Story Notes: Harry's fourth year is full of surprises and discovery when his world is turned upside down by a tournament, plots, budding romances, an incorrigible pranking Godfather and a mystery girl from Beauxbatons who is more than what she seems. Smart, confident, and introspective Harry, good but misguided Dumbledore HP/PP/LL/SB, HG/? This is not a Harry/Hermione romance. AU, OOC
A/N: This story has been bouncing around in my head for some time; it's a little different from my other stories in that it will not be very dark, my goal is to keep it light to gray with some dramatic tension. Weasley's except for Ron will remain friendly. There will be some but not pervasive sexual humor and innuendo. I plan on keeping this T rated.
Chapter One: The Journal
A fourteen year old young man with unruly dark hair stepped onto a crimson colored steam engine and made his way to an empty compartment toward the back of the train. The engine would not depart for a little more than an hour but he did not mind, it would give him time to actually start to write something in the journal his best friend had given him for his birthday.
There were only a handful of other people who were milling about, parents with their young children. 'Firsties' he thought to himself with a reminiscent smile on his face. He remembered well his first year and the impressive sight of the train and the nervous anticipation of starting a new chapter in his life. Had he known then the turn his life would take, would he have taken that first step on to this historic train? He mulled that over for a brief moment before chuckling to himself shaking his head in bemusement. Of course he would, as strange as his life had become, he would not change a thing…well at least most things.
He finally arrived at the last compartment and slid the door open. He placed his trunk on the padded wooden bench and opened it up and pulled out a blue hardback journal and a self-inking quill then set them on the bench next to his trunk. Locking the trunk up again, he lifted it up and placed it in the overhead rack above the seat and secured it there. There was a baggage cart on the train but he liked to keep his things close to him. It was an idiosyncrasy he had developed over the years he spent in 'captivity'.
The house he had grown up in was not a happy place for him; he was never allowed to have his own things. If he ever brought something home that was either given to him by another or something brought home from school such as a good citizenship award or even a special award like a new pencil from his teacher for answering a question correctly was immediately binned or taken and given to his cousin.
Recently the circumstances surrounding his home life had changed dramatically and although he was still adjusting to this new circumstance, it would take some time before all his insecurities would begin to fade. His close friends had made a lot of progress on 'rehabilitating' the once shy and scared eleven year old he had once been, but there were still miles to go and his friends were determined to help him along his way to complete recovery.
The young man picked up his journal and quill and sat next to the window that faced toward the train platform. He scrunched down in his seat a bit where he could place his feet on the bench opposite him and stretch out. He had never owned a journal before and was not sure really how to begin, he had heard it said, that when telling a story it is always helpful to start at the beginning.
His best friend had told him, that as many stories that had been written about him throughout his entire life, none of them knew the real him or the complete and true story of his life and that if he wanted his posterity to know the real him, it would be a good idea to write his story himself. At first he had been reluctant to do so, he did not like reliving the past, there were too many painful memories that he'd rather soon forget. In the end he decided to give it a go, if only to appease his indomitable friend, she really was a little pushy at times but he knew that her heart was always in the right place.
He sighed deeply and opened the cover which had that new book stiffness. He gently pressed down and flattened the hard cover running his hand up and down its length. Grabbing his quill he placed the tip of it on the first page and…*nothing*… how was he to bloody begin this thing, did he start with 'Dear Diary' that just sounded too corny, how about 'Hello there!' Oh that really sucks eggs. 'Ugghhh…how am I suppose to write this thing, if I can't even think of how to begin the bloody thing?!' He thought dropping the back of his head against the back of his seat.
"Okay…okay, I can do this." He said straitening up a bit and letting out a long sigh.
September 1, 1994
My name is Harry James Potter; I was born the son of Lord James Charlus Potter and the Lady Lily Marie Potter nee Evans on July 31, 1980 in Godric's Hollow, which is located in the West Country of England.
I remember little of that time there, the reason for this is that on October 31, 1981 a dark wizard who went by the name of Lord Voldemort, who was actually a half-blood wizard by the name of Tom Marvolo Riddle, Voldemort being an anagram of his name, killed my parents and then attempted to kill me.
I do not know the reason behind why he had targeted my family. The only reason I have for this is that my parents fought against him in the last wizarding war. As I stated earlier he attempted to kill me as well but something went wrong and the killing curse he intended for me rebounded and destroyed him. I have been told that it was my mother's act of self-sacrifice in trying to protect me that prevented the curse from ending me.
I have mixed feelings about this, oh don't get me wrong it was a very noble and selfless act on her part…but its aftermath left me an orphan. There have been many times since learning this story that I wished that I had been killed as well. At least then I would be with my mum and dad and would not have been sent to my Aunt and Uncle's where I had to endure several years of neglect and abuse.
I was never physically abused…that is to say I was never beaten by my Aunt and Uncle, however, my cousin and his friends took great pleasure in a game they called Harry Hunting where they would chase me down and if I were caught they would take turns punching and kicking me. I could say, if anything that my Aunt and Uncle were guilty of neglect and turning a blind eye to their own son's behavior. In their eyes he was the perfect son and could do no wrong. I learned quickly after the first time I told them that Dudley had beaten me not to do so again.
They had called me a liar and sent me to my cupboard and was not allowed dinners for a week. Yes, you heard me right I lived in a cupboard, that was my room for almost ten years, a small cupboard underneath the stairs. To say my home life was difficult would be to say that advanced quantum physics is just a bit hard.
I know that some of you who may read this in the future may ask about the twelve years I spent at 'Dursley Prison', and what the day to day life had been like for me. But I feel it enough to say that it was devoid of any love, understanding, tolerance, or affection. I hope to never see them 'EVER' again, if that does not give you a clue as to what life was like then I'm sorry but as far as I am concerned that part of my life is a closed book and I refuse to revisit it here.
Ok, so on to more pleasant things, like my introduction into the wizarding world. Alright so I do have to make a small Dursley reference here. You see one day about a week or so before my eleventh birthday I received a most unusual letter. I had never been sent post before, so that in and of itself was unusual but the reaction of my relatives was in a word…hostile.
My uncle immediately snatched it from my hands and then tore it to pieces and told me to never bring the letter up ever again. I thought that was the end of it until the next day when three more letters arrived. My Uncle and Aunt were beyond furious and burned them straight away. The next several days were much worse as dozens of these same letters would appear at all hours of the day.
The next morning the family was packed and we set off for some god forsaken lighthouse that was a mile off the coast on a small rocky island. I thought for sure that my relatives had finally gone completely around the twist and that my very life was in danger.
That same evening as I was wishing myself a happy birthday, a large crashing noise at the door of the lighthouse woke my relatives from their beds. I admit I was a little scared myself and even more so when with a tremendous bang the door broke from its hinges and landed flat on the ground and then in walked the biggest and might I add hairiest man I had ever seen.
To make a long story short, the man was Rubeus Hagrid a half giant if you can believe it, who had come to take me to get ready to attend Hogwarts, it being a school of witchcraft and wizardry. He informed me that he knew my mum and dad and that they had been a great witch and wizard and that I was one as well. To say I was shocked would be a complete understatement. So after a less than friendly discussion with my relatives I left with Hagrid and began my introduction into the magical world.
The door to the compartment Harry was sitting in slid opened, Harry looked up from his writing and his eyes fell upon a very pretty dark skinned girl with waist length shiny black hair done in a loose braid; she wore a traditional Indian Saree. It was light blue in color with small red floral patterns woven into it. She had a large smile on her face as her eyes met the eyes of the messy haired boy.
Harry quickly stood and the two teens embraced each other warmly and Padma gave him an affectionate kiss on the cheek.
"I've missed you so much Harry! How was your summer? How is living with your godfather? Did you get your homework done? I can't tell you how boring it has been at home this summer with father attending all those meetings. And don't get me started on Parvati! That girl I swear knows more gossip than Rita Skeeter." Padma continued as Harry just smiled at her antics a small chuckle escaping his lips. The chuckle caught Padma's attention.
"Sorry Harry." Padma blushed a bit in embarrassment for ranting without letting him get a word in edgewise.
"It's okay." Harry chuckled, and then sat back down Padma taking the seat directly in front of him.
"Oh! Is that the journal I gave you for your birthday?" Padma asked with a grin. She had hoped Harry would like it and use it, with everything that had happened in Harry's life she thought it important that he write it down, at the very least she hoped it would be a cathartic means of dealing with the never ending drama that surrounded his life.
"Yes, yes it is. However, I… just barely started to write in it." Harry apologized with a half grin.
Padma gave him a mock hurt look that she was only able to hold for a second before it broke, her genuine smile replacing it. "At least you're using it now and that's a start, a good one I might add." She stated sweetly.
"Well, I wouldn't want to upset my best friend after all." He said returning a genuine smile.
"Well, you go back to your writing I don't want to interrupt your flow of thought, as slow as that flow is you need to keep focused." Padma teased. Harry stuck his tongue out at his best friend who chuckled at him.
Padma pulled a book from her bag and settled in her seat and began to read 'Arithmancy and the Mathematical You.' "A little light reading their Pad?" Harry deadpanned.
"Oh hush you; it is quite the fascinating read I'll have you know." Padma stated raising an elegant eyebrow at Harry and sitting in posture perfect form. Harry just chuckled at her and then picked the journal back up and began to write again.
Diagon Alley and meeting my best friend:
Well my first impression of the magical world was not a particularly good one. Hagrid had taken me to a pub slash boarding house called the Leaky Cauldron. It was dark and smelled of pipe tobacco and moldy rotting wood. I was equally terrified by the people who seemed to stop and stare at me after Hagrid had announced to Tom the barman that he was here to take me shopping. Tom the barman seemed to know who I was and announced it to the room.
It was then for the first time that I learned that there was something different about me, I won't say 'special' about me because I don't believe there is anything special about being famous for not dying. It was this day that I learned the awful truth about my parents and Voldemort.
It is here also in the Leaky Cauldron where I met for the first time Professor Quirinus Quirrell, which would later be discovered to have the disembodied spirit of Voldemort attached to his bloody head. I'll save that story for a little bit later though.
So, moving on from the Leaky Cauldron we entered Diagon Alley through a wall at the back of the dilapidated pub. As you can well imagine I was in complete awe of what I saw. Nothing in my previous life had prepared me for the sights and sounds of a magical shopping district. In a word it was…Brilliant!
At first I was worried about how I was going to pay for all my school things, but Hagrid assured me that my parents had provided the means to pay for my education. We made our way to a large if slightly askew marble building called Gringotts, the wizard's bank. We walked in and it was there I saw my first goblin. They were the ugliest looking things I had ever seen, ugly and scary, not to mention intimidating with their sharp pointy teeth…did I mention ugly and scary?!
We got in line behind a tall imposing man with two twin daughters, who turned and greeted us when we approached. It was at this moment that I met my first friend in the magical world, who would quickly become my very best friend. Padma Patil.
Padma was very nice and I took an instant liking to her. I think she did with me as well, but if you ask her she'd tell you that I looked like a little lost puppy and who could resist a little lost puppy. 'Girls! Can't say if I'll ever understand them but we did form a kind of bond straight away.
Her sister Parvati was a different matter all together. She figured out who I was rather quickly and began to ask me all kinds of silly questions and wanted to see my scar. I believe Padma also knew who I was from the start but being the daughter of a diplomat had taught her the skill of subtlety a lesson Parvati apparently had not paid attention to.
Baladeva Patil was India's magical ambassador to the United Kingdom and Parvati's and Padma's father. He had lived in England for about eight years, his only son Rajya had graduated from Hogwarts that last year. Mr. Patil was very pleasant and shook my hand, he even invited Hagrid and me to lunch. Hagrid had told him that he was in a bit of a hurry and needed to finish up shopping and then get back to Hogwarts as soon as possible.
To my surprise Padma asked her father if I could join them to finish my shopping since they had come to the alley for the same reason. After much persuasion by the Patils', and Ambassador Patil giving Hagrid his word of honor to keep me safe he agreed and said he would be back by no later than five to return me to the Dursleys.
So Hagrid and I went down to my trust vault that my parents had set up for me. To see all that gold floored me! As I mentioned earlier I never had anything of my own and visions of all the things I could buy floated through my mind. But realizing if the Dursleys discovered I had such wealth, they would find away to take it from me. So I took what Hagrid thought I would need to buy my things and just a little bit extra just in case.
The next vault we went to was the vault that held the Philosophers Stone, although I would not discover this till much later in my first year. That's another story for another time however, but I promise I will tell it. Once back to the Gringotts lobby, I bid Hagrid a good bye until later and then left the bank with the Patils.
The day spent with the Patils was very educational, I learned a lot about the wizarding culture of Great Britain and of India, I also learned a bit more about Hogwarts and the house system there. Mr. Patil even bought me a couple books on 'The Ancient and Noble families of Great Britain', to my surprise my family was one of the oldest.
He was quite put out when I told him I knew nothing of my family or heritage. He informed me that as a young noble and heir to one of the oldest families in Britain that I should have been taught from the earliest age about Wizarding government, law, and being educated to take my place amongst the ruling class.
Needless to say I was completely gob smacked about all this. It was through Mr. Patil…well I guess I should call him Ambassador Patil that I was introduced to The Dowager Lady Longbottom who was the absolute authority on wizard customs, culture, and etiquette. During the month I still had before September first I met daily with Lady Longbottom and her grandson Neville, who also became a very close friend.
I received a crash course in the caste system that existed in Wizarding Britain and how to comport myself as an aristocrat and what I was suppose to know and the whole ins and outs of Pureblood society. This has continued every summer for the last three years now; I have been at the educational knee of Lady Augusta Longbottom and Ambassador Patil. Even with all this educational puffery I still just see myself as plain old Harry.
The Dursley's were quite put out that I would leave daily to either spend time with the Longbottom's or Patil's until I left for Hogwarts. It was quite the spectacle when a large diplomatic limousine pulled up to number four Privet Drive to pick up the Dursley's troublemaker nephew. I imagine they had a difficult time explaining that one.
It was during this time before first year while under the tutelage of Longbottom and Patil that I met another person who would become just as close to me as Padma. Susan Bones. In one of my training session with Ambassador Patil I was introduced to Amelia Bones the Director over the Department of Magical Law Enforcement. Her niece Susan who was a good friend of Padma's, had accompanied Director Bones to the Patil's. As part of my government education, Director Bones gave me a one on one lecture about wizarding law and another book to read.
An interesting side note to this is that there are basically two set of laws that govern Wizarding society in Britain, the laws as they pertain to the "Upper Class" meaning Purebloods and the Ancient and Noble houses and then the law as it pertains to the rest. It is just one of the great inequalities that exist in our society.
The compartment door slid open again and in popped a familiar bouncy redhead dragging in a sandy brown haired boy. Susan Bones, one of my dearest friends is a very pretty and vivacious redhead. She always has a smile on her face and a kind word for all. She is also incredibly quick witted with a wicked sense of humor and a salty vocabulary. I think she gets it from all the aurors that she hangs around with due to her aunt being the head of the law enforcement agency.
The boy is my brother in all but blood, Neville Longbottom. He used to be quite the shy one, but really came into his own as one of my staunchest supporters when most of the school turned on me during my second year. That's also another story for another time. Needless to say he put a couple of older Slytherins and an arse of a Gryffindork in the hospital wing for giving me the business. Since then, the once shy Gryf has garnered a lot more respect in his house and within the school.
"Harry!" Susan squealed tackling Harry in a bone crushing hug before kissing both cheeks.
"Hey Suzie" Groaned Harry, who was almost sure the girl had just broken a rib or two. "Wonderful to see you too…however…can't breathe!" Harry gasped out.
"Oh you big pansy, wizard up!" Susan laughed releasing the relieved Harry. Neville was trying hard not to laugh at his best mate but was failing miserably.
"Laugh it up Nev, I think the 'Hammer of Hufflepuff' broke a rib." Harry mock whined, while shooting a wink at Susan. Susan had gotten the nickname after punching Draco Malfoy in the nose after he made a snarky comment about her developing 'assets' at the beginning of third year.
"Would you like me to kiss it better Harrwwy?" Susan pouted, her bottom lip sticking out. Padma and Neville burst out laughing, Padma almost falling to the floor in a fit of giggles.
"Well if you insist." Harry smirked. He then stood up then began to unbutton his shirt. Susan's eyes went wide and began to turn a brilliant shade of red.
"H-Harry I was just…uhm" Susan stuttered. Harry stopped what he was doing and then lent forward kissing Susan softly on the cheek. Moving his lips to her ear he whispered but it was loud enough for the others to hear.
"Gotcha…all talk and no action Suzie." Harry kissed her cheek again and then stood up a large grin splitting his face.
"Oh you!" Susan huffed swatting him in the chest. This time it was Susan who was the recipient of side splitting belly laughs from Neville and Padma.
"One of these days Potter, I'm gonna surprise the hell out of you and follow through with one of those challenges. Then we'll see whose face is the reddest afterwards." Susan stated defiantly but with a hint of mirth in her eyes.
"I shall await the day milady." Harry stated in his best aristocratic voice and bowed deeply, his toothy grin reminiscent of Gilderoy Lockhart giving away how humorous he found the idea.
"So how was the world cup? Did you three see the Death Eaters?" Neville asked his three friends excitedly.
Harry had been a guest of the Patil's. Padma's father being a dignitary was given tickets to the Minister's box. Susan was also invited to sit with them; her aunt was there as well but was in charge of the security force protecting the game and so was extremely busy.
"It was great! I couldn't believe how fast play was, it makes our school teams look like they're crawling in air compared to the pros." Harry told his friend his eyes glazing over in memory. "Krum was simply brilliant. He had moves I've never even heard of." Harry continued.
"Yeah, I think Harry has his first man crush." Susan giggled. Harry lifted an indignant eyebrow at the redhead.
"And I thought your heart belonged to me?" Padma pouted and batted her eyelashes at Harry and then dramatically sighed lifting the back of her hand to her forehead. "Oh woe is me, poor, poor pitiful me." Padma sighed again before losing her composure and began chuckling at her best friend's expense.
"Did I miss the owl or something? Is it pick on Harry day today?" Harry mock pouted.
"Why yes you did, and yes it is." Susan replied amongst her giggles.
"Well fine!" Harry huffed. "To get back to your questions Nev. We weren't near the attack. We were staying in the dignitary section which had a heavy auror complement. As soon as word of the trouble got to us the whole diplomatic section was evacuated.
"It's so strange though, that after all this time of keeping quiet that the former Death Eaters would do something so overt." Susan stated.
"Yeah my Gran about had kittens when she saw the picture of the Dark Mark in the Daily Prophet." Neville shivered at the memory of the conniption fit his Grandmother had after reading the article.
"Has your aunt said anything more about it Suzie?" Padma asked. "Father hasn't said much about it, but he was in a right state when we got home. He was on the floo for hours talking to one official or another."
"Well I did overhear her telling Barty Crouch of the Office of International Cooperation that the timing was very suspicious, especially with the event being held at Hogwarts this year." Susan stated.
"What event?" Harry and Neville asked simultaneously.
"Don't know, she didn't specify." Susan shrugged.
"Well, I know that it's something big because father received some official notification about it and I heard him talking to a few of the other international ambassadors about it during a function at the embassy." Padma informed her friends.
"Hmpf, well I guess we'll just have to wait and see if the 'Old Man' mentions it during the Welcoming Feast." Harry offered. The four settled back in their seats, Neville next to Harry and Susan next to Padma. Harry re-opened is journal and began to write again.
'Okay, so where did I leave off…oh yeah… Wizarding law and its horrible biased attitude toward anything muggle. Suffice it to say that there are a lot of problems with our society. I should add that it is the British Magical society that seems to have all the hang-ups. In India they are far more progressive when it comes to muggleborns, and half-bloods having the same rights as any pureblood. Also other magical beings enjoy a much more accepting society than here.
Sad to say that even though the Patils' can trace their magical roots much farther back than most purebloods in England, she and her family are still seen as beneath the purebloods of Britain simply for the color of their skin and being foreigners. Bloody pureblood wankers!
Anyway, a change of subject, politics is my least favorite subject and although I appreciate everything Lady Longbottom and Ambassador Patil have taught me on the subject I find it entirely distasteful.
So, a little about my first year at Hogwarts. Well as I mentioned I had made good friends in Padma, Susan and Neville before starting my first year. Ambassador Patil had taken the day off from his many duties to pick me up in the diplomatic limo. The Dursley's looked furious, especially when all the neighbors had come out to see what all the to-do was about. I'm sure their carefully crafted stories about me being some sort of criminal was called into serious question.
The limo had also picked up Susan because her aunt was busy at the Ministry. So me, Susan, Parvati and Padma rode in style to King's Cross station to begin our first year. Neville had been waiting for us on the other side of the barrier that separated King's Cross Station from Platform Nine and Three-quarters.
On our way through we saw a family of redheads who seemed to be waiting around for somebody. I would later learn that this was the Weasley family, so it was odd that Molly Weasley would be asking where the platform was seeing as she had five other children who either had attended or currently attending Hogwarts. Fred and George Weasley (twins) I would get to know in my second year due to certain unfortunate events. Ronald Weasley the youngest male Weasley is a right piece of work, a total stalker and a complete and total bigoted git.
Let me explain: My friends and I had just settled into a nice conversation in our compartment when the redheaded berk came in claiming there were no other seats available. So we didn't want to be rude so we invited him in. Immediately he forced his way to sit between Padma and me, elbowing her in the side to make her move over. That made me angry and I was about to say something when Padma shot me a 'let it go' look.
For the better part of an hour he spoke about how Gryffindor was the best of all the Hogwart's houses and how he was sure that I would be in Gryffindor seeing as how I was The-Boy-Who-Lived. My friends cringed as Weasley said this, knowing how much I hated that stupid moniker. I bit my lip however and continued to be polite as I could.
What finally pushed me over the line was when he stated that he and I would be best mates. I told him I already had a best friend and that it was Padma. Padma's face beamed at my comment, but it quickly turned from happy to hurt when Weasley opened his mouth next. "What the wog?" The arse replied. "You're joking right, she nothing but a…" He didn't get to finish his thought as Neville and I both stood up and tossed the berk out of the compartment.
I warned him right then and there never to insult my friends again. It was too much to hope for because he never missed an opportunity after that to insult me or my friends, and usually he came out worse for it. Did I mention Susan has a wicked right cross. (hehehe)
So jumping ahead to the sorting. Looking at the shabby hat I had to wonder about the sanitary practice of placing it on everybody's head. It didn't look like it had been cleaned in a millennia or two. Didn't these people know about head lice? (Eeewww) Anyway, I watched in fascination as the hat sang and then began to sort everyone into their respective houses.
I had no feelings one way or the other about which house I wanted to be in, they all seemed to have their good and bad points. However Weasley did turn me off from Gryffindor, if he was going to wind up there I definitely did not. Can you imagine seven years of that bigot; I would have been expelled the next day after they found his beaten body stuffed in his own trunk.
When Padma was called up I gave the hat my full attention. After about thirty seconds it yelled out "Ravenclaw!" Padma jumped up and walked primly to the Ravenclaw table. Her sister Parvati was then placed in Gryffindor, her friend Lavender Brown squealed as they hugged each other jumping up and down. I just rolled my eyes. Well that was another reason not to go to Gryffindor, those two girls together would be beyond inhumane to subject anyone to, what with all their gossiping and going on and on about fashion.
When I was called up and the hat placed on my head I was surprised by a voice suddenly speaking to me. In short he said that I would do well in any house and he would feel justified in putting me in any one. So I asked to be placed in Ravenclaw to be with my best friend Padma. I received a loud welcoming cheer from my housemates and noticed some surprised and stunned looks from some students and professors. I sat next to Padma who grabbed my hand under the table and gave it a warm squeeze. '
The compartment door slid open again and in shot a blonde blur that launched itself straight onto Harry's lap. The girl grabbed the back of Harry's head with both hands and immediately crushed her lips to his in an over the top passionate kiss. Releasing his lips with an audible pop she sat back straddling Harry's legs with a huge grin on her face.
"Hello Harry Potter, have a good summer?" The lithe form of Luna Lovegood asked.
"A v-very p-pleasant summer Luna, and you?" Harry stuttered trying to keep his blush under control but failing miserably.
"Very pleasant!" Luna said pushing herself against his chest, her lips barely an inch away from his, her sky blue eyes looking deeply into his green.
"Luna Olivia Lovegood! What do you think you are doing?" Padma chastised the young blonde.
"Just saying hello to Harry." Luna responded innocently, not moving her eyes from Harry.
"And what is the rule when it comes to greeting Harry?" Padma asked in McGonagall mode.
Luna let out a small sigh. Sitting up straight but still straddling Harry's lap, Luna squared her shoulders and let out an exasperated sigh and then in a sing-songy voice repeated the rules for saying hello to Harry.
"A-kiss-on-the-cheek-is-perfectly-fine, but-a-kiss-to-the-lips-is-crossing-the-line." Luna repeated the rule the three girls had set during Luna's first year and the other's second year. It was a New Year's resolution between the girls to bring Harry out of his shell and show him a little affection at the same time. They resolved to give him a hug and a kiss on the cheek in greeting and a hug and a kiss when saying goodbye or goodnight.
"Um Luna…" Harry began in a shaky voice. "Could you um…hop off my lap now?" His self control was losing the battle against his hormones made apparent by his rapidly spreading blush. After all Harry was a typical teenage boy and Luna was a very attractive teenage girl, and Luna's close proximity and weight on his lap was having the normal male teenage hormonal response known the world over.
"Oh…sorry Harry." Luna smiled coquettishly. Slowly she slid her way down his lap before she stood giving him one more quick kiss on the lips, and then took a seat next to Susan. Padma scowled at the flirty blonde.
Susan leaned over close to Luna and whispered conspiratorially in Luna's ear. "How was it Luna?"
"Hmmm…very soft lips and tasty to." Luna moaned.
"Damn! I knew it…stupid rule." Susan mumbled under breath.
"What was that Susan?" Padma asked suspiciously.
"Nothing." Susan quickly answered, then mumbled to herself again. "This New Year's Eve I'm soo planting a big wet one right on his lips, Luna can't have all the fun."
"You look a little… stiff Harry." Neville smirked, having a go at his friend. "Not having a… hard day are you?"
Harry had placed his journal over his lap, and scowled at his friend. "I'm perfectly fine thank you very much." The girls who caught the movement and the meaning of Neville's teasing all began to giggle.
"Oh my Harry, I hope I didn't cause any… rise in stress for you." Luna stated playfully batting her eyelashes at him.
"You're all going to be the death of me you know that." Harry pouted.
"Poor, poor Harry." Susan cooed, getting up from her seat and moving Harry's journal, she then sat in Harry's lap and pulled his head to her shoulder. "There, there Harry, let Suzie make it all better." The redhead teased, stroking his hair and wiggling her hips down into his lap.
Harry poked the girl in the ribs eliciting a squeal as she jumped up quickly from his lap giggling. She then took her seat between Padma and Luna again. She leaned over to Luna and whispered. "I felt it…and wow!" She grinned at her friend, feeling that she was now one up on the petite blonde.
Harry shook his head at the antics of his friends and their various personalities. Padma was always the voice of reason and kept the group grounded, well…as grounded as teenagers could be. She was smart and beautiful, and extremely observant. Not much ever got past Padma her eye for detail and her observational skills had kept Harry from getting himself into too much trouble during school, and let's face it trouble always seemed to seek him out.
Susan was the outspoken one of the group; her red hair matched her fiery personality. She had a quick wit and sharp tongue and often had to be reminded to tone down her more salty language. She also lived up to the hallmark of Hufflepuff House, loyalty. Susan was completely loyal and unwavering in defense of her friends. Susan also loved to tease Harry; she found it a challenge to make Harry blush and stutter. Harry had gotten better over the years though, and now was usually able to turn the tables on the pretty redhead.
Luna Lovegood, Harry loved the quirky blonde and all her oddness, he found it quite endearing. Harry had met Luna on the Hogwarts Express at the beginning of his second year. The witless wonder Ronald Weasley and two of his dorm mates had her cornered and were laughing and mocking her for her radish earrings and Butter Beer cork necklace. Weasley kept calling her Looney Lovegood.
Harry had always hated bullies and interrupted the three Gryffindors as they continued to harass the small girl who had tears in her eyes. Before they could argue Harry had his wand out and pointed straight between Weasley's eyes daring him to make a move. Harry reached out and took the young girl's hand and escorted her back to his compartment.
Luna was quickly welcomed into his group of friends; she immediately found a permanent place in the tight knit group. If there was anyone who could rival Susan's loyalty it was Luna and her absolute loyalty and devotion to Harry. She saw Harry not only as her defender but as a confidant, a best friend, a shoulder to cry on and a warm embrace to fall into when she was sad.
Luna suffered from horrible nightmares. Her mother had been killed in a potions accident right in front of her at the tender age of nine. Although she never described what happened, everyone knew that the quirky blonde had been severely traumatized. Often in Harry's second year he would find Luna crying and shaking at the side of his bed due to a particularly awful nightmare. She would then climb into bed with him and he would hold her until she fell back to sleep.
The incidents of Luna crawling into Harry's bed had dramatically lessened over the years as she could also find refuge with Padma. But still on occasion she would come to Harry when a nightmare was particularly disturbing and he was always more than willing to comfort his dear friend.
Harry loved and was fiercely protective of all three girls and the girls felt the same about him. If you had asked Harry Potter in his first year what love was and how to recognize it he would have stared back at you with a completely blank look on his face.
But by his third year at the Wizarding School he would tell you that love is that unconditional bond between friends where their needs were more important to you than your own. Love is that you accept others, for who they are and not what you would like them to be. Love was kind and giving, never demanding, it was a warm hug when you are feeling low.
Harry had never been in love; at least he didn't think so. He knew he felt something a little more for Padma than the others but he attributed that to the fact that she was his first real friend and best-mate. He could share things with Padma that he could not with any other person. And there was just a very nice comfortableness around her that he did not share with others except for maybe Luna but not quite on the same level.
"Hogsmeade Station…twenty minutes!" The engineer's voice echoed through the train.
"Harry, Neville, out so we can change into our robes." Padma told the two male occupants of the cabin. Harry and Neville stood and grabbed their own robes and headed for the restrooms to change.
"Sooo Pad…Harry's looking good this year." Susan said eyeing the pretty Indian girl.
"And your point is?" Padma responded dryly.
"My point…is that you have been crushing on him since second year, and I'm wondering when you're going to pluck up the courage and ask him out?!" Susan stated seriously placing her hands on her hips for emphasis.
"I have not!" Padma tried to argue.
"Have to-oo." Luna said in her sing-songy voice.
Padma blustered trying to come up with an argument. "Well even if I was crushing on him…and I'm not saying I am, but if I were, it wouldn't matter anyway because he doesn't look at me that way." Padma stated hotly a hint of a tear in her eye.
"Beside with the way you two flirt with him I'm sure he would prefer to go out with one of you." Padma added with a little more anger than she intended.
"Padma, I flirt with Harry because I know I am firmly in the friend category, and it's just friendly bantering between the two of us nothing more." Susan stated placatingly placing a hand on Padma's shaking shoulder.
"Me too Padma." Luna stated a bit glumly. "I will admit that I would love a chance for something romantic to happen between Harry and me. But like Susan I think I'm firmly stuck in the friend category if not the sister category." Luna admitted sheepishly.
"Well, I'm probably in the same…"
"No you're not Padma." Susan cut her off abruptly. "Harry looks at you differently than he looks at any other girl." Susan stated matter-of-factly. "Who is the one Harry goes to when he needs to talk, or when he feels out of sorts. It's always you Pad…always you." Susan stated her own tears threatening to fall.
"I…I don't know what to say." Padma began. "I know Harry loves me, he loves all of us. I just…I just don't know if he could fall in love with me." She finished slumping back down in her seat.
Luna was unusually quiet as she seemed to stare off into the nothingness of space. "Padma…" Luna began carefully. The Indian girl looked at the small blonde.
"How would you feel about Harry if he did not return the same feelings for you as you have for him? I mean, would you stop loving him?"
Padma looked at the blonde in confusion for a moment before her face hardened. "I would never turn my back on Harry if that's what you mean!" Padma responded hotly. "I would love him no matter what happens, he will always be my best friend!"
Luna continued seemingly unaffected by Padma's ire. "And what if he did love you the way you want him to but…but there was also another maybe more whom he loved as much. How would you react?"
"What are you talking about Luna?" Susan asked confused at the seemingly random question.
"I mean what if another girl came into Harry's life." Luna stated.
"Are you referring to yourself here Luna?" Susan challenged.
"No not at all. Besides I never see myself in my visions, only other people. I have a feeling that all I'll ever be to Harry is one of his closest friends just like you Susan." The blonde stated bluntly but deep down held out a little hope for a love connection with the green eyed boy.
"Then what or who are you talking about." Susan asked in frustration.
"Luna…" Padma began in a quiet voice. "Have you seen something, I mean you know…have you had another of your visions?" Susan gasped and sat back down staring intently and the youngest member of their group.
Luna on occasion would have small glimpses of future events though they were often unfocused with no specific detail, it was more of a feeling she would get, something like a premonition. But the girls and Harry and Neville took her premonitions seriously having had many of them come to pass.
Luna slowly nodded and gave Padma a conciliatory half smile. "I believe Harry will recognize his true feelings for you soon. He does love you Padma. But I think there will be another who will enter his heart as well and it will cause him great distress as he battles with his own emotions. If you want to keep him Padma you will have to let him explore his feelings and be supportive."
"Are you sure about this Luna?" Susan asked, Padma too overcome with emotion to ask the same question.
"I don't know honestly." Luna sighed heavily. "I have been wrong before when trying to interpret these premonitions. One thing I am sure about is that Harry loves you, even without these premonitions it's obvious he cares a great deal about you." Luna consoled the dark haired witch.
"Hogsmeade Station!" The engineer's voice came overhead again. A tapping on the door signaled that Harry and Neville had returned. Susan unlocked the door and allowed the two boys inside. Harry immediately noticed Padma's puffy eyes.
"Pad, are you okay?" Harry asked his longtime friend sitting down next to her. Padma just nodded afraid that if she spoke she would start crying again.
"No, something's wrong Pad, I've known you for too long not to notice when something is bothering you." Harry softly spoke taking her hand in his. She turned toward him and then threw her arms tightly around his neck.
Harry rubbed her back with small circles and then whispered in her ear. "Hey…I'm always here for you, you know. When you're ready to talk I'll be here." He whispered. Padma nodded her head next to his.
"I know Harry." She whispered back kissing his cheek tenderly. "And when I'm ready, I'll tell you what's bothering me okay?"
"Okay." Harry whispered back, his level of worry increasing. "Well, shall we head for the carriages?" Harry asked. After getting nods from everyone they exited their compartment and headed off the train. Harry kept hold of Padma's hand the entire time and still did not let go during the carriage ride up to the castle.
The five friends entered the castle and made their way to the Great Hall where they split up. Neville went to the Gryffindor table, Susan to the Hufflepuff, and Luna, Padma, and Harry went to Ravenclaw.
The hall now full of the returning students waited quietly as Professor McGonagall lead in the newest batch of first years. The Headmaster stood from his seat and approached the ornate podium.
"Welcome one and all to another year at Hogwarts, this year will be full of wonderful surprises for one and all. But! Before we get to that…let the sorting begin!"
A/N: I hope you enjoyed this first chapter and will leave a comment or a review. My goal here is to update every two weeks. I'm writing this story concurrently as I'm writing my others so on occasion it may come out later than anticipated. Thanks again!