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Matters of the Hart by Flavia
Chapter 29 : Easter
 
Rating: 15+Chapter Reviews: 15


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“That was him at the train station the other day.  His father is Harry Potter.  He’s the head of the Auror department at the ministry of magic, he’s a very respected man…Mr. Potter that is, not James; although James is very respected too.”  ~Tabitha Hart

 




“Tabby, have you seen my blue jumper?  You know the one that my parents sent me for Christmas?” Natalie called from behind her bed.  Tabitha poked her head out from the bathroom.

“Did you say something Nat?” She asked, a bottle of shampoo in her hand.

“Never mind, I found it!” Natalie waved the navy top in the air.  The girls were busy with last minute packing for their trip home for the Easter holidays.  Tabitha was going to miss James and her friends, but she could barely contain her excitement at finally going home and seeing her father.  She shoved her shampoo into the small suitcase she was taking home and closed it, finally having finished her packing. When the others had stuffed their suitcases full, they stacked them in the hallway for the house elves and headed down for a quick breakfast.

Rowan, James, Charlie, Rheydyn and Mitchell were already sitting at the Gryffindor table when the girls joined them.  Rheydyn’s parents were away visiting relatives in Canada so she was staying at school for the Easter holidays and therefore hadn’t needed to engage in the last minute packing madness.  James pecked Tabitha on the cheek and she tried to hide a quick glance across to the Ravenclaw table.

“He’s not there,” James said tensely, although there was a smile on his face.  “Although I don’t know why you care, it’s none of his business anyway.”

“I’m sorry,” Tabitha apologised, squeezing James’s hand under the table and planting a quick kiss on his lips.  A third year Hufflepuff at the next table burst in to tears in her porridge, Tabitha blushed and busied herself with buttering her toast.

It wasn’t long before all of the applicable students were summoned to make their way down to the Hogsmeade station.  Rheydyn looked quite forlorn and sad to be saying goodbye but at the last second, Charlie gave her a quick and awkward peck on the cheek and she waved them off with flaming cheeks and a broad smile.  The remaining seven Gryffindors gathered their cloaks and travelling bags and traipsed down the long gravel driveway to the train platform on the edge of the village.  The compartments of the Hogwarts Express were really only designed to host six students, but as their number was only one more than that, the sixth years managed to squeeze in together.  Tabitha curled up in the corner, against the window and threw her legs over James’s lap.

“Comfortable?” He asked, an amused smile turning up the corners of his mouth. 

“Very,” She replied cheerfully as the train began to pull away from the station.  “Thank you for asking.”  Tabitha smiled to herself as she remembered the last time she had been on the Hogwarts Express; she’d almost hexed James that day.  Things had changed a lot since September: Tabitha had experienced her first boyfriend, first kiss and first date, not to mention her first breakup and second boyfriend.  She’d also discovered a letter from her mother, learned that Annabeth had been murdered and been through several near-death experiences herself.

She hadn’t said anything, not even to James, but Tabitha was a little nervous about leaving Hogwarts.  Despite the fact that she’d been in the hospital wing far too many times this year, she had also been surrounded by a large amount of highly accomplished witches and wizards in a building that was protected with countless powerful spells.  Tabitha knew her father was protected because he lived as a muggle, but she was all too aware that she had very little protection herself whilst in the Muggle world.  Tabitha chewed on her lip as she considered all of this, watching the countryside race past outside the window.  After some time, she felt James push some of her hair behind her ear and she looked up at him expectantly.

“You alright?” He asked quietly.  “You been staring out that window for over an hour now.”

“Really?” Tabitha asked, shocked that it had been that long.  She quickly glanced around the compartment.  Charlie and Mitchell were engaged in a game of Wizard’s Chess; Annie, legs tucked beneath her, was perusing the latest Madam Malkin’s catalogue; and Natalie and Rowan were missing altogether.

“Something’s bothering you,” James said.  It wasn’t a question, but rather a very perceptive statement.  Tabitha watched him for a moment and then let out a reluctant sigh.

“Do you think I’ll be safe at home?” She asked, her voice low.  “You know, Dad’s a muggle and all, he can’t protect me from any sort of…magical attack.”

“I’ve been thinking about that,” James nodded his head thoughtfully.

“You have?” Tabitha couldn’t hide the surprise in her voice.

“Of course I have; you think you’re the only one who worries about keeping you safe?” He said.  Tabitha smiled at him as a warm tingle spread through her limbs.  James always seemed to be able to make her feel better.  “I think I should tell my Dad about the letter,” He continued. 

“No,” Tabitha replied instantly.  “James you can’t tell anyone!” She struggled to keep her voice down but the others were immersed in their activities and didn’t seem to notice the hushed conversation.

“Look, he’s an auror, he’s fought this type of wizard before; he can help,” James pleaded, his eyes boring into hers.  “Tabby he’s my Dad, we can trust him.”  There was that word…trust.  Tabitha found it hard to trust people completely anymore, but she trusted James and James trusted his Dad, so maybe it would be alright.

“Ok you can tell your Dad, but nobody else,” Tabitha relented and James let out a sigh of relief. “and he can’t tell anyone else either,” She added. 

“But…” James began to argue.

“Nobody else,” Tabitha repeated firmly.  James could see he wasn’t going to win that argument so he nodded his head.

“Ok, only Dad, nobody else,” he agreed before leaning down to kiss her.

“Oi you two, why don’t you go get a room!” Rowan exclaimed, announcing his and Natalie’s return to the compartment.  James broke out of the kiss and glanced over his shoulder.

“Well I can see you two found one, that’s for sure,” he said, nodding at Rowan’s crooked jumper and Natalie’s ruffled hair.  The two blushed and straightened their clothes before sitting down.  The return of Rowan and Natalie changed the mood in the compartment.  Annie put her catalogue away and they all watched the last ten minutes of Charlie and Mitchell’s game, cheering on their enchanted pieces as they attacked each other.  Eventually, Mitchell emerged victorious, sending Charlie off to look for the trolley witch so he could buy sweets for everyone.  The remainder of the trip was spent in laugher and conversation as they ate sweets and practised Charm and Transfiguration spells.  Tabitha felt much more relaxed after her conversation with James, although when the announcement came that they were about half an hour away from London, she began to tense up again.

“Hey, it’s going to be fine,” James assured her, squeezing her hand gently.  “I won’t let anything happen to you.”

“It’s not that,” Tabitha said slowly, giving him a weak smile.  “Um…James I haven’t…um, well…” She stammered nervously, causing James to look extremely confused and even more worried than earlier.  “I haven’t told my Dad about you…well about us really,” She managed to say. “And maybe the train platform isn’t the best place for him to find out, you know in case he doesn’t take it very well,” she added.  James’s eyes widened in understanding, and he nodded his head.  “I thought I’d tell him once I got home, he doesn’t even know about Peter, not really, and I didn’t want to tell him in a letter,” She was begging him to understand with her eyes, praying he wouldn’t be hurt by this. 

“It’s ok, I understand,” James nodded, although his own eyes seemed to have lost their usual spark.  “I’ll just have to kiss you goodbye now then,” and without further explanation he pulled Tabitha to her feet and dragged her from the compartment.  “Be back in a minute,” he called over his shoulder to the others.  The couple made their way down the corridor, looking for an empty compartment.  They couldn’t find one, but there was a small alcove near the end of the carriage, where the door was.  James pulled Tabitha into the alcove and wrapped his arms around her waist, kissing her with more passion than usual.  Tabitha gasped as her heart leapt into her throat and she kissed James back with just as much enthusiasm.

“Wow, that was some goodbye kiss!” She exclaimed breathlessly when James let her go. 

“Well I’m not going to get to do it for a while so I wanted to make it a good one in case you forget about me,” James said.  “You know there might be some nice muggle boy in your village…”

“You’re so cute when you’re jealous,” Tabitha laughed, standing on her tiptoes to kiss him again.

“Can I write to you?” James asked.  “Does your Dad mind owls?”

“He loves owls,” Tabitha laughed.  “He thinks magical creatures are brilliant.”

“Well then expect one every day,” James warned, ducking his head for one last kiss before they made their way back to the compartment.

Before long, the small, quaint houses and barns of the countryside blended into the towering buildings of the city and the train began to slow.  Tabitha spotted her father straight away on the platform, chatting with Natalie’s mother.  She quickly scanned the rest of the crowd but couldn’t see the Potters.

“I can’t see your Mum or Dad,” she said over her shoulder to James as they climbed from the train, dragging their bags with them.

“Oh, no they’re both at work today, so I’m going home with Auntie Hermione,” He explained, pointing out his frizzy haired relative about halfway down the platform and with a quick longing smile, he left her and joined his throng of cousins. 

“Tabby! How are you my little chicken!” Luke cried as Tabitha threw her arms around her father’s neck.  It had been far too long since she had seen him and she inhaled deeply, enjoying the familiar scent of his shaving cream mingled with hay.  After a quick goodbye to Natalie and Annie, Tabitha linked arms with her father and they made their way through the barrier out into the busy muggle train station.  “So how has your year been?  I want to hear everything,” Luke babbled as they weaved through the crowds.

“Tabitha!” A female voice broke through the noise of Kings Cross and both Tabitha and her father turned at the call.  Hermione Weasley, five children following her, made her way over to them, a broad smile on her face.  She wrapped Tabitha up in a warm hug and smiled at her again.  “I saw you there and just had to say hello.  Oh sorry,” she suddenly said, holding out her hand to Luke.  “I’m Hermione Weasley, I’m – ”

“Rose’s Mum,” Tabitha interrupted, finishing the sentence.  She wasn’t sure if Hermione had been about to say ‘James’s Aunt’ but she wasn’t going to take that risk. “You know, Rose is on the Quidditch team,” She added, nodding towards the small brunette.

“Mrs. Weasley, yes of course,” Luke smiled, shaking Hermione’s hand.  “You did some work with my late wife, Annabeth I believe.” 

“Yes, I did, that’s right!” Hermione beamed.  Tabitha forced herself to watch the two adults, fully aware that James was only a few feet away, no doubt watching her with an amused grin of his own.  “And then in February, Tabitha here saved our Rosie’s life.  You’ve got quite a talented daughter,” She smiled down at Tabitha again.

“Saved her life?” Luke looked down at Tabitha too, though with a look of confusion.

“Oh yes, Rose was accidentally poisoned and Tabitha and my nephew James here managed to get her to the hospital wing and secure an antidote,” Tabitha still didn’t look at James, but she noticed her father’s eyes flick in the direction that Hermione had indicated.  “I’m surprised she didn’t tell you, but then again she does seem to be a very modest young woman,” the older woman continued.  “Well I must get going, I’m sure the children are all quite tired and you will be wanting to get home.”

“Yes, right, well it was lovely to meet you Mrs Weasley,” Luke smiled.

“Oh please call me Hermione; Mrs Weasley is my mother-in-law,” She laughed in response before leading the five students away through the crowd again.

“Saved her life did you?” Luke raised an eyebrow at Tabitha before putting an arm over her shoulder and leading her towards the car park.  “Sounds like you’ve had an interesting couple of terms.”

 




Tabitha soaked up the spring sunshine during the first few days of holidays, playing with Bosco in the garden and taking long walks down to the village to visit Miss Peach.  The local baker greeted Tabitha like a long lost relative and sent her home with boxes full of baked goodies.  When she came around to cook them dinner on the third night of the holidays, it became blindingly obvious how much her father and Lauren Peach got along with each other.  They laughed and joked like young lovers and blushed furiously whenever they were caught looking at each other.  Tabitha feigned ignorance and pretended she noticed nothing, but decided it was nice to see her father so happy.

Every day, Tabitha received an owl from James and often when she would send him letters with Gerry, she would get a note back in the evening.  She still hadn’t worked up the nerve to tell her father about James, but three days before Easter, Tabitha received a letter that forced her to make a decision.  It was a little note that arrived shortly before dinner one afternoon with Gerry, who had returned from delivering Tabitha’s letter.

Tabby,

Mum and Dad are throwing an Easter party on Sunday, just an afternoon picnic, nothing too big.  But Mum said I could invite you…actually she kind of insisted!  She said to invite your Dad too, Mum and Dad are itching to meet him, especially since Auntie Hermione talked to him at Kings Cross.  Dad’s charmed the letter to be a Portkey to bring you here at 2pm Sunday afternoon, let me know if you can come. 

I miss you.

Love James xx

Tabitha re-read the letter several times, her heart pounding in her chest.  She missed James too, more than she had anticipated, and to be able to see him on Sunday would be brilliant, but it would also mean that she had to tell her father about James.  She would have to do it tonight after dinner so she could send a response back with Gerry in the morning.  Tucking the letter into her pocket, Tabitha set about making the evening meal, rehearsing in her head exactly what she was going to say.  She was just setting the table when Luke came in, his clothes dirty from a day’s work.

“Aw look at this, cooking my dinner for me,” He smiled as he planted a kiss on Tabitha’s forehead.  “I’ll just go wash up,” He added, disappearing up the stairs.  Tabitha was quiet throughout the meal, continuing to go over her speech in her head, trying to anticipate the worst possible reactions from her father.  She was startled then, when Luke knocked loudly on the table.  “Earth to Tabitha!  Do you read me Tabby?” He joked, banging loudly on the wood again.  Tabitha jumped, and gave her father a startled look.

“Sorry…what?” She asked in a bemused sort of way.

“Is everything ok honey?  You haven’t spoken in fifteen minutes and your food has barely been touched.  Is something wrong?” He asked.  Tabitha glanced down at her plate, with her untouched and now cold dinner staring up at her.

“Actually there is something I want to tell you,” Tabitha said, her voice quiet.  “But nothing’s wrong so you don’t need to worry,” She added when concern flashed across her father’s eyes.  “I…I…well Dad I need to tell you about a friend of mine,” She began, trying to remember her perfectly rehearsed spiel.

“A friend?”  Luke asked, the worry now replaced with confusion.

“Well actually he’s…he’s my boyfrnnnn,” Tabitha mumbled the end of the sentence.

“I’m sorry?” Luke asked, still looking confused.  Tabitha took a deep breath.

“He’s my boyfriend,” She said again, much slower this time.  A look of understanding dawned on Luke’s face.

“Oh,” He simply said.  Tabitha watched his face, which seemed to be rushing through a wide range of emotions at a rapid pace.  She wanted to say more, to explain, but the words she had been mulling over had escaped her, and she could only watch with bated breath for her father’s reaction.  Eventually, he settled on a slightly tense expression and asked, “So who is he?”

“His name is James,” She began, grateful for a question to answer.  “James Potter.  He’s in my year, and he’s the Gryffindor Quidditch captain.  He’s very smart and he’s very kind and polite and I’m sure you’d like him,” Tabitha bit her lip, forcing herself to stop talking and waited to see the effect her words would have.

“James,” He said thoughtfully.  “Didn’t Mrs. Weasley say her nephew’s name was James?” He asked.

“Yes, that’s right,” Tabitha replied, trying to pace herself as she answered the question.  “That was him at the train station the other day.  His father is Harry Potter.  He’s the head of the Auror department at the ministry of magic, he’s a very respected man…Mr. Potter that is, not James; although James is very respected too.” She wondered if she should explain about Ginny’s credentials as well but held herself back.

“She said something about you two saving Rose?” Luke asked, as though he’d only heard the first part of Tabitha’s answer. 

“Yes, we were both with Rose when it happened and he acted very quickly.  He’s very responsible,” she added, sure she should be selling James’s good points more.  Luke simply nodded his head thoughtfully once more. 

“So how do you feel about this boy?  Is it serious?  Should I be worried?”  He asked.  Tabitha let out a breath.  At the very least he seemed to be accepting the news.

“Well we’ve been together for a bit under two months and I…well I care about him a lot,” She began, realising she’d never had to explain this to anyone before.  James had never pushed her to say anything she was uncomfortable with and their friends just accepted the relationship as it was.  “But you have no reason to worry Dad,” She smiled in what she hoped was a reassuring manner.

“Is he good to you?” Luke’s next question dared Tabitha to give him something to be angry about, but the answer to this question was the easiest one she’d had to give all night.

“Yes, Dad, he is kind and caring, and he looks after me and protects me and speaks kindly to me.  He doesn’t pressure me to do anything I don’t want to, he’s a perfect gentleman,” She couldn’t hide the loving tone that crept into her voice when she was describing James, and Luke couldn’t ignore it.

“Well he’d better be.”  He muttered to himself.  Tabitha waited for the next question, willing to defend James all night if she needed to.  Further defence was unnecessary however, because a small smile broke out across Luke’s face.  “Well he must be pretty special if he managed to catch your eye,” He grinned.  “So Harry Potter huh? Even I know that name!”

“Yes, and Dad the Potters have invited us to Easter lunch on Sunday at their house.  Can we go?  I’m sure the Potters would like to meet you,” She smiled hopefully, her fingers crossed under the table.

“Sunday?”  He clarified.  “Well I suppose that would be alright, but where do the Potter’s live?  Are they nearby?” 

“Um, well no, not exactly, but James said his Dad turned the letter into a Portkey to take us there on Sunday,” Tabitha said, pulling the folded paper out of her pocket.

“Portkey?” Luke repeated, once again looking confused.

“It’s a sort of magical…teleport,” She replied, searching for words that he would understand.  “I’ve never used one before but we’ve learnt about them in class.  They’re charmed to only work at a specific time, you just have to make sure you’re touching it,” She explained.  Luke nodded, trying to take in all the words.  “So can I write back and tell them we’re coming?” Tabitha asked. 

“I suppose you can,” Luke answered, and was treated to a huge hug and kiss from his daughter, who had thrown herself excitedly across the table.

 




“Dad!  Come on, we’re going to miss the Portkey!”  Tabitha called up the stairs of their small country farmhouse.  Luke appeared at the top of the stairs, pulling at the cuffs of his jumper.

“Are you sure I look alright Tabby?  They won’t expect me to be wearing something more…magical, ; will they?”  He asked.

“Dad you look fine.  And anyway, they know you’re a muggle so they wouldn’t expect you to wear Wizard’s robes,” She assured him before checking her watch.  “Now come on, it’s one minute to 2 and I’m going with this Portkey and if you don’t hurry up I’ll be going without you!” 

“What am I supposed to do?” Luke asked as he reached the bottom of the stairs, facing Tabitha in the small hallway.

“You just grab on to the letter and when it’s time it will transport us,” Tabitha explained, holding the paper out towards him.  Luke carefully clamped his hand around the edge of the note and looked up at Tabitha expectantly.  “You know Tabby, I feel a little sill –” But Luke stopped talking when the letter suddenly glowed blue.  Tabitha felt a sharp tugging, like a hook had been pulled sharply behind her navel, and suddenly they were spinning very fast through space.  Her hand felt like it was fused to the small piece of parchment and she felt ever so slightly like she was going to throw up and from the look on his face, Luke wasn’t enjoying it any more than she was.  Within a matter of seconds, the were slowing down and suddenly landed with a thud on to the Potter’s sitting room rug.

“Don’t worry, I fell over the first time I travelled by Portkey too,” A familiar voice said, and Tabitha looked up from where she was sprawled on the floor to see Harry Potter smiling down at them.  James was next to him, grinning like an idiot, and Tabitha grinned back as he reached over to pull her to her feet.  Harry reached out a hand to Luke.

“You must be Luke, I’m Harry Potter, lovely to finally meet you.” He beamed.  “My wife and I met Tabitha earlier this year when we travelled down to Hogwarts.  She is a very bright young woman, you must be very proud.”

Tabitha’s cheeks burned bright red at the compliment and she heard James chuckling quietly beside her.  She’d resisted the urge to kiss him in front of her father, but she didn’t let go of his hand.

“Yes, I’m extremely proud of Tabitha.  But then again she is just like her mother,” Luke replied.  To his credit, he appeared completely unfazed by the odd way they had travelled to the Potter’s.

“Oh yes, I remember Annabeth, she did a lot of wonderful work at the Ministry in my early years there,” Harry smiled.  “Now, I’m sure you are quite eager to meet this scallywag here,” He continued, turning to gesture toward the two young people.  “This is my eldest, James.”  James let Tabitha’s hand drop as he stepped forward nervously.  In fact, Tabitha had never, ever seen that expression on his face.  She’d seen him face bullies and speeding bludgers, but she’s never seen him look quite so scared.

“G…Good afternoon Mr. Hart.  I’m James Potter, I’m very pleased to meet you,” He said, holding out a shaking hand towards the older man.  Luke took the hand and shook it firmly before speaking.

“I’m very pleased to meet you too James.  Tabitha speaks very highly of you, I hear you are the captain of your Quidditch team?”

“Yes,” James said, his shoulders relaxing slightly.  “I was given the captaincy this year, just like my Dad did when he was at Hogwarts.  Although I wasn’t sure if they were going to give it to me or Tabby, she’s a pretty amazing player,” He added.

“Ah well Tabitha got her Prefect badge this year so I think they made a pretty fair judgement there.”  Luke replied with a smile.  Tabitha let out a breath she didn’t realise she’d been holding.  It seemed to be going well and she was extremely relieved.

“Luke, can I get you something to drink?  I’m sure Tabitha would like to go and catch up with her other friends,” Harry suggested.  Luke smiled in acknowledgement and with a quick glance over his shoulder to Tabitha for reassurance, followed Harry out of the room.  The moment they were gone, she wrapped her arms around James and planted a quick kiss on his lips.

“Well that went ok I think,” James smiled down at her as they stepped out of their embrace and once again linked hands.  “Come on, the others are outside and I know Mum wants to see you,” He added, leading Tabitha through the house to the garden.  She looked around the warm inviting kitchen as they passed a pile of dishes that were washing themselves and grinned at the family photo above the fireplace.  James looked about twelve years old and was making faces at Albus behind his back while Ginny looked sternly at him. 

Outside, the sun was shining brightly on a large grassed yard, surrounded by various fruit trees and several large shrubs.  The garden was full of happily chatting people standing in groups or sitting on wooden chairs.  To one side was a large table, covered in a brightly coloured table cloth.  Ginny and Hermione were arranging large platters of food on the table with an older, red haired woman, who looked exactly like an older version of James’s mother. 

“Tabitha!”  Ginny beamed as they made their way towards the three women.  She moved around the table and wrapped Tabitha up in a warm hug.  “It’s so lovely to see you again.  How are you?” She asked kindly.

“I’m well thank you Mrs. Potter,” Tabitha replied shyly.

“Tabitha, I’ve told you before that you can call me Ginny.  Now James, are you going to introduce Tabitha to your grandmother?”

It was an enjoyable afternoon, and as the day wore on, Tabitha relaxed more and more.  She met all of James’s relatives, and she and Luke were treated like family.  More than once as she stood with James, she would notice Hermione and Ginny grinning at them and an embarrassed flush would cross her cheeks.  Luke was enjoying himself too, and before long had found a new best friend in James’s grandfather.  The older main, with thinning red hair, flecked with grey, was absolutely fascinated by Tabitha’s father and his muggle animal care.  Luke, in turn was happy to listen to Mr Weasley talk about all manner of magical creatures. 

Throughout the afternoon, James kept close by her side, holding her hand and occasionally wrapping an arm around her waist.  Tabitha enjoyed his closeness, she’d missed it over the week they’d been separated.  After the meal, the younger members of the group dragged out some old brooms and started a game of Quidditch, hidden by the trees surrounding the garden.  Luke, who had never seen a game of Quidditch before, only heard Tabitha’s account of it, was captivated by the sport, particularly when Tabitha was playing.  After ten minutes of pleading, some of the adults were enticed to join in, and Tabitha, Rose, Ginny and James’s Aunt Angelina found themselves sizing up against Harry, Ron, James and Fred.  It was an exciting and amusing game, and Tabitha found it exhilarating to be playing Quidditch with such amazing legends of the sport.  The girls eventually won, after Ginny stole the snitch from under Harry’s nose while he was yelling at Ron for not stopping a bludger and the air was soon full of cheers and good natured teasing. 

“I always was better than you,” Ginny teased as she waved the snitch in Harry’s face.  He laughed and kissed her swiftly on the cheek. 

“Would you like me to sing ‘Weasley is our King’ to you?” Hermione asked the pouting Ron, causing many of the adults to explode with raucous laughter.  Tabitha looked to James for an explanation but he simply mouthed the words ‘long story’. 

Eventually, dusk turned into the darkness of night and members of the Weasley family began heading home. 

“Luke, I thought I should probably accompany you and Tabitha home, just to make sure you get there safe and sound,” Harry suggested after receiving a kiss goodbye from Fleur, his sister-in-law.  “We will travel in a slightly different manner if that is alright with you?”

“Of course, whatever you think would be best,” Luke replied.  It was safe to say that the Potter and Weasley family had won him over.  Tabitha said a quick round of goodbyes to those who were still present, lingering a little longer when she hugged James.  As she pulled away she saw him glance over her shoulder at her father before bravely leaning forward to kiss her cheek. 

“When you’re ready?” Harry said, holding out his hand, and in less than a second, Tabitha was experiencing the odd sensation of side-along apparition.  She felt like she was being squeezed through a very narrow tube and for a brief second she thought her lungs might actually pop out through her mouth, but then suddenly the sensation was fading and their familiar kitchen appeared around her. 

“You magic folk sure have some interesting ways of travelling,” Luke said, looking slightly green.

“We tend to trade comfort for speed,” Harry replied with a smile.  “It may feel strange but it’s certainly convenient.”

Before Luke could respond, they were all startled by a loud screeching sound outside, as though there was a cat being strangled in their now dark garden.

“Sorry, I’d better go see what that is,” Luke said, slipping out the back door.  The moment he was gone, Harry turned to Tabitha.

“Sorry Tabitha, caterwauling charm, I thought it would be best if we had some privacy,” He said.  Tabitha nodded mutely, her heart picking up the pace a little bit.  “I’m relieved to see you have been safe in your home so far, but I don’t want to take any chances.  After I leave, I will come back in secret and cast some protective spells around your house so you will at least be safe here,” He explained.  “I’m assuming you know all your basic defensive spells?”

“Uh…well yes, but Mr. Potter I’m not allowed to do magic outside of school,” Tabitha said nervously.

“Tabitha, if you believe you are in danger, you must protect yourself by any means.  The ministry cannot punish you if you are using the magic in a life threatening situation, trust me,” Harry smiled briefly before continuing.  “I’m not suggesting you be careless, but I am suggesting you be prepared.  Do you understand?”

“Yes…Sir,” Tabitha managed to utter before the door swung open and Luke slipped back in, the screeching now gone.

“Well I don’t know what that was, some cat got stuck in a fence or something,” He muttered.  “Would you like a cup of tea?” He offered to Harry hospitably.

“No, thank you.  Ginny will think I’m trying to avoid helping with the clean-up if I don’t come home soon.  Thank you to both of you for coming though, our family very much enjoyed meeting you both,” Harry smiled in a charming way.  The two older men shook hands before Harry gave Tabitha a knowing smile and turned on the spot, vanishing into nothingness.

“Well I think I’ve seen and heard enough for one day,” Luke yawned.  “I’m going to have a shower and head to bed.  You going to head up soon?”

“I won’t be far behind you,” Tabitha replied, faking a yawn of her own.  “I might just do some reading first.”

“Well don’t stay up too late,” Luke headed towards the stairs, but stopped in the doorway.  “That James of yours is a nice boy; as long as he’s not too much of a distraction, I approve.”  And with that surprising revelation, he left the room.  Smiling to herself, Tabitha pottered around the kitchen, setting the kettle on the stove and preparing a cup of tea.  She wandered over to the kitchen window and stared out into the darkness; she couldn’t see anything, but knowing that Harry Potter was out there casting protective enchantments on their home was comfort enough.

 




AN:  Sorry, sorry, sorry, sorry, sorry!  Oh and did I mention that I'm sorry? I'm not even going to bother explaining the many reasons why this has taken so long, but the short story is that I sort of lost my way with this story for a while and with personal issues etc, it was just easier to put it on the back burner.  I have some ideas now about how to finish this story though, and I'm hoping to get some more writing done really really really soon.  Thankyou to everyone who stuck with me and especially those who have continued reading my other novel and supporting in that way.  As always, I love your reviews and please don't hate me for taking so long to update.

Also, I have to admit I don't love this chapter but it will have to do for now.  I'm planning some action and excitement very soon :)

 
 


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