Part V

Looking to the future, while delving into the past. That is definitely not for the greater good.

~Let it Go~

“She needs a friend, Ron.”

“Sure, probably! Who says it’s got to be us?”

“You started this!”

“No, she did! She couldn’t mind her own business! Why couldn’t she have just let me be? I almost had it!”

“You blew up your feather, Ron!(1) I didn’t know that was possible! And Seamus had just lit his on fire!”

“She distracted me! I almost had it! I didn’t need her help!”

“You hurt her feelings, Ron. The least you could do is tell her you’re sorry!”

The redhead was quiet. The table was quiet.

Half of the entire hall was quiet. The rest was filled with mutterings of what would happen next.

“She doesn’t have friends, Harry,” Parvati said slowly, a few seats away. “Ron was a bit hot-headed, yes, but he was telling the truth. I… I’ve tried talking to her, but she likes to keep to herself. And she’s just so bossy.” She sniffed. “And she shows off. Someone had to tell her. Weasley might not be the best with his words – ”


“ – but he’s right. He probably should apologize, but she should learn from him.”

Now, the entire hall was quiet. The small, scrawny first year felt all eyes on him, as he nervously pushed his oversized glasses onto his face. He wanted to shrink away. He wanted to disappear.

Like she did. Because she couldn’t stand up for herself. Like he always didn’t.

Not this time.

“No one should be reminded that they don’t have friends.” Harry spoke loudly. “She didn’t pick on anyone. She didn’t talk about any of you. She saw someone who needed help, and she helped. Friends help each other.” He looked at Ron. “She was asking for friendship, Ron. You didn’t have to be such a git.”

“Mr. Potter,” Professor McGonagall warned him from the head table. “I understand your stance in this matter, but there is no need for name-calling. Mr. Weasley, you will apologize to Miss Granger when she returns.”

“I didn’t do anything!” The temperamental redhead exclaimed, his fork clattering against the plate. “She should apologize to me!”

“Mr. Weasley, I’ve heard from Professor Flitwick of your performance in class. She was only giving you helpful advice. You could have done well to listen to her words.”

Ron sputtered for a moment, hyper-aware of the chuckles around him, before turning to Harry. “Oi, you’ll defend her, but not me! I thought friends defended each other!”

For the first time in young Harry Potter’s life, he made his own choice. He pushed himself away from the table. “I’m not friends with a bully. My friend needs me.”

He took one last glance around the silent Great Hall – more of a glare, really – and quickly walked the long walk out of there. With each step, he felt that his exit was probably becoming less meaningful. Still, he ignored McGonagall’s orders for him to stop, and pressed on. He forcefully pushed one of the double doors open and slammed it behind him.

When he felt he had reached a safe distance from the murmurs and whisperings of the crowd, he keeled over and took a deep breath.

That was… well, immediately, it was suffocating, but after recognizing, and fully understanding what he had just done, it was – freeing! Powerful, even! How did he have the strength to even do that? To stand up for himself? What had come over him? Was it really because Ron had hurt that girl? It wasn’t like he was as bad as Dudley, and though that wasn’t saying much, it was true. Harry had never snapped at Dudley or Vernon like that. Consequences ignored, Harry had often gotten to the point with them that he would snap, but he didn’t. Maybe he didn’t know Ron as well as his relatives, and he felt that deep in him, he felt that the repercussions wouldn’t compare to what Dudley and Vernon could do.

After all, Ron couldn’t even do a levitation charm. Harry at least had that spell under his belt. If push came to shove, he would float the redhead to the ceiling and drop him.

“Levi-OH-sa…” Harry muttered to himself, chuckling. He could understand Ron’s anger for not getting the spell, but at least he wasn’t Seamus.

He shook his head and stood tall. He needed to find Hermione. He began to walk – it didn’t necessarily matter where, he had no idea where she was.

That probably would have been a good question to ask before he stormed off. Walking back wasn’t an option, of course; he couldn’t come back unless it was with Hermione, for his own pride. He supposed he was on his own.

He looked to the side and saw his reflection in the trophy case. He smiled – he didn’t look any different. He pushed his glasses up on the bridge of his nose; he ran a hand through his messy black hair. He supposed turning into a more confident, independent person was more of an inside change, rather than a physical transformation.

Still; he was smiling. He was in rare form.

He looked down at the bottom shelf and cocked his head to the side.

James Potter – Chaser, 74-78, Captain, 77-78 was at the top of one of the plaques.

James Potter – Leader. Brimming with confidence. Brave.

Not a drunk who died in a car crash.

Harry’s fingers pressed hard against the glass, and suddenly pulled his hand away.

He needed that. He strode forward, his legs just as energetic as it was when he escaped the Great Hall.

Hogwarts wasn’t that big of a place, right? There weren’t that many places she could go to.

~Hand of the Devil~

Harry cursed Ron’s name for the seventeenth time as he walked down the corridor, alone, glancing around at anything that looked familiar. The endless, tedious maze that was Hogwarts was really working against him right now.

And while the moving staircase may have had something to do with it, he couldn’t help but blame that on Ron as well.

Each time he saw the trophy case (and there seemed to be only one), and the plaque, in the hallway, his confidence wavered a bit. Luckily, he didn’t seem to be passing it any more.

And it only took two times for him to finally find a unique path that didn’t lead him back to it. He didn’t want to accidentally run into the Great Hall.

He stopped. How long had it been? Ten, fifteen minutes? The feast was almost over. It wouldn’t do to have them all leave for their dorm, only to see him wandering aimlessly. Since today was a ‘special occasion’, he didn’t think they would leave on time, but he wasn’t taking chances. He quickened his pace.

The green-eyed, bespectacled boy had only one goal, going into Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. It wasn’t to learn all he could learn, or even to be the best wizard he could be – he wanted to make friends.

He was doing a spectacular job at that now, wasn’t he?

He had, in one swift move, alienated himself from what had been his only real friend and the rest of Gryffindor. He sighed. Perhaps he could have done better in Slytherin.

Or Hufflepuff. They seemed like a nice bunch. His parents were in Gryffindor; did that mean he had to be? He liked to think he was his own person, though he was told that he looked uncomfortably similar to his father at his age (except for his eyes. He had his mother’s eyes). It seemed that the only thing that cast him out of their shadow was the thing he did that he didn’t even remember.

Oh. Right. Today was the tenth anniversary of that. As if he hadn’t been told that every hour today, with such excitement in everyone’s voices.

He couldn’t blame them. Most of them had lost someone close as well to Voldemort, and he was so feared that they still couldn’t say his name. But could they at least make it sound like sacrifices were made that night?

Perhaps it was a bit therapeutic, leaving when he did. Had he been prompted, with this newfound self-assurance, he didn’t think he would have kept quiet about his reservations to put on a party hat.

He sighed, ignoring the headache coming on, and refocused on where he was going. This looked… familiar, and in a bad way. He looked far down the hall, and noticed a trophy case. The very same trophy case.

Harry had picked up a few words, living with the Dursleys. They weren’t a type of people to keep tabs on their language around him, and while his aunt and uncle weren’t too vulgar often, there were just some words that a child hears for the first time that just fascinates them, and sticks with them for a lifetime. Now, Harry didn’t exactly know the entire description and definition of some of the words. But he did know how to use them in a sentence, or even as a single word for a phrase. This seemed like an appropriate time.


“I trust that you’re very hungry, Mister Potter?” Harry spun around quickly, covering his mouth with both hands.

“Sorry!” Harry yelled, his voice muffled.

“Don’t be,” the professor waved it off. “I’m late for the feast as well. I had a few choice words to say myself, grading papers before coming up here, but no one was around to hear me. I dare say that I should be docking points from myself before I harp on you about it.” Professor Quirinus Quirrell stood back and pondered. “Though it has been two months. How do you not know how to get to the Great Hall by now?”

Harry’s hands left his face, and they trembled lightly at his side. “I wasn’t going to the feast – I was looking for someone.”

“And you haven’t found him yet? It seems your friend does not wish to be found.”

“No, sir, it’s a girl – Hermione Granger.”

“Oh. My mistake, Mister Potter.” He narrowed his eyes a bit in concentration. “Is she… upset or something? I heard someone crying in the girl’s bathroom, near the dungeons.” At Harry’s confusion, he clarified. “The dungeons, Mister Potter; Where the Slytherin Common Room is, one floor below us, on the other side of this tower. I had assumed it was Myrtle, and that she had been sent away from her home by some unruly students, but it was a bit too quiet to be her, in reflection. I locked the door so she wouldn’t be disturbed and… bothered. Her being near the Slytherin chambers, and all.”

Harry wasn’t really paying attention to Quirrell’s explanation towards the end. Rather, he was listening to the cohesiveness of his words. “Professor Quirrell… your stutter.”

“It comes and goes, Mister Potter. Usually with potions. I have a disastrous headache that makes it difficult to concentrate, much less talk. I believe muggles call it a tumour. It is resting, now.”

He could commiserate with him on the headache. He was feeling one quite massive right now, but he ignored it. To distract himself, Harry pictured, for a brief moment, an ice pack hidden somewhere in his turban, and struggled not to laugh. “Thank you, Professor!” The small boy said brightly, before he sprinted off – the feast was almost over, and he’d rather be as far away from the crowd as possible.

Tom Marvolo Riddle, Jr. watched him run down the corridor with an approving eye.

The ‘tumour’, as he so creatively put it, was in fact, Quirinus Quirrell himself. The stuttering oaf had used so much energy using an Imperius on the troll (you’d think it would be easier to control a being with such a small, acquiescent mind, but magic was mysterious that way – he would look into it another day, in another body) that the man had fainted. He had taken over his body before he hit the ground.

It was consuming his energy just speaking; just using his vocal cords. When the boy was out of view, down the stairs, he pulled out a small vial of invigoration draught. The results might end in the oaf waking back up, unintentionally kicking his Lord back out to the nether regions of his brain, but he needed the last bit of energy for his performance piece. He didn’t have the power to strike Potter if he wanted to – and he was not yet sure if he wanted to.

He was of two minds as he conversed with Potter, no pun intended. He wanted the boy dead. And, one day, the boy will die. How soon that was going to be was purely in his hands, whoever’s hands he happened to inhabit at the time.

However… He could use power like that. Admittedly, his parents were rather powerful. He had faced the boy’s father three times before that night, and while James had fallen to him rather quickly the final time, he didn’t have his wand with him, and his wandless magic was impressive, from what he had seen. If he had his wand, his wife could have probably escaped in time. And the boy’s mother – he could almost understand why his subordinate was so in love. He could practically see the power radiating off of her, but her fear of unleashing it in front of her child caused her demise, as love does on occasion.

He sighed, uncorking the vial. He had probably made a mistake that fateful night. His ‘death’ aside, he should have offered her a place amongst his ranks. The girl was barely twenty-two, and her raw power could rival Bellatrix at her best!

He grimaced. She would’ve probably never followed him by choice. Her petty emotions would have settled on the murder of her husband and little else. And he had to kill the boy; that was unavoidable, at the time.

Perhaps the prophecy has already been fulfilled; he was technically dead at this point. He was too quick to say he made a mistake. But he would be foolish if he didn’t, at the least, make an offer to young Harry Potter to join his side. The small boy who seemed to be destined to lead the light, following his Dark Lord before he could even understand the difference between light and dark?

Lord Voldemort never smiled. But a smirk could sneak its way onto his face every once in a while.

It was still in place as he downed the draught.

Still, he wasn’t going to let this opportunity get away from him, if he had the chance. That would be even more imbecilic of him. He had noticed the small muggleborn witch, and had watched her carefully, and he would be remiss to ignore the fact he was a bit intimidated by her presence around Mister Potter.

The smirk morphed into a deep frown, and not from the taste – ambition, brains and power. Too much of one was dangerous in itself. Too much of all three?

Just the thought alone was terrifying. He was a prime example of what it could do.

No one should have that power. No one. Not even him. It had given him far too much responsibility, this power that he had. It was his burden to make the world as he saw it.

Sure, he had asked for all of it. He had actively pursued it, and had earned his limitless power and abilities.

But it haunted him. It was best not to let anyone else have that burden shifted on them. Even if he had to kill them. They would thank him if they knew where their life was headed.

He used his thumb to wipe away any remains of the draught from his once again smirking lips.

The troll needed to get past the bathroom to get to Gryffindor Tower – destroying it should be an excellent distraction for him. While locking the door, he had put an amplifying charm on the threshold, to make certain that the troll heard her cries. She would be the Moaning Myrtle of this generation.

And if Potter happened to be walking by…

Well, it was a hero’s death. That’s what all Gryffindors want, do they not? The boy’s parents would be so proud. Besides, if he couldn’t get past a stupid troll, then he didn’t deserve an offer to join the forces of Lord Voldemort.

He turned towards the other end of the hall. The doors were closed; perfect for his dramatic entrance.

He cleared his throat and ran forward.


~The Calm~

She couldn’t do this. She just couldn’t.

She was only trying to help. The boy – Ronald – obviously couldn’t figure out one of the simplest charms in the book, and she had to step in and show him how to do it. Who would turn down a chance to learn something?

He disgusted her.

She knew his kind. Unintentional or deliberate, there was always a class clown, and she usually found herself becoming their mortal enemy. The format was always the same. She was the Teacher’s Assistant; he was the Class Clown. It had always been a boy. She didn’t know what was wrong with the lot of them. She didn’t like not knowing things, but it was one mystery that irked her to a point that she didn’t really care about the answer – only wondering how to fix it.

Usually, she’d win those little ‘fights’. After all, the teacher was on her side. She never liked the term ‘teacher’s pet’ – it was a demeaning term, something that suggested she lapped at the teacher’s heels, following their orders and listening to their every word out of sheer stupidity, as if she was incapable of doing anything but follow the leader. She was the teacher’s assistant. It was just another assignment to her. Teachers had a very stressful job, and she helped when she could.

She didn’t make a lot of friends this way of course, but she was there to learn, not make friends.

She did, however, make enemies. And while their words stung, she held her head high and her eyes forward. She had no friends, but she was happy. She had parents who loved her, and books to read. Whether it be about an interesting fact, the significance of a life lived before her, or an escape from reality, books had always kept her sated. And happy.

But when she got her letter to Hogwarts, something about her changed.

She wanted friends. Maybe she wanted someone to read and reflect on those books with? Friends to talk with during a particularly boring or tedious chapter? Someone to help her crusade against the class clowns of the world? Maybe it was something she had always yearned for, but accepted she never could have, and now, maybe foolishly, she thought she was given another chance?

Maybe she just needed someone to occasionally remind her that she wasn’t alone?

She wrapped her arms around her legs, and put her head between her knees.

Friendless, bookworm, bossy know-it-all Hermione. As the story goes. As the story would always go, it seemed, unless she changed who she was – her identity. And she didn’t think she was willing to do that. Honestly, the loneliness was preferable to being what she wasn’t.

And if there was anything she wasn’t, it was normal.

It saddened her more than what she thought was possible, to be able to admit that to herself.

A boy who had magic his whole life had claimed that she wasn’t normal. And according to the silence that followed, they all agreed. Even the muggleborns.

Friendless, bossy, know-it-all bookworm freak.

As the story goes. And part of her was just beginning to accept that.

She squeaked when she heard a knock on the door.

“Hermione? Are you in there?”

Of course someone was in there. He could hear someone sniffling, but it could very well be that Myrtle girl his DADA professor was talking about. He could probably help her as well, but Hermione was a bit bigger priority right then. Still, he wasn’t going to leave whoever was in there crying by herself. “Myrtle?”


Oh. So, it was Hermione. It was the first legible thing she said, and Harry instantly recognized her voice. “Please open the door. It’s me, Harry.”

“Harry?” She sniffled a few times. “Go away.”

A part of him was hurt. “I didn’t say all of those things.”

“You didn’t disagree!” She yelled through the door, and Harry backed up bit. She sounded like she was directly behind the door. “Sorry,” she said meekly. “I’m just upset. I shouldn’t have said anything. I’m better than this.” He heard the hard edge in her tone, and flinched further at the insult. It hurt worse than her yelling.

“I know.” Harry paused. “I am, too. I try to be. It just took me a minute. Don’t apologize; I deserve it. I’m sorry I didn’t defend you when I did. I really am.”

“I’m a nightmare,” she sniffed, her tone mockingly. “It’s no wonder I have any friends.”

“At least you said it right,” Harry muttered shyly, and she let out an unintentional snort.

He heard the girl sniffle again. Then, he heard a low whisper. “I was just trying to help…”

“I know you were! That’s what friends do! And now… I’m trying to help you. Please?”

There were a few bated breaths, and Harry listened closely. “F-friends?”

Harry leaned down, closer to the crack of the door. She was getting quieter and quieter. “I’ve never really had one. I’d like to know what it’s like.” He fidgeted. “Ron’s a prick. I won’t be around him any longer. He… he kinda reminds me of Malfoy, to be honest.” He heard a small giggle, and chuckled with her. “You don’t have to open the door, but I just wanted to tell you that I just called him a git in front of the school, and walked out of the Great Hall. I can’t go back and you can’t make me. So I guess I need a place to cry, too.”

Hermione was fully laughing, now. Her voice got louder and louder, to a point where it was almost deafening.

And she opened the door.

Her tears were fresh on her pink cheeks, but her eyes were now moist with mirth. Her overbite only enhanced her wide smile, and he couldn’t help but smile back. “So… friends?” She asked, almost nervously.

Harry held out his hand. “Friends.”

She used one hand to wipe her tears away, and the other to take his hand. They shook on it.

~The Storm~

A crash sounded in the distance.

The first thing that Harry looked at were towards any paintings in the hall – Since he had gone to the school, he was rather paranoid about the art come to life, and had noticed that when he was alone, noises usually came from the talking portraits. They were friendly, for the most part, but he had learned to avoid the ‘ugly’ ones. They tended to like to scare the ‘ickle firsties’.

There were no paintings.

There was a slight odor that he could faintly gather, though.

“What was that?” Hermione wondered, and though she didn’t appear afraid, she seemed startled at the sound.

Harry shrugged helplessly. “Maybe someone dropped something?”

Another crash.

“Someone very clumsy?” he muttered sceptically.

“Could be that Head Girl I met a few weeks ago.” Her voice trembled. “I don’t think she’s that clumsy. Though that is how I met her…”

The next sound Harry and Hermione heard wasn’t a crash or a clang, however.

It was a thump.

Then another.

The pattern was so consistent, escalating so steadily that it didn’t take much more for them to figure it out.

Footsteps. Heavy, deafeningly large footsteps. Getting closer.

“Hagrid doesn’t sound like that,” Harry whispered, his hand pushing the door back. “D’you reckon it was that three-headed dog?”

She stopped herself from correcting him with the right terminology, and immediately shook her head. “He was big, but not that big.” She licked her suddenly dry lips, moving slowly, backing into the room. “And I’m hearing two slow feet. Not four. Not fast enough, not irregular.”

The two slipped inside the bathroom, and Harry softly closed the door.

Hermione moved back towards the sinks. “Think whatever that is… could be friendly?”

Harry wasn’t sure. “Has to be friendlier than a Cerberus, right?”

Even in her somewhat panic-stricken state, she appreciated his correct term usage. “I think we should hide.”

“Good idea.” Only there were very limited spaces to hide in a bathroom, if whatever behind that door chose to open it. The only option they had were the stalls, so Hermione chose the one on the very end – the one she was in before – and Harry got into the stall next to her.

As the stomps got louder, Harry began to hear the girl sniffle again. And he found himself in the very same situation he began in; afraid for what his next action was going to be, and locking himself away. And while this was more literal than metaphorical, his actions held true. He didn’t even know what was in that hallway! It could be a Halloween prank or something! And yet, here he was, an ickle Firstie, waiting until the ‘danger’ passed.

The water in the toilet bowl rippled. The wooden door of the stall trembled beneath his fingers. And Harry’s concern of it being a mere prank was soundly disregarded as the wall to the entire lavatory smashed inwards, the sink and mirror shattering and exploding towards them.

Even the hideous smell was well-hidden by the fear of what he saw. And Harry knew, his death was imminent.

But that didn’t necessarily mean that Hermione was going to die.

All his life, Harry ran away from his troubles. And, while this may have been a legitimate reason to run, he wasn’t going to. Not anymore.

He pulled out his wand. This time – and maybe for only a minute or two – he was going to be the Chaser.

~Years Later (Present)~

The trip to Hogsmeade was in two days, and whatever happened that Saturday was entirely on this race. The stands were empty – no one to cheer them on as they lifted off to the sky. Harry’s Firebolt shook with barely released power as he held on to the grip, very comfortable with his flying companion.

His mind drifted back to the previous afternoon. Everything appeared normal as Hermione and he had left the classroom. The ties that were strengthened that day would not be seeing the light for a while. During the last moments, before Narcissa’s next class was supposed to begin, they had agreed to meet that night in the Room of Requirement. The entire night, they had discussed their future together, and the ramifications of such an extreme choice. Narcissa had second thoughts about taking the last name Potter, not because of the legendary Potter-Malfoy rivalry, which went generations deep, or the fact that her son’s reaction to this would practically guarantee that he’d be dead ten minutes after the announcement, but of her age.

Her fortieth birthday was in a few weeks when she took the life-altering injection. She was still in shape, her body obviously quite toned, and a figure that twenty-five year-olds would kill for, but she still felt a bit conscious about herself. When Harry mentioned that she was on his list for a reason, she smirked and joked that he should marry number one, then.

It was an awkward silence that followed. Narcissa laughed, having figured it out, and congratulated Hermione. Harry wordlessly handed her the full list and she read it, the signature at the bottom catching her attention first. She almost cried again at the implication – he honestly did think of her as one of the most beautiful women in the school – and there were quite a lot of beautiful women around them.

She laughed at the second name on the list, saying that it would be a dream come true for the girl. Harry was a bit surprised at the news.

After staring at the list a few more seconds, she decided. Narcissa admitted that while there was nothing more she’d like to do than to marry the two, she had reservations. The main one being the fact that she was almost forty years old. Before the two could protest, she held up a hand.

“I know, I know, I get it, and I love you two for believing so,” Narcissa said firmly, flushing as spoke. Those words took an entirely different meaning from when she usually said it, and it was the first time she confessed her love to anyone, much less two people at once. “I truly, truly do. But this is not about my looks. This is completely about… well, in the past few years, you’ve noticed I’ve been in a few training exercises with you two, once in a while.” They nodded, and they quickly realized what she was getting at. “Yes, well, while I may be potentially immortal, that means I will always be forty; that means I will never have the energy of a teenager. Technically, I can never catch up to you, because you two are undoubtedly not normal teenagers. I would never ask you to wait until your mid-life crises to take the Elixir injection. You both agreed before that you would do it on your official twentieth birthdays. It just wouldn’t be… right. I’ve said this before. I’d love nothing more than to join you two and become a concubine for you. It just fits better for me, and I don’t have as much responsibility.”

Hermione looked unsure. “Narcissa, you know we both love you. And we don’t think any less of you for your decision, or the fact that you prefer to be a concubine. But what makes you think that you won’t be the only one to join us?”

Narcissa gave her a blank look.

“You’ve seen the list, Cissy. Half of them had always thought of Harry like a sister would a brother, and I’m relatively sure the other half may not be into the idea of sharing.”

Narcissa continued staring at Hermione, unimpressed.

Let’s sift through this logically, Cissy. Do you really think that there’s just a line of girls ready to shag Harry silly? That everyone on this list could respond positively to this declaration of Harry’s ill-conceived attempt of socializing?”

Harry translated. “I think Narcissa is trying to say that we’re going to have a full-fledged harem.”

Hermione sighed and deflated. “I know. It sucks a little bit.”

Harry’s thoughts were brought back to the present as he spotted her – Hedwig flew majestically across the pitch, her wings spread wide gliding towards the middle goal post on the other side of the pitch. She fluttered her wings as she landed on the goal, her amber eyes piercing as she spied the two racers. She hooted loudly as she flapped her wings.

“Scared, Potter?”

“You wish.”

Katie and Harry shared a laugh as they remembered Draco’s words before he was soundly defeated by Harry in their first year duel – the first of many beatings he had taken in the hands of the green-eyed wizard, on the pitch, on the platform, and in the hallways.

Harry glanced to Katie, and the stunning Gryffindor Chaser smiled at him – she certainly didn’t look angry. Maybe she was positive she was going to win?

“Let’s change the stakes!” She yelled, near-abruptly, as she swivelled her broom to face him directly.

Harry raised an eyebrow, but took the bait. “Why? Still mad at me?”

She waved it off. “It was our fault, Harry. You were a victim in this, and we probably shouldn’t have done it. We apologize.”

“Hold on; Katie did you tell them – ?”

“So the new stakes,” Katie continued quickly, her grin more threatening than before, and Harry knew that whatever she would say, he had to win. “It’s simple. If you win, I’ll tell Padma everything. I’ll tell her about the kiss, the games, everything.”

“I don’t see how that’s an attractive deal to me,” Harry crossed his arms, mindful of being fifty feet from the ground.

She smiled cutely. “Firstly, you won’t have to explain it to her. Secondly, you come out as the victim in all of this, and we are the horrible succubae that ripped a poor boy’s innocence away.”

Harry snorted. “No thanks. I’ll tell Padma. If you’re going to come out as a bad guy in all of this, then I’ll tell the story my way. You three had a bit of innocent fun, and I was a more than willing, if a bit helpless, victim.” He frowned. “Besides, what happened yesterday between you and me isn’t going to compare to what else I have to tell her.”

At Katie’s confused expression, Harry sighed. “Let’s go back to the ground, Katie. I have to tell you something.”

Katie tilted her head at him, and slowly nodded. The two lowered themselves to the pitch, not seeing Hedwig rustle her feathers in irritation.

“And here, I was expecting a long, tiresome race, followed by a nice, long victory party in the showers,” Katie smirked, expecting Harry to blush.

He dismounted his broom and held it upright. “I probably would have been looking forward to it, if what happened yesterday didn’t happen.”

Her interest was piqued, and she tried to put the pieces together. “What happened, Harry? Did someone else ask you to the ball?”

Harry looked over her shoulder, and she turned around. Hermione, in the first row of the stands, noticed the eyes on her and closed her book. “Hermione? I didn’t even see her!”

“She’s rather good at hiding,” Harry grinned as his girlfriend came over. “And it’s a bit more complicated than that, to answer your last question, Katie.”

Katie smiled as Hermione looked almost nervous, crossing her arms expectantly. “So you two hooked up, huh?”

Hermione gave a brief chuckle. “More complicated than that, still. But yes.”

Katie crossed her arms and looked back and forth between the two. Her mind reeled with what they might tell her. Could they have had sex? Are they getting married? Did they have sex weeks ago, and Hermione told him that she was pregnant? All very doubtful, since she gave him his second ever kiss, but knowing these two, really anything was possible. What could it possibly be?

“As it turns out,” Hermione started, halting Katie’s overloading mind, “After Harry and I talked, and figured out what we are to each other, there still are other girls vying for his affections as well.” She nodded her head towards Katie. “And, well, I decided that I’m not a greedy person.”

It took a few seconds for Katie to comprehend Hermione’s statement. “So you know I kissed him?”

Hermione nodded. “I also know everything else that happened, Katie. As far back as third year. Harry tells me everything. Not in real time,” she glared at him, and he was suddenly focused on his owl circling them, “but he tells me nevertheless. And the only thought that I had was that I wish I had thought of it first. I was just growing the equipment to do it, too.”

Katie found herself blushing as Hermione continued. “What I’m trying to say is, well, if you truly feel the way that you do about Harry, and I’m sure you do, then I’m not stopping you, and I don’t think he will either. Just know that he isn’t exclusive to you, and that you two are a secret. Unless, of course, you’re okay with people talking about the three of us.”

Katie stumbled a bit, leaning on her broom. “Sharing him? You’re really okay with that? More importantly, are you comfortable with that? How are you going to break this to Padma? Does she know already? Did she agree to this? Are you two… in love?”

Hermione blinked at the barrage of questions. “Er… yes, yes, I’m pretty sure I answered that question myself yesterday, the same way I’m telling you now, we plan to talk to her today, refer to answer number five, and….”

“More than I thought I ever could,” Harry spoke softly, knowing that she was seeking confirmation. His hand searched for hers. “More than she could ever know.”

Hermione blinked away the phantom tears, joyous tears she knew would never truly stop flowing. She squeezed his hand tightly. “I think you have your answer. Yes.”

Katie slid her hand down her broom as her bottom hit the grassy field. She needed to think. She felt Hermione sit down next to her, and Harry sat on her other side. “Sharing him. Sharing you. A bit unconventional, but hey, this is the Wizarding world.” She glanced at Hermione on her left and Harry on her right, who had his head down in concentration. “Not a bit nervous about the thought? Of having a few witches under your belt, so to speak?”

Harry gave her a fierce look that made her want to scoot towards Hermione, if they gave her enough room to move. “Were you three thinking about that when you teased me? If the TriWizard never happened, and we had played Quidditch last year, would you three consider taking the next step? If you did… I’d be ready,” he told her seriously. He turned away. “But if I was aiming for purely sexual relationships… it would be a lot easier than what we’re doing now. Someone I considered a dear friend and mentor is in love with me, and I didn’t even know until yesterday. And then I found out that I had a bit more than a crush on her… I’m not sure if it’s love, but it… it might.”

Hermione snorted beside her. “It took you five years to figure out what love is, Harry, and that could be solely blamed on your relatives. Maybe you love her and you don’t know it, yet.”

Katie knew they were avoiding saying the person’s name for a reason, but she was able to figure it out. “I’ve seen the list today, you know. I don’t think you would consider Chang as a mentor or a dear friend. But if the only other choice is the person you’re talking about… well, that’s a bit of a surprise. Professor Black is a beautiful woman, and a nice enough teacher, much better than Binns. But a mentor and a friend?”

Harry shrugged. “A lot has happened when dealing with Voldemort that the public doesn’t know about. We’ve had a lot of help. Narcissa was one of the people that helped us in a big way. She’s a very dear friend.”

Hermione nodded with Harry. “She was attracted to Harry, as women have a tendency to do when they spend any amount of time with him, and we… we explored our options.”

Katie sat still, her fingers clutching the grass beneath her. “Options?” She echoed, her eyes searching Hermione’s. “So you two and Harry weren’t together separately?” Her blush answered Katie’s question. She looked back and forth between the two. “Well, while one fantasy is destroyed, at least another, more powerful one is here. But…” the two raised their eyebrows at her hesitation. “I’d accept in a heartbeat. If Hermione is attracted to me, that’s just a bonus. But I’ve overstepped my bounds as it is. I betrayed my best friends already, and I don’t think I can accept without them.”

Harry furrowed his brows. “Alicia and Angelina?”

She nodded. “We three have a history of… exploring our options, as you put it, together. But at this point, it’s a bit more than an option. We all planned on living together after Hogwarts.” She smiled sadly. “You have no idea how devastated they were when I told them what happened. They thought that I was leaving them, and had forgotten about them. I… I don’t think they’re going to talk to me again.”

Harry put his hand on her thigh. “Well, I wouldn’t say that. They certainly care enough to follow you here.”

Her head snapped to him, and seeing his smirk, glanced around. “What? Where?”

“From the entrance to the Locker rooms,” Hermione informed her, not missing a beat. “They’re going to poke their head out when you two start racing. And I suppose they plan on seducing you when you go in there, Harry.”

Harry pulled at his collar. “Ah. I see their thinking process; instead of being angry at Katie, follow her lead. The Direct Approach.”

“It’s never failed before,” the brunette commented. “Though it is a bit more direct than expected.”

“Look,” Katie fidgeted. “Even unintentionally, I don’t want to get between you two, no matter how much I toyed with it in my head when it was just you and Padma, Harry.” She turned to Hermione. “That being said, I wouldn’t mind getting between you two in the physical sense.”

Hermione had the grace to chuckle. “Like I said, I’m not getting in the way of any decision you make.” Her eyes were lidded as the Chaser smiled softly. “I suppose I don’t have to explain to you how beautiful you are, with Harry’s overdramatic presentation.”

Katie and Harry laughed as they remembered her little helicopter ride. “Dear Merlin that was fun!” she cried, and squeezed Harry’s waist. “We should do that again sometime.” She kissed him on the cheek. “And don’t try to be such a gentleman.”

Harry squeezed her right back. “You’ve got my promise.” He glanced over the locker room as Katie put her head on his shoulder. “What should we do about them? Same deal?”

Katie answered. “They’ll take the deal. They wouldn’t even hesitate. They have more than a little crush on you after all these years.”

Hermione gently lifted Katie’s head and put it on her own shoulder, and Katie allowed it. “Harry, why don’t you go give them what they want? I doubt you’ll need my help. I’ll stay here with Katie, unless she wants to help their ambush.”

Katie shrugged as Hermione ran her fingers through her loose strands of black hair. “They didn’t tell me about it, so I think I would have been part of the ambush. They’d get us when we were tired from the race, is my guess.” She chuckled as a thought came to her. “They’d probably make me watch as punishment.”

Harry raised an eyebrow. “Doesn’t sound like you’re pissed at the thought.”

“Oh, I’m livid,” she sighed happily, “But Hermione’s fingers are so soothing. And… you two just don’t know how happy you’ve made me. It’s a lot to take in.”

Harry’s and Hermione’s eyes met over her head. “Fair warning,” Hermione muttered, “It won’t be limited to just us.”

“I understand… Mistress,” Katie teased under her breath, waiting for their reaction.

Hermione’s fingers stilled. Then, after a moment, she began stroking her hair again. She smiled.

Harry chuckled. “Looks like Narcissa was right. We’re just getting started.”

“This is going to take getting used to,” Hermione stressed to him, moving Katie’s head to her lap. “But the thought doesn’t scare me. It’s more than gotten out of hand, and I don’t think it’s something I even want to control.”

Harry stood up and shook his legs. “Easy for you to say – I’m the whore in this.”

Hermione stuck out her tongue, and smirked. “I may be the Mistress, Harry, but you don’t seem to be getting paid. Maybe you’re just a slut?”

He grinned. “I’ll make sure to charge you next time.” He leant down to kiss her on her forehead and left.

“It will be worth every penny,” Hermione whispered, watching his retreating form. “Isn’t that right, Mrs. Potter?” She poked the almost sleeping girl.

Katie shuffled a bit. “What? I’m who now?” She craned her neck to face Hermione, who looked amused. “There can be more than one Mrs. Potter? My dad is a muggle, I don’t know Wizarding customs.”

She shook her head. “No, they can’t.” Perhaps it would be a bit too soon to mention to the girl that ‘Harry and Katie’ was not written out on Harry’s chest as he had told her, but rather something much more intimate. He only claimed that to save her the embarrassment. And while ‘Katie Potter’ was not a possibility, she had another offer in mind that could be just as gratifying. ”But Harry can have concubines. We’re making that offer to you, just like Harry is going to make that offer to Alicia and Angelina.”

Katie shifted her whole body to face up. “So you’re Mrs. Potter? Who’s the rest?”

“Narcissa is our first concubine,” she said slowly, gauging her reaction. At the pleased smile, the brunette smirked. “So you’re pleased about our dear History of Magic Professor?”

“She’s a beautiful woman,” Katie admitted, “and I’m all for this inter-house bonding you two seem to be forming, what with Padma and the Head of Slytherin House. But that’s not why I’m smiling. ‘Our’ concubine?” She teased the brunette.

Now it was Hermione’s turn to blush. “Well, she certainly took the time to make me feel like I shouldn’t regret the choice of sharing.” Her eyes locked onto Katie’s. “You called me ‘Mistress’ a moment ago, did you not?”

“…Yes.” Katie tensed – she was only teasing earlier, but she felt herself shudder at the title when she said it.

The younger witch seemed to feel it then. “You liked it. So you know I don’t think I can accept any other title, right, Katie?”

The girls stared at each other for a good, hard minute. She had given her the ultimatum – how far was she willing to go for Harry? For the both of them?

“I understand… Mistress.” It was a tentative answer. Hermione didn’t delude herself with the notion that Katie was completely into the idea. She wasn’t even sure herself if she was serious about that statement.

But her next actions were a bit more concrete, as Katie lifted her hand to Hermione’s cheeks, her surprisingly soft fingers pressing into her rosy skin, before she slowly leaned up.

Hermione briefly hesitated. She had a history with Harry and Narcissa, and she loved them so much it hurt; she had an excuse to kiss them. But kissing Katie, here and now – it would say so much more than Katie could ever say verbally.

She wanted this. She truly, really wanted this. And Hermione wasn’t going to disappoint her. She quickly brought her head down and met the pretty Chaser in a kiss.

She felt Katie breath sharply through her nose as their lips met. Hermione’s hand sneaked beneath her head and held her lovingly as Katie rested her hand on the brunette’s shoulder.

The romantic in Katie tried to take in the scene playing out between them: The dominating bookworm and the submitting jock, locked together in the middle of the field, her own territory, in front of the world. She couldn’t have written this, it was so unreal. And she leaned back from the pretty bookworm and smiled up at her, her fingers ghosting over the edge of her chin. She, Angelina and Alicia had plenty of intimate moments, but their relationship was strictly in the form of best friends that liked to satisfy each other’s needs. They had talked about being more than that; they had planned on all getting a flat together. But there were supposed to be no hard feelings if one of them was to move on to a more ‘meaningful’ relationship.

She hoped they were faring well.