Harry & Hermione

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robst - Can't Have It Both Ways
Chapter 7 - Chapter 7

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Can't Have It Both Ways

Disclaimer: JKR owns Harry Potter, I write purely for fun and it's free. Anyone wishing professional standards of writing should go and buy one of her books. (POA is my favourite!)

Chapter 7

They left to meet McGonagall as Luna stayed to chat with Colin about pictures for the Quibbler, Neville's nod confirmed that the Gryffindors would watch over the girl. Though given the demonstration of what happened to the last group who tried to mess with Luna, within the castle she was probably as safe as Hermione.

They sat as Minerva greeted them. "Sirius it's so good to see you again and free as well, though I can't condone your treatment of Lucius Malfoy I did have to hide my laughter. Your godson here would seem to be living up to his inheritance, having led us all a merry dance this morning."

"Thank you Professor, it really is nice to walk about without wagging my tail. As to my godson here, I'm worried for what he'll come up with next."

"Funny you should say that Sirius." The room occupants collectively held their breath awaiting Harry's latest revelation, "I assume Hogwarts is in dire need of a Defence Professor until the real Moody gets back on his foot." The groan from Sirius was more to do with anticipating where Harry was going with this rather than his bad joke.

"Sirius will be staying with us and could easily keep an eye on the job for him until Christmas."

Another bad joke groan was covered by Minerva, "I like the idea but why Christmas?"

This is the bit Harry knew he was going to have a hard sell with. "I would also like him to be Head of Slytherin and try to turn the house around." Hermione, Minerva and Sirius were all staring at him as if he had two heads while Dan and Emma didn't have enough knowledge to understand what was going on here.

"Sirius, a once proud house has been perverted by Riddle and his disciples. Reclaiming Slytherin and turning its members away from the darkness would be a massive victory for the light. You were raised with the pureblood doctrine and rejected it, lost people close to you through the madness and been where most of that house would appear destined to end up. You've been there, seen it, done it and still carry the scars. When you talk, they'll listen. If they don't get the proper guidance soon, most of them will repeat the sins of their parents and we'll never end this circle of hatred and violence. Salazar and Godric think you're the right person for the job, anyone who can piss on Lucius Malfoy in the great hall gets my vote."

Minerva could quickly see the sense in Harry's words, Sirius knew what most of these kids faced because he already had. His brother and Harry's parents were just a few of the people close to him who had died at the hands of Voldemort. Sirius may have just lost the distinction of being the only person ever to escape from Azkaban but he could describe in minute detail to the students what it was like to be imprisoned there. The more she thought about it the more convinced Minerva became that this was the correct decision.

Sirius was staring at Harry with his mouth open before Hermione spoke. "Look at it this way Sirius, you will either go down in history as the wizard who saved Slytherin House or ended it for good. You can't lose!"

He burst out laughing, "Oh Harry, that is a prank worthy of any marauder. Professor, if you'll have me, I'll do it!"

Minerva was shaking her head but wearing a broad grin. "Well Mister Potter just who would you like to recommend for our new Head of Gryffindor, I assume you have someone in mind?" she asked teasingly.

No one was in the least surprised when Harry had an answer for her. "Well actually Headmistress I do, a former Gryffindor prefect to be precise but how do you feel about sacking a ghost?"

-oOoOo-

There was a celebration that night in their accommodation, Remus was the new Head of Gryffindor and History of Magic teacher with Sirius being Head of Slytherin and Defence Professor. Both would be staying with Harry since they were still 'on the grounds' and thus solving the 'werewolf in the castle' problem.

This delighted the Grangers as there would now be two adults looking after the kids while Xeno was ecstatic the people who'd tried to assault his daughter were going to face trial, the three students were just glad it was over.

Dobby escorted an excited Colin into the room. "Oh Harry, glad you're here, you got to see this!" Colin proceeded to place some eight by tens on the table that were breathtaking.

"Colin, how did you take these?" Luna asked. "I didn't see any camera flashes."

Colin was usually excited around Harry but tonight was putting Dobby to shame, it appeared as if it was taking all his will power just to stay still. "With the money from the Basilisk and considering my contract with the Quibbler, I bought a pensieve and the specialist camera equipment that allows me to take photographs of memories. I just play them back and click away."

Xeno was amazed. "Colin, that is my next front page but Harry I think we may have been too clever here. In banning all Potter merchandising you will push the market underground, meaning people will pay higher prices for poorer quality goods. I'll pay Colin for using that picture in the Quibbler but, if he waived his fees, I would print it for free and we could have an authentic 'Harry Potter' poster with all proceeds going to charity."

"I definitely want one of those, can you make the poster that it doesn't move though?"

"Mum!" A blushing Hermione moaned, "What do you want Harry's poster for?"

"Well the next time your Aunt Agnes comes over and starts boasting about your cousin Brenda's latest boyfriend I'll just point to the poster and say 'This is Harry, Hermione's boyfriend' and watch her face collapse." Dan, Sirius and Remus thought this was the funnies thing they had ever heard while Harry still hadn't taken his eyes of the pictures.

Hermione gave her mother a strange look before asking, "And how would you explain the robes and sword?"

Emma's smile was predatory, "Oh that's easy dear, I'll just casually mention that he's a Lord and performing an official function. Then fetch the smelling salts to bring her around after she faints." The two marauders and Dan were now howling with laughter though both professors took a mental note not to mess with the Granger women, Dan of course was already well aware of this.

"Is that really me?" Harry asked. The picture was of Harry in the great hall, with his arm raised and the sword of Gryffindor in his fist. His eyes were practically glowing while the magic on display made his robe billow as his hair appeared to be blown by the wind. As a picture it was iconic, as a poster it would be phenomenal!

Hermione thought Harry's modesty was one of his most defining features and adored the fact that he didn't see himself the way everybody else did. "Yes love, that's really you. Now maybe you'll understand why a Veela is chasing you!"

This got Remus's attention immediately. "A Veela, tell me exactly what happened?" After Hermione had explained it, Remus filed in the gaps in their knowledge. "A Veela will feel compelled to attach herself to the best possible mate, her Veela magic would accept no less. I know you don't believe this but you Harry have money, fame, great magical and political power, a title, throw in duel Hogwarts heir and a tri-wiz champion. That's a pretty irresistible combination to a Veela."

Hermione had her arm rather possessively around Harry as she pouted. "He didn't even mention handsome, sexy with green eyes that could melt your heart."

The answer Remus gave was surprising to the people there. "Hate to burst your bubble Hermione but Harry could have half his face chewed off and it wouldn't matter to the Veela. On a purely biological level, she wants to breed with the most powerful male around and her Veela heritage would ensure any children could be nothing less than handsome."

"What can we do about this Remus?" The now worried girl asked, how could Harry resist a relentless Veela determined to have sex with him?

Emma seen the worry in her daughter's body language and wanted to know why. "Could someone please explain to us poor dentists what the hell a Veela is?"

Remus nodded and tried to help, "Veela are females that are not what they appear, their heritage is clouded in mystery but their effects on males are well documented. They magically emit an allure that can have total strangers wanting to fight duels just for the privilege of being in the same room as them. In olden days wars have been fought over women who are now suspected to be Veela's. The Veela in question is Miss Fleur Delacour. Harry needs to convince her that he already has a life mate then she will move on, her Veela senses will pick up on any deception though so you really have to mean it."

Harry now placed his arm reassuringly around Hermione. "Best friend to girlfriend to betrothed and now life mate in the space of a week, you don't hang about Miss Granger! Remus, we don't need to exchange rings, vows or anything like that? Just convince her Hermione's the only girl for me?"

Remus could only nod, dumbfounded at Harry's new confidence. "That should be no problem then, I really think I should take my beautiful girlfriend on at least one date before the wedding. Secret chambers with dead basilisks in them is hardly romantic, don't you agree love?"

Hermione's hazel eyes were wide and focused intently on her boyfriend, did Harry realise he just said he would marry her? His smile told her that he did, her dad might have kittens with this but she didn't care. Harry deserved to be kissed for that and she had no intention of disappointing him.

First Dan had trouble believing his ears and now his eyes were playing tricks on him also, he could have swore his little girl was wrapped around Harry, trying to perform an appendectomy with her tongue. Not something he was ready to see for at least another two decades.

Emma was over the moon, the prospect of Harry as a son-in-law was one that delighted her. Every parent wants their child to find someone who will love, cherish and protect them, even in the short time they had known Harry he had displayed every one of those qualities in abundance. The fact that he could ignore the allure of some goddess while her daughter was head-over-heels in love with him might have influenced her as well.

Sirius and Remus were desperate to make some sort of witty comment but held back. The kids have had a rough few days, just got Sirius set free and both of them new jobs, the marauders would give them a break, for now.

Harry finally surfaced for air as Hermione buried her face in his chest, she didn't want to see the looks she knew she'd be getting from her parents.

Still standing with his arms around his Hermione, Harry tried to remember the conversation before his betrothed pounced. "Ok where were we? Right run with the picture Xeno, yes to the poster idea and ask charities to apply for donations. I will match the funds raised by the poster galleon for galleon. Colin, I'm sure you could take a non-magical picture of both Hermione and me that Emma could have on her wall, Sirius close your mouth you're dribbling. We will deal with the Veela problem tomorrow then Saturday the beautiful Miss Granger and I can have a date in Hogsmead. Dan and Emma, you are welcome to spend the day with us exploring the only totally magical village in Britain, lunch is on me! Have I missed anything?"

"Only the part where Dan and Sirius here need to see Madam Pomfrey to get their jaws fixed from continually hitting the floor. What the hell has happened to you Harry?"

"It's actually very simple Remus, I have gained a very smart girlfriend and control of my life, neither of which I have any intention of ever losing. The only way to do that is to step up and accept control. I'm taking advice from two Hogwarts founders, a very sneaky but brilliant goblin and not forgetting the lovely Miss Granger. My life has been run by others for whatever purpose they desired since I was left on the Dursley's doorstep, a doorstep I never intend to cross over again. Yes I have been entered in this bloody competition by a murdering maniac out for my blood but, for the first time ever, I mostly know what's coming and have a plan in place to deal with it. A plan that hopefully doesn't involve spending time with Madam Pomfrey."

"Em Harry, I assume you don't want that repeated anywhere?"

"Colin please treat anything you hear in this house as confidential, Luna knows what she can print and I don't really want our business discusses in the castle."

Harry had asked Colin to do something, he would be saying nothing about his hero to anyone in the castle.

Xeno, Luna and Colin began working on today's events for the next issue of the Quibbler, the Prophet was now running stories that were basically just re-writes of their material and even the gullible magical public were beginning to see that. The paper's boy-who-must-not-be-named campaign had backfired spectacularly with subscribers defecting to the Quibbler in droves.

Dan really wanted to get hold of Harry for 'a chat' but had to defer to the boy's godfather while Dobby offered him and Remus a much needed drink. He was delighted to see Emma taking Hermione away as well for a few words, the definitely liked her choice of boyfriend but this was all moving a bit too fast for the worried parents.

Emma walked Hermione to the library for their chat and tried to put her daughter at ease. "Tell me what's got you so worried about this Veela girl?"

"Mum, she is absolutely stunningly beautiful and that's before you add the Veela allure. She was coming on to Harry in the corridor and my heart was breaking, thinking that Harry would rather be with her than me. Poor Neville was almost catatonic with the effect but Harry was ignoring her, then his whole face lit up when he saw me! Me, Hermione Granger, the bucked toothed bookworm has a gorgeous boyfriend who prefers her to a Veela! I know it's hard for you to understand mum but if you can imagine the most beautiful female film star. She walks into the room and dad doesn't pay her the slightest bit of attention, instead focusing all his love on you, that gives you a small idea of what it's like."

Emma thought her daughter must be exaggerating but then again her natural tendency was to underplay things, she would reserve judgement until she laid eyes on this girl that had her daughter in a tizzy.

Now for the real reason behind this chat. "Hermione, your father and I are slightly worried about what we're seeing here. Harry seems a very nice young wizard who we're delighted to get to know better but you both appear to be rushing into this relationship. What was it Harry said, girlfriend to life mate in a week. It's not that we don't trust you, more that you both appear to be so caught up in everything that it would be easy to get carried away. I hope you can understand our concern?"

Hermione knew this was coming from the moment she had pounced on her betrothed, she tried to explain her actions. "Mum, what you don't understand here is Harry. He doesn't make rash statements and always tells the truth, when Harry talks about life mate and wedding's he's not being flippant – he means it. Harry Potter is going to be my husband and I would marry him tonight if he asked me. Are we rushing this, from your point of view very much so but Harry and I have been facing danger together for years. This Voldemort will try and kill him again so, given that background I don't think we're rushing anything. Harry's confidence is soaring and if me kissing him helps in any way then I fully intend to continue, the fact that I love him with all my heart and need to reassure myself he actually returns those feelings might play a major part as well. We haven't progressed beyond kissing yet but once we're both ready we will, it may be next week, next month or next year but it's a decision we will both take. This ring might have been originally put on my finger for my protection but it now means I'm going to be Mrs Potter, only the timing is still to be determined."

Emma hugged he daughter. "I've known for a while now how you felt about the boy and it's very easy to see what he thinks of you, I was going to say you had your whole lives in front of you but with a mass murderer in the picture then I can kind of see where you're coming from. Just be very careful and try not to flaunt it too much in front of us."

Hermione was hugging her mum. "When the person you've been dreaming off practically asks you to marry him, I thought I was quite restrained."

"Hermione, if that was you being restrained I never want to think what happens when you let your hair down." Both women giggled at that, Emma knew her daughter was grown up and couldn't fault her choice of boyfriend. She wished they were a little older but had learned long ago to be thankful for what you had rather than wishing for something you couldn't get.

Sirius and Harry were also having a chat. "Harry you are my godson but I'll tell you this up front, if you are leading that young lady on then I am going to kick your arse all around the castle. You do realise what you said in there earlier?"

The smile on Harry's face could have lit the room. "Sirius I know exactly what I said in there and I meant every word of it. Hermione is my girl and if it takes me saying that in front of a Veela for her to believe me then that's exactly what I'll do. Having her by my side and the knowledge that I'll never have to return to the Dursleys has left me feeling ten feet tall, I'm not about to beat Hermione in exams or out-duel Dumbledore but I'll bet my patronus could kick the shit out of his with how happy I'm feeling."

Sirius was also a lot happier after that answer, nothing would give him more pleasure than to welcome the young witch who helped save his life into the family. He was now faced with giving Harry 'the talk', he had intended to pass on to his godson all his secrets and techniques for 'getting to know' women but it would now appear unnecessary. He'd already made his decision and, like his father's choice of Lily before him, Sirius couldn't fault it.

-oOoOo-

An entirely different talk was taking place in the Three Broomsticks where there was a distinct shortage of happiness or smiles.

"This is a nightmare Albus, that little shit Potter will now be insufferable. I'm sacked, your demoted, Black free and both Malfoys arrested, I can't believe you let him away with that."

"Severus I was no more than a spectator in the proceedings, I fully expected to be barred from the castle like yourself." Albus placed a shrunken trunk on the table, "These are your belongings, I have been forced to move into your former quarters since I'm now teaching potions. I shall endeavour to try and influence the young man to allow you to return but I can make no promises."

If both wizards were honest with themselves they knew there was more chance of the Chudley Cannons winning the league than Severus ever setting foot in Hogwarts again, his dark mark would bar him even if Harry didn't.

"What will you do now Severus?" Albus asked, knowing the man had few options and even fewer friends.

"With Barty Jr. confirming that the Dark Lord is returning, my choices would appear to be limited to joining him or fleeing the country. With you under investigation and Fudge arrested I think I'd better leave sooner rather than later in case our new minister decides to arrest any marked death eaters. Without your protection I wouldn't survive a trial, returning to the Dark Lord holds little attraction so Australia beckons."

Dumbledore was relieved, he was well aware that getting himself back into Harry's good graces was going to be a most difficult task without the spectre of Severus slinking in the background. With the running of the school no longer his responsibility and his Chief Wizard duties under investigation, Albus would have a lot more time to concentrate on his main objective. Regaining Harry Potter's trust so he could once more guide the young wizard to fulfil the destiny Albus had long ago mapped out for him.

-oOoOo-

Amelia Bones was having a celebratory drink in the Bones ancestral home. She'd had a stellar day by whatever criteria she used to measure it, even Susan pointing her wand in her face was a highlight as her niece and schoolmates displayed the courage of their convictions.

The confession from Lucius Malfoy saw the wizard introduced to a dementor and, along with the financial documents from the goblins, would ensure that Fudge came to a sticky end.

Barty Couch Snr. was arrested while his son had a heavy date with the same dementor that wined and dined on Lucius. The junior Malfoy and both his cronies were already expelled from Hogwarts, quickly confessed to their crime, given their ages all three had their wands snapped and their magic bound.

Even on a stellar day though a little rain will fall, this toad shaped raincloud took the form of the now Acting Minister, former Senior Undersecretary Deloris Umbridge! Amelia still believed though that every cloud had a silver lining, in this case the law that stated a new minister must be appointed within forty days of the post becoming vacant. Amelia believed that detestable Deloris didn't stand an amphibian in hell's chance of being elected minister and anyway, what harm could she cause in less than six weeks?

-oOoOo-

Fleur was heading into the great hall for breakfast in the hope of once more seeing Harry Potter, the fact that he could offer resistance against her Veela allure just about made him irresistible in the eyes of the blond French student. Those same eyes were suddenly full of three witches wearing Gryffindor robes, a quick glance over her shoulder revealed another trio of similarly clad witches closing in from behind.

The three Gryffindor chasers, two former dorm-mates of Hermione's and the youngest Weasley had the Veela boxed in, Katie Bell then explained precisely how things worked in Hogwarts.

"When a wizard chooses to go out with a Gryffindor girl, all of her female housemates respect and protect that girl's relationship. Harry has chosen Hermione so that means he's off limits to all of Hogwarts."

This was not the first time Fleur had encountered a reaction like this but it was certainly the first where the girl directly involved was not a member of the reception committee. "I am delighted for you that such an arrangement exists but feel I must point something out, I am not of Hogwarts."

That French accent was really grating on Ginny's nerves. "We are so glad to hear that but I feel I must now point something out to you, we are currently standing in a Hogwarts corridor where six wands say this is our patch so our rules apply to all."

"Not today they don't!" The group spun round to see an enraged Hermione Granger with her wand already in her hand, Harry was standing back in the knowledge that Hermione could deal with this.

Ginny was beaming, "Sorry, my mistake, seven wands…"

She was again interrupted by Hermione. "No Ginny this stops now! Sorry girls but if I need you threatening other witches to stay away from my Harry then what message would that send out about our relationship? Thanks but no thanks, I appreciate the thought and loyalty but this is not the answer."

"But Hermione she's a Veela!"

Hermione's rage had been kindled at the sight of a gang of girls surrounding another, like Fleur it was a situation she was overly familiar with but for totally different reasons. "So she's a Veela! That does not excuse the bullying taking place here. Picking on someone because they're different can never be justified whatever the circumstances. Does she fancy Harry? I would say that's a definite yes but how many witches in this corridor alone would like to answer that question honestly, far less the witches in the great hall." Hermione's voice now softened, "I've only ever had Harry stand up for me in the past so thank you, but please leave us to deal with this problem."

If the six witches who filed past them were confused that was nothing compared to Fleur Delacour, she couldn't believe what just happened and now this girl was apologising to her – in French. This whole situation was nuts!

"Miss Delacour, I'm sorry for the behaviour of my friends. They misguidedly thought they were showing me loyalty when in fact they were displaying a trait I abhor, I apologise for any hurt they caused you. I am Hermione Granger, you've met my betrothed Harry Potter and we would like to be your friends."

Fleur was beginning to wonder if one of those girls had cast a spell on her or perhaps this was some elaborate plan to mess with her head, if that was indeed the plan then it was working as she hadn't a bloody clue what as going on here.

Harry wrapped his arms around Hermione from behind and kissed her cheek, "Fleur, unfortunately I don't speak a word of French so have no idea what my beautiful betrothed just said. Knowing her like I do though I would be willing to wager she apologised for our friends and offered our friendship to you."

The French Veela could only nod which brought a smile to Harry's lips. "You see Fleur my beautiful Hermione here is my life mate, my inspiration to be a better wizard and the future mother of our children. You are a very pretty girl Fleur but in my eyes no one even comes close to my Hermione."

His Hermione was in heaven at her betrothed's words, she spun round in his arms and proceeded to provide evidence that perhaps last night's kiss may qualify for being re-classified as restrained after all. Fortunately there were no other Grangers present to witness this.

The only person who did witness the new evidence was currently having to get used to the idea that the title of Lady Potter was well and truly taken, from the display presently still underway the title was never up for grabs in the first place. Her Veela magic was confirming what her eyes were telling her, these two were life mates and no Veela would ever have power over Harry because of this. Having someone resist your allure was one thing but when that resistance was formed because he was totally in love with another, a Veela always withdrew. It was not in their nature to settle for being second best in any relationship and, as far as Harry was concerned, even a Veela would always be a distant second to Hermione.

Considering the deeds she'd seen, heard and read about concerning these two, Fleur decided she would be delighted to have them as friends. She definitely didn't want them as enemies because their enemies tended not to be around for very long.

Ginny watched as a dishevelled Harry and Hermione entered the great hall with Fleur, she would have suspected a fight if not for the beaming smiles her friends wore, she noticed they stopped to talk to Cedric for a moment before both of them made their way to the Gryffindor table.

"Sorry you guys, we thought we were helping…"

Ginny never got to finish her sentence as an incredibly jovial Harry pulled her into a one armed hug, his other still being around Hermione. "Don't worry about it Ginny, no harm done and thanks for thinking about Hermione."

The youngest Weasley was bright red from the unaccustomed contact with Harry and getting the full blast of those green eyes from a distance that was measured in inches. She could quite happily have stayed there for the rest of the morning but of course her prat brother had to open that stupid mouth of his without first engaging his brain.

"One girl not enough for the great Harry Potter or does being the heir of two founders mean you can get as many as you want? Hermione, Looney, the Veela and now you're slobbering all over my sister, who's next on the list Potter?"

Ron's attempt at portraying Harry in a bad light was totally ruined when Romilda Vane butted in, "There's a list? How the hell was that kept secret and where do I sign?"

Ginny went to pull away, now embarrassed by her brother's behaviour but Harry held her tight, "Ginny, unlike some I could mention, is a good friend but never think for a second that Hermione isn't the only girl I'll ever need. Luna is under my protection so I would ask you to stop calling her that name while 'the Veela' as you so eloquently phrased it is Miss Fleur Delacour who we're having dinner with tonight. Which reminds me, Ginny, Neville, Colin would you like to join us? Cedric Diggory has already said he would and I intend to invite Victor Krum as well."

Harry was aware this was rubbing salt into the open wound that was Ron Weasley but he was past caring. When the world didn't revolve around the red head then he tended to lash out at the nearest target, which would no longer be Hermione if Harry had anything to do with it.

Ginny, Colin and Neville all quickly agreed as Hedwig flew in and landed on Harry's shoulder, preening her wizard's hair as she waited on him writing the invitation to Victor Krum.

Dean Thomas was shaking his head in mock disbelief, "Even the bloody owl is female and all over him, what's the secret Harry mate? Help us mere mortals out here."

Harry's drool answer of "Animal magnetism" had bits of breakfast flying everywhere as the Gryffindor table exploded into laughter.

All except a livid Ron Weasley who took the opportunity to make his way unnoticed out the hall, he could have been wearing death eater robes and nobody would have noticed him leaving. Ron was beginning to understand what his outbursts were costing him, that without Harry Potter's friendship that's just what he was, a nobody!

He hadn't intended to say anything but watching Harry enter with his arm around Hermione while chatting to the Veela was bad enough. When he later put his arm around Ginny as well Ron just couldn't hold it, especially as it was clear Ginny was loving the attention and would have stayed in Potter's arms all bloody day.

His sister had remained friends with Potter and was now rich, the centre of attention because Harry had sat beside her and was going to be having dinner tonight with a Veela and Victor Krum. Sometimes the expression 'it's not fair' just didn't cut it.

Ron made his way down to potions early and alone, thankful at least that it wasn't Snape awaiting him, at the moment he needed any good news he could get.

-oOoOo-

Albus made his way from the dungeons up to his former office before realising that Minerva hadn't told him the password, his temper was rising with each minute he stood there guessing before she took pity on him and ordered the gargoyles to grant the old wizard entrance.

"Sorry Albus, must have slipped my mind to give you the password which is 'happy days' by the way. Now what can I do for you professor?"

Albus was not amused, not since two students decided they couldn't be bothered turning up to his lesson. "Headmistress McGonagall, I wish to report two students deliberately missing my class this morning. I saw them both at breakfast yet they didn't attend their scheduled potions lesson."

He placed the register on her desk where the names of Harry Potter and Hermione Granger were highlighted. "My apologies Professor Dumbledore but I will deal with this matter immediately!"

Minerva reached for a quill and scored through both the highlighted names as Albus was almost in an apoplectic rage, "What is the meaning of this Minerva?"

"It's quite simple Professor Dumbledore, neither Lord Potter nor his betrothed wish to come within fifty feet of you. Manipulating Harry was one thing but going after Miss Granger is something they will never forgive you for, any chance you had of regaining their trust died when you visited the Granger home. They were both in the castle this morning to consult with me regarding their continuing education, and to invite me to diner tonight. Pomona and I will be dining with them and the other champions, Filius will be in charge of Hogwarts, was their anything else Professor Dumbledore?"

Albus felt he was dismissed like a misbehaving first year as he made his way down the familiar spiral stairs, that Harry wanted nothing to do with him was a body blow. The boy must be brought back under his watchful eye but he would have to let the dust settle before making his effort at reconciliation, at least Albus would still be involved in the tournament since he had been headmaster when the names were drawn. He would have to watch carefully for any opportunities that presented themselves before the boy became too independent, the last thing Albus wanted was Harry Potter surrounded by competent people offering advice but it would appear that was exactly what was happening. He'd lost Hogwarts, appeared set to lose the chief warlock title and was now loosing control of Harry, maybe this tournament wasn't such a good idea in the first place.

-oOoOo-

Victor took the note from the beautiful bird which was clearly waiting on an answer, an invitation to dine with Lord Potter, his family and friends, the other champions and some professors. He quickly replied in the affirmative as the white owl left with his answer.

Ever since Karkaroff was exposed as a death eater and barred from Hogwarts, all the fun had gone out of this competition. Where was the honour worth fighting for when the school employed a man like that to be its headmaster?

Victor had been very impressed with the way that Lord Potter had handled that whole morning, offering polite respect to Drumstrang students when he would have easily been within his rights to order them all out of the castle. The only time he had seen a crack in his sense of honour and fair play was when he spotted the three Slytherin boys at the end of the table, after having watched the memory projected on the ceiling Victor thought it was perfectly understandable. Had that been a female friend of his being attacked, the Bulgarian doubted if he could have shown the same restraint.

This seemed like a perfect chance to accomplish what he thought this trip was all about, meet people from the other schools and make friends. Something he had trouble with in Bulgaria because of his fame, he would have to ask Lord Potter how he coped with his. After all Victor had only become famous recently, while the-boy-who-lived had been dealing with the problem his whole life.

-oOoOo-

Hedwig also distributed a few more invitations at lunchtime, Ron Weasley sat and watched as, one by one, Susan Bones, Hannah Abbot, Daphne Greengrass, Tracy Davis and Millicent Bulstrode were all invited to dinner at Potter's tonight. He watched as surprise and excitement raced through each girl's face when they received their invitations from Hedwig, Millicent appeared ready to pass out with shock!

Ron watched all this as an outsider, contemplating what might have been until the twins sat beside him, "No letters from Hedwig for you pair, looks like Potter doesn't want you two around either!"

"Au contraire little brother, we shall both be dining with the rather lovely Miss Delacour tonight."

"Not to mention Victor Krum!"

"Fred I told you not to mention Victor Krum, our little Ronniekins here is all sensitive about that. Anyway Harry already asked us to dinner earlier in the week to discuss some business with him."

"Sorry George, I thought you meant just add 'not to mention' in front of the world's second best seeker, I won't mention we're having dinner with Victor Krum again."

"That's the best thing to do there brother, it must be hard for our youngest here to realise that he's made such a balls up of everything that Harry now rates Millicent Bulstrode a better friend to him than Ronniekins here."

"Yeah a fact that the prat seems only too willing to prove every chance he gets."

"Next thing you know Percy will be getting an invite."

"You did it again George, took that joke too far, you need to learn to quit while you're ahead, Harry inviting Percy!"

"But Fred, in the concept we're using at this time it's relevant. At the moment, there is more chance of Harry inviting Percy to dinner than Ron."

"At the moment, there's more chance of Harry inviting Snape than Ron!"

"And you accused me of taking things to far?"

Ron was trying to tune out both of his brothers as he assessed the situation, it was indeed a bad day when the only crumb of comfort available was that Harry hadn't invited Percy – well not that he knew of anyway!

A/N thanks for reading.

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