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White Knight, Grey Queen
2 - Understanding
“Mistress Park’son,” Dobby whispered.
“What is it, Dobby?” Pansy asked, yawning a little as she opened her eyes.
“Master Park’son sent Dobby to get you. Master Park’son is waiting in the study.”
“’Kay, tell Dad I’ll be there in a minute.”
Dobby nodded, and popped away.
Pansy sat up and looked around. Next to her, Harry was sleeping calmly. She smiled at him softly, realising that he looked a lot better when his face wasn’t twisted up with hunger and abuse. She decided to let him sleep, and slid out of bed, frowning at her wrinkled clothing.
Silently, she padded out of the room and down to the study.
“Hey, dad,” she mumbled, slumping down into the chair.
“I take it you’ve had your talk with Harry?”
Pansy nodded. “Told him about Mike,” she said succinctly. “I think he understands now. But he’s going to be mightily pissed off with Voldemort when he wakes.”
“Don’t let your mother hear you swearing like that,” Malcom chastised lightly. “What did you find out?”
“Dumbledore’s been worse than useless. He’s actually been inhibiting his emotional, psychological, and physical development. For the so-called ‘Most Powerful Wizard’ in the world, he’s done a poor job at standing up to everyone on Harry’s behalf. Harry should never have been banned from Quidditch last year - especially when Draco was not even given detention for the same incident.”
Malcom noted down a few things on a pad in front of him. “Can you tell me the full story of that, and his ban?”
After she had repeated everything she had seen, from her perspective, he nodded.
“Okay, I’ll have my lawyers ready for when he goes back to school. His ban won’t last a day. It is a ridiculous punishment from someone with no power to enforce it.”
“I thought Umbridge was Fudge’s right hand man?”
Malcom snorted. “Fudge will do exactly as I tell him. For too long I’ve let Lucius have free reign through the Ministry, even influencing Fudge, while I’ve been concentrating on the Muggle world. It’s past time I remind Fudge just exactly who knows all his deep dark secrets; as well as teach Lucius that if he’s going to play with wolves, he should expect to be bitten.
“If we’re going to be fighting on the light side, then we need to make sure we don’t have anything stupid happening in the meantime.”
“I don’t think we’re on the light side, dad.” Pansy ran her fingers through her hair absently, sorting out the mess it had become. “I think we’re going to be on Harry’s side. He resents Dumbledore as much as anyone I’ve ever seen. I can’t see him ever taking orders from him again. There’s no trust there, at all.”
“Go on,” Malcom said, sounding very interested.
“If you remember the pictures we saw from the fight at the Ministry, we know that Harry can lead people, and that he inspires trust and dedication from them. So, what I’m thinking is that we hoist our flag next to his, form a third team, and work on our own, without having to abide by stupid rules governing what is good and evil.
“At school, the D.A. will follow Harry, especially after I get some of the best Slytherins to join. We can have the best students at Hogwarts on our side, following the only person who can kill Voldemort.”
“Oh, yeah.” Pansy blushed slightly. “This isn’t to be spread around, but Harry is the only person, according to prophecy, that can kill Voldemort. Only one of them can live.”
“And knowing that, Dumbledore still kept him with the Dursleys?”
Pansy nodded. “And hasn’t given him any special training. Well, except in his third year when Remus Lupin taught him the Patronus spell.”
“Harry can cast a Patronus?”
“Yeah, a stag.”
Malcom paused, and then snapped his fingers. A house-elf appeared next to him. “Could you ask Gruoch to join us, please?”
“Yes, master,” The elf said, a split-second before vanishing.
“You rang?” Gruoch said sardonically, as she entered the room.
“I knew getting you a Muggle television was a bad idea,” Malcom muttered. “Ideas above your station, wench.”
Gruoch calmly picked up a pillow and threw it at him.
Malcom grinned and placed it on the table, swinging his feet on top of it. “Pansy just made a very good suggestion - it’s something we all need to agree on though.
Gruoch sat down opposite her husband’s desk.
“At the moment, you have the Death Eaters in one corner and the Order of the Phoenix in the other. Both groups are horrendously mismanaged, and seem content to fight out an endless series of small battles, each one gaining and losing a bit of power.
“Pansy suggested that we don’t align ourselves with either but take the third corner, with Harry in the lead. Instead of it just being wizards fighting for the future, we blur the lines. We’re presuming that Harry can get the house-elves on our side already, and we can invite the Goblins in.
“Pansy is confident that Harry can, with her help, bring in a lot of the students from Hogwarts.
“I’ve let Lucius run amok through the Ministry unopposed for too long, so I’m going to take control back from him, and give him a firm spanking for not remembering his place.
“And finally, we can bring some of our top Muggles in to help out and use some of their weapons etc.
“Now, the downside of this is that it’s going to be very expensive. We’re going to have to back it up with some serious cash to get the whole venture off the ground.
“If we lose, we could lose nearly everything.
“At the moment, doing nothing would mean we lose everything as well.
“If we win, then for the first time in history, our family name will be treated with reverence. We will have unprecedented control of our own future, and the future of the Wizarding world. And we will be there with the hero who defeated the Dark Lord.
“So, we have to do something. Our choices are either following Dumbledore, who we already know to be a bungler – and who might not accept us anyway - or putting everything behind an under-trained sixteen year old.”
“Fifteen,” Pansy corrected absently. “He’s not sixteen for a couple of weeks.”
Malcom waved his hand airily. “My point remains the same.”
“I’m for gambling on Harry,” Pansy stated clearly. “But I know him better than you do. I think it would be a good idea if we stand still for a few days. He already appreciates our honesty, so I think we should lay all our cards down on the table, explaining what we are willing to do and what we hope to get out of it, and let him make his own decision.”
Malcom nodded thoughtfully. “Gruoch?”
Gruoch looked thoughtful. “He did impress me. There is definitely an active brain behind those green eyes. Not many wizards recognise my name, and even fewer make a joke about blood stains. He has already seen too much death, and as we know from Pansy, death has an awful habit of making children grow up too early.
“I agree with Pansy. Let’s see his reaction first, and then take it from there.”
Malcom nodded. “Agreed.” He started to look a little excited for the first time. “I’ve got to admit that I hope he agrees. Can you think of anything more challenging than starting a third group?”
Pansy and Gruoch shared an amused glance. “For you? No.”
After spending the evening with her parents, Pansy went back to bed. Harry was still asleep.
She smiled down at him, recognising that his body was recovering from the lack of sleep he’d had since he left school. She changed into her pyjamas again and climbed into bed with him. She wasn’t quite sure exactly why she was doing it, but it seemed quite natural. And somewhat comforting and reassuring too, if she was being honest. There was something about sharing a bed, no matter how platonically, which seemed very right.
She breathed in deeply, and relaxed, falling asleep quickly.
When she woke, she could tell it was still early. Harry was still asleep next to her, so she climbed out of bed, went and had a quick shower, washing her hair.
With a dressing gown around her body, and a towel around her hair, she whistled cheerfully to herself as she opened the curtains in his room; then sat at his dresser and pulled out a magically enhanced blow dryer.
“What is that?” Harry asked sleepily from the bed, as he sat up to watch her.
“Hair dryer,” Pansy said, as she twisted to smile at him. “Feel better?”
Harry blinked owlishly at her, and then nodded. “A lot. Hungry, though.”
Pansy laughed. “Just click your fingers.”
Harry nodded and did it. Dobby appeared instantly.
“How is Harry Potter sir feeling?” the elf asked, looking concerned.
“I had a great sleep,” Harry said to the elf. “But I’m hungry now.”
“Did Mistress Park’son look after Harry Potter properly?”
Harry nodded firmly. “She did. She made me look at things from a different perspective, and it really helped.”
Dobby nodded, looking satisfied. “Dobby said that Mistress Park’son was a good witch. Dobby will bring breakfast shortly.”
“Why don’t you have a shower?” Pansy asked, after Dobby had popped-out.
“’Kay,” Harry said, yawning hugely. He shot her a sudden grin. “Thanks.”
“You’re welcome. Get in the shower before Dobby gets back with the food.”
Harry playfully saluted at her and wandered into the bathroom. The sound of the shower was just audible over her hair dryer.
Fifteen minutes later, a very clean and awake looking Harry Potter walked out of the bathroom, wearing a matching robe to hers.
He sat down at the table, and a huge breakfast appeared before him. A moment later, a second breakfast appeared across the table at Pansy’s place.
“Eat,” Pansy said, as she finished off her hair. “I’ll be there in a second.”
Harry nodded and started to eat - with much more enthusiasm than he had displayed the previous day.
Pansy finished her hair and joined him at the table, pausing only to say, “Come in,” after there was a knock on the door.
“Harry, this is Malcom Parkinson, my father.”
Harry stood and offered his hand, a gesture that Malcom reciprocated, as they shook hands.
“Do you mind if I join you?”
“Not at all, sir,” Harry said.
“Call me Malcom, please. You don’t mind if I call you Harry?”
“I prefer it,” Harry replied with a grin. “I just wanted to say thank you. For everything.”
Malcom smiled slightly. “We’ll talk about that when you don’t look like you’ve been starved for few years. You’re too short as it is, considering that both your parents were pretty tall. I’ll have a doctor come around later and give you a complete physical.”
“Bluntness does run in your family,” Harry mumbled ruefully.
The patriarch of the family laughed. “Indeed it does, Harry. We find that, while sometimes impolite, it does get straight to the point.
“Anyway. I’m here to tell you that you’re going to start your training today. I know that you have had some Occlumency training but from what Pansy told me, it hasn’t been any good.”
“You could say that,” Harry agreed.
“It’s for that reason that I’ve arranged for both of you to be taught by one of the best in the field. Due to time constraints, you’re going to have to squeeze a weeks worth of training into one day, so you’ll be using a Time-Turner.”
Harry nodded. “I thought they were restricted items?”
Malcom looked amused. “They are. But if you have enough money, anything is possible. But enough about business, we can talk about that later.”
Harry nodded. “Could you tell me a little about my parents?”
Pansy smiled at the look on Harry’s face. The fact that her parents had illegal possession of a Time-Turner didn’t seem to bother him at all.
“Here,” Pansy said, passing Harry a couple of bags.
“What’s this?” Harry asked.
“We burnt those rags you called clothing, so we replaced them with something more fitting.”
“Oh, don’t think its charity,” Pansy said cheerfully. “Those rags really wouldn’t have fit in around here. We’ve got an image to keep up.”
Harry looked at her closely, and slowly smiled. He could clearly see that the excuse about the image was purely that, but at the same time, she didn’t want him embarrassed about receiving a gift. It was obvious that they had meant it when they had offered to take care of him.
He actually found that he was pretty appreciative of having new clothes to wear. It was something symbolic, to help him focus his mind on the fact that he was now going to be hunting Voldemort, not the other way around.
“Any suggestions on what I should wear?” he asked, and then laughed as Pansy pounced onto the bags, delved into them, and handed him a complete outfit.
“You know,” he said casually. “You’re going to have to teach me what goes with what.”
“That’ll be my pleasure,” Pansy grinned happily.
“My name is Margret Tierow,” the anonymous looking lady said clearly. Even her voice was unremarkable. She was average height with average length hair, in a soft brown colour. She looked like you’d forget her if you’d turn away for a second. “Harry, I’ve heard that you have had some training in Occlumency?”
Harry nodded. “Some, yeah.”
“And Pansy, you’ve not had any at all?”
“Okay. Harry, do you mind if I have a look at your memories of being trained so that I can see your progress?”
Harry shot a quick look at Pansy, and then nodded his head reluctantly.
“Legilimens,” Margret whispered softly, looking into his eyes. She quickly found the memories she was looking for, and was shocked to the core at what he had been taught, and the brutal way in which Snape had half-tried to pass on the skill. She cut the memories abruptly.
“Will you excuse me for a minute?” she asked politely. At the two children’s nod, she walked calmly out of the room. The second she was out of sight, her walk turned into a stalk as she headed to the nearest fireplace. “Malcom Parkinson,” she called, throwing the floo powder into the grate.
“What’s up, Maggie?” Malcom asked, obviously having interrupted a meeting to talk to her.
“Can I talk freely?” she asked.
“We have a problem. Snape did not attempt to teach Harry Occlumency - he used it as an opportunity to mind-rape the boy. I’m going to have to undo the damage first before we can get start again from the beginning.”
Malcom nodded slowly, a rather large frown appearing on his face. “Dumbledore’s idea, right?”
Margret nodded sharply.
“In your professional opinion, should Snape be teaching students?”
“With what I have just seen, he shouldn’t be allowed near children, full stop. His behaviour was immoral, illegal, and disgusting.”
Malcom nodded once more. “Please place your memories of what happened to Harry in a Pensieve. Snape is one of Dumbledore’s more powerful supporters, so we will have to remove him. I will not have my investments in Harry ruined by Snivelus. If you send Pansy to me, I’ll tell her to keep busy this morning, so that you have time with Harry, then you can start together at lunch-time.”
Maggie smiled. “Thanks Malcom.”
Malcom smiled slightly, and closed the floo connection.
Maggie took a deep breath and slowly walked back to the library. When Malcom had contacted her the day before, she’d been a little surprised to hear that Harry was staying with the Parkinsons, but the more she heard of their story, the more intrigued she had been. It hadn’t been a hard decision to help teach the Boy Who Lived, partly because she was curious about him, and partly because the Parkinsons always paid extremely well.
“Pansy, your father would like to talk to you,” she smiled at the girl. Pansy was a true Parkinson, as far as she could tell. She was warm and friendly when you got to know her, cold and stand offish if you didn’t. She had inherited aspects of both her parents’ good looks, and she carried herself with the sort of carriage that only breeding and a lot of money could import. What was interesting was that she was definitely interested in Harry as more than a friend.
She couldn’t see at the moment if Harry returned her interest, though.
As Pansy left the room, she sat opposite Harry. “What Snape did to you, was not teach you,” she stated softly. “It was a form of rape, and it is against the code that Legilimens agree to when they are taught the skill. The very fact that he failed to teach you these rules is enough for him to be disbarred and lose his licence to practice.
“I will be taking you and Pansy through those rules later, but before that, I would like you to allow me to enter your mind once more, and allow me to try and fix some of the damage he has done to you.”
She could feel Harry’s eyes staring at her intently, judging her. He took a deep breath. “I think I’d like Pansy here as well.”
She nodded slowly. “You trust her?”
She stood and walked outside, finding Pansy still talking to her father, and explained the situation. Her earlier hypothesis was confirmed when Pansy’s face broke into the most radiant smile she’d ever seen on the girl before.
“Go wait with Harry, sweetheart,” Malcom said from the floo. After she had left, he continued. “Maggie, I’m slightly concerned about Pansy.”
“That she’s falling for Harry?”
“That obvious, is it?”
“Yes. But I wouldn’t worry about it too much. From the brief look I’ve had into Harry’s mind, he is not the sort of person to play with another’s feelings. If he feels something, he’ll act on it. If he doesn’t, he’ll let her know.”
Malcom nodded, and smiled. “Okay, that’s all I can ask. I just hope it goes well, I hate seeing her getting hurt.”
“It’s a part of growing up.”
“I know. If I didn’t, I’d have Harry kept at the other end of the Manor, with house-elves watching their every movement.”
Maggie just laughed and walked out the room, rejoining the two teenagers.
“Harry, I’m going to enter your mind again, and I’m going to try and repair the damage that Snape’s attacks have done to you.”
“Okay,” Harry said, taking a deep breath. “I really don’t like people in my mind.”
“Not many of us do,” Maggie agreed. “But unfortunately, we can’t proceed with your mind in the state that it’s in at the moment.”
She cast Legilimens again, entering Harry’s mind. His mental barriers, the natural defences that all Wizards have, were badly out of alignment. A practitioner was supposed to use skill and subtlety to get into the mind of a student, not barge in like a bull, uncaring of any damage caused.
She gently pulled his shields back into shape, lining them up properly, before moving deeper inside his mind. Everywhere she looked, she saw evidence of damage - some relating to Snape, some relating to the after-effects of being taught so shoddily. It seemed that every time Harry had tried to defend himself, it had caused more damage. Frankly, she was amazed that he’d managed to keep Voldemort out for a period of time, and then kick him out after Voldemort had finally possessed him.
It spoke of an amazing amount of mental strength. Strength that she was positive was going to make him an amazing Legilimens when she had finished teaching him properly.
When she finished, she saw that Harry was breathing as hard as she was. “How do you feel?”
Harry’s face closed down for a second, before he looked up and smiled at her. “A lot better. Thank you.”
She nodded calmly. “I could do with a drink.”
Before she finished the words, a house-elf, wearing more clothing than she was used to, appeared with three glasses of ice-filled water.
“Is Harry Potter better?” he asked, hope clear in his voice.
Dobby looked satisfied, smiled at her, and vanished.
“Unusual elf,” she commented, noting the amused looks that her two charges shot at each other.
She took a deep drink and relaxed into the chair. “Legilimens, and Occlumency, are skills that were developed back in the Dark Ages of Magic. Originally, they were used as powerful tools in battle. As civilisation turned to normalcy, a strict code of conduct was developed to govern how the skills are used. I’m going to teach you Occlumency first, which is a passive skill and isn’t governed by the rules. Then we’ll go onto Legilimency.
“Today, the skills are hardly taught at all. Snape learnt his skills from Professor Dumbledore as a means of hiding his mind from the Dark Lord.
“We are not sure where the Dark Lord learnt his skills from, but he doesn’t seem to have been taught by a master. If he had, Harry would not have been able to fight him off last year.”
“You seem very well informed,” Harry interrupted.
Maggie nodded. “I’ve worked for Malcom for some years. There isn’t much that happens in the Wizarding World that he doesn’t find out about, sooner or later. Snape’s involvement as a spy for Dumbledore was suspected for some time, and confirmed when I looked into your mind earlier.”
Harry smiled faintly. “Which is exactly why I need Occlumency training.”
“What else do you know, Harry?” Pansy asked, speaking for the first time.
Harry turned to look at her. “Much more than I want to.”
Pansy laughed, “I don’t doubt that.”
Maggie raised her wand and lowered the lights in the room. “I want you both to clear your minds,” she said simply.
“How?” Harry asked.
Maggie frowned, mentally deciding that she’d like a few words of her own with Snape. She used her wand to create a candle on the table.
“I want both of you to look at the candle. Look at nothing else.”
She watched as the two shifted closer to the table, and incidentally, nearer each other.
“Now,” she deliberately changed her voice, softening it and speaking in rhythmic cadences. “I want you to create a picture in your mind. Create a picture of a warm, safe place where you feel totally relaxed - a glen in the woods, or at a beach. I want you to try and visualise as many details as possible - what objects are present, what people are there. Concentrate on that place. Watch the wind blowing through the trees, or the lapping of the waves against the beach. Now, imagine your other senses at the scene. Feel the breeze brush past you, gentle on your skin. Take a deep breath and imagine the smells associated with your scene, perhaps the fresh salty air of the sea, or the woodsy smell of the countryside. Imagine the sounds that would come with it - the sound of the breeze moving through the trees, or the call of birds.
“Stay still, in your safe place, and remember how you feel. Remember how calm you are now, how safe and warm.
“I want you to slowly lose the image, but keep your mind in the same state it is now. Let the image drop away from you, leaving only the candle in front of you.”
She went silent, and watched the two teenagers. Slowly she could see their faces relax, and their breathing deepen.
“Excellent,” she whispered. “Now, I want you to slowly look at each other, and return to normality.” The looking at each other wasn’t technically necessary, but she wasn’t averse to doing a bit of matchmaking herself, and she felt that it would help them form an emotional bond together.
“Wow,” Pansy said softly, smiling wildly. “I’ve never felt like that.”
“Nor have I,” Harry said, sounding awed. “That was really cool.”
Maggie nodded and smiled. “That is how you clear your minds.”
At the end of the first day, and a very large dinner, Harry and Pansy sat in his room.
“How are you feeling?”
“Tired,” Harry answered with a yawn. “But miles better than I have been for some time.”
“Tomorrow morning, we’ll be using the Time-Turner to go back and do today again, but in the study this time. It’s going to be complicated, but it’s the only way to accelerate the training we need to do.”
Harry nodded, “Does anyone know I’m here?”
Pansy shook her head. “Nope. We took you out under your invisibility cloak, and put you in our car directly. If anyone tries to trace the car, they’ll have no luck - because it changes make and model every couple of hours.”
“Useful,” Harry smiled. “So Dumbledore and my friends are going to be looking for me?”
“I don’t really want to be found,” Harry said, and then felt a little surprise as Pansy shot him a massive smile. “So I was thinking it would be a good idea to send the Weasleys a message, telling them that I’m fine - and that the so-called protective wards were pretty useless.”
“What makes you say that?”
“If you could just walk in and spirit me away, I’d hardly call it secure.”
Pansy giggled. “I know.”
Harry smiled at her, then walked over to desk and picked up a quill. “Where’s Hedwig?”
“In the family Owlery. Dobby’s been looking after her.”
Harry smiled and dashed out a few lines of text. “Will they be able to follow her back here?”
“Nope. It’s a very difficult thing to do if you've no prior warning, so if we tell Hedwig to come back straight away, she should be fine.”
“What do you think of this?” he asked, handing her the note.
Pansy looked at it and then laughed out loud. “Why Harry, you’re almost sounding Slytherin there.”
“Didn’t you know?” Harry asked, deciding that he liked hearing her laugh. “The Sorting Hat wanted to put me into Slytherin.”
“Yeah, but after meeting Draco and hearing that all Slytherins are evil from Ron, I begged it to put me in Gryffindor.”
“You do know that we’re not all evil, right?”
Harry nodded. “Just a little grey,” he teased.
Pansy grinned at him. “Ambition isn’t an evil thing. Sure, some of us might break the rules a little, but most of the house is as law-abiding as everyone else. They’re just afraid. First of Marcus when he was still at school and now of Draco.”
Harry nodded thoughtfully. “You know, I think I might have to do something about that when we get back to school.” He grinned suddenly. “As a Gryffindor, I can hardly stand back when a lot of students are scared, can I?”
As she led them towards the Owlery, Pansy replied, “Most Gryffindors would, if it was the Slytherins.”
“True,” Harry sighed. “Are you as fed up with the school as I am?”
“In what way?”
“Everyone keeping to themselves all the time. There are hardly any inter-house activities, apart from Quidditch, and that’s more open warfare half the time. I don’t like all the suspicion.”
“I’ve not really noticed it,” Pansy mumbled. “I’ve spent all my time with Draco as it is.”
“What are you going to do about that when you get back to school?”
“I don’t know,” Pansy sighed. “It depends on how he reacts to the news that Voldemort wants us dead.”
Harry smiled suddenly. “So I’m in good company for a change?”
Pansy grinned at him. “The best!”
Molly Weasley was making bread the old fashioned way. It allowed her to take out her frustrations on the dough, as she kneaded it firmly.
She was worried about Harry and had been since Dumbledore had explained what had happened earlier. It was bad enough hearing what happened, but when Remus had explained everything that happened to Harry growing up, it had been a lot worse.
Hermione was staying with them for the summer, with Ginny in her room, and she had been looking forward to Harry joining Ron and the two girls. She still had hopes that eventually Harry and Ginny would get together. They were friends, and that was always a good starting point.
A knock at the window drew her attention, and she moved quickly to open the window, casting a cleaning spell on her hands as she did so. She grabbed the parchment from Hedwig's proffered leg and unrolled it, hardly noticing as the owl immediately flew off.
“Dear Mr and Mrs Weasley, Ron and Hermione, Ginny and Dean, and everyone else that likes to interfere,
Please don’t worry about me. I am safe and sound, and being looked after and fed. In fact, I’m actually a lot happier here than I have been for some time. I am not a prisoner, nor am I being held against my will.
I’m sure that, by now, you have discovered my unexpected absence from Little Whinging, and probably know more details than you ever wanted to about my childhood.
Please do not waste time looking for me, as I have no wish to be found.
Ron, Hermione, Ginny (and Dean), I’ll see you at school. Oh, and Ron, if Ginny can ask Dean out, surely you can ask Hermione out?
Molly blinked at the message, and then turned to the stairs. “Ron, Ginny, Hermione, will you please come down here?”
There was a loud trampling sound, followed by the arrival of the three in question. “I’ve just heard from Harry,” she smiled at them. “He says that he is safe and sound.”
Relived looks appeared on the faces of the three there.
“Is there anything you three want to tell me?”
“About what?” Ginny asked.
“Like whom you are currently dating?”
“I’m not dating anyone,” Ginny protested. “And the one I want to date is the one who’s currently missing.”
“So why does Harry think that you are dating Dean?”
Ginny looked horrified. “But I only said that to get Ron off my back,” she gasped. “I didn’t think he would take it so seriously.”
“It's kinda my fault,” Ron interjected. “I gave Ginny a hard time last year over who she was dating, because I felt that she should really be dating Harry. She said that she was dating Dean to teach me a lesson. She finally told me she had made it up last week, when we stayed up all night talking.”
“Okay,” Molly nodded, frowning a little. “And what about you and Hermione?”
Ron flushed bright red, and looked at the floor, while Hermione blushed as well.
Ginny just looked amused.
“Shall I read out what Harry had to say about you two?”
“Yes,” Ginny said, before the other two could say anything.
“Oh, and Ron, if Ginny can ask Dean out, surely you can ask Hermione out?” Molly quoted.
“Well, Ginny didn’t ask Dean,” Ron protested. “But, I guess he’s right. Hermione, will you please go out with me? I’ve been trying to ask you for a year now.”
“Really?” Hermione squeaked.
“Yes!” Hermione grinned, then leaned in and hugged him.
“What else did Harry say?” Ginny asked, moving back to the subject in hand.
“Here,” Molly handed them the note.
“It’s Harry’s handwriting,” Hermione mumbled, reading it over. “And it sounds like him.”
“Hedwig delivered it,” Molly added calmly, moving back to her bread.
“But why would he think that I’m dating Dean?” Ginny asked, looking confused. “I thought it was obvious I wasn’t serious.”
Hermione winced. “That’s probably my fault. I told him that you had given up on him.”
Ginny groaned and banged her head onto the table. “Don’t tell me. In Harry logic, that means, ‘Ginny doesn’t fancy me at all, I should think of her as a sister.’”
“Don’t worry, Gin,” Ron said, giving his sister a brief hug. “We’ll be able to sort it out when we get back to school.”
“Yeah,” Hermione said. “With the three of us, he won’t have a chance.”
“Besides,” Ron said with a grin. “What are the chances of him finding anyone to go out with when he’s in hiding?”
“I’ll need to tell Professor Dumbledore about this note,” Molly interrupted. She was quite pleased with Ron’s reactions, and amused that their thoughts had been more about romance than the fact that Harry was obviously still missing. They clearly trusted the message he had sent, and that was good enough for her.
“Voldemort doesn’t know anything at all,” Snape said to the assembled Order of the Phoenix.
“So we still don’t have a clue where Harry is?”
“No,” Dumbledore agreed. “All we have is this letter from him that his owl delivered to Molly.”
“What does the letter say?”
“That he’s fine, safe, and happy.”
“Ron, Hermione and Ginny feel that the letter is genuine,” Molly added.
“Be that as it may,” Dumbledore said slowly. “I do feel that he would be better protected with us.” He ignored the snort from Tonks. “I propose sending him a Portkey, and even should someone else open it accidentally, we can find out from them exactly where Harry is, and rescue him.”
“And if he doesn’t want to be rescued?” Tonks asked.
“Nymphadora,” Dumbledore said reproachfully. “Harry will be best with his friends and people who care about him.”
“And his wishes are to be ignored?”
“We don’t know if that letter is genuine.”
Tonks shook her head. “I think we should leave Harry alone.”
“Noted,” Dumbledore said firmly. “I will send the Portkey tomorrow. I believe I shall set it to bring Harry back to the Weasleys, so that he is somewhere familiar. Severus, Nymphadora, if you would accompany me tomorrow, to ensure that if someone else returns, there is nothing we can not handle.”
Using the Time-Turner five times had proved rather confusing for the teenagers, not least when they met themselves in different locations.
But the intensive training had helped them both get a firm grasp on Occlumency, and the beginnings of Legilimency. Maggie had promised to come back next week - in real time - to take them for another five-day course.
Dobby had been deliriously happy to be able to produce fifteen meals for Harry in one day - and hadn’t even bothered to use a Time-Turner. The hard work had been enough reward for him.
Harry and Pansy had fallen into a pattern of sleeping together at night. There was no intimacy, or even romantic looks; they had each taken one side of the king-sized bed, and slept on it.
They were having breakfast, and looking forward to the day off, when an alarm sounded.
“What’s that?” Harry asked, reaching for his wand.
“Mail Alarm,” Pansy explained. “Someone’s just sent a Portkey through the mail. Some of dad’s rivals tried to kidnap me once when I was young - got my Nanny instead - and Dad had the wards made shortly afterwards.”
A brown owl knocked on the windows.
Pansy opened it, and then closed it behind the bird. “Don’t touch her yet. Let me get my parents.”
She poked her head out of the door, only to find that her parents were already there, having heard the alarm.
“Portkey for Harry?” Malcom asked, looking at the bird that was sitting firmly in front of the boy, his leg out.
“I guess,” Harry said. “I suppose that Dumbledore didn’t appreciate me asking to be left alone.”
“How are we going to handle this,” Gruoch asked. “If any of us go, we’ll be recognised instantly.”
“I could go like this,” Pansy offered. “I wouldn’t be recognised.”
“Actually,” Harry interrupted, “You probably would. Dumbledore can see through invisibility cloaks, so he can probably see through a glamour as well.”
“Is Dumbledore trying take Harry Potter sir back?” Dobby asked. No-one was quite sure when he had arrived, but they had all noticed the house-elf took it upon himself to know everything that was going on with Harry.
“Yes, Dobby,” Harry said.
“Dobby would like to help, but Dobby still works for Dumbledore,” Dobby stated.
Harry blinked at the house-elf, before smiling slightly. “Dobby, how would you like to come and work for me? I’ll double what ever Dumbledore is paying you, and you’d be my personal house-elf.”
Dobby smiled widely and hugged Harry’s leg. “Dobby would be honoured to work for the great Harry Potter sir.” He reached out and grabbed hold of the bird, expertly untying the parchment and letting the Portkey, a small Muggle lollipop, bounce on to the table. He handed Harry the letter.
Harry sighed, “It basically says that for the sake of my safety, it would be better if I was to use this Portkey to go to the Weasleys, where Remus and my friends are waiting for me.”
“You don’t want to go?” Gruoch asked.
Harry shook his head, missing the look of relief that appeared on all of their faces - especially Pansy.
“Ron and Hermione could do with a summer getting to know each other. I might have been tempted, but Ginny’s dating Dean, so that’s no reason to go. If I go there, I have yet another summer wondering what’s going on, wishing I could do what ever I wanted to do to get Voldemort killed. If I stay here, I have the freedom to spend time with people who aren’t afraid of Voldemort, and are giving me what I need to get the job done.”
“Besides,” he smiled slightly. “I’m enjoying making a new friend.”
He turned to Dobby, missing the blush that appeared on Pansy’s face. “What do you think, Dobby?”
“Dobby thinks that Harry Potter should stay with the Park’sons. The Park’sons are a good Wizarding family, who have looked after Harry Potter. Dobby will go and talk to Dumbledore, and tell him that Dobby quits and is Harry Potter’s elf now. And tell him to leave Harry Potter alone.” Before Harry or anyone else could stop him, Dobby grabbed the Portkey and vanished.
“That is one remarkable elf you have there Harry, but you should really find out what he was earning before you offered to double it,” Malcom advised.
“A galleon a month,” Harry said casually. “It’s obviously a token gesture, but the amount means more to Dobby that it does to me.”
Malcom nodded. “Sorry, shouldn’t have jumped to conclusions.”
Harry smiled. “Don’t worry about it. You don’t really know me that well yet.”
Dumbledore, Tonks, and Snape were sitting in the living room at the Burrow, along with Mrs Weasley, the twins, Ron, Hermione, and Ginny.
There was an uncomfortable silence, as Molly had explained what had happened with Harry to her children and Hermione, and they all agreed that it was a bad idea to try bring Harry back against his will.
Snape was glowering at everyone, shaking his head disgustedly.
“Here we go,” Albus said suddenly, his eyes going distant. “The Portkey has just been activated.”
Snape pulled his wand, and pointed it in front of the fireplace.
A second later, with a small pop, Dobby appeared with a frown on his face.
There was a second of stunned silence in the room.
“Dobby?” Professor Dumbledore asked. “What are you doing here?”
“Dobby is a free elf, correct?”
Dumbledore nodded automatically.
“Dobby hereby quits Dumbledore’s employment. Dobby is now Harry Potter’s personal house-elf. As such, Dobby brings a message from his new master. Leave Harry Potter alone. Harry Potter is protected and happy where he is.”
Snape got to his feet, his wand still pointed at Dobby. “Tell me where Potter is you stupid, worthless house-elf, or I’ll pin your ears to the wall.”
Dobby threw both his hands forward, and Snape flew through the air, impacting hard on the stone wall, before collapsing into unconsciousness.
“Snape is a very nasty man, who mind raped Harry,” Dobby spat, disgustedly. “Dobby is not worthless or stupid. Dobby is highest paid house-elf in world, with a great and powerful master. If Snape comes near Dobby again, Dobby will turn Snape into a pig.”
Dobby turned back to Dumbledore. “Dumbledore promised Dobby that Harry Potter was safe and protected. Dobby saw Harry Potter when he was rescued from the filthy Muggles. Harry Potter was not safe with evil Dursleys. The Dursleys were killing Harry Potter sir. Dumbledore lied to Dobby. Shame on Dumbledore.
“Harry Potter safe and well; he is missing his friends, but thinks his Wheezy and Grangy need to become good friends. And that it is a pity that small Wheezy dating Toomas. Harry Potter is happy that small Wheezy happy and Dobby thinks Harry Potter sir find his own good friend with Mistress.”
Dobby turned to Mrs Weasley. “Dobby is cooking very big meals for Harry Potter. He is eating as much as he can.”
“Thank you, Dobby,” Mrs Weasley said faintly.
“The next time Dumbledore try to steal Harry Potter from safety, Dobby will not be nice about saying no.”
With his final threat delivered, Dobby vanished with a pop.
Ginny was the first to move, as she unravelled what Dobby had said. “Oh no!” she cried. “Harry still thinks I’m dating Dean, and Dobby thinks that Harry will find his own person to date.”
She burst into tears, to be consoled by Hermione.
“Why do you insist on bringing Snape anywhere near Harry?” Tonks demanded. “And what’s this about a mind rape?”
“I don’t know,” Dumbledore said slowly, ignoring the first part of the question. He appeared perplexed. “I’ve never seen a house-elf act like that before. They’re supposed to cower in front of wizards.”
“Harry made friends with Dobby,” Ron said. “Dobby has always been loyal to Harry. Obviously Dobby is with Harry, wherever he is, so I’d say that Harry is safe.”
“And well fed,” Molly added.
“Yeah,” one of the twins said. “But I wonder who this Mistress is. And just how is Harry going to make good friends with her.”
“Dobby has told Dumbledore,” Dobby said proudly. “Evil Snape tried to intimidate Dobby, he doesn’t treat house-elves right. Dobby threw Evil Snape into a wall, like ex-master. I told Harry’s Wheezy to become good friends with Grangy and told Wheezy Mum that Dobby is feeding Harry Potter all the food he can eat.” Dobby paused, and looked at the table, and noticed that, while there was enough for four people to eat normally, there wasn’t enough for what Dobby thought Harry should be eating. “Dobby will bring more food for Master and Mistress Park’son immediately,” he said, and popped back out.
Pansy grinned. “Join us for breakfast, mum, dad?”
“I guess so,” Malcom said blandly, as more food started to appear in front of them. “I’ll say one thing for him, he can certainly cook.”
“He’s probably got our house-elves whipped into shape,” Gruoch said, helping herself to a portion of scrambled eggs.
“Harry,” Malcom said, as they finished their meal. “This Time-Turner business is making it difficult for us, we wanted to talk to you when you’re feeling better. For us, it’s only been a single day, but for you and Pansy it’s been five.”
“I’m feeling fine now, better than I have, well, ever.”
Malcom nodded. “Harry, we find ourselves in an unusual situation. We have two paths ahead of us, and we want to talk to you about that. But first, let me say that whatever you decide, the plan for this summer remains unchanged. We owe your parents a large amount of our happiness, so it is our pleasure to pay them back.”
Harry nodded solemnly. He’d been expecting Malcom to talk to him at some stage, so he wasn’t surprised by the offer. What he did know was that he liked both the senior Parkinsons.
“Path number one is to join up with Dumbledore, supporting him, and through him, you, in the battle against Voldemort.”
“And path two?” Harry asked curiously.
“We back you personally, ignore Dumbledore and the Order of the Phoenix, and forge our own way to victory.”
Harry blinked - he hadn’t expected that.
“We don’t trust Dumbledore to get the job done. From what we’ve seen of you, and from what Maggie has told me, we can trust you.
“I’ve already started some things at the Ministry to remind Fudge of his position in life - doing what I tell him.”
“What would you get out of this?”
Malcom smiled. “Apart from peace and prosperity, which is great for business, we’d be recognised as good guys for the first time - which would open doors that are currently closed to us. We’d be able to crush Lucius into the ground, and I know that Pansy has some wonderful plans for Malfoy Manor. And, we’d have you as a very close friend, which would be worth a lot in its own right at some stage.
“We can bring in the Goblins to help out our side, and you can bring in the house-elves, so we have the start of a force already. Add to that our interests in the Muggle world, and we have a very interesting group of people working together.
“We are willing to back this group financially, no matter how much it costs. The way things stand at the moment, we are in trouble; if Voldemort gets to us, we would lose our lives, and our money will go to him, regardless.
“If we join Dumbledore, and there’s no knowing if he’d accept us or not, we’d be in a similar position to you - used for our resources, then dumped when we are no longer necessary.
“But if we back and train you, we might lose everything, but if we don’t, we’ll make massive profits; and entrench ourselves in the public’s good books.
“We will pledge our family loyalty to you, help you become what you need to become, and do everything in our power to make sure you survive.”
Harry nodded slowly, digesting what had been offered. Once again, he appreciated being treated as a full adult by them. As before, they had explained exactly what they wanted from him, how they wanted to get it, and what they were willing to do in the meantime. This transaction-based relationship was very reassuring. There was no doubting their motives because they had stated them from the start.
There was also the promise of the future.
They were promising to try and make sure that he would actually survive against Voldemort. For so long, he had been unable to picture his future, that there was a big wall where he would meet Voldemort, with nothing beyond it. Now, he could see some sort of light behind it, and he liked the idea.
The only problem he had, was did he want to strike out on his own? Did he want to take responsibility for people?
The idea of involving the house-elves and the Goblins was a good one; why not involve other beings who so obviously were going to be affected by what was going on in the Wizarding world?. He had often thought that the myopic view of the Wizarding world that most wizards held was simply ridiculous.
So it all came down to a simple choice: Did he want to continue to follow Dumbledore, or did he want to trust himself enough to go his own way?
“Whatever you decide,” he heard Pansy say, a hint of shyness in her voice, “I’ll stand by you.”
He turned and shot her a smile. He guessed now that he had made friends with her properly, and he did really like her. She had a sharp, caustic wit that made him laugh, a warm caring nature, and while most certainly intelligent, she wasn’t scarily smart. She didn’t make him self-conscious. There was a naturalness about her that really attracted him.
He turned back to her father. “Voldemort is going down,” he said calmly. He’d made his decision, now it was time to start it working. For the first time, he felt excited about the possibilities. “I can’t trust Dumbledore anymore; I’ve lived firsthand through his care, and refuse to do it anymore.” He cracked a smile. “Let’s go for it.”
Malcom stood, and offered his hand, a gesture that Harry reciprocated. Pansy and Gruoch joined them as well, and they stood there for a few seconds.
“Harry, I’m going to find out about Sirius’ Will. And see what is happening with your family’s fortune.”
“I have a family fortune?” Harry asked, looking a little surprised.
“You certainly should have,” Gruoch said calmly. “We just have to find out what it’s doing at the moment. It should be in trust for you, but with the Dursleys now in trouble, we need to see if we can get you access to it.”
Harry nodded. “What happened to them, anyway?”
Malcom smiled. “Well, after the mess with the police, Dursley was fired from his job, on his front lawn, while one of our people took his company car away. He broke down into tears and begged for his job back.
“My man there pointed out, quite firmly, that child abusers were not welcome in our company, and that directly insulting the owner of the company was sufficient for immediate discharge without compensation.
“I’m afraid there was quite a scene, and all the neighbours saw it.”
Harry laughed and laughed. “What about Dudley?”
“Well, his jaw is now wired together, so he’ll be eating through a straw for some time.”
“Might help him lose weight,” Pansy grinned.
“Indeed. Anyway, he’s no longer welcome at Smeltings after his confessions, so he’ll be going to the local comprehensive school.”
“What are you two going to do today?” Gruoch asked, moving the conversation on.
“I’m going to teach Harry something very important,” Pansy stated confidently.
“What’s that?” Harry asked, turning to the long haired brunette.
“How to have fun,” she smiled. “I’m going to teach you how to ride a horse. And before you complain, you rode a Hippogriff, and it’s much easier than that.”
Harry smiled slightly. “Could you see if you could find out what happened to Buckbeak?” he asked Malcom. “He’s a Hippogriff that was staying with Sirius before he died.”
Malcom nodded, and made a note on a pad. “You’ve ridden a Hippogriff?” he asked.
Harry nodded, relaxing back into his chair, and recounted the tale from his third year.
“Wear jeans,” Pansy advised, as she walked into her own room to get dressed.
Having grown up around horses, she had all the necessary equipment, and it didn’t take long for her to put on her Jodhpurs and riding boots. She topped off the outfit with a gingham shirt, deciding that she didn’t need to go all out with the riding jacket.
She tied her hair back into a loose ponytail and absently freshened her lipstick. Most witches didn’t wear cosmetics, preferring to use small spells to accomplish a similar effect. Because she lived under a glamour spell while at Hogwarts, she had started to use make-up as a substitute, and she admitted that they made her look better than spells could.
She walked back over to Harry’s room, and paused in the doorway, enjoying the sight. Although he was still thin, she was starting to see hints of the man he was going to become, and she liked it.
“You do know I’ve never been near a horse before, right?” Harry asked.
“Don’t worry,” she said reassuringly. “Thunder and Lightning are good horses.”
“You’re putting me on a horse named after a storm?” Harry’s expression was distinctly worried.
“You’ll be fine,” she said, grabbing his hand and pulling him out the door. As they walked down the hall, she suddenly hip-checked him into the wall and shouted, “Race you!”
She took off, running as fast as she could in her boots, laughing under her breath.
“Hey!” she heard Harry shout, and then heard him start to run, catching up with her. She jumped through a door and slammed it shut behind her, grinning at the thump he made as he ran into it.
She dashed down the stairs and risked a look back as she reached the bottom, only to find Harry had straddled the balustrade and was riding it like a broom. He flipped off at the bottom, narrowly avoiding injuring himself, and started to run after her.
Still laughing, she ducked out the door and headed towards the stables. On open ground, in uncomfortable boots, she knew she would have no chance of outrunning him normally, but his lack of fitness was hindering him, and he arrived at the stable door a few seconds after she did.
He collapsed onto the floor, breathing heavily.
“I didn’t realise how unfit I was,” he panted, his face red with exertion.
Pansy knelt next to him. “We’re going to start running every morning,” she promised him. “With the food Dobby is feeding you, the exercise you’re going to get from the training, and from me, we’ll have you in the best shape of your life as soon as possible.”
“Thanks,” he whispered.
She reached out and lightly touched his shoulder. “Rest here, while I get the horses ready.”
He nodded, rolling on to his back, and relaxed in the sunlight.
Thunder and Lightning were her two favourite horses. Thunder was a huge, black stallion, while Lightning was a smaller, white mare, and was Thunder’s sister. She’d watch them both be born about four years ago, and had ridden both. Despite his size, Thunder had a very placid nature, and she knew she could trust him to look after Harry.
“Hey, big boy,” she smiled at him, rubbing his nose firmly. “Got a new rider for you today, and he’s kinda special to me, so look after him, all right?”
Thunder whinnied, and prodded her shoulder firmly.
“Okay, okay,” she laughed, laying a blanket over his back. “We’ll have you out of here in a minute.”
It didn’t take her long for her to saddle both horses, and she grabbed their reins, and led them out to Harry.
“Crikey,” Harry said, looking at the black horse. “He’s huge.”
“Harry, meet Thunder, Thunder, meet Harry.”
Harry stood, and approached the horse slowly. He bowed once, and then moved closer, moving his hand out to stroke his nose.
“Very good,” Pansy praised him, and felt a little shock as he responded to her praise with a bright smile.
“I was just remembering how I approached Buckbeak,” he said, letting the horse sniff him.
“Ready to climb on board?”
Harry nodded decisively. “You’ve got me out here; I’m not going to back off now.”
“Right,” Pansy said, as she lost her jokiness. “The first thing you need to check is that the girth on the horse is nice and tight. Too tight, and it will hurt the horse; not tight enough, and you’ll find yourself riding upside down.”
Harry nodded, and pulled slightly at the black leather.
“What you’re going to do is turn the stirrup so that it’s facing you. Then reach up and grab the pommel. Put your left foot in the stirrup, then in one smooth movement, lift yourself up and swing your right leg over the back of Thunder, landing in the saddle. Be careful not to kick him as you go up, as he will take that as a command to go forwards.”
Harry nodded and took a deep breath.
“I’m going to stand in front of Thunder, and make sure he’s alright.” Doing as she said, she moved in front of the large horse and grabbed his reins firmly.
“Okay,” Harry said.
Pansy watched as he followed her instructions to the letter, landing a little heavily in the saddle. Thunder snorted once and rolled his eyes at Pansy.
“Idiot,” she whispered fondly, kissing his nose. “Here,” she said to Harry. “Hold these tightly.” She handed him the reins. “And don’t move.”
She moved around the side, and checked his stirrup length, adjusting them slightly so that his legs were slightly bent. “How’s that?”
“Better,” Harry replied, a touch of nervousness in his voice. “It’s a lot higher up here than it was on Buckbeak.”
“Relax,” Pansy smiled. “At least this horse remains on the ground.”
“I like flying, though.”
Pansy grinned at him, and then jogged over to Lightning, mounting her horse in one smooth movement.
“Sit like I am,” Pansy said, moving Lightning next to Thunder. “Straighten your back a little, but don’t be rigid. Hold your arms out like this, so that they become an extension of the reins. Now, hold your hands face down with your fingers pointing towards the horse's neck - place your little finger under the rein and the other fingers over the rein and the thumb underneath. Curl your fingers around the rein, and then turn your hand so your thumb is on top and your knuckles are facing forward.”
“This isn’t very comfortable,” Harry mumbled, as he followed her instructions and held the reins properly.
“You’ll get used to it quickly. Ready to move?”
“No,” Harry replied promptly, a grin on his face.
“Just squeeze your lower legs together a little, and Thunder will start to walk.”
She watched as he moved, and Thunder started to walk forwards. She smiled encouragingly as he looked back at her. “Keep a tight grip on the reins,” she said loudly.
She had been positive that he was a natural rider. She’d been really impressed with how well he had ridden the Hippogriff in their third year. Normally, she would have started a new rider on one of the smaller horses in their stable, but she had felt that Harry would enjoy the big horse more.”
“Come on, Lightning,” she said to her horse. “Let’s not let the boys get ahead.”
Lightning whinnied her agreement and set off at a quick trot.
“Head to the left, Harry; we’ll go through the fields.”
A few hours of walking and trotting later, they returned to the edge of the field that led to the stables.
Pansy took a moment to watch Harry, sitting comfortably on the big black horse, his posture relaxed and upright. He was confidently holding the reins loosely. She took a deep breath, and whispered a quick prayer that her instincts were right.
She flashed him her best smile. “Race you!” She dug her heels firmly into Lightning’s flank, and crouched forwards. Lightning took off, eager to stretch her legs.
“Come on Thunder,” Harry shouted. “She’s beaten me once today; I don’t want to lose again!”
With the wind whipping her hair back, she glanced over her shoulder and smiled widely. Harry and Thunder were catching up on them, in full gallop, but it was the expression on his face that she had wanted to see. He looked free, like all his cares and worries had dropped away. He had a massive smile on his face, as he crouched low over the horse.
She turned her attention back to the front and reached down to smack Lightning harder, encouraging her to go faster. Her horse responded, till Pansy felt like she was flying as well.
She was confident she would win now, until Thunder flew past her at top speed. She gasped, never having seen her horse move so fast. She pulled up, easing the gallop, and watched Harry as he pulled back on the reins, causing Thunder to come to a skidding stop.
Harry slipped out of the saddle and wrapped his arms around the horse, praising it loudly.
Thunder pranced a little, obviously being careful not to stand on his human.
“I think you’ve made another new friend,” Pansy said, as she slipped off Lightning.
“He’s wonderful,” Harry said reverently. “It’s like flying, but almost better because you’re with another animal. I felt so close to him.”
“That’s what riding is all about,” Pansy said, aware that she had probably smiled more today than she had in the past six months. “Are you going to help me put them away and feed them?”
“Come on then,” she said, grabbing Lightning’s reins, and leading the horse into the stables.
“Pansy?” Harry called.
“Harry,” Malcom called, and paused till Harry joined him. “This is Peirce McKenzie, our family Medi-wizard.”
“Hi,” Harry said, suddenly feeling a little nervous. He looked at the doctor and was almost instantly reassured. The man was wearing tweed, and had a flat cap on his head. He was a little portly, and had bright blue eyes that seemed to take in everything around him.
“Hi, Harry,” Peirce said calmly. “You seem to be moving a little stiffly.”
Harry laughed, “First time on a horse today. My bowleggedness has nothing to do with the past.”
Peirce nodded. “Well, if we step into the study, we can get started.”
Harry nodded, and walked towards the room in question. He had been dreading this for some time. It was much easier to pretend that everything was going to be alright, when he was at school or elsewhere, but he knew that there was a chance that the Dursleys had done some permanent damage, and he was scared to find out how much.
“When was the last time you had your eyes checked, old boy?”
“When I was about six,” Harry said, after a second’s thought. He honestly couldn’t remember any other time; his glasses had just seemed to grow with him.
“We’ll start there, then,” the Medi-wizard said, as he pulled out his wand and cast a spell on the wall. “Take off your glasses and read the letters, there’s a good chap.”
“What are you doing,” Harry asked, as the wizard moved next to him.
“I’m going to cast a spell on the air in front of your eyes, sport. We’re going to see what’s causing your bad eyesight, and whether or not it can be fixed.”
Harry nodded, and stared at the wall. The first four rows were pretty clear, but after that they descended into a blur. He started to read from the top.
“Excellent,” Peirce said. “The good news is that you are myopic, or near sighted.”
“That’s good news?”
Peirce smiled, handing Harry his glasses back. “Yes, it is. Because the source of your problem is the way that the cornea focuses light, we can do something about it. Muggles have this wonderful new surgery called Lasik.
“It stands for ‘Laser-Assisted In Situ Keratomileusis’ and is a procedure that permanently changes the shape of the cornea, the clear covering of the front of the eye, using an excimer laser. A microkeratome knife is used to cut a small flap in the corner, leaving a small bit like a hinge. The flap is folded back, so that they can use a computer-controlled laser to vaporise part of it; then they replace the flap and everything heals naturally.
Harry blinked. “You want me to let someone cut open my eye and vaporise part of it?”
“Yes,” Peirce grinned. “It’s not as bad as it sounds; the risks are minimal, but the result is that you will be able to see properly.”
“Okay,” Harry said slowly. He was fully aware of the fact that he was as blind as a bat without his glasses, and he didn’t relish facing Voldemort knowing that a simple Accio spell could render him useless.
“Moving on, let’s see why you’re still a short-arse.”
“A short-arse?” Harry laughed. “What sort of bedside manner is that?”
“One influenced by Malcom, Gruoch and Pansy,” he admitted cheerfully. “Now stand up and take your top off.”
“Forward as well,” Harry muttered.
“I heard that, old bean.”
“You were supposed to.”
“Well, you’ve not got enough meat on here to feed a rat,” the doctor said jovially. “I’m going to cast a few spells on you now, so don’t move.”
Harry stood stationary, as the Medi-wizard cast four quick spells at him; each one came out the wand a different colour.
“You, my thin friend, are a mess. The lack of food at key times has stunted your growth. You should be around the six foot mark in a year or so’s time, but as it is you’ll be lucky to reach five eight.
“The pituitary gland is a pea-sized structure located at the base of the brain, it controls how the body grows and at what time. Your atrocious diet has meant your body didn’t think you had enough energy to facilitate the growth, so it didn’t kick in.
“We can fix this for you, but it’s going to be a little difficult.”
“What do I have to do?” Harry asked, suddenly feeling like a weight had been lifted off his shoulders.
“You’re going to have to eat a lot of food over the next day or so, and then we’ll give you a potion that will force your body to grow over the space of twenty-four hours. It will be pretty painful.”
Harry gulped. “I guess if that’s what I need to do, I’ll do it.”
“That’s the spirit old boy,” Peirce said excitedly. “Why don’t you get dressed while I go and talk to Malcom.”
“How is he?” Pansy demanded, as Peirce walked into the library.
“Short, slightly grumpy, but has nice eyes,” the Medi-wizard responded, “but I suspect that you’ve noticed that.”
Pansy felt herself blushing, and poked her tongue out.
“Is that an invitation to cut it off?”
Pansy groaned. “Enough teasing. How is Harry?”
“A mess, but nothing we can’t fix. His eyesight we can fix with Muggle Laser surgery, and his height and general body mass we can do with a potion. He’s going to have to recover for a few days after the Laser surgery, so it might be a good idea if he does the potion at the same time. From what you have told me, he is no stranger to pain, so let’s get it all out the way at once.”
“Pain?” Pansy queried, not liking the sound of that in the least.
“Yes. We’re going to force his body to grow several inches in twenty-four hours. At the same time, his eyes are going to be adjusting to the effects caused by the surgery. It certainly won’t be pleasant.”
Malcom nodded. “We are on a tight deadline here,” he said slowly. “Peirce, can you get Harry an appointment for tomorrow?”
“It won’t be cheap,” the doctor advised.
“I don’t care. Find the best in the country, find out how much they charge, and offer them triple for it to be done tomorrow.”
Peirce nodded solemnly. “I’ll have the potion here tomorrow night. Harry will need to start eating tonight - and I mean stuff him to the gills.”
“We will do that,” Malcom promised. “Thank you for coming at such short notice.”
“My pleasure, as always. Malcom, Pansy,” the doctor said formally, as he turned and walked out the room.
“Dobby,” Pansy called, and waited a few seconds for the House elf to appear. “We are going to be taking Harry to a hospital tomorrow to fix his eyes, then in the evening we’re going to be giving him a growth potion. To make sure everything works properly, Harry needs to eat more than normal.”
Dobby looked delighted. “Dobby will get to work immediately. Harry Potter sir will have all of his favourites. Dobby likes the idea that Harry Potter be full size. House-elf size is good for house-elves, but it’s not so good for great and powerful magicians.”
Pansy laughed as Dobby popped back out of the Library.
“We’re going to have to try and find out if we can get more house-elves to act like Dobby,” Malcom said thoughtfully. “It would be worth the cost of paying them to get intelligent servants. I’m not comfortable with indentured slaves; the chance of rebellion is always there.”
Pansy nodded. “As Voldemort will hopefully find out.”
“What will Voldemort find out?” Harry asked as he joined them, fully dressed again.
“That house-elves should be treated properly, not as slaves, so they won’t betray their masters.”
Harry settled down in to a chair comfortably. “For a lot of house-elves, they are loyal to their masters; they take it to an extreme level. Dobby has always been an unusual one, he has always seen me as a saviour, and it took me some time to get him to understand that we are friends.”
“When we brought you here, one of our house-elves recognised you, and immediately popped out. Dobby arrived a few minutes later.”
Harry frowned. “Dobby,” he called, as he snapped his fingers.
Dobby appeared a second later, and immediately handed Harry a huge roast beef sandwich. “Harry Potter sir needs to eat so that potion will work.”
“Thanks,” Harry grinned. “Take a seat, Dobby, I want to ask you a few questions.”
“Dobby is honoured,” the elf said clearly. “Dobby has never been asked to sit with Masters before.”
“Friends,” Harry corrected. “I might be employing you now, but we are still friends.”
Dobby beamed at Harry.
“Pansy was just telling me that when I was bought here, a house-elf appeared to recognise me.”
Dobby nodded eagerly. “Dobby told all house-elves to look out for Harry Potter sir, just in case. You have a habit of getting into nasty situations where Dobby can’t help you.”
Pansy couldn’t help snickering at that comment and tried to look innocent when Harry shot a reproachful look at her.
“I thought that house-elves wouldn’t betray their masters, though,” Harry said.
Dobby slowly lost his bright smile, and looked directly at Harry.
“Some house-elves see Dobby, and see how happy and free Dobby is and some house-elves want that freedom. Dobby doesn’t have to punish himself, or be punished. Dobby has been encouraged talk more like Wizards, and to treat Wizards more as equal. Harry Potter sir treat Dobby right, Dobby want other wizards to treat him the same way.
“House-elves hear about Dobby, so Dobby has visited them and told them how Dobby has a great life. Dobby tells everyone that Harry Potter understands house-elves, and will help house-elves.
“Ms Grangy, Harry Potter sir’s friend, gives very bad help. She tries to trick house-elves into receiving clothes. Hogwarts house-elves are very traditional, and are very well treated. They do not see how bad some elves are treated, so they don’t want the freedom Dobby has. Dobby told them that you are not like that, that Harry Potter is a great and wise wizard, and will help all house-elves that want help.
“House-elves are not betraying master, the house-elves are helping Dobby help Harry Potter sir so that Harry Potter will help house-elves.”
“I promise to do everything I can,” Harry promised, as he moved in front of Dobby and knelt.
Dobby nodded, smiling widely. “Harry Potter is a great and powerful wizard,” he proclaimed, and gave Harry a quick hug. “Now, Harry Potter sir should be eating his sandwich. Dobby has dinner to cook.” The elf vanished with his customary pop.
“Well handled,” Malcom praised with a thoughtful expression on his face.
Pansy smiled at Harry’s blush. It was amazing to her how he still wasn’t used to positive reinforcement. “Yeah,” she echoed. “It does make sense, though. But what did he mean about Granger giving bad help?”
Harry settled back into the chair and took a huge bite of his sandwich. “Hermione learnt to knit and left pieces of clothing in the trash, so that house-elves would be freed when they found it.”
“That’s awful,” Pansy blurted. “You can’t just free a creature that has no idea how to look after itself. They’d end up starving to death.”
Malcom nodded. “Quite right. Still, what would be a good idea is if we arranged for the house-elves to work for a central company, and the company dealt directly with the wizarding families. We could have a rulebook on acceptable treatment of elves, and harsh fines, including withdrawal of service, for anyone who breaks them.
“But this is a conversation for another day. Why don’t you have a chat with Ms Granger about it when you get back to school?”
Harry nodded. “I like the idea; I think we’ll get Dobby involved from the start.”
Malcom smiled. “Okay, I need to get some work done, so I suggest you two go upstairs and do some research into the potion you’re going to be taking tomorrow. Harry, I want you to use the Time-Turner so that you will be recovered in a day of normal time.”
“I’m staying with him,” Pansy commented.
“Of that, I had no doubt,” Malcom said dryly.
Pansy shot a look at Harry, to see what he felt about the idea, and was pleased that he was smiling at the idea as well.
“How did it go,” Gruoch asked, sitting down next to her husband.
“Interesting,” Malcom replied, giving her a quick rundown of the afternoon’s events.
“Why did you bring up Granger?”
Malcom smiled a bit. “I’m hoping that by the time they go back to school, Harry will have developed reciprocal feelings for Pansy, so I wanted to give him a few ideas of things he could bring up if any of his friends complain about them dating.”
“I swear you should have been in Slytherin.”
Malcom grinned. “Nah, I got the Ravenclaw education, and then managed to marry the best bit of Slytherin, so I got both.”
Gruoch laughed. “You old charmer, you.”
“What do you mean, old?” Malcom demanded. “I’m in the prime of my life.”
“Oh really, is that why you’ve gone up a trouser size recently?”
“Oh pish!” he responded. “It’s nothing a bit of a diet won’t solve.”
“And some more exercise. You spend too much time behind your desk.”
“Actually, you’re right,” Malcom sighed. “We should both start to practise duelling a lot more. We’re going to be in the front line of a war soon. Perhaps we should use the Time-Turner as well.”
Tonks walked through the bright sunlight, and straight into a non-descript office block. Inside the lift, she carefully pressed the two top buttons at once, and waited as the lift went higher than the indicator on the panel in front of her had a display for.
She walked out of the lift, and into a massive reception area. A man lounged comfortably on one of the settees, but she wasn’t fooled. She could feel his eyes on her, and knew that he was a highly trained bodyguard.
“I’m here to see Malcom,” she said to the receptionist calmly. “Tell him his niece is waiting for him.”
“At once, Miss Tonks,” the reception said instantly, a bright smile on her face.
Tonks had no idea how the receptionist knew who she was.
“He’ll see you immediately.”
Tonks nodded and walked into the pale blue office. A huge series of windows showed a fantastic view of London.
She pulled out her wand, almost smiling as she saw Malcom reach under his desk, and placed it down firmly in front of him. She then removed her personal daggers, and left them on the desk as well.
Tonks sat down opposite him, and took a deep breath. “I know you have Harry.”
Malcom raised an eyebrow, the only expression that changed on his face.
“I do?” he asked curiously.
“Yes. You only made one mistake.”
“Which was?” he asked, in a non-committal tone of voice.
“You were too perfect. Some reported seeing a Bentley that night, and Arabella Figg saw a Mercedes - a Mercedes with a false licence plate. It got me thinking, because you don’t normally see a Mercedes in Little Whinging.
“Harry had been removed from Privet Drive without actually setting foot outside, so he must have been levitated and invisible. So there was definitely a wizard involved. The Dursleys had been encouraged to confess as well, so that pointed to a wizard who wouldn’t mind using some of the closer to the edge spells.
“So, it was obvious to me that it needed to be a wizard who knew a hell of a lot about Muggles, had a car that no one, not even the Ministry, knows exists, and really doesn’t mind bending the rules.”
“I always knew there was a good brain behind that clumsy exterior. What are you going to do with the knowledge?” Malcom’s voice was cold, causing Tonks to instinctively want to morph into a bigger form.
“I want to talk to Harry. I want to check that he’s alright, and maybe just tell him that Remus and his friends are alright.”
Malcom looked at her thoughtfully, and the feeling of coldness receded a little. “I don’t mind you talking to Harry, but I do want your promise that anything you see is kept private.”
“And that goes for Pansy as well.”
“Is it wrong for a father to want the best possible match for his daughter?”
“Not that I’m aware of.”
“Pansy is falling deeply for Harry, perhaps already has, and he is a very special young man. I don’t want anything getting in the way of Harry having returning her feelings.”
Tonks winced. “You know that Ginny, Arthur’s youngest, still has feelings for him?”
“I was under the impression that she was dating a,” he checked a notebook in front of him, “Dean Thomas.”
“She did tell Harry that, but she didn’t expect it to be taken seriously.”
“If I allow you to see Harry, I want your promise not to mention that. Pansy and Harry would make a very good couple, socially, politically, financially, and physically. I believe that Pansy deserves her chance. Without her, Harry would probably be dead by now. It was her idea that we go and see him.”
Tonks nodded slowly; she did feel that Ginny had been pretty silly to say what she had, but remembered what it was like to be a teenager. And maybe Pansy did deserve a chance at Harry. She sighed mentally, deciding to not think about it till she could see how Pansy was reacting around Harry. “I accept.”
“Come to the Manor for Dinner tomorrow then, it’s been a long time, Nymphy.”
She smiled slowly. The hard part of the meeting was over, and she was no longer dealing with Malcom Parkinson, one of the most powerful men in Wizarding World, she was now dealing with Uncle Malcom, devoted family man.
Harry, Pansy, and Gruoch were driving through the leafy countryside. The car was currently an Audi A6, and Gruoch was handling it with the smooth casualness that Harry was beginning to associate with everything the family did.
“So what did you think of Thunder?” Gruoch asked.
“Wonderful,” Harry said, a grin appearing on his face. “Even without the flying, it was more fun than riding Buckbeak. It was as good as riding a broom.”
“You do know that we have several brooms at the Manor?”
“Mum,” Pansy said warningly.
“Now sweetheart, you know how I feel about that.”
“Can I ask what I’m missing here?” Harry asked.
Pansy turned and looked out the window, folding her arms across her chest.
“Pansy hasn’t been on a broom since she was twelve. We had to get special permission for her to sit out the lessons at Hogwarts.”
Harry went silent, and looked at Pansy’s back. He wanted to do something about this. He could see quite clearly that Gruoch had brought it up deliberately.
“Hey,” he said quietly, reaching out and placing his hand on her shoulder. He rubbed it gently, trying to offer some comfort.
“Pansy,” he said softly. “Look at me, please?”
She turned her head slowly, reluctantly, and he was a little shocked to see a tear track down the side of her face. He bit back the urge to touch her cheek, not thinking it was really appropriate. “What would you have done if I’d fallen off Thunder yesterday?”
Pansy met his eyes, “Told you to get back on immediately. And yes, I know what point you’re trying to make, but it’s different.”
Pansy went silent, her eyes searching his, begging for something, but he didn’t know what.
“You made a mistake. You learn from it, and don’t repeat it. So why aren’t you flying again?”
“I’m scared! Happy?” she said angrily.
“A little,” he said, letting a hint of a smile show on his face. “Fear is something we can fight.”
“It’s something I’ve had a lot of practice with, and it’s something I know we can beat. Just promise me you’ll let me try and fight it with you?”
Her grey eyes went wide, and he felt her staring hard at him. “You’re going to help me fight it?”
“Damn right,” he responded. “You’ve done so much for me, so there is no way on this earth that I’m going to bypass a chance to help you back. And besides, it kinda makes you more human.”
“Is that a good thing?”
Harry smiled, letting his hand drop from her shoulder, and looked out the window again. “That depends, I don’t think I could feel anything for a real Angel.”
He missed the delighted look that appeared on Pansy’s face, and the satisfied look that appeared on Gruoch’s.
As they approached the gates to the private Hospital, Gruoch touched her wand to the car stereo. The car shifted again, and Harry and Pansy found themselves scrunched up in the small back seat.
“Sorry,” Gruoch said. “But an Aston Martin DB7 is one of the most impressive cars in the world; it will ensure that we continue to get the service we are paying for.”
As the gates opened in front of her, she shoved accelerator to the floor; and laughed as the two teenagers were pressed back into the seat. She navigated the curves in the road like she was rallying, and then slammed the brakes on, coming to a complete halt outside the doors.
“Remember,” she turned to look over her shoulder. “Harry, you’re my son, Alan Parktree; Pansy, you’re his girlfriend, Sarah Clarke. You’re going on a skiing holiday to New Zealand in three days time, and you need your eyes fixed before you go. No one should ask about your scar, and if they do, I’ll be very annoyed. We will be with you every step of the way, so don’t worry about anything.”
Pansy and Harry nodded, so she opened the door and swung her legs out. An attendant appeared and offered to help her out of the low-slung car. She hid a smile, positive that the help had nothing at all to do with the shortness of her skirt. She shot him a flirtatious smile, and pulled on a pair of sunglasses, reaching into her pocket and grabbing a stick of gum.
She chewed, and said in a vapid voice. “Come on Alan, Sarah, I’ve got a hair appointment with Jules I just can’t miss.”
“Coming, mum,” Harry said.
Gruoch sighed to herself softly, having heard the faint hitch in his voice. ‘Don’t hate me for this, Lils,’ she thought to herself. ‘You’re his mother, you always will be, we’re just acting.’
She trotted up the stone steps, and walked straight through the doors, barely acknowledging the doorman. At the reception desk, she shot her fakest smile at the receptionist. “Alan Parktree, for a two o’clock appointment. My baby’s getting his eyes fixed.”
“Mummm,” Harry whined.
“What is it, pookie?”
“Not in front of the others,” Harry mumbled through gritted teeth.
“They don’t mind,” Gruoch said dismissively. She was actually impressed with how well and how quickly he was responding to her act. The boy obviously had some Slytherin inside him, which surprised her a little as both his parents had been picture-book Gryffindors. It was probably due to his upbringing, she decided.
“Right this way, Mrs Parktree,” a new voice said, opening a door.
Gruoch nodded, and followed the young doctor down to a waiting room with a view of a pristine white surgery. In the centre was a dentist type chair with a large machine to the right of it.
“I’m Doctor Aurora,” the young man introduced himself. “I know that you’re in a hurry, so I’ll get straight to the point.”
“Thank you,” Gruoch simpered. “Will it hurt my little bundle of fluff?”
“Not at all, Mrs Parktree,” the doctor said reassuringly. “What we’re going to do is apply some anaesthetic eye drops, and then we’ll hold his eyes open with some clips, and perform the surgery. He shouldn’t feel a thing.
“Alan, if you’ll sit in here,” he indicated a wheelchair. “We’ll take you into the theatre and get started.”
Harry nodded, sitting down quickly.
“Be brave, my little soldier,” Gruoch said, walking over and kissing him firmly on the forehead.
“Don’t worry, Alan,” Pansy said with a smile. “You’ll do fine.” She leant and gave him a quick kiss on the corner of his mouth.
Gruoch smiled at the look on Harry’s face. It was a mixture of shock and pleasure. She smiled, even though it was hard to see her daughter grow up. She had started dating Malcom in their fifth year, so she felt hypocritical saying anything to stop the pair. Besides, she liked Harry, and much preferred him to that slimy rat, Draco.
Draco had far too much of his father in him; he had been spoilt rotten all his life, and had the opinion that everyone and everything revolved around him personally. Still, it was to be expected with Lucius, a simpering toadie, behind his smooth manners, and Narcissa, a raging alcoholic.
She watched as Harry was wheeled into the surgery, and moved on to the operating chair.
She hadn’t been aware that her daughter had hidden herself in front of Draco, but had to admire the strategy. Sometimes the best place to hide was in plain sight; and by practising reverse psychology, she had achieved her aim.
She wondered if Pansy would go back to school under her disguise, and suspected that the answer would depend a lot on Harry.
When he had told Pansy he was going to help her overcome her fear of flight, was the moment that she had truly accepted him as part of her family. She would have helped him, even if he had been a git, because of James and Lily, but his sense of dedication and willingness to give back had impressed her. His simple, 'see a problem, make a plan to fix it,' attitude had proved that he was worthy of being a Parkinson.
She had always wanted a son, but unfortunately, complications arising from Pansy’s birth had meant that she couldn’t have another child. Having a son-in-law was the nearest she was going to get, and this particular person would fit that bill perfectly. It was going to be a pain for her to take a step back and let them discover for themselves if they would want to spend the rest of their lives together.
“Sneaking your first kiss?” she smirked slightly to her daughter, enjoying the way her normally unflappable child blushed.
“You said I was his girlfriend,” Pansy pointed out.
”And like a true Parkinson you saw your opportunity and took it.”
Pansy grinned. “Yep.”
“Both your father and I approve.”
“Thanks, mum,” Pansy whispered, so that it was only just audible.
“Just continue to take your time, and he’ll come around eventually.”
“I know,” she sighed. “If he was anyone else, I’d just kiss him senseless. You know he’s not even tried anything at night with me?”
“I wouldn’t expect anything else from him.”
“I know,” Pansy’s smile suddenly turned playful. “Not that I would have minded that much.”
Gruoch rolled her eyes behind her sunglasses. “Tell me again why I’m letting you do that?”
“Because you trust me,” Pansy beamed. “And you trust him, and know that if anything did happen, it would be completely consensual.”
“Sometimes,” Gruoch said dryly, “you are too old for your age.”
Pansy’s smile dropped a little. “You said it yourself, mum; death makes us grow up early.”
“You’re letting Harry help you with you flying, but you wouldn’t let me or your father?”
Pansy nodded slowly. “He really wanted to help me, mum. It meant so much to him that I couldn’t say no.”
“I thought that might happen,” Gruoch said smugly. “And the thought of Harry holding you tightly on a broom never crossed your mind?”
Pansy blushed furiously. “Mummm!,” she whispered intently.
Gruoch glanced at the room. “They’re starting the laser surgery,” she commented, and smiled as Pansy immediately regained control and turned to face the boy she wanted to be her boyfriend.
Fifteen minutes later, Harry was wheeled out of the surgery.
“His eyes will be bad for at least twenty-four hours,” the doctor informed them. “He’ll need to use these eyes drops regularly, but he should be fine for your skiing trip.”
Gruoch clapped her hands together, and gave the surgeon her weakest possible handshake. “Thank you.”
The doctor nodded, and Pansy took control of Harry’s wheelchair and moved him back to the entrance hall. At the top of the steps, Pansy helped Harry stand, and wrapped her arms around his waist, guiding him straight to their car.
Gruoch sighed, careful not to drop her act. They did make a very cute couple.
Back at the Parkinson Manor, Pansy helped Harry into his room, and sat him down in the chair.
“How are you feeling?”
Harry frowned a little. “There’s hardly any pain. It’s just strange - my eyesight is actually worse at the moment.”
“I think you should eat now, and then take the growth potion.”
Harry sighed slowly. “I guess you’re right.”
“Yeah. It’s bad enough being blind as a bat, but the prospect of twenty-four hours of pain isn’t a good one.”
“I know,” Pansy said softly. “But it’s short term effort for long term gain.”
Harry cracked a slight smile. “You always manage to sum things up succinctly.”
“It’s a family trait,” she grinned. “Dobby,” she called as she clicked her fingers.
“Is Harry Potter sir ready for lunch?”
“He is,” Pansy said. “The eye surgery was a success.”
Dobby clapped his hands together and vanished, food appearing before them a few seconds later.
After Pansy had eaten a sandwich, and Harry had eaten another huge meal, Pansy stood.
“Come on,” she said, as she helped him stand.
“Where are we going?”
“My bedroom. We can’t stay here; we’re going to jump back to yesterday with the potion, take it, and recover. If we did it in here, we’d have four of us in the bed, and as there wasn’t four this morning, we didn’t do it here.”
“This time travel is going to give me a headache,” Harry complained.
Pansy grinned. “True. It gives a whole new meaning to cause and effect. We’re doing something because we know we did it because we didn’t see the outcome of us not doing it.”
“Stop,” Harry laughed. “Please. Don’t make it worse.”
Inside her room, Pansy wound the Turner back for twenty-four hours, and released it. Only the slight pull gave Harry a sense that it had worked, as the room was identical.
“Here,” she said gently. “Lie down.”
Harry nodded, kicking off his shoes, and laying on her bed. He noticed that it smelt of the same light, airy scent that he caught whenever she was near. It was clean, and somehow pure to him.
She handed him the potion. “Ready?”
Harry took a deep breath. “Nope,” he said with a grin, saluted her with the goblet, and drained it in one go. “That’s worse than Polyjuice,” he groaned, collapsing against the bed.
“And just when did you take Polyjuice?” Pansy asked.
“Second year,” Harry said, “Wanted to ask Draco a questio--“
The pain hit him like a Bludger, and he arched his back instinctively. It felt like parts of his body was on fire.
“Gaaaahhhh,” he screamed under his breath.
Suddenly, he felt a cool hand on his forehead, and then a softer body holding him. “I’m here,” he heard her whisper. “I’m always here.”
“My angel,” he whispered, before a fresh wave of pain hit him again.
Well, I wasn't planning on posting this today, but after the amazing response to my birthday, I had to say thank you in some way, and this seems the best way. This is NOT the start of me
posting week in, week out, it's just an early bonus.
So, first, thanks to the usual suspects for their support and help in writing this. Cami, Ellie, Susie, Leslie, Rachael, Julie, and John have all done wonders with this.
Secondly, a thank you to *takes a deep breath*
Alaranth_88, Amanda, Atalante, bumblebuzz22, Crys ,Draco664, Ethan Palmer, Franzi Frederic, Jason Papile, Katie ,katie3880, Margaret, Mary & JJC, Musings_Of_Apathy ,nightcrawler0126, nightcrawler1089, Nonjon Veer, and Brad, Cami, Ellie, Susie, Leslie, Rachael, Julie, and John for the wonderful birthday presents - this is being posted for you.
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