This story takes place after Sixth year in a verse where HBP never happened.
BOING BOING BOING
Alyx hopped onto the stage, using a pogo stick. A moment later, her llama followed her, also using a pogo stick.
Bob looked up from his smoking word processor. "What are you doing?"
"The Disclaimer!" she shouted happily.
Bob watched her bounce with a keen interest, finally he pulled his eyes from her chest and looked into her eyes.
"You know? The letters story thingie we did? The disclaimer for that?"
He leaned back to avoid a flying llama patty. "Alright, but why the pogo sticks?"
Alyx grinned. "I wanted to do an upbeat disclaimer!" she exclaimed proudly.
"Are you sure you aren't a blond?" he muttered.
"Nothing love," he replied quickly. "Just go do your disclaimer then," he said, waving her away so he could return to the fine art of literaturing.
Alyx and the llama bounced to the front of the stage.
"Ladies and gentlemen," she shouted. "Our guest disclaimer!"
Severus Snape came bouncing out from one of the wings on a pogo stick. Bob, spotting Snape, kicked a roller skate which went rolling across the stage to land under his stick. He screamed and flew off the stage at a high velocity, plowing into a wall. A moment later a fire extinguisher fell on him.
The fact that the fire extinguisher had been hanging on the wall twenty feet away and had been thrown by Harry Potter had nothing to do with this disclaimer.
Alyx glared at Bob who grinned llama-ishly back at her. "Do the disclaimer already!" he shouted.
"Oh alright! You never let me have any fun," she muttered darkly, then she turned to the audience. "We don't own Harry Potter. It all belongs to JKR, except for that inflatable Snape I own."
Bob sighed and turned back to the screen. "And now, on with the show," he muttered.
The Llama continued to bounce in the distance.
Thank you for the package of food you sent. Draco turned out to be surprisingly helpful in offering that blood oath, promising that you only wanted to open a dialog.
I have come to realize, after this year, that not everything is as clear cut as I originally thought. There is no black and white, no good and evil, only shades of gray. I understand there are still significant issues between us, but I'm willing to listen to what you have to say, rather than immediately reaching for my wand.
I know now that I can no longer fully trust Dumbledore. His actions this past year have proven that he really doesn't have my interests at heart. In fact, I'm not so sure he's even working to help me anymore.
The food you sent will help quite a lot. Thank you for that. As usual, my relatives are not feeding me very often, so your package was most welcome, especially the refilling six pack of Butterbeer.
Now, getting down to business. I am willing to agree to listen to your proposal with an open mind. We have a lot of misunderstandings between us and perhaps detailing the history and some explanations would go a long way to relieving the animosity between us.
Remus Lupin placed the letter on the coffee table in front of him and looked up to meet the horrified expressions of the members of the Order of the Phoenix. Living at Grimmauld Place full time, he'd been the one to read the letter when it was first delivered. Panicked, he'd called the Headmaster and informed him that the Order must meet.
"This can't be right," Tonks sputtered. "Harry would never write to the Dark Lord!"
"But he obviously did," Remus said quietly, tapping the letter on the table. "His mail is being intercepted, incoming and outgoing."
"Which begs the question," Alastor Moody rumbled, "how did Voldemort's letter get to the boy?"
"I checked the obfuscation charm this afternoon after Remus read me the letter," Dumbledore said, stroking his beard thoughtfully. "It's functioning as it should, so I am at a loss."
"Could someone have hand delivered it?" Hestia Jones asked, looking around at the other members.
"No," Emmeline Vance replied, waving the thought away. "A member of the Order guards the house at all times. No one has reported any visitors."
"What about muggle post?" Arthur Weasley asked curiously.
Order members glanced warily at each other.
"It is a possibility," Albus allowed.
"It will have to be monitored," Moody growled. "The boy can't be allowed to continue this correspondence."
"Agreed, but we must move carefully in this. There are strict muggle laws about intercepting the post," Arthur cautioned.
"That's all well and good, of course," Molly Weasley interrupted. "But you're all missing something. Those relatives of his aren't feeding him again. That can't continue!"
"And I don't like the idea of Harry accepting food from the Dark Lord," Kingsley Shacklebolt said, shaking his head. "For all we know, it could have been poisoned."
"Poisoned!" Molly gasped.
"I've checked the monitoring charms, Molly," Albus soothed. "Harry is fine."
"Well, I'm not going to be outdone by the Dark Lord," she growled as she stood up. "I'll be in the kitchen, preparing a box of meals for Harry!"
"An excellent idea," Albus agreed.
I was very happy to receive your letter. For some reason, my friends aren't writing me this summer and my relatives have locked me in my room. I have had no contact with anyone, except you. While I admit you aren't as pretty as some of the girls I'd like to write, any mail, at this point, is a welcome change to the tedious boredom.
I have completed my summer work, which, I can tell you, is a good indication of my boredom. Being cooped up in your hideout all this time I now understand why you keep a nutcase like LeStrange around. She's got to be almost as amusing as a box of puppies.
I wish I had someone to talk to once in a while. All I do is study my old books and the new ones you sent. I especially admire your handiwork on Ten Thousand Ways to Kill with Kitchen Utensils and Magic. The charm that allows only me to see the book is marvelous. Would you be willing to teach me that spell? I know I won't be able to practice until get go back to school, but it would be nice to know.
As to your opinions about muggles, are you sure you want to say that? I mean, think about it. They outnumber us a thousand to one and are experts at war. I'm not kidding! Google H-Bomb and see what you get. Frankly, muggles scare me.
Molly Weasley was busy stuffing two books into a box full of food. The latest letter intercepted from Harry to Voldemort was even more alarming than the first. The Dark Lord was sending books to the boy, teaching him how to kill people with kitchen utensils! It was madness!
The Order had decided that, since Harry was obviously bored, interesting reading material, sanctioned by them, of course, was the answer. She, and interestingly enough, Hagrid, and contributed two very educational books the boy would find both useful and entertaining.
The muggle post was being monitored and Albus had confirmed that Voldemort's letters were not arriving in that fashion. The situation was frightening, to say the least. The Dark Lord couldn't get past the blood wards directly, but this correspondence was insidious and dangerous! Molly didn't think Harry would be so naÃ¯ve as to trust such a monster, but the tone of his letters were becoming a little to friendly for her peace of mind.
Closing the box and sealing it with a quick flick of her wand, she called for Kingsley.
"Yes?" the bald man asked as he entered the kitchen.
"This box is ready to be delivered. Please be careful with it. Everything has been secured, but I'd really hate for Harry to open it and find his books covered in pudding!"
"No problem, Molly. I'll be careful," Kingsley replied as he lifted the box from the table. "I'm sure the boy will enjoy this!"
"Oh, I hope it's not to heavy," she worried.
"A featherlight charm will take care of it," he told her as he pushed the kitchen door open with his shoulder.
Molly watched him leave the kitchen and heaved a sigh. What was Harry thinking?
To my friend Voldemort,
I think you're right. Dumbledore is stopping my mail. I'm very pleased you have other ways of getting letters to me.
Can you believe this? I complain I'm bored and suddenly the Order of Idiots sends me books on animal husbandry and household charms. The husbandry book was interesting. I now know how to castrate a minotaur and I have been thinking of applying that charm to my uncle and cousin with the wand you sent me. They are about the same size, although I doubt they are was well endowed as one. But that's a topic I don't want to go into.
But honestly, the books, while well meaning, are exactly what I'd expect from those misguided fools. Your latest book, Moste Payneful Spells, was a real eye opener. I'm curious, however. The eyeball explosion hex - have you ever tried that? There is this annoying kid in my house at Hogwarts named Creevy that I'd like to cast that on. The little fucker is always shoving a camera in my face.
Considering what I saw of my father in Snape's pensieve, I can believe your version of that night is plausible. He was a hot head and tended to act before he thought. I can see how things snowballed from there, getting out of hand. On behalf of the Potter Family, I apologize for his actions. He obviously wasn't thinking clearly.
I'm glad you found that information. Yes, H Bombs are really nastier than a killing curse. You can see why I'm scared of muggles.
"I'm telling you, Albus, let the boy's friends write to him!" Moody exclaimed, glaring at the Headmaster. "Potter never would have dreamed of responding to Voldemort if you hadn't kept him so isolated!"
Many in the Order agreed, though none would admit it aloud. It was the third time a full Order meeting had been called at headquarters, though for the same reason. They still hadn't discovered how the Dark Lord was delivering his letters or how he was receiving Harry's replies, since they were obviously being delivered to Grimmauld.
"You're quite right, Alastor," Dumbledore said in the now silent room. "I don't know that Harry would not have replied to Tom's first letter. But had his friends been able to contact him, I'm sure we would not now find ourselves in this situation. I'll remove the obfuscation charm in the morning."
"The children will be so glad," Molly exclaimed. "They've been very upset, having no contact with Harry this summer."
"So your daughter has told me, quite loudly, I might add," Dumbledore murmured.
Molly blushed, but many of the others snickered. The youngest Weasley's voice could be quite...penetrating, when she was angry.
A quiet groan from the couch had many eyes swinging in that direction.
"Remus?" Tonks asked, concerned. "What's wrong?"
"Don't you get it?" Lupin asked, raising his head to stare at Dumbledore. "Harry's apologized to the Dark Lord, on behalf of the entire Potter family, for the killing of his own father!"
The ringing silence that followed the announcement was broken by Moody.
"Merlin's balls, Albus, the wolf's right!"
I'm surprised. I didn't think you liked that name. I'm honored that you'd allow me to use it.
You were right. That old bastard had to be preventing me from getting mail because now I'm getting letters again. I didn't want to think he'd do that to me, but he apparently has. Are you sure about Snape? I mean, sleeping with Dumbledore? That's almost as bad as Dumbledore and McGonagall. EWWWW!
I may end up using that exploding eyeball hex on myself just to get rid of that picture from my mind. I mean, I know you said you walked in on Snape and found him dressed in a leather bustier, but that's just sick.
I suppose I shouldn't be surprised. There was a rumor in my second year about Filch, Pomfrey and Flitwick being caught naked in a mud bath. I didn't understand it at the time, and now I wish I didn't.
Maybe you're looking at this from the wrong angle. I mean, so far, you complain about people like LeStrange, Malfoy, Goyle and Crabbe and say they are incompetent. But they are pure bloods! While people like you and I, half bloods, rarely have their problems. Maybe it's the pure bloods who are the problem, not the half bloods or muggle born. I'm not saying you're wrong, but when you compare someone like Pettigrew, who can't hex his way out of a paper bag, with someone like Hermione Granger? There's no comparison! She'd kill him and make it look easy. Remember, muggles like to kill. Hermione is a natural born killer just waiting to be awoken.
And she's hot! Really hot! I bet she'd shag like a minx! ARWOOOOO!!!!
Like I said, muggles scare me. Hermione is brilliant, but scary. Yesterday, my muggle uncle came in and beat me again. Fortunately, I've become adept at healing.
Your proposal is interesting, but I believe we still have much more to discuss. I am willing, however, to agree to a halt to all hostilities while we try to work out our differences.
The three teenagers looked at the assembled members of the Order with varying degrees of embarrassment, anger and shock.
"That's not right," Hermione squeaked, her face so red she felt as though her cheeks were on fire.
"It better not be!" Ginny growled, glaring at her.
"Harry fancies you?" Ron blurted. "Harry? Since when?"
"I'm not a killer!" Hermione protested vehemently.
"No one said you were," Dumbledore said, trying to calm the girl.
"Harry did!" Ron exclaimed, not really helping matters. "And how would he know that? Hermione, I thought we were going out?"
"Kill who you want, just keep your hands off Harry," Ginny said firmly.
"Ginevra!" Molly admonished. "No one is going to kill anyone!"
"Harry's got to kill Voldemort," Ron reminded her. "I mean, that's what the prophecy said, right?"
When no one answered, Ron looked around at the Order members curiously. Seeing their shocked expressions, he blanched. "Oh. Oops."
All eyes turned to Dumbledore, who ran a hand over his face tiredly. "Oh, Merlin," he muttered quietly.
"Well, this is a Kodak moment, isn't it?" Tonks asked sarcastically. Met with many uncomprehending expressions, she sighed. "Never mind. So, Harry has to kill the Dark Lord?"
"That's what the prophecy said," Ron confirmed.
"You were told not to say anything, Mr. Weasley," Dumbledore reminded him gently.
"Yeah, it kind of slipped out. Sorry," Ron apologized, looking down shamefully.
"I'm not a killer! I'm not!" Hermione muttered. Turning to Ron, she looked at him pleadingly. "You believe me, don't you?"
"Of course I do, though you can be scary at times. But when did you start fancying him?" he asked, hurt.
"I don't, Ronald!" she exclaimed. "He's a friend. I love you!"
He brightened. "You do? Really?"
"I think I'm going to be sick," Snape muttered.
"Shut up, Snape," Moody, Remus, Tonks and Vance all growled together.
"I don't have to take that!" Snape said angrily.
"Then don't let the door hit you on the ass on the way out!" Remus exclaimed.
"Enough!" Dumbledore bellowed. As silence fell, he sighed. "I do believe we've gone a bit off track. If we could return to the matter at hand?"
Ginny stood up. "I'm not sure what you're expecting from us, Headmaster. I don't know about Ron or Hermione, but I've no idea why Harry would be writing the Dark Lord. It doesn't make any sense." Her hands fisted at her side, she turned away from him. "And thanks ever so much for bursting my bubble. Harry fancies Hermione? Lovely. Great. I'll be upstairs if anyone needs me."
As she passed Hermione, who was sitting on the couch, she bent down and hissed, "I think I hate you!" before exiting the room.
"But I didn't...Ginny! I don't...Oh, Merlin, this is awful!" Hermione cried. She turned to Ron and leaned against him. "I didn't do anything! I don't fancy Harry. I haven't killed anyone."
Ron patted her back awkwardly and stared at Dumbledore as if it were all his fault. "Ginny's right about one thing, sir. I've no idea why Harry's writing the Dark Lord. We've not spoken to him all summer, if you'll remember. Now that you've upset Hermione, I think I'll take her upstairs." He stood up and helped Hermione to her feet. Glaring around at those in the room one last time, he wrapped an arm around her shoulders and led her out the door.
"Kingsley?" Dumbledore called quite loudly.
"Hmm? What was that?" Shacklebolt asked as he turned away from the door the teenagers had exited from.
"I asked if you'd spoken to Harry's uncle yet," Dumbledore said gently.
"No, not yet. He's not due to get off work for another hour. I'll do it then," the auror replied.
"Good. Make sure he understands that he's to leave his nephew alone."
"Of course, sir."
Remus, too, had been watching the teenagers leave. Something wasn't quite right, and he intended to find out what.
As the meeting was breaking up, Dung spoke for the first time.
"Are muggles really better at killin' than we are?" he asked, puzzled.
"Headmaster," Minerva called. "If you would remain for a moment?"
"Of course," Dumbledore replied.
Once the room had emptied out, she turned to the leader the Order and scowled. "I think we need to have a discussion about certain indiscretions Mr. Potter spoke about in his letter."
"Minerva," Albus began tiredly.
"Don't you 'Minerva' me, Albus Dumbledore. As teachers, we are suppose to set an example. To be caught by a student while philandering with a member of staff, no less? That's absolutely disgraceful!"
"For Merlin's sake. You don't honestly believe that, do you?" Dumbledore sputtered in outrage.
"Of course. And judging by the looks you and Severus were receiving while Remus read the letter, I'm not the only one!"
Dumbledore blanched. "Oh, bugger!"
My Dear Friend Tom,
I am pleased that you think we're friends. I would like that. I mean, you're a powerful wizard, stronger and more powerful than that old goat lover. And more handsome than Snape... Alright, that was a bit thick, but I really hate that git. Couldn't you kill him and get it over with? You know he's a spy, don't you? He's been working for Dumbledore for years.
I don't know what's happened, but my uncle has become increasingly violent over the past few days and I've had to hex him several times to keep him out of my room. I know for a fact that the Order of the Idiots will do nothing if I complain to them about it.
Do you think you can help? Perhaps if you ask Bella to visit my Uncle as he gets off work one day? I think a woman's touch, especially hers, would be most appropriate.
I know I made fun of her earlier in the summer, Tom, and I deeply apologize for that. It was uncalled for. I was surprised to read some of the things she does for you. I didn't know women liked that. Honest. I mean, I once saw Greggory Goyle and Percy Weasley doing that behind the Quidditch equipment shed, but I didn't know girls liked that.
Yes! You do see it. The pure bloods are holding back the half bloods and muggle born from achieving their rightful place. How else can you explain the mediocrity of the Ministry and lack of quality education that we receive? Think about it. Hermione Granger knows more about most subjects than most of our teachers. And being a muggle, she has that killer instinct that you've been searching for and not finding in the weak willed and weak magicked pure bloods.
Hell, I'm a half blood and I have more killer instinct than someone like Blaise Zabini, who's afraid of his own shadow. Think about it, Tom. I know things are better between us, but I nearly kicked your ass back in my forth year. Admit it, I surprised you, didn't I?
I hope Bella can do something about the Dursleys. I think Vernon broke one of my ribs last time. I read in your book about dark arts that the killing curse requires hate. I think I have enough to cast that now.
When Remus finished reading the letter to the group, he placed it on the coffee table, leaned back and waited. The Order was gathered in the library of Grimmauld once more and everyone was staring at him, aghast.
"He's exposed Snape's role," Hestia murmured, shocked to the core. "I knew Harry didn't like him. Not many people do, really. But to do this?"
"I'm a dead man," Snape said tiredly, his head in his hands. "The next time I'm called, the Dark Lord will kill me. And it won't be a neat, painless death. He'll gut me! He'll draw it out for hours!" A whimper escaped his control and echoed around the room.
"Pull yourself together, Severus," Dumbledore commanded. "Once the meeting is over, you will return directly to Hogwarts."
"But he'll call," Snape argued, lifting his head to stare at the Headmaster.
"You'll ignore it," Minerva snapped. She was appalled. How could Harry have done such a thing?
"Minerva is quite right," Dumbledore agreed. "You'll remain in the castle until the war is over, leaving only for Order meetings."
Snape glanced at the Headmaster, then Minerva. His shoulders straightened and he nodded. "I understand. Thank you, sir."
Waving that away, Dumbledore turned to Kingsley, his face drawn and tired. "You were supposed to speak with Harry's uncle. What happened?"
"I did speak to him. He denied touching the boy, but I told him we had proof. In the end, Dursley promised to the leave Harry alone," the auror said, angrily.
"Go back and speak with him today. He should be off work in a few hours. Take Alastor with you," Dumbledore instructed. When Shacklebolt tried to protest, he interrupted him. "You're too nice, sometimes, Kingsley. Alastor will know what to do."
He turned to Moody. "Leave no physical marks, and do not use magic."
Alastor grunted. "I'll take care of it."
"When you're done, threaten to do the same to his son if he continues to torment Harry," Tonks suggested. "That blond buffoon is the Dursley's pride and joy. They'll do anything for him."
Moody eyed he with approval.
Once the other Order members left headquarters, Molly bustled off to the kitchen, muttering to herself about sending another box of food to Harry. Remus remained in the library, thinking.
He rose from the couch half an hour later and made his way to a storage closet. Rummaging inside, he found what he needed.
Climbing the stairs, he made his way to the bedroom the three teenagers gathered in during Order meetings and pushed the door open without knocking.
Ron lay on the bed, grinning up at the ceiling. Hermione and Ginny sat on the floor, giggling. All three looked at him when he entered.
"You know, it's only polite to knock before opening the door," Ginny said, scowling.
"Yes, you're right. I do apologize," Remus replied as he closed the door behind him and withdrew his wand. Locking the door and casting a silencing charm over the room, he smiled at the trio. It wasn't a nice smile.
"Remus? What's going on?" Ron asked as he sat up.
"That's what I intend to find out," Remus growled. Reaching into the pocket of his robe, he withdrew a small bottle of clear liquid and held it up. "This is Veritaserum."
The teenagers exchanged glances, then looked back at their former professor as if he'd lost his mind.
"Start talking, or I start dosing!" Remus growled menacingly.
I hope this won't upset you, but I really must decline your offer. I have respect for the Parkinson family, really. But Pansy as my bride? No, thank you. For one thing, she's butt ugly! I'd rather do Pomona Sprout, than Pansy. But more to the point, she's used goods. Draco has made it plain, (with pictures to support him) that Pansy is no longer a virgin. In fact, I heard one tale that had her doing the entire Slytherin fifth year boy's dorm on a dare (except for Goyle, who doesn't like girls for some reason. Why are so many Slytherin boys gay?).
I like girls, a lot, and I must admit I've been dreadfully lonely. In fact, I would like to 'like' them a lot more, if you catch my drift. But a marriage between the Potters and the Parkinsons is really out of the question.
Now, if you offered me Tracey Davis or Daphne Greengrass? Considering Davis is a redhead... Wow. I mean, if Hermione were a redhead, I'd kill Ron to get her. I don't really know any half blood or muggle born redheads, but I really like redheads. I'm told it runs in my family, for some reason.
I have given a great deal of consideration to your other proposal and I think we may be able to reach an agreement on it. In fact, as a gesture of good faith, before we finish the deal, I will even tell you what the prophecy said.
I like the idea of being the King of North America. You can have the world. I'll be content in my own little corner of it. But I'll let you have Santa Monica as your holiday place. In your honor, I'll rename it Voldiville. The Americans are especially violent and warlike. With me leading them to victory in your name, we will prevail!
I'm still undecided what to do with Canada. I think I'll give it to my wife as a wedding present. By the way, don't forget to ask Tracey if she wants kids. I think it would be neat to name one after you.
P.S. Thank Bella for me. She's wonderful! Vernon turns white every time I stick my head out of the door now.
"The boy's gone mental," Alastor growled.
"I'm beginning to agree," Elphias Doge wheezed.
"Aye," Arabella Figg agreed. "But he's always been such a nice boy!"
"Marry Greengrass or Davis? That would only tighten the control the Dark Lord seems to have over him," Minerva exclaimed. "Albus, what on earth should we do?"
"I must confess, I am at a loss," the Headmaster replied, slumping in his chair. "A marriage between minors requires parental or guardian approval. But once the marriage takes place, Harry and his wife will be considered adults in the wizarding world."
"Do you think the Dursley's would agree?" Minerva asked, anxiously.
Tonks snorted. "To get Harry out of their house? Count on it."
"Oh, dear," Molly exclaimed. "What a disaster!"
"Tracey Davis or Daphne Greengrass?" Emmeline Vance muttered, looking around at the other Order members. "We're doomed if either marriage goes through."
"Maybe if we offered the boy some other bird?" Dung suggested. "He seemed to fancy Hermione!"
"She's in love with Ron," Remus said, tiredly. He leaned his head against the back of the couch and stared at the ceiling.
"Yeah, but there are potions to take care of that," Dung said earnestly.
"Mundungus Fletcher, that's a disgusting idea," Molly all but shrieked. "I'm warning you. Stay away from that girl or face me!"
Dung covered his ears uselessly and cringed away from the fuming redhead.
"Merlin, what would Harry's parent's think?" Tonks asked the now silent room.
"Lily was tolerant. She wouldn't have cared that the girls are Slytherins, only that they have a connection to the Dark Lord. James? James would be appalled," Remus said quietly.
The Weasley's exchanged a look. When Molly's expression shifted into militant disapproval, Arthur's expression firmed. When Molly's shoulders slumped and she nodded slightly, Arthur leaned forward.
"I have a possible solution," he told the group.
When all eyes turned to him, he sighed heavily. "Harry seems to bes enamored with redheads and Ginny's already in love with him. Perhaps..." He trailed off, looking at the others.
"There's an idea," Dung said enthusiastically.
"And a good one," Hestia Jones agreed.
As the Order broke out in excited chatter, Molly Weasley wept. Her little girl, getting married? Harry had always been a lovely boy, but with the threat of Voldemort, she'd been against any relationship between him and Ginny. It was too dangerous. Now that Harry seemed to be agreeing with, and even striking up a friendship, with the Dark Lord, the very idea of a marriage between them was horrifying!
Arthur pulled her into his arms and tried to comfort her.
Remus closed his eyes and sighed heavily.
Tonks, who'd been watching him, frowned. "Remus?" she called out over the noise the others were making. "What's wrong?"
The chatter ceased and all eyes turned toward the werewolf.
"I'm not sure it will work," Remus said quietly. "Ginny's a lovely girl, but she is, after all, a pure blood. Harry seems to be against that idea."
"But Greengrass and Davis are..." Dedalus Diggle began.
"Are half bloods, both of them," Moody said as he yanked his flask out of his pocket in frustration. Opening it, he took a heavy pull from it, before sealing it again. "Dunno how they got into Slytherin, but there it is."
Molly and Arthur looked at each other. Molly's eyes shone with hope, but when Arthur shook his head, she slumped against him.
"My great grandmother married a muggle," Molly mumbled.
"So did one of my great-greats. Don't remember if it was a grandmother or grandfather, though," Arthur informed the group. "If one uses the strictest definition of the word, the blood of the Weasley family isn't exactly pure."
Several hours later...
The door to Harry's bedroom banged open and a small form streaked across the room and into his arms.
"So, it worked, did it?" Harry asked, wrapping his arms around the giggling girl in his arms.
"Just like you said it would," Ginny agreed. "I've got the betrothal agreement in my pocket. Moody managed to get your uncle to sign a binding magical contract. If the git breaks it, he's in for a world of hurt!"
"He won't break it," Harry murmured, burying his face in her hair. "It means he can get rid of me."
"I'm a little disappointed," a voice said from the door.
Harry looked up quickly and blanched. "Remus?"
"Oh, did I forget to tell you?" Ginny asked innocently.
"What's going on?" Harry asked, a bit alarmed by the sudden turn of events.
"Remus has been helping us since your fifth letter. We had to tell him what was going on. He threatened to dose us with Veritaserum to find out the truth," Ginny explained.
Harry's eyes narrowed. "Veritaserum outside of Ministry control is illegal."
Ginny whipped around to stare at her former professor.
Remus shrugged and leaned against the door jam. "So, it was a bottle of tap water. It got results, didn't it? The two of you will be married tonight and emancipated. The Order is taking no chances with this."
Ginny's jaw dropped, but Harry grinned.
"Nice," the raven haired teen complimented.
"It was actually a bit of a disappointment. I thought Hermione would figure it out, but she didn't," Remus remarked. "But things worked out in the end." He stared at Harry for a moment, his expression one of hurt. "Why didn't you tell me what was going on from the start?"
Harry groaned. "And here comes the guilt trip! Look, Remus, how many pranks did you and the others pull? A lot. And how many times did you bring an adult in on it?"
Remus looked away sheepishly. "Well..."
"Right. Never," Harry answered for him. "Besides, I couldn't be sure you'd go along with the idea. Molly's been against Ginny and I getting together. She's done everything possible to keep us apart. We tried to give her time to come around. We tried talking to her reasonably. She wouldn't have any of it."
"We realized just before the train arrived at Kings Cross that, if we wanted to be together, we'd have to take matter into our own hands," Ginny explained. "Hermione and Ron were more than willing to help."
Remus sighed and shook his head. "Molly's always been stubborn." Looking around, he stood up straight and pulled out his wand. "Right, let's get you packed."
"Headquarters?" Harry asked as he pulled away from Ginny and turned to release Hedwig from her cage.
"Yep, and our wedding," Ginny said happily.
Once his belongings were packed and sent off to Grimmauld with Ginny via portkey, Remus removed another portkey, a tattered magazine, from his pocket.
Harry looked around his former bedroom and sighed. He was glad to be leaving.
"I have a question," Remus asked as he held out the magazine.
"What's that?" Harry asked, placing his hand on the portkey.
"Do you really fancy redheads that much?"
Laughing, Harry shook his head. "Brown, blond, black or red, it doesn't matter. I love Ginny, not just her hair."
Remus smirked. "I thought so," he said, just before he tapped the portkey with his wand.
A moment later, the bedroom was empty.
Grimmauld Place, the same evening, after the wedding...
The Order had been called, once again, to headquarters. Members were scattered about the library and all were glaring at the Boy-Who-Lived.
"What are you thinking, Harry?" Dumbledore asked him angrily. "Do you honestly believe that Voldemort would befriend you? Have your years of dealing with that monster taught you nothing? How can you be so naÃ¯ve?"
"Harry, the Dark Lord is trying to gain your trust!" Kingsley insisted. "Once he he has it, he'll kill you."
"I didn't think you were this stupid, Potter," Moody growled.
"And marrying one of Voldemort's followers? Slytherins?" Minerva scowled at him. "You're father would be appalled!"
Harry, sitting on the couch with Ginny, Hermione and Ron, sighed and raked a hand through his hair. "My god, you people are sheep!"
At the shocked silence that followed his statement, Harry stood up. "Think, people. How did Voldemort's letters get through to me, when you all took such careful steps to keep me isolated this summer on the orders of Albus I-will-manipulate-the-world Dumbledore? And what about my replies? They were intercepted by the Order and delivered to headquarters, so how the hell could Voldemort have gotten them too?"
Order members began to shift around uncomfortably.
"What's going on?" Minerva asked, confused.
"You've been played," Ginny said, simply. "Harry turned your own game back on you and we helped."
"I have to admit, I was rather shocked at how easily you all brushed away the inconsistencies," Hermione added. "It was really disappointing to see how gullible you all were. I didn't want to believe it when Harry told me, but this proves it."
"Inconsistencies?" Ron asked, shaking his head. "There were holes in the plan big enough to ride a giant through!"
Dung frowned. "Do people ride giants?"
"Focus, Dung, or shut up," Tonks muttered.
"So the Dark Lord never wrote you?" Dumbledore asked, staring at the boy.
"No, of course not," Harry told him. "How could he? You'd blocked my post and locked me up against my will again."
"So your replies..."
"We obviously fakes, Headmaster. Honestly, don't you have any faith in your own spell work or the members of the Order? Nothing could be delivered by owl, thanks to your obfuscation charm. Order members guarded the house night and day, so nothing could be delivered by hand. My replies came directly to headquarters. There was no way Voldemort could have received them, even if they had been legitimate." Harry stared at him for a moment, then shook his head. "What? Did you think the Dark Lord sent his letters via mole post? That they burrowed up into the house from below?"
"Mole post?" Dung asked, curiously. "That don't sound very reliable to me."
"Shut up, Dung!" Tonks, Minerva and Moody all snapped.
"Wait," Snape said. "It was all fake?"
"Yep," Harry replied.
"So, the Dark Lord doesn't know I'm a spy?"
"Of course not," Harry snapped. "Unlike you, I'm not that petty."
"But he's summoned me three times and I've ignored them all! Oh, Merlin, he really will kill me now!" Snape exclaimed.
Harry blinked, astonished. "I hadn't think of that. Oh, well." He glanced at Ginny, who shook her head.
"Neither had I," she confirmed.
"I told you there were flaws in the plan," Hermione reminded them.
"Yeah, but let's be honest," Ron said. "We all thought they'd figure it out before now."
"True," Hermione murmured, then chewed on her bottom lip thoughtfully.
"Headmaster," Snape bellowed. "This little menace is going to get me killed!"
"Me? You're the ones who couldn't figure it out, despite how obvious it was," Harry sneered. "It looks like none of you are as smart as you think you are."
"So, you did all this to teach us a lesson?" Dumbledore asked in disbelief.
"Mostly," Harry confirmed. "But I also did it so Ginny and I could be together."
"What?" Molly and Arthur both gasped.
"You did everything you could to keep us apart, mum," Ginny told her with a smirk. "You should have known I wouldn't stand for that."
"Ginevra Weasley," Molly shrieked. "How dare you?"
"That's Ginevra Potter, if you don't mind," she snapped.
Remus, leaning against a bookcase, began to laugh. "She's your daughter, alright," he told the glaring Molly.
"Arthur, do something!" Molly commanded, now glaring at her husband.
"I can't," he told her. "She's married. Besides, had you not been so bent on keeping them apart, I'm sure they would have been willing to wait."
"You're right, dad," Ginny confirmed. "Sorry, mum, but this is what you get for not listening to us."
"It's what you ALL get," Harry told the Order seriously. "Now you know what it feels like to be manipulated. Fun, isn't it?"
"So, the wedding's over. Where's the cake?" Ron asked, glancing around the room eagerly.
FINI AND WE MEAN IT
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