Chapter 10 – The Potter Christmas Ball
Harry was happy.
He could not remember ever having a Christmas like this before. Of course previously he had been with the Dursleys – enough said. All of his guests and the house elves were in great moods after opening their presents. Everyone had thanked Harry profusely for his gifts, especially for the necklaces with the strong protection spells.
Mrs. Weasley hugged him for a long time not just in thanks for her necklace but for Harry providing protection for all of her family. “You are the sweetest boy!” she said while crying on his shoulder.
“Don’t cry Mrs. Weasley,” said Harry uncomfortably. “It’s the least I could do. You guys are like family to me and we both know I don’t have much real family left to speak of.”
Molly grabbed him again and cried some more. Bill and Charley came to the rescue and led their mum back to the sofa to sit next to Arthur. Charley told Harry that his father wanted a word with him so Harry followed them over to the sofa where he was resting.
“Mr. Weasley, you wanted to speak to me?” asked Harry.
“Yes, Harry, please have a seat next to me.” Harry sat down next to Mr. Weasley and waited for him to say what he wanted to say.
“Harry, you are an amazing man. I know you’re only 15 but you’re a man in my eyes. You’re shouldering a man’s responsibilities and doing quite well I might add. I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for saving my life. I wasn’t ready to part from my family or this world quite yet and you made sure I’m still around to enjoy it.” Molly, who was sitting on the other side of Arthur, started sniffling. Arthur put his good arm around her shoulders and held her close. “There’s no way I can thank you for everything you’ve done for my family. I’m not the only family member either whose life you have saved. We owe you a debt we cannot possibly pay.”
“Mr. Weasley, your family has paid me back in abundance. You don’t owe me a thing. Do you realize how much value I place on family and friends? You know my past and what I’ve been through. Ron was the first friend I’ve ever had. Before Hogwarts when I was in a Muggle school my cousin Dudley made sure none of the other kids became my friends. He would scare them all off. When Ron became my friend, I didn’t realize the full package that came with it. Now I do and no one is going to take you guys away from me if I can help it.”
Molly started crying again.
“Thank you, son. Always remember that you’re welcome in this family. Molly and I think of you as one of ours already.”
“Thank you, Mr. Weasley,” said Harry as he stood up and leaned over to give them both a hug. “You have no idea how much you guys mean to me.” Harry raised back up and looked at them fondly on the sofa. “You know with your new hats I might make cowboys and cowgirls out of you two yet.” They both grinned at him.
“Now you go talk to some of the others,” said Mrs. Weasley. “We’ve monopolized your time enough. I’m sure there are others who wish to speak with you,” she said smiling.
“I’ll do that, Mrs. Weasley. Mr. Weasley I want you to take it easy. If you need anything at all call the house elf assigned to you or let Mattie or myself know what you need if we are near. The house elves are excited and count it a privilege to help my friends and family. They haven’t had any wizards and witches around here for many years before I showed up. Mattie takes care of me so the other elves are enjoying taking care of you guys. Trust me they love it. Don’t disappoint them by not calling them when you need something.”
“Thank you Harry. I am a little thirsty. I’ll call on Maisy right away. Maisy?” called Mr. Weasley.
Pop! Maisy appeared before Mr. Weasley. “What can Maisy do for Arthur? I am happy to help.”
“Maisy, thank you so much for your prompt service. I’m most impressed with you. Since I can’t move very well would you be so kind as to bring me some tea?” asked Arthur.
“Right away Arthur. Can Maisy bring any drinks for anyone else?” asked Maisy to Molly, Charley, and Bill.
“Actually, I could use some tea as well,” said Molly.
“Me too,” said Bill.
“I would rather have cold pumpkin juice,” replied Charley.
“Coming right up,” replied Maisy happily and she left with a pop.
One minute later, she appeared before them again with three hot teas and a pumpkin juice on a platter along with honey, cream, and sugar.
Harry had moved on across the room to talk to other guests but had been watching the exchange. He was grinning as he watched Maisy serve his guests and their interaction with the house elf. What a great day he thought to himself.
Next thing he knew there was a blur of movement. Harry was grabbed and a big kiss was planted on his lips. His eyes went wide and he realized it was Tonks. He saw Ginny and Hermione across the room with a shocked look on their faces. Harry wrapped his arms around Tonks and kissed her back and then Tonks finally let him go and stepped back.
“Harry, I’ve been waiting to do that ever since I opened my presents from you. You don’t know how much this means to me to have this protection around my neck.”
“Actually, I believe I have a pretty good idea after that kiss, Tonks.” Harry smiled. Tonks started giggling.
“I’m sorry Harry. You know how excited I get when you do something so nice. As an auror, this kind of gift is highly useful. It will likely save my life, Harry. I would kiss you again but I don’t want to get Remus too jealous. The wolf might come out. Actually, that might not be a bad idea. I may have to find a dark corner and drag him into it.”
“Too much information, Tonks. Besides I see Remus, Sirius, Hermione, …and Ginny all headed this way. I’m sure your show of thanks has peaked their interest to say the least.” Tonks giggled again.
“Harry, are you going after older women?” asked Remus.
“We’re all wondering what’s going on over here,” said Hermione.
Sirius was grinning from ear to ear. Ginny was not looking happy for some reason.
“Tonks is the one who initiated it and kissed me so she can explain it to you,” replied Harry.
“Okay, lover. I don’t mind,” said Tonks with a wink.
“Tonks! That’s not helping!” exclaimed Harry.
“Sorry, Harry. Actually that was not the first time Harry and I kissed.” Tonks grinned real big.
Everyone was looking at them at this point.
“Okay, I’ve toyed with poor Harry long enough. It’s an interesting story so let’s all come a little closer to Arthur and Molly so everyone can hear. Now pay close attention,” she told everyone. “After the trial of Umbridge, my boss Madame Bones, assigned me to accompany Harry safely back to Hogwarts, but she suggested that we could make a few stops if Harry needed anything. When we were in the Ministry Atrium, I asked Harry if he needed to run any errands before returning to school. I suggested he could buy a pretty girl an ice cream and turned into a buxom blonde.”
Tonks transformed at that time into the same movie star look she did for Harry. When she did Ron, Neville, Charley, Bill, Remus, and Dan all grunted approval and leaned in a little closer to get a better look. Sirius was laughing out loud. Hermione, Ginny, Molly, and Emma had their mouths open in shock. Luna was staring into space and Arthur just sat there enjoying the story. Harry put a hand over his face obviously embarrassed.
“Well, as I was standing there like this,” continued Tonks, “Harry said something that I will never forget. He said ‘Tonks, I appreciate the show but I think you are pretty just the way you were.’ Harry was completely honest about it too. It wasn’t just a line he was saying. You all know Harry. Now folks I’ve never had anyone tell me that before. It completely stopped me in my tracks. I returned back to normal.”
Tonks returned back to herself. All the guys were looking at her differently now agreeing that she is pretty. The ladies were smiling a knowing smile, even Luna. Sirius had stopped laughing.
“Well, I’m a little excitable as you know so I grabbed Harry and kissed him for all he was worth right on the lips. He was surprised to say the least.” Harry’s face was red. “When I let him go I apologized for going overboard with my excitement but he put me at ease and assured me that it was okay because at his age he had never been kissed that way before he said. He’s very smart you know. He acknowledged that we didn‘t have any special feelings for each other and we were just good friends. He also concluded that the kiss was quite enjoyable and since he now knew that it was just a friendly kiss, he would remember that next time and respond in kind. I must say Harry you did respond and it was quite good. You are one good kisser!”
“Oh, brother,” said Harry and hid his red face further.
Everyone started laughing, even Ginny found it funny.
Tonks continued. “Of course that was not the most exciting thing that happened on our outing. It came close though. I mean kissing the-boy-who-lived ranks right up there, you know,” she said with a dreamy face like Luna’s.
“Yes, Harry,” she responded with a wicked grin.
“I may have to give you an itch you can’t scratch if you don’t cut it out.”
“Ooh, where would the itch be?”
“My secret and your surprise if you keep it up.” Harry grinned at her.
“Okay, Harry you spoils sport,” Tonks said smiling. “I suppose I’ve ribbed you long enough. Hey, did you guys know that was the same day that Harry captured Augustus Rookwood? We were headed to Gringotts when he attacked us. My savior here pushed me down out of the way and stepped in front of me. Rookwood cast the Cruciatus Curse and Harry cast an Expelliarmus right afterwards. He said he accidentally put a little extra power into it because he saw the Cruciatus coming at him. Rookwood flew back about 20 feet. Harry stunned him and tied him up. Both spells looked like they were cast about the same time he was so fast. Then he was helping me up. I told him I’m the auror and he’s the student. He’s not supposed to show me up so bad.”
“Harry, why didn’t you move out of the way of the curse?” asked Ginny.
“Tonks and others were behind me. I got his wand quickly so the curse didn’t turn out to be much. I never even fell down.”
Everyone looked concerned, thinking hard on this new information after his statement but Tonks came to his rescue. “That’s not all that happened either. There was even more excitement later on.”
“What, there’s more?” asked Ron.
Tonks looked at Harry. “Is it okay to tell them the rest, Harry? It’s your secrets that I’ve promised not to share. You’ll have to release me before I’ll tell the rest.”
“It’s okay Tonks. Everyone here is safe to share with. Let me say this though before you continue. The information Tonks is about to share is a secret. Some here already know this secret but not all of you. I ask that you keep the secret for me until it’s okay for public consumption. It’s likely not to remain secret for very long anyway but it’s important that it remain secret for as long as possible. I should mention that the necklaces also block legilimency attacks so as long as you don’t share this information with anyone outside this room then my secret will be safe. Does everyone agree?”
They all nodded and affirmed that they would.
“Alright,” said Tonks. “Where was I? Oh yes, more excitement. Harry went on to Gringotts and withdrew the funds he needed. I called the aurors who came and took care of Rookwood. I met Harry in Gringotts when he came back up from his vault and then he took this pretty girl (me) for some ice cream. What a gentleman. After all that he remembered I wanted ice cream. Anyway, we finished up and went through the Leaky Cauldron into London. Harry wanted to go to a sporting goods store that sold karate uniforms and equipment. I knew where one was so we headed that direction.”
Tonks continued on and told how Harry rescued the girl Julie from the four big brutes. She took them through all the moves she could remember and how cool Harry acted the whole time while he beat them up soundly.
“After the fight, Harry calmly looked around, straightened his clothes, and walked over to us. I told Harry he could have left some for me.”
“I was having way too much fun,” said Harry.
“Anyway we made sure the young woman whose name was Julie was alright before sending her on her way. That’s the day Harry bought all the karate uniforms, belts, and equipment.”
All the karate students nodded at her remembering that day.
“I bought some more on my errand the other day. I thought everyone could use a few more since we meet practically every day. I picked up some more sport bras and jock straps that way you don’t have to worry about running out before laundry is done. Plus I wanted to get some of that for Kingsley since he’s been joining us on occasion.”
“Thanks Harry,” replied all of his karate students.
“Wait a second,” said Mrs. Weasley. “Harry, where did you learn to do all that?”
“Right here, in this house, from a very good friend, an unspeakable. Grandpa introduced me to him,” replied Harry.
“Okay, now what are sport bras and jockey straps?” asked Mrs. Weasley.
Emma spoke up. “Molly, sport bras are for the girls. I have some myself that I use when I exercise. They’re great for that and I take it for karate training as well.”
“Yes,” replied Harry. “They’re more comfortable, correct?”
“Yes, Harry,” replied Emma. “For the woman they make a huge difference when you’re exercising. Regular bras don’t provide as much support as a sports bra so if you’re exercising, your breasts tend to bounce too much in a regular bra, plus if your regular bra is lacy then all the sweat will eventually ruin and stain it. The sports bra holds the breasts in place better so you are more comfortable doing physical exercise and the material is easily washed to clean it. A regular bra could actually cause some pain. The less your breasts move around when you are active the more comfortable a woman will be.”
“Thank you, Emma. That was a very good explanation,” replied Molly.
“Yes, thank you Emma. That was very educational for me too. I knew some of it which is why I purchased them for the ladies but you obviously know more about it then I do which I don’t find embarrassing in the least,” said Harry honestly. “I could explain about the jock strap but I’m willing to bet that Dan may be able to explain it better. Dan?”
“Ha, ha. Okay, Harry. I’ll help you out,” said Dan. “Molly the jock strap is for the men and boys. The important part about the jock strap is it works like the sports bra to provide support so nothing moves around too much. For the man the jock strap supports his bits when exercising. Some, like the ones I’m sure Harry purchased, has a pocket in the front. You need what’s called a protective cup, which fits inside this pocket. The cup is generally made out of hard plastic and protects the bits from injury, especially when participating in contact sports like karate.”
“Thanks, Dan,” replied Harry. “That was an excellent explanation. I bought the jock straps and cups for Ron, Neville, and myself so we could have protection during our karate sessions. Sometimes you can be accidentally or on purpose kicked or hit in the bits. Since we don’t intentionally want to hurt each other in my karate class, I felt getting the proper protection was wise. We also have protective gear that we wear when practicing our sparring. It protects us pretty much all over.”
“Thank you Harry and Dan. That was very informative,” said Mrs. Weasley.
“I find it all very fascinating what those wonderful Muggles can come up with,” added Mr. Weasley.
After the conversation trailed off, Harry stood up and got everyone’s attention.
“Everyone? May I suggest that we all take our presents back to our rooms so the elves can straighten up in here? I know you are aware of the ball that starts at 7 pm tonight. I’m sure you’ll want plenty of time to get ready for it beforehand. We have a couple hours before lunch, so why not everyone do whatever they wish to do before then. I have a couple things I need to check on so see you all at lunch.”
Harry could not believe it was already time to get ready for the Christmas ball. He noticed the girls had begun getting ready hours ago. He decided he’d better get cleaned up and dressed so he would be on time to welcome his other guests at seven. He checked with Mattie and as usual, she had everything well in hand.
Harry showered and dressed in the nicest black robes he could find. He was ready early so was down at the kitchen by 6:30 chatting with Mattie and Leru. Dinner at 6:00 had been cancelled due to food being served at the ball. Leru had cooked up a storm for the special event. He seemed to take it personal if anyone was hungry.
Harry looked in at the ballroom and was very pleased with all the decorations. The elves had out done themselves. They were all dressed in formal robes as well with the Potter crest on their uniforms. They looked excited and ready to go. The whole manor looked like Christmas.
There was soft music playing in the ballroom and one of the elves had volunteered to be the DJ. His name was Jazey. He was ready to vary the music during the evening of dancing so there were fast songs, slow songs, waltzes, etc. Mattie and Jazey had worked it all out based on past experience. Evidently, in the past Potter Place used to host many such occasions. Harry had left them to it since he had no expertise in that area.
One of Harry’s deepest secrets was between Mattie and himself. After Harry had showed up at Potter Place one of the things Mattie had instructed him on was his behavior during functions such as this. Mattie told him that not only was he to carry himself in a certain manner but it was required to be able to dance. After Harry’s less than spectacular dancing at the Yule Ball last year (poor Parvati) he was somewhat thankful that he was going to learn how to dance properly. Mattie made sure he was taught thoroughly during part of the lessons she worked on with Harry.
She noticed that the karate he was taught helped with his dancing. His ability and showmanship vastly improved after a week of karate training. It appears the extra control he gained over his body was helpful with his dance lessons. He was quite proficient the last time she’d worked with him. She had thoroughly enjoyed teaching and preparing her charge. He was a delight to work with and she knew that Harry cared as much for her as she did for him.
The Potters had always been a good family and she counted herself very lucky to be at Potter Place. She was anxious to see Harry in action at the ball. She was very proud of him this entire Christmas holiday. His behavior with his guests was better than she could have hoped for. She realized that Harry was close to most of them but he handled himself perfectly, nonetheless.
Taking a final sweep through the ballroom and Banquet Hall, Mattie made sure everything was in place and the food hot. Leru had a spread on the large table close to the ballroom filled with eats and drinks. It was one impressive spread.
Sirius, Remus, Neville, and the Weasley men had come down about 6:45. Arthur and Molly, along with Dan and Emma showed up soon after that. Next was Tonks. At 7:00, the guests began to arrive. Professor Dumbledore and Professor McGonagall arrived together. Harry and Mattie greeted them warmly and escorted them to the table to show them the food and then into the ballroom where everyone else waited, except for Ron who was hanging around the food.
Luna’s father showed up and Harry greeted him warmly. He asked Mr. Lovegood if he could have a quick word with him and took him aside a few feet away. Xenophilius Lovegood was wondering what the young man wanted but was happy to oblige all the same. “Mr. Lovegood,” said Harry, “I know that you publish The Quibbler but I am asking you to not write anything about your visit here. You will not be able to publish any real specifics about the place anyway due to certain charms in place. I hope I’m not offending you with this but it is very important that my home remain a secret. I don’t want to be attacked here.”
“Mr. Potter,” said Xenophilius, “You do not offend me in the slightest. As a matter of fact, my daughter Luna has beat you to the punch. She sent me an owl explaining that this was your home and no one outside of whom you invite was to know about it. I understand completely and I appreciate your invitation. Your secret is safe with me.”
“Thank you, sir. I very much appreciate it.”
“No problem, Mr. Potter.”
“You may call me Harry.”
“Thank you Harry. My first name is Xenophilius but you may call me Xen.”
“Thank you Xen. Shall we join the others?” Harry led Xen past the food table and into the Ballroom. On their way, they saw the girls coming down the stairs. Harry could not believe how beautiful they all were in the ball gowns he had loaned them. He decided right then and there that he was not going to allow them to return them. He would think of something he decided. Luna ran up and gave her Dad a big hug and kiss. She then gave Harry a hug and kiss on the cheek as well thanking him for the dress and what she knew was going to be a great evening. Harry blushed and told her “you’re welcome.”
The parents were gushing over how well their children looked. Neville’s grandmother, Mrs. Longbottom, had come in while Harry spoke to Xen. She was admiring her grandson in his evening wear. He was explaining to her what Harry had done for them when they weren’t allowed to go anywhere to buy anything for the ball. Augusta Longbottom was very impressed with Harry’s generosity and told him so herself just as soon as they spoke.
After talking to Augusta for a bit, Kingsley Shacklebolt arrived with a guest. It was Madam Amelia Bones. Mattie and Harry greeted them and welcomed them to Potter Place. Now that all the guests had arrived it was time to introduce Harry. Harry was to make a speech to his guests.
After everyone was in the ballroom, Mattie had Jazey turn the music way down low. She then went upon the small stage and got everyone’s attention. In a formal but loud voice she said, “Ladies and Gentlemen, Lords and Ladies, witches and wizards it is my honor to introduce you to Master Harry James Potter, Lord of Potter Place and all that is Potter. Master Harry please come.”
Harry went up on the stage with Mattie. He had produced his staff she had given him for Christmas. No one knew where it came from. It just appeared in his hand. He walked with it up onto the stage, turned to his guests with the staff planted in front of him at his left hand.
Harry began. “Friends and Family, I welcome you all to Potter Place and my first Christmas Ball. First of all, you should know that there are loos close by just down the hall. If you get lost, call Mattie and she will sort you out. Next, I wish to thank Jazey who has kindly volunteered to operate the music. I’m sure he will handle his duties well. If you have a request then be sure and let him know. Last but not least, we have our very own magnificent chef here at Potter Place and he‘s been wowing us this entire holiday season. He’s done no less for us tonight. Just outside the ballroom door in the Banquet Hall, you will find a large table loaded with the best tasting food you can imagine. Please help yourselves. I’ve given the house elves the night off as they are also celebrating with us. If you need anything that is not on the table, please let me know and I will try to assist. I believe Ron Weasley knows the fastest way to the table so follow him if you’re not sure.” There was quite a bit of laughter and a red-faced Ron. “Now without further ado let’s eat and have a ball!”
Harry descended from the stage and the staff disappeared from sight after he was back on the dance floor. Once again, no one knew how he managed that.
After everyone had satisfied themselves with food, they all congregated back into the ballroom where Jazey had the music going at just the right volume. People began to pair up and dance. Harry saw Arthur and Molly dancing slowly and carefully, then Dan and Emma, Dumbledore and McGonagall, Xen and Augusta. Next, he saw Tonks drag Remus onto the floor.
Looking around further he saw Sirius guiding Hermione onto the floor while Neville was asking Luna for a dance. Ron looked like he was heading back out to the food. As his eyes followed Ron walking, they stopped on Ginny when Ron went past her and she came into focus. She was looking down at her shoes. Harry walked slowly over to Ginny. When she noticed him standing in front of her she looked up suddenly into his green eyes, the eyes that always made her weak in the knees. Harry was staring intently at her. Ginny stared back as best she could but was feeling a fluttering in her stomach that was distracting. Harry made a deep bow and then held out his hand.
“May I have this dance, my lady?” he asked with a grin.
“Why certainly my Lord,” she said with a curtsey then took his offered hand. “It would be my honor.”
Harry led Ginny out on to the floor. There was a waltz being played so he began leading her around the dance floor in as expert a manner as he could muster. After they had danced for a minute or so, Ginny looked at Harry who was keeping his eyes focused on hers the whole time. “Harry, when did you learn to dance?” she asked. “You are quite good at it.”
“Thank you, I was taught by Mattie. She informed me that as the Lord of the Potters it was required that I know how due to functions such as this and the lord of the Potters was expected to be able to equip himself quite handily on the dance floor. My performance at the Yule Ball was appalling. I’m sorry I put Parvati through that. Her toes are probably still hurting. Mattie is a good teacher and has taught me well. I hope I’m sufficient enough of a dancer for you. I noticed that you are quite good at it.”
“Harry, you are a remarkably quick learner if you are this good after such a short period of time you have spent with Mattie. You must be a natural dancer because I’m quite impressed.”
“Why thank you, Ginny. It’s important to me to be as good a Potter as I can be. I would not want to disappoint Mattie.”
“I’d be willing to bet that Mattie is extremely proud of you. I know that I am” Ginny said with a smile.
“You are very kind, Ginny. Thank you for the dance, my lady,” Harry bowed and said as the song ended.
“Thank you, my lord,” Ginny replied with another curtsey.
“Please save me another dance or two later?” Harry asked Ginny. “Right now I must see to my other guests. Please have fun and enjoy yourself.”
Ginny could not believe Harry could dance like that after how poorly he did at the Yule Ball just a year ago. She watched him as he danced with every woman in the room. He was good no matter the song or the tempo. During that time, she danced with some of her brothers, Sirius, and Remus but her father had to sit down after the one dance with her mother so she was not able to dance with him. He needed the rest though so they made sure he did no more dancing for the night. He told her he was sorry he could not dance with his girl but he knew he was pushing it dancing with Molly and he could not resist at least one dance with his wife. Ginny gave him a hug and told him that was all right. She would make sure to get a dance out of him next time when he was all healed up.
Harry and the Weasley boys made sure Molly got plenty of dances since Arthur was not well enough. However, she was content sitting with her husband and watching their kids enjoy themselves. Harry did indeed dance with all the ladies, elves included. He made sure they all got his undivided attention when he was dancing with them. The female elves had a difficult time looking him in the eye though, except Mattie. Hermione, Luna, and Tonks were equally impressed with his dancing ability. McGonagall could not remember the last time she had enjoyed dancing that much. She was very proud of her Gryffindor. Sirius and Remus noticed as well how smooth he was on the dance floor and gave each other questioning looks and raised eyebrows.
Harry finally convinced Ron to dance with Hermione. He promised him dancing lessons later so he would be more confident. He explained how the karate lessons helped and right now even without dance lessons Harry bet Ron he would be able to dance better if he would just give it a try. He suggested Ron start with his mum so she could teach him a little before he asked Hermione.
He finally gave in and asked his mum to dance since he was the only Weasley son that had not danced with her yet. The guilt was too much so he asked her. He also asked her when they started dancing if she could give him some pointers. Molly gladly obliged and taught Ron as best she could over the next three dances. He then danced with Hermione who told him how surprised she was at how good of a dancer he was. This boosted his confidence even more so he ended up dancing with Luna, Tonks, and even Ginny.
They never thought they would see Ron enjoying dancing. He even danced with Emma Granger while Dan danced with his daughter. Molly had told him to watch Harry dance when he was not dancing. She said he could learn a lot that way. He did just that and enjoyed himself the rest of the evening dancing with his friends.
Harry was dancing with Amelia Bones when she struck up a conversation with him. “Harry, your dancing is superb. I dare say I have heard that you are good at a quite a few other things.”
“Really, Amelia? May I ask what exactly you‘ve heard about me?”
“Just that you are a remarkable teacher for someone so young. I was told that you had took it upon yourself to help the first and second years when they had no Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher. Quite remarkable indeed,” said Amelia.
“Oh, that. Well I do enjoy teaching them. They’re a great bunch of kids and they just soak it all up. When we couldn’t find a replacement teacher I started helping them so they wouldn’t fall too far behind by the time we get another teacher.”
“I also heard that you started a group for the third years and above called the D.A., the Defense Association?”
“Yes, ma’am. Actually, that was my friend Hermione’s suggestion. She recognized how far we would get behind if we didn’t do something soon. That was the reason I thought of the first and second years. We realized they wouldn’t fit with our D.A. group because they still needed to learn the basics. That’s why it’s limited to third years and above. So I started helping the first and second years too.”
“Very commendable Harry. Very commendable indeed and in your OWL year as well. I understand though that not all of the students are getting instruction?”
“That’s correct, Amelia. Without a real Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher, the classes and group are strictly optional. All of the first and second years attend my classes but we have a little less than 100 students in the D.A. so the rest are not getting instruction in Defense.”
“Tell me Harry, how is it you as a fifth year are able to teach sixth and seventh years?”
“I actually have a lot of help in the D.A. and there are a few other students helping me teach the group. Other than that I would have to get a promise that you could keep my secrets before I can tell you more.”
Amelia looked at Harry for a moment considering what he had just said before she replied. “Harry, I am perfectly willing to keep your secrets but I will ask you to stop and tell me nothing more that would require that trust. I really don’t need to know more than you’ve shared at this point.”
“Thank you Amelia. Obviously you’re a trustworthy person but I’ll stop there until and if it becomes necessary to share with you further details.”
The music ended so they stopped dancing.
“One last thing Harry. I noticed your godfather was here.” Harry started looking worried. “Oh, Harry, don’t get worried. Professor Dumbledore and Kingsley have kept me apprised of his situation. I would not be here if that was an issue.”
“Then do you know that I am a personal witness on more than one occasion seeing Peter Pettigrew alive? As a matter of fact, I was a witness to Cedric Diggory’s death when Peter cast a killing curse on him at Voldemort’s orders. He said ‘Kill the spare’ and Peter killed him just like that. I also have reliable knowledge that Peter was the secret keeper for my parents and not Sirius. Peter was the one that betrayed my parents to Voldemort. Sirius simply went after him when he found my parents dead. Peter cut off his finger and caused an explosion that killed all those Muggles. He then turned into his animagus form, a rat, and disappeared. We had him captured in my third year but he got away again. He is very slippery. However, if I run across him again, he will not escape me this time. I can promise you that,” Harry said a bit heatedly.
“Thank you Harry for that information. I learned a few things I didn’t know. I want you to know though that everyone in this room is on your side. Don’t forget that. Now, if you will excuse me I’m going to ask Sirius for a dance,” she said with a smile as she walked away. Harry just shook his head and smiled.
Harry managed to dance with Mattie and his friends again and danced with Ginny a couple more times just as he had asked her. He had finally devised a plan on how to force his friends to keep the formals he’d let them borrow. While dancing with the girls he cast a wandless spell that would not allow them to take off the gowns until they truly accepted them as a gift. He managed to do the same to Ron and Neville when they weren’t looking.
The ball finally ended as the last of the guests left to go home. Everyone apparently enjoyed themselves. As they were leaving to go back to their rooms, Harry asked his friends while they were walking down the hall if he could talk to them for a second. They all stopped and turned to look at him.
“Everyone, I wanted to thank you all for making this evening such an enjoyable one. I also wanted to tell those of you who borrowed the formals from me that I insist you keep them as a gift.”
They started to protest.
“Hang on. Let me finish. After I saw all of you in those clothes and how good you look in them, it would not be right if you gave them back. I would rather see you in them again at another time in the future. You all look incredible and I do not want those formals returned. Please keep them?”
“Harry we’ve been through this,” said Ginny. “We simply can’t keep these. They are way too expensive a gift.”
“Really? Are you sure you can’t keep them?” Harry asked with a straight face.
“Yes, really, we can’t keep these formals as a gift. It was bad enough that we had to borrow them,” Ginny replied.
“That’s too bad because I insist that you keep them,” replied Harry.
“You are getting them back whether you insist or not,” said Ginny. “I’m going to my room now to remove the gown and I will be returning it to you in a few minutes.” She started toward her room.
“I’m afraid that will not be possible,” announced Harry.
Ginny stopped and turned around with a questioning look on her face.
Hermione asked, “Why is that Harry?”
“Because I’ve charmed all of your formals so that they can’t be removed until you fully accept them as a gift and keep them as your own,” said Harry smugly.
Sirius and Remus started laughing. They had been hanging around listening to the conversation.
“Harry how could you?” asked Ginny.
“It was quite easy actually. I meant every word I said. Do you hear me? I do not ever want to see anyone else wearing those clothes. They’re yours. Accept it so you can go change.”
Some had already tried to take off something but it would not budge.
“You’re serious?” asked Ron.
“No, Ron. I’m Harry. That’s Sirius,” he said pointing at Sirius.
Remus groaned. “Sorry Remus, I couldn’t resist. Yes, I’m serious Ron. I definitely mean it. I’m not budging on this. If you want to change out of those formals then you will have to fully accept them as a gift from me. When you do accept, truthfully and fully with no desire to return them, then you will be able to take them off. Any more questions?”
“I accept your gift Harry,” said Neville. “And I appreciate it very much. You’re a great friend. I’m going to change now.” Neville headed toward his room.
“You’re welcome Neville,” replied Harry.
“I accept your gift too Harry,” said Luna as she gave Harry a hug. “You’re a very caring friend, you know that? Thank you for this marvelous gift. I’ll enjoy wearing it again.” Luna turned and headed toward her room.
“You’re welcome Luna and you too are a great friend,” replied Harry.
“I accept your gift Harry,” said Ron as he stepped up to give Harry a hug. While Ron hugged Harry, he thanked him for the great clothes and promised he would wear them again since these were the best formals he’s ever owned.
“You’re welcome Ron. I would really appreciate that if you did. It makes me very happy when my friends will let me give them something that I really want to give them,” replied Harry.
Hermione was next. “Harry, you are unbelievable. Once again, very advanced and impressive magic and I bet you did it wandlessly, correct?”
Harry nodded his head.
“Okay, Harry. I whole-heartedly accept this gift. I promise you that I will be wearing this again because this is by far my favorite formal gown now. My mum absolutely loved it as well.”
“Good, you can let her borrow it sometime if you want. Remember it still has the auto-fit charm that my mum put on it.”
Hermione smiled then gave Harry a hug and a kiss on his cheek before heading to her room. Sirius and Remus took one look at Ginny and decided they would go to their rooms as well.
When he and Ginny were alone in the hall Harry asked “And what about you Miss Weasley? You seem to be reluctant to accept my gift. Why is that? It hurts when one of my friends refuse a gift from me. It makes me sad. If I didn’t want to give it then I wouldn’t have offered it and I certainly wouldn’t have done all of this to make you accept it if it wasn’t important to me.”
“Why then is this important to you, Harry?”
“Don’t you know?”
Ginny shook her head.
“Ginny, before I came to Hogwarts I wasn’t allowed any friends. Dudley made sure of that. Ron was my very first friend…ever. Then more friends were added and I could not believe it. Hermione, Neville, Luna, and your entire family became my friends. Moreover, your family has practically become my family. I certainly don’t have any family left to speak of. Then I discovered that I own all of this,” Harry said as he turned around indicating Potter Place, “and this isn’t even the half of it Ginny.”
“Have you not been listening to me? Look at you. Look how beautiful you are in that gown. How can you possibly ask me to take it back? I want to see you wear that again when the opportunity presents itself because I will do my best to be there so I can admire you in it once more. I will also add that I gave these to all of you because I can and because you are all my family and friends and you deserve it. If I can’t give gifts to my family and friends then who else can I give gifts too?”
“Oh, Harry,” said Ginny as she flung herself into his arms and started crying. “I’m sorry. I am so sorry. I can’t believe I’m so stupid that I’ve hurt your feelings twice now over this silly dress,” she said still hanging on to him.
“Silly? I really believe that you’ve not spent enough time in front of the mirror with this dress on. You are stunningly gorgeous! There is no one else who should ever wear that gown but you. Do you hear me?” asked Harry with all the meaning he could put into it.
Ginny giggled into his shoulder.
“What are you giggling about?”
“You said I was ‘stunningly gorgeous.’”
“Well, it’s true. Ginny, you’re just 14 years old and I had to consciously close my mouth when I saw you in this dress tonight. I was stunned at your beauty. Now let’s move forward a few years when you’re older and your body is more mature. My tongue will be dragging the floor after you show up in this dress.”
Ginny raised her head up and looked at Harry. Their faces were only a few inches apart. She could tell he was not making any of this up. Ginny then kissed him right on the lips like there was no tomorrow. After a second, Harry started kissing her back. He figured if he can kiss Tonks then he could kiss Ginny if she wanted. He wondered if he might have went a bit overboard on the compliments but he knew everything he said was the truth. They finally stopped because they needed air. They were breathing heavy with their foreheads touching.
“Thank you for this wonderful gown, Harry,” Ginny said breathlessly. “I will never forget this night for as long as I live. I’m sorry for getting so excited and kissing you like that.”
“I’m not sorry,” said Harry quickly. “I told Tonks that I’d never been kissed like that before and it was true but now I can say I’ve never been kissed like that before either. Wow, Ginny. You can do that any time as long as none of your brothers are around. I don’t feel like getting beat up. You know I enjoy these friendly kisses. As a 15 year old boy, how could I not?”
Ginny started giggling again. Then she stopped suddenly. They still had their foreheads together. “Harry, I do not deserve you now but I promise I’m going to make myself worthy enough for you as soon as I can.” Harry looked confused. “I accept this gown as your gift Harry. You will never get it back now.”
With Harry still looking confused about what she said, Ginny pulled him into another kiss but this time it was gentle and soft. “Thank you Harry,” she said then left him to walk back to her room. Harry stood there for a minute not sure of what just happened. He finally went to his room and got ready for bed. He slept peacefully all night long with a dream or two of a certain redhead kissing him for all it was worth.
Two days later in the morning when Harry and his karate students were working out in the Practice Room Harry got their attention when they were done exercising.
“Everyone, I have a surprise for you today.”
“Harry, you can’t keep giving us things,” said Hermione. “It will be too one-sided unless we can gift you back.”
Harry laughed. “No, this is different. There will be a wizard that’s showing up today at 2:00. This wizard’s name is Benjamin Preston and he’s my sensei. He’s the one who taught me all I know about the Isshinryu Karate System this past summer. Remember, I told you he’s an Unspeakable from the Department of Mysteries? When he was young, they sent him to Agena, Okinawa to study the Isshinryu Karate System with the world master who founded the Isshinryu style. The world master’s name was Tatsuo Shimabuku.”
“Ben learned all he could and brought his training back here. My Grandpa worked with him in the Department of Mysteries so he convinced Ben to teach me. The other day I contacted Ben and asked if he would have the time to work with me for a few days after Christmas was over and before school starts up again. He agreed so he’s coming today. Normally we work from 2 pm to 6 pm but usually later than that, depending on what we’re working on. Are you guys ready to meet my sensei? If he agrees to work with you as well then he’ll be your sensei too. However, I will continue to teach you guys when we return to Hogwarts. I’m warning you now though. Ben does not take it easy. How do you think I learned all that I did in one month?”
“Wow, Harry. We’re really going to get to meet the sensei who taught our sensei?” asked Neville.
“Yes, you’ll meet him today. I’m pretty sure he’ll help you guys as well but don’t be shocked if he spends more time with me. I need the extra time so I can continue to learn. I’ll likely not see him again until this summer. Don’t worry. He or I can give you things to work on while he works with me. I’ll expect you all in your uniforms promptly at 2 pm today ready to work. At that time, this space will become a dojo so remember the proper respect we show. Ben is very touchy about that, maybe even more so than me.”
They all yelled together “YES SENSEI!”
“Hey, you guys are good,” Harry said smiling. They all cracked up laughing.
Ben arrived prompt as usual. Simon and Henry decided they would watch the proceedings so met them all in the Practice Room in their other portraits. They promised to stay quiet. Ben was impressed when he saw Harry’s friends in full uniform bowing at the entrance to the dojo then lining up in front of Harry who directed them to stretch. Every single one of them, including Harry, dropped down to the floor in full middle splits. Ben joined them. When everyone was sufficiently warmed up and stretched out, he asked Harry to introduce him to his well-disciplined students.
After the introductions, Harry explained what he’d been doing with his friends and let Ben know that he needed a bit more instruction than they do, especially since his time is limited with his sensei but would appreciate any help he could give his students. Ben had them show him what level they were at and what they were currently working on. He then showed them a couple things to work on and just like Harry had them repeat it repeatedly until it was muscle memory. He then started working with Harry on advanced techniques. After a while, he would go back to the others and give them something else to work on while Harry practiced. He did this back and forth giving everyone equal time with no one having to wait.
At the end of the session, he had them all spar. He spent some time with each of Harry’s students and helped them in areas where he saw weaknesses. Harry worked with them as well so that they all got personalized instruction from both senseis. At the end, Ben and Harry sparred and put on quite a show for Harry’s students. They were shocked at the skill they witnessed from the two.
After the day’s session was complete, Ben told Harry that he’d been working on something ever since this past summer. He said that based on how Harry performed during this holiday break he would decide if it was safe enough to allow Harry to use it. Basically, he’d developed pictures and charts of the things Harry needed to learn next. Ben was confident that Harry had the theory and the ability to learn on his own with the helps he created. Ben told Harry that he could always owl him if he had questions.
The materials Ben created included the theory, pictures, explanations, and instructions for each new technique Harry needed to learn. The plus to the package, was the pensieve Ben gave him along with a whole bunch of memories. He made sure Harry knew how to view the memories above the pensieve like a 3D movie then explained that all the techniques in the material he was given was demonstrated in the memories. If Harry studied the techniques carefully using the theory, pictures, and pensieve then he should be able to advance on his own. He told Harry that he planned to give him at least one day during his week long spring break so he could test Harry and see where he stood. He fully expected Harry to advance a belt or two.
Ben spent about a week with Harry and his students. He was impressed with the instruction Harry had been giving them. He didn’t see where he could have done much better. Harry’s karate students learned a lot from Ben but they assured Harry that he was still the stricter sensei. One thing was for sure though; they were more than impressed with Ben.