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Sleepless

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Almost everyone has already left the tent's common area and fallen into warm cots when Arthur looks around and sees that Harry's still there, sitting by the fireplace. Arthur's a bit surprised to see him there; Harry isn't quite shy, but he prefers the company of his friends to that of his elders (with good reason, Arthur thinks with a smile as he remembers the argument he and Charlie had over the merits of Heathcote Barbary's new beau). But with his friends tucked into sleep, Harry's quiet and thoughtful.

Arthur would've simply left him alone (he's raised enough boys to know that sometimes, it's just best to let them brood), if not for the way Harry's expression isn't neutral or full of good old stubborn teenage angst. He looks anxious, on his way to becoming withdrawn, and Arthur's never been able to let one of his kids feel like they don't have their parents at their backs. Harry's not his child--he's James', who would've been as amazing of a father as he had been a friend, had fate left him alone long enough to learn--but he's as good as, so Arthur sits down next to Harry.

"Can't sleep?" he says companionably. He wonders how Harry hasn't gotten sick of the fire's heat; he's been sitting here for ages, while Arthur's only been there for seconds before the heat has begun to feel stifling.

The words take a moment to breach through Harry's thoughts, but when they do, Harry shoots him a small smile. "The game was really exciting. Are all professional matches like that?"

"The World Cup always is. The rest of the time, well, it's much less of a celebration." He's about to tell Harry about the '76 cup--now that was a doozy of a match--but Harry's expression has clouded once again. For just a millisecond, Arthur wishes Harry were more like Ginny (who's young enough to still easily tell her parents about her problems) or Ron (who'd yell through his problems in anger). Harry's so much quieter; if Arthur had to compare him to one of his children, it would be to Percy, even if their personalities aren't similar outside of their approach to problems. But the longer Arthur sits there, the more it looks like Harry will finally say something.

"Are... are all veelas like that?" Harry asks eventually. "I've never seen one in person."

It could've been simple curiosity if not for the fact that Harry was trying hard to make the question seem so simple. Arthur thinks back to before the game began (it was somewhat hard, with the amount of firewhiskey he'd drank in celebration dulling his memory of anything less exciting than the actual game). "Yes. They are sentient, of course, but more... otherworldly. Like werewolves, in a way. Although werewolves do not charm you in the same way veela do." But now that he thinks about it, only Ron had been affected by the team of veela; Harry had kept his wits about him. "Men only avoid their charm if they're already in love."

Harry's eyes go wide. "Oh."

Arthur smiles. Harry is so young, and although love at Harry's age usually doesn't last, it doesn't make youthful emotions any less true. Arthur's glad that somehow, in between fighting for his life and boring classes, Harry has managed to find some love to carry him through the days. "Yes. Back in the old days, some would use it to test their lovers' and husbands' devotion."

"I guess I don't have that problem," Harry says, biting his lip. He glances away, saying, "It's not Ginny, sir." He looks so guilty about it that Arthur feels guilt as well, for allowing Harry to get the impression that he needs to reciprocate Ginny's crush.

"It doesn't need to be. You're an honorary Weasley whether you're in love with one of my children or not," Arthur says, patting Harry's shoulder. "And you know... If you're staying with us, you can always use our floo to call her. And if her parents agree, she can visit the Burrow. There's still time before the school year for a nice end of summer party."

There is a hesitant sort of happiness on Harry's face when he says, "Thank you, Mr. Weasley."