A/N I'm sure you'd all appreciate a little reminder..

Harry's just banished Slytherin from Voldie's body during a siege (yes another one) on Hogwarts by using an ancient dark spell.

Chapter 65 - How Long?!

[from chapter 64]

*** Harry caught a glimpse of the Dark Lord's menacing red eyes, flashing with a deeper malice than anything he'd ever seen.

Then, before anyone could move, Voldemort disappeared with a pop.

There was a moment of silence. Harry managed to see that the Malfoy-clones had disappeared with the banishment before blackness invaded his vision.

"Well," said Harry, "I suppose that went better than expected." And then he collapsed on top of the Hufflepuff table.***

Harry needed them to repeat themselves several times before he would be convinced that they had been telling the truth.

"I've really been unconscious for 3 weeks? I actually missed the end of term?"

"Yes Harry." Groaned Ginny, who had grown very weary of the question.

"Okay then." Harry grinned, "I won't ask again."

Ginny frowned. "It really isn't funny Harry. Snuffles was out of his mind. To be honest I think even Snape has been worried. He wanted to talk to you, came in here raving like a madman. When he saw you lying there, still all pale and unmoving after 10 days, he shut up right away. I probably don't have to mention what everyone else was like."

Harry almost winced. "I'm sorry. I suppose it was inconsiderate of me." He said wryly.

Ginny's face broke into a sly grin. "Let's see if you can maintain this wonderful sarcasm after Fred and George get through with you. Don't think that just because you slept through their 'leaving-Hogwarts-best-ever-never-to-be-forgotten-prank' for a good reason, you'll get away with it!"

Harry couldn't help but grin. The twin pranksters had completely hijacked Dumbledore's end of term speech. The house cup they had filled with both Fillibuster's Fireworks and Drooble's Best Blowing Gum. The resulting deluge of bluebell-coloured bubbles and firework sparks caused an immediate uproar throughout the Great Hall, but especially at the Ravenclaw table where McGonagall had been presenting the cup.

This, along with the introduction of their own new time delay food prank products, had ensured that no one in the hall had ever discovered what Dumbledore had been meaning to say. It was, of course, further compounded by the fact that the headmaster himself was struck down by a severe attack of uncontrollable laughter on seeing his deputy McGonagall covered head to foot in sparkling bubble gum.

"I suppose I ought to be preparing for that. I'm so glad they saved everything on my omniocolors though, when they zoomed in on Crabbe and Goyle's faces!"

Harry descended into a fit of giggles by which point Ginny had rolled her eyes and left to finish her packing.

Harry was glad when he realised that she'd left, he was putting the finishing touches to the thankyou gift he'd made for her. After the end of term Madame Pomfrey had been forced to leave Hogwarts to attend a mediwitch conference at which she was guest speaker on the subject of 'mediwizardry in the school-place'. Ginny had, as Pomfrey's assistant, been the one to sacrifice the start of her summer in order to monitor Harry's condition and await his awakening.

With a gentle swish of his hand, Harry added some more colour to the rose he had conjured. He'd managed to capture countless hues of lilac in the soft petals, almost a tribute to the bluebell-coloured-bubble-gum-mess that had been the Great Hall. He smiled as he cast a final 'ever-last' spell on the plant and hid it again in his bag.

***

Ron chewed his lip thoughtfully as he watched Fred and George scheming and cackling in the corner of the room. The Burrow had been a hive of activity for the last two days. The Weasley family was preparing to invite Harry over, now that he had deigned to wake up.

Ron hadn't been able to shift the strange empty feeling in his stomach. He knew that Hermione was suffering something similar even though she hadn't mentioned it. It certainly had nothing to do with hunger. Mrs Weasley had been lavishing meal after meal on the children in celebration of Harry's recovery and impending visit.

He was distracted by Hermione's hand falling on his shoulder. "Ron, your Dad needs your help in the shed. I'm afraid he might be planning on moving the television out of there and he doesn't want to risk any levitation spells on it."

Ron buried his head in his arms and groaned, but Hermione ignored him.

"He really should get a licence for it if he's going to try using it." She insisted with a sniff.

Ron looked up at her in disbelief. "You need a licence?"

Hermione rolled her eyes. "Honestly, you really ought to have taken Muggle Studies Ron, I can't imagine why it isn't compulsory for purebloods!"

Ron just snorted and returned his head to its former resting-place.

"You feel it too. Don't you." Said Hermione softly.

Ron didn't raise his head but sighed deeply.

"Its something to do with Harry." He said, just as Hermione was about to break the awkward silence herself.

She touched his shoulder. Ron jolted and stretched himself out, his shoulder popping slightly. "Definitely." They sat in silence thinking about their best friend.

Hermione was chewing her lip, Ron could tell that she had an idea. "Spill it." She frowned slightly then huffed. "It was the spell. I'm almost sure of it."

"The banishment spell?"

"Honestly Ron. It was dark magic. Dumbledore warned us that it would have consequences."

"But why would it affect us? It was Harry that cast the spell."

Hermione's frown deepened. Before she could speak Ron jumped in. "Need to look up a book, right?"

She smiled ruefully at him. "What else?"

***

Draco Malfoy glared as Snape came through the door. "Finished talking about me yet?" He asked acidly.

Snape looked dispassionately down at his young Slytherin charge. "There's no need for hostility Draco. The headmaster and I were simply finalising the logistics. There are issues, which are of a personal nature, of which you could not be appraised."

Draco didn't seem appeased. He looked sullenly downward.

Snape sighed and ran a hand through his hair. "If we are to spend the summer together then I will grant you certain privileges. You ought to be thinking of the opportunities presented to you. We both know that your father was not a source of affection for you. At least here you may enjoy some freedom. As Gryffindor as it might sound, you must 'find yourself' Draco."

The young Malfoy snorted and raised his eyes to meet the Potions Master's. "I concur, but speaking of opportunities. I would appreciate the chance to utilise your extensive potions expertise to my advantage."

"Spoken like a true Slytherin." Chuckled Snape. "You desire tutoring in the Art of Potions?"

"Potions, and Defense against the Dark Arts. I need to be able to beat Potter at his own game, otherwise I can never consider respect between us." Draco replied sneering.

"You intend to befriend the Golden Boy?" Snape asked incrediously.

"If I am no longer to gain standing within the Dark Lord's ranks then I am going to need to forge new ties." Said Draco calmly examining his fingernails.

"Draco, I think we will get along fine this Summer." Said Snape with a small smile. "Come, I'll show you to your room."

***

Whilst Ron and Hermione were trawling through her own extensive bibliography of tomes Harry himself was contemplating the discussion that now guided their search.

Dumbledore had called them to his office in order to talk to them about the dark spell that Harry intended to use later that day.

Harry sat twiddling his fingers, he avoided the Headmaster's eyes.

Ron and Hermione were waiting to see what would be said between the two. They were unsure as to what to expect. The tension was palpable in the room.

Finally Harry decided to speak. " I am going to cast the spell. None of you can stop me."

Dumbledore regarded Harry closely. " I only hope you know what you're doing Harry. This is a darker spell then you are used to casting. There will be consequences, please consider carefully before you make a decision."

All eyes turned to Harry, he in turn was staring directly at Dumbledore.

" Harry. Are you really sure this is the only way?" asked Hermione.

"Hermione, don't you think that if I thought there was a better way, that I'd still be willing to do this?"

His anger had caught her off-guard. Harry doubted that he'd ever be able to forget the look of frightened shock on her face.

He'd looked away quickly, but Dumbledore's solemn face had done little to help the rising lump in his throat. "I just can't handle this anymore. I need to finish it."

Hermione had squeezed his hand, finally offering her full support, Ginny had nodded, her face still pinched with worry but resigned. Harry couldn't help but think that he'd be causing those worry lines to deepen, if Voldemort's continuing determination was anything to rely upon.

Harry wasn't sure if the two girls understood what their support meant to him, but he knew that Ron did. And it was Ron that was last to agree.

His best friend regarded him closely. "I'm behind you mate." He said, with pointed gravity lacing the words. "Do what you have to do. We'll back you up. As always."

Harry could tell right away that Ron had meant it wholeheartedly, his friends faith in him left him temporarily speechless, it also seemed to allay the headmaster's concerns.

Dumbledore nodded to him. "Do what you have to do Harry."

.And he had.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

There is a tiny bit more, so I'll be whacking on an epilogue. If anyone's interested in writing a sequel to this monster then I'd be very happy to share my notes but please don't ask me to write it, I'm a med. Student and it nearly killed me writing this! I promise to do the epilogue though and anyone who wants to know what I planned for 6th year etc can ask in a review and will be given the info by e-mail etc etc.

Ttfn! And thankyou so much for everyone's continuing support and badgering. I still can't quite believe it when I read your comments but it warms the heart.

Special mention to: Hexe605 - Thanks! I always aimed to be original and surprise people a bit! Lady Cinnibar - Yes, shame on me. I am ashamed, but I hope you enjoyed the chappie! Krazymelmo5385 - thanks! Anglebach - tis good to be back! And thanks! I'm glad you've enjoyed the story! Lourdes - *grins* you must be a glutton for punishment to want to read it again! Thanks! Serenity55 - Sorry it wasn't sooner. Mella deRanged - indeed, Moldywarts aint a happy bunny! Thorgood - You're one of the lucky ones! Hehehe, thanks for being my sounding board. Cygnus Crux - Hehehe, Malfoy clones indeed, (more details in epilogue about those lovelies) Shrimpo/Jewels - ;-) Narcissa Malfoy - Thanks! I'd definitely agree! I've learnt a lot over the course. Stargirl - Your review actually made me cry, thankyou! Abbey - ta! Kit Cloudkicker - You should deffo write a year 6 one, I bet it'd be really good and you might decide to use elements of the 5th year one in it. It would freshen the task! Kit Kat51 - I'm really sorry it took so long! Mell5 I dunno if u eva finished it but thanks all the same! I know it takes ages to read it! Hyper yoy boy - I always said I'd try and update regularly How ashamed am I at my ability (or lack thereof) to manage it! Apologies! Stargirl (again?) - I know1 I'm sorry about the slowness, going to Uni knocked me for 6! Heather - u can de-hang for a bit! EriEka127 - Yes he's gone now. But the effects haven't been fully erased yet.