A/N: Hi all. Thanks for the reviews from last chapter. I am still deciding about the third pairing as the story progresses. I must admit to you all, this story is being made as I write, there is no plan other than to follow the initial concept of the original story. So we will see how it goes. A short one this time as it's the run-up to Christmas.

Chapter 17.

The next day there were rumours flying all over the castle about Harry saving Hermione from the troll. The Hogwarts rumour mill, which usually ran at the speed of light, had managed to reach every end of the castle with the news of his defeat of the troll. Harry chose to maturely ignore it all and continue on with his schedule, including classes and studying with his friends. He noticed he had many admiring looks and there were whispers about what had happened, but he knew it would all shortly be forgotten as the first quidditch match of the season came closer, especially with Longbottom as the new seeker.

His friends had reacted as he had expected when they heard the news. All the girls thought it was sweet that he had gone up to see Hermione and all but Daphne agreed that it was romantic how he had managed to defend Hermione and defeat the beast. Daphne just kept a rather close eye on him from that point onwards as if trying to work something out about him. He just let her as he really had no idea what she was thinking. Blaise became even more interested in him as a person, particularly when he noticed that harry did not care for the attention his actions had garnered. This increased further when Blaise discovered later on Harry's intention to go back to the Ravenclaw common room once the troll had been defeated, except Hermione breaking down and hugging him and the swiftness of the teachers had prevented this.

Talk and gossip about Harry's actions did eventually fade, but not before a humorous incident involving the boy-who-lived occurred. Harry was with his friend's in-between classes in one of the courtyards taking in some fresh air before going to their next class when Neville approached Harry.

"Good work you did with the troll Mate!" He said to harry, slapping him on the back in a friendly manner. Harry looked at him in a bored manner and said

"Do I know you?" All of his friends sniggered, save Daphne whose lips twitched slightly in amusement. Neville's face turned red as people began muttering and sniggering around him as he said

"You know perfectly well who I am Potter. I am Neville longbottom." Harry appeared to look surprised for a moment as he looked at Neville and then said as if suddenly realising

"Of course! I met you in the potions corridor where you first introduced yourself and then threatened me." People fell silent as they heard this and the muttering became louder. Harry then stepped forward and said to Neville loudly enough for everyone else to hear

"I don't know why you are pretending to be my friend Longbottom, but everyone who knows me know I despise bullies and after your actions towards one of my friends," At this, he gestured to Hermione who gave Neville a glare, "do not expect me to be friends with you anytime soon." With that, Harry turned away from Neville and walked away, leading his friends towards their next class.

By the time dinner came that evening it was publicly recognised that Neville Longbottom had tried to insinuate that he and harry were friends and that Harry had effectively berated him and told him in no uncertain terms that he would never be friends with him as he bullied one of his friends as well as having threatened harry previously when they had first met. Harry was satisfied after this that no one would consider him in the same breath as the boy-who-lived and knew that soon enough Malfoy would stick his nose into affairs and remove harry from the picture, which he was fine with.

Not surprising this happened within 2 days of the confrontation. As the Gryffindor versus Slytherin quidditch match was that weekend, Malfoy started in on longbottom about his chances of catching the snitch and not killing himself. In fact from what Harry heard, the weasley twins, even though they were on the same team as longbottom, were doing a roaring trade in a betting pool about Longbottom's chances. Harry hoped they had taken enough bets to cover themselves as he doubted that he would do very well. Harry also felt no compunction in not helping Neville if Quirrel attempted to jinx his broom. In fact, Harry decided to be in the library during the match and confirmed with his friends that they would all be there, as none of them were interested in the rivalry and since none of their teams were playing, it was even less interesting. Therefore the morning of the match, harry led all of his friends down to the hallway where the bowl of fruit painting was and showing them to tickle the pear, introduced them all to the Hogwarts's Kitchens. After explaining house elves to Hermione after they were engulfed by a crowd of the little beings and herded to a table where their breakfast was soon presented to them, they all began to eat.

The morning proceeded peacefully for them all as they ate and talked and then trooped up to the library. The bonus with being in the library at this time was that there were few people in the library besides themselves. There were only a few Ravenclaws sitting in remote locations within the library and they were quietly going about their business so it was quite easy to think of having the library to themselves. They first made sure they had completed their homework, which they had done so an hour after they had arrived at the library. They had all put their homework away and were deep into their recreational reading when people began filtering into the library and soon the noisiness of the library grew to the point where they decided to go down and have lunch, since it was due soon anyway.

It was while they were sitting down to have lunch that they heard what had happened during the quidditch match. Slytherin had slaughtered the Gryffindor team and the majority of the responsibility for this seemed to be Neville Longbottom and him nearly falling off of his broom when it went out of control. It ended up that the two beaters, George and Fred Weasley, had to circle under Neville in case he fell. This meant that there was no protection for the Gryffindor chasers and consequently by the time Myles Bletchley caught the snitch, Slytherin was 200 points ahead.

Harry gathered that Professor Snape had once again been protecting the boy from the jinx that Professor Quirrel was trying to put on Neville's broom. While it was enough to prevent him from falling off of his broom, it was not enough to completely prevent Neville from having any chance of beating Slytherin.

After the match, things pretty much settled down, save for the taunts that most Slytherins, led by Draco Malfoy, now continually threw towards Neville whenever they came across him. Apparently a lot of the shine had come off of the boy-who-lived since he had first appeared at Hogwarts. Many of the children now seemed to just see him as a normal wizard and probably not a very good one if his flying abilities and his performance in class were indications. The problems for Neville began at this point. Since Neville had been brought up in the wizarding world by his parents with the expectation that he was something great, the fact he was not being given any adulation meant he was constantly in a bad mood. He then started becoming a worse bully as a way to gain back some power. Problem was though that Flitwick had put the professors on alert about this possibility. This meant that every time he tried something, Neville found himself in detention. It ended up that he had detention right through to the end of the year by the time that the Christmas holidays came up. This meant that if he received any more punishment, he would be suspended. This then led to what the Hogwarts rumour mill described as a fiery argument between the headmaster and the Longbottoms during a conference they were called to about their son's behaviour.

Consequent to this, Neville Longbottom faded into the background and no longer tried to gain the limelight. If anything, he became the joke of first-year as his constant melting cauldrons and accidents was so infamous that everyone actually left a gap between his workstation and their own so as not to be in the area of effect for when his cauldron inevitably exploded or melted.

Soon enough the sign-up sheet came up for Christmas and Harry and his friends began to look forward to going home and seeing their families once more. Harry knew that after Christmas in his last reality was when the mirror of erised was put into place as the final protection of the Philosopher's Stone, so he thought he would not do anything until after the holiday break as neither he or Quirrel actually knew where it was until that point. Harry knew though that Neville would be going home during the holiday period, so wondered how Dumbledore would expose Neville to the mirror, but figured that was Dumbledore's problem, not his.

Finally the day arrived and Harry and his friends met in the entrance hall. Their trunks were going to be transported to the train station along with their pets. Finally the carriages arrived and they boarded, slamming the door behind them, which caused the thestrals to make their way along the track and out towards the train station. Once they arrived at the train station their trunks and pet carriers appeared. They gathered their luggage and made their way into the train and found a compartment. Both harry and Blaise helped the girls put their trunks up into the luggage carriers, while Harry shrunk his trunk and stuck it into his pants pocket. He decided to leave maximus in his carrier despite his protests as he didn't want to have to go through the hassle of getting him back into his carrier at the end of the journey.

The journey on the train proved to be quiet for harry and his friends. He later heard from others that Malfoy and longbottom had a confrontation, but apparently neither deigned to visit his compartment for which he was grateful. Everyone talked about what they expected to do during Christmas. Harry found out that Blaise was heading to Italy to have a Christmas with his extended family, while the others were all having a Christmas at home. Harry was looking forward to spending Christmas with his family but knew he was going to have a nightmare shopping in Diagon alley for Christmas presents.

The train arrived in the late afternoon and harry and Blaise got the trunks down for the girls to change about half an hour before the train arrived while the boys waited outside the compartment. Once the girls had changed, they then waited outside while the two boys changed and then put the trunks back up in storage. The boys once again got them down when they arrived for the girls, who thanked them and then dragged them outside with their pet carriers if they had one on top. Harry then followed Blaise out, levitating his trunk with maximus sitting in his carrier on top out of the compartment and off of the train.

The station was packed with parents and so the group all said their goodbyes just outside of the train. It ended up that Harry was left with Daphne next to him as they then tried to find their parents in the crowd. Harry soon spotted his mother and Ivy as their red hair was quite visible in the crowd and harry saw that the greengrass parents were standing next to his family with Astoria holding her father's hand. He pointed them out to Daphne and they pushed their way through the crowd to where their parents were. Ivy saw Harry first and clambered down out of her mother's arms and raced into Harry's arms with a squeal of delight as he wrapped her in a big hug. She planted a big wet kiss on his cheek and said

"Harry! I missed you!" Harry smiled and answered

"I missed you too munchkin." Harry carried Ivy to his mother, who wrapped them both in a hug. Harry returned the hug as best he could with the little girl in his arms. He looked at iris, who grinned at him, saying

"I'll give you a hug once we get home." Harry smiled and nodded and his mother held out the port key, which he took hold of after handing Ivy to his mother and grabbing hold of his trunk and Maximus's carrier. Iris also took hold and once they wished the greengrass's a happy holiday, Lily activated the port key and they disappeared in a whirl of colour back to Potter manor.