Can't Have It Both Ways

If you are forced to participate in a competition that's reserved for adults only, doesn't that mean you should be considered an adult? Harry gets some much needed help and advice before having some fun by allowing his marauder heritage out to play. H/Hr

https://www.fanfiction.net/s/5402315/1/Can-t-Have-It-Both-Ways

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12. Chapter 12

The group of champions had agreed amongst themselves that Christmas this year would be about being together, rather than gifts. Each was supplying hospitality for at least part of the holidays and concentrated on gifts for their family though Harry had Dobby bring a case of wine to the Krums', thanking them for their hospitality.

Emma, Hermione and Luna awoke Christmas morning to fabulous jewellery sets that exactly matched their gowns for this evening's ball, necklaces, bracelets, earrings and even a tiara! All three complained about them being far too expensive. When Harry answered that, rather than lying in a vault, they should be worn by beautiful ladies, he received hugs and kisses. Dan received a set of golf clubs with a promise of playing a round in Australia while Colin was delighted but confused with his underwater camera kit.

Luna's gift to Hermione had her in tears which worried the little blond, "Hermione I'm sorry, I thought you would like it."

Luna suddenly had a crying Hermione wrapping her arms around the worried witch. "Luna I love it, these are happy tears because this just bought it all home that it's real."

Luna now happily returned the hug. "I know exactly how you feel Hermione, I find I have to pinch myself a few times every day."

Hermione showed her mother the gift, a book entitled 'Planning your Wedding'. With a look of longing in her eyes Hermione said, "Only six hundred and thirty three days to go but who's counting?"

She felt Harry's arms around her so leant back into him, his whispered "I am!" made her Christmas.

Arriving at the Delacour château a little blond buzz bomb flew past them as if they didn't exist to reach her big sister, it was a smiling Claude Delacour who welcomed them into his home and introduced his wife Apolline.

Harry was immediately concerned for his friend. "Monsieur Delacour I invite you to stay with us for the second task, our residence is considered Goblin territory and your family will be safe there."

"It's Claude Harry, and is there something you're not telling us?"

"The next task involves something that we would sorely miss being taken from us and held hostage at the bottom of a very deep lake, you don't have to be a genius to work out who they will take to be Fleur's hostage." Anyone who saw the two sisters' greeting couldn't argue with that assessment. "I intend to ensure all my friends will be staying there that night, also Victor's family too. I hardly think they could place the minister of magic at the bottom of the lake so we will have to figure out who they will take for Cedric and get them safe also."

Apolline had her hand over her mouth in shock as she watched her two wonderful daughters happily trying to catch up on months of news in the space of minutes. "Oh we were already worried about this task, a Veela's magic is all about air and fire so the first test suited her perfectly. Being underwater will rob Fleur of at least half her magical power, I don't think I could stand knowing both my girls were at the bottom of that lake."

Victor's English was improving but even his accent couldn't disguise the feeling in his words. "Do not worry Madame, we will take care of Fleur. No harm will come to your daughter and no one will be left behind, you have my word."

"And ours!" Cedric figured it was a safe bet answering for Harry as well, since the whole idea was his in the first place.

Apolline from bitter personal experience could easily tell the difference between Veela powered promises and genuine affection offered from friendship, she was now even more delighted that these people would be spending Christmas day with them. As a Veela herself, Apolline was well aware that it was exceedingly difficult to make friends, this competition might actually turn out to be a positive experience as Fleur appeared to have found some really good ones, both male and female.

Christmas dinner was held early at the Delacours' to allow the ladies time to prepare for the ball, Harry again presented a case of wine which received admiration from their knowledgeable hosts. "Harry this is some of the best wine to come out of Australia, how did you get a hold of it?"

"Eh, I own the vineyard sir, that's where we are all going after Boxing Day. It's close enough to Adelaide for the ladies to shop, Dan's going to try to teach us golf and it has its own private beach a ten minute stroll from the house."

This had the entire table excited, all except one but Harry soon fixed that, "Apolline I feel terrible splitting your daughters again after they just got back together, we have plenty of room so Gabrielle is welcome to accompany us."

Fleur got up off her chair and walked around the table. "You are just going to have to excuse me a moment Hermione but this just has to be done!" The beautiful Veela leaned down and kissed Harry, "Forget the-boy-who-lived rubbish, you, my Lord Potter are a wonderful wizard who just made two Veela very happy."

"Well 'Harry Potter makes two Veela very happy' is a Daily Prophet headline if ever I heard one." Luna quipped which had Hermione in stitches.

Apolline Delacour had never seen the like, Fleur kissing a young man to express her thanks, him being totally unaffected by her Veela allure and his girlfriend laughing about it. One glance at little Gabi's face and there was no way she could refuse the very generous offer. "That would be fine with us Harry, she has really missed her big sister this term so that sounds wonderful."

Hermione leant over and kissed her betrothed, "You just made someone else's Christmas and managed to amaze me yet again Mr Potter, your dance card is going to be full tonight."

Apolline now understood, the kiss from Hermione affected Harry far more than her eldest daughter's, these two were meant for each other.

-oOoOo-

Harry found it easier to dance all night than to listen to the hangers-on that 'simply had to talk to him', he made sure to dance with Emma, Luna, Fleur, Apolline and even Gabrielle, though most of the ball found Hermione in his arms. They had practiced very hard and the results saw the couple twirl confidently across the floor. Hermione was also on the receiving end of some jealous glares from upset young witches who had planned to dance with the-boy-who-lived, they didn't appreciate her hogging the prize all night.

Emma was in her husband's arms as they danced the last waltz together, thinking this had been the best Christmas of their lives. The atmosphere, company and watching Hermione with Harry had made it all simply magical, even with very little visible magic on display. The dress and jewellery made her feel like a Queen and here she was in Paris dancing with her Prince. It was definitely not that old goat's intention that morning he so rudely woke them, but her family were now closer than ever and growing as well. She was too busy enjoying herself to spare a thought for cooker-less Agnes or Brenda's boils, Emma Granger was having a Very Merry Christmas.

Gabrielle Delacour was also having the best day of her life, she was currently sharing the last waltz with Quidditch superstar Victor Krum and was also sharing those jealous girls' stares with Hermione. The champions had stayed inside their group all evening, much to the annoyance of some of the guests. That he was using her as a shield to protect himself from the circling hyenas didn't trouble the little witch in the slightest, she'd danced with the three cutest guys at the ball tonight.

That Victor was currently waltzing with a delightful eight-year-old rather than having some fan girl slobber all over him was a very pleasant change for the shy Bulgarian. He had danced with the female members of their group exclusively and for one of the few times in his life been able to relax and enjoy himself at a formal function.

Cedric was dancing with Fleur and couldn't remember when he'd last enjoyed himself as much as he had this Christmas, she really was a beautiful person, not just on looks. It made him rethink his previous relationship with Cho and realised it would never have worked. The girl was high maintenance with a jealous streak a mile wide, there would have been tears and tantrums just because he was dancing with Fleur. Cho would never believe that it was just a dance or that they were only friends, Merlin's sake she went mental because he was in the same building as Fleur!

Hermione was younger than Miss Chang but had way more mature an attitude as far as Cedric could see, he'd enjoyed dancing with her earlier and was looking forward to the Grangers visiting at his house tomorrow. They were building friendships here that would last well beyond the tournament and Cedric for one was very happy about that, being the minister's son had also propelled him into the fame bracket. The number of people here who wanted a piece of him was disturbing but still not as bad as it would be back home, that Quibbler deal would really begin paying dividends now.

-oOoOo-

The get-together at the Diggorys was altogether more low-key, Harry was there in his capacity as Cedric's friend and that was fine by him. With the Weasleys, Bones and Longbottom's also there, it was a chance to relax with friends that they all enjoyed.

Like the Krums and Delacours, the magical guests were amazed by Emma's Polaroid instamatic camera. The photos may not move but watching them develop in front of your eyes was a novelty for the magical people and a sharp reminder of the inventiveness and ingenuity of the non-magical. The oh's and ah's coming from the ladies regarding the ballgowns helped hide a few tears in the corner of eyes that saw some very happy orphans.

Cedric also had a sack of gold for his father. "This is for an orphanage in this country, we presented Claude Delacour with the same to be donated to a French one. There's four thousand galleons in this sack from the sale of our poster, have you any idea what this will mean to those kids? Perhaps you'll understand now dad, helping those who can't help themselves is far more important to the four of us than winning the tournament."

Amos Diggory may be the minister of magic but the title he was proudest of was that of father, and never more so than just now. "This tournament has been good for you son, you've grown into an outstanding young man."

"I think it's more the company this tournament has me keeping, my eyes are being opened to the wider world that's out there and our responsibilities within it. Watching the Krums help in that orphanage was a revelation for us and I think we all reconsidered how we want to live our lives. The experiences I've shared in these last few months have me questioning everything I've learned, from muggle London to the arrests in the great hall has stood my world on its head."

Amos was intrigued, "Tell me more?"

"There has to be big changes in our world or we simply won't survive, the average wizard or witch doesn't question what they're told. Whether that's by professors, politicians or the newspapers and this has led to us being a society of followers. This may not appear to be a bad thing but when the people doing the telling and leading are corrupt with their own agendas, it leaves our entire society wide open to abuse."

Amos could see he sense in his son's words.

"Dad, we are purebloods and proud of it, but that simple fact of birth doesn't make us better than anyone else. I know this because you taught it to me. There is nothing wrong with coveting respect, honour and power, it's all about how you acquire it and what you do with it that makes the difference. We need to start putting the best people into the right jobs, the clearout at Hogwarts has made an incredible difference to the entire atmosphere inside the castle. It's like a different school and I fear the same thing needs to happen with the ministry. Having the best minister ever in place is a brilliant start and, with Arthur beside you, our world has hope for the first time in many years!"

The proud father had his arm around his son's shoulders. "We've already made plans for a ministry wide departmental review which will begin in the New Year, Arthur is heading it with Augusta Longbottom representing the Wizengamot. There will be nothing swept under the carpet this time and the incompetents will be seeking new employment."

Cedric was delighted but had one last piece of advice to offer. "Make it public dad, let the people know what their ministry is doing. This idea that they don't want to know or won't understand is stupid, the ministry controls so much of what we do that everyone should know what's going on inside its walls."

Molly was watching the group of friends interact and could see how close they all were, she was delighted that three of her children were part of the group but it was to the child sitting by himself that her gaze kept returning. Ron's plight had her doing what she swore she wouldn't but she couldn't stand by and watch this any longer, Molly was going to have to do something.

"Ron, is it really that hard to say sorry?"

""Mum, I've said sorry."

This was news to Molly and started her hackles rising, "And what did Harry say to that?"

"Harry said he accepted then walked off and left me standing there to go and party with his new friends." Ron knew he was being economical with the truth but really had no intention of apologising twice. It took a lot for him to say sorry the first time and if they couldn't accept that then why was he bothering with them. What was the point in having friends if you had to say sorry to them every five minutes?

Molly was ready to go barging in there, wand at the ready but she couldn't believe her other children would stand for that behaviour and still remain friends with Harry. Temper held in check, she approached the group. "Harry, could I have a word with you please?"

"Sure Mrs Weasley," Harry made no attempt to move from his friends and noticed Dan and Emma making their way over as well.

Molly really didn't want to have this discussion in front of these people, "Could I have a moment in private please Harry?"

They had all noticed Ron's pathetic attempt to play the injured party by sitting in a corner and glaring at them, Harry had quite enough and it was time to end this. "Mrs Weasley I'm quite sure I know what this is about so it's all right to talk in front of my friends, they witnessed most of this anyway."

Molly gritted her teeth, "Ron claims he apologised to you but that you just walked away from him."

"Indeed Harry did not!" Came quickly and forcibly from Hermione, "I was there and all Ron apologised for was 'not believing' Harry didn't put his name in the goblet."

Harry's comforting arm around his betrothed calmed her down to the point where she could control the compulsion to go over and slap the prat silly, but it was a close thing and Hermione's temper was simmering just below the surface.

"Ron seems to think that one 'sorry' is a universal repair charm for all the trouble he's caused and is trying to paint us as unreasonable. Mrs Weasley, you're from an old pureblood family so let me ask you this question. What is the penalty for firing a curse at the unarmed betrothed to the head of an ancient and noble house?"

Molly's complexion became ghostly pale as Harry continued, "He would at the very least be expelled from Hogwarts and have his wand snapped but we would have settled for an apology. Instead, we got Ron screaming at me that the Burrow would have to be fumigated since I had stayed there and I would never be welcome again. His rant was loud, in front of the entire school and only ended when Fred and George jumped on him."

All three of her children were nodding in agreement with that version of events but it was Ginny who felt she had to say something. "Its true mum, I don't think I've ever been so embarrassed by my family but our friends haven't held it against us. We've all tried to speak with him, Percy even sent him a letter but Ron somehow sees himself as the injured party here. None of us can see what the problem is because it's all in the prat's head."

"I'm sorry Harry and both you and Hermione are welcome at the Burrow anytime, I will be having words with Ronald…"

Harry interrupted her before she could get up a proper head of steam. "Please don't say anything on our account, Ron has had all the opportunities he's going to get from us. When he can't understand that firing a curse at his friends is wrong then I'm afraid this is a permanent parting of the ways. He's had plenty of time to mull it over yet when we think he's going to come around, the red mist descends once more and Harry Potter is the root of all his troubles. We can't live our lives worried in case our actions are going to upset Ron Weasley enough to have him draw his wand on us."

"But Harry, you three have been friends since first year!"

"The reason we became friends is Ron upset Hermione so badly that she was in a toilet crying her eyes out, with no knowledge there was a troll lose in the castle. I won't tolerate my betrothed being upset like that again, since all Ron does is argue with her then this is probably for the best."

"I understand Harry and thank you for not including the rest of the Weasleys in the same bracket as Ron."

Harry was mystified at that remark. "These three are some of my closest friends, why would I dump them because Ron's a jealous git?"

This earned him a kiss on the cheek from Ginny, throwing down a challenge that could not be ignored by her twin brothers. Harry soon found himself wrapped in the twins' arms as they theatrically took turns kissing his cheek. "Oh George, I've just kissed the-boy-who-lived, this means he's got to marry me"

"I kissed him as well Fred but don't mind sharing, that beautiful brunette he's betrothed to might have something to say about that though."

Both twins were then gently pulled from a laughing Harry by the ears, "Unhand my boy you ruffians. Hermione, I thought you said all your friends were nice?"

"Most of them are mum," she giggled.

Fred couldn't resist a parting shot at the playful Emma Granger. "See what she's going to turn into Harry, are you sure you still want to marry Hermione when you could have us?"

It wasn't exactly a difficult choice but Harry's "Oh Hell Yes!" was said with such feeling that both Granger girls couldn't help but love him just a little bit more while everyone else was laughing at the pretend pouts coming from the twins.

Molly quietly retreated as the banter kept going with Dan now pretending being jealous of Harry and his Granger girls, it was a group of friends who were really relaxed in each others company as the focus shifted around the group. Her twins were usually at the centre of it, Ginny was confident enough to participate fully when she could control her laughter but probably the biggest shock to Molly was Luna Lovegood. It was crystal clear that she wasn't on the fringes but very much part of this group, and the strange young girl she remembered was nowhere to be seen.

She could only shake her head in the knowledge that her Ron was part of this and threw it away, Molly was aware he wasn't the brightest of her children but was now dreading his report card, especially without Hermione to help him.

-oOoOo-

Emma placed a few choice Polaroids into an envelope along with the letter to Agnes, Harry had charmed them to lift the curse on Brenda the moment the girl handled them. She was aware that morally, ethically and legally it was wrong to use magic in this way but she justified this to herself, thinking the discomfort her niece must have felt since insulting Hermione was deserved. Seeing Harry with Hermione in that ballgown would also put their noses out of joint, again Emma thought this was more than deserved.

When it came to the Dursleys, Emma had no qualms whatsoever, anyone who could treat a child in that manner lost any and all claims on being shown compassion. Having listened to Harry they had tailored their response to have maximum impact with no sign of magic being detectable. They were not looking to physically harm the Dursleys, rather destroy their cherished reputation in their community. The name Dursley and the word 'normal' wouldn't be used in the same sentence ever again by the time they were finished with them. That would be Harry's revenge. The so-called freak had friends and family that would douse themselves in petrol and follow him through the gates of hell if necessary, hers and Dan's were just the latest two names to be added to the growing list. They would then see how many friends the Dursleys had.

A letter and pictures were also heading in the marauders direction, it was time to wish the Dursleys a 'Happy New Year!'

Due to the time difference they were leaving at eleven p.m. which would be morning at the vineyard, the plan was to sleep for a few hours and get up in the afternoon to do some exploring. Dobby took both letters away as they made ready to head down-under.

-oOoOo-

Luna and Colin were also sending pictures and stories away to her father, the next issue of the Quibbler should be very interesting. Luna was also very happy that Colin seemed interested in her as a girl, so far that interest had been curtailed to one kiss on the cheek after the ball but they now held hands at every opportunity.

Colin was a very nice boy who, once he got control of his Harry worship, had become a very good friend. Whether that progressed to boyfriend was something neither of them were in any hurry to find out, both their lives had changed dramatically in the last few months through their friendship with Harry so they were taking this slow.

With all the things happening around them it would be easy to get carried away with a new relationship, both kids were mature enough to realise they weren't mature enough for more than hand-holding yet.

Colin was also aware what Luna's relationship to Harry and Hermione was, anyone hurting Luna would very quickly find themselves in a whole world of trouble. Apart from really liking the girl, she was also effectively his boss's only daughter, this also ensured that they wouldn't be rushing into anything.

-oOoOo-

Petunia could practically hear her neighbours sniggering behind her back, every time that bright orange van, emblazoned with the words 'Dyno-Rod' parked in their driveway. Each time it arrived the jokes got a little ruder, cruder and slightly louder. 'What can you expect with those two hulking brutes in the house? The drains were never built to handle anything that size!'

Since her little Dudders had come home from school, every time one of the men used either lavatory it blocked, and nothing short of calling out the plumbers with their high pressure hoses would shift it.

To the ultra-clean Petunia this embarrassment was reaching the stage where she was sending them both to McDonald's, on the menu was quarter pounders, fries, shakes and shits in their public toilets. She was hoping that when Dudders went back to Smeltings after the holidays their toilet situation would return to normal.

Petunia was so caught up in these thoughts that, when returning the clean cutlery to the drawer, she never noticed the very large cockroach until it ran up her arm. Her screams alerted the entire neighbourhood to a new problem at number four, the noise rose in pitch and intensity when all the cockroach's friends and family fled the drawer and scurried across her spotless floor. When the rat poked its head out to discover what all the commotion was about silence suddenly reigned, Petunia hit the floor in a dead faint.

Four hours and umpteen calls to pest exterminators later they were in the car, heading for Marge's, apparently exterminators' took holidays too. Petunia hated Marge's dogs but she would rather sleep in a kennel than a house with cockroaches and rats, and there was now going to be the indignity of another van parked in her driveway. Why they couldn't arrive in a white van that said 'TV Repair' or something was a mystery to her, Petunia would never be able to show her face again if there was a giant rat painted on the side of it.

-oOoOo-

Barchoke was sitting in his office wearing a large smile, Gringotts board meeting had been a lively but overwhelmingly positive affair and he had been invited to attend for the first time. The Potter family had always treated Gringotts and the goblins well, having to watch from afar as the last member of that family was played for a fool didn't sit well with their account manager.

The Tournament had provided the legal loophole to intervene and show the young wizard his true heritage, he had gone to the board with this proposal, citing increased business and getting one over on the ministry for no outlay or risk on their part.

It had narrowly won approval and been an outstanding success, they had a new minister and a new headmistress at Hogwarts, both more willing to work with the goblin nation than their predecessors. The pictures of Harry sporting the goblin crest and a goblin sitting with the young wizard's family had also initiated an upsurge, not only in business but better relations with their customers. The message couldn't be clearer, if Harry thought the goblins were friends, then that was good enough for them. This was the first instance of the wizarding community following Harry's lead.

The business with the Basilisk had earned the bank a fortune and he was currently negotiating with broom manufacturers to supply Hogwarts Quidditch teams, ideally the top four would sponsor a house each with Gringotts covering their costs for the first two years. This should give the companies time to see if the expense involved would be worth the returns generated. Again Gringotts would get the good publicity for brokering the deal and providing the initial finance, the board were delighted with his work.

There had even been a move to have him elected to the board which he had respectfully declined, as the Potter account manager he probably made more gold than a spot on the board would pay and he really enjoyed working with Harry. The next few years were going to be critical for their world and he would have far more sway on events in his current job than any six board members combined. Harry was building a portfolio of loyal friends that were already changing Hogwarts beyond recognition, Barchoke felt honoured to be part of this group who were going to change this world forever.

-oOoOo-

Harry was wakened with the sun shining through Hermione's beautiful brown hair as she rose from the kiss that he thought he'd dreamed, "Time to get up love, this place is beautiful."

"Oh I definitely agree with the beautiful comment," as he pulled her back down for another kiss, one that he was awake for.

"Everyone's waiting for us on the terrace for lunch, I think I'd forgotten what sunshine was?"

"Yeah, Hogwarts in December can be pretty depressing, dark when you get up in the morning and again before classes are finished for the day. I'm so looking forward to lying in the sun beside you."

"That sounds like a plan, but I better get out of here before an angry dentist starts breaking down the door, I only came in to wake you."

"I could stand being wakened like that every day."

A gentle kiss was placed on his temple, "I'll see what I can do."

A terrace the entire length of the ground floor was where Harry found everyone, sitting on wicker chairs and lapping up the sunshine. The terrace gave views down into the valley that was planted with grapevines all the way to the coast, Harry was thinking his information about the beach being ten minutes away must have referred to riding by broom, luckily they had a couple of Toyota land cruisers at their disposal and both adult Grangers could drive.

"Harry, this place is fantastic, how long has your family owned it?" asked Dan.

"Apparently some British people moved here in the eighteen thirties to escape the class and religious oppression back home, a few of my ancestors took a gamble and it paid off big-time. Of course they had the advantage of gold and magic to help them along. According to what I can find out from reading some of the stuff Barchoke gave us we also have several properties in the States and Canada that came about by the same method."

Fleur's accent always slipped back when she got flustered, and she was good and flustered now. "But Harry how can you have all this, and the fame yet be so… so normal?"

"Why thank you Fleur, the answer is really quite simple, before Halloween I didn't know about any of this. This place is unquestionably beautiful but the real pleasure is being able to share it with my friends, anyway Hermione fell in love with me while being normal so I'd better not change."

Hermione drew him into a hug. "Harry, jumping on a mountain troll's back and sticking your wand up its nose is not considered normal for eleven-year-olds!"

The group started laughing until little Gabrielle nervously asked, "He didn't really do that did he?"

Her sister was about to reply when Hermione beat her to it, "I would be dead if he didn't!"

This focused the attention on Harry as the details of that adventure were very scarce, "What? I'd been learning magic for about four weeks and couldn't think of any other way to draw its attention away from Hermione."

"Well it worked and you've had my attention ever since." Hermione gave him a quick kiss before continuing, "Ok we've a lot to live up to after the places we've been staying recently and if lunch doesn't appear soon it will be a black mark from which we might never recover." This had everyone smiling as food began to appear on the tables.

Only Fleur heard her little sister's whispered, "That is the most romantic thing I've ever heard."

Dan had no trouble imagining Harry doing something like that if Hermione was in danger, watching his daughter as the lad faced the dragon was bad enough and he couldn't think about his wife ready to take on the acting minister without chuckling. He would just have to accept that the lad was now part of his family because it was blatantly obvious that both Granger ladies loved the young man, fortunately that wasn't hard to do as Dan couldn't imagine anyone better suited for Hermione. Every father thinks their daughter's a princess but Harry really was a prince amongst men.

-oOoOo-

That night the two Delacour sisters were in their room having a chat. "You've changed Fleur, I can't put my finger on it but you seem more relaxed and definitely happier than I've seen you."

Fleur could only smile at her young sister. "You're right Gabi, I do feel happier than I have in a long time. For the last few years all I could think off was finding my mate and bonding, I let my Veela heritage decide who I was going to be. Hermione showed me it didn't have to be that way. You are still young Gabi but even you must feel the pull coming from Harry, he has everything a Veela could desire yet his heart belongs totally to another. He disregarded my efforts at entrapment as if I didn't exist yet Hermione's kisses drive him wild. Hermione and Harry made friends with Fleur, not the Veela and have tried to show me that's who I am."

Gabi looked confused so she tried to explain. "Yes I am a Veela but I am also a woman called Fleur Delacour. I want someone to love me for being Fleur, not because I am a Veela. I have some really good friends here who see me as Fleur, will anything romantic come of it? Probably not, but the main thing is to live my life as Fleur, the right man will come along eventually. Meanwhile I get to spend the next week in this paradise with my friends and sister, how could I not be happy?"

Gabi hugged her big sister as the words she'd spoken permeated her brain, don't be ashamed of her Veela heritage but don't let it define who you are. Be Gabrielle Delacour first and foremost and let people accept her as such, she would undoubtedly benefit from observing Fleur with her friends this week and knew her sister would never steer her wrong. It was easy to see her sister was very happy though the company they were keeping would make it difficult to be anything else, Gabi was going to have trouble sleeping tonight from excitement, this holiday was going to be wonderful!

-oOoOo-

Wonderful was the only word Millicent had to describe the pictures in the Quibbler, Hermione looked amazing and Luna dancing with Cedric sent out all kinds of messages. The idea, generated by the Prophet of course, that the Quibbler was anti-ministry was instantly rubbished by the minister's son dancing with the editor's daughter. It also destroyed forever the image of 'loony Lovegood' as the little blond was simply stunning. Millicent would have paid good money to be a fly on Cho Chang's wall when she laid eyes on that picture, the haughty bitch would probably still be crying on the train back to Hogwarts.

Her mum had trouble believing her tales but when Millicent produced her prized possession, the only signed champions poster in existence, she was as dumbfound as Millicent and made her daughter tell all the stories over again.

Millicent looked up at that poser now and wished with all her heart that the ball had been held in Hogwarts, she could then dream that one of the champions might even ask her for a dance, a girl could only dream!

Millicent had no idea that up in Scotland, a couple of marauders were currently having a discussion with the headmistress that would make the young witch's dreams a reality, Millicent was going to have a Happy New Year!

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