Content Harry Potter Trixie Belden Star Trek: TNG My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic
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There was an Order meeting scheduled for the very night that the school term ended, so members began to show up and filter toward their usual meeting place in the kitchen.   He greeted them calmly, and most of them didn't think twice about his solemn demeanour.

Remus finally appeared, and he came running to Harry.   "Harry, something happened at the school!   I -"

"I know about it.   It made the paper, and someone sent me an advance copy, probably to hurt me."   He motioned to the table in the sitting room, where the paper sat in plain view.   The hollow, dead feeling in his chest didn't permit Harry to express any emotions at all even if his body was still functioning.

"I'm surprised that you didn't come rushing to the school," Remus said, visibly surprised at Harry's calm acceptance of the situation.

"What good would it have done?   The deed was done, and my being there would have not only put me in the way, but likely have led to an increase of my suspension time from school.   Besides, by the time I'd learned of it, said deed was hours old."

"True," Remus replied.   "Still, it was surprising.   And I apologise for not thinking of you sooner.   There was just so much chaos at the time that -"

"Don't worry about it, Remus.   What's done is done, and we go from there.   Now, as we've been talking, the others are all gathering in the kitchen, including the group of traitors that I wish weren't."   He saw Albus Dumbledore appear in the foyer.   "And the leader is here, so it would probably be a good idea to get this meeting started, since there are things to do.   Like getting these damned Weasleys out of my house."   He looked to the Headmaster.   "I already know about what happened at Hogwarts, sir.   Let's just get things started."

Albus frowned for a moment, but noted that Molly was staring disapprovingly toward them.   "Indeed, Harry.   The sooner we begin, the sooner we may finish."   They trio headed into the kitchen to begin the meeting.

They entered the room to find the entire Weasley family there, even Ginny, whom Molly had insisted be granted membership during the month of August at a meeting that Harry and Hermione had been unable to attend.   Moody, Dung, Hestia Jones, Tonks, Remus, Shacklebolt and Snape were there.

The meeting rapidly finished with old business and began to change into a discussion of current Death Eater tactics and how to respond to them.   Harry's frown grew more and more noticeable, until Ron barked out, "What's your problem, Potter?   You think you know better than they do how to deal with things?"

Harry stood.   "Since there are so many Weasleys here, I'll actually refer to you by your first name, Ronald.   How about you open your mouth when you have something worthwhile to add to the conversation?   As for your question, I'm hearing things that I don't like."

"So am I, but then you stop talking and everything returns to normal."

Harry frowned, ignoring Ron.   "We're acting in a reactive mode, a defensive mode, people.   What we need … the Muggles have a phrase:   'The best defense is a strong offense.'   Well, it's about time we start offending."   Remus snickered at the play on words, and Harry nodded at him in appreciation.

"And how do you propose to do that?" Ginny mocked.   "I suppose you have some idea of where they're going to attack next?"

"Not right now I don't.   But that's what we need to do.   We're fighting a war, damn it, and all we've done is react.   People know about the damned Prophecy, and everyone is subconsciously acting like they're waiting for the stars to be right for the last battle.   We're in a war, and in a war, you do things like what was done today at Hogwarts, to those four.   We need to bring the battle to them.   We need to set up something that Tom just can't let pass.   We need something that he just can't do without, that he won't trust to anyone else to bring to him, to get his ass dealt with.   To deal with his Death Eaters, we need something big at the same time.   He'll send some to deal with one thing, and be at the other."

He turned to the group.   "Another thing to get through our heads is that we are doing shit damage to them if we continue to merely stun them and incapacitate them.   We.   Are.   At.   War.   People die.   Patton, the American general during their war that happened while the wizards were fighting Grindelwald, said something like, 'The point is not for you to die for your country, but to make the other poor bastard die for his.'   We need to start shooting to kill.   Blasting and Bludgeoning Curses to the head and vitals.   Slicing Curses to the neck.   I think the minute we start showing a desire to inflict equal to worse damage to them, they'll start thinking twice about their choices."   He paused.   "Right now, with our actions, they feel like they're winning.   I want to make them feel like they're winning Pyrrhic victories."

"What are you talking about?" Ron asked.   "You're planning on burning them?   You're a sick bastard, all right."

"So brilliantly wrong.   I'm surprised you knew how to spell it.   It's a Muggle reference, so I doubt you'd even have paid attention once you'd learned that.   Pyrrhus fought the Romans and won but with heavy losses.   He was reported to have said, 'Another such victory and we are undone.'   It means that we try to hurt them badly.   If they come in with sixty, I want them to leave with less than half of their number still alive.   They made their decision, let them pay for it.   Might make a few more of them make Severus's decision."   He turned to the Potions professor and nodded.   "He did it because it was the right thing, but if we can make them leave because they want to live, that's okay too."

"Why so harsh, Harry?" Albus Dumbledore asked with worry.   "That can be a worrisome road to begin."

Still in the same calm, inflectionless voice he'd been using all along, Harry answered, "I'm not going Dark, sir.   I loathe the idea.   But tell me why we're just as bad for killing Lucius Malfoy (when we finally get our hands on the bastard) as he is.   He revels in murder and rape and torture.   We'll be killing him to put down a rabid dog.   I have no desire to torture him.   Quick and easy.   He's dead, and that's one less known Death Eater that we know enjoys it.   There's a world of difference between killing because it gives you a stiffie and killing because you want to save lives."

Remus snorted in an attempt to hide his laughter.   "I'm sorry, but it's just that the expressions you caused around this table will live with me for a very long time, Harry.   I don't think anyone has ever dared to say something that blunt to the Headmaster in ages."

"Quite refreshing, too," Albus acknowledged with a small smile.   "And I see your point, Harry.   I do not like it, but you are correct.   We are not killing from enjoyment but rather from duty."   He sighed.   "I have been a warrior for life for so long that I forgot that sometimes death is necessary to preserve other lives."

"I can't believe this, Albus!" Molly said.   "He stands here and advocates openly murdering people, and you agree with him?"

Harry looked at her.   "You wouldn't want the people who killed Gideon and Fabian Prewett to pay with their lives?   Those people of Tom's are killers, plain and simple, especially in the Inner Circle.   If they are willing to walk away, if only to save their own lives, then I see no reason to kill them.   But they should be given a second tattoo that's put under Fidelius, with someone other than them being the Secret Keeper, so that when Tom goes down for the last time, we know who really wanted out.   You want out, you'll take it before you know who the winner is going to be."

Before anyone else could speak, Albus spoke up again.   "Do you have some ideas as to how to pull Tom's people to a place of our choosing?"

"Not off the top of my head.   I know how to get Tom to the last battle.   That part's easy."

The entire table stared at him in silence before Ginny finally mocked, "Oh please, impart upon us poor, ignorant souls your brilliant plan."

"Bint," Harry murmured as if to himself but pitching it for the table to hear.   "This idea is so simple that even you can grasp it, Ron.   We make Tom aware that I want to meet with him.   I take an Oath to bring no wand with me.   I load the area beforehand with no end of Muggle devices and such, and when Tom arrives, blow his ass to Kingdom Come.   They'll be picking up pieces of him for months."

"How would you manage that?" Remus asked, puzzled.

"Mines, explosives, homemade napalm, all sorts of guerilla warfare things," Harry said with a shrug.

"How are you going to do this and survive?" Fred asked with more than a hint of worry in his voice.

"Who said I planned to?"

The furor this comment brought about would likely have brought the local constabulary to 12 Grimmauld Place were it not for the Fidelius Charm.   It went on for several minutes before Harry raised his wand quietly, cast a Deafness Charm on himself, and then set off a Cannon Blast Charm.   At his full power.   He then sat around for the requisite several minutes that it took for the whine in everyone's ears to go away before canceling the Deafness Charm on himself.

"Thank you," he said quietly.   "Now, does anyone have anything germane to the conversation?"

"Why, Harry?" Remus asked in a puzzled tone.

"It's really rather simple, when you think about it.   He needs to go away, permanently.   He has sixty years of magical experience on his side.   I don't.   He disdains Muggle things, like so many in the wizarding world do, despite the fact that the Muggles have developed weapons that make the worst spells we can cast seem like a spitball fired by a two year old.   They have a bomb that would fit on this table that can destroy all of London."   He stopped and took a breath.   "He'll check the ground for charms and curses - magic, basically.   If everything I've planted on that battlefield is Muggle, then he won't see a damned thing until it's too late."

He stopped and looked at Remus and Severus for a long moment, before looking to Albus, Tonks and even Moody.   "Besides, you've all forgotten something.   This is a war.   I'm a soldier in it.   I'm expendable.   It's the people around me, those whom I love, you people, that I worry about.   Me?   I die, it's no big thing.   I can be replaced.   You can't."   He paused.   "Besides, it's time I was reunited with those who love me.   I'm tired.   I hurt, and I just want it over.   I'm sorry, but there's just … there's just nothing here for me anymore.   I just want to be reunited with my family."   He walked to the door, mildly surprised that no one tried to stop him.


The room was stunned by Harry's admission, but was stunned even further when Bill turned to Charlie and snarled, "Are you proud of yourself?   I know I'm not."

"What are you talking about?" Molly asked, confusion written deeply on her face.

Charlie took a deep shuddering breath.   "Everything that has happened to him this school year - everything bad, can be traced back to us."

"What are you saying, Charlie?" Arthur asked, his face going white as suspicions began to play through his mind.

Charlie opened his mouth and then closed it again.   He repeated this a few times before Bill said, "Coward.   We told you the truth on August twelfth, but in such a way that it was a lie.   Yes, Harry was seen hugging and kissing Pansy Parkinson.   Her grandfather had just died, and he was giving her condolences.   The kiss was on the forehead, and the hug was one of comfort."

"What about that ring?" Ginny asked.   "The one Hermione wears, the one that the box said was for Pansy?   Explain that!"   She had started calmly, but the end of her statement was filled with belligerence.

"I'm a curse-breaker, Ginny," Bill said.   "One of my required skills is being able to quickly and precisely inscribe all sorts of runes and heirolglyphs.   Regular human forgery is a like casting a Lumos spell for me.   I can do it without thought."   He hung his head.   "He told us after he woke up in the hospital that he'd bought that for you as a promise ring."

Ginny turned white, followed by her eyes rolling up in her head.   She slid bonelessly from the chair to the floor in a dead faint.

Fred and George turned to their eldest brothers.   "So you admit that you decided that you had the right to screw up Harry's life, right?" George demanded.   "You decided that because you saw him in bed with our sister, that you had the right to destroy him?   Not to mention what it's done to Ginny?"

Fred turned to the remaining Weasleys, ignoring Bill and Charlie as if they didn't exist.   "You make us sick.   We knew Harry better than you did.   How could you even have thought that he'd do something like that, Ron?   You roomed with him for six years!   You even supported him dating Ginny!   And then these two Death Eater wannabes come up with their story, and you believed them?"

"Damn!"   Fred continued.   "You people might as well have that tattoo on your arms!   You know that he's supposed to fight Voldemort!   You know the Prophecy!   So you took away the one thing that meant anything to him?   Just how stupid are you?"

Albus broke in before the twins could build a proper head of steam.   "And now the young man feels that he has nothing left to live for."   With more derision than anyone had ever heard in the man's voice, he finished, "Might I offer my congratulations?"

"How do … how do we apologise?" Molly asked in a voice quieter than anyone could ever remember coming out of her."

Remus snorted.   "Your real question is, 'How do we get him to forgive us?'   The answer?   You don't.   You can 't earn forgiveness - it has to be given freely, and Harry is not likely to give it, especially with how he's feeling right now.   In fact, I think I'm going to leave you alone with the rest of the Order while I go find Harry and talk to him.   He needs his real friends now."   Remus stood and exited in a fluid motion.

Dung Fletcher stood.   "I'm leavin'.   Nothing more's goin' to be 'appenin' here tonight, and I need to be aroun' people whose motives I know and understan'."   He hiccuped, stood and left as well.

"Let me offer my congratulations as well," Moody growled.   "When Dung gives up on ya, you've really sunk deep."

"I can easily say that the meeting is finished," Dumbledore said.   "If you could please see yourselves to the door, I'm sure you would like to begin some much needed, though belated, soul searching."   The remaining Order members quietly but pointedly led the Weasleys (save the twins) to the exit point and saw them off.


Remus found Harry in the library looking through some of the books he had borrowed from the local Muggle public library, as well as a neatly stacked sheaf of white paper with printing on it.   "Harry?   How are you?"

"How do you think I feel after a day like today, Remus?   I feel like shit, to be dead honest with you.   I just want it over, but it won't be until I've had a chance to kill our Dark Lord of the month.   Because Bill and Charlie decided to show that the Weasley name means nothing, my final year at Hogwarts has been just shy of my worst one yet.   That reminds me - I came to a decision today, and I need to catch the Headmaster before he leaves."

"What did you decide?" Remus asked, having heard about Harry giving up the Head Boy badge.

"I need to prepare.   I'm not returning to school, except when the N.E.W.T.s happen.   No sense in more shit like today happening around the school.   I refuse to be the catalyst.   Instead, I'll study here and prepare for my last meeting with Tom."  

Harry paused.   "Do you know what you get if you mix petrol and petrolatum?" he asked, going off on a tangent.

"Doesn't sound good, no matter what."

"Homemade napalm.   Sticks to you like Crabbe and Goyle to Malfoy.   Flammable, too."

"Malfoy or napalm?" Remus asked with a smile, trying to improve the mood.

"I was talking about napalm, but I'm willing to find out as far as Malfoy is concerned," Harry said seriously.   "After all, it's his lies in the paper that led to my suspension."   He paused.   "You know, if I was going to survive past Voldemort, I'd probably use that short period before the wizarding world found another reason to hate me to utterly destroy the Board of Governors.   I heard that they censured Amelia for speaking on my behalf."

"They did, unfortunately.   I assume that you read about it in the Daily Prophet?"

"Yup.   I'm thinking about living long enough to get a proper revenge.   Destroy the Board of Governors and turn Hogwarts back into a real school, rather than one where the Headmaster has to look over his shoulder to see what the Ministry is going to try to do to him this year."   He snorted.   "No, that would just prove to them that I was the next Dark Lord."

He took a deep breath.   "Y'know, Remus, if I manage to survive this battle with Tom, I'm leaving.   There's a handful of people here that I like and care for, and they're the ones that I want to defeat Voldemort for.   The rest of the wizarding world?   They … they aren't worth saving, Remus.   I'll save them anyway, but this is it.   To hell with them afterward.   Let them make up stories about me.   Let women say they had my love child - the goblins will know better.   I don't care."   He sat down heavily.   "I just don't care anymore.   About any of it.   When I was at the library, I felt as if I should print out some of this stuff I found ‘out there’."   He saw Remus’s confused look at the ‘out there’ comment.   "The Muggles have developed this capability to send information to each other around the world.   I was looking for interesting things, and came across this thing called The Anarchist's Cookbook.   Interesting read, but you'd better understand chemistry and such or else you'll blow yourself up - there are at least three wrong recipes in there, and they're for the nastier stuff.   I originally got it for ideas to modify for something less lethal, but I'm thinking that it's good as it is.   And do you really think that Voldemort is going to expect me to be there in the midst of a firestorm that I bring down on our heads?"

Remus scowled deeply for a moment before he finally asked Harry, "Why are you so set on killing yourself when you fight Voldemort?   What changed?"

Harry looked shocked at the question.   "How in hell can you ask me that, knowing what you know? What in God's name do I -"

"Remus!" shouted a voice up the stairs that it took the werwolf a moment to realise was Dumbledore's.   Remus was not used to hearing fear in the man's voice.   "Is Harry with you?"

"Yes I am, Headmaster.   What do you need?"

"Please come downstairs.   I have something to show you," Dumbledore replied, sounding much more relaxed than just a few moments before.

Harry shrugged, walked to the head of the stairs and watched the Headmaster physically relax.   He was holding the Daily Prophet and the note.   "What can I do for you, Professor Dumbledore?" Harry asked.

"Actually Harry, as trite as it sounds, I believe that I can do something for you.   I know this sounds odd, but I would like you to reread the article from the advance copy of the Prophet.   Remus, would you look at the note that came with it?"   They each took their respective items.

Students injured in accident at Hogwarts.

by Dilwyn Barton

Hogwarts was stunned today when an accident injured four students.   At publication time the full particulars of the incident were unknown, but this reporter has learned both the identities of those students who were hurt and the fact that it may not have been an accident.   The four students in question were Muggleborn Hermione Granger; Pansy Parkinson, the daughter of Alonzo and Aldonza Parkinson; Luna Lovegood, daughter of fellow publisher Lawrence Lovegood; and Susan Bones, niece of the Head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement Amelia Bones.

Immediate evidence seems to point toward a vendetta aimed at harming The Boy Who Lived, who this reporter feels was unfairly removed from the hallowed halls of what once was a valuable source of knowledge.   The four injured are known to be close associates of his, and if rumours are to be believed, perhaps more than merely friends.   This reporter, for one, hopes that at least those rumours are true.

Further information will be brought to you as it is learned.

"Is … is this the real article, sir?" Harry asked, feeling literally weak in the knees.

"There was a very subtle Illusion Charm placed on the newspaper, to make the article that you read seem to be the true one.   Also, layered beneath the illusion, but quite strong in its own way, is a charm to make anyone reading the illusory article trust what they are reading, especially since their resistance will be lessened due to the at least momentary shock.   Those who know the information to be false can break the power of the charm."   He turned to Remus.   "Do you believe the author of that note to be whom I suspect?"

"If your suspect is Narcissa Malfoy, then yes.   And she'd have no problem getting her hands on an advance copy, what with owning significant interest in the Prophet, and is certainly intelligent enough to devise and cast those charms.   But why?   She'd have to know that she'd be caught out."

Harry's face went hard.   "She was aiming for what nearly happened tonight, except she doesn't know two important things.   First, she doesn't know about the Order, and second, the wording of the Prophecy has never been released to the public.   She and Draco expected me to be so distraught that I would immediately take my own life, I'll bet."

Remus spoke up.   "What did you originally see?"

"Harry was sent an advance copy of the newspaper with the following charm placed on it."   He tapped it again, and the article shimmered.   Remus quickly scanned it, his eyes going wide.   "Oh my dear Lord - you thought they'd been killed.   That's why you said you had nothing left to live for.   And I didn't verify …"

"Remus, I didn't bother to check the paper for charms, so don't you go kicking yourself for not verifying what the article that I read really said.   If I remember properly, my comments could be taken to mean that I knew that they'd been hurt."

He turned to Dumbledore, his face softening.   "Are they all right, sir?"   The answering smile was all he needed to see before he finally lost the ability to stand.   "Oh, thank God!" he said as he sat heavily - fell, really - on the steps of the stairway.   "May I see them?"

"They were Portkeyed to their respective guardians, but you will most definitely see them before Christmas.   I have convinced them - forgive me for doing this without your knowledge, and I apologise if I have destroyed plans - I have convinced them to spend Christmas Day here, with you.   This includes their parents."   The Headmaster's eyes were back to twinkling madly.

"Sir, from my point of view, that article destroyed any plans I'd had.   From my point of view, they're back from the dead.   You can do anything you want to my holiday plans, as long as I can see them again.

"Is … is there any chance of at least seeing them tonight?" he asked, hurriedly adding, "I don't have to actually speak with them, but just to know … to see that …"

"Let me contact their families and let you know.   Give me just a few moments, if you would."

Harry and Remus headed back into the kitchen.   "I have some news for you, Harry.   Bill and Charlie finally came clean.   Molly wanted to apologise, by which I took to mean wishing to beg your forgiveness."

"You don't ask for something like that, it's given to you," Harry said.   "And I'm not in the mood for gift-giving, as far as Weasleys are concerned.   Do they really think that I’m going to be in the mood for incessant begging?"   He paused.   "I wonder how serious the twins were about disowning their family?   I'm certain that they'd be welcome in the Black family."

"If we were eavesdropping, we'd accept!" came a muffled voice through the door, followed by laughter as Tonks pushed the two through with her.

"Thought we should give ol’ Albie a bit of privacy out there," Tonks said.   "He was just talking to Amelia, and I think he may be trying to give you a gift of a Malfoy family reunion.   In the maximum security section of Azkaban."

"Indeed we are," Albus said as he entered the room with both Susan and Amelia behind him.

The world went away for Harry as he choked out a sob.   All he could see at the moment was Susan and the fact that, while bruised, she was most definitely alive and standing before him.   He swept forward and pulled her into a hug.   "Oh my God, Susan!" he whispered, trying hard not to cry.   "You have no idea how good it is to see you alive right now."

"I'm alive, that's all that matters, Harry."

He inhaled the scent of her hair deeply before finally releasing her from the hug, but then immediately took hold of one of her hands.   As she reacted with pleased startlement, Harry said, "I'm surprising both of you with this, but I'm not waiting any longer.   Madam Bones, if your niece will have me, I intend to marry her and the other three ladies that make my life worth living.   If she says yes, I would ask your blessing on the union."   Before Amelia could respond, he turned back to Susan and dropped to one knee.   "I haven't the ring yet - Remus and I were going to get them tomorrow - but the question is serious.   I love you, Susan.   I know that now, and I understand what love is.   I want to spend the rest of my days with you."

He suddenly found himself flat on the floor, an armful of squirming young lady hugging him fiercely.   "Yes, Harry!   Yes, yes, YES!" she squealed, kissing him strongly as she finished her acceptance.   He managed to keep enough sense of place to not let his hands roam where he wanted to, although it was a near thing - this was the best kiss she'd ever given him.   And that was saying something.

As she rolled off him, he stood quickly and offered his hands to her to help her to her feet.   Amelia looked sternly at him for a moment before breaking into a smile and pulling him into a hug.   "Welcome to the family, Harry," she said simply.

"Thank you, Aunt Amelia," he said in a slightly cheeky tone.   The response surprised him, though.   Her eyes grew wide and suspiciously bright, and her face took on the look that said that she was holding back happy tears.

"Just don't make me a great-aunt too soon, all right?" she asked with a smile.

"It'd be nine months at a minimum, Auntie," Susan told her around a blush.   "At least now maybe I can get him to do more than just frustrate me."   She looked wickedly at Harry, who just laughed.

Amelia altered the direction of the conversation.   "As for the other matter, most people aren't aware that their wand leaves a faint residue of its own unique aura when a spell is cast through it.   Albus is good enough to not leave one behind, but he knows (for good reason) how to avoid leaving one.   We'll get this one and get Narcissa in the process, I'll bet."   She grinned.   "Not even Fudge knows this little fact about wands, and we intend to keep it that way, thank you very much."

"Excellent," Harry said.   "Fudge not knowing it means that Lucius probably doesn't know it, which in turn means that his family likely wouldn't know it."   He turned to Remus.   "If this investigation shows that it was in fact Narcissa, I want the papers drawn up to immediately eject her and Draco from the Black family.   If they did this to me, I will dissolve the marriage with Lucius and then immediately disinherit her."   He shrugged.   "Lucius can always choose to remarry her, but with no Family name behind her, and no money to get from the deal, that's not likely to happen.   At least I'll have left her Draco.   She tried to make me believe I had nothing."

They blinked at him for a moment.   "Hey, just because I had nothing to live for an hour or so ago doesn't make the plans I made and things I said untrue now that my life is worth living again."   He hugged Susan around her waist again, holding her back against his chest.   She sniffed.   "Hey, I had just realised the other day what this odd feeling I had for you four was …"

"… it's called being horny," Tonks quipped.

The twins literally bit the insides of their mouths to keep silent.

"… that too," Harry responded, sticking his tongue out at her.   Turning back to Susan, he explained, "I realised that I had gotten used to you four in my life, and I mean that in a very good way.   Just knowing you four are there makes life worth living and enjoying."   He leaned down slightly and kissed the exposed flesh on her neck, gently dragging his teeth along the sensitive flesh.   "And I intend to enjoy it with you four."

"Hopefully that involves enjoying us four?" she asked raggedly.

He nibbled her earlobe in response.   "What do you think?"

"I think Aunt Amelia should leave right now, because I want to start something with you …"

"I still need to see the other three, Susan.   Now that I know you're okay, except for a few bruises (which I promise to kiss better later), I need to see the others and make sure they're okay."

"I understand," she said with a smile.   "I'll hold you to that promise to kiss all my bruises, however."

"Wasn't one of them on your bum?" Amelia asked with a sly grin.   She could help but laugh when Harry's face lit up.   It was obviously over the top, but it was also obvious that he was looking forward to it.

Albus chuckled as well.   "I believe that it is time to drop by each of the other ladies' abodes and settle your mind."


The first stop was in Ottery St. Catchpole, where Luna was more than slightly surprised to be pulled into a fierce hug by Harry.   "I'll explain when you come for Christmas, but you have no idea how glad I am to see you in good shape."

"My daughter tells me that you seem rather fond of her shape," Lawrence Lovegood said, stepping into view.

"Oh yes," Harry said.   "She is a beautiful woman, and she's also physically quite attractive."   He bit his lip.   "Sir?   I have a question for you.   At what age do you think that a young woman, such as Luna for example, should become engaged to a man who adores her deeply and has recently discovered that he thinks his life would not be worth living if she weren't in it?"   He smiled at the gasp from Luna, but never took his eyes from her father.

Lawrence smiled widely.   "A woman such as Luna?   Hmm, I'd say that it depends on the young man asking for her hand.   Someone like Ronald Weasley?   I'd recommend she wait until she's roughly one hundred and fifty or so.   Neville Longbottom?   He strikes me as someone whom I'd recommend she wait until she was at least eighteen.   If it were you?   I could likely have the paperwork and the minister ready by tomorrow morning."   The smile broke into a grin.   "She is my treasure, Mr. Potter, and I want someone who will realise what she's truly worth."

"She's priceless, sir," he replied, turning to look into her eyes as he said it.   "I could empty my vaults to pay the dowry for her, and I still wouldn't have begun to touch what she's worth.   There isn't enough money for that."   He dropped to his knee.   "Will you have me, my lady?   Will you consent to stand by my side with the others and be my bride?"

She flowed into his arms and kissed him sweetly.   "I look forward to the wedding night, myself," she whispered and pressed against him as she felt his reaction.

"Me too,"   he replied.   "And I want to practice for it at some point, as well," he whispered back.   He chuckled to himself as he felt her knees wobble slightly.

"Really?" she asked, her eyes wider than normal and her voice full of hope.

"If I weren't standing right in front of your father, I'd complete that kiss from a couple months ago.   I rather like the area where my hands came to rest."

"You're my fiancé, Harry.   You're allowed to fondle me, father in the room or not."   To prove her point, she carefully reached back and moved his hands to her shapely derriere.

"Gods, you have a great ass," he whispered so quietly that only she could hear it.

"Susan's is better," she replied conversationally.   He blushed and finally released her.


They appeared in Godric's Hollow next, and Harry knocked on the door to the home he hoped someday to live in with four wives.   Aldonza Parkinson opened it and smiled.   "Honey, the landlord is here," she called back into the house, the humour evident in her voice.   She also stepped back from the door, toward the wall.

This proved to be prescient as a black-haired blur exploded down the hall and attempted to tackle him with a hug.   "Harry, are you all right?" she asked breathlessly.

He couldn't help but laugh.   "You're the one that gets injured, and you ask me if I'm all right?"

"You wouldn't be here if you weren't worried about me," she said smugly.   "Besides, you haven't let go of me.   You're still hugging me tightly."

"I needed to verify that you were still alive.   I was sent a charmed advance copy of the Daily Prophet that announced that you four were dead, killed in the incident.   I needed to see with my own eyes that the four women who are my life are alive."

She started at that and then closed her eyes tightly in pain for a moment.   "Please don't say things like that, Harry.   My heart takes them the wrong way."

"No it doesn't," he said simply.   Her eyes went wide.   "I'm here for another reason as well.   I need to tell you that you were wrong, and I need to ask your parents a question."   He finally released her from the hug and faced them, standing very formally - almost at military attention.

"Mr. and Mrs. Parkinson.   I apologise for my appearance as I ask so important a question, but I need to ask it.   I am requesting the hand of your daughter Pansy in marriage.   You need to be aware that I will be marrying at least two other women, but I am deeply and irrevocably in love with your daughter as well.   The article that made me believe that she was dead made me realise that I truly did not wish to live if she and the others were not around."   He heard her gasp in horror.

Aldonza looked at her husband and then to him.   "Harry, we are Aldonza and Alonzo.   There is no need to be so formal with your future in-laws."

"That's if she says yes," Harry said.   He turned to Pansy and suddenly found himself in the same position as when Susan had accepted.

It was several minutes before she released his lips from her own.   When she did, he whispered softly yet rather huskily in her ear, "Thank you for stopping then - if you'd kissed me like that any longer, we'd have been practising for the wedding night in front of them."

"I can tell," she murmured.   "Shall I stay here until you're able to stand without embarrassment?"

"If you stay there, I won't be able to," he laughed.   She climbed off him, and he stood beside her, adjusting his clothing somewhat.

"So, Pansy, what's your answer?" he asked her cheekily.


The last stop that night was in Maidstone.   They appeared quietly and walked the short distance to the home of Keith and Dorothy Granger.   "They're going to hate me," Harry said.   "I've been brilliantly lucky with other parents and guardians tonight.   It all has to come apart here.   I'm sure of it."

"They may well surprise you, Harry," Albus replied.   He knocked on the door, which was opened by a tall man who seemed to be losing a fight with his hairline.

"Professor Dumbledore!   What brings you here?" he said, ushering the two inside.

"Harry!" Hermione said, walking quickly toward him with a slight limp.   "What's wrong?"

He pulled her into a hug, and finally everything caught up with him.   He began to shudder and shake in her grasp, and a sob tore out of him.   "I thought I'd lost you!" he was finally able to gasp out.   "All of you!"

"I'm here, Harry, and I'm fine.   They didn't get us.   I'm here," she crooned, rocking back and forth as she held him.   "I love you, Harry, and I'm here for you, no matter what."   She pulled his head to her breast and rocked back and forth as the stress of the past few hours finally caught up with him.

A few minutes later, he finally started to climb out of his stress-induced shock to find himself in a bit of a quandary.   He rather liked where his face was at the moment, but she was overdressed.   He was also in the presence of her parents.

He reluctantly disengaged from her embrace, but not before gently kissing her.   He turned to face her parents and found himself curious just how two people with straight hair, one person black haired and the other almost platinum blonde, managed to produce a girl with bushy brown hair.

"We're pleased to finally meet you, Harry," Keith said.   "So when are you planning on proposing to our daughter?   I need some warning so I can prepare my script for threatening you."

"Excuse me?" Harry asked.

"Dad thinks he has a sense of humour," Hermione said with some asperity.   He noticed that she was blushing, however.

"Keith is joking, Harry.   We trust our daughter's judgement, and we're actually looking forward to increasing the size of our family."

"Mother!" Hermione growled through her teeth, embarrassment being the most obvious emotion.

Harry smiled, wondering what her response would be to his next comment.   "So if I were to ask your blessing to marry this beautiful woman, you'd say yes?"

"You'll have to ask, won't you?" Keith asked with an impish grin.

"Very well," was the reply.   He turned to Hermione and dropped to one knee again.   "Hmm, getting repetitive here," he murmured to himself with a smile.   Looking up into her eyes, which had gone wide, he said, "I've done three other proposals today, Hermione.   I don't know how to go about telling you what you mean to me.   When I thought you had been killed at the school, I lost all reason to live.   Finding out you were alive . . . Hermione, I don't know how much time I have left in this world, none of us do, but I do know that you're one of the ones I want to spend my remaining time with."   He paused.   "And I intend it to be many, many years.   Will you agree to marry me and make my happiness complete?"

She pulled him to his feet, and then pulled off the ring she wore on her right hand; the one he had meant to give to Ginny in August.   "When you give me an engagement ring, I'll say yes.   This one should work quite well, in fact."   She held out her left hand, and he slid the ring onto her ring finger, where it resized itself for a perfect fit.   "Now, my answer is yes."   They kissed again, to seal the bargain.

When they broke, Keith said, "Can we skip the standard threats I'm supposed to make and just jump to the partying?   But if anyone asks, I was the unreasonable father, okay?"   He was answered with laughter.

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