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Chapter 20: Chapter 16
'I is keeping everything just as you left it Master Harry' Winky announced as Harry and Ginny entered Potter House.
'Thank you Winky' Harry said kindly as he removed his wet outer robes and helped Ariana out of her thick winter coat. 'Look Arri, we're home'
'Home' Ariana repeated
'Where is Ollie?' Nicholas, her black haired twin, asked as Ginny put him down.
'Ollie's at Hogwarts because she needs to work on school stuff' Harry replied evasively. 'Why don't you go upstairs and make sure Miss Unicorn and Mr Griff are alright?' he suggested quickly, trying to direct his children's attention in another direction.
Soon he could hear his children's cries of delight as they discovered that their rocking unicorn and rocking hippogriff (gifts from Luna) were ok after their long absence.
'Harry why don't you tell me the reason why Ollie is not spending Christmas with us this year' Ginny stated as she started to unpack all their luggage with a flick of her wand as Harry checked that no one had disturbed the wards in their absence. 'I don't for one moment believe that tale that you and Ollie have both told me about her wanting to study over Christmas. You know as well as I do that it is only someone like Percy who studies over the Christmas Holidays. Even Hermione didn't! What is going on between you two, I though t it was getting better?'
'I might have kept something from her' Harry whispered 'and she might have over reacted why she found out about this'
'What did you keep from her this time?' Ginny asked, trying to keep her voice steady as she headed towards the kitchen to start making some tea because she knew that the twins were hungry after their long journey from Hogwarts back down to Somerset, where Potter House was located.
'I discovered who her mother was' Harry said, bracing himself to face Ginny's wrath.
'And you are surprised that she over reacted!' his wife exclaimed, the knife she was using to make sandwiches clattering to the floor. 'I'm surprised that you are still alive and unharmed' she commented knowing her stepdaughter's temper and duelling ability, which she must have got from her father because it was definitely a Black characteristic.
'I just wanted to protect her' Harry said weakly, waiting for Ginny to tear through his arguments.
'From what?' Ginny asked, exasperatedly whipping around to face her hopeless husband. 'Harry she is a grown girl. I thought that you had learnt that you can't coddle her anymore. It will just backfire spectacularly and it won't just affect you but me and the twins as well. Ariana and Nicholas idolise Ollie, how do you think they will feel if Ollie is not in their lives anymore because of what their father has done?'
Harry looked down ashamed, remembering what Ollie had shouted at him as she stormed out of his office 'maybe I don't want a father'
'Are you coming to do Christmas decorating and have a family dinner at Mum and Dad's later?' Ginny asked. 'I said we would pop over once we had got back from Hogwarts and had sorted ourselves out'
'I'll try and get there, but I said that I would visit the Malfoys' Harry replied
'And you forgot to tell me about this!' Ginny exclaimed angrily her temper building. 'Christmas decorating is a tradition, you can't just miss it!'
'I know Ginny, but it is kind of important I go to the Malfoy's. I think they might know something'
'About what?' Oh let me guess, it's too secret that you can't tell me about it' she said packing up the sandwiches. 'Ariana, Nicholas, we're going to Nana and Grandad Weasley's house' she shouted up the stairs.
'But I thought that you weren't going 'till later' Harry protested as Ginny bustled around the house collecting the things she needed to take to her parents.
'Well you obviously have places to be and I'm sure that my parents would love to spend some extra time with their grandchildren, whom they haven't seen much of recently because we have all been living at Hogwarts'
'Mummy I'm hungry' Arri said as her mother put her thick outdoor coat back on her.
'I know sweetie' Ginny replied, pressing a kiss to the top of her daughter's red curls before going to help Nicholas with his coat 'but if you can just wait until we get into the car you can have the sandwiches I've made and I am sure Nana has made loads of food'
'Is Daddy coming?'
'Daddy's busy' Ginny replied, throwing her husband a scathing look
'Daddy's always busy' Ariana muttered as Ginny got herself ready to go.
'Harry, just remember that you are not alone anymore, you have a family now and don't push us away. You took the job at Hogwarts so we could all spend more time together instead of you coming back late after the children were all asleep from your missions in the middle of the night but now it seems like you are even more secretive than before!' Ginny remarked coolly as she opened the door and taking hold of both of her children's hands led them out to the magic car, leaving Harry standing in the doorway staring after them.
'You look like you need a drink Potter' Draco commented as he handed a shot of fire whisky.
'Thank you' Harry replied, taking the glass and knocking the amber liquid back quickly, relishing the warm but pleasant burning sensation down the back of his throat.
'You're not trying to get him drunk already Draco? He's just arrived' came the voice of the glamorous Astoria Malfoy who was making her way down the winding staircase. 'Scorpius is fast asleep, so he shouldn't bother us tonight'
'Dora said she would be coming later; she just needed to drop Teddy and Millie off at the Weasley's' Andromeda announced as she entered the room, with her blond haired, now greying sister, Narcissa in tow. 'They are doing the Christmas decorating tonight, so I'm actually surprised you are here Harry'
'Gin and I might have had an argument about me coming here' Harry admitted, holding out his glass for some more whisky 'but I had to come and talk to you and I could not wait any longer'
'What about?' Andromeda asked curiously 'is it about Ollie, is she alright?'
'Well Ollie is also annoyed at me' Harry remarked 'but yes, it does relate to her. What do you know of a family called the Volkovs?' he asked the pureblood witches and wizards gathered in the Malfoy's drawing room.
'That sounds Russian' Narcissa stated as Draco started to pace back and forth across the carpet, muttering to himself. Then suddenly he ran out of the room and returned a couple of minutes later, in a Hermione like way (though Harry was not going to mention that to him) with a large leather bound book. He plonked it down on a nearby table and began looking through the pages, before finding the one he wanted. 'The House of Volkov' he read 'the wolves'
'The wolves?' Astoria asked
'Volkov means wolf' Draco replied before continuing. 'The Volkovs are an Ancient Russian Pureblood family who have vast lands stretching from the Sayan Mountain range to the tip of Lake Baikal in Siberia. Though once incredibly wealthy, the family now only has moderate finances. The money originally came from mining precious metals but has been squandered down the generations'
'What book is that?' Harry asked curiously, He had had a quick look in the school Library for anything related to the name Volkov, but had not been able to find anything but maybe that was because he did not have Hermione's sniffer dog like powers when it came to finding out information amongst hundreds of thousands of books.
'It's not a book you would find in the Hogwarts Library' Draco replied, as if reading Harry's thoughts. 'The Dark Lord kept a record detailing all the pureblood families abroad which he could call upon to serve him when he took over Britain'
'And why did the Aurors not confiscate it after the war?'
'They did but then that incompetent fool, Dawlish deemed it useless and he gave it back. The IDA has found it extremely useful over the years' he remarked, referring to his job as an informant and Dark Arts consultant at the IDA.
'Wait a second, wasn't there some scandal about the Volkovs or a Russian pureblood family years ago?' Astoria asked, looking directly at Narcissa, who, out of all the people in the room, was the one most likely to have read the society pages in the Daily Prophet. 'It was years and years ago, but I think I overheard mother discussing it with one of her friends'
'Yes I remember now' Narcissa replied. 'It was something about the younger daughter being killed in a terrible accident and the oldest being disinherited and disappearing. But Harry, what has this to do with Ollie?' She asked
'Katerina Alexandrovna Volkova' Harry replied handing her a copy of the photograph McGonagall had discovered and Ollie had taken, containing the mysterious blonde haired woman in question.
'And I thought that Ollie definitely had the look of a Black' Narcissa remarked, before passing the photo on to the rest of the members of her family.
'So Ginny dear, how is life and Hogwarts?' Molly Weasley asked her daughter, as she handed her a cup of her specially made comforting tea and sat her down on the old sofa, as the twins raced around the Burrow, being chased by one of their older cousins.
'It is interesting' Ginny replied. 'I never thought I would be back living in that castle but the twins seem to be enjoying it, they love playing by the lake'
'And is Harry enjoying teaching?'
'I think so, all the people I have spoken to say that he is very good and it is not like he hasn't taught before.'
'How is Ollie?' Fleur, who after she had discovered that Ollie had been the little girl in Egypt had taken a special interest in the girl, asked. 'I haven't seen her around, though she could be outside' she stated, joining them in the room along with other members of the family, who were taking a break from the organised chaos, which was Weasley Christmas decorating. It seemed like most of the Dads, excluding Percy, who as Minister was still at work, had been roped into decorating, giving their ever suffering wives a chance to relax and catch up.
'Ollie decided to stay at Hogwarts for Christmas' Ginny replied, taking a sip from her cup of tea. 'Apparently she needs to study over Christmas'
'But no one studies over Christmas! Hermione exclaimed 'even I didn't'
'Well, that's what I said' Ginny stated. 'It seems that Harry and Ollie have fallen out again.
'But I thought they were really close' Angelina remarked 'and what do you mean by again?'
'Well Harry keeps keeping information from Ollie' Ginny explained. 'He says that he is trying to protect her and this time, from what I can gather, was the final straw for Ollie.
'Do you know what he kept from her?' Hermione asked
'He apparently discovered who her mother was and decided to hide it from her' Ginny replied.
'Where is that man?' Hermione exclaimed. 'Ollie's not a child anymore! At her age we were off fighting Voldemort and besides, how was Ollie going to be upset about him discovering who her mother was?'
'Maybe you should look at this from Harry's perspective' Molly suggested, offering her contribution to the discussion. 'Now I'm not saying that his actions were right' she stated as her daughter and daughters in law began to protest 'but look at it from Harry's point of view for a moment. Ollie for over ten years was the closest thing her had to a family and he practically raised her single handily. I think that with him being on missions and the danger he unintentionally put her in, he feels like he did not give her the childhood she deserved, forcing her to grow up much sooner than she should've had to and he blames himself for that. He wanted to give her the childhood he never had and he believes he failed'
'How do you know that?' Ginny asked almost jealously, because she had never heard express the things her mother was saying and she was his wife.
'Even someone like Harry Potter worried if they are a good father' Molly replied evasively, not divulging anymore information.
'But that does not answer the question as to why Ollie would be upset' Audrey stated
'Hermione, do you remember Harry's fifth year?' Molly asked
'Yes, with such fond memories' the brown haired witch replied sarcastically
'Do you remember Harry acting oddly?'
'He acted oddly the entire year because of his connection to Voldemort and trying to deal with Umbridge, Dumbledore's Army and Snape's Occlumency classes'
'And do you remember why they ended?'
'Snape refused to teach him anymore' Hermione answered, wondering what her mother-in-law was getting at as everyone else in the room listened in closely.
'Harry saw one of Snape's memories, one which unfortunately painted his father in a bad light. Do you remember how Harry used to brighten every time he was compared to his parents, especially his father and I think he was so lost and confused when this image of his father which he had built up in head was shattered by this memory'
'But how do you know this Molly?' Fleur asked
'Harry told Sirius and Remus this, though the floo and asked them some questions. I was also at headquarters that night and could not help hearing their conversation. He sounded absolutely distraught as Sirius tried to explain that James didn't always act like a bully and was the good man Harry thought he was.' Molly paused before continuing. 'I think that Harry though that Ollie would be upset if the image and expectations she had built up over the years about her mother where shattered by his discovery of the truth and in Ollie's case, unlike Harry, she has no one to ask for clarification. You may label Harry as an overprotective noble prat, but he does have his heart in the right place' Molly finished
'I know Mum, it's just that Ollie hasn't had the easiest of terms, what with sorting out Healer applications, getting injured in a quidditch match and breaking up with her boyfriend' Ginny said.
'What happened there?' Hermione asked. 'I thought they were doing ok, he seemed like a nice boy. I actually read his application for an internship at the Ministry last week, he seems to show lots of promise since he is already a member of the wizarding youth parliament'
'I was actually going to speak to you or Percy about this sometime about Austin, just be warned, he isn't as nice as he seems' Ginny stated earnestly, hoping that Ollie would not be annoyed that she was telling other people vaguely what happened between them, but she felt that Ollie deserved to have some sort of revenge on Austin after what he did to her. 'He's a nasty piece of work and only dated Ollie because she is the famous Harry Potter's daughter and has influential connections'
'No!' everyone in the room exclaimed in horror.
'But that is absolutely awful' Hermione exclaimed, she couldn't believe that the boy who looked so charming on paper was so conniving in real life.
'Well he's very ambitious' Ginny stated 'even more so than Percy was, if you can believe that is possible'
'But Percy wouldn't do that'
'That's not the worst of it though' Ginny said, now really hoping that Ollie would be angry that she was about to tell people her deepest secret but to be quite honest Ginny had been dying to tell another person about Austin's dastardly deeds. She had had to practically restrain herself from tell her husband, trying to obey Ollie's wishes. 'He...he...' she stuttered trying to get the words out.
'He didn't?' Hermione asked in astonishment getting was Ginny as trying to say.
'No but it was close, I would hate to think what could have happened if Ollie had not been able to reach her wand and curse the boy' Ginny replied, as loud gasps were emitted by all the people in the room.
'The poor child!' Fleur cried out, covering her mouth in shock. 'Does Harry know?'
'No' Ginny said 'she came running to our quarters and only I was there. Once she had finished teeing me what happened she begged me not to tell her father. I told her she should, but I think that she was ashamed that she was blind to Austin's true character'
'But it was not her fault' Molly stated, making a mental note to send extra of Ollie's favourite homemade fudge and biscuits to the girl as well as her annual Christmas jumper. 'Is she ok now?'
'I think so' Ginny replied 'though it hard to tell with Ollie, because she can mask her emotions so well. I think it is getting better for her now and there is definitely something going on between her and Jonathan Wood.'
'Oliver Wood's nephew?' Angelina asked 'well you can point him out to me at his wedding next week. I can't believe him and Alicia have finally got their acts together and are getting married, it's about time don't you think?' and wit h that the conversation drifted from Ollie and her many problems.
The occupants of the room looked up as they heard a loud crash coming from the hall.
'That would be Nymphadora' Andromeda remarked almost disapprovingly as her clumsy daughter entered the room.
'Wotcher everyone' she said before flopping down in the nearest chair with a tired sigh, gratefully excepting the drink Draco handed to her. 'I promise I did not break that stupid vase of yours this time Astoria'
Astoria just chuckled 'as I told you the last time you knocked it over, it doesn't matter if you do because we can easily fix it and also it was a wedding present from my irritable great aunt and we only keep it there because it makes my mother happy when she comes to visit'
'Sorry I'm late, it seems that it takes longer to get your children ready to go out now they are teenagers then it was when they were babies. Actually I was surprised when I got your letter asking to meet up' she stated turning to Harry 'how did you get out of the Weasley Christmas decorating?'
'We've already had this discussion Dore, I'll fill you in later' her mother stated cutting through Harry's stuttering.
'So when does your husband get back from his grand tour?' Narcissa asked
'Well it does not actually finish until around Easter but he has a two week break over Christmas so he arrives back in the country from Gibraltar next week' Tonks replied.
The night continued in a similar manner as they sat around the fire disusing what they were all up to, Harry recounting some of his more interesting lessons and students, Astoria telling them all about the new range of woman's dress robes she was bringing out in the spring ('tell Ollie she can have first choice of which one she wants to wear for her leaver's ball) and Tonks remembering a particularly funny mission (the witch we were meant to be following, turned out to be a man in drag, Ron nearly fainted!)
Finally Harry was able to catch Tonks alone in a corner as Draco and Astoria were checking on Scorpius and Narcissa and her sister were reminiscing by the fire. 'Hey Tonks I was wondering, do you have the notes from all of the Order of the Phoenix meeting?' he asked 'It's just that I would really like to have a look at them'
'I'm not even going to ask why' Tonks replied. 'I just hope you are not going to get up to any mischief'
'Mischief- me- never!' Harry replied 'I just want to do a bit of reading to see what you lot actually got up to during the war. Did you do any reconnaissance work, or did you just sit around the old wooden table at Grimmauld Place, eating Molly's food and drink fire whiskey'
'No that was just Sirius' Tonks replied laughing. 'However I'm afraid Harry, that I do not have them, have you seen how messy I am? Your best bet is Bill or Kingsley-no definitely Kingsley. I have a feeling that he was the one Dumbledore appointed to make notes, but he is not back in the country until after Christmas'
'Thanks for your help Tonks' Harry replied before inwardly cursing. Not only were the notes he wanted in the hands of his former friend not turned person he did not really speak to but he would have to wait until he could get his hands on them and to see what the mysterious Katerina's involvement in the Order of the Phoenix.