When I wrote the Keeping the Stars Apart stories the plan was that Harry would only have an occasional cameo. However, it appeared that Mr Potter had other ideas, and who was I - a humble writer – to argue with him. Following his initial appearance in "One Hand One Heart" I received a couple of requests for more on Harry's side of things. This won't be a story per se, but another set of one shots that I will add to on an ad hoc basis. Enjoy...
As always, I have no rights over Marvel's or JKR's characters and I am doing this solely for my own (and hopefully your) enjoyment...
Lunch At the Weasleys for NorseFan1. The story takes place between the end of "Friends and Family" and the end of "Written in Stars" in the "One Hand One Heart" series of stories.
The morning that Hermione and Loki were due to move to Asgard, Harry met up with them for breakfast in the Great Hall of Hogwarts Castle. He had spent the previous day very pleasantly, carefully avoiding Hermione's manic packing regime, choosing instead to catch up with his many old friends around the school. This had started with tea and rock cakes with Hagrid, and ended with a riotous dinner at the Three Broomsticks with Neville, Loki, Draco and Charlie. The concept of a Stag Night was new to Loki, but he had no objections to honouring the finer points of Midgardian culture. They had all lurched back to the castle rather the worse for wear and far later than either the Headmistress or Hermione would have approved of.
The following morning, feeling slightly fragile, Harry joined the Headmistress, Hermione and Loki for their final breakfast in the Great Hall, Loki was quite relaxed, and irritatingly free of hangover, but Hermione was twitchy and stressed, constantly checking and double checking lists of things that still needed doing.
"Potions equipment, potions equipment...check that all the books are back to the library. Check I haven't left anything in the infirmary..." Harry smiled, he had seen this a hundred times - before exams, ends of year, beginnings of term, before they went Horcrux hunting... Hermione and her lists had been a feature of his life since he was 11.
"Is she always like this?" Loki looked a little concerned. "Because it isn't that I mind exactly, I'm just worried that she won't survive until sunset. She might just explode in a puff of lists and stress."
Harry gave a snort of laughter, then turned it into a coughing fit as Hermione turned to glare suspiciously at them.
"Are you going to be here all day Harry?" The next line was clearly – because if so I have a job for you...
Fortunately Harry had his alibi ready. "Sorry Hermione, I'm afraid I have another engagement. I'm due at the Weasley's for Sunday lunch. I will be back in time to help you to move your boxes to – wherever it is they need to go. How do we get to Asgard anyway? Do they send a spaceship or something?"
Hermione looked up from her list long enough to chuckle. "No Harry, you won't be needing a space suit today. If you apparate to the Weasleys, you'll notice a large circular area just outside the gates. That's where the Bifrost lands. It's like a cross between the Floo and apparition. Probably best not to travel on a very full stomach." She pulled a face. "Please don't send my regards to dear Molly will you, she isn't my favourite person at the moment."
Harry looked puzzled, Loki scowled. "I got a howler from her two weeks ago, apparently she disapproves of my choice of husband. He is, and I quote "a dreadful man" and "a war criminal" and she even had the nerve to invoke Fred, Remus and Tonks in an attempt to make me feel guilty. Not that she was the only one. Hogwarts had hundreds of howlers for me that day, but I did expect Molly to have a little faith, maybe to want to meet him rather than just believe everything she reads in the bloody Prophet. So hang on to your hat Harry, you may have a bumpy ride today. I hope Molly's Sunday lunch is worth it..."
Maybe coming to the Weasley's after a heavy night out wasn't the best idea he'd ever had, thought Harry ruefully. He was sitting under a tree in their garden, having decided rather abruptly that he needed some air.
The visit had begun so well. He had spent an hour ensconced in the big friendly kitchen, drinking tea with Molly, Arthur, Bill and George. It had felt – comfortable – easy. Like coming home. Lunch had been every bit as amazing as he had remembered Molly's Sunday lunches being, and afterwards they had all taken their cups of tea into the sitting room. Sinking happily into a Sunday afternoon food coma, his nagging headache slowly receding, Harry had been just about to nod off...
…It had all been going so well until Molly brought up Hermione's wedding. And more specifically her intended husband.
Now here he was, sitting under an apple tree, in the Weasley's garden, watching the Gnomes, waiting for the blood to stop pounding in his ears – and for his head to just stop pounding.
"Care to talk about it..." Bill Weasley dropped his long form down onto the grass beside him with a grace that reminded Harry strangely of Loki.
"Not really Bill, to be honest." Harry bit the words off, more irritably than normal, he had always got on very well with Bill Weasley.
Silently Bill reached into his pocket, and handed him a small bottle labelled Headache Potion. Harry looked at him sheepishly. "That obvious huh?"
It's the big move today isn't it? When I spoke to Charlie the other day he said you were going to give this bloke a bit of a stag do. Doesn't take a genius to work out you're feeling a bit under the weather when you put Mum in her place like that.
Harry sighed, his headache magically retreating. "I don't like disagreeing with your Mum and Dad, you know that Bill. God knows, they've been the nearest thing I've ever had to parents, and I think of all of you as family. But Hermione – she's like my sister you know. And I just keep remembering her face at breakfast this morning, when she found out I was coming here. She was so hurt by your Mum's howler."
Bill's eyebrows shot into his hairline. "Mum sent Hermione a howler?"
Harry nodded. "Called Loki all sorts of names, said Hermione was "a stupid girl" and then went on to invoke Fred, Remus and Tonks in an effort to make her feel guilty. You can imagine how THAT went down."
Bill closed his eyes. Shaking his head. "I can imagine mate. Not pretty. Go on..."
"You remember all of that crap that the Prophet wrote about me during the war. Called me all sorts of things, mad, criminal, liar, compulsive attention seeker. That Dumbledore and I lied about Voldemort coming back and all sorts. So when your Mum read that piece in the Prophet about Hermione and Loki, did she contact Hermione, find out the whole story – even invite them over for lunch? Hell, she could even have contacted Charlie, he knows Loki well enough these days. No. She takes everything she reads in the Daily Rag as gospel, and lays into Hermione."
Harry took a moment to get his breath. Describing his feelings towards Hermione's husband to be wasn't an easy thing to put into words. "And Loki. He's a decent bloke you know. Although the fact that people keep assuming he's my brother is beginning to wear a bit thin"
Harry smiled. "Didn't you see the pictures? It's even more noticeable now I don't have my glasses. And he just feels so... familiar. Like, the first time I met him..." He looked sideways at Bill, wondering if he was about to make an idiot of himself. "... it was like – my magic – recognised his. I don't know how else to describe it."
Bill looked uncomfortable. "Could he be?"
Harry laughed. "Family maybe. But brother. No, Dad wasn't that old. Unless there's something that I haven't been told." Seeing Bill's puzzled expression, he frowned. "You don't know do you? About Loki"
Bill shook his head. "Other than the fact that his Mum and Dad were obviously Norse mythology nuts. He doesn't have a brother called Thor does he?"
Harry closed his eyes. This was going to be interesting.
"Um Bill. I'm sorry. I thought Charlie would've told you. The whole Norse Gods thing. It's real" Bill looked at him blankly. "They're not gods – exactly. Our ancestors just thought they were. And Asgard – where the gods were supposed to live. That's real too, only it's not like Heaven or something. It's another world – another planet I suppose. The Asgardians, aren't gods as we think of gods, but some of them have powers, and they live a long time, a very long time. Like 5000 odd years long time."
Bill frowned, trying to process what he'd just heard. "So this bloke that Hermione's marrying is really an alien. The Prophet got that bit right. And when you said that your Dad's not that old..."
Harry took a deep breath and laid it on the table. "He was born in 900 and something AD. And Bill – he IS Loki. THE Loki. So yes. He does indeed have a brother called Thor..."
"Wait a minute Harry. Are you telling me that Hermione – OUR Hermione is marrying the Norse God of Mischief and LIES? I have to say I'm not sure I approve either."
Harry sighed. "I'm making a mess of this. I need to tell the whole story."
Bill stood up, putting a hand on Harry's shoulder. "Stay here. You might as well tell it once."
He returned a few minutes later with his parents. George had gone back to the shop after lunch. And sitting there, under the trees in the Weasley's garden, Harry told the them the story that he'd been told by Hermione that evening in the coffee shop. When he told them about Loki's fall from the bridge, his torture at the hands of Thanos and how it led him to New York, Molly put her hands over her face. When she heard about the cave and the serpent she had to take a moment to compose herself. By the time Harry finished the story, she was crying.
"Harry – I have been a very foolish old woman and I need to put this right. Do you think she would s-see me before she leaves?"
The time had finally come. Loki and Hermione walked slowly across the lawns and down the path to the gate. They knew that several of the staff would be there to say goodbye, even though they would be seeing many of them at the wedding. Hermione had expected to feel worried, or even fidgety and excited, instead she was very calm and peaceful. Her conversations with Firenze had always had a that effect on her.
Harry was waiting just inside the gates. "Hermione, Loki. There's someone here to see you..."
And out of the shadows, stepped a very uncomfortable looking Molly Weasley.
Hermione's face hardened, shooting a furious glare at Harry.
"Hermione – before you say any of the things that I really really deserve, can I just say that I'm so sorry. I've been talking to Bill, and Harry this afternoon, and you're quite right. I should have just spoken to you – invited you to bring your young man for dinner, not just let rip like that. I KNOW that half of what's in that rag is rubbish – I don't know what I was thinking." Hermione's face was giving nothing away. Molly's voice wavered, but she soldiered on determinedly...
I just – well – that is. I know you won't want to forgive me now. But maybe, sometime in the future, when you come back – you CAN come back can't you?" Hermione nodded stiffly. "Perhaps when you come back, you and your – husband – would like to come for dinner – so we can get to know him properly."
Molly turned to Loki. "And I owe you an apology too young man. I know our Hermione, she's a clever sensible girl, and if she's chosen you – well – I should have trusted that rather than the rubbish they print in that paper, and I'm sorry for the hurt that I caused you both, and the names I called you in that message. It wasn't right and it wasn't fair, and I'm sorry."
Seeing them both, still silent, her courage faltered. "Well, thank you for listening, I know you had no reason to... I'll be going now." She turned to walk away.
"Molly" Hermione took a step after her. Molly turned. "We'd like that – to come for dinner I mean. We've got two weddings this summer in Asgard, ours and Loki's brother's. But maybe when that's all out of the way, in September?"
Molly's face brightened. "Just send me an owl dear. Or if you can't owl from – there – just turn up. You know me, I always cook too much. Arthur's always telling me... And Hermione. Good luck, to you both. You'll make a very handsome couple...Have a lovely day won't you. And you young man – you take good care of our girl. They only made one of her and she's one in a million."
I know that this particular story is really more about Molly and Hermione than Harry, but it seemed to fit better into this story than into One Hand One Heart. Plus, if I'd kept introducing extra stories into OHOH I'd never have got Hermione and Loki married... Next story - "Arrival in Asgard"