Hello my rabid readers and loyal followers and favouriters.
Surprise. It's Wednesday and the chapter you probably thought wasn't coming is here. Granted it's late and apologises for that but I'm only a chapter a head at the moment and it's because of this bugger here that I am. I've got to apologise to Goldzar for this one. The poor bloke has been sent a shed load of different copies for this one. So any spelling and grammar mistakes I have to take the blame for on this one. I've had the content written for weeks but I've been reworking the dialogue and other bits quite a lot. I'm not going to waffle on because I'm still tired from my last authors note.
Thanks everyone whose reviewed and PM'd your thoughts and support it is much appreciated. I've had some great messages and I've tried to reply to them all. Omni-Creator Kami of Anime I'm seriously not being rude and I'm trying to get time to respond properly to messages and some of your ideas. So please don't think I'm being ignorant. That goes for everyone else I've not had chance to respond to yet.
I'm going to shut up now and allow you all to just get stuck into this massive chapter. Hopefully it will restore some of your faith in me as a writer a little bit as the content of this chapter hasn't been edited in the last three weeks. Just the wording and I'm still not 100% about it but there you go.
Anyway strap yourselves in as this is my longest chapter to date. I hope you enjoy.
Chapter 99 - Polyjuice Play Around
10:41hrs Friday 2nd September, Sitting Room of Harry's Trunk, Turtle Island, Mahoutokoro
Harry and Hermione were sat in Harry's trunks sitting room with Harry leant back on the sofa with his feet up on the coffee table reading a scroll on his scroll viewer written by a Chinese military strategist called Sun Tzu. He had got the scroll out of the library to aid him with his duelling assignment and had found that it had really been an interesting read and he'd learnt a lot from it.
Harry had heard the name before when he'd heard Dudley watching muggle films about wars and the characters mentioned studying a book called 'The Art of War' and Harry had been firstly surprised that Mahoutokoro had a copy in its library. He'd been even more surprised to find that the writer of the book Sun Tzu had actually been a very powerful wizard or battle mage and was really enjoying reading about him and his philosophy.
Hermione was stretched out on the floor in front of him lying on her front scribbling away on her assignment scroll with other scrolls dotted around her. He had commented about how and why she had other scrolls when her scroll viewer would store a load of them and the answer hadn't shocked him.
Master Sato the Mahoutokoro librarian and "Knowledge Master", like Madam Pince at Hogwarts before her had taken quite a liking to Hermione and had allowed her to borrow the extra scrolls in addition t her scroll viewer for extra reading. Harry was hardly surprised but it had come to a shock to the other Tiger's apparently as they claimed that the only student that ever got away with anything with Master Sato was Hero and that they had only heard rumours as to why.
Harry hadn't reminded Hermione as to why that was after Hero's confession and Master Sato being a bit of a peeping tom when he got a bit carried away in the library with a girl in a year above, so that she wouldn't tell the Tigers the reason, although she most likely already remembered seeing as how this was Hermione.
"Hermione." Harry said seeing that the chestnut haired witch was twirling some of her hair around her finger as she read a scroll with her quill poised as soon as she wanted to add to her notes.
"Mmmmmm" Hermione said clearly still reading.
"You nearly finished?" Harry asked her earning him a sigh before her response.
"You know I'm not Harry as you've asked me four times already in the last half an hour." Hermione replied smiling to herself.
"Do you want to do something?" he asked her.
"I am doing something Harry. I'm doing my duelling homework and I thought you were as well." Hermione said distractedly.
"I've already done it and I've got it all my other work under control as everything else is done other than the work I got in Runes yesterday. I'm just reading this for a bit of background reading and to see if I need to add anything." Harry replied looking at Hermione's bum as she shifted on the ground.
"Hmmmm have you really finished it all? I remember hearing that line from you and Ron plenty of times over the years" Hermione asked him.
"Honestly, that's all I've got left to do as those Turtles don't believe in leaving work if they can get it out the way. I'm meant to be meeting with my potions group after their meditation class and I was wondering whether you want to do something fun now their class will be finishing for around twelve." Harry replied.
Well we can do something after Healing this afternoon if you want but I really want to try and get this duelling work done so that I can concentrate on my Potions work so that I've got the weekend to spend time with you and Narcissa as well as meeting these solicitors she and Fleur have picked as the best candidates for us." Hermione replied.
"Do you want my help with it?" Harry asked teasingly getting a mock reproachful look from Hermione as she turned to look at him with her eyebrows raised and a disapproving look on her face.
"No!" She responded playfully, "I can't say I'm surprised that you've already done your defence and duelling work but I'm impressed that you've managed to get the rest of your homework done before me. Who'd have thought that after all these years you'd take my advice and get it done quicker rather than waiting til the last minute" she teased back.
"Well I've probably not been as thorough as you have. Come on let me have a look at what you've done as the quicker you get finished the quicker we can do something fun." Harry said sitting forward on his sofa and leant forward with his elbows resting on his knees.
"Oh, alright fine. No laughing at what I've thought up already though." Hermione said as Harry grinned and climbed down on the floor next to her so that they were lying next to each other on their fronts.
"As if I'd laugh at your work, it will most likely be better than mine." Harry said honestly.
She pushed the scroll she was working on over to Harry and he started reading it and nodding in places and smiling in others. She turned on her side facing him and propped her head up with her hand looking at Harry.
"In duelling and defence work that's highly doubtful and since sixth year you've been getting really good at potions ever since your read Professors Snape's potions book." Hermione said seeing Harry tense up. It was the first time since the battle that they had really spoken about anything relating to the Battle and finding out that Professor Snape was really working to try and save Harry all along.
"Well I decided after he gave me those memories after Nagini had killed him that I owed it to him to be different to how I was before." Harry said sombrely.
"Different? How do you mean different?" Hermione asked.
"Well I didn't try as hard as I should have at Hogwarts and let myself be distracted by other things or people and I think I wasted a lot of my earlier years there. I really want to get good and learn as much as I can before getting a job and be remembered for something other than all this stuff with Voldemort." Harry said honestly.
"You're not only remembered because of what happened with Voldemort." Hermione said sincerely.
"Yeah…. alright." he replied sarcastically smiling to himself at her naïve comment, "I'll always be remembered at Hogwarts but only for all sorts of dark events happening to or involving me that have nothing to do with my abilities or normal things that I've done." Harry replied with a scoff.
"That's not true. You'll be remembered for a lot more than that." Hermione said looking at him and seeing a sadness fall on his face.
"Oh yeah like what?" Harry replied dismissively.
"How about being the youngest Seeker in a century and made it onto a quidditch team in your first year. You'll be remembered for the services to the school when you saved Ginny from the chamber and saved pretty much everyone in the school from that basilisk.
How about the fact that you were talked about and are still revered as one of the best defence against the dark arts students that ever set foot through Hogwarts doors by the staff and students still there and who have left. In fifth year people towards the end of the year started saying you were 'the students champion' as you stepped up and helped rid the school of that absolute nightmare Umbridge and taught most of our year to pass our OWL in Defence. You'll be remembered as the winner of the tri-wizard tournament and having won against three students older and more experienced than you and for beating a dragon.
You'll be held up in reverence by Slughorn as a potions genius to anyone who will listen and don't think he won't be telling every student he teaches for the rest of his career about how good you were at potions. More than that though Harry, you'll be remembered by all the staff who worked there as a person who dealt with so much shit in life and regardless of all of that you battled through and were always willing to help others and protect them such as Luna, the DA and me.
You wouldn't have known but before it all kicked off again Neville was in the Great Hall trying to rouse everyone's morale and telling them not to give up and that you had a plan. I didn't know what he was on about as you'd not mentioned any plan and I was frantically looking for you with Luna but I couldn't find you anywhere.
The professors were all saying that they were going to keep fighting not just for Hogwarts or to protect our way of life but for you as you were someone they would follow into the gates of hell for what you'd done for them and the students of that school.
You've no idea how immensely proud of you Professor McGonagall is Harry. She told me that she's never wanted to embarrass you by telling you herself in person. She's told me plenty of times over the years how proud of you she is and how skilled she thought you were. I don't know the way she talks about you sometimes it's like she thinks of you as the son she never had. You might laugh at that but she was as much my mentor as Dumbledore was yours and I was closer to her and know her better than you do and I know she means it." Hermione finished with a flourish.
Harry sat there stunned for a few moments thinking about what Hermione was saying and was touched about what she had said about Professor McGonagall. As he sat their thinking about it he just couldn't people saying the things that Hermione had just said he knew that people didn't tend to think like that.
"That's really nice of you to say all of that stuff but I think that's how you want people to think of me. We both know in this world people assume the worst and overlook the truth when it's convenient or put all their stock in rumours or hearsay and it's the rumours that they remember. Being here this year with you has been absolutely amazing so far and it's giving me a chance to finally try to be the real me and put things right a little. Things that I wish I could go back in time and do properly the first time round when we were at Hogwarts, I'm getting an opportunity to do here.
One of which is trying harder with my studies. I'm finding that a lot of the work I'm doing feels like I've done it or seen it before, which is really weird. I'm finding it easier than I expected and I don't really understand why but things just seem to make sense easier these days, somehow. I've got the chance to reinvent myself a little and the students here treat me completely differently than those at Hogwarts. Well... not completely differently, but I can really be myself a lot more. For so long at Hogwarts the students there treated me like some sort of caged animal like something that belonged in a petting zoo or thought it would be fun to taunt and poke to see if they can get a reaction.
If I wasn't being talked about like I was this or that there were actually very few genuine people who actually talked to me like a normal person rather than some sort of celebrity, crazy person or in our final year there some sort of saviour. It was rubbish as every year people would treat me differently depending on what the rumours and stories about me going about were at the time.
"I know you really suffered the hypocritical treatment of everyone more than anyone Harry and if I'm honest I think Ron and I ended up keeping more people who were decent away from you than we should have. You see in second year we got pretty over protective of you as we both knew that that you weren't attacking students but there was all sorts being said and spread about you. We didn't want you over hearing a lot of the bile that people were saying about you and tried to keep you pretty insulated and away from it.
I did the same in fourth year when everyone thought you'd put the name in the cup as you'd been through enough and there was plenty of times over the years where I've had to serve a detention for getting a bit too enthusiastic in my reaction to someone bad mouthing you." Hermione said smirking to herself thinking about the occasions where she'd had to serve detentions for hexing people that she had heard bad mouthing Harry.
"Whoa, whoa.. wait, what? YOU got detention...? ... in Hogwarts? When? How?" Harry said turning to Hermione completely flummoxed by this news.
"You didn't think that I was always in the library of an evening whenever you found yourself alone with just Ron did you?" Hermione said letting out a light laugh at the thought.
"Errr, yeah!" Harry said stunned causing Hermione to laugh even harder at the shocked expression on his face.
"Well I wasn't. I had detention plenty of times over the years. Normally I'd be quite strategic about when I got them as it was normally for classes that I had some extra questions for and then when I was serving them I'd ask the professor about them and then by the time my detention was over we'd spent the entire talking about the subject and what I wanted to know. I achieved that quite simply my making sure that if I heard someone bad mouthing you or saying something not too flattering then I'd hex them in front of one of the teachers I wanted help for in class, like Professor Vector's.
I built up quite the reputation of 'hexing before speaking' by the end of fourth year and as a result of that no one ever made a bad comment to me after that and certainly didn't bad mouth you in front of me either, well except Malfoy. Plus none of them had the guts to air their views in front of you anyway so it worked out well really." Hermione said grinning to herself.
"Why didn't you ever tell me that? More importantly how did I never find out that you had a reputation as a badass in school." a bamboozled Harry asked causing Hermione to laugh again.
"Well you had more worrying and concerning things going on most of the time and besides I didn't want you trying to talk me out of reacting because you didn't want to get me into trouble." Hermione said honestly shrugging her shoulders and having to look at her notes as the way Harry was looking at her was getting her a little excited and causing her heart to beat faster as he was looking at her so intensely and she loved it.
She felt Harry move and then felt him give her tender kiss on her cheek that caused her to smile. It was so gentle and soft but also firm enough so that he made sure she knew that he was kissing her. Hermione wanted nothing more than to turn to face him properly and put her own lips against his. As she turned to look at him however he was already moving away and it would mean that she'd have to make the move and kiss him and that would go against what the Tiger girls were telling her to do in order to get him to make the first moves and show his intentions.
"What was that for?" she asked him.
"For being even more incredible than I already knew you were. You just seem to be surprising me more and more these days with stuff that I never knew about you or things you've done and never told me about. I thought I knew everything about you but it just makes me realise how much I've got to learn about you. It adds an air of mystery about you that's pretty endearing, it makes me realise that I was always so wrapped in my own problems I haven't taken enough time to focus on you." Harry said as he looked into Hermione's soft brown eyes and was touched as he thought about how much Hermione protected and looked after him even without him knowing. He was completely shocked to hear that she had been hexing people and getting detentions over the years defending his honour.
"I never really tell you how much I appreciate you and how much you mean to me and I really should do it more. I didn't have any idea that you'd done that for me and well, I'm really quite moved Hermione that you'd get yourself in trouble over my honour." Harry said thoughtfully.
"Yes you do Harry. You do it with your actions rather than words, I mean look at the amazing party you threw me just because we didn't have chance to celebrate my turning eighteen. You arranged for my mum and dad to be found in Australia something that could have taken me years to do and you brought them back into my life.
You do the most incredible things all the time and just brush them off as if they are nothing but you don't realise how much of an impact you have on people or me. I had absolutely no problems having a go at people who were bad mouthing you as no one has a go at my Harry when I'm around." Hermione said before remembering "and don't think I've forgotten that we haven't done anything to celebrate your turning eighteen because if you can throw me a belated birthday party you better believe that I'm throwing you one."
"You don't need to throw me a party." Harry replied quickly and completely serious about it.
"I know I don't have to, but I want to. You mean the world to me Harry and I want you to have all the good things in it. Especially after all the shit you've been through and I really want to try and make you happy." Hermione responded a little surprised at her blunt honesty and was thinking how this conversation might finally take them where she had been itching desperately for it to go for years.
"You do make me happy Hermione. Really happy, I just wish I could give you everything that I want to give you." Harry said staring into Hermione's eyes as she stared right back at him both of them seeming to not want to blink.
"What do you mean, everything you want to give me?" Hermione asked her pulse beating quicker as the silence stretched out between them as they looked into each other's eyes.
"That I want to give you everything you deserve." Harry said quietly as he had to break eye contact from her as he could feel his control to not kiss her start to slip again. "What you really deserve." He said so quietly he barely heard himself.
"What do you mean what I really deserve?" Hermione asked placing her hand on Harry's arm.
"I… just think that you're wasti…" Harry started saying as he wanted to tell her that Ron wasn't right for her and that she deserved so much more than he was giving her and that he could give her what she deserves or he'd at least make a damn site more effort to do so. Just as the words started leaving his lips a small voice inside his head screamed at him to stop and not start bad mouthing Ron to her as it would just make him look petty and jealous. That Ron was still his and Hermione's friend and that even though Harry didn't think they were right together than he shouldn't just try and force Hermione to see something that he thought was there. He didn't know what they were saying to each other in private and he could make himself look like a real fool and mess everything up.
"You know what, it doesn't matter forget about it. Now's not really the time to get into it." Harry said floundering.
"When is a good time to get into it?" Hermione asked frustrated that Harry couldn't seem to get out what he wanted to really say to her and it was starting to irritate her as she was getting as equally frustrated not knowing what he wanted to say. She assumed or more hoped that it was how he really felt for her as they had started to get going on that conversation so many times and normally they'd get interrupted by someone forcing them to stop.
She was a total hypocrite of course as if she wanted to say to Harry what she really thought then she'd have told him by now that she loved him, sorry no, not loved him, but was madly IN love with him. She wanted too so badly but from seeing how he was struggling to get what he wanted to say out he was still feeling the Ron guilt thing as well, like she was. She needed to have things out with Ron and doing it by letter wasn't the way she wanted to do it. It wouldn't be fair, plus Ron was her friend and despite her other friends suspicions especially if they were unfounded he deserved to be told face to face that she didn't want to be with him anymore.
It was a very delicate situation as Ron's feelings were in the balance and she didn't want Ron's jealousy rearing it's ugly head and him using it as something to attack Harry with again. She'd stood by and allowed it to happen twice in the past and she certainly wouldn't a third time. She'd been dumped by a pen pal when she was eight years old by letter and she remembered how much that had hurt. She might not be in love with Ron but she was still his friend, even if she didn't want to be his girlfriend she still loved him in her own way and cared about him and didn't want to see him hurt.
She knew that she didn't want to be with Ron, not really and the Tiger girls were trying to help get specific information out of Harry regarding what he really felt about Hermione through T or D. It wasn't her usual approach as she certainly didn't have a problem asking questions for most things in life. Anything else she'd just flat out ask Harry if she wanted to know. He very rarely if ever kept things from her and when he did it was normally him trying to protect her, either literally or emotionally as was the things he and her friends had got up to that summer.
She knew he cared about Ron and Ron's fragile ego as he'd been the victim of Ron's jealousy and resentment at his own life many a time over the years. Although from what she'd been hearing in letters from her friends and her mum, Ron's ego seemed to be getting more and more inflated by the day.
With typical Harry being Harry she knew he was putting Ron's feelings first rather than saying what he really want to or being selfish about things. She was convinced of it and if he couldn't tell her himself maybe he would tell the Tiger girls through the game. There it was. That was her reasoning in her head as to why she was getting involved in these weird little exercises to test Harry's feelings towards her, like not discouraging looks or flirtatious behaviour from other boys.
Yes it is stupid and illogical and very un-her in it's planning and execution but until she'd dealt with the Ron issue this was the most subtle way of getting Harry to get past his unnecessary guilt and open up about her. Even if it was indirectly and through other people.
"I don't know when a good time to tell you is but…. hopefully sooner, rather than later." Harry said turning to Hermione and giving her a blazing look to try and hopefully get his point across and wishing that he'd tried to learn ligilmency so he could try and input his thought into Hermione's head. They stared at each other the silence stretching out as if trying to read each other's thoughts when the clock in Harry's sitting room chimed softly breaking both of them out of their thoughts and caused Harry to look at Hermione's work again as the silence stretched out between them.
"This is pretty good Hermione" he said breaking the silence as he looked back at her work, "although I reckon you could tweak this formation a bit to a twin back to back formation or think about combining attack with defence with two triple stacks or wheel and pin formation like I have gone with." Harry explained drawing out the different formations on a spare piece of parchment while explaining the pros and cons of each formation.
"Oooh Harry you sound so authoritative when you talk about formations like that." Hermione cooed playfully causing him to roll his eyes at her joking around, even though she actually meant it.
Hermione sat there enjoying Harry in teacher mode for a few more minutes as she found him incredibly sexy and masterful when he was like that. So confident and sure of himself and it all seemed so natural for him as he was a natural leader. Once he'd finished him mini lecture he continued his way through the rest of her work.
She'd practically turned to goo when Harry started teaching the DA classes she'd talked him into and the lioness inside had purred constantly at Harry taking control and showing that he was the Alpha in the group. Hermione considered herself a strong willed and independent woman but when Harry talked like this she reckoned that he could command her to do anything and she'd do it.
She'd known Harry for years now and knew that if they got together as a couple he would give her absolutely everything he had be it emotionally, financially, spiritually and she'd dreamed physically of all the things that they could do and discover together and she would do exactly the same in return. Harry she knew better than anyone was a very all or nothing kind of person and he likes to make people happy. She knew he would never ask her to do something she wasn't happy with or not live the life she wants to live.
That was one of the many things that Hermione loved about Harry. He understood her and wouldn't want her trying to be something that she wasn't, although throughout her time with Harry she was discovering more and more as she got older that she was a lot of things she didn't know about herself when it came to him.
"Harry, I've been thinking about the future a lot recently and how both of our lives have gone from crazy to like super crazy in a matter of months." Hermione started tentatively.
"Hermione our lives have always been crazy. I'd have thought you'd be starting to get used to it by now." Harry said cheekily smiling to himself as he had stopped reading but still remained looking at the parchment.
"Well your life has always been crazy but mine was just a normal kind of existence until you came storming into that bathroom and started fighting that troll while trying to protect me, not that I've regretted that for a second as becoming your friend was the best thing that ever happened to me. We've never really talked seriously about what you want from your life and your future," Hermione said studying his face as his smile wavered.
"Too be completely honest Hermione I never really gave much thought to my future because I could never see anything past Voldemort and wondering if I would survive. I know I always said that I wanted to be an auror when we were looking at career choices but that was mainly thinking it would give me the best chance to stay alive. To an extent I think that would be a pretty solid career path for me but given everything that's happened I'm not sure that's what I want my life and my legacy to be about." Harry said honestly. Hermione was really interested to hear Harry talking about his legacy as he had never really talked about it before and he already had a legacy of being the vanquisher of arguably the most evil wizard in history.
"You've already got a legacy though. You've done things that people can't even contemplate and now you are finally getting the recognition that you deserve for it." Hermione replied feeling that her response was completely crap given what he had just said.
"Fame and recognition was never the thing that I wanted out of my life and you know that. I have known what I want most in the world ever since I looked in the mirror of erised in first year. I got to see what I had only dreamed about and it's the same now as it was then except I'm a bit more clued up on what I need to achieve it now." Harry said honestly feeling sort of strange talking about his future.
"What is the thing you want the most in the world?" Hermione asked as she watched him surprisingly start to open up to her.
"I want to have a family, A big family ideally. You know I never had one growing up as the Dursley's hated me and then I had Sirius and Remus taken from me. I want to live my life surrounded by people who love and care about me. I want to know what it's like to wake up every morning and know that the people I'm living with are happy that they are there and that I'm there. I basically want to just be able to love and be loved for me." Harry said as he turned to her his eyes slightly watery, which instantly set Hermione off as she could see how big a step it was for him to admit that.
"You are loved Harry. Everyone lov..." Hermione started.
"I'm talking about an unconditionally loving me Hermione. I mean the kind of love that stays just as strong when everything isn't going perfect all the time. I just mean the kind of love that is accepting me for my faults and how I am as a person and not expecting me to be perfect because I'm far from it. I don't care about public adoration or the bowing and scraping or hero worshiping from the masses Hermione that's not what I meant.
Granted it's a lot nicer than people looking at me like I was unhinged like I got for years but you know that I really don't give a shit about any of that. Not really. The masses only 'love' me for the crazy stuff that's gone on in my life and the dangerous things I've managed to scrape my way through." he replied cutting her off.
"I know you don't. I'm sorry Harry I wasn't trying to play down what you were saying." Hermione replied honestly and kicking herself for interrupting him as he was divulging something important to her.
"It's ok. When I was growing up I only ever wanted to meet a person who I could be myself with completely and who would do me the same in return by being themselves with me. Someone who I can let all my defences down with and who would love me for me. I always pictured myself with this one girl and we'd know each other so well, like completely inside out and really just be happy together.
I always hoped and envisioned that I'd end up married to this girl I was crazy about and who occupied my mind almost every minute of every day for years now and that we'd start our own family together. Then hopefully one day I'd become a father and then a grandfather and get a chance to have something I've never had before. I'd get to spend my life with the person that matters the most to me and be happy together." Harry said looking dejected.
"You can still have that Harry." Hermione replied.
"No I can't. Certainly not the way I wanted it because between myself, Sirius and Dumbledore it's all been completed and royally fucked up and now I'll never get to have my life the way I wanted or at least how I wanted it." Harry said hitting the floor with his fist.
"What do you mean between the three of you have fucked it all up?" Hermione asked..
"Well Sirius helped messed it up first by naming me Lord Black, knowing that I'd have to be married to someone who's a pureblood. I loved Sirius but I fucking hate that he's done that to me as he even said and talked to me about who he believed I wanted to be with and he was right. I hated him for a while for being so selfish when he should have just taken a wife himself and had his own kid when my parents started settling down. It's not like he would have struggled finding someone as he was a nice guy and good looking and wealthy. No instead he pussied out and left it to me knowing most likely that I'd rather die than let Malfoy become Lord Black.
I was so angry about it for the longest time until this summer when we went to Potter Manor and I read through his journal that he left me. He'd left me a letter explaining why he'd done what he'd done and suddenly I found I couldn't be angry about it to the same degree. I loved Sirius and wish he'd been able to have his own children so that I could do what I wanted but that's in the past now and the only thing I can do to change it is to let Draco become Lord Black and I'm just not prepared to do that.
Due to that I have been forced into a situation now where I have to take a pureblood wife at some point regardless of whether I wanted to or not. Then Dumbledore fucked me over by intending for me to destroy all those horcruxes on my own and if I'd destroyed the locket, the cup and the snake with the sword of Gryffindor as he had intended I'd have another three bloody family lines. I can only thank god that that didn't happen. It would have been horrendous if things had gone according to his plan, I mean Potter-Black-Peverell-Ravenclaw-Hufflepuff-Slytherin-Gryffindor, honestly it's crazy.
Completely ridiculous. I know I want to have a big family but I can't imagine the girl I'd always envisioned being married to wanting to have seven children as she's got her own goals and aspirations in life and wouldn't want to be bringing up a load of children for years as Mrs Weasley she is most certainly not." Harry said venting feeling good about finally getting some stuff he'd been holding in off his chest.
"Then I ballsed up repeatedly for years as I was too chicken and didn't have the courage to do what I should have done to try and sort out my relationship with her to try and make it how I wanted. I just sort of allowed stuff to happen rather than taking control of something that actually meant something in my life. I was a complete prat in not trying harder to get her to go to the Yule Ball with me and allowing her to go with someone else who didn't think about her anything like as much as I do and never could have.
I should have fought harder for it when they announced the ball rather than worrying about everyone else was doing and thinking stupidly that I had time. I shouldn't have just not fought for her and allowed someone else to take her to the ball as I've always been a fighter and I really should have battled for her. I mean I just found out she was going with someone else and I just accepted it. I didn't even try and I don't know for the life of me why I did that." Harry said shaking his head feeling annoyed with himself as he thought about how many wasted opportunities he'd had through chickening out.
"All that is by the by though as even if could have somehow managed to get with her, I've managed to fuck it all up this summer because I was focusing on other people's advice instead of listening to what is in my head and my heart were saying and because of all these fucking family lines I'm now responsible for, I've got my head and feelings about the whole thing in a right jumbled mess and I don't know what I'm doing.
As always is the case with me I'm just trying to muddle through hoping that everything will work out like a child would do and now I just hope that I don't end up completely broken and alone at the end of it all." Harry said defeatedly. He felt like his chest was slowly being crushed as he was finally airing what he'd been bottling up for months and saying it to the person he wanted to say it to the most, but that annoying piece of him still stopping him from just saying what he really felt about her. Why couldn't he just get it out of his system. Why was he still so scared that she would reject him if he told her that he loved her as knowing Hermione she'd at least let him down gently and then he'd know at least.
"Wow Harry, you've never opened up like this before and I didn't really know you felt that way about it all especially the become Lord Black part as you've not really mentioned anything about it. Although granted you had far more pressing concerns with Voldemort and Sirius' murder as well." Hermione said feeling a little bit stunned as Harry was very rarely open and had never been as open as that.
"I never knew that you were going through all of this as you're always trying to go through these things on your own and bottle them up by not really talking about how you feel about things and you tend to put all your thoughts and feelings into how you're going to fix the problems. I'd have hoped that after all this time that you'd have learnt to you can talk to me about this stuff. You told me about Cho and begrudgingly talked to me about Ginny.
I know I'm a girl and it's hard talking about things like feelings and things but honestly Harry girls are more emotionally mature than boys for the most part and have more experience with the emotion side of things. I had no idea that you regretted not trying harder to get her to cancel her date to the Yule Ball and to go with you instead." Hermione said feeling her heart breaking and thinking he was talking about Cho Chang.
"That's right, I do regret it. It's one of the things I most regret about Hogwarts and for once this was a subject that I really couldn't broach with you as I was too embarrassed to talk to you about it." Harry said before going quiet and thinking hard for a few moments as the blood pounded through his ears and his heart hammered in his chest. He was finally letting out at least some of what he felt and what he had wanted to tell her for so long. Deciding that he needed to right one of his biggest regrets of his life and now was the opportune moment to do so and he wasn't going to let the opportunity slip by him this time. Yes it might be wreckless and he might come away completely crushed but now was the time.
"You know when I think back to all the time I wasted rather just manning up and asking her it makes me feel so stupid. Plus I know we would've had the best night together and we'd have really had fun and enjoyed ourselves a hell of a lot more. Or I would have at least." He said looking at Hermione who had started looking at the parchment and scrolls on the floor and Harry thought she looked rather sad with what he was telling her and that wasn't the reaction he wanted to what he was saying and this burst of confidence he'd suddenly got was starting to wain from her expression. He knew if he didn't do this now then the courage might not come back again.
"Who knows maybe come the end of that night at the ball if I'd have plucked up the courage to ask her and then kissed her at the end of the night then the last few years could have been very different if she ended up feeling the same way." Harry said softly looking at the hair that had fallen over Hermione's face as he thought he was being pretty damn clear to how he felt about her and wanted to gauge her reaction to what he was saying to her.
"Well she is very pretty. I can see why you'd like her so much." Hermione said happy that her hair had fallen from behind her ear to cover her face. She hadn't expected it to be so hard to hear that Harry felt this way and had such regret about not trying harder with Cho.
"She isn't pretty. She's absolutely mesmerizingly beautiful. She's like Aphrodite taking human form and the thing of it is that she doesn't even believe it when someone tells her." Harry said trying to see if that compliment had hit the mark and caused her to smile or at least scoff at his blatant flattery even though he agreed with his words. Hermione was the most beautiful girl both inside and out and she was able to captivate him with just a look.
"Oh believe me she knows that everyone thinks she's beautiful as she was always looking at herself in the girls bathroom mirrors making sure that her hair was perfectly straight all the time and that her makeup was always perfect, which of course it was." Hermione said bitchily.
Harry was confused by that comment and knew Hermione wasn't like that at all from being friends and around her for so long "Huh? What do you mean?"
"You probably never noticed as you always had other things on your mind and the only girls bathrooms you ever went into was the one you saved me from that troll and Moaning Myrtles. Believe me she was always in front of a mirror when I went into a bathroom and clearly likes looking at herself." Hermione responded waspishly hoping that Harry would see that Cho wasn't so perfect after all.
"Hermione what are you on about?" Harry said bewildered as to what she was saying.
"Look I know you really like her but Cho was always a bit too into her looks as she was always in the bathroom surrounded by her fri... " Hermione pointed out feeling a little catty and jealous.
"What! You think that I'm talking about Cho?" Harry said suddenly barking out a nervous laugh to cover his confusion at how Hermione could have misinterpreted what he was saying.
"Well yes, she's the first girl you ever fancied and you asked her to the ball after she'd said yes to Cedric and..." Hermione started to say her words tumbling out of her mouth as her brain tried to figure out what Harry was talking about as Harry burst out laughing. "What's so bloody funny?" Hermione asked him giving him a thump on the shoulder, which only caused Harry to laugh harder.
"I'm not talking about Cho you numpty. Smartest witch of our age my arse." Harry said almost laughing himself hoarse at Hermione.
"You're not?" Hermione asked as she turned to Harry who seemed to have the laughter die in his throat as his face turned suddenly all serious and slightly pink.
"For Godric's sake Hermione. Isn't it obvious that I'm talking about you..." Harry blurted out thankful that he had finally managed to say something clear enough to her and get the words out of his mouth before losing his nerve.
"Me?" Hermione asked stunned as her body seemed to freeze, her heart started pounding and the butterflies in her stomach started going hyper like they were on a sugar rush. She found that she had stopped breathing as every fibre of her being was preparing herself for him laughing again and telling her he was only winding her up.
"Yes, of course you." Harry said balling his courage and knowing that there was no going back now. "I regretted not asking you to the ball as soon as McGonagall announced it to us. I foolishly thought that I had time to ask you and was building myself up to it when I heard some fifth year Hufflepuffs down the charms corridor one day saying that they had heard Viktor Krum had asked you to the ball. You never mentioned it so I assumed it was just a wild rumour as I never thought you'd agree to go to the ball with someone you didn't really know or like very much. Plus you'd seemed all irritated whenever he was around us or you because of the amount of fangirls that followed him.
So I just put it down to one of those crazy rumours and thought I had time to ask you. Then I overheard Susan and you in Herbology when you were working together on those slapping violets and Susan asked you if it was true you were going to the ball with Viktor Krum and you said yes but made Susan promise not to tell anyone. Then you looked round you to see if had been overheard and I just pretended to be totally focused on what I was doing and like I hadn't heard." Harry said remembering how painful it had been hearing that from Hermione.
Hermione felt sick as she remembered the conversation with Susan and also remembered looking round to see if anyone was listening and how her stomach had dropped on seeing Harry stood behind her at his workbench. She knew something had been off with him as six of the slapping violets had managed to slap him around the face knocking his glasses off even though he was looking right at them and with his instincts should have been able to move out the way in time.
She'd just assumed at the time that he was worrying about the second task or was still thinking about battling the horntail and how close it had been. She felt her stomach clench on hearing that Harry had heard her and the elation of knowing that he wanted to ask her to the ball was replaced with sadness that she had indirectly hurt him but agreeing to go with Viktor and worse that she had missed out on going to the ball with Harry.
It was him she had been thinking about when picking her dress and when her friends had been doing her hair and makeup. It was Harry who she had looked to to see his reaction to her when she had come down the stairs to enter the great hall and seeing him stood there all handsome and grown up in his dress robes had made her heart start beating quickly. As she'd approached Harry and just as he was about to stay something to her Viktor had stepped in front of them blocking them from each others view and taking Hermione's hand before leading her into the great hall.
"Harry... I" Hermione started saying as she felt tears forming at the corners of her eyes again as she felt horrendous. "I had no idea that you'd heard that. Why didn't you say anything?" she asked him wondering why he hadn't as she would have told Viktor in a heartbeat that she wanted to go with Harry if she knew.
"Well as you made Susan promise not to tell anyone and then hadn't mentioned it to me or Ron so I assumed that you didn't want to tell anyone but knew that my opportunity had gone. Then I had to start thinking about who else I could ask as I needed to find someone and I thought Cho was nice enough and thought she was a good quidditch player and that I'd at least be able to spend the night talking about that with her. Then when that ran out of things to talk about with her I reasoned that I could just ask her stupid little questions even if it was just things like her favourite colour or favourite sweets or something and that would have helped past the time and stopped the conversation drying up.
Of course when I asked her she said she was going with Cedric and I thought after that point that I may as well just leave it and then if Ron was going to end up on his own to it then I would as well and it might get me out of the opening dance." Harry said shrugging thinking about how he'd hated the who process of having to find a girl and ask her to a ball.
"I had absolutely no idea that you felt like that Harry." Hermione said still reeling from what Harry had just told her and felt like her heart was five times to big for her chest.
"I still do feel like that Hermione." Harry said bluntly as his emerald green eyes locked onto Hermione's as her head whipped round at what he was saying to her reached her ears.
"You DO feel like that." Hermione asked quietly not trusting her ears to have heard him correctly and found that her breath was coming in gasps as she felt dizzy with happiness at the admission.
"Yes." Harry said unblinkingly, "I should have asked you to the ball before anyone else. I was foolish for thinking that no one else would want to take such a beautiful girl to a ball and I don't want to make the same mistake twice and end up having to keep that regret inside me." Harry said as he moved himself a little closer to Hermione as she lay on her side looking at him and he could practically feel the heat coming off her and his magic was reacting to her and felt himself shaking with either it or nerves as he looked into her face studying every detail of it, which he knew so well.
Hermione bit her lip wondering whether this was happening. Was it really happening was he going to ask her? As Harry shifted his body closer to her Hermione could see him shaking slightly and her magic started reaching for Harry and she had to bite her lip a little harder to stop from crying out in happiness and resist closing the distance between them.
"So, Hermione Granger-Dumbledore-Hufflepuff... I'd like to know whether you do me the honour of allowing me to take you to the Halloween ball next month." Harry said as he looked longingly into Hermione's eyes and gulped down the nerves that suddenly came rushing over him as the last of his courage was spent.
It felt like fireworks were going off inside her brain and that every sense in her body was tingling and shaking with electricity as Harry asked her to go to the Halloween Ball with him. He wanted to go with her. Her simple plain Hermione Granger. The most handsome and amazing man Hermione had ever met who could have his pick of any witch on the planet wanted to take her to the Halloween Ball. She felt so happy elated not just with Harry asking but knowing that he'd wanted to ask her all those years ago as well and now finally she was going to be able to get her night at a ball with her own real life prince charming.
Everything he'd just been saying about how they would have had a good time and how he might have plucked up the courage to kiss her and be with her was bouncing around her brain like a rubber ball in a room with rubber walls. She felt almost punch drunk thinking about what might have happened and now thanks for Harry's bravery what might happen in October.
Harry looked at Hermione and saw a smile reach her lips that felt like it caused the room to light up as they stared into each others eyes, Hermione smiling at Harry and him looking anxiously back praying that she'd say yes and stop keeping him waiting.
"So..." Harry started to say when suddenly the Turtles came bursting into the room laughing and horsing around.
"HEY YOU TWO! Ooooooh this looks very cozy." Tim said grinning at Harry and giving him a thumbs as he entered the room followed by the Turtles making Harry and Hermione jump in surprise.
"Yes, VERY cozy" Po Lee said waggling her eyebrows at the pair lying in such close proximity on the floor and could practically feel the sexual tension crackling in the room.
'NO, NO, NO, NO, NO, NO!' screamed the voice in Hermione's head, 'please, please, please just go away and leave us alone again just for a few minutes longer.'
The same thoughts were going through Harry's brain except there were a lot more swear words thrown into the mix inside his head."What are you lot doing back so early?" Harry asked quickly feeling like he could shout at the Turtles to bugger off as he'd finally started telling her how he felt about her and asked her to the ball and wanted, no needed an answer from her. It was infuriating how every time something like this happened their conversation got interrupted by someone and next time he was locking his trunk so no one could interrupt them.
"Well we finished early because Quillaq Kanook and Hester Steiggson finally managed to take their animagus forms through meditation and they started play fighting in their animal and it all started getting a bit out of hand. They were wrestling and took swipes at each other with their claws and they just missed Erin Seung who had been sat in between them. The Grandmaster dismissed the class early and immobilised the pair of them so that no one could get hurt as he was trying to explain to them how to let go of their forms and return back to normal." Giovanni explained.
Hermione was completely locked in her own thoughts cursing the friendly Turtles for showing up when herself and Harry had been talking about something so important and unfortunately looked like they were getting cozy in Harry's sitting room and not just paying a flying visit.
"What did they turn into?" Harry asked more out of politeness than genuine curiosity as he looked to Hermione as some of the Turtles started dropping into the seats.
"Steiggson turned into a polar bear and Chinook turned into this brown grizzly bear. They were massive." Yoko Hami said slightly in awe of the two Dragons.
"Yeah my animagus form certainly isn't quite as spectacular or scary." Giovanni said getting a laugh from the rest of the Turtles.
"No but still safer than mine. I could end up as someone's dinner." Po said dejectedly.
"You two are animagi?" Hermione asked impressed that four students in their year were animagi as she was distracted from her thoughts and cursing the Turtles for their crap timing.
"Yep we've been able to do it since OWL year as Master Bo really helped us along with it." Po and Giovanni said together before sharing a grin.
"What do you turn into?" Harry asked as Giovanni suddenly shrunk and changed form until he was a slightly larger than average turtle sat on the floor where he had been stood.
"Cool" Harry said as the Turtle nodded along to him. Po suddenly shrunk next to him and in her place was an Ishikawa Frog that ribbited at them.
"Wow that's really impressive. So that's why these lot call you Turtle and Frog then." Hermione observed as the two Turtle students changed back.
"Yeah that's how we got our nicknames but like we say not the most impressive of forms compared to two bloody bears." Po said sourly.
"Well at least you can do it and you should be proud of that and you'll not take up as much room as a bear would. It's meant to be really hard to learn to become an animagi though from what I've read. Is there anyone else in the year besides the four of you that can do it?" Hermione asked curiously.
"Chen Dai Chi in Tiger Clan can and he takes the form of a Pangolin and Rachel Yu of Dragon clan can become a Chinese Leopold." Louis informed Hermione.
"What's a Pangolin?" Harry asked curiously as he didn't know the animal.
"It's a bit like an armadillo except it's covered in hard sharp scales and makes it less attractive to try and eat as a result." June explained.
"So what you two up to, looking all comfy and settled?" Hero asked giving Harry a knowing look and getting a 'now's not the time for jokes' look back from Harry in return, which Hero had the good sense to know to back off.
"We were just doing some duelling and defence work before I had to go do my potions meeting with Akiko and the rest of my potions group and I was talking to Hermione about something important first." Harry said innocently blushing from root to toe as Tim, Giovanni and Po all started wolf whistling at the two of them causing them both to blush as they realised how closely they were lying to each other and shuffled back away from each other and Harry started to sit up as Hermione to start to gather her things and Harry put his scroll back in his bag shaking his head.
"Speaking of which Harry we're going to have to make a move as Hilde has already started making her way to the potions classroom and is getting the potion out of our locker and meeting us in the quidditch stadium. Trixie and Rosa are meeting us there and I don't think it's a good idea to leave a Phoenix and a Dragon alone in a quidditch stadium together as god knows what could happen if their left alone too long." Akiko said as Harry nodded his agreement.
"Alright then I guess we'd better get going." He said incredibly reluctantly and with a heavy heart, knowing that the opportunity had gone and cursed his luck and everyone elses shit timing. "I'll see you all in Healing class then I guess and Hermione hopefully you'll be able to tell me the answer to that matter I was just discussing with you then." Harry said giving Hermione a small awkward smile.
"Yes... I'll see you in Healing class." Hermione said getting a slow and unenthusiastic nod from Harry as he stood up so that he was next to her.
"Alright well, I guess I better go and I'll see you in a bit." Harry replied as he started to say something else but changed his mind as he didn't really fancy having an audience for what he wanted to say. He and Akiko turned to leave the trunk waving bye to Hermione and the rest of the Turtles.
Just as Harry and Akiko reached the door to the trunk Hermione realised how cruel it would be to make him wait for her answer especially as the answer was so easy to make and she never wanted to upset Harry. Plus she was so excited about the offer of going to the ball with him she couldn't wait any longer herself. "Harry" she called out urgently to him causing Harry and Akiko to stop and turn to look at her. "That question you asked me earlier."
"yeah." Harry said eagerly hoping she was going to give him an answer.
"The answer is absolutely yes." Hermione said smiling at the look a happiness and joy on Harry's face at getting her answer and thinking how that was the look she'd always hoped of being on his face when he asked to the ball in her dreams.
"Really?" Harry asked elated.
"Really, really" Hermione said smiling to herself.
"That's the best news... well ever." Harry grinned back at her.
"I'm glad it's good news... whatever it is but I'm sorry Harry but we've really got to get a move on." Akiko said apologetically besides him wondering what was going on as were the rest of the Turtles.
"Go on you go and go do whatever you're doing." Hermione said to Harry who grinned at her and set off after Akiko who had gone through the door out of the trunk." She stood there for a few moments shocked, elated and almost giddy with delight. She was going to the ball with Harry and he'd just admitted that he'd always wanted to go to the ball with her during the tri-wizard tournament and had thought about what would have happened if they had kissed that night. She had herself many times and the possible events of that night if it had gone that way had been a masterbation fantasy of hers many a night.
All the other things he had told her about how he had wanted his life and family and all the other things he'd said were rattling around her brain and she knew she needed to get back to her pensieve to get the memories in there and write to her friends and her mum and tell them she was going to the ball with Harry. "Well I guess I'd better be going as well." Hermione said approaching the door to her own trunk as Tim who was stood next to it opened the door for her as she bid farewell to the Turtles and made to disappear to her own trunk, which sounded like it had some Tigers sat there waiting for her.
"You don't need to go rushing off Hermione you can stay here and hang out with us if you like. We were thinking we might watch a film in Harry's cinema room while he's off doing whatever he's doing his potion group as we should be able to fit one in before class." Hero said sincerely.
"I really appreciate the offer and maybe another time but I've got to get back as the Tigers will be wondering where I am and I think Mio wanted some help with something." Hermione replied disappointed that it looked like she was running off when they were inviting her to stay. "I'd like to maybe watch a film another night though if you're alright with that."
"Sure bring the rest of the Tigers if you want and we'll all watch something." Yoko said giving Hermione a smile.
"That sounds fun and I'll tell them about it as I'm sure they'd be up for that. Well I'm going to go guys and I'll see you all in class later." Hermione said before making her way along the short corridor towards her own trunks exit and Tim gave her a 'bye' and gently closed the door after her with a click. Tim turned to start making his way over to the sofa's when Louis suddenly jumped out of his seat.
"Where are you going?" Tim call out as Louis pushed past Tim and went through the door disappearing into the corridor behind Hermione as it snapped shut behind him.
"Is Louis going to Tiger Land?" Tim asked the group who all shrugged their shoulders.
"Is he even going to be able to go into Tiger Land?" Gwen asked everyone.
"What's he doing?" Omori asked turning to Giovanni who just held his hands up as if to suggest it was nothing to do with him.
"Buddha knows but I'm sure we'll hear all about it. Right well us girls will go and pick a film and you boys can arrange some snacks with the elves for us. Nothing too much as we've lunch soon but I am feeling a little peckish." Yoko said to the boys who agreed to her proposal and the five Turtle girls went into Harry's cinema room and made their way to the film collection.
"So what's Louis doing Giovanni you must know he tells you everything?" Hero asked the Italian boy who was sat on the arms of one of the couches.
"Something stupid, which he shouldn't do because it's a waste of time and it is never going to happen." Giovanni said shaking his head at his friend.
"Why? What's he doing?" asked Tim asked concerned that Louis might be doing something dangerous.
"You'll see in a minute." Giovanni said confidently. A couple of moments later Louis appeared back into the trunk.
"What was all that about?" Hero asked Louis as he re-entered the room and closed the door behind him.
"All what about?" Louis replied not really paying attention to what had been said.
"Going into the corridor to Hermione's trunk." Hero reiterated pointing at the door he'd just emerged from.
"Oh I just asked Hermione if she'd like to go to the Halloween Ball with me." Louis said as he sighed.
"You did what?!" Hero, Tim and Omori said at the same time.
"I just asked Hermione if she wanted to go to the ball with me." Louis repeated himself slowly as if talking to three idiots.
"What did you do that for?" Hero blurted out.
"Because I want to go with her, obviously." Louis replied nonplussed and rolled his eyes.
"But what about Harry?" Tim asked.
"What about him?" fired back Louis.
"Well you know he's kind of crazy about her." Omori pointed out.
"So it's not like he's the only wizard in the world that might like her and want to go to the ball with her." Louis replied back firmly.
"I know that but you know already that there is clearly something going on there with him and her as there is a whole history between them." Hero started explaining.
"I know that but if he gets pissed off because other guys might ask her then it's just tough shit." Louis said dropping into the sofa and tapping a beat on the arm of the sofa.
"Still Louis mate, you know he really likes her." Omori pointed out.
"That's what I told him." Giovanni chipped in getting a look from Louis.
"Don't you start again Gio, it's bad enough that this lot are having a go at me about it now as well. Look she's a nice girl and a good looking witch and I wouldn't mind taking her so I asked her, simple as that." Louis said grumpily.
"What did she say?" Hero asked.
"She said that I was really sweet to ask but she already agreed to go with someone else and thanked me for offering and said that she would have certainly considered my offer if she hadn't been asked aleady." Louis said perking up slightly.
"Talk about an awkward conversation but at least she told you she's going with someone and not no because you're an ugly bugger." Omori pointed out.
"Why would she think I'm ugly." Louis fired back turning on Omori.
"Blimey calm down I was just joking. I'd imagine if Harry asks her to go then whoever managed to convince her to go with them is going to get dropped quickly so she can go with him instead." Omori replied.
"Says who? You think that Hermione wouldn't even consider someone else taking her and showing her a nice night? Especially if Harry doesn't have the balls to ask her!" Louis retorted angrily, hurt that his friends were insinuating he was inferior to Harry.
"Easy Louis you're talking about Harry Potter having no balls! Just calm down will you. I was just saying because it's obvious that they are into each other is all." Omori said not understanding why Louis was so irritated about.
"What's got your wand in a knot?" Tim asked the French boy who then turned his gaze on him.
"I'm fed up of everyone running round and putting Harry at the centre of everything. Everyone is just acting crazy this year and acting all weird and different because he's in school. Look he's a really nice guy and I consider him a mate and everything but I'm not going to spend the rest of my life making sure he gets what he wants to the detriment of my own life. Don't pretend you haven't noticed all the girls at school have all been a bit spellbound having him in here but now that the ball has been announced they're hopefully going to start getting back to normal as they can't all go with him now can they." Louis explained.
"No one is saying you shouldn't go after someone you like but I'd have just thought that seeing those two together, did you not think that he'll ask her and she'll say yes if he does?" Tim pointed out.
"Maybe she will but like I say I'm not going to sit around waiting for Harry to try and build up his courage or whatever and miss my chance. I really don't see why you're all ganging up on me about it. He's Harry Potter for fucks sake and can go with anyone he wants pretty much. I mean Sanchez and Steiggson were blowing fucking kisses at him across the Hall for buddha's sake so it's not like he can't have a hot looking girl in his arms for the night." Louis said defensively.
"No one is ganging up on you Louis, we're just asking the question as we know how much Harry likes her and I just guess we're surprised that you asked her so quickly or that you like her more than girls you've known for years, I mean its ages away yet." Hero explained calmly.
"I know it is but you're all looking at me and judging me as if I've done something wrong. How many times in life are any of you going to be able to ask a famous witch on a date?" Louis replied.
"Ah come on man, we're just shocked that's all as normally you say stuff like you're going to ask a girl out and then rarely do. I'm personally impressed at your boldness really but you might want to let Harry know you've asked her, as he is our clan mate now and he's become our friend." Giovanni said repeating his thought from earlier that day when he'd heard of Louis' plan directly.
"Yeah we're really not judging you man, we're just surprised and impressed with the balls on you, even if I do think you picked the wrong target to ask." Omori said stretching out his arms.
"What do you mean?" Louis asked.
"Well you saw what Harry did to Marco for firing a curse at Hermione's back. Imagine what he'll do to you if you lay an unwanted hand on her trying to cop a feel." Tim said chuckling to himself and making all the boys except Louis laugh.
"He wouldn't do anything like that." Louis said uncertainly.
"You reckon?" Omori replied with a scoff, "If you say so Louis but you're a braver man that I if you want to try and find out so badly."
"Are you lot coming or what? We've found a really fun looking film about Turtles and ninjas in Harry's collection and it's getting put on now so hurry up." Po said sticking her head through the doorway into the sitting room before ducking back inside as the boys all jumped to their feet and Hero called Bonzo the head elf to ask if he could arrange for some light and healthy snacks for them. The boys made their way into the cinema room and Tim and Hero exchanged a look both reading the others thought about Louis asking Hermione to the ball. They hoped that it wouldn't make the atmosphere awkward in the Clan.
Meanwhile on the path outside leading away from Turtle Island
Harry made his was along the path with Akiko down towards the quidditch stadium where they were meeting the rest of the potions group. "So June and Gwen both really enjoyed their duelling lesson with you yesterday. Gwen in particular was saying how much she was enjoying things until Lucy turned up and diverted your attention into helping both of them." Akiko said giving him a sideways glance.
"Yeah it was a good lesson. I helped Gwen learn how to feel her magic a bit more and the results were pretty impressive. That Lucy in the year below is a pretty powerful caster although she's pretty wild with her casting and overcharges her spell and misses a lot, so I just started trying to help her with her accuracy. It's a lot easier getting someone to learn to increase their power than try and harness it" Harry said nodding as he remembered the lesson.
"You want to be careful with Lucy as I really think she's got her eye on you so I wouldn't get too close with her or she might get the wrong idea. I know over the last couple of years that Hero laughs her attention off but she's a proper clingy kind of girl. Anyway enough about that, Gwen said that you were having a pretty interesting conversation about some panties that you found in your trunk the morning after someone had snuck in your trunk in The Rack Shack and you thought they might have been hers." Akiko said giving him a cheeky grin.
"Ah...Well I put two and two together and as usual got five and completely messed it up. I've already spoken to June about it as well and they both told me it wasn't them that snuck in and…" Harry started explaining before Akiko cut him off.
"Sucked you off, yes Gwen told us." Akiko said bluntly with a grin on her face, "Well I'll save you the time and the embarrassment of having to ask the others but it wasn't Po, Yoko or me either. Po doesn't fancy you and only has eyes for Hero and like Gwen, Yoko and myself would want you awake if we were getting up to something like that." Akiko told him quite unabashed and started laughing as Harry blushed.
"I can't figure you out Harry sometimes you seem so confident and sure of yourself when you're flirting and bantering back and forth with us and other times you blush like a virgin at the mention of anything sexual." Akiko said and playfully bumped her hip to his.
"I can't help it. When girls are just acting flirty and stuff it's alright as it's just a bit of a laugh and harmless you know. However when girls talk directly to me like you just did with a real prospect kind of tone to it, well I'm not really used to it. Girls in England don't normally talk as straight as you girls over here do as they like being pursued by guys I guess as it's rare to find a girl who goes after a guy. I get more confident and relaxed the better I know a person. Although most of it is just bravado as I'm not really used to talking to girls that way, but I've got to admit it is fun winding some of the girls here up with a wink or a smile as it's just a laugh." Harry replied honestly.
"That's because you Brits are so uptight when it comes to sex and what people like and don't like and act like it's something dirty or something to be ashamed of." Akiko responded honestly.
"I suppose so." Harry said thoughtfully as he guessed she had a point.
"No suppose about it Harry. You see here in Japan the magical community even the NOMA community have a lot of different kinks that they are into and aren't afraid to explore them. If you discover something that you like then why shouldn't you do it as much as you possibly want or be afraid to talk about it?" Akiko asked honestly.
"Well it's not always the time and place to talk about it. I suppose most of the time people leave that sort of talk to the bedroom." Harry replied surprised with the no nonsense attitude Akiko was demonstrating and finding it quite refreshing for someone to talk so openly and honestly with him.
"I understand that but most of the things blokes talk about in locker rooms is bullshit from what my ex told me and while it's good talking with a partner about what you like and don't like in the bedroom. I don't see why it should be left there." Akiko explained as they continued down the path.
"Well I guess you've got a point about the locker room stuff as I heard lads over the years boasting about stuff they'd done with girls who would most likely knock their blocks off if they had done the things that was getting said about them as they wouldn't want anyone else knowing about it." Harry said chuckling to himself.
"That's what I mean. Why get annoyed about it unless it isn't true." Akiko asked.
"Oh believe me some of the stuff couldn't have been true as I can't imagine any girl would like to get molested by a snuffler plant and if she'd heard anyone saying anything about it would have probably knocked them out." Harry said grinning to himself at the wild rumour he'd heard about a Hufflepuff girl in Fred and George's year.
"Oh I don't know a snuffler plant with all those tentacle like branches attacking all the lovely pleasure spots at the same time I can see the appeal." Akiko said laughing to herself. "But that's the thing if a witch or wizard does something like that then why be embarrassed about it as most people will knock something before they've tried it. If you find something gets you off and feels good then why be embarrassed or ashamed about it?"
"Well that's more about people finding out something personal about them than something that they'd get up to in the bedroom." Harry pointed out.
"Oh I don't I reckon Giovanni and Louis might be up for some Herbology related bedroom activity seeing as they love it so much." Akiko said in all seriousness before they both burst out laughing and Akiko linked arms with Harry as they walked.
"They do love their herbology but I think that's a bit too much of a stretch to imagine." Harry replied.
"Well some things being shared can work to your advantage if you are happy talking openly about them. For example I've not problem admitting that when I'm with a guy that I like to be the one in charge as I like to set the pace. I love taking control and having things so they're way I want them." Akiko said looking at Harry and seeing he was listening intently.
"So you like to be the dominant one." Harry confirmed looking at Akiko who wasn't blushing in the slightest.
"Most of the time as I've not met a guy who can control me yet but the search is always there to meet a guy that can tame me." Akiko said grinning and winking at Harry.
"Ha, I doubt there is anyone that could contain you Akiko as you strike me as a girl who knows what she wants.." Harry replied smiling at the pretty Japanese girls.
"Guilty as charged and you don't know the half of it." Akiko said laughing lightly. "Why go through life wanting things a certain way and then just accepting them when they don't deliver. So as I was saying by people hearing that I like being in charge in that type of situation, when I hook up with a guy in the future who has heard that, they'll either just submit straight away or will try and dominate me instead, which is fun as I always make them break.
When I eventually meet a guy who manages to dominate me and makes me bend to his will and his pleasure... Well then I'll have potentially met my perfect playmate who can mix it up with me." Akiko said giving a delightful little shiver.
"This is all very interesting but why are you telling me all this? Do you want me start spreading the word?" Harry asked curious.
"No I was just giving you a heads up so you know for the future." Akiko said flirtatiously wiggling her eyebrows at him suggestively while running her tongue along her upper teeth.
"Ha ha I think you'd eat me alive Akiko and you'd be too much woman for me to handle." Harry teased as they approached the door leading into the Turtle stand of the stadium where Harry reached for the door and started opening it. Akiko stopped him from opening the door by putting her hand on it and pushing it closed before positioning herself between the door and Harry.
Harry couldn't help but think how hot she looked with her hands behind her back and her shoulders resting against the wooden door emphasising her bust in her uniform as the jacket was quite tight across her chest. "Oh I don't know Harry, you've pretty big hands from what I can see and from what Gwen said that it might be you that's too much for me to handle." She placed her hands on Harry's shoulders and leant into whisper into his ear, "Maybe in the future I'll get chance to find out." Akiko whispered huskily in his ear before giving a little giggle and turned quickly pulling the door open and disappeared inside the stand.
'Blimey what's got into the Turtle girls at the minute?' Harry thought to himself as he grabbed the door as it started to close. He noticed that one Akiko's hairs had stuck due to the static to the shoulder of his blazer and he caught it quickly so that the wind didn't take it and quickly wrapped it in a handkerchief in his pocket. He put it back in his pocket and followed Akiko inside who was humming happily to herself as she walked through the stand and turned and gave him a sultry smile before laughing to herself clearly enjoying toying with him.
Harry and Akiko made their way up into the stand and down the steps onto the pitch. Harry felt pins and needles tingling all over as he looked around the stadium as it never seemed to fail to make him picture playing in it and he felt an excitement start building in him. He couldn't wait to watch the Tigers and Phoenix match here and see what the atmosphere was like.
As he looked across the pitch he saw Trixie Popowitz and Rosa Sanchez sat on the grass either side of the central spot on the pitch looking a little awkward in each others company and not really talking to each other. They both looked up with a mild sense of relief at seeing Harry and Akiko approaching.
Harry and Akiko waved as Akiko linked her arm through Harry's again as they made their way across the pitch to the waiting Phoenix and Dragon Clan members. "Looks like these two are feeling awkward around each other still." Harry said quietly to Akiko.
"Well Phoenix and Dragon really dislike each other. It's fun some times to get the two clans riled by starting rumours about what one has done to the other and vice versa and then to sit back and watch the curses start flying in the corridors. They think us Turtles are stupid but you have probably seen the principal teaching of our clan's combat style is to use out opponents strength against them while conserving our own." Akiko replied quietly.
"Well that's a good philosophy to have as from my experience having stamina in a fight is normally what will win it." Harry retorted.
"True but then you've got the whole package haven't you. You've got the spell repertoire, speed, agility, experience and fucking crazy power and from the little bit of duelling I've seen you do as you completely dominate your opponents. I can't wait to see you in action again, so maybe I'll have to join in with Gwen and June's private lessons." Akiko said giving him a sideway look.
"Hi you two, sorry we took so long getting here. Any sign of Hilde?" Akiko asked the two girls who had both stood.
"She's just gone to the loo in the Tiger stand, so she should be back in a minute." Trixie replied.
"I hear there was a bit of excitement in meditation class this morning." Harry said smiling to himself while picturing a grizzly and polar bear having a fist fight.
"You could say that again. Hester and Chinook are so happy to finally have managed their animagus transformation that we're going to have a party to celebrate tonight and they told me to tell you that they would love it if you could come. I know you said that you are spending the week with the Turtles but it would really mean a lot to them if you came even just for a couple of hours." Rosa said a slight pleading tone to her voice.
"You're having it tonight?" Harry asked and Rosa confirmed they were after the evening meal. "I suppose I can come as I've got to go to the Banzai Bazaar over the weekend to meet with account manager and possibly a firm of solicitors who I might be working with so I'm not going to be in school this weekend."
"Solicitors? Why would you need magical solicitors?" Trixie asked her curiosity sky rocketing as the other two girls looked on expectantly for an answer.
"Oh I was just thinking about maybe purchasing a property here in Japan and the laws and stuff regarding land and property ownership is different here." Harry replied happy with his half-truth.
"Ooooh is it a house for your auntie?" Trixie asked eagerly fishing for information and wanting something to report back to Stacey.
"Auntie?" Rosa asked, "Is that the lady that Erin and the others saw you with last Bazaar weekend?" having heard reports from Erin, Riko and Rachel about meeting Harry and a very attractive brunette who was older than him but really beautiful. Rosa wanted to be the good looking brunette in Harry's life and was determined to find out about the other woman, because her three friends said that Harry bumbled his way through introducing them to the older witch and they thought maybe he had something for older witches.
"Well she's not really my auntie, well I don't really know what she is as it's kind of really complicated." Harry said scratching the back of his head and thinking about he should really figure out what to say Narcissa was to him.
"Then what is she?" Rosa persisted curiously at the ommission.
"Well I don't really know as she's part of the Black family and she's older than me but I'm the head of the house and I don't really know what we'd be classed as whether it's cousin's twice removed or something." Harry said trying to figure out what sort of relation Narcissa was to him as Narcissa had said that her grandfather Pollux Black was the brother of his great grandmother Dorea Black or Dorea Potter as she became when she married into the Potter family. Thankfully however Hilde chose that moment to arrive walking across the field from the Tiger stand.
"Ah good you're all here now. We've not got long before lunch and we have healing class this afternoon so I think we need to get on with this pretty quickly as the quicker we know what this stuff is the quicker we can start work on it." Hilde said lowering her bag to the ground and opening it as she pulled out the large flask of the muddy coloured potion and handed it to Harry who took it grinning as he moved in amongst the four girls so that they were stood around him in a circle.
"You sure you know what this stuff is Harry because if I end up poisoned or have my hair fall out of or something as a result of drinking it then me and you are going to fall out." Trixie said warningly.
"It's not going to have any permanent affects Trixie I promise." Harry said putting his hand on her shoulder and then to her surprise gently stroked the side of head as he smiled as her reassuringly. She found the gesture quite strange and strangely intimate but felt her stomach do a little flip at the contact to her surprise.
"You said you've taken this before, didn't you Harry." Rosa said as he turned to her hearing the slightest apprehension in her voice.
"I have Rosa. I've taken it twice and I can honestly say that it's not a pleasant experience but by going through it you'll understand one of the more unpleasant effects of the potion. I promise you though that it doesn't last long and you'll find the effect of the potion really interesting." Harry said as he gently stroked Rosa cheek and unnoticed by the girls picked on of the broken hairs off the shoulder of her jacket.
Rosa nodded more confident now that Harry had reassured her and was touched by his affection towards he as he stroked her face.
Harry turned to Hilde and put a hand on her shoulder as he looked into her eyes and saw the determined look she returned. "I see you've no apprehension about trying this Hilde."
"No. Hermione already told me about her making it but said that I should experience it for myself to better understand the effects." Hilde remembering Hermione and Harry telling her about Hermione brewing the potion in her second year, which Hilde had at the time had a major problem believing but seeing how talent and knowledge thirsty Hermione was she was starting to doubt it less and less.
"Good stuff." Harry said to Hilde and winked at her and she smiled back him before she felt a quick sharp pull to her hair.
"Owww" Hilde said as she felt her hair pull.
"Oh I'm sorry Hilde one of my rings must have caught your hair." Harry apologised.
"It's alright but that hurt." Hilde said rubbing her hair where it stung.
"You ready for this KO?" Harry asked Akiko.
"I'm always ready." Akiko replied giving him a waggle of her eyebrows and getting a roll of Harry's and a shake of his head as a response as he laughed lightly to himself.
"Right well you four talk amongst yourselves a minute while I get this dished out." Harry said as he stepped out of the group of girls and gently sat down on the grass facing away from them. He pulled the handkerchief out of his pocket and gently laid the girls hair on the handkerchief next to Akiko's.
He then reached into the other inside pocket of blazer and pulled out four butter beer bottle caps and taking his wand transfigured them into little metal shot glasses. They wouldn't need much of the potion as he didn't want them to be stuck as someone else going into the next class.
Although he thought it would be hilarious if he had the affects last long enough so that they went to their Clan areas not as themselves and decided to add a little more to keep the affects hopefully through lunch time.
He added the hairs which were quite easy to identify whose was whose as Rosa's was jet black, long and wavy. Hilde's was a copper colour, Trixie's blonde and Akiko's black but with a slight blueish sheen to it. He popped the hairs into the glasses and the potion started froathing and bubbling. Rosa's turned a deep red colour, Hilde's a sunburnt orange, Akiko's bizarrely went a silvery colour and Trixie's a mustard colour.
Taking the little metal cups firmly between his fingers he approached the four girls who all looked a little nervous. He handed out the cups and the girls took them giving them all an inquisitive sniff.
"Now I'd suggest that you all take your shoes off, which is a random request I know but you'll all thank me for it." Harry said as the girls slipped off their shoes. "Right so I'll warn you that it's not the nicest tasting potion in the world and you'll feel like your skins bubbling and it will be one of the most uncomfortable experiences of your life but it won't last long. So if you want to back out then feel free but if you're brave enough then bottoms up." Harry said grinning and crossing his arms over his chest.
The four girls looked at each other as Akiko said "Ah come of girls he thinks we're going to chicken out let's just do this. Cheers." she said and raised the cup to the other who echoed 'cheers' and they all knocked back the potions and swallowed it.
"Oh my god that was like drinking some sort of spicy sauce." Trixie said pulling a face as if she'd downed a shot of hot sauce.
"Mine was like lemon juice but really sour." Rosa said licking her lips.
"Mine was tasted like saffron but like super concentrated." Akiko said looking into her glass.
"Mine tasted more metallic really." Hilde said as suddenly all the girls stopped their complaining as the effects of the polyjuice potion took affect.
"Holy hell my insides feel like I've got eels slithering around in there." Trixie said before letting out a gasp.
"Me too. Harry you didn't say that it would make me feel like I'm burning all over." Rosa snapped at him.
"It will pass in a minute and you'll feel like your skins bubbling and then melting but it will only last a couple of seconds I promise." Harry reassured them as they all cast dark looks at him as they all dropped onto their hands and knees their skins bubbling as their features and bodies started to change.
"Oh my god my boobs are getting bigger." Trixie said a hint of panic in her voice.
"Mine to." Hilde said but sounding happier than Trixie did about it.
"This is so weird." Akiko said as he hair rapidly changed from her usual black to Hilde's coppery red.
A few moments later the transformations were complete and Harry helped the girls stand as they had all gone down onto their hands and knees due to the discomfort they had been in and looked at each other with their mouths hanging open.
"Holy shit it was poly juice potion. How stupid were we not to figure that out." Rosa said through Trixie's mouth.
"It's freaking me out hearing your voice coming out of my body. Jez Sanchez I thought my boobs were big but how is your back not falling apart walking round with these all the time." Trixie said as Rosa hefting her boobs with her hands marvelling at the weight of them.
"You're not exactly small here Popowitz." Rosa said grabbing her now smaller boobs in Trixie's form and testing the weight. "Yours are big enough but I still prefer mine."
"Well I'm not used to this much Akiko but you must be really weirded out from suddenly having yours shrunk. I wonder why we still sound the same and our voices haven't changed?" Hilde asked in Akiko's form.
"What are you smirking at Potter?" Akiko asked in Hilde's form.
"I'm just laughing that you've all just gone through a painful magical transformation and the first thing that you can all think of was comparing the changes and having a feel of another girls boobs." Harry said laughing to himself as all four girls drew their wands and fired a series of hexes at him.
Without thought and reacting completely out of instinct Harry performed a forward and sideways roll that took him away from the spells that flew off over and behind him and he sprang up to his feet behind Hilde in Akiko's form. He wrapped his arm around her stomach and pulling her against him tightly as a shield and with his other hand grabbed Hilde's wrist of her wand hand and pulled it to her stomach quickly where he swapped hands trapping her wand arm against her body so it was pointing down past her left hip incapacitating her.
He used her body as a shield while firing his holly wand into his hand ready to fire as the other three girls turned stunned expressions on him. Before they could say anything Harry called out 'Subiriti' three times while levelling his wand on the other three girls. He didn't know if it would work as he cast three of the spell he'd found in one of the books in The Nest on Turtle Island called Grease Palms and whether he'd look stupid but was thankful to see the spell trail shoot off and hit each of the other armed girls.
It was a disarming spell but unlike Expelliarmus there was no wand movement required it was just a point and shoot spell. Also there was only a thin thread of yellow spell trail from your wand making it less obvious as the trail was only about three inches long.
It worked perfectly as the three girls having been hit by the spell and not feeling any affect moved their wand arms to point at Harry to retaliate but seeing he had Hilde in Akiko's form as a shield their didn't cast. The main reason for that though was as they moved to point at him they found that their wands weren't in their hands.
"What the hell?" Rosa in Trixie's form said seeing her wand at her feet. She bent down to pick her wand up and couldn't grip it and it kept slipping out of her fingers. The other two girls were having the same problem as Harry chuckled with Hilde as Akiko seeming more relaxed and leaned more against Harry's front.
"Problem girls?" Harry said over Hilde's shoulder.
"What did you hit us with? I can't keep hold of my wand." Trixie said hotly slapping the ground in frustration.
"Oh just a little disarming spell I found in Turtle Island that I've been looking to practice on someone but haven't had a chance until now. Seriously though girls four on one for making a simple observation isn't really a fair fight is it. Tut tut tut. What would Master Kuzuko say about your sense of honour if she knew you'd all fired four spells at me at once?" Harry said laughing to himself feeling Akiko's bum wiggle back a little against him as Hilde adjusted her feet.
"She'd have told us off for not managing to hit you." Akiko groused her wand shooting out of her hand. "I've never read about this spell in Turtle Island and I reckon I've read every scroll and book in there."
"Not every book and scroll" Harry said grinning thinking about the Nest and how he and Hero were still the only ones to know about it.
"Harry can you cancel this spell as this is ridiculous." Trixie said in Rosa's form and it was interesting to see that Trixie managed to perfect Rosa's scowl perfectly.
"Only the condition that you all promise not to try and curse me again for making an honest observation." Harry retorted.
"Alright, alright I promise." Rosa said as Akiko and Trixie agreed.
"What about you beautiful?" Harry asked in Hilde's ear.
"Oh it depends on whether I get to stay wrapped up in your arms or not because if you're going to keep me here then I'm making no such promise." Hilde said nuzzling into his neck playfully.
"I've got to admit I do look good in your arms Harry." Akiko said in Hilde's form looking at the almost doting expression on Hilde's face in her form.
"Hmmm it feels better being in them." Hilde responded.
"Girl, stop trying to make us all jealous." Rosa said in Trixie's form.
"Hey I just got lucky. I got first hand experience at some of Harry's moves, do you dance as well as you fight Harry as that was seriously impressive." Hilde asked.
"I do alright." Harry said as he moved and keeping hold of Hilde's wand arm spun her out and round so that she pirouetted out and she twirled on the spot gracefully before Harry spun her back in.
"Oh my, you do have some moves." Hilde said fanning her face as she stepped back away from Harry grinning to herself.
"That's about the most graceful I've ever looked dancing. Akiko announced looking at Hilde in her form thinking how she danced so well. "Anyway Harry how long is this polyjuice potion going to last for as I think we all know the major drawback with the potion and that is that it makes you feel like absolutely shite when you're going through the transformation."
"Yes it was horrendous that but it is incredible how exact the transformation is as even the highlights in my hair are accurate." Trixie said pointing at her likeness in Rosa.
"Exactly it's not a nice process at all but for use in the ministry or auror office for disguising it's a brilliant potion. It should probably be a banned substance though really as you could transform yourself into another person easily enough and then do anything to make them a wanted criminal.
It's leaving the world open for misuse and abuse of it really." Harry said thoughtfully thinking how easily he, Ron and Hermione had infiltrated the ministry and the Slytherin common room with the help of the potion.
"It is pretty dangerous and I think you were right Harry as by experiencing it I've certainly got a bigger appreciation for the effects and how it feels." Rosa said.
"That's just the thing if I'd just told you all what it was like I'd be at an advantage in trying to figure out a better way for it because I'd experienced it and you all might not have believed me when I described what it felt like.
Plus the way I might describe it could be totally different to how you would and that would probably make Master Cho think that we'd all just copied each others work. As for how long it lasts from the experiences I've had with it I find it depends on the person, the person you're changing into and the quantity you drink. I reckon I've put enough potion for it to last about forty minutes or so." Harry said.
"Forty minutes!" the girls all said at the same time.
"How am I meant to go back to the Dragon's Lair as Trixie? I'll get curses flying at me as soon as I get anywhere near the place." Rosa said with Trixie's face aghast with horror at the thought. "No offence or anything Trixie but I'd imagine that if you walked into the Phoenix Nest looking like me you'd not get through the door way."
"You're not wrong there Sanchez. Granted the boys would probably go gently on you but the girls…. Well I can't block that many curses at once." Trixie said sincerely.
"Oh come on, imagine how funny it would be and how much you could freak everyone out. If you look at your uniforms none of the clan animals have changed so they at least recognise you as the real you. It could be a funny prank to play telling people that you've transferred Clans." Harry said smiling to himself.
"Hmmm it would be pretty funny to see everyone's reaction in Turtle Island and seeing everyone's face if I walked into the dining hall as you Hilde and announced that I'd transferred Clan's. Master Bo would probably knock one out thinking that your brain might help us win the Clan shield this year." Akiko said as Hilde.
"Ewwww" Rosa and Trixie echoed together.
"That's a properly grim thought picturing Master Bo bashing one out and I don't want you subjecting my body to that sight even temporarily. I know my lot would be happy thinking that a powerful duellist and potions wiz joining. It would certainly be interesting to see how my friends react." Hilde said as Akiko.
"I don't know what my friends would do if you rocked up in the Nest in my place Rosa as all the girls in the Clan would see you as a threat for the boys attention. Although it would be interesting to see what life is like being you temporarily." Trixie said as Rosa as she playfully did her best attempt at the Sanchez flick as she whipped her hair to one side.
"Si you'd experience what it's like to just have people talking to your chest all the time." Rosa said as Trixie before looking down, "Not that you don't experience that problem yourself I suppose. Fuck it I'm going to go back and see what happens as I think it would be really funny although if I wake up in the medical tent Harry I'm seriously going to make you pay for this." She added as the girls all laughed and echoed their similar feelings on the matter.
"Well at least if you four beat me up we've got healing next class, so we'll be sharing beds together." Harry said as the girls all started wolf whistling at him.
"You think a lot of yourself thinking you could handle all four of us in bed together." Trixie as Rosa said teasingly.
"Yes believe me even with someone else's body I'd be more than you can handle." Rosa as Trixie said.
"Oh la la Lord Potter are you thinking of us for your family lines?" Hilde as Akiko said fluttering her eyelashes and pouting on a sexy pout at him enjoying playing someone else and being able to say these things to him.
"For Buddha's sake Stormcrantz can you stop making me look sexier than I do." Akiko teased Hilde getting a laugh from the Norwegian girl.
"That's not exactly what I meant. I never have known girls to twist innocent comments into a sexual innuendo's so much in my life." Harry said laughing to himself and shaking his head.
"Maybe you haven't met the right kind of girls. Besides we're only playing around Harry." Akiko said as Hilde and got a high five from Trixie as Rosa next to her.
"Exactly it's just fun trying to make you squirm." Trixie said as Rosa.
"Well let's just say Harry that if we all get cursed then you'd better make it up to us." Hilde said as Akiko.
"Si indeed. Right ladies let's go cause some mayhem in our Clan's and discuss the results in healing class when if we get a moment otherwise maybe in next potions class." Rosa said and moved Trixie's hair in the Sanchez flick out of habit.
"I might start having to do that with my hair more often Sanchez as you made that look pretty sexy." Trixie said to Rosa smiling at her seeing the Spanish girls mannerisms still oozed sex appeal even when transformed into her.
"Yes well I shall walk down with you and teach you some of my mannerisms and you teach me some of yours so that we can make this more convincing. This could actually prove really funny. Come on little birdie let's go." Rosa said excitedly as she grabbed her doubles hand and started pulling Trixie along with her talking excitedly about certain things she does and Trixie caught up in the excitement started talking back just as fast and excitedly as the girls made their way towards the end of the stadium nearest their clan areas.
"I never thought I'd see the day a Dragon and a Phoenix would be conspiring together." Akiko said.
"Nor me." Hilde responded, "I think they've got the right idea and maybe you and I should do the same thing Akiko to make sure we pull this off properly." Hilde said bending down and picking her bag up.
"Alright let's go as times a wasting." Akiko replied running her fingers through the coppery coloured hair the way she normally did her own and Hilde corrected her on how she would do it as the girls started walking off together leaving Harry stood on his own. He picked up the large flask of what was left of the polyjuice potion and transfigured the four metal shop glasses back into butter beer caps and put them in his pocket and jogged a couple of feet to catch up with the girls.
"I see my first attempt at trying to generate some Clan unification is working well. Turtles working with Tiger and Phoenix working with Dragon, it's a good to see as I always think the House or Clan systems can create more problems than they solve." Harry said grinning at the girls.
"You're a sneaky bugger Potter and if you'd just told us what you were planning we could have organised it a little better. I am looking forward to pranking the rest of the Clan though." Hilde said as Akiko.
"Where would the fun be if I'd told you all what I was planning because then Rosa and Trixie probably wouldn't have gone along with it. What should I do about the rest of this?" Harry asked the two girls while holding up the flask of polyjuice potion.
"You're going to have to take it back to the potions classroom and put it in our group's locker. I'd come with you but we're on limited time and need to get to our Clan areas asap for this prank to work." Hilde said as Akiko.
"Alright I'll take it you two head off and KO, I'll see you in as minute as I should easily get there before the potion wears off." Harry said grinning at her.
"You might only get the aftermath Harry as the year tens are using out potions room after the roof started leaking in theirs so you might have to wait until the lunch gong." Hilde as Akiko informed him.
"Alright no worries and I'll see you in healing class Hilde and I can't wait to hear how you get on and if you manage to convince them your K.O." Harry said waving at the two girls as they set off up the hill towards Tiger Land and Turtle Island.
Harry moved along the paths from the stadium towards the main school buildings checking his watch and seeing that it was approaching lunch time. He ducked into the main school building and walked along the Charms, Runes and Transfiguration corridors as he passed the prefects office and entered the Potions corridor and was hit straight away with the familiar smell of potions bubbling away.
He approached the eleventh year classroom door and heard Master Cho giving out homework and decided to wait until the gong had sounded so as not to interrupt the class. He leant against the doorframe with his back to it and looked around the corridor at the dark woods and how clean everything was. He was struck how the feel of the corridors of the school buildings had a warm feel about them as opposed to the cold harsh stone at Hogwarts.
He looked across to a suit of Samurai armour a little further down the corridor looking at the twin set of swords on its belt and thought about how cool it would be to learn how to use a sword. He remembered Master Kuzuko saying that they were going to be learning hand to hand combat in their optional and additional duelling classes and wondered whether there would be sword fighting.
As he was thinking about how heavy the swords might weigh the helmet of the armour moved of its own accord and turned to look at him and if reading his thoughts. The right arm moved across and then as if some invisible hand was there partly drew the sword revealing six inches of highly polished steel as the armour looked ready to defend itself.
Just then the dinner gong sounded signalling the end of the class and the armour sheaved its sword and stood back to attention. Harry heard Master Cho shouting for them all to pack up and asking a couple of students to stay behind. The door to the classroom opened a few moments later and students started piling out surprised to see him stood there.
He said polite hello's and nodded in acknowledgement to some of the year tens he had met in Turtle and Dragon as they filtered past him. He noticed that a slowly growing number were starting to mill around where he was stood in the corridor, mainly girls he noted although there was an Indian boy who Harry saw was in Phoenix Clan and a short Asian boy who looked to be in Tiger Clan stood next to the armour looking at him the same way that he'd seen the girls doing plenty of times.
Peaking round the door frame he saw that the class was mainly empty except for Master Cho and a boy from Tiger Clan and three girl's two of whom were Phoenix members and Harry recognised the third as Lucy from Turtle Clan who was now the third choice Seeker for the quidditch team behind himself and Yoko. Master Cho who was deep in conversation with the four of them looked up at seeing Harry entering the room.
"Can I help you Mr Potter?" Master Cho called out.
"Sorry to interrupt Master Cho, I'm just returning our potion to our cabinet if you'll pardon the interruption. I'll be as quick as I can but I can wait outside if you wish." Harry said reassuring the potions Master that he wasn't there to disrupt his teaching.
"No, No that's fine Mr Potter, you go right ahead." Master Cho said waving towards the ten cabinets on the far wall.
"Thanks sir." Harry said bowing to Master Cho who smiled back before turning back to the boy he was speaking with and Harry couldn't help overhearing that the year tens had just done their first attempt at the Draught of Living death and Harry couldn't help smile to himself at the memories of his own attempt with Snape's old text book.
Harry just made his way to his groups cabinet and was starting to work the combination runes cluster that Hilde had put on it and was concentrating as hard as he could on trying to decipher the mechanism.
"Now Mr Ishihara you'd have done a lot better if you'd got more Sopophorous bean juice into your potion. I see you had some difficulty cutting it." Master Cho informed the boy before him.
"I know Master Cho but it's an absolute pain trying to cut that bloody bean up as it just slips away when you put pressure on it." the boy replied getting agreeance of the three girls.
"Kaito is right Master Cho. I only managed to cut mine because two of my Clan mates held it while I pierced it." Lucy said honestly.
"Well can any of you think of a better way of cutting the bean for you next attempt?" Master Cho asked as the four students thought about it. "No? No ideas at all?" he asked a few moments later slightly disappointed.
Harry while trying to make an elongated spike rotation on one of the tumble runes just blurted out "crush it." as he completed the cluster and was delighted to see that he'd unlocked it as the door to the cabinet clicked open and he pulled the door open.
"Pardon me, Mr Potter did you say someinthg?" Master Cho asked as the potions Master and four students turned to look at Harry.
"Sorry sir. I just said that you should crush it with your potions dagger as it releases the juice better then slicing or chopping it." Harry said sheephishly.
"An interesting idea, Mr Potter." Master Cho said thoughtfully.
"It's a problem I experienced myself but it really does work and again apologises for the interruption." Harry said earnestly as he unstoppered the polyjuice potion to pour it into the larger flask that Hilde had left in the cabinet.
"Well that's certainly a different idea Mr Potter. There you go then you four next class try Mr Potter's advice or cast a sticking charm on the bean first before trying to cut it." Master Cho said as he turned back to the younger students.
"Now Miss Zu Dan and Miss Lancier how many Sopophorous beans are needed to get the potion the correct consistency and how many did you use?" Master Cho asked.
"Well I know it is twelve but after all the messing about with the bean that I was having I only had enough time remaining to put ten in." Lucy replied to Master Cho quietly.
"I was the same Master Cho. I nearly took my eye out on the tenth one and decided that in the interest of saving time I'd only use ten." One of the Phoenix girls said.
"Well I understand but if you managed ten then you should have taken the time to do the twelve because you need the right amount of Sopophourous juice in order to get the correct colour when you start the stirring.
In future remember that I won't give lower marks for an incomplete potion done correctly but I will have to if you do the steps incorrectly. Remember with the Draught of Living Death that twelve is the magic number." Master Cho informed the girls while chuckling to himself.
"Erm excuse me Master Cho." Harry said causing them to look at them again. "Sorry but I've found that thirteen will give you a better result rather than twelve."
"Hmmm if I'd not seen your brewing skills first hand Mr Potter I might have caused to doubt you but the official instructions do say twelve beans." Master Cho said grinning to himself as he loved it when students found ways to improve existing potions.
"I know sir but my second potions Master at Hogwarts said my potion was perfect and that's how I managed to do it." Harry replied suddenly embarrassed that he seemed incapable of keeping his mouth shut.
"A perfect potion you say. Hmmm well maybe you can give us some more advice as Miss Yinasuna came quite close to the end result but the colour of the potion was still tinted with colour instead of going clear." Master Cho said looking at the second Phoenix girl whose cheeks went pink at the Potion Masters compliment.
"You must be quite the potion maker if you nearly got it perfect on what I assume is your first attempt." Harry said to the girl who smiled prettily and blushed even more.
"Thank you Lord Potter-Black-Peverell-Ravenclaw for the compliment, but it would seem not as skilled as yourself. Any other advice you have will be greatly received." The Phoenix girl replied with a bow, which Harry returned.
"Hannah, he just likes to be called Harry. He's too modest to like being called by his titles. Isn't that right Harry?" Lucy said giving him a radiant smile.
"Well I don't know about the modest part but yes I just prefer Harry." he replied looking to the South Korean girl who smiled back and him. "As for any other advice the only other thing I can think of is when you make the seven anticlockwise stirs add clockwise one after the seventh and keep doing it and it will eventually go clear and a lot quicker as well."
"A most impressive discovery Mr Potter. Five points to be hold in trust to both of your Clans for the intuitive skill and dependent on whether these four obtain better results by following your advice next class. You clearly have taken time to look at how to improve a potion that is one of the most difficult to make in the potions listing and for sharing the knowledge with other students rather than keeping it to yourself. I see Horace Slughorn was right about you." Master Cho said happily.
"Thanks Master Cho, although I don't expect points out of it." Harry point in honestly getting a shush from Lucy to not look a gift horse in the mouth.
"You must have got a crazy high mark in your OWL exams." The boy Kaito said.
"I actually only got an Exceeds Expectations but really learnt a lot in my sixth year at Hogwarts." Harry replied as he's tried to quickly reconfigure the Runes cluster so he could head up to Turtle Island to see Akiko entering the dining hall as Hilde.
The four younger students started peppering Harry with questions about how he made such progress in a year to get to a level where he was advising on stuff even Master Cho didn't seem aware of. Harry was trying to do the cluster properly while engaging in conversation and quickly give the answers while worked the cluster as he wanted to get out of there.
Eventually he thought he'd got the the cluster dropped into place and he decided to come back to the classroom after healing and seal it up again and make sure he'd done it properly and maybe bring Hero with him as he was the best at Runes in Turtle Clan along with Yoko.
"Thanks for that Master Cho. I'll leave you it as I'm heading off back up to Turtle Island for lunch. See you guys and good luck with the next lesson and I hope you see the results." Harry said as he made his way to the door.
"Harry." Lucy called out causing him to stop the door half open as she quickly covered the ground and stood next to him looking up at him.
"Yeah?" he replied looking at the blonde haired girls face and almost doe like eyes.
"Is there any chance you'd be able to give me a little extra help with my potions work like you did for my duelling yesterday? It's just that I really need a good mark on my exams in order to keep my scholarship for next year." Lucy said hopefully.
"Erm I suppose although I'm not that great at potions." Harry said thinking that he didn't really want to get lumbered tutoring someone else in another subject.
"Oh come on you've just shown you're a great potioneer. Pllllleeeeeeeeeeeaaaaaaasssssssseeeeeee" Lucy said holding his arm and swinging her hips from side to side like a young child while playfully pouting at him.
"Alright fine but I don't know when or how often I'll get the chance to help but it might be after the weekend." Harry said with a sigh and getting an excited squeal from Lucy who through her arms round his neck and planted a kiss on his cheek.
"Thanks Harry. I'll see you later." Lucy said before turning on her heel and making her way back to her classmates.
Harry stepped through and closed the door after him before starting on his way back up to Turtle Island thinking how he should have just kept his mouth shut.
11:00hrs Friday 2nd September, Tengu's Office, Gringotts, Banzai Bazaar
"Cissa? What are you doing ere?" Fleur asked as she entered the goblins office and seeing the older witch sat as if she had been there for a while.
Narcissa turned in her seat and saw the French witch enter the office looking a little rosey in the cheeks like she was a little flustered or had been running or something. The older witch looked at Fleur who was in business wear wearing a form fitting pair of charcoal grey dress robes that showed off her figure beautifully. She had her hair pulled back into a ponytail that she had plaited and that ran down her back running to just above the top of her buttocks. Her eyes were drawn to a large stack of papers, scrolls and ledgers in her arms
"Morning Fleur, I see Tengu is working you as hard as ever." Narcissa said warmly rising from her seat and approaching the younger witch as she and Fleur air kissed on each cheek and she grabbed some of the more precariously stacked rolls and scrolls in Fleur's arms and getting a 'Merci' in gratitude.
"Yes ee is a real slave driver as always but it's all for Arry's benefit so it's worth being a little tired no." Fleur said as she moved across to the seating area and put the items on the table and took one of the available seats as Narcissa deposited the things she taken from Fleur and retook her seat opposite Tengu.
She watched as Fleur pulled the plait over her shoulder and leant back in her chair and crossed her legs and noted that the slight flared trousers of her business trousers had slits in the side to reveal a tantalising glimpse of Fleur's shapely legs.
"I'm not a slave driver Miss Delacour I'm just making sure to maximise your time while I've got you here in Japan as I know that Harry's other account managers are itching to get you back to London to help them." Tengu said not looking up while reading through a list of numbers.
"Are they? I haven't heard from them or Hayley in a couple of days and I gathered that they were getting on with things without me." Fleur replied to the goblin.
"Well they've sent communication across to me asking for your return but I've managed to hold them off and stress to them that I need you here for a couple more weeks at least. Help yourself to tea Fleur. I'm just going to go and speak with Sabrefin about something Narcissa has asked about and then we'll go over what you managed to get from the archives." Tengu said rising to his feet and left the office.
"So what brings you to Gringotts today Cissa?" Fleur asked helping herself to some tea and motioning an offer to top up Narcissa's tea.
"No thank you Fleur, that stuff tastes horrendous and I much prefer the tea back home." Narcissa said waving the offer away.
"I do to, but the tea has some excellent qualities in it to make your magic feel refreshed, although I agree it tastes quite rancid." Fleur said as she took a sip of tea.
"I only accept from Tengu to be polite and I remember what yourself and Harry saying how it paying to be polite to goblins." Narcissa replied. "As for why I'm here, well I received a reply to my letter from Harry regarding his class mates that I recognised the names of, after I told him about who would make useful political allies or business partners and even potential matches eventually.
He just glossed over a lot of it by saying he just ends up making friends with people he likes and isn't really that bothered about that. I still don't think he understands how much influence he has or could have on the magical world and I really want to help him realise his potential. He could do so much good in our world if he understood and used his popularity more." Narcissa said leaning back in her chair.
"He doesn't like his fame though that's the problem." Fleur responded while taking another sip of tea.
"I know he doesn't. I've been able to deduce that already but I'm still getting to know the real Harry and I was wondering whether you could help me get sometime with Hermione alone this weekend so that I can talk to her about what he's like. She knows him best after all and I'd also like to get to know Hermione more before yourself and Penny whisk her off somewhere for girl talk, while I'm with Harry.
"Harry confirmed they are coming to the Bazaar early on Saturday Morning to meet with ourselves and Yushiro and Yushiro Solicitors so that they can meet the solicitors and see what there like. I'm hoping that we've done our job properly and found the right firm for them, although I'm confident that they'll like them.
I was wondering whether you'd be able to provide a distraction or more accurately occupy his time so that I can perhaps take Hermione away somewhere and have a good long uninterrupted talk with her about Harry in order to help me get to know him better." Narcissa said hopefully.
"I can do zat of course, it shouldn't be a problem. Although Cissa you'd be better off spending your time with Arry directly in order to get to know him better." Replied Fleur.
"I know and I want to but from the short time I spent with Harry and on my first meeting Hermione properly I can see how much they mean to each other. I want to find out more about that and see what I can do to help. I can't find out more about her and her open up about him with Harry there as well as I want to get Hermione's honest opinion about things." Narcissa said running her fingers through her now flowing black hair.
She was loving being able to wear her hair down again as Lucius had always liked it up in order to show off her face completely as well as her throat. She always found him an odd man like that but suspected that he just wanted to see the normally expensively obscene piece of jewellery she had around her throat without it being covered.
The Malfoy's may have had money but in things like jewellery they really didn't have taste as they thought that bigger almost always meant better. She'd bought herself some little bits and pieces that she'd found in the Bazaar but other than food and socialising with Penelope and Fleur she had been quite frugal with her money.
"I see so you want to elp them get together then?" Fleur asked sitting up her tiredness forgotten.
"Well I'd like to hear more about how they feel about Harry needing a pureblood wife and how receptive Hermione is to the idea of sharing him with another witch if she feels for him as strongly as I believe she does." Narcissa said honestly.
"She's in love with him, madly so. I've seen her and heard her actually say the words to me herself. As for whether she'd be appy sharing Arry with another witch….. well I think she might be more open to zat than people would believe." Fleur replied smiling at the memory of the ministry ball when Susan had come out of the ball room with Harry and between the four of them they had polished off another three bottles of wine together before Harry had been dragged back for another dance with Susan.
Hermione had become quite emotional about Susan telling her that she had kissed Harry and he had responded to her. Fleur had taken Hermione to the toilets after the younger witch had started to appear to be on the verge of tears about Harry possibly becoming ensnared by Susan and wanted to make sure no one observed the new Lady Hufflepuff in tears as there was a large media presence at the event.
Once they had locked themselves in one of the ladies bathroom stalls Hermione had gone on to drunkenly vent about how Susan was a really good friend and how Harry could easily fall for her and how they could end up married and about the unfairness of it all because she loved him first and more than anyone. Hermione had already been confiding in Fleur and Penelope about how she'd messed up by allowing herself to drift into a relationship with Ron and how she massively regretted kissing him during the battle.
This had been the day Fleur had gone to talk to Hermione while Harry and the rest of the Weasley's were playing quidditch and Fleur had needed to tell someone about her and Bill's failing relationship. Penelope had also confided that she had split with Percy that day as well and the three of them had felt a connection in their shared misery and failed relationships.
They spent the afternoon trying and succeeding to make each other feel better but the news of Susan kissing Harry seemed to have hit Hermione hard after her short lived joy at Harry and Ginny ending their relationship and Hermione living with Harry. During Hermione's rant she had going off on wild theories about Susan and Harry ending up married and having children and other such things.
Fleur had tried to reason with Hermione that it had only been a kiss and that she was blowing everything out of all proportion and that just because two people enjoy a kiss doesn't mean that it's going to end up married.
Hermione had started to argue when Fleur taking decisive action had pushed Hermione against the stall of the cubicle they were in and planted a kiss onto her lips. Hermione had gone rigid with shock and squirmed a little bit under Fleur's lips as Fleur feeling naughty in the moment had licked Hermione's lower lip seductively.
Fleur had been pleasantly surprised when Hermione's mouth had opened either through surprise, shock or want and Fleur had pressed her advantage. She had slipped her tongue into Hermione's mouth and shown her why it was called French kissing. As they kissed Hermione relaxed and then started to reciprocate as Fleur quickly cut it off.
When they'd broken apart they'd both said 'wow' before Fleur had giggled and repeated that something like a kiss can be enjoyable but that she'd have to disappoint Hermione as she wasn't going to accept Hermione's proposal of marriage just because they'd kissed.
Hermione had said that she got the point Fleur had been making and had been surprised albeit pleasantly so at Fleur taking a practical approach to her side of the argument, which had resulted in them both laughing. Fleur had then taken Hermione's hand and said that they were going to go and have some cocktails and then they were going to go and cut in and get Hermione and Harry dancing together.
They had joked and talked about their kiss since that night and Hermione had admitted that if she hadn't been so tipsy she wouldn't have done it but didn't regret it at all. She'd admitted that Fleur was a hell of a kisser and she'd enjoyed it but that it didn't cause the same reaction in her that kissing Harry had but had certainly opened her eyes to some different possibilities.
Fleur had pressed and asked what she had meant by that but Hermione had just done a secret little smile and tapped her nose with her finger and said 'That's for me to know and you to find out'.
"Oh what makes you think she'd be open to the possibility?" Narcissa asked seeing the smile on Fleur's face and guessing what that could mean.
"Oh just a feeling I ave." Fleur said letting out a soft sigh.
"Fine I'll let you have your secrets for now but I'll get them out of you eventually." Narcissa teased getting a little airy laugh from Fleur.
"Of zat I ave no doubt Cissa." Fleur replied smiling at the older witch who she was becoming quite fond of, "So you want to get more involved in Arry's business dealings then?"
"No, I don't really as needing to know the ins and outs of it is not my place. He is my head of family and unless he specifically asks me to assist you then I don't need to know what he is doing and I wouldn't invade his privacy like that. However if he needs my help I'll happily offer my assistance as I'm wanting to help him re-establish the house of Black to prominence again. As much of an impressive young man Harry is he has had a very sheltered and blinkered view of the magical world thus far due to his close association with Dumbledore and the protection he put around him.
He's confided in me that he's been told where to stay during his summer holidays, had his movements restricted and only really seen Diagon Alley, Hogsmeade, The Ministry and Hogwarts in Britain and doesn't really know any of the other places or how society works. He knows that pure bloods tend to have the most money, influence and power as well as the Wizengamot seats but that's it. He doesn't really have any idea on magical enterprises, betrothal contracts, economical factors and market shifts or a thousand other things that he's not been able to grow up with.
I mean to help Harry with all of that and I think one of the first places I need to start is with those damn fictional books written about him. Not the serious factual accounts of what happened the night his parents were murder, although I'd bet my teeth that they are woefully inaccurate to the real event.
I mean more about the fictional books written about him present as or alluding to being factual. You must have read them as I think every child born into a magical family in our world would most likely have read them at some point." Narcissa said remembering her friends Agatha, Isabelle and Nicole talking about reading them to her girls when they were growing up and how Lucius had beaten her when Nicole had leant her a copy to read baby Draco.
"Qui the books are vexing Harry a little as he was very put out that people were being taken advantage of. My leetle sister Gabrielle joined ze Harry Potter fan club after Arry rescued her from ze task in ze tri-wizard tournament. Whoever set it up as been writing back to her for years pretending to be Arry and defrauding thousands of young girls and taking advantage of them." Fleur responded her irritation at her sister being exploited plain to see.
"He told me and I would like to help with this, if I may because I've decided to take more of an active role in protecting and defending Harry's image going forward once we've got his solicitors on board here. He mentioned that your friend Camille is working at a law firm in France that you've assigned to gather and correlate information from around the world to try and find out who is publishing the books and running the fan club." Narcissa clarified.
"Qui that is correct. Camille wrote to me telling me that she was shocked to read that the adventures of Arry in those books were false as she had read them when she was growing up and even admitted to joining the fan club when she was younger. She stopped of course after seeing Arry in the tournament and realised that they must be made up when seeing how unconfident he was in himself at that age and realised that the Arry in the book and the letters she had received wouldn't have been so modest." Fleur replied recalling the letter.
"Excellent well it's a start. I think when I travel back to England I may also pop over to France at some point and drop in to see your friend Camille's office and see how they are getting on and see if I can help them through my list of contacts. They've grown quite a lot over the years and re-establishing some of them as a Black instead of a Malfoy will be delightful." Narcissa replied smiling to herself as she couldn't wait to see the reaction of some of them when they saw she was no longer under Lucius' control and she could say what she really thought about them.
"That would be elpful because Tengu and the goblins in England ave so much going on with Arry's project that all my focus is on that at the moment and I know that this book situation is very important to Arry. Would you like me to come with you to France to translate for you?" Fleur asked seriously.
Narcissa gave a light laugh that increased when Fleur started looking at her quizzically as she was clearly surprised by Narcissa reaction to her offer. "Apologies Fleur. I'm laughing because the Malfoy family originate from France so I can speak French quite fluently as we used to holiday there every year for at least a few weeks."
"You never told me that you can speak French." Fleur asked genuinely happy at the thought of being able to converse with someone in her native tongue.
"You never asked." Narcissa deadpanned back with a smirk.
"I see that you like to tease Narcissa and it makes me wonder what other hidden talents you ave that you haven't divulged." Fleur teased back.
"Oh a fair few but having grown up with my family and then having to survive in the Malfoy family I've learned that it's best to keep some of my skills secret until the best time to unveil them. A ruse de guerre if you like." Narcissa retorted getting a light laugh from Fleur.
"I see that I'm going to ave to watch you closely Narcissa." Fleur chuckled to herself, "I'd best give Penny, Arry and Hermione fair warning to keep an eye on you."
Narcissa barked out a laugh, "Well people I like need not fear." She replied as Tengu re-entered the office with a fresh stack of parchment and more scrolls causing the smile of Fleur's face to disappear instantly and was a good signal for Narcissa to make her escape.
"I think I'll leave you to it Fleur as I can see that you're busy and if you are free for lunch we can talk more about this book situation." Narcissa said standing and reaching for her handbag.
"Oh she'll be far too busy to go out for lunch today." Tengu said as Fleur and Narcissa shared a look.
"Perhaps with dinner tonight?" Fleur asked suggestively.
"Alright tonight. Bonne chance aujourd'hui mon ami" Narcissa said giving Fleur a wink.
"Qui jusqu'à ce soir" Fleur replied a genuine smile on her features.
"Good day Tengu and please don't work Fleur too hard." Narcissa said giving the goblin a pointed look.
"Just getting value for money out of our arrangement, Madam Black." Tengu said before cackling as Fleur huffed at the comment.
"You can say that again." Fleur gripped quietly as Narcissa laughed and bid them both farewell and left the office.
14:10hrs Thursday 25th August, Diagon Alley, London
Lavender had been so relieved to have got out of the office as Candice and Meredith had been alluding to and making snide remarks about an article in the prophet that morning about Ron but weren't telling Lavender what the article said.
She'd had to leave the house early that morning because her editor had asked her to go to a place called Abergavenny in Wales to chase up a rumour about Gwenog Jones the captain of the Holyhead Harpies apparently having been discovered snogging the manager of the team. Lavender had been sent to do some digging and try and see if she could get anything to confirm the rumours and to meet with Suzette Harper the latest up and coming Irish Chaser for the Harpies for an interview for Witch Weekly.
It had proven to be a waste of time as the Harpies had gone off to Northern Ireland as they were playing the Ballycastle Bats at the weekend and were training in Ireland for the next couple of days.
She'd come back to a large stack of messages on her desk as well as some research projects that Meredith and Candice wanted her to do that would involve her having to work late. She didn't mind the work but she suspected that the two witches were deliberately trying to over work her and asking for her help with their work, which they'd never done before.
She'd needed to come to Diagon Alley as one of the things Meredith wanted was for her to try and speak with the remaining British member of the ICW whose office was based at the Ministry to confirm that they were attending a conference in Asia soon. She had also been tasked with trying to find out whether they had confirmed who the other two members representing Britain would be after Sloane McManaman and Roger Granville had been killed during the war by death eaters.
It was a completely political task and as the magazine's political writer Meredith should have been doing it herself but Lavender had been happy to get out of the office even though it had meant that she'd probably spend the afternoon hanging around the ministry waiting to catch a glimpse of Bryn Eirwen.
She'd managed to ask him when he was passing with some staffers whether he could confirm reports that he was going to Asia for an ICW conference soon. He had just given her a roguish smile as he passed her on his way to the lifts down to the atrium. He'd just responded by saying 'maybe, are you with the prophet?' and then had given her a wink, which she was going to assume meant yes.
She'd jostled with the staffers who followed him in and filled the lift forcing her to accept she couldn't ride with. One of them slide the grate shut and she called out as the grate to the lift closed that she was from WW and asked whether they'd replaced Granville and McManaman yet and he said 'not yet but there were a couple of strong candidates were considering if they'll accept.' before the lift had moved off backwards and dropping him and the lifts other occupants out of sight.
Overall it had actually turned out to be quite productive and was a juicy piece of gossip only partly substantiated by Bryn Eirwen but the important parts unsubstantiated to allow speculation and theory. He really was a very good politician and masterful at working the media as he'd given a completely understandable answer but dangled enough to allow her to write an article on it as she was just going to tell Meredith that he'd been in a closed session or hadn't answered her question.
It would be a lesson for Meredith not to under estimate Lavender and what she could do and also teach her that she should do her own work instead of getting the most junior person in the office to do it instead. Meredith's loss would be her gain.
From the Ministry she apparated to Diagon Alley and she was finally getting chance to eat something as she'd not had chance all day. She was currently sat in the Leaky Cauldron and was waiting on the grilled fish sandwich she had ordered and the glass of strawberry infused gilly water.
A lovely old couple who must have been in there eighties were sat on the table next to Lavender having what appeared to be a later afternoon tea. Lavender subtly observed them and listened to their conversation as they ate. She spotted a copy of the daily prophet and decide to politely interrupt them to ask if she could borrow the paper.
The couple it transpired were from Devon and were celebrating their 64th wedding anniversary and had come to London for a day out and were going into the magical ballet later that evening. She apologised for interrupting them on their special day and they reassured that it wasn't a problem and it was nice to talk to the younger generation every now and again as they rarely saw their Grandchildren as they had gone to America during the war.
Lavender spoke with them briefly until Tom the barman came over with her order and she thanked them for the paper and told them that she would leave them to enjoy their lunch and hoped they had a good night.
Lavender ate her lunch while reading through the sports section of the prophet her brow drawing closer together the more she read. She didn't know what was going on but all the quidditch writers were turning on Ron. After reading a second story about Ron's shaky form and how vital it was that Oliver Wood had restarted training. Lavender had to move away from the sports section because it was getting her annoyed that Ron was being dismissed out of hand and then to make matters worse she spilt tartar sauce down her blouse.
Thankfully she caught it in time before it stained and said a silent prayer of thanks to Madam Malkin for teaching her the little cleaning charm that wouldn't damage the fabric when she vanished the stain. She turned to the front page of the paper and smiled at the lead story about Britain's continued search for the two new members of the ICW to replace the two had died.
The article was a lot of waffle and was just asking what the ministry was doing about finding replacements and when the next meeting was. 'Well I'll be able to write a much more interesting article than this tomorrow thanks to Mr Eirwen.' She thought to herself with a smirk. The ICW met between six to ten times a year depending on what was going on and whether there were any international crisis going on.
She knew that during the war and especially during the build up to Voldemort unveiling his return officially at the end of fifth year that the ICW had met a lot more often. She'd overheard Meredith talking to others in the office about how she'd constantly been going around the world trying to interview members before and after the meetings.
She started flicking through the paper not really concentrating on the articles as she ate her way through her sandwich until she came across an article that caused her sandwich to stop midway to her mouth. Her eyes read through the article as her heart started pumping faster as she felt the hairs on the back of her neck stand up as her anger flared.
"That fucking bitch! After all that time with her last year and her going on about how much she liked Harry Potter and this was her intention all along." Lavender said to herself irritably but louder than she had intended as the couple she'd borrowed the paper off looked to her suddenly at her outburst.
She read through the article and started thinking about how it made perfect sense as she had heard her confiding in Hannah Abbott and Neville the year before about how she wanted to return her house to prominence. She'd heard her saying almost on the verge of tears in the room of requirement how much work she had to do to try and establish her house again.
This was her plan all along then to go after rich and famous wizards regardless of whether they were attached or not. She was totally shocked as she never would have expected it from her as she had always seemed so nice and helpful if nothing else. Well Lavender wasn't going to let it happen. No sir, not on her watch as it was time to put a stop to this and put a stop to it right away. Susan Bones had made a big mistake and Lavender was going to let her have it.
She pulled the page containing the article out of the paper and grabbed some coins from her purse to pay for her lunch and stood up to leave. The couple next to her asked if she was alright and she said that she wasn't and passed the paper back to them as she tossed the coins on her table leaving her half eaten sandwich behind without a second thought.
Lavender then spent the next two hours going round Diagon Alley looking for Susan Bones. She went into every shop she could ever remember seeing Susan in or hearing about her purchasing something from. She asked the shop workers and managers who might know her if they had seen her and had been told by one that they thought they heard her saying that she was going to Hogsmeade.
Lavender had continued the search there as going round looking for any trace or sighting of her but it had turned out to be a fruitless pursuit. She had come back to Diagon Alley and continued the search for anyone that knew Susan but didn't come across any of their former schoolmates while there.
She went down Knockturn Alley, which was filled with some seedy looking characters and left there quite quickly as the only people she saw down there that she knew and who that would recognise Susan was Gregory Goyle and Theodore Nott. She really didn't want to associate with the two sleazy former Slytherin boys and hightailed it out of the Alley.
Lavender was growing more and more frustrated and was coming to realise that the only place she would truly be able to trap Susan would be at her home. She'd never been to Susan's home as Susan's family had been pretty much wiped out in the first wizarding involving Voldemort.
Her Aunt Amelia being a workaholic and high up in the ministry's department of magical law enforcement had always been pre-occupied with her job and hadn't hosted a party there otherwise Lavender would have been there with her parents.
Having exhausted her options in Diagon Alley she was thinking how to find out where Susan's house was if she couldn't find anyone who knew. She was thinking that her only option was to maybe go to Abbott Abbey and find out where Susan was a lived from Hannah. Failing that she could maybe go to one of the three Slytherin girls she knew that Susan was friendly with as she'd been to Pearl Hall, Greengrass Manor and Parkview before for Christmas and New Years Eve parties.
Whether the Slytherin's or Hannah would give her Susan's location was a different matter entirely but she supposed that she may as well do this as it was getting towards four o'clock and she still had a little time before the shops closed. She could try Horizont Alley and Carkitt Market after the Slytherin girls and Hannah's house.
She made her way to the apparition point and decided that she should try Hannah's first and she disapparated. She arrived at Abbott Abbey and appeared at the end of a grey stone path leading to a fine stone property. She took a step forward but the wards to the property flared and as she tried to move against the invisible barrier she felt resistance. She decided to stop pushing forward as she didn't want the Abbott's family defence wards activating
She waited with growing impatience for someone to come out of the house and after five minutes with a huff she disapparated again but this time headed off to Pearl Hall where she felt the same wards resistance although she started feeling really, really hot as she pressed against the wards. She waited a few minutes before trying again but felt like she'd had a hot poker pressed on her arm and decided that trying to push against a Slytherin member's wards was probably a really stupid thing to do.
She tried Greengrass Manor next and finally met some success. She pressed against the wards and felt their resistance saw one of the windows curtains flick to the side and a face she recognised as Astoria Greengrass appear in the gap. Lavender felt the wards allow her through and made her way along the path and past a series of fountains and approached the front door which opened as she reached to knock it.
Lavender saw Astoria Greengrass in a pair of lightweight pumps and a pink and distinctively girlie summer dress open the door wand in hand. "Can I help you?" Astoria said frostily displaying a look she'd clearly learned from her sister.
Lavender remembered that Daphne had earned her reputation in school as the Ice Queen for putting on a frosty expression when wanting to keep unwanted characters away and that she was a pretty cold hearted girl when she wanted to be. Clearly her sister took after her if the expression on her face was anything to go by.
"Hello, is Daphne here?" Lavender asked.
"No she's out with my parents." Astoria replied curtly, "What is it you are needing her for as I wasn't aware that she and you were particularly friendly?"
"We're not but I know she is friends with Susan Bones and it's her that I'm really looking for and I wanted Daphne to tell me where Susan lives as I've something to discuss with her." Lavender said woodenly.
"Daphne won't just go giving out the floo address of one of her friends to some stranger." Astoria said her eyes narrowing.
"I'm not a stranger I was in Daphne's year at school for seven years." Lavender said defensively.
"So? I've never heard her talk about you at home or in school. Well not in good terms anyway." Astoria said frostily as she had seen and heard Daphne, Tracey and Pansy over the years talking about the curly haired blonde witch in far from glowing terms as they found her irritating, a little trampy and a shit stirring gossip.
"Be that as it may I need to speak to Susan Bones and I know that Daphne knows where she lives. I've already tried Tracey Davis' house but there is no one in and if you can tell me where Daphne is that will save me having to go to Pansy Parkinson's house as I don't really want to have to ask her for a favour." Lavender retorted coldly as she could only imagine that the slagging off she got in the Slytherin common room over the years was of equal measure as to what the three good looking Slytherin girls got in the Gryffindor one.
"Well I'm telling you now that Daphne won't tell you where Susan lives, nor would Tracey and you've about as much hope of getting information out of Pansy as you have as you have paying off a goblin with leprechaun gold." Astoria said slipping her wand back into her bra holster.
"I've got to try and find her. Please Astoria I need to find her as it's really important." Lavender pleaded.
"Well they're all going to Beauxbatons next week and I know that Daphne is busy this weekend as she's got a surprise trip she doesn't know about. Tracey I don't know what she's doing this week and I know that you'd be wasting your time with Pansy as she is having to help out at her parents firm but…" Astoria started explaining as she prepared to add that she didn't know Susan's address having never been there.
"Of course, Parkinsons!" Lavender said as the idea hit her. "Thanks Astoria." She added turning on her heel and moving quickly down the path back to where she arrived and disapparated with a crack.
She landed in Diagon Alley's apparition point next to the Leaky Cauldron and then half walked and half ran along the cobbled street as quickly as she could. She weaved her way in and out of shoppers who seemed determined to walk as slowly as possible and was causing her irritation to grow as it was like a conspiracy against her.
She finally managed to turn into Horizont Alley after having nearly knocked a witch and her little girl over as she rushed through the alley. After a hasty apology Lavender found herself stood in front of Parkinson's and went through into the main reception area to find it empty except for a girl she recognised from Slytherin house sat behind the desk reading through a scroll.
Lavender approached the girl who looked up with a smile on her face that waivered for just the slightest moment as she clocked Lavender and clearly recognised her before the girl schooled her expression and the smile returned.
"Good Afternoon, welcome to Parkinson's how can I help you?" the girl said.
"It's Flora isn't it?" Lavender said guessing as she knew that the girl was one of the Carrow twins.
"No that's my sister, I'm Hestia, don't worry were used to getting called by the wrong name. How can I help you Miss Brown?" Hestia said the friendly tone absent from her voice this time.
Hestia didn't like Lavender Brown as it had come to her attention that the gossipy former Gryffindor had helped spread the rumours that herself and her sister partook in incest and slept together. It was a petty, cruel and horrible rumour that had started up after one of the boy's in Slytherin had made a move on Flora, which she'd turned down. As revenge for the knockback the boy had started a rumour that Hestia and Flora engaged in intimate relations that two sisters shouldn't partake in.
"Apologises Hestia, my best friend Pavarti Patil used to encounter the same problem all the time with people thinking she was her sister Padma." Lavender said by way of an explanation.
"I see. So have you got an appointment booked with someone?" Hestia said looking through her appointment book for Lavender Brown's name.
"Erm actually no, I was wondering whether Pansy Parkinson was here or if you knew where she was?" Lavender asked.
"Pansy?" Hestia said looking up her eyes narrowing as her suspicions were all flaring up at the typical Gryffindor approach of just steaming in without thinking. "What do you need Pansy for? I wasn't aware that you and her even got on."
"Well we don't really but I need to speak with her to ask if she can give me Susan Bone's address or floo address." Lavender clarified.
"Well Pansy is out with her friend Tracey Davies today and I only know that because they met up here this morning on their way out. Either way I know for a fact that Pansy wouldn't just go giving out information on one of her friends especially not to someone she doesn't know." Hestia said hoping that will put the older witch off.
"She's out with Tracey. That explains why Tracey wasn't at home either. So do you know where she and Tracey were going?" Lavender asked hopefully.
"No I don't but even if I did then I couldn't break Pansy's trust by telling you as I owe her too much to send someone after her without knowing what their intentions are when they find her." Hestia responded.
"I told you I want to find out where Susan Bones lives as I need to have a word with her. Maybe you can give me her address from that book there." Lavender said having spotted a client book on the far end of Hestia's desk.
Hestia looked appalled at Lavender's suggestion that she divulge confidential client information and picked up the book of clients and enveloped it in her arms as she held it to her chest protectively. Hestia knew that Lavender now worked for Witch Weekly and there was no way she'd let the blabber mouth Gryffindor get her grubby little mitts on the Parkinson clients list. The only way Lavender Brown would get the book off her would be by prising her cold lifeless fingers off it.
"I couldn't possibly give information out about one of our clients to anyone let alone a member of the media." Hestia said determinedly.
"Oh go on Hestia, just a peak and then I'd owe you a favour." Lavender said reaching into her handbag for her coin purse seeing from the younger witches face that, a favour wasn't a realistic option. "If you don't want a favour maybe I can give you a little financial persuasion and you can go treat yourself to something nice." She added as she shook her coin purse and the distinct jingle of coins was heard.
"Absolutely not! Listen to me Brown, I'm not giving you any information or anything else so take your money and your gawdy outfit and get out of here." Hestia said determinedly.
"Gawdy outfit! These shoes alone cost more than what you'd make in a month." Lavender scoffed offended that her fashion sense was being questioned and by a former Slytherin no less.
"Just because something is expensive doesn't mean it's tasteful or in style." Hestia shot back at the barb.
"Huh like I need fashion advice from an uppity bitch like you with scum for relatives. We saw with those twist evil bastards last year who got their rocks of bullying and beating little kids." Lavender fired back, taking delight in seeing the younger witch wilt at that comment and thankful that she could take out some of the anger and frustration that had been building up out on someone.
"I think that's quite enough!" a firm female voice sounded from the entrance to the corridor that lead into the offices from waiting room. Lavender and Hestia turned to see Nicole Parkinson wearing a set of black business robes with her arms crossed not looking particularly happy.
"Lady Parkinson." Lavender said in acknowledgement and surprise at seeing the partner of the law firm.
"And you're Lavender Brown from what I've read in the paper." Nicole Parkinson said irritably.
"Yes that's right." Lavender responded happy to hear that she was being recognised.
"Well Miss Brown I have to let you know that I really don't appreciate you speaking to my staff like that especially when condemning them for the actions of other people without having your facts straight." Nicole said her eyes narrowing.
"Well Lady Parkinson I was just saying that…." Lavender started to say defensively before she was cut off.
"I know what you were saying because I stood here and heard most of the conversation and your intention to buy information on our clients. Well let me tell you that, that won't work here and I think that it best you leave unless you wish me to call for the aurors to come and investigate why you are trying to obtain confidential client information." Nicole said proud of Hestia for not being corruptible in this instance and not bowing down to an offer of gold.
"I hardly think there's any need to call the aurors for a bit of polite conversation." Lavender responded appalled at the escalating situation.
"I'll be the judge of that. Good day Miss Brown." Nicole fired back stepping forward determinedly and was happy to see that the young witch had the sense to scoop up her bag and make a quick exit. Nicole turned to Hestia who looked almost white with fear about what Nicole's reaction was going to be in her part of the exchange.
"Don't look so worried Hestia. You defended the firm, our clients and didn't give way to temptation so you're certainly not in trouble. Although maybe see how much the information is worth next time as Susan Bones is no longer one of our clients unfortunately as she moved her business next door. A shame as we looked after the Bones family for centuries." Nicole said leaning against the reception desk and smile as Hestia's colour started to return to her cheeks again.
"I'm sorry Lady Parkinson but I don't really like that Lavender Brown after she helped spread a horrible and false rumour about my sister and I around the whole school. I know I shouldn't have said anything to her but I just didn't want her thinking that she held some sort of power over me." Hestia explained quickly.
"Hestia I told you unless there is a client here that you can call me Nicole as were work colleagues now. Besides there is nothing to be sorry for. I'm very used to the females of the Brown family acting like they are something special as her mother was in my year at Hogwarts and held a very high opinion of herself.
Why don't you get off early as I don't think there are any more appointments today are there?" Nicole said seeing the younger witch put the client book down and check the appointment ledger.
"No Lady Pa…. Nicole, there are no more appointments today." Hestia said.
"Get yourself gone then and I'll see you in the morning." Nicole said getting up and starting to move towards the corridor leading to her office. She looked over her shoulder and saw Hestia putting the client contact book and appointment ledger into the safe under her desk and take her wand and start casting some spells on it as added security. 'Good girl, not that it needs it as the goblins helped build that safe.' Nicole thought to herself as she knocked on Peter's door to see if he was free for a little bit of fun in his office before they went out for the evening.
'Arrogant bitch!' Lavender thought to herself as she stepped out of Parkinson's and slammed the door behind her. She started stomping off down Horizont Alley muttering to herself. She didn't know what she was going to do to try and track Susan down and she wouldn't be seeing Ron until Monday night. He was away with the Bulldogs preparing for his next match as his coach had said something about a secret location away from the media and wherever it was was't even accepting owls as her letters asking for Ron to explain the article kept getting returned to her unopened and undelivered.
Not knowing what to do with herself Lavender decided that she'd get in touch with Ginny and see if she fancied going out for the night as given the day she had had Lavender was in the mood for a good drink.
She's not seen Ginny all week since the Weasley had moved back into the refurbished Burrow and she knew that Ginny would be a good person to blow off some steam with as the vivacious red head was always up for having some fun and had a way of always cheering Lavender up.
Lavender made her way to Diagon Alley and got to Weasley's Wizard Wheezes just as a miserable looking George Weasley waved to the girl Verity who worked there and closed the door. Lavender took a short run just as George was about to flick the closed sign on the door. Lavender knocked getting his attention and seeing his eyebrows draw together slightly George opened the door.
"Alright Lavender, what are you doing here, I'm just closing up?" George asked.
"Hi George, sorry I can see your closing but I was just wondering whether I could possibly use your floo here to call Ginny and see if she fancies a drink or something." Lavender asked hopefully.
George took a moment to think about it as he'd had a bit of a hard and boring day as running the shop without Fred just wasn't the same anymore. He asked his friend Lee Jordan about coming to work with him just so that he could have a laugh again but Lee was currently abroad with his job looking for rare potions ingredients for a company he'd managed to get a job with last year.
He'd written to Lee a week or so ago to see if he wanted to come and work with him but was still waiting a reply. He still loved inventing joke products but missed having someone to do it with as losing Fred had been the biggest loss in his life that he'd had to suffer.
Yes he'd lost friends in the war and he missed Remus and Tonks and Sirius as much as everyone else but losing Fred was like losing half of himself. He and Fred were like two halves of a soul and now one of them had gone. No matter what else was happening in the world and no matter how hard things were he and Fred had always had each other to lean on and support each other.
Yes the family all missed Fred but none of them could understand how hard it was for George. He was the one who was really having to try and carry on even though he just wasn't enjoying life anymore. Whenever anyone saw George these days they looked at him with a pitiful look like he'd just lost his leg and it was irritating. Granted Fred had been like losing his right hand but it was so hard to be treated like he was made of glass and the only people who weren't treating him any different was Harry and Angelina Johnson.
Harry had lost more people he cared about than anyone else that George knew and out of everyone he thought that Harry understood how he felt more than anyone. Harry just treated George like normal, he had the same banter with him as he always had and now that Harry and Ginny had split up and Harry had gone off to Japan he didn't have that normalness at home anymore.
Everyone walked around him as if walking on egg shells and it was driving him crazy to the point where he'd moved out of Muriel's and back to the flat above the shop. The Burrow's reconstruction had finally been finished and George wished that Fred had seen the new Weasley family's home.
George had told his dad that he would come home at weekends and see everyone and during the week he'd stay in the flat above the shop. The flat was small and pokey and he didn't know how he and Fred had lived in it together when he sat and looked around it.
A couple of nights a week Alicia and Angelina would come over after they'd finished work. Angelina now working in Diagon Alley and earning quite the reputation as the master seamstress and close designer was always in a good mood or knackered as she absolutely loved her job. She'd always come in, in good spirits and try and cheer the unusually quiet George and Angelina up.
George loved Alicia for trying and having gone out with Alicia for a short time he appreciated her staying friends with him after they had split up and not treating him any differently to how she had before. She was a great girl and he had a lot of time for her but romantically between them it just hadn't worked out.
Angelina had got a job working for Tomes and Scrolls, which was a book shop in Hogsmeade. She'd confessed that it wasn't really what she wanted to do as she wanted to play professional quidditch as her dream job or at least something quidditch related.
Most of the time when the two girls were in the flat with him and after Alicia had exhausted her efforts to try and cheer them up and had gone for the night Angelina and George would just sit together. Most of the time they'd just sit and read, sit in silence in their own thoughts .on his favourite nights he'd retell stories of school and George would tell her about some of the stuff that he and Fred used to get up to and this always seemed to cheer her up.
It was on these occasions that George felt his most normal and he didn't know because he was able to think about and draw on some of his favourite memories with Fred or whether it was because he saw Angelina smiling at him as he talked and looked more like her old self again.
That sparkle of life that she had in her eyes whenever they were alone and talking about Fred and their time at school seemed to help them both return to a happier time and place that they were both so desperately craving. Angelina would on occasion sleep over the night if they were talking into the early hours and George would give up his bed and sleep on the small sofa's that they had in the small studio flat.
They were uncomfortable as hell to sleep on as he was tall and they cramped him and he felt stiff and achy all the next day. It was worth it though to see Angelina sleeping peacefully a strange little smile on her face and knowing that she'd had a good night sleep helped bring George a little bit of comfort and made the discomfort more than worth it.
Recently Angelina had started stopping over a couple of nights a week and George was hoping that she'd come over later than night as after the day he'd had and how busy it had been he could do with unwinding a bit.
"Errrr yeah I suppose so. Come in." George said reluctantly not really wanting to allow the perky blonde into the shop as he much preferred Hermione and couldn't believe that Ron was cheating on her with his ex.
George had tried to talk to Ron the other night at the party he had held at the Spiny Serpent about Lavender and Hermione and tried to find out why he was doing the dirty on Hermione but after Mrs Weasley had launched into him and had a right go at him George had stepped back and decided to allow Ron to drown his sorrows.
That was part of the other reason he was staying in the flat above the shop at the minute as Ron was always with Lavender of an evening and had cancelled repeatedly on George, Percy and Bill the last couple of weeks.
Percy was a bit like a bear with a sore head at the moment as he'd initially been offered a position working under his Dad at the ministry before deciding that he didn't think it was a good idea because any promotion he earned working in the department people might think it was just his dad was in charge of the department.
He'd applied and got a job in the magical transportation department working on international portkeys and was part of the department responsible for goods entering the country. He knew from hearing Percy talking about it at the weekend what the job was and he liked the people in the department well enough. However he didn't think it was really using his abilities as well as it could be and that the whole process needed a complete overhaul and updating.
Percy was still smarting from having split up from Penelope and the occasions that he'd bumped into Bill he saw that his oldest brother was still disappointed about his failed relationship with Fleur. George and Fred had been shocked to hear that Bill and Fleur had got engaged when they announced it as they didn't really have that much in common other than they thought the other was attractive.
Bill had confessed to George since the breakup that they had rushed into getting married as they were scared of dying alone and never having experienced love if they were to be killed during the war and that they had mistaken fancying each other as true love. Bill had told George that they still cared a great deal about each other but Bill was ready to settle down and start a family being so much older than Fleur, whereas Fleur still wanted to go out and experience all life had to offer.
Bill's most personal and private admission (which he'd only made after three quarters of a bottle of firewhiskey) was that he had struggled to keep up with Fleur in the bedroom as she was completely insatiable and he'd not been able to properly keep up and satisfy her.
George and Percy had been shocked at the admission at the time but when Bill had explained about the veela blood in Fleur and how that affected her nature and when her allure was unleashed when she allowed herself to let go that it had reduced to him almost mush after the second round and he'd not been able to go again.
Percy had confessed that Penelope had certainly opened his eyes to some stuff in the bedroom but that their problems in their relationship were similar to Bill and Fleur's. He wanted a girl who would be happy to move in together and start a family as soon as possible. Percy said how he had relayed to Penelope that it was their duty as magical people try and repopulate the magical world after the careless loss of life that the war had created.
Penelope had told Percy that she wanted to experience life and get her career launched and up and running properly before she started even thinking about babies. She'd told him in no uncertain terms that she wasn't happy being a stay at home wife with a gaggle of kids as she was still young and wanted to enjoy herself and get her life sorted before children as well as using the skills she had picked up along the way.
The three Weasley had agreed to make sure that they go out together regularly at least once a fortnight as they all wanted to get themselves into a relationship and find a nice witch to be able to cuddle up to (amongst other things ) at night. They agreed to be each other's support on finding a nice witch and that it was time for the Weasley boys to make their mark on the witches of the world again.
George held the door open and Lavender giving him a thankful nod walked past him into the shop proper where she then stood a short distance away looking around. George locked the door and lead her through to the back of the shop and through the store room and up the stairs. The mantel was barely big enough to stand up in and he'd only had it connected to the floo network a couple of weeks previous.
He reached up on top of the mantel and took what looked like a skull with a tongue hanging out of it of the mantelpiece. "Here you go hold your hand out." George said seeing Lavender eye the skull and then George suspiciously as if sensing a prank.
"I'm not messing with you honest. Look here I'll show you." George said moving his other hand palm up to the tip of the skulls tongue. He then tickled the tongue and the skull laughed and the tongue rolled up into the mouth of the skull before it unfurled itself and unrolled depositing a pinch of floo powder into Georges's palm.
"Well that's different." Lavender said sticking her hand under George as he emptied the powder into her hand.
"Do you want a drink or something? I'm going to make myself some dinner." George asked Lavender as he moved passed her.
"I'm fine thanks George but it's nice of you to ask. If Ginny is coming out I'll probably get something to eat out if not then I guess I'll grab something before going back home." Lavender said with a smile as George started in the kitchen and she saw him start to perform kitchen spells as ingredients started flying around the kitchen with George at the middle of the flying melee.
Lavender was surprised to see that at least one of the Weasley boys was domesticated enough to seem to know how to cook. Ron never cooked but always appreciated Lavender's skill in the kitchen when he got back from training as he always wolfed down whatever she had made and normally asked for seconds.
Lavender got on her knees and threw the floo dust into the fire place, which erupted into emerald green flames. It was funny how everything in her life had changed from red and gold to green and silver since Ron had been made head of Slytherin.
"Call the Burrow" Lavender said as the flames didn't a quick flutter orange and she knew this was the sign that it had connected and locked onto the address. Leaning forward Lavender leant forward putting her head into the emerald green flames feeling the slightly cooling flames and as she opened her eyes she found herself looking around the newly built sitting room.
She let out a yelp and her eyes bulged as she saw Bill Weasley on the couch with a magazine in one hand and his other hand down the front of his trousers clearly enjoying some alone time…
On hearing Lavenders yelp Bill jumped his hand shooting out of his pants so quickly it was like he'd been scolded as he quickly looked this way and that thinking someone must have walked into the room. Bill looked round panicking thinking that Ginny or worse his mother had walked in on him enjoying the latest edition of 'Wizards Playmate'. He was massively relieved to not see either of them in the room but in his confusion he couldn't figure out where the noise had come from.
"Errrm sorry to interrupt Bill." Lavender she equally as embarrassed at catching her boyfriend's older brother stroking himself as Bill was himself.
"Lavender! What? How did you manage to connect without me authorising it?" Bill asked his cheeks growing almost the same colour as this head.
"I just asked the floo to connect and it did so I assumed it had been accepted." Lavender replied trying not to look at Bill's crotch out of morbid curiosity to see whether he was similarly equipped as his little brother.
Bill moved the magazine over his crotch as he felt Lavender's gaze move towards that area and realising what he was using to cover his privates he saw her eyebrows arch as he reached for a cushion and flung the magazine away from him and dropping the cushion over his lap.
"The dwarves and goblins mustn't have set the screening settings on the floo correctly." Bill said to himself deciding that he'd fix that as soon as Lavender had gone. "What can I help you with Lavender?"
"Is Ginny there? I was wondering if she wanted to come out for dinner." Lavender replied trying to suppress a giggle at Bill's embarrassment.
"I don't know I'll see." Bill said as he took his wand and cast a patronus of a red squirrel that went running off out the door in search for Ginny. "Listen Lavender about what I was….."
"Don't worry Bill. We all get that particular itch we need to scratch on occasion." Lavender said chuckling to herself as Bill buried his head in his hands mortified at being caught having some fun by himself.
Bill looked up hearing footsteps quickly coming down the stairs as Ginny entered the room smiling at seeing Lavenders head in the flames and coming to a stop as she stood on something that shifted under her foot.
"What's this?" Ginny said bending down to pick up a magazine she'd stood on.
Bill panicking fired a summoning charm at the magazine but in his panic put a little too much strength into it and not only did the magazine come flying towards him but he'd also caught Ginny's foot that was pulled forwards suddenly leaving her on her backside.
Bill caught the magazine and hastily rolled it up and getting up the cushion in place and gingerly skirting round the edge of the couch so that it was blocking his lower body from view he dropped the cushion.
"Sorry Gin, I'll leave you to your call bye Lavender." Bill said hastily making his way quickly to the exit and flinched as Lavender responded by calling out, "Bye Bill, I hope you have a good one." Before breaking out into giggles as he left the room with his head drooped.
"Owww, what was all that about?" Ginny asked Lavender getting up as she rubbed her bum as she stood.
"I'll tell you if you agree to come out for some drinks and maybe some dinner with me." Lavender said.
"Sure I've got something I need to talk to you about anyway, just let me grab my purse and I'll come through. Where are you by the way?" Ginny asked delighted that Lavender had called as she really wanted to discuss the article in the paper with her.
"I'm at George's shop he's been kind enough to let me use the floo." Lavender replied.
"Oh right great. I'll be two ticks." Ginny said as she quickly ran up to her room and grabbed her handbag as well as the paper she had been reading as Lavender would be a great person to speak to about it as the article involved Ron as well.
She entered the living room again to see Lavender had moved her head out of the flames and disconnected the call. Ginny grabbed a pinch of powder from the pot on top of the large mantel piece and stepped into the fire place. She took a deep breath and with a touch of sadness to her voice dropped the powder as she said "Forge and Gred's place" as she was suddenly enveloped in the flames and went spinning towards George and Fred's shop.
She stepped out of the fireplace having to bend down to see Lavender dry washing her hand and George apparently cooking in the kitchen. Her mouth dropped open at seeing that George knew how to cook and was just about to say something to him when she had a blonde and pink missile fly into her.
Ginny took a half step back from the impact of Lavender crashing into a hug with her as the older witch appeared to start crying. "Whoa Lavender what's the matter?" Ginny asked knowing what the answer would be having read the prophet.
"Oh Gin, I think Ron might be cheating on me... with Susan Bones." Lavender said almost wailing as she broke down into tears sobbing into the red heads shoulder.
"Come on Lavender, Ron wouldn't do that to you." Ginny said reassuringly.
"Pffffftttt, yeah... alright." George scoffed to himself from the kitchen area.
"GEORGE!" Ginny snapped at her older brother as she gave him an angry look.
"What?" George said turning to look at his sister.
"Don't say such a thing! Can't you see she's upset?" Ginny scolded her brother.
"I'm not trying to upset her but let's face it, it's not like little Ronniekins hasn't got previous is it." George said signalling at Lavender behind her back and staring back just as hard at his little sister not intimidated in the slightest as he'd seen that look from Ginny many a time to be intimidated by her.
George was seriously unimpressed with Ron cheating on Hermione. Hermione, of all people and with his ex-girlfriend no less, whom he'd spent an entire Christmas during his sixth year complaining about how much she just wanted to snog him all the time and nothing else. George thought Hermione was a cracking girl and that Ron had struck gold when they were suddenly going out with each other because as much as he loved his brother everyone knew that Hermione was a class above where Ron should be aiming.
George actually quite liked Lavender and thought honestly that she was probably exactly the sort of girl Ron should be going out with. She was on or around Ron's level intellectually and looks wise as she was a pretty girl but not drop dead gorgeous.
Hermione was far too intelligent for Ron and everyone knew it, except perhaps his mother who wanted Harry and Hermione as part of the family so much that she was fighting doggedly to try and hold onto the dream. She'd already pulled Ron at Ron's debut party for two timing on Hermione even though Ron had sworn blind that he wasn't and that his mother and father didn't understand what was going on.
George had stayed out that night more to try and cheer himself, Percy and Bill up than celebrating with Ron as he was annoyed with what Ron was doing to Hermione who he thought was a nice girl and
"Don't listen to him Lav. Ron's crazy about you and there is no way he'd make a move on any other witch." Ginny said reassuringly giving George a dirty look as Lavender leant back into her arms and looked to see if Ginny was messing with her.
George and Fred had always expected Harry to end up with Hermione and had seen first-hand more times that he could remember when they'd be looking at the other while they weren't looking. Just seeing them together and the way they were around each other he'd have put money on them ending up together as they were really well suited. Merlin he had put money on it and was convinced it was going to happen after seeing Harry staring at Hermione for half the night during the Yule Ball.
Himself and Fred had been delighted when Harry and Ginny had started going out as they considered Harry a brother in all but blood for years. They'd really looked forward to the potential prospect of Harry being part of the Weasley family officially if he and Ginny had ended up working out but sadly that wasn't to be.
He would always consider both Hermione and Harry as family but George was under no illusions that Ron hadn't told Hermione that he was ending their relationship or seeing someone else as his mum had asked about it. That was why the Weasley's weren't happy with their youngest brother at the moment as they all liked Hermione and she didn't deserve him doing the dirty on her.
George knew that when the shit the fan and she found out that Ron and Lavender would most likely end up staying together as they were a lot better suited and as a result of that he was being amicable to Lavender. He didn't want to damage a potential relationship with someone who he could realistically see Ron settling down with as they were already living together. While he didn't like her making a move on a guy in a relationship he could at least see that Lavender genuinely really cared about Ron and he was becoming the centre of her world.
How could be angry at her for that? She was trying to be with a guy she cared about and it was Ron who was the one in the wrong for not breaking things off with Hermione before getting with Lavender. Ginny liked her as well so he knew she wasn't all bad as Ginny didn't normally give out her friendship very easily.
"Seriously Lav, I don't think he's cheating on you and I don't know what is going on but let's go and have a drink and we'll sort this whole mess out." Ginny said kindly to Lavender who nodded her head and picked up her bag.
"Thanks for letting me us your floo George and you're welcome to come to if you want." Lavender said.
"Not a problem. Look I'm sorry if I upset you Lavender that wasn't my intention at all, I just think the way Ron's gone about this whole thing is wrong and in regards to that garbage you read in the paper today you just need to look who wrote it to know it's full of shit." George replied.
'Bloody hell George, that's not helping my cause.' Ginny thought to herself wincing internally as she linked arms with Lavender. "Come on let's go. See you Georgie" she said as she lead Lavender to the front door and pulled it open just as Angelina was about to knock on it.
"Oh hi Angelina, what are you doing here?" Ginny asked surprised to see the former Gryffindor Chaser.
"Hi Ginny, I just thought I'd swing by and see George as I've not seen him for a little while and wanted to see how he's getting on." Angelina said fidgeting with her hands a little under Lavender and Ginny's knowing smiles.
"Uh huh. Well he's just making dinner so go right up and I hope he doesn't make you ill, which he might if his cooking skills are anything like Ron's and Percy's" Ginny said causing Lavender to giggle as they set off leaving the dark skinned witch stood in the open doorway.
'Hmmm So George Weasley can cook. Who'd have thought that?' Angelina thought smiling to herself as she stepped into the shop and closed and locked the door. She could smell something good coming from the flat upstairs and creeping up the stairs as quietly as possible to hear George singing to himself as he cooked.
"I hope you're hungry Angel as I've made far too much for just me." George said over his shoulder while not turning round as he continued cooking away.
"Starving" Angelina said smiling to herself and at the pet name he'd given her and seeing that he had set up a small little table for two people already.