Chapter 1 : The Revenge Plan
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Harry sat in the living room, peacefully reading The Best Quidditch Wins of the 20th Century, by Adalbert Bludgerhead, the great-grandson of the Falcons’ first coach, Theobert Bludgerhead. It was a nice summer night and one of the rare moments Harry had by himself. Ginny and Lily had gone to watch the Harpies play; Albus was spending the night at a friend’s place and James was over at Ron’s. Over the first half of the summer, 15 years old James had spent a lot of time with his godfather Ron and cousin Hugo, bonding over a shared loved for comic books. Harry would have preferred for James to be that passionate about his studies but, if it meant that he could have nights for himself, Harry didn’t really mind his son’s interests.
It was past 9 pm and Harry was reading about a particularly vicious game that took place in 1943 between the Wimbourne Wasps and the Falmouth Falcons when his reading time was abruptly cut short by James’ furious entrance in the room.
"Uncle Ron made me clean the entire attic of their house! Without magic!" James shouted as he sat aggressively in an armchair.
"Why? What did you do?" Harry asked, a bit scared of the answer. Surely his son must have done something awful to get this kind of punishment.
"We played a game of chess and I lost and THAT's the consequence he gave me!"
"You played chess with your godfather?" Harry asked cautiously.
"Yeah, so?" James asked angrily; angry at what his godfather made him do, but even more so because his father did not seem to be siding with him on the matter.
"Had you agreed on the wager?"
"We agreed the winner could ask the loser to do something for him," James said, confused.
"What? It's Uncle Ron! I thought he was going to ask me to bake him a pie of something, not clean the attic!"
"You don’t know your godfather well enough then. James you never, ever, agree to play chess with Ron before setting the wager first. Actually scratch that, never accept a bet or deal with anyone before clearly stating what is at stake."
"So you're saying I'm stupid to have done that and I deserve what I got?"
"No, I'm saying Ron played you. Learn your lesson and do not forget it. I’m also saying that you should get back at him for not playing straight with you," Harry explained, closing his book.
"What do you mean Dad?"
"Well James, I think it's time you and I both have a little bit of fun with Ron," Harry said, flashing his son a mischievous smile. James rarely saw this side of his dad and, as he was strongly reminded of his uncle George, he instantly hopped on.
When Ginny and Lily came back at midnight, they found the two guys in the kitchen, discussing over a piece of parchment. When he heard the girls walk in, James hurriedly hid the paper behind his back and gave his mum an innocent smile.
"Hey Mum, Lily, how was the game?" Ginny wasn't naive. After all, she grew up in the same house as Fred and George, and so, she wasn't fooled one second by her eldest son's attempted sweet talk.
"Great, the Harpies easily won 310 to 120. What are you hiding?" Lily asked in one breath. Apparently she too knew her brother well.
"Just a little something between James and I," Harry answered evasively. Seeing the two identical frowns on the new comers' faces, he added, "nothing to worry about." Ginny shook her head with a knowing smile.
"I find that hard to believe boys. But it's late and I'm pretty sure whatever you two are planning is not going to happen tonight, so my investigation can wait 'till morning. Lily and you too James, it's time for bed," Ginny told her children. James and Harry shared a look and a smile of complicity before the boy got up to hug his mother.
"Night Mum, I love you," he said before going upstairs, giving Lily a playful pat on the head when he passed by her .
"Good night to you too Jamesie," she shouted to her brother. She hugged both her parents, said her goodnights and followed upstairs.
"So, am I going to know what that was about?" she asked her husband as she led him to the master bedroom.
"Eventually," he said playfully, "but for now, it's between me and my son and it will stay like that until we decide otherwise."
"Well consider yourself lucky that, even though I'm pretty sure this is not going to turn out well, I'm happy to see you two do something together."
The next day, Harry and James found themselves a quiet spot in the soundproof library and spent the entire day preparing their revenge plan. What Ginny had told Harry the night before stayed with him and he realised that she was right; him and James barely ever spent time together anymore. They were both occupied with their own lives and, like any teenager, James was starting to spread his wings away from his parents a little more. Ginny and Harry respected that but, at the same time, they missed their son's energetic presence. By dinnertime, Harry and James walked out of the library with smug looks on their faces, empty stomachs and an apparently foolproof plan ready in their hands. The plan was to take place the next day, at Ron and Hermione's. Phase One would begin around 3 in the afternoon and until then, not one more word would be said about it.
The next day was a Friday and as usual, Ron had the day off with Rose and Hugo while Hermione was at work. James flooed to his godfather's place after lunchtime and asked them to play quidditch since he was alone at home and bored. The four of them played for over two hours, trying to score through Rose. She was going to tryout for the the Gryffindor quidditch team keeper spot next year and always enjoyed a bit of practice. When they were done, they walked back inside, Ron served everyone pumpkin juice and after cleaning up a bit, the two older guys went back to the kitchen to get butterbeers. Phase One of the revenge plan was about to start.
"Say Uncle Ron, can I ask you something?" James asked with a voice a bit higher than usual. He had to calm himself and act normal if there was a slight chance for it to work.
"Sure, go ahead," Ron said curiously as he got out the stuff to prepare dinner. He was a bit worried actually, but he was ready. If James was to ask something about sex, anything, he would send him straight back to his father. He was not ready to answer that and still had a couple years before Hugo asked these questions; Ron cherished these sex-talk-free years.
"You know when you made me clean the attic?" James asked innocently. Instantly, he saw his uncle relax and his ears went back to their normal colour.
"Yeah, thanks by the way. You left so fast the other day, I didn't have time to thank you," Ron said with a wide, evil grin.
'Yeah, no problem. The thing is, I found some stuff and I couldn't help but go through it." James now felt relaxed, in full control of the situation. Right that moment, he knew that Phase One of the plan would work beautifully. James took a fake-nervous breath and went on. "You see, at first I laughed but as kept on reading, I became really interested and I found myself agreeing completely with it, you know?"
"No James, I don't have a clue what you are talking about."
"I found some papers explaining about SPEW, you know? The Society for the Promotion of Elfish Welfare?" James had to hold a laugh as he saw his godfather go green at the simple mention of the word 'SPEW'. With a renewed passion, the teen went on, "I found it so well documented and the objectives touched me. I believe there is a necessity for SPEW to be started again but at a higher level. The wizarding world really is abusing of those poor creatures and do not respect all the work and loyalty these adorable helpers put on. We take for granted their presence and the work load they do for us every day but we don't recognise it, we don't recognise them Uncle Ron," James finished with a dramatic sigh.
"I, well, I don't know what to say," Ron said after a minute, his brain blank. He had thought that all this SPEW stuff was behind him but mostly, he could not believe such a speech was coming from James. Not that his godson didn't care about others; he sure cared about girls a lot! But to care for the house-elves' rights? As he thought about it, Ron had to admit that amongst all his nephews and nieces, James - along with Fred - was probably the last person he would have believed capable of such feelings toward other creatures. He was very surprised, to say the least.
"I can't wait to go back to Hogwarts to talk about this to my classmates but I feel it's not enough, we need to do more and, well, this is where what I have to ask you comes into play." James stopped to admire his work; his godfather had gone from green to white in the second it took for him to understand what he was about to ask. "You see, I saw your name right on top of the members' list so that's what gave me the idea to ask you. You're from a pureblood family and have been in contact with many, different house-elves in your life. Plus, you're a very important, well-known wizard amongst the wizarding community. People respect you and would listen to what you have to say. With you as a spokesperson for the Society for the Promotion of Elfish Welfare, we're sure that there will be changes made to the laws binding the poor creatures and giving them a much better life. What do you say?"
Ron was in complete despair. What James had said about him being a respected wizard had touched his pride; but SPEW? There was no way in hell he would publicly speak about SPEW and that was final. It had been awkward enough for him to go through fourth year with Hermione going on about it! Now he just needed a way to let James down nicely enough, but firmly, so he would not bother him again about it.
"First off James, I'm very pleased that you thought of me for the job, but you know me, I'm not very fond of talking in public and you need a great public speaker if you want the appropriate results. Merlin knows the house-elves deserve to have more freedom and I really don't think I would be doing a good job; it would pain me to not be of enough help for them. I could never do them justice enough and to me, I would feel like failing them and failing you," Ron finished, impressed by his own quick thinking. He gave a sorry smile to his godson and had to hold himself for not making a little jig when he saw James nod understandingly; it had worked!
"I appreciate your honesty uncle Ron. I still think you would have been perfect for the job but, I wouldn't want you feeling you failed the house-elves so I'll think about it a bit more over the rest of the summer, prepare my promotion for when I get back to Hogwarts." James said with a small smile. "Well I should go, mum and dad are probably back, wondering where I am. Bye!"
"Bye James," Ron let go of a deep breath he had not even realised he was holding. For a moment, he had been really scared. SPEW did not bring back good memories.
Chuckling to himself, Ron finished preparing dinner for his family, deciding it was better not to recall the situation to Hermione because he did not want to have another argument with her over SPEW; his entire fourth year was far enough for a lifetime!
An hour later, Hermione was back from work and dinner was served.
As the Granger-Weasley clan sat down to eat, Rose looked at her father with a furious gleam in the eye and said : "Dad I heard you talk with James earlier and I'm very disappointed about you turning him down. He's right you know, the wizarding world needs to be sensitised to the house-elves' rights and the laws needs to change. It's your job as an authority figure for the wizarding world to take a stand and make things change! I saw those papers James left and their lifestyle is horrible, we abuse them and you, you're just going to stand there and accept it?"
Ron choked on his steak upon hearing his daughter's furious tirade and suddenly, he began to understand. So that's what it was all about. James had planned for Rose to hear everything. After all, the moment someone said 'I need to ask you something' or 'can I tell you something?', that girl was instantly drawn to the conversation and eavesdropped; it was like an illness. She also had the same passion as her mother for social causes like this and, when he tought about it, amongst all his nephews and nieces, Rose - along with Lily – was certainly the likeliest of them to have such passionate feelings toward other creatures and their causes. Ron took a deep breath and sheepishly answered his daughter.
"You're right Rosie. I'm really sorry to disappoint you but you heard what I said, I don't feel up for the job. You know what you should do though? Talk to Lily about it; she'll help you spread the word. Between the two of you, and with James, you can certainly get Harry to be your spokesperson. He’s always been so good with house-elves like Dobby and Kreacher and he's a great public speaker. If you want, I can help you get Harry to accept the position; I'll give you pointers and all."
"You would do that Dad?" Rose asked her father sweetly.
"Anything for you Princess," Ron said, smiling mischievously to himself. 'Potters,' he thought, 'You wanted to bring me down with SPEW, well, I'm bringing you down with me.'
So, what did you think of it? I'm still a brand new writer so I would really appreciate if you took 25 seconds of your special time to review what you just read. Constructive criticism always makes me happy!