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Old December 27th, 2012, 7:11 am
jmunay10  Male.gif jmunay10 is offline
First Year
 
Join Date: 01st September 2012
Posts: 59
Re: Harry Potter and the Hellfire Potion

Chapter 34 ~ Magical Matrimony

In next to no time, the few days between Christmas and New Years Eve began to slip away. With Harry unable to think of an excuse worthy of keeping all the families under one roof, the Grangers’, Weasleys’ and Mrs. Longbottom had each returned to their respective homes. With Lupin’s help, Harry, Ron and Hermione had put their heads together and come up with some protective shields that would last about a week at a time, placing them around each family member’s home. Every week, they would take it in turns to revive the spell. It wasn’t ideal, but they wanted everyone to have as normal a life as possible. Neville had remained at Grimmauld Place for the time being, making it easier to concoct their plans. After much persuasion, Mrs. Weasley had reluctantly consented for Ginny to remain there too, until Lupin and Tonks's wedding on New Years Eve, on the strict promise that she share a room with Hermione and only Hermione, and had made Ron promise to ‘keep an eye out’, causing Harry and Ginny to laugh, not because they were mocking Mrs. Weasley (or flouting her rules) but because it was really Hermione and Ron that needed keeping an eye on. Love was definitely in the air.

They enjoyed these few days together, interrupted only by Harry receiving a surprise visitor in the form of Professor McGonagall, who arrived at Grimmauld Place two days after Christmas, with a stack of reading lists and course work for Harry’s NEWTS.

“…Now, of course no-one expects you to complete all of this work alone. I will be delighted to assist you in matters of Transfiguration, and no doubt you have already discussed with Lupin a tutoring plan for Defence Against the Dark Arts,” Harry gave a sort of noncommittal nod. In truth he and Lupin had done no more than mention the possibility of him tutoring Harry in passing. Professor McGonagall went on, “Professors Sprout and Slughorn are also keen to offer their assistance with Herbology and Potions, and I see no reason why you can’t get the bulk of your work done via owl correspondence. Are there any questions so far?” she peered at Harry over the top of her spectacles.

“Er, what about History of Magic?” he asked, hoping silently that she would say it had been abolished.

She cleared her throat, and looked at him somewhat awkwardly. “Ah, well, I have been meaning to talk to you about that, Potter. As you may or may not know, in your seventh year of study, the History of Magic course centres around modern wizarding times,” she looked at Harry to see if her words were sinking in. Harry stared at her, nonplussed. She cleared her throat again. “What that means is this: the main course material would be about the most important event in recent magical history… in other words, the rise of You-Know-Who and those involved in his downfall…”
Harry had not been expecting this. “Oh,” he said, not sure what to feel. On one hand, he would hate being the subject of his own essays and writing about his archenemy for a school project, but on the other, surely this was something he could achieve an ‘Outstanding’ mark in? No way, he thought hastily, even for you that is too weird. He shook his head slightly to rid himself of these thoughts, while Professor McGonagall watched him with concern. “Er, right. I see,” he said, sitting up a little straighter, “I think I’ll give that one a miss then.”

“Of course. I understand completely. And let us not forget that you received a dismal mark for your OWL in History of Magic too. Now that just leaves Charms,” she shuffled briskly through a sheaf of parchment, “Due to the nature of the subject, this one will also be supervised by Lupin, though Professor Flitwick will be on hand to you at the weekends should you require further help. Is that all quite clear?”

“Yes, Professor, thank you.” They stood up and she shook his hand. “I can’t tell you how pleased we all are that you are continuing your studies, Potter – a very wise move. Well, good day to you. I expect I’ll see you at the wedding.”

Ron and the others reappeared in the kitchen once the coast was clear. He picked up a stack of parchment, shaking his head. “You know, Harry, you really don’t have to put yourself through this!”

“Ron!” gasped Hermione in a scandalised voice. “How can you say that?” she turned to Harry and said, “Completing your education is the smartest thing you could possibly do, Harry, and I’ll help you as much as I can.” She didn’t notice Ron roll his eyes behind her back.
However serious Harry was about continuing his education, he wasn’t about to let it interfere with his last couple of days with Ginny. They soaked up every possible moment together. For Harry, it was like storing up some wonderful potion that he hoped would see him through the bleak times ahead, but he couldn’t help but let his mind wander to those photographs and the similarities between his parents and them. Still, the five of them managed to have fun together, and it felt just like the old days in Gryffindor Tower, although someone always had their eye trained on the Map. So far nothing new had happened, even Wormtail hadn’t gone anywhere recently, and before they knew it, the day of Lupin and Tonks’s wedding dawned. Chaos ensued in the Potter-Granger-Weasley household that morning.

“Aargh!” Hermione clattered into the kitchen, wrapped in a dressing gown, her hair bushier than Harry or Ron had ever seen it. “Dobby! Have you seen my shoes?” Dobby, who had just been about to pile scrambled eggs and toast onto Ron’s plate, stopped what he was doing immediately. Ron, stomach rumbling loudly, tugged the frying pan out of Dobby’s hands and served himself.

“Which ones, Miss Hermione?” he asked anxiously. Harry, Ron and Neville exchanged an amused glance as Hermione hopped agitatedly about, trying to tame her hair with one hand, clutching her robe closed with the other.

“Oh, those green ones – to match my dress robes for today – I can’t find them!”

Dobby was just about to dash upstairs when Ginny burst through the door, also clad in a robe, her red hair done up in huge curlers, clutching a pair of shoes. “Here they are!” she gasped, short of breath “Under my bed – no idea how they got there!”

“Blimey Ginny – what’s going on with your hair?” Ron goggled at her, eyebrows raised, as Hermione took the shoes gratefully.

“Don’t start,” Ginny warned her brother menacingly, “I have to do it this way – I’m not allowed to use magic outside of school yet – remember?”

“Couldn’t Hermione help...?” Harry asked hesitantly.

“Don’t look at me!” Hermione burst out, gulping down some coffee, “I can barely manage the Sleekeazy potion!”

“Yeah, and that only leaves you three,” Ginny continued, smiling wryly at the three young men seated at the table, “I don’t suppose any of you know how to do curls?”

“Er, not really our area of expertise,” Harry mumbled, as he, Neville and Ron busied themselves with their breakfasts.

“Just as I thought,” Ginny replied, shaking her head, her curlers wobbling slightly.

“Aren’t you three ready yet?” Hermione demanded, staring at the three of them, still in their pyjamas.

“We’ve got loads of time!” protested Ron, adding more eggs to his plate and squirting ketchup over them. “All a man needs to do is jump in the shower for five minutes - not an hour,” he looked at the girls pointedly, “throw on dress robes and hey presto! Ready to go! Hermione, you need to learn how to relax.”

Hermione and Ginny watched him shovel eggs into his mouth, unimpressed.

“Urgh, Ron, you are so revolting sometimes, you know that?” said Ginny, though she smiled as she spoke. Ron grinned at her, cheeks bulging with food. Ginny shook her head with a laugh, “Harry, did you get your speech done?”

Harry nodded. He had been up half the night attempting to write something. At first, Ginny and Hermione had tried to help him, but with each discarded draft, they had grown more and more tired, until eventually, they abandoned him to get their beauty sleep. Finally, Harry had decided on a short and simple speech that congratulated Lupin and Tonks and thanked the guests for coming. Luckily, it was going to be a very small wedding, with only Tonks’s family, the Weasleys’ and a few work friends attending. Harry was the only family Lupin had left, making the guest list shorter still, so Harry wasn’t too nervous about standing up in front of everyone.

“Yeah, all done, and the rings are in my robe pocket.” Harry had stowed the gold wedding bands safely in his pocket the night before, ensuring they didn’t get left behind.

“Good,” said Hermione, slamming her coffee mug down on the table and grabbing Ginny’s arm, “we’ll go and finish getting ready then.” Talking rapidly, the pair of them hurried back to their rooms, leaving Harry, Ron and Neville to ponder the mysteries of females.
Finally, all five of them were bathed, dressed and ready to go. Hermione, her hair now sleek and shiny, was dressed in robes of the softest green colour, her silver locket complimented by two small silver clips that drew her hair back and away from her face. Ginny, having rid herself of the curlers, wore her hair in soft, tumbling curls that framed her face prettily. Her robes were a pale blue colour that went very well with Harry’s midnight blue dress robes and she wore a wreath of tiny white flowers in her hair.

“Whoa!” Harry had gasped when he saw her, heart beating a little faster, “you look amazing!”

Ginny blushed and reached up to kiss him. “You too!”

Ron and Hermione exchanged a quick kiss too, Ron whispering something in Hermione’s ear that the others couldn’t hear, but caused her eyes to sparkle happily.

“Great,” sighed Neville glumly, observing the two happy couples, “I’m the only dateless wonder.”

“Don’t be silly, Neville!” said Hermione, moving away from Ron slightly, “we’re going to the wedding as a group!”

“Yeah, I know,” he gave her a small smile, but still continued to look slightly morose.

As they headed out the door, Ron asked, “Got your eye on anyone, Neville?”

“No. Between running the shop and the latest… stuff going on, I don’t really have time to meet anyone. The youngest customers in the shop are at least fifty years old – not exactly girlfriend material! It would just be nice not to be the third wheel once in a while” he said wistfully.

Ron persisted, “What about Luna? I always thought you two might… you know…”

“What? No way, we’re just friends! I like Luna a lot, but she’s not really my type. She’s, um… very unusual.” He grinned sheepishly.

Outside, the coast was clear. Hermione Apparated first, followed closely by Ron and Neville. Ginny grasped Harry’s arm and they disappeared together with a loud pop. They reappeared in the tiny meadow in Hogsmeade, where the wedding would take place. Twenty golden chairs were arranged in front of a raised white dais. It should have been freezing cold, but the small meadow had been magically heated for the occasion. Tiny fairies fluttered here and there, and a witch wearing purple robes sat to the side of the dais, a large golden harp in front of her, playing a beautiful, haunting tune that Harry had never heard before.

“There you are!” Mrs. Weasley came rushing over to them. “Oh, don’t you look nice everyone!” She eyed them all approvingly, reaching out to straighten Ginny’s flowers and adjust Ron’s robes. She was just about to start in on Harry’s hair, when he spotted Lupin waving at him.

“Er, I think Lupin needs me, Mrs. Weasley,” Harry gave Ginny’s hand a quick squeeze before escaping.

“Harry! Perfect timing,” Lupin reached out a shook his hand warmly. He too was wearing midnight blue robes, and had a look of excitement upon his face that Harry had never seen before. “Got the rings?”

Harry felt in his pocket and held out his hand.

“Good, good! We’ve still got about half an hour to go, so can you organise Ron and Neville to help you get everyone in their seats? I just want a quick word with the Minister,” he indicated a portly man, dressed in silvery robes who stood at the top of the dais.

“No problem,” he smiled reassuringly and went back over to where the others were standing. Once they had settled Hermione and Ginny in seats, the three of them approached the other guests that were milling about, until the rest of the golden chairs were full. Leaving Ron and Neville, Harry made his way back to the dais where Lupin stood, beginning to look nervous.

“Are you all right?” asked Harry.

Lupin smiled. “Yes…” he replied quietly, “I just can’t believe this is happening. I never would have believed that someone like me would be here today – about to get married!” he looked at Harry wistfully, “I just wish that Prongs and Padfoot were here to see it – who would have thought that Moony would be getting married!”

Harry smiled at him, hiding the twist he felt in his stomach as his mind automatically flashed back to the photo of his parents again. Would Ron, Hermione and Neville someday be looking at a picture of he and Ginny, wishing they were still alive? Stop it! He told himself sternly, this is Lupin’s day. Don’t ruin it for him. He smiled again, relieved that it felt genuine this time and reached out to shake Lupin’s hand. He pulled Harry into a brief one-armed hug.

“I’m very glad you’re here, Harry,” he said, his voice breaking slightly.

“Me too,” Harry replied quietly. The harpist had stopped playing and the guests began to murmur excitedly. Looking around, Harry and Lupin saw that Tonks had arrived. She wore stunning ivory robes, carried a bouquet of golden flowers and her hair (platinum for the wedding) was piled on her head in an elegant bun. She paused for a moment at the top of the aisle. The harpist began to play the wedding march and Tonks, accompanied by her father, began to walk gracefully down the aisle. Well, almost gracefully. She had nearly made it all the way to Lupin without incident, beaming at her guests, when she tripped on the hem of her robes. Luckily, Lupin seemed to be expecting this, as had Harry, and they both reached out and caught her by an elbow each. The spectators gasped, and Tonks giggled nervously. Once he was certain that she was secure on her feet, Harry let go of her elbow and moved to the side, winking discreetly at Ginny who was smothering a laugh.
The Minister stepped forward and touched his wand to his throat. “Sonorous!” he muttered. “Friends, family,” he said in a rumbling voice, beaming around at the assembled guests, “we have gathered here today to join in magical matrimony, Remus John Lupin and Nymphadora Tonks.”

Lupin reached out and took Tonks’s hand.

The Minister continued, “We are here to affirm their love in its many varied forms, and to witness the making of a covenant expressed in solemn vows and promises, with the love of family and the support of friends.” Looking up, the Minister asked, “do you have the rings?”

Harry started slightly and stepped forwards, holding the rings out on the palm of his hand. Lupin took them and Tonks beamed at him.

Turning to Lupin, the Minister said, “Do you, Remus John Lupin take Nymphadora Tonks, to be bound in magical matrimony, and promise to love, protect and cherish her as long as you both shall live?”

With a trembling hand, Lupin slipped the slim gold band onto Tonks’s finger and said, “I do.” As he spoke, the ring glowed magically.

The Minister repeated the same words to Tonks.

“I do!” she cried happily, causing the audience to titter. She placed the slightly wider gold band onto Lupin’s finger and again it glowed.

“And now,” the Minister said, addressing the guests, “I pronounce you husband and wife! Ladies and gentlemen; may I be the first to present Mr. and Mrs. Remus Lupin!”

The audience burst into appreciative applause and Fred and George let off some specially made fireworks: a million pink hearts and gold stars erupted into the sky as Lupin and Tonks shared their first kiss as a married couple.
“Congratulations!”

“Well done!”

“Beautiful ceremony!” cried the guests as Lupin and Tonks, strolled hand in hand into the Three Broomsticks where the reception was taking place. For the occasion, Madam Rosmerta had closed it to the public, and vanished all the usual tables and chairs, replacing them instead with more golden chairs and matching tables, each with a small vase of gold and white flowers in the centre, plus one long table for the bride and groom to sit at. The bar itself was festooned with more of the same, and additional fairies fluttered all around. An enormous, twelve-tier wedding cake, frosted with thick white icing and decorated with sugar flowers took pride of place in the centre of the bar. Huge beeswax candles glowed invitingly and there was a large space cleared for dancing. Tonks’s favourite band, the Weird Sisters, had joined the harpist on a tiny makeshift stage, as a personal favour to Harry. He had asked them to play as part of his wedding gift to the happy couple, and they had willingly consented, thinking Harry to be “a top bloke”.

Harry was once again busy getting everyone into his or her seats, trying not to collide too much with Mr. Weasley, who was the self-appointed photographer for the day. There were six people at each table: the twins, Neville, Ginny, Ron and Hermione were together, a group of Auror’s at another, some of Tonks’s relatives next to them, and Hagrid, Mr. and Mrs. Weasley, Professor MacGonagall and a couple of people Harry didn’t recognise were at another. He was to sit at the top table with Lupin, Tonks and her parents. Finally, people stopped throwing their confetti and chattering long enough to hear his polite but insistent instructions to settle down. He too sat down, satisfied that all was going smoothly until he realised every eye in the pub was on him. He felt Lupin give his a small nudge under the table and mutter, “speech!”

“Oh! Yeah, sorry!” clearing his throat, Harry stood and faced the guests. His mouth went dry and the simple speech he had planned went clean out of his head. Taking a quick sip of water from his goblet, his eyes sought out Ginny. She was smiling at him reassuringly and he felt himself relax a little. He cleared his throat again, “H-hello everyone.”

The audience chorused back, “Hello!” The twins waved at him.

Harry grinned, feeling better. “I’m Lup- er Remus’s best man, and would like to say a few words,” he paused for a moment, overcome with the insane urge to shout: nitwit, oddment, blubber, tweak! Stifling a laugh, he continued, “I’ve known Remus for a long time, and can honestly say I have never seen him happier than when Tonks is around. He’s a changed man and he and Tonks deserve all the happiness in the world. Let’s raise a glass to the happy couple!”

Everyone raised their goblets and toasted loudly.

“And thank you all for coming!”

Everyone laughed and clapped as Harry sat down, relieved that the ordeal was over. Tonks’s father, Ted, stood next, and invited his daughter and son-in-law to lead the first dance. Eagerly, Tonks stood up, grabbing Lupin’s hand, and half dragged him to the dance floor. The harpist began to play a pretty waltz, and the two of them danced to the “oohs” and “aahs” of the watching guests. Tonks’s parents stood and joined them, quickly followed by the other guests. Grinning, Harry watched Hermione and Ron begin to dance, extremely impressed that Ron seemed to know what he was doing. Mrs. Weasley and Kingsley Shacklebolt cut a path across the dance floor next, closely followed by Hagrid and Professor MacGonagall. Feeling a tug on his hand, Harry turned to find Ginny smiling at him.

“Well done!” she said, “Feel like a dance?”

“Er, okay! But I don’t really know how to waltz…”

Laughing, Ginny pulled him onto the dance floor, where he discovered it wasn’t as hard as it looked. Looking over Ginny’s shoulder, Harry was pleased to see Neville approach one of Tonks’s cousins, a pretty girl with light brown hair, asking her to dance. She accepted, and they moved into the swell of dancing couples. The waltz finished and the Weird Sisters took to the stage, kicking the pace up several notches. When the lead singer cried out, “Everybody switch!” Harry found himself dancing with Hermione. Ginny partnered with Lupin and Ron with Tonks.

“Everything has been so lovely!” Hermione cried over the loud music, taking Harry’s hands.

“Yeah, it has!” he replied happily, glad that everything was going so well so far. “You look really pretty, Hermione,” Harry grinned, and twirled her under one arm.

Laughing, she thanked him, “How’s everything going with Ginny?”

“Perfect! What about you and Ron, eh? I thought you’d never get together!”

Hermione blushed. “Well, I admit it took us a while, but I think it was well worth the wait! Can you believe we made it this far, Harry? Who would have thought all this would have happened!”

“Yeah, the three of us living together, and you with a house-elf! I never would have believed it if you’d told me in our first year!”

Chuckling again, they hugged briefly before switching partners again. Harry watched her go, thinking about getting back to Ginny, when a platinum blur flashed in front of his eyes.
“Wotcher, Harry!” Tonks seized his hands and began to dance frantically. “Thank you so much for getting the Weird Sisters here!”

“You’re welcome! Are you enjoying your wedding?”

“Oh Harry - it’s been the best day of my whole life!” and she performed a funny half pirouette, half leap on the spot, miraculously landing on two feet with a triumphant flourish. Nevertheless, Harry thought it might be time to beat a hasty retreat. He danced with Tonks for a few minutes more, and then said something about going to find Ginny, who was now dancing with one of the twins, he couldn’t tell which. His timing was perfect; a slow song had just come on. Taking Ginny’s hand, he steered her away from her brother (who turned out to be George) and wrapped his arms around her, feeling a lot more confident now: slow dancing was easy, you just sort of swayed about on the spot – nothing to it. As was his habit, he dipped his head to inhale the smell of flowers in her hair. Sighing contentedly, she wrapped her arms around him a little tighter and they stayed like that until the end of the song. As the last chords faded away, Lupin tapped his goblet with his knife and announced that it was time for wedding cake. A large cheer went up, led by Fred and George as everybody crowded around to watch Lupin and Tonks cut the huge cake, levitating slices through the air to the guests. They returned to their tables, but Harry took a seat with Ginny and the others, taking advantage of the twins’ empty seats (they were off preparing another firework display). Neville was now sitting with Tonks’s cousin, who Hermione informed them was called Emily, and Hagrid had joined Harry too.

“Beau’iful, jus beau’iful,” he sniffed, mopping his eyes with one of his giant hanky’s.

“How was your Christmas, Hagrid,” asked Ron, not realising there was a smudge of white icing on the end of his nose. Hermione wiped it off for him with a giggle.

“Smashing, thanks fer asking! Olympe’s doing very well. Oh, and thanks fer that Lollygagger Lasso, Harry! It’s bin dead useful!”

“No problem – thanks for the bag,” Harry replied, grinning.

“So, I take you two are back together then?” Hagrid smiled mischievously at Harry and Ginny, who just beamed back. “And wha’ about you two? Do I detect a bit o’ romance in the air?” Hagrid had turned his gaze to Ron and Hermione.

“Well, it is a wedding, Hagrid,” said Ron, leaning back in his chair, grinning.

“Huh! So when’ll we be ‘aving a wedding fer yeh?” he raised his eyebrows at Harry who swallowed hard. The truth was, the moment he had witnessed Lupin and Tonks’s wedding vows, he had pictured he and Ginny in the same place, with Ron as best man and Hermione as bridesmaid. It was an extremely appealing thought, but he didn’t dare voice it now. He was sure Ginny would think him quite mad and Mrs. Weasley would probably flip out.

Aloud he said, “Er, not just now, Hagrid!”

“Yeah, let us finish our NEWT’s at least!” added Ginny, laughing.

Hagrid chuckled, shooting Harry a knowing look that went unnoticed by the others. Harry squirmed in his seat for a moment, covering his discomfort by taking a giant bite of wedding cake. What was he thinking? He was far too young to get married, but he knew he could never feel the same way about another girl as he did about Ginny. He allowed his thoughts to drift pleasantly, imagining being able to wake up with Ginny everyday, taking holidays together somewhere sunny, seeing her belly fat with pregnancy, grinning as he imagined the frenzied booty knitting Dobby would undertake. He was just wondering whether their children would have black or red hair when –

-“Harry?”

Ginny was giggling as she waved a hand in front of his face. “Where did you go?”

“Huh? Oh, nowhere,” he smiled, “just thinking about… getting more cake!”

Ron and Hermione laughed, but Ginny gave Harry a searching look before pushing her half eaten cake towards him. “Here, you can have the rest of mine.”

“Thanks,” Harry began to eat, not really hungry but not wanting to reveal what he had really been thinking about.

“Well, Ginny! How about a dance?” Hagrid stood up and held out a hand. Ginny took it and followed him onto the dance floor.

“I hope Hagrid doesn’t squash her,” said Ron, grabbing a bit of cake off Harry’s plate, watching Hagrid and Ginny move around the dance floor. Neville was up and dancing again, with Tonks’s cousin, Emily.

“Want to have another boogie, Hermione?” asked Ron, standing up and stretching.

“Yes please! I’ll just be a second.”

Ron nodded and made his way to the edge of the dance floor. Hermione leaned in to Harry.

“She wants the same thing. It’ll happen when the time is right.”

And before Harry could respond, she had made her way to the dance floor. Harry smiled to himself, shaking his head: was I that obvious?
The last of the wedding guests finally dispersed at midnight, after waving Lupin and Tonks off on their honeymoon. They were going to spend a week in the south of France, visiting Bill and Fleur while they were there. After they had thanked Madam Rosmerta for the lovely reception, Harry and the others Apparated home. Grimmauld Place was dark and deserted, the silence broken only by their hushed chatter. Ron and Harry were teasing Neville about Emily, wanting to know what had gone on, while Ginny and Hermione defended him. They had all shared a large bottle of oak matured mead towards the end of the evening and were now in very high spirits.

“Mind your own business!” laughed Hermione, taking Neville’s arm protectively, “I’m sure Neville doesn’t want to talk to you two about Emily, do you Neville?”

Neville stammered something about just dancing with her, blushing furiously in the light of the street lamp, and waited desperately for number twelve to materialize. Giggling, Ginny took his other arm and marched him through the front door. Dobby was waiting up for them.

“Is you having a good time at the wedding?” he asked eagerly, taking their travelling cloaks and Vanishing them.

“Yes thanks, Dobby!” Hermione replied, as they made their way up to the drawing room. Sighing, they settled into their favourite armchairs.

“Can Dobby get you anything, sirs? Misses?”

Ron yawned widely, “No thanks, Dobby, we’re stuffed!”

Dobby nodded, “Well Dobby is just leaving this pot of tea here,” he clicked his fingers a teapot and five cups and saucers appeared on the table, “just in case you is changing your minds. Dobby is going to bed then – but you can wake him up if you is wanting anything else!”

“Thanks, Dobby!” they called, as the drawing room door closed behind the little elf.

Ginny eased her shoes off and wiggled her toes, “Aaah! That’s better – anyone want tea?” she stood up and busied herself pouring steaming cups of tea for everyone. After handing them round, she settled back in her chair. “Well I don’t think the wedding could have gone better!”

Everyone agreed, and chatted happily for a while about the magnificent firework display provided by Fred and George, the delicious wedding cake and, of course, how happy Lupin and Tonks had looked. Ron had pressed Neville for more information on Emily, but he remained resolutely tight-lipped, saying only that she was a very nice girl and he had enjoyed dancing with her. When the clock on the mantle piece stuck two o’clock, Hermione insisted they all get some sleep. Harry extinguished the fire as they made their way up to bed when Neville stopped him quietly.

“Look,” he whispered, his jovial mood replaced by a sudden intensity.

“What?” asked Harry, following him back into the drawing room. His eyes followed the direction that Neville was pointing in.

“He’s gone again – Peter Pettigrew – he’s left the house again!”

“Yeah… he’s been doing that a lot, Neville…”

“But where does he go?” Neville burst out, sounding very frustrated.

“I dunno! Look, it’s late. Let’s discuss it in the morning.”

He ushered Neville out into the hallway, practically dragging him up the stairs.

“I’ve just got a bad feeling about him…” Neville said, biting his lower lip, a frown creasing his brow.

“Yeah, well you should,” Harry stated firmly, “he’s bad news, but right now, there’s nothing we can do about it. Get some sleep and we’ll talk in the morning.” He gave Neville a shove in the direction of his room, then turned and entered his own bedroom, closing the door before Neville could continue the conversation. He was thoroughly exhausted and wanted no more talk of Death Eaters, just as much sleep as possible.


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