A/N- DarkHeart81 you are review 500! You win my gratitude and a smile; which most of the reviewers get…well you get a shoutout which is more than they do :-P Lots of people enjoying the way I wrote the Granger parents, which is great. That flowed much easier than I thought it would actually and uncharacteristically of me, I liked it as I wrote it and afterwards too. This chap deals with what happened to Draco, stuff about Ron, Dan and Harry interact, and the Marauders are Marauders. I think one more chapter might be it. I kept writing at the end of this one so I think I'll take the summer to its conclusion with them going back to Hogwarts and that will be that. Once I've finished that chapter I'll be in a better place to decide if the story warrants an epilogue.
The new Hogwarts professors are my characters created using a name generator but other than that I don't own very much of this story. The circumstances maybe but not the characters.
Draco Malfoy's summer did not start off pleasant. The Chimaera was rather impervious to magic. Only its belly was sensitive and even then it was difficult to hit it just right. While Draco was freed he was injured severely in the process. His wand arm was nearly torn free from his body and he had a large gash from the claws of the Chimaera which were poisonous and thus the large scratch over his face would not heal properly. He had a scar after that. The scar also impacted his eyesight, making him only able to see out of one eye. He wanted one of those magical eyes like Moody had but Lucius refused to pay for it, leaving Draco with a simple glass eye instead.
While Draco complained about it, Lucius' reasoning was simple. Severe wounds could go one of two ways for magicals. Their magic could compensate for the problem or their magic could weaken. Given the damage to Draco's wand arm, and his already weak magical skill, Lucius was concerned that his son would end up needing to work in the muggle world. Moody's magical eye was a rarity in the magical world because it prevented a person from blending in when among muggles.
At the Burrow Ron was relieved his brothers and sister were back home only to find that while they did have chores, he still had the lion's share. Ginny would help their mum gather up the laundry and hang them to dry; George and Fred were to wash the windows. Ron was not amused. When he suggested to his mother that they should do more she asked him if he was going to get a job. Ron went silent and his mother returned to her baking.
Molly really hoped Ron would turn his life around; but then she'd hoped that each time he got into trouble, especially the past year. Ron had a habit of squandering each advantage given to him. She was certain that even if he miraculously got to play professional quidditch he'd blow his opportunity. Hermione, Harry, the twins…if they got a perk they used it to its full extent. Bill and Charlie were in a similar way and she sensed that Ginny could do that too. Unfortunately Ron saw the gift as something he deserved, not the gift that it was, and was happy to blow it because another one would surely follow (1). When it didn't he resorted to complaining about his lot in life.
Neville's grandmother, Augusta Longbottom, went before the school board shortly after school let out with advice from her grandson, his friends, and Sirius Black and Remus Lupin. The History of Magic teacher subsequently hired was an Irish Muggleborn named Kyran McCabe. He was young, only 29 years old, and was well-traveled. The Defense teacher they finally settled on was a Scottish half-blood woman, Fiona Taggert. At 33 years old she was also one of the youngest Hogwarts professors, but the title of youngest went to Luther Bellamy, a 25 year old Black English Muggleborn. He was the new Muggle Studies professor and to the minds of his fellow new hires a definite need in Hogwarts. The last new hire, with Minerva McGonagall stepping into the role of Headmistress, was for Transfiguration. Carolina Farro, 27 year old Italian half-blood, stepped into the role. With the new hires being found so quickly they were relieved to prepare for the new school year. It would be a much changed Hogwarts that the students returned to.
Meanwhile, in France, Hermione's parents had begun to come around. Harry took Dan to a Quidditch game, just the two of them, for an afternoon to hopefully improve their relationship. Harry had his doubts but he wasn't about to let Hermione know; unknown to Harry Emma had made it clear that Dan was going to go and spend time with Harry or else. As they sat in the stands Harry explained the game to Dan in an easier to understand way, "Which position do you play?"
"Seeker," he answered, "the golden snitch is about the size of a golf ball. I catch it and the game ends."
"Doesn't that make it hard to know how long the game will be?" Dan asked.
"Yeah but most wizards don't seem to care about that," Harry said.
While Dan understood the rules, as the game began he was surprised about how violent the game could be. When someone fouled a seeker and the man nearly fell off his broom Dan was both horrified and concerned. That could have been Harry.
Despite the obscene amounts of violence Dan enjoyed himself, though he found he really didn't like the thought of Harry playing in such a dangerous position. "Have you ever fallen off your broom?" Dan asked as they left the pitch.
"Yes but not because of the game," Harry said. "In first year Hermione saved me when a professor jinxed my broom to try and kill me. She knocked him over and I was able to regain control. Second year a house elf jinxed a bludger and it became a Harry-seeking missile. That one hit me just as I grabbed the snitch and an idiot professor tried to heal me only to remove all the bones in my arm the bloody idiot," Harry said, frowning, "and third year a swarm of Dementors came after me and I could hear my parents fighting Voldemort before he killed them. I heard my mum's screams," Harry added. "That time I did fall off my broom and Hermione was really upset."
Seeing how much his daughter obviously loved Harry Dan didn't blame her. He wasn't even Harry's number one fan but he was worried about him. "Does playing make up for the near-deaths?"
"I love flying," Harry said. "Quidditch just gave me the chance to do that. I'd never play professionally and I won't be playing next year. Hermione loathes the sport and I got injured almost every game. And with all due respect sir I'd rather have a lie-in with your daughter than getting up in the dark to practice for the game in the pouring rain."
Dan couldn't blame him for that. Their return to the Delacour manor had Hermione hugging her dad and then pulling Harry away to kiss him. Emma came over, "How was the game?"
"It's bloody dangerous," Dan said. "I can't believe that he plays that game."
"Hermione said he won't be next year."
"That's what he said too. What a relief. Each time they fouled that seeker I saw Harry getting hurt. It worried me."
Emma smiled, "Why Daniel Granger do my ears deceive me or are you warming up to your future son-in-law?"
"He's an alright lad," Dan admitted, "very honest and obviously devoted to Hermione. Plus he has excellent taste in girls." Emma hugged her husband. She knew he'd come around but she'd worried it'd take the entire summer which would have driven a wedge between himself and the young couple.
"Thank you for not playing the over-protective father."
"Hard to do that with my daughter so able to take care of herself," he said.
The beach proved to test Dan's newfound approval of his daughter and her boyfriend's relationship. Especially when Hermione chose to go topless (something she'd never done before when at the beach). When Hermione asked Harry to apply sunscreen to her back Emma had to pull Dan to the side and remind him that breasts were on the front, not the back, and Hermione and Harry were already lovers. "She's still…"
"Dan, Hermione's nearly a fully grown woman. She's not a child anymore. She's planning a career and a life with her boyfriend." Dan knew that Hermione wasn't a child anymore but protective father came out quickly and robbed him of his senses temporarily. He nodded and they returned to the group, Dan instead focusing on a slack-jawed Remus Lupin and Sirius Black. "Besides we have bigger concerns than Hermione and Harry," Emma said, winking at him.
Emma had a point. Dan was impressed that despite never being on a topless beach before and very sheltered from the world in the Dursley house (he'd never call it a home), Harry's eyes never strayed to any woman beyond Hermione. If he was talking to Emma or the Delacour women his eyes didn't drop and he showed no interest in other women. His gaze remained firmly on Hermione and Dan had to admit, that was a good sign of the character of the young man who held his daughter's heart.
Sirius and Remus, on the other hand, both suffered multiple smacks to the back of the head from Hermione and Emma. Getting to know Sirius and Remus was important to Emma and Dan as those two men were the only real father figures that Harry had in his life and they had known Lily and James Potter better than anyone. For Harry, they were a link to his parents that was the best he could ever hope for and the Grangers were determined to have a relationship with the two men.
Harry was surprised that Dan didn't yell at him for ogling Hermione but grateful. Hermione took it as a sign that her dad was okay with them but Harry wondered if it wasn't that Sirius and Remus required babysitting given their shock at the topless women all about. Still, Dan didn't say a word about Harry and Hermione's closeness or their affections that day.
It was at the end of the first week of their three week vacation that Dan could see that every time he entered the room Harry nearly leaped off of Hermione, even if they were only holding hands. He could also see that his daughter was not pleased and Dan took Harry aside, "Harry, I appreciate you not wanting to make me uncomfortable but your girlfriend is ready to hex you if you keep leaping away from her like she's got the plague every time you see me."
Harry blinked, confused, "You don't mind sir?"
Wanting to teach Harry Dan asked him a question of his own, "Do you love my daughter Harry?"
"More than anything," he answered, "I need Hermione like I need air, water, or food sir."
The corner of Dan's mouth lifted in a half-smile, "All I've ever wanted is for Hermione to be happy and loved. Though I've been slow to say it I think she couldn't have found a better mate in life." Harry visibly relaxed at his words but Dan couldn't resist adding, "But if you ever hurt my daughter I don't care if you're a wizard, I will destroy you."
Harry gave a cheeky grin, "No offense, sir, I'm far more frightened of Hermione and her mum than I am of you. Granger women are scary when they're angry."
"Emma broke three bones in my hand when she delivered Hermione," Dan said, patting Harry on the shoulder, "so no offense taken." Harry paled at the thought and Dan laughed.
The second week the Grangers devoted to showing Harry France. He got to see the Louvre, which was Emma's favorite spot, and they had a picnic not far from the Eiffel Tower. Emma asked a question she'd pondered, "How do you two spend the night together at Hogwarts? Hermione's letters have said that the boys and girls dorms are separated and the girls' dorm has protections to prevent male entry."
"Well that's true but there's a special room in Hogwarts that changes to whatever we want it to. So we created a bedroom and we stay in it every night. Once we started sleeping together it was too difficult to sleep alone," Harry answered, "I don't think I could sleep without Hermione next to me anymore."
Dan frowned, "And no one has noticed you don't sleep in your dorms?"
"No," Harry shrugged. "We pop back most mornings to shower except in the winter; the room creates a bathroom for us to use and that way we don't freeze to death. It's ridiculously cold waiting for those showers to warm up." Hermione nodded in agreement.
"Not much for bedchecks are they?"
"They're pretty lax," Hermione said, "but we have our elves pop us out to our bedroom and then back to the dorms in the morning. I've always been an early riser and none of Harry's dormmates seem to think anything's odd about him getting up early too."
"They probably think I get up early so we can snog," Harry said.
"Who's to say we don't?" Hermione asked. Harry grinned.
As their third week in France came to a close Harry felt like it'd been not just a good vacation, but a good experience. The Grangers accepted them as a couple, Hermione being a Veela, and Dan hadn't killed him. If anything the two dentists seemed protective of Harry. He rather liked that feeling. It was a different feeling from the Marauders; Remus and Sirius still acted like immature teenagers, especially around each other. When they were apart Remus was far more mature but moving in with Sirius had reverted the pair to eighteen again. That was what made them good business partners, Harry figured. After all, Sirius blew money on a Firebolt for Harry so why not on a store for their business? Sirius and Remus were more like older brothers or fun uncles. The Grangers were more like parents and Harry had always wanted parents.
"What are you thinking about?" Harry glanced up to see Hermione's book in one hand and her attention focused on him as he had been lying on the grass with his head in her lap.
"Just that your parents are like parents to me. I've always wanted a family. Not like a million kids or anything," he added, "but I wanted parents, siblings, and whatnot. And I have that now. Sirius and Remus are the fun uncles," Hermione nodded in agreement, "Fred and George are like brothers to me and your parents…well they feel like my parents. They're really protective of me and your dad seemed really concerned about me playing quidditch. He looked relieved when I said I wasn't playing next year."
Hermione smiled, "So how does it feel finally having a family?"
"Brilliant," he grinned. "Wouldn't trade it for the world. Feels almost as good as the feeling when you told me you love me the first time." Not far from the young lovers Dan and Emma were laying out a picnic lunch for everyone. They smiled at each other. Dan had always wanted a son. As far as he was concerned this could only get better if Harry became an Arsenal fan.
(1)- When I bash Ron I tend to draw out those negative aspects of him that are already in canon and are never resolved. JKR seemed to hint that Ron squanders his opportunities (fifth year especially with him as a prefect and let's not forget the ways he took his friends for granted throughout the series) but she never really came out and said it. She never developed his character to show him overcoming it. He just blows his top, storms off, and eventually comes around and expects everyone to ignore his temper tantrum. That's not a way to go through life but JKR never made him grow up.
I don't intend to make him grow up in this story because of that. I think of it as taking Ron and his problems to their logical conclusions as they should have been in canon. JKR said in an interview that she considered killing Ron off. I think that's why he is the way he is in canon. She never intended him to live. Which left me (and probably some or many of you) really unsettled with Ron Weasley's character.