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This Means War
7 - Honest Abe

By Jeconais

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From: Fred & George

To: The Tosser

Cc: The rest of you lot

Subject: What the hell was that?

Percy, you absolute git! What the hell are you playing at? 

We thought that we made it absolutely clear. WE LIKE HARRY!  WE ALSO LIKE OUR SISTER!  IN FACT, WE LIKE BOTH OF THEM TOGETHER!

If Harry hadn’t sent us back when you agreed, we would have laid you out!

Fred and George

--
EXTREMELY IRRITATED


From: Back at Dragon Camp

To: All those back home

Subject: Re: What the hell was that?

Fred, George, calm down.  Getting your blood pressure up like that isn’t going to help.

I’d like an explanation too, but it will have to wait, Tonks has just shown up...and I think I like the look in her eyes.


From: Bill

To: Everyone else

Subject: Quick...

Guys,

Agree with C.  Fleur’s here and she’s got the handcuffs...


Ginny pushed Harry into one of the comfy chairs in the Gryffindor Common Room, and sat down firmly in his lap.  She had been waiting to get him alone since her brothers had disappeared as soon as they had accepted his challenge.  Once they were gone, he then sent everyone else home, before returning the Great Hall to its normal state, and retired to the Common Room.

“How could you gamble with our future like that?” Ginny demanded, really not liking his high-handedness in proposing a bet that affected both of them.

“Who said I was gambling?” Harry asked with an amused look in his eye.

“You told them that we would stop dating if they win.  I call that gambling.”

Harry laughed under his breath.  “We’re not going to lose; I know who I want on our team.”

“But how can you be so sure?  My brothers are all good at Quidditch; Ron is the best keeper since Oliver Wood, Charlie is probably as good as you are, and Fred and George are legendary as beaters.”  She was starting to look really worried now.

“I am positive that we are going to win,” Harry said softly, his hand reaching up to brush a lock of her hair behind her ear.  “Besides, it doesn’t matter if we win or lose.”

“What!?”  The petite redhead looked horrified, and slightly betrayed.

Harry moved to his feet from under her again, and lightly leant over to kiss her hair.  “I told them I would stop dating you.  If, by some freak of nature, we should actually lose, I’ll just ask you to marry me early.  We won’t be dating then, we’ll be engaged. 

“I’m going to get some sleep; it’s been a hectic day.  Love you.”  He kissed the stunned girl one more time, then wandered off to bed, a smirk hidden on his face. 

Ginny watched him go, shaking her head in disbelief as she tried to think her way through what he had just said.

She smiled slowly, before starting to laugh. 

Harry Potter was going to marry her one day! 

She stood and twirled on the spot, her arms out wide, laughing in happiness.  First the prank, then a promise of marriage; she wasn’t sure that she could be any happier.

She ignored the strange looks she was getting from the other students, as she made an instant decision.  There was no way that Harry was getting away with that.  She ran up the stairs to Harry’s dorm, and pushed open the door.

Neville looked up in shock, as he was in the middle of removing his trousers, and blushed furiously.  “Ginny,” he croaked.  “You’re not allowed up here!”

“Oh pish,” Ginny said, waving her hand dismissively at his complaint before she dived through the curtains surrounding Harry’s bed.

“Hi?” Harry said, looking at her.  He’d already undressed, and was lying on his bed, wearing only a pair of white silk boxers - a gift from Sirius.

“Did you mean what you just said?” she asked, crawling over to him.

“Yes.”

“You do realise that you don’t just tell a girl you are going to marry her, then walk away, don’t you?”

Harry shook his head, “Seemed logical to me.”

Ginny swung a leg over him, and sat on his stomach, fully dressed.  She licked her lips slowly, as she looked down at the chest she had only felt through his clothes before. 

“Quidditch really agrees with you,” she mumbled, as she slid her hands over him, experimentally.

Harry groaned softly, causing his chest muscles to move under her fingers.

Ginny shook herself mentally.  “Ok, Potter, when you tell a girl something like that, you have to give her the chance to respond.  You don’t just walk off, leaving her in a daze.”

“Sorry,” Harry said, an obviously fake look of attrition on his face.  “What exactly is a proper response from a girl?”

“She gets to snog him senseless,” Ginny grinned, as she leant down to do exactly that. 

It was some time later that a dishevelled girl climbed out of Harry’s bed, still fully dressed, and walked slowly to her dorm room, idly wondering where Ron was.


Harry grinned happily to himself, and yawned.  He hoped that next time they could reverse the roles a little, as he was very, very, interested in seeing Ginny topless.  He watched as she reluctantly climbed out of his bed, and made her way back to her dorm.

He couldn’t help wondering how she would react when he did eventually propose to her. 

As a sudden thought hit him, as he remembered just how tight the jeans she had chosen to wear were, so he leaned forwards to peer out of the curtains surrounding his bed.  “Neville.  Take your eyes off my girlfriend’s rear, you prat.”

“But she saw me undressing,” Neville protested.

Harry glared at him. “I don’t really care.”

Neville gulped, and closed his curtains quickly, muttering to himself that he should have been able to at least look at her in return.


From: Bill

To: My wonderful brothers

Subject: Harry

Guys,

Have I ever mentioned how much I love Harry? He’s the perfect person for Ginny, and would be a really good addition to our family.  I think we should have a word with our Gin to make sure she doesn’t lose him.

I think that last night, was without a doubt, the best night of my life. 

Do you think Harry would tell me where he got the handcuffs?

Bill


From: Exhausted but elated

To: Male siblings

Subject: Re: Harry

I couldn’t agree more.  Any man who gives us a gift like he did last night has to be admired and accepted. 

Tonks wouldn’t even allow me to take the hat off...

Do you think we should get our partners to Mmail Gin with tips on how to keep him?

C.

--
Draconis dominium


From: Percy

To: The quintet

Subject: Re: Re: Harry

Well, yet again I seem to have descended into prat hood.  I wonder if Mum dropped me on the head as a baby, as I seem to have an almighty gift for saying the wrong thing at the wrong time.

I’m afraid that I was so embarrassed by the prank last night, that I quite forgot that no one else wanted to continue this silly feud.

And after Penelope’s rather convincing display of the benefits of working with Harry, not against him, it occurred to me how I have misjudged the situation.

It does seem very obvious, now, that Harry is more than capable of looking after our sister, and that he would be a most welcome addition to our family. 

Penelope did mention that Ginny is determined that Harry will become Minister of Magic after defeating Vol...It’s very hard to even write his name, but I think we have been afraid for to long.  Voldemort. 

Having the Minister in the family would be an added benefit.  Not to blow my own horn, but I would make an excellent campaign manager, and secretary.  I believe that I have the political nous to expedite their campaign.

While I am still uncomfortable with the idea that Ginny is growing up, I do feel that she should be encouraged to continue her relationship.

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: The youngest

To: Older ones

Subject: Re: Re: Re: Harry

I think I need to go to see Madam Pomfrey, because the only way I’m going to get rid of this smile is with surgery.

I’ll be apologising to them today, and telling them that we approve of their relationship.

Damn, it’s bloody good to be me.

Ron.


From: Why are we the sensible ones?

To: Sex obsessed hypocrites

Subject: Re: Re: Re: Re: Harry

How wonderful it is to see such a display of family loyalty.  Harry gets us all laid, and all of a sudden you lot accept him?  And offer to give advice to Gin of a similar nature?

What happened to finding a unicorn?  Protecting her virtue at all costs?

You’re damn lucky we agree with the result, if not the method, or we’d restart the prank war from when we were ten.

Now that you’ve all accepted Harry and Ginny going out (and more, if we read the tone of your Mmails) how are we going to handle this Quidditch match?

Forge & Gred

--
Weasley's Wizard Wheezes – coming soon to Diagon Alley.


From: Grinning like a Mummy

To: Other happy chaps

Subject: Quidditch

Guys,

Fred and George raise a valuable point.  What are we going to do about this Quidditch match?  The last thing we want is for them two to split up over this - Gin would never forgive us.

Bill


From: Grinning like a dragon

To: Dear brothers

Subject: Re: Quidditch

You know, I’ve heard a lot of people say that Harry is the best Seeker since, well, me.  Sure, we’ve had fun playing at Mum and Dad’s, but this is better.  I want a shot at Harry.

Come on guys, we need to take this seriously, prove that we are the best, and then we can be magnanimous in victory and tell them that they can continue to date.

That way, not only have we proved that we are the best, we’ll have made our sister happy.

Charlie

--
Draconis dominium


From: Grinning like a cauldron bottom

To: The non-political arm of the Weasley Foundation

Subject: Re: Re: Quidditch

Why Charlie, you actually used a word with four syllables.  It’s a pleasure to see one of my siblings glorifying in the freedom of expression that the English language allows us to utilise.

As for the match, I agree.  While my skills are not up to your standard, I feel that I will be able to hold our own.

Who are we going to get for the seventh?  It’s a pity Gin is on the other side, as I have heard many reports of her skills as a chaser.

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.


From:  Grinning like a chess piece

To: I like the idea of the Weasley Foundation

Subject: Re[3]: Quidditch

Yeah, Gin is a first class chaser.  She’s also a pretty hot seeker; perfect back up for Harry on the team.

As for the seventh, I guess the girls are all out - they’ve made their affiliation plain.  Pretty much the entire school is on Harry’s side, so all my friends are out, too.  Dad’s out, as well - I’ve never seen him laugh as much as he did last night.  How about Lee Jordan?

Ron


From: Fred

To: George

Subject: Family

Do you think we could ask nicely and join Harry and Ginny’s family? I’m sure they have a lot more fun and a lot less testosterone than we have to deal with.  These gits just don’t seem to get it, do they?

*sigh*

F.


From: Left hand man

To: Right hand man

Subject: Re: Family

I’m not sure that I’ll forgive them for making us be the sensible ones.  Here’s what we do: we’ll play along, then Mmail Harry and Ginny and take them out to dinner.  We’ll then apologise properly, and explain what is going on to let Harry deal with it. 

G.


From: The two with a life

To: Those who need to get one...Grinning like a huh?

Subject: Re: Re[3]: Quidditch

Lee can barely sit upright on a broom, so he’s out.  We’ll beg Alicia, she owes us a favour, and so it might work.

F&G

--
Weasley's Wizard Wheezes – coming soon to Diagon Alley.


From: Fred and George

To: Our benefactor

Cc: Our darling sister

Subject: Tonight

Harry,

Can you please meet us at the Three Broomsticks for dinner?  We’re guessing that you can easily sneak out (if not, let us know and we’ll take care of it) as we really want to talk to the two of you.

George and Fred

--
Weasley's Wizard Wheezes – coming soon to Diagon Alley.


From: Harry Potter

To: D.A. Members

Subject: Meeting

Guys,

Just to confirm, we’re having an extra D.A. meeting today @ 2pm in the Room of Requirement.  We’re going to be working on the new Shield spell that Hermione has found.

Please let me know if you can’t make it. 

As always, if you want to bring new people, you can, as long as you let me know beforehand.

Harry


From: Harry

To: The girls with magic in their fingers

Subject: Costumes

Lav, Parv,

Can you please turn up early for the D.A. meeting, around 1-ish?  I want a private talk with both of you.

Thanks,

Harry


From: Gin

To: The Spy-master general

Subject: Harry

Hermi,

Can you keep an eye on Orla today?  If you can suggest that she ask for Harry to get an Assistant Professorship for his reward, I’d be grateful.

I think that it would look great when he runs for Minister, and he might get a private room out of it.

Ginny


From: The Dark Queen of Slytherin

To: Marietta Marionette

Subject: Cho

I want you to persuade Cho that Harry still fancies her, and that his feelings for Ginny are down to the slut putting out.  I want you to get Cho to kiss Harry in front of Weasley, ending their relationship.

If you do this, I will consider your debt fully paid.

Pansy

--
Purity is truth


Ron sat down opposite Harry and Ginny.

“Can we help you?” Ginny asked coldly.

Ron took a deep breath.

“Look, I wanted to say I’m sorry for being a pigheaded jerk,” he blurted.  “Harry, you’re my best friend, and I should really have trusted you.  Ginny, you’re my only sister, and you did kinda prove last year at the Ministry that you don’t need us trying to run your life.”

“Why did you do it?” Ginny asked.

“Because it was automatic, and as ashamed as I am to admit it, it was fun.  We were trying to protect you, partly because, as boys ourselves, we know what boys are like.”

Harry noticed Ron’s eyes flickering over his shoulder, so he shifted to have a look.  As he expected, Hermione was standing there, giving Ron the encouragement he needed.

“So you’ve accepted our relationship?  Why now?” Ginny looked suspicious, as Harry watched quietly, letting her handle it.

“Last night kinda made me see things a lot clearer.  But these past few weeks, with everything you have done, kinda made me feel that I was really missing out.  You know, forced introspection.  I’m not that good at thinking; I tend to let Hermione do that for me.  So, without her, I had to think for myself.

“And, to be honest, I miss being a part of what is happening in the school.  For the past few weeks I’ve been like everyone else, watching you three change the school from the sidelines, and I really don’t like it.

“Ginny, I’m sorry for trying to interfere with your relationship with Harry.  I won’t apologise for Dean though; he wasn’t good enough for you.  I should have realised from that start that Harry is.”

Harry shifted his eyes, looking at his girlfriend.  Ron’s lack of trust had hurt him a lot more than he would admit.  It wasn’t the first time. 

Ginny climbed to her feet and hugged her brother.  “Don’t do it again, Ron,” she whispered into his ear.  “I don’t think Harry will forgive you next time.”

Ron nodded slowly, “I know, Gin.”

Harry stood, in that instant fashion of his, and stared at Ron for a second.  Ron looked slightly nervous, as he became the latest recipient of Harry’s stare.  Eventually, Harry held out his hand.

Ron looked at it, then grabbed it and shook it, before pulling Harry in for a brief, but heartfelt, hug.


“You wanted to see us?” Lavender asked, as she entered the Room of Requirement with her friend.

Harry was sitting behind a large desk, working on some paperwork.  Both girls noticed how much he looked like a Professor these days. 

“Please, take a seat,” he said, casually creating two with a couple of negligible flicks of his wand.

They both sat down, the feeling of facing a Professor increasing geometrically.  They both admitted to themselves that it suited him down to the ground.  His bright green eyes seemed to glow as he smiled at them.

“Tell me about your plans for when you finish school,” Harry eventually said, after a small pause.

Lavender and Parvati looked at each other, and then turned back to Harry. 

“We feel that Madam Malkin’s has become stale,” Parvati said.  “The basic robes a wizard wears hasn’t changed in over fifty years.  There’s been no innovation for nearly that long.  Have you ever wondered why the new heating charms aren’t built into cloaks?”

“It’s the same for Witches,” Lavender continued, taking over from her friend and roommate.  “Some of the robes are downright ugly, and yet we are expected to wear them.  We feel that there is an opportunity available in the market, right now, for a new range of magically enhanced, fashionable, robes.”

“How are you going to do this? Financially I mean,” Harry asked, his face not giving any clue to what he was thinking.

“We’re not sure,” Lavender admitted in a low voice.  “Neither of us is rich, so we’re hoping to get good jobs first, then save our money to open the store, while designing and sewing in our spare time.”

Harry nodded slowly.  “That’s not the ideal solution, is it?”

“No,” Parvati admitted.  “But that’s the only way we can see to do things right now.”

“I have a proposition for you,” Harry said, leaning back in his chair. 

The two girls looked at each other nervously and leaned forwards, attentive expression on their faces.

“I will give you a thousand galleons to set up the store, in return for ten percent of your company.  You will both run the store on your own, with no interference from me.  I’ll simply be a silent partner.”

Lavender gaped at Harry for a second, then leant over and pinched Parvati hard.

“Ouch,” Parvati replied, giving her friend an annoyed look while rubbing her arm.  “We’re not dreaming,” she stated, her eyes slowly widening.

“Then Harry really did just offer to make our dreams come true?” Lavender asked, almost in a state of shock.

“Yes,” Parvati replied, not much better off herself.  Then she turned to face Harry, realising that they were ignoring him.  “Why, how?” she stuttered, not sure what she was asking.

Harry laughed under his breath, and settled back in his chair, idly folding his legs in front of him.  “I received a thousand galleons from the Ministry as a reward for capturing that rat Pettigrew.  I really don’t need the money,” he confided.  “And this isn’t the first time I’ve been in this situation.  The last time, I donated the money for another couple of students to fulfil their dream, and it has worked out admirably.”

“Fred and George!” Lavender blurted.  “We overheard them talking about how they had lost all their money betting on the Quidditch World Cup.  You gave them your winnings from the Tri-Wizard tournament.”

Harry nodded silently.  The memory of those events still gave him the occasional nightmare, and Cedric would always live with him, but he no longer allowed it to affect him.

“Thank you, thank you, thank you,” Parvati said, bouncing on her chair.  “Thank you.”

Harry smiled at them, as he reached down next to his chair, and chucked a heavy moneybag on the desk in front of them.

Both of the girls’ eyes went even wider, as they had never seen so many galleons in one place before. 

“If you want, we can go to Gringotts and open a business account for you,” Harry suggested after a moment, as the girls stared with a combination of shock, happiness, and disbelief at the bag that represented all their dreams.  “It should allow you some money to get materials for some stock before you open.”

“How can we get to Gringotts before Christmas?” Lavender asked, her mind slowly returning to her.

Harry grinned impishly.  “You have a free period tomorrow afternoon, don’t you?”

They nodded.

“We’ll go then.  Don’t worry; I’ll clear it with Professor Dumbledore.”

They nodded in unison, shock still clearly imprinted on their faces. 

“Why don’t you two go back to the dorms?  I’ll take you through today’s D.A. lesson when you are a bit more focused.

They nodded again, and walked out silently, the money cradled in their hands.  It wasn’t till later that they realised they hadn’t even said goodbye to the boy who had made their dreams come true.


Harry grinned to himself, as he turned back to the paperwork on his desk.  He’d started assigning homework in the D.A. to make sure that the concepts were being understood.  He was finding it a useful tool to check the levels that each student was on, so he could make sure that no one was falling behind, and if they were, take steps to bring them back up to speed.

He smiled, as he felt someone approach him.  “Hi honey,” he said quietly.

Ginny walked around the desk, pushed his chair back and climbed into his lap, her knees on either side of his legs.  “That was probably the nicest thing I have ever seen anyone do, Harry Potter.”

He flushed a little under her praise.  “I don’t need the money, Gin, and they did an amazing job on your brothers’ costumes.  Their idea about magically enhanced clothing is a good one.  It also shows that they have put some serious thought into it.  With that in mind, I’m more than happy to help them out a little.”

“Why didn’t you just give them the money?  Why the sudden interest in running a business?”

Harry looked thoughtful.  “I guess I want to earn my way through the world.  I don’t want to spend my days living off my parents’ money.  When I gave Fred and George that money, I just wanted to get rid of it.  I knew they needed it, and they are family, so I forced them into taking it.  I thought that we would need some laughs during the war, and they are the best at providing that.  It wasn’t till later that I found out they had made me a partner. 

“So when I was thinking about giving away this money, I realised I could give it to Lavender and Parvati, get something back, and have a pretty steady source of income.  As much as I like them, they aren’t family.”

Ginny shook her head slowly.  “You are amazing,” she said as she leant in and touched her lips to his, “absolutely amazing.” 

The two didn’t move from the spot for several minutes, enjoying the time to kiss without interruption.

Eventually, they separated, smiling lovingly at each other.  “So, what’s the plan for today, Professor?”

Harry poked Ginny in the arm.  “Less of the Professor, please.  We’re going to cover the Shield spell Hermione came up with.  I want you to work with Luna; she seems to be missing the basic concept behind the simple ones we did last week.  See if you can bring her up to speed, and help her with today’s.

“I’m going to have Hermione working with some of the third years, and Blaise with some of the fifth year Hufflepuffs.

“I’m going to take everyone else, and do a demonstration first, and then go around helping make sure everyone can get it.”

Ginny nodded slowly, a playful look in her eyes.


Severus Snape cast the invisibility spell on himself; it was always strange to watch yourself slowly slide out of sight.  “How do I look?”

Minerva McGonagall smiled slightly.  “Invisible,” was her dry comment.

“Indeed,” Filius Flitwick agreed.  “Excellent work, Severus.”

“Are you sure this is necessary?” Albus Dumbledore asked.  “I’m sure Harry would welcome you into the D.A. without this subterfuge.”

“That’s not the point, Albus,” Snape said, his voice echoing eerily.  “We want to see how he handles it normally, not when he’s on display.  And as the only person with experience in being a spy, I’m the obvious choice.”

“As you wish,” Albus said softly, his eyes twinkling with hidden amusement.


Lavender and Parvati turned up late for the meeting to Harry’s surprise, and they instantly walked over to Ginny’s group. 

“Ginny,” Lavender said quietly, as she followed Luna’s examples and tried to cast the Shield spell.  “Is Harry a leg or a breast man?”

“What?” Ginny croaked, suddenly turning the familiar Weasley red.

“You know what Harry did for us, earlier?”

Ginny nodded.

“Well, we’re doing your costume for the ball.  So we need to know which one he prefers.”

“I’m not sure,” Ginny replied, almost under her breath.

"Well, doesn't he pay any attention to one more than the other, when you’re snogging?" Parvati asked, looking a little surprised.

Ginny blushed furiously, and croaked, "Well, not really, he's an equal opportunity kinda guy.  And we haven’t really got that far yet anyway."

"We need to know urgently, Ginny.  We can only emphasise one for your costume - if we did both, you'd look like a tramp."

"I'll find out for you," Luna announced airily, as she turned on her heel and meandered her way towards Harry.  As she walked, she undid the top four buttons of her shirt, absently pulling the material apart.  She tapped Harry on the shoulder.

Harry turned and looked at her, "Luna?"

The blonde smiled dreamily at him, and threw back her shoulders.  "Did I tell you about my father's trip over the summer?"

The movement caught Harry's eyes, and he looked down, blinked in absolute disbelief, and then slowly flushed bright red. 

"Eeerk, no," he squeaked, returning his eyes to hers as quickly as was humanly possible.  "Did you know that your shirt is undone?"

Luna looked down, and smiled, completely unconcerned.  “I wanted to ask you about this spell, I just can’t quite get it right.”


Blaise walked over to Ginny, and asked, “Do I want to know why Luna has her blouse undone?”

Ginny shook her head mutely.  “You think I should rescue Harry?”

Blaise looked over at the green-eyed boy, and grinned.  “He seems to be handling it well.  Better than Neville is.” 

Ginny followed Blaise’s gaze, and looked at Neville, who looked spell bound for a totally different reason than normal.

“Why is she doing that?”

“Lavender and Parvati wanted to know what Harry’s preference was: legs or breasts; so Luna decided to help out.”

Blaise laughed under her breath.  “You know the Accio spell?”

“Of course,” Ginny said. 

“You can’t expect him to make a decision based on half the facts, can you?”

Ginny looked shocked for a second, before an evil grin formed on her face.  “It would be interesting to see how Harry handles it.”

“You’re a true Slytherin, Gin,” Blaise praised with a grin.

“Why, thank you.”

Blaise walked over to Harry, who was valiantly trying to help Luna without looking at her bra-clad chest.

Ginny pulled out her wand, and waited, before whispering, “Accio Blaise’s skirt.”


Harry was helping Luna with the spell, and it was only through a rigorous application of willpower, of the sort normally reserved for confrontations with Voldemort, was he able to ignore the fact that Luna was taking every opportunity to show off her chest.

“Hey, Harry,” Blaise called, drawing his attention.  He turned, as a stray curse seemed to hit her, removing the school skirt she was wearing.

It was then that Harry realised he was being setup. 

It was vaguely possible for Luna to do something so bizarre, but most definitely not possible for a random spell to hit Blaise at the same time, as well.  He was acquainted enough with the Accio spell to recognise its effects - after all, it had saved his life once. 

Harry ignored the newly revealed legs before him, and snarled, “Accio Ginny!”

He heard her squeak, before she appeared in his arms.  He placed her carefully on the floor. 

“Stay,” he growled at her.  His wand in his hand, he magically buttoned Luna’s shirt back up, ignoring the protesting groans from some of the boys - who now had a *very* different opinion of the strange Ravenclaw.  Next he then conjured a new skirt for Blaise, while he made a mental note to try and get Ginny some of the underwear she was wearing.

“Explain!”

Ginny pouted prettily at him.

“Don’t you pull that face at me, young lady.  What are you up to?” Harry tried as hard as he could to look firm, and not let his heart melt as she shot the most amazing pair of puppy-dog eyes at him.

“Nothing,” Ginny whispered, leaning in and lightly nuzzling his chest.  “Do you think Blaise has nice legs?”

“I think that you have nice legs,” Harry said, determined not to get himself in any trouble, regardless of what he might feel.

Ginny smiled at him brightly.  “That’s all I wanted to know.” She turned and went back to helping Luna with her Shield spell.

“I don’t suppose you’re going to explain, are you?” Harry asked Blaise, after walking over to her.

“Nope,” she grinned at him.  “There are some things in life you’re not supposed to understand, Harry.  This is one of them.”

Harry nodded, and looked at his watch.  He turned and walked to the raised area in front of the enlarged room.  The D.A. group had grown, and the room had grown along with it, as more and more students joined in.

“Ok, people,” Harry said, not bothering to shout.  As soon as he spoke, the students stopped what they were doing and turned to him.  “You’ve done really well today.  I’ve seen some great progress from all of you.  Lisa, Colin, Kevin, Graham, can you come up here please.”

With some trepidation, the four chosen students joined Harry on the small stage.  “I’m going to fire some curses at you, and I want the four of you to work together and stop any of my curses hitting you.”

They nodded with firm looks of determination on their faces.  Harry turned and slowly walked to the other side of the stage, giving them time for a whispered conference. 

He pulled out his wand and turned to face them.  “Ready?”

At their nod, he fired several quick curses, all of them basic and easily defendable.  They handled them with ease, causing a look of pride to appear on Harry’s face.  Steadily, he increased the complexity of the curses he was throwing at them, watching as they gained in confidence, and pooled more of their magic together. 

Crucio,” Harry hissed suddenly, concentrating hard on the hate he felt for Voldemort.  The curse flew out of his wand, and hit the shield before anyone could react to the Unforgivable.

The whole room froze into silence, looking at him in shock. 

Harry smiled slowly, turning slightly so he was facing everyone. 

“What you have just seen was a demonstration of a student from each of the four houses working together.  Between them, they pulled of the most powerful Shield spell known to the Wizarding world.  They actually managed to block a Cruciatus curse! 

“This is what we have been training for, this is what we have worked day in and day out to achieve.  Colin, Lisa, Kevin and Graham have proven what I have been saying all along.  If we work together we cannot be beaten, and the Dark Tosser has no power over us.  We will face him and we will defeat him. 

“Together, Hogwarts is unbeatable!”

The entire group simply stared at him for several seconds, the enormity of what he had just said taking a moment to sink in and actually permeate their stunned thoughts.

Ginny moved first, a look of pride on her face.  She slowly clapped her hands together, with Hermione and Blaise joining in instantly.  Within seconds, the whole room was awash with noise as they screamed their defiance to Voldemort, and they cheered the people who had managed to block one of the Unforgivables, as hope started to grow inside them.

Harry watched them silently, a slight smile on his face.  He raised his arms, silencing them instantly. 

“I want a foot of parchment from each of you on today’s shield by Wednesday.  Dismissed,” he informed them.

He then turned to the four students.  “You are excused from the homework.  You did fantastically well.”

Almost in unison, the four of them blushed.  Praise from Harry was their greatest desire - worth more than house points.


“Blimey, Harry, that was amazing,” Ron cheered excitedly, and then rubbed his ribs where Hermione had elbowed him.

“You took an awful risk,” Hermione said softly, as the room emptied.

“I had to,” Harry replied, almost whispering.  He held out his hand, showing how much it was shaking; and now that he was alone, he gave into the fear and nervousness that had afflicted him. 

“I feel like I am going to be sick,” he confessed softly.  His face had a slight greenish tinge, as the full impact of what he had done bore down on him. 

After his failed attempt at the Ministry earlier in the year, he had spent some time researching the Cruciatus spell, and discovered that he had not hated Bellatrix enough to successfully cast the spell.  With hate being the key, he had realised that the only person to whom he had that much hate, was Voldemort himself.  And as much as he didn’t want to delve into the darker side of his psyche, he knew that he would be the only person capable of casting the curse. 

 “I didn’t want to have to cast that curse, but I couldn’t see any other way of doing it.  The Death Eaters are not going to stop using the Unforgivables just because we are kids, or because it’s illegal.  If anything happens, they HAVE to know how to help themselves.  It’s my job to do unpleasant things, so that if it happens in real life they have a chance to live, to escape, to fight, and what ever else that is needed.”  It seemed as though he were trying to justify his actions to himself, more than the others.

Ginny walked up to him and sat him down on the edge of the stage, then climbed into his lap, pulling his head down onto her shoulder. 

“I love you,” she whispered into his ear.  “You will never be like them!  You care too much.”  She knew him well enough now to know what he was thinking.

Hermione grabbed Ron’s hand and pulled him out, leaving the two of them alone. 

Harry looked up from Ginny’s shoulder.  “Have you seen what you wanted to see, Professor?”


Severus had watched the class from the back of the room, hidden and away from the possibility of any chance of being hit by a random spell, or encountering any of the students.  From what he could tell, Harry’s closest friends acted as assistants, helping deal with the large number of students.  He hadn’t realised just how popular the D.A. had become.

It soon became obvious to him just how much Harry was appreciated by the other students.  As he walked over to a group, they would all stand up straighter; try a little harder to get the spell right. 

Time and time again, Harry would offer a few words of encouragement, a joke to help break the tension, or what ever was needed.  As he moved on, to go help the next group, the students he had left would stare at him for a second, as if making a mental promise to him, and then get back to work.

The professor had needed to think deeply for several minutes to realise what was happening in the room, why it felt so different. 

There was hope - in this room, there was a palpable feeling of hope and belief that Voldemort *would* be stopped, and that they were on the winning side.

He smiled as he overheard the conversation about Harry’s preferences, and watched with amusement, first, as that strange Lovegood girl approached him, then, Harry’s extremely-wise-for-his-years response to Ginny’s question. 

He watched as Harry called the students up to the stage, noting that they were from each house and different years. 

Snape was also quite impressed at the sheer volume of curses Harry threw at the students.  He kept up a constant barrage, each spell slowly increasing in power, showing a mastery of magic that the Professor himself would have been hard pressed to match.  He suddenly had a dreadful feeling that he knew where the boy was going.

He fought a mental battle over whether or not to interfere, but eventually decided to trust that Harry knew what he was doing.  He let out a breath he didn’t know he was holding as the students deflected it.

He then battled the urge to cheer with the students as they responded to Harry’s words.  He had spent so much time with the Dark Tosser - as he had taken to calling him, not because he was scared, but because he felt it was a suitably derogatory name - that he’d forgotten the power of a charismatic and inspirational leader.  One who operated by respect and trust, rather than fear.

He was relieved as he saw just how much casting that curse had cost Harry.  The boy had the potential to make Voldemort look like a rank amateur, if he let himself sink into that pit.  There was little chance of that, he admitted to himself, while Harry had his friends and his girlfriend. 

He felt firmly that people who tried to compare Harry and Ginny to James and Lily were being utterly ridiculous.  In James and Lily’s sixth year, James had been an arrogant arse, and Lily a silent bookworm.  The only leadership James had shown was centred on prank pulling, and he’d demonstrated no desire to help others out - not even Pettigrew, who had been their friend. 

Lily would never have had the self-confidence to tease Harry like Ginny had.  The most surprising thing was that their unselfconscious acts of affection didn’t make him want to retch, not like he had whenever he’d seen James and Lily all over each other.

Somehow, he wasn’t surprised when Harry looked directly at him and asked if he’d seen what he wanted.  The boy grew more like the Headmaster every day, as more and more pressure was applied onto him, and he dealt with it the best way he could. 

Snape swished his wand, cancelling the invisibility spell.  He ignored the question, and dealt with the Cruciatus issue instead. 

“I agree completely with what you said,” he said slowly.  “You are doing the right thing.  It’s the burden of command, Harry; sometimes, you have to do things you don’t want to, because you have to.  For better or worse, they trust you, as a teacher and as a protector.”

Harry nodded slowly.  “That doesn’t mean I have to like it.”

“Indeed,” Snape agreed slowly.  “Follow me,” he said abruptly, turning on his heel as an idea occurred to him.

He strolled out of the Room of Requirement, with his cloak billowing behind him, and Harry and Ginny trailing him, as he walked down to the Headmaster’s office.

“Well, Severus?” Albus asked, as his Potions Master sat at the table, joining the other three Heads of Houses.  Harry and Ginny sat in their normal position, looking curiously at them.

“I think you need to give Harry Assistant Professor status,” Snape said bluntly.  “He’s got a better command of a large class than most teachers, and his methods, while unique, are highly effective.  He has taught the students to work together.  And today, he taught four of them to combine their magic and create a shield that blocked a Cruciatus spell.”

“Who cast that?” McGonagall demanded, looking upset.  “No one should even think of casting that here.”

“Grow up, Minnie,” Snape snapped, irritated and forgetting that Harry and Ginny were there.  “There’s a war going on out there, and I have more than enough memories of that damn curse to know that they aren’t going to stop using it because it’s not very nice.  Harry knew exactly what he was doing, and he has already paid a price that you don’t even want to think about. 

“Certainly, it wasn’t a ‘Gryffindor’ thing to do,” the contempt in his voice was thick enough to cut with a knife, “it was more of a Slytherin thing to do, with a Gryffindor’s courage, a Ravenclaw’s intellect and ability, and a Hufflepuff’s caring.  He hasn’t got the luxury of dealing with things like a pure Gryffindor; he has to make sure these kids survive, and he has proven that he will do whatever is needed to damn well do that. 

“So please, drop the Holier-than-thou attitude.”

At the end of the table, Harry was blushing bright red from the praise, while Ginny was looking on in shock as the once hated professor showed a remarkable insight to Harry’s personality and desires.

“Thank you, Severus,” Dumbledore entered the conversation smoothly.  “What spell did you teach them to block the curse, Harry?”

“It wasn’t really a spell on its own, sir.  It was more a combination of the Magic Pooling spell and the Egregius Protego spell.  If enough people work together, they can block pretty much anything.”

The Headmaster nodded slowly, a look of pride on his face.

“Hermione found the idea last week,” Harry continued.  “I just helped show how it works.”

“Why did you set homework?” Snape asked, as he suddenly remembered Harry telling them to do a foot of parchment.

“I’ve found it’s a useful gauge of their comprehension; it allows me to make sure that I get one of the more experienced members to help with the people who are struggling during our meetings.  Ginny worked wonders with Luna today.”

Besides him, Ginny blushed faintly at his praise. 

The Headmaster nodded, and smiled.  “Well, Harry, congratulations on becoming an Assistant Professor.  You have the power to give and take House Points, among other responsibilities and privileges that I will discuss with you later.  I know you won’t abuse them.”

Harry gaped at him, and then shook his head. “Of course not, sir.”

“Run along Harry, I believe you have a dinner date to get to.”

Harry nodded, and vanished with his girlfriend.

“You know, he could at least make the effort not to make us look average,” Snape said dryly.  “He could have stood up before Apparating like someone normal.”

“Severus,” McGonagall interrupted, her eyes flashing with anger.  “I do not appreciate being talked to like that in front of students.”

Snape took a deep breath - a month ago, his response would have been a sneer. “I apologise, Min.  To be honest, I forgot they were there.  You didn’t see the effect casting the curse had on Harry, or his honest reasons for doing it.  The boy is clearly terrified of making a mistake and losing someone.  He hasn’t forgotten how he felt during Black’s absence, and it’s one of the many things driving him. 

“Have any of you any idea how big the D.A. is now?”

Minerva, Filius and Ponoma shook their heads in unison.  “From what I can tell, he has over half the school in there,” Severus informed his fellow staff members.  “There are representatives from every year, and every house involved.  And they all hang on his every word. 

“He’s teaching them to survive.  It isn’t pretty, but it’s pretty damn effective.”


After the meeting ended, McGonagall waited to have a private talk with the Headmaster.

“What has happened to Severus?” she asked.  “I’ve never seen him so passionate, especially not about a student.”

“I think,” the Headmaster, said slowly, “that Severus is finally experiencing what we have been experiencing for the past few years.  Hope.  He has been resigned to an early death since agreeing to spy for me, and for the first time, he can see himself having a future, having a life. 

“He is recognising that Harry represents his freedom, and he likes the feeling.” 


From: *yawning*

To: Old chum

Subject: Last night

Wasn’t it wonderful?  Never mind the prank itself, but the theatrics involved.  None of this working in the shadows from our boy - this was a prank on a far different scale to any we pulled off.  I’m not saying it was better, just that the scale was bigger.

Padfoot the delighted

--
doggie yawn


From: Unbelieving

To: The last riser

Subject: Re: Last night

You’re just getting up now?  The day’s nearly gone, what the hell did you do last night?

And yes, it was a lot of fun.  I was more impressed that they could actually sing.

I think the big difference between us is that trying to hide from the professors doesn’t restrict Harry - he even got Snape to help him last night. 

Remus


From: I love the hangover cure

To: The stick in the mud

Subject: Re: Re: Last night

Well, after Harry sent us home, we went into Muggle London to a nightclub, got absolutely wasted, then got a Muggle taxi home, before, erm...well, I’m sure I don’t have to draw you a picture.

Anyway, what the hell is Harry doing with that arse?  He should keep well away from Snivelus.

S.


From: Has accomplished a lot today

To: Has slept the day away

Subject: Snape

Sirius, 

Don’t you think it is time that you stopped this ridiculous feud?  It’s been going on for over twenty years now.  You are now a responsible grown up, and as much as you want to appear like you are still a teenager, you are not.

You are now responsible for a Godson, for a girlfriend, and for being an important part of the Order. 

Remus


From: I am Sirius

To: Dad

Subject: Re: Snape

I’m very Sirius about my responsibilities; it’s in my name.

As for Snape, the guy is a miserable wet blanket with an over inflated opinion of himself.   He deserved everything we did to him.

Padfoot

--
woof woof


From: The non-Animagus Marauder

To: Pronglet

Subject: Fwd: Mail From Sirius

Harry, we’re going to have to do something about Sirius.  Despite repeated warnings from both of us, he still put this in an Mmail.

> I’m very Sirius about my responsibilities; it’s in my name.

Remus - James would have been so proud of the prank you played last night!


From: Your ever-loving Godfather.

To: the prank king

Subject: Snape

Harry, Congrats on a very successful prank last night.  You made your old Godfather very proud.

But, you need to be a little more careful about your friends - especially with getting close to Snape - the guy cannot be trusted.

Padfoot the proud

--
woof woof


From: Harry

To: My myopic Godfather

Subject: Re: Snape

I’m busy right now, but I will be visiting you tomorrow after classes.  Make sure you are in.

H


From: Slightly irritated

To: Grown up wolf-let

Subject: Re: Fwd: Mail From Sirius

Moony,

You’re right; we are going to have to do something. 

When I was younger, I was occasionally allowed the privilege of watching TV.  One of the things I remember would be perfect for Sirius.  I’ll have to have a word with a few people to get the stuff I need together.

Harry.


From: Padfoot the slightly confused

To: All knowing wise wolf

Subject: Ermm

I just sent Harry an Mmail about trusting Snape, and got this in return...

> I’m busy right now, but I will be visiting you tomorrow after classes.  Make sure you are in.

Is it just me, or does that sound like a threat?

Siri


From: The all-knowing wolf

To: The idiot

Subject: Re: Ermm

Sound like a threat?  That *IS* a threat! 

Seeing as my attempt at education failed, it looks like Harry is going to do it, and I suspect he’ll be a lot more direct about it than I was.

If I was you, I’d be afraid.  Very afraid.

Remus


Harry and Ginny were walking towards the Three Broomsticks.  They’d stopped off in the Gryffindor Common Room to get changed, before giving the appearance of going for a snog session somewhere.  Ron’s smirk had proved their distraction successful, to everyone bar Hermione, who had shot them a curious look.  Harry had sent her a look back promising to explain later.

It was a very pleasant night, as only autumn could be, not too hot, not too cold, perfect for just walking through town at dusk.  There were a few other people on the streets, scurrying to and fro as they went about their daily routines.

“Look at it,” Harry whispered, stopping at the top of one of the streets.

“Look at what?” Ginny whispered back, not wanting to defer the mood he was fostering. 

“The town.  Look how peaceful it is, how the people are acting - look at the quietness.”

Ginny watched, shifting slightly in the hope that he would get the hint.  He did, and a second later, she was enfolded in his arms.

“This is it, Gin.  This is what we are fighting for.”  His words brushed past her hair, stroking over her ear.  “These people, this life, this is why we are doing everything we can to stop Voldemort.  This is normality; this is people looking for the future, and living in peace.  This is what we want for ourselves, for our family, for our friends, for everyone.  A safe place to live, to work, to raise children.  This is what I have to provide for everyone.”

Ginny felt a single tear drip down her face, as her boyfriend opened his heart to her.  She knew that some people wanted his fame, his power, and his wealth.  None of them knew the cost associated with it, and the determination needed to be Harry Potter.  They couldn’t know what drove him, what made him follow the path he was now on.  She swore to herself, a pledge etched on her heart, that she would be there every single step of the way, supporting him, helping bear the weight of overwhelming expectations.

They stood in silence for a few minutes, the setting sun silhouetting them.

“Come on,” Harry eventually said.  “I’m dying of curiosity.”

Ginny laughed softly, as Harry Potter disappeared again, replaced once more by her Harry.

She took his hand, and skipped along merrily, swinging his hand, revelling in the soft laughter emanating from him.  She knew she was acting a little young, but also knew it was exactly what he needed at the moment.  She was getting better at reading and understanding him.  And it was something that warmed her heart - she now knew him better than anyone else alive.


The Three Broomsticks was crowded, full of people enjoying the last evening of the weekend.  Conversations hummed in the smoky atmosphere, as elderly wizards smoked a variety of compounds, while telling anyone who would listen what was wrong with the Wizarding world today.

Younger wizards and witches were gathered around tables, drinking Butterbeer and Firewhiskey, desperately trying to forget that they had work the next morning.

Harry and Ginny walked in together, hand in hand, over to a corner.  They were pretty much ignored, because no one expected to see them there.  School children were just not normally seen in a pub on a Sunday evening.

“Oh look,” Fred announced, not loud enough to draw attention.  “It’s our beautiful sister and her boyfriend.”

“Why so it is,” George agreed.  “Aren’t they cute together?”

“Absolutely!  They should probably sit down, though.  Who knows what attention they are gathering here?”

The teenagers in question laughed, and sat down.  Harry absently waved his wand, creating a silencing spell around them, allowing them to talk without fear of being over heard.

“So,” Harry said, enjoying the fact that his ears were no longer ringing.  “What can we do for you?”

Fred and George looked at each other, and then adopted unusually serious expressions.  “We wanted to apologise to both of you for the idiotic behaviour that we participated in.”

“As far as we were concerned, after your reaction to our prank, you had passed any test we might have.  Unfortunately, our brothers didn’t see it that way.”

“Normally, we would be with our brothers till the end - family loyalty is very important to us.  But you two are both family as well, and Harry, we like and trust you, and we think that our sister is old enough to look after herself.”

“Especially after what she did to young Malfoy.”  The twins were alternating their speaking, easily following on from the other’s train of thought.

“But this morning, after what you did last night, they all changed their tunes massively.”  Fred and George suddenly stopped talking.  They looked at Harry closely, staring hard.

“You knew,” George said, completely awed.  “You did it on purpose, didn’t you?”

Harry blushed slightly, and tried to look innocent.

“Did what?” Ginny asked, slightly confused.

“Ask your boyfriend,” Fred chortled. 

“Harry?”

Harry lightly took her hand.  “Well, I might have sent the boys home in their costumes, having seen the girls’ response to it.  And it’s possible that I might have then sent all the girls to their respective partners.”

“Are you telling me that you got all of my brothers laid?  And that’s where Ron was last night?”

Harry nodded.

Ginny looked stunned for a few moments, as she tried to gather her thoughts.  She turned to face Harry. 

“You arranged for it, so that they would change their minds?”  She didn’t wait for a response to her rhetorical question.  “That is such a Slytherin thing to do,” she said admiringly.  “But,” and her tone changed dramatically.  “How can you get that lot laid, and not me?”

Harry’s face suddenly gained a very scared and worried expression, while Fred and George grinned at each other.

Ginny kept her expression blank for a few more seconds, before she leant in and kissed him gently.  “I love you,” she whispered against his lips.  “Although, at some stage, you are going to have to make it up to me.”

Harry’s smile stretched massively over his face, suddenly reminding everyone of the young Harry.  “I’d love to.”

Madam Rosmerta interrupted smoothly, with the experience of many years of bartending, bringing them four tankards of Butterbeer.

“You know,” Fred said, sipping at his drink, “when we were young, Butterbeer was the greatest thing in the world.  Despite the fact it had no alcohol in it, we loved it.  The first time we had it, we acted drunk for the whole day.”

“Yeah,” George agreed.  “So many pranks.  Good times, good times.  But, now, we’re kinda bored with it.  It seems all we drink is either this, Firewhiskey, or Pumpkin Juice.”

“Did you know that Muggles have hundreds of different drinks?”

Harry nodded, having grown up as one.

“Well, we didn’t, but we do now.  We’re trying to come up with something new; we reckon we’d make a fortune on it.  We did some checking out, and it seems that the patent on Butterbeer ran out a few years ago.  They had been renewing it whenever it was about to run out, but someone messed up or forgot and they didn’t renew the parent a few years ago.  From what we could tell, the bribe that Fudge wanted, to change the law again – extending the patent – was too much for the holders to pay, so they let it lapse.”

Harry blinked.  “Really?”

“Yeah,” George replied.  “If we could come up with a variation, it would have the brand pre-established, saving us a lot of marketing and the effort of forcing people to try something new.”

“So you’re looking for something like Butterbeer, but better?” Ginny asked with an expression of excitement on her face.

“Yep,” Fred agreed. 

Harry and Ginny looked at each other.  “Order me something nice, and get the same for my guest.”

Ginny nodded and leaned in for a quick kiss.  “Hurry back.”

“I will,” Harry said, as he vanished.

“Harry can Apparate?” Fred asked, looking a little shocked. 

“He can dual, and triple Apparate,” Ginny said, boasting a little about her love’s prowess. 

“Where has he gone?”

Ginny grinned happily.  “Would you believe that he’s gone to fetch the person who made the original Butterbeer, not this crap we are drinking?”

“No,” Fred said promptly.  “Or we wouldn’t, if it was anyone other than Harry.”

Ginny laughed.  “You seemed to enjoy yourselves last night,” she commentated with a small look of interest.

George and Fred both had identical grins on their faces.  “We were impressed, Gin.  Your boyfriend’s got a flair for pranks we wish we’d known about when we were at school.  He could have helped out with loads of stuff.”

“Is Harry really planning on running for Minister?” Fred asked, turning serious again.  “Percy mentioned that Penelope had told him last night that he would be running.  I think it was the idea of having the Minister in the family that made him change his mind.”

Ginny smiled innocently.  “I did think that Percy would be the hardest to convince of all of you, so I might have told Penelope, knowing that Percy’s political ambitions would be enough to over come anything else.”

Fred turned to George.  “Do you ever have the feeling we’ve been massively out gunned in this?” he asked.

“Yes.  It’s kind of scary actually.  There are six of us, and we’ve been completely neutralised.”  He suddenly smiled widely.  “But you do realise what it means, don’t you?”

“That we’re going to win, and that Voldiewart is going down.”

“Exactly,” George grinned happily.  “So,” he said as he turned back to Ginny.  “Is Harry going to run?”

“I don’t think he’s realised it yet, but he will.  Harry has an overwhelming need to make sure than everyone has what he didn’t; a stable and happy home life.  The Ministry is standing in the way of that, and after he deals with Voldemort, he will run for office to sort it out.”

Fred and George shook their heads in a unified gesture of admiration.  “You’ve got enough ambition for both of you,” Fred whistled under his breath.

Ginny smiled again.  “Maybe,” she admitted modestly.

“Look,” George said.  “When you do start to run, we will help everyway we can -including fundraisers, publicity, and merchandise.  We owe Harry more than we can ever repay.  Without him our shop, would not be what it is.  He dug us out of a huge hole, and didn’t ask for anything back.”

“Since when did you two grow up?” Ginny asked with a teasing expression on her face.

“When our idiotic brothers didn’t want to take our advice, and continued to stand between you and Harry.”

Fred nodded in agreement.  “Gin, just tell us one thing.  You are happy, aren’t you?”

Ginny turned to them, letting down all her mental shields, and smiled softly. 

“I’ve got everything I’ve ever dreamed of.  I have a wonderful boyfriend, who is incredibly attentive, amazingly powerful, and completely in love with me.  I know that I am safe with him, and that he is letting me set the pace in our relationship.  While you were all getting laid last night, I climbed into his bed, where he was already undressed, and spent over an hour snogging him.  I never once felt pressured or scared, and to be honest, the only reason I stopped was because it wasn’t the right place. 

“I trust him, I love him, and I know he loves and trusts me.  I’m the luckiest girl in the world.”

Fred and George looked at each other.  “No matter how much you grow up, you’ll always be our little sister, Ginny, and we both love you.  We trust you, and we trust him, so what ever you do is up to you.  We will support you any way we can.”

Ginny smiled brightly at the two of them, and moved around the table to give them both a hug.

“Besides, we think Harry is the lucky one, not you.”


Harry appeared outside Abe’s hut, and quickly walked down the steps.  “Hi Michael, is Aberforth in?”

The goat stopped chewing the grass, and swung his head over to face Harry.  “Yes, he is.  If you’ll just give me a second, I’ll see if he is accepting visitors.”  Michael trotted daintily into the hut, while Harry took a seat on the steps.

A brief moment later, and the goat came trotting out, and said, “He’s delighted to see you.”

“Thank you,” Harry said, bowing formally to the goat.  He walked past, and entered the hut.

“Harry,” Aberforth said jovially. “What can I do for you?”

Harry smiled and shook Abe’s proffered hand.  “Did you know that the patent for Butterbeer has expired?”

“No, I didn’t.” The ancient magician looked surprised.

“How do you fancy going into business?  I have a couple of associates that I think you would like.  They have been looking for a product to reignite the Wizarding public’s interest in Butterbeer.”

Aberforth tried to look nonchalant, but his twinkling eyes gave him away.  “I could be persuaded,” he admitted.  “You trust them?”

Harry nodded.  “With my life.  Besides, I’m a partner in their business.”

Aberforth nodded.  “Good enough for me.”

“Great,” Harry looked pleased.  “Will you join us for dinner in the Three Broomsticks?”

Abe frowned slightly.  “I’m not really welcome there,” he admitted.  “I might once have accidentally been involved in a brawl that might have occurred there and might possibly have destroyed half of it.”

Harry laughed, “It’s not a problem.  I can take care of that, although I will have to Apparate us both into the place.”

Abe turned and pulled on a cloak, before entering the kitchen.  He returned with a sealed flagon.  “What are we waiting for?” he asked jovially.  “I’ve never been Apparated before, and I’m quite looking forward to it.”

Harry smiled and took his hand, and a second later they both reappeared inside the silenced area of the Three Broomsticks.  Harry waved his wand idly again, adding a Confundus charm to it.  “Anyone looking here now, will not notice you at all.”

“Excellent,” Abe said happily.  “Miss Weasley,” he half shouted with pleasure. “It’s an honour to see you again so soon.”

Ginny smiled and stood up.  She took a step closer to him, and dropped a kiss on his cheek.  “It’s good to see you again, Mr D...”

“Uh-uh,” Abe shook his head.  “What did I tell you to call me?”

“I thought that was only for that night,” Ginny said, a little confused.

“Not at all.  All my friends call me by my given name.”

Ginny smiled warmly at him.  “Fred, George, may I introduce Aberforth Dumbledore.  Abe, these two reprobates are two of my darling brothers.  Fred and George Weasley.”

“Ahh,” Aberforth exclaimed, shaking both their hands.  “The infamous Weasley Twins.  Albus talks about you a lot.  Did you really once charm his socks to sing Rule Britannia when ever he said the words, ‘Hogwarts’, ‘Gryffindor’, or ‘Quidditch’?”

The twins grinned. “Yep.”

“Excellent,” Abe said, taking the seat Harry conjured for him, and sitting down comfortably.  “I’ve always liked a good prank myself.”

“You’re the Headmaster’s younger brother?” Fred asked.

“Yes. I’m also the better looking one.”

Harry and Ginny laughed, along with Fred and George. 

“Before we get into prank stories, why don’t you pour us all a drink, Abe?”

“Excellent idea,” the old man agreed.  With a wave of his hand, the remaining Butterbeer vanished, only to reappear on the desk of a certain Headmaster of a nearby school.  Unfortunately, the drink was now without tankard, and ran everywhere over the large desk. 

He poured out five glasses.  Each took one.

“A toast,” George cried.  “To Harry and Ginny: May they have many years of happiness.”

Harry and Ginny looked both embarrassed, and shocked at the words, as Fred and Aberforth echoed them. 

The five knocked back the drinks Abe had provided, and Harry, Ginny, and Abe waited to see what the twins would make of it.

“Fred, my dear twin?”

“Yes George?”

“Do you realise what this means?”

“I think I do.  But I bet everyone else is wondering.”

“True.  It’s the price they pay for not being a twin, I suppose.  Anyway, what this means is that with our new elderly partner, everyone at this table is going to be very, very rich.”

“Ahh, yes, absolutely.”  They grinned at each other, and then turned to face the wizard.  Both their faces lost their humour, as they turned into the businessmen they were, at times.  “What we suggest is a partnership between us.  We form a new company, with each of us owning 30%, with Harry getting the other 10%.”

“Guys,” Harry interrupted, to tell them that he shouldn’t be included.

“Quiet!” Fred, George, and Aberforth ordered at the same time.

As Harry sunk into a surprised silence, Fred continued.  “You provide this recipe as your part and your experience in making it.  We will provide the raw materials, the factory to make it, as well as the marketing and publicity.”

Aberforth nodded slowly.  “That seems acceptable.”  He held out his hand, which the twins promptly shook.

“Now, all we need is a name for it,” George said, perfectly happy with making a business deal with a handshake.

“Honest Abe’s Original Butterbeer?” Ginny suggested brightly.

The three new partners looked at each other.  “Well,” Abe said, “Do we have any other problems we need solving?”

Fred and George shook their heads as one.  “If we had, we’re sure they could solve it for us.”

Harry and Ginny blushed in unison, causing the other three to laugh.

Madam Rosmerta interrupted them again, bringing in plates of food.  She absently placed one in front of three of them, before returning to the bar for the second set of plates.  As she moved back into the silenced area, she frowned.  “You’re banned from here,” she said, looking at Aberforth.

“Excuse me,” Harry said politely, leaning forwards.  He made a surreptitious gesture with his hand.  “I believe that your barmaid needs a hand.”

The barmaid in question was currently balancing a few too many empty beer mugs, and was about to drop them.  Rosmerta gasped in horror and dashed out.  She stopped as soon as she stepped out of the charmed area, and shook herself.  She looked back, saw nothing wrong, and continued to help.

“Masterfully done, young Mr Potter,” Abe said, impressed.  “I almost missed the magic myself.”

“What magic?” Fred asked, confused.

“Wandless,” Abe explained happily.  “Harry is becoming a master at it.”

“What are you planning for Marketing?” Harry asked, desperately trying to redirect the conversation away from him.

His ploy worked, as George replied, “We’ll start with some wireless wizard ads.  Build up the brand a little, try and build up some pre launch excitement, and then we’ll invite the press for a private tasting.  We’ll knock up some ads for the newspapers, and take it from there.”

Harry took another bite of his food, and looked thoughtful.  Internally, he was battling with himself: he felt that if he owned part of the company, then he really should help in some way.  And there was one way he could help more than any other.

With an audible sigh, Harry placed his fork down.  “I can’t believe I am going to say this, but - I’ll publicly endorse the drink as my favourite.”

If anyone had been able to see through the charms surrounding the table, they would have been shocked at the sight they saw.  An octogenarian wizard was dancing on the table, joined by two young men with flaming red hair.  Together, they capered around the table in an unholy dance.

Ginny looked at them, and then broke down into hysterical laughter, as the three of them kicked loose.

Harry shook his head, smiling despite himself.  He couldn’t remember ever seeing anything quite like this before, and fervently hoped to never see it again.

The three finally returned back to their seats, primarily due to being out of breath.  A casual wave from Abe’s hand reset the table and food, restoring it to its pre-trampled state. 

“I do want two favours though,” Harry qualified his earlier statement, shaking his head at them.

“Anything,” Fred said, the other two nodding along. 

“First off, hire Abe as a consultant for WWW.  I guarantee that he has more years of pranking experience than anyone else alive, and that includes Sirius and Remus.”

“We were going to offer that anyway,” George admitted.  “Unofficially, Professor Dumbledore has helped us out a time or two.  What’s the second thing?”

“I’ve set up a similar deal with Lavender and Parvati, to fund a new clothes shop.  I want you to help them out with advice on getting started.  Give them the benefit of your experience.”

Fred and George nodded in unison.  “Not a problem.”

“Excellent,” Harry grinned.  “I’ll give them your Mmail addresses.  I might bring them by tomorrow; I’m going to help them open a Gringott’s business account.”

“Harry,” Fred said thoughtfully.  “Do you even bother going to classes these days?”


From: Founder of the Harry Potter Fan Club

To: Members (all)

Subject: Harry’s Reward

Ok, people, I need suggestions to give to Professor Dumbledore for Harry’s reward. 

I don’t think we should give points, because he normally earns more a year than anyone else anyway, and it’s hardly a reward for him, but more a reward for Gryffindor.

Orla

--
President of the unofficial Harry Potter Fan Club


From: Treasurer, Harry Potter Fan Club

To: All Members

Subject: Re: Harry’s Reward

I don’t think he should be made a prefect either.  He doesn’t need the extra work, and besides, everyone respects him more than the Head boy anyway.

Laura


From: Kevin (Secretary)

To: Other Members

Subject: Re[2]: Harry’s Reward

> Ok people, I need suggestions to give to Professor Dumbledore for Harry’s reward. 

What about cash?

K.


From: Lavender

To: Fan Club Members

Cc: Hermione

Subject: Re[3]: Harry’s Reward

>> Ok people, I need suggestions to give to Professor Dumbledore for Harry’s reward. 

> What about cash?

As someone who knows Harry very well, cash is the last thing he would want.  He really doesn’t like receiving money like that. 

I would suggest that you concentrate on something that would mean something to him on a personal level.

Lav


From: Harry’s Best Friend

To: Harry’s Fan Club

Subject: Reward

I have talked to Ginny about your fan club, and we are going to approach Harry on your behalf.  We are going to request giving you some official status, and arrange for some membership badges (similar to the D.A. coins).

As for this reward for Harry, may I propose that you request that Harry be given some official role in the school.  He has taught most of you in the D.A..  It would be something that would make Harry very proud.

Hermione


From: Study-girl

To: Slytherdor Girl

Subject: Harry’s Reward

Gin,

As always, or so it seems these days, you were right.  Orla did ask for help with Harry’s reward, and I suggested giving Harry the Assistant Professor status you asked me to.

H.


From: Orla

To: Everyone in the club

Subject: Re: Reward

Any one got a better idea?

O.

--
President of the unofficial Harry Potter Fan Club


From: Orla Quirke

To: Hermione Granger

Cc: Fan Club Members

Subject: Re: Reward

Dear Hermione,

I would like to thank you for interceding on our behalf with Harry.  I can say without doubt that every member of the Fan Club is delighted by this news.

I would also like to thank you for your suggestion.  No one has been able to come up with anything better, and from a personal perspective, I believe that it is a fitting reward for all of Harry’s work. 

At breakfast tomorrow, I will request that Harry be given an Assistant Professor’s role.

With thanks,

Orla Quirke

--
President of the unofficial Harry Potter Fan Club


From: Bellatrix Lestrange

To: Severus Snape

Subject: Escape

So, I see you have managed to escape and keep your skin intact.

Impressive.

I don’t suppose you fancy telling me how, do you?

Bella


From: Sev

To: Belladonna

Subject: Re: Escape

Not really, no.

Why?

S.

--
Working for the downfall of the Dark Tosser for fifteen years


From: Free from Atropine

To: The Potions Master

Subject: Re: Re: Escape

I might be looking myself. 

B


From: Free and Mark-less

To: Atropine isn’t all that flows through your blood

Subject: Re[3]: Escape

Again.  Why?

S.

P.S. Please ensure that you use correct Re syntax in your replies. Nothing irritates me more than seeing endless Re’s across a page.

--
Working for the downfall of the Dark Tosser for fifteen years


From: The ex-student

To: The Picky Professor

Subject: Re[4]: Escape

You want to know why?  Look at me.  I’ve spent the last twenty years supporting Voldemort.  In that time, I’ve been in Azkaban twice, tortured by him more times than I can count, stepped on, used, abused, forced to marry that idiot to try and produce a bloody heir for him. 

And now, I find out that he’s a bloody half-blood and has been lying through his snake like teeth all this bloody time. 

I have been *THE* most loyal of all Death Eaters, and where has it got me? Nowhere!  Every bloody time something important needs doing, he turns to Pettigrew or Lucius.  Or even Macnair or Crabbe. 

Well, I want out, and I’m prepared to do what it takes.

Oh, if you’re wondering - I’ve never slept with Rodolphus, an imperious curse and a permanent Ardour quenching curse took care of that.  I am not going to mar my beautiful body by having some brat.

Come on Sev, we used to be so close. 

Please, help me.  I’m begging you, for old times sake.  Please.

Your Bella

And how the hell did you remove that ugly Mark?


From: Shocked Sev

To: Deadly Nightshade

Subject: Re[5]: Escape

For old time’s sake?  I would never have joined the bloody Death Eaters if it hadn’t been for you.  I was in love with you.  Madly in love with you. 

Do you know when I became a spy?  The same bloody evening you married that gimp.  I realised it had all been a lie.  I looked in a mirror, and hated what I had become.  I went straight to Albus and confessed all.  I hoped for a quick death.

I owe you nothing, Bella.  You led me down the path with promises you had no intention of keeping, and like an idiot, I believed every single one.

As for getting out, and removing the Mark, the same person did them both.  Harry. 

Do you honestly think that he will help the person who tried to kill his Godfather?  Who tortured one of his best friends?  Who tried to put the curse on his girlfriend?

S.

--
Working for the downfall of the Dark Tosser for fifteen years


From:  The intelligent Lestrange

To: My ex-honey

Subject: Re[6]: Escape

Bugger!

I don’t suppose an apology would help, would it?

Look, you owe me one favour.  I helped you out with my cousin back in the fifth year, and you said you owed me a favour.  I’m calling it in now.

I want you to ask Potter for help for me.  Tell him I’ll do anything.

Please, Sev.  I’m on my knees.

Bella


From: I always keep my promises

To: I preferred you when you weren’t a Lestrange

Subject: Re[7]: Escape

I will ask Harry on your behalf.  Don’t expect anything though.  If you had put the curse on him, I suspect he wouldn’t care, but you tried to touch Ginny, and that’s something that even the Dark Tosser is scared to do.  Anyone who dares to touch a hair of her head would face a wrath that would make Tom seem like a little boy.

Severus

--
Working for the downfall of the Dark Tosser for fifteen years


From: The hopeful Ms Black

To: Mr Snape

Subject: Thank you

Some hope is better than none at all.

B.


It was getting near closing time in the Three Broomsticks, although none of the five gathered around the table showed any sign of leaving.  They were all laughing heartily, and having a wonderful time.

“Harry,” Fred asked, his voice a little slurred.  The three older people had moved onto Firewhiskey to celebrate their new partnership.  “What are we going to do about this Quidditch match?”

“Yeah,” George agreed, drowning another glass.  “Say the word and we’ll drop out, leaving that lot alone.”

Harry smiled at the two of them.  “No need to do that.  Trust me when I say I know what I’m doing.  Please, turn up and play your best.  You’ll love your opposition.”

“You’re being a Slytherin again,” Abe interrupted, looking delighted at the prospect.

Harry nodded.  “I wouldn’t have arranged it if I didn’t have both possible results covered.”

“This is why we trust you, Harry,” Fred said.  “With Ginny, and with our lives.  We’ll be with you in the final battle, won’t we, Fred.”

“You’re Fred,” George said, “I’m George.”

“Are you sure?” Fred asked.

“I think so,” George replied.  “Ginny, help?”

Ginny laughed.  She had shifted her chair to allow her to rest against Harry’s side, and with his arm was locked around her, she was feeling warm, safe, and comfortable.  She couldn’t remember an evening she had enjoyed so much.  Her boyfriend was as wonderful as always, and their guests were amazing.  “At the moment, I haven’t got a clue, either.”

“Oh dear.”

“If I was you, I’d sleep on the couch tonight,” Harry suggested, a smirk on his face.  “You wouldn’t want to end up with the wrong girl.”

Fred and George paled dramatically.  “They would kill us.  Literally kill us.  You’ve never seen them in a bad mood.  They make mum look sane.”

The two suddenly burst back into life.  “Did we tell you we’ve been working on a new song?”

Harry, Ginny, and Abe, shook their heads.  Harry and Ginny both looked worried.

“When Gin told us about Voldewart’s real name, we couldn’t help it.”  They climbed onto the table once more.  With one voice, and a degree of drunken slurring, they sang.

“Oh Tommy boy, the wands, the wands are calling

From lake to lake, and down the old schools side

The summer's gone, and all your Eaters are dying

'Tis you, 'tis you must go and I must bide.

But come ye back when summer's in the meadow

Or when the school's hushed and white with snow

And I'll be there, in sunshine or in shadow

Oh Tommy boy, oh Tommy boy, I hate you so.

And if you come, when all your Eater's are dying

And I'm not dead, as dead you soon will be

I'll come and find the place where you are lying

And kneel and say a curse there from me.

And you shall hear, tho' soft I tread about me

And all my dreams will warm and sweeter be

If you'll not fail to tell me that you hate me

And you’ll rot in hell, for all eternity.”

Fred and George bowed, as Abe sprung to his feet, applauding wildly.  “Oh, I remember singing the original version of that in Ireland back in the fifties.”

Harry and Ginny applauded as well, neither bothering to stand up.  Harry looked at his watch.  “Ok, it’s time to get you three home.  Abe, stay here with Ginny, I can’t let any of you Apparate in that state, you’ll splinch yourselves.”

“But,” Fred complained, wanting more to drink.

“No buts,” Harry sighed.  As Ginny leant away from him, he reached over the table and grabbed both their hands.  They vanished a second later.

“He is remarkably good at that,” Abe noted merrily.  “Now, young lady, tell me about yourself.  You have to be someone pretty special to have Harry so in love with you.”

Ginny blushed her traditional Weasley red and reluctantly started to speak.


Harry arrived in the flat above the future home of Weasleys Wizarding Wheezes, and looked around.  He waved his hand, enlarging the sofa, and then turned to the twins, who were wrestling each other playfully.  “You’ll thank me for this in the morning,” he muttered.  “Dormio.”  The two fell asleep immediately, and only the floating charm stopped them from crashing into the floor. 

He moved them over to the couch, and placed them down gently, covering them with a blanket.  “Sleep well, guys.”  A second later, he was gone, and back in the Three Broomsticks.

This time he wrapped one arm around Ginny, and took Abe’s proffered hand, Apparating them both back to outside Abe’s cottage.

They both said goodbye, before Harry Apparated them away.

“Where are we?” Ginny asked, as they reappeared in front of a large fountain, a Victorian building to the left of them. 

“Hyde Park,” Harry said quietly.  He took her hand, and watched as the fountain suddenly burst into life, spraying water high into the air.  Multi coloured lights ran through it, bringing it to life.

Ginny gasped with pleasure, tightening her hand at the magical display.  She looked up, as the stars twinkled merrily through the haze created.

Harry slid his arm up around her shoulders, and slowly steered her away, walking her through the leafy glades.  Despite how late it was, it seemed almost daylight with the bright full moon.  Behind them, the fountain quickly returned to its previous state, as Harry stopped using his magic to power it.

The gates that guarded Kensington Palace Gardens opened up for them as they approached. 

“This is beautiful,” Ginny gasped, as she looked at the flowers. 

Harry smiled softly.  He reached out and touched her face, pulling her eyes to his. 

“This is a little of me making up for last night,” he whispered, before leaning in and kissing her.  He used the cushioning charm on the ground, as he laid her down, sliding on top of her. 

Ginny smiled against his lips, the smell of the flowers all around her.  “You’re doing a pretty good job.”

That was the last sound they consciously made for some time.


From: Your friend

To: Cho

Subject: Harry and Ginny

Morning Cho,

I was talking to some friends last night, and they said that the only reason Harry is with Ginny is because: A, she got to him first that night, and B, the whore is sleeping with him.  He doesn’t really love her, but feels trapped - you know how honourable he is.  She seduced him, and now he feels that because he’s slept with her, he has to stay.

Mari


From: Seeker Girl

To: Gay Mari

Subject: Re: Harry and Ginny

Are you sure?  Because that sounds awful for Harry.  We all know what those Weasley’s are like: dirt poor and desperately trying to get out of poverty.  I bet she thinks that she’ll have an easy ride for the rest of her life.  All she has to do is open her legs a few times, and she’ll live a life of luxury.

Oh Merlin, Poor Harry!

What can we do about it though?  Harry won’t even talk to me at the moment.

Cho


From: Cheerleader

To: The best seeker in the school

Subject: Re[2]: Harry and Ginny

Of course he won’t, Ginny’s poisoned him against you.  If you want him, you’re going to have to fight for him.

M


From: A blushing seeker

To: My best cheerleader

Subject: Re[3]: Harry and Ginny

I do want him...how do I get him, though?

Cho


From: The plan master

To: Corporal Cho

Subject: Plan

Oh, here’s what I think you should do.  It’s obvious that Harry doesn’t know what love is - look at his past.  He’s probably trying to convince himself that he loves the slut because of her spreading her legs. 

All you have to do is kiss him, show him what real love is.  He’ll come to his senses and be really grateful to you.

Captain M


From: Unsure Soldier

To: The general

Subject: Re: Plan

Are you sure, Marietta?  I don’t know...

Cho


From: Omnipotent Commander

To: Unsure trooper

Subject: Re[2]: Plan

Of course, this isn’t a normal boy we’re talking about - this is Harry.

To help out, I’ve managed to create a map that will allow us to see where Harry and Ginny are.  If we time it right, you’ll get him before she even has a chance to interfere.

The question is, do you have the guts to do it? To fight for what you want?

M


From: Corporal Cho

To: Sir

Subject: Re[3]: Plan

Sir, Yes, Sir!

Cho


From: Mari

To: Cho

Subject: Now

Cho,

From the map, it looks like Harry’s walking down to breakfast and Ginny’s still in the shower.  Now’s the perfect time!

M


From: Marietta

To: Blackmailer

Subject: It’s done

Cho is on the way to kiss Harry now.  Ginny is following about a minute behind.  This is over!

M


From: Pansy, Queen of Slytherin

To: My little pet

Subject: Re: It’s done

It’s not done till they have broken up - make sure it happens.

Pansy

--
Purity is Truth


Harry walked down the corridor, smiling at the idea of no longer needing to do classes. 

“Hi Harry,” Cho Chang said, as she stepped out of a classroom.

“Oh, hi Cho,” Harry smiled at her.  “How are things?”  He decided to try and be nice to her; there was no point in remembering how badly his relationship with her had gone.  They had both been in the wrong mental place for it to have worked.

Cho smiled at him, tilting her head slightly, looking up from under her lashes.  The look might have devastated a younger Harry, as hormones swamped his body.  This Harry had eyes for no one but Ginny, and didn’t even notice the flirtatious look Cho gave him.

“We did have a good time, didn’t we,” Cho said fondly.

“We did,” Harry agreed politely, biting down the urge to roll his eyes.  He had no idea that his words were all the encouragement Cho needed.

With a strength that surprised him, she reached up quickly, locked her arms around his neck and kissed him as hard as she could.


Marietta smiled as she watched her friend move in for the kill.  She felt a little sorry for Cho, but not enough to stop her.  All her plans centred on being the best friend of the naive rich girl.  She had begged Cho for forgiveness after betraying the D.A. last year, and Cho had believed her.  No one else in the school had, but that didn’t matter.  As soon as they were finished with this dump, she was away, with as much of Cho’s money as she could take.

She almost laughed as Cho took everything Harry said as a compliment, even though it was obvious to her that he was just being polite.  Then she glanced at the Map, Ginny was due to come around the corner any second now.

The timing was perfect, as Cho grabbed Harry, Ginny turned and saw them.

Marietta saw many expressions cross the young girl’s face, shock, horror, and finally, anger. 

Ginny marched up to the two pupils, and pulled them apart with an ease that suddenly made Marietta slightly nervous.

“Gin...” Harry started, a shocked look on his face.

Marietta almost clapped, the expression made him look so guilty.

Ginny ignored him.  She pulled back her fist, and launched the hardest punch of her life.

Previous Next
Author Notes:

Once again, thanks to everyone who has reviewed, I've read and appreciated every one of them - well, except the one calling me a jackass for my portrayal of Ron.  

I'd also like to say thank you to those who inquired about me health, after I pulled pretty effective vanishing act where nothing was updated for several weeks )not even my journal.  Unfortunately, I seem to have acquired a cold that I just can't shake (on and off for six weeks now) and combine that with some serious computer issues and it's really eaten into the time I have available to write.

Quite a few people have asked if I've been influenced by Terry Pratchett.  I'm afraid not, the only Pratchett book I have read is Dark Omens.  I've been meaning to get around to reading a lot more of his stuff, but I'd rather spend my time writing.

While we're on this subject, reviewers have mentioned "shout out's" to professional authors - often people I've never heard off...so it amused me when I finally did put one in (to Weis and Hickman) that no one noticed ;-)

To those asking if I have written anything original, I haven't.  I'm just someone having fun playing in someone else's sandbox, and have no real desire to build my won sandbox.

Finally, I'd like to thank my usual subjects - Jaqueline Hawkins, Cliodne, Tarkas, and not least, Greywizard - who I'm delighted to have back working with me, after helping me through so many BtVS stories.