Harry and Daphne stepped out of the floo and were greeted by Ragnok. Harry managed to not fall on his face this time, much to Daphne's surprise. Ragnok gave Harry a toothy grin.
"So, Lord Potter, have you acquired the item which you have been seeking?" asked the head of the London branch of Gringotts Bank.
Harry sighed heavily, "No, I feel as though I am on the proverbial wild goose chase at this time. We will soon be travelling again to try and find the item I need, but we will be taking some time to relax with friends and family."
Ragnok eyed him carefully. "Well, Gringotts continues to patiently wait upon the completion of your responsibilities." With that the goblin politely dismissed Harry and Daphne from his presence.
The young couple then used the floo to return to Potter Manor. Harry was relieved to be back at home again and he was glad that they were not going to be staying in a hotel any time soon. He immediately sat down on one of the sofas in the lounge and let out a long sigh. Daphne curled up next to him and gave him a big hug for a moment before kissing him quickly and then standing up and walking back over to the floo.
"Now what are you up to?" asked Harry.
"I'm just checking in with my parents," she said. "I was thinking they might like to know that we're back in England. I'm sure the news of what happened to Ginny must have reached back here by now."
Harry nodded in agreement, "I see your point, Daph, and I suppose we'll have to make an appearance there, at your parents' that is."
Daphne bit her lip as she thought about Harry's comment. "You don't want to go visit my mum and dad?" she asked, not hiding the feeling of being hurt. She realised that she was letting her emotions out in front of Harry, something that she had been noticing for some time when she was with Harry.
"No," protested Harry, "that's not what I meant at all. I'm just tired. I am so looking forward to getting this whole mess behind us, and maybe just leaving the magical world behind. No death eaters, no dark lords, no obsessed fan girls, no wands, just the two of us and no worries."
Daphne eyed the roguish looking young man reclining on the sofa in front of her. "I suppose I could get used to that," she said with a smirk. She gave him a wink and then turned back to the floo, tossed some floo powder in and called out to Greengrass Manor. It was only a few moments later that an excited Astoria had answered her. Soon her mother was chatting with her through the fireplace and they had made arrangements to join her parents for dinner the next day at the home where she had grown up. Astoria had suggested that Harry and Daphne could join her and Draco for dinner that night at a restaurant, as she really wanted to catch up with Daphne. The elder Greengrass sister turned and asked Harry if he would be up for that, and he gave a quick nod that he would, particularly if he was able to just relax the rest of the afternoon.
Several hours later the group was meeting together at a restaurant in Diagon Alley.
The four had greeted each other warmly and then they sat down to dinner. Draco had a smug look on his face, and Harry couldn't let it pass. "What's on your mind Draco?" he asked his Slytherin friend. "I've seen that look before, it used to be when you thought you had me framed for something to either lose house points or to get me a detention. What's got your evil grin started this time?"
Draco wandlessly cast some privacy charms around their table. At his doing this, Daphne raised an eyebrow. Draco noted her reaction and commented simply, "One of the perks of being an auror, certain wandless spells are easy to use, and not to mention down right convenient." He turned back to Harry. "We've all read the stories in the Daily Prophet. We know you two were down in Australia. What the bloody hell happened? And don't give me the load of hippogriff dung that the Australian ministry has sold the public."
Harry looked at Daphne, trying to discern if she thought he should tell them the real story. She silently nodded in response. Harry sighed, and then he asked, "Do I need to get a magical vow that neither one of you will tell a soul?"
Draco sneered. "I think that won't be necessary, either from the woman who will hopefully be your sister-in-law before too long, nor from me. As an auror, I have to be able to keep the strictest confidences. You know that. You were nearly an auror anyways. You should know all about that."
"Very well, then" answered Harry. "Daphne and I went down to Perth to try and recover St. George's lance, and to also try and help Hermione with her parents. Apparently, the weasel told his sister that I was heading off to Australia and she decided that she would follow us there."
"What?" Asked Astoria, "Why? What was she playing at?"
Daphne snorted, "Oh come on, she's been obsessed with the boy-who-lived since before she ever went to Hogwarts."
Harry rolled his eyes at that statement.
"Well, it's true," Daphne said defending her statement. "Even if the Slytherins didn't have any interest in you, or any Gryffindors for that matter, we all could see the way she fawned over you all those years. Not to mention her attempts to make you jealous with her various boy friends. Everyone noticed she would only snog someone when you were around. It was all pretty pathetic."
Harry was surprised as he never heard any of this before.
Astoria nodded as she lent her voice to agree with Daphne. "She was your biggest fangirl at Hogwarts, Harry. Even more so than Millicent ever was."
Harry's face reddened. "Bulstrude?"
Draco laughed, "It was kind of ridiculous. And Pansy and the rest of the Slytherin girls were merciless to her for years about the whole thing. I guess it wasn't her fault, as her parents had given her the entire set of the Boy-Who-Lived adventure books. It's all she talked about as we were heading to bed for the first couple of years. Kind of sad in its own way."
Harry just shook his head. "Too many images I don't want in my head with those comments." Draco laughed again.
Then Harry continued, "So, Daphne and I checked into our hotel. A wonderful suite with a gorgeous view of the bay…"
"River," corrected Daphne.
"Yeah, river," agreed Harry as he gave Daphne a fake glare. "So, we went to check out this park across the street from the hotel, I decided to head back to our room while my fashion diva decided to check on shopping around the area." His comment resulted in a slap on the arm from the fashion diva. He looked at her and smiled innocently, "But you do look marvellous, my little diva."
He was rewarded with a chaste kiss on his cheek. "That's enough of trying to butter me up, Potter, now tell the story," she admonished.
"As I was saying," continued Harry, "I returned to the room to find that someone had gained access to the suite. The fact that this individual was naked, just happened to be a bit embarrassing."
Draco again smirked, but Astoria now slapped him on the arm and turned to Harry. "She didn't?" she asked rhetorically. "What a shameless bitch!"
"So this red-headed she-devil decides to make her intentions more than clear. She implied that she was willing to take me back and forgive me for breaking up with her and that she hoped that my current girlfriend, and I will not repeat the words she used to describe Daphne," he added as he gently squeezed his fiancé's hand, "she hoped that she would walk in and catch us with her in the all together. Which sadly, is exactly what happened."
Draco was shaking his head, "Now that's an image I need to get out of my head."
Daphne added, "But it's one I can't get out of mine, no matter how much I wish I could."
Astoria chuckled as she quipped, "We could always obliviate you, and we could even obliviate your whole relationship with Harry while we're at it."
The glare from Daphne towards her sister silenced the whole group. "Or not," added Astoria meekly.
"So, as I was saying," said Harry, trying to regain the flow of the conversation, "Daphne walked in and then the proverbial flabber-worm hit the fan. Weaslette cast a curse at Daphne. I believe that the aurors who came to investigate stated that she used a reducto, probably the reducto maximo, but I had no time to react other than to cast a protection shield in front of Daphne."
Draco raised an eyebrow. "You had the Elder Wand with you, didn't you?" he asked, already knowing the answer.
"I had it with me to help Hermione with restoring her parents memory," confirmed Harry. "The spell that she had cast rebounded off of the protego shield. The result was not pretty." Harry's whole countenance fell as he remembered the scene all too vividly.
Draco did not respond with a quip or a snide comment. He looked at Harry and took the time to consider his next words before speaking. "You did what you had to mate," he said calmly as he reached across the table and grasped Harry by the arm. "Your auror training taught you that, if all the previous training you had before hadn't prepared you to do just that."
Harry sighed, "But she died because of that."
Draco started to become irritated as he gave Harry and Daphne a stern look. "You know that the truth to all of this is that if you hadn't done that, then your gorgeous girlfriend and my potential sister-in-law would not be here. It's part of your saving people thing. Don't you ever think any thing else about what happened."
The waitress had come by to take their orders by now, so Draco dismissed the privacy charms. As they finished placing their orders, they were all blinded by a flash. As their vision slowly returned to normal, Harry noted Rita Skeeter and her photographer were behind the waitress. Harry's eyes flashed a vivid and intense green as his anger started to rise in response to this invasion of privacy.
Before Harry or Draco could say anything, Skeeter's saccharine voice began to irritate their eardrums. "Oh, how sweet, the Boy-Who-Lived with his girlfriend and her sister and his enemy, what a wonderful picture this will make."
Harry glared at the reporter. Before he could say anything, Skeeter continued, "And young Mr. Malfoy, having dinner with his rival. You used to be such a helpful source in the past when you were a student, any juicy quotes you have for me tonight? If it's good enough, I can almost guarantee a front page story and an eye catching headline!"
Draco was about to say something, when Harry reached over and gently tapped him on the arm. "Draco, how would the DMLE investigate a story of unregistered animagi?"
Draco turned and gave Harry a confused look. Skeeter glared at Harry, but said nothing. Harry then spoke to the reporter. "I am sure that you would have little to write about other than two pure-blood young witches from an old and respected family are having a pleasant social visit with their respective boyfriends." Harry looked around the room once and then smiled back at the reporter. "I think everyone here would like to get back to enjoying their meals. I know I would. And I would really hope that on my way home this evening I won't run into any pesky insects, as they can be quite irritating. But then again the need to squish a bug can become quite overwhelming, but I suppose it could be quite satisfying."
The reporter's cheeks flushed. It seemed she had forgotten the lesson she had learned several years ago from Hermione Granger. The new fame she had received from the various sensational stories regarding the disgrace of a famous English quidditch player and her shocking death in Australia must have gone to her head. She was feeling invincible again and was looking to gain more notoriety with her stories, and a juicy gossip story about Harry Potter would only help her rise to prominence once again in the magical journalism ranks.
With a sigh she resigned herself to only having a photo of the foursome to publish in the paper without any sensational story to go along with it, but at least she would have that, as Harry Potter hadn't been seen in magical England much at all over the past year.
The next day found Harry and Daphne at the Greengrass home enjoying dinner with her family. Jonathan had been telling Harry how the businesses had been doing over the past year. The import and export business had been thriving, and Harry's various holdings had prospered as well. Jonathan and Harry are finishing their discussion of the family businesses as Isabella was preparing to serve the main course of their meal.
As Isabella sat down at the table, she looked at Daphne and then at Harry as she asked them a question. "So, Harry, I read that you knew this quidditch player, this Weasley girl, do you know what really happened to her?"
Harry became tense as he looked over at Daphne. He was definitely feeling uncomfortable about this and he could see that Jonathan was also pointedly interested in his response. Astoria, who had heard the story the day before had become uncomfortable as she could feel the tension rise in the room. Before Harry could say anything, Isabella began to answer her own question as she stated a simple, "Oh my."
Daphne looked at Harry and refused to look at either her mother or her father. Harry in turn gazed down at the plate in front of him and then after a moment he looked back up at Isabella. He could feel Jonathan's gaze fixed on him in anticipation of his answer.
"The short answer," Harry began, "is yes, we do know what really happened to her." Harry paused and then he looked directly at Jonathan. "Part of what the articles stated is true. At one time I had been dating Ginny Weasley, but that relationship had ended quite some time before Daphne and I met last year."
Isabella scrunched her eyebrows together as she looked at Harry. "But I thought you and Daphne knew each other in school."
Harry let out a deep breath at this, and then he replied to Daphne's mother. "Well, we knew who each other was, from a distance. But it was almost a year ago when we ran into each other at a muggle pub. But as I was saying, I had broken up with Ginny quite some time before that. In fact, before Daphne and I had started dating, when we had only just started to become friends, I did have an encounter with Miss Weasley in Diagon Alley, as the paper described. She accused me of cheating on her, but I wasn't dating anyone and I had not been dating Ginny for many months."
Jonathan coughed slightly, "So, that much we had gathered from the stories in the paper. The Skeeter woman has been known to occasionally have a fact or two that might be correct. But what happened in Australia?"
Harry now looked at Jonathan as he continued his explanation of the events. "We had told you that Daphne and I were heading to Australia, to Perth, to try and find an artefact, and to help our friend with her parents. It seems that Ginny had been informed of our travels and she decided to follow us there. She snuck into our hotel room…"
Jonathan interrupted Harry. "You and Daphne were sharing a bed?" he asked indignantly.
"No sir," replied Harry, "we had rented a suite, with separate rooms. You can even confirm this with the hotel sir." Harry was becoming increasingly nervous at this point.
Astoria tried to hold back her giggles at the embarrassment that Harry and Daphne were now feeling. Daphne seemed to be getting red in the face as she snapped at her father, "Papa, you raised me better than that! I would have thought you knew that! I can't believe you would think anything like that about me! About us!"
Jonathan was slightly surprised by her response. "Well, Daphne, young people these days, you do things differently then we did."
Isabella rolled her eyes at her husband. "No, they don't!" she said sharply to Jonathan.
Now Astoria and Daphne turned slightly red in the cheeks and Jonathan retorted, "More the reason for me to be suspicious then. Enough of this. So, as you were saying then Harry, this woman entered your room."
Harry then went on to explain that Ginny had come to their room and how she had stated that her goal was to 'win Harry back' and to drive away Daphne.
"She actually said that?" asked an incredulous Isabella.
"Yes, mum," Daphne answered for Harry. "She did not see that I had entered the room, she thought she was telling Harry all of this, with just the two of them there."
Isabella shook her head as she considered this information. "But, wait a minute, the paper said that she was…"
Astoria commented under her breath, "Here it comes…be prepared to duck."
Draco, who was sitting to her right, heard this statement and had a confused look on his face. Daphne started to cover her face with her hands. Harry had barely registered what Astoria had said when Isabella nearly screamed.
"That means that Weasley woman was naked in your hotel room as this was going on?" Isabella was turning red in the cheeks now. Jonathan wasn't sure whether he should laugh or be angry, but he quickly realised that laughing out loud would only lead to problems later.
"That would be correct," stated Harry as simply as possible.
Isabella shook her head as she gasped silently. She then looked back at Harry and Daphne. "Well, then, so she was in a certain state of undress, but then what happened?"
"She saw Daphne had come into the room, she became quite angry and she summoned her wand and cast a spell at Daphne," answered Harry simply.
"But the article stated that she had done something that killed herself.
Daphne sighed as she placed her hands on the table on either side of her dinner plate. "That was when Harry cast a shield spell, to protect me, and then her spell rebounded off of the shield and struck her down."
Harry reached over and gently took Daphne's hand in his. "Ginny did cast the spell that killed her," he added sombrely.
Jonathan was deep in contemplation for a few moments and then he turned to Harry. "You cast a shield spell that was strong enough to rebound a curse that killed her. What spell did she cast?"
"Just a reducto spell, sir," answered Harry.
"Your shield spell has the power to do something like that?" asked an astonished Lord Greengrass.
Draco smirked, "You have no idea." Draco let out a laugh finally, "I'm sorry Scarhead, but the more I hear this story, the more I find it humorous. Maybe I'm evil or something…"
Harry cut in and stated, "But you are Draco, you are."
Draco sneered briefly at Harry and then he continued, "Maybe I am, but there is some sort of twisted satisfaction in that ending."
Harry shook his head slightly.
Jonathan pressed on for more information. "But then why was there no mention of either of you in the story and why did they make up all of this about illegal potions and shady dealings?"
Daphne smiled at her father, "It helps when Harry is so well connected with the Ministry, even to the point of influence on the Australian Magical Government."
Harry added, "Besides, they did not make up anything about the potions, that part of the story was true."
Isabella frowned as she looked over at Daphne and Harry. "But the Weasley family, weren't you close to them when you were in school? What about the funeral? Won't you be going?"
Harry ran a hand through his long hair, which was easier to manage after he had grown it out. "I did spend some time with them back when we were in school. However, I think that at this time I should best keep my distance. I believe that it would be too distracting if I were to show up."
Isabella nodded her head in agreement, "With what you shared tonight, I think that would be a wise thing to do. So, what is next on your agenda for world travelling? I haven't heard anything about Harry having finished with his 'mission' for the goblins."
"Russia," stated Harry in response. "We travel to Russia, next week. Hopefully we will be able to finish this whole mess with the goblins soon, as long as things go well."
Harry and Daphne had a quiet couple of days visiting with her family before they embarked on the next leg of their journey and headed to Russia. The tall white tower of the St. Yuriev Monastery arose in front of them. The winding Vohlkov River passed just beyond the edge of the outer walls of the monastery grounds. The shiny metal dome on the top of the belfry caught the attention of both Harry and Daphne as they walked up to the entrance of the enclosed community. Harry commented to Daphne how the blue domes on the towers of the cathedral stuck out in contrast to the white walls of the buildings and towers.
As they got closer to the gate, Daphne commented. "And just what are we going to do if no one here speaks English? Have you been learning Russian on the side?"
Harry smiled slightly, "I have no idea what we are going to do if they can't speak English. Do you know any magical translating spells?"
"No such luck, Potter," replied Daphne.
They arrived at the gate, and there was a man in dark robes standing there, almost like a guard at attention. "Excuse me sir," asked Harry a little timidly, "I was hoping that I could meet with the abbot about something rather important to me and my fiancé."
The man stood still and just stared at the two for a moment, eyeing them carefully.
Daphne turned to Harry, "Well, this looks like it will be tougher than you had hoped, he doesn't speak English."
The man coughed slightly, "No, it is okay. I do speak some English."
Harry and Daphne turned and faced the man. "Could we speak with the priest? With the abbot?" asked Harry again.
"The abbot is a very busy man, my friend," answered the man at the gate. "We have many people coming here to visit our monastery. Perhaps you like to take tour with others? While you take the tour, I can see if the abbot is busy."
Harry smiled at the man and then turned to Daphne. "I guess we start with a tour of the monastery."
An hour later, the tour that they were on was coming to an end just inside the narthex of the cathedral. Harry and Daphne had been impressed with the beauty of the icons that went up all of the walls and even onto the ceilings and the arches and inside the domes within the church. They were about to leave the narthex when a monk in light coloured robes came up to them and gently placed his hand on Harry's arm.
"The reverend abbot will meet with you two now, if you would just follow me." The soft spoken man had a better command of English than did the man they had encountered at the gate. They followed him to a room in a building near the cathedral. They waited for about fifteen minutes, and then the doors burst open and a man with a thick grey beard, a black cassock and large gold cross hang ing around his neck walked into the room. Harry thought that the black hat with the flattened top looked a little odd, but he held back any sort of comment or reaction.
"My friends," greeted the abbot, "it is most unusual that a visitor to our humble monastery states they need to speak with me as the very first comment they make upon arriving at the gates. I was intrigued to meet you two. What brings such pilgrims as yourselves to our home?"
Harry was immediately put at ease by the gentle tone of the man and his words. The abbot had walked across the room and offered his hand. Harry was grateful he had read up a little about the Orthodox Church, and he realised he was meant to grasp the priest's hand and kiss it, which he did in greeting. "Thank you father abbot," stated Harry, "my name is Harry Potter, and this is Daphne Greengrass. My fiancé and I have travelled a long way in search of an artefact. A very important one that we had hoped we might find here."
The abbot's smile left his face. "Items that belong to the monastery are items we are not in the habit of giving away," answered the abbot as he took a seat across the table from Harry and Daphne.
Harry reached into his pocket and pulled out the token of St. George. He slid it across the table to the abbot. In response the abbot merely smiled until he took a closer look at the coin in front of him. His eyes widened as he carefully picked up the token. "You surprise me even more, my young friend." He slid the token back across the table to Harry. "The item which you seek is here. I can only assume that there is an important task which you are undertaking that requires the use of this item. If there is anyway possible that this item could eventually be returned here, then we would be most pleased. However, I fully understand that your needs for this item, based on your simply having this token clearly outweighs our desire to keep this esteemed relic. It has been our honour to be the place that has held the item for many years." The abbot arose from the table.
Harry was slightly puzzled but also overjoyed. "So, when can I have the item?" he asked cautiously.
"Come back in 40 days, on Nativity, when we have finished our fast that starts today," answered the abbot.
"Nativity," asked a puzzled Harry, "do you mean Christmas?"
"Yes, the feast of the nativity of our Lord," answered the abbot, a little surprised at the question.
Harry turned to Daphne who seemed equally confused. Then he looked back at the abbot. "But 40 days, isn't that in January?" Harry was trying to do the calendar calculations in his head.
The abbot smiled at him and laughed. "You are a westerner, you use the Gregorian calendar and not the Julian calendar, or 'old' calendar. There is a 13 day difference between these calendars. In our church calendar, it is only November 15, and forty days from now will be the nativity. I will place the item you seek on the altar so that it will be blessed and after those 40 days are over, then you may come and collect the lance."
Harry and Daphne smiled at the abbot, and then at each other. "Thank you, father," said Harry sincerely. "We will see you back then, on the feast of the Nativity, in 40 days."
Christmas at Potter Manor and at the Greengrass Estate was a pleasant and relaxing time. The holiday was more relaxed and joyous than any Harry could remember for some time as he was getting close to completing his goal. The lance of St. George the Dragon Slayer, Ascalon, was nearly in his grasp.
The Potter and Greengrass businesses were doing well and the days were approaching for when Harry and Daphne would have to return to Novgorod to finally obtain the lance. Harry and Daphne were walking through Diagon Alley on a sunny and unseasonably warm December afternoon when they ran into Ron Weasley. Harry was dreading this encounter, and soon he ha confirmed just why he was not looking forward to seeing his old friend again.
"Still with the slimy snake," said Ron.
Daphne looked away from Ron as she felt Harry's arm tense around her waist.
"I thought you had been able to move beyond that, Ronald," said Harry, is voice stern and tense.
"That was until you or your harlot killed my sister," snapped Ron.
"What are you talking about?" asked Harry, wondering just how much Ron really knew of the story.
"Oh, come off it," Ron snapped again. "We both know that you went to Perth. That you two were there in Perth when Ginny went there. She went to see you, I am sure of that. So why did you have to kill her, Potter?"
Daphne squeezed Harry's hand tightly and spoke under her breath, "You don't need to go there with him, Harry. Don't let him bait you."
Harry glared at Ron. "I figured it was you who told her where we had gone, that we had travelled to Australia."
Ron returned the glare. "So it was you who killed her. So why did you do it? You used to love her. You used to be with her. Or was it that snake by your side who actually killed her? Is that why you wouldn't come to the funeral? The whole family wondered where you were. Mum, she said you were like a son to her, you were supposed to be a part of our family, but you stayed away. Why? Because you are embarrassed to be seen with the Death Eater heiress? Or did you grow to hate those who cared for you?"
Harry was bewildered by Ron's rant. He was staring at his former best mate and he had not noticed that George had come out from his store and was standing behind Ron. He had been there long enough to hear Ron's accusations, which he found disturbing, but he kept quiet as he wanted to hear Harry's reply.
"Ron, did you take too many bludgers to your head?" asked an astonished Harry. "You're making no sense at all anymore. I was never in love with your sister. That is a sad fact that Ginny would never accept or believe. She was living in a fantasy world, and I have no idea how she got there. You read the reports from Australia, I am sure, she cast the curse herself that killed her. Your sister was having a difficult time. Why else would she stalk me and chase me down in Australia?"
"That's not the point here, Harry," interrupted Ron.
"No, Ron, that is exactly the point," argued Harry. "Are you too stupid to see that she was obsessed? That she was not thinking right? I don't know if it was just some pathologic attraction or if she was truly addled from taking too many potions, but she was not herself. She hadn't been herself ever since Fred died. The fame from playing quidditch didn't help her either." Harry let out a big sigh. "She brought it on herself," he added as he looked pleadingly at Ron. "When will you open your eyes and see the truth that was before you for what it is? Your sister was responsible for her own actions that lead to that fateful evening in Perth. Not me. Not Daphne. It was all on Ginny. I am sorry, Ron, but that is the honest truth."
Ron was about to argue again, when George stepped forward and gently put his hands on his brother's shoulders.
"Let it go Ron," he said gently as he tried to give a nod and a smile to Harry. "Harry was your best mate, you know and I know, hell the whole family knows that it was not Harry's fault."
Ron spun and now turned his venom on his brother. "If it wasn't Harry's fault than why did he not come to the funeral? Why would he avoid us?"
Ron spun back to face Harry, shrugging off his brother's hold on him. "Are the Weasleys no longer good enough for Lord Potter?"
The sting in Ron's words was felt by everyone who overheard them. "No, Ron, but I am NOT a Weasley. That time at the funeral for you and your family. Lord Potter, the bloody boy-who-lived showing up would have only turned it into a circus, and taken the focus off of Ginny, your sister, and your family's sadness. You really did not want me to be there. Someday, you may be able to see the truth in what I'm telling you."
George spoke up first, "We know Harry, we know. Sometimes it takes ickle Ronniekins a little while to sort things through. I blame Fred and myself for that one, we must have experimented on him too much when he was younger. Addled the mind a little I think."
Ron was about to say something more, when George grabbed him tightly on the shoulder. "No, Ron, let it go. Let Harry be. Everyone else at home knows and understands the truth." He pulled his brother back and redirected him to go back into the shop. Turning back to Harry, he spoke again, "Believe me Harry, we do understand. Someday, when every one is feeling a little less raw about everything, I am sure mum would love to have you come by, for a visit, and a meal, for old time's sake. I'll keep on eye on this prat for you." Turning to Daphne he gave a smile as he added, "Sorry that you had to see that. And hear that."
Harry and Daphne smiled back at George as they made their way down Diagon Alley.
"That actually could have gone worse," said Harry as they walked away.
"Yeah," agreed Daphne, "it could have gone a lot worse."