DISCLAIMER: I do not own the characters or ideas created that are used here that have been published and copyrighted, but in this story the ideas and any characters that are not canon, and are not directly credited to another author, are my own and I make no money from this story.
A/N: Yeah... I know I said I'd have this chapter out sooner, but when a muse throws a wall in front of you of technical details and poorly flowing concepts... There's not much you can do. It doesn't help when you get distracted by various real life things as well, but it's finally here! Hope you enjoy it :)
Recommended Story: "Faery Heros" It's a response to one of Paladeus' challenges and is quite entertaining! It's not as crack oriented as I had expected but it flows very well and has a decent amount of humor to offset some the serious to keep the tone light.
CHAPTER SEVEN: Glimpse the Unthinkable
Location: Tonks Residence
Time: Sunday May 5, 1996; 3:22PM
Harry was sitting on the couch in the living room of Andromeda's and Ted's house, with Tonks and Narcissa sitting to his right and left respectively. They were sitting calmly while they watched a distraught, angry, and confused Bellatrix Lestrange march back and forth in front of them, mumbling under her breath at a rate that Harry had only seen Hermione accomplish before.
On the other side of the room, Andromeda was sitting with her head down and a contemplative look on her face, not paying attention to her sister at all, in the chair her daughter had placed her in earlier when she had been bound. Her reason for being back in said chair was from the very long discussion that Narcissa, Harry, and her daughter had had with her and Bellatrix. That conversation was also the reason for Bellatrix's current pacing.
They had all shifted about as needed during the long conversation, mostly due to needing to shift positions from sitting, and in one instance to get food as several stomachs had started to growl. It never really stopped though even when they all migrated to the kitchen for food, then back to the living room once the food was ready.
After the small interlude for food however, they got back to discussion what had happened. Or rather, Harry and Narcissa talked mostly, with Andromeda and Bellatrix asking questions here and there. Tonks added her own questions sometimes as well since she didn't know everything that the other two did, but for the most part was silent unless she was asked a clarifying point directly.
The current situation for Bellatrix and Andromeda though was from them having finally finished their talk about what had they had learned about what had happened. After some time, Bellatrix finally stopped pacing before she slumped into a chair next to Andi. The movement was enough to snap Andromeda from her own thoughts as she looked at her sister curiously.
"Well, your thoughts?" Narcissa asked, drawing her two older sisters' attention back to the trio on the couch.
"If it wasn't for the fact I have my memories back, I'd say this was a very strange elaborate story. Even so, I'm still having trouble believe everything you've told me," Andi stated with a deadpanned expression.
Harry couldn't help but chuckle at that. He'd probably think the same thing if he hadn't actually lived through it.
"Something I don't understand though is why weren't any children born amongst those you saved after the Witch Hunt?" Bellatrix asked drawing startled looks from the others. It wasn't something any of them expected her to focus on, but given her change in attitude, not to mention why Death had sent her back, it was at least slightly reasonable.
"It's because of the Witch Hunt," Narcissa stated, seeing as how Harry had looked to her to answer with a questioning look. If she had been in his head then, she would have heard him asking the same question as Bellatrix as he had never thought about it even after he had gotten together with his loves.
She was still looking at Harry when she had answered the question and wasn't surprised by his curious look turning into a frown. His change in demeanor did cause her to wince internally though as it was a well known thing amongst all the women that loved Harry that what he cherished most was his family, especially his children.
"What do you mean?" Harry asked.
"It was something the girls talked about after that picture we took with everyone on the island," Narcissa replied. "We were all curious why none of us had gotten pregnant again after we had bonded with you, especially as we we never tried to stop ourselves from having kids. We all were still having our monthlies and for a while we thought it might have been the men." Harry had an angry and somewhat embarrassed look at that which Narcissa took second to reassure him, "We found out it wasn't any of the men Harry as all of your swimmers were quite active and well in number."
The blush that erupted on his face at the blunt statement made her giggle as the others gawked.
"Anyway, what we found out was that when magic receded from the planet, those that were born magical couldn't have children anymore."
"But I know of children that were born from at least one magical parent," Harry said in confusion.
"And your answer is within your statement," Narcissa chided slightly even though she had a small grin, "Whatever gender the magical parent was, the other was mundane. But for all of us, we are all magical. The easiest way to think of it is that as magic retracted from the world, it made it so that no two magical could make create another life after having those with it causing so much destruction."
"The Witch Hunt did that?" Harry asked in some disbelief as a deep frown spread on his face.
Knowing exactly why Harry's mood was darkening she cupped his cheek softly before kissing him gently to distract his thoughts. When she broke the kiss, she said, "That's all in the past now Harry. We get to make sure something like that never happens again."
Tonks didn't see his face so was a little confused as to what Narcissa was alluding to, as were Bellatrix and Andromeda. But where Tonks couldn't see his face, the other two older women could and both could tell that Harry was deeply troubled about something pertaining to the Witch Hunt, something that Narcissa knew but was unwilling to talk about.
Deciding on breaking the somber mood somewhat, Andi said, "So I really will get to see Teddy again then and hopefully some more pleasant additions to the Black Family."
She couldn't stop the grin that split her face even if she wanted to as her daughter, sister, and Harry all turned bright red.
Whatever would have been said next though was interrupted as a very loud cry of echoed in four out of the five people's heads.
"Harry, we need you back at Hogwarts!" Katie's voice resonated in their skulls making them wince and hold their hands to their ears as if it would keep out the noise.
Harry could immediately feel a headache coming on from the ringing in his ears and the throbbing his brain was doing from the unexpected shout. Even having been prepared for those returned getting used to the pearls Katie's voice came out beyond what he had expected.
It was several seconds after that, though, that Katie's words processed in his head.
"Katie, what's wrong? Did something happen?" Harry asked.
"Sort of," Katie replied her voice just as loud as before. This time he was ready though so her voice wasn't as loud. Seeing Tonks, Narcissa, and Andi wince while rubbing their temples made him feel a small measure of guilt as it was obvious they hadn't the expertise to reduce the level of Katie's voice yet. "There's something up with Hedwig and Hermione is in the hospital wing unconscious. I'm not sure how to explain it without you here."
That certainly got his attention as a frown spread on his face. He hadn't thought about his familiar in a very long time even though he did plan on making sure she wasn't put in a position like she had been in when she died. But hearing something was wrong with her made him worry slightly, especially as he hadn't been to see her yet since returning. Not to mention the slew of emotions that stirred within him at hearing Hermione being unconscious.
"I'm on my way Katie," Harry said and paused for a second before adding, "And try and be a bit quieter when using the pearls, especially the shout like feature."
"Sorry," Katie's voice came back, much quieter than before and he could feel the sheepish grin she most likely had.
"That's my cue to head back to Hogwarts," Harry said, though mostly for Bellatrix's benefit. The older witch turned a confused gaze onto him at his statement before it dawned on her that something must have happened with the pearls.
"Should we come with you?" Tonks asked with a slight strain in her voice.
"At the moment no, as I'm at least fairly sure nothing that requires drastic measures is needed right now. You and Narcissa stay here and I guess get more reacquainted with your mom and Bellatrix," Harry replied before focusing entirely on Bellatrix. "You should know Bella that I'll at the very least be telling the other's that your back as well, but you should be prepared for whatever retribution some of them might want, especially Neville and Hermione."
"I-I can live with that. It's more than I deserve," Bellatrix said her voice sounding small as she looked at the ground in shame. It was obvious that she was also fighting back tears as her body started to shake slightly.
Groaning slightly as he knew he sounded far harsher than he meant, he moved to her side briefly before hugging her. "Don't worry Bella I'm positive it won't be as bad as whatever your head is cooking up."
"How can you be so sure with how you reacted at just seeing me?"
He couldn't stop his body from stiffening at her question before he pulled back to look into her Violet eyes. Deciding on the side of truth rather than comfort he said, "To be honest I can't truly predict any of their reactions. I can promise you however that I'll be there when you talk with them finally to at the very least prevent another incident of you getting attacked."
The words didn't do that much to reassure Bellatrix but she nodded in understanding. After that he stood and gave Andromeda a hug before turning to Narcissa and Tonks and giving them a hug and kiss goodbye. He told them to be careful and to stay alert, especially to Narcissa as she'd have to be at Malfoy Manor until they had a plan to deal with the Malfoys.
Bidding them adieu again, he focused on where he wanted to go and disappeared from the room without a sound.
Location: Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, Scotland; Hospital Wing
Time: Sunday May 5, 1996; 4:46PM
Susan couldn't help but stare at the situation that was going on in the wing currently. She was sitting on a bed between Daphne and Katie facing an unconscious Hermione. On a bed on the other side of the brunette were Tracey, Luna, and the unknown girl who had changed into Hedwig, while Poppy and Minnie were talking at the foot of Hermione's bed. Minnie had cast a privacy spell after Poppy had whispered something to her fiercely and the two had been talking ever since.
When Hermione had uttered the owl's name in disbelief, she had been speechless for several seconds longer before fainting. The others in the Hospital Wing had still be in shock at seeing the girl change into the well known snowy owl so hadn't even moved to catch the brilliant witch as she fell. The shriek of surprise from the owl, not to mention the loud smack as Hermione's head hit the stone floor, snapped them all back to reality.
Madam Pomfrey, after shaking off whatever had been going through her head, had rushed to the downed witch's side and immediately cast a diagnostic charm on her. The frown that came onto her face had the other women scared for a second as they thought the fall had done a great deal more than expected. Hedwig had landed on Minnie's shoulder when she was forced to move from Hermione's as the younger woman fell though it was clear to any who looked at her that she was just as concerned as the rest of them at Hermione's state.
Pomfrey grumbled something under her breath that none of them heard as she stood back up and floated Hermione's body from the floor to the nearest bed. When the brilliant girl was on the bed, she starting casting more spells over the witch that the others could tell were, at the very least, diagnostic spells. During several of the castings however the matron's frown grew deeper which cranked up their worry more.
The worry was soon accompanied by confusion once the matron stopped casting and eyed all the women present. It was common for anyone to feel uncomfortable under the old woman's gaze as she seemed to have a knack for looking at you in such a way you were compelled to tell her at least whatever it was you were feeling. It didn't help any when she started casting diagnostic charms on each of them and her expression turned into pursed lips as she got her results from the spells.
Her last look was split between Hedwig and Minnie before waving Minnie over and by association Hedwig as well. The frown turned into a slight scowl however as the matron noticed an almost impossible tell about the older woman as she moved only a few steps to be within an arms length of her.
The woman then looked back at the younger women and said, "All of you please take a seat on the beds. You too miss… whoever you are."
The last sentence was directed at the snowy owl on Minnie's shoulder.
Her tone had the girls complying before their brains registered what they were doing and they had quickly sat on the two beds adjacent with Hermione. Hedwig flew from her position on Minnie's shoulder to land on the bed next to Luna where she transformed back. The others could see her concern and confusion clearly then, especially as she stared at the matron in mild shock.
Minnie herself was confused as Poppy pulled her to the foot of the bed where the matron had demanded she put up the strongest privacy spell she knew so they could talk.
Judging by the way Poppy seemed to be fluctuating between anger and confusion, Susan figured Minnie was revealing some of what she knew from the future. Katie had already informed those still conscious that she'd notified Harry the second Minnie put up the barrier and that he was on his way.
Hedwig had looked confused when Katie had mentioned contacting Harry but didn't ask the question that was clear on her face.
That had been about fifteen minutes ago and he had yet to show up making them a little worried. The worry went up a little bit more as Harry finally arrived but it was clear to all that he was incredibly annoyed at something. Not to mention he was escorting a shivering Clarice with his robe wrapped around her shoulders and the makings of a bruise on her cheek.
"Sorry that took so long," he said as he entered, his tone very strained, "I had a run in with the ferret on my way here."
Whatever reply or question that was on any of the girls lips were ripped from them as not two seconds after Harry had entered the wing and closed the door that silencing spell around Minnie and Poppy came down. This was followed very quickly by the two older woman moving to where Harry was as he lead the shivering, and now that they were closer and could hear and see, quietly crying girl, to the bed next to the one Katie, Susan, and Daphne were sitting on.
"Mr. Potter, Ms. Krueger, what happened?" Poppy demanded the second she by the two people's side.
Her harsh tone only made the girl curl into herself as she pulled her knees towards her chest and wrapped the robe tighter around her. The matron cringed internally as something had obviously happened to her, but she was withdrawing into herself.
"She was being accosted by Malfoy in the hallways. I found them on my way here and dealt with it," Harry replied softly. It was obvious his tone was still strained, not to mention like he was holding back a great deal of anger.
Poppy just turned and have him a look he had seen her use countless times on him before to get more information. Usually it made him fidget if he was trying to get out of staying in the wing, or had him spilling his guys on what was ailing him. At the moment though it just helped to annoy him more as he already planned on telling her in the first place.
"I'm not sure what he was saying when I came across Malfoy having pinned Clarice against the wall. I heard her cry for help before I saw him backhand her and she fell to the ground. I saw her jumper and skirt torn and that's when I stepped in and dealt with the ferret before giving her my robe and bringing her here since I was already headed here anyways."
"And how have you dealt with Mr. Malfoy?" she inquired, more like demanded since he left that out.
"Smashed his head into the wall a couple of times and left him there on the stairs," Harry muttered. He knew he'd be in a bit of trouble if Malfoy knew who hurt him but he didn't really care at the moment. Between the rapidly changing emotions he'd been having all day, not to mention the early morning in harvesting the Basilisk, it wasn't surprising he was edgy.
Poppy gave him a sharp look before moving the edge of Clarice's bed. A quick wave of her wand an a potion vial came hurtling towards her now outstretched hand where she caught it.
"This is a Dreamless Sleep potion Ms. Krueger. I'm asking you to take this so I can check up on you and make sure you are alright."
The girl nodded her head slightly as she let her legs down a bit and took the offered potion. She grimaced slightly at the taste before starting to feel drowsy very quickly.
"Please don't punish Harry too much, he helped me," were her partially slurred words before she fully fell asleep and Poppy helped lay her down in the bed, covering her with the blanket that had been folded at the bottom.
She then conjured a screen to protect the girl's privacy before turning to a slightly bewildered Harry who had moved over to the foot of Hermione's bed. He had moved when Poppy had given Clarice the potion to ask Minnie what had happened to Hermione and where was Hedwig.
Before Minne could answer his question though, Poppy had reached his side hissed, "Mr. Potter what in the bloody hell have you been doing to these women?"
"Huh?" was his very intelligent response, as he had no clue as to what she was talking about.
"Don't play dumb with me Mr. Potter," Poppy all but growled out as she stared down the wizard with narrowed eyes. "Your magic signature is all over them and their own cores are unstable from whatever it is you did to them!" By the time Poppy had finished her brief tirade, she was within a foot of Harry and poking him rather harshly in the chest as he stood his ground.
"Uh, Min, a little help please? What's she talking about?" Harry asked though the pearls.
He heard Minnie's sigh from both his ears and his head before she replied, "Poppy, Harry has done nothing wrong to the girls. I've been trying to tell you that but you aren't listening."
The matron turned to level her gaze on her friend but whatever she had been planning to say died in her throat as Minnie canceled the glamour charm.
Internally Minnie said, "Harry, cast the privacy spell as it's probably best we tell her everything."
Harry didn't need telling twice and had already cast it when he felt Minnie had dropped her glamour.
"Are you sure this is a good idea Min?" Harry asked as he observed the spell taking place. He was a little shocked to see a faint glow appear around the beds, walls, ceiling and floor of the wing as his privacy spell took place. It only took a few moments to realize though that what had been dispelled was likely how Poppy always knew when a patient needed something, or was trying to sneak out of the ward without her knowing. They were most likely wards and spells used to monitor a person's health and presence in her domain. He made a mental note to help her recast them before he left and to add a couple other wards to help with a patients care.
"M-Minerva, what happened to you? How do you look like this?" Poppy's now much quieter and shocked voice asked, bringing Harry away from his brief thoughts.
Minnie snorted slightly as the question as she crossed her arms over her chest before answering, "You should know why I look like this Poppy. You've known what I was ever since I started working here."
The matron cringed at the annoyed tone her friend took with her before turning a frosty glare onto Harry.
"I was under the impression you would not be claiming her until after you graduated Mr. Potter," Poppy said with about as much warmth as a glacier. She was more than a little surprised when he didn't even flinch or shy away from her tone or stare. In fact, he just raised an eyebrow and matched her glare with one of annoyance.
"If it wasn't for the fact that I know Minnie is your friend, I'd be wondering how the hell you know about what she was to begin with," Harry started, his annoyance coming through in his tone loud and clear, "As it is though, I'm more curious as to who told you that I knew of my inheritance and everything it entailed?"
Her glare turned to confusion at his question.
"The Headmaster informed me not long after the Yule Ball last year. He implied he had already informed you what claiming her sooner would cause."
Poppy was more than a little surprised when his curious gaze turned furious in an instant. The pressure in the room skyrocketed and she felt as if her chest was about to explode. She only had time to gasp once before the pressure vanished suddenly as Harry closed his eyes and took several deep breaths and released them slowly.
When he opened them again, she had to hold back another gasp as it seemed like his eyes were glowing as his gaze seemed to see into her very soul. "Lemme guess, he's been telling the world he's been doing his job as my 'magical guardian' and that everything is fine?" he asked.
The matron could only nod slightly in response as she tried to keep her gaze on his. The pressure came back again, though no where near as intense as before, before settling once more as Harry muttered under his breath darkly, before calming himself once more.
The healer part of her brain kicked in finally and took in that he was trying very, very hard to control his emotions. While she knew he already tried to hide his emotions on a regular basis, the almost unnoticeable shaking of his body told her he'd be holding in more than she had originally thought. Not to mention that his magic was reacting to his emotions, as was the case with most accidental magic, but it might explain why his magic was all over at least Hermione and the unknown girl. With Minnie showing that he'd claimed her, that explained a lot of what she could tell about her friend by looks alone.
"What's wrong with Hermione?"
Harry's voice startled the matron as she looked back to his face. He had turned during her thoughts to look at his friend and his expression had changed from irritated to concern. She had missed the questioning look he had given to the other young women who had shrugged, not knowing what was wrong with Hermione outside of possible concussion.
"Ms. Granger is fine physically, though she will have a headache when she wakes up," she replied while watching his face as he turned to her with a relieved expression. "What I want to know is why your magical signature is almost smothering Ms. Granger's."
He blinked a couple of times at that in confusion. "What do you mean smothering? We've been doing fine in class and haven't any issue casting anything since we came back..." Harry said, trailing off at the end when he realised what he was about to say.
This just made the matron give him that demanding information look again.
"Explain what you are alluding to Mr. Potter," she said firmly. Harry ignored the tone and turned to Minnie for help as Poppy hadn't been on the list of those they had planned to inform. The older woman sighed at his almost lost puppy look and knew they'd have to tell her friend some of what was to come. At the very least they'd have to tell he how they came back to this time.
That thought brought up another one that she had been ignoring since Harry had entered the hospital wing though and a frown formed on her face, making Harry a little confused, before she turned to the unknown girl.
"Poppy, before we explain what Harry is talking about, I believe we have forgotten to address the issue of our mystery guest who requested his and Hermione's presence in the first place," Minnie stated.
Poppy was agitated at herself for having forgotten about the young woman, not to mention the other young women when confronting Harry.
Said young woman was now blushing though as everyone staring at her with questioning looks, though Harry's was more in confusion as he took in her appearance. The long silvery white hair and amber eye's resonated with something in his memory but he didn't know why. Even with her robes marking her as a Hufflepuff, he wasn't able to bring up any memory of having ever met her in this timeline, or the one he came from.
"Miss..." Minnie's firm tone broke Harry from his thoughts of trying to figure out why it felt like he knew the girl.
The girl however gulped audibly as if she was scared before changing once more into the beautiful snowy owl that Harry had been attached to every since coming to the magical world.
All of his thought processes came to a screeching halt however as he stared slack jawed at the image of his familiar. She shifted from talon to talon in obvious nervousness at his expression before changing back into the girl that she apparently was.
Her blush was deeper then but she was also looking at the ground as she fiddled with her robes.
"H-Hedwig?! But... What... How... Huh?!" Harry stammered in confusion before he did the exact same thing as Hermione and passed out. It wasn't too surprising when you factored in the chaotic day he'd had so far.
The other girls blinked in shock at him doing that, though thankfully Poppy caught him with a levitation charm as he collapsed. Susan, Daphne, and Katie moved from where they were sitting then as Poppy moved Harry so that he was laying down in the bed before staring back at the still blushing girl.
"Care to tell us who you are now at the least miss? Or should we continue to call you Hedwig now that you've been somewhat identified?" Poppy asked.
"It's Sophie. Sophie Albarn," the girl, now known as Sophie, said softly while still looking at the ground.
Both Minnie and Poppy looked to each other at hearing that name. It rang a bell in their minds but they couldn't place why. An awkward silence ensued for several minutes as those in the wing tried to figure out what to say.
Luna was the one to break the ice however as very suddenly she stood up and moved to stand in front of Sophie, startling the girl slightly at the sudden movement. When she looked up, the blond was smiling widely while extending her hand.
"It's a pleasure to meet you Sophie. I'm Luna, Luna Lovegood," she greeted in her usual spacey voice.
Sophie shook her hand with a mildly confused expression as she replied, "Um... thank you."
"You're welcome," was Luna's cheerful response as she released Sophie's hand. "Though could you explain to us how you are apparently a witch as the last we understood, Hedwig was just Harry's familiar and not an Animagus."
"It... kinda has to tie in with what Madam Pomfrey was asking, I think," Sophie started hesitantly, and flinched slightly when the cheerful expression on Luna vanished into a focused and demanding stare.
What followed was how she knew about how, or rather when, Harry had returned, which turned into an abridged explanation of how the other girls had been returned. The result of the conversation left Poppy with a headache as it had given rise to many unanswered questions on her part.
Poppy just knew that those answers were going to cause her, and more than likely a few others, massive headaches. The thought prompted her to check her stores and make sure she had plenty of potions to deal with those headaches.
Location: Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, Scotland; Hospital Wing
Time: Sunday May 5, 1996; 8:35PM
Hermione sat bolt upright in bed, gasping for breath, eyes unfocused and in a near panic. She wasn't aware of her surroundings for what felt like an eternity to her, but was only around a minute, until her breathing started to come and impressive intellect started assert itself into her conscious mind once more.
From the soft candle glow throughout the room and the darkness outside the windows, she determined it was nighttime. Across the room from her she saw a line of beds, all dressed out the same way and spaced evenly apart.
"I'm in the hospital wing?" she thought to herself in confusion before what had happened earlier that day came back to her in a rush.
Her eyes opened wide in shock as she sucked in a gasp of air in disbelief. The gasp was followed quickly by a groan as a splitting pain throbbed in the back of her head and she moved both of her hands to gingerly feel the small lump there.
The brilliant witch's vision glazed over slightly from the pain in her head but was soon invaded by a hand holding a vial in front of her face. She recoiled slightly at the sudden intrusion and nearly shrieked as well. Her vision sharpened though as her eye's looked up into those of a rather amused looking Minerva with her glamour back in place.
"It's a pain relief potion. You smacked your head on the ground rather soundly when you fainted," the older woman stated before a sheepish expression bloomed on her face, "We were all a little shocked by her transformation and didn't react in time to catch you."
Hermione gained a look of understanding then as it explained the pain in her head. She pulled one hand from her head to take the vial before downing it's contents. It took all her willpower to not gag, or worse regurgitate, the foul tasting potion but she couldn't deny it's effects as the pain started to numb almost instantly.
She closed her eye and took even steady breaths for the next few minutes as the pain subsided and the pressure in her skull reduced to nothing.
"Thanks Min," she said softly as she opened her eyes and gave the older woman a broad smile.
"You're quite welcome, though I do say you and Harry have another thing in common now," Minnie said with a chuckle.
At the younger woman's confused look, the professor motioned for her to look at the other bed that she was standing next to.
She had to blink a couple of times when she saw the occupants of the bed, or rather how they were positioned.
The unknown girl, at least for her, that was also Hedwig was leaning against the headboard with her body canted slightly, with an unconscious Harry leaning against her chest. Said girl had her right arm wrapped around his chest holding him close to her while her left hand was trailing through his hair softly. The beautiful girl was also staring at Harry's form adoringly while she cuddled with him. She felt her cheeks heat up a bit at the rather intimate scene before her brain started to register what it was she was seeing.
It wasn't surprising to her she didn't really feel jealousy that another woman was holding Harry like that, but the irritation that was rapidly building in her chest was pushing her emotions to override her logical side.
When she turned back to Minerva, her irritation at the unknown girl seemed to plateau at the older woman's amused grin, though it was quickly joined by the irritation that it was obviously something Minerva was aware of that she wasn't. The look just made the feline animagus' grin turn into a smile before she cleared her throat softly.
The sound caused a soft sound to occur from Harry's direction and when Hermione looked back her breath caught in her throat. Her eyes had met with those oh so familiar amber colored eyes of Harry's familiar but had infinite more volume to them. At the moment that volume was blasting happiness at seeing Hermione awake and okay and the bushy haired witch felt her irritation shattered at the honest emotion on the girls face.
"I'm glad your okay Hermione. I'm sorry I startled you before," the girls soft voice carried in the wing easily and Hermione couldn't help but think her voice fit with what she knew of Hedwig.
"Thanks... Hedwig?" Hermione replied, the uncertainty on how to address the girl very clear in her voice.
The soft giggle in response made her blush a little in embarrassment.
"Sorry," she mumbled in consternation.
"It's alright. I became quite attached to the name Harry gave my form," the amused reply came. "It's Sophie Albarn by the way. And it's a pleasure to finally be able to say hello to you and have you actually understand it."
"I guess it would be," Hermione stated as she took in the appearance of the silver haired girl, noting the old fashion style of her clothes, even for the wizarding world.
She was staring so intently at her that the soft giggle it elicited from Sophie snapped her attention back to staring into amused amber eyes. Her cheeks flushed in embarrassment again as she gave a sheepish grin.
"I'm certain you already have a bunch of questions lined up for her Hermione, but you'll have to wait a little while," Minerva's voice sounded, drawing both of the girls attention to her.
Sophie already understood what she meant but Hermione was confused and her expression showed as much.
"You and Harry have been out for a few hours. The others are at the evening meal keeping appearances and making sure the other's know and will be back once it's over. If you hadn't woken up by then Poppy would have woken you both up as there are several things she needs to tell us."
This only made the brunette's confusion worse as she furrowed her brows trying to think of what the healer would need to talk them about. The questioning thought brought the rest of her thinking to a halt though as he eyes widened in fear as she realised the matron was aware of them being from the future.
Minerva was prepared for this reaction though, especially as she saw Hermione go from startled to starting to hyperventilate. She placed a hand on the young woman's shoulder and squeezed firmly enough to distract her to look back to the older witch.
"Don't worry. I know we weren't planning on telling her anything but Harry slipped up when he saw you unconscious. Thankfully her knowing now seems to have headed off a problem we weren't aware of."
"What do you mean? We are all perfectly healthy as far as I'm aware," Hermione questioned curiously.
"And your answer is in your own statement Ms. Granger," the voice of the school nurse came from down the row of beds and behind a curtain that was there. Hermione blinked once more as the curtain hadn't been there before.
It didn't matter too much for her though as the matron was quick to step out from the curtains, closing them behind her, and walking the short distance to her bed. Not even a second later she had her wand out and was casting several charms at Hermione. The brunette wasn't that worried about the results the healer would receive as she was positive she was fine.
That turned out to be not the case however as the older woman sighed while shaking her head and mumbling something under her breath.
"Madam Pomfrey?" the brilliant witch asked concerned.
"It'll be easier to explain once the rest of your... group if you will, is here. Or rather it will be easier to explain everything all at once," Poppy replied, "It's nothing of a matter of immediate concern, though it is something you and the other's will have to take care of soon enough. Like you said earlier, as far as any of your group were aware, you were all fine. In a general enough sense that's true, but from what I've been told, none of you had been dedicated healers."
The brilliant witch blushed slightly at the rebuke as Poppy was indeed right. Even before she had died, she didn't know that much in the way of healing, just enough to fix injuries. From what she could also remember from watching the others, none of them had spent a dedicated focus on the healing arts. The best that could be said from their knowledge was when they were trying to figure out why Harry wasn't aging like the rest of them.
Poppy watched somewhat amused as the young woman's eyes glazed over as she started to use her intellect. She had seen it more than enough times to understand the brilliant young mind was trying to work out what could be wrong with them. It was amusing to watch, just as long as you didn't interrupt her unless it was important. Not that it would matter for Poppy, but she had seen on numerous occasions Harry or Ron doing just that and receiving a thorough dressing down.
It wasn't that long though before Hermione's eyes came back into focus as she shook her head from whatever thoughts she had. She then looked back over at Sophie and Harry, smiling slightly as the silver haired girl was back to running her fingers through his hair while smiling at his sleeping form.
"I guess I should wake up Mr. Potter then as the other's should be arriving soon," Poppy stated, startling the two young women as a comfortable silence had fell over the hospital wing.
Needless to say, they were all startled when Harry responded, "I'm already awake Madam Pomfrey."
He had a sheepish grin on his face as he opened his eyes to look at the incredulous looks from the women present, though he couldn't see Sophie's expression.
"Harry, how long have you been up?" Hermione asked after getting over her brief shock.
"A little while before you did," he said with a sheepish grin as he sat up, removing himself from Sophie's grasp, and turning to face towards Hermione's bed. "I wasn't sure who was holding me, but I was quite comfortable and after everything that's happened today so far, I was tired and enjoying just relaxing for a spell."
It was then he turned to the now very nervous and sheepish looking Sophie. She was staring at him with slightly widened eyes, and those same vibrant amber eyes he was so familiar with started to mist as her bottom lip started to tremble.
Reaching up with his hand, he gently cupped the girls cheek rubbed his thumb over a lone tear that had escaped before she had closed her eyes and leaned into his touch.
"I always knew you were special, I just didn't know how much until now. I'm very glad to finally meet the real you Sophie Albarn," he said softly.
The amber eyed witch's eyes open suddenly at his greeting, tears now falling freely, before she launched herself forward to bury her face into his chest as she clung to him tightly. Harry smiled sadly as he held the now sobbing young woman to him. She was mumbling something between her sobs, but it was inaudible to all but her.
He could understand her emotions though as his mind drifted back to the last time he had seen her. Seeing her lifeless form in his cage during that horrific escape from the Private Drive had been one of the toughest moments of his early years and now knowing that it was a young woman that had died made it that much worse.
They had spent six years together, him always talking to 'Hedwig,' praying and wishing he could understand her past interpretations of her actions. She had been his biggest confidant, even more so than Hermione, and he had shared all of his secrets and emotions with the beautiful snowy owl.
Now that they were back, he felt ashamed that he hadn't thought of what he had thought was his familiar until Katie had mentioned her. Emotions that had long since been buried and put behind him came roaring back to the surface, and his eyes started to mist as well as he held her tighter to him.
They weren't alone for long however as Hermione had moved from her bed to his to sit behind Sophie and wrap her arms around her and Harry as well to offer more comfort to her.
Minnie would have joined in comforting the girl if Poppy hadn't stopped her, reminding her that until the others came back. That statement seemed to open the floodgates, so to speak, as not long after the rest of the group started to show up alone or in pairs.
Neville was actually the last one to show up in the ward, and right after having entered cast the same sealing spell that had been used before.
The influx of people had alerted the trio on the bed and they broke up from their group hug, all with sad pleased smiles. Sophie had wiped her eyes after sitting up fully, and turned to give Hermione her own bone crushing hug. The bushy haired witch chuckled slightly at being on the receiving end though returned the hug with equal fervor.
A chorus of giggles and soft chuckles brought the two girls to focus on the group that had taken seats on the beds around Harry's or conjured a chair to sit in. They ended the hug with sheepish expressions and small blushes decorating their faces as Harry, who had been amongst those that chuckled, had to refrain from laughing outright.
To make sure they were able to face the others though he motioned the girls to stand before transfiguring the bed into a couch then sitting back down. The girls promptly joined him, Hermione to his left and Sophie his right. The green eyed wizard had to bite back another chuckle though at seeing Poppy's reaction to his transforming one of her beds. Her eyebrow was twitching in irritation from her seat of her own conjured chair and he could almost hear her internal ranting at his 'callous regard for her medical facilities.'
"I'll change it back once where done talking," Harry said sheepishly while scratching the back of his head, "I'll even help to put back the charms I dispelled earlier."
The matron's eyebrow seemed to twitch more rapidly at the statement as she leveled a glare at him.
"That would be most appreciated Mr. Potter, but first let's get this discussion out of the way as it of some importance you understand what all of you have done to your body. Well most of you did," she said, though with the last sentence she was staring at Sophie with some irritation.
The girl had refused to explain how she came to be locked in her animagus form until Harry and Hermione were awake. When questioned why, the girl just blushed slightly and refused to speak or meet anyone's eyes.
"I heard you mention that earlier, not to mention what you were trying to interrogate me about," Harry commented as he noted the looks Poppy sent at Sophie.
"I will apologise for how I confronted you Mr. Potter, especially as I found out that you weren't the only one whose magic was almost smothering these young women," Poppy responded as she turned her gaze to focus on a blushing though smiling Neville, "Before I explain what that means in the long term, as it's effects are more damaging in such an instance, I have to ask what issues you've been having since you've apparently come back in time. And I mean all of you, not just Mr. Potter."
As the others looked to him to respond first, the response that appeared on his tongue had Harry almost biting his own tongue in irritation to keep himself from speaking. The dreaded response for him of 'I'm fine' had been hammered out of him long ago, but in his more youthful body, the response was still habit. His hesitation in answering got a withering look from the matron as if she expected him to say the phrase.
Taking a deep breath, he squashed the urge to utter those two syllables as he focused on all the problems he'd had in a general sense since coming back.
"Before I did the ritual to unbind my core," he started which got an angry look and sharp intake of breath from the matron, which he promptly ignored, "My magic was reacting lethargically. I know most of it was because this body hasn't been trained to direct it like my older one had, not to mention my core itself was bound which made it worse. After that though, it's been reacting how I expected it to when casting and gathering it like I did before. I can cast most everything like I did before, though it takes a little while to get anything require fines down as I'm still working on getting my control back to the same level. Outside of that, I've been getting some headaches every now and then, not to mention my emotions are running rampant, even with my mental shields in place to help. The headaches are usually a result of my emotions getting out of control too."
"We'll come back to your use of an unsupervised ritual on a bound core in a moment," Poppy said when stopped, annoyance clear in her voice, "However, how have you been sleeping? Any more nightmares or feeling tired when you're awake?"
"Outside of waking up rather early today," he drawled while sending Luna a playful glare who had her Cheshire grin at his barb, "Not really. I was a little tired the day I got back, but that was mostly from the ritual, creating the memory pearls for Neville and myself, and then transferring the girls memories to the pearls. And I haven't had a dream since I came back now that I think about it."
He had trailed off at the last sentence, as it was a bit odd for him. Before he came back, he remembered the multitude of vivid dreams he'd had each night, and then spending part of the next morning figuring out what was the dream, what was memories, and that he was actually awake now. None of that had happened since he came back and he was curious as to why.
"And these pearls work how exactly?" the elderly witch inquire while giving Minnie a stink eye. Her friend hadn't mentioned them earlier when saying who had come back, though she did mention she herself had come back when Harry bound her.
That explained her friends natural appearance actually as she was aware that the concubine bond had a small aging effect depending on the binding wizards magic. If the witch was younger than the wizard, she would have a gradual though rapid aging over a year or two to bring her closer to the wizards physical age, not to mention so her body could handle birthing if needed. When the wizard was younger, as was Minnie's case, a witch would be reverted in age at first to her prime, and then stay there until the wizard was closer physically to her own age before aging normally again. Arguably, a concubine could be immortal because of the bond, especially if it never evolved and she was willed to a young descendant each time.
"Honestly, they should have worked like a pensive. It should have taken the memories inside of them and given them all to whoever was using them. It also helps protect the users mind from mental overload, though there is a small drawback of a mild headache from the integration. It's worse if you have any sort of mental shields up when you use them though," Harry said, giving another sheepish expressing to Pansy as she was the one giving him a playful glare this time.
She really didn't need the reminder of that headache.
"How much magic do you use to make the pearls, and how much is transferred to the recipient?" Poppy asked with a frown.
"Uh... a lot to make the pearls, but only a small amount is transferred. It should be the same amount as when you return your memories from a pensive. The residual magic in the pearl is what is used to make sure they don't suffer from mental overload, as well as a few healing spells to make sure the brain doesn't swell, only the small portion that's used to keep the memories stable is transferred into the person using them, and another small portion is used to dissolve the pearls after they've been used."
The frown on the elderly witches face stayed there as her eyes lost some focus on reality. It was obvious to everyone that the healer was thinking and trying to suss out whatever it was she was concerned about with what Harry had told her. After a few minutes she focused back on Harry and asked, "Was there anything abnormal with what you did?"
It was Harry's turn to frown as he looked to his hand with the unknown ring. It had started to glow when each of the girls were returned using the pearls, which was something unexpected. Even while he stared at the ring, Ragnok's warning about the ring being powerful came back to him which made his brows burrow.
At the time he had thought the ring harmless as the magic didn't feel wrong at all... but now he wasn't so sure. Something was wrong with all of them that was cause enough for the matron to be agitated more than normal, along with the usual worry she had when treating a patient. But he didn't know what the ring could mean, only that it felt similar to the Resurrection Stone...
The wizard's mind came to a screeching halt as a thought occurred to him at the comparison between the two rings. The Resurrection Stone dealt with souls, bringing them back from beyond the veil of death, and this ring felt almost identical to the hallow. It wasn't a stretch to think the ring did something similar, especially as the down side to the hallow was that the soul that was brought back would be in pain until let go. Thinking back on it now, he wasn't even sure what Death or the Minerva had done to him when they had found him. This unknown ring was now obviously tied to whatever they had done... and if he had to guess was probably the reason for Poppy's worry.
He decided then that while his logical brain was warning him to keep the ring a secret, his instincts were telling him to reveal what the ring had done, or at least his theory.
"The girls and this ring started to glow when they each used the pearls," Harry said as he willed the ring into existence, "The glowing has never happened before, and I'm certain that somehow the mixture of the pearls and whatever this ring did didn't just give them back their memories, but brought back their souls as well."
Those that had been returned blinked in surprise before they gaped in shock as the implications hit them about what Harry's theory was. The matron on the other hand, while just as shocked as the others, was back to thinking rapidly at the theory.
"That explains it then," she said suddenly, the gawking fish looks of the others and Harry's confused look turning to her for further explanation. "If Mr. Potter's theory is correct, the souls of you girls' future selves were returned to your younger bodies. However, since you were bound to either Mr. Potter or Mr. Longbottom in the future, the lack of that bond being there is what is causing the imbalance."
The other's looks changed into a universal deadpanned confused one, and the healer found her eyebrow twitching again. They really needed to learn more about the healing arts...
"What I meant is that for each young woman, the two souls have likely merged together. The older portion of the merger however was bound to either wizard, while the younger was not, meaning that there was a portion of either wizards magic that was already attached to the older portion."
The looks of understanding then made the healer smile until Katie brought up a point.
"That explains why you mentioned Harry or Neville's magic was smothering ours, but it doesn't explain what you meant when our cores were unstable. We've all be able to cast just fine since we returned, stronger even as I guess the strength we had from our older portions also was merged with us," the chaser stated.
"Well to be blunt then, how many of you, outside of Minnie, have had intercourse with your associated wizard?"
The resulting blushes from everyone else greatly amused the older woman, and it also answered her question.
"That's a no then," she drawled, fighting every fiber of her being not to smirk, especially as she thought of their reaction to her next question, "Now, how many of you have masturbated since you've all returned?"
Poppy wasn't disappointed as the blushes got deeper on the group, though they did have a confused look on their faces. "Well?" she asked again after seeing that no one was answering.
When questioned directly, each person revealed that no one had done anything since they had returned. With the exception of Harry's binding of Minnie, the most sexual oriented contact any of them had had since coming back was kissing and hugging.
The matron sighed when the final person confirmed what she had already guessed.
"The fact that none of you have participated in either of those activities explains not only the unstable cores, but also why Mr. Potter's and Mr. Longbottom's magic is so prevalent in your systems."
At the groups universal confused expression again, she sighed before asking, "Do none of you remember what I told you in your second year when I was explaining to you what it meant to go through puberty for a magical?"
Silence happened for only a few seconds before several of the girl's mouths opened to answer, but Neville was oddly the one to beat them to the punch.
"You mentioned that there was something in relation to our magic and sexual release," the sandy haired wizard said, his blush still prominent on his face, "But you never really explained how. You said it was a means of stress relief and a way to calm down our emotions and magic, but not much else."
As everyone else was nodding after Neville's answer, the healer looked to Minnie for her answer as she had been there for each new year of Gryffindor girls that went through her talk.
The feline animagus had a bashful look at the inquiring gaze and said, "I always was grading papers while you talked with the girls and only vaguely remember my own talk when I was in school."
Feeling her eyebrow start to twitch again, this time more violently, the matron rubbed the bridge of her nose as she sighed in irritations. She made a mental note to make sure that her talks had a more lasting impression.
"What you seem to have forgotten, missed, or outright ignored," she started, giving Minnie another stink eye, "is that upon climax, you release a portion of magic. The amount is negligible, and regardless of what some may think, it doesn't help you build your core, nor is it constantly needed to keep you magic stable. It is suggested though that you do it at the very least semi-regularly so that your emotions, hormones, and magic are more relaxed so you can access your magic easier and have less risk if you do cast in an emotional state. You don't have to, like I said, but it strongly advised, especially as you are going through puberty where your emotions are rampant at the best of times. Are you with me so far?"
At the groups nod, the healer continued, "My theory then is that as your younger bodies have been going through puberty, they don't know how to deal with the merger and excess magic it brought about. You've basically put your bodies in the most amount of stress they have yet to have had, and done nothing to try and relax that stress. Include in that the rather large amount of magic that is foreign in your systems and you basically now have a stopped hose set on a small trickle, with the foreign magic being the stopper, your own cores growth being the trickle, and your bodies being the hose. Eventually, that trickle will have nowhere else to go and when it reaches that point, your core will likely rupture. While it won't be lethal, it will not only be excruciatingly painful, you will loose all of your abilities associated with magic and most likely end up in a brain dead state."
"And... how long would that take?" Su asked, her face looking paler than normal.
"From this current moment, several months, if not a year from now," she replied and the groups look took on one of horror for most. Harry's she noted had flickers of anger and the pressure in the room was building. She knew now that the pressure she had felt from before was because of him, and that it had something to do with his magic, but Minnie wasn't sure what caused it. Not wanting it to get worse though, she went on to quickly explain, "Thankfully though you now know of it and can take the steps to make sure that doesn't happen."
"How?" was the unanimous and echoing question.
"You have to recreate the bonds that your older selves had."
The blushes came back in full force as her statement was sussed out, and this time she didn't hold in her chuckle. It was amusing seeing what was basically adults reacting like the teenagers their bodies were. She was even more amused at seeing Minnie blush like a school girl as it was such a far cry from the strict professor that she was in front of everyone else.
"How does that work with Minnie and though?" Sophie soft voice asked. Everyone blinked at the simple question, but it was a very good point, one which Poppy was forced to try and work out again.
She wasn't able to think on it long however as Harry chuckled slightly at the question.
"You forget Sophie, we already have a bond that exists," Harry said as he wrapped an arm around the now very confused witch.
She looked at him trying to figure out what he meant before she suddenly felt a warmth rush through her. It was like a blanket was being wrapped around her firmly and softly at the same time, and with that warmth came the feelings of happiness, mischief, joy, and love all at once. The strange thing to her though was that, while she couldn't explain how, she knew they weren't hers. They felt like Harry, but the only time she had felt something similar was through the...
Her eyes widened comically as she almost yelled, "The Familiar Bond! But how, I thought it broke when the spell that trapped me broke."
"You seem to forget that Harry has a knack for breaking reality," Neville drawled, causing several of the girls to snicker at Harry's annoyed expression.
"That would explain why your core is in a similar enough state to the other girls Ms. Albarn, though now that it has been brought up, I'm not entirely sure how to fix it," Poppy interjected.
"The bond is already a two way street so to speak," Harry answered, stopping Sophie's expression from falling into sadness, though she looked to him in confusion again. He smiled at her and leaned in to kiss her forehead briefly before saying,"The bond never broke by the way. We just never tried to feel it out until now."
The amber eyed girl smiled in realization at what it meant for her and she quickly wrapped her arms around his torso again. When she broke the hug, she had a million watt smile even through her blush, which caused the others to chuckle.
"That answers that then," Poppy said with her own small smile at the scene, "And it also answers your question about Minerva Ms. Albarn as she too has a bond that is already in existence."
More chuckles ensued from the group as Minnie had an 'o' expression on her face at the realization, though she blushed again as well at the memories of how that bond came to be.
The teasing brought up a thought with Harry though that lowered his mood a bit. It was noticed immediately by Sophie who was feeling out the familiar bond and questioned him about it when his mood shifted.
Sighing and running his free hand through his hair, he took a few moments to figure out what he wanted to say.
"We have to adjust our plans more than just to fix the problem with our magic. There was a major snag that happened when I went to give Tonks her pearl earlier. Two unexpected people came back, and to make it more confusing, they came back before any of us did."
"While unexpected, how is that a bad thing? Well... minus the problem with their cores possibly being in the same state as ours," Neville asked.
Harry took a long look at Neville as he tried to gage how his friend would react, especially considering how he had reacted when he simply seen Bellatrix.
"One of the people that came back was Andromeda Tonks. I'm not sure how she came back but it's likely a good thing for Dora and Narcissa as she can help be a bit of a cover for them while we are stuck here doing appearances," he started, and took a long pause to take take and let out a deep breath, "The other person is where things get complicated. Bellatrix LeStrange also came back."
The immediate response was exactly what he was expecting. Most of the girls had utter shock and horror on their faces, but the two he expected the most were from Neville and Hermione. Hermione's look darkened as he knew her mind went to the memories of her torture at the woman's hands, and when he grasped her hand to offer some comfort he had to bite back a wince as she had an almost crushing grip on his hand.
Neville's reaction was almost exactly like his with his eyes turning into their smoking amber color and the pressure of the room skyrocketing. It was enough to bring the rooms focus onto him and to cause Hannah and Su to calm him down as they were sitting on either side of him. It wasn't long before the pressure abated, but it would be several minutes before he was calm enough that the glow from his eyes vanished as well.
"Why the fuck is she back?! HOW is she even back even?" the sandy haired wizard growled.
"The how is similar to how you came back, but with Death instead of Minerva," Harry said, missing the confused look that bloomed on Poppy's face. When the matron looked to her in curiosity and confusion, Minnie promised she'd explain it and everything else she knew but had left out to her later. "As for the why, I honestly have no idea. Her entire personality is different from the one we remember and knew about. Hell, if it wasn't for Andi, I likely would have killed her."
Internally he was a little surprised he didn't hear a gasp from anyone at his mentioning of killing someone, but tossed it up to what they had all been through in form or another.
"There's no logical reason for her to be here," Hermione all but hissed after a few seconds of silence.
"I can think of one, which is something she's already done, but it couldn't be the only reason why she was sent back," Harry said drawing incredulous and furious looks from Hermione and Neville respectively.
"She brought back Neville's parents."
That took the wind out of their sails in a hurry, more so in Neville's case as he starred at Harry in disbelief.
"M-My parents...? But how...?" he babbled and stuttered, not sure how to respond.
"The spell used on your parents was apparently an obscure Black Family spell, even for the Blacks. When she went to see Andi immediately after coming back, she gave her and Ted the potion to heal your parents. They've been awake since before we came back and are at this very moment, recoving in St. Mungos."
Neville couldn't decide how he felt about hearing that as multiple emotions were warring in him for dominance. Eventually joy overrode the others, if just barely and he had a smile on his face as his eyes glazed over and his thoughts travelled to deal with the rest of his emotions.
"One good deed doesn't excuse that woman from everything she's done before," Hermione stated fiercely after getting over her shock at hearing Neville had his parents back.
"I agree Hermione, but there's something different about her that... I'm not really sure how to explain it," Harry said with a frown.
This only served to ignite Hermione's ire again as she leveled a glare on him, her thoughts likely coming up with ways to end the woman. "How could there be anything different about her?"
"Because she kept begging me to kill her, even against what Andromeda was saying," Harry said softly, though with confusion evident in his voice. He was still trying to figure out why Death had personally sent the woman back.
His statement though acted as another wind stealer for Hermione as she stared at him incredulously, her great mind coming to a full stop. Hers wasn't the only one though as everyone else had similar looks of disbelief.
"But... She was... Why would she do that?" Pansy asked eventually, trying to make sense of the Black woman's actions.
"I honestly have no idea. Like I said before, her entire personality is different from what we knew of her. Only time will tell at this point," he said with a shrug, not really sure of his own words.
A tense silence fell upon the group after that as they each dealt with what they'd been told. Ten minutes passed quickly though and the silence was rent by an anguished cry sounding in the wing.
It was enough to startle everyone from their thoughts and look around the room in panic, though Poppy knew what it was instantly. She was up and behind the curtained bed before anyone else realized there weren't any other occupants in the room.
There was soft mumbling from behind the curtains, as well as several more cries, before both stopped about a minute later. It was another couple of minutes before Poppy stepped back out from the curtains shaking her head with an angry scowl on her face.
"Mr. Potter... Harry, you said Mr. Malfoy was assaulting Ms. Krueger when you came upon them?" she asked out of the blue when she got back to her chair though didn't sit.
Harry blinked a couple times as he realized that it was Clarice behind the screen, before scowling at the memory of her being struck by Draco.
"Yeah, though like I said earlier, I'm not sure what happened before I got there. Is Clarice alright?"
"Physically, yes. She has several bruises on her body, likely from being grabbed roughly. Her emotional state on the other hand is a bit shaky at the moment. It was a good thing you arrived when you did."
The left out action of what Draco was likely about to commit had the others growling, none more so than Pansy and Astoria.
"I should have curb stomped him when I had the chance," Harry muttered darkly, though everyone could hear him.
"You're lucky he didn't remember who 'attacked' him," Poppy said, giving him a harsh look when he looked at her in confusion. "Professor Snape was the one to find him. When he brought him here, Mr. Malfoy could only remember his head hitting the wall. He didn't remember anything from several hours before that, until Professor Snape found him."
"Serves the bastard right," Pansy growled out, her thoughts going to places better left unsaid.
"Why isn't he here then, now that I think about? I mean in the wing itself if he has short term memory problems from having his skull bashed in?" Lavender asked.
"Because he didn't have a concussion, or a fractured skull. Aside from the memory loss, he only had a broken nose and substantial bump on his head. The former is treated with a simple spell, and the latter was treated with an almost out of date anti-inflammatory. Unfortunately for Mr. Malfoy, the only Pain Relief potion I have left doesn't mesh well with the anti-inflammatory, so he will have to deal with the pain naturally."
Harry winced slightly at the knowledge of the spell the healer was talking about as it had been used on him for a broken nose as well. It wasn't the worst pain he had, but the dull ache lasted for a very long time afterwards and you never forgot the feeling of the very bones so close to your brain rearranging themselves.
The rest of what the older witch had said though had the wince give way to a dark grin. Poppy's oaths as a healer kept her from not treating the ferret, but how she had was a small compensation. The pain that would likely stay with the blond for several days would keep him out of every one's hair and the almost out of date potion not only would taste horribly, it would more than likely barely reduce the swelling in his head, meaning the pain would be extended even farther.
The green eyed wizard a couple times as another thought occurred to him.
"What did Snape say when he brought the ferret in?" he asked.
"Nothing actually. Just that he had found Mr. Malfoy in the state he was delivered in. He seemed distracted with something and left promptly after dropping of his injured student."
That made Harry and the other frown in thought. Ever since the incident with Umbridge and Snape hadn't bothered anyone, at least in their group. He didn't even antagonize Harry or Neville during class.
"That doesn't bode well. A quiet Snape is never a good thing," Harry thought, making a note to be more wary around the greasy haired man from now on.
Turning to Poppy he asked if Clarice was awake which the matron replied in the negative. She had given the girl another Dreamless Sleep potion, a little shocked that it didn't last as long as it was supposed to. The only other person that had happened with was Harry earlier in the year when the nightmares of the year had started.
That comparison gave the matron a hunch however as she looked back at the curtained off bed for several seconds before disappearing behind them once more.
"Why do you think the greasy bat's distracted? It's not really like him to be like that out in public," Neville commented after some time had passed.
"Could be any number of things. Not sure if it's a good or bad thing that whatever has him distracted though, it isn't focused on me for once. Otherwise he would have said something by now, or made some backhanded comment to Poppy when he dropped the ferret off. I was already here after all," Harry said with a shrug.
"Still, this isn't like what we know of him. It can't be good," Daphne said, echoing Harry's earlier thought.
"Another wait and see issue then, at least for now. He's still getting dealt with over the summer though," Luna said in her spacey tone. The others had no arguments there as for most of those who had been forced under potions, the potions origins lay with Snape at Dumbledore's request.
"Speaking of summer plans, what are we going to do about our bonds?" Parvati asked bringing the group up short. They knew they had to renew them before the Ministry debacle, but it was a bit of a logistics issue for all of them. Space was needed for each group, and there was limited space of the size that was needed, not to mention a place that had no foot traffic.
"Might I make a suggestion?" Andromeda's voice resonated within their skulls, startling all of them. Thankfully her voice was soft and quiet compared to Luna's earlier wake up call and Katie's shouted message.
"Andi? Have you been listening in this entire time?" Harry asked once his heart wasn't going to jump through his throat. He was a little confused however as he didn't know the pearls he had given out could be used to listen in on a conversation. It was an interesting feature though as it made the pearls a bit more versatile.
"That I have, as have the others," Andi stated. Harry could read between the lines for the simple sentence though as she didn't want to say Bellatrix was listening in as well. Not like he blamed her though with how he reacted earlier.
"Gotcha, so, what's this suggestion?" he asked, moving away from who was listening in as succinctly as possible.
"You can do your bonding ceremonies here Harry. That would make it easier on both Cissy and Dora as you won't have to worry about what would happen if they were caught at Hogwarts."
"That... is a very good suggestion Andi, thank you very much. I was thinking of my family's manor, but I've never been there," Harry said with some relief in his voice. He had had to force down his younger body's natural reaction to say 'he didn't want to impose.'
Looking to the others, they were all in their own thoughts on the matter briefly before nodding in agreement. Neville also mentioned he and his ladies would either stay at Hogwarts or go to a place on Longbottom Manor. It was there that Sophie had asked what they were all talking about that Harry remembered she didn't have a pearl. The amber eyed girl was a bit surprised at the idea of the pearls but gladly took one and the brief description in how to use them.
"You're welcome Harry. Just let me know ahead of time when you decide on a day so I can make sure the house is clear for you."
"We should be there this upcoming Saturday then," Padma's voice came over the pearls, prompting everyone to look at her curiously. "If we do it then, it will give us all enough time to get used to whatever changes could, and probably will occur, without magic."
"Saturday it is then," Andi said, her voice greatly amused for some reason. Harry figured it had something to do with Narcissa and Tonks since they hadn't spoken up at all.
As if on cue to them figuring out a plan, Poppy stepped back out from the curtains with her brows furrowed again. The sound of the curtains being pulled back had caught the other's attention and they saw the woman standing just outside them while looking at where she had been as if it held the answers of the universe.
"Is something wrong Poppy?" Minnie asked her friend concernedly.
The question startled the other older witch briefly before she turned to regard Minerva. She shook her head slightly in response.
"No, nothing is wrong per say, just more confusion to a very strange day," the matron stated as she turned to regard Harry. "Did your future self know you had a younger sister Harry?"
Everyone was caught off guard at the question as they blinked owlishly at the healer. They were mildly shocked to have confirmation that Clarice was Harry's sister, but considering everything else that had been happening around them the past two days, it didn't hold the same thought stopping power as it should have.
"Uh... no. I only recently had a hunch that she might be my sister," Harry said, unsure how else to respond.
"I only just met her yesterday. She showed me that she wears contacts to hide her natural eye color, which is almost exactly like mine, and that she's an orphan as well. Add in that her last name is 'Krueger' which is a German family name for Potter and well, it's not that hard to assume. I had no way of finding out if that assumption was true though without making myself come off as creepy," Harry stated somewhat sheepishly.
"Well you can have your confirmation now then," Poppy stated as she looked back to the curtains. "Would you like me to tell her when she wakes up?"
"I guess," Harry responded, his tone a little vacant from knowing that Clarice was truly his sister, "I'd like to be here when you tell her though."
"Fair enough. Now I suggest the lot of you get back to your dorms, it's getting late. You Ms. Albarn, are staying here however, and no changing into your bird form and flying off."
After a quick tempus spell to double check the time, the group agreed and started to file out of the hospital wing. Sophie was pouting the entire time at being forced to stay in the wing, though she understood why she had to stay there. Her body was still responding oddly from her lack of using a human oriented muscle structure, not to mention she wasn't enrolled, so she was likely to raise a few alarms by her sudden appearance.
Harry waited as the other left, just staring at the closed curtains. It was surreal to know he had a sister and had never known her the first time around, yet this time here she was. He frowned a little at the thought of him seemingly discovering her so soon after returning, and looked to his unknown ring. It was hard enough living a reality he had thought was out of his grasp, but there were so many random changes that had happened since he came back that he was starting to worry what else had or would change.
If there were any more changes, would they be good? Would they help towards the goals his family had talked about so long ago? Or would some change bring everything crashing down around his ears and make things worse? That thought terrified him the most as he wasn't sure if he'd be able to handle things like he had in the first time line.
A hand on his arm brought him out of his thoughts to see Hermione's concerned face, with Katie right next to her. They were the last three there, minus Sophie, though the silver haired girl had been directed to another curtained off bed to sleep.
He forced a small smile on his face to reassure them that he was alright for the time be before they too left the wing. The two girls knew what he was trying to do and for once didn't pressure him. Instead they offered him silent comfort as they each took one of his arms while they walked their way back towards the Gryffindor common room.
Thankfully they had left before curfew, and while they had passed only a few students, they had been too engrossed in getting back to their dorms from wherever it was they had been and paid them no mind. That just meant however that there were likely still people in the common room when they got there. Katie let go of Harry's arm before they reached the Fat Lady's portrait, giving him a chaste kiss before moving ahead.
It wasn't surprising that when they entered, there were still people in the common room that weren't part of their group. Parvati and Lavender had already gone up to their dorm room while Neville had taken a seat a table with Dean and Seamus. The boys were talking about something, though from the confused and slightly hidden disgusted expression on Neville's face, Harry wasn't sure if he wanted to know what the two were saying. There were also a spattering of the other years about the room, doing work or mingling as was the norm at this time before people finally wound down enough to go to sleep.
Without really thinking, Harry let his feet carry him over to one of the more comfortable armchairs, Hermione following him as she had never let go of his arm. He promptly slumped into the chair, dragging a shocked Hermione into his lap, before he wrapped his arms around her waist and buried his face into the nape of her neck.
Judging by the small increase in heat her body suddenly put out, it was likely she was blushing a bit, but he didn't really care at the moment. After everything that had happened today, he just wanted to unwind.
He didn't even look up when he felt one arm wrap around his shoulders and one of her hands became tangled in his hair. "It's probably the same for Hermione," he thought as he felt some of the tension leave his frame. His suspicion was confirmed a moment later when he felt her kiss his head before rubbing her cheek into his hair as she started to run the hand that was already there through his hair as well.
If either of them had been paying attention, they would have noticed the common room had suddenly gone silent at their actions. Well... as silent as it could with the influx of quieted giggling and whispers that sounded like a dull angry hornet's nest.
Off to the side, Neville just rolled his eyes at the scene the two had unknowingly made. He had been expecting either of them to do something like this sooner or later, whether intentionally or not. It was nice seeing them relax though, especially after the conversations from the past two days.
Thinking back on those made him frown a bit, though he kept it from deepening into a scowl lest the rumor mill get some strange idea on what his thoughts were. Knowing that his parents were back was a very large weight off his shoulders... but knowing that the reason they had been in that state to begin with was back, and also the reason he had his parents back... It left a very strange bitter taste in his mouth. Knowing that his emotions were still running amuck at the moment, he wanted with every fiber of his being to find Bellatrix and turn her into a bloody smear.
Yet what Harry had said about her personality having a complete turn around, he didn't know what to do with that. He would have to wait until he and his ladies were bound together again, before he confronted the issue, and it would likely take meeting the woman face to face to find some sort of resolution. At the moment that was turning her into red sauce and jelly, or letting her live. Any possible details around the latter were fuzzy, though he guessed he shouldn't be that surprised. All he had to do was look at the past history of Pansy and Narcissa to know that not everything could be taken at face value.
His thoughts were ripped away suddenly though by a loud and angry, "What the bloody hell is this?!"
Everyone in the common room, minus Harry and Hermione, turned towards the owner of the shout to see a disgruntled and angry looking Ronald Weasley. The ginger's face was already dashed red with anger, and his ears were ablaze as was the norm for all Weasley Tempers.
"Why the bloody hell didn't you tell me? Or don't I get to know? No, I know, I'm just a third wheel aren't I? Too low to be told anything by the almighty Harry Potter; why should I know anything?" the redhead growled out.
"Why hello Ronald, how are you this evening?" Harry's muffled reply came from Hermione's neck, the two still not looking towards him.
"Answer the bloody question Potter!" Ron snarled with an almost Malfoy level of vitriol in his voice.
"About what exactly?" Harry asked as he finally lifted his head from Hermione neck to look his friend in the eye. Most of the common room had to stifle gasps upon seeing his face again, especially the look in his eyes. He had a hard, almost murderous look that seemed to be screaming his intent to main the tall ginger.
"About you and Herms being together!" Ron shouted, either not understanding the look Harry was giving him, or too angry to notice. He did notice the dark and pain promising look Hermione suddenly gave him at the use of that hated name. Her look he chose to ignore entirely for once, instead focusing his ire onto the raven haired wizard.
"And how is my love life any business of yours?" Harry asked calmly, the brief reprieve of tension Hermione had given him vanished as if it had never happened. He was barely controlling his urge to break the idiot in front of him, though he was hopping the ginger would fall for his bait and let something slip that he could hang around his neck later.
"Because I'm your best friend! At least I thought so. This explains why I couldn't find you this weekend at least. What were you doing? Shagging her like a rabbit in whatever broom closet you could find?"
Off to the side Katie winced as she felt a charge surge through the room. Leanne had been in the common room when she had arrived, and while they had talked at dinner, she had been distracted by thinking about what was going on with what she now knew as Sophie. Not that her mind was any more settled now after the conversation in the hospital wing, and this current situation wasn't helping matters any.
Especially with the ginger adding fuel to the fire, though she was mildly surprised he hadn't said anything incriminating so far.
"You really are a piece of work aren't you Ronald?" Harry asked, his voice surprisingly calm to everyone but Hermione, Katie, and Neville. "You call yourself my best friend and yet you insult me in the same breath? I shouldn't be that surprised though, this is just like last year isn't it?"
Everything above Ron's neck was now a vibrant red, so much so that his hair was actually starting to turn a shade of blond. The lanky teen was also sputtering at Harry's own comment, lost in how to respond.
"I think this is a bit different from last year Harry," Hermione interjected, ignoring how the common room focused on her. "I was trying to recuse myself last year if you recall. Obviously this time I have chosen a clear side to be with. The benefits are quite a bonus I might add."
The sudden snog she gave Harry at that declaration had the room in a small whistling and cat calling frenzy. As much of a show as it was though, and while Harry and Hermione truly enjoyed the kiss, the other's that had returned could still feel the charge in the room. If anything, it had gotten stronger. It was actually starting to affect some of the younger students who were a bit more sensitive to the subtle shifts in magic, even if they didn't realize it.
When the two came up for air a minute or so later, they were breathing heavily and staring into each other's eyes as they rested their foreheads together.
"Well aren't you just a bloody tramp Herms!" Ron's voice hissed.
Now, everyone could feel the charge in the room as it felt like some electrical charge had dispersed in the room. Most everyone was looking around in confusion at the suddenly uncomfortable feeling that was almost smothering, wondering where it was coming from.
For those that knew of Harry's power, they could see a slight shimmer in and around his eyes as he barely held back tapping into his power. It was bad enough that there was a haze wavering around those now darkened emerald orbs, making them look as if they were emitting some great heat. Not to mention that if you listened closely, you could hear a distinct static charge running through peoples hair, which was only a smidgen away from the crackling of energy discharged.
"Well if there was any doubt I had before about your foolishness, you surely have removed it with opening your yap," Harry drawled, his voice somehow sounding hollow and angry. It sent chills down everyone's spine and for once, Ron realized he had truly said something stupid.
"You should know by now I've never really cared about being insulted, put down, or being talked about behind my back. Second year should have proven that in a rather grand scale, ignoring for a moment what's been going on this year," he continued as he stood up, Hermione having already risen once she felt him start to stand up. "But to insult those I care about, well I thought I made it clear how I react when Malfoy insult my mother."
He was slowly walking towards the taller teen then, cracking his knuckles with a dark grin on his face, while he stared into Ron's now worried and slightly terrified eyes.
"I would normally write off you blunders as social ignorance, it's clearly something more than that though. Could it be an inferiority complex in realizing you're the only one in your family to not be in a relationship? Or maybe another fit of jealousy that your 'friend' has a girlfriend before you? I wonder if it could be that you're angry because you even fancy Hermione, but then you've never really shown it have you? You've fought with her more times than I can count, though to be honest she has flat out told you what to do more times than you've fought. Oh I know, maybe you like her since you suffer from an Oedipus Complex? That would explain a lot actually, since you can blame your lack of intelligence on her not breast feeding you enough when you were younger. It'd explain the anger as well since it's pretty obvious you got jealous of Ginny taking all of Molly's attention away from you. Does it bother ickle Ronniekins, that your mom didn't even spare her other breast for you when Ginny was born?"
The resounding crack as an almost rabid Ron slugged Harry made the now much fuller room gasp in shock. All the noise from the argument had brought those who had already headed up to go to bed back down to the common room to see what the hell was going on. Needless to say, the only ones who weren't shocked by Ron's attack on Harry were Hermione, Neville, Katie, and the returned Parvati and Lavander.
No one was paying attention to the now equally red Ginny standing amongst her dorm mates.
Alicia and Angelina, whom had moved to Katie to find out why Harry was arguing with Ron, moved to go after Ron as the redhead drew back his fist for another blow to the slightly staggered Harry. They were stopped by Katie grabbing their arms, and when they looked to their teammate, she simply said, "Just watch. Harry can take care of himself."
Harry's arm snapped up into a block not a second later after that statement as Ron's fist came down. The ginger could only blink in confusion at the block. He had expected Harry to be more dazed, after all Draco had whenever he had been punched before.
"Thanks for striking first," Harry's voice drawled out as his eyes came back to bore into Ron's. He swore he was hallucinating then as he could swear he saw the Potter's eyes flash that horrible sickly green of the killing curse as the pressure in the room became unbearable but for a moment.
All his thoughts stopped not long after though as Harry's hand shifted to grab his wrist before initiating his own attack. The uppercut to his solar plexus had his eyes bulging and stole the wind from his lungs as he doubled over slightly. He would have fallen back if it hadn't been for Harry's grip on his wrist, but that grip did vanish in the follow up right hook that him reeling backwards into the wall next to the fireplace.
In a great deal of fear, he used his left hand and went for his wand as Harry stalked towards him. As he started to bring it to bear on the approaching raven haired teen he had to blink in shock again as Harry moved faster than his mind could follow.
Harry had stepped to just barely outside of his reach and grabbed his other wrist tightly, twisting it so the wand was pointing away from him. But the beating didn't end there as he brought his left arm up in a violent strike to his elbow. The ginger's cry of agony as his elbow shattered in a way it wasn't meant to go had the entire room's eyebrow go wide in surprise, even those that had been returned.
But to add humiliation to the strike was that it forced Ron let go of his wand, letting it fall to the floor. Right before it hit however, Harry stepped inside Ron's reach then, leading with his right foot which just so happened to hit the falling wand. It bounced off his shoe and into the dull fire where it promptly ignited.
The knowledge that he had lost yet another wand due to bad choices would come later for Ron though as Harry was still on the offensive. Letting go of Ron's wrist, Harry used his now free right hand to deliver another uppercut to his gut, making the already in pain and out of breath teen wheeze in agony. He then pulled his fist back and as the taller teen doubled over again, he swiped his elbow in a short but powerful strike to the redhead's nose, breaking it instantly.
Ron's head snapped back at the strike, smacking into the wall violently, before he fell/slid down the wall spread eagled and in a daze.
Not to pass up what amounted to a free shot, Harry drew kicked out one of the gingers legs with one foot and drew back the other. The shrill and garbled scream of agony as the angry raven haired wizard delivered the toe of his shoe to the Weasley's unprotected genitals had every male in the room, including Neville, cringe in agony. The girls in the room followed shortly thereafter as Ron listed to the side and promptly emptied the contents of his stomach.
Unknown to everyone else but Harry, though, the physical damage wasn't the only thing he had been doing to the ginger. Each individual strike had with their own unique curse.
The first strike to the redheads stomach was based on an idea he had had ruminating in his head for a very long time. For nearly twenty hours a day, anytime the lanky git would eat or drink anything, it would turn to ash in his stomach. It would never revert to it's natural form and all the bodily complications that came with ingesting ash would last for weeks on end. The second uppercut had been an modified curse and healing spell that would make sure that none of Ron's organs would fail due to the ash in his system. It would also make sure that his organs didn't deteriorate from not having the proper nutrients and sustenance in his system.
Breaking the ginger's elbow had almost been satisfying enough of an attack on it's own, but like the other two it was laced with subtle magic. From that day forward, Ron would have very small tremors running throughout his body on top of having somewhat frail bones. He'd still be able to do magic, but it certainly would be a hell of a task to focus and steady any wand movement if he didn't learn how to cast without the motions or words.
Which with the curse that Harry had incorporated into the elbow to his face would be pretty much impossible for the redhead to do. That strike had made it so that any time he tried to focus on his magic, he would get a nasty headache and the more Ron tried to focus, the worse the pain got.
But the coupe de grace of his assault was with the strike to the Weasley's genitals. Not only had he put in enough force from the strike alone to rupture his testicles, the curses added to it made it that much more vindictive. First was the one that stopped any magical form of healing fixing the ruptured sack. The second was an impotence curse that would ensure that the ginger would never become arouse ever again. Tied in with with the second curse was one that would trigger every time the body tried to become aroused, and that was to very slowly cause necrosis of the flesh where his bits were attached. It wouldn't spread past that point, but eventually the redheads bits would rot away and fall off. And the final curse was that any time the redhead had to use the restroom, it would feel to him as if his bits were on fire.
Let it be known, however, that Ron had some level of tenacity by association with Harry. Even after the punishment he had just received and with his body in extreme amounts of agony, he was able to sit up again. His breathing was ragged and shallow but it was clear enough to Harry that the redhead leveled him with a glare that would kill him if it could have. He even tried to raise his right hand from the floor to do lord knows what.
The hand never made it past an inch off the ground though as Harry stomped on it as hard as he could, the sound of crunching bones resonating throughout the shocked and silent room. That strike had no curse attached to it however.
Squatting next to Ron, his foot still on the ginger's hand grinding the bones into further dust, as he glared balefully into the wide scared and bloodshot blue eyes of the youngest male Weasley. What no one saw from Harry though was that his eyes were now smoking. Not that the redhead would remember what they looked like.
"Consider this the termination of any semblance of friendship between us Ronald Billius Weasley," Harry said in that deathly chilling hollow tone that came with using his power. He finished his declarations with a devastating left hook to the lanky teens jaw that, based on the sound fractured, if not shattered, his jaw and knocked him out at the same time and he fell with his head close to the fireplace.
The proximity was just close enough that the horrible stench of burning hair filled the room, offending everyone before Harry stood and dragged the unconscious redhead away from the fire roughly.
"Mr. Potter!" the somewhat horrified voice of Minnie sounded through the room just then, drawing everyone to the rooms entrance.
Apparently one of the seventh years had gone to get their head of house while everyone else was engrossed in the fight, if you could call it that. Not that it bothered him any, as it helped out a bit with explaining what happened. The horrified expression on the elderly witch's face made him wince a bit however, as did the similar looks on all those that had returned though the feeling was mollified by the looks of understanding that went with it.
"What is going on here?" Minnie demanded as she moved to stand in front of Harry. She made it look like she was staring him down, demanding he answer her inquiry. With her back to the rest of the students though, no one could see the worry that washed over her eyes as she took in his furious appearance.
Through the pearls she asked, "Are you alright Harry?"
Externally Harry just shrugged his shoulders to relieve some of the tension while he replied, "I'm decent enough. It's a good thing other people where here though. It'll let the rumor mill know him and I are through at least."
Externally he said, "Ron was angry about Hermione and I becoming an item. He struck me first and I defended myself."
Minnie just sighed at the vague verbal response but understood why it was so short. Though when she looked around at the gathered and silent students, her Professor look back in place, she noticed that for once the entirety of the house was behind Harry as they nodded in affirmation to his statement. Even the student that came to get her was nodding, which likely meant they were getting her in hopes that she could keep Harry from killing Ron.
Turning back to Harry to look him over once more, she noticed this time that the skin on his left hand had split and was bleeding and that he had the makings of a bruise forming on his cheek.
"So it would seem," she said after a long pause before drawing her wand. With a flick of her wrist, the mess on the ground was vanished, and with another flick Ron was levitated into the air.
"I'll be taking Mr. Weasley to the hospital wing to tend to his injuries. We will talk more about this situation later Mr. Potter," Minnie said firmly and with her lips in a thin line to keep up her appearance. "As it's getting late, I suggest all of you go to your dorms immediately as classes begin again tomorrow."
The tone of her suggest made it seem more like an order, especially to those who didn't know her personally. Thankfully the dread of classes was enough of an inspiration for most everyone to go to bed, though they were chatting about what had happened the entire way.
The ones who stayed in the common room however were those that had returned, but they were accompanied by the worried Angelina and Alicia, and the slightly confused and wary Leanne. Harry did notice that the still red Ginny looked torn between going after her brother, staying, and going back to her room with her friends. She met his eyes briefly and flinched at seeing his still angry look and decided to just go to her room.
When it was just them finally, Harry moved back to the chair Hermione had been standing by during his scuffle, and flopped down into it yet again. The bushy haired witch also retook her spot in his lap once more as they took up an identical position to how they were before Ron had shown up.
"I buggered this up big time, haven't I?" Harry's quiet and soft voice sounded throughout the pearls. It was soft enough that it didn't startle any of the people that weren't in the Gryffindor common room for the events, though his tone made most of them worry.
"What happened?" Tracey's slightly groggy voice asked. She was likely on the cusp of falling asleep before he had spoken, though her tone was clear with worry.
"Harry just broke Ron," Lavender said with a bit of a giggle in her voice. It was gratifying on a primal level to see the fool be taken down like she had, even if she knew it was brutal. After all, he deserved it for everything he had done, and would likely try to do again.
That was actually an argument Parvati had had with all their thoughts of dealing out retribution to those that had yet to commit the crimes they had in the first time line. It was point of contention among them for a little while before Astoria had brought up a very good point. Could they live with themselves if they knew that those people would commit those crimes in the future, and did nothing to stop them?
It was a morally gray area but eventually, they had unanimously agreed after some more debating that it was a better idea to prevent the possibility of those atrocities. They'd just have to deal with the unknown consequences latter, if any.
The response from Lavender provoked an echoing 'What?' to occur through the pearls which lead to a brief description of what had happened from those who had viewed the scene. Harry interjected at the end though to tell the others what he had done with the curses.
Neville wasn't sure how he managed, but he internalized his nausea at the retold story of what had happened to Ron's genitals, not to mention the curses involved. True he deserved them, but he didn't want to think about the explicit details to go with it. Seeing any bloke take a blow there was bad enough as it was.
To those who didn't have the pearls though, the several minutes of silence was finally getting to them, especially Alicia and Angelina.
"All right there Harry?" Angelina asked finally, breaking the internal conversation up, at least Harry's part in it. The other's were still talking about the details, especially to Minnie once she joined in after depositing Ron with Poppy. The last thing he heard before he tuned the internal conversation out was that Minnie was going to spend a good deal of the night filling Poppy in on the details they had left out earlier.
"Sorta," Harry mumbled in response from Hermione's neck again. Her hand running through his hair again was doing it's work on relaxing him, but the inferno in his chest was still there.
Kissing her neck softly, he removed his face from it's position to look at questioningly at his teammate.
"That's twice now you've lost it with someone this year Harry," Alicia stated with some trepidation, "I don't think any of us have ever seen you act like you just did though. Something else had to have happened to make you do that."
Thankfully with those that had stayed looking at him, they only saw him flinch at Alicia's words.
"I learned a bit about some of the Weasleys, and I guess I took it to a bit of an extreme," he stated, not really sure how to word his response. He was honest with them earlier when he had told them they were like older sisters to him, and he felt a pang in his chest for being dishonest with them.
Seeing the two older girls give each other troubled looks though brought back some memories he hadn't thought about. Fred and George had become aware of something wrong in their family not long after the events of the Triwizard Tournament, but hadn't been sure of what it was at the time, though during Harry's sixth year they had learned enough that it somehow involved Harry. They hadn't found the time to talk with him, and after the horror of what was to be his seventh year George slipped into a bit of a depression and didn't think about it again.
It wasn't until after the Witch Hunt that they had sussed out what it was, and Angelina and Alicia had confessed that the twins had told them their worries but they hadn't found the time, nor the courage, to approach him as he was dealing with one event or another the entire year. By the time they had worked up the nerve to talk to him, it was after the events at the ministry and he had closed himself off from all but those who had gone with him, missing their final chance to talk with him.
Now it would seem that this was a chance to fix that mistake from the first time line.
"Girls... What do you know?" Harry asked forcing his tone to sound a bit pleading, hoping it was convincing enough.
"Nothing substantial," Angelina said with a bit of a sheepish look, "The twins asked us to tell you they think there's something up with their family, to be more specific their mother. They apparently caught her mumbling about making sure you were part of their family and didn't think much of it until they remembered the start of their their third year. It was when Molly was escorting Ron to the train and brought Ginny with them and for some reason decided to take a trip through the muggle side of the station. Her apparently 'forgetting' the station number confused them then and they didn't really think much about it. Hell they even joked about it that year if memory serves. But something brought up that memory and made them start to think about everything their family has done in association with you since that's when you first met the Weasley's. So far the only one's they've been able to suss out as being suspicious is Molly, with concerns about Ron and Ginny."
Harry was blinking in surprise at the amount that she had told him this time around. She had still been nervous as hell in the first time line, though that may have been attributed to she knew what he could really do when he was angry. It wasn't nervous for her safety, but more so in him just being angry with her.
"That's... a bit more than I was expecting, but helpful. Thank you Angi," he said with a soft smile to the technically older witch.
"You're welcome Harry," Angelina said as she leaned back with a pleased yet relieved smile on her face.
"Um... not that I know much about the Weasley's past Fred and George, but what could their mum do that made you have the kind of reaction like you did earlier?" Leanne asked a bit unsure since she hadn't really spoken to the younger years outside of casual greetings.
She blushed a little as the group focused on her, blinking a bit as they did so at her sudden inclusion, those that had been talking in the pearls having stopped to listen in on the conversation now that they knew they could thanks to Andromeda.
"Molly Weasley is known for having used a love potion on her husband to get her to notice him," Harry said just above a drawl. He wasn't sure how much she knew about the laws of the wizarding world regarding family lines, and he didn't want to insult her if she was more aware than what he assumed.
The girl flinched at the mention of love potions, obviously knowing of several bad scenarios where they could be used, before replying, "While I don't condone the use of those... things, there are some that are legal aren't they? How could those elicit the... fight... you just had."
"At the absolute worst, the entire Weasley family can be charged with Line Theft," Neville responded to her inquiry, getting a confused look in response.
In response he willed his family ring to be visible and showed it to her, making Angelina's, Alicia's, and Leanne's eyes go wide in shock. It cleared up that the three girls knew enough about what the ring meant as almost a second later, all three head's snapped to stare at Harry's hand around Hermione's waist.
He chuckled sheepishly as he willed the rings on his left into existence. It was a bit of a risk showing not only the Potter ring, but also the Black ring to the three girls but he knew at least in part he could trust Angelina and Alicia.
The risk lay with Leanna, though judging by her sharp intake of breath at their reveal, she knew the importance of secrecy around Heads of House.
"Y-You're Lord Potter and Lord Black?! But.. how, aren't you too young to take up the mantle?" her question all but confirmed she was fairly knowledgeable about the wizarding world's politics.
"For the title and position, you only have to be fifteen. You can't take up the seat in the court until you're twenty five, if memory serves," Harry stated, looking to Neville for confirmation since his friend was much more versed in the laws surrounding the Wizengamot. The sandy haired teen nodded to confirm that line of thought.
Turning back to Leanna, he said, "In that case, the only options are the complete destruction of the Weasley family through a Blood Feud, the entirety of the family is stripped of any and all assets from every family member and they are sentenced to life in Azkaban, or if it can be proven that the Head of House from the charged family was unaware of their family member's actions, they can disown them and still have to pay reparations for what was done. While the latter doesn't seem so bad, the family name becomes blacklisted for having let someone like that into their family and are deemed 'untrustworthy' from that point on. Granted, to get to that level would require a very powerful, not to mention difficult to brew and highly illegal potion."
The three girls looked green at the implications of what could result from dousing someone with a potion. It was bad enough that someone would want to force someone to feel love for them, but to take a chance that you could cause such devastation to your family for your own selfish desires? Surely the twin's mother couldn't do something that horrible?
Seeing the rapidly changing expressions on the girls faces, and figuring that they were likely thinking of what horror's would ensue if Molly Weasley was indeed planning that very thing, Harry decided to throw them a bit of a bone. It's not like they needed to know that that was exactly what the bint was planning, and then some.
"Like I said, that's the worse case scenario," Harry said in a soothing voice. "If I had found out anything like that... well my response would be a lot different in regards to the walking garbage disposal. And I'd likely have to do something that would break my sister's hearts."
The blushing glares Angelina and Alicia sent Harry's way had Leanne laughing softly, and abated some of the seriousness of the topic. She knew from Katie about the two girls relationship with the twins on top of having seen it evolve over the years since she became friends with Katie. She was a bit surprised though when Katie was laughing as well though, and had assumed that Harry had been including her in the sister's comment. Apparently she had been mistaken and she filled it away to bug her friend about later.
"Well then what did you find out then since you apparently know something we don't," Angelina growled slightly, though there was no heat in it. It didn't help that it was obvious she was fighting back a grin.
"Outside of him making offhand comments about doing exactly what we just talked about with Hermione," he started, eliciting another gasp from the girls as they stared at the brilliant witch with worry, "I learned he's been more or less helping the flames that bloody newspaper has been making. Well... not the spouting about me being a deranged lunatic, but about being impossible to approach. I had to learn he's been more or less scarring off people that just want to talk to me enough to get a clarifying view on either something that's happened since I started here or on whatever new thing the Prophet is spouting. It's not really in his favor that I had to learn about this from a classmate in a different house by happenstance."
"And that was reason enough to cave his face in?" Alicia asked with some concern.
He had to give the older girl a deadpanned expression at the question. She'd seen Oliver take a bludger to the skull, which had more of a 'caving in' effect on a person than the few hits he'd given Ron. The elder chaser seemed to realize her poor choice of words shortly after his look at her and chuckled slightly as she blushed and rephrased her question to, "I mean is that reason enough for you to assault him like you did?"
"I may not be a fan of the spotlight, but I'd like people to judge me after having met and talked with me instead of judging me based on what someone else is saying. Included is that he's been doing this since my first year, long before I knew anything about the wizarding world and was desperate for friends. He basically isolated me from everyone that wasn't his family without me really noticing what he was up to until I had someone pretty much cram it down my throat. It's pure luck I got to know the team as well as I did, and need I remind you he's the reason Hermione almost got killed in our first year due to his actions?"
The girls had to blink in surprise again at how it sounded when he put it like that with what they knew. It didn't take long to realize he was right with how the redhead had been acting from the very moment Harry had been sorted into Gryffindor, followed by righteous fury at the reminder that he had been the cause of a lot of anguish for Hermione who became a close friend to the chasers to learn more about how women handled quidditch. Learning more about how Harry acted when around other people was just a bonus.
"When it's put that way... Yeah, I'd have the same reaction," Leanne said after a bout of silence.
The comment caused the others to chuckle in response the it was interrupted by a loud yawn from Parvati, who blushed furiously when knowing grins turned to look at her. Even with her blush she turned a triumphant grin on the other's at the chain reaction her yawn had started and it devolved into a yawning and laughing fit amongst them.
It took a while, but when they could all finally manage to stop laughing, and no one was currently yawning, Neville was the one to take the initiative and stood up while stretching.
With a groan as a couple of bones in his back popped, he said as he let his arms fall, "On that note, I'm headed to bed. Ladies, Harry, goodnight. And congratulations on becoming a couple finally."
The last part was said with a wide and cheeky grin, causing the couple to chuckle at the subtle jab.
"We're off too. We need our beauty sleep!" Parvati mock cried as she dragged Lavender to the dorms, the others chuckling behind them. Alicia and Angelina were quick to follow on the gossip girls tails, themselves making joking similar comments.
Hermione removed herself from Harry's lap at that point and helped him stand, though he had to briefly shake feeling back into his leg much to her amusement.
He just mock scowled at her before smiling and giving her a passionate kiss goodnight. It didn't last long as Leanne was still in the room as she and Katie had stood up as well to say their own goodnights. When the couple broke, Harry moved to Katie and gave her a hug goodnight as well, before heading up to his own dorm.
Leanne was a bit surprised at the genuinely happy look on Hermione's face, even when her boyfriend was hugging her friend, although she could pass it off as friendly camaraderie between teammates. What she couldn't pass off however was the gentle touch Hermione gave her friend as she too headed to her own dorm, nor the look of adoration on Katie's face as she briefly starred at Harry's and Hermione's retreating backs.
It didn't last long as she turned a cheerful smile onto her soon after and all but dragged her off to bed as well. Leanne followed a bit uncoordinatedly as her mind was now trying to figure out what was going on between her friend and the two younger teens.
A/N: HAH! Finally managed to finish this bloody chapter. I apologize for how long it took but one of the first parts in it gave me an absolute nightmare of a time in trying to work out the details. I can't remember how many times I tried to find something that fit and in trying to flesh it out, it just made it worse and was promptly scrapped. Anywho, hope you enjoyed the chapter, and... well I'd promise the next will be out soon, but that's a bit unlikely. I'll will say I'll try, but no promises.