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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14. Chapter 14

Petunia looked at her bedside clock and couldn't believe the time displayed there. She never slept past first light but the way things had been going lately it was hardly surprising she didn't wake.

After suffering the indignity of having a pest control van parked in their driveway for five consecutive days, clearing out an infestation that just kept returning time and time again. They then had to suffer the humiliating pictures in the local press, featuring the boy and his friends distributing toys at that orphanage. The story that the boy was of disreputable character just didn't hold water any longer.

Petunia was now afraid to show her face anywhere in the street, due to the number of nosey neighbours who wanted to ask her questions she couldn't really answer. She also had to suffer Vernon's constant bitching that they didn't know the boy had money for all those years he was in their care.

A few of the schemes he had thought up for getting his hands on all of the boy's wealth were beginning to scare her. That he could even consider some of those things left her wondering who Vernon Dursley really was.

Something was tugging at the edge of her consciousness and Petunia realised what was bothering her, if that clock was correct there should be daylight inside the bedroom. Half in hope that this was something that could deflect attention away from the Dursleys, but more in terror that this was next on the list of catastrophes to befall her family, Petunia opened the bedroom curtains.

What she saw was nothing, or should that be there was nothing to see, the entire window was black. With shaking hands she opened the window to find a few neighbours already outside staring at their house, she also noticed that their entire front garden was black. Driveway, path, even the grass and shrubs were all jet black.

Petunia walked down the stairs, hoping she was still dreaming rather than being awake and in this nightmare. Through the kitchen and out the black French doors to find a patio, furniture, fence and all greenery had been changed to black. On turning around she could see that every inch of the house was the same, even the windows.

Her once lovely house now looked like a giant lump of coal, it was almost as dark inside as the cupboard under the stairs since all the glass was coloured black as well.

She was standing in her back garden, wearing only her nightgown, with her mouth hanging wide open in shock. A neighbour's voice came from the other side of the fence and confirmed she was awake. "Interesting colour scheme you have there Petunia, though I hate to think what the residents association will make of it."

Petunia Dursley ran back into number four Privet Drive screaming.

-oOoOo-

Gabrielle ran into Harry's dwelling like a mini-whirlwind, whizzing up to everyone for a quick two-kiss greeting, trying to catch up on events using no more than a sentence before whizzing on to the next person. She took longer with Colin though, "Oh I can't thank you enough for the beautiful photographs of our holiday you sent. Mama nearly had a fit at the one of me and Fleur underwater. She couldn't understand why we were smiling and is much happier now about tomorrow, for that alone I thank you."

Apolline was standing being greeted by her hosts while watching her youngest daughter almost glow with exuberance. "Thank you Harry for taking Gabrielle to Australia, she really hasn't stopped talking about it since she came back. Except to continually remind us how long it would be until we came here. She's been counting down the days and has hardly slept from too much excitement. Your group has really made a big impression on both my daughters."

"Thank you Apolline but I must point out that Fleur is a big part of that group and Gabrielle was a delight to have, she's so full of energy it's possible to get tired just watching her."

Claude Delacour was much more observant and straight to the point, "Are you expecting trouble here?"

Hermione understood what he meant and answered honestly. "Tonight this place is going to be very busy, any of our friends who we consider may be taken as a hostage will be spending the night here. They think a detention is a small price to pay for not being at the bottom of the lake tomorrow. Knowing this, Barchoke has increased the goblin guards outside from two to ten. Gabrielle will be perfectly safe here but we would advise not going near the castle until after the second task."

Claude raised his eyebrows, "You really think they'd go that far?"

Harry tried to explain their reasoning, "I don't think there is a 'they' anymore; it's almost exclusively Dumbledore. Madame Maxine seems to be distancing herself from the tournament after the Umbridge debacle of the first task, while Karkaroff can't enter the castle. Barchoke hasn't been consulted and the ministry are sending Arthur Weasley to be their representative and judge, Dumbledore's doing all the organising as far as we can make out. This whole tournament was apparently his baby from the start and, since the four of us are not dancing to his tune, the great man is spitting his dummy out of his pram."

Victor entered with his parents and Fleur, this brought more screams of excitement from Gabrielle as she raced toward her sister, Victor handled the introductions between the Krum and Delacour parents.

The Grangers portkeyed in just as a worried Daphne and Tracy arrived earlier than expected. "Victor, Harry, when we finished potions today Dumbledore asked to speak with Millie for a moment. She told us to go on to lunch and she would catch up, she never did. When she didn't arrive for defence, we told Professor Black and he warned us to get our arses over here. He and Professor Lupin are spreading the word and our friends will all be bailing out the castle first chance they get."

Victor was raging mad, "The old man has gone too far!"

Harry was glad Kalina was here because she was the only one with any chance of calming Victor, he wasn't feeling too calm himself.

She currently had her hand on her son's arm, "Victor, you like this girl?"

It was a testament to how angry Victor was that he gave such an open answer to his mother, "She is a very nice girl who was my date for the dance, I got her flowers for Valentine's Day and now she will find herself at the bottom of the lake. Yes I like Millie and if one hair of her head is harmed…" Victor suddenly had an idea, "Harry, when Cedric gets here we four can go and take her back. The castle will help you, please?"

Harry really wanted to help his friend, "Victor, the four of us with the castle helping could probably achieve anything we wanted, but the old man would just grab another student. While you and I might think this was ok, we both know Millie would wipe the floor with us for allowing someone else to be put down there in her place."

The slight trace of a smile from his friend showed Harry he was right. Millie didn't want to be at the bottom of the lake but her sense of fair play would mean she wouldn't accept anyone else now being put in danger instead of her.

"We will rescue her first! I don't think she'll be too upset at being publicly recognised as the person Victor Krum would miss the most, especially if she gets to awake in your arms tomorrow."

Victor wanted there to be no misunderstandings, "We rescue Millie first?"

Harry nodded, "Unless they somehow get in here to snatch Hermione, Emma or Luna, but that my friend would be a war! It will be Millie first tomorrow, I promise."

Hermione asked, "What are we going to do about Dumbledore Harry? He's getting more and more desperate, desperate is dangerous."

"I think it's time to take Dumbledore down, tomorrow might just be the day for it."

Marko Krum couldn't believe what he was hearing, "Surely the man is too powerful for you to defeat him?"

Harry chuckled, "Oh I think we can be sure he would kick my arse in a duel, what I had in mind was more in line with a public humiliation. Our country believes Dumbledore can do no wrong, destroy that myth and you destroy the man."

The Gryffindor contingent arrived, all the people who were practicing for the Ceilidh were on the needing protection list, of the twenty eight only Justin, Ernie, Theodore and Blaise were not considered at risk. None of the champions could imagine a scenario where Justin Finch-Fletchley would ever be the thing they missed the most. Since their friend Hannah was dating him, not a word was said.

Hannah and Susan were actually last to arrive, Cedric had picked up on what was happening and escorted the girls to their last class of the day, sitting outside the door waiting on them, with his wand ready in his hand.

Remus and Sirius arrived to say that McGonagall was suspicious something was going on while Dumbledore appeared totally unconcerned. Moony informed the Gryffindors that they all had detention and would serve it tonight, here with him.

The resulting cheer had Sirius shaking his head, "These brash Gryffindors, when will they ever learn some subtlety? Miss Bulstrode has a detention for being out of her dorm after curfew, unless she has a very good reason for it. Miss Greengrass and Miss Davis will of course be tucked up in their beds."

The laughter was interrupted by Dobby announcing that dinner was ready. It was quite a group and the table had been expanded to accommodate everyone but Dobby and Winky enjoyed working their socks off. Especially the ones Harry brought his little friend back from Australia.

Kalina watched as her son scowled every time he glanced at the empty seat next to him, she asked Emma to explain why no one sat beside her son despite the room being very busy.

Emma smiled and whispered in her ear, "That's Millie's seat, no one else would dare sit there. The first night we met them she sat across from Victor, but ever since she has sat there."

A small conspiratorial smile crossed Kalina's lips, "We must talk later."

"If it's anything like last time, I won't sleep much tonight anyway. At least it's not bloody dragons this time, though I would be worried sick if Hermione was at the bottom of that lake."

Apolline patted Emma's arm in understanding, "I know just how you feel, my insides turn to ice with the thought that both my daughters could have ended up at the bottom of the lake."

Her youngest daughter chipped in, "I wouldn't be worried, I've seen them underwater and know they would come for me. They'll have Millie free in no time."

This earned Gabrielle a smile from Victor, his only one since hearing Millie was taken to be his hostage.

The Delacour and Krum parents had their own rooms while the Delacour sisters shared, Cedric and Victor were also sharing but the rest of their friends were bunking in makeshift dorms. The guys were in the training room while the girls had the lounge. Remus, Sirius and Dan were keeping guard on the connecting corridor, nothing untoward was going to happen on their watch.

A cloak-wearing Harry was standing behind a seated Dan, who was reading a book to keep himself awake until Sirius took over.

The opportunity for some mischief was just too good to pass up, "You do know wizards can make themselves invisible?"

Dan was out his seat as if he'd received an electric shock, "What the bloody hell!"

Harry couldn't contain his laughter and let the hood fall back, Dan's expression at seeing his head apparently floating was even funnier.

Dan suddenly got serious, "It's a good job I trust you with my daughter Harry, I'd hate to think you were using that to sneak about."

Harry let the cloak fall open so it was slightly less disconcerting for Dan, "I'm using my cloak to 'sneak about' but not in the way you think. I'm heading over to the castle and would prefer not to be seen, I've a feeling the old man is going to pull something tomorrow and I want some insurance. The thought of Victor's fist rearranging his nose is a pleasant one but in reality, outside the castle Dumbledore could take the four of us easy."

Dan was actually embarrassed with his comment, "Sorry son, I know there's far more likelihood of my daughter sneaking into your room. It's just so bloody disheartening to know that, even sitting outside her room with a shotgun, you could waltz right past me and I wouldn't even know. I've had all these scenarios running through my head since she was four, about how I would chase off the boyfriends who weren't worthy of my little princess and you negated them all. I guess what I'm trying to say is that you are more than worthy of her Harry, and I trust you to take care of her."

It was Harry's turn to be embarrassed as his joke had backfired and turned into quite a tender moment. Dan's words meant the world to him, "I think you're wrong Dan, I'll never be worthy of Hermione but I aim to spend my life trying to be. Now I better get out of here before we both end up crying like a couple of girls."

Dan pulled what he could see of Harry into a hug, "That's some cloak son."

The look of pride on his face was unmistakable, "It was my father's, I'll lend it to you some time."

Harry portkeyed to the castle while Dan no longer needed his book to stay awake. His mind was racing with the possible fun he could have using an invisibility cloak, he felt like a kid again as he sat chuckling to himself.

-oOoOo-

Harry was well acquainted with the infirmary so had no trouble making a portkey to take him there, he headed straight for the screened-off area.

There, lying on different beds were four people he immediately recognised, it took him a few minutes to work out what the old man was up to but then it clicked, division.

Ron Weasley was obviously his choice, though anyone who could think he was the thing Harry would miss most would have to be really delusional. Dumbledore's plans for a reconciliation with the prat showed just how much he'd lost touch with reality, either that or being barred from their accommodation had left him blind to what was really happening.

Next to Ron was Cho Chang, again the chances of Cedric and her getting back together were non-existent. Dumbledore seemed determined to renew old alliances with the hope that it would wreck the champion's group. Introducing Ron and Cho with their glaring jealousy just might, but only in the old goat's mind was that ever going to happen.

Roger Davies was next and had originally confused Harry until he vaguely remembered Fleur having one dance with him at the Ceilidh, this told Harry two things. That Madame Maxine had refused any of her student's participation in this task and Dumbledore was indeed getting desperate.

He also wondered if this was the manipulator's attempts to end the rift between Ravenclaw and the other three houses, since the champions had no contact with them it was strange that two members of that house found themselves as the things missed most. He doubted Fleur could even remember Roger's name.

The last bed was the reason Harry was here, Dumbledore had actually got something right. Millicent Bulstrode was like a flower, given the nourishment of friendship she had bloomed. She would never be a classic beauty but her wonderful personality could fill a room with warmth, laughter and love. Like his Hermione, she was a rare diamond that sparkled in the appropriate lighting.

By anyone's definition Fleur Delacour was a stunningly beautiful young woman, stand Hermione next to her and Harry's eyes wouldn't even see Fleur. Victor wasn't quite there yet but just by him showing an interest in her was enough to allow Millie to shine brightly. Her light attracting the Bulgarian like a moth to a flame.

Harry bent and kissed Millie's cheek before whispering in her ear, "I promise we will come for you Millie, you will awake in the arms of your prince."

He then did what he came for and cast monitor and tracking charms on Millie. Sal hissed that he was refusing an opportunity here and, after considering his words, Harry agreed. Harry cast the same charms on the other three hostages before leaving to carry out the rest of his business.

-oOoOo-

They made their way down to the lake as a group, Cedric's parents were there to wish them all luck and be introduced to Fleur and Victor's parents. Amos was attending as a parent, being minister with a son as champion was why Arthur represented the ministry today.

There were hugs and kisses all around with the girls making sure Victor wasn't left out. They were aware the one he wanted to be doing that with was at the bottom of the lake but that didn't mean they couldn't show him their support.

Kalina couldn't help but smile, "Victor's main purpose in coming here was to make friends, it would seem that he has achieved that."

The three mothers had all had a good gossip last night and were quickly becoming friends. Apolline agreed, "Fleur wished for the same but didn't hold out much hope, watching my daughters in that company last night was a dream come true for me. It is very difficult for a Veela to be recognised for herself yet they all just see Fleur and Gabrielle."

Emma partially understood, "I think it all stems from Harry's desire to be treated as 'just Harry'. If they can do that for him then a famous Quidditch player or a Veela is not such a great stretch."

Hermione had both arms around Harry and didn't want to let go, "I have my basilisk suit on under this robe, are you sure I can't come with you?"

"Sorry love, you know that's not possible. We'll be taking no chances down there and be back shortly." A final kiss and she headed off to join her mum.

The four champions, accompanied by Luna and Colin, made their way to the floating dock where Dumbledore awaited them.

Albus raised his eyebrow in question at the two youngsters who flashed their press credentials at him, he nodded and continued. "There are four people at the bottom of the lake awaiting rescue by the champions, Ronald Weasley, Cho Chang, Roger Davies and Millicent Bulstrode to be precise. They are all placed at various locations throughout the merpeople's village and you will have one hour to rescue your hostage." Albus couldn't quite hide the little smirk, consigning the hostages to different locations would force the champions to split-up.

Cedric soon wiped the smile off his face, "Can I ask just who I'm supposed to save?"

Dumbledore had his 'talking to petulant child' voice cranked up to the maximum, "Why Mr Diggory, I thought that would be obvious? Weren't you romantically involved with Miss Chang?"

"Just shows we can all make mistakes, I wouldn't lift a finger to help that jealous, bullying little bitch!"

Fleur butted-in, "Excuse me, who is Roger Davies? Do you have a picture so I may recognise him?"

Harry had to say something as Victor appeared ready to attack Dumbledore. "But past an hour – the prospect's black. Too late, it's gone, it won't come back. So this is my chance to finally see the back of that jealous git Ron or just more empty words spouted by a man who should have retired years ago?"

The smirk was long gone from Dumbledore's face and replaced with a scowl that almost matched the one Victor was aiming in his direction. Harry had every intention of ruining the old git's day, he cast a sonorus on himself, "Headmistress McGonagall, I need to speak with you right away."

This silenced everyone in the stands, summoning McGonagall as if she was some errant first year was a sure fire way to unleash that famous Scottish temper.

She apparated directly on to the dock, "What can I do for you Mr Potter?" Minerva figured Harry was going for a big play here and had already cast sonorus on herself.

Harry's voice could easily be heard by the entire crowd, who were now eagerly awaiting the unexpected pre-task entertainment, "Headmistress McGonagall, there are currently four Hogwarts students unconscious and held hostage at the bottom of the lake. Did you give permission for this use of students entrusted into your care?"

The sonorus was superfluous as mount Minerva's eruptions would probably be heard without it. "No I bloody didn't" she whirled on Dumbledore, "What the hell do you think you're playing at, putting MY students at risk?"

"The students are in no danger…"

Harry's voice boomed out over the lake, "You say they are in no danger, forgive me if I don't believe the man who employed Voldemort to teach us. Did you enquire with the Weasleys, Changs, Davies's or Bulstrodes if it was ok for you to use their children in this manner? Unconscious and hidden at the bottom of the lake in the hope we'll risk our lives to rescue them."

Dumbledore looked shocked, "What do you mean? You have to rescue them. That's what all these people are here to watch!"

"Well then they are going to be disappointed. The rules say we must take part, we intend to do that. It's not like the spectators actually paid to get in here."

Harry turned to a still fuming McGonagall, "Headmistress, all our friends slept in my accommodation last night, except one. We suspect that Dumbledore here abducted Millie after her potions lesson, she knew she was going to be a target and swore she wouldn't go voluntary. If that is the case, then I'm afraid Albus here has spent his last night in Hogwarts. He may not take these students' safety seriously but I do."

"Mr Potter, if I discover ANY of my students were abducted as you describe I shall be contacting the aurors. I'm afraid it would be pointless banning him from the castle as I intend to sack him here and now for endangering students."

Dumbledore tried to bluster, "I have the authority to take hostages under the rules of the tri-wizard tournament…"

Smack, for a small woman of ample build, Molly Weasley was a deceptively quick mover. Years of keeping Fred and George under control must have sharpened her reflexes. She and Arthur had apparated onto the dock and her hand had connected with Dumbledore's cheek before he could do anything about it.

"How dare you use one of my children for this, Ron was nearly killed in first year, Ginny had to be saved by Harry the next. Dementors nearly had Ron again in his third year and now you place him, unconscious and defenceless, at the bottom of the lake. Just who the hell do you think you are? What gives you the right to treat my children in this manner? If you're still in this castle after today, none of my children will be!"

Normally Arthur would be trying to calm Molly down but today he appeared ready to join her in beating-up Albus. Another three sets of parents were rushing to the scene with seemingly the same intent.

Minerva was quick to assure all the parents that Dumbledore had spent his last day working in Hogwarts.

Molly then spoke to Harry, "I know you haven't been friends since this arse Dumbledore started the tournament but I'm begging you Harry to save my boy."

Harry hated doing this but had no other option. "Mrs Weasley, Ginny and the twins stayed with me last night for protection from Dumbledore, I never figured Ron was in any danger. He's scattered the hostages all over the village in the attempt to force the champions to split up, it's too dangerous so we won't do that and I have already promised to save our friend. I'm sorry but you are just going to have to hope Dumbledore's promise that they are in no danger hold true."

Victor approached Graham and Glenda Bulstrode and gave a short bow, "Mr and Mrs Bulstrode, I apologise that your daughter's involvement with me has seen her in this predicament. I swear to you though that we will get her back and she had better be unharmed or there will be repercussions." His glance at Albus left no doubt who his anger was directed at.

Glenda was well aware of her daughter's infatuation with this young wizard, from his stance and body language it wasn't difficult to see he cared for Millie too. "Thank you for that, please don't blame yourself as we all know who is responsible. I will feel much happier with my daughter in your safe hands than anywhere near this moron."

With another polite bow Victor made his way back to the other champions, pulling his robe off as he went.

McGonagall went spare as Luna and Colin then revealed their basilisk suits, "Mr Potter, I cannot allow these children to accompany you. They are also in my care, if I didn't stop them that would make me as bad as that old arse Dumbledore."

"Headmistress, both Colin and Luna have press credentials that allow them to accompany us. More importantly for you, they also have parental consent letters. We practiced relentlessly in the Pacific Ocean and both are more than qualified to do this, otherwise they would be sitting in the stands like the reporters from the Prophet."

He handed over the letters and cancelled the sonorus charm, "Guys I have a few surprises for you." Placing two fingers in his mouth he blasted out an ear-piercing whistle.

Three Hogwarts boats came zooming out the cave they were usually stored in and stopped at the dock in front of the astonished group, "Victor and me in the first one, Fleur and Colin next with Cedric and Luna in number three."

They climbed into the boats and used banishing charms to get under way, they heard Luna ask, "Eh Harry, what is all this?"

The rest them noticed the items in the boats, "Blankets and flasks of hot cocoa, a little more to the left guys."

It was Victor's turn to ask, "How do you know to go to the left?"

"Because I have a tracking charm on Millie, the monitoring charm indicates she's in some kind of enchanted sleep that will be broken when she reaches the surface." The others were looking at Harry with expressions of awe on their faces, "What? I promised Victor we would get her and I had a sneaky suspicion the old man was up to something. I also promised Millie she would wake up in the arms of her prince! You better not make a liar out of me Mr Krum."

Victor had his hand on Harry's shoulder as he struggled for the words. "Cedric said after seeing the basilisk you should just be handed the cup, I agree but for a different reason. Thank you for this Harry."

When Harry called stop, they circled the boats and tied them together before diving into the freezing water. Their suits and gillyweed spared them the worst of it as they headed straight down, Harry in front as his tracking charm led them right to Millie.

The three mermen on guard were expecting one wizard, not a group of six to descend directly on top of them. They were waving their tridents threateningly until Colin started taking pictures, the light startled them and they attacked straight into a barrage of spells. The three mermen were soon lying there unconscious as Victor drew his goblin-made knife, making short work of Millie's bindings.

The commotion was attracting lots of attention and they had to get out of there fast, Victor had Millie in his arms and heading for the surface as the rest of them provided cover.

Harry had to grab Colin by the neck of the suit and drag him upward, the boy was so busy taking photos he forgot the people swimming toward him with the tridents weren't exactly being friendly toward wizards.

The flashes from Colin's camera combined with the spells raining down on them soon discouraged even the most ferocious mermen. Harry thought that Fleur and Cedric nailing the two who were in the lead might also had something to do with them giving up the chase, the group could now see the outlines of the boats above them.

When Millie's head broke the surface she was instantly awake but completely disorientated, looking back down into the water she could see whose arms were around her. Millie didn't hesitate but plunged her head back under to kiss Victor.

Harry watched, unsure whether to give Victor the antidote or offer Millie gillyweed so they could continue without the need to breathe, common sense won though as they needed to get into the boats.

Millie had been hit with several drying charms, had a blanket wrapped around her and a cup of hot cocoa in hand, but it was Victor's arm around her waist that provided the most comfort.

"I'm sorry guys, I figured why he wanted me to stay and was all set to say no but never got the chance. The next think I remember was waking up in Victor's arms." She couldn't help but smile at that memory.

Colin meanwhile was being berated by Luna, "What the hell were you playing at down there?"

"I got some fantastic shots, just wait till you see them…"

"Never mind the shots, you almost got yourself skewered! Those mermen weren't playing around, no picture is worth a trident in the gut."

A sheepish Colin was forced to agree but knew he was forgiven when Luna handed him a mug of cocoa. Harry, Cedric and Fleur had them heading back toward the dock.

Harry had just stepped out the boat when he had his arms full of Hermione, Cedric was left to offer an explanation to the worried parents. "I'm sorry but the merpeople attacked us as soon as we rescued Millie, if we didn't have the boats we would need to have fought them all the way to the shore."

All eyes switched to Dumbledore, "The merpeople were instructed only to intervene if you were assisting each other with your task."

Victor's angry eyes bored right through Dumbledore, "And who gave them that instruction?"

"I did! If you would only do what you were supposed to do then we wouldn't be having these problems…"

Harry interrupted, "Blaming everyone else for your mistakes again, not going to work this time old man. You will never set foot in Hogwarts again. Headmistress contact the aurors please, Millie wasn't even asked to participate."

They left the dock, being joined by friends and family as they made their way back to the cube.

Igor saw his master's plan go up in smoke and decided to make a run for it, his life was now forfeit with the dark lord. The dark lord accepted no excuses, even though he'd done exactly as asked and performed his task perfectly, Igor was under no illusion that anything other than death awaited him there.

When the failed plan was discovered, the ministry would also be hunting him within the hour. It was time to get the hell out of here.

He had his stuff already packed so his goals were to get on board his ship, then apparate away from here. That was as far as his planning went for now.

It was a dejected Dumbledore who waited at the docks for the merpeople to return the abandoned hostages when the time limit expired. Molly Weasley appeared on the verge of smacking him again as the clock counted down, Albus couldn't understand where it all went wrong.

How could they put their own group's safety over that of the hostages he'd chosen for them? He couldn't help but think had he been allowed to place Miss Granger down there, Harry would have battled the entire village. Albus didn't know his day was about to get a whole lot worse.

-oOoOo-

Graham and Glenda Bulstrode now understood some of the changes in their daughter, it was impossible to be in this company and not change. From the minister of magic to the muggle parents of Harry's betrothed, international Quidditch star to goblin banker. All life was here and mixing as if it was a normal, everyday occurrence. Glenda was looking on as her daughter was surrounded by friends, all asking how she was and congratulating her for getting out of there. Not once did she let go of Victor's arm and the young man didn't appear to mind in the slightest.

She felt a woman appear at her side, "My son usually has better manners than this regarding introductions but I think his mind is on other things at the moment. Hi, I'm Kalina Krum. Our children appear to be getting on well together, don't you think?"

Harry and Hermione were arm in arm and heading toward their bedrooms with the intention to change out of their basilisk suits when he seemed to stumble, the hissing of his ring was accompanied by some unaccustomed language. "That stupid old whiskered wanker couldn't even do that right! Molly will tear his arms and legs off for this."

All eyes were now on Harry but it was to the three redheads he directed his attention, "Ron's just been taken away from Hogwarts by portkey, he's currently scared shitless and in a lot of pain. I think Voldemort sprung his trap and missed!"

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