In this World and the Next

Not for Weasley fans, dark beginning and rating is for safety. A Re-do with payback on the menu H/Hr Complete

https://www.fanfiction.net/s/5627314/1/In-this-World-and-the-Next

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6. Chapter 6

Sirius was again lying in the extremely comfortable bed, wearing his borrowed pyjamas, but this time sleep eluded him. Today was in his top ten of happiest days ever but was by an exceedingly wide margin easily the strangest he'd yet lived. The recently amassed information was buzzing around his brain while Poppy's potions and Dan's exquisite single malt pulsed through his body.

Any doubts that this was some massive prank were dispelled by the sight of two eleven-year-olds playing McGonagall like a trout on a fly rod, they would return to Hogwarts on their own terms and Minerva thought it was all her idea.

The only crack in their armour was later that evening when Sirius tried to push for information about who Moony had married, it was obvious to the three adults present that their self-assured act was indeed just that, an act.

"Sirius you have no idea what we're dealing with here, we're trying to make things better but the whole mess could blow up in our faces at any moment. Last time Remus took a lot of convincing that he was worthy of a wife and that she loved him, furry little problem and all. We hope to save both their lives but I also want my godson to be born. Fighting dark lords we can handle but I think it would be safe to say both of us haven't a clue about matchmaking."

Hermione agreed with her husband, "Perhaps Remus having a job two years before the last timeline and you being legally free might build up his confidence enough to the point where he can accept someone young and beautiful could love him."

Sirius was desperate to make a joke about little red riding hood but could see it wouldn't be appreciated, instead he bade them goodnight as the tired twosome headed off to bed. The chat he had with Dan and Emma though was no less revealing.

"What you have to understand Sirius is that they don't need parental figures looking out for them, just providing unconditional love and support." Dan could see he was going to have to explain this comment so did his best, "We have the distinct advantage of having lived those extra years and knowing the people they were before coming back in time. When Harry and Hermione arrived in Australia they were two broken people, we watched and helped where we could as they slowly put one another back together again. Emma and I already have six months experience fulfilling the support role they need, they've relied on each other for so long that sometimes you can feel like an outsider. It's not anything they do consciously but you don't have to be around them long to see they watch each other's backs in every situation. Harry and Hermione have a relationship built over years of hardship and danger which has made them closer than any other couple I can think of."

Emma tried to help with an example he could relate too, "I assume you know what a mountain troll is?"

Sirius was really confused where that question was leading but nodded his confirmation anyway.

"Only a couple of months after starting Hogwarts, one of those creatures had Hermione trapped in a girl's bathroom and was determined to kill our little girl. Harry jumped on its back and stuck his wand up its nose to distract it away from her and they've been inseparable ever since. Don't think for one second that Hermione wouldn't do the same for him, that is the kind of commitment they have for one another and it's grown since then as they got older. Some of the stories they could tell you would turn your hair white."

Emma now had tears in her eyes and Dan's arm around her shoulders, "Harry has stood by our daughter through nightmares you wouldn't wish on your worst enemy, he's killed to protect her and will do so again. That bitch he dealt with this morning was the one who had tortured him at Hogwarts before sentencing them both to death. We listened by phone as they were arrested and I was a basket case, Harry was forced to sit there in restraints while they legally murdered the woman he'd just married. There will be no tears cried in this house for that evil bitch, I would have killed her myself given half a chance."

Sirius was left wondering just what role there was left for him to play in their lives, which was why he was unable to sleep. He was now a free man and able to make good on his promise to James and Lily, only to discover his eleven-year-old godson was not only married but had already defeated the monster that murdered his parents before returning back in time.

The pair had also told him that their plans would see Peter 'ratted out' next week, they refused any details but promised he would be there at his capture so Sirius had to settle for that.

Their grins when Minerva gave them the news that the Weasleys would also be returning to Hogwarts were nothing short of feral, all four refused to explain it later, though Harry's comment of 'they're our Wormtail' silenced the marauder. He knew what it was like to suffer the betrayal of a friend, if this indeed was the position of the Weasleys then Sirius wasn't going to say a word in their defence. In his mind Wormtail was going to die for his betrayal of James and Lily, he couldn't imagine what the Weasleys had done to be classed the same but all four clearly thought the comparison was a fair one.

Sirius had another problem, Moony had found himself a wife that the Potters clearly approved off. All the information he could gleam was that she was young, beautiful and bore Remus a son before both parents died fighting evil. He considered himself the most handsome, sophisticated and suave of the marauders. Sirius Orion Black, witch magnet, would not be last in the wife and family stakes. He was going to have to pull his bloody finger out and find the witch of his dreams soon.

-oOoOo-

In Hogwarts castle a certain headmaster was also having trouble sleeping, Minerva's news that she'd convinced the Potters to return was very welcome. The conditions they were imposing, while not unexpected were decidedly less welcome news to Albus Dumbledore.

That they refused to have potions taught to them by Severus was always going to be the case, given their very public decrying of the professor Albus expected nothing less. Black's apparent suggestion of a replacement almost brought a chuckle to the old wizard, he couldn't imagine Horace would reject an invitation to be the personal potions tutor to the boy who lived. Just the thought of being able to add Harry Potter and his young wife to his 'Slug Club' portfolio would see him beating a path to the Potter's door.

Minerva had also added accommodation at Hogwarts to sweeten the offered employment package. His deputy was obviously thinking it would be prudent to have a replacement already in the castle for when Severus eventually stepped over the very harsh line she was taking with him.

No it was the clause where they would only deal with their head of house, rather than the headmaster that really stuck in his craw. How was he supposed to start building a mentor relationship with the boy if Albus was specifically banned from contact with him?

Minerva left him no wiggle room with the description of what she found at the Grangers, the entire family studying prospectuses of Australian magical schools that the goblins had provided them with. She left Albus in no doubt what would happen if he interfered, or who would be shouldering the blame should they leave Britain. With the minister of magic as their new 'best friend', the headmaster understood he wouldn't survive the fallout if he was the one who hounded the Potters out the country. He wasn't totally sure he would survive the backlash of today's revelations at the ministry.

He was losing allies at an alarming rate, Severus and the Weasleys were damaged beyond repair, Minerva and Amelia were clearly on the side of the Potters while the young couple's endorsement of Cornelius left them practically untouchable at the ministry. Their backing of the minister and his administration would mean Fudge moving Heaven and Earth to retain that golden endorsement. This not only stripped Albus of allies but left him standing alone as a target for the public's anger, he didn't need Sibyll's tea leaves to accurately predict tomorrow was going to be very bad.

-oOoOo-

Lucius was having a bad morning as he left the minister of magic's office without what he came for, this was a new experience for the blond Slytherin.

Black's comment in the newspaper focused unwanted attention onto his past, a past he had so carefully spent years glossing over. Fudge had been no help whatsoever.

"Lucius what would you have me do? The article clearly stated that the man had been held incognito for the last decade. It's also a record of fact that you were involved, though under the duress and command of the Imperius curse. That it further mentions you never stood trial nor faced questions under truth serum is also a fact, whether you would choose to forget it or not. As far as I can see there is not one word of lie in that story, so how do you expect me to support your proposed charges of slander?"

Lucius was seething, well aware that had the same paper not printed in bold headlines that the Potters supported Fudge, Cornelius would have no qualms about backing his proposal. At the moment everything in the garden was rosy for the minister and he wasn't about to give the press any excuses to go digging for dirt.

Lucius had heard from Draco that the Potter brat had openly ridiculed his death eater family, publicly stating that he wasn't afraid of the Malfoy name or those who carried it. His first instinct had been to head to Hogwarts and make sure Severus dealt severely with the arrogant little shit, now he was glad he didn't.

The boy's actions had seen dramatic changes and not all of them bad, from the Malfoy point of view. Severus being forced to behave was no more than an annoyance at the moment, but losing influence at the ministry could be serious. On the other hand the Potter brat had practically destroyed the blood traitor weasels, and a certain old muggle-loving fool was unquestionably in far deeper shit than Lucius was.

That arse Fudge had casually mentioned truth serum and trial to put Lucius in his place, giving Potter any reason to demand such a thing would be a really bad idea. He could just imagine the minister, like an eager puppy waging his tail as he complied with the boy's request.

The Slytherin thing to do would be to wait and see how this played out before making any moves, he would have to owl Draco to keep his eyes open and stay out of trouble, especially with Potter. He was aware his son had the very un-Slytherin habit of shooting his mouth off at the wrong time, Lucius was hoping the boy's attendance at Hogwarts would teach him some restraint.

Lucius was unaware that the owl would be too late to avoid Draco's latest episode in stupidity.

-oOoOo-

Neville had just received a package from his grandmother containing a remembrall when a beautiful snowy white owl landed beside him and held out its leg, he was almost shaking with excitement when he discovered who wrote the note she was carrying. The Potters had said they wouldn't forget about him and here was the proof.

Hi Neville

Told you we'd keep in touch! Things have been quite crazy here or we would have written sooner, please take everything said or written about us with a pinch of salt. The latest news is we have reconsidered moving to Australia and will give Hogwarts another chance. We will be returning on Monday and fill you in on everything that has been happening since we left.

Our new friendship with you was one of the deciding factors in our decision as neither of us has so many friends we can afford to throw a good one away. Keep your head down and don't get into too much trouble until then and we'll see you soon.

Your friends

Harry and Hermione

Neville couldn't believe the evidence his own eyes were providing, he had friends.

A voice he was coming to hate pulled him out of this pleasant feeling, "Oh look, the squib's got a remembrall!"

Neville turned around to see Malfoy and his goons laughing at him, the blond ponce made a grab for the sphere in his hand when mild-mannered Neville Longbottom reacted. The entire episode lasted mere seconds but the changes it brought would have far reaching effects.

As Malfoy attempted to grab the remembrall, Neville closed his hand over it, tightly trapping the Slytherin's meticulously manicured fingers. A panicking Draco used is other hand to reach for his wand, leaving Neville only one option.

He used Draco's trapped hand to pull him forward before using his other hand to put his fist forcibly and squarely into the posturing peacock's face. Neville liked the sound it made so pulled Malfoy back and punched him again. The heir to the Malfoy fortune had never been physically struck in his life and had no idea how to deal with it, Draco continued to try to free his wand as Neville pounded on him again and again.

Crabbe and Goyle began to move when the first punch was thrown, unfortunately for them Neville's Gryffindor year-mates moved quicker. Lavender Brown smacked Vincent in the face with the plate containing her half-eaten breakfast, seeing how effective this was Dean Thomas used the same tactics on Gregory. Both Malfoy's bodyguards were out of the fight and Draco himself slumped to the floor when Neville released him.

Snape was there with his wand drawn and looking for Gryffindor blood, fortunately for the lions, the leader of the pride was right behind him.

"Professor Snape, put your wand away immediately. These are children in our care, simply trying to have their breakfast in peace. There will be no foolish wand-waving here."

Snape was not for backing down, his godson was lying on the floor bleeding and he wanted retribution. "Three members of my house have been subjected to a vicious and brutal attack, the perpetrators should be at least expelled."

Minerva stared him down, "I am just about to investigate the incident and you should know from personal experience I will take the appropriate disciplinary procedure that any errant misbehaviour warrant."

She turned her back on the fuming professor to speak with Neville, "Mr Longbottom, could you explain what happened here please?"

It was an empowered Neville who answered his head of house, a Neville who had friends and just witnessed his housemates defend him. "Malfoy tried to steal my remembrall professor, when I wouldn't give it to him he then reached for his wand so I punched him!"

Draco was lying on the floor with his wand beside him, lending credence to his version of the event. Snape couldn't allow this to get away from him, "He probably only wanted a look and this stupid boy overreacted."

Minerva's stare had Snape taking a step backward, "Professor, I don't know how things work in Slytherin but in Gryffindor we look with our eyes, not our hands!"

She turned her back on him again which further infuriated Snape, "Miss Brown, could you explain your actions please?"

Lavender took a deep, calming breath before answering, "Well professor, you told us our house would be our family while we were in Hogwarts. I saw someone attacking a member of my family so did what I could to help. Surely you don't expect us to sit here and watch three people attack a member of our family without helping?"

The head of Gryffindor wanted to give her cub house points for an answer like that but her sense of fair play just wouldn't allow it, she was loath to punish them though so stole a page out of Severus's book. "While I admire your spirit Miss Brown I'm afraid the rules state you should have let a professor deal with the situation. You, Mr Longbottom and Mr Thomas will be joining me tonight in my office and we'll discuss matters like these further."

She could see the crestfallen looks on the Gryffindor's faces so gave them a less than subtle hint of what would really be happening. "Please don't stuff yourselves at dinner as I will ask the house elves to supply us with some cakes and refreshments for our discussion." The twinkle in her eye would have done Dumbledore proud and immediately lifted her entire house, that and the fact Snape almost had steam coming out his ears.

"Is that all?" he demanded.

"Oh sorry Professor Snape, I was leaving the punishment of the three Slytherin attackers to you. I will certainly punish them if you are unwilling or unable to do so."

She could see he was on the brink of an explosion and Neville unwittingly provided the fuse for her to light. "Professor McGonagall, I've just heard from Harry and Hermione. They told me that they're returning to Hogwarts."

The entire hall was now quiet as they listened in, "Yes Neville, I spoke to them last night. They are hiring a private potions tutor and want you to join them for the lessons, in fact they have offered the same to all their Gryffindor year-mates and were only sorry they didn't get a chance to know you all better."

As she expected, Snape went off like a rocket at this news. "I'm the Hogwarts potions master, I alone teach this subject in Hogwarts."

Minerva was more than ready for this argument, "The facility has always existed for a student to hire a tutor if they believed it was in their best interest. The Potters are paying for this and have very generously allowed their housemates to participate if they wish."

"Oh hell yes!" was Lavender's answer for all of them.

Snape was indignant, "I will not stand for this!"

Minerva was almost casual in her dismissal of the man's tantrum, "You are of course at liberty to resign. The fact that I will have another registered potions master residing in the castle by next week would allow me to forego the necessity of you having to serve a period of notice. The final decision is of course yours to make."

Snape spun around and approached the headmaster, "What is your opinion of this matter sir?"

Albus hadn't seen the incident that triggered this or any of the by-play, his entire concentration was absorbed by the newspaper in front of him. The vilifying of Albus Dumbledore was as brutal as it was truthful.

Black was a free man, Umbridge was dead and now everyone knew what had transpired that fateful night. Apparently the only thing Albus Dumbledore wasn't being blamed for was the Chudley Cannons loosing again.

The real problem though was that the story was the truth, Albus had a lifelong aversion to people learning the truth but was powerless to fight this.

He had taken baby Harry away and left him on a doorstep, against the child's parents express wishes. He had then never once returned to see how the boy was being treated.

He had left Sirius Black in Azkaban when he had the power to grant him a trial, or even visit the prison himself.

He was the headmaster who sat and took no action as Molly Weasley tried to attack one of his students.

He was the person who erected the duelling wards that didn't take into account someone bouncing off them and finding themselves getting up close and personal with a dementor.

The elves were going to be working overtime today, dealing with the deluge of howlers and a 'request' from the Hogwarts board to explain his actions was a foregone conclusion.

Had the Potters actually left the country, Albus would probably have to go into hiding though he was far from off the hook. Harry had already shown by his treatment of the Weasleys that he could be ruthless, Albus expected no mercy.

His thoughts were interrupted by Severus whining something about Minerva, "Professor Snape, I have already intimated this on several occasions. Professor McGonagall has my complete trust in the way she handles her position, I will not answer this question again."

Snape stormed out the hall as Minerva made her way back over to the three Slytherins that Poppy was currently treating, "Since your head of house didn't see fit to punish you then it falls to me, report to Mr Filch after dinner tonight." Draco was all set to protest loudly when he was cut off by a stern McGonagall. "If you wish to dispute this we can easily arrange to stretch the detentions to cover the rest off the week. You and your companions little forays to the Gryffindor table to taunt and bait other students will stop now. Nature teaches us that when you upset a pride of lions, a mauling is the inevitable result."

Draco so wanted to spout that his father would hear of this, but with Madam Pomfrey currently repairing his mouth, that action was momentarily beyond him.

-oOoOo-

Sirius was enjoying his breakfast when Harry spoiled his appetite, "Sirius, we understand why you hate the place but we need to go to Grimmauld today."

He placed his cutlery on the plate just as Hermione offered him an explanation that was as shocking as anything he heard yesterday. "There is something there that your brother stole from Voldemort in order that the evil bastard could be killed. Regulus was fighting for the right side when he died."

Sirius was speechless and fighting back the tears so Harry continued, "He created horcruxes Sirius, when Regulus discovered this he gave his life to remove the item from where Voldemort had secured it. Kreacher has been faithfully guarding the necklace but was unable to destroy it, the goblins have already agreed to do the deed so we need to get the necklace to Gringotts."

Sirius felt Dan Granger's hand settle on his shoulder in an offer of support, "The kids told us they went through hell to get this the last time and it even cost Dumbledore his life, I can understand you not wanting to go back to your childhood home but this evil needs to be destroyed. It can be done by lunch time and then you and I can spend the evening in our local pub getting wasted, I know I definitely need something stronger than the few scotches we had last night."

Sirius never took his eyes of his godson, the love he felt for this boy knew no bounds. "Yesterday you gave me back my freedom and today you give me back my brother. I have been made welcome by this wonderful family and you'll have to excuse my tears, having nothing to feel happy about for so long has left me struggling to deal with these strange emotions. I just want to say thank you to everyone and Dan I'd love some company when getting blinding drunk tonight."

Dan squeezed his shoulder, "Harry and I tied one on a couple of times in Australia and felt better for it, especially as Hermione can brew the hangover cure. We're going to have to wait a few years before he can join us but just don't play him at pool for drinks, I was up and down to the bar all night."

This brought a chuckle to everyone, Hermione had loved watching her dad and Harry head off down the pub together. This also gave the Granger girls time to sit back on the porch with some chilled wine and chat, usually about their two men in the pub. Even though they weren't a couple in the romantic sense then, the hope of this being achieved someday was what had kept Hermione going.

It was Harry who spoke though, "You were killed before we found out the last time Sirius and we never got the opportunity to tell you, that won't be happening this time around. We should probably get that prophecy sphere out the ministry as well, destroying it before anyone else discovers its existence."

Sirius had heard about the prophecy last evening and reiterated his promise to aid them, "I will go to Grimmauld Place today, help you with anything else you need and even try to stop asking so many questions about the future. What you have done for me in the last twenty-four hours is nothing short of miraculous!"

The marauder now had a busy day in front of him, a visit to his old house, a trip to Gringotts then shopping for his own clothes. He would be ready for those drinks tonight, Sirius could actually use one before entering his ancestral home.

-oOoOo-

The Weasleys were leaving their ancestral home for the last time, everything was packed, shrunk and stored. Molly had been in tears all day but was inconsolable as her children flooed from the Burrow, never to return. The realisation that the house her family had been so happy in would not be here tomorrow was finally hitting home to the Weasley matriarch. Combine that with the fact her husband had barely spoke to her, far less offered any comfort, and Molly was as miserable as she'd ever been. That the whole family blamed her for their troubles had led to a lonely few days as she had been avoided whenever possible, Ginny wouldn't even look in her direction.

Arthur practically pushed his wife into the floo before taking a moment in the now silent house to reflect on his life here. There had been more happy times than sad but he couldn't help the shiver that ran down his spine with the thought that the Weasley family's troubles were far from over. The fine wasn't as heavy as Arthur feared, giving them a better stab at a new life somewhere else. Charlie had also been in touch to offer any help he could, Arthur knew dragon handling was a calling, rather than a career and his second son wasn't well paid. Just the lad making the offer lifted Arthur's spirits and gave him hope they could come out the other side of this stronger.

Bill was going to take the boys back to Hogwarts on Monday before they left Britain to seek employment elsewhere, Arthur had no intention of allowing Molly anywhere near the castle and was struggling to forgive her for the trouble she'd caused. Perhaps if she would realise what she'd done then maybe they could begin to patch things up, but as long as she kept blaming the Potter boy for everything then Arthur had no intention of forgiving his wife. Normally he would just have agreed with the woman as he sought a quiet life, he knew that part of this was his fault for not standing up to her more often.

His wife was an opinionated woman, her greatest fault though was in thinking that everyone wanted, no needed to hear her opinion on everything. At the heart of the problem was the fact that she thought she was entitled to grab the Potter boy and give him a piece of her mind. That the boy's wife had objected and the couple had then put forward charges was them being 'bloody minded' as far as Molly was concerned.

Arthur could and had made a lot of allowances for his wife but this was a step too far, unless she could face up to the fact that she was wrong then he just couldn't see how this could be resolved.

One last longing look and he entered the floo, it would be tight at Muriel's but it wasn't for long. Soon the boys would be off to Scotland and the three adults heading for Europe, leaving little Ginny behind. Now that really broke Arthur's heart.

-oOoOo-

Emma had been amazed at the magical blueprints for their new house, if they wanted to alter the size or layout of a room then one of the kids just used their wand to pull a wall to exactly where they thought it should be. This gave them unlimited options and was a lot of fun though Hermione kept trying to make the library bigger, it would seem some things never change. The magical world might not have computers but this was as close to a design program as to make no difference.

They wanted the house to be a combination of magical and mundane, there would be electricity and phone lines while the water and drainage would be provided by runes. The kitchen would have all modern appliances but with liberal use of self-cleaning charms to make the devices really labour saving.

With the plans at a stage where the family were all happy with them, the magical builder was then talking weeks to have it completed, and apologising because their mixture of specifications would make him take that long.

Emma's first sight of the burrow left her totally confused, this was a beautiful setting in Devon yet the building jutted up into the air like something a four-year-old would build using Lego. They had all this land yet had made the rickety structure at least four stories high, Emma could see no sense to it.

As the contractors started tearing the building down she noticed Harry had Hermione held tightly in is arms, comfortingly whispering in her ear as she watched a place they had once loved raised to the ground.

Emma also noticed a little blond girl in the trees and brought it to their attention, this had the effect of immediately ending the funk that both had been slipping into. The young couple walked slowly over to their friend, hoping they didn't spook Luna into running away before they could talk.

Their hearts went out to this frightened little girl who was standing here alone, with tears running down her cheeks, "I'm sorry, I know I shouldn't be here but my best friend, my only friend lived in that house and now I'll never see her here again."

The impulse to hug Luna was almost overpowering, Harry tried to talk to her. "Well we'll be living here very soon and always have room for new friends, you're very welcome to come by here anytime you want. Our door will always be open and we need someone to show us around the place. Do you live in the village?"

Luna was half-expecting to be shouted at and told to 'get lost!' this was a surprising, yet very welcome change. "No I live with my father at the Rookery, we'll be your nearest neighbours. My name is Luna Lovegood, some people call me loony."

Hermione intended to nip that in the bud, "Not while we're around they won't, Luna is a beautiful name. My name is Hermione and this is my husband Harry, we're the Potters."

Luna's eyes focused at this, the Potters were both pleased that they didn't immediately shoot straight to Harry's scar though. "My friend Ginny told me she met you two." On seeing the expressions on both the Potter's faces, Luna thought she needed to clarify what she meant. "Ginny was very impressed with you Hermione, she described in great detail how you protected Harry from her mother and brothers." She hung her head down, "Ronald is the one who calls me loony."

This time Hermione couldn't hold back, she had her arm around Luna's shoulders. "Well he won't be doing it again if we're within earshot, nobody gets away with saying that about our friend."

Luna had tears in her eyes again, but this time for a different reason. "Ginny told me you looked really nice people, wait until I write and tell her I've not only met you but we're going to be friends."

The little blond seemed to have a problem with her last comment as her expression changed to that of sadness, this prompted Harry to speak out. "What's the matter Luna, you look upset?"

"Ginny is going to be staying with her Aunt Muriel as her parents go abroad looking for work. I wouldn't be a very good friend if I sent a letter telling her I've met two new friends while she is so miserable."

Both Potters had met 'Aunt Muriel' and shuddered at the thought of having to stay there, Harry would rather stay with the Dursleys any day of the week than live with her. At ten Harry at least had his cupboard as a sanctuary, Ginny was going to be subjected to Muriel's constant ranting without any means of escape.

Luna drew them out their reminiscing, "Ginny doesn't blame you for what happened, she knows her mother was at fault and has hardly spoken a word to her since. For years she dreamed of meeting Harry Potter, then when she actually does her mother spoiled it for her. Now she's forced to stay with a woman nobody can stand, I just hope she gets to Hogwarts next year."

Hermione couldn't help but admire Luna's devotion, but then again she was the same in protecting the few friends that she'd made. "We're going back to Hogwarts as well but, because we're a married couple, we will be coming home every weekend. We will be back here next week to see how the building is progressing and can meet you again if you want?"

"Oh that would be wonderful! Could I bring my friend Ginny? She could floo and stay with me for the weekend That would not only give her a break from her aunt but something to look forward to."

Harry and Hermione may have returned with hardened attitudes and a wide streak of ruthlessness but they were in no danger of turning dark. One glance at Luna's hopeful expression totally melted their hearts, there was just no way they could refuse her. Seeing Ginny at Hogwarts had brought home to them just how young she was, they would give her a chance as Luna's friend.

"Yeah sure Luna, come on over and meet my mum, dad and Sirius."

"Oh Hermione, do you think Stubby Boardman would give me an autograph for my dad? The Hobgoblins were his favourite group before he quit." The hope expressed in those eyes again got a positive answer, they were just hoping Sirius played along with them.

Emma had carefully watched the entire scene and had never seen a person change moods so quickly, the girl had been crying at first yet was now holding Harry and Hermione's hands as they skipped towards her. She knew Luna was the reason they were moving here, she and Neville had been the two people who'd never let Harry and Hermione down. Having someone described to you as 'interesting' meant Emma couldn't wait to meet the girl.

-oOoOo-

Another little girl was sitting on her father's lap, crying her eyes out. It was bad enough they were all going away to leave her, they were leaving her with her Auntie Muriel for Merlin's sake! The thought of being stuck here and not seeing any of her family until at least Christmas was having a devastating effect on Ginny.

She didn't know there was currently an owl winging its way to her from Luna that would help banish her tears. There was life after the Burrow for Ginny, she just hadn't found it yet!

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