Categories > Books > Harry Potter > Harem of honeys

Harem of honeys

by GOLDJMW 18 reviews

Putting the story to be able to read it easier and in bulk I do not own or wrote the story only put I up for the reason I stated

Category: Harry Potter - Rating: R - Genres: Drama,Erotica,Romance - Characters: Harry,Hermione,Luna,Padma,Pansy,Parvati - Warnings: [!!] [X] [?] - Published: 2013-10-15 - 29877 words

4Funny
this is the uploader

i do not own harry potter or any the characters in it or the story idea so do not sue me

i am very much broke therefore anyone who sue wont get any money

and i am male and not rich and am not british therefore i dont own this story

this is the only disclaimer for all chapters!

Harry Potter and the Harem of Honeys

Prologue

Discovering his Gift

It was a normal day at the school, even if this boy was anything but normal. Of course, normal is a matter of perspective. To the other children around him, he was far from normal. If he were among his own kind, he would still be a tad unusual, but much closer to the so-called "norm". You see, this boy's name was Harry Potter, and he was a wizard by birth. Not that he himself knew anything about that...yet. His guardians, his Aunt Petunia and Uncle Vernon, had carefully hidden all knowledge of magic, or anything that they consider outside the "norm", from him. Harry knew that "things" happened around him but he didn't know what made those "things" happen, yet.

Today, however, he would learn something about himself, and it would steer him away from the path that fate and a meddlesome old man had planned for this little boy. At this time, little Harry was only seven years old. His second year of primary school had just started, but already his overweight cousin Dudley and his gang of hooligans were again making sure that Harry had no friends at all….

"There he goes! Get him!" yelled Dudley. The whole yard knew Dudley and his band of playground thugs were chasing that odd Potter boy. The second, first, and third years breathed a shamed sigh of relief. None of Dudley's friends knew why this particular boy was the focus of their leader's aggressions, and quite frankly they could care less. Dudley told them to beat him up, and that was fine with them. They liked beating up other kids, particularly ones who were smaller and weaker than themselves. That meant that Potter, a few other small boys, and virtually all the girls in their class were targeted for beatings.

"Hurry up! He's trying to hide by the dustbins!" shouted Dudley's second-in-command, Piers. Piers Polkiss was a rat-faced boy who happened to be the smallest member of the gang. Normally he would be a target, but Piers had that special quality that bullies the world over looked for in a henchman: Piers was a toady. He was mean and clever, which meant that he was able to avoid his beatings by encouraging the gang to beat up others. It was his self-made job to direct the mini-mountains he called his friends toward their targets. When targets were caught, Piers would hold their arms behind their backs while the bigger boys pounded on them until they got bored. In addition, Piers had the coward's gift of knowing when authority figures would appear, moments before they actually did. Piers kept the others out of trouble most of the time and was clever enough to talk them out of it on the rare occasions when they did get caught in the act, though that was wearing thin with the younger teachers not yet jaded into catatonia by years of the inane spawn of the lower middle classes.

Meanwhile, young Harry was running like the wind. He might not look it, with his lean frame and the oversized hand-me-down clothes he got from his oversized cousin, but Harry was very fast. Growing up in the Dursley household had forced him to develop superior reflexes. While he might not be strong, he was very fast. Right now he used that speed and a little budding skill at deception to evade the Dursley gang.

Rounding the corner that went behind the school, Harry saw the dustbins and decided to use them as cover. In fact he could probably hide or be out of reach on top of the large dumpster behind them, if he could just get there before the others reached him, they were all too fat to climb up there well except for Piers and a boot to the head would do for him. With a desperate need to evade another beating in the front of his mind, he made a mighty leap while wishing to be out of their reach.

What happened next was a mystery, for he suddenly found himself on the school's roof. Now how the bloody hell had he managed to jump onto the roof? Maybe a gust of wind had caught him, filling Dudley's old sweatshirt like the sails of a ship? No, that didn't make any sense. While his grades didn't reflect it (he was punished if his grades were better than Dudley's, and Dudley was a lazy moron), Harry was a bright lad. The shirt could not have provided enough lift to raise him to the roof. Besides, he had moved against the prevailing winds. So how had he gotten up here?

Calming himself, he sat down and reviewed exactly what had led up to this unusual event. While he was at it, he began to ponder some of the other unusual events in his life. Suddenly he made a connection. Whenever he felt very strong emotions, whether it was fear, anger, anxiety, or what have you, strange things happened. The kind of things that were so un-Dursley-ish, he would receive extra-harsh punishments which occasionally resulted in even more un-Dursley-ish things and occasional trips to the local casualty for the Dursleys. Somehow, some way, Harry was able to do things that no one else he knew could manage. Magical things.

"I need to test this," he said to himself. "If I can learn to use this...power...at will, I'll be free of Dudley and his gang." So young Harry sat down on that roof, skipped his classes, and began to focus on his feelings. After all, the first step would be to purposefully draw out an extreme emotion, then use it to do something magical intentionally rather than accidentally.

Sinking into a rough meditative state, though he didn't know it, he started to work himself up by thinking about how his aunt and uncle would react to his being caught up on the roof. Memories of past beatings and punishments made it rather easy to work himself into a panic. Just as his fears reached their peak, he felt something...different. There was a strange tingling down his spine, like something was waiting to happen.

Quickly he seized upon that feeling and said, "I wish I was on the ground!" There was a soft pop! sound and Harry found himself sitting in the exact same position he had been in on the roof, only now he was seated on the grass beneath an oak tree on the playground. "YES!" crowed the young wizard.

"How did you do that?" Harry jumped up to find a girl about his age sitting in the branches of the oak tree. "You just appeared out of nowhere!" Looking closely, Harry saw that the young girl showed signs of the gang's attentions. She had a black eye, a split lip, and her dress was torn. Harry smiled; the gang was going to have a time explaining this away, spending more of the teachers' patience.

"Actually, I came from the roof. I was hiding from them," he declared, letting her know that they shared tormenters. "I just figured out how to do that...thing. I 'popped' from the roof to here."

"Wicked!" she enthused. "Can you teach me to do it?"

"I don't know. I just figured out that I've been able to do stuff like that for years. Only I never realized it was me who was doing all the strange stuff. But today it all sort of connected in my head."

"Oh," she sighed. "Well, maybe I can help you to learn to do it better!" She climbed down from the tree. "My name is Marie. Marie Caldwell."

"I'm Harry. Harry Potter," he replied.

Little did anybody know, but that was the moment that young Harry's destiny hit a bump in the road. It wasn't just a little bump, either. It was more like a bump on a mountain road that launches your car off the road and down the side of the mountain. Both paths get you to the bottom, but the routes get you there in entirely different conditions.

Young Harry should have crashed down the side of that mountain, reaching the bottom as a fiery wreck. That bump in the road, however, enabled him to bounce back onto the road and coast down the mountain in style. When he finally rejoined his world—the wizarding world—he would be far different than fate and an old man had intended….

Chapter One

The Letter

Fate had planned a very different childhood for Harry Potter, but that path had long since passed. Instead of a lonely, downtrodden child, the eight-year-old boy had an abundance of close friends. Not many people living on Privet Drive took note of the fact that every single one of his friends was female. A year ago, after his cousin Dudley had formed a gang of thugs and terrorized the neighborhood kids for a year, Harry had prevented them from bullying the local girls. His efforts made him the head, or perhaps enforcer, of an all-girl (except for Harry) gang that was many times larger than Dudley's. From that day forth, nearly every girl in the local school—and thus the neighborhood—looked to Harry for friendship and protection. Even the upper form girls; Harry was vicious and quite capable of handing out a thrashing even to upper form boys. It took some effort, and the girls had to help, but it happened enough that the upper form boys had learned to give the little dark-haired, green-eyed terror a wide birth and the girls all the respect they could.

Friendship soon led to other things for some of them, as the older girls in his gang learned to kiss with Harry. He became the baffled target of their emerging feminine wiles, and he soon learned enough to gently guide his many younger friends through their new emotions. His ability to accept without judgment earned their absolute trust and devotion.

Chubby or thin, beautiful or plain...he treated them all the same. From Harry, his girls learned to be comfortable with themselves, and that eventually led to their possessing considerable self confidence. What neither Harry nor the girls knew was that Harry's emerging magic was aiding him in helping each of the girls change and grow. His power ensured that they would grow and evolve in ways that would refine their natural beauty, sharpen their young minds, and bring them strength that otherwise might never have become theirs. Eventually this would lead to their giving birth to magical offspring, despite their non-magical natures. Harry's magic would, in fact, slowly change them all into something never before seen in the wizarding world: Muggle-born Squibs.

But that was the future. In the present, young Harry had slightly over a dozen girlfriends whose ages ranged from eight to sixteen, and dozens of female friends and friends of friends. They taught him (and one another) everything that they knew about their gender. They also shared any and all skills they possessed, including the dance, yoga, karate, meditation, and other lessons that the various girls were taking.

The fifteen girls he considered as girlfriends shared him as "communal property", told him every secret, and shared every treat they received from their own parents. Young Harry was the beneficiary all their allowances, birthday parties, and gifts from grandparents. The girls fixed his hand-me-down wardrobe, got him new glasses when needed, and ensured that he was properly fed for a change.

In return for all of this, he was their knight in shining armor. He placed himself between his girls and any of the local bullies or mashers, Dudley and his gang being the worst of the bunch. These hard-headed young thugs took years to learn that messing with Harry, the girls, or any girls anywhere near Harry led swiftly to pain.

Using the girls' teachings, especially the meditative aspects of yoga and some eastern religions, he slowly developed control over his magic beyond fighting. This, too, was turned to the girls' benefit. With it he could fix broken possessions, heal injuries, ease menstrual cramps, and take them on wonderful childhood adventures.

Despite slander from his aunt and uncle, the parents of Harry's girls all adored their respective daughters' "little boyfriend". Possibly because he was very respectful, or perhaps because the children were too young to have "those" types of feelings or some were so much older than Harry, their parents felt comfortable allowing their girls to associate with the Potter lad. Of course, the fact that the "herd" of young girls and Harry would move from house to house doing each girl's chores had something to do with it. (You'd be amazed at how quickly fifteen children, young adults, and their friends could rake and clean a yard. Or clean a house.)

Harry's aunt and uncle had learned to let him have his freedom, especially during the summer breaks. If they tried to keep him locked up at home, the horde of girls would soon descend upon Number Four, Privet Drive, demanding the return of their playmate. Vernon and Petunia didn't like it, but so many girls drew far too much attention to them for the old habit of abusing their nephew to be able to continue. Then there was the fact that hitting him would land you in the wall and then in casualty. And Harry not having a mark on him and being seven years old would have the police taking their investigations in all sorts of directions you didn't want them to go. Thus the Dursleys now preferred that Harry spend as much time away from their house as possible.

Luckily for them, Harry and the girls had claimed the local park as their territory. Woe betide any child or teen who disobeyed their rules for the said territory. That park was the cleanest, tidiest children's playground in all of Sussex. It was also the safest, due to the magical wards and protections Harry had placed there, intentionally but all unknowing until it was done. He wanted it safe and protected, and his magic made it happen.

No bullies felt comfortable in that park, and no dangerous animals would go near it. The Dursleys absolutely hated the place. Oddly enough, snakes found it to be a haven, and not one ever so much as hissed at one of the children who played there.

On a fateful day in July, shortly before Harry's eighth birthday, he was checking the post before leaving the Dursley house. There was a postcard from Vernon's sister, Marge, and an advertisement for something Harry couldn't be bothered with. The final piece of post caught his attention, however, since it was addressed to him. That was not unheard of, since the girls usually sent him birthday, Christmas, and Valentine's cards. Seeing it was a bit early for his birthday, and the letter was written on heavy parchment, he considered this letter to be unusual. Also, when he touched it he could feel the tingle that he had come to associate with his magic.

Since he shared everything with his herd of girlfriends, it was only natural to take the strange letter with him to the park. When he arrived there were already over fifteen girls present setting up blankets, coolers, and picnic baskets in the shade of several large trees. He spotted a few others cleaning up the night's accumulation of litter to be deposited in the dustbins. (They maintained a very tidy park, after all.)

"Hello, Harry!" the girls greeted him.

"Good morning, my beautiful friends," he greeted back. "I got something strange in the post today. Did any of you send me this letter?" He held it up, showing the heavy parchment, then turned it to show the odd wax seal on the back. The wax was purple, and the seal was a stylized capital G.

"I've seen one of those before. It's from Gringotts." They all turned to see who had spoken. Though female, the voice was not one they were familiar with. Coming up behind them were Harry's first friend, Marie, and an older girl who looked enough like her to be family. They both had light brown hair and bright blue eyes. It was the older girl who had spoken. "Marie, is this the boy you wanted me to meet? Your little boyfriend?"

"That would be me," Harry grinned, surprising the older girl by failing to blush.

"Harry, this is my cousin, Ella. Ella, this is our boyfriend, Harry Potter," replied Marie.

"Harry...Potter?" gasped Ella. "You're really Harry Potter? And you have the—the scar?" she squealed in delight. When Harry lifted his bangs to reveal the odd lightning-bolt-shaped scar on his forehead, Ella nearly swooned. "Oh. My. God. I'm talking to Harry Potter!"

"Are you alright, Ella?" Harry asked. This girl was a little odd.

"Hmm? Oh, I'm fine. I just can't believe that when Marie told me she had a friend named Harry, he would turn out to be THE Harry Potter! I'm going to go to Hogwarts with Harry Potter! My cousin is his girlfriend!"

"Hogwarts?" "What's Hogwarts?" "Did she say Hogwarts?" the girls began to ask each other.

"Oh, no! I'm not supposed to mention Hogwarts or magic to Muggles!" Ella gasped.

"Muggles?" asked several girls.

"Don't worry, Ella," her cousin soothed. "We all know about Harry's powers. We've been helping him develop his...magic...for a year now."

"You can already do magic?" asked Ella. "You're not supposed to do magic outside of school! They'll kick you out of school and break your wand!"

"Not to worry, then!" grinned Harry. "I don't have a wand to break. Besides, I've only learned to do little things, like healing, teleporting, and levitating things." Ella looked, if anything, even more shocked. "Ella, try to calm down. Now, what can you tell me about this Hogwarts, my letter, and—I believe you said Muggles?" He took her hand, and she blushed.

"Okay," she said, "let me see. I suppose I should start with my Hogwarts letter. I received my first letter when I was eleven years old. The letter was from the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. It's a school where young witches and wizards go to learn how to perform magic. We have classes in things like Potions, Charms, Transfiguration, and Defense Against the Dark Arts. Magic folk have a whole world that's kept secret from non-magic folk, who we call Muggles. I'm a going to be a third year student there now."

"So do non-magical people have magical children?" asked one of the girls, named Amber. She was a nine-year-old with blond hair and light brown eyes. "Because we've all met Harry's family, and if they have magic I'll eat my shoes!"

"Well, there are Muggle-born witches and wizards, but Harry's parents were magical," argued Ella. "Everyone in our world knows about Harry Potter! You're really famous, Harry!"

"I am? Why?" he asked.

"Because you're the other Boy-Who-Lived!" At their blank looks, she added to her story. "Ten or so years ago, back before you were born and when you were still a baby, there was an evil wizard. He delved deeply into the Dark Arts and was recruiting followers. He claimed that Muggles and Muggle-born folk were beneath the so-called pure-blood families, and he started killing off Muggle-borns. For some reason he came to the house of a friend of your parents on Halloween, determined to kill them too, and apparently you and your parents were there. The story goes that this wizard killed your father and mother, but when he tried to kill you and Neville Longbottom his magic was turned against him. He was destroyed, and you got that scar. Dumbledore says Neville is the chosen one and the one who defeated the evil wizard, but everyone knows you were there too, and you've never been seen again. I think you are the chosen one. Longbottom is a little snot. I've met him in Diagon Alley."

"And I'm famous for that?" wondered Harry.

"You have to understand, those were dark days, Harry. He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named was very powerful back then, and he was winning the war. Good witches and wizards were dying every day. Before you and Longbottom, no one lived after he decided they would die. Because of you—well, or maybe your parents, or Neville—he was defeated and the war was won."

"Well, were my parents both...Muggle-born?" he asked.

"Your mother was Muggle-born, but not your father. The Potters are a very old pure-blood wizarding family. From what I understand they were a very wealthy family, too. In fact, I bet you have a ton of gold in Gringotts. That's what that letter is probably about, something to do with your account!" At his confused look she added, "It's the wizards' bank. Run by Goblins, it is!"

"Well, thanks for telling me this, Ella. I'm guessing from what you said earlier that all of this should be kept secret from Muggles?" She nodded enthusiastically. "Tell me, are there ever any non-magical children born to magical families? I mean, if it goes one way, it should also go the other."

"Oh, yes! When a witch gives birth to a non-magical child, it's called a Squib. Squibs can see through standard anti-Muggle magical illusions and can use magical devices. Usually they don't have enough magic to do spells and such, though I've heard they can get jobs as Potions brewers, herbologists, and working with some magical creatures. The school's caretaker, Mr. Filch, is a Squib. Oh, and the groundskeeper doesn't do magic, either...but between you and me, I think Hagrid's part ogre or giant or something. He's huge!"

"That's interesting. So Muggles can't see most magic? Because my girls here couldn't see some of the barriers here at first. Something changed them over time, though, and now they can see some of the barriers I created. I think I made them into Squibs instead of Muggles."

"Wow! Seeing magic is called mage sight. It's a rare ability! If that's the case, then I won't get into trouble for telling you all about our world. Just don't tell anybody else! You realize that if you're all Squibs now, your children will probably be magical?"

"Really?" "Wicked!" the girls muttered.

Harry continued, "Now, about this letter?"

Ella took the letter from Harry and looked at it. "Dad gets these. It's a bank statement from Gringotts bank, I think, at least his are."

Harry took the letter back and eyed it speculatively. "Well, now that you've explained a bit, let me read my letter. Don't worry, girls! I'll let each of you read it, too." Harry broke the seal and began to read the letter. Just as Ella had claimed, it was a bank statement. Harry had a lot of Galleons, Sickles, and Knuts, whatever they were. The bank apparently had some questions he needed to answer, and they asked him to either owl or come to the bank.

"This bank of yours," he asked Ella, "does it give a different letter to Muggle-borns? Because this doesn't really help me all that much. How can I send an owl—a real, live owl?"

"Let me see that." Ella read his letter. "Nope, this is the same letter Dad receives, except this part about an owl or coming to the bank. We do have an account manager, though. Morgana, Harry, you're rich!"

Harry blinked. "Really? Well, I guess since both my parents were magical I didn't rate the personal touch. I guess they forgot I was raised as a Muggle-born. So—you mentioned a place called Diagon Alley. How do I get there?"

Ella frowned. "Well, magic folk can just Apparate there—you kind of think yourself there and your magic takes you—if they have a license. It's kind of like driving a car: first you have to be old enough and take a test, then you can do it. They also have a system using fireplaces, called the Floo Network, but to use it you need Floo powder and a fireplace that's hooked into the network. It's sort of like the London Underground. Then there's the Knight Bus, but you need a wand to summon it and they charge for passage. Finally, you can get in from Muggle London—there's an entrance from the Leaky Cauldron on Charing Cross Road. That's how my folks and I get there."

"Could you take us on a field trip?" asked Harry. "Show us around the Alley?"

"Me? Take Harry Potter back to his rightful world? Sure!" Ella agreed.

"All right, then. Girls, tomorrow we're going on a day trip to London. Everyone make sure you have plenty of money for the train and the Underground. If I really do have a ton of gold in this wizarding bank, I'll buy everyone presents once I get my hands on some of it. Now, Ella, let me give you a proper thank-you for all the information you've given me today."

"What kind of thank—" Harry cut her off by pressing a gentle kiss to her lips. She blushed but kissed him back. "Oh, Merlin! I got kissed by Harry Potter!"

Later that day they formalized their plans. Ella would lead Harry and his fifteen girls into London, and from there into the wizarding world. She would show them around and do her school shopping at the same time. They would meet in the park as usual and head out to the city from there.

Diagon Alley

"That's it up ahead. The Leaky Cauldron. It's a very famous wizarding pub, and there's an entrance to Diagon Alley in the back. The Cauldron serves both food and drinks, and it has rooms to let on the upper floors," Ella explained.

The party had successfully navigated their way from the park to the train, then the Underground into London, and finally up to the entrance of the wizarding world. While normally a group of seventeen children parading through London would draw attention, Harry had managed to cast a charm about the group; Ella called it a Notice-Me-Not Charm, similar to what magic folk used to hide things from Muggles. She was in awe that Harry did it without a wand.

"That's a famous place?" "Looks awfully dirty!" "People actually eat in there?" came from the girls.

"Well, it's supposed to look that way!" Ella defended. "We can't have Trolls and dragons hanging out right in plain sight! With the place looking like this, nobody would go inside even if they could see past the charms and wards. Trust me, the wizarding world gets much more impressive than this. Just wait until you see Gringotts!" She frowned for a moment. "Just to warn you, the magic world may seem to be a hundred years or so behind the times. Most places still use gas lighting, if they aren't still using wall torches and candles. Electricity usually doesn't work around magic, so you won't see any electric lights."

Harry and his fifteen Squib girlfriends followed Ella through the doors of the Leaky Cauldron and out to the alley in back. Before anyone could complain, she drew her wand and touched it to the specific bricks that opened the portal to the hidden world. "Ladies and Harry, welcome to Diagon Alley!"

The now stunned children walked slowly through the portal, their eyes darting from one amazing sight to the next. There were stores selling broomsticks, cauldrons of all types, owls of all sizes, and all sorts of strange and disgusting potions ingredients. They saw things that they had never known existed, and things they had only seen before in movies about magic. It was amazing to realize that so many of these things were actually real.

"We're going to that big white building over there," said Ella. "That's Gringotts." She led them to the building, and the girls managed to disturb the normally impassive Goblin guards by cooing over how "cute" they were. Once past the outer doors they all read the words in silver above the inner doors—a clever warning in a rhyme, which was also a spell that the reader cast upon himself. Inside, over a hundred Goblins were working at various counters, exchanging money, weighing gold nuggets, and examining gemstones. Grabbing Harry's arm, Ella pulled him up to a free Goblin teller.

"May I help you?" the Goblin sneered.

"Hello," Harry greeted him. "I was informed that I was needed here. My parents may have had accounts with your bank at the time of their deaths. I was hoping you could help me determine if this is so, tell me why I'm needed, and access my accounts should they prove to exist." He looked a bit embarrassed. "I'm afraid I don't have a key or anything, but I would hope that clever beings like Goblins would have a method for replacing lost keys."

"Indeed. And what is your name, sir?" asked the rather fierce-looking Goblin. For an answer Harry lifted his hair from his forehead, revealing the trademark scar to the teller. "I see. Griphook!" the Goblin called. "Griphook here can explain the lost-key retrieval procedure, Mr. Potter, as well as help you with any withdrawals you need to make today. He will, of course, need to verify your identity."

"Naturally," grinned Harry. "It wouldn't do to hand over gold to just anyone, now would it?"

"Indeed, Mr. Potter," grinned the Goblin. "Griphook, please take care of Mr. Potter and his...entourage," said the teller, nodding toward the herd of girlfriends waiting in the lobby. "Perhaps a private room is in order. It has been a pleasure to make your acquaintance, Mr. Potter. If you need further assistance beyond that which Griphook can provide, my name is Grimshard."

"The pleasure is mine, Grimshard. Hello, Griphook. Shall we retire to that private room now?"

"Yes, sir. If you and your party would follow me, I have a private room ready for you. A rather large one, given the size of your entourage."

After Harry and the girls were settled around a large conference table, Griphook placed a special parchment and quill pen down before Harry. "This, Mr. Potter, is a variation of a Blood Quill. It is designed to use the writer's own blood, magically extracted, as its ink. The parchment is charmed to create your family tree, using a combination of your blood, your magical signature, and the extensive bloodline records maintained by Gringotts. Just sign your name here at the bottom and the parchment will verify your family line, Mr. Potter."

"Will this hurt?" he asked.

"Only for a moment, after which the injury will heal over. It takes numerous repetitions with a Blood Quill to cause permanent injury."

"Right, then, let's get this part over with." Harry signed the bottom of the parchment, wincing as his signature was cut into the back of his hand for a moment. As the cut healed over, lines began to appear on the parchment. His family tree was being written before his eyes—his parents' names, then their parents', and so on. The names continued to span further and further back, the parchment growing longer and wider as more and more ancestors were revealed.

Eventually they reached the end of Gringotts' records and the detailed family tree sank into the parchment. In its place a list of wizarding family names and their vault numbers began to appear on the page. Harry saw the Potter name, as well as several others. A few of them were rather strange sounding. "Gryffindor? Hufflepuff? Ravenclaw? Slytherin?" he read aloud. "What kind of names are these?"

"Rather famous ones, actually," said Ella. "Those are four of the most powerful wizarding bloodlines out there. The Founders of those lines also founded Hogwarts over a thousand years ago. And you are apparently the primary heir to all four families!"

"Yes. There was another heir to the Slytherin family fortunes, but he ceased to be on the night he attempted to kill you, Mr. Potter." Griphook grinned evilly. "You appear to now own all shares of the wizarding world's most prestigious institution of higher learning, Your Grace."

"Huh?"

"Harry! You own Hogwarts!" squealed Ella.

"Now, you appear to be the heir to six major vaults, plus another seventeen minor accounts..." Griphook began.

Harry took it all in in a daze. The older girls had taken notebooks out of their bags and were taking copious notes.

Eventually Harry and the girls were left alone for a moment while Griphook went to investigate why Harry had only just now gotten his statement.

Griphook returned with a larger, older Goblin, introducing him as Director Ragnok.

Harry eyed Ragnok and asked, "So why have we—I—not received my statements…Director?" Ella had elbowed him softly, which Harry took to mean this was an important Goblin.

Ragnok smiled, displaying an impressive array of pointy teeth. "Lord Potter, it appears there was some type of verbal agreement between your account manager and Albus Dumbledore. Your original account manager died and the newly appointed one has resumed normal practice, forwarding your statement and a request for instructions. I can assure you that your accounts will be handled with the highest level of diligence Gringotts can provide from now on. All of your accounts."

Ella leaned into Harry. "Dumbledore is the Headmaster of Hogwarts."

Harry nodded. "Ragnok, why was Dumbledore watching my accounts, and who is my account manager?"

"I do not know why, Lord Potter. Oh, I could speculate, but we are performing an audit of your accounts as we speak to determine if anything untoward has happened. Given your level and stature in the wizarding world, it was felt that you should receive the best possible service. I will be leading a team of managers in overseeing your accounts, Lord Potter, all of them."

The discussions continued for a while before Harry nodded, satisfied. Ragnok heaved an internal sigh of relief. He would have the idiots who had perpetrated this fraud smoked, jerked, and packaged before he was happy, but apparently His Grace, Lord Potter, had other fish to fry right now. Pretty little fish they were, too. Very tasty-looking.

When Harry and the girls walked out of Gringotts they each carried a magically lightened pouch full of wizarding gold and Harry carried a Barclays card, a black Barclays card. Harry, as it turned out, was the heir to a fortune that measured in the billions of Galleons (the gold coins of wizarding currency.) He was incredibly wealthy, and he had chosen to share that wealth with his girls, just as they had always shared whatever they had with him. Besides the coin, he also had a thick stack of Gringotts bank drafts to cover larger expenses, in increments of one thousand, ten thousand, and one hundred thousand Galleons, should the need arise.

"So, Ella, where do you suggest we start shopping?" asked Harry. Like the other girls, she had been given a pouch of gold.

"If we're going to do some heavy-duty shopping, then I suggest we start with luggage. In the magical world you can obtain trunks that can hold a great number of possessions. There are more expensive models that are feather-light, and some can even shrink down small enough to carry in your pocket. Since money really isn't an issue for you, I think such a trunk would be an excellent place to start."

"Bloody brilliant! To the luggage store!"

The minor mob moved off down the alley.

"Hello, how may I assist you today? Looking for a school trunk?" asked a rather cheerful-looking man, apparently a salesman (or was that sales-wizard?) for the store.

"Ah, yes. Hello," Harry greeted him, laying on the Potter charm. "My lovely young friends and I are in fact looking to purchase trunks. We decided to make a group outing out of it. Now, I understand you can provide some more advanced models of trunks. Ella here recommended your fine establishment as she recalled this shop having several trunks with the latest in security features and feather-weight and resizing charms, not to mention the very largest in expanded interiors."

"You do realize that such features are rather expensive additions to a trunk? Also, some of the more advanced security features are restricted to Ministry personnel only—specifically Aurors."

"Really? How peculiar," mused Harry, subtly brushing aside his bangs as he scratched his head in thought. The sales-wizard looked surprised at the sight of the scar. "Despite such restrictions, I'm sure we can come to some sort of accommodation," Harry drawled, casually fanning himself with the Gringotts bank drafts—a hundred thousand-Galleon one clearly visible on the top. "After all, we're just a bunch of children, not a group of hardened criminals or the like."

"Oh, I'm sure those pesky restrictions weren't written to keep things from children." The shopkeeper grinned slyly. "Especially not such a remarkable child as yourself."

"I'm glad we understand one another. Now, what's the best trunk you have? What are the best features? Do you have any models that can be connected internally—so I could move from one expanded interior to another without exiting one trunk to reach the other?" Harry had had a thought come to him.

After about an hour of shopping and negotiating, Harry ended by paying a total of 256,400 Galleons for his and the girls' rather unique trunks. They were an experimental model, something that was being developed to market for the Aurors. These special "satellite" trunks had the ability to "up-link" to specially designed "hub" trunks—something like an internal, totally secure Floo Network that used doorway portals instead of fireplaces. The concept had not really sold well, both because of the prohibitive cost of the central "hub" trunk and the vast amounts of magical power needed to activate or forge the up-link portals. Luckily for Harry, he was an extremely powerful young wizard, fully capable of initiating the up-links. It would take a bit of time to figure out the easiest method, but he wasn't worried about it. He was sure he could do it, and for now that was enough.

Both the hub and satellite trunks were magically protected, self-shrinkable (i.e., no wand needed), feather-light, expanded on the inside, and shielded from the Ministry's magical monitoring. The satellite trunks had three oversized compartments and a fourth that was a studio apartment, while the hub trunk had the equivalent of a small mansion inside. Ella informed him that the shielding feature alone was worth the price, since it would allow underage witches and wizards to practice magic during the summer (something she herself could not do at present).

The hub trunk had rooms to suit many purposes. There was a potions lab, an apothecary storeroom, a library (currently empty), several workrooms for various spellcrafting tasks, a greenhouse (how that worked Harry couldn't figure out, but the room was full of what appeared to be sunlight), gardens, and an exercise room. In addition to these special rooms were a full complement of normal ones: kitchen, pantry, dining room, bath, master chambers, smaller suites and bedrooms, study, office, lounge, and even a game room. There were several empty rooms that could be customized later. Finally there was a long, narrow hallway full of doors, one hundred in all, which could be linked to satellite trunks.

Planning for the future, Harry purchased a full one hundred satellite trunks, fifteen of which were given to his Squib girls (Ella wasn't part of the group yet, so she didn't get one). Since the remaining eighty-five trunks were not connected to the trunk network, Harry was able to store them in one of the unfurnished rooms. Already he had vague plans for using the excess trunks to create his own private transportation network. After all, he had inherited multiple real estate locations.

Now that they had their own private space, they would need to furnish all the rooms. They would need beds, couches, chairs, tables, linens, carpets, and all the rest. Thankfully, Harry was filthy stinking rich. The girls would be able to furnish their new apartments as well as Harry's secret mansion. Harry's main concern was stocking up the apothecary, potions lab, greenhouse, and libraries.

Taking a great risk but trusting his girls implicitly, he set the Squib girls free to shop in Diagon Alley while he had Ella guide him through the rest of her school supply list (she had already received her Hogwarts letter). Once they were finished he intended to visit all the stores from which the girls had made purchases and transfer the larger items into the trunks. Soon enough Ella had managed to get everything she needed, including a full stock of potions material and supplies. Harry had duplicated her purchases several times over, except for his wizarding clothes and his wand, which they hadn't gotten to yet.

"Harry, do you think it was wise to turn the girls loose with that much money?" asked Ella, his guide to all things magical, as they stopped outside a large shop with the name, Ollivander's, across the entrance in gold letters.

"Um...probably not, now that you mention it." Harry sighed. "I'll just have to hope they don't get into too much trouble before they're finished." He opened the door politely and followed Ella into the shop.

"I thought I'd be seeing you rather later, Mr. Potter." The voice came out of the shadows behind them, scaring the daylights out of both Ella and Harry. Mr. Ollivander emerged from his hiding place to gaze at Harry with disturbing silver-white eyes. "It seems like only yesterday that your parents were in here buying their first wands."

"Mr. Ollivander, I presume?" Harry interrupted. With fifteen girls running rampant through the Alley, he didn't want to waste time on drawn-out stories about the past. Now that he knew the way, he could come back on his own to hear them. "If I may ask, are there any Ministry restrictions on how many wands a wizard may own?" Having just one wand seemed rather...stupid. They were made of wood! A thin wooden rod was rather breakable.

"Such an odd question for such a young wizard, Mr. Potter. Truthfully there is no legal restriction, since very few people are able to bond to more than one wand at a time. In fact, after finding their first match few seldom even think about obtaining another unless their first wand is somehow damaged. However, it is rare for a wand to share its wizard—for it is the wand that chooses the wizard, not the other way round."

"Really?" Harry asked. Now, why would it matter... "So I'd hazard a guess that a wand needs to be compatible with the wizard in question...magic to magic, so to speak." Yes, that makes sense, he thought. "And an incompatible wand would give a wizard unreliable, possibly even unpredictable results? Possibly even no result at all?" Mr. Ollivander nodded. "But couldn't a wizard find that one particular wand would be best suited for a certain branch of magic, while another wand would be better suited for a different branch—for instance, one wand being better for Charms and another for Transfiguration, yet both working well for the wizard in question?"

"My, my, Mr. Potter. You are a most unusual young wizard," Mr. Ollivander beamed. "You are also very correct. Certain wands are predisposed for Charms, Transfiguration, or even the Darker arts. Both the type of wood and the core itself lend themselves towards certain magics. Swishy wands tend to be better for Charms work—which can be a more delicate magic—while stronger, more rigid wands often favor Transfiguration. You have a keen grasp of magical theory, Mr. Potter."

"Could you recommend any volumes on the theory and practice of wandmaking? I find myself to be insatiably interested in the various ways in which woods and cores interact. I'd like to read a bit further on the mechanics, if you will, behind magic wands."

"I believe I could round up a few pertinent volumes to quench your thirst for knowledge. But first we need to find your wand, Mr. Potter." Mr. Ollivander took out a tape measure and began to take various measurements. "Which is your wand hand?"

"I'm right-handed, but I've learned to make almost full use of my left," replied Harry. "Now, if a wand needs to properly resonate with my own magical signature, then it would stand to reason that it would respond to a release of my magic. The wand or wands suitable to me would be sensed by me upon such an unleashing of magical energy." Ollivander nodded slightly to himself. Harry continued, "Well, let's see how that works."

Harry summoned up a pulse of his raw magic, and released it in a minor shock wave that raced through the wand shop. As it expanded outward he felt a sort of echo bounce back at him from several locations. Mr. Ollivander looked on with interest as Harry used this magical sonar method to seek out those wands that resonated with his signature. He then went down the aisles to collect the wand boxes that had returned his magical call.

"These seem to respond to me, sir," Harry informed the wand maker.

"Very well, Mr. Potter. Let us see how well you theory has translated into reality," stated Mr. Ollivander. The first wand was very swishy, made from willow. "A good one for Charms work," noted the wandmaker. The next was made from a rather rigid oak and "A rather powerful Transfiguration wand," according to the expert. He had five more "specialty" wands, made from rowan, aspen, walnut, ebony, and wormwood. These were suited for Healing, Shielding/Warding, Dueling, Jinxes/Hexes/Curses, and Dark Arts, respectively. Mr. Ollivander looked a bit concerned by the last, but somehow Harry Potter did not seem the type to fall victim to the addictive qualities of the Darker magics.

The final wand he had selected was what Harry would come to call his "all-purpose" wand. It was made from holly and had a Phoenix tailfeather for its core. This wand was the best overall match, as it resonated highly with most branches of magic. (The specific-use wands resonated more highly in their own branches and quite a bit lower in all the others.) It was this wand, however, that drew Mr. Ollivander's interest the most.

"Curious. Most curious indeed," the wandmaker mused to himself.

"Pardon, Mr. Ollivander, but what's so curious about this wand?" asked Harry. He had a total of eight wands. Why would this one be so much more unusual than the other seven?

"Mr. Potter, I remember every wand I have ever sold. Every single one. The curious thing is that the Phoenix whose tailfeather resides in your holly wand gave another feather—just one other. It is indeed curious that this wand was destined for your use, when its brother gave you that scar." He pointed to Harry's forehead. "Though I suppose I should have expected it, given the source of the feathers in your other wands."

"Oh?" asked Harry. "And where did those Phoenix tailfeathers come from?"

"Your other wands, Mr. Potter, are all sibling wands. Sister wands, to be precise. You see, the feathers in each of them all came from the same Phoenix. As I understand it, those seven feathers were the only ones given by a certain female Phoenix, who happens to be the firstborn child of he who gave the other two feathers."

"That is interesting," agreed Harry. "So my special-purpose wands are child-wands to my primary one?"

Olivander blinked then smiled "You could say that. I shall be expecting great things from you, Mr. Potter. After all, He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named did great things as well. Terrible, but great."

"Wow!" squeaked Ella, who had until then remained forgotten in the shadows. "You have almost the same wand as You-Know-Who!"

"You do realize that's the most ridiculous thing to call him, don't you? Didn't the guy have a first name?" asked Harry. "Somehow I doubt that his parents named him 'Lord'. It sounds like something he made up himself."

"He was not always known by the name which inspires such fear in the hearts of witches and wizards the world over, Mr. Potter," replied Mr. Ollivander. "Once upon a time I sold a yew wand with a Phoenix feather core to a young Muggle-raised boy named Tom Marvolo Riddle. Over time, that boy was replaced by the Dark menace who met his end at your childhood home, Mr. Potter."

"Thanks for the info, Mr. Ollivander. Now, before we settle up, do you happen to sell wand holsters? I find that I need one. Make that several. Oh, and do you have those books you mentioned?"

Mr. Ollivander did have several wand holsters available, including a customized design that could hold up to ten wands. It was a model requested by Aurors to hold the wands of prisoners. Harry purchased two—one for his wands, and one for just in case. After collecting several books, and the titles of several more for purchase elsewhere, he handed Mr. Ollivander a nice little pile of gold for the items. He then added a small bonus for the information about the Dark Lord once named Tom. Before he left the shop Harry installed a magic of his own on Ollivander to keep him from mentioning to whom he had sold the wands. Ollivander's head snapped up at this unexpected attack, but it was too late; he could do nothing. Ollivander sighed, this wasn't the only customer who had security concerns. He would have gladly offered an oath. Oh well, it seemed to be only a loyalty charm of some sort, so no harm done. At least the boy hadn't tried to Obliviate him.

"Well, we've got some time before you can start collecting the girls," Ella began. "Why don't we go get you a pet?"

"Okay. Your letter said first years can have a cat, a toad, or an owl. I wouldn't want to leave my pet behind in a few years, so any recommendations?" asked Harry.

"Well, toads aren't really popular any more. I hear they were rather fashionable about a hundred years ago, but that was a bit of a fad, really. Cats are good, since they can learn to boost some magics. Oh, and they keep rats away from your dorm. However, most people go for owls. Magic folk use owls to carry their mail—sometimes they also use eagles, hawks, or falcons, but owls are the best. There's a store down the street that sells owls and owl accessories."

"Wizards accessorize their owls?" chuckled Harry.

"Not like that!" scoffed Ella. "I mean things like cages, perches, and owl treats."

"Ah! Cool. Let's go take a look at owls, then. Maybe I'll find one that suits me." Harry let Ella lead him over to Eeylops Owl Emporium. Inside, they found all sorts of owls, from tiny screech owls that fit in one's hand to enormous eagle owls that could crush a man's head with their mighty talons. "See anything you like?" she asked after several minutes of browsing.

"It's not so much seeing as feeling," replied Harry, who was currently standing in the center of the store with his eyes closed. He had started feeling the owls as soon as he walked in; he hadn't known what it was, but he had puzzled it out quickly.

"That's okay. So do any of these owls 'feel' right to you?" Ella asked.

"I like the feeling I get off the snowy owl in the back corner." Both children walked over to the owl in question. It was a female, possessed of a rather dignified stance for a post owl. "You seem like a nice owl to me, girl. So what do you think?" The owl looked at Harry, cocking her head from side to side as she eyed him carefully. Finally she bobbed her head once in acceptance of her new master. "Well, come on up." He held out his arm and the owl hopped on, then climbed up onto his shoulder.

"That's kind of freaky," admitted Ella. "I've never seen an owl take to somebody that quickly."

"What can I say?" asked Harry. "I want my owl to be the smartest one out there!" At his words, a burst of magic flared out from him, surrounding his as yet unpurchased owl. She appeared to glow for a moment, then resumed her normal look.

"Hey!" shouted the proprietor. "You start messing with an owl, you'd best be buying it!"

"Uh...sorry about that, sir," replied Harry. "I'm not exactly sure what I just did...but I already intended to purchase this fine owl. So no real harm done. I also need a cage, a couple of sturdy perch stands, and of course several boxes of owl treats." His soon-to-be owl hooted happily. "Like owl treats, do you, girl?" She nipped his ear affectionately.

"You're one freaky kid, Harry," whispered Ella. "I like you and all that, but you're rather strange."

"Thanks, I think," grinned Harry.

"Can we look in the Magical Menagerie?" asked Ella. "My folks won't let me have an owl, but they might accept a cat. Now that I have a bit of spending money," she held up her bulging belt purse, "I hope to find one I like."

"Lead on, Gunga Din!"

"You're impossible!" chuckled Ella.

They moved farther down the Alley, waving to the Squib girls who ran here and there on their spending sprees. The pair could hear and smell the Menagerie before they could see it. So many animals in such a confined space was like a miniature zoo. When they stepped inside, it was like nothing Harry had ever seen before.

There were sleek black rats that were busy performing all sorts of tricks inside their cages. He saw several types of cats, some cat-like creatures called Kneazles, and a variety of cat-sized mammals. Along the side wall were enormous purple toads, neon-orange poisonous snails, and a vicious-looking lizard. In the window was a large tortoise with a shell covered in precious gemstones. And deep in the back he found several breeds of snakes.

Ella was busy looking at the felines, so Harry went over to the snakes. For years now he had felt a sort of communion with the legless reptiles. "His" park back in Surrey was full of them, and they seemed to obey his wish that they avoid the many children who played there.

:I'm so bored,: one of the snakes seemed to complain.

:Why complain?: hissed another. :It's warm here, the wizard brings us mice, and nothing can eat us. What more do you want?:

:Don't mind her,: said a third. :She's shedding again. You know how shedding one's skin makes one ill-tempered.: There were hisses of agreement.

"What would you do if you were free?" Harry whispered.

:I would find something to eat other than mice.: The small, bright-green snake reared up to look at Harry. :One grows so tired of mice.:

"I know of a nice park. It's rather sunny, and it has a pond with many small frogs," said Harry.

:And birds? I always enjoyed a nice bird.:

"Yes, there are many birds there, too."

:I think I would like that place.:

"If you'll let me, I can take you there," said Harry.

:I will trust you, wizard.: Harry opened the small snake's cage and the little female snake slithered up his arm, curling herself around his left bicep. :Take me to your park now.: He took the snake to the counter, where Ella was paying for an adorable cream-colored kitten.

"Find something to your liking?" he asked.

"Yes! Isn't she adorable?" asked Ella. "I'm going to name her Andromeda. So, did you find anyth—aargh!" Ella jumped back as the small snake peeked out from under the sleeve of Harry's shirt. "What is that?"

"Oh her? She's just hitching a ride out of here," said Harry. :This is my friend, Ella,: he said to the snake. :Please don't bite her.:

:As you wish, wizard.:

"Harry! You can talk to snakes?" squeaked Ella. "Bloody hell, you're a Parselmouth!"

"I'm a what?"

"Parselmouth. You can talk to snakes!"

"Oh, that. I didn't know there was a name for it. Is that a problem?"

"Um...you may want to keep it a secret. Talking to snakes is considered to be Dark magic. From what I've heard, You-Know-Who was a Parselmouth."

"In that case let's just keep this between the two of us." Harry enforced this suggestion with the same magic Ollivander had felt moments ago.

He spent the next three hours moving from store to store, settling up accounts for items purchased by his girls, shrinking items. No one had told him he couldn't do magic yet! Also, he didn't use his wand, any of them. Harry was used to doing everything without a wand, and since he had seen several versions of shrinking charms now he just powered through. Once he had shrunk the items the girls moved them into various trunks, where they restored them to their normal sizes. Harry was rather surprised by the amount of money fifteen young women could spend in so short a time. It was enough to beggar a moderately wealthy family.

After settling up at Flourish and Blotts bookstore, Obscurus Books, Scribbulus Everchanging Inks, Slug & Jiggers Apothecary, the cauldron shop, Gambol & Japes wizarding joke shop, the junk shop, and several furniture and furnishings shops, he led his herd of girlfriends over to Madam Malkin's Robes for All Occasions. The girls all wanted witch clothing, and he needed to get himself some wizarding robes.

"Harry, are you really going to buy us clothes?"

"Can we get anything we want?"

"I think the robes the witches wear are awesome!"

"Do you know how a magical seamstress does a fitting?"

"Girls, girls! Let's just go inside and find out!" He led them inside, where the proprietress, Madam Malkin, looked rather shocked by the number of customers entering. "Hello. Madam Malkin, I presume? The girls and I find ourselves in need of some non-Muggle clothing."

"Oh, my! There are so many of you! This may take some time."

"Not to worry, ma'am. I can assure you you'll be well compensated for your time." Harry flashed her the remaining bank drafts. "My girls want to get new robes, and I mean to get them new robes."

"Of course, sir," agreed a suddenly much more pleasant seamstress. "Now, why don't the young ladies take a look at what I have available while I begin taking everyone's measurements?" Upon hearing that, the girls all dashed over to the clothing racks and began rooting through displays of robes, dresses, skirts, and blouses. "Oh! Oh, dear!" the witch exclaimed, taken aback by the flurry of activity.

"Just let them browse, ma'am, while you start measuring me," instructed Harry. "I need some nice robes for everyday and one set for formal wear. The ladies will need...well, whatever strikes their fancy. We'll put your shop back to rights before we leave."

By the time they left Madam Malkin's, the shop was nearly picked bare. Each girl now had several witchy outfits, and they each donned one set of robes to wear around the Alley. Harry, too, donned a set of robes—he made quite a good-looking young wizard, despite the infamously messy Potter hair. In spite of the devastation to her inventory, Madam Malkin was one happy (if exhausted) witch. Such a large sales day meant her profits were way up for the month. And most of the Hogwarts students hadn't even purchased their school robes yet! Best of all, these were growing children, so they would need wardrobe updates for years to come—and, as good as his word, Harry and the girls had straightened and cleaned the shop on the way out the door. Madam Malkin blinked. Circe! Next to no inventory left, and the last Hogwarts letters going out to the first years tomorrow!

After finishing their shopping spree, Harry and the girls headed back to Surrey. The rest of their summer and the next three years would be spent delving through the many magical tomes he had purchased that day and would supplement in the following years with works he would purchase and discover in the libraries of his several properties. With his already developed magical skills and self-discovered magical theory, Harry was able to progress rapidly through the first year materials. The girls were an asset in codifying further theories and laws of the various branches of magic. Ella was a godsend because she had already sat through the lectures; she wrote long letters, answering any and all questions. Harry finally folded his first witch into the group and gave her a trunk before September first of her third year.

With the deluxe potions-brewing equipment he had purchased, Harry and the girls managed to brew up many useful concoctions. The books he had found detailed common potions mistakes, the basic, intermediate, and advanced rules of ingredients, flame temperatures, and stirring, and explained why certain ingredients could not be combined, why specific temperatures were required, and what quick clockwise stirring could do that a slower counter-clockwise one could not. The rules were detailed and complex, but knowing them made Potions a much easier subject to practice.

Astronomy was simplified by the large crystal model of the galaxy he had indulged himself in. He could readily call up the constellations for any given day whenever he wanted. The placement of the heavenly bodies could influence magics, especially potions, herbology, and divination. Care of certain magical creatures sometimes depended on lunar cycles—werewolves, for example. And the moon's pull sometimes drastically changed the properties of certain potions ingredients, thereby determining when they could be harvested.

Charms and Transfiguration turned out to be more of a case of mind over matter. After careful study, one of the girls—a shy redhead named Jamie—determined that all the incantations and wand movements were little more than mnemonic devices to help under-powered witches and wizards focus their power on the task at hand. Spells, hexes, jinxes, curses, and the like could be performed without speech or wand movements. All that was required was a more intense mental discipline—a firmer focus, if you will. Several of the more advanced books mentioned this, but few in the magical community ever bothered to learn the discipline to accomplish silent magic, let alone to cast spells without wand movements.

Healing turned out to be a mix of spellcasting and potion brewing. Both Herbology and Care of Magical Creatures were rather self-explanatory. For that matter, so were Ancient History, Muggle Studies, Defense Against the Dark Arts, and Divination.

Arithmancy and Ancient Runes were rather interesting, despite not being offered until the third year. The first dealt with applying mathematical principles to spellwork. With it, one could measure and refine a known spell or even craft an entirely new magical effect. The latter branch detailed how to inscribe magical effects into symbols of power. When combined together, these two branches of study allowed for the creation of magical artifacts, including such items as Pensieves and Time-Turners.

Drawing from all the source information they had available, Harry and the girls began to simplify and condense the principles and theories of magic into new instructional texts. They were the first books written that taught magic from a Muggle perspective, drawing on references to popular fiction, scientific examples, and other Muggle cultural examples.

The pack of them became a familiar sight as they cruised Diagon and Knockturn alleys as well as the other magical shopping districts, including Rue De Magic in Paris from Ravenclaw's townhouse, and several wizards learned the hard way to steer clear of them. There was no cure for having your bits crushed when you persisted in touching one of Harry's girls.

Harry also read the articles from the Daily Prophet's morgue, familiarizing himself with the history of his family. Something just didn't ring true.

The group discovered Harry's properties and put a trunk at each one. Some of the minor families' properties included house-elves. What a surprise that had been; but now the elves were maintaining all the properties and apparently breeding like rabbits. Harry had told the senior elves he didn't mind if they had children as long as they didn't have more than the properties could support. He might have to modify that soon.

Ella was right about Neville Longbottom: he was a prat. Harry had seen him in the Alley a couple of times now, and while Harry tried to be friendly, the other boy treated him like a servant.

Harry spent some time in the trunk with the Hogwarts witches he had taken into the group, Ella's circle of friends, especially the Slytherins. They were very well informed and schooled in the pure-blood proprieties. The witches at Hogwarts swore their friends to silence and allowed them to use the trunk network if they needed it. As the years went by the Hogwarts witches could be found in the trunks more and more often. Harry winkled out of them the information that the wizards at Hogwarts had trouble taking no for an answer sometimes. Well, some of them. The girls and Harry designed various strategies and devices for the witches, the chastity panties that gave nasty shocks being a favorite. Mace hadn't gone over so well. Harry had to treat a few witches for bruises and minor injuries after one or two of them fought off a wizard and he nearly went through to Hogwarts to find the wizard involved. The girls had only just managed to keep him back.

Generally the trunks provided an escape for the witches if they needed it, and this was appreciated and used. The witches could also move from one dorm to the other in them if they needed to, and it offered them a chance stay out of their dorms and common rooms for a while.

Almost before they knew it, September 1, 1991, had arrived.

Chapter Two

Hogwarts Express

Harry and the girls had spent most of the last three years working in the trunk network and at Harry's properties after Harry figured out how to connect the satellite trunks to the central one, the "hub". Harry had placed a satellite trunk at each property. After spending time exploring the properties and their environs, Harry and the girls settled in and started to work.

All of the books purchased from Diagon Alley and found in the various libraries were carefully sorted, copied, and organized in the library of Potter Manor and the hub trunk, where many of the girls could be found reading up on various subjects. Many also spent their time in the developing greenhouse, the gardens, or the potions lab.

Since potions brewing was one of the most impressive branches of magic that Squibs could readily use, Harry soon had a rather impressive stockpile of beginner-level potions. The girls had thigh holsters containing vials of the potions that had defensive value and a stun gun. This, of course, necessitated wearing skirts, of which Harry approved wholeheartedly. He was apparently a leg man. The girls took great delight in having Harry 'do up' their thigh holsters under their short skirts, totally unnecessarily.

Compounds that were more difficult to brew were being added daily, as more successful potions and fewer explosions were produced. Taking a page out of Muggle books, Harry's potion lab included such safety features as a ventilation hood, dragonhide aprons, impervious goggles, and charmed glass, lexan, plastic transparent armor barriers. As a result, very few potion "failures" needed magical healing or countermeasures.

Harry had, however, gotten a semi-retired mediwitch on retainer because of the potions lab and in case the witches from Hogwarts or his girls needed her, and she could be trusted not to talk as Harry had applied one of those odd don't-talk-about-Harry magics to her.

The trunk transportation system was able to penetrate the Hogwarts wards, and several fifth year witches, each carefully selected by Ella and vetted by Harry, had joined the group and been given trunks last year, one in each House. Harry was already famous amongst the Hogwarts female students for providing a refuge for witches who were pursued too hotly by wizards, but he was furious with the wizards, especially the Slytherins. The fifth years had groups of witches they helped, mostly those without boyfriends. The magical world placed a high value on relationships, but it had some odd requirements, too. Harry wasn't really ready for those, at least not yet. The girls, however, had been giggling idiots over it all.

A few of the more academically advanced girls had begun to delve into the worlds of Arithmancy and Ancient Runes with the help of the fifth years. Although they could not cast spells or empower runes themselves, they were fully able to research the theories behind their working and design new arrangements for Harry to test out. Once they had finished their calculations, they bribed him to come implement their creations. (The bribes usually involved either kisses or Mars bars, which Harry was always well ready for, or both. Both, if the girls had their way, and they normally did).

Harry actually learned a great deal about casting spells through this rather unique learning method. By first going over the arithmetical mechanics behind a given spell, he was able to figure out not only what a spell was supposed to do but also how and why it worked. Though he wouldn't find out until he reached Hogwarts, his spells were much more focused and powerful than was normal for his age group.

During the end of July and all through August of each year, several additional trips were made into Diagon Alley. Besides the need for additional furniture and the like for each girl's trunk/apartment, the researching children found that they needed additional reference materials, potions ingredients, and magical artifacts to study. Sometimes such artifacts were deconstructed and reverse-engineered in order to find out how they worked, or just to improve the original design.

The girls were delighted to learn that while they couldn't cast spells, even borrowing one of Harry's wands, they were perfectly capable of using magical artifacts. This included items from wizarding joke products all the way up to such items as Pensieves, broomsticks, and Sneakoscopes. Some items, like Pensieves, required Harry to perform certain steps such as actually moving memories into the basin, after which the girls could work on their own.

Within months of Harry linking the trunks, several of the previously empty workshops resembled the junk shops in Diagon Alley. They contained various disassembled items including watches, clocks, Dark magic detectors, omnioculars, moving Quidditch action figures, a wizard chess set, half a dozen Bludgers, several Snitches, two lunascopes, a Put-Outer, a box of Remembralls, a wizarding tent, a regular multiple-compartment trunk, five sets of Gobstones, several decks of Exploding Snap cards, a Secrecy Sensor, and a collection of wizarding wireless receivers. If it used magic, the girls wanted at least one to examine.

Another workshop was set up with every type of magical detector, measuring device, and spell decoder they could find. If it could be used to analyze an enchanted object without a wand, they had it in the reverse-engineering lab. Some of their instruments were modified medical tools, similar to the ones used by mediwitches and mediwizards at St. Mungo's Hospital.

The Squib girls were not restricted to just those items they could find in the Alley. At practically every store they asked for and often obtained owl-order catalogs. Hedwig was kept quite busy delivering orders and returning with shrunken purchases. They even had open accounts in many shops in Knockturn Alley and other areas across Europe and the Caribbean, both light and Dark.

Harry had the house-elves he had found at one of several of the properties roaming the trunks and the properties, cleaning and cooking. They seemed happy creatures and had now had litters of baby elves; Harry had told them over and over that of course it was fine to have children. He had been amazed they would ask, and this had led the girls to delve into the world of house-elves. Apparently the properties were attracting elves who had been released by their masters. Harry was puzzled about this, but the elves seemed to accept it as a matter of course. He found that if he didn't swear these elves they would wander off, getting weaker and weaker until they died, so he swore any new elves that were brought to him, and went about his business. He gave the oldest elf, William, a purse hooked to one of his Gringotts vaults and sent Ragnok instructions to transfer a thousand Galleons into that vault whenever William said he needed money.

Harry had also learned a lot of his family's history and spent hours with the paintings of his parents he had discovered in the Potter Manor library. His mother and father had told him of the end of the war and what had happened at the Longbottom house. Between them they figured that Harry might be the real Boy Who Lived. Lily, Harry's mother, seemed sure that a spell she had cast would have made the Killing Curse rebound off Harry. Neville's parents had been fighting, but Harry's parents didn't know what had happened to them. Whatever the case truly was, Harry was certain that Neville Longbottom wasn't the Boy Who Lived. He had met Neville several times in Knockturn Alley and he acted just like the other pure-blood prats, maybe even worse.

September 1, 1991, rolled around. Harry had made his "family", the Dursleys, rather happy; not only had he informed them that he would be making his own way to King's Cross station but he had hardly been seen at the Dursley residence for the past three years. Ever since his girls had started coming to the Dursley house to find him if he wasn't let out, the Dursleys had adopted a policy of pretending he didn't exist. At the very least they acted as if he was a common boarder. They no longer asked where he went, and he did his best to be gone more than ninety percent of the time. They were a prime example of a dysfunctional family, but somehow they managed to go on. Remembering that touching Harry equaled a trip to hospital helped.

Harry had received his Hogwarts letter and train ticket by owl, along with the vaguest of instructions on how to reach the magical train platform, after sending Hedwig off with his acceptance letter back in July. Luckily Ella was there; she gave him much more detailed instructions on how to find Platform Nine and Three-Quarters. Harry really had to wonder yet again about how the average witch or wizard's mind worked. A fractional number for a train platform? Who came up with these things?

He made the rounds to all the other girls, giving the "public" goodbye before heading off for a year of boarding school. Despite his uncle's desire to spread the story that he was going to an institution for criminally insane boys, Harry told his girls' parents that he had a scholarship to a school for the "gifted". (That cover story still made him chuckle when he pondered the irony of it. Gifted, indeed!)

The girls would see him nearly every evening and on the weekends, thanks to the trunk network, but the adults didn't need to know about that. Their cover was a newly formed center for young girls—sort of a private female-only youth center set up with Harry's money in a house on Wisteria Lane, with a bona fide social worker who worked with anyone who showed up (anyone female, anyway), where they could spend their evenings and weekends in independent study. Harry would just have to bully them into maintaining top grades so the adults would buy the story. The girls had other ideas about how he could get them to study—well, more and more of them did, increasingly often.

Harry took a train to London surrounded by his girls, with all his school gear safely stowed away in his trunk, which was shrunken down to fit into his pocket. He had left Hedwig free to find her own way to Hogwarts. When he asked her how she wanted to travel, she had barked when the flying option was given. So Harry led the girls off the train at Waterloo and onto the Underground, wands hidden in the wrist sheath concealed beneath his shirt sleeve, school supplies tucked away in a hidden trunk, his ticket in his shirt pocket, wallet in the left jeans pocket, and coin purse in the right.

They arrived at Charing Cross after a interesting trip through the Underground. "Wonderful," he murmured to himself, looking at the station's prominent clock. Although he had left early just to be safe, the heavy traffic in the Underground had gotten him there with only fifteen minutes to find and board his train. And he had been hoping for a bit of time to explore! "Oh well," he sighed, leading the girls to the barrier between platforms nine and ten.

Apparently his group wasn't the only one to arrive a bit behind schedule. The other tardy group was a party made up entirely of redheads. There was an adult woman who just had to be the mother of all the children. The eldest child was a somewhat stuffy-looking young man with horn-rimmed glasses and a shiny badge on his chest. He was also the only one with an owl on his trolley. Next in age came a pair of twin boys who had a certain air of mischief about them. Third came a boy about Harry's age who was tall and thin. Lastly was the only female child. Harry could hear her complaining about having to stay behind while her brothers all went off to school.

From the look of her, she would be joining them next year. He judged her age to be no more than a year behind the youngest boy. She was very cute, but what really drew Harry's attention to her was her mane of deep red hair, falling down her back like a waterfall at sunset. Taking the bull by the horns, so to speak, he walked up to the first magical family he would ever meet.

"Hello, beautiful," he practically purred into the girl's ear, leaning in from behind to ensure that only she heard this greeting. She, in turn, squeaked and jumped around to face him. "Hello. My name is Harry. I'm going to be starting my first year at Hogwarts. Will you be joining me on the train?" he asked, knowing full well that she wouldn't. As he spoke he used the training his girls had given him to send out dozens of subtle body language signals to calm and reassure the startled girl.

"Oh, no. I won't be going to school this year," she replied shyly. "My brother Ron is starting this year, but I don't get to go until next year." She practically pouted as she said this, and he thought she looked adorable. "My name is Ginevra Weasley, but everybody calls me Ginny."

"A pleasure to make your acquaintance, o beautiful Ginevra." She blushed at the compliment but smiled widely at his antics. "My full name is—now, please don't laugh or scream or anything—Harry James Potter." Despite his warning she flushed pink, then paled, then blushed a bright red. "Are you all right, Ginevra? Uh...Ginny?" The poor girl appeared to be in shock. Well, he knew a sure-fire way to snap her out of it, but would he be thanked or slapped for the presumption? Oh well, nothing ventured...

Harry leaned in and gently kissed the stunned girl. Unfortunately it was just at that moment that her mother happened to turn to see who her daughter was talking with. "Ginevra Weasley!" bellowed a voice like a force of nature. "What do you think you're doing, young lady?" The fiery matron then focused her rather impressive stern glare upon Harry. "And just who might you be?"

"Mum!" gasped Ginny. "I—I—"

"I'm terribly sorry about that, ma'am," interrupted Harry. "This was entirely my fault. I knew I was risking a slap in the face—or worse—but how can mortal man resist such beauty?" Yeah, he was really laying it on thick. "My apologies, ma'am. I didn't intend to take liberties with your daughter." Both he and Ginny managed to blush at that point.

Harry looked at the station clock and was shocked to see how much time he had spent observing and meeting Ginny. "Er—I really have to go right now. The train, and all that." He took Ginny's hand in his, raising the back of it to his lips. "Until we meet again, fair flower." She blushed again while her mother frowned her disapproval. Harry darted through the barrier and onto the magical platform. His pack of girls followed him, shaking their heads and smiling.

As he crossed he could hear Ginny saying, "...but he's Harry Potter!" Boy, would he like to have heard the rest of that conversation!

The platform was just as Ella had described: the bright red steam engine, owls flying all over and cats running here and there, not to mention the chaos of students saying farewell to their families. It was a scene unlike anything he had ever seen in the Muggle world, yet somehow it had a feeling of familiarity.

Harry kissed his girls goodbye and Ella ran off to find the Hogwarts crew. As Harry approached the train he saw a young girl struggling to drag an oversized trunk on board. Several older students wearing green-trimmed school robes were making fun of her bushy hair, her large front teeth, and her general inability to move her own trunk. They were being needlessly cruel, and the poor girl was on the verge of tears. At a glance Harry had her pegged as the scholastic, brainy type—the kind of girl who spent all her time with books, blew the bell curve in all her classes, and had no real friends.

She was also the type of quiet girl who could become a rather passionate woman. He had no interest in such things yet, but he was aware that that would change in a few years. Other than the teeth, she was a rather cute girl—and oversized teeth could easily be fixed with a simple potion. Now, if only her personality was as attractive as the rest of her...

"Say, did you all forget how to cast a Feather-Light Charm over the summer holidays?" he asked of the girl's tormentors, using a simple question to mock them. "Not to worry! I read about it just last week!" With a flick of his wrist, the holly wand shot out of the holster and into his hand. After a gentle wave of his wand, the girl suddenly lifted her near-weightless trunk with ease. "I'm rather surprised that even if you couldn't remember the charm, none of you would simply lift it for this gentle maiden." The obviously Slytherin students just glared at him. "Of course, I guess I shouldn't expect so much from children who lack a respectable family background."

"I'll have you know, little boy, that my family is one of the oldest, most noble pure-blood lines," snorted the leader of the little gang.

"You descend from a noble family? With piss-poor manners like that?" Harry feigned surprise.

"Manners are something inferiors use to show respect to their betters," retorted the leader. "When you are from an obviously superior pure-blood family, you don't humble yourself to your social inferiors."

"Really?" asked Harry, pretending to be interested in what the older boy said. "No manners toward your inferiors? Huh! Well, if that's how things work in the wizarding world..." He shrugged, then whipped his wand toward the Slytherin students and blasted them off their feet. "Out of my way, inferior scum!" He stepped over the sprawled students, relieved the girl of her trunk, and guided her into the train's corridor. Upon finding an open compartment he escorted her inside, setting her luggage into one of the overhead racks. He then retrieved a handkerchief and handed it to his companion.

"Oh, thank you ever so much!" she said. "Those boys were just—just awful! I hope most of the students are nothing like them."

"So tell me, fair maiden," Harry began, making her blush, "do you think any of them will comprehend the irony in what I just did?"

"You mean the way they told you how to treat inferiors, then you treating them that ay? No, probably not." She grinned at him. As he had noted before, only her over-sized front teeth detracted from her looks. The bushy hair should have, but somehow on her it just worked. And after all, it wasn't like he didn't understand wild hair! Still, she was very pretty when she smiled. Her whole face lit up. "I'm Hermione Granger, first witch in the family," she introduced herself.

"Muggle-born? How wonderful! My parents were magical; Mum was a Muggle-born, but events led to me being raised as a Muggle by my relatives. My name's Potter. Harry Potter."

"Watch James Bond movies much?" she giggled.

"Why, Moneypenny, whatever do you mean by that?" he teased. She giggled even more. "My girlfriends made me watch them originally. They claimed I should be able to relate to the main character, given my manner with the ladies."

"You have a girlfriend?" frowned Hermione.

"Actually, that was girlfriends, as in plural," he said matter-of-factly. "I couldn't decide on just one of them, and they decided to share me. They all claim I'm too much trouble for one girl to handle...do you think I should take offense at that?" Hermione looked a bit confused. "Oh, don't worry. There's always room for one more girl on my dance card." He gave her a wink, and she blushed a very pretty pink. "So, since I played the valiant knight, saving the fair maiden from the vicious trolls—" she giggled— "will I be receiving the standard reward?" Hermione blushed past pink and into the crimson range, but still leaned over and placed a chaste kiss on his cheek.

Harry didn't really do chaste very well, though. Before she could pull back, he turned his head until her lips were on his. She tried to jump back, but he had strategically wrapped his arms around her back and was able to keep her captive for a few more moments. His considerable kissing experience came into play, and Hermione found herself relaxing into her very first kiss (outside of family), her only romantic kiss so far in life. She relaxed against him while he taught by example the basics of kissing.

"Thank you, fair—or should I say sweet?—Hermione," he stated after ending their first kiss.

"Wow!" she blurted. "That was—and you—we just—I feel—wow!"

"Will you be my first, first year girlfriend at Hogwarts?" That pulled her out of her shocked babbling. "I'm starting to really like you," Harry went on. "I sense that you and I could be really great together. But I must warn you that if you say yes, you'll have to share me with my other girls...and probably with a few more once we get to school. If you want me, you'll have to learn to share."

"What—at the same time?" she gasped, broaching a possibility that he had not yet considered.

"Well, I hadn't really thought of it that way, but in a few years...it might be fun!" he laughed.

"You're so bad!" she scolded. Reading her posture and expressions like a book, Harry could tell that this normally reserved girl was deciding to do something wild and impulsive. He guessed that what she'd felt during their kiss was making her curious, confused, and just a bit daring. "Um...I can't believe I'm doing this, but...okay, I'll be your girl—even if I do have to share you!"

There was a sudden change in her expression, and he could tell her mind had suddenly kicked into high gear. "Wait a minute! You're the Harry Potter! I've read all about you! You're in Modern Magical History as well as The Rise and Fall of the Dark Arts, and Great Wizarding Events of the Twentieth Century! You and Neville Longbottom."

"I'm that Harry Potter? Thanks for telling me," he teased. "I thought I was the other one." She gave him an appropriate look and rolled her eyes theatrically. Harry snickered. "See, that's what I like about you. You don't take any of my bull, but you still find it amusing. Somehow I just know you'll rein in my wilder impulses. Without my other girls here to keep me grounded, I'll need your help to toe the line."

"Do you only like me because you think I can help you?" He could see the worry in her eyes that he would be like the kids in primary school. They'd only wanted to be her friends right before exams, or when participation in the science fair became mandatory. Hermione was "that" type of girl.

"Actually, I first wanted to get to know you after seeing your cute bum when you were trying to lift your trunk." She blushed. "What do you have in there, anyway?" Hermione looked as if she had taken his question literally and was preparing to list her trunk's contents in detail, so Harry swept hastily on. "No, never mind. So after spotting your cute tush, I got a look at your face. Other than those front teeth—which can be adjusted easily with a reduction potion, did you know?—you're an incredibly cute girl. Then, after I popped my eyes back into my head—" she giggled again— "I was able to take note of your determination in the face of adversity. And now I'm getting to know you. I like what I've learned so far."

"Oh. Well, that's good, then," she said. "For a moment there, I was afraid..."

"...that I only wanted a smart friend?" he finished. She blanched, then blushed a light pink. "I'll admit I do like smart girls," he said frankly, "but I assure you I'm more than capable of doing my own homework. I just find smart girls...attractive."

"That's good, because I'm really smart," she said, then blushed as her own words registered.

"Yes, you certainly are, Hermione," agreed Harry. "Now why don't you come over here beside me and tell me all about yourself?" He held out an arm and she moved across to sit beside him. Harry wrapped his arm around her shoulder, and after a momentary hesitation she settled into his side.

"Well, both of my parents are dentists..."

Harry and Hermione were happily cuddling when the compartment door opened a while later. Several young girls who looked to be fellow first years peeked inside. "Hi. Do you mind if we join you?" asked one. "All the other cars are full, and some of the older students are getting rather noisy. Longbottom is holding forth on his greatness, and Malfoy is being a prat."

"Of course we don't mind!" grinned Harry. "Come right in, join us! There's always more room for beautiful girls." They blushed but came in to sit. Hermione elbowed him in the stomach gently, then rolled her eyes at his blatant flirting. "I'm Harry, and this sweet little thing is my newest girlfriend, Hermione."

"I'm Padma," said a girl who looked to be of Indian descent. She had an exotic beauty.

"Susan," stated a slightly plump girl with strawberry blond hair, currently pulled into a long braid. This one would have a killer figure once she grew into it.

"My name is Daphne," added the pale-skinned, dark-haired beauty with vivid violet eyes who had first spoken. When this one got older she would be dangerous. Even at this young age she possessed a body language that seemed to challenge any male she met. Of course, Harry loved it.

"So would any or all of you ladies be interested in becoming my girlfriends?" Harry grunted when Hermione slapped him in the gut. "Oh, you'll have to share me with my current girlfriends, including Hermione here."

"You don't know the meaning of tact, do you, Harry?" asked the bushy-haired girlfriend.

"Hey, if they're going to take offense this early in our relationship it would probably be a bad idea for us to get involved."

"Why would we want a boyfriend?" asked Daphne. "Boys are stupid, immature berks."

"Let me guess...pure-blood?" queried Harry. Daphne nodded. "I've met a few pure-blood boys already, so I can understand your sentiments. However, I think you'll find that I'm not like them."

"If we agree to let you be our boyfriend, will you kiss us?" blushed Padma.

"Yeah," agreed Susan. "I'd like to learn how to kiss."

"Of course!" he was quick to reply. "Who wants to go first?"

"You can start with me, Casanova," Hermione said with a mock-pout. "After we show them how it's supposed to work, you can show them in a more personal manner."

Harry gave in to Hermione's marking of her territory and spent several minutes snogging her. When she was a melted mass of witch, he moved on to Susan, who he also reduced to a gelatinous state. Next came Padma, and finally the doubtful Daphne. She experienced a rather drastic change in her attitude toward boys that day—at least toward one special boy.

Once everyone had received their kisses, the five first years sat around talking about the wizarding world, what magic they had already learned, and guessing as to what Hogwarts would be like. Padma turned out to be rather quiet and shy; she told them that her twin sister, Parvati, was the bubbly, outgoing one. Daphne was rather cool and reserved, her attitude a by-product of her upbringing as a "noble" daughter. Susan proved to be nearly as shy as Padma until she felt comfortable with her companions. After gaining confidence, she became very talkative.

Then there was Hermione.

Harry's first, first year Hogwarts girl was rather bossy. She liked to do things her way. They would have to work on that; such an attitude could be an asset, as long as it wasn't taken too far. Past a certain point, it became annoying, a form of arrogant bullying. Hermione could be the leader of the girls—witch and Squib—if she avoided alienating them. Like Harry, she had an alpha-type personality.

Harry told them about his rather extensive preliminary studies and promised all of them access to his growing private library. Hermione, Padma, and Daphne were very interested in this; upon seeing their enthusiasm, Susan began to warm to the idea a bit more. When Harry mentioned the study books he was compiling, all the girls begged him for copies.

Harry's study guides were a sort of "idiots' guide" to magic, filling in the many gaps and loopholes he found in their school textbooks. He sought to explain the theory behind each bit of magic so as to make the actual casting (or in the case of potions, brewing) much easier when first attempted. He was even working on a way to understand and harness the so-called "accidental" magic.

Part of his rather unique approach involved introducing Arithmancy right from the start, rather than waiting until the third year of study. He had broken down the basics of this branch of magic and applied it to a scientific formula that most Muggle-borns could more easily understand and explain, and therefore incorporate into their own spellwork. A large part of his method was a series of shortcuts not commonly known or utilized.

The train ride continued smoothly, with no one bothering them. Part of this was because those students who both knew who Harry was and knew he was on the train were already sitting in his compartment. When the witch with the snack trolley came by, the three magic-born girls gave Harry and Hermione a crash course on wizarding sweets. Hermione didn't know about them and Harry didn't usually eat sweets. They were surprised when Harry insisted on paying for everything, telling them, "I takes care of my womens," in an exaggerated accent. Not much for sweets himself (his girls had adapted him to a more nutritional diet), he preferred to eat some fresh fruit that he retrieved from his trunk, with pumpkin juice offered from the trolley.

All four girls expressed envy when he whipped out his school trunk (a.k.a. the "hub" trunk). He promised to tell them all about the self-enlarging charms on his trunk at a later date. And they didn't even realize that it had multiple compartments, some of which were greatly expanded on the inside!

By the time they arrived at Hogsmeade station, the five first year students had laid the foundations for deep friendship...and a deeper commitment in later years. Leaving their luggage on the train as instructed—except for Harry, who carried his shrunken trunk in his pocket—they joined the other first years heading toward the giant of a man who was calling to them. He was the largest person any of them had ever seen; Hermione compared him to wrestlers she had seen on an American telly program. He stood as high above regular adults as those same adults stood above the first years. Harry idly wondered what a woman of similar size would look like, as they climbed down to the lake and boarded the small boats waiting for them.

Following the large man's instructions—no more than four to a boat—Harry's new girls all shared one boat. That left Harry to slip into another boat, which already held a rather prissy-looking blond boy and a pair who looked to be Dudley's long-lost brothers. Privately he had to wonder if this boat was more heavily loaded than the girls' boat would be if he had pushed the four-person rule.

Just from looking at the blond Harry was certain this was one spoiled little brat. He wore fine-looking clothing, but the many stains on the front let everyone know he didn't care for them properly. While everyone else was looking at their new school with awe and amazement, blondie managed to find fault with nearly everything around him. He complained that his family home was nicer, that the boat leaked, the lake smelled funny, and his boat was too close to the Muggle-borns. The way he kept glancing at his companions led Harry to believe that they were bodyguards and that blondie wouldn't be so vocal if they strayed from his side. Great, he thought, a spoiled, rich coward of a bully. Blondie just had to be among the purest of the pure-bloods. Harry irritated the hell out of him by completely ignoring him for the entire trip.

"Who are you?" blondie finally asked. He had restrained his curiosity until they were exiting onto the docks. "What's your family name?" Man, this kid was like a parody of a stereotypical snob!

"Someone who doesn't care to respond to rude little albino arseholes like yourself," Harry countered, not bothering to look at blondie when he replied.

"How dare you! Do you have any idea who my father is?" blondie raged.

"The only arsehole bigger than you?" Most of the children around them easily heard that response and laughed at blondie's flushed expression. Deciding to push the envelope a bit, Harry adopted a tone of false concern. "Oh, I'm terribly sorry! Were you seriously trying to find out who your father is? Have you been searching for years for the stupid git who sired you into this world? I hadn't realized you were literally a bastard." The others could barely keep the grins off their faces.

"I know who my father is!" the boy shrieked. "His name is Lucius Malfoy!" The other students sniggered with mirth. Blondie had throbbing veins on his forehead.

"Then why the bloody hell are you asking me who he is?" Harry scoffed. "Wait a sec...are you a bit slow in the head? Is that why Tweedledee and Tweedledum here are escorting you everywhere? Did your father pay them to help keep an eye on you?" Most of the first years were now laughing so hard they were in tears.

"I am not slow in the head!" Blondie's voice became shriller and shriller as he got worked up.

"You yell like a girl, blondie," Harry stated quietly. "Oh! Now I see where this is going. Sorry, but I don't go that way. I like girls."

Blondie's head was seconds away from exploding. "I'M NOT GAY!"

"Come, now, denial isn't good for anybody. There's no shame in being gay, blondie. It's all cool. I don't swing that way myself, but I'm sure someday you'll find your perfect guy. Just hang in there." The pseudo-bodyguards began to slowly back away from the furious albino, while the onlookers continued to laugh so hard that several fell over.

"I'M NOT GAY! YOU HEAR ME? I'M NOT!"

"Like any straight guy spends that much time on his hair and clothes!" Harry smirked. "Well, maybe for a hot date, but you've been with the twins there ever since I first saw you. Do you like the big, strapping lads? Face it, blondie, the writing's on the wall. Hide in the closet all you want, but sooner or later you'll have to come out and face yourself."

"I AM NOT A HOMOSEXUAL, YOU STUPID BLOODY GIT!"

"What is going on out here?" asked the rather severe-faced witch who had opened the castle doors behind blondie's back. "Why are you shouting, young man? If you had already been sorted into your House I would be deducting points for this unseemly behavior! Now, all you first years, follow me immediately."

The Sorting

The students followed the Professor, Deputy Headmistress McGonagall, as she led them from the docks up into the castle proper. Most were still giggling over blondie's performance. McGonagall seemed fairly angry about the blond boy's behavior. Harry was thinking while he walked, but his new girls were talking quietly amongst themselves.

"Do any of you find it odd?" asked Hermione. "How quickly he got us to agree to be his girlfriends?"

"Actually I did worry about that a bit," Susan admitted. "I mean, I don't want to get a reputation or anything like that. Plus I never wanted to kiss a boy before. Then here comes Harry, and we're kissing, and it's like…."

"So good!" the other three girls giggled.

"Yeah, he's a great kisser," Susan agreed.

"There's more to him than that, though," said Daphne. "I've grown up among pure-blood nobles. Most of them are smooth, debonair operators. Pure-blood males are trained to know their way around witches. I've seen them work…felt their charm in action. Harry puts them all to shame. He's good. He's very good. Restrained somehow, though. I fully expected to be groped during that snog, but he kept his hands to himself—well, to appropriate areas, anyway. Disappointing, really."

"Tell me about it," Padma agreed. "I always thought Father had a way with the ladies. After all, he has a wife and two concubines." At their rather shocked looks, she added, "Hey! It's our custom. So the idea of sharing a man isn't that unusual for me. Still, I believe even Daddy would find Harry to be a gifted ladies' man."

"The question is, can we trust Harry's motives?" asked Hermione. "Is he for real? I mean, he is rather famous…is he with all of us just to build on that reputation, or does he really care about us?" They all stopped to think about that. "He seems sincere, but I just wonder if he is. I hope he is."

"Well, I think—" Daphne was cut off when a bunch of the other kids began to scream. The girls all turned to see a bunch of ghosts hovering nearby. Hermione was the only one not familiar with such quirks of the wizarding world, but after a moment of Hermione's gawking at their translucent silver images Daphne turned back to her new friends. "As I was saying, I think he's sincere. He doesn't seem to care about how famous he is. Something just tells me he can be trusted."

"And he's cute," Susan commented.

"Yes, he's really cute," Padma agreed. "That messy hair, those emerald eyes…."

"Hey, do you think he's worried about us, too?" Daphne wondered suddenly.

"What do you mean?" queried Hermione.

"Well, he is one of the Boys-Who-Lived, you know. It's quite possible he could come to see us as…what's that Muggle word for people who follow those rock-star people around?"

"Groupies?" Hermione supplied.

"Yeah, groupies!" Daphne agreed. "What if Harry thinks we're just a bunch of Potter groupies?"

"I never thought about that before," Susan admitted. "I bet there are people who would flock to him just because he's famous. People like that blond kid who claims he's not gay." Susan smirked viciously. She had always disliked Draco Malfoy.

"That was Malfoy," Daphne supplied for Hermione's benefit. "My parents are friends with his. He's a pompous little git, just like his old man. Longbottom, the fat kid with the mousy brown hair over there, is just as bad, but that's Dumbledore's fault, I think. I mean, really, proclaiming him the Boy Who Lived and losing Harry amongst Muggles? I hear Longbottom is nearly a Squib." McGonagall had returned, and the first years were beginning to file into the Great Hall. "It looks like it's Sorting time." They began to move forward.

The girls moved up to walk behind Harry as they entered the Great Hall. Even for the magic-born children, the sight was one to inspire awe. Hundreds of candles floated above the five great tables. Four tables running the length of the room were filled with returning students, and at the far end of the enormous room the fifth table lay perpendicular to the others on a raised platform. The teachers and staff sat here.

Harry noticed the magical wonders, but having spent some time in the magical world he was less than amazed. Rather than gazing at the wonders he was looking at all the girls around him. For some reason his reactions seemed to puzzle Dumbledore. Harry noticed the Headmaster's reactions almost immediately, mainly due to the rather intense gaze Dumbledore had focused on him. Plus there was a certain…vibe…coming off the old man. Dumbledore was very interested in Harry, and the boy in question was discomfited by said interest. He almost felt like when Uncle Vernon was looking at the new model sports cars. Creepy! Thankfully the old man moved his gaze along to that pompous git Longbottom. Another "pure-blood" prat, if Harry's experiences with him were any measure.

"Wow!" said Susan, drawing his attention away from the staff table. "Look at the ceiling!"

"It's enchanted to look like the night sky," Hermione supplied. "I read about it in—"

"Hogwarts, a History," chorused everyone in the budding group.

Harry sighed; it was time, he hoped this went well. "Hermione, you really need to quit with the know-it-all routine," he scolded. He tried to be gentle, but he'd dealt with girls like her before. This was for her own good. "We know you're a font of knowledge, but you shouldn't shove it in everyone's face. I'm not saying you shouldn't answer questions or help those who ask. All I'm saying is that you shouldn't volunteer quite so much information. It can be a little bit…."

"Snobbish." They turned to look at Padma. "Well, it is. Brain snob," she teased the brunette.

"All right, I get your point," the Muggle-born sighed. Deep down, Hermione knew that her lack of people skills drove others away. She either tried too hard to impress them or remained too far in the background to be noticed. "I'll try to restrain myself. Oh, look! I think we're starting!"

"Attention, please!" McGonagall called. She stood before the teacher's table holding a scroll that bore the names of the first year students; beside her was a stool with an old hat on it. "First years! When I call your name, you will come up to me, place the Sorting Hat on your head, and be sorted into your House. After you have been sorted, place the Hat back on the stool and join your Housemates at your new House table."

They were quiet as McGonagall began to read from her list. "Abbot, Hannah," was the first name on the list. Hannah put the hat on her head, and after a moment a tear formed in the brim. It opened like a mouth, and the hat yelled out, "Hufflepuff!" The next name called was "Bones, Susan."

"Here I go," said Susan. She went up and put on the Hat. This time there was a significant pause before the "mouth" opened and called out, "Hufflepuff!" As with Hannah, the farthest right table began to cheer as Susan walked over to join her new house.

There were more Sortings, most of which the four remaining companions ignored. Well, that wasn't exactly true. They noted names and Houses, but since these were students they didn't yet know, there was no reason to focus on them.

Then the professor called, "Granger, Hermione!" After a long pause, much as had happened with Susan, the brainy girl went into Gryffindor. Shortly afterward, Longbottom went to Gryffindor amidst cheering and the Hat's evil cackling which drew a frown from Professor McGonagall. Harry's pal blondie went up after "Malfoy, Draco!" was called. The hat didn't even touch his head before it called out "Slytherin!" Somehow, no one was surprised by that decision.

A few more people were called, and then McGonagall read out, "Patil, Padma!" The first Patil twin went into Ravenclaw after a lengthy pause. The second twin, Parvati, went into Gryffindor almost immediately. And then Professor McGonagall called out "Potter, Harry!"

Suddenly all the students were muttering. As he walked up to the stool Harry could hear students muttering, "Potter?" "The other Boy Who Lived?" "Harry Potter's come to Hogwarts too—I though he was lost!" Dumbledore was once again giving Harry that creepy, intense look. What was with the man? Most of the observers grew silent as the Hat descended upon Harry's head.

Ah, another difficult one! he heard in his head. So you are the one influencing all those girls, with their remarkable minds. I think you will stir things up a bit. You are not quite what He has expected. You will disrupt a great many of His plans. Quite a past you have there, Potter. Oh my, beg pardon—my lord!

Thanks, I think, Harry thought back. Whose plans will I be disrupting? This Riddle character everyone is afraid of?

Oh, his, too, the Hat chuckled. You will be rather difficult to place, Mr. Potter, especially now that you know about your rather unique heritage. He had planned to keep you ignorant of that until you were much older. Now, any of the Houses would do well for you, but which would be the best, I wonder? the Hat mused. You can be incredibly loyal to your chosen friends, but you also have an outstanding drive to learn. There's bravery here…oh my, yes, but also cunning, and a thirst to prove yourself. But where to put you?

Where does the old man want me? thought Harry, picturing Dumbledore as the placer. I've noticed the looks he's been giving me ever since I entered the Hall. He's a meddler, I can tell. The Headmaster is the other "He" you mentioned, am I correct?

The Headmaster? asked the Hat, the capital letter clearly audible in Harry's mind. He cannot influence my decisions! But I do know how he would like to influence my Sorting. He hopes to have you in Gryffindor at best, and out of Slytherin at worst.

I'm almost tempted to say put me in Slytherin, just to piss him off. The Hat chuckled. Creepy old man is starting to annoy me…particularly if he'll meddle as much as you say. However, he'll be more likely to underestimate me if I'm placed according to his plan. I won't be his pawn, but he doesn't need to know that right now. So I suppose you should just put me where he wants me to be.

If you're sure? asked the Hat. "Well then, it better be…GRYFFINDOR!"

The Gryffindor table erupted into a chorus of cheers. The Weasley twins started doing a silly little dance, chanting, "We got Potter, too! We got both of them!" Dumbledore looked like Dudley on his birthday. The other tables looked a bit disappointed, and the Slytherins seemed a bit angry. Funniest of all, blondie looked as if he'd swallowed a bug.

A little while later, McGonagall called up "Weasley, Ronald!" who joined his brothers with the Lions. Finally the Sorting ended with "Zabini, Blaise," who went to Slytherin.

Harry had a girl in each House. Was fate messing with him, or did his unique heritage just draw him to the qualities of each House? He would have to think about that further.

With the last student Sorted, the Headmaster rose to speak. "Welcome to all our new students, and welcome back to all our returning students. I know that you are all hungry, so I will hold all announcements until after the feast. Let me just say a few words for now, and they are: nitwit, blubber, oddment, and tweak! Now, tuck in."

The meal was excellent, from the moment the food first appeared at the tables until the moment when the remains all vanished. Harry sat next to Hermione (his new Gryffindor girl), and they wound up holding hands for most of the feast. Some of the other children ventured to talk to him, but the ones who were seeking the Boy Who Lived legend were pushed, or rather pulled, to Longbottom by his relentless self-aggrandizement. Most were content to stare and whisper amongst themselves.

Harry was able to meet his fellow first years (other than Hermione) in the House of Red. He met two other girls that night, Lavender Brown and Parvati Patil, Padma's twin sister. Then there were the boys. There were four other boys in his year: Neville Longbottom, Seamus Finnigan, Dean Thomas, and Ronald Weasley. Parvati and Lavender were the typical popular clique type: pretty, bubbly, and a bit shallow—your basic pretty and spoiled pre-teen girls. Neville was a pure-blood ponce, but Seamus and Dean were more normal. Then there was Ronald.

Harry had an interest in Ronald's younger sister, Ginny, who he'd met at the train station. Ronald had three older brothers still at school: a fifth year who was the male Prefect for Gryffindor, and a set of twins who were the resident pranksters. Ronald, however, had a boatload of issues to deal with. Almost immediately he had ogled Harry like he was a two-headed goat. With eyes as round as a kid at a freak show, he had asked to see the famous scar. When Harry refused, Ronald got all prissy and started to pout. Soon after, he began to make snide remarks about wizards riding on their fame.

Harry was guessing that ickle Ronnie had a plethora of jealousies, mostly involving his elder siblings. When he asked the twins he found out that they had two more brothers who were already out of school. One had been Head Boy, the other Quidditch Captain. As the youngest male Weasley, Ronald received all the hand-me-downs at the end of the hand-me-down line while his younger sister got everything new, or at worst gently used. Since the family wasn't much above just financially solvent, everything Ronald owned was a hand-me-down. So, like Harry had thought, young Ronald had many issues.

Harry managed to slip a wink to the now sixth year girls. Ella was easy as she sat at the other end of the table from him. She gave Hermione a significant look and pouted. Emma Cadwallader, at the Hufflepuff table, sat surrounded by her witches and fluttered her eyelashes at him. Kristen Thomas required a look behind him to the Ravenclaw table, and she gave him a wink back. Eliza McNair, over at Slytherin, appeared to ignore him but barely smiled when he winked at her.

After dinner the Headmaster made some announcements, which included a list of prohibited items (mostly pranks), several general restrictions, and a warning about a certain third-floor corridor that contained a horrible, painful death for all trespassers. A few students laughed, but most took his words very seriously.

Harry was beginning to wonder about the sanity of witches and wizards. This was a school, for heaven's sake! Why was there a hallway that could dish out a painful death to trespassers? In a school with eleven-year-old children, no less! What exactly was wrong with these people? You couldn't just tell children not to go somewhere. At least a few of them would push the envelope. By forbidding them, the Headmaster had practically guaranteed that someone would sneak in, just to break the rule! The Headmaster was starting to worry Harry. Hell, the whole wizarding world was starting to worry him!

Just before the children were dismissed Harry heard a voice whisper, "Pssst! Harry!" He turned to find Daphne waving him over.

"Let's go see what she wants," said Hermione. They moved over toward the Slytherin table to find that Padma and Susan had come over to join them. "What's up?"

"Can we all come down early for breakfast?" asked Daphne. "It will give us time to talk and stuff before the others come down. We can have a little alone time with our boyfriend."

"That's an excellent idea!" Susan grinned. "And during the day we should all keep an eye out for places where we can hang out."

"Oh! I hear the Library is rather extensive," said Hermione. "We could meet there."

"There are also the grounds," Padma countered. "They might be pleasant during the fall and spring months."

"First years!" came the call. "Follow your Prefects to your dormitories!" the Headmaster ordered.

"Hurry up and give me a kiss!" Daphne squealed.

"Me too!" said Susan.

"And me!" Padma agreed.

"I can wait until we get to the dormitories," said Hermione, looking smug. "Ha! I get extra Harry time!"

"We know," Daphne growled. "Don't rub it in. Now, kiss me!" She grabbed Harry by the shirt and pulled him into a hot kiss. Well, hot for an eleven-year-old girl. Some of the older students began to giggle at the display, and it only got worse after Susan and Padma snogged him before dashing off to follow their Prefects and Housemates. Eliza frowned at him playfully.

"Come on, Harry, time to go," Hermione said. She grabbed his hand and raced off after the Gryffindor Prefect…who just happened to be another Weasley. Hopefully this one was less like Ron and more like the twins. Harry liked the twins. They were funny, laid-back, and believed that the school rules were more of a set of general guidelines than absolute law.

The Weasley Prefect, Percy, led them through corridors, up stairways, and past moving portraits. Looking around as they walked, Harry marveled at the somewhat frivolous uses to which magic was put by the magical community. Moving, talking portraits were all well and good, but why in the world did the staircases move? Not like escalators moved, but more of a random swinging from one place to another. If it was on command, he could see it—but random movement? Why? Then there were the trick stairs, doors that required passwords or touches in the right places, and even patches of wall that only pretended to be doorways. Just because a person could do something, that wasn't a reason to do it. Magic folk seemed to worry more about whether or not something could be done and less about why anyone would bother in the first place. Hogwarts was so weird!

Eventually they reached a portrait of a somewhat overweight woman in a pink dress. Percy stopped in front of her and she calmly asked, "Password, please?" Well, apparently there were practical uses for talking portraits.

"Caput Draconis," Percy replied, upon which the woman bowed. The painting swung out from the wall like a door, revealing a hole in the wall. Apparently this was the entrance to Gryffindor tower, and the painting was their gatekeeper. The students filed in and encountered a veritable ocean of crimson and gold.

"Hey, Ne," chuckled Harry, using his own nickname for her, "you ever see that Nicholson movie, The Shining?"

Students near them jumped back when she snorted in laughter. "Well, the color scheme's here, and we have a set of twins who can talk in unison…" Hermione replied.

"Did someone mention us?" the Weasley twins chorused.

"See what I mean?" Hermione said. Both she and Harry laughed some more.

"What did we do?" asked the twins.

"Hermione here was just making an observation, comparing the common room to a Muggle movie," explained Harry. "In the movie there was a scene where elevator doors opened to release a surge of blood, and there were these twins who appeared and talked in unison."

"Muggles watch these…movies…for fun, right?" asked one of the twins.

"What kind of people would watch one about blood?" asked the other.

"It was a horror movie," Hermione stated. "Something we watch to scare us. It's a thrill sort of thing."

"Muggles are—"

"—so weird," said the twins.

"Oh, and walls that pretend to be doors and moving staircases make perfect sense," retorted Harry.

"Well, no—"

"—but they are fun," they replied in twinspeak.

"Harry," said Hermione, "I'm going to go check out my dorm, maybe find a book to read. Meet you back down here in about half an hour?" she asked.

"Sure thing, Ne."

Harry went up the stairs to the boys' dormitories and found the room for first years at the very top of the tower. Inside were five beds, four of which already had trunks in front of them. Taking a wild guess, he claimed the fifth bed for himself. Standing by the foot of the four-poster bed, he retrieved his trunk from his pocket and enlarged it. Once he placed his hand on the scanning plate, the trunk's security features verified his access rights and he began to unpack the "public" items.

He filled the wardrobe with his school clothes and robes. Shoes were placed under the bed along with a set of dumbbells he used to exercise. As a final touch to his decorating scheme he placed pictures of each of the Squib girls up around his bed. As soon as possible he had to get pictures of the four new girls to add to the collection. Just as he was finishing up, the other boys came into the room.

"Hi, Harry," one of them said, an Irish lad named Seamus. "Those pictures of your family?"

"Not really. They're my girls," Harry replied proudly. "We're not related, but we're kind of a family."

"So, they're all your girlfriends?" asked another roommate. Dean, if memory served. "How do you manage to juggle that many girls?" he asked.

"Oh, they all know about each other. It's so much easier to have them share."

"Bloody hell," uttered his third roommate, Neville, the other Boy Who Lived. "He's lying. He cut them out of magazines or something."

"Well, what would you expect from the great Harry Potter?" snorted the final roommate, Ronald Weasley. This particular Weasley brother had been giving Harry dirty looks all throughout the welcoming feast. Well, not from the start. First he had asked to see the famous scar, but after Harry refused—he didn't want to become the local freak show after all—Ronald had gotten all teed off about it. Now, to Harry's utter joy, the big dumb prat was in what appeared to be a jealous rage. More accurately, another jealous rage, in what was sure to be a long history of jealous rages.

"What's your damage, Weasley?" demanded Harry.

"Oh, pardon me. Far be it from me to question the great Harry Potter." With that, Ronald stormed off to the bathroom.

"Man, what a prat!" exclaimed Seamus.

"That boy has problems," agreed Dean.

"Maybe it's Potter with the problem," sneered Neville. "Lying wanker."

"Beg pardon?" Harry asked. "He hasn't even know me for five hours yet. How can he be jealous already? And don't transpose what you'd do onto me, Fatbottom." Harry turned and left, pulling the door firmly closed behind him.

"Oh, there you are," Hermione said when Harry came back down from his room. She was sitting on one of the Shining couches, dressed in a nightgown over her robe with pink furry slippers on her feet. Resting in her lap was a rather large book on charms. "Sit with me?"

"Of course," he replied, sitting down beside her. He too had changed into his pajamas and donned a robe. "What are you reading?" he looked at her book. "Mmm…that's a good one. As luck would have it, the volume I brought down for you is also on charms. Here." What he handed her was the slim volume on charms that he had compiled through his work with the Squib girls. Hermione eagerly began to read it.

"This is a very good book, Harry!" she enthused. "It really explains how everything works. I'm surprised the school doesn't use it to teach us. Where did you find it?"

"Read the cover," he replied softly.

Hermione flipped the book closed, taking note of the title. "A Guide to Charms, by Harry Potter and the Squib Squad. Wow, you actually wrote this? I'm impressed."

"Well, it was a collaborative effort, really. I couldn't have done it without my girls. Over the last three years we've gone through thousands of books on a variety of subjects. This volume is our interpretation of the magical theory behind basic and intermediate charms casting."

"If your other interpretations are as good as this one, I think I'll have a real advantage over the other students! We have to get copies of your works to the others as soon as possible."

"I'll drop a note to the Squib girls tonight and ask them to copy our compiled works for each of you."

"Thanks, Harry! You're the best boyfriend ever," Hermione giggled. He finally got his goodnight kiss from Hermione.

Chapter Three

Settling In

Harry rose at his customary 5 a.m. and dressed in a pair of shorts and a t-shirt. He tied on his trainers and, grimacing at the noise and counterpoint from Weasel and Fatbottom's beds, fled the room. Something was going to have to be done about the walking adenoid and his favorite ass to kiss.

In the common room Harry was surprised to find Hermione sitting primly in what looked like her primary school PT outfit. "Hermione?"

Hermione looked up at him, face set in a determined mien. "I got the impression you exercised, Harry. I want you to show me how."

Harry smiled. "Sure, Hermione. Come on."

Harry led her out into the early fall morning mist and they had a great stretching session and a short workout first, then a Tai Chi session, followed by cool-down stretches. They padded back into the school laughing quietly, with arms linked, and shocked the early risers.

Harry collected a semi-chaste kiss at the bottom of the girls' stairs and he and Hermione went up, showered, changed, and met up again in the common room. In the boys' room Dean Thomas was stirring, but other than that the room was still.

Hermione came down followed by her roommates Lavender Brown and Parvati Patil. Harry linked arms with Hermione and led the way to the Great Hall. Padma, Daphne, and Susan met them there and got a kiss each. They all sat down at the empty Ravenclaw table. Breakfast had not yet appeared.

Susan looked at Harry and Hermione's rosy cheeks. "What have you two been doing?"

Lavender who, along with Parvati, had sat with them in the empty hall, chimed in. "Yes, Hermione, what were you doing leaving the room at five and not getting back until half seven?"

Hermione shrugged. "I asked Harry to take me with him when he exercised. It was fun."

Harry nodded. "It will make you more alert during the day and sleep better at night, too. I mean, you have a nice figure, but if the type of fare they offered last night is typical, we'll need to do something."

Daphne immediately asked, "What time do we meet you tomorrow morning, Harry?"

Harry smiled. "A little after five, by the front doors. You all have clothes suitable for heavy exercise? If not I can owl-order you some things. There's a store in Hogsmeade—Glad Rags, I think. Or my girls can knock you up some outfits if I get your sizes."

Lavender reached in her pocket and came out with a tape measure, parchment, and pencil, and the witches had a measuring party right then and there. Lavender handed Harry the parchment. "I'll send this after breakfast and the girls should have it back to us by dinner. I'll get them to send some notebooks and biros too, maybe some mechanical pencils."

Hermione nodded. "I brought some, but not enough for everyone."

Daphne looked thoughtful; the things she had seen Harry doing with these Muggle quills were great, especially the portability. "We should sell them, not give them away."

Harry smiled. "Not too much profit, though. You're in charge of that, Daphne."

"Yes, Harry."

Hermione thought a moment. "Harry, I want to take Arithmancy and Runes but they're not allowed until third year."

Harry gave her a smile. "Study group. We can cover all our core subjects, Arithmancy, Runes, and whatever else my little genius desires. You can work yourself into a complete wreck. I can probably get some older girls to help us."

The others laughed as Hermione pouted. Harry chuckled. "Come on, Ne, there are other things besides studying. Let's save a couple hours a day for those."

Susan grinned mischievously. "Like kissing Harry!"

Lavender piped up boldly. "I'll take some of that action!" trying to tease Harry. Instead, she got kissed right on the lips and Harry got a halfhearted smack in the chest from Hermione.

"Hey! You're supposed to ask us first!"

Harry looked around and grinned. "Oops? Hey, can I kiss Parvati?" He leaned into her and did so. Hermione rolled her eyes.

"And wait for permission, Romeo."

"That's no fun." Harry wrapped Hermione in a hug and kissed her thoroughly. She struggled for about three seconds before she melted into it.

Susan shook her head. "We have to find a place that's more private." She was looking around at the witches in the Great Hall and didn't notice that there was only one wizard present so far amongst the fifteen or so people scattered round the hall.

As Harry and the witches kept up a lively discussion, the Great Hall filled and breakfast was served. Penelope Clearwater looked at the additions to the Ravenclaw table. "You all need to go to your own tables. The Heads of House will be passing out schedules soon."

Harry and his witches nodded. Harry thanked Penelope and kissed Daphne, Padma, and Susan goodbye and led Hermione, Parvati, and Lavender back to the Gryffindor table.

Daphne approached the Slytherin table and folded elegantly into a seat. Draco Malfoy sneered. "Glad you could join us, blood traitor."

"Shut up, Malformed. If I want to hear from your retarded father I know how to write a letter."

Tracey Davis smirked and gave Daphne a golf clap. Daphne bowed her head slightly. The older Slytherins chuckled. Draco sat stunned; no one dared speak to him that way! Just as he opened his mouth to retort, Tracey hit him with a silencing charm under the table and Professor Snape arrived with the schedules.

"Mr. Malfoy, I suggest you see the Matron before class; you have an unhealthy color," was the only thing Snape said as he handed out their schedules. Draco ground his teeth in frustration. He had been warned about causing a scene.

Tracey smirked and canceled the silencing charm, but Malfoy controlled himself and failed to shout. Tracey frowned in disappointment.

Harry rose and led the witches out of the hall with the rest of the first years. As they exited, Malfoy, still furious and frustrated, drew his wand behind Hermione's back. "Out of the way, Mudblood! Let your betters pass."

Harry heard him and automatically installed a reflecting shield. The Vanisher fired from short range, changed slightly and reflected back to Malfoy's wand hand. His right pinky vanished. The other first years drew back from the screaming boy and Poppy Pomfrey appeared as if by magic. Albus Dumbledore was right behind her.

Poppy clucked her tongue. "You shouldn't attempt magic you don't understand, Mr. Malfoy. This won't grow back. Where did you vanish your pinky to? Perhaps if we had it…."

Dumbledore ran his wand over the wizard's hand and wand. "Who or what were you attempting to Vanish, Mr. Malfoy?"

Malfoy blanched and covered it with a pained gasp, then grunted. "Nothing, sir. I just grabbed my wand. I must have taken it by the wrong end."

The gathered students all chuckled and received a look from the Headmaster that moved them on smartly. Dumbledore shook his head. "Wand safety is serious business, Mr. Malfoy. Please do be more careful."

Harry, meanwhile, had led Hermione on up the stairs, but slowly and while listening. Hermione turned to Harry and hissed, "What did you do, Harry?"

Harry looked around and pulled her into a door on the sixth floor landing. It was a broom cupboard. Lavender and Parvati followed. "I put up a reflecting shield, Ne. Malfoy was going to curse you. I don't know why it blew off his finger."

Parvati shook her head. "It didn't blow his finger off. It Vanished it. The bastard would have vanished you, Hermione."

Harry was hugging the shaking Hermione. She looked at him. "Why would he do that?"

Lavender answered, "He's a bigot, and wizards are chauvinists in general. They see witches as things. When we get older they'll want to use us. You have to learn how to stand up to them, Hermione. It will be harder for you because you're a Muggle-born."

Harry shook his head. "If someone tries to hurt any of you, they'll pay."

The group did make it to class on time, but Harry had a kind of glazed look in his eyes and his lips were puffy. Minerva McGonagall, in her cat form, watched them file in and take seats in front. Well, Harry and Hermione sat in front, along with Daphne Greengrass and Tracey Davis beside Hermione and Lavender Brown and Parvati Patil beside Harry.

Harry did look just like his father. Those knowing bright green eyes that had never stopped watching her were all Lily Evans', though.

McGonagall waited for Neville Longbottom and Ron Weasley to arrive. Just before she decided to make the change back to human form they skidded into the room. Neville said, "Good—the Professor isn't here, so we aren't late."

McGonagall leapt from the desk in her cat form, making the change on the way. "I am very much here, Mr. Longbottom. If you will grace us by finding a seat, perhaps we can begin."

"AAACK!"

"Aiiieee!"

Harry snickered; one of them had screamed like a girl. The class chuckled, giggled, or snickered, which McGonagall ignored; and Longbottom, along with his sycophant Weasley, found seats.

Harry thoroughly enjoyed the class. McGonagall was an excellent teacher. He did, however, notice that she seemed to make some assumptions. The first was that her students were all interested in her subject at the same fanatical level she seemed to be, and the other was that they all had similar backgrounds. This, he had noticed, was a common failing of teachers in both the Mundane and apparently wizarding worlds.

After the lecture Professor McGonagall handed out matchsticks and demonstrated how to turn them into needles, and directed the class to begin. Harry changed his in the first pass of his wand and Hermione was right behind him. They looked at each other and smiled. McGonagall watched and gave them five points apiece before moving on. Harry heard Lavender huff in exasperation and turned to help her, while Hermione blanched at the cursing Tracey was doing and leaned over to help her and Daphne.

This set the pattern for all their classes. By Wednesday the fourth, wherever Harry was, the witches sat as close as possible, and the wizards Harry tolerated formed an outer ring. For a wizard to be tolerated he needed to be quiet, studious, and respectful of the witches.

The evening of Monday the second, however, after class Harry and the witches moved directly to the Library. There they met Padma and Susan, who now had groups of girls with each of them, and took over a corner of the Library where they proceeded to work on their homework.

After dinner, when they were done with homework, the group explored the castle until just before curfew; afterward Harry passed out the PT suits and school supplies that the Squib Squad had acquired for the witches. Now everyone had a small spiral-bound pad, a five-subject notebook, plenty of pens and pencils, and even some fountain pens that wrote like quills for those teachers who protested the biros. Near curfew, the putative leader of each House group led them to their dorms, Daphne first, and Harry kissed the witches goodnight. His first witches from each House got panty-melting snogs, while the others got not-quite-chaste kisses.

Arriving in the Gryffindor common room just prior to curfew, Harry kissed his Gryffindor witches goodnight to raised eyebrows from the older witches and catcalls from the wizards. Harry went upstairs and got ready for bed, making sure to pull the curtains securely and place Silencing, Impervious, and Aversion charms on them. He took his trunk from his pocket, expanded it, and climbed inside, where he spent the next hour being debriefed by the Squib Squad and passing on orders for more PT suits and school supplies. Ella and the older witches arrived, and the Squib Squad and Harry debriefed them on how things were in the Houses and what rumor control was saying.

Emma Cadwallader then took her turn snogging Harry, while the Squib Squad and others either prepared supplies or just watched. Emma's grunting her way through an orgasm as her and Harry's petting got very heavy was the signal for the group to break up and go back to their rooms. Emma, as were all the witches, was miserable that she couldn't reciprocate for Harry and tried again to beg him to let her give him oral sex. But Harry just wasn't ready. He was happy to make her come, but he hadn't been able to wrap his mind around the "no casual sex with witches except under contract" thing yet. Just as he got of an age where it mattered to him, this wrinkle appeared! Typical. But they would sort it out, he was certain. Those bloody contracts were like slavery, though.

On Tuesday the third Harry woke at four forty-five, showered, dressed in his PT clothes, and left the room. He made it to the entry hall by five. Hermione, Susan, Padma, and Daphne met him there. The uniform the Squib Squad had come up with was a spandex bodysuit covered by running shorts and a tank top. Harry became embarrassingly hard instantly, causing proud grins and earthy giggles all around. He led the girls outside and into a set of stretches that they used to torture him nearly beyond reason. The long run followed by a swim in the lake after a partnered resistance exercise set for the girls, while Harry did push-ups and crunches, helped him some until Hermione swam up to him, wrapped her legs around his waist, and ground down on him.

Susan barked, "Hermione, don't get his come on you!"

Hermione blushed and blinked. "Uh, beg pardon?" She wasn't even sure where this was coming from—she was acting like a complete slag!

Padma rolled her eyes. "Hermione, we can all see you want to be first and that's fine, but I have a book you need to read first. If you come in contact with Harry's sperm of your own free will and without a contract of service, you can end up bound."

"WHAT?"

"There's a book?"

Harry and Hermione looked at each other after speaking simultaneously and did it again.

"You knew, Harry."

"That's what the bodysuits are for. The Squib Squad was afraid of this."

The other three witches looked at each other and then at Harry. Harry shrugged. "There are some veiled hints, but we haven't found any straight-out references."

Daphne looked at the blushing Susan and the tongue-tied Padma and sighed. "Come on, this water is cold. I'll tell you what I know at breakfast."

Hermione frowned. "Why don't we read Padma's book and then pool what you all know? We can make it a Harry Potter publishing guide for witches."

Harry laughed. "Okay, fine, if you want to. I can have the Squib Squad collect the research and contribute, too."

Daphne nodded. "Just don't get in contact with Harry's sperm unless you both are sure, Hermione. Certainly don't get it inside you."

Hermione was so embarrassed she hardly spoke all through breakfast.

The rest of Tuesday passed as Monday had, with the exception of all the girls in their classes except Pansy Parkinson sitting near Harry and using notebooks and biros instead of quills and parchments.

That night after returning to the dorms near curfew, Neville Longbottom called Hermione a slag. He spent the night stuck to the wall above the mantle like some grotesque trophy. Harry had spent all day talking Hermione out of the trees over this very thing, and Neville's comment sent her fleeing in tears.

Wednesday morning Harry met fourteen witches for PT. He was nearly incapacitated for the first few minutes, until Hermione crowded him badly and arched an eyebrow at him. She had recovered overnight when Parvati and Lavender pointed out that she thought the rest of the wizards at the school were cretins with the exception of Harry and she hadn't reacted to any of them except in revulsion. Ella, Emma, Kristen Thomas of Ravenclaw, and Eliza Mcnair of Slytherin watched from a battlement with smiles. Ella shook her head. "The Granger witch is going to bind herself."

Kristen sighed. "Surely not at twelve? She can't be ready, can she?"

Eliza shrugged. "Physically? Sure, she's Muggle-born. She's been having her periods for a while now, I'd imagine. I bet she's as regular as clockwork."

Emma asked, "Any objections?"

Ella summed it up. "Not as long as she shares after. I have way too much invested and I owe a lot."

Kristen sighed. "But what about when we hit our majority?"

Eliza looked at her. "Do you always advertise who you're seeing? We have the trunks. With the right contract, Harry can shag us bowlegged daily and nobody needs to know. His sigil doesn't need to indicate who we're in service to. That's just an ego boost for the wizard. I don't think Harry will need it."

Emma snorted. "Imagine how all the ickle firsties are going to act when they meet us and the rest of the squad. Oh my, our covens here at school when they meet him, too."

Eliza cocked a brow. "If they can't handle it they can be Obliviated, or Harry can do that loyalty thing to them."

Ella nodded. "And we stay under cover. Everyone still has their cover wizard?"

Kristen snorted. "Yes. Miles is more of a girl than I am, though. I don't know if it will hold up."

"At least you don't have to deal with the closeted idiot I have. I swear, if Greg frenches me again in public because he's nervous someone is suspicious I'm going to 'break up' with him and date his boyfriend Karl," Ella snarled.

"Karl Roberts? The Slytherin manly-man Keeper? Oh my, that's rich. And he's going with a Gryffindor? He'd better hope his father never finds out," Eliza chuckled.

Ella's tinkling laughter filled the battlement where the witches stood. "It's a long term plan. I can stay in service to Harry forever and be Greg's 'wife'."

Eliza snorted. "Damn right that's long term. It'll take you ten years to convince little Mr. Honorable down there. However, I can hook up with Karl and we'll all be covered. I wonder if Harry's green eyes will breed through?"

Ella sighed dreamily.

Harry and the Gryffindor witches got back to the common room just in time to find Minerva McGonagall unsticking Neville from the wall and all the Gryffindors standing white-faced and silent. "And where were you four?"

Harry spoke up immediately. "We were doing physical training, Professor. Magic functions better when your body is in good condition."

"Correct, Mr. Potter, five points. Do any of you know what happened to Mr. Longbottom?"

Harry nodded. "Intra-House discipline for disrespect to a classmate, ma'am."

McGonagall blinked. If that was true, it was no wonder the Lions wouldn't talk. They could have told her, though. "Thank you for answering, Mr. Potter. Take another five points. The rest of you can learn from Mr. Potter. I am not your enemy, I am your Head of House." She turned back and lowered Neville to the floor. "As for you, Mr. Longbottom, learn the lesson." McGonagall turned and strode from the common room.

As the portrait hole shut behind her, Neville surged up off the floor and drew his wand. Harry laughed. "Try it, Longbottom, and I'll stick you to the outside of the tower, naked." He pushed through the crowd and headed up the stairs. Behind him Ron drew his wand and found himself instantly Transfigured into a chicken.

Fred walked over to him. "No brother of ours would be so cowardly as to attack a wizard with his back turned."

George continued, "So you must be a chicken. Be a nice chicken and we might—"

Fred finished "—Transfigure you back in time for class."

The twins then stood up wands in hand "Move along—"

"—show's over."

Percy was dying to know how they had learned human to animal Transfiguration.

By Wednesday, classes were in an established pattern. Harry sat at the front, surrounded by witches. He accomplished the assigned task first and then helped the witches. All the witches had the Squib Squad subject guides now, and they were all at the top of the class. Longbottom and Weasley continued at the bottom with the other boys ranged in between, those willing to listen to Harry nearer the top. Pansy Parkinson struggled along in the middle, looking exhausted.

In the Library their study group had grown by leaps and bounds and they had been asked to move to a disused classroom near the Library. When they first occupied it, that classroom "grew" a connection to the Library and took on the same type of décor, becoming a reading room. Hermione was thrilled, making Harry feel slightly guilty about not giving her or the other girls trunks and access yet. He wanted to be sure, though. Besides, he would lose her in that Library.

Wednesday night they had Astronomy, so Harry was unable to spend time with the squad. The squad knew this and accepted it.

Potions on Friday morning was interesting. Professor Snape took off on Longbottom, and when he couldn't answer a question Snape took points and asked Harry instead. Harry answered all the questions, gaining back some of the points Longbottom had lost but not quite all, as Snape took away points in blocks of five but gave them out by threes. Harry really didn't like Snape, but as he was torturing Longbottom he felt it was a wash. Snape's teaching technique was pants, though, and after Potions Hermione went on a rant that Harry had to kiss her out of.

Harry told them they would review the school rules and file protests against Snape where they could, and that the others should, too. He would have to learn to teach or the school would have to get in a real teacher. Something about Snape set Harry's teeth on edge. He would have to go talk to Mum and Dad's portraits about him. They would have been in school with Snape.

Tea with Hagrid that afternoon was very interesting. Walking back to the castle, Hermione wondered aloud who Nicholas Flamel was. Harry shrugged and said, "An alchemist. He and Dumbledore worked on the twelve uses of dragon blood together. At least that's what Dumbledore's Chocolate Frog card says."

Hermione looked thoughtful but Harry moved on perforce, as Susan was dragging the hand of the arm he had around her shoulder down to her right breast and smirking mischievously. Hermione turned around to ask another question but was distracted. "Susan, stop that! Morgana, wait until we get to the reading room, at least."

The others broke up laughing at her pinched face. Like she didn't have Harry's hands all over her every time she could get hold of them!

Fear of Flying

The next week flew by, set in its pattern, until Thursday the twelfth. Flying lessons were scheduled for 3:30. Hermione was a nervous wreck, and Harry spent the day before with her in all the high places they could get to in the castle in an effort to get her over her fear of heights. Snogging her on the edge of the Astronomy tower's roof seemed to work best, or at least give her a decent memory of a high place.

Come class time, while not eager, she was at least workmanlike. Longbottom was a disaster of overconfidence and broke at least his wrist. Malfoy found Longbottom's Remembrall and took off with it. Harry wasn't about to let Malfoy get one over on his House and pursued. Malfoy, being a mean-spirited little wanker, chucked the Remembrall at one of the towers and Harry snagged it just millimeters from destruction—his and the Remembrall's.

Harry found himself dragged inside for what he assumed was to be punishment for disobeying a teacher, as Madam Hooch had stated in no uncertain terms that until she returned from taking Longbottom to the Hospital Wing they were to stay firmly on the ground; but instead he was installed on the House Quidditch team as the youngest Seeker in a hundred years. Hermione was proudly petrified. She had been reading up on all the flying sports.

Malfoy stopped by the Gryffindor table for some words with Harry at dinner. "You think you're special, don't you, Potter?"

Harry groaned; things had been going so well. "Uh, no. Actually, Malformed, that's you."

"Malfoy! My name is Malfoy!" Malfoy shrieked.

Harry rubbed a pinky finger in his ear. "Merlin! Now I know why your Housemates call you Malformed—not only are you an albino but you obviously have no nuts. You shriek like a six-year-old girl."

"I challenge you to a duel, Potter!"

Harry smirked and stood up. "Where and when, Malformed?"

"Midnight in the trophy room!"

"Bugger that for a game of skittles, I like my sleep. How about right here, right now?"

Malfoy's simpleminded plan to turn Harry in to Filch was derailed and he backpedaled. "Here? Now?"

Harry sneered. "Brain-damaged, too. Yes, H-E-R-E and N-O-W, you simpleton."

Malfoy ripped his wand from his robe but before he could level it, Harry's was pointed between his eyes about a quarter-inch from his skin. Harry smirked and said, "Why don't you come with me, Malformed, away from all these prying professorial eyes?"

Malfoy was busy trying not to wet his pants, so he hardly noticed being led out onto the lawn of the courtyard.

Harry smiled at him. "Try again."

"What?"

"Try again—draw your wand."

Malfoy eyed Harry and went to draw. Harry slapped Malfoy's left cheek with his right hand and then drew his wand and had it between Malfoys eyes before the slap registered or Malfoy's wand cleared his pocket. The crowd gasped. Malfoy staggered, blushing, and as Harry sheathed his wand he tried again. This time he got slapped on his right cheek. For the next five minutes the crack of Malfoy getting slapped rang through the courtyard until finally he fled in tears.

Harry turned and looked at Hermione, standing there tapping her foot. He sighed. "At least he kept all nine fingers this time, Ne."

Hermione caved; Harry was right. Daphne, however, commented, "We'd better be careful. Malfoy is the type to curse you in the back, as we've seen."

Harry nodded and led the laughing students back into the Great Hall. But not everyone was laughing. The older Slytherins were furious; Malfoy would pay for this embarrassment. Ella and the sixth year girls were eying and assessing the crowd; Harry was playing a dangerous game here.

That Friday evening at the weekly staff meeting, Albus expected to hear about the progress of Neville Longbottom. Instead he heard glowing, nay orgasmic reports about Harry Potter and his little girlfriends from everyone except Severus, who said Potter was average and the witches hung on him just as they had his miserable father. McGonagall's lips thinned. "So, Severus, for you to call a Gryffindor average he must already be near his mastery."

"Minerva!"

"Phhht! Leash your dog, Albus. He is blatantly prejudiced—a fact I discovered proof of while researching a complaint that made its way to the Governors. I expect they will be contacting you soon."

Albus started; he had heard nothing of this. "What was the nature of this complaint, Minerva, and how did it get to the Governors? I never forwarded any of them."

It was McGonagall's turn to look surprised. "There have been others besides mine and you've never relayed them to the Board? Fine; I kept copies of mine. I will forward them to the Board."

The staff meeting dissolved into chaos shortly after that.

Birthday Girl

The next week passed slowly but smoothly, with Malfoy making the odd attempt on Harry and Harry's shields firing the curses back at him. He finally settled on verbal abuse. Harry started to use a targeted one-way silencing charm of his own devising on him. Malfoy thought for a few days that he was going mad, as people ignored him. He could hear his own voice perfectly well, but everyone else ignored him as if he wasn't speaking.

Harry had made arrangements with all the Hogwarts witches and the Squib Squad, and on the nineteenth in Harry's reading room, as it was now known, everyone waited in the dark after class. Harry brought Hermione in and they all sprang up and yelled, "Lumos!" and "Surprise!"

Hermione screamed, slapped Harry hard, and kissed him fervently. Harry, laughing, asked, "So the surprise worked and you liked it?"

"I nearly wet myself, you brute, and yes." She kissed him again with bright, shiny eyes full of tears.

The witches in the room looked at each other and sighed. "Awwww."

Daphne clapped her hands. "Mush later, prezzies now!"

Harry led Hermione over and sat her down; she unwrapped clothes, pens, books, and a set of diamond studs from Harry that drew ooohs and ahhhs. It was a great night and one of the birthdays she would remember forever—not least because as she sat studying after the dinner provided by the elves, she realized that she was staring at Harry's face with the fire reflecting off of it, and it was an image she wanted to refresh every night for the rest of her life. She had wanted a friend and found many. She had not even contemplated love and she was truly, madly, deeply in love with Harry Potter, a slightly vicious, polyamorous, completely committed to his "womens", as he called them, powerhouse of a wizard who most likely was going to destroy the wizarding world as they knew it, or at least cause a revolution.

The most surprising thing was that she was completely fine with it all; more than fine, she was getting desperate. It was all she could do right then to stay in her seat when she wanted nothing more than to go over there and bury his cock in her throat and tie herself to him irrevocably, as Padma's book and their research had shown her she could. Sweet Baby Maeve, what was she thinking? Mother would go mad and Father would attempt murder!

Bubble Bubble

Albus Dumbledore sat in his office, staring into the fire. Another Friday night staff meeting—more like the battle of Sterling Bridge—just finished. McGonagall was in high dudgeon over Severus's continuing excesses in taking points and refused to let it go. The other Professors lined up behind her like woad-faced Celts, and Albus and Severus had gaily traipsed across the bridge to their slaughter. Severus, sneering at them all, was not helping, either.

Merlin, couldn't the woman see that the Noble Houses needed to be appeased? If he let Slytherin go on their true merits, they would always lose the Cup. Then when Riddle appeared they would flock to him again.

The Professors had no tolerance for the Slytherins' attitudes. Severus was merely balancing the scales and allowing for the young nobles to be themselves. They would grow into their worth if they could be shown it.

And what was wrong with the bloody ghosts? The portraits, too. No reports on Potter; it was like the boy was a ghost. And these reports of Longbottom being nearly useless in class and starting fights with the other houses had to be untrue! Why, he himself had told the boy to win over his classmates. The boy had had the finest tutors money and influence could buy. Damn! He would have to call Longbottom in for a talk.

Severus Snape paced his quarters. The old fool was letting McGonagall run roughshod over him. Again! The woman had neatly put paid to the advantage the Slytherins had, and now, with the Potter boy, Gryffindor might be a threat again in Quidditch, too. Damn! The pure-blood parents would be after his hide.

Potter! The little pervert. Dumbledore would have to probe that boy from now on. Every time Severus looked in the boy's head he saw images of the Mudblood slut. He shuddered; little Miss Woolly-the-Rabbit was not his idea of a pleasing image. Especially naked!

Better than Longbottom, though. What a ponce. Complete idiot. If this was the old man's "chosen one", immediately joining the Dark Lord if he returned was the only thing to do.

"Minerva McGonagall, don't you dare! They're so cute together, Harry and his little harem. Besides, he's the spark of that group. All their grades would drop if you separated them," Aurora Sinistra exclaimed.

Pomona Sprout nodded. "They're youngsters, Minerva. Nothing to worry about for a few years—it's puppy love. You'll give yours the talk tomorrow, anyway; that will scare them right off him. Did you know he's produced a series of study guides? Some of the girls in my House have them, and they go to this study group of his and Hermione's. They're all top of the pile, as far as grades go."

Poppey Pomfrey nodded. "I for one am glad he's doing this exercise program. All of these students could use more of that."

Septima Vector nodded along. "Did you know they have some fifth year girls tutoring them in Arithmancy in that study group?"

"Runes, too," Bathsheba Babbling added.

The female staff members present in McGonagall's lounge looked thoughtful for a moment

McGonagall sighed. "Fine, I won't separate them. If something untoward happens, though, you all are going with me to explain it to their parents. Now, who has more fuel we can pour on the Board about Severus? I want him gone! I have had completely enough of that misogynist!"

Pomona giggled. "One more broom to your young Mr. Potter and you won't have to worry about it. His head will explode." McGonagall affected an innocent air. The cost of that Nimbus had been well worth it.

Meanwhile, in Harry's trunk mansion: "You need to tell them, Harry, and they all need trunks."

"Elizaaaa."

"Oh Merlin, Harry, don't whine. It doesn't suit you at all."

"Fine, Eliza." Harry was pouting now.

Kristen looked at him. "You've fallen for Granger, and you're afraid if you tell her she'll bolt. Oh, that's so romantic—our little Harry is finally in love!"

"Hey! I love all of you!" Harry defended.

Marie Caldwell snorted. "More than sisters, less than fireworks, Harry. We've had this discussion. We're fine with it, and you never complain when one of us finds a decent guy. We're happy to be with you, but we all come to realize sooner or later that you aren't 'it' for us. Maybe Hermione is. Maybe later it will be one of us. Just go with it. Meanwhile, once Granger breaks you in we can all get a shag when we need one."

Harry laid his head down on the couch in the sitting room of the trunk mansion. "Fine. How did I get to be an object?"

The girls rolled their eyes and Jasmine, one of the Squib Squad, lay half on him and put her head on his chest. Ella grunted. "Harry, while we're here you should ease up a little. The older wizards are getting a bit nervous about you."

"Fuck 'em. They'd better leave the witches alone if the witches don't want to mess with them."

"Harry! You can't fight the whole school!" Eliza snapped.

"Won't have to. Only a few are that stupid. I'll just beat a few of them senseless or crush their nuts, and Bob's your uncle." Harry was in a full pout now. Emma put a hand on Eliza's arm as she was about to snap at Harry and shook her head. Obviously Harry was in no mood.

The girls discussed things for a while and then drifted off to their own trunks, leaving Jasmine with Harry.

At Bones Manor Amelia read the letter from Susan again. The girl seemed very happy, and Amelia could only be glad she had found a male friend. Harry Potter, too—that boded well. The Potters were generally powerful and reputedly fabulously wealthy, generally light-sided, a good family and a possibly advantageous match for Susan.

This group of witches was troubling but apparently the norm for young witches now, as the magical world seemed to be turning back to the old ways. Fudge and his cronies were behind most of this, damn them. They were setting the magical world back a thousand years with their nepotism and hatred for half-bloods and Muggle-borns. In Fudge's case it wasn't even conscious hatred; it was fear of anything that might threaten him, and him being a weak wizard, well...that left him with only his political skills to rely on.

Anyway, the boy was younger than Susan and so would probably be at or near her level of maturity and thus controllable by her. From what Susan said, he was very respectful of witches and so would probably only go as far as Susan let him in later years. Yes, all in all a good thing, given the current climate. A coven under a warlock had some legal advantages that could be exploited later, too.

Emma Granger read her daughter's letter again. The girl was obviously head over heels for this Harry boy. Emma giggled. Every other sentence of the two-page back-and-front letter mentioned the boy. Hmmm, they would really need to meet him. Hermione had always been precocious, and if this boy wasn't pushing her away she would be exploring the physical side of a relationship with him much sooner than Dan or, for that matter, she herself would like.

Girls now grew up way too fast. Emma cringed when her inner voice guffawed loudly and retorted to that thought with a snide Pot, meet kettle. Weren't we shagging at fifteen? You were so lucky. Emma responded, "I knew what I was doing, and anyway I found Dan fairly soon and he loved me!" She got an outraged That's complete bullshit. You were horny as a goat and fucking like a bunny. You took so much advantage of the free love years. Thank God Dan was completely infatuated with you, looked past your baggage, and came to love you. Emma huffed. "What would you know? You were the one telling me we shouldn't waste time." Her inner voice grumbled a bit before saying, How was I to know you would jump right in the sack? You were driving me insane lusting after boys.

Emma stilled a moment. Dan—oh my! Dan was going to go completely ballistic. He worshipped the ground Hermione walked on. Poor Harry! Hmmm, have to break this to Dan the right way and get the boy over here. Christmas would be best, probably.

In magical households across Britain other mothers were, as Emma was, reading letters from daughters and catching the meaning hidden between lines on parchments and notebook pages. Harry Potter suddenly became a topic of great interest.

Monday morning, the thirtieth of September, Harry was moving down the stairs to catch up with the girls who had gone on to breakfast. He had forgotten his notebook and had to run back for it. He slipped down the stairs and heard a muffled shriek. Harry charged in the direction of the noise and wandlessly slammed into each other the two wizards he found pinning a witch to the wall. The witch nodded her thanks and fled, tears streaming down her face. Harry, left with just the wizards, took out some aggressions on them but soon tired of it as by then they were unconscious. He left them in a heap of tangled, broken arms and legs.

Later in the day a sixth year Ravenclaw Prefect found the two in the disused fifth floor corridor after hearing groans, and by dinner the rumors were flying. Harry smirked and went to Quidditch practice. Hermione led the witches, following him, and looked at his smirk. "That was you, wasn't it? I can't leave you alone for a second!"

Harry grinned. "Ask me no questions, Ne…."

"Oh, Harry! You could have been hurt!"

Harry turned to face Hermione and backed her against the wall of the stands. "They had a witch trapped, Hermione. Who knows how far they would have gone? Now they won't." He leant in and kissed her fiercely, then turned and entered the locker room. Daphne and Susan laughed and steered the dazed Hermione to their customary seats.

Padma commented, "Apparently one of the older girls in my House was having trouble with those two. We'll have to be on the lookout. She'll eventually approach Harry to thank him."

Daphne laughed outright as Hermione sat up alertly and growled. "Down, girl! He's not exclusively yours. Although I have seen him tracking that ass of yours a lot."

Hermione, ridiculously, tried to look down her back at her own ass. "I know! It's so flat. I don't see what he likes about it." Her friends rolled around on the bleachers laughing.

Oliver Wood, Gryffindor Captain, Keeper, and resident Quidditch fanatic, raised a brow at Harry, who blushed lightly and shrugged. "Witches. How am I to know?"

The Weasley twins and Oliver nodded, drawing raised brows from Katie, Angelina, and Alicia, before Alicia smiled. "You're not Harry. Now, Oliver, let's get this done. I don't want to be out here all night."

Oliver looked angry now. "We have to wait. McGonagall will be here in a moment."

Fred looked confused. "McGonagall?"

George asked, "What do we need her for?"

Oliver looked at Harry. "Apparently a protest has been filed. If Harry is to be allowed to play, the teams must allow other first years to try out."

Harry sat his broom in silence for a moment and then burst out laughing. "Longbottom? Are you kidding? He can hardly fly a broom."

"That's a lie! I'm a great flyer!" said Longbottom, who came onto the pitch followed closely by Professor McGonagall.

"Ah, got over that broken arm, then?" Harry asked and his teammates chuckled. Everyone knew the story.

Professor McGonagall cleared her throat. "Be that as it may, the challenge has been made." She pulled her hand from her pocket and released a Snitch. "Your test begins now."

Harry grinned and leapt off the ground, his broom literally screaming. Neville never had a chance. Harry stayed on the Snitch like a bloodhound on a coon. Neville was just chasing Harry, badly, and everyone present knew it. Oliver shook his head. "I've seen enough, Professor. Potter's my Seeker. Now if you don't mind, we'll start practice."

Hermione cleared her throat and Oliver turned. "What about us? If Neville gets to try out, I want to try for Chaser."

Angelina looked at Hermione, scandalized. "Hermione!"

Hermione rolled her eyes. "We'll have to have a team once you graduate, Angelina. You should be able to teach us by then."

"Us?"

Lavender and Parvati raced up with three brooms from the shed. Oliver's eyes glowed. "Reserves, and for practice you can play against us!" He turned to the air above the pitch. "HARRY, STOP CLOWNING AROUND AND CATCH THE SNITCH ALREADY AND GET DOWN HERE!"

Harry reached right in front of him and snatched the Snitch out of the air. He flew down and landed in a kind of front-flip dismount from his broom. Neville piled into the ground behind him.

Oliver looked around. "We'll need some reserve Beaters." Dean and Seamus shrugged and stepped up. Oliver grinned at them and continued, "And a Keeper." Ron stepped forward.

McGonagall smirked and stepped back. Granger would have to have an extraordinary number of points awarded for short-circuiting another intra-House skirmish. She went and sat in the stands behind what the Professors had dubbed Harry's Harem and watched as Oliver arranged the teams. He had the older players teaching the younger except for the Seekers, for whom he simply turned loose the Snitch and let them chase it. Granger, Patil, and Brown were rubbish, but game. Finnigan and Thomas were absolute hazards, more likely to hit themselves or the rickety school brooms than the Bludgers, and Weasley couldn't stop a beachball, much less a Quaffle. And of course, Longbottom was patently hopeless. But they were all out there and the crisis was solved for now. Put that in your pipe and smoke it, Albus!

Later, back in the first year Gryffindor girls' dorm, Parvati groaned. "Morgana, Hermione, what were you thinking? Wood is a madman and those Quidditch players are all dyke freaks. I have bruises that have bruises."

Lavender nodded silently and then added, "You owe us big time, Hermione. I don't mind helping you catch him, but once you do you're going to have to share."

"If you're good bitches, I'll have him use you." Hermione covered her mouth, unable to believe she'd said that.

Parvati and Lavender raised their heads and looked at Hermione, who was now blushing furiously. Parvati smiled. "Yes, Mistress."

Lavender huffed. "I don't think so."

Parvati jumped on her. "Come on, it will be fun!"

"Off, perv!"

The pillow fight was short, but exhausting.

Later in the week, on Thursday the third of October, Harry was dragged to the pitch to watch as the Slytherins held open tryouts like the Gryffindors had. Daphne chortled the whole time and later told the others about it. "Malformed whinged to his father after you got your position. Flint laughed at him and told him to come on if he was man enough, but after you Gryffs made up your little reserve team to placate Longbottom, Malformed went to his father again. Flint, the Slytherin Captain, is not amused; Malformed is going to get crushed."

Harry frowned. "You know, Hermione's idea actually worked. Gryffindor now has a practice squad that tries to play like whoever we're going to play. Turns out Weasley is good at watching and picking up plays from the other teams. It's working out well."

Tracey snorted. "So he's a good little spy. Weasley, weasel, hmmm, not much of a stretch. It would never work in Slytherin, Harry. All those giant egos; they wouldn't help each other, they'd attack each other. It could work on any of the other teams, though, and they might start it. I've heard some noises like that."

Susan nodded. "I know the Hufflepuff team is talking about it."

Daphne turned around. "Shhh, they're starting."

Harry and the others watched as Draco was sent after the Snitch against the Slytherin Seeker, who started by bumping and soon just kicked Draco off his broom. Harry had to give Malfoy credit. He got back on his broom and tried again. This time he got run down at speed. Harry watched as the Slytherin Seeker played what had to be his desperation game and took all the intelligence he could.

Hermione watched Harry watching and smiled when he put an arm around her and leaned over and kissed her. Her posse mock-glared at her and then sighed. They all knew Harry was leaning her way. Leaning, hell—he'd fallen out the window and was singing on the way down. They would have to let this play out.

Sunday the sixth of October Harry sat in front of his parents' portraits in the sitting room of Potter castle. "He's a complete ass, Harry, always was."

"James! Severus went wrong when I didn't love him back, Harry. I just couldn't. His prejudices came to the surface way too easily. At least your father held his prejudices right on the surface. He never tried to fool anyone."

"That and he was an ass."

"James, I'm warning you!"

James clamped his mouth shut but obviously had more to say along the same lines. Harry sighed. "Is it possible he can read minds? He always seems to know when Longbottom is most vulnerable and how to make him lose it. It can't just be luck."

Lily nodded. "Dumbledore was an accomplished Legilimens. He could have taught Severus."

James snorted. "As Dumbledore's spy he would have had to have master's level Occlumency. He would have had to learn it quickly, too. We graduated and, well…died...three years later."

Harry nodded. "I'll start on Occlumency and get the girls started."

Lily's smile was predatory. "When are you bringing Hermione here, Harry?"

Harry grimaced and James tried to help him. "What? He has lots of girls, Lils. You've met most of them."

"Shut up, James. Harry, Hermione?"

Harry groaned. "Christmas, Mother, okay?"

"No later, Harry."

"Yes, Mother."

Harry took his leave and wandered back into the trunk mansion's sitting room. Ella was waiting for him there. "So, Harry—Hermione?"

Harry grimaced and folded onto the sofa with her. "What is it with you all? I don't know. I know I'm very, very attracted to her. But I'm eleven! How do I know if this is it? Wouldn't it be better to keep her as a friend and not try to move anything along too far?"

Ella laughed. "Give her your best, Harry. Lay it all out for her, and then if it doesn't work, take your lumps like the man we know you are."

Harry shook his head. "I don't think so. I think I'll let her take the lead here."

Ella laid her head in his lap. "Be careful, Harry. Brainy birds can be wild."

Harry rolled his eyes leant down and kissed her. "Yeah, I know."

Ella giggled.

Boil

Harry was overjoyed that school had settled into a rhythm—not just any rhythm, but one he could handle quite easily. Classes were fun, studying with the girls was more fun, Quidditch practice was a blast, flying was the living end.

The two groups, older and younger witches, had settled into intelligence gathering and sharing, and they were developing a picture of the wizards. Harry took no action unless one of the wizards touched someone. He was satisfied to wait, for now.

The group had added Occlumency to their studies. Surprisingly, they breezed through it—at least the ones who had been with Harry a while. Meditation was something they had been practicing for three years and the texts' suggested methods profited from this.

The core group helped the others, and they all felt like they were progressing well. Of course, there was no way to tell without a Legilimens to test them, and Harry trusted no one; so they were studying that art at the same time. They all had diversionary thoughts that they ran.

Eliza laughed and laughed over Harry's vividly imagined images of a naked Hermione. Harry blushed furiously and shrugged. "I don't have to try too hard to maintain that one." The other girls looked at the pair, but Eliza wouldn't give Harry up. He was very grateful.

Other places in the school, things weren't going so well. Longbottom and Weasley couldn't seem to make it to classes on time and were somehow driven to fight with the Slytherins.

Potions classes were still a nightmare, but the complaint campaign was gathering momentum, so Harry was in wait-and-see mode.

Around the country, Harry Potter was still the topic of much conversation in many wizarding households and the home of one Muggle-born witch.

In the staff room the internecine warfare continued to heat up as October 1991 passed not-so-gently into the good night of history.
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