Harry Crow

What will happen when a goblin-raised Harry arrives at Hogwarts. A Harry who has received training, already knows the prophecy and has no scar. With the backing of the goblin nation and Hogwarts herself. Complete.

https://www.fanfiction.net/s/8186071/1/Harry-Crow

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93. A Different Halloween

Molly sat beside her youngest son, trying desperately not to embarrass him by pulling Ron into the motherly hug she thought he needed. She'd certainly had reservations on hearing her boy was dating Lavender Brown. Thanks to the girl's father, the entire magical community now knew what had almost happened at the summer fayre. The only reason that she hadn't written to Ron forbidding this relationship was because Molly knew it would have the opposite effect, she had no intention of pushing her son further into Lavender's arms.

Her eyes were drawn to some other flashes of red hair in the stadium. Percy and Penny were sitting next to Bill, it was the blond girl beside her oldest son though that Molly's attention was zeroing in on. They were clearly on good terms, and the blond witch also had her arm around a first year Hufflepuff. Molly needed information and chose her source carefully. Ginny was clearly worried about Harry's involvement here today, there was more chance of her daughter letting something slip.

"Ginny, do you know who that is sitting next to Bill?"

"Oh, that's Jenny Abercrombie. Her son, Euan, is a Potter Scholar."

Knowing that pureblood Orla Quirke was also a Potter scholar, and the stipulation Harry had placed on the scholarships, Molly then had another question for her daughter. "Isn't Euan the muggleborn scholar?"

"Yes."

The conclusion Molly reached from Ginny's answer shocked the mother to her core. "...but that would make Euan's mother a muggle?"

"Yes." Ginny didn't even turn her head around as she answered her mother, seeing absolutely nothing wrong with the situation if Bill and Jenny dated.

Molly certainly saw plenty wrong with that scenario. Her eldest son dating a muggle, a muggle who was old enough to have a son at Hogwarts. What else was this muggle woman hiding? Where was the boy's father? She was just about to loudly spout her opinion when a hand clamped on her arm.

"Molly, this is none of our business. Bill is a grown wizard, holding down one of the most important positions in Britain, he no longer needs or will tolerate his parents telling him what to do."

"But Arthur..."

"No, Molly, I forbid it. Bill, myself, Percy and Penny all have jobs that can and do place us in the public eye. As matriarch of the Weasley family, what you say and do in public can now affect all of us."

Arthur gave this a moment to sink in before continuing. "If you want to have a QUIET word with him in private, that is certainly your right as his mother. If you go off on some rant, I think we both know how Bill will react. I also think you need a lot more information before jumping to any conclusions."

She wasn't about to let that go unanswered. "How am I meant to get this information when I hardly ever see him? Even today, why isn't he sitting with us?"

Molly saw she'd scored a point there when Arthur squirmed. "There's a reason he's sitting over there today, and it's nothing to do with Jenny. It's work related, Molly, and I can't tell you any more than that. I shouldn't even be telling you this much, so not a word."

She wasn't happy with that partial answer but Molly knew she would get no more. Sometimes she missed Arthur coming home and telling her about his day, Molly never thought she would be saying that about biting teacups and back-flushing toilets. There was just so much of Arthur's work that was now classed as secret. More and more, she only discovered what her family were up to by reading about it in the Prophet - usually the front pages too.

At least she had the consolation of knowing her children were all happy, apart from Ron - and he would soon recover when another pretty young witch caught his eye.

-oOoOo-

As Viktor left the changing room to face his dragon, the silence was almost total. They were obviously not meant to hear how their competitors faired, a full stadium would certainly be heard in the changing room.

"Arry, can I ask you somezzing? What is zzese 'ot dogs I 'erd ze 'ouse elves serving?"

This actually started Harry laughing, that was until he noticed Fleur was actually trembling. He got up and wrapped his friend in a hug. "I'll make you a deal. After the task is over, I'll make sure Roger gets you one. Try a goblin ale too, it's delicious."

The French champion could feel herself calming, just from being held in Harry's strong arms - she could also feel something else. Harry wasn't affected in the slightest by her allure, it was quite the opposite.

Her veela side was practically singing that here was someone she should bond with, the quiet power practically radiated off Harry. Knowing of his committed relationship with his mate knocked that idea right on the head, he and Hermione only had eyes for each other. Both were her friends too, and Fleur didn't have that many good friends that she would want to throw two away by stupidly chasing something that could never be.

She was still in his arms when they called for her. Harry gave Fleur a kiss on the cheek, along with some last minute advice. "Just do your best, Fleur. No one can ask more than that of you."

The French champion squared her shoulders and walked out the door, Fleur's new found determination visible with every step she took.

-oOoOo-

Sapphire wore a wide grin as the first dragon was led into the rocky arena they had created, seeing it was a nesting mother didn't even dent her smile. She put a comforting arm around Luna and pulled her clearly worried friend closer, trying to impart some of her confidence.

"Luna, Harry's a goblin. There's a reason why Gringotts has a dragon as our emblem, they are very important to us. So important, we are all taught about these magnificent beasts from a young age. This event is tailor-made for Harry, he'll know exactly what to do."

A lot of their friends were now drawing some of that same confidence from Sapphire's words. Hermione, Padma and Neville though appeared to be concentrating on something else, their eyes were constantly searching the arena.

They had hired a professional quidditch commentator for today's task. The organisers didn't think it was fair to throw Lee in at the deep end, since there was no chance they were going to tell a student what the task entailed beforehand. The commentator might have had time to prepare by studying dragons but Sapphire didn't think too much of his conclusions. While he was going into raptures about Viktor temporary blinding the dragon, the teenage goblin was rubbishing that approach.

"You have an opponent that is so much larger, stronger, fast as lightning and can toast you on a whim. Why would you want to poke it in the eye and make it angry? That's just stupid!"

Her words seemed to be proven correct as the dragon went crazy, blindly sending bursts of fire in all directions. Viktor was now scrambling for his life, barely managing to dodge the last couple of bursts of deadly flame. The dragon was so angry it had left its nest in search of the person who would dare attack it. Viktor bravely made a dash for his target, collecting his egg and vaulting over the dragon's angrily swishing tail as he ran for the exit and safety.

The dragon's tail though swung back and caught him totally unawares, throwing Viktor fifteen feet in the air before smacking into the wall - thankfully right next to the exit. He managed to claw himself to safety, much to the relief of the now cheering audience.

That same audience were surprised to see Dumbledore and Umbridge award Viktor ten marks each, the other three judges posting a nine and two eights. The Durmstrang champion hobbled back out to gratefully accept his forty five points, before being helped to a seat so Viktor could watch Fleur's attempt.

Sapphire was far more complimentary over Fleur's tactics. Those around the goblin realised they had an expert in their midst and were listening to her, rather than a commentator who was just describing what they were already watching. He appeared to be more used to working for a radio audience.

"She's trying to charm the dragon to sleep, a far more natural approach. That commentator shouting with his voice enhanced and trying to whip up the crowd certainly isn't helping Fleur's efforts."

Again Sapphire was proven right. Fleur managed to get her dragon asleep before carefully edging out the golden egg from under the snoozing giant. The idiotic commentator screaming 'she's done it' at the top of his enhanced voice got the exact response he'd hoped for, the crowd went wild.

This had the unfortunate result of waking the dragon, just in time for the Hebridean Black to spot a witch stealing one of her eggs. A sprinting Fleur made the exit with her robes now on fire.

A sheepish commentator had the decency to look embarrassed as he asked Madame Maxime for her mark. She may be glaring at him but that didn't stop Olympe giving her champion a ten, her reasoning being that Fleur would have earned a perfect score - but for his idiocy.

Augusta, Amos and Albus all awarded a very acceptable nine for an admirable effort. Dolores though was disappointed the creature wasn't barbecued and gave Fleur an eight for her attempt.

Wearing different robes and having to endure some greasy burn salve, it was a greatly relieved Fleur that sat beside Viktor to await Harry's attempt. She was also delighted to be tied with Viktor, though both secretly believed Harry was the one they had to beat. Watching as the handlers struggled to get his dragon into the stadium had both of them glad they didn't draw number three.

The size of the Hungarian Horntail even managed to silence the commentator for a moment, he wasn't alone in having that reaction. Sapphire though was unperturbed. "Okay, the Horntail is probably the worst choice Harry could have gotten, but it's still a dragon. Yes it's big but also a lot smaller than that basilisk this lot took down."

Luna was clutching on to her goblin friend, repeating to herself that Sapphire knew what she was talking about. The other three who had fought the basilisk were now on full alert. If there was going to be an attack, it would be shortly.

Harry entered the arena to silence, how could you cheer for someone who was about to face this beast? He had a quick look around before spying what he was looking for, a position where the dragon couldn't see what he was up to. Using his knife, Harry soon had two rocks transfigured into baby Hungarian Horntails.

The smile was back on Sapphire's face as she figured out what Harry was up to. All their friends were hanging on her every word, especially since it was clear the commentator didn't have a clue.

"Harry will use the dragon's natural instincts to his advantage. A mother will fiercely protect her eggs, that's nothing though to what she would do to protect the young after they hatch. Her maternal instincts are very high because she is nesting so she will certainly react to the babies. A nursing dragon will protect young that have hatched over eggs that have yet to do so."

A worried Luna had a question. "Won't she know those aren't her babies?"

"It won't matter to the dragon, Luna, her maternal instinct is so high at the moment she will simply adopt them. It's a good species survival trait, providing the babies are of the same species.

As the pair of wailing cubs waddled into the open, all could clearly see the conflict in the horntail's behaviour. It was studying the cubs while keeping glancing at the eggs she was sitting on. When Harry then conjured a panther, the horntail's decision was instantly made.

The big cat threatening the now terrified cubs saw the female shoot off the nest and slaughter the intruder within seconds, the panther never stood an earthly against the Hungarian Horntail. Harry used this time to disillusion himself and was probably heading for the golden egg.

The commentator felt he was on safer ground here. "Absolutely brilliant strategy, executed to perfection from our youngest champion. He's going to face another problem though, those eggs are spell resistant. The dragon is sure to notice an egg floating through the air...how in the name of Merlin did he do that?"

As the dragon used its wings to gently edge the two cubs back to its nest, the golden egg simply disappeared. The mystery was solved as Harry then reappeared at the exit.

"Oh, how clever was that? He simply wrapped the egg in his disillusioned cloak!"

The crowd was now going nuts, the champion most had come to see had just brilliantly outwitted a massive dragon without getting a scratch on him. Only those in the know realised just how clever Harry had been. By wrapping the egg in his robe, he didn't actually touch it. Portkeys only work with skin contact, and he'd just made sure there wasn't any between him and the egg.

While the handlers were now having to subdue the dragon, they knew better than to approach one with cubs, Harry sauntered over to sit beside Fleur and Viktor. There was no surprise when Amos and then Madam Maxime both awarded him tens. Dumbledore received howls of derision when his wand emitted a seven. His excuse that Crow, being a goblin, had prior knowledge of dragons not available to the other two champions cut no ice. The howls of disbelief simply got louder.

Dolores was next. She'd been agonising whether she could get away with going as low as an eight, Albus' score inspired her. Since this was her last involvement with the tournament, Dolores decided to go out with a bang - and poke Crow one in the eye at the same time. Her wand drew a five in the air.

It seemed that Dumbledore was only the warm-up act, the real villain of the piece had just arrived. It took a moment for the even louder howls of derision to die down enough for Umbridge's explanation to be heard.

"All these people are here today to see a show, not so a competitor could disappear. I awarded five points because I only saw him complete half the task."

That was too much for Augusta. "The youngest champion drew the worst dragon, yet completed the task in the quickest time and completely uninjured. To award five points is a disgrace. Then again, we really shouldn't expect much else from a witch who challenged the centurion to a duel on his twelfth birthday - and lost."

Augusta's wand then signalled a thirteen, to a massive cheer from the thousands in the stadium. The commentator though had some bad news. "While I totally agree with your sentiments, Madam Longbotton, the rules state that the maximum points any judge can award is ten. That gives the Hogwarts champion a total of forty two, and relegates him to last place."

It seemed as if the very angry crowd might actually wreck the brand new stadium until the commentator asked Harry for his opinion, silence fell as they awaited his answer. An unperturbed Harry just shrugged his shoulders before answering.

"I know I did my best, that is all that matters to me. The points are meaningless, especially with Madam Umbridge involved."

The other two champions were just as angry as the rest of the crowd, Viktor more so. He was honest enough to admit to himself his performance had been the poorest of the three, yet here he was jointly in the lead - with Harry last. His pride and honour had been taking a beating lately, it was time to change that. Casting the soronus on himself, he really put the cat amongst the pigeons.

"If Harry lost points because he had knowledge of dragons, I should too."

A puzzled commentator then asked the question that lit the touch paper. "Have you worked with dragons before?"

"No, Professor Dumbledore told me ve vould be facing dragons..."

The venom directed at Dumbledore came from every corner of the stadium, there were also a couple of rifles trained on him at this point too. No one knew how he would react to that accusation, Albus though only had eyes for a certain Durmstrang champion.

Viktor however was unrepentant. "Harry vas best, he should be vinning."

Amos had been able to relax and enjoy the tournament, actually thankful Cedric wasn't involved the instant he laid eyes on that Hungarian Horntail. Now though his temper was as hot as any dragon flame, and he fired it straight at Albus Dumbledore. "Not only do you tell your champion what the task would be, you then award him full marks - while docking Harry points for having knowledge of dragons! Your audacity and duplicity is only matched by your hypocrisy. I propose Albus Dumbledore is voted off the judging panel."

While livid, Albus still though he could get through this relatively unscathed. "I would like to bring your attention to the ruling that says such a decision must have the unanimous backing of all the other judges."

Augusta and Olympe quickly offered their backing, it was the third yes though that shocked Albus. Dolores was silent however, the yes had come from Tonks.

Amos wore a rueful grin as he delivered the decision. "Madam Umbridge's last involvement with this tournament was that ridiculous five she awarded. Auror Tonks then became the fifth member, fourth now that you are no longer part of this."

Augusta thought she had an acceptable solution to their other problem. "Mr Krum, that was a very brave thing you just did."

"I vant to vin, madam, but vill not vin by cheating."

"I was going to propose we dock you three points, making you level with Centurion Crow and leaving Miss Delacour with a narrow lead."

Harry shaking Viktor's hand seemed to signify that decision was accepted, it also brought Olympe further onboard with what they were trying to do. The Bulgarian champion wasn't quite finished yet though, he still had one more card left to play.

"Madam Longbottom, I vould like to request a favour. Could I transfer to Hogwarts for my final year? I must still represent Durmstrang in tournament, and promise I vill do my best. Spending the rest of the year vith Professor Dumbledore is not a nice idea."

Knowing this would have serious political implications, Augusta looked to Cornelius for some help before answering. The Minister of Magic had been a mere spectator here today, that just changed. With the incident in Hogwarts last evening and now this, Cornelius was well aware he could have Dumbledore out of Britain by tomorrow. The problem with that outcome was they would lose their information pipeline to Voldemort and his two death eaters. Cornelius was going to have to swear his Bulgarian counterpart to secrecy before telling Borislaw just what they were up to, otherwise Albus was out of here.

"Mister Krum, I shall be speaking with your Minister of Magic shortly, I will be sure to mention that your actions here today have been impeccable - and something all Bulgarians can be proud of. Unfortunately, the underhanded dealings of one of our fellow countrymen brought us to this point. That you wish to join Hogwarts to avoid contact with this individual is perfectly understandable, and has no negative implications for the proud educational establishment that is the Durmstrang Institute of Magic. The quality of that school can clearly be determined by the outstanding young wizard that is her champion. We would certainly welcome your stay in our country."

A much relieved Viktor felt a friendly hand clamp on his shoulder. "Welcome to Hogwarts!" The two champions shaking hands was the sign for the crowd to start applauding too. Both wizards took one of Fleur's arm as the three champions left their seats to great applause. The audience appreciating the after task entertainment almost as much as watching the champions face off against the dragons.

Fleur was walking as if on a cloud of air, a fellow champion on each arm and now unbelievably in the lead of the tournament. To complete a fabulous day, her family were in the audience watching her compete. It didn't get much better than this.

Hermione was ahead of everyone as she raced to embrace Harry, only when he was in her arms did she relax and whisper in his ear. ""Watching and waiting was torture. I want to be involved next time, knocking Dumbledore out the judging panel should make that easier to do now."" She then switched to English and congratulated Fleur and Viktor.

They were then interrupted by a little blond missile homing in on her sister. The French flowed so rapidly that even Harry had trouble following what was being said, that the little girl had been crying and was still clearly upset didn't help matters any.

Fleur barely had time to introduce Gabrielle to them before Madam Pomfrey grabbed both her and Viktor for a final check-up before they could leave the stadium. Harry then pointed a couple who were clearly looking for their daughters in the direction of Madam Pomfrey's station before he and Hermione headed off to meet the rest of their friends.

""I already sent Betsy off to tell mum you were alright, I expect dad did the same with Dobby. Watching that was murder, Harry.""

""We weren't really expecting him to make a move today, Hermione. The second or third tasks were always going to be the better options. I just can't understand Dumbledore's motives though…"" Harry had to break off as his arms were now full of witches and a female goblin. Padma, Luna and Sapphire got in first, with a queue waiting behind them.

As Harry was now getting hugged by Hannah, Susan and Pansy, Padma offered her opinion on the Dumbledore situation. "It's Bill Weasley from first year all over again, Harry. If Viktor hadn't spoken out today, Dumbledore would then have been able to blackmail him because he cheated in the first task."

This had Harry shaking his head. "Neville, sometimes I worry about her. She's the most devious person I know, yet the hat put our Padma in Ravenclaw. That either means she's scarily clever, or devious enough to fool the sorting hat."

"Why would I settle for just one? I'm deviously clever…and you also know I'm right about Dumbledore."

He may have agreed with Padma about Dumbledore but Harry's attention was taken up by a damsel in distress. He quickly headed for the crying girl, she was soon in his arms and clinging on for dear life.

"I'm sorry Harry, she saw you having to face that dragon and has been crying non-stop since. She spent the entire task with her face buried in my robes, too frightened to watch. It was obviously a mistake to bring her but she was desperate to see you, Hermione and Barchoke."

He was trying to soothe the little girl. "Hey Danielle, I'm fine. That big dragon never got anywhere near me. How would you like to come to a Halloween party now? You can even meet our baby brother, Jamie."

This got the little girl's attention, a party and meeting a baby. Danielle had been crying so hard however, she was left unable to speak. She did manage to nod her head though and Harry put her down between him and Hermione. Holding each of their hands, the cavalcade headed up to the castle. Harry then felt a little hand slip into his free one, turning his head to see Maggie Creevey now walking beside them.

"I was scared too, Harry, but Colin and Denis kept telling me you'd be fine. They were right."

"You have two very good big brothers Maggie, you can trust them to look after you."

Mary McDonald then only half-jokingly asked Harry if he had another hand for her to hold. That last dragon was the scariest thing she'd ever seen, yet Harry had controlled it like some overgrown sheepdog. Natalie was rolling her eyes at her mum's antics as their entourage just kept growing.

For the vast majority of the muggle borns' parents, this was the first time they would get to see where their children disappeared to for over nine months of the year. All were wearing wristbands that allowed them to see the castle and not one of them was disappointed with Hogwarts.

Emma and Henrica were waiting at the main door for Harry. Hermione and Padma were left holding the babies as both mothers wanted to wrap their arms around the Hogwarts champion and assure themselves he really was fine.

-oOoOo-

Albus wasn't fine, he couldn't remember when he'd felt worse. This actually surpassed the day Black punched him before his godson sliced through the Elder Wand with his sword. All Albus' plans had been foiled once more by a student attending his own school, he still couldn't believe the way Viktor had acted.

That stupid bitch Umbridge had started it all. Albus knew he was courting trouble awarding Harry a seven, he was counting on Dolores giving an eight. That would have left all three champions tied for first, something Viktor wouldn't have objected to. Then Albus could have slowly applied pressure on the boy to be his inside person in Crow's group.

But no, Dolores had to try and humiliate Harry by handing out a derogatory five, sparking Viktor's conscience and opening the entire can of worms. Albus felt someone sit behind him in the emptying stadium, a well known voice then spoke to him.

"I warned you, Albus, but you didn't listen. Things are changing and you can't stop them. You know why you can't stop those changes? Because people want these changes to take place."

Albus was not impressed with that comment. "People will want whatever they're told to want..."

Severus cut him off at that. "You still think telling the people what they want to hear is enough, that won't work anymore. Apart from the dark lord and his last two followers still being at large, the country has never had it so good. Parents have just been thoroughly entertained and are now getting to spend the rest of Halloween with their children inside the castle. That has never happened before, did it look like they cared there were muggles and goblins in the audience?"

The old wizard had no answer for that. With the flags, bunting and a dozen or so of those little stalls where people could get food and drink, the entire day had taken on a festival atmosphere. That everyone appeared to be enjoying themselves and not caring who they were sitting next to was one of the things that shocked Albus the most.

"The prefects and marauder trainers have organised tours of the castle for the visiting parents. There will be muggles and probably even goblins entering the Slytherin common room yet not one member of my house came to me to complain. That's how much things have changed, Albus, no matter how much you wish to deny it."

He then really looked at his former headmaster and Severus came to a shocking revelation. Stripped of his political power and public adulation, the comparisons between Albus and the dark lord were striking. Both were undoubtably still very powerful wizards but they had also been marginalised by the changes sweeping through their society. One was now being aggressively hunted while the other was being ignored. This to Severus was as striking an example of those changes as muggles being shown around the Slytherin common room.

"Go back to Bulgaria, Albus, there is nothing for you here. You are now merely a spectator after foolishly putting your champion in that position. Had Marco achieved his objective last night, you would have lost a student too. Harry is a goblin and they treat such matters differently. The rape of a young girl, not yet of age, would have seen Harry put Marco to the sword..."

He saw the gleam in Dumbledore's eye and extinguished it at once. "That doesn't make him a dark wizard, Albus, just a goblin. In some ways they are a quite simple people, cross certain lines and you pay for it with your life. If Harry should discover you had anything to do with his parents' deaths, he will come for you. If I find out you had anything to do with Lily's murder, I will be at his side when he does."

This seemed to shock Albus more than anything but Severus was unrepentant. "My aims have always been to protect her son and avenge Lily's murder. Those aims have not changed though the world around me is. I owe neither you nor the dark lord allegiance now, I'm free to live my own life..."

"I thought you were smarter than that, Severus, no one is really free."

"Yes there are limits to freedom, but I quite happily accept those limits are necessary. There are clearly defined boundaries that can't be crossed. Unlike Marco, I have no wish or intention of doing so. Those boundaries are called laws, Albus, make sure you don't cross any of them yourself. That immunity only covers your actions before you stepped off that ship, don't give Madam Bones the excuse she's looking for to pump you full of truth serum. They would soon have all of your secrets out of you."

With that, Severus left Albus sitting there, alone bar a few stragglers making their way out the stadium.

Unknown to both, Barchoke had watched the entire conversation from on high. While not being able to decipher what was being said, it was still obvious this was not a friendly meeting. With inside knowledge of both Dumbledore and Riddle, it was perhaps time to bring Professor Snape more into their confidence. He would speak with his children about this before making a move.

-oOoOo-

Hogwarts had again done them proud when she provided a room for the students and their guests to enjoy Halloween together. The room was only similar to the one used for the Merlin Ball in that it was tiered, this one though had two tiers. Gone was the fountain and dance floor, all the space was taken up by tables in order to fit as many people in as possible. Gone too was all the gold gilt, replaced by a theme fit for Halloween.

Harry wondered how much the room read his mind when creating this as there were ideas clearly recognisable from the fayre incorporated here too. Probably most striking was the use of giant skeletons instead of pillars to support the terraces. That these skeletons had a floating illuminated pumpkin where there hearts should be was a touch macabre, but they fitted perfectly to the entire theme of the room.

He'd been thinking of what his usual practice for Halloween would be, perhaps that's why the room appeared so heavily influenced by graveyards. Being Halloween though, Hogwarts had adopted a spooky approach to the subject - much to the delight of the people in the room. Harry was sitting at a large table with his family, just enjoying the fact they were all together. They would sit down and go over what happened today at a later time, just as they had already arranged to visit his parents next Saturday during their time for lessons with Sirius. Tonight was to be enjoyed, families all around them were doing the exact same.

Apolline Delacour was certainly enjoying herself, the change in her eldest daughter would make it hard not to. Fleur had introduced them to so many students she called friends that Apolline's head was spinning, that every one of those friends had greeted the Delacours warmly was also unexpected. Gabrielle being introduced to some of the younger students was also a revelation, her precious little Gabbie was just accepted as an ordinary girl.

Madame Maxine had smiled at Apolline's confusion and recommended she have a chat with Lady Black. Olympe realised she might be costing Beauxbatons a student but, as a dedicated educator, she wanted what was best for the child. Fleur's time at Beauxbatons had not been easy and watching her bloom at Hogwarts was a revelation Olympe would never tire of watching.

Being chosen as the Beauxbatons' champion had certainly helped, Olympe though thought this transformation was more to do with the friends she had now rather than her being champion.

Bill could easily spot the tension that practically radiated off his mother. When Euan again been dragged away to meet some of his friends' families coincided with Penny and Jenny heading off to powder their noses, all the Weasleys at the table knew what was coming next.

Molly had Ron at her side, since there was food on the table he wasn't complaining. Fred, George and Ginny were sitting with friends, leaving her three oldest boys and Arthur to witness Molly the interrogator. Like all who were accomplished at that skill, the questions started off friendly and innocuously. Molly though was dealing with family and none of them were fooled in the slightest.

"She seems like a lovely woman, where did you two meet?"

"Oh we met at the fayre and hit it off almost at once, we were both too busy though to do more than chat. When I heard the Ambassador wanted someone to show them around a few houses, I quickly volunteered. It took a couple of days but discovering the house they both liked was close to the McDonalds sealed the deal. I then spent time helping them move in, shrinking and household charms can make a great difference to that process. Jenny then invited me for a meal to say thanks and we've grown from there..."

"...and what has the boy's father to say about this?"

All recognised the flash of anger in Bill's eyes, none though thought it was directed at his mother - yet. "No idea, and it doesn't matter. Jenny has no memory of becoming pregnant, or who did it."

The way Bill said that left no doubts in any of their minds what he meant, he wanted to be sure his youngest brother understood though. "Ron, repeating that would hurt someone very dear to me. I trust I don't have to say anymore?"

"Hey, I like Euan and Jenny's really nice. Does that make Harry his magical guardian?" His brother's nod sealed it for Ron. "I owe Harry big time, both for quidditch and saving Lavender, I won't say a word."

Even Ron mentioning Lavender couldn't deflect Molly from her target, Bill saying someone dear to him set off even more alarm bells. "Isn't she a bit old for you?"

"Jenny is twenty eight, I trust you know what age I am, Mother."

Ignoring the signs that Bill had reached the end of his patience, Molly pushed further and brought up what really troubled her. "...but she's a muggle!"

All recognised she had gone too far, they didn't need to see Bill's shoulders squaring or hear his voice hardening. "I am aware of that, Mother. Unlike you, I don't let that term define who someone is. Where you see a muggle, I see a beautiful woman who hasn't let the hard life she's had to lead drag her down. Instead she rose to the challenge and raised a wonderful son on her own. She's warm, loving, funny and someone I'm proud to have in my life..."

He was stopped by a hand on his shoulder. "Bill, if this between us is going to cause problems then perhaps..."

"We are not the ones with the problem, Jenny, we can't live our lives based on what other people think..."

"Miss Abercrombie..." Arthur had decided he needed to take some action here, he then softened his voice to a much kinder tone. "Jenny, you and Euan are welcome at the Burrow anytime. Oh, the Burrow is our home, and we certainly hope to see you there over Christmas."

"Thank you, Mr Weasley. We honestly haven't planned that far ahead yet but Euan and I will certainly consider the idea..."

At that, Euan arrived with his ever present shadow, Natalie. "Mum, the McDonalds are getting ready to leave. Are you going with them or is Bill taking you home?"

Jenny now had an arm around each of the children, the McDonalds and Abercrombies having grown very close. "I'm staying with Mary and Roy tonight, I stay there a couple of nights a week now. We'll all feel much better after seeing your school, and just how happy you are here. I'd better go and say goodnight to Harry and the gang." With that, Jenny faced the rest of the Weasleys. "It was nice to meet you all. Bill is always talking about his family and now I can put faces to the names. Good night, and thanks for the invitation."

Bill rose and accompanied Jenny over to say cheerio to Harry, leaving the rest of the table drawing daggers at Molly. It was actually Percy who rounded on her first.

"I'm ashamed of you, mother, that was totally uncalled for. It leaves me wondering if you only like Penny because she's a pureblood? That certainly played no part in me asking her to marry me."

Charlie was next to have a pop. "I've spent a lot of time with Bill over the last few days, I can honestly say I've never seen him happier or so content. I also think the reason for that was sitting beside him tonight. You know him better than any of us, mum, how could you be so stupid as to do what you just did?"

This also pushed Ron's thoughts in a direction he didn't like. "What would you have said if I'd brought Lavender home as my girlfriend?"

"Well, thankfully that won't be happening now."

In a manner eerily reminiscent of Bill, Ron faced up to his mother. "Lavender made a mistake. Once she realised it, she fought that Bulgarian with everything she had. That gave Harry the time to get there, and Hermione made sure the creep won't be trying anything like that again. I don't know where Lavender and me are at, I'm learning to fight my Weasley temper and talk about things - rather than just shouting the first thing that comes into my head."

This earned him a pat on the back from a beaming Percy. "I'm proud of you, Ron. That's a very mature attitude to take."

"I'm on the quidditch team now, thanks to Harry standing beside me and stopping it being canceled this year. He tore out of here to save Lavender, despite having to throw her out of Kingussie at the summer. Draco is now one of his best friends and we all know how their first meeting went. I think what I'm trying to say is that people change, and Harry allows for that. If Lavender comes back, I'm going to talk with her and see what happens after that."

Arthur had a firm grip of his wife's arm. Bill was more than able to deal with her ire but Ron's burgeoning maturity wouldn't withstand such an attack. Since his youngest son maturing was certainly something Arthur wanted to encourage, Molly was not going to be allowed to verbally rip Ron's head off.

He and his wife were already on a collision course over her behaviour toward Bill, adding Ron to the account would only extend the length of the argument. Since four of her children had all disagreed with her opinion, the ferocity of their forthcoming confrontation was never in doubt.

-oOoOo-

Another mother was having a much more pleasant Halloween. Bella was sitting telling stories of former Halloweens to her baby. These stories started innocently enough, describing Halloween parties from her early childhood. That those descriptions soon turned to darker times was disturbing to say the least. That Bella used the same childlike voice to describe bobbing for apples to Marvolo as she did for torturing someone to death was insane.

None of the other two adults present even noticed. Augustus and Tom were working to solve a very specific problem, the trouble was that they didn't have all the information they needed. There were now plans to rectify that though. Umbridge may be getting chucked out the castle but her assurances she would still be able to supply them with information was being believed. More than that however, here was someone who could now get them the books they needed to complete this project.

Bella and Augustus would soon be paying her a nighttime visit, another reason why Bella was in such a good mood. Dolores Umbridge certainly wouldn't be smiling after the visit.

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