Categories > Books > Harry Potter > We're In This Together

When the Party's Over

by zugrian 0 reviews

As summer winds down, there's one last party, one last important meeting, one last chance to set up paranoid fallback plans, and one last vision of Voldemort.

Category: Harry Potter - Rating: R - Genres: Drama,Romance - Characters: Dobby,Harry,Pansy,Sirius - Warnings: [!!!] - Published: 2019-04-30 - 12248 words

Disclaimer: I don't own Harry Potter.

Author's Note: In case anyone was confused about the dreams last chapter- Harry was dreaming about having a threesome with Narcissa and Pansy which was interrupted by his vision of Voldemort possessing the witch. Voldemort did not actually commit sexual assault, but Harry's mind was already thinking about sex, and the violation of having a spirit force its way inside of your body and then take control over you was a rather spot on metaphor for rape. Also, it makes Quirrell even creepier in hindsight.

Anyway, I try to make all of Harry's dreams and visions a bit surreal instead of clear and obvious.

I understand why Rowling did otherwise for narrative reasons, but I personally don't find it believable that a 15 month old baby (who would just have started learning to speak) could have perfect recall of entire conversations the night his parents were murdered. That's why I had Harry only see confusing images when he was near the dementors.

Next chapter is the return to school for year 4.


Harry could only grin at Pansy's excitement. She had been a blur of activity all that afternoon, with Dobby 'helping' her for the last two hours in the kitchen. She just had to bake fresh brownies for some reason, and Dobby had already stopped her from causing too much damage and was now carefully watching over her as Pansy learned to do it the muggle way. Dobby could have had it all done in a fraction of the time, but Pansy wanted to do it herself.

Well, Harry liked sweets as much as anyone not named Luna or Ron, so he was just staying out of the way and hoping to enjoy the results later.

But it was pretty cute how much Pansy wanted to impress Vanessa. He wondered what the reason for that was.

They had run into her the other night when they went back to Euphoria, this time without Steven. She had explained that he had to work that night. They ended up spending half the night just talking and drinking with Vanessa instead of dancing. She introduced them to a few of her other friends that night- Vanessa was a bit of a social butterfly. Pansy later admitted to Harry that it was so relaxing to be able to just talk to people without worrying about any of the crap they would have dealt with in the magical world.

And after growing up with the expectations of her pureblood parents before being sorted into the cutthroat house of Slytherin, it was a relief to be at ease around other people for once. Even if they ran into some sort of conflict, they probably wouldn't see any of these people again for a long time after the party.

That most recent night at the club had been pretty nice, although it did feature a new experience for them. They both ended up rather drunk. Thankfully, with the good company, it turned out that they were both happy drunks, but the night did end with them too sick for sex.

And Harry had to be pretty damn sick to pass up sex. But they took turns throwing up once they got home, and even Harry's hormones were shut down for the night.

He felt pretty lucky the next morning when he didn't have a hangover. Pansy cursed him briefly before Dobby brought her a potion.

Maybe she felt a bit embarrassed at getting drunk in front of Vanessa? But they all had fun talking that night. Even if they almost slipped once or twice in mentioning how they were both orphans. Oh well, Vanessa had seemed just as out of it by the end of the night, if not more so, when Steven had come by to pick her up. Harry doubted she would think twice about it.

But now Pansy was becoming a bit frantic. Harry had been sent downstairs for a container to transport the baked goods. Ruby was very helpful and suggested that Harry just be supportive and not do anything to make Pansy any more stressed before the party. She seemed to understand why Pansy was freaking out, but Harry was still at a loss while he waited for her to finish getting ready in the bathroom.

Maybe it was a girl thing?

He certainly wasn't worried about impressing Steven- or anyone else that may be there. After all, it was meant to be sort of a belated house warming party, so wouldn't the hosts be the ones trying to make a splash?

In the end, he just waited on the couch until she finally came out and told him it was time to go.

One quick house-elf ride left them standing on the front steps to a surprisingly nice house. It was not what they expected from a young woman just starting her career and her musician boyfriend. Steven at least was the type to hold a steady job while still pursuing his dream at night, but neither of them could possibly afford the place.

Pansy handed Harry the food while she smoothed down her clothes before ringing the doorbell.

"Pansy, Harry! I'm so glad you guys could make it," Vanessa said as she invited them inside. "It's a good thing you showed up so soon, too, as we could use your help."

"Hey, Harry. Reduced to a pack mule today, huh?" Steven asked.

"I've been called worse things," he shrugged.

"I'm the one who did all the work in the kitchen, so it's the least you could do," Pansy teased him. He briefly considered Dobby's supervision and laughed to himself.

"Follow me to the kitchen," Vanessa said. "So, what did you bring?"

"Fresh baked brownies," Pansy proudly announced.

"Ooh, chocolate. I knew I liked you for a good reason," Vanessa joked. "Hey, Lizzie, this is Pansy and her boyfriend, Harry. This is my cousin."



"Now, Pansy, if you don't mind, I'd like to make use of your guy. Someone forgot to make sure we had plenty to drink tonight, so Steven needs to run to the grocers and he could use an extra pair of arms."

"I'm sure Harry wouldn't mind, would you?" Pansy asked with a smile.

"Not a problem."

"Let me just grab my keys." Harry nodded and Steven left the room.

"Thank your boyfriend for me, Pansy," Vanessa teased.

But then Pansy grabbed him and gave him a searing kiss.

Steven gave a wolf whistle as he came back in. "What was that for?"

"He's a good boyfriend," Pansy replied with a Cheshire grin.

"Aren't I a good boyfriend?" Steven asked as he turned to Vanessa.

"Maybe later we'll see. Don't you have an errand to run?" She poked him in the chest.

"Alright, alright, we're going. Come on, Harry, I know when I'm not wanted."

Harry followed him outside and around the side of the house to a small, blue, two-door car. He wasn't aware enough of automobiles to know what type it was, but it was clearly older yet it looked to still be in good shape.

"I guess I really am a pack mule today," Harry chuckled.

"Can I tell you a secret, Harry?" Steven said as he started up the car.


"I think this was a bit of a set up."

"What do you mean?"

"Vanessa could have sent me to the store earlier. She did polish off the last bottle of wine last night, so I'm sure she knew what she was doing. I think she just wanted some time for girl talk with Pansy. Well, Lizzie too, but she can drive Vanessa crazy sometimes. It's too bad you guys are back off to Uni soon."

"Yeah, believe me, I prefer screwing around all summer over school too."

"How long till you graduate?"

"Uh, well, it depends on what we decide to do." How should he answer this exactly? "Neither of us has any plans for jobs yet, so picking something to focus on is something we'll have to do sooner or later. I'd say at least two more years, maybe as many as four."

"You're lucky to not have to work while you're at school. How did that happen?"

"It's for a couple of reasons. Pansy's got a rich uncle who offered to pay for her since she lost her parents. My story is a bit more complicated. The simple version is that I inherited a fair amount from my parents."

"Really? You don't seem much like a trust fund kid."

"Well, I wasn't raised that way. I didn't know anything about the money for most of my life."

"How come?"

"Let's just say my childhood wasn't too pleasant. I got emancipated as soon as I could, and finding out that I had access to what they had left me made it a lot easier."

"So, I guess that's why you aren't too concerned about a job."

"The only thing I've thought of so far would be having to do with security."


"Yeah, like home security. My parents were killed when someone broke into our home."

"Damn, Harry. That's awful. How'd you survive?"

"Just lucky I guess."

Once they arrived at the store, Steven led him around the store as he picked up a few bottles of alcohol, juices, and fizzy drinks. Harry didn't have much of an opinion about what to get. He barely had any experience with alcohol anyway.

On the ride back to the house, Steven asked him a question.

"Hey, Harry, you ever think about marriage?"

"You mean with Pansy?"


"Sure." Harry had to hold in a chuckle. He wondered what Steven would think if he knew he was asking this of a fourteen year old.

"Vanessa's been dropping hints, and I'm not sure what to do."

"Well, you love her, don't you?"


"Then, what's the problem?"

"I don't know. Part of me worries that one day she'll wake up and realize she could do a lot better. Especially now that she's got her career starting. It wasn't a big deal when we were younger, you know, but- I don't know."

"Has she talked about having kids?"


"Well, I don't think she'd bring up having kids with you if she wasn't pretty sure you'd still be around."

"Good point."

Steven got quiet, and Harry let him think without pressing.

"How'd you get so wise, Harry?"

"The hard way."

"What do you mean?"

It was time for more bullshit, but Harry was starting to get good at it. He had learned that he could often tell a version of the truth if he just left out a lot of the details.

"I nearly died." He paused as he heard Steven exhale and swear under his breath.

"It was more than a year ago. I got bit by this really poisonous snake. I was lucky that the school had some anti-venom available, otherwise I wouldn't be here today.

"Something like that happens and everything becomes a lot clearer. The small stuff matters a lot less, but the things that are really important, well..."

"I get it. Life's short, right?"

"Exactly. Pansy and I got to know each other just after that happened. Thirteen days after that snake bite was the first time I kissed her. And I've never looked back."

"Shit, Harry." Steven paused and took a deep breath. "You know what this means?"

"You should start thinking about getting a ring?"

"I guess so," Steven chuckled. "You know, Vanessa's going to love you if I tell her about this conversation.

"So, do you already have a plan for asking Pansy?"

"Kind of. I figure we'll do it as soon as we finish school. That seems like a good time for a honeymoon, before we get involved in any careers."

"You're pretty sure you'll last, huh?"

"Pretty sure," Harry nodded. "But then, if someone didn't have faith in their relationship, that would probably be a sign it was time to break up."

"Well, I think the two of you seem pretty well matched. So, I hope it works out for you."

"Thanks. I hope it works for you and Vanessa, too."

They made it back to the house and proceeded to carry in the drinks. A couple more guests had arrived while they were out. Music was playing from the living room. Vanessa instructed them on what to put out and what to stash for later. There was a table set up with all sorts of snacks and sweets- now with the addition of a ton of things for people to make mixed drinks.

"What'll you have Harry?" Steven asked as they filled the table.

"I don't know. I've never been much of a drinker."

"Well, we'll start you out with a classic. Gin and tonic."


"You know the story of how gin and tonic came about?" Steven asked as he mixed one up for Harry.


"You've heard of the East India Company, right?" At Harry's nod, he continued. "Well, a couple hundred years ago, they were getting malaria over in India and other tropical places like that. A doctor discovered that quinine, which was in tonic water, could treat the malaria. But it tasted awful. However, they also had access to gin. And some of the British officers figured out that they could mix together the tonic water with gin, throw in a lime, maybe some sugar, and voila," Steven finished as he passed Harry the drink.

He took a sip and nodded.

"Pretty good. Thanks."

He crossed the room over to a couch where Pansy was sitting next to Vanessa and her cousin.

"You started without me," he pouted at her. Pansy handed her cup to Vanessa and stood up. She gave him a quick peck, took his cup, and pushed him down onto the couch. Then she climbed on his lap, arranged his arms around her and handed him back his drink.

"I was just saving you a seat," she teased. "And you were making me wait for my seat to get here."

"A thousand pardons, my love."

She giggled at him. He could tell that Pansy was already tipsy. This was one of the problems with their glamours, as they did not have the experience the others might have expected them to, due to the fact that they looked like they were about twenty.

"So what are you drinking?" he asked.

"White Russians. We all are," Pansy smiled. "If we ever want to get Luna drunk, this would be a good choice."


"Have a sip?"

It was rich and creamy, but the sweet coffee flavor was what she obviously meant.

"Like the tiramisu." She nodded in agreement. "I can't even imagine a drunk Luna."

"Who's Luna?" Lizzie asked.

"A friend of ours from school. She's pretty strange, but also a total sweetheart," Harry replied and took another drink. He was going to have to race to catch up with her, but the contrast at switching back to his own drink after tasting hers was not the most pleasant thing.

"Is Luna the one you told me about? The little blonde Harry rescued?" Vanessa guessed.

"Yep," Pansy smiled. "That's my Harry. Always there for damsels in distress."

"Pansy told me she was getting bullied and you put a stop to it," Vanessa told Harry.

"Yeah, well, I was bullied as a kid, so I can't stand seeing that happen to other people."

"So, what's this about tiramisu?"

"Well, Luna's got a massive sweet tooth, and we took her out to eat earlier this year. She hadn't tried tiramisu before and she ended up eating two servings."

"Three servings, Harry," Pansy corrected him. "She ate yours too, remember?"

"Fine, call it two and a half servings then," he shrugged.

"Shouldn't you be sharing your dessert with your girlfriend?" Lizzie mocked him, but Pansy answered, ignoring the dig.

"Harry was just protecting me so that I could actually eat my own dessert. He's a good boy. And good boys get rewards when we're alone."

"I certainly did." He smiled thinking of how she had sneaked in to his guest room at the Grangers that night.

"What's got that smile on your face, Harry?" Vanessa asked with a grin.

"Can't you guess?" Pansy replied. "Harry is such a guy sometimes. You should have seen him at the beach."

"What happened at the beach?"

"Harry spent half his time covering me in sunscreen."

"Oh, you loved it," he teased her back.

"I did," she admitted with a giggle. "Harry's wonderful with his hands, so I let him rub me all over."

"You two are kinda sickening, you know?" Lizzie got up and walked off in a huff.

"Oh, don't mind her," Vanessa said. "She's just bitter because her last guy left her for an old flame.

"But she's right in a way. You are pretty adorable together."

"I don't think most of our friends would agree."

"Luna would," Harry argued.

"Which just goes to show why I like Luna more than most of the cunts we go to school with."

"Yeah, so do I."

"Why's that?"

"Harry has a bit of a fan club. Sometimes I think I might need to beat them off."

"I'd imagine you would have more than a few admirers too, Pansy," Vanessa replied.

"Nope. For one thing, I can be quite intimidating when I want to."

"Yep," Harry agreed with a laugh. "Pansy can be a huge bitch when she feels like it."

"And I usually do. Plus, Harry would kill anyone that looked at me wrong."

"Have you had anything to eat yet, Harry?" Vanessa asked.


"I'll get you something, Harry," Pansy said as she jumped up, handing him her almost finished drink.

"Get yourself something, too," Vanessa suggested as she walked off. "Sorry, Harry, I think I might have forgotten that Pansy's a bit of a lightweight."

"Well, she had a kind of sheltered life before we met. I did too, just in a different way."

"Okay. Just make sure you both get some food in you before you have any more to drink."

"No problem."

"Good. I'll leave you to it." Vanessa got up as Pansy sat back down next to him with a plate full of snacks.

"I'm going to feed you," she grinned as she shoved a bit into his mouth.

"Feed us both," Harry said after he managed to swallow. "You don't want to wake up like the last time we had too much to drink. Also, what was that?"

"I don't know, but it looked yummy."

"Fair enough."

"Hey guys," Steven said as he walked over. "This is Paul and Richie."

"Your band mates?"

"Yeah, I'm the drummer," Richie replied as he shook Harry's hand. "Paul plays bass. It's too bad you guys won't be around much longer. We've got another show in three weeks."

"That would be at the beginning of term for us, so we couldn't make it. Maybe some other time though," Pansy suggested.

"So, Steven's never told us what you guys sound like."

"Really?" Paul asked. "We've been called dream pop. You know, like My Bloody Valentine or Lush." He turned to Steven and asked, "do you have any of our tapes unpacked yet?"

"No, we've still got a guest room that's just full of boxes. Vanessa's got most of her music out though."

"Cool, put on Gala next then," Richie suggested.


Within fifteen minutes, Harry knew that they were going to have to go back to the record store tomorrow. And it reminded him of something else he would need to buy soon as well.


Hundreds of miles away, the magical world was having a lot less fun than Harry and Pansy as chaos broke out at the Quidditch World Cup.


The next few hours were a bit of a blur. Harry met at least a dozen people, but between the alcohol and eventually his first time trying marijuana, most of them were forgotten in the haze. There was the girl who had dyed her hair green named Jenny, and the brief flash of a Weasley with that hair color made him giggle to himself for at least a solid minute. And the guy with all the piercings obviously stood out, but he couldn't remember his name, although he was about sixty percent sure it started with a J.

By the end of the night, Harry and Pansy were both pretty out of it, but they were able to convince their hosts that they would be fine getting home. They staggered out into the night and stumbled behind some bushes where they were hidden and could call Dobby for a pick up.

As he somehow managed to get his sleeping girlfriend out of her shoes and then fumbled with his own, Harry slurred to Dobby that they would both probably need potions in the morning.

And when the morning glare woke him, he was proven correct.

Dobby was once again a life saver.

Harry and Pansy spent most of the morning curled up in bed, slowly drinking water and eating a bit of toast while trying to feel less than terrible.

They were eventually able to doze a bit more before waking for good close to noon. They took a nice hot shower together, and for once Harry didn't even try to start anything.

After getting dressed, Harry sat down on the couch where Pansy joined him while getting ready to paint her toenails. It was one of the many little muggle things that she had instantly taken to, and it made him think that most of their peers who had grown up in the magical world could probably adjust fairly well as long as they were introduced to the non-magical world while still young.

He reached over to the end table where the Daily Prophet lay and had to rub his eyes. This was just what he needed.

"Shit," he muttered.

"Hmm? What is it, Harry?" Pansy asked without looking up from her task. He cleared his throat and read aloud to her.

"'Death Eaters Attack Quidditch World Cup Celebration! Dark Mark Sighted! One Dead, Two Captured! Several Bystanders Injured!'"

"Shit," she repeated. Harry nodded as she looked over at him.

"I'm so glad I decided to skip that," he wryly added.

"I can't believe they would pull something like that."

"I can't believe they weren't all slaughtered," Harry replied as he read. "There were roughly one hundred thousand witches and wizards from all over the world and apparently only a couple dozen Death Eaters. Yet of course, almost all of them escaped. What fucking bullshit."

"Read the rest of the story and tell me if there's any good news," she told him as she went back to work on her nails.

"Okay, give me a minute." Harry quickly skimmed through the first few pages as there were multiple stories about everything that happened.

"Well, the important news is that Ireland won."

That got him an arched eyebrow of annoyance.

"Seriously, they beat Bulgaria," he continued.

"Harry, please don't make me hit you. Can't you see that I'm busy?"

"Sorry," he answered while trying to hide a grin. "Okay, here's some good news. Remember that auror we met, Joe Richmond? He's apparently the one whose squad was working security that had the decency to actually try to do their jobs, and thus, are responsible for the Death Eaters that didn't escape."

"I knew I liked him," she agreed.

"Yeah, me too. Unfortunately, he is now on desk duty pending the full investigation."

"I guess someone did die, so that might not be suspicious."

"How much do you want to bet that the Death Eaters that were caught or killed were purebloods?" Harry challenged. "Ten galleons say they try to screw him over because of this."

"I'm not taking that bet."

"I didn't think you would. No names released yet. I wonder if it's anyone we were aware of as Death Eaters."

"I hope it was Yaxley," Pansy suggested. "Getting rid of a dirty auror would be awesome, and it might even be the kick in the arse that the ministry needs to stop being so fucking worthless."

"We should be so lucky."

"We really can't have a quiet year, can we Harry?"

"Knowing my luck, this is just the beginning. But look at the good news. Someone else has finally dealt with some of the Death Eaters for once. I won't have to kill absolutely every one of them by myself."

Harry wasn't sure if he should laugh or cry at that thought.

"That would be nice, wouldn't it," Pansy sighed. "You're still ahead of the entire government three to one, though."

"To be fair, there were some that were either caught or killed way back when," Harry admitted. "Not nearly enough, obviously, judging by the twenty plus at last night's festivities."

"Can you give me some good news, please? About anything else?"

"Well, from what I remember, we both enjoyed ourselves last night."

"Yeah, so what?"

"So, I might have asked Steven to hook me up with a large amount of weed before we go back to school."

"I didn't really like smoking, Harry."

"Well, I didn't either, but you did just learn to make brownies the other day."

"Oh yeah, Vanessa mentioned we could do that last night. It sounds pretty good actually."

"Exactly. And that means we can also give some to our friends. Luna on pot brownies should be amazing."

"Can you imagine? Even worse with her sweet tooth," Pansy laughed. "We would have to keep an eye on her, though."

"See, you do care about our girl," Harry teased.

"Luna drives Granger nuts, and I would love her just for that. But yes, she has other good qualities too." She looked over at him suspiciously. "Is there another reason?"

"Another reason for what?"

He tried not to wilt under her glare.

"Is this all a plot to feed Granger pot brownies?"

Harry looked down in defeat.

"Alright, you caught me," he admitted. "But it should totally work to get her to chill the fuck out when she's driving us all nuts with her obsession with school work and tests. I know you take that sort of thing more seriously than me, but even you would agree that Hermione is way over the top. I'm going to get an ulcer just hanging out with her at this rate."

"Fine," she huffed. "But you need to learn to bake brownies too then. I wouldn't mind making some for people I like, but Granger pissed me off one too many times last year."

"Fair enough. I did watch you and Dobby in the kitchen the other day, so it shouldn't be too hard."

"Two things, Harry. First, I bet she catches you. Second, I think you'll be wasting it on her."

"Noted, but I still have to try."

"What about Weasley?"

"Ron? He doesn't need something to make him relax."

"No, I mean are you expecting me to have to put up with him while he's high?"

"Oh. I don't know. I hadn't really thought about it. I guess we'll have to see how well we get along this fall."

Pansy went back to work finishing off her toes.

"Anything else of note in the paper?"

"Let me look." After flipping through it some more, he replied, "there appears to be some confusion about the Dark Mark's appearance. It apparently wasn't cast by the group of Death Eaters, but some distance away from them."

"So, by someone else? A rogue Death Eater?"

"Maybe. That sounds a bit odd."

"Someone they didn't invite to their little terrorist club reunion," Pansy snorted. "We need something to take our mind off this crap."

"We could go rent some movies," Harry suggested. "We haven't watched much this summer."

"A night of just relaxing in front of the telly does sound pretty good. Plus, it would let us rest up more. I'll be ready to go soon."

"Maybe we could order pizza for dinner too, so we won't need to bother Dobby tonight."


"Oh crap," Harry said the next morning, as he opened a letter.

"What is it?"


"Black? What about him?"

"He wants to meet. Apparently, he thought I was at the Quidditch World Cup and wants to make sure I didn't get hurt or killed or something. He sounds pretty upset."

"Ugh," Pansy groaned. "Just what we don't need- some nosy adult worrying about us."

"Yeah. I guess he still wants to try to get back in my good graces as my godfather."

"Do you want to go?"

"I don't know. I mean he has been helpful, in some ways. And he hasn't been too pushy about anything until now."

"We could manage a brief, little meeting. Maybe meet for lunch at the Leaky Cauldron? He could get a private room there."

"Yeah, that might work." Harry crafted a short response. "We did get our school letters, so we could get our shopping done either before or after."

"Let's do that first. Get it out of the way, just in case the meeting goes long or we run into any trouble with Black."

"That means we'll have to get up early for once tomorrow."

"I'm sure we'll live. Besides, we're going to have to get used to that again in a couple of weeks anyway."

"Don't remind me," Harry moaned.


Pansy suggested they call it an early night. And Harry, mostly, complied. Although she did have to make sure he was tired enough to go to sleep.

Regardless, the next day they were able to make it to Diagon Alley with plenty of time to get their shopping done before their scheduled lunch with Sirius. Among the typical supplies, they also found a listing for formal robes. Pansy smiled at the idea of dressing the two of them up, and so that part of the trip was longer than the rest of it combined.

After trying three different stores, she still wasn't pleased by the selection, before finding a small clothing shop off the main section of the road that was much closer to muggle styles of dress. The fact that it was run by a half-blood with his muggle born wife and sister-in-law in charge of the designs was surely the reason for this. Harry's outfit wasn't too hard for her to choose- it looked much like a tuxedo, with a couple of slight changes to the cut.

Harry was not allowed to peek at Pansy's selection. It was going to be custom tailored to her, which meant that it would not be ready for pickup for a few days and it also cost more than three times what Harry's had.

She promised it would be worth it once he saw what she wore, though. He liked the look in her eye when she said that, so Harry kept his complaints to himself.

They had almost an hour to kill before the meeting, so Harry browsed the bookstore for awhile. He eventually came across a book about using runes to ward buildings, which he immediately snagged, as well as one written by a veteran who had fought in the magical side of both World Wars that was all about combat. He only had a few minutes to flip through it, but it looked promising.

Pansy was not as interested in trying to find any books in particular as she knew she had plenty that she had stolen from her parents' library the year before that she had still not gone through yet. But she did spot a very old book about house-elves that she thought might be worth reading, so she showed it to Harry, who added it to the stack.

Dobby popped their purchases back home while they made it to the Leaky Cauldron with a few minutes to spare.

Pansy noticed that Sirius had beaten them there though, as he was chatting with Tom behind the bar. She pointed him out to Harry, and they crossed the room.

"Hello, Sirius."

"Harry, it's so good to see you again," he answered, shaking Harry's hand although looking like he wanted a friendlier greeting. "Pansy, a pleasure to see you again too. I trust you're taking good care of our boy?"

"Of course," she replied neutrally.

"Excellent. Well, I've got us a room upstairs and was just talking about having some lunch sent up. What would you like?"

They both looked over the menu listed above the bar and ordered light lunches then followed Sirius up the stairs.

He led them down a hall to a room that already had the door open.

Unfortunately, inside they had two other people waiting on them. Pansy felt Harry tighten up as he stepped inside just before her.

She shouldn't have been surprised that Black would bring his old friend Lupin along, but it was an obvious mistake. Harry had no patience for the Defense professor.

Also sitting in a chair at a table across the room was Madam Bones from the Department of Magical Law Enforcement. Whatever she was doing there, Pansy doubted it would be good.

"Maybe I should have asked for my lawyer to be present if I knew this was going to be an interrogation," Harry joked, although she heard the edge in his voice.

"Actually, I contacted Mr. McKenzie just after Sirius suggested we all meet today. I'm sorry to be springing this on you, but I was hoping that you could be of some help, Lord Potter," Madam Bones replied.

"I see."

"And I'm sorry to be running a tad late," came Sam's answer as he entered behind them and closed the door. "Harry, Pansy, good to see you both again."

Harry shook his hand as they all sat down around the table.

"Thanks, Sam. Now, what's this all about?"

"The Death Eater mess at the Quidditch World Cup," Madam Bones said. "You had some dealings with them yourself this past year at Hogwarts."

"Amelia, I need to know just how official this meeting is before I let you say anything else to my client," Sam interrupted.

"This is all off the record, Sam. I wanted you to be here so your client wouldn't feel that we were trying to take advantage of him."

"But that is what you want," Harry replied. "You want to take advantage of what I know about the Death Eaters, right? How did I know Malfoy and Snape were Death Eaters?"

"Well, in a way, yes," Madam Bones admitted.

"Harry, Amelia's one of the good guys," Sirius interjected. "She fought them in the last war. Hell, she lost family to those bastards. We're all on the same side."

"I see."

Harry looked over all of the faces waiting on him before turning to Pansy. She could see the question in his eyes but she had no answer.

Could they actually trust them?

She gave him a brief nod. Maybe it was worth a try.

"Alright, well with Malfoy it was easy. For one thing, his idiotic son strutted around Hogwarts proudly proclaiming their views; how they hated muggles, muggleborns, and pretty much everyone. Then, Lucius slipped a cursed diary to a student that possessed said student and forced her to open the Chamber of Secrets in my second year. It was a damn miracle that no one died.

"Malfoy basically admitted his guilt right in front of Dumbledore and I before suggesting that we couldn't prove his involvement."

Madam Bones let out a groan.

"Why the hell didn't Dumbledore tell me any of this? We could have at least launched an investigation."

"I don't know. Did you investigate the petrifications that year? Or professor Quirrell's death the year before?"

"Unfortunately, there was a great deal of pressure placed on my department not to do anything about the petrifications for several months."

"And let me guess, this pressure came from Minister Fudge, no doubt on behalf of his good friend Lucius' recommendation."

"Not just that, Lord Potter, but Dumbledore played the attacks down, saying that there was no great danger," Madam Bones replied.

Harry just closed his eyes and shook his head. Pansy squeezed his hand in support. She could feel his frustration growing and it was mirrored with her own annoyance at how badly the people in charge had screwed things up.

"I think I may hate that senile old man," Harry muttered.

"Now, I would love to hear more about professor Quirrell's death as well. Dumbledore reported that it was some sort of terrible magical accident that caused his demise. I've already had to investigate one professor's death this year, and I need to know if I need to open a second belated one as well."

"And the question you should be asking, is why was there any reason to investigate Snape's death if Quirrell's was so unimportant. Especially since there were hundreds of eye witnesses to what happened to that worthless traitorous scum and only one witness to Quirrell's death. I know for a fact that you never questioned that witness."

"I have a bad feeling that I can already guess, but I have to ask, who was the witness to professor Quirrell's death?"

"I was."

Sirius swore while Lupin gasped and looked away.

"And for the record, I'm not going to say a word about what happened. Dumbledore apparently doesn't trust the ministry to do its job, so I'm going to bow to his experience and stay the hell out of it. The Daily Prophet made that very clear to me. Auror Richmond and his team should be given medals and treated like the heroes they are, but that's not happening, is it?"

"No, it's not, and that's the main reason I'm here. Joe is one of the better people I've got working for me and it infuriates me with how he's being treated. I'd love to tell Fudge to go to hell, but officially, there has to be an investigation any time an auror kills someone."

"Even violent terrorists, members of a group that tried to destroy this country? What a fucking joke."

"Not a very good one, either," Madam Bones agreed with a frown.

"Maybe you could do some good though, Harry," Sam suggested. "We could give a statement that you support our aurors who were protecting people from terrorists at the World Cup, and that it's good we have people like that."

"I would be happy to do that. I met auror Richmond and I liked him. Plus, I feel like I owe him a drink for taking out one of those scumbags."

"Thank you, Lord Potter," Madam Bones responded.

"You can call me Harry, Madam Bones. It's not like we're in a courtroom, and Sam trusts you, so I'm willing to work together on this."

"Then you can call me Amelia, Harry. Look, I'll be blunt. I need all the help I can get to deal with the Death Eaters. We all know that some of them went free after you-know-who's down fall. But seeing that it was apparently at least two dozen or so of them was shocking. Please, tell me anything you can."

"Alright. Well, from his confession last winter, you know that Pansy's father was a Death Eater."

"Did you know that, miss?" Amelia asked as she turned to Pansy.

"Of course. I doubt anyone could grow up in a house with one of them and not know."

"Do you know of any others?"

"I could tell you of some of my father's associates, but what would it really accomplish?"

"The more of us that know who to keep an eye on, the better we'll all be in the long run," Amelia replied.

"There are several obvious names. Draco Malfoy never went anywhere without Crabbe and Goyle, his faithful goons. Their fathers would be the same."

"You're right, they aren't surprising."

"If you really want a name though," Harry interrupted as he looked over at Pansy questioningly. She nodded in agreement. "You should take a look at Yaxley."

"Yaxley?" Amelia gasped.

"Yes, a senior auror. It's no wonder that the ministry can't get much done since they have terrorists working in the heart of the government."

"Shite," Sirius swore. "Amelia, this is bad. You've got to keep him away from the prisoners."

"I'll be heading back there as soon as this conversation's over. Any other names you could give me?"

"The other ministry worker I know of is named MacNair," Pansy answered.

"Walden MacNair, why am I not surprised?" Bones muttered. "He always seemed like a creep to me."

"Well, he's still a killer, only now he gets paid by the government for his work," Harry smirked. "I'm sorry, Amelia, but maybe you can start to see why I don't think much of the ministry. Who knows how many of those bastards are in the ministry, or even worse, the Wizengamot?"

"At least there's one less now. This is not for the public to know yet, but the Death Eater that was killed was Theodore Nott, senior."

"Again, not a surprise," Pansy replied. "Just look at the bigoted old pureblood families and you'll probably find several more of them. There are also rumors about the Carrow twins, for example."

"But no others you know of for sure?"

"I would recommend pumping the two you have captured for information. Veritaserum exists, and I can't see any better reason for it than getting every last scrap of knowledge you can out of two terrorists," Harry suggested.

"Then I had better get back to work," Amelia said as she rose from her chair.

"I'll work with Harry to get a statement prepared to support your aurors, Amelia. We can't have good guys like that getting in trouble for taking out the trash."

"I appreciate it, Sam. Thank you Harry and Pansy for all your help today."

"You're welcome, Madam Bones," Pansy answered.

"Good luck," Harry stated as she walked to the door.

"Now, are there any other surprises that I should be aware of, or should I start writing something to help the aurors?" Sam asked.

"I just want to talk to my godson," Sirius replied.


Sam looked at him and Harry nodded.

"I shouldn't need any help with these two, Sam. Thanks for today."

"I'll send over a copy of the statement this evening. Look it over and with any luck we might even have it in tomorrow's Prophet."

"Alright," Harry agreed as he shook Sam's hand before the lawyer also headed out.

Once the door was closed, he turned back to Sirius and Lupin.

"So, what do you two want?"

"How's your summer been, Harry? I haven't heard from you since last month," Sirius said with a smile. "Getting into all the right types of trouble I hope."

"What's he doing here?"

"Look, Harry, Remus told me about how you gave him the cold shoulder, but I think you should give him a second chance."

"A cold shoulder?" Harry replied with a sneer. "Let me tell you about a cold shoulder. While you were rotting away in Azkaban, there was still one of your old friends out in the real world. So when your godson was left an orphan, did your old friend take care of him? Did he make regular visits, playing the role of Uncle Lupin? Did he ever do anything to show that he gave a damn?"

"Harry, please-" Sirius tried to interrupt. Lupin was merely looking away in shame.

"No, he didn't do anything. He abandoned me. I've got a lifetime of Lupin giving me the cold shoulder. So, if you think I'm willing to let all that go just because you grew up with him, then you're more of an idiot than I thought."

"I told you this was a bad idea, Padfoot. I'll just go."


"You should talk to him, Sirius. Maybe you've still got a shot. Good luck with your next year at school, Harry," Lupin said as he got up and left.

"Good riddance."

"Harry, you don't know how hard it's been on Remus. Being a werewolf means a lot of people treat him like crap."

"I don't hate him because he's a werewolf. I hate him because he's a self-absorbed arse. You don't hear me moaning about being an orphan."

"You didn't have to be so cold to him. He just wanted a chance to apologize."

"He had twelve fucking years. He's out of chances."

"And what about me?"

"You at least had an excuse. And you suffered for abandoning me. Any suffering Lupin did was just self-pity."

"So, are you willing to give me a chance?"

"I might be, but don't try to push Lupin on me."

"I don't really get it."

"Do you have any idea what a simple phone call would have meant to me? Just to hear from someone that my parents weren't unemployed drunks who died in a car crash? That somewhere out there someone actually gave a shit about me?"

"A car crash? Who told you that? Where were you living?"

"My mother's sister's family," Harry replied in a flat tone of voice.

"Harry," Black exhaled. "Did they hurt you?"

"Hurt me?" Harry looked at him with a flash of anger. "Hurt me?

"You want to know who hurt me? How about a godfather who forgot all about the one person he swore to care for? How about a meddlesome old man who dumped me on a doorstep like a fucking newspaper? How about an entire society that proclaimed me their miraculous savior and then proceed to let me disappear for a decade? A society that still to this day celebrates my parents' murder."

"Harry, I just want to help you. I'm sorry I wasn't there all those years. You can't know how much I wish I could change what happened that night. But I will do everything I can to prove that I'll be here in the future."


There was a moment of very uncomfortable silence that stretched out. It was broken by the delivery of their lunch, which they all started to eat instead of trying to restart the conversation. Black eventually broke the ice.

"So, you never answered my question. What were you up to instead of going to see the quidditch match?"

"Pansy and I were at a party."

"A party? With who?"

"It was in the muggle world, so I'm pretty sure you wouldn't know any of them. Besides, everyone there was a lot younger than you, old man."

It was one part joke and one part insult, but it looked like Black took it in the best possible manner to Pansy.

"I'm only thirty four," he protested.

"Well, it must be an old thirty four."

"Twelve of those years were pretty hard, you know. Besides, just give me a few more months, and I'll be a knock out. The ladies will be all over me, and if you're lucky I might even give you some pointers, Harry."

"Sure," Harry dryly replied.

"I'm glad you were at a party though, that sounds like what teenagers should be doing during their vacations. I always hated that the teachers would send us home with summer assignments."

"Now that I definitely agree with you on. Pansy made sure I got them all done though."

"It's not my fault that you don't care about your grades, Harry."

"I never said it was, but do either of you really think I won't be able to get whatever job I may want in a few years? As if what the boy who lived scored in Herbology would matter?"

"Maybe, if you wanted to work in a magical greenhouse," Sirius suggested. "Of course, a place like that would probably hire you anyway, just for the publicity's sake."

"Precisely. I'm not even sure I will need to work."

"The life of a lazy playboy was always my dream," Sirius grinned with a sigh. "Now that I'm basically the last of the Blacks, it is even coming true in a way. Therefore, I heartily approve of you doing the same, Harry.

"But I'm still a bit surprised you passed up the chance to go to the Quidditch World Cup. You're a pretty brilliant seeker from what I've seen. James would be so proud that you got on the team as a first year.

"Maybe a bit jealous too," he added with a smile.

"I enjoy playing the game a lot more than watching it," Harry shrugged. "And I don't follow it outside of school. I hadn't even heard of it until I went to Hogwarts, you know? So I don't have a favorite team or anything like that.

"Besides, I already had plans, and from what I heard afterwards, it's probably a good thing that I didn't go."

"I'm glad you didn't get caught up in that mess with the Death Eaters," Sirius agreed.

"Oh, that's not what I meant. I would have been right there with the aurors blasting those Death Eater bastards with every painful spell I could think of. I can't believe more people didn't try to take them down. Even so, I'd probably have been arrested."

"I can just see the head line now, 'Boy who lived kills Death Eaters, Justice or Revenge?' You're right about the incompetence of the ministry. Hell, I'm proof of that."

"Why not justice and revenge?" Harry replied. "How many people lost family members and loved ones to the Dark Lord and his followers? I would have thought a lot of them would have attacked instead of running away."

"I don't want you to have to jump into danger like that, Harry."

"I usually don't have a choice."

"Still, I hope this year won't be as much of a mess as last year was, and for my part of that, I apologize."


"I owe you for helping to deal with Wormtail. I'd like to help you in the future, if you'll let me."

Harry thought about it for a moment before responding.

"I think today's meeting was probably a good idea. If Madam Bones can get some results, or at least if I can help to keep some good aurors from getting in trouble for doing the right thing, then that's at least a start at fixing some of the stupidity in this country."

"You're too jaded for a fourteen year old, Harry."

"How many times had you been nearly killed when you were fourteen, Sirius? I think I've earned my cynicism."

"I guess I can't really argue that," Sirius allowed with a grimace on his face.

"So, tell me about something less serious. Like, what are your favorite classes?"

"Runes," Pansy answered with a grin.

"She's right. Runic magic is awesome. I mean, there's so much variety there. I don't get why it isn't a mandatory class. It's way more useful than half of the main classes."

"I can see that argument," Sirius agreed. "I don't remember ever using anything I learned in Astronomy, unless you want to count it as an excuse to escort young ladies back to their dorms late at night. With a stop or two at a broom closet along the way, of course."

"Of course," Harry smirked. "But it's not just that, how many years has Binns been putting people to sleep? It's no wonder the magic users in this country haven't learned from the mistakes of the past since no one knows anything about it other than some droning nonsense about goblin rebellions.

"And don't even get me started on Potions- Snape actively sabotaged non-Slytherins that tried to learn in that class. Even when he wasn't doing that, 'instructions on the board, get to work' doesn't teach anyone anything.

"As much as I dislike Herbology, professor Sprout at least knows her subject and is a competent teacher. Despite my feelings about the class, it's not completely useless, but I would still argue that Runes is more important."

"I take it you like the teacher then?"

"Professor Babbling is pretty good, yeah. I think Flitwick is probably the school's best teacher, but she's one of the better ones."

"Speaking of teachers, I've heard some rumors about who will be joining the school. Or re-joining, as the case may be."

"I imagine anyone would be a step up from Snape."

"Oh, that won't be a problem. His predecessor, Horace Slughorn, is coming out of retirement. Old Sluggy definitely knew his stuff, but you should watch out for him, Harry. He's very much the collector of influence, contacts, favors, and friends in high places. He'll be all over you, I imagine."

"I've been learning to deal with people like that. It seems most people want something from me, so I'll manage."

"Don't get me wrong, I don't think he's a bad guy. Just a consummate Slytherin- you know, when that meant something other than just being a dangerous thug."

"One of my best friends is a Slytherin, so I don't have a problem with that," Harry said with a nod towards Pansy.

"I think that would be some kind of story, how the two of you became friends. No offense intended, but especially with who your father was, Pansy."

"Because of who my father was, I was pleasantly surprised by Harry's willingness to get to know me."

"Can you tell me about it?" Sirius asked. "My whole family was in Slytherin, so I can probably relate."

"I suppose so..."


The rest of the meal and conversation went well, and soon enough, Harry and Pansy were bidding Sirius farewell and about to head back home.

But before they could make it to the Leaky Cauldron's exit, a voice called out Harry's name.

He turned to see Kathryn Nott walking towards him. She was in a conservative but well fitted navy blue dress, with her long blonde hair cascading down her back. Pansy tensed up, and Harry had to stifle a groan. He had a feeling this was going to be yet another unneeded complication.

A lovely complication, but still, Harry knew this day was just going to be full of even more stress.

"Miss Nott, a pleasure to see you again."

"You as well, Harry. Do you have a minute to talk?"


She led him over to a table in the corner. Harry pulled out her seat, which brought him a smile from her, then he did the same for Pansy before sitting down.

"What can I do for you?"

"I just wanted to give you a warning."


"I assume you heard about the Death Eater attack at the World Cup?"

"I did."

"You should know that my father was the one who was killed."

"I'm sorry for your loss."

"As am I," Pansy added.

"I guess you can relate, huh?" Pansy gave a small nod but kept her expression as neutral as possible. She wondered briefly how bad a father Nott might have been, but something about the blonde across the table gave her the impression that he wasn't anywhere near the monster that her own had been.

"Anyway, the condolences aren't really needed. He wasn't a very good father, and with my mother now in charge, the house has been a lot more bearable. But you might want to keep an eye out on little Teddy."

"Teddy?" Pansy asked with a smirk.

"Yes, he hates it when I call him that. It's Theodore, or Theo if he thinks he's trying to sound suave. My brother is a stupid, conniving little worm. He's already started talking about how he'll bring the family back to prominence. Just keep an eye out for him this term. Without the Malfoys there, he might try to step into the power void, although he, or our family really, doesn't have the influence or money to manage it.

"But that doesn't mean he won't try anything stupid, and as the one who stopped the Dark Lord, you would be a potential target for him."

"A son of a Death Eater trying to step into his daddy's shoes, huh?"

"Right in one, Harry."

"Thanks for the warning."

"You're welcome," Kathryn responded. She lowered her voice and leaned forward towards him. "May I ask you something?"

"Of course."

"You aren't interested in signing the betrothal with me, are you?"

Harry looked in her eyes and thought about how to respond. She didn't look worried or upset, so he decided to be honest, as she had gone out of her way to be helpful.

"It's nothing personal, but there is the fact that I will be away at school for a few more years. It doesn't seem right that you should have to wait for me."

"The age gap itself doesn't bother you?"

"Wizards live a long time. Five years might be a big deal as teenagers, but it wouldn't matter in the decades to come. That being said, I hope you can find someone else worthy of your attention."

"That's very gracious of you, Lord Potter," she smirked. "But seriously, that's sort of a weight off my shoulders. With father out of the picture, mother and I will have a lot more options at finding a match."

"I wish you well in that endeavor, miss Nott."

"Thank you. If you could, have your solicitor send back a cancellation, so I can tell my mother that I'm officially out of running for the boy who lived. I think she was worried about how to deal with the inevitable conflict that would have occurred between you and my father. What a mess that could have been."

"I'm sure it would have been," Harry agreed.

"Well, I'll let you get on with the rest of your day. I should probably get home soon. Mother and I will need to have a conversation about all of this."

"Good luck, Kathryn," Harry said, kissing the back of her hand as she got up.

"You too, Harry," she answered with a smile.

As she walked off, there was a definite strut and he could hear Pansy quietly growl.

"I don't know about you, but I'm ready to go home."


Harry had to soothe an annoyed girlfriend when they got back to the flat that afternoon. He had some experience with it, though, and a long hot soak in the bath led to a night of relaxing on the couch and watching Bram Stoker's Dracula again. Harry had been proved right in thinking that Pansy would enjoy horror movies, but this one in particular was something of a favorite for them. Maybe it was the combination of sex and violence, romance and horror? Ultimately, it was no surprise that Harry and Pansy were thoroughly disappointed at the ending, as they were both rooting for Dracula.

The movie also brought about the question of how much popular culture got right or wrong about vampires. From what Pansy knew, while feeding on blood was true, the whole needing to sleep in the earth of their home was wrong. The movie's connection to Christianity was also false, as vampires had been around since before the founding of that religion. However, Pansy was no expert, so they both decided to see if they could learn more once they got back to Hogwarts. Surely there would be a book or two in its massive library that could teach them more.


Harry, Pansy, and Dobby finally got to work checking out the various other properties he owned as the last of the Potters.

They started with his grandparents' home. It was a pretty nice two story house just on the outskirts of a small town in eastern Wales. It was not as impressive as the Parkinson family manor, and nowhere near approaching the ostentatious Malfoy Manor, but still pretty nice, even if it was now covered by fifteen or so years of dust.

There were four bedrooms, one of which had been converted to an art studio, with a still unfinished landscape sitting on an easel. Harry spent several minutes looking around that room, discovering that his grandmother was a fairly skilled painter.

It was a little thing, really, but Pansy saw how greatly it affected him. When Harry finally managed to stagger out of the studio's door, she took his hand and led him outside.

"Are you alright?"

"I will be," he whispered. "It's just all a bit much, you know? This place... I should have grown up coming here to visit my grandparents. Instead, I didn't know anything about them. Nothing at all, not even their names."

"Is there anything you want to do here?"

"Nothing important I guess. It's good to know about this place, but I think I'd rather keep living in the flat rather than out in the middle of the country like this."

"Me too," Pansy agreed. "Do you want to go check on the next one then?"

"Sure, let's go."


The next stop was a home that had belonged to his great-uncle and great-aunt. They too had died in the seventies, and the house they left behind was quite a bit larger than his grandparents' place.

It was also two stories but had a wing on each side with a total of seven bedrooms upstairs, as well as a very large library.

Downstairs featured a huge dining room with a table long enough that it could have seated at least twenty people. There was also a large living room, as well as a lounge with a table for billiards. The rear of the house had a conservatory that opened out into a garden area that was now overgrown with weeds. There were even stables at the rear of the property, although who knew how long they had been empty.

Pansy was thoroughly impressed.

"With a bit of work, this place could be amazing."

"Yeah. Maybe someday we could live here. Would you like that?" he asked.

"I might. I don't know if I would ever want to live in the country, but if I did, I like this place more than your grandparents' house."

"Me too. But yeah, I know what you mean about being used to more of an urban living. I guess we would have easy magical travel in the future, once we can apparate ourselves instead of relying on Dobby."

"True, but that would still be a problem with any muggle friends."

"Look at you, little miss pureblood worrying about muggles," Harry laughed.

"Oh, shut up."

"How eloquent of you, my dear."

She pinched his arm and he apologized for the teasing. Then, they were off to their next destination.


The third home was more of a cottage really, nestled in Whinfell Forest in the northwestern part of England. It had belonged to a cousin of his father, and it was the very definition of quaint, at least on the outside- a picturesque little cabin in the woods.

The inside was a different story, however. Numerous space expansion charms had been used to make it at least twice as large as it appeared from the exterior. The front of the house was an open floor plan consisting of a sitting room with a fireplace on the far wall to the left side of the front door, with the right half taken up by a kitchen and dining area. A hall led to the rear of the home, with two bedrooms and a bathroom behind the kitchen and a large master suite on the opposite side.

Harry immediately saw the possibility of using this cottage as a safe house. It was remote and seemed to be very unassuming.

Plus, it would be much easier for Dobby to make it ready for habitation, as it was by far the smallest of the three homes. It wasn't that much larger than their flat, and Dobby and Harry had been able to clean all of it in only a couple of days.

Neither Harry nor Pansy saw anything unusual about the idea of a couple of teenagers needing a safe house hidden in the middle of nowhere.

As for Dobby, he was thrilled at having so many more tasks to work on.

The bad old master had a very large home, with much work for Dobby to do. But it was always thankless drudgery, and the elf had never felt a sense of accomplishment like what he got for taking care of his new family. Dobby knew just how much danger could come, having seen many of the bad old master and his bad old friends getting up to all sorts of terrible things when he was younger. Oh, how Dobby loathed those days.

But now, with a noble family to serve, he was thrilled to think of the days to come. House Potter would have a strong future. Master Harry and miss Pansy were both smart and powerful, and together, Dobby knew they would defeat all of the bad old master's bad old friends. Even if Dobby had to kill some of those nasty wizards' himself.

Ultimately, a house-elf would never have a problem with getting his hands dirty taking out the trash.

To that end, Dobby started thinking of house-elf magic he could use to further protect this cottage. This safe house, as master Harry called it. A safe house was exactly what all house-elves lived for, and Dobby was sure that he could help make this place into a fortress.

It would be small and humble, but immensely powerful. As master Harry would say, just like Dobby.

Oh, how his master liked to make Dobby blush.


"Alright, where have you been?" Pansy asked as Harry tried, and failed, to sneak back into the flat one morning. He had hoped that she would take longer to shower and get dressed, but he got bogged down trying to make a selection.

"I had Dobby helping me run an errand."

"An errand for what?"

"It was supposed to be a surprise," Harry replied. "But you caught me, so I'll just have to cancel that plan. I was doing a little shopping."

"You went shopping without me?" she grumbled.

"It wasn't that kind of shopping. Anyway, first off, the World Cup got me thinking about something. There were tens of thousands of people camping there before the match. And they were using magical tents, with all sorts of extra room and things for convenience, right? Now, obviously, a lot of those tents would already be owned, but surely a lot of people would only be renting them, or selling them off afterwards. I've never heard of wizards going camping, other than this occasion, you know?

"So, I thought that it would be a good time to buy one, as they should be a bargain."

"That makes sense."

"Too much sense, actually. The shop had so many of the damn things that it took me awhile to try to find what I wanted. In the end, the owner was so glad to have someone interested in buying, instead of selling, that he gave me a huge discount."

"So, we've got a wizarding tent?"

"Uh, no. We've got three of them," Harry sheepishly answered.


"Buy one, get two free? Like I said, the owner was happy to be able to get rid of some of them. I picked out a pretty nice one that should fit any of our needs, and it was on the pricier side, so he threw in a couple extra. And, well, his granddaughter graduated last year from Hogwarts."

"So let me guess, he was thankful for you driving off the dementors and wanted to help out the boy who lived who also saved his granddaughter."

"Pretty much."

"Okay, but I don't see why that needed to be a surprise."

"That was my second stop. Hey, Dobby, will you bring out the present?"

"Give Dobby just a minute to make it nice for miss Pansy," the elf's voice rang out, although they were unsure where it was coming from.


The elf popped in with a gift immaculately wrapped up, with a huge bow on top. Pansy looked at the package curiously- it was almost as big as she was.

"Great job, Dobby," Harry enthused. "Come on, open it up!"

Pansy removed the bow before tearing off the wrapping paper. Inside was a charmed phonograph, more than old fashioned by muggle standards, but still capable of playing the records they had been buying all summer.

"I don't think either of us was looking forward to not being able to listen to music while we're away at school."

"Harry, this is brilliant," she replied before pulling him down for a thoroughly rewarding kiss, which soon led them back to the bedroom.

Dobby chuckled at his humans. He wondered how long until they would start making baby witches and wizards. They certainly got in enough practice at it.


The shell was weak but still had enough to make the journey north.

In the distance, there stood a castle. It was not nearly as majestic as the one remembered from a youth so long ago.

But the building was not important.

It was the man who resided within. The man who would serve him once again.

It was time to call on that old friend. And he better pray that his worth would outweigh his guilt.

Even this pitiful creature had enough power to call on to show displeasure.


Harry awoke with a start. At least this time he didn't feel like vomiting.

He still sat up so quickly that Pansy was roused from her sleep as well.

"What is it?" she asked.

"Another damn Riddle dream."

That got her focused and more alert.

"Are you alright?"

Harry rubbed his forehead for a second.

"I think so. The pain isn't too bad. Of course, the vision or whatever wasn't nearly as awful as last time either."

"What did you see?"

"Riddle was still possessing the witch from the last time. Using her body to travel. They were at some castle, but I didn't recognize it. It wasn't as large as Hogwarts, but it was in a remote area. He went there to find an old friend."

"That can't be good."

"I know."

"What are we going to do, Harry?"

"What do you mean?"

"About these visions?"

"I don't know what we can do. I don't think we can really trust anyone with this. Maybe Sam, but he's just a lawyer. I'm only counting on him fighting for us in a courtroom. Sirius seems like the next best choice, but..."

"But he hasn't proven himself yet."


"It would be great if we could trust Dumbledore," Pansy sighed.

"Maybe. Even if I could, I just haven't seen him actually do anything to fight against any of the problems I've had these last few years. I know he got his reputation for defeating the Dark Lord Grindlewald back in the day, but it fell on me to stop Quirrell without any help from him."

"The basilisk too."

"I did get a hand from his bird, but yeah, Dumbledore wasn't down in the Chamber. It was just me."

"And you were the one who rallied the public to get rid of the dementors."

"True. You would think the Chief Warlock of the Wizengamot would have had the influence to stop that, or at least called on the parents of all the students to bombard the ministry with howlers at such a stupid idea."

"Then he tried to give you a guilt trip because Draco attempted to kill you."

"Yeah," Harry chuckled. "I actually wasn't even bothered by that very much. It just seemed so natural, you know? Like a disappointed grandfather trying to scold me. I would have been surprised if he'd had any other reaction, really.

"But the thing that makes me not trust him the most is Snape. He protected that fucking bastard even though he knew what Snape took from me. I don't care if he felt remorse for getting my mother killed. He certainly didn't lose any tears about repaying my father's mercy with his murder. And he treated me like scum from the very moment he met me. So fuck Snape, and I hope Hell is real so he can suffer there."

Pansy wrapped her arms around him and pulled him down to lay against her bosom.

"But you got rid of him. Let's try not to think about him anymore. I know it infuriates me, so I'm sure it makes you feel even worse." She felt Harry nodding in agreement against her chest.

"Maybe this year will be different. Maybe Dumbledore will start acting like he's ready for a fight after seeing the Death Eaters come out of the shadows at the World Cup."

"That would be nice," Harry agreed. "I'm not going to hold my breath, but maybe the old man will surprise me."


They had just a few days before they would head back to Hogwarts. Harry realized there was one more thing he could do to try to prepare for the Dark Lord and his followers causing more problems. That dream about him seeking out an old friend had brought the idea to mind.

The problem was going to be talking to Pansy about it.

He needed to see Narcissa again.
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