A Study in Friendship

Chapter Fifteen

"You're being an idiot." said Sherlock harshly.

They were sitting around the kitchen table. Tom had declined Yorry's offer of tea, but Harry was sipping his own cup with the long-suffering expression he always got on his face when Tom and Sherlock bickered. No, they were not bickering, Sherlock reminded himself, Tom was being stupid, and Sherlock was knocking some sense into his head.

"I'm not being an idiot!" protested Tom, scowling, "It's perfectly normal to feel this way!"

"Perhaps," replied Sherlock, "but it's depressing me and becoming annoying. Stop it!"

"Well, let's kill two pieces of your soul and then see if you don't get upset!" replied Tom heatedly.

"Shut up!" groaned Harry, "Both of you! I just had the best night of my life, and you're ruining my good mood with your angst" he looked at Tom pointedly, "and your quarreling." he turned his gaze to Sherlock.

"I just don't understand why it matters!" protested Sherlock, "So what if his Horcruxes were destroyed? He's planning on reabsorbing them anyways!"

"We aren't exactly sure what happens when a Horcrux is destroyed!" explained Tom "What if it permanently dies, and I'll never be able to reabsorb it? With two pieces of my soul missing, I'll be in constant danger of becoming insane again. Next time, I might do more lasting damage! I don't know what I'd do if I ended up harming you in a fit of inanity," his voice wobbled a bit, "I don't think I'd ever be able to live with myself."

Harry's eyes softened at Tom's explanation, but Sherlock rolled his.

"The whole concept a Horcrux is based on is the fact that a piece of soul can't die while another part of it still lives. That's why a Horcrux works. So there's no reason you shouldn't be able to regain the pieces of soul in the destroyed Horcruxes just as easily as the rest of them."

Both Harry and Tom sighed with relief at that, but Sherlock wasn't finished.

"Don't pretend to be relieved Tom. I was with you when we investigated the nature of Horcruxes. You knew very well that you had nothing to worry about! You were just playing the sympathy card to get Harry to take your side, weren't you? The only reason you're upset about the destruction of your Horcruxes is because it means that someone outsmarted you."

Harry shot Tom a dirty look and kicked him in the shin. Tom scowled at Sherlock in return and muttered something about it upsetting him enough to lose his mind.

"Well, that turned out pretty well in the end, didn't it?" said Harry brightly.

"Pretty well?" Tom exclaimed, "Harry, I crucioed you!"

"And made a shoddy job of it." Harry replied, much to Sherlock's amusement, "I mean, it hurt, but not nearly as much as last time you cast that spell on me. That Crucio was not up to par."

Interesting. Tom's feelings for Harry were so profound that they manifested even when Tom had lost all sense of humanity and become Voldemort. Sherlock had known that Tom cared for Harry, of course, but the knowledge that the emotion was so deep was new to him. It was a good thing too, because if Tom had caused Harry any more damage than he did, he probably would have triggered the Unbreakable Vow he had made not to harm Harry.

Did they even remember they had made the Vow? He stared at them. Their bodies were leaning naturally towards each other in conversation, displaying trust and openness. They were long past the need for the safety net of an Unbreakable Vow. Their current trust was based on friendship and affection, with no dependence on any past magical acts.

In the panic and drama of the situation they had been in, they had probably forgotten all about it. Was there any point in reminding them now? Scaring them with the prospects of what could have happened had Tom gone against the Vow and harmed Harry? Sherlock decided to remain silent.

"Anyways," continued Harry obliviously, "Even if your brief stint with insanity did cause you to Crucio me, I'm glad it happened if it's what finally gave Sherlock the courage to take the risk and kiss you. What happened next completely made it worth it."

"I didn't need any courage to act of my feeling for you," scoffed Sherlock, rolling his eyes ,"I was already aware that the feeling was mutual. Tom's pulse always picks up whenever we touch, and Harry, your pupils always dilate when you see either of us in any state of undress. All Tom needs to do is stretch just a bit, so his shirt hitches up and his stomach shows a bit. It's extremely obvious."

"Then why did you never act on it before?" asked Tom, as Harry blushed.

"You weren't guaranteed to react positively. Harry, you were completely unaware that you had feelings for us. You're utterly honest and wear your heart on your sleeve. If you were aware of how you felt, you would have acted on your feelings immediately. Still, of the two of you, I was least cautious of indicating my affection for you, Harry. Tom- you were the one I was worried about."

"Why me?" questioned Tom gravely. Sherlock wasn't sure, but he thought that Tom looked hurt.

Sherlock knew that despite appearances, Tom was the most vulnerable of the three of them. He had the blood of many people on his hands, Harry's own parents included, and the knowledge and guilt followed him around like a heavy weight on his shoulders. Harry was, of course, the most forgiving and loving person Sherlock had ever met and he truly forgave Tom for his past actions, but if one knew how to look for the signs, one could see that Tom didn't feel entitled to Harry's forgiveness. Tom constantly feared that one day Harry and Sherlock would be faced with the cold, hard truth- that he was a murderer, and decide they no longer wanted his friendship.

So, despite the fact that he loathed any and all things sappy and sentimental, Sherlock tried to be as tactful and gentle as possible when he answered.

"Only a few months ago you had never had a close friend in your life, and your main goal was to cause all those who interacted with you to feel as fearful of you as possible. Letting yourself befriend us was a huge leap of faith for you, and one that shouldn't be underestimated, but there is vulnerability in a romantic relationship that doesn't exist in a friendship. I had reason to believe that allowing us that degree of intimacy in your life would be too much too soon and you wouldn't feel comfortable with it.

"Initiating anything before the time was right could have caused complications, but I felt that last night, after you had experienced for yourself how much better friendship and being loved is than living in loneliness and security, you would be much more open to such advances on my side. And I was right, of course." he finished smugly.

Tom was shaking his head, though. "You were not right. I would have welcomed any advances on either of your parts even before tonight. I'm not an idiot. It's been very clear to me for a very long time that I wasn't happy with the life I was leading."

"I'm not wrong." snapped Sherlock, already making a mental list of all the times Tom's eyebrow twitched or his lip twisted when Sherlock or Harry got too close to him.

He was about to begin listing these incidents, but Harry interrupted before Sherlock could begin.

"BACK TO WHAT I WAS SAYING," he enunciated loudly, giving Sherlock a look that he knew meant that Harry didn't have the patience for this, "everything turned out alright, so Tom can stop being an angsty mood kill and Sherlock can stop being a know it all."

"Fair enough." agreed Tom, "but only if it means Harry can stop referring to Sherlock and Tom in third person, and take off his shirt while he's at it."

Harry's lip twitched as he removed his shirt, and leaned over Tom to kiss him.

"Good morning, Harry" Hermione greeted him pleasantly as he sat down next to her at breakfast.

Harry's contented yawn drowned out his own greeting, but Hermione seemed to get the gist, since she smiled at him before turning back to her book A Study of Runic Fertility Symbols and Their Effect on Middle Eastern Marriage Rituals.

Ron, who Harry woke before leaving the dormitory, arrived soon after looking tired and bleary-eyed. He uttered a grunt that could be interpreted as pleased when he spotted the bacon, and another that could be interpreted as exasperated when he spotted Hermione's book.

Breakfast was interrupted as usual by the flurry of owls entering the Great Hall halfway through the meal, and a tawny brown school-owl landed next to Harry, extending his leg. Harry, recognizing the owl he had sent to Sirius with his inquiry on accessing his Gringotts account while being imprisoned, removed the letter eagerly and opened it.


I'll admit that at first I was mystified by your request for information. Now, I think I've realized why you wanted to know how I bought your Firebolt, and await an explanation for this inquiry curious and amused. At first I didn't understand why you would want to know, but then, I realized the potential.

If the goblins really did agree to serve fugitive Death Eaters as if they were regular clients, the possibilities would be endless! We could write the goblins missives from my cousin Bellatrix promising them a handsome sum of money to deliver coded messages from 'The Dark Lord' to Lucius Malfoy. The thought of him struggling to interpret the message 'The Dark Lord's snake shall enter your hidden drawing room when the moon is at its peak' makes me very happy.

Is that indeed what you were planning on doing with the information you requested? What did you have in mind? The house I'm staying in is dark, dank and depressing, and hearing about your shenanigans will do me a world of good.

I'm sorry to tell you though, that as nice as the thought of draining the bank accounts of incarcerated Death Eaters is, it isn't actually plausible. The goblins don't serve fugitives from the law. The only reason I managed to buy you your Firebolt is because I worded the order under your name.

Since Azkaban is not like normal prisons, and any person incarcerated in there isn't capable of managing their money and affairs like someone in a regular prison might, if a person is ever sentenced to life in Azkaban, their money and possessions all immediately pass on to their next of kin or friends, according to their will.

Being my godson, you inherited all my money when I was put in Azkaban. When I wrote the order for the Firebolt, it was under your name, though the money was removed from my own vault.

Unfortunately, this doesn't mean we can forge a letter from Rabastan Lestrange's next of kin ordering Firebolts for all of Gryffindor house. I sent my vault key over with the order as proof of my, or rather your, identity. So unless you have the vault key (or perhaps wand) of the person in question, you won't be able to gain any access to the vault.

I'm sorry if this rules out whatever it was you were planning (it probably does), but it's still a nice prospect to fantasize about.

On to a less pleasant subject- I know there has been absolutely no news of Voldemort, but don't let that fool you- DON'T BE COMPLACENT! Dumbledore thinks he's lying low and plotting something big. So please, stay on guard, and report to him immediately the minute something suspicious happens. Knowing you're staying safe helps me do the same.

With love,


P.S. burn this letter once you're done reading it.

Harry sighed once he finished reading the letter, and folded it. He would show it to Tom as soon as he got an opportunity to get away. It seemed that they would have to break into Gringotts after all, and though under different circumstances Harry might have regarded it as an adventure, the fact that something as important as Tom's soul was on the line had caused Harry to wish that they could obtain the Horcrux in a much simpler manner.

"Letter from Sirius?" asked Hermione, looking up from her book, "You don't look too happy, what does it say?"

She reached out to take the letter, but Harry stuffed it quickly into his pocket before she could reach it. He wanted to show Tom the letter, and if Hermione and Ron read it they would expect Harry to burn the letter as per the instructions in it.

Both Hermione and Ron stared at him, surprised. Realizing how rare it was for him to keep anything, let alone mail from Sirius, private from his friends, Harry muttered a quick apology.

"…It just had some things that were private, you know?"

Ron still looked suspicious, but thankfully, at that moment, he spotted the pancakes with syrup, and with a shrug at Harry that said 'I still think it's weird but I have more important things to deal with now' he left to the other side of the table where the plate of pancakes was resting.

That left Harry with Hermione, who was, of course, much shrewder than Ron, and had a curiosity streak a mile long. There was a moment of silence. Then: "Really? It had some things that were private?"

Harry shrugged uncomfortably.

Hermione continued pushing, "Look, Harry, it's not that you're not entitled to your privacy, it's completely your right to want to keep your mail to yourself. It's just that you've never had a problem sharing with Ron and me before. The panicked way you reacted when I asked to see your mail was odd. And I probably would have ignored it if it was a one time thing, but you have been behaving rather strange lately in general."

"What else have I been doing that was odd?!" demanded Harry.

"For one thing, you disappeared all of yesterday, only arriving at the Common Room two minutes before curfew. We were really worried for you after you collapsed in Defense, and we couldn't find you anywhere. We even looked for you on the Marauder's Map and didn't find anything. Then you suddenly appeared, and when we asked you where you were, all you had to say for yourself was 'Oh, just around' and that you're too tired to talk and want to go to bed. That's acting odd."

"I er, well, I wasn't really anywhere special, it's not really all that strange I just wanted some time to myself."

Hermione sighed. "You're entitled to your own privacy, Harry, of course you are. Just know that you can tell me anything. I'm your friend, and I'll stand by you no matter what."

With that she turned back to her book, causing Harry to sigh with relief.

"Oh, and one more thing, Harry," she suddenly added, looking up from her book at him, "you might want to button you shirt up properly; I can plainly see the bruise on your collarbone." She looked pointedly at the rather obvious hickey Harry was sporting, and then calmly returned to her book.

"Hello, girl." Greeted Tom softly as a familiar snowy white owl flew through the window. She was quite the majestic owl, and very beautiful with her white plumage, which was why Tom remembered her even though he had only seen her once before. Harry hadn't sent him any letters since the very first time he had written to Tom all those months ago. Nowadays, if he wanted to speak to Tom, he either wrote in the enchanted parchment, or simply came over, depending on the hour.

Within the first paragraph, Tom realized what the letter was about.

"Yorry!" he called absently while perusing the letter, "Please find Sherlock and ask him to come over. Tell him it's about the wizard bank." He hoped that by phrasing it as a request and telling Sherlock the reason for wanting his presence, Sherlock would deduce that it was a genuine request by a sane Tom, and nothing to fear.

"Right away, master." replied Yorry. She was still rather wary around Tom, feeling that she had gotten away without the punishment she deserved for having knocked Tom out, despite the fact that he had reassured her that he was happy with her actions that day. It was probably for that reason that she didn't heave a demonstratively loud sigh the way she normally would when Tom ordered her to fetch Sherlock. She still wasn't overly fond of the tactless genius.

"Thank you, Yorry." said Tom warmly. The recent incident left Tom feeling much more affection towards his elf than he ever had before. Yorry had never displayed a hint of possessing a personality or a backbone until recently, and so Tom had only recently become aware of the fact that she was capable of feeling love, thinking for herself, and displaying bravery. The fact that she had displayed all three traits while saving Harry's life despite the knowledge of what it meant for her, only raised his regard for her that much more.

Yorry bowed deeply to Tom, and then vanished with a crack.

By the time Yorry reappeared with Tom, he had finished reading the letter.

"Hello." said Sherlock as he appeared, clutching Yorry's hand, and he left Yorry to bend down and peck Tom on the lips. There was something incredibly pleasant, mused Tom, about being able to display and receive affection with such ease and sincerity. He grinned at Sherlock, and summoned a chair for him with a wave of his wand.

"Harry isn't here." observed Sherlock upon sitting.

"Yes, he sent this letter instead of coming himself." replied Tom.

"Ah, he must have raised suspicions by returning to the common room so late last night and decided it was safer to send a letter so as not to cause increased scrutiny. I'd meant to remind him to return before Hogwarts curfew last night, but then… Well, I didn't want him to."

Tom wholeheartedly understood. They had been rather pleasurably occupied around the time Harry should probably have begun heading back to the castle.

Tom waited patiently for Sherlock to finish reading the letter, gauging his reaction with interest.

"Well," Sherlock concluded, laying down the parchment, "it seems like we will have to break into the bank after all." there was a spark of excitement in his eyes. He was as attracted to the challenge of such a feat as Harry was to the danger.

"Don't get all excited yet." cautioned Tom, "We might not need to after all. If Bellatrix's next of kin orders the goblet to be removed from the bank, the goblins will oblige. And Bellatrix's next of kin is Narcissa Malfoy- her husband is a Death Eater." Thank Merlin for that, mused Tom. Breaking into Gringotts the first time had been enough of a headache to last him a lifetime.

"How convenient." replied Sherlock sourly, not bothering to hide his disappointment.

"Actually, Bellatrix has another sister as well who might be next of kin, and I doubt this one will be as accommodating towards me; she married a muggle-born. So we might still need to break into the bank after all. I wouldn't get my hopes up too high, though. She was disowned by her family which greatly reduces the chance of her getting the inheritance. We'll have to see. I'll go visit Lucius, Narcissa's husband, tomorrow and find out for myself."

"Alright, everyone!" announced Harry loudly, trying to speak over the cacophony of shouted incantations "That's enough for today! Since we won't be seeing each other again until after Christmas break, I'll give you a little assignment for over the holidays."

Groans were heard all over, and Zacharias Smith muttered in a rather loud whisper that if Harry thought he was going to do homework for some fake class he was as loony as the Daily Prophet said he was.

"Nothing like that." laughed Harry, manfully ignoring Zacharias Smith's snide comment, "You've all been asking to learn Patronuses for a while now. Well, the next lesson after Christmas break you're going to get your wish. Since an important part of a Patronus is having a happy memory to focus on, during the holidays I want you to think hard, and find a very happy memory. Not just a pleasant one, it has to be something that when you remember you can't help but smile."

Focusing on the first night he had spent with Sherlock and Tom, Harry demonstrated: "Expecto Patronum!"

There were oohs and ahs from the girls as a stag leapt out of Harry's wand and pranced around the room. The boys too were looking excited at the prospect of being able to duplicate the feat.

"Alright then," instructed Harry, "you know the drill, the goal is to leave in small groups that don't attract attention. Hufflepuffs, you go first this time."

The Ravenclaws were the next to leave, but to Harry's surprise, when Cho's rather quiet friend Marietta got up to leave, Cho motioned her to go on without her. "I think I'll stay here for a while longer." she said.

Marietta looked unsurprised by this, though she obviously wasn't too happy. She bade Cho a surly goodbye, and left without a further glance at anyone else.

Finally, only seven of them remained. Ron and Hermione often stayed with Harry after everyone else left to discuss the lesson and bring up suggestions for future lessons as well. Lately, Ginny, Neville and Luna had taken to joining them. Cho was a new addition to their little group, but everyone greeted her pleasantly enough, and she soon joined the lively conversation.

"The Incarcerous was a good spell to teach, Harry" said Ginny approvingly, "not only is it useful to know, it was also quite fun to watch Zacharias Smith wobble around before falling on his arse."

Harry felt obligated as the unofficial teacher to look disapproving, and did make sure to comment about how the spell should not be used for bullying.

Ron jumped in to defend his sister, but Ginny cut him off. "I don't need you to fight my battles for me Ron. Anyways, that wasn't aimed specifically at me. Harry knows I'm not a bully. The only reason I enjoyed watching the prat suffer is because he's a bully himself."

"I can attest to that." added Luna earnestly, "Even people who aren't normally bullies tend to do things like call me names or laugh at me behind my back," Cho flinched, "and Ginny's never even done that, so she definitely can't be a bully."

There was an awkward silence, which Neville bravely broke by mentioning to Harry how excited he was to start learning how to do the Patronus next term. Everyone quickly joined in on the conversation eagerly speculating what form their Patronuses would take.

Harry left the group to their conversation, and went to find his notes and organize them. Neville joined him, wanting to discuss the merits of different wand-gripping techniques.

Their quiet conversation was interrupted when a loud exclamation from Hermione drew their attention. Hermione's normally level voice was raised much higher than normal with annoyance. "Your Patronus is not going to be a Fligby Flutterloo, Luna!"

"Why do you think that?" asked Luna curiously "Is it because I'm too grounded for an animal as flighty as that? I must admit I'm a bit afraid of that myself."

"No," Hermione sighed, pinching the bridge of her nose, "no Luna, it's not because I think you're not flighty enough. It's because Fligby Flutterloos DON'T EXIST!"

"What makes you say that?" asked Luna, genuine astonishment in her voice.

"Well, for one thing, I haven't seen anything, not one scrap of evidence, to indicate that they do exist."

"Have you received any evidence that indicates that they don't?" asked Luna thoughtfully.

"That's ridiculous!" exclaimed Hermione, "If your only basis for assuming something exists is that no evidence has ever been shown to prove otherwise, then by that logic, almost anything in this entire world is possible!"

"Exactly." Luna's eyed gleamed, "Anything in this entire world is possible. Doesn't it excite you? Anything your imagination is wild enough to come up with might be true? Isn't that marvelous? So many possibilities!" She looked positively delighted at the prospect.

Harry tried to imagine living with the constant belief that anything you imagined existed. And having an imagination like Luna's. He stopped when he felt himself going cross-eyed.

"Luna," Hermione was protesting again, but this time her voice was soft and amused, Luna's excitement at all the imaginary things the world might have to offer had charmed her as well, "it's at nice thought, but how often does it happen that people find out something existed that they never knew of or imagined before?"

"Oh, quite often." replied Luna earnestly, "Just think- a couple hundred years ago, people actually thought the earth was ball shaped! Of all things!"

Hermione rolled her eyes.

Soon after, Neville and Ron headed out together, discussing Quidditch. Hermione, Luna and Ginny followed them some minutes later, with Ginny walking wisely in between the other two, acting as mediator.

Harry would have left with them, but Cho had quietly asked him to stay behind, so Harry remained, fiddling absently with a Christmas bobble, courtesy of Dobby's dubious decorating skills, that had fallen to the floor.

He had a feeling he knew what was coming next, and he wasn't looking forward to it. Hermione had reported to him that Cho was unhappy and crying frequently. Apparently, she was having a hard time getting over Cedric's death. Harry braced himself.

When she asked him about what happened in the graveyard, it didn't come as a surprise, but as an undesirable, though expected, eventuality. Harry did not like to think of the events of last summer, and he wanted to think about them even less at the moment than usual, given his recent experience, but Cho was in distress and obviously need closure, so Harry replied to her inquiries as delicately as possible.

No, he doesn't think learning any of this would have made a difference for Cedric. Yes, it did bring back some bad memories. No, it was perfectly fine that she was asking, she deserved to know. Marry Christmas to her too… Thank you, he hopes he does manage to be a good teacher. Um… he likes her too, thanks. Yes, that is mistletoe…

He realized what was coming a second before it did.

Her lips were soft on his, but there was no spark, no feeling of excitement that came from uniting with a person who completes you in ways you'd never experienced before. They were just lips.

"Cho," he said softly "I… I don't think…" he took a deep breath, and chose his words carefully, seeing she was on the verge of tears and desperately hoping he could avoid the imminent crying fit. "Cho, you're really great, but you're still sad about Cedric, so I don't think… Maybe this isn't the right time…"

"This isn't just because of Cedric." said Cho, understanding what he was trying to say, "I liked you even before, though I didn't know you as well as Cedric, which is why I ended up going with him. I really do like you Harry."

Oh Merlin, he was going to have to reject her. What if she would ask why she wasn't good enough? What if she would cry? There was no other option, he had to give her the explanation that would cause her the least heartache. The fact that he had recently discovered it was in fact true was just an added bonus.

"Cho, I'm pretty sure that I maybe might be not attracted to girls."

She gaped. "You're gay?"

Harry nodded awkwardly, without meeting her eyes.

"But you asked me to the Yule ball last year!"

"Yes," said Harry, "and at the time I really did fancy you. The thing is that in retrospect, I saw someone who was pretty and nice, and therefore fancied you. I don't think there was a personal connection between us though, and I think that the kind of connection you need to form in a romantic relationship is one that I can only form with another boy." He didn't say 'boys' in the plural, she had a lot of information to take in as it was, and he honestly didn't know how she would react or if he even wanted her to know.

Unfortunately, tears were running down Cho's cheeks again. Fortunately, she no longer seemed like she was on the verge of a breakdown.

"Thank you for telling me, Harry." she finally said quietly, "I hope we can still be friends." and she embraced him.

Harry made to leave soon after, to give her some privacy with her thoughts (and maybe to have a cry). Walking out of the door he walked straight into Luna.

"I'm sorry." said Luna placidly as he walked into her, "I'd come back so I could walk with Cho to our common room, there was something I wanted to talk to her about. I think I may have come at a bad time, though."

Harry wondered how much of their conversation she had caught.

"Never mind," said Luna, continuing her line of thought, "I can walk you back to Gryffindor Tower. There was something about Patronuses I wanted to ask you. When you produce a Patronus, can you only think about a happy memory, or is it possible to produce one just by thinking about things that make you happy?" she asked, falling along step beside him, "Like friends, or chocolate pudding?"

"I'm not sure." replied Harry thoughtfully. During his lessons from Lupin he had gotten the impression that the Patronus required a memory in particular, but when fighting off the dementors that past summer, the thought that had finally produced him Patronus was one of Ron and Hermione.

"I think it might be worth a try." he finally told her.

She nodded seriously.

"So, what did you want to talk to Cho about?" he asked her.

"I think I might have made her feel bad when I spoke about people calling me names and laughing about me behind by back. I want it to be clear that I don't hold any resentment towards her. Cho is a good person, and she always stops the others from bullying me if she sees it."

"But she calls you names?"

"Not to my face, and not out of spite or meanness. What you need to understand is that Cho is a very pretty and social girl, so a lot of people like her and it's always been that way. The thing about people who everyone likes is that they get used to that, and become afraid of losing everyone's regard. So oftentimes they do what the rest do so that they'll keep on being popular."

"It's still not very nice." said Harry, not wanting to bash Cho, but also not wanting Luna to think he approved of her being called names.

"Maybe not, but it's natural." replied Luna serenely, "Being popular is important to everyone. Well, other than to people who've experienced enough to know there are more important things." She gave Harry a meaningful look.

They'd just reached the portrait of the Fat Lady. "Goodbye Luna." said Harry.

"Goodbye Harry Potter." she replied, "Goodbye Mrs. Fat Lady."

"Fat Lady?" asked Harry incredulously. He knew of course that that was what other students called her among themselves, but calling her that to her face seemed rather tactless.

"That's the name of my portrait." said the Fat Lady irritably, "It's called 'The Fat Lady'. Didn't ever bother to ask, did you?"

Harry apologized contritely, and bid her good night by name before entering the portrait hole. Once out of her sight he laughed, shaking his head.

Bothering to find out more about people he didn't know very well had proved to be quite the interesting experience tonight.

End of chapter :)

I want to thank everyone who wrote a review, they make me so happy! Also, it's really good when you ask questions about the story, because sometimes I don't explain something properly and I'd like to be able to fix and improve that.