Red and Green Patches

This story is an alternate ending to When Things Start to Change (WTS2C), another HP fanfic. WTS2C through chapter 56 forms the basis of this ending. That fanfic is available story is rated as it is for Language, Sex, Nudity, and Violence. You have been warned.

Disclaimer: This story uses the characters and settings discovered by J.K. Rowling, among others.

Newbie Alert: This was my first story (ever) and will be revised, reedited, reworked at a future date after I finish with its sequel In the Crosshairs. As a consequence, this has many rough spots in it.

It was two days before the start of the one week Easter Holiday in the fifth year of Harry, Ron, and Hermione. They were looking forward to another stay at the Granger residence in Noigate, a south suburb of London.

* * * Reflection * * *

I (Ron) was sitting in my morning DADA; not for the first or last time, I noticed Harry, distracted, and staring at the ceiling, fingers twiddling in his raven black hair. Normally, Harry pays more attention in this class, but today he seemed more distant than usual. His thoughts were probably drifting to the blond haired, blue eyed, Muggle girlfriend in Noigate of his, Gia. How many letters he wrote to her last night -- amazing Harry's even awake. Harry met Gia over the winter holiday which was about the same time Hermione and me started to work out our feelings. I hear the chalk of Lupin's hitting the chalkboard as he lectures on something irrelevant, I'm sure.
I gazed at Hermione, oh Hermione -- who took it well when she was informed that Dean Thomas was appointed as Gryffindor Prefect. I'm surprised she hasn't jabbed me into paying attention like she normally does when I drift off like this -- she's been after both Harry and me to pay more attention; especially after we learned about that prophecy last fall. Apparently, some Dark Wizard captured Hogwarts five hundred years ago and it's supposedly going to repeat this year with You-Know-Who. Last time, three students repelled the assault and it's supposed to be three this year; the teachers seem convinced it's supposed to be Harry, Hermione, and me.
I gazed out the window and see the sunshine and a bit of the trees in the distance. I'd love to be playing Quidditch right now on my Firebolt. I made the house team this past fall, Keeper of course. The Firebolt was a gift from Sirius, that definitely helps on the field. Strangely enough, it was Sirius who gave Harry a book for his fifteenth birthday. Sirius gave Harry a book of spells that has a Wandless Spell Harry is supposed to be trying to learn. The spell claims to allow us to use our natural powers when our wands are unavailable, useful for the owner of the brother wand to You-Know-Who.
Yes, Harry did inform Gia about being a wizard because she wanted to transfer. He would love to call her, but the only phone around is in Hogsmeade. We haven't been allowed there since the Lestranges attacked it
I'm certainly glad I'm spending the holiday with Hermione at her parents. Oh the horror at the thought of the Burrow with a pregnant Mum. Maybe that started with that trip over the summer holiday where George and Fred `procured' some `alternate' identifications for nightclubs. Mum and Dad, eww, flush that thought out of my head now! I gaze back at Hermione, my girlfriend, and her nice set of curves.

* * * Lupin's Concern * * *

Professor Lupin, who is teaching DADA, picks up on Harry's and Ron's distraction. At the end of the class, Lupin calls, "Potter, Weasley, Granger, please stay behind for a few moments."
They stay behind as the rest of the class quickly shuffles out the door and proceed up to the Great Hall for lunch.
"Harry, What the hell has gotten into lately? Are you trying to fail?" Lupin asks.
Ron pipes up, "Professor, think about it ..."
"No games..." Lupin cuts in sharply.
"It's obvious Professor, consider Harry's age.", says Hermione quickly.
"What are you getting at?..... Oh", Lupin realizes. "Who is she Harry?"
"Took you long enough." says Harry.
"That's not an answer." says Lupin.
"Harry, you were snogging at the department store and the Christmas party." says Ron.
"Really?? Remember that list?" asks Lupin.
"I didn't think..." says Harry.
"That's obvious. Seems to run in the family, tell you about it some other time." say Lupin. In a serious tone, "Who else knows?"
Ron quickly explains what they've seen.
Hermione jumps in, "The gossip is trying to figure out who. Ginny and I have been quiet about it."
"Keep the rumors guessing. We can discuss details over dinner with Dumbledore tonight, I'm sure he'll agree." says Lupin.
"Dumbledore?" smirks Harry, in disgust.
"Yes." says Harry.
"Now you three, with these, distractions, I can assume that you have not master a particular spell?" asks Lupin.
"Umm..." Hermione mutters.
Lupin stands there thinking for a moment. He says, "Skip the essay. I want you to do something different for the holiday. First, master the Wandless Spell and be able to demonstrate it on some new spell. Between the three of you, four new spells. ... The underage restriction will be lifted for the holiday. Don't make a fool of me."
"We accept." says Harry. Hermione and Ron nod in agreement.
Lupin says "Well, it's getting a bit late, better run up to the Great Hall, don't want to miss lunch do we?"
Harry and Hermione start for the door. Harry stops. "Aren't you coming Ron?" asks Harry.
"I'll catch up with you in a moment, I still got a couple things to pack." Ron says.

* * * Ron's Concern * * *

Ron closes the classroom door. He looks at Lupin.
"Is there something else, Ron?" Lupin asks.
"Yes. This girlfriend is good for Harry." says Ron.
Lupin stares at Ron. Lupin says, "Have you seen his marks? He's stepped on a land mine. It's endangering everyone."
"Harry needs her. Do not nix it, but support it."
"His marks? Constant distractions? I know Harry's needs a bit better."
"No you don't. You know James better, not Harry. I know that Harry needs his girlfriend. Harry will quit Hogwarts if you try to nix it. I will too."
Lupin says, "Harry and James are similar."
Ron replies, "They look similar, but they're not. Nix it and all is lost."
"Something must be done. His performance is unsatisfactory at this time."
"I agree there. Nixing his relationship is the wrong thing. We need to support it."
"Are you crazy?"
Ron says, "No. There has to be another choice."
Lupin says, "If that relationship is causing problems...."
"Well, we must then find a way to better accommodate it."
"We can discuss the reasons with Dumbledore tonight."
Ron says, "No, we will accommodate it. How we accommodate? Dumbledore might have some ideas."
Lupin says, "We can discuss this with Dumbledore tonight."
"Don't tell Harry about this talk, he'd have a fit."
"Ron, I won't" says Lupin.
Ron grabs his bag, opens the door, and heads to the Great Hall.

* * * Dinner at Hagrid's * * *

Ron enters the otherwise deserted 5th years dormitory to find Harry sitting on his bed, reading some letters.
"Skipping another dinner?" Ron asks.
"No you're not. Come." says Ron.
"What's it to you?"
Ron says, "Quidditch muscles. Maybe it's Quidditch muscles she likes. Need to eat."
Ron starts to tug at Harry. Harry glares at Ron.
Ron continues, "So, she likes them. Have to help. ... Accio Harry!"
Harry laughs. Ron starts to drag Harry. Bitter, Harry gets up.
Harry snaps, "Don't pull!"
Ron snaps, "Come then."
Harry trots out. Ron is pointing his wand into Harry's backside. They climb down the stairs and head to the Great Hall.
Lupin and Hermione are waiting in the Entrance Hall. Hermione shouts and waves, "Over here!"
Lupin firmly says, "Follow me."
They follow Lupin, exchanging puzzled looks. They walk out the front doors.
Lupin says, "So Harry, you've become quite the ladies man lately."
"What do you mean by that?" says Harry.
"According to the rumors, you're currently dating everyone. Breaking the record does not help the marks." Lupin winks, with a smirk, at Harry.
Ron jokes, "Don't mess with Hermione".
Harry groans. They arrive at Hagrid's Hut. Lupin knocks.
Dumbledore opens the door. Dumbledore says, "Come in."
Lupin, Harry, Ron, and Hermione enter. Harry's jaw drops. Sirius is sitting at the table. The table is set for six people. With the wave of a wand, food appears on the table, and the door is closed.
Dumbledore says, "We have matters to discuss. For privacy, Hagrid has graciously allowed the use of his hut."
Sirius says, "Harry, Ron, Hermione, it's good to see you again."
Dumbledore says, "Let's eat first. Hermione, try some of these patties, it's not beef. It's a mixture of nuts, beans, and spices. In my younger years, I preferred a lot of beef on the bone, but now I don't need to eat it as much."
"Thanks", says Hermione as she reaches to try it.
For the next hour or so, they continue to eat, drink, laugh, and talk about petty stuff. They discuss the Quidditch matches, the previous summer holiday, superficial details about the Winter and Easter holidays, and various other small talk. Though at one point, Sirius' raises his eyebrows when hearing about the nightclub adventure the previous summer.

* * * Houston, We Have a Problem. * * *

They finish their food. Dumbledore brings out a case of Butter beer. From the change in Dumbledore's expression, Ron can tell the discussion is becoming serious.
Dumbledore says, "Harry, this is a parent-teacher conference. Rumors are circulating about you. However, certain things are clear. Your performance is unsatisfactory. Your marks are falling. You are not preparing for another task."
Harry gave a look of almost shear disbelief, almost horror.
Dumbledore says, "Your distraction is very clear. My first instinct is to nix the relationship."
Ron says, "Unacceptable. There needs to be another alternative."
Dumbledore says, "If I may finish Mr. Weasley. ... We are willing to entertain other options. Students are certainly allowed girlfriends. However, when such relationships interfere with academics, action must be taken."
Lupin suggest, "Time limits on letter writing?"
Ron says, "No. How could Harry commute?"
"A Portkey." suggests Hermione.
Ron says, "Good, that would allow Harry to spend more time with her. Letter writing would be irrelevant."
Sirius says, "Lemme get this straight. Harry is demonstrating an inability to balance a girlfriend with schoolwork. So, your suggestion is for Harry to spend even more time?"
Ron says, "Yes, at night."
Lupin says, "Fraternization? You're joking?"
Ron says, "No. It'd definitely work. Harry?"
Harry says, "Spend more time, nice idea."
Sirius rolls his eyes. He says, "Teenagers."
Lupin says, "That you swore to raise."
Dumbledore says, "Where is the girlfriend now?"
Hermione says, "Noigate, a bit south of London."
Lupin says, "I'm not familiar with any wizardry school there."
Ron says, "Gia is a Muggle."
Harry snaps, "Thanks for keeping it secret."
Dumbledore says, "Noigate, that explains Hedwig's workout regiment."
Harry says, "Flirt by night, study by day. Bold idea Ron."
Hermione says, "We know from last year that Portkeys do work within Hogwarts. Harry could commute."
Lupin says, "Need I remind you that people are out to get you?"
Ron says, "Well, bolster the defenses."
Harry says, "Sirius, your other traits would be useful for guarding Gia."
Dumbledore says, "I need to consider this fully."
Sirius says, "My duty is to protect Harry."
Ron says, "By protecting his girlfriend now. Hogwarts is fairly secure, but if a single Death Eater traces Hedwig."
Hermione says, "That would make Gia bait for Harry. We can setup security and make the Portkeys over the coming holiday."
Harry then promises, "Professor Dumbledore, with this plan, my marks will improve."
Lupin says, "Albus, with an offer like that..."
Dumbledore says, "Alright. Mr. Potter, I must stress that your marks must improve. That is my condition."
Harry says, "I accept."
Sirius rolls his eyes again. He whispers into Dumbledore's ear.
Dumbledore says, "Tomorrow, the fifth year Gryffindors are due for a lesson from Madam Pomfrey. Sirius, does that address your concern?"
"What?" asks Harry.
Lupin says, "Padfoot is concerned you'll take after James."
"Moony..." says Sirius.
Lupin says, "Harry, we'll tell about that story when you're older."
Dumbledore says, "There is the matter of her security. Even with Sirius, I doubt it's enough."
Harry asks, "What did you do to Privet Drive when I was sent there? Voldemort mentioned he couldn't touch me there."
Dumbledore says, "Ah, yes. We can do a bit of that there. Harry, Ron, and Hermione, I'll preempt a lesson so we can cover several items."
Ron says, "Need I mention that the details remain here?"
Dumbledore says, "Aw, yes. Would a Fidelius Charm help?"
Hermione replies, "Wouldn't hurt."
Lupin asks, "How much does Gia know?"
Harry says, "Gia knows I'm a wizard and attend Hogwarts. Had to explain when she expressed interest in transferring."
Sirius says, "Dangerous."
Harry replies, "A risk, yes. How else do I explain Owl Post?"
Hermione says, "Harry, you'll fill in several details, right?"
Harry says, "Um, right."
Dumbledore says, "Mr. Potter, some guidelines are in order.
"First, you should plan to be at Hogwarts most of each day. This means that I or another teacher should be able to find you most of the time. With an reasonable proposal to me, we can adjust this. For instance, spending the weekend with her.
"Second, Ron and myself will have additional Portkeys to be able to get you if your presence is required. It will be at Ron's discretion whether the matter is sufficiently important to retrieve you.
"Third, your homework is to be finished prior to leaving Hogwarts.
"Fourth, you are to leave directions sufficient to track you down. So, this means if you and Gia go on a date, tell a responsible person.
"I must warn you. I have given great liberty here. Do not make a fool of me."
Harry says, "Okay."
"Harry, we have just handed you the keys to Hogwarts. Your performance must improve." says Lupin.
"I will be accompanying you for the holidays, as Snuffles of course." says Sirius.
"A happy Harry Potter, that'll torment Voldemort." Dumbledore says in an upbeat fashion.

* * * No Nighttime Strolls * * *

Snape, standing in the Entrance Hall, asks McGonagall, "Where is Dumbledore? He wasn't at dinner, and I haven't seen him for hours."
"Something about a parent-teacher conference." explains Hagrid. Snape glared at Hagrid, like a parent-teacher conference was a bit far-fetched.
At that moment, the front doors open. Harry, Ron, and Hermione walk through, chatting. Harry's saying with a grudge "... and we needed all that for this?"
McGonagall cuts him off, "Potter, Weasley, and Granger. Just how many points and detentions does it take to make you realize the danger of nighttime strolls? Especially now?"
"They seem not to care about those, suspension perhaps? Expulsion?" suggests Snape.
"None of those." says Dumbledore as he and Lupin step in through the doors. "These three were outside on my orders." Snape had a look of near disbelief. "Minerva, Severus, I need to speak with you."
Hagrid quickly gives Harry, Ron, and Hermione a hug. Then, he says, "See you three in class tomorrow afternoon." Hagrid proceeds outside.
Harry, Ron, and Hermione climb the staircases up to the Gryffindor tower. As they enter the common room, Ron wonders, "What will Pomfrey want?"
"Dunno." says Harry. Hermione just looks at the two in disbelief and goes up to the girls' dormitory.
"Where have you two been?" asks Fred. "You skipped dinner."
"Buzz off", says Ron, as he and Harry head up to their dormitory.
Author's Note: Please Read and Review. I have revised this chapter from what I first posted in April.