You Are Not Alone
“Ron, Hermione,” Harry called, as he entered the Gryffindor common room.
His two friends looked up from the couch where Hermione was attempting to study, while Ron was attempting to kiss her. It was obvious from the giggling that neither of them minded the game.
“You got a few minutes spare?”
“Well,” Ron grinned, “I was planning on seeing if I could snog Hermione senseless - and she has a lot of sense, so it would probably take all night.”
Hermione looked like she was trying to work out if there was a backhanded compliment in there somewhere. She elbowed Ron firmly in the side.
“Of course,” she smiled at Harry.
They wandered over together to a table in a dark corner. Ron and Hermione sat down next to each other, Harry sitting opposite them. With a casual wave of his hand, Harry relaxed.
“What was that?” Hermione asked.
“Just set up a privacy spell,” Harry replied. “But we can talk about magic later. I think that, with Commander Tom and the Masked Madmen making themselves useful by decomposing into fertilizer, I thought it would be a good time to address one of the things that is lacking in my life.”
“A girlfriend,” Harry said with a smile. “You two are now together and happy, and I want something similar.”
Hermione moved so fast she was almost a blur, producing some parchment and a quill.
“What are you doing?” Ron and Harry asked in unison.
“I thought we could make a list of everyone available that you could choose from.”
“Wouldn’t it be better if I just told you who I wanted?”
Hermione froze, and then blushed furiously. She tidied away her equipment remarkably slower than the way she had produced them. “Sorry, I just thought you wanted our help to find you someone.”
Ron and Harry grinned at each other. Ron wrapped his arm around her, hugging her tightly. “Don’t ever change.”
“So, who have you chosen?” Hermione asked, desperate to get the conversation off her.
Harry took a deep breath. “Ginny.”
There was another silence, which made Harry wonder if he should increase the strength of the privacy charm.
“Are you sure?” Ron asked, frowning a little.
“I know she’s your sister...”
“That’s not what I meant,” Ron waved his hand airily. “I meant, are you sure it’s Ginny you want? That you’re not confusing the fact that you like her as a friend with more romantic feelings?”
Harry shook his head slowly.
“Have you at least considered other girls?” Ron asked. “You shouldn’t make an instant decision. I’ve not got anything against you dating her; I just don’t want you to make a hasty decision and regret it later.”
Harry took a deep breath. Of everything he had expected when he was going to tell Ron about his sister, this particular response had been somewhere near the thought of Voldemort being resurrected and taking up a career as a French Can-Can girl.
“I’ve thought about all the girls I know,” he admitted.
“So what did you think about Blaise?” Ron interrupted again. “You said yourself earlier that she is very pretty.”
“Well, she is,” Harry agreed, his tone somewhat strange. “But there’s no spark. Each time I’ve talked to her I’ve not felt anything.” He paused for a second, and then continued, “Ginny’s Ginny, you know. She managed to drag me out of a funk so many times last year, and if it hadn’t been for Voldemort, I would have probably done something about it then. Sure, while I was on the beach I did have a think about other girls, and about some of them there in front of me at the time, but... there is no one who pushes me like Ginny does, no one who makes me want to be better than I am. There’s been no one, other than you two, who has stood beside me when it got dark and dangerous. How could I not choose Ginny? When we defeated Voldemort, she had this look on her face, this look of extreme happiness, that made her so radiant - and I want to see it again. I want her to look that way at me.
He paused for a few seconds, before finally finishing with, “She is who I want.” He felt strangely open, vulnerable, as if a lot more had been said that he had expected.
“Harry,” Ron said softly. “I think you’re in love with my sister. Are you?”
Harry blinked, and then nodded slowly.
“I think I am,” he whispered.
“Woo hoo!” Ron cheered loudly, jumping to his feet and celebrating wildly.
“Ron!” Hermione scolded, shaking her head, trying to clear the echo from the noise.
“Harry, mate, if she’s who you want, and I do think you’re insane - she has a habit of leaving plates in her room for ages - then I’m all for it.”
At Harry and Hermione’s identical looks of disbelief, he grinned at them both.
“Dean’s a git; you’re not. And if you’re going to start dating someone, I’d much rather she was someone we already know and like, someone who’s not going to drag you away into another family.” He paused, and then continued with a self-depreciating grin, “Sure, it’s completely selfish of me, but I couldn’t think of anyone I’d rather you date. It still gives me a queasy feeling to think of you and Ho Chang together.”
Harry sniggered, and shook his head slowly. “That’s not quite the response I was expecting.”
Ron shrugged. “So, you want me to break Ginny and Dean up for you?”
Harry shook his head. “No. That wouldn’t be fair. I’ve just got to hope they break up soon, and that Ginny will say ‘yes’ to me asking her out.”
He absently scratched his neck, missing the highly amused glance Ron and Hermione shared.
“Ron,” Hermione entered the conversation slowly. “You may want to leave us alone now, because I like Ginny a lot, so I’m going to ask Harry some rather searching questions.”
Harry started to look a little worried.
“I can handle it,” Ron stated confidently. He reached into his schoolbag and pulled out a bag of Bertie Botts Every Flavour Beans. He offered them around, and ate one as no one took him up o his offer.
“Do you think that Ginny’s breasts are too small?” Hermione asked Harry directly.
Ron seemed to convulse, before going red as the small bean lodged in his windpipe. He tried to cough, spluttering.
Hermione stood up, walked behind him, and expertly applied the Heimlich manoeuvre, causing Harry to duck wildly to dodge the flying projectile that shot out of Ron’s mouth.
“Are you trying to kill me?” Ron gasped.
“I did warn you,” Hermione said, her face twitching as she struggled to keep control of the laughter inside her.
“I know, but discussing my sister’s tits isn’t exactly high on my list of conversational topics. How was I supposed to know that you would go down that path?”
Hermione shrugged and turned back to Harry. “Well?”
Harry shot a look at Ron, who was now looking stubborn, and groaned. “No.”
“So you’ve been looking?” Ron asked.
“Yes, of course I’ve bloody been looking, you git!” Harry said, looking at Ron as though he were some sort of never-before-seen creature. “Show me a boy my age in my situation that wouldn’t have looked.”
“True,” Ron grinned suddenly. “I’ve been stealing looks at Hermione’s tits for years.”
“Ron!” Hermione said, shocked.
“What?” Ron asked cheerfully. “It’s okay for you and Harry to talk about Ginny’s tits but not about yours? That doesn’t sound very fair.”
Hermione blushed furiously, recognising she had lost control, and decided to regain it. “If you ever want to see them, you’ll be quiet.”
Ron paled, then went bright red, and then paled again, before returning to his normal colour.
“Harry, my friend, you’re on your own!” He stood and walked away quickly, whistling to himself.
Harry looked amused as he faced Hermione. “Already using sex as a behaviour modifier?”
Hermione blushed furiously once more. “Since when did you start teasing like this?”
“Yesterday,” he replied cheerfully. “So, why the question about Ginny?”
Hermione frowned briefly. “She has very low self-esteem when it comes to her body, and she keeps comparing herself to Lavender and Parvati.”
Hermione smirked briefly. “Are you telling me you haven’t noticed Parvati’s legs, or Lavender’s chest?”
“What about them?”
“Oh, Harry,” Hermione said softly with a smile, reaching out to tousle his hair. “Just say that to Ginny at some stage, and she’ll love you forever.”
She paused, and then asked a question that had been bothering her. “As Ron’s not here, are you sure you’re alright?”
Harry nodded, and looked at his friend directly. “For the first time, I feel like myself. I’ve not got any expectations to live up to, and I don’t have the lives of everyone I know on my shoulders. I can do whatever I want, without worrying about it. I feel like I am who I was meant to be originally, before all this prophecy stuff happened.”
Hermione smiled warmly at him. “It’s so good to hear you say that,” she said as she rose to her feet.
“Good, then you’ll turn off your Head Girl radar for a few minutes?”
“What do you mean?” she asked, as Harry took the privacy charm down, and they walked over to the others.
“I think it’s time I played a prank,” he replied.
“Cool!” Seamus cheered, attracting everyone else’s attention. “Can I help?”
Harry shook his head and smiled at the mix of sixth and seventh year students.
“Sorry, this prank is a one man job. I’ll be back in an hour,” he said as he turned, and walked out the common room door.
Ginny was the first to stand. “Well, I’m following him,” she declared, as she ran towards the exit, closely followed by everyone else.
As Harry walked ahead of them, he raised both his hands and slowly vanished.
Every student there, as one, turned to face Hermione.
“What?” she asked, and then paused. “Oh, right. He’s probably using the Air element to hide himself. I’m going to the library to find out more.”
“Well,” Ron said as he watched his girlfriend. “I guess that we’ll find out how the hell he did that a lot faster if we all work together.” He followed her, followed by the other senior Gryffindor students.
The sky was hazy with a distinctly surreal feel to it. Harry wondered what he was doing here, till he caught sight of some very familiar red hair. He had never had a dream about Ginny quite like this one, he decided, but he was going to enjoy it, no matter how awake he felt.
The object of his affection was wearing a light summer dress, which hitched up her thighs whenever she bent over to pick flowers.
The sight was enough to create some blood flow issues for him, and he was tempted for a second to just stay and watch.
He moved slowly towards her, watching her intently, as she continued her task. He licked his lips softly, really hoping he’d get to see if her legs were as soft as they looked. They appeared perfectly formed with just a hint of the muscles she used to help control her broom in Quidditch.
He reached out to lightly tap her shoulder as he closed the distance between them.
The red-haired form turned slowly.
Instead of a face dominated by the most gorgeous brown eyes he had ever seen, and one of the cutest noses, he was suddenly faced by intense grey eyes, dark black hair, and a knowing smirk.
The swearwords that Harry used to explain his current feelings were base, extreme, and called into doubt Sirius’ parentage, sexual preferences, personal appearance and hobbies, and implied certain predilections that are not normally mentioned in polite society.
Sirius’ expression changed from the amused ‘I just pulled off a great prank’ to an awed look of someone extremely impressed.
“...and shove it where the sun doesn’t shine!” Harry finished, panting a little.
“Wow!” Sirius said admiringly. “I’ve never heard that many swearwords used in such an intricate combination in one go before.”
“What the hell are you doing here, Sirius!?”
Sirius grinned. “I told you that if you pulled any good pranks, I’d be back to see you. And that one you have planned is more than acceptable.”
Harry nodded, still glaring. “And how exactly do you know what Ginny’s legs look like?” he asked, his whole demeaning promising a world of hurt and pain for his godfather if he didn’t like the answer.
Sirius gulped. “I didn’t. It was your dream, Harry, not mine; I just waited for the right moment.”
Harry stood still in thought for a second. “Don’t do that again,” he advised seriously, before grinning massively and jumping at his godfather. “It’s good to see you again.”
Sirius smiled and hugged him back. “You too, Harry. I’m so pleased that you took our advice.”
Harry frowned. “Yeah, I wanted to talk to you about that. Is this the only way I can get to see you, after pulling off a prank?”
“What do you mean?”
The boy sighed, and sat down in the long grass. “I’m not going to be pulling anymore pranks after this one,” he explained. “I’ve decided that when I leave Hogwarts is going to be a happy place for all the students, even the Slytherins, and I can’t do that by having a lot of people afraid of being pranked.”
“Damn it,” Sirius said, looking slightly sick. “Do you have any idea what this means?”
Harry shook his head mutely, looking a little upset.
“It means that I’m going to have to spend a week acting as your mother’s house maid!”
“Your too-smart-for-her-own-good mother bet me that you would decide not to launch an all-out prank war,” Sirius muttered darkly. “You’re a big disappointment to me, Harry.”
Harry slowly started to smile, as he realised that it meant that his mum really knew him even though he’d never really met her as an adult.
“I wasn’t quite honest about how I could see you,” Sirius confessed. “Basically, when you die the way I did, you have a much stronger connection to earth than usual. It means I can come and see you in your dreams whenever I want. It’s tiring, but you’re worth it, kiddo.”
Harry nodded. “Just don’t enter any Ginny dreams again,” he smiled.
“Yeah, not a problem, you little pervert. How’s that going anyway?”
“Slowly,” Harry admitted. “I’ve talked to Ron, the twins, and Molly, and I sent Hedwig with a letter to the others telling them, earlier. I’ve just got to wait for Dean and Ginny to break up - and hope that they do, then hope that Ginny hasn’t given up on me.”
Sirius nodded. “Anyway, I’m not just here for a social visit. I was talking to your parents the other day, and we realised you’d not been given an important part of your education.”
“What’s that?” Harry asked, looking a little confused.
“Well, when a wizard and a witch love each other very much, they get certain urges--” Sirius began.
“Yes, thank you, Sirius,” Harry said with a sigh. “Remus has already given me the birds and the bees talk - as you no doubt know. Now, don’t make me hurt you.”
Sirius laughed and jumped to his feet suddenly, a long sword appearing his hand. “Nah, it’s how to fight without magic!”
Harry jumped backwards quickly and raised his arms, his power level leaping through the ceiling as his body reacted automatically to a perceived threat.
“Whoa, calm down,” Sirius said with a nervous laugh, taking several quick steps backwards. “No need to get excited, I’m going to train you, that’s all.”
“Why would I need that?” Harry asked, lowering his hands and pulling his power back under control.
Sirius smiled cheerfully, looking more than a little relieved. “It’s never a good idea to be to reliant on any one thing, Harry,” he cautioned the young wizard. “There may be a time in your life when it will come in useful. Besides, it looks really cool when you practice and chicks dig that sort of thing!”
“Chicks?” Harry laughed loudly, shaking his head at his godfather. “You mean girls, right?”
“Yeah, girls, although I probably wouldn’t call Ginny a chick, she’s got a bit of a temper.”
Harry chuckled and nodded in agreement. “So, how do we start?”
“You’ve got to have a sword first. As this is a dream, you can just call for one.”
Harry nodded and held out his hand, a sword appearing instantly, the solid steel blade glinting in the haze.
Sirius sighed loudly. “You’re such a git, Harry!”
“What?” Harry protested.
“Only you would bloody conjure the Sword of Gryffindor.”
Harry glanced down. “Oh.” Sure enough, the jewel-encrusted sword he’d used in the Chamber of Secrets now rested comfortably in his hand. Only the sword seemed slightly bigger than he remembered.
Sirius shook his head, amused. “Well, it suits you, kiddo. So let’s get to it.”
As Sirius showed him the very basics of sword play - how to hold a sword - Harry asked, “Sirius, do you have any idea why I’m suddenly the first full elemental, ever?”
Sirius looked away. “No, not a clue!”
“Sirius!” Harry said, recognising that his godfather was being evasive.
“It’s your dad’s fault,” Sirius admitted. “He was pretty annoyed that you had your childhood ruined to fix a prophecy and demanded that you get some form of compensation. When you got hit by that curse, it was used as an opportunity to give you the powers.”
“So it’s a gift?”
“Pretty much, yeah. You were only supposed to get Fire, but well, by the time every one of your fans got through with their demands, you ended up with everything.”
“Huh?” Harry asked intelligently.
“Cedric’s been watching you for ages, and by the way, he said to tell you ‘hi’, and he was really eloquent in arguing that you deserved more.”
Harry blinked. “Cedric?”
“Yeah, nice guy. Anyway, loads of people put their oar in, and you got boosted. All nice and above board. Now, when I attack, I want you to block like I showed you.”
The conversation turned, and the two went back to fighting, interspersing a few words with the distinctive clang of metal on metal.
Harry awoke in a great mood and feeling relaxed. He sat up in bed and jumped as his hand touched something cold. He looked down, and he was surprised to see the Sword of Gryffindor by his side.
He swung his legs out of bed and dressed quickly. He jogged downstairs, avoiding the other early rising students, and went straight to the Headmaster’s office.
Professor Dumbledore didn’t show any surprise as he entered.
“Good morning, Harry,” the Professor greeted him.
“Morning sir,” Harry replied. “Err... I think this is yours.” He held out the sword.
“You know,” Dumbledore said, as he sat back, ignoring the proffered sword. “The funny thing about that sword is that it goes where it is needed. Do you know how to use it?”
“Sirius is teaching me,” Harry said, then froze as he realised what he had just said.
“Really?” Dumbledore’s eyes seemed to be twinkling at a record level. “Pray, do tell, Mr Potter, how is a dead man teaching you?”
Harry shook his head. Holding the sword, he sat down comfortably, and began with his dream, editing it slightly for public consumption.
“So, how’s your ‘Dump Dean’ project going?” Hermione asked Ginny as they walked down to breakfast.
“If I didn’t know we were dating, I’d say that he went to a different school. I’ve not managed to get him alone yet. Not even for the promise of a snog.”
Hermione shook her head sadly. “Any idea about Harry’s response to you asking him out, now that he’s changed?”
Ginny looked worried. “Not a single clue. He’ll probably laugh at me now. I mean, look at him, he’s gorgeous and has half the girls in here after him.”
“He doesn’t seem to have noticed,” Hermione pointed out calmly.
“It’s the only thing that has stopped me cursing all of them,” Ginny muttered.
Hermione nodded, hiding her smile. “Well, after we found absolutely nothing in the library last night, I want a word with him myself.”
The two entered the Great Hall for breakfast and sat down.
“Colin,” Harry called, marching straight up to the younger boy and wrapping his arm around his shoulders. “I need something done, and you’re just the person to do it!”
“I am?” Colin said doubtfully.
“Absolutely,” Harry reassured him. “Out of everyone in the school, you’re the best person for the job.”
“I won’t let you down, Harry,” Colin said, the light of hero-worship in his eyes.
“As you know, I’m ‘not’ pulling a prank at breakfast, and I desperately need some photos taken of it. So, I need you to hide under my invisibility cloak and take as many as you can.”
“Yes, Harry,” Colin said, almost standing to attention. “I can do that. What am I looking out for?”
Harry grinned, “Oh, you won’t be able to miss it. You will have to stand still though, both Professor Dumbledore and I can see through the cloaks when we concentrate, so I’m going to hide you with the Air element as well.”
“I’m going to be inside an Air shield?” Colin gasped, as if he’d just been informed that he’d won the Wizarding Lottery, and would be spending the rest of his life as an international Play Wizard.
“Yes, come on, we’ll get you ready.”
Harry entered the Great Hall, Colin creeping behind him. He chose to sit at the head of the table, so that Colin would have the best view of the professors. He raised his hand, holding a fork so the movement didn’t look too out of place, and cast the hiding spell around the already invisible Colin.
“Morning,” he greeted his friends cheerfully.
“Morning,” Hermione and Ginny said back. They were soon joined by Ron and the rest of Gryffindor house.
“So,” Ron said, as he attacked his breakfast, “exactly what prank are you pulling?”
“Me?” Harry asked innocently. “I have no idea what you mean.”
The sound of the fluttering of many wings interrupted them, as a flock of owls soared into the Great Hall, most bringing last minute supplies and forgotten items.
Harry stroked Hedwig as she imperiously offered him her leg. She was obviously pleased with herself for being useful this early in the school term.
He unrolled the parchment, absently feeding her a slice of his bacon.
It’s about time! No problems about dating our Gin; just look after her or we’ll pound you into the ground.
Dean’s not right for her - can you believe that he hates Dragons?
But are you sure you know what you’re getting yourself into? She’s got a habit of stealing a bloke’s razor to shave her legs with. It dulls the blade and bloody hurts like the Cruciatus when you try and use it afterwards!
I figure it’s best if I just attach my comments below Charlie’s. Cleopatra (my owl) is currently heading towards France, and I’m sure you don’t want to hang around.
I pretty much agree with him, Dean’s a git! He didn’t get my joke about the Sphinx and the Werewolf!
And as for Ginny, don’t get in the shower after her, she never clears her hair out of the plughole, and half the time the water doesn’t drain.
It would seem to make sense to insert my own opinion here as well. I must say that Hedwig is a remarkably well-behaved owl. She could teach Pigwigeon a thing or two about the suitable conduct for owls.
I, too, would firmly wish to offer my blessing to you dating Ginevra. I’m afraid that Dean, while indubitably a nice person, is perhaps not at the same intellectual level as her, and shows a rather surprising disregard for the inner workings of the Ministry.
And, to offer some advice, I would recommend learning to charm your books to stop her ‘borrowing them’, as my sister has a rather irritating habit of being interested in any book you are nearly finished with.
Harry laughed to himself and folded up the parchment into his pocket, while petting and praising his owl a little more. “You better get going, girl.”
Hedwig nodded, nabbed another sausage, and flew out the Hall.
Harry glanced at his watch and turned to face the teacher’s main table.
Ron and Ginny looked at each other, and then swivelled slightly to watch as well.
At the staff table, Professor Dumbledore reached out with his left hand to grasp his glass of orange juice. On either side of him, the four Heads of House followed his movements exactly.
Albus paused, and then continued, bringing the cup to his lips.
Again, his four senior members of staff followed his actions precisely.
Very slowly Albus reached out and took a knife, cutting into an egg. He turned his head to the left, to watch Minerva and Filius, only to find him staring at the back of their heads as they too turned to the left.
He was very aware that something was wrong now but wasn’t sure exactly what. As far as he could tell without drawing his wand, there wasn’t any suspicious magic that he could sense.
He looked back forwards, now fully aware that the entire school was looking at him. He stood, the teachers standing with him, and decided that the best thing for them to do would be to leave the hall as quickly as possible, so they could determine exactly what was happening.
He walked, only to suddenly feel the magic affect him as well. He tried to fight it, only to discover that it was too late. The magic had already taken effect, and all he could do now, without putting too much effort into fighting it, was to enjoy the ride.
The table in front of him vanished, and the lights in the Great Hall dimmed. He felt his robes swish against him but couldn’t see how they were changing.
A spotlight illuminated the darkness, blinding him for a second. Unfortunately, it didn’t deafen him, as the laughter from the students was very audible. He looked down and had to laugh. His robes had indeed changed, and he was now wearing combat trousers, a skin-tight leopard print t-shirt, and black boots. His long white hair had acquired a perm, and was standing straight up.
Next to him, Severus’ hair seemed to have turned ginger and was several inches long. Disturbingly, he was now sporting an incredibly short Union Jack dress, showing of two very white, thin legs.
Filius Flitwick, whose hair was now long and blonde, was wearing an innocently cut pastel pink baby-doll dress. He had on a pair of platform shoes with what looked like 4-inch heels.
McGonagall was wearing a classic Calvin Klein black slip dress that showed off her legs. It didn’t go unnoticed that under her robes, she actually had a very nice pair of pins, which were now emphasised by some wicked-looking stiletto heels.
Ponoma Sprout, her long hair now woven into a tight ponytail, was wearing a pair of sweatpants and a shirt in claret and blue. Colours that Dean had reliably informed Albus a few years ago was the home kit of West Ham United.
Albus slid his right hand high into the air and took three quick steps forwards, then one back, before sliding gracefully into a pirouette. The four teachers followed his lead instantly, their faces involuntarily fixed into graceful smiles.
A Wizarding Wireless appeared on the raised platform, and some music started instantly.
While his fellow teachers had forced smiles on their faces, Dumbledore smiled himself out of his own volition; it wasn’t difficult for him to guess just who had caused this. Out of a school of several hundred children, there was only one with the ability to...
His thought process was interrupted as he jumped straight in the air, his arms high, before landing in a crouch. He stayed there, regaining his breath.
... to actually pull this sort of prank off. Harry. He was curious to see what the boy had to say for himself.
“I think I love you,” Ron said to Harry, his eyes wide with awe as he watched the dancing teachers.
Harry smirked. “I told you, I don’t swing that way.”
Up on the teachers’ stage, Snape and McGonagall hopped towards each other energetically. They clapped their hands together in a dual high-five, before locking their free legs around each other. They rotated counter-clockwise, before falling slowly onto their backs. Showing sprightliness unexpected in teachers, they pulled their legs back to their chest, and then powered themselves forwards, using the momentum to jump to their feet.
The students cheered loudly and started to clap, matching the beat their teachers were dancing to.
Professor Vector pulled out her wand, and prepared to try and end her colleagues dance act.
“Don’t,” Madam Pomfrey pleaded, moving her hand to block the wands path. “I’ve been wanting to see Sev’s legs for years - this is my chance.”
Vector blinked. Repeatedly. “Sev? Sev’s legs?”
The school nurse blushed.
“You’ve got a crush on our Potions Professor?”
Madam Pomfrey nodded once, sharply. “Yes,” she hissed. “Now shush, you’re ruining my show.”
Flitwick and Sprout danced to the fore next, in perfect synchronisation, despite their massive difference in size.
Filius, his hat now on the floor, jumped in to the air, executing a perfect split kick, straight over the crouching Ponoma.
The female teacher jumped to her feet behind him, and cart wheeled around the stage, before they both rejoined the line behind them.
As one, the five teachers executed a forward dance walk, bending their knees in an exaggerated fashion, before jumping high into the air, landing, and going down to their knees.
The students jumped to their feet in a standing ovation and cheered loudly, applauding through their laughter, as the music faded away.
The headmaster stood and walked over to the Gryffindor table. He was followed by his four senior teachers, who were still under the spell.
“You wouldn’t know anything about this, would you, Mr Potter?”
“If you haven't got it, fake it! Too short? Wear big high heels, but do practice walking,” Minerva agreed, then looked truly horrified at the words coming from her mouth.
Snape sneered, folding his arms, and then tilted his shoulders. He fixed Harry with his harshest glare. “Girl Power!” he agreed as well, before looking shocked and appalled.
“About what, sir?” Harry asked innocently, his face devoid of any expression.
“Our unusual display, and clothing, this morning,” Albus replied.
Harry felt Dumbledore attempt to probe his mind, and lowered his shields slightly, pulling the headmaster into a carefully constructed memory.
“Girl Power,” Snape snarled, as if he was trying to say something else.
Dumbledore had a slightly confused expression on his face. “Are you saying that you don’t know anything?”
“Not at all,” Harry said with a straight face.
“It's always the same. I never know what to wear,” McGonagall blurted, before slapping her hands over her mouth.
“If you do hear something, Harry, I would appreciate it if you could let me know,” Dumbledore said.
“Girl Power?” Snape queried, looking surprised.
“Indeed,” Dumbledore agreed sadly, and lead the teachers out of hall. As he walked in a straight line, Severus and Minerva circled him closely - in opposite directions - while Filius and Ponoma pumped their arms up and down in unison.
As the door slammed shut, the spell broke, and the teachers regained complete control of their faculties, not to mention their clothes.
“Why did you let him off the hook?” Snape demanded angrily.
“He didn’t do it,” Albus replied slowly.
“I looked in his mind; he didn’t do it.”
“Minerva, would you please investigate this prank,” Albus said, as he walked towards his office, smiling to himself. Harry had explained quite clearly why he had pulled the prank -- that he was honouring his parents and padfoot -- and promised at the same time that it would be his last. While the Hogwarts Headmaster might have had something to say about it, the mischievous old man who felt that Harry was family, held more than enough influence to lie to the others to ensure that Harry got away with his prank.
After a full five minutes of laughter, and the evacuation of the Hall towards classes, the entire senior year of the D.A. gathered around Harry, as he walked towards his Herbology lesson.
“Can I help you?” Harry asked, his left eyebrow raised.
“How did you lie to Dumbledore?” Hermione demanded.
“Now that would be telling,” Harry smirked at her, and wrapped an arm around her shoulder. “And as Head Girl, I’m sure you wouldn’t want to be late to class, now would you?”
“But!” Hermione said, as Harry grabbed Ron as well, and marched them both through the crowd.
“But nothing,” Harry interrupted cheerfully. “You have a reputation to uphold, my dear Hermione, and it would be remiss of me to allow you to interfere with that.”
“But...” Hermione tried again.
“Has anyone ever told you that you’re cute when you’re nonplussed?” Harry asked, and then paused. He made a couple of quick movements, and Ron and Hermione found themselves hugging each other.
“Because it’s really Ron’s job to do that, not mine, so I’ll see you two kids later,” he told the two of them with a smile. “Don’t do anything I wouldn’t.” With that, he ducked into an empty corridor, and seemed to vanish.
“Hermione,” Ron said slowly. “Can you move your arms?”
“Why?” Hermione asked with a smile. “Not liking me hugging you?”
“No. That I love. However, I physically can’t move my arms.”
“What?!” She tried to move, several times, before yelling indignantly. “Harry James Potter! I am going to kill you.”
Her only response was distant laughter.
Harry whistled to himself cheerfully as he walked towards the Gryffindor common room.
“Harry!” A voice behind him called.
He turned, and watched as Parvati Patil sashayed towards him. Her robes were undone, and she was wearing what he thought was a skirt that was definitely against school policy. She had nice legs, long and smooth, but they weren’t Ginny’s. There was no hint of musculature in them, and that was something that really attracted him. The amount of dreams he’d had over those same legs wrapped around him like she wrapped them around her broom had been enough to keep him warm many nights over the past year or so.
“Hi,” he said politely.
“I was wondering when the D.A. is going to start again,” Parvati said, as she closed the gap between them.
“I believe that Professor Dumbledore is going to arrange that with me tomorrow,” Harry said, moving backwards slightly.
“Harry, Parvati,” Lavender said, as she joined them. Her robes were open as well, and she placed one arm on a statue near Harry, leaning forwards at the same time. The movement allowing Harry a clear look at her abundant chest.
“I was just asking when the D.A. was going to start again,” Parvati said to her friend.
Harry was starting to feel slightly uncomfortable. While Lavender’s cleavage was impressive, it certainly wasn’t something that attracted him. He’d always preferred the slim form, right from the start with his massive crush on Cho, and Ginny had just confirmed his tastes.
“Oh?” Lavender asked, inching closer.
“Yes,” Harry said, “Professor Dumbledore and I will be arranging it tomorrow.” He closed his fists behind him, and waited.
“What are we going to be studying?” Parvati asked, as she turned sideways, and bent over to tie her shoelaces - her skirt hitching up even higher, revealing the full expanse of her leg.
“Discretion,” Harry muttered inaudibly. “We’re going to be reviewing last year,” he said out loud, still being as polite as he could be.
“Fascinating,” Lavender said, deciding to pull out the big guns - literally. She leant forwards, scratching her knee as if it itched, and then smiled up through her lashes at Harry.
Seeing his escape, Harry made a surreptitious movement with his hand, using the Wind element to knock Lavender forward, at the same time, casually taking another step backwards.
The top-heavy blonde fell into her friend, causing them both to topple to the ground.
“Are you all right?” Harry asked, helping them both to their feet.
“Yeah,” Parvati sighed, shooting foul look at her blushing friend.
“Good, I’ll see you two in class later then,” he said, as he turned and walked away fast.
He tried not to smirk as Parvati demanded, “He was in my grasp, what the hell happened?”
“I don’t know,” Lavender replied apologetically.
“Okay,” Parvati replied, giving her friend a quick hug. “Let’s skip dinner and go give ourselves a makeover. We can try again tomorrow, only this time, we’ll plan what we’re going to say before hand.”
“Harry,” Ginny said, as she approached him. “Can I borrow the map?”
Harry looked up. He was lying on the couch, his feet up, with a book in his lap. Next to him, a quill was taking notes.
“Why?” he asked, fixing her with an intense look.
“Dean’s been avoiding me,” she admitted. She had been intending to lie and say she had wanted to pull off a prank, but found she couldn’t. “I wanted to see where he is.”
“Library,” Harry stated without thought.
Ginny blinked and looked at him. “How did you know that?”
“You know,” Harry replied, dropping his eyes back to his book. The idea of Ginny and Dean kissing actually made him nauseous. “I have no idea.”
“I should curse you into next week,” Hermione said grumpily, as she sat down on the couch, causing Harry to pull his legs out of the way quickly.
“Me, I enjoyed it,” Ron grinned, “So I’m staying out of this.”
“You weren’t late for class, where you?”
“No,” she admitted.
“And you enjoyed the hug?”
“Then what’s the problem?”
Hermione put her hands on her hips and glared at Harry. “The problem is that, well, you can’t just lock up your two best friends in a hug!”
“I thought that brothers always teased their sisters,” Harry said softly, looking at her directly. “That it’s a family thing.”
Hermione’s face went several different colours, before she burst into tears and flung herself into Harry for a hug.
“Do you mean that?”
“Of course,” Harry whispered. “I told you yesterday. You and Ron have been everything to me since I got on the train at Hogwarts. You two are the brother and sister I always dreamed of. And even with things changing as we grow up, this will never change.”
Hermione smiled, her face a little blotchy, and punched him in the arm. Then she pulled Ron in to join the hug.
"Now, we just need to get Ginny in here, and we're complete."
Neville, entering the room in a hurry, interrupted them. "Have you heard the news?" he gasped.
"Dean dumped Ginny in the library. He said she was a crap kisser, and a frigid bitch!"
“He said what?!” Ron demanded, his sibling protection genes immediately kicking into high gear.
“That she was a crap kisser, and that he didn’t want to go out with her anymore!” Neville squeaked.
Harry's eyes lit up and he jumped to his feet. "Ron, promise me you'll stay away from Dean."
"Why?" Ron demanded.
"He's mine... later. But I need to check that Ginny's okay first."
Ron looked at his friend and slowly regained control over his own temper. "Good luck, Harry. Make her happy."
Harry looked him in the eyes and whispered, "I promise. For the rest of my life."
"Go," Ron encouraged with a smile.
"Accio Marauder’s Map," Harry shouted, as he exited the common room. His new-found ability to locate anyone in Hogwarts was proving to be frustratingly inconsistent. He meant to talk to Dumbledore about it, but hadn’t really had the chance yet. It had allowed him to locate Dean instantly when Ginny had asked him, but now, when he really wanted to locate Ginny, he was coming up blank.
"You just gave him permission to date Ginny?" Neville looked shocked.
"Can you think of a better man in the world?" Ron asked simply.
Harry poked his head back in to the common room.
“Actually, you can make plans to get him back after I do,” he amended his earlier instructions. “He should pay for that remark.”
His head vanished again, before it reappeared once more. “Strike that, we’ll do it together - the four of us!” His face took on a positively evil look. “He will regret saying that for the rest of his time at Hogwarts.”
Harry dashed through the halls of Hogwarts and up to the Astronomy tower, where the map told him his chance for the future was waiting. He opened the door warily, and walked in.
Ginny was pacing up and down the length of the room, a thunderous expression on her face. Taking his life into his own hands, he walked up to her and gave her a firm hug.
“So you’ve heard?” Ginny asked disgustedly.
“That you and Dean are no longer dating? Yes,” he said carefully.
“Why did he have to be such a git about it?” Ginny demanded, hitting Harry firmly in the chest, repeatedly.
“You’re not upset about losing him?” Harry asked as he carefully grabbed her hand, and held it to his chest, to stop her hitting him. He was a little surprised by her reaction to being dumped.
“Not at all,” she grumbled. “I’ve been trying to dump the git for days. It wasn’t going anywhere; but when I told him that, he shouted out that I was a crap kisser, and a frigid bitch!”
Harry shook his head; anyone with as much passion for life as Ginny was sure as hell not going to be frigid.
“He was just saying it because I hardly even kissed him,” she admitted. “I was kinda busy last year, what with the D.A. and everything, and I dunno, we just never got time to spend in a closet somewhere.”
It was a struggle for Harry not to start dancing around the room in celebration. “I’m sorry,” he said quietly.
“Why? You’re not the obnoxious asshole!”
“Give me a smile,” Harry said, deciding to try and get her out of her foul mood.
Ginny shook her head mutely.
“Come on,” he cajoled her. “Show me the Ginny that is willing to take on the Dark Tosser. Show me the Ginny that's not going to let a git like Dean keep her down."
Ginny shook her head slowly, and then smiled at him; it was a small smile, just touching the side of her mouth.
Harry looked into her eyes for a second. He suddenly had the urge to set fire to half the room in celebration. He knew he wasn’t very good at reading women, or anyone really, but the look in her eyes was familiar. It was identical to the way that his dad had looked at his mum in Moony’s Pensieve, when he had thought his mum would never return his feelings.
“Come on,” he said, the first way of getting back at Dean suddenly forming in his mind. “Let’s go to dinner.”
"I don't really want to face people, Harry."
Harry smiled at her. "I'll be right next to you, I promise."
Harry offered her his hand, as he released her from the hug, which she took.
Together, they walked down to the Great Hall. As they got there, Ginny straightened her shoulders. A look of determination appearing on her face.
"There's the Ginny I love," Harry said, opening the door before she had a chance to respond to that statement.
They walked in together and heard some people giggle at Ginny, pointing at her as they repeated what they had heard.
Harry stopped suddenly and turned to the girl next to him.
"So, you're supposed to be a bad kisser?" He decided to ignore the other part of Dean’s insult (for now), if what he hoped would happen, happened, it would be obvious to everyone that it wasn’t true.
Ginny blushed, and looked at him, a hurt expression on her face.
"How can he be sure it was you? I mean, it takes two to kiss."
"Huh?" Ginny asked intelligently.
Harry smiled, "I just think that before you accept being a bad kisser, you should have someone else check you out first."
"I just think," he repeated, making sure his voice reached everywhere in the Great Hall, "That you should let someone else kiss you, just to make sure it was you that was the bad kisser."
"And who do you have in mind?" Ginny demanded. She placed her hands on her hips and glared at him, a sure sign she was losing her temper again.
"Me!" Harry said brightly.
Ginny's jaw dropped as Harry reached out and lightly touched her cheek. With infinite slowness, he leaned forwards and softly touched his lips to hers.
The rest of the school watched in respectful silence as Harry kissed Ginny for the first time.
Ginny gasped with pleasure as she realised that she was finally kissing Harry Potter. She pulled him close, breaking the kiss for a second so that she could jump up and wrap her legs around his waist, before kissing him again as hard as she could. She was determined to seize the moment, in case it never happened again.
Harry's hands automatically dropped to support her, to the most obvious place, and found that he enjoyed the feel of her bum nearly as much as the mind-blowing kiss he was receiving. A small portion of his mind noted that he could feel her muscles, and that her legs felt as good around him as he had dreamed. He could feel her small tongue press against his teeth, and as he opened his mouth, she started to explore with absolute enthusiasm.
They finally broke, ignoring the stunned silence as Ginny rested her forehead against his.
"You are, in no way, a bad kisser," Harry gasped loudly.
Ginny giggled happily.
"So it must have been Dean. Typical. I guess; a guy can't do something right, so he blames it on everyone else."
The giggles made their way around the room, as everyone turned to Dean who looked shocked and seemed unable to defend himself.
"You love me?" Ginny asked, suddenly remembering what he had said earlier.
"With all my heart," Harry replied, not willing to hide his feelings for a second longer than he had to.
"Then why didn't you say something earlier?"
"I had to wait and hope that Dean would eventually be an idiot and let you go. I'm so pleased he did."
"So am I," Ginny said, as she leant in to kiss him again. This time they were cheered on, as Ron let out a whoop of joy - a cheer that was taken up by nearly all the other students. The teachers exchanged wry looks among themselves and smiled.
Ginny broke the kiss again.
"I have been in love with you for six years, Harry James Potter,” she told him as they broke for air. “I love you completely with everything I have and everything I am."
Harry hugged her closely, as he lowered her to the floor. He placed his forehead against hers. "Mine," he whispered in her ear. “Let’s get out of here.”
She nodded, and wrapped an arm around him, unwilling to let him go now.
As they walked up to the common room and to what Harry hoped was the first of many, many, many, snog sessions, he asked, “Is it true you leave wet towels on the floor?”
“What!?” Ginny asked.
“Or leave your hair blocking the shower?”
Ginny pulled her hand out of Harry’s and turned to face him. “Exactly what else have my darling brothers been telling you?” she demanded.
Harry was impressed she had worked out who had been talking about her. “That you also like to leave plates in your room, you’ve got a nasty temper, you prefer men’s razors to shave your legs, and like to steal books people haven’t finished yet.”
“My darling brothers told you that, and it didn’t put you off?”
“Well, no actually. I kinda thought it would be fun to see if you did them,” he admitted with a smile. “If I was to find if that stuff is true, it would mean living with you, and I liked that idea. A lot.”
Ginny favoured him with a huge smile and closed the distance between them. “You know, I was planning on asking you out myself,” she whispered, as she dropped soft kisses on the corner of his mouth. “I was going to seduce you.”
Harry gulped audibly.
“If you play you cards right,” she purred, “and help me teach my brothers the meaning of discretion, I might just let you see what I had in mind.”
Harry slid his arms around her. “Revenge later,” he advised, kissing her properly.
“A lot later,” she mumbled against his lips happily.
This story is co-written with Jaquelyne, and was an entry into the HG Live Journal Fic-a-fest
Well, here we are with the final part of Chances.
This does have the teeth rotting fluff ;-)
Thanks to Chele, John, and Cami for doing their outstanding beta job as normal - couldn't do it without you guys!
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