Content Harry Potter Trixie Belden Star Trek: TNG My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic
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Disclaimer: This space intentionally left blank. These characters belongs to JK Rowling, except maybe for the man with no vowels in his name. (Yes, I know he actually has four of them in his name...)

Note: UdderPD may well recognise a nickname for Lavender Brown in this chapter...

The next several days went quickly, with Dolores Umbridge's ouster from the school and imminent trial being the talk of the school and the Daily Prophet, which had suddenly decided that since Harry was the one who had done this to her, they might wish to remain on his good side.

He was quick to point out that she had actually done it to herself, at least to the other students. Some of them who had been uncertain about him, due to the Daily Prophet's work, now wanted to be seen with him. He politely ignored them, for the most part.

He did apologise to Susan, however. "I'm going to suggest that your aunt take over the role of Minister for Magic. You might want to get her here at some point, because I think she has the right to know what's happening. All of it." He looked pensive and a little sad.

"What aren't you telling me?" she asked slightly warily.

"In the original time stream, your aunt will be murdered by Voldemort next summer. The only description in the paper will be that her death was 'nasty'. Personally, I want the little bastard gone before he can do that, but I figure the more chances we have to change things, the better off we are."

"I understand. I'll suggest it to her, and you should probably get the Headmaster to do the same."

He discovered that Saturday was going to be a very busy day for him. First, he was going to be meeting with Professor Brzheznov — the name got easier to pronounce for him the more he practiced it — to explore the Chamber of Secrets. He was inviting the Headmaster and those that he deemed necessary to come, and any Weasleys that chose to come as well. He was especially hoping for Ron and Ginny, both of whom agreed.

They met in Myrtle's bathroom where she acted surprised at the number of visitors. Dumbledore greeted her with a smile and gentle care, and she softly faded into her favourite toilet for the first time anyone could remember, rather than the usual exuberant splash.

Harry walked to the sink in question and hissed "Open" at it. As before, the sink moved away to expose a hole that seemed smaller this time around, and he chuckled at that. He stared at the hole for a second and then hissed "Stairs down." There was the sound of stone softly grinding on stone, and stairs appeared and began to move downward. "It's quite a distance down," he said, "and I really couldn't see Salazar Slytherin sliding down a slimy tunnel on his back. And the exercise from walking back up would have been ridiculous, so I figured that there were moving stairs."

"Excellent thinking, Mr Potter!" Dumbledore said. "Ten points to Gryffindor!" The group, which consisted of Brzheznov, Dumbledore, Harry, Ron, Ginny, Molly and Arthur, stepped onto the stairs and rode them down to the bottom, stepping carefully on the small bones at the bottom. Ginny started to shiver, and Arthur pulled her closer.

Dumbledore cleared the rockfall, shoring up the tunnel in the process, and Harry walked further forward, waiting at the large door into the Chamber itself. "I'll be opening this in a second. Ginny, if this disturbs you, remember one thing — you're here. You survived. You won." She nodded shakily, and he opened the Chamber. It was still as he remembered leaving it all those years ago, and he himself shuddered at the memory. To his surprise, Fawkes appeared in a burst of flame and landed on his shoulder and began singing softly.

Feeling his mood improve, he looked around. He realised that the Headmaster had been quite correct about the toxicity of the basilisk — were it not for the odd angle that it lay at, he would not have been the slightest bit surprised to see it sit up and sniff around for them.

Professor Brzheznov stared at it for a long moment before turning to face Harry. "You killed this at twelve years old?" Harry nodded, confused. "This thing is sixty to seventy feet long, Mr Potter. If you ever get angry at me, please make my death a quick one. I don't stand a chance against the man who can defeat one of these at age twelve."

"Well, I had a lot of help," Harry said with a shrug. "Fawkes played a big part by getting me the Sorting Hat, which is where I pulled Gryffindor's sword from, plus he blinded it. I just stabbed it through the roof of it's mouth. Ouch!" The last came when Fawkes chose to express his opinion by whacking Harry on the back of the head with a wing.

"I believe that Fawkes thinks that you had a somewhat bigger hand in the death of the basilisk than you choose to admit," Arthur said with a chuckle. Even Ginny was giggling.

"I was twelve!" he protested. "It's not like I called on the ancient Potter magics and invoked the sword skills of Arthur Pendragon or something. I got myself bit putting the sword through the roof of that thing's mouth. Fawkes is the only reason I'm alive today." He pulled Ginny into a hug. "At least she's alive. That made getting bitten worth it."

She swatted him on the arm with a laugh. "Why do you say that sort of a thing to me when you're promised to Hermione and Daphne?" She turned and began to playfully beat him on the chest, making everyone laugh.

He finally stopped her by hugging her. "In that vein, I'm looking at the possible splitting of the basilisk and the monies earned by selling it slowly in the following manner: To Professor Dumbledore, to use in whatever way that he chooses ..." He paused to watch the Headmaster flash four fingers at him, one at a time. "As he has just convinced me, one quarter of the profits go to him. One quarter will remain mine. The other half will be split as one quarter to the finest example of what a wizarding family should be, also known as Molly and Arthur Weasley. The remaining quarter will be split in half between Ron and Ginny."

"Harry, we couldn't!" Arthur protested.

"Why not? You raised incredible children. Ron, knowing only that the Monster of Slytherin was down here, came down to help save his sister. If that's not a Gryffindor proving that he loves his sister, then nothing is. Ginny fought off a very powerful mind for almost an entire year." He grinned to the girl who was now pressed tightly against him, shivering slightly. "Besides, isn't that the ultimate revenge, Ginny — to become hideously wealthy specifically because of Tom?" He looked at her parents. "And these two were raised with the values that made them worthy of their rewards. They had to learn them from you. So the money rightfully belongs to you."

He turned to the Potions professor. "As for you? Right now, you get a few pounds of materials to work with, or sell as you wish. Once I know you better, you may well get a goodly portion of my quarter."

"I will take an oath if you wish, but I believe that I can get you top dollar selling this basilisk. All at once would cause a glut that would lower its worth, but I have contacts all around the world. I believe that I can sell it without causing a crash." Before Harry could say anything, he had pulled his wand and sworn an oath to get the best price possible without swindling anyone.

"You didn't need to do that," Harry said with some very mild annoyance.

"You've been on the receiving end of some things that can shake a man's trust. I felt that making the oath would take one of those things off your mind."

"I appreciate that, but you still didn't have to do that. So, how do we go about tearing this thing down for use amongst the brewers and armourers of the world?"

"We will need to return, by necessity, he said, but that's on your schedule," Brzheznov said.

"Well, I should be able to work my schedule around when you can get those you'll need to help you. Beyond that, should we start, or come down here later on?"

"How does next weekend work for you?" the professor asked. Harry simply nodded his agreement.

Before the weekend was complete, the Headmaster had secured a new professor for Defence Against the Dark Arts, and had hired someone living for History of Magic, but did not tell Harry, who walked into his History of Magic class on Monday to find Sirius Black at the head of the class. People looked startled, but sat down dutifully, and more awake than they could ever remember being in a History of Magic class, if only because of the unexpected guest.

The time for class began, and Sirius spoke. "Hi. I'm your new professor for this class, Sirius Black. Yeah, that Sirius Black. Over the weekend, the Headmaster finally convinced Professor Binns that he was in fact dead, so the fellow crossed over into the next great adventure, as they say. That's my understanding, at least. I could be wrong. From this point on, I will be teaching the class. We will cover the goblin wars occasionally, but we will also cover modern events." There were a few gasps. "Yes, that means that you'll actually need to stay awake in my class. There may be an occasion or two where I will need to cancel class for a day, but that just means that you'll see me in the Defence classroom."

"They rehired Professor Lupin?" Harry blurted out happily.

""Yes, Mr Potter, they did. You approve of this move?" Sirius asked with a grin.

"Begging your pardon for the outburst sir, but 'Heck yeah!' Between you two, we'll actually learn something!"

"I'm pleased by your vote of confidence," was the amused reply. "Now, let's get into some recent history, compared to what Professor Binns taught. Back in the early eighteen hundreds, a man rose to power in the wizarding world. His name was ..."

They walked from class, Hermione smiling at Ron, who was doing the one thing no one had ever seen him do before. He was raving about a class. "Who knew that history could be so interesting? He makes it come alive!"

"Maybe he can do the same for your grades, Weaselby," a familiar male drawl said.

"Hey, you hired a new script writer!" Harry said jovially, interrupting Ron's potential explosion. "That's the first new material I've ever heard you use! How much did they cost you?"

"What are you on about, Potter?" Malfoy asked in annoyance.

"Good heavens. You mean that was original material? I didn't know you had it in you, Malfoy. You've not shown a tendency toward thinking for yourself before!" He breezed past the stunned blonde. "Well, time for Potions!" he said, walking into the room in time to see Professor Brzheznov wiping a smile off his face. Harry winked at him quickly.

Defence led to a surprise, but it was for the teacher. When Remus Lupin walked into the classroom, Harry beat the others by only a fraction of a second as he stood and began to applaud. "I appreciate the sentiment," Remus finally was able to say. "I just hope that I live up to your standards. I can tell you that I will not be teaching this class next year, however." He paused for the classes "Aww," to echo around. "I will still be teaching here, however. Your History of Magic professor and I will be switching positions for next year's classes."

Everybody looked a little confused, but then Harry started to laugh. "What a way to deal with the curse on the position!" he finally gasped out. "This teacher already knows that he won't be teaching the class next year, so it doesn't have to kick in!"

"There's an actual curse on the position?" Parvati asked in shock.

"Apparently so," Remus said. "Apparently Voldemort ..." He paused for the usual shudder from the students, "... applied for the position when he was still only Tom Riddle. He'd already gone quite Dark, so the Headmaster refused to hire him. Riddle apparently cursed the position. Easy to do if you are of a certain power level. Several people are of sufficient power — Riddle, obviously; the Headmaster; several students within the student body at this point in time; and several within the Ministry. Doing the curse is easy. It's breaking it that becomes problematic. You see, the wording becomes important, and if you don't know the exact wording, it becomes significantly more difficult to break a curse. Now, that leads into what I was planing on teaching you today. You see ..."

Harry walked into dinner with the others with a slight frown. "Maybe it's superstition or something, but I'm waiting for the other shoe to drop. Too much good has happened too early in the year. When is all Hell going to break loose on my head?"

"You're just paranoid," Hermione said. "This looks like it's going to be a good year for you at last."

"First year was pretty good," he said with a smile. "I met a really pretty girl that I helped save from a troll."

"Flatterer," she said with a very slight blush.

They set to the business of eating, and were quickly enjoying themselves. As they were finishing up the last of the pudding course, Professor McGonagall came over to Harry. "When you are done, the Headmaster needs to see you in his office. Some news that may or may not be bad."

He sighed. "Here it comes. We're going to find out that I'm really Snape's love child by Bellatrix Lestrange or something," he grumbled as he stood. More than just Ron looked a little nauseous at the thought. "I guess I'll see you guys in the tower in a while."

"He's what?" Harry asked, trying very hard not to take his annoyance out on the Headmaster.

"He has realised that to keep his job, he needs to discredit Amelia Bones, yourself, and me," the Headmaster said. "Miss Granger and Mr Weasley — Ronald, that is — are likely to be caught in the back-splash, if you will, since they are friends of yours and were here for Madam Umbridge's humiliation."

"So he's trying to make it look as if she's taking bribes or something?"

"Precisely. He has stated that it appears that there is evidence of her taking bribes from known Dark Families, such as the Blacks. Sirius is looked at as a victim, so they are attempting to say that the other members of the family bribed her to throw Sirius in prison without a trial."

"We need to get the goblins involved with this," Harry said. "Yesterday, if possible." He blinked. "Actually, it is possible. I forget that sometimes. No, I meant that as a sign of how quickly, sir." He scowled. "He's going to be using money from the 'pure as the driven snow' Malfoys to pay for this, I'm sure."

"Undoubtedly," was Dumbledore's response. "I am sorry to bring this to your attention, but I did not wish you blind-sided by this."

"I appreciate that, sir. I suppose that I should go back to the tower and let Ron and Hermione know that they're about to get their names dragged through the mud." Dumbledore nodded sadly, and Harry returned to Gryffindor Tower.

"Unbelievable!" Hermione exploded when he had told them. "I hope Madam Bones has the ability to prove that she hasn't been taking bribes."

"It's hard to prove a negative, you should know that. All he needs to do is throw enough smoke around until he can get something passed through the Wizengamot." He shrugged. "Well, both he and Umbridge will find it difficult enough when the House of Potter officially declares Blood Feud on them and their Houses."

Lavender Brown's head shot up as she heard that. "Are you serious? You'd declare war on the Houses of Fudge and Umbridge?"

"Why not? They fly in the face of all honourable rules of interaction between the Ancient Families by trying what they're doing. Amelia Bones is an honourable woman, who was called here to verify the truthfulness of a report. Fudge seems to care more for how much money can come from the Malfoy coffers than anything resembling honesty. He's covering for Umbridge and himself, since if word of what she said here gets out, he loses a lot of support, because he supported her one hundred percent."

She walked away, shaking her head. "That'll be all over the school by tomorrow!" Hermione whispered.

"I know. Why do you think I was so open with her about it? She's a wonderful girl, but she's gotten the unflattering nickname of 'Sonorus Hogwarticus' because of her inability to not pass along a juicy story. I expect that it will have reached the ears of Fudge himself by the end of the week."

Word reached Harry on Wednesday that he needed to meet with the Headmaster in his office. He arrived to discover Cornelius Fudge waiting there, looking shockingly like Vernon Dursley in colour, with both a smug Dolores Umbridge and coolly amused Lucius Malfoy, who leaned on his ever-present cane with two gloved hands.

"Ah, we're back!" Harry said brightly. "Who are you trying to destroy now, Fudge, in your attempt to keep taking ... donations ... from the blond haired one over there?"

"I've heard about your threat to declare Blood Feud between the House of Potter and both of the Houses of Fudge and Umbridge," Fudge growled. "I want you to stop this nonsense now."

"What nonsense? Trying to get you to admit that your pet toad there stepped over the line and had no problems torturing students?"

"Where's your proof, Potter?" Umbridge replied smarmily. "Your notebook is journal is nowhere to be seen."

"Ah, so you managed to force it out of Amelia Bones hands and the evidence was 'accidentally' lost. Can I assume the Lucius over there did the honours for you, since I doubt you have the power for even a simple flame spell?"

"I would watch my tongue amongst my betters, child," Malfoy growled silkily.

"You're right." He turned to the Headmaster. "Is my tone offending you, sir?"

"Not at all, Harry," Albus said in a friendly tone.

"Pleased to hear that." He turned back to Lucius. "Well, since the only one I consider my better has no problems with my tone, I'm not worried about you. What's the real reason you're involved, Lucius? Voldemort needs Fudge in office for something?"

Lucius raised his cane threateningly, but before he could say anything, Harry said, "Try anything, Lucky, and you'll be walking home painfully, and it'll take St Mungos to extract that cane from your arse. I'm aware of the fact that your wand is in the top of the cane as well, so no being sneaky there."

"You know something?" Harry asked conversationally. "Most people don't wear gloves this early in the season, and the last few times I saw you, you never wore them. Is it possible that the reason you've picked up that affectation is because one of your hands is now silver?"

Lucius's eyes widened momentarily — in fear, it appeared to Harry — before he hid the look and said, "A minor skin condition erupted, and I do not wish to run the risk of infection."

"Good answer," Harry replied. "At least I know now who was in the graveyard in May. There's some silver glinting from behind the glove, mind you." He grinned to himself as he watched Lucius's eyes flicker quickly to his right hand before narrowing at Harry subterfuge.

"So, let's get down to business. What are your plans to force me to give up the Blood Feud? Especially since I can bring forth another journal with the same information as the one that you destroyed. Remember Madam Bones commenting that I bought a top of the line version of the Evidence Quill and journal set? The most expensive ones write to multiple journals."

All three eyes widened in fear at that. "I demand that you give me those other journals now!" Fudge blustered at Harry.

Harry just looked at him for a moment before turning to Dumbledore. "So, how about those Cannons?"

The Headmaster's eyes twinkled as he replied, "I fear that unless they improve their coaching, they will continue to perform at the bottom of the league, as is their usual placement."

"Did you hear me Potter?" Fudge yelled. "Give me those journals!" He reached out and grabbed Harry's arm and spun him around. Prepared for this, Harry's arm shot out and caught Fudge in the side of the head, knocking him to the ground.

"Oh, I'm sorry!" Harry said with false concern. "I've been attacked enough that I've learned to fight back first, before giving the assailant a chance to attack further. Please accept my apologies."

"Now, in answer to your oh-so-polite 'request' that I hand over the extra journals, I'm afraid that I shall have to tell you no. They are evidence in a pending court case, apparently. One that could have repercussions far beyond those that the people involved might consider. We have a man who appears to be a recovered Death Eater, having admitted under oath that he's quite weak willed and performed all his prior murders and rapes under the auspices of the Imperius Curse."

"How dare you refer to a respected man that way!" Umbridge said in a huff that Harry fought very hard to not laugh at, since it sounded suspiciously like a croak.

"I'm fifteen and can throw off the Imperius," he answered her. "Do you mean to tell me that the paragon of Pureblood society can't throw off the same spell? I stand by the decision to call him weak-willed, unless he chooses to admit being a Death Eater willingly." He turned to Malfoy. "Can't have it both ways, Lucy."

"So, do I call Blood Feud, or do you actually allow this to work out the way that it should, Minister Fudge? Don't think that I won't declare Feud on you, since you are aiding and abetting Dolores Umbridge's attempts against the last scion of the Potter family. The only way that you can successfully prevent me from declaring Feud would remove several loopholes that the Purebloods such as Lucky there enjoy. Believe me — I checked. Any attempt to word it such that it only refers to me will make the attempt rather obvious, which will lead to questions as to why a single Family is being singled out."

"Decide," he said sharply. "You have until the first Saturday of October. If I have not heard that the situation has returned to the track that it should be pursuing by the end of the day Saturday, October fifth, I will declare Blood Feud upon both the Umbridge and Fudge families on the sixth of October." His smile to them had a predatory look to it. "Part of me hopes that you choose to underestimate me," he said. "I'll have great fun dismantling your Families legally if you choose to. And I'll be able to, once we're in Feud."

"I will not be ordered around!" Umbridge said in what she likely considered to be a dangerous tone.

"Then do you wish Blood Feud now?" Harry asked in reply. "If so, I am more than willing to oblige. At that point, of course, any family that helps you is considered to have allied themselves to you and will be included in the Feud." He looked significantly at Malfoy and Fudge, both of whom were actually looking a bit nervous.

Her response was to look to them first before snarling and saying, "We'll talk."

"Good. Now, since the Blood Feud information has reached you, and you know everything I intend to tell you, you might as well take off now. I need to speak to the Headmaster on a school related subject."

Umbridge started to draw herself to her full height, which put Harry in mind of a frog preparing to snag a particularly juicy fly, but Fudge put a hand on her arm and shook his head. They turned and left the office, but not without glaring at Harry. Lucius turned to follow them, but paused and said, "You'll come to a very sticky end, Potter. Just like your parents."

Harry grinned. "Love you too, Lucy! Tell Voldemary hi for me! Buh-bye!"

As the door closed, Dumbledore started to chuckle. "Voldemary?"

"Well, he used his mother's bones. I expect that the body is actually male, but it's a wonderful bit of annoyance to the creature. And when I feel a twinge up here, it'll mean that Lucky Lucy is getting a Crucio or two for reporting the insult."

"You are playing a dangerous game, I fear."

"I have to. I lied through my teeth about those journals, but I don't think that Fudge has had a chance to get the original away from Madam Bones — he was playing his own game with me, trying to scare me into dropping everything. He didn't expect this nice little Muggle raised wizard to understand the nuances of Blood Feud."

"How did you learn of it?"

"In the first time line, I got Arthur Weasley to explain it to me before I went after Umbridge, who basically got away with what I've prevented here this time through. It had to happen this time around because I couldn't convince Sirius and Remus to apply for the jobs. It took the torture of me to drive home that things were still happening as they did the first time through to them. I used it to utterly annihilate Dolores Umbridge in the first time line. Mind you, I use that word with greater precision than most would." Dumbledore merely blinked. "She'd been the Ministry official sent to your funeral to be the other bookend to Rufus Scrimgeour. They did nothing to her after her torture of students."

"I understand. As for your taunting of Lucius Malfoy, you need to be careful."

"I wasn't joking about him either, sir. Did you notice him look at his right hand when I mentioned that some silver was showing? Riddle has a body again because Lucius sacrificed his hand. If Draco had been there, he likely have sacrificed him as the 'flesh of the servant, willingly given', but Draco's fight would have caused problems with the ritual, no doubt."

He stood and paced the Headmaster's office. "I will face Voldemort again, and he will die the final time. By taunting him through Lucius, I can hopefully get him into a frenzy where he will make that fatal mistake that I need. The scrying stone isn't working more at the moment than to tell us that he's in Scotland."

Albus Dumbledore smiled. "Given your plans, I would imagine that you get more distracted by its resting place than what the stone is showing you."

"Why sir! Are you suggesting that I could possibly be distracted by the fact that the stone rests securely between the absolutely magnificent and perfect breasts of one of my fiancées?" he replied with a grin. "You're likely quite right."

"I should release you to your friends once more. They are likely quite worried about you by now." He scribbled a note and handed it to Harry.

"I appreciate this, sir, but why are you doing that? I'm a prefect. I'm allowed out after curfew."

Albus Dumbledore looked at Harry for a moment before he began to laugh. "Would you believe that I had forgotten that, despite the badge upon your robes? Keep it as a 'Get out of Jail Free' card, if you will, in case you ever need it."

The feeling wasn't all that tense around the student body, since they never really paid much attention to the goings on at the Ministry unless it somehow impacted them. The threat of Blood Feud started by a student was a fifteen minute wonder that lasted all of a day or two in people's minds at the school before the pressures of classwork drove it from their thoughts. Harry hadn't caused bloody retribution to happen right in front of any of them, so it was unimportant.

Harry was a little confused by Ginny during the next week or so, because she kept seeming as if she was both avoiding him and trying to be near him all the time. He finally asked Hermione to find out what was going on.

She came back about an hour later, smiling. "We appear to have a problem, Harry," she said. "I'll need to talk to Daphne about it as well."

"Good heavens," he said. "Don't tell me that she wants to sign up on that non-existent harem sign-up list!"

Hermione's smile turned somewhat mischievous. "Who said it was non-existent?" When his eyes widened and he turned slightly pale, she chuckled. "She does want to sign up, though. I explained the problem, and she thought about it. She's thinking about changing the way that she acts, but I made her think about whether or not she was changing for herself, or in hopes of catching you. She doesn't see you as the Boy Who Lived anymore, at least." She blushed. "She said she was happy to have finally met Harry Potter last year, and ... well, she joined the tired fingers club after learning what you really are like, Harry. She fell hard for Harry, not the BWL."

"You know how it works, love. I love you and Daphne. I loved the Ginny from the other time line, but she was too much like Molly. I could probably fall in love with her here, but I won't let that happen if it means that I would lose either you or Daph."

"If it happens, it'll be because Daphne and I agree." She blushed furiously. "She is a tasty little morsel though, isn't she?"

"I would never make that statement for fear that she thought it was a short joke." His eyes twinkled. "Besides, other than her lips, I never had the chance to taste her."

"If things work out in her favour, that'll be remedied," she quipped.

"But not tonight, it won't," he replied with finality, pulling her onto his lap.

"Goodness, is that because of Ginny or me?" she asked impishly.

"You have perfect breasts, which are currently protecting the only piece of jewellery that I have ever been jealous of, mainly because of where it's ensconced. They were at my eye level. You haven't worn a bra in almost a year due to that evil spell that you or Daphne or someone discovered, and the conversation with Ginny appears to have excited you slightly, based upon the fact that you are pointing at me without benefit of hands."

"You didn't answer my question," she said with a smile.

He blushed. "Some of it is Ginny. I remember kissing her and getting a good grip on her bum occasionally — at least once going so far as it being under the cloth of her skirt. Nothing further, mind you. We never had the chance."

"So you've not heard the cute little squeal she makes when she's orgasming?" Hermione asked impudently. At his startled look, she said, "We've shared a bedroom at the Burrow, and we've explored a bit. I think all girls do at some point. In my case, I realised that while boys certainly made my engine hum on all cylinders, certain girls do the same to me. Daphne and Ginny are two of them, and I will admit that I wouldn't exactly complain if I had a chance to explore Parvati's sensitivity levels. I don't know how I feel about Fleur. Part of me ... well, let's just say that if I was equipped like you, everyone in school would know how I react to her, because my robes would be messy. But then there's that aura that she puts out that tends to push women away. Where will things go with people? Who knows? I'm not going to force anything, and I'm not going to try to add people just so that I have extra female lovers. You have to be interested in them too."

"Well, if we ever have to worry about it in the future, you can solve it then. Until then, I just want some serious snogging in a more immediate time frame."

She was more than happy to comply.

The prankster in Harry insisted on a new permission slip for Hogsmeade, so he requested one from Professor McGonagall. When he filled it out in front of her and then signed it, she smiled at him in an amused manner and said, "Get out of here, you scamp! You don't need a permission slip, as an adult. Just try to let one of us know that you will be out of Hogwarts bounds at the time, if it is possible." He nodded and thanked her, then left, whistling happily.

Fudge washed his hands of Umbridge on the first of October, making certain that Harry was aware that he was no longer protecting her, and requesting, in his circuitous manner, not to declare Blood Feud on the Fudge family. Harry responded that as long as no aid was given her, there would be no worries about Feud. Umbridge herself waited until the middle of the day on October fifth to make Harry aware that she was giving in to his demands.

He had been in Hogsmeade that day, enjoying the day and the time with his beautiful girlfriends. Hermione and Daphne were doing a lot of whispering about something, but he was used to that by this point. It tended to end with him having a very large smile on his face, for whatever reason.

Somewhere along the line, most of the group that had met after the first task the year before ended up together in The Three Broomsticks, and they fell to talking, mostly about revisions. "I think we need to knuckle down and really work on the O.W.L.s," Padma said.

"Trust me, you'll need it," Cho said with a shudder. Harry had to admit that it was certainly a nice thing to watch, whether or not she was his girlfriend. She grinned at him when she noticed his eyes.

"I'm a guy," he said with a shrug. "You're pretty, and have a nice figure. Of course I'm gonna look." He paused. "If I touch, however, I can think of at least four people who will begin to break body parts off me." When she cocked her head in amusement, he said, "Cedric, Hermione, Daphne and you."

"You've ridden dragons, and you're scared of those four?" Hannah asked with a smile.

"Does the word 'Duh' mean anything to you?" Harry replied with an answering grin.

"He's such a smart man," Daphne said in an over the top tone of adoration.

"Y'know, this is nice," Ron said. "Think we can have a reunion of sorts at the next Hogsmeade weekend? You know — get everyone who'd been together at that meeting after the first task and just hang out together for a while. Make it a real party or something. I mean, because of that, we all ended up with some pretty good friends." He added his own grin to the mix. "Not only did I end up being able to call an international Quidditch star a friend, but I ended up with a wonderful girlfriend." He hugged Susan with one arm, and she snuggled into him.

"I like the idea," she said. "I think they'd all be able to manage it, except maybe Viktor."

"No, he doesn't have a game that weekend," Luna said. "He'd likely be able to come."

"Let's do it, then," Harry said. "I'd love it, myself. It gives me a chance to see Cedric, Fleur and Viktor again, and just be laid back and have some fun. Let me see if I can book one of her rooms for the day, then."

He stood and walked toward Madam Rosmerta, running into Draco Malfoy as he neared her.
"Watch it, scarhead!" the blond boy growled as he walked past and exited the building. Harry just shook his head and continued to Rosmerta, returning to his friends after booking the room. They talked of study sessions that Harry would run, since he had a good idea of the O.W.L.s and N.E.W.T.s.

Sunday led to a meeting with Amelia Bones, who returned his quill and journal to him. "I thought they were bluffing," he grumbled.

"I am glad for whatever you did, Harry. I had an uphill fight to get anything done against Dolores until October first, when all the doors opened. If she's lucky, she'll get off with a loss of her Ministry job and pension. She actually stands a good chance of prison time, given that the Blood Quill is illegal to use unless you're signing a contract. And the fact that she had it and doesn't do a lot of contract work makes it likely that she's used it before for more nefarious purposes. We're doing a very deep investigation into pretty much everything she's ever done at the Ministry, and even before. We've got people coming out of the woodwork to tell us of endless petty things she's done, that by themselves wouldn't amount to anything, but together lead to a likelihood of severe penalties."

"As long as I don't have to annihilate her this time around."

"Something tells me that you're not just using that word for effect." He nodded. "Sometimes you scare me. I think I'm glad, though, that you came back. I personally would like to live long enough to see Susan get married and have children."

"If I've anything to say about it, you will."

"I believe you, Harry," she said with a smile.

"Do be aware that when Fudge goes down, I expect to support you for Minister. I don't like Scrimgeour. He didn't want to prosecute the war any more than Fudge did, but he wanted to look like he was. He kept trying to get me to be the spokes-thing for the Ministry."

"Spokes-thing?" she asked in amusement, but his only response was a grin and a shrug.

The school year began to fall into a pattern of classes and studies. Harry wouldn't accept any more than were in the group that he had, which caused some hard feelings when it was noted that his group was doing significantly better on grades than the other students. He had other reasons for not enlarging the group, of course, but he told others that he had simply reached the limit of what he felt he could handle at this time, especially since he was studying himself. Most calmed down, but the grumbling continued quietly.

The first Quidditch game of the year was Gryffindor — Slytherin, as always. Harry had grown to suspect over the years that the real reasoning behind that scheduling was to prevent airborne murder from happening. Getting the game most likely to turn nasty out of the way quickly meant that many of the feuds that would erupt during the year between the two Houses would not be dealt with in the air.

Having a different teacher in charge of Slytherin House had changed things in more ways than he could have imagined. There were no longer bizarre and blatantly unfair detentions given, and when it was noted that Slytherin had booked every single practice time that the Gryffindors could have used, she promptly gave half of them back so that the Gryffindor team would be able to practice. There had even been word of a rather round chewing out that Sinistra had given the team — if she caught any one of the team cheating — whether or not Madam Hooch caught it — the offending player would be off the team for the rest of the year, no appeals. Daphne had reported that Malfoy had taken it badly, and had even threatened to haul out his worst weapon — Lucius.

Sinistra had laughed in his face.

The game had been radically different than the previous year. Ron's confidence was much greater than the previous year, and Harry had spent part of the summer practising with him. He was still a bit nervous, but he was at least an order of magnitude better than he'd been in the previous time stream. Harry had also warned him about the 'Weasley is our King' debacle from the previous time through, so he decided to start the other version early, and taught them that one:

Weasley is our King, Weasley is our King,

He will not let the Quaffle in, Weasley is our King…

Weasley can save anything, He never leaves a single ring,

That's why Gryffindors all sing: Weasley is our King.

Ron had felt a little silly the first time people sang it at a practise, but it did help his confidence. His worst problem was someone likely to be kicked off the team soon — Cormac McLaggen. He was an armchair player who had somehow managed to make it onto the team. He was able to critique every player's abilities except his own, since he was quite certain that he was a perfect player. Angelina was about ready to castrate him, using his own broom as the scalpel.

Despite McLaggen, Gryffindor was able to pull off a quite point heavy game, with Harry ending the game with a 450 to 40 score. Luckily, with neither Snape or Umbridge on staff to back him up, Malfoy also never came to harass Harry and Ron.

December floated in on a winter storm — blew in would be a far more apt description — and the prefects were made busy trying to get the school decorated and also get Peeves under control. He had taken to teaching the suits of armour raunchy versions of various Christmas carols, and they were both stopping Peeves and erasing the recent suit memories to give them more correct versions. Despite Peeves best efforts, the castle was shaping up to be as beautiful as it ever was during the season.

One of the Muggleborns in Gryffindor came up with the idea of making wreaths from sparkly gold and red metallic garlands, and the tower was done up in wreaths to make Godric himself proud. Soon after, Ravenclaw and Hufflepuff areas were also festooned with similar garlands in their own House colours. A single green and silver one was adorning Daphne's room, and no one dared do anything to it, after the embarrassing hexes that attempted pranksters wore for three days.

The morning of the fourteenth, when the scheduled reunion was to take place, Hermione came downstairs with tears in her eyes. She held out her hand and showed him the Ravenclaw stone and broken chain.

He gently brushed her tears away. "I'll have this repaired for you before I get to the reunion," he said with a smile. "Give it back its home between those perfect breasts of yours."

She smiled. "They're not perfect, Harry. They're too big for my frame. Now Daphne is the one with perfect breasts. Well, Ginny's are pretty damned spectacular as well, to be honest."

"Daphne thinks hers are nice, but rhapsodises about a certain bushy-haired girl's magnificent mammaries. Can we all agree that I happen to find both your breasts and Daphne's breasts to be the very pinnacle of feminine perfection? And that if you ladies happen to find anyone that I agree with, they will likely go on that list?" He grinned widely at the statement.

"You, sir, are a gentleman. And a gentle man. I will bow to your insistence that I have a pleasing figure."

"Hell yeah!" Seamus said as he walked by them, heading for the exit.

""If you're ever willing, Hermione, I'd love to have you as a model someday, in whatever mode of dress you prefer," Dean said. "And I won't deny that the thought of seeing you nude as I sketch you is a particularly pleasant one."

"Trust me, my friend," Harry said with a grin, "pleasant is an understatement."

"No one likes a braggart, Harry," Dean answered him, laughing as he exited the tower himself. Hermione was blushing furiously and punching Harry's arm the way that Ginny had been beating on his chest — with no force whatsoever.

As they headed down to breakfast, Harry said, "I think I want to learn some of the jewellery charms and such. For one thing, I think I could do a booming business repairing people's rings and such, since the standard Reparo is just too blunt force a spell for jewellery work." He looked in her eyes. "Besides, knowing that I made your engagement ring and wedding ring with my own two hands would certainly make me happy." She looked startled, but the smile on her face told Harry everything.

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