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On an Island in The Sun
Harry was miserable, it seemed that everything that could go wrong in his life was happening. He'd been entered into a contest that didn't so much have winners as survivors, his best friend Ron along with half the school wasn't speaking to him, the Press was airing a distorted version of his personal life for all to laugh at, and to top it all of a couple of Hufflepuff girls had been giving him odd looks all bloody day.
"What's wrong Harry," Hermione asked sympathetically, "the Prophet again?" She couldn't believe that they could get away with printing such distorted stories about her best friend.
"Let's go to the library," Harry said. He rose from his seat and grabbed his friend by the hand. "Now."
"Okay," Hermione agreed with a shocked look on her face as Harry dragged her out of the Great Hall. "Harry," she said after he'd slowed down. "I'm always happy to go to the library but why are you taking me there now?"
"I just can't stand their looks anymore," Harry replied out of the corner of his mouth.
"Don't let them get you down," Hermione advised, "they don't know the real you. The Harry that I know would never enter this bloody contest. I know the real you and I trust everything you've told me is true . . . and I trust you to have asked for my help if you were planning to do it," she ended with a giggle.
"Not them," Harry groaned, as his eyes darting around the hall.
"Them . . . who?"
"Hannah Abbot and Susan Bones," Harry replied, "they keep looking at me."
"What kind of look?" Hermione asked with a grin. "You are a good catch you know . . . maybe one of them fancy's you," she added a tad nervously.
"I . . . I don't . . . I'm . . . maybe." Harry slowed down as he considered Hermione's idea. 'A good catch? I have most of the magical world against me, the friggin' looneys, how could I be considered a good catch?'
"But you don't think so?" Hermione sighed, maybe they'd manage to avoid any life threatening adventures next year.
"No, I don't," he said sourly. 'Probably some plot. I probably have a mole on my bum that means I'm destined to find and be bitten by some horrible creature while finding Helga Hufflpuff's garter belt.'
Hogwarts own resident seer stood up in her bedroom and began to speak, but slurred her words so badly that no one could have understood them anyway, before passing back out once more, having had far too many sips off her hidden flask with lunch.
The two Hufflepuff in question turned to regard each other with identical looks of mixed anticipation and nervousness. They'd spent weeks talking about it and days gathering up enough courage.
"He noticed us," Susan said calmly.
"Uh huh," Hannah agreed, "did you see the look on his face?"
"Yeah," Susan laughed, "I wonder what he's thinking?"
"Who knows how a boy's mind works," Susan said with a shrug.
"Yeah . . . you sure about this?" Hannah bit her lower lip. "It's an awfully big thing after all."
"I wrote to Aunt Amelia and she said that he's got the power and that Granger has the grades. I thought she was joking till I did a little research and found out it'd been done before."
"We could always go into the muggle world?" she ventured with a look like she'd bitten into something unpleasant. "I've heard that muggles don't care about . . . ah . . ." she trailed off, thinking it best not to admit it when there could be someone listening.
"We could," Susan said reluctantly, "but it would mean leaving behind everything we've ever known."
"Piss on the muggle world," Hannah agreed, "what's good for them is good for them, but I can't live without magic."
"Maybe we could emigrate?"
"Stuff that." Hannah snorted, thinking of how bizarre some countries were, even in comparison to Britain.
"I guess so . . . the way they're pushing Harry, he's gonna do it anyway."
"And with that arse Weasley out on his ear, there's an open spot . . . hopefully two when we tell them we're together. I think this is the time to get in on the ground floor, so to speak."
"So... we go find Harry?"
"I think we'd better."
Hermione bit her tongue to keep from giggling as Harry hyperventilated, she could almost see the different scenarios flashing through his mind.
"You calmed down yet?" Hermione asked. "Or do you want to hide here in the library for a little while longer? Those girls might be up to something and we can't be too careful, you know how Hufflepuffs are. One second you're fine and the next minute 'BAMN' you're pinned beneath a massive amount of Puffs following their Dark Lord, Pajama The Terror!"
"You're not helping," Harry replied, a small smile tugged at the corner of his mouth. "This is serious." He sounded like he was in some ways trying to convince himself.
"One of them probably just likes you," Hermione continued, "what's more likely? That a girl likes you or that it's some sinister plot to destroy the school?"
"Well . . there was Ginny, so it could easily be both at once," Harry said reluctantly. He'd really rather avoid another death match with a gigantic, ancient, and venomous creature. Snape fulfilled his daily requirement for all of that as far as he was concerned.
"See? You're due for a patch of good luck," Hermione said, voice firm. "Now, do you want to go do something or would you like to study here?"
Before Harry could respond, an unexpected voice butted in.
"Before you do that," Susan cleared her throat, "Hannah and I would like to have a chat with the two of you."
Harry muttered something that sounded a bit like 'oh shit' mainly because it was, but at a low enough volume that Hermione couldn't scold him for.
"Perhaps we could take this to one of the study rooms?" Hannah suggested.
"You had to tempt fate, didn't you?" Harry growled, directing a dirty look in Hermione's general direction.
"I'm sure they aren't planning to destroy the school," Hermione said weakly, "right?"
"Why don't we cover that later?" Susan asked with a grin.
"... sorry, Harry," Hermione said as the group moved to somewhere more private.
"What's this about, then?" Harry asked, all businesses after the door had closed and looking a bit like he expected one of the Puffs to turn out to be the reincarnation of Adolph Hitler.
"Wait a mo..." Hermione commanded. In response to the various startled looks, she put up a couple quick privacy charms.
"...Go ahead." She said.
"We, well, we couldn't help but notice that there's an opening in your little trio, and Susan and I were hoping to fill it," Hannah began, sounding rather hopeful. "We'd like to fill it . . . if you want another boy then I'm willing to transform and . . ."
"What are you talking about?" Hermione demanded.
"You weren't in a three way relationship with Harry and Ron then?" Susan asked, caught flat-footed.
"NO!" Hermione screamed.
"Huh . . . well, this is awkward," Susan blandly remarked.
"Tell me about it," Hannah agreed.
"What did you mean when you said you were willing to transform?" Harry asked, it was like a train wreck in that he couldn't turn away.
"Hmm?" Hannah snapped back to reality. "Just that if you liked boys or if Hermione liked two at once that I was willing to become a boy sometimes, why?"
"You can do that?"
"Easily," Hannah said with a nod, "didn't you know?" Any number of charms and potions could be used to make a temporary change, permanent was doable but much more difficult.
"Don't . . . just don't tell me any details," Harry said, looking a mite ill. "Please."
"Okay," Hannah agreed, a look of confusion on her face, wondering what the big deal about occasionally switching genders was. Maybe it was a muggle thing?
"You thought that me, Harry, and Ron?" Hermione asked, definitely green around the gills. "You seriously thought that we were all . . ." What kind of deviant behavior was going on in school if that was a plausible rumor?
"Most of the school did . . . well, does," Hannah said with a shrug. "You have to admit that the three of you didn't spend too much time away from each other."
"That doesn't mean that . . ." Hermione trailed off. She shuddered in distaste. "I mean, it's . . . ug . . ."
"We know that," Susan agreed, "now."
"Was there anything else then?" Harry asked. He made a mental note to buy a pensive so that he could more closely observe the look of shocked horror on Hermione's face, he was fairly sure it topped the time someone had suggested that Draco acted like he did because he was attracted to Hermione and jealous of the time that Harry spent with her.
"Yeah," Hannah said, "we were hoping to come with you when you made your own country . . . assuming you were willing to agree to the idea that what a girl does in her own home and with whom is her own business so long as it doesn't hurt anyone." She gently squeezed Susan's hand.
"My own country?" Harry now looked a bit like he'd been smacked in the head with a cricket bat - he was blankly parroting.
"All it takes is power and my Aunt Amelia thinks you have enough," Susan prompted, "didn't you know all of this?"
"No," Harry replied, "Hermione?"
"I have no idea what they're talking about Harry," Hermione muttered.
"Ok," Susan began, "you've noticed how . . . screwy the laws are in the magical world right?"
"And how the press gets away with bloody murder," Hannah added, "no libel laws like the muggles have."
"If you don't like it, leave and make your own country."
"That's what they always say when someone complains loud enough for the Ministry to notice," Susan explained, "you get enough people and it's not hard to raise a bit of seabed and make your own island. It's how Atlantis got started, they collapsed the capstone and sank it when the king went mad and thought the world was plotting against him."
"Make it unplotable and bob's your uncle," Hannah continued, "Susan's Aunt Amelia figured that you had enough power to do it and we figured that Granger had researched all the charms to do it."
"Joining the tournament under a fourth school fit too," Susan continued, "as a student of a fourth school the Hogwarts charter no longer applies to you. You can do any magic you want, wherever you want, and whenever you want. We just sort of figured . . ."
At that moment, far to the south, a certain Vernon Dursley shat his pants with an accompanying feeling a bit like someone had just run a steamroller over his grave. Incidentally, at the same moment, Harry got a look in his eyes that would've made Snape's hair turn white.
"Add in the relationship we thought you two had with Weasley," Susan sighed, "made sense that you wanted to find a place that wouldn't judge you . . . like we do."
"Like you judge me or like you want to find a place that doesn't judge you?"
"We were thinking about becoming muggles, but when we figured that you were going to make your own island we just sort of . . . we just wanted to keep using magic."
"Just because I wasn't planing to do it doesn't mean I can't," Harry mused, "it does have a certain appeal doesn't it?"
"Do you want me to start researching how to do it Harry?" Hermione asked.
"Yeah," Harry slowly agreed , "that's a plan. Thanks."
"So what about it?" Susan asked, biting her lower lip. "Can Hannah and I join your school and country too?"
"Sure," Harry agreed, "friends?"
"Friends," she agreed.
"Now about you wanting to take Ron's place?"
"Can we talk about that later?" Susan asked with a blush. "It took us two days to work up the courage to approach you two and it's kind of embarrassing to find out that we were wrong about . . . well, you know."
"Drat," Harry muttered, "guess that means no harem for me."
"Harry!" Hermione protested, shocked.
"I've always wanted to lay back on a pillow eating peeled grapes," Harry explained with a snicker.
Harry's chair transformed into a beanbag chair and Dobby handed him a peeled grape.
"The Great Wizard Mr Harry Potter sir will be needing elfses in this great and magnificent new Mr Harry Potter Sir land! Elfses what is being allowed to be being cleans anything they is wants to be cleans as free elfses, yes?"
"...I suppose so. As long you leave the peeled grape feeding to human women, and burn that genie outfit you're wearing."
Harry was sitting in the Common Room staring into the fire while his mind was still occupied with the bizarre conversation with the two Hufflepuffs.
It had been a couple of days since the conversation in the Library and even though he didn't want to know, he couldn't stop himself from wondering just what Hannah meant about being able to switch genders.
Fortunately, that train of thought was derailed by his bushy-haired best friend, who was practically bouncing with excitement as she came through the portrait hole.
Harry smiled at Hermione as she moved to sit down next to him, wondering what she had discovered that had her so excited. He didn't have to wait long as she looked around and saw that there was nobody in listening range, and said quietly, "Harry! You aren't going to believe what I found out as I was researching the charms we need! One of the things you are able to do, since you are establishing your own country, is set your own laws and you can give Snuffles asylum! He can be a citizen of your country and won't have to hide anymore! Isn't that wonderful?"
A huge smile broke out and spread across his face. "And, if he won't have to hide, I can live with him during the Summers! Hermione, that's brilliant!" And surprising the wits out of Hermione he put his arms around her and pulled her into a hug.
'Harry's hugging me! Oh, that feels nice, he's never hugged me before.' Hermione thought, before returning the hug.
They sat there, not really noticing the odd looks they were getting as others came into the Common Room; until Ron came in and made a snide comment. Looking up they both seemed to realize they were still holding each other and broke apart, blushing.
The next day found them all in the library researching the spells they'd need to create their new home. The fact that a few of the spells could help Harry survive the Triwizard was just a bonus.
"Come look at this," Hannah gasped.
"What are you looking at?" Susan asked. "The rules of the Triwizard, why are you looking at that?"
"To help Harry of course," Hannah replied absently, "but you really need to look at this rule . . . you too, Hermione."
"Harry," Susan began in an odd voice, "I would like to formally request admission in your new school."
"So would I," Hannah was a heartbeat behind her fellow puff.
"I . . ." Hermione's eyes raced over the marked passage. "Would like to request admission also . . . and can I be Headgirl?"
"Okay," Harry agreed, "why?"
"I've wanted to be Headgirl since I read about the position in 'Hogwarts a History' and it's the only way I'll be able to now that we're all leaving Hogwarts," Hermione explained.
"I mean, why did you ask to join my school?"
"One of the rules of the Triwizard is that schools are permitted to recruit students from the other schools," Hannah explained her discovery, "the participating schools have no choice but to let their students go."
"As students in your school we're no longer subject to Hogwarts regulations," Hermione added, "though we may still be covered by the house system since it's . . ."
"We get the picture," Susan said gently, "so what are the rules in your school, Harry?"
"What do you want them to be?" was Harry's reply.
The three girls shared a glance and feral grins formed on their faces.
"Well," Hermione began, "to start with . . ."
Minerva smiled as she watched the students file into her room.
"Today we're going to be talking about the four stages of transfiguration," she began, "can anyone tell them to me?" her eyes darted towards her favorite student and she was shocked to see Hermione's hand down. "Nobody?" she asked weakly.
The class progressed and Minerva's sense of wrongness grew and grew until it reached a breaking point.
"Thanks for the help, Harry." Neville said with a pleased look on his face as he looked down at his completed assignment.
"Mr. Potter, five points for helping . . ."
"No thank you, Professor," Harry said politely.
"What?" Minerva gaped at him.
"I would prefer not to receive any house points," Harry explained, "thank you for the thought though."
"You're welcome," she said automatically, "please see me after class, Mr. Potter."
"Of course, Professor," Harry agreed.
Minerva was on autopilot for the rest of the class. A student refusing house points was unheard of in her experience and thus an indication that something was seriously wrong.
Hermione shot Harry a look of support as she walked out of the room.
"What can I do for you, Professor?"
"You refused house points," Minerva stated.
"Yes I did, Professor."
"What are you doing, Mr. Potter?" Minerva asked in confusion.
"Doing my best to insure that Gryffindor doesn't win the House Cup," Harry replied, "why do you ask?"
"Perhaps they'll learn just how little house points mean if they finish in the negatives." Harry sighed. "And perhaps another group of first years won't be shunned because they lost a few points to a biased Professor." Harry sighed. "Not to mention how they've treated me since my name came out of the bloody cup."
"I see." Minerva looked at Harry sadly. "Fifty points from Gryffindor for . . ." she looked a bit lost.
"Breathing too loud is one of Snape's favorites," Harry suggested.
"Thank you, Mr. Potter." Minerva made a mental note to go through the records to back up his claim. "For breathing too loudly."
"Will that be all, Professor?" Harry asked.
"Yes, thank you, Mr. Potter."
Dumbledore's eyes began twinkling like mad the moment he learned that three of his students had transferred to Harry's school.
"An elegant solution, don't you think Fawkes?" Dumbledore laughed. "It allows Mr. Potter to have the same amount of support given to students from the other schools. It also allows them to avoid serving any detentions," he added as an afterthought, "masterfully played. I sense the hand of Ms. Granger in all of this."
With that, Dumbledore put the matter out of his head. He was sure that they were all intelligent enough not to take things too far. They would be returning to the Hogwarts rolls after the tournament was finished after all and any first year could tell how long their Potions Professor had been known to hold a grudge.
Professor Flitwick frowned in confusion when Hermione's hand did not immediately dart up after he asked his question.
The room descended into an awkward silence as no one else was willing to attempt a question that had apparently flummoxed Gryffindors' resident genus, even if they thought they knew the answer.
"Ms. Granger," Flitwick called on the girl, "please give us your answer." He knew she knew the answer even if she wasn't volunteering it for some reason. 'Maybe she hurt her arm?'
"According to Nortons Guide to Charms and Charming, the Estus charm is superior to the Flamma charm in domestic settings for three main reasons; the first is lack of an open flame, the second is the lower power requirement, and the third is that the heat is more controllable. Periwinkle disagrees, stating . . ."
"Thank you Ms. Granger, that will be quite enough." The Professor laughed. "Five points to Gryffindor for . . ."
"No thank you, Professor," Hermione replied.
"What?" he asked in shock.
"I'd rather not take any points for my answer if it's all the same to you, Professor," Hermione explained. "Thank you for the offer though."
"You're very welcome, Ms. Granger," he said faintly. 'Minerva needs to know about this,'
Dumbledore swept into the library to find Harry and the girls sitting at a large table covered in books.
"Headmaster Dumbledore," Hermione squeaked.
"Ms. Granger," he said with a grandfatherly smile. He turned to Harry. "If I might have a moment of your time, Headmaster Potter."
"Headmaster?" Harry glanced at the girls with a look of confusion on his face.
"Hermione can't be the Headgirl and the Headmistress," Susan explained with an indifferent shrug. "Is this about the request I made, Headmaster Dumbledore?" Growing up as she did, near the center of power, had left her with little in the way of awe for authority figures.
"Yes," the Headmaster agreed.
"Wonderful," Susan continued, "when will they be ready?"
"What request?" Harry whispered.
"Hermione found out about a distinguished visitor wing in 'Hogwarts a History.' Hasn't been used for a while," Hannah whispered back.
"They'll be ready for Headmaster Potter, his staff, and students by the end of the week," Dumbledore said with twinkling eyes, "though I would like you to rethink your idea of housing your students away from their Hogwarts Houses."
"Why?" Hermione asked suddenly. "It's to your benefit after all."
"Two of our students were placed in the same house as your champion," Hermione said quickly, "this is to avoid any hint of collusion between our schools."
"Of course," Dumbledore laughed, "thank you for your time, Ms. Granger, Headmaster Potter, er . . ."
"Deputy Headmistresses Abbot and Bones," Susan said with a grin.
"Of course," Dumbledore agreed. "Now if you'll excuse me . . ."
"Of course, Headmaster Dumbledore." Harry had a grin on his face that caused a matching one on Dumbledore's. "I understand how difficult it is to administer a school."
"And I can not imagine how difficult it must be to have the duties of a Triwizard champion on top of all that," Dumbledore sympathized, severely amused by the whole charade.
Two students were hunched over whispering to each other in the Slytherin Common Room.
"It may be a way round the oath," one pointed out, "Potter isn't the sort to carry that bit of baggage with him."
"Better than the alternative," the other agreed, "even a broken tool gets used sometimes."
"How should we approach this?"
"We shouldn't, at least not until he's further along then the planning stage."
That meeting was, strangely enough, unknowingly repeated by others in the Snakes' Den and the words used by the others didn't stray far from the original script.
The silence of the library was shattered when Hermione leapt to her feet and and squealed in triumph.
"Eureka!" Hermione shouted.
"Shhhh," Susan hissed. She checked to make sure that their carefully crafted 'notice me not' charm was still up.
"What is it, Hermione?" Hannah asked.
"I have found it," Hermione replied cheerfully, "I've got the spell Harry's going to use to create our new home."
They all crowded around to look at the book in Hermione's hand.
"I thought we were going to pull up some sea floor?" Harry asked.
"We can do that too," Hermione said, "if we can find a charm for it, but this takes much less magic and can't be sunk by dispelling a capstone, so it's safer. I've see naturally occurring islands made this way and they are gorgeous! Tropical paradise is the most commonly used description of them."
"How are we going to grow any food if it's all rock?"
"That's another problem we'll have to solve later," Hermione bulldozed through their protests, "the important thing is that we'll be able to get started sooner then we thought we'd be able to."
"And that we'll be able to have hot springs," Hannah added. She noticed the other three looking at her. "Tourists have money, we don't want a land without any industry do we?"
"I suppose not," Harry agreed with a grin, "not to mention the fact that we'll be able to enjoy them as well."
"That thought never even crossed my mind," Hannah said with a smug grin.
"So when are we gonna get started?" Harry asked.
Dumbledore squinted at the paper in his hand, doing his very best to decipher the meaning of the words on it, as Dobby's handwriting was worse than Poppy's and his grasp on grammar was reminiscent of a similar looking fellow he'd seen in a muggle movie.
"What's this?" he asked finally, deciding that casting a translation charm, as he did on the school's medwitch's reports, would be a trifle rude.
"Dobby is resigning," the house elf replied, trying to be firm while doing something that went against a house elf's nature.
"Going to work for Headmaster Potter's new school?" Dumbledore asked with a smile. "Wonderful idea, please tell the other elves to contact me if any of them would like to switch to a new employer."
"Dobby will," the little elf promised, restraining himself from saying what a great wizard Dumblydore was for giving them such freedoms, as both he and The Great Harry Potter Sir were far too modest to enjoy such praise.
Neville watched in confusion as Harry pulled out a book and proceeded to do a bit of last minute reading before bed.
"What'cha doing, Harry?" Neville asked.
"Looking for a way to convert volcanic rock into soil," Harry replied.
"You tried looking at plants?" Neville asked helpfully. "Pretty sure that there's one that'll do the job for you, can't remember what it's called though."
"You remember where you saw it mentioned?"
"I think it musta been one of our textbooks," Neville said uncertainly,"third year supplemental for Herbology."
"No problem, Harry."
Susan and Hannah were waiting for Harry when he came out of Gryffindor tower for breakfast the next morning.
"Hermione's just grabbing us something to eat," Hannah offered, "she'll just be a few minutes."
"We're not eating in the Great Hall?" Harry asked.
Hannah looked at Susan, clearly expecting the other girl to take the lead.
"We've got a meeting in Hogsmeade," Susan explained, "one that might get us some backing if it goes well" Susan bit her lower lip. "I'm not supposed to say anymore then that."
"Alright," Harry agreed.
"You don't want to know more details?" Susan asked in shock.
"I trust you," Harry said simply, causing her to smile, unused to such behavior outside her fellow Puffs.
Hermione joined them a few minutes later and handed them each a cloth wrapped bundle.
"Sandwiches," Hermione explained, "I've also got tea if anyone wants something to drink."
"Where'd you get tea?"
"Dobby got it for me," Hermione replied, "he says they stock some for the Professors."
Their departure from Hogwarts went smoothly enough, save for a small amount of turbulence on their way out the gates.
"Where do you think you lot are going?" Filch demanded. "Students aren't allowed to leave school without permission."
"We've got permission from our school," Harry said calmly, "if you don't believe us then go complain to the Headmaster."
Filch gaped as the students swept past him and walked out the school gates. He'd never been so thoroughly dismissed in his entire life.
Susan took the group into a seedy looking Public House and up the stairs into a private room.
"I'll be right back," she promised. The girl darted out of the room and down the hall before any of them could comment.
"How long do you think we'll have to wait?" Harry asked.
"Not long," Hannah said after a quick peak out the door, "they're on their way back now."
"Harry," Susan called out. She was leading an older witch that bore a certain family resemblance.
"Yes, Susan?" Harry asked.
"This is my Aunt, Amelia Bones," Susan introduced the older witch, "she would like to have an audience with you."
"Madame Bones," Harry said respectfully.
"Mr. Potter," Amelia Bones began, "allow me to get straight to the point."
"Please do," Harry agreed.
"There are a number of current and former Ministry employees that have expressed an interest in joining your endeavor," she said calmly.
"Then they're welcome to come," Harry replied immediately, covering up his surprise, "so long as they agree to follow the rules like everyone else."
"What are the rules?"
"Mostly live and let live," Harry said quickly, "Hermione's been designing and redesigning a system of laws but that's most of it. You can do anything you want so long as it involves consenting adults." Harry's eyes darted towards the suddenly blushing Susan. "And that's about it."
"Simple," Amelia said in approval, "might I have a chance to examine these laws?"
"You'd have to talk to Hermione about that," Harry demurred.
"Of course," Amelia agreed, "thank you for your time, Mr. Potter."
"Not at all, Madame Bones."
Amelia handed Susan a package as she leaned down to whisper something into her niece's ear.
"I look forward to seeing those laws at your earliest possible convenience, Ms. Granger." Amelia nodded to Hermione. "Don't any of you hesitate to contact me if you think that I can provide some assistance." With that, she swept out of the room in a manner that would have left Snape green with envy.
"What did she give you?" Harry asked.
"A portkey to a shop in Diagon that will arrange another portkey for us," Susan replied, "she didn't know where we were going to put our island."
"Do we know where we're going to put it?" Harry asked.
"We've got our eye on an isolated bit of ocean between Pitcairn and Rapa," Hermione said, "unless you've got some place you'd rather go?"
"I have no idea where that is," Harry confessed.
"Pitcairn is where the mutineers from the Bounty went," Hermione explained, upon seeing three blank looks. "You know, the Mutiny on the Bounty . . . Mr. Christian . . . Captain Bligh?" She frowned in distress. She could understand Hannah and Susan's ignorance, but Harry had grown up in the real world. "I'll explain it later."
"Okay," Harry agreed, "why'd we choose that place?"
"It's isolated," Hermione explained, "nothing but a big patch of empty water and the weather is lovely."
"Lot's of rain for fresh water," Susan added, "we don't want to have to rely on desalinization charms."
Dumbledore's expression didn't change as he listened to Filch's complaints about Harry and his friends.
"That's enough, Argus." The Headmaster held up a hand. "Harry and his companions may come and go as they please, I should have informed you of that earlier."
"As students of the 'fourth school' they are not subject to Hogwarts' rules. Was there anything else you needed?"
Harry and the girls arrived in a small, and apparently empty, shop off Diagon Alley.
"Hello?" Harry called out.
"Hello," a voice replied from behind them.
"I love doin that," a middle aged man said with a grin, "what can I do for you?"
"Amelia Bones sent us," Harry replied.
"Ah." The man turned serious. "I see. I am willing to have my memory of the location of your portkey removed if you wish, I would also like to come with you."
"Aunty's had a talk with you?" Susan asked.
"My wife was an Auror," he explained.
"I'm sorry," Hermione replied with a sad look that the other three shared.
"It's not like that," he sighed, "let me try this again. My wife was an Auror for two years, and even though she left the force, we still have a great deal of respect for Amelia Bones."
Dobby's eyes shone with an inner fire as he prepared to address the crowd. Long had they waited for this day, long had house elves toiled, long had they suffered.
"Dobby has found the promised land," the little elf began, "the great and wonderful Harry Potter sir is making a place where house elvies may clean all that they can." Dobby frowned at his expression in the mirror, it just wasn't quite right yet. "Dobby had better take things from the top," the house elf said to himself. He nodded to himself and turned back to the mirror. "Dobby has a dream . . ."
Two portkeys and a long boat ride brought Harry and the girls to the location of their new home.
"Yeah," he agreed as he took a deep breath and began casting. "There it is," Harry said as a bit of lava burst above the surface of the ocean and started cooling, "the first bit of it."
"Is it enough to start laying in the enchantments?" Hermione asked.
"I . . . well, I don't know," Harry admitted. "You tell me."
Hermione considered the bit of lava, got out her theodolite, carefully examined the as-yet small volcano, and said, "It's enough to start laying in the enchantments."
"It's gonna be a long day," Susan moaned.
"What, afraid of a little hard work?" Hannah teased.
"Never thought I'd hear a Puff complain about having to work hard," Harry added with a smile.
"Then you haven't spent much time in our common room," Susan giggled, "biggest bunch of whiners outside . . ."
"Gryffindor," Hermione interjected.
"Yeah," Harry agreed, "you should hear them go on about the Tournament or the times we've lost points."
"Why don't we swap stories later," Hermione suggested, "we really do have to get this unplottable before anyone notices what we're doing here. Secrecy isn't the best defense in the world but it's better than nothing."
"Right," the others agreed.
Dumbledore took a large book out of his personal collection and spent a few moments flipping through it.
"The rules state that I am not permitted to give Harry any aid," he mumbled to himself. The old man smiled. "But there's nothing in them that forbids me from lending a book to a fellow Headmaster." Events were pushing him to do something that he'd hoped to postpone for a good many years. He just hoped Harry was ready for what was to come.
The group from the fourth school arrived back at Hogwarts just in time for the last quarter of their last class of the day.
"What class do we have now?" Harry asked. International datelines, worries about the Triwizard, creating a new country, and the fact that it was the beginning of the term had left Harry a bit confused as to his schedule.
"Potions," Hermione sighed.
"We're already late," Harry pointed out, "couldn't hurt to skip the rest."
"Harry," Hermione begged, "I've never just skipped a class for no reason before."
"Fine," Harry agreed. The thought of sending his friend in to face Snape alone never crossed his mind.
Harry followed his friend down into the dungeons and into the Potions classroom. To the surprise of none, Snape ignored Hermione in favor of a chance to bother the last Potter.
"Late for class, Potter," Snape sneered. "Arrogant enough to think that you can just come and go as the mood takes you?" A smile formed on the Potion Master's face. "That will be two weeks detention."
"No," Harry didn't even look up.
"What did you say to me?" Snape had turned a shade of purple almost dark enough to match Vernon.
"I said no," Harry replied evenly, "I'm not going to be serving any detentions with you, so bugger off."
"I . . . you . . . Potter . . ."
"Eloquent as always, Professor." Harry began gathering up his things. "And that's the end of class."
His shocked classmates watched as Harry picked up his books and strolled out of the room with Hermione trailing behind. It would be another five minutes before Snape managed to say anything coherent, and when he did, it promised dire things for the Gryffindor point total.
"You can't just take fifty million points from Gryffindor, Severus." Albus was in a bind, there was really nothing he could do to placate his Potions master, at the same time he couldn't allow such a large deduction of house points to be made.
"I make no objections to the loss of House Points," Minerva interjected calmly, "if Severus wishes then he may make it an even hundred. He's made a mockery of the point system since he began teaching here."
"What do you mean by that, Minerva?" Dumbledore shot his deputy a look that told her she wasn't helping.
"You're aware of course that there is a record of every point given or taken and why?"
"Of course," the Headmaster echoed.
"Why don't you take a look at some of Severus' points then?" Minerva suggested, handing him a sheet of parchment.
"Ten points taken for being a dunderhead Gryffindor with delusions of adequacy," Dumbledore murmured. "Five for proving that Ravenclaw is just as mediocre as Hufflepuff and Gryffindor. Fifteen for breathing too loudly. Minerva, Severus has been teaching here for over ten years. You can't just go through his record and cherry pick . . ."
"Those are all from the last week," Minerva interrupted.
"Wha . . ." Dumbledore looked at her in shock.
Harry staggered through the gates late that night, a girl on each side to help support his weight.
"Serves you right for overdoing it," Hermione sniffed. She cast another worried glance at Harry out of the corner of her eye. "Are you sure you don't want to go to the hospital wing?"
"Jus tired," Harry groaned.
"Let's take a little rest here before we tackle the Gryffindor tower stairs?" Hannah suggested.
"Why does Harry Potter sir's missy Abbott want to go to Gryffindor tower?" Dobby asked curiously.
"Where would we rather go?" Susan asked with a smile.
"The Great Headmaster Harry Potter sir's new rooms are ready. Dobby thinks that the Great Harry Potter sir and his girls would rather be there."
"You're right," Hannah agreed, "we would. Now if you'd be so kind as to show us the way."
Dumbledore's thoughts were whirling as he tried to think of a way to resolve the situation of Snape and the house points.
"Ready for our meeting, Headmaster?" the Headgirl looked up at him with large innocent eyes. Beside her the Headboy gave a happy nod.
"Ready for you two to make my day even more difficult," Dumbledore replied. He eyed them suspiciously, the innocent looks had stopped fooling him the month after he'd taken his current position. "Come on then, let's have it."
The two students spent the next two hours briefing the Headmaster on everything he needed to know about what was happening with the students.
"And I can confirm the thing about Professor Snape," the Headgirl added, "I won't say that it hasn't been useful, the way he favors our house I mean, but it's not something I'd have appreciated if I were sorted somewhere else."
"I was sorted somewhere else and it annoys the hell out of me," the Headboy interjected.
"Thank you," Dumbledore sighed. "Please . . . please put out feelers and get a feel for what the students think about all of this."
"Yes, Headmaster," they agreed.
"Thank you. And now that we've got the important things out of the way." Dumbledore rubbed his hands together eagerly. "Why don't we move on to the fun part."
"Yes, Headmaster," the Headboy sighed. The things he had to do to keep his job.
"First rumor is that Harry Potter has started his own school," the Headgirl began.
"That one is true," Dumbledore said with a laugh, "one of his friends was clever enough to note a loophole in the Triwizard rules."
"Oh . . . what about the part that he's using that to create his own island nation?" the Headgirl added dumbly.
"I must confess that I hadn't heard that bit," Dumbledore giggled. He absolutely loved the stories the students came up with. 'Though,' he thought to himself, 'having his own island could be most advantageous to Harry in the future.' Dumbledore made a mental note to mention it to the boy at a later date. "What else?"
"Rumor that Potter is dating half the witches in the school," the Headboy pitched in, "and a related rumor that they worship him and that they're forming a harem for him."
"They must not have invited me, cause I hadn't heard that one." The Headgirl pouted.
"Quite," Dumbledore managed to wheeze.
"What about the staff, sir?"
"Best rumor I've heard is that Harry is dating the Patil twins," Dumbledore said thoughtfully. "Oh, and that his owl is trying to kill me."
Harry awoke the next morning, opened his eyes, and gazed up at an unfamiliar ceiling.
"Where am I?" Harry murmured.
"Our new quarters," Hermione replied from across the room, "Dumbledore came through for us."
"Oh." Harry took a look around. "Dobby did a good job."
"On this room," Hermione agreed. "He forgot to put beds in the girls' wing. Fortunately he did install some very comfortable divans and some interesting choices in sleepwear."
"Dobby wasn't quite finished with our part of the VIP wing when he told us that we could move in," Hermione giggled. "He regards anything that you won't use as an afterthought at best, unworthy of his full attention."
"Either that or he's trying to ensure there is a larger crop of Harry Potter Sirs for the elves to take care of next year." Harry smirked as they shared a laugh. "Why are you in here?"
"Stealing towels from your washroom," Hermione explained. "We're going to get breakfast after we get out of the bath, do you want to join us?" Hermione reddened as she realized how she sounded. "For breakfast," she blurted.
"Yes," Harry agreed, "I'll be down in a bit."
Luna woke up early the next morning and carefully packed her things. Well, everything she could find anyway.
"Leaving, Lovegood?" one of the other girls in her dorm asked with a smirk.
"If all goes well, yes," Luna agreed cheerfully. She then skipped out of her dorm, leaving a very bewildered young witch behind.
Harry and the girls were walking towards the Great Hall for breakfast when they were confronted by one of the younger students.
"Good morning, Headmaster Potter," a small blond girl with a Ravenclaw crest on her robes said. "May I have a moment of your time?" the young girl inexpertly bobbed a curtsey to Harry.
"We'll meet you in the Great Hall, Harry," Susan called over her shoulder.
"We have a small errand to run before breakfast."
Hermione waved goodbye to her two friends and took an took an unconscious step closer to Harry's side.
"Alright," Harry agreed. He turned to the small Ravenclaw. "What can I do for you?"
"Well." She took a deep breath. "I would like to make an inquiry as to the possibility of making a transfer to your fine place of learning."
"Huh?" Harry said eloquently. Though in his defense, he had just woken up.
"She wants to join our school," Hermione whispered helpfully.
"Oh . . . sure, uh . . ."
"I'm Luna," the girl said shyly, "and um . . . are you taking immigrants?"
"Er." Harry glanced at Hermione.
"She wants to come with us when we go to our new home," Hermione supplied.
"I guess," Harry agreed. "How'd you find out about it anyway?"
"My father is the finest investigative journalist that ever lived, ever," Luna said proudly. "Not to mention the fact that it's the fifth most popular rumor going through the school."
"Behind the rumors that your owl is trying to kill the Headmaster, the one that you are the Lord of Azkaban Prison, that you're not actually Harry Potter but an immortal incarnation of death named Mister Black in disguise, and that you were dating Ron and Hermione but that you've had a falling out with Ron and have switched to dating Susan Bones and Hannah Abbot in his place." Luna supplied helpfully. "The sixth most popular rumor is that you are dating the Patil twins who like to switch back and forth and . . ."
"We get the picture," Harry assured the girl.
"How grand." Luna clapped her hands. "Now then, who is your Economics Minister?"
"Uh . . . Economics Minister?"
"Father has several questions for them," Luna explained. "He's interested in moving his business to your new principality and he would like to educate himself on the intricacies of your tax code."
Dumbledore smiled when he got the notice that another student was transferring to Harry's new school. He thought it wonderful that the boy had so many friends scattered about the different houses and he made a mental note to find some way to keep the children together after the tournament ended and the fourth school disbanded.
"Headmaster Dumbledore," Susan shouted. She and Hannah ran up to the old man. "May we have a moment of your time?"
"What can I do for you, Deputy Headmistresses Bones and Abbot?" Dumbledore asked with a twinkle in his eye.
"We're afraid that we've found a violation of the rules of the Triwizard," Susan sighed regretfully.
"Oh?" Dumbledore asked. "What sort of violation?" years of practice allowed the old wizard to keep the grin off his face as he played along.
"We're afraid that our school is unrepresented at the judge's table," Hannah said with wide innocent eyes that didn't fool Dumbledore for a second, not after being a teacher so long.
"I'm not sure that I can get the other judges to agree to your presence," Dumbledore admitted.
"That's fine," Susan assured the old man, "the rules state that if we are not seated then our representative is to be awarded full points."
"While the other schools get nothing," Hannah finished, "we're willing to let that stand."
"But I doubt they'll be," Dumbledore agreed with a smile. "Thank you for bringing this to my attention, Deputy Headmistresses Bones and Abbot."
"We prefer Abbot and Bones," Susan said shyly.
"May I ask why?"
"We like it to be alphabetical," Hannah explained.
"Of course," Dumbledore laughed, "if there's nothing else?" the girls shook their head. "Then please tell Headmaster Potter that I'd like to speak with him at his earliest convenience. Nothing too formal, just two colleges having a spot of tea."
"Of course, Headmaster Dumbledore."
"Wait," Dumbledore said suddenly, "would either of you mind too much if I asked for a small favor?"
"Of course not, Headmaster Dumbledore," Hannah said quickly.
"Headmaster Potter is quite keen to see a bit of inter-school cooperation, he says that it's the whole reason the Tournament exists."
"Headmaster Potter is wise beyond his years," Dumbledore said with a pleased smile. "Please pass along my complements to Headmaster Potter."
"Of course," Susan agreed.
"Your favor, Headmaster?" Hannah prompted.
"Yes, of course." Dumbledore paused. "I'm afraid that I seem to have forgotten it. Consequence of my advanced years, I'm afraid."
"It happens to the best of us, even at our age," Susan assured the man.
"Tell us when you remember," Hannah agreed.
"Thank you," Dumbledore said sincerely, "I shall be forever indebted to you both."
Harry, Hermione, and their newest recruit had just settled into their table at the great hall when Susan and Hannah rejoined them.
"Dumbledore's invited you to tea," Susan said as she flopped down next to Hermione.
"I'm Hannah," the former Hufflepuff introduced herself to the new girl.
"I'm Luna," the other blond said brightly, "nice to meet you."
"This is Susan," Hannah continued with a wave towards her best friend.
"Hello," Luna said with a happy smile. Fifteen minutes at her new school and they already treated her much better then the students at her old school did.
"You have such lovely blond hair," Hannah complimented, "I wish mine didn't have so much brown in it," she sighed.
"You really like it?"
Harry tuned the conversation out at this point in favor of wondering what Dumbledore wanted to speak with him about.
"Probably wants to give you advice on how to be a headmaster or something," Hermione said as she poured herself another glass of pumpkin juice.
"What?" Harry narrowed his eyes. "How'd you know what I was thinking about?"
"I've known you for three years," Hermione said with a smirk, "you're an open book, Harry."
"If I were you, I'd worry more about the first challenge," she continued.
"Yeah," Harry agreed, "any idea what it's going to be?"
"The idea is the contestants are supposed to be ready for anything," Hermione said with a frown, "so in theory it could be anything."
"We'll tell you as soon as we figure out who our judge is," Susan supplied helpfully, "then we'll have something specific to prepare for."
"But . . . that's cheating," Hermione sputtered.
"One of the most traditional ways to win the tournament," Luna said happily, "it's how four out of the last five champions won."
"What about the fifth?" Harry asked, "how did he win?"
"Posthumously. His nose landed in the trophy."
"Oh." And that, thought Harry, killed my appetite.
Several sets of eyes watched as the students of the fourth school ate their meal. After the meal ended, one pair retired to discuss what they'd seen.
"Looks like he's open to accepting new students," one of the watchers ventured.
"Looks like we need to find something that'll make us valuable," another agreed, "something that will persuade him to overlook our . . . ah . . ."
"Yes, thank you."
"I wouldn't worry overmuch about that," the other voice said cheerfully, "his purebloods should be able to explain how binding magical oaths work."
"True, but knowing something intellectually is quite different from . . ."
"Yes of course . . . so . . . we're competent potion brewers."
"But they don't know that."
"Not after our performance in class anyway."
"What say we brew up something that will showcase our skills?"
"We'll have to know all the steps inside and out in case Granger decides to ask questions."
"True, but neither of us is afraid of a bit of hard work."
"Especially not when the potential rewards are so high."
Harry was more then a bit surprised with the gargoyle immediately leapt to one side to allow access to the stairs. With a shrug, he made the short trip to Dumbledore's office and knocked on the door.
"Come in," Dumbledore's voice called out. The old man looked up as Harry entered the room. "Thank you for seeing me on such short notice, Headmaster Potter."
"It's the least I could do for a colleague, Headmaster Dumbledore."
"I have a couple books I thought you might like to borrow." The old man handed over two bound volumes. "The first is on dealing with black magic, the second contains useful charms for building your own nation."
Harry thought to himself that he really shouldn't be surprised at how much the Headmaster seemed to know.
"Be sure to give them careful study," Albus advised, "especially the second one. One can only imagine how useful having one's own island can be."
"Quite useful I'd suppose," Harry agreed, "thank you, Headmaster Dumbledore."
"Happy to be of assistance, Headmaster Potter." Dumbledore waved to a porcelain tea set on his desk. "Care to join me for tea?"
"I'd be delighted to," Harry replied.
"Wonderful," Dumbledore said happily, "how do you take it?"
"With a touch of milk," Harry replied.
In the dungeons, two of Slytherin's finest were considering the information that they'd just purchased.
"We're sure this is accurate?" Tracy whispered.
"We're sure most of it is," Daphne replied, "I've confirmed it through several sources."
"As have I," Tracy agreed, "including . . . including my contact in Gryffindor."
"You have a contact in Gryffindor?"
"Indirectly," Tracy said reluctantly, "through a cousin in Hufflepuff."
"No sense wasting time then."
"Yeah, sooner we make our approach-"
"-the sooner we can get out of this nest of vipers."
"Or get to work digging up dirt to blackmail them into giving us a place."
"True." Just because they disliked their house, did not in any way imply that the Sorting Hat had made a poor choice.
Harry walked into the VIP wing and deposited the books he'd gotten from Dumbledore onto Hermione's lap.
"What are these?" Hermione asked.
"One is on dealing with black magic and the other is on charms to build your own nation," Harry replied, "tell me if you find anything useful."
"So you expect me to read through these for you?" she huffed.
"I expect that I'd never be able to keep you away from them and that you could read all of them faster than I can read one," Harry laughed, amusement coloring his voice. "I'm asking that you tell me if you find anything immediately useful while you're going through them. I'll read them when you're finished with them."
"Oh . . . thank you," Hermione said with a bright smile. It was nice to have friends who knew her so well, Hermione reflected as she opened the first book.
Hermione's nose was still buried in a book few hours later as she absently followed the others down to get their evening meal in the great hall. Her reading was abruptly interrupted when she ran into Susan's back.
"What's . . ." Hermione looked up to find the way blocked by two Slytherin girls, Daphne Greengrass and Tracy Davis.
"What can we do for you?" Harry asked, interrupting the staring contest that was threatening to break out.
The two Slytherin girls invaded his personal space, Daphne on the right and Tracy on the left, their lips only a few inches away from Harry's ears.
"Might we have a word, Potter?" Daphne whispered in a sultry voice.
"What do you need?" Harry replied. He ignored the glares that his girls were directing at the two Slytherins.
"We have credible information that you're planning to keep your school after the Triwizard Tournament," Tracy replied with a coy smile.
"And that you've raised your own island," Daphne added in a silky voice, "is that true?" she took possession of Harry's arm and pulled it close.
"Why do you want to know?" Hermione asked belligerently, more then a bit jealous at how close the Slytherin girls were getting to her best friend.
"It is true then," Tracy said in delight, "we want in." She leaned over to rest her head on Harry's shoulder as her hand raised and began tracing little circles on Harry's chest.
"You do?" Harry stuttered. He was finding it a bit hard think at the moment.
"Yes," Tracy purred, "but would it be possible . . ."
"Please say yes," Daphne cooed.
"What?" Harry groaned.
"Would it be possible to become subjects of your island without having to join Granger's harem?" Tracy asked with a pout.
"Harem?" Hermione asked with a queer look on her face. "What harem?" Exactly how many rumors were there running through this school?
"I thought the rumor was that we were all in Harry's harem?" Susan giggled.
"So you're not an unwitting dupe used by Granger to conceal her lesbian bondage harem?" Daphne asked in shock.
Harry and the others shook their heads dumbly.
"Huh, and I was sure of that one." Their reactions were what convinced Daphne that they were telling the truth. She absolutely refused to believe that such a large group of non-Slytherins would be so skilled at faking such convincing reactions.
"Since that's settled," Tracy said loudly, hoping to get the conversation back on track, "we have no other concerns and would like to join your new school and become subjects of your island, eh' Daph."
"Yeah," Daphne agreed absently, "what about the rumor that . . ."
"Forget the rumors," Hermione growled. She grabbed the girl by the arm and pulled her off Harry's arm.
"So can we join then?" Tracy asked again. "Or are you not taking Slytherin applicants?"
"You can join," Harry said firmly. He closed his eyes and took several calming breaths. "Deputy Headmistresses Abbot and Bones will help you get settled in your new rooms."
"That's right," Susan agreed as she pried Tracy off Harry's other arm, "we'd be happy to help."
"It's our job after all," Hannah pitched in.
"Looks as if Potter added a new pair of strumpets to his little harem," Snape sneered as the group took possession of their table.
"Looks as if it's a pair of your former snakes," Minerva retorted, "good to see that at least two of them have some sense."
"What?" Snape growled. His eyes narrowed in anger when he located the two students. "How dare they," Snape hissed, "how dare they!" He was out of his seat and half way to Harry's table before anyone thought to stop him. "YOU TWO!" Snape bellowed, "get down to the bloody dungeons this instant or so help me you'll wish your mothers had the good sense to smother you in your cribs!"
"Problem?" Harry asked as he rose from his seat. His wand cradled in his right hand.
"This doesn't concern you Potter, step aside or I'll give you detentions until the day I finally succeed at removing you from this school," Snape threatened, "this is between me and my traitorous students."
"They're in my school now," Harry replied flatly, "so it concerns me." Harry had a startling revelation as stared down the potions master. Snape was nothing compared to the basilisk, the dementors, or the specter of Voldemort. He was nothing but a pathetic bully with delusions of adequacy, one that Harry would be glad to teach a sorely needed lesson in humility.
"Why you . . ." Snape reached for his wand and was surprised to find that he couldn't move his arm.
"Severus," Flitwick said with a grin as he wrapped his hand around the other man's wrist, "just the man I wanted to see."
"Let go," Snape growled.
"I was wondering something about reaction tables and you were the only one I could think of that might have the answer," Flitwick ignored Snape and turned towards Harry, "I apologize for interrupting your conversation, Headmaster Potter, but this really can't wait."
"No problem, Professor Flitwick," Harry said with an easy grin, his eyes locked on Snape, "I understand how these things can be."
"Good day then," Flitwick said cheerfully as he dragged Snape back to the staff table.
"What gave you the right to invade my affairs?" Snape demanded.
"Invade your . . . I just saved your bloody life you fool," Flitwick hissed, "Potter would have killed you."
"Him?" Snape sneered. "Little braggart . . ."
"Had already drawn his wand and possesses faster reflexes then you'll ever dream of having," Flitwick interrupted, "reflexes I'd have envied when I was on the circuit." Not to mention the rather impressive body count the lad had managed to rack up. "But let's forget all that for a moment, let's pretend that he'd have allowed you to draw your wand and cast a hex at him shall we?" Flitwick asked in his most condescending voice. "What do you suppose Minerva would have done to you? How do you suppose Minerva would have reacted to your hexing one of her students right in front of her?" There was a limit to how much the woman was willing to tolerate after all, a limit that Severus was about to leap over.
Snape paled as he finally registered the look on the old woman's face. "Do not presume to interfere with my affairs again."
"Wouldn't dream of it," Flitwick agreed cheerfully, "save a fools life the first time and see if he learns something. If he doesn't, well that's different isn't it?"
Snape twisted his wrist out of the smaller man's hand and stormed off in a rage. Flitwick's laughter ringing in his ears.
"We're going to have to watch him," Flitwick said to his fellow head of house.
"I'll report what happened to Albus," Minerva promised.
"And what makes you think he'll do anything this time?" the Charms master asked with a raised eyebrow. "What makes you think he'll do a thing, when he's never paid any attention any of the other times?"
To that, Minerva had no ready response.
Harry didn't stow his wand until after Snape had stormed out of the Great Hall. After it became apparent that the Potions Master wasn't going to return, Harry took a quick look around the table.
"Everyone's alright?" he asked. "Daphne, Tracy?"
"We're fine," Daphne assured the boy, "you're not . . . you're not going to decide we're too much trouble and throw us out are you?" the girl asked, her eyes betraying her nervousness at the answer.
"Not on your bloody life," Susan said firmly, "right, Harry?"
"Right," Harry agreed, "you're with us now. Nothing is going to change that."
"Thank you, Harry," Tracy sighed, "we're . . ."
"We're more grateful then you can ever know," Daphne said emotionally.
"And um . . . this might not be the best time to bring this up," Tracy began.
"What is it?" Harry asked.
"Is it alright if we bring our families along?" the girl asked hopefully. "Or at least a few members?"
"We're going to need a bigger island," Harry sighed, "Hermione?"
"I'll modify the plans," the girl agreed quickly.
"Thank you, Hermione."
Two of the students who'd witnessed the confrontation immediately finished their meal and retired to a location better suited for private discussion.
"We'd better finish that potion quickly," one offered as soon as the privacy charms were up.
"Not sure we have time," the other replied, "we'd better be ready to leave at a moments notice and hope that Potter will take us in."
"What if he doesn't?"
"I'm trying not to think about that."
The collected students and faculty of the fourth school were just getting back to their dormitory when they were interrupted by a red headed streak that rushed in and blocked their path.
"Harry," Ron gasped. The boy was out of breath and he looked as if he'd just run up several flights of stairs.
"Ron," Harry said neutrally. He wondered what had happened to make the other boy stop giving him the silent treatment.
"I thought you weren't talking to us?" Hermione sniffed.
The other students from the fourth school took a collective step back to allow the trio to work out their differences.
"Charlie . . ." Ron took a quick breath. "Charlie is here for the first task. We gotta find a way to get you out of this contest."
"Can't," Harry said regretfully.
"You don't understand, mate. It's bloody dragons."
"I understand," Harry said calmly, "but . . ."
"Forget the bloody glory and the bloody gold," Ron shouted, "you could get hurt you stupid bastard."
"I realize that, Ron. I . . ."
"Talk some sense into him, Hermione," Ron begged, "tell him to withdraw."
"He can't," Hermione said gently, "the rules don't allow it."
"Bloody hell." Ron seemed to collapse. "What're we gonna do?"
"We're going to research dragons," Hermione said calmly. "Right, Harry?" she bit her lip nervously as she waited for Harry's reply.
"Right," Harry agreed.
"Never should have entered your name, Harry," Ron moaned, "I'm sorry I ever wanted to." It had all seemed so simple before he'd found out how dangerous it was going to be, he'd been sure that the worst that the contestants would have to face would be something like the defenses around the stone in first year. But dragons, that was a whole different story.
"I didn't," Harry said firmly.
"But . . ."
"But nothing," Harry growled, "I didn't enter my name into the stupid contest and if three years of friendship isn't enough to make you believe me then . . ."
"Sorry," Ron interrupted.
"I said I'm sorry," Ron said with a sour look on his face, "okay? I was wrong." It was clear that the boy hated to admit that he was at fault for anything.
"Alright then," Harry said calmly.
"We okay then?" Ron said hopefully.
"Yeah," Harry agreed, "I guess."
"Charlie wants to talk with you after the first task," Ron offered. "I'm not sure why, just that he wants to discuss something important and that he didn't want to uh . . ." he turned his head and looked at Hermione helplessly. "He doesn't want it to look like he's cheating for Harry."
"He's avoiding the appearance of impropriety," Hermione offered. She wasn't entirely comfortable with the notion of allowing Ron back into the circle without making the boy do some serious groveling first.
"Sure," Ron agreed.
"What does he want to talk about?" Harry asked.
"I don't know," Ron admitted with a blush. "I ran here as soon as I heard about the dragons."
"That wasn't very polite," Hermione scolded. Despite her tone, the girl had a pleased look on her face. That was more the sort of attitude she was looking for.
"Tell Charlie that I'll be happy to talk with him," Harry added.
"I will," Ron agreed happily. "In fact, I'll do that right now." Ron turned away and didn't get more then three steps before a thought occurred to him. "Hey, Harry?"
"Would it be alright if I had meals with you at your table some time?" his back was rigid, betraying how nervous he was about the answer.
"You want to join my school?" Harry asked curiously.
"Nah, I could never leave Gryffindor. I just thought it'd be nice to have meals with my mates again."
"Sure, Ron," Harry agreed, "just let me know beforehand so I can have an extra place set up."
"Thanks, mate," Ron said cheerfully.
"Can't confirm it's dragons yet," Susan said after the redhead had gone, "other schools are dragging their feet on the whole judge issue."
"Threaten to take points off their champion's score," Hermione suggested, "and offer to swear an oath that you won't give any information to Harry."
"But . . ." Hannah protested.
"Make sure that they swear an oath that they haven't given any information to their champions first," Hermione finished, "I'm sure we could think of something sufficiently comprehensive if we tried."
"Leave that part to me, Granger," Daphne suggested.
The two mystery students looked down at their cauldron, willing the reactions to speed up.
"Be able to move it in about a day," one offered.
"Might be a good idea to make ourselves scarce until then," the other agreed.
"What excuse should we use if we're unlucky enough to be discovered before this is ready?"
"We haven't used the one about being lost for a while," the other suggested.
"That'll work, we're certainly dumb enough for it to be plausible."
"And we'll just have to hope our charm work was good enough to keep the brewing set concealed."
"Pity Tracy and Daphne had to rile Snape up like that."
"I'm trying to be happy that two of them were given sanctuary."
"Not to mention the fact that it lets us know that he's taking Slytherins."
"Female ones anyway."
"Even if he is building a harem, he'll still need people to take care of the general upkeep of the place."
"So long as he doesn't need guards."
"Had a sudden thought of the traditional modification made to guards before they were allowed into a harem."
Susan and Hannah let Daphne take the lead as their meeting with the other school's representatives began.
"And of course we'd be willing to take an oath that our presence at the judge's table won't mean that a steady stream of information will be passed on to our champion," Daphne said calmly, "so long as the other judges are willing to do the same."
"This is an outrage," Karkaroff sputtered. "You dare imply that . . .
"And that no information pertaining to any of the tasks has been leaked in the past," Daphne interrupted with a smile.
"You . . . I . . ." the man reddened with anger. "I refuse to swear such an oath."
"Wonderful," Daphne replied with a dazzling smile. "I hadn't looked forward to swearing it myself. I trust that none of you have any further objections?"
It what was becoming a reoccurring theme in his life, Harry was met by two hulking figures in concealing robes when he arrived back at his dorms accompanied by two of his girls.
"Something I can do for you two?" Harry asked in resignation. He hoped that neither figure noticed when his wand fell out of his sleeve and into his waiting hand while his other absently pushed Hermione out of the line of fire.
Luna, upon seeing what was happening ahead of her stepped into a convenient alcove and drew her own wand.
"What do you know of pureblood customs?" One of the figures began in a rich baritone.
"Not a thing," Harry replied.
"Well," the other asked in a nervous voice, "were you aware that it was possible for one family line to be tricked into the service of another through the use of binding oaths?"
"I have no idea, Harry."
"Luna?" Harry raised his voice.
"It's been known to happen," Luna's voice echoed through the hallway, "But I can only think of two families that were stupid enough to fall for it."
"I take it that your family is in the service of another?" Harry asked.
"Both of our families," one of the figures agreed.
"And you want to be free?"
"Why come to me?" Harry demanded.
"As the sovereign of a nation, you can grant us amnesty and dissolve our bonds of servitude," one of the figures explained.
"Why haven't you already done this?" Harry asked sharply.
"We've been given a list of countries we're not permitted to visit while the oath is in effect," one of the figures said resignedly.
"And the British government has publicly stated that it will not interfere with informal agreements between pureblood families," the other added bitterly. "The muggle government might help, but without magic . . ." he trailed off.
Silence descended on the group. "Don't think we're coming empty handed," the second figure said quickly. He reached back and pulled out a medium sized cauldron.
"What's that?" Harry directed the question to Hermione.
"It looks like the fourth stage of a rather difficult and useful potion," Hermione murmured. "You made this?"
"I was never able to get past the third stage when I tried to brew it myself," Hermione said. Her tone was more then a bit disgruntled.
"You're probably using the recipe from the seventh year's brewing manual, aren't you?"
"There's a printing error," the figure explained. "You're supposed to mince the lacewings, not dice them."
"I see." Hermione nodded slowly. "Thank you."
"Happy to help."
"As to the matter we discussed before?"
"Sure," Harry agreed. "Just tell me what I have to do."
"There's a rather simple ritual that we can perform later," one of the figures said with obvious relief.
"So long as it doesn't cause any type of harm to me or mine, then sure." Harry regarded the two figures with an unreadable look. "Were you ever planning to tell me who you are?"
"Sorry about that." The first figure pulled off his hood to reveal the smiling face of Gregory Goyle.
"And I would assume that you're, Crabbe?" Harry asked dryly.
"You would assume correctly," Crabbe said as he removed his own hood.
"Wonderful," Harry said, "was there anything else?"
"One more thing," Crabbe agreed.
"What is it?"
"If possible, we'd like to join your new nation as citizens rather then refugees," Crabbe said in a low, cultured voice.
"So long as you give us your assurances that we will not be made into harem guards," Goyle added smoothly, "at least not the traditional sort."
"Huh?" Harry turned to Hermione with a raised eyebrow.
"They don't want to be eunuchs," Hermione whispered.
"Castrated," Hermione explained. She sighed when his look of incomprehension remained. She leaned closer and whispered something more quietly.
Harry's eyes bulged and his legs crossed reflexively. "Done," he said quickly, "you don't have to worry about that."
"So are we in then?" Goyle asked hopefully.
"Our families too," Crabbe added.
"Hermione," Harry said in resignation.
"I'll expand the plans," Hermione agreed. She turned to the two hulking Slytherins. "It means you're in."
"Can't wait to see the look on Draco's face when he sees us with you," Crabbe said eagerly.
"I can't wait for the rotten little bastard to give me an excuse to ruin that smile of his," Goyle added.
"Dobby," Harry called out.
"Yes, Harry Potter sir?" the little elf asked eagerly.
"Please pack our new student's things and get them moved into our part of the castle," Harry ordered.
"Yes, Harry Potter sir, Dobby will comply."
"Come on," Harry sighed. "I'll show you your new rooms."
"Thanks," Goyle said gratefully.
Much to Harry's surprise, the rest of the trip back to his dorm room was uninterrupted and he was able to get a fairly good night's sleep.
Harry smiled to himself. It was a brand new day, and now that the misunderstandings about certain girls stalking him in pairs and their plans involving him were settled, he felt like he could take on the world!
'Thankfully it was just the Puffs. I don't know what I would have done if it had been a pair of Slytherins,' he thought.
His good fortune ended when he stepped out of his room the next morning and was immediately greeted by the smiling faces of Daphne and Tracy.
"Excuse me a second," Harry said politely. He stepped back in to his room, closed the door, and screamed as loudly as he could. Opening the door with a sigh, he calmly addressed the two girls, "What can I do for the two of you?"
"How would you like to really make Snape mad?" Daphne asked slyly, wrapping herself around his left arm.
"So mad that his head will likely explode," Tracy added, as she claimed his right arm whispering seductively in his ear.
"Out with it," Harry moaned, pretty sure this was a bad idea, but unable to resist the bait. I mean who could resist doing anything that had the possibility of making Snape's head explode?
"Three fourths of Slytherin house wants to defect," Tracy said happily.
"Hermione's already modified the plans," Daphne added.
"What do I have to do?" Harry prompted.
"Say yes," Tracy purred into his left ear.
"And raise a few more volcanoes to make the island bigger, no problem," Daphne whispered sweetly into his right.
Hermione already had multiple plans ready for expansion up to and including one that would make their 'little' island rival one of the smaller continents, but he hadn't thought they'd need it at the time, not to mention it would really leave him drained for the better part of a month even if they did do it in stages. 'Might have to look at that one again.'
"When do I need to raise these volcanoes?" Harry asked.
"Today would be best," Daphne said thoughtfully. "That way you'd have plenty of time to rest before the first task."
"And the volcanoes would have plenty of time to get larger before we start stage two in a couple months."
"How many volcanoes do I have to bring up?" Harry asked.
"Two or three dozen," Tracy said sweetly.
"Why so many?"
"We're planning ahead," Daphne explained. "Don't want to be caught flat footed the next time a large number of people want to defect do we?"
"I suppose not," Harry agreed. "Come on, let's get the others."
"They're in the library researching," Daphne said. "Hermione instructed us to tell you that you're a big boy and that she trusts you to do this without her looking over your shoulder."
"Hermione said that?" Harry asked in shock.
Daphne smiled widely. "We may have bribed . . ."
"Distracted," Tracy interjected.
"Distracted," Daphne corrected, "her with a couple of rare books from the family libraries."
"Why don't you want her along?"
"Because we're going to bat our eyelashes at you and ask you to make a couple of modifications to her plan that we're not sure she'd approve of," Daphne answered honestly.
"What sort of modifications?" Harry asked suspiciously.
"Were you aware of how easy it was to encourage the lava to take certain shapes when it's still warm?" Daphne asked with a sly smile.
"Or how much our families don't like the idea of being deprived of their grand manor houses?" Tracy added. "Not that I understand that of course, damn things never were very comfortable."
"Or the fact that Tracy and I have always wanted fifty foot basalt statues of ourselves so that future generations can appreciate our beauty?" Daphne teased.
Harry chuckled. "What's in it for me?"
"We already told our families that you wanted us in your harem to slake your dark lusts," Tracy giggled.
"With an option on my sister," Daphne added. "Was there something else you wanted?"
"It removes the temptation of using us to seal a business deal with one of the other families," Tracy explained. "Several of the other female Slytherins and likely a few purebloods from the other houses would like to make similar arrangements if you don't mind."
"I see," Harry sighed. "And you didn't think to discuss any of this with me?"
"I thought that was what we were doing right now?" Tracy riposted.
"Next time try doing it before you arrange things," Harry advised.
"We'll try," Daphne promised. The fact that 'do' was a another matter all together was left unspoken.
"And if there's anything you'd like us to do to repay you for this, just tell us," Tracy added. "We understand how much we owe you for what you're doing for us."
"Let's go get our portkeys," Harry said, ending the conversation.
"Already arranged," Daphne said quickly.
"We're trying to show you that having subordinates can be beneficial as well as bloody frustrating," Tracy explained.
"Subordinates?" Harry asked oddly.
"What else would you call us?" Tracy asked. "You are our leader, we are your followers."
"I hadn't really thought about it," Harry admitted. He shook himself. "We'll talk more about it later, let's get our work done first."
"Right," Daphne agreed. She pulled a long fine linked silver chain out of her pocket. "Everyone take hold."
Harry stared in shock at the lush green paradise they landed in. "What is this place?" he asked in an awe filled voice.
"Your new home," Daphne said smugly. "Haven't had a chance to visit for a while, huh?"
"Not since the first bit," Harry admitted. "How did all of this get accomplished?"
"Advantage of allowing settlement," Tracy explained. "The settlers are motivated to do a bit of work to get their new home ready."
"This is amazing," Harry whispered.
"Magic is a wondrous thing," Tracy replied. "Able to make dreams into reality."
"It's a shame that not all dreams are good," Harry quirked. "Else we wouldn't have to run to this place."
"True," Tracy agreed.
"I've got Hermione's plans right here," Daphne announced, pulling a bundle of papers out of her pocket. "And our modifications right here." Another bundle joined the first.
"Best get started then," Harry announced.
Daphne sidled up to her partner while Harry was occupied. "Get breakfast ready, he's going to be starving when he finishes his casting."
"Right," Tracy agreed.
After a long day of casting, Harry could barely move and the two girls had to carry him to his bed.
"Hermione isn't going to be happy with us," Tracy said regretfully.
"I thought she would be smart enough to add in a wide margin of error," Daphne tried to defend herself. "How was I to know she'd calculated his power levels that closely?"
"Should have guessed that she'd be that anal retentive," Tracy reflected at least about Harry. Think he'll have recovered by the first task?"
"Not completely," Daphne said unhappily.
"Hermione is going to kill us, you know that don't you?" Tracy said seriously.
"Unless we can think of a good excuse for him being tired that doesn't involve the two of us convincing him to add a whole lot of stuff that she didn't call for in her plan," Daphne agreed.
"Get his pants off," Tracy said suddenly.
"We take off his clothes, then we strip and hop into bed with him. The other girls find us all in bed together tomorrow and we blame his fatigue on work of the carnal sort, rather then the construction kind." Tracy grinned widely. "It's brilliant."
"Until they kill us in a jealous rage," Daphne pointed out. "Bones and Abbot for not inviting them to join in, and the others for getting there first."
"It's not like we had a choice in the matter," Tracy sighed dramatically. "Our families insisted we seal the deal. Us, two innocent young maids becoming mere pawns in the great game."
"Sounds good to me." Daphne put two thumbs up. "Let's get those clothes off him."
"What a wonderful idea," Hermione's voice said dryly. "Luckily, I learned a spell from one of the books you loaned me today that will let us do it without violating Harry's privacy." Hermione frowned. "After that, I think the three of us need to have a little talk about how important it is to follow the plan. Don't you agree?"
Harry could barely move when he woke up the next morning and he was sure the day couldn't get worse until he opened his eyes and the first thing he saw was a glaring Hermione Granger.
"Don't you try to act innocent, Harry Potter," Hermione growled. "And don't try to distract me by calling me 'Herms.' You know I hate that."
"What were you thinking?" Hermione demanded. "Or were you thinking, do you know how dangerous it is to use so much magic in so little time?"
"Didn't think I was using that much," Harry said honestly. "It all just sort of caught up to me at the end after I stopped."
Hermione looked at him with wide worried eyes. "What are you going to do about the first task?"
"I'll figure something out," Harry replied easily. He started to get up.
"No!" Hermione barked. "You are not allowed to get out of bed today."
"You want me to skip class?" Harry asked incredulously.
"Luna, Hannah, Susan, and myself will be keeping you company and missing a day or two of class won't hurt you," Hermione said firmly.
"Not Daphne or Tracy?"
"I'm not happy with them at the moment and I've forbidden them to visit you without supervision," Hermione said with a raised chin.
"I am acting as your Vicereine and Grand Chamberlain, Harry," Hermione said imperiously. "Of course they listened." Hermione's voice softened, "Feel better, okay, Harry?"
"Alright, Hermione," he agreed. "What's a Vicereine?"
"It's the feminine form of the word Viceroy," Hermione replied absently. She pulled a piece of parchment out of her pocket. "Here's the schedule I've worked out. I'm first, followed by Luna, Susan, Hannah, and then me again. Is that okay with you, Harry?" She hopped onto his bed. "We could all stay all day if you like."
"Stay if you want, go to class if you want," Harry said reasonably, not bothering to ask what the word Viceroy meant. "Whatever makes you happy."
Cedric frowned in concentration as he considered the information he'd been given. He hadn't been sure of it at first, but three different sources reporting the same thing could not be ignored. He was going to have to have a talk with young Harry Potter and if he was lucky, he might not need the Galleons he'd get from winning the Triwizard after all.
Hermione did her best to paste McGonagall's frown number five on her face, the one she gave students who cast the bedwetting hex on their dorm mates, and glared down at the two Slytherin girls.
"I'm very unhappy with the two of you," she pronounced.
"Why aren't you angry at Harry too?" Tracy asked.
"Yeah," Daphne agreed. The girl code said that Granger should be ignoring their little indiscretions in favor of blaming everything on Harry.
"Why would I be angry at Harry?" Hermione asked with honest confusion. "Might as well be angry at a cock for crowing. Harry will do anything for a friend."
Her eyes narrowed and she turned to glare at Daphne and Tracy. "That's not to say that I'm not more then a little annoyed at the two conniving girls that took advantage of that friendship and still working hard to think of a way to express that displeasure."
"I've been going over the equations and I think you underestimated his power level," Daphne said softly. "By a lot, he should have been fine even with all the extra casting."
"Why is he so tired then?" Hermione shot back.
"It was the statues that pushed him over," Daphne explained quickly. "And even then it would have been fine if he'd only made two."
"Harry didn't think it was fair to only make fifty foot basalt statues of me and Daph," Tracy explained with a wince.
"Fifty foot tall basalt statues?" Hermione's voice was frigid.
"It was supposed to be a joke," Daphne tried to defend herself. "We never thought he'd actually do it."
"Luna," Hermione called out.
"Yes, Hermione?" Luna asked eagerly.
"Remind me to add this to the list of reasons of why I'm annoyed at Tracy and Daphne," Hermione said.
"Alright, Hermione," Luna agreed cheerfully.
"Oh, and to add it to the list of sweet but exasperating things Harry has done for all of us," she added with long suffering smile. Luna and the others giggled at that.
Harry stiffly walked into the tent to wait for the first task and painfully stretched his wand arm. Didn't look like he was recovered enough to carry out his original plan, just meant he was going to have to improvise. Damn his luck
"Harry, a word please." Cedric waved Harry over to his part of the tent.
"What is it?" Harry asked. His expression was guarded,
"Just wanted to confirm that you don't expect me to become a eunuch before joining your island," Cedric whispered.
"No," Harry said quickly. "Who started that rumor?"
"Then I'd like to join and I don't know," Cedric replied. "Also, Cho would like to have a word with you when you have a spare moment."
"As would I," Fleur interjected softly. "Forgive my intrusion, 'arrie Potter."
"Not at all," Harry sighed. When had his life become so complicated. "Hermione's in charge of my schedule, tell her that I said she should set up a meeting."
"Thanks, Harry," Cedric said gratefully.
"Yes, thank you 'arrie Potter," Fleur agreed. She gave him a critical once over, the boy was attractive in a waifish sort of way and she supposed she could endure it if the rumors were true for Gabrielle's sake.
"No problem," Harry replied. He sat down and managed to get a few minutes of sleep before they awoke him to take his turn on the field.
Harry approached the dragon carefully trying to figure out how he was going to get the golden egg from the dragon when he was still pretty low on magic, having raised a whole lot of magma just the day before.
The dragon froze when it sighted him and he could swear she was studying his face. Yep her eyes just slipped up to his forehead.
The welsh green ran over to her nest and carefully rolled the golden egg out of it, taking it aside and sitting with the fake egg between her paws.
How the hell was he suppose to get it now?!
Was she making eyes at him?
Harry sighed knowing he was a sucker, but the effect of puppy dog eyes from a dragon just couldn't be underestimated. Almost against his will he walked up to the dragon.
The welsh green leaned down and carefully blew a small bit of flame on the ground, shaping whatever she was doing with her claws carefully.
Harry waited for the smoke to blow away before examining it. Was that? Yep it was a small sculpture of an island with its own tiny volcano.
"For the golden egg?" he asked already knowing the answer.
The dragon's tailed wagged happily almost like a puppy.
"Fine, I know Hagrid wants to come because he wants to care for dragons and that basically means dragons will be there, might as well be cute ones," Harry said as he looked into the enormous green eyes that almost matched his own, except for the hopeful look.
The dragon actually purred as she rolled the golden egg towards him.
Without so much as a glance at the Judges table, Harry left the field intent on going to his bed for some well deserved rest.
Hermione looked over the group of girls with a critical eye. Represented were students from all four of Hogwart's houses.
"I thought it was just going to be Cho?" she asked finally.
"The others insisted on joining when they heard about my request and I saw no reason to turn them down," Cho explained.
"What do you guys want then?" Hermione cocked her head as she waited for an answer.
"All of us are the children of diplomats," Cho said with a wave at her fellows. "We would like a chance to speak with Harry about developing ties with our nations."
"I'll set it up." Hermione checked Harry's schedule. "Was there anything else you guys wanted to speak with Harry about?"
"We'll probably need space to put our Embassies," Padma said thoughtfully. "No rush on that though."
Hermione sighed. "I guess I'll go modify the plans again then."
Harry woke up to the smiling faces of Daphne and Tracy.
"Whatever it is, I'm not doing it," Harry groaned. "Hermione's still angry with me for the last time."
"Then for the sake of her blood pressure, we'd better wait before we get you to do the next thing," Tracy giggled.
"Wouldn't do to have the Vicereine get an ulcer," Daphne agreed.
"We wanted to let you know that we're sorry you tired yourself for our sakes," Tracy said softly.
"And that the statues were supposed to be a joke," Daphne added. "You dummy."
The three of them stared at each other for a few moments, unsure enough of their relationship to be worried about accidentally giving offense.
"Your Weasley wants to have a meeting," Tracy said suddenly. "And his handsome older brother is waiting downstairs."
"Which one?" Harry asked.
"The one that came with the Dragons."
"Thanks." Harry yawned. "Could you girls step outside? I gotta change."
"Do we have to?" Tracy asked.
"Hermione said she didn't want you to be left alone," Daphne purred.
"I think she wouldn't want you to stay either," Harry laughed. "Tell Charlie that I'll be down in a bit."
"Okay, Harry," Tracy agreed.
Harry threw on a school robe, used a couple hygiene charms, and went down to see what he could see.
"Hey, Charlie," Harry greeted the Dragon Handler.
"How ya doing, Harry," Charlie said with a grin. "Great performance earlier."
"Thanks. What did you want to talk about?" Harry asked.
"Rumor going around that you're raising up an island," Charlie began. "If it's not true then I'd like to encourage you to think about doing it. If it is true then on behalf of every dragon handler I know, we'd like a bit of space for a sanctuary. Uh . . . if it isn't too much trouble that is."
Harry pinched the bridge of his nose and silently counted to ten. It wasn't like he wasn't planning to have Dragons, not after the deal he'd made in the first task anyway. "Send Hermione any space and habitat requirements."
"Thanks, Harry," Charlie said with a pleased grin. "I knew we could count on you."
"I'll try to get your part raised as soon as I can," Harry promised.
"No hurry, by the end of the week would be fine," Charlie said with a wave.
"Might have to make it two," Harry said with a frown. "Not sure my reserves will be back to normal in a week."
"Joking, just joking. It'll take months to plan the move, take your time."
Hannah wanted to scream after getting the latest snippet of information the idiots behind the contest had doled out.
"Are you pondering what I'm pondering, Susan?" the girl asked suddenly.
"I think so, Hannah," Susan agreed. "But where are we gonna get rubber pants our size this time of night?"
"Whatever you're pondering, it's not what I'm pondering and it's the middle of the day," Hannah giggled. "I was wondering how we were going to deal with the dance."
"Tell Hermione, have her make a schedule, and go as a group to lend credence to all the harem rumors," Susan replied. "Keeping up the illusion that our dear Headmaster keeps us around to sate his understandable lust for young maidens and we get to laugh at all the idiots."
"Deputy Headmistress Bones, you're a genius," Hannah said in delight.
"Why thank you, Deputy Headmistress Abbott, one likes to be appreciated. I will point out that there is just one flaw in my plan."
"What flaw is that?"
"A very small one," Susan assured her friend. "Who's going to get Harry to go along with this?"
"That sounds like a job for Hermione," Hannah said authoritatively. "There's nothing she can't get Harry to do."
"Nothing Harry won't do for her," Susan corrected. "How are we going to get her to convince him?"
"I'll let you deal with that, shall I?"
"By spinning some cock and bull story on how it will anger and insult idiots like Fudge?"
"By jove, Hannah, I think you've got it," Susan cheered.
"Elementary, my dear Susan," Hannah said smugly. "One might also point out the fact that Daphne and the other Slytherin girls used the excuse of a harem to prevent their families marrying them off to form political and business alliances."
"Of course, it's all so simple now."
"We shall," Susan agreed.
"After you," Hannah said politely.
"No, my dear, I insist, after you."
"Thank you, darling."
"Not at all, my dear, not at all."
Arm in arm, the two girls went off in search of Hermione Granger to tell the other girl of their latest scheme.
When they found her, Hermione was, as expected, in the library doing some research.
"Whatever it is, the answer is no," Hermione said firmly, not even bothering to look up from her book.
"It'll really annoy a bunch of pureblood idiots and help protect dozens of innocent girls from being used as pawns in political maneuvering," Susan said sweetly.
"What is it?" Hermione sighed, looking up at the two smiling girls.
"We want to go to the Yule ball as a group," Hannah explained. "As one of the champions, Harry is required to attend."
"What's the real reason?" Hermione demanded.
"It really will do what we mentioned before," Hannah said nervously.
"And?" Hermione prompted.
"And if we go as a group, then no one will bat an eye if Hannah and I spend the night dancing with each other," Susan said in defeat.
"Alright then," Hermione said, turning back to her book. "I'll arrange it."
"That's it?" Susan said in disbelief.
"That's it," Hermione agreed.
"Thank you, Hermione," Hannah said with a happy smile.
"Not at all, Hannah," Hermione replied. "Not at all."
The days leading to the dance showed that Hogwarts already unfavorable gender ratio had became hopelessly skewed after Harry's school had sucked up a large percentage of the unattached female population. A fact that was sadly apparent to the hordes of dateless boys stuck roaming the hallway in search of an available witch.
Desperate boys tried desperate acts in hopes that one of them would be enough to attract a receptive female. The results were mixed.
Mandy's eyes narrowed in rage as she listened to Draco dig himself deeper and deeper. "Just what kind of girl do you think I am?" she growled.
Draco tried to give the girl a charming smile. "I'm just saying that the Brocklehurst fortune isn't what it used to be, and that my family would be pleased to help you buy a suitable set of robes if you'll go to the dance with me."
She'd heard enough and slapped the idiot across the face as hard as she could. "There isn't enough gold in the world to tempt me to whore myself out to the likes of you," Mandy screamed, almost too enraged to speak. She punctuated her statement with several more slaps and a half dozen kicks when the Slytherin fell to the ground.
A crowd of shocked faces watched her every move.
"I'd rather join Potter's harem," she added with a sadistic smile. "Least he knows how to treat a girl." A thought formed. "And when he wakes up, you lot can tell him that he's the reason another witch was taken out of the Hogwarts dating market." Head held high, she marched out of the room towards Harry's wing of the castle.
"Me too," another girl said suddenly, a plan forming in her mind. "In fact, I'll be joining the harem too now that I've seen that there isn't a man here willing to defend a lady's honor."
Half a dozen more girls stormed out of the room after the first, making the chances of getting a date go from slim to almost none.
It goes without saying that many of the single boys were a bit vexed at the scion of the Malfoy family. The upside of that was the fact that young Draco no longer needed a date to the ball as he wouldn't get out of the hospital wing until long after the last dance was danced and the last note played.
Hermione at his side, Harry sat down at the meeting table and did his best to ignore the way the Patil sisters in particular were eyeing him like a cat eyes a mouse.
"Hermione said you wanted to discuss opening relations with your countries?" Harry opened the meeting.
"We're not so much diplomats as a convenient backchannel," Padma explained, "at least in our case." She nodded towards her sister.
Parvati nodded in agreement. "Our instructions are to sound you out and see what we can glean of your long term plans. If they're to the interests of our nations then we can discuss giving you formal recognition at a later date. I'm not sure how their countries are handling it."
"Much the same way for me," Cho said, "with the understanding that I'll eventually be in charge of the mission if your island becomes important enough to rate an ambassador." She grinned at her housemate. "Not sure how the rebellious province is handling things."
"The same way," Su Li said softly.
Anthony Goldstein decided to join the discussion. "I've been instructed to find out one thing. My father wants to know what your foreign policy will be and how it will affect Israel, he also told me to be subtle."
Harry nodded to his chief advisor, indicating that she should answer the question.
"Live and let live," Hermione replied.
"That's it?" Anthony asked in disbelief.
"That's it," Harry agreed. "I'm building a new island because we want to be left alone."
"Sometimes people don't give you the option of being left alone," Anthony challenged.
"And we'll deal with those people when the time comes," Harry said firmly. "Unless and until that time comes, I'm not about to go looking for trouble."
"Fair enough," the other boy said quickly.
"Anyone else have any questions?" Hermione asked, making eye contact with everyone at the table.
"What does it take to join this dark harem of yours?" Su Li asked in a whisper. "My mother would like to know if it's true that you've crafted your own personal dark mark that you can use to reward your harem girls with indescribable pleasure."
"I don't have a dark mark," Harry replied. "And please don't tell that rumor to any of the girls." He really didn't want them getting any ideas.
"I won't, but I doubt it will matter. Likelihood is that no one is intelligent enough to figure it out anyway. Rumor has it that it took the Dark Lord years of research to make his," Su Li replied, noting with pleasure the girls listening at the door and the speculative gleam that had appeared in Hermione's eye.
"Any other questions?" Harry asked, wondering why he felt a sudden chill.
Outside the room, Daphne and Tracy shared a mischief filled look. That idea was way too amusing not to bring to reality.
Fleur checked her appearance for the hundredth time in a polished breast plate and did everything she could to psych herself up. It's for Gabrielle, she thought to herself firmly, you can do anything for Gabrielle.
The part-Veela had stationed herself in Harry's corridor and was waiting for the boy to appear, hopefully alone.
The sound of voices alerted the girl that her target was approaching, he had company. Pity, but you can't have everything. Fleur put a sultry smile on her face and reclined against the wall.
"May I 'ave a moment of your time, 'Arrie?" Fleur asked with a dazzling smile.
"Sure," Harry agreed.
"Could we do it alone?" Fleur asked with a pout, leaning forward to give the boy a good view of her cleavage.
"I don't think that's a good idea," Hermione growled, shooting the older girl a glare.
"Why don't you mind your own business, little girl?" Fleur shot the younger girl a venom filled glare of her own.
"What do you want to meet about?" Harry asked before Hermione could form her reply.
"I 'ave been 'earing rumors," Fleur explained. She pouted her lips and began playing with her hair. "And I was 'oping very much that you could explain them to me."
"What sort of rumors?" Harry placed a restraining hand on Hermione's shoulder.
"Are you really planning on raising an island to rule, 'Arrie?" She grabbed his hand and began tracing little circles on his palm.
"Yes I am," Harry agreed. "Why do you ask?"
"I was 'oping that you would take some more time out of your schedule to discuss it with me later," Fleur whispered in a husky voice. "Alone."
"It'd be best to have my friends there if you want to know everything important," Harry replied. Any possible double meaning sailing right over the boy's head. "There's so much going on that I can't keep track of everything myself."
"That's right," Hermione agreed smugly. "I think I could fit in a meeting with you in a couple months, maybe." She gave Harry a discreet wink.
"What are we doing right now?" Harry asked. "Anything that can't be pushed back an hour or so?"
"No," Hermione said reluctantly. Curse that boy's obliviousness.
"Come on then, Fleur. I'll introduce you to everyone and then we can get down to business."
"Alright, 'arrie," Fleur agreed, already reassessing the boy. If even half the rumors she'd heard about him were true then he'd have stopped at nothing to add a quarter Veela to his harem. The fact that he'd ignored most of the innuendo and invitation was a definite point in his favor. She followed him and the other girl through into their wing of the castle.
"Okay, Fleur. First we have Luna, next to her is Hannah and Susan. Daphne and Tracy are the two girls over in the corner looking mysterious and probably plotting against me. And of course, you've met Hermione in the hall. What can I do for you?"
"I 'ave 'eard that you are raising an island country and I was 'oping to learn more about that," Fleur replied.
"Yes, Harry." Hermione sighed. "It's in the South Pacific, climate is temperate to warm. Freshwater is a problem at the moment but it shouldn't be by the time we start moving in. Anything else you want to know?'
"I 'ave 'eard that it is possible for a girl to bring 'er family to the island," Fleur prompted.
"It is," Harry agreed.
"Does one really 'ave to join a 'arem to secure a place for their family?" Fleur asked intently. "And once in the 'arem, is it possible for a girl to keep 'er sister out of it?"
"That rumor again," Susan giggled.
"There's no harem," Hermione said firmly.
"But . . . ." Fleur looked lost. "Why are you recruiting so many 'arem girls then?"
Susan and Hannah giggled while Hermione pinched the bridge of her nose.
"It's in several of the settlement agreements so that the girls in question won't be forced to marry for business or political reasons mostly. Different girls have different reasons for claiming it," Harry answered calmly.
"Any other questions?"
"Yes." Fleur's eyes were blazing. "This new land of yours," Fleur barked, "ould the laws equally apply to me?"
"What do you mean?" Harry asked in confusion.
"Could a man . . . is veela allure a valid de-fence?" she demanded. "Or will the law prosecute offenders to zee fullest extent."
"I still don't understand?" Harry said slowly. "I . . ."
"May I?" Susan asked.
Fleur gave a harsh nod in reply.
"She's asking if, well . . . let's say a man bothered her. Would he be able to claim that he did it because of her allure or would he be arrested and tried the same way he'd be if he bothered me?"
"Of course he would be," Harry growled, "has someone been bothering one of you?" The air around him shimmered from barely leashed power.
"It was just a hypothetical situation," Hannah assured her friend, "right Fleur?"
"For me," Fleur agreed, "but not for my cousin. She . . . she did not take it well after the pig was released from jail and she . . ." the girl took several deep breaths. "I just wish to find a safe place for myself and Gabrielle."
"Done," Harry agreed. "Was there anything else you wanted?"
"Zat was all for now, thank you for your time, 'arrie." Fleur gave the boy a dazzling smile.
"No problem, Fleur."
The French girl leaned in and gave Harry a soft kiss on the cheek. "Have you figured out the next task yet, 'arrie?"
"We've been busy with other things," the girl replied with a blush. "But we'll get right on it if you want, Harry."
"If you 'old the egg underwater then it will become comprehensible. The task is to retrieve something form the bottom of the lake," Fleur said, her arms still around Harry's shoulders. "I shall take my leave now, please ask at the carriage if you wish anything from me."
"We will," Harry agreed. "And you're welcome to stop by anytime."
"Thank you, 'arrie." There was a bounce in Fleur's step that hadn't been there when she'd first staked out Harry's corridor. Gabrielle would be safe and she did not have to become a common harlot to insure it. Although, Fleur touched her lips. He did seem like such a decent boy, perhaps it was worth waiting to see what sort of man he became.
Harry spent the weeks leading up to the ball expanding the island and learning to dance since the girls were insistent that it was an important skill for a headmaster to posses. It was horrible, perhaps it would have been better if any of his instructors had any clue of how to dance themselves. As it was, Harry's feet had been stomped on so many times that he was beginning to fear permanent damage.
It was therefore something of a relief when the Ball finally came, it meant that he only had to suffer through one more day of dancing, and stomped feet, before he could begin the long recovery process.
Dozens of envious eyes belonging to dozens of dateless boys followed Harry and his retinue into the Great Hall as everyone took their places for the dance.
"Mind if I join you for the first dance, 'arrie?" Fleur asked hopefully. "I am told that it is compulsory and I am afraid that none of the unattached boys at 'ogwarts or Durmstrang meet my 'igh standards."
"Sure, Fleur," Harry agreed. "I guess there's room for one more."
"Thank you so much, 'arrie," Fleur said warmly. The girl licked her lips. "If there is room for one more, is there room for ten more? My friends are also without suitable dates."
"Alright," Harry laughed. "Bring them over, the more the merrier."
The students of the fourth school took their places as the first dance began. Several of the girls clustered around Harry in one disorganized undulating mob, while others danced by themselves or with one of the other girls. Chief among the last category were Hannah and Susan who had elected to share a slow intimate waltz.
Dumbledore smiled as he watched the mass of students below, the children seemed happy and all was right in the world.
"Perhaps it's time I lent Headmaster Potter a new set of books," he mused. It would be much easier to teach the boy to raise an island if he already had the necessary background. "Maybe have Minerva make a few suggestions to Ms. Granger." Seemed to be the most efficient way to do things.
It was with a great sense of relief that Harry danced the last dance and began the trip back to his wing of the castle. Unfortunately, that sense of relief did not last long. Later that night, the girls while expressing how much fun they had at the ball, insisted that there would be one every year on the new island. Harry's feet started to throb in anticipation.
Sirius' tail was waging at great speed as he hid under one of the tables at the Three Broomsticks listening to the gossip. His godson had a harem composed of every witch at Hogwarts and half the ones at the two foreign schools. When one coupled that with the one about Snape accidentally castrating himself because he'd been storing his wand in his front pocket . . . well, let's just say that Sirius had a happy memory that no dementor could take.
'Got to see Harry soon,' Sirius thought to himself. 'Gotta make sure that there's some truth to the harem rumor, and if there isn't, gotta make sure there will be!' And after that, he'd see about the Snape rumor. Such a thing was also way too good not to be true.
Hermione woke up early the next morning and was generous enough to allow Harry the chance to sleep in a bit. At ten, she walked into his room, threw open the curtains, and prodded the boy with her wand till he started to move. Sleeping in was all well and good, but they had work to do.
"I'm up," Harry groaned.
"Good, I need you to look over my proposed plans, Luna needs you for a task that only makes sense to her, and Snuffles wants to have a meeting. I've penciled him in for lunch and had Dobby prepare a picnic, if that's alright with you."
"It's fine," Harry agreed. "Could you have Dobby pack extra food?"
"Dobby has packed enough for Snuffles to eat for a week," Hermione assured her friend. "Speaking of Snuffles, I've got a plan to deal with his situation."
"You remember how I told you we could grant him asylum?"
"Yeah," Harry agreed. "The problem was keeping him away from England, not finding some place safe."
"I think I found a way to do that," Hermione said with a smile. "It's a bit . . . just promise to pretend that you thought of it yourself if anyone asks later, okay?"
"I promise," Harry agreed.
Two minutes later, Luna walked in wearing a pair of fins on her feet and a helmet made out of a watermelon.
"Come, Harry, we have work to do!" she declared, striking a dramatic pose.
"Right behind you, Luna," Harry replied grandly. One thing about adding the Lovegood to his collection, it meant that life never got too predictable.
Sirius jumped up and threw his arms around his godson the second the door opened. It was good to be with the boy again, and more than a bit worrying that he smelled a bit fruity. Another thing they were going to have to speak about.
'Maybe it was because of the harem?' The thought blazed through his mind. 'It had to be okay to smell like a female if it was because of a large amount of close contact with a group of them.'
"Mumph!" Harry replied, sounding remarkably like an angry girl.
"What was that, Harry?" Sirius asked.
"I'm not Harry," Hermione growled. "Now let me go!"
"Where's Harry?" Sirius demanded.
"He got delayed," Hermione replied. "He'll be here as soon as he can."
"What delayed him?" Sirius barked. The man's stolen wand appeared in his hand, pity the poor bastards that were delaying his godson because Sirius Black never would.
"Luna needed his help with something," Hermione replied.
"Is Luna one of the girls in the harem?" Sirius asked intently, wand disappearing. It was fine to be late if it was due to frolicking with his harem girls, in fact he insisted his godson not cut his frolicking short for something as unimportant as a meeting with his godfather.
"I . . . sort of, how do you know about the harem?" Hermione stammered.
"How many girls are in it? More than ten?"
"More than ten," Hermione agreed. "I've got a list somewhere that . . ."
"I heard one of them was part veela," Sirius interrupted.
"That would be Fleur," Hermione replied. "She . . ."
"Is she going to bring more veela with her?"
"She's going to bring her younger sister and she said that some of her cousins . . ." Hermione said slowly, taking a step to put some distance between her and the obviously unhinged man.
"My godson is so manly!" Sirius bellowed. The man started dancing a jig while whooping in gleeful exuberance.
"Um . . . right," Hermione agreed. "I . . ." she cut off at the sound of footsteps. "That must be Harry, I'll just leave you two alone, shall I?" She rushed out of the room, nearly knocking Harry over in her haste.
"Harry!" Sirius shouted, throwing his arms around his godson. "You don't know how proud I am of you."
"Thanks?" Harry wiggled free. "Got something for you."
"What is it?" Sirius asked eagerly.
"Here." Harry handed his godfather a telescope.
"What am I supposed to do with this?" Sirius asked with a grin. "Did you put ink on it so it would look like I had a black eye? Cause that's kids stuff."
"It's a portkey to your house on my island," Harry replied.
"I'm not leaving," Sirius replied instantly, going from comic to serious in an instant. "Not while you're in that bloody tournament!"
"Law says that your house is your house so long as you live in it till the end of the year. You don't, anyone can take it and keep it for themselves," Harry continued, ignoring Sirius' proclamation.
"So let them have it!" Sirius growled. "You're more important than any house."
"The house is on top of a large cliff over looking a beach," Harry said with a grin. "The beach is clothing optional."
"Clothing optional you say?" Sirius asked with a grin, seriousness melting away.
"Not too many witches on the island at the moment, but there will be a lot of them in a couple months," Harry promised. "Including a good number of veela."
"Good number of Veela?" Sirius squeaked. Good number implied more than one, he hoped it implied more than a hundred too.
"Now, I know what you're thinking. You're thinking, witches and veela in the future means boredom now." Harry grinned. "And that's why I had Dobby empty out all the contraband stored in all the offices at Hogwarts and it's all in your new house just waiting for someone to go through it all."
"Contraband?" Sirius gasped. That was one of his favorite words.
"Whiskey, pranking supplies, mountains of pornography," Harry listed off a few things. Oddly enough, those were some of the other words on Sirius' list of favorites.
"And it's all for me?" Sirius had tears in his eyes. "Harry . . . I . . . you're the best godson a guy could prank his best friend into accidentally having."
"What?" Harry asked dumbly.
"I switched some of Lily's birth control pills out with Dumbledore's candies, served James right for saying that I needed to grow up," Sirius explained. "Now gimme that portkey." Watching the 'leader of the light' grow breasts was the other thing that made the prank so enjoyable.
"You did what now?" Harry asked. Surely he couldn't have just heard what he thought he'd just heard, right?
"Portkey, now!" Sirius snatched it out of his godson's hands. "I'll write Remus, he should be arriving to keep an eye on you soon. Sirius away!" With that, Harry's godfather disappeared.
Dumbledore frowned when the Headboy came to the meeting without his partner. The two were almost a matched pair, rarely outside each others' presence, even before they'd been elevated to their current lofty positions. He hoped nothing had happened to fracture their relationship, he had quite a bit of money riding on it after all.
"I don't know where she is," the Headboy said as he took his seat. "I've got the prefects looking for her."
"I see." Dumbledore frowned, his money was safe but she might not be. "You don't believe something has happened to her, do you?"
"She's got a score of enemies scattered among all four houses, but they should know better than to try anything," the boy replied, trying to hide his worry.
"I see." Dumbledore's frown deepened. "Perhaps . . . that's her now."
The door swung open to admit the Headgirl. "Sorry I'm late, but I just had to track down a couple rumors before I got here."
"Oh?" Dumbledore prompted, a sly grin appearing on the man's face. "Do tell."
"All of them are about Harry Potter," the girl said as she took her seat.
"They usually are," Dumbledore laughed.
"First is that his mother came back to life somehow along with his father and Lovegood's mother and that they're all insane spell researchers," the Headgirl began. "Second is that he dropped out of Hogwarts to join the army."
"How do they explain the fact that he's still walking around the castle?" the Headboy asked.
"Time turners, polyjuice, his long lost twin that the Headmaster has been hiding," she replied. "You aren't hiding Potter's long lost twin, are you, Headmaster?"
"Would I tell you if I was?" Dumbledore shot back.
"Another rumor I heard is that Draco Malfoy is a male veela that's chosen Potter as his mate," she giggled. "And that the reason Malfoy is such a git to Potter is because of sexual tension."
"I heard the same, but about Professor Snape," the Headboy volunteered. "Minus the veela part."
"The rumor going around the staff is a variation of the joining the army rumor, they believe he's started an army of house elves," Dumbledore sighed. "They're also convinced that the house elves have decided to worship Harry as a living god." The three of them shared a laugh. "Any more?"
"One is that Potter accidentally married Granger and Lovegood due to his family having a screwy spell book," the Headboy volunteered. "Another is that Potter is a juvenile dragon that's able to transfigure himself into a human, sort of a reverse animagus."
"What would that even be called?" the Headgirl asked.
"An anthromagus maybe?" her partner suggested. "Much less chance of a misunderstanding than calling it a homomagus."
Harry was in a state of shock when he made it back to his quarters, a worried Hermione trailing behind, anxious to find out what was causing so much distress to her best friend.
Harry opened the door to his room and paused for a moment. "Hermione."
"Tell all the girls to be extra careful with their contraception, please."
"Okay, Harry," Hermione agreed, shooting the boy an odd look. "Any reason why?"
"Sirius thinks it's funny to mess with it," Harry explained as he disappeared into his room.
"Ah." That . . . well to be honest, it sounded like exactly the sort of thing that Harry's mentally unbalanced and irresponsible godfather would do.
Sirius arrived in front of a large window overlooking a wide stretch of, unfortunately empty, clothing optional beach. Figuring that there was no time like the present to make sure he was able to observe every nook and cranny, he pulled out his new telescope to survey his domain. After removing the telescope from his eye, he reached up and ran a finger along his cheek, a quick glance at the finger confirmed that it was covered in soot.
"That's m'godson," Sirius announced proudly. Just because a prank was immature and horribly cliched was no excuse not to do it. Quite the contrary, those were both excellent reasons in favor of it.
Remus read and reread the note the panting gull had brought him. Several questions presented themselves. How in the hell had Harry managed to convince Sirius to leave the country while the triwizard was happening? Why was Sirius instructing him to liquidate the Black assets to buy the most powerful telescopes and cameras on the market? And finally, what had gotten the man so bloody paranoid about someone stealing his new house?
"Only one thing to do about it," Remus decided. "It's time Harry and I had a little chat."
Harry was reclining on one of the couches while Luna fed him grapes, Susan and Hannah used large feather fans to cool him off, and Fleur stood behind an easel.
"Harry I think I figured . . ." Hermione trailed off as her mind shut down to take in the scene. "What in the bloody hell is going on here!" Of all the things she was expecting when she'd walked into the room, this was not one of them.
"Shhh," Fleur shushed the girl. "It eez impossible to work with such distractions."
"Apparently, Fleur is quite the artist," Susan explained.
"Where are Daphne and Tracy?" Hermione sighed.
"Sulking in their rooms because we got the fans first," Hannah giggled.
Hermione sidled up behind Fleur to get a look at the painting. "You do good work, Fleur."
"Thank you, I am thinking that we should do a nude after I am finished with this one," the french girl replied, her eyes lingering on Harry.
"You were saying, Hermione," Harry prompted.
"I think I've got a couple ways to get to the bottom of the lake," Hermione said, snapping herself back to the present.
"Thank you, Harry," she said with a faint blush.
"Ould you like me to leave?" Fleur asked.
"I don't mind if you stay," Harry offered.
"Ermione?" the French champion prompted.
"You're one of us now, Fleur. I'll be happy to hear that you can use some of my research."
"Thank you, 'ermione." The French girl beamed at the new additions to her family.
"Okay. The first thing is an enchanted mouth piece so that you can breathe under water, the second is a charm, the third is a plant that will make you grow gills."
"Which do you recommend?"
"All three if possible. It's always nice to have backups."
"Why not self-transfiguration?" Susan asked.
"Are you capable of doing a complex self-transfiguration without killing yourself or getting stuck, Harry?" Hermione asked.
"Doubt it," Harry replied.
"Oh." Susan nodded. "Guess that's a good reason."
"Was there anything else 'ermione?" Fleur asked.
"That was all, Fleur."
"Then do me a favor. Please set 'arrie's head in your lap and place your left 'and on 'is cheek."
"What?!" Hermione squeaked.
"It will complete the scene I envisioned," Fleur explained. "Please."
"Fine," Hermione huffed.
The other girls shared a smile at how quickly Hermione rushed over to complete the request.
"Now gaze down into 'arrie's eyes in adoration . . . yes, now 'old that for a few moments."
Dumbledore smiled widely as his former Defense Professor came through the flames. It wasn't often that one survived their tenure in office and of those that did, very few were mobile enough to drop by for a chat.
"Remus, to what do I owe this surprise?" the old wizard asked grandly.
"I need to have a meeting with Harry," Remus replied.
"I'm not sure," Remus admitted. "He somehow convinced Sirius to leave the country and I've been assigned to carry out his godfatherly duties while he's gone."
"I see." Dumbledore smiled. "Do you recall the section of the castle by the portrait of Eric the Ugly?"
"I do," Remus agreed.
"Harry's section of the castle is just down the hall past that," Dumbledore replied.
It did not take long for Remus to reach his destination. When he did, another problem presented itself. He'd been standing in front of the password protected door for five minutes when a solution presented itself, or rather, herself.
"I didn't know you came back, Professor Lupin," a girlish voice spoke up from behind him.
"I'm not back." Remus searched his memory. "Ms. Bones, I'm just here to see Harry."
"I guess I'd better let you in." Susan whispered the password and the door swung open. "After you, Professor."
Remus walked into a scene from Sirius' dreams. Harry was sitting on a throne made of scantily clad girls, an expression of superiority on his face and a glass of what appeared to be blood in his hand. Another girl reclined at his feet, a collar around her neck with a chain that led to Harry's other hand, while two more held large ostrich feather fans at the flanks. A final girl sat in his lap, feeding the boy peeled grapes.
"What the devil is going on here?!" Remus sputtered.
"Arg, I simply cannot work with these distractions!" Fleur threw up her hands.
"Why doesn't everyone take a break," Harry suggested. "This pose can't be very comfortable for you the girls in the throne."
"It's not so bad," Daphne replied, cracking her back.
"I kinda like it," Tracy agreed.
"Don't think I didn't notice those wandering hands," Hermione said sharply. "We will have words about that later."
"Hey, Professor Lupin," Harry greeted the man as he walked towards Fleur's easel. "Even with the distractions, you do good work," he complimented the girl.
"It eez nothing, just . . . 'ow you say, a 'obby," Fleur demurred, blushing brightly at the compliment.
"What's going on here, Harry?" Remus asked in exasperation.
"Fleur likes to paint," Harry explained. "We're posing for her."
"But why . . ."
"It eez because of the rumors," Fleur giggled. "I thought it 'ould be funny to bring them to life."
"Apparently, this castle is filled with deviant sex fiends," Hermione explained primly.
"I see." Remus committed the scene he'd witnessed to memory, Sirius would appreciate an update on his godson's activities, actually. "Could I . . . would it be possible to get a copy of the painting after you've finished it?" Sirius would appreciate that even more.
"Eet should be," Fleur agreed, giving the canvas a critical look.
"So what brings here today, Professor?" Harry asked.
"I'm here in my role as Vice-Godfather to offer up my support for the Tournament," he announced.
"Sirius won the coin toss and got to choose which he wanted to be," Remus agreed. "Decided on full godfather after he found out that vice meant spare godfather, not godfather in charge of procuring hookers, porn, alcohol, illicit substances, and arranging opportunities to gamble."
"Oh. He must have been disappointed."
"Devastated," Remus agreed.
"So what can I do for you?" Harry asked.
"It's more about what I can do for you. Is there anything you need or anyone you need to have killed? "
"I'll give him a list," the girl agreed.
"Of things I need or people I need killed?" Harry tried to clarify.
"Yes," she giggled.
"Is it... 'ould it be possible to get some things for me?" Fleur asked hopefully.
"What do you need, Fleur?"
"I 'ould like a way to contact my mother without anyone knowing that I did it," Fleur replied.
"Can you do that, Professor Lupin?"
"So long as I can get a package to her mother," Remus agreed. "And call me Remus, I'm not a Professor any longer."
"Do it, please. Does anyone else have anything they need?" Harry asked loudly. Seconds later, they were being mobbed with girls.
"Form a line!" Hermione barked. "Better yet, come to me and I'll make a list."
"They'll be at that a while," Harry said. "Would you care to have lunch with us, Remus? And as to not being a Professor, I may be able to give you a way to come and go as you please. Well, if you're willing to take a job from me anyway."
"Depends on the job," Remus replied.
"Extra lessons in anything you're qualified to teach mostly," Harry answered.
Upon hearing the request, Hermione stared at the other girl until she began to blush. She was learning far more about her companions than was entirely comfortable.
"Would you care to repeat that request, Susan?" Hermione asked calmly.
"It's just . . . Hannah's birthday is coming up and . . . well . . ." she stammered.
"I'm not judging you. Think for a moment, who are we sending to get these things?" Hermione said gently.
"Professor . . ." Susan's eyes widened in shock.
"Do you really want him to buy those items for you?" Hermione asked.
"Thanks, Hermione," Susan squeaked.
"If you like, I'll talk to Harry about it later."
"Do you have to tell Harry?" Susan asked, turning even redder.
"I will tell him that some of us need to get some personal items and that I am going to arrange an outing. Will that be acceptable?" Hermione said.
"Yeah," Susan agreed in relief.
"For that matter. I don't suppose there is any reason to bother Professor Lupin if we are going to be going out," Hermione mused.
"Might still be a good idea to have him along, depending on where we're going," Daphne opinioned.
"Why is that?"
"Not all our potential husbands are happy we slipped out of their fingers," Tracy replied.
"You're afraid that one of them might decide to do something stupid?" Hermione asked.
"Hogwarts is safe, Hogsmeade is probably fine, anywhere else... who knows?" Daphne replied.
"I'll talk to Harry about that too," Hermione promised. "Susan, be so good as to mention that to your Aunt, will you?"
"No problem, Hermione."
After a rather long and involved conversation regarding the relative merits of when and where to go shopping, they finally decided that some time after the second task would be best so as to give Harry the maximum amount of recovery after what was sure to be a horrifying ordeal.
Hermione imposed a strict regime of rest and not working on the island in the days before the second task and, as a result, Harry was well rested and ready to expend a large amount of magic when the task began.
As the contestants approached the edge of the lake, the water began to churn and an annoyed looking Daphne stepped out.
"All that time I spent scheming my way into being his hostage wasted," the girl grumbled. "Hermione, you're needed down below."
"Alright," Hermione agreed. She got up from her place in the stands and walked down to the lake.
"They've got a big bubble thing for you, just walk up to the edge," Daphne prompted. A wicked grin appeared on her face as Hermione disappeared beneath the waves. "Harry, I'm very cold, would you mind taking me in to the tent and warming me up?"
"Sure," Harry agreed, always willing to help the helpless.
"Could you help me walk too?" she collapsed into his arms.
"Of course." Harry gathered the girl up into his arms and carried her into the tent.
Mindful of the envious glares being shot at her by at least half the crowd, Daphne knew that she had only a limited amount of time with the boy who lived.
"Please help me get out of these wet robes," she asked, trying to make her voice as pitiful as possible.
"But . . ."
"It's okay," she assured him. "I trust you." Full on seduction was out, but there was plenty of time to put the idea into his head, maybe even get a bit of accidental groping in. A girl could hope anyway.
"Alright," Harry agreed.
Things were just getting interesting when the door to the tent was thrown open and a dozen of the other girls stomped in.
"Why don't you leave the rest to us, Harry?" Susan suggested. "You wait for Hermione by the edge of the lake."
"Um . . ."
"It'll be fine," Hannah promised. "We'll take care of her." She ignored the suddenly nervous expression on Daphne's face. "We promise."
"See you later, Daphne," Harry said as he walked out of the tent.
"Take care of me?" Daphne squeaked.
"We gave you enough time to let him strip you down a bit, but not enough time to let him strip you down to the point it would annoy Hermione," Susan explained.
"I'm thinking we should vote to make our wing of the castle clothing optional," another of the girls giggled.
"Seconded," Daphne blurted.
"And the motion carries," Susan pronounced. "Or it would if it weren't for the fact that Hermione would say no."
"There's more of us than there are of her," Tracy pointed out.
"Do you want to be the one to tell her that?" Susan countered. "Cause I'll say right now that it's not going to be me or Hannah."
Harry stood at the edge of the lake, listening to the faint sounds of the girls giggling in the medical tent. He knew they were up to something, the only question was what? With a follow up question of would it be good or bad?
"Bad," he said to himself. Like Fred and George had told him; all girls are evil, especially teenage ones, since most of them had yet to learn how to use their powers for good.
The water of the lake began to boil again and Hermione stepped out and walked to him, a little girl in tow.
"Who's that?" Harry asked.
"Fleur's hostage, she got turned back and the merpeople thought that since I was coming back anyway, it'd be best if I brought her up," Hermione replied. "We're both wet and cold so I'll be brief."
"They want to come with us," Harry suggested.
"Yes," Hermione agreed. "Freshwater with a canal or something to the ocean. I'll work on plans for it later."
"Get in the tent and warm up," Harry ordered. "I'll meet you back in our wing and we can talk more about it then."
"Okay, Harry," Hermione agreed. "Come along, Gabrielle, we need to get warm."
The little girl nodded and took Hermione's hand for the walk to the medical tent.
"And that's the end of that task," Harry mumbled to himself.
"Uh . . Mr. Potter," Ludo prompted. "Your hostage?"
"What about her?" Harry asked dumbly. "I got her from the lake and took her to the medical tent."
The judges huddled together for a brief conversation ending with Ludo asking another stupid question.
"Might we ask how?"
"What do you mean how?" Harry demanded. "You all watched me do it." He shook his head. "Honestly, some people." And stormed off in hopes of avoiding further conversation.
Hermione waited until Madame Pomfrey had taken charge of her young French tag-along to dismiss the rest of the girls in the tent.
"Not you, Daphne," Hermione said sharply, freezing the other girl in her tracks.
"Just giving you some privacy, Hermione," Daphne said with a weak smile.
"Sit down please," Hermione said.
A couple of the other girls shot Daphne looks of sympathy as they trooped out of the tent, sure that the former Slytherin was up for a ferocious tongue lashing.
"I know what you did with Harry," Hermione said flatly as soon as they were alone.
"Good, and you had better not bother Harry about it. He was a perfect gentleman and I will not have you scolding him for helping me with my wet clothes," Daphne replied, trying to take initiative.
"What?" Hermione's jaw dropped.
"Harry was a perfect gentleman and helped make me comfortable until the other girls arrived, I will not have you besmirching his good name or yelling at him for helping me," Daphne said, her voice a touch more confident. 'This was going to work,' she thought to herself, shocked almost beyond belief.
"You really expect that to work?" Hermione raised an eyebrow. "All I want to say is that I don't want anyone doing anything before they're ready. If you think you're ready, talk to me and I'll see about scheduling something if Harry is also ready."
"What?" Daphne squeaked. "Really?"
"I knew it!" Hermione crowed. "I knew your mind wasn't as clean as you were pretending."
"I . . . you . . . guh?"
Sirius took the oilcloth wrapped package from the owls and frowned at it. Why in the bloody hell would Remus be sending him a painting of all things. Maybe his best friend thought he needed a minder?
With a sigh, the escaped prisoner pulled off the wrapping and froze in astonishment. What he saw was a scene of debauchery centered around his godson that exceeded his wildest hopes.
"My godson is so manly!" Sirius bellowed in joy. Had there been any witnesses, they'd have seen the man dancing a wild jig complete with lewd pelvic thrusts. He'd have to remember to send Remus a thank you note along with a demand for more paintings.
Under the discreet but watchful eyes of Remus Lupin, Amelia Bones, and two dozen of the Ministry's finest, the girls descended on London's magical shopping district like a pride of lions on a particularly unfortunate zebra. For decades that followed, shopkeepers would tell stories of the event to their younger colleagues, their eyes shining like those of Wellington's boys after the victory at Waterloo.
Of course, it was not all smooth sailing, true to Daphne's prediction just as a pride of lions will have vultures attracted to their kill, the appearance of so many pretty, young, and apparently unguarded witches in such a public area was bound to attract the wrong sort.
"Let me go you old lech!" Tracy screamed, trying to pull her arm free from the grip of her former betrothed.
"Shut up, girl," the wizard growled. "I paid good gold for you and I'll have my money's worth. Now quit fighting or it'll be the worse for you."
"Problem?" Amelia purred, announcing her presence and blocking the man's path.
"Nothing you need to worry about, Bones!" the wizard sneered. "Now step aside or I'll have your job."
"I disagree." She turned her gaze to the Aurors that had melted out of the shadows, attracted by the disturbance. "Beat him and lock him up!" Amelia ordered.
"Yes, boss!" the Aurors agreed, converging on the unfortunate with blood in their eyes and large clubs in their hands.
"I said beat him, not tickle him!" Amelia bellowed, annoyed at how standards had slipped since her days on patrol. "Jenkins, stomp that groin!"
"Yes, boss," the Auror agreed.
No, you gotta grind your heel when you-" Amelia growled in frustration. "Palmer, why is his left hand not broken?!"
"Sorry, boss," the Auror said shame faced.
"You can't expect to-" The woman sighed. "You want something done right," Amelia muttered to herself. "Tracy, will you be alright?"
"Yes, Madame Bones," Tracy agreed.
"Don't go off by yourself again," Amelia said firmly. "Be sure the others stay in a group, too."
"I will, Madame Bones," Tracy said dutifully.
"Good." Amelia rolled up her sleeves, pulled a detective's lead weighted rubber truncheon from her robes and set to work showing her Aurors the difference between regular brutality and police brutality.
While the girls were in the Alley with a heavy Auror escort, Harry had sensibly decided that he was better off hiding in the Cauldron where it was presumably safe.
"So, Harry," Tom began, setting a fresh pint of butter beer down in front of the boy. "This new island of yours . . ."
"Yes?" he prompted.
"Does it have a pub yet?"
Victor carefully considered the rumor he'd heard. It seemed plausible enough on the face of it, would certainly explain why the boy had so many girls and how he'd managed to beat the first two tasks. If true, he saw several ways to turn things to his advantage. If false, there was still the other rumor to pursue.
Decision made, the Bulgarian wizard found a comfortable place to sit while he waited for the group's return.
Harry was not surprised in the least to be immediately confronted by the Bulgarian champion on his return to Hogwarts. If anything, he was surprised it had taken the other boy so long to seek him out.
"Harry Potter, I haf zome questions vhor you," Victor announced.
"Is it true that you are planning to usurp control of the Ministry and install one of your puppet concubines as the Head of State?"
"I don't think I am," Harry replied. "Hermione, am I?"
"No, Harry," the girl giggled. "Do you want me to draw up some plans?"
"Maybe later," Harry replied. He turned back to Victor. "Anything else?"
Victor winced, he'd been so sure. Well, there was always the second rumor. "Then are you building an island nation vor yourself?"
"And several others, yes," Harry agreed.
"Vhat are your policies towards paparazzi on your island?" his fellow celebrity asked quickly.
"Pap . . . Hermione?"
"Annoying photographers that follow famous people around," the girl giggled.
"But worse," Hermione agreed.
"I don't believe we have a policy concerning them," Harry replied. "But I imagine it they'd fall afoul of the laws against being a dick and the laws about respecting other people's privacy."
"Vhat must I do to join your island?" Victor demanded, hoping he didn't have to join the harem himself.
"Deal!" Victor burst out, only to clear his throat and pretend to have said nothing when the two just stared at him.
"Here." The girl pulled out a thick sheaf of papers. "Regulations, paperwork, the works. You have the option of buying your own property or renting from Harry, the rates and everything else you need to know should be in there. If you have any questions, don't hesitate to ask," Hermione ran through her well practiced spiel.
"Thank you, I vill be in touch."
The Aurors shuffled into the conference room looking like a group of naughty students about to get a lecture from their head of house. After they reached their seats, Amelia stormed in and took her position at the front of the room.
"I'm not going to say I'm happy with your performance today," she began. "It's like they don't teach you lot anything at the academy," she said, sounding more disappointed than angry. "Rose, good work jabbing him in the kidney with the tip of your billy, but you missed a chance to give him a backhand to the face. If I hadn't joined in, he'd be in his cell eating something that wasn't soup. Remember, a place for everything, everything in its place, and the place for a suspect's teeth is on the cobblestones, not in his mouth."
"Yes, Madame Bones, won't happen again, boss," Auror Rose said quickly.
"Textbook perfect truncheon choke, but next time, don't use it when there are other Aurors on the scene. Too hard for them to get their licks in with you in the way."
"I like your initiative in punching him in the nose, I really do, but don't use your fist next time."
"It's why we give you a pair of brass knuckles," Amelia continued. "I understand how satisfying it is to feel a nose crunch under your knuckles, I really do, but when you use your fist you risk hurting your hand. Those bones are a lot smaller and more fragile than you'd think, wouldn't want a suspect to get less than the deserved because you broke your hand early on would you?"
"No, boss, got it, boss," Tonks said quickly.
"Now, I didn't see anything that can't be corrected with some training," Amelia continued. "Which is why all of you are going to go down to the holding cells right now to do a bit of hands on training with the prisoners. Remember, there are no stupid questions, just stupid people asking questions so stupid that they'll be mercilessly mocked."
Victor was waiting when they emerged from their quarters and, judging by the look on the boy's face, had a few more questions he wanted answered.
"You haf veela on this island of yours?" Victor asked.
"Planning to have at least a few, why?" Harry asked.
"I haf a good friend that is veela." Victor blushed. "A very good friend. Vhat special laws apply to veela?"
"None, they're treated the same as everyone else," Harry replied.
"So there is no problem if a veela and a visard decide to marry?" Victor persisted.
"None at all," Harry agreed. "Not sure why there would be."
"Is it possible for you to speak vith her yourself?" Victor asked hopefully.
"Sure," Harry agreed. "Or I could ask Fleur to speak with her if you want."
"Yes, that vould be helpful, yes," Victor nodded thoughtfully. "Thank you, Harry Potter."
"Would you like a couple of the standard packets we give to new residents?" Hermione asked.
"Please," the Bulgarian Seeker agreed.
The castle was filled with strangers on the last day of the tournament. Everyone in three governments wanted to show that they were important enough to have a place of importance in the stands, not to mention the multitude of people who were there as guests of one of the four champions or the regular crowd.
A small part of Harry's mind noted that Fleur was engaged in an animated discussion with another impossibly beautiful woman, the rest of it was busy trying not to visibly react to the way Daphne and Tracy were clinging to him or which of their parts were pressed up against which of his.
"I think that's enough of that," Hermione said primly.
"Someone from our families might be in the stands," Daphne mumbled, moulding herself to Harry's right side.
"We've no choice," Tracy agreed smugly, moulding herself to his left.
"You're both doing this because you see teasing Harry as a source of entertainment and because standing next to him puts you at the center of attention right now," Hermione said calmly. "Harry, being a boy, loses at least half his I.Q. points when he has a pretty girl rubbing against him, I.Q. points he's going to need in the near future if he's to win this tournament. Understood?"
With identical sighs of resignation, the two girls released their captive and strutted to the section of the stands assigned to the fourth school.
"Those two," Hermione said in exasperation.
"I think it's mostly because of how proper they were supposed to act before," Harry said, fighting to slow his pulse.
"I understand that, I also wish they would understand there is a time and place for that along with an order of who gets to do what when," Hermione stated.
"What?" Harry asked, shooting the girl an odd look
"Fleur is coming over and it looks like she has something to report," Hermione continued calmly.
"I 'ave spoken with zee Bulgarian Veela," The French champion announced. "Zey wish to join us."
"How many?" Harry asked.
"All of zem, of course," Fleur replied with a smug grin
"Hermione," Harry sighed.
"It can wait till after the last task, Harry," the girl said calmly. "For that matter, it can wait till we've settled into our new homes and they're ready to leave their old ones."
"Champions take your marks!" the announcer's voice boomed across the pitch, bringing Harry's conversation to an early end.
The maze was almost pathetically easy to navigate. Several times the hedge seemed to reform itself to give him a clearer path while simultaneously hindering his competitors.
"When I find out who's responsible for all this, we are going to have words," Harry promised himself as he took the cup.
A tug behind his navel, a flash of red light, and the world faded to black.
Hermione frowned when the hedge sunk and her best friend was nowhere to be found. Trust Harry Potter to find a way to get into even deeper trouble in the middle of a oft fatal tournament.
The girl walked over to the judge's table with as much decor as she could muster and fixed her school's two representatives with a look.
"Disappearing the winner wasn't part of the plan," Susan said quickly.
"Take Hannah and be sure your aunt is aware of that and what just happened," Hermione ordered. "Daphne, Tracy."
"Yes, Hermione?" Daphne asked, looking more serious than any of the rest of the group had ever seen her.
"See that Fleur gets to Madame Pomfrey and be sure that the medical wing is ready to recieve Harry," Hermione said, marveling at how calm her voice sounded.
"Got it." The two girls retreated to carry out their instructions.
"I'm staying with you to keep you company until Harry gets back," the little blonde insisted.
"I . . . thank you," Hermione sighed.
Harry awoke to a sharp pain in his arm and the dim awareness that he was caught up in another monumental and potentially fatal event.
The boy watched as the traitor who'd doomed his family brought about the return of the bastard who'd delivered the lethal blows.
There was only one thing to say to this situation, and that was, "Bloody hell!"
Voldemort smiled at Harry and answered, "Tut, tut! Such language should be punished. Crucio!"
Harry clenched his teeth as the pain came, seconds lasted an eternity until the spell ceased and he became aware that Voldemort had summoned his Death Eaters
Voldemort allowed his gaze to sweep over his followers as he berated them for their cowardice and disloyalty. "Cut him loose and give him his wand," he ordered, causing two masked Death Eaters to hasten to comply. "I trust you know how to duel, Harry?" Voldemort purred. "The first thing we do is bow."
"Bugger off," Harry gasped.
"Crucio," the Dark Lord replied, sounding bored.
Harry waved his wand and collapsed. Voldemort, in the middle of casting a Pain curse almost paused, but there was no light from a spell, so he ignored Potter's action. The curse hit the boy on the ground, but all he managed was a low groan. Voldemort looked at his wand in confusion, then turned to Pettigrew. Casting the spell on the rat animagus caused the man to scream in pain. Satisfied that his magic was working fine, Voldemort turned back to Harry.
He was just about to cast another spell when the ground burst under him. Thrown in the air by the force of the explosion, he desperately held his wand so he wouldn't lose it when he came down.
Unfortunately, he never came down. Close on the heels of the exploded rock came a column of lava. Voldemort was burned to dust before he knew it.
The violent spewing liquid rock, while in a generally upward direction, did go in a lot of other directions, too. In fact, not a single Death Eater survived the first two seconds of the eruption.
Harry, shook his head and slowly got up. The spell that causes the volcanoes to form also protects the user, so rocks, some as large as Hogwarts, and lava were just bouncing off or flowing around him. He sighed, and started walking away. Noticing the Triwizard cup lying next to a river of molten rock, he absently picked it up, instantly finding himself back at Hogwarts.
He was quickly surrounded by anxious officials. Harry roughly thrust the cup into Bagman's hands.
"Here! Take the stupid thing! I am so feckin' out of here!"
Two thirds of the students of Hogwarts quickly heard reports of what he said, and raced for their prepared portkeys. Some, mostly 'Puffs, were so ready they already had their trunks with them, shrunk.
It was a very empty Great Hall that Dumbledore found the next morning. By lunch he realized it wasn't just students sleeping in. A search of the castle revealed his worst fears.
Harry Potter was missing, and so were a lot of other students, in every house and various years.
How was he supposed to spend the summer assisting the boy in raising his own island if he wasn't around?
AN: Well, that took a little while to write. Several more partial fics in the pipe waiting to be finished. Will clean up and post the Omake file for this at some point in the near future.
Polish by dogbertcarroll who once scored four touchdowns in a single game. That game being twister, and the answering feel ups were scored by the opposing team.
Several typos by computercond
Additional typos by mjihde, pazed1881, laros_deejay, Andrei Krotkov, kahless62003
Suggestions by caspian7152
Ending scene by meteoricshipyards
Ideas by polychromeknight