“Look, we can’t simply stroll back into the wizarding world after thirteen years and expect to be hailed and accepted as heroes!”James snapped, slamming his hand down on the table. “We are in a simultaneous position of weakness and strength. Weak, because we need intel. We are flying blind into a storm on a bunch of Cleansweep 7’s.”
Everyone – Remus, Sirius, Lily, Narcissa, Harry, Draco and Hermione – snickered at the inevitable Quidditch analogy. James glared and ignored them.
“But we can’t continue to hide in the shadows either. Right now it’s either Riddle’s way or it’s Dumbledore’s way. There’s no third option.”
“Same at school.” Hermione added. “If you’re not with us, you’re against us’ is the hard line. But there are too many who are innocents and don’t want to or can’t take a side. They should be our priority.”
“We could change the rules, at school at least.” Draco mused thoughtfully. “This war really affects everyone in our year on up. If we publicly call a duel and truce, with the terms and conditions, then all students will have to abide by it.” He met Harry’s challenging gaze. “We need the prefects, Heads, and Hogwarts herself to agree first though. There’s a rite and ritual – the Rites of Albion – that outlines it.”
“I remember reading something about that in a History of Magic book somewhere!” Hermione exclaimed, to no one’s surprise.
“Fine. Hermione, Draco, and Su Li.” Harry said firmly. “You three are the research and planning team. We need to know everything we can before we start planning. And no bickering, hexing, or name calling,” he warned, looking first pointedly at his best friend and cousin before turning the same look on his brother. “You’re both my family, which also makes you family. Act like it.”
That earned him a disgruntled huff from Hermione, and an insulted sniff from Draco, but they didn’t argue. Su Li rolled her eyes. “I’ll keep them in line, Harry.” She said, winking at him. “I have five younger siblings. They’ll be fine.”
Hermione and Draco yelped as they were neatly caught with a stinging charm, leaping out of their chairs and being herded towards the library. “Come on, you two. Let’s go.”
“Huh. I think I will go along ot supervise, nonetheless.” Remus said quickly, also standing. “Mari, perhaps a logical, steady, non-magical point of view would also be helpful?”
The other adults watched in amusement as he gallantly offered his arm, which she accepted with a laugh before they strolled in the wake of the children.
“Gotta love those intriguing Evans women.” James snickered. “Methinks Moony is on the hunt.”
“He did come close to catching me first.” Lily teased. “Hopefully he doesn’t let his pride get in the way this time.”
“Uncle Remus and my aunt?” Harry wrinkled his nose. “So Hermione would be my cousin by blood and marriage?” He shook his head. “I need a family tree or a map to keep this all straight! Hermione’s mother is my maternal aunt, which makes us cousins. Draco’s mother is my god mother AND aunt by magic and blood oath. She also happens to be my my godfather Sirius’s cousin by blood, and the mother of my brother Draco via my father James.”
Sirius grinned mischievously. “Technically, James and Narcissa are distant cousins as well, though by marriage not blood. James is also my 3rd cousin twice removed or some BS like that. We are also blood oath brothers, along with Remus, which why you call him uncle and how I ended up your godfather in the first place, kid.”
Harry dropped his head on the table with a thump. “Ow.”
Lily laughed from her portrait frame. “It’s not that complicated, love. Family is those you choose, not always your blood.” She deliberately caught Narcissa’s gaze and held it. “Doesn’t matter their bloodlines, or how “pure” they are. Sometimes you just know. They’re yours, and you’re theirs, and you will do anything to protect them, even from themselves.”
The blonde witch smiled wryly as the redhead winked at her. “Let’s get back to business, shall we?” She said briskly. “The children can deal with their peers, but its up to us to take on the adults. Unlike at Hogwarts, they will not have a choice to remain neutral. But we need to give them the option of a third side, nonetheless…”
“I have an idea.” Anastacia said suddenly. “A perfect way to make your debut,” she nodded at James and Sirius.” As well as reveal some secrets that Dumbledore and the Ministry have kept from the public, which by revealing, will lessen the blind trust and faith in them considerably.”
“Do tell.” Sirius drawled, sitting back.
She smirked at him. “The World Cup is being hosted this year in Britain, and rumor has it that Hogwarts is resurrecting the Triwizard Tournament. Which means that the Ministry is going to be pulling out all the stops. Starting with…”
“The Ministry Gala.” Narcissa breathed, her eyes lighting up.
“Uh-oh.” James muttered to Sirius. “I know that look. She used to get that gleam in her eyes right before she bribed, coaxed, or blackmailed us into doing something that should’ve gotten us killed.” He cleared his throat, raising his voice. “Oh Selina, darling. Mind sharing with the rest of us so we don’t cock up whatever you lovely, vicious witches are brewing?”