Sirius and Harry talk and there's a Solstice Ball.
If you recognize something that you feel as yours I hope you treat it like we all hope she treats our writing. “Interesting but that isn’t cannon people,”
You’re my WHAT?
Ron had been beside himself on the train. Harry hadn’t sent any owls this summer and no one could find him. Hermione had consoled herself that if they couldn’t find him neither could Voldemort but without Harry around she wasn’t sure how enjoyable Hogwarts would be this year.
The welcoming feast was appearing on the tables when Ron rose from the table stalking to the head table where he loudly confronted the Headmaster questioning where his best friend was. Hermione had expected him to go off upon arrival at Hogwarts but either fear of his brothers reactions or more likely some other distraction had kept him silent until now. Everyone in the hall was in shock some that a student dared confront the headmaster publicly others by the sight of Ron Weasley leaving a table before eating it clean. Still she didn’t miss the look from the Hufflepuff table accompanied by a nod in the direction of Ron. All it took was a simple shake of the head for Hermione to disavow any claim on her co-best friend. Seeing her path now clear Megan Jones made her way to the head table taking Ron’s arm and talking to him calmly while escorted him over to the Hufflepuff table sitting him down beside her and starting to feed him.
At the head table Professor McGonagall deputy headmistress and head of Gryffindor house looked to Professor Pomona Sprout head of Hufflepuff house saying, “I believe one of mine is at your table I hope you don’t take offense.”
“Not at all I believe a few house points are in order however.”
“Allow me,” Professor McGonagall said standing and looking to the couple sitting down. “Mr. Weasley that will be twenty five house points from Gryffindor for your actions and a week of detention, no make it two weeks of detention with me. Miss Jones take ten of those same points for Hufflepuff house for your prompt action.”
Professor Severus Snape muttered, “Twenty five points bah, he should have been expelled.”
A slight smile creased the headmaster’s face when he countered, “If I expelled everyone you wished we wouldn’t have any students above second year. Minerva that must have hurt to take that many points before classes even begin.”
Her voice slipped in to a thick Scottish brogue as she replied, “Ay it did, but that boy has worse coming.”
“I agree with Professor Snape disobedience like that should be punished severely. I can understand you mollycoddling the boy Minerva but Headmaster you should have insisted on a more appropriate punishment.”
“You will find Delores, I tend to let the heads of house deal with their own students in cases like this. They know them and are in a better position to guide them back to the proper path.” The headmaster replied to the new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher Delores Umbridge.
Hermione as a fifth year prefect helped the first year Gryffindors to their common room alone. her male counterpart had been Ron but with his behavior to night that was in question. She debated putting in a good word for Neville but decided that might play against her should one of the other fifth year boys be selected. The new morning she looked at her class schedule surprisingly her first class of the term wasn’t potions. Defense Against the Dark Arts and its new teacher awaited the fifth year Gryffindors this morning.
Three hours later she sat in History of Magic not taking notes not doing anything but fuming really. She could still hear the sappy sweet girlish voice telling her they would not need wands this year. How was she going to pass her owls at the end of the year? Years of arguing with teachers at her muggle school paid off today she’d managed to push the point stopping only when her next word would earn her a detention, a point proven by Ron among others. If the rest of the day’s Defense classes when like theirs did Professor Umbridge would need to use the Great Hall for her detentions tonight.
As the days progressed Hermione’s suspicions about her classes were confirmed. Most were not overly challenging if you kept up with the reading and homework. She was beginning her revision for the end of the year owls her schedule had her covering the first through third year material before Christmas. Fourth should finish up mid-February leaving the rest of the year for fifth year material that had the benefit of being fresh in her mind but the problem of being more complex. That applied for all but Defense. That class she’d have to work out something special. This was one of the many things she missed about Harry. Say what you will about his study habits, and did she ever, that boy knew his Defense Against the Dark Arts.
Hermione’s second week at Hogwarts started with the announcement that their Defense Against the Dark Arts Instructor, Dolores Umbridge, had been appointed Hogwarts High Inquisitor reporting directly to the Minister for Magic. Hermione watched the head table carefully watching body language and catching snippets of the conversation suddenly glad she had an out. Hogwarts was fast going to become unfriendly to muggle born students. That night’s owl contained the line, “Tell my boyfriend Eric Burdon that I agree with what he said.”
As her parents read the letter her father asked, “Who in the heck is Eric Burdon and why didn’t I know he’s my daughter’s boyfriend?”
“Eric Burdon was the lead singer of “The Animals,” Margaret replied.
“I remember that group isn’t he a little old for our daughter?”
Margaret looked at her husband shaking her head as she thought, ‘clueless man,’ before saying, “I believe our daughter thinks her mail is being read and sent a message wizards wouldn’t catch but we would.”
“What is this message?”
“What are the top songs the group is know for?”
Herman thought for a moment before saying, “House of the Rising Sun, Don’t let me be misunderstood, We Gotta Get out of This Place.”
“The last one love. She’s telling us she wants out of Hogwarts. Time to contact Mr. Ackerley and let him talk with Mr. Brocklehurst,” Margaret replied then began having a long discussion with her husband. She’d read a few of the history books Hermione had bought over the years for summer reading. Adding in this news she was wondering if that might not be a good idea for her and Herman to join the British expatriate community. They could sell their practice to that new dentist that had inquired about joining them and use his payments to live off while they set up a new practice wherever they landed.
Sirius Black looked at his godson knowing that after this conversation their relationship would change forever, rather it became better was not assured. “Take a seat Harry we’ve got a lot to cover.”
“What’s going on?”
“We need to talk about clothes first. Apolline told me you are reluctant to go shopping.”
Harry nodded the teenager in him coming out fully he said, “It’s only clothes I really don’t care what ever they pick up is fine with me.”
Sirius shook his head saying, “You’ve spent too much time with your aunt. Harry while clothes don’t make the man they sure can break him. I’m sure you’ve noticed all the families bringing their kids to get on the Hogwarts express and then coming to get them.”
“Yes it’s a right pain I don’t know why they couldn’t issue us portkeys. It would be a lot easier.”
“You’re right it would be. Years ago however a group of pure-blooded parents pushed through a requirement that all students take the express.”
An obviously puzzled Harry asked, “Why would they do that isn’t it harder on them?”
“Yes but it also allows them to put their eyes on their children’s class mates. If their daughter is talking about a boy or the reverse they can look the young lad or girl over and decide if they need to obstruct or encourage. All that is decided in most cases before their child can introduce the other one to their parents.”
“Based on clothes?”
Sirius shrugged saying, “To a point yes. The way the other individual is dressed can tell a lot about their upbringing and family situation. Wizarding England may be small, only 25,000 or so, but wizarding families tend to live an isolated existence. So outside of their family grouping their lack of knowledge about each other is surprising to muggles. The cut of your robes, the material they are made of, even how you walk will affect how you are perceived. Luckily you avoided all that by bonding with Gabrielle. That being said care to tell me why you are wearing your hair short and not wearing any rings?”
Harry looked confused at his godfather true his hair was a lot shorter than Sirius’s but what did that matter and he didn't own any rings. Seeing the confusion Sirius continued. “Harry you are head of House Potter actually the old way of saying it would be you are Potter of House Potter. You should be growing your hair down to the middle of your back and there should be the head of house ring on your right hand.”
“But everyone says my hair is just like my fathers.”
“Your grandfather was alive when James was in school he wasn’t killed until the summer after James graduated then your father started letting his hair grow. Dumbledore should have told you all this and gotten you the head of house ring before you went to Hogwarts. I can’t believe I didn’t think of it before Apolline reminded me.”
“So I’ve got to grow my hair and wear some gaudy ring just to make a bunch of purebloods happy?” Harry replied in a confrontational tone.
“No Harry you can do what you want. I’m not going to force you to do anything. All I want to do is let you know what I know. Your father and I were both pure bloods and there are some things you should know and be able to recognize. You may not want to grow your hair long but you should know what it means and be able to recognize a head of house ring like this one.” Sirius said holding up his own Head of House Black ring for Harry to look at.
Harry looked at the ring on Sirius’ finger deciding if the potter ring looked that manly he might actually wear it.
Watching him look over the ring Sirius felt it was time for the real reason for this conversation. “Harry I’ve decided to tell you some things your father told me shortly before he was murdered. At the time the only people that knew were your parents and Dumbledore. I was told as you were to come to me should anything happen to your parents and James wanted me to know why extraordinary steps needed to be taken concerning your safety. There was a prophecy made concerning you and one of Voldemort’s death eaters overheard it and rushed to tell him. I can’t remember the entire thing off the top of my head but the gust of it is you are the only one with the power to kill Voldemort. That is unless he kills you first.”
Harry sat looking at Sirius for a long while before asking, “So because I am the only one fated to deal with Voldemort everyone else runs around scared hiding from not only him but anyone of his Death Eaters they could defeat?”
Sirius smiled at Harry’s quick understanding saying, “That’s about right.”
“Do you have any idea who the death eater was that told him?”
“No but I have my suspicions and those will stay mine until I have proof.”
Harry sat quietly for several minutes before saying, “Sirius I need time to think this through. Is there any problems if I tell Gabrielle and her parents?”
Sirius shrugged his shoulders saying, “It’s your story tell who you want. I would suggest making sure it doesn’t get back to old snake face though.”
Harry smiled at the insulting nickname as he left Sirius alone. Hours later he was approached by Joseph Delacour asking, “You’ve told Harry the gust of the prophecy about him?”
“How did you?”
“I know many things Mr. Black. Albus Dumbledore and the Dark Lord’s spy were not the only ones who heard the prophecy,” Joseph said leaving the room relieved he no longer felt the responsibility to tell Harry of his fate. Surprisingly Harry held out for a week before he succumbed and told Gabrielle what Sirius had told him.
After giving permission Albus Dumbledore stood to welcome Samuel Brocklehurst as he floo’d in to his office. “Welcome Mr. Brocklehurst may I ask what brings you to Hogwarts?”
“I’ve come to withdraw my magical dependents from Hogwarts.” At the headmaster’s look of concern he added, “It is nothing against you but with the ministry interfering I don’t like the feeling I’m getting.”
Dumbledore appeared to be deep in thought while actually he’d already decided. Miss Brocklehurst was an average Hufflepuff. While Professor Sprout, her head of house, might notice her absence he doubted any other Professor would say anything beyond a simple inquiry. “I’m sorry you feel that way.” Dumbledore said waiving his wand to summon a house elf. He distained the calling of a particular house elf it might give them thoughts above their station. This way the closest one answered. “Yes Professor?”
“Please inform Professor Sprout I wish her to inform Miss. Brocklehurst to report to my office with all her things. She is leaving us.”
Before the elf could leave Mr. Brocklehurst added, “Also notify Miss Granger’s head of house to have her report with all her things.”
Dumbledore looked at Samuel sharply before waiving his wand in a complex pattern while muttering under his breath. Moments later a parchment dangling several colorful ribbons flew into the headmaster’s hands. After a quick perusal of the parchment Dumbledore said in a very clipped voice. “Yes, inform Professor McGonagall that we will need Miss Granger also.”
“Samuel I don’t know how you slipped this by me.” Dumbledore started stopping at Samuel Brocklehurst’s raised eyebrow.
“I did everything by the book Headmaster. Whoever did your filing might be in need of instruction but I did nothing underhanded and I resent the implication,” Solicitor Brocklehurst replied, Samuel Brocklehurst had disappeared.
Always alert for political nuances Dumbledore caught the change. “No, I did not mean to imply you did anything but follow the law exactly. I will have a talk with my… ‘filing clerk’ as it were.”
After the girls had left Professor McGonagall looked at the Headmaster saying, “Albus how could you allow our most promising fifth year student to leave? I thought you were the magical guardian for all muggle born students?”
“Minerva I had no choice. Sometime over the summer Samuel Brocklehurst filed the correct papers making him Miss Granger’s magical guardian. If I had known I could have fought it but the notice must have arrived while we were trying to find Mr. Potter and I missed the hearing.”
Several days later Dumbledore was enjoying a tranquil moment sitting in the big chair behind his desk enjoying a lemon drop while his mind worked through the various problems involved with and possible outcomes of having a few of the Aurors in the order of the Phoenix visit Hermione Granger and confiscate her wand under the pretense that without passing her owls she was not a full fledged witch and entitled to a wand. That might force her back under his guidance but with a solicitor of Brocklehurst’s abilities involved he needed to step lightly, perhaps a word to someone on the examining board? He was jostled out of his musing by an owl flying in and dropping an envelope on his desk. Looking at it he wondered what Madam Maxime could want. When she’d left at the end of last years tournament they had agreed to avoid contact for a while to let things simmer down. Deciding there was nothing to loose he unrolled the parchment to find a request for copies of two student’s school and medical records. ‘Well at least I know where Miss Granger and Miss Brocklehurst will be attending classes.’ He thought to himself as he cast the spell to copy both their school records before heading up to Madam Pomfrey, the school’s healer, for their medical records.
Standing the Diagon Alley office of Brocklehurst and Ackerley, Hermione looked at the young girl who was beside her, “Sorry Mandy I didn’t mean for you to get involved in this.”
“It’s all right. I could see things were going to get worse in time, but transferring to Beauxbatons? I don’t even speak French.”
“There’s a language charm that will help you learn. I should use it too I mean I can speak French but it’s more conversational French than reading and writing.”
Samuel Brocklehurst walked over passing a French phrase book to Hermione he said, “Here’s the port key they sent over. You two be good and if you need help let me know. I’ve got a few friends over there that can help.”
“Thanks Mr. Brocklehurst.” Hermione said giving him a hug before stepping back allowing Mandy to get to her father.
Mandy gave her father a big hug saying, “I’m going to miss you and mum.”
“It will be just like Hogwarts but without the boring train ride.” Her father assured her. Then after checking to make sure they both had their luggage in hand he tapped the port key with his wand sending them on their way.
They landed in Madam Maxime’s office although slightly swaying both were managing to stay upright. “Welcome to Beauxbatons. You are the first transfer students we’ve had from Hogwarts in many a decade. Having just been there last year I’m sure you will find the classes here different from those you are used to. Are you ready for the rigors of a French education?”
Both girls managed a, “Yes Headmistress,” while taking in the grandeur of her office. It’s light and clean design was quite a change from the cluttered dark wood cabinet and painting lined office of the Hogwarts headmaster. Just then a door opened and in walked a girl about their age.
“Excellent timing Miss Arsenault. This is Miss Hermione Granger and Miss Mandy Brocklehurst our two new students.” Olympe Maxime said introducing the two new arrivals.
“Miss Arsenault I recall you being at Hogwarts last year. I hope we did not make a bad impression.” Hermione said holding out her hand.
“The bad impression was due to various factors none of which were the responsibility of either of you young ladies.” Miss Arsenault replied as she took Mandy’s hand and shook it.
“Miss Arsenault would you please show these two where they will be staying. Both of you should leave your bags here they will be in your rooms before you get there,” Olympe said ushering everyone out of her office.
Marie Arsenault proved to be as organized as Hermione by the time class started the next day the two transfer students each had enough proper clothes and a room mate who would insure they made it to every class on time. Thinking she could get used to bunking two to a room with individual study desks and plenty of space for books Hermione took a look in her wardrobe pleased she wouldn’t be living out of a trunk. Her school clothes, the outer robe, skirt and blouse looked reasonably normal although the material was finer and softer than anything she’d worn at Hogwarts. The parcels of hose and shoes with several inches of heels were not normal for Hogwarts however. The next morning she was muttering about lacking holdups when her roommate said, “You’re a witch use a sticking spell at the top of the hose. Keeps them in place all day.”
It took Hermione only ten minutes into her first class to realize how far behind her Hogwarts education was. At lunch that day she made it a point to sit with Mandy asking, “Were you surprised by your first class like I was?”
Mandy looked at her nodding, “Oh yes, I was talking with my room mate about it afterwards. From what she said we are half a year behind or worse depending on the class.”
“That’s about right. I thought Hogwarts was the best wizarding school but I can understand why so many graduates stay in England if this is the standard education outside of England.” Hermione noted.
The next letter home raised eyebrows at the Granger home. It arrived by normal British post with the proper stamps bearing a London postmark. Margaret Granger was about to throw it out when the handwriting caught her eye. Opening it carefully she pulled out several sheet of fine stationary.
Things at my new school are far more advanced than I was expecting. My initial grades will not be up to my usual standards but I am studying hard to bring them back to respectable levels for a Granger.
I must confess father was correct on yet another topic. I should have checked out the various magical schools with greater care. I fell for Professor McGonagall’s line that Hogwarts was the finest wizarding school in the world. If it is I would like to know were the one l am currently at is located because the classes are far better. While it is true that a few of my teachers do not have the advanced degrees that some a Hogwarts claim to have they are far better at conveying information in an understandable fashion.
Speaking of fashion mum, you will be pleased to know that I have left the late 1800’s behind and am now in the twentieth century. Admittedly early twentieth but I’m wearing Chanel, 1 inch heels and makeup are required for all girls fifth year and up. My roommate Marie Roy has been very helpful with the “girl things” as dad would say. Also Hogwarts never offered evening classes in deportment, party planning and hosting, along with dancing lessons for everyone being mandatory. I arrived too late for the normal classes in household charms so I am taking those with the fourth year girls. Unfortunately cooking classes have been an after hours option since first year. The headmistress has agreed that I can do independent study on that subject provided I prove to the satisfaction of their instructor I am making proper progress. Given all these extra classes, Yes mother I am taking deportment along with the party planning and hosting I have come to realize that whoever I marry will need a wife with those skills as the two current candidates both have their eyes set on careers that will involve a significant public presence. Not that either one of them know they are candidates for that position.
I am confident your daughter will leave here a much more capable young witch than Hogwarts would have produced.
A few weeks later a second letter arrived.
It was so good to read your reply. I’ll answer your questions first. Yes there are only two of us to a room and we have our own bathroom with all the necessities. It is so much better than living in a dorm room with all the other girls in your year not to mention the problems with having a common bathroom at the end of the hall. Marie is a fun roommate she knows most everyone as her family runs on of the more popular stores with locations in both Paris and Marseille. She is slightly better developed than me and has a beau while I am lacking one and intend to be for a while yet. Mum please explain it to Dad.
The cost of the clothes was included in my tuition. We wore some standard sizes for our first few days. A witch from Chanel measured us on the first evening. She brought our clothes back two days later and did a proper fitting of them. She told us she returns every month or so to adjust or replace those students whose bodies have changed. Finally no wearing robes that were fit six months ago! Even if they were cut “a little big to allow for growth.”
Yes we have wine with every meal beyond breakfast. There are two carafes on every table one with watered wine and one with straight. The wine variety varies with the meal.
You asked about my teachers,
Professor Drapeau teaches charms he is old and distinguished looking. But very demanding and strict I think that trait is shared by all our instructors now that I think about it.
Professor Ver Way is from the Netherlands and quite the Herbology expert. He works closely with our Potions professor. Their approach is far different from Hogwarts Herbology and Potions professors. Professor Ver Way has us harvesting ingredients then we take those ingredients to potions class and use what we’ve harvested if we harvested wrong it shows up in the potion we are making.
Professor Gaudet is our Potions Mistress. She is the direct opposite of Hogwart’s potions master as is our class room. I wish you could visit Beauxbatons. Hogwarts was a very old Scottish castle and felt like it cold, quirky, and on occasion very drafty and dreary. Beauxbatons is full of windows and just feels light, warm and far happier.
Professor Thibeault teaches Transfiguration. While I doubt anyone could top Professor McGonagall for overall knowledge or skill Professor Thibeault runs a close second. Besides she does not appear to have sucked on lemons for breakfast, which is a plus in my book.
Ancient Runes is called Runes here and taught by Professor Marceau who is brilliant. That said this is my current problem class. Because Hogwarts doesn’t start Ancient Runes until third year I’m more than a bit behind in this class. According to Professor Marceau I should catch up sometime late this year or early next.
At Beauxbatons there is also a required muggle knowledge course. This class is much more intensive than Hogwarts muggle studies. It actually covers the advances in the regular world over the last decade. Thanks to the time I spent with you over the summer I was up to date and able to test out of for the year.
The evening classes are taught by a variety of outside instructors who come and go as the material changes. So I’ll skip those.
I’m settling in well. My French is much better a good thing as all my classes are in French. I must admit I prefer these dresses to the robes of Hogwarts I actually feel like a girl now. Speaking of that if you get a letter from the Headmistress don’t worry I’m fine. I ran into two bullies who thought they’d found some easy picking. One tried to put a spell on me that I was able to throw off last year. They were a bit surprised at that and even more at my return spells. Short version is they are expelled and awaiting trial for attacking an underage witch. At Hogwarts something similar would have only rated a weeks detention and lost of a few house points.
That’s the latest from the best wizarding school in Europe.
Love to you both,
“You actually told your folks about the attack?” Marie asked Hermione.
Hermione nodded saying, “I had to just incase Madam Maxime wrote them.”
Marie shook her head, “I wouldn’t dare tell my folks a fellow student cast the Imperius Curse on me. Let alone I dueled two guys at wand point.”
“It’s a good thing they didn’t cast it on you then. For me that was a normal day at Hogwarts. Although I will admit they were better a dueling than my normal attackers.”
“But how did you get so good?”
Hermione shrugged, “When you best friends with Harry Potter dueling just seems to be something you learn to do.”
Marie looked at Hermione with wide eyes asking, “The Harry you are always talking about, that is Harry Potter?”
A bit surprised Hermione answered, “Yes, didn’t I mention his name before?”
Marie shook her head saying, “No it was always Harry and Ron with no last names… When Fleur came back she talked a lot about Harry and his friend that was always by his side except when she went to the ball with Victor Krum. That was you? You went on a date with Victor Krum?”
Hermione hadn’t realized her roommate was a big Quidditch fan girl, “Yes I did.”
“So did he kiss you?”
“On the cheek only. And you don’t want to know the problems it caused,” Hermione replied only to find out that Marie did want to know every little problem and detail.
Months later Gabrielle looked at her companion. They had spent every Monday to Friday the last few months in classes. Once her mother realized how little of potion ingredient interaction Harry learned at Hogwarts she’d tutored him herself before bringing in tutors in potions and other subjects including the social graces to insure he would not embarrass himself when he started classes at Beauxbatons. Gabrielle had joined him in all but one of these including the ones she’d already passed to insure he had a study companion. The one exception was this class he was so far beyond her skill level she merely watched. At the end of class his clothes were torn to shreds again, He was bleeding from a few nicks, had scrapes on various parts of his exposed skin but he was looking down at his Defense tutor a smile on his face and the tutor’s wand in his hand. He released the binding spell and tossed the tutor his wand back.
“Mr. Potter that is your last lesson from me. You are the first student I’ve had that has managed to beat me three straight duels. It did not help that you restricted yourself to no shields on the last duel.” His tutor said shaking his head.
“Could you recommend someone else who could take him to the next level?” Sirius asked walking over.
“I match up at least even with anyone I would refer you to. Therefore I would suggest two different individuals attacking him at the same time with totally different styles. That might give him a hard time.” The tutor said before taking his leave.
“Well Sirius you said if I could beat him you’d take me on.” Harry stated a gleam in his eyes.
Sirius really didn’t want to go against Harry. Sirius had been trained as a rough street fighter not a dueler like Harry’s instructors. “Harry you know I’m no dueler.”
“You are just what I need a no holds bared fighter who knows just one thing, win.”
“You’ve got that right. Alright I’ll do it but Gabrielle here needs to be present.” Turning to Gabrielle Sirius said, “If you see me starting to use spells that are too dangerous stun me. It’s better he hits me with something dangerous than one of mine hits him.”
“How’s that better?” Harry asked.
“I’d rather face your folks for having you hit me with something of that nature then face them for having hit you with one. You are my godson! I’m trying to train you not put you in the ground.”
Two losses later Harry called it a day. He now knew just why Sirius refused to fight his tutors. Sirius was wicked fast and just plain nasty in his spell selection. No other individual he knew would start a fight with a Blasting Curse at their opponents private parts. That had earned Sirius a stunner from Gabrielle along with the comment to stay away from areas that would affect her future children.
“Harry how are your other classes going?” Sirius asked as they showered in the small dressing area of the dueling room.
Harry looked at his godfather saying, “Actually this is probably my best one.”
“Oh yes, you try taking ethics, court manners, and dancing from a veela. I think some days Mrs. Delacour is grooming me to be Minister for Magic or something. Did you know there are at least four ways to respond to a complement? Two of which insult the person giving the complement.”
Sirius nodded, “I had those lessons between the ages of ten and fourteen during the summer. At sixteen my parents decided that I needed to learn various means of torturing information out of people. I didn’t like that class and left.”
“That’s what prompted the break?”
“Among other things,” Sirius replied so coldly that Harry decided to let that dog stay sleeping.
Harry looked at Joseph Delacour the man he’d come to look at as either a second father or co-godfather in shock. “You want us to attend the Winter solstice Ball at the French ministry?”
“Harry you are going to Beauxbatons when it starts back up. It would be best if you were seen before then and to be honest I can’t think of a better way to tweak some British noses than for you to miss their ball and attend ours.”
Harry now knew why Apolline had been pushing their dancing for the last few sessions. He’d thought they were competent several weeks back but she’d been pushing them to learn more impressive twirls and other flourishes.
After a shopping trip under the guidance of Apolline that involved multiple shops and numerous fittings just to pick up a new set of robes to match an as yet unseen dress of Gabrielle’s Harry was ready to call it quits and run to Voldemort so he could be put out of his misery. The intervening week of solid tests only increased his urge. He and Gabrielle spent the entire week separately or on occasion together taking written tests or demonstrating various spells. Luckily there was a days rest before they had to attend the solstice ball. That day Harry and Gabrielle got up late and spent the day relaxing. The next morning Harry was expecting another relaxing day with his companion instead he was left on his own while the ladies disappeared for the day. Joseph showed up later herding Harry upstairs to get dressed. He was back downstairs feeling slightly depressed and missing his constant companion for the last few months. That all ended when he saw Gabrielle descend the stairs of Delacour mansion. “Merlin you are beautiful but that just doesn’t convey how fantastic you look.” Harry said as he swept her up in his arms.
Apolline and Joseph smiled at each other and allowed the two teens a moment of peace. Which Fleur broke when she came downstairs asking, “Is everyone ready?” causing Harry’s and Gabrielle’s eyes to break contact.
Joseph held out the invitation which was also a Portkey activating it once everyone was touching it. “Ah right on time. Mr. Delacour Mrs. Delacour, Miss Fleur right behind this couple if you would. Mr. Potter and Miss Gabrielle behind them,” the man arranging the order of introduction said.
Harry hadn’t liked this at all but his schooling in the art of politics and social graces over the last four months helped him understand it far better this time than the tri-wizard ball last year. Tapping Mr. Delacour on the shoulder he quirked an eyebrow receiving an answering affirmative nod, several moments later he heard a voice call out to the hall, “Mr. Joseph Delacour, Mrs. Apolline Delacour and Beauxbatons tri-wizard champion Miss Fleur Delacour.” When they reached the halfway point down the stairs he braced himself knowing he wouldn’t like his introduction. “Tri-wizard Tournament winner Mr. Harry Potter and his companion Miss Gabrielle Delacour-Potter.”
Harry took the first step thinking that wasn’t bad. Then he heard a murmur start in the hall. He glanced down to see a beaming smile on Apolline’s face indicating whatever was going on wasn’t bad. When she swept him up in a hug he was sure it wasn’t bad at all. “Harry I can’t believe you did that.” Gabrielle said from his side.
“What did I do now? I talked it over with your father and he said that while unusual it would be the correct introduction for you.” Harry asked only slightly confused he had a strong idea what he’d done.
“Harry you claimed me. In front of the French Ministry of Magic you claimed me as your companion. They know I’m a veela and some know just what being a veela companion means and they will be telling the others.”
“I you were already my companion when we were at Hogwarts. Did I do something wrong having them introduce you as my companion?”
“No Harry that was a very, very good thing you did. We had not revealed her status to anyone but now everyone will know,” Apolline said giving him a hug.
Fleur nodded then gave her sister a hug whispering, “Congratulations Gabrielle, now all the young men I meet will want to talk about my sister being the companion of the boy-who-lived, It’s a good thing I’ve got Bill at Gringotts.” Stepping back she said, “You two will be the hit of this ball.”
Harry thought Fleur might have a point when after the ball opened with the department heads and above dancing the first dance, in which Joseph and Apolline took part. Harry and Gabrielle were approached by the French Minister and his wife for the second dance, while Joseph and Apolline took the third dance with them. When time came for the fourth dance Harry looked around at the group approaching them saying, “This dance is for Gabrielle and I,” before sweeping her up in his arms.
That proved to be one of the few dances that evening they were able to have together. Word of both their skill on the dance floor spread and numerous young and not so young ladies felt they just had to find out for themselves how skilled the-boy-who-lived was. While both Fleur and Gabrielle were similarly occupied.
It was late that evening when Joseph nudged Apolline motioning to their youngest daughter who was coping with a young man who either had far to high an opinion of himself or too much drink or possibly both. He was obviously trying to entice her into something. Joseph started to rise intending to put a stop to it only to halt at his wife’s arm on his. Looking over she motioned to a young man who’d stopped guiding his dancing partner smoothly across the floor and was now approaching the two with a look that would cause a demon pause. Harry stopped arms length away and in a voice so cold several people checked to insure there was no ice on the floor Harry said, “Sir that is my Companion you are trying to chat up.”
“And why should I stop? Just because you request it?” The man asked without looking.
“Because you sir are no Hungarian Horntail,” Harry replied in a flat hard edged voice referring to the dragon he’d faced in the first task of the Tri-wizard tournament.
The man’s head snapped around to see who was addressing him. Realizing just who it was and taking note of the look on Harry’s face the man fled leaving her without a partner.
Seeing Joseph approaching Harry said, “Sir would you do me the honor of finishing my dance with this young lady? I have a matter I must attend to,” and without looking anywhere else he took Gabrielle in his arms.
“How did you know?”
“I always keep an eye on you. You are my companion are you not?” Harry replied spending the next few dances with her.
After finishing Harry’s interrupted dance for him Joseph returned to his wife asking, “Did you see what happened to the young man?”
“Naturally, after he was chased away from my daughter I watched the Head of International Co-operation approach him and have a very short discussion before sending him in the direction of the door. I don’t believe he will be a bother in the future.”
“No I don’t think so either. I was close enough to hear Harry’s final words. I’ve thought all along that boy had command potential, but to see it finally emerge was a bit un-nerving,” Joseph said.
“I take it he is capable?”
Joseph nodded replying, “I’m surprised the young man did not have an accident right there. Comparing him unfavorably with a dragon he’d dispatched with only minor problems did a rather good job of conveying what Harry thought of the individual. If he had not left when he did I believe Harry might have done something inappropriate.”
“He was defending my daughter who is his Companion, there is nothing he could have done that would have been inappropriate.” Apolline countered ending the discussion.
A/N (I'm male describing fashion let alone dresses is beyond me. I know three descriptions, "That's ulgy, You look nice, and OH my do we have to go? there's a lot of fun things we could do here." Hint to any males reading this: only think the first and use the last sparingly.)