Thansk to Kokopelli for betaing this for me.
A little late, which tells me one thing - I shouldn't make promises :)
It took a lot of Harry’s willpower not to squeeze Gabrielle too hard when she whispered that she loved him. She always said those words just when he needed to hear them and it always gave him a boost.
The doors to Hogwarts opened for them, and he felt Hogwarts welcome him back, as well as suggest a different place he might sleep at night, a place where she could help protect him.
He’d think about it, the idea had possibilities.
The doors to the Great Hall opened for them and Harry stumbled to a stop.
High above the Professors’ table and directly in front of Fred and George was a giant silent projection of his last fight.
The colours were incredible, the picture sharp and well defined, and to his shock, when he cast a magnifying charm in front of his face, there was no pixilation. It put the TV back at the Dursley’s to absolute shame.
But he soon forgot about such details, as he got lost in his own fight. He hadn’t realised it had been like that. The speed they had both moved at, the little kicks and knees that floated between them as they danced around the ring. He was fascinated, never having seen himself fight before. All the little things he hadn’t realised he’d done were now visible.
He looked around, to see everyone, including the professors, entranced. He recognised that it was near the end of the bout, as his movements became sloppy and unprofessional. Looking at it now, it was obvious that he’d been faking. In the heat of the battle though, things would not have been that clear.
He flinched as he saw his opponent land the punch. It was a beaut, and he had been incredibly lucky not to be knocked out. His double-punch-followed-by-uppercut was lightning fast, and Luke hit the ground. He watched himself stumble for a ten count he didn’t remember, before Ben and Lisa steadied him and lifted him high in to the air, screaming in silence.
The memory flickered, changing to the night club, and he watched as the Harry on the screen vaulted the rail and seemed to float down to the ground.
“Stop it,” he growled, his magic exploding with a suddenness that had some of the younger students who hadn’t even noticed he was there yelping in fear.
Gabrielle seemed to snuggle tighter against his chest.
“H-Harry,” Fred said.
“Harry,” Fleur called, as she walked over to him. “Let them show it.”
“Why?” he asked.
“Because I want to see what we looked like,” she said softly. “Please?”
“That was private,” Harry explained quietly. “The fight was public. There’s a difference.”
“I know,” Fleur agreed, “please?”
He closed his eyes and nodded. “We will be talking about this later,” he said to Fred and George. The twins gulped, before they waved their wands, and the projection started. They nodded to Christoph, who had a wireless, from it, the same music from the night before started.
In the flashing light, and from a different perspective, the dance was something else. Kate and Fleur looked incredible, the paint work on their bodies showed how they moved, and their outfits just emphasised how simply gorgeous the two were.
Fleur, her hair wild as she danced, managed to cling to an innocence that was seductive and enticing. Kate, darker, more experienced, like a temptress sent to test man in his rawest form.
He felt like he was the odd one out, but didn’t really care. He’d been the one with two amazing woman. Kate had taught him to dance, so she knew exactly how to move with him. Fleur had just picked it up instantly.
“You are an incredible dancer,” he told Fleur. “Kate and I have been dancing together for ages; this was your first time with us.”
Fleur smiled proudly, her eyes on the show. “It was so much fun.”
The song ended, and the three on the screen hugged.
“Gabrielle, go and eat with the others,” Fleur said to her sister.
Gabrielle nodded and hugged him, before scampering off.
“Can we talk?”
“Of course,” He replied. “Shall we eat outside?”
Fleur nodded and smiled. She took the lead, and they walked outside. He knew he wouldn’t have to ask Tilly; she’d find him.
He cast several warming charms on a bench, and sat in front of it. Fleur knelt down next to him, and then dropped to her side. He met her eyes.
“Can I hold your hand please?”
She smiled at him. “I want to feel what you are feeling when we talk. It will help.”
He looked at her for a long moment, and then held his hand out. He smiled slightly. “You’re looking more relaxed.”
“What was it you said last night? Body of a Greek goddess, fashion sense of a nun?”
“Something like that,” he agreed. “You also seem more at peace this morning.”
“I’ve had a lot to think about. I was explaining to Gabrielle last night why I am going to request that we not date.”
Harry looked surprised at her.
Fleur smiled, “That is a bit of an arrogant statement,” she agreed. “But I do know that you think I am beautiful.”
“Drop dead gorgeous,” Harry corrected dryly.
“Thank you. If you ignored Kate, would you have said yes?”
“A few weeks ago, I would have said no. But over the past few weeks, you’ve started to smile, and well, I like you now. So I would say yes. And if it wasn’t for Kate, I may well be pursuing you.”
Fleur beamed at him. “I explained to Gabrielle that I don’t think that I can handle you at the moment. The darkness you have inside you scares my human side, and makes my human side fear that it would be swallowed up by my Veela side.”
Harry frowned; he didn’t think that he had that much darkness.
“And really, the only person I’ve met who can handle that is Kate, who has her own darkness.
“Yesterday was a revelation to me. I was able to act like I wanted, and just have fun, and no one treated me any different. I always took Papa’s warnings about what can happen to Veela children, and I’d been a scared for a very long time.”
Harry tightened his hand over hers reassuringly. She shot him a quick smile.
“I was explaining last night that I couldn’t live with my Veela side being dominant to my human side, because my Veela side finds you, with your confidence and darkness, very attractive.
“And after Gabrielle left last night, I continued to have a think about my life so far. I’ve been thinking about who and what I am since the Second Task, and I realised something. I’ve been out of balance for years. I was suppressing my Veela side and trying to be human – and being jealous of humans. This morning, I think I accepted who I am for the first time. I’ve always dressed to minimise my looks and figure.
“And that’s partly because I always listened to Papa. I remember all the horror stories he used to tell me, so I’ve made sure that no one could get close to me, that all my relationships were under my complete control, so that I wouldn’t be scared. I’ve been scared for so long.
“So I’ve been a brat, a bitch, and done my best to not be as attractive as I can be.”
Harry laughed softly. “Not that successfully; even if you shaved your head and gained four hundred pounds you’d still be attractive.”
Fleur smiled at him again. “Shh,” she ordered. “What I’m trying to say is, thank you, for just blasting through my objections, and opening a different world to me.”
“Fleur,” Harry said, “it was my pleasure. But you over-estimate me. All I did was dance with a beautiful woman.” He paused and grinned teasingly, “and got her topless.”
She threw her head back and laughed.
“You do know,” Harry said softly, “that I’m only giving you two years. If we’re both single then, I’m going to do everything I can to get close to you.”
Fleur studied him and nodded. “Deal.”
“What do you want from me?” he asked.
“What do you mean?” she asked, a look of confusion appearing on her face.
“How do you want me to act with you? Friendship? Acquaintanceship?Strangers who know each other.”
Fleur’s face cleared. “Friendship,” she said firmly. “Not like Gabrielle, Melissa or Hermione, more like my parents.”
“Flirting, laughing, and joking, but up to a line?” he asked to clarify.
“I can do that,” he said cheerfully. “Does that include talking to you about Kate and asking advice?”
He lightly pulled her forward and gave her a quick hug. She hugged him back warmly, before settling back, keeping hold of his hand. “Okay, now on to the hard part.” She took a deep breath. “I know that Dad has tested you, but for my piece of mind, can I please check you about Gabrielle as well?
“I know I should trust, but she is my sister, and part of the reason I couldn’t sleep last night was because I was worried about her. I know it’s stupid, I know that Papa is far better at this than me, but ...”
“Fleur, go ahead,” Harry interrupted, trying to hide his amusement as she tried to explain herself. “Far be it from me to dare to do anything that would impact negatively on your beauty sleep. An army of disgruntled men would track me down and try to kill me, and some of them might even get close to attract the attention of my bodyguards!”
Fleur giggled. “Okay, relax and close your eyes.”
He did as she told him, and an image started to appear before him. It was his bedroom, and he could see it with amazing clarity.
Suddenly, his eyes were drawn to the bed. In completely inappropriate lingerie, Gabrielle was smiling enticingly at him, patting the bed next to her.
“What the hell was that?” Harry yelled, as he pulled away from Fleur. The image cancelled immediately as he lost contact with her.
Fleur reached out and pulled him back. “Relax,” she said, “absolute revulsion to the idea of Gabrielle in a sexual way is a pass. Now concentrate, just once more. Please.”
Harry grumbled under his breath and reluctantly relaxed again. The scene was the same, the same room, with the same clarity. But on the bed, instead of Gabrielle, was Fleur in the same outfit.
She shot him a hot look, and then removed the her top slowly. She raised her hands above her head and arched her back. The scene slowly faded, and he shifted a little, his jeans suddenly uncomfortable. “I owed you that,” Fleur said with a pleased smile. “Now, let’s eat.”
Tilly arrived with their breakfast, and Fleur shifted so that she was near him, their legs touching. “Get used to it,” she said at his look. “Veela are tactile, and while I’m nowhere near as needy as Gabrielle, I have a long time to make up for, and I like to touch… some people at least.”
He nodded, and the conversation shifted, as they both started to make proper friends with each other.
“How are you going to cope when Gabrielle is ready to start dating?” Fleur asked.
“I’ll try and be ready for it beforehand,” Harry replied slowly.
“And what age do you think she’ll be ready?”
Harry smiled. “I was thinking about forty?”
“Good number,” Fleur praised with a grin. “I always thought thirty-five, but I’m willing to bow to your advice.” She glanced at his watch on her wrist, and then moved to take it off.
“Keep it for now,” Harry said. “I’ll get you something else.”
“Harry,” she protested.
“Melissa and Hermione’s necklaces are charmed, as are Gabrielle’s earrings and my bodyguards’ outfits. The others have smaller charms on them. I will never be surprised by them being in trouble again.”
Fleur whistled slowly.
“You don’t have to tell them that,” he added.
“I won’t,” she promised, and changed the subject.
The hours seemed to fly by, as they looked out at the lake and talked.
“So, what does Fleur Delacour want with her life?”
Fleur sighed. “I was planning on going into Gringotts when I leave school.”
“Sounds good,” Harry said. “Why?”
Fleur looked away. “Because they are Goblins, and don’t care about my Veela side,” she admitted.
“Pfft,” Harry said expressively.
“Yeah, it doesn’t exactly thrill me now. I think that what I really want to do, is cook.”
Harry blinked. “What?”
“Cook, you know, as a chef.”
“That is probably the last thing I expected to hear from you.”
“Don’t think I can do it?” she challenged proudly.
“Fleur, my dear, you’ve just made a huge mistake.” He turned, so that he was sitting over her lap. “Tell me that you want to be a chef.”
“I want to be a chef,” she said firmly, meeting his gaze equally.
“You’ve just lost a load of your free time,” he told her. “You’re going to work your cute little arse off. Tilly?”
The elf appeared instantly.
“Take Fleur to the kitchens. She is going to cook dinner for me, Gabrielle, Hermione and Viktor and Melissa and Christophe tonight. You are to help her, working as she directs, and to get her any ingredient she wants.”
Tilly nodded, looking curious.
“This is it, Fleur,” he told her, amused by how stunned she was looking. “I’m going to go and place a bet that your food is brilliant,” he finished, as he hopped off her lap, and walked toward Hogsmeade, so that he could Apparate away.
The opportunity here was far too good to waste.
Annie walked into the stage entrance to the show she was currently working in. She’d allowed herself a lie in that morning, and was looking forward to the evening. She loved dancing for a living, more so now that she actually had a speaking part.
Annie blinked. Darling? She was normally, ‘you, yes, you in the corner’ not ‘darling’, and certainly not to Antonio, the director-cum-producer of the show.
Most of her colleagues were with him, gathered around a large TV. She walked over, and looked at the screen as well. She smiled, as she saw Harry, Kate and Fleur paused on the video. The screen was pretty clear, but black and white, so must have come from the nightclub’s CCTV system.
“You know these people?” Antonio demanded.
“Sure, the blonde’s Fleur, a French girl. The brunette’s Kate, she’s Polish, and the guy’s Harry, he’s English.”
“Tell me, what you think of this,” Antonio said, pressing play with an overly elaborate flourish.
She watched her friends dance, and shook her head in amusement. There was no music, but the effect was still captivating. “That was the first time they had ever danced together,” she said, offering a bit of commentary.
“Kate learned to dance when she was five, and flirted with the professional circuit for a while before something went wrong, and she quit. She taught Harry over the past year, Harry’s a sports star in an obscure Scottish sport; and he just won the UK Kick Boxing title, and was celebrating.
“Fleur’s danced all her life as well, but mainly formal. She prefers the classics.”
“Will they mind if we steal this dance?” Antonio asked, “The moves, they could be improved, but the passion is there, and the un-choreographed nature gives it a rawness and a passion that is just wonderful!”
“They were just having fun,” Annie said. She reached into her bag and pulled out her mobile phone. She phoned Kate’s number.
“Yeah?” Kate answered abruptly.
“Kate, it’s Annie.”
“Oh, hi sweetie,” Kate said, her voice changing so that it was warm and friendly.
“Got a quick question for you. Antonio, my boss, got a copy of the dance that you, Fleur and Harry did last night. He wants to know if he can steal the dance.”
“Put him on,” Kate ordered.
Annie handed the phone to Antonio.
The next thing he said was in rapid fire Italian, as a delighted smile took over his face. The telephone conversation lasted close to four minutes, before Antonio hung up and did a spontaneous little dance. “Delightful lady,” he announced. “Charming, but of course, Iain and Jonathan would not talk so well about them if they were not!
“Such a contrast in looks,” Antonio continued, “The blonde angel, the dark temptress, and the warrior. He’s not classically handsome, but that body could stop traffic, and those moves, you can imagine them ending with a kick or a punch.” He fanned himself dramatically. “I don’t suppose they want a job?” He didn’t wait for an answer. “Of course not, they have real lives, Harry is a businessman, Fleur is the daughter of a French Ambassador, and Kate is an executive. And you, Annie darling, you should have told me that you know these people, but no, you’ve been paying your dues like a good girl.
“We will work together after our run here is finished. I have just the role for you!”
Annie tried to hide her shock. But this did prove one thing: her theory that most of London was secretly run by a cabal of gay men.
“T-thank you,” she stuttered.
“Nonsense,” Antonio said. “Now, let us look at the rest of the evening, Iain said even if he is as queer as a bottle of warm shandy, some of the dancing was hot, hot, hot!”
Harry knocked on the closed doors to the restaurant cheerfully. The door opened, and Jonathan gave him a wan smile.
“What’s up?” Harry asked, as he followed the older man inside. Richard and Jean-Sebastian were sat around a table, a bottle of wine between them.
Harry pulled up a chair, and sat down with them, helping himself to a glass. “It feels like a funeral in here,” he said dryly. “Tell Uncle Harry your problems.”
“We’re being sold,” Richard said disgustedly.
“To whom?” Harry asked.
“We don’t know, probably to a chain,” Jonathan replied, his own disgust palpable.
“Who is your current owner?”
Jonathan quickly described the businessman who had bought them from the previous owner, and added a few gripes about the lack of investment and the facilities not worthy of their genius.
“Why don’t I have a quick chat with him,” Harry suggested, “businessman to businessman, see if I can persuade him to keep this place as an investment.”
“It can’t hurt,” Jean-Sebastian muttered.
Jonathan sighed and gave Harry the number. Harry walked to the telephone that was on the side and had a conversation that started rough, but soon went very well. As an agreement was reached, he smiled to himself and hung up.
He wandered back to the table and sat down. “He’s a git,” Harry said cheerfully. “And is intent on selling this place.”
Richard, Jonathan and Jean-Sebastian all put their heads into their hands.
“So, as the new owner, I will want your plans for updating this place ready in two weeks time. And Jean, your contribution will be taking on a talented cook as an apprentice a couple of nights a week and all day on Saturday, and teaching her the ropes so that I can open a Parisian restaurant this summer. I may also find someone to work under Richard and Jonathan.”
“Say that again,” Jonathan demanded.
“He wanted to sell, and I can’t let my favourite restaurant lose what I love about it, can I? I came here today to beg Jean to take my friend on and teach her the works, but now I don’t have to ask, I can just order,” he finished with a grin.
“We can update?” Richard demanded.
“Absolutely. Anything that needs doing, I will do. It’s not enough for us to be one of the best in London; we need to be the best. We’ll close for a few weeks over the summer, gut the interior, redecorate, get new furniture in, improve the kitchen, and open with a bang. While I’m taking care of that, you can be in France, helping out with my new restaurant.”
Richard charged over to the bar, and returned with a dusty bottle. He opened it expertly, and poured four glasses.
Harry took one and stood. “Gentlemen,” he said, to the still stunned faces, “to the future!”
“The future,” the other three chorused. They sipped the wine, and started to look a bit less stunned.
“You can afford this?” Jonathan demanded.
“I can,” Harry said. The Goblin lessons in finance had showed just how wealthy Pure-Bloods were, when compared to their Muggle counterparts. The exchange rate was high, due to their currency being based on the purest gold. The couple of million he had just agreed to pay for the restaurant was a fraction of his total wealth, and the property alone was worth the payment as a future investment.
He was pretty sure that he would be able to recoup his expenditure within fifteen years, and be left with a huge property in one of the best areas of London.
The offer was subject to him looking over the books (well, paying the Goblins to do it for him) and making sure there was no hidden debt. He felt like he was paying a fair price for the location, the name and the history. The fact that he got good staff was a huge bonus.
“Who am I to be training?” Jean-Sebastian asked.
“Fleur Delacour,” Harry said. “Gabrielle’s older sister.”
Jean-Sebastian smiled. “A pleasure, I will be delighted. Cooking is a male dominated game; it will be nice to have a woman involved.”
“Now that’s settled,” Harry said. “Does anyone know of a decent jewellery place that is open on a Sunday afternoon? I need to get a friend a present.”
“Open?” Jonathan asked, snapping to attention. “Nonsense, what are you after?”
“A watch, for Fleur. And maybe a few other friends.”
Jonathan went and got the phone, bringing it back to the table. He picked up the receiver and dialled a number from memory.
“Lucas, Jonathan. I need you to bring some watches here. For a blonde, five foot eight, ten stone eight. Classy, not flashy, and a selection of others. As quick as you can, there’s a good chap.” After a farewell, he hung up and grinned at Harry.
“Lucas makes just the greatest jewellery in London. He wants to get back in my good graces,” he continued. “He left me for a younger man, only now the old queer regrets what happened.”
Harry smiled, and enjoyed the wine as he waited for the jeweller. The conversation quickly turned to ideas on how they wanted to improve the place. Harry just listened, they had some good ideas, but he would hire someone to ensure that their ideas came together holistically.
There was a knock at the door, and Jonathan jumped to his feet. He moved smartly to the door and opened it. Another tall and slim man, this one wearing a white shirt and an extravagant orange cravat was lead in. He was accompanied by a couple of hulking brutes.
“Say, you’re the Hitman!” one of them said, looking at Harry.
“The Hitman?” Lucas asked wearily.
“Harry is the current UK kick-boxing champion,” Richard explained cheerfully. “It was the ghastly nickname the announcer gave him.”
“Yes,” Harry agreed.
“Can I get your autograph?” the bodyguard asked.
“Marvin,” Lucas scolded. “Where are your manners?”
“Sorry boss,” Marvin muttered.
“It’s okay,” Harry said, highly amused. Lucas opened a briefcase, and Harry gasped softly.
“I better take four,” he eventually decided, before having a long discussion with everyone there over which four to take.
“Minerva?” Dumbledore asked, looking over his glasses as his deputy.
“May I have a few moments of your time?”
“Of course,” he replied, putting the report he was reading down. “Would you like a lemon drop?”
“Thank you,” she said, taking one.
“The students never take them,” he said sadly.
“Why not?” Minerva asked.
He shrugged. “I have no idea. What can I do for you?”
“Mr Potter,” she said. “It is long past time we discussed him.”
“It is?” he asked. “Go ahead.”
“Where is Mr Potter today?”
“London,” he replied, as Hogwarts passed him the information.
“That is exactly the problem,” Minerva said. “This is a boarding school; none of our other students are allowed to leave when they feel like it.”
“Indeed,” Albus agreed. “What would you like me to do about it?”
“I will give him detention. What then?”
“We take up all his free time.”
“And then he just walks out of school completely. What then?”
“Can we not force him?”
Albus raised his eyebrows. “How? By enacting some ridiculous law to force him to attend school here? Besides, at the end of term, this discussion becomes moot.”
“What do you mean?” Minerva asked.
“I have it on good authority that Harry has been accepted as a student of Beauxbatons next year. And he is not the only student planning on leaving.”
Minerva paled. “Miss Granger?”
“And Messrs Fred and George Weasley, Cedric Diggory and Cho Chang are all planning on going as well. There well maybe others.”
“But those are some of our best students.”
“Indeed,” Albus sighed softly. “And the most divisive. I suspect that our school will be back to normal next year.”
“Boring, you mean,” Minerva corrected acidly.
“In comparison,” Albus agreed. “Anyway, I have allowed Harry a large degree of autonomy as a way of apologising for placing him with the Dursleys. I was very wrong.”
“What about his safety,” Minerva demanded.
“You watched him fight on that remarkable invention of Fred and George’s this morning,” he pointed out. “I don’t think he will have any problems with the Muggles. He is also wearing his necklace, which means he can call for the help of his bodyguards if he needs them.”
Minerva nodded slowly. “And after his magical maturity, there aren’t many wizards who would dare fight him. And those who would are still in hiding from his bounty.”
“Minerva,” Albus sighed, very disappointed.
“What?” she asked warily.
“Name one other case of magical maturity in known history?”
Minerva opened her mouth, before she closed it again, and for the first time in his memory, the austere head of Gryffindor blushed like a schoolgirl. He chuckled. “Harry thinks that magic has a detrimental effect on common sense.”
“He may well be right,” Minerva admitted. “So what did cause the change?”
“He used a Time Dilator.”
“That is not possible,” Minerva pointed out. “There is no where near enough magic in one of those things to do more than an hour at a time.”
Albus was hit by a feeling of smugness from Hogwarts. “Correct,” he agreed. “However, if you were to add some magic to it, it is possible.”
“But no one has that sort of magic, not even Mr Potter.”
“He used Hogwarts magic?”
“No, Hogwarts decided to help him out, and did so on her own behalf. She likes Harry.” A wave of emotion hit him. “No, she loves him,” he corrected himself, more than a little surprised. A new raft of feelings shot through him. “He has listened to her, and helped her in the past, and she paid attention to him. He’s more fun to interact with than the Headmasters who are always so formal.” He frowned. “There is something else there,” he mused, trying to decipher not just what had been said, but what hadn’t been said.
“Time doesn’t match up. She has longer memories of Harry than Harry has of her.”
A wave of embarrassment hit him, as well as a request not to share that knowledge with Harry.
“You’re going to have to tell him yourself,” Albus said to the castle.
Regret and acceptance went through him, before Hogwarts faded away.
“That was remarkable,” Minerva said softly. “I felt the edges of it.”
“It is. Hogwarts has always told the Headmasters everything that goes on. Hogwarts has been upset with me not listening to her, and I’m only slowly being forgiven. At the same time, we have Harry, who Hogwarts would tell anything if he asked, who doesn’t ask. So she keeps his secrets, and I normally have no idea what is going on until long after the fact.”
Minerva nodded. “He is not a Gryffindor anymore.”
“No,” Albus agreed. “They lost him when they turned their backs on him. There are parts of Harry that are very cold.”
“The look he gave his opponent,” Minerva said quietly. “He understands death.”
“Far too well,” Albus sighed. “I’m not going to stop Harry doing what he wants to. He has proved to be able to look after himself and others. His grades have him battling with Hermione over the top in his year. His progress with Gabrielle is remarkable. Michael Delacour has been keeping me very up to date with everything, and the French are planning on organising some pre-school lessons to see if they can duplicate it.”
Minerva smiled proudly. “He does understand magic, and it warms my heart to see him teach Gabrielle so carefully. Have you seen the homework she produces? I’d love it if some of my senior students put that much care and attention into it. And the content is always correct as well.”
“Gabrielle puts the effort in for Harry; she wants him proud of her more than anything else, and that is not something we can duplicate, sadly.”
“I know,” Minerva sighed. “What about his bodyguards, he hardly needs them now.”
“Nothing changes. They are his people, they are very proud of it as well. Crusher and Smasher are laying the ground work for their careers.”
“And the change in Crabbe and Goyle is remarkable,” Minerva added.
“Nasher and Thrasher have reacted well to a positive role model,” Albus agreed. “And those are the names they have chosen for themselves. Lisa, fortunately, has kept her name as a term of affection, and not insisted we use it.”
“What is it?” Minerva asked.
Minerva sniggered. “I can see why.”
“So can I,” Albus agreed with a laugh. He sobered. “I talked to Nasher and Thrasher’s mothers about what happened before Christmas. Basically, Crabbe and Goyle Senior were willing Death Eaters, and as Nasher and Thrasher are now on the opposite side, they decided to take immediate action.”
“No love lost then.”
“None at all, political marriages.”
Minerva rolled her eyes. “Purebloods,” she muttered.
“Minerva, I am well aware that I am letting Harry and his friends get away with a lot, and it’s not completely because of the fact that I need them in the competition. Part of it is from guilt, I admit, but a lot of it is because I am enjoying watching them. They are all growing up, becoming adults, making mistakes and having victories. I will miss it next year, but then, I will have other things to continue with.”
Minerva leaned back in her chair. “It worries me that things might go back to being normal. It’s such a disgusting word.”
“It is, isn’t it,” Albus mused. “However, Voldemort is possibly still out there. He has very little support left, but one day he may come back. And when he does, I will pledge my support to Harry, and do what I can to help.”
“As Harry would treat Voldemort as a threat to everyone he cares about, and would react accordingly?”
“Precisely. I suspect that the bounty for Death Eaters would be raised, and those who would normally join Voldemort will instead start hunting them. And Harry will watch, and wait for the perfect time to utterly destroy Voldemort.
“And we will find out about it much later, through someone else, as he never bothered to tell anyone, and beside, he had an airtight alibi when Voldemort died.”
Minerva looked up. “You suspect he had something to do with Severus’s disappearance?”
“Suspect, yes,” he said. “Prove? Not at all.”
“Why do you suspect him?”
“Because Hogwarts won’t tell me what happened, and by not telling me, she has told me a lot.”
Minerva frowned. “If you suspect him, why do you not do something about it? That was murder!”
“Was it?” Albus asked. “There was no body, and a full investigation that didn’t find a thing! Severus could have just walked out.”
“And if I recall, Harry had perfect alibis that said he was safe and sound, asleep.”
“Exactly,” Albus agreed. “So what would you like me to do?”
“Call him in here!”
“And do what? Attack his mind? I don’t think so; I do have morals, Minerva.”
“Of course, my apologies.”
“All I have is a suspicion based on Hogwarts not telling me anything – and that could even be because Hogwarts wasn’t paying attention! And besides, can you really see Harry killing Severus?”
Minerva nodded slowly. “Yes, you’re quite right. Harry would not have been involved in something like that. How are you doing in your search for a replacement?”
“I might be able to persuade Horace to come out of retirement.”
“He is better than Severus was,” Minerva allowed.
“Severus’ disappearance is unfortunate, but as our Head girl was ready to launch a crusade against him, life would have got very interesting for him.”
“I was surprised by that.”
“I wasn’t, regardless of the fact that she loves Harry, Melissa is a fine example of a Slytherin. She had nothing to lose, and everything to gain. It was a fine move. And next weekend, Sirius will be having his trial.”
“And she is representing him?”
“She is indeed. It will be the last thing she does before setting up her new office over the summer. I believe she has already contacted some of our recent graduates to see if they are interested in working for her.”
“How is she funding this?” Minerva asked. “It should be many years before she is in a position to start her own business. There is the internship first.”
“Harry believes that tradition should be followed right up until the point where it gets in the way of what he wants out of life. She will already have two of the biggest cases of the decade under her belt, and the Black and Potter name firmly behind her.”
“And will get clients hand over foot, as she’s a proven winner, and clients will think that if she’s good enough for the Potters and the Blacks…”
“Precisely,” Albus agreed.
“So there is little point in me talking to Harry, and asking him to rejoin the Gryffindor fourth years?”
“None at all. There is still the vexing matter of how he was entered into the Tri-Wizard tournament. Alastor is looking in to it for me, but age is catching up with him. The official investigation has been hampered due to the Goblet of Fire rejecting most of the charms used to investigate.”
“Of course,” Minerva murmured. “I was referring to the rest of my Gryffindors. However, it has occurred to me that I was not thinking of Harry. He does seem to have flourished, and that, perhaps, is the most important thing.”
She stood up. “Well, thank you, Albus. This has given me a lot to think about.”
“My pleasure, as always.”
Minerva stood and left him to his reports.
Harry strolled in to Hogwarts in a great mood. Sharing the best bottle of wine he’d ever had with good friends helped, of course, and he was now looking forward to Fleur’scooking. He was really impressed that she had such high reaching goals, and was determined that if she had the talent, he’d ensure she had the opportunity.
“Dobby, a table for six please. Formal.”
A round table appeared, before Dobby popped in with a white cloth. Knives, forks and spoons, all solid silver appeared as did several candles.
The lights above the table faded, allowing for a more intimate atmosphere. Harry suspected that Hogwarts had lowered the lights, and sent her his thanks. He got a proud burst of happiness in return.
“Hermione, Viktor, Melissa, Christophe, Gabrielle, join me please.”
He stood by his chair, before walking around and seating the ladies. Gabrielle scampered over to ensure that she got the seat next to him, and he sat her last.
“Where’s Fleur?” Gabrielle asked, as they sat down. “I’ve not seen her all day.”
“She’s auditioning,” Harry said. “It turns out that she wants to be a cook.”
Gabrielle nodded. “She always cooks at home, she’s the best!”
“Well, if she cooks well today, I’ve got a surprise or two for her.” He paused and peered through the darkness to where he could just make out his other friend’s table. Hogwarts was keeping the feeling of being alone in a crowd to an amazing level.
The first course was simply the most gorgeous crab cakes he’d ever tasted, with some home-made mayonnaise. The fish course was a divine shellfish broth. Harry would have been happy to drink the sauce for the rest of his life. The main course was a rabbit and crayfish pie, continuing the fishy theme for the menu. The dessert was mouth-watering delicate chocolate mousse cake. The conversation was mainly extravagant praise for the food that Fleur was serving them.
As they all finished, he requested another chair for the table, on the opposite side of him to Gabrielle, and requested that Tilly ask Fleur to join them.
Fleur appeared a few minutes later, a nervous look on her face, as she walked through the surrounding darkness to their table.
Harry stood up and started to applaud. The other’s joined him a few moments later, making Fleur both blush and look proud at the same time. She sat next to him, and turned, so that she could look at him straight.
Harry took his glass of water, and sat back, twirling it softly in his fingers, as he concentrated on Fleur.
“You are going to have to work very hard,” he said slowly, “as your grades are not allowed to drop while you’re busy.”
“Doing what?” Fleur asked, looking confused.
“Every Tuesday and Thursday night, and all day Saturday, you will be interning with Jean-Sebastian at La Rochelle. You will learn how to simplify you menus, how to run a kitchen, and of course, how to up your cooking to the sort of level that is required when cooking at a three Michelin star restaurant.
“This summer, I will be purchasing a restaurant in Paris, and while I am having La Rochelle refitted, Jonathan, Richard and Jean-Sebastian will be helping us get ready to launch.”
Fleur paled dramatically. “I can not do that!”
He reached out and took her face with his hand, gently raising her chin and staring deep into her eyes. He didn’t bother with Legilimency; the spell always left him cold. He much preferred his instincts.
“Yes,” he said softly, “you can, and you will. You are Fleur Delacour, you can do anything you set your mind to, and you have set your mind to this. Any help that you need will be given to you, any thing you need from me will be provided instantly. As I’ve said before, I don’t give favours, I give opportunities, and this is a huge one.”
Fleur stared back at him, and he could actually see the moment she agreed that she could do it. “I will,” she whispered.
“Good,” he said, leaning back and taking a sip of the water.
“Harry,” Viktor said, “what did you mean by ‘while I am having La Rochelle refitted?’”
“Oh, I agreed in principle to buy the restaurant earlier today. Anyway, Tilly?”
The house-elf appeared with a bounce. “Learn anything today?” Harry asked.
Tilly nodded eagerly. “Miss Flower was teaching me all things I’d not known before!”
“Good, because I want you to shadow Fleur when she is learning things in the restaurant.”
“Master is wanting Tilly to learn?” she asked, her eyes huge.
“Damn right,” Harry said firmly.
Tilly squealed and hugged him for a second before popping away exuberantly.
Harry smiled. It was an expensive way of getting her trained, but he reckoned he could get his money back soon enough, and making Fleur happy was a bonus.
“Going back a second,” Melissa said, “you purchased the restaurant?”
“It was for sale,” Harry pointed out. “I could hardly let someone else have it, could I? I went there to beg Jean-Sebastian to take Fleur on, but I don’t beg well, so when I found out about this, it was much easier to just buy the place.
“The goblins will be performing due-diligence for me. I am going to need an accountant soon,” he mused. “I’ll continue to use the Goblins for now, but I’d prefer someone I know and can trust a bit more.” His gaze settled on Cedric and Cho. “Excuse me for one second,” he said courteously to his guests.
He moved out of the candle light, through the darkness, and back into the light of the Great Hall. Most of the students were still eating dessert. He took a seat opposite Cedric and Cho and looked at Cedric.
“You want a job you can impress Cho’s parents with?”
He nodded eagerly.
“Right, if you can become a Chartered Accountant within two and a half years, I will hire you as my main accountant.”
“You will have a year to study the basics while at school, then a year and a half to gain the four hundred and fifty days of work experience you will need. I will clear it with the Goblins.”
“I can do this,” he said softly.
“I’ll help anyway I can,” Cho promised. “And my father would rate an accountant just below a doctor. It would be his second favourite occupation for my suitor.”
“Thanks, Harry,” Cedric said.
“Don’t thank me, you’ll be earning your money,” Harry said. “I’ll spend some time with you tomorrow to go through a few things,” he promised, before moving back to his guests.
“Good,” he said, as he sat between Fleur and Gabrielle. Gabrielle raised her arms pleadingly, and he lifted her into his lap, aware that Fleur was discreetly resting her foot against his.
He smiled at the table, all it needed was Kate, and it would be perfect.
Harry walked in to Hogwarts, alone for a change. Hogwarts wanted to show him something, and he was always willing to listen to her. He turned left and headed past the classrooms. At the end of the hallway was a new door, next to the entrance to the courtyard.
The door opened, and he descended down four flights of steps. Lights sprung in to life to illuminate his way, and then vanished behind him.
At the bottom, the corridor widened in front of a set of heavy stone doors. He paused, as the doors slowly swung open silently, revealing a pitch black room.
He walked forward, confident that Hogwarts wouldn’t hurt him, and paused as the door behind him shut, plunging him into total darkness.
In the distance, a multi-coloured light appeared, spreading over the floor a good fifty yards from where he was standing. It was the only thing he could see.
There was a soft click, and a light appeared above the multi coloured illumination. The light steadily became brighter and then, in a chain, more lights appeared, moving toward him, as the room was fully revealed to him.
He gasped softly as he looked around. He was in the entrance of a huge room. The lights were chandeliers, each with hundreds of candles. They were hung from thick oak beams that criss-crossed the ceiling, the beams themselves hung horizontally from curved boat style beams that held up the roof.
At the far end, in what had to be magic, the multi-coloured light was a huge stained glass window that was now allowing its light to shine through completely. The pattern of the window was a tall man, with what looked like either an angel or a ghost floating behind him, and a small child to his right.
The room was empty, with the exception of a fireplace to the left, in the dead centre of the wall. The fireplace was over six foot high, with a huge mantel. With another click, the fire roared into life, the flames stopping just below the top of the fireplace.
Around both sides of the room, spaced evenly, was a series of doors, with one directly under the stained glass window. He walked toward it, his trainers making a soft thumping noise. There was a small raised platform in front of the door which he climbed on to. The door opened before him, revealing a room as big as the Gryffindor room he’d shared with the other fourth years.
There was one bed, a giant four poster, against the wall, but no other furniture. To the right was another door. He walked toward it, and as all the other doors had, it opened before he could touch the doorknob.
He had to struggle to keep his jaw from dropping. It was a bathroom, but a bathroom like none he had ever seen. In the right corner, and taking up most of the floor space was a sunken bath. It seemed to be made of marble, and had stairs down. It was almost big enough to swim in. Four huge taps, in gold, dominated the far side, near the far wall. Above the taps, a massive shower head showed that the bath had a dual use.
To the left were a sink and a mirror. The sink was marble, with just a single mixer tap, it sat in the centre of a counter top that must have been six foot wide. The mirror ran the length of the counter, and was a further four foot high.
“This is definitely my bedroom,” he whispered to himself, as he walked back into the main room, and explored the other bedrooms. Each was around three quarters the size of his, with a much smaller bathroom.
He smiled to himself. With the number of rooms, he could fit all his friends in here.
Tilly and Dobby appeared, looking around curiously. “This is being new,” Tilly said in surprise. “Tilly is never seeing this space before.”
“Did you make this for me?” Harry asked.
He felt a wave of shyness from Hogwarts.
Harry knelt down and lightly touched the floor, sending his surprise and amazement to the school.
“Need more elves,” Tilly muttered, clapping her hands. “We is needed furniture!”
“I’ll pay for it,” Harry said.
“No, no, no,” Tilly replied firmly. “Elves will be making furniture. Elves are loving this!”
“Okay,” Harry agreed. “That’s my bedroom,” he pointed to the end one. “Put Gabrielle and Fleur in the one next to me, and Hermione to the right. We’ll let everyone else choose their rooms.”
He jogged out, and headed toward the classroom they were using as a make-shift common room. “Guys,” he called. “Follow me.”
Like the Pied Piper, he led the students he was closest too down to the ground floor and to his new rooms. The doors opened for him automatically.
“What is this place?” Fleur asked.
“Our Common Room,” Harry said proudly. “Hogwarts has made us a new place.”
“Wow,” Christophe whistled. “Bedrooms?”
Harry nodded. “All with bathrooms.” He pointed. “Hermione, that one’s yours. Fleur, Gabrielle, you’ve got that one.”
Gabrielle squealed happily and took off, sprinting up the stairs. The door opened for her, and she yelled for Fleur to follow her.
Hermione smiled and walked at a more decorous pace. As she did, a new door appeared between her door and Harry’s. Harry walked over to it, opened it, and laughed. “Hermione,” he called.
She looked out of her door at him curiously.
He pointed to the door.
Hermione walked down and walked through it. She blinked and turned around. “How the hell did you do that?” she demanded. “We’re below the ground floor. The library is on the fourth!”
“Just say thank you to Hogwarts.”
“Thank you,” Hermione said, looking at the ceiling.
“You’re welcome,” Harry replied on Hogwarts’ behalf. He looked at his other friends.
“You’re all old enough to make your own decisions about where you sleep. So choose a room and a room-mate. The elves are going to be around to make your furniture shortly.”
Melissa looked thoughtful for a few seconds, before she grabbed Christophe’s hand and marched him into a bedroom to the right.
Viktor took the bedroom next to Hermione’s – after giving Harry a look asking for permission.
Crusher and Smasher, and Nasher and Thrasher each took a room next to the entrance.
Cho went with Adrienne, while Cedric ended up with Adrienne’s boyfriend.
Fred and George took a room opposite Angelina and Alicia.
Lisa looked at the room that was left, and then made a face, before she jogged up to Hermione’s room.
By the time everyone had finished looking around, the elves had created a semi-circle of couches around one of the large fire places, and Harry took a seat over there. He groaned softly, as the couch seemed to mould itself to him.
“This is outstanding,” Hermione said, bouncing out. She flopped down next to him.
“You don’t mind Lisa?”
“Mind?” she asked happily, “I’m delighted to have a real friend to share with.”
“You know that Viktor’s on his own?”
“That’s how he prefers it,” Hermione said. “He’s the solitary type. He’s going to be so happy. And with the desks, and the access to the library, this place will be great. Do we need a password?”
Hogwarts sent him a negative response.
“No,” Harry replied. “I believe that Hogwarts will only allow us in, or people we allow in.”
Harry grinned as an idea hit him. “Get everyone settled, I’ll be back soon.”
“That’s your ‘Evil smile,’” Hermione pointed out.
“I know,” he agreed. He walked out and up several flights of stairs, and headed toward an office.
Hogwarts told him that there was only one occupant – his target – inside. He knocked on the door, and at the murmured invitation, strolled in. Hogwarts fed him some information that might be useful.
He grabbed the nearest chair and spun it so that he could sit opposite the desk.
“Let’s talk spandex,” he said with a grin.
“I have an idea, let’s not,” Aurora replied dryly.
“Pity, you’d look great in it. You’re maybe one of only fifteen women in the world who could pull it off.”
“Thank you, I think. So what brings you to my office?”
“The chance of spending some time with you alone? You’re always so busy, and those Ravenclaws wouldn’t leave you alone if I paid them.”
“And I thought you were just ignoring me.”
“Me?” Harry asked. “Nonsense.”
“So, are you here just to inflate my ego, or do you have a purpose?”
“Anyone with your looks does not need her ego inflated.”
“You are deranged,” Aurora stated. “You are spending enough time with Miss Delacour, and I’ve noticed that she’s a lot more friendly with you than she used to be.”
Harry smiled softly, leaning forward. “And she’s a very good friend, but no, we’re not dating. Not to say that I wouldn’t, but we both think it’s not the right time. With you, on the other hand…”
Aurora laughed softly. “Impudent wretch. Tell me something, Harry.”
“Anything,” Harry purred.
“Exactly how did you grow up? There are rumours of a magical maturity, but that idea is completely preposterous. It is right up there with the idea that you are the heir of some famous wizard and have suddenly inherited their powers!”
“Can you keep a secret?” Harry asked
“You already know that I can.”
“Hogwarts helped me bend time. I spent a lot of time alone, practising all sorts of things, so that I could be an adult and look after myself, and everyone I care about. People kept telling me that my biggest problem was that I was a teenage boy, so I did something about it.”
Aurora whistled slowly.
Harry grinned at her. “So if I’m single next year and you are, I may just come a-knocking.”
“I can’t tell if you’re serious.”
“No, that’s my guardian.”
“Whoops,” Harry said. “Let’s just say that you’ll find out what I’m talking about after this weekend.”
“Okay,” she said doubtfully. “It’s time for you to stop the flirting and get to your point.”
“It is never pointless to flirt with a beautiful woman. I want you to move in with me.”
Aurora blinked, and she looked at him in shock. She shook herself and looked at him. “You have something in mind, not the obvious, that’s too crude for you. Explain?”
“Hogwarts has created a Common Room for me. My friends are all in as well, in the new bedrooms. The problem comes with the fact that there is no password; Hogwarts will simply not let anyone I don’t want in. This, of course, means no school supervision.
“While that is attractive, it would cause some problems for the rest of the school. I can ignore them, but I’m not here to make people’s lives more difficult.
“The way around it, is for me to invite a responsible adult to keep an eye on us. Your room will be inviolate, obviously, and a hell of a lot bigger than the cupboard that Hogwarts tells me is your current room. We will follow what you say, although you will need to be more open minded. We have at least one couple sleeping together, and wouldn’t be surprised at more in the future.
“You can rest assured that it is entirely consensual.
“You will be quite welcome to join in with our evening discussion as you desire, and it will give you somewhere to escape from rabid Ravenclaws who spend as much time looking at your chest as what you are trying to teach them.”
Aurora looked at him silently. “And you don’t look at my chest?” she eventually asked.
“I do, frequently, with great appreciation,” he agreed. “But I also happen to think that you have the most beautiful hazel eyes in the world, and that the way that you twirl your hair around your finger when you are distracted is incredibly sexy.”
Aurora laughed softly. “It’s not your size, Harry, that backs up your story, it’s your whole attitude. I’ll come and have a look at this area of yours before I make any promises.”
Harry reached over and gently shut the books in front of her. “All work and no play makes Aurora a dull girl,” he said, as he took her hand. He pulled her up, dropping her hand with an audible sigh as they left the privacy of her classroom. They walked silently back down to the ground floor.
He guided her down the corridor and smiled. He opened his arms dramatically and the red doors opened.
Inside, the elves had finished. The room had been re-organised into four separate areas. A study area took up one quarter of the room. Desks were arranged into groups of four, with enough spaces for everyone to sit at the same time.
Opposite it was a library area, complete with comfortable chairs. Hermione and Melissa were filling it up with books and talking in a low voice.
The relaxing area was the third part, taking up a lot of the remaining space. The couches had been replaced with one huge long couch, where everyone could lounge around. Thick rugs were on the floor for people who preferred not to sit on the couch.
To the right of the fireplace, and in the corner, a small drinks bar was set up, with Fred and George stocking it with butterbeer.
Viktor, Christophe, Fleur, Gabrielle, Adrienne, Jacque, Cedric and Cho were lounging on the couch, having a discussion about the practical nature of using Runes on a daily basis.
In the last corner, Smasher, Crusher, Nasher, Thrasher and Lisa were setting up a training area, complete with a boxing ring.
Aurora had a stunned look on her face, as Harry gently took her arm and guided her to one of the spare bedrooms.
The room was a little smaller than his bedroom. A massive four poster bed was against the far wall, with a study area to the right of it. The study had a desk almost as large as Dumbledore’s, and what looked like a very comfy chair.
Harry pulled her through into the bathroom, and smiled at the gasp.
“I’m the junior professor,” she said. “I’m not supposed to get a room like this for years!”
“Tradition is fine until it gets in my way,” Harry retorted.
Auror shook herself.
“Come on,” Harry said, and led her back out. He moved over to the library area and took a seat, nodding to the one next to him. Hermione and Melissa ignored them.
“Do you know what you’ve got here?” Aurora asked.
“Some good friends and a place that Hogwarts has put together brilliantly?”
Auror laughed. “Yes, but that wasn’t what I meant. You’ve gathered all the most interesting students in the three schools in one place. I don’t mean the ones with the highest grades, but the ones with the combination of intelligence and personality that makes them stand out.”
“It wasn’t planned.”
“It rarely is.” She looked at him. “I accept, but there will have to be a few rules. You’ve already told me about some sharing – as long as they are both over sixteen, I don’t care. Is there anything else I should know?”
Harry sighed, and tried to avoid blushing. “You may see Gabrielle in my room at strange times.”
“Oh?” Aurora asked.
“Yes, she has a habit of trying to crawl into bed with me.”
“Really?” Aurora demanded, her voice cold.
Harry sighed. “It’s complicated,” he explained, a bit weakly. “Michael, Marie and Fleur are happy about it.”
“It does make me more than a little uncomfortable.”
“You’re cute when you’re flustered,” she continued in her cold voice. “And it’s fun to tease you about something.”
Harry blinked at her.
She laughed and smirked at him. “Michael was at a staff meeting, and I asked about you and Gabrielle. I wanted to be sure.”
Harry laughed in relief. “You will fit right in,” he said dryly.
“Thank you. Right, let’s get everyone together.”
Harry stood and they walked to the fireplace in front of the lounging area. “Guys,” Harry called. “Everyone take a seat.”
A few minutes later everyone was sat down, looking at them.
“As we’re going to live here, and some of us are moving out of other dorms, I’ve asked Professor Sinistra to be our live-in guardian. She’s got the room in the middle, which I’ve asked Hogwarts to ensure that she is the only person who can enter. Now, she’s got some rules for us, so let the negotiations begin.”
Aurora laughed softly. “So you’re aware, Harry has bribed me with one of the rooms.”
“It makes it really hard to argue with him,” Hermione agreed.
“Rules. I will treat you with respect in here; you will treat me with respect out there. And as a mark of that, in here, you may call me Aurora.”
“You will continue to get the top marks in the school. I want every professor jealous of me.”
There was some laughter and some nodding.
She looked at Fred and George. “If you’re going to prank, ensure that you don’t get caught. Getting caught is a detention that you will not enjoy.”
“Don’t worry,” Fred said. “Pranking is too easy these days, and Harry can normally create more chaos than we could without trying.”
“Yeah,” George agreed. “We try and make a scene, and he just does it, and gets away with it. It rather makes pranks pointless. We’re settling for pranking the world by helping Harry.”
“Thank you,” Harry said dryly.
“To continue,” Aurora said. “What happens in here stays in here. I don’t mind you sharing rooms, as long as it is totally consensual, and you are over the age of sixteen. You will not bring other people here for that purpose.”
“Amendment,” Harry interrupted. “No other students for that purpose.”
Aurora looked at him for a second, and then nodded. “Considering your personal life, I’ll allow that.”
“It will only affect him anyway,” Fleur pointed out with a teasing grin.
“Yeah,” Christophe agreed. “I even tried setting him up with my sister. He just doesn’t like students.”
“Jeannie?” Adrienne asked in surprise.
“She’s a cute kid,” Harry explained.
“Not your type?” Adrienne asked.
“A little on the young side.”
“Yeah,” Christophe snorted. “A whole two years older than you.”
Harry smiled. “Okay, let’s clear something up. Hands up those who think I went through a magical maturity.”
No one put their hands up.
“Or that Harry is the heir of someone like Gryffindor, Slytherin, Merlin, or Mum-Ra?” Sinistra asked.
No one put their hands up.
“And those who think that Harry has been playing with time?” Fleur asked.
Everyone raised their hands.
Harry pouted. “You were supposed to believe the first option,” he pointed out.
“Yeah,” George agreed. “We put that rumour around deliberately.”
Everyone turned to them.
“What?” Fred asked. “That’s what we’re paid for.”
“Oh, I almost forgot,” Aurora interrupted again. “Alcohol only in moderation, and we eat with the other students.”
“We accept the rules,” Harry said on everyone’s behalf.
“Why so generous?” Hermione asked.
“I prefer to think of them as realistic,” Aurora replied. “If I make the rules too restrictive you’ll all break them a lot more than if I try and be reasonable.”
“And it works,” Harry agreed. “Speaking of food, it’s time for dinner.”
Everyone who was seated, stood, and they followed him and Aurora out. “I’ll clear all this with Dumbledore,” Harry offered.
“I think we should do it together,” Aurora replied.
Harry looked behind him. “If anyone makes stupid comments about Professor Sinistra, deal with it.”
“Will do, boss,” Smasher and Crusher said in unison.
They walked straight through into the Great Hall, to find everyone staring at them. “What?” Harry asked warily.
“Mr Potter,” Albus said with a long suffering sigh. “Do you have anything to confess?”
“Not to you,” Harry replied evenly. “I’m going to need a little more context than that.”
“Did you happen to look at the House Points as you entered?”
“Should I have?”
“Yes. There was a new hourglass.”
“Oh?” Harry asked, interested. “Why did you do that?”
“I didn’t do that,” Dumbledore sighed. “I believe that you are a member of your house.”
The scene with Albus and Minerva was written after reading too many "Dubmledore is teh utilmate evil!" fics.
I've also seen a lot of Harry is mega rich, but doesn't do anything with it. He did buy the restaurant on a whim, but that sort of property is rarely for sale.
When I started this fic, it was the intention of Harry being with Fleur. It's just not worked out that way, and I'm quite pleased for it. There is no true-love-soul-bond-binding-life-is-beautiful in this, recent personal events has left me rather cynical about that.