The figure once again waited on the other side of the forest thinking to themselves If that girl has let me down again I will definitely get rid of her myself. I refuse to take anymore chances on any of them seeing me. Just then one of the school owl's arrived with the weekly report.
I don't know how long it will be before I can send information again. Right now the Professors are suspicious of me and I cannot take any chances. I will send notice again as soon as I am able to.
Your Faithful Servant.
Foolish Girl, how dare she refuse. They thought as they sat down and replied to the letter.
We have an arrangement and no matter how incompetent you were to give them any suspicions, I still expect you to keep your end of the bargain. Just keep in mind what you are risking if you disobey your orders again.
They attached the letter to the owl and sent if back where it came from.
"Are you girls ready to go? Everyone is gathering at the main entrance." Sirius asked
"Yea, just give me a sec." Ann replied.
"Hurry up, I don't know how much longer your brother and his friends are going to wait."
"Are you and Uncle Sev going to be there today too?"
"We'll be there later. Have everyone meet us at the Three Broomsticks at four for dinner." Sirius replied
"Ok, see ya later."
Finally everyone arrived at Hogsmeade and the group decided to go ahead and split up so that they could pickup the gifts for one another. The girls had the hardest time keeping away from the boys when it came to trying to find the right gifts for them at the Quidditch shop. Bria was able to sneak into the small shop next door with a small package she had stashed in her robes.
"This is all superior quality and extremely powerful. He must mean an awful lot for you to want him this well protected even though it won't quite be as powerful on the offense." The shopkeeper stated.
"So you're saying it can be done without taking away any of the strength?"
"Oh most definitely. In fact I do believe it may even be more powerful once we combine everything compared to how it is now."
"How soon can it be ready?" Bria asked
"Well my wife's grandfather happens to be the one who designs them and he's in the back room right now. I'm sure we can have it ready for you tonight around 4:30 before you have to go back to school."
"Oh, I have to meet my parents for dinner at four."
"Your quite lucky that they are able to visit with you at school."
"They aren't visiting, they are professors there."
"I graduated from Hogwarts two years ago. I don't remember any of the professors having children of their own attending school there. Who are your parents?"
"Well I sort of just transferred there at the beginning of the year. This is also mom's first year, she teaches Herbology, and dad has returned to teach Charms, he use to teach DADA."
"We had many DADA teachers my last few years. Lets see, Quarrel is dead, and you don't look like you could be related to that idiot Lockhart, you don't mean Lupin actually had a child?" Bria nodded not quite knowing what to expect the shopkeeper's response to be. "Well my wife will be heartbroken about that but I'm sure I can talk Grandpa into having it ready earlier. Why don't you come back about 3:30 and I'll let you know."
"Thank you." She said as he headed out of the shop and joined back up with Ginny, Hermione, Ann, and Ron.
"There you are. We were looking for you everywhere. Where were you?" Ginny said.
"Geesh, you sound just like my mom."
"No she sounds just like her mum" Harry said as he walked up and put his arm around her. "Where did you disappear to?"
"I was just inside talking to the shop keeper. I had some questions for him." She said.
"Harry where are Jamie and Draco?" Hermione asked.
"They are still over at Honeydukes. We're to join up with them there."
"Well let's go then, we still have awhile before we have to meet our parents." Ann said then she and Hermione led their group down the street followed by Harry and Bria while Ginny and Ron hung back to talk.
"So have you asked her yet?" Ginny said.
"Asked who what?"
"Don't give me that. You two are some of the only ones that aren't paired up for the ball next week."
"No I didn't. I don't think she even plans on going."
"Why not. I know you like her."
"But she still keeps in contact with some guy from her old school."
"Yeah, and how long has it been since she's seen him? What's it going to hurt?"
Ron looked shockingly at his sister and said "When Malfoy graduates would you go to the ball with someone else?"
"Yes it is, cause he wouldn't be all that far away so he could still come back and be my escort. Besides that's still quite awhile from now. Who knows we may not even be together anymore." Ginny replied
"Don't try to get my hopes up. I know I'll probably be stuck with a good for nothing ferret for a brother-in-law."
"Ron, please don't start. Just give him a chance, he has changed."
"I still don't trust him." Ron grumbled
"Fine don't trust him but at least be civil towards him."
"Good, I'll go get Ann and you can finally ask her." Ginny said as she ran ahead before Ron could protest. She stopped Ann right before she reached the entrance to Honeydukes. "Ann, Ron said he needs to talk to you real quick."
"Thanks" she said as she waited for him at the corner of the building.
"What's going on?" Hermione asked as they entered the store.
"Gin's trying to be like Ann and play matchmaker." Bria replied. She then took a look at the tall well built boy with sandy brown shoulder length hair that was talking to Jamie and Draco and tugged on Hermione's sleeve and mouthed "Whoa shit, who's that?"
Harry noticed the girl's expressions as they noticed the strange guy and he unconsciously tightened his grip around her shoulder pulling her closer to his side. Bria looked at him and smiled as she placed her arm under his robes and around his waist resting her thumb in his belt-loop and they all joined the three boys.
"About time you guys showed up. Matt, this is my cousin, Harry, that's Bria, Ginny, and this...this is Hermione." Jamie continued as he wrapped his arms around her waist from behind. "This is Matt, he's one of my friends from Salem."
"So you're the friends Ann keeps writing me about. Good to finally meet you." Matt said. "By the way, where is she?"
"She's still outside. Did she know you were coming?" Harry replied.
"No, thought I'd surprise her. Mom and dad gave me the trip as an early graduation present while they went onto Hawaii to visit some friends." He said as he glanced out the window, "I'll be right back."
~ Meanwhile ~
Ron leaned his back against the building while Ann stood infront of him and said. "Gins said you wanted to talk to me?"
"Yeah, well um, I was just wondering if you would go to the ball with me."
"Ron, your one of my closest friends but, I told you I can't I'm still seeing Matt."
"No, the two of you are just writing each other. You haven't seen him since you got here. Besides we can go as just friends."
"You know what I mean. We may not have seen one another but we are still together."
"How long has it been since you heard from him, 2 weeks now? It's just one dance, besides how do you know he isn't seeing someone else."
Just then a voice replied from behind Ann, "Because she knows nobody else would be able to put up with me."
Ann froze at first then she turned around and looked at him and said, "This is why nobody else would put up with you. You haven't written in forever. You have me worried that something happened to you. You don't tell me your coming to visit. Why didn't you let me know? What are you doing..."
Matt rolled his eyes while listening to her ranting and knowing she would not let him get a word in until she was done so he leaned in a passionately kissed her until he felt her relax and wrap her arms around his neck. He then pulled her closer to him and broke off the kiss and said. "Glad to see this new school hasn't changed you."
"Why didn't you tell me you were coming?" Ann asked.
"Well I wanted to surprise you. That's why I haven't written. I didn't want to give it away that I would be here."
"You know how I feel about surprises."
"Sure do but, I missed you too much." He said smiling as he backed her against the building and started kissing her again.
Ron moved out of the way and joined the rest of the group who were now standing near the store's entrance watching the reunion. "Ron, I'm sorry."
"It's ok Gin, it's not like I didn't know he existed." He replied. "Um Jamie, does your dad know about him being here?"
"Yeah, I asked him last week if it was alright if he visited."
"Good so seeing them together won't come as a surprise to him."
"Well...that part I felt it would be safer to leave out." Jamie replied
"Unfortunately looks like he's just about to find out." Harry said just as Sirius stormed past the kids and up to the couple.
Sirius pulled out his wand and tapped the boy on the shoulder and said. "Excuse me, but I'm sure you would understand if I advised you to let go of my daughter."
The two stopped and Ann opened her eyes noticing the wand pointed at her boyfriend. "Daddy, put that away right now!" she screamed.
The boy turned around holding out his hand and said "Mr. Black sir. Nice to finally meet you I'm Matt. My parents and I would like to thank you for letting me stay with you during winter break."
"You're the one staying with us? Since when?" Sirius asked.
"Jamie said you gave permission for me to stay with your family during break."
Sirius then looked over at the group, which now included Severus, Remus, and Dannie. "Jamie Lee, I suggest you get over here right now." Jamie slowly walked over to the while Sirius continued. "You asked me if one of your friends from school to visit, not your sister's boyfriend."
"Well he is one of my friends, has been since my first year at Salem. They've only been together for the last two years. Mom use to let him visit during the holidays all the time."
"Did she know that your sister was dating him?" Sirius asked.
"Of coarse she did. I use to tell her everything." Ann said.
"She wasn't too happy about the age difference at first but I guess she got use to it." Jamie said as Ann glared at him for saying too much.
"Age difference? How old are you?"
"Just turned eighteen last week sir. I'll be graduating in June and if all goes right I'll be attending the university in London."
"Did I hear you right? You are eighteen? I hope you realize that Ann here is only fifteen?"
"Dad, I'll be sixteen next month. There is only a two-year difference. You don't get onto Jamie over his snogging sessions with Hermione." She spat due to the embarrassment for her father's behavior.
"You know what. We do not need to be having this discussion here on the streets infront of the whole school and town. We will talk later when we get back to the castle." Sirius stated.
Remus looked over at Severus and said, "I need to talk to you. I think I have an idea. Harry, tell your uncle we'll meet him at dinner." The two of them walked away so that they wouldn't be heard. "Listen there is no way that Siri is going to let that boy stay with him now."
"Where are you going with this Remus?" Severus asked.
"Well you still have that extra room. And Harry is going to have to move in there sooner or later since he cannot stay with me forever."
Severus sighed "I doubt he will be willing to move but if you can get him to agree to it then alright."
"We'll see. Harry, Ann, and um...you, would you come over here for a moment I need to talk to you." Remus said. The three kids went over to where the men were standing. "Before any of you say anything I need you to hear me out. Understand?" The kids nodded and he continued. "Due to what just happened I believe Severus and I have come up with an idea that just may keep things as normal as they get around here."
"I'm not going to like what you're going to say am I?" Harry said.
"No Harry you just may not but we need you to think about it." Severus said.
"Now Harry you do remember that you staying with me on weekends and holidays is only on a temporary basis, right?" Remus asked.
"Harry looked at the ground and mumbled "Yeah, I remember."
"Good, I feel it's finally time for you to start staying with your father. We can see how things go during um, what is your name?" Remus asked.
"Matthew" Ann replied
"Ok we can see how things go during Matthew's visit and then if you wish you can either stay there or move back into your rooms for a short while longer. In the meantime Matt I believe that with what we witnessed this afternoon it would be better for you to stay in Harry's old room. Is that alright with all of you?"
"Harry please. You know how mad dad can get." Ann begged. Harry finally nodded in agreement and Ann gave him a thank you hug.
"You owe me one though." He finally said.
"Now don't you guys get too excited. Ann you will not be allowed over unless I am there and when you are over the doors stay open and there will not be any snogging sessions like we witnessed today. I refuse to give your father anymore of a reason to want me dead other than what I am already doing." Remus explained
Severus then stated. "Harry as for you, Bria is allowed over anytime and go ahead and snog all you want."
"Severus!" Remus shouted
"Face it Remus it's different when you have boys instead of girls." He replied making Harry smile at him for the first time.
"Do you think I could stay with him instead?" Matt asked.
"Don't push it, he's my uncle. You know, my mom's brother that I warned you about?" Ann replied. "Harry, can we consider it payment in full now?"
While Harry was talking to his father and uncle Bria noticed it was getting late. "Mom, would you come with me to pickup something? It should be ready by now."
"I suppose but we have to hurry." She said as her daughter dragged her down the street.
"Well hello again." The shopkeeper said as they entered. "Looks like we were done just in time. Here what do you think?"
Bria looked it over and then looked at her mom "Think he'll like it?"
"I don't know. The thing is, will it work for him?"
"Well I have a confession. I was curious on who could mean that much to her so I was watching you and your friends outside. Grandpa was the person who made the one Harry has now so he was more than happy to be able to make this one as well. Before you give it to him though you have to charge it under the full moon for it to be at full strength."
"How much do I owe you?" Bria asked.
"Well since you did bring in more than enough supplies Grandpa was hoping we could work out a trade. You let us keep what's left over and the craftsmanship is free."
Bria looked at her mom then back at the shopkeeper and asked, "May I meet him?"
"Yes. Follow me." Bria and Dannie followed the shopkeeper into the back room. When they entered Bria was pleased to meet the elderly gentleman. He was average height with copper skin, and silvery hair that was in two long braids and had started whittling on what looked like was to be a flute. "Grandpa, this is the young lady whom you wished to trade with."
The elderly gentleman waved her forward and motioned for her to sit down. After a few moments of silence he finally spoke, "So you are the wolf cub I have heard of."
Bria felt like she was infront of the elders back home again and she lowered her eyes to the ground and quietly said. "Yes sir."
The man looked back and forth between the two ladies then said, "Mother was a wolf as well as her mother before her. Do not feel ashamed for you are rare. You come from two wolf parents, which makes you stronger." he then paused for a moment before looking closely at both of them "You have a tough road ahead of you but you will be alright as long as you stay on this path you have chosen. I know you have plans but, I would be honored if you would come and visit again so that we may talk when you have more time."
"I am the one who would be honored sir. It was a pleasure meeting you." Bria said then held out her hand and continued "Good trade."
The man smiled back at her as he took her hand "Good trade."
Bria placed the package into the inside pocket of her robes and they left the shop. They immediatly noticed everyone waiting for them infront of the Three Broomsticks and they headed in that direction. Dannie and Bria hadn't gone forty feet when the Quidditch shop exploded and from the smoke appeared the Dark Mark. The force from the blast threw the two of them along with passerby's to the ground.
"Dannie!" "Bria!" Remus and Harry shouted in unison as they ran out to the street to help them up.
"Harry! No!" Severus yelled as he tried to stop Harry from running out there.
Sirius turned to the kids and said "I need you three boys to lead Matt and the girls back to school."
Matt noticed all the Death-Eaters appearing everywhere and said. "Sir, let me stay and help."
"No, you are here as a guest. As much as we could use you I am not risking your life."
"Ann, Get your boyfriend out of here NOW!"
Ann grabbed Matt's hand and pulled him into Honeydukes with the others to take the passage back to the school. Just as the trapdoor closed behind them there was another explosion from right above them. "Run faster, it's going to cave-in on us." Matt shouted as he heard the rubble crash to the ground.
"NNNNNOOOOOOOO!" Sirius screamed as he saw the building explode and started running towards it.
"They had enough time to get to the passage. They will be just fine." Severus said as he stopped Sirius from racing to the building while he tried to hide his own doubt.
In the meantime Remus and Harry helped the girls off the ground and ran for cover as the Death-eaters were wildly throwing curses all around. "Harry as quickly as you can, get Bria back to the school." Remus said.
"But what about you and mom?" Bria asked.
"We'll be fine. I need to stay and help get the other kids back. Now you get to safety and I promise we will see you at the school." Dannie replied.
"Pssst, children over here." The elderly gentleman whispered. "Come on now." Bria grabbed Harry's hand and led him back to the shop that they came from. As they ran back to the building they wound up dodging curses along the way but finally made it inside. "Hurry, get under the counters" he continued he then picked up the flute he was whittling on earlier and started playing it. As he played the kids noticed a bubble forming around them. Right as they were fully surrounded the building exploded but the rubble didn't penetrate their shield. Bria heard her parents scream her name but Harry held her arms in order to keep her from leaving the shield.
The fighting continued until half the town had been destroyed and almost all the children were safely back to school grounds. The Sirius noticed two third year girls trying to outrun the curses being thrown at them. He then went over to try and help them to safety leaving Severus by himself to fight off the attackers.
The elderly man stopped playing his flute and the shield around them disappeared. He then led the kids through the rubble to the back alley. "Sir thank you again for your help." Bria said as she hugged him.
"Please call me Grandpa, everyone does. Now you two take care of one another and be careful."
"Sir, how did you.." Harry started to ask.
"Next time I see you I will explain it. Your parents are looking for you." He said.
Harry shook the man's hand and the ran through the alley when they saw Bria's parents. "Mom! Dad!" she yelled.
"Bria! Harry!" Dannie yelled in joy of seeing that the two of them were alright.
Severus heard his son's name called out so he turned around to see where it was coming from. Just at that time three Death-eaters come up from behind and all pointed their wands at him yelling "CRUCIO!" Severus fought it all he could but finally collapsed into unconsciousness.
Harry stiffened up from the pain of the curse that was cast and as soon as he was able to he went running towards them. One of the Death-eaters then pointed his wand at Harry and again yelled "Crucio!" while the other two picked up Severus' limp body and headed to where they originally came from. Harry then collapsed to one knee, which opened the attacker up to Remus' aim.
"Stupify" Remus yelled to stun the man and end the curse.
Harry then got back up and started running after the other two shouting "DAD! NO!"
Unfortunately they had already gotten away with Severus in tow.