Just read! not spoiling the chapters!
Disclaimer: The Harry Potter characters are not mine. If they were I would have paired Harry with Cho or Hermione or both of them. ;)
Chapter dos (Two)!
Saturday, July 17th, 1991
Number 4 Privet Dr
Little Whinging, Surrey, UK
Harry had just finished preparing breakfast for his relatives, and had taken his usual two slices of dry toast and glass of tap water out to the shed where he could eat in the shade before he had to start on his gardening. He had just sat down in grass, enjoying the respite from the sun when a wave of dizziness hit him and he almost blacked out, his head hit in the shed as his eyes closed against all the visions that swam before his eyes.
He wasn't sure how long it took, but the next time he opened his eyes, the seventeen year old Harry Potter was looking at the house he had last seen two years before, right before he left for his Sixth Year at Hogwarts. By the end of that year, the house was nothing but a smoldering ruin, Lucius Malfoy had bribed a clerk in the Underage Magic Office to get his address, and, while he and Dumbledore had been ambushed on the Astronomy Tower, a gang of thugs that Lucius had hired broke into the house and slaughtered his relatives. He had still been reeling from Dumbledore's death at the time, and couldn't muster up the energy to care about their deaths, he just locked it away as one more thing he didn't want to deal with. Well that was one more thing he was going to change! He certainly didn't love his relatives, hell, he didn't even like them very much, but nobody deserves to be slaughtered like livestock in their own homes!
Searching his memories, he realized what the date was, and he smiled. This was the day that Vernon and Petunia took Dudley to the specialist in London to get the pig's tale removed from his ample buttocks. Of course, Dudley whined and whimpered so much that they decided to treat him to a mini holiday at one of the summer camps, he didn't remember which one, and it didn't really matter. What did matter is that the whole family would be leaving in a few hours and not come back until Wednesday!
Finishing his toast, he drained the glass of water and smirked as an idea hit him! My magic isn't supposed to be developed yet, according to Death, but let's see what I can do! Shutting his eyes, he used the Occlumency techniques he and Hermione had practiced the last year when they were hunting Tommy's soul, and looked inside himself for his magical core. When he found it, he blinked in shock at just how small it was. The last time he'd had a chance to see it, the night before the final battle, it had been the size of a football, but now it was barely the size of a snitch! 'That won't do at all! We've got too much to do to be mucking around with a tiny core like that!' he thought. 'Well, there's one way to fix this, just like anything else, the more you use a muscle, the stronger it gets.'
Looking at the empty water glass in his hand, he set his index finger at the edge and, pulling on his magic, whispered "Aquamenti" and was rewarded when a small stream of pure water appeared just at the end of his finger and filled the glass with sparkling water. He felt the glass get cold in his hand as the icy water flowed. Stopping the spell, he lifted the glass and took a drink. He didn't think he had ever tasted anything so delicious!
Harry spent the next couple of hours working in the garden, letting his body do the work while his mind was concentrating on making plans. First thing, contact Cho and make sure she 'woke up' as well, and then get to Diagon Alley, they needed to set things up at Gringotts so that nobody could get their hands on his money.
Finally, he heard Vernon's car start up and pull out of the drive. Looking around, he didn't see anybody watching, so he quickly finished pulling the weeds and vanished them before heading back inside. He opened the door to the second bedroom and froze, as his eyes fell on the snowy white owl perched inside her cage. "Hedwig," he breathed, as his eyes filled with tears. He had forgotten that she would still be alive this time around, and was overjoyed to see his first friend again. Opening her cage, she flew out and landed on his shoulder, nipping his ear affectionately.
Walking slowly so he didn't disturb her, Harry sat down at the rickety desk his relatives had left in the room and pulled out a sheet of paper. Frowning, he put the paper away and, with a quick apology to Hedwig, got up and opened his trunk. Finding a piece of parchment, he grabbed his quills and ink-pot and sat back down at the desk. Not wanting to leave a lot of information written down, he thought carefully before writing a seven word note with his phone number on the bottom. He remember Cho telling him once that her family had a phone in their house because they did business in the non-magical world as well.
Rolling up the letter, he tied it to Hedwig's leg and said, "Take this to Cho Chang, girl, you don't have to wait for a reply." With a bark, his best girl spread her wings and lifted off the desk, flying out the window. Harry watched until she was out of sight, and then went and took a luxuriously long shower. Drying off, he scowled at the clothing his relatives had made him wear and decided the first stop would be to get some clothing that fit him. Dressing in the best of the clothes he had available, he grabbed his copy of the Standard Book of Spells, Year One, to refresh his memory of what spells were going to be taught this year. It wouldn't do to show knowledge of a second or third year spell when he supposedly knew nothing of magic until his birthday, after all.
About forty-five minutes later, he looked up from his reading as the phone rang. Jumping to his feet, he grabbed the receiver and put it to his ear, saying "Hello?"
Harry shut his eyes and sighed with relief, before smiling and saying, "Hi Cho, welcome back."
1013 Barley Road
Three hours earlier
Cho smiled at her mother in thanks as Lin handed her the marmalade for her toast, and she spread it thick across the top of the bread. Taking a bite, she closed her eyes and savored the taste as it ran across her tongue, ignoring the snicker from her younger sister and the chuckles from her mum at her normal reaction. She never really understood why, but she absolutely loved the taste combination of the warm toast, creamy butter and marmalade. If she could have gotten away with it, she would have eaten it three meals a day! Of course, if she did that, she'd never be able to even sit on a broom, let alone try out for Seeker when she got back to school.
Finishing her breakfast, Lin set down her copy of the Prophet and looked at her, "Have any plans for the day while we are out?"
She shook her head, feeling a twinge of sorrow for her six year old little sister. Chen had broken her leg badly when she was struck by a lorry earlier in the year, and, because they were surrounded by non-magicals, she couldn't be taken to St Mungo's to be healed, too many neighbors had seen the accident and knew how badly she had been hurt, and it would raise too many questions if she were to heal too quickly. So, twice a week for the past few months, she had to go to hospital and go through therapy on her leg. Fortunately, they were about at the point where she was far enough along in her healing that they could take a trip to see a Healer at St Mungo's and finish the job.
"No Mother, other than taking a quick trip to Diagon Alley to pick up the new Tornado's Year Book, I don't have anything planned."
Lin chuckled, "You do know that there are other teams besides the Tornado's, don't you Cho?" she teased, it was a running joke between the two of them, because she was a huge fan of Puddlemere, and the two teams had a fierce rivalry. Cho ignored her with dignity, and, kissing her sister goodbye, asked to be excused, because she wanted to write a couple of letters before going out. Her mother nodded, and she smiled in thanks, giving Lin a quick hug before leaving the room.
Sitting down at her desk, she wrote a quick note to her roommate Sheila, just to say hello because it had been a few days since they had seen each other. She also wrote to Katie Bell, who was in Gryffindor, but she didn't mind, because the girl was just as big a fan of the Tornado's as she was, and that was far more important than any silly house boundaries. She knew Katie was planning to try out for her house team this fall, and hoped they'd get a chance to fly against each other this year.
She had just finished Katie's letter, and had sent both letters off with her owl, Feng Bo. It had amused her and her mum to name their owl after the God of the Winds, but the owl seemed to like his name, and he certainly was swift! She slipped out of her chair, and was preparing to take a shower when she suddenly sat down on the bed as the memories of her future self landed in her mind.
Cho looked around in shock at the home she hadn't seen in 3 years, her mother had moved back to Taiwan not long after Chen's death in a Death Eater attack on Diagon Alley before she was to start her first year. Hearing her younger sister laughing as she got ready to leave, Cho felt tears well up in her eyes and she swore to herself that she wouldn't let Chen die like that again! She managed to control her voice when her mother knocked on her door to let her know they were leaving, but it was harder than she thought it would be.
Once she had the house to herself, she stripped out of her casual clothing and pulled her formal robes from her closet. Dressing in a manner befitting a Daughter of the Chang House, she checked to make sure that the embroidered Chinese Monkey was centered above her heart before slipping into a pair of slippers and making her way from her room into the basement of the house.
Opening the concealed door in the far wall, she stepped inside the small room and walked along the shelves, her eyes searching until she found what she was searching for. Pulling the square of silk from her sleeve, she spread it wide and surrounded the jade figurine. Wrapping the cloth around the small statue, being careful that her skin did not touch it, she lifted the statue of the old woman and her bowl of herbs and carried it to the small altar in the center of the room. Placing the figurine in the center of the altar, she picked up the small mallet from the side of the altar and hit the miniature gong one time to attract the attention of Meng Po. As the reverberation faded away, she lit the fire on the brazier and carefully fed the gathered herbs to the flame. A slight smile crossed her lips as the herbs were consumed, knowing that her offering was accepted. When the offering was gone and the smoke was clearing, she knelt before the figurine and said a prayer of thanks to the Goddess, that she had allowed her to retain her memories of what had gone before, and given her a chance to change things. She felt a whisper in back of her mind, of approval and even amusement, before it faded away.
Climbing to her feet, she wrapped the Goddess in silk and placed her back on the shelf before cleaning out the brazier and leaving the room. She had just reached the kitchen area when she heard a scratching on the window. Looking over, she smiled at the sight of Harry's owl. Opening the window, she poured a dish of water for Hedwig and grabbed a few owl treats from the drawer and fed them to her before removing the letter from the owls leg.
Opening the letter, she snickered at Harry's attempt at subtlety. "Cho, If you remember, please call me!" followed by a phone number. Walking to the phone she dialed the number on the letter and it was answered on the second ring.
"Hi Cho, welcome back."
After a quick conversation, they decided to meet at Fortescue's in an hour, which gave both of them time to get ready and then take the Knight Bus to get to the Alley. Harry was already as ready as he could get, so he grabbed a notebook and started writing down the things he wanted to accomplish. The first thing would be to get to Gringotts and find out just how much money he had, and prevent anyone, especially anyone named Weasley that wasn't Ginny, from getting their hands on it. He still wasn't sure what to think about the fact that he and Cho were soul-bound, but decided to set that aside for the time being, because he doubted that either of them were ready to deal with it yet, the wounds of the war were just too raw.
He toyed with the idea of contacting Hermione and Ginny, but decided against it, because he was trying to avoid as much notice as possible until they got to Hogwarts. After that, well, it wouldn't be a good time to be a whiskered goat buggerer or a greasy git!
He realized that there was one thing he'd be able to change, though, and help out another one of his friends. Luna had told him it was just a few days before her tenth birthday that her mother had died, and she was turning ten on September 15th. Setting aside the how of warning her, because he wanted to talk to Cho about some ideas, he grabbed his Gringotts key and one of his robes so he wouldn't be as noticeable in the Alley. Carrying his robe, he walked downstairs and out the front door. Stepping to the curb he used his wand to summon the bus and soon found himself on his way to Diagon Alley.
Harry had his robe on over his tattered jeans and jumper of Dudley's and walked quickly through the Leaky Cauldron and out the back. Tapping his wand on the bricks in the familiar pattern, he smothered a smile at the sight of a Diagon Alley bustling with people, smiling families that had no worries about Voldemort and his Death Eaters appearing and starting to slaughter them. He walked past 93 Diagon Alley, and looked over curiously, wondering what was there before Fred and George took over. He was intrigued to see that it was a used booksellers, and he saw that they actually had books by non-magical writers on display in the window. He recognized the names of Robert Louis Stevenson, Edgar Rice Burroughs and a few others, and decided to make a stop there after he and Cho finished their business in the Alley.
Speaking of Cho, he saw her sitting outside of the Ice Cream Parlour, a dish of ice cream in front of her. Her face lit up in a smile as he slid into the seat opposite her, and she waved the waitress over so Harry could order. After ordering a Cherry Sundae, the two of them chatted about inconsequential things while they enjoyed their ice cream, not wanting to take a chance of them being over heard. Harry had kept a close watch, every since he left Privet Drive, and didn't see any sign of watchers, so he figured that Dumbledore hadn't reactivated the Order yet. Of course, if things went as planned, they wouldn't be very active this time around.
After finishing their ice cream, Harry said, "I've got some business to take care of at the bank, care to come along?"
"Sure, I've already picked up the book I came to the Alley to get." Cho said, as she showed him the cover. Harry grinned, remembering well her fervent defense of the Tutshill Tornado's during one of the DA meetings before everything went bad.
Getting up, Harry grabbed the bill and paid it, to Cho's surprise, and the two of them walked down the street toward Gringotts.
Gringotts wasn't very busy when they walked through the doors, and Harry led Cho to the first open teller they saw. When the goblin looked up and acknowledged them, Harry placed his key on the counter and said, "I wish to speak to the Account Manager for the Potter Family."
The goblin picked up the key and examined it closely for a moment before setting it back on the counter in front of Harry and said, "Follow me, I'll see if Bonesnapper is available."
Coming out from the behind the counter, the goblin waited for the two of them to make their way to him, and led them down a hallway that sloped downward gradually. After walking for close to twenty minutes, the goblin stopped in front of an ornate wooden door, but what caught Harry and Cho's attention was the door handles, they seemed to be made out of the leg bone of some creature, although it was suspiciously man shaped, and the bones used for both handles were cleanly snapped into two pieces. Harry glanced at Cho and said, "I think we know how he got his name." Cho just nodded, her eyes wide.
Knocking on the door, the goblin slipped inside and shut the door behind him. While they were alone Harry said, "I know we have a hell of a lot to talk about, but we need to get someplace without a lot of listeners that would carry the word back to Dumbledore, or worse, Lucius and his butt boys."
Cho grimaced at the mental image but said, "Is that why you asked to see your account manager? So we could have a private place to talk?"
"That's part of it, but the main thing I want to do is find out who has access to my vaults, and prevent Molly and Ron from getting their hands on any of the gold." He paused, "I know that we have the wrist bands in the Potter Vault, but I'd really prefer not to use them. If it comes down to it, I'd rather just kill the two of them and prevent Arthur and the others having to deal with the disgrace enslaving them would cause."
Cho nodded, "I guess I can understand that, and either way they can't hurt you any more. And honestly, I'm torn about the idea myself, there is part of me that wants to make Cedric suffer for what he did to me, but another part is saying that Cedric hasn't done anything to me yet, and he won't have a chance to now!" She took a deep breath and released it, before saying, "Marietta, on the other hand, is going to experience a whole new world if she moves against us!"
Harry looked at her in surprise, wondering about the amount of venom in Cho's voice, as well as the tears that were streaming down her face. When Cho saw his expression, she said, "Let's just say that I had a memory or two I wasn't expecting when I woke up. The bitch used the Imperius on me several times after Cedric died, and made me have sex with her!"
Harry reached out and put his arm around her, trying to comfort Cho, and she snuggled into his arms. "It's not the idea of having sex with her that has me so upset, I told you before we came back that I'm interested in girls as well as you, but I really wasn't attracted to Mari at all, and would never have chosen her as a playmate. To put it bluntly, she smelled, all the time!"
Any further comment Harry could make was interrupted by the door opening and the goblin teller waving them inside.
Cho bit her lip to keep from gasping when they walked into the office and she saw the largest goblin she had ever seen in her life! Bonesnapper, when he stood to greet them, stood almost 6 feet tall, and his physical strength was obvious. When he spoke, she was surprised at how gentle his voice was, it was still guttural, as all goblins' voices were, but he sounded almost genteel, as though he were inviting them in for a cuppa. Of course, gentle or not, his opening words still shocked the hell out of her and Harry both!
"Lord and Lady Potter, Welcome back! It's been almost a thousand years since we've seen a Returning, and I'm honored you came to me for assistance."
She felt Harry tense beside her, and she understood exactly how he was feeling, because her wand had dropped into her hand almost unconsciously, and she was looking around for a way to escape.
Bonesnapper paused when he saw their reaction, and slowly backed up, raising his hands in a placating gesture, "Please, please, there is no need to get excited, I apologize if I shocked you, but someone like you is such a rare event, I forgot that you may not have wanted others to be aware of the situation. You can trust Gringotts, we will not reveal anything about your visit here, or anything we discuss." Seeing the two of them relax slightly, he waved them to a set of comfortable looking chairs in front of his desk, and, when they were seated, he came back from around his desk and sat down with them. "Now, how can Gringotts be of service?"
Harry cleared his throat and said, "Well, while we do have business to conduct, it's not as important to us at the moment as finding out how you knew about us. Because if you can tell just by looking at us, it's possible that our enemies would be able to do the same thing, which would make what we have to do a great deal more difficult."
The goblin nodded, "I can see how that would be a concern, however, you can put your mind at rest. The ability to see you as you truly are is limited to a very select group within Gringotts, specifically, those of my clan. You see, we are the last descendents of Gringott the Elder's oldest son and heir, and the son was present when Gringott and Merlin forged the original agreement to form the bank. As you may know from your legends, Merlin was not fixed to one point in time, and he granted Gringott's son the ability to recognize those who are out of their own time as well, because Merlin said that if he ended up in a future time, he wanted to be able to access his vaults without having to make a big fuss about it." He chuckled, which sounded rather scary coming from a goblin, before he continued, "Anyway, as soon as I saw the two of you walk through my door, I could immediately tell that you had returned, and I also saw the bond between you, hence my greeting. Does that answer your question?"
Harry nodded, relaxing slightly, "Just so I understand, you are aware that we are 'returned' to use your phrase, but nothing more than that, correct?" At the goblin's nod, Harry smiled, "Very well, now, let me ask you something else. Does Gringotts invest in the non-magical world? And are you interested in the names of some companies that would be extremely profitable over the next several years?"
Bonesnapper stared at Harry for a few seconds before he started laughing, throwing his head back he almost howled with laughter for several minutes before he got himself under control. "Oh, Lord Potter, I can see you are going to be even more fun than your father and grandfather were! Gringott's is always interested in making a profit, and have invested quite heavily in both worlds. We can discuss which companies to invest in after we conclude your business."
With that, Harry leaned forward and began to speak.
It was three extremely entertaining as well as profitable hours later that Bonesnapper finally sat back and watched Lord and Lady Potter leave his office. On one of the sheets of parchment on his desk were the names of over a dozen companies that Lord Potter had remembered being extremely successful over the next six years, and Bonesnapper was determined to invest in them as soon as they were available. After all, Gringott's was in business to make money, and the more money he brought in, the more he himself made. Naturally, it looked good on him that Lord Potter had taken the Head of Family position, although it was a bit of surprise to find out the other families they were Heirs to. Lord Potter had taken the news of being Gryffindors' Heir calmly, so Bonesnapper suspected that the young lord had been aware of the possibility before, but finding out that Lady Potter was the Heir of Rowena herself? That was surprising, and more than a bit intriguing, as he remembered a vague reference to a prophecy that dealt with the two Heirs. He didn't remember what the prophecy said, they were the business of another branch of the family, but he made a note to investigate it over the next few days.
Most of the business was rather straightforward, an inventory of the Potter vaults which would be completed within 24 hours, and removing everyone but Lord and Lady Potter from the access lists. He chuckled at the thought of Albus Dumbledore's annoyance when he discovered that he no longer had access to the funds he'd been helping himself to over the years. Of course, Dumbledore used his position as Lord Potter's Magical Guardian to justify the withdrawals, so there wasn't a great deal that could be done about that until Lord Potter formally requested an accounting of Dumbledore's use of the funds. That's when the real fun would begin!
Bonesnapper briefly toyed with the idea of having a monitor installed at the counter so he could see the look on the old man's face when he found out he no longer had access to the Potter vaults, especially when he discovered that Lord Potter no longer had need for a Magical Guardian!
He also looked forward to the money that the solicitors would bring in from the publishers of the fictional Harry Potter books, as well as the memorabilia that the gullible humans paid for. He could also anticipate the gnashing of teeth and wailing from the offices of the Daily Prophet and Witch Weekly when they learned that every article about Lord Potter would be strictly examined, and if anything besides verifiable facts were printed, the bank would be penalizing them for each falsehood! He anticipated it would only take one or two examples being made before the newspapers would learn not to mess with the Potters.
Looking up at the timepiece on the wall, he saw that it was nearly time to lock his office for the day, so he quickly cleaned up the last of Lord Potter's requests, sending a message to the Lovegood's, inviting the mother to attend an urgent meeting two days hence. By that time he was certain they could fabricate a genuine appearing prophecy globe that would warn her of her impending doom and how to avoid it. He didn't ask Lord Potter why he wanted the message to be transmitted, but the Potter's had made him enough money today that he didn't much care.
Of course, when Lady Potter had asked if he could detect a bond between Lord Potter and the Lovegood daughter it could explain the young Lord's interest. He found it interesting that Lord Potter didn't seem to know if he should be relieved or unhappy when told that there was currently no detectable bond between the two of them. Of course, that could change in the future, he wasn't a seer after all!
Cho checked her watch as they were leaving Bonesnapper's office and gasped, "Shite! Harry it's five o'clock! My mum is going to be worried that I'm not back yet. I've got to get going."
Harry nodded unhappily, "Sorry, I completely lost track of time in there, I hope you won't get into any trouble."
Cho looked at him, hearing the pain and regret in his voice, and smiled, "Harry, it's not that big a deal, but she does worry if I'm gone longer than expected. All I need to do is get out of the Alley and I can call home. I've got a mobile phone, but it just doesn't work in the Alley. In fact, do you want to come to my house for dinner? My mum is going to want to meet you, and when we reveal the bond to her she'll be happier if she's already met you."
Harry smiled, "That would be great, we really do need to sit and figure out how this is going to work out between us. Don't get me wrong, I'm thrilled that we are together, but you've got to admit it's a bit strange."
Cho grinned, "Well, if there's one thing I learned about you Harry, is that you don't do normal!"
Harry laughed at they hurried out of Gringott's and made their way to the exit from the Alley.
Cho's mobile started ringing as soon as they stepped outside the Cauldron. With a reassuring smile for Harry, Cho pulled it from her pocket and answered, "Hi Mum! I'm sorry, I was in the Alley, and lost track of time. I'm fine, and on my way back now. But I've got something interesting to tell you that I learned today, and I've also got a friend with me, is it okay if he joins us for dinner?" Giving Harry a thumbs up signal, she said, "Thanks mum, and I'm really sorry about getting you concerned. We'll be there shortly, I'm going to call the bus as soon as we hang up."
Ending the call, she grinned at Harry, "It's fine, she was concerned but knew I was going to the Alley so she wasn't really worried yet. And she's putting out another plate for dinner. It's nothing fancy, just burgers and chips, hope that's alright?"
"Sounds great," Harry said, and his stomach growled it's agreement, making both of them laugh, "I guess it's unanimous."
Calling the Knight Bus, the two of them were soon on their way to Woodcroft.
As they got off the bus, Harry looked around at the nice houses and immaculate lawns, as well as the expensive cars in the driveways and said, "The Dursley's would kill to be able to live in a place like this!"
Cho gave an unladylike snort, remembering what Lily had to say about her sister and husband. "Well, I'm glad they don't, from what you and your mum said, they would just bring the neighborhood down."
Harry laughed in agreement, and, surprising Cho, reached out and took her hand companionably as they walked up the drive. The door opened as they reached the porch, and Cho looked up at her mother's gasp of surprise. She wondered why Lin looked liked she'd seen a ghost, until she said, "My goodness! You're James and Lily's son, aren't you?"
Harry smiled, "Yes, Ma'am, I'm Harry Potter. Did you know my parents?" he asked curiously.
Lin laughed, "Oh, you could say that! I ploughed your father into the ground more than once during Quidditch Games while we were in school. But we can talk about that over dinner, please, come in, come in!"
Cho saw Lin look at their joined hands and she looked Cho directly in the eye before winking and giving her a smirk as she held the door open for them. Cho groaned silently, knowing that she was going to be subjected to the first, second and third degree from her teasing mother before the night was over. After giving a few minutes of thought, Cho realized she really didn't mind the idea, especially since she had her family back. If her mum wanted to tease her about having a boyfriend, she could live with that.
She looked over at Harry to see if he noticed her mum's reaction, but he seemed lost in thought, a slight smile on his face. She wondered what he was thinking about, but decided to wait until there weren't a lot of ears around them.
Of course, that was her plan before Chen looked up from the table and looked at them. In a loud and clear voice, she asked, "Mummy, why does Cho and that boy have glowing ropes around them?"
Needless to say, the relaxed dinner took a very different path from that moment on.
Lin looked at the two of them and slid her wand into her hand. Muttering a spell, her eyes narrowed and said, "Okay Cho, I think you and Harry have some explaining to do. I'm fairly certain you weren't soul bound to another person when I saw you this morning at breakfast, so why don't you start there?"
Cho froze in shock, while Harry just shook his head, a slight smile still on his lips. "You're right, Mrs Chang, there is a lot we have to tell you, but do you mind if we eat and talk at the same time? It's been a several hours since we've eaten."
Lin gave a start at the calm way Harry was handling the situation and said, "Of course, we don't want the burgers to get cold, and a warming charm only does so much." Gesturing for them to take a seat, she set a platter on the table and they all served themselves. The four of them ate in silence, although Cho could see that Chen was practically bouncing in her seat from excitement.
After they had eaten, Lin sat back and pulled a pack of cigarettes from her pocket and lit one. Taking a deep drag, she blew the smoke out through her nose and said, "Okay, I've been patient enough, I want you two to tell me what the hell is going on, right now!"
Harry started speaking, saying, "We'll tell you everything, but first, you need to understand that this is absolutely secret, nobody else can know this information, or hundreds, if not thousands of people will die!"
Lin looked at him skeptically, but the sincerity in his green eyes, so much like Lily's, caused her to nod her head, although a bit grudgingly. Cho spoke up at that point and said to Chen, "This is very serious business Chen, it's a family secret, so we don't tell anybody about it, right?"
"Uh-huh!" Chen said, as solemnly as a six year old could manage. With a squeeze of her hand, Cho encouraged Harry to keep going.
Harry took a deep breath, and said, "What I'm about to tell you is going to sound insane, but trust me, it's the truth and I'll be willing to swear an oath to that effect if you want me to. But, to Cho and I, yesterday was the 17th of May, 1998 and we were on the shores of the Hogwarts Lake, surrounded by our allies as we did battle with Voldemort and his Death Eaters and allies." Harry grimaced at Lin and Cho's reaction to the name and said, "Look it's a made up name, he was born Tom Marvolo Riddle to a squib and a muggle back in 1929. He chose the name Voldemort when he was at Hogwarts as a way to distance himself from his father. I promise I'll tell you the whole story of how I found this out, but later."
"As I was saying, we were facing Riddle and his allies, and unfortunately, things did not go well at all for either of us. In fact, you could say that we experienced the worst possible outcome."
He was being circumspect out of consideration for the young girl sitting at the table, not wanting her to have nightmares of Cho's death, but Lin certainly got the message.
"But that wasn't the end of it, as you might expect. We both woke up and were greeted by a few people, including my parents, who clued us in on a few things that we weren't aware of, namely that we had a soul bond that had been interfered with. We were given the choice to come back and fix things, and we took the offer. Both of us woke up yesterday morning will all of our memories intact and, when we met in Diagon Alley it must have started the bonding process. Before you ask, we are not rushing into completing the bond, because, even though we are emotionally old enough, our bodies aren't, and we are going to be taking the time to really get to know each other."
By this time Lin had smoked an additional three cigarettes as was on her second cup of coffee, while Chen was nodding off at the table. Cho had been fairly quiet while Harry spoke, but said, "Unfortunately, there is more to the story, but I think we need to put somebody to bed first, she's falling asleep. And there are things she really doesn't need to hear."
Lin nodded tiredly, and Cho lifted her sister in her arms and carried the unresisting girl up the stairs to her bedroom.
While she was gone, Harry said, "I know this is a lot to spring on you, Mrs Chang, but, in fairness, we just became aware of the situation this morning."
Lin chuckled wryly, and said, "Considering I'm your mother in law, Harry, I think you can call me Lin. And it's just that I was thinking my mother is laughing her arse off back in Taiwan! She always warned me that my daughters would do things that make me regret everything I did to my mother growing up. I have to say, if that hold true for Cho, I'm really frightened to see what any of my granddaughters would do!"
Harry didn't know how to react to that so he just kept quiet, and let the harried woman ramble.
"Looking back, I still don't think anything I did was all that bad, I just wasn't the demure little girl my mother had expected. To be honest, I was a bit of a tomboy, but my mother didn't know how to handle it. She wanted a little lady who could be a proper wife and mother, and she got a girl who fell in love with Quidditch and could have gone professional if she hadn't decided to go to law school."
Pausing, she summoned a bottle of wine and three glasses from the kitchen and poured for the three of them, as Cho had just sat on the couch next to Harry.
Taking a sip of her wine, Lin continued, "I saw you looking around at the houses when you arrived, Harry, didn't you wonder why a pureblood witch like Cho lived in the Muggle world?"
Harry nodded, reaching for his glass, "Actually, I did, but was going to wait and ask her about it, because while I was curious, we both had other things on our minds."
"That's for sure!" Cho added, picking up her own glass. "I really thought that the worst I'd have to look forward to was some teasing about having a boyfriend. Of course, I shouldn't have taunted Murphy, I'd totally forgotten about the Chang Family Magic. Naturally it showed up in Chen when we least expected it." Turning to Harry, Cho continued, "I know you are aware of Family Magic, right Harry? Well, in my family, the gift of being able to see magical bonds appears a few times in a generation. I don't have it, but it looks like Chen does. She said the ropes were very pretty colors, too."
"Well, she is only six, wouldn't expect her to understand what is going on with the two of you. And I noticed that you were deliberately vague about what happened before you died, and I'm going to want to know the whole story. But first, I was telling Harry why we live in the Muggle world, and it's simply that I am a solicitor, and a damn good one, if I do say so myself, but I work in both worlds, and my clients on the non-magical side need to be able to reach me. I actually have an office attached to the house, but that's not important now."
Glancing up at the clock, Lin saw that it was almost 11 in the evening. "Damn, where did the time go?" Looking at Cho and Harry, who were both nodding off, she said, "Okay, it's way too late to be having this conversation. Cho, take Harry up to your room, I'll be up in a couple of minutes to get him something to sleep in." When Cho looked at her incredulously, Lin continued, "Look, you two are effectively married, so you might as well get used to sharing a bed. I don't expect you to jump each other, but it takes time to get used to having someone else in your bed, and the sooner the two of you get used to it, the more comfortable you will be together."
After Lin had left the room, leaving behind a set of transfigured sleeping shorts and a v-neck shirt for Harry, Cho went into her bathroom to change while Harry changed in the bedroom. When Cho came back into the room, she sat down on the bed, fidgeting nervously until Harry sat next to her and put his arm around her. Smiling shakily, Cho took a deep breath and said, "I'm sorry, I honestly had no idea she would do something like this to us, Harry! I'll admit, when we were older I had spent a lot of pleasurable moments in the bath thinking about us sharing a bed, but not like this! You're barely 11 and I just turned 12 years old, we're still practically little kids, and while I may be ready mentally to have sex with you, my body is still sound asleep! Merlin, I'm still bald as an egg down there!"
Harry tightened his arm around her, and said, "Cho, I understand, I'm feeling exactly the same way, it's going to be a year or more before we are even ready to start exploring that side of our relationship, and I'm fine with that! But your mum is right, us sharing a bed will make it easier for the bond to strengthen, and we need it to be as strong as possible before we get on the Hogwarts Express and see Hermione and Ginny again. I won't lie, I'm looking forward to seeing the two of them again, but Hermione, as much as I love her, can be an extremely forceful personality, and may try and force herself into the Alpha role, and she isn't cut out for that role."
Cho looked at him in surprise, "You've given this some thought, haven't you?"
Harry blushed and said, "Cho, I'm mentally 17 years old, and I found out, because of the meddling of Fate and a few others, I'm not going to have just one wife, but a bloody Harem! Of course I've thought about it!"
Cho giggled, "When you put it that way, I can see what you mean. I think any straight guy would spend a lot of time thinking about it in your shoes."
"Anyway, as I was saying, Hermione has her strengths, but I can't picture her as the Alpha of any group, she is, to be honest, too stubborn to listen to other points of view, remembe from a few years ago? Fortunately, she is also extremely loyal, and when she sees and understands the commitment you and I share, she will most likely back down." He sighed, "I'll admit, I'm guessing on some of this, but it's not like we were given a road map of how to make this thing work, is it? Hell, they could have at least told us who else was going to be drawn into the family, don't you think?"
"Well, we know about Hermione and Ginny, so far, and we know that Luna won't be joining us, at least not in the first group. Who knows if there will even be a second grouping? Do you have any ideas of girls that you were close to that could be part of this?"
Harry frowned, "No, not really, thanks to Ron constantly hanging around and being an arse, I never really got to know that many other people. I mean, I was friendly with the girls on the Quidditch team, but that was about it. I suppose you could count Parvati, but that was an absolute disaster of a date!"
"Well, actually, that was Padma who you were with, Harry. She told me, later that night, that she and Parvati had swapped, and, believe it or not, she really wasn't that angry with you, she said you were doing your best to be a good date, but Ron was being Ron and it ruined the night for all of you. She also told me, just after the Second task, that you had apologized to both of them, so they forgave you. Of course, when the truth about what was happening finally came out, any bad feelings they had vanished instantly." Her eyes widened suddenly as a memory hit her, "Oh! That changed from the original time." Looking at Harry she said, "I just remembered something, I know how Ginny is going to be joining us this year."
"If I remember correctly, in the original time, Ron was two years younger than the twins, right? Well now he's only a year younger, he's actually supposed to be a second year, but he did so poorly on his final exams he has to re-take his first year. I remember hearing somebody say he was talking about his little sister starting this year."
"Okay, that answers that question, good to know that she will be joining us, but I'm not really happy to have Ron in class again. Oh well, we can't do anything about it for now. Getting back to my horrendous dating history, it really was Padma I was with? No wonder she seemed more serious than I expected her to be. But, no matter who it was, I'm sure it wasn't a good date for her, by any means." He shrugged, other than that, I can't think of anybody else who might fit the criteria."
Cho had been thinking, and although she had a suspicion about who of the girls might be, based on her observation during Quidditch, she didn't say anything until she had a chance to really check. She stood up and said, "Well, we can worry about that in the morning, I don't know about you, but I'm really knackered, and a good night of sleep will help us face the rest of the conversation with mum in the morning."
Harry woke up after a surprisingly good nights sleep to find Cho wrapped around him, her hair tickling his nose. After gently waking her, he slipped into the bathroom to take care of necessary business and get ready for the day. Getting dressed, he opened the door and let Cho slip passed him as she took care of her own needs.
They picked up the conversation from the prior night, including the bombshell that Cho was actually the last remaining Heir to the Ravenclaw name, which came as a complete shock to Lin, because the line came down to Cho through her father's side of the family.
Lin told them that she had rescheduled her appointments for the day, so that she could go with them to Diagon Alley. Chen had already been invited to spend the day with her friend Patti Abbott, whose sister, Hannah, was a Hufflepuff in Harry's year. Lin didn't explicitly state it, but it was implied that she was expecting more detailed information than Harry had given her last night.
Harry was willing, especially since she had been willing to open her open to him after she found out about the bond. 'Besides,' he mused, 'having a solicitor available when we work on getting Sirius freed wouldn't do any harm.' And the fact that she was a Pureblood would help in dealing with the Ministry, at least he hoped it would, with Fudge and the Toad Woman there, he wouldn't bet on it though.
After dropping Chen off at the Abbott's, they got back in Lin's car for a trip to Charing Cross Road. Once Lin found a decent parking spot, the three of them walked down to the Leaky Cauldron and out into the Alley. To Harry's dismay, their first stop was Gladrags, to get him some decent clothing to wear, including sleepwear, because the ones that Lin had transfigured the night before wouldn't last much longer.
He had to admit, when they finished less than an hour later, that shopping with Lin and Cho was a very different experience than shopping with Ginny or Hermione. The two women had a very firm idea of what they were looking for, and found it with a minimum of fuss. He almost snickered at the disappointed look on the face of the sales clerk when they came up to the counter with their purchases, since Lin had been quite firm in refusing their suggestions. He also had to admit that they clothing that Lin and Cho had pointed out to him actually looked good on him, and he happily presented his Gringott's key to pay for the purchases. After changing into a pair of jeans and a shirt that fit, he presented his cast offs to Lin, who demonstrated what an Incendio charm can accomplish, properly applied.
After a stop at Madame Manikin's to get the Potter Crest placed on Harry's school robes, the three of them made their way to Gringott's to get the results of the audit on the Potter vaults, as well as to visit the vaults themselves.
Unfortunately, the audit of Harry's trust vault contained no surprises, Dumbledore had been stealing from him for years, almost from the day he was dumped on the Dursley's doorstep. He told Bonesnapper to prepare a formal request for an accounting to the Board of Governors and the DMLE as well as Dumbledore himself, but not to submit them until the first of September. With a wicked grin, he said, "And if the Daily Prophet happened to get wind of the request, especially with the horrible way my relatives treated me..." He shrugged, "I guess that's just the chance we have to take, isn't it?" Bonesnapper just grinned and shook his head.
Turning to Cho, who was watching in amusement, having seen Harry in action the day before, Harry said, "Would you like to formalize our relationship by announcing a betrothing while we are here? I know that it's not extremely romantic, but it would offer you protection in school as well as putting paid to quite a few of Dumbledore's schemes. And we are only recognizing the bond between us that already is forming. I promise you that when we are older, you will have all the romance you can stand!"
Lin gaped at him in surprise, and started to say something when Harry turned to her. "Lin, it's like we told you last night, we aren't going to be completing the bond for a few years yet, but we need to be able to stay together to ensure our bond does form properly. This will also get Cho out of Ravenclaw Aerie, because there is someone there who means her harm. It will also get me out of Gryffindor Tower, for the same reason. Of course, that's assuming that Cho says yes."
Turning to Cho he raised an eyebrow questioningly. She looked at him impassively for a few seconds before breaking out into a fit of giggles. "Of course Harry, but you better make your actual proposal a work of true romance or I'm going to be extremely unhappy!"
After that, it was only a matter of a few minutes of work, and the two of them signing their names on a contract and they were formally betrothed. Harry directed that this paperwork also be delayed until the end of the month, preventing Dumbledore from finding out before he and Cho were on the Express.
When they left Gringotts a couple of hours later, Harry had two shrunken trunks with him, and Cho had a shrunken case with her as well. In addition to the slavery bands, that Harry was still reluctant to use, he found a trunk that had several handwritten journals, one set with his mother's name on it, and one with his father's name. He took the trunk with the journals to read later, but they looked like their memories from the second year of Hogwarts until they graduated.
He was actually more interested in the case that Cho was carrying. It contained 10 rings that were created by one of her great-great-grandfathers, and allowed telepathic communication between whoever was wearing the rings, it didn't matter how far apart they were. There was also a letter explaining the origins of the rings, or so Cho told him, he couldn't read the characters on the parchment. There were apparently also instructions for creating more of the rings, but they were beyond Cho's knowledge at the moment.
By the time they were finished shopping, all three of them were heavily laden, even with Lin's use of shrinking charms. He and Cho each got a new Nimbus 2000 racing broom, as well as several supplemental text books, including some that had previously been reserved for Slytherins to use in Potions Class. Harry even got Cho and Lin to follow him into the booksellers at Number 93, and they both were as entranced as he was, each of them buying about a dozen books.
It was a very tired trio who arrived back in Woodcroft that night. Fortunately Patti's mother had called and asked if Chen could spend the night, because they were going to Thorpe Park the next day. Lin happily agreed, and the three of them spent the evening relaxing and watching television.
That day set the pattern for the remainder of the time until they got on the Hogwarts Express. After making a quick trip back to Privet Drive to leave his relatives a letter that he would not be back, he gathered his last few remaining possessions and packed them in the back of Lin's car, before moving in with them.
He and Cho had to admit, by the end of the two week period, that Lin had been right. By spending the night in the same bed it made them far more comfortable around each other, and they had proof that the bond was strengthening when they came down to breakfast one morning and Chen looked up and smiled, saying that the ropes were even prettier now.
One thing that Harry did, besides read his parents journals, was read through a book that Bonesnapper had handed him when he was preparing to demand an accounting from Dumbledore. The book was an English Translation of the Guiding Rules for Gringott's Bank, and was actually easy to understand. Although he did have to ask Lin what a few of the legal terms meant. There was a great deal of interesting information in the book, but the section that caught his eye had to do with the vaults of the older families. When he finished reading it the first time, he had to go back and read it a second time to make sure he understood exactly what he was seeing.
A second reading convinced him of what he had seen. In plain English was the entire basis for Dumbledore and Molly's plots against him! He had to pause and take several deep breaths to control his temper, but some of his anger must have been obvious because Cho came over to him and put her hand on his shoulder. Her touch managed to calm him enough to point out the section of the book he was reading, and she took it and began to read. When she looked up from the book, there was a bleak expression on her face, reminding him of the worst days after Cedric was killed, and he pulled her into a hug to comfort her.
"Well, it certainly explains a few things, doesn't it?" Cho said bitterly.
"It does, I'd suspected for quite a while that Dumbledore planned on my dying young, although I imagine he'd planned on surviving himself. But it certainly explains him keeping the two of us apart, because if we had been bonded and I died, all the money in the Potter vaults would have gone to you, or, if you died as well, to Lin and Chen. The old man couldn't have that! He had no control over your mother, and all the gold would have been lost to him, not to mention all the magical research my parents had done. And of course, if you or Lin had gotten control of the vaults, I'm sure you would have demanded an audit as well, and the old man wouldn't have been able to wriggle out of the consequences of his theft.
"Hmm. I wonder if he hatched the plan to cover up his theft, or to allow himself to keep stealing from me? I may have to ask him that some time. But the whole mess with the love potions, I think that was Molly's doing, considering she had no problems using them herself to get the man she wanted. The hell of it is, she didn't even need to do anything. After Dumbledore and Cedric kept us apart, Ginny and I were heading that way on our own."
Cho looked at him softly, "You still love her, don't you?"
Harry looked at her in surprise, "Of course, I've loved Ginny for the last two years, but, that doesn't mean I'm not falling in love with you. I know I'm not the most demonstrative guy around, but honestly, I think our bodies physical ages are causing at least part of that. I mean, you are just starting to go through puberty, and my voice hasn't even started changing yet, so we're really not capable of the truer emotions yet, at least that's my theory."
Cho nodded, "That makes a lot of sense, actually. And it gives us the advantage of being secure in the bond before puberty shows up and we have to deal with that mess!"
Harry's stomach growling ended the serious conversation and they went downstairs to find some lunch.
Lin and Chen dropped Harry and Cho off a Kings Cross Station a little after 10 am on September 1st, and, after making sure they both had everything they needed for the year, gave them both a hug, which Harry happily returned. When she released them, Lin looked at the two of them seriously and said, "Harry, I'm going to be presenting the paperwork to get Sirius a trial this morning, and, while I'm certain I can get Amelia Bones to sign off on it, Fudge is going to be tricky. I don't want you to get your hopes up too much, but I promise you I will do my best." She shook her head, "I can't believe I ever believed that Sirius could have betrayed your parents like that, not after seeing them together for seven years." She rubbed her thumb along the ring she was wearing and the two of them heard in their minds, 'I'll contact your over the rings as soon as I get home tonight to let you know what's happening.'
Harry and Cho both nod, and, picking up their trunks make their way through the barrier. Harry's eyes lit up at the familiar sight of the gleaming red steam engine, already thrumming with power as the engineer and various others were doing their final checks before departure. Turning to Cho, he took her trunk and said, "Keep an eye out for Ginny and Hermione, I'm going to get us a compartment and then I'll be back out, ok?"
"Okay, if I see them before you get back, I'll give you a ring," she said with a grin, as she started scanning the crowd.
Taking the magically lightened trunks in hand, Harry pulled them up the steps and into the carriage, hurrying to find an open compartment so he could get back to Cho. He saw that several of his year mates were already sitting in their compartments, including Hannah Abbott, who was sitting with Susan Bones and a couple of other girls. He had met Hannah this time when she had accompanied Patti and her mother to bring Chen home from their Thorpe Park outing. Sticking his head into the compartment, he said a quick hello, and was introduced to Susan as well as Megan Jones, who's cousin played Quidditch professionally with the Holyhead Harpies. He chatted with them for a minute before excusing himself to go find a place for he and Cho, they said goodbye and he moved down the corridor. He was able to find an empty compartment not far from where Hannah and the others were sitting, so he pulled the trunks inside and lifted them up to the racks above his head. Shutting the compartment door behind him, he cast a light 'notice me not' charm on the door, so others wouldn't try and sit there until he and Cho got back, hopefully with Hermione and Ginny.
Stepping off the train, Harry started scanning the crowds, and saw Hermione looking around nervously, already dressed in her robes. Sending a quick message to Cho that he found Hermione, Cho responded that she would keep an eye out for the Weasleys. Moving forward, he put on his friendliest smile and said, "Hi, are you are first year?"
Hermione smiled at him and nodded, her nervousness vanishing, "Oh Yes! I'm ever so excited to be starting school, I've already read all the books, and even practiced some of the spells! How about you?"
Harry smothered at a laugh at one of his oldest friends, "I'm a first year too, want to share a compartment? I've read my books too, and I'm really looking forward to Charms, that sounds like a brilliant course! What are you looking forward to the most?"
Happily chatting about the courses they would be taking, Harry led Hermione down to his compartment and lifted the trunk into the rack, impressing Hermione with his use of the levitation spell. After he put his wand away, he turned back to his old/new friend and stuck out his hand, "By the way, my name is Harry Potter, what's yours?"
"Pleased to meet you, I'm Hermione Granger," she said as she took his hand to shake. As soon as they touched, Harry felt a shock, almost like static electricity jump between them, and her eyes went wide, and it looked like a curtain was ripped away as awareness suddenly came into focus. "Harry? Oh my god! Harry!" She gasped before falling backward on the bench, stunned.
Checking quickly, Harry was relieved to see that she was alright, just recovering from the shock.
Rubbing the ring he thought 'Hey Cho, I've got Hermione in our compartment, and it looks like she's got her memories back. How are things going for you, do you need me to come out and help you?'
He was surprised at the irritation in her thoughts when she responded, 'No, I'm right next to them now, and I'll tell you, I'm starting to agree with you, enslaving is too good for these scum buckets! I'd recommend torturing them to death!'
'What? What brought that on?' Harry asked in alarm. As angry as he was at Ron and Molly, he was just planning to kill them, not torture them.
'Well, Molly held Ron back after Percy got the others on the train, and I heard her telling Ron that he was to start using the potions on both you and Ginny tomorrow morning at breakfast, and if it looked like you were getting close to any other girls, to let her know, and she would get Dumbledore to take care of things. Ron just nodded and said he knew what he had to do, and as long as he got the money she promised, he'd make sure things got taken care of. Then he made a comment about reminding Dumbledore that he was supposed to get a smart girl to help him with his homework, and to make sure she was good looking, because he wanted to bed her as well. Molly just laughed when he talked about raping some girl! What the hell is wrong with these people?'
'Alright, it's agreed, the two of them need to die? And as painfully as we can manage?'
'Absolutely! Now, I'm going to find Ginny, I'll bring her to the compartment so we can get things started. I'll contact you in a few minutes if I need your help.'
'Good, and it looks like Hermione is starting to wake up. Call if you need me.'
Cho shoved away her anger at Ron and Molly and entered the train. She soon saw Ginny dragging her trunk and looking for a place to sit. Walking up to her, Cho said, "Hi! Looking for a place? My friend is a first year too, and he's holding a compartment for us, do you want to join us?"
Ginny smiled happily, she'd been upset that her brothers were basically ignoring her ever since they arrived at the station. She was looking forward to making friends of her own, especially since her only friend at home, Luna, wasn't coming to Hogwarts until next year. "Thanks, I'd like that! I'm Ginny Weasley..." the smile dropped as she saw Cho frown at the mention of her name. "What's wrong?"
Cho smiled weakly, "Please don't take this the wrong way, Ginny, but I really hope you have better table manners than your brother. Ron Weasley is your brother, isn't he?"
Ginny laughed, relieved, "Yes, unfortunately that prat is my brother, and my table manner are nothing to worry about, I learned to close my mouth when I chew, and to swallow before I start talking."
Cho laughed as well, "No worries then! Let's go get our seats."
Hermione was starting to stir from her nap when Cho and Ginny entered the compartment and shut the door behind them. Cho levitated Ginny's trunk into the last slot on the rack before turning to Harry, who gave her a quick kiss in greeting. Harry turned to Ginny and said, "Hi, I'm Harry Potter, nice to meet you!"
"Hi, I'm Ginny Weasley!" Ginny said, cursing the way she squeaked when Harry introduced himself. But she couldn't believe it, she was standing right in front of Harry Potter, the boy she had a crush on for years, from reading those books her mum had bought her. She couldn't remember when she started dreaming of marrying the 'Boy Who Lived' but her mum had always encouraged it, saying what a wonderful life she would have, and such beautiful children! Ginny saw Harry's eyes sparkle with amusement, almost as if he could read her thoughts. She was surprised that, instead of shaking her hand, he touched her on the shoulder as he stared into her eyes, and she heard him whisper, "Remember me."
Ginny's head rocked back as the memories of her previous life hit her. Groaning in pain, she stumbled backward until she sat down heavily on the bench. Her eyes shot back open and she focused on Harry, who was still standing in front of her, a look of concern on his face. "Harry? What's going on? Am I dead? I saw you die!" Looking over at Cho, who was casting a locking charm on the compartment door, Ginny said, "I saw both of you die! What the bloody hell is going on here?" Harry opened his mouth to answer when a groan from Hermione focused everyone's attention on her.
Cho said, "Don't worry Ginny, you aren't dead, and as soon as Hermione wakes up, we'll explain everything."
Ginny sat back in her seat and watched as Harry sat next to Hermione, helping her sit up. She was surprised that he wandlessly conjured a glass of water and held it while Hermione drank from it. She was starting to get concerned at the way he was fussing over Hermione when he glanced over at her and she could see the love shining in his eyes, and he gave her the grin that he saved for her alone. Relaxing, she sat back and waited as patiently as she could for the answers to her questions.
Ginny saw Hermione's eyes fully open and focus on her surroundings, and immediately know that the other girl was dealing with the memories as well. Deciding to let her know she was there, Ginny said, "Hurts like hell doesn't it?"
Hermione nodded, "I thought Occlumency was bad, but this is worse! Wait a minute! Harry? I saw you die, and Cho as well? What's going on?"
Ginny laughed, "That seems to be the question of the hour, Hermione. But Cho did promise answers, so, let's hear it!"
Harry nodded to Cho, and she took as seat beside him, and Harry took her hand, giving Ginny a look that she understood meant not to say anything. He opened his mouth to say something, but the sound of the Express's horn made him pause, and he had to wait until the train started moving before he was able to speak.
"First off, what we are about to tell you is going to sound unbelievable, but please try and hold your questions until we're done, most of your questions will be answered before we finish, ok?"
At Ginny and Hermione's nod, Harry said, "It all started on the day of the final battle, after I jumped in front of the curse Voldemort had aimed at Cho..."
Harry continued talking for almost a half an hour, with Cho interjecting at times to expand on different points, but eventually Harry and Cho got the other two caught up to the present day. There was dead silence in the compartment before Ginny spoke, in a voice so choked with fury it was almost a growl.
"I'm going to murder them! I'll smash his bollocks with a mallet then carve his liver out and feed it to him! And that lousy bitch of a mother? I'm going to have her raped to death by centaurs! How dare they do that to us? And all so they could get their hands on your money? No, Centaurs are too good for her, I'll toss her to a werewolf pack! And that whiskered goat raper? He's going to wake up staked to the ground in front of the Quidditch Pitch, I'm going to cut off his eyelids and burn his eyes out with a hot poker before pouring honey all over his body and letting fire ants tear him to pieces. And, as he's laying there screaming in agony, I'm going to piss all over his body and then cover him in lemon juice and salt, and laugh as he dies!"
Harry and Cho glanced at each other, impressed at her imagination, although they were surprised that Hermione hadn't said anything, until they saw that she was just as furious. When Ginny slowed down to take a breath, Hermione said, "It's a good start, Ginny, but don't forget McGonagall in your list of people who need to die! That dried up Scottish cunt tried to force me to spy on Harry for the old man, and when I refused, obliviated me!"
Ginny looked up and grinned, "Okay, how about we freeze her in cat form and let Crookshanks have her?"
Hermione shook her head, "No, that would be too cruel to Crooks, I think we should transfigure Crabbe into a cat!"
Harry was startled into laughter at seeing the vicious side of his friend so early. Hermione just grinned at him, and said, "It's no less than they deserve, for what they did to all of us. I'm just glad I never let Ron touch me, knowing what I know now I'd be tempted to kill myself if I had!"
Looking over at Ginny, she said, "Well, we talked about it a few times, but it looks like it's actually happened, are you still willing to share Harry?"
"Of course, and at least Cho and I can talk about Quidditch while you two are shagging like bunnies."
Cho looked at them in shock, "I thought you would have a hard time with the idea, to be honest."
Hermione snorted dismissively, "Not hardly, Ginny I talked about it when she and Harry were dating, she knew something was wrong that she couldn't get pregnant, but didn't trust Poppy enough to go see her, because she always reports everything to Dumbledore. One of the things we talked about was my having the Potter heir, so the line didn't die if Harry died. Of course, I wouldn't be willing to sleep with Harry if I didn't love him, and Ginny knew that Harry loved me as well, even though he never acted on it, the prat!" She grinned at Harry to show that she was just teasing, before continuing. "The only difference now is that we won't be the only ones with him, and these soul-bonds being magically recognized."
"Hermione's telling the truth, and, while I would certainly prefer to be the only woman in Harry's life, a bond like this isn't something that can be ignored."
Ginny then got a wicked grin on her face, "I have to admit, now that I think about it, I remember reading a couple of articles about soul-bonds in Witch Weekly, and they say that the sex is fantastic! It was amazing before we had the bond, so I'm really looking forward to finding out for sure, how about you Harry?"
Harry blushed, not quite sure what to say, until Cho and Hermione joined Ginny in laughing merrily.
Hermione wiped her eyes from the tears of laughter, "Oh Harry, don't ever change! You are without a doubt the bravest, and most caring man I've ever met, but still can't handle it when girls talk about sex." Growing serious, she said, "We've got a couple of years yet before it really becomes an issue, so it's something we'll have to work on. But, before all that, I don't know about you, but I have no interest in being in Gryffindor House this time around, I'm thinking I'd be happier as a Ravenclaw, how about you Ginny?"
"That works for me, how about you Harry?"
"I'd like to be there also, but I'm not sure I'll have a choice. As the Heir of Gryffindor, I may end up there no matter what I want."
Any further thoughts were interrupted by the sound of their compartment door rattling, and they looked up to see the frowning face of the last person they wanted to see, Ron Weasley.
The end for this chapter!!