He's Not Dead Yet
Hey, folks, sorry about the long wait. I just had a lot of papers and stuff to do before this last week's mid-term exams.
I don't own Harry Potter or anything to do with Monty Python or anything else that might be referenced either now or in the future.
Get on With the Spiel
Everyone awoke the next morning and readied themselves for their return home, except for the two or three students who had to stay behind, and headed down to the train station. Harry and his friends piled into a compartment together and began discussing what they were going to do for holiday. Tracey had been upset because Daphne and her family would be visiting relatives in Greece for Christmas which meant Tracey had to go to her own home that year; luckily, Hermione had offered her a place to stay much to Tracey's relief. Neville had invited everyone to a party at Longbottom Manor the day after Christmas, something which everyone was most enthusiastic about. Conversation soon turned to the subject of revenge against Skeeter for her article.
"I just can't sit by and let her get away with trying to hurt you all," Harry insisted.
"It's all right, Harry," Daphne assured him. "I'm not ashamed of my heritage, at least not after our little talk."
"Skeeter was just being petty," Hermione added. "I just wish I knew who those 'anonymous sources' of hers were."
"I think I've got a pretty good idea," Harry muttered. "What about you, Luna? Skeeter insulted you and your father by questioning your sanity."
"It's okay, Harry; I'm used to it," said Luna calmly. "Ravenclaws say I'm mad, people around where I live say I'm mad…well, I am mad, but I'm naturally mad. I don't use any chemicals," she added firmly.
Everyone blinked at her a few times.
"Well, if you guys aren't interested in revenge, then what am I going to do with this?" Harry said holding up a glass jar.
"What is that, Harry?" asked Fay.
"Everyone, meet Rita Skeeter." Harry smirked as he pointed out the fat beetle inside the jar. "Found her scurrying around the school."
"You mean she's…?"
"An unregistered Animagus, yes. Thought this would be a nice little gift for you all."
A bunch of evil smirks graced the faces of the students. After coming up with a bunch of ideas on what to do with their captive, it was decided that they would simply send her to the DMLE; though they were tempted by the suggestion of feeding Rita to Daphne's sister Astoria's pet spider, Eric (why Astoria had a pet spider was anyone's guess; why the spider's name was 'Eric' was even more of a mystery).
Ideas for revenge against the tabloid-writer aside, they continued their conversation in a more cheerful vain; in other words, talking about their plans for the holiday.
"I'm spending most of my Christmas planning more reforms," Harry stated glumly. "I still need to institute more courses at Hogwarts like Maths and English. For some reason I'm finding it harder to find teachers for those subjects than for any of the other ones. Then I have to figure out how to restructure the Ministry of Magic and get rid of some of the stupid, outdated laws and practices."
"The first and most important thing you have to do is find a way to get rid of the incompetents who only got where they are because of who their parents were," Daphne explained.
"I'm sure Aunt Amelia would be more than willing to help you on that, Harry," said Susan. "She's always complaining when she gets a bunch of new recruits in the Auror corps who can't figure out the right way to hold their wands."
The usual interruption in the form of either Malfoy or Ron was deterred by the fact that both boys happened to arrive at exactly the same time and ended up getting into a brawl outside the compartment. The passengers inside the compartment had thought to put up muffling spells so as not to be disturbed by any noises from outside.
Eventually, the scarlet steam engine pulled into King's Cross just as Harry was elaborating his latest plan for magical education reform.
"…I'm just saying, it doesn't seem right to leave magical children waiting for eleven years to find out. Those in Muggle families will just think there's something wrong with them and they'll possibly even be mistreated by family members for a supposed 'abnormality' while those in magical families are subjected to all sorts of indignities by their relatives in order to force accidental magic out of them."
"Harry, we're here," said Hermione.
"What? So we are. I guess I'll see you all later. Happy Christmas."
Harry bid farewell to his friends and joined up with his caregivers. As he left the station, Harry began to wonder what had become of the Dursleys after he'd left Vernon to possibly suffer from a heart-attack at the beginning of last summer. Oh well, Harry thought, if something horrific ended up happening to them it would be no skin off his nose.
It just so happened that the Dursleys were not doing so well lately. After his heart-attack, Vernon had ended up missing an important dinner with some wealthy investors and had lost the chance at a promotion. Also, the stipend his family had been receiving over the years to care for the "freak" had stopped coming in; in fact, it seemed that they were now swamped with debt. Following that, some of the neighbors became suspicious of the sudden disappearance of the Dursleys' nephew and many rumors were being bandied about.
Then there was that new gang in town. How it happened the Dursleys weren't sure; just that once it became clear that Harry Potter would no longer be living at Privet Drive, old Mrs. Figg had invited some of her Knitting Club friends over and the lot of them had started riding around the neighborhood on motorcycles and beating up the young men who would likely have been in regular motorcycle gangs (Dudley suffered the worst of it as he was the fattest and slowest of his little buddies). The gang didn't do much other than that, except for their odd habit of stealing telephone kiosks.
Vernon was just getting home after a long day's work, wondering how his life had turned up so rotten, when he was suddenly struck by a van filled with French tourists.
"And on your right, you will see ze typical English pig-dog 'oo does not look where 'e is going," the tour guide said in a nasally voice, prompting jeers and taunts from the other French tourists.
If anyone from Hogwarts had been there during the incident, that person would've sworn that the French persons in the van bore a distinct resemblance to the painting of the rude French knights; though that was surely just coincidence. Right?
Draco Malfoy had been quite surprised when he was met at the train station, not by his mother, but by one of his father's old friends.
"Good day, Mr. Yaxley, why are you here?"
"I'm afraid you won't be able to go home for a while, Draco."
"Why not? And where's my mother?"
"How do I put this?" Yaxley tried to think of the best way to explain things to the boy but settled on simply handing him the letter his mother had sent. "This was sent to your father."
Draco opened the letter and began to read.
I am sorry to tell you this, well not really, but I have requested permission from Lord Black to have our marriage dissolved. You have brought shame and disgrace on the noble family you once allied yourself with by lowering yourself to serving some bastard who calls himself a Dark Lord. Furthermore, you have allowed that pitiful excuse for a son of ours to run around and whine whenever things don't go his way. I've had enough.
Goodbye and sod off,
Narcissa Cassiopeia Black
Draco gawped for a few moments before becoming absolutely furious.
"How dare she disgrace the Malfoy family like this?!" he shouted. "Where is she?! Where is that pathetic excuse of a mother of mine?!"
"Last I heard, she was enjoying the benefits of being a wealthy, single woman on the beaches of southern France," Yaxley explained with a shrug. "Unfortunately for you, Draco, I'm afraid that you won't be able to go home to Malfoy Manor."
"What? Why not? When my father-"
"It seems that your father put the deed to Malfoy Manor in your mother's name in order to avoid property taxes and she sort of sold it to Gringotts before she left."
Draco stood there in shock. Yaxley then leaned down and whispered to the boy.
"At least you'll still be able to be around your father," he said quietly, hoping there weren't any Aurors nearby. "I managed to get you a Portkey to his location. Here." He handed Draco a pocket watch. "It'll reactivate when it's time for you to go back to school."
"Thanks, Mr. Yaxley," Draco said with a haughty grin. "It's nice to know that real purebloods are still looking out for each other."
As Draco and his luggage disappeared with a flash, Yaxley let out a sigh of relief.
"At least it's him that's going to get crucioed by the Dark Lord this time and not me."
Tracey wasn't sure what to expect when she was introduced to Hermione's parents; they'd only met in passing at the New Year's party at Harry's manor last year, though Tracey got the impression that they were very decent people. This was different, though; Tracey would be spending about two weeks in the Muggle world, a place she had no more than a faint familiarity with. Tracey fidgeted awkwardly as Hermione greeted her mother.
"Where's Dad?" Hermione asked.
"He had an appointment with Mr. Stapleton from up the street," Emma Granger explained.
"Isn't he the man who runs the bookshop? The one who's always telling people to get out and go to a different bookshop?"
Hermione's face darkened; Mr. Stapleton had refused to sell her any books every time she went in and had simply ushered her out of the shop. She hoped her father had forgotten to give the man the courtesy of anesthetic before putting him under the drill. No one keeps Hermione Granger from her precious books!
"This must be your friend Tracey. Hello, dear, I'm Dr. Emma Granger."
The two shook hands.
"Doctor?" said Tracey nervously. "Aren't those the Muggle Healers who cut people up?"
"No, I'm a Dentist. I take care of people's teeth."
Tracey nodded, but was still a little anxious.
"Well, come on, girls," said Emma Granger. "We should be home just in time for afternoon tea."
Tracey had never ridden in a car before; she'd never even taken the Knight Bus because her parents considered it a low-class form of transport. Tracey had to repress a wince when she thought of her parents; if they knew she was staying with Muggles…she didn't even want to think of what they would do.
"Here we are," Emma said as she pulled into the driveway of an upscale suburban home.
They entered the house just in time to see Dan Granger walk in from the office, which was adjacent to the house, dressed in his uniform and wiping off several of his surgical tools.
"How'd your appointment with Mr. Stapleton go?" asked Emma Granger.
"Very well, I think," said Dan. "He was being uncooperative at first, but I managed to make the importance of proper oral hygiene clear."
Tracey looked somewhat ill.
"Oh, do we have another customer?" said Dan Granger with a look at Tracey.
"No, dear, this is Tracey, one of Hermione's friends from school," Emma said hastily.
"Alright, then. Oh, Emma, my sister is stopping by with her daughters tomorrow."
"Aw, Dan, you know I loathe your sister."
"I do, too, but family is family."
Emma gave an indignant 'hmph.' Her sister-in-law was one of the most unpleasant individuals she had ever met and those two daughters of hers were just as bad. Nothing like that in her family; just good, decent dentistry folks in her family. Emma prided herself on her long family history in the dental profession; even her American uncle (who disappeared some time in the sixties under mysterious circumstances) was a well-respected dentist who provided affordable dental care to the poor people living in skid row.
"Hermione, why don't you show your friend around?" said Dan Granger. "Your mother and I need to have a quick word with Mr. Stapleton before he leaves."
"Okay, Daddy." Hermione led the anxious Tracey upstairs.
The two Granger parents entered the room where their 'patient' was strapped into the chair.
"Well, Mr. Stapleton, are you willing to talk yet?" said Dan.
"I'm telling you, I don't know anything!" the man pleaded.
"Wrong answer," said Emma as she reached for the drill. This would teach him to throw her out of the bookstore when she was looking for a copy of "An Illustrated History of False Teeth." The unabridged version, of course.
Neville had returned home to Longbottom Manor and, after a brief afternoon tea with his grandmother, headed straight to the greenhouse to continue his research. For much of the year, Neville had been working on a project that he'd devised after reading the book on Floraloqus that Harry had given him last year in addition to what he'd learned after putting his new talent into practice. Neville had learned, after using plant-speaking, that there were many plants with mind-restorative properties that, if combined correctly, could very well end in a tremendous success for his endeavor.
After a few hours, he went off in search of an owl to send his findings to a proper authority on potions.
Arthur Weasley was not expecting his children's return from Hogwarts to involve his two youngest ranting and raving about how Harry Potter was ruining their lives. Ron seemed to be under the impression that Harry had conspired to ensure he wouldn't be able to find a date to the Yule Ball, forcing him to attend with Malfoy. Ginny, on the other hand, was sobbing her eyes out that a group of sluts had stolen "her Harry" away, making him forget to take her to the ball; this was followed by the girl running upstairs to her room.
Arthur let out a patient sigh and asked the twins what had happened. Fred and George both assured him that Harry was merely escorting a group of his closest female friends to the ball because he didn't want to hurt any of their feelings by only choosing one of them and had never actually made any promise to take Ginny.
As evening wore on and everyone went to their separate spaces, Arthur sat across from Molly in the living room.
"Mollywobbles, is there something wrong with Ron and Ginny?" he said.
"What?" she exclaimed, aghast. "Why on earth would you even ask such a thing?"
"It's just that, well…Ron seems to think that Harry is trying to ruin his life just because of a dispute that, from what I've heard, it seems Ron started."
"Well, friendships often have their little ups and downs, I'm sure dear Harry and Ronald will soon forget their little spat and go back to where they were before."
Arthur raised an eyebrow. He seriously doubted Harry and Ron would ever be as close as they once were from what he'd been hearing. Arthur pressed on.
"And Ginny…she's, well, she seems to have it in her head that Harry is her boyfriend, or will be, regardless of the fact that he doesn't seem to have shown any interest in her at all…ever."
"It's only a matter of time, Arthur. I'm sure Harry will realize that Ginny is a perfect match for him. After all, don't you think they would look just like another version of James and Lily?"
Arthur had to fight back a retort that Harry was not James and Ginny was most definitely nothing like Lily except a slight similarity in appearance. The way Molly was going on it sounded as if she assumed Harry would automatically be attracted to Ginny based solely on how she looked. Arthur winced slightly; why, oh, why hadn't he listened to his mother's advice and married that nice, quiet, non-interfering, Muggle-born witch from Suffolk he'd dated before he became interested in Molly? But noooo, he had to do things his way (or, rather, Molly's way as she was the one who'd practically hounded him into marriage); at least Abigail had actually listened to his opinions rather than browbeating him into just agreeing with everything she said.
"Molly, I'm trying to talk about something I feel is important," he said firmly. "I don't think Harry and Ron are going to patch things up and I also don't think it's healthy for Ginny to obsess over Harry when his feelings clearly lie elsewhere."
Molly looked up from her knitting and glared at her husband.
"Arthur, go get me some tea," she said indignantly.
"What? But, I was just-"
Arthur's shoulders slumped and he walked towards the kitchen. As he left the room, he shot a brief glance up at his mother's portrait; Cedrella Weasley looked down sympathetically at her son and mouthed the words "I told you so."
Draco Malfoy was currently enduring the worst Christmas holiday he'd ever experienced. At first he'd thought that serving the Dark Lord would be great; the rage-driven Crucio he'd received for his incompetence had killed that idea stone dead. When he'd complained to his father, the man just told him to shut up and deal with it like a man (and then cry about it late at night like a little girl).
"Listen up, you idiotic fools!" the baby-like form of the Dark Lord hissed. "I have figured out a way for Dorko over here to make up for his blunders and get Potter to be here for the ritual."
As Voldemort launched into his overly-complicated and extremely convoluted plan, no one was aware they were being observed by a green-eyed peregrine falcon outside the window.
Caitlin and Roslyn were Hermione's cousins; fourteen and fifteen years old, respectively. Both were tall, almost at an anorexic level of skinniness, had dyed their brown hair blonde, and wore clothing that showed way too much cleavage. For years, these two had relentlessly tormented and harassed their bookworm cousin; some of the things they did could just be downright sadistic and outright abusive. Their mother, Priscilla, seemed to think her precious daughters could do no wrong and always turned the other way when it came to their treatment of Hermione.
So, it goes without saying that Hermione was not pleased to have them visit. Tracey was certainly not impressed by the girls; so far, she had had a very positive impression from the Muggle world, but these people were not on her list of good aspects.
Once the adults had left the four girls alone, Caitlin and Roslyn immediately lashed into Hermione.
"Looks like Herman's parents finally decided to buy her a friend," Caitlin sneered.
"Obviously," Roslyn added. "I mean, it's not like beaver-face could ever actually find people who like her."
The two snickered pretentiously.
Hermione, however, was not going to let their insults get to her like when she was younger. She'd seen things that normal people didn't even know existed; her cousins were nothing but arrogant little twits with delusions of grandeur after what Hermione had experienced.
"You both keep talking but all I hear from you is 'blah, blah, blah,'" Hermione said calmly. "Your insults are clearly too juvenile and unimaginative for someone of my intelligence to regard as anything more than nonsensical yammering. Come on, Tracey, I want to show you around town."
Caitlin and Roslyn just stood there, red-faced, as their former favorite punching-bag walked out arm-in-arm with her friend.
Sirius was currently pacing outside the doors of the main sitting room of Potter Manor, thinking what he was going to say to the beautiful witch waiting for him inside. Harry and Remus watched him with growing impatience.
"Just go in there and ask her," Harry said.
"I can't!" Sirius exclaimed. "I don't have the faintest clue what I'm doing. What if she says 'no'? What if she says 'yes'?"
"You love her, don't you?" said Remus.
"Yes, of course!"
"Then get your sorry arse in there and ask her to marry you," the most mild-mannered of the werewolf said firmly.
"You don't get it, Moony!"
"No, you don't get it that if you don't stop whining and get in there right now I am going to…I will…I will cut off your squeaky-toy supplies for a month!"
Remus grabbed his friend by the front of his shirt.
"Then get in there," he growled and tossed his old buddy into the doors, which swung open to admit him to a very astonished Bathsheba Babbling.
"Squeaky-toy supplies?" Harry inquired quietly.
"Don't ask," Remus replied, shaking his head.
The doors of the room closed behind him and Sirius straightened himself out.
"Ehem, Bathsheba, there's something I want to ask you," Sirius said nervously.
"We've known each other for quite some time, and I feel like we've got a…special connection…"
Outside the room, Harry and Remus were standing with their ears pressed to the door and muttering "Get on with it."
"…There's no one else I've ever really seen myself with…"
"Get on with it," a voice that sounded suspiciously like Sirius' father said loudly in the back of his mind.
"…There's no one else as smart, witty, fun-loving, or beautiful as you in my eyes, and…"
"For the love of God, Padfoot, GET ON WITH IT!" the portraits of James and Lily Potter shouted from the top of the mantelpiece.
"Bathsheba, will you marry me?" Sirius finally blurted out as he opened a small box to reveal a beautiful diamond ring.
Bathsheba blinked a few times at him in surprise before speaking.
"I guess it's a plus that I won't have to change my monogrammed towels," she said as a grin spread across her face.
"So…is that a yes?"
"Of course it is, you goofball."
"Finally!" came the relieved exclamations from outside the room.
Tracey had spent several days at the Granger residence and was so far loving everything the Muggle world had to offer (well, except for Hermione's aunt and cousins, but Tracey wasn't about to throw stones at other people's families). She and Hermione had just gotten back from shopping with Hermione's mother, when they noticed a couple envelopes waiting for them.
"Oh, must be the photos from the Yule Ball," Hermione sated. Harry had had the brilliant suggestion of getting Colin Creevey to take photos for the couples at the ball like at regular school dances in the Muggle world; luckily, the students with families in the Muggle world were able to get prints that didn't move so as not to violate the Statute of Secrecy.
"What have you got there, Herman?" Roslyn sneered once Hermione's mother was out of earshot.
"They're photos from the ball at our school," Hermione replied simply.
Hermione smirked as she withdrew the unmoving photographs from the envelope and held them up for her two cousins to see. One was a shot of her with Harry, a second was of the people at their table, and a third showed Harry with all the girls together.
"We decided to go as a group," Hermione explained to her shocked cousins.
"There is no way that's you," Caitlin squealed. "There's no way you could pull a guy like that, not even if you were going as a group."
"And yet, here we are."
"Didn't Harry say he'd stop by sometime soon?" said Tracey.
"I think so. He just had an event to attend with his godfather. I think it was something about a donation."
Roslyn shook herself out of her stupor.
"I can't wait to meet what kind of pathetic loser settles for trash like you, beaver-face," she said.
"You keep talking, Ros, and all I hear is mindless dreck," said Hermione with a dismissive wave.
"Harry," Sirius whispered as he lightly poked his godson in the back. "Harry." The boy simply grumbled and pulled his covers over his head. "HARRY!"
"WHA?!" Harry exclaimed as he practically flew out of his bed. "Don't do that, you lunatic."
"Just wanted to make sure you were up, kiddo. We've got to get ready for the big event today."
Harry's sleep-addled mind failed to figure out what his godfather was talking about for several minutes until the wires all finally seemed to click in his head. The over-excitable youth leapt towards his closet in search of something presentable to wear.
"Will you be joining us for breakfast, Prince Harry, or should we send a house-elf up with a tray?" Sirius teased as he began to exit the room.
Harry didn't seem to hear him as he rushed about getting ready. Sirius shook his head; the boy was just like his mother. When it came to life-threatening monsters or Dark Wizards, both Harry and Lily were calm as a human could be, but put them in a situation that involved a large number of people they didn't know, the media, and some important event and they went all to pieces prepping for it.
All around Britain, people turned on their television sets to see a very interesting announcement.
"Good afternoon to you all," the reporter said as he stood outside in the snow. "It seems the spirit of goodwill has come early this Christmas season. We are very privileged to announce that two lords, recently returned from ignominy to the public of Great Britain, have decided to make considerable donations to charity."
The camera switched to a close-up on Harry and Sirius who were currently shaking hands with a number of important government officials. The reporter continued.
"Lord Sirius Orion Black and his godson, Lord Harry James Potter, were reunited just over a year ago after the former was released from a ten-year false imprisonment. The Black family and the Potter family have not held their political seats for over two centuries. What made you two decide to return now?" the reporter asked them.
"Well, we wanted some time to recover, to get to know each other, and to establish our places in society," Sirius explained. "I hadn't seen my godson since he was just over a year old and didn't want too many obligations to prevent me from spending time with him."
"Why exactly were you separated?"
"Over thirteen years ago, there was a terrorist organization actively attacking innocent civilians. My friends, the late Lord and Lady Potter, and I were part of an organization to take down these monsters and we ended up becoming targets ourselves. James and Lily went into hiding with their infant son as the leader of the terrorists was gunning for them in particular. One of the men we considered a trusted friend betrayed their location to this terrorist leader and it cost my friends their lives. It was a miracle that Harry made it out alive but then the traitor ended up framing me for betraying them and then faked his own death, inadvertently hitting a nearby gas-line which exploded, causing twelve bystanders to be killed.
"I was sent to prison without a trial and my godson sent to live with his mother's relatives."
"Lord Potter," the reporter continued, "if you went to live with your relatives, why aren't they here today?"
"Simple," Harry replied. "They treated me like garbage for over ten years, lied to me about my heritage, and convinced everyone that I was a lying little delinquent while their fat whale of a son was permitted to beat me up as often as he liked."
"Is that why you chose these particular charities to patronize?"
"Yes. I felt that it was only fitting to give money to the Society for the Prevention of Child Abuse, Child Welfare, children's hospitals, and the orphanage system so that other children might be saved from what I endured while in the 'care' of Vernon and Petunia Dursley. Oh, perhaps I shouldn't have said their names on telly. Well, at least I didn't mention that they live at Number 4, Privet Drive, Little Whinging, Surrey. Oops.
"It's just as well, though; if they hadn't treated me like a subhuman slave, I would have been inclined to share my substantial wealth with them."
"Yes, five million pounds is quite a lot for a single person to spend on anything, let alone on charitable organizations," said the reporter.
"Another reason why I'm doing this is because it's the obligation of the wealthy to look after the less fortunate. Maybe if more people understood that we wouldn't have so much misery in the world."
"Very true. And, Lord Black, any particular reason you chose the charities you did?"
"Well firstly, I chose to donate to the homeless shelters of Britain because I understand the experience of starvation and the fear of dying on the streets," said Sirius. "Secondly, I chose to donate to the regular hospitals because of the fine medical care I received that got me back on track. And thirdly, I chose to donate to the Society to Stop Animal Abuse just because I have a deep affection for animals, especially dogs. Man's best friend and all that."
The Dursley family sat there in shock as they saw the boy they had once forced to live under their stairs on the television giving huge quantities of money to charity. Vernon erupted into a fit of rage, spouting off about how that "ungrateful runt" dared to slander their family. Petunia had that expression on her face as if she'd been sucking lemons; she had no idea the boy had so much money; to think that she could've lived at the height of style if they'd only treated the brat like a human being. Dudley couldn't believe what was going on as he stared at the television; the "freak" was giving away five million pounds to a bunch of lazy, worthless bums (as his father called the poor); Dudley then began whining about why he didn't have that kind of money and about all the things he could get with that kind of money.
The Dursleys didn't realize yet that their world was about to fall to ashes as everyone in their neighborhood realized just what abominable monsters the Dursleys were for treating their nephew as they had; many even felt pangs of guilt for ever believing the lies spread about Harry Potter as it dawned on them who the real menace was in their community.
Hermione, Tracey, and the Granger parents just grinned smugly as Priscilla and her daughters gaped at the young man on the television, unmistakable from the photos Hermione had shown them. The proud woman and the two spoiled girls couldn't believe that Hermione was actually friends with him; this had to be some kind of trick.
"Lord Potter, I understand you go to an exclusive boarding school for the gifted?" the reporter asked.
"That's right, I was put on the enrollment list since I was born," Harry replied. "My parents were alumni from the school and it later turned out, after some investigation into my family tree, that I was actually the lawful owner of the establishment. I found a number of problems there, mostly in the curriculum and the abuse of power by the headmaster, but I have been moving to correct those problems."
"Is there anyone who has helped you in this?"
"Well, my godfather, after his release, has been an enormous help. Of course, I wouldn't have had half as much success if it weren't for my friends; especially my oldest and closest friend, Hermione Jean Granger."
Caitlin and Roslyn looked about ready to faint. Hermione blushed vibrantly and Tracey gave her a playful nudge.
Very far away, in a little place known as Ottery St. Catchpole, a portrait of the late Cedrella Weasley watched with narrowed eyes as her daughter-in-law went about brewing a number of mysterious potions. Since the days when she was just a babe in nappies, Cedrella had been taught about potions; especially those of an illicit nature (hardly surprising considering her family). So, when she realized what exactly it was that Molly was brewing, she knew she had to tell Lord Potter when he returned; for now, she would bide her time and let the fat harridan dig herself deeper and deeper.
Why couldn't Arthur have married a more sensible woman? She'd told him that Prewett women tended to be rotten; the men were generally decent folk like Gideon and Fabian, Ignatius, and of course Ambrose and his descendants. Prewett women had the nasty habit of turning out like, well, Molly. Or even worse, Cedrella thought with a shudder, like Muriel Prewett. Cedrella wasn't sure why, but her family had always staunchly opposed having any of their sons marry Prewett women, something about a curse on daughters born straight out of the Prewett line.
Cedrella pushed that train of thought to the back of her painted mind and continued to observe her target. It was high time Molly realized why you don't mess with Cedrella's family.