishly at the surprisingly strong yet small house-elf hugging him tightly around the middle so much so it was almost painful.
"Er – hello?" Harry said meekly readjusting his glasses.
"Master James has returned! Master James is alive! Happy is happy!"
Harry's eyes widened even more and he nearly winced at the pitch of the elf's voice, it could crack glass!
"Er – I'm not James," Harry said awkwardly.
The house-elf's head popped up and stared at Harry. Harry stared back a little alarmed but before he could do anything the house-elf – Happy was it? – had moved so that it was sat on his stomach its thin arms crossed over its equally as small chest.
"You is Master James,"
"Having fun down there Harry?" A smirking Ginny asked turning around in her chair to peer at the pair.
Harry flushed slightly, "Yeah, loads – and I'm not James, I'm Harry,"
The house-elf blinked, Harry noticed then it had very odd looking eyes, they weren't quite blue and they weren't quite grey but an odd middle that reminded Harry of Luna's eyes.
Happy suddenly squished Harry in a tight hug once again, throwing his, for Harry was sure the elf was a he, thin arms around Harry's neck knocking his glasses off of his face as he did so.
"Oh Master Harry!" He squeaked loudly nearly deafening Harry, "You is returned! Happy is happy! Happy is hearing tales of what Master Harry has done! Happy is happy to see Master Harry again!"
"O-okay," Harry stuttered, "Could you get off me now, please?"
"Happy is happy to!" The house-elf squeaked cheerfully leaping to his feet lightly.
Harry picked up his glasses and put them back on, he stood up and sat back down feeling more than a little surprised. He then noticed quite a few people grinning amusedly at him. Harry looked to James across the table.
"So, that's Happy then?"
"Yep," James grinned with a laugh, "That's Happy,"
James too was suddenly tacked out of his seat and to the ground.
Sirius laughed loudly as did Harry.
"Now that is the weirdest house-elf I have ever met," Ginny said as she spread some syrup onto her plateful of pancakes.
Harry greedily began to pile food on his plate, he was starving and it all looked delicious. As he began to eat he was willing to bet it was better than any food he had ever tasted, maybe even better than Mrs Weasley's, which was saying something.
Happy was sat on the table between James and Sirius in a space the pair had been forced to clear squeaking loudly and happily to the pair his large bat like ears flopping into his eyes each time he spoke.
Harry was not the only one watching the elf with amusement, Hermione seemed quite taken by the elf who, apart from Dobby, was the first elf to agree of her views on elf-rights and was rather ecstatic to talk to her about them.
Mr and Mrs Weasley were sat opposite Remus and Tonks, the four of them were talking in quiet voices as they helped themselves to the delicious food. James and Sirius would occasionally add in an equally as quiet comment; Harry knew that they were talking about the attack and the ever looming problem, finding Ron.
They weren't the only ones discussing the missing Weasley.
"I still reckon he's at the Malfoy Manor," Fred said for the third time in a stubborn voice.
"As I said before," Bill said impatiently, "That would have been one of the first places the Order would have looked which means he isn't there,"
"They could have used spells to hide him!" George said, "You know the Malfoy family hates us, it fits!"
"They hate us yes," Charlie said, "Which is why it would be too much of an obvious place to take Ron,"
"Wouldn't the Order have to get permission to search their house though?" Hermione queried.
"Kingsley and Mad-Eye are the ones doing the searching, I reckon no one would question them," Fred said.
"That's true," Harry agreed, "But where else could they look?"
"Lots of places, Knockturn Alley, the Hog's Head…places like that," Charlie shrugged.
"For Ron or Death Eaters?" Ginny asked.
"Both," Bill replied, "If they can find some Death Eaters they might be able to find Ron,"
"Zey Order are very powerful, zey will be able to find Ronald," Fleur said in an almost dismissive voice.
From Ginny's scowl Harry knew he wasn't the only one to notice the dismissive tone.
"That's all well in saying," Ginny said hotly, "But this is Voldemort we're talking about, he's evil but most of all cunning, if he wants to keep something hidden he'll be able to keep it hidden for as long as possible,"
Hermione sighed, "That's true,"
Harry moved a slice of his pancake around his plate frowning thoughtfully. From his visions he knew a lot about Voldemort, more than a lot of people… He knew how he worked to an extent and knew a lot of things that Voldemort certainly wouldn't want him knowing.
It was at this moment the glass doors to the dining room opened.
Kingseley, Moody and Hestia Jones walked in carrying and levitating between them an assortment of charred and burnt trunks.
"We got as much as we could," Said Hestia setting down the trunks, "Thankfully not too much was destroyed, the fire was limited to a few upstairs rooms only we got as much as we could and put it into these trunks, some of your belongings might be mixed up,"
Mrs Weasley rushed forward her breakfast forgotten to examine the scarce items that had been retrieved from the Burrow and compacted into the magically expanded trunks.
There was a loud hoot and a snowy white owl soared through the open glass doors and landed on Harry's shoulder.
"Hedwig!" Harry grinned stroking his faithful amber eyed owl.
Hedwig hooted softly and deposited something in Harry's lap. Frowning slightly Harry picked it up and realised instantly what it was; the Marauders Map.
"Clever owl," Harry beamed at his companion.
Hedwig hooted again before helping herself, rightfully so, to the scraps of Harry's breakfast.
"She saved the Map?" Hermione asked in a surprised voice.
Harry looked at her to see that she was stroking the large furry ginger cat that was Crookshanks.
"Apparently so," Harry replied, "She's a smart owl, like Crookshanks is a smart cat,"
"The smartest I've ever met," Said Sirius with a grin.
There was a loud excited hoot and a small owl, no bigger than a snitch, zoomed around their heads. Moody's spinning eye followed it as his face twisted into a disgusted glare as Ron's owl Pigwidgeon continued to soar around their heads occasionally clipping peoples ears or cheeks.
"I hate that ruddie owl," He growled, "Drove us mad with its incessant hooting,"
Harry was painfully reminded of Ron.
He stood up and walked over to the large cluster of trunks, he spotted his own amongst the pile and opened it quickly checking that his most valuable items were still there, he was very relieved to see that the Invisibility Cloak had survived the fire and had been stuffed at the top of his trunk.
Mrs Weasley gave a loud gasp of surprise and promptly burst into tears. Alarmed Harry looked up as Mr Weasley rushed to her side his eyes wide with fear.
"Molly – Molly! – what is it?"
The group gathered around the two Weasley's and the trunks. Harry's insides turned to ice, what had she found? – for she was cradling something tightly in her arms tears glistening on her cheeks. Harry then became aware of Ginny's tight hold on his hand.
"Mum?" Bill asked in a quiet voice.
She held out what was in her arms. Harry recognised it instantly; it was the Weasley family clock quite unlike any clock he had ever seen. The hands were adorned with small pictures of each of the Weasley's with Mr Weasley's being the longest and Ginny's the smallest. They were all currently pointed at Mortal Peril.
And Harry suddenly understood Mrs Weasley's tears, they weren't tears of sadness but happiness, a brief happiness yes but a happiness non the less, for Ron's hand was on 'Mortal Peril' and not 'Dead'.
A/N So...yeah...haven't updated in ages...if anyone is even there I'd be very grateful if you didn't lose faith in my story, I've not given up on it! I just had a minor passing of writers block, as well as a teething two year old to cope with...its all very stressful. I will learn to cope one day. I'm going to try and update as soon as possible and I actually mean it this time! Hope you enjoyed this chapted I feel that I should have maybe explained this earlier but there might be some character bashing, or a lot... Anyway, please REVIEW! Thank you! Mischief Managed ;)