Daphne's visit home continued. Harry visits with Hermione and George...
Harry Potter and The Chance Meeting
Chapter Four: Daphne- Part two
Astoria Malfoy was sitting up in her bed nursing her son. Daphne looked on in amazement at the look of contentment on her sister's face.
"Is it bad that this feels so good?" Astoria asked her sister with a smile.
"You're asking me?" Daphne asked laughing. "My sum total experience with new borns was trying to put a bow in your hair when I was six."
"I'm sure that I looked smashing." Astoria dimpled. "Thank you for coming to help me Daph. With mum gone, I didn't know who else to ask."
"You're my sister." Daphne said, feeling a bit silly for stating the obvious. "Where else would I be?"
"I don't know what I expected when I wrote you Daph." Astoria had fallen into her childhood habit of using a nickname that Daphne hated. "Daddy's pretty much out of the picture since he took up with HER." Astoria had taken their father remarrying following the war badly. "And you've got your career... Draco told me that coming to help cost you a lot of money."
"I backed out of a job, yes, but believe me Torrie," Astoria had childhood nicknames too. "Missing a couple of weeks won't matter in the slightest."
Astoria shifted her son to her other breast. "You really upset Draco. So, tell me about this man in your life, the one Draco hates so intensely."
Daphne smiled. "Harry and Draco were a bit competitive when we were all at Hogwarts."
Astoria goggled. "Harry? Harry Potter?"
"Yes. You've heard of him?" Daphne said with a grin.
"You're sleeping with Harry Potter?" The look on Astoria's face amused Daphne to no end.
"It might be more accurate to say that I sleep with his wife, and on those occasions when I want a man, with Harry."
That gave Astoria pause. "I didn't know you did that with women."
Daphne shrugged. "I always have. Is it a problem?"
"Oh, no." Astoria said shaking her head. "It's just that I never thought of you being with women, I just remember how all the men and boys looked at you. You probably shouldn't mention it to Draco though." A sly smile crept across her face. "So, tell me about Harry Potter... What lucky witch is his wife and your girlfriend?"
"Tracey Davis." Daphne said quietly.
"Tracey? But she... disappeared."
"She did, but didn't. The night before she was supposed to be married, she met Harry in a pub. Harry talked her into running off with him. She never looked back."
Astoria thought about that. "Tossing over afossil like Gerald Llewellyn for a young stud a third his age? I can see that. What I remember of Tracey is that she was fairly calculating. What attracted her to him, his money, his body, his lifestyle?"
"She fell in love with him." Daphne saw the look on Astoria's face. "I'm serious. You haven't seen Tracey since I finished at Hogwarts, sixteen years ago, and you were too young to really know what was going on."
"What do you mean?" Astoria asked, raising her son to her shoulder and softly patting his back until he burped.
"Think about what was going on. Daddy and Mum kept you fairly isolated from what was going on, but people were dying every day, the lights, the darks, and even the Neutrals like Mum and Daddy. Yes Tracey was calculating, and so was I. We depended on each other for almost everything. The darks were constantly playing their dominance games in the dungeons, and girls on their own could end up raped. We chose our 'boyfriends' based on how well they could protect us."
"I didn't know it was like that."
"There was no reason for you to know." Daphne stood and took her sleeping nephew into her arms, rocking him back and forth afew times before laying him into his cot at his mother's bedside. "You didn't start at Hogwarts until the year after Harry killed the Dark Lord, and the year after he purged the Dark Lord's followers from the school." Daphne sat back down in her chair, closed her eyes and paled a bit at the memories. "Harry was a very different man then, when he came into the Slytherin common room like a vengeful warlord of old, those who wouldn't swear on their magic that they no longer followed the Dark Lord, he took away, almost begging them to fight him. Draco had already gone over to the light, a good thing too, because there was no way he would ever have backed down to Harry."
Daphne entered the dining room to find Narcissa Malfoy lingering over her morning tea.
"Good Morning Narcissa." She said as she sat down. Instantly her preferred breakfast of a bowl of porridge sweetened with honey appeared before her, along with a cup of tea. The Malfoy elves were very well trained. For a moment Daphne was surprised that her time passing as a Muggle had made her rather resent the slavery of the elves.
The blond raised an eyebrow. "I don't recall permitting you to use my given name Miss Greengrass. Your penchant for associating with Half Bloods and Muggles, has apparently given you ideas above your station."
Daphne smiled widely. "Get over yourself Narcissa. You and your husband spent the better part of twenty years on your knees for a Half Blood, nearly bankrupting the Malfoy family in the process. I've heard tales of the Dark Lord's practices following a successful culling, so I suspect that you did several things for him while on you knees."
Narcissa's eyes went colder than normal. "Mind your tongue girl. There are still ways that arrogant upstarts can be dealt with."
Daphne swallowed a mouthful of porridge. "Oh, I'm frightened. In your day you might have actually been someone Narcissa, but that day is well and truly past. What do you suppose the Half Blood I share abed with would do if you carried through with your threats old woman? I know you saw was he did to your husband."
"You don't know what you're talking about." Draco's mother said hesitantly.
"Of course I don't. Just like I don't know that your presence in this house is at my sister's sufferance." She smiled when Narcissa paled. "I was raised to play these pure blood games too Narcissa, and I didn't waste twenty years on my knees."
"Stupid girl. Draco would never allow his chippie..."
"Stupid old woman. Draco tolerates you. He lost any respect or love he ever held for you when he realized how you and his father were squandering his heritage on your knees. Astoria is the Lady of this house, not you. She has provided the next generation of Malfoys. You are no longer needed."
Daphne smiled to herself and finished her breakfast in peace. She had evidently given the older woman a lot to think about.
*Interlude pt 2*
From his pocket Harry withdrew a shrunken book, which expanded to its original size in his hand. The placed it on the table and turned it so that she could read the title. "Dark Lords and Idiots: The Life and Times of Harry James Potter. Catchy title there. Have you got anything to tell me Hermione?"
To his surprise Hermione simply smiled. "One of the perks of writing in the Wizarding Press is that you can call a book any damned fool thing you want and it will still be accepted as a scholarly work." She laughed. "I titled it that mostly in hope that you'd come by to yell at me."
"Well, it worked. Except for that 'yell at you' thing. I skimmed a bit of this bad boy last night." Harry said tapping the book. "You made me sound like an immature berk."
"Harry!"the bushy haired mother of five looked stricken.
"No worries Hermione." Harry said smiling. "If I recall correctly, I pretty much was an immature berk then. The years have been kind since then. Now I'm a mature berk. I'm surprised any Wizarding publisher would have touched this book. It's logically laid out, annotated and it has an index. How did you manage that?"
Hermione shrugged. "As closely associated with you as Ron and I were, they would have published my grocery list if I put your name in the title." An evil grin he recognized from their shared time in the Gryffindor common room made an appearance. It was the grin that told him that she had taken advantage of a stupid person in a position of power. "For the longest time I was worried that the only reason it sold well was your name on the cover. Then I made a few minor changes to the Muggle references, modified a few names and addresses, pulled out my foot notes, invented a love story between you and Luna and presto, I had a bestselling fiction series in the non-magical world under the title Soul Quest: The Adventures of Duncan Blood."
"A far cooler name than Gary Slaughter, the name I made up for you, or so my editor tells me."
"I think I've seen your Soul Quest series in book stores. So it's a dramatization of our lives?"
The Brunette dimpled. "Mostly your life, but yes, but Ron and I make appearances as well. It's the epic adventures of Duncan Blood, Helen Farmer and Richard Marmott."
"Marmott?" Harry smirked. "Duncan Blood suddenly doesn't sound so bad."
Hermione shared his smirk. "My first draft had him as 'Donald Ferret', and Ron thought that was hilarious; he thought I was referring to Draco. When I told him it was supposed to be him, he hit the roof. I'd never seen him so mad, not even the time George reversed the propulsion charms on his broom before his Cannon's tryout."
Harry's laughter brought on Hermione's own. Little Carrie Weasley stared at her mother and her mother's friend while they were being silly. Adults weren't usually that silly.
"Anyway," Hermione continued as soon as she caught her breath. "The success of the series seemed to be a most poetic victory to me. I know everyone expected me to be the Minister of Magic by now, or to be the head Unspeakable with my own little 'Bookworm' signal in the sky when ever a puzzle needs unraveling, but honestly Harry, Ron and I got several lifetimes worth of excitement and stress from our school years and I felt no need to fight my way up a career path to high office." Hermione sipped her tea. "I write in the quiet bedlam of our home, and I still have more than enough time to care for our children and assist in the home schooling of my four who haven't left for Hogwarts yet as well as the children of a few friends. The money from the books allows us the freedom to do what we want. Ron can continue with his coaching of what is frankly a horrible team that he loves and not worry about needing to move to a team that can pay him a living wage to support our family. In short it's perfect."
"I'm happy for the pair of you, really I am." Harry paused for a moment. "Now I've got to read those damned books. You said you invented a romance between Luna and me? Why not Ginny? Why not you?"
"Harry, please. I tried to use Ginny, but her character just wouldn't work. In the first five books in the series she was almost an nonentity, with only a minor appearance in what should have been her star turn when she was possessed and opened the portal to the Void of Mysteries, she was far too two dimensional to become a love interest, so I used the wacky personality of the slightly odd Selene Truelove to capture the poor Duncan's heart. Luna found the idea to be highly amusing.
"She would." Harry agreed. "How is she anyway?"
"Happy and insanely busy. The Quibbler has gone international with local editions in almost every English speaking magical enclave. As far as why I didn't use Helen Farmer as Duncan's love interests, well, she has a thing for taller red headed men from large families."
"Ah, so Ron wins again." He flashed her a grin. "He gets everything, the girl, the girl's money, lots of kids..."
"Hmph." She huffed. "Of course now that I know about you and Tracey, perhaps in the next book in the series, I'll have Selene move on to a weirder boyfriend and have Duncan take solace in the arms of Tilly David, the conflicted genius of Serpents Coven."
"Oh yeah, write Tracey into the story, she'd love that. I'm not sure how happy I am that my life could so easily be made into a work of fiction."
The fire in the hearth flared green. "Hermione?" a woman's voice sounded from the flames.
"It's Hannah. Alright to come through?"
Hermione winked at Harry, "Sure, come on through."
The fire flared and a pair of young boys about stepped through holding each others hands. Harry raised an eyebrow in envy. Why could everyone in the universe use the stupid floo except him? They were followed by a blond woman then herself followed by a redhead carrying an infant.
"Hermione! Did you hear?" The blond said breathlessly. "Neville and Constance owled to say that Harry was at Hogwarts yesterday!"
"And today..." Harry interrupted, "He's in the Weasley's kitchen."
"Harry!" Hannah Longbottom swept him into a hug. "How are you?"
"It's so good to see you Harry!" Susan Bones said when she replaced Hannah in the hug
"I'm good. Better than I've been in years. I don't need to ask how you two are. I hope Neville's managing to survive."
"Neville will be delighted to see you, can you come to dinner?"
Harry shook his head. "I'm sorry Susan, Hannah, but I can't. I have to be in Japanby the day after tomorrow. I've got to catch a Muggle airplane at six pm this evening. Business waits for no Wizard I'm afraid."
"That's just like you Harry James Potter." Susan said with her hands on her hips. "You appear after disappearing for years, sow a little chaos and disappear again."
"What did I do?"
"You bought your godson that insanely over powered broom. Lest than twenty four hours later I get a letter from my son detailing how it just isn't fair and how his father and I should rush right out and buy him one."
"Ah." A smile crept across his lips. "Well, you know Viktor Krum's Blur should be in full production in a few weeks. Since you know someone with direct intimate contacts with Viktor, you can probably get her to intercede with old Viktor to get you a discount."
Both the former Hufflepuffs turned to look at Hermione speculatively.
Hermione blushed, and then ground out through clenched teeth, "It was one date. One date, twenty years ago. He kissed me on the cheek. There were no direct intimate contacts."
The guests to the Weasley home began to laugh at their hostess's discomfort. Cassie Weasley once again wondered what it was about Mummy's friend that made the grownups act so silly.
*End of Interlude*
Cyrus Greengrass looked up from the paperwork on his desk. His mouth hanging open as he rose from his seat. "Daphne?" He crossed the room to embrace his eldest daughter. "Why didn't you let me know you were coming?"
Daphne shrugged. "I didn't want a fuss. Besides last time we spoke we both said a few things that hurt."
The older man colored a bit. "Well I know you don't like my wife."
"It's got nothing to do with her being your wife Daddy, I hated her when we shared a dorm room, and the years haven't improved her personality in the slightest as far as I can see. Mostly I came by today to let you know that you're a grandfather."
"What? Who?" Cyrus sputtered.
"Not me Daddy. Astoria and Draco. Your grandson is Scorpius Hyperion Malfoy.
"Of course. Wonderful. Where you hate my wife, Astoria hates me."
"She doesn't Daddy. It would mean a lot to her if you were to visit and meet your grandson. Sure he's saddled with that horrible name, but that doesn't mean he has to grow up to be a copy of his father. Draco managed to become far less of a bastard than Lucius was, and with a bit of Greengrass guidance in his life Scorpius should turn out to be a good man."
Cyrus Greengrass had spent many nights reliving the argument that had brought Daphne's last visit to his home to such a final end. It had started when his new wife had demanded that Daphne call her 'mother' out of some school girl revenge and had spiraled out of control from there. Daphne had accused him of thinking with his penis and stormed out of the house, back to her life among the Muggles.
Now his eldest daughter was back, asking that he attempt to reconnect with his youngest and meet his grandson. How had his life gotten to this point?
"I believe you are right Daphne. I should be able to get out their way tomorrow. Could you stay for dinner? I'd like to spend some time with one of my daughter."
Daphne smiled. "Of course Daddy. I'd love too."
Dinner in the Greengrass home was much as she remembered it. The same china, the same silver service, the same food served by the same elves. The only real difference was the woman sitting to her father's left.
Vanessa Greengrass had the 'honor' of being the last innocent killed by a Death Eater. It was during a raid on Diagon Alley the day before Harry had finally found and finished the Dark Lord. There was no indication that Vanessa had been specifically targeted, rather like so many others, she was just a random victim of the madman's followers. The only thing different about her case was that she was the last.
For several moments the only sound was that of silver against bone china, until the silence became too much for her father's wife to tolerate.
"So Daphne, how goes your career?"
"Quite well thank you. I am what is considered 'hot' in the industry. Many advertisers are willing to pay quite well to have my face associated with their products."
"Your father mentioned that you have branched out into something called 'motion pictures'. Don't all pictures have motion?"
"No. In the Muggle world photographs are motionless. A motion picture uses a bit of Muggle technology to produce movement." Daphne explained.
"But to what end? So they with technology produce photos that we do with magic. How can that be a job?"
"No, they aren't duplication Wizarding Photographs, these 'movies' are in full color and can be as long as you would like them to be. I've done three, the last one lasting three hours." She took a drink of her wine. "They are more plays than photographs. They tell a story."
"Ah, I see." The woman said when clearly she didn't. "That pays well does it?"
"Well enough that I only need to make one of them a year to be very comfortable."
"We'll need to see the next one then." Cyrus interjected.
"I'd like that Daddy. I'll take you to the British premier."
"British premier you said? Are there others?"
"Oh yes, if, for a big enough film, there are premiers in every major country."
"So." Her step mother said. "We've established that your career is going well. You aren't getting any younger Daphne how is your love life?"
"Well..." Daphne paused to spear a few green beans with her fork and chewed thoughtfully. "The man I've been living with for the last year has been asking me to marry him."
Cyrus choked on the mouthful of wine he had just taken. His wife took a calculating look.
"Daphne, please. Tell me he isn't a Muggle."
"No, he's a Wizard. You even know him Pansy." Daphne fought to keep the smile from her lips.
The former Pansy Parkinson ran through ever wizard she knew, trying to think of any that would be living in North America, much less living with Daphne for a year.
"Who is it Daphne?" Cyrus asked quietly.
"Harry Potter." She said simply.
Once again the silence was deafening.
*Yet Another Interlude*
As the door opened a bell chimed. Harry froze expecting... anything. When nothing happened, Harry continued his way into the store feeling more than a bit silly, not really knowing what he had expected to happen. At the counter was a pretty dark haired woman dusting display merchandise, who Harry instantly recognized, though he was puzzled as to what Penny Weasley nee' Clearwater would be doing working at Weasley's Wizarding Wheezes. The woman looked up from her ministrations, moving a lock of her long curly hair from her face with her left hand.
"Could I help you..." she stopped in mid sentence with her mouth hanging open when she recognized him. "Oh, bloody hell. Just one minute Harry." She turned to the wall behind the counter and beat on the wall. "George! Get out here!"
After a few moments the door to what Harry recalled as the Twin's inner sanctum opened and George Weasley stumbled out straightening his robes. "I swear to Merlin Penny. I think you live to do that. If you weren't the best bookkeeper I've ever met, I'd fire you for that."
Penny smirked at Alicia emerging from the back room looking as disheveled as her husband. "But I am, so you won't. And you have a guest."
For the first time George noticed Harry standing there, and Harry was amused to see the joker shift to business mode. The surviving twin strode up to Harry and extended a hand. "Sorry I missed you old man. George Weasley, Senior Partner, Weasley's Wizarding Wheezes."
Harry took the offered hand, a bit confused that George hadn't recognized him.
"George!" Alicia said. "Put on your glasses you vain prat, that's Harry."
"Harry?" The redhead fumbled at an inner pocket of his robes and withdrew a pair of spectacles and placed them on his face. "Harry!" George pulled Harry into a bone crushing hug. "Bill said that he had asked you to come to the school to guest lecture." George released the hug, but held onto Harry's shoulders. "Have you seen Ron and Hermione?"
"I just came from their house. Ron's on the road with the Cannons, but I've met their children."
Alicia pushed George out of the way. "Got a kiss for an old team mate?"
"Well, all right." Harry said. "I was worried that it might make you jealous." He made a move to embrace George.
"Prat. You were a smart ass even back in school." She kissed him.
"So, you and George huh? I'd have bet on Angela."
"We flipped a coin." Alicia shrugged. "I lost."