Friends along the way
"Now that we've gotten a good meal into you," Kaatje said, "we should likely go talk to the gnomes. We'll hit a local branch, and I have the feeling that you'll be making a trip to Zurich very soon."
"What name should I be looking for with the gnomes? Goblins have Gringott's, but I don't know of any others."
"Who do you think runs Deutsche Bank?" she asked with a smile. "Not to mention lesser banks such as your own Barclays and even the Royal Scottish Bank. If it does business with the non-magical, then it's likely got a gnome somewhere in the upper management, whether they know it or not."
"Hmm. Gringott's likes to make everyone think that they run all banking for the wizarding world. Now that I really think about it, that doesn't make sense. Why would a Finnish wizard or witch want to travel to London just to take a ride down to a vault just to get some money?"
"Exactly. Now, shall we?" she once again crooked her arm and led him through the town.
He was startled at how quickly he was whisked through the line, in comparison to being at Gringott's. He was quickly brought into an office, where a man sat with an intrigued look on his face. "I understand that you may need our help?"
He looked to Kaatje. "The man is a wizard, so you can speak freely."
After nodding, he said, "Well, as I'd imagine my voice tells you, I'm British. I appear to be having some trouble with Gringott's, and I've no idea if it's legal and above-board, or if they're working with Headmaster Dumbledore to cheat me. I simply don't know anymore."
"Albus Dumbledore? Interesting. The one thing I need to know, however, is your name." The bank officer had a small smile on his face.
Harry shook his head in embarrassment. "Harry Potter. I -"
He didn't get any further, because the man held up a hand to stop him. "I need to bring my management in on this one. Yours is a very recognisable name, and if there is any chance that you are being cheated in any way, I want the very highest levels involved."
"At least that way, if something goes wrong, they can't blame you," Harry said with a laugh.
The man chuckled as well. "There is that bonus, I must admit. Let us contact my superiors."
Half an hour later, Harry found himself in Zurich, seated in front of a large desk. Behind it was a man about half again the size of Professor Flitwick at Hogwarts. He wore a stylish red wizard's hat that stood straight up. "So, Mr Potter, I understand that you seem to have had a small problem with the goblins?"
"Yes, Mr Hogunson. I went in to them to get some money from my vault. They asked for my key and I informed them that the Weasley family had it, and asked if I could get a new one. I was taken into an office where they insulted me and apparently called Albus Dumbledore, who stunned me and returned me back to the people he'd placed me with. For all intents and purposes, I've no access to any money unless Dumbledore allows it, through those that he recommends." He scowled. "In all honesty, there may be good reasons why they did it, but I just didn't appreciate being left with four Galleons and twelve Sickles."
"And yet you made it to The Netherlands," the man said.
Harry had the good grace to blush. "I, uh, I sold a couple Galleons and five of the Sickles for English money. They're made with silver and gold, so I sold them for the metal."
"And now you know how the goblins have such a stranglehold on the British wizarding economy. They can keep a set rate on Galleons to pounds because the worth of a Galleon in metal is considerably higher than what they offer as an exchange rate."
Harry thought for a moment. "That's highway robbery!" he said. "I was given £250 per Galleon, and the guy admitted that he was giving me more than the daily price because he could sell them for considerably more than that to collectors. Even if the price was £200 an ounce, the goblins are making £195 per Galleon!"
"Precisely. Now, forbidding you any access to your accounts is considered legal on paper, but since there are a large number of methods available to verify your identity, such as a drop of your blood, the likelihood that your accounts have been compromised is actually fairly high, since you say that they never even offered you the option."
"If you've got some magical method of ensuring my truthfulness, I'll use it to make my statement about what happened."
"You are a little young for Veritaserum. Would you be willing to use the Affidavit Quill?" At Harry's confused look, the man said, "Unless you are skilled in a talent such as Occlumency, the quill will make you write the truth."
"What does it use to write with?" he asked warily.
"Ink. What else would you expect?" Harry's answer was to hold out his hand, which clearly bore the words I must not tell lies in white lines of scarring. "Who made you write lines with a Contract Quill?" the man asked in horror.
"A Ministry representative sent to help the Ministry take over the school. She didn't like that I was saying that Voldemort was back, so she felt that torturing me until I recanted was the best route to take." He snorted. "I was stupid and refused to knuckle under."
"That is not necessarily stupidity. If you feel the statement is important enough to endure torture, then it will tend to convince the very people you wish to make aware of your statements."
He nodded. "So, where's this quill, and what do you need to know?"
The man grinned and placed a quill on the table next to him, as well as a stack of parchment. "It is a self-inking quill," he explained when Harry looked for an ink-pot. Harry nodded and began to write.
It took him roughly thirty minutes to describe everything from the point when he left Privet Drive to waking up there again. When he was finished, the man picked up the parchment and began to read. "Oh yes," he said with a somewhat disconcerting grin. "I believe that you have just given us enough to gain control of your finances from the goblins. Would you be agreeable to a ten percent fee for retrieving the contents of your vaults? I refer only to the monies contained therein, not any of the items that may be contained within the vaults."
"What if there's only ten Galleons, for example?" he asked. "You'd have gone to a lot of trouble for nothing, basically."
"Yes, but we believe that such is not the case. The Potters were a very wealthy family, and your own father had not destroyed the family fortunes, so I feel safe in assuming that it will be a very lucrative mission for us."
Harry nodded, deep in thought from what the man had told him. "This will help you break the stranglehold that the goblins have on the wizards and witches in Britain, right? That business will be lucrative as well?" The man behind the desk nodded, obviously interested in where Harry was going with this train of thought. "Well, how about this? You take your ten percent of my vault or vaults, and since I seem to have opened up a doorway into the wizarding world for the gnomes, I get a single percent of the money that comes from all the business that will come your way."
The man behind the desk sat back in surprise for a moment, and then laughed heartily. "You, Mr Potter, are a treasure. I find myself wondering if you are part gnome."
"Beats me. Dad was supposed to be a pureblood, but I've been told that it's really just semantics on how you define pureblood. Why do you wonder?" The man pulled the hat from his head, displaying the same unruly hair that Harry had.
"It's the reason we all wear hats. It keeps the hair out of our eyes." His eyes sparkled with mirth.
"So you're a gnome?"
"Yes. Only British wizards think that a gnome is a mobile potato."
"Probably told that by the goblins, if you guys are their economic enemies," Harry said softly.
"Quite likely." He looked at Harry for a long moment. "I agree. We shall take ten percent of the monies that we retrieve from your vaults, and in return, you shall receive one percent of all British wizarding business that comes our way from breaking the goblin monopoly. By the time this is done, you will likely be the wealthiest wizard in the United Kingdom."
"I'm more worried about right now," Harry said after a moment, with an embarrassed laugh. "I've still got two Galleons, seven Sickles, a bunch of Knuts, and a load of Mug . . . non-wizarding money."
"After we sign the contracts, Mr Potter, I will tell the bank to allow you a line of credit that will be paid back from your vaults. There will be no interest assessed, as a bonus from the bank, since you have done us the very great favour of helping us to crack open the British banking system."
"Thank you." He left the bank a short while later a much happier person, especially when he found that Kaatje had waited around for him.
"Get everything worked out?"
"I think so. I may someday be a rich man from what I think I just did in there."
"Then you can buy us dinner!" she said with a laugh.
He was surprised the next morning to run into Kaatje again. "I'm buying breakfast," she said. "I didn't actually expect you to buy dinner last night. I know that your money is tight."
"Not as much anymore. The gnomes think that they have an excellent chance of retrieving my money from the goblins, so they extended me an interest-free line of credit."
Her eyes were wide. "Do you have the Holy Grail in your vault or something? They never do that!"
"I think it's more that my problem has opened up the strong possibility of British wizarding banking to them. The goblins are warehousing gold, from what I can tell. They give the wizards £5 for every Galleon, which is an ounce of gold, and can sell it for £200 easily in today's market. The Sickles are silver and run around 300 pence or so, or £3. The goblins, however, say that it takes 17 of them to make a Galleon. I can't do maths in my head like Herm-" He scowled as he referred to her. "Sorry. I think it's pretty obvious, though, that they're giving us less than the silver is worth. They're making a killing on metal speculation."
"I take it this Herman was a friend of yours before this all started?" she asked him.
"Hermione. Yeah. But to chew me out without getting all the facts? I can't really forgive that."
"Maybe it was fear?"
He closed his eyes for a moment and thought. "'What were you thinking, Harry?
The Death Eaters are out and about, going after families, and you're gallivanting around Diagon Alley, hoping to get more money for the upcoming school year? They're trying to find you to kill you!
Grow up and realise that the adults have your best interests in mind.
Ooo, I'm too angry right now to write a coherent letter. I'll write another one when I calm down. But don't be childish and leave again!' That's what she said to me. No attempt to try to find out why I might have left. Just automatically assume that it was for the worst reasons."
"Hurts when a girlfriend or boyfriend turns out to be less than you thought, doesn't it?"
"She wasn't my girlfriend, but she was one of my best friends." His scowl deepened. "Emphasis on 'was', apparently, from the way that seemed to read." He shook his head. "Can you take me back to the bank today? I don't remember exactly where it was, and I need to pick up a few things."
She smiled and nodded, and then sat down to breakfast.
They were standing outside the bank when an owl swooped down in front of Harry. He scowled. "The idiot won't let me go, will he? And in a public place, too? I mean, how often do owls swoop down in the middle of a city?"
Kaatje shook her head in amusement. "Let me get that thing for you," she said, reaching out to disconnect the letter from the owl's leg. "I can look at it in case -"
That was as far as she got, because as soon as the letter was free of the bird's leg and in her hand, she disappeared. Harry's eyes narrowed for just a second, and then he exploded into the bank. "I need to speak to someone in your 'Special Needs' department," he said, repeating the words that Kaatje had used just yesterday.
He was quickly speaking with a member of the bank's wizarding staff. "I need to contact the bosses in Zurich. There's been a kidnapping of my companion, and I think that we'll need their wherewithal to get her back."
"Immediately, Mr Potter!" the man replied. A minute later, Harry was once again in Zurich, speaking with the gnome in charge.
"I have been led to understand that your companion was just kidnapped?" he asked.
"Yeah. We were about to enter the Amsterdam branch when an owl swooped down at me. I scowled at it, and she removed the letter. As soon as it was free of the owl, she disappeared. Considering what I told you in that affidavit yesterday, I suspect it to be Dumbledore. I also suspect that she will return with no memory of the abduction and a strong desire to convince me to return to England."
"He seems to be digging a hole deeper and deeper for himself."
"The problem is, I can't hide myself from owls, because there could be things you people need to tell me. So I have to run the risk of him sending me new owls, and finding a way to make me pick it up so that he can Portkey me back to Jolly Old, and keep me under his thumb."
"I think that we can come up with a method to contact you that will not involve birds of any sort," the gnome said with a small laugh. He tapped a button on his intercom and barked out some commands in a language Harry assumed was German, from the sound of it. A few moments later, a messenger ran into the room with a small box.
"This is designed to look like the device they call a beeper in the non-magical world. It will vibrate when we have a message for you, and then you can contact us. In England, you can contact us through most any bank system - it's understood that someone dressed slightly oddly asking for 'special needs' banking is looking for the wizarding side. There are other tests to verify, of course. But this way you will know that any owl attempting to reach you has nothing to do with your banking needs."
"Thank you. If you have contacts in the British wizarding system, you might want to put out feelers for Kaatje Houghtailing. If Dumbledore knows that people are looking for her, he might release her faster. As it is, I think he's hoping to set off my 'saving people thing', as Granger so delightfully put it."
"We shall. I believe that I shall contact my connection in the Unspeakables."
"Thank you." Harry huffed, as if he wanted to laugh but found nothing actually funny. "To think that so much of this was caused by a stupid prophecy that he kept from me for five years."
"There was a prophecy? Did you retrieve it from the Department of Mysteries at your Ministry?"
"No, it shattered, and the prophecy ball was lost, but Dumbledore had heard it, so he told me about an hour after my godfather had died."
The gnome scowled. "Let me talk to my contact in the Unspeakables. Perhaps he can bring the backup globe here for you to hear. If the man who told you is the same one controlling your life, then you might well wish to think twice about trusting that he told you the correct one. If possible, he might create one that would have made you more pliable to his decisions. Or perhaps make you rebel, so that he could be justified in clamping down on you, and controlling your every move."
He reached into his desk again, pulling out a business card. Show this in whatever branch you go into. They will contact me, and we will get you here to talk."
"Thank you. I suppose that I should return to Amsterdam sometime soon, but I really don't want to have to hurt Kaatje. I fully expect Dumbledore to attempt to get her to slap a Portkey on me. But I also want to ensure that she is in good condition."
"As you head back, I will contact the police in Amsterdam, and they will likely keep an eye on you. With luck, we can keep you from your Headmaster's hands until the last possible moment."
He stuck around The Netherlands for two days before Harry saw Kaatje again, on a feeling that she would reappear. She was less than happy, to say the least about her demeanour. "I swear, if I ever see that greasy haired jerk again in my lifetime, I have every intention -" She calmed and took several deep breaths.
"What did Snape say to you?" He held up a hand as soon as he asked. "Wait, let me guess. He referred to me as a spoiled brat, and made several comments about you performing sexual favours for me. He likely referred to you as a - pardon the word - whore, and a kind looking man with a long white beard chided him gently but did nothing more to chastise him. The kind looking man then tried to convince you that it was in your best interests to tell him where I was, all in the name of the greater good. I do not have a proper grasp of how the world works, and he might even had hinted that I had run for childish reasons."
She shook her head. "You definitely know these people. There were a few others there. A balding redheaded man and his wife, some scary fellow with a weird eye, and a girl with blue hair. I think they were all playing 'Bad Cop' to your Dumbledore's 'Good Cop'." At Harry's slightly confused look, she clarified. "It's an Americanism I picked up from a year spent there."
"I'm used to abuse from Snape, so that's normal, as is the unspoken abuse from Dumbledore. He allows the abuse from Snivellus, so he therefore condones it. I'd thought that Tonks and Moody might be on my side, but no surprise that they're not. I will say that the Weasleys surprise me."
"They were angry about money, if I understood it right."
"Y'know, I just don't care about them anymore. I'd best get moving, though. I'm sure that Dumbledore met your eyes at one point and started twinkling, so he's getting a team together to come retrieve me. I expect I'll be thrown back with the Dursleys, so that they can beat the hell out of me."
"Excuse me? The guardians that he placed you with beat you?"
"Yes. I've got some wonderful scars healing on my back from just a few days ago, when I left for the second time in about a week." He waved his hand. "Unimportant, though. I'm taking off, and I want to thank you for being there as a friend when I needed one."
"It was the right thing to do. You're sort of like the little brother I wish I'd had."
"I can live with that. Mind if I call you Sis, then?" he asked with a chuckle.
"Works for me." She reached into her purse and pulled out a business card. "This is my card. I'm an artist, and I work from my home. This gives my cell and home number."
"You give your home number to everyone?" he asked.
She grinned. "No. I gave you the card I give to people I like and would like to see or hear from again in a non-business manner. My regular card just gives my cellular phone number. I'd tell you not to go, but you know these folks better than I do."
"If you happen to hear from the Deutsche Bank people again, feel free to tell them that I'm on the move again, and why. I'm not giving you any idea where I'm heading from here, because Dumbles or Snape will probably try to rip it from your head."
"You stay safe, little brother," she said with a smile, just before hugging him.
"I'll try, big sis," he replied. "I hope to talk to you again soon." With that he turned and walked in the basic direction of the train station.
He was met en route by some of the Dutch police force. "We'll keep an eye on her, sir," one of them said quietly. "We'll also make sure you make it to the train without being molested by the ones after you."
"Thank you," he replied simply. "I'm just sorry that you've got to do this at all."
"So are we. Albus Dumbledore was a respected man - still is, really - and if he's abducting what he would consider foreign nationals, then he's building an international incident that he will not wish his name applied to."
"Well, he'll use his pull as the Grand Mugwump of the International Confederation - or whatever the title is - to get out from under it. Even if he deserves prison, he'll never see a day behind bars." He sighed. "I'm used to it. Now I just have to figure out where to go to next. I don't speak any other language than English."
"May we take you to a shop before we get you to the train?" the first one asked. "We can get you a translation medallion. It should help you."
"I'd appreciate that a lot. Thank you." A short time later he was in possession of a small necklace he could wear under his shirt.
"So, what do you think?" the first man asked.
"I don't notice any difference." He saw the grins on the men's faces. "What?"
"You heard us in your native language, but we were speaking ours. You responded in ours as well. That's the function of the medallion."
"Impressive! How can I thank you guys?"
"Just stay safe. That's all we ask."
"Thank you." They led him to the train station and kept an eye on him until it was time for his train. "If you see Kaatje again, let her know that I'm okay." He laughed softly. "It's kinda nice having a big sister."
"We will. Good luck, Mr Potter."
"I don't like this, Molly," Arthur said. "The longer we're part of this, the worse its going to be when it unravels. Harry Potter wasn't supposed to be able to escape, but he's done so multiple times now. And now Albus is running the risk of international problems, if that Houghtailing girl decides to push. Why they didn't Obliviate her is beyond me."
"I know, Arthur," she replied, "but if she's got family in Holland that noticed her missing? They might notice the Obliviation, and then we're guaranteed an international incident. This way, she can complain, but since it's Harry Potter we're looking for, and Death Eaters are also looking for him, we can use that as an excuse that the international courts will likely accept, and that's what Albus is thinking, I'll bet. We just need to trust him."
"And if this fails, he's going to take everything and everyone down with him, in an attempt to mitigate the damage. You know that. Hell, even Severus is hedging his bets. I caught him making detailed notes at one point, of a particularly damning meeting. He might be able to out-Slytherin this old Gryffindor, but I can out-pureblood him. He won't talk for a while."
"It won't fail. Potter will defeat Riddle and die in the process, and we'll profit. Especially when he mentions to Harry at the end of this school year that he's got until his seventeen birthday to become betrothed to a pureblood. He knows Ginny and likes her, so when we suggest her, there can be a whirlwind courtship and marriage, and then he dies against Voldemort, leaving all money to her." She scowled. "The one problem is that takes the Black money into account, but the Potter money may not go to her."
"Why not?" Ginny demanded from the doorway.
"It's an oddity of the Black contract. It's specifically stated such to allow the head of the Black family, if he is already married, to legally take another wife, specifically to take on the Black family name for the children. If the head is unmarried, however, the Black family wife is only for the Black family, so to get the Potter money, we'd have to make a deal with someone else. Hermione, for example."
"She might help us, especially if we can convince her - or get Dumbledore to - that it's going to be for the best. That his money won't end up going to Death Eaters in the Ministry. I'll bet she'd marry him in a heartbeat then."
"That's my girl," Molly said proudly. "We'll talk with Dumbledore about it and see what can be done. Does that work for you, Arthur?"
"I guess so. I'm just a little worried about in case this all falls apart. That's my job as head of the family, though."
"And we appreciate it, Daddy," Ginny said, kissing her father on the cheek.
Harry got off the train in Munich, happy to finally get free of the cramped conditions. Almost immediately an owl swooped on him, carrying a letter that seemed to glow as if lit from within. He rolled his eyes and said, "I refuse delivery. Return to sender. But take a break and get a meal first." The owl rolled its eyes - or did the owlish equivalent - and flew off.
"I see that they were correct," a woman said as she approached him. Before he could say anything, she had flipped open a badge case.
He nodded. "Did the police in Amsterdam tell you, or did my friends in Zurich give the hint?"
"Zurich," she replied. "They have a small tracer in that beeper that they gave you, so they knew which train you were on. Only they know the way to perform the trace, so there are no worries about Albus Dumbledore finding you that way."
He nodded. "I likely won't be here for long, but if you've any suggestions about things to do during a day or two, I'm willing to listen."
"Well, it's getting into the evening. After you find a hotel, there are nightclubs and such. Young fellow like you should enjoy dancing."
"Given how I dance, I'd be more likely nursing a soda and watching the others dance," he answered her, chuckling.
"I understand. My son describes his dancing as looking as if someone had dropped a live crab into his boxers."
"Doing that might improve my dancing."
She laughed, and helped him locate a hotel. "We'll keep an eye on you, but try to stay out of your hair."
"Thank you, by the way," Harry said. "I don't know if you're on duty or off, but it means a lot that you're doing this."
"I was told something of the situation you were under in Britain. Why are you permitting us to watch you, yet you bristled under their watching?"
"Because you're letting me do things. In England, they were placed as my jailers. I couldn't leave the house for too long or else they'd return me to it. Going to a hotel? Not likely. A nightclub, where no self-respecting Death Eater would go? In your dreams."
"I understand. And we do it because it is right. Thanks are not necessary."
"But they are still offered. If they were necessary, it would lessen their meaning." Harry blinked. "My God that sounded adult - I need to do something stupid immediately!"
She laughed. "I'll leave you to get settled. Enjoy your time in Munich."
He took a room for the night, paying from the money he had gotten from selling his Galleons. After that, he took a little time to eat, and then found a local nightclub and joined the crowd waiting to get in.
He tried not to gawk at some of the outfits that were being worn - one girl was in a jumpsuit that he was certain was actually paint, and there was a black-haired girl who looked strikingly like a cross between the best features of both Hermione Granger and Cho Chang, wearing a dress so short that Harry knew she couldn't bend over. She seemed to sparkle, so he narrowed his eyes and looked past her slightly. Huh! She's a witch! That dress has so many charms on it that it's not funny. He paused. Okay, maybe she can bend over.
"Hi," she said, startling him. "See something you like?" She had a very playful look in her eyes.
His mouth was dry, and the view was amazing, but he actually managed to speak. "I'd try to be suave, but I'd just sound like a jerk, so I'll just say that you look amazing."
"Thank you. You're pretty yummy looking yourself."
"Ah, insane," he answered her with a grin. "That explains a lot."
She was obviously fighting hard not to laugh, and Harry enjoyed the vibrations the fight was causing. "Just for that, good sir, I shall insist that you buy me a drink to make up for telling everyone about my biggest failing."
"I like you," he said bluntly. "You're better at the give and take than I am. I've pretty much exhausted my witty . . . what's the word . . . repartee."
"I don't believe that," she said, breezing to the front of the line, his arm securely seized by her hands. "Hi, Marcus," she said to the bouncer at the front.
"Heidi," he said with a nod, letting them slip inside, much to the chagrin of the others waiting outside.
"I take it you know the guy," Harry said with a laugh.
"You think?" she shot back. "Seriously, they know me here, and - I don't mean to sound vain - they like hot girls. I know the reactions I get when I wear this dress. You're trying hard not to stare and see if I'm wearing a bra or panties, since you could tell either if you looked hard enough."
If I look that hard, I'll be that hard, he thought, a small smile creeping onto his face as he ordered them two beers.
"If you dance a few dances with me, I just might let you find out," she finished, waiting until he had started to drink.
He was actually able to keep from spraying the bartender, or even firing any from his nose, but his coughing was a marvel to those around. A few people surrounded him, pounding his back and laughing. "Heidi got another one!" someone yelled.
"You make a habit of trying to kill people?" he finally managed to gasp out to her. He tried to sound stern, but the camaraderie couldn't help but make him smile. The group slid away from the two of them, giving them room to flirt.
"Only the cute guys," she said, curtseying. He eyed the hem of that dress a little warily as she did. "Don't worry. I'm better than that. Nobody sees anything I don't want them to."
"I'd expect nothing less of such a charming girl," he ventured. "One might even say bewitching."
Her eyes sparkled with mirth. "One wonders if you're as much a wizard on the floor as you are with words?"
"Ah, no. I fear that my feet are cursed to do damage to the feet of whatever partner I happen to dance with." He grinned widely at that.
She looked around quickly and then spoke softly. "We don't get many wizards or witches in here. I think I'm the only one, other than you."
He narrowed his eyes slightly and looked around the room. "I think you're right. You're the only person in here who sparkles."
"That's a good thing, right?" she asked with a smile.
"Well, since it makes me tend to want to look at you, then you could probably consider it good."
"Then it's a good thing," she replied. She threw an pose reminiscent of a supermodel, but quite obviously done for comedic effect. "You're looking at me - this is obviously the dream of every man."
"And some women," added a girl with a leer as comedic as Heidi's pose.
"I'm just too much woman for anyone," she said, throwing her hand to her forehead dramatically.
"Need volunteers to help you prove that?" Harry asked, finally getting a little understanding of this girl's psychology. She was out to have fun, but not take herself too seriously, and she seemed to like the people who could keep up with her.
"Think you can keep up?" she purred.
"Probably not, but if I can't, I'll be behind you, and that's a hell of a great place to be." He tried to do a seductive leer, but knew that he was doing it wrong, which actually worked for his purposes.
She laughed and hugged him. "I told you that you hadn't spent out there on the line!" she said in his ear. He couldn't help his reaction, given that he had a very attractive woman in his arms who was likely wearing the dress, her shoes, and a purse, and nothing more. "Later!" she giggled. "Let's dance!" she said in a louder voice after disengaging from hugging him.
His dancing was nothing that would ever get him a name as one of the world's greatest, but he held his own as he danced with Heidi. He found that once he stopped paying attention to his feet, he was in good shape, just moving to the music. He had an excellent time, discovered fairly quickly that his dance partner was sans brassiere, and during a rather interesting dance move, she also proved that his early suspicion was correct. Once she had proved that, she decided that she needed to hide his reaction by dancing pressed again him.
"Can I assume that your dress is charmed to let only certain people see under it?" he groaned at one point when she was grinding against him in time to the music.
"Only the people I trust, or plan to sleep with," she replied. He managed to turn the misstep that revelation caused into a rather interesting move that twirled her around once before she was against him again. "Nice save," she purred.
Finally, after his second (and last) beer, and after quite some time dancing, he decided that he simply had enough. He staggered back to the bar and found two seats there, which he and Heidi took. "No more dancing," he said. "I love dancing with you, but my feet are about to fall off."
"Wimp," she laughed, breathing heavily from her own exertions. After a few more pleasant-to-watch breaths, she said, "Honestly, I'm beat as well. I don't usually dance this much in this club."
"I've never danced this much," he admitted. "And those dances were mostly waltzes, and all slow. At least I didn't look too much like someone had dropped a live crab in my shorts."
Her response to that comment was to do what she had attempted to do to him earlier - a small amount of beer shot from her mouth in a fine spray before she began to cough, laughing the entire time. "You," she finally coughed, "are going to pay for that, mister." She grabbed his arm and steered him toward the door of the club. A number of people bid them both good night.
"They expect that I'm dragging you back to my place, or your hotel. We can, if you want. But I needed to leave, or else I'd have them all over me. I like the attention, but sometimes it gets a bit much for me."
"Tell me about it," he grumbled. "I get sick of it sometimes."
"You are pretty hot," she said with an impressed look at him. "I'd imagine you do get some attention."
He turned to face her. They were in the light of a street lamp, so he raised the hair covering his scar. Her eyes widened, and then she nodded. "Damn," was all she said. "I wish you hadn't shown me that yet."
"Why?" he asked.
"Because I now have to try to convince you that I'd like to sleep with you because you make me horny, and not because I'd be able to say that I'd slept with Harry Potter."
He sighed. "Let's get a cup of coffee or two. I shouldn't have been drinking at all, being only fifteen, although I'm sixteen in just a few days, but maybe the coffee will help."
She looked at him with more than a little curiosity, but led him to what he assumed was her favourite coffee shop. Once they had their cups, they sat down across from each other. "You've heard one thing that should help you with your decision," he said with a small laugh.
"What? So what if you're fifteen? You make me laugh, you're sexy, and I still find the idea of looking at your hotel room ceiling to be a good one, as long as you're on top of me at the time."
He shook his head and tried to ignore the part of his body that was screaming 'Listen to her, you fool!' After another sigh, he said, "There's a few reasons why we shouldn't. In no particular order, they are: my age; Voldemort; I'm only here for a few days at most; Death Eaters; not much money at the moment; and did I mention Voldemort and his henchmen?"
"Okay," she said with a small chuckle. "I'll take them on, also not necessarily in order, and even try to be serious. Your age. In England it might be sixteen or eighteen, but here in Germany, as long as you consent, I can take you back to my apartment or your hotel room and have my way with you for as long as you can perform. I'm eighteen, and I can joyfully screw your brains out legally.
"Voldemort? Not much I can do, but I'll be packed off to a convent before I let him decide my life - sex life or otherwise. Death Eaters? Same thing. They might kill me some day, but I'd like to think that I'm canny enough to take at least one of them down, and I will not let fear of them stop me from enjoying myself.
"Money. Who gives a damn about the money? I'm not even sure why it came up, and the only one that comes to mind immediately could be taken as insulting. Actually no, I just thought of another one. You don't need to pay for my enjoyment, Harry. I had more fun just dancing in that club." She smirked. "Neither of us paid the charge to get in, either, and neither of us used magic to get away with that.
"As for your not being here all that long? Well, that could lead to some problems, if you fall in love easily. But if you can sleep with a girl and not need her in your life all the time, every second of every day, then I can get behind a little naked fun."
He shook his head at the mental images of her naked. She was showing a pronounced interest in him, if the state of her dress was any indicator - the material seemed to be getting very slightly transparent immediately around her nipples. "Well," he said, and then fell silent. "Um, there's a couple things, Heidi. First off, I'm a virgin," he nearly whispered, blushing furiously. "Second? Well, I don't know, but you strike me as the type of woman that I would . . . well, if I . . . well, I respect you too much to use you, even if you're willing to let me do that. That's the sort of thing my disgusting cousin would do." His blush got much more pronounced. "It doesn't help that you look very much like two girls from my school that I find attractive." He scowled. "If I listen to my body, then we'll end up at the closer of your apartment or my hotel, naked and sweaty. And don't think that it doesn't sound like a good idea to me, okay?"
She grinned at him. "But you're going to listen to your moral code, aren't you?"
He looked at her for a long moment, drinking in her features. "Yes," he finally said.
He was startled to see her expression brighten. "I'll admit that fucking you senseless is a good idea, but I've never met a man who liked me so much that he wouldn't sleep with me. I'm not loose, but I'm also not a nun." She stood and picked up her coffee. "Come back to my apartment with me, and we'll talk more. Maybe we'll sleep together, but sleeping is all we'll do. You respect me, and I respect a man who has convictions like yours."
This story has been marked as suitable for adult readers only.