"Not so fast Potter!" Angelina nearly shouted as he stepped out of the men's locker room after another embarrassing practice.
Harry rolled his eyes. As if Snape, Umbridge and McGonagall weren't enough, Angelina seemed to have joined the yell at Harry fan club.
"I only chose Ron because he was your friend. So I want you stay down here and work with him until there’s some improvement."
"I didn't tell you to choose him Angelina!"
"No, you didn't. And why is that? Because you weren't even there!"
"It's not like I skipped on purpose,” Harry said, trying to defend himself. “I was in detention with Umbridge! And I've tried to work with him, even offered to go out during the off hours to practice but he won't!"
"Look Potter," Angelina said standing up straighter to make herself look menacing. "I don't care what it is you do, just get him to catch the bloody Quaffle! Even once or twice a practice would be a miracle right now."
Harry heard none of this though. The conspiracy involving the girls left his hormones running wild and with Angelina right in front of him, he couldn’t help but stare.
She was about to rip into him for ignoring her when she noticed where exactly he was staring. Glancing down she realized that while she may have straighten herself up to look more menacing, the stance inadvertently pulled her shirt tight against her body. Embarrassment soon changed to a smile though, and then a full out grin as an idea came to mind.
"You know, I've been looking forward to winning my first game as captain for years now.” Angelina whispered as she arched her shoulders back, pulling her shirt even tighter and giving Harry a nearly perfect view of her rather large bra covered chest. Running her hands down over her breasts, she grinned at hearing Harry’s moan, enjoying the rather obvious effect she was having on him before bringing her lips down onto his.
Growing tired of his lack of reaction, she deepened the kiss, forcing his mouth open with her tongue. It didn't take long for him to respond after that and she was pleasantly surprised to find he had nice, soft lips. The kiss wasn’t nearly as sloppy or painful as she expected. While no tart she’d kissed enough inexperienced boys to know most tried to force their tongue as far down her throat as possible, slobbered or were so uptight and nervous that it drove the girl nuts. That was not Harry though. More reluctantly than she first anticipated, Angelina forced her mind back to her original plan and broke the kiss.
"You want us to win don't you Harry?"
He nodded, still somewhat out of it from his first kiss.
“I know you’re a busy man Harry, but I’ll personally thank you for all your hard work after the match," she said, giving him one her most alluring smiles before kissing him lightly on the lips.
Harry just stood there stunned for a moment as she walked down the corridor. The feel of her lips against his had been incredible and he knew he'd do whatever it took to make sure they won their first match. While usually blind when it came to girls, even he knew Angelina did it for just that reason, not that it mattered really. Now all he needed was to figure out a way to help his red-headed friend.
Ron was a good, if a bit lazy, Quidditch player. What he really needed though was to learn how to concentrate and keep his cool under pressure. Sure the song Malfoy and the others sang during practice was rough, but it wasn't really worse than most the other tricks all the teams, Gryffindor included, regularly used in Quidditch. Truthfully, it wasn’t any worse than what Harry put up with his first year, and couldn’t even begin to compare to what happened during the height of the Slytherin/Gryffindor rivalry his third year.
He spent the rest of the evening and much of the next day trying to figure out a way to help Ron. Any sort of cheering charm was out because it wouldn’t last nearly long enough unless you really overpowered it, and then he’d be as likely to laugh at the Quaffle as catch it. A calming drought wouldn’t work either as it’d slow his reflexes too much. A deafening charm wasn’t ideal, since being able to hear the players as well as the Quaffle and Bludgers was a big part of the game, but it might due in a pinch. Harry doubted it would make him any worse at least.
Asking Hermione ended up being a dead end as well. The entire Quidditch pitch was permanently charmed against potions, charms and most other forms of magic that could be used for cheating. She was, however, touched by Harry's concern for Ron and not just for winning against Slytherin. Harry didn’t dare tell her the truth.
His next idea turned out to be slightly better, but he still wasn't sure if it would be enough. It took a good bit of convincing, but Professor McGonagall finally agreed to chaperone the next couple weeks of practices. They both knew what the Slytherins were doing was not against school rules, but Harry was hoping her presence would keep Malfoy quiet anyways. It wouldn’t stop Malfoy from picking on Ron after McGonagall left though, so he enlisted Fred and George’s help for that.
Harry figured having the twins leave a couple minutes before Ron and clear Malfoy out of the way be the best bet. Unfortunately, making sure they didn’t mention it to Ron or pick on him themselves was much harder. The thought of Angelina’s ‘Thank You’ was more than enough motivation for Harry not to accept defeat though. He started with appealing to their moral side, though he doubted it would work as Harry wasn’t even sure if they had any morals at all. There was slightly more hope for appealing to their big brother instinct, that Weasley’s stick together, and the Weasley family pride, but none of those affected them in the least. Finally, when even a not-so-slight reminder about the money they were using to fund their business failed to work, Harry went with the only tried and true method left. Threats.
“You’ve been busy,” Angelina commented as she leaned over the sofa Hermione had recently vacated. “McGonagall held me after class to discuss your request and Fred and George were none too happy with you last night. Do you think it’ll work?”
Leaning over the way she was, her loose top hung down and Harry eye’s automatically sought the opening. Her words went in one ear and out the other as he sat there staring. Vaguely he heard her ask if he was alright but he didn’t respond, his mind too busy with the sight of the two beautiful chocolate orbs before him. In the Room of Requirements, he’d seen Tonks, Fleur and even Ginny starkers, and it’d been the most incredible experience he’d ever had; but in a way this was just as good. This was real.
Finally she realized where he was staring and moved one of her hands off the back of the sofa and to her shirt, holding it up to her chest.
The spell was broken then and his eyes snapped up towards hers. Angelina could easily tell he was mortified, and more than a little afraid at being caught. He was trying to stammer out an apology but the poor boy could barely even talk.
“Relax, I’m not mad at you Harry. Nearly all the older boys try to look at my breasts, why should you to be any different? To tell you the truth, it’s an incredibly turn on sometimes.”
“Though other times it just makes me sick. I can’t stand the thought of some of those pricks like Flint, Davis, or Malfoy trying to sneak a peek.” The disgust in her voice at the mention of their names left him let little doubt at how she felt about them.
“The thing is Harry,” she added with a grin. “Unlike the rest of the boys, if we win this next match you’ll get to do more than just look at them. So do you think it’ll work?”
“Huh?” Harry asked, knowing he must sound like an idiot, but how could expect him to think after having said that.
“You’re idea to help Ron. Do you think it’ll work?”
“It’ll work, I just don’t know if it’ll be enough. I’ll think of some other ideas to help though. One way or another we’ll destroy the Slytherins.”
Angelina smiled at the conviction in his voice. Perfect. “That’s what I wanted to hear,” she said, dropping the hand from her shirt to give him another teasing view of her breasts for a few seconds before a book laden Hermione arrived back at the sofa.
“Let me know what your next idea is,” Angelina said to him as she left.
“What idea?” asked Hermione.
“Huh? Oh, just some more Quidditch ideas to help Ron.”
“It’s really nice of you to be looking out for him like that Harry. You’re a good friend.”
“I have the spells I was talking about before,” she added before he had a chance to feel guilty at the good friend remark. “Now the advantage of starting off with something like a basic shielding charm is obvious, but the there are certain advantages to learning a couple specialized spells first as well. The Sleeper’s Tomb curse places the target in a magically induced sleep and can be used in lieu of a standard stunning spell. The advantage comes because a standard Enervate has no effect; it requires a specialized medical charm to awaken them. Unfortunately the curse requires ten seconds to take effect, potentially allowing a Death Eater to cast several spells in retaliation.”
“The advantage of learning something like the Red Shield,” she explained. “Is that it’s incredibly powerful and will block a lot more curses than the Protego charm, but at a cost. It creates a constant drain on the caster’s magic. I doubt many students could keep it active for a minute. However, for that minute they are offered a great deal more protection. Now the Tonis charm, on the other hand, is an offensive spell which creates a huge burst of wind that should knock people off balance, interrupting any spell their casting. Historically, Death Eaters outnumbered attackers by more than three to one, so a spell that affects all of them could be incredibly helpful.”
“Hermione,” snapped Harry. “I told you before I think working on their reflexes and aim should be first.”
“We will be,” Hermione said in a placating tone, which only caused to further his ire. “I’m just trying to say we can teach them a few charms at the same time. We’ll have them practice their aim and reflexes with the new spell; it’ll be more efficient that way.”
“No! If they have new spells to practice, they’ll concentrate on them and not on the dodging and aiming. If I wasn’t so quick and agile, or if the Death Eaters were a little bit better at hitting a moving target, I’d be dead right now. This isn’t some secondary task they have to learn, Hermione. It’s important.”
He sighed and rubbed the bridge of his nose, trying to pull himself back together. He wasn’t actually angry with Hermione, but Angelina left him incredibly horny and he couldn’t get up to do anything about it without Hermione, and everyone else in the common-room, seeing exactly how hard he was. “Those spells were great Hermione, and we should teach them to everyone, but not just yet.”
“Okay Harry.” she said, her voice soft. “We’ll wait until they improve before introducing new spells. We should come up with a plan for the first meeting though. I think they’ll be upset about the dodging and aiming. I’ve heard a few rumors and I think most of them are expecting to learn really powerful spells like the Patronus.”
“Come on then,” he told her. “I’ll show you some of the tasks I wanted to use.”
“We should probably practice them ourselves first,” Hermione replied. “It wouldn’t look good if we couldn’t do them properly.”
“I spoke with McGonagall like you asked,” Angelina told him the next evening. “We’re keeping our old schedule but added extra practices every morning five thirty to seven thirty starting tomorrow. You just better hope your idea works and Ron improves, or I’m going to hold you responsible for getting us all up so early.” With that said she stormed off toward Fred and George, probably to tell them the news.
“Five thirty in the morning?” Hermione asked incredulously. “Not even Oliver was that cruel.”
Harry just shrugged. “I’m hoping Ron’ll be so tired and mad that he’ll forget about his nervousness. With McGonagall keeping the Slytherins quiet, today’s practice was an improvement but catching one in five when the girls are going easy on him just isn’t enough to keep him on the team. I know he’ll play a bit better if he can just get past his nervousness.”
“We need more practice anyway though,” Harry admitted. “Even if Ron plays his best, he’ll be no-where near as good as Oliver and the rest of us will need to pick up the slack.”
“Keep him on the team? You mean she’d actually kick him off?”
“If he doesn’t improve? Yes. The rest of the team already told Angelina to kick him off, but she’s giving me till the first game to work with him. If he can’t get past his problem by then though, he’s gone.”
Spending an extra two hours of Quidditch practice every morning and an hour every night preparing for the first defense meeting, on top of his already busy schedule of classes, detentions, and normal Quidditch practices, didn’t leave enough free time to go to the Room of Requirement again. Actually, it didn’t leave much free time at all and if it wasn’t for Hermione, Harry doubted he’d even have time to do his homework. Thankfully she was a master at scheduling time efficiently and took care of all the details for him.
On one occasion, when he was just too exhausted to stay up anymore, he even found his homework completed and sitting next to his bed in the morning. Hermione never mentioned it, never acted differently in any way, but he knew it was her.
The Room of Requirement was never far from his mind though, and it was all he could think about on the few nights when he didn’t immediately drop off to sleep. Even during the days he kept imagining how the different girls around him looked starkers; a much better way to pass time than his previous brooding.
After one particularly grueling evening practice that Friday, Harry watched as beads of sweat flowed down Angelina’s neck and disappeared beneath her Quidditch robes. Why hadn’t he thought of it before?
Calling out that he was going to fly some more, he mounted his broom and was little more than a blur before anyone had a chance to respond. He flew around for a few minutes to make sure no-one was going to come up after him before flying towards the back of the castle.
Casting an unlocking charm on one of the seventh floor windows he arrived to the Room of Requirement and went in looking for Angelina in the showers, but she wasn't there. A little disappointed, he wondered where she was when the view turned slightly and he saw her standing there with her back to him. She was still in the locker room talking to Alicia, who was facing him wearing only a bra and knickers.
Angelina’s long, dark and muscular legs were a thing of beauty to Harry. The knickers she wore covered next to nothing in the back and he wondered just why she’d wear something like that at all; not that he minded of course. Two milky-white scars, probably from one of her numerous Quidditch accidents, were visible near the small of her back and stood out in stark contrast to her chocolate skin. Her back and shoulders were more muscular than he thought they’d be, but the difference from what he imagined only added to the thrill of seeing her like this.
Smaller than Angelina, Alicia’s moderately tanned body was no less wonderful. Her legs and thighs were thinner and more toned compared to Angelina’s muscular ones. Actually, she was much thinner overall and he could make out the shape of a couple of her ribs and small hip-bones. The white flowery bra she wore showed off two breasts that were actually smaller than he thought they would’ve been. They still looked incredible on her lithe frame though, and he figured they’d fit nearly perfectly in the palm of his hand. Something he was sure would happen in his dreams one night.
Katie joined in the conversation with Angelina and Alicia and Harry mentally focused the screen to zoom in on her. He was even more surprised by what he saw of her than the other two. Her soft yellow bra was plain and boring; but it didn’t matter, her breasts were surprisingly large and she didn’t need a fancy bra to show them off. It’s not that they were huge or anything, actually they looked perfectly proportioned on her. It’s just that she normally wore such loose clothing he never even imagined Katie had those underneath! She was neither as muscular as Angelina, nor as thin as Alicia, but rather a decently toned in between. All three were gorgeous in different ways and he couldn’t decide who he wanted to look at first. If only he could see them all.
A second later he found himself not watching the three girls from the Room of Requirement, but actually standing in the girl’s locker room with them.
Fear coursed through him as he slowly backed away from the girls. If any of them turned his way for even the slightest second, he’d be caught! Along with the fear though, was an incredible sense of excitement which confused him. He wasn’t sure why the thought of getting caught excited him so, but it did.
Harry’s heart jumped a moment later as Alicia turned his way to say something to Katie. He wasn’t sure how she missed him, but he wasn’t willing to test his luck a second time. No longer caring if they heard something, he turned to run towards the back of the locker room only to find himself heading right into the nearest lockers. It was too late to stop though and as he braced for the impact he found himself going… through them?
Harry stopped and blinked for a moment, the adrenaline and fear causing his thoughts to jumble as he waved his hand through the lockers a few times. He felt like an idiot. Of course he wasn’t actually in the girl’s locker room; he was still in the Room of Requirement! Only, it had changed its appearance to his desires and mirrored the actual locker room. Harry just couldn’t believe his luck! Two weeks ago he would’ve done just about anything to get even the slightest glimpse of a girl in her knickers, and now here he was examining three of the prettier girls in Gryffindor tower as thoroughly as he wanted.
Life was good.
Unfortunately, like everything else in his life something good always meant something bad was around the corner. And that Monday was the day for bad.
He should’ve know the type of day it would be when the early morning Quidditch practice ran over and he didn’t even have time for breakfast before his first class of the day, Divination. Dealing with Trelawney was never fun, but on an empty stomach it was downright annoying. The next class, Double Potions with Snape and Malfoy, was a typical nightmare.
He managed to get through most of the lesson without snapping- though just barely- by thinking of his time in the Room of Requirement watching his three chasers. Malfoy apparently didn’t like being ignored though. So when Harry took his potion, protected by an unbreakable charm in case it was ‘accidentally dropped’, up to Snape at the end of class, Malfoy threw a Filibuster firework into his cauldron. Thankfully the cauldron was mostly empty by that point and the resulting mess only covered a small portion of the room. While not particularly original, as they did the same thing to Goyle back in second year, it was quite effective and resulted in Harry being held back during lunch to clean up the mess and another detention with Umbridge that night.
Hermione and Ron saved him a bit of food from lunch, but it wasn’t much and he scarffed it down on his way to the next class. Yes, you guessed it, Double Defense Against Dark Arts with Umbridge.
This time, not even the memory of Angelina, Alicia and Katie helped and Harry was in a thoroughly rotten mood by the end of class. How he got through detention with Umbridge without cursing her he’ll never know. She kept him well past the two hour mark and by the time he was let out of detention he was already late for practice, and didn’t have time to worry about healing his hand. As if playing Quidditch with a hurt and still bloody hand wasn’t enough, Angelina was pissed at him and seemed to take a special pleasure in making sure he knew it.
Thankfully Hermione had a bottle of Essence of Murlap ready for him when he plopped down on the sofa next to her.
“How was practice?” she asked, hoping to take his mind of his hand. “We’ve been so busy this last week I haven’t asked.”
“Better than before, but in some ways it’s even more frustrating,” he told her as he closed his eyes and rest his head back against the sofa. “The morning practices are working out just like I hoped and Ron catches about half of them now, even when the girls are playing decently well. Anytime they actually push it though, Ron will miss a couple in a row and convince himself that he’s not good enough. Once that happens though, he’ll start missing more and more until he finally just gives up.”
“The afternoon practices are a little worse as it still bothers him that the Slytherins are there,” said Harry. "Even if they are keeping quiet for now. Don’t get me wrong, he’s far better than he was last week just not as good as he in the morning. The girls came up with the idea of starting easy in the beginning but make it look like they’re playing harder. Then they’ll slowly push things further as practice goes on. From the little I saw today, it seemed to work just fine.”
“And the Twins are absolutely no help. They’re not stupid enough to go against my threats directly, but they’re finding other ways to do it. They even taught a couple of the younger years to transfigure things into a spider to scare him for free jokes.” Harry moved his glasses back up his nose, a tell Hermione long ago learned meant her friend was stressed. “As if making Ron believe in himself isn’t hard enough already.”
“Come on, Harry,” she said as she got up from the sofa.
“Where are we going?"
"Outside, to the lake. There is still an hour left of sunlight and you’ve been running yourself ragged all week, you need a break.”
“What?” he teased, “is Hermione Granger telling me I need a break before I even start my homework?”
“Yes, I learned my lesson about to much work third year as you well know,” she replied in a huff, though there was a smile on her face. “Now come on, you’ll just have to do your homework after we get back. You’re not getting out of it that easily.”
The walk down to the edge of the lake was silent until Hermione ordered him to take off his shoes.
“What?” he asked her in surprise.
“Shoes. Off. Now.”
“My family started doing this the summer after second year,” Hermione commented a moment later as she swung her bare feet in the lake. “I made up all the work from when I was frozen during the summer as well as worked ahead quite a lot. I was really quite stressed at first and after a couple weeks, mom started making all of us go out on the deck and sit with our feet dangling in the pool as we ate- no school work of any kind allowed.”
“I was furious at first,” she admitted. “But after I calmed down I realized just how much I missed my family, and how much of their lives I was missing. It’s actually the first time my sister and I really got along. I mean, we never hated each other or anything, but before that we were just too different and avoided dealing with the other more than was necessary. Once we were forced to really start talking though, we found we had both changed over the previous two years and got along a lot better.”
Harry smiled at that, happy that she would share such a memory with him. While not strictly against the rules, every student learned their first year that mentioning the muggle world, especially a muggle home, in anything but the vaguest detail was not acceptable.
It wasn’t just the pure-blood supremacists either. To almost all of Hogwarts and the vast majority of the Wizarding world, the muggle world was taboo. As far as they were concerned it was a completely separate world and the moment a witch or wizard picked up a wand, they were supposed to forget everything about the other one. While not obviously stated, Hogwarts policies and traditions were also designed to separate the muggleborns from any connection to their family and former life. By the time a muggleborn graduated they were little more than strangers to their own family, and were more likely to stay primarily in the wizarding world than mix between the two.
It was one of the few things he actually respected about his roommate, Dean. Dean’s West-Ham posters were thrashed more than a few times a year, but he kept them up anyways. After the third time it happened during first year, he sent an owl to his family and had them send as many posters as they could get their hands on. A few days later there were two posters in the dorm instead of just one. The next time it happened he added a third.
Since Harry, Ron, Neville and Seamus didn’t care, talking about the muggle world in the privacy of their own dorm was, grudgingly, accepted by the other years. Sometimes Dean even started conversations about football or some other muggle activity in the common-room, knowing full well the posters would be torn down again in retaliation. It was his small way of rebelling.
A couple of the others, Hermione included, had their own ways of rebellion.
Not often, but every once in a while, Hermione would put down her quill and use a fountain pen her father bought her instead. Once the ink dried most people would never be able to tell the difference, but it didn’t matter. She knew, and that was enough.
Her other method was her letters home. During the year Hermione routinely borrowed Hedwig to send novel length letters as a way to keep connected to her family and to a lesser extent, the muggle world.
Harry still remembered his second year when, about a month after Hermione was frozen, Hedwig delivered two letters to him from her parents. They hadn’t heard from her for in over six weeks and were worried. The owl they rented to delivery their first post returned with its letter unopened.
When he went to McGonagall he found out that once a muggleborn child stepped onto platform 9 ¾’s they became an apprentice of Hogwarts and the parents were no longer involved in anything to do with the child. Hogwarts policy prohibited them from informing muggle parents about their child’s schooling. He and Ron wrote her parents back trying to explain how she was in the Hospital wing frozen but would be completely fine once the Mandrakes matured. It wasn’t a particularly good letter though, and they ended up having to write two more times before answering all of her parent’s questions.
“Even when we traveled,” his brown haired friend continued. “Dad made sure every place we stayed at had some sort of pool or lake we could use. We’d go there for either breakfast or dinner and make plans for the next day.”
“What it’s like?” Harry asked when she fell silent again.
“The vacations are wonderful. Reading about the different histories and cultures, both magical and muggle, has always been interesting. Actually getting to see it firsthand though, is nothing short of amazing. I know most people think history is boring and useless, but it’s not!” she said enthusiastically. “It’s the witness that testifies to the passing of time; it illuminates reality, vitalizes our memory and imagination, and can provide guidance for our daily life.”
Hermione continued on about the history and cultures of different places they visited, but he wasn’t paying all that much attention to her words. It was her tone of voice, her body language and the look of passion on her face that stole his attention. In his mind little could ever compare to the thrill he felt when pushing his Firebolt to its limits, and that was what he now saw in Hermione. For the first time Harry thought he could actually understand her. Hermione’s passion for learning, for books and the knowledge they held, was like his passion for flying.