Categories > Books > Harry Potter > Luna's Hubby

Like Rain that Melts the Fallen Snow

by Meteoricshipyards 4 reviews

Luna and Harry grow, learn, have fun, and go on some more vacations.

Category: Harry Potter - Rating: PG - Genres: Action/Adventure, Humor - Characters: Draco, Harry, Luna, Ron - Warnings: [!] - Published: 2006-07-14 - Updated: 2006-07-14 - 9622 words - Complete

Author Note: According to the copy of the HP-Lexicon I saved around the time that HBP came out, Bill Weasley was listed as being at Hogwarts from '84-'91. However, looking at the current copy, it now lists him as being born in 1970 (and Charlie in 1972). This makes him 18 and a graduate of Hogwarts when Harry first meets him; this also makes Charlie finish the year before Ron starts. The story will accept these dates for Bill and Charlie. Thank you, and sorry for any confusion.

Chapter 6 Like Rain that Melts the Fallen Snow

Depending on who you talked to, time passed either slowly or quickly. The adults felt there wasn't enough hours in the day to get everything they needed done, let alone what they wanted. When they did get a chance to work on the projects they enjoyed for themselves, they never had as much time as they needed. Meanwhile, like an example of Einstein's theory of Relativity, time seemed to drag for Harry and Luna. The days were filled with jobs that seemed to take forever. An hour of writing, or arithmetic, or Runes could stretch into years. If there was something coming up in the future, it took forever to reach that point on the calendar.

Spring came and with it Luna's eighth birthday. Lessons continued in writing, reading, runes, arithmetic, geography, and world and British history. Harry, when asked, told Sirius what spell they used on the picture, and the next time they were at his house they noticed the picture was gone. The place was much brighter, too, with lighter walls, brighter lighting, windows with the curtains drawn back, and new, light colored carpets. Selene and Larry thought the place looked a million times better. Harry and Luna didn't seem to notice the different.

- - -

Summer came and Selene arranged for Harry and Luna to magically learn modern and ancient Greek, followed soon after by a trip to Greece. Among the visits to the ancient temples, ruins, and historical places, they spent a day with a faun and a dryad. The faun regaled them with stories of the warrior witches and wizards who fought the Nazi's and Grindelwald's forces during World War II. The dryad spoke of the magical creatures that used to live in her forest, the griffins, the dragons, the oreads who would visit from the mountains, the bamffs (which seemed to be some sort of fuzzy, magical elephant), and the crumpled-horned snorkacks. Something about the distant relative of the unicorn caught Larry's attention, and he questioned the tree-lady extensively about them. Harry and Luna received a seedling as a gift from the dryad.

Luna became a minor celebrity when she detected something on a hike near some cliffs overlooking the Aegean Sea. Her Sight had improved enough so that she was able to detect hidden magic designed to be overlooked by someone like her. With the help of her mother, who cast the mage-sight spell on the rest of the family, they made their way through a booby-trapped cave to a hidden temple to Dianna. The Greek magical government awarded them a hefty finder's fee and the family spent a couple of days with the magical archaeologists who worked on the find. Selene was proud, but secretly upset, when they explained all the traps that Luna had bypassed. She had missed almost all of them. She had noticed that as they Luna had led them in, she and Harry had kept up a discussion of what Luna was seeing. As quick as Luna was to describe a magical field Harry was suggesting its warding properties and ways to bypass it. He was right a surprising amount of the time. She wasn't sure that he was even paying much attention to the magical impressions he was getting from the mage-sight she had cast on him.

While in Greece, Luna and Harry found time alone to pull out the world map her father had given her. Using the sun to find the compass directions, they guessed that the object magically connected to Harry was in Albania or Bosnia-Herzegovina. It was hard to be sure because it was two or three millimeters per hundred kilometers; so even a small error could be off by a lot. They weren't sure what to do with this information, but they felt better knowing it.

- - -

Harry's real birthday came and went with just a few whispered "happy birthdays."

Harry and Luna, and often Larry, and sometimes Ron and Ginny went on day excursions with Remus and Sirius to the various sights to see around Lincolnshire and Nottinghamsire. Harry and Luna met their first ghost in a castle outside of Lincoln. He was a Norman knight, and only spoke French. Larry could translate a bit, but the ghost wasn't interested in talking to them, since they didn't know French, they obviously were peasants. They left him in his lonely ruins.

They also met Remus' friend Father John, but couldn't fit a dinner in. Remus promised that they would get a chance. Selene was nervous about the kids keeping the Secrecy Act and stayed non-committal.

- - -

Fall came and the twins went to their first year of Hogwarts. Ron and Ginny (and Molly) felt the Burrow was very quiet. Harry and Luna were invited over a lot more often. When Selene noticed their homework suffering, she threatened to restrict their time with the Weasleys, but Harry and Luna worked harder, and no privileges were removed.

- - -

In late September Selene went to an international conference of spell-crafters. Luna and Harry worked on convincing Larry to take them on a trip to Lake District while Selene was away. He finally broke down and agreed. So while Selene was at the Miskatonic University the rest of the family was at an inn in Shap. Larry rented a car, and they visited the Muncaster castle, the Irish Sea near Whitehaven, various waterfalls and lakes, the Laurel and Hardy Museum, and one day -- following Luna's direction -- they found themselves in the town of Little Hangleton. About a mile out of town, Luna asked that Larry stop the car. They were at the top of a hill, with a beautiful valley spread out before them. Luna convinced her father to take a walk with Harry and her.

They headed off the road, Luna leading. It was a glorious Autumn day, with a blue sky and little fluffy clouds. They seemed to be following a path, but then Luna stopped.

"Is there a problem, lilac?" Larry asked.

"Yes Daddy. There's a ward in front of us. It looks like an anti-Muggle ward. It stretches pretty far to the left and right. It doesn't seem to be anything else, so I think we can go on."

They traveled further. None of them noticed anything as they passed the ward. A little further on, Luna halted again.

"There's another ward here. It's different. It's," she squinted at it. "It looks like it's supposed to repel witches and wizards. Daddy, what happens when a wizard crosses a ward like that?"

"I don't know, little larch. Could do one of many things. Does it look like it's a trigger?" He knew she could somehow see triggered spells.

"It looks a lot like an anti-Muggle ward; a mind spell linked to it."

"Then it's probably a standard "Keep away" ward. If you cross it you suddenly remember there's something else you want to do. Watch." He strode past Luna and Harry, and turned around.

"You know, we should be getting back to the inn. It's getting late."

It wasn't even lunch time yet. "That sounds like a good idea, Daddy. Why don't you go back to the car, and we'll be along shortly."

"Don't be long, mango." He headed back along the path they had come. As soon as he was out of sight, they took out their wands. They were still closely supervised when Luna's parents allowed them to be used, but the wands were locked away in the liquor cabinet. The problem was that Luna could see how the lock mechanism reacted when they cycled through the runes, and she could discover the combination in a very short time. They only took the wands out when Larry was busy on a story, and only practiced with them for short periods of time. They practiced some of the spells in the Standard Book of Spells, and were getting more of them working. They could levitate objects, and do some simple transformations. Harry and Luna couldn't understand the reason you would want to transform a match into a pin, but they could do it. The other thing that they found was that Luna could modify the spells she could cast. Since she could see what the spell looked like, she would play with it, watching both its effect and its form.

They had studied several magical items around the house -- a set of self stirring tea spoons, the Never-Melt candles, and the lock on the liquor cabinet -- trying to see how a spell could be turned off. They hadn't had any luck in getting it to work, though. They guessed that other objects connected to Harry's curse-scar would be magically guarded, and turning off the triggering ward would be a useful skill. But they hadn't come close to that sort of spell casting.

Luna took her wand and picked up a rock. "Harry, the ward is about five meters thick. I've never seen one that thick, but if you can get past it, it shouldn't affect you any more." She transformed the rock into a clock (her clocks didn't work, but it looked functional) and threw it down the path.

"Harry, please go get my clock. It's on the other side of the ward."

Harry smiled and took a running start. He only made it a few feet before he stopped dead, and turned back to Luna.

"Harry, get the clock, please."

"No, I have to, uh. . . ."

"Do it right after you get the clock."

"OK." He turned towards the clock, and kept turning, ending up facing Luna.

"We should go."

"No, Harry, step backwards, toward the clock. Please get my clock."

Harry took a step backwards. He took another, or tried, but couldn't make his foot go back. He put it down, but it was now in front of the other, and he had to move his whole body forward to avoid falling down. Once he was moving, he just kept walking, despite Luna's please. He walked out of the wards, right past Luna, and kept walking. Luna caught up with him, and got him to put away the wand, and they walked back to the car.

That evening, they walked around outside the inn.

"I'm sorry, Luna, I just couldn't keep going."

"It's all right, Harry. It's a powerful spell, and we have to admit, we're just beginners. We'll come back someday when we have better skills. In the meantime, let's enjoy the evening, husband."

He smiled at her, "Have I thanked you recently for giving me this wonderful family?" She shook her head. "Then thank you." Hand in hand they walked back to the inn.

- - -

"Ah, Mr. Black. Please come in."

"Thank you Mr. Cimmerman. I didn't expect to hear back from you so quickly."

"Here at Gringotts time is money. But it turned out to be a mostly straight forward curse breaking. As you can see from the invoice, the basic spell was a limitation on who can open the locket. My guess is that it was limited to the owner."

"Do you know who the owner is?"

"Not by name, but we'll get to that in a minute. Behind that limitation were three hexes keyed to curse anyone unauthorized who got the locket open. The first was a knee-reversal spell. After that were two other spells, keyed to gender of the person opening the locket. Either one would have caused extreme embarrassment and a trip to St. Mungo's to whoever was struck by them."

"That didn't happen, did it?"

"Please, Mr. Black! We are professionals. And whoever set up these curses wasn't. The contents lead me to believe that it was a student. A student with extensive dark knowledge, but still an amateur."

"And the owner? You said you knew who it was?"

"Yes. Here's the contents. It was shrunk. We unshrank it at no charge, by the way."

"Thank you."

"You may not know, but a magical photograph picks up magical impressions too. While a defense lawyer could argue that it isn't conclusive, the young lady on the right has a magical signature that conforms to the spells on the locket. She looks rather familiar, but I can't place her."

"But you can place the other one, right."

"Yes, I must say I am glad that I don't interact with Mrs. Malfoy on a regular basis. I think I would have a hard time looking her in the eye after seeing that."

"The other is her sister, Bellatrix, who is serving a life sentence in Azkaban. The room is probably the Slytherin dorm one of them slept in."

"Ah, yes. Well, here you go. You can pay one of the goblins in the lobby. Have a good day."

- - -

"Mr. English. Miss Nelson. Shocked! Shocked, I say! To catch students in a broom closet at this time of the night."

"Please, Professor Croaker, don't dock us points."

"I'm afraid that the Headmaster insists that things like this must be punished. Therefore I am taking one point from Gryffindor and one from Hufflepuff. Also, you will both serve detention. . ." he checked a parchment, making a note on it, "next Tuesday from eight twenty to eight forty in the Astronomy Tower. Don't be late, and don't be early. Miss Shoenecker and Mr. Tomaszewski will be there between eight and eight twenty. Sorry. I'm assigning so many detentions now, that I can only give you twenty minutes."

"Uh, thank you Professor."

"Now, be a gentleman, and take Miss Nelson back to her house. I'll meet you by the door to the kitchen -- you do know where that is? -- in ten minutes, sharp! Punctuality, it's so important."

As the two students walked down the corridor, he heard Wade English saying, "But the entrance to Hufflepuff house is just around the corner. Why would it take me ten minutes to get to the kitchen?"

"Shut up, and I'll show you. . . ."

Algie Croaker sighed. "You're only alive once," he muttered. If he had to be here two nights a week, he would at least make it worth while. But he wished he were with his wife. He was going to tell Dumbledore that he wouldn't be returning next year.

- - -

Winter came and with it snow angels, snow ball fights, snow dragons, and Christmas. For the second year in a row Harry received presents. He thought about Dudley, and how even though he got so much, he really had so little. He wouldn't have been able to put it in words, but he knew there was something wrong with the way Aunt Petunia and Uncle Vernon expressed their love for their son. He shook his head. That was another lifetime ago. He was home, and he was with his family. He went to find someone to hug -- he didn't care who.

- - -


"Cissy. Nice of you to stop by."

"I see you got rid of your mother's painting. Planning to put something else there?"

"Well, I found this photograph, but it's a bit small."

"Sirius! Give me that! Who have you shown this too?"

"No one. But I was curious when I found out that you were looking at this locket. It was Bella's, wasn't it?"

"Yes. I thought she might have charmed it to let me in, seeing as what was in it. But no."

"Here's the locket, merry Christmas."

"I don't know if I should thank you for giving me someone else's property as a gift."

"Well, then you better have these."

"Gifts? For me and Draco? Sirius, we never got along especially well when we were young. And you hate my husband. Why are you doing this?"

"Because you're family. Maybe not close, but you are. And in some way that seems important. I've lost a number of friends, and I want to hold on to what I have left."

"I don't know what to say. . . ."

"'When one doesn't know what to say, it's best to say nothing.'"

"Where's that from?"

"I can't remember.

"Changing the subject, why didn't you bring Draco?"

"Because after your last visit with my son, he asked his father several embarrassing questions, and was beaten for it. I thought I'd avoid the whole thing."

"And you wonder why I dislike your husband? Tell me you're happy with him?"

"I'm happy with him."

"Now tell me the truth."

"I'm safe with him."

"That's a bad choice to have to make."

"Tell me about bad choices, Mr. Act-Before-He-Thinks-And-Ends-Up-In-Azkaban."

"Ouch. But if your thinking before you act ever moves you away from him, you do have a place to stay."

"Thank you, Sirius."

"And try not to let your husband turn Draco into another version of himself. Try to get the kid to think for himself. I'm sure you can do that and teach him not to anger his father."

"We'll see. Have a happy Christmas, Sirius."

"You, too, Narcissa. Thanks for stopping by."

- - -

The family did a lot of visiting during the Twelve Days of Christmas. They went over to the Weasleys, and had some of the Weasleys (Ron, Ginny, and the twins) over in return. The twins had their wands confiscated after the second warning for the use of underage magic.

They went to Sirius' house and enjoyed another round of opening gifts. The kids each got a training broom. While Sirius knew they had flown a real broom, this one had two safety features -- a limitation on the speed, and a limit on how far from a specific point the broom would fly. Both features were under parental control.

- - -

A few days after Christmas the Lovegoods were invited to the Swamp. There they met Algie's sister, Mrs. Longbottom, and her grandson Neville. Luna and Harry found him quiet and shy. As the adults talked after dinner, the children tried to figure out something to do.

"We could go out. Make a snow dragon or something?"

"No. My Gran would have a fit if I got these clothes dirty. I know how to play chess."

"But there are three of us. I have a deck of exploding snap cards. . . ."

"I don't know how to play."

"We can teach you." And so they did.

When the parents/guardians/grandmother came to collect the kids, they were given a sight that they had never seen. (Of course, Larry and Selene had only met Neville that day, so most sights of him would new.) But the others had known him for quite a while and the fact that they had never seen him laughing hadn't seemed strange until that very moment when they did.

"Well, Augusta," Algie said to his sister, "I think I'll go ahead with plans for spring break."

"I think you're right, Algie. And Harry and Luna are invited, too, of course."

"Thank you very much, Augusta. I think we can be assured that they will enjoy it."

The children were collected and soon went home with their respective guardians.

- - -

"Do you have your toothbrushes?"

"Yes, Mum."

"Harry, you packed the socks this time?"

"Yes, Aunt Selene."

"And you both remember the Secrecy Law. We don't want Uncle Remus to have to get the Aurors in to Obliviate his friend.

"And remember your manners!"

"Yes Mum."

"Yes, Aunt Selene."

- - -

"Thank you for dinner, Father John."

"You are most certainly welcome, Luna. Now, my friend Remus has asked me not to subject you to my, how did you put it? Ah, yes, over active curiosity. So in the spirit of keeping him from being angry at me, I'll answer any questions you have for me."

"Why are you called 'Father'?"

"It's an ancient term of respect that goes all the way back to the earliest Christians. Saint Paul acknowledges in one of his letters that he is the spiritual father of the people he's corresponding with."

"Who's Saint Paul?"

"He's one of the writers of the Bible."

"What's the Bible?" Luna asked.

"That means 'book'," Harry reminded her.

"Oh yes. A book called Book?"

"Yes. You know Greek! Amazing! It's a collection of writings put together over several thousand years that we take to be inspired by the Creator of the Universe. It's full of important words of wisdom like 'Love one another, because God loves you,' 'do not lie', 'do not steal,' 'respect your bodies,' 'if someone hits you on one cheek, then turn and give him the other cheek. . . .'"

"Your aunt and uncle used to hit you on all four of your cheeks," Luna giggled. Harry rolled his eyes. He was over feeling that it was his fault that they punished him. He had been punished numerous times by his new guardians, but never for things that weren't his fault, and never with beatings.

"What's this? Is someone abusing you, son?"

Remus interrupted. "Not any more. He used to be with an abusive family, but not any more."

"Not since Luna rescued me so we could be married. Opps."

"You rescued Harry to marry him. Don't you think you're a little young to get married."

"Mum thinks so. But I don't know why she can be married and I can't."

"It could be because she grew up first, and then decided who to marry?"

"Could be. But I still don't see why I have to wait."

Fr. John chuckled. "One reason is the law says that you can't get married until you're older."

"Oh, bugger."


"Sorry, Uncle Remus. But Mr. Croaker didn't say anything about that."

"What did Mr. Croaker say," Remus asked.

"He said that one usually has a wedding with a big party afterward, but the important thing that makes it a wedding is a vow. So we skipped the wedding and vowed."

Fr. John chuckled again. "So, did you promise to forswear all others, to love each other in sickness and health, for richer or poorer, in good times and bad, until death parts you from each other?"

Remus had a feeling of dread pass over him. Were they playing with marriage vows?


Remus breathed a sigh of relief.

"We promised to love, honor, and obey each other," Harry said.

"Basic and to the point. But you'll have to do it again when you're older for it to be official."

"Does that mean I can't live with Luna anymore? Do I have to go back. . . ." He seemed to be unable to say any more.

"Oh, no, Harry! Mr. and Mrs. Lovegood took you into their house, didn't they? They made you part of their family without a marriage. No, you go and keep living with them, and I think you'll grow up to be a fine young man.

"Have you given any thought to what you'll be when you're older?"

"Nine," Luna answered.

Fr. John burst out laughing at that, but then stopped when he saw that Remus wasn't laughing.

"Remus, my friend. Are you feeling well? You look a bit off."

"What? Oh. No, I don't feel so well. I'm sorry, John. I think I should take the children, and head back to my place."

"Very well. I'll give you a ride back to your house. It was wonderful meeting you, Harry, Luna."

- - -

"So, let me make sure I have this straight. You vowed to love each other intending to get married?"


"And did you feel anything when you did that?"


"No. Except Luna's hands, we were holding hands."

"And you didn't notice any blue glow around you when you did it?"

They both answered "No."


"But afterward there were blue lines connecting our hands."

Remus looked at their hands. "It's not there now."

"Yes it is. It's magic. And I can see magic."

"Still blue, and still there?"


"I saw it too, last summer in Greece. Aunt Selene cast mage-sight on us all. When the government people came, she had us hold hands so no one else would notice."

Remus put his palm to his face, and told them to go to bed.

- - -

"Thanks for taking the kids this weekend, Remus. It was nice having some time off."

"It was my pleasure, Selene. Can you send the kids out to play or something, so I can talk to you alone?"

"Sure, give me a minute."

A few minutes later they were alone. "Now, what's this about."

"I found out about them being married."

Selene nodded. "I should have known they couldn't keep it secret."

"It's not really their fault. Only someone who knows a bit about magical vows would have picked it up. I did some research before James and Lily were married. But I only knew for sure after specifically interrogating them. Luna was quite disappointed when they found out that the law says they're too young to get married."

"The law doesn't quite apply, does it? That's like the law of gravity saying things have to fall, but birds still fly."

"Let's not get off the track here. I checked and the bond isn't very strong. Have you considered having it broken?"

"Are you crazy, Remus? You didn't see that boy when he got here. He was almost shaking if you looked at him wrong, let alone raised your voice. You've researched this. If you break the bond it would be like having his heart broken! I can't do that to him."

"It might still happen, if either of them falls in love with someone else."

"It's a lose-lose situation, Remus, if this marriage doesn't work. If I break it now under the theory that they might fall in love with someone else, then Harry may never recover, and may never love again. If I let it go, and they love each other like brother and sister, and so don't fall in love with each other, then when they do, they'll probably hate each other from then on out. I'm not going to hurt them now just because it may not work. I'd rather try to help them eventually get to a mature love."

"Hard to think of that, when they're such children now. Hard to imagine them mature."

"Not really. You see flashes of it. Harry brushing Luna's hair. Luna and Harry doing the dishes together. Luna has more than the Sight, Remus. Sometimes she has insight that you wouldn't expect from someone her age. And Harry -- most of the scars have healed, but you can see if you watch for it, that his upbringing has left its mark. No, I can see hints of the mature people they will be."

"Alright, then. I'll leave it alone. Have you told anyone?"

"No. Not even Larry knows."

"Shouldn't you tell him?"

"Are you kidding? I love him completely, but you know how he is. Did you know him before he had to leave the Aurors?"

"Not really, no."

"That Larry I would have told. This one -- I'll tell him someday."

- - -

Spring came and Luna and Harry were going to receive early birthday presents. Monday morning after Easter they were to dress in clean play clothes, and get their brooms. Larry and the kids then floo-ed to the Swamp. They were met by Mrs. Croaker, and led out to the back yard. There was a pond off to one side, but it didn't look like a swamp. Outside they met Mr. Croaker, Mrs. Longbottom, Neville, and another woman, with short, gray hair, and yellow eyes.

"Hello! I'm Madam Hooch, and Professor Croaker asked me to teach you the magical art of flying a broom. Mr. Lovegood, if you would take your children's brooms to that marker, and set them for thirty meters distance, and three meters maximum altitude, we'll begin.

"Mr. Longbottom, there's no need to look worried. You have a new training broom, and we have it set for a maximum of two meters. I'm guessing that you'll soon be having so much fun that you won't worry about how high you fly."

Harry and Luna had a great time and learned a lot. Luna, being self taught, didn't quite get it right, and Harry picked up her bad habits. Madam Hooch worked with them to correct their mistakes. Neville, too, learned to fly, despite his fear of heights. It was the other children that helped him over come his fear. When he was enjoying himself he would forget to be afraid.

After the first day, Ron and Ginny joined the lesson. With more children around, Neville had more distraction, and became a more confident flier. Ron and Ginny knew the basics from watching their brothers, and were soon flying as well as the others.

They had several days of "lessons." Actually, it only took a day for them to get the basics, and after that it was mostly supervised play, with Madam Hooch giving pointers when the situation presented itself. She set up obstacle courses for them to fly through or play follow the leader. They tossed a quaffle around (which Neville hated; he couldn't catch it, nor get it to the person he was throwing at.) They were given beater's bats and a bludger. Luna and Ginny had the most problem with this game; Luna could protect herself by hitting the heavy black ball away, but couldn't direct it, and Ginny because she was so light, every time she hit it she almost flipped upside down. They didn't try to catch the snitch. The training brooms that Neville, Harry, and Luna flew were too slow, even after they were no longer limited by the parental controls.

One day Ginny and Luna were told to wear dresses. That day Madam Hooch taught them how to fly side-saddle. It limited the games they could play, but both girls liked being able to fly "like a lady."

At the end of the week Madam Hooch gave an update to the adults. Harry seemed a natural flier, and should get a good broom once he was old enough, and she'd encourage him to go out for Quidditch. Luna and Neville understood the basics, and Neville might get a beater position on a Hogwarts' Quidditch team if he practiced. Ron and Ginny were also good fliers and, like Harry, might make a house team at any of a number of positions, if they applied themselves. The parents/guardians thanked her. Algie compensated her as agreed, and invited her back for a review session during the summer. She said it depended on what other commitments she had.

- - -

"Professor Croaker!"

"Professor McGonagall. How may I help you?"

"A word please. Is it true that you assign detentions in the Astronomy Tower?"


"What do you have the children doing up there?"

"I only assign it to the upper class students. And they do in the Astronomy tower what most couples do in the Astronomy Tower."

"Professor! How could you?"

"Easily. I give them a little privacy -- not enough to get them in trouble; they're minimally supervised, and I have warning wards set to warn me if things get out of hand."

"You WHAT?"

"Just to keep them honest."

"I can't believe you do this!"

"Were you married, Minerva?"

"Yes, I was. I lost my husband in the war against Grindelwald. But what has that to do with anything?"

"And did you meet him at Hogwarts."

"Yes, we were in the same house, although he was a year ahead of me."

"And are you going to tell me that you never found private time around the school to be together."

"MR. CROAKER! We never engaged in what some of these children have been doing!"

"And neither are the ones I'm giving time in the Astronomy Tower. They get a little privacy to snog and talk, but not much more or my wards go off, and they lose the privilege. Think about what it was like when you were here, and then tell me that I'm doing something terrible. Remember. Then talk to me."

- - -

Luna's birthday came, and summer followed. The family learned several variants of German, ancient and modern, and had a vacation in the magical areas of the Black Forest. They practiced reading old German runes on ancient standing stones; they visited a dwarf mine (and puzzled over the sign that had a red circle and diagonal line through the word "Disney"). They went to a performance of part of Wagner's Ring Cycle, which the children were bored with, and reminded Larry of something he had once heard, "The Teutonic reputation for cruelty is not undeserved; they have operas that last for days." Harry thought it would have been an exciting story if it weren't for all the singing. Larry gathered information that indicated that the crumpled-horned snorkacks lived even further north. He could not get Selene to change the vacation at the last minute to look for them.

- - -

They returned to Britain and their normal routine. Around Harry's real birthday they again had flying lessons with Madam Hooch. She was between sessions at a Quidditch camp in a heavily warded valley in Switzerland. After much begging, they got Larry to bring the broom the children had used twice before on their adventures. It was a Nimbus Crown Victoria, Auror model. Madam Hooch let the children try to catch a snitch using it. It turned out to not be a good Quidditch broom. Great acceleration, lousy maneuverability. Even though he got close to the snitch several times, Harry only caught it once. Madam Hooch thought that was pretty good, considering the limitations of his equipment. When Ron got a turn on Mr. Lovegood's broom, he went rocketing out of the area, and Madam Hooch had to chase him down. He claimed he lost control but later whispered to Harry that he just wanted to see how fast it would go.

- - -

During the summer Remus stopped taking the kids to historic sites, but on nice days brought them to the beach. Remus, being Remus, had to fill them with historical information anyway: how Napoleon had considered building a tunnel under the Channel to get his army to England; how the Spanish Armada had been destroyed when a wizard had shuffled the World Deck's suits of staffs and cups and conjured up a storm that wrecked the invading ships; the evacuation of Dunkirk; the Chunnel. The children put up with it to splash and play in the North Sea.

But summer ran out, and the older Weasleys went back to Hogwarts. Luna and Harry went with the Weasleys on their back to school shopping trip to Diagon Alley. They found the book store to be a fascinating place, but not having any money to spend on books, they were content to browse.

- - -

A week after Harry's new birthday, on a Wednesday when Selene was home, Harry and Luna were cleaning up after lunch. For some reason, Selene wasn't supervising them; she was upstairs. Harry and Luna had practiced first level spells (and second, but none of those had worked), carefully, when home alone with Larry. Just recently, after his birthday in fact, he had gotten the Wingardium Leviosa /spell to work. Now, while they were collecting the lunch dishes, Harry applied the spell to the contents of the table. Unlike Selene, who could gather all the dirty dishes from the table with a single, silent swish of her wand, Harry had to swish and flick, and incant "/Wingardium Leviosa" for each dish, and concentrate to float it into the kitchen. He had tried to put the silverware on a plate, but it had fallen off, so he carried it in to the kitchen the Muggle way. Then he had floated the dishes in one at a time. Now he was beginning in the glasses. He levitated his glass, and with his wand pointing at it while concentrating on keeping it upright he started floating it into the kitchen while walking behind it.

About that time Selene had re-entered the kitchen from the hallway. She was wearing a formal, green, off the shoulder gown. Luna looked at her mother in awe.

Selene smiled when she saw her daughter's face. She couldn't ask for a better compliment.

"Do you like it? Your father and I are going to a fancy restaurant on Friday for our anniversary."

Just then something bumped her near the kidney. She turned and saw Harry a few steps away. She looked down -- there was a glass floating next to her, and a dribble of pumpkin juice on the dress.

"Oh! No!" she exclaimed.

"Opps, sorry. I'll clean it up!" Harry offered. He put the glass on the counter, waved his wand and began, "/Abstergo Tert/. . . ."

"No! Stop!" Selene yelled. Harry paused in his casting. Selene took out her wand while explaining. "This dress is silk. You can't just use any cleaning charm. It takes a special one. /Nulla Tempus!" /The stain, and dress around it, glowed white, then the white changed to a red color. "Unfortunately, the cleaning charms for silk and other delicate fabrics are a closely held secret of the Cleaners Guild."

Luna was staring at the spell. "I've never seen that color before," she wispered.

"It's just red," Harry told her.

"No, the color of the magic. It's . . . weird."

"It's a time stop spell. You've probably never seen any time magic. It will stop the juice from soaking in, and minimize the staining until I can get it cleaned. Which I better do very quickly before the spell wears off. Wands!" she held out her hand, and Harry and Luna gave her their wands. "Good. I've got to get changed quickly, and get this taken care of right away. You two, dishes, then runes! I'll be back from the cleaner's shortly."

She raced upstairs to get changed, and was soon floo-ing to a shop in Hogsmeade.

It was only after she had the clean dress did it register that the glass had been floating.

- - -

"Merry Christmas, Cissi! Hello Draco!"

"Merry Christmas, Sirius."

"Draco, why don't you go in there, and meet Harry and Luna! And leave the presents alone, we open them later!

"So, your husband not coming?"

"No. When he heard that the Weasleys were going to be here, he decided to have a headache."

"I'd be lying if I said I will miss the man, but I will say I'm sorry for your sake."

"Don't be silly. Now, introduce me to your guests."

- - -

"Hello, I'm Draco Malfoy."

"Hi, I'm Harry Lovegood, and this is Luna Lovegood."

"Are you purebloods?"

"What does that mean?"

"It means, have your family been witches and wizards for a long time, without marrying Muggles."

Harry and Luna looked at each other, shrugged and turned back to the new boy. "I don't know. I never asked."

"My Mum and Dad are wizards, and so were my grandparents."

"My Mum and Dad were, too. But my aunt was a Muggle. Is it important?"

It was Draco's turn to look confused. "You have different parents?"

"Yes, we're distant cousins," Harry answered with the story they had agreed upon.

"Oh. Of course it's important! pure-bloods are the best wizards and witches, of course."

"Really? What makes them better?"

"They have no Muggle blood in them."

"Why does that matter?"

"Because, uh, because it does."

Luna wasn't finding the conversation very interesting. "That's not a very good reason. Rosamond Croaker is Muggle-born, and she's just about the nicest witch I know. Although she is rather old. But she makes wonderful biscuits."

"She gave us some to have tonight. Do you want some?"

"Doesn't she have a house elf to make biscuits?"

"I don't think so. And Sirius has an elf, but he doesn't make biscuits."

"Here come the Weasleys! After we're all here, we'll eat then open presents!"

"I can't believe we're eating with Weasleys!"

"What's wrong with the Weasleys? Bill and Charlie are just brilliant on brooms, but don't expect them to talk to you much; Mrs. Weasley says it's because they're teenagers and they hate to be reminded that they were once smaller. And Ron's always beaten me at chess. He's OK. You have to watch out for the twins, but they're almost always funny. And Percy's a prat."

They were soon overwhelmed by red haired children. Harry made sure that Ron and Ginny were introduced to Draco. When Ron and Draco started talking about what their fathers had said about the other's father, Harry called a time out.

"Wait a minute! Just because your fathers don't like each other is no reason you have to fight. Just like Jim and Huck in the story Huckleberry Finn, there's no reason that you can't be good friends despite what the grown ups think." He was guessing that Draco hadn't read the book; he was sure Ron hadn't. He knew he was modifying the theme of the book, but the only other story that came to mind for this situation was Romeo and Juliet, and even Ron knew that story. And he didn't want to get into an argument over which boy he thought was Juliet. The two reluctantly stopped sniping at each other.

Dinner followed, and presents were opened. Then the party (minus Bill and Percy) was back to the dining room for an exciting double deck game of exploding snap. Draco had never played, but it was a quick game to learn. Despite his intentions he was soon enjoying himself.

He watched the adults. Sirius was laughing and joking as much as the twins. Mrs. Lovegood and his mother played quietly, with little smiles on their faces. He couldn't remember when he had last seen his mother smile. Mr. Lovegood appeared to be taking the game seriously, and sitting between the twins he was definitely losing. Mr. Lupin sat next to Draco's cousin Sirius, and played strangely. He wasn't trying to win, and would avoid playing cards that would hurt Ginny Weasley, who sat on the other side of him -- going so far as to let them explode in his hand, rather than play them on the girl. However, whenever he got the chance (when the game direction reversed) he seemed to play them gleefully on Sirius. Mr. and Mrs. Weasley weren't concentrating on the game very much; they seemed to be watching the twins a lot and talking with the other adults.

The children were interesting to watch, too. The twins cheated; they would pass cards between themselves when they thought no one was watching. They were very good at avoiding doing it when their parents were watching. The older boy, Charlie, seemed to play aggressively, which in snap could cause the cards to explode more quickly if you couldn't get your runs built. Ron Weasley, who sat beside him, would get frustrated when a card exploded in his hand. Ginny seemed to play defensively, avoiding building runs so that the cards didn't explode. Luna he watched the most. She kept wining. He never saw a card explode in her hand. But she never seemed to care that she won, either.

But Harry, he was a mystery. He sometimes seemed to play aggressively and sometimes more conservatively. But whenever one of his cards exploded, he would burst into laughter, as if it was the funniest thing that ever happened to him. His laugh was contagious, and the adults' smiles increased as he laughed. Even Draco realized that he was smiling when Harry laughed. Playing games was a new experience for Draco, and he thought he'd like to try it again. He smiled a little more as he passed Ron a card that was warming up. Frustrating the youngest Weasley boy was a goal in itself.

The Christmas Eve party ended when there were too few cards to make runs. After he got home, and his father asked him about the other guests at the party, Draco didn't mention that Harry Lovegood was probably a Mudblood.

- - -

Luna's ninth birthday came in the spring, and Neville, Ron, Ginny, and Draco came to her party. To Draco's disappointment, they didn't play snap, but were sent out to play in the beautiful spring sunshine. They played Quiff, which was a game played with a Quaffle-like ball. The ball was enchanted to jump out of your hands at random times, though. There were two hoops for goals that spun; goals only counted when the Quiff was thrown through the hoop the right direction. The ball also had a tendency to move on its own when it was near a goal hoop. They played several games, with various three people teams. Whichever team got two of Harry, Ron, and Draco almost always won (except when Ron threw the ball through the hoop the wrong direction). Luna and Neville were the worst players, and Ginny was somewhere in between. But everyone seemed to have fun, and Draco didn't insult Ron or Ginny.

He didn't because he wanted to be invited over again.

- - -

"Hello Algie, what's up?"

"Can you take out the contents of that box, please."

Selene looked at the wooden box with the little door panel on the side held closed by a small latch. She cast a few detection spells, nullified some of the wards around it, cast a shield, and opened the box. A red light came from the box and bounced off her shield.

"Very good. Did Stout tell you?"

"No. I haven't seen him today. Tell me what?"

"Tell you that he just reached over and undid the latch and was stunned."

"No, he didn't tell me. But I just figured a plain wooden box and the Department of Mysteries didn't go together; so I started checking."

"Anyway, assume you're not good at wards, try this again with just a shield." He flicked his wand a few times, reactivating or recreating the security on it.

Selene muttered, "/Protego," /reached over, and moved the latch. The stunner, and a couple of other spells bounced off her shield.

"You see, even without trying to negate the wards, you're protected. Know what this is?" He held up a strange looking device.

"A Muggle's short, fat wand?"

Algie laughed. "Close. Might as well be. But it only casts one spell -- an electric shock designed to knock out the target. They call it a Teaser or something. But the thing is an electric shock wouldn't be affected by most common shields. If we replace the stunner with the shock, we protect against the ignorant crook."

"But not all of them."

"Well, you can't make things foolproof. . . ."

"Because fools are so ingenious. Yes, I know. So that's my assignment?"

"Go to it!"

- - -

Draco sat in his room and thought. He had had an interesting day. His father had arranged some boys to come over and visit. He had met Greg Goyle and Vincent Crabbe several times before, and Theodore Nott once before, too. But it was during times when their parents were getting together, and they had to be quiet. This time his father had invited them over to counter what he called "the influence of those bloody goody goodies." His father had stayed around to supervise. They had been served a formal lunch, then brought into the sitting room to talk. It had been pretty quiet. They talked a bit about Quidditch, before his father had made disapproving noises. Then they sat around wondering what to talk about. His father had tried to get them to discuss what was going on in the Ministry, but the nine year olds didn't have much to say. No, Crabbe and Goyle didn't have anything to say. Nott and he had repeated what they had heard their parents say, which met with approval of the elder Malfoy, but didn't go much farther than that. There was a lot of sitting around looking at each other. Eventually his father had gone into one of his lectures about the mud bloods and Muggle-born, and their supporters like the Weasleys and that old fool Dumbledore, being the ruin of the wizarding world. Crabbe and Goyle just looked stupidly at him. Noticing his pacing father moving away from them, Draco glanced over at Nott, and saw an expression he thought he recognized. Draco rolled his eyes, and Nott smiled. But then the sound of the voice told them that his father was turning back, and they both composed themselves again.

Except for that one moment, the day was a bore. What he had with the Lovegoods and Weasleys was fun. He guessed he and Nott would, too, if his father weren't around. Goyle and Crabbe just seemed like idiots. He began to look forward to going to Hogwarts.

- - -

"Selene, how's it going."

"Close. I've got the lightning spell working, and the trigger, but now I've got to get it working with the wards, the aiming spells, and see what we can do about the magical interference with electricity. I suppose that's one of the harder parts -- the very spells we use to aim it, cause it to try and avoid being aimed."

"Actually, that's a bigger To-Do list than I had hoped. The Department of Records is breathing down my back. They see this as a cheap way to lock up individual folders. Can you write up a report that I can give them, outlining what's been accomplished, and what needs to be done. At least some of them understand the difficulty in crafting a new spell."

"It's pretty late in the day. . . ."

"That's alright. Do it tomorrow. They want an update by Thursday so they can talk about it on Friday with Fudge."

"I'm off tomorrow."

"Oh, right, Wednesday. Would it be possible to get something written up, anyway?"

"Very well. I'll have it by Thursday."

"Thanks, Selene."

- - -

Harry and Luna were fascinated by Selene's work. Being in the Department of Mysteries, she really couldn't talk about her work very much. But she had set up a table outside so she could monitor the kids (and enjoy her day off) and they came over to watch.

They asked a lot of questions, and Selene was sure that they had been reading more magic books than just the first and second year books that they admitted to. She knew Luna had an intuitive grasp of wards, her actions in the Greek cave had shown that. She was sure that they couldn't cast any, though. She sent them away after one test where the lightning bolt shot right through the wooden door, leaving a smoking hole. She made some notes on that; they'd have to get the intensity of the electric shock right, otherwise they'd be killing people, rather than stunning them. She looked at the target she had conjured up -- undamaged. Targeting was another big problem. She made another note about automatic reset, so a pair of thieves wouldn't be able to get around the ward if the second was willing to sacrifice the first. She began resetting the equipment.

Harry and Luna were tossing the Quiff around. Playing Quiff wasn't as much fun when there were only four players, which was the state of things when Ron and Ginny came over. Now that school was out the twins would come play, too. Those games were usually George and Fred on one team, and Ron, Ginny, Luna, and Harry on the other. It was very difficult to get the twins on different teams. Selene was trying to arrange a get together with Draco and Neville.

Meanwhile, Harry and Luna practiced throwing the ball to each other. Luna was getting better at it. They were startled by a loud crack from were Selene was working, which was followed by a short scream. They looked towards the table and saw Selene lying on the ground, smoke rising from her. They ran towards her.

Her eyes and mouth were open, and there was a burn mark on her stomach. The air had an unpleasant smell to it.

"Mum? Mummy? Get up!"

Harry put his head on her chest.

"I don't think her heart is beating."

"What do we do!"

"Call your dad, quick."

Luna ran towards the house, and Harry thought. He knew there was something that should be done to get her heart going, but he had no idea what. They knew enough anatomy to know that this was very bad. Mentally, he looked through all the spells he knew for something that would help, but he hadn't learned any healing magic. He stared at Selene's body then picked up her wand.

Luna was almost hysterical as she called her father. After the receptionist got him on the floo and he understood the problem, he couldn't get Luna to back out of the fireplace so he could get there. He asked the Quibbler receptionist to contact St. Mungo's and get help to his house right away. Then, after talking Luna out of the fireplace, he went home.

He tried to go outside, asking Luna to wait for the healers; that didn't work, as she clung to him, crying. Luckily, the Emergency healers appeared almost immediately. They all rushed to the back yard.

They found Harry lying next to Selene's body. He was unconscious. Selene was surrounded by a red glow.

"What happened? What is that?" the medi-wizard asked.

Luna looked at it and answered, "It's a time stop spell. Harry must have cast it to give you time to get here and save her."

The healers looked at each other, and got to work.

- - -

Harry woke up in a strange room. He started groping for his glasses, and Luna handed them to him. He looked around.

It was a fairly plain room, two beds, a couple of chairs. Luna was sitting on one close to him, and Larry was on the other, close to Selene.

"How is she?" Harry asked.

"Oh, Harry, you saved her!" Harry found himself in a tight hug.

"Thank you, Harry," Larry said, tears in his eyes. "I don't. . . . I couldn't. . . . Just thank you!"

Later, when the healers came to check on them, one of them asked, "So, how long have you been playing with time magic?"

"Never, sir. That was the first time."

His brow furrowed. "Then how did you do it?"

Harry explained about the incident with the dress.

"You got it right on the first time?"

"No, it took several times."

"But you have been practicing magic around the house?"

"Uh. . . ."

"Household charms and things? Don't worry, I won't report you. Most wizarding households do some of that. Well, Harry, it was an impressive feat of magic. However, it really drained you -- that's not an easy spell. You just needed some rest, and we couldn't leave you on the lawn when the rest of your family is here. But let's just check you out one more time, then you can get dressed and wait anxiously with the rest of your family for your mum to wake up. She'll need to be here for a few days; she still has some healing to do. But congratulations, son, you saved her." As he was talking, he was moving his wand over and around Harry. He looked concerned, and brought his wand back to his forehead.

"What do we have here? Looks like a nasty bit of spell damage. Not much external scarring, though. What happened?"

Larry cut into the conversation, "That happened when he was a baby; Not exactly sure, but it was an incident that involved Death Eaters."

"But you're OK now? No lasting effects?" The wand was still moving around his forehead. "That's quite a spell residue. And your eyes. . . . And your hair. . . ." He looked up at Larry with a shocked expression on his face. "You're raising Harry. . . ."

"Please," Larry interrupted, "As long as no one knows, he'll be safe. We know that former Death Eaters have searched for him. If this ever gets out, he'll be inundated with mail, callers, worshipers, and assassins. As well as the Ministry trying to use him. Please, I beg you, don't tell."

The Healer looked at them for a long moment, and said, "Well, lots of people have spell damage, and there's no lasting effects, so I don't see that we have to even note this. I'll be back in a little while to check on your wife. You," he pointed at Harry, "can get up and get dressed, but nothing strenuous for the next few days. I've got other -- sick people -- to care for. See you later."

"Thank you," Larry said, checking his name tag, "Healer McGonagall. Any relation to the Transfiguration. . . ."

"She's my mother," He said with a smile. "I get that question a lot. Good day!"

- - - - - - - - - -

Notes, Chapter 6:

Title comes from a song Roger Whittiker sang, IF. The complete line is:
If only time would trickle slow/like rain that melts the fallen snow.

The answer to the question "What will you be when you're older" was actually given by my son, although the number given was six, as he was five at the time.

The comment on German opera came from the British TV show, Blackadder 4.

For more information on the deck of cards that destroyed the Spanish Armada, read Charles Williams' Greater Trumps.

Many thanks to my Betas Mione Green and Kaetti. To those who care about such things, you have Mione to thank for my avoidance of a cliffhanger when Selene was hurt.
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