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Chapter 22 : By Good Merlin, They're Famous
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22. By Good Merlin, They’re Famous
Lunch at the Potters was a big thing, to say the least.
A shindig, you might say.
For starters, the room we were inside was basically huge. It was “Uncle Harry said that he was sick of the cupboards.” Hugo had informed my brightly, watching my jaw drop as we approached the house. I didn’t react quite normally to this news, with wide eyes and a maniacal grin. The revelation that Harry Potter actually lived in a cupboard was enough to make me realise that I was actually standing right in front of his house. Nonetheless, it was overwhelming enough.
The house itself was about the same size as the Weasley house. Only it was a little grander. Only by a tiny margin, the Potter house was a little more sophisticated. With tall white walls, and a sleek grey roof, it simply came across as the house of a man who could finally relax.
Not that I hadn’t seen the house before. It seemed to be the constant backdrop of most of the photos that Harry Potter was in these days. Feel good articles about how he was now a family man, and how he was doing ‘ten years later’ were constantly talking about the Potter House.
Inside, it was different as well.
Albus and Scorpius had greeted us at the door—even though we clearly weren’t the first to arrive.
“Sorry about the anally clean rooms.” Albus said instantly. “Mum makes sure we keep downstairs clean—we have so many photo shoots and interviews down here that my mum decided we should just live in the other two floors.”
I frowned slightly, nodding however, as it made sense. I wish I had a three story house.
I could see Fred in a far off group—standing far straighter than usual and actually looking interested about what was being said. Beside him, a man who looked just like him—only a bit older, was holding the little Irena in his arms. A could only assume that was his pa, George Weasley.
That was another thing about this luncheon.
There were at least forty people standing around and drinking casually as they discussed the latest events.
“Good afternoon, Mr. Weasley.” Scorpius greeted Ron.
Ron glowered at him. “And you, Mister Malfoy—keep in mind that I have my eye on you…” he said slowly.
I stared at the moment awkwardly for a moment, until the two of them both let grins split on their faces. “Sup man?” he said grinning—holding out his hand.
Ron grasped it tightly, and pulled Scorpius into a man hug/chest bump that was so popular with the boys these days.
“They bonded over their mutual insane overprotective-ness of Rosie,” Albus whispered in my ear, sending a nice shiver down my spine as his hand rested at the small of my back.
Rose gave me a knowing look, as did Hermione.
I coughed, suddenly alarmed, and looked away from the two of them.
“Alright, gorgeous,” Ron said, wrapping his hand around Hermione’s waist. “Are you ready to mingle?”
Hermione grinned, leaning into him as they both examined the large crowd. “As always,” she said in affirmation. “Mingling is what we do.”
I grinned, watching them walk away. It was a little strange, watching Ron and Hermione interact. They had somehow managed to do what nearly no other adult ever had. They had managed to retain some of that inherently adolescent air of a relationship that usually fizzled out with the words ‘I do.’ It was strange, and somewhat inspiring.
“We have to introduce you to everyone.” Rose said, enthusiastically. “Especially Uncle Harry and Aunt Ginny. They’ve been dying to meet you.”
Scorpius snorted. “No kidding. All Al does these days is talk about you. I think they were beginning to think you were an idealistic imaginary friend.”
I flushed happily, and grinned like a man who had just won the lottery—while Albus glared daggers at Scorpius. Luckily enough, however, we were saved the awkwardness of discussing this little turn of events as hands covered my eyes, and a recognisably playful voice said, “Hey Dalton, guess who?”
Despite the thrill of disappointment that ran through me as Fred addressed me with the name that was inherently Eric’s nickname for me, I couldn’t help but grin.
“Do mine ears detect that of my husband?” I said curiously, naturally leaning away form the fingers that covered my eyes.
“That they do, my dear,” Fred said, removing his hands and stepping forward, draping an arm across my should casually—and in the exact same fashion his uncle had on the day of my arriving at the Weasley home. “And said husband is extremely glad to see you.”
I frowned, turning to look at him. “And why, pray tell, is that?” I asked, interested in why my presence was such a good thing at this house.
Fred looked at me seriously.
“Your sister in law spilled the beans,” he said frankly. “And your dear husband has been receiving some lip from your family in law.”
I stared at him.
“Yes, yes,” Fred continued, interpreting my blatant look of confusion as one of understanding. “Irena, sweet thing, let my dearest mother and father know about my marital status, and they have been simply demanding to meet you since then.”
I chuckled at this. Fred’s over use of the posh English voice seemed to suit him—especially as he knew exactly what words to use to make it all the more convincing. Of course, the humour of the situation didn’t prevent me from seeing the other side.
I was to be introduced to George and Angelina Weasley.
As their daughter-in-law.
And, if they were anywhere near as observant as their own sister in law, they would quickly be able to tell that I had the hots for their nephew.
Which is just a tad awkward.
“Come, come now sweets.” Fred said, holding out his arm for me to take. I looped my hand through the crook of his elbow and nervously followed him on the quick walk to meet his parents. Rose, Al and Scorpius trailed behind us, watching us clearly very entertained at my predicament.
“Mother, Father,” Fred got their attention quickly, still not abandoning the fake accent he was so good at. “It is my pleasure to introduce you to Mrs. Katie Weasley.” He said.
I frowned. “Mrs. Katie Dalton-Weasley.” I corrected him. “I kept my last name, remember?”
At George and Angelina Weasley’s amused looks, I inwardly kicked myself.
Perhaps I should just stay quiet and let Fred do the talking.
“It’s nice to meet you, Katie,” Angelina said, smiling as she leaned forward to take my hand. I gripped it the way I had been taught by my father when we used to go to church—firm, but not too firm. Confident, was the word he used most often. Apparently it worked.
When George let go of my hand, after he too had shaken it, he looked at me, impressed.
“That’s a fine hand shake you’ve got there, Miss Dalton-Weasley,” he said appraisingly.
It didn’t stop me from flushing with embarrassment.
“Mrs, actually, Uncle George,” Albus leaned forward and corrected his uncle. “Mrs. Dalton-Weasley.”
Well, it was evident my so-called friend were just loving this.
George just grinned however, and brushed off his nephew’s smart aleck remark. “Irena’s told us all about you,” George told me with a grin. He shifted a little, lifting said three year old a little higher on his waist, and then standing normally again. She was sleeping soundly, with her thumb jammed in her mouth and her other arm wrapped tightly around her father’s neck.
I grinned at the small toddler.
“All good things, don’t worry.” Angelina assured me. “But its far more than Fred’s told us,” she looked at me closely. “Although he’s told us enough. Are you alright?”
For a moment, I was entirely confused as to what she was talking about. But Fred seemed to sense this, and jumped to my rescue.
“She’s fine, ma,” he said leaning forward, putting n extra meaning into the words—like he was subtly trying to tell her to drop it. “The thing with the Smither’s family is smoothing over actually. I was tired when I told you. It was inaccurate.”
I felt the usual pang of guilt at the idea of Eric and Emily, but pushed it away from me. They didn’t matter. They weren’t going to ruin my day. Instead I focused on the entirely too flattering idea that Fred had talked about me and my life in that much detail.
Angelina seemed to see this.
“Don’t be too surprised, honey,” she said sweetly. “You’re dramatic last couple of months is all we adults can talk about these days. In fact, we mothers talk about it every time we get together.”
I stared at her.
There was a moment of dreadful silence when I couldn’t seem to spit anything out.
Then Angelina laughed lightly. “I’m joking, Katie dear. I just hope life isn’t too hard for you at the moment.”
After I assured her that my life was most certainly not that bad, she and George excused themselves to go and talk an attractive blonde woman, who apparently worked at the shop with George, and her Wolfman partner,
There was that much hair.
“S’just Verity,” Fred told me as we turned and walked aimlessly through the crowd. “I used to have this massive thing for her when I was fourteen. That bloke with her is her Russian beefcake of a fiancé. I used to hate him.”
That wouldn’t surprise me.
“Hey look,” Albus said as we meandered. “There’s mum.” He once again let his hand rest on my back. “Come on Katie, she’ll kill me if I don’t introduce you two.”
Ordinarily, meeting the relatives was always a strange thing to do. But at this particular party, it was all I could do to not screech excitedly with every new person who seemed to want to meet me.
This is Ginny damn Potter, for god’s sake.
Ginny Potter had a style that I hadn’t quite seen on any other person before. Not quite the sophisticated working mother look that Hermione had pegged so accurately, Ginny seemed observably more relaxed. She was wearing jeans and a black long sleeved skivvy—with a pale white scarf wrapped around her neck. Her hair was pulled up into an elegant bun, and she had a grey, smooth cardigan pulled over hr shoulders. Her feet were, on the other hand, donned in high black heels that added an air of elegance to her ensemble—and her wand was sticking casually from a jean pocket.
Beside Hermione, I could see the contrast between the two as we approached. Hermione was once again clothed in an elegant button up shirt and some black dress pants. The belt around her high waist made the sophisticated clothing look a little more modern, although she remained as classy as she always seemed to be. Hermione towered above Ginny, wearing ankle high boots that were heeled at about the same height as Ginny’s. Hermione’s hair, on the other hand, was out, and resting in gentle curls on her shoulders.
I suddenly felt extremely meagre approaching the two women.
“Quick. Rose, how’s my hair?” I demanded—instantly anxious to make a good impression upon Mrs. Potter.
“Relax, Katie.” Rose advised me. “She’s just another person. You’ve done brilliantly with my parents. Aunt Ginny is no different.”
If she termed me falling clumsily into her father’s surprised arms after a rogue portkey turned a tad homicidal, ‘brilliant’ then I was very nervous to think about her expectations for this meeting.
“You look gorgeous, Katie,” Albus said to me quietly. “As per usual.”
Albus’s comment jolted the worries out of me, sending me floating obliviously towards the two influential women as I focused solely on the idea that Albus thought I was gorgeous. I giggled, stupidly.
“Al,” Scorpius said with an exasperated sigh, “we’ve talked about this. What’s the rule about complimenting a chick before they’re about to do something serious?”
Albus grumbled. “Never do it, because it distracts them from the ultimate goal.”
Scorpius petted Albus on the head, proudly. “Good. Don’t do it again.”
Clearly, looking at my own example, Scorpius had a point. Said point, in fact, brought me rocketing back to earth, mere seconds before we were close enough to bring both Hermione’s and Ginny’s attention to me.
“Uh… hi.” I said dully, entirely unaware of what I should do in this situation. It was easier meeting Rosie’s parents. I had common ground—foundation stones, if you will—to start with. ‘Thank you for letting me stay in your humble abode’ and all that jazz. With Ginny Potter, ‘hi’ was really all I had to offer.
Rose sighed, annoyed, and shoved me aside.
“Sorry Aunt Gin,” she apologised to Ginny, who was watching me with a peculiar grin on her face. “Katie has some eloquence issues. We’re working on it.”
“In her defence,” Scorpius added, with what I’m sure were ulterior motives, “Albus did just compliment her, and as every man knows—you never attempts conversation until at least two minutes post-compliment.”
Hermione quirked an amused brow. “Really now, Scorpius?” She said sceptically. “And where did you learn this?”
Scorpius grinned brightly. “Years of experience, Ma’am,” he said—managing to sound respectful even with his god-awful smirk on his face.
“And are these guidelines recorded, by any chance?” Hermione queried.
Scorpius nodded proudly. “Course they are,” he said, as though it was the most obvious thing in the world. “We call it, ‘The Guide to Girls, from the Sex God’s Themselves.’”
I would not be surprised if that was the truth of it.
Hermione laughed lightly, “I’m sure,” she said, eyes sparkling. “Come now, Scorpius, Albus. I’m going to go find Ron and ask what’s happened to your father,” she looked pointedly at Al, “You can both tell me about this ‘guide’ on the way.” She smirked at Ginny as she turned, both her nephew and Scorpius trailing behind her—eager to explain.
“It all started in fourth year,” Scorpius began to narrate. “When Al and I discovered that girls didn’t just posses cooties and all things gross and contagious—and there was something to be said for kissing the—”
Hermione interrupted him. “—Not quite so much detail, Scorpius darling, if you don’t mind. I’d like to retain at least the semblance of belief that you two aren’t entirely lost of innocence.”
Rose and I exchanged glances at that one. Only a very hard imagination would be able to pull that feat off easily.
“So, you’re Katie Dalton, then?” Ginny said, smiling warmly at me.
I nodded, holding out my hand for her to shake. She took it, and then smiled at me again. “Al talks all about you, you know.” She told me with a bright grin—one that mirrored Al’s perfectly.
The idea that Albus talked about me at home had me grinning on the outside—and dancing a strange unfamiliar jig on the inside.
Rose grinned, as well as Fred, but I was sure to make sure they both understood exactly what I thought of the idea.
Even if it was an excellent ego boost.
“Al talks about everyone,” I said casually. “But it’s nice that I’m included in that denomination.”
Ginny laughed brightly. Then she looked at me slightly, examining me slightly.
“Gin!” I heard a rather loud shout, and George Weasley entered. “This food is brilliant. Did you make this?”
Ginny nodded, staring at George with a raised eyebrow.
“Blimey…” George took another large bite of the small appetizer, and moaning slightly. “Mum’s been giving you lessons then?”
Ginny shook her head. “Kreacher,” she corrected him. Then she turned back to me.
“So, I hear you fancy my son.”
I stared at Ginny Potter with wide eyes, pale white and entirely oblivious to Fred and Rosie’s bemused chuckles/giggles.
That is cripplingly embarrassing.
I let the moment settle—wanting nothing more than for the ground to open wide and swallow me whole, and praying to god that Albus had silently approached in the last couple of seconds.
“Are you sure that’s what you heard? It could be inaccurate.”
George, despite being absolutely enthralled with his finger food until that point, seemingly sensed the awkward moment, and reaching up to his head with his free hand—he tightly grasped his left ear.
“Want me to lend you an ear?”
And with that the moment was forgotten—with Ginny Weasley berating her older brother for once again pulling off his synthetic ear, and reminding him exactly how gross it was.
The only table that I had ever seen larger than the one we sat at now, was the tables for the houses in the great hall. And they for designed specifically to expand and shrink with every new student who came to sit there.
This one, was entirely muggle in it’s making—and was very clearly expensive. It was so long, I’m sure it needed to be charmed so that it could fit through the door, but other than that—it was totally normal.
Every guest was seated comfortably at the table, with plates and bowls already set out for us to eat from. We were still on the ground floor, so the marble floors of this room and the white walls were entirely spotless.
“Now,” Ginny said, standing at the end of the table. She smiled down at all of the guests—who were work friends of something of the Potters. “This meal, I did not cook. So before we eat, a big thanks to Kreacher, who has created this delicious lunch for everyone.”
She wasn’t kidding.
The food was sublime—despite how strange it sounds to use that word.
Surprisingly, and for the first time that I had witnessed, all three boys ate their food slowly, despite the excellent quality. Not stuffing their faces like they usually did, they all took part in casual conversation as the lunch progressed.
I was with Fred. We had all be split up, so we could mingle—and by chance Fred and I had been seated together. Albus was across the thin table, but a few seats down from me, so it would have been strange to speak with him.
Scorpius and Rose were down the other end of the table, discussing something enthusiastically. If you had ever read a muggle magazine, you could clearly read the body language .Something about torsos leaning towards each other, and hands facing upwards, and legs crossed to the left rather than the right.
Not that I could see their legs.
Being at a table and all.
“Now Katie,” Fred said to me seriously. “Rose filled me in on what happened when you went shopping.”
Ah. Good. For a moment I had forgotten.
Knowing myself, I could feel my face colour, and Fred clearly noticed. “Now, now,” he continued, patting my knee affectionately. “No need to be embarrassed. It was a simple mistake.”
“Exactly!” I said brightly, glad to have found an ally. “That’s exactly what I said—”
“Bleeding hilarious, mind you,” Fred however, continued. “but simple.”
I closed my mouth, and glowered at him.
He grinned brightly back.
“I hear you’re bunking with me uncle.” He commented casually, after I had grown tired of glaring daggers at the back of his head. He grinned cheekily at me. “Good luck with that.”
I shrugged. “I’ve met him before,” I said, “and he was cool then.”
Fred frowned, confused. “When have you met him?” he asked, frowning. I opened my mouth to reply, but he beat me to it. “No wait,” he said, “don’t tell me. You have a shrine, dedicated to him, in your bedroom. Am I right?”
“No,” I said indignantly. “You are not right.”
“Then where, oh where, did you meet dear old uncle Fred?”
“Sixth floor corridor,” I said simply, with another shrug of my shoulders. “He was the one who directed me to your common room when you thought I was angry about what happened with Eric’s family.”
I then quickly recounted the entire story to him—including the embarrassingly long time it took me to figure out exactly who/what was speaking to me, and the confusing comment about who I was—that I still hadn’t forgotten. Fred snorted at the end, but then frowned—evidentially thinking about something.
“Hmm,” he said thoughtfully. “I will have to have a word with him about that.” He said.
It was my turn to frown. “What? Isn’t he allowed to talk to me?”
Fred sighed. “Katie, my dear. You are a Hufflepuff-ian. My dear ex-Uncle shouldn’t be giving away the top secret location of the illustrious Gryffindor common room.”
“What’s wrong with Hufflepuff?” I asked, a tad offended. “I’ll have you know that we Puffians are far more intelligent and trustworthy than you all believe.”
Fred stared at me. “Katie, my dear simple minded wife,” he said slowly. “Your house is renowned for being loyal. I’m quite sure everyone thinks you’re trustworthy.”
He had a point.
“Still.” I said, grasping at my now pointless argument. “I’m right.”
Fred just smirked.
“Shut up,” I grumbled, stabbing a piece of my potato and putting it grumpily in my mouth.
As I continued to moodily chew on my delicious potato, Fred looked to Albus, up the table from us, and talking energetically with Angelina.
“Oi, Al!” He said loudly, earning a few looks. He grinned guiltily at them, ignoring the suddenly disproving look he was getting from his mother.
Albus twisted his torso in his seat so he was facing us.
“Where’s your dad?” Fred asked. I made a point to continue chewing—even though at had already swallowed most of my potato. I wasn’t quite sure how I was going to react when Harry Potter did arrive. I could already feel the ever present anxiety in my stomach bubbling and churning more so than usual.
Albus shrugged. “Uncle Ron said that he got called to some important thing about those escaped death eaters—” again, I felt the now normal shiver of distress whenever they were mentions. “—should be here soon.” Al turned to me. “You excited then, Katie?”
Deer in the headlights, is the common expression for the look that I’m sure was now masking my features.
Both Albus and Fred shared an appreciative laugh.
Glad to know I’m here to entertain.
Luckily enough for me, four hours after lunch had finished, Rose’s family was the only one to remain at the Potter’s. Everyone had slowly said their goodbyes, with the crowd thinning gradually until it was just the two families—and finally we were allowed upstairs.
I’ll say one thing.
Albus wasn’t exaggerating when he said that they were on show downstairs, and hidden upstairs. Walking up the carpeted stairs—that were hidden by a wall, but twisted around a small area in the back corner—I suddenly understood what he meant. It was as though, crossing the last step, there was suddenly an entirely different atmosphere in the Potter House.
Upstairs, it was messier. More natural. Lily had clearly been in the lounge—discarded magazines lay on the table and the couch—even though it was a little strange to see Lily flicking past an article about her and her own life as she skimmed through one. She was sitting on the couch now, feet curled up under her as Hugo snored softly at the other end of the sofa.
I was out on the balcony. Albus was with me, sitting on one of the two deck chairs, with his head resting back and his arms looking very attractive in his tight white t-shirt. He had been wearing a jacket earlier—it was leather, with a sheep-skin lining that made in extra warm and that I knew all about because he had offered it to me when I was shivering. He seemed impervious to the cold of the snow all around us.
I didn’t mind. The coat smelt just like him.
I was very happy to wear it.
Rose and Scorpius were both playing chess. With Fred literally incapable of speech (a perfectly executed silencio courtesy of Rose had seen to that) they were evenly matched, and both quite able to win.
But the match never ended. Half way between Albus pointing out to me exactly which collection of stars was ‘Sirius’ I heard the all to familiar whoosh of flames that always came with someone flooing.
“I’m so sorry for missing lunch today, love, work was a bloody nightmare.”
Sweet crappers on a holy stick.
“That’s fine, Harry,” Ginny said. “It went fine without you.” She stood from her seat at the bench with Hermione, and kissed him quickly before taking another sip of her steaming hot coffee. “the food was brilliant.”
Oh, my god.
Oh, my god.
“Oh, my god…” I breathed out, electing to ignore Albus’s amused smirk.
Harry Potter grinned down at Kreacher. “Good work,” he advised the house elf. The house elf simply nodded its head and got back to working on the dishes—which Ron was helping him dry.
“Hey sweetheart,” Harry acknowledged his daughter. “What are you reading?”
”Jinxed,” Lily said simply, referring to one of the popular tween magazines.
...there is no exclamation of incredulity that cane fully explain exactly how I’m feeling at the moment other than:
Harry Potter rolled his eyes, smirked slightly at the obliviously sleeping Hugo, and looking amused at Scorpius’s and Rose’s intense game. He nodded to Ron, before noticing Albus and I outside.
I hastily looked away, trying to pretend I hadn’t been staring at him. Albus snorted.
I heard the sliding door slide open.
And promptly began to hyperventilate.
“Al? What are you doing out here? It’s freezing…” Harry advised his son.
Albus shrugged. “S’not that cold,” he said. “Sides, I was showing Katie the stars.”
I grinned, flushing at the idea that Albus was talking about me to Harry sodding Potter.
Harry looked interestedly at me, holding out his hand for me to shake, and smiling at me softly. “You must be Katie Dalton,” he said. “Al talks about you all the time.”
I’ve heard that before.
About ten times, as a matter of fact.
But not from HARRY FRACKING POTTER!!!!
“He talks about everyone,” I reinstated my earlier point, trying to make my minor hyperventilation problem appear less conspicuous. “It’s really nice to meet you Mr. Harry Potter” I flinched at how moronic that sounded. “Uh… Mr. Potter.” That sounded anally retentive, so I tried one more time. “Sir?”
Albus chuckled. “See, dad, Katie’s a little obsessed with you.”
I felt my face go puce.
I am going to kill him.
I momentarily considered what Harry Potter’s reaction would be to me throttling his son in front of him.
Or pushing him off the balcony.
I deduced that he would be unimpressed, so I opted to not hurt Al.
Or, at least not in front of his father.
Hopefully the look of pure hatred that I attempted to send Al conveyed exactly how I planned to murder him as soon as his father left his sight.
“I’m not, obsessed,” I hastened to correct Al. “I, I’m just… well, you see I’m a fan. Of your work. The…uh, saving of the world and all that.”
Sweet Merlin someone kill me.
Harry laughed appreciatively. “Yeah, I know some other people who feel that way.”
Albus snorted again.
Harry grinned at me. “Well, it was very nice to meet you Katie. But while you may be comfortable standing out in the cold, it seems you’ve taken the only jacket on offer.” His gaze flicked to the jacket that I’m sure he recognised to be his sons and he smirked.
Or rather, so much blood ran to my face that by rights, my face should have exploded.
He smiled one more time before pulling his head back inside and closing the door.
Despite the fact that I was still wearing his amazingly warm and comfortable wool-lined leather jacket, despite the fact that I was inside his beautiful mansion of a house, and despite the fact that he had just been introduced by him to his very famous father—I still narrowed my eyes at Albus, scowl masking my features, and ready to tell him how it was.
“Thanks a lot, you stupid arse.”
And Albus didn’t do anything, except laugh.
TADA! We meet Harry Potter? I think I made Ginny come across as a bitch, so I’ll work on that in the future chapters—and I tried to fit a George worthy joke in there concerning his ear.
Well, its late, and I’m going to get in trouble from my roommate if I stay up any later. So please review and give me your thoughts. Thanks for reading.
PS. As a piece of advice to all of you, listen to ‘Harry and the Potters’ and ‘Draco and the Malfoys.’ They’re these bands that are on youtube and are absolutely hilarious. I have all their songs, I’m I listening to one right now.
PPS. I know that meeting Harry might have seemed like a bit of an anti-climax, but I’m thinking, Katie deserves a bit of good luck occasionally. And, I figured, meeting Harry Potter would just be this scenario where Katie is meeting this idol who she can’t fathom how to act around. So, yeah, I kept it down low for a reason. :P
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