The Many Faces of Harry Potter 22

"The Many Faces of Har—er, Adira Potter: Chapter 22"
By = Fayanora

Chapter Twenty-two: The Quidditch Cup

Note 1: Text in 'Italics and British quotes' is Parseltongue.

Note 2: Once more, I apologize for the bits and pieces of canon dialogue/narration here and there.

Note 3: I have different styles for the internal speech of Alastair, Adira, and Zoey, and now #Iliana (bold, italic, underlined, and now between hashtags/pound signs because some people's computers don't do the B.I.U.).# and {Tier} if I ever get around to it.

Note 4: This is a long chapter. But I made it less long by cutting out the World Cup match itself, just doing some important bits before and after.


On July 31st, Sirius and Adira went by Floo to the Burrow for Adira's birthday party. The first thing she saw when she got there was Ron and Ginny. The second thing she saw was a brief vision of bushy brown hair before another girl was hugging her excitedly.

"Hello Hermione. Your parents let you come to my party, too?"

"Yes. They're almost as fascinated by magic as Mr. Weasley is fascinated with Muggles. They're just politer about it."

"How'd you get here?"

"Oh, Mr. Weasley picked me up with his car."

"Cool. If I'd thought about it, I could have had Sirius pick you up on his motorbike."

Hermione blanched at that. "Um... I don't think they would approve of that."

"It's perfectly safe," Sirius said. "I've got charms on it that keep it from getting hit by cars and stuff, charms that keep the bike upright, and a charm to keep you from falling off. You could probably balance on one foot the whole way and be fine. Not that I'd recommend trying it, of course."

"I still don't think they'd approve. And, well... I don't think I'd be very interested. Sounds scary. Like flying, but closer to the ground."

"Ah well, if you're afraid of it, then I'll remember to never offer. I quite understand, it's a heady experience even for me."

"Hello there, dearie," said Mrs. Weasley, bustling into the room. "We're setting up outside, since there's more room out there."

"Cool. I hope there are charms to keep the bugs away, though."

"Oh yes, I'm quite handy at insect-repelling charms, don't worry about that."

Adira and the others headed outside and around the side, where Mr. Weasley was setting up tables and chairs with his wand. Despite this, Adira grabbed a chair and began helping.

"Oh I've got it, Adira. You're the birthday girl, there's no need to help."

"I like helping, when it's people I like," she said. "Just like I like cooking for people I like."

"Speaking of cooking," one of the twins said with a grin, "has Mum taught Sirius anything about cooking yet?"

"I've been getting lessons," Sirius admitted. "But sadly the progress is slow. The other day I managed make toast without burning it."

"Yeah, I heard, which is why I brought it up. Mum is starting to worry. Ten lessons in, and that's all he can manage. Well, that and boiling eggs. I overheard Mum the other day muttering to herself about having to send meals to him and Adira via Floo."

"Oh there's no need for that," Adira said. "I can cook. I used to do it for the Dursleys all the time. I hated doing it for them, but I like doing it for myself or for family and friends."

"Well, Adira, I think that's the last of the chairs. Oh, and here comes Molly, just in time."

Mrs. Weasley was floating a line of pots and pans and dishes of food over to the tables with her wand. She set them down and went back for more. Adira followed and helped carry things out to the table. Before long, they had a meal ready for 10 people – all the Weasleys except Bill and Charlie, plus Adira and Hermione.

The cooking was, as ever, magnificent.

"Mrs. Weasley," Adira said between bites, "your cooking really is amazing. In fact, if you wanted or needed to, I'm sure you could get a job as a cook at a restaurant or pub. I'm sure people would pay loads for cooking this good."

"Why thank you, dear. That's kind of you to say," the Weasley matriarch said, grinning.

Adira went back to her meal, pleased.

A few minutes later, she noticed Mr. Weasley kept staring at her with a thoughtful expression on his face.

"What is it, Mr. Weasley? Do I have something on my face?"

"No, nothing like that. It's nothing."

"Oh come on, then."

"Well... okay. If you insist. It's just... I'm curious, Adira; are you the only one of you lot who age?" Mr. Weasley asked.

Adira put her fork down. "Um, no. Iliana is aging along with me."

"Right, yes, sorry. I should have remembered seeing her age, too. But er... is Alastair getting any older?"

"Ah, Al. As to him, no idea. He was pretty much 14 when we were 11. If he is aging, he's not showing it. Doesn't look a day older than he did back then. I really hope he's not going to be stuck at 14 forever. I'm pretty much resigned to Zoey being six forever, but I don't think I could stand one of us being a teenager for the rest of our life."

"Yeah, Al's always been older," said one of the twins. "It'd be weird to see him younger than you two."

After dinner and cake, it was time to open presents. From Sirius she got a wrist holster for her wand.

"The bloke at the shop said it's charmed. You put your wand in it, then when you want your wand in your hand, out it pops right into your hand. You don't have to worry about dropping it, either, when it pops out, because it makes the wand stick to your hand even if it's open palm, until you actually grasp hold of it, then the charm lifts until next time."

"Cool! Thanks, Sirius!"

"You're welcome. I liked it so much, I got one for myself as well," he said, demonstrating it for her. Sure enough, his wand popped right into his hand.

"Goes back with a thought, too," he said, letting it get sucked back into the holster.

"Merlin's beard!" Adira practically shouted in her excitement, immediately strapping the holster to her arm, and putting her wand in it to practice making it come out and go back in.

Sirius's gift was the most impressive, but she loved every gift she got. Ginny got her a bottle of color-changing nail polish. From Ron she received a three-galleon gift certificate to Honeyduke's. Ron's parents gave her homemade fudge. Hermione gave her a charm bracelet with an actual charm on it.

"It's a shield charm on the bracelet," she explained. "I don't know how strong it is, or how long it'll last, but it should ward off at least one or two mild to moderate hexes."

She also got cards, which she loved. She still had all her birthday cards from previous years in her trunk. Which, after three years at Hogwarts, was beginning to get very full, even after she'd gotten rid of the Lockhart books. She made a mental note to get a new trunk at Diagon Alley.

The twins even gave her a gift, but not until after everything was put away. They'd come up to Ron's room to talk privately with her.

"We got you something, too. Didn't want to give it to you in front of Mum."

"A bit of something we've been developing. Ton-Tongue Toffees. Don't eat any unless you want your tongue to grow to the size of a baby seal," Fred warned.

"You're free to use up to three of them on deserving victims," George said, after handing her a whole box full of them. "But the rest we're just giving you for safe-keeping. Mum's been destroying all our hard work. But she wouldn't dare destroy something of yours."

"Trick candies, huh?"

"Yeah. We want to start a joke shop. Been our heart's desire for years. But Mum wants us to get respectable jobs. Normal jobs. Boring jobs."

Adira laughed. "Yeah, I can't imagine you two doing anything normal. Hold on."

With no more warning than that, she shrunk down, without glowing, into Zoey.

"Let me just hold that for you," she said, grabbing the box. Then she pulled it into herself as they transformed again into Adira.

"Wow, she can do real objects now?"

"Um, yeah. Yeah, I feel them in there, still. Wherever it is stuff goes when she does that. She just can't do anything alive, we've found."

"Ah, so she couldn't hide, say, one of us in there?"

"Nope. I'm not sure it would be a good idea even if she could. It might be deadly to anything alive, that isn't one of us."

"Well now that you've got them in there, we might call upon Zoey to return a few of them at some point in the future, on short notice."

"Fine by me. I wish you two luck. You'll be brilliant at a joke shop."

"Thank you for your good wishes, dearest Addy-Rah. But we still have a few more years left at school before we go off out into the world to find our fortune."

That night, in bed, she reflected that each birthday kept getting better and better. She was very glad to be away from the Dursleys, even if it meant that the spell Dumbledore had cast to extend the protection of her mother's sacrifice had broken.

In August, Ron wrote to them to tell them his father had tickets to the Quidditch World Cup via a friend at work, and asked if Adira and Sirius wanted to come as well.

"Can we, Sirius? Can we? Please?"

Sirius hemmed and hawed. "Well, you can, sure. But me, I dunno. I... well that is to say... well..."

"You're worried about weird looks? Scared looks?"

"Yes. But I don't think I can exactly go in disguise, either."

"You look a lot better than your old wanted posters, these days. Barely recognizable."

Sirius raised an eyebrow at her.

"Thanks, Adira, but I know that's not true. Plenty of people recognize me."

"Oh come on, there'll be people from all over the world there, and I doubt your face is known much outside of Britain."

"I wouldn't be so sure, kiddo."

Adira cocked her head ever so slightly, a sure sign she was listening to someone on the inside.

"Al says you should go and wear a t-shirt that says 'Hello, my name is Sirius Black, ask me how.'"

Sirius just looked at her like a dog might look at something confusing to it.

"Never mind, it's a Muggle cultural reference. Anyway, Sirius, don't worry. It'll be a huge place from what I hear, so you'll blend into the crowd. It shouldn't be any more difficult than going to Diagon Alley."

He sighed. "I hope you're right. But yeah, I'll go with you. I can put up with some minor frustrations to make sure you're safe."

She hugged him round the middle in celebration, and he hugged her back.

The Quidditch World Cup wouldn't be until August 24th. Until then, with most of her homework done, Sirius insisted she not remain in the house all the time. He took her out different places at least once a week, going places like parks, museums, the beach. He signed her up for swimming lessons at a wizarding pool in case she had any transformations, which were twice a week. He even occasionally took her out for rides on his motorbike just for the heck of it. It was quickly shaping up to being her best summer ever.

A few weeks before the Cup, Adira and company began having nightly dreams of a slightly odd nature. The dream was always the same; Adira would be sitting in class, between Al and Iliana, and they'd be paying attention to an unfamiliar teacher who was black with her hair in elaborate braids that were tied back together in a protruding bun like a small beehive 'do made of braids. They could read the words on the board perfectly, but could never quite remember what they said when they woke up.

After what felt like a few minutes of this, a boy behind them would say something to get their attention. They would turn to look at him, and he was always the same boy. He looked to be from India, or at least had ancestors from there, but he spoke with an American accent. His skin was dark brown, making him almost as black as the teacher.

"You said something?" Al prompted.

The boy regarded them with eyes that were so brown they were almost black, but unlike Snape's black eyes, this boy's eyes were warm, calm, and thoughtful. He regarded them calmly, thinking.

"Oh," the boy said lazily, his eyes on his notes. "Just saying you should take notes. There's going to be a quiz later."

"Quiz? What are you on about?" Al demanded.

"Oh you know," said the boy as he wrote down some notes from the blackboard, "the quiz. Several quizzes, actually. Little ones at first. Then the big one."

"The O.W.L.'s? Those aren't til fifth year."

The boy sighed. "No, that's not it," the boy said, now doodling on a piece of parchment.

Al looked around. "This is a dream. We're asleep."

"Yes, you are," the Indian boy agreed, not looking up from his drawing.

"Why aren't you taking notes, if it's so important?" Al demanded of the boy.

"I've been getting private lessons. Mother insisted. That's why I've been away for so long."

"Away? From school?"

"No. Just away."

Al's eyes narrowed.

"What House are you in?"

The boy said nothing, just shrugged. He hadn't looked at them once since getting their attention.

"What's your name?" Adira asked.

The boy stopped drawing, and looked up at her, smirking. He said nothing, just put an index finger to his mouth and winked before going back to his drawing.

"Cryptic bastard. But I guess that's dreams for ya," Al said.

The boy shushed them again, this time unsmilingly, and pointed up at the teacher. They turned to look. The board now had what looked like strategic drawings for Quidditch on it, lots of X's and O's and arrows.

"Mother will be very cross if you fail the big test. But not half as cross as you will be."

They had turned to face the boy again. But he vanished, so they turned back to the front.

"CONSTANT VIGILANCE!" screamed a voice as someone jumped out at them.

Adira screamed, and fell out of bed in a tangle of sheets. Sirius came bursting into the room as she did, calling her name. After a lot of struggle and confusion, Sirius got her out of the sheets and began calming her down.

"I had it again! Same weird dream seven nights in a row! The exact same!"

"Including the jump scare at the end?"

"Yes! What does it mean?"

"I wish I knew, Adira, I really do."

She made no sign she'd heard him, as she was still recovering from the scary end of the dream. It took many minutes, but finally her breathing was slowing down, she was getting calmer.

"Have you told Dumbledore yet?"

"Yes. But he doesn't think it's a vision, if that's what you mean."

"Yeah, I don't think so either. I think it's just a general warning. Which I think is coming from our subconscious mind. I think its main message is that 'constant vigilance' at the end of the dream."

"What else do you remember?"

She concentrated. "Something about taking notes. That there was going to be a quiz, or quizzes, and a big test. But not the O.W.L.s. A different kind of test, I think. And the boy in the dream said he'd been getting private lessons. He said that mother insisted."

"Hmm... well, dreams can be weird."

"Yeah, but this was weird in a very... a very clear way. Most dreams are utter nonsense. This one felt like it had a lot more sense to it than dreams usually do." She paused. "Anyway, I'll think more about it later. I'm still tired."

"Do you want me to sleep in the doggy bed?"

She chuckled. "No, I think I'll be fine."

"Okay, then. Sweet dreams."

Sirius tucked her in and kissed her on the forehead before leaving. She sighed, and tried to get back to sleep. It took a very long time.

That seventh night was the last of the dreams they had of the boy and the teacher. Their sleep was normal, then, until the Saturday before the Quidditch match.

The new dream followed an old man whose name they couldn't remember on waking. He was a caretaker at an old mansion, and thinking some kids had lit a room on fire, he'd instead discovered two wizards having a discussion.

With a fire in the grate, Voldemort sat facing the fire. He was sitting in a chair so tall that his head was not visible, and was talking with the other man, whose face was in shadow and whose voice was unfamiliar.

"Does my lord wish any more of the potion?" said the unfamiliar male voice, full of worshipful adulation. "Some small amount remains, my lord."

"Later," said a second voice. This too belonged to a man — but it was strangely high-pitched, and cold as a sudden blast of icy wind. "Move me closer to the fire."

"Of course, my lord," the worshipful voice said, the man hurrying to obey. He was wearing a hooded cloak, his face hidden in its shadows as he scooted the chair closer to the hearth.

"Where is Nagini?" asked the cold voice.

"I believe, my lord, that she went out to explore the house. Not being blessed as you are with the Speech, I cannot be sure."

"Good. You will milk her again before we retire," the cold voice commanded. "I will need feeding in the night; the journey has been very tiring, even with your help."

"Of course, my lord." A pause, then the servant's voice continued. "Does this mean we will be staying here? And if so, for how long?"

"A week. Perhaps longer. This place is moderately comfortable, and the plan cannot proceed yet. It would be foolish to act before the Quidditch World Cup is over."

"Ah yes," the servant said. "Understandable, with all the Ministry of Magic fools everywhere, keeping things from the bloody stupid Muggles. You are wise and cunning as always, my lord. I wish I could have half as much wisdom and cunning as you have."

The cold voice chuckled. "Yes, you are exactly as I remember. Alas, if only you had been able to get to me sooner."

"Speaking of sooner, my lord, but why, pray tell, are we trying to get hands on Harry Potter? He is so well protected, after all. I simply seek to understand the magnificence of your plan, if my weak mind is able to grasp it, my lord. Unless my understanding is not needed, of course, in which case I beg your forgiveness for my impertinence."

"Of course, of course. You are correct, your understanding is not required. But I suppose, given the nature of your future duties, I shall tell you anyway. I could use any witch or wizard who opposed me, but this one is particularly meaningful. The Potter creature has incredible powers of transformation, powers I hope to gain by using its blood to rebuild my body. And I shall wish to murder it myself to prove that it is a fluke. Ah, but I forget myself... you shall need to refer to it as her. At least part of the time."

"Yes, my lord. I have been doing my research. My contacts in the ministry have provided me with much information on the Potter... thing. I know the names and personas it has well. You shall have her, to do with her as you please."

"Excellent. This pleases me greatly."

"Thank you, my lord, thank you."

"Yes yes, that is enough fawning for now."

"Of course, my lord." Another pause, then, "However, I remain confused on one other point, my lord."

"And what is it that confuses you?"

"If I am to leave here as part of my duty to you, who is to care for you?"

"Why, that nosy woman of course."

"Er... Bertha Jorkins, you mean? My lord?"

"Yes, I mean Bertha Jorkins. She knows too much, even if her memory has been modified. I could break through those enchantments if I had need to. Instead, she will be my servant for a time. Then when she is no longer useful, I shall dispose of her."

"You are still so weak though, begging your pardon my lord. I simply fear for your safety if the Imperious curse should weaken or fail."

"Do you think that likely?"

"If I did not, I would not have brought it up, my lord."

The cold voice made a sound of pondering.

"You have a good point. But do not worry about it overmuch. I will keep her sleeping when not using her."

There was an uncertain silence from the servant.

"What's this? You still worry? Oh how touching. I have Nagini, though; if all else fails, Nagini will kill her, and I will send you an owl. We will figure something out. You could send someone else in her place. I think you know who I mean. Unless... you haven't disposed of him yet, have you?"

"As tempting as it is, he is still useful to us. So no, he goes about his duties still. In a manner of speaking, as he no longer works for the ministry."

"Good. So are you feeling better now?"

"Yes, my lord, I am."

"Anyway, if something were to happen to me, it would merely be inconvenient. We have a whole school year until that joyous day, if anything should happen."

"Of course, my lord. I am greatly relieved."

"Good. Anyway, Jorkins will be temporary. You will need to stay at the school, meaning that there is another... ingredient... needed that you, in your duties, will not be able to provide me without causing that old goat to become very suspicious. We shall have to make alternate arrangements. That should not be too difficult, however; it worked once, so it should work again."

The servant nodded. "I understand. I will begin making preparations immediately."

"Good. Make sure it happens as soon as possible. She will need time to recover before the ritual."

"Yes, my lord."

"Hush! I think I hear Nagini."

The cold-voiced man's voice changed; he was hissing and spitting without drawing breath, and in response to this, a monstrous snake big enough to crush a man to death slithered into the room and settled on the hearth rug. There was a similar sound from the snake itself, before the man switched back to English.

"Nagini has interesting news," he said.

"What is it, my lord?"

"According to Nagini, there is an old Muggle man standing right outside this room, eavesdropping on our every word."

Frank didn't have a chance to hide himself. There were footsteps, and then the door of the room was flung wide open.

The man's hooded face was still in shadow; all that Frank could tell about the man was that he was a white man, and was skinny, his robes a bit too big for him. And his voice was very hoarse, as though he hadn't used it much before today.

"Invite him in, why don't you?" the cold voice said.

Jerking his head in something like a nod, the man grabbed Frank's arm with an iron grip and dragged him into the room, right behind the tall chair.
The fire was the only source of light in the room; it cast long, spidery shadows upon the walls. Frank stared at the back of the armchair; the man inside it seemed to be even smaller than his servant, for Frank couldn't even see the back of his head.

"You heard everything, Muggle?" said the cold voice.

"What's that you're calling me?" said Frank defiantly.

"I am calling you a Muggle," said the voice coolly. "It means that you are not a wizard."

"I don't know what you mean by wizard," said Frank, his voice growing steadier. "All I know is I've heard enough to interest the police tonight, I have. You've done murder and you're planning more! And I'll tell you this too," he added, on a sudden inspiration, "my wife knows I'm up here, and if I don't come back —"

"You have no wife," said the cold voice, very quietly. "Nobody knows you are here. You told nobody that you were coming. Do not lie to Lord Voldemort, Muggle, for he knows … he always knows."

"Is that right?" said Frank roughly. "Lord, is it? Well, I don't think much of your manners, My Lord. Turn 'round and face me like a man, why don't you?"

"But I am not a man, Muggle," said the cold voice, barely audible now over the crackling of the flames. "I am much, much more than a man. However … why not? I will face you. Turn my chair around, my most faithful," he commanded.

The hooded servant chuckled darkly. "With pleasure, my lord."

With two arms, he lifted up the chair and turned it around to face Frank. The snake hissed in warning as one leg got too close to its triangular head.
And then the chair was facing Frank, and he saw what was sitting in it. His walking stick fell to the floor with a clatter. He opened his mouth and let out a scream. He was screaming so loudly that he never heard the words the thing in the chair spoke as it raised a wand. There was a flash of green light, a rushing sound, and Frank Bryce crumpled. He was dead before he hit the floor.

Many, many miles away, Adira Potter woke with a scream.

"Adira! Are you alright?" Sirius asked after barging into her room.

Adira nodded, but remained in bed, sitting up, holding her legs with one arm, rubbing her scar with her free hand.

"Was it the dream from before?"

"No. This one was different. And my scar hurts. The only other time that happened, he was nearby."

Sirius goggled at her, then looked around.

"Well, none of the wards have gone off. Should I check the hearth?"

"No, I don't think he's here. The dream... it was a long ways away. Another city somewhere."

"Tell me about it."

She began to recall as much of the dream and the overheard conversation as she could, but it was already fading.

"So," Sirius said at last, "sounds like Voldemort alright. And he killed a man? With the killing curse? But last I heard, he didn't have a body. You need a body to hold a wand, and use it. And he was plotting something to do with you?"

"Of course he was. He's obsessed with me."

"And you have no idea who the other man with him was?"

"None at all. I didn't recognize his voice, and I couldn't even see his face, it was in shadow."

"Hmm... could be a vision. Al's had one before."

"Could be. But I don't think it was a vision of the future. I think... it felt like a vision of the present."

"So you were there in real time?"

"I believe so, yes."

"Hmm... this is worrying. I'll have to tell Dumbledore, is that alright with you?"

"Yeah, I guess you'd better. If Voldemort is getting stronger... I don't know how he could, but..." her eyes got bigger with sudden realization. "The prophecy! Trelawney's prophecy! She predicted this! We thought it was about Wormtail, but he's dead. Someone else must have found Voldemort, and helped him, like Quirrell did!"

"The prophecy? Doesn't that mean whoever it is was once a servant of his? The prophecy said 'the servant has been chained these twelve years.' I don't know how that could be, though; I haven't heard of any breakouts from Azkaban. My own was the only one there's ever been, as far as I know of. So they must've been chained in some other way. Someone who avoided Azkaban? But who wasn't free to pursue Voldemort? That doesn't make any sense. Who would chain a death eater for 12 years unless it was the Ministry?"

"Bloody mysteries," Adira said, her head in her hands. "I just want a normal year at Hogwarts, is that so much to ask for? Well, as normal as I can get, being the weirdo I am."

They went to the Burrow again the night before the Quidditch Cup, once more using the Floo. And this time, there were even more people than had been at Adira's birthday party, because along with Hermione, Bill and Charlie were there as well.

Within minutes of getting there, Percy stuck his head out his door as they were going up to Ron's room.

"Why hello there, Adira," Percy said, holding his hand out.

She took it with a grin. "Hi Percy. What's up?"

Percy puffed himself up proudly. "I've got a job. Personal secretary for Mr. Alfonse Alder, who took over from Mr. Crouch as the new Head of International Magical Co-operation after Crouch got fired."

"Wow. What sort of stuff do they do?"

"Well, most recently, we've arranged the Quidditch World Cup. I'm also working on a report for Mr. Alder about standardizing cauldron thickness. Some of these foreign imports are far too shallow, causing melting cauldrons."

"You know, before I found out we were expected to use pewter cauldrons, I would have guessed cauldrons to be made of iron or steel. Pewter seems a strange choice for a cauldron, being made of lead and other metals. Especially for a school, given that lead poisoning is very bad for children."

"Ah, that brings me to another point; inferior pewter standards. Not all pewter is made the same, Adira. Some pewter has hardly any lead in it at all, and anyway, if you make the cauldrons properly, the lead doesn't leach out into the potion at all. Which is why we need to standardize cauldron quality in general; too many of these foreign imports have shallow bottoms and are made of inferior pewters that melt far too easily."

"Hmm... that could explain why Neville Longbottom's cauldron always melts; maybe he keeps getting inferior cauldrons."

"Could be, Adira, could be."

Seeming satisfied that he'd bragged sufficiently to an interested party, Percy went back into his room with a nod of the head and a grin. Adira grinned the rest of the way back to Ron's room.

Later, as she passed through the kitchen, she saw Mrs. Weasley cooking in a very grumpy way. Still wary of angry people after all these years away from the Dursleys, she made her stealthy way outside and found Ron.

"What's up with your mum?"

"What? Oh yeah, she got one of Fred and George's fake wands again. It turned into a chicken. She didn't find it very funny. And she's still sore at them anyway. She found a bunch of order forms for this joke shop they're trying to start, Weasley's Wizard Wheezes."

"Ah, that. They did say she was after their stuff."

"You knew already?"

"Yeah, from my birthday. Zoey is, er... holding some merchandise for them. Some of those ton-tongue toffees."

"Really? They told you but not me?" He looked hurt by this.

"If you had a secret business that your mother didn't approve of, would you tell them about it?"

"Oh. Guess I wouldn't; I'd tell you. Well alright, then," he said brightly.

Bill walked by then, making Adira blush. Ron seemed oblivious, still talking about something that they weren't listening to.
By seven o'clock, the two tables were groaning under dishes and dishes of Mrs. Weasley's excellent cooking, and the nine Weasleys, Adira, and Hermione were settling themselves down to eat beneath a clear, deep-blue sky. Adira listened rather than talked as she helped herself to chicken and ham pie, boiled potatoes, and salad.

At the far end of the table, Percy was telling his father all about his report on cauldron bottoms.

"I've told Mr. Alder that I'll have it ready by Tuesday," Percy was saying pompously. "That's a bit sooner than he expected it, but I like to keep on top of things. I think he'll be grateful I've done it in good time, I mean, it's extremely busy in our department just now, what with all the arrangements for the World Cup. We're just not getting the support we need from the Department of Magical Games and Sports. Ludo Bagman —"

"I like Ludo," said Mr. Weasley mildly. "He was the one who got us such good tickets for the Cup. I did him a bit of a favor: His brother, Otto, got into a spot of trouble — a lawnmower with unnatural powers — I smoothed the whole thing over."

"Oh Bagman's likeable enough, but when I compare him to Mr. Alder... Mr. Alder isn't as good as I've heard Mr. Crouch was, pity he got fired, but at least Mr. Alder wouldn't lose a member of his department. Did you know Bertha Jorkins has been missing for over a month now? Went on holiday to Albania and never came back?"

"Yes, I was asking Ludo about that," said Mr. Weasley, frowning. "He says Bertha's gotten lost plenty of times before now — though I must say, if it was someone in my department, I'd be worried. …"

"Oh Bertha's hopeless, all right," said Percy. "I hear she's been shunted from department to department for years, much more trouble than she's worth … but all the same, Bagman ought to be trying to find her. I hear Crouch keeps coming back to the Ministry even though he's been fired; seems to have taken a personal interest in finding Bertha. She used to work in our department at one time, I think he grew fond of her. But Bagman just keeps laughing and saying she probably misread the map and ended up in Australia instead of Albania. However" — Percy heaved an impressive sigh and took a deep swig of elderflower wine — "we've got quite enough on our plates at the Department of International Magical Cooperation without trying to find members of other departments too. As you know, we've got another big event to organize right after the World Cup."

Percy cleared his throat significantly and looked down toward the end of the table where Adira, Ron, and Hermione were sitting. "You know the one I'm talking about, Father." He raised his voice slightly. "The top-secret one."

Ron rolled his eyes and muttered at Adira and Hermione. "He's been trying to trying to get us to ask him about that all summer long. Probably an exhibition of thick-bottomed cauldrons."

"So," Adira said to Percy, "what's this top-secret thing you keep hinting at?"

"Well, Adira," Percy said matter-of-factly, "that's top-secret, of course."

"Don't worry, Addy," Sirius said between bites, "I'll look into it for you."

"Thanks, Sirius!"

There were a lot of conversations going on, and Adira sampled them a bit at a time. There was talk of the Quidditch Cup, in which she heard about Bulgaria's seeker Viktor Krum, and Ireland having the best team of the two. Adira felt Iliana perk up at the Quidditch talk. They both liked watching Quidditch, but of the two of them, Iliana was more into it because she was a player as well as a spectator.

"Look at the time," Mrs. Weasley said suddenly, checking her wristwatch. "You really should be in bed, the whole lot of you — you'll be up at the crack of dawn to get to the Cup. Adira, if you leave your school list out, I'll get your things for you tomorrow in Diagon Alley. I'm getting everyone else's. There might not be time after the World Cup, the match went on for five days last time."

"Cool!" Iliana said with Adira's voice. "Hope it does this time!"

"Well, I certainly don't," said Percy sanctimoniously. "We're quite busy enough without a five day long backlog. My intray would be be so full my desk would break in half!"

"Could you borrow a time turner in case that happens?"

"I doubt it, Adira. People from the ministry would notice if I was in two places at once, since some of them are working security at the match. Oh, if only I could, though."

"Anyway, Mrs. Weasley, Sirius and I need to go to Diagon Alley to get me a new trunk. My old one is getting way too small for my needs."

"Ah okay. You and he can go with me, then."

When they woke up in the morning, it felt like they'd barely slept at all when they got shaken awake by Mrs. Weasley. And when her hair fell over her eyes, she noticed Adira was gone; they'd gone to bed as Adira and woken up as Iliana again. Not that it mattered much who was 'driving'; Adira would still get to see the game, as would all the others.

"Time to go, Iliana dear," Mrs. Weasley whispered, moving on to wake Ron.

Groggily, Iliana looked to the window. It was still dark out. Then she spotted the twins sitting at the foot of her bed.

"The sun's not even awake yet, why are we?" she complained. But she got up anyway, having gotten used to being woken up early for Quidditch practices.

"What she said," Fred muttered groggily, stifling a yawn.

Not wanting to change in front of the boys, Iliana got a dress and panties out of the suitcase she'd brought along for the night, and went to go find somewhere private to change.

"In here, Iliana," Ginny said as Iliana approached her room. "Hermione's already in here with me. Why are you lot still sleeping in Ron's room anyway?"

She shrugged. "Habit? Anyway, I trust Ron."

"Well get in here, silly. Oh, sorry Hermione. It's just Iliana."

Ginny had opened the door wide at just the wrong time, and Iliana briefly saw the other girl in her panties. Not that she cared, though; Iliana may be bi, but she got no thrill out of seeing someone she thought of as a sister in that state. Now, if it had been Cho, maybe things would be different. But then again, maybe not.

"Ooh, that's a pretty dress," Ginny said when Iliana started changing into it.

"Thanks. Sirius took Addy shopping the other day, we got a bunch of stuff. Speaking of, we're gonna have to get a bigger trunk; we're running out of room in our current one."

"Addy? I thought Adira didn't like being called anything but Adira?"

"Yeah, Sirius started calling her Addy, and the rest of us adopted the nickname. Addy hates it, but tolerates it. Hey, that rhymed!"

"So does that mean I can start calling you Illy?"

"Only if you want to be transfigured into a snail," Iliana said with an evil grin. "Remember, you can call me Lee if you must shorten my name."

"Yeah, but that doesn't really make much sense."

"Neither does 'Bill' for 'William,' but people use it anyway."

"True. But you don't really like Lee either."

"How are you two so talkative?" Hermione asked. "I'm barely awake."

Iliana shrugged. "Dunno. If we were Addy, we'd be like you now, but I have this ability to wake up more fully in a faster time than she does. Not sure why."

They continued dressing in silence. Then the four of them headed downstairs into the kitchen, accompanied by Hermione's yawns.

Mrs. Weasley was stirring the contents of a large pot on the stove, while Mr. Weasley was sitting at the table, checking a sheaf of large parchment tickets. He looked up as the girls entered and spread his arms so that they could see his clothes more clearly. He was wearing what appeared to be a golfing sweater and a very old pair of jeans, slightly too big for him and held up with a thick leather belt.

"What d'you think?" he asked anxiously. "We're supposed to go incognito — do I look like a Muggle, Ad... er... Iliana?"

"That's actually not bad," she said, smiling. "I've truly seen Muggles wear worse things than that. Congratulations. It might not be the height of fashion, but it's good."

"Where're Bill and Charlie and Per-Per-Percy?" said George, failing to stifle a huge yawn.

"Well, they're Apparating, aren't they?" said Mrs. Weasley, heaving the large pot over to the table and starting to ladle porridge into bowls. "So they can have a bit of a lie-in."

"So they're still in bed?" said Fred grumpily, pulling his bowl of porridge toward him. "Why can't we Apparate too?"

"Because you're not of age and you haven't passed your test," snapped Mrs. Weasley.

"Don't worry, Fred," Iliana said, "you can get your beauty sleep later."

Fred glared at her. "Like Mum or Dad might say, you're not too old to take over my knee, young missy."

Iliana giggled. "Might take you up on that later," she said suggestively, which flew right over Fred's sleepy head. And, apparently, over the head of Mr. Weasley. Mrs. Weasley, however, gave her a nasty side-eye which just made her giggle more.

Sirius came down the stairs then, dressed in a Grateful Dead t-shirt and torn jeans. He was yawning and stretching.

"What's for breakfast? I could eat a hippogriff."

"Just porridge," Iliana said.

Sirius blinked blearily at her. "Ah, Iliana I see. What happened to Addy?"

"She's in there. We just woke up as me for some reason. Dunno why."

"Alright, then," Sirius said, grabbing a bowl and some honey to mix into his porridge.

"Why did we have to get up so late, dad?" Fred asked.

"Well, we've got a bit of a walk."

"What, we're walking there?"

"No, that's miles away. We're taking a portkey, which is at the top of a hill outside the village. With so many witches and wizards in the country for the Cup, we have to be more careful than ever about how we travel, so it's a portkey for us."

"Have I used a portkey before? I don't remember."

"Yes. We took one to Egypt, remember?"

"Oh yeah. Jerk behind the navel, lots of wind, fall over when you get there?"

"That's the one."


"You've been to Egypt?" Sirius asked her.

"Yeah. Last year, when you were still, er... in Azkaban."

"You'll have to tell me about it sometime. But not now, I'm barely awake now."

As soon as they were done with breakfast, Mrs. Weasley saw them all off with a smile and a hug, since she was staying behind. And so Iliana, Hermione, Ron, Ginny, Mr. Weasley, Fred, George, and Sirius trudged off toward the village. Sirius had put on a black leather jacket over his t-shirt, and Iliana noticed that his boots were dragon hide.

It was chilly and the moon was still out. Only a dull, greenish tinge along the horizon to their right showed that daybreak was drawing closer. Iliana, having been thinking about thousands of wizards speeding toward the Quidditch World Cup, sped up to walk with Mr. Weasley.

"So how does everyone get there without all the Muggles noticing?" she asked.

"It's been a massive organizational problem," sighed Mr. Weasley. "The trouble is, about a hundred thousand wizards turn up at the World Cup, and of course, we just haven't got a magical site big enough to accommodate them all. There are places Muggles can't penetrate, but imagine trying to pack a hundred thousand wizards into Diagon Alley or platform nine and three-quarters. So we had to find a nice deserted moor, and set up as many anti-Muggle precautions as possible. The whole Ministry's been working on it for months.

"First, of course, we have to stagger the arrivals. People with cheaper tickets have to arrive two weeks beforehand. A limited number use Muggle transport, but we can't have too many clogging up their buses and trains — remember, wizards are coming from all over the world. Some Apparate, of course, but we have to set up safe points for them to appear, well away from Muggles. I believe there's a handy wood they're using as the Apparition point. For those who don't want to Apparate, or can't, we use Portkeys. You can do large groups at a time if you need to. There have been two hundred Portkeys placed at strategic points around Britain, and the nearest one to us is up at the top of Stoatshead Hill, so that's where we're headed."

Mr. Weasley pointed ahead of them, where a large black mass rose beyond the village of Ottery St. Catchpole.

They trudged down the dark, dank lane toward the village, the silence broken only by their footsteps. The sky lightened very slowly as they made their way through the village, its inky blackness diluting to deepest blue. Iliana's hands and feet were freezing. Mr. Weasley kept checking his watch.
They didn't have breath to spare for talking as they began to climb Stoatshead Hill, stumbling occasionally in hidden rabbit holes, slipping on thick black tuffets of grass. Each breath Iliana took was sharp in her chest and her legs were starting to seize up when, at last, her feet found level ground.

"Whew," panted Mr. Weasley, taking off his glasses and wiping them on his sweater. "Well, we've made good time — we've got ten minutes. …"

Hermione came over the crest of the hill last, clutching a stitch in her side.

"Now we just need the Portkey," said Mr. Weasley, replacing his glasses and squinting around at the ground. "It won't be big. … Come on …"
Spreading out, they began to search the hill. They'd only been searching a few minutes, though, when a voice called out at them.

"Over here, Arthur! Over here, son, we've got it!"

Two tall figures were silhouetted against the starry sky on the other side of the hilltop.

"Amos!" said Mr. Weasley, smiling as he strode over to the man who had shouted. The rest of them followed.
Mr. Weasley was shaking hands with a ruddy-faced wizard with a scrubby brown beard, who was holding a moldy-looking old boot in his other hand.

"This is Amos Diggory, everyone," said Mr. Weasley. "He works for the Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures. And I think you know his son, Cedric?"

Cedric Diggory was an extremely handsome boy of around seventeen. He was Captain and Seeker of the Hufflepuff House Quidditch team at Hogwarts. Iliana blushed, feeling her whole face burning.

"Hi," said Cedric, looking around at them all.

Everybody said hi back except Fred and George, who merely nodded. They had never quite forgiven Cedric for beating their team, Gryffindor, in the first Quidditch match of the previous year.

Amos noticed Sirius then, and jerked back a moment before his brain caught up with his instinct.

"Sirius Black, I presume?" He had not put his hand out.

Sirius sighed, putting his own hands in the pockets of his leather jacket. "Yes, that's me. I'm Iliana's godfather."

"Ah, that explains it." Amos then turned to Mr. Weasley again. "Long walk, Arthur?"

"Not too bad," said Mr. Weasley. "We live just on the other side of the village there. You?"

"Had to get up at two, didn't we, Ced? I tell you, I'll be glad when he's got his Apparition test. Still … not complaining … Quidditch World Cup, wouldn't miss it for a sackful of Galleons — and the tickets cost about that. Mind you, looks like I got off easy. …" Amos Diggory peered good-naturedly around at the three Weasley boys, Iliana, Hermione, and Ginny. "All these yours, Arthur?"

"Oh no. Just the- er... all but two of them."

Iliana and Hermione raised their hands.

"Ah yes, that one's hair is a different shade of red than the others. Much darker. Who are you two, then?"

"This is Hermione, a friend of Ron's," Mr. Weasley said. "Then Iliana, another friend of Ron's."

"Iliana, that name again. Name sounds familiar. Iliana Potter?" Amos asked.

"Yes, sir."

As used to people looking at their scar as they were, it still bothered them. Amos's eyes went to the scar, the only part of their appearance that never changed unless they hid it with long bangs. Nor did she really like the other part of the look the adult man gave her; the look that said 'Freak; abomination.'

"Ced's talked about you, of course," said Amos Diggory. "Told us all about playing against you last year. … I said to him, I said — Ced, that'll be something to tell your grandchildren, that will. … You beat Harry Potter!"

Iliana glared at the man, her face hot with anger. Sirius put a gentle hand on her shoulder, which she ignored.

"But he didn't beat Harry Potter," she said in a dangerously calm voice. "He didn't even play against Harry Potter. He played against me, Iliana Potter. And anyway, there is no more Harry Potter. The individual formerly known as Harry James Potter is now Adira Lily Potter."

Fred, George, and Sirius scowled along with her. Cedric, for his part, looked embarrassed.

"Iliana fell off her broom, Dad," Cedric said. "I told you, it was an accident."

"Yes, but you didn't fall off, did you?" roared Amos genially, slapping his son on his back. "Always modest, our Ced, always the gentleman … but the best, er... person won, I'm sure that, uh, Iliana would say the same, wouldn't you, eh? One falls off her broom, one stays on, you don't need to be a genius to tell which one's the better flier!"

"Must be nearly time," said Mr. Weasley quickly, pulling out his watch again. This was fortunate, as it distracted Amos from the fact that the ground around them was heating up rapidly from the force of Iliana's anger, and also distracted him from Sirius growling at him.

"Do you know whether we're waiting for any more, Amos?"

"No, the Lovegoods have been there for a week already and the Fawcetts couldn't get tickets," said Mr. Diggory. "There aren't any more of us in this area, are there?"

"Not that I know of," said Mr. Weasley. "Yes, it's a minute off. … We'd better get ready."

Iliana's anger evaporated on the spot. "Luna's already there? She didn't say!"

Now that she thought of it, she and Luna hadn't exchanged any letters all summer. She'd been so busy she'd completely forgotten to write Luna. She hoped Luna wouldn't be hurt by this.

"Come on now, everyone, touch part of the portkey, a finger is all you need. There we are."

Sirius and Amos glowered at one another as they got into position. They had just enough time before it left for Iliana to notice how weird it would be if a Muggle spotted them all touching this manky old boot. Which is probably why they put it at the top of such a steep hill, to discourage anyone being around to see it.

Then there was that familiar jerk behind the navel, and the wild swirling of wind and color that nearly made her sick, before they fell in a heap on the ground at their destination.

"Seven past five from Stoatshead Hill," said a voice.

Iliana struggled to disentangle herself from Ron and the others. When she did, she saw they were on a large, deserted stretch of misty moor. In front of them was a pair of tired and grumpy-looking wizards, one of whom was holding a large gold watch, the other a thick roll of parchment and a quill. Both were dressed as Muggles, though very inexpertly: The man with the watch wore a tweed suit with thigh-length galoshes; his colleague, a kilt and a poncho.

How can wizards and witches be this ignorant of Muggle fashions?

I dunno, Adira responded to Al. I don't think the adults get out in Muggle areas much.

Adira ignored Mr. Weasley shooting the breeze with one of the strangely-dressed wizards about work, eager to figure out where Luna was.

"Where would the Lovegoods be?" she asked when there was a gap in the conversation.

The wizard named Basil blinked at her. "Lovegoods? Why d'ya wanna know?"

"My friend Luna is a Lovegood, is why. I want to find her."

"Ah. Lovegoods, Lovegoods, let's see... they're in field fourteen. That's a few miles northwest of here."

"A few miles? Well, I guess I'll just have to remember to send her a letter later instead."

"Hey don't be sad, kiddo," Sirius said. "Maybe you'll run into her?"

"I doubt it, if she's so far away."

They followed Mr. Weasley to the field they were staying in, Hermione trying to comfort Iliana and not quite managing it because she was still so tired.

The field was being managed by the only real Muggle for miles, a Mr. Roberts. Iliana wasn't paying much attention until Mr. Weasley asked her help figuring out the Muggle money.

"This one's a ten? Ah yes, I see the number now. And this one's a five?"

"It's a twenty. They all have numbers on them, Mr. Weasley. It's a lot easier than the wiz—er, than our system, being a decimal system."

"Ah yes, so it is. … I don't know, these little bits of paper …"

"You foreign?" said Mr. Roberts as Mr. Weasley returned with the correct notes.

"Foreign?" repeated Mr. Weasley, puzzled.

"You're not the first one who's had trouble with money," said Mr. Roberts, scrutinizing Mr. Weasley closely. "I had two try and pay me with great gold coins the size of hubcaps ten minutes ago."

"Yes, he's foreign," Iliana told the man. "He just moved here from, er... Tajikistan."

"Your English is very good, in that case," said Mr. Roberts to Mr. Weasley.

"Yes, he had a very good English tutor before coming here. My uncle, in fact, taught him," Iliana added, privately amused at the thought of Vernon's face if he found out she'd spoken about him thus.

"Ah, so your family is housing him during his stay here?"


"So can you tell me what's going on around here? There's loads more people here than I've ever seen, and a lot of 'em foreign. Weirdos, in fact."

"It's a religious and cultural event," she lied easily. "One that's only for members of a certain faith, one that's pretty popular in Tajikistan. Closed to outsiders, but it draws people from all over; other members of the faith."

"Ah, that would explain it, then. You lot have fun, then!" Mr. Roberts gave them a map of the campsite and their change, then waved them off, and they left to find their plot of land.

As soon as they were out of sight and earshot, a wizard in plus-fours Apparated in front of them, startling them all.

"Sorry about startling you," he said. "I just wanted to express my gratitude. Which one of you talked Mr. Roberts into thinking this was a cultural event for a certain religion?"

"That would be me," Iliana said. "Why?"

"Been having a lot of trouble with that one. He's needed a memory charm ten times a day to keep him happy. He might still need some later, with all the magic that's been going on, but hopefully with that explanation, he might not need as many. I must congratulate you on that clever lie, Miss. What's your name?"

"Iliana Potter."

"Potter?" he said in confusion. Then, "Oh, Potter! As in the Child-Who-Lived?"

"Yes, that's us."

"Well, Miss Potter, if you ever want a job, I can put in a good word for you at the Muggle Liason Office in the Ministry of Magic. We can always use knowledgeable young witches and wizards who are quick on their feet. My name's Abrams, by the way."

"Thank you, Mr. Abrams," Iliana said, shaking the wizard's hand.

"Not a problem, my dear. I'm just glad for the help. That man has needed memory charms ten times a day to keep him happy, and it's tiring. Between people using magic in plain view and Bagman in his Quidditch robes talking about bludgers, it's little wonder we're having to work so hard. Anyway, I must be going, now. Bye!"

With a wave and a pop, he Disapparated.

"I thought Bagman was head of Magical Games and Sports? Shouldn't he know better than to talk about Quidditch where Muggles can hear?"

"He should, yes," said Mr. Weasley. "but Ludo's always been a bit … well … lax about security. You couldn't wish for a more enthusiastic head of the sports department though. He played Quidditch for England himself, you know. And he was the best Beater the Wimbourne Wasps ever had."

She stared at all the tents on their way there. It was no wonder the Muggles were getting suspicious, because while some tents were fairly normal but had slight mistakes like chimneys, others were quite plainly magical. A giant tent with peacocks tethered to it made her think of the Malfoys for some reason.

"Always the same," said Mr. Weasley, smiling. "We can't resist showing off when we get together. Ah, here we are, look, this is us."

They had reached the very edge of the wood at the top of the field, and here was an empty space, with a small sign hammered into the ground that read WEEZLY.

Mr. Weasley wanted to put the tent up the Muggle way. He tried roping Iliana into helping, but she had no idea.

"Here, Arthur, I'll help. I went camping once," Sirius said, going over to help.

It took several minutes, but finally they got it up. Iliana looked at the two small tents, confused how they would all fit in it.

"We'll be a bit cramped," he called, "but I think we'll all squeeze in. Come and have a look."

Iliana bent down, ducked under the tent flap, and felt her jaw drop. She had walked into what looked like an old-fashioned, three-room flat, complete with bathroom and kitchen. Oddly enough, it was furnished in exactly the same sort of style as Mrs. Figg's house: There were crocheted covers on the mismatched chairs and a strong smell of cats.

"I love magic," she said.

"Well, it's not for long," said Mr. Weasley, mopping his bald patch with a handkerchief and peering in at the four bunk beds that stood in the bedroom. "I borrowed this from Perkins at the office. Doesn't camp much anymore, poor fellow, he's got lumbago."
He picked up the dusty kettle and peered inside it. "We'll need water. …"

"There's a tap marked on this map the Muggle gave us," said Ron, who had followed Iliana inside the tent and seemed completely unimpressed by its extraordinary inner proportions. "It's on the other side of the field."

Before going out, Iliana asked questions of Mr. Weasley. As it turned out, they had two tents for a reason; boys and men in one tent, girls in the other.

"What about us?" Iliana said.

"Oh you'll be with us," said Ginny. "If Alastair comes out in the night, let us know, okay?"

"If you're okay with it, then fine."

After a quick tour of the girls' tent, which lacked the smell of cats, Ron, Iliana, and Hermione went out to get water, leaving the two adult men to try to
figure out how to light a campfire without wands.

The view as they walked was fascinating. All the tents, for one, but also she was seeing small witches and wizards for the first time in examples like little kids riding toy broomsticks. There were also wizards and witches from all over the world, from African wizards cooking over a purple fire, to Americans, and beyond.

"Er — is it my eyes, or has everything gone green?" said Ron.

It wasn't just Ron's eyes. They had walked into a patch of tents that were all covered with a thick growth of shamrocks, so that it looked as though small, oddly shaped hillocks had sprouted out of the earth. Grinning faces could be seen under those that had their flaps open. Then, from behind them, they heard their names.

"Iliana! Ron! Hermione!"

They looked in the voice's direction, and saw Seamus Finnegan.

He was sitting in front of his own shamrock-covered tent, with a sandy-haired woman who had to be his mother, and his best friend, Dean Thomas, also of Gryffindor.

"Like the decorations?" said Seamus, grinning. "The Ministry's not too happy."

"Ah, why shouldn't we show our colors?" said Mrs. Finnigan. "You should see what the Bulgarians have got dangling all over their tents. You'll be supporting Ireland, of course?" she added, eyeing Iliana, Ron, and Hermione beadily. When they had assured her that they were indeed supporting Ireland, they set off again, though, as Ron said, "Like we'd say anything else surrounded by that lot."

What the Bulgarians had on their tents turned out to be posters of Viktor Krum, the Bulgarian seeker. Like most wizarding photos, it moved, though just barely.

There was already a small queue for the tap in the corner of the field. Iliana, Ron, and Hermione joined it, right behind a pair of men who were having a heated argument. One of them was a very old wizard who was wearing a long flowery nightgown. The other was clearly a Ministry wizard; he was holding out a pair of pinstriped trousers and almost crying with exasperation.

"Just put them on, Archie, there's a good chap. You can't walk around like that, the Muggle at the gate's already getting suspicious —"

"I bought this in a Muggle shop," said the old wizard stubbornly. "Muggles wear them."

"Muggle women wear them, Archie, not the men, they wear these," said the Ministry wizard, and he brandished the pinstriped trousers.

"I'm not putting them on," said old Archie in indignation. "I like a healthy breeze 'round my privates, thanks."

"He can wear that if he wants. I've seen Muggles wearing far stranger things than that, and I was raised by Muggles," Iliana said. "That, and he stands out far less than that man in a kilt and a poncho earlier."

The ministry wizard looked at her, exasperated, but threw up his hands and left Archie to his own business. Iliana was ignoring Hermione, who was giggling like mad.

They saw a lot of other people they knew on the way back, carrying water with them slowly and carefully. Iliana almost dropped her bucket when she saw Cho Chang all of a sudden. She blushed all the way back to the tent.

Mr. Weasley and Sirius had gotten the fire going, or rather Sirius had, once he'd gotten fed up with Mr. Weasley having too much fun with the matches. Though it was at least another hour before it was hot enough to cook anything. There was plenty to watch while they waited, however. Their tent seemed to be pitched right alongside a kind of thoroughfare to the field, and Ministry members kept hurrying up and down it, greeting Mr. Weasley cordially as they passed. Mr. Weasley kept up a running commentary, mainly for Iliana's, Sirius's, and Hermione's benefit; his own children knew too much about the Ministry to be greatly interested.

"That was Cuthbert Mockridge, Head of the Goblin Liaison Office. … Here comes Gilbert Wimple; he's with the Committee on Experimental Charms; he's had those horns for a while now. … Hello, Arnie … Arnold Peasegood, he's an Obliviator — member of the Accidental Magic Reversal Squad, you know. … and that's Bode and Croaker … they're Unspeakables. …"

"They're what?"

"From the Department of Mysteries, top secret, no idea what they get up to. …"

At last, the fire was ready, and they had just started cooking eggs and sausages when Bill, Charlie, and Percy came strolling out of the woods toward them. They soon sat down to a meal together, but halfway through, Mr. Weasley was up on his feet greeting Ludo Bagman.

Iliana stared at the man, who was wearing canary yellow robes. That might get past Mr. Roberts, with the excuse she'd given him, but others would certainly not know what to make of the man, who was as exuberant in his personality as in his wardrobe.

Ludo chewed the fat with Mr. Weasley for a minute or two before Mr. Weasley introduced Bagman to Sirius and the kids. Ludo surprised her by not reacting to Sirius's name, but when they got to Iliana's name, he did the familiar flick of the eyes up to the scar.

One of the twins nudged Iliana for her attention.


Fred said, "Would you tell Zoey to give us our Ton-Tongue Toffees now?"

She raised an eyebrow at them. "We're not supposed to use magic out here. You should've asked before we got here."

"Oh come on now, everyone else is using magic. The Obliviators are hard at work. What's the harm?"

"I don't see any reason to break the rules right now."

"Pleeeease," cajoled George. "Pretty please?"

"What do you need them for?"

"Bagman's got connections, he'd be great to show the toffees to."

"You want me to break the rules for that?"

"Well yes. It's our property, most of them."

"Transforming into Zoey and back is major magic, couldn't easily be explained away like these other things."

"That's what the Obliviators are for."

"Leave it, George, he's almost leaving."

"Ugh, fine," George said, rejoining his twin. Iliana watched them bet 37 galleons, 15 sickles, 3 knuts, and a fake wand on Ireland winning the Cup but Krum getting the snitch.

"We would've bet the toffees, too," Fred said, irritated at Iliana's non-cooperation.

"Sorry. But at least this way, if you lose, you get to keep the toffees."

"But it's a sure thing! We've been studying these teams for months!"


"Yes, years. Krum is a great player, but Ireland has 7 great players."

"Yeah, Iliana. I'll bet you the toffees that we're right about the outcome."

She sighed. "Okay, sure. If you're right, I'll give you the toffees which are yours anyway. And if you're wrong, I keep them. Satisfied?"

"Not really, but I accept it."

"Boys, you shouldn't be betting," Mr. Weasley said. "That's all your savings."

"It's their money, Arthur," said Sirius. "I don't think there's any laws against them gambling."

"You're right, of course. But I don't like it."

Ludo Bagman beamed as he took their money, and wrote them down in his records.

"Arthur, could you do me a favor? Do you know anyone who speaks Bulgarian? I would've asked Barty Crouch, but he got fired. My Bulgarian opposite number's making difficulties, and I can't understand a word he's saying."

"Sorry, I don't know. Dumbledore could, I think, but he's not here."

"Ah well, I'll keep asking around," Bagman said.

"Any news of Bertha Jorkins yet, Ludo?" Mr. Weasley asked as Bagman settled himself down on the grass beside them all.

"Not a dicky bird," said Bagman comfortably. "But she'll turn up. Poor old Bertha … memory like a leaky cauldron and no sense of direction. Lost, you take my word for it. She'll wander back into the office sometime in October, thinking it's still July."

"You don't think it might be time to send someone to look for her?" Mr. Weasley suggested tentatively as Percy handed Bagman his tea.

"Barty Crouch keeps saying that," said Bagman, his round eyes widening innocently, "he keeps coming over to the Ministry despite being fired, you know. But we really can't spare anyone at the moment."

Something about that name felt familiar to Iliana, but she couldn't figure out why.

A wizard Apparated in front of them, startling her. He was tall and extremely muscular, but not in a body-builder way – he was, instead, barrel-chested and had arms and legs like saplings. He wasn't nearly as tall as Hagrid, though.

"Ah, Alfonse, welcome," Mr. Weasley said. "Everyone, this is Alfonse Alder, new head of International Magical Cooperation."

"Hi there, Arthur," the large man said with a voice that was soothing and not nearly as deep as Iliana had been expecting. "I'm glad I found you. Ali Bashir is having kittens, figuratively. He wants a word with you about your ban on flying carpets."

Mr. Weasley heaved a deep sigh.

"I sent him an owl about that just last week. If I've told him once I've told him a hundred times: Carpets are defined as a Muggle Artifact by the Registry of Proscribed Charmable Objects, but will he listen?"

"I doubt it. He really wants to export here."

"Well, they'll never replace brooms in Britain, will they?" said Bagman.

"Ali thinks there's a niche in the market for a family vehicle," said Alder. "And I must say, he's got a point."

"Why can't we have flying carpets?" Iliana asked. "Just as many Muggles have brooms as carpets, after all. Maybe more."

"Yes, well, wizarding broomsticks look different from the Muggle kind. And it's not very likely for them to be on top of brooms like they would be on carpets."

"Unless they're pretending to be witches. A lot of our secrets are still banging about their culture."

"Yes, well... that's just how it is. If we had magic carpets in Britain, I'm certain we'd soon have accidents with unfortunate Muggles stepping on magic carpets and getting thrown off when it goes flying. Or worse, taking them for a ride and dropping them later."

"Ah yes, that does make sense."

"Ho there, who is this young lovely?" asked Mr. Alder, referring to Iliana.

"Er... I'm Iliana Potter."

"Potter?" he said in confusion. "Oh, like the famous Potter?"


Alder looked her up and down in a way that made her extremely uncomfortable. Especially since the feelings she was picking up from him, overwhelming the background crowd's emotions, were... inappropriate. She glared at the man, and pulled herself closer to Sirius, and heard Tier hiss aloud at him, making him stand back in surprise.

"Er, well... okay, Arthur. I, uh... I've told you about Ali Bashir, so, er... I'll be going now."

The man Disapparated with a crack, different from his previous pop.

Mr. Weasley looked very confused, looking back and forth between Iliana and the place Mr. Alder had been. Sirius squeezed her comfortingly, giving her a knowing look.

"I didn't like the things he was feeling about me, or the way he was looking at me," she explained to Mr. Weasley.

"What? Oh," he said, getting it at last. "Er..."

But no other words were forthcoming from Mr. Weasley, who didn't appear to know what to say.

"Don't worry, Iliana," Sirius said. "We'll have wards on the tents."

Ludo Bagman, on the other hand, seemed to still be confused. But he pushed his confusion aside when Mr. Weasley finally spoke again.

"Er, so, Ludo... I expect you'll be glad when all this is over, right? So much to do, after all."

"What? Oh no, not at all. Don't know when I've had more fun. Still, not like we don't have something else to organize afterwards, Arthur, right? And you, Peter?"

"Percy," Percy corrected. "I'm Percy."

"Sorry about that, Percy. All these new people, and me getting old. But yes, so much more to do after this, right Arthur?"

"Now now, Ludo, that's supposed to be a surprise."

"Oh come now, we can tell people. Especially this lot. It'll be happening at Hogwarts, after all."

"Ludo, don't you need to go find someone to talk with the Bulgarians for you?"

"Bah, that can wait."

"Come to think of it, Ludo, Alfonse might be able to help you with the Bulgarians."

"What? Oh, he can? Well alright, I guess so. Now where did he run off to?" Ludo asked, looking around momentarily. "Okay, I'll go find him. Just one last thing real quick: I'll be seeing you all later. You'll be in the top box with me, I'm commentating!"
With a pop, he Disapparated.

"What's happening at Hogwarts, Dad?" said Fred at once. "What were they talking about?"

"You'll find out soon enough," said , smiling.

"It's classified information, until such time as the Ministry decides to release it," said Percy stiffly. "Father was quite right not to disclose it."

"Oh shut up, Peter," said Fred.

Then, the feelings from the crowd began to change. Excitement of a subtly different sort moved in waves through the crowd, and people stopped being so careful about magic use. Salesmen started Apparating every few feet, selling souvenirs. The Ministry even started ignoring blatant magic use.

"I think we're not long now from the match," Iliana said.

"Yeah, I can feel it too," said Sirius.

"Been saving my pocket money all summer for this," Ron told Iliana as they and Hermione strolled through the salesmen, buying souvenirs. Though Ron purchased a dancing shamrock hat and a large green rosette, he also bought a small figure of Viktor Krum, the Bulgarian Seeker. The miniature Krum walked backward and forward over Ron's hand, scowling up at the green rosette above him.

"Wow, look at these!" said Iliana, hurrying over to a cart piled high with what looked like brass binoculars, except that they were covered with all sorts of weird knobs and dials.

"Omnioculars," said the saleswizard eagerly. "You can replay action … slow everything down … and they flash up a play-by-play breakdown if you need it. Bargain — ten Galleons each."

"Wish I hadn't bought this now," said Ron, gesturing at his dancing shamrock hat and gazing longingly at the Omnioculars.

"Three pairs," said Iliana firmly to the wizard.

"No — don't bother," said Ron, going red. He was always touchy about the fact that Iliana, who had inherited a small fortune from her parents, had much more money than he did.

"A pair for me, too," Sirius said behind them.

"Don't worry about it, Ron. What's the point of having money if I can't treat my friends."

"No, really-"

"If you want, this can be an early Christmas present."

Ron looked uncertain.

"And birthday present, too."

"Oh, alright then," Ron said, taking the omnioculars.

"Thanks, Iliana," Hermione said after Iliana gave her one as well. "I'll get us some programs."

"Here, pup, let me pay for yours," Sirius said.

"Oh, okay," she said, taking money from him. "I'll get a shamrock hat, too."

Everyone bedecked in rosettes and other things, some horns blew, signaling to go to the Quidditch stadium. Sirius took Iliana's arm in his, his other arm holding onto his wand.

"It's time!" said Mr. Weasley, looking as excited as any of them. "Come on, let's go!"

The match had been the most exciting thing ever for Iliana and the others. So much so that she thought they could make a corporeal Patronus, but didn't try because they weren't somewhere safe to do magic as an underage witch, like at home.

Everyone else was at least as excited as they were, especially the twins, who had won their bet with Bagman and had a lot more gold with them because of it.

"Don't tell your mother you've been gambling," Mr. Weasley implored Fred and George as they all made their way slowly down the purple-carpeted stairs.

"Don't worry, Dad," said Fred gleefully, "we've got big plans for this money. We don't want it confiscated."

Mr. Weasley looked for a moment as though he was going to ask what these big plans were, but seemed to decide, upon reflection, that he didn't want to know.

They were soon caught up in the crowds now flooding out of the stadium and back to their campsites. Raucous singing was borne toward them on the night air as they retraced their steps along the lantern-lit path, and leprechauns kept shooting over their heads, cackling and waving their lanterns. When they finally reached the tents, nobody felt like sleeping at all, and given the level of noise around them, Mr. Weasley agreed that they could all have one last cup of cocoa together before turning in.

"Oh, and those veela," Fred said at one point in the conversation. "So cool!"

Hermione scoffed. "You boys, honestly. Every one of you was about to jump to your deaths if we hadn't stopped you. They shouldn't be allowed at events like that."

"Yeah," said Iliana. "I had to stomp on Sirius's foot, remember? Of course, I wasn't fully immune myself. If Al had been up front, he'd have been right there with the rest of them, I felt him being pulled forward, too."

"Wish Malfoy had jumped off," Ron said peevishly. "Security wouldn't let him die, even if his magic failed to save him, and it would be so funny to wipe that smirk right off his face."

It was only when Ginny fell asleep right at the tiny table and spilled hot chocolate all over the floor that Mr. Weasley called a halt to the verbal replays and insisted that everyone go to bed. Iliana, Ginny, and Hermione went over to their tent. Hermione hesitated, but Iliana pulled her dress over her head and slipped into her nightgown, at which point Hermione seemed to remember they had slept in the same bed once and she came to her senses and changed like nothing was wrong.

Iliana got into a bunk above Hermione, while Ginny had a bunk at a different bed. It wasn't easy getting to sleep when there were still distant noises of celebration and her mind was still full of the many different moves the players had been doing, but eventually Iliana drifted off into dreamland.
Then she saw that Indian boy from her earlier dreams again. His normal calm demeanor was gone; he looked panic-stricken, and he screamed at her to wake up.

She bolted upright, grabbing her wand holster and strapping it to her arm; she could feel panic in the air, and was certain that was what had woken her. She wondered what was going on. She slipped out of bed and was just getting her shoes on when Sirius came into the tent.

"Iliana! Hermione! Ginnny! Get your shoes on, grab your wands! Up now, it's urgent!"

"Got mine already," Iliana said as the others got their groggy way out of bed. "What's going on? A dream woke me, but I think it was my empathic sense that really woke me."

The sounds from the campsite were definitely not right. The singing had stopped. She could hear screams, and the sound of people running. She slipped down from the bunk and reached for her clothes, but Sirius – who was wearing the same t-shirt but had on sweatpants instead of his jeans – stopped her.

"No time, Addy! Grab jackets and come along!"

The three girls did as they were told, all of it. Iliana decided not to point out he'd used the wrong name; Addy was easier to say than Iliana.

"Where's your wand, pup?"

She showed him the holster on her wrist. "Right in here."

"Good. You girls got yours? Come on, then. Follow me."

They scurried along, hot on Sirius's heels. He kept looking back at the three of them, as if checking they were still there. Ron and the twins soon joined along beside Iliana, looking and feeling as confused and scared as she felt.

The campsite was a shambles. A few fires still burned, enough to illuminate the scenes of chaos. Off in the distance were signs of magic, mixed with loud jeering, roars of laughter, and drunken yelling. People were running away from the source of the disturbance.

Whatever group of wizards and/or witches was responsible for this was close enough to see in the distance, now. They had wands pointing up into the sky, and were wearing hooded robes and masks. High above them, floating along in midair, four struggling figures were being contorted into grotesque shapes. It was as though the masked wizards on the ground were puppeteers, and the people above them were marionettes operated by invisible strings that rose from the wands into the air. Two of the figures were very small.

More masked people joined the group, laughing along with them and blasting tents aside, catching some on fire. Sirius pulled her in the opposite direction by her left arm without saying anything, and she let him. These wizards were dangerous, she could tell. Especially when she finally saw that they were lifting Mr. Roberts, his wife, and presumably his children in the air.

"That's sick," Ron muttered, watching the smallest Muggle child, who had begun to spin like a top, sixty feet above the ground, his head flopping limply from side to side. "That is really sick."

Bill, Charlie, Mr. Weasley, and Percy emerged from the boys' tent, fully dressed, with their sleeves rolled up and their wands out.

"We're going to help the Ministry!" Mr. Weasley shouted over all the noise, rolling up his own sleeves.

"Good. I'm taking this lot to the woods, away from the danger," Sirius said.

Mr. Weasley just nodded and lead his eldest sons away, as their own group went toward the woods.

Finally getting some of her wits about her, Iliana flicked her wand out of its wrist holster and into her hand. If that lot came after them, she knew she'd be allowed to do magic to defend herself and others, even though she was still underage.

The colored lanterns that had lit the path to the stadium had been extinguished. Dark figures were blundering through the trees; children were crying; anxious shouts and panicked voices were reverberating around them in the cold night air. Iliana felt herself being pushed hither and thither by people whose faces she could not see, but Sirius still had hold of her left arm. Then she heard Ron yell with pain.

"What happened?" said Hermione anxiously, stopping so abruptly that Iliana walked into her. "Ron, where are you? Oh this is stupid — lumos!"

She illuminated her wand and directed its narrow beam across the path. Ron was lying sprawled on the ground.

"Tripped over a tree root," he said angrily, getting to his feet again.

Iliana and Sirius lit their own wands, Sirius nodding approvingly at her.

"Well, with feet that size, hard not to," said a drawling voice from behind them.

Everyone turned. It was, of course, Draco Malfoy.

"You'd be the Malfoy brat, right?" Sirius growled.

Malfoy glared daggers at Sirius, but nodded.

"Good. You come with us, away from the danger."

Malfoy didn't move. He was torn, she could tell. He looked back and forth between them and the people in masks.

"Oh, let me guess," she said, "your parents are some of those masked lot?"

Malfoy's face reddened, but he didn't dare say something around Sirius. Instead, he grudgingly came with them, his arms folded petulantly, grumbling the whole way. He did his best to stay as far away from everyone else as he could, while still appearing to be with them.

"Wait, where'd Ginny and the twins go?" Iliana said.

"Damn!" Sirius cursed, looking around with his wand light. "You, Malfoy boy, did you see them?"

After pausing a moment to decide whether or not to answer, Malfoy said, "No. They weren't with you when I saw you. They must have gotten separated when Weasle-king tripped."

"Damn," Sirius growled again. "Well there's nothing else for it, we'll never find them in this crowd. Let's hope the twins can look after Ginny."

"Honestly," Ron said, "I think Ginny will be fine. She's wicked with a wand."

"Good," Sirius said, absently.

A huddle of teenagers in pajamas was arguing vociferously a little way along the path. When they saw Iliana, Ron, Draco, and Hermione, a girl with thick curly hair turned and said quickly, "Où est Madame Maxime? Nous l'avons perdue —"

"Er — what?" said Ron.

At that point, Malfoy put his arms down and bowed to the girls, speaking at them rapidly in French. About the only part of it Iliana caught was "'Ogwarts."

The conversation didn't last long. When it did, the girls left.

Everyone stared at Malfoy. He glared back at them.

"What? My family have a vacation house in France, and we used to live there full time. Of course I speak French," he said derisively. "All purebloods in Britain speak French, as well as Latin, Spanish, and Italian."

"You speak all those languages?" Iliana said in awe.

"Of course," Malfoy said with a sneer.

"Enough bickering, you two. Come on," Sirius directed.

"Beauxbatons," muttered Hermione, as they went along.

"Sorry?" said Iliana.

"They must go to Beauxbatons," said Hermione. "You know … Beauxbatons Academy of Magic … I read about it in An Appraisal of Magical Education in Europe."

"Oh … yeah … right," said Iliana.

"Fred and George can't have gone that far," said Ron, pulling out his wand, lighting it like Hermione's, and squinting up the path.

"Reckon they'd hear us shouting their names over all this noise?" Sirius asked.

"Doubt it," Iliana said. "Hey wait a minute, aren't you registered as an animagus with the Ministry now? You could sniff them out."

Sirius slapped his hand in disbelief. "Of course! Why didn't I think of that?"

"Because your power was a secret for so long."

"Right. You lot stay here, it'll make it easier for me to find you later."

They nodded. And with that, Sirius became the massive black dog, and started sniffing around the ground, following their scent back along where they'd come from.

Iliana noticed Malfoy staring at Padfoot. He noticed her staring, and glowered at her.

"What? I've never actually seen an animagus before, apart from McGonagall. It's fascinating. Figures a relative of yours would become one illegally, though."

"He's registered now."

"Yeah," Malfoy sneered, "but before that, he wasn't. Bet that's how he got out of Azkaban."

"What's it to you if... what is it, Hermione?" She stared; Hermione had been tugging on her nightgown and pointing.

Iliana looked where she was pointing. Some of the masked wizards were coming this way. It wasn't the first group they'd seen, unless the Ministry had gotten the Roberts family down.

"Damn, those morons are coming this way?"

"Iliana," Hermione said, annoyed, "those are Death Eaters. You-Know-Who's followers."

"Shit. Shit! Come on, let's go."

No longer under Sirius's eye, Malfoy smirked at them.

"Yes, Potter. Wouldn't want her spotted, would you? After all, they're going after Muggles."

"Hermione is a witch, you little shitstain," she said, pointing her wand at his face. "And if you don't want me to swap the functions of all the holes in your face, you'll sod off."

He turned paler than usual, looking cross-eyed at her wand, and took off running.

"Shouldn't we stay here, though?" Hermione said. "Sirius said-"

"Sirius can find us later, the way he's finding the others. Come on, I don't feel like dueling Death Eaters, not even when they're drunk."

She grabbed Hermione by the arm and pulled her away, the others following along behind them. But the Death Eaters were already too close for comfort, and were shooting spells at them. They ducked among the trees, spells occasionally hitting a trunk with a sound like an explosion. Iliana got behind a big tree and started shooting spells back at them.

"Expelliarmus!" she shouted. Hermione and Ron joined her, behind their own trees.

It wasn't easy, dueling the Death Eaters, especially since the three of them didn't know enough dueling spells. But Alastair hadn't done all that extra DADA reading for nothing, and she was able to shoot off Stunning Spells and Impediment Jinxes alongside childish spells like the Tickling Hex.
How long they dueled, she didn't know. But at some point she felt someone trying to sneak up behind her. She turned around, but not fast enough-he hit her with something that knocked the wind out of her, and she dropped her wand in the forest debris. Luckily, Hermione shot him with a stunner before he could get her again.

Iliana forced herself to look through the forest debris for her wand, even though she could hardly breathe. It was taking forever, though, and she was getting more desperate and more terrified. Finally, though, she found it, just as another Death Eater came around behind them, shooting spells at Hermione, and she shot off the first spell she thought of.

"EXPECTO PATRONUM!" she roared.

Out came not a puff of white, but an enormous, white, glowing Chinese dragon, like the kind she'd seen in Chinese restaurants. Twice the size of an anaconda, it swam through the air and blew glowing white 'fire' at the Death Eater, who literally wet himself and ran off in the other direction.

The dragon Patronus was still chasing Death Eaters when the enormous black Padfoot bounded in and transformed back into Sirius mid-jump, shooting spells at the remaining Death Eaters. Iliana finally got over her shock and started directing the Patronus with points and shouts. Off in her peripheral vision, she saw Ginny shooting spells at them, too.

And then twenty or more adult witches and wizards in pajamas popped into the wood in a circle around the Death Eaters, joining the fray. The Ministry people were here! She recognized Mr. Weasley, Charlie, Bill, and Percy.

Recognizing they were outmatched, the Death Eaters Disapparated, so quickly that the sudden quiet was unsettling.

"They've escaped. Quick, everyone, let's secure this area," someone said.

"Secure... secure the area?" Iliana asked, breathless. "How?"

Mr. Weasley came over. "Everyone alright? Good, good. To answer your question, Iliana, they're going to make it so nobody can Apparate in. People will still be able to Apparate out, though; might as well. Looks like they all got away."

"There was one over there that I stunned, Mr. Weasley," Hermione said, pointing. He went where she looked.

"Damn. Someone must have grabbed him. He's not there anymore."

Hermione went over to check, too, seeing as she knew where he'd fallen. Even stomping around for Disillusioned people yielded nothing.

"Damn. Damn, damn, damn. I really hoped we'd catch the lot of them!" Mr. Weasley was angrier than she'd ever seen him. "Bit of a laugh for them, reminding us they wriggled out of going to Azkaban. Damn and blast!"

"I know how you feel, Arthur," Sirius said, coming over to hold Iliana's shoulders as though to make sure she was real. "Scumbags. But one or more of them saw us trying to cast anti-Disapparition charms on them, and ran away over here to continue their fun. Cowardly scumbags!"

"Is it safe to stay here?"

Mr. Weasley was going to answer, but Sirius beat him to it. "No. You and I are leaving now. I can take you side-along. Rules be damned. I'm not leaving any of you kids here after all that. Besides, Molly will be worried sick when this hits the morning Prophet."

The mention of Mrs. Weasley's mood seemed to decide Mr. Weasley into agreeing.

"Yes, quite. Let's go find the tents and retrieve them, and-"

"You do that, Arthur. You three, grab a minor and come with me back to the Burrow," Sirius said to Bill, Charlie, and Percy. He took Iliana's right arm in his left.

Nodding somberly, they agreed. Bill took Hermione, Percy took Ginny, Charlie took Ron, and Sirius took Iliana. That left Percy to take both of the twins.

"I don't think I can do more than one," he complained. "I've never done side-along Apparition before.

"I'll take one of them, then, Percy."

"Perce, I'll accompany you," Fred said.

"Right, and I'll go with Sirius," said George, taking Sirius's other arm.

"Got your wands?" Sirius asked them.

"Yes," she said, showing him the wand still in her hand. "Luckily. Almost lost it."

"Aye aye," George agreed.

"Good. Prepare yourselves," he said.

They turned around, and once again she felt like she was being squeezed through a dark rubber tube. But when they appeared at the Burrow, she managed to keep from puking. George wasn't so lucky.

Sirius looked around as if looking for enemies, but nobody else was there yet. Then with some more cracks, the others arrived at various spots behind them. Sirius lead the way back toward the house.

Whether the noise of Apparition had alerted her, or her unique clock had, Mrs. Weasley bounded out to meet them when they were halfway back. Judging by her sleepy confusion, it had been the sounds of Apparition that had woken her.

"You're back? But I thought you lot were sleeping there overnight? Wait, where's Arthur?"

"He's seeing to the tents, mother," Percy said. "There was a spot of bother at the match."

Sirius barked with sarcastic laughter. "A spot of bother my arse. It was Death Eaters, Molly. Nobody got hurt, so far as I know. At least, none of our lot did. Drunken fools were playing Float The Muggle for a bit of sick fun. Then they ran off and started attacking the kids while I was off trying to find Ginny and the twins. They held the buggers off quite admirably, especially for their age."

"I cast a Patronus!" Iliana exclaimed. "A full bodied one! I had dropped my wand, and when I found it, I defended myself and Hermione with the first spell I thought of, and it worked!"

"Death Eaters? At the match?" Molly said, clearly still a few steps behind.

"Yes, Molly. Everyone's alright. Come on, into the kitchen for some herbal tea, I think."

They all went into the kitchen, where Sirius set about making tea for everyone, and Iliana continued the tale.

"Anyway, where was I? Oh yeah, the Patronus. It's a dragon!"

"A dragon?" Charlie asked. "Really?"

"Yes, really."

"Fascinating," he continued. "It's not very common for wizards to have a magical creature for a Patronus. Let's see it, then; maybe I can identify it."

"Expecto Patronum!" she shouted, and the giant Chinese dragon swam into the room, startling almost everyone.

As it faded, Charlie looked stunned. "I've never seen any dragon that looked like that," he said.

"It's a Chinese dragon," she explained.

"Chinese Fireballs don't look like that."

"It's what Chinese Muggles think dragons look like," Sirius explained.

"Really? Well that's even more unusual, then. Your Patronus isn't even a real creature? Unusual indeed."

"Yeah, and what's more, I think Addy's is something else entirely. It looked a bit like a canine, nothing at all like Iliana's."

"Well, with them all being different people, I guess that makes sense. They could all have different Patronuses."

"Did you catch the Death Eaters?" Molly interrupted.

"No, Molly. They Disapparated shortly after the Ministry wizards found them again. Seemed to decide they wanted out before we overpowered them. Hermione had knocked one out already, but one of them must have grabbed him before they left. The Ministry wizards are working to secure the site to keep them from returning."

"Well that's something at least," Mrs. Weasley said, looking at her clock. Mr. Weasley's hand was pointing at 'work' now. But as they looked at it, his hand moved to 'traveling,' then 'home.'

"Oh goodness, he's back!" Mrs. Weasley bustled out to meet her husband and escort him back inside.

Mr. Weasley's only new news was that there had been no returning Death Eaters, and the Ministry was almost done securing the main portions of the site.

"Shit," Iliana said, suddenly thinking of something. "Sorry, Mrs. Weasley, Mr. Weasley, but is Luna Lovegood alright?"

"I assume the Lovegoods are fine. Nobody appears to have gotten hurt, from what the others said. Anyway, I just came back to drop off the tents. I'm going to head back over to help."

"Will you be able to get back, Arthur?"

"Yes, they've left open a small area for incoming Apparition, it's surrounded by Ministry wizards, and is only big enough for two people at a time. I'll be back by morning, Molly dear."

"Be safe, Arthur," she said, waving him off again.

She came back inside and looked around at everyone. "Right. Off to bed, the lot of you. You've been up since before dawn, it's a wonder any of you are still vertical. Come, off with you now. Shoo!"

Everyone let themselves be herded off to their different rooms, Iliana going upstairs to Ginny's room with her and Hermione.

She wanted to discuss events with the others, but as soon as she lay down in the soft bed, she felt drowsiness begin to creep in. Still, sleep didn't come; she was too awake to sleep, her mind buzzing, but too tired to talk.

Three days ago, she'd dreamed of Lord Voldemort. And now, his followers had made a scene. The two things weren't likely to be connected, but she'd had too many coincidences in her life to trust them. And then there was those dreams about that Indian boy, one of which had woken her up tonight. If their life so far was anything to go by, these things meant something. They were Significant, even if she didn't know how or why. Could it be that the Death Eaters could sense their master getting stronger? But no, that couldn't be it; they'd surely run to his side, being secretive, not making mayhem at a Quidditch match.

She was still without answers when she finally became too exhausted to stay awake any longer.

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