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Butterfly Kisses (Sequel to Harry Potter and the Return to Hogwarts)

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Old August 31st, 2011, 8:41 pm
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Re: Butterfly Kisses (Sequel to Harry Potter and the Return to Hogwarts)

Chapter 41
Surejan Dragon Reserve vs. The Wizengamot

Author's Note: I've gotten a lot of praise for the Draco/Astoria/Pansy love triangle I am creating. I will definitely try to explore more of it and use it as a back plot to the story. I have a couple of planned chapters, mostly for Ron and Hermione, but after I do these, I might get back to that part.

(Ron's PoV)

When Ron arrived in the kitchen early the next morning, breakfast was finished, and Hermione was sitting at the table with her nose in a book. Ron looked at the title. It read: “Modern Wizarding Laws”.

Ron put one of the breakfast buns on a plate and walked over to the table. As he sat down, Hermione slammed the book down and shut it.

“Someone woke up on the wrong side of the bed today,” Ron said.

“Not possible,” Hermione said, “You were blocking it.”

“Why are you so grouchy this morning?” Ron said.

“I'm just nervous about this court case today,” Hermione said. “I know Brady is going to need all the help he can get. That is why I've been looking through books the past couple of days.”

“Have you?” Ron asked, “I hardly noticed.”

Hermione rolled her eyes. “I guess I am back to my old self again, huh?” she asked.

“I have no problem with that,” Ron said, “as long as you don't tell me off for not doing homework, when I haven't had any for months now.”

Hermione grinned, then frowned again.

“It is this dragon case,” she said, “Probably the most difficult case I've ever seen, and I've seen plenty when I was the Scribe for the Wizengamot. But this... the Romanian Wizengamot are going to be right alongside our own Wizengamot. The Romanian Wizengamot isn't like ours, Ron. They have a history for being one of the most grouchiest groups of lawmen in the world, wizarding and Muggle. Brady's going to have his hands full. I was trying to look for some way to help him. And I can't find anything in this bloody book.”

“Nothing about court cases in Modern Wizarding Laws?” Ron asked, with a smirk.

“Nothing about defending dragons,” Hermione said, with a scoff, “Or mad lawmen pent on making sure the Surejan Dragon Reserve is to blame.”

“The dragon escaped from the reserve, Hermione,” Ron said, “Don't you think they are to blame?”

“How could you say that, Ron?!” Hermione said, “You're brother works there. He could lose his job! You know how much he loves his job.”

“I do,” Ron said, “But Hermione, I'm looking at the facts.”

“The facts have to be wrong,” Hermione said. “There is something we're missing.”

She sighed and stood up, then proceeded to stand up to get herself a plate of food.

“Well, in my opinion,” Ron said, “There really shouldn't be a case. They shouldn't focus on the dragon escape. They need to focus on how we stopped more dragons from being stolen.”

Suddenly, Ron heard a clatter, as Hermione dropped her plate on the counter. She turned and walked over to Ron, then swooped in on him, and kissed him deeply on the lips.

“What was that for?” Ron asked, grinning.

“You are a genius!” Hermione said, “And I need to go to the Ministry. Thank you, Ron!”

“What – but – Hermione?!” Ron called after her, as she walked out of the kitchen, “You're case doesn't start till noon!”

Hermione turned at the doorway.

“I have to go in now,” Hermione said, “Brady's going to want to hear this.”

“At least eat something first,” Ron said.

Hermione smiled, walked over to the counter and picked up a breakfast bun. She waved at Ron, then hurried back out of the kitchen. A couple minutes later, Ron heard the tell-tale signs of Hermione using the Floo Network. He turned back to his breakfast, clueless as to what was going on.

“Mental, that one!” he muttered, shaking his head..


Half-an-hour later, Ron walked into the lifts at the Ministry. Before the lifts closed, Harry walked in.

“Morning, Ron!” Harry said.

“Hello,” Ron said.

“Did your father find anything about your new neighbors?” Harry asked.

“Yeah,” Ron said, “They're Muggles.”

“You're sure?” Harry asked.

“Dad said there were no reported traces of magic coming from the house,” Ron said.

“And the portrait you saw?” Harry asked.

“Hermione figured that I must have seen a shadow moving or something,” Ron said, “It's possible, I guess.”

“What did you learn when you talked to them?” Harry asked.

“The bloke has a confidential job,” Ron said, “Probably Muggle government. He also likes football.”

“Well, that settles it,” Harry said, “They are definitely Muggles. Most wizards have no idea what football is.”

“Yeah,” Ron said, “I guess so.”

“So how's Hermione?” Harry asked, “Still clueless about your birthday plans for her tomorrow?”

“She only knows I have something planned,” Ron said, “And that we'll also be going to your house for her party.”

“That's lucky,” Harry said.

“I doubt she is even thinking about her birthday,” Ron said, “This new case is distracting her. You should have seen there this morning. She was so nervous and upset about the whole thing. Then suddenly, out of nowhere, she has some sort of inspiration or something, and ran out of the kitchen and headed for the Ministry. She almost forgot to eat breakfast.”

“Oh, well, then,” Harry said, “You have nothing to worry about.”

“Oh?” Ron asked.

“Yeah,” Harry said, “Nervous? Sudden inspirations? Too busy to eat? That's normal for her, mate.”

Ron laughed. “You have a point there,” he said.

(Hermione's PoV)

Twenty minutes till noon, Hermione and Brady were in the lifts, heading for the bottom floor.

“You're sure about this, Hermione?” Brady asked. “Because if you are, this could win the case for us.”

“I'm sure of it, Brady,” Hermione said, “I used to be the Court Respondent for the Wizengamot, remember? I know how they work. Just make them see the truth, and make them realize there is something else at play besides a dragon with a mental case.”

“You realize you'll have to be a witness for our defense if we go through with this?” Brady asked, “They're going to want witnesses to back this whole thing up. I may have been there, but they aren't going to let us get away with just my story.”

“I'll say my part,” Hermione said, as the doors to the lift opened. “You don't worry about that.”

“If we do well on this one, Hermione,” Brady said, as they walked out, “I'll give you your birthday off and any other days you wish. This could save my backside and I'd have you to thank for it.”

Hermione grinned, and they headed down the steps to the Courtrooms. The case would be in Courtroom B, the only room big enough to hold the collaboration of British and Romanian wizards who would be the Wizengamot for the case. They walked into the courtroom, and Hermione realized how crowded it was. The Romanian and British Wizengamot were seated, and there were no empty seats in that section, except for one. Whoever would be sitting in it, had not arrived yet.

Hermione saw Susan wave at her, and she waved back.

“Ah, Charlie!” Brady said, as Charlie Weasley walked over toward him and Hermione, “Thank you for coming.”

“I needed to be here for my reserve,” Charlie said, “Even if I can't do anything.”

“I think you actually can do something,” Brady said. “You were present at the reserve the day of the escape, right?”

“Yeah, of course,” Charlie said.

“Okay,” Brady said, “Perfect. You'll definitely be some help. Here's what you're going to have to do.”

Hermione listened as Brady told Charlie of the updated plans for their defense.

“Wow, you really think this could work,” Charlie said, after Brady finished.

“Hermione does,” Brady said, looking at Hermione.

“Actually, Charlie,” Hermione said, grinning, “Ron gave me the idea.”

“Ron, my brother?” Charlie asked, giving a skeptical chuckle.

“Hey!” Hermione said, offended at the apparent insult toward Ron, “I wouldn't have thought of this if he hadn't done it first.”

“He probably doesn't even realize what he thought of,” Charlie said, “It wouldn't be the first time.”

Hermione rolled her eyes. The three of them sat down together on the defense's side of the room. As Hermione looked around, she noticed there was no press in attendance at all. The Public Security Department really had removed the Daily Prophet, and other public relation departments out of the picture.

“Bugger,” Brady muttered beside Hermione, “I should have known he'd be here for this.”

Hermione looked at Brady, who was looking at the doorway to the courtroom. She then realized what Brady had meant. Minister of Magic Kingsley Shacklebolt was walking into the room. She then realized who that empty chair in the Wizengamot section was for. Kingsley was going to be a part of the prosecution for this case.

“What does his participation mean for us?” Charlie asked.

“It means,” Brady said, “that the Public Security Department is going to have a big part to play in this case. We'll be lucky if we can say three word about the attacks on the reserve without interruption from the Minister.”

“Can we still use that for our defense?” Hermione asked.

“I'll make sure of it,” Brady said, “Even if it costs me my job.”

Hermione's eyes widened as she realized the repercussions this day could bring.

“We don't have to use that defense, Brady,” Hermione said, “I would hate for you to lose your job just because of some brainstorm I had at the last minute.”

“You brought me a gift, Hermione,” Brady said, “I'm not going to waste it.”

“We will now begin the next case,” Herb Morrison said.

“Surejan Dragon Reserve vs. The Wizengamot,” Susan Bones said, standing up, “The prosecution: the British Wizengamot, the Romanian Wizengamot and Minister of Magic Kingsley Shacklebolt. Honorable Head Judge Herbert Morrison presiding. Representing the defense is Brady Sexton of the Department for the Regulation and control of Magical Creatures.”

“Mr. Sexton,” Herb said, “please rise and take your place.”

“Good luck,” Hermione whispered.

Brady smiled.

“Don't make yourself look like a witness just yet, Hermione,” he whispered to her.

Before Hermione could reply, Brady stood and walked to the center of the courtroom.

“Mr. Sexton, can you please name any witnesses may have for this case in advance?” Herb asked.

“Your Honor, if it is all right with the Wizengamot,” Brady said, “I wish to withhold my witnesses identities until I see fit.”

Hermione raised her eyebrows. It looked as if Brady was going for the element of surprise.

“I would like to hear your reasons for doing so, Mr. Sexton,” Herb said.

“They play a big role in my defense, Your Honor,” Brady said, “And I don't want to give away everything before I even say a word on the matter.”

Hermione looked on as Kingsley whispered something to Herb. Herb nodded and looked back at Brady.

“I just want to clear something,” Herb said, “There is no criminal history with your witnesses, is there, Mr. Sexton?”

“No, sir,” Brady said. “I believe they hold a high enough reputation in the wizarding world to pass off as trustworthy.”

“We will allow it, then,” Herb said.

“Thank you, Your Honor,” Brady said.

“Let us begin, then,” Herb said. “Two weekends ago, a Romanian Longhorn Dragon, one of the dragons of the Surejan Dragon Reserve, escaped from its holding pen and proceeded to find a small Romanian Muggle village, and proceeded to burn it down. It also wrecked a rather famous Muggle castle in the area. The Obliviators from the Romanian Ministry of Magic were at the disaster site to mend the memories of every Muggle witness. The Romanian Longhorn was captured shortly after and brought back to the Surejan Dragon Reserve. This case today is to discover who is the guilty party in this situation.”

Many of the members of the Romanian Wizengamot muttered to each other. Hermione thought Herb would quiet them down, but she was surprised when he just looked at them briefly, then returned his attention to Brady.

“Damn it,” Hermione whispered, as she realized.

“What's wrong?” Charlie asked.

“The Romanians and our Wizengamot aren't in collaboration as I previously thought,” Hermione said, shaking her head, “Our Head Judge has no control over them. He usually tells the members of the Wizengamot to settle down. I don't think he is allowed to say that to the Romanians. This has turned into a circus.”

“A what?” Charlie asked.

Hermione was about to explain, but Herb began to speak again.

“Mr. Sexton,” Herb said, “Would you please give your opening statement?”

“Yes, your Honor,” Brady said.

He looked over at Hermione, who gave him an encouraging smile.

“Facts,” Brady said, as he looked around at the Wizengamot. “That is what you are going to hear today. The truth. The only question is... will you believe them? I very much hope so. You will tell us your own facts. Some of which can't be argued against. A dragon escaped from the Surejan Dragon Reserve, but as of right now, none of us can agree as to how it escaped.”

A few of the Romanian Wizengamot members muttered again.

“The dragon proceeded,” Brady continued, “to fly away, not to the safety of a new home where it could possibly live out the rest of its days in freedom, like many creatures would usually do. No... it proceeded to find a small Muggle village, and decided it would attack it. I must say... it seems rather strange for a dragon, with years of solitude and training in the Surejan Dragon Reserve, to just attack a village unprovoked.”

“Accusations!” one of the Romanian Wizengamot members said, standing up. “Are you trying to tell us you think a Muggle would provoke a dragon?”

Brady and Hermione looked up at Herb. He looked rather disturbed, but didn't say anything.

“Not even allowing the defense's opening statement to go uninterrupted,” Hermione muttered, “What rubbish.”

“Didn't you used to work with the Head Judge?” Charlie asked.

“Sure,” Hermione said, “The Herb Morrison I know wouldn't let someone interrupt an opening statement. He's definitely got his tongue tied by the Romanian presence today.”

“Well, sir,” Brady said, to the Romanian, “Tell me this. If you were a Muggle...”

The Romanian accuser scoffed. Hermione shook her head. Brady had been right about the Romanian Ministry of Magic's opinion of Muggles.

“If you were a Muggle,” Brady repeated, “Would you be surprised if you saw a dragon flying over head?”

“Of course,” the Romanian said, “But --”

“Would you not scream in terror?” Brady asked, “And as such, possibly provoke the dragon?”

“Muggles don't always see things in front of their face,” another Romanian said, “You cannot tell us that they would have seen this dragon.”

“That is true,” Brady said. “As such, this leads me back to my statement. We don't know why the dragon attacked the village. Since Muggles probably didn't notice the dragon until it was right on top of their village, they didn't provoke it. This, of course, would lead many of you to believe the dragon attacked on his own accord.”

“Impossible,” Charlie said, “Not with the facts we know.”

“The Wizengamot don't know the facts yet, Charlie,” Hermione reminded him.

“One of the witnesses for the defense that you will hear from today,” Brady continued, “will explain how well-trained the dragon in question was. Then we can see just how impossible an unprovoked attack would be. I encourage all of you in this room to be open-minded about this situation. Think of what could have happened. Do not judge your opinion on the facts you know. Judge your opinion the facts you will find out today.”

Brady bowed and looked at the Wizengamot to let then know he was finished.

“Thank you, Mr. Sexton,” Herb said, “You say that you have facts for us, which we in the Wizengamot have no knowledge of. Would you please tell us these facts?”

“Yes, Your Honor,” Brady said. “I'm sure many of you are aware of the recent attacks on the Surejan Dragon Reserve by an outside, unknown, source?”

Chatter started around the Wizengamot, and Hermione noticed that this time it wasn't just the Romanians who were in the middle of it. Suddenly, Kingsley Shacklebolt stood up.

“Mr. Sexton,” Kingsley said, “I would be careful how you tread these waters. I'm sure you are aware that under the recent Security Act, that the Public Security Department, and the Auror Department, are in charge of investigating such incidents. It has no business being investigated by someone in your department.”

“No offense, Minister,” Brady said, “But I would argue against that point. This incident has much to do with this case today, sir.”

“The incident in question happened days after the dragon escape,” Kingsley said.

Brady smiled. “I think it would be appropriate to to call my first witness to the stand,” he said, “If that is all right with the Wizengamot?”

“You may do so,” Herb said.

“I would like to call Charlie Weasley to the stand,” Brady said.

Hermione watched as Charlie stood up, walked over to the center of the room, and sat down in a chair that had appeared there.

“As it is your witness,” Herb said, “I think you can ask your questions first.”

“Thank you, Your Honor,” Brady said, then turned to Charlie. “You are Charlie Weasley, is this correct?”

“Yes,” Charlie said.

“What is your current career?” Brady asked.

“I am one of the dragon trainers at the Surejan Dragon Reserve,” Charlie said.

“You are one of the more experienced trainers in the Reserve?” Brady asked, “Is that so?”

“I would like to think so,” Charlie said, “I do have many years of experience.”

“You are familiar with the dragon in question?” Brady asked, “The Romanian Longhorn?”

“Yes,” Charlie said.

“Could you please take a moment to get the rest of us familiar with this creature?” Brady asked.

“The dragon in question has been on our Reserve since its birth,” Charlie said.

Brady raised his hand to stop Charlie for a moment.

“So it has known no other home?” he asked.

“No,” Charlie sad.

“How would that affect the mind of a dragon?” Brady asked, “When it doesn't have the knowledge of freedom.”

“We like to believe the dragons at the Reserve have their freedoms,” Charlie said, “But I do know what you mean. It has known no other sanctuary or home.”

“Has it ever had a desire for freedom?” Brady asked.

“I am not sure,” Charlie said, “But if I had to take a guess, I would say it is possible. Though his personality hasn't been extreme until this incident. It surprised us all.”

“Describe the training given to the dragon,” Brady said.

“Most of our dragons are used for events or shows,” Charlie said. “We had four dragons present for the last Triwizard Tournament a few years back. This dragon was trained for the possibility of public exposure to the wizarding world.”

“Public exposure?” Brady asked.

“We were trying to make it feel safe around wizards,” Charlie said, “So that wizards around the world could admire it at events. That is a big part of our monetary revenue for our Reserve.”

“Was your training working?” Brady asked.

“We believe so,” Charlie said, “It was very used to us.”

“Do you see any reason as to why it would want to escape or leave your Reserve?” Brady asked.

“It is very well treated at the Reserve,” Charlie said. “Freedom is a possibility, but we try to give our dragons as much freedom as we can inside the valley.”

“Take us back to the day of the escape,” Brady said. “Can you tell us what happened?”

“A few of the trainers,” Charlie said, “were doing their daily rounds. This consists of Training dragons, feeding them and making sure they were healthy enough for a day of training.”

“What were you doing?” Brady asked.

“I was training the new recruits that had come in,” Charlie said, “They had just gone through a rigorous few hours of the welcoming process.”

“Were you happy with these recruits?” Brady said. “Were they trustworthy?”

“They were like normal recruits,” Charlie said. “A couple of them seemed scared of the dragons. Three of them had gotten injured at one point during the day. In fact, this happened shortly before the alleged escape.”

“So is it possible that one of these recruits,” Brady said, “could have simply let the Romanian Longhorn out of its pen?”

“It is possible,” Charlie said.

Many of the members of both Wizengamots started to mutter to each other. Brady smiled and turned to the Wizengamot.

“That is all I have for this witness,” he said, “You may proceed.”

“Mr. Weasley,” Herb said, “Do you have a list of the recruits' names with you today?”

“Yes, sir,” Charlie said.

Charlie looked at Hermione, then nodded below the chair he was seated in. Hermione found a bag and brought it over to Charlie, then sat back down. Charlie took out a piece of paper. Herb nodded to Susan, and Susan walked down the steps toward Charlie, then took the paper and returned to Herb.

“So three of these recruits were injured during the process?” Herb asked, as he looked through the paper. “Three out of seven. Almost half.”

“There were eight recruits that day, sir,” Charlie said.

“There are seven names on this sheet you gave us,” Herb said, “Are you saying there was an unofficial recruit there with you that day?”

“I – I guess so, Your Honor,” Charlie said.

“You knew nothing about this?” Herb said.

“The recruits had passed a pretty rigorous process,” Charlie said, “As I have said. I assumed that they were all there to be part of the future of the Reserve.”

“This is rubbish!” a Romanian member of the Wizengamot said, “Obviously he is lying. The evidence says seven, and the witness says eight. Obviously he is hoping we cannot identify this eighth person, and he can tell a story about how this mysterious person let the dragon go.”

“There were eight that day, sir,” Charlie said. “I know because I only usually train five at a time. I had complained because of the three extra recruits.”

“So where did this extra person come from?” Herb asked.

“I think I can answer that for you,” Brady said, “But for that I will need to call my next witness. If you have no more need for this witness --”

“We may call him back if need be,” Herb said, “I'd like to hear what your next witness has to say.”

Brady nodded to Charlie and he stood up then walked back over to the chair next to Hermione's and sat down.

“For my next witness,” Brady said, “I'd like to call Hermione Granger to the stand.”

Hermione inhaled and stood up. Many of the British Wizengamot muttered to each other, and Herb stared at Hermione as she sat down.

“Your witness,” Herb said, his eyes still on Hermione.

“You are Hermione Granger?” Brady asked.

“Yes,” Hermione said.

“What is your career as of right now?” Brady asked.

“I work at the Department for the Regulation and control of Magical Creatures,” Hermione said, “I am your assistant.”

“What were you doing on the day of the attack, by unknown sources, at the Surejan Dragon Reserve?” Brady asked.

“I was at the Reserve during the attack,” Hermione said, “With you.”

“Mr. Sexton,” Kingsley said, standing up, “May I remind you that the attack at the Reserve is not in question here.”

“I will allow it,” Herb said.

Kingsley turned and stared at Herb.

“Continue, Mr. Sexton,” Herb said.

“Can you please recall the events of the attack, Miss Granger?” Brady asked.

“I was taking a tour of the reserve with Charlie Weasley,” Hermione said, “When all of a sudden, we saw smoke in the distance. It was billowing over a hill, away from the valley. Charlie and a number of dragon trainers went to investigate the smoke, and you and I went to the security building to stay safe. We were accompanied by a security guard for the Reserve. I decided we needed to contact the Aurors here at the the British Ministry of Magic. I couldn't contact them, but I did contact Harry Potter and Charlie's brother, Ron Weasley, who were able to come.”

“Are Mr. Weasley and Mr. Potter here today?” Herb asked.

“There is no need for that,” Kingsley said, “Their statements were already given and made official. I can back up Miss Granger's statement.”

“Continue,” Herb said to Hermione.

“Ron and Harry used Floo Powder to arrive at the Reserve,” Hermione said. “Then there was an explosion near our building. A window was blown out of the building, and the security guard was killed in the process. The next thing I knew, the dragon trainers were retreating back toward the Reserve, and myself, Ron and Harry ran to see if we could be of assistance. Many of the trainers, including Charlie, were battling a large force of unknown attackers that had come. Then, they stopped for some reason, and...”

Hermione shook her head.

“And, Miss Granger?” Brady asked.

“They retreated,” Hermione said, “They apparated.”

“That is all?” Brady asked. “They just... retreated.”

“One of them argued and complained before they retreated,” Hermione said. “They said that they had orders. They needed to kidnap the dragons, because that was their mission. But the others didn't want any part of it, and they apparated. After that, it was over.”

“Thank you, Miss Granger,” Brady said, then turned to Herb. “Go ahead.”

Herb looked at Hermione.

“No questions,” Herb said.

Many of the Wizengamot muttered. Herb held his hand up to stop them.

“I have known Hermione Granger for a few months now,” Herb said. “I trust what she says and I have no questions. You make take your seat, Miss Granger.”

Hermione smiled and walked back to her seat.

“So,” Brady said, “You've heard from my witnesses. You've heard of an unknown visitor – or I guess they should be referred to as an intruder – to the Reserve the day the dragon escaped. You've also heard the tale of an attack on the Reserve, which happened only days after the alleged escape. Even the British Minister of Magic is aware of statements of this event. Earlier I asked you to have an open mind. Now I wish for you to use that. Use these new facts presented today. Is it possible the dragon did not escape on its own? Is it possible the Surejan Dragon Reserve is not the blame for this event, but that an outside, unknown source is to blame? Is it possible that the dragon's escape was part of a plan to kidnap the dragons for uses that we can only imagine? That is what I ask you think about while you decide the fate of the reserve.”

“Thank you, Mr. Sexton,” Herb said, “I believe we have heard everything we need. I ask the Wizengamot to take a couple of minutes to make their decision if the Surejan Dragon Reserve is a guilty party here.”

Brady sat back down.

“Well done, Brady,” Hermione said.

“Well done, yourself,” Brady said. “You told them exactly what they needed to hear.”

For a couple of minutes, there was chatter among the Wizengamot, then Herb raised his hand to silence them.

“Against the evidence you have heard,” he said, “If you believe the Surejan Dragon Reserve should take full responsibilities of its actions for the escape of the dragon, please raise your hand.”

Hermione looked around. Quite a few members of the Romanian Wizengamot members raised their hands. Only a small handful of the British Wizengamot did as well.

“If you believe the Surejan Dragon Reserve,” Herb said, “is innocent and had no part in the escape of the dragon, raise your hand.”

Most of the British Wizengamot raised their hands, as did a few of the Romanian Wizengamot.

“The Surejan Dragon Reserve,” Herb said, “is cleared of all charges!”

“Yes!” Brady and Charlie said, cheering lightly.

Brady gave Hermione a one-armed hug.

“Minister Shacklebolt,” Herb said, “I believe we are finished. It seems you and the Public Security Department have some work ahead of you.”

Kingsley nodded. Herb looked down at Hermione, and grinned. Hermione smiled back, and walked with Brady and Charlie out of the courtroom.

“I think that is all for today,” Brady said, “Hermione, I hope you have a wonderful birthday. My gift to you is to take the day off. Hell, take as many as you need!”

“Thanks,” Hermione said, “But I'll be back on Wednesday.”

“That is what I wanted to hear,” Brady said.

Hermione grinned and headed for the lifts. She couldn't wait to tell Ron the news. She had a lot to thank him for that day, and she would make sure he knew he earned it.

Wow this chapter was a lot longer than I thought it would be! I just kept writing.

Hope you liked it! Hermione's birthday is next.


Last edited by Fury; August 31st, 2011 at 9:34 pm.
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Re: Butterfly Kisses (Sequel to Harry Potter and the Return to Hogwarts)

Chapter 42
Hermione's Birthday

(Hermione's PoV)

The morning of her twentieth birthday, Hermione was waken by a slight nudge on her shoulder.

“Psst! Hermione!” Ron's voice said.

Hermione opened her eyes a little, so that she was looking through her eyelashes. Ron was standing over her. She yawned and opened her eyes all the way.

“Wh-what time is it?” she asked.

“Seven-thirty,” Ron said, “I have to go to work in thirty minutes.”

“You couldn't get today off?” Hermione asked, sitting up.

“No, I told you that last night,” Ron said.

“Oh, yeah,” Hermione said, frowning.

“Don't worry,” Ron said, grinning, “I'll be home long before it is time for my surprise gift.”

“I'll still miss you,” Hermione said, “Why did you wake me up?”

“Because,” Ron said, moving to the side a bit, “I brought you breakfast.”

Two trays, each with a plate of bacon and eggs and toast, and glasses of orange juice were floating in mid-air. Hermione's jaw dropped.

“Breakfast in bed?” she asked, “Oh, Ron! You didn't have to.”

“Nonsense,” Ron said, “I wanted to.”

“Wasn't this in that Twelve Fail-Safe Ways to Charm Witches book?” Hermione asked.

“You never told me you found that book!” Ron said, blushing.

“Oops,” Hermione said.

“Yes, it was,” Ron said, “I just never got around to it until now.”

Hermione sat up, and Ron passed her one of the trays. Ron took his and walked over to the other side of the bed and sat down. Hermione leaned over to him and kissed him.

“This is great,” she said, “Thank you.”

“So when are you going over to your parents' house?” Ron asked.

“Closer to noon,” Hermione said, “A lunch celebration, though they haven't told me what we're having.”

“That sounds nice,” Ron said, before biting into a piece of toast.

“Mmhmm,” Hermione said, “Which means I'll have plenty of time to spend with them, and then get back here to get ready for your surprise, and the party at Harry's house. You aren't going to give me any hints to your surprise, are you?”

“No,” Ron said, shaking his head, “It would ruin the surprise.”

“I need to know what to wear,” Hermione said, “since we'll probably go from whatever you are planning straight to Harry's house afterward.”

“Something casual,” Ron said, “And not very loose-fitting.”

“Something warm?” Hermione asked.

“Maybe,” Ron said, “The temperature will vary. And that is all I'll say.”

Hermione bit into her toast as she thought about what Ron's surprise could possibly be. She couldn't figure it out by the time she and Ron were finished with breakfast.

“Have to go,” Ron said.

“Maybe you could take the morning off?” Hermione suggested.

“No can do,” Ron said, “I even tried to request that, since I knew you'd be busy for the afternoon. Unfortunately, Allison decided to break the news yesterday that our next monthly exam would be starting next week, so I have to use all the training I can.”

“Okay,” Hermione said, “I'll see you later.”

“Have fun with your parents,” Ron said.

Hermione smiled and kissed him again. He then stood up and walked over the door. He turned and looked at her.

“Happy Birthday, Hermione,” he said, smiling.

“Thank you, Ron,” Hermione said, “I love you.”

“I love you too,” Ron said.

Hermione smiled and Ron left the room. She decided she could use a couple more hours of sleep, and returned back under the covers.


When it was close to noon, Hermione used Floo Powder and traveled to her parents' house. When she arrived in the living room, she cleared away the soot and dust that had come with her. She walked through the house, and finally found her parents in the back yard. Her mother was setting up a picnic table, and her father was cooking something on the grill.

“Hermione!” Helen said, “There you are.”

“Hi, Mum,” Hermione said, “Hi, Daddy.”

“Happy birthday, honey,” Richard said.

“Burgers?” Hermione guessed as she walked over to the grill.

“Yep,” Richard said, “My own marinade.”

“Let me guess,” Hermione said, “No sugar added?”

“Of course!” Richard said, grinning.

“So has Ron planned anything for your birthday?” Helen asked.

“Yeah,” Hermione said, “Except he won't tell me about it.”

“Surprises are good,” Richard said.

“He did serve me breakfast in bed this morning,” Hermione said, grinning.

“Aww, how sweet of him,” Helen said, then looked at her husband. “Remember when you used to do that for me for my birthday?”

“Sure,” Richard said.

“Not in recent years, though, I've noticed,” Helen said.

“It doesn't help when you are always up before me,” Richard said.

“You sleep in too much,” Helen said, grinning.

Hermione laughed.

Lunch was ready at half-past twelve.

“So, Hermione,” Helen said, “Have you and Ron talked about a date for your wedding?”

“We've talked about it, yes, Mum,” Hermione said, “But we haven't come to a decision yet. We're planning on either next spring or summer.”

“That soon?” Richard asked.

“Yeah, Daddy,” Hermione said, “I know I've told you Ron and I have wanted to get married sooner rather than later.”

“I know that,” Richard said, “It's just... twenty seems so young.”

“Is this about that old promise of ours?” Hermione asked. “How you didn't want to be a grandfather until after you turned fifty?”

Hermione's father took a drink of his sugar-free lemonade, delaying any response. Hermione tried her best not to roll her eyes.

“Daddy,” she said, “Ron and I haven't planned that far yet. We may not even want to start a family for a few years. We're just starting out on our careers. We have that to look forward to. Ron and I just feel that it will be time. We love each other more than you know.”

“I do know,” Richard said, “I can always tell when you are thinking about Ron, because you have that twinkle in your eye. It is the same twinkle I see in your mother's eye every day.”

Helen grinned.

“Then you do understand,” Hermione said. “It is just.... I....”

She blushed as she thought about it.

“I want to be Mrs. Hermione Weasley,” Hermione said, “I've wanted that for a while now.”

“Well, I think it is wonderful,” Helen said, “It is obvious how much you and Ron have thought about it. If it is what you want, we'll be happy for you. Both of us.”

She glared at her husband.

“Of course we will,” Richard said.

“Ron and I still have a lot to think about before we walk down the aisle,” Hermione said.

“We'll help you,” Helen said, “However we can.”

“Unfortunately, I don't see how much you can help, Mum,” Hermione said, “It's going to be a traditional wizard wedding. You can help me pick out a dress, though. I do want that to be a Mug –“

She caught herself. She didn't like saying the word 'Muggle' around her parents.

“I mean, I at least want that to be a non-magical part of my wedding,” she said.

“I'm sure it'll be beautiful,” Helen said, “I'd lend you my wedding dress, but you definitely aren't the body-type I was.”

Hermione was going to say that she could magically make the dress fit her, then she realized her mother wouldn't probably appreciate the thought of her wedding dress being magically changed.

After lunch, Hermione's mother brought out a sugar-free apple cobbler with candles pressed into it. She grinned as her mother and father sang “Happy Birthday” to her, and she then made a wish and blew out the candles. After dessert, Helen brought out the presents.

There was the traditional basket of sugar-less candies. They also gave her a photo book of pictures of her and her parents throughout the years. Hermione felt tears in her eyes as she looked through it. Many of the pictures were of her before she found out she was a witch.

After lunch, Hermione went with her mother in the kitchen to help her do dishes.

“I suppose I should apologize for your father,” Helen said, “bringing up age like that when it came to your wedding.”

“Mum,” Hermione said, “You don't have to do that. I had expected Daddy to bring up something like that. It's just something a father should do.”

“You know,” Helen said, “it was your father who mostly put that photo book together.”

“He did?” Hermione asked.

“Yeah,” Helen said, “I think he still sees you as that little girl you were before you found out you were a witch. When you were just his little girl and nothing more than that.”

“These days I can hardly remember my life before I went to Hogwarts,” Hermione admitted, “It just seems like another lifetime ago. I've dealt with so much since I became a witch. I haven't regretted a minute of it, because I've met so many wonderful people. If I wasn't a witch, I probably wouldn't have ever met Ron. I don't know what my life would be like without him.”

“I guess the reason your father is taking this so hard,” Helen said, “Is that he never had that traditional talk with Ron, before Ron proposed to you.”

“You know why that is, though,” Hermione said. “When Ron proposed to me, it was really spontaneous. Almost accidental. I, kind of, found the ring, and he proposed to me when he realized I did.”

“I know that,” Helen said. “But sometimes I wonder if your father does. Every father expects to walk down the aisle with their child at some point. I guess this has just been a surprise for him.”

Hermione nodded.

After the dishes were finished, Hermione found her father, sitting on the picnic table. He was looking through the photo book. Hermione walked over to him, and hugged him, before sitting down.

“What was that for?” Richard asked.

“I just wanted to thank you for everything you've done,” Hermione said. “Especially for your support for Ron and I.”

“Oh,” Richard said, “Well, you're welcome, honey.”

“I know my wedding isn't going to be,” Hermione said, “how you must have pictured it when you saw me getting married one day. Nothing about this is exactly traditional.”

“I'll still get to walk you down the aisle, right?” Richard asked.

“Of course,” Hermione said, “And there's the father-daughter dance.”

“Well, then that is exactly how I pictured it,” Richard said, “Even if it will be a bit more... magical... in the literal sense instead of figuratively.”

Hermione laughed.

“Just promise me one thing,” Richard said.

“Anything, Daddy,” Hermione said.

“Just don't try to grow up too fast,” Richard said, “You're only twenty.”

“Twenty,” Hermione repeated, laughing, “Out of my teens now.”

“Still a little girl in my eyes,” Richard said.

Hermione smiled and hugged her father.

Hermione remained at her parents' house for a few hours, spending time with them and having conversation, mostly reminiscing about the past few years. It was half-past-four when Hermione apparated back to her house. Ron was sitting in the living room

“Did you have fun at your parents' house?” Ron asked.

“Yeah,” Hermione said.

“What did they get for you?” Ron asked, “Your traditional sugarless candies?”

“Yeah,” Hermione said, “And this.

Hermione put her photo book on the coffee table. Hermione saw Ron's eyes darting toward it.

“You're welcome to look through it,” she said. “I need to get ready for the rest of the day.”

Ron nodded and picked up the book. Hermione walked back to the bedroom to get ready. When she walked back out a few minutes later. Ron was staring at something in the photo book. Hermione walked over to the couch and looked at the page. It was a picture of her sitting on a swing and her father right behind her. She must have only been six or so.

“I'm sorry,” Ron said, as he looked down at the photo.

“What?” Hermione asked, “I said you could look through it.”

“I don't mean that,” Ron said. “I just realized... I never had that talk with your father.”

“Oh,” Hermione said, “Ron, your proposal to me wasn't planned. So there was no chance.”

“Exactly,” Ron said. “Harry talked to my father before he proposed to Ginny. I never got the chance.”

“If it means that much to you,” Hermione said, “You should talk to him sometime. Even if it isn't exactly traditional for the talk after you proposed.”

Ron nodded.

“I'm sure he'd love that,” Hermione said, “He's kind of having a hard time accepting this whole thing. Maybe it would make him feel better.”

“I promise I'll do it sometime before our wedding,” Ron said. “He deserves that. Especially since I'm stealing you away from him.”

Hermione chuckled.

“But now,” Ron said, “It is time for my surprise.”

Ron took something out of his pocket. Hermione raised an eyebrow when she realized it was a blindfold. She looked at him questioningly.

“I don't want you to see where we're going until we get there,” Ron said, “Even if we'll be apparating.”

Hermione chuckled and put the blindfold on. Hermione heard Ron walk away for a moment, then come back. He felt her take her hand and she stood up.

“I figured we should do Side-Along Apparation,” Ron said, “Since you don't know where we're going. Are you ready?”

“Yeah,” Hermione said.

A few seconds later, Hermione had the familiar feeling of apparating. Her breath went away and came back to her, and she felt a light breeze.

“Not yet,” Ron said, when Hermione tried to remove the blindfold.

Ron held her hand she walked with him. By the sudden lack of breeze, she could tell they were inside a building. Her feet kept moving, and she heard a door open. A few steps later, she felt another breeze.

“Okay,” Ron said, “We're here. Take it off.”

Hermione removed the blindfold from her face, and gasped as she looked around. She was standing on the Quidditch Pitch of the Holyhead Harpies Stadium. She had been on the Pitch at Hogwarts, but that didn't compare to a professional Quidditch stadium.

“Holy Merlin,” she said, breathless.

“Welcome to the Holyhead Harpies Quidditch Pitch,” a voice said.

Hermione looked around for the voice, then looked above her. Gwenog Jones was hovering on her broom about twenty feet in the air.

“Ginny told me all about your plans,” Gwenog said. “The Pitch is yours for the next couple of hours. Would you like a broom?”

“I have one,” Ron said, “But Hermione --”

“What?” Hermione asked, looking at Ron, “Me on a broom? Ron...”

“Do you want to fly with me?” Ron asked.

Hermione inhaled. She had been terrified of brooms ever since she had failed to fly very well on her very first Flying Lesson back in her first year.

“This is your surprise?” Hermione asked.

Ron nodded.

“You know I'm terrified of broomsticks,” Hermione said, quietly.

“Hermione, do you think I would ever let you fall?” Ron asked.

“Of course not,” Hermione said, “It's just –“

She sighed.

“Okay, lets do it,” she said, shaking her head.

Ron grinned and put his broom on the ground.

“Up!” he said.

He looked at Hermione, and she nodded. She walked slowly over to the broom.

“Sit at the front,” Ron said.

“The front?” Hermione asked.

“I'll be able to keep my arms around you,” Ron said, “It will be much safer.”

Hermione looked at the broom, then back at Ron. She nodded and straddled her legs around the broom. Ron sat behind her and put his arms around her.

“Just hold onto the broom,” Ron instructed.

“I know how to do this much,” Hermione said.

Ron chuckled. Hermione gulped and she gripped it, then leaned forward a bit. The broom started to rise into the air. Soon it escalated until it was nearly one-hundred feet in the air.

“We'll take this easy,” Ron said.

The broom started forward and flew gently around the pitch. Hermione tried her best not to look down, so she looked around at the Pitch. After a while, Hermione began to get used to it, and an hour seemed to pass by rather quickly. On the western side of the pitch, the sun was beginning its descent toward the horizon. They stopped in mid-air and looked toward the west, watching the sunset.

“This is so beautiful,” Hermione said.

She gently leaned back toward Ron and leaned against him. He put his arms around her and she laid her head against his neck.

“I've been thinking about something my parents and I were talking about today,” Hermione said.

“Oh?” Ron asked.

“We haven't decided if we're going to get married in the Spring or Summer yet,” Hermione said.

“Whatever date you pick,” Ron said, “is fine with me.”

“Well, now that you mention it,” Hermione said, “I've had a couple of dates in mind. The only problem is... the first date seems too early in the Spring, and the second date is a bit problematic.”

“What are they?” Ron asked.

“The first date I thought of,” Hermione said, “was your birthday.”

“First of March?” Ron asked. “That isn't even technically Spring, Hermione.”

“I know,” Hermione said.

“What was your other idea?” Ron asked.

Hermione sighed and closed her eyes. “The second of May,” she said.

“The Anniversary of the Battle of Hogwarts,” Ron said.

“Yes,” Hermione said, “I was thinking about it, and I would love it, but it doesn't seem right to get married on the anniversary of your brother's death. I'd hate to do that to you and your family.”

“Hermione,” Ron said, “It may have been the date my brother died, sure. But... it is also our anniversary.”

Hermione grinned.

“It is the day we had our first kiss,” Ron said.

“I know,” Hermione said.

“If you want to get married on the second of May,” Ron said, “I'll have no problem with that.”

“Okay,” Hermione said, “Second of May, it is.”

“Blimey,” Ron said, “Our wedding date.”

Hermione chuckled. “Finally,” she said.

She looked over her shoulder at Ron, and smiled at him.

“Happy Birthday, Hermione,” Ron said.

“Thank you,” Hermione said, “for all of this. This is a wonderful birthday surprise. Even if I was terrified at the thought of coming up here, it is so amazing.”

Ron smiled. Hermione looked into his eyes and then kissed him. Ron returned the kiss, and Hermione didn't come up for air until the sun set below the horizon.

I decided to end the chapter there. Yes, Hermione has her birthday party at Harry and Ginny's house, but I decided I might just do a description of it for next chapter.

I realized as I was writing this chapter that I haven't put much focus on Ron and Hermione's wedding, and I decided I wanted to really get into that part of the story. So that is why this chapter has a lot to do with that.

Hope you liked it!

Old September 1st, 2011, 9:02 pm
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Re: Butterfly Kisses (Sequel to Harry Potter and the Return to Hogwarts)

Chapter 43
Stealing Cinderella

Author's Note: The chapter title, and most of this chapter, is inspired by the song “Stealing Cinderella” by Chuck Wicks. The main portion of this chapter will take place the weekend after Hermione's birthday, so I will do a description for the days in between.

Also, I thought I should answer a question someone gave in a review:

Q: Draco has enough information about Daphne's group, why doesn't he tell authorities (or Harry and Ron)?
A: I'll give a short answer in-story, near the beginning of the chapter. This has a lot to do with how the whole villain plot of this story will come to a close, so I don't want to spoil too much yet.

After Hermione and Ron left the Holyhead Harpies Quidditch Pitch, they went straight to Harry and Ginny's house for Hermione's party. There they told Harry and Ginny that they had finally come up with a date for their wedding. Harry and Ginny were thrilled of course, though both were understanding of Ron and Hermione's beginning doubts for that date, given the events that had happened on that day.

When Ron expressed his feelings about how the rest of their family would feel about it, Ginny said that he shouldn't worry about it. They needed a good memory for that date, and this would be the perfect opportunity. Both Harry and Ginny promised they'd do whatever they could to help their best friends prepare for the wedding in time for the second of May.

The second of four Trial Exams for the Aurors-in-Training would come in the final week of September. They seemed rather far away, when Ron was looking forward to Hermione's birthday, but now that her birthday was over, he realized that the Trial Exams were only a few days away.

Unlike the first set of exams, these exams would be the start of the elimination rounds. Allison warned that six out of the two-dozen-plus Trainees would not make it through this round. The six lowest scores on the exams, which would test the mental and physical aspects of each trainee, would be leaving the facility, and wouldn't be able to return for another six months, when the next round of training started.

The thought of six trainees leaving the group at the end of the month set quite a somber mood around the facility. Ron's nerves had heightened tenfold, but this only made him train better and harder. On Friday, when everyone was thinking about how they would have a couple days to rest before the exams, Allison hit them with a new twist. The trainees and their partners would be tested together. This meant that if one of the partners failed, the other would fail too. This shocked both Ron and Harry, and they spent the whole day training and preparing their partners for the exams. Ron only hoped that his partner, Rossi, would be ready. If he wasn't, this could mean the end of training for both of them, and possibly the end of his Auror career.

After the big victory for the Surejan Dragon Reserve, Brady had become rather popular as a lawyer. He had made sure some of the praise went to Hermione, which she was grateful for. Brady's new-found popularity meant more cases for him, though he took this rather cautiously... in fact he seemed a little unprepared for it.

The morning after Hermione's birthday, she was surprised when Brady basically begged her for his assistance. He had promoted her from personal assistant to a position in which she had more power during a trial. She wasn't a lawyer yet, but she would still have a say during trial preparation, when it came down to what their defense strategy would be.

Draco's troubles only heightened as the first week of his new mission with Pansy passed. Pansy's attempts had flirting with Draco had become more pronounced. And then there was the fact that Draco was trying to figure out why he was doing this to begin with. He knew he could have told authorities what he knew about Daphne's group of rogue wizards. But he also knew Daphne was planning something big, and he wanted to stop it. If he had told authorities now, there was a chance Daphne and her group would attack the wizarding world in anger of his treachery. He knew he couldn't be responsible for that. He knew he would have to just stay in the group as long as he had to, until he could figure out how to stop them.

(Ron's PoV)

Saturday afternoon, Ron and Hermione apparated to a spot behind some bushes. They had arrived near a park, away from the sight of Muggles. The park was down the street from Hermione's parents house.

“You sure you want to do this?” Hermione asked Ron, leading him, hand-in-hand, down the sidewalk toward her parents' house.

“My next Trial Exam is Monday,” Ron said, “and I was planning on studying for it this weekend. But, something is blocking me from doing so. I'm distracted, Hermione. Ever since I looked through your photo book, there has only been one thing going through my head. I need to do this, or I am not going to be able to pass my exam. If I don't pass my exam, I'm out of the training corp.”

“Okay,” Hermione said. “Just remember, I'll be there with you.”

“No, I need to talk to him alone,” Ron said.

“Okay,” Hermione said, “Then I'll be in another room until you are finished.”

Ron nodded. They turned and walked up the short cobbled sidewalk to the house. Hermione knocked on the door. A few moments later, it opened. Hermione's mother stood there.

“Hermione!” she said, “Ron. What a pleasant surprise. Come in.”

“I hope we're not intruding, Mrs. Granger,” Ron said.

“No, not at all,” Helen said.

“Ron wants to talk to Daddy,” Hermione said.

Helen looked at Ron, and he realized she knew what he wanted to talk about.

“I'll go find him,” Helen said.

She smiled and turned around, then headed down the hall. Hermione lead Ron into the living room.

“I'll just be in the kitchen,” Hermione said.

Ron nodded. Hermione kissed his cheek, and then walked out of the room. Ron looked around, and he saw a number of pictures hanging on a wall and sitting on a large desk. He walked over to them. How strange it was to see pictures like these that were frozen in time. None of the pictures moved the way pictures in the Burrow usually did.

Ron looked through them, and realized there were a lot of pictures that were not in the photo book. Most of them were of Hermione, when she was many years younger. In one of them, she was in a swimsuit, and a sprinkler system was behind her; water spouting from it. She was soaking wet, but she was grinning. In another picture, she was sitting behind a birthday cake. The cake had the number three on it. She was smiling yet again, but in this one she was missing her two front teeth, and her tongue was sticking through the hole.

He looked through the rest of the pictures. One of Hermione on a large vehicle-type thing that had two wheels, similar to one he had seen in his father's garage. His father had called it a bicycle. Hermione's father was behind the bike, helping Hermione stay up on it. On another one she was on her bed, her body frozen in mid-jump. In yet another, she was standing in front of a building with a backpack. The text in decorative letters above the picture said “First Day of School.”

Then he came to a picture where Hermione was dressed up in a blue-dress that almost was too long for her short body. She had a long blonde-wig on over her hair.

“She was six years old in that picture,” a voice said, behind Ron.

Ron looked over his shoulder. Hermione's father was walking up to stand by his side. He was staring at the picture.

“Six years old,” Richard said, and Ron saw a tear in the edge of his eye, “and the only thing she wanted to be at that age was Cinderella.”

He chuckled.

“Cinderella?'” Ron asked, then recalled that Hermione had mentioned that name once.

“You're not familiar with the story?” Richard asked.

“It isn't one of the stories wizards grow up with,” Ron said.

“It is about a young girl who wants to find someone to be with for the rest of her life,” Richard said, “And for a while, she never thought she'd meet him. Finally, she meets a Prince, by the name of Prince Charming. The only problem is... she isn't a princess. She feels like she doesn't belong in his lifestyle. Then her fairy godmother, who is kind of like a witch to you I guess, meets her and transforms her into a princess. He invites her to a dance, and they spend the night dancing away, and she is very happy. And then at the strike of midnight, the spell wears off, and she runs away from his castle embarrassed, and wonders if she'll ever see him again. What she doesn't know is, he fell in love with her, and he searched for her. He finds her and they live happily ever after.”

As Richard was describing the story, Ron was trying to picture it in his mind. The way Richard described the dance, it reminded him of the Yule Ball. He grinned, as he imagined it.

“That does sound like the kind of story Hermione would love,” he said.

“Every little girl's dream,” Richard said, “to grow up like Cinderella and find their prince.”

“I'm no prince,” Ron said, chuckling, and shaking his head, “We don't even have royalty in the wizarding world.”

“To Hermione, you are her prince,” Richard said. “I can see that. The kind of guy she always wanted to marry.”

Ron smiled, and he saw more tears sparkling in Richard's eyes.

“For years, I wondered what kind of man my daughter would marry,” Richard said. “What he would look like. What he had lived through. What the sound of his voice was. I imagined all of this for years, going through different ideas. There was one point in my life where the person I saw marrying my daughter resembled me in so many ways. In my mind, different types of guys, mostly your age or younger, would walk through those doors. I wondered when I would actually see the real person that would be the one to walk with her in the aisle.”

“Guess you really didn't expect a ginger-headed guy who can perform real magic,” Ron said.

“No,” Richard said, “And that actually surprises me, to be honest. Because I should have.”

For most of the conversation, Richard was looking at the pictures of Hermione. Then, at that moment, he finally looked at Ron.

“She loves you, Ron,” Richard said. “And I can see you love her. The way you look at her... only one other person in her life has looked at her like that before.”

Richard smiled and put his hand to his heart.

“Me,” he said. “I know why you wanted to talk to me. I know that you never got the chance to do this, even though the traditional way for it to be done is before you asked her.”

“I know,” Ron said, “The way it happened, I --”

Richard put up a hand to stop him.

“You don't have to explain it,” he said, “Hermione's already done that for you.”

“Okay,” Ron said, nodding.

“You have my blessings,” Richard said, “to meet her at the end of that aisle on your wedding day.”

“Thank you, sir,” Ron said.

Richard held out his hand and Ron shook it.

Ron heard someone sniffling behind him. He and Richard turned around. Hermione was peering around the corner of the doorway, looking at them. There wear tears in her eyes. Richard motioned for her to come in. Ron watched as Hermione walked over to her father and hugged him. Helen walked in as well.

“Thank you, Daddy,” Hermione said.

“You're welcome, sweetheart,” Richard said.

Hermione then hugged Ron.

“Sorry for calling Cinderella an illness,” Ron whispered into Hermione's ear.

Hermione chuckled as she backed away from him.

(Draco's PoV)

Once again, as he had been doing all week, Draco was lying on the couch in the living room and reading another one of the Muggle books in the house. Pansy was in the kitchen, cooking lunch... or trying to. The smells wafting from the kitchen indicated that something was burning. Draco stood up and walked into the kitchen. A pot on the stove was boiling over with water.

“What are you doing?” Draco asked.

He walked over to the stove and turned the knob to zero. He picked up the pot and poured it in the sink.

“Hey, I was using that!” Pansy hissed.

“Not very wisely,” Draco said.

“I was doing fine,” Pansy said.

“You can't cook, is that it?” Draco asked.

“I've been cooking all week,” Pansy said.

“With magic,” Draco said.

Pansy scoffed, then walked over to the kitchen table and sat down. Draco saw a tear in her eye.

“We always had a house-elf to cook for us,” Pansy said, “So I never learned to cook by myself. Now we have no house-elf here, and I feel bloody useless!”

Draco frowned as he looked at Pansy. She looked like she was on the edge of breaking down.

“Why aren't you cooking with magic now?” Draco asked.

“Daphne says we need to limit our magic use,” Pansy said. “If we keep it up, the Ministry will know there are more wizards in the area, even if we keep using Confundus Charms.”

“Fine,” Draco said, “Then let me fix lunch.”

“You don't even know what I want,” Pansy said.

“I'll guess,” Draco said, then nodded toward the kitchen door. “Go.”

“Why?” Pansy asked.

“Because I don't need you giving me suggestions while I cook,” Draco said, “Go. Or all you'll be getting is a Draught of Living Death.”

Pansy hissed and walked out of the kitchen. Draco sighed and started to prepare lunch. As he did, he heard a pecking sound on the window. He looked up. It was Astoria's owl. He grinned and opened the window, letting the owl in. Draco took the parchment from the owl and opened it, then read it:


Is something wrong? Why haven't you been writing to me? I sent you a letter three days ago, and didn't get one back. Write to me. I want to know what the matter is. I miss you.


Draco shook his head, as he finished the letter.. It confused him. He didn't get a letter from her Astoria three days ago. He read through the letter, then realized what must have happened.

“Pansy,” he muttered, then looked at the owl. “Stay here for a moment.”

He turned off the stove again and dumped the pot in the trash. He then walked into the living room. Pansy was sitting on the chair.

“Where's lunch?” Pansy asked.

“I'm not making you anything!” Draco snarled.

“Draco,” Pansy said, “What –?”

Draco lifted Astoria's letter and Pansy's eyes widened.

“She says she wrote to me three days ago,” Draco said, “Where's my letter?”

Pansy shook her head.

“Where – is – my – letter?” Draco repeated, and with every word he took another step toward Pansy.

She muttered something.

“What?” Draco snarled.

“I burned it!” Pansy said, “Okay, I burned it!”

“Why would you do that?” Draco asked.

“She'd be a distraction from your mission here!” Pansy said, “Daphne --”

“Daphne this,” Draco said, “Daphne that! Daphne knows Astoria writes to me. They are sisters! Daphne is using Astoria against me. She wants me to get the letters, so I can bend to her every will, while she blackmails me. Do not tell me Daphne said it would be a distraction. You don't want me to write to Astoria.”

“Why do you love Astoria?” Pansy asked. “If you hate her sister so much, why do you love her?”

“Astoria is nothing like Daphne!” Draco said.

“That's obvious,” Pansy said, “Astoria doesn't belong in Slytherin.”

“Exactly!” Draco said, “I don't want someone who deserves to be in Slytherin.”

Pansy's jaw dropped.

“You heard me,” Draco said, “Astoria knows she shouldn't be a Slytherin. And that is one of the reasons I love her. She's better than any Slytherin I've ever known.”

Draco walked away, then turned back to Pansy.

“She's leagues better than you, Pansy,” he said, “That is why I love her.”

Pansy narrowed her eyes and turned in her chair.

“Now, if you you don't mind,” Draco said, “I need to make up for your bloody mistake.”

“Go ahead,” Pansy said, “Write back to her. And tell her you kissed me when you do.”

Draco cursed silently and walked into the kitchen. He wrote a letter to Astoria, making up an excuse that he had been busy. He told her he'd see her for Hogsmeade weekend, and that he loved her, and told her not to worry about him.

Draco then tied the parchment to the owl's leg, and watched as it flew off. He scoffed and sat back down. Pansy was not going to get in the middle of him and Astoria. He'd make sure of it.

(Ron's PoV)

Close to seven in the evening, Ron was laying in his bedroom. In front of him were pieces of parchment with maps and different routines he could possibly be doing for the exam the following week. He knew he wouldn't doing all of them. Some of them were there to throw him off, but he needed to study all of them. Hermione walked into the room, then walked over to the closet.

“Looking for something?” Ron asked.

“I did the laundry yesterday, and forgot to put away the towels,” Hermione said, her voice muffled as she looked through the closet, “I'm going to take a shower, and need to find one.”

“I'm going to make dinner in a little bit,” Ron said, “Anything you want?”

“Surprise me,” Hermione said, “Aha!”

She turned and had a towel in her hand, then walked toward the door.

“Oh, almost forgot,” she said.

She removed her engagement ring from her finger, then put it on the dresser.

“Don't want to lose it down the drain,” she said.

She grinned and walked out of the room. Ron looked back down at one of the maps, then looked up again at the engagement ring. He grinned as a sudden thought came to his mind. He stood up, picked up the ring and put it in his pocket, then went down to start dinner.

Half-an-hour later, as dinner was cooking in the oven, Hermione came down to the kitchen, looking rather flustered.

“Have you seen my ring?” she asked, “I know I put it on the dresser.”

Ron reached into his pocket and took it out. Hermione looked at him, but before she could say anything, he kneeled to the ground.

“There's been something I wanted to do all day,” Ron said, “Ever since I had that discussion with your father.”

As Hermione walked over to him, Ron saw tears sparkling in her eyes.

“I know we've been through this already,” Ron said, “But I wanted to do it again, now that I've had that big talk with your father. And I wanted to do it right. Hermione, I've known you for what seems like most of my life. We've had our fights, and we've always made up after it. We've always come to back to each other. You and I... we've been through hell and back, and I don't know if I would have survived it without you. There were many times when you weren't there with me, when I needed you.”

Ron saw tears falling down Hermione's cheeks.

“When I ran out of that tent, a couple years ago,” he said, “I knew I had made a big mistake. I thought I'd lost you forever. But I heard your voice calling me, and I knew I never did lose you. Those days I spent away from you... I never want to feel like that again. I never want to experience that again. I want you to be by my side, where I can find you, where I can't lose you, for the rest of my life. Will you marry me?”

“You already know the answer,” Hermione said, grinning through her tears, “Yes.”

Ron put the ring back on Hermione's finger and hugged her, then kissed her.

“You could have just summoned the ring, you know,” Ron said.

“I know,” Hermione said, “But I had a feeling you knew where it was.”

She then chuckled, shaking her head, and sat down at the table.

“What's so funny?” Ron asked.

“I was just trying to figure where in my life I met my own fairy godmother,” she said.

Ron raised his eyebrows, then realized what she meant. For a moment, the only thing he could see when he looked at Hermione, was that six year-old little girl dressed as Cinderella. As he sat down at the table, he wondered if that was what her father saw, every time he looked at her.

Man, this chapter made me tear up at points! If you haven't listened to the song “Stealing Cinderella”, do so. I was while I was writing this, and I felt tears at bits. It was definitely my inspiration for many parts of this chapter.

I'm going to have to think about what to write coming up. I know of one chapter I want to do, but in the story, that is not till over a month away. So it might take me a little while to get another chapter up!

For now, I hope you loved it!


Last edited by Fury; September 1st, 2011 at 10:35 pm.
Old September 2nd, 2011, 6:18 pm
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Re: Butterfly Kisses (Sequel to Harry Potter and the Return to Hogwarts)

Chapter 44
No Title Yet

Author's Note: Sorry, I can't figure out a title for this chapter at the moment.

During the last week of September, Ron and Harry, and their partners had to endure a whole week of tests for the second of four Trial Exams. Those who performed the worst on the exams would be kicked out of the training corp on Friday, the last day of the exams, which also happened to be the last day of September.

Ron's partner, Taylor Rossi, had been improving all week. Unfortunately Allison didn't seem impressed with Taylor at all. On Thursday, Ron noticed that Allison kept throwing glances at Taylor. One of the things Ron had learned during his Auror training was how to identify emotions in facial expressions. Allison, however, was very good at hiding hers, and he couldn't figure out what she was thinking about Taylor. He did notice that she was focusing on Rossi, and Harry's partner, Golding, quite a bit.

Ron's nerves and emotions were heightened on Friday, the final day of the Trial exams. He knew that at least six people would be leaving the training corp that day, and Allison was judging it on the trainee and their partner. The way she had kept her focus on Rossi worried him a bit.

Hermione noticed and had made him a big breakfast on Friday morning. However, Ron only jabbed at his eggs and sausage as he sat there at the table.

“Ron,” Hermione said, “I know you're worried, but you really should eat. You'll need your strength.”

Ron nodded as he took a bite off the top of the sausage. His mouth was so dry, that the food tasted rough.

“You really shouldn't be nervous,” Hermione said, “I'm sure you'll do great.”

“I'm not worried about me, Hermione,” Ron said. “I could do my best today, but it wouldn't matter if Allison has her eye on my partner. This training exam is all about how we can work with our partners, and how we trust them.”

“Do you trust your partner, then?” Hermione asked.

“Of course I do,” Ron said.

“Then you shouldn't worry about him,” Hermione said, “He might impress you and Allison at the same time.”

Ron nodded, but at the same time he still wasn't sure.

“So how is work on your end?” he asked, trying to distract his thoughts away from the exams.

“Pretty good,” Hermione said, “A lot less repetitive now that I am working cases instead of as a personal assistant.”

“I'm happy about that,” Ron said, “I always knew you could end up to do something like this.”

“Oh, really?” Hermione asked.

“Yeah,” Ron said, “Remember our third year? The way you were so dedicated to helping Hagrid with Buckbeak's case. That is exactly the kind of thing you are doing now.”

“Hadn't thought about it that way,” Hermione said, “When I joined the department, I was more focused on what I could do for House-Elf rights. I never really saw myself in the judicial part of the department.”

“Well,” Ron said, “maybe you were never meant to change the rights of House-Elves.”

“I don't believe that,” Hermione said, “I'm not going to let that go just cause I have a good job right now.”

“I know how much you've always loved the thought of helping House-Elves,” Ron said, “It is just... you seem to have found your niche in the judicial department. If the stupid Public Security Department hadn't been created, and you weren't kicked out of the Wizengamot, you could have been promoted from Court Respondent to somewhere higher up. That is just how brilliant you are when it comes to that stuff.”

“I know,” Hermione said, “it's just.... helping House-Elves. That has been something I've wanted to do for years.”

“Well, maybe that is something you can do in the future,” Ron said. “For now I think you should stick to something you're good at... which is obviously wizarding law.”

“That's ironic,” Hermione said, rolling her eyes, “Especially since I told Rufus Scrimgeour I had absolutely no interest in the subject.”

“Wizarding law has changed some since Rufus Scrimgeour was in office,” Ron said.

“True,” Hermione said, grinning. “Although...”

“What?” Ron asked.

I must say I find myself a lot more busy,” Hermione said, “now that I am a part of Brady's cases. I have no time to think about our wedding.”

“It is still months away, Hermione,” Ron said.

“Eight months,” Hermione said, “that is all... eight months away. Doesn't sound so far when you think about it. Especially when the days seem to pass by so quickly with us so focused on our careers.”

“Well,” Ron said, “If you want to delay it --”

“No,” Hermione said, shaking her head, “I like the date we chose. I want to stick with it.”

“Okay,” Ron said, “Then we'll find some free time to work on our wedding plans. I promise, after today, I'll help you. I'll focus on our wedding.”

“You talk as if you think you won't be going back to the training corp after today,” Hermione said, pouting.

“Either way,” Ron said, shrugging, “I promise to be more focused on our wedding.”

Hermione smiled and reached across the table. She took his hand in hers, and Ron caressed his fingers over her ring finger, as he looked at it. He wondered just how much free time he would have after that day.

(Draco's PoV)

Ever since Draco found out that Pansy had intercepted one of Astoria's letters to him, he didn't have too much conversation with her. Pansy had spent most of their second week at the house staring through the window toward Ron and Hermione's house. Draco had finished his third book halfway through the week. He had no interest in helping Pansy spy on Ron and Hermione. He knew it would be useless if he did.

Ron and Hermione barely left their house through the front door. Draco knew they were probably either using Apparation or Floo Powder to get to their destinations. He figured he and Pansy must have made a bad first impression as Lauren and Parker, because Ron and Hermione hadn't come back to visit them.

On Friday, Pansy was, once again, sitting on the chair in front of one of the windows and looking through it. She was rocking back and forth in the chair, rather bored with the circumstances, and the noise was irritating Draco.

“Would you stop that?” Draco said, rolling his eyes.

“You've decided to talk to me again, have you?” Pansy asked.

“You wish,” Draco said.

“You know you can't go days without talking to someone,” Pansy said, “And I am the only one here.”

“I did pretty well not talking to anyone,” Draco said, “when I was in that safe house. So I think I can manage.”

“Hmmph,” Pansy said.

Draco grinned and returned to the book he was reading. Pansy then sighed loudly.

“This is useless!” she said, “We can't see anything.”

“I've been saying that ever since we got here,” Draco said. “They're wizards, Pansy. They don't need to use the front door.”

“We need to find a way inside,” Pansy said, “And find what they've been up to.”.

“I'm not going inside their house,” Draco said, “If they find us –“

“We know their schedules, Draco,” Pansy said. “I don't think we have to worry about them discovering us.”

“What is it exactly that we would be searching for?” Draco asked. “I wouldn't even know what to look for.”

“Er... me either,” Pansy said.

“Excuse me?” Draco asked.

“Daphne didn't tell me,” Pansy said. “We're just supposed to watch them.”

“Oh, well, that is just perfect,” Draco said.

“Well, I'm sorry!” Pansy said, “I can't help if Daphne is --”

She sighed and shook her head.

“If Daphne is what?” Draco asked. “Were you going to call her incompetent? A bad leader?”

“I would never,” Pansy said. “She knows what she wants.”

“Well, that is great,” Draco said. “The leader of this little gang knows what they want, but they leave everyone else in the dark.”

Pansy opened her mouth to give a retort, but she was interrupted by a pecking sound on the window. Draco looked over his book.

“Your girlfriend wrote you again,” Pansy muttered.

Draco looked at the owl.

“That isn't Astoria's owl,” Draco said, sitting up, “It is Daphne's.”

Pansy stood up quickly and walked over to the window. She grabbed the parchment from the owl and Draco watched her as her eyes darted through it.

“Looks like we're going to have a guest,” Pansy said, when she finished.

“Daphne is coming here?” Draco asked.

“Yeah, guess so,” Pansy said.

“Did she say why?” Draco asked.

“She wants an update on our progress,” Pansy said, “and she wants it in person.”

“Great,” Draco scoffed. “We don't exactly have anything. When can we expect our guest?”

“She didn't say,” Pansy said.

Suddenly, there was a knock on the door. Pansy and Draco turned toward the door.

“Go see who it is,” Pansy ordered.

Draco narrowed his eyes, but stood up and walked over to the door. He looked through the peep-hole, but didn't recognize the person.

“Who is it?” Draco asked.

“It's Daphne, you git,” the voice said, “I'm in a disguise. Let me in before Granger and Weasley see us.”

Draco unlocked the door then opened it. Daphne walked in. She had long red hair and kind of resembled the person Draco had to transform into if anyone came by. In fact she could have been his sister.

Daphne looked at Draco and Pansy.

“Why aren't you in your disguises?” Daphne demanded, “I could have been Weasley or Granger.”

“We don't want to waste our supplies,” Draco said, “And Weasley and Granger are at work at the moment. So they wouldn't be here. Would they?”

“So... any updates?” Daphne asked.

“Ron and Hermione must be using Apparation or Floo Powder to get where ever they go,” Draco said, “We never see them in their front yard.”

“Has anyone visited them?” Daphne asked.

“If they have, they haven't come through the front door,” Pansy said.

Daphne sighed. She was obviously frustrated.

“And they don't suspect you two?” she asked.

“We don't think so,” Pansy said.

“So you could get inside their house if you had the chance,” Daphne said, “And they wouldn't suspect you if they found anything?”

“You want us to go inside their house?” Draco asked.

He looked at Pansy, and she just grinned.

“That is what I suggested,” Pansy said, “But Draco didn't think it was a good idea.”

“I didn't say it wasn't a good idea, Pansy,” Draco said, “I said I wasn't going inside their house.”

“Whatever,” Pansy said.

“Oh, quit your bickering, you two,” Daphne said. “Draco, unless you can think of another way to get what we need, you and Pansy are going to be heading in their house.”

Draco glared at her.

“Fine,” Draco said. “What are we looking for when we go inside? When are you going to tell us that?”

“You won't be looking for anything,” Daphne said.

She dug into her pocket and pulled a number of small mirrors.

“There are four mirrors here,” Daphne said, handing the mirrors to Pansy, “You will put three in their house. Where they eat, where they sleep, where they spend most of their time during the day. The other mirror you will keep here. It has been charmed to detect any movement or sound that comes near the other three mirrors. You'll be able to hear any conversation that happens near them. Anything they talk about, I want you to give a summary about it. If they talk about Potter, I want everything they say about him. If Weasley talks about what he is doing in his work as an Auror, I need details. Questions?”

“So Potter is your target here?” Draco asked.

“If Potter was the target,” Daphne said, “I would have asked you to spy on him.”

“So Weasley and Granger are the targets?” Pansy asked.

“Did I say that?” Daphne asked.

“You haven't really made that clear,” Draco said.

“When I make it clear,” Daphne said, “You will know. Any questions that have to do with my request?”

“How exactly are we going to place those things in their house without them noticing?” Draco asked.

Daphne grinned, and Draco felt a shiver go up his spine.

“You're smart enough, Draco, darling,” Daphne said, “I think you can figure that out for yourself. I want this done as soon as possible. You say they are at work right now. Then it would be wise to do this before they get home. You will not take anything from their house. You will only place these in it, then get out of there. I think that is all I need to say. Farewell.”

Daphne turned and walked out of the house, shutting the door behind her.

“Let's get this over with then,” Pansy said.

“Now?” Draco asked.

“No, Draco, when the Mudblood and her boyfriend get home,” Pansy said, sarcastically, “Yeah. Now.”

Draco scoffed and followed Pansy into the bathroom.

Ten minutes later, they were standing at the door of Ron and Hermione's house. Both were disguised, once again, as Parker and Lauren. Pansy was having a bit of trouble unlocking the door to the house. A simple Unlocking charm didn't work. Draco rolled his eyes.

“Do you need me to do it?” he asked.

Pansy scoffed, and suddenly the door flew off its hinges.

“Why did you do that?” Draco asked, shocked.

“Relax,” Pansy said, as she and Draco walked into the house.

She pointed the wand at the door, and it repaired itself.

“See?” she said, “Back to normal.”

“Could you take more care with their things?” Draco asked.

“Why do you care?” Pansy asked.

“I don't,” Draco said, “But we're dealing with a witch who qualifies as a genius, and a wizard who has had months of Auror training. They're bound to notice if you make too much of a mess.”

“You have a point,” Pansy said, “for once.”

“Can we do this and get out of here?” Draco asked.

“Okay,” Pansy said.

She walked over to the fireplace and stuck one of the mirrors on the edge of it. She waved her wand and suddenly, the mirror vanished.

“You can do an invisibility charm?” Draco asked.

“Look closer, idiot,” Pansy said. “It is a chameleon charm.”

Draco raised his eyebrows, rather impressed with Pansy. He hadn't thought of using a chameleon charm. He followed Pansy into the kitchen, where she put another mirror underneath the table.

“We'll never see them that way,” Draco said.

“We don't need to see them,” Pansy said, as she put a charm on the mirror, “We only need to hear them.”

They walked back toward the living room, then headed for the bedroom.

“One bedroom,” Pansy said, scoffing, as they walked in, “I should have known.”

“Guess they sleep in the same bed,” Draco said, grinning.

Pansy walked over to the closet, and stuck the mirror on a wall inside it.

“Not interested in seeing what happens in here either?” Draco asked.

Pansy rolled her eyes.

“I don't need pictures in my head of what the Mudblood and blood-traitor do in their free time,” she said, “Let's get out here.”

“Try not to knock the door down this time,” Draco said, as he walked back to the door.

He turned and looked at Pansy. She seemed to be looking at something in the living room.

“Pansy,” Draco said, “What are you –?”

Pansy put her hand up and walked over to the coffee table. She opened the book that was on the table. Draco walked over to see what Pansy was looking at. There were numerous pictures of Hermione when she was younger. It showed two adults who must have been her parents. Pansy proceeded to take one of the pictures out of the slip. It was one of Hermione posing with her parents.

“This could prove to be useful,” Pansy said.

“We're not supposed to take anything!” Draco hissed.

“Relax,” Pansy said, “They won't find out. Geminio!”

A duplicate of the picture appeared, and Pansy put it back into the book.

“Can we go now?” Draco asked.

Pansy shut the book and put it back on the table. She nodded and they walked out of the house, then locked the door behind them.

“That was simple,” Pansy said.

Draco followed her back down the road. He was about to ask why Pansy took one of Hermione's pictures, then he realized he didn't want to know the answer.

(Ron's PoV)

Ron, Harry, and their training partners were standing in line. Over the past couple of hours, eight of their comrades, in four teams of two, had gone into the Danger Room, though none of the other trainees knew what was going on inside the room. Two of the teams were now no longer part of the training corp, having failed the last part of the exam.

Allison was pacing back and forth looking throughout the rest of the trainees. Who she would choose, nobody knew. The final two teams she would choose would duel in the Danger Room, and only one of the teams would move on to continue their time in the training corp.

“Come forward when I call you,” Allison announced, after minutes of keeping her silence. “William Golding, Taylor Rossi, Ron Weasley and Harry Potter.”

Ron's eyes widened as he stepped forward with the others. Harry was looking at him, and Ron knew exactly what he was thinking. But he couldn't bear to think it as well.

“The rest of you have earned your right to continue in the training corp,” Allison said, to the trainees behind Ron, “You may leave.”

Excited and relieved chatter mixed with the movement of the trainees leaving the area. Ron could only look at Allison. He knew what was coming... or he thought he did.

“So,” Allison said, “We have the final two teams. The four of you will go into the Danger Room, and duel the other team. Whichever team loses is out of the training corp. Understood?”

None of the trainees moved a muscle. Ron looked at Rossi, and started to say something, but Allison walked over to him.

“Mr. Weasley, what are you doing?” she asked.

“I'm wanting to figure out my strategy with Rossi,” Ron said.

“That would not be a good idea,” Allison said.

“Why?” Ron asked.

“Because he is not your partner,” Allison said.

She backed up and looked at all of them.

“The final duel for the second portion of your Trial Exams,” Allison said, “will be a free-for-all.”

Ron looked at Harry, who looked back at him.

“While you are inside the Danger Room,” Allison said, “You will only be fighting for your right to move on. Now... that means you can team up with someone. I will not stop you.”

Ron grinned at Harry.

“But,” Allison continued, “think about this wisely. What will be your decision? Will you choose to team up with someone? Each of you have teamed up with two out of three of your opponents before. Will you choose to team up with one of them? If so, who?”

She shrugged and walked around each of them.

“You've been training for a month with your new partners,” she continued, “in preparation for this exam. But you've also known your old partner for quite a while. To the point that you are best friends. Do you put your trust in your new partner, or your old one? Or... will you only trust the one person you've known the longest... yourself?”

Allison looked at each of the four of them.

“You will not decide at this moment, though,” Allison said. “You'll have to figure that part out when you meet up with them in the Danger Room. Good luck.”

The door opened behind Allison. She walked in and they all followed her in. Ron wondered what type of environment they would have to deal with.

It didn't take long for him to find out. In front of the five of them was a hedge about thirty feet high, and seemed to go on forever on either side of him.

“Well, it looks as if the Danger Room has quite the test for you today,” Allison said, as she turned back toward them. “Welcome to the Danger Room's most dangerous environment.”

Along the hedge, four holes opened. Ron recognized them as doorways.

“The labyrinth,” Allison said, grinning mischievously.

Oooh, I love a good cliffhanger! I just love coming up with these ideas. This is going to get interesting.

Hope you liked this chapter!

Old September 2nd, 2011, 11:53 pm
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Re: Butterfly Kisses (Sequel to Harry Potter and the Return to Hogwarts)

Chapter 45
The Labyrinth

(Harry's PoV)

Harry's jaw dropped as he looked at the monstrous hedge in front of him.

Suddenly, his mind was back on the final task of the Triwizard Tournament. He remember monstrous hedges that sucked the light from all around him. Portions of the maze that turned his world upside down if he stepped in the wrong place. Boggarts, sphinxes and monstrous acromantulas all trying to stop him from going any further.

“Choose a doorway,” Allison said, breaking Harry out of his reverie, “But choose wisely.”

Harry walked past Allison, looking at her as he did. What was that expression in her eyes? She had read his report. She must have known what he had faced in the Triwizard Tournament. Was this a creation of the Danger Room itself... or a creation from Allison Fawning herself?

Out of the four of them, only Harry had the most experience in an environment like this. Allison must have known this. Was this a silent message from Allison? Harry could imagine the words, as if Allison had really said them:

You can get through this, Potter. You've done this kind of thing before. Choose who you want to go with you on from the maze. That is your real test.

His mind was back on that final task. He had escaped the maze with Cedric Diggory, and Cedric was killed minutes later.

Choose who you want to go with you. That is your final test.

Allison must have known that Harry's last choice in an environment like this had cost that person their life. Was that Harry's real test? Making a decision with that thought in his head?

Harry took a spot in front of the doorways.

Harry looked to his left and right. Ron was staring at whatever was through his entryway. Golding was looking at his three opponents. Rossi was looking at the ground, and seemed to be the most nervous out of the four.

“And... begin,” Allison said.

Harry and the others walked forward into the maze. Even though he had expected it, he was still surprise the hedge behind him closed, shutting him in the labyrinth. He looked forward. The darkness engulfed him. It was like standing in the middle of the Forbidden Forest, except for the fact that there were hedges instead of trees. Harry inhaled and exhaled. He stepped forward and was surprised that he found that his feet kept moving.

He then realized there was one big difference from the maze in the third task to this labyrinth. He was not searching for something that was stationary. His opponents were currently moving throughout the labyrinth, and he would have to find them. Harry continued walking.

Just as he thought the path ahead of him would not cut off, he arrived at a fork in the path. He wondered which way he should go. Ron had gone into the labyrinth to his right. But did he really want to look for Ron first? Did he want to team up with Ron? Sure, he wanted himself and Ron to get through this exam, but... was the right choice to find Ron, or fight for himself?

If he had met up with Taylor Rossi, he knew he could take him. Taylor was the weakest of the four. Golding, on the other hand... Harry had been impressed with him. Golding could defend himself to the point where he could probably take on Harry if he had the chance. The only problem was that Golding and Ron were closest to each other. Taylor was the only one to Harry's right when they walked in. Harry looked at the paths in front of him. Could he take Rossi and then find Golding in enough time before he got to Ron?

Harry sighed and went down the path to the right. Suddenly, he heard a loud roar coming from the other direction. Harry's eyes widened. That was not the sound a human usually made. The sudden thought horrified him,.

What else was with them in this labyrinth?

Harry was about to run forward, then he heard a scream. The kind a human did make.

“Rossi,” Harry muttered.

Harry took his wand from his pocket, then turned and ran back to the fork, then up the left path. As he ran, he looked to his left and right, for any openings. Where had that scream come from? Suddenly, up ahead his eyes caught an opening in the path coming from the left. But as he started to run toward it, the hedge in the opening shook.

Harry stopped in his tracks, dirt skidding below his feet. Moments later a mountain troll, almost as tall as the hedge, appeared in front of him.

“Stupefy!” Harry said.

The spell hit the troll's chest, but the troll just shook it off. It roared and looked around for whoever had hit him. Harry tried to find a place to hide, but it was no use. The only cut-off from the path nearby was behind the troll. The troll roared again as its tiny eyes found Harry.

“Conjunctivitis!” Harry said.

The spell aimed for the troll's eyes and hit its target. The ground shook as the troll danced around in pain, rubbing its eyes.

“Sectumsempra!” Harry yelled.

The troll roared and fell over face-first to the ground. Suddenly, Harry heard two sounds at once: the troll's body thudding as it crashed to the ground, followed by a faint screaming sound that suddenly stopped seconds after it started. Harry walked forward and his eyes widened at what he had found. Rossi was laid out under the troll; his legs had disappeared under the troll. Harry kneeled toward him, and checked his pulse. Rossi was alive, but unconscious.

Harry did the only thing he could think of. He raised his wand to the air.

“Periculum!” he said.

Red sparks shot into the air.

“One competitor has been eliminated from the exam,” Allison's voice said, overhead.

Harry stood up, and ran off back down the path and headed up the right direction. As he ran, he wondered if he could find Ron in time before Golding could. If Ron found Golding first, he wasn't sure what the outcome would be.

(Ron's PoV – a couple minutes earlier)

Ron felt as if he had been walking a straight line forever. There were no openings anywhere. He was starting to feel panic overcome him.

“Calm down, Ron,” he said to himself, “You can do this.”

He looked around. He wondered if this is how Harry had felt while he was inside the maze during the third task of the Triwizard Tournament. He had always wondered what it would have been like to be a Triwizard Tournament contender. During the tournament, when Harry had said that he would have to be in a maze for the third task, Ron started to have dreams of being in the maze himself. But he had never expected to be in an environment like this, he had never dreamed of something like this.

“One competitor has been eliminated from the exam,” Allison's voice said, overhead.

Ron's eyes widened. Already? How long had he been in the maze? It couldn't have been for more than ten minutes or so? Or was it longer? One person had been eliminated. That meant that there must have been a duel Two of the four must have found each other. But who was it that was eliminated? Golding? Rossi? Harry?

Ron sighed and looked around at the hedges. There was nowhere he could go. He groaned and punched part of the hedge... and his hand hit nothing.

“What the bloody hell?” Ron said to himself.

He stepped forward and the hedge in front of him moved away from him a few feet. He found himself in another pathway, one with visible turns at either end.

“I was sure that a solid wall,” Ron muttered. “This is so bloody mental!”

Ron shook his head and headed off to his left, then turned right when he had the chance. As he walked along the path, he wondered who would be the first competitor he would meet. He was sure Harry was still in the maze, so that meant that Golding or Rossi had been eliminated. But who was it? Who would meet him in a duel? Whoever wasn't in the previous duel was surely searching for him.

With one person eliminated, that meant there was only one other person that needed to be eliminated, and the other two would go on in the exams. Ron had been hoping to find Harry and team up with him to take the others down, but he was having no luck. He hadn't seen any signs or heard any voices that told him someone was near.

Ron saw another opening a few yards away down the path. He walked toward it, and as he got closer, he heard footsteps coming. Ron hid himself against the wall and listened. The footsteps he heard were definitely not Harry's. He knew Harry would more than likely be stealthy, and these footsteps sounded as if they were moving quickly. He strained his ears and listened. The footsteps were now too many to be one person.

Thoughts started to swim through his head. Had two of the competitors teamed up? Had Harry reunited with Golding? Or... Ron closed his eyes as he thought about it... had Golding and Rossi found each other, teamed up, and taken out Harry?

Ron opened his eyes. He had to know the answer. He peered around the corner, and looked. What he saw, he did not expect:

A giant spider, no, an Acromantula was heading his way. Ron put a hand to his mouth to muffle the sudden screams coming up his throat. Spiders... why did it have to be spiders?

“Think, Ron,” he said to himself, “think!”

He inhaled, raised his wand and turned, unleashing a stunning spell toward the spider's underbelly. The Acromantula didn't even flinch.

“B-but the underbelly is your weakest spot!” Ron stuttered, “You should have stopped! Why didn't you – Oh!”

He pointed his wand at the spider once again.

“Ridikkulus!” he said.

Suddenly the spider started to shrink and it turned into a rat.

“You're a boggart!” Ron said, chuckling. “Ha!”

The boggart vanished.

“Thank you, Remus,” he muttered, as he continued down the path.

Ron then heard more footsteps close by. These were heavy footfalls, but only sounded like one person. He grinned. Only one person out of the four was big enough for those loud footfalls: William Golding. He listened for the steps. They were close by, but he couldn't see any opening up ahead.

“Incendio!” a loud voice roared.

Ron ducked just as a large fire ball hit part of the hedge nearby and exploded. The smoke and debris made Ron cough and choke. The smoke was dense. Ron stood up and pointed his wand ahead of him.

“I can hear your breath,” Golding's voice said, “Who's there? You can't hide from me. Scourgify!”

The smoke and dust cleared and Ron was now looking at Golding. Golding grinned.

“You're still here, are you?” Golding asked. “Pity. I thought you'd be the first to go.”

“I could say the same thing for you,” Ron said.

“Stupefy!” Golding said.

Ron dove out of the way toward a large chunk of hedge that had been blown apart.

“Fast little weasel, aren't you?” Golding said.

“Expelliarmus!” Ron said.

Golding's wand barely left his fingers before he caught it.

“Nice try,” Golding said, “But your friend, Potter, loved to use that one on me during training. I've had some nice practice with it. Do you think it was Harry who was eliminated? Or Rossi? I wonder. Either way it was one of your partners. Can't have been a good partner to them if they were weak enough to lose.”

“It just means the strong one is still in the maze,” Ron said.

“How do you know?” Golding asked. “How do you know it wasn't I who took them out?”

“Right,” Ron scoffed, “If you knew who it was, you'd use them to taunt me.”

“You're right,” Golding said, then grinned. “Poor Potter. Really wanted to be an Auror.”

Ron narrowed his eyes. He stood up from behind the hedge.

“Stupefy!” he yelled.

Golding ducked. Ron walked forward. Suddenly, before he knew it, he was forced off his feet, and the ground seemed to spin around him.

Golding started to chuckle.

“Ran into a trap, did you?” he said.

Ron's eyes widened as he watched Golding walk closer toward him. What could he do? He was hanging upside down, and couldn't figure how to move.

“Ron!” Harry's voice said, “Move! Just move your feet!”

Without thinking, Ron did as Harry said. Just as he found himself upright again, Golding sent a stunning spell toward him. Ron had no time to react. All he could see was the spell coming toward him.

“Protego!” Harry's voice yelled.

Harry's spell collided with the stunning spell feet from Ron, and a sudden gust of wind blew Ron back, but he stayed on his feet. However, a few feet ahead of him, Golding had staggered to the ground. Ron pointed his wand to Golding.

“Locomotor Mortis!” he said.

The spell hit its mark and Golding went stiff as a board. Harry ran forward as Ron walked over to Golding.

“Give up?” he asked Golding, “Blink once for yes.”

Golding blinked once.

“William Golding has been eliminated!” Allison's voice said, “The winners are Harry Potter and Ron Weasley.”

Suddenly, the hedge maze disappeared around them and they were standing in a large white room. As Ron adjusted his eyes to the light, Allison walked over to him and Harry.

“Finite,” she said, pointing her wand at Golding.

Golding stirred and stood up.

“Nice try, Mr. Golding,” Allison said, “You may go.”

Golding frowned, and stared at Ron and Harry, as he walked by them.

“How's Rossi?” Harry asked Allison.

“Two broken legs,” Allison said, “He'll be at St. Mungo's for a few days for Skele-Gro treatment.”

“What did you do to Rossi?” Ron asked Harry.

“I knocked a mountain troll out, and he landed on Rossi,” Harry said.

Ron groaned. “Not exactly the way I wanted him to go out,” he said.

“Rossi and Golding are now eliminated from the Trial Exams,” Allison said.

“So... we passed?” Ron asked her.

“Unfortunately, I have some bad news,” Allison said. “The two of you will be leaving the training corp today as well.”

Ron and Harry stared at each other, then back at Allison. Ron was about to complain when Allison put her hand up to stop him.

“Maybe I should have made myself more clear,” Allison said. “It is bad news for me. I'm definitely going to miss the two of you.”

Ron frowned. He couldn't believe his ears. Had he and Harry really been kicked out the training corp? But they had passed the exam...

“But... it is not bad news for either of you,” Allison continued.

“Why is that?” Harry asked.

“Because, as of next Monday,” Allison said, “under the direct order of Minister of Magic Kingsley Shacklebolt himself... you two can consider yourself fully-fledged Aurors.”

Ron's eyes widened. He looked at Harry, who only stared at Allison.

“You see,” Allison said, “This maze was his idea. In fact, the only reason you were a part of the number of trainees I picked today, is because the Minister asked me to. If he had not come to me with these exact orders, and you were to continue in the training corp, you two would have gone through to the next round the exams. This maze was your final test. Mr. Weasley, over the past few weeks, you have probably been asking yourself why I assigned you a new partner.”

“Yeah, sure,” Ron said.

“You can thank the Minister for that one as well,” Allison said. “He appreciates the partnership and friendship you and Mr. Potter have. But he wanted to know if you could still be an Auror if something ever happened to Mr. Potter. He doesn't want to lose you if you find yourself without the help of your best friend. So he had me assign you a new partner, and see how you could work with someone else.”

“And what was my test?” Harry asked.

“As for you, Mr. Potter,” Allison said. “the Minister wanted to see if you were capable of going into a mission where there was a chance you could lose one of your closest friends. In this case, there was a chance your best friend might not make it out of this and stay in the corp with you. But you went forward with it. Basically, Mr. Potter, you passed the test just walking into the labyrinth.”

“S-s-so,” Ron stammered. “You mean we're --”

“Aurors, Mr. Weasley,” Allison said, “Congratulations.”

Allison smiled and walked away.

“Oh,” she said, turning around. “Kingsley will want to see you first thing on Monday. Eight-o-clock sharp. I wouldn't miss this one, you two. Good luck.”

Ron's jaw dropped as he watched Allison walk toward the door of the Danger Room.

“Bloody hell,” Ron said.

He turned to Harry, who was staring at his wand. He started chuckling.

“Have you taken the mickey?” Ron asked.

“I was just thinking,” Harry said, quietly, “It was an insane Death Eater who told me I would be an excellent Auror.”

Ron saw tears in Harry's eyes. He grinned and put an arm around his best mate.

“Come on, mate,” Ron said, walking with him toward the entrance of the Danger Room. “Lunch is on me.”

“You're really thinking of food at a time like this?” Harry asked, chuckling.

“I was attacked by a boggart that I thought was a bloody Acromantula,” Ron said. “I was almost killed by an exploding hedge. Then I was turned upside down, in the middle of a duel with a guy about twice my weight, in the middle of a labyrinth. And last but not least... all day, I thought I was about to lose my one shot at being an Auror. And now I just found out I am officially an Auror. What do you think, mate?”

“You're right,” Harry said, “I think I can excuse your sudden urges for food this time.”

Ron and Harry chuckled and walked out of the danger room.

Well, I imagined this chapter to be a lot longer, but aw well. I liked it. Hope you did too!


Last edited by Fury; September 3rd, 2011 at 1:48 pm.
Old September 3rd, 2011, 4:45 pm
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Re: Butterfly Kisses (Sequel to Harry Potter and the Return to Hogwarts)

Chapter 46
Meeting with the Minister

(Ron's PoV)

A few hours after he and Harry found out that they were now officially a part of the Auror department, Ron was sitting on his couch at home with a large notebook of parchment in front of him. That morning, after he had announced that he was wanting to work on the wedding plans, Hermione had shown him the notebook. She had already jotted down a few ideas inside. He promised then he would add a few of his own by the time Hermione returned home.

Hermione had attached a small note to the front of the notebook, instructing Ron to jot down a check-mark next to her ideas that he had agreed with. He immediately put a check next to the first one, which read “Purchase one of the Marquees from Weasley Wizard Wheezes.” The month of May always brought rain to England, especially around the area where the Burrow was located.

Hermione had also listed names of friends who could be her choice for bridesmaids. Ron immediately put a check-mark next to Ginny's name. He also put one next to Luna's and Angelina's names. With one look at Fleur's name, he chuckled to himself and put the words “I'd talk to Ginny about that one!” next to Fleur's name.

Ron put down names for the best men, including: Harry, Bill and George. He thought of the next name he wanted to put down. He then nodded, and proceeded to jot down the words “open spot where Fred would have stood.”

“Hermione and I may be getting married on the day you died, Freddie, old boy,” Ron said to himself, as he looked at his late brother's name, “But that doesn't mean we wouldn't forget you.”

The front door opened with a thud, making Ron look up. Hermione walked in through the doorway.

“Is there something wrong with this door?” she asked, looking at it.

“I don't know,” Ron said, “It was acting weird for me too. The hinges might be getting old. Might have to get some new ones.”

Hermione shut the door behind her, and looked at Ron.

“Going through wedding plans?” she asked.

“Like I promised I would,” Ron said, then put his hand on the couch cushion next to him, “Come sit down. I have something I want to tell you.”

“Ooh,” Hermione said, grinning, “Is this about your Trial Exams?”

“Yeah,” Ron said, trying to keep himself from grinning just yet.

“How did you do?” Hermione asked, sitting down, “Did you pass? Did Harry?”

“Yeah,” Ron said.

“Brilliant!” Hermione said, “I knew you would. So you're on to the next month of training?”

“Not exactly,” Ron said.

Hermione looked at him, frowning.

“Oh, no, Ron,” she said, soothingly, “What happened?”

“Hermione,” Ron said, “you are now looking at one of the two newest members of the Auror Department.”

Hermione's jaw dropped.

“What?” she asked.

“Kingsley has promoted Harry and I,” Ron said, “to official Aurors.”

“You're – you're serious?” Hermione asked, a shocked grin, splitting her lips.

Ron nodded and grinned. Hermione squealed lightly and hugged Ron, then kissed him.

“But – how?” she asked, her arms still around him, “I thought you still had three months to go in training?”

“Kingsley's orders, I guess,” Ron said, “I don't know all the details yet, on his end. Harry and I have to meet him in his office on Monday morning. But... if we passed the exams today, he told Allison that we'd be promoted to Aurors. And we passed.”

“This is brilliant!” Hermione said, “I didn't expect this!”

“You didn't?” Ron laughed, “How do you think I feel? Here I was thinking I would have to go through three more months of that. I thought I was already at my wit's end with this test.”

“We need to celebrate this,” Hermione said, “What do you want for dinner?”

“You're wanting to celebrate with food?” Ron asked, laughing.

Hermione rolled her eyes.

“Whatever you want,” Ron said.

“Ron,” Hermione said, laughing, “That doesn't help me much.”

“I'm serious,” Ron said, “I haven't even thought of it. I'm focused on this right now.”

He motioned to notebook.

“Okay,” Hermione said, “How about pizza? You seemed to like it when we had it for Christmas.”

“Whatever you want,” Ron said again.

Hermione playfully slapped Ron's knee.

“You're ruining the mood, you know,” she said, shaking her head, “I'm very happy for you, and you seem as if you've gotten some bad news.”

“I can't help it,” Ron said, “I'm still not over the shock of this whole thing. So I'm working on the wedding plans until it hits me.”

“Okay,” Hermione said, sighing, “Pizza, it is. But not for a few hours. So... wedding plans?”

“Yep,” Ron said.

“Let me change into something more comfortable,” Hermione said, “And we'll work on those.”

Hermione kissed him lightly again then stood up and disappeared into the hall. Ron grinned and looked back down at the notebook. He was then interrupted by a light pecking sound. Harry's owl, Ares, was sitting on the windowsill. Ron walked over to the window and opened it up. He took the roll of parchment from the owl, unrolled it, and started to read:


Harry just told me. Congratulations! I can't believe it! My brother... an actual Auror! I am going to write to Mum, and send Ares to her when he gets back from delivering this to you. So don't let him stay very long! You know she'll want to know! Ooh, she'll be all of a dither. How's Hermione taking it? Did you tell her yet? I'm sure she's very happy. Harry doesn't know exactly what to say yet. He keeps mentioning something about insane Death Eaters. I'm about to smack him if he doesn't become just a bit happier about all of this! Just kidding... I think...


Ron laughed as he read the letter. He could imagine Ginny writing it rather quickly, a grin across her lips as she did. Ron grabbed the quill and replied to the bottom of the letter.


Thanks, sis. Hermione's taking it rather well. She's trying to celebrate with an offering of food. She must be happy then, because she usually looks at me strange when I want something to eat at random moments. Don't be too rough on Harry. He's probably in a state of shock and you might injure him before he can even start as an Auror. I'll wait patiently for Mum's letter... though, I know I'll regret it.


Ron rolled up the bit of parchment and attached back to Ares' leg. Ares flew off and Ron shut the window.

“Letters of congratulations?” Hermione asked, as Ron turned around.

“Ginny,” Ron said, taking a seat back on the couch, “She's happy of course, though she's rather surprised Harry's quiet about the whole thing. Anyway, she's writing to Mum now. So I guess I can expect a long letter of congratulations from her.”

Hermione grinned and sat on the couch next to him.

“So, let's see what you have,” Hermione said, grabbing the notebook.

Ron watched Hermione's eyes, as they darted back and forth through the page. She laughed at one point.

“I guess I should talk to Ginny before I make Fleur a bridesmaid,” she said.

“Probably a good idea,” Ron said, “Otherwise she'd probably hex you. I don't need my bride covered in bat bogeys on our wedding day.”

Hermione chuckled. She looked back at the notebook, and Ron saw a tear in her eye.

“Oh, Ron,” she said, grinning, “An open spot for Fred among your best men? I love that.”

Ron smiled.

A few hours later, while Ron and Hermione were waiting for the pizza to arrive, Frederique arrived with a letter from his mother. He took the roll of parchment from the owl's large talons and started to read it.


Ginny just wrote and told me! An Auror, you and Harry both! I am so very proud of you! Your father arrived right after I received Ginny's letter. He's very proud of you as well!

He said he had heard from Minister Shacklebolt earlier today about your new promotion. An Auror, three months early than the rest of your trainees. That normally doesn't happen! He must be very impressed with you. You know Kingsley was an Auror himself, so he must have seen something in you and Harry. Your father said that Kingsley was being all hush-hush about it, and that he'd talk to you and Harry about everything first. Just remember to mind your manners around the Minister. Wear something smart. It is not every day you get to have a meeting with the Minister of Magic!

I'm sure you'll be a wonderful Auror, but promise me by return letter that you'll be very careful. Being an Auror isn't as dangerous as it was during the First and Second War, but it is still a dangerous job.

So very happy with you and Harry!


Ron grinned as he read the letter. He handed it to Hermione, who seemed to be trying her best not to read it over her shoulder. Hermione read it, then looked up at him.

“She's right, you know,” she said, “An Auror is still a dangerous job these days.”

“We've been through a lot worse,” Ron said.

“I know that, Ron,” Hermione said, “But...”

“You're worried about me, aren't you?” Ron asked.

“Of course I am,” Hermione said, “I'd be mental if I wasn't.”

Ron smiled and took Hermione's hand.

“You know I'd decline Kingsley's invitation if you wanted me to,” Ron said.

“Ron,” Hermione said, shaking her head.

“I'd find something else to do,” Ron said, “if you wanted me to.”

“No, Ron,” Hermione said, “Of course not. I know this is something you want do.”

“We're going to be married in eight months, Hermione,” Ron said, “We need to start thinking of making decisions together.”

“I know that,” Hermione said, squeezing Ron's hand, “And that is why I'm supporting this.”

She looked into his eyes and kissed him.

“However,” she said, “if something happens to you, I'll kill you myself.”

“And I'll haunt you for the rest of your life,” Ron said, “Just to be around you.”

Hermione grinned.

“However,” Ron said, “I probably would scare any new boyfriends away that you might have.”

Hermione rolled her eyes. Ron took the letter back from her and started on the reply to his mother. When he finished, he tied the letter to Frederique, who then flew off.

On Monday morning, Ron and Harry walked into the Minister of Magic's office precisely at eight-o-clock in the morning.

“Ah, the two newest additions to the Auror Department,” Kingsley said, “Come. Take a seat. Do you want anything to drink?”

Ron and Harry declined as they took their seats.

“If you two don't mind,” Kingsley said, “I'm going to cut out the small talk and get right into business. We have a lot to talk about, and I am a busy man. Is that okay?”

Ron and Harry nodded.

“The reason I promoted you two to Aurors three months early,” Kingsley said, “is because you've proved to me that you don't need any more training. The next three months could pass by, and you'd find yourself in the same position you are in now. True, perhaps you would have a bit more training. I could understand that. For that reason, I want the two of you to be honest with me right now. If you believe you need more training, I will take back my decision and you can walk right back to the corp and train for your next exam. What do you say?”

“I'm ready for this, Minister,” Harry said.

“So am I,” Ron said.

“I never expected any less from either of you,” Kingsley said. “You both impressed me quite a lot. I've known you for years now. You've been through things that the majority of your fellow Aurors could only dream of. But it is recent events that have impressed me more.”

“Sir?” Harry asked.

“You were unprepared for your investigation at Azkaban,” Kingsley said, “but you went ahead with it, and you succeeded. Maybe not unscathed, but nobody would walk out of Azkaban, even after a couple hours, without some kind of side-effect. To be completely honest, I visited Azkaban after you were finished with your investigations. After four hours of doing my own investigations, I left with cold-sweats and I was away from my office for a whole day. So, no, not even the Minister of Magic can escape the wrath of that awful place.”

Kingsley chuckled softly, mostly to himself.

“Then just days ago,” he said, “you answered the call for help when there was trouble at the Surejan Dragon Reserve, even when it was expected that actual Aurors would be needed for the task.”

“To be honest, sir,” Ron said, “That was my fiancee who needed our help. I would have gone even if I wasn't training to be an Auror.”

Harry nodded in agreement.

“But that is exactly what I mean, Mr. Weasley,” Kingsley said, “You'd risk your life without a second thought. That proves to me you have the makings of a fine Auror.”

He turned to Harry.

“Mr. Potter,” he said, “you could have been an Auror without having to endure months of the training corp, but you decided to take that path instead.”

“Yes, sir,” Harry said.

“I had assumed that this was because you wished to join up with Mr. Weasley, here,” Kingsley said, “But I believe I am mistaken?”

“I joined the training corp for two reasons,” Harry said. “First of all, I believe I needed more training. You, and the rest of the wizarding world might see me highly skilled because of everything I've done, but anyone who knows me closely, will tell you that I've had loads of help. So, I didn't see myself as qualified enough to be a member of the Auror department just yet.”

“And now?” Kingsley asked.

“I think I've gone through enough training to accept your invitation,” Harry said.

“And your second reason?” Kingsley asked.

“I may be called the Hero of the Second War, Minister,” Harry said, “But I'm not the kind of guy who wants special privileges just because of the things I've done. I wanted to go through what every other Auror in the history of the Department has had to go through. Otherwise I don't think I would have seen myself as a true Auror.”

Kingsley nodded approvingly.

“Harry,” Kingsley said, “May I ask why you originally wanted to become an Auror?”

“I didn't want anything like the First and Second Wars to happen again,” Harry said.

“What if I told you,” Kingsley said, “there was a chance something like that could happen again? In the near future?”

“You're referring to this new threat, sir?” Harry asked.

“How much do the two of you know of this threat?” Kingsley asked.

“Well,” Harry said, “For starters, Sam Thorpe and Ralph Fetcher --”

“Neither have been heard from for weeks now,” Kingsley said. “We believe they may have been killed by this rogue group of wizards.”

“What about Fetcher's list?” Ron asked.

Kingsley shook his head.

“You never found it?” Harry asked.

“Unfortunately, we did not,” Kingsley said.

“What about the attack at the dragon reserve?” Ron asked.

Kingsley nodded approvingly.

“Yes, Mr. Ron,” Kingsley said. “We have reasons to believe the rogue group was behind this attack. Their intentions were to kidnap some of the dragons.”

“But why?” Ron asked.

“We believe they are planning something big,” Kingsley said, “Though we do not know what exactly. We do have one clue, though. Harry, you were part of the force that met this rogue group when they reached the reserve, is this right?”

“Yeah,” Harry said, “As was Ron.”

“We believe the rogue group stopped their attack because they saw you,” Kingsley said.

“Me?” Harry asked, “But --”

“You were not part of their plan,” Kingsley said, “At least... not at that moment.”

“So their target is Harry?” Ron asked.

“We believe so,” Kingsley said, “Well, at least a part of it. We have reasons to believe that they are afraid of you, Harry. They want to make sure you can't interfere in their bigger plans. We also have reason to believe they know you.”

“I don't understand, sir,” Harry said.

“You must have realized, Harry,” Kingsley said, “what the reasons behind my investigations were.”

“Sure,” Harry said, nodding, “You were looking for connections to the Death Eaters and – oh.”

Kingsley nodded approvingly.

“You understand, Harry,” Kingsley said.

“Er... what?” Ron asked.

“Kingsley believes the rogue group is the children of Death Eaters,” Harry said. “Which means that some of our fellow classmates from Hogwarts could be part of the group. Have you been in contact with these students?”

“We've focused mostly on the Slytherin house,” Kingsley said. “Unfortunately we cannot find some of the students. Many of whom have direct connections to Death Eaters by their bloodline. With that, we've come to the subject of your first mission. I want the two of you to visit Malfoy Manor today and talk to Lucius and Narcissa Malfoy.”

Ron's eyes widened as he stared at Kingsley.

“But,” Harry said, “I thought the Malfoys have paid for their crimes. Out of everyone, they were the first to change their ways.”

“Precisely,” Kingsley said, “Unfortunately, if we are dealing with your fellow students, and most of them are Slytherins, Draco Malfoy is right in the middle of them. He is known to have been friendly with who we believe to be part of this rogue group. He could be easily persuaded to join up with them. If you find him, he might lead us to the rogue group. So, with that in mind, I want the two of you to go to the Auror Department, and get settled in. I want you to be at the Malfoy Manor in no less than two hours. When you are finished, I want you to report directly to me with your findings, no matter how busy I am.”

Kingsley nodded to the doorway. Harry and Ron stood up and walked out of the Minister's office, and headed toward the lifts.

“First day as an Auror,” Ron said, as he entered the lifts, “And we have to interrogate the Malfoys. Just what I wanted to do. We're going to be as welcome in their house as a free house elf. What does Kingsley expect us to find?”

“I don't know, mate,” Harry said, “As much as I hate to say it, the Malfoys have changed their ways. Believe me, I would like no better than to see each of them in Azkaban. But they are no longer connected to the Death Eaters.”

“And yet Kingsley thinks Draco could be,” Ron said. “Well, I'll say this. Draco does seem like he would be the first to join a rogue group hell bent on revenge.”

“I don't think so,” Harry said, “He's changed. Even before Voldemort's fall, Draco had changed. Voldemort's control over him scared him.”

“I hope you are right, Harry,” Ron said.

“I hope I'm right,” Harry said, “I don't want to know what will happen if I'm not.”

I'll just end that right there. Ron and Harry talk to the Malfoys next chapter! What will they find out? You'll have to wait and see.

Hope you liked this chapter!

Old September 3rd, 2011, 9:03 pm
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Re: Butterfly Kisses (Sequel to Harry Potter and the Return to Hogwarts)

Chapter 47
Return To Malfoy Manor

(Ron's PoV)

At ten that morning, Ron and Harry arrived at Malfoy Manor via Apparation, fully dressed in Auror robes. As he and Harry walked up toward the large iron-wrought gate, Ron looked up at the large house.

Suddenly, in his own mind, he was back there... back on the day when the Snatchers had captured him, Hermione, and the others. He could hear Hermione's screams and cries, the result of torture at the hands of the late Bellatrix Lestrange, as he tried, desperately to call for her, to let her know he was still there. He could picture Hermione, unconscious in Bellatrix's arms, and a drop of blood dripping from her neck, as the knife pressed against her skin. He could see the chandelier landing on the floor with an echoing crash, and Hermione trapped underneath. He could remember pulling her away from it and apparating her and himself to safety.

He could hear his own voice... trying to to make Hermione wake up... as he was carrying her into Shell Cottage. He remembered wondering if she would ever wake up again...

“Ron?” Harry said, his voice breaking Ron from his reverie.

Ron realized he was standing in place, about ten feet behind Harry.

“Are you okay?” Harry asked.

“I never thought I'd have to come back here,” Ron said, quietly.

Harry walked back to Ron and put his arm around his best mate.

“We won't stay long,” Harry said, “I promise.”

Ron nodded and walked forward toward the gate. Ron inhaled and tapped on the gate. It immediately opened at his touch. Ron and Harry looked at each other.

“You think they know we're coming?” Ron asked.

“No,” Harry said, “We're in Auror robes. The gate is probably charmed to let any Ministry officials inside without hesitation.”

“You're sure?” Ron asked.

Ron could tell from Harry's expression that he wasn't. They walked up the cobbled walkway. On either side of them were hedges, not unlike those in the labyrinth they had experienced the previous Friday. This did not help Ron's mood much.

Suddenly, the sound of something cracking broke through the air. Ron took his wand from his pocket, and, at the same time, spun around toward the sound. An albino peacock was standing there, staring at him and Harry. A broken twig laid under one of its feet.

“Bloody bird,” Ron muttered, sheathing his wand.

Ron and Harry turned and walked up the steps to the front door. Harry tapped his knuckles on the oak door. A few moments later, the door opened and Lucius Malfoy stood there. His eyes looked back and forth between Harry and Ron.

“May I help you?” Lucius asked, and Ron could tell he was trying his best to be polite.

“Auror Department, Mr. Malfoy,” Harry said, “We would like to speak to you and your wife.”

“You two... Aurors?” Lucius scoffed, “Prove it.”

Ron and Harry held up their Auror Identification tags they had made only an hour ago. Lucius stared at the tags for a moment then back up at Harry and Ron. He opened the door more, backed away and motioned for them to come in. Lucius led them into the living room. Narcissa Malfoy was sitting on one of the sofas. As Ron and Harry sat down on the sofa on the other side of the coffee table, Narcissa stared at them.

“What is the meaning of this?” she asked, as Lucius sat down beside her.

“We have some questions for you,” Ron said.

“Please begin then,” Lucius said.

“Mr. Malfoy, is Draco here right now?” Harry said.

“Not at the moment,” Lucius said, “May I ask why?”

“Have you noticed any changes in his personality as of late?” Harry asked.

“Why do you want to know?” Narcissa asked.

“Answer the question,” Ron said.

Harry glanced sideways at him.

“Er.... please,” Ron added.

“Draco's mood has changed ever since he became close with someone,” Lucius said.

“Astoria Greengrass?” Harry said.

“Yes,” Lucius said, “How did you –?”

“We've seen Draco and Miss Greengrass together in Diagon Alley before,” Harry said. “How exactly has his mood changed?”

“I believe he has fallen in love with Miss Greengrass,” Lucius said.

Ron scoffed silently. He could hardly picture Draco Malfoy falling in love. Narcissa's scoff, however, was rather loud.

“Dear,” Lucius said, looking sideways at his wife, “remember your manners. We are in the presence of Aurors.”

Lucius looked back at Harry.

“I must apologize,” Lucius said, “My wife isn't exactly – er – you may say she does not approve of our son's relationship with Astoria Greengrass.”

“Why?” Ron asked, “Is something wrong with her?”

“There is nothing wrong with Astoria,” Narcissa said, “I just happen to believe Draco is in bad company.”

“I don't understand,” Harry said.

“Astoria is much more – er -- presentable than her sister, you could say,” Narcissa said.

“Daphne?” Ron asked.

“You know her, then,” Narcissa said.

“She was our classmate,” Harry said.

“We speak to Daphne and Astoria's parents on a regular basis,” Lucius said. “They talk about Astoria a lot, and how much she adores Draco. But when it comes to Daphne... we barely hear any word about her from her parents.”

“Would you know why?” Harry asked.

“No,” Lucius said, “You're Aurors, are you not? Why don't you talk to them?”

“I'm sure we will, Mr. Malfoy,” Harry said, “Back to the subject of Draco. You said he was not here. Would you know where he is at the moment?”

“No clue,” Lucius said, “He moved out a couple of weeks ago. All he said was that his new job was unpredictable and he had to live with his boss, in case something happened at work.”

“Would you know where his new job is?” Harry asked.

“He never said,” Lucius said.

“We'll be able to find out, Harry,” Ron said. “The Ministry always keeps those kinds of records.”

Harry nodded and looked back at Lucius.

“I have to ask this, Mr. Malfoy,” he said, “Do you know of any reason why Draco would want to join a rogue group of wizards?”

“What are you implying?” Narcissa asked, “Draco would never join on the side of Dark again. He knows what it was like to live like that, and he regrets it!”

“We have reason to believe, Mrs. Malfoy,” Harry said, “that some of Draco's fellow Slytherin classmates from Hogwarts are part of a rogue group. The purpose of this group may be revenge... for the deaths of former Death Eaters... their family members.”

Narcissa looked at Lucius, and Ron noticed that she looked rather worried. Lucius shook his head and looked back at Harry.

“Draco lost contact with his classmates when he dropped out of school after his sixth year,” Lucius said. “We don't believe he would ever have any reason to contact them again, especially if it means they have connections to his former past. As my wife said, Draco wishes to move away from the past. As do both of us.”

“Anything else you think we need to ask?” Harry asked Ron in a low voice.

“No, let's just get out of here,” Ron muttered.

Harry nodded and looked back at the Malfoys.

“Okay,” he said, “I believe that is all for now. We may have further questions later. Thank you for your time.”

“We'll – er – just let ourselves out,” Ron said.

Harry and Ron stood up and walked out of the living room. Ron felt a tap on his shoulder. He turned to Harry. Harry put his finger to his mouth and crept over to the wall, near the door of the living room. Ron walked over to the front door, opened it and closed it. He then crept back over toward Harry.

“There's no way Draco would join that group, right?” Lucius asked Narcissa.

“I – I don't know,” Narcissa said. “That talk about 'revenge for the deaths of Death Eaters who were family.' worried me a bit.”

“You think Draco would join them to get revenge for the death of your sister?” Lucius asked.

“It is possible,” Narcissa said, and Ron heard a sob come from her voice, “My sister certainly had her talons dug deep into Draco. He admired her, even if she frightened him.”

Harry nudged Ron and pointed at the door. Ron nodded, and they walked over to the door and opened it silently, then walked out.

“I knew there was something they weren't telling us,” Harry said, as he and Ron headed back up the cobbled walkway. “Draco has a reason to join that rogue group, and that makes him vulnerable to influence if the group ever came calling on him.”

“What is our next move?” Ron asked.

“I really would like a word with Mr. and Mrs. Greengrass,” Harry said. “Unfortunately, I have no idea where they live. So we need to report back to Kingsley and tell him what we found. I'm sure he'll give us permission to talk to Astoria's parents.”

“I agree,” Ron said. “Glad to be out of there, though. I really hope we don't have to come back here anytime soon.”

Harry nodded. They walked back through the gateway and apparated back to the Ministry. A few minutes later, they arrived back at the Minister's office, and were allowed in by his personal bodyguard.

“Ah, gentlemen,” Kingsley said, as he sat at his desk, “I didn't expect you back for a while. What did you find out?”

“Well, for starters,” Harry said, “Draco doesn't live at Malfoy Manor at the moment. He is apparently living with his boss, because his new job is 'unpredictable', according to what he told his parents.”

“Do you know where Draco is working?” Kingsley asked.

“They didn't tell us,” Ron said, “But we figured the Ministry would know.”

“Indeed,” Kingsley said, “I will take care of that after we're done here. What else?”

“If Draco is a part of the rogue group,” Harry said, “We believe we may have found his motive. He may have joined to sought revenge on the death of his aunt, Bellatrix.”

“Blimey,” Ron said, as a sudden thought came to his mind, “She was killed in a duel with my mother. But that would mean – oh no.”

“I will write to your mother personally very shortly, Mr. Weasley,” Kingsley said. “We will make sure your parents have the best protection. You have my promise.”

“Thank you, sir,” Ron said.

“Anything else?” Harry asked.

“Yes, sir,” Harry said, “We need permission to speak to Mr. and Mrs. Greengrass.”

“Alaric and Katrina Greengrass are very respectable in the wizarding world, Mr. Potter,” Kingsley said, “I know them personally. Alaric is a member of the Unspeakables in the Department of Mysteries. Neither him nor his wife have connections to Death Eaters. And yet, you believe they have a connection here?”

“Their daughter, sir,” Harry said, “Daphne. The way the Malfoys talked about her, we believe she may be a suspect member of this rogue group.”

“Also, sir,” Ron said, “I think you should know Daphne's sister, Astoria, is apparently in a relationship with Draco.”

“Okay,” Kingsley said, “I will write a letter to them and request your presence. If I am successful, you can go to their residence and speak to them. Is that all?”

“Yes, sir,” Harry said.

“Well, it seems my busy day has gotten even busier,” Kingsley said. “You two have done brilliantly today. There is nothing else I need from you today. You may take the rest of the day off.”

“Thank you, sir,” Harry said.

“Mr. Weasley,” Kingsley said, “I will write a letter to you personally to let you know when I have fulfilled my promise. Expect a letter by this evening.”

“Thank you, sir,” Ron said.

“You two are excused,” Kingsley said.

Ron and Harry nodded and headed toward the door.

“Oh, one more thing, gentlemen,” Kingsley said.

Ron and Harry turned around.

“Everything we've talked about today,” Kingsley said, “Everything you've learned about the rogue group... it stays in the Auror Department or in this office.”

“Yes, sir,” Harry said.

“You completely understand?” Kingsley asked. “This means, no matter how curious your friends are about it, you are not permitted to talk to them about it.”

“Not even our fiancees?” Ron asked.

“Not even them, Mr. Weasley,” Kingsley said.

“Okay,” Ron said.

“You have our word, Minister,” Harry said.

Ron and Harry walked out of the office.

“Great,” Ron said, “I hate keeping secrets from Hermione.”

“Tell her it is confidential, mate,” Harry said, “She'll understand.”

Ron nodded, then sighed.

“You don't think Draco would go after my mother, do you?” he asked, as they headed for the lifts.

“No, Ron,” Harry said, “He wouldn't do that.”

“This is Malfoy we're talking about, Harry,” Ron said.

“I know that, Ron,” Harry said. “But you have to think of everything we know right now. He's changed. He's fallen in love. Does that sound like the old Draco Malfoy to you?”

“But,” Ron said, “if Astoria is also mixed up in all of this, then --”

“I don't think she is,” Harry said. “The way Draco's parents talked about her... honestly, she sounds like an innocent bystander.”

The lifts opened in front of them, and Harry and Ron walked into them.

“Astoria's sister, Daphne, on the other hand,” Harry said, “She has something to do with this. I'd bet my wand on it.”

(Draco's PoV)

Late in the afternoon, Draco was in the kitchen, doing the dishes without magic. Pansy was sitting at the kitchen table, staring at the charmed mirror, like she was usually doing whenever Ron and Hermione were home. The only thing Draco could hear coming from the mirror was paper shuffling.

“Must be working on wedding plans again,” Draco said. “He must really love Granger to be so dedicated to that kind of stuff.”

“Spare me,” Pansy said.

Suddenly, there was the sound of a door opening and closing coming from the mirror.

“Granger's home,” Pansy said, “Shh.”

“Welcome home, love,” Ron's voice said.

Pansy rolled her eyes.

“How was your first day in the Auror department?” Hermione's voice said.

“Informing,” Ron said.

“Really?” Hermione asked.

“Mmhmm,” Ron said, “Harry and I had our first mission today.”

“What was it?” Hermione asked. “Or can you talk about it?”

“Sorry, Hermione,” Ron said, “Can't talk about it. It's confidential. Kingsley's orders.”

“Blast!” Pansy said, “I should have known.”

“Daphne's not going to be too happy about that one,” Draco said. “That was one of the things she wanted us to find out.”

“You think I don't know that?” Pansy said.

“Working on wedding plans again?” Hermione asked.

“Wedding rubbish again,” Pansy said, “Draco, you listen to that conversation. You seem to like it.”

Pansy stood up and walked out of the kitchen. Draco listened to Ron and Hermione discuss wedding plans while he did the dishes, though only with one ear. He wasn't very happy with the thought of eavesdropping on these kind of moments. Daphne had said nothing specific about listening in on this type of subject.

Draco then heard a light tapping sound coming through the mirror.

“Finally!” Ron said.

“You were expecting owl post?” Hermione asked.

“I found out something rather... discouraging today during my mission,” Ron said, “And Kingsley said he would find out about it and write to me.”

Draco heard a shuffling of parchment and then nothing for a few moments.

“Well, that is comforting,” Ron said, “Here. You can look at this.”

More shuffling of paper and then nothing.

“Kingsley thinks your mother is in danger?” Hermione asked, after a moment.

Draco turned around toward the mirror, dripping soap on the floor as he did.

“Keep reading,” Ron said.

Another pause.

“Oh, Ron,” Hermione said, “You don't really think he would go after your mother just cause she killed his aunt?”

Draco's eyes widened. There was only one person they could possibly be talking about. As far as he knew, Ron's mother had only been responsible for the murder of one person.

“I wouldn't put it past him,” Ron said, scoffing.

Draco walked over to the mirror and picked it up.

“Say it, Weasley,” Draco said.

“He's changed, Ron,” Hermione said, “He's in love. Love can change a person for the better.”

“Say it!” Draco muttered.

“That's what Harry said,” Ron said, “But I don't think so. Once a Malfoy, always a Malfoy.”

Though he had expected it, Draco's eyes widened. Draco heard Pansy's footsteps coming back.

“Can we not talk about this, Ron,” Hermione said, “I'm sure your mother will be fine.”

Another pause.

“Okay,” Ron said, after a moment “Sorry, let's get back to planning on the wedding.”

“They're still talking about the wedding?” Pansy scoffed.

Draco turned and looked at Pansy. He inhaled.

“Er... yeah,” Draco said. “Boring rubbish. Nothing interesting.”

“Figures,” Pansy scoffed.

Draco put the mirror down and headed back over to the sink. He thought about what he had heard. So the Minister of Magic thought he was going to target Ron's mother, because she killed his aunt, Bellatrix? What did that mean? Did that mean he was one of their targets? He sighed and shook his head. He had to do something, but what?

He then smiled privately as a thought came to his mind. If it worked, it would free his name up from the Ministry's watch-list, if it was even on it, and he could still be on the inside in the rogue group without anyone finding out.

Unfortunately, he knew he wouldn't get the chance to work out his plan until the end of the month. He just hoped he could last that long.

Well, this just got interesting! I hope the part with Draco and Pansy listening in on the conversation wasn't confusing.

Hope you liked this chapter!

Old September 4th, 2011, 2:19 pm
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Re: Butterfly Kisses (Sequel to Harry Potter and the Return to Hogwarts)

Chapter 48
The List

Author's Note: A lot of people are interested in what Draco is planning. Unfortunately, I have to keep up the suspense for that for a little while. The event I have planned for that is not until the end of the month story-wise. I have one or two more chapters planned before I want to get to that part of the story. So be patient. Thanks!

(Harry's PoV)

Tuesday morning, Harry arrived at the Ministry of Magic for his second day as an official member of the Auror Department. He still couldn't believe how he was already in the middle of the investigation about the new threat.

He had thought about that the entire previous night. Did Kingsley trust Harry and Ron enough to give them what could be their biggest investigation this early on in their career? He wasn't sure about that.

He had been wondering all weekend why Kingsley had promoted him and Ron to Aurors, three months before they would finish their training. Kingsley knew Harry's past history very well. Harry and the Minister had even been through some of the rough spots together, and Ron was right there with them for much of it. Had Kingsley really promoted them early, just because he thought Harry and Ron could help the Aurors end this thread once and for all?

He made his way through the hustle and bustle of Ministry workers. By the time he made it to one of the lifts, it was rather full. He squeezed into it just seconds before the doors shut behind him.

Around him, Ministry workers were talking to others about different things. Harry's training the past few months heightened his ability to listen to different things. In this case, different bits of conversation in the middle of a sea of voices. Most of the time, it was a useful skill. But not at the moment. The down side to that skill, is that most of the stuff he usually heard at any moment's notice wasn't too important to anything surrounding him.

For example, the gentleman at the back of the lift was drying himself off with a spell, while explaining to someone near him that he had ended up in a malfunctioning toilet, which was one of the entryways into the Ministry. An elderly witch was complaining away about the incredibly tough pamphlet she had to work through for the whole day, if she wanted any chance at getting the new promotion, that would give her enough free time to spend with their new grandchild. Harry stood there wondering if anyone else besides him was really listening to her.

“Level Two,” the cool voice overhead said, a few minutes later, “Department of Magical Law Enforcement, including the Improper Use of Magic Office, Auror Headquarters and Wizengamot Administration Services.”

Just as Harry stepped out of the lifts, he felt something hit him in the back of the head. Harry turned on his feet but didn't see anyone behind him. He looked at his feet and saw a small piece of parchment stirring feebly on the ground. Harry picked it up and found that it had been addressed to him. At the top of the memo was the Minister of Magic's seal. Harry read it:

Mr. Potter

Your presence is needed in the Minister of Magic's office immediately. Mr. Weasley is already there.

The memo zoomed out of his hands a moment later then disintegrated in a small ball of fire.

Harry had planned to get into his Auror robes before he started the day, but he decided it was not as important as a request for his immediate presence with the Minister. He pressed a button on one of the lifts, and the lift to the one he had come through opened up. Harry walked into it and the lift went back to the first floor.

A couple minutes later, he was being let into the Minister's office. Ron was standing near the door, waiting for him, already wearing his Auror robes.

“Where are your robes?” Ron whispered.

“Got a memo to get here before I could get to the Auror department,” Harry said.

“You need to get here earlier, mate,” Ron said.

Harry was about to make a retort on how it was usually Ron who was not known for his punctuality, when he noticed there were more people in Minister's office than just himself, Ron and Kingsley. A man and woman were standing near the fireplace looking rather nervous and confused about why they were there.

“Ah, finally,” Kingsley said, “We can now begin. Mr. Potter, Mr. Weasley. I would like you to meet Alaric and Katrina Greengrass. They have taken time out of their busy schedules to meet you here. They thought it was easier for the two of you if they just met you here at the Ministry. Now, I must be going for a little bit. Very busy, you see. Feel free to sit down at the chairs around my desk if it will make you comfortable.”

“You won't be here for this?” Alaric asked.

“I assure you, Mr. Greengrass,” Kingsley said, “You have nothing to fear. You are in no better hands than those of the two gentleman here. Answer their questions the best you can, and you will be finished. Then you can get back down to the Department of Mysteries and – you know – do whatever Unspeakables do down there.”

Kingsley nodded to them, then walked around his desk and proceeded to leave his office. Harry and Ron sat down in two of the chairs near the desk. Alaric and Katrina hadn't moved from their spot at all. Harry studied the two.

“So you're an Unspeakable, eh?” Ron asked Alaric.

Harry recognized it as an attempt, though a rather lame one, to start the conversation off slow. Usually this would allow time for the Aurors, who were doing the interrogation, to study those whom they were questioning. There had been no attempt at this with the Malfoys, because he and Ron already knew what they needed to know about the Malfoys in order to ask them questions.

“Yes,” Alaric answered.

“Does that mean you aren't allowed to talk to us?” Ron asked.

“I am allowed to say anything to you,” Alaric said, “that does not have to do with the Department of Mysteries. I get the impression that the Department of Mysteries is not what you wanted to talk to me and my wife about.”

“No, sir,” Harry said, “Yesterday, we talked to Lucius and Narcissa Malfoy. Their son, Draco is dating your daughter, Astoria, right?”

“That is correct,” Alaric said.

“Have you noticed anything strange between Astoria and Draco?” Harry asked. “Anything in particular?”

Alaric looked at his wife.

“Astoria writes home from Hogwarts at least once a week,” Katrina said. “In every letter, she seems to worry about Draco. I guess they promised to write to each other, and Draco hasn't been answering some of her letters. She's worried he may be in some sort of trouble. Is this why you asked to talk to us? Is this about Draco?”

“How do you feel about Draco?” Harry asked.

“He's a nice young man,” Katrina said, “We have been friends with his parents for years.”

“Even when they were Death Eaters?” Ron asked.

“We had no knowledge of that fact until we heard about it in the newspapers after Voldemort had fallen,” Alaric said. “When they renounced their ways, we felt that they needed our friendship in a time like that. We bonded quite well. If my daughter was to marry any man, I would have no problem if she married the son of the Malfoys.”

“Okay,” Harry said, “Now, to your other daughter, Daphne.”

Immediately, Harry noticed Alaric and Katrina look at each other. Katrina looked worried.

“You seem to know what I am wanting to ask,” Harry said.

“Daphne's had a hard time recently,” Alaric said.

“Since when?” Harry asked.

Alaric swallowed. “Since the Second War finished,” he said.

“A few of her friends were killed during the Second War,” Katrina said. “Also a few relatives of her surviving friends were killed. She took it very hard. She wouldn't come down from her bedroom for a while after she graduated from Hogwarts. We found out that she started sneaking out and meeting up with her friends late at night. Then one day, she seemed okay. Not cheerful. She was never a cheerful child. Astoria has always been the cheerful one of the two. But Daphne... as I said, she seemed okay, all of a sudden. We talked to her about what had changed and she said --”

Katrina looked back at her husband.

“Yes?” Harry asked.

“She said she was getting help with her problems,” Alaric said, “Her friends were helping her through her issues. The only issues we could think of was – like my wife mentioned – the deaths of her friends, and the other people that were dear to her.”

“We wondered how she could get over it so suddenly,” Katrina said. “We still haven't figured that part out yet.”

Harry took a piece of parchment from a stack on the desk, and a quill. He walked over to Alaric.

“Could you write down the names of Daphne's friends that you think she might have been meeting?” he asked.

Alaric took the piece of parchment, and looked back at Harry.

“Daphne isn't in any kind of trouble, is she?” he asked.

“We don't know, sir,” Harry said. “That is what we want to find out. Draco Malfoy lost one of his relatives during the Second War. Do you believe, if Daphne wanted to help out her friends who were similar, that she would try to help him too?”

Alaric looked at Katrina. Katrina looked at Harry and shook her head.

“Daphne's not very fond of Draco,” Katrina said. “It has been that way ever since she found out he was dating Astoria.”

“Is she envious of Astoria's relationship with Draco?” Harry asked.

“I guess you could say that,” Katrina said.

“If Daphne ever had the chance to do so,” Harry said, “Would she be capable of threatening Draco? What I mean is... if she believed that she could use Astoria against Draco to make him do what she wished... do you think she would do it?”

Katrina looked back at her husband, then back to Harry. She nodded, tearfully. Alaric was frowning as he wrote on the piece of parchment.

“After the Second War,” Katrina said, “I've had the oddest feeling about Daphne. Until now, I could never identify that feeling. Now I can, and...”

Harry noticed a tear run down Katrina's cheek.

“I'm worried, Mr. Potter,” she said, “There is a reason our daughter belonged to the house of Slytherin. She is smart. Sharp as a tack. Alaric and I were rather surprised when Astoria was put in Slytherin. She's unlike any other Slytherin I've known.”

“When Astoria was eleven,” Alaric said, “She looked up to her sister. She wanted to be like her. I think that is the reason she's in Slytherin. The Sorting Hat let her make her decision, and her decision was to join her sister.”

“Daphne has a lot of control over her sister at times,” Katrina said, “But she is also very protective of her. She would do nothing to harm her. So yeah, Mr. Potter. She'd do anything to keep Draco from Astoria. Even if it meant trying to wrangle him into her plans. Draco's a smart boy. But Daphne... she's smarter. If she wanted to use Draco, she would only have to use her charm, and Draco wouldn't know what hit him.

“So you think there could be a chance that Daphne could be involved in something?” Harry asked.

“I'll tell you this now, Mr. Potter,” Katrina said, “If Daphne is involved in something terrible, I'd find her before she did something she would regret for the rest of her life.”

Harry took a glance at Ron, and recognized the expression on his face and in his eyes. It was the same look of worry, of fear, going through Harry at the moment.

“We'll try to find her before then, ma'am,” Harry said, “You have my word.”

Alaric handed the piece of parchment back to Harry.

“Do you have any more questions?” he asked.

“No, sir,” Harry said, quietly, “Not at the moment. You may go.”

Alaric nodded and took his wife's hand in his. As they walked out of the office, Harry heard Katrina sobbing.

“I don't know what you're thinking, Harry,” Ron said, “But I'll tell you what I think. There is no way to deny it. Daphne's involved in this rogue group.”

“She's not just involved,” Harry said, taking a glance at the piece of parchment, “She's the leader.”

Harry dropped the piece of parchment on the desk. The words, deep black and in large letters, read:


The same word repeated all the way down the piece of parchment.

“I thought he was writing down names,” Ron said, looking down at the parchment, then back up to Harry. “What does this mean?”

“It means, Ron,” Harry said, “that Daphne not only has control of those members of this rogue group... she has control over her parents.”

“So everything her parents told us just now?” Ron asked. “What was that?”

“It was her message to us,” Harry said. “What was it exactly that Daphne's parents told us about her?”

“They seemed to be focused on giving us her personality,” Ron said.

“Exactly,” Harry said, “Nothing they told us helped us find Daphne or her friends. They told us Daphne's strengths and weaknesses.”

“I couldn't really find a weakness in all of that, mate,” Ron said.

“She feels sorry for her friends, Ron,” Harry said, “But that is what makes her more powerful. She wants to help them get their revenge for those family members they have lost.”

“Daphne hasn't lost anyone personally though, has she?” Ron asked.

“No,” Harry said, “That made her the perfect leader. We were searching for people who lost loved ones. She hasn't lost anybody. She was invisible. That is until we talked to the only two people who know her that aren't under her control.”

“Lucius and Narcissa Malfoy,” Ron said.

“Exactly,” Harry said. “It wasn't something she expected.”

“So we're one up on her then,” Ron said, “Brilliant.”

“Not exactly, Ron,” Harry said. “We know the identity of the leader of the operation. That is pretty much it.”

“You're forgetting Malfoy, Harry,” Ron said, “He's obviously part of it.”

"Maybe, Ron," Harry said, "I'm still not sure about his role in all of this."

“So, besides Draco and Daphne,” Ron said, “We don't know anyone else who is in the group?”

Harry looked at Ron and thought for a moment who could possibly be in Daphne's group. Then, suddenly, it came to him.

“How could I have been so stupid!” he said, slapping his head. “We've had the list this whole time.”

“You've lost me,” Ron said.

“Her fellow Slytherins, Ron,” Harry said, “Specifically the ones she was closest to. Those who she could get around her little finger without too much trouble. Those who she had known for years.”

Ron looked at Harry, still confused. Then suddenly, his jaw dropped. .

“Oh, bugger,” Ron said, closing his eyes.

“That's right,” Harry said. “We're looking for our fellow classmates, Ron.”

After their big revelation that their fellow classmates may be part of the rogue group, Harry and Ron spent the first week of October going through the names of their Slytherin classmates, and doing research on any possible connections they had to Death Eaters, and if they had lost family.

Harry and Ron spent the last three weeks of October searching for those classmates, though they didn't have much luck at all. Most of the classmates had either moved out of the country or were in hiding. After their failed search, Harry deduced that many of these names were probably part of Daphne's rogue group, and that they were in hiding with Daphne. For days, Harry wondered how many names on the list he and Ron had put together were actually part of Daphne's group.

Harry also wondered how many other people Daphne had recruited, and the thought of that scared him the most, because he was at a dead end when trying to figure out who they were. He was certain Daphne had recruited more than just her closest friends. If she was planning something big, he imagined that she would want an army.

Kingsley had been extremely pleased with Harry and Ron, and how they figured out who some of the members of the rogue group may be. But Harry also knew the Minister was getting frustrated again. If Daphne had an army, and she was planning on attacking, she could do it any day. This made her even more unpredictable.

Unfortunately, by the end of October, they didn't have enough information to find Daphne or her friends in the rogue group that could lead them anywhere. They had hit a dead end.

Okay, first I want to explain the ending to this. It is different from how I originally planned it. As I was writing this chapter, and thinking of what to do next, I came up a different idea than what I had been planning to do with Draco. It would resolve quite a few things at once, but still leave the story open for the big ending I have planned.

I wanted to get to my plans for Draco rather quickly, so that is why I did a short description of what happened through the rest of the month of October. With what I have planned, the story will take quite a big twist over the next couple of chapters! I promise you'll love it.

Hope you liked this chapter. Sorry for how short it is.


Last edited by Fury; September 4th, 2011 at 4:05 pm.
Old September 5th, 2011, 12:42 am
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Re: Butterfly Kisses (Sequel to Harry Potter and the Return to Hogwarts)

Chapter 49
Draco's Date

Author's Note: I was recently reminded that I have been ignoring Harry and Ginny's relationship lately. I have at least one chapter planned in the near future for them. It will come. I promise! This chapter will be in two PoV's... but the second PoV's part is extremely short, just to set up the next chapter.

(Draco's PoV)

Draco was rather cheerful on Saturday morning. Soon, he would be visiting Astoria at Hogsmeade weekend. He knew Astoria was worried about him, and he needed to make her realize he was okay. Or at least give her the impression that he was. He wouldn't be able to bear it if Astoria found out what he was in the middle of. She had been oblivious to everything he was a part of.

He knew he would have to find a way to put an end to the current situation he was in. But he knew he wouldn't be able to do it all at once. It would have to be done in steps. The first step would happen that weekend, if everything went right.

Ever since he found out that the Aurors thought he was a part of the rogue group, Draco realized that he would have to do something about it, or his plans would go up in flames. Throughout all of October, he had put together different ideas on how to get his name cleared with the Auror Department.

Finally, the previous day, one day before his Hogsmeade trip, Draco had finally set his plan in motion. He knew he wouldn't be able to speak to a member of the Auror Department, and that included Potter and Weasley. But he figured he could talk to someone close to them. And... thanks to Pansy's actions a few weeks ago, he had the tool he needed to get his plans done right in his hands.

As Draco was getting ready for his trip to Hogsmeade, Pansy walked into the living room.

“Still planning on seeing Astoria?” she asked.

“Of course,” Draco said, “And you're not going to stop me.”

“I wouldn't dream of it,” Pansy said.

“You're... not going to stop me?” Draco asked.

“You have to keep up appearances, Draco,” Pansy said. “If you didn't show up for your date, Astoria might figure that something was wrong. I would hate for Astoria to get mixed up in all of this just because she worried about you.”

“What is that supposed to mean?” Draco asked.

“You wouldn't think about telling her what you've been doing, would you?” Pansy asked.

“I would never let her know about this!” Draco said, “It'd kill me if she found out what I was mixed up in.”

“When are you planning on being back here?” Pansy asked.

“Why do you ask?” Draco asked.

“I need to know when to expect you back,” Pansy said, “so I don't end up cursing you by mistake when you walk through the front door.”

“Tomorrow afternoon, sometime,” Draco said.

“You're spending all night in Hogsmeade?” Pansy asked.

Draco nodded.

“With her?” Pansy asked.

Draco shrugged. He had only planned to spend that day with Astoria, and then set his plans in motion in Hogsmeade the following morning. But Pansy didn't need to know that much. Besides... he knew it would upset Pansy if he let her imagination run. Pansy only grinned.

“This might be the last time I see for a while,” Draco said, “Since I have no idea how long I'll be in here.”

“Not very long at all, actually,” Pansy said.

“What do you mean?” Draco asked.

“Oh, that's right, I forgot to tell you,” Pansy said. “Daphne wrote last night. She er... gave a hint that the plan of attack would be ready by the end of the year. So we only have to spend a couple more months here.”

“End of the year?” Draco asked.

“I don't know what she's planning,” Pansy said. “Sounds big.”

“So we're just supposed to sit here for a couple months watching them?” Draco asked.

“Yep,” Pansy said. “Have fun with Astoria.”

She smirked and walked off. Draco narrowed his eyes. Two months. If he was going to find out what Pansy was doing and stop her, he was sure cutting it close. He couldn't back out of his plans now.

At ten-o-clock, Draco apparated to the edge of Hogsmeade. It was rather empty, which meant the students hadn't arrived yet. In Astoria's last letter, she requested that they would meet in the Three Broomsticks. So Draco headed for the pub and found an empty table in a secluded corner.

“Draco Malfoy,” a voice said, “You are the last person I'd expect to see here this weekend.”

Draco looked up. One of his former classmates was walking toward him, wearing a waitress' outfit.

“Hannah Abbot,” Draco said. “What are you doing here?”

“I'm Madam Rosmerta's apprentice,” Hannah said. “She's retiring in a few years and she has been looking for someone to train, in order to take over the Three Broomsticks. So I applied for the apprentice job a couple months ago. Can I get you anything?”

“A butterbeer,” Draco said.

Hannah took her wand from her pocket and waved it. A butterbeer zoomed across the room and into her hand. She handed it to Draco. Draco gave her a galleon for it.

“So, what are you doing in Hogsmeade today, Draco?” Hannah asked.

“Meeting somebody,” Draco said.

“Someone from the school?” Hannah asked.

“Yeah,” Draco nodded.

Hannah raised an eyebrow at him, then grinned and sat down.

“Wow,” she said, “Draco Malfoy has a girlfriend.”

“Is that so hard to believe?” Draco asked.

“I guess not,” Hannah said. “Let's see. Well if it is someone who is still in school, then it is definitely not Pansy Parkinson.”

“Why would you think I was with Pansy?” Draco asked.

“Oh, please, Draco,” Hannah said, “It was no secret how close the two of you were for years. She was different than your other friends. You behaved around her differently than you did with Crabbe and Goyle.”

“Why are you telling me this?” Draco asked.

“You're so oblivious sometimes, Draco,” Hannah said, a smirk growing across her face. “I can't believe I'm really going to say this. I fancied you, for a while, while we were in school.”

“Rubbish,” Draco said.

“What can I say?” Hannah said, “It was a phase. Then I got over it.”

“So you dating anyone now?” Draco asked.

“Yeah,” Hannah said, then blushed, “Neville Longbottom.”

Draco had picked a bad time to take a sip of his butterbeer. He laughed and choked on his drink.

“Longbottom?” he asked.

“Be nice, Draco,” Hannah said, “I'll have you know Neville is one of the sweetest boys I've ever met.”

“You went from fancying someone like me,” Draco said, “to someone like Neville?”

“You don't know what Neville did while the Carrows had control of Hogwarts,” Hannah said. “You weren't there. He was very brave even though he had been through so much.”

Draco was about to respond when Hogwarts students started to walk through the doors.

“Better get back to work,” Hannah said, “Enjoy your date.”

Draco nodded. Hannah stood up and walked away. Draco looked around for Astoria, and found her walking in through the doors. Astoria looked around for him, then grinned when she saw him. She ran over to him and put her arms around him in a hug. She kissed him on the lips, then sat down next to him.

“I was worried you wouldn't show up, Draco,” she said.

“I told you I'd be here,” Draco said.

“I know,” Astoria said, “But, you're so mysterious in your letters. I always think there isn't something you're telling me.”

“I told you,” Draco said, “I'm busy with work.”

“What are you doing,” Astoria said, “that is making you so busy to the point you miss some of my letters?”

Draco sighed. He had known for weeks that Astoria would ask him this question, and he had been trying to figure out the answer ever since then.

“You must understand, Astoria,” Draco said, “Ever since the Second War finished, the Malfoy name doesn't have the reputation it once held. My father is mostly to blame for that and I am trying to make up for it. The Malfoy wealth is now blood money. I don't want it, so I am trying to earn my own wealth. I'm trying to think of my --”

He sighed and looked into Astoria's eyes.

“I'm trying to think of our future, Astoria,” he said.

“You see a future for us?” Astoria asked.

“Of course I do,” Draco said, “And I don't want to have to support us in the ruined footsteps of my father.”

“Oh, Draco,” Astoria said, “I feel so bad. Here I thought that you had gotten yourself in some kind of trouble. I've heard – well, I've heard rumors.”

Draco tried to keep his expression clear. He had a feeling he knew what these rumors were, but he was going to have to play it dumb.

“Rumors?” Draco asked. “From who?”

“Some of our fellow Slytherins,” Astoria said. “I hear them, when I am working on homework. They talk about things.”

“What kind of things?” Draco asked.

“Apparently there is a new threat in the wizarding world,” Astoria said. “The Daily Prophet hasn't talked about it, so I don't know if it is true. But the rumors I hear around Hogwarts is that those people who used to support Voldemort are trying to regroup.”

“The Death Eaters are gone, Astoria,” Draco said, “They're finished.”

“I'm not talking about the Death Eaters, Draco,” Astoria said. “I mean the ones they left behind.”

“Left behind?” Draco asked.

“Their family members, Draco,” Astoria said. “It is feared that the Death Eater's family members are so... so distraught over the loss of their loved ones that they want revenge.”

Astoria frowned and looked at Draco's hand in hers.

“It scares me, to be honest,” she said.

“They're probably just rumors,” Draco said, “Nothing to worry about. You know how most Slytherins are like. They make up stories. About the only thing they can do now that Voldemort is gone.”

“I know,” Astoria said, “It's just – it seems so real. Like it could really happen.”

“Look at me, Astoria,” Draco said.

Astoria looked up from Draco's hand to his eyes.

“It won't happen,” Draco said. “Nothing like that is going to happen. I promise.”

Astoria's frown slowly turned into a smile and she nodded. She put her head on Draco's shoulder.

“I missed you,” she said. “The last couple of months have been so rough. There were times I wanted just to drop out and go home.”

“Don't do that,” Draco said, “You're smart. You deserve to finish school.”

“You dropped out, though,” Astoria said.

“I came back, Astoria,” Draco said. “You should consider yourself lucky I decided to go back. Do you honestly think we'd be together if I hadn't?”

“No,” Astoria said, “You probably wouldn't have ever thought of talking to me if we had met up together outside of Hogwarts. We're together now because we needed each other back then.”

“Exactly,” Draco said.

Astoria smiled and kissed Draco briefly again.

“It's too crowded in here,” she said, “Let's go walk around.”

“I'm not done with my drink,” Draco said.

“Take it with you,” Astoria said, grinning.

She stood up and pulled Draco up. Over the next few hours, they visited many of the shops. They ended up taking a walk and before Draco knew it, they were at the Shrieking Shack.

“I thought you hated this place,” Draco said.

“Not anymore,” Astoria said, “In fact, the thought of being here is rather romantic.”

“Romantic?” Draco asked. “This place?”

“Mmhmm,” Astoria said, a flirty grin forming across her lips. “Very private.”

“Of course it is private,” Draco said, “Nobody ever goes out here.”

“Exactly,” Astoria said.

Astoria grinned and started walking toward the shack.

“What are you doing?” Draco asked.

“Going on,” Astoria said.

“We can't get in this way,” Draco said, “The door is barricaded.”

Astoria took her wand from her pocket and pointed it at the door. A spell erupted from her wand and hit the door. The five boards barricading the door fell to the ground, and the door opened.

“Not anymore,” Astoria said, grinning, “Coming?”

Draco walked forward slowly and followed Astoria inside. He had never been inside the Shrieking Shack before, but he knew the history of the place. As he looked around, he realized something. This place would be the perfect location to go through with his plan the following day. As Astoria said, it was private... which meant nobody would hear the conversation he wanted with his target.

“What's wrong, Draco?” Astoria teased, “Scared?”

Draco snapped out of his thoughts and realized he was only standing in the doorway.

“I'm not a big fan of this place,” Draco said. “Someone I looked up to died here.”

“Snape?” Astoria asked.

“Yeah,” Draco said.

“Oh, Draco,” Astoria said. “I should have realized... I'm sorry. We can leave if you wish.”

Draco looked around and then nodded. Astoria took Draco's hand and they walked back out. When they walked back into town. They had a late lunch at the Three Broomsticks, and stayed there talking until Astoria had to go back to Hogwarts. Draco walked with her back up to the carriages.

“When is your next Hogsmeade weekend?” Draco asked her, beside one of the carriages.

“Not until after I get back from Christmas break,” Astoria said.

“So I guess I'll see you on Christmas Break,” Draco said.

“Will you pick me up at King's Cross?” Astoria asked.

“If I'm not busy,” Draco said.

Astoria pouted.

“I'll see you on your Christmas Break,” Draco said, “I promise.”

“Okay,” Astoria said.

She leaned into Draco and kissed him.

“I love you, Draco,” she said.

“I love you too,” he said, “don't miss me too much.”

“I'll try,” Astoria said.

She kissed him again and stepped into the carriage. She waved at Draco, as the carriages started to leave. Draco waved back and headed back toward Hogsmeade. Draco rented a room at the Hog's Head. There he would stay the night and wait until the next morning where he could put together his plan. He just hoped it would work.

(Hermione's PoV)

On Halloween morning, Hermione was in the kitchen, preparing breakfast, when an owl landed on the windowsill in front of her. She opened the window and the owl flew in, then dropped something on the table, and flew back out. At first, Hermione thought it was the new edition of the Daily Prophet, because it was bigger than a piece of parchment. But when she walked over to it, she realized it was a large brown envelope.

She sliced the top open with her wand and what she took out made her gasp. It was a picture of her and her parents that had been taken back when she was twelve years old. Who had sent this to her?

She turned the picture around, and almost dropped it in horror. On the back of the parchment, in rather large letters were the words:

If you want to see them again, come to the Shrieking Shack in Hogsmeade immediately. Come alone or you will regret it.

This was rather short, but I wanted it just to have a little moment between Draco and Astoria. Most of this chapter was just the set-up for the big chapter coming up next! A big revelation is coming... and then it gets real exciting then... and rather dangerous for the main characters!


Last edited by Fury; September 5th, 2011 at 1:05 pm.
Old September 5th, 2011, 3:14 am
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Re: Butterfly Kisses (Sequel to Harry Potter and the Return to Hogwarts)

Chapter 50

(Hermione's PoV)

Tears swam in Hermione's eyes as she read the note once again.

“Morning, Hermione!” Ron's voice called from the living room, “Heard an owl hoot. Was that the Daily Prophet?”

Hermione gasped and quickly stuffed the photo into her back pocket. She wiped the tears from her eyes just as Ron walked in.

“What's that?” Ron asked, nodding to the envelope.

“Er...” Hermione said, trying to think of what to say.

Ron walked over to the envelope and looked at it.

“It's empty,” Ron said.

“Yeah, it had a letter from work,” Hermione said, thinking quickly, “I need to go in now briefly. Brady wanted me to check something for our next case.”

“On a weekend?” Ron asked, raising his eyebrows, “On a holiday?”

Hermione kicked herself mentally. How could she be so stupid to come up with that?

“Yeah,” she said, “I'll be quick. It won't take too long. I promise.”

Hermione kissed Ron's cheek, and tried to hold tears back in her eyes. She couldn't help thinking there was a chance she'd never see him again.

“Breakfast is done,” Hermione said, “I'll eat something when I get back.”

“Oh... okay,” Ron said, “Hurry back. Love you.”

Hermione nodded, trying to keep the tears from coming just yet.

“I love you too, Ron,” she said.

She walked out of the kitchen, and headed out the door. A sob escaped her lips, along with a gasp of air, as she apparated to Hogsmeade. Hermione hurried toward the Shrieking Shack. As she did, a million thoughts went through her head.

Who had sent the letter? Was it a member of the rogue group? Why did they kidnap her parents? If they were targeting her, why didn't they come after her instead of her parents? Her parents were no threat to wizards.

“Coward,” Hermione muttered.

She arrived at the Shrieking Shack, and saw that the front door was no longer barricaded. She pulled her wand from her pocket and held it at her side, concealed, but easy to use at any moment.

She had only one thing in mind. She would go into the Shrieking Shack and rescue her parents. She would tell them to run and she'd stay back and defend them. Even if she was killed in the process.

Hermione walked to the front door. She inhaled, and the musty and rotten smells of decaying wood filled her nostrils. She closed her eyes for a moment, envisioning Ron in her mind, laughing and kissing her.

“I love you, Ron,” she whispered, “Forgive me for not telling you about this.”

She opened her eyes and then pushed the door open, her wand out in front of her.

“Very good, Granger,” a very familiar voice said, “I wondered if you would come at all.”

“Expelliarmus!” Hermione yelled, turning toward the sound of the voice.

“Nice try,” the voice said, “But useless. I am not holding my wand. You are not in danger.”

Out of the shadows walked Draco Malfoy.

“Where are they?” Hermione asked, “Where are my parents?”

Draco shook his head and chuckled.

“At their house, I guess,” he said, shrugging, “I never touched them. If you would have gone to their house first to check up on them, you would have seen that. Fortunately, you did just as I hoped you would do. You came here first because you thought they really were in danger.”

Hermione's eyes widened and she suddenly wondered why she hadn't checked her parents' house first.

“They're not here,” she said, a sense of relief washing over her.

“No,” Draco said, “They are not.”

Hermione narrowed her eyes.

“Why did you do this?” she asked, “Why did you make me come here?”

“I need your help,” Draco said.

“Why would I help you, Draco?” Hermione asked, “To be honest, I could kill you right now for what you did.”

“You know you can trust me,” Draco said.

“I thought you had my parents!” Hermione said, “And now you expect me to trust you?”

“Just listen to me,” Draco said, “And you will understand.”

“Why should I?” Hermione asked.

“Hermione, get over yourself for a minute,” Draco said, “If you listen to me, you'd be doing yourself a favor.”

“I doubt it,” Hermione said.

“What do you have to lose?” Draco asked. “If you still want to kill me after I am done talking, I'll let you do it. Because unless I can get your help, I'm probably dead anyway.”

“Start talking,” Hermione said, “Or I will kill you.”

“Your fiancee, Weasley,” Draco said, “He's an Auror, right?”

“Why do you want to know?” Hermione asked.

“Is he or isn't he?” Draco asked.

“Yes,” Hermione said.

“And Potter?” Draco asked.

“Yeah,” Hermione said, “Draco, why --”

“Ron must tell you things he hears at the Ministry,” Draco said. “Am I one of the people thought to be in the rogue group of wizards?”

“Ron can't tell me anything about his work,” Hermione said, “It is confidential.”

“Hermione, we both know Ron can't always keep a secret,” Draco said, “He must have mentioned something about me once or twice.”

“He – he thinks you were going to go after his mother,” Hermione said. “Because she killed Bellatrix.”

“I have nothing against Ron's mother, Hermione,” Draco said.

“Why should I believe you?” Hermione asked, “You've never had a good thing to say about Molly Weasley. You've even insulted her in the past.”

Draco sighed and put his arms up.

“Can you just kill me now then?” Draco asked. “Because obviously I'm not going to get any help from you. I'm dead either way.”

“What do you want, Malfoy?” Hermione asked, “Why are you asking me these questions? Are you a part of this rogue group?”

Draco put his hands down.

“Not exactly,” he said.

“What is that supposed to mean?” Hermione asked.

“They think I'm part of their group,” Draco said.

“What do you mean, they 'think'?” Hermione asked.

“How can I explain it better to you, Granger?” Draco asked, annoyed, “Would you like me to write a book? Maybe you can understand it better then. Listen to me. I'm spying on the rogue group. I'm not a member of it.”

“Spying?“ Hermione said, then scoffed. “Right.”

Draco sighed and put his arms up again. Hermione rolled her eyes.

“Fine,” she said, “how long has this being going on?”

“A couple of months,” Draco said.

“A couple of months?!” Hermione echoed, “The Ministry has been looking for the rogue wizards for months now, and the whole time you were sitting on this information?”

“You don't understand,” Draco said, “I can't reveal who they are just yet.”

“Why not?” Hermione asked.

“Because,” Draco said. He sighed and looked rather flustered. “Because of Astoria!”

“Your girlfriend?” Hermione asked.

“Her sister, Daphne, she's the leader of this,” Draco said. “The only reason I am in this group is because Daphne threatened me. She hates that I am with Astoria. She'd do anything to stop me from being with her. I've made some mistakes recently, and if Astoria finds out, I'm going to lose her. I can't lose her, Hermione.”

Hermione stared at Draco. She had never seen him like this. She never thought she'd see that expression on the face of Draco Malfoy.

“You love her,” she said.

“Is that so surprising?” Draco asked. “Yes. Draco Malfoy, the school bully. In love.”

“You still haven't told me why I'm here,” Hermione said.

“I need you to get me off the Ministry's trail,” Draco said. “If they continue to search for me, I'm not going to be able to finish what I started.”

“What do you mean 'finish what you started'?” Hermione asked.

“Don't you understand?!” Draco asked, his voice raising into a higher pitch, “I put myself in the middle of this, and I want to fix it. I want to do it. Not the Ministry!”

“Draco,” Hermione said, “It is the Ministry's job to finish this, not yours.”

“You don't understand!” Draco said.

“Then help me to,” Hermione said.

“I want Daphne to pay for threatening me,” Draco said. “For threatening my relationship with Astoria. I want to make her pay, and I want her to know that it is me who is going to stop her. But I can't stop her until I know what she has planned.”

“So you're allowing for Daphne and her group to set up an attack?” Hermione asked. “You could harm innocent people, Draco! How could you do that?”

“I know what I am doing,” Draco said. “Look... even if I wanted to tell you who was in Daphne's group, and where they were at this moment in time, I couldn't.”

“She's got you under the Secret Keeper Charm?” Hermione asked.

“It is bigger than that,” Draco said, “It keeps the secret around the whole group.”

“But that doesn't make sense,” Hermione said, “You've been telling me stuff about the group this whole time we've been here.”

“Because I am fighting it!” Draco said, “But only just. That tells you I'm innocent in all of this. You have to believe me.”

“Why did you tell me this?” Hermione asked. “Why did you have to threaten my family just to talk to me? Why didn't you tell Ron or Harry?”

“If Ron and Harry have done their job,” Draco said, “They already know most of what I told you. If they talked to my parents, then my parents would have told them about Astoria, which would have led them to the Greengrass family. Astoria's parents would have said something about Daphne, and that would have led Harry and Ron in the right direction. Make Ron believe that you think he is in the right direction with all of this, because he is.”

“How am I supposed to do that?” Hermione asked.

“You know him a lot better than I do, Hermione,” Draco said. “I think you'll know that answer.”

“I don't know what you expect me to say,” Hermione said. “I'm not lying to them either, if they ask me what you and I talked about.”

“You don't have to,” Draco said, “I'm sure he'll know all of this already. I just want you to tell your mates they are on the right track. But you must tell them to leave me alone. Get the Ministry off my scent.”

“Why should I do that?” Hermione asked.

“If Daphne finds out what I am doing,” Draco said, “She's going to end up doing something we're all going to regret. The Ministry... they don't know what she's planning. Neither do I, but tell me this, Granger. Who do you think is going to find out what Daphne is doing first? Me or the Ministry?.”

Hermione sighed and Draco grinned.

“You're not exactly what I would call a good investigator, Malfoy,” Hermione said. “I think I recall hearing that the last time you tried to investigate something, you ended up in the same situation your parents were in: prisoners of the Death Eaters.”

“This is different!” Draco said, “I've already found out some stuff. I just found out today that whatever Daphne is planning will happen by the end of the year. I don't know what she's planning yet, but I'll find out. But I can only do that if you help me – if you give me enough time!”

“Okay, I'll help you,” Hermione said. “But you're lucky I'm doing this. I could seriously hurt you for threatening my parents.”

“If I threatened your parents,” Draco said, “Wouldn't they be here?”

Hermione narrowed her eyes, but she didn't say anything.

“Exactly,” he said.

Draco walked back toward the entrance of the Shrieking Shack.

“Malfoy,” Hermione said, looking at him.

Draco turned back to her.

“How did you get this?” Hermione asked, raising up the picture of her and her parents.

“I think you already know that answer, Granger,” Draco said. “By the way... congratulations on your engagement.”

Draco walked out of the Shack. Before Hermione could run after him, she heard a resounding crack. Several thoughts were going through her mind. She wasn't aware Draco knew of her engagement to Ron. She certainly hadn't told him. How did he find out?

She left the Shrieking Shack and was about to apparate to her parents' house, when she realized she had no real reason to see them. They didn't know anything was wrong.

She then had a sudden idea and walked into Hogsmeade. She walked over to Honeydukes and bought a large basket of candy that was sugarless and safe for her parents. She then apparated to the park near her parents' house and headed there. When she arrived, she knocked on the door. A minute later, her mother opened it.

Hermione sighed in relief. Her mother was safe and sound.

“Hermione!” Helen said.

“Hey, Mum,” Hermione said, “Thought I'd bring over some Halloween candy for you and Daddy.”

“Come in then!” Helen said.

Hermione smiled and walked through the door.

“This is a switch!” Helen said, “Don't we usually give you candy.”

“Yeah,” Hermione said, grinning, “Thought I'd give you some this year. It is wizarding candy. No sugar candies, of course.”

“Wonderful!” Helen said.

Helen lead her into the living room. Richard was watching a Halloween parade on the telly.

“Hermione's here,” Helen said, “She brought over some candy for us.”

“How thoughtful!” Richard said, “I'm just watching the traditional parade. Remember when we took you to the parade when you were little, Hermione? Might have a picture of it somewhere. Aha! Over there, near the mirror.”

Hermione smiled as she noticed the picture. Then she saw another one near it. It was a copy of the photo Draco had stolen. Relief washed through Hermione. So Draco hadn't been in her parents' house. That only meant there was one place he could have gotten the photo from. She had to get to that photo book.

“Just thought I'd drop off the candy,” Hermione said, “I need to get going quickly. Ron's planning on doing something for Halloween for us. He loves this day.”

“Well, hold up, one minute,” Helen said, “I'll be right back with your candy.”

Hermione smiled and nodded. Her mother left the room.

“I can't believe how much the parade has changed in ten years,” Richard said, “It used to be that there were just floats and balloons and scary monsters and stuff like that. Now it is all filled with music stars in bad make-up. I suppose that is their Halloween costume?”

“Not if they always wear it, Dad,” Hermione said, grinning.

“Right,” Richard said.

Hermione walked over to her father and put an arm around him, hugging him.

“Well, thank you, sweetheart,” Richard said, “I don't know what that was for though..

“Just happy to see you,” Hermione said.

“Well, I'm happy to see you too,” Richard said.

“Here we go,” Helen said.

Hermione walked over to her mother and took the candy from her. She then hugged her.

“I love you, Mum,” Hermione said.

“It is just candy, Hermione,” Helen said, laughing.

“Right... thanks,” Hermione said, “I better get going. I'll see you soon.”

“Give Ron our Halloween wishes,” Helen said, “And remember...”

“Don't eat it all in one night,” Hermione said, “I know.”

“Sugarless candies can still give you cavities,” Helen said.

“I know, Mum,” Hermione said, “Thanks.”

“Thanks for your gift too,” Helen said, then looked down at the basket Hermione had given her, “I'm sure we'll enjoy this stuff... once we can figure out what it is. It... er... isn't dangerous, is it?”

“No, Mum,” Hermione said, “I wouldn't dream of buying you the dangerous stuff.”

Helen raised her eyebrows and laughed. Hermione grinned and hugged her mother once again, then left the house. She looked around for anyone watching, then when it was clear, she apparated back to her house. When she walked in, Ron was sitting on the couch.

“Back already?” Ron asked.

“Yeah,” Hermione said.

“Candy?” he asked, looking at the basket.

“Oh... yeah,” Hermione said, “Took a detour to my parents' house. Have at it.”

Hermione gave Ron the basket of candy, then picked up the photo album. She searched through it, looking for a blank page. What she found, she did not expect. There was still a copy of the same photo in the album. Hermione raised her eyebrows and took it out of the album. Suddenly, a few seconds after she touched it, it vanished.

“What the bloody hell?” Ron, who had been watching her the whole time, asked.

“There is only one reason it would do that,” Hermione said. “It was a copy, made by the Geminio charm.”

“A copy?” Ron asked. “But... where is the real one then?”

Hermione closed her eyes. She took the photo out of her pocket and handed it to Ron.

“Here,” she said.

“Why did you have it?” Ron asked.

“Turn it over,” Hermione said.

Ron did so, and his eyes widened as he looked at the note.

“Hermione,” Ron said, “What is this? Your parents --”

“They're safe,” Hermione said.

“What is this?” Ron asked.

“Brady did not contact me this morning, Ron,” Hermione said, “Draco Malfoy did.”

“Draco?” Ron asked.

Hermione nodded. Ron's expression went from confusion to anger in seconds.

“He's not going to get away this,” Ron growled, standing up, “I will kill that son of a --”

“Listen to me, Ron,” Hermione said.

“You could have been hurt, Hermione!” Ron said, loudly.

“Yes, but I wasn't, okay?” Hermione said, taking Ron's hand in hers. “Look at me. I'm fine. My parents are fine. Nothing's wrong. But I need you to listen to me.”

Ron looked at Hermione's hand. He calmed down instantly and sat back down.

“Draco did all of this in order to talk to me,” Hermione said.

“Why?” Ron said. “What did he have to say to you, that he couldn't say to me?”

Hermione told him exactly what Draco had told her.

“A spy?” Ron asked, when Hermione was finished, “You mean he is on the inside?”

“He's not with the rogue group,” Hermione said. “He is there trying to find out what is going on.”

“You honestly believe we can trust Malfoy?” Ron asked.

“He was willing to let me kill him if I didn't trust him,” Hermione said.

“You should have done it,” Ron said. “he'd have deserved it.”

“Ronald!” Hermione said, shocked.

“Fine,” Ron said, “We'll trust him for now. I don't know how it will help though. He and Daphne Greengrass are Public Enemy Numbers One and Two right now. It wouldn't be easy trying to get the Ministry off his trail.”

“What will you do?” Hermione asked.

“I'll talk to Harry about it,” Ron said. “What else did Draco say? Anything?”

“Nothing,” Hermione said. “Wait! Yes he did. He... he congratulated us on our engagement.”

“That's nice of him,” Ron scoffed.

“Yes, Ron,” Hermione said, “But how did he know? We didn't tell him, did we?”

“Why would I want to tell Malfoy?” Ron asked.

“Exactly,” Hermione said. “And I don't think anyone else we've told would have given him that information.”

Hermione sighed and looked at the picture. The answers suddenly came to her mind.

“Oh, no,” she cried, “Of course! How could I be so stupid!”

“What?” Ron asked.

“The picture, Ron,” Hermione said, “The picture in the photo album, it was a copy. Which means this picture is the real one... which means...”

“Draco was inside our house,” Ron growled.

Hermione took her wand from her pocket and pointed it in the air.

“Revelio!” she said.

Hermione's eyes widened as three balls of blue light started to come out of her wand. One of them headed for the fireplace, and all of a sudden, something appeared on the edge of the fireplace, and zoomed over to Hermione.

“What the bloody hell?” Ron asked.

“It is a mirror,” Hermione said.

“A mirror?” Ron asked. “You mean... like the one Harry had?”

“Exactly,” Hermione said, “But this is a one-way mirror. Someone has been spying on us.”

“Draco, you think?” Ron asked.

“If we're lucky,” Hermione said. “It could have been someone else.”

“I was afraid something like this could happen,” Ron said.

“What do you mean?” Hermione asked.

“Hermione, I'm so sorry,” Ron said, “I've put you in danger. I didn't believe it would happen, and it has happened!”

“Ron, you're scaring me,” Hermione said, “Tell me what is going on.”

“I promise I'll tell you,” Ron said, “But first we have to get out of here. Stand up.”

Ron stood up, and without asking any further questions, Hermione did as well. Ron took Hermione's hand and he closed his eyes. She immediately recognized the signs of Side-Along Apparation and readied herself as the air left her lungs. Everything went black for a moment, and then she felt the breath come back into her again. Hermione opened her eyes. She and Ron were standing on the road in front of the Burrow. Ron ran forward, and Hermione ran with him. A couple minutes later, they were in front of the Burrow. Mr. Weasley was walking up to them. He looked panicked and Hermione knew Mr. Weasley had seen the fear in his son's face.

“Ron! Hermione!” Mr. Weasley said, “What's wrong?”

“Dad,” Ron said, “Do you remember what you talked to me about before Hermione and I moved into our new house.”

Mr. Weasley's eyes widened in fear.

“Get inside,” he said, “We'll talk about it in there.”

“What's going on?” Hermione asked, as Ron dragged her forward toward the house.

“Hermione,” Ron said. “I'm sorry. Please forgive me.”

“What are you talking about, Ron?” Hermione asked.

“I should have never asked you to move in with me,” Ron said, “I put you in serious danger.”

Cliffhanger! What is Ron talking about? You'll find out next chapter!

I wrote this really quickly. Had it all in my mind, and it just came out into words. Hope this gave you some answers you wanted!


Last edited by Fury; September 5th, 2011 at 3:20 am.
Old September 5th, 2011, 4:20 pm
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Re: Butterfly Kisses (Sequel to Harry Potter and the Return to Hogwarts)

Chapter 51
The Weasley Family Secret

Author's Note: None of the story the Weasleys will tell Hermione is canon, and it is all from my head. Everything having to do with their story, throughout his whole chapter, is just a theory I've created, and is just something I've thought for the sake of the story. Hope you like it anyway!

(Hermione's PoV)

It had been nearly an hour since Ron dragged Hermione into the Burrow. Since then, Ron and Hermione had given a quick explanation to Mr. Weasley about what had happened. They told him nothing about Draco, and felt that information was only for Harry's ears at the moment. When they had figured out that someone, other than Draco, had possibly been in their house, Hermione instantly became worried about her parents safety again. She told Mr. Weasley this, and he had promised her that he would take care of it.

Ever since Mr. Weasley left, Ron had been completely silent. Hermione was now sitting at the kitchen table with Ron. Ron's hand was tightly holding onto Hermione's, as it had been doing for the past hour. His eyes darted back and forth on occasion. He would look at Hermione one moment, then look away from her for a while, and get a nervous look in his eyes that he used to have when he couldn't think of an answer on his homework. This scared Hermione the most. It was as if Ron thought Hermione was going to disappear, unwillingly from his sight, at any moment.

“R-Ron?” Hermione asked, “What is going on?”

“Arthur will explain everything when he comes back from checking on your house, and your parents, Hermione,” Mrs. Weasley said, as she fixed a pot of tea on the stove.

“I want to be the one to explain it, Mum,” Ron said, “I owe that to Hermione.”

“Well, we will still wait for your father,” Mrs. Weasley said, “If there are any holes in your story, he will be able to mend them.”

Ron sighed and squeezed Hermione's hand. He looked at Hermione, and looked as if he wanted to say something to her. Then he looked away again.

Dozens of thoughts were swimming through Hermione's head, and over half were questions she couldn't ask:

What was Ron wanting to tell her? Why did Mrs. Weasley demand that Ron's father be a part of it? Why was Ron so worried about her? Why did he say it was a mistake for them to live together?

Hermione wondered what Ron must be thinking at this moment. Did he regret the wonderful few months that they spent together in that house before any of this happened? Because Hermione didn't. She was happy living with Ron, no matter what had happened. But at the moment, she wasn't sure if Ron felt the same way.

Hermione's thoughts were broken by what sounded like a cracking whip. A couple minutes later, Mr. Weasley walked back through the door.

“Okay,” Mr. Weasley said, “I have some good news and bad news. Good news, first. Hermione, your parents are now safe from harm in the capable watch of our friends, Hestia Jones and Dedalus Diggle. At your request, your parents know nothing of what is going on, including the fact that they are being watched. I would trust Hestia and Dedalus with my own life, so you have nothing to fear.”

“Thank you, Mr. Weasley,” Hermione said.

“What's the bad news?” Ron asked.

“Well, you were right, Ron,” Mr. Weasley said, “Someone has definitely been in your house without your permission.”

“How could you tell, Arthur?” Mrs. Weasley asked.

“There were quite a few tell-tale signs, surprisingly,” Mr. Weasley said. “Whoever broke in did not care to be cautious. For starters, your door has recently been knocked down and hastily repaired, as recent as one month ago, give or take a few days?”

“You know how long it has been?” Hermione asked.

“Door hinges can tell a person a lot of things, Hermione,” Mr. Weasley, “if only one knows how to listen to them.”

Hermione looked at Ron and raised her eyebrows.

“Translation,” Ron said, “Dad's very good at figuring out how things work.”

“The blasted airplane is the one thing that has escaped me to this day!” Mr. Weasley said.

“Arthur,” Mrs. Weasley said, in a tone she usually used around her children when they were in trouble.

“Right,” Mr. Weasley said, “Sorry, dear. Anyway, The other tell-tale sign...”

He dug into his pockets and a moment later set two mirrors onto the table.

“One of them was stuck under your kitchen table,” Mr. Weasley said, “And the other was inside the closet of your bedroom.”

“They've been spying on our bedroom?” Ron asked, “But that means they heard --”

Hermione stepped on Ron's foot just as Mrs. Weasley looked around at Ron.

“I'm sure they weren't interested in what you said when you talked in your sleep, Ron,” Hermione said.

Ron blushed, He must have realized that he had almost said something his mother didn't need to hear.

“There were some serious charms placed on these mirrors,” Mr. Weasley said, “But I have lifted them.”

“What kind of charms?” Mrs. Weasley asked.

“A series of eavesdropping charms,” Mr. Weasley said, “Well-placed and long-lasting.”

“Long-lasting?” Hermione asked. “Just how long have these been in our house?”

“At least a month,” Mr. Weasley said.

“Bugger!” Ron said.

“Ronald Billius Weasley,” Mrs. Weasley warned, “Watch your tongue!”

“I'm sorry, Mum,” Ron said, “But you don't understand. I've been an Auror for one month now. They could have listened in on anything I said about the rogue group of wizards.”

“We didn't talk about the rogue group,” Hermione said, “You kept that discussion at work.”

“I brought work home with me sometimes,” Ron said. “Before you'd get home, Harry and I would continue our work at the house so we could try to figure out what was going on. Which means whoever was listening in on us heard everything that we discussed. The whole mission has been compromised.”

“We'll worry about that later,” Mr. Weasley said, “I believe we owe someone an explanation.”

Mrs. Weasley poured the tea into four cups and set them in front of everyone, including herself. Ron took a deep sip of his tea, as did Hermione. The tea was warm and delicious, and it calmed Hermione down a great deal. Ron cleared his throat and looked at Hermione.

“What you are about to hear, Hermione,” he said, “is a tale that nobody but those with the name of Weasley know. I was going to wait to tell you this until after we were married, as is, and always has been, tradition in our family. But I think you deserve to hear this now. Given the circumstances, I think my parents would agree.”

Ron looked at his parents, who nodded and smiled encouragingly. He looked back at Hermione.

“Over the years,” he continued, “I'm sure you've asked yourself many questions about my family. For example... you were at the two most recent Weasley weddings. Have you ever wondered why my family is so big?”

“I just thought your family really loved kids,” Hermione said, grinning.

“Well, she is technically right about that one, Ron,” Mrs. Weasley said.

“The Weasleys are one of the oldest families in the wizarding world,” Ron continued. “We've been around for many generations. Nobody really knows how long, but we're sure somewhere down the line one of my ancestors were close personal friends with Godric Gryffindor.”

Hermione's eyes widened. Godric Gryffindor lived thousands of years ago.

“I like to think that is one of the reasons most of us have been in the Gryffindor house,” Mr. Weasley said, “We're all purebloods, the lot of us. Salazar Slytherin is the one who set his pride in purebloods, and many before you have asked why none of us were ever considered for his house. We think Godric Gryffindor put a little magic in our ancestors. Though that isn't the only magic in our blood.”

“The Weasley family,” Ron said, “has lasted this long for one reason, and one reason only. A magical bond passed through generations, from one Weasley to the next. Whenever one of them would marry, one or two of their family members, usually the parents of the Weasley child, would bond their magic into that person and their spouse. This would promise that their children would carry the bond.”

“What is the bond?” Hermione asked.

“It is simple,” Ron said, “Protection. The bond of love.”

“I should have guessed that,” Hermione said.

“It does seem rather obvious when you think about it, doesn't it?” Mrs. Weasley asked.

“Unfortunately, like all magic,”” Ron said, “The bond has limits. That's where I need help with this, Dad. I don't think I could really put it into words as well as you can.”

“Well,” Mr. Weasley said, to Hermione, “I'll use Ron's earlier example of Weasley weddings. Most of the guests at both Bill and George's weddings were Weasley family members, but not all of them. I invite you now, Hermione, if you will, to look back on the day of Bill and Fleur's wedding. The day the Death Eaters attacked. The magic of our family bond, or in other words, our wards, were broken easily by the Death Eaters. Why? Because of how many guests there were at the wedding who were not a member of the Weasley family. Their presence counteracted the magic of the wards, and let the Death Eaters in.”

“You may have wondered, Hermione,” Ron said, “why Mum was against the thought of her children moving in with someone before they were married to them. She wasn't only worried about the sake of her own children. She was also worried about who they'd move in with.”

“You can't blame that all on the wards, Ronald,” Mrs. Weasley said, “That is just my motherly instincts.”

“She has a point,” Hermione said.

“Anyway,” Ron said, looking back at Hermione, “There is a reason why Mum and Dad put a great deal of thought into it when I told them I wanted to move in to a new house with you, Hermione. And now I completely understand as well. You see, no matter how much I love you, Hermione... the wards aren't strong enough to act if only one member of the household has the bond. Because of that, I've put you in terrible danger. As we've discovered today, our house is vulnerable to intruders.”

“We didn't know that would happen, Ron,” Hermione said.

“There was a high chance for it,” Ron said.

“What are you talking about?” Hermione asked.

“Ah,” Mr. Weasley said, “I believe Ron is referring to the other downside to the bond in our bloodline. You see, Hermione. Our bond of protection is not just a gift, it also our curse.”

“A curse?” Hermione asked.

“Given that your parents are Muggles, Hermione,” Mr. Weasley said, “I'm sure you've heard of the very popular Muggle notion known as the Chaos Theory?”

“Yes,” Hermione said, “It means that if something can happen, then it usually will.”

“The curse portion of our bond is similar to the Chaos Theory,” Mr. Weasley said. “It is believed that if our protective bonds are cut off by the counteractions I mentioned earlier, the curse has a chance of coming in effect. And it has a very good chance that the curse will take effect.”

“But that doesn't necessarily mean it will happen, Mr. Weasley,” Hermione said.

“Ah, but it does, Hermione,” Mr. Weasley said, frowning. “A curse is very powerful if it has lasted so long.”

“What my Dad is trying to explain for me,” Ron said, “is that I was playing a game of chance I thought I could win. I thought the curse would stay away long enough until we were married. I thought we'd be safe for that long. I was wrong, and I am so sorry.”

“Ron, I'm okay,” Hermione said, “I'm in no danger now.”

“Our house isn't safe, Hermione,” Ron said, “We can't live there anymore.”

A sudden grin crossed Mrs. Weasley's face.

“Mum?” Ron asked.

“All you have to do is ask, Ron,” Mrs. Weasley said.

“You want me and Hermione to move back in, don't you?” Ron asked.

“Hermione would be safer here,” Mr. Weasley said, “Our wards are certainly strong enough here, there is no doubt about that.”

Ron laughed.

“Most definitely,” he said, looking up at the ceiling.

“I seem to have missed the joke,” Hermione said.

“Years ago, when you first saw this house,” Ron said, “What was your first thought about it?”

“You know I think this place is amazing, Ron,” Hermione said.

“I didn't mean that, Hermione,” Ron said, “Everyone who visits this house for the first time has the very same thought.”

Hermione raised her eyebrows, then she realized what he meant.

“I was wondering how it could be standing,” Hermione said, “and why it defied the laws of physics.”

“That would be another advantage for our wards,” Mr. Weasley said. “This house has always been filled with Weasleys. We built onto it when another member of our family was born, because we knew it would only strengthen the house more.”

“Unfortunately, Dad isn't as good at building houses,” Ron said, “As he is at figuring out how objects work.”

“Huh?” Hermione asked, clueless.

“What my son is trying to say, Hermione,” Mrs. Weasley said, “Without the bond surrounding us, this house would topple right down on top of us.”

“That is how you know your wards are strong enough,” Hermione said.

“Precisely,” Mr. Weasley said.

“So?” Mrs. Weasley asked, “Do I have two more house-guests to feed again?”

Ron glanced at Hermione out of the corner of his eye. She nodded to him.

“We'd love to move back in, Mum,” Ron said. “At least until after our wedding.”

“Brilliant,” Mr. Weasley said. “If you wish, we could go back to your house now and start moving stuff back in here.”

“Er... can it wait, Dad?” Ron asked. “It's just... I have something I need to talk to Harry about.”

“I should have realized you would want to tell him about this,” Mr. Weasley said, “Of course.”

“I'll write a letter now,” Ron said, “I'll invite him by Floo Powder, and with Frederique's speed, he'll be here within an hour.“

“Well, then,” Mrs. Weasley said, standing up, “How about I fix an early lunch while we wait.”

Mrs. Weasley gave Ron a quill and a piece of parchment, and Ron started to write.

“I'm not hungry right now, Mrs. Weasley,” Hermione said, “I think I'm going to take a short nap while we wait for Harry.”

“Hermione, you didn't eat breakfast,” Ron said, looking up at her, “You need to eat something.”

“I'll be fine, Ron,” Hermione said.

“Hermione's been through a lot this morning, Ron,” Mr. Weasley said, “I think she's right.”

“Ginny's room is free if you want to rest there, Hermione,” Mrs. Weasley said.

“I'll just lay down on the couch for now, Mrs. Weasley,” Hermione said, “Wake me up when Harry arrives, will you?”

Ron looked at Hermione, and she could tell he was worried about her. She gave him a reassuring smile. She kissed his cheek, then walked into the living room, and sat down on the couch.

She laid her head down on one of the small pillows and stared up at the ceiling. She had learned about protective enchantments like wards when she was at Hogwarts, but she had never heard of the kind that Ron and his parents were talking about. She would have never expected that Ron's family had such a rich history. As she tried to fall asleep, she smiled to herself. In a few months, she would be, through marriage, a member of one of the most interesting families in the wizarding world.

A little over an hour later, Hermione was woken a nudge on her shoulder. She opened her eyes, and saw a blurry outline of someone with long red hair. At first she thought it was Mrs. Weasley, but the hair was too straight.

“Ginny?” Hermione asked.

“Hi, Hermione,” Ginny said.

Hermione yawned and sat up. Ginny sat next to her.

“Where is Harry?” Hermione asked.

“He's talking to Ron,” Ginny said, “Ron said it was confidential, so I couldn't listen in. Anyway, Mum tells me you've been through quite a lot today. She also tells me you are now aware of my family's history.”

“Yeah,” Hermione said, “Ginny, I had no idea. I've never even heard about something like this before. And I've read quite a few books.”

“There aren't very many families in the wizarding world with the gift my family has,” Ginny said.

“There is something that was bothering me as Ron and your parents were telling me all of this,” Hermione said, “Only I – I didn't feel it was appropriate to ask your parents.”

“Ask away,” Ginny said, “I might be able to answer it.”

“If this bond is one of protection,” Hermione said, “Why didn't it protect Fred?”

Ginny looked down at the coffee table in front of them. Hermione found what she was looking at: a picture of Ron, Ginny, their brothers and mother and father, taken back when Fred was alive. Fred was waving and grinning at them.

“Our wards can't help us escape death, Hermione,” she said, quietly.

Tears swam in Hermione's eyes.

“I was really hoping it wasn't as simple as that,” she said.

“Some things are just that simple, Hermione,” Ginny said.

“So,” Hermione said. “now that you know this curse has come into effect with Ron, what does that mean for you?”

“What do you mean?” Ginny asked.

“Isn't it obvious?” Hermione asked, “It could happen to you and Harry.”

“There is no risk for Harry and I,” Ginny said.

“What do you mean?” Hermione asked, then opened her mouth in shock, “Did you two get married without anyone else knowing?”

“Of course not!” Ginny said, “I--”

Ginny stared at Hermione, and a sudden look of realization came across her face.

“You mean my parents didn't tell you?” Ginny asked.

“Didn't tell me what?” Hermione asked.

“Figures,” Ginny said, “They didn't tell Ron either.”

“What are you talking about, Ginny?” Hermione asked.

“Now that you know about powerful wards like the one over my family,” Ginny said, “Have you heard anything similar to something like it happening.”

“Er... no, of course not,” Hermione said.

“Yes, you have,” Ginny said, “Except you might not have made the connection. Understandable. Something like this doesn't happen every day.”

“Something like what, Ginny?” Hermione asked.

“My father has a theory, Hermione,” Ginny said. “For years he was trying to figure out how this family bond we hold was first created. Then he figured it out. Dad only explained this to me the day I told him and Mum I wanted to move in with Harry.”

“He told you what, Ginny?” Hermione asked.

“Well, of course you know the first part of my father's theory,” Ginny said, “The night Voldemort first fell, Harry's mother sacrificed herself for Harry.”

“Everyone knows that story,” Hermione said.

“Do you know how she sacrificed herself, though?” Ginny asked.

“Sure,” Hermione said, “She --”

Hermione's eyes widened as a sudden thought came to her mind. She looked over her shoulder toward the kitchen. She could see Harry talking to Ron rather animatedly. No... it was impossible.

“Yes, Hermione, you realize it now,” Ginny said.

“And Harry has no clue?” Hermione asked.

“No,” Ginny said, “He does not.”

“How?” Hermione said, “I mean... would he feel something like this happening to him? There would be some trace of it.”

“Even if he did, he wouldn't know what it means,” Ginny said, “Like I said, something like this doesn't happen every day. In fact, before it happened to Harry, it didn't happen to another person for many, many years.”

“So,” Hermione said, “Harry, he --”

“Yes,” Ginny said, “On the night Lily Potter sacrificed herself, she created a bond of protection around Harry. Of course, nobody realized what had really happened that night, because the gift is so rare. I'm sure even Professor Dumbledore had no clue about it, or at least he didn't realize it happened to Harry. Harry and I have quite a connection between the two of us. We both have one of the most powerful forms of magic running through our blood. The only difference between the two of us is this. It was an ancestor of mine whose name I will never know that is the reason I have this gift. For Harry, it was his own mother who created it.”

I'll be completely honest here. When I started this chapter, I planned on doing the Weasleys explanation. It wasn't until I got to Ginny's part of the conversation that I thought of Harry's part of it.

I loved this chapter so much! Like I said, this idea was mine and it is not canon. But it was just something I feel would have been awesome if it really happened.

Hope you liked it.


Last edited by Fury; September 5th, 2011 at 4:56 pm.
Old September 6th, 2011, 3:28 am
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Re: Butterfly Kisses (Sequel to Harry Potter and the Return to Hogwarts)

Chapter 52
Chaos Theory

Author's Note: Sorry for some of the grammar and spelling mistakes in the previous chapter. I was writing it rather quickly and made a few obvious mistakes.

(Ron's PoV – twenty minutes earlier)

Ron was sitting at the kitchen table of the Burrow, eating onion soup, when he heard the sound of a whip cracking in the distance. A couple of minutes later, Harry and Ginny walked through the doors.

“Just got the letter a few minutes ago,” Harry said, “And we apparated as soon as we could. What's going on? Where's Hermione?”

“She's taking a short nap in the living room,” Ron said.

“She's fine,” Mrs. Weasley said, “She's been through a very rough morning, Harry. I'm sure Ron will tell you all about it. Ginny, can your father and I talk to you for a moment?”

Ginny looked confused, but she nodded anyway.

“We have hot onion soup here if you are hungry, Harry,” Mrs. Weasley said.

“Thank you, Mrs. Weasley,” Harry said, sitting down, “But I'm fine for now.”

Mrs. Weasley smiled and led her husband and Ginny outside.

“What's going on, Ron?” Harry asked, “Why did you write to me? Why are you here instead of at your house?”

“How about I start from the beginning?” Ron asked. “Early this morning, Hermione received a rather particular piece of owl post. It was from Draco Malfoy.”

Harry opened his mouth to respond, but Ron shook his head.

“Let me continue,” Ron said. “Hermione received a threat letter from Draco, It was on the back of a picture of her and her parents. The letter instructed Hermione to meet Draco at the Shrieking Shack, alone. She went and she discovered that her parents weren't even there. They were never in any danger at all. Draco made Hermione go there, because he had a request for Hermione. He asked her to find a way to get the Ministry off his trail.”

“Hermione has no power to do that,” Harry said, “Why didn't Malfoy contact one of us?”

“Harry, we're trained Aurors and Draco is on our black list,” Ron said, “If we saw Draco, don't you'd think we would capture him without giving him a chance to say anything?”

“What would he have to say that would be important to us?” Harry asked.

“Draco is a member of the rogue group,” Ron said, “But he is not working for them.”

“He's working undercover?” Harry asked. “For who?”

“As far as I can tell?' Ron replied. “Nobody but himself. He has his own agenda, though it is one you and I have already figured out. Daphne, she's the leader by the way, we were right about that too... apparently she threatened Draco's relationship with Astoria. Hermione said he wasn't very clear on that part, but it sounds as if Daphne has something on him, and he is afraid that Astoria will find out about it. Apparently Draco loves Astoria, mate. I mean... it sounds like he is really in love with her.”

“Well, that's just great,” Harry scoffed, “Draco's thinking with his heart, not his head. What else did Hermione tell you?”

“Draco doesn't want the Ministry's help,” Ron said. “He believes that if the Ministry tries to interfere, Daphne will find out, and she will attack too early. Draco's trying to figure out what her plan of attack is, so we can stop her.”

“Why can't Draco tell us where Daphne is so we can grab her and whoever she is working with?” Harry asked.

“I asked that Hermione too,” Ron said. “She said that Daphne has some type of charm, stronger than the Secret Keeper charm, around all of them that is stopping Draco from giving that part up.”

“That is why he is so eager to do it himself,” Harry said. “Because even if he knows the information, he can't tell anyone. That makes him the only one who can solve the case. It is an interesting twist on the whole Secret Keeper thing.”

Ron was about to respond, but Ginny and their parents walked back inside. Ginny looked less confused.

“Something wrong?” Ron asked her.

“I'm going to talk to Hermione,” Ginny said. “It seems she and I have quite a lot to talk about.”

It was at that moment that Ron understood what his parents had talked to Ginny about. Ginny now knew that Hermione knew about their family secret. Ron nodded and Ginny walked through to the living room.

“What was that all about?” Harry asked.

Out of the corner of his eye, Ron looked at his father. His father shook his head. He then understood that, while he had permission to talk about the protection bond with Hermione, it wasn't his right to talk about it with Harry. It seemed that Harry would probably have to wait for his turn until his wedding day.

“Who knows, Harry,” he said, rolling his eyes, “It is a complete mystery what girls talk about when they're alone.”

Harry chuckled and nodded.

“So, where was I before we were interrupted,” Ron said, trying to think back on his conversation with Harry, “Oh right. So after Draco left, Hermione went to make sure her parents were okay. Then she came back to the house, and that is basically where everything went to pieces. You see, the photo that Draco had in his posession, which he gave back to Hermione was actually from Hermione's own photo album that her parents had given for her birthday. The photo album was in our house.”

“Which means Draco had to get inside your house to get it,” Harry said.

“Correct,” Ron said. “Well, we figured this out right away. Hermione cast a revealing charm and a mirror hiding on the side of our fireplace revealed itself.”

“A mirror?” Harry asked.

“A mirror,” Ron said, “similar to the one Sirius gave you, except that it was only a one-way.”

“Let me guess,” Harry said, “Your side was blank.”

“Yeah,” Ron said, “We were being spied on by somebody, and we aren't sure if it was Draco. Right away, I realized Hermione and I weren't safe in our house anymore, and we came back here. There's more bad news. They've been spying on us for at least a month. Which means --”

“They could probably hear our conversations at your house about the mission,” Harry said, “Yeah.”

“We could have been compromised,” Ron said, “And there is worse. Hermione was talking to Draco in the living room where the mirror was. If they were listening at that moment, we could have given Draco away.”

“How early was it when you talked to Hermione about this?” Harry asked.

“I don't know,” Ron said, “A couple hours ago. So nine, maybe.”

“Well, that's lucky,” Harry said, “Maybe they were asleep during your conversation. It is Sunday.”

Mr. Weasley walked back into the kitchen, and picked up one of the mirrors sitting on the table. He started to twist it around in his fingers, and then grinned as if he had figured something out.

“Something up, Dad?” Ron asked.

“Boys,” he said, looking at one of the mirrors, “Give me a few minutes, and I might be able to tell you who was on the other end of this mirror.”

“Really?” Harry asked, “How?”

“Can't say yet, Harry,” Mr. Weasley said.

Mr. Weasley walked out of the house, and through the window, Ron could see his father heading for the garage.

“He's as cryptic as Hermione sometimes,” Ron muttered.

Ginny walked back over to them.

“Are you two done here?” she asked.

Harry nodded.

“Good,” Ginny said, “Hermione wants to talk to you, Ron.”

Ron stood up and walked into the living room. Hermione had a rather confused expression on her face.

“What's wrong?” Ron asked her.

“Ginny just told me something... rather interesting,” Hermione said.

“More information about our wards?” Ron asked.

“Not exactly,” Hermione said, then tapped her hand on the sofa cushion next to her, “I think you're going to want to sit down for this one.”

Ron did as was requested.

“The day you and Ginny moved out of here,” Hermione said, “Your Mum talked to you, right?”

“Yeah,” Ron said, raising his eyebrows, “She tried to get us to change our minds.”

“Was she talking mostly to you,” Hermione asked, “Or to you and Ginny?”

“Now that you mention it,” Ron said, “She was a little bit more focused on me than she was with Ginny?”

“Do you know why?” Hermione asked.

“I figured she had talked to Ginny about it already,” Ron said.

Hermione shook her head.

“No?” Ron asked. “What did Ginny tell you?”

“Before I tell you,” Hermione said, “You must promise me you won't tell Harry. Ginny wants to tell him, but she wants to wait until she tells him about your family's secrets.”

“Okay,” Ron said, “I promise.”

Ron listened as Hermione told him exactly what Ginny had told her. Ron tried to speak during her story, but no words wanted to come out.

“You're serious?” Ron asked, after Hermione finished.

“Your father told Ginny his theory the day she moved in with Harry,” Hermione said, “And it seems like it could be true.”

Ron put his hands up to his mouth, and felt a tear coming to his eyes. Hermione put her hand on Ron's shoulder. Ron wiped the tear away from his eye with his free hand and looked up at Hermione.

“It's just,” Ron said, “all this time, my family wondered why we had this protection surrounding us. Why we were special to have it around us, and why we had never met anyone else who had the same special magic running through their blood. Is it that easy, Hermione? Does someone have to sacrifice themselves in a time of danger, to save their loved ones, and this protection attaches onto that person?”

“I'm not sure if it is that simple, Ron,” Hermione said. “There could be a lot of reasons why the magic worked. Maybe the person has to have a pure soul to attach this bond on to. We know Lily was a pure and good witch if there ever was one, and Harry...”

Hermione looked over Ron's shoulder, and Ron turned. Harry was laughing at something Ginny was saying.

“You can't argue that his soul isn't pure,” Ron finished for Hermione, “Right.”

“That might not even be the reason, Ron,” Hermione said. “All I know is this: whatever magic surrounded Harry the night his mother sacrificed herself for him was the same type of magic that created the bond in your bloodline all those years ago.”

“I would have never guessed.” Ron said, looking back at Harry, “I've known him for so long and I never would have guessed that we have that connection. He – what, Hermione?”

Hermione was giving him one of those “stop-talking-immediately, Ronald!” that he hadn't seen in a while. She then nodded toward the kitchen and Ron looked over his shoulder. His father and Harry were walking into the room.

“I believe I have found the culprit,” Ron's father said, “And you won't like it.”

(Pansy's PoV)

Pansy Parkinson was having a bad morning.

For starters, Draco hadn't come back from Hogsmeade yet, as he had promised, and his absence was starting to cause problems for Pansy. Because Draco wasn't there to cook, she had to do it for herself. She failed yet again, burning the meal, and it had left embarrassing scorch marks on the wall behind the stove that weren't coming off with a washrag. Also, she couldn't figure out how to set the alarm on the Muggle clock, so she had woken up at a late hour in the morning.

But that wasn't the worst part out of everything. She had misplaced the mirror that was used to eavesdrop on Weasley and Granger. She was sure that she had put it under her pillow, and now that it wasn't there. She had spent a good thirty minutes already looking for the mirror, and she still couldn't find it. Then, as she looked on the couch, where Draco usually slept, a sudden thought came to her mind.

“He didn't?!” Pansy muttered to himself.

She walked into her bedroom and got down on her hands and knees underneath the large vanity desk. She felt around on the underbelly of the desk, but came up with nothing.

“He did,” Pansy growled.

Pansy couldn't believe it. Draco had found where she stashed the mirror, and where she had stashed the photo of Granger's family.

Suddenly, it started to all add up. Draco didn't need to spend the whole weekend at Hogsmeade if he was going to visit Astoria. Students were usually only allowed to go to Hogsmeade during one assigned day during Hogsmeade weekends. Was that the reason Draco hadn't returned yet. He was trying to put together a plan to do something to either Granger or her parents?

“That was my plan!” Pansy growled, “How did you find about that? Why didn't you tell me you were going to do this, Draco? If you are trying to impress me, Malfoy, this isn't the way to do it. Nice try, though.”

Suddenly, she heard a series of low, quick, cracking sounds that repeated about four times. The noise made her jump, and hit her head on the underbelly of the vanity desk. Rubbing her throbbing temple, she stood up and ran out into the living room.

She had recognized those sounds. It was someone – no – four people using Stealth Apparation somewhere nearby. She had been studying Stealth Apparation for a couple of weeks now, ever since Daphne had given her the idea. Daphne had told Pansy that if she wasn't aware of Ron and Hermione apparating into their house, that they may be using a kind of silent apparation, that only trained wizards could hear. Finally, after two weeks of studying it, she had heard the tell-tale signs of the silent Apparation.

She ran over to the window and looked out it. She couldn't see anything. She had to find out what was going on. She headed for the bathroom, and looked in the cupboard. To her horror, the bottle of Polyjuice Potion was empty.

“No!” Pansy growled.

She searched through the cupboards and everywhere in the bathroom. Nothing. No inkling of any more Polyjuice Potion anywhere.

“This is impossible!” Pansy growled.

Pansy walked out of the bathroom, and walked over to the couch. She peered out the window and gasped as she saw Harry Potter and Ron Weasley walking down the street... straight to her house.

(Ron's PoV – a few minutes earlier)

Ron inhaled, filling his lungs back up with air, as he landed on the living room floor of his and Hermione's house. His father, Hermione and Harry appeared seconds later. Suddenly, a pulsing sound filled the room, and Ron, Hermione and Harry all ducked, and took out their wands. Mr. Weasley, however, just stood there.

“Relax,” Mr. Weasley said, “It is the mirror.”

Ron, Hermione and Harry stood up. The mirror had a bluish orb hovering around it.

“Bloody hell,” Ron said, “I thought someone was trying to curse us.”

“Should have warned you about that,” Mr. Weasley said, “My apologies.”

“Mr. Weasley,” Hermione said, “The blue orb... is that a tracking spell?”

“Yes it is, Hermione,” Mr. Weasley said, “You see, I was going through an assortment of spells trying to figure out who put a charm on this mirror. I even tried to use the Priori Incantatem spell, but it was no use. Then I came to realize something. This particular eavesdropping charm that was applied to this mirror is strong and long-lasting, yes. But it has two disadvantages. The distance used between the - let's call the the parent mirror and the children mirrors – the distance between the parent mirror and the children mirrors can't be too long, or the eavesdropping charm would become too faint to use properly. Also... all eavesdropping charms have a tracking spell connecting to each different tool the charm is applied on, so the eavesdropper can find the mirror again.”

“Wait,” Hermione said, “Short distances? You're not saying --”

“I am, Hermione,” Mr. Weasley said.

Hermione put a hand to her mouth and shook her head.

“I should have seen this coming,” she said, her voice muffled behind her hand.

“What's going on?” Ron asked.

“Remember when the new neighbors moved in down the street, Ron,” Hermione said, “And you thought something was going on?”

“Yeah!” Ron said, “I was so sure they were wizards, and you said they weren't!”

“I thought they weren't,” Hermione said, “But this, Ron. The tracking charm grows close when the target is close to it. It has to be them.”

“Who lives there, Hermione?” Harry asked.

“They said their names were Parker and Lauren,” Hermione said, “But... they could have been using Polyjuice Potion.”

“How about we go have a talk with this Parker and Lauren, eh?” Harry asked.

“I don't know about this,” Hermione said, frowning.

“You can stay behind if you want, Hermione,” Mr. Weasley said.

“If she's staying here,” Ron said, “Someone has to be here with her.”

“Ron, you'll just be down the road,” Hermione said, “I'll be safe.”

“I don't care, Hermione,” Ron said, “Chaos Theory, remember?”

“Chaos Theory?” Harry asked, “What does that have to do with this?”

Ron kicked himself mentally. Harry wasn't supposed to know about that.

“Not important, Harry,” Hermione said, “Something Ron saw on the telly. We were watching this documentary, and it made Ron paranoid about the whole Chaos Theory.”

Ron's father looked at Ron. Ron grinned and shrugged. Hermione could lie very well when she had to.

“I don't blame you, Ron,” Harry said. “Believing that if something can happen, then it will. That's rubbish, if you ask me, but still... it is just plain damn scary.”

Hermione rolled her eyes and Ron tried his best not to laugh. Harry could be so oblivious at times.

“Ron, you and Harry are the Aurors here,” Hermione said, “This is your job. You have to do it.”

“Hermione,” Ron said, “If you're asking me to pick my job over you --”

“How about this, Ron?” Mr. Weasley asked, “How about I stay with her, and you take the mirror down to the house?”

“That's a good idea,” Hermione said, “I'll be safe with your father.”

“Okay,” Ron said, taking the mirror from his father, “What are we looking for?”

“The blue light will pulse faster when you are closer to your target,” Hermione explained.

“Right,” Ron said. “Okay, stay here. We'll be right back. I promise.”

“Be careful, Ron,” Hermione said, “You too, Harry.”

“I won't let anything happen to him, Hermione,” Harry said, “I promise.”

With a last glance at Hermione, Ron turned toward the door. He and Harry walked out of the house and walked down the street.

“It's just over there,” Ron said, pointing to the house, “That blue one right --”

Suddenly, a loud, resounding CRACK filled the air.

“Wand out, Ron!” Harry said, taking his wand out from his pocket.

Ron unsheathed his wand from his pocket, and ran toward the house with Harry. Harry ran toward the front door shoulder first and pushed it open with force. Ron walked in to the living room, his wand pointed straight forward.

“Clear,” Harry said.

He then put a finger to his mouth, then pointed to Ron, and nodded toward the kitchen. Ron gave a thumbs-up. Harry then pointed to himself, then to the two doors in the hallway.

Ron walked over to the kitchen and, wand still in front of him, walked in. Nobody there, but there was a scorch mark on the back of the oven. Someone had been trying to cook and had failed miserably. Ron started back toward the living room, when the mirror in his hand started to pulse. His eyes widened. Was the other mirror close by? He started searching around then felt his foot kick something. He looked down and saw a small piece of glass on the floor. Ron bent down and picked it up. He studied it and found that it looked reflective... exactly like a mirror.

“Harry!” Ron said, looking at the mirror shard.

Ron ran back to the living room, and Harry ran out. He had an empty bottle in one hand, and in the other his wand was pointed out in front of him, ready for a spell.

“Don't do that, Ron!” Harry said, “I thought you found someone.”

“I didn't find someone,” Ron said, “I found something.”

He raised up the mirror shard.

“I found the mirror,” Ron said, “Or part of it. Someone shattered it, and by the look of this piece, it broke into quite a few pieces. What do you think? Was it broken to hide the evidence?”

“If they wanted to hide the evidence,” Harry said, “they wouldn't left a shard of it laying around.”

“So maybe they were careless and it broke?” Ron said, “Maybe Hermione and I got lucky, and they didn't hear our conversation this morning.”

“Maybe,” Harry said, Anyway...”

He lifted up the bottle.

“I found something too,” Harry said, “Take a whiff.”

Ron raised an eyebrow, but did as was told. He put the bottle to his nose and inhaled. He coughed and sputtered, but recognized foul odor.

“P-Polyjuice Potion,” Ron said, coughing.

“Exactly,” Harry said. “I don't think Parker and Lauren were who they said they were.”

“Who where they then?” Ron asked.

“I don't know,” Harry said, “But we just missed them. I think they apparated when they saw us coming. We were this close from breaking this case wide open, and we missed our chance.”

Decided to end the chapter there! Hope you liked this one!

Old September 6th, 2011, 6:01 pm
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Re: Butterfly Kisses (Sequel to Harry Potter and the Return to Hogwarts)

Chapter 53
Moving Back Home

(Hermione's PoV)

“This photo was taken on my first day of school,” Hermione said, “Years before I found out I was a witch.”

To pass the time, and keep her mind off of what Ron and Harry were doing, Hermione was showing Mr. Weasley pictures of her in her photo album. She turned the page, and Mr. Weasley's eyes brightened.

“I thought you might like this one, Mr. Weasley,” Hermione said.

It was a photo of Hermione in the background, and a model airplane near the foreground flying away. Hermione's father had given her the airplane for Christmas when she was nine years old.

“An airplane,” Mr. Weasley said, “I thought they were much bigger than this!”

“This is a toy, Mr. Weasley,” Hermione said, chuckling, “It is supposed to be that small.”

“Do they work the same way though?” Mr. Weasley asked.

“Well, this is just one that you would throw with your hand,” Hermione said, “and it would float in the air until it landed on the ground. Real airplanes are much different.”

Behind Hermione, she heard the sound of something ringing. She turned around quickly, then found the source of the sound. It was the magical clock on the wall. Ron's hand on it was spinning around. Hermione walked over to the clock and took it off the wall.

“I thought I recognized that,” Mr. Weasley said, “This is the clock I gave you and Ron when you moved in here, isn't it?”

“Yeah,” Hermione said, looking at the clock, “Is that normal, Mr. Weasley? For it to spin and not stop?”

“It usually happens when it is having trouble deciding what the person is doing,” Mr. Weasley said, “Ron's not at work, but technically he is doing his job as an Auror, and he is also traveling, and depending on what is down there, he could --”

“He could be in Mortal Peril,” Hermione said, quietly.

Mr. Weasley gave her a comforting smile.

“I'm sure he's just fine, Hermione,” he said, “Come on. How about we start packing some of this stuff up? That way we can be ready to leave shortly after they get back.”

Hermione nodded and put the clock back on the wall. Then, she and Mr. Weasley took their wands from their pockets. Hermione jabbed her wand toward the hallway, and the closet door opened. A number of flattened cardboard boxes floated out onto the floor in front of her.

“I knew there was a good reason I kept most of the boxes when we moved in,” Hermione said.

She pointed her wand at the boxes, and they started to return to their shape.

“How about you pack the stuff out here?” Mr. Weasley said, “I'll pack the stuff in the kitchen. That way, you can watch for Ron on the clock.”

“Thank you, Mr. Weasley,” Hermione said.

“I know what it is like to keep an eye on that clock,” Mr. Weasley said, “I've done it many times in my life with my own clock. Maybe more than Molly has.”

He chuckled and pointed his wand at one of the boxes. It floated into the air, and he pushed it into the kitchen. Hermione looked back at the clock. Ron's hand was now going back and forth between “Work” to “Traveling”. She just wanted his hand to land back on “home”.

She sighed and pointed her wand at the bookshelf on the other side of the room. The books started to fly two by two off the shelf and rest neatly in one of the boxes.

A few minutes later, as Hermione was finishing packing most of the small things into a couple of boxes, she heard the ringing sound from the clock again. Ron's hand landed on “Traveling” then moved over to “Home”. Hermione turned her head to the door, just as it opened. Harry walked in, followed by Ron. Hermione rushed over to Ron and hugged him.

“I was so worried,” Hermione said.

“I'm fine, Hermione,” Ron said, chuckling, “I was never in any danger.”

“So nobody was there?” Hermione asked.

“Someone was at the house,” Harry said, “Shortly before we got there. They apparated away just as we were walking down the street. They must have seen us. ”

Hermione gasped. Mr. Weasley walked out, followed in tow by two floating boxes filled with dishes and glasses.

“Ah, boys!” Mr. Weasley said, “Right on time. We were just in the middle of packing. Did you find anything?”

“Mirror shards,” Ron said, “Someone had broken the mirror. I found one piece, then quite a few more when we were looking around.”

“That reminds me!” Harry said, “Do you have any Floo Powder left here, Hermione?”

Hermione waved her wand at one of the boxes, and the bag of Floo Powder floated in the air.

“Are you going somewhere?” Hermione asked.

“No,” Harry said, shaking his head, “Just needing it for quick contact.”

He walked over to the fireplace and started a small flame with his wand. Mr. Weasley returned to the kitchen to finish packing in there.

“So... packing?” Ron asked, “I'll take the bedroom. Or – er – do you want to pack up the bedroom, Hermione?”

“How about you just work together?” Harry asked. “You'll get things done quicker. Besides, I'm sure it is natural for you two to --”

“Finish that sentence, Harry, and I'll tie your tongue in a knot,” Hermione interrupted him, blushing madly.

Hermione turned and looked at Ron. Ron looked as if he wanted to say something, probably to Harry. Hermione took his hand in hers and dragged him into the bedroom. Behind her, Hermione could hear Harry snickering.

“I mean it, Harry!” Hermione said.

She pointed her wand at a couple of boxes and they flew over her head and into the bedroom. Hermione shut the door to the bedroom just as Harry was sticking his head into the green flame. Hermione turned around and noticed that Ron looked rather annoyed at something.

“Something wrong?” Hermione asked him.

“No,” Ron said, “Not at all.”

He walked over to the dresser and pointed his wand at it. Hermione's make-up and perfume flew off the top of it and gently dropped into the bottom of one of the boxes. He gave a very resigned sigh.

“Do you think he knows?” Ron asked. “Harry? That we've –?”

He paused and motioned toward the bed.

“Yeah, Ron,” Hermione said, “I do.”

“Oh,” Ron said.

He blushed rather madly, and pointed his wand at the dresser drawers. Piles of clothes shot out of various drawers and landed in another box. Hermione walked over to the closet and pointed her wand at it. Clothes floated off the hangers, folded instantly, and dropped in the box with the other clothes.

“Do you think,” Ron asked, “that Harry and Ginny –?”

“I don't know, Ron,” Hermione said.

“Oh,” Ron said, “I just thought that – you know – you and Ginny would talk about stuff like that.”

“Not at all,” Hermione said.

“Oh,” Ron said, again.

“They do still sleep in separate bedrooms, don't they?” Hermione asked.

“Sure, I guess so,” Ron said.

“Well, then,” Hermione said, “I think that is a good enough answer for me.”

Ron resumed packing, and Hermione noticed that his mood seemed to have improved quite a bit.

(Harry's PoV – a couple minutes earlier)

Harry stuck his head into the green fire and a few moments later, after a dizzy spinning, he was looking out of the fireplace of the office of the secretary for the Minister of Magic. .

“A-anyone there?” Harry said, coughing, “This is Auror Harry Potter needing assistance.”

Kingsley's secretary walked up to the fire.

“Auror Potter!” she said, “How may I help you?”

“I need to speak to the Minister immediately,” Harry said, “This is concerning the Priority Threat.”

“One moment, Mr. Potter,” the secretary said.

The secretary walked into the Minister's office. A minute later, she returned with Kingsley following in her stead. He walked over to the fireplace.

“Harry,” Kingsley said, “How may I help you?”

“Is this a secure line, sir?” Harry asked.

“Of course,” Kingsley said.

“Ron and I have discovered a house,” Harry said, “believed to be one of the locations of the rogue group of wizards. Unfortunately, the suspect apparated before we were able to get inside.”

He then gave Kingsley the address.

“Well done, Harry,” Kingsley said, “I will send out members of the Magical Forensics Squad, to give a thorough sweep of the location, along with a group of Aurors to search the surrounding area. Are you still in the area?”

“Only temporarily, sir,” Harry said, “The house was located just down the street from Ron's residence, where he lived with Hermione Granger. Ron had no clue that the suspects were so close until today. I am currently at Ron's house.”

“Is Mr. Weasley and Miss Granger in any danger?” Kingsley asked.

“We believe that is likely, sir,” Harry said, “We are in the process moving them to the Burrow for a while.”

“My best wishes to them, Harry,” Kingsley said, “Will Mr. Weasley still be able to return to work?”

“He has not given any indication of a different opinion than that, sir,” Harry said.

“Good,” Kingsley said, “Then I expect a full verbal report from both of you, on how you discovered this location, given to me by this time tomorrow. Is this understood?”

“Yes, sir,” Harry said.

“The squad will be in the area shortly,” Kingsley said.

“The area is a highly populated with Muggles, sir,” Harry said, “There was no risk of danger today, but --”

“I will order the use of a stealthy operation,” Kingsley said.

“Thank you, sir,” Harry said, “Good day, Minister.”

“Good day, Harry,” Kingsley said, “Again, job well done today, especially when it is your day off.”

“Just doing my part, Minister,” Harry said.

Kingsley smiled, and Harry backed out of the fireplace, coughing as he did so.

(Ron's PoV)

Shortly before they left the house, Harry and Ron met up. at the house down the street, with the Magical Forensics Squad and the group of Aurors to explain to them what they had found. The Magical Forensics Squad told them they would do a thorough sweep of the house, and would have the results of their findings by the following morning.

By two-o-clock in the afternoon, everything from Ron and Hermione's old house had now been moved back to the Burrow. Ron had moved back into his bedroom, and was now in the process of moving things around his room to his fancy. Hermione had taken up residence in Ginny's old bedroom. Everything from their that dd not fit, or have a place, in their bedrooms were moved into the garage.

Ron had expected that Hermione would have to sleep in Ginny's old room, though he had not been too happy about it. Of course, he never expressed his feelings to someone like his mother, but he was sure Hermione was aware of his objections.

As Ron was putting his clothes in his dresser, there was a knock on his door.

“Door's open,” Ron said.

The door opened and Hermione walked in.

“Hi, stranger,” Ron said, rolling his eyes.

Hermione gave him a look that basically confirmed that she was aware of his objections.

“How's the new accommodations?” Ron asked.

“Not as welcoming as the old ones,” Hermione said, with a grin.

“I was just thinking of the same thing,” Ron said.

“You're surprised I'm back in Ginny's room then?” Hermione asked.

“No,” Ron said, “I know it would happen, but that does not mean I do not object. Our house was our key to privacy. Now we're under the watchful eyes and ears of my mother again.”

“You seemed to have forgotten one particular useful little spell for times like this,” Hermione said, before taking her wand out and pointing it to the door, “Muffliato!”

“Still doesn't mean I'll be able to wake up to the sight of you every morning,” Hermione said.

“That is what my alarm clock is for,” Hermione said, “I could wake up early enough before your Mum comes checking.”

Ron grinned. “You really do think of everything,” he said.

“Mmhmm,” Hermione said.

She walked over to Ron and kissed him softly on the lips.

“What would I do without you?” he asked her.

“You'll never have to find out,” Hermione said, with a grin.

(Hermione's PoV)

That evening, Mrs. Weasley made a big Halloween dinner for everyone. Harry and Ginny had remained at the Burrow for the day, to help Ron and Hermione finish moving everything in, and now everyone was seated in the kitchen, enjoying a wonderful meal.

“It is so wonderful having someone else in this house once again besides Arthur and myself,” Mrs. Weasley said, grinning. “It is odd not having my children in this house when I've been used to it for thirty years now.”

“It is certainly refreshing,” Mr. Weasley said, “though I wish the circumstances of such thing had come in a different form.”

“I must say, Ron, Hermione,” Mrs. Weasley said, “the timing could not be more perfect, given that your wedding is in seven months. We'll have plenty of time to prepare for it.”

“Hermione and I have already discussed quite a few bits of our wedding plans, Mum,” Ron said.

Hermione glared at Ron, when she realized he had hurt his mother's feelings.

“What Ronald forgot to say, though” she said, “is that we still have plenty more plans to go through, Mrs. Weasley. You are more than welcome to help us.”

Mrs. Weasley's mood instantly brightened.

“Any thoughts for your best men, Ron?” Harry asked.

“Do you honestly think I wouldn't ask you to be up there with me, Harry?” Ron replied

“Just curious,” Harry said, grinning.

“I'm only having three best men, though,” Ron said, “I'm keeping one spot open for Fred.”

Tears instantly appeared in the eyes of Ron's mother.

“I'm sure he would have loved that, Ron,” Mr. Weasley said.

“It is only appropriate,” Ron said, “given that we've chosen to get married on the date of his death.”

Conversation remained on Hermione and Ron's wedding plans throughout dinner. After dinner, Hermione pulled Ginny away to have a discussion with her.

“I thought it would be more appropriate if I asked you first,” Hermione said, “before you decide to go the unconventional route Harry had chosen. Ginny, would you like to be one of my bridesmaids for my wedding?”

“Of course, I would!” Ginny said.

“I wouldn't accept just yet, Ginny,” Hermione said. “Especially when you hear my thoughts for my other bridesmaid choices. One of them is Fleur. I thought I should tell you given that you aren't exactly comfortable around your sister-in-law.”

“It doesn't matter how I feel about Fleur,” Ginny said. “It is your decision to ask her, given that it is your big day. Of course, I'll accept your offer to be your bridesmaid.”

Hermione squealed lightly and hugged her best friend.

“Besides,” Ginny whispered, “I will soon have a much better sister-in-law.”

Hermione grinned.

“Seven months,” she said, “Wow. Time really flies by.”

“I'm sure it'll fly by much faster in the coming months,” Ginny said.

“Have you and Harry decided anything about your wedding?” Hermione asked.

“Yes,” Ginny said, and Hermione noticed a touch of a frown in her lips, “We've decided to put off our wedding for a while. Maybe even for a few years. He's not exactly ready to get married as quick as you and Ron are.”

“Ginny,” Hermione said, sighing, “Ron and I have only made this decision to get married this soon, because we realize how much we love each other, and we don't need to wait any longer.”

“I wish Harry felt that way,” Ginny said, “But he knows that I am focused on Quidditch. And I know that Quidditch careers don't last very long when one is focused on having a family.”

“Well, then that is a good reason to put it off,” Hermione said, “You're very good at what you do. You should enjoy that for a few years, before you decide on having a family.”

“What about you and Ron?” Ginny asked, “Are you guys considering family?”

Hermione blushed.

“Not right off the bat,” Hermione said, “We've decided to wait for that, I think. Mostly because Ron respects my parents too much, and I've promised my father I wouldn't make him a grandfather until he's fifty. He's only in his mid-forties. Besides, we're focused on our careers as well.”

“So,” Ginny said, “you and Ron haven't –?”

Hermione blushed even deeper.

“I didn't say that,” Hermione said, grinning.

She noticed Ginny looked a little envious.

“So,” Hermione said, “I guess that means you and Harry --”

“I haven't even moved out of his second bedroom yet,” Ginny said.

“Harry's always been shy about that type of thing,” Hermione said. “When he's ready, you'll know.”

Ginny nodded.

Late that evening, after Hermione was sure that Mr. and Mrs. Weasley had gone to bed, she crept out of her new bedroom and up the stairs towards Ron's room. The door was slightly ajar when she arrived, and she gently pushed it open. Ron was still wide awake when she walked in. She cast the Muffliato Charm on the door, and walked over to the bed. Ron raised the covers, and Hermione laid down and cuddled next to him.

“Ah, now I feel right at home,” Ron said.

Hermione nodded in agreement.

“By the way,” she said, “You know the question you asked me earlier about your sister and best friend?”

Ron frowned.

“You talked to Ginny about that, didn't you?” he asked.

“Yeah,” Hermione said.

“All right,” Ron said, “I'm ready. Let me hear it.”

“I can confirm that your suspicions are false,” Hermione said.

Ron looked at Hermione with raised eyebrows. He then grinned.

“Probably not for too long though,” Hermione said.

“Okay,” Ron said.

“You're okay with that?” Hermione asked.

“If there is one person who would never do anything to hurt Ginny,” Ron said, “It is Harry.”

Hermione kissed Ron and smiled at him.

“That is one of the sweetest things I've ever heard you say,” she said.

Ron grinned. Hermione set the alarm on the clock, then nestled her head against Ron's shoulder and drifted off to sleep, happy to be in his arms once again.

Aww, I really loved this chapter. I needed some good light moments in a story that has become so serious as of late. Speaking of that, for those of you wishing for some more Harry/Ginny moments in my story, you'll get your wish sometime during the next chapter!

Hope you liked this chapter!


Last edited by Fury; September 7th, 2011 at 1:37 am.
Old September 7th, 2011, 3:38 pm
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Re: Butterfly Kisses (Sequel to Harry Potter and the Return to Hogwarts)

Chapter 54

Author's Note: I will take this time to answer a question given to me in a review. I don't see how I can explain it in a chapter so I will explain it here.

Q: Could you,perhaps elaborate a bit more on this special Weasley power? And when did Harry and Ginny decide to put off their wedding?

A: The special bond the Weasleys have in their blood is a protective ward. The ward is more of a charm surrounding them, and where ever they live with protection. It keeps intruders out and makes their residences have like a magic security system. The ward, however, does not prevent them from most severe injuries or death. Also, because of the curse, if there are enough people in the vicinity to equal out those who have the ward around them (for example, Bill and Fleur's wedding, or Hermione living with Ron), the bond will temporarily break, and the chance of attack heightens quite a bit, be it bad luck or the power of the curse. The bond is passed on through blood or connection of love through other family members (the process of this will be shown towards the very end of the story). Harry has this same bond. It was created by his mother through her sacrifice.

Harry and Ginny are still engaged, of course, they just decided they didn't need to get married as fast as Hermione and Ron have decided. They can wait years to make it official (two or three or four), because they are focused more on their careers. I didn't really plan when they decided, only why... it was just some time during the last couple of months storyline wise. Sorry about not getting too specific with it. The idea came to me, and I didn't really put too much thought into it.

(Daphne's PoV)

Daphne was currently living with Blaise Zabini in his flat in London. Daphne and Blaise had been in a steady relationship for a little over a couple of months now, though few in their secret group was aware of it. Blaise's flat was an unregistered location, hidden from the Magical Zoning Department, and therefore was the perfect location to hide from the Ministry, if they decided to start searching for either of them. It had also been used for the new location of Daphne's meetings whenever she requested one. They had used the old one too much, and feared that Muggles around the neighborhood were getting suspicious of so many guests on a regular basis.

Daphne and Blaise were currently eating breakfast and waiting for Pansy's arrival. Daphne had ordered Pansy and Draco to come to their house to explain what had happened at the house where they were living in, while spying on Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger.

Daphne had gone to the house the previous day to check up on how Pansy and Draco were doing with their mission, and had found that her presence there was rather unwelcome...


Daphne walked out of the restrooms she had used as an apparation point when she would need to visit Pansy and Draco. It was located in a small playground, just down the road from the house. She walked across the playground and what she saw, she did not expect. There were two London Police Cruisers blocking the very road she wanted to go down. Deciding it probably wasn't anything to worry about, she walked across the street. A man in a police uniform stepped out from behind the car.

“I'm sorry, Miss,” the man said, “This road has been blocked off for a few hours while we work on a water main break in the area. The whole street is flooded.”

“I see no water,” Daphne said, “I just live down the road, and I wish to go home.”.

“I must insist that you leave for a few hours, ma'am,” the man said, “Go to a friend's house.”

Daphne narrowed her eyes, then she noticed that a thin, narrow strip of wood was sticking out of the man's pocket. The man was not a Muggle Police Officer. He was a wizard. If he was guarding the street, it meant something was happening down there. She had to find out what was going on. She grinned and nodded.

“I'm sorry, sir,” Daphne said, “I didn't mean to be a bother. Good day.”

Daphne turned around and started to walk across the street. She then reached her hand toward her pocket, where her wand was. She inhaled and exhaled. She then whipped her wand out and turned around in one fluid motion.

“Stupefy!” Daphne whispered, with force.

Her movement was so quick, the wizard didn't even see it coming. The spell hit the wizard's chest and he smacked against the police car, then crumpled to the ground, stunned. Daphne smirked and walked back toward the police car.

“Obliviate!” she said, pointing her wand at the wizard.

The wizard's eyes went out of focus. He would not remember ever seeing her.

Daphne stowed her wand and crept along the road toward her destination. When she closed in on the house, she saw a group of wizards in Ministry suits walking in and out of the house. She immediately crept over behind a car and hid herself behind it.

What had happened in the house? Where was Pansy and Draco? What had happened to them? Had they been discovered and captured? She needed answers.

She moved around the car, and crept behind a very large hedge-bush that was formed a wall between Pansy's house and their neighbor.

“What do you got there, Sasha?” a man said.

“Polyjuice Potion glasses,” Sasha said, “Goes along with that bottle the Potter guy found. I guess whoever these people were, were disguising themselves with Polyjuice Potion. Seems they ran out very recently. The scent of the potion is still in the bottle.”

“Any idea if we'll be able to get any thing to use to find these guys?” the man said.

“Not the glasses,” Sasha said. “These perps were smart. They used the Scourgify Charm, and a very good one at that. Only a magnificent Scouring Charm can remove all traces from an object. The bottle, however, might give us something. Not one-hundred percent sure, though.”

Daphne growled lowly. These people had evidence that could lead them to Pansy or Draco. She knew there were too many of these people for her to take out. Could she try it, and maybe get lucky enough to take them out?

She shook her head. No, if she was caught, her plan would fail. She could not risk that. If the Ministry found anything on Draco and Pansy, they were on their own.

She smirked. Besides... her Secret Keeper Charm was way too powerful for them to give too much away.

“Found something, sir!” another man said, “More mirror shards. All in one condensed space.”

“From the mirror used to spy on Auror Weasley?” the first man said.

“Most likely, sir,” the second man said, “It seems the mirror was shattered. Like dropped to the floor with enough force to break it.”

“An attempt at destroying evidence?” Sasha asked.

“They could have used a Reduction spell for that,” the second man said.

“Not if they were refraining from using magic so the Ministry couldn't detect them,” Sasha said, “They could have been hasty too. Needed enough time to destroy the evidence before they apparated away from the house. Perhaps they panicked and this was all they could think of.”

Daphne sighed in relief. Where ever Pansy and Draco were, they were not in Ministry custody.

“Can we get any trace from it?” the first man said.

“No, sir,” the second man said, “The pieces are too small.”

“Well, keep searching,” the first man said, “We're bound to find something.”

Daphne had heard enough. Pansy nor Draco were there. They seemed to have apparated away in time . Somehow Harry Potter was in the area and had discovered them. How much of a bother was Potter going to be? She would have to deal with him personally. Adding him into her grand plans would make it all worth it.

Daphne crept away and headed back down the street.

Flashback ends

Daphne stared down at her food, as she thought about the previous day. Pansy was going to have to explain herself, or there was going to be hell to pay.

“Daphne?” Blaise asked.

Daphne shook her head and snapped out of her reverie.

“What?” she retorted.

“Nothing,” Blaise said, “You seemed to be drifting off there.”

“Was thinking about my plans,” Daphne said.

“When are you going to tell me about your plans?” Blaise asked.

“When the time is right,” Daphne said.

“You tell that to everyone,” Blaise said, “I should be different.”

“Why?” Daphne asked, “Because I'm in your bed every night? Well, I'm sorry, honey. I'm not going to risk it. You know how big this thing is to me – to us – to all of us. How important it is.”

“Am I important to you?” Blaise asked.

“Of course,” Daphne asked.

“Do you love me?” Blaise asked.

“I – yeah, of course, I do,” Daphne said.

This was a lie, however. There was only one man she ever loved. It was most certainly not Blaise.

“So why do you treat me like everyone else?” Blaise asked.

“I most certainly do not,” Daphne said. “I think I treat you a lot better than I treat everyone else. If you want me to treat you like everyone else, I could. Is that what you want?”

“Of course not,” Blaise said.

Daphne was about to reply, when she heard a knock on the front door. She stood up and walked over to it. Pansy was standing there.

“Get in here,” Daphne said, “Did anyone see you?”

“How thick do you think I am, Daph?” Pansy asked, as she walked through the doorway.

“That is exactly why I requested your presence,” Daphne said, closing the door, “To find out just how thick you are. Where's Draco?”

“He – er – well, it's complicated, Daphne,” Pansy said.

“I'm sure I could understand,” Daphne said.

“I haven't seen him in forty-eight hours,” Pansy said. “He went to Hogsmeade to visit your sister. Hogsmeade weekend, I guess.”

“He went away from his mission to visit my sister?” Daphne asked.

“He said Astoria would ask unwanted questions if he didn't show up,” Pansy said. “He promised her he would be there.”

“Hogsmeade weekend usually only takes place on Saturday,” Daphne said, “Where was he yesterday?”

“Like I said, he didn't show up,” Pansy said.

“Fine,” Daphne said, “We can deal with that later. I want you to tell me what happened to you yesterday.”

“Wh-what do you mean?” Pansy asked.

Daphne rolled her eyes and took Pansy by the shoulders and put her up against the wall. The glass plates in the china cabinet nearby shook and threatened to fall.

“I mean why was there Aurors and Ministry workers at your house yesterday, Pansy?!” Daphne demanded.

“Do you have to so forceful with her, Daph?” Blaise asked.

“Silence, Blaise,” Daphne said.

“Have it your way,” Blaise said. “I'd be careful though. You can't get questions from her if you knock her out. Oh, and try not to break the dishware. They're my Mum's.”

“Answer the question, Pansy,” Daphne said.

“Potter and Weasley almost caught me yesterday,” Pansy said. “I didn't have any Polyjuice Potion, so I had to get out of there.”

“Didn't you hear them coming?” Daphne asked.

“I saw them coming,” Pansy said, “That is why I was able to get out of there.”

“That isn't what I meant,” Daphne said, “The mirror. Why didn't you hear them coming? Obviously they must have talked about going to your house.”

“I didn't have the mirror,” Pansy said, “I think Draco took it with him.”

“Wrong again!” Daphne said. “The forensics team there found mirror shards on the floor, Pansy. The mirror had been shattered to pieces!”

Pansy's eyes widened.

“Draco must have done it then!” Pansy said, “Before he left!”

“Why would he do that?” Daphne asked.

“How am I supposed to know?” Pansy asked.

Daphne narrowed her eyes. She growled and opened the front door.

“Find him, Pansy,” Daphne said, “I want answers.”

Pansy nodded and walked out the door. Daphne shut it and turned around.

“I told you we couldn't trust Malfoy, Daph,” Blaise said, “But no, you didn't listen.”

“Blaise,” Daphne said, in an I'm-warning-you voice.

“Just saying,” Blaise said, and walked back into the kitchen.

Daphne closed her eyes.

“I won't fail you, My Lord,” she whispered, “I promise. I will avenge you. Even if it is the last thing I do.”

(Harry's PoV)

Harry and Ron walked into Kingsley's office at nine-o-clock that morning. Kingsley was sitting at his desk reading through a stack of parchment.

“Ah, gentlemen!” Kingsley said, looking up, “Come and sit down.”

“We can come back, Minister,” Harry said, “I can see you are quite busy?”

“This?” Kingsley asked, motioning to the parchment in front of him, “It is the forensics report. It arrived just a few minutes ago. Sit.”

Harry and Ron nodded and did as they were told.

“How about we run through what happened yesterday?” Kingsley said, “From the start, please.”

Harry looked at Ron, and Ron looked back at him. Ron sighed, and must have realized he would have to go first. He looked back at the Minister and started telling him about what had happened between Hermione and Draco.

“Are you sure Draco was being completely honest with Miss Granger?' Kingsley asked, after Ron finished.

“Draco was willing to let Hermione kill him if she didn't trust him,” Ron said. “Hermione said that he kept wanting her to kill him, because if she didn't listen to him and trust him, he feared he would get killed anyway.”

“So he is trying to use this Secret Keeper Charm he has on him to his advantage,” Kingsley said.

“We believe so,” Harry said, “What do you think? Should we trust him?”

“What do you think, Harry?” Kingsley asked.

“In my opinion,” Harry said, “Draco's a changed man. He's a little foolish to put himself in this position. But he's also in love and will do anything for Astoria. If I was in his position, I'd probably do the same thing.”

“We'll trust him for now then,” Kingsley said. “Now... I know the details of what happened when you went to the house. I want to know how you found out members of the rogue group lived there.”

Ron told Kingsley about the mirror, and how he realized he and Hermione were being spied on. He then explained how his father had found out about the mirror's charms.

“The eavesdropping charm could only be applied for close-distances,” Ron said. “So we figured it had to be somewhere nearby my house. The tracking charm,7 that came with the eavesdropping charm, led us to the house where we found shards of the mirror. It had been destroyed. We don't know why it was destroyed.”

“Before this conversation,” Kingsley said, “I would have agreed with you. But now that we know of Draco's innocence. Maybe he was in that house with someone else in this rogue group, and he didn't want them to eavesdrop on you anymore after he left the house. So he destroyed the mirror.”

“Why did he destroy it?” Harry asked. “He was trying to make himself look like he was a part of this group.”

“Why indeed, Harry,” Kingsley said, “We'll have to ask Draco that if we ever meet up with him again. Anything else?”

“No, sir,” Harry said, shaking his head, “Did the forensics team find anything?”

“The only trace they have found this far was on the bottle you uncovered,” Kingsley said, “It confirms Draco was in that house. It doesn't tell us, however, who he was with. But that is not the most interesting thing that happened while the forensics team was there.”

“Oh?” Harry asked.

“It appears that one of the members of the rogue group,” Kingsley said, “was in the vicinity.”

“They saw somebody?” Ron asked.

“One of the Aurors in the area did,” Kingsley said, “However, they cannot tell us who it is.”

“Why not?” Harry asked.

“He was found Stunned,” Kingsley said, “And when they woke him up, he had no idea how he had come to be that way. Whoever did this, had cleared his memory of the event which led him to be Stunned. The forensics team did not see whoever did this. Nobody else was injured, and none of the evidence was stolen. It is believed that if they did stay behind for a few minutes, they only did so to eavesdrop in on the Forensics team, though probably not for very long. I can tell you this though. Whoever Stunned that Auror was quick. The Auror's wand had never been removed from his pocket. He had no chance to defend himself.”

“Why did they keep him alive?” Ron asked.

“Maybe they weren't ready to kill someone,” Harry said.

Kingsley smiled encouragingly.

“Maybe,” Kingsley said, “And that is something we might be able to use on them. That is all for now, gentleman. You may go. Thank you for your work when you were off duty.”

“Thank you, sir,” Harry and Ron said.

They walked out of the office, and headed for the lifts.
(Ginny's PoV)

The first Saturday of the month, Ginny and the rest of the Holyhead Harpies were in the locker room, getting prepared for their next match against the Ballycastle Bats. They had home-pitch advantage for the game, but this time that didn't matter. The Bats' fan-base was huge, and it was expected that the Bats fans in attendance could overpower the Harpies' fans.

“These fans are loud!” Roxy Waters said, looking up at the ceiling, “ICan't tell if it is our fans or the other guys!”

“If it is the other guys, we'll hush them up,” Ginny said.

“Round up, Harpies!” Gwenog Jones said.

Ginny tightened her gloves, grabbed her broom and walked over to Gwenog, as the rest of the team huddled around them. Gwenog held up three fingers.

“Three,” she said. “that is how many matches we have left before the playoffs start.”

She put down two fingers.

“One,” she said, “That is how many matches we need to win to get into the playoffs.”

The girls grinned and cheered softly. Gwenog put another finger up.

“Two,” Gwenog said. “That is how many matches we need to win to get home-pitch advantage for the playoffs.”

She put one finger back down.

“But for now I only want you to focus on this,” she said. “One win. We need one win to get into the playoffs. That is all that matters right now.”

“We haven't lost a match yet, Gwen,” Bertha said, “Why should we start today?”

“That is what I wanted to hear,” Gwenog said, “Harpies, hands in!”

Ginny and the rest of the team put one hand in.

“One win,” Gwenog said, “That is the only thing I want you thinking about today. Don't think about those playoffs just yet. We aren't there yet, so I don't want you thinking about it. First thing first. Let's get that one win! Go to the Pitch, Harpies!”

Ginny grinned and followed her team-mates out of the locker room. As she did, she heard a couple of them groan. The weather, which had been only cloudy when Ginny had arrived at the stadium, was now a downpour of rain and thunder and lightning filled the sky.

“I don't think it was the fans you heard making all that noise, Roxy,” Chase Crowe said.

An hour into the game and the weather had not let down. Ginny was soaked to her skin, and her hands kept slipping off the broom before she had gotten her grip again. The Quaffle had also been quite wet, and she had dropped it at least three times in the past hour.

However, it didn't seem like the Ballycastle Bats played very well in the rain. Harpies were leading 140 to 70.

“Ginny, catch!” Gwenog's wind-muffled voice said somewhere close.

Ginny looked to her left just as the Quaffle headed her way. She caught the Quaffle and --

“Ginny, no, dive!” Gwenog said.

Ginny dived a split-second before a Bludger flew over where her head had been. She pulled back into the air, and she could hear broomsticks whirring behind her. The Bats' Chasers were in pursuit. She headed toward the rings and saw a Bats' Chaser's hand come up from her right, then disappear as the crowd around the stadium groaned, and others cheered. Ginny looked down for a second to see the Bats Chaser plummeting toward the ground, the back of their broomstick destroyed by the same Bludger that had almost taken Ginny out.

Ginny headed for the rings and threw the Quaffle toward the right. The Bats' Keeper headed for it... and barely missed it as it went through the rings. The crowd cheered...

… but it wasn't the Harpies fans. Ginny spun around. The Bats' Seeker was circling the field. Ginny could barely see the tiny golden Snitch's wings through the Seeker's fingers.

“The Bats' Seeker, Flores, has come up from out of nowhere and has caught the Snitch!” the announcer yelled, “Ballycastle Bats win!”

Ginny's eyes widened. The Harpies had lost. For the first time, she had lost a Professional Quidditch Match.

(Harry's PoV)

An hour-and-a-half after Ginny's Quidditch Game, Harry had finished making dinner. Ginny hadn't come down from her bedroom since they had come home, and had not given any indication she wanted to come down at all.

Harry served two plates of pork-chops and fried potatoes and, with his wand, made them float in the air. He brought them upstairs and walked over to Ginny's bedroom door.

“Can I come in?” Harry asked.

No sound came from Ginny's room. Harry sighed and reached for the doorknob, but the door opened before he could turn it. Ginny was sitting on the bed with her wand pointed at the door. She was sitting up, with her knees near her face. Her pillow was laying against her knees.

“Thanks,” Harry said.

Ginny put her wand on the bedside table, and put her face back into the pillow. Harry knew she had been crying.

“I made dinner,” Harry said.

“I'm not hungry,” Ginny's muffled voice said.

Harry put the plate on the bedside table.

“Can I sit down?” Harry asked, “I don't like to eat alone. It is boring.”

Ginny made a motion that looked like she was nodding. Harry sat on the end of the bed.

“Ginny,” he said, “You were excellent out there on the Pitch.”

“We lost, Harry,” Ginny's muffled voice said.

“Only because the Bats' Seeker got lucky,” Harry said. “I saw him. He was hanging out around the end of the rings where your Keeper Waters was. I think he must have some kind of fancy for her, because he was down there for most of the match. The Snitch was hanging out around the bottom of one of the poles, and Flores saw it.”

Ginny looked up. Her eyes were red.

“Rotten luck,” Harry said, “That is all. But you were brilliant out there.”

“I kept dropping the Quaffle,” Ginny said.

“Only three times,” Harry said, “Anyone would have dropped that thing in the pouring rain. You can't win them all, Ginny. Heck, I bet there are quite a few Quidditch Players in the past who lost their very first game, and you went how many games before you lost one?”

“Five,” Ginny said.

“How many people can say that?” Harry asked.

Ginny shrugged.

“We needed one win to get into the playoffs,” she said.

“You have two more matches to go before then,” Ginny said, “Do you honestly think you can't get another win?”

Ginny shrugged again. Harry shook his head and chuckled.

“Look at me,” he said.

Ginny did so.

“You're one of the most amazing Quidditch players I've ever seen,” Harry said.

“You're just saying that because I'm your fiancee,” Ginny said.

“Maybe a little,” Harry said, “But you're still brilliant, okay. You were bound to lose your first match sometime.”

“I know,” Ginny said, “But we were all so excited about this one. We needed one more win to get into the playoffs and two more wins to have home-pitch advantage. Now we have to win both ”

“You'll get it,” Harry said.

Ginny nodded. She then looked at her plate of food and picked it up.

“Thanks, Harry,” Ginny said.

Harry smiled. He scooted over on the bed and sat next to Ginny. As he was eating, he looked around the room.

“You know,” Harry said, “I've been thinking. Now that I am an Auror, I need a home office and stuff. You know, if there is ever anything I need to bring home with me.”

“What are you saying?” Ginny asked.

“What I'm saying, Ginny,” Harry said, “is this: we only need one bedroom. If you know-- if you want that.”

Ginny grinned and kissed Harry on the lips. Harry returned the kiss and backed up.

“I'm guessing that is a yes,” he said.

“Yeah, Harry,” Ginny said, “That's a yes. Thanks, Harry. You really know how to cheer me up.”

“What else am I here for?” Harry asked.

Ginny grinned. Her mood was a lot better throughout the rest of the night.

I really liked this chapter. I hadn't really planned Daphne's part until I realized I needed it to lead up to another part of the story coming up.

Hope you liked this one too!


Last edited by Fury; September 7th, 2011 at 3:45 pm.
Old September 8th, 2011, 4:56 am
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Re: Butterfly Kisses (Sequel to Harry Potter and the Return to Hogwarts)

Chapter 55
Astoria's Invitation

(Astoria's PoV)

Saturday evening, the Great Hall at Hogwarts was filled with students. There were rumors that Headmistress McGonagall was going to announce something that evening, and everyone was excited to hear what she had to say. Astoria was sitting at the Slytherin Table eating, and reading through a chapter of her Advanced Potion Making book. The previous day she had failed to make a passing version the lying potion, Mentiraserum. Professor Slughorn had given her extra homework, asking her to do an essay on the differences and similarities between Veritaserum and Mentiraserum, and when it is essential to use both.

“Slughorn was really harsh on you yesterday, Astoria,” a voice said on the other side of the table.

Astoria looked up. Garrett, her partner in Potions class, was looking at her. She was surprised he was talking to her. They had never talked outside of Potions class.

“It's okay,” Astoria said, shrugging, “I was distracted with the potion. Made a few mistakes.”

“One mistake, Astoria,” Garrett said, “You added a rat's tail instead of a Flobberworm. They look similar and have the same texture. Anyone could have made the same mistake.”

“We learned the differences in ingredients a long time ago,” Astoria said, “That can hardly be to blame. I just wasn't paying attention.”

Garrett opened his mouth to speak, but frowned and looked back down at his chicken leg. Astoria shrugged and looked back at her book.

A sharp ding interrupted Astoria's concentration and she looked up at the Professor's table, as did everyone else in the room.

“Righ',” Hagrid said, “Professor McGonagall woul' like ter make an announcement.”

Professor McGonagall stood up.

“Thank you, Hagrid,” she said, then turned to the students. “There have been rumors going around that I have arranged a surprise announcement for this evening. I will now say those rumors are correct. As everyone knows, in the coming weeks, you'll all be studying for your End of Term tests. I wish you all luck on those. I'm sure they will be very exhausting and troubling. So, I have given all of you something to look forward to for the last day of term. On the final Friday morning before term ends, I invite the First through Third Years to come and enjoy an early Christmas party here in the Great Hall.”

The First through Third Years cheered.

“Fourth through Seventh years, I haven't left you out,” McGonagall said. “Because, on the same Friday, in the evening, I am inviting the lot of you to the Yule Ball that will be taking place here that evening.”

The Fourth through Seventh Years cheered loudly. Professor McGonagall put her hand up.

“I've announced this early so that you can prepare for it and be dressed in your best that evening,” she said. “I hope that all of you will be on your best manners. Thank you.”

Professor McGonagall smiled and sat back down in her chair. Students around the Great Hall starting chatting animatedly again, and most of the older students were talking about the Yule Ball. Astoria grinned to herself. She'd have to ask Professor McGonagall if she could invite somebody from outside the castle. As she was thinking about how much fun she'd have with Draco, she heard Garrett clear his throat across the table. She put her book down and looked at him.

“So, the Yule Ball, huh?” Garrett said, “Should be fun.”

“Yes,” Astoria said, “It should be.”

Garrett nodded and looked back down at his food. Astoria smiled and looked back at her book.

“Er... Astoria?” Garrett said, in a small voice, “Would you –?“

He sighed and blushed.

“Hmm?” Astoria asked, turning a page of her book, “Did you say something, Garrett?”

“Would you – you know,” Garrett stammered, “Er – would you be interested in coming to the Yule Ball with me?”

Astoria's eyes widened, and the words in her book became blurry. She hadn't even been aware Garrett had taken a fancy to her. Though... it did explain a few things. Garrett had rushed to sit down with Astoria at the first Potions Class of the year. He always sat across the table from her in the Great Hall. And it did explain why he might have been avoiding her other than during Potions Class. He must have been shy around her.

Astoria looked at Garrett, who grinned at her.

“Oh,” Astoria said, “Er – I'm sorry, Garrett. I'd love to – but – you see, I'm planning on asking somebody else.”

Garrett's grin suddenly faltered and disappeared.

“There's another student you fancy?” he asked, “Okay. I should have seen that coming.”

“He's not a student,” Astoria said, “He was, but he graduated last year. I'm planning on asking McGonagall if I can invite him for the dance.”

“Oh, so you've been going with this guy for quite a while,” Garrett said.

“Yeah,” Astoria said, “Quite a while.”

“Oh,” Garrett said, “Okay, that's cool. Brilliant.”

“I'm sorry,” Astoria said.

“It's fine,” Garrett said.

“You're a wonderful guy, Garrett,” Astoria said, “You should ask someone else. I'm sure there are quite a few girls who would love to go with you.”

“Yeah,” Garrett said, “Yes – maybe I'll do that.”

“Good luck,” Astoria said, smiling.

Garrett nodded and looked back down at his food.

After dinner, Astoria walked over to Professor McGonagall, who was still sitting at the Professor's table.

“Er – Headmistress?” Astoria said.

Professor McGonagall looked up.

“Yes, Miss Greengrass?” she asked.

“I was wondering,” she said, “well – the person I want to ask to the Yule Ball. He's not a student – well he was last year. I was wanting permission to ask him to come to the Yule Ball.”

Professor McGonagall gave a rare smile.

“May I ask who this particular gentleman is?” she asked.

“Draco Malfoy, ma'am,” Astoria said.

Professor McGonagall raised her eyebrows at Astoria, and Astoria wasn't sure of her answer. She then smiled and nodded.

“Yes, Miss Greengrass,” she said, “You have my permission to invite him.”

“Thank you, Headmistress,” Astoria said.

“You're welcome,” McGonagall said, “Good evening.”

Astoria grinned and happily walked out of the Great Hall and headed for the Slytherin Common Room. She wondered what Draco was doing at this moment, and how excited he would be to receive her invitation for the Yule Ball.

(Draco's PoV)

Astoria probably would have never guessed that, at that moment, Draco was currently hiding out in a small cave near Hogsmeade. He had been living there ever since the day after he had left Hermione in the Shrieking Shack. He had stayed at the Hog's Head for the rest of that day, but he didn't know what he was going to do next. He had thoughts of going back to his and Pansy's house, but how would he explain his actions about why he broke the eavesdropping mirror? He had done it so Pansy wouldn't eavesdrop on Ron and Hermione anymore. He had already planned out the whole conversation with Hermione in his head, before he talked to her. If she was going to talk to Ron about their conversation, Draco didn't want Pansy to hear them. So he had broken the mirror to make sure.

The morning after he met with Hermione, he went back to the house. But what he found, he did not expect. The house had been barricaded by protective enchantments by the Ministry itself. When he had looked inside the house, it was completely empty. Something had happened at the house, and now Pansy was no longer there. At first, he thought of returning to Malfoy Manor, but his parents would have asked questions he couldn't answer.

Plus, if anyone came looking for him, he didn't want to be there. He didn't know how Ron and Harry would react to him confronting Hermione, nor if they could convince the Ministry to call off the search for him.

He had thoughts of searching for Pansy, or going to Daphne and Blaise's flat in London, but those thoughts were wiped out thanks to his actions in Hogsmeade the day he found that his old residence was now vacated...


Draco apparated back into Hogsmeade, wondering what he was going to do. The house that had been his home, though not a particular one, for the past month was now vacant and quarantined by the Ministry of Magic. He refused to go back to his parents' house, because he knew they would ask questions, and he couldn't answer them. He decided he would just stay in Hogsmeade for now. Aberforth Dumbledore wouldn't mind if he rented a room for a while. He needed the service to fuel his retirement funds.

Draco decided he would think over what to do, over a good meal. He went to the Three Broomsticks and took a seat. Hannah Abbot walked up to him.

“Thought you'd be gone already,” Hannah said, “Hogsmeade Weekend is over.”

“Decided I might stay around here for a while,” Draco said.

“What can I get you to eat?” Hannah asked.

“Fish and chips,” Draco said, “And a Butterbeer.”

“Coming up,” Hannah said.

Draco thanked Hannah. He then stood up and walked over to the men's restroom. A couple of minutes later, when he walked out, he saw Pansy Parkinson walk into the Three Broomsticks. Draco did the first thing he could think of... he bolted back into the restroom. He then opened the door slightly.

“Hey, Abbot!” Pansy's voice said, “Have you seen Draco around here lately?”

It was a very tense moment for Draco. Did Hannah know that Draco didn't want to talk to Pansy right now? Or would she reveal to Pansy that Draco was in the area.

“Haven't seen him lately,” Hannah said.

“Thank you, Hannah!” Draco whispered.

“I know he was here for Hogsmeade weekend,” Pansy said, “You must have seen him then?”

“Oh, yeah,” Hannah said, “Yep. I saw him on Saturday. I know he rented a room at Aberforth's bar for the night. But haven't seen him since.”

“You better be telling me the truth, Abbot,” Pansy said.

Draco heard the door to the Three Broomsticks open and close, and he chanced walking out. He could see the back of Pansy's head as she headed up the street for the Hog's Head. When Hannah saw him, he nodded and put a finger to his lips.

“I'll take a rain check on that meal,” he said in a low voice, “Thanks for lying to her.”

“It was easy,” Hannah said, “Never liked her too much.”

Draco grinned and walked toward the door of the bar. He looked up the road, and saw Pansy turning toward the direction of the Hog's Head. Draco walked in a quick, but stealthy pace toward the Hog's Head. When he arrived, he ducked under one of the filthy windows and listened for any voices.

“... seen Draco Malfoy lately?” Pansy's voice said.

“Er...” Aberforth Dumbledore's low voice said, “Yeah... yeah, I have!”

Draco narrowed his eyes.

“He said he was off to the Shrieking Shack or something like that,” Aberforth said.

Draco grinned. Aberforth must have appreciated Draco's business to do a straight up lie like that. He heard more footsteps and then bolted around the corner of the building. He stood up against a wall and peered around it. Pansy was walking toward the direction of the Shrieking Shack.

“She is not going to give up, is she?” Draco whispered.

He thought about what he could do. He could apparate away, and hope Pansy didn't find him. Or he could confront her and find out what she was doing.

“Ah, to hell with it,” Draco said.

He waited until he saw Pansy disappear down the path to the Shrieking Shack, then followed her. He managed to stay behind Pansy without her noticing him. She walked toward the Shrieking Shack, and over to the front door. Pansy pointed her wand at the door, and it opened. She then disappeared inside.

Draco thought about what he could do. He wanted to confront her, but he needed to surprise her. As he was thinking of what to do, Pansy walked out of the shack, and the way she was going, she was walking right toward him. He knew it was now or never.

He took his wand from his pocket and stepped out into the open.

“Hello, Pansy,” Draco said.

Pansy's eyes widened when she saw him.

“Happy to see me?” Draco asked.

“I've been looking for you,” Pansy said, “Daphne's not very happy with you. She didn't take you coming here to meet up with her sister very well. Also, she wants to know why you broke the mirror. I'm a little keen on finding that out myself too.”

“Worried I will have seven years bad luck or something?” Draco said, “How sweet of you. Breaking the mirror was an accident. It fell off the table and shattered. Sorry that I didn't tell you before I came here. Guess I had too many thoughts on my mind. You know... I went by the house earlier. Did you have a touch of bad luck?”

“Had to get out of there,” Pansy said. “Potter and Weasley were coming, and we were out of Polyjuice Potion.”

“Way to go,” Draco said.

“Daphne wants me to bring you back to her,” Pansy said, “Are you going to come quietly with me?”

“I don't know,” Draco said, “I kind of like it out here. Change of scenery from that cramped old house we've been in.”

“You realize if you don't come with me,” Pansy said, “Daphne will tell Astoria what you've been doing.”

Draco narrowed his eyes. He twirled his wand in his fingers.

“Oh, the shame Astoria would feel if she found out,” Pansy taunted. “Her perfect man... back with the bad guys again. The poor girl would have quite the broken heart over it.”

“Don't talk about Astoria like that, Pansy,” Draco said.

“Or you'll do what?” Pansy said.

Draco smirked.

“Stupefy!” he yelled.

“Protego!” Pansy said, waving her wand,

“Expelliarmus!” Draco and Pansy both said.

Their wands both left their hands, and met in the middle, then hit each other and fell to the ground. Draco and Pansy raced toward their wands. Draco dived toward his and picked it up, then rolled out of the way. Pansy bent down to pick hers up.

“Stupefy!” Draco yelled.

The spell hit Pansy head-on and Pansy fell over, stunned.

Draco picked himself up off the ground and walked over to her. He stared at her and wondered what he should do with her. He then realized he had only one choice. He had to make sure Pansy forgot about him being here, or talking to him. But could he remove the memories clearly enough without hurting her? He had never done the spell before.

He pictured in his mind what he wanted Pansy to forget and pointed his wand at her.

“Obliviate,” Draco said.

Pansy's eyes, open, though unseeing, went blank and out of focus. Draco knew his spell had worked. He decided he would leave her there and let her wake up on her own. The Stunning Spell would wear off after a while.

He walked away from Pansy, and weighed his options. He needed to hide somewhere where nobody would find him. He couldn't go to Hogsmeade, because he was sure somebody would look for him there. He then realized the perfect spot. There was a cave that he, Crabbe and Goyle had gone to when they had explored a path during one of their trips to Hogsmeade. It would provide the perfect shelter while he thought of something else to do. He went to Hogsmeade and bought some groceries that he could easily prepare using a fire, then headed for the cave.

Flashback ends....

Draco had been in the cave a week now. It was peaceful, though it reminded him of the boring solitude he had at the safe-house. Ever since he went to the cave, he had been back in Hogsmeade twice, to wash up and get a few more supplies. He figured he could live there for a while, though he knew the risks involved.

Ever since he had stunned Pansy, he wondered the repercussions it would cause him. Had Daphne contacted her sister yet? Had she revealed everything about him? He hadn't gotten another letter from her yet. He was sure her owl could find her in the cave.

Then, suddenly, just as he was thinking of Astoria's owl, he heard a hoot in the night... and it was very close by. He walked out of the cave, looking around, and a roll of parchment dropped at his feet. He looked down at it, then picked it up and looked up in the air. Astoria's owl was flying around in a circle above him.

“Am I glad to see you!” Draco said, “Stay here a minute.”

He returned inside the cave, then took his wand from his pocket.

“Lumos,” he said.

He then read Astoria's letter:


Sorry I haven't written for the past week. Been extremely busy with homework. I have so much that I am so tired when I go to bed. But I had to write you today. Guess what! Professor McGonagall announced tonight that there is going to be a Yule Ball on Friday, the 18th of December... my last day before Christmas break. Can you please come and enjoy the night with me? McGonagall gave you permission to come. Please say yes!

Love you,

Draco grinned. The Yule Ball... dancing with Astoria. He could see it now. His eyes sparkled at the thought. He dug into his supplies and found a quill and ink. He then wrote on the bottom of the letter:


I accept your invitation. Of course I'll go with you! See you then. I've been pretty busy myself. So if you don't hear from me, don't worry. I'm completely fine.

Miss you. See you on the 18th. Can't wait.


Draco walked back out of the cave and called down the owl. He then attached the note to the owl's leg. The owl flew off. He watched it until it disappeared into the night. He then walked down the path from the cave. Ever since he had come to the cave, would take this walk every night.

At the end of the path, he could see Hogsmeade in the not-so-far distance, and then Hogwarts far behind it, the lights in the castle twinkling in the night. As he did every night, he wondered if Astoria realized at that very moment if he was thinking of her, and he prayed that she never found out about the misdeeds he had done over the past couple of months.

December 18th. The Yule Ball. Could he really stay in the cave and around Hogsmeade until then? As he gazed toward Hogsmeade, he nodded to himself. He would, at least, attempt to stay there. If only for Astoria.

This chapter was a little short, but I only wanted Astoria and Draco's part in this.

By the way, if you are wondering. The cave Draco is at is the same one that Sirius was hiding in, during the Goblet of Fire book.

Hope you enjoyed this chapter!

Old September 8th, 2011, 7:23 pm
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Re: Butterfly Kisses (Sequel to Harry Potter and the Return to Hogwarts)

Chapter 56
A Walk To Remember

Author's Note: I was recently asked why my story is titled Butterfly Kisses. Thought I'd explain that for everyone if you are curious. The title, Butterfly Kisses, is inspired by one of my favorite songs ever, with the same name. "Butterfly Kisses" by Bob Carlisle. It is a Father/Daughter wedding song. I might use the title for a chapter near the end of the story. When I originally started writing the story, I was only going to be pretty much focused on Ron and Hermione's wedding, so that is why I used that title. Then I came up with this big storyline with Daphne's rogue group.

I've had some requests for just a calm chapter or two, away from all the seriousness of the storyline, with just focusing on the relationship of Ron and Hermione, and Harry and Ginny. So I've decided to do a couple of chapters with just that.

For those who really like the serious storyline, do not worry... if you paid attention to details in the previous chapter, you might know when the serious storyline comes to its big bang. And it will be big, I assure you.

Because I've been skipping around quite a bit in time, I'll explain where we are chronologically in this story. Much of this chapter will take place on a Sunday, one week after Draco confronted Hermione and the events that led to Hermione and Ron moving back to the Burrow, and the day after Draco received Astoria's invitation to the Yule Ball.

Q&A time:
Q: If you are planning to be true to canon, I know that I should not fret, but I am so concerned about Draco risking his relationship with Astoria. Does he trust her enough to tell her the truth about his actions and motivation?
A: Unfortunately if I answered this, it would give away the end to their part of this story. You'll just have to find out what happens!

(Hermione's PoV)

Novembers in England, and especially around Ottery St. Catchpole, usually brought an early start to the harsh winters, but not that morning. When Hermione woke up in Ron's bedroom, to her alarm clock, on the first Sunday of November, the sun was barely starting to come over the horizon, but there were no clouds in the sky that hinted to any early arrival of winter weather. In fact, it looked like it was going to be a beautiful day.

Ron was fast asleep, snoring, when Hermione opened her eyes and smacked her alarm clock before it could get past the first buzzing sound. She gently moved his arm from around her and stood up, then crept over to the door. She opened the door and lifted the Muffliato Charm over it, then crept down the stairs toward Ginny's room. She had done this routine every day for the past week and, so far, Mrs. Weasley seemed to have noticed nothing.

As soon as Hermione opened the door, she heard footsteps at the bottom of the stairs.

“Hermione?” Mrs. Weasley's voice called from down the stairs, “are you awake, dear?”

Hermione frowned. She had planned to get a couple more hours of sleep, but that seemed out of the question now.

“Just now, Mrs. Weasley,” Hermione said, sighing.

“Well, come on downstairs,” Mrs. Weasley, “I'd like to talk to you about something.”

Hermione's eyes widened. Had Mrs. Weasley found out where she was sleeping every night? She inhaled, exhaled, and walked downstairs, into the kitchen, where Mrs. Weasley was pouring hot tea a couple of mugs.

“Good morning, Mrs. Weasley,” Hermione said.

“Would you like some morning tea, dear?” Mrs. Weasley asked.

“Yes, please,” Hermione said.

“Not a cloud in the sky,” Mrs. Weasley said, looking out the window, “I'm sure today is going to beautiful day. Can't get too many of those around this time of year. Might want to make the most of it.”

“I might do just that, Mrs. Weasley,” Hermione said.

“Oh, just call me Molly, dear,” Mrs. Weasley said, “We're as good as family already.”

Hermione grinned and blushed. Mrs. Weasley smiled as she set down two mugs of tea on the table. Hermione took a sip of hers. It was tasty.

“My own brew,” Mrs. Weasley said, smacking her lips politely in apparent delight of the tea, “I grow the herbs myself.”

“I didn't know that,” Hermione said.

“Oh, one of my many secrets,” Mrs. Weasley said, waving her hands dismissively. “Arthur works on – whatever those things are – and I work in my garden.”

“I think you and my Mum will get along quite well, Molly,” Hermione said, grinning.

“Well, that is actually one of the things I wanted to talk to you about,” Mrs. Weasley said. “I had a few ideas for your wedding, and I'm sure your parents would greatly appreciate them.”

“Oh?” Hermione asked.

“First I have one question for you,” Mrs. Weasley said. “How many members of your side of the family are you planning on inviting to the wedding?”

Hermione sighed and looked at her tea.

“Unfortunately, only my parents,” she said.

Mrs. Weasley's expression grew soft.

“My relatives have no knowledge of the fact that I am a witch,” Hermione said. “Most of the time, I don't even really talk to them. When my magical abilities started to show up, I was kind of an outcast. My parents kept me away from my relatives at first, because they didn't know what was going on, and it scared them. When it was revealed that I was a witch, it was decided that my relatives would be kept oblivious of that part of me. Over time I realized that it was the best idea, in order to not risk the Statute of Secrecy.”

“Oh, my dear, I had no idea,” Mrs. Weasley said, “That must be so awful. Family is a huge part of life.”

“I'm okay with it, Molly,” Hermione said, “I'll soon be a part of the most wonderful family in my world.”

Mrs. Weasley smiled.

“So, to answer your question on whom I am will invite,” Hermione said. “I think the only people, other than my parents, I will invite is my closest friends from Hogwarts.”

“I'm sure they'll love an invitation,” Mrs. Weasley said, “Now to my idea. I'm sure you wouldn't be surprised to find out that this is the first wedding I've ever been a part of that is between a pureblood and someone with Muggle parents.”

“Not at all, Molly,” Hermione said, grinning.

“So,” Mrs. Weasley said, “You can understand that this is quite new to me, and with my personality, it is actually quite exciting to think about!”

She chuckled softly and her cheeks went pink.

“Since this wedding,” she continued, “is going to unite a pureblood family with a Muggle-born witch and her Muggle family, I thought we could center your wedding around that idea. It would still be a wizard wedding, but we could add a few Muggle-centered ideas into the wedding, just so your parents don't feel too left out. Being a parent who has already watched two of her children walk down the aisle, I understand just how much that day will mean to your parents.”

Hermione grinned and her eyes sparkled with tears.

“I love that idea, Molly,” Hermione said, “And I am sure they would too.”

“That is where you come in, of course,” Mrs. Weasley said, “If you can give me a few suggestions, I'm sure I'll have no problem putting them together.”

“I'll start thinking of those right away,” Hermione said, “And maybe I could invite my parents over before too long and you could talk to them. They know more about weddings than I do. I've been to more wizard weddings than Muggle weddings to be honest.”

“That would be a lovely idea,” Mrs. Weasley said.

“Is that all you wished to talk about?” Hermione asked, “I haven't taken a shower, and my days don't usually feel right if I don't start out with one.”

It was a very tense moment. The look on Mrs. Weasley's face, told Hermione she wanted to talk about something else, but Mrs. Weasley just shrugged and shook her head.

“That is all,” she said, “Thank you, Hermione.”

Hermione smiled and drank the rest of her tea in one gulp, then stood up and walked out of the kitchen. She exhaled and closed her eyes, relieved. For a moment there, Hermione really thought Mrs. Weasley was going to tell her she knew where she was sleeping at night.

Half-an-hour later, as Hermione was getting dressed after a relaxing shower, there was a knock on her door.

“Hermione?” Ron's voice called.

“Door's open,” Hermione said.

The door opened a bit.

“Are you decent?” Ron asked.

Hermione pulled her shirt over head.

“You've seen me in far less than this, Ron,” Hermione said, grinning.

Ron opened the door and walked in.

“I was going to go for a walk around the lot,” Ron said, “It is really nice today, and I need the exercise.”

“Before breakfast?” Hermione asked.

“I used to do this a lot,” Ron said, “So I think I can manage.”

“Sounds wonderful,” Hermione said, “Besides, I need to talk to you about something.”

Hermione put on her shoes. She walked over to the door, and followed Ron out of the room. They walked downstairs.

“Going somewhere?” Mrs. Weasley asked, as they walked toward the door.

“Just a jog around the lot, Mum,” Ron said, “We'll be back before breakfast.”

“Have fun, dears,” Mrs. Weasley said.

Hermione and Ron smiled and walked out of the house. Hermione walked hand-in-hand with Ron as they headed across up the driveway. When they arrived at the top of the driveway, Ron turned and they started off on the edge of the lot.

“So what was it you wanted to talk to me about?” Ron asked.

“I think your Mum knows I sleep in your room every night,” Hermione said.

Ron stopped in his tracks and looked at her.

“Did she talk to you about it?” Ron asked.

“No,” Hermione said, shaking her head, “But she might have planned on doing so, then stopped herself at the last minute. I saw this look in her eyes.”

“Maybe she doesn't know then,” Ron said.

“Or she does,” Hermione said, “And she's fine with it.”

“Even better,” Ron said, grinning.

Ron resumed his walk, and Hermione rolled her eyes, and caught up with him.

“Yes, but Ron,” she said, taking his hand, “When has your Mum ever been fine with that?”

“Hermione, she knows we're getting married in seven months,” Ron said.

“She wasn't very comfortable,” Hermione said, “with the thought of Bill and Fleur sharing his room just a week before their wedding.”

“She likes you more than Fleur,” Ron said, grinning, “Besides, I think she must suspect something. I mean, we lived together in our own house for a while. She's been to the house, remember? She knows there was one bedroom. Perhaps I was wrong and she realized how unhappy we would be if she kept us from sharing a bed. We're not exactly doing much more than sleeping anyway, you know.”

“Oho!” Hermione exclaimed, “I'm not letting your poor Mum have to go through the thought of that just yet. Even if we used the Muffliato Charm.”

Ron frowned.

“These seven months are going to be so long,” he said, frowning, “Remind me again why we picked a spring day?”

“Well, for one it would guarantee a beautiful wedding,” Hermione said.

“That it would,” Ron said.

“There's no wizarding superstition about Spring or May weddings is there?” Hermione asked.

“No,” Ron said, chuckling, “If there was, do you think I'd be so in agreement with the thought of the timing of our wedding?”

“You just said the wait was going to be so long,” Hermione said.

“It is!” Ron said, “I mean... it isn't going to be unbearably long, but...”

Ron sighed and stopped in his tracks again.

“Blimey, Hermione,” he said, “Do you know how long I've pictured the thought of you walking down the aisle toward me?”

Hermione blushed and shook her head.

“A lot longer than our engagement, believe me,” Ron said. “Back when – you know – when the thought of you and me was just a pipe-dream to me, I'd picture it. The night of the Yule Ball, when you walked into the Great Hall, in that brilliant dress, arm in arm with Viktor Krum... I... that is kind of what I see in my head when I see you walking down the aisle on our wedding day.”

“The Yule Ball?” she asked chuckling.

“When I think of the year-and-a-half we've been together,” Ron said, “I think of about how we've known each other for over nine years now. It kind of saddens to me think that we've been friends for that long, and it took us almost seven years to realize our feelings for each other. There have been quite a few times during this past year and a half, where I wondered about things. I wondered if I knew back during the time of the Yule Ball, what I now know, and I ended up going to the Yule Ball with you that night instead of with Padma Patil, then what would have happened. I wondered if next month would be our fifth anniversary, instead of a year and a half.”

Hermione opened her mouth to say something, but Ron put his hand up.

“But then I thought of how many fights we've had since the Yule Ball,” Ron said. “We've had quite a few too. And I wondered if our relationship could have survived that. What I'm trying to say is... I waited for this moment for five – hell – seven years, and that is a bloody long time, Hermione. I think I can manage seven more months.”

Hermione grinned and felt tears in her eyes. She took Ron's hands back in hers.

“But you have to promise me one thing, Hermione,” Ron said.

“Anything,” Hermione replied, grinning.

“If I'm going to wait seven more months,” Ron said, “You better not walk like a flobberworm down that aisle on our wedding day.”

Hermione laughed. She leaned in toward Ron and kissed him deeply on the lips.

“I promise,” she said.

During their walk, Hermione and Ron ended up at the lake. They decided it was too early to swim, and both needed a good meal before they even thought it was swimming. On their way back to the Burrow, they decided to see if Harry and Ginny were doing anything, or if they wanted to join them for a swim. So as soon as they returned, Ron wrote a letter to Harry and Ginny and sent Pig off to London. A couple of hours later, Pig returned, exhausted, but with a note from Harry that said he and Ginny would be there at noon.

Hermione and Ron were in the kitchen discussing wedding plans with Mrs. Weasley, when Harry and Ginny arrived right at noon, like promised. Hermione walked up with Ginny to her bedroom to get ready to swim.

“Guess what, Hermione?” Ginny asked, as she slipped into her bikini.

“Hmm? Hermione asked.

“You know what we talked about last time I was here?” Ginny asked, “About Harry and I?”

“Yeah,” Hermione said, slowly.

“He asked me last night,” Ginny said. “I think he was just trying to cheer me up after my Quidditch match.”

“What did you say?” Hermione asked.

“Yes, of course,” Ginny said, “I'm not thick or anything!”

Hermione chuckled.

“Did you do anything besides cuddle up and fall asleep in each other's arms?” she asked.

Ginny's face turned bright pink.

“Yes,” she said, “And that is all I'll say.”

“Good,” Hermione said, “I don't think I need to know more than that.”

“Promise you won't tell Ron?” Ginny asked, “Harry's not too thrilled at the thought of his mate finding out, and I don't need to deal with anymore of my brother's insecurities about my life.”

“Relax,” Hermione said, “I think I can keep that quiet. Though, you know... he'd probably be okay with it.”

“You've talked about it already?” Ginny asked, raising her eyebrows.

“Not exactly,” Hermione said, “I was just trying to ease him into the thought that it was bound to happen sooner or later.”

“How did that work out?” Ginny asked.

“Better than I imagined,” Hermione said.

“Wow,” Ginny said, “That's a little shocking.”

“He knows Harry wouldn't do anything to upset you,” Hermione said. “Honestly, he is happy for you two. No matter how hard that might be for you to believe.”

“I should give him more credit sometimes,” Ginny said.

Hermione grinned. A few minutes later, they met Ron and Harry back downstairs. A large picnic basket was sitting on the kitchen table.

“Mum made us lunch,” Ron said, nodding to the basket.

“Well, I imagined you willy be swimming for a few hours,” Mrs. Weasley said, “I would hate for you to go hungry just because you are enjoying yourselves.”

“Thank you, Molly,” Hermione said.

Ron raised an eyebrow at Hermione, and she shook her head.

“It is no big deal,” Mrs. Weasley said, “Enjoy your swim, dears.”

Ron took the picnic basket, and Hermione followed him out the door. Harry and Ginny tailed behind them a few feet.

“Since when do you call my Mum by her first name?” Ron muttered.

“Since this morning,” Hermione said. “She said that I'm basically family and deserve that privilege.”

“Nice of her,” Ron said.

Hermione smiled and took Ron's free hand, and the four of them walked off toward the lake.

Decided to make you have to wait for the rest! The continuation of this day is coming up next! And it will probably be in two PoVs so I can have some scenes with each couple. Again, this and the following chapter are just a break from the serious storyline. The calm before the storm, you could call it, since I will be focusing on the big events very soon!

Hope you liked this chapter.

Old September 9th, 2011, 2:03 am
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Re: Butterfly Kisses (Sequel to Harry Potter and the Return to Hogwarts)

Chapter 57
Swimming and Snogging

(Harry's PoV)

Harry and Ginny lagged behind Ron and Hermione a bit, as they headed for the lake for an afternoon swim. Hermione was laughing at something Ron was saying, though their Harry couldn't hear what they were saying.

“Hermione knows,” Ginny said quietly.

“About what?” Harry asked.

“Do you have to ask?” Ginny said, glancing out of the corners of her eyes.

“You told her?!” Harry asked. “Geez, what will you girls not talk about?”

Ginny chuckled and shook her head.

“She promised she wouldn't tell Ron,” she said.

“She probably knows how he would how he'd react,” Harry said. “She's the one that has to deal with him, so I'm sure she'd prefer to keep it silent.”

“She thinks Ron wouldn't be too hard on us about it,” Ginny said.

“Right,” Harry scoffed, “This is Ron, we're talking about. I still haven't forgotten him barging in on us on my seventeenth birthday.”

“We weren't exactly a couple that day either, Harry,” Ginny said.

“'Not exactly' couples don't snog each other senseless in bedrooms, Ginny,” Harry said.

“You didn't snog me senseless,” Ginny said.

“I would have if he hadn't barged in,” Harry said, with a smirk.

Ginny grinned.

“Oh really?” she asked.

“Mmhmm,” Harry said.

“Since when did you become so open about expressing your feelings around me,” Ginny asked, “You've always been so quiet about that.”

“Since I don't have to hide anything from you anymore,” Harry said.

“If you're talking about last night,” Ginny began.

“Of course I am!” Harry said, “It felt like I poured out my soul last night.”

“That's a nice translation of what we did,” Ginny said.

“Well, what do you expect me to say?” Harry asked, “While you were falling to sleep in my arms, I laid there wondering why it took me six years – over six years! – of knowing you to realize what you basically knew straight off.”

“You give me too much credit,” Ginny said, “Back then I was afraid it was nothing more than a schoolgirl crush. If you would have told me back then that at this very moment I'd be engaged to you, and what we went through last night, I would have asked if you were taking the mickey out of me.”

Harry laughed.

“Oi!” Ron said, “Are you two coming, or are you going to keep talking?”

Harry realized that he and Ginny were walking so slow, that Ron and Hermione were quite a few yards ahead of them.

“Yeah, yeah,” Harry said, “Keep your swim trunks on.”

Ginny snickered. Ron shook his head, turned and continued walking.

“You know, Ginny,” Harry said, looking at Ron, “I think Hermione might be right. Ron might be used to seeing the two of us together.”

“You think?” Ginny asked.

“Sure,” Harry said, “If he wasn't, he'd probably find a way to pull me ahead away from you.”

“If he did that, I'd hex him,” Ginny said.

Harry grinned.

Ron was jumping from the dock into the lake when Harry and Ginny reached it. Hermione was setting down the towels and a large picnic blanket that Mrs. Weasley had packed into the basket.

Harry took off his shirt and shoes, and stowed his wand inside one of the shoes. He then waded into the lake. The water was a little chilly, thanks to the lack of sun over the past couple of weeks. Just as he was trying to get used to the water, a large splash of water hit him from behind. The force made Harry fall into the water, so that his whole body was submerged. He resurfaced to find Ginny grinning as she walked through the water over to him. Ron was bellowing with laughter behind him.

On the dock, Hermione walked to the end and dived, with grace, into the lake. She resurfaced behind Ron, who was still looking for her. Hermione grinned and pushed Ron under the water, and he resurfaced moments later.

“Where did you learn to dive like that?” Ron asked.

“I have my secrets,” Hermione said, with a smirk.

“I thought Ron already knew most of those,” Harry joked.

Hermione narrowed her eyes and sent a large wave toward him with her hand. Harry laughed.

(Ginny's PoV)

Nearly an hour passed of swimming and chatting with the others, and Ginny had become quite hungry. She walked out of the lake and over to the blanket. Hermione joined her, and they started making things for sandwiches. Meanwhile, Harry and Ron were racing back and forth in laps.

“Has my Mum been pestering you and Ron about the wedding yet?” Ginny asked, as she started putting together a sandwich. . .

“I wouldn't say she's been pestering us,” Hermione said, “She had a pretty good idea this morning.”

“Oh?” Ginny asked.

“She thinks the wedding shouldn't be the traditional wizard kind,” Hermione said. “She thinks it should be a mix of a magical and Muggle-style. Otherwise, my parents might feel too left out.”

“You are their only child, Hermione,” Ginny, “This kind of thing is going to only happen once for you, right?”

“Of course,” Hermione said, looking out at the lake toward Ron.

“Well then, I think it is a great idea to incorporate something from your Muggle side into the wedding,” Ginny said.

“There's something else,” Hermione said, looking back down at her sandwich, “Your Mum looked like she was trying to ask me something this morning, and I guess she decided against it But I think I know what it was.”

“What was it?'” Ginny asked.

Hermione sighed and looked at Ron, then over to Ginny.

“Ron and I have been keeping a little secret from your Mum since we moved back in,” Hermione said. “Let's just say... I don't sleep in your bedroom at night, like she thinks I do.”

“You sneak into Ron's bedroom every night,” Ginny said.

Hermione nodded.

“And – well,” she said, “I don't know how your mother would react to that. If it was what she wanted to ask me this morning, why would she stop herself. Unless – you know – she's okay with it.”

Ginny laughed and shook her head.

“If she's okay with it, then she must love you, Hermione,” she said.

“Do you think she knows it is something Ron and I have been doing for a while?” Hermione asked, “And that is why she seems okay with it?”

“That and she knows you're going to be her daughter-in-law pretty soon,” Ginny said.

Hermione nodded.

“Maybe I should just tell her,” Hermione said. “What's the worst that could happen?”

“Knowing my Mum?” Ginny asked, raising her eyebrows.

“I see your point,” Hermione said.

“If you think it will help,” Ginny said, “Tell her Ron isn't the only one of her youngest children sharing a bed.”

“Oho!” Hermione laughed, “No thank you! I'm not scaring your Mum twice is one conversation.”

Ginny chuckled. She took a bite out of her sandwich, then sighed and looked out onto the lake.

“Wrong flavor?” Hermione asked, before biting into her own sandwich.

“I'm just thinking about tomorrow,” Ginny said, “I gotta go back to the first Quidditch practice after our loss. That's not going to be fun.”

“I imagine Gwenog won't be too hard on you,” Hermione said, “You need – what – one more win to get into the playoffs? I bet she already knows you can get that.”

“I hope so,” Ginny said, “We play the Wimbourne Wasps in less than two weeks. They're favorites for the Cup, haven't lost a match this season, and are already in the playoffs.”

“Ouch,” Hermione said.

“Indeed,” Ginny said, “How's work on your end?”

“Not too much happening right now,” Hermione said, “Last couple of weeks have been quite boring to be honest. We've had three cases in two weeks and each took one day of planning, and one day in front of the Wizengamot. We won two of them, and the other one is going to a re-trial, though we can't work on it. Other than that, I've had quite a bit of time to work on wedding plans. I've even started my part of the guest list, though most of my guests are fellow students and Professors.”

“Are you inviting Viktor Krum?” Ginny asked.

Hermione smirked and shook her head.

“I couldn't do that to him,” Hermione said, motioning to Ron.

Hermione finished her sandwich and walked back toward the lake, just as Harry was walking out. Over on the dock, Ron was going through a large wooden chest. He pulled out a large self-inflating raft and threw it into the lake. As it hit the water, it inflated on its own and floated on top of the water. Ron them jumped back into the water.

“Hungry?” Ginny asked Harry.

“Starving,” Harry said, crawling onto the blanket, toward Ginny. “But that can wait.”

He leaned toward Ginny and kissed her.

“What about Ron?” Ginny said, in mid-kiss.

“I'm sure Hermione will distract him,” Harry said, grinning.

Ginny smiled and leaned back toward Harry to kiss him. The force of her kiss, made Harry fall back onto the blanket. She grinned and moved toward him.

“I love you, Harry,” Ginny said.

“I love you too, Ginny,” Harry said.

Ginny grinned and kissed him again. She allowed his tongue in and she swept hers against it.

(Ron's PoV – a couple minutes earlier)

Ron threw the raft into the lake, dove in the water, and swam toward it. When he surfaced, he climbed into the raft. Hermione swam over to him, and leaned up on the raft.

“Room for two?” she asked.

“Get up here,” he said, grinning.

As Hermione crawled up onto the raft, Ron's eyes were averted elsewhere. On the shore, he saw Harry talking to Ginny, and moving closer to her.

“Don't pay attention to them,” Hermione said.

“They look very comfortable over there,” Ron said.

“They're in love, Ron,” Hermione said, “They can do whatever they want.”

Ron opened his mouth to say something to Harry and Ginny, but Hermione playfully slapped his arm.

“Ow,” Ron muttered.

“You deserve it,” Hermione said, “Let them be. You don't see Ginny yelling at us, do you?”

“No,” Ron said.

“Or Harry telling his two best mates to behave?” Hermione asked.

“I think he's too occupied,” Ron said.

“Be happy for them,” Hermione said, “They've done nothing we haven't done.”

Ron narrowed his eyes. Did she mean –?

“Except for that,” Hermione said, quickly, though she averted her eyes.

“You'd tell me if Ginny told you about that, right?” Ron asked.

Hermione sighed.

“Probably,” she said, “Unless she asked me not to.”

“Why would she do that?” Ron asked.

“Maybe,” Hermione said, “because she knows how you usually act around her and Harry when it comes to their relationship.”

“She's my little sister, Hermione,” Ron said.

“Who's not exactly little anymore, Ron,” Hermione said.

Ron frowned.

“You trust Harry,” Hermione said, “Right?”

“Of course,” Ron said, “He's my best mate.”

“Do you trust him with her?” Hermione asked.

“I've said before that I do,” Ron said.

“Then be happy for them,” Hermione said, “Even if they choose to move to that step of their relationship. It is going to happen sooner or later.”

“Fine,” Ron said, sighing, “But if he hurts --”

“Ronald!” Hermione interrupted him, “Do you honestly think he'd ever do anything to hurt your sister?”

“No,” Ron said.

“Then be happy for them,” Hermione said.

“Okay, I'm happy for them,” Ron said.

“Good,” Hermione said.

She crawled closer to Ron and kissed him softly. Ron grinned against her lips and returned the kiss. Ron then backed up and sighed.

“So how long has it been?” Ron asked.

“How long since what?” Hermione asked.

“You know what,” Ron said.

Hermione closed her eyes and put her head against the raft.

“Am I that obvious?” Hermione asked.

“Tell me, Hermione,” Ron muttered.

“Last night,” she said. “Okay? Ginny was upset because she lost her Quidditch match, and Harry cheered her up and things led to that. That is all I know.”

Ron sighed looked up at the sky.

“What are you thinking about?” Hermione asked.

“Why didn't Harry tell me?” Ron asked, “We were getting dressed to come down here, and he had this look in his eyes. When I noticed it, he looked away.”

“Maybe because the last time you caught them doing something you had a problem with,” Hermione said, “You took the mickey out of him.”

Ron looked at Hermione and raised his eyebrows. Hermione rolled her eyes.

“Harry's seventeenth birthday,” she said, “Ginny's room?”

“They weren't together that day, Hermione,” Ron said.

“They were obviously very much in love even then,” Hermione said. “They were only apart, because Harry didn't want her to go through missing him that much when we were away hunting for the Horcruxes. And he couldn't take the thought of how she would react if something would happen to him.

“She'd still feel the same way either way,” Ron said.

“Do you obviously think Harry thought about that?” Hermione asked.

“I guess not,” Ron said.

Hermione nodded.

“Okay,” Ron said, “Maybe I can overreact a little. But I'm his best mate.”

“And she's your sister,” Hermione said, “If it was me, I'd be scared of you too.”

Ron grinned.

“Are you going to tell them I told you?” Hermione asked.

“No,” Ron said, shaking his head, “I'm not going to do that to you or them.”

Hermione nodded. She then growled and put her head back into the raft.

“What?” Ron asked.

“Nothing,” Hermione's muffled voice said.

Ron leaned over to her and kissed her hair.

“You can tell me,” he said.

“I'm a horrible person,” Hermione said.

“How could you ever think that?” Ron asked.

“I'm not good at keeping secrets these days,” Hermione said, “Ginny trusted me with hers and a couple hours later, it is out. And now I'm thinking there is no way we can keep this secret from your Mum about me in your room every night.”

“If it helps, I basically goaded Ginny and Harry's secret out of you,” Ron said.

“I still revealed it,” Hermione said.

“Do you think we should just tell my Mum then?” Ron asked.

“Well, put it this way,” Hermione said, looking over at Ron, “What is she going to do if she finds out, and we don't tell her?”

Ron sighed and shook his head.

“Okay,” Ron said, “We'll tell her when we get back.”

“No matter what happens, Ron,” Hermione said, “I don't regret sneaking up into your room every night.”

Ron grinned.

“I never regret one moment of having to listen to that infernal alarm clock,” he said.

“Never?” Hermione asked.

“Maybe one moment,” Ron said.

Hermione laughed. Ron leaned back to her and kissed her again.

A few hours later, as the sun began to set in the west, the air became rather chilly. Hermione and the others dried off, cleaned up the picnic and headed back the the Burrow.

When they arrived, Ron took Hermione's hand.

“We'll tell her together,” Ron said.

Hermione nodded

“Coming, guys?” Harry asked.

Ron nodded and the four of them walked into the Burrow. Ron's parents were sitting at the table, looking for solemn about something. Hermione was about to speak, but Ron squeezed her hand. Hermione looked at him, and he shook his head.

“Mum?” Ginny asked, “Dad? What's wrong?”

"Just got an urgent owl from the Ministry," Mrs. Weasley said, lifting up a piece of parchment.

“The Minister of Magic is in St. Mungo's,” Mr. Weasley said. “He was attacked in his office a couple of hours ago.”

Cliffhanger! I couldn't resist ending this wonderful and light chapter with something to get you back in the seriousness of the story.

More to come soon! Hope you liked it!


Last edited by Fury; September 9th, 2011 at 2:44 am.
Old September 9th, 2011, 3:01 pm
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Re: Butterfly Kisses (Sequel to Harry Potter and the Return to Hogwarts)

Chapter 58
Interrogation Tactics

Author's Note: Q&A Time!
Q: Who is the person that Daphne was in love with that died in the war?
A: You'll get that answer before the end of the story.

(Ron's PoV)

Ten minutes after they got the news, Ron and Harry were dressed and standing in front of the fireplace at the Burrow.

“I'll be right behind you,” Ron said to Harry.

Harry nodded. He walked into the green fire and turned back toward them.

“I'll be back at the house waiting for you, Harry,” Ginny said.

“We might be all night, Ginny,” Harry said, “Don't wait up for me.”

Ginny frowned. She blew him a kiss.

“St. Mungo's!” Harry said, dropping the green powder.

He disappeared in the middle of a large flame. Hermione walked over to Ron and hugged him.

“Be safe,” she said.

“I'm sure St. Mungo's will be the safest place this evening, Hermione,” Ron said.

“Right,” Hermione said.

She kissed Ron softly and backed away.

“See you soon,” Ron said.

Ron walked over to his father, who was holding the bag of Floo Powder.

“Give Kingsley our best,” Mr. Weasley said.

Ron nodded and took a handful of Floo Powder, then walked into the fireplace. He turned, and looked back at Hermione.

“St. Mungo's!” he said, clearly.

He dropped the powder and felt his feet leave the ground.

A minute later, after spinning through fire and past different grates, he felt his feet land, and he walked into a cloud of soot and dust. When it cleared, he found that the Atrium of St. Mungo's was quite the sight to behold. Ministry officials were walking around, others were talking to each other in rather animated though hushed whispers, and a few Aurors were standing guard at the entrance to the hospital, and near the grates. Harry was waiting for him outside the grates.

“Come on,” Harry said, “Hopefully everyone recognizes us as Aurors.”

Ron followed Harry to the front desk. Instead of the usual grouchy Welcome Witch, a Ministry official was sitting at the desk.

“Aurors Harry Potter and Ron Weasley reporting in,” Harry said.

“Identification?” the official said.

“Er... we left them at the Ministry,” Ron said, “We came straight here.”

“No problem,” the official said, “That's been happening all afternoon. Just need to check your wands.”

Harry and Ron set their wands on the desk. The official picked up a long thin golden rod and moved it over the wands. Two slips came out of the rod.

“Identification confirmed,” the official said, after reading the slips. “Oh, it seems the two of you are expected tonight. Did you know?”

Ron and Harry shook their heads.

“Apparently the Minister wants to speak to the two of you,” the official said.

“Is he – you know – able to speak to us?” Harry asked.

“He's had it quite rough,” the official said, “I am lax in details though. All I know is he was attacked, but he fought off his attacker before he succumbed to unconsciousness. He woke up almost half-an-hour ago. It seems he wants to talk to you about it. One moment.”

The official handed Ron and Harry two badges.

“This will get you straight to the fourth floor without anyone bothering you,” he said. “Don't keep the Minister waiting. He could slip back into unconsciousness.”

Ron looked at Harry, who frowned. Harry then walked off and Ron followed him. They reached one of the lifts and soon, the lifts were moving toward the fourth floor.

“How could they get in his office?” Ron asked. “Do you think there's been someone on the inside?”

“We'll find that out, Ron,” Harry said, “First we'll see what Kingsley has to say.”

Ron nodded. A minute later, the lift opened and they walked out. They showed the guards their badges.

“Room Seven,” one of the guards said.

Ron and Harry walked down the hall, though they didn't need to look for the room number. The room was being watched over by four guards. Ron and Harry showed them their badges. The guard closest to the door stared at the badges for the moment, then looked up at them. He reached for the door knob and opened it. Ron followed Harry into the room.

Kingsley was laying on the bed, dressed in a hospital gown. He had bruises on his forehead and on his cheeks, wrappings and bandages on various parts of his body that wasn't covered by the gown, and he looked pretty weak, but when he saw Ron and Harry, he smiled. A female Healer was standing off to the side, with a clipboard in her hand.

“You may go for a little while, Gretchen,” Kingsley said, “I am in very capable hands.”

Gretchen bowed and walked out of the room.

“Sorry we didn't arrive sooner, Minister,” Harry said, “We were – er – swimming.”

Kingsley grinned and his bruises on his cheeks became more colored.

“A good swim sounds refreshing right about now,” he said.

“It was, sir,” Ron said.

“What happened to you, Minister?” Harry asked.

“I was working on some official documents,” Kingsley said, “when I heard a racket outside the office. Next thing I know, the door to my office opened and a young man, about your age, walked into my office and pointed his wand at me. He stated 'this is for my father' then sent a Killing Curse toward me. His aiming must have been off, because he hit my desk, tearing it to pieces. Some of my wrappings are from shards of the desk piercing my skin.”

Ron grimaced at the picture in his mind.

“I was knocked to the ground, though still conscious,” Kingsley said. “I reached for my wand, and the man walked over to me and applied the Cruciatus Curse on me. I've been known to fight through the curse many times, and the young man was not trained too well in it. When he realized I was fighting through it, he applied it again... and again... and again.”

“He wasn't trying to kill you?” Harry asked, “I mean – after the first attempt?”

“No,” Kingsley said, shaking his head, “And I wondered why. Anyway, he kept talking about his father. He kept repeating 'my father'. While I was fighting the curse, I was reaching for my wand. Just before I blacked out, I was able to get off a spell and it hit him, sending him flying across the room. He was weakened by it, but he was able to get up. He must have been frightened that I'd get up and kill him, because he retreated. As far as I know he was able to escape the Ministry.”

“Maybe he was afraid to kill you?” Ron asked.

“I don't think so,” Kingsley said. “He had no problem killing the guard who stood outside.”

Ron frowned.

“Did he have a family, sir?” Harry asked.

“A wife and two small kids,” Kingsley said, his lips quivering with emotion, “I am going to speak to them myself when I am able to.”

“Your attacker,” Harry said, “Do you know who he was?”

Kingsley muttered something that sounded like “not.”

“You don't?” Harry asked.

“His name is Theodore Nott,” Kingsley said.

Ron looked at Harry, who looked at him, then back at the Minister.

“He was our fellow classmate,” Harry said.

“He told you his name?” Ron asked.

“No,” Kingsley said, “But his eyes – I'll never forget those eyes.”

He closed his eyes and shuddered. He inhaled and looked back at Ron and Harry.

“They are the same eyes of his father,” he said, “whom I killed in battle.”

Kingsley frowned and looked away from Ron and Harry. Suddenly, the door burst open. Ron and Harry turned around, pointing their wands at it. A man was standing there, holding up his badge.

“Bloody hell,” Ron muttered.

“Don't you know better than to come in here like that?!” Harry demanded.

“M-my apologies,” the man said, breathless. “Auror Daniels reporting for duty. I have some news – some news for the Minister.”

“Yes?” Kingsley asked.

“We caught him, sir!” Daniels said, “Your attacker. We got him.”

“Where was he?” Harry asked.

“Hogsmeade Village,” Daniels said, “He was looking for something – or someone – there. He won't say what. He is now in high-security custody in the Auror Department at the Ministry.”

“Thank you, Auror Daniels,” Kingsley said, “You may go.”

Auror Daniels nodded nervously and walked out of the room, shutting the door behind him. Ron and Harry turned back to Kingsley.

“Do you want us to interrogate Nott, sir?” Harry asked.

“Would you consider that wise, Harry?” Kingsley asked. “If he was – as you say – your fellow classmate, he surely knows the two of you.”

“We can more than handle him, sir,” Ron said.

“Will you go tonight?” Kingsley asked.

“Right now, sir, if you wish,” Harry said, “No matter the late hours it may take.”

“Go,” Kingsley said, “If this takes you all night, the two of you have my full permission to take off however many hours you need tomorrow to rest.”

“Thank you, Minister,” Harry said, “Is there anything you wish us to ask him from you?”

“Give him my apologies for taking his father away from him,” Kingsley said.

“We'll make sure he knows, sir,” Harry said, “Good evening.”

“Rest up, sir,” Ron said, “My parents give you their best wishes as well.”

“Tell Arthur and Molly thanks for me,” Kingsley said.

“I will give them the message,” Ron said.

He nodded and looked at each of them.

“Thank you, gentlemen,” he said, “You two are indeed a sight for these sore eyes.”

Ron and Harry smiled and walked out of the room.

A little over half-an-hour later, Ron and Harry arrived in the Auror Department.

“Aurors Potter and Weasley?” the witch at the front desk asked.

“Yes,” Harry said.

“The Minister sent an owl ahead telling us of your arrival,” the witch said, “His attacker is in Interrogation Room B. You are expected.”

“Thanks,” Harry said.

Ron followed Harry over to the wall. Harry tapped the wall with his wand and part of it slid away, revealing the entrance.

“Make sure the fiend pays for attacking the Minister,” the witch said, “He deserves anything you give to him.”

Ron followed Harry through the entryway, and they walked down the hallway and through the door leading to the Interrogation rooms. Two guards were standing outside Interrogation Room B, and one was standing in the room. Theodore Nott was sitting at a table, his hands and legs forced down by magical bindings.

“Aurors Potter and Weasley here for interrogation,” Harry said to the guards.

The guard tapped his wand against the door and it slid open.

“Good luck, gentleman,” the guard said.

Harry and Ron walked in, and the guard inside walked out.

“Harry Potter and Ron Weasley,” Nott said, “Why am I not surprised? They couldn't send anyone better so they picked two rookies? Figures.”

Ron and Harry took a seat on the farthest end of the table. Nott looked at Ron.

“How's Granger?” he asked, “You cleanse her of her Mudblood yet?”

Ron opened his mouth, but the look in Harry's eyes quieted him.

“How do you feel about your sister with Potter?” Nott asked, “I can just imagine what they do every night. I'll say this for you, Potter. At least you have enough sense to get with a pureblood.”

“Let's start off with the easier questions, Theo,” Harry said. “They found you in Hogsmeade. Why were you there?”

“Was at Weasley's brother's shop,” Nott said, “They had a sale on Love Potions. Thought I'd pick one up in case I ever met up with your girlfriend.”

“Why did you attack the Minister of Magic?” Harry asked.

Nott emitted a mocking laugh.

“Wouldn't pass a law preventing people like Weasley to marry people like Granger,” he said.

“Was it because of your father?” Harry asked.

Nott's eyes narrowed. Ron grinned. They were finally getting somewhere.

“Don't talk about my father, Potter,” Nott growled.

“You're part of this rogue group, aren't you?” Harry asked. “Their mission is to get revenge for the loss of their loved ones. The person you wanted revenge on was the Minister of Magic, was it not?”

Nott's nostrils flared.

“Took me months – months – to find out who was responsible for the death of my father,” Nott said, “I had no idea it was someone as important as the Minister of Magic. I had thoughts that it was someone like you. Or Weasley. I was given the opportunity to infiltrate the Ministry under the knowledge that I wanted a job here. Getting a job was easy, even for the son of a Death Eater. After the Dark Lord took this place over, people were scared it might happen again. Many left and didn't want their jobs here anymore. The Ministry became desperate. They'd hire just about anyone... isn't that right, Weasley?”

Nott grinned

Why do you think you're where you are now?” he said, to Ron, “Do you really think the Auror Training Corp would invite someone like you if they their pickings weren't slim?”

Nott chuckled.

“Anyway, I took up a role in the Magical Census Department,” he continued. “Thought I could be most useful there. The Census department... they know a lot of things that they don't let out. They know things about the general population... they know things about you, Weasley, that you wouldn't even let your mother know.”

“That's how you know about our personal lives,” Harry said.

Nott grinned again.

“So, the moment came when I could prove my worth to my colleagues,” Nott said. “A couple of my colleagues needed a place to live where they could be most useful to their mission. I found a house to put them in, and nobody in the Ministry would even know they were there.”

“The house down from my old place,” Ron said.

“Not as thick as I thought, Weasley,” Nott said. “Very good. Yes. You and Granger had so much magic circulating your house, nobody would know the difference if I put a couple more wizards on the block. Soon after they moved in, your father, Weasley, decided to come snooping around.”

Ron narrowed his eyes.

“He asked one of my co-workers who was living at that particular house,” Nott said. “All I had to do was use a simple Confounding Charm on the co-worker. Arthur Weasley's so thick... he wouldn't know he was being lied to.”

Ron clenched his fist.

“How did you find out the Minister was responsible for your father's death?” Harry asked.

“Didn't I answer that already?” Nott asked. “The Census department know a lot of things they don't let out. They have ways of finding out who killed whom, if they can find the bodies. Simple spell, similar to Priori Incantatem. Very useful tool. I discovered it and I couldn't believe my eyes at first. The man I was looking for... right in this Ministry this whole time.“

“What happened today?” Harry asked.

Nott grinned. He seemed too full of himself to realize he was giving them exactly what they wanted.

“All I had to do was get to the Minister,” Nott said. “That was too easy. Do you realize your Auror Department is stretched thin these days? Your Minister has sent so many Aurors out searching for my friends that he doesn't even care about his own security. I just had to march into his office under the pretense that I had to deliver a few papers. The guard standing outside his office – not even an Auror, I bet – he certainly didn't move like one. He went down easily. Then I just marched into the Minister's Office.”

“Why couldn't you do it?” Harry asked. “You seem tough enough. You certainly were tough enough to kill his guard.”

Nott grinned.

“I could see the fear in the Minister's eyes,” Nott said.

He widened his eyes and, struggling through his bindings, he raised his hands enough to point at them.

“As he was looking into my eyes,” Nott said, “I knew he was seeing my father.”

He shook his head and laughed.

“I didn't need to kill the Minister,” Nott said, “The revenge I sought out for the death of my father... I realized – I didn't have to do anything! He feels the pain that I needed him to feel. There are far worse things than death, Potter. Living with the thought that you took a man's life when you didn't want to... that's going to eat you up. Shacklebolt's killing himself a little every time he sees my father in his head. So I'm sitting here the happiest man in the world right now. My mission is done. I found who killed my father.”

Nott smiled and relaxed himself in his chair.

“I'll just sit here now,” Nott said, “and let every one of my friends finish their missions. And they will. Oh, yes. You won't be able to stop them.”

Harry grinned and leaned forward.

“We'll see about that,” he said, “Come, Ron. We're finished here.”

Harry and Ron stood up, and they walked out of the room.

“Should we have told Nott that Kingsley apologized for his father's death?” Ron asked.

“Nott already knows how Kingsley feels, Ron,” Harry said. “We don't need to give him the satisfaction.”

“Some interrogation tactics you got there, boys,” one of the guards said. “Let the prisoner keep talking and before you know it, he'll spill his darkest secrets. I never would have thought about that one.”

“Some people just don't know when to shut up,” Ron said.

I'll just end that one right there. I might have had a little too much fun with Nott's interrogation. Haha.

Hope you liked this chapter!

Old September 9th, 2011, 5:36 pm
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Re: Butterfly Kisses (Sequel to Harry Potter and the Return to Hogwarts)

Chapter 59
Draco's Helping Hand

Author's Note: My plans for the ending for the big storyline don't begin until the middle of December in the story, so I'm going to do one or two more chapters, then skip ahead with some descriptions so I can get to that part. Otherwise, I'm going to end up with a string of chapters I'll have no idea what to do with.

(Hermione's PoV)

Hermione was sitting at the kitchen table of the Burrow with Ron's parents, waiting for information. Ginny had left for her and Harry's house shortly after Harry and Ron had gone to St. Mungo's. It had been nearly two since Ron had disappeared into the Floo Network.

Hermione sat there wondering if Ron would be helping with the search for Kinglsey's attacker, and how long it would take before he would be able to come back home. Their relaxing afternoon swim seemed like ages ago now. It didn't even seem like she had just left the lake a little over two hours ago.

The only thing Hermione had been worried about two hours ago was if she should tell Mrs. Weasley that she had been sleeping in Ron's room. Now there were more pressing issues on her mind. No word about Kingsley's condition – whether he was still alive or not – had come their way.

Mrs. Weasley had made some tea to calm their nerves, and it was helping a little, but Hermione was still worried.

“I thought Ron or Harry would have sent a letter back here before now,” Hermione said. “Surely they must know something.”

“They're probably quite busy,” Mr. Weasley said. “This is what they do.”

Hermione nodded. She turned to the Weasley clock, just in time to see Ron's hand go from Work to Traveling, then headed toward Home. Hermione jumped from her chair and ran into the living room. Just as she did, a cloud of dust and soot engulfed the room. Hermione raised her wand, and when the air cleared, Ron was standing there. Hermione grinned, ran over to him and hugged him, then kissed him.

“How's the Minister?” Hermione asked.

Ron smiled and took Hermione's hand then led her into the kitchen. As they sat down, Mrs. Weasley poured Ron a cup of tea. He took a deep swig of it and looked at the three of them.

“The Minister will recover,” Ron said, “He was able to talk to Harry and I. He was put under the Cruciatus Curse many times, but he was able to fend off his attacker, and he will be fine after some rest.”

There was a huge sigh of relief around the table.

“Did you find out who did this?” Mr. Weasley asked.

Ron nodded.

“That is why I'm back here so quickly,” Ron said, “It was Theodore Nott.”

“They captured him already?” Mrs. Weasley asked, “Thank goodness.”

“He was in Hogsmeade, searching for somebody,” Ron said. “Whoever he was searching for must have found him first. Because when the Aurors found him, he had been Stunned.”

Ron took another gulp of his tea.

“Harry and I just finished up interrogating Nott a little while ago,” he said, “He was getting revenge on Kingsley for the death of his father.”

“He thinks Kingsley killed his father?” Hermione asked.

“He did kill his father,” Ron said, “Kingsley told Harry and I this himself.”

“Did Nott tell you anything else?” Mr. Weasley asked.

“He wouldn't give us anybody he's been working with,” Ron said. “He said his part of the mission is over. He is letting his friends do their part, so he refused to give them up. They are determined to get their revenge for the deaths of their families and friends.”

Ron gulped the rest of his tea down than stood up.

“Are you hungry, dear?” Mrs. Weasley asked.

“No, Mum,” Ron said. “I had enough to eat for lunch. I'm just going to go some rest.”

Ron looked at Hermione. She nodded and he walked out of the kitchen. Hermione sighed and took a sip of her tea.

“Looks like there is only one person Ron wants to talk to right now,” Mrs. Weasley said.

Hermione looked up from her glass at Mrs. Weasley.

“I know, Hermione,” Mrs. Weasley said.

“You know I haven't slept a wink in Ginny's room, don't you?” Hermione asked.

Mrs. Weasley smiled. At the end of the table, Mr. Weasley looked back and forth between Hermione and his wife. He was obviously confused at the matter of subject between the two women.

“Molly,” Hermione said, “I'm sorry I --”

“Hermione, you don't have to explain it to me,” Mrs. Weasley said. “Do you honestly think I'd want to stop what must have been happening for a couple months, just because you've come back into our house? You and Ron love each other and I obviously have nothing to worry about.”

Hermione blushed.

“Thank you, Molly,” Hermione said.

“Go to him, Hermione,” Mrs. Weasley said, “He's had a rough evening.”

Hermione drank the rest of her tea and stood up, then left the kitchen. She grinned as she walked up the stairs toward Ron's room. She rapped her knuckles on the door.

“Door's open,” Ron said.

Hermione pushed the door opened and walked in. Ron was sitting on his bed. Hermione shut the door behind her.

“What about Mum?” Ron asked, “Won't she realize you're in here.”

“She basically told me to come up here,” Hermione said.

Ron raised his eyebrows.

“You told her?” he asked.

“I didn't have to tell her anything,” Hermione said.

“She knows?” Ron asked. “She knows and she still allowed you to come up here?”

Hermione nodded.

“She's fine with it?” Ron said, a perplexed grin crossing his lips.

“She said she knows we love each other,” Hermione said, “And that she has nothing to worry about.”

Ron grinned. Hermione walked over to the bed and sat next to him.

“What's wrong?” Hermione asked.

“What do you mean?” Ron asked.

“Something is obviously on your mind, Ron,” Hermione said.

Ron sighed and looked down at hands resting on his lap.

“I didn't tell my parents everything Harry and I found out,” Ron said.

Hermione raised her eyebrows.

“Theodore Nott was working in the Ministry,” Ron said, “in the Census Department.”

“He was inside the Ministry this whole time?” Hermione asked, “The son of a Death Eater. But... Kingsley's investigations.”

“He went in after Kingsley was finished with his investigations,” Ron said, “That's not the worst part. The Census Department is worse than the Daily Prophet, Hermione. Their department knows things about everyone in the wizarding world. It is one of the Ministry's deepest secrets. Nott is aware of our relationship. He might even be aware of our engagement. He knows about Harry's relationship with Ginny. He also knew where we used to live.”

“Was he the one who broke into our house?” Hermione asked.

“No,” Ron said, “But he might as well have been. He is the reason there were members of his group living near our house. He's also the reason the Ministry had no idea they were wizards. Do you remember when I asked my father to go and find out who Parker and Lauren really were?”

Hermione nodded.

“Nott was working in the Census Department the day Dad went there searching for answers,” Ron said. “All Nott had to do was use a Confundus Charm on whoever my Dad spoke to, and my Dad would get false information. If the Census Department reported there were no wizards living in that house, the Ministry wouldn't know the difference. The magic coming out of our house was enough for two houses. Even if the occupants of that house were afraid to use magic, they could still use it and the Ministry would have been none the wiser.”

“Whoever was spying on us had the perfect tool to do so,” Hermione said.

“Theodore Nott himself,” Ron said.

“So do you know who Stunned Nott in Hogsmeade?” Hermione asked.

“No,” Ron said, shaking his head, “But whoever did... I want to shake his hand.”

(Draco's PoV – less than three hours earlier)

Draco was running low on supplies in the cave, so he traveled to Hogsmeade to clean up and do some shopping. He figured if he did this once every few days, there wouldn't be any suspicions about his reasons for being in the area. After washing up in the restroom of the Three Broomsticks he walked out and found Hannah talking to Neville Longbottom.

“Back again, Draco?” Hannah asked.

“Thought I'd answer that rain check,” Draco said.

“Fish and Chips, and a Butterbeer,” Hannah said. “Coming up.”

Hannah stood up, and Draco took her spot.

“Nice to see you out of the Greenhouse, Longbottom,” Draco said.

“Er... thanks,” Neville said.

“Relax,” Draco said, “I know the Tentacula isn't the only thing that has its arms around you these days.”

Neville blushed.

“Surprised to see you with Hannah,” Draco said.

“Why?” Neville asked, “She's great.”

“I thought you were destined to be with Loony Lovegood, to be honest,” Draco said.

“Luna?” Neville asked. “She's brilliant. But... no, we're just friends.”

Suddenly, the doors to the Three Broomsticks opened and two men dressed in Auror robes walked into the room. Draco's eyes widened and turned his face away from them.

“Has anyone seen this man?” one of the Aurors said to everyone in the room.

“Hey, Malfoy,” Neville whispered, “Isn't that your friend?”

Draco turned briefly and looked at the piece of parchment the man was holding. It showed a large picture of Theodore Nott.

“Anyone?” the Auror asked. “This man is wanted for the attempted murder of the Minister of Magic.”

Draco's eyes widened. It seems Nott had found the man who murdered his father after all. Several people in the restaurant gasped. Draco heard Hannah sobbing. Neville got up from the table and walked over to her, hugging her.

“We haven't seen him,” Neville said.

“He's not here,” the Auror said to his partner, then looked around. “If anyone sees him, find us. Do not confront him yourself. He is considered highly dangerous.”

“How's Minister Shacklebolt?” Hannah asked, her voice quivering.

“We believe he'll be okay,” the Auror said.

The Aurors walked out of the Three Broomsticks. Draco's thoughts wandered. If Nott was in Hogsmeade, there was only one reason he was there. Daphne must have thought Draco was still in the area, and had ordered Nott find him. Draco stood up and walked toward the door.

“Another rain check?” Hannah asked.

“Sorry, Hannah,” Draco said, “I have some business to attend to.”

“You're going to look for Nott, aren't you?” Neville asked.

Draco froze. He was going to try to get out of town, but he realized that wasn't going to work. If Nott was searching for him, he wasn't going to stop. He looked at Neville and nodded.

“Give him a hex for us, Draco,” Neville said.

Draco grinned and walked out of the restaurant. He turned and looked up the road. Just as he did, a large crate of products in front of a store down the street exploded.

“Nott!” Draco growled.

Suddenly, Draco saw him. Theodore Nott was running out of a store and up the street, out of town. The two Aurors that were in the restaurant ran out of Weasley's Wizard Wheezes, and ran down the road... entirely in the wrong direction.

“Idiots!” Draco muttered, “Do I have to do this myself?”

Draco shook his head. He then realized he knew where Nott was heading. If Nott knew Aurors were looking for him, there were only two places he could hide... and his cave was way too far away. Fortunately, Draco knew a shortcut through town toward his destination, and he ended up at the Shrieking Shack in no less than ten minutes. As soon as he arrived, he saw Nott running down the path, toward the Shack. Draco grinned.

“Reducto!” he muttered, pointing his wand at the shack.

The door of the Shrieking Shack flew off its hinges, and Nott stopped in his tracks, looking frightened.

“Stupefy!” Draco yelled.

Draco's spell flew toward Nott and hit him straight in the back. With a loud grunt, Nott flew to the ground, stunned. Draco walked over to Nott, and kicked his wand away.

“Have fun with the Aurors,” Draco said, then pointed his wand to the sky. “Periculum!”

Red sparks shot up into the air. Draco ran back toward the Shrieking Shack and hid behind one of the large cobbled walls, just as he heard two synchronizing cracks.

“Look who we have here, Hector!” one of the Aurors grinned. “What did I tell you, eh? Announce the presence of a fugitive in the area, and that he attacked the Minister, and they'd do our work for us if we couldn't. Let's take this piece of rubbish back to the Ministry.”

A moment later, Draco heard two more cracking sounds and he looked up. The two Aurors and Theodore Nott were gone. Draco sighed in relief. Once again, he had gotten lucky, and had evaded capture from members of Daphne's group.

He wondered how long it would be until his luck ran out.

This chapter was extremely short, but I just wanted to use it to answer a couple questions: How did Nott get captured, and did Mrs. Weasley find out Hermione and Ron's secret? Those were both answered.

Many of you have been asking me questions about my story. Now I have one for you. Right now, we're in the second week of November in the story. I don't really have much planned at all for the big events of this story to happen until the middle of December. Do you want me to skip until that time-frame, and give a small description of things that happened between the two dates? Or should I try to figure out something to do in between the two dates? I will say only this. I am so focused on the big events, I have very little focus on anything else leading up to them.

Hope you liked this chapter!


Last edited by Fury; September 9th, 2011 at 5:45 pm.
Old September 10th, 2011, 3:56 pm
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Re: Butterfly Kisses (Sequel to Harry Potter and the Return to Hogwarts)

Chapter 60
First Strike

Author's Note: So I've decided to do a time-skip and do a description of what happened in between. I just want to get to this next chapter so bad. I've been planning it for so long. This chapter will be in two different PoVs.

After the capture of Nott, Ron, Harry and the rest of the Aurors in charge of working on finding the rest of the members of the rogue group. While Kingsley was recovering, he was taking the lead of the mission from his hospital room in St. Mungo's.

Ron and Harry were sent to Hogsmeade to find out who Nott was going after. They interviewed Hannah Abbot who told them that Draco Malfoy had frequently been showing up to Hogsmeade lately, but she didn't know where he was staying. Aberforth told them that Draco hadn't stayed in the Hog's Head since the start of November. After a few days of no leads where Draco could be, they gave up their search at Hogsmeade, and returned to the main mission.

Unfortunately, that wasn't going well either. When Kingsley returned to the Ministry, in the middle of November, he started up the investigations once again to interview anyone who had applied to the Ministry after his initial investigations had been completed. These interviews took quite a while and didn't end until late into the second week of December, and still he found nothing. Harry, Ron and the Aurors were just as unlucky. It seemed it was inevitable and they were going to have to wait for Daphne to make the first strike.

Meanwhile, Ginny and the Harpies' next match against the Wimbourne Wasps was a close one. Wimbourne Wasps had taken a commanding lead in points, but thanks to a last minute score by Ginny, and a lucky catch of the Snitch for the Harpies' Seeker, De Pierre, the Harpies had won the match by ten points, and they were now in the playoffs. Unfortunately, they lost their last match before the playoffs and would not get complete home-pitch advantage throughout the playoffs.

Gwenog Jones had seen how depleted her team's motivation was after their end-of-season loss, that she had planned a special pep rally celebration for her team and the Harpies' Fans. It would take place December 18th, five days before their first playoff game.

Draco was having a rough few weeks in the cave. December had blown in a harsh winter, and Draco had to keep supply runs going every couple of days. Thankfully, he had picked up a special magically-heated sleeping bag to keep him warm, so he wouldn't have to keep a fire going during the evening.

Besides the risk of freezing to death, he also had a huge risk just walking into Hogsmeade. Hannah Abbot had confided in him that Aurors from the Ministry were looking for him, but Draco had convinced her not to reveal too much. She had offered her guest bedroom in her house just a few miles outside of Hogsmeade, but Draco decided he couldn't take it. He decided that, like his time in the safe-house for months, this time in the cave was just another test for him.

Besides, he knew if Daphne was true to her word, whatever she had planned was going to happen before too long. He had thought of the possibilities where Daphne could attack. Then finally, one week before he had planned to meet Astoria in Hogwarts for the Yule Ball, he realized what her true motivations were for leading the rogue group. If that was the case, he had picked a very good place to hide if he wanted to be the one to stop Daphne's rogue group.

(December 18th, 1999)

(Draco's PoV)

The Yule Ball was scheduled to start at five in the evening. Draco would be meeting Astoria at the entrance of the castle, shortly before the Yule Ball would start. Astoria had sent him a letter the day before, telling him to meet a carriage in Hogsmeade before half-past-four, when they would be leaving for the castle. Shortly after four, he apparated near Hogsmeade, and walked into the small village. He was dressed in a tuxedo that he had bought in Hogsmeade the day before. When he arrived at the carriages, there were only a couple of them. Hannah was standing outside one, dressed in a beautiful white-and-pink gown. When she saw him, she waved and he walked over to her.

“Don't tell me you're going to the Yule Ball as well!” Draco said.

“Neville invited me,” Hannah said, “I couldn't decline. I haven't had a nice date with him in a month. You look very smart in that tuxedo, by the way.”

Draco blushed.

“How about we take a carriage together?” Hannah asked.

“Works for me,” Draco said, “After you.”

“Well... aren't you nice?” Hannah asked.

“Don't get too used to it,” Draco said, with a smirk.

Hannah grinned and stepped into the carriage. Draco followed her inside and sat across from her. A couple minutes later, the carriage started making its way toward the castle.

“Draco,” Hannah said. “I've been meaning to ask you something for a few weeks now.”

“Have at it,” Draco said.

“Are you involved in anything?” Hannah asked. “Like... anything dangerous?”

Draco sighed.

“Why do you ask?” he asked.

“Because I've noticed a pattern over the past month,” Hannah said, “First Pansy Parkinson comes looking for you, then Theodore Nott show up, and I know the history between you and him. Then Harry Potter and Ron Weasley come asking if you've been around Hogsmeade. And then soon after, you tell me not to say anything. I think I have a right to know, Draco.”

“You wouldn't believe me if I told you,” Draco said.

“Try me,” Hannah said. “And don't say it is a long story. This carriage ride takes about twenty minutes. I think that is long enough.”

“If I tell you,” Draco said, “You have to promise me you won't overreact until I am finished. Otherwise, you won't hear the whole story.”

“I promise,” Hannah said, “Let me have it.”

“Do you know about the threat of a rogue group?” Draco asked.

“I've heard a few rumors,” Hannah said.

“It's real,” Draco said, “And there could likely be an attack before the end of the year.”

Hannah's eyes widened.

“How do you know this?” Hannah asked, her lips quivering in fear.

“Because I used to be close enough to the group to know these things,” Draco said.

“You're a part of this group?” Hannah asked.

“I was,” Draco said, “I was – well, you could say I was working undercover – in the group. But it became too much and I had to get out of there. I've been watching from a distance, waiting for my time to strike at them.”

“So... Pansy and Nott?” Hannah asked.

“Are a part of this rogue group,” Draco said, “I can't say much about it, because the leader, Daphne, put a charm on everyone in the group similar to the Secret Keeper Charm, and it seems I am still under it.”

“Daphne?” Hannah asked, “As in....?”

“As in Astoria's sister,” Draco said, “Yes.”

“And Astoria doesn't know anything about this group?” Hannah asked.

“I really hope not,” Draco said, “I've been keeping it from her. Trying to keep her safe. I'm hoping this thing will blow over before too long.”

“Blow over?” Hannah asked, “Are you listening to yourself?! These people could attack. Harmless lives could be at risk, Draco.”

“I can't do anything about that until it happens, Hannah,” Draco said. “But when it does, I will do everything in my power to prevent it.”

“And you don't know when it will happen?” Hannah asked.

“Daphne said it could happen before the end of the year,” Draco said.

“That's less than two weeks, Draco!” Hannah said.

“I know,” Draco said.

“So you've been hiding out around here for a month and a half now,” Hannah said, “And you haven't done much about it?”

“Yes,” Draco said, “But I am almost sure I know where Daphne's going to attack. I've thought about it, and the clues tell me it could happen.”

“What clues?” Hannah asked.

“Everyone in Daphne's rogue group is on a personal mission,” Draco said. “They're trying to avenge the death's of their family members... the Death Eaters who died in the war.”

“Wait,” Hannah said, her eyes growing wide with fear, “But most of the Death Eaters were killed during....”

“Yeah, Hannah,” Draco said, “I know.”

Hannah's eyes sparkled with tears, and she put her hands to her mouth.

“I hope you're wrong, Draco,” Hannah's muffled voice said.

“Believe me, Hannah,” Draco said, looking up at the castle as they got closer, “So do I.”

“Can't you do something?” Hannah asked. “Can't we warn Professor McGonagall or somebody?”

“Do you honestly think they'd believe us?” Draco asked. “That they'd believe me? Why do you think Harry and Ron came searching for me? I'm a wanted fugitive! They wouldn't listen to me. By the time they'd believe me, it could have already happened!”

“But they need to be ready, Draco,” Hannah said, “You can't sit around and do nothing.”

“Yeah?” Draco asked. “What if I'm wrong? What if do this and I start a panic? I've already caused enough trouble. I'm not going to cause any more for myself or anyone else. For now, we should enjoy the night.”

“Yeah,” Hannah said, “Good luck with that.”

Hannah turned away and looked up toward the castle. Draco knew he wouldn't get another word out of her for the rest of the ride.

At ten minutes to five, the carriages arrived outside the main entrance of Hogwarts. Draco stepped out, and saw Astoria waiting at the top of the steps near the Entrance Hall. She was wearing a white skirt that ended just above her knees. Draco walked up to her, grinning as he admired her outfit. Astoria grinned, let out a little squeal that she did whenever she saw him, and put her arms around his neck, hugging him.

“You look absolutely stunning tonight,” Draco said.

“You don't look too bad yourself,” Astoria said.

Draco grinned. Astoria leaned toward him and kissed him.

“Let's go in,” she said, “It is about to start.”

“Don't want to make a fashionably late entrance?” Draco asked, grinning.

Astoria chuckled and shook her head. She led him into the castle and through the large crowd of students, meeting up and making their way into the Great Hall.

Draco's eyes sparkled as he looked at the Great Hall. It looked similar to when he was at the Yule Ball during his fourth year at Hogwarts, but in other ways it looked much more elegant and beautiful. Just like the previous Yule Ball, there were numerous tables on either side of the hall, and a large open space for dancing at the other end of the hall. House-Elves dressed in Father Christmas hats and red clothing were walking around the tables, setting out menus. Glass plates, silverware and glasses were set around each.

“Astoria!” a voice said, taking Draco away from the decorations in the Great Hall.

A young man about Astoria's age was walking up toward them. Draco didn't recognize him, but there was something very familiar about him all the same.

“Hi, Garrett,” Astoria said, “Oh, yes, introductions. Garrett, this is my boyfriend, Draco.”

“Pleasure to meet you, Draco,” Garrett said.

“You too,” Draco said, “Er... have we met before?”

“I... don't think so,” Garrett said.

“Hmm,” Draco said, “Maybe I've just seen you around the Slytherin Common Room when I was a student.”

“Probably,” Garrett said.

“Do you have a date, Garrett?” Astoria asked.

“Yeah,” Garrett said, “She's still getting ready.”

“Wonderful!” Astoria said, “Hope you have fun with her.”

“I'm sure I will,” Garrett said, “Enjoy the night.”

“Come, Draco,” Astoria said, “Let's find a place to sit before they're all taken.”

Draco nodded. As he and Astoria walked away, Draco saw Garrett's eyes following him.

“Should I jealous of that Garrett gentleman?” Draco asked.

“Not at all,” Astoria said. “He's a good friend. We're partners in Potions, and we talk sometimes during meals, but other than that, he seems to be off on his own. I'm surprised he was able to snag a date. He always seems so shy.”

“I wonder why he looks so familiar,” Draco said. “It is like I've met him before... outside of Hogwarts, I mean.”

“Maybe he just has that kind of face,” Astoria said.

“Yeah... maybe,” Draco said.

“Don't worry about it,” Astoria said. “Oh. Here's a good spot.”

Draco pulled out the chair at the empty table. Astoria grinned and sat down. Draco sat down next to her. Professor McGonagall walked up back of the room, where the Professors Table usually stood.

“Attention, please!” she said, her voice magnified by her wand.

Most of the chatter died down and stopped.

“Welcome to the Yule Ball,” Professor McGonagall said, “I know there are a couple of former students here who have been invited by others her,” McGonagall said, “So I also welcome you back this evening.”

Astoria smiled at Draco, who grinned.

“This will probably be the last chance I get to say this before the lot of you go home for winter break,” Professor McGonagall continued, “So I just want to wish all of you the best of holidays. Tonight, the festivities will be led by our own choir of musical instruments.”

She waved her wand and a low tune started to play from a number of music instruments behind her.

“If you have noticed yet,” McGonagall continued, “There are menus on each of the tables, giving you the special courses of meals tonight. All you have to do is say to the menu what you want, and it will appear in front of you from the kitchens below. So, without further ado and squabble, I hope all of you have a magical evening of well-manner frivolity.”

Professor McGonagall waved her wand, and the musical instruments started to play a loud, fast tune. Several students walked over to the floor and started to dance. Draco picked up his menu and looked through it. He realized just how hungry he was. He hadn't exactly had the best diet while living in the cave. He started ordering a number of things from the menu, and as they appeared on the plate in front of him, Astoria seemed to notice, as she was ordering her own dinner.

“Hungry?” Astoria asked, eyebrows raised.

“I missed Hogwarts food,” Draco said, picking up a chicken leg, “Haven't had a good meal like this in a while.”

“Doesn't your boss feed you at their house?” Astoria asked.

Draco looked at his chicken leg. He realized he needed to talk to her about all of this. Sooner or later, she was going to find out that he hadn't been working at all, and that there was no boss.

“He's been feeding me just fine,” Draco said.

Draco sighed. Tonight, this moment at least, wasn't the right time for that.

“Just hungry tonight, I guess?” Astoria asked.

Draco nodded.

“That's okay,” Astoria said, “You're going to need your appetite if you're going to be on your feet all night.”

“Just so you know,” Draco said, “I'm not a very good dancer.”

“Rubbish,” Astoria said, “You'll do just fine.”

Draco shook his head.

“I don't deserve this,” he said.

“What are you on about?” Astoria asked.

“I don't deserve to be the perfect man you think I am,” Draco said.

“Nobody's perfect, Draco,” Astoria said, chuckling. “And I don't need you to be.”

“Good,” Draco said, “Because I'm not.”

“Do you honestly think I am?” Astoria asked.

“You know I do,” Draco said. “You're everything I'm not, and yet you're everything I want to be. You have these wonderful parents who seem to love you just being you. They don't seem to expect anything of you. You're in Slytherin, but deep inside, you know you weren't born to be. And you love me for who I am and not who everyone else wants me to be.”

Astoria grinned and Draco saw tears sparkle in her eyes.

“I'm not as perfect as you think I am,” she said. “You know I'm a complete loner when I'm not around you. Like you said, I'm not meant to be in Slytherin, and unfortunately, everyone seems to know that too, so I am the outcast. My parents love me being me, because out of their two daughters, I'm the good girl. I'm the one they have high expectations for. My parents have been writing to me a lot about Daphne these past days, and they're – the letters are so confusing, Draco. It is like they think Daphne is a different person.”

Draco frowned as he looked at her. Did she know what kind of person Daphne had turned into?

“I tried to write to Daphne once or twice,” Astoria said, frowning. “And when she wrote back, she wasn't the sister I grew up with and admired. Something's wrong, Draco. I'm worried about her. I'm glad this term is about over, because I need to go home and find Daphne, and find out what is wrong. I'm worried about her.”

Draco took Astoria's hand under the table, and squeezed it. Astoria smiled a little and looked up at him.

“You haven't heard anything about my sister,” she said, “Have you?”

“No,” Draco lied.

He kicked himself, mentally. Oh, how he hated lying to Astoria.

“Maybe she's just having a hard time adjusting to this new life,” he said. “She's out of Hogwarts now. She has to be an adult. That can change a person. Believe me, I know.”

“I hope that is all it is,” Astoria said. “That wouldn't be too difficult to deal with. She would just need advice.”

“I'm sure she'd listen to you,” Draco said.

Astoria nodded.

After they had eaten their fill, Astoria led Draco onto the dance floor. The music had turned soft and slow.

“I told you I don't know how to dance very well,” Draco said.

Astoria grinned and shook her head. She obviously got a kick out of this. She took Draco's arms and put them around her waist. Astoria then put her arms around Draco's neck and leaned up against him. He could smell the perfume on her neck. It had a sweet smell of roses and lilac. Draco rotated them slowly around in a circle.

“See?” Astoria asked, “You dance very well.”

“This isn't dancing,” Draco said, “It is moving around in a circle while standing in one place.”

“It is one of the more popular forms of dancing,” Astoria said, “And it is quite romantic.”

“I'll agree with that bit,” Draco said.

Nearly an hour later, Draco and Astoria were still on the dance floor in each other's arms. As Draco was looking around the room, something caught his eye. Hannah and Neville were having some type of conversation that had worried Neville. Neville looked up from Hannah, and his eyes went straight toward Draco. Draco's eyes narrowed.

“She didn't!” he muttered.

“Did you say something, Draco?” Astoria said.

“Er... nothing, darling,” Draco said.

Neville and Hannah stood up, and Draco kept his eyes on them. They walked across the Great Hall... straight toward Professor McGonagall.

“Oh, bloody hell,” Draco said.

Astoria backed away a bit, and looked up at Draco.

“What's wrong?” Astoria asked.

“Er... I...” Draco stammered. “I need some fresh air. Let's go outside.”

Draco took Astoria's hand and took one more glance at Neville, Hannah and Professor McGonagall. McGonagall had a very worrying look on her face. Draco hurried out of the Great Hall with Astoria and walked out with her onto the grounds.

“Draco! You're sweating!” Astoria said, looking up at Draco, “What is wrong?”

“It's just hot in there,” Draco said.

“Hey, Astoria!” a voice said.

Draco and Astoria turned. That Garrett kid was walking down the steps toward them.

“What's wrong, Garrett?”Astoria asked.

“Have you seen my date?” Garrett asked. “I can't find her.”

“I don't know who your date is, Garrett,” Astoria said, “Who is she?”

“Oh, she's...” Garrett said, blushing. “Oh, wait, she's over there!”

Garrett was looking over Draco's shoulder. Draco turned and could not believe his eyes. Pansy Parkinson and Gregory Goyle were walking up through the grounds toward them.

“Pansy?” Draco said.

“Pansy Parkinson is your date, Garrett?” Astoria asked.

“I don't think so,” Draco said.

He took out his wand and pointed it at Pansy.

“What are you doing here, Pansy?!” Draco growled.

“I think you know what, Draco, darling,” Pansy said, grinning.

“Draco, what is going on?” Astoria asked, “What is Pansy Parkinson doing here?”

“Haven't told her yet, have you, Draco?” Pansy asked. “Astoria, there is something I'd like to tell you --”

“Shut your rotten mouth, Parkinson!” Draco said, threateningly, pointing his wand.

“Expelliarmus!” Garrett said.

Draco's wand flew out of his hand and dropped at his feet. Draco's eyes widened.

“Garrett!” Astoria said, “How could you?!”

“Petrificus Totalus!” Pansy yelled.

Suddenly, Draco felt his body go rigid and stiff, and he fell backwards onto the ground, unable to move but completely conscious.

“You're coming with us, Astoria!” Garrett's voice said.

“What are you doing?” Astoria shrieked. “Get your hands off me! Draco, help!”

“Draco's not going to help you, Astoria,” Goyle said, chuckling.

““No, Goyle!” Pansy said, “We have our orders! Draco remains alive. He has a special job to do.”

Pansy walked into Draco's line of sight.

“I've known that you've been playing messenger boy for Potter and his friends for a while now, Draco,” Pansy said, “Well, now I have one more message for you to give Potter. If you want Astoria back and safe, he'll get it.”

Pansy bent down and Draco felt something rough and thin hit his forehead. Pansy blew him a kiss and then ran off. Draco heard Astoria's muffled screaming as she became further and further distanced from him.

Then he heard the muffled sound of footsteps.

“Wha's goin' on out here?” Hagrid's rough voice said, “I heard dueling! You know the rules! I will have to – Draco, wha' you doing there?”

Draco heard the footsteps come near faster. Suddenly, Hagrid's large body was standing over him. Hagrid took his umbrella from his belt and pointed it at Draco. A second later, Draco could finally move again.”

“Wha's goin' on?” Hagrid asked.

Draco sat up and saw a small piece of parchment fall onto his lap.

“Wha's that?” Hagrid asked.

Draco picked it up and read it. His eyes widened as he did. He had not predicted this at all.

“Hagrid,” Draco said, “Warn the Headmistress. There's been a kidnapping.”

“Wha' do you mean?” Hagrid asked, “Who's been kidnapped?”

“Just do it, you great oaf!” Draco said, getting to his feet.

Before Hagrid could say another word, Draco ran off toward the edge of the grounds, so he could find a safe place to apparate. He didn't know where Pansy had taken Astoria, but he had a feeling one person would. He had to go find Harry Potter.

He ran off down toward Hogsmeade, as quick as his feet would take him, It would be the only safe place to Apparate. But when he got to Hogsmeade twenty minutes later, he didn't know where to go. He looked around, wondering what to do... and then he saw the answer. He ran over to the large notice board, where a big announcement in purple colors was plastered. It read:

Come meet the Holyhead Harpies on December 18th at six-o-clock in The Leaky Cauldron for their pep-rally leading them into the Playoffs! Help the Harpies rally! Don't miss it!

Draco nodded. Harry's girlfriend was on the team. She would surely be there, and so would Harry. Draco closed his eyes, and apparated, engulfing temporarily himself into blackness.

(Ron's PoV – Five minutes earlier)

Ron, Hermione, Ginny and Harry were sitting at a table in the crowded Leaky Cauldron. It had been decorated in Holyhead Harpies colors. Numerous fans had packed into the bar. The pep-rally had started, and some of the Harpies players were discussing stories about some of their greatest moments and plays of the season, to some of the fans around at the tables.

“Harpies, huddle up!” Gwenog Jones yelled.

“Be back in a bit,” Ginny said.

She stepped out from the table and walked over to the center of the Leaky Cauldron, where a stage had been placed. Ginny joined the rest of her team, and Gwenog stepped up to a podium.

“Welcome, one and all, to the Pre-Playoff Pep-Rally for the Holyhead Harpies!” Gwenog said.

The bar erupted in cheers.

“You've followed us this whole season,” Gwenog said to the fans, “as we went through this seasons. We've gone through trials and tribulations, cheers and tears, and many wins, and a couple of losses! But here we are!”

The fans cheered again.

“Now, in five days,” Gwenog said, “Two days before Christmas, we will be facing Puddlemere United for a chance to get into the semi-finals of the Quidditch Cup! We faced them once before this season, and we beat the Bludgers out of them! And we will do it again.”

Bertha Biggs hollered in agreement and everyone else cheered.

“I know I would have not done it without my wonderful team this year,” Gwenog said, “So I introduce you to my teammates and my best friends in this world... your Holyhead Harpies!”

She introduced each one of them.

“And finally,” Gwenog said, “Making one of the most impressive rookie season debuts I've ever seen a player do... Chaser Ginny Weasley!”

Harry, Ron and Hermione's cheers were the loudest of them all.

“Ginny?” Gwenog said, nodding to the podium.

Up on the stage, Ginny blushed and walked over to the podium. Suddenly, the door to the Leaky Cauldron opened, and Ron looked over toward it. Draco Malfoy walked in and looked around, then walked over to Ron, Harry and Hermione. Nobody else had noticed him because Ginny was going through a speech.

“Malfoy!” Harry said, “What are you doing here?”

“We have to stop this pep rally, Potter,” Draco said, “I think something is --”

Suddenly, one of the doors to the Leaky Cauldron blew off its hinges and flew into the room with an explosion. A number of men and Daphne Greengrass walked into the room, and before Ron and Harry could stand up, the Leaky Cauldron was the scene of a disaster zone. Spells were ricocheting all over the place, most of them from Daphne's rogue group. Explosions rocked the Leaky Cauldron. Ron grabbed Hermione and dove to the ground with Harry and Draco, just as one of the tables zoomed over their heads. Screams echoed through out the Leaky Cauldron.

As Ron tried to stand up, he heard the screams of a very familiar voice.

“Ginny!” Harry and Ron screamed.

“Harry!” Ginny shrieked.

Ron then heard a gagging sound. Ron looked up to see a large black bag over Ginny's head. She was being carried out of the Leaky Cauldron by a group of men.

“If you want her, Potter!” Daphne said, “Come and claim her!”

Harry and Ron stood up, then heard a number of very loud cracks. Suddenly, there was a number of screams and cries. The dust and debris settled and Ron heard one voice louder than the rest.

“No!” Gwenog roared. “Bertha, no!”

Ron looked over to see Gwenog huddling over Bertha Biggs, who was sprawled out on the ground. A large piece of wood was sticking out of the side of Bertha's limp body. Ron knew she was dead.

“Harry!” Hermione gasped.

Ron and Harry looked up, and Ron noticed that Hermione was pointing at something behind the bar where Tom, the barman, usually stood. Large red letters were forming in the air:

Harry Potter,

If you want to see your loved one again, you will meet me at the place where I lost mine. Meet me by the time of day you killed the love of my life and I will spare Ginny Weasley.

Daphne Greengrass

Ron's lips quivered as he read the message.

“Come on!” Harry said, heading out of the Leaky Cauldron, “I know where she's taken Ginny!”

“Harry, wait!” Hermione gasped.

Ron took Hermione's hand and followed Harry out of the bar.

“Harry” Ron said, “You never killed anyone! How do you know where she's taken her?!”

"Daphne doesn't know that," Harry said. "I am known as the the Hero of the Second War for one reason. Daphne wants me to meet her at the place, by sunrise tomorrow morning... where the love of her life was killed."

"You've got to be kidding me!" Ron said.

"You understand right, Ron," Harry said, "The love of Daphne's life was Voldemort himself. We're going to Hogwarts."

Woo! I love the last few bits of this chapter! Everything that happened from Pansy's arrival at Hogwarts, to the end of this chapter, has been in my mind for days now!

Hope you liked this chapter!


Last edited by Fury; September 10th, 2011 at 4:02 pm.
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