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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13. Chapter 13

The next morning, straight after a wonderful breakfast that was again held on the terrace, they all climbed into the Toyota's and followed the track heading for the coast. The 'ten minutes from the beach' actually proved accurate, they just forgot to mention it was by car.

The small private beach gave the impression of everyone's idea of an idyllic tropical hideaway, but given the 'Victorian Britain' makeover. To access the beach, there was a winding wrought iron stairway that led down to a wooden slatted area running the entire two hundred meter length of the beach. The Victorian effect was added to by the brightly painted wooden beach huts, sitting prettily on about a quarter of the small wooden promenade deck.

Dan and Emma immediately fell in love with it, the setting couldn't help but evoke happy memories of childhood holidays spent at British seaside resorts, the main differences being that here they had brilliant sunshine and no donkeys stinking up the beach. British health and safety legislation had finally got around to passing laws on this and the 'children's donkey rides on the beach' trade was a respectable one now. That hadn't been the case when they were kids and it wasn't only jellyfish you had to look out for when paddling in the water.

The huts contained everything from loungers and parasols to surf boards and equipment to play games on the beach. With a barbecue, cooker, running water, showers, toilet facilities and food cupboards freshly supplied, the group could spend their entire holiday here.

While Dan and Emma set up a few loungers on the pristine sand, Harry emerged from the last hut carrying some hold-alls. Only when he started distributing the bags did their recipients realise they had their name printed on them.

"These are a gift from a grateful Barchoke for the help and respect you've given to, not only their champion, but the goblin nation as a whole."

Inside the bags were suits of custom made basilisk skin armour. "It's going to be bloody freezing in that water and I had discussed with Hermione buying non-magical wet suits to protect us against the cold of the Black Lake. These will provide warmth and a lot more besides, anything short of an unforgivable will hardly scratch these."

Luna could hardly contain her excitement at being included and when she examined her suit, it had the word 'PRESS' emblazoned on the back, earning Harry once again a kiss on the cheek from the little blond.

"Should I be getting worried Harry, giving gifts and receiving kisses from other girls. This is getting to be a habit." The humour in Hermione's voice had the group chuckling.

Harry was well aware Hermione was joking but had an answer ready for her. "There's one in there with your name on it too, I just didn't want you to think there was an option to accompany us on the task. Thanks to Xeno, these two are accredited members of the press, under tournament rules they are permitted to observe. There will again be hundreds of spectators, this time sitting bored out their skulls, watching the surface of the lake for an hour. With Dumbledore the only person who supposedly speaks Mermish, he could say anything and who could dispute it? This way the Quibbler's top investigative reporting team of Lovegood and Creevey get to tell the world exactly what happens while Rita sulks in the background composing her usual works of fiction."

Colin realised his Christmas gift would enable him to take the first pictures of the merepeople in their natural environment, "This will be another enormous scoop for the Quibbler."

"Yes, and for Lovegood and Creevey! We have the perfect opportunity to practice here, with the underwater sights being a lot more colourful than the bottom of the Black Lake in February will be. The sea is warded out to a hundred meters to repel any sharks so it will be perfectly safe."

"It's bad enough that you lot have to go but are you sure it's safe for these two in the Black Lake?" A worried Emma asked.

"They will be perfectly safe as nothing in that lake is going to attack a group of six wizards and witches. Trust me when I say we'll be sticking together, competition be dammed."

"Eh Harry?" Luna held a delicate but deadly goblin made blade in her hand.

"It's part of the suit Luna, there will be a holster for your wand and another that fits your knife, goblins are never without a weapon of some sort. My suit has one at my hip, the small of my back and even a holster for the sword of Gryffindor on my shoulder, the weapons are all charmed invisible when sheathed."

Cedric was holding an altogether more wicked-looking blade in his hand, "I would hate to meet anything that I would need to use this on. How are they going to breathe underwater? Third years won't be able to cast a bubble head charm, far less maintain it for an hour."

Harry put his arm around Hermione's shoulders, his praise causing her to blush. "My Hermione has already solved that problem, thanks to the goblin supplied library. A plant called 'Gillyweed' that when eaten will transform you to grow gills, plus webbed feet and hands. Since the magic is in the plant their age doesn't matter, it will work equally well with Gabrielle or Dan and Emma. Anyone fancy a spot of underwater swimming?"

Dan was staring at Harry in disbelief, "You mean if I eat this plant I can breathe underwater like a fish?"

"For one hour Dan, so we all need to stay together in case there's some time discrepancies due to body mass, age or something but it will work."

The Grangers led the mad rush into the huts to get changed, less than ten minutes later everyone was in the water as Harry was handing out the Gillyweed. One glance at its slimy rat-tail appearance curbed some of the enthusiasm and had one or two doubting if it was worth it.

It was Dan who was brave enough to try it first, "Well it can't possibly taste as bad as Hermione's attempts at making pasta." With a cheeky wink at his daughter, Dan began chewing before grabbing his throat in pain. Feeling the beginning of what Dan assumed were gill slits there, he submerged below the water and was suddenly smiling while giving everyone the thumbs-up sign.

That was the signal for the rest of the group to shut their eyes and stuff it in their mouths. Emma quietly thought that Dan was right, it didn't taste as bad as Hermione's attempts at pasta.

Fleur kept Gabrielle close but they soon found themselves surrounded by their friends, checking that they were ok. They swam around for a while, getting used to the effects and the Grangers also were gently shepherded into the centre of the group.

When they became accustomed to having webbed hands and feet, Harry, Cedric and Victor moved away a little bit to practice casting spells underwater. Colin was putting his new camera through its paces while Luna kept an eye on him.

Fleur was more concerned with getting used to being underwater and maintaining a close watch over her sister than practicing spells so both remained swimming around in the company of the three Grangers.

Hermione thought her parents reminded her of Harry in Hamleys, their exuberance at experiencing magic and what it could do for them was a delight to behold. They swam around like a couple of otter pups, even resorting to playfully chasing fish.

Gabrielle thought she would be terrified underwater but nothing could be further from the truth, with Fleur by her side and Harry, Victor and Cedric only twenty meters away she felt as if cocooned in a warm blanket. Nothing bad could touch her in this company, instead of a dangerous environment this felt like being watched over in her own garden, and what a garden!

The diversity of colours and light could take your breath away, well it would if the Gillyweed hadn't made that function redundant. She could feel her sister start to relax and enjoy herself but it seemed no time at all before Harry was signalling to everyone that there was ten minutes left so they headed for shallower water.

Hermione caught up with her betrothed because there was something she was dying to try before the Gillyweed wore off, wrapping herself around him she began a kiss that didn't require them to break for oxygen. When the pain in their necks began, neither had any intention of stopping and they broke the surface together, still kissing.

"Now why didn't you think off that Dan?" Emma joked.

"Well I didn't think kissing my daughter like that was appropriate behaviour."

That ended the kiss, "Trust dad to spoil the mood."

"It's that suit you're wearing love, if there was any meremen around I would have had a battle on my hand as they tried to steal you away."

Hermione's legs were wrapped around Harry under the water, allowing both her hands to slip down there while her betrothed supported her. They quickly returned with an evil looking dagger and her wand, "Anyone but you coming near me is in for a shock Mr Potter, I can take care of myself."

That earned her a quick kiss, "Pleased to hear it dear, now let's get something to eat, all that swimming has gave me an appetite."

It was a very happy group of people who made their way up the beach.

-oOoOo-

Dan was immensely relieved, Harry Potter was absolutely and utterly crap at golf!

He'd finally found something that the lad couldn't do effortlessly, here was at least one thing Dan could teach him. It maybe wasn't much in the great scheme of life but Dan was sure if Harry had picked up a three iron and smashed the ball straight for two hundred yards then he would have cried.

It was bloody frustrating trying to be a father figure to a young man that appeared to have all the answers while riding dragons or slaying basilisks in his spare time. This was the first chink in Harry's armour, how was he supposed to mentor someone who could bring down a government or boot his headmaster out his job?

They were on the driving range at the golf club and it was just the two of them, the ladies were shopping. Cedric, Victor and Colin, with no experience of this phenomenon, weren't quick enough with their excuses so got dragged along.

Having a long standing arrangement to break in his new clubs gave Dan the out he needed, of course Harry had agreed to play a round with him which is why they were both on the driving range.

He'd been constantly giving Harry advice and Dan could see that the lad was becoming frustrated, then Harry took a deep breath, calmed himself, shifted his stance more in line with what he'd been trying to teach him. There was a pause while he became so focused his eyes almost bored holes in the ball. Thwack, Harry hit the ball with the sweet spot of the club and his shot flew straight and true, granted it wasn't a massive distance but if he could repeat that feat with any sort of regularity then he would have conquered the basic swing.

Five of the next six shots were straight with only a slight slice spoiling the run, Dan was beginning to think Harry might be so crap at golf they may have a shot at his club's 'father and son' medal in a few years, "Ok Harry, let's try you on the putting greens before heading out to the course."

-oOoOo-

Harry was lying awake, he'd had such a brilliant day that his mind was struggling to calm down enough to allow sleep. His time on the golf course with Dan had allowed the two to become closer, the fact that Harry liked and admired Hermione's father might have a lot to do with that. Since after the first morning in McGonagall's office, Hermione's parents had been nothing but supportive toward him and his relationship with their daughter. This was a totally new experience for Harry and one he found exhilarating. To them he was Harry Potter, Hermione's boyfriend and future member of their family, that was as good as it got in his book.

He heard someone moving about on the terrace and got up to investigate, worried that it was Hermione trying to sneak back into his room. He loved the girl so much and she was quickly wearing down his defences but he wanted to wait until they were ready, not sneak about like thieves in the night.

They'd only been betrothed a couple of months and Harry was worried Hermione kept pushing for this in case he got interested in other girls, nothing could be further from his mind .

Harry had heard boys talk and his fat cousin and his friends even boast about how they treated girls, Harry wanted no part of that. He intended to be with Hermione for the rest of his life so felt no need to rush, he would not bow to peer pressure or let custom dictate when they moved their relationship on. Harry had so little affection in his life that he wanted to savour every morsel before moving on to the next course. Hermione's own self-esteem issues left her worried that Harry didn't want her when every hormone in his body was screaming abuse at him for saying no.

He'd explained his stance and that he wanted another ring on her finger before moving on to that and she'd seemed relieved, both that she now had some sort of time scale and she didn't have to make good on her offer there and then. The snogging session that followed had both of them reconsidering that decision before Harry called it a night, yes he was strong willed but Merlin his betrothed was only minutes away from kissing that resolve goodbye.

Harry had slept in a pair of shorts and pulled a t-shirt on before leaving to investigate. He didn't have to go very far to discover Luna standing on the terrace, leaning on the rail and looking off into the distance. The moonlight reflected off the tear tracks on her cheeks but the blissful smile she wore belied any hurt.

"Luna, are you ok?"

"Harry I'm so far beyond ok it's scaring me," Harry put his arm around her as the young blond rested her head on his chest, he figured she wanted to talk and he was quite happy to listen.

"Today we went shopping and Emma treated me just like a daughter, Hermione is becoming the sister I never had, I was surrounded by friends and holding my boyfriends hand. It was so wonderful and I just don't ever want it to end, we'll be heading back to Hogwarts soon but the time I've spent here has been the happiest of my life. I know we have to move on but now I've experienced this I could never go back to the way my life was before Halloween, it would kill me Harry."

Harry had both arms around her now and kissed the top of her head. "Luna you will never be alone again and if you've room in there for an honorary brother I'd like to apply for the position. I would love a little sis who could keep me on my toes and ensure I don't muck-up too bad with Hermione."

Luna's arms were now around Harry, "I already think of you as my best friend and guardian angel, big brother is not too far a stretch from there."

"Luna we haven't thought much beyond this bloody tournament but you can be assured, any plans we have will include you Miss Lovegood. Once we finish the last task we can all sit down and weigh up our options."

Harry could feel the wetness seeping through his shirt as the tears flowed from Luna, she was now looking into his face and beaming a megawatt smile directly at him.

"Thank you Harry, I think I just needed to hear you say that. I feel so much better now that I know I'm going to have sweet dreams tonight." A kiss on his cheek later and Luna floated off to her room.

As Harry watched her go, he felt another pair of arms encircle him from behind and it was his turn to receive a kiss on the top of his head.

"You Harry Potter are one fine young man, if I was twenty years younger…"

"You'd be me, mother!" Hermione jokingly interrupted, this gave her time to wipe her own eyes. "Harry this is becoming a habit finding you in girls' arms and receiving kisses, even my mother is in on the act here." She couldn't keep a straight face though and spoiled the whole effect by giggling.

"Well it's your own fault for choosing such a charming gentleman," Emma joked right back.

Harry embarrassingly asked, "Eh how long were you two standing there?"

Hermione gently kissed the boy who was still held in her mother's arms, "Long enough Mr Potter, if you don't mind mother I would like to tuck my betrothed into bed before any other females get ideas that he's available."

Emma chuckled, "Just don't take all night dear."

Hermione led him into his room before speaking quietly, she definitely didn't want to be overheard. "Harry I now understand why you want to wait and I'm happy with that, but there are other ways we can take our relationship forward."

Hermione now had Harry's full attention, "Like what love?"

"Well I've been doing some reading…"

The smiles on their faces at breakfast indicted that must have been a good book Hermione read.

Fleur and Gabrielle were also lying awake and, with their windows open, had overheard the entire incident out on the terrace.

Gabi had a question for her big sister, "Fleur, are all the boys like Harry?"

It may be dark but Fleur's rueful smile was there none the less. "Unfortunately not, boys like Harry Potter are very rare and if you ever find one Gabi, grab hold of him and don't let go."

"What about Victor and Cedric?"

"Oh those two are very nice as well."

This seemed to make up Gabriele's mind, "Ok, you take one and I'll have the other! You're the oldest so it's only fair you get first pick."

Fleur was trying not to laugh at her serious little sister, "It doesn't work that way Gabi, neither they nor us are possessions to be owned. Harry and Hermione have shown me the difference and I want what they've got, I want a husband who will love Fleur Delacour, not a Veela. I like both those boys but they're my friends, maybe in a while that will change but I don't think so, we will always be good friends but nothing more than that."

Gabrielle looked confused, "But how are you going to find such a man?"

Fleur laughed, "I have a simple plan. Harry only hangs about with nice people, if I stay close then I'm sure to meet someone."

"Do you think Harry would mind if I stayed close as well?"

"I'm sure Harry would like that," she decided to tease Gabi a little, "I understand that Colin has a younger brother?"

"Eh no thanks sis, I like Colin and he's nice enough but I …" Her big sister's giggling gave the game away and saw Gabrielle's pillow heading at speed in her direction.

-oOoOo-

They entered the great hall as a group, a bit weary as they were still adjusting to the time difference but fully refreshed after their break. Even saying goodbye to Gabi wasn't as bad as they thought it would be. This was greatly helped by the fact she would be coming to stay with them in seven weeks for the second task.

Australia had been wonderful and a much-needed break, the only incident of any concern was sitting in a restaurant where you could see into the kitchen and spying a chef who looked remarkably like Severus Snape. They couldn't be certain as any trademark greasy hair would have been inside his white hat, he was dressed from head to toe in the same brilliant white colour and his chef's outfit definitely hadn't the capabilities to billow like robes as he moved. Just the thought of a Snape look-alike was enough to destroy their appetite and ensure they left the restaurant quickly, without eating or drinking anything.

They sat together as a group at the end of the Gryffindor table, greeting friends as McGonagall stood to make an announcement before the welcoming feast.

"I would like to bid you all welcome to a new year at Hogwarts and make an announcement, inspired by pictures of our Champions enjoying themselves over the festive season. They have shown a willingness to learn from each other that should be an inspiration to us all. With that in mind a decision was made to show some real Scottish hospitality to our guests, not only from France and Bulgaria, but England, Ireland and Wales as well. Hogwarts will be hosting a Ceilidh here in the great hall on the Saturday before Burns Night, there will be a traditional supper followed by dancing to a Ceilidh band until midnight. All students forth year and above are welcome to attend, younger students may be asked as dates by those of age. I look forward to seeing everyone there."

This was like a bolt out the blue and more than a few sets of eyes turned to Hermione for an explanation, she of course was happy to provide one. "A Ceilidh is Scottish country dancing and a great idea for bringing down barriers as lots of the dances are reels where half of you move on to the next group as part of the dance. Haggis is wonderful, just eat it and never ask what's in it!"

Cedric was quick on the uptake and wanted everyone to attend, "Luna would you do me the honour of accompanying me to the Ceilidh?"

Fleur was also no slouch, "Colin I would be honoured to go with you, thank you so much for asking."

Victor was about to ask Ginny, ensuring that the younger girl could attend when Neville beat him to it. This left him in a bit of a bind when he thought, what would Harry do? The answer came to him instantly and it was a smiling Victor Krum who got to his feet and headed for the Slytherin table.

Millie was aware that all talking had stopped around her but it wasn't until she turned around from speaking with Tracy about the dance that she discovered the reason why, Victor Krum was standing there smiling at her.

"Miss Bulstrode, would you do me the honour of accompanying me to the Ceilidh?" His smile made her knees wobble, "I have to warn you though Millicent, I know none of these dances so you are going to have to teach me."

She was amazed how composed she felt on the outside because her innards were dancing 'the dashing white sergeant'. "I would like that very much Victor and look forward to the dancing lessons."

With another smile and a slight bow, he returned to the Gryffindor table, leaving Millie thinking her mum would never believe her.

Hermione was just putting the mirror away after contacting her mum for emergency dance lessons when a thought struck her. "Harry, McGonagall is going all out to be hospitable here, how about we return the favour?"

Harry's blank expression had her continuing, "I think you gentlemen would all look so sexy in kilts, while we ladies wear dresses with matching tartan sashes, what do you think?"

Harry had a twinkle in his eye, "Do we include professors Moony and Padfoot as gentlemen?"

Hermione was giggling now, "Not usually but in this case that's a definite yes! It would be worth it just to see Sirius in a kilt."

Ginny was the only one to pour cold water on the idea, "Do you really want to turn the twins lose in Hogwarts wearing kilts? Merlin knows what they could fit in their sporrans!"

This had the effect of cracking everyone up, except Victor. "Eh what's a kilt and a sporran sounds painful?"

The laughter emanating from the Gryffindor table was infectious, everyone was feeling good and looking forward to the surprise event.

Only Cho Chang had a face like a wet fish, Cedric sitting beside the Veela was bad enough but then to ask loony to the Ceilidh was just being spiteful as far as she was concerned. She didn't know that a man with a long white beard thought so too, and because of this there would be plenty wet fish in her future.

Albus was delighted with the announcement of the dance, he had of course already chosen the Hogwarts pair's hostages, this gave him the chance to observe the other two. It was blatantly obvious why the French Veela asked Mr Creevey so he would have to closely observe her on the night and see who she danced with, it appeared though that Mr Krum's choice was already made.

Albus could see their unity making a mockery of the tournament but had something up his sleeve for the next task to ensure that didn't happen, he was after all still the greatest wizard alive.

Ron Weasley sat oblivious to all the merriment that surrounded him, his entire concentration was focused on doing justice to the feast presented here. He missed Dean and Seamus asking Lavender and Parvati to the dance, his brothers and Lee asking the three Gryffindor chasers also went unnoticed. The only legs and breasts he was interested in at the moment currently had succulent juices running out of them and went great with roast potatoes, he reached out for his third helping of chicken.

-oOoOo-

Their plan with Sirius backfired as, not only did he love the idea of kilts but insisted on making all the arrangements as well as paying for them. Citing that his family fortune had sat there growing while he was in Azkaban and the ministry were now offering him compensation as well so he was due a spending spree.

A Hogsmead weekend had been announced to allow some preparation and Sirius had booked the entire tribe into a kilt makers in Edinburgh on the Saturday, that famous city wouldn't know what hit it!

They had acquired a tartan catalogue from the shop and Sirius was delighted to discover there was a Black clan tartan so his decision was easy, Tracy and Daphne wanted to honour the head who'd saved their house so their dates, Blaise and Theodore would be wearing Black tartan kilts.

Of the Hufflepuff contingent only Susan's date Ernie had a clan tartan, it was even in their house colours so the four puffs would be wearing Macmillan tartan

Remus also loved the kilt idea but chose McGonagall tartan to honour the woman who'd been his head of house for seven years and actually gave a werewolf a prefect's badge. Remus still had it and it was amongst his most prized possessions, he still considered receiving that badge as one of his best ever days. The other Gryffindors thought his kilt was a great idea and all decided to wear the same, all except Colin since his 'date' was a champion.

Harry never expected there to be a Potter tartan but the name he did see there surprised him, he also thought it would be entirely fitting. "Hermione, do you think your dad would mind if we wore the Granger clan tartan?"

Hermione's eyes glistened with moisture as she answered her betrothed, "Harry I think he would love it!" She then proceeded to give him one of her special reward kisses.

While they were otherwise occupied the rest of the group thought this was a brilliant idea and agreed, especially when Millicent noticed the tartan base colour was green. The four champions and their dates would be dressed like muggles, in a design that honoured the non-magical parents of one of their best friends. Not only were they pleased with the message of unity that presented but all genuinely liked Dan and Emma, they were after all going to be teaching them how to dance at a Ceilidh.

The twins absolutely loved the dancing, their natural exuberance was perfect for this most social of dancing events. Dancing as part of their group when performing 'Strip the Willow' was almost dangerous, they could see any group with Hagrid and Madame Maxime being a hoot.

When they all attended there were fourteen couples and they were able to hold their own mini Ceilidh in the training room with the CD player. Emma and Dan taught them the basics before introducing the concept of progressing to the next group, no one thought Hogwarts was quite ready for the ladies moving from partner to partner, they were close but did not want to tempt fate yet.

Minerva and Filius watched one night and the Grangers were approached about teaching a few classes in the castle, when she discovered Dan was something of a Burns aficionado, she immediately invited him to offer 'Address to a Haggis'.

Even without the whole magical background, Dan Granger understood what an honour this was. He'd never even been asked to do this at his golf club's Burns Suppers, another two names were added to the Edinburgh shopping trip on Saturday.

Filius was delighted, he'd originally been earmarked to perform that poem but this now freed him to give a rendition of his favourite, Tam O'Shanter. What disappointed him was the continual lack of Ravenclaws in this company, though with Miss Chang's latest stunt he couldn't see that changing anytime soon.

Flashback –

She spied her enemy walking along the corridor, this was her chance at some revenge. "Hey loony, you do know Cedric only asked you to the dance because you wouldn't be able to go otherwise?"

Luna had a genuine confused expression on her face, "Since Cedric is my friend and he knows that Colin is my boyfriend I would say that you're correct. We will accompany Cedric and Fleur and, as usual, be in their company for the entire night. It's just a way for us both to attend."

Mentioning Fleur and Cedric in the same sentence was too much for Cho, "That bastard Veela got her hooks into my boyfriend, how can any witch compete with her allure?"

"Fleur is my friend and has only ever used her allure once that I'm aware of. It was against Harry and had no effect, she has of course since apologised."

Cho was incensed, was this little tramp insinuating she couldn't hold on to her wizard? "You're loony Lovegood, you don't have any friends! They only use you because your daddy owns that stupid newspaper."

Luna held her head high. "I shall go to the dance with my friends and boyfriend and have a great time, what will you be doing Cho?"

"Why you…" Cho's rant and reach for her wand halted the second Luna's wand was pointed right between her eyes.

"I live with two professors, have private tutors and access to a library you wouldn't believe. I also train every day with four champions and I'm confident I can kick your jealous arse up and down this corridor. Do you want to see if I'm right?" Cho now realised this was a whole new version of loony she was dealing with.

"Where are your friends Cho? Did they finally get fed-up with your constant bitching or grow-up enough to know that bullying is wrong?"

"I don't see any of your so-called friends here either loony."

"Oh you don't have to worry about that, we've always got Luna's back covered." Harry, Hermione, Cedric and Colin walked round the corner from where they had obviously been listening.

Colin walked toward his girlfriend and slowly lowered her wand by gently placing his hand on hers, "Luna, don't do this, you're worth ten of her."

The real kicker though was when Cedric looked his ex-girlfriend up and down before adding, "Colin, I think you're underestimating Luna there."

This was too much for Cho who burst into tears and raced along the corridor, straight into Flitwick who'd also been monitoring the situation. "Is everything all right Miss Lovegood?"

Luna's wand was back up her sleeve in its holster while Colin held her hand, "Oh yes professor, everything's fine."

End Flashback –

Filius had yet to decide if it would be more of a punishment to make Miss Chang attend or confine her to the dorm, he could make strong arguments for both.

-oOoOo-

Dumbledore's nose was seriously out of joint, he thought his robes were splendid but the sight of the couples marching in, boys with swirling kilts and the girls in pastel coloured dresses with matching tartan sashes stole the entire evening. They were using house tables for the first part of the evening and only Ravenclaw didn't have anyone in a kilt. The champion's party were bedecked in green tartan and actually sat at the Slytherin table, much to the delight of Miss Bulstrode.

Minerva's eyes were filing up at the stirring sight of so many Gryffindors in McGonagall tartan, she stood to begin the evening. "Welcome everyone, as is tradition we will begin with the piping in of the haggis. Our night will consist of much dancing but with breaks for poetry and songs, celebrating the works of Robert Burns. Let the evening commence."

At that the doors opened and a piper led four elves who carried an enormous silver salver, containing a haggis nearly the size of them. The bagpipes stirringly reverberated off the walls as the procession made its way to the top table, the salver was levitated right onto the table in front of Dan.

Those who knew him could tell he was nervous but the rest of the hall thought he was fantastic, they all at least recognised the Grangers from the dance lessons held in this very hall.

To be honest Dan had lost them by the time he got to 'Great chieftain o the puddin'-race!' but the drama he lent to his performance brought them back. When he plunged the dagger into the haggis, the hall was hanging on his every word, even though they only understood about one in four.

After they had eaten Professor Flitwick's rendition of 'Tam O'Shanter' had them hooting with laughter and cheering as Tam and Meg made it over the bridge. He got a standing ovation when he finished, his voices and actions describing the poem more than the unfamiliar words.

The tables were cleared as the band started, everyone wearing a kilt immediately headed for the dance floor with their partner in tow. McGonagall found herself dancing with Remus and six Gryffindors in an eightsome reel, even Lee Jordan's dreadlocks didn't look out of place with him clad in his kilt and waistcoat.

The four champions and their dates formed their own reel and were soon spinning and twirling away, when the band announced the next dance was 'Strip the Willow' the twins shouts of joy could be heard above everyone else. The night had gotten off to a flier and looked all set to continue that way.

The small breaks for some poetry reading were welcome as it gave everyone a chance for a rest and to take on some much needed refreshments. Remus gave a powerful, heartfelt rendition of 'A man's a man for a' that' and had every single person in the hall wondering if Burns was a wizard. Witches, Warlocks and now a poem about equality read by a man who'd been discriminated against his whole life, it was stirring stuff.

The mood immediately lifted again as the band announced the next dance as the 'Gay Gordons'.

At the next break they were standing chatting to her parents when Hermione was sure Harry's name was announced, she turned to her betrothed who handed her a long-stemmed red rose before walking to the stage. Just when she thought Harry couldn't surprise her any more he pulls a stunt like this, her mum raised a questioning eyebrow but she could only shrug, the only one who knew what was happening next was Harry.

He looked so handsome on the stage in his kilt that her heart melted, that was until he began to sing and her whole body turned to mush. In her totally unbiased opinion she thought Harry was utterly brilliant!

O, my luve is like a red, red rose,

That's newly sprung in June.

O, my luve is like a melodie,

That's sweetly play'd in tune.

As fair art thou, my bonie lass,

So deep in luve am I,

And I will luve thee still, my dear,

Till a' the seas gang dry.

Till a' the seas gang dry, my dear,

And the rocks melt wi the sun!

And I will luve thee still, my dear,

While the sands o life shall run.

And fare thee weel, my only luve!

And fare thee weel, a while!

And I will come again, my luve,

Tho it were ten thousand mile!

Hermione slowly walked toward the stage as he finished singing, "Harry that was beautiful!"

"It needed to be, I was singing it for you." As they kissed the entire hall cheered themselves hoarse. This was a night that would be talked about for years to come, and repeated if Minerva McGonagall had anything to do with it.

Albus was left just having to choose someone for the Veela, she was very close to her group but appeared closest to the other champions and Miss Granger. He thought this type of dancing uncouth and not fit for wizarding society, if he didn't do something soon the great hall would end up getting transformed into a discothèque.

-oOoOo-

Igor Karkaroff sat alone on his ship sipping whisky, the vodka available in this country didn't deserve the name and he'd already drank all the supplies he'd brought with him. Being dragged in front of the dark lord would drive anyone to drink.

The strains of 'Auld Lang Syne' filtered down from the castle and alerted him that the Ceilidh was ending. His students would soon be returning and Igor couldn't help but think that his master didn't hand out any cups of kindness.

The task he'd been given would probably see his life ended, if it was successful he would be the prime suspect and rapidly arrested. If it failed then the dark lord would kill him. Igor wasn't aware of the muggle saying 'between a rock and a hard place' but certainly understood the feeling.

The scotch certainly tasted beautiful but that was not what he required tonight, oblivion from his troubles was his aim and for that his normal vodka was decidedly quicker. It was only four weeks to the second task and, barring a miracle, that was his life expectancy. Igor refilled his glass from the almost empty bottle.

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