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This Means War
6 - Are You Listening To Me?

By Jeconais

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From: Minerva McGonagall

To: Sirius Black

Subject: Apparating

Sirius,

Please come to my office at your earliest convenience.  We need to have a discussion regarding your unusual techniques for teaching Apparating, and exactly why Mr Potter is currently suffering from a case of magical exhaustion.

Professor McGonagall.

--
Deputy Headmistress, Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry


From: Sirius

To: Reverend Moony

Subject: Erm...

Moony ol’ boy, I feel that I should make a confession about now.

After my Apparating lesson with Harry yesterday, he’s now in the hospital wing with a case of magical exhaustion, and I’m at Grimmauld place with Juanita.

S.


From: *rubbing his eyes*

To: The confessor

Subject: Re: Erm...

Who, or what, is a Juanita?  And why is Harry in the hospital wing?

It was an easy job, Sirius - only you could make it more than that.

Confess all!

Remus.


From: Facing death row

To: My best friend

Subject: Juanita.

Before you have a go at me about Harry, I should tell you that I have been summoned to McGonagall’s office to have a discussion about Harry.  I don’t think she’s realised that I left school many years ago - and I don’t think she cares either.  I feel like I am fifteen again, and it’s not a pleasant experience.

As for Juanita...  She, not what, is kinda, well, the girl I fell in love with when I was in the Galapagos Islands.

Sirius


From: and I thought werewolves had wonderful hearing

To: Mr I-was-alone-on-an-island-for-months

Subject: Re: Juanita

Excuse me?  I could have SWORN that you claimed to have spent the entire time you were there, magically exhausted as Padfoot. 

I feel an explanation is in order.  I will leave it to Min to have a chat with you about Harry.

R.


From: *looking bashful*

To: Werewolves do have good hearing

Subject: Re: Re: Juanita

Well, I was able to turn back to myself after a couple of months, but I had no real way of contacting anyone.  I didn’t have my wand, so I couldn’t send a message that way, and as I didn’t know where I was, I could hardly Apparate anywhere.  You know that my long distance Apparating is suspect.

While I was human, I met Juanita when she was walking on the beach.  For some reason, she took me in and looked after me.  It took over a month before I could even say ‘thank you’ in her own language. 

As my knowledge of Spanish increased, so did our relationship.  I could just be me with her; I didn’t have to put up a façade, or worry about my family’s illustrious history. 

When the owl arrived from Harry, with that heart-rendering letter saying a final goodbye to me, I was half devastated that I would be leaving Juanita, and half excited that I would see Harry and you again. 

After I replied, Dumbledore sent me a Portkey as a sock, and I left, promising to go back to her.  The problem was, when I got here, and I was on the run again, I couldn’t do it, not to her.  I couldn’t ask her to live like I was. 

Yesterday, I asked Harry to take us back there, so I could explain in person what happened to me.  It was also a test of his long range Apparating.  Well, he passed with flying colours.  He dual Apparated us both there with hardly any effort.

While I was explaining to Harry what had happened, Juanita - who had been waiting for me - came up, punched me out, and then kissed me senseless.  You know, I'm not sure which one had more effect on me, damn that girl can kiss!

Harry decided to intervene then, grabbed her jewellery and Apparated us both to Grimmauld place.  I didn’t even know he was going to do it.

The strange thing is, I don’t think Harry needs glasses any more.  He took them off to see if I loved her, and it was like looking into Dumbledore’s eyes, only without his years of experience. 

Sirius - Being serious for once.


From: Your friend

To: Dirty Dog

Subject: Re: Re: Re: Juanita

Only Sirius Black would escape from certain death, end up on a gorgeous island, and fall in love. 

I think I should meet Juanita; I’ll pop by later today.

As for your long distance Apparating, I still remember the time you missed, and ended up in that gay bar in London, in your Quidditch leathers.

Moony.


From: *embarrassed whimper*

To: I thought it was elephants that never forgot.

Subject: Lily

Here’s the deal.  You never tell Harry that story, and I don’t tell about that time you asked Lily out on a date in our fourth year.

Padfoot

--
woof


From: Orla Quirke

To: Harry Potter Fan Club

Subject: Heroism

Guys,

Have you seen The Prophet this morning?  It seems that Harry managed to capture a senior Death Eater and free his Godfather. 

Where is Harry this morning?

Orla

--
President of the unofficial Harry Potter Fan Club


From: Laura Madley

To: Harry Potter Fan Club

Subject: Re: Heroism

Oh No!

Harry’s in the Hospital Wing!  I was talking to one of the 5th year prefects who saw Professor Dumbledore and Professor McGonagall levitate him there last night. 

He must have been injured in the fight to capture that Pettigrew character.

What are we going to do?

Laura


From: Kevin Whitby

To: Other Fan Club Members

Subject: Re[2]: Heroism

From what I’ve heard, this is so like Harry.  He does everything himself and always puts himself in danger. 

I’ll bet he was put under the Cruciatus curse - that’s why he is in the Hospital Wing.

Isn’t there some form of reward for capturing Death Eaters? If not, there should be!

Kev


From: Orla

To: Harry Potter Fan Club

Subject: Re[3]: Heroism

That’s awful!  I can’t believe that anyone would put one of the Unforgivables on Harry.  And I heard a rumour that it’s not the first time he’s suffered from that curse. 

Ok, here’s the plan.  Laura, you’re in charge of the get-well cards.  Make as many as you can.  We could also try sending something to Ginny Weasley as well, maybe some sort of consolation card - she might be more sympathetic if we’re nice to her.

I’m going to talk to Susan Bones - she was one of the girls who were fighting over Harry that night in the Great Hall.  Her aunt is the head of Magical Law Enforcement at the Ministry.  She’ll know if Harry will get a reward for his heroism.

Orla

--
President of the unofficial Harry Potter Fan Club


From: Orla Quirke

To: Susan Bones

Subject: Harry Potter

Susan,

Hi, I’m Orla Quirke, a 2nd year Ravenclaw.  I’m currently the President of the Harry Potter Fan Club. 

I’m Mmailing to ask if you could find out if Harry will be receiving an award for capturing the Death Eater yesterday, and for freeing Sirius Black. 

At the moment, Harry is in the Hospital Wing, recovering from his injuries, and it seems like he should receive something for his heroics.

With many thanks,

Orla.

--
President of the unofficial Harry Potter Fan Club


From: Susan Bones

To: Aunt Amelia

Subject: Reward

Hey Auntie,

You’ll never guess what!  Harry has a fan club at Hogwarts *laugh*.  They just Mmailed me and asked a good question.  Is Harry going to get a reward for capturing that Death Eater yesterday?  He’s currently in the hospital wing, and I heard that he’s in a bad state. He deserves *something* for fighting the Death Eaters. 

Sue.


From: Amelia Bones (Head of Magical Law)

To: Minister Fudge

Subject: Reward

Cornelius,

I believe that it would be a good idea if the Ministry of Magic were to offer a public reward for information leading to the capture and prosecution of Death Eaters.

Amelia


From: Cornelius

To: Amelia

Subject: Re: Reward

Excellent idea.  It will make me look thoughtful and generous in the eyes of the voting public.

C.

--
Vote Fudge in the upcoming elections.  A vote for Fudge is a vote for Stability and Prosperity.


From: Amelia

To: Fudge

Subject: Re: Re: Reward

That’s wonderful to hear.  I have notified the press that you will be awarding Harry Potter 1000 Galleons for his work in capturing Peter Pettigrew.

Oh, and do stop by my office sometime this afternoon.  We need to talk about the investigation as to why Sirius Black was sent to Azkaban without a trial.  I have informed the press that there will be a full and public investigation.

Amelia


From: The Minister of Magic

To: The Head of Magical Law Enforcement

Subject: Investigation

Amelia,

Are you quite sure that we need to bother with a full investigation?  I can assure you that Millicent Bagnold followed Ministerial procedure to the letter.

I think it would be better if we just continued as normal.

Fudge

--
Vote Fudge in the upcoming elections.  A vote for Fudge is a vote for Stability and Prosperity.


From: The Head of Magical Law Enforcement

To: The Minister of Magic

Subject: Re: Investigation

Think what you like, Fudge!  I have launched a full investigation.  Kingsley Shacklebolt and Percy Weasley are in charge, and have a full remit to investigate everything that has happened recently, as well as what happened all those years ago.

The results will be fully available to the press.

If I were you, I’d consider giving the reward to Harry now, as it may be your last chance for some good press before the election.

A.


The Hogwarts Hospital wing was quite different now, when compared to how it had been the year before.  It had been a running joke for many years that Harry deserved his own wing since he was in there so much.  The joke didn’t seem quite as funny, considering everything that had been happening to him.

Madam Pomfrey had decided to do something about it, this term.  She had borrowed Hermione for an afternoon, and together they had remodelled one of the smaller rooms.  It looked the same from the outside, but inside, it had several desks, a couple of comfy couches that could either be slept on, or sat on, and had a perch for Fawkes, and a bed for Snuffles.  In effect, it was the perfect environment for Harry to be unconscious in, and for his friends to sit around in.

The desks were in place so that visiting students could do their homework, while keeping him company, and occasionally Madam Pomfrey would turn a blind eye to a student (normally Ginny or Hermione) who would spend the night there.

At the present time, the room was decorated with over a thousand get well cards, as well as small presents from grateful wizards and witches who wanted to say thank you for his efforts in capturing one of Voldemort’s key Death Eaters. 

Ginny was curled up on one of the couches, a pad of parchment perched on her knee and a text book in one hand, as she contentedly studied her History Of Magic, while keeping a close eye on her boyfriend.

Hermione was sitting down at a desk, a pile of books next to her, as she did some extra credit transfiguration homework.  She was much happier to spend all her time here now, as she had a desk to work on.  She almost preferred it, actually, because it gave her a chance to work alone and study for pleasure and not have to help everyone else out. 

Both of the girls had a better than average knowledge of first aid, almost as good as paramedic in the Muggle world would have.  They had both learnt as much as they could, recognising that it was a skill that would always be useful when you were a close friend of Harry Potter.

“What should I do about this Fan Club?” Ginny asked, breaking the comfortable silence they had been studying in for the past several hours.

Hermione paused in her writing and looked thoughtful.  “What do your instincts tell you?” she returned.

Ginny nibbled on the end of her quill, a thoughtful look on her face. 

“Part of me wants to shut it down and tell them to leave my Harry alone,” she said.  “But, I think a bigger part of me wants to encourage it.  Not for Harry, or his fame, since we both know he hates that.  But because it gives people someone to focus on.  Let’s face it, if people are in a Harry Fan Club, they are not likely to become Death Eaters.”

Hermione nodded, considering her friend’s suggestions. 

“True.  How about I do something similar to our Defence Association coins for them?  It could be like a membership card.  If we’re clever, it will also mean we can keep an eye on them at all times, and rein them in if needed.”

“If we’re going to go that far, then we should get Harry to turn them into Portkeys.  That way, if anything happens, they can always escape.”

“That’s a good idea,” Hermione praised.  “I’ll get to work on the coins, and then we’ll get Harry to make them into Portkeys when he wakes up.  I wonder why no one’s done that before.”

The two girls settled into silence once more, keeping their vigil.


Harry felt himself swim back into consciousness.  He kept his breathing regular and his eyes closed.  He wasn’t sure where he was, and didn’t want to tip anyone off that he was awake if he was in captivity (again).  He cracked his left eye, just enough to take in his surroundings, and relaxed.  He didn’t quite groan, but came close.  He still wasn’t sure how he felt about having his own room in the hospital wing.  He’d prefer to never see the damn thing again.

With his location secure, he looked around, and immediately saw his girlfriend on the couch.  She was curled up like a cat, her head on the arm, asleep.  The position she was in was the same one that had attracted his attention the year before.  She had been in Sirius’ kitchen, waiting for news about her father, and he suddenly noticed that the firelight was being reflected in her eyes.  It had been the first time he had really thought of her as something more than Ron’s little sister.

A quick glance around the rest of the room was enough to show that they were alone.  And that he didn’t have his wand.  The problem was that he felt Ginny would be a lot more comfortable in bed with him. 

He held up his hand, and concentrated hard.  Most of the times he had done wandless magic in the past had been done when he was emotionally unstable.  He had used his anger to subconsciously power it.  He wasn’t feeling anger at the moment, just a fierce desire to make sure that Ginny was comfortable, and that he would sleep better as well.

Instead of anger, he started to think about what his red haired girlfriend had done for him in the previous few days, how alive he had felt, and how loved.  He felt like he finally had something personal that was his and his alone.  The hole in his heart that had widened with Sirius’ almost death was being healed.  The best thing he could say about the kissing was that it wasn’t wet.  It was alive.  She had the ability to make his heart race, his mind blank, and his knees start to knock. 

The more he thought about it, the more he relaxed and just let his will take over.  He watched, his face breaking out into a smile, and Ginny floated into the air and made her way to him.  Freed from the confines of the couch, she stretched automatically, which allowed Harry to place her down next to him.  She snuggled into the warmth of his body, so he placed an arm around her, holding her close.

He feel asleep again, now with the airy fragrance of her hair in his nose and the soft feel of her breath across his chest.  He couldn’t ever remember feeling so content.


“Ginny Weasley!” Hermione almost yelled, as she walked in the next morning.

“What?” Ginny asked, slowly waking from one of the most relaxing sleeps of her life.

“What are you doing on his bed?” 

Ginny’s conscious mind returned with a vengeance, and she tried to sit up.  Only to find that Harry’s arm was holding her close, and showed no sign of letting go.

“She looked uncomfortable on the couch,” Harry interrupted, his voice a lot deeper than normal with sleepiness.  “So I levitated her over here.”

Ginny squirmed under his arm, so he released her.  He was pleased he did when a second later she placed a very firm kiss on his lips. 

Hermione looked amused, and sat down on the couch and waited for the kiss to end.

“How long have I been out this time?”

“Only two and a half days this time,” Hermione replied.  “If you two can manage to separate yourselves, I promised to tell Poppy when you woke up.”

Ginny smiled and reluctantly climbed out of bed.  She moved one of the couches nearer, and sat back down again, while Hermione went to get the nurse.

Harry looked at her shyly.  “I hope you don’t mind?”

She shook her head rapidly and grinned.  “I’ve wanted to sleep with you for years,” she told him honestly, enjoying the cute blush that was his response, and then continued, “I slept really well.  How are you feeling?”

“Awake,” he replied laconically.  “Which is a vast improvement.”

“Well, Hermione’s got all your homework, and she’s put aside several hours to give you a crash course in what you missed, so you’ll catch up easily.  Sirius, Remus, and Juanita have popped by, as did the Minister of Magic.”

“Fudge?”

“Yep,” Ginny grinned.  “It seems that your capture of Pettigrew was rewarded with a thousand Galleons.”

“You’re kidding me, aren’t you?” Harry groaned.

“Nope.”

Harry felt the cute redhead was enjoying this far too much.  “Everyone thinks that you are in hospital recovering from your injuries you got fighting Voldemort.”

“What injuries?”

Ginny laughed. 

“The papers are all saying that you were gravely injured in a battle with a group of Death Eaters,” she smiled.  “We felt it was better that no one knew about your Portkeys, or your Apparating skills, so we let the press run with it.  Haven’t you seen your room?”

Harry looked around wildly, and groaned again as he saw the decorations. 

“Glad to see you’re awake, Mr Potter,” Madam Pomfrey smiled as she entered the room.

Harry grinned at her.  “Well, it has been several weeks since I’ve seen you.”

“Next time, Mr Potter,” the strict nurse smiled, “just pop in for a drink.”

“Yes, Ma’am.”

She laughed softly and checked him out.  “What are we going to do with you, Mr Potter?”

Harry, moving with her, replied, “Let me leave so I can get some breakfast?”

“Well, you seem fine.  No long range Apparating for a few days, though.  You drained a lot of your magical power, and it will take some time to get it back.”

Harry nodded, deciding that it probably wouldn’t be wise to tell her of his wandless magic experiments the night before.


From: Draco Malfoy

To: Dad

Subject: Snape

Attachment: Snape_Evidence.pmt

Dad,

You may have heard some rumours about me that are not true.  They were made up to discredit me.  I AM NOT GAY!

To help clear my name with our Lord, I have attached some evidence that conclusively proves that Snape is a traitor and works for Dumbledore.

Draco


From: Lucius Malfoy

To: Son

Subject: Re: Snape

Draco,

Son, you don’t have to pretend around me.  As much as it pains me to admit, I had often thought that you were gay, and hearing what I did has only confirmed that.  We are an old family and you are not the first pervert in our ancestral line.  Just the first to be publicly exposed. 

The evidence regarding Snape is compelling, and I will pass it on to our Lord.  It might have saved your life.

Lucius


From: Lucius

To: Voldemort

Attachment: Snape_Evidence.pmt

Subject: Severus Snape

My Lord,

Draco wanted to prove that he is still a valuable member of our people at Hogwarts.  Attached is conclusive proof that Snape is the spy we have been chasing for all these years.

L.M.


From: Lord Voldemort

To: Lucius Malfoy

Subject: Re: Severus Snape

I will be calling a meeting tonight, where we will ask for Severus’ opinion of this evidence. 

I will make a public example of him.

I am pleased to see that your son is still loyal.  I will refrain from passing judgement on him until we have seen if our plans for Hogwarts take shape.

L.V.

--
Victory or Death


“Thank you all for coming,” Dumbledore said with a smile.  “It’s been some time since we have had a full staff meeting, and I thought it would be advantageous if I brought everyone up to date on what is happening at the moment.”

There was a general hum of agreement from the gathered teachers.  They had left the prefects in charge for the evening, while they had the meeting, with strict instructions that they were not to be disturbed.

Snape got to his feet, and looked at Dumbledore, clutching his arm.  Dumbledore nodded, and Snape pulled out a Portkey and vanished.

“The first item on the agenda is the House Elves’ proposal to redecorate the Great Hall for the Halloween ball.”


Harry was sitting in the Common Room, alone in front of the fire.  It wasn’t that he was feeling unsociable; he just had an aura of being unapproachable at the moment.  He really wanted to relax and with Ginny catching up on some of the sleep she had lost looking after him, he was more than happy to spend the evening alone.  Hermione was out doing prefect duties and to be honest, he didn’t want to talk to anyone else.

He frowned as he felt Voldemort knocking on his mental shields.  He had been practising Occlumency for the past year and had no problems keeping his enemy out of his mind these days.  The mistakes he had made that had led to Sirius’ supposed death, had been a major incentive for him to improve his skills.

This attack was different; it was as if Voldemort really wanted to tell him something.  Harry made a decision and jumped to his feet.  He hadn’t realised that the Common Room had emptied.  He walked over to the stairs at the entrance to Ginny’s Dorm, and concentrated hard, with his wand in his hand.  He slowly floated up the stairs, avoiding the trap to keep the boys out.  He knocked hard on the door.

The door opened slowly, and one of the Ginny’s classmates looked at Harry in surprise, noticed the way he was floating, and simply asked “Ginny?”

“Please, it’s important.”

The girl nodded and dashed to wake Ginny up.  The very fact that Harry Potter was floating outside the door, his scar a vivid red, alarmed her.  Well, actually, it scared her.  A great deal.

“Ginny, wake up!” the girl said, shaking the sleeping girl’s shoulder.

“What is it?” Ginny asked sleepily.

“Harry needs you, it’s important.”

Ginny jumped out of bed, instantly awake upon hearing those words.  She pulled a robe over her nightie, and ran to the door.  “What’s the matter?”

“Voldemort wants to talk to me,” he explained briefly.  “I need your help.”

“Dumbledore’s office?” she asked.

“Yep, come on.  We have no time to waste.”

Ginny ran down the stairs, while Harry floated down.  Together, they ran out of the Common Room, neither having any idea that the legend of Harry Potter had just acquired a new chapter. 

They arrived in Dumbledore’s office to find it empty.  Fawkes chirped a welcome at them, but offered no explanation for Dumbledore’s absence.

Harry frowned as he explained the situation to his girlfriend.

“Voldemort is trying to send me a message,” he told her.  “I think I should lower my shields and let him talk to me.”

“Are you sure?” Ginny looked pale, her long hair was loose around her shoulders, looking sleepily tussled. 

“No,” Harry admitted.  “But it might be important.” 

He looked at her pleadingly. 

“Hold me while I do it?” he asked.

“Of course,” she smiled at him, moving to the couch in front of Dumbledore’s desk and pulling him along with her.  She couldn’t have explained just how honoured she felt at that precise moment.  And how proud of Harry she was.  So many times in the past he would have done this on his own, choosing to fight his own battles.  This time he had asked for help, and asked for help from her.  It made her realise that when he said he loved her, he hadn’t been lying or exaggerating.

Harry moved over and stretched out on the couch, his head in her lap again.  He smiled up at her, trusting her to look after him, and closed his eyes. 

With a deep breath, he lowered his Occlumency shields.


There was a Death Eater meeting in progress.  Twenty of the masked people surrounded Voldemort in a semi circle.

“It seems that we have a traitor in our midst,” Voldemort hissed, and then seemed to look directly at Harry.  “And we have our special guest here.  Mr Potter has joined us to see what happens to those who betray me.  Isn’t that right, Severus?”

Voldemort pointed his wand, removing Snape’s mask. 

“It has come to my attention that our esteemed Potions professor has been passing on information to Dumbledore,” he announced to his group of lackeys.

Snape sneered at the statement.

“Might I enquire as to where you received this information?” he requested.  “I have been loyal since I joined.”

Voldemort might have looked amused, if his snake like face was capable of displaying that emotion.  “Draco Malfoy sent me a very convincing report.”

“That little toad?” Snape did look amused.  “You trust the word of someone who spends most of his time trying to chat up a guy in Hufflepuff?”

“A toad he may be,” Voldemort mused, “but he is convincing all the same.  Did you, or did you not, create a potion that fixed Harry Potter’s eyesight, and make friends with him?”

Snape blinked, surprised that the Dark Lord was aware of those actions, and that was all Voldemort needed.

Crucio,” he hissed at Snape, who dropped to the floor in agony.


Harry opened his eyes, his face pale.  “Voldemort has got Snape.  We’re going to have to rescue him.”

“How?” Ginny asked.  She stroked his hair back, letting her fingers gently brush over his scar, which still blazed a brilliant scarlet against the pale white of his forehead.

Harry thought for a second. 

“I’ll send Snape an Mmail, and we can hope Voldemort will be arrogant enough to let him read it.  We’re going to need some help,” he decided.  “Can you go and find Hermione?  I’ll send the letter to Snape.”

Ginny nodded and stood up with Harry.  She went to leave, but Harry grabbed her and pulled her into a close hug. 

“Thank you,” he whispered into her hair.

“I love you,” she replied softly, gently kissing him, before running out of Dumbledore’s office to find Hermione.

“Where are you, Professor Dumbledore?” Harry asked the empty room.  Fawkes chirped once more, in what sounded like a laugh.

Harry sat down behind Dumbledore’s desk, and picked up a quill.  It took him several minutes to write the Mmail and send it. 


Snape was in trouble; he knew that he was going to die soon, and he welcomed it.  He’d been under the curse for too long now to want to survive.  The pain seemed to last for eternity.  He gasped for breath as Voldemort removed it.

“How are you feeling, my loyal servant?  Are you looking forward to death?”

Snape looked around, feeling the contempt the other Death Eaters had for him.  He really didn’t care.  He looked down, as the sign for an incoming Mmail appeared.  He was filled with a sudden wild hope. 

Voldemort had said that Harry was watching, and at the time he felt that the idiot boy had failed his Occlumency, but he suddenly hoped that Harry knew what he was doing.

"May I read it?" Snape asked, his voice weak from pain.

"Of course, you can," Voldemort gloated.  "Just keep in mind that it will be the last thing you ever do."

Snape read the Mmail, and started to laugh - a choking, hacking laugh.

"What is so funny?" the Dark Lord demanded, surprised by the unexpected reaction to the Mmail.

Snape took a deep breath and began to read the Mmail out loud.

"From: Harry Potter

To: The Dark Tosser

Subject: My Potions Professor

Dear Tom,

It has come to my attention that you are planning on killing my Potions Professor.  While his personality is a little hard to live with at times, I'm afraid that I really can't let you do that.

At the moment, Tom, I haven't got the time to deal with a half blood like you.

I eliminated Pettigrew and freed my Godfather a few days ago; tomorrow, I am going to be busy sorting out my personal life.  As you can see, my time is limited, and I'm afraid that you are just not enough of a priority for me at the moment.  Perhaps if you had any degree of competency, I’d be more tempted to deal with you immediately regarding your rather irritating behaviour, but let’s face it: anyone who can't even kill a defenceless baby is pretty damn incompetent.

I suggest you spend some more time with Lucius and your other catamites - Draco Malfoy being gay obviously runs in the family - and when I have some time, we'll fulfil the prophecy and live happily ever after.

Well, I'll live happily ever after anyway.

Going back to Professor Snape, as I said, you're not allowed to kill him, so I have taken steps to ensure his rescue.  As soon as he finishes this Mmail in fact."

Snape looked up at the enraged red eyes of Voldemort, and said, "Harry finishes the Mmail with these words:"

The words Snape used, on Harry's behest, were crude, extremely to the point, and fully explained Harry's feelings about the Death Eaters and Tom in person. 

As Snape finished the words, the Portkey activated, pulling him through space.  The sensation was too much for him, after all the torture he had undergone, and he passed out.

“FIND HIM!” Voldemort yelled.  “Find out how he got away, find out what happened.  I demand that you bring him back so I can kill him!” the Dark Lord screamed in rage as he hopped around on the spot. Like a toddler having a tantrum, he threw his hands into the air, and cursed in several languages. 

“Bring him to me!” he yelled, in English, then started firing out random curses to anyone in sight.  “Kill him, kill them both, kill them all,” he contradicted himself in his rage.

The Death Eaters Apparated away, each asking the same question. 

“Voldemort’s a half blood?”


The staff meeting finished, and Dumbledore lowered the wards that were stopping people from receiving Mmails.  As always, the Headmaster had many more than he could deal with, but his automatic filtering put the important ones first.  He read Harry’s, and paused. 

“Would you all mind staying for one more minute?” he asked loudly, causing the teachers to sit back down.  “There appears to have been an interesting development regarding Harry, Severus, and Voldemort.”

Dumbledore used a charm on the wall behind him, and an image of his office appeared.


Snape reappeared in the Headmaster’s office, on the couch.

Harry watched from Dumbledore’s chair, letting Hermione look at the Professor. 

“He needs some of the post-Cruciatus potion.  And maybe a few other potions as well,” she pronounced, after a brief examination of the unconscious professor.

“Can you get what you need from the Hospital Wing?”

Hermione nodded, “There is no post-Cruciatus potion there, though.”

Harry nodded, as he followed his friend’s thoughts. “And we haven’t got the password to the dungeons.  I’ve Mmailed Dumbledore, but he hasn’t replied.”

“They are all having a staff meeting in one of the private rooms.  As a courtesy, they all turn off the Mmail notifications,” Hermione explained.

“Who’s the best student who could brew one of those potions?”

Ginny and Hermione exchanged a long look. 

“Probably Blaise,” Hermione admitted reluctantly, not liking having to admit that she wasn’t the best at something.

“Do we have the ingredients needed?”

“Everything but the Mandrake.”

Harry thought for a second. 

“Ok, here’s what we’ll do: Ginny, go wake Neville up, get him to harvest some for us immediately.  If he asks about permission, tell him I’m taking full responsibility.  Hermione, can you try and find Susan Bones first - she’s trustworthy - then get to the Hospital Wing and get what you need and bring it back here.  I’m going to get Blaise and bring her here.  It’s neutral territory, so she should be pretty comfortable.” 

“If you see any of the prefects we trust, send them here as well; the more people we have to help, the better.  In fact, I’ll wait here for a few minutes, as I’d rather not leave Snape alone and unconscious.”

The two girls nodded and ran out, Ginny still in her nightclothes.  “Did you notice how Harry looked sitting in Dumbledore’s chair?”

Ginny nodded and smiled.  “It will be his someday.  After he sorts out the Ministry,” she confidently predicted.


“It seems that Severus’ cover as a spy has been broken,” Dumbledore explained to the watching faculty.  “He has also been tortured.  Poppy, is there anything that you could do, that Hermione and Ginny aren’t?”

The school nurse shook her head, a touch of pride on her face.  “No, I’ve taught both girls what to do in a situation like this.”

Dumbledore nodded.  “I think that I would like all of us to stay out the way, and watch what happens.  I want to see how Harry handles being in a leadership position, with no one to turn to.  We will only step in if it starts to endanger Severus’ health.

“Filius, would you mind charming the walls, so that one follows Ginny, one for Hermione, and the other to follow Harry?”

“Of course not,” the diminutive professor replied cheerfully.

Dumbledore turned to watch the wall with his office again; if anyone had wondered what he had thought about Harry sitting in his chair, they would have been reassured by the bright twinkle in his eyes.


Hermione laughed under her breath, and continued to the hospital wing, shaking her head in admiration of Ginny’s ambitions for Harry.  She approved of them, of course, and would give them her full support.  She paused only long enough to send Susan, luckily the first prefect she met, to the Headmaster’s office.


Harry looked up as Susan entered.  “Did Hermione or Ginny explain what’s going on?” he asked. 

“No, Hermione didn’t say what the problem was, only that you needed help urgently.”

“Ok,” Harry said, while deciding exactly what to tell the prefect.  “Snape’s been a spy for our side for a long time, Voldemort found that out this evening, and has been torturing him.  I rescued him about ten minutes ago, but the teachers are locked in a meeting and we can’t contact them, and he needs the post-Cruciatus potion.  I’ve got Ginny and Hermione getting the ingredients we need.  I’m going to get Blaise from the Slytherin Common Room now; I just need you to keep an eye on Snape.

“If anything happens, Mmail me, and I’ll be back immediately.”

Susan nodded, hiding her amazement at the little details that she had just heard, and watched as Harry ran out of the office.  She shook her head, and decided questions could wait.  She conjured a damp cloth, and washed the tears and sweat off the professor’s face.

She didn’t even think to ask how Harry was going to get into the Slytherin Common Room.


Harry rushed down into the dungeons and out towards the great lake.  He pulled to a stop outside a statue of Salazar Slytherin.

“/Would you mind opening up, this is an emergency,,” he hissed in Parseltongue.

The statue blinked in surprise, and then obediently opened.  Salazar had been a Parselmouth, and had set the Common Room so that anyone with the skill could get in.

Harry entered the low ceiling room, and had a sense of deja-vu from his second year. 

“You,” he pointed at one of the girls he didn’t recognise.  “I need Blaise Zabini urgently.  Please go, wake her up.”

The girl gulped, and followed his order instantly.

“What the hell are you doing here?” the irritating voice of Pansy Parkinson demanded.

“Who are you?” Harry asked.

“I’m...”

Whatever she was going to say was stopped as Harry used the distraction of his nonsensical question to point his wand at her.

Expelliarmus, Petrificus Totalus, Incarcerous, Silencio.” 

He didn’t even look at her as she flew backwards through the air, her wand flying into his hand.  She landed in a chair, where two more curses hit, one freezing her into stone, the other tying her up in thick ropes that appeared from no where.  The final spell took away her ability to talk.

Crabbe and Goyle, who had followed the noise, started to advance on Harry - they were protecting Pansy now, so they knew they had to do something.

“Don’t even think about it,” Harry advised.  “How do you think your parents will feel when I tell them I couldn’t have captured Pettigrew without your unwitting help?”

“Huh?” Goyle grunted.

Harry was aware that most of the people in the house were now in the Common Room, watching him.  He also realised that he was on a knife-edge at the moment, both from a personal safety point of view, and for the future of Death Eater activity in the school. 

“Remember that Mmail you sent Fudge the other day?  I needed him out of the way so I could get Pettigrew on trial with out Fudge interfering.  Do you really think that your fathers would be pleased to know that you helped me out?”

Crabbe and Goyle looked at each other, their thought processes lumbering and slow. 

Harry took a deep breath before speaking.  The reactions of the students to what he was about to say could have far-reaching consequences for everyone at the school. 

“You two have been following Malfoy first, and now Parkinson, for the past six years.  Where exactly has it got you?  You’re pretty much universally hated, everyone treats you with disdain, and the people you supposedly protect treat you like dirt. 

“Why do it?”

“Dunno,” Goyle admitted, a bit reluctantly.  “Don’t know what else I can do.”

“Then stop.  Draco’s already proved that you could go against your family wishes by being gay, you can do the same.  You fight for me, against the Death Eaters and I can promise you respect; that you will not be treated like you have been.  You might even find proper friends.

“Or you can try and fight me.  And you will end up like Pettigrew - an empty shell, his soul sucked out by Dementors.  The choice is yours.”

Crabbe and Goyle looked at each other.

“Take a seat for now,” Harry said kindly.  “Get back to me with your response.” 

He twisted violently, avoiding the Hex that he had only just sensed.  He twirled, facing Draco Malfoy.  He didn’t go for subtlety this time; he threw both his hands forwards, and threw a banishing charm at the backstabbing Death Eater wannabe.  His annoyance at being attacked from behind meant he was a little enthusiastic in his magic, and Draco flew thirty feet through the air, before impacting hard against the wall.

“What’s going on, Harry?” Blaise asked, trying to interfere before this confrontation turned into a full-scale war.  She wasn’t worried about Harry, he could look after himself, and her group would fight with him anyway, but a lot of the students would only find that out the hard way.

Harry turned to her and smiled, the hardness draining from his eyes. 

“Blaise,” he acknowledged.  “Snape was betrayed by that tosspot over there, and was captured by Voldemort.” 

He paused for the standard gasp from students that happened whenever he mentioned that name.  “I rescued Snape a few minutes ago, but we need some post-Cruciatus potion.  There’s none available at the moment, and Hermione said that you are the best at making it.  I’ve got her getting the ingredients, and Ginny’s getting Neville to harvest some Mandrake at the moment.”

Blaise nodded, “Let me get my stuff.”  She turned and ran back into her dorm room.

Harry faced the rest of Slytherin house.

“Over the last five days, I’ve captured one of the senior Death Munchers, and rescued your head of house from Voldemort.  You have a choice that I want you to think about.  You can continue to be Death Nibblers, like you have been, and you will end up against me - and you will lose.

“Or you can abandon the Dark Tosser and join me in opposing that pretentious incompetent idiot.  I promise you that you will be allowed into the Defence Association classes, where you will learn to look after yourself, and will; find that serving an insane half blood lunatic was a really stupid idea.” 

He wasn’t trying to be intimidating, and his magic was firmly under control as he tried to persuade them to join him.  He was just Harry, another student, stating the facts with unalterable self-belief.  And because of it, he actually garnered more respect from the students used to the magical posturing of their peers.

“Look at the two senior Death Nibblers in your house.  Pansy Parkinson and Draco Malfoy.  Look where it’s got them.”

Draco got back to his feet unsteadily.  “Snape was a Death Eater.  He deserved what he got.”

Harry shook his head pityingly. 

“Snape is not, and never has been, a supporter of Voldemort, you idiot,” he replied.  “I was there, Draco!  He was tortured nearly to death because you betrayed him.  Snape has saved thousands of lives over the past twenty years.  There is proof that he is not a supporter.  There is no Dark Mark on his left forearm.”

“But,” Draco started.

Stupefy,” Harry sighed at him.  “I’ve not got time to waste on you right now, Draco.  Go back to chasing after Terry.”

He looked one more time at the silent students. 

“The Sorting Hat wanted to put me in Slytherin.  I begged it not to, because of the impression that Draco made on me.  You’ve got to ask yourself if this is what you want.  If being hated and feared by the other three houses is the image you want to portray.”

Harry and Blaise walked out together, leaving the students to talk among themselves.


“It looks like Harry has taken note of the Sorting Hat’s song,” Minerva said, a small smile on her face.  “He seems to be uniting the houses, one way, or another.”

The other teachers nodded, enjoying the show.


They reconvened in Dumbledore’s office; it was the first time that Blaise and Neville had been inside it. 

Blaise and Hermione set to work, while Harry, Ginny, Neville, and Susan watched.

“We have a new challenge,” Harry said.

“What?” Ginny asked.  She was a little sleepy, but having far too much fun to even contemplate going back to sleep.

“We need a way of removing Snape’s Dark Mark.  I told the Slytherins that it has gone, as proof that Snape isn’t a supporter of Voldemort.”

“So, we’re going to need a research party?”

Harry nodded.  “With our best student tied up with potion making, I think we’re going to need some Ravenclaw help.”


Dumbledore watched, and then closed his eyes, sending a message to his pet.


Fawkes squawked and flew over to a bookcase, landing on a pile of identical books.

“What is it?” Harry asked the bird, walking over to have a look.  He opened one, and smiled happily.  Hermione would kill for this type of book, since it looked as if it was some sort of an index.  You looked at the book name, and it became that book.

“Ginny, Neville, Sue, you’re on research mode.  I’m going to go borrow a few Ravenclaws.  Any preferences?  They need to be people we can trust fully.”

Neville Longbottom and Susan Bones looked at each other, and gave a shy smile.  They suddenly realised that they were also being trusted, and both quietly swore to themselves to be worthy of that trust. 

It didn’t matter to Neville that Snape had been such a git all these years; he wasn’t doing it for him - he was helping because Harry asked.

“Roger Davies and Morag McDougal,” Hermione interrupted from the corner. 

Harry laughed softly and gave his three researchers the index books and jogged to the west side of Hogwarts to the Ravenclaw Common Room.

He looked at his watch, and was surprised to find it wasn’t that late - he’d done a lot in the last twenty minutes.  He magically knocked on the door.

A second year Ravenclaw, who Harry thought was named Orla, opened the door. 

“Hi,” he smiled at her.  “Could you get Roger Davies and Morag McDougal for me?”

The girl stared at him, changed several colours of red, and then shut the door sharply in his face.  A few minutes later, the door opened again, and the two students came out, shutting the entrance behind them.

“What’s the problem, Harry?”

“I need your help on an emergency research job.  We need to find a way to remove the Dark Mark, and we need it now.”

“You never do anything by half, do you, Harry?” Roger stated.  “Why us?” 

Harry shrugged and grinned.  “Hermione’s tied up with Blaise making a post-Cruciatus potion, and she said that you two were the best.”

Morag smiled.  “It sounds like fun, lad,” she said in her thick brogue.  “The library?”

“Err no,” Harry corrected.  “I’ve commandeered Professor Dumbledore’s office.  We’re working out of there, it is neutral territory.”

The two students looked at each other, and followed Harry back to the Headmaster’s office.

“It’s for Snape?” Roger asked, in shock, as they entered.

Harry sighed, and repeated his explanation for what he hoped was the last time. 

“Snape’s a spy for us.  Draco betrayed him to Voldemort.  I rescued him earlier.  Hermione has made him comfortable, and we’re keeping him unconscious till his potion is ready.  In order to prove to the Slytherins that he is not a Death Eater, I said that he doesn’t have the Dark Mark anymore.

“These books are like an index.  When you find a book you want, in the list, you just tap the entry with your wand, and close the book.  When you reopen it, it’s the book you requested.”


“So, we have two Ravenclaws, four Gryffindors, one Hufflepuff, and one Slytherin working together,” Professor Sprout said with pride. 

Flitwick nodded, “It is good to see.  I think that I am most impressed with Harry’s ability to make decisions, after listening to the advice of the people around him.”

“I think the important question is,” Rolanda Hooch said, with a frown, “will Snape allow me to change my bet for Harry?”


“Found it!” Morag announced with a wide smile.  “I think.”

Harry closed his book, and relaxed into the chair.  He hadn’t realised exactly how comfortable Dumbledore’s chair was.  He looked down at the notes in front of him. It was a composite of everything the group had found over the previous hour.  Hermione and Blaise had joined them, while the potion bubbled merrily in the corner.

“Ok, to sum up.  The Morsmorde spell creates the Dark Mark, and is the same spell used to make the large one that they use to announce an attack.  The big one has green sparks; the one on the arm is pure black.  We know that it’s used as a communication tool by the Dark Tosser to call his Death Munchers for a meeting, and it turns red when it is being used - I saw Pettigrew’s once.

“The Mark itself attaches itself to the main artery in the arm, and worms its way to the heart, the base of the spinal column, and the back of the brain.  It can then be used to cause agonising pain, and if necessary, death. 

“Voldemort’s remote access to it is through a form of Legilimancy, and can only cause some pain and be a beacon.  For the advanced stuff, he needs to be touching it.

“The Dark Mark is a corruption of an earlier spell, which was used in primitive times as a form of tattoo that showed people’s tribal loyalties.  It ensured that people didn’t betray their tribe - and if they did, they died.  Voldemort added the pain and summoning bits.

“So, what have you got Morag?”

Morag frowned, “It’s the original spell they used, to remove the Mark from women when they were marrying out of the tribe.  It looks really difficult though.”

“Let me have a look,” Hermione said instantly.  She walked over and crouched next to the Scottish girl.  She looked up at Harry.  “I can modify this so you can do it, but it’s going to take a load of energy.  Why don’t you nip down to the kitchens and get some food, while we work on this spell.”

Harry nodded, and stood up.  “You’ve all done a brilliant job so far this evening.  We’re on the home straight now.  I can’t thank you enough.”

There was silence as he walked out. 

“Hermione, we haven’t got time to modify this spell,” Morag said quietly.  “It would take months of work.”

“Ginny?” Hermione asked, knowing it was up to her more than anyone else.

Ginny nodded slowly.  “Ok, I’ve got to ask that you don’t tell anyone what I am about to tell you.  You’re here because we trust you.  If Voldemort found out about this, it would probably mean a full scale attack against Harry, before we are ready.”

The students nodded solemnly.

“You have all seen Harry in the Defence Association, and the way he can suddenly end a duel by moving faster than you can see?”  She didn’t wait for a response to her rhetorical question.  “Well, we worked out that Harry doesn’t know what he can’t do.  He has no limits.  His upbringing as a Muggle with very little access to the outside world has meant that he has no clue what is possible and what isn’t.

“If we tell Harry that this spell will work, he will do it and it will work.  As long as he believes it.”

“Wow,” Roger said softly.  “So all we have to do is pretend we’ve made the changes, and he’ll subconsciously do the rest?”

“Yep.”

Blaise’s eyes went wide, as she leaped to her feet, picked Ginny up off the chair, and swung the smaller girl around exuberantly.  “Do you know what this means?”

“That we are going to win?” Hermione asked for Ginny.

“Exactly,” she smiled as she hugged the younger girl tightly.  “Don’t lose him Gin, because there are a lot of girls waiting to take your place.  Me included.”

“I won’t,” Ginny said with confidence.  “Believe me, I won’t.”

Blaise’s exuberance broke the ice, causing the others to relax.

Harry returned to find the others chatting, and paused to watch it.  It was the first time he had ever seen members from each of the four houses so relaxed with each other.  Even Neville seemed to be fitting in.

Harry walked into the office. “I brought some stuff for everyone,” he said as he sat back down in Dumbledore’s chair.  “How’s the potion doing?”

“About five more minutes,” Blaise replied cheerfully.

“And the spell?”

“Ready.  Professor Snape is going to need to be awake though, as he’ll need to help you fight it.”

Harry nodded.  “Then I suggest we eat.”


“Albus, I’m a little concerned about the amount of magic Harry is using.  He’s still recovering from a case of Magical Exhaustion.”

Dumbledore nodded slowly.  “I can understand your point, Poppy, but I think we should allow Harry and his friends to proceed.  They’ve already learnt more about the Dark Mark this evening than most people ever do.  We’ve been searching for a way to remove it for sometime, and could never make that spell work properly.  I believe it is more important that we allow Harry to proceed, and worry about his health later.”


“Ok, can you wake him up Gin?”

“Enervate,” Ginny said, pointing her wand at Snape.

Snape took an agonised breath, and sat up.

“Here, drink this,” Harry said, offering him a goblet full of the post-Cruciatus potion.

Snape swallowed the potion in one, and groaned in relief. 

“Thanks,” he muttered, as the potion repaired his damaged nerve endings.

“It was our pleasure,” Harry smiled.

Snape looked around, and was surprised to see how many students were there, and that Neville was smiling at him. 

“We’re going to have to remove your Dark Mark.  We can’t let Voldemort control you any more” Harry said.  “The guys have helped with the research, but we need you to help.”

“It’s impossible to remove,” Snape protested, he was still a little groggy, and didn’t want to think about what the group of students meant.

“We can do it,” Harry reassured him.  “But you are going to have to trust me.”

Snape nodded slowly, focusing only on the boy in front of him. 

“Do it,” he said, holding out his left arm.

Harry took a deep breath, and chanted the spell under his breath.  He felt like his consciousness was sucked into the pulsating evil of the Dark Mark.  He could feel Snape working with him, helping him as he pulled the strands of energy back into the Mark. 

Outside, Ginny moved over to Harry, and wrapped her arms around him; she could feel his heart racing.  She lightly wiped his forehead, removing the sweat that was starting to build up.

The mark seemed to pulse, and started to fight.  Both of them felt Voldemort attacking their minds, as the Dark Lord realised what was going on, and tried to interfere.

“Leave me alone!” Harry yelled, his mind merging with Snape’s for a brief second, and they both pushed with all their might.

The connection to Voldemort vanished and a second later, the Dark Mark did as well.

For the first time since he had received the Dark Mark, Snape smiled.  A full on, proper smile. 

“Thank you, all of you,” he said simply.

Harry smiled, and then slumped into Ginny’s arms, unconscious.

Ginny laid him down quickly and started to cast some spells; Hermione joined her a second later. 

“He’s exhausted,” Ginny diagnosed with relief. 

“I must congratulate you all,” Professor Dumbledore said from the doorway, the three other Head of Houses behind him.  “The way you have worked together was extremely impressive, and much needed in these difficult times. 

“Severus, how are you feeling?”

“Wonderful,” Snape said with an honest grin.  “I’ve not felt like this in...well, ever.”

“Minerva, will you take Harry to the Hospital Wing?  Ginny, Hermione, I’m sure you will want to accompany her.  Neville, if you go with them, Professor McGonagall will see you back to the Gryffindor Dorm.”

“I’d like to thank the rest of you, and ask that you accompany your Head of House back, and that you tell no one what has happened for now.  We will discuss it in the morning.”


From: Minerva McGonagall

To: House Heads + Dumbledore

Subject: Points

So, how many points are we going to give to whom for tonight’s work?

Min

--
*happy purr*


From: Fil

To: Dumbledore (Featuring the Head of Houses)

Subject: Re: Points

Minnie, be nice.  We all know there were more Gryffindors than the other houses put together.  I don’t see why we should award points at all.  Or if we do, we should award them equally.  Everyone worked together.

F.


From: Pommie

To: Fellow leaders

Subject: Re[2]: Points

I agree with Filius.  Susan might not have had a major part, but neither did Neville.  Harry utilised the skills he needed and everyone should be rewarded fairly.

P.


From: Sevvie

To: The guys

Subject: Re[3]: Points

Hey,

Well, I think we should award everyone’s house the same, then give Harry a few extra - managing to remove a Dark Mark and rescuing me from Wart-Face should be deserving of something - not that all the students would agree. *grin*

Sev.

--
Advocating the end of silly wand waving for fifteen years


From: Minnie

To: Sevvie & the others

Subject: Re[4]: Points

You do realise Severus that it is going to take us sometime to get used to you being in a good mood?  We’ve had years of %^$)hole Snape to deal with.

M.


From: Sev

To: Min & the gang

Subject: Re[5]: Points

Why does everyone love calling me that? First Blaise, then Ginny, and now you?

Was I really that bad?

S.

--
Advocating the end of silly wand waving for fifteen years


From: Minnie, on behalf of Pommie and Fillie

To: Severus

Cc: The be-half-ees

Subject:  Re[6]: Points

YES!

Min

--
*contented purr*


From: Albus

To: Senior Staff

Subject: Re[7]: Points

I have the solution for the point’s issue.  It seems that Mr Potter anticipated this, and left me a note with his suggestions.

-

Susan Bones: Nursing skills, Research, and looking after Professor Snape - 30 pts

Morag McDougal: Research - 30 pts

Roger Davies: Research - 30 pts

Blaise Zabini: Brewing a perfect Post-Cruciatus potion - 30 pts

Ginny Weasley: Research, support - 30 pts

Hermione Granger: Research, support - 30 pts

Neville Longbottom: Research, a perfect harvesting of Mandrake - 30 pts

For working together and overcoming house rivalries:

Slytherin house: 70 pts

Ravenclaw house: 40 pts

Hufflepuff house: 70 pts

Gryffindor house: 10 pts

Which gives each house 100 pts. 

-

I found it amusing to note that Ginny’s originally read “Ginny Weasley: Research, Support - 20 pts, for managing to be drop dead gorgeous, and insanely cute in her nightie at the same time - 50 pts,” but he crossed that bit out.

I shall award the points at breakfast tomorrow.

Albus

--
Chief Warlock of the Wizengamot and Chairman of the International Confederation of Wizards 


The students who arrived at breakfast the next morning, had one of the biggest shocks of their lives.  At the professor’s table sat Severus Snape with a smile on his face.  While that was shocking in itself, the biggest was reserved for his hair... It looked... washed?

Snape and Blaise had returned to the Slytherin Common Room to find that all of the students were still awake and waiting for them.  He had been slightly surprised by the cheer he had received.

He had answered a few questions, admitting that he had been a spy.  While he was no longer a spy, and without the Dark Mark he was a lot more cheerful, it didn’t mean he had enjoyed a complete personality transplant.  That had been proved when he had promised Draco Malfoy that he was going to make his life hell for his remaining time at Hogwarts.    The quiet round of applause that had followed his announcement showed that there had been a major change in the public attitude of most of the House’s students.

As he left for the evening, Blaise had asked him what he was going to do with Pansy.  Snape had just smiled evilly and said, “I’m sure that Harry will release the magic when he gets bored.” 

It hadn’t gone unnoticed that the Professor had referred to Harry in a familiar, almost friendly way. 

That had been the last nail in the coffin of the Junior Death Eaters.  No one wanted to be against Harry, and they didn’t want to be referred to by the derisory title of Death Nibbler either.  The main advocates for joining the Dark Lord were now too scared to do anything, so for the first time, Slytherin house was being ruled by the moderates and it meant that Blaise, being a friend of Harry’s and having worked to save Snape, was now the unofficial head.  And she was even nice to Crabbe and Goyle, who had taken to shadowing her, now.

Professor Dumbledore stood and surveyed his school with satisfaction.  He could honestly say that he was happier now than he had been for many years - almost since the first war with Voldemort started. 

As the students slowly quietened down and turned to face him, he announced, “Last night, Professor Snape’s cover as a spy against the Death Eaters was destroyed.”  After a brief discussion, He and Severus had decided to come clean with the entire student body to stop rumours about him circulating.

“He was captured by Voldemort.”  Like Harry, he had perfected the art of pausing for the shocks and gasps of horror at the mention of that name.  “And tortured.  Mr Potter then rescued him, which is the second time that Mr Potter has struck a deadly blow against Voldemort this week. 

“Unfortunately, both myself, and the Hogwarts teachers were in a staff meeting, and were unaware of this.  Mr Potter then arranged for some of our best students to work together and cure Professor Snape’s injuries, saving his life. 

“With that in mind, and on the behest of Mr Potter, who is recovering in the Hospital Wing again, I would like to award 100 points to Blaise Zabini and the Slytherin house, 100 points to Morag McDougal and Roger Davies and the Ravenclaw house, 100 points to Susan Bones and Hufflepuff house, and 100 points to Ginny Weasley, Hermione Granger, and Neville Longbottom from Gryffindor house.  These points are awarded for their outstanding teamwork and school spirit, not to mention their amazing results.  This can be seen by the completely healthy Professor Snape sitting next to me.”

The other students looked at each other, and then burst into rapturous applause, causing those who were named to blush furiously.

“Wait a second,” Morag’s brogue easily rose above the cheering.  When the noise level dropped, she asked, “What about Harry?”

Every head swivelled towards Dumbledore again, with the exception of Draco Malfoy, who was glowering.  His glowering was not as effective as it once was – not after Terry had pointed out that it was actually pretty cute.

The headmaster’s eyes twinkled merrily, “I’ll leave that up to you.  I suggest you work with Miss Quirke.”

Every head turned, including Draco’s, to stare at the second year Ravenclaw, who was blushing furiously.


From: Albus Dumbledore

To: Harry Potter

Cc: Aberforth Dumbledore

Subject: Tea

Harry,

On behalf of my brother, I’d like to invite you to tea on Friday night.  If you would be as kind as to come to my office at 7 pm, we’ll go there directly.

Albus

--
Chief Warlock of the Wizengamot and Chairman of the International Confederation of Wizards 


From: Harry Potter

To: Aberforth Dumbledore

Cc: Albus Dumbledore

Subject: Re: Tea

Dear Sir,

I would be delighted to come to tea on Friday.  Would it be too rude if I were to invite my girlfriend (Ginny Weasley) to come as well?

Sincerely,

Harry James Potter


From: Abe

To: Harry

Cc: Albus

Subject: Re[2]: Tea

Harry, please feel free to bring your girlfriend.  It will be no trouble at all.

See you on Friday.

Abe


From: Harry

To: Gin-Gin

Subject: Friday

Hey sweetheart,

I’ve been invited to join Professor Dumbledore at a tea with his brother, Aberforth (the one who’s supposed to be crazy - although how you’d get more crazy than the Professor, I don’t know) on Friday evening.  Anyway, I asked him if he would mind you coming as well, and he said it wasn’t a problem.

Love you.

Harry


From: Ginny

To: The boy I’m in love with

Subject: Re: Friday

I’d love to go, it sounds like it could be a load of fun.  One Dumbledore’s bad enough, but two in the same room could be amazing.

When are you going to play your prank on my brothers?

Your Ginny


From: Eyes as green as a freshly pickled toad

To: The poet

Subject: Re[2]: Friday

I’m thinking Saturday would be a good day - probably during the evening meal.  I’ve just got to get some advice from Remus and Sirius on how to do something, and I’m ready.

Love you

Harry


From: *blushing wildly*

To: Did you have to remind me?

Subject: Re[3]: Friday

I DIDN’T WRITE THAT.  Fred and George did to tease me.  They did apologise though, and I’ve forgiven them. 

So, what do you have planned?

*nuzzle*

Gin


From: Yeah, I did

To: Eyes as brown as freshly skinned bear

Subject: Re[4]: Friday

You know I’m not going to tell you, so don’t even try and get it out of me.  It will be a surprise.

*hug*

Harry


From: Ginny

To: At least you’re not as bad as the twins

Subject: Persuasion

Why don’t you meet me in the Common Room, and we’ll go somewhere to see just how persuasive I can be.

Ginny


From: Harry

To: Ginny

Subject: Re: Persuasion

I’m there now


From: Ron

To: The others

Subject: Rumours

Guys,

I’ve heard some really strange rumours today. 

First off: Harry saved Snape yesterday - that you know about - but the rumour is that he found a way to remove Snape’s Dark Mark.

Second: Don’t open any attachment from Harry - I’m not sure, but that might have been the way he saved Snape - it’s the only thing that made sense.

Thirdly: I think that Lavender and Parvati know what Harry has planned for us.  Every time they look at me, they start to laugh.

Finally: I’ve got to ask if this is really worth it.  I miss my girlfriend, I miss my best friend, and I even miss my sister.  I’ve had a very boring ten days, whereas my friends have turned the school on its head.

Ron


From: Percy

To: Ron

Subject: Re: Rumours

Ron,

I know it’s hard at the moment.  But we are acting in people’s best interests.  We’re protecting Ginny till she is old enough to look after herself.

Perce.

--
The information in this Mmail is confidential and may be legally privileged.  It is intended solely for the addressee.  Access to this Mmail by anyone else is unauthorized.  If you are not the intended recipient, any disclosure, copying, distribution or any action taken or omitted to be taken in reliance on it, is prohibited and may be unlawful.


From: Ron

To: Perce

Subject: Re[2]: Rumours

Perce, does Ginny really need protecting though?  Mum and Dad don’t seem to think so.  She’s certainly happy at the moment; in fact, I can’t remember her being this happy.  She’s glowing.

If we’re doing this for her, why are we going to take that away?

R.


From: The Dragon Master

To: Those who don’t know the glory

Subject: Re: Rumours

Ok, I’ll avoid any Mmails from Harry.  Not that I have received too many from him.  I wouldn’t worry too much about Lavender and Parvati; it’s possible that it’s just your haircut.

C.

--
Draconis dominium


From: The curse breaker

To: Egypt is lovely this time of the year, you should try it

Subject: Re: Re: Rumours

Ditto on the Mmails.  You know, despite everything, I’m kinda nervous about this prank of Harry’s.  It’s like a weight just hanging there.  I wish he’d just get on with it.

Bill


From: We told you so

To: Siblings

Subject: Re: Re: Re: Rumours

WE TOLD YOU SO.  Look, if you’re all so proud, let’s just accept the prank, then apologise and get on with our lives - that way no one loses face.

F&G


From: Percy

To: The faint hearted ones

Subject: Perseverance

Guys, I know that it is uncomfortable waiting for the hammer to drop, but we are doing the right thing.

Percy

--
The information in this Mmail is confidential and may be legally privileged.  It is intended solely for the addressee.  Access to this Mmail by anyone else is unauthorized.  If you are not the intended recipient, any disclosure, copying, distribution or any action taken or omitted to be taken in reliance on it, is prohibited and may be unlawful.


“You look amazing,” Harry smiled at Ginny.  She was wearing a light yellow dress, similar to the one that had entranced him the day she had made her apology.  He pulled her into a hug, just wanting to feel the soft warmth of her body pressed against him, and buried his face in her hair.  “I probably don’t say this enough,” he confessed, “but I love you, Ginny Weasley.”

She smiled into his chest, snuggling in a little.  “I always feel so safe and warm when you hold me,” she whispered, her soft voice barely reaching him.  “It’s like I know that you will never let anything touch me, never let anything bad happen to me.  I feel like I’m the most important person in the world.”

Harry felt his heart leap as he listened, and he tightened his hold on her.  “You are the most important woman in the world,” he whispered back to her.  “You always will be.”

Ginny tilted her head back, and watched as Harry smiled with his eyes, then leant forwards and touched his lips to her.  It was a kiss of pure emotion, not passion, as they told each other through touch what they had said in words.

Arm in arm, they walked out together, neither of them even noticing the faintly nauseous expression on Ron’s face.


“Harry, if you could Apparate us to Llanddewi Skirrid, it would save a lot of time.”

“Apparate us there?” Harry asked with a grin, “I don’t think I can even pronounce it.”

Dumbledore laughed heartily and smiled as Harry grabbed his and Ginny’s hands and Apparated them.  He got them through the wards so quickly that his two guests didn’t have time to see the void.

They arrived outside St David’s Church, the sound of a W.G. Vowles Pipe Organ echoed through the air.  Harry and Ginny turned in a full circle slowly, taking in the bucolic surroundings. 

“That’s Skirrid Fawr, or Holy Mountain,” Dumbledore said quietly, as they gazed upon the outcrop that almost seemed to hang above the village.  “Farmers used to bring soil from one of the Valley’s down and spread it on their fields.  They thought it was a panacea for numerous farm related ailments.”

There was a thin veil of mist that seemed to hang in the air, lending the whole scene an air of unreality. 

“Abe’s house is this way,” Dumbledore smiled, and walked off.

Harry shrugged off his jacket and draped it around Ginny shoulders.  They were both wearing Muggle clothing.  She shot him a grateful smile, looped one of her arms though his, and they strolled off together.

Albus smiled to himself, as he led them to a small cottage on the outskirts of the village.  He opened the gate, and then paused as a goat ambled up to him.

“Albus, so very good to see you again,” the goat said cheerfully.

“And you too, Michael.  How are things?”

The goat seemed to smile, “Good. Good.  Good company, good grass, what more could a goat ask for?”

“A very good question,” Albus smiled.  “We are expected.”

“Of course,” Michael backed up a few steps, and bowed in welcome.  “Abe’s waiting for you inside.”

The three walked in together, and were immediately hit by the wonderful smell.  “Abe, you’ve made your stew!” Albus sounded delighted.

“I could hardly have such distinguished guests and not,” Aberforth replied cheerfully.  His long white hair seemed freshly washed, and he was wearing simple wizard robes in dark brown. 

“It’s nice to meet you, Mr Dumbledore,” Harry said, offering his hand.  “I’m Harry Potter and this is my girlfriend, Ginny Weasley.”

“I think that, for this evening, you shall call me Abe, and Albus Albus.  With two Dumbledore’s in the house, it could get confusing.”  He shook Harry’s hand warmly, and then kissed the back of Ginny’s.

Albus rolled his eyes, “Now, you turn on the charm,” he grumbled.  “You didn’t do that the last time I brought a lady here.”

“That was 1922,” Abe protested.  “And she was hardly a lady.”

“I was courting her!”

“Exactly!” 

Ginny giggled softly, while Harry was looking at Aberforth with his head tilted.  “You’re the barman at the Hog’s Head,” he stated.

Abe nodded.  “Guilty as charged.  It’s one of my roles that I do as a favour for Albus here.  It’s amazing what people tell a disreputable barman when they have had a few too many drinks.”

Harry laughed.  “I’ve got to confess, that when the Professor said that you had practised inappropriate charms on a goat, I didn’t think it meant that you had charmed them to talk.”

“What did you think?”

Harry blushed and refused to answer.  Albus and Aberforth looked at each other, and then roared with laughter.

“What?” Ginny asked, looking faintly confused.  Harry leant in and whispered in her ear.  A second later, Ginny turned the familiar Weasley red, and then burst out laughing.

Abe moved sharply around his cottage, and took the jacket from Ginny’s back.

“Sit down, all three of you.  Would you like a drink?”

“Please,” Harry said, sitting on the uncomfortable looking couch.  Ginny sat next to him immediately.  They both looked shocked as the couch morphed, moulding itself to them.

 “Wow,” Harry half groaned.

Aberforth looked delighted.  “Wonderful chair, that one.  Picked it up in Hong Kong back in 1937.  Charmed to fit anyone perfectly.  Of course, one of China’s Warlords was most upset I got it before he did.  I was persona non grata around there for quite some time.”

He vanished into a small alcove and returned a second later with four steaming mugs, which he passed out with a smile.  “Drink up, there’s plenty more where that comes from.”

Ginny took a small experimental sip, and then gasped in pleasure.  “What is this?”  It tasted a little like Butterbeer, but only in the way that Dom Perignon tastes a little like cheap wine.

“My own personal recipe, I made it just before the first war.  Of course, that was before the Wizarding world got a hold of it, corrupted it into that junk you drink, and patented it.  I’ve never forgiven them for that.”

“Wait a second,” Albus interrupted, looking shocked.  “Are you telling me that you leaving the Wizarding world was over a drink?”

“Well of course, what did you think it was?”

“Well, their incompetence and mismanagement during the first war.”

“Don’t be silly, Albie, I’d never leave over something as unimportant as that.”

Harry and Ginny watched the two brothers banter back and forth, and laughed together.  They already liked the thinner version of their headmaster.

A chime struck melodiously in the background.  “I hope you’re hungry,” Abe said as he jumped to his feet.  He had the same sprightly energy of his brother.

“If we weren’t before, the smell alone is enough to make us,” Harry admitted. 

Aberforth walked over to the kitchen area.  Four plates leapt out of the cupboard and moved over to the cauldron where generous portions of the stew obediently leapt out of the cauldron and onto them.  To one side, a freshly baked loaf of home made bread conveniently sliced itself into eight wedges, of which two attached themselves to each plate.  A knife and fork jumped out of the cutlery tray and floated along besides the plates.

“Shall we sit at the table?”

The three guests stood and walked over to the table.  The table walked away from them.

“Stop that,” Aberforth grumbled at it.  “I’m sorry, damn table has a mind of its own.  Made by a Swiss wizard at the turn of a century; it has ideas above its station.”  He walked over and kicked it firmly.  The table yelped, and then settled down.

Harry sat opposite Ginny, leaving the two Dumbledores to face each other.  A plate landed in front of each of them.  The two teenagers exchanged a long look.  They had seen wandless magic before, but never with such an amazing ease and careless competence.  If their professor was good, his brother was an absolute master. 

They dug in without ceremony, the bread tasted amazing, as did the stew.

“Antipodean Opaleye dragon eggshells?” Albus asked.

“Nope,” Abe replied with a happy smile.

“Powdered bicorn horn?”

“You’ve said that one before.  Back in the summer of ’76, during that heat wave.”

Albus looked disgruntled.  “Shrivelfig?”

“Nope.”

“What are you asking?” Harry enquired.

Aberforth grinned.  “Albus has been trying to guess what goes into my stew for years, he’s been remarkably unsuccessful.”

“It’s Marjoram,” Ginny blurted, without thinking about it.

Albus looked at his brother. “Is this true?”

Abe looked reproachfully at Ginny and sighed, “Yes.”

“A Muggle spice?”

“Yep.”

The ancient and venerable professor shot to his feet, and danced an unholy jig; he jumped into the air and clicked his heels together. 

“100 points to Gryffindor,” he cried happily.

“Oh Albus, do sit down, you’re embarrassing yourself,” Aberforth complained bitterly.

“No I’m not,” Albus replied happily.  “I’m embarrassing you.  It’s a completely different thing.” 

“I’m sorry,” Ginny apologised, blushing.

“Not your fault, my dear,” Abe smiled at her.  “He still hasn’t worked out what goes into my Butterbeer.”

Albus stopped, mid dance, and frowned at him.  “I don’t suppose you’d just tell me?”

“Not on your life, my dear older brother.  Not on your life.”


After the dinner, which Harry claimed was as good as anything that had ever appeared from Molly Weasley’s kitchen, they sat back down on the wonderful seats.

“Now Harry,” Aberforth said, “I actually invited you here to talk a bit about wandless magic.  What do you know about it?”

Harry sat a little straighter in his chair, and frowned thoughtfully. 

“Well, wandless magic is simply that, it’s doing magic without using the magical core of a wand as a focus.  It’s a lot more difficult to do, but is obviously a lot more useful as well - especially if your wand gets taken, or you’re duelling a brother wand.  It’s powered by strong emotions, normally anger, or hate.”

“Excellent,” Aberforth praised cheerfully.  “Have you tried any doing it with any other emotions?”

Harry nodded, “A couple of nights ago, I did some consciously, and I wasn’t angry at the time.”

“What did you do?”

He blushed slightly.  “I levitated Gin from a couch into bed with me.”

Aberforth roared with laughter. “Wonderful.  Could you demonstrate now?”

Harry nodded, and smiled reassuringly at his blushing girlfriend.  He looked into her eyes, and slowly started to think about what she meant to him, again.

Ginny found herself entranced, like the first time they had kissed properly, and she had felt the core inside of him.  She could see the core this time, she could see inside him, and it took her breath away.  She didn’t notice that she was floating - all she could feel was the raging inferno inside him, and she knew she was safe, that she could understand it.

Harry lowered her back to the couch, and leant forwards.  He’d seen inside her, she’d opened herself as much as he had, and it took his breath away.  He’d seen her desire, her love, her acceptance of him, and it had affected him to his heart. 

Gently, they kissed, their audience forgotten, reaffirming their vows to each other.

Unselfconsciously, they turned as one to their octogenarian hosts. 

“Excellent,” Abe smiled at them.  He didn’t mention the kiss; he felt privileged to have witnessed it.  He had been able to sense the emotions they had been experiencing, and it was almost breathtaking.  It was exactly the sort of thing that Voldemort would never, could never, understand.  “Can I see your wand?”

Harry nodded and handed it over.

The ancient wizard walked over to his fire, and pulled out a stick.  He cut it to a similar length, and then concentrated hard.  The stick seemed to blur, before appearing as a perfect replica of his wand.  He handed the stick to Harry, and the wand to Albus.  “One of my teachers, a frightfully intelligent chap I studied under in the Himalayas in the last century, did this for me.  I want you to use this fake wand at all times.  It will allow you to practise wandless magic, in public, so no one will know.”

Harry looked at his professor, who nodded cheerfully, his eyes twinkling merrily.  “Thank you.”

Aberforth wandered over to a set of drawers, and rummaged through them noisily. 

“Lost something?” Albus enquired.

Aberforth pulled his head out of the drawer to show his brother a foul look.  “Not all of us have an office full of paintings to remind us where we have put everything.   Ahh, here we go.”

He walked over and held out his hands to Ginny and Harry.  “A small token for your visit.  I got them from a delightful couple in Venice forty years ago.  I think they will appreciate being owned by you.”

Harry and Ginny took the two necklaces, which were a small amber stone with a rune carved in the side.  They immediately put them around their necks, and then gasped.

Abe smiled cheerfully.  “See, I knew they would work for you.  They will allow you to feel each other’s emotions.  I’ll leave it to you to work out how to use them properly.”

“Thank you,” the two said softly, touched by the gesture.

“My pleasure.  Now, did I tell you about the time that Albus and I went on holiday, and Albus was arrested for an incident involving two nuns, a salami, two pints of red sauce, and the small dog named Jarvis?”


From: Harry

To: The remaining marauders

Subject: Prank

Guys,

Can I pop by sometime today? I need a bit of advice for the prank.

Harry


From: Padfoot

To: Harry

Cc: Moony

Subject: Re: Prank

Harry, pop by for lunch.  Juanita wants to talk to you and she’s promised to cook.  Moony’ll be here.

S.

--
woof woof


From: Lav

To: The boy who is gonna prank

Cc: Parvati

Subject: Costumes

Harry,

The costumes are done and look good, if I do say so myself.  We’ve got to ask though, why this?  I mean, there is a lot more embarrassing stuff you could do to them.

Lavender


From: Harry

To: My favourite seamstresses

Subject: Re: Costumes

That’s great news.  I’ll pick them up this afternoon.  Please keep them away from Ginny - you know how determined she can be. 

As for the prank, I’m kinda between a rock and a hard place.  Obviously, I need to do something big just from a pride point of view.  But I can’t do anything too humiliating.  I will not be the cause of a big rift between Ginny and her family.  I know that at the moment, she wouldn’t mind, but I do.  I want my best friend back.  I want to know that I’ll be welcome by everyone at the Burrow this summer. 

Besides, I have a plan.

Harry


From: Harry

To: The members of S.P.O.T

Subject: Help

Ladies,

Hermione has told me that you are willing to help with my prank on the Weasley boys - in return for front row seats.

The prank will be this evening, at around 7pm.  I can provide Portkeys that will get you to Hogwarts, but I need something put into the boys’ food.

Can I arrange to meet with you, and ask that you add it to whatever they eat this evening?

Regards,

Harry.


From: Fleur

To: Darling Harry

Subject: Re: Help

Harry, I can meet you at the 3 Broomsticks at 3 pm.  It will be good to see you again.

Gabrielle asks about you often; she was devastated to learn that you have a girlfriend now.

Fleur


From: Tonks

To: Harry

Subject: Re: Help

Wotcha, Harry.  I’ve got a problem: Charlie’s gone back to Romania for a few days.

T.


From: Penelope Clearwater

To: Harry Potter

Subject: Re: Help

Harry,

I would be delighted to offer my assistance this evening.  Percival is doing some over-time at the office this afternoon.  I’ll be in our flat all day.

Regards,

Penelope


From: K & A

To: Our favourite seeker

Subject: Re: Help

Not a problem for us.  We said we’d bring the boys some sandwiches later today.  Pop by anytime. 

Looking forward to the show.

K&A


From: Hermione

To: Best friend

Subject: Re: Help

Harry, do you really need my help with poisoning Ron?

H.


From: Harry

To: The other important female in my life

Subject: Re[2]: Help

Actually, no. :-)  Dobby’s already volunteered to help out with Ron.  Professor Flitwick’s helped with a couple of charms I needed.  Padfoot and Moony have helped with the powder that I need to make them do what I want.  Lav and Parv have done amazing jobs on the costumes.  I’ve got permission from Professor Dumbledore to make a few modifications to the Great Hall, so I think I am all set.

Harry


Harry Apparated to the square outside Tonks’ house, and knocked on her door.

“Alright, Harry?” Tonks grinned at him as she opened the door.  “Come in.”

Harry followed the Metamorphmagus into the small two bedroom flat, and smiled as he looked around.  All the furniture was pushed against the walls, leaving the floor completely clear.  As he remembered how clumsy she could be, he guessed it was a good idea.

“So, should I bother to ask how you got here when you should be in school?”

“Probably not,” Harry grinned at her.  “I need your help.”

“I told you Charlie’s in Romania?”

“Yep, but that’s not important.”  He leant forward and grabbed her hand, as he’d found out from Ginny earlier where Charlie was.  A second later, they arrived at their destination.

“You just dual-Apparated us to Romania?” Tonks asked, stunned.

“The Carpathian ridges, to be precise,” Harry grinned.  “And yeah, it’s a little skill I picked up.”

“What do you want me to do?” Tonks sighed.

“Charlie should be in that camp over there.  They’d recognise a small white boy, but certainly wouldn’t recognise a disguised Gypsy.”

Tonks shook her head and laughed softly.  “Fine, wait here.”  She walked off towards the dragon camp, and as Harry watched, she seemed to blur as she shrunk and her clothing changed.


From: Harry Potter

To: Professor Snape

Subject: Help

Professor,

If I was to tell you that it was the Weasley Twins who redecorated your dungeon into pink a few years ago, would you then be interested in giving me a hand later?

Harry


From: Professor Severus Snape

To: Mr Potter

Subject: Re: Help

Harry,

Where exactly are you?  Half the school is abuzz with the idea that you’ve vanished, and are off fighting Voldemort single-handedly.

To be honest, I’ve wanted revenge on Fred and George for many years, so yes, I will help.  What exactly do you require?

Oh, and I have to thank you for the final words to Voldemort. I can’t tell you how long I have wanted to say that to him.

S.

--
Advocating the end of silly wand waving for fifteen years


From: Harry

To: Professor Snape

Subject: Re[2]: Help

Professor,

I’m in Romania at the moment.  I’ve just asked Tonks to put some stuff into Charlie’s food. 

As for the help, at around 6:55 pm today, I’m going to need a hand creating a stage in the Great Hall. 

A grateful Harry


From: Sev

To: Albus

Subject: Harry

Albus, just to put to bed some of those ridiculous rumours, Harry is currently with Tonks in Romania. 

He has asked me for some help creating a stage in the Great Hall this evening.  I have agreed.

S.

--
Advocating the end of silly wand waving for fifteen years


From: Albus

To: Severus

Subject: Re: Harry

I am pleased to hear that.  I did give Harry permission to visit the ladies he has asked for help, and while I did not expect him to end up in Romania, I cannot say that I am surprised.

I am delighted to see the two of you working together.  While I hesitate to say it, I have mentioned in the past that Harry is not his father, and it is nice to see you seeing him for himself.

Albus

--
Chief Warlock of the Wizengamot and Chairman of the International Confederation of Wizards 


From: Snape

To: Smug git

Subject: Re[2]: Harry

Why don’t you just say “I told you so,” and be done with it?

Yes, you were right.

Happy?

S.

--
Advocating the end of silly wand waving for fifteen years


From: Albus

To: Severus

Subject: Re[3]: Harry

Yes.  Would you care for a lemon drop?

Albus

--
Chief Warlock of the Wizengamot and Chairman of the International Confederation of Wizards 


Harry relaxed and watched the clouds rush by.  He’d cast a warming charm on himself, so he was quite comfortable despite the altitude.  He found himself wishing that Ginny was here, and decided that after this was over, he’d bring her to visit Charlie.  It would be nice to actually see dragons in their natural habitat - especially when they weren’t standing between him and a golden egg.

“Mission successful,” a small Gypsy announced in a voice that could only belong to Tonks. 

“Excellent,” Harry smiled as she morphed into a tall girl with long blonde hair.  “Do you want to come back to Hogwarts with me?”

“Sure.”

Harry reached out and touched her hand, not bothering to stand up.  A second later, they appeared outside Dumbledore’s office.

Tonks looked at Harry in complete shock as he opened the door, and walked up, knocking on the door to the office.

“Come in, Harry, Nymphadora,” Dumbledore called.

Harry wandered in and took his normal seat.  Tonks followed afterwards, visible shock in her eyes.

“So, is everything ready for this evening’s entertainment?” the Headmaster asked cheerfully.

“It all seems to be going to plan so far.”

“And how are you doing?” he asked Tonks.

“It’s impossible to Apparate into Hogwarts,” she blurted out, still stunned by what she had just experienced.

Harry laughed softly.  “I’ll leave you to it,” he said as he walked out.

“Not impossible, my dear Nymphadora, just extremely difficult.”


Harry sat with Ginny and Hermione, eating dinner.  He had a vague nagging feeling that he had forgotten something.  He was also very nervous; it was his first major prank after all.

“Relax,” Ginny smiled warmly at him.  “It will be fine.”

“Eeek!” Harry squeaked.  “Bugger!  I know what I’ve forgotten: your parents!”  He looked at his watch, “I’ll be back in two minutes.” 

He sprinted out of the Great Hall, ignoring the looks from the other students and the teachers, and Apparated as soon as he was out of sight.

He appeared outside the Burrow, and knocked on the door.

“Harry?” Molly asked, looked rather surprised to see him there. 

“Is Mr Weasley in?” he smiled reassuringly, showing that nothing was wrong.

“Yes, we’ve just finished dinner.”

“Excellent,” Harry smiled at her.  “I forgot to warn you that the prank is going to happen in about fifteen minutes.  I’ve come to make sure you are there to see it.”

Arthur, who had followed his wife into the kitchen, smiled with anticipation.  “Let me get my camera, and we’ll go immediately.”

“Are you sure we’ll make it?” Molly worried, as she pulled on a coat.  “It normally takes ten minutes to walk from Hogsmeade.”

Harry smiled reassuringly at her.  “Who needs to walk?”  With Mr Weasley back, camera in hand, Harry grabbed both of their hands and Apparated them to the Entrance Hall. 

“It’s...” Molly started, only to be stopped by her husband.

“For a normal wizard, my dear, it is; but for our Harry, nothing is impossible.”

Molly quieted down, and followed Harry into the Great Hall.  All the students turned to watch as Harry led the two parents in. 

“Mum, Dad,” Ginny shouted with pleasure, jumping out of her chair, and running over to hug them. 

Further down the table, Ron suddenly paled as he realised that the only reason that they would be here was if the prank was about to happen.

Harry pulled out his fake wand, and removed the hiding charm from a row of chairs that were placed in front of the Teachers’ desk. 

“I’ve prepared some comfortable seats for you,” he smiled at the two people who were the closest things to real parents he had.

“Excellent,” Arthur announced happily.  “I’m so pleased you didn’t forget us.”

As they sat down, Harry pulled off his robes, revealing a Muggle style tuxedo.  He ran his wand through his hair, causing it to look like it was supposed to be a mess, as opposed to its normal casual mess.  The clothing made him look a few years older; the tight jacket emphasised his broad shoulders and swept down to his trim hips.  The effect on the female population of Hogwarts was the same as if all the males had just seen a Veela.  A soft groan echoed around the Hall as Harry noticed his shoelace was undone, and bend to tie it.

“Wow,” Hermione said, “he looks good.”  She said it in the same way a sister would compliment her brother.

“Good enough to eat,” Ginny agreed.  She licked her lips and looked at him hungrily.  She paid no attention to anyone else staring at her boyfriend; she was secure enough now to know that she would be the one he kissed later. 

The first of Harry’s other guests started to arrive, using the Portkeys he had provided.

“Fleur,” Harry smiled happily, reaching up to kiss her on the cheek.

“’Arry, It’s soo good to see you,” the blonde half-Veela gave him a hug.

Harry led her over to the chairs, and suddenly frowned as he noticed the dazed expressions on his male schoolmates’ faces. 

“Can you turn it off please?” he requested under his breath, referring to her Veela powers.  He noticed that the only other two men who weren’t affected were Professors Snape and Dumbledore, both of whom were well skilled in Occlumency and the art of protecting their minds.

Fleur blushed prettily.  “I’m so sorry,” she whispered back.  “It’s automatic.” 

Ginny was watching them closely, and smiled broadly as she realised that Harry had not been affected by Fleur’s Veela powers. 

Hermione was frowning; Ron hadn’t been so lucky, and it looked like he needed a napkin.

The next guests to arrive were Sirius, Juanita, and Remus.  Harry greeted them with a hug each, and welcomed them.  All three were smartly dressed, and had proud looks on their faces.  Sirius and Remus looked almost young again.  The freedom Sirius now had, and the presence of Juanita, was helping heal the damage of his years of wrongful imprisonment.

“He doesn’t do things by half, does he?” Sirius said to Molly with a large grin.  His pride in Harry, and his anticipation could be seen by all.

Penelope Clearwater appeared next; she, too, was smartly dressed.  She greeted Harry with a hug, and sat down next to Juanita.

Ron was now extremely pale.  His mind was running through all sorts of scenarios, and he contemplated trying to escape.

The rest of the student body had heard the rumours about Harry’s prank, and had absolutely no intention of moving anywhere.

Tonks appeared next.  While she had been in the castle, she had decided that she wanted to appear to arrive like everyone else.

Finally, Katie and Angelina arrived; they waved at a few of the members of the current Gryffindor Quidditch team, and sat down.

Harry nodded to Professor Snape, and together they created a large stage, complete with lights, at one end of the Great Hall.  Harry walked to the front, and nervously stood in front of everyone.  He used his fake wand to cast a sonorous spell on his throat. 

“After having your breakfast interrupted last week, I thought it only fair that I made up for that interruption by providing you with some Saturday evening entertainment,” he announced to the patiently waiting students.  He looked at his watch, and as it turned to exactly seven pm, Ron vanished with a pop.


Six Weasley brothers all found themselves pulled through space by a Portkey at the same time.  They appeared together in the Potions Dungeon in Hogwarts.  The door was firmly locked, and they found out a second later that they didn’t have their wands.

“What are we doing here?” Charlie asked.  He was the most surprised, having been in Romania only a few seconds ago.

They all turned to Ron, who now looked slightly green.  “I was in the Great Hall.  Mum, Dad, all your partners, and the Marauders have just arrived.  This is it.  This is Harry’s prank.”

Fred and George glared at their brothers.  “Right, you lot!  No more!  After this, we are telling Harry and Ginny sorry for interfering, and letting them know they have our blessing to continue their relationship, however they see fit.”

“But,” Percy said.

“No buts, Perce,” Bill interrupted.  “I agree with them.  It was a laugh to start with, but enough is enough.”

Their clothes seemed to blur for a second, as the boys involuntarily changed into the costumes Lavender and Parvati had modified.  Looking at themselves and each other, they all groaned as they realised the full extent of Harry’s prank.

“I can’t go out like this,” Charlie moaned.  “I’d never live it down if anyone heard about it.”

“Did I mention that Dad has his camera?” Ron asked, looking at his own outfit in distaste.


“So, without further ago, let me introduce tonight’s main act, Weasley, Weasley, Weasley, Weasley, Weasley, a-n-n-n-n-n-d Weasley.”

Behind him, one by one, the six boys appeared, to laughter and wolf whistles of approval.  Colin, who had been appointed official Photographer by Harry, started to take pictures of everything immediately.

Katie and Angelina looked at each other, and licked their lips. 

“They look good, don’t they?”

“Oh yeah!  We’ll have to thank Harry later.”

Ginny turned to Hermione, and whispered, “Have I mentioned that I love that boy?”

“A few times,” Hermione smiled at her.

“Well, I do.  A lot.  This is so much better than the pranks I had in my mind.”

The six boys stood there awkwardly till Harry started the music, and the Muggleborns cheered loudly, instantly recognising the disco classic.

Bill moved to the front first, suddenly finding he had no control over himself.  He was wearing small black boots, and tight white trousers.  He had a large black belt around his waist, with a black plastic Muggle pistol and fake handcuffs.  Above that, he had a blue shirt and a white cravat.  He had a black jacket, with stars on the lapel on top of that, a black helmet with a white sun visor finished off his outfit.

Young man,” He sang to the disco beat, “there's no need to feel down.  I said, young man, pick yourself off the ground.  I said, young man, 'cause you're in a new town there's no need to be unhappy.

Fleur looked at the handcuffs with interest, and licked her lips.  She’d always had a thing for men in uniform.

Charlie danced to the fore next, he was wearing brown boots and incredibly tight blue jeans, which were ripped in several revealing places and he was blushing furiously.  He had a brown tool belt around his waist, an unbuttoned white shirt showing off his hairless chest, big sunglasses, and a white safety hat, with a single lightning bolt emblem.

Young man, there's a place you can go.”  Charlie took a deep breath, and continued, “I said, young man, when you're short on your dough.  You can stay there, and I'm sure you will find many ways to have a good time.”

Tonks’ mouth dropped open, and she made an instant decision that Charlie’s exclusion from the bedroom was over.

Together, all six of them lined up at the edge of the stage.  The students were completely into the song now, and their partners were having hysterics.  Even Minerva McGonagall had a smile on her face.

It's fun to stay at the Y-M-C-A,” they brothers sang in unison.  They acted out each of the letters, by first throwing their hands apart in the air, then bringing their hands down to form the M.  The jumped to one side, and held out their arms in a half circle, before finishing with their hands above their heads once more.  “They have everything for young men to enjoy.  You can hang out with all the boys.”

“So that’s where Draco goes for his holidays,” Dean shouted over the music. 

Percy danced to the centre next, after they all repeated the chorus.  He looked absolutely horrified at his costume.  He was wearing tight black leather trousers that left absoleutly nothing to the imagination.  His leather jacket crossed his bare chest with silver chains, and his leather cap had a biker’s emblem on the front.  He didn’t even notice that he had acquired a large black moustache.

Young man, are you listening to me? I said, young man, what do you want to be?  I said, young man, you can make real your dreams. But you got to know this one thing!” he sang, his movements jerky as he tried to fight the magic controlling him.

Penelope was sitting formally on her chair, a slight smile on the edge of her lips.  Only the very faintest hint of colour in her cheeks showed how much she was enjoying the sight of her boyfriend in leather.

Fred shimmied his way to the front next.  He had looked at George as they started, and they had both shared a laugh.  He was more than happy with his costume, and admired the effort and thought Harry had put into the prank.  He was already planning on working with his twin to duplicate the effect in a sweet.  He leapt into the air and slid on his knees.  The leather chaffs of his cowboy outfit meant he slid easily, before he jumped back to his feet and strutted along the edge, playing to the crowd.  He tilted his large cowboy hat, pulled apart the leather waistcoat he was wearing, and sang, “No man does it all by himself. I said, young man, put your pride on the shelf, And just go there, to the Y.M.C.A. I'm sure they can help you today.”

They all moved together to do the chorus again, before it was George’s turn.  He spun dramatically on the spot, before falling to his knees, leaning back, and thrusting his crotch forwards.  He could hear Katie and Angelina scream, as they had with Fred, and he smiled wildly.  He couldn’t remember the last time he’d had so much fun.  His tight white navy suit glistened in the bright light, while his neckerchief flapped around him.  He pulled out the white baton and swung it in tune with beat.  “Young man, I was once in your shoes.  I said, I was down and out with the blues.  I felt no man cared if I were alive. I felt the whole world was so tight.

Ginny stood from her chair; she was half laughing and half beaming with pride.  She undid her robes, and placed them on the chair behind her.  Beneath them she was wearing jeans and a t-shirt, both of which had been chosen to emphasise some of her more salient features.

“What are you doing?” Hermione whispered.

“Have you ever tried to wrap your legs around a boy when you are wearing robes?”

“Yes.”  Hermione admitted, as she blushed slightly.

“Then you know that it’s difficult,” Ginny stated.

“So you’re going to be wrapping your legs around Harry?”

“As soon as his prank is over,” Ginny admitted happily.

“Why?”

“Well, partly because it would irritate the snot out of my brothers, but mainly because I really want to kiss him at the moment.  He deserves it for managing to do the impossible: getting all my brothers at once, and doing it in a way that they can’t take permanent offence over.”  Further conversation was derailed as Hermione suddenly became completely fixated on the stage.


Ron was the last, and he had to admire Harry’s thinking here.  It was obvious that Harry was getting revenge for what Ron had done to him.  His costume was the most revealing, a full Red Indian, complete with feathered head set.  He had a large belt with beads hiding his black underwear, and was wearing thick furred boots.  He knew that he would never, ever, live this down while at school.  Or at home, as he saw his father taking as many photographs of him as he could.  “That's when someone came up to me, and said, young man, take a walk up the street. There's a place there called the Y.M.C.A.  They can start you back on your way.

The boys moved together, and ended the song with Fred, George, and Ron crouched down at the front, their three older brothers stood behind them, their legs spread wide, and their arms in the air.

The cheer that rocked the Great Hall was deafening, as was the laughter that followed.

Harry stood; tear tracks from his laughter visible down his face.  The boys were locked in place, and would be till he released them from the spell.  He walked to the front of the stage.

What he was about to say was forgotten, as Ginny ran down the Great Hall and leaped on him.  She wrapped her legs tightly around his waist, used them for leverage, grasped his face in her hands and kissed him as hard and as passionately as she could.

Harry’s hand automatically flew around her, supporting her, as he kissed her back, his exultation from the successful prank ensuring that he matched her passion.

Four of the boys winced as one, straining against the magical bonds they were in.  Two of the boys, who happened to be twins, laughed softly.

“You think that Gin would be able to teach Katie to kiss like that?” one of them asked.

“Dunno,” the other responded, “but you have to admire her lung capacity.”

“Fred! George!” The others said as loudly as they could.  “That’s your sister!”

“Exactly,” Fred snapped.  “And she looks incredibly happy!  It was all very well, us playing with her life from afar, but take a look at her.  Take a long bloody look at her.  She’s happy, in a way I haven’t seen in years.  In fact, she has the same look in her eyes as when she was younger, before that crap with the diary.”

“They’re right,” Charlie admitted reluctantly.  “I guess I was still seeing Ginny as the eleven year old Harry carried out of the Chamber.  It’s pretty damn obvious that she has grown up since then.  And that is one impressive kiss.  I’d still rather not see it, though.”

“Yeah,” Bill sighed audibly.  “One second she’s knee high to a grasshopper, bouncing around with so much cuteness it should be illegal, and the next she’s all grown up…and doesn’t she at least have to breathe?  Bloody hell, she’s still kissing him.  Look, I’ll admit that she seems really happy, but does she have to continue to do that in front of us?”

“This means I can get my sister, girlfriend, and best friend back,” Ron said happily.  “Harry really loves her, you know.  You should have seen them yesterday in the Common Room; they were so sickly sweet together, I felt nauseous.  But, after seeing this, nothing could get any worse, so I guess I can handle it.  And damn it, I know they are both fit, what with playing Quidditch, but you’d think his arms would be hurting now, with holding her up.  I’m kinda surprised Snape isn’t stopping them.”

Ron glanced up at the teachers, who were watching with amused expressions.  The students themselves were still laughing and cheering them on.   “As soon as she takes her lips off Harry, we’ll tell her that she’s won, and I can go back to having a great life.”

Harry slowly broke the kiss, and smiled at her, completely ignoring the cheering in the Great Hall.  He slid her down the front of his body, twisting her around so that his chest was resting against her back.  His hands wound around her small waist and she intertwined their fingers together. 

Ginny wiggled slightly, and found one of the problems of having her boyfriend taller than she was – she couldn’t reach her target, and only rubbed herself against his thighs.

“I’d like to thank the ‘Invincible Weasley Boys’ for their entertainment this evening,” Harry announced, after casting another Sonorous charm on himself.  “Gentlemen, rather than let this escalate into a full scale prank war, I have a proposal for you:  A Quidditch match.  The six of you, plus one guest of your choice, against a team that I put together.  If you win, I’ll stop dating Ginny.  If you lose, you give us your blessing.”

“We agree,” Percy announced instantly, before the others could say a word.

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Author Notes:

There was a really interesting reaction to Juanita.  Some people like her, some loved her, and some detested her.  Juanita is a character that I would never normally use, as one of my rules for writing fanfiction is never to pair a canon character with an original character.  However, Moony expresses my feelings on it below.

I also received some flack for my review whoring.  Well, I've enrolled in a five step plan to get me off the streets, so we'll see how that goes.  To reassure people, it's never been my intention to stop writing this.  It might take me a bit to write these parts, but I'm sure as hell not abandoning it.

A word on chapter lengths:- This part is 58 pages long, which is stupidly long.  Following chapters will NOT be the same length.  It does however, kinda give an argument against my review whoring though – because if I was really doing it, I could have posted the last two parts as seven separate parts.

As always, I have a few people to thank for this:

Jaquelyne Hawkins: For encouraging, supporting, and helping me through this. 

Tarkas: For channelling Hermione and noticing several gaping mistakes in this, the least of which being my inability to count.

Cliodne: As always, for all her hard work in this.

And last, but not least...

AllieKiwi my excellent new PS.net assigned beta