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Old November 9th, 2012, 3:52 pm
jmunay10  Male.gif jmunay10 is offline
First Year
Join Date: 01st September 2012
Posts: 59
Re: Harry Potter and the Hellfire Potion

Chapter 25 ~ Another Near Kiss

Harry whiled away the time until one o’clock by doing a spot of window-shopping. He went into Quality Quidditch Supplies to check out the latest racing brooms, but there still wasn’t one on the market that was better than the Firebolt he already owned. He continued down Diagon Alley, nodding greetings to witches and wizards on the way, when he arrived at Ollivanders – or rather, what used to be Ollivanders. Mr Ollivander himself, the renowned wand maker, had disappeared mysteriously two years ago, never to be seen again. The shop had been found abandoned and now, it looked like someone else had taken over. The old sign had been removed and replaced by one bearing the legend: Croceus. The once dusty window was now sparklingly clean and showed a breathtaking display of jewellery; golden charm bracelet’s, jewel encrusted rings and glittering tiaras, each nestled in rich purple velvet. Harry couldn’t help but stare as the jewels winked at him in the morning sunshine. Tearing his eyes away, he continued down the street, stopping at the Magical Menagerie to pick up a box of Owl Nuts for Hedwig, which the owner wouldn’t let him pay for. Looking at his watch, he was surprised to see that it was almost ten minutes to one. Turning around, he began to walk leisurely towards the Leaky Cauldron to meet Ron and Hermione.

As he drew closer, he spotted Ron’s flaming red hair. He and Hermione had already arrived, and had taken seats at an outside table. Harry smiled as he saw that they had saved him a seat by placing Ron’s purple hat on a third chair. Harry hesitated for a moment; there was something about the way Hermione and Ron were leaning towards each other that made him want to hang back. Harry’s smile broadened – were they finally going to kiss? It felt a bit odd to be watching them like this, but he couldn’t tear his eyes away – this would be an historic event! He saw Ron reach out and brush a stray lock of Hermione’s ultra glossy hair back from her face, and she smiled shyly. Do it! Thought Harry, holding his breath. Ron leaned in closer… closer…

“What can I get you?” asked Tom, the barman.

Ron and Hermione jumped apart and Harry slapped his forehead in frustration. He saw Hermione snatch up her menu and stammer her order to Tom, who was beaming down at them, completely oblivious to what he had just interrupted. Ron had also grabbed his menu, but didn’t seem to realise he was holding it upside down, a dark red blush creeping over his face. Harry decided it was time to join his friends. Strolling over nonchalantly, he greeted them, ignoring the awkward atmosphere and chatted briefly with Tom, who always adored having Harry visit his pub. Their food arrived ten minutes later, and they began to eat amid stilted conversation.

“So,” said Harry, desperately casting around for a topic of conversation, “what did your parents say about us all moving in together?”

Hermione sighed, stirring her pumpkin juice with her straw. “Well, they weren’t exactly thrilled. I mean they always suspected that I’d move out eventually, but I don’t think they thought it would be so soon – and with two boys.” She smiled crookedly at Harry.

“But they’re still going to let you, aren’t they?” Ron asked, looking worried.

“Yes, but I think they might feel better if they could come and see the house, which means you have to give them the address, Harry.” Harry had become the Secret Keeper for the Order when Dumbledore had died. He nodded as he took a large bite of his sandwich.

“No problem,” he mumbled. “So,” he said, turning to Ron, “Hermione’s told her parents, I’ve told Ginny – that just leaves your parents.”

“Don’t remind me,” Ron replied glumly. “Dad’ll be fine, but Mum?” he shuddered as he imagined his mother’s reaction. “And don’t think you’ll get out of it lightly – you’re the seventh son she never had, remember?”

“I think you’re underestimating your mum, Ron,” said Hermione, not quite meeting his eye. “I think your parents might be very pleased to get the Burrow back to themselves – after all, it won’t be too long until Ginny leaves Hogwarts – this might be a good opportunity for them to have some peace and quiet for a change.”

Ron looked highly doubtful, but Harry thought she might have a point. They finished the rest of their lunch in silence, each immersed in their own thoughts until Harry decided it was time for him to go. The three of them tried to pay, but as usual, Tom wouldn’t hear of it. Ron and Hermione headed towards their respective shops and Harry decided to use the Leaky Cauldron’s fireplace to get to Grimmauld Place. It was time to get on with the Map.
“… well that’s settled then! Oh Remus, I’m soooooo excited! I love – Harry?!”

“You love Harry?” Lupin asked Tonks, a confused frown upon his face. Looking up, realisation dawned on his face, “Oh! Harry – h-hello!”

“Lupin - Tonks! Hi!” Harry stammered awkwardly, standing up quickly and bashing his knees on the kitchen table.

Harry had been working diligently on the Map, so engrossed that he hadn’t noticed Lupin and Tonks arrive. Evidently, they too had been so engrossed in each other that they had failed to notice that Harry was in the kitchen.

Lupin and Harry grinned at each other, embarrassed, but Tonks seemed to get even more excited, her hair changing rapidly from pink to green to amber, not unlike a set of traffic lights.

“Guess what?”

“Er… what?” asked Harry, shifting on the spot uncomfortably.

“We’ve set a date for the wedding!” she squealed, hopping up and down on the spot, now with scarlet hair.

“Excellent!” Harry exclaimed - all trace of embarrassment forgotten, crossing the room to shake Lupin’s hand and kiss Tonks’s glowing cheek. “When? Where?” he looked at them expectantly.

“The thirty-first of December – a winter wedding!” Tonks twirled around the kitchen, tripping over her own feet. Harry reached out and caught her by the elbow just before she hit the ground, but she went on, unconcerned. “We’re having the ceremony in this tiny meadow, just outside of Hogsmeade village – magically heated of course - then a reception at The Three Broomsticks! We’ve just confirmed it with Rosmerta.” She grinned at Lupin, who was watching his bride-to-be with smiling eyes.

“Brilliant,” Harry said, very pleased for them both, but especially for Lupin, who had been looking a great deal younger recently.

“Actually, Harry, I’m glad you’re here. There’s something I wanted to ask you,” said Lupin, pulling up a chair. “Now, I realise that being eighteen means you don’t have much use for me as your legal guardian, but I hope you agree that you and I are family.” Harry nodded, wondering where this was leading. “So…I would be honoured if you would be my best man.”

“Of course!” Harry replied, feeling suddenly sad for some inexplicable reason. Something must have shown on his face, because Lupin reached out and put a hand on Harry’s forearm.

“I miss them too, Harry,” he said in a soft voice, his eyes brimming with understanding.

Tonks muttered something about sending an owl to her mother and for once, slipped quietly out the room.

“I was just thinking about that photo – the one of my parents wedding – where Sirius was best man,” Harry said, suddenly incredibly interested in the tabletop. “They should be here, y’know?”

Lupin nodded. “They will be, Harry. With all that you have seen and done, I’m sure you know that.”

It was Harry’s turn to nod. He took a deep, steadying breath and met Lupin’s eye. “So… what exactly does a best man do?”

Lupin laughed. “Just be there on the day and look after the wedding rings!”

“Er, right. I think I can manage that.”

“I’m sure you will do admirably. Now,” he said, putting on his reading glasses, “how are you getting along with this Map?”

Harry updated him on all he knew, informing Lupin about Hermione’s amazing progress with inventing potions, both her and Ron’s new jobs and his own desire to pursue his NEWT exams. Lupin remained quiet, allowing Harry to talk himself out.

“Well, Harry, I don’t think there will be a problem arranging tutoring for your NEWT’s outside of Hogwarts. I’m certain there will be any number of willing Professor’s who would only be too happy to help. I for one would be pleased to work on Defence Against the Dark Arts – though I’m not sure that you’ll really need any help in that area. Why don’t you let me speak with the head of the Department for Education at the Ministry? I think I’ll also send a letter to Minerva, and find out what she thinks. Is that all right with you?”

“Yeah – thanks, Lupin! I would just feel a bit weird, going back to school…”

“No need to explain, Harry,” he said reassuringly. “Now, what’s the latest with you and Ginny?”

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