Content Harry Potter
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Scene II, act I.

Hermione walks into the room and stops in surprise. At center stage is Ron, sitting in an electric chair and Harry is busy strapping him in.

Ron: "Are you sure this is what they meant in Muggle Studies when they talked about learning about elektrikity?"

Harry: "Trust me, Ron, this is the best way to learn about it. Now, say the words please."

Ron: "Ahem…Bob and Alyx are insisting that you understand they are not JK Rowling… Hey, Hermione what’s that thing?"

Hermione: "It’s an electrified butt plug, Ron. Just relax. It won’t hurt too much."

Sunset over Britain
Chapter 13

Grimmauld Place…

Harry watched as the meeting slowly broke up and the crowd formed into tight knots of people. He had assigned them into teams and each person sought out members from their own team. The Outcasts, along with Professors McGonagall and Flitwick, congregated around Hermione.

Harry expected to have to meet with each team either today or tomorrow, so he retreated to his private study. Hermione would bring up the Outcasts first.

Five minutes later, Hermione led the group into the study. He looked up, smiling, as everyone grabbed a seat where ever possible. Flitwick, surprisingly, took a seat on the floor and just looked up at Harry in amazement.

"Harry, is what they said about your Matura true? And can you truly alter auras?" squeaked the little charms Professor.

Harry smiled briefly and, concentrating for a moment, he caused every wand in the room to light up. With a shrug he extinguished them.

"Bloody marvelous!" piped Flitwick, clapping his hands exuberantly while Harry grinned in amusement.

Still smiling Harry turned to address the group as a whole.   "You’re all part of the Hogwarts evacuation team. Each of you has a specific role to play and none of this will happen until its time. In the meantime, our job will be to prepare a place to carry out the plan," Harry said seriously. "Ginny, we found a perfect place to do this, but I have to warn you, it’s…"

"The Chamber of Secrets," she said in a near whisper, her small frame wracked with shudders. Harry placed a comforting hand on her shoulder.

"I’m sorry, Ginny, but it’s the only secure place we have in the castle. I promise that you’ll be safe there," Harry said softly to the younger girl.

He looked up then at the rest of the group. " We’ll need to go down there the first weekend we get back and start to clean the place up. It’s going to take a lot of effort to make it useable for our needs."

"I thought the Headmaster sealed off the entrance to the chamber," said Professor McGonagall.

"He may have sealed off the third floor girls bathroom. That was Salazar’s main entrance into the Chamber, but it wasn’t the only way in. We’ve found another passage leading from the Head Suite, Professor."

"A passage from the Head Suite to the Chamber of Secrets? How curious!" murmured McGonagall.

"When we return to Hogwarts I’ll place the Chamber under an Fidelis charm. That’ll make it harder for anyone to find and should annoy Voldemort when he finally takes over the school and can’t find his ancestor’s hiding hole," Harry said.

"What are you going to do about the Headmaster? Remus and Tonks told me what he did you just before the holiday break," asked McGonagall.

Harry looked thoughtful for a moment. "I think it’s time for the Brotherhood to make an appearance inside Hogwarts. And I think, my good Professors, that it would be best if you were in the school when it happens."

Headmaster’s Quarters, Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry…

Dumbledore bounced out of his bed when the alarms started screeching. It seemed like every ward in Hogwarts had been trigged. He quickly slipped into his slippers and threw on his robe. His quarters were situated outside of his office, so he had to go through his office to get to the school proper. Rushing down the stairs of his office, he came out to find several of the professors huddled around the entrance in their bed clothes.

"Headmaster, what ward was triggered?" asked Professor Flitwick

"Most of them, Filius. Which, of course, is impossible," replied Dumbledore.

Professor McGonagall rushed up to the group. "Headmaster, I think you should come to the Great Hall. There’s something you need to see."

Dumbledore eyed his assistant for a moment, then strode purposefully towards the staircases and the Great Hall with the teachers trailing behind him.

Reaching the Great Hall he skidded to a halt in surprise. He gaped in amazement as he gazed at the ceiling of the Hall. It no longer echoed the sky outside. It now displayed a message.


After a moment the message faded from view and the ceiling returned to normal. Then there came a hissing sound from the Head Table. The chair Dumbledore normally used for meals burst into flame. The flame burned a specific pattern into the back of the chair, a Celtic cross. Once the cross had been fully formed, the fire went out and an image appeared in the ceiling. This time the ceiling was echoing correctly what floated above the castle. Not the Morsmordre, but a gigantic Celtic cross.

Dumbledore ground his teeth in anger. The damn Brotherhood again! They were the ones who had trained Harry Potter to be so strong, and to stand up to me. They were the ones who trained him in Occlumency! They’re almost as bad as Death Eaters, he thought furiously. Hmmm… now there’s an idea, he mused. Why not get people to think that they are an elite class of Death Eater sporting a new look?

"Albus," breathed McGonagall, "what does this all mean?"

"I think, Professor, it should be obvious. The Brotherhood is coming down off the fence and they aren’t coming down on our side," replied Dumbledore tersely.

Minerva and Filius exchanged a quick look while Dumbledore stared into the Great Hall.

Grimmauld Place, that same night…

Harry crept back into his bedroom well after midnight. He’d just returned from a trip to Hogwarts, the results of which would have made Sirius and the rest of the Marauders proud. He stepped over to his bed and started to peel out his clothes, never noticing the figure that closed the door behind him.

"Out late, Mr. Potter?" asked a familiar voice.

Harry panicked for a moment and whirled with his pants down around his knees. As he did, he tripped, falling backwards and landing on the floor.

Hermione moved out of the darkness and stood over him. She wore a robe over her nightgown and stared at him angrily with her hands on her hips.

"Honestly, Harry! I think you take this family bit too far. You seem to be adopting Tonks’ clumsiness," she said, smirking. "Now, are you going to explain where you’ve been tonight? Or should I go wake Remus and Tonks and have them ask you?"

"Hermione! What are you doing in my bedroom at this hour? Do you know what your parents would think? What your father would think? What would he do to me?" Harry fired back at her.

Hermione clapped her hands. "Bravo, Harry, nice show. But it won’t work. Now, tell me where you’ve been," she said, her eyes turning flinty.

Harry sat up and looked down at the jeans bunched up around his knees, then he mumbled to himself.

"I can’t hear you, Harry."

"I said I just came back from Hogwarts. I wanted to try that projection spell you worked up to display the Celtic cross."

She stood watching him, waiting.

"Well and I did a few other things…" he added lamely.

"Such as?"

"I set the ceiling in the Great Hall to give a message about the Brotherhood."


"I sort of burned a Celtic cross into the Headmaster’s chair in the Great Hall."

Hermione sat down heavily on his bed and her shoulders started to shake. At first Harry thought she was crying, but he quickly realized she was laughing softly.

"You really went to Hogwarts tonight?" she asked when she finally calmed down.

"Oh yeah, and when I left I triggered every ward the castle had. No one could sleep through that racket. I imagine Dumbledore’s rather upset right about now. The Brotherhood gets into the castle, vandalizes a part of it, and then leaves without a trace."

Hermione stood and looked at him, still unsure of what she should be feeling. "I’m not sure whether to laugh or yell at you for being reckless. You know Tonks wouldn’t have let you do that tonight."

"That’s why I didn’t tell anyone what I was doing," he replied with a sly grin. It was one of those grins that she had trouble ignoring.

Harry started to stand when he realized his advanced stage of undress. "Um… Hermione? could you turn around? I’m nearly naked here."

"Oh really, Harry. It’s no different than if you were wearing a bathing suit."

"My bathing suit doesn’t have an open, unsealed flap in the front, you know?"

"Oh…," she replied, then turned away long enough for Harry to stand and pull up his pants and button them.

"There, that’s better. You know, this is the second time you’ve snuck into my bedroom and caught me in my boxers. If I didn’t know better, I’d say you’re doing it deliberately."

"N-N-No, not really," she stammered.

"Then why did you wait until I was taking my pants off before you said anything? When she stared at him, not speaking, he grinned wickedly. "You are so busted."

She turned on her heel and moved towards the door, her nose in the air. "You can think whatever you want, Mr. Potter!"

Harry chuckled and sealed the door wandlessly. Hermione jerked on the door several times but it wouldn’t budge. She whirled to face him angrily. "Open this door, Harry!"

"No, I don’t think so. We need to talk and right now is as good a time as any."

Hermione glared at him, fully knowing she’d been caught with her hand in the cookie jar, but she wasn’t about to back down now. "I don’t have anything to say to you. Now open this door."

"We can talk, or I’ll undress, climb under the covers and go to sleep, leaving you locked in here. And I’ll let you explain your presence in my bedroom to your parents."

Hermione’s quick mind thought up several exquisitely painful deaths for the young man who stood smirking at her before she finally surrendered to the inevitable. She walked over to the chair furthest from his bed and sat down, staring at him. "Alright, talk then," she said in a careless tone.

Harry walked over to her chair and knelt down in front of her. He ran his fingers down her cheek. "It’s alright to want to see me in my boxers, or with even less on. But I don’t think it’s fair to me when you do it sneakily. I don’t sneak into your bedroom to see you undressed. And I could apparate to your bedroom silently, throw in my invisibility cloak and you’d never know I was there," he said gently.

Hermione buried her face in her hands. "Oh Merlin, this is too embarrassing!"

Harry pulled her hands away from her face. "Please don’t hide from me, no matter how embarrassed you feel. I’ll be honest with you. I’ve wanted to see you in similar situations. I’ve dreamt of you in with less on."

She looked at him sharply. "So what is this? A game of ‘you-show-me-yours-and-I’ll-show-you-mine’?"

"Merlin, no! It’s no game. You and I both know I could answer some fan mail and get twenty witches here in an hours time. But I don’t want those witches, I want you," he said hotly.

She looked at him for a long moment before she stood up and opened her robe.

He gapped at her, dumbfounded, as she dropped her robe.   When she pulled her night shirt over her head and dropped it on top of her robe, he stood up in a rush.

Harry’s thought processes derailed as he stared at her breasts. She wore nothing more than her knickers and he couldn’t do a damn thing, as his brain suffered from lack of blood. He bit back a groan when he realized just where the blood was going.

"Y-Y-Your beautiful," he whispered.

She very nearly laughed at his stunned expression. She stepped closer and wrapped her arms around his neck.

When his hands fell to her hips and pulled her closer, he sighed. The feel of her soft breasts against his bare chest was wonderful!

"Thank you," she whispered shyly. Then he kissed her hard.

"Harry? Is everything all right? Who do you have in there? Why is the door stuck?" Remus called from the corridor.

Hermione and Harry sprang apart and exchanged a look of sheer, absolute panic. He scooped up her clothing and pulled her into his arms again. With a whispering pop, he tandem apparated to her bedroom. He gave her a brief hug, a quick kiss, and then dropped her clothing before he apparated back to his own room.

Releasing the lock on the door, he then walked over and opened it. He made a show of examining the door knob mechanism.

"I don’t know what’s wrong with the door, Remus. It’s been sticky of late. I’ll have Dobby look into it," Harry said, careful to avoid looking Remus in the eye.

"I thought I heard voices in here, Harry."

"No, there’s no one in here but me and I was about to crawl into bed."

Remus smiled knowingly. "Yes, well, it’s late. Get to sleep. We still have guests to talk to tomorrow."

"I know. Good night Remus," Harry called, heading for his bed.

"Oh, and Harry? Don’t forget to say good night to Hermione for me," Remus called as he closed the door.

Hermione untangled the heap of clothing at her feet and pulled on her nightshirt.   As she reached for her robe, she realized that she wasn’t the only person awake in the room.

From Ginny’s bed came the clear sound of giggling. Sighing, she turned around in the dimly lit bedroom and saw Ginny sitting up in her bed, grinning madly at her.

"So tell me, Miss Granger. What were you up to that resulted in Harry returning you to the bedroom at this late hour wearing only your knickers?" she asked impishly.

Hermione blushed and Ginny laughed.   Pointing to her own bed, Ginny raised an eyebrow at her friend and waited. Shrugging her shoulders, Hermione knew she’d been caught twice that night and went over to sit on Ginny’s bed.

"So, tell me all about it…" Ginny whispered breathlessly.

A Trip to St. Mungos…

The next morning Harry was awoken by Tonks and Danni knocking on his door. Groggily he climbed out of bed and let them in. As they took seats, Dobby appeared with morning coffee for Harry.

"Harry," Danni began, "I’ve made arrangements for you to visit Healer Sorenson in about an hour. I realize this is short notice, but if anyone can help improve your mobility, it’s him."

Harry sighed and looked down at his leg. "Will this take long?"

"It shouldn’t. This will be an evaluation exam. He’ll test your leg for its range of mobility and see if there’s anything that can be done to improve it," Danni told him seriously.

Harry looked at Tonks and she nodded. "I think you should give it a shot, Harry. I’ve seen how much your leg bothers you by the end of the day."

Harry ran a hand over his leg, then shrugged. "I’ll tell Hermione to keep on top of things here and then we can leave, if that’s alright with you two. There’s still a lot to be done today."

Once the two women left, he dressed quickly and went in search of Hermione. The house was still full of guests, so he had to dodge the crowd in the corridor as people made their way down to the kitchen for breakfast.  

He stood outside Hermione’s room a few minutes later and, knocking, he waited. Ginny opened the door and let him in, a smile on her face. He was sure that she was trying very hard not to laugh. Hermione looked up from her bed where she sat. She and Ginny had been talking again this morning and she was not yet dressed for the day.

"I’ll need you to handle our guests today, Hermione. Danni wants me to visit Healer Sorenson this morning. It’s supposed to be a short exam, but I’m not sure when I’ll be back," he told her.

She climbed out of the bed and walked over to him. He waited until she was within arm’s reach before pulling her close to him and burying his face into the nape of her neck. She shivered in delight and held him tightly.

"I’ll see you later," he whispered. He released her and stepped away.

She nodded and watched him worriedly as he walked out of the room

Harry met Tonks and Danni in the foyer on the main floor. Tonks pulled out an old shoe she’d turned into a portkey for St. Mungos and grinned. He put his finger on the shoe and the others followed suit. A moment later, they were gone.

Malfoy Manor…

Lucius Malfoy knocked back another drink of fire whiskey and watched as Wormtail led a group of five recruits on a training mission. He frowned, watching Wormtail get them ready. Even though he was currently one of the Master’s favorites, he knew that could change in a flash. Voldemort didn’t keep favorites long and he often played his inner circle members against each other for his own amusement.

There wasn’t much for him to do these days. Voldemort had decided that he needed more Death Eaters before unleashing his armies on muggle Britain. That meant Lucius was stuck running around and performing the odd Imperious curse on various muggles of importance to make their final assault go more smoothly.

He finished his drink and gestured to a fearful house elf for a refill. As he did, he stood by the window of his study shaking his head in dismay at the poor quality recruits they were getting these days. Wormtail actually had to resort to kicking a few of them.

With a sigh, he turned away from the window and went back to his seat, wishing for the good old days when he could assault a muggle town, burning and raping at will.

Ginny and Hermione…

Ginny watched Hermione watching Harry leave the room and snickered to herself. Their conversation last night after a nearly naked Harry had returned an equally naked Hermione to her bedroom had been interesting. Settling herself in one of the comfortable armchairs, she considered what she really needed to talk about.

"Hermione," Ginny began, "I need your help and advice about something that involves Harry, and I’m clueless what to do about it."

Struck by the strange tone in her friends voice, Hermione felt a brief stab of fear. She knew that in some ways Ginny had never gotten over her crush on Harry and she prayed that wasn’t what the younger girl wished to speak about.

"What’s the problem, Ginny?" asked Hermione, her voice carefully neutral.

"We…that is, Bill, Fred, George and myself, haven’t told anyone about this yet, but my father’s left the Burrow and my mother. He’s written a letter to Madam Bones in which he confesses to knowingly accepting money taken illegally from Harry’s vault. He and my Mum have had a falling out. He’s left her and is sleeping on a cot in his office at the Ministry," Ginny told her.

Hermione felt a wave of relief, then her anxiety returned as she realized that Ginny’s family was falling apart over what had been done to Harry.   "I see. What do you and the others in your family think about this?" she asked carefully. She wanted to understand where Ginny was going with this.

"They’re furious with him, Hermione, what do you expect? For nearly six years he’s been robbing a boy we considered to be a Weasley. They’re angry and hurt, but also proud that Dad’s finally standing up for himself and doing the right thing. They don’t like what he did, but have told him they would be willing to stand up with him when he went to trial. My family’s falling to pieces in front of my very eyes and I’m trying to save what I can of it," Ginny ended on a pleading tone.

"So what do you need from me? I can see what you’re trying to do, but I don’t see how I can help."

"I’d like to see if we can get Harry and my Dad to talk. Dad owes Harry an apology at the minimum. The problem is getting Harry to agree to meet with Dad. My father doesn’t know that I’m trying to set up a meeting between him and Harry. As far as my father is concerned, he’s hurt Harry and could never be forgiven for what he’s done."

Hermione looked thoughtful. "I think I know Harry well enough to say that he’s not going to want to speak to your father unless several of us make it apparent that your father isn’t looking for Harry’s forgiveness, but he just wants to explain what happened, maybe even why. I won’t say it will be easy, Ginny, but I’ll speak to Harry about it and try to soften him up enough that you can talk to him. But, please understand that Harry may not want to talk to your father. And if you push him too hard, he could turn away from you as well."

Ginny nodded. "I know, but that’s a risk I’m going to have to take. I’m trying to salvage my family. If you can make him understand that, I’ll be forever grateful," she said, then her eyes danced impishly. "I won’t even try to blackmail you over the fact that you appeared nearly naked in the bedroom in Harry’s arms."

Hermione’s eyes turned flinty and she glared daggers at the younger girl. "That wasn’t my fault! Harry… he… no that isn’t quite right either."

She sighed, slumping her shoulders in defeat. "Alright, it was my fault, I was playing with fire and he caught me at it."

"What do you mean?"

"Let’s just say that I’d been arranging to occasionally catch him less than fully clothed and he called me on it. He then pointed out that it wasn’t fair to him, and that he would not have stooped to such sneaky tactics. And if that wasn’t guilt worthy enough, he had to go ahead and tell me that if I ever wanted to see him like that, or with even less on, all I had to do was ask! Where’s the fun in that?" she said with a hint of a growl.

Ginny murmured something that Hermione couldn’t quite make out, but it sound too important to let go. "What did you just say? Something about the Quidditch locker room?"

Ginny colored and looked away for a moment. "Last year Katie Bell installed a peep hole in the wall of the boy’s locker room. It let us look in on Harry while he was changing for games and practice. I think you’re probably the only Gryffindor girl that hasn’t seen your boyfriend naked."

Hermione was appalled. "All of them? Even the younger ones?"

"Katie wouldn’t let the first and second years have a peek. But third years and up, yeah, if they had the galleon."

"She charged for a peek? I don’t believe this! Half the Gryffindor girls have seen my boyfriend naked? Does Harry know?"

"Are you kidding? Look at how long it took him to get used to having us around while you worked on his leg in the pool and there he was wearing a bathing suit and t-shirt. If he’d known, he would have quit the team! Besides, it’s not like it’s still going on. Harry isn’t playing this year and he doesn’t use the changing room when he just wants to go flying."

Hermione’s expression hardened. It was a look of a competitor who’d just been told their record had been was time to set a new one.

Hogwarts, Headmaster’s office…

Dumbledore watched the raging man before him and wondered briefly if a silencing charm would be out of place. It wasn’t that the Headmaster disagreed with the idea behind the rant, but he knew there wasn’t much that could be done about.   Something the younger man currently pacing his office didn’t understand.

"And this last little stunt of his is the last straw, Albus!   The boy is a menace and must be stopped," Severus Snape exclaimed, whirling to face Dumbledore.

"Severus, I understand what you’re saying, truly I do.   However, I believe you’ve failed to realize that the situation has changed," Albus said calmly.

"Changed?   Of course it’s changed!   Potter now knows he can attack a teacher and the Headmaster of this school with impunity.   I know we can’t expel him for his behavior without raising questions with the Board of Governors, but surely you must see that the quicker we find out what the boy is up to, the better off we’ll be."

Dumbledore sighed heavily.   For an intelligent, observant man, Severus could be remarkable blind where Harry Potter was concerned.   "Yes, I do see that.   I also know that you cannot break through Mr. Potter’s shields."

"No, but I can break through Miss Granger’s.   She’s not as strong as Potter."

"Perhaps, Severus.   But the moment she leaves this office, she’ll run straight to Harry.   Do you want to deal with the boy’s wrath over the perceived attack on his girlfriend?" Dumbledore asked.

"She can’t report to Potter something she doesn’t remember, Headmaster," Snape said slyly.   "A simple memory charm after we’ve obtained the information we want, and she’ll leave the office unaware of what has happened."

"A memory charm?   You tried that once before and it didn’t work.   What makes you think…"

"I was trying to be gentle," Snape interrupted sharply.   "We’ve talked about this before, Albus.   Nothing has changed. I knock her unconscious with a stunning spell, harrow through her memories for the information we’re looking for, then perform the memory charm before she wakes up. Why are you suddenly so reluctant?"

"Prudence. Mr. Potter’s display of power just before the holiday started made that perfectly clear. If something goes wrong with our plan, we’d be facing an enraged, immensely powerful child who’s made it clear that if we got in his way again, we’d pay for it."

"He’s an arrogant boy who needs to be put in his place," Snape sneered.

"Oh, grow up, Severus," Dumbledore exclaimed angrily.   "The boy is dangerous! For all your sneering remarks about Gryffindor courage causing students to charge into things without thinking, you’re acting remarkably lion-like yourself! Harry Potter can snap either of us in half as quickly as he snapped your wands."

"But…" Snape began.

"No!" Albus said, cutting the younger man off. "The plan will be used only as a last resort. We have another plan that may work just as well, and we will try it first."

"And are equally likely to enrage Potter if he finds out about them!"

"Enough!   I have made my decision and I am through discussing it.   You are excused, Severus." Albus said coldly.

Drawing his robe about him, Snape glared at the Headmaster.   "I still say your plan is a mistake, Albus. And when it blows up in our faces, we’ll be lucky if we live long enough to regret it!"  

Spinning on his heel, robes flaring, Snape walked to the office door and exited the room.

At St. Mungos…

Danni led Harry and Tonks up to the third floor of St. Mungos and into a waiting room for the general recovery wing where the healers dealt with non-specific, long term injuries such as Harry’s. Danni left them, seated comfortably, and went about her duties.

Harry leaned back in his chair and closed his eyes. He reached out with his senses and immediately pulled back. The hospital was rife with magic, but it was the auras that disturbed him the most. The people around him were physically injured, in some cases even emotionally injured, and it was reflected in their auras.

A witch approached them thirty minutes later and Harry was grateful for the interruption. Tonks had been tormenting him by showing him back issues of Teen Witch Weekly and what they thought about the famous Boy-Who-Lived.

"Mr. Potter? Ms. Tonks?" asked the mediwitch.

"Yes, that’s right," replied Harry.

"Follow me to examination room 12, please," the young witch said with a smile.

The room didn’t look much different than any doctor’s examination room he’d seen in the muggle world. Thanks to the Dursleys, he’d seen plenty of them.

"Healer Sorenson will be along shortly. In the meantime, I’m to get you ready for your examination. I understand that the Healer will be looking at your leg, so I’ll have to ask you to remove your pants," the witch said, smiling, her eyes dancing with pleasure.

Harry’s head whipped around and he stared at the mediwitch with narrowed eyes. She had the good grace to flush guiltily before looking away, but she didn’t withdraw the request. In desperation, he turned and cast an appealing glance at his guardian.

Tonks shrugged. "You knew you’d have to show the Healer your leg. Unless they have a removable pant leg, you’ll have to shuck them," she quipped, grinning.

"Fine," Harry said tersely. He peeled off his jumper revealing another t-shirt that read, ‘Everyone is entitled to be stupid, but Voldemort's abusing the privilege.’

Tonks’ eyes widened when she read the shirt and the mediwitch swayed, nearly fainting in shock. While Tonks leapt to her feet to grab mediwitch, Harry slipped out of his pants, thankful for the commotion. Hopping up onto the exam table, he glared at the two woman as if daring them to ask him to remove anything else.

Once the mediwitch had recovered from her shock, she threw him a reproving look. Then, running several diagnostic spells, she wrote down the results on a piece of parchment. One test she reran multiple times and seemed to be more displeased with the results with each run. Then, with a polite smile, she gathered up her notes and left the room.

A few minutes later the mediwitch returned, followed by someone else.   "Mr. Potter?" asked the newcomer.

Harry looked at the man. He looked to be fit, middle aged, and his hair was just starting to go gray.   "Yes, I’m Harry Potter."

"I’m Healer Sorenson, Mr. Potter. I understand that I’m supposed to be looking at an old injury to your leg and see if we can do anything to improve it. If you would budge up on the table and lay on your stomach, I’d like to examine both of your legs visually before we start looking at the range of motion and impairment you have."

Doing as he was asked, Harry laid on the cold table. He commented about the temperature of the table, which surprisingly resulted in the mediwitch bringing him a blanket.

The healer looked over both of Harry’s legs for several long minutes, taking measurements and questioning both Harry and Tonks about the cause of the damage. Even with the muscle regeneration potion course Harry had endured, the calf muscle on Harry’s right leg was significantly different in size and shape than his left leg.

After the visual examination, Healer Sorenson started him on a series of exercises designed to show him the range of motion and flexibility in the leg. The testing lasted several hours and, by the end of the examination, Harry was in considerable pain. When the healer had finally finished, he was instructed to get dressed and the healer left the room.

Tonks watched Harry with a worried expression as he struggled painfully with his pants. Both looked up as Healer Sorenson entered the room again with the mediwitch and Danni McNeil. Danni looked at Harry and smiled, but both the witch and Sorenson looked concerned.

"Mr. Potter, it seems you posed several problems for us today. On the issue of your leg, the damage is quite extensive. That you’ve managed to recover as well as you have is a testimony to your determination. There is little we can do to help the leg any more than what you’ve already done. If you continue with your therapy, you may see as much as a five percent improvement. Right now, your leg is impaired by twenty four percent. In time, you may be able to achieve eighty percent of its original function.

"I understand the pain issue and the fact that you need a cane by the end of the day. If we medicated for the pain, we run the risk of addiction. What I’m going to suggest is that, rather than medication, you start learning to take hot baths with the mineral salts I’ll be prescribing for you. They’ll help relax your muscles and help relieve the pain without resorting to pain relieving potions.

"The second issue came to light when Kally here," he said, pointing to the mediwitch, "ran a routine Hammerstein magical index on you. Normally this test gives us an indication of the quality of your magical core…"

"That isn’t an issue, Healer Sorenson. As his regular Healer, I can assure you that the HMI is normal for him," Danni said firmly. "Further, his HMI is considered classified by the Ministry. I’m sure you understand the consequences of leaking classified information."

Danni smiled at Harry and Tonks’ questioning looks and shrugged. "I figured this might come up. That’s why I had to check in with Amelia."

Healer Sorensen and the mediwitch stared at Harry for a long time. He started feeling increasingly uncomfortable under their gaze. "Are we done then?" he asked.

Healer Sorensen blinked and shook himself out of his shock. "Yes, Mr. Potter. I’m sorry we couldn’t do more for your leg," he said, while handing Tonks a list of salts he could try.

He swayed a moment while he expanded his cane to normal size and steadied himself. Nodding in thanks to the healer, he left the examination room with Tonks right behind him. He leaned heavily against his cane and gritted his teeth.

Walking down the stairs and to the exit was painful. Harry could have apparated, but Tonks couldn’t, so they had to go to the lobby’s apparation point. They only had a few stairs left before reaching the bottom when a scream pierced the silence and a green beam of light crashed into a nearby wall. Harry pushed Tonks down the remaining stairs and then jumped the rest of the way himself.

He landed next to her and his leg gave out. He lay beside the dazed Tonks for a moment and the sound of screams came from all around him. From the lobby entrance came the shouts of people using the killing curse over the sound of the panicking crowd. One sound carried over the din, however. A very young voice cried out over and over,

"Mama, please get up!"

It was the child’s voice that snapped Harry’s carefully leashed anger and a terrible rage raced through him. His magic flared and the lobby rumbled like an oncoming train. He climbed painfully to his knees and look over the chair that was blocking the Death Eaters from view.

His eyes narrowed and he snarled when he noted one Death Eater wore a silver hand. Pushing himself to his feet, he stood. He would not sit by and let this happen, he couldn’t.

He raised one hand and pointed it at Peter Pettigrew, the man responsible for the death of his parents. "Levititus ossis torqueo magnopere," Harry said quietly.

Pettigrew’s curses stopped when the dark purple nimbus surrounded him and he felt himself levitated a good three feet off the floor. He looked around wildly and whimpered as pain enveloped his body.   When it increased, his whimpers turned to screams as every bone in his body was twisted and bent.   When the bones started to break, he began to shriek in agony. Then, just as suddenly as it began, it ended.   With a sudden, violent sound, Pettigrew’s vertebrae shattered, driving bone fragments up into his brain.

Everyone stopped and the only sound came from the injured. The Death Eater recruits turned towards the floating corpse of Wormtail, shocked.

Harry swayed and struggled to remain standing, then he raised his hand again. "Lucerna judico" he said firmly. The room filled with a bright white light.

When the light faded and everyone’s eyes had adjusted, the five remaining Death Eaters were groping around the room, blindly. Every so often one would try to cast a spell, only to fail.

"I can’t apparate!" screamed one recruit.

"Can you see? I can’t see," yelled another.

That was all it took as healers and the survivors of the lobby attack swarmed over the Death Eaters. Tonks surged into the crowd, trying to get control of the situation in her capacity as an Auror.

Harry looked around at the carnage in the lobby and, in particular, the source of that pitiful cry that had tugged at his heart. She was a small child, maybe four or five years old. She sat next to the body of a poorly dressed young woman and, every so often, she’d push against the woman’s shoulder and beg her to get up. The woman had been a victim of the killing curse.

Harry staggered back to the stairway and sat down heavily. The sight of the small girl tore at him and he started to weep. He never noticed as Danni shoved a cup of cocoa into his hands, then looked him over for injuries.

The scene in the lobby was pure pandemonium.   Eventually more Aurors arrived on the scene, and Tonks was able to talk to Harry.   "Are you alright?" she asked worriedly.

He nodded dumbly. He was having trouble focusing on her through his tears. He pointed to the little girl. "Make sure she has family to go to, Tonks. Make sure they take care of her."

Tonks eyed the little girl that a mediwitch was trying to calm down and nodded after a moment, then she turned back to Harry. "I have to stay here and help out. You go home and I’ll get a statement from you later."

Wearily he nodded and vanished from the lobby. Tonks shook her head, still amazed that he could apparate without making a sound. With a sigh, she turned back to the chaos and went back to work.

Children of Gaia…

Bertrand Lovegood had two woman whom he loved in his life, his wife and his daughter. Both were quite strange in their own ways, but he wouldn’t have changed either if he could. When he lost his wife, his daughter had stepped in and helped him recover from the loss as much as she could. But some pain never heals and, in Bertrand’s case, the loss of Lorna had been particularly painful.

Now he sat with his daughter in a strange house owned by Harry Potter, one of his daughter’s closest friends. They were at a table in the Black family library and while Luna read a book, upside down of course, Bertrand considered all the things he had learned in the past day.

They both looked up when the door opened to admit Narcissa Black and her son, Draco Malfoy. According to Draco, he would remain a Malfoy until shortly after the New Year. Then the courts could process his mother’s request to adopt him, after which he would become Draco Black.

"Miss Black," Bertrand said, standing and offering his hand. "What a pleasure it is to finally be able to meet with you."

"Narcissa, please. It’s going to take me a long time to get used to being Miss Black again," she replied, smiling.

Narcissa shook the offered hand and let herself be guided to a seat. She wasn’t sure why Draco had insisted on having this meeting. Surely he didn’t expect her to give this little man an interview for his tabloid, did he?

Draco smiled shyly at Luna who looked up at him and returned the smile before going back to her book. Narcissa would have shrugged that off except that, when the girl made room for Draco to sit next to her, he did! Could Draco have feelings for this pretty young woman, she asked herself.

Luna looked over at Narcissa, her expression dreamy. "I hope that to be the case, Miss Black. And no, my father isn’t looking for an interview. Draco wanted you and I to get to know each other better. We didn’t get much of a chance for that in Hogsmeade."

Narcissa blinked in surprise as the young woman answered questions she hadn’t vocalized. Luna and Draco? She looked at her son, noting his posture shifting from his usual defiance to deference towards Luna. She also couldn’t help but notice that he was holding her hand. She knew Draco had all the wrong kind of experience with women thanks to his father, who used to share his doxies with him. No, he wasn’t acting like that this time.

"Do you really think I’d allow him to, Miss Black?" Luna asked curiously, still staring at her book.

Narcissa’s eye’s narrowed in concentration as she watched the young woman, then it struck her. She was deliberately masking her attention. But why would she do that? Unless she was… Her eyes widened in realization.

Luna smiled at the older woman and Narcissa felt the full brunt of her attention as a wave of pleased emotions washed over her. "You’re much faster than your son is. He still hasn’t figured it out."

"Figured what out, Luna? What are you on about?" asked a confused Draco.

"He doesn’t know," Luna murmured to Narcissa.

"Of course he doesn’t, dear. He’s never been exposed to someone with your talents and, even if he had, he would have been taught to hate you. Let me explain it," replied Narcissa.

"Hate Luna? Why would I hate Luna?" Draco asked, outraged.

"Dray, listen to me carefully. I’m sure by now you’ve noticed that Luna tends to get somewhat preoccupied at times?"

Draco nodded.

"She’s that way because of what she is. Your friend is what we call a Child of Gaia. It’s a very rare and unique talent, even more rare than your cousin Nymphadora’s metamorph abilities. A long time ago, some humans and fairies found a way to mix the two species, to make a human sized fairy. The mixed breeding didn’t last long, but some of the fairy abilities bred true into their human offspring."

"Humans? Fairies? She’s not human?" Draco asked. Then he winced, realizing just how hurtful the comment may have been. Glancing at Luna he could see the flicker of pain in her eyes before she assumed a dreamy gaze once more.

She leaned over and touched first his lips and then the top of his head. "Someday soon I’ll teach these two things to talk to each other," she said firmly, then went back to her book, humming softly.

"No, Draco, Luna’s as human as you and I. The mating between human and fairy took place so many generations ago that all of the fairy physical characteristics have been bred out. Only some of the abilities remain. A Child of Gaia is more closely attuned to nature than we are. She walks through life seeing things we couldn’t even imagine. She can see nature’s experiments before they’re born as a species and, to a small extent, she can affect things around her. A Child of Gaia masks her attention because most people can’t stand the intense feelings they feel from them. That’s why she appears so inattentive.

"Once she reaches a certain age, a Child of Gaia begins a search for a companion, someone to be her protector and champion. It’s a precious gift they offer, but it comes with a price. Loving a Child of Gaia makes it impossible to ever love another person again."

Draco look at Luna, his expression wavered between hope and disbelief. "Why me?" he whispered.

His mind reeled with the onrush of emotions as she turned her attention to him. "Because you’re worthy, Draco. Because, despite your father, you’ve managed to keep a pure heart. You’re a lot like Harry in that way. Both of you should have been evil with your upbringing and both of you came out of your childhood largely pure and good. Even Harry saw that in you. You’ll be great one day, great in ways you’ve never imagined, if only you believe in yourself the way I do," she told him gently, then she reached up and caressed his cheek with one hand. Draco’s eyes closed and he leaned into her touch.

Draco’s mind whirled with emotion. This wasn’t a sexually charged contact, but the emotion of love that he was feeling from Luna held a hint of promise of far greater delights to come. He was confused by it all. Luna seemed to be asking him to believe in himself, something he’d never found easy to do. In many ways, he had as much self doubt and lack of confidence as Harry. He just hid his doubt behind a façade of arrogance. He opened his eyes to see Luna gazing softly at him. He could get lost staring into her sky blue eyes. They ignited a desire to make her happy and safe, always.

"I’ll try to be worthy of you, Luna," he told her softly and she smiled back at him gently.

Bertrand shot Narcissa a knowing look and even Narcissa smiled. She couldn’t be more pleased. Luna seemed perfectly capable of awakening the honorable man she had tried to raise Draco to be. That the two cared for each other was obvious, but it warmed her heart to see Draco treating her with love and respect.

Narcissa turned to Bertrand. "Would you care for a cup of tea in my sitting room? I think we should give these two a little time to themselves."

"Tea would be excellent," he replied, standing and offering her a hand.

Grimmauld Place, just before dinner…

Tonks walked into the kitchen at Grimmauld place, her expression grim.

 "Tonks?" asked Remus.

"Where’s Harry?" Tonks asked, sitting in a chair heavily and ignoring Remus’ implied question.

"Isn’t he with you? I thought you both went to St. Mungos today."

"No, I sent him home after the attack. I had to stay behind and help. Remus, Harry killed Peter Pettigrew."

Remus exploded from his chair.   "He did what? What was he doing going after Wormtail? You were supposed to be watching him Tonks! How could you," he shouted at the young Auror, stalking towards her.

"Petrificus totalus," Tonks said calmly, her wand pointed at Remus.

Remus froze and stiffened. His eyes narrowed angrily.

"Now get this straight, old wolf. I didn’t let him do anything, he just bloody well went ahead and did it! We were leaving St. Mungos when a group of Death Eaters attacked the lobby. Harry spotted Wormtail and killed him in a most painful manner. Then he disabled five others with a single spell, saving everyone who was present. But the damage was already done. Ten dead, another fifteen seriously hurt.

Now, I’m going to release you from the spell if you think you can behave yourself. Otherwise, I’ll leave you down here all night.

"Finite Incantatum," Tonks whispered and Remus sagged, nearly falling. Tonks leapt to her feet and helped him to a seat. Once Remus was seated, she turned to the others.   "Now I’ll ask again, has anyone seen Harry today?"

Hermione looked between her parents, Tonks and Remus, who sat silently, tears streaming down his face. "I haven’t," she said. "But that doesn’t mean he’s not here. Let’s ask Dobby. He should know if Harry is in the building."

Tonks chuckled to herself. Leave to Hermione to find the quickest way to any answer. "Dobby?" she called to the house elf.

With a soft pop, the little elf appeared in the kitchen. "Yous call for Dobby, Miss?"

Tonks and Hermione smiled. Then Hermione asked the question on everyone’s mind. "Yes Dobby, we did call. Tell me, is Harry in the house?"

"Oh mys, yes! Master Harry came back many hours ago. He is not very happy right now, and I thinks his leg is hurtings him bad. But he’s in his room."

"Has he eaten at all today, Dobby?"

The little elf’s ears drooped and his clutched at his shirt. "No, Master Harry is not wanting food today he says."

"Dobby, please bring dinner for two up to Harry’s room in about an hour," Hermione said firmly.

Tonks looked at her carefully. "Are you sure you want to do this?"

"I’m the only one who can, Tonks. Remus needs you," she said.

A few minutes later Hermione slipped silently into Harry room. He sat on a couch in the sitting room adjacent to his bedroom, staring into the fireplace. He had pulled a chair close to the couch and was using it to prop up and stretch his leg out on.

She walked over to him, but he didn’t notice she was there. "You know, people normally stare into a fireplace only after a fire’s been lit," she said quietly.

Harry sighed and rubbed his face tiredly. "I’m assuming Tonks finally returned from St. Mungos?"

"A little while ago. She seemed upset and very worried about you. She would have come here herself, but Remus took the news about Peter rather hard."

A single tear slid down his cheek. Hermione watched him and worried about how much he was holding back.

Sitting next to him on the couch, she reached out with a hand to touch him. "Alright there, Harry?"

"I don’t know. I killed a man today. It wasn’t an accident either. I deliberately used a spell that broke every bone in his body. He screamed horribly…he screamed until the vertebrae in his neck shattered, killing him. And yet I feel… nothing… no remorse over killing a person… no pain… just satisfaction that the man responsible for the death of my parents, death of Cedric and Sirius’ imprisonment is now dead himself and that he’ll never kill again.  

"He was a friend to my parents once. He was nearly as close to them as Remus or Sirius, and I suppose I should mourn the loss of another Marauder. But he wasn’t even that in the end. He was just a Death Eater with no respect for the lives of others."

He turned his palms upwards and looked at his hands. "I held his life in my hands, and I took it without a second thought, Hermione. I’ve sat here since I came back from St. Mungos trying to figure out what I’m supposed to feel. Should I be angry? Hurt? Shocked? Sad? I just don’t know…" he trailed off and his hands trembled slightly.

Hermione sat quietly for a moment, watching him. She knew he had to work through this but, like so many other events in his life, working through them was the hardest part for him.   She reached out and touched his cheek softly and his expression screwed up in misery. He let out a single cry and tried to turn away from her but she wouldn’t let him. Wrapping her arms around him, she pulled him into her embrace where he cried against her shoulder. She knew he wasn’t so much crying for the death of Wormtail, but for the loss of his own innocence. This was very different from the attack in Diagon Alley, where everyone agreed that he ‘probably’ killed a Death Eater. This was a known act, not a maybe.

Thirty minutes later, his body relaxed against her as the tension seemed to drain from his body. She rubbed his back and closed her eyes. "You needed that, Harry. Even if you don’t mourn or feel bad for killing a Death Eater, it still hurts you every time you’re forced into a situation like that. Wormtail was a disgusting human being and he deserved to die. Ask yourself this question. What would you have done if he hadn’t been firing on a crowd of helpless people?" she asked him gently.

"I-I-I would have tried to capture him. But he was using the killing curse on people, Hermione!" he protested.

"And so you did what you thought was right to protect yourself, your guardian and everyone else in the lobby. Remember when we talked about this being a war? People are going to die, Harry, and sometimes you’re going to be the reason they die. It’s not a pleasant truth, but it is truth. What you did today saved lives and you need to concentrate on that. And concentrate on the fact that nearly every Gryffindor girl has seen you naked except for your girlfriend!"

Harry looked at her in confusion. When it finally sunk in, he sat up and stared at her in horror. His expression was so comical she couldn’t help but laugh. "Oh honestly, Harry. It’s not the end of the world. Besides, I was as shocked to learn about it as you are. Mind you, I don’t think it’s fair that they’ve seen you naked and I haven’t."

Harry looked at her for a moment and seriously considered getting starkers just to see her reaction, but Dobby appeared with dinner.

Hermione never knew just how close she’d came to her goal, only to be thwarted by the arrival of dinner from an overly happy house elf.

Harry stood and offered Hermione a hand up. "Would you care to join me for dinner, my lady?" he asked with a grin.

"I’d be most honored, my lord," she replied with a smile.

A Sirius Business…

Tonks placed a cup of tea in front of Remus, and then laid a hand on his shoulder.   "Alright, Remus?"

"I will be, Nymph," he said shakily.   "It’s difficult to wrap my mind around it all, though.   Harry must be going through hell right now."

"Hermione’s the best one to help him right now," Emma said quietly.  

"Maybe, but I feel like I should be doing something.   Sirius would…" Remus stopped and his eyes widened.

"What?" Tonks asked, a bit alarmed.

"Sirius!" Remus exclaimed.   "With Wormtail dead, the Ministry…Oh Merlin, the Ministry!"   Jumping to his feet, he spun around and grabbed Tonks’ hand.   Dragging her to the foyer and ignoring her questions, he wrapped his arms around her and apparated with a loud crack.

Appearing outside of Amelia Bones’ office, Remus reached for the door handle, but Tonks stopped him. "What the hell is going on here, Remus?"

"You saw Harry kill Peter, Nymph.   Peter, the person Sirius was supposed to have killed!   The reason he went to Azkaban!" Remus exclaimed. "As an Auror, your testimony is golden." Reaching for the door once more, he threw it open and dragged Tonks in after him.

Amelia looked up, startled, as her office door flew open.   Seeing Remus and Tonks charge into the office and slam the door closed behind them, she stood up, alarmed.   "What is it?   What’s happened now?"

"Director, it’s about what took place at St. Mungo’s this morning," Tonks began.

"I’ve received the reports about it," Amelia said, confused.   "There is no need to worry.   Harry won’t be charged with anything, I can assure you," she continued, taking a stab at the reason for their visit.

Remus paled.   "I hadn’t even thought of that." He sat down heavily, not waiting for an invitation.

Amelia looked at Tonks questioningly.

"It’s not about Harry, Director, at least, not directly anyway.   Did any of the reports mention Peter Pettigrew?" Tonks asked.

"According to my reports, Harry killed him.   I’m not sure whether I believe it, however.   Pettigrew was reportedly killed years ago by Sirius Black," Amelia told the young Auror.

"I was there, Director and the reports are true.   Harry Potter did kill Peter Pettigrew," Tonks reported.

"But that would mean…" Amelia sat down abruptly.  

"Sirius was innocent," Remus said angrily.   "He spent twelve years in Azkaban because the Ministry refused to hold a trial."

Amelia took off her monocle and rubbed her eyes tiredly.  "Mr. Lupin," she began, "I’m not sure what you want…"

"What I want," Remus interrupted, "is Sirius’ name cleared, publicly."

"I don’t think it’s going to be that easy," the Director told him.

"No?   Then perhaps the Ministry will explain to Harry why his godfather is still listed as Pettigrew’s murderer," he told her coldly. "Once he calms down, I’m sure he’ll understand.   Of course, there won’t be much left of the Ministry…"

"Remus," Tonks said warningly.

"You seem to be under the impression that I can just snap my fingers and all will be well," Amelia retorted.   "I assure you, Mr. Lupin, it doesn’t work that way.   I can write up the paperwork to begin the process, but Minister Fudge must sign off on it for it to be official."

"Then by all means, let’s go and speak with the Minister," Remus said, standing.

Ten minutes later, the small group was seated in front of the Minister of Magic, and being served tea by his secretary.   Once the woman left the room, Cornelius smiled jovially.   "So what brings you to my office this afternoon, Director Bones?"

"You’re aware of what happened this morning at St. Mungo’s," Amelia replied. "Something interesting has been discovered, Minister.   Something that you should be aware of."

"And that is?" Fudge asked before taking a drink of his tea.

"Harry Potter killed Peter Pettigrew," Remus said, baldly.

Cornelius choked on his tea.   "What?" he sputtered.

"It’s true, Sir," Tonks said.   "I was there and witnessed the event, as did many others."

When Fudge looked at Amelia in disbelief, she nodded.   "I have the reports on my desk, Minister.   They all say the same thing."

"But that would mean…No, it’s impossible!" Fudge declared in ringing tones.   "Sirius Black was convicted of killing Pettigrew and I am not about to challenge the Wizengamot’s ruling on…Oh, Merlin, there wasn’t…" he trailed off, staring at Amelia in growing horror.

"That’s right, Sir," Remus said, coldly, watching as the truth dawned on the Minister.   "There was no trial.   An innocent man was thrown into prison without a trial and left there to rot for twelve years."

"But Black is dead.   If the Ministry were to announce his innocence, it would make the MLE and this administration look incompetent!" Cornelius exclaimed nervously.   "There’s nothing for it but to leave things as they are."

"You’re forgetting something, Fudge," Remus said, glaring at the smaller man.   "Harry is perfectly aware that his godfather was innocent.   Now that Pettigrew’s dead, he’s expecting the Ministry to clear Sirius’ name."

"We can’t," the Minister cried.   "The public would lose faith…"

"Very well," Remus stated.   He stood up and faced Tonks.   "I guess we’ll have to tell Harry that the Ministry isn’t to be trusted any more.   I’m sure he’ll then want to work out his differences with Dumbledore so that…"

"Wait!" Fudge demanded.   "Dumbledore?   No hold on just a moment!"

Remus turned to face the little man.   "Yes?   Was there something you wanted, Sir?"

Twenty minutes later, Remus, Tonks and Director Bones left Fudges office.   Tonks and Amelia looked a bit shell-shocked, while Remus smiled smugly.   Clutched in his hand was a copy of the official Ministry decree, declaring Sirius Black’s innocence.

Grimmauld Place, later that evening…

Harry would have liked to say that dinner alone in his sitting room with Hermione was a smashing romantic success. It was anything but that, however. The first interruption came from Hermione’s parents who wanted to check in on them and make sure Harry was alright. Harry still suspected that Dan was hoping to catch him in a compromising position with his daughter.

Both looked up from their meal when the door opened and Hermione’s parents entered. Dan surveyed the room, noting that the door to the bedroom was closed, both of them were fully dressed and sitting across from each other at a small table enjoying a quiet meal together.

"Would you like to join us?" asked Harry politely, although he privately admitted he really wished they’d go away.

"No, thank you, Harry," replied Emma. "We just wanted to see how you were holding up."

Harry shrugged. "I’m sure it will take a while to get over, but in a way it provides a bit of closure. The man who betrayed my parents to Voldemort is now explaining his deed to them in person."

Dan snapped his fingers. "That reminds me! Tonks and Remus took off for the Ministry. Something about starting the process of getting Sirius’ name cleared."

Harry closed his eyes for a moment and he mouthed a silent hopeful prayer before opening them again. "I hope they succeed. It’s too late for Sirius, but clearing his name is important," he said huskily.

"Also, Tonks said that she gave Dobby a selection of salts that you’re to start using tonight, Harry. She strongly recommended you try the sandalwood scented salt first. She said that she’d had good results with it," Emma told him.

"What are the salts for?" asked Hermione.

"Oh, that’s right. With all of the confusion over the attack, I never told anyone what the Healer said about my leg. The salts are for hot soaks. Healer Sorenson didn’t want to prescribe pain relieving potions for my leg. He said the salts would help a lot in relaxing the muscles. The down side is, there’s not much he can do. He figures I may recover another four to five percent of function, but that’s about it," he said with a shrug.

"I think I’ll speak to Dobby to make sure you use them then. If I know you, and I do, they’ll slip your mind," Hermione said.

Both Dan and Emma laughed, then bid the two good night. As they left the room, Ginny waltzed in and sat down on one of the arm chairs. Harry raised an eyebrow in question at her. Heaving herself to her feet, she walked over to the table and sampled a few items from the table.

"Ginny, would you like to join us?" asked Harry, again wishing he didn’t have to be polite.

"Oh no, I just wanted a nibble. Besides, food isn’t why I’m here anyway. Neville’s off with his Gran…I don’t think she quite trusts me, you know…and I wanted to talk to you."

Harry sighed and put his napkin on the table. Obviously the Manor was strong with Murphy’s Magic tonight.

"So what do you need, Ginny?" asked Harry.

"Well, it’s like this… you see, my father, he’s written a letter confessing it all and he’s sent it to Amelia," she started to say, but faltered as Harry’s expression darkened.

"Harry, please listen to Ginny before you blow your top," Hermione pleaded. Harry shot her a glare that spoke volumes.

Ginny gulped nervously, then plunged on. "I know this is distasteful. And my father did not ask for me to ask you this. But I thought I’d try anyway. He really wants to apologize to you, Harry. He knows you can’t forgive him. He isn’t seeking that. He just wants to say he’s sorry. He’s even left my mum."

Harry sat back in his chair, fuming and scowling. Ginny watched him carefully. The longer the silence went on, the more upset Ginny became. Finally she couldn’t take it anymore.

"Harry," she choked out through a sob.

"Fine," Harry snapped. "Set up your meeting, I’ll be there."

Leaning heavily on his chair, he stood and summoned his cane. Turning, he limped from the sitting room into his bedroom, leaning heavily on the cane.

Ginny turned to Hermione. "Was he mad at me?" she asked in a hushed tone.

Hermione sighed. "No Ginny, he’s had a bad day. I think you were just the final straw for him tonight. Don’t worry, I’ll go and talk to him. If I know Harry, by tomorrow he’ll be mortified with his behavior and be apologizing to you."

Hermione stood and walked Ginny to the door. When the younger girl had left, she turned and steeled herself to confront Harry. She walked to his bedroom door and opened it. Harry stood, wearing only a robe and leaning heavily against his cane. She could see the beads of sweat on his brow.

"Harry, what’s wrong?"

"I’m sorry, Hermione. I shouldn’t have snapped at Ginny, but today’s been hell and, just when I thought I’d be able to relax and have a nice quiet evening with my girlfriend, Ginny comes along out of the blue and drops that on me." He sat heavily on the edge of the bed, his hand rubbing his leg and wincing.

"Is Dobby drawing your bath?"

"He doesn’t have to. The bath is always ready in the master bathroom. All he did was add the salts."

Levering himself to his feet, he limped towards his bathroom, a curious Hermione right behind him. She’d not seen how her mother and the two house elves had redecorated the master bath.

Entering, she gasped when she saw a large, lavishly appointed tub capable of fitting several people. The shower was a gently cascading waterfall, and the tub had several built in cushioned seats.

Harry turned around and spotted her. He blushed for a moment then his expression turned sly. "Hermione, unless you’re looking to add yourself to the list of Gryffindor girls who’ve seen the Bloody-Boy-Who-Lived in all his naked glory, I’ll bid you a good night."

Hermione looked at him for a moment, testing his resolve. She was sure he was joking. She grinned at him and crossed her arms, sure that he wouldn’t dare. Besides, she was sure he had his boxers on underneath the robe.

Seeing that she was calling his hand, he leaned his cane against the wall and carefully crossed the few feet between them. He looked into her eyes and, as he stepped across the final foot that separated them, he undid the knot that held his robe closed and let it slip from his shoulders as he pulled her into an embrace.

Hermione’s eyes widened for a moment, then she remembered he was probably wearing his boxers. He kissed her hard and she melted into his embrace. One of his hands slipped under her shirt in the back and she ran her hands down his bare back and slipped lower, expecting to find the waistband of his boxers.

She gasped, breaking the kiss when she realized there were no boxers to be found, only a wonderfully tight bum. He kissed her neck and she trembled as she felt his arousal pressing against her. Heat spread through her and she leaned into him. Sliding a hand between their bodies, she gripped him gently.   When he moaned, her knees nearly buckled.

His hand slid around under her shirt to cup her breast and gently knead her nipple. He shuddered against her as her hand tightened around him and measured his length.

"Hermione," he said raggedly into her hair, his breath coming in gasps.

Her heart raced as he panted against her. It was a feeling of power like no magic she had ever known. He growled and lifted her skirt high enough to get his hand under it. She was beyond caring as she spread her legs slightly, giving him better access. She could feel his erection pressing against her thigh and she moaned as his hands pressed against her.

His hands left her and he wrapped an arm around her while reaching out to support himself against the wall. It took her a moment to realize what was happening. Once she had, she led him over to the edge of the tub and helped him sit down. She could see the muscles in his leg cramping and his breath was coming in gasps as the muscles tightening and released in painful spasms.

"Hermione," he hissed through the pain. "I’m sorry… I…"

She knelt beside him and took his face in her hands. "Hush. You didn’t do anything I didn’t want to you to do. Besides, once we get your leg rested properly, I expect you to finish what we started tonight."

"I’m sure you’ll find us a book or two on the subject so we know what we’re doing," he said with a smile.

Hermione laughed. "That’s actually a good idea."

"Well, you got to see the Boy-Who-Lived in all his bloody naked glory. And I’ll have you know, I have no intention of letting anyone else see me like this."

He pulled her into his arms again and kissed her. When he finally released her, she rocked back on her knees, her eyes closed. He chuckled and started to get up to climb into the tub.

"Harry, promise me one thing."

"What’s that?"

"When you’re ready to get out of the tub, make sure Dobby is here, just to be safe. Alright?"

Nodding, he slipped into the water with a sigh of relief. "Merlin, getting to sleep tonight is not going to be easy."

Hermione grinned impishly. "At least you’ll be alone to take care of your problem. I’ve got to share my room with Ginny."

Laughing, the two bid each other a good night.

Grimmauld Place, early morning…

The deck of the sailing ship heaved in the heavy seas and the waves crashed over the bow, soaking Harry in a frigid spray of cold water.

Harry bolted from the bed dripping wet and shivering from the drenching of cold water. He turned steely eyes on Remus and Tonks who were busy laughing themselves silly.

"What the bloody hell was that for, Moony?" he exclaimed as he stalked the older man.

Remus took one look at Harry and realized he might have gone too far. Pushing a parchment into Harry’s wet hands, he bolted for the door shouting, "Mischief Managed!"

Shaking his head and vowing revenge against the aging Marauder, Harry glanced at the parchment. Stunned, he slid down to the floor reading and rereading the document.

Hermione found him a few minutes later, soaked to the bone, still wearing nothing more than his boxers, and grinning manically. She poked her head through the door and took in the scene.

"Are you and Remus playing again?" she asked with a grin.

Harry waved her in, brandishing the parchment as if it was a holy object.

"LOOK! LOOK!" he shouted, waving the parchment at her.

She took the parchment while Harry rushed around getting dressed. He was so excited, he never even took note of the fact that he peeled out of the soaking wet boxers and changed into dry ones in front of her. Hermione, on the other hand noticed it, burned it into her memory, storing it away as one of her precious memories.

Glancing back down at the parchment, phrases like, ‘The Ministry deeply regrets’, ‘unfounded accusations and unjust imprisonment’ and ‘cleared of all charges’ caught her attention. Her eyes grew moist as she realized exactly what she was reading.

She squeaked in surprise as she was lifted off the floor from behind. Harry literally spun her in the air and caught her so that she was facing him and brought her into a passionate embrace.

She laughed as he held her, her feet still hovering a few inches off the ground. He gently lowered her down and hugged her again before grabbing her hand and pulling her towards the door of the bedroom. Hermione, while very happy, was glad that Harry had taken the time to finish dressing.

Authors Notes:

Yes, once again it’s time for the dreaded authors notes. This is the point where we make lame excuses and poke fun at our readers who are trying to poke us with their reviews. So listen up people. These points are important! Well… not really, but it sounded good.

First off. This chapter covers a whopping 2-3 days time frame. It starts just after the meeting on Boxing Day and ends a few days later. Talk about advancing the story eh?

Next Item. There will be no animagus activity in this stories. It’s old, it’s cliché, and it’s been beaten to death. Let’s give the corpse a rousing toast and bury it for all time.

And then we have questions concerning the other Celtic myths. No, we will not be introducing the Sidhe, little people or other Celtic myths to the story line. It’s quite convoluted as it is, thank you very much.

Charlie Weasely is in Romania tending dragons, exactly where canon as of book five put him.

For those that have lived in a box for the past twenty years, the movie quote was from Ghostbusters. Rent it, see it, it’s a classic.

We thank all of the people who’ve pointed out that they believe we’re interpreting the prophecy differently than they would. That’s nice. Now go write your own story using your interpretation. This is our story and we’ll do what we want with the prophecy. Nana nana boo boo!

Personal message to DebTheSnapeFanNow. Snape is not going to be redeemed in either this book or the sequel.   For a redeemed Snape, read our other two stories.

For the record, yes we know anonymous reviews are disabled. You can only delete a review that is signed and we had some really obscene and nasty reviews with Dumbledore’s army, so we disabled anonymous reviewing.

Again we’ll state this is AU. Yes, HBP makes a case for Ron/Hermione and Harry with someone, probably either the squid or Hedwig. My wife liked HBP (Alyx here…I did like HBP, but not as much as her other books. It felt rushed and awkward to me), I got so disgusted with it I stopped reading it after chapter 3. In my mind, it doesn’t exist. End of story and it’s the last time I’ll mention it. (Alyx here again…I’ll keep working on him and eventually get him to read the book.   Whenever HBP questions/comments/discussions crop up, I keep telling him he has to read the book before he can take part.   Nothing like a bit of persuasion-through-annoyance!) (Bob back again. FINE! I’ll read it when I see you finish Stephen King’s ‘The Stand’, you know, that book you said you can’t read because it never ends even though you love the movie? I tried reading HBP and tossed it as junk.)

Yes it does look like Arthur might be trying to mend his fences with Harry. You’ll find out more about it in the next chapter.

Pet Peeves:

Authors that refuse to stick with one story. Ever had this happen to you? You find a wonderfully written story, great plot, and few errors. But it’s incomplete. So you trip over to look at the author’s profile and discover the author has about four hundred stories, all in various stages of being worked on.

Some of the best stories I’ve ever seen are incomplete because the author has spread his or her talent out across so many stories that it’s impossible for him (or her) to finish one, story let alone twenty of them.

We do one story and one story only at a time. Sunset is hard enough to do without starting another story and slowing Sunset down. Look at Abraxan or Old Crow, both concentrate on one story at a time. Melindaleo did the same thing from what I could see. One story at a time.

For all of you talented authors out there, please, finish your story before moving on to the next.   We understand the attack of the Rabid Plot Bunny From Hell, but write the idea down, finish your current story, then move on to the next, we beg you!

That’s it, everyone.   We hope you enjoyed the chapter!

Bob and Alyx

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