The next morning Holly found Draco sitting in the kitchen/dining room table reading the Daily Prophet and sipping on some coffee. He was dressed in a smart two-piece charcoal business suit complete with a periwinkle blue tie.
“Morning Honey” Holly said as she leaned in to give him a kiss, “Have you eaten yet?”
“I made some pancakes and put the extras in the stove to keep them warm” Draco replied pointing to the stove in the kitchen.
Holly put a few on her plate and brought them to the plate with the syrup bottle. She took a bite and sighed, “Ugh, we have GOT to go back to Canada and get some real syrup. The pancakes are great but the syrup almost ruins them”
Draco put down his paper and smiled, “You’ve been saying that for a whole summer now”
Holly twirled a piece of pancake in her syrup, “I know, there just hasn’t been a good time to go yet”
“We’ll get there soon, I promise” Draco replied. As he got up to put his plate away, he stepped closer to the light. Holly could clearly see the bags under his eyes but bit her lip so she wouldn't say anything. They had stopped commenting on each other’s tiered faces long ago.
Holly didn’t have to look around to see what the sound was. It had come from one of the two Boxadors (Part Boxer-Part Labrador) lying on their bed beside the fireplace. Holly knew it had come from Draco’s dog Phoenix. She had a nack for warning them company was about to arrive. Holly’s own dog Gryphon was fast asleep as usual, his head resting on Phoenix's front paws.
“Fred for the hundredth time, we know it’s you, stop using George’s line” Holly said without turning around. She heard Fred sigh and she giggled to herself.
“Morning Fred” Draco said without looking up from his paper. He had gotten used to the regular Weasley drop-ins for Holly.
Holly got up and kneeled beside the fireplace. Fred’s head was floating among the flames. They tickled his neck but Holly knew he couldn’t feel anything.
“So what do we owe this occasion to?” Holly asked Fred.
“Well I haven’t got much time, George just left for the shop and he’ll be expecting me shortly.” Fred explained. Holly made a face to signal for Fred to ‘get on with it’. “I-don-ink-I-cn-mrry-gelina” He said with in a rush.
Holly looked at Fred with a confused look on her face, “Come again?”
“He doesn’t think that he can marry Angelina” Draco said from the table. Holly looked up at him in shock. “What? It’s a guy thing, you wouldn’t understand” Draco replied shrugging his shoulders.
Holly rolled her eyes and turned back to Fred, “Is this true?”
Fred sighed, causing some embers to blow about, “Yes it’s true. I’m not sure if it was the battle, the added stress at the shop or the almost dying part that made me re-think it. I’m not sure if it’s just me but she got really clingy this summer.”
“It’s not just you, we noticed it too” Holly replied. Angelina had been hovering around Fred for the entire summer. If she wasn’t directly with him she would still send owls and pop in his fireplace if he wasn’t answering.
“It’s not like I had proposed yet but George keeps asking me when I’m going to do it. HE doesn’t think Angelina is being overbearing so I don’t think he’ll take the news well that I’m thinking of dumping her.” Fred continued.
“I think you should just be straight up with him. He is your brother after all.” Holly told him, “And if you’re worried what he’ll say, tell him in his bad ear.” She finished with a smile.
“Good plan Hol, I’ll tell him after work tonight. Oh and my mom wanted to invite you both to dinner on Saturday at the Burrow.” Fred replied.
“We’ll be there.” Holly answered for her and Draco, “Do you know if your dad’s home by the way?”
“Nah, he left about an hour ago for work, why?”
“Oh just wanted to talk real estate with him, I’ll catch him at the Ministry.” Holly replied.
“Ahh I see,” Fred replied with a knowing look. Holly and Draco had moved quite a few times this summer so it wasn’t a big shock. “Why are you going to the Ministry?”
“I’m going as a witness to the actions of the Black family.” Holly replied. She was hoping this last meeting could clear any suspicions or doubt the council had on Draco and his parents. Holly straightened up, “We’d better get going actually, better to be early than late”
“Right-o. Good luck!” Fred said.
“You as well, let me know how it goes with George” Holly replied. Fred made a gagging face, like telling his twin was the last thing he wanted to do. Before he could disappear, Holly got a pancake from the stove and used a pair of tongs to put it in Fred’s mouth.
“Fanks!” He said with a mouthful of pancake and disappeared with a soft ‘pop!’.
Holly sighed and brushed some soot off her skirt. She had dressed nicely for the meeting. Her blonde hair was curled and she covered the dark circles under her eyes with makeup. Her black pencil skirt, paired with a ruffled magenta tank top and a black blazer, made her look sophisticated for the occasion. Holly grabbed a pair of black heels from the front hall closet and rejoined Draco at the table.
“Ready?” Holly asked.
“As I’ll ever be” Draco replied with a sigh. He got up wearily from the table and straightened his tie.
“I’m so proud of you for doing this” Holly said smoothing down the shoulders of his jacket, “It will all be over soon"
“All thanks to you” Draco replied kissing Holly on the lips. She smiled and then faced the fireplace. Holly squeezed Draco’s hand and then released it to grab a handful of Floo Powder. She stepped into the fireplace, felt the warmth of the flames, and shut her eyes.
“Ministry of Magic!”