DISCLAIMER: The Harry Potter series and all the characters associated with it are the property solely of J. K. Rowling, her agents and publishers. No infringement of any rights is intended from the creation of this story. Nor is any money being made from it.
Author's Notes: Purists will note that my depiction of league Quidditch is not quite how it is described in Quidditch Through The Ages. I'm afraid I got carried away and used artistic license. Besides, the league teams can't pull all their players from Hogwarts, surely ....
Circles of Power
Part Six - Trials And Tempests
By Mad Martha
Dean and Hermione were making dinner with Ginny's assistance when Harry and Ron arrived home. Hedwig was also there, waiting with obvious impatience for Harry, whose finger she nipped in a very admonitory way when she hopped down onto his shoulder from the curtain rail.
"Ouch!" he said indignantly, as he tried to unfasten the message from her leg. "Look, I'm sorry you had to wait!"
She hooted at him irritably as he unrolled the message. As he expected, it was from Mrs. Weasley; he had sent her a message before they went out that morning to ask if it would be alright for him and Ron to visit. Ron might see no reason why he shouldn't just drop in on his mother unannounced, but Harry was more diffident.
"Where have you two been all day?" Hermione was asking Ron. "You're looking much better - more cheerful."
"Harry took me to the cinema," he told her enthusiastically. "We saw Star Wars …."
Ginny looked blank at this, but Dean snorted.
"Harry, you old romantic!" he said, grinning at him. "Did you sit in the back row and hold hands?"
"No, but if I'd known this idiot was going to keep saying "swish and flick" every time someone used a lightsaber, I might have," Harry retorted, grinning back in spite of himself.
"What's the big deal about the back row?" Ron demanded, pulling himself up onto the kitchen table and tweaking one of his sister's long red curls teasingly. She slapped at his hand.
Hermione rolled her eyes. "Traditionally, it's where people sit when they want to make out while the lights are down," she told him.
Ron looked at Harry. "You didn't tell me that!"
Harry pretended he hadn't heard.
"Your mother says she's getting dinner for seven o'clock tonight," he told him, handing over the note. "We'd better get changed and go, if we're not going to be late."
Ron lost some of his enthusiasm. "Do we have to do this tonight?"
Harry shrugged. "It's up to you, I guess, but since we're going there anyway …."
Ginny looked from one to the other, surprised. "Is something wrong with Mum's dinners all of a sudden?"
"Nothing," Ron sighed. "It's just what's got to come first … or afterwards, I dunno which."
"Ron and Harry are going to tell your mum and dad about them," Hermione told Ginny quietly.
Her eyes widened. "Why?"
"Because if we don't, there's a risk someone else will," Harry said grimly. "I don't want your mum finding out from someone like … I don't know, someone with a big mouth like Ludo Bagman, I suppose."
A nasty thought had occurred to Ron. "Or from Percy," he said. The third Weasley son had a self-righteous streak a mile wide, that would probably lead him to tell his mother on principle, and in the worst possible way.
"But Percy doesn't know, does he?" asked Dean.
"Not yet, but it's only a matter of time before he finds out. Fred and George are brilliant, but I wouldn't put it past one of them to tell him by accident." He looked at Harry and took a deep breath. "Okay, let's just go, before I change my mind."
Harry didn't know why, but he always seemed to fall over when he stepped out of the kitchen fireplace at the Burrow. Ron was used to this, however, and always went first so that he was there to catch him before he pitched onto his face.
"Thanks," he sighed, pushing his glasses back up his nose and trying not to sneeze from the ash and soot of the domestic Floo network.
There was a shriek.
"Ron! Oh Ron … and Harry …."
Before either of them could move, Mrs. Weasley appeared almost out of nowhere and threw herself on them, weeping and babbling incoherently. She didn't seem to know which of them to fuss over first, so Harry quietly drew back a little so that she would pay more attention to Ron. It was his mother, after all, and Ron was certainly in greater need of being fussed over than Harry was. Even if he didn't want to admit it.
"Mum. I'm okay …."
"I thought they were going to send you to Azkaban!" Mrs. Weasley was in tears. "And no one would tell me anything, not even your father - "
Mr. Weasley was a brave man, Harry thought. Not telling Mrs. Weasley anything she wanted to know was a guaranteed way of getting yourself a week of bad dinners and ill feeling. Her temper was spectacular and notorious, and even though all her children were grown up and had left home, she could still make each and every one of them cringe and shuffle like pre-adolescents.
She had descended unexpectedly upon the student house once, when they all first moved in there, convinced that they were living in squalor and eating fast food of the worst possible kind. At the time it had been sort of true, even with Hermione living there. Her visit had left Dean, Seamus and poor Neville in a state of nervous collapse, and Harry, Ron and Hermione in her black books for weeks. The dinner rota was one of the many rules she had laid down that was still in place. Since you never knew when she might take it into her head to pop down the chimney for a visit, it was better to do things her way.
Ron stood over a foot taller than her now – as, indeed, did all the Weasley boys – but he looked about twelve years old as his mother fussed and scolded him, taking his cloak and telling him to sit down at the table. He kept making embarrassed noises in response to her flood of questions (none of which she gave him time to answer), but Harry could tell that secretly he was pleased about the attention.
Then Mrs. Weasley turned to Harry and there was a fresh flood of tears as she took in the healing curse-burns on his face. It took a lot of persuasion on both his part and Ron's to get her to sit down at the table and listen to the story. She kept wanting to jump up and make tea, and in the end Harry offered to make it instead, while Ron talked.
"Oh, but Harry dear – "
"No, really," he said firmly, pushing her back into her chair.
She was reluctant, but the lure of getting the full story for once outweighed her maternal need to feed them.
"All your father would tell me was that it wasn't you, and there was probably a Death Eater involved, and if only you knew what went through my mind when he said that ...."
So Ron launched into an explanation, while Harry quietly went about putting the kettle on to boil and measuring loose leaf tea into a pot. Things went swimmingly, with Harry putting in an occasional word, until Ron reached the events of the previous day. Then suddenly he dried up.
After a moment or two of prodding at a knot in the wood of the old kitchen table with his finger, he mumbled, "Mum, they snapped my wand."
Mrs. Weasley made a tiny, stricken sound in her throat, and Harry found himself gripping the handle of the teapot hard enough to make it wriggle and protest. He muttered an apology to it and quickly turned away, to allow mother and son a moment of private grief over the entire affair.
Mr. Weasley arrived home half an hour later, and dinner with just the four of them was a cheerful, friendly meal, with Ron telling his delighted father all about their trip on the Underground. Ron and Arthur Weasley were rather more alike than Ron himself would ever have admitted; and at one point, Harry found himself trading amused looks with Mrs. Weasley as the pair of them talked about escalators and buses.
Harry only wished that he could have done more justice to Mrs. Weasley's delicious cooking, but he had a nasty, cold lump in his stomach throughout the meal. He was beginning to feel horribly like a traitor in their midst, and brooded morbidly on the conversation they were all going to have to have shortly. He was convinced that it would be a disaster and that he would find himself cut off from this warm-hearted family who had taken the wizarding world's most famous orphan to their bosom.
He had almost talked himself into telling Ron that they wouldn't talk about it, when there was a break in the conversation and Ron surprised him by saying straight out:
"Mum, Dad – there's something Harry and I need to talk to you about."
Harry felt his stomach lurch and wondered, panicking, if he would have time to get to the bathroom before he was sick. Then he looked up and saw the expression on Mr. Weasley's face. While it was clear that he didn't know exactly what his son was going to say, it was obvious that he had some idea. He reached out with one hand to his wife, who was on her feet, cutting slices from a cherry pie, and said quietly, "Sit down, Molly dear."
She did so, looking bemused and anxious, and murmuring, "Oh dear, what now?"
Mr. Weasley just nodded to Ron. "Go on."
Ron shot Harry a quick look that told him he wasn't nearly as calm as he sounded. He cleared his throat nervously.
"It's just that ... well, you need to know and we didn't want you to find out from someone else .... But, we're – um – kind of ... involved. Together."
Mrs. Weasley looked from one to the other of them, bewildered. "Involved in what?"
Oh God, Harry thought, and found to his shame that he couldn't look her in the eye. It was a good thing that Ron was doing all the talking, because his voice had dried up completely.
But Mr. Weasley leaned back in his chair and nodded tiredly, looking both resigned and accepting. "I thought it might be something like that."
"You did?" Ron asked, not sure what to make of his father's reaction.
"Something like what?" Mrs. Weasley demanded. "Arthur?"
"Molly," he said patiently, "I think what Ron is trying to tell us is that he and Harry are involved together. In a relationship."
For a moment she looked blank. Then understanding dawned, and she turned to look at the two of them, clearly quite staggered.
It was the first time Harry had ever seen her at a loss for words. Her mouth opened and closed a couple of times, but the news had completely robbed her of speech. Mr. Weasley was far more in control of himself.
"How long has this been going on?" he asked Ron.
"Nearly three years," Ron said, glancing at his mother's face anxiously.
"Three years - Good God! And you didn't think to tell us before now?"
It was the quiet note of hurt in his voice that undid Harry, coupled with the look on Mrs. Weasley's face. He didn't know quite what he had been expecting, but this was worse – much worse. Somehow it would have been easier if Mrs. Weasley had shouted at them, instead of staring in that bewildered, tearful silence.
"It's not that we didn't want to tell you," he said, finding his voice. "It's just that we've got into the habit of not telling people, and – "
"Who does know?" Mr. Weasley interrupted him.
Harry and Ron glanced at each other.
"Hermione, Seamus - "
" – Dean and Neville – "
" – Ginny, Fred and George – "
"Ginny knows?" Mrs. Weasley cried, finding her voice. The look she gave Harry didn't need much interpretation.
"Ginny was one of the first people to know," he said uncomfortably, reflecting that it might justifiably be said that Ginny had known even before he did.
"Anyone else?" asked Mr. Weasley, dryly.
"Moody and Kisbie," Ron said, grimacing. "And Dumbledore, I suppose, although he's never actually said ...."
"And Sirius and Remus," Harry added, "although I only found that out recently."
"Quite a collection, considering that you've got into the habit of not telling people." Silence. "So why have you chosen to honour us with the information now?"
Harry found that his tongue was suddenly tied into knots again, and Ron didn't appear to be much better off. Suddenly all their reasons, both for waiting and for confessing, seemed grossly inadequate.
Mr. Weasley looked at them and sighed. "You see, what I find particularly hurtful about this is that you clearly decided on a policy of deception early on. That's bad enough, but your mother and I could have found out, by accident, from any number of sources in the meantime, and how do you think we would have felt about that?"
"That's why we're telling you now," Ron said, finding his voice again.
"Yes, but don't you think it might have been more appropriate to do so a couple of years ago?" his father demanded. "Ron, you're my son, and Harry, you've been a part of this family for nearly ten years now. What did the pair of you think we were going to do? Disown you?" Their stricken faces must have told him exactly that. "Well, if that's the case, then that's the most hurtful part of the entire business."
"We didn't want you to be hurt," Harry said unsteadily. "We never wanted that. That was one of the reasons we never said anything, because we both knew that you hoped I would marry Ginny, and Ron – "
"I never hoped for any such thing, Harry," Mr. Weasley told him quietly.
There was another uneasy pause, in which it was clear Mrs. Weasley didn't know quite what to do with herself. It had always been an open secret in the family that she had hoped for exactly that.
"All I ever wanted for either of you was for you to grow up to be happy, confident adults. That's all I wanted for any of my children."
"We are happy," Ron said helplessly.
"I can't speak for Ron," Harry said after a moment, "but one of the reasons why I didn't want to tell you was because I didn't want to disappoint you. You've both been really good to me."
"Oh, Harry …." Mrs. Weasley sighed.
He gave her a nervous look, but doggedly kept going. "We - we didn't plan this, you know. I know it sounds stupid, but it just sort of ... happened."
To both his and Ron's surprise, Mrs. Weasley gave an odd sort of tearful laugh at this.
"Well, I don't know why it should come as a shock," she said, smoothing her apron over her lap and seeming to gather herself together. "The two of you have been such a double act for so long, that I almost began to worry what might happen if one of you did get married. At least that won't be a problem anymore."
"And look at it this way," Ron said, giving his parents a nervous grin, "at least you won't be asked to help pay for the wedding reception now."
To Harry's surprise both of them laughed. And just like that, the tension in the room was gone. Mrs. Weasley got up to put the kettle on to boil again ("I think we all need a cup of tea after that.") and finished cutting up the cherry pie.
Mr. Weasley did have one last thing to say on the subject, though.
"Listen to me, both of you," he said gravely. "I want one thing quite clearly understood - in the future, I don't want any more deception, no matter how good you think the reasons are for it. If you have problems, you talk to us. That's what we're here for." He sighed then, and for a moment he looked very worn and worried and old. "Unfortunately, you almost certainly will encounter problems at some point. But you don't have to deal with them alone, either you."
Harry was on the Hogwarts Express, travelling north. It was weird but he seemed to be in two places at once; one of him still a boy sitting in his hand-me-down clothes by the window, and the other grown up and standing by the door watching himself.
Sitting on the seat opposite young-Harry was Ron - eleven-year-old, gangling, red-headed Ron in his second-hand robes, with a fat, grey rat sleeping on his knee. They were talking and laughing and sharing a big pile of sweets, best friends already despite having only met for the first time a matter of hours previously.
The compartment door slid open and a very young Draco Malfoy stepped inside, white-blond head held high and grey eyes glittering.
"Is it true?" he demanded. "They're saying all down the train that Harry Potter's in this compartment. So it's you, is it?"
"Yes," Harry replied. Eleven-year-old Harry was not happy to see the other boy again; twenty-year-old Harry watched curiously, wondering what was different about this scene from what he remembered.
"My name's Malfoy, Draco Malfoy," the boy told him.
Ron sniggered at this, unsuccessfully trying to turn the noise into a cough. Malfoy glared.
"Think my name's funny, do you? No need to ask who you are. My father told me all the Weasley's have red hair, freckles and more children than they can afford." He turned his back on Ron very pointedly. "You'll soon find out some wizarding families are much better than others, Potter. You don't want to go making friends with the wrong sort. I can help you there."
He offered his hand, but eleven-year-old Harry didn't take it, and was eyeing him with dislike.
"I think I can tell who the wrong sort are for myself, thanks."
Where are Vincent Crabbe and Gregory Goyle? twenty-year-old Harry wondered suddenly. That's what was missing – Malfoy's henchmen.
Malfoy had gone sort of pink in the face, but instead of issuing the threat adult-Harry remembered from that day, he looked over his shoulder towards the door, almost anxiously.
"Potter, don't turn my friendship down – you don't know what'll happen if you do."
"What are you talking about?" Ron was asking crossly.
Malfoy didn't answer. He was staring out of the door apprehensively. Curious, adult-Harry peered around the door frame too, and felt a sickening jolt in his stomach.
The corridor of the train was full of dead children, children he had been to school with. Seamus, Dean, Hermione, Parvati Patil, Colin and Dennis Creevy, Cho Chang, the Weasley twins, Crabbe and Goyle .... All of them dead without a mark on them, like Cedric Diggory, their blank eyes staring back at him with a sort of accusing surprise.
Harry turned back and found that the compartment now held just two other people – Ron and Malfoy, both adults. Ron was standing by the window in his Auror's robes, arms crossed over his chest and looking angry and defensive. Malfoy was sitting on the seat opposite, dressed all in black, apparently quite at his ease. His arms were also crossed, but one hand was free and was holding his wand, tapping it lightly on his arm.
He smiled slightly when he saw he had Harry's attention.
"What about it, then, Potter? Ready to reconsider taking my hand in friendship? It's the only way most of your friends will survive, you know."
"Don't Harry!" Ron said explosively, before he could even consider a response. "Remember who he is!"
"Tut tut, Weasley," Malfoy drawled, his strange grey eyes still on Harry. "Obviously a little prejudice goes a long way among the righteous."
"Do you take me for an idiot?" Harry asked him.
"Not yet, but perhaps you need a little reminder of what awaits all your Mudblood friends if you don't take me seriously – "
And Malfoy stretched out his hand, pointing the wand at Harry's forehead.
Harry awoke with a jolt, gasping for breath and sitting up sharply. Ron was hanging over the end of his bed, shaking him.
This was nothing new. Harry had lost count of the times Ron had shaken him awake from nightmares. For someone who could sleep through a forty-two gun salute in the middle of the bedroom, Ron was surprisingly alert to Harry's sleeping problems.
"You okay?" Ron's hair was all over the place, and he was half asleep.
Harry nodded, trying to get his breathing under control. He was sweating a river, although that might have had something to do with the variable heating in Ron's old bedroom. The ghoul in the attic liked to mess with it.
He pushed a shaking hand through his hair, and looked around. It was barely light; a quick squint at the watch on Ron's dangling wrist showed the hand pointing to "Why aren't you asleep?".
Ron's other hand snaked out from under the covers and ruffled his hair affectionately, although his eyes had already closed again. "Why don't you come up here?" he mumbled drowsily. "S'only a couple hours before we have to get up."
Harry eyed the bed dubiously. It was a narrow single. That was one of the reasons why he always slept in a folding cot bed when they stayed with Ron's parents; the other being that Mrs. Weasley hadn't known about their relationship before and they hadn't wanted to surprise her one morning when she woke them.
"No room," he said.
Ron's eyes never opened, but Harry could see his grin in the half light. "'Course there is, if you don't mind being friendly."
Harry grinned too, tempted. Still .... "What about your mum?"
"Stick a privacy spell on the door."
Harry fumbled around until he found his wand and pointed it at the door, murmuring "Silencio!". Then he scrambled out of the cot bed. Ron shifted over until he was right next to the wall, and Harry crawled under the quilt next to him.
Ron peeled open one eye and gave him a quirky smile. "That's better," he said, and promptly went back to sleep.
Harry smiled too, but found it harder to nod off again. For some reason the dream bothered him deeply. There was just enough room in the bed for him to turn onto his back, and he lay staring up at the posters of the Chudley Cannons on the walls. The seven witches and wizards in the pictures – none of whom actually played for the team any longer – were all fast asleep at the moment, propping each other up. One of the Chasers was snoring daintily.
Why on earth was he dreaming of Draco Malfoy? Come to that, why was he dreaming about the three of them arguing on the Hogwarts Express? The image of the dead children on the train was too uncomfortable to brush off, though. Only a year ago, an attempt had been made to derail the school train, although it had been mostly foiled by a team of Aurors guided by a wizard whose success rate with the crystal ball was rather impressive.
The said wizard was Ron, of all people.
True Seers, Professor McGonagall had once told them, were rare. Harry had only a very marginal ability in divination; occasionally he dreamed true, but it was always centred on himself and those exceptionally close to him. Ron, on the other hand, had developed a real knack in the area, not just in reading the crystal ball but also with the Tarot cards, tea leaves and astrology. He could have set himself up in quite a lucrative little business, were it not for the fact that using the skill tended to give him crippling migraines afterwards - a common side-effect. Apparently only frauds got to use the ability without repercussions.
But the gift had recommended him to the Aurors as a candidate, whereas his other abilities might not have, so it had all worked out rather well. It was just a pity that Ron had a typical Seers' blind spot; he wasn't able to do readings for himself, or he could have looked in the crystal ball and found out who had inflicted that anonymous curse on him.
Harry glanced at his friend now, studying his freckled face and messy red hair thoughtfully. The sense of anxiety about his dream was so strong that he wondered if it was worth asking Ron to do a Tarot spread for him, just to see if there was anything lurking in his immediate future that included that prince of darkness, Draco Malfoy.
He decided against it. Ron had enough on his plate, without deliberately making himself ill just to see if yet another of Harry's lurid dreams was about to come true. Since only one in perhaps every eight or ten did, it hardly seemed worth it.
Harry gave himself an inward shake and told himself to go back to sleep.
One of the biggest problems faced by Ludo Bagman at the Sports' Department was the severe dearth of Quidditch grounds in Britain. Given the stiff requirements - accessibility versus a need for concealment from Muggles - this was a knotty one. Unfortunately, it led to situations such as the Chudley Cannons now found themselves in, where grounds and facilities had to be shared with other, usually amateur non-league teams. The Cannons were also in an even stickier situation; given their poor performance over last few years, they had begun to suffer from sponsorship problems, which made them even more reliant on the fees they received from the other teams for rental of the pitch and facilities. The Cannons currently shared with the Exeter Rooks and Torbay Tempests.
Quidditch matches had evolved into something of a matinee event, with two non-league teams playing in the mornings, followed by the main event that was the league teams in the afternoons. Today the Tempests were playing at home opposite a Cornish team, the Mevagissy Sweeps, followed by the Cannons opposite the Appleby Arrows. The Cannons' match was an important one, for they were facing relegation.
For Ron, always a big Cannons supporter, this was a major event and he brooded throughout the first match, muttering darkly about previous scores and player form. Harry, not a Cannons fan as such, was more interested in the non-league teams; he subscribed to Charlie Weasley's point of view that you sometimes saw more exciting play from the amateurs, and could get an early look at the players who might one day fly for the big league teams.
The Tempests were touting a new Seeker today, a very young witch called Ariella Sturgess who had not yet left school. Harry was always interested in the Seekers, as it was the position he had played at school and indeed still played on the Aurors' team during the Inter-Agencies' League. The Sweeps, by comparison, all seemed to be older, more experienced players.
The match was fast and furious, with some exciting play from the Sweeps' Chasers, and one or two near-misses as bludgers were sent rocketing into the stands. One Tempest Beater got sent off for bumphing (deliberately hitting a bludger into the spectators to cause a distraction), and the score was Tempests 50: Sweeps 130 before the snitch suddenly appeared and sent the two Seekers into a swift and terrifying dive that caused a couple of opposing Chasers to collide.
Then there was a roar from the Tempests' supporters. Sturgess catapulted out of the scrum, swooped low across the pitch -
- and soared skywards again, one fist held triumphantly above her head.
Pandemonium. The referee blew her whistle, and the two teams drifted towards the ground, the Sweeps looking most disgruntled. The match had lasted all of two hours - pretty good going, considering. No game of Quidditch was ever halted until the snitch was caught, which sometimes led to unusually extended matches (the current record was three months) and desperate measures involving reserve players.
"Not bad," was Ron's critical assessment.
"Not bad?" Harry said, laughing. He had yelled himself nearly hoarse during the final manoeuvres of the game. "She was brilliant! Did you see how she pulled out of that dive without colliding with the Sweeps's Seeker? There can't have been a tail-twig's gap between them .... Of course, she's very small, so she rides light."
Ron rolled his eyes. "At least they finished well in time. Do you want a drink or something before the match starts?"
"Okay." Harry dug in his pocket for some coins, but Ron waved him off.
And he was gone, pushing through the crowd of spectators towards the stairs.
Harry sat down again and peered over the railings, watching as the Tempests had a post-mortem of their game off to one side. The young Seeker was getting hugs all round from her team-mates and their coach was understandably beaming. The Sweeps, by comparison, were exchanging resigned shrugs and preparing to leave the pitch.
Supporters of both sides were also flooding onto the ground, some lurking as near to the teams as they could get, hoping for autographs. Harry watched them with idle interest. He never tired of people-watching in the wizarding community, because you never knew exactly what would happen from one moment to the next. The same could be said of Muggles, of course, but the happenings were generally more entertaining with wizards.
Which was how he came to see a familiar blond head in the crowd swarming around the refreshments stand.
For a moment he thought he was seeing things. Draco Malfoy – here? It couldn't be possible. Harry stood up and leaned over the railings, trying catch sight of him again.
It had to be impossible. Once or twice he thought he saw that much-hated face in the throng of supporters, but it was hard to tell from such a height. All the same, Harry remained hanging over the rail, eyes scanning the pitch, until Ron returned.
"What are you looking at?" the red-head wanted to know, holding out a tall bottle of butterbeer.
"I thought I saw someone ...."
Ron flicked the lid off his own bottle and took a swig, studying Harry's face with a frown. "Who?"
Harry was already beginning to wonder if his mind was playing tricks on him, after his dream the night before. "Draco Malfoy."
Ron spluttered and choked, spraying his drink across the seat next to him. Harry thumped him on the back apologetically.
"Cripes, don't do that to me." Ron took a wheezing breath, and shook his head. "Malfoy? That's a laugh – he wouldn't be seen dead at a Cannons match. Not successful enough for him!"
"Maybe not, but I thought for a minute – well, it really looked like him, but I couldn't see very well."
"Probably just someone who has the bad luck to look like him."
It was on the tip of Harry's tongue to say that no one else, no one, looked exactly like that, held their head with that particular kind of arrogance or walked in that self-confident way. But he held the comment back, and just shrugged. Ron was probably right, after all.
He uncapped his own drink and took a long swallow. Beside him, Ron was rustling through the pages of a programme he'd just bought for the next game.
"Damn - looks like Laughton's out with an injury, so Kelly's the Keeper today ...."
End Part 6/30
I'd like to thank the kind reviewers who charged through the first five chapters and gave me such lovely feedback. I was having heart-attacks about posting this story, but you have reassured me.
Susanne – Thank you! Your review was the first to arrive and I can't tell you how great it was to get such a nice review so quickly. I hope you continue to enjoy it.
Quoth The Raven – I'm glad you like it so far and hope the rest of the story lives up to your expectations. You'll get to see the rest of the Weasley family's reactions to their relationship in due course! I agree that multi-chaptered H/R stories are disappointingly few in number. Perhaps we need to start a campaign ....
Beth Ann – My dear, you're an absolute hero! Not only did you read the first draft and put up with me wibbling at you every five minutes, but now you're reading it again? You have a constitution of iron!
Jadea – I know! I was mortified when I realised that the Ron/Imperius Curse angle was a fanfic cliche. Of course, by that time it was too late to do much about it. Regarding how their relationship started ... hm, I might be able to oblige you with that later on. As for Ron and Muggle London – you're not alone! My first trip to London was a lot like that, including the two accidental bus rides to St. Paul's Cathedral. Incidentally, Beth Ann and I visited the bookshop Murder One recently and were amused to discover that the bookshelf Harry and Ron have their argument behind was in the Romance section *grin*
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