Deliberations in a tower
Author’s Note: This is the direct sequel to Luna Lovegood and the Dark Portrait Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter or Buffy the Vampire Slayer, J.K. Rowling and Joss Whedon do. Thanks very much to my Betas , Letomo and EllandrahSylver, but all mistakes are still mine. The following ways of notation may be found in this story. This is excluding whatever I need to represent chatting, texting and stuff like that. And you can thank Twilightwanderer for the Abbott and Costello. Speech:
“Who’s on first.” Thought:
*What’s on second.
#I-don’t-know’s on third.# No new recommendations, but many thanks to all my reviewers. Due to personal circumstances I may be necessitated to cut back to a less regular schedule for updates, I’m going to try to update all the current stories in Waifs and Strays every two weeks, but if I cannot manage that I will let it be known. 16 Deliberations in a tower
ROYAL SCION'S FATHER ATTACKED BY DEMENTOR!
ROGUE DEMENTOR KISSES ROYAL CONSORT!
NO NEED TO WORRY, SAYS MINISTER, ROGUE DEMENTOR NOT A DANGER TO PUBLIC
LOVEGOOD WAS A LUNATIC FRINGE, OR A FRINGED LUNATIC MINISTER SAYS
MOST REVERED SOCIETY OF ARITHMANCERS REVEAL THE LOVEGOOD EQUATIONS THAT STREAMLINED POTIONS BREWING AND BROOM PRODUCTION: WE NEED MORE LUNATICS LIKE HIM!
PUBLIC CALLS FOR RESIGNATION OF MINISTER AND HEAD OF THE MLEO
WHO WILL PROTECT OUR CHILDREN?
HORROR OF HORRORS? COULD LOVEGOOD HAVE BEEN RIGHT? WAS THE KISSING OF LOVEGOOD A MINISTRY CONSPIRACY?
MINISTRY ATTEMPTS TO TAKE CONTROL OF THE PRINCESSE D'ALBANE!
WIZENGAMOT SPECIAL SESSION BLOCKS MINISTRY, ATTENDANT MOTHER ACT INVOKED!
In a special session the Wizengamot has overturned the motion by the Ministry to make Miss Luna Ceiswyr Lovegood, Princesse D'Albane, a Ward of the Ministry. The unanimous decision was reached after Lady Margaret Boudica Weasley, née Prewett, declared her intention to extend fosterage under the Attendant Mother act of 1439. This law, not invoked since 1601, allows a witch with the Spirit Power of Mother to foster any child whose birth she attended, should such be necessary.
PRINCESSE D'ALBANE TO BE BETROTHED TO MALFOY HEIR?
Rumours abound of the budding romance of Luna Ceiswyr, Princesse D'Albane and Lord Draco Abraxas Malfoy, heir to the Malfoy wealth and titles. The connection would be of great importance to both parties, for the House D'Albane it would mean an influx of wealth that they allegedly need desperately, the House Malfoy for the cachet that the marriage brings and the possibilities that the D'Albane family's connections on the continent might translate into business opportunities.
ROMANCE OF THE CENTURY! THE PRINCESS AND HARRY POTTER
Reliable sources report that the Princesse D'Albane and Harry Potter have been spotted on numerous occasions entering secluded areas of Hogwarts Castle, where they remain for some time, only to emerge flushed and looking happy. Is the Princess playing Potter and his supposed school rival, Draco Malfoy, off against each other? Or is the Princess interested in the Boy who lived for his own sake?
Cornelius Fudge looked at the headlines of the Daily Prophet and the Daily Prophet on Sunday and groaned. The groans got worse as he read the accompanying pieces and the editorials. “They want my blood, Crouch, my blood and then they want to lock me up in Azkaban.”
“Indeed, Minister. Regretfully your remarks regarding Dr. Lovegood's mental state and the fact that The Quibbler was no longer a thorn, however minor, in the government's side, did arouse a certain amount of ire,” Barty Crouch replied with a 'certain amount' of well hidden glee.
“They're baying for my blood! What am I to do, Crouch?”
“I would suggest that there are two courses of action, Minister. The first is to apologize profusely, acknowledge your so-called mistakes and then wait for the hubbub to subside.”
“Yes? And the second course of action?”
“Vigorous defence, Minister. Attack them; make inquiries why Lovegood was out near dawn-”
“Dawn? I thought he left in the afternoon, what?” Fudge asked, confused.
“Yes, Minister. So we think
. But did he? I think some extra investigations are warranted.”
Fudge brightened. “Oh, yes, of course. Look into that, Crouch.”
Barty Crouch nodded, smoothly responding “Yes, Minister,” and left. As soon as he had the slightly panicked expression disappeared from Cornelius Fudge's face and he leaned back. *A few words in the right places and Crouch's attempts to divert attention will draw attention to him. Now, to pin the Dementor attacks on the Wizengamot. A pity that Dumbledore is on record voting against them being used, even in favour of having them destroyed. Well, there will be other chances to deal with the old bastard.*
Cornelius poured the stiff drink he'd prepared before reading the papers back into the bottle, took out his wand and made tea. *Well now, Cornelius, people see you as a bumbling idiot, but a kind-hearted one. A few more disasters like this one and I'll be able to strengthen my hold, declare martial law and then... High Lord Fudge has a nice ring to it. Or King Cornelius? It's high time we took steps to separate ourselves from the Muggle Monarchy.*
Rubeus Hagrid had noticed that when people were upset they tended to seek out cute, fuzzy creatures to hug and pet. That is, they did so when they had no access to the ultimate cute fuzzy creatures – parents or loved ones.
The world being what it was a great many of the students at Hogwarts brought pets with them. The problem was that many of these pets were neither cute, nor fuzzy. Reptiles and amphibians had different views on cuddling. Cats in Hogwarts were quite common, but at times like these their owners tended to keep them close, so as to provide themselves with maximum comfort at any given time they were in need of it.
That meant that when it became known that Harry Potter, the Boy who lived, had found and adopted a great big, black dog, which was certainly fuzzy, and amazingly well behaved, dozens of students started to visit him, for various reasons. Some did so to get closer to Harry, to try and get into his good graces by showing how much his dog loved them, and therefore how worthy they were. Others did so because they liked dogs. And there were those who disliked cats, or who preferred petting a dog over petting a toad.
People who did not know Hagrid very well would not have believed him capable of such thoughts. But more and more it became clear to the students at Hogwarts that despite his size and his unfortunate tendency to consider immensely dangerous creatures 'sweet an' cuddly' a powerful mind lurked behind those guileless brown eyes. Hagrid had lacked confidence, but now – with his new wand, his new position and the new respect he was given, as well as a lot of training – it was growing, and with that growth came a corresponding skill in magic. Confidence in one's abilities were after all key to the performance of magic.
So as these deep thoughts ran through Rubeus Hagrid's mind, he watched as a group of second year Ravenclaw girls was settling in for a session of dog grooming. Hagrid kept the dog in a large, heated stable on a pile of blankets atop a bed of straw. At first, every night he'd carefully closed and locked the door. And every morning he wondered if dogs could pick locks, because the great black dog ran along the Forest's edge, exuberant and free. He knew Harry wasn't doing it and finally he had decided that there was something slightly magical about the dog and that it merely hated to be locked up. So he had left the door unlocked and added a rope so the dog could easily open it with his teeth.
The huge man smiled as the girls got out the curlers and the nail polish. He'd gotten an amazing set of pictures of the dog so far, from his first day, covered in soap suds, to the time Lavender Brown and Parvati Patil had used a hair dye spell and turned his hair pink and added a few bows, red nail polish and such. Hagrid almost devoutly believed that animals were far more perceptive and intelligent than most people gave them credit for and therefore had not been surprised to see the huge embarrassment in the dog's eyes. A great big manly black dog like that would hate being pink after all. He could hear its mournful howl right now and got out the camera. As long as the beauty treatments were easily reversed he'd let the girls have their fun. No harm done, and it made them happy and a little less scared.
Harry Potter wandered about the school grounds with his friends, silent and morose. “I can't believe they write stuff like that about us!” Harry finally exclaimed. “Luna and I haven't ever gone to a secluded area and... done whatever!” A deep blush settled over his face and he shook his head so his messy hair fell down. It wasn't long enough to hide his features, but it was better than nothing.
“Of course not, Harry. They're just looking for stuff to write,” Hermione soothed.
“Wonder who those reliable sources are.” Ron mused.
“Lavender Brown and Pansy Parkinson,” Hermione answered promptly.
“Because they want to make Draco angry. I've heard Lavender say that he's an excellent match, money, property, status. Pansy's been after him since they were both nine or so.”
“Considering that he can count himself lucky she hasn’t been dragged off into broom closet by a sixth year and have her claim she’s pregnant by him,” Hermione noted, her face thoughtful.
Ron gasped and blanched. “Merlin, Hermione, don’t say stuff like that! Malfoy with kids?”
Harry shook his head. “It wouldn’t be so bad. As long as it was the right girl.”
Hermione eyed him and sighed. “The same might be said for you, Harry, as long as it is the right girl.”
Harry took a step towards her. “What’s that supposed to mean?” he demanded to know belligerently.
“That everybody in the castle except for you knew that you had a thing for Luna. Well, except maybe for Luna.”
“They did?” Harry asked amazed. “How could they tell?”
Hermione exchanged a look with Ron. Ron raised his shoulders as if to say, this one’s yours and then brightened. “Hey, is that Mum and Dad? Over there with Professor Dumbledore?”
Harry nodded. “Yeah, it is. They’re probably here for Luna.”
Ron shook his head. “Yeah. That makes sense. They’ll come to the common room later if they want to see us. Weird idea. I’m getting another sister and it’s gonna be Lune.”
“Lune?” Harry asked with an edge to his voice.
Ron shrugged. “That’s what Charlie and Bill called her, and then it stuck. She’s been coming over to our house since she was four, so we all know her pretty well.”
“Ah, okay.” Harry quieted down again, walking along the lake, his face morose.
“I think they’re trying to catch up with us,” Hermione noted, looking over her shoulder.
Ron looked as well. “I think you’re right. We can sit here and wait or go and meet them.”
Harry looked back. “Let’s go and meet them.” He turned and sauntered towards the three adults. They met quickly and Dumbledore gestured at the castle. “We have some things to discuss with you, would you mind coming back inside? I realize it’s a beautiful day for a walk, but these old bones prefer slightly more warmth.”
The trio nodded and walked along with them. The adults were oddly silent, hardly speaking until they reached the Headmaster’s Office.
“Molly, Arthur, the East Tower meeting room is at your disposal. I think you both know it.” Dumbledore twinkled and the older Weasleys blushed furiously and led Ron away.
Dumbledore turned to Hermione. “I fear I have to ask you to leave, Miss Granger. Perhaps you would be so kind as to go and sit with Miss Lovegood? And perhaps bring your cat. I’ve heard that animals can have profound effects on those in circumstances like hers.”
Hermione bit her lip, but nodded and left, calling softly for Crookshanks.
Dumbledore led Harry up the stairs, the Gargoyle shuffling aside without a password, and in his study sat at his desk as Harry took a chair facing him. The Headmaster took a large, densely written sheet of parchment out of a locked drawer and put it in front of Harry.
“This is your parents’ Last Will and Testament, Harry. Or at least a copy of it.” Dumbledore pointed at a number of articles of the Will. “Those are about money and property, I’ll go through them with you at a later date, and more in depth again once you reach your majority. These are the important ones now. They’re about where you should live if your parents died before you reached the age of seventeen. I fear I broke them. I had my reasons, but I went counter to your parents’ wishes.”
Harry gasped. “Why?”
Dumbledore sighed and took of his glasses. Suddenly he looked very old and tired. “Your mother died to protect you, Harry. She died to save you, because she loved you. That is a very powerful thing, magically speaking. I feared that Voldemort would hunt you, or his minions, and I needed to keep you safe. The first option in this will was no longer available, the second either and the third was legally blocked. That limited my options. But your mother’s act created something called a Bloodward. It would be strongest if you lived with a family member. There was only one living family member, and that was your mother’s sister, your Aunt Petunia.”
“What were the first three options?”
“Your godfather. Sirius Black. Yes, he was your godfather, as well as the man who betrayed your parents,” Dumbledore’s face was stern and unforgiving. “The others were your father’s best friends, Peter Pettigrew and Remus Lupin. Peter is dead and Professor Lupin was disqualified by the Wizengamot for reasons that are to my mind, spurious, but I was unable to overcome. And that left the highly unsatisfactory option of your Aunt and Uncle.”
“I’m sorry Harry, more sorry than you can imagine, for what I had to do. In my defence, there were several attacks blocked by the wards in the early years of your childhood. But I should have taken you to a safer location as soon as I realized just how badly they treated you. Which brings me to the reason you’re here now.” Dumbledore’s blue eyes twinkled. “Your mother, in her confinement, asked for a friend who had experience at childbirth to attend…”
Harry gasped. “Mrs. Weasley! That law!”
“Exactly. There’s a provision in the Will for an annuity to see to your education and upkeep. And unless the Weasleys want to have a lien on you and your magic, they cannot refuse it. As the Chief Warlock, I have a say in how it may be spent. So far, this is my proposal…” He laid down a plan in front of Harry, who blinked. “A few extra bedrooms, for more comfort. The cost itemized here. Two extra bathrooms, idem. A weekly stipend for your foster parents to properly feed and clothe you... with enough left over to feed and clothe your new brothers and sisters too.”
“S-sisters? Oh yes, Luna.” Harry blushed.
Dumbledore smiled gently. “Well Harry. Does this new plan of mine carry your approval?”
“What do the Weasleys think?” Harry blurted out. “Not Mr. and Mrs. Weasley, the children.”
“Ah, there we have the reason that Ronald and his parents are currently in the East Tower meeting room…”
The room was high up in the East tower, seldom used because it was even harder to reach than the Divination classroom. The room was full of redheads and freckles, Weasleys in short. An old lady sat at one end of the table and Molly and Arthur on the other. The children, all of them from Bill down to Ginny were there.
“Well, some of you might have an idea why we’re all here.” Arthur looked at his children and smiled. “I’m glad you could all be here, especially Bill and Charlie, I realize it must have been difficult to get time off on such short notice.”
Bill laughed. “Dad, as soon as the Goblins found out what was likely to happen, I was given several extra days off. With the strict injunction to make certain that the Princess knew about it. Part repayment of a debt, they called it.” He waved a hand. “Apparently there’s some ancient history between the Goblins and the D’Albanes.”
Charlie grinned. “I was called into the Chief Warden’s Office. The Royal
Chief Warden of the Royal
First Romanian Dragon Preserve. Most of the Balkans were part of magical Albania until the Revolution, and a lot of the wizards there wouldn’t mind if they came back. There would be a lot less infighting, they think. Anyway, he showed me the Dyrrhachium Gazette
and asked me if it was true I knew Her Most Magical Highness… You can imagine how it went from there.” He looked slightly sheepish. “Does Luna like Dragons? I sort of promised the Chief I’d bring her along one day and show her round the Reservation…”
Molly sighed. “I hope and trust you didn’t prefer yourself on those grounds, Charlie.”
Charlie shook his head. “Of course not, Mum. But they were all so enthusiastic. They asked if I had a picture of her, you know, to hang up? They had one of Miss Soleil in her wedding robes, hanging like it was an official state portrait. They’d be over the moon if Luna came by. Excuse the pun.”
Arthur smiled. “Well, you all know why you’re here. Your mother and I want to expand the family a bit. But possibly a bit more than you might have gathered from recent publications. I’d like to apologize for not telling you before, but we had to act quickly.”
Bill looked around the table, seeing the agreement in his siblings’ faces. “Dad, we wouldn’t wish for any child to be a Ward of the Ministry. It’s not a problem.”
Arthur and Molly gave them all a wide, relieved smile. “Thank you. So you won’t mind Luna living with us? As a foster daughter and sister?”
“Nope, she has shown amazing insight into the real meaning of things,” George grinned.
Molly sighed. “You’re not going to corrupt that girl, is that understood?”
Fred winked. “Never fear to tweak the nose of authority.”
Arthur merely shook his head. “Well, no one opposed to Luna joining the family until Xenophilius is restored?”
Bill coughed. “What are the actual chances of that happening, Dad?”
Arhtur looked grim. “Very slim indeed. But no-one is to tell Luna that for now, is that understood?”
The Weasleys nodded. The old lady at the head of the table did the same.
Molly smiled at them proudly. “Which leads us to the second reason we’re here. Harry.”
“Harry. Harry Potter? Wait, you want to bring Harry into the family too?” Charlie blurted out. Every single Weasley and the old lady at the op of the table, burst into swift and incoherent speech.
“Good. And about time, too.” The table fell silent at Percy’s decided tone.
“I’m a Prefect. You were Prefects, too. And Head Boy. You’ve both had the training on bullying. And abuse.” Percy looked around the room. “Harry’s a classic case, if you’ll excuse my saying so. And he needs a good, warm and loving family. Penny agrees.” Then he blushed furiously. “I mean err... Ravenclaw Prefect Clearwater agrees.”
“Percy.” Bill smiled at his brother and stuck up a thumb. “December Rose. We all know. What we don’t know is when the wedding’s going to be.”
Percy blushed even more and looked at his mother. “Err. Penelope says ‘half’. No negotiations possible. So it may be a while.”
Molly shook her head and smiled. “You stubborn Weasley, Percy. Very well. Half it is. But I do want a word with Penny after all this. So, all those in favour of bringing Harry into the family as well?”
There was a harrumph from the head of the table and all the eyes went to Aunt Muriel, the Matriarch of the Prewett clan. “That’s what this is all about? You could just have Owled me and I’d have approved. And cheered. And here I thought I was going to be a great-great aunt pretty soon. Really, William, and you too, Charles. I’m a tad disappointed. Well, if that’s all, where’s the sherry? I feel some need for fortification before I meet my new grand-nephew and niece.”
Bill and Charlie blushed furiously. Arthur and Molly grinned. Some things never changed. Aunt Muriel was one of them.
LLSDLLSDLLSDLLSDLLSDLLSDLLSDLLSDLLSDLLSDLLSDLLSDLLSDLLSDLLSDLLSD 20th of December
Luna lay on the bed as the wands moved over her, the soft gentle voices of Mr. and Mrs. Weasley murmuring the words of the spell that would undo the Binding on her magical core. It tickled a bit, she noted, and bit her lip to stop herself from giggling. It might distract the Weasleys and that would not do. And she felt guilty for giggling. Giggling was not what one should do when one's father's soul had been stolen. She sobered and bit her lip to contain her tears. There was no one whom she could ask for advice on how to be a princess, not that she really was. She wasn't even sure that the title actually had any value. Except – as her mother once noted – that it helped with restaurant reservations. Maman hadn't liked restaurants and they had seldom gone to them. The murmuring chant stopped and Luna felt a great weight lift off her shoulder, she felt light and wonderful and capable of taking on the world.
She sat up, cool, composed... the very image of the princess that her mother had trained her to be. The title might be empty, but the training was useful in many situations. Languages and manners were useful for many things and confidence was important everywhere. She got off the bed, straightening her embroidered nightshirt. The shirt she had bought with Daddy at Madam Malkin's... the old witch had been scandalized she'd asked his advice. She bit her lip. Her slippers, the really old ones she'd bought with Maman...
She did not know when she started to cry, but it was probably when she realised how alone she was. The warm, comforting arms that caught her as she fell to the floor in a crying heap, were barely noticed, the gentle caresses and the murmured comforting words passed her by. Luna D'Albane, Princesse Magique de la Royaume D'Albanie, was gone. In her place was Luna Lovegood, motherless and fatherless child, frightened of the things that were to come.
Harry was looking a bit stunned as Molly Weasley hugged him and kissed him, just like her other children. Other
children. Other children
. Harry whispered the words, tasting them in his mouth. He now had six brothers and two sisters. It was a strange notion. “But I can’t be there for Christmas?”
“You can’t stay at the Burrow for Christmas. The Headmaster is right; Sirius Black is a terrible danger to you still. But that does not mean that we won’t celebrate it together, as a family. After all, Hogwarts is very big. And it might be nice to have someone else do the cooking for once…”
Arthur snorted. “As if you’d let anyone cook Christmas dinner. But, yes Harry, if you have to stay here, we’ll be here, for several days at least. We couldn’t, and wouldn’t, leave you here alone.”
Harry nodded, past the lump in his throat. He cleared it and looked at the smiling redheaded couple. “Luna?” There was a world of questions in that single voice.
“She can choose where she wants to stay, but Black isn’t after her. We’re really sorry; Harry, but we can’t risk your life.”
Harry nodded. “I understand. I need to live as some sort of rallying cry against Voldemort.”
Arthur winced at the name and sighed. “No, you need to live so you can have lots of little Potter children and be happy. Or not have Potter children and be happy. Your choice. But to us, you’ll never be a rallying cry. You’re Harry. And you need a haircut, and good food.”
Harry, still in Molly’s embrace, started to shiver. And then to cry. He had a family. And they cared for him, not the Boy-who-lived. He was Harry Potter, and he was no longer alone.