Chapter 10: An Evening with the Lovegood
Thoughts of Pudding by Brian64.
Chapter 10: An Evening with the Lovegoods.
Sunday 23rd June, 1996.
Minerva arrived in the Lovegoods' kitchen shortly after her meeting with the Headmaster, and looked around in some surprise. She didn't recognise the round building she found herself in, but she did know all of the people sitting at an expanded kitchen table.
Moody walked over and touched his wand to her temple briefly, and she felt the block on her memories vanish.
He lowered his wand and nodded as he saw recognition appear in her eyes. "Glad to see you're back in one piece. Go on and take a seat; there's some supper saved for you. You can tell us all about it once you've eaten."
After sitting down, Minerva was handed a bowl of soup and a spoon. Next to her, Remus sliced off some bread, and she took it with thanks when he offered it to her.
The others tried to continue whatever conversations they'd been having before her return, but she could tell they were only trying to kill time until she'd finished eating.
She had intended to eat a little more rapidly than she normally would so that she could tell them about her meeting with Albus, but found herself enjoying her soup too much to do so.
She looked across the table at Luna as she finished. "My compliments, Miss Lovegood, that soup was excellent. I'm certain that someday you'll make your husband a very happy man."
"Yes, I think so too," Luna said, nodding her head in complete agreement.
Minerva noted a smile on Hermione's face at Luna's immodest reply, and a slight frown on Harry's face from where he sat between them. She thought back to Petunia's comment about Luna being Harry's girlfriend, and wondered why Harry would frown, unless…
She schooled her features not to react as she realised that Harry probably imagined Luna making someone else happy, and himself either rejected, or perhaps dead. She again resolved to do whatever she could to see that Harry had the 'happily ever after' that he deserved.
"If you've finished eating, perhaps we could discuss things of greater importance than Luna's qualifications as a potential wife?" Moody asked, sounding annoyed.
Tonks, never one to miss an opportunity, started to respond. "Oh, I dunno Mad-Eye, maybe for some that would be–"
"Alright" Minerva interrupted, and then gave everyone a fairly complete account of the discussion she had had in the headmaster's office.
She looked around at the reactions from the others. Surprise and disappointment seemed to feature prominently, but Moody's was something different.
"Alastor, what is it?" she asked him.
He gave her a stern look. "A man like Albus Dumbledore is used to getting his own way. You've just gone and put the kibosh on his plans for Harry, and in the process threatened to remove him completely and permanently from his control. Not content with that, you're also trying to mess up his plans for Snape and Slughorn and you've also directed him to contact Bones for his new Defence teacher.
"And then, to top it all off, you expect him to take an unbreakable vow?" He shook his head and sighed. "Bloody Gryffindors! Big brass ones, but not a skerrick of subtlety in their mostly empty heads."
He turned back to her from the pacing he'd begun. "Alright, I'm coming with you on Friday. I have no idea how Dumbledore is going to react, and I'd rather be there to keep an eye on you. Besides, you'll need someone to be your Bonder assuming he agrees to the vow, which I'd have to say, is about as likely as Snape becoming a poster boy for Hufflepuff."
"Thank you, Alastor," Minerva replied, feeling extremely chastened. In the heat of the moment she'd been filled with righteous ire at Albus, but having had a chance to cool down, and having heard Alastor's summary, she felt more than a little embarrassed at her lack of control. She'd lost her temper with those Muggles earlier today at King's Cross as well, and she wondered how long her guilt would continue to affect her judgement.
She heard Mr Granger clear his throat, and looked over a little surprised as he spoke.
"Mr Moody, how does this affect our plans? Should we think about leaving earlier? Tonight, perhaps?" Dan asked.
Moody nodded approvingly. "That's not a bad idea at all. However, since Xeno only planned to take Luna and Harry with him, the rest of us would have to wait until at least tomorrow so that we can get our own portkey."
"But the professor was able to make a portkey to get back here today, so couldn't she make them herself for us all to get to Sweden?" Dan persisted, looking at Minerva to back him up.
"Making a local portkey isn't so hard once you know how, but I'm afraid international portkeys are quite different. For one thing I would need to have been in the place where I wish to portkey to, and for the other… well, let's just say that once I did know my destination, I would have to be willing to break a few laws."
Not easily discouraged, Dan turned to Luna's father, the slightly cross-eyed man with the flyaway hair that reminded him of Einstein and who had arrived home not too long after they'd arrived themselves. "So, couldn't we all use your portkey then?"
Xenophilius sighed a little. "Well we could, but only if we all wanted to be arrested when we arrived. After I got Luna's owl this morning, I had to take the portkey in to the travel agency at lunch time today to get Harry added. If we use it early, we'll just get a small fine for the inconvenience of changing paperwork, but carrying unauthorised ride-alongs is, as the good lady said, quite against the law."
Dan frowned. There had to be an answer here somewhere. He hated the thought of his family being at risk.
"Mr Lovegood, did you give the agency my name when you had the extra person added to the portkey?" Harry asked.
Xeno's eyes flicked to his daughter before he replied. "I err… I thought it would be best if I just told them that a friend would be joining us."
Dan looked confused. "How does that work if just anyone can show up on a portkey?"
Remus decided to join the conversation, and replied to Dan's question. "That's how it is in the Wizarding world. When people can just apparate or portkey out of a country, there really isn't much point trying to stop them. It's easier to just process arrivals, and make sure they aren't on any arrest lists. Visas for wizards are more of a token gesture than anything else, but law-abiding people have to follow the laws."
Harry finally smiled. "Brilliant! That means you can take Luna and Hermione now, Mr Lovegood, and we'll catch up with you as soon as we can. How much is the fine?" he asked, fumbling in his pockets for his money bag.
Dan shot a relieved smile at Harry, and gave him a grateful nod when he caught his eye.
"Err…" Xeno said, knowing that he was going to be in trouble with his daughter no matter what he said or did now.
"Ouch!" Harry exclaimed, rubbing his side where Hermione had just poked him, hard.
"If anyone needs to get out of here Harry, it is you. So you can forget all about trying to send us off somewhere!" Hermione told him.
"But if Dumbledore does come looking for me, he'll stop looking once he's found me." Harry replied, still rubbing his side.
"I don't trust you to even follow along! Once we're gone, you'll get some stupid idea that it would be better for us if you went off somewhere else!" Hermione said, poking his arm firmly each time she emphasised a point.
Harry tried to stop the guilty look from appearing on his face, but Hermione saw it and nodded in triumph while Harry rubbed his arm.
Harry looked around for some support, but only seemed to find it from Dan and Emma. He glared at Tonks and Lupin who seemed to find his discomfort more than a little amusing.
"I'm staying, Harry, but you should go with Luna. Professor Dumbledore doesn't want me anyway." Hermione said.
Minerva cleared her throat. "Perhaps I can offer a suggestion? Suppose I created emergency portkeys for everyone? Then if we were taken by surprise we could simply portkey away to a safe location. Then all of us can simply leave for Sweden as planned."
"Define 'safe'" Moody demanded.
"Well, I thought perhaps Privet Drive. Dumbledore wouldn't think to look there, and Voldemort can't breach the wards."
Moody nodded. "I like it, except for one problem. If Harry shows up there, Dumbledore's little gadgets will tell him all about it. So if there is an emergency, Harry goes to Sweden with the Lovegoods, while the rest of us go to Surrey. And no, Harry, that is not up for debate."
Realising that this was the best they could do for now, Harry nodded reluctantly, then tried to stifle a yawn.
Lupin chuckled. "I saw that. I think it's past your bedtime, cub."
Harry gave him a hurt look, which Lupin ignored.
"No, Harry, the correct response is 'shove it, Moony!'" Lupin said.
"Shove it, Moony!"
"Much better. Now, Harry, you're going to need to sleep close to the Lovegoods until we're in Sweden. Do you have your portkey close at hand, Xeno?" Lupin asked the man.
"Luna's wearing it," he replied. They all looked over at Luna who smiled and held up her wrist, showing off the charm bracelet she was wearing with a single silver key dangling from it.
"Hermione, you will need to be close to your parents to activate their portkey. In fact, I think we should all plan on dorming up here – with your permission of course, Xeno?" Lupin added.
"Of course, of course. Do we need a bundling charm?" Xeno asked.
Lupin choked. "Err, no, I don't think we need to sleep quite that close. The same room should be fine I think. Most of us aren't sharing portkeys after all."
Tonks looked at Remus. "Did he put you up to this?" she asked, twitching a thumb in Moody's direction. "Or is this just part of your cunning plan to see me in my nightie?"
Harry laughed along with most of the others, pleased that someone else was getting teased besides himself for a change.
"What's a nightie?" Luna asked Tonks, causing the room to go silent.
When Harry started to go red, Tonks couldn't help herself and started laughing.
A couple of hours later, Minerva got up from the bed she had transfigured from a kitchen chair and joined Tonks at the kitchen table. "It's my turn to watch now. Why don't you get some sleep?"
Tonks nodded. "Yeah, I will in a bit."
She topped up her teacup, and poured some for Minerva before handing the cup to her.
"So tell me about him." Tonks said, nodding at where Harry slept, sharing a king-sized bed with the Lovegoods at Moody's insistence. He'd fallen asleep on his side at the edge of the bed, but now he was on his back with a nightie-clad Luna wrapped around him. Her father was snoring softly on her other side.
"What do you want to know?"
"Oh I dunno, anything I suppose."
"That isn't very helpful," she said, while giving some thought to the question. "Did you know he plays Quidditch?" she eventually asked.
Tonks nodded. "Yeah, he was always talking about it with Ron back at Grimmauld Place. Seeker, right?"
Minerva nodded. "That's right, youngest ever. I watched him chase down another student's Remembrall that your cousin had thrown. He dived fifty feet towards the ground, and caught it, and that was the first time he'd even sat on a broom." She smiled at the memory. "He was so small back then. I really should have guessed what was going on, as neither James nor Lily were as short at his age."
"Don't beat yourself up about it, Min. I could've guessed there was something wrong when I met him at Privet Drive last year. That house was way too clean. At least his room was messy though."
Minerva's lips twitched. "Quite…" she said in response.
"I know what you mean about his flying though. Moody had us flying all over the place dodging gusts of warm air that might have attacked us. Yet Harry stuck to my tail like he was glued there… course, he might have just liked watching my tail," she said, finishing with a grin.
"Nymphadora!" Minerva exclaimed, scandalized at her comment.
Tonks just grinned at the older woman. "Oh come off it, I'm not saying I encouraged him…"
She waited for Minerva to relax a little before continuing. "But then again, I might have wriggled a little bit more than I needed to," she mused, before grinning broadly at Minerva's look of indignation.
"Relax, Min, I'm just pulling your leg. Besides, I think there might be one or two girls his own age that have already staked their claim, don't you think?"
Minerva followed her gaze back at Harry, and then looked over at the other king-sized bed next to where he slept. Hermione was sleeping on her side, facing Harry. Close enough that if she stretched out, she could touch him.
She sighed. "It's as well he's as shy around girls as he is. If he were more confident or arrogant about his achievements, I doubt there's a fourth or fifth year that wouldn't be chasing after him."
Tonks snorted. "You don't think they aren't already? From what I heard from Sirius, if they're not making a move it's only because they've assumed Hermione's already got him. I mean look at him; polite, respectful, good looking, dreamy green eyes… then there's the fact that he's a dark lord defeating, stone-saving, basilisk-slaying, dementor-banishing, honest-to-God Tri Wizard Champion!
"Never mind that he's the 'Chosen One', but chuck in the 'Quidditch-God' as a cherry on top, and I strongly suggest you keep your broom cupboards locked next year! Hell, I might even put my knickers in the hat for the nightly draw as well."
Minerva groaned, and used her fingertips to start massaging her forehead as she propped it up with her elbow on the table.
"Don't worry, Min, I'm just kidding you... he's still a bit young for me yet."
She paused in her teasing as something occurred to her. "Hey, do you know if Siri got a chance to give him 'The Talk' while they were at Grimmauld over Christmas?"
"Why would I know?" Minerva asked with some exasperation, looking up again.
"Hmm, I better talk to Remus. Someone needs to talk to Harry... and soon I think. I'm not too worried about those two as they're both sensible, but I'm sure there are plenty of girls out there that would be only too happy to bag the Boy-Who-Lived. We don't want to wake up one morning to find out he's now the Dad-Who-Lived, now do we?"
"No, I suppose we don't," she sighed. "Alright, Tonks, you've made sure I'm going to be awake for quite some time worrying now. Off to bed with you."
Smiling, Tonks strutted off slowly in Harry's direction knowing it would wind Minerva up a little more, before she headed towards her own bed.
Monday 24th June, 1996.
Harry woke slowly. He was warm and very comfortable, and at first he thought he was still at Hogwarts, as there was no way his bed at Privet Drive could ever be accused of being comfortable.
There was an unfamiliar weight on his left side, so he opened his eyes to see what it was. Blinking in the dim light, he saw that Luna had made a pillow out of his chest, her left arm was around him and drawn up to his right shoulder almost to his cheek.
Even without his glasses, she was close enough that he could see a contented smile on her face.
He thought about waking her before anyone else found her like that and embarrassed her, but then worried that she might think he'd tried taking advantage of her in the night. He hadn't, had he? He realised that his left arm was cuddling her close around her waist and moved it slowly back to the bed behind her, so that he was no longer touching her.
He looked back to her face to find her smile had gone and her eyes were open, looking straight into his.
"Umm, I'm sorry Luna, I was asleep and didn't know what I was doing," he whispered.
"What were you doing? she asked him softly.
"I don't know, but… I know my arm was around you. I'm sorry."
"I'm sorry too, Harry," she said, looking sad.
"What? Why are you sorry? You haven't done anything wrong."
"Well, I'm sorry that I'm making you uncomfortable by cuddling up to you like this, but mostly I'm sorry that you had to grow up thinking that cuddling your friends was somehow wrong and that's why you took your arm away."
Harry was confused. "You want me to put my arm around you?"
Luna nodded, and smiled again after he put his arm back around her.
She closed her eyes again, contented. "Go back to sleep now, Harry, it's still way too early to think about getting up."
Harry closed his eyes again obediently while Luna absently stroked the side of his neck.
At the kitchen table, Minerva turned to Lupin and gave him a significant look.
"Yes, yes, I'll talk to him soon and make sure Padfoot told him what he should know, and if not... oh hell, Minerva, what do I know?"
Minerva smiled at him. "Remus, you're probably the last link he has to his parents now. Who else is there?"
"How about Dan? He's a father." Remus said hopefully.
Minerva smiled. "Yes he is, Hermione's father, surely you wouldn't do that to the poor man?"
Remus nodded. "I see your point. Not Dan then. But surely there is someone else?"
Minerva started listing names. "Alastor, Albus, Filius, Rubeus, Argus, Severus… or perhaps you're thinking of Dursley?"
Remus shuddered at the list. "I see your point."
He thought for a moment, pondering how he was going to get out of this, when suddenly a name occurred to him that Minerva had missed; the most obvious one.
"Wait a minute, what about Arthur? He's got a truckload of sons and plenty of experience with this!" he said, an accusing look in his eyes.
"By all means, Remus, ask Ginny's father to give Harry 'The Talk'. His daughter has only been pining after him for about 10 years; add to that the life debt she owes him for saving her from the Chamber of Secrets, but… by all means, Remus."
Remus winced. "Alright, I give up, you win! Go to bed, Minerva, I doubt I'll be able to sleep even after my shift ends now."
"Hey, Harry! Are you planning on getting up anytime soon? Everyone else has already sat down to breakfast"
Harry's eyes shot open as the phrase triggered a memory he'd rather have forgotten.
He started to sit up. "Okay, okay, Hermione, I'm getting up, no need for any water charms."
He felt his glasses pressed into his hands and he put them on. Hermione was sitting at the end of the bed still wearing her pyjamas, though she had a towel around her head. "Water charms, Harry? Why would I need one of those?"
He looked at her suspiciously, not responding. She'd break. She couldn't hold it in.
"Honestly, Harry, I have no idea what you mean."
He allowed one of his eyebrows to rise slowly as he watched the corners of her mouth twitch. Any second now…and…there we go!
Hermione had started laughing. "I wish I'd let Ginny send Colin off with Neville now, we could have had photos!"
"Well, if you stopped that, then thank you. I'd hate for anyone else to have found that out. Colin would probably have sent the photos to The Prophet. He's a menace."
"Right, so that means you owe me… will you show me the memory in your pensieve when you get it then?"
Harry thought about it. "Alright, I'll show you all but the last bit as I'd gone in the bathroom by then."
"Hermione, I was in the shower!"
She shrugged as though it didn't matter and gave him a smile. "Come on, Harry, breakfast."
He shook his head and got out of bed, following her to the table. Was that a wink? She never winks! I'll never understand girls…
Taking a seat at the table, he poured a good serve of what appeared to be muesli into his bowl, and then added some milk.
"Oi, Potter, don't sit there sniffing it, get it into you. That's the breakfast of champions that is."
"Yeah, yeah, Tonks, I'm getting to it."
He took a mouthful and chewed. Damn, it was good.
"This is good. Very good in fact," he said, once he had swallowed.
"Thank you, Harry!" Luna beamed at him from across the table.
Having already taken another spoonful, he gave her a mock salute in acknowledgement of her culinary skills, and then focussed on eating his breakfast.
After scraping the last bits out of his bowl, he looked up to find everyone else looking at him.
"What? I'm not going to turn into a canary or something, am I?" he asked worriedly.
There was a little laughter. Remus smiled and shook his head. "Not today anyway. Harry, we've been talking about our plans for the day, and we're in a bit of a quandary about the portkey to Sweden. If any of us goes in to buy a second portkey, there is going to have to be a name on it, and that name will be fairly easy to trace. On the other hand, Xeno can take his portkey back in today and get the rest of us added on to it without giving any other names."
"So, why don't we do that then?" Harry asked.
"Because then you wouldn't be where the portkey was," Moody said. "You can't go with him – there's too much chance of you being recognised even with a glamour charm. And we don't have time to brew any Polyjuice."
"But then we had an idea, and everyone seems to think it'd work okay," Emma said.
"Alright, what is it?" Harry asked.
"We're off to the pictures!" Tonks said, bouncing on her chair.
"Really?" Harry asked with a huge grin. "I've never been to a cinema before. What are we going to see?"
"We thought you wouldn't mind seeing Twister. It's supposed to be pretty good according to our receptionist." Emma said.
"Yeah, so get your arse in the shower, Potter, and hurry up so we can go!"
"I'm going, Tonks… wait a sec, who's going?"
"You, me, Remus, all the Grangers, and Luna. So move it before we leave you behind."
Harry grinned. "Give me 5 minutes, that's all I'm asking…" then raced up the stairs to the bathroom.
Hermione beamed at the others. "Normally I'm not a big fan of sophistry, but in this case, all I can say is, well done us!"
Moody shrugged. "It's still a good plan, no matter the reason. He's not likely to be recognised sitting in a near black picture theatre in the middle of Muggle London. Just try to limit the time he spends out in public if you can."
Luna walked over to Hermione and grabbed her hand and then began dragging her up the stairs. "Let's go to my room. We need to finish getting ready too."
Tonks looked over at Remus. "You know, I can foresee us ladies going off to go buy some clothes or something after the film. Which I'm guessing would be a good excuse for you and Harry to find a pub and have a little chat."
Remus looked over at Dan for support, but the man just smirked at him and pointed his thumb at himself. "I'm the official bag carrier, which means I carry the bags while they shop. I'd like to go, of course, but the bags won't carry themselves will they?"
Remus looked at him with a disappointed expression.
Dan chuckled, "Sorry mate, I heard you drew the short straw. But since it's come up…" Dan's face turned serious. "Better get it right, okay?"
Remus started banging his head on the table, while Tonks patted his back, grinning.