Party time - Part One
Chapter 25: Party time - Part One
Those, fortunate enough to have visited the Slughorn family mansion, have for centuries been astounded times and times again. Many were under the impression, that it was more of a castle, than a mansion. The Slughorns have always had an almost manic taste for good food, fine art and of course, the company of other brilliant witches and wizards, not neccessarily just from the Noble circle. For this reason, the main part of the mansion held an enourmous ball-room, desighned to hold as many people as possible, while holding the same ammount of comfort for everyone.
Other than that, the manor (or castle) was a testament to the family´s generations old grand, jovial and sometimes eccentric habits.
Holding king-sized rooms, even the bathrooms were in absolute styles of pure luxury. However the most interesting things about the mansion were those, that were not easily seen. Almost every room held secret compartments, the various members of the family used to stash away many objects. Given that almost each member of the family loved to stash away something troughout the ages, one cold never be sure what he could find, where and when.
It was one of the things Melania Yaxley, or rather Slughorn now, relished upon moving into this marvelous house - it was almost like being back at Hogwarts again.
And, of course, given that the family held a great number of magical geniuses, it also held a training-room many duelists would kill for, a giant library stocked with books and a truly extraordinary Potions laboratory, which is a place where Caractacus usually spends most of his free time.
"Not today though."thought Melania with a grin as she stood side-by-side with her chubby husband, greeting several of the arrived guests.
True to his family´s tradition - a true Slughorn indeed - Caractacus had taken great steps to ensure, that the ball-room looked nothing short of perfect, attracting many fond smiles from his new wife. Determined, he didn´t even sleep after they have arrived back from the hunt, but instead had taken a special Energy Potion and decorated everything himself, since all twenty family house-elves have worked tirelessly in the kitchen, preparing various amazing dishes. They also made a moutain of sweets and snacks - something they were quite used to on a daily basis, since Slughorns have always had a legendary sweet-tooth. Once everything was prepared, Caractacus activated an old family spell on the various statues and suits of armor, making them into additional servants for the occasion.
Melania couldn´t help but giggle fondly as she saw Caractacus looking all around in complete and utter happiness at hosting such an event, dispite the fact that both of them knew, it would not probably last long.
Dressed in brilliant bottle-green dress robes, with the traditional Slughorn family emblem over their hearts, they have already greeted some of the Nobles, who arrived mere moments ago, including Athena Kellen and her special guest for the evening - The Minister for Magic himself. Both were kinda sulky after the day´s fiasco and were now seated next to Hyperion and Silvaterra Greengrass.
The guest list however didn´t just include Nobles. Many friends of both his and hers were invited and due to arrive at any moment. The Hogwarts lot as well, along with Professor Dumbledore. Caractacus´ father - Hector had even insisted on inviting a member or two of the Daily Prophet´s reporter team.
"At least they´ll have something scandalous to write about."Melania whispered to her husband, as they glimpsed them at the snack-table.
Already they were keeping their eyes and ears wide open for anything to report. Caractacus chuckled.
"No doubt. I´m looking forward to see, how our most prominent pair will take THIS bit of news after everything that has happened over the last 24 hours."he said, his eyes flashing to the Minister and his most trusted deputy.
The Slughorn newlyweds were the only ones in the room, who knew of the evening´s new surprise, which was due to arrive at any moment as well.
"Though I know, that Madam Kellen´s blood pressure will probably rise to amazing levels... I can´t help but feel happy for him."whispered Caractacus.
Melania smiled warmly.
"I know. I feel happy for him too. And why shouldn´t we... he´s our friend and he broke no law. Plus, after all the things we´ve seen since You-know-who returned to power, two people loving eachother is hardly the worst thing in the world."
Just then the brilliant suit of polished armor at the closed door sprang into life, tapped the ground dramaticly with the spear it held, attracting everyone´s attention as it announced the newly arrived.
"Blaise and Luna Zabini."it boomed in a deep voice, opening the door politely.
Many of the Nobles at the table directed smiles to the doorway. Hyperion and Silvaterra Greengrass however didn´t, barely acknowledging them. Athena Kellen scrowled slightly at the sight, while Cornelius Fudge looked slightly uncomfortable.
Dressed in his jet-black dress robes with golden patterns, Blaise walked happily towards the hosts, his famous cane in one hand, the hand of his beloved wife in the other. Luna, dressed in beautifull dark-blue dress robes was looking around dreamily as though she had walked into some kind of fairy-tale.
"Blaise. My dear friend. Welcome, both of you."boomed Caractacus joyfully.
The men exchanged a friendly handshake, while he exchanged a small hug with Melania.
"So, this is the lovely girl, we´ve heared so much about?"asked Melania happily as she approached Luna.
Luna beamed at her.
"The girl the Ministry didn´t want Blaise to marry, that´s me. Luna Zabini. Pleased to meet you."she said in a slightly dreamy voice, surprising the Slughorn couple.
Blaise chuckled fondly.
"My moonbeam has a gift for being blunt."he said with unmistakable loving affection.
Melania grinned, while her husband chuckled in appretiation.
"That´s quite welcome. Especially in this present situation."said Caractacus.
Blaise fixed his sights on one of the tables, where a group of Nobles were already sitting. He saw Lucius and Narcissa there (Narcissa waving at them) seated next to the Shafiqs, Macmillans, Flints and Fawleys. The men were apparently interupted by their arrival in what appeared to be serious conversation.
"They are talking about us. You seem to have caused a small uproar, my beloved."said Luna once more in her dreamy voice.
Blaise, Caractacus and Melania chuckled in appretiation, even as they saw the men continue in the coversation.
"There is a lot going on right now. The resignation of James Potter... I´m not sure, if that´s a good thing. He was the ideal Head of the Auror Office in my opinion."said Caractacus earnestly.
"Speaking of the Potters... I´m quite eager to see the new Mrs Potter."said Melania purposely, scanning both Blaise´s and Luna´s expressions.
"Judging by your smiles, I take it that you already know."she added with a grin.
Blaise and Luna didn´t even bother to hide anything.
"We were at the wedding."said Luna proudly.
Caractacus and Melanie exchanged a knowing smile.
"It must´ve been very quiet. I´m not surprised, that he invited you though, Blaise. Afterall... you are one of his closest friends."said Caractacus, though slightly sorry that he missed out on the wedding.
"And Ginny is a close friend of mine."said Luna proudly, slightly surprising the Slughorns.
Just then the armor tapped the ground again, announcing the new arrival.
The door opened, allowing the middle Kellen sister inside. She wore a special set of multi-colored dress robes, that spoke of nothing but extreme luxury. Her dark-blonde hair in an elaborate bun, she indeed looked most fit for the occasion. Walking towards the Slughorn couple with all the grace of a noble lady, she didn´t even acknowledge Blaise or Luna as she greeted the Hosting pair in a very formal manner, before walking away with her head held high.
"She seems very offended, that you escaped her clutches."said Luna to her husband as they watched her walk away.
"To use Angus´ phrase - I don´t give a horse´s... um... tail."said Blaise in good humor, making all of them laugh
"By the way, Blaise... Have you stated your demands for the attack yet?"asked Caractacus curiously.
His father - the Head of the Slughorn family - didn´t mention anything as he returned from the Nobles´ meeting. The situation had given Blaise the right to ask for a compensation. He could ask for almost anything. If the other Nobles agreed to it, it would be done almost instantly, whatever his demand would be. A prestine postition in the Wizengamot... the immediate resignation of the Minister for Magic... financial compensation... almost anything at all.
Luna also looked curiously at her husband, telling the Slughorns that he didn´t even discuss his idea with her.
"All in good time, my dear friends. All in good time."he said mysteriously.
"Kingsley Shacklebolt and Callidora Zabini."boomed the armor, once more opening the door.
Once more, the Nobles interupted their chatter to look at the newly arrived siblings. Narcissa Malfoy couldn´t help but grin at her old friend as she saw her squeal happily, embracing her daughter-in-law with obvious loving affection, the young Zabini not bothering to mask his fond smile even as he shook hands with his uncle. Her grin only grew as Callidora noticed her, at once exclaiming a loud and clear "Cissy" as she hurried towards their table - she was quite looking forward to the girl-talk, just like in the good old days.
"Looks like you have no trouble with your mother-in-law, Luna."grinned Melania.
Luna beamed at her happily.
"She is like my second Mum."
Blaise sported an immensly proud look on his face.
"The two most importaint women in my life."he said to Caractacus happily.
"Luckily, we have pretty much the same case here."he said, grinning at his wife - he was also happy, that his mother, Amanda Slughorn and Melanie got along very well too.
"Draco Malfoy and Deianira Kellen."boomed the armor again.
Draco at once grinned at them as he entered, while Deianira didn´t bother to mask her scrowl. Caractacus and Melania at once sprang into a sallute as he came closer.
"Good evening to you, Boss."said Caractacus in good humor.
"Welcome, Captain Malfoy."grinned Melanie.
Draco returned a happy smile at them.
"At ease, soldiers. This is off-duty time."he said nonchalantly.
He took Melanie´s hand, brushing it with his lips, and fixed her a charming smile.
"The best of evenings to you, Madam Slughorn."he said with a grin, as Melania giggled.
"Charming as always, aren´t you Draco?"said Luna, beaming at him.
Draco at once did the same with her.
"Madam Zabini."he said with a wink, making her giggle too.
"Very charming, Malfoy. Now... if you don´t mind, I have things to discuss with my mother."growled Deianira, not even greeting her fellow Task Force members, setting off without another word and very apparently in deep anger.
"I feel very sorry, that you have to deal with her, Boss."said Melania with sympathy, knowing Deianira quite well.
Draco merely shurgged.
"I´ll live."he said simply.
Thistime Caractacus shook his head sadly.
"There is no point in living if you´re not happy, Draco."he said solemnly.
"You know... even without her... we would support you as our Head of the Task Force all the way. Everyone of us - our families included."said Melanie earnestly.
Every single member of the Task Force knew (and didn´t exactly like) the relationship between Deianira and Draco, being almost completly on his side.
Draco shook his head.
"Forget it."he said quietly.
Thistime however Luna shook her head.
"No matter what anyone says or wants, Dray... you deserve to be happy too."
Though Caractacus and Melanie didn´t quite understand all that she said, they could tell that both Blaise and Draco easily did.
"Thanks Luna."said Draco earnestly - though he made fun of her several times over the years at Hogwarts, he now clearly saw what Blaise liked about her so much.
"Have no fear, Dray. You have friends. And... as a very wise young wizard once told me - true friends always stand together."he said, patting him on the shoulder.
"Thanks, mate."said Draco in a moment of sheer, utter appretiation.
"Broderick Bode and Cassiopeia Kellen."boomed the armor.
At once they saw "Double B" walk in with the youngest Kellen, who seemed very happy at being accompanied by him. Exchanging a polite greeting with everyone, the calm and always quiet Bode watched with obvious affection as the girls exchanged friendly hugs. Cassiopeia was apparently the only Kellen, who didn´t seem to hold anything against Blaise or Luna. She even apologized for the situation that arose and was easily getting along with Luna.
"Bertram Shafiq, Marvolo Flint, Sullivan Fawley, Ernie Macmillan, Parvarti Macmillan, Hestia Carrow, Flora Carrow, Astoria Greengrass, Albert Avery, Sybill Selwyn, Mary Fawcett, Astor Parkinson, Philip Rosier and Albus Dumbledore."
Draco couldn´t quite mask the happy look on his face as he saw Torie. Both of them felt their hearts warm up considerably and though they knew, that in the present climate they couldn´t exchange more than a friendly greeting... both of them had to wrestle the need to snog the hell out of one another, even in front of everyone.
"Professor. I am most honored, that we can host you here tonight."said Caractacus joyfully as Albus came closer to him.
"I am equally honored to be here, Caractacus."he said politely, exchanging a handshake with him.
"The very best of evenings to you too, Madam Slughorn."he said with a mischievous wink to Melania, who giggled.
"Always a pleasure to meet my most favourite Headmaster."she said good-naturedly, hugging him happily.
"Don´t squeeze him too hard, Mel. He´s not exactly a spring - chicken anymore."said Astoria happily.
Most of the crowd laughed as Albus fixed her with a mischievous look.
"Regardless, this old rooster can once more draw the youthfull energy from the younger chicks, Astoria."
Everyone laughed once more.
"Awww... but for the record... young or old, you´re still the most charming rooster in my eyes, Professor."Torie sing - songed happily.
"Hey... what about me?"asked Draco, who was right beside her.
Torie at once fixed him with a mischievous look.
"Do you really want me to answer that question, Dray?"she said slyly.
"Nooooooo... thanks."said Draco griningly as everyone laughed again.
"This is how it should be..."thought Albus as he saw Draco press the girl to himself happily, the pair sharing a happy laugh - he only hoped, that the two of them would find a way to be together without any secrets.
Suddenly the suit of armor once more tapped the ground dramaticly.
"Harry and Ginerva Potter."
"Harry... suddenly I´m scared."breathed Ginny as they stood in front of the handsome large wooden door, Harry extending the invitation to the suit of armor, stopping in mid-action.
He knew full-well (and was extremly appretiative of it), that his lovely wife is only rarely so vunerable and unsure... and that he is one of the only people, she is willing to admit anything of the sort to. He immediately grabbed her in a hug, feeling Ginny positively melt into it.
"Ginny... my love... my sweetie... my everything in the world... if there is anyone on the planet, who can walk in there with all the courage of Godric Gryffindor himself, it is this lovely little fireball in my arms."he whispered gently into her hear.
Ginny couldn´t help but purr in his arms.
"Where did you EVER learn to be so sweet?"she breathed.
"Family secret."he sing-songed.
She couldn´t help but catch his lips in a passionate kiss.
"Yummy... strawberries. Nice touch, sweetheart."he said happily as they separated, licking his lips.
His trust and support meaning the world to her, she suddenly felt the fire in her heart erupt into a blazing inferno - she felt she could do anything... anything at all. Stepping in front a room-full of Nobles was suddenly not only possible, but positively easy. For the slightest moment she pictured the portrait of Godric Gryffindor - he would no doubt have said something among the same lines, encouraging her proudly, daring her to be proud and bold.
"Come on, you... let´s show those stuck-up pure-bloods - right and proud, loud and clear."she said, fire practicly blazing in her eyes.
Thistime it was Harry, who couldn´t help himself. His emerald-green eyes answering her look with equal strentgh, feeling pretty sure, that he never saw something so bloody inviting - he felt as if he was falling in love all over again.
"That´s the spirit..."he whispered passionately as he went in for another soul-melting kiss.
She was barely even aware of him handing the invitation to the suit of armor, which placed it into its helmet. A split-second later, she heared a loud tap of some object to the ground from behind the closed door, along with a loud dramatic call of "Harry and Ginerva Potter".
They were still lip-locked as the door opened. Both grinned into the kiss as they heared a very loud "WHAAAAT?!" come from somewhere in the back of the room.
"Bingo."they whispered to eachother as they separated, both knowing who probably let out such a lovely little exclamation.
Hand-in-hand they crossed the door and were at once greeted by a sight to behold - the entire party seeming to come to a halt, many reactions making themselves known.
"Ladies and gentlemen... heeeere we go again."exclaimed Draco happily, gesturing to the pair of them to general applause coming from the Hogwarts lot, who were reminded of the pair´s (in)famous Great Hall kiss.
Ginny saw, that the table where the Nobles sat were fixing them a surprised, but not neccessarily unhappy look. She saw (and heared) Callidora Zabini give out a girlish squeal, embracing Narcissa Malfoy, who was wearing a surprised smile. She wasn´t surprised to see the warm smile of Albus Dumbledore, or the cheeky and appretiative grin of Draco Malfoy and Astoria Greengrass... or the dreamy smile of Luna´s and Blaise´s happy one... or the supportive smile of Ernie Macmillan and his wife Parvarti... or even the joyfull albeit surprised smiles Marvolo Flint and Bertram Shafiq were shooting at Harry (she knew, that he was a hero in their eyes). She was however surprised to see the earnestly curious look of Lucius Malfoy, or the supportive smile of Cassiopeia Kellen. The looks she quite enjoyed though, were the ones on two particural members of the party. Cornelius Fudge was looking as though he´d just been kicked in the face by a water-buffallo (she loved that phrase of Angus´ ) and Athena Kellen stared as though she could simply NOT believe her eyes.
"Harry m´boy... Ginny... welcome... welcome..."boomed Horace Slughorn happily, coming to greet them with open arms.
"Good evening, Horace."said Harry happily, exchanging a happy hug with his dear Mum´s most favourite teacher.
Ginny also exchanged a warm hug with the walrus-like old man before coming closer to the Hosting pair.
"You always knew, how to make an enterance, Harry. Snogging in public like that... though... in this particural case, I can perfectly understand."said Melania happily, winking at Ginny, even as her own husband laughed jovially along with his granduncle.
Harry fixed her with a charming, radiant smile.
"Please, Mel... who could possibly resist? In any case... everyone... allow me to present Mrs Ginerva Potter."
The tone of sheer and absolute pride in his voice as he introduced her to everyone was making her purr with the sheer need to kiss him again.
"You are seriously asking for it, Potter."she said as much, making everyone chuckle as she exchanged a friendly hug with Melania.
Harry pretended not to have heared that, and continued to adress the crowd.
"Oh... and by the way... everyone, please call her "Ginny". Otherwise, she´ll probably hex you."
The entire crowd roared in laughter, even as Ginny had had enough. Exclaiming a loud "THAT´S IT!" she positively jumped at him, smashing her lips onto his joyfully.
"Well...that is bloody deja-vu."said Eldrich Macmillan at the Nobles´ table to general agreement - many present family Heads were old classmates of Lily and James Potter and instantly saw a pattern.
"You can say that again. Not an uncommon sight in my seventh-year, as I recall."said Daniel Fawley with a grin, recalling a certain Head Boy and a certain Head Girl back at Hogwarts.
"Like father, like son it seems."noted Abbigail Shafiq with a large grin.
"Not entirely... you see... Harry´s worse."said Narcissa Malfoy happily, grinningly looking at the other side of the table, where Athena Kellen looked as though someone had just Stupified her.
At the Burrow, another Potter redhead was shrieking happily as her husband spun her around, being a bit too enthusiastic about dancing with her.
Though Molly´s plan for saturday evening was to have a calm little sitting in the garden, the younger Weasleys (heavily supported by both James and Arthur) had a completly different idea.
In the wake of Harry and Ginny attending the High Society party, the younger ones agreed, that they should have a party of their own - music and all.
Arthur had joyfully taken his place at the large muggle... "boom-box", as Harry called it when he brought here. Molly had instantly understood WHY he called it that way - unlike her dear old wireless, this contraption was so loud, she was afraid that all of the village downway would hear it, even in the presence of their numerous wards.
However she couldn´t help but grin as she saw her children (she would always view them that way) dance with their siginificant others, to the fast, jumpy music. Even Hermione had loosened up and was simply enjoying herself as she danced with her husband.
But no matter how enthusiastic they were, they couldn´t possibly match James, who suddenly looked as young as any of them, Lily being highly appretiative of her husband´s youthfull energy - it seemed to her as if a moutain of weight had been lifted off his shoulders in the wake of his resignation.
At the song came to an end, they all let out a happy cheer.
"Okay... let´s take a small break, everyone."said James happily and everyone nodded in agreement, moving to the table.
The athmosphere was a very pleasurable one indeed. James and Arthur had made sure, that even the cold November weather could not spoil the fun, adding a special Warming Charm to the wards around the house and the garden, and conjuring floating lanterns to supply light in the dark - it almost felt like it was summer again.
Molly grinned at Lily as she sat down next to her, trying to catch her breath, her cheeks flushed from all the excitement.
"That husband of mine... he´s such a teenager sometimes."said Lily between her breaths, but her voice oozed affection.
"And mine is like an overgrown child with those muggle contraptions. And now its muggle music too? I swear... what´ll it be next?"giggled Molly, her eyes lovingly falling on Arthur as he excitedly went over the disks with music Harry had left for him.
"Dad... let´s listen to the music, Harry had gotten from his japanese friends."exclaimed Ron eagerly as he came to his father.
There was a murmur of general agreement at this. Many were very interested, since they saw it arrive in the package yesterday. Their interest grew during breakfast as Ginny teased Harry about "Creepy music".
"Accio Harry´s CDs."exclaimed Alice, waving her wand in the air, wasting not a moment.
At once, a small pile of them zoomed from the open window of Ginny´s room, where two forms peeked right after them seconds later, in evident curiosity.
"Naja, Hazumi... come on down and join us. Don´t be crammed in that room by yourselves while we´re having a blast."called James happily, waving at them and knowing that Naja would understand the plea perfectly.
All of them sat down at the table and helped themselves to the food, that Molly and Lily cooked up. Arthur also joined them, once playing Harry´s music.
"Y´know... I never thought muggle music could be so cool."said Tammy in excitement.
The young ones - minus Percy, who sighed - nodded happily in agreement.
"And the best part is, that there is a TON of it."added George happily.
"I wonder... why didn´t Dudley´s band play some of that at Harry and Ginny´s wedding?"said Ron musingly.
"Because that kind of music is hardly appropriate for a wedding, Ronald."answered Hermione in amusement.
There were quite a few chuckles at the table as the music began to play again. However it was a very different music now - slow, calm and accompanied by a beautifull melody played by a flute.
"Or this for that matter... this is so wonderfull..."breathed Angelina, finding the melody deeply soothing.
"Dudster and his mates play a much harder kind of music, he told me."said Alice, as she helped herself to food, offering some to her husband as well.
"Supported heavily by your hip grandmother."added James, looking at his wife slyly.
Lily only rolled her eyes.
"Well... my Mum always had an odd taste in music."she murmured with a small blush, making everyone chuckle just as Naja peeked from between her and Molly.
"Here, girl. Help yourself."said Lily in an affectionate voice, passing her a small bowl of meatballs.
Molly couldn´t help but smile affectionatelly as Naja dug in and Hazumi bounced onto the table, positively soaking up the affection from everyone present, especially the girls who found the tiny bouncehop positively adorable.
Not too long ago, she would have been positively terrified of anything like this, but now Molly found that she viewed it as the most normal thing in the world - the two pets became another two members of the family in her eyes.
"Anyway... Dudley also told me, that he gets the inspiration for his songs from the tales of our little Snakey Squad."said James, feeling a small twinge of pride and suddenly wishing to listen to those songs - a wish that seemed to be shared by most at the table.
"Speaking of the Slytherin Squad... James... could you tell us, what Blaise demanded as compensation for the attack on him?"asked Bill curiously, knowing that he must´ve been present at the Nobles´ counsil.
The entire table was looking at James, who folded his arms, looking thoughtfull.
"That´s what concerns me slightly. You see... at the Counsil he merely said, that he needs time to consider his demands. But I´ve had a feeling, that it hadn´t exactly been true. He and I talked for a bit, but he didn´t say anything specific."
Everyone at the table exchanged glances, all of them wondering about one thing.
"James... is Harry somehow involved in all of this?"asked Molly, giving voice to what everyone thought as her eyes watched Hazumi bounce joyfully.
Everyone remembered full-well, that it had been Harry who advised his father to resighn from his position as Head Auror.
James sighed deeply, feeling that he should just tell the truth.
"I ve talked to Harry about it. He told me, that he and Blaise were expecting something of the sort happening, eversince their weddings. Blaise announcing his marriage with Luna had been their way of testing the waters as it were. Because Blaise has a much greater protection - given his full Head of Noble Family status."
Most of the table gasped. Molly shot a small look at Arthur, who had a small smile playing on his lips - he understood something in the gesture and also remembered his son-in-law´s words to Ginny this morning.
"Love... the time has come for us to finally make our marriage public."
He could tell, that James, Lily, Molly and Bill understood it as well - since the weddings, Harry and Blaise had been taking silent steps to protect their beloved girls. For the tiniest moment, Arthur couldn´t help but chuckle - picturing his sweet daughter shoot a positively murderous glare on her husband, demanding to know why she wasn´t in on any of this, absolutely hating to be babied.
"So Kellen WAS responsible for the attack!"growled Ron angrily, the anger being mirrored by most of the family.
"You can´t know that for sure, Ron. There is no proof."said Hermione quickly, trying to keep a cool head.
James cleared his throat, once more drawing attention to himself.
"As I was saying, this plan of Harry and Blaise´s... it seems to me to only be a rational responce to their perdicament. In any case, Harry had told me - and I believe him (he added, looking at his daughter) - that he doesn´t know of Blaise´s demands. All he told me was, that "the ball is in Blaise´s hands now", and that he trusts his friend in everything."
There was a small moment of silence at the table, many were trying to mask their concern as the oriental music played.
"I trust Blaise too."said Lily, strentgh in her voice.
"I agree. He is a good boy and a loyal friend."nodded Molly.
"I agree too."said Hermione, surprising many.
"I second that. I know how much these snakes value friendship. He´s one of us - right and proper."said Ron staunchly, earning himself a warm smile from his loving wife.
"I don´t understand one thing though... the Potter family doesn´t have as high status in the Noble´s circle as the Zabinis?"asked Fred curiously, looking from James to Lily.
James at once looked sad, Lily neutral and Alice humphed angrily, folding her arms.
"Was it something I said?"asked Fred in a shrunken voice, as startled as the rest of Weasleys, excluding his parents, who seemed to know what this is about.
"No, dear. Actually it was a good question."said Lily soothingly.
"To answer your question Fred... first you all have to understand, that the Noble society was originally composed of only pure-blood wealthy families, which essencially dictated the way this country was going trough their wealth and influence."James started to explain.
"Though the Potter family DID hold a very high position in it once, that changed when the family ceased to be pure-blood. So, you could say, that its MY doing mostly."
The young ones gasped at Lily´s explanation. Most looked as bitter as Alice now. James placed an arm over Lily´s shoulder.
"Lils... I´ve told you a milion times, that I don´t give a damn about..."
"I know. I know..."she replied smilingly.
"So... basicly, the family still retains some of its influence, but due to the lower Noble status, you don´t have near the legal-protection the full status provides."concluded Hermione.
"Blimey, its a good thing, that Harry has Blaise and Draco staunchly on his side."said George.
"Oh, c´mon Georgey. This is the Snake Squad we´re talking about. Rational responce to their perdicament, Dad?... Yeah, right. I know my brother and his mates - if they didn´t plan all of this ahead, perhaps even before their wedding days, I´m a flobberworm."she said still with her arms folded.
Not too long ago her tone would be an accusing one, however Alice´s voice was now filled with a mixture of excitement and pride as a wide smile graced her lips.
"Already they´ve put a small wrench in Kellen´s plan when Draco supposedly took her marriage bait. And now its Blaise´s and Harry´s turn to make some hubbub... Heh, that old hag Kellen sure picked the wrong gang of snakes to mess with."
The table chuckled, feeling that the black-haired Weasley is absolutely right.
Suddenly they all froze as a new song started to play, a female voice humming a eerie melody. Hazumi stopped bouncing and started to move his head in tune with the slow spooky melody, mimicking that of Naja as she closed her eyes contently, her scales starting to glow. The rest of the table however had a much different opinion of this music. Most were overcome by a chilly wave, shaking as though the temperature around them had dropped to arctic levels.
All of them now understood Ginny´s comments about the music and felt, that even with all the teasing, Ginny was being incredibly understanding about it.
"Bloody hell... Harry James Potter - that´s the creepiest music I have EVER heared."roared Alice as she scrambled to the boombox, determined to shut the damn thing off.
Flora Carrow stood in her brilliant green dress robes, simply surveying the scene in front of her. Her eyes twinkled with affection as she watched Marvolo standing at one of the snack-tables with his best friend Bertram, the boys hoping to catch whatever small piece of information they possibly could from the small crowd nearby which also included several members of the Vigilante Task Force.
Suddenly a pair of hands grabbed her by the shoulders, making her let out an extremly rare girly shriek.
"Why don´t you go and finally do what I advised you, Flo?"a voice she knew all-too well whispered into her ear.
"T- Torie... you... how the hell can you sneak up on everyone so easily?"she asked, her voice slightly high.
She heared two other giggles, as two more girls were coming closer.
"She has quite the talent for that, doesn´t she?"said a dreamy voice.
"For sure. I wonder... how indeed can you sneak up on people so easily, Torie?"asked the second voice slyly.
Torie fixed Luna Zabini and Ginny Potter her most mischievous grin.
"Years of practice."she sing-songed happily, making the other two girls giggle - they knew very well, who must´ve been the target of most of her sneak-attacks.
Even Flora couldn´t help but crack a smile at her friend´s mischievousness - it had always been a most endearing trait of hers, one that was deeply appretiated by all of her friends.
"Anyway, Flora... you haven´t answered my question. Why haven´t you made a move already?"
Flora blushed and looked at the floor.
"Flo... take my word for it - and just GO!"said Torie with a wink.
"ASTORIA!"came a shrill voice from behind them.
Torie scrowled a bit and quickly gave Flora´s shoulders a small push before she turned along with Ginny and Luna.
The two girls exchanged an uncertain look as an older woman with brilliant reddish hair came along. Though she looked quite impressive in her expensive dress robes. her face bore an extremely furious expression.
"WHAT in the world do you think you´re doing?!"she asked as she came to them, not even noticing Ginny or Luna.
Ginny saw, that Flora at once moved towards the two boys. The thing that, really startled her was the look that came upon Torie´s face. The look of "blue-eyed" innocence, that she often saw over the years, whenever the Slytherin Squad wanted to mask something.
"Girls, allow me to introduce my mother - Silvaterra Greengrass."said Torie, gesturing to the older woman - her voice so automatic, Ginny thought she heared one of those roh-butts Harry had showed to her in a muggle cartoon.
"Mother... meet Luna Zabini and Ginny Potter."she said politely, gesturing to her two compagnions.
Silvaterra´s eyes - the same cold brown eyes her daughter Daphne possesed - flashed upon them before turning back to her daughter. Ginny instantly felt, that this woman was a world different from Torie. Instead of the cheeky, lively attitude she felt nothing but... cold... radiating from her.
"I thought I TOLD you time and time again, that a Noble girl does NOT pull idiotic stunts like that."she said in a voice so stern, that it would´ve made even Professor McGonagall´s go to shame.
Torie surpressed the look of hurt that threatened to come over her face, even as she shook her head.
"Mum... it was just some innocent teasing..."
"MOTHER! STOP adressing me like an immature child! In less than a year you will be engaged as per The Repopulation Act! How in the world do you expect to please your future husband if you continue to act in such a childish, mediocre demaneour?!"
Luna gasped at the tone - never in her wildest ( and let´s be frank - incredibly wide) imagination would she picture a mother use such a tone on a girl like Torie.
"Its no wonder, why you could not get a boyfriend, Astoria. And perhaps never CAN, unless the Repopulation Act FORCES one onto you."came a male voice from behind the woman.
Ginny and Luna saw a short, slim, browny-haired man approach - his face so much like his daughter´s, and yet completly stony.
"I´m afraid the poor fellow will certainly have to have a lot of patience with you. You cannot expect to be attractive for ANY boy OR man if you behave in such an unsightly way."he said in a steely voice.
"UNSIGHTLY?!"exclaimed Ginny, having had enough.
She was now glaring the elder Greengrass couple, the words of her beloved Harry returning to her in a nano-second.
"Pompous high society-obsessed idiots, actually. Their thinking is at least a century old."she recalled her husband saying with utmost distaste.
"The word Love just isn´t in their vocabluary. They barely give a damn about her. Their only concern is how she dresses, acts and thinks."no matter how much she believed Harry, she found that in this case reality was much more worse than mere words.
"All she did was gently tease one of her friends. You call THAT unsightly?!"she asked furiously - this idiot was practicly begging for a Bat Bogey Hex.
Dispite the fact, that he was about the same height as her, Hyperion Greengrass fixed her a cold look.
"I wasn´t aware, that Astoria is of any concern of yours."
"Well she IS! She is a dear friend of mine and she is one outstanding person. Just because she doesn´t act like the your perfect miss pure-blood doesn´t mean that she isn´t one extraordinary witch. You have no right to treat her this way!"said Ginny so fiercely, that Hyperion´s ever-so steel mask faltered for a few seconds.
Ginny recodnized the eye-twitch as it were, but it only encouraged her all the more to stand up for her friend.
"G...Ginny..."Torie whispered as she saw and felt (in her mind via Legilimency) Ginny stand up for her with all the strength of a true Gryffindor.
"I second that. You have no right to insult your OWN daugther this way, Greengrass."came a voice that made Torie´s heart-rate speed up.
"D... Dray..."she breathed as he came to her side, glaring her parents.
"I have said so - and not just me - time and time again, you have no idea what treasure you have at home."he said determinedly, the emotion in his heart resonating in hers.
Silvaterra´s and Hyperion´s cold looks faltered somewhat as Draco stood infront of them, staunchly by Torie´s side.
"You would do better, if you would adress your own fianceé, Malfoy. Do not meddle into matters that are not of your concern."sneered Hyperion coldly.
Draco´s hand was positively itching to go for his wand when he felt a gentle touch on it.
"Dray... Dray, please... don´t..."he felt her practicly begging in his heart.
He knew, that she felt his conflict. And that he positively HATED to cause such a turmoil of emotions in her.
Both Hyperion and Silvaterra smirked, knowing that they have won the fight.
"And YOU would do better to adress the Head of the Vigilantee Task Force with more respect, Greengrass."came a deep voice behind them.
"Also... you would do EXTREMLY well NOT to adress my wife and friends in such a sneering manner."came another one - a cold and calm one, power radiating behind it.
Ginny was once more reminded of her first Relationship Counsil - the sheer power was simply flowing out of her husband as he joined them, fixing the Greengrass parents his most murderous glare.
Hyperion Greengrass however wasn´t intimidated, locking eyes with Harry - the pair of them in a kind of glaring-match.
"You think you´re so high and mighty, Potter?! You think you can adress the Head of a Noble, PURE-BLOOD family with such lack of respect?! Let us not forget, that your mother is a..."
"WHAT?!"exclaimed two, extremly angry voices.
Hyperion was at once met with death-glares of both Callidora Zabini and Narcissa Malfoy.
"Would you be so kind to finish that sentance, Greengrass?!"asked Narcissa, her wand already out and her husband right beside her.
Hyperion however shook his head.
"I´d rather not. It is clear to me, that all of you not only support this... young man (the tone he used as he gestured to Harry suggested anything but respect), but also my daughter´s... ah, wrong-headedness as it were."
Just then a small glass on the side of the table to which Hyperion was closest to exploded.
"You have no IDEA what wrong-headedness means! Even with your golden daughter tunring out a hard-core Death Eater - and THAT´S saying A LOT!"roared Draco, feeling sure that he never felt so angry in his life.
Hyperion rounded on him, anger visible in his eyes.
"Are you trying to teach ME how to be a good father, Malfoy?!"he growled, dispite knowing that many would take his side and dispite the fact, that he certainly did not wish for a fight.
There was a small moment, when Draco´s head came extremly close to Hyperion´s both positively glaring daggers into one another´s eyes.
"I don´t think anyone can teach you ANYTHING, Greengrass!"he growled into his face defiantly.
"DRAY, PLEASE...!"came the one voice, that had the power to snap him out of his rage.
He turned his head tentactively to see Torie´s face. Though her expression looked neutral, there was a small tear rolling down her cheek.
"Please... just... just let it be..."she pleaded, feeling her Dray positively ache all over in the wake of the sadness she (and HE)felt in her heart.
Hyperion smirked in the wake of his victory as Draco bowed his head and sighed. Lucius Malfoy had his wand prepared, but was suddenly halted by Blaise´s hand.
"Knew you´d see it MY way, Malfoy."
Hyperion failed to see Harry add his hand to Lucius´ as well, halting him from releasing a postively dangerous curse.
"Get your priorities together, Astoria. Otherwise you´ll be an even greater dissapointment to us than your sister."said Silvaterra in a definite voice as she and her husband tunred to leave.
Now Ginny - understanding what was going on - halted Narcissa´s wand from firing a curse.
As soon as they left, Draco reached for Torie´s shoulders.
Ginny couldn´t recall EVER feeling more sorry for someone in her life as she looked at Torie. Tears were now streaming down her eyes, dispite her frantic need to get them under control.
"Dray..."breathed Harry, pulling out something Ginny had not even realized he brought along - the Invisibility Cloak.
Draco took it with much appretiation, his arm already going to Torie´s shoulders.
"Thanks, mate."he breathed, draping it over his shoulders as he came closer to Torie, covered by the number of bodies coming closer.
"We have you covered, son."said Lucius, surprising many who knew him only slightly, the group around them standing in such a way, that no one would notice them dissapearing.
Catching the small wink from her husband, she realized that Lucius and Narcissa know, that they have performed the Ritual of Two Hearts.
"Go, you two... "breathed Narcissa emotionally.
"Do not worry my friends... I will do all, that I can to make sure that THIS will NOT stand."said Blaise, betraying his intentions prematurely.
Draco and Astoria at once fixed him a startled look, one to which Blaise responded with a smile.
Harry, Luna, the elder Malfoys exchanged a look, understanding perfectly.
Narciassa sniffed and Callidora sobbed as the pair dissapeared under the Invisibility Cloak. Luna at once wailed in happiness, embracing her husband with joy.
"You are the truest friend in the world, Blaise."she exclaimed happily.
Ginny also saw Lucius look astounded but happy, before turning to her husband, who wore a look of utter happiness on his face.
"Have no fear my friend. I have not forgotten YOU... nor your lovely... ah, fireball - as you so affectionately call her."said Blaise proudly.
Ginny felt her eyes wide in happy realization - she understood WHAT Blaise will demand as his compensation.
Already she could see the turmoil THIS will cause.
A/N: Phew... well that´s it for part one of the party. Originally I wanted to squeeze the entire party into one chapter, but I found that I have waaaay too much to show at it. I already adressed one of the issues - Hyperion and Silvaterra Greengrass. Hoo boy... hate to have them for parents. But as you can see, the snakies have a nice game set to play so keep tight. Heh... Blaise is about to shuffle the cards very nicely. Also, I want to show more of the heirarchy of the Noble High Society. As you have already guessed, James can not have the higher position in it, because he married a muggle-born.