SIYE Time:17:43 on 21st June 2018

The Ablution Solution
By BrianMcLyr

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Category: Post-OotP
Characters:All, Harry/Ginny
Genres: Action/Adventure, Romance
Warnings: Sexual Situations
Rating: PG-13
Reviews: 4
Summary: Single point divergence from the end of OOTP, evident in the first 100 words, strung up on Jo's scaffold.
Hitcount: Story Total: 921

Disclaimer: Harry Potter Publishing Rights J.K.R. Note the opinions in this story are my own and in no way represent the owners of this site. This story subject to copyright law under transformative use. No compensation is made for this work.


Chapter 1. Ablution

And then Harry's scar burst open. He knew he was dead: it was pain beyond imagining, pain past endurance-

He was gone from the hall, he was locked in the coils of a creature with red eyes, so tightly bound that Harry did not know where his body ended and the creature's began. They were fused together, bound by pain, and there was no escape-

And when the creature spoke, it used Harry's mouth, so that in his agony he felt his jaw move....”

“Kill me now, Dumbledore....”

What no one knew, not Harry nor Dumbledore nor even Riddle, was as soon as Tom possessed Harry the parasitic soul shard that, for fourteen years, had taken refuge in Harry's scar merged with its other, greater, malevolent self.

Like pouring a glass of water back into the half filled pitcher. There is no moment when there are two distinct volumes of water in the pitcher greeting each other, they combine instantly, seamlessly, as a whole.

Harry, completely engulfed in excruciating pain noticed not. Riddle, experiencing the same identical pain while he still tried to goad Dumbledore into striking at the child, noticed not. If the soul shard brought any memories of the time spent tied to Harry they were ignored as Riddle was already awash in Harry's thoughts. It wouldn't have mattered if any of them had notice the merging anyway. Once the deal was done, it was a done deal.

Blinded and dying, every part of him screaming for release, Harry felt the creature use him again....

“If death is nothing, Dumbledore, kill the boy....”

Let the pain stop,
thought Harry. Let him kill us.... End it Dumbledore.... Death is nothing compared to this....

And I'll see Sirius again....

And as Harry's heart filled with emotion, the creatures coil's loosened, the pain was gone, Harry was lying face down on the floor, his glasses gone, shivering as though he lay on ice, not wood....

And there were voices echoing through the hall, more than there should have been: Harry opened his eyes, saw his glasses lying at the heel of the headless statue that had been guarding him, but which now lay flat on its back, cracked and immobile. He put them on and raised his head an inch to find Dumbledore's crooked nose inches from his own.

“Are you alright, Harry?”

“Yes,” said Harry, shaking so violently he could not hold his head up properly. “Yeah, I'm- where's Voldemort, where- who are all these- what'-”

The head of the golden wizard statue hit the floor with a resounding “clunk” after slipping from his grip. Harry looked around and realized Dumbledore had port-keyed him right back to Hogwarts, directly into the heads office.

Hesitating only a moment, sensing that the magic was spent, Harry picked up the statues head and placed it atop Dumbledore’s desk. He turned from the desk and sat in the closer of the two chairs that were before it to await Dumbledore.

Sitting back in the somewhat overstuffed chair he reflected on the last few minutes. He had been dazed and confused when he regained himself after Voldemort's possession. That was understandable though, he figured, certain the pain he had felt was comparable to the cruciatus spell. Not that he would be willing to put that to the test anytime soon.

However, now, only minutes later, he felt like someone had slipped him a bit of Pepper-Up-Potion. Here in the wee hours of the predawn morning his thoughts were beginning to race. He assumed it was an effect of the adrenalin that was probably still swamping his mind, or brain. Whatever or whichever, he thought.

Images of the night’s misadventure kept assailing him. Hermione being hit with the purple curse from the one Death Eater. Ginny’s stoic perseverance with a broken ankle. Ron with the disembodied brains attached to his arms. Neville’s with a busted face telling Harry not to give the Death Eater’s the orb, even after he’d been Crucioed! Sirius stunning Malfoy and then Sirius falling through the Arch. The amazing duel between the Headmaster and Voldemort. His possession.

Harry felt very unsettled sitting quietly while all these scenes were rapidly playing out in his head. He anxiously sat forward in the chair, with his hands gripping his knees. But he still felt rather unbalanced and out of sorts.

Harry stood and started to pace about before the desk. Sitting still, it seemed, was not an option.

The memory of Sirius falling through the veil caused him an all but debilitating grief. Then his grief rolled into an anger. Anger at Sirius for letting himself be killed. Anger with himself for putting his Godfather in the position to be killed. Anger at Dumbledore for not being the all powerful, all knowing wizard everyone touted him to be and allowing this to have happened. Anger, no Rage, at Voldemort and his arse sucking bitch of a witch that killed the last bit of his family.

In the midst of his anger, concern for his friends started to nibble at his conscience. Again he watched Hermione hit with the horrible curse. How Ron got all wonky after the brains attacked him. Neville's broke nose and busted mouth or Ginny's broken foot or ankle. Luna had come out of it apparently unscathed, like himself, but he felt so guilty about it all. It had been his doing that got them all there and he should have been able to stay with his friends till they were looked after.

Instead Dumbledore plopped a golden statue head in his arms and with a wave of his wand, a cast of a spell and slurp-poof, he is stuck in the Heads office with only his guilt and grief for company.

His guilt was soon overwhelmed by his swelling grief. The grief again was lessened with his anger. The anger in turn replaced with concern for his friends which lead him back to his guilt. And the guilt was soon overwhelmed by his grief.

It was a vicious cycle.

The third time through the grief, anger, anxiety cycle Harry tried to distract himself by inspecting Dumbledore's office. The last time he was in this office the headmaster had exited in a fiery explosion causing all sorts of damages. As Harry remembered it, some of the mysterious little silver widgy-gadgets that he had always found intriguing had gotten knocked about and broken and he was sure he remembered a portrait or two falling from the walls. However, the room looked completely undamaged. All the little silver thingamajigs seemed to be in place as well as Harry could recollect, whirling away or puffing the occasional bit of steam. Also, all the enchanted paintings were hanging as should be, almost all feigning sleep as normal.

Almost all. Harry’s attention was drawn to the portrait of Phineas Nigellus, which held a hand over his mouth as he noisily yawned. “Ah… Young Potter….” he said after dropping his hand and looking owlishly about the room.

The painting narrowed his eyes as he returned his gaze to Harry and scrutinized him. “What possible purpose could you have in the headmasters office at such an early hour?” The portrait asked shrewdly. “Did Dumbledore send you? Oh, don’t tell me…” Phineas added with a bit of pique, “I am to hie off with another message for my worthless great-great-grandson.”

The painting didn’t know and Harry wasn’t ready to say the truth of Sirius’ passing out loud just yet. Even though there wasn’t a bit of him that didn’t know the painful truth.

Some of the other portraits started to stir and Harry started to back towards the door. He had no wish to be interrogated by the enchanted vissages of past headmasters.

“”I hope this means that Dumbledore will be back with us soon,” said the corpulent, red nosed wizard that hung directly behind and above the headmasters desk.

Harry backed all the way to the office door, his hand fumbling behind him found the doorknob, but it was locked. He was shut in.

Harry looked to the painting of Headmaster Dippet, he thought was the name, and nodded while trying the doorknob again, but it still wouldn’t budge.

“Good. It has been a bit dull without him.” Stated the wizard’s image.

It was then that the fireplace flared into emerald green flame. It so startled Harry that he stepped away from the door while reaching for his wand. He relaxed only when he recognized it was Dumbledore unfolding from the flames. The portraits all seemed to wake up and many gave the headmaster a rousing cheer as he stepped forth from the fireplace.

“Yes, yes. Thank you.” The headmaster softly said, modestly waving the accolades aside. After depositing the newly re-hatched Fawkes on the tray below his perch he turned to look directly at Harry for the first time in months, “You will be happy to hear, Harry.” He said. “None of your fellow students will suffer any lasting effects from this nights events.”

Harry wanted to say “good” but failed to do so. It really sounded to Harry like Dumbledore was trying to subtly remind him his friends were hurt because of him. “Your just trying to make me feel better about it all, aren’t you.?” he asked with all the sarcasm he could inject into the question.

By the look Dumbledore gave him, Harry realised it was his own guilty conscience that had colored the headmasters words.

Before he could bring himself to apologise the headmaster said, “If anyone should shoulder the blame for tonight, Harry, it would be me.” Dumbledore turned and walked to his desk and sat in his throne like chair, motioning for Harry to sit in one of the chairs before the desk.

Once Harry was seated the headmaster started to explain. “The fault lies squarely at my feet that you did not know that there was no need to run off to the ministry.” With remorse readily apparent in his voice Dumbledore continued on. “It was obvious to me early on that your connection to Voldemort was stronger now that he was returned to a physical body. I erroneously thought that if I distanced myself from you he would find no purpose in using the connection. That was wrong, obviously and completely wrong. Instead of trying to create a situation that would “hopefully” deter Voldemort from using your connection I should have instead brought you more firmly into the fold and explained what Voldemort wanted and what he might try to do through your connection to get it.

“You would have then known to suspect your vision of Sirius being tortured in the Department of Mysteries and your Godfather would still be with us. That you were left to act in ignorance is completely my responsibility. I am to blame.”

“Are you speaking of my great-great-grandson, the last of the Blacks?” Phineas asked morosely.

“Yes, Phineas.” Dumbledore stated plainly.

“Poppycock!” The portrait proclaimed. “I don’t believe it!” could be heard as he hurriedly exited his frame.

The headmaster ignored the paintings interruption and went on with his commentary. “As you are now fully aware, Voldemort wanted a record of a prophecy made before you were born.”

“It’s destroyed now!” Harry interjected. Uncertain if that was a good thing or bad.

“Not completely lost Harry, I assure you, but let me finish explaining why he wanted it.” Dumbledore gently admonished. “As I was saying, there was a prophecy made shortly before you were born. It concerned a dark lord, Voldemort of course, and a child that would be able to vanquish him. One of his followers overheard some of the prophecy and unfortunately relayed it to his master. In time Voldemort decided the portion of the prophecy he heard referred to you and that is why he murdered your parents and tried to murder you that fateful halloween night.

“I believe he assumes it was his ignorance of the complete prophecy that lead to his undoing that night. A baby thwarted him at the pinnacle of his power. He was determined, I think, to know the whole prophecy, in total, before he made the same mistake again.

“It was to me that the prophecy was originally recited, Harry. I could show you the memory but it is simpler if I just relay it you. It is quite literally branded in my mind.” The professor paused briefly before going on. “The one with the power to Vanquish the dark lord approaches….”

After Dumbledore told him the prophecy they discussed what some of the individual lines meant. It was well after sunrise before the professor suggested they curtail their discussion as Harry needed rest and the professor needed to prepare for a busy day. As Harry was leaving the headmasters office he really wondered why Dumbledore had risked people's lives, Mr. Weasley’s in particular, to prevent Voldemort from confirming what he seemingly already knew. One of them was going to kill the other. An activity Voldemort was already committed to. Harry really didn’t have much doubt who would be the victor.

“In a brief statement Friday night, Minister of Magic Cornelius Fudge confirmed that He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named has indeed returned to this country and is active once more.” Hermione was reading the article from her bed in the infirmary to the group of friends. When she got to the part about, “Meanwhile, the boy who lived….” She lifted her eyes up from the paper to look at her friend and noted, “ I knew they would drag you into it somehow!”

Harry who sat at the foot of Ron’s bed, where they both had listened to Hermione read the front page, gave a simple shrug. Ron, his arms heavily wrapped in bandages from where the stupid brains had attacked him, offered his observation. “Least he is ‘The-Boy-Who-Lived’ again rather than ‘delusional-attention-seeking-delinquent !”

Ginny, whose ankle had been fixed in a Hot-Hogwarts-Minute by Madam Pomfrey, was curled up across the foot of Hermione’s bed. Neville, whose nose had been returned to its normal shape sat in a chair between the two beds. Luna, who like Harry had escaped the whole ministry adventure unscathed, was perched on the edge of the empty bed along from Hermione’s, reading a copy of the Quibbler.

“They have most assuredly changed their tune.” Hermione agreed as she scanned the rest of the article. “Voice of truth...never wavered...ridiculed and slandered.” She snorted a bit at that last comment. “Failed to admit it was their own articles doing all the ridiculing and slandering!”

Hermione winced a bit and tried to shift herself a little to be more comfortable. Of them all, she had got the worst of it with the curse she had been hit with. “Well,” she said as she folded the paper and set it aside. “They certainly have found a lot to write about. They even ran a reprint of the interview you did for the Quibbler, Harry.”

“Daddy sold it to them.” Luna said, not looking up from her Quibbler. “He said they paid so handsomely that our three week expedition to Sweden to look for Crumple-Horned Snorkacks can now be extended to the entire summer hols.”

“That sounds… nice.” Hermione clumsily stated.

Ginny tucked her chin to her chest to prevent either of the girls from seeing her amusement at Hermione’s discomfiture. She blushed a little when she found she had turned right into Harry’s line of site and he was looking her way. They shared a quick smile at the exchange.

Harry quietly listened as his friends conversation rambled from Fred and George’s swamp to Filch's disappointment and on to whether Umbridge was truly in shock or simply sulking. All the while he looked from each of his friends to the next. Although he did tend to let his eyes linger a bit longer on one or two of them.

Ginny was wearing jeans along with a white school blouse and Harry was having a hard time keeping his eyes off her. She was right there in front of him. Where he sat on the foot of Ron’s bed, she was there on the foot of Hermione’s bed. She was laying across the bed on her side with her knees pulled up and her head propped up on her one hand. Her bum was rather prominently centered in his field of view and her jeans did nothing to hide how shapely it was.

Harry never had thought of himself as an ogler. Looking and appreciating yes, but not ogling and leering. And he was certainly ogling. He would force himself to look elsewhere only to find that the way the sheet was tucked under Hermione’s breast really highlighted her development. Or, the way Luna’s skirt was hitched a couple inches above her knees, because of the way she was leaning against the far bed, showing off her very nice legs. Harry was aware that on a warm day any muggle girl in Surry would certainly be showing more skin, but for Hogwarts it was quite titillating.

His attention was always drawn back to Ginny’s bum though. He could imagine her fair complexion and….

Merlin’s mother’s monocle, Harry silently cried. He needed to get away from these girls before his body’s reaction got worse and embarrassed him or he simply got caught leering. He sprang off the bed and turned towards the door saying, “I told Hagrid I would be down today and I need some fresh air.” It sounded rather lame in his own ears but no one questioned him on it. Hermione did say to give Hagrid their best and ask after his “little friend.” The “little friend” almost broke him up considering his current mindset, but he managed to stifle the chuckle and wave in acknowledgement.

As Harry descended the Grand Stairs into the Entrance Hall Malfoy and his two ever present goons were just coming up from the dungeons and the Slytherin common room. They all froze when they noticed each other. Neither moved and nothing was said, the only sounds were the ambient noise of students out on the grounds and in the Great Hall.

Malfoy looked around. Harry assumed the little weasel was checking that there were no teachers about. “ You're dead Potter!” he said when he was sure there were none to over hear him.

“ Odd that I haven’t stopped breathing then.” Harry replied as cheekily as possible.

“You’ll pay!” Malfoy all but whispered fervently. “I’ll make you pay for what you have done to my father…”

“Well, that’s me pissing myself then isn’t it.” Harry said with as much sarcasm as he could interject. “I suppose Voldemort is just the opening act and you three are the real deal.” He had noticed the way they all flinched at Voldemort’s name. “What, isn’t he a family friend. Comes over for Sunday Tea and all? Not afraid of him are you?”

“You think you’re all that and a chocolate frog, but your not” Malfoy said as he started walking towards him, his two goons in tow. “I will have you for what you did. You just wait.”

“I’ll wait Malfoy. But don’t expect me to hold my breath.” Harry told him.

“ The dementors have all left Azkaban.” Malfoy informed him with a lowered voice. “My Dad and the others will be out in no time…”

Harry shrugged dismissively. “Everyone knows they’re scumbags now though.”

That was the straw. Malfoy instantly reached for his wand but Harry was the quicker. His wand was out and pointing at Malfoy’s nose while the little ponce’s hand was still fumbling about inside his robes.

“Potter!” Snape roared from behind him. The sleazy git sidled up beside Harry and demanded, “What do you think you're doing?”

“Deciding which curse to use on this piece of…” Harry started to say.

“Put your wand away at once.” Snape commanded curtly. “If Gryffindor had any house points, Potter,” Snape glanced to the completely empty hourglass that was indicative of Gryffindor’s points. “I would dock you. Instead it seems the only option is to....”

“Add some!”

“Professor McGonagall!” Snape acknowledged in surprise. “Back from St. Mungo’s so soon?”

Harry smiled with relief not actually realising how concerned he had been about his House Head’s health till he saw her. “Welcome back, Professor!” Harry greeted her warmly.

“Yes, Professor Snape, after the healers did their job I was sent on my way. And thank you, Mr. Potter, it is good to be back.” She stepped close and handed her carpet bag to Goyle, “Take this to my office, young man. I am certain you remember where it is.” Turning to Crabbe she shucked her travel cloak and handed it to him. “Take that to my office as well, please and thank you.” She had used a rather imperious voice with the two and they both marched off with her items obediently.

“Now!” She said turning back to Snape. “It strikes me that Potter and his friends deserve a reward of fifty house points each for alerting the world to You-Know-Who’s return. Wouldn’t you agree?”

“What,” Snape asked with evident consternation. “Yes… I suppose so…”

“Good then!” McGonagall said and buckets of rubies fell into the Gryffindor hourglass while a few sapphires dropped into the Ravenclaw’s. “Well, Potter, Malfoy, I think you should be outside on such a glorious day.”

Harry took full advantage of the dismissal. He gave neither Malfoy nor Snape another look as he stowed his wand and headed towards the front doors.

The visit with Hagrid didn’t go as well as it could have. Hagrid tried his best not to say anything to remind Harry of his loss. So, of course, he managed to say the wrong thing repeatedly. Harry had cut his visit short and loitered a bit by the lake before returning to the castle for the Leaving Feast.

The train trip back to London was somewhat eventful.

As he returned from the loo, Harry politely nodded or waved in greeting to the D.A. members in the open compartments he passed on his way back to his own. After traversing almost the full length of the carriage he was only meters from rejoining his friends when the hair on the back of his neck sprang up. He quickly spun around, raising his left arm instinctively while he reached for his wand with his right.

Before he was completely turned about he recognized Malfoy and his two lackeys at the other end of the carriage with their wands out, pointed at him. Malfoy looked surprised that his sneak attack was foiled and immediately cast a cutting curse at Harry. Crabbe and Goyle were quick to cast a couple of second year hexes directly after.

With spellfire flying at him Harry panicked a little. His robes had bunched up about his wand and getting them out of his way with just the one hand was taking to long. In desperation Harry gripped the wad of cloth that his wand was wrapped in and, while stiff arming the oncoming spells with his other hand, cried “!Protego!”.

To his vast relief and utter surprise, it worked. A foot beyond his stiffend arm his magical shield thrummed into being. It held a hint of a bluish tint and was a bit bigger than usual, filling the whole of the corridor, stretching from floor to ceiling, wall to wall.

Harry didn’t really notice any of the particulars regarding his shield only that Malfoy’s cutting curse crashed against it with a yellowish green flash and an audible bang. The hexes of his two henchmen followed right after but didn’t flash and each only ‘popped’ a bit when they hit. The bangs and pops were no doubt lost in the constant whine, clanging and clatter of the moving train.

Keeping his eyes on the three adversaries, Harry used his off hand to open his robes and clear the excess of fabric so he could finally draw his wand. The need however was suddenly moot.

As Harry was raising his wand and considered if or when he should lower his shield to go on the offence, Malfoy and his ’friends’ were engulfed in various flashes of spellfire. It erupted from the compartment they were standing in front of. The sound of six or seven spells being cast simultaneously drifted down the corridor as Malfoy and Goyle fell to the floor and Crabbe was slammed into the outside wall before collapsing atop the other two.

He dispelled his shield but kept his wand in hand as he approached the three prostrate ponces. On close inspection the Slytherins rather looked like giant slugs stuffed in Hogwarts school uniforms.

Glancing into the compartment from where the barrage of spells had come from he found almost half of the fifth year Hufflepuffs and a couple of Ravenclaws.There was Susan Bones and Hannah Abbott, both of whom he had acknowledged with a smile as he had passed, to and from the loo. Along with them was Ernie Macmillan, Justin Finch-Fletchley, Anthony Goldstein and Terry Boot, all members of the D.A..

“I must say, I am looking forward to seeing Malfoy’s mother’s face when she collects him at King’s Cross!” Ernie, who stood to the fore of the group said with a noticeable bit or rancor.

“Marked improvement for Goyle if you ask me.” Susan Bones stated amusingly.

“They didn’t get you did they Harry?” Finch-Fletchley inquired.

“No. Mostly thanks to all of you, though. I would have been stuck on defence with the three of them hexing me together.” Harry admitted.

“Well, the D.A. looks out for each other don’t we. Besides, we owed them some didn’t we!” Ernie proclaimed.

“Thanks anyway, ok!”

“Anytime, Harry.” Hannah Abbott said with a giggle. Harry couldn’t see her as she was behind the four boys that were crowded in the compartment door way.

Harry glanced in the next compartment along and suggested. “This one is empty, should we toss them in there? You know, just to keep the corridor presentable!”

The five boys made quick work of stowing the senseless Slytherins in the empty compartment. They even went as far as stowing them in the overheads, just because they could. Harry offered his thanks one last time to the six before again traversing the length of the carriage to return to his friends.

Harry had his robes pulled open, checking out the loose inner lining as he entered the compartment. All of his friends were still in the same seats as when he left for the loo, which seemed like hours ago now. Ron sat on the left side closest to the window perusing a Quidditch magazine. Neville was seated across from him, his attention alternating between the passing scenery and the plant he held in his lap. Luna sat next to him reading a copy of the quibbler, sidewise. Across from Luna, reading a school textbook which was right side up of course, sat Hermione. Beside Luna and next to the door was Ginny, not reading a thing, but paying attention to the compartment in general.

Seeing Harry’s ripped robe she was quick to offer, “I can fix that for you.” Ginny’s cheeks pinked a bit and she added, “I mean, you know, if you want.”

Harry gave her a smile in thanks and nodded keeping his robes open so she could ‘fix it’.

She drew her wand and touching the tip to the top of the rip cast “!Tela Subjungo!” and dragged her wand tip down the length of the rip. The lining and the robe came back together behind her wand and the stitching was repaired. When done she smiled winningly at Harry and put away her wand.

“Thanks!” Harry told her gratefully. “This seam’s undoing was almost my undoing just now.” He added with a chuckle.

“What do you mean, Harry?” Ron put voice to everyone’s curiosity, as he looked up from his magazine.

Harry motioned behind him with his thumb saying, “Malfoy had a go at getting his revenge just now and when I reached for my wand I got my hand stuck inside the lining and couldn’t really touch my wand. It was a bit of a close thing getting a shield up!” Harry shrugged and sat down beside Hermione. He realised he had all their attention and was expected to continue.

“I did get a shield up, obviously,” he said motioning to the lack of any evident hexes or curses. “But only just.” he snorted. He went on to explain how the six D.A. members intervened and that they then stuffed the Slytherins in the overhead of an empty compartment.

The story got a laugh from Ron, Neville and Ginny. Luna listened with a dreamy smile while Hermione simply looked thoughtful.

“Wish I had been there! Would’a bloody loved to get a hex on Malfoy.” Ron exclaimed with a distant look after Harry finished.

When the trolley came along Harry bought cauldron cakes and pumpkin juice for everybody. While they were eating Ron cleared his throat and pointedly nodded towards the glass looking out into the corridor.

Everybody turned and looked.

Cho Chang and Marietta Edgecombe were passing by. Cho turned and blushed when she found herself the focus of the entire compartment. She turned her head back and hurried along.

A couple of moments passed before Ron bluntly asked, “So what is between you two now?”

Harry shrugged while he shook his head. “Nothing.” He really had not given much thought to Cho with everything else going on. But he knew his interest in her had certainly waned.

Hermione offered tentatively, “I hear she may already be seeing someone.”

Harry considered that possibility briefly and realized it didn’t bother him at all. He gave an exaggerated shrug to express his indifference. “Fine by me.”

“Well,” Ron offered in a tone Harry assumed was supposed to be consoling. “You’re better off without that one. I mean sure she has a nice… and all. But you really need a girl that is a bit more... cheerful.”

Harry remained silent but nodded in agreement. He didn’t feel a need to discuss Cho any longer.

“Who is she seeing now, then?” Ron asked, turning to Hermione.

It was however Ginny that answered. “Michael Corner.”

“But!” Ron blurted, whipping his head around to stare at his little sister. “He’s your boyfriend!”

Ginny snickered a bit and said, “Not any more of course. He got all tetchy when we beat Ravenclaw on the pitch. So I told him to… well , I told him to sod off, is what I told him. It would seem at some time he and Cho started consoling each other.” She scratched the side of her nose and smiled at everyone in turn.

“Loser’s Lurgy.” Luna observed, shaking her head, “is horribly unbecoming.” That got a chuckle from everyone.

Ron’s smile was a mile wide. “Well, I always thought he was an idiot. Pick better next time.” He glanced at Harry as he said the last bit.

“Well, would Dean Thomas be better?” Ginny asked vaguely.

“WHAT!” Ron shouted.

Nobody spoke immediately after that but then it wasn’t too long before the train started slowing as it approached King’s Cross.

Harry was very touched that all the adults he knew, well at least the ones that mattered, would attempt to intimidate his aunt and uncle into treating him better. It was embarrassing but touching. And, Harry was quite sure, futile.

After the confrontation, if you can call Uncle Vernon’s initial bit of bluster followed by aquesant head bobbing a confrontation, all the goodbyes were said and Harry left King’s Cross with his ‘family’.

The ride down to Little Whinging from London had been quite quiet. Uncle Vernon and Aunt Petunia were both so incensed from receiving a dressing down from the likes of ‘them’ they silently steamed the whole way.

In the back seat Harry and Dudley both sat quietly. Harry because he didn’t want to upset the delicate balance of pressure and have it vent in his direction. Dudley’s silence though was a mystery. However, from the half smile and nod he got when he looked over to his cousin, Harry was certain it was purposeful.

When they got to #4 Privet Dr. his aunt and uncle quickly climbed from the car and effectively stormed into the house leaving Harry to his own devices in regards to his belongings. Surprisingly enough, Dudley helped Harry get his trunk from out the boot and up to his room.

Harry stayed in his room the remainder of the afternoon and evening. Partially, in hopes that without him wandering about the house his aunt and uncle would cool off a bit. And maybe, with cooler heads, they would comply with the ‘suggestions’ Harry’s ‘magical minders’ had given them.

Mostly though, he just really didn’t want to deal with the Dursleys along with everything else he had on his mind. He was distraught enough as it was.

However, as Harry thought about it, distraught was not the most apt description of his inner turmoil. It was a bit more like he was completely losing the plot, actually.

Yes, after the fight at the ministry he‘d been grief stricken over Sirius’ passing. Ever since the infamous night in third year he had considered Sirius as family, his only real family, someone that was concerned for him regardless of circumstances. And Harry had helplessly watched him pass through the Arch.

To make matters worse, he knew that Sirius had been there only because of Harry’s own foolish actions. If he had listened to Hermione, Sirius would be alive. If he had not been so stupidly full of himself, thinking that only he could rush in and save the day, Sirius would be alive. It was his fault Sirius was gone.

A very soft mental whisper from the pragmatic and analytical part of him tried to lessen the grief, pointing out he had only met Sirius two years prior. Harry would have none of it though. Sirius had been family.

The whisper went on about how Sirius and he had spent no more forty days together in those two years. Harry refused to listen. Sirius had been family.

The similarity of Sirius rushing to the Ministry to save Harry, and Harry having rushed there to save Sirius was softly pressed forth. Harry ignored it.

The idea that he had been so easily manipulated rankled him. That it was at least in part because Dumbledore had left him in ignorance rankled him. If he had been told Voldemort might try to influence him through his scar, he may well have not been so anxious to run headlong to the rescue. He was fairly sure if he had been told the evil bastard wanted the prophecy from the Department of Mysteries he would have suspected the dreams to be a ruse rather than a vision.

But, as Harry lay in the silent darkness of his room fretting about pretty much everything, it was not his grief, guilt, sorrow or anguish that had him thinking he was going a bit off the rails. No, what had him concerned was despite his bereavement and anger he was experiencing recurrent, inappropriate and highly erotic fantasies of girls.

It certainly wasn’t that he had never fantasized about them before. Since his voice started to drop in second year, along with everything else, he had been aware of the fairer gender. Just not obsessively so. Susan Bones was the first girl in his year to develop, as Seamus called them, a rack. He had of course noticed as had the other boys in his year, Harry just didn’t need to drool about them like the others.

His crush on Cho had even started near the end of third year when , during a Quidditch game, he noticed how she straddled her broom. He had over that summer had a dream about brooms and bums and raven black hair flying in the wind. When he woke with a start and found what had happened he was very glad it had not happened at school. Finnigan would make crude jokes about stuff like that all the time but Harry didn’t appreciate the humor and never wanted to be the target of his repartee .

He was convinced Seamus was a complete pervert and Thomas wasn’t much better. He thought Ron was quite likely an average bloke while he considered himself and Neville to be the more civilized of the five.

But now, since the battle, Sirius’ death and the brief possession by Voldemort, things had drastically changed. Where before he was very appreciative of the female form, he now seemed obsessed.

In the midst of his mental malaise, his mind would wander a bit and he would find himself fantasising about any one of the many cute witches he knew, or had even only seen at school.

Given half a tick of inattention and an insidious sexual thought would bubble up from his subconscious and pervade his waking mind. Predominantly it was Ginny who starred in the wicked scenarios. He thought her red hair and creamy complexion rather exotic. Cho, with her darker complexion and raven coloured hair, made many appearances as well. Harry kind of preferred to fantasize about Cho. Because, although he still found her very attractive, he didn’t like her that way anymore and it just seemed a bit more ‘harmless’.

Susan Bones, Hannah Abbott, Lavender Brown and the Patil twins all paraded through Harry’s brain. Tiny naked dancers in his mind, or something like that.

Regardless, Harry was convinced something had gone wrong with him that night at the ministry. It was like someone had hit him with a hormonal hex or some such, although Madam Pomfrey had checked him thoroughly for any untoward magics . He knew something had happened though, he’d had more sex fantasies in the last week then in the whole year before.

And his scar was bothering him!!! It didn’t hurt like it would if Voldemort was close to hand. No, it didn’t hurt, it simply ‘ITCHED’!

direct excerpts
** taken completely or partially from Jo’s work, book 1-7, although …

A/N Don't hold your breath waiting for an update, I believe my track record suggest a less than speedy posting. Besides this was a tickle and Spooky is the real itch. So think of this as a one shot with potential. Actually this is conceptualized to the end of HBP, but again I point towards Spooky

“!Tela Subjungo!” cloth/join /shrug
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