Author's Note: It looks like I miscalculated the length of this story. This is the last chapter of Ties that Bind. I know this book was shorter than my other ones, but that was mostly because this was book was a transitional book. It doesn't necessarily have much to do with the main plot. It's mainly here to add in more subplots that will be expanded upon later. Ties that Bind is also my most original fanfiction, which is kinda paradoxical, but bear with me for a moment. I'm pretty sure everyone has noticed how this book didn't follow the cannon storyline at all. Writing something that had to be both original and accurate to the cannon was more difficult than I thought it would be. Anyway, please enjoy the last chapter of Harry Potter and the Ties that Bind.

Chapter 23

Harry Versus Tom

The world around Harry was no longer what it had been. There was no ground, yet somehow he was standing. There were no walls, yet Harry still felt confined. The sky overhead was nothing but a dull, uniform gray that extended far beyond his line of sight. This place was not the prison that he'd been locked up in.

This is…

"This is your mind," a voice said to him.

Harry turned. Walking—no, striding toward him with a confident gait was Tom Riddle, the man who had kidnapped him. He looked different, young but old, handsome but ugly. His skin had become more white than when Harry had confronted his diary self. Likewise, his eyes were not brown but yellow. His fingers, which Harry could see peeking from his robes, were long and spindly, like a skeletons.

Tom Riddle continued. "To be more exact, this is the space that I have created between your mind and mine. I suppose you could call it a link where our minds have melded together."

Harry frowned. He had not realized there was a spell that could accomplish such a thing. This must have been one of the more esoteric rituals, something that only a few people in the entire world knew of. It could have even been an original spell.

His frown deepened the longer he stared at Tom. There was something not right here. Harry felt on edge. His scalp was prickling, the hairs on his arms were standing on end, and his mind was blaring sirens to warn him of danger. All of the signs directed him toward one conclusion.

Is it just me, or is he more powerful than before?

"I am indeed more powerful," Tom Riddle said. His mouth didn't move, but Harry heard him all the same. "And it's all thanks to you. Who knew there'd be a piece of me locked away inside of your mind. Well, at least now I know why the killing curse failed. I won't make that mistake again."

Harry had no idea what this man was talking about. A piece of himself? What did that mean? Regardless of what he did and didn't know, Harry knew one thing for sure. Whatever was going on here, it was clear that this, right now, was the point where Tom Riddle was going to try and take over his body.

I'm not going to let that happen.

Tom Riddle smirked. "You don't have a choice."

There was no prelude to their battle. Tom's wand flashed and a streak of red lightning erupted from the tip like a bolt of lightning arcing across the night sky. Harry threw himself out of the way, grimacing as he was jolted by the attack. If he could feel Tom's spell even though he had dodged, that meant this man had a lot more power than most. He couldn't afford to be hit directly.

Two wands appeared in Harry's hands, exact replicas of the ones he had in the real world. It seemed that whatever he wanted to have happen here could happen. This was his mind, or perhaps the link between his mind and Tom's. That meant they could change the rules to suit their needs. In this battle, it would come down to skill, power, and will.

Harry jabbed his wand forward. Flames burst from the tip, a roaring cone of fire that took the shape of an eastern dragon. The monster roared as it charged forward. It sadly didn't get very far, though, as a smirking Tom waved his wand and the flames suddenly reversed course, shifting from bright yellow to dark crimson.

There was no time to dodge.

Gritting his teeth as he thrust out his wand, Harry created a silvery barrier that the dragon slammed into. The shock wave from the attack could be felt even through his shield. Harry fell to a knee as cracks spread along the luminescent dome protecting him.

With his lips twisting into a snarl, Harry raised his mother's wand and gave it a wave. Water blasted from the tip. It struck the shield, and then moved phased through the shield, striking the fire dragon head on. The ball slammed through the dragon, which dispersed, flames shooting in all directions.

Like a cannon it burst out of the other side and sailed toward Tom, who raised a dark black shield that it slammed into. The barrier held. Then it morphed into a massive black snake that towered over Harry as though it was a titan from Greek mythology. It hissed at him and leapt forward, its fanged mouth spread wide to swallow him whole.

Harry flicked his wands at the ground. Two explosions launched him in the air, propelling him over the snake. He flicked his wands at the creature, sending a series of maxima bombarda spells into its magical hide. The snake was destroyed. He landed back on the ground and the battle began anew.

"I'm always impressed by your talent, Potter!" Tom cackled. "I knew after you defeated me that I had to have your body, and now I'm going to take it for myself!"

"There's no way I'll let you take my body," Harry retorted.

Tom laughed some more. "You don't have a choice in the matter."

The fight continued, with Harry and Tom throwing spells, countering spells, and dodging spells with equal fervor. Lightning flew from wands. Fire rained from the sky. Creatures of ancient myth were created from the ether to fight on either side. Harry did his best to counter Tom's attacks and retaliate with his own. Yet the longer the fight continued, the more Harry began to realize…

Tom was better than him. Tom knew more spells than him. Tom was more refreshed than him.

Harry had spent the past several days being starved, isolated, and beaten both physically and mentally. Before this battle had started, he was already approaching his limit. The longer the battle wore on, the more his mind deteriorated. His spells became slower, his power waned, and no matter how much harder he tried to push himself, he could not surpass the insurmountable wall that had been placed in front of him.

It felt like Harry was fighting while stuck in a pool of sludge. His limbs became heavy. His mind became fuzzy. His vision was darkening. The world spun. He could scarcely breath. Everything was getting blurry and he couldn't seem to lift his hands anymore.

Tom Riddle grinned at him.

"Good night, Harry."

There was a flash of red. The last thing Harry heard was Tom Riddle's laughter.


Daphne opened her eyes to find herself trapped within a glimmering silver barrier. Sitting up, she looked around, immediately spotting Astoria, Susan, Hannah, and Remus. They were within her in the barrier, awake and staring at something. Daphne turned her head.

That something was the battle happening between Harry and the aurors. Daphne had never seen anything like it. Harry wasn't using a wand, but spells were being launched from his hands. Red bolts of lightning, blue beams of water, shards of ice, every element flew from his hands and at the aurors, who raised their shields to defend themselves.

Harry was laughing all the while. "What's the matter?! Can you not defeat me?! Hahahaha! You're all weak! Pathetic! No wonder it was so easy for me to steal this body. You're all incompetent!"

"W-what's going on?" Daphne asked. "What happened to Harry?"

"I'm afraid that isn't Harry anymore," Headmaster Dumbledore said, shocking Daphne. She hadn't even noticed his presence, but now she realized that the reason she and the others were protected by a barrier was because the headmaster had created it. She could see the thin strands linking his wand to the dome surrounding her and another one several meters away.

"What do you mean that isn't Harry anymore?" asked Astoria.

"I mean that he's been possessed," Headmaster Dumbledore explained. "And it looks like a full possession to."

"What does that mean?" Susan asked, stroking something red. It was only now that Daphne noticed the unconscious Ginny Weasley with her head on Susan's lap.

"I means that Harry's mind and soul has been suppressed by whoever is possessing him," Remus said, his hands clenched. "A full possession is when someone sends their soul into another body and gains absolute control over it."

Daphne didn't understand the idea of possession, but she understood the gist of it. Someone else was currently inhabiting Harry's body, suppressing his mind and spirit in order to control his body, or something like that. The only thing she cared about was that Harry's body was being used by somebody else. That was unforgivable.

"Hahahaha! What's the matter? Are you having trouble hitting me?!" The usurper said with Harry's voice. He waved his hand, causing the ground in front of him to explode. It became a wave, which swept toward the aurors as if to bury them alive.

Madam Bones stood at the helm, waving her wand in a complicated pattern. Strange slivers of nearly invisible energy sliced through the air. They cut into the wave. The wave was split apart into several hundred slices and fell apart.

That was when Tonks jabbed her wand at the remains. The ground shifted and combined, growing bigger and bigger until it had become a massive golem. The golem raised its gargantuan hand and brought it down toward Harry. It didn't even get close to hitting him. Seconds after it began to bring its hand down, it caught fire. It wasn't just any fire either. This fire screamed and raged, hissed and spat like venomous serpents. Fiendfyre. The dark fire used primarily by wizards who've steeped themselves in the dark arts.

The golem disintegrated.

"Hahahaha!" The insane laughter of Harry's possessor echoed around the room. "This body is perfect! I've never felt so much power flowing through me before." The face of Harry darkened in ways that Daphne had never seen before. "There's even more power in this body than my original body when I was his age. Were it not so useful, I'd have killed this boy for his pertinence."

"You won't be doing any killing today, Tom," Headmaster Dumbledore said.

"Tom?" Madam Bones asked with a frown.

"Harry" laughed. "Ah, Dumbledore. I was wondering when you would recognize me. Was it the spells? It was, wasn't it? I bet you recognized them."

"It was hard not to," the headmaster replied mildly. "I've seen you use those spells many times during our numerous fights."

"Dumbledore, who is this?" asked Madam Bones.

The headmaster sighed. "That… is none other than the man you all know as Lord Voldemort."

It was like everyone in the room had been struck by lightning; those words were so shocking. Voldemort? He was the one who had possessed Harry? How? He shouldn't have been anywhere near Harry, unless…

"Ginny," Daphne mumbled.

"Excuse me?" asked Susan.

"He was possessing Ginny before Harry," Daphne explained. "That's how he slipped past Hogwarts defenses. He was probably buried deep inside of Ginny's mind, which is why it didn't activate any defenses. V-Voldemort must have been biding his time and waiting until Dumbledore was gone. I bet he even launched that attack on Hogsmeade knowing that Lucius Malfoy would somehow force Headmaster Dumbledore to leave Hogwarts."

While she had no evidence to support this, she was positive it was true. The ambush in the Shrieking Shack. The attack on Hogsmeade. The incident with the suits of armor attacking Harry. There was no one else who had the means or motive to do such things. Plus, he had been there this whole time, hiding within the body of an unsuspecting girl. No one would have imagined that Ginny was responsible for this.

"You mean all this time we've been hanging out with the dark lord?" Astoria wrinkled her nose. "That's gross."

Daphne didn't respond to her sister. Her eyes were locked on the battle that had begun anew. Voldemort in Harry's body had created a whip made of fiendfyre in his left hand. The other hand was casting everything from standard cutting curses to darker spells, a few of which Daphne recognized from her father's library.

Madam Bones and the other aurors did their best to fight against Voldemort. Several would defend against his attacks while the others would attack in turn. Perhaps it was due to her talent, but Madam Bones acted as both defender and attacker. She launched spells while creating barriers and even countering several of the spells thrown at her. Despite how well she was doing, how well they were defending against Voldemort, he was still pushing them back.

Several curses leapt from the wands of Tonks and Kingsley, who acted as their primary attackers. The spells never reached their target. Voldemort waved his—Harry's—hand, and the spells suddenly reversed course. They stopped when Charline and Ignius created shields, but then Voldemort waved his hands and those shields broke. Ignius and Charline's screams echoed across the room as the backlash sent them to their knees.

Laughing, Voldemort raised another hand. Several small spheres of crackling dark energy appeared above his head and were sent hurtling toward Charline and Ignius. Madame Bones stepped in front of them. She slashed her wand horizontally through the air. A massive gust erupted from the tip and slammed into the crackling spheres, forcing them to detonate.

Susan, Astoria, and Hannah screamed as a fierce wind erupted around their dome. Crackling black energy coruscated off the surface. The shields flickered as though it was about to break.

"I don't want to be here anymore!" Hannah screamed.

Daphne understood her. This was beyond them. Even part of her mind was telling her to flee… but she couldn't. Harry was suffering, his mind suppressed. She wanted to do something for him. She wanted to save him, even if she knew that there was nothing she could do.

"Do not worry," Headmaster Dumbledore said to them, grunting as though he was struggling against an unknown assailant. The magic threads attaching his wand to the shields wavered before being restored. "I'll not let any of you get hurt."

The magic dispersed soon, allowing Daphne a clear view of the battle. Charline and Ignius were back on their feet. Their movements were sluggish, though. Tonks and Kinglsey were compensating by switching to defense. Meanwhile, Madam Bones was a whirlwind fighting against the monster that had taken over Harry's body.

They were tiring. Their movements were slowing down. Shields were barely being raised in time to block spells, and each shield cracked and shattered, unleashing a powerful backlash that hurt the ones raising them. Shield breaker. It was a powerful curse used in dueling that was cast by overloading shield spells with magic that had been polarized using a theory Daphne knew little about. Each time it was used, the spell injured and zapped the strength of the person who'd cast a shield spell.

Only Madam Bones was in good enough shape to keep fighting strong. She barely used any shields, and when she did, it was to counter a spell and bring it down immediately after. The dark lord couldn't use shield breaker on her. That said, it didn't seem to matter since he was still pushing her back through other means.

"Headmaster?" Daphne started. "Why are you not fighting? If you were the one fighting against the dark lord, I'm sure you could beat him."

The headmaster's smile seemed unusually somber. "It is true that if I were to fight, I would win… but I'm afraid doing so might destroy Harry in the process." Daphne's eyes widened as the headmaster looked at the battle. "Harry's magic is powerful, and when combined with Tom's wide array of deadly spells, I would not be able to hold back while fighting."

So even the headmaster was incapable of doing anything to save Harry. That didn't bode well. Daphne glanced at the battle. Ignius and Tonks were both down, and they were being protected by Charline and Kingsley. Yet those two were taking a beating. Even Madam Bones was beginning to show her fatigue in her slowing movements and the cuts that were starting to litter her body as spells slipped past her defense.

"Isn't there anything we can do?" Daphne asked, clenching her hands. "At this rate… at this rate Harry will—"

"There is something that you can do," Headmaster Dumbledore said. "However, it's a dangerous endeavor. I don't know if it's worth the risk."

Daphne felt her determination harden. "What can I do? If there's something I can do, tell me and I'll do it."

Headmaster Dumbledore smiled, though it was filled with weariness. "Harry is still inside. Tom cannot separate Harry's soul from his body right now. That would require a ritual that takes far more time than he can afford to spend at the moment. I believe it's possible to bring Harry's mind to the surface. However, it's going to take something that only a few people in this world can give."

"What is that?" Daphne asked.

"Love." Daphne blinked. The headmaster smiled. "If you can show Harry how loved he is, how much you need him with you, I believe that he can push Tom out of his mind. At the very least, he should be able to suppress Tom so that I can seal him away."

"What do you need me to do?" Daphne asked.

"I need you to try anything you can think of to bring Harry back," the headmaster said. "It will have to be something drastic, though."

Daphne looked back at the battle, at the cackling Harry as he tossed fireballs at the aurors, who were down to just Madam Bones. She was straining, struggling. It wouldn't be long before she lost.


She looked back at the headmaster. "I'll do it."

"And I'll help," Sirius's voice said. Daphne blinked. She hadn't realized it, but Sirius was sitting in the other dome alongside Blaize, Neville, Terry, Trace, and Luna. "That's my godson over there. You can't expect me not to help out, especially since you're the reason I'm stuck behind this damn barrier."

The headmaster smiled. "I apologize for that, but had I let you out, you would've tried to join the fight. The aurors are a well-oiled machine that utilizes teamwork. Your participation would have ruined that."

"Whatever. Just let me help Harry now and we'll call it even."

"I'll be helping as well," Remus said as he stood up and drew his wand. He was bleeding from a cut on his forehead, but he appeared ready.

"Very well." Headmaster Dumbledore nodded. "Now, it's unfortunate, but when I drop these barriers, I would like the rest of you to run. I cannot protect more than one person here. Can all of you do that?"

"I… I want to help too," Susan mumbled.

Headmaster Dumbledore shook his head. "I'm sorry, but I can only protect one, and I believe Daphne is most suited towards this task right now. You are currently lacking in determination and resolve when it comes to your feelings for Harry, whereas Daphne already has her heart set."

Susan looked away. Daphne had spoken with her many times about Harry. She wanted Susan's help in securing a future. Even if Susan couldn't be Harry's first wife thanks to her status as the heiress to the Ancient and Most Noble House of Bones, she could take the position of second wife. If Susan did that and Daphne became Harry's mistress, it meant she would have three of the Founding Five Houses behind her back. She and Astoria would be protected from their father's machinations.

"It looks like we're nearly out of time," the headmaster said. Indeed, it looked like Madam Bones was on her last leg. The dark lord was just toying with her now. "I'm going to drop the barrier. When I do, all of you except Daphne will run out of here and get as far away from possible. Sirius, Remus, I'll let you two stay, but I won't be able to protect either of you."

"Don't worry about that," Sirius said with a grin, his wand already in hand. "I can protect myself just fine."

"I'll keep Sirius from getting injured," Remus said.

Headmaster Dumbledore nodded. "Susan, take Ginny with you."

Susan hesitated for a second, but she soon nodded. "Okay…"

"It's time! I'm dropping the barrier!"

Daphne barely had a moment to think about her situation. The barrier dropped a mere second after Dumbledore spoke, and from that moment on, everything became chaos. Her friends were running one way. Sirius and Remus were leaping into the fray against the Voldemort possessed Harry, and she was following behind Dumbledore as he protected her from errant spells that came their way.

"Snap out of it, Harry!" Sirius said as he threw a slew of spells that Daphne couldn't name at Tom. They were all swatted away like bugs.

Tom Riddle laughed. "Harry's not coming back, you fool! This body is mine now!"

"Like hell it is!" Sirius snarled as he waved his wand at the broken down wall. The wall changed into numerous vines that tried to grab Tom. "Get out of my godson!"

"Harry!" Remus shouted. "You're stronger than this! Don't let him control you!"

"Fools! Harry's gone!"

His cackle was like a prelude to destruction. Tom swept his hand out, wiping the vines out like they were nothing. The explosion that followed slammed into Daphne, who screamed as the headmaster shielded her. Her scream must have reached them because Tom Riddle paused. For just a second, Daphne thought she saw the yellow eyes of Tom change back into Harry's emerald color.

"Harry!" Daphne called out to him. "Harry! It's me! Come back to me! Don't let… Don't let Voldemort control you!"

Tom smirked. "Little girl. Harry is gone. I own this body now."

"You're lying!" Daphne snapped. "Harry is in there! Harry! Don't let that has been control you!"

Tom twitched. "H-has been?"

"Headmaster," Daphne said. "I need you to get me closer."

"That will be difficult, but I'll do my best," Headmaster Dumbledore said. "Sirius! Remus!"

"I'm already ahead of you!" Sirius said as he cast several dozen spells in just as many seconds. He strung them together so quickly that Daphne had trouble counting them.

Tom countered the spells with ease, but there were so many that he couldn't attack. Sirius was like a storm. He created a never ending stream of spell, chaining them together in a ceaseless pattern. Daphne had once heard from her father that Sirius had been the most skilled duelist at Hogwarts. She could see what made him so talented.

It didn't help that Remus was also attacking. Unlike Sirius, who chained spells together like it was as natural as breathing, Remus used transfiguration. Rubble turned into snakes that tried to bite Tom's legs; spears were conjured and sent at Tom like thrown javelins; lions, birds, antelopes… everything within the room became an animal that tried to attack Tom Riddle.

While Sirius and Remus launched an offensive attack that forced Tom on the defense, Headmaster Dumbledore created large walls that rose from the ground and boxed Tom in. The man in Harry's body would move one way as if to dodge, and then he'd find himself hitting a wall. It added a new dynamic that the man couldn't seem to accommodate for.

"Now is your chance, Ms. Greengrass," Headmaster Dumbledore said.


It wasn't until the words were spoken that Daphne realized what he meant. The obstructions, large walls that the headmaster had raised from the ground, created a path. If she used them as cover, she could reach Harry.

She took a deep breath. This was it.

"I'm on it!"

Daphne rushed out from behind the headmaster. She made it to one of the walls and pressed her back against it. Headmaster Dumbledore was really letting loose now. She couldn't see what he was creating, but she could see his wand moving more furiously than before. Another deep breath. Daphne rushed out from behind the cover and made it to another wall. She peered around the corner. Tom hadn't noticed her. His back was turned. He was being forced to focus solely on defense as he fought against three wizards, one of which was the greatest wizard in recent history.

This was her chance.

I can do this.

She stepped out from behind the wall and lunged.

"What?!" Tom shouted as Daphne slammed into his back and wrapped her arms around his stomach.

"Come back to me, Harry! Come back! I need you!" Daphne screamed.

Tom laughed, a cackling and mad laugh that bubbled from his throat like miasma from a volcano. "Stupid girl! I told you this body is—" he paused, his body jerking. "N-no… you… I got rid of you! This is my body now! It's mine!"

"No!" another voice shouted. It was the same as before, but Daphne recognized the tone. That was definitely Harry's voice! "This body isn't yours! It's mine! I won't let you… have it!"

"Fight him, Harry!" Daphne said.

"Da-Daphne…" Harry turned his head to look at her. "I-I don't think I can hold him for very long… you have to get away…"

"I'm not going anywhere!"

"But you'll be in—"

"Who cares if I'm in danger!" Daphne interrupted. "You're more important to me than my own life! I-I need you here with me! I want you here with me! A life without you isn't a life I want!"


Harry clenched his teeth. He flailed in her arms, but Daphne kept her grip tight.

"You'll bother this boy no more, Tom!" Headmaster Dumbledore shouted as he chanted several verses in a language that Daphne didn't know, and then pointed his wand at Harry.

A loud scream erupted from Harry's mouth. His back arched. His body spasmed. He must have been experiencing intense pain. Daphne didn't know what to do, so she did the only thing she could think of; she held onto him and refused to let go. Light engulfed his body. It was brief but brilliant. Then the light disappeared and, after a second of silence, Harry slumped backwards like dead weight.

"W-whoa!" Daphne cried as she was taken down with him. She somehow managed to land in a sitting position. Harry ended up on her lap. "Harry? Harry! Please say something!"

Harry groaned as he blinked several times. Dull emerald eyes looked at the world around them before landing on her. Maybe it was just her imagination, but those eyes seemed to get more vibrant with her in them.

"Daph…" he mumbled. "Are you okay?"

Daphne felt like crying. "You're the one who's been possessed and you're asking me if I'm okay? What kind of idiot are you?"

"I rather resent being called an idiot," he said. He closed his eyes. "I'm sorry, Daphne. I let myself get kidnapped and forced you into a dangerous situation. If only I had been more careful, then—"

"If you blame yourself for something like this, I'm never going to forgive you," Daphne said, holding him closer. "Forget about what happened. This isn't your fault. None of us could have seen this coming, so you shouldn't blame yourself." Harry looked away, but Daphne grabbed his face and forced him to keep his eyes on her. "And if you can't do something by yourself, then you can rely on me."


She gulped before giving him a determined look. "I… I love you, Harry. I know we're young, but I don't want to use that as an excuse to not admit how I feel. I love you, and I'm not going to let you go…"

Harry opened his mouth, but he never got the chance to speak, because Daphne chose that moment to surge forward and hamper his lips… with her own.

Naturally, she had forgotten all about Sirius, Remus, and Headmaster Dumbledore—until Sirius wolf whistled at them.

"Oh, my. I hadn't realized your relationship had progressed that far," he said. "Should I get you two a room?"

Daphne jerked her face away from Harry and tossed Sirius a blushing glare, which he merely laughed off.

Headmaster Dumbledore smiled. "I believe we should leave now. There are many injured, and it would be best if we get all of them, including Mr. Potter, to the Saint Mungos."

Daphne wanted to spend more time with Harry, but, well, she wanted to spend that time with him alone. Needless to say, she wasn't going to argue.

Rousing the aurors was difficult. All of them had taken a huge beating, even Madam Bones was not without injury. She was bleeding from a head wound, and her left arm was blackened and the skin cracked.

It turned out they had not been able to fight at full strength because, much like the headmaster, none of them wanted to harm Harry's body. This had left them open to retaliation. Tom Riddle had taken advantage of that fact to beat the aurors into submission.

"I feel like someone cracked my head open with a bat," Tonks complained as she leaned on Kingsley for support.

"Ah." Harry blushed. He was leaning on Daphne. "I'm not sorry about that."

Tonks waved him off. "Nah. It's not your fault. No worries."

"I still can't believe what happened here," Charline muttered.

"No one is going to believe me when I tell them about this," Ignius agreed.

"No one will be telling anyone about what transpired here," Madam Bones scolded them both. "All of you are going to be bound by a magical oath to never speak of this moment to anyone who wasn't here. I'll make up an excuse about what happened for the Minister and the Daily Prophet. Are we clear?"

"Ma'am!" the aurors all said in unison.


The group left Slytherin's manor after that. Headmaster Dumbledore ended up performing a mass apparation once they reached the village of Elabidea. The magic required to apparate so many people drained even the headmaster, forcing him to retreat to Hogwarts after they had arrived.

Harry Potter was dropped off at Saint Mungos along with the aurors. While Madam Bones and the others were allowed to leave a day after being received, Harry was asked to stay for an extra week. Daphne had not seen Harry since he was admitted to Saint Mungos. This also meant she hadn't been able to talk to him about her kiss, which had been so rudely interrupted by Sirius.

The Daily Prophet had apparently gotten wind that Harry had been rescued, and they were currently heaping praises on the auror department, Madam Bones, and Headmaster Dumbledore. Daphne had already read several articles that stated how quick they were to respond. It seemed like whatever plan Lucius had been concocting had backfired. That said, Daphne still didn't know what Lucius had been planning, or if he'd even had a plan.

Daphne and the others had been left out of the spotlight. No one knew that they had gone to rescue Harry, and it seemed as though Madam Bones wished to keep it that way. Personally speaking, Daphne was grateful. She had no desire to be in the spotlight.

Because Defense Against the Dark Arts was without a professor, Headmaster Dumbledore had temporarily taken the position. He was… an amazing teacher. The headmaster spoke in a way that was easy to understand and put everyone at ease. He not only answered any questions asked, but he would show them practical examples—provided such examples could be given. In some ways, his instructions reminded Daphne a lot of Harry. They had similar teaching methods.

While the school had returned to a semblance of normality, Daphne and the others still chose to use the Chamber of Secrets as their meeting place, more often than not.

Daphne was sitting on the couch. There was a sheet of parchment and a quill in front of her, but she didn't touch it. All of her homework was done anyway, so all she'd be doing was revisions, and she really didn't feel like doing that at the moment.

"Daph, would you mind reading my report to make sure everything is correct?" Astoria asked.

Withholding a sigh for her sister's sake, she offered the girl a smile. "Sure."

Astoria grinned as she handed the report over. "Sorry about this. I normally get Harry to look over it, but he's not here right now."

"Don't remind me."

Daphne let her eyes scan over the report, which was on the many uses of flobberworm mucus in potions. It looked like Astoria's information was accurate enough. However, there was a lot of information that was missing.

"Flobberworms aren't just used in the Wiggenweld Potion," Daphne said after she finished reading it. "Because it's used as a thickener, they can be added to any potion that requires a thicker viscosity."

"What are they?" asked Astoria.

"That is something you should find out on your own."

The pout on Astoria's face was adorable. The words she said were: "Harry would have told me what they are."

"Harry isn't here," Daphne replied. "You're also lying. Harry prefers leading you to the answer instead of just giving it to you. Nice try, though."


Astoria clicked her tongue as she stood up, snatched her papers, and waltzed over to the table where everyone else was sitting. Daphne leaned back in her seat. Closing her eyes, she rubbed her eyelids, which felt sore because she'd stayed up way too late last night. She blamed Tracey for wanting to spend all night gossiping.

Daphne's body shifted when an added weight caused depressions to form in the couch. Opening her eyes, she glanced at Susan, who had taken a seat on her right. The girl didn't look at her. Twiddling her thumbs, Susan's red face and shifting eyes became her most prominent features.

"Something wrong, Sue?"

Susan shook her head. "I wanted to talk to you… about Harry."

Perking up, Daphne focused more on her friend. "Have you made a decision on what you want out of your relationship with him?"

"I have," Susan said. "I've been thinking about it a lot, and I've realized that while I do love Harry… I don't want to be in polygamous relationship. I don't want that kind of relationship. If I was going to marry someone, I'd want to be the most important person in their life instead of just one of several."

A sharp jolt hit Daphne in the chest. "I-I see."

"I'm sorry." Susan looked away. "I know that's not what you wanted to hear."

Breathing out a deep sigh, Daphne gave her friend a weary smile. "It's okay… I understand that most people wouldn't want to be in that kind of relationship."

Daphne had known for years that unless she was married to the second or third son of a noble house, someone who couldn't become the head, then becoming a mistress was the most she could ask for. She'd grown up knowing this, expecting it even. On the other hand, Susan's life had been normal; the girl had been raised by a loving aunt, and there had been no expectations placed on her.

There was also the politics to think about. Susan Bones was the heiress to a Founding House. If she became a second wife, it would be like saying that the Bones were less important than the Potters. Of course, Susan wasn't the type to care about politics, but Daphne could at least see the logic behind any potential political reasons that her friend might have for not accepting her proposal.

"If you don't mind me asking, why are you willing to be in a relationship like that?" asked Susan.

Daphne debated on what she should tell Susan. Since the girl was not going to go along with her plans, she didn't know if she should entrust her reasons and objective to her friend. At the same time, even if she couldn't gain Susan as a sister through bonds of marriage, perhaps she could at least get herself an ally to help her achieve what she wanted.

"There's a lot of reasons, but if I had to name one, I'd say it's for the sake of my goals," Daphne admitted.

"Your goals?" Susan inquired.

"I want to protect Astoria from our father." Daphne glanced at her sister, who was excitedly talking to Luna, using wild gesticulations to explain whatever point she was trying to make. "In order to protect my sister, I need to gather as many allies as possible—strong allies who can stand up to my father should the time ever come."

"There's no greater alliance than one of marriage," Susan murmured.

"Exactly." Daphne smiled at her. "If Harry had multiple wives from powerful families, they could form an alliance that not even Father can go up against. As the heiress to the Founding House of Bones, your power combined with Harry's would've been enough to keep even him from trying anything. Of course, there's also the fact that I do want to continue the family name. Even if I don't like my father anymore, the Greengrass name originally belonged to my mother. Father married into the family. I suppose you could say that this name is the only tie I have left to my mother, and I would like to keep it."

Susan's face scrunched up as she struggled to follow Daphne's line of thinking. "So, in order to keep your family name, you're willing to become Harry's mistress?"

"Yes," Daphne replied. "If I became his wife, I would take his name and our children would also take his name. If I became his second wife, my second child would be able to take the Greengrass name, but I would still be Potter. By becoming his mistress, I can retain the Greengrass name, and my first born child can also inherit the family name and responsibilities therein."

Having thought about her situation long and hard, this was the conclusion that Daphne had come to, the only outcome that would allow her to gain everything she wanted. Her sister would be protected and wouldn't married off to some rich noble who would abuse her, Daphne would have allies who could help defend their freedom, and even if she wasn't his wife, she would still get to be with Harry, the boy she loved.

Daphne didn't care about what her title was. She didn't have the sort of feminine pride that would keep her from letting another woman marry the man she loved. Her father had beaten those out of her. However, even if she lacked the sort of pride that Susan had, Daphne still possessed her ambition—and she would do whatever was necessary to achieve her goal.

"I suppose I can understand where you're coming from," Susan said at last. "And I respect your decision, even if I don't agree with it."

"Thank you."

"You're welcome."

"So…" Daphne said after a moment of silence. "Does this make us rivals?"

Susan tilted her head, appearing to think about it for a moment. "No," she said, shaking her head. "I think… I don't think I'm really suited to being by Harry's side. I love him, but… I think he's a bit too much for me to handle." Daphne felt a jolt race down her spine. She was shocked. She became more surprised when Susan smiled at her. "I think if anyone here is suited to being with Harry, it's you. That's why… I'll do whatever I can to support you."

Daphne's eyes stung, and it was with great astonishment that she realized she was crying. She did her best to wipe her eyes before the tears could fall.

"Thanks, Sue."

Susan smiled at her. "You're welcome," she said simply.


"You have to be the single most troublesome patient I have ever met, Harry. You really are. I don't think I've ever met someone who brought me so many problems."

Harry listened to Ms. Smith, his mediwitch, while sitting on the hospital bed. He'd been confined to that bed for a whole day before his mediwitch had allowed him to move around. Of course, he wasn't allowed to leave Saint Mungos, but at least they had let him wander the hospital. He'd gone to see the Longbottoms and spoke with them a few times, though they couldn't converse, and he had even visited Ginny.

The girl was staying in the hospital for the rest of the term. The staff at Saint Mungos wanted to have her remain with them in case there were repercussions for being under a long-term possession. Despite that, Ginny seemed to have been in decent cheer. It might have helped that Harry told her that he didn't blame her for what happened.

During his stay at Saint Mungos, Ms. Smith had periodically cast numerous scans on his body, including several lunar based rituals. It was actually the rituals that were the reason for his prolonged stay. Each one scanned his body in a different way than the others. Ms. Smith had told him that they were designed to detect foreign magic, dark magic, and various other types of spellwork that had been done to him. She had just finished her last scan today.

"I know, and I do apologize for that," Harry said. "So, what's the verdict?"

"Well, you definitely have a piece of the dark lord's soul locked in your scar," Ms. Smith stated matter of factly. "I still can't believe it, but it looks like the fragment can't be removed without killing you, so we have no choice but to leave it there. At least Headmaster Dumbledore did a good job of sealing it away."

Harry grimaced at the reminder that he had a piece of Voldemort inside of his head. It wasn't a pleasant thought, but he figured that things could have been worse. Thanks to Headmaster Dumbledore, the soul fragment was sealed inside of a prison that it couldn't break out of. Unlocking the prison required a "key", and that key was with the headmaster himself. So long as Harry's mentality remained stable, the seal wouldn't break.

"Since all of the testing is done, does that mean I'll be able to leave?" asked Harry

"Yes," Ms. Smith said. "Someone is coming to pick you up some time today. Once they're here, you are free to leave."

Which meant Harry could do nothing but wait. Since that was the case, Harry focused on cataloging the events that had transpired and thinking about what he should do in case something like this happened again.

Harry had been foolish; it had been his complacency that had allowed him to be kidnapped. Had he been more attentive, it wouldn't have happened. He also shouldn't have let Ginny Weasley get so close to him. It should have been obvious that she was the source of the trouble. She'd been possessed last year, so logically, she should have been one of his prime suspects. The fact that the thought hadn't even crossed his mind was shameful.

At least I don't need to worry about Ginny being possessed again.

Ms. Smith had scanned Ginny herself and pronounced the girl clean. Harry trusted her judgement. If she said that there was no longer a dark lord inhabiting the girl's body, then it meant there was no dark lord.

A wandering medi-nurse eventually walked into his room. "Mr. Potter, your godfather is here to pick you up."

Harry left the hospital room and walked into the waiting room. Sirius was there, in the center of the room, wearing his usual grin.

"Harry!" he cheered, pulling him into a strong hug. "Glad to see you're fully mended!"

Awkwardly returning the hug, Harry said, "I don't know if I'd call myself mended, but I'm not a cripple, at least."

"Gotta be thankful for the little things." Sirius stepped back and grinned him. "Anyway, I'm here to escort you to Hogwarts."

"Then what are we waiting for?" Harry asked.

He walked beside Sirius as they exited Saint Mungos. Sirius then placed a hand on Harry's shoulder, and, with a soft crack, the two apparated away.


The end of the year involved exams as always. Harry wasn't worried about his results. Even though the last fourth of his school year had been hectic and filled with danger, he was positive that he had passed with flying colors. In fact, he wouldn't have been surprised if he was still at the top of his class.

Of more concern to Harry was his relationship with Daphne—specifically the kiss she had given him after saving him from being controlled by Tom Riddle aka Voldemort. He could have played the ignorant card. He could have tried to pretend that she'd just kissed him in the heat of the moment. That would have been the rational thing to do… but it wouldn't have been right.

Daphne's kiss had been a heartfelt expression of her feelings. Harry had known about them for a while now. He wasn't foolish enough to believe that the constant hand holding and closeness was because she had familial feelings for him. This girl wasn't Lisa Crawft. They didn't have the almost family-like connection.

He didn't know what to do, or even what he wanted to do. Two options lay before him, but he didn't know which one to pick, which choice was correct, or even what choice he wanted to be correct. His mind was a jumbled mass of confusion. Part of him wanted to accept Daphne, to respond to her feelings. Yet he couldn't tell if that part of him was genuine or just hormones.

This would be so much easier if puberty didn't exist.

The problem with going through puberty was that Harry still felt, well, horny a lot more than he'd have liked. His mind was still plagued by dreams of himself with Daphne, Susan, Lisa, or any number of females that his perfect memory could call up. That was the problem. His body was so overflowing with hormones that even Lisa Crawft, the girl he loved like a sister, had not been spared from his erotic dreams. How could he trust his heart when his body constantly wanted to do something lascivious to the girls around him?

To her credit, Daphne acted as if nothing had happened between them. He didn't know if she was pretending or if there was another reason. Even so, he was grateful. It gave him some space to think, and he had more than enough on his mind that needed thinking about.

Issues with Daphne and his own feelings aside, the last few days of school were pleasant. Harry spent most of his time relaxing with his friends. They would go out to the Black Lake and have picnics, or spend time in the Chamber of Secrets and play games.

Neville had become Harry's exercise and sparring partner. His fellow Gryffindor loved the weights, and since they were both keen on getting the most out of them, they had become each other's spotter. He also played chess with Blaize, Terry, and Lisa. It was wizard's chess. Harry still didn't understand the need for the pieces to destroy each other, but he supposed he wasn't meant to understand.

He'd also taken to broom racing with Tracey, who used every opportunity she could to make him race around the track with her. He always won. However, that only seemed to inspire her to try harder. Apparently, she wasn't a fan of losing when it came to anything that dealt with brooms.

Perhaps the most surprising person he interacted with was Susan. Before now he kept getting mixed signals from her. Sometimes it seemed like she wanted to be closer to him, and other times he felt like she was avoiding him. After he returned from the hospital, she had greeted him with a smile and spoke with an easiness that had not been present before. Gone was the awkward feelings between them. She spoke to him freely and without hesitation. He liked this change.

During the last day of school, Harry headed down to the Great Hall with Neville and Astoria and met up with the others. Most of the conversation taking place around them was about the finals. It was nice to see that Hogwarts had returned to a sense of normality, though some things would never be the same again.

Several students had been pulled out of Hogwarts. There were a number of concerned parents who no longer wanted their child to learn from this institute, and the problem was that no one could blame them. With all that had happened, it only made sense. Of course, only ten students had been pulled, but in a school that only boasted about 200 people, ten was still a lot.

As always, the headmaster gave a closing speech after everyone had their fill of food.

"The end of the year is usually a time of joy. Summer means being able to relax and unlearn all of the things you've learned. Sadly, even though this year should have been a time where students are anticipating the fun they can have over the summer holidays, this year has been marked by tragedy."

A somberness entered the Great Hall. Some students stifled sobs. They were probably friends of the people who'd been killed.

"We will never forget the people who were killed during the unmitigated attack on Hogsmeade. Such tragedies always leave their scars, and even if time heals all wounds, they cannot erase them. I wanted to take this time to apologize for not being able to stop these events from taking place. Had I been more diligent, perhaps those students who lost their lives would still be with us."

His words caused a stirring among the students; their shock was nearly palpable. It was not often that the headmaster apologized for failing. Even Harry felt a moment of surprise.

"I plan to become more diligent in the future," Headmaster Dumbledore continued. "To that end, I plan on quitting my role as the Supreme Mugwump for the International Confederation of Wizards."

Shocked gasped echoed across the Great Hall. Even the teachers were staring at the headmaster like he'd suddenly transformed into a cerberus.

"I believe I have been stretching myself too thin," the headmaster admitted. "I've tried for so long to help maintain peace within our world that I've taken everything onto my shoulders. It was a mistake. One man cannot do everything alone. This past year has proven that, and so, this summer, I'll be handing in my resignation. I hope that in doing so, I can focus on becoming a better headmaster to all of you."

Headmaster Dumbledore's speech ended on that shocking note. The stunned students were lead out of the Great Hall, boarded their carriages, and were taken down to where the Hogwarts Express was waiting.

Harry boarded the train with the others, locating an empty compartment that all eleven of them piled into. It didn't come as a surprise when he found himself right next to Daphne. While this hadn't bothered him much before, he was now distinctly aware of her presence. It was all because of that kiss.

"What did you all think of the headmaster's speech?" asked Tracey as the train started moving.

"You mean his statement about resigning as the Supreme Mugwump?" Hannah asked.

"Yeah, that."

"It's a bold move," Blaize said. "But, when you really think about it, his decision makes sense."

"How so?" asked Lisa.

"Because the headmaster is getting up there in years," Daphne replied. "When he was younger, he could juggle three positions at once, but it's clear to those who've been watching him that he's not what he used to be. I think the headmaster is beginning to realize that as well."

"Age is an enemy that not even powerful wizards can battle," Harry said. Then he paused. "Well, unless they make a Philosopher's Stone, but I doubt many people know how to create one of those."

Everyone accepted that explanation, and the conversation soon changed from Headmaster Dumbledore to what everyone was doing for the summer. Of course, in bringing up the summer holidays, they couldn't avoid the topic of the Quidditch World Cup.

"The Quidditch World Cup hasn't been held in Britain for five years," Tracey was saying. "It's going to be amazing! I bet you anything that the teams playing are going to be Bulgaria and Ireland."

Terry sighed. "For once I agree with you. Bulgaria has Victor Krum, and Ireland is known for having the greatest offense this season. Too bad I won't be able to see it."

"Why not?" asked Harry.

"Because tickets are expensive," Terry said, shrugging. "A single ticket cost more galleons than most people can fork over—unless they're willing to accept gutter seats, but no one wants those."

"I could get us tickets," Harry said.

"What? Really?" asked Tracey, leaning forward and pinning him with a stare.

Harry shrugged. "Sure. We could even make this a group thing. What do you guys think?"

"I've got no complaints," Terry said.

"I'm not a big Quidditch fan, but going somewhere together seems like it could be fun," Hannah admitted.

After everyone had given their assent about planning to visit the Quidditch World Cup, everyone broke off into their own conversations. Only Harry didn't join in. Not that this was anything knew. Everyone had grown used to him occasionally growing quiet. He did it so often that they sometimes teased him about it.

Yet Harry's reason for being quiet was not because he was contemplating something deep. He simply couldn't think of anything to say. Daphne was sitting next to him. They were so close he could feel her thighs touching him through their robes. Her scent, a mixture of vanilla and something else, tickled his nose.

I still don't know what to do.

Harry had spent years actively avoiding romance whenever he could. Lisa talked about it so much in their youth that he'd grown absolutely sick of any mention of romantic things like dates and kisses. It had gotten even worse after puberty. His body began to conflict with his mind. Desire and rationality clashed in a never ending battle. Having avoided even the concept of romance for so long, Harry didn't know what to do now that some part of him craved it—or at least the physical aspect of romance.

This is too much.

Magic flowed through his body. He'd been born with strong magic. Perhaps it was because of that, but Harry's hormones often felt like they were raging out of control. While he'd gotten a grip on them thanks to his occlumency, the truth was that they were always lurking below the surface. He merely pushed them back.

Harry glanced at Daphne.

She doesn't deserve this…

Daphne deserved a decisive answer; how could he do any less after everything she'd done to let him know about her feelings?

I need to answer her…

Yes, he would give her an answer. He didn't know what his answer would be, but Harry promised himself that he would give her an answer.

She deserves it.


Everyone exited the train after it pulled into Platform nine and three-quarters. The first person to greet them was an enthusiastic Sirius, who wore the broadest grin Harry had ever seen. He wasn't alone. Standing beside him, or rather, behind him were several parents of his friends: the Davis, the Abbots, and Madam Bones. They were only a few steps behind Sirius, who engulfed Harry in a hug that felt like it had cracked a few ribs.

"Harry! It's good to see you! It's been too long!"

"It's… only been a few weeks," Harry grunted.

"That might as well be forever!"

"Whatever. I'm here now, so just put me down. I think you're breaking something."

Sirius did as he was asked, but not until he finished swinging Harry around a few more times. With his back groaning in protest, Harry turned to watch as his friends were greeted by their parents. Tracey was being teased by her mum about something. It sounded like they were teasing her about Terry, which had caused both hers and Terry's faces to turn an unusual shade of puke green. Hannah and Susan's greetings were much more calm.

Harry walked up to the group and exchanged greetings.

"It's good to see all of you. I'm glad you're doing well."

"Harry." Madam Bones smiled at him. It made her face appear less stern, despite how she was still wearing her monocle. "It's good to see you, too. It looks like you've recovered from your ordeal."

"More or less." Harry shrugged.

"I heard about how you were kidnapped," Mrs. Davis said. "I'm really glad you're okay."

"Me too. I don't know what would have happened if Madam Bones and the headmaster hadn't rescued me."

"It was a dangerous situation," Madam Bones agreed.

No one knew what had really transpired. All of the auror had been bound to a magical oath. Theyy couldn't tell a soul, and Madam Bones had made up a story about a psychopath using Ginny to kidnap him. Everyone had bought it. Since there was no way to confirm if it was true or not, everyone had been forced to accept her explanation.

"Well, we're in a hurry," Mrs. Abbott said. "So we'll be leaving now. You guys take care."

"Good bye." Mr. Abbott waved at them.

"I'll see you guys later!" Hannah waved as she left with her parents.

"We should be leaving soon, too," Madam Bones said to Susan.

"Right." Nodding, Susan said her goodbyes to everyone there. Harry was shocked when she gave Daphne a big hug, but then she left them all with a smile on her face.

"Oh, my. Harry," a voice said from behind them.

Harry turned—and found himself plowing face first into a pair of boobs. He blinked several times. Then he looked up, into the smiling face of Celestina.

This would have been the moment where he jerked himself away, but he was several seconds too slow. Celestina wrapped her arms around him in a tender hug. He wondered if she was trying to be motherly. It didn't feel very motherly, but that might have had something to do with the stiffness in his pants.

Stupid hormones… Stupid. Stupid. Stupid hormones.

"I heard about what happened from Blaize," Celestina said. "You really should learn to be more careful, Harry." She leaned down and whispered into his ear. "Everyone who is allied to you was really worried when we learned about what happened. Even the old hag put aside her dislike of me to help search for you."

"I-is that so?" Harry mumbled, trying to control his breathing. This wasn't the time to be aroused by a beautiful older woman. "I'll be more careful."

"That's all I ask."

"I sometimes feel like Mum loves you more than she loves me," Blaize mumbled.

"Now that's not true at all, Blaize." Celestina smiled, showing her perfect ivory teeth. "I love you very much, but you never let me hug you like Harry does."

Blaize turned his head. "That's because it's embarrassing."

"You're so cute," his mother teased.

Blaize and Celestina soon left. Celestina said it was because she "didn't want to get into an argument with the old hag," which he believed meant she didn't want to see Neville's grandmother. Sirius tried to talk her to some, but he couldn't get away from Astoria, who apparently didn't want him talking to anyone else.

It was probably a good thing that Blaize and Celestina left, because the Dowager Longbottom arrived several minutes later. She took a long, hard look at Harry, as though confirming for herself that he was fine. Then she nodded.

"You should be more careful. All of us were worried. Even that promiscuous wench was willing to set aside her difference to work with me."

Harry didn't know what was more amusing: the fact that Celestina had said the exact same thing, or the fact that neither of them seemed to realize how similar they were. He wondered what that meant. He'd once heard a quote about "birds of a feather," but these two were the antithesis of that.

Terry's and Lisa's parents came next. He gave them his greetings and said goodbye to his friends, promising to write to them during the summer. Luna's father came after that. It was quite the first meeting.

"Hello! You must be Harry Potter. My daughter has told me a lot about you."

Xenophilius Lovegood had the most eccentric appearance Harry had ever seen. Slightly cross-eyed, with shoulder-length white hair the same texture as dental floss, he wore a cap with a tassel hanging down the front, and his robes were the strangest shade of yellow. Upon their greeting, the man enthusiastically pumped Harry's hand.

"Is that so?" Harry asked.

"Oh, yes. She has mentioned all of the problems you've been having." The man leaned in and whispered. "Between you and me, I believe your problem stems from the Rotfang Conspiracy that the Ministry is hiding, but don't you worry. I'll find out everything soon. They cannot contain the truth forever!"


"He's an odd man, isn't he?" Daphne asked as she stood beside him. Xenophilia had just left with Luna, who had given him, Daphne, and Astoria a big hug. Astoria, meanwhile, was still talking poor Sirius's ear off.

That sort of crush cannot be healthy.

"He is, but I don't think that's a bad thing," Harry said.

"Me neither."

"Listen, Daphne," Harry started again, "I wanted to ask… if you could give me a bit of time."

Daphne furrowed her brow. "Time?"

Harry turned away. He could feel his cheeks turning red. "I… want to tell you how I feel… for you. The problem is that I don't really know how I feel. That's why… would you mind waiting for just a little while longer? Next year, I promise I'll let you know how I feel."

The stare that Daphne gave Harry made him feel naked. It was like she was piercing his skin and staring into his soul. He was fortunate that the look only lasted for a few seconds before it was replaced with a smile.

"Has Astoria been pressuring you lately?" she asked.

Harry shook his head. "No… I've been thinking about this since you kissed me. I… well, I really liked it, but at the same time, I don't know my own feelings. I've… I mean, I've always done my best to avoid romantic entanglements, so…"

"I understand," Daphne said. "Give me an answer when you're ready. I'll be waiting."

The relief Harry felt in that moment was immeasurable. It was like a world's worth of weight had been lifted from his shoulders. "Thanks, Daph."

"You're welcome," she said simply.

Nathaniel Greengrass soon arrived to pick Daphne and Astoria up. While Astoria seemed reluctant to leave, Daphne tenderly held her sister's hand and soothed the girl as they departed.

Harry watched them go. He hoped they would be okay. He didn't think Nathaniel would do anything to them, not until he could counter Celestina's blackmail, but he didn't feel comfortable leaving them with their father.

I suppose there's nothing I can do about that.

"What were you and Daphne talking about?" asked Sirius.

"Nothing," Harry said softly. "Nothing at all. Let's go home."


As they made their way out of platform nine and three-quarters, Harry thought about all of the things he had to do this summer. There was so much that needed to get done. Several of the plans that he had made would be coming to fruition this summer.

Harry smiled. Change was coming. He hoped the wizarding world was ready for it.

"That is the creepiest smile I've ever seen," Sirius remarked as he stared at his face.

"S-shut up!" Harry snapped. His blush would not be leaving anytime soon.


I have several announcements to make before I leave you.

First: Susan. I still don't know if she'll be a part of Harry's harem. However, at this point in time, I do not think she's ready. Unlike Daphne, who grew up accepting that she was going to become someone's mistress, Susan is a normal girl. She was raised by a loving aunt and not a douchebag father. Amelia Bones is also a very progressive thinker, so Susan would be the same. Because of that, I do not believe that Susan is emotionally or mentally ready for a polygamous relationship.

Second: I will not be working on the fourth Harry Potter book, which I have yet to name, for a while. The reason is because I plan on finishing all of my current fan fictions before starting anything new. If you'd like to know what I'm working on, then be sure to follow me on twitter. My profile name is BrandonBVarnell.

Third: If you like my writing and would like to support me, I'd be very happy if you pre-ordered my latest book. Succubus is an urban fantasy series that I was inspired to write after reading the entire Dresden Files series by Jim Butcher. It's also my only non-anime-inspired piece of fiction. You can pre-order a copy at Amazon or Barnes and Noble in hardcover, paperback, and ebook. The book is also being sold on Itunes and Kobo.

Succubus synopsis:

Christian is the Catholic Church's best executioner. Dedicated. Devout. Deadly. Ever since the Church saved him from the decimated ruins of his hometown, his commitment to their cause has been unshakable.

Then he's sent to execute Lilith, who lives in Seal Beach, California. He's baffled. Lilith is afraid of men. The Church believes she's a succubus, but he just can't see it. Yet the way men—both human and monster alike—act as if they've been possessed whenever she's near is disturbing.

With lustful men attacking Lilith and monsters attacking him for being near Lilith, Christian must uncover what's really going on, and soon, or innocent blood will run through the streets—as will his own.

Love. It can kill a man.

Once again, thank you all for reading my story. I hope you had fun. ^_^