Since when do shopping trips have an aftermath? Since now, apparently.
for the number 4. It uses the same word as "death" in Japanese and
Korean, and nearly the same word in most Chinese dialects. Many East
Asians use circumlocutions to avoid the ill fortune connected with
4... like say, using the term 3b.
The week after the broom-buying excursion was a busy one for Harry
and House Harem in general.
On Monday, House Harem had Herbology in the morning. As dangerous as
the inhabitants of Greenhouse One could be, Harry considered them the
easiest part of the day's lesson. Much more dificult to deal with
was the summons he received from Professor Sprout to meet her at four
o'clock that afternoon. Harry had a solid A average in Herbology,
and thus wondered what the meeting could be about. He had learned
from his past that such meetings rarely brought good news.
The afternoon was divided between Professor Flitwick's Charms and
Snape's Potions classes. Professor Flitwick's class went smoothly,
and he wanted to apologize for the ominous tone of his statements to
the class a couple of weeks earlier. He congratulated them on having
the highest average grade of any house's first year in Charms so
far. (It helps to have Hermione tutor you- she had been a very fast
As for Potions... well, the best that can be said is that Snape's
mood had improved to merely foul. He had managed to keep Slytherin
from bleeding off more students, but he would never be accused of
impartiality. Or of promoting a conducive environment for learning.
All too quickly, 4:00 came, and Harry reported to Professor Sprout's
office, where he saw Nym... Tonks and the Professor waiting for him.
"Please be seated, Mr. Potter," she said impersonally.
Once he was seated, Professor Sprout lanuched an elliptical speech
warning about "excessive familiarities" and "becoming overly involved
with junior students of another House." Harry was completely lost.
Tonks wasn't. Her hands clenched and unclenched, while her hair
became an ever more vivid shade of red.
Finally, Tonks had heard enough.
"All I did was help another student, at the express request of his
Professor. I was under the impression that such inter-house
cooperation was to be encouraged!"
"That wasn't the problem and you know it. You were seen kissing Mr.
Potter in front of the school entrance by several students and
"Why is it my fault that they were Peeping Toms? We didn't do
anything more. Ask Harry!"
Harry said, "I don't know why you're taking after Tonks. We didn't
do anything that I didn't want to do. Or that she didn't want to
do. And kissing was as far as it went, honest!" He was starting to
panic a little; his first kiss had led to this meeting, and he saw
that his friend was in trouble because of him. Guilt was bubbling up
inside of him.
Tonks, of course, was feeling too much anger to feel guilty. "This
is what we did!" she said, abruptly pulling Harry to her and kissing
him on the lips again. "And if you don't like it, then that's too...
Harry was a little too dazed to react. "Kissing is fun!" was about
the most complex thought he could process, but saying so probably
wouldn't be a good idea.
Professor Sprout really didn't know how to respond. She paced around
behind her chair, then sat back down. "Miss Tonks, I know what I was
told. I was told that you were 'making out' with a student in front
of the entrance. I asked other Professors where you were, and
Professor Sinistra said that she had given you and Harry permission
to go to Diagon. I don't want to run your life-"
"Coulda fooled me," muttered Tonks.
"-But Harry is eleven, and you shouldn't get too involved with him.
You would be charged with taking advantage of a child, which could
ruin your application to the Auror Corps. I don't want to see that
happen. You've been a fine student. I trust you-"
"This doesn't sound very trusting," said Harry.
"-And I don't want you to have rumors surrounding you either. You've
been a good Prefect, and in this instance, I will believe that you
are using your best judgment. But I don't want you in this office
Outside, Harry tried to calm Tonks down and apologize. "I'm sorry,
Tonks. I didn't want to make your life more difficult because of me."
"Don't worry, Harry! My life is my own. I regret nothing. I love
Hufflepuff, but there's a real downside to all this team spirit
sometimes. People think they're entitled to know where you are and
what you're doing every minute of every day. I'll see you again
soon. I love the new broom, by the way." She whispered in his
ear, "I love the power between my legs." With that, she winked and
left Harry in the hallway.
When he returned to House Harem, Sinistra asked him what was wrong.
He said, "Sprout was angry about my trip with Tonks," went straight
to his room, and stayed there the rest of the evening.
The following day came DADA and Transfiguration. DADA was just plain
creepy. Professor Quirrell, the instructor, looked alright. He was
reasonably good at teaching. The class performed well. And yet...
something was just a little- off. Quirrell was turned around facing
the blackboard a bit too often. He looked at Harry a little too
closely. He smelled a little funny, and always wore the same turban,
and wouldn't explain why. And Harry shivered every so often for no
reason he could explain. For that reason, a Harem housemate was sat
by his side, on a rotating if unofficial basis, to hold his hand when
he felt a tremor coming on. That was very comforting.
Transfiguration had settled down since the eight-legged pig
incident. McGonagall really was an excellent teacher, stern but fair
once she was settled. She notified them that the faculty had
approved the ownership of brooms by first years, given that
circumstances (namely, House Harem's existence and Quidditch team)
left them no other choice. Officially, the brooms Harry had been
storing in his room since Friday night hadn't been used by anyone;
therefore, no penalty would be assessed.
After her class, the first Quidditch practice with the new brooms
began. It didn't take long for some bugs to become apparent.
The Nimbus 2000 was vastly superior in every way to the school's
brooms, which were really meant for very limited use at the very
start of flying lessons or in dire emergencies. However, it wasn't a
perfect broom; there is no such thing.
Harry and the Chasers (Lisa Turpin, Tracey Davis, and Padma Patil)
loved its high maximum speed, high ceiling, and quick acceleration.
They needed to cover long distances, change directions, and fly one-
handed; the Nimbus covered those requirements very well.
The Beaters (Millicent Bulstrode and Parvati Patil) were less
enthusiastic. They needed precision more than raw speed, and the
ability to fly with no hands briefly while they swung their bats.
The Nimbus didn't provide that to the same extent as it met the
Chasers' needs. Mandy Brocklehurst's requirements as Keeper were
quick stopping and tight turns, which also weren't Nimbus specialties.
Harry watched his teammates playing with the brooms, hearing them
curse when they wouldn't quite do as they were told, and became
frustrated again. Not with his teammates, who made it clear that
they loved his presents and fully expected to wallop Ravenclaw. No,
he was frustrated with himself for not foreseeing the team's needs.
After two hours, Professor Sinistra brought the practice to an end.
Harry went to the Great Hall to eat and returned straight to his
room, alone again.
On Wednesday, Harry said hardly a word all day, lost in his
thoughts. The last five days had been a bit of an emotional drain,
and he was still trying to sort out his feelings toward Tonks, his
teammates, and his professors. After class, Professor Sinistra asked
him to pay her a visit.
Professor Sinistra kept an office in the Harem wing in addition to
her office at the base of the Astronomy Tower. Her Harem office was
still fairly bare, with just a few star charts and Quidditch mementos
on the walls.
"I know it's been kind of a... complicated week," she began. "I know
that you're still trying to find your way around the magical world in
general and Hogwarts in particular. I know that you're just now
learning about how to treat the opposite sex, and how to respond to
what they do. And some of my colleagues haven't made this process as
easy as it could be."
Harry sat quietly; so far, there was nothing he could argue with.
"I have an idea of how you grew up, and that you didn't have any
elders that you could confide in. You formed your connections with
your fellow Harem classmates one by one while adults discussed your
future behind your back. Is that true?"
"Pretty much, yes, Professor," Harry said.
"Aurora, please. I want you to know that we are all here for you,
and that it does you no good to try to hide from your problems or
take the burden all on yourself. I think we can understand."
"But what about Tonks?" Harry spluttered. "How do I handle her?
How do I talk with the girls about her?"
"I've talked to Professor Sprout," said Sinistra. "Tonks is... a
very aggressive personality. A real force of nature. You've heard
about her family."
"I've talked with her about them, yeah. And they're kind of my
"She feels a real need to set herself apart from them. Several of
your classmates feel the same way about their families, although
probably not quite as strongly. I think they'll be willing to listen
to you, and happier to hear from you rather than hearing stories
secondhand. Just between you and me, I think some of them feel the
same way Tonks does. They're just not as outspoken about it, and
don't have her experience."
Harry didn't know how to respond. "Then how should I act?"
"'What do women want?' Men, Muggle and magical, have asked that
question since the beginning of time and will until it ends. I can
tell you what I want in a general way, but it's simpler to just
remember that women are human beings. Treat them the way you want to
be treated. You won't be too far off."
"Thanks, Prof... Aurora."
"I expect you'll ask me similar questions again many times. I expect
I'll duck answering them many times, too. Now, about the brooms. We
love them. I love mine. It's very, very rare that a student does
something so thoughtful for a teacher and for fellow students, not
because he expects a good grade or House points, but because it will
genuinely help everyone involved. You saw that some of your
teammates were frustrated with their brooms."
"Yes, and I tried to get them the best brooms that I could."
"But no broom is perfect for every situation. We can go over the
kinds of brooms available at some later time. Don't feel the need to
go shopping again- I'll handle it if no one else does."
"Thank you again."
"It's my job, Harry. Lastly, the Professors. I'd be lying if I said
that Snape will ever be easy to work with or that we'll all agree on
everything. But I am here to help this House. I am thrilled to have
the chance to help this House. And I will defend this House when I
"Again, it's my job. Now, I think your classmates would like to hear
The Harem girls' room contained eleven four-poster beds in a
staggered lineup, six on one side of a central corridor and five on
the other. (Millicent would say that the eleventh bed spontaneously
appeared as soon as she committed to House Harem.) The beds had seen
only intermittent use since September, because their intended
denizens usually slept with Harry.
This hadn't been the case over the last three days. And today,
Professor Trelawney had called the girls together to hear Harry out.
"Sybil, please, Harry. I don't want to cause you any more stress
"Ladies, I just want to say..."
"That you've made out with a hot babe twice this week?" needled
Harry's face went scarlet.
"Just kidding, Harry," Millicent soothed. "We know about your
evening with Tonks. We know she started some things. And, from what
we've heard, we think you did alright. We wouldn't mind doing some
of those things... one of these days, when we're ready."
"Harry, we may not have known everything about what our commitments
would mean," said Parvati, "but we know that we want you to feel
good. And we know that you won't hurt us on purpose. That's all we
"We appreciate the brooms that you bought," Mandy piped in. "This
broom is a heckuva lot better than that Cleansweep Three they had me
using. Maybe there's a better broom out there. Or maybe there
isn't. But we can whoop up on Ravenclaw now. I guarantee it."
"We hope you're not mad with us, Harry," Hermione concluded. "We're
not mad at you. We all need a little time alone every now and then."
"We just hope that it's over now," said Tracey.
"I think it is," Harry responded. "Would you care to join me?"
The girls' beds would go unused for the rest of the week, and Harry
would record his first O on a Charms test on Friday. Hermione made
sure everyone studied. As she put it, "I've got the best grades in
the class, and I'm now one of the most famous Quidditch players
ever. That means you have to listen to me." It was a funny
argument, and for that reason a very effective one.
The rest of the time before Christmas would pass similarly, and Harry
made sure to thank his Professors for their help. Again, they said
it was all part of their jobs.