Nudity, love triangles, pregnancies and death, coupled with Quidditch, deceit, injustice, adventure and mystery. Sounds like another tranquil year at Hogwarts. Join me for Hogwarts Too Exposed - A ...
You Never Know What's Around the Corner
"Mum it's time to have your picture taken," Caitlin shouted, as she took the camera off the mantelpiece and waited impatiently with Emily.
"I don't believe I allowed you to let them talk me into this," Hermione proclaimed to Harry, her face blushing.
"I don't understand why it embarrasses you so much," Harry asked, puzzled. "They're your daughters and they see you nude all the time. Why are these picture sessions so discomforting to you?"
"I don't think it's the pictures as much as the clinical observations," Hermione admitted with a sigh. "The girls and I are nude around each other all the time, so much so, that none of us really think about it any more. But when they take these pictures they really examine me, as if they are healers and I'm a patient. It's disconcerting to have them talk about how various parts of my body are changing as the baby develops."
"It doesn't seem to bother you when I examine you," Harry said sweetly.
"That's extremely different," Hermione argued. "You do most of your scanning of my body with your hands and tongue. I become rather distracted."
"MUM! We're waiting," Emily bellowed.
"Watch," Hermione said as she led Harry into the room where the girls were eagerly waiting.
"Its about time." Emily said tapping her foot impatiently. "Look Caitlin! The brown area of her breast has increased even more since the last picture."
"Your right!" Caitlin agreed. "Mum will that change back or will you always have huge brown circles around your nipples now?"
Hermione glanced at Harry as if to say 'see what I mean'. "That brown area is referred to as the areola," Hermione said, trying to remain unruffled. "It sometimes grows extremely large during pregnancy, but usually returns to normal within a year of giving birth."
Both girls nodded their heads. "Let's take the front view first," Caitlin suggested. "These shots should be labeled week twenty-three."
"Caitlin, look!" Emily said sounding distressed. "Perhaps you should increase your massages. She seems to be getting some faint red streaks on her breasts and tummy."
"Let me see," Caitlin said, trying to get a closer look. "As long as they stay that faint, they shouldn't be a problem, but maybe I should add another night a week?" She looked at her Mum who had a defeated look on her face, but nodded yes.
"Girls, I know you don't have classes tomorrow, but your mother and I both had a hard day and would like to get to bed early. Could you please finish up with the pictures?" Harry suggested.
Hermione gave Harry a wink, as if saying 'thank you' while the girls quickly finished the profile shot and then replaced the camera on the mantelpiece. After they both kissed Harry and Hermione good night, they bounded off to their bedroom.
"Do you think they wanted us to go to bed so the could make love?" Caitlin asked as she slid into bed.
"I don't see why tonight should be any different than any other night," Emily answered. "I think its part of their going to bed ritual. You and I brush our teeth and take a pee before going to bed; they have sex, then brush their teeth and have a pee."
"Do you actually think they have sex every night?" Caitlin asked, astonished.
"I think it's a rarity when they don't," Emily answered. "Do you think either of us will ever find someone that will love us as much as they love each other?"
"I hope so," Caitlin answered optimistically. "We have plenty of time. We're both rather young to worry about that."
"But how do you know when it's the right person?" Emily sighed. "I felt such a extraordinary connection with Tyler." She buried her head in the pillow and started to cry.
Without a word, Caitlin slipped out of her bed and nestled herself against Emily. "Let me share the hurt," she said softly as she held Emily tightly. They feel asleep in each other's arms.
Saturday, February 12, 2005
Although he had taken a shower, it had done very little to actually wake Alex up. He was not a morning person, never had been and never would be, but he was especially not a four o'clock in the morning person. He was quite content knowing the ungodly hour simply existed; he didn't see the necessity of actually experiencing it.
Unfortunately, he had no choice today. The train for London departed at five, making such an early wakeup necessary. As he stumbled bleary eyed down the stairs to the common room, he wondered if Jamie had been able to drag herself out of bed. His question was answered as soon as he reached the bottom of the steps.
"How in the world can you look so happy and beautiful at this hour?" he asked.
"Beauty, sir, is comparative and in the eye of the beholder," she answered. "I'm happy because were going to be spending the entire day together, just you and me."
"Together, yes, but for two boring train rides," Alex moaned.
"Only boring if we allow them to be," Jamie said with a smile, "but we better get moving or we're going to miss the train." Jamie picked up a huge picnic basket and a small suitcase.
"What's all this?" Alex asked sleepily, as he took the large basket from Jamie and headed for the door to the common room.
"Just my clothes and a nice lunch that Dobby packed for us," she answered.
"From the weight of this basket, I think it's more like breakfast, lunch and dinner," Alex whined.
"Knowing Dobby, it probably is."
Nature's call woke Emily before Caitlin, but ahead of quietly slipping out of her sister's arms, she gently kissed her cheek. I hope we are always there for each other.
After a relieving pee, Emily brushed her teeth, showered and then returned to the bedroom where she started gently tickling Caitlin until she awoke.
"It's a shame you're not a boy," Caitlin sighed playfully. "I'd really like to finish the dream I was just having."
"Sorry to disappoint you," Emily said, as she laughed and grabbed at her own crotch. "I seem to be missing some necessary equipment, besides we have to get a move on. After breakfast we're off on an adventure to Hogsmeade."
"We're what?" Caitlin exclaimed.
"Get your shower, and I'll tell you what Kim and I have planned for our day," Emily said, refusing to say more until Caitlin was dressed and ready to head to the Great Hall for breakfast.
"Breakfast is served, or do you intend to snooze the entire trip away? Jamie asked.
"What smells so good?" Alex asked as he rubbed his eyes and then sat up startled. "How in the world did you cook all that food in a train compartment?"
"I didn't," Jamie admitted. "I just used a heating charm on the breakfast items Dobby packed for us. You were correct about the basket. He crammed all three meals in it for us. I'm going to have to give him a big kiss when we get back to Hogwarts."
"If you're giving away kisses, I'd like a few," Alex said lovingly.
"I think I can manage that. How about one now and then a bunch after breakfast?" Jamie teased.
"I'm not sure if I can stop after just one," Alex said, as he took Jamie in his arms. "Your kisses are like potato chips. I can't end at just one."
"Then we just won't stop."
"But what if Mum and Dad don't leave our quarters? How will you get the map and cloak out of the desk without them noticing?" Caitlin asked as she and Emily hurried toward breakfast in the Great Hall.
"That, dear sister is the difference between the Gryffindor and the Slytherin mind," Emily answered smugly. "Gryffindors bravely run off to battle without a clue as to how they are going to defeat the enemy. Slytherins think and make plans before taking action."
"Forgive me for doubting your wisdom, Oh Great Slytherin," Caitlin said mockingly. "Will you share your great and evil plan with me or is it necessary to keep the lowly Gryffindor in the dark?"
"Nah! I'll tell you," Emily said with a giggle. "I imagine you can be trusted. I already moved the map and cloak to our room and hid them in my closet. Kim will join us after breakfast, and we'll decide which tunnel to use."
"That was a delicious breakfast," Alex said, looking longingly at Jamie. "I know one doesn't normally have dessert with breakfast, but I could certainly go for one of your delicious kisses about now."
"I can do better than a kiss," Jamie said naughtily as she drew the window covers and did a locking charm on the compartment door. "I thought perhaps we could practice a little for Monday night. You know, not the main feature, but the preliminaries."
"Then we're really going to join at last?" Alex asked, his faith in miracles restored.
"Can you think of a better way to celebrate Valentine's Day than giving ourselves to each other?" Jamie asked, her eyes glistening. "I love you Alex. I can't imagine my life without you by my side."
"Nor I," Alex agreed, as he pulled Jamie tightly against him, their lips first lightly touching and then devouring each other.
Jamie whispered softly in Alex's ear. "I have a surprise for you. Undo my robes."
He didn't question her, but did as instructed and then froze as the robes dropped to the floor revealing her luscious naked form.
"This map is fantastic," Kim said as she pointed out various tiny ink dots moving around the parchment.
"Look," Caitlin said. "It looks like Bancroft and Crow are taking a shower. Want to go have another look, Kim?"
"We don't have any time for such frivolity," Emily chided. "We have to figure out which of these secret passages will get us to Hogsmeade."
"How many total did you find?" Kim inquired.
"Seven, but this one seems to start at that evil Whomping Willow," Emily replied.
"Well cross that one off," Caitlin said quickly. "That will get us killed. What about the other six?"
"I guess we just try one," Emily suggested.
"How long do you think we will be in a tunnel?" Kim asked nervously.
"Probably about forty-five minutes to an hour," Caitlin answered. "It's a rather lengthy walk to Hogsmeade."
"I just hope its safe. I don't fancy being buried alive," Kim mumbled fearfully.
"Thanks for bringing up that cheery thought," Caitlin said. "Just for that, you can pick a passage."
"Let's try this one," Kim suggested as she pointed to a passage that appeared to start at a mirror on the fourth floor.
"Sounds as good as any," Emily said, rolling up the map and stuffing it inside her robes.
The girls departed the staff quarters, giving Harry and Hermione the impression that they were headed to the library, but instead they went directly to the fourth floor. When they arrived at the mirror, they were dumbfounded. Caitlin tried to pry it open like a door with her fingers, but the mirror appeared affixed to the wall.
"This isn't working out too well," Kim said, looking questioningly at Emily. "Are you sure this is the correct mirror?"
"I'm sure this is the place," Emily answered, pulling out the map.
She was surprised to see three tiny ink figures labeled with their names. The figures were standing exactly where they were, but the figure labeled 'Caitlin' appeared to be tapping the mirror with her minute wand.
"Caitlin, try tapping the mirror with your wand," Emily suggested.
Caitlin did as instructed, but nothing happened. Caitlin shrugged her shoulders as Emily once more looked to the map for guidance. The tiniest speech bubble appeared next to the figure of Caitlin. The word inside said, "Ianua"
Emily showed the map to Caitlin. "Try saying Ianua as you tap the mirror," Emily recommended.
"Ianua!" Caitlin whispered, tapping the mirror again.
This time the mirror opened like a door revealing a small room which the girls hastily entered before the mirror closed.
"Lumos!" Caitlin said.
The room was empty except for a ladder in the far corner that extended up through the floor.
"I assume we go down that ladder," Caitlin said as Emily and Kim both drew their wands.
The girls pointed their wands at the hole, but could not see more than a few feet into the darkness.
"Let me go first," Emily volunteered, as she held her wand in her mouth so that she could hold the sides of the ladder with both hands.
It was a chilling feeling that surrounded Emily as she descended the ladder. She could see the ladder directly in front of her, and if she looked up, she could faintly see Caitlin and Kim. Looking down she saw nothing but darkness as she slowly counted each ladder rung as she proceeded downward. Her count reached ninety- seven before her feet touch earth.
As soon as Caitlin and Kim joined her, the group headed off. The passage was tall enough to stand upright, but they had to walk single file. They had only gone about two hundred yards when Emily came to a halt.
'Looks like this passage is history," Emily said surveying the blocked tunnel. "There must have been a cave in."
Caitlin and Kim didn't speak, but exchanged nervous glances. Anyone caught in such a cave in would also be history.
"We just wasted a half hour," Emily moaned. "Lets hurry back and try another route. I just hope Dick takes a long shower."
"Alex, you have no idea what you do to me," Jamie sighed contentedly, as she stared at him mesmerized. "Now its my turn to make you feel good."
"I'm not sure if that's a good idea," Alex said concernedly, his faced flushed. "Doing you has me highly aroused. I'm afraid that as soon as your lips touch my.... Well, I'm not sure if I'll be able to hold back."
"Then don't," Jamie said empathically. "That will be something we've never tried."
"Are you sure?" Alex asked, a look of surprise covering his face.
"Honestly no, but I want us to try every way possible to give pleasure to each other. I'll never know if I can do it if I don't try."
"Caitlin, you pick a passage this time," Emily said. "Try to make it one that is still serviceable."
Kim gave Emily a hurt look. "Its not my fault the stupid tunnel caved in."
Emily shook her head. "You, girl, take everything too much to heart. I was just taking the mickey out of you."
"Let's try this one," Caitlin suggested. "It's only down one floor, and I think I recognize the statue. I believe it's the one of that hump-backed, one-eyed witch."
"Why are witches always depicted as old and ugly while wizards are made out to all be handsome and dashing?" Kim inquired, angrily. "Its chauvinistic."
"I'm sure our Mum would be willing to discuss that at lengths with you," Caitlin commented, "but right now we best get a move on."
The girls hurried to the nearest staircase and then descended to the third floor where Caitlin led them directly to the statue.
"This passage best work or we'll have to give up," Emily said with distaste. "Bancroft and Crow have probably left for Hogsmeade by now."
Emily quickly checked the map for instructions. "The word inside the bubble this time is "Dissendium," she advised Caitlin who was already waiting with her wand at the ready.
"Dissendium!" Caitlin whispered, tapping the stone witch.
At once, the statue's hump opened.
"I'm glad none of us is on the beefy side," Kim said.
Emily nodded in agreement because the opening was only large enough to admit a comparatively thin person. Emily glanced around, quickly tucked the map away and the hoisted herself into the hole headfirst.
"That was very ladylike," Kim chided, but Emily had already pushed herself forward and disappeared from sight.
"Sorry," Caitlin said, "but I'm afraid I'm about to give you the same view. Without a ladder, we haven't much choice but to go head first." With that Caitlin hoisted herself into the hole and disappeared from sight.
Kim glanced up and down the corridor, shook her head in frustration, and then climbed into the hole headfirst and vanished from sight. The hump closed behind her.
Kim slid a significant way down what felt like a stone chute, then landed face first on top of Emily and Caitlin.
"Kim, will you please get your nose out of my butt so I can get up," Emily shouted good-naturedly. "This ground is cold and damp and I can't see a damn thing."
Slowly the girls untangled themselves from each other and then one by one held up their wands and muttered, "Lumos!"
Once again they were in a narrow earthy passageway, but this one was lower than the previous. They could walk standing upright, but a taller person would have to walk stooped. They glanced anxiously at each other and then set off with Emily once more in the lead.
Unlike the previous passage that, until they reached the cave-in, had been fairly straight, this passage twisted and turned making them feel as if they were constantly changing directions. Emily set a fast pace, knowing that their chances of reaching Hogsmeade before Crow and Bancroft were slim.
The dirt floor was uneven and occasionally one of the girls stumbled, but they continued to move rapidly, only stopping once when Kim tripped on what appeared to be a concealed locked trap door. They didn't take time to investigate because they were already fighting time.
Finally after what seemed like ages, the passage began to rise. By now the girls were all out of breath and winded because of the brisk pace Emily had set. They traveled another ten minutes, the ground still rising and then finally the passage ended at the foot of some worn stone steps that rose out of sight above them.
Once again they exchanged nervous glances but, without comment, began to climb. Soon they had climbed over one hundred steps and could see neither what was in front of them nor what was behind. They continued on, ever so carefully. To fall would mean certain death, another one hundred steps and still no end. Then Emily winced in pain, her head hitting something extremely hard.
Emily slowly pushed up on what was impeding her progress. It seemed to be a trapdoor that opened into a cellar; an extremely crowded cellar filled with wooden crates and boxes. Emily climbed out of the trapdoor and then helped Caitlin and Kim before replacing it.
"Where are we," Kim asked, "and what is that luscious smell?"
"Chocolate," Emily and Caitlin seemed to respond simultaneously.
"We must be in the basement of Honeydukes!" Caitlin exclaimed.
Emily removed the Invisibility Cloak from her bag, and the girls gathered together under it before slowly creeping toward the wooden staircase that lead upstairs.
"We have to stay close together and under the cloak at all times," Emily warned as they reached the top of the stairs. Emily opened the door a tad, peeped out and then as one; the girls crept through the door and then out from behind the Honeydukes counter.
Fortunately it was still rather early. Although Honeydukes was busy, it was not so packed that they couldn't make their way out of the store without bumping into anyone.
I can do this Jamie kept telling herself as she struggled desperately not to gag. She swallowed hard, fighting off the urge to heave and then finally regained her composure. With her eyes still watering, she sucked gently as she backed off, swallowed again and then kissed the tip. She kept kissing and licking until his arousal completely subsided. Only then did she look up at Alex's face. He appeared to be in seventh heaven.
It wasn't her most pleasant experience, but then it was the first time; she could get accustomed to it, possibly even enjoy it in time. That look of total ecstasy on his face made it all worthwhile. She desperately wanted to kiss him and tell him how much she loved him, but hesitated. Would he want to kiss her immediately after she had done that? It didn't bother her in the least to kiss him after he had pleasured her, but that was different.
"Jamie, I doubt I could possibly love you any more than I already do," Alex said as he stood and gently helped her to her feet. He embraced her, loving the feel of his arms and hands on her bare skin. He pulled her into a tight squeeze and then sought out her mouth. At first he gently kissed her lips, but the kissing became more and more insatiable as their tongues searched out each other.
Two days until they joined. It seemed like forever. Could they wait? Did they even want to consider waiting? His hands caressed her smooth back, finally coming to rest on her perfectly shaped bum. He held her cheeks tightly in his hands. She was perfect; she was a goddess; a goddess that loved him.
"Ten minutes," the voice announced. "We will be arriving at King's Cross station in ten minutes."
"I better get dressed," Jamie said reluctantly as she endeavored to break Alex's hug. "As much as you get pleasure from me being like this, I doubt if London and Diagon Alley would approve."
Alex didn't want to let her free, he wanted to hold her like this forever; never chance losing her or the sensation he had at this moment.
"I adore you, Jamie Lily Zacherley."
Completely hidden beneath the Invisibility Cloak, Emily, Caitlin and Kim emerged into the sunlight outside Honeydukes.
"It's a beautiful sunny day," Caitlin announced. "I wish we had left our clothes back at the castle. We could have gotten an early start on an all over tan. I understand Invisibility Cloaks only have a SPF level of 1."
Kim looked at Caitlin skeptically. "You can't be serious? It was only forty degrees in that passage. We would have frozen to death."
"Will you two please keep you minds on business," Emily scolded. "We have to find Bancroft; I have to see his face when he gets those pictures back."
They wondered through town toward the road that led to Hogwarts, hoping to run into the Slytherin bullies, but with no luck. Finally after about a half hour of searching, they gave up and started walking through town pointing out the various sights to Kim, who had never visited Hogsmeade. They climbed a slope to see the Shrieking Shack, the most haunted dwelling in Britain; then they visited Zonko's.
They were just approaching the post office to show Kim the hundreds of owls from Great Grays down to tiny little Scops owls, when Emily pulled them to an abrupt halt. There, exiting the post office was Dick Bancroft and his faithful subordinate, Dennis Crow.
"It's them," Emily whispered excitedly. "Maybe we're not too late. Let's see if we can get close enough to hear what they are saying."
The girls held onto the cloak and each other tightly as they crept within a few yards of the two Slytherin boys.
"The pictures and posters should be done by now," Crow mumbled, checking his watch.
"Perfect timing," Bancroft said, beaming. "I'm supposed to meet Mr. Lyler in front of the camera shop at eleven o'clock. I can't believe that people will actually pay money for pictures of a naked young girl. She doesn't even have anything worth looking at."
"Your brother seemed quite enthralled by her," Crow laughed. "I bet he can't wait to see the pictures."
"Actually, the little jerk told me to shove the pictures up my arse," Dick admitted. "The boy has no respect for his elders. He thinks that I'm a bastard for what I'm doing. Can you believe it? He was actually fond of that little tart? Lucky that I was able to blackmail him into taking those pictures or he'd probably still be licking her proper little arse."
Kim and Caitlin exchanged glances and then looked at Emily who seemed impervious to this revelation.
Dennis and Dick turned down the side street next to the post office with the girls trying to stay within hearing range without being detected.
"I've never been down this street before," Caitlin whispered.
"And I won't be upset if I never step foot on it again," Kim said as they passed a shop with what appeared to be real shrunken heads hanging in the filthy window.
"I guess all villages and shopping areas have their dark sides," Emily said, maintaining a safe distance from Bancroft. "I imagine this area is to Hogsmeade as Knockturn Alley is to Diagon Alley."
"A good place to avoid," Kim declared, as they suddenly came to a stop in front of a shop displaying the name 'XXX Pictographic'.
Dick had gone up to greet a short, thin, balding man who was waiting next to the steps of the shop.
"Good morning, Mr. Lyler. Its extremely nice to see you again," Dick said in his most flattering fashion. "I hope you haven't been waiting long."
"I just now Apparated," Lyler said curtly. "I hope these pictures you have are worth my time and effort."
"I'm sure you be pleased," Dick said. "Please, wait here, and I'll run inside and get them.
"This is going to be great," Caitlin whispered, hugging both Emily and Kim.
It was only a few minutes before Bancroft reappeared. He had a long cardboard tube under his arm and was holding an envelope.
"I haven't had a chance to look at these yet," he said tensely, "but I'm sure they'll meet your high standards. I had the shop make up two sets so that Crow and I could keep a set. You can have the other, and I imagine you'll want the negatives as well."
Lyler took the envelope that Bancroft handed him and started perusing the contents in a very business like manner, dividing the pictures as he went.
"These aren't exactly what you led me to expect," he said, looking at Bancroft with a strange expression on his face. "However, I believe I have a buyer who will be interested. Just out of curiosity, why do you want to keep a set?"
Bancroft and Crow looked at each other in a guilty manner, but it was Crow that finally answered. "Guys our ages, you know, get urges and don't always have a cohort to help us satisfy them."
"Yeah," Dick added. "Sometimes you have to literally take matters in your own hands, you know - wank off. We kind of hope these picture will help us."
Frank Lyler just nodded his head, rather taken back and at a loss for words. "And what's in the tube," he inquired.
"That's the best part," Dick said enthusiastically. "We had the pictures blown up to poster size so that we can hang them all over the castle for everyone to see. It's going to be great."
"Yes, yes. I'm sure it will be interesting," Frank said, now shaking rather than nodding his head. "Its not my position to judge others. Here is the agreed upon fee and your set of pictures." He handed Bancroft a small sack of coins and one set of pictures. "Should you take more pictures, please contact me." Then without a warning or even a good-bye, he Apparated.
Had Emily, Caitlin and Kim not been trying to hide; they would have in all probability been rolling in the snow with laughter. As it was, they were all trying desperately to suppress their laughter. They had even backed a little further away, and were now leaning against the building trying to maintain control.
"He was acting rather strange," Crow said, looking at Dick questioningly.
"Yeah!" Dick agreed. "I think being weird is a requirement to be in his line of work."
"Let's have a look at the pictures," Dennis said impatiently. "I want to see what your brother fancied so much."
It only took one picture for enthusiasm to turn to shock, then anger and finally rage.
"That little prick," Bancroft shouted, forgetting he was on a public street. "I'm going to hang him from the common room ceiling by his balls. He hoaxed me! The little bastard never took pictures of the slut."
"Wait." Crow disputed. "We've really been had, but this is way beyond your little brother's talent. Whoever took these pictures must have gotten into Slytherin Dungeon with an Invisibility Cloak. How else could they have gotten these pictures?"
Dick tried to repress his angry and think intelligently. "Zacherley, fucking Jamie Zacherley. She did this! It all makes sense. Somehow Emily realized she had been duped by my brother and went to her sister for help. Jamie was there the day that damn Ravenclaw said I smelled. She must have followed us back to our dorm, switched film and then took these pictures of us in the shower."
Crow thought about this momentarily and then panicked. "You mean Jamie Zacherley was watching us take a shower? She was there in the same room while we were naked? She couldn't have been," Dennis declared. "Invisibility cloaks are hard to come by and extremely expensive. Her dead-beat parents could have never afforded to buy one."
Caitlin and Kim had to then restrain Emily. She was attempting to discard the cloak and charge at Crow in a fit of anger. Fortunately, no one else was in the vicinity and Bancroft and Crow had their back to the group of girls.
"No, her parents could have never afforded an Invisibility Cloak," Bancroft spouted murderously, "but I bet either Potter or his mudblood bitch own one. I wish a plague would curse that entire damn family."
"What are we going to do with the posters and pictures?" Crow asked.
"Burn them, of course," Bancroft cursed. "It's the Zacherley girls we want to humiliate, not ourselves."
Dennis hesitated momentarily and then asked. "What about the negatives that Frank Lyler has?
Dick face became wan. He'd never get Lyler to return those pictures. "Damn! That's why that clerk in the store tried to touch my hand when he gave me my change," Bancroft cried. "He even asked me out for coffee. Everyone who sees those picture will think you and I are poofs!"
Crow seemingly had ignored Bancroft's outburst. "Can I please see my posters before you burn them?" he asked pleadingly.
"Come on," Caitlin urged. "Let's get out of here and show Kim the nicer parts of Hogsmeade. We've had our revenge."
Emily smiled and agreed, but she hadn't found reprisal nearly as gratifying as she thought she would. The hurt and emptiness that she had felt since learning that Tyler deceived her still remained. It would be a long time, maybe never, before those feelings subsided.
"Do you like London?" Alex asked as they hustled by bookshops, restaurants and cinemas en route to the Leaky Cauldron.
They were now wearing muggle clothes, having put their robes in Jamie's suitcase and shrunken both it and the picnic basket. They were now being carried in Alex's right hand jacket pocket.
"Not really," Jamie answered. "It's too crowded and the people are in too much of a rush."
"Where would you like to live?" he asked.
"In a dream place that doesn't exist," she replied. "You'd laugh."
"No I wouldn't," Alex said truthfully as he held her hand even tighter. "Please tell me about it."
Jamie blushed. "It would be a quiet little village, something like Hogsmeade, but without all the Hogwarts students. The people would all be nice and friendly and you would be judged solely on your inner being."
"And they wouldn't mind if you went natural," Alex added with a smile.
"They wouldn't even raise an eyebrow," Jamie confirmed with a smile. "Nakedness wouldn't be considered dirty or sexual, but simply a matter of personal preference."
"Sounds like a nice place," Alex said.
"It would be if it were real, " Jamie said longingly, "but it only exists in my dreams."
"Jamie, how will we handle the nudity issue when we get married?" Alex asked, concernedly. "I don't think I could ever be like you."
Jamie stopped walking, pulled Alex into her arms and kissed him fervently as people passed them on either side.
"Wow! What did I do to rate that?" Alex said, when their lips finally parted. "Whatever it was, remind me to do it again."
"It wasn't anything you did," Jamie remarked. "It was what you said."
"All I said was, 'how will we handle nudity when we get married'," Alex repeated.
Once again, Jamie blocked pedestrian traffic as she kissed him. "I love you Alex Ward," she shouted, so all around her could hear. Then she lowered her voice. "You didn't say if we get married; you said when we get married."
"I did, didn't I?" Alex questioned. "I guess I shouldn't assume such things."
"Alex, I expect to be asked properly when the time comes, but I'll give you a hint as to what my answer will be. It's a three letter word beginning with 'y' and ending with 's'."
"Yos," Alex guessed before Jamie jabbed him in the ribs.
They were so caught up in each other that they nearly passed the tiny pub, unnoticed.
"It never changes, does it?" Alex asked, as they entered the Leaky Cauldron.
"I hope not," Jamie said as she looked lovingly around the dark, shabby, grubby-looking pub. "Some things just shouldn't be messed with."
"Hey, why aren't you two at Hogwarts?" Tom, the old bartender called out.
"We must go to Ollivanders," Alex answered, slightly embarrassed. "I sat on my wand and broke it."
"Weren't carrying it in you back pocket, were yea?" Tom questioned. "That's a very dangerous thing to do. One could lose their backside that way, they could."
"That's what Professor Potter warned him," Jamie said.
"Harry Potter! You have Harry Potter as a Professor? You listen to him! He's a great wizard, he is. You know your way?" Tom asked, pointing to a door, leading to a small, walled, courtyard.
Jamie gave Tom a friendly smile and nodded her head.
"I've always loved this," Jamie said as the little girl in her watched the bricks moving about and finally forming an archway to Diagon Alley. "I wish we had time to walk around and window shop."
"So do I," Alex agreed, "but it's already nearly noon. We're going to have to rush as it is just to get my wand and return to King's Cross in time to catch the train. I doubt it would go over well if we had to spend the night at the Leaky Cauldron."
"I think Hermione and Harry would be cool about it," Jamie replied, "but I don't want to ruin our plans for Valentine's Day in The Room of Requirement."
"Neither do I," Alex said as they hurried down the street. "I'm concerned enough about holding back on the return train ride."
"I know what you mean," Jamie said, squeezing Alex's hand tightly as they passed under the sign that read Ollivanders: Makers of Fine Wands since 382 B.C., and entered the narrow shabby shop.
The shop looked empty at first, but then Mr. Ollivander stuck his head out of a backroom and said, "I'll be right with you."
"I was just about to close for lunch," the soft-spoken man said as he approached them. "Miss Zacherley and Mr. Ward, isn't it? What can I do for you today?"
"I need to get a replacement wand," Alex said, guiltily as he reached in his pocket and pulled out the two pieces of wood that had once formed his wand.
Mr. Ollivander looked sternly at Alex. "Young man, I hope you're not in the habit of carrying your wand in your back pocket. It's against the rules of elementary wand safety and a very good way to lose a buttock."
"So I've been told," Alex said, resigned to hearing this story the balance of his life.
As Mr. Ollivander began fitting Alex with a wand, Jamie meandered around the tiny shop, marveling at how anyone could find what he or she was seeking in what appeared to be total disarray. She was just sticking her head nosily in the backroom when she heard a clock begin to chime the noon hour. She wondered if Alex heard the clock because that meant they only had an hour remaining in order to catch their return train.
Hermione just picked at her lunch, looking worriedly out at the students in the Great Hall. The Hall was unusually quiet due to most third years and above being in Hogsmeade. It wasn't the quiet, however, that bothered Hermione - it was the absence of three faces.
"Harry, I'm worried about the girls," Hermione confided. "I haven't seen Kim, Emily or Caitlin since early this morning."
"I thought you said they went to the library?" Harry asked placidly.
"I had assumed they went to the library when they left our quarters early this morning, but evidently I was misdirected," Hermione answered. "I just came from the library and Madam Pince told me she hasn't seen them all day. Now they're not at lunch."
"Hermione, try not to worry. Those girls can take care of themselves. They're probably just off on a little adventure."
"Harry, do you know something that you're not telling me?" Hermione asked, staring directly at Harry as if daring him to lie to her.
"I'm not sure, but I think the girls might have used one of the secret passages to go to Hogsmeade," Harry admitted.
"Harry, they're first and second year students. They're not allowed in Hogsmeade on their own. Surely they'll be seen and reported," Hermione said. "Doesn't it bother you that they are breaking rules? How do you know all this?"
"I don't know for a fact, I'm just guessing," Harry acknowledged. "I wanted to speak with Severus this morning and instead of searching the castle, I decided to use the Marauder's Map. It wasn't in the desk drawer and neither was the Invisibility Cloak. I imagine the girls have them both and are currently strolling through Hogsmeade."
"And you are all right with that? You condone them breaking school rules?" Hermione said tersely.
"Hermione, how many school rules did we break during our seven years as students?" Harry asked. "Kim and Caitlin are both at the top of their classes and Emily isn't far behind. If she had your thirst for knowledge instead of mine for adventure, she'd be ahead of them both. They're good girls; trust them."
"Harry, I do trust them, but I worry about them too. What if something happens and one of them is hurt?" she asked.
"We can't constantly watch over them and keep them locked up like china dolls. They need freedom to grow and mature, just like we did. I'm not saying that there are no dangers out there, but at least they aren't living under the constant threat of death by Voldemort like we did."
"You think we should just let them get away with this as if we never knew they left the castle?" she inquired, shaking her head in a frustrated fashion.
"It's what I'd suggest," Harry answered, "but if you don't agree, we can confront them. I..."
Harry never finished his sentence. His attention, along with that of every one else in the Great Hall, was drawn to the Phoenix that had entered, circled the hall and was now holding his leg out to the Headmaster. As soon as the message was detached, the bird disappeared with a flash.
Severus read the message, seemed ready to stand, and then read the message again. He either didn't believe or didn't want to believe what was written upon the parchment. Slowly he rose to his feet. The hall, already silent, was ready for him to speak.
"I have sad news to report," Severus began slowing. "If you've been keeping up with the news, you are undoubtedly aware that both our world and the Muggle world have in recent years been suffering at the hands of terrorists, cowards that seek to control the world by killing innocent children and civilians in an undeclared war.
"One of these groups is headed by an individual who has the audacity to call himself 'The Great One'. The only thing great about this coward is his ego. Unhappily, two attacks were carried out today which have been credited to this individual. The attacks took place simultaneously at noon. One occurred in Diagon Alley and the other in Hogsmeade. Regrettably, there were numerous innocent people injured today, many of who are Hogwarts students. One of our own was killed."
Suddenly the hall was filled with murmurs and questions.
"Please," Severus almost begged, his eyes now actually tearing. "May we observe a moment of silence for our injured and departed friends."
Harry and Hermione just stared at Severus, their hearts in their throats. Certainly they dreaded the loss of any of their students, but what if it was one of the girls. It couldn't be; they were too young with too much to live for.
Without warning there was a hand on Harry's shoulder.
"Hermione, Harry, we have to talk," Severus said despondently.
"Should we come to your office?" Hermione asked fearfully.
"No, that won't be necessary," he said quietly. "Just enough so we are away from prying eyes."
He led them into the chamber directly behind the staff table.
"What is it Severus?" Harry asked as soon as the door closed. "Is there something you need us to do to help with the injured?" Harry held Hermione's hand tightly. He didn't like at all the look of desperation on the Headmaster's face.
Hermione's eyes were already tearing as if she could read the Severus's mind.
"I'm deeply sorry," Severus said, as Harry flung his arms around Hermione to comfort her. "The causality is one of your girls. I'm sorry, but we've lost...."
End of Chapter 20
As always, I would like to thank those of you who took the time to review. Those reviews are what fuel my writing desire.
Thank you also to my wonderful betas: Amber, Paul and Peter. I'd be lost without you.
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