Disclaimer

I don't own Harry Potter.

In fact, if you get down to it I probably own very little of the ideas being used in this story. But I am not getting paid for them and have hopefully put them together in a new and interesting way.

Enjoy.

Authors Notes

And here is part 2 of this double release.

I hope everyone had a great Christmas and New Year.

As a side note, my word document broke 1000 pages with this chapter.

Chapter 34

Susan sighed happily as she woke in Harry's arms. Hermione had mentioned that waking to the feel of her naked body against Harry's was something very special and now she had experienced it for herself she had to agree. Harry was still asleep but a quick check of the time told her that he would have to wake in just a few minutes and decided to wake him herself.

She gently began to fondle Harry's breasts and smiled as Harry unconsciously leant into it before her firming fingers caused his eyes to flutter open.

"Morning, you wonderful man." Susan gave him a long kiss. "Last night was amazing."

"It was." Harry smiled back. "You wanting to keep it going?"

"I could be tempted." Susan replied coyly, not letting up her contact with his breast.

Harry laughed and suddenly rolled her over and straddled her. He began grinding his pelvis into hers and Susan's eyes rollback into her head as pleasure shot through her body.

Susan pulled Harry's hands to her own breasts and made sure he was massaging them properly before doing the same for him and the pair fell into a steady rhythm.

It wasn't until Susan's head rolled to one side that she suddenly squeaked and jerked hard, sending Harry on to the mattress.

"Hermione!" Susan protested. "What are you doing here? And Ginny too?"

"We couldn't sleep." Hermione grinned lustily. "You two had gone to sleep so we slipped in and joined you. I didn't expect the morning entertainment though. Don't let us stop you."

Susan flushed. "You sort of spoiled the mood."

"Sorry." Hermione sat up and stretched. "We'll go and shower while you two have some more fun."

"Thanks." Susan grumped.

Hermione just smiled brightly as she pulled a half-asleep Ginny from the bed and out of the bedroom.

"Sorry, but I think that ruined it for me." Susan apologised.

"It's okay. We can snuggle." Harry pulled her back into his arms and gently began stroking her breasts. "This okay?"

"No." Susan wriggled to get a little closer. "Use more pressure... a little more, there, now it's okay."

Harry chuckled as he firmly massaged her breasts. "You really like this huh?"

"Yeah." Susan sighed. "I liked you sucking them too but I prefer this."

"That's fine." Harry replied. "I'm happy to cater to your desires."

"Well, you satisfy them very nicely." Susan smiled. "Just don't stop."

Harry laughed. "Okay."

!HPEaSE!

It was a very happy Susan who gave Harry one final hug outside the Great Hall before skipping to the Hufflepuff table. Hannah immediately pulled her down into the seat next to her and they began a whispered conversation that included a lot of giggling.

"Nice to see you made her happy." Hermione teased Harry quietly as he joined her and Ginny at the Gryffindor table. "I was playing chess with Ron."

"I suppose that's a good thing." Harry decided as he filled his plate. "We have been a little distant with him."

"I know." Hermione nodded. "It's just been a little hard after the summer. Things have changed a lot."

"That's true." Harry sighed. "We need a plan for the Defence Association. I'm going to be working on the Castle's Wards for at least a couple of weeks and I don't think we can leave it that long."

"We really only need you for the intro." Ginny said after thinking for a minute. "Once you get their attention and tell them about your plans then you can let the rest of us give them a refresher while you work on the wards and we can start them on some new spells if we have time. Once the wards are sorted you can get them into the special training you have planned."

Harry though it over. "I think you're right. Quidditch hasn't started up yet so the weekends are still pretty free. I should be free for a couple of hours after dinner to get everything started, though I'll be needing an energy boost if I've been working on the wards. I'll need help with my homework too."

"I'm not doing it for you." Hermione stated before her expression quickly softened. "But you'll have all the help you need."

!HPEaSE!

Harry was settling in to his school routine, having finished his period helped as he could attend some classes in his male form. He dud need to get used to wearing a camisole under his uniform for when he had to revert back to his female form so that he had some additional coverage. Professor McGonagall had very sternly informed of that requirement after she noticed he didn't have a bra on during a class after he had changed back.

Harry was very grateful that she had waited until 'after' class to inform him of that. The camisole was a compromise they had agreed on as she agreed that wearing a bra under his clothes the whole time he was male was impractical, given its bulk, and his liberal use of the support spell would keep his substantial bosom suitably restrained.

Harry could not have been more relieved that Snape was no longer one of the professors; he dreaded to this what the belligerent man would have done to him in regards to his gender transformation. Draco Malfoy was another person who would have taken great pleasure in taunting him excessively, or perhaps worse; some of the looks Crabbe and Goyle were giving him were beyond creepy but none of the trio of Slytherins he now counted amongst his friends had heard anymore that the usual male gossip toward well-endowed women.

Harry biggest concern right now was with the wards, or more specifically the warders who had been assigned to assist.

"We're taking orders from a kid?"

Harry resisted the urge to roll his eyes and turned his attention towards Bill, grateful for the familiar face. "Hey Bill, Fleur joining us?"

"Not for this, she covering some of my other work for me while I'm here." Bill replied, giving a quick glance towards the Senior Warder who Harry was pointedly ignoring.

"Say hi to her for me." Harry grinned. "Now, the ward stones, where are we with them?"

"We have the first half-dozen and we've got them in place; Tapstone's measurements were brilliant for placing them, saved us a few hours work at least."

"Cool. Guess it's time to start anchoring the wards to them then." Harry rubbed his hands together eagerly. "Any suggestions?"

"How about you get out of our way." The Senior Warder grabbed Harry's shoulder.

A fraction of a second later the older man's face was planted firmly in the dirt as Harry's training took over.

Harry never turned away from Bill the entire time and continued talking. "I can try just locking the wards to the stones as they are or we can try and break them into smaller groups."

"If you think you can, it would make it much easier when we do full reorganisation." Bill replied thoughtfully. "But do you think you can do it without disrupting them?"

"Any issues and we back right off," Harry stated, "but we have enough people here that I think it's worth looking into."

"True, you might want to let him up though." Bill hid a grin as he nodded to the man Harry still had pinned to the ground in a wrist lock.

"Huh? Oh." Harry looked down and effected surprise at seeing he had someone by the wrist and their face planted firmly in the dirt. "Sorry about that."

The Senior Warder stood with rage but found himself being checked by Bill and a few of the goblins in the crew.

"If you like your job, or living, then I suggest you leave Master Warrior Potter alone." A goblin advised. "Master Warrior Potter is in charge of this project by order of Tapstone himself. You aren't being paid to question the Head Warder's decisions."

The Senior Warder shook off the restraining hands but held back.

"Okay everyone." Harry raised his voice to ensure he was heard clearly. "We are going to try and get a little semblance of organisation while we anchor the wards. Everyone get ready to grab on and if there are any, and I do mean ANY, problems, sing out fast. Let's get too it."

"Just like that?" Bill asked Harry quietly as everyone moved into position.

"What else would you have me do?" Harry shrugged. "You know how I work. The complex plans can come from you guys once you've got them organised."

"True." Bill agreed. "Well, the ward stones are all ready for you, so go for it."

Harry nodded and looked around to check everyone was ready before reaching out with his magic to grasp the school's Wards. All the warders stared as the teenager worked, their spells and equipment used to view the wards showing the blinding power rippling under Harry's touch as he slowly began separating the wards.

There were a few gasps as the twisting wards sparked but Harry wasn't rushing and easily backed off to ensure their safety and worked the wards carefully until he had the first group free.

"Here." Harry called out and the goblin team leader barked a name. The warder named quickly grasped the ward group and those assigned to work with him quickly got to anchoring that group to the ward stone.

It was taking longer to anchor the wards than it took for Harry to separate them and each of the groups were taking the load away from Harry as quickly as was safely possible. It was still heavy work and Harry was sweating heavily before they had finished the first stone.

"Man, that was hard." Harry slumped on the grass once he had offloaded the final group and he rested while the Warders finished the anchoring.

The warding team was well organised, it included one warder whose sole task was too document everything and a couple of healers with food, water and potions to be distributed as needed.

"How is everyone?" The goblin leader checked.

"More tired than our estimates suggested." A Healer reported. "The wards are more powerful than expected, even with Master Warrior Potter's assistance. It will take some time for them to get used to this load."

"Understood." The goblin nodded. "Everyone gets a 30 minute break before we anchor the next ward-stone. We should have time and energy to do two more this evening."

Everyone nodded and relaxed back to recover the energy needed to continue.

"How are you doing Harry?" Bill asked as he sat next to him.

"I'm good." Harry flopped back on the grass. "Merlin, there is a lot of power in those wards."

"Yeah. It's almost unbelievable to see just one person noticed this mess. Even the groups you broke apart were too messed up to see anything, but I think you got them small enough that we can handle them ourselves." Bill grinned in anticipation of the upcoming challenge.

"So I won't be needed after the wards are anchored?"

"Possibly. You may be brought in to handle some tricky spots." Bill studied the female wizard. "I seriously don't think anyone else could do what you do. You work purely on instinct without any more than a basic understanding of the makeup of the wards."

"Yeah." Harry admitted.

"I find myself wondering if you would do better or worse if you had all the knowledge we did."

Harry chuckled and then crossed his arms over his ample chest to keep his breasts from bouncing. "I don't know but I get your point. I'll have to make sure I don't forget what I do know when I add actual knowledge into the mix."

"Good, because at this rate you can start your own warding company and have the best warders in the world begging to join you." Bill grinned suddenly. "I may have to use my family connection to you to get in first."

Harry laughed. "Sorry, you'll have to go through the same process as everyone else."

"Drat." Bill snapped his fingers in mock annoyance.

Harry smiled at him and relaxed back.

"Master Warrior Potter?" The goblin team leader joined them when the break was over. "Are you ready to continue?"

"Yeah." Harry dragged himself off the ground. "Round them up and we'll get the next stone sorted."

!HPEaSE!

It was getting dark when Harry stumbled up to the castle. Hermione and Padma had been watching the warders work and hurried up to help Harry.

I'm okay." Harry protested as they tried to support his weight.

"Honestly Harry." Hermione huffed. "You are allowed to accept some help occasionally."

"I know. I'm just not used to having the option." Harry admitted.

"Well, you have it now. At least let us give you an energy boost if you want to be all macho and force yourself."

"Please." Harry grinned gratefully. "That would be great."

Hermione and Padma carefully pushed some of their magic through the bond and Harry immediately felt better.

"Thank you both so much." Harry sighed as he straightened. "I feel almost human again."

Ginny was waiting in Harry's room with Tracy. There was a small snack laid out on the table to help Harry recover his energy and Tracy gave him a quick check over.

"Well, you've been working hard but you're fine. You should be all better in the morning." Tracy nodded.

"Thanks." Harry mumbled through his food.

"Manner's Harry." Tracy scolded, though her good humour was evident on her face.

Harry just shrugged, too tired to care.

Tracy snorted lightly. "Yeah. Sleep well, I'll see you tomorrow."

"Not staying the night?" Hermione commented.

"You wouldn't mind?" Tracy looked surprised.

"I never said I was going anywhere, but there is plenty of room for four." Hermione slot a look at Padma. "Or five."

Padma blushed at the invitation.

Tracy smiled. "Thanks for the offer but I have to be careful in Slytherin or we'll get caught."

"Okay." Hermione nodded. "Stay safe. See you tomorrow."

Tracy gave Harry a quick kiss on the cheek and, with a warm smile and wave, left to return to her dorm.

Padma looked very indecisive until Hermione rolled her eyes and physically dragged her into Harry's bedroom.

"Can Padma borrow something of yours to sleep in Harry?" Hermione called back through the open doorway.

Harry swallowed quickly. "Sure."

"Thanks."

"Can I at least use the bathroom first?" Padma protested.

"Oh, yes, of course." Hermione released her. "Sorry if I was a little bossy."

"You were, but I probably needed that." Padma gave her a small smile. "I wanted to stay but I probably wouldn't have if you didn't push me, so thank you."

Harry waited until the three girls had finished in the bathroom before forcing his tired body off the couch and took his own turn.

Hermione and Ginny were waiting for him in the bedroom and helped him strip down to his panties. They guided him into bed where Padma was waiting and followed after him. As Harry settled down on his back Hermione encouraged Padma to snuggle into his side as she lay down of the other side.

Ginny took a temporary position straddling Harry's lap and she joined Hermione in gently stroking their hands across Harry's shoulders, chest, breasts and stomach to help him relax into a deep, restful sleep. Padma watched the pair but couldn't get the courage up to even stroke his nearest arm.

"I wish I could be so bold." Padma sighed softly.

"You'll get there." Hermione assured her. "So no rushing, alright?"

Padma smiled and finally began to relax. "Thanks. Well, goodnight."

"Night." Hermione and Ginny replied as they too settled down.

!HPEaSE!

Padma's morning was much more stimulating, though she might have preferred otherwise. She woke to find both Harry and Hermione missing, only Ginny was still in Harry's large bed with her. Padma checked the time and decided to get up, stretching briefly in the cool morning air.

Padma found the missing Gryffindors, not in the common room as she expected, but in the bathroom where naked Harry was sitting on the vanity while and equally naked Hermione stood very closely in front of him covering his face, neck, chest and breasts with kisses. Hermione's arm was working furiously between Harry's legs.

Padma watched the pair in shock. A silencing charm was keeping the obviously loud vocals that Hermione's attentions was eliciting from Harry contained within the room. Padma was so surprised by the unexpected scene that it was several long minutes before she could comprehend what she was actually seeing. Her face burned as she slammed the door shut and fled back to the bedroom, slammed that one and sat, or rather collapsed, against it.

"You okay?" Ginny, woken by the slammed door sat up in bed to look at her.

Padma couldn't form a response.

"Judging by your blush." Ginny shook of the last vestige of sleep to study her Ravenclaw friend. "You walked in on Harry and Hermione making out."

Padma managed to nod.

Ginny smiled. "Yeah, they get totally into each other. It takes a little getting used to."

"Is it even possible?"

"Yes." Ginny's eyes looked off at an invisible scene. "They're actually really wonderful to watch. You can't help but feel aroused by their passion. I just wish I was brave enough to join them fully."

Padma managed to stand. "Really?"

Ginny nodded. "Yeah. I can a little bit but once they start getting lost in each other I get a bit too uncomfortable and scared that I'll go too far too fast. However much I want Harry, I'm not ready for what they do. Even Susan has gone further than me now."

"Very recently right?" Padma guessed.

"Yup. Hannah and I helped her set up a nice romantic moment in here on Sunday night."

"I saw her talking very happily with Hannah at breakfast yesterday."

"I imagine she had a lot to share."

Padma jumped as the door behind her opened and bumped into her back.

"Oh, sorry." Hermione peaked in. "Are you okay? I didn't hurt you, did I?"

"I'm fine, it was just a little bump." Padma assured her, her blush reasserting itself as she saw the towel clad pair enter the room. "I'll go use the bathroom now."

"Huh?" Harry was confused as he watched the Indian girl flee the room.

"I'm guessing she walked in on you two shagging in the shower." Ginny chuckled.

"We were not shagging in the shower." Hermione protested, hands on hips as she scolded the younger girl.

Ginny just quirked an eyebrow in a very Hermione manner and waited.

Hermione fell for it. "We were making love on the vanity."

Ginny laughed. "Hermione, what you and Harry do is shagging. I know you're both still virgins, but there is no other way to describe what you get up to together."

"We make love!" Hermione insisted as she blushed and pointedly turned her focus to getting dressed.

"We should apologise to her, that must have been a shock to see." Harry said as he selected his own clothes.

"I'm more curious who the next person to catch you two in the act will be." Ginny grinned broadly.

"You make it sound like we should just shag in front of everyone and get it over and done with." Hermione huffed.

"I never knew you were such an exhibitionist." Ginny teased, then fled the room as Hermione rounded on her sharply.

!HPEaSE!

Harry's week was particularly rough. Having to assist the Gringotts warders meant that he returned to his room in a nearly comatose state every night. The girls were taking turns to watch over him and ensure he got back safely. They were also working him hard during his breaks and free periods to ensure he kept up with his school work.

Hedwig was busy too, she was pressed into service to carry messages to the special forces team to keep them up to date with their progress. They weren't too happy at yet another delay but they knew that ensuring the school was properly protected was vital.

It did give the girls time to expand their equipment inventory and work on some new ideas as well. The armour though sat on one side of their workroom waiting for Harry to have the time and energy to complete it. At least all the preparations had been done Harry commented tiredly one day.

There was one surprise though, Tapstone showed up later that week to check on the progress first hand and to make a delivery to Harry.

Harry stared at the package the senior goblin handed him. "Huh? What's this?"

"Just some outstanding items that needed to be delivered." Tapstone replied.

Harry frowned as his fingers probed the contents of the package; several smaller boxes... "The jewellery you were working on. You finally finished it."

"Correct." Tapstone nodded. "I apologise for the delays in their completion but we were very busy during the earlier part of the summer. We nearly had them completed when the invasion occurred. Afterwards we redid our work to a much higher level, using techniques normally reserved solely for goblins; we wanted to personally thank you and your ladies for your help and do our bit in assisting you in your mission."

"Well, thank you. Your work is greatly appreciated." Harry thanked the goblin sincerely.

"As is yours." Tapstone looked around the area. "I was watching you work and we have no one who could do what you are doing. I might need to pay you a very generous retainer to reserve your services for Gringotts."

"I will take your offer to my associates for consideration." Harry chuckled. "I imagine some of them will have a few things to say on the matter."

Tapstone joined Harry in laughter. "Yes, I imagine they would. You have gained the affections of some singularly impressive women. I'm not sure whether I should be envious of you or not."

Harry shrugged. "I know I'm very lucky to have any of them in my life, let alone all of them. That's all that matters to me. We can work the rest out together."

"I will bow to your wisdom on the matter." Tapstone put his words into action. "Returning to the subject of the jewellery, while the muggle quality is not up to goblin levels, the stones themselves were more than satisfactory. I also noticed you haven't pierced your ears yet."

Harry's mouth dropped open. "Oh. Umm." Harry looked at the goblin and noticed the heavy gold rings worn by many goblins. "I hope my piercings don't have to be as big as yours, no offence."

"None taken." Tapstone replied. "Human ears lack the space for large such adornments. Your selection though are, I believe, well suited for young ladies."

"And wizards turned into young ladies." Harry sighed. "Oh well, thank you again for delivering them, and for all the extra work you put into them."

"As a note, we added an extra earring for you. One more appropriate for a male. It has a very subtle mate so you will have just as much protection available to you in your male form. We wanted to do a little something extra for you."

"Wow. Thanks very much."

"And thank you for everything you have done to assist the Goblin Nation." Tapstone replied with a bow before he headed off to talk to the goblin team leader.

Harry tucked the package into his bag with a grin, he was going to have fun with his ladies later, if he was awake enough.

!HPEaSE!

"Do you think I should get my ears pierced?" Harry shocked everyone that evening with his question.

"Well, you would look great with some nice earrings, especially for formal occasions." Daphne eventually replied.

"Why would you ask that?" Hermione frowned. "You're normally against anything unnecessarily girly."

"Just something that came up a little while ago." Harry shrugged as he rummaged in his bag.

Harry pulled out the package and sat it on the table in front on him.

"What's in there?" Susan looked at the nondescript package curiously.

"Oh!" Padma stated. "Umm, I think I know. We completely forgot about that. It would have been useful if we had it a couple of weeks ago."

"What are you all talking about!?" Ron sputtered. "Harry, why the hell would you want to get your ears pierced? Only girls do that."

Harry gave his breasts a quick squeeze causing Ron to gape. "I think these have kind of given that secret away."

"Oh gosh." Hermione slumped. "I remember now. Well, you finally managed to catch us out, Harry. Congratulations."

Hermione crossed the gap and straddled his lap seductively. "What do you want for your reward?"

"Hmm." Harry commented thoughtfully as his arms instinctively wrapped around her waist. "So many tempting ideas. How about you surprise me with something new?"

"I like that idea." Hermione gave him a smouldering look before getting up. "Do you want me to do your ears?"

"I was going to ask Tracy actually." Harry replied.

"Good idea." Hermione nodded, "I think I have my first pair with me. They're just basic rings but they're well suited for newly pierced ears. I'll just give them a good wash first."

"Thanks." Harry smiled.

"I can do your ears as soon as she gets back." Tracy told him.

"You aren't worried about them showing up when you're a guy?" Parvati asked.

"I don't think so. As long as I concentrate I should be fine." Harry shrugged. "Even if the piercings do transfer I just don't wear the earrings. Tapstone also added a pair for me to wear while male too so..."

"That was nice of him." Hannah smiled. I know some guy's wear them, but they are a different style to what we got. We should have thought of that sooner."

""Yeah, I've seen that too, but they only wear them in one ear normally." Harry replied. "Bill wears one."

"I think you'd look good with an earring." Lavender commented thoughtfully. "I think you'd look very stylish."

Lavender turned to study Ron who jumped up. "No! Absolutely not!"

Lavender ran out of the room after Ron. "But Won-won, you could look really good. Won't you at least try for me? Please?"

"I'd better go too." Parvati laughed as she packed her and Lavender's books away. "See you tomorrow."

"Night Parvati." Harry gave her a quick wave as she left.

Hermione exited the bathroom a few minutes later with a towel. "Okay, they're ready. Tracy?"

Tracy nodded. "Okay Harry. This will only take a minute and I'll clean and numb your earlobes first so it won't hurt and reduce the risk of infection."

"I could have used that when I got mine done." Hermione pouted as she set the towel down next to Tracy and unfolded it to revel the pair of simple earrings. "The numbing I mean; it was rather painful."

It only took Tracy a minute to clean each ear with a special healer's cleaning spell, numb them and pierce a small hole into them.

"Good. Minimal bleeding." Tracy noted as she reached for the earrings. "Now, I'll just put these in..."

"Remember to very carefully wash your ears and keep turning those rings or they'll jam and cause you problems." Hermione added.

"Okay." Harry kept his head still as Tracy gently inserted each ring. "How do they look?"

"Very pretty." Tracy smiled. "Go look in the mirror."

Harry nodded and headed to the bathroom.

Looking at himself in the mirror he thought the earrings did make him look even prettier and more feminine.

Panic hit Harry hard and he fell back, stumbling to the floor.

"Harry?" Hermione, hearing him fall, ran in to check on him. "Are you okay? What happened?"

"I dunno." Harry wrapped up into himself. "I was just looking in the mirror and then I just stared panicking."

"It's because you don't recognise yourself." Hermione told him softly. "Mum and Dad told me of this possibility. It happens with people who have extreme facial trauma and have to have facial reconstruction surgery. They don't recognise the face in the mirror and react badly."

"Yeah, I think that's what happened." Harry fought to keep his emotions under control.

"You're allowed to cry Harry." Hermione cuddled him against her breasts. "So many bad things have happened to you; things that should never happen to anyone. Let it all out."

"I don't know if I can." Harry pushed his head deeper into her bosom, seeking to fall deeper into the warmth and comfort it provided.

"Of course you can Harry." Ginny joined them. "You have that right more than anyone."

"You are the bravest, strongest guy we could ever meet." Susan told him. "That will never change."

"We're family here." Daphne added. "You don't have to hide yourself from family."

'Family.' Harry finally felt tears start to fall. 'I finally have a real family.'

The girls clustered around him to gently caress him, trying to pass comfort and warmth to him and draw out all the pain and suffering he had been through. I was a long time before Harry finally stopped crying.

"Sorry." Harry wiped at his face. "I should be over this by now."

"No." Hermione disagreed. "It takes far longer than just one good summer to put the effects of your past behind you. You're allowed to get upset or pissed off at times."

Harry managed a chuckle. "Language Hermione."

Hermione laughed. "Just this time Harry. Come on, you must be exhausted. Let's get you snuggled up in bed so you can get to sleep."

"That sounds good." Harry sighed.

Settled into bed between the comforting bosoms of Hermione and Susan, Ginny, choosing to be on Susan's side this time, made an interesting observation; one that helped Harry finally accept his new default form.

"You know Harry, I was thinking. Everyone always told you that you looked like your father, right?"

"Yeah."

"I always thought that you liked the connection to him. From the pictures you've shown me, you now have the same connection to your mother too." Ginny smiled at him.

Harry stared at the ceiling in shock. "I hadn't thought of that."

"Your mother was very beautiful. I'm sure she'd be proud of you too." Ginny told him. "I know we all are."

"Thanks." Harry smiled happily as he started to feel calm again and began to drift off to sleep.

!HPEaSE!

Harry was extremely grateful for the bond he shared with his ladies as they headed up the spiral staircase and into the Headmaster's office. The power they had gifted him was the only reason he was still standing, let alone capable of focusing on this important conversation.

"Good to see you Harry." Albus Dumbledore greeted him. "And I see you've brought company. I thought it would just be the two of us."

"No, you just hoped for that." Harry countered. "Now, are you finally going to tell us everything?"

"How about we start with what you know and I can fill you in on the rest." Dumbledore suggested.

"No." Harry stated. "You have proven in the past that you will only give the little titbits you think we need to know. That's already cost at least one life and I refuse to allow anyone else I care about die because you want to 'protect' me."

"Can you blame me for wanting to protect your childhood?"

"That's great in theory, but given you destroyed my childhood by dumping me with the Dursley's, I think there is plenty to blame you for." Harry growled. "But we don't have all night so get on with it."

"Very well." Dumbledore stood and opened his cabinet to reveal his Pensieve. "I have collected many memories around young Tom Riddle that I think will help. You already know about the Horcruxes. I believe that looking into his past will help us identify and locate the remainder."

"Then let's get started." Harry stood.

Dumbledore pulled out a set of vials and poured the first one into the Pensieve. "Indeed. This memory is a good place to start. It's my own memory of when I first met Tom Riddle."

Harry glanced at the girls and saw a few of them resisting the same urge to roll his eyes he felt.

The memory wasn't very long and they were not very impressed.

"You really handled that very badly." Hermione scolded. "First of all you pretended to destroy other peoples possessions instead of returning them and you showed him the power of magic for intimidation."

"True." Dumbledore looked down. "I acted foolishly in that instance. Every time I view that memory I wonder how much I influenced his future course of action."

"Probably not too much." Harry replied. "He was already using his magic to get his own way. It was probably more the environment he was in, that you kept sending him back to. That's a mistake you keep making."

"Indeed." Dumbledore sat heavily, showing his age. "I seems I have not learnt from that mistake."

"Or you did it on purpose, to try and prove you didn't cause him to turn dark." Daphne mused. "To try a absolve yourself of some of your guilt."

"That would answer the question of whether or not he would have turned out differently if you done something more." Tracy added.

"I was not Headmaster in those days, my powers were limited." Dumbledore reminded them.

"You could still have done something." Tracy restated her main point.

"Perhaps. And perhaps we should call it a night." Dumbledore suggested.

"After one memory?" Susan blurted. "This'll take forever."

"Could you just give us all the memories?" Hannah asked.

"That's a good idea." Padma picked up the conversation. "You must have an order you planned to show them in. We have our own pensieve so we can go through them and get back to you."

"That's probably the best idea." Ginny nodded. "Harry needs rest, we could survive tomorrow on Pepper-Up potions but Harry can't. We can go through them and give Harry the highlights."

"I like that idea." Harry nodded. "Working with the wards takes up a huge amount of power, I can't risk using potions too much or I could hurt myself."

"So?" Hermione pointed at the set of vials. "Are they in order?"

"I'm not sure..." Dumbledore tried to interrupt.

"Give up." Harry advised. "You're not going to win. When they all get behind an idea you kind of go with it or get steamrollered. Of course, if eight different and talented minds all agree, then it's probably the right decision. Later, we'll let you know when we're done."

Dumbledore blinked as Hermione whisked the vials away from him and the group bid him good-night on the way out the door.

"It looks like you met you match there." One of the portraits grinned.

"They are a force to be reckoned with." The Sorting Hat chuckled. "Looks like Mr Riddle isn't the only one at risk of being blown away by them."

!HPEaSE!

Harry woke the next morning to find eight exhausted girls sipping on Pepper-Up potions.

"Seriously? You should all take the day off." Harry scolded them. "It's the weekend tomorrow, you could have done then. Surely it's not that important?"

"It wasn't." Hermione grumped. "Professor Dumbledore had a lot of the right ideas but we didn't learn all that much."

"If he knew so much then I really want to know why he didn't act on it sooner." Susan added. "He's wasted a huge amount of time really."

"I know." Daphne agreed. "And now we are left picking up his mess."

"At least there aren't too many classes today." Harry said. "Just don't overdo the potions, alright?"

"We are having just one each, we'll sip on it during the day." Tracy assured him. "I'm keeping an eye on that."

"And who is keeping an eye on you?" Harry stared at her.

"Isn't that your job?" Tracy replied flirtatiously.

"Oh, you two could play 'Doctor'." Hermione giggled.

"Play 'Doctor'?" Ginny asked in confusion.

"It's a non-magical thing." Hermione explained. "Without magic, doctors have to examine a patient directly, physically. For couples it's a means of getting intimate in a fun way."

"Oh." Tracy nodded and turned her gaze on Harry. "Would you like to examine me physically?"

Harry turned bright red at her directness causing her to giggle.

"Oh Harry, even after Hermione's attentions you're still the same shy guy." Tracy laughed as she gave him a hug. "But that's a good thing. When you've finished with the wards, can you spend some time with me please?"

"Sure." Harry nodded. "We're getting the weekend off but we should be done with the first part before the end of next week. For now though, why don't you all freshen up and we'll head down to breakfast. We can discuss your findings over the weekend when you're all more awake."

They agreed and headed to the bathroom.

Harry blinked at the suddenly empty room. "Umm... Well... I guess I'll go later then."

!HPEaSE!

The girls struggled to hide their fatigue that day but it was Friday so they could turn in early to be rested for the weekend. They all wanted to be... And needed to be.

They would be restarting the DA that weekend; and they wanted to make a very big impression. It would be setting the theme for the direction he wanted to take them.

As such he was very glad when the girls showed up full of energy.

Harry had worked with the wards blocking the seventh floor corridor in question to allow those baring the fake galleons to pass.

Harry stood at the front of the room, pointedly in his male form. He kept an eye on everyone who entered and noticed that Millie, given one of the new coins Hermione had created, had slipped in quietly and was keeping her distance.

"Aren't Hermione and Ginny here yet?" Ron noticed.

"Padma isn't here either." Parvati added.

"Neither are Susan and Hannah." Ernie spoke up.

"That are doing something for me." Harry stated. "Now that we are all here, let's get started."

"Wait, there is a Slytherin in here." Seamus shouted. "How'd she sneak in."

"Enough." Harry shouted, getting everyone's attention. "Things are going to be a little different this year. I have to ask if you are all ready."

"Yes." You bet." "We are." Was shouted back at him.

"We'll see." Harry shrugged.

That was the signal and a hidden door at the back of the room burst open allowing eight black robed figures to charge in and begin casting at the crowd.

The DA were taken totally by surprise and while a few managed to defend, none for them lasted very long under the skilled assault.

Harry shook his head. "That was too easy."

Daphne pushed the hood of her black robe back. "Yeah. I thought they would be better than this."

"So did I." Ginny agreed as she shed her outer robe. "Those things are hot. But yeah, they should have been able to put up a much better fight then that."

Hermione sighed. "Maybe. Don't forget, we are a lot better than them now. We darn well should be after all the work we put in over the summer."

"Come on." Luna prompted. "We need to get them ready for Harry's big speech."

A short while later the DA were all tied up and being woken to see the eight girls assembled formally behind Harry.

"I thought you said you were ready?" Harry demanded of them, getting there undivided attention. "Do you think that Death Eaters are going to play nice? Do you really think they will give you any sort of chance or advantage? NO! They won't. There is no honour in their method, they don't play by any rules. If you want to survive then you have to be prepared."

Harry surveyed the assembled, and currently incarcerated, mass of students.

"Last year we were just trying to learn." Harry instructed as he freed them. "This year is going to be different. We have good teachers to teach you spells, these lessons will be on how to actually use them in a fight. I'm going to be teaching you to work together and how to fight multiple opponents. I want you to know how to actually use your magic to protect yourselves and those around you.

"As I said, things are going to be different. There is a new contract for you to sign. There will also be cubbyholes. You will not be wearing anything with House marking on them. This group will not treat anyone different because of the House; I don't care if you have to attend these lessons in your underwear. There is this fixation that Slytherin's are all evil but there are three here who aren't. And Voldemort was brought back by a Gryffindor traitor."

Harry paused to get his composure back and let his shocking words sink in. "The Death Eater's advantage is Fear. They want us to be afraid of them. Too afraid to think. Too afraid to act. Too afraid to fight back. They are cowards. They only attack when they have the advantage. I have seen Voldemort himself run when the odds turned against him. He can be defeated. But that isn't your task."

"So there is some truth to the rumours about you being the Chosen One." Someone demanded.

Harry shrugged. "It doesn't matter. Voldemort thinks there is so that's all the matters. I'm living proof that his power isn't absolute; that it can be broken. He can't allow me to keep on living. Of course, he's failed so far and I've no plans on letting him win now."

"What do you want us to do?" Someone else asked.

"A good question. I'm glad you asked." Harry grinned suddenly, causing everyone to gulp. "Hogwarts presents a very large target for him. It's symbolism is too much for him to leave. He has to either corrupt it or destroy it. Hogsmeade weekends are a definite vulnerability. Too many are too frightened to fight back. I need you all to stand strong and become a barrier between them and those who can't fight."

"You want us to fight You-know-who?" A shocked voice protested.

"No." Harry shook his head. "While I'm sure that all of you casting blasting curses at him at once would be enough to do some serious damage, I don't expect any of you to fight him. I do expect you to keep the Death Eater's busy while everyone else can escape. I can't promise you'll survive this but I'm going to do everything I can to help ensure it. I refuse to let people die when I can do something about it.

"That is what you will be learning. How to fight past your fear and to fight back. Fighting back the fear is the first step to your survival. This is going to hurt. You are going to hate me before this is over. But if you work hard then you, and those you care about, may just live to see Voldemort ended for good. And get to celebrate with those you love too."

Harry took a deep breath and tried to catch Ron's, Neville's and Millie's eyes as he scanned the assembled group. "So, take some time to think about if you are willing to accept the work and risk of staying."

"If we don't?" Zacharias Smith called out.

"Then you hand in your DA coin and leave." Harry answered simply.

Harry glanced at the girls. "Hermione will set out the contract. Before any of you ask, they have all sworn a much stronger oath to me than the contract so they don't need to sign it. I trust none of you doubt my dedication to this cause."

No one challenged him and Hermione levitated a table over and lay the new contract out on it with a quill and ink bottle.

Ron, Neville and Millie all saw Harry's look towards them and knew what he wanted. They all knew what Harry was going to ask and had made their decision before even showing up. They all stood and headed straight for Hermione and the contract. Ron got there first and signed his name, then he handed the quill to Millie. Neville followed them both and looked around for the next person. Lavender and Parvati shared a look and hurried over. That started everyone following their lead.

"Thanks." Harry said quietly to Ron.

Ron shrugged. "I may have my concerns but I do trust you. If she was willing to sign the contract then I guess she can't be too bad. She seemed sort of nice when we were sorting that stuff."

"I was surprised too but I'm willing to give her the chance."

"Why didn't you tell me that the others had given you a magical oath?" Ron asked.

"Because you would have asked for more details and I haven't really been sharing that information." Harry sighed. "I wasn't sure how you'd react either. Later though, this isn't the time or place."

"Okay." Ron nodded towards the line of people signing the contract. "They won't be long."

Harry nodded. "I expected more concern. I don't think anyone has backed out."

"Not too surprising really. Every one of them is worries about being visited by Death Eater's during the night."

Harry grimaced at that thought and didn't comment further.

"Okay." Harry got their attention as the last person signed the contract. "We'll start today with a quick review of what we covered last year. Assuming you haven't forgotten everything over the summer we'll get started with the new stuff next time. Ginny, Daphne, could you work with Millie and get her up to speed?"

Ginny and Daphne nodded and pulled Millie off to the side. Parvati and Lavender, pulling Ron with her, moved nearby as the DA members spread out to prove they were just as good now as they were the year before.

Harry had to admit they weren't too bad. Or rather he forced himself to admit it. They had slipped a bit since their last meeting but they were still much better than when they first started last year. They just weren't even close to the level he and his girls were at. Millie was proving to be a dedicated student and being given the dedicated attention she was picking up the majority of what had been covered last year.

Harry finished off the session with a review of the Patronus Charm. Millie was very sceptical of their ability to cast the very advanced spell but was silent as she stared as the array of silver creatures and strong mist. Daphne had to nudge her to get her to focus on actually learning the spell.

Harry relaxed as the last of the DA filtered out of the door and finally allowed himself to shift back to his female form and pulled at his clothing to get it sitting right.

"Well, what do you think?" Harry asked.

"I don't think we did too badly." Lavender replied promptly. "We were back to where we were last year by the end of the lesson."

"They are a long way behind us though." Daphne commented.

"We did have a summer of very good lessons, if you remember." Hermione nudged her.

"But you had all of last year." Daphne countered.

"A year where we were scheduling lessons around everything else and having to dodge Umbridge and the Inquisition Squad." Ginny told her. "Plus Umbridge had Harry in detention for half the year. We didn't get as many lessons as you think."

"We did pretty well with what we had." Susan smiled. "We did better when we could really dedicate ourselves and get proper instructors. Harry is a great teacher but it helps if the teacher isn't learning everything as he's teaching it."

"Like we had a choice." Ron snorted. "We started the DA because we weren't being taught."

"True." Susan nodded. "But now we are better prepared and organised everyone will progress much faster."

"I agree." Harry nodded. "Ron, Neville, you'll be needing to put some time aside to get an overview of the lessons before they happen. You'll need the time to prepare, and may even have to lead the lessons if we can't be there; we have other duties."

Ron and Neville exchanged a worried glance.

"Us? Really?" Neville's voice shook a little with fear.

"Don't worry, I'm not going to just drop you in the deep end." Harry assured them. "But I will be pushing you both into leadership positions during the exercises to get them, and you, used to it. Lavender, Parvati, Millie, I hope you can support them in this. It'll go a long way to helping everyone else accept the shift too."

The three girls nodded. "You can count on us." Parvati added.

"Come on Ron." Lavender gently tugged her boyfriend's arm.

"Can I catch you up?" Ron asked. "I need a minute with Harry."

Lavender nodded. "Okay, I'll wait outside."

"Thanks."

Neville and the other girls left leaving Rona alone with Harry.

"So, this oath you mentioned..." Ron prompted.

"You want the long or short version?" Harry asked.

"Let's start with the short one."

"I'm basically married to all of them." Harry stated.

Ron blinked. And blinked again. "Say what?"

"Yeah, that was my reaction when I found out." Harry told him. "And we didn't find out until after we left Hogwarts. They made the oath just after the Ministry."

Ron frowned and his hands when to his head.

"You okay?" Harry asked, worried. "Tracy is good with healing, I can get her if you need."

"No, I'm fine." Ron grunted. "Just my head telling me to focus on my Occulmency more."

A minute later Ron's face began to relax. "Damn. It's hard to get angry when your own brain turns around and smacks you one."

"Can I get you anything?"

"No, I'm okay. I guess it's a good thing you didn't tell me sooner. I might have melted my brain."

"I might've been able to beat you at chess finally." Harry joked.

Ron laughed. "Even if my brains are trickling out of my ears I will still beat you at chess."

Harry relaxed. The laughter seemed to ease the remainder of Ron's pain.

"So, you're married to Hermione and Ginny and those Slytherins?"

"And Susan, Hannah and Padma. Luna.. well, technically but we've developed a sibling relationship so there is nothing romantic there."

"I'm a bit jealous about Hermione, you know how I felt about her."

"And yet you are with Lavender." Harry pointed out.

"I never felt worthy of Hermione. So the oath is a permanent thing I'm guessing."

"No, but they refused to let me release them until after Voldemort is defeated." Harry paused. "It's only permanent if we, you know, consummate it."

"And they're okay with that?"

Harry nodded. "They haven't ruled it out."

"I never stood a chance with Hermione, did I?" Ron asked.

"Maybe, but you wouldn't have been her first choice." Harry admitted. "I didn't think of her that way until she brought it up. Now, I couldn't be without her."

"And Ginny too? I don't envy you there." Ron grinned suddenly.

"I would hope not. You and your sister?" Harry teased.

Ron pulled a face. "Ugh, don't make me throw up. Susan and Daphne are pretty hot. Their... You know. It's really odd to talk about girl's bits when you have the biggest pair I've ever seen."

"Well, you haven't actually seen them and you won't if you value your life." Harry stated. "But yeah, it has made life rather odd. I'm sort of okay with it now. I have girl bits. I like girls. I'm dating several. Kind of nice after Voldemort, Acromantulas, Basilisks, Voldemort, Dementors, Dragons, Voldemort. Normal and my life seem to have parted ways, never to reunite."

"Oh, and don't forget Voldemort either." Ron laughed. "I'm sorry Harry. I haven't been the best friend. I always forgot how much you lost. I only saw what you got."

"There is a non-magical saying. 'The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence.'"

"Yeah, I guess you're right. Hey, you really are my brother now. Or is it my sister?"

"You seem to be getting the complete package." Harry laughed.

"I know things are going to be different but I'm glad we're still friends." Ron grinned. "Um, do Mum and Dad know?"

"No actually. Ginny didn't want to risk your mother's inevitable explosion."

"Can't say I blame her." Ron shuddered. "That's not going to be a fun conversation."

"Ginny might take a leaf out of Hermione's book. She hexed her grandfather to get him to accept it. He was vomiting slugs for nearly an hour."

Ron turned green. "Remind me to never get Hermione that angry at me. I'm damn lucky she hasn't done that already; I've been rather nasty to her at times."

"You have." Harry agreed. "I hope you'll stop, she never deserved that."

"Yeah. I'll apologise to her later." Ron looked down.

"I'd appreciate that."

"Umm, so, umm, how far have you two gone?" Ron looked up expectantly.

"Ron, that is none of your business." Harry stated firmly, glaring.

"Yeah, right, sorry." Ron backed off.

"Come on, let's catch up to the girls." Harry nodded towards the door.

"Yeah." Ron picked up his bag and followed.

!HPEaSE!

Harry sank back into his seat and groaned. "I should have known; the way you were reacting yesterday morning. What a mess."

The girls had just finished explaining what they had seen in the memories Dumbledore had provided.

"That about sums it up." Hermione agreed.

"Well, he was on the right track but it doesn't help us much." Harry sighed.

"Diary, Harry, Hufflepuff's Cup, Slytherin's Locket, Gaunt's Ring, Ravenclaw's Diadem." Hannah listed. "He didn't know about Harry so if he was planning for seven like he told Slughorn, with himself as one, then there should be one more. Did anyone pick up something from the memories? I didn't."

"No," Hermione said, "we need to get Dumbledore to share his theory on that. It really seems like we nearly have them all."

"So close." Daphne agreed. "And yet so far. The Horcruxes are an important step but we still have to defeat Him."

"Yeah." Harry closed his eyes. "I need to get Dumbledore to get my skills up. Anything less than being totally prepared will just end in disaster."

"You've done pretty well up until now." Susan assured him. "You can only do better going forward. You trained hard to do that."

Harry nodded. "Thanks. I just hope my luck has transitioned to skill properly. Oh well, let's go grill Dumbledore."

That got a chuckle from the group as they followed him out of their room.

!HPEaSE!

"How can I help you?" Dumbledore greeted the group as they trooped into his office.

"Well, we've gone through the memories." Hermione replied as she passed them all back. "I have to say again that you really stuffed up how you handled Tom Riddle. While I can admit that you were not responsible for his accommodations outside of school, you stuffed up how you first met him. I really think there should be more to find and protect witches and wizards in unhappy or abusive homes. Getting them on the right path sooner is much easier than later."

"That is true." Dumbledore sighed heavily. "I've often reviewed that first meeting and wonder, that if I had acted differently, could I have prevented the birth of Voldemort."

"We may never know." Daphne stated curtly. "But you repeated your mistake with Harry; you and you alone are responsible for repeatedly sending him to the Dursley's. Whatever good intentions you may have had, you should have done more to ensure his safety and wellbeing."

"Yeah, you did nothing to check up on him." Ginny added her displeasure. "You just assumed he would be alright. What would have happened if the saviour you pinned all your hopes on turned out to be as dark as Tom?"

Dumbledore looked down at his desk. "Hindsight shows up ones mistakes more clearly. Looking back I should have done more."

"The problem is that you didn't really do anything." Harry said quietly. "Aren't you the one who goes on about our choices and the difference between right and easy? But we are off topic. The last Horcrux, what do you think it is?"

"I don't know." Dumbledore replied.

Harry groaned. "I didn't ask what you know, I asked what you think. There's no way you don't have a suspicion or some theory. Spill."

Dumbledore actually smiled. "We both know that Tom has an unusually strong bond to his snake, Nagini. I don't think it's natural or just related to Parceltongue."

"So the snake is a Horcrux." Hermione stated. "Wonderful."

"He tends to keep it close." Harry remembered. "Only rarely does he send it out. He does let it wander a little though. If we know where Voldemort is then we may be able get a shot at the snake if it wanders a little too far. Or you could use Snape."

"If Severus were to kill Nagini then his cover would be blown." Dumbledore countered.

"Unless he is giving you information you aren't passing on then he isn't much use." Ginny snorted.

"And if you aren't passing information on then we need to advise Minister Bones to that effect." Hermione added primly.

"She'll be happy to drag both of you in and suck you both dry." Susan added with a dark smile. "How'd you get Snape out in the first place?"

"That would be counter-productive to the war effort. Amelia finally listened to reason. Severus is needed as a spy." Dumbledore advised them. "Dissention amongst our ranks only benefits Voldemort."

"True, but if you aren't passing on all you know then you are the cause of that dissention." Padma spoke up suddenly. "Information that does not reach the necessary ears is of no value. If we get no value from you or Snape then you are actually aiding the Death Eaters. Indirectly."

"Very true." Harry nodded, giving the shy Ravenclaw a proud look. "You are no longer the leader of this war Dumbledore. Right now you don't even seem to be a participant."

"If Voldemort were to get wind that his Horcruxes were known, let alone being hunted, then all would be lost. Secrecy is vital."

"Nagini is the only one left." Harry stated. "We got all the rest of them. By luck, good fortune and planning, they are all destroyed. Once Nagini is destroyed, Riddle is vulnerable. The only issue will be all the Death Eaters that we will have to fight to get to him."

"We do not need to descend into unnecessary bloodshed." Dumbledore stated firmly.

"I agree." Harry replied casually. "And I think we should also keep the necessary bloodshed to a minimum as well. But I'm sure we can agree to doing our best to ensure that they are the only ones who die."

"I don't think anyone deserves to die." Dumbledore scolded.

"I really wish they agreed with you." Harry sighed, "But once again you are getting caught up on a side issue. Are you going to help us find Nagini or not?"

"When you are ready." Dumbledore replied. "I don't want you rushing off too soon."

"You think these ladies would let me?" Harry commented dryly as he jerked his thumb in their general direction. "Hiding information has already cost lives, the more I know now the safer I, and everyone else, will be. Sirius died because you chose to keep me in the dark. Learn from that stuff up already."

"I hesitate to burden you further." Dumbledore sighed sadly.

"Talk dammit." Harry snapped. "You're hiding things again. Who else has to die before you learn your bloody lesson? Who's next on your list? Me?"

While mostly silent, letting Harry present their united front, the girls were all observing Dumbledore carefully. Daphne was a true Slytherin, her keen observations allowed her and her friend, and later his sister, to navigate the minefield that was her house without ruffling feathers. Susan had learnt a lot from her Aunt about how to observe people. Hermione was naturally observant and Luna saw things other people missed. They all were animagus as well, their natural senses boosted by their forms. They had all spent the summer getting trained by Aurors and Special Forces.

They were all suspicious of what else Dumbledore could be hiding.

They were the worst audience possible for Dumbledore right at that moment.

Dumbledore had flinched.

Only very slightly, but it was enough.

"You utter bastard." Hermione was the first to verbalise the disgust that was filling all of them. "When were you going to tell him?"

Harry glanced back before turning back to study the ageing wizard. Normally as observant as the girls, his frustrations while he was speaking meant he had missed the tiny movement. Hermione's words and the looks of disgust and revulsion on the girls faces told him exactly what he missed.

"You will answer the question Dumbledore." Harry's voice was deceptively calm but the girls were beginning to feel his anger coming to a boil through their bond.

Dumbledore seemed to age right in front of them. "And how would you have started that conversation? I'm sorry Harry, but thanks to Voldemort's unspeakable evil and obsession with immortality it is very probable that he turned you into a Horcrux as well. Given there is no method of removing it without killing you and leaving it there will allow Voldemort to continue living there are limited options. How do you tell a child that?"

"I understand that it's difficult, but hiding it? Did you have any plans or was I just to be offered up as a sacrifice? It explains why you never gave me real training. Can't have the sacrificial lamb get too strong to kill now, can you?" Harry sighed. "It's fortunate that there is a method you missed."

"I did have a plan, but it's chances of success were very remote." Dumbledore leant forward. "I am interested in knowing what method I missed though."

"Him removing it himself." Harry snorted. "What do you think he was trying to just after the Ministry battle? You think turning me into a girl was his idea of revenge? A prank?"

"I hadn't considered that." Dumbledore admitted. "He must have figured out that he had left a part of his soul in you when he possessed you. I hope he doesn't figure out that we know about his other Horcruxes."

"Given that only Nagini is left then it becomes less of an issue." Harry shrugged. "At least, it doesn't if you work with us for once."

"Are you really sure you got them all?" Dumbledore insisted. "It would be disastrous if you were wrong."

"Diary, Hufflepuff's cup, Slytherin's locket, Gaunt's ring, Ravenclaw's diadem, Nagini and the portion he had to keep." Harry counted. "That makes seven. Plus me but that was unintended."

"Could he make new ones?" Daphne blurted suddenly.

"No." Dumbledore shook his head. "Nagini was created more due to the spiritual nature Voldemort was in after his defeat and the high level of dependence he had on the snake for his survival. His soul will be far too damaged to be split again, especially after how he lost his body."

"That's good news at least." Harry took a deep breath. "Glad to see that Snape has provided you some useful information."

"Your insight and intuition have improved." Dumbledore noted. "I still hesitate to break his cover though. While eliminating Nagini will benefit us, it may also trigger unintended consequences. I insist you do not act rashly."

"We won't be acting rashly." Harry assured him. "But we won't be following your plan either. You will tell us everything and you will work with us. You made a poor showing of being a leader so far, leave it to the professions."

"Like you?"

"No. We are following professional lead ourselves. I have to say I trust them more."

"Have I really done so badly?"

"Yes." Harry stated. "You knew so much for so long and yet we are still so badly prepared for this fight. It's like you did nothing at all. Too afraid to ruffle feathers to get the job done?"

"The world is a much more complicated place than you realise Harry."

"No, not really. You just choose to make it more complicated when you don't ensure things are done properly." Harry countered. "Proper trials for all Death Eaters, and suspected Death Eaters, how much better a position would we be in now if you had insisted on that? I mean, wasn't that your job?"

Harry stood. "Think on it. Such a simple thing really. Good night Professor Dumbledore, I'll await your next intelligence update. Don't make us wait too long."

Harry lead the girls out. Dumbledore stared at the surface of his desk, eyes focused on nothing as Harry's parting words hit home. The office was silent. No portraits offer any comment or advice and Fawkes was absent.

No comfort came to the aged wizard that night.