Third Time's a Soul Bond?

BY : Wilde_Guess
Category: Harry Potter > Slash - Male/Male > Harry/Ron
Dragon prints: 3717
Disclaimer: I do not own the Harry Potter franchise, nor the characters from it. I do not make any money from the writing of this story.

Chapter 7, Bonded? Where Ron, students, and things start getting sorted…

The door swung open, and Professor McGonagall stepped out to look at us gathered at the base of the stairs below her. She looked as she had in both of my previous lifetimes, from her black hair worn in a bun, to her green robes, to her stern countenance. While she could be kind and insightful when needed, her professional demeanour was always formal, and typically stern. She was not to be crossed, either as a teacher or person; and she gave plain warning of this to all who had eyes to see.

"The Firs' Years, Professor McGonagall" Hagrid greeted her. While there would be no other group of eleven-year-old children on the grounds at that place and hour, the forms do need to be followed.

"Thank you, Hagrid. I will take them from here," she said in return. She opened the castle door up almost fully. Hagrid walked around her and entered the castle to take his place at the staff table. The group of us followed her into the castle. We crossed the flagstone paved entry hall, with Harry's head once again on a swivel as he unobtrusively took my hand in his again. Even having seen this hall routinely for well over twenty-two years between two lifetimes and two children's attendance, it never failed to impress. The hall was easily big enough to hold either The Burrow or the Dursley's suburban house without being completely unusable as a hallway. I could feel Harry's excitement and wonder over the bond. As we crossed the hall, we could hear the gathered voices of the other students though the closed doors of the Great Hall itself.

Professor McGonagall led us into the small side chamber where we would wait until she brought us out to have us sorted. Once Professor McGonagall gathered all of us into the rather cramped room, with Harry subtly and nervously continuing to hold my hand, she instructed us on what would happen in the next few minutes, and what she expected from us.

"Welcome to Hogwarts. The start-of-term banquet will begin shortly, but before you take your seats in the Great Hall, you must be sorted into your houses. The sorting is a very important ceremony. While you are here, your house will be something like your family within Hogwarts. You will have classes with the rest of your house, sleep in your house dormitory, and spend free time in your house common room.

"The four houses are called…" I let Professor McGonagall 'fade into the background' without being obvious about it, and looked about at my fellow students. All of them appeared to be suitably impressed, whether Muggle-born or of multiple generations raised in the magical world. Professor McGonagall concluded, "…I suggest you all smarten yourselves up as much as you can while you are waiting."

Harry tried to flatten his hair with his left hand. Neville was finally able to straighten his cloak. He had somehow twisted it around so the collar fastener was just beneath his left ear. Everyone else primped nervously, and in some cases futilely for a few moments.

Professor McGonagall said, "I shall return when we are ready for you. Please wait quietly." She turned about and left, presumably to set up the sorting hat

Harry and I looked around, and noticed that everyone else was more nervous then they were a few minutes before. He asked me, "Do you think anyone knows how they sort us?" The "else" was silent but implied.

I answered, "No, Harry. It's one of those 'magical school tradition things.' Fred and George told me when I asked that we had to wrestle and beat a Mountain Troll."

"Really," Harry asked in fright that would have convinced me, were he not still holding my hand and letting his true mirth pass through. It was nice to see his sense of humour coming out. But I wasn't quite ready to start pranking before we were even sorted.

"Of course they told me that, Harry. But they were just taking the piss. They make the sorting a mystery jut to mess with us."

"Language, Ronald" Hermione saw fit to interject.

Ok, now the prank was so on. "I hope they aren't doing 'snap-NEWT exams' again this year, Harry. Last year, Madame Marchbanks was in a truly foul mood because the arthritis in her back was acting up. She failed fully one third of the first years for breathing wrong, and they had to scramble to get accepted at the 'hedge academies' with no refund for Hogwarts Tuition!"

-EEP!- -THUD- It figures that the one student who would actually pass a 'snap-NEWT exam' sorting would also be the one who fainted. While I could feel Harry's amusement, I could also feel a slight chiding as well. I felt a 'pull' somewhere in my mind as Harry drew his wand.

"Enervate" he cast verbally at Hermione, waking her up. His immediately reholstered his wand, and he helped her up with his right hand. He still held my right hand in his left without anyone noticing.

"Are you ok, Hermione?" he asked.

As she nodded slowly, Harry added, "And Ron was taking the Mickey with you, after you called him out for language. There is no such thing as 'snap-NEWTS,' as a sorting or otherwise. It figures that the only student that would actually pass one is also the only one who fainted." He gave her that lop-sided grin that often passed for a smile with him.

Hermione sniffed, "It was still mean, though..."

He replied, while squeezing my hand almost tight enough to hurt, "And I'm sure he will apologize to you, right, Ron?"

"Of course, Harry. But in all fairness, I was trying for everyone, including you. And she was kinda rude correcting very quiet language that wasn't really that bad. But, 'sorry' Hermione, for taking the Mickey about the sorting."

"Apology accepted, Ron. And I'm sorry for correcting you as I did. I'll try to watch my language, if you try harder to watch yours, deal?"

"Deal," I answered, and shook her hand, since Harry lad let go for a moment. I could still his happiness at the way things turned out.

Several people behind us screamed, announcing a group of the castle ghosts passing through to get their first look at this year's "firsties." They were debating amongst themselves about whether to allow Peeves the Poltergeist to attend the feast this year. All of us in the room turned around to see what was going on. Harry took my hand back, and I could feel his fear and unease.

I said to reassure Harry, but in a full normal voice so anyone else needing it would hear as well. "Good evening, castle and house ghosts! How was your summer?"

The Fat Friar, more correctly Friar Tuck of Copmanhurst answered, "Just fine, Mister… Weasley?" I nodded at him and he spoke again. "Just so. We were debating whether or not to let Peeves attend the feast this year. His behaviour hasn't been that bad over the summer…"

"Or that good, either, Friar." Sir Nicholas de Mimsy-Porpington, the Gryffindor House Ghost added. "The Baron will want time with his house students without the bother of herding Peeves, and besides, Peeves gives us all a bad name, and he's not even a real ghost!"

Professor McGonagall opened the door to the room that led directly to the great hall. Friar Tuck said, "Good luck, all, with your sorting! I hope to see at least some of you in Hufflepuff! My old house, you know…"

"Thank you, Friar, I'll take it from here" Professor McGonagall told the Friar, with that all the ghosts passed directly through the wall and into the Great Hall.

"Now form a line, and follow me," the Professor instructed us. As quickly as we could, we arranged ourselves by last name, Harry insisting on only saying 'P.' With no fanfare; he got behind Sally-Anne Perks as the line winded its way through the doorway. I fell in at my place towards the end, with only Blaise Zabini behind me.

Harry's head was once again on a swivel, and he wasn't the only one. The Great Hall was still great, with its four parallel student tables pointed end-on to the raised platform with the long Staff Table. Countless taper-type candles that floated in mid-air without dripping so much as a hint of wax provided soft yet sufficient illumination. The night sky was plainly visible overhead; the enchantments amplifying the light of the stars overhead over the background light of the candles. The enchanted ceiling was in fact "more real than real." I heard Hermione remark about having read about it in Hogwarts, a History.

I looked about the room myself, having the time. Professor Quirrel, or 'Quirrelmort' as I not so fondly though of the arsehole, was sitting next to Professor Snape on what would be the left end of the table from the students' prospective. Professor Dumbledore was just as affable yet inscrutable as ever at the table-centre. Hagrid had taken his place at far right, and was paying full attention to the sorting. He and 'first Harry' were always fairly close. My three brothers were watching from the table, all of them with their backs to the far wall so they could watch without facing back around.

The front of the line of first year students ended close to the centre aisle of the main student level. Professor McGonagall placed a four-legged stool on a raised box that suddenly appeared. She placed the Sorting Hat on top of that.

The Sorting hat did its own version of looking around the Hall, opened what passed for its mouth, and started to sing its annual Sorting Poem.' "Oh, you may not think I'm pretty…"

I paid just enough attention to make sure that it was the poem from my first timeline, rather than some dire warning. I could already hear "not Slytherin" echoing in my mind. I was also nervous for all sorts of reasons.

The poem finished, and the students applauded. Harry looked back at me, rather pale and nervous. I smiled, waved, and quickly winked at him to lighten his mood. It worked somewhat; he smiled and turned around. But, I could still feel his nerves, along with the chant of "not Slytherin."

Professor McGonagall stepped forward carrying the class roster written on a scroll.

"When I call your name, you will put on the hat and sit on the stool to be sorted," she said.

With that, the sorting was on, with no obvious changes from my first sorting. There were two subtle ones, though.

The first was Neville Longbottom. In my first lifetime, he was a "hat-stall," or a sorting that took a noticeable amount of time. During that sorting, he was actually in tears by the time he was sorted into Gryffindor, and was so relieved yet still so nervous that he went to the Gryffindor Table while still wearing the hat!

For this sorting, though, the sorting was different even if the results remained the same. Neville confidently put the hat on his head and sat on the stool. Not ten seconds later, the hat stood up straight as in fright! The hat stood at attention, as Neville and it had a quick but animated discussion. The hat loudly announced "Gryffindor," and went limp. Neville stood, placed the hat on the stool, and quietly thanked it. He strode to his place towards the far end of the Gryffindor table where the first-years were congregating, and sat with his back to the wall.

The second was Harry himself. In my first lifetime, he was also a "hat-stall." He was again, but not quite the same way. After Sally-Anne Perks became a Hufflepuff, Harry put the hat on and sat down. I could feel his anxiety through our bond, and the chant of "not Slytherin" became nearly a chorus. I felt a quick presence in my mind that I was about to find out was the hat giving me a quick read, before the hat announced with pride in his voice, "Gryffindor!"

The reaction was exactly like the first time, complete with Fred and George giving their 'table show.' Harry walked to the far side of the table, sitting to the right of Neville and across from Sir Nicholas, who decided to sit at the table during the sorting.

A student or two later Dean Thomas became a Gryffindor. A few students later, and it was time for Ronald Bilius Weasley Sorting, version three point oh.

I approached the stool and put the hat on my head with the commonly expected nervousness on the outside. On the inside, I was almost in a full panic. I sat down on the stool.

"Relax, Ronald. I will not separate your from your bond mate" the hat reassured me in my mind.

I asked mentally "Are there any other soul-bonded student pairs here? Or time-travellers?"

"No soul-bonded pairs. There were echoes of a previous Daphne Greengrass, but she didn't 'make it' like you did, so the Daphne here is only eleven and might not appreciate your friendship if approached by someone acting like a former spouse. With your circumstances, it's just as well. No other time and dimension travellers besides you are here.

"Neville Longbottom, at least in this time, is the youngest and only surviving child of a soul bond pair of your age group. He already knows Harry and you are bonded and accepts this. He will help if you let him. You will need to speak with the Headmaster before too long, he will also be able to help both Harry and you, even beyond the adjustments the Headmaster will need to make for Harry's and your privacy.

"You're starting to look like a 'me-stall!' So, off you trot to GRYFFINDOR!"

The 'Gryffindor' was shouted out for the entire hall to hear. And, much to my surprise, the Great Hall went almost as crazy for me as it did for Harry! I walked around to sit next to Harry as the Twins were giving a second table-show!

"Hand-Cast Ronnie! Hand-Cast Ronnie!" they shouted as I walked around. Percy actually shook my hand as I tried to walk past.

He told me, "Great prank on us with Harry Potter. You got the twins, too; though I'm not sure they'll admit it. Mum forced us to keep the 'fame' stuff from you until now. You aren't mad, are you?"

I was frankly more impressed by Percy openly admitting that he cared about my feelings then feeling anything about having any kind of 'fame' hidden from me. The 'why' was fairly obvious—Mum and Dad didn't want me to get a 'big head' over something they had hoped that I had forgotten about. Part of the 'how' was also obvious. All of those books I got to research Harry and the two Dark Wars were filtered through Mum and Dad, so even if I did manage to get the unfiltered true (as far as was written anyhow,) violent, and scandalous historical accounts, there would be something they would refuse to let through no matter what. How they 'blocked' things with me working at Ollivander's was more of a mystery, but not by that much. Master Garrick would have had to have been in on things with Mum and Dad as part of the deal where I got permission to work with and train with him in the first place.

As we released our handclasp I said, "No worries, Percy. If Mum puts her foot down, best not be under it, eh?"

"But you aren't angry, even with Mum and Dad?" Percy asked incredulously.

"Of course not, Percy, they did it because they love me, like they do all of us" I answered.

As I walked past Fred and George, who had just gotten down from the table after losing another five points for Gryffindor, I said, "And this sees us even for me sneaking 'The Boy Who Lived' past you onto the train, right?"

They nodded in agreement, one of them saying, "Right, even it is," and the other one saying, "We'd have told you on the train, but we couldn't find you. And we were also helping baby-sit Lee Jordan's new pet. We can show you in the common room, if you like?"

I replied, perhaps too quickly, "That's all right. You see one tarantula, and that's one too many!" I'll just go sit next to Harry now."

With that, I was able to escape the Twins, and sit down between Harry and Neville, with Harry on my right.

As Blaise Zabini became a Slytherin, Neville said, "I found a most interesting scrap of parchment, Ron. Give it a look?"

I nodded and read, in Neville's handwriting, "Remove your right shoe and sock NOW. Put them in a robe pocket, roll your right trouser leg above your knee, and bunch your robes up past it."

I nodded again as I unobtrusively followed the note's instructions. No sooner had I finished then Harry hooked his left leg around my right. He caressed the top of my foot with his toes and sighed in relief. While we both had the slightest hint of a 'foot-fetish,' there was nothing sexual about it. As he sighed again, I noticed that a tension and discomfort that was just as much mine as Harry's faded away. I squeezed Harry's hand before we both raised our hands back to on top of the table.

Hermione asked, "So you're that Ron Weasley?"

I answered, "I guess so, seeing that I'm the only one here. How many books do you have that your parents have not seen and don't know about?"

She blushed purple, and I continued "Probably not many, by the look on your face. With the wizarding world being fairly spread out, it's not like I could get anything that they didn't see or know about. While I worked at Ollivander's, Master Garrick would have to have gone along with my parent's wishes in order for me to work for him."

She sniffed, "Well, it was only a quarter-page…"

I replied, "So long as I did what was right, it just doesn't matter. Not all heroes make the history books, and I'd honestly prefer obscure but honourable conduct to historic infamy, anyhow." In my first lifetime, Fred barely made the 'histories and Colin Creevey not at all, save the listings of the dead. Vincent Crabbe and Gregory Goyle did. Given the choice, I know which remembrance I would prefer to leave to posterity - and it is not the ones left by the younger Crabbe and Goyle of my first lifetime.

Professor Dumbledore standing to start the 'start-of-term banquet' at least temporarily ended our conversation. He spread his arms magnanimously and pronounced "Welcome, one and all, to a new year at Hogwarts! Before we begin our banquet, I would like to say a few words. And here they are: Nitwit! Blubber! Oddment! Tweak!

"Thank you!"

He sat back down to the applause of the entire hall. Harry looked (and felt) confused, wondering whether or not he should laugh.

As the food appeared on the platters, Harry turned to me and asked, "Is he – a bit mad"

I answered, "Not mad as such, but definitely 'crazy like a fox.' The words he said were each a very obscure but gentle insult from each of the houses to each of the three others—and only the two of us, plus whoever is hearing me speak, even have a clue! He is one of the most brilliant wizards living, so I suppose he must do something to drive away the boredom. Potatoes?"

Harry's eyes momentarily became saucers as he saw all the platters of food. As we served ourselves, I told him, "The peppermint humbugs are actually for 'afters,' and should have shown up with the desserts. Set a couple by your plate for after you finish dessert to keep your breath fresh until we brush our teeth before bed."

Food was passed around, served, and the eating of the food commenced. Harry did as I suggested with the humbugs, and Neville and I followed along. Hermione didn't, but with two dentists for parents, since she seemed to be basically the same as 'first Hermione,' she abstained since the humbugs were likely NOT sugar-free.

Harry asked, "Can you explain what Professor Dumbledore meant, though?"

I answered, "I suppose so.

"The Headmaster is known for disliking the extremes to which the four student houses take their rivalries and competition, even though he believes that the competition itself helps the students to do their best everyday – which will only help you later on in life. While competition is good at times, failing to find and unite behind a common purpose is often destructive.

"Ravenclaws are the house of academic brilliance. They tend to see those who are not in their house as 'nitwits,' since they 'weren't smart enough to get in to Ravenclaw.'

"Gryffindor is the house of valour and courage. In order to 'ride to the front of the battle' in classical times, you actually have to be in sufficient physical condition to ride to the front. Gryffindors will tend to see the other houses as 'blubbers,' or those who don't have the physical wherewithal to be brave. Pure 'schoolyard bully' mentality, that.

"Slytherin has always been a house of ambition and cunning. It has also often been a house of long tradition, or 'purity' of magical blood, though seldom to the extremes fomented by Voldemort."

After allowing for the gasps of the others listening in to pass, I continued.

"As I was saying, Slytherins see themselves as 'pure and complete.' They believe that if you didn't make it into their house, that you must be an 'oddment' or a scrap from a bolt of cloth with no purpose, because you weren't 'complete' enough to be of any use in or to their house.

"Hufflepuffs see themselves as humble and virtuous. They see the members of the other three houses as being excessive in some trait or other, and thus needing a major 'tweak' to become 'decent people.'"

We students continued eating our feast, while Sir Nicholas watched wistfully.

"That does look good," Sir Nicholas told Harry while sadly watching him cut his steak.

"Can't you - ?" Harry asked

"I haven't eaten for nearly four hundred years," Sir Nicholas answered. "I don't need to, of course, but one does miss it. I don't think I've introduced myself? Sir Nicholas de Mimsy-Porpington at your service. Resident ghost of Gryffindor Tower."

"I know who you are," Lavender Brown exclaimed. "My cousin told me all about you. You're 'Nearly Headless Nick!"

I had hoped that by remaining silent that I would have spared Sir Nicholas' feelings. But, some things just aren't meant to be, I guess.

Sure enough, Seamus Finnegan joined in. "How can someone be nearly headless?" he asked.

"Like this," Sir Nicholas snapped, pulling on his left ear, and hinging his head onto his shoulder. Looking pleased at having stunned almost all of us, he hinged his head back upright and said "So – new Gryffindors! I hope you're going to help us win the house championship this year? Gryffindors have never gone so long without winning. Slytherins have got the cup for six years in a row, now! The Bloody Baron has become almost unbearable now – he's the Slytherin House Ghost."

Harry and I looked across the hall to see the Bloody Baron, in all of his blood-soaked glory, sitting ominously next to Draco Malfoy. I felt Harry's slightly vindictive amusement with the seating arrangements across the Hall, and agreed with him in full. Harry even giggled slightly.

"How'd he get covered in blood?" Seamus asked in great interest

"I've never asked" Sir Nicholas answered delicately.

I heard Harry think, "I bet Ron knows…"

I decided to try intentionally sending back a message. I thought back "I bet the Old Man will also tell his favourite Brat, but not here with an audience…"

Harry started, and started to blush.

Before he was obviously blushing, I said so only he could hear it, "I'll tell you the story, later in the common room. It is an embarrassing as well as a sad tale, and not for the amusement of students." He nodded, and got his complexion back under control.

He thought back, "I'll try. Can you hear me, Old Man?"

I answered back, "Yes, my Brat. Remember how we're going to have to figure out the privacy thing? You were thinking very loud. Let's pay attention to our classmates."

By this time, everyone who was of a mind to had finished their dinners. The eating plates and flatware became clean and sparkling gold again, and the serving platters disappeared. After a few moments, the dessert platters appeared with a plethora of treats; from blocks of ice cream, to Jell-O, to pies and tarts.

Harry served himself a generous slice of treacle tart almost as quickly as the house-elves had sent it up from the kitchens. With desserts served and started upon, the conversation turned to where and how we first-years grew up – surprisingly led off by Neville Longbottom.

"Gryffindor courage and all, I'll start things off with how we grew up.

"I'm what some would call a 'pure-blood' Light wizard, from a Light family. The seat of power of the Most Ancient and Noble House of Longbottom is in Kent, as the seat of the once again Most Ancient and Noble House of Potter is in Somerset. I'm the youngest of three children of a soul-bonded pair, and the only one to outlive the Voldemort War by more than a week."

Everyone around, save Harry and me gasped at Neville's use of Voldemort's name, without quite grasping everything else. Neville continued, and 'put paid' to that.

My eldest sibling, Francis Longbottom Junior, was almost conceived in this very hall. Mum and Dad tried to hide and slow their soul bond down as long as possible without outside help, and 'almost' made it. Dumbledore had his phoenix familiar take them up to the Astronomy Tower, which was typically empty during most Wednesday lunch periods in April, since he realized what was happening. Of course, this was after Mum and Dad decided there were more important things to do with their uniforms than to continue wearing them.

"While Junior was at the wedding, he was still inside Mum, and supposedly didn't show, so it was all good. He was a toddler during Mum and Dad's seventh year. Mum and Dad graduated from Hogwarts in '76, and were both fast-tracked through Auror training.

"My sister Alicia was born in mid-August of '78. My memories of her aren't as strong as those of Junior, but she was sweet, and once I was toddling about, she liked to have me over for tea with her stuffed animals, since unlike Junior I actually played along.

"I was born on the thirtieth of July 1980, two hours earlier than Harry and in the next birthing suite over in St. Mungo's.

"Sadly, my clearest early memory is of the night everything went to hell. To put a point on it, the LeStrange Brothers, Bellatrix Black LeStrange, and Junior Crouch literally cut my elder siblings into pieces. Then they tortured my parents into perpetual mutual insanity with the Cruciatus Curse while I watched petrified and hidden under a disillusionment charm behind a tablecloth over the dining room table. And whatever the Obliviators on the response squad got rid of, they didn't get rid of that! I remember that evening just as clearly as I remember today's train ride from London.

"My Gran raised me, with occasional help from Great Uncle Algie and Great Aunt Enid. For the longest time, they were afraid that I had been born a Squib, and I was scared that the LeStranges and Junior Crouch had scared the magic out of me. While I'm sure they all loved me, they were desperate almost to the point of cruelty to try to 'force' some magic back out into the open; particularly not-so-Great Uncle Algie.

"When I was six, the bastard chucked me off of the end of Blackpool Pier. I almost drowned, but the bastard got his. Even being a high muckedy-muck in the Department of Mysteries, the Ministry actually waited over the long bank holiday to bail him out and Obliviate the local police. He spent his bank holiday in the "tank" in the Blackpool Gaol minus wand, since Gran had swiped it from him and was too busy consoling her grandson to get around to giving it back. Did you know that a lot of Blackpool Muggle Criminals have little care for those who try to murder children? Great Uncle Algie sure found out!

"I finally got 'lucky' when I was eight. Great Uncle Algie 'accidentally' chucked me out of a second story window while Great Aunt Enid passed him a meringue. Instead of going 'splat,' I bounced unharmed down the lane. Everyone cried tears of joy and relief that I actually had and still had my magic! Great Uncle Algie also cried tears of pain as Gran 'accidentally' punted him in the bits. He and Great Aunt Enid weren't allowed on the grounds for six months, and things are still slightly strained between them.

"But Great Uncle Algie meant well, I think. He got me my pet toad Trevor as a gift for entering Hogwarts. Since I am very fond of Herbology and gardening, he'll make the perfect companion, or at least he will once I convince him to quit going on walkabout.

"Gran always wanted me to follow in Dad's footsteps, and still does. I want to also. But, she insisted that I carry Dad's wand, too. It's not as if he'll be needing it right away. But, it's almost as responsive to my magic as a Muggle Dowel. Until I tried another student's wand on the train ride here, I wasn't sure I was really and truly a wizard! I can feel my power now, and I'm happy. But, I won't be doing the practicals until at lest after this weekend, since while I have 'a wand,' I don't actually have one that works. I'm also a bit absent-minded, and sometimes have trouble with things that require rote memorization."

"Nyyah!" Neville was met with a face full of Kneazle familiar. Lucky Boy licked his face, purred loudly once at him, and then moved to my shoulder, purring loudly. Fortunately, I only had room for a small scoop of ice cream, which I had finished

"I guess the arrival of my familiar means that it's my turn. I'm Ron Weasley. I'm from a working-class branch of a family with some rich branches and some not so much. Dad is in charge of the Misuse of Muggle Artefacts Department at the Ministry, and Mum stayed at home to raise us kids rather than work outside of the house. Since Dad's not on the take, and since he doesn't easily suffer those who are, his budget and salary have been played with over the years. Our wealth is with our family. There's seven of us counting me, plus Mum, Dad, two post owls, and Lucky Boy here.

"My life hasn't been 'interesting' like Neville's. All of us kids were home-schooled. We live in Ottery St. Catchpole, which the Muggles call Ottery St. Mary. It's a small village on the River Otter in Devon, not too far from Exeter. It's such a small village, in fact, that at least some of the "Marysiders" know about the "Catchpolers," and nobody 'rocks the boat.'

"I'm the only wizarding boy my age around there. I hung out mostly with the Twins, my younger sister Ginny who will start Hogwarts next year, and our neighbour Luna Lovegood, who is Ginny's age. Luna's Mum and Dad publish The Quibbler. Amos Diggory also lives there, his son Cedric is a Hufflepuff fourth-year.

"For pocket money, I expanded the family chicken coop, and sold the eggs to the village grocer since our property is blatantly magical and we can't allow the Muggles near it. I also mowed lawns in both sides of the Otttery, and I work as a part-time junior apprentice to Garrick Ollivander. You didn't see me, Hermione, but I actually helped Master Garrick find your wand. Vinewood, 10 and three-quarter inches, with a dragon heart-string core, and an even better match now that you're using it, right?" Hermione nodded in stunned silence.

"My familiar here is Lucky Boy. I named him that when I got him, when I was almost four and a half. My Mum, Dad, Ginny, Percy, and I went to the Magical Menagerie that day to get Percy a pet Kneazle. I found this guy cold and almost dead on the floor under the cages. He was so small that he just barely filled the cupped hands of this four-and-a-half year old. We bonded quicker than you can say it, Percy never did get a Kneazle, and here we are almost seven years later. We each know where the other is at all times, and our magic supports and strengthens each other's. He's a bit bigheaded, and a bit of a show-off, but he has every reason to be. He does things I haven't even heard of other Kneazle familiars doing. I named him 'Lucky Boy' to remind both him and me that we were both lucky to meet each other that day.

I put a small spoonful of ice cream on my plate, and Lucky Boy turned around to enjoy his dessert. Hermione asked in disgust, "You let your familiar eat at your table?"

I answered, "Sometimes, he let us eat at his. Do you fancy treading in a plate of ice-cream and Kneazle saliva?"

She shook her head 'no,' and our other classmates went through a much-abbreviated introduction.

As they did, Harry asked through the bond, "So why the long introductions from Neville and you, Old Man?"

I answered, "I don't know about Neville, but did you really want to tell your story here, Brat?"

"No."

"You're welcome, Brat."

Harry nodded in reply as all the plates and flatware vanished to the kitchens. With the extra 'story-telling time,' we didn't receive (or at least notice) any intrusions from Quirrelmort or Professor Snape. Professor Dumbledore proceeded with delivering the start-of-term notices to the now-silent hall.

"Ahem – just a few more words to give you now that we are now all fed and watered. I have a few start-of-term notices to give you.

"First years should note that the eponymous Forbidden Forest is just that to all students.

"I have also been asked by our caretaker, Mr. Filch, to remind all students that magic should not be used between classes in the corridors.

"Quidditch trials will be held in the second week of the term. Anyone interested in playing for their house teams should contact Madame Hooch.

"Finally, I must tell you that this year; the third-floor corridor on the right-hand side is out of bounds to everyone who does not wish to die a very painful death."

Harry asked me silently, "What's that about?"

I answered, "I'll tell you later, but he is NOT kidding!"

Dumbledore enthusiastically finished, "And now, before we go to bed, let us sing the school song!" The teachers winced, everyone stood, and Dumbledore waved his wand, causing a ribbon to come out of his wand with the words to the song legible on it.

As Dumbledore told the students to pick any tune and start singing, Neville grabbed Harry and me by the arm. He said quietly, so that only we could hear: "You guys trust me, and that I know what I'm talking about?"

Harry nodded at once, I followed up closely behind.

Neville instructed us "Follow me right now. Never mind your trouser legs or shoes, just don't slap the floor too hard with your bare feet. We need to see the Headmaster about your bond as soon as he releases us to the dorms, and this is the only way I see to make that happen. I'll stick around as long as you want or need. Follow me!"

At that, he took off towards the Teachers' Table, with us close behind. Between the cacophony of eight hundred separate melodies for the school song, and the natural order of eleven-year-olds tending to be shorter than their classmates, we were at the end of the Gryffindor Table closest to the Teachers' Table well before Fred and George finished their school dirge. The Headmaster noticed us. Neville looked Professor Dumbledore dead in the eye with a big smile on his face, almost daring the Headmaster to cast Legilimency on him.

Did I say 'almost daring?' There was no 'almost' about it, and the Headmaster seemed to get the message, nodding to Neville. The song finally finished, everyone applauded, and the Headmaster gave his closing words.

"Ah, music," he said, wiping his eyes. "A magic beyond all you do here. Now, off you trot."

The rest of the students started to file out of the Great Hall; Percy had joined us without our realizing it from the rear, followed by Professors Dumbledore and McGonagall to the front.

"Mr. Percival Weasley, I need to see your brother, Mr. Potter, and Mr. Longbottom about a very important and very personal matter that you will learn about in due time. They are not in trouble, and your discretion is required. You have your first years to help escort now, have a very pleasant evening."

Percy left quickly to catch up with his fellow fifth-year prefect and the other first years.

Professor Dumbledore said, "You three should follow me towards my office so we can get things sorted."

Neville, Harry, and I followed along, with a bemused Professor McGonagall bringing up the rear. We made it to the entrance to the Headmaster's Office, with its Grotesque standing guard. Dumbledore gave the password 'Mars Bar,' and the Grotesque stood aside, revealing the magical spiral staircase. We followed him up the staircase and to his office.

Fawkes trilled a greeting to us as we entered. Dumbledore conjured a comfy looking narrow love seat, flanked by two upholstered chairs in front of and facing his desk. As he crossed behind his desk and sat down, he instructed us "Messrs Potter and Weasley please sit in the love seat and hold hands while touching your legs together. Mister Longbottom, you may sit to their left. Minerva, you may sit or stand as you please, but sitting might be the better course.

"While I can see for myself now that I'm looking for it, please explain what you know about Ron and Harry's soul bond, and how you recognized it as such."

Harry and I both startled, even with the expectation of this being the reason Neville brought us up here so quickly. Professor McGonagall was stunned beyond words.

Neville squirmed for a moment, sighed deeply, and started talking. "As I'm sure you remember, Headmaster, my parents were soul-bonded. What is less commonly known is that any who are children of a male to female soul-bonded couple can sense instinctively and without fail not only that a bond exists or is forming, but also has some sense of how far the bond has progressed, even more so than the people actually living the bond.

"I met Ron and Harry face-to-face at around two o'clock this afternoon. Their bond was already unbreakable without killing them, but they were both still total and complete virgins. They hadn't even masturbated. I shared their boat across Black Lake at six-forty three this evening; they had given their virginity almost completely to each other, oddly enough only leaving some of the least intimate acts rather than the most. I'm not sure how male to male bonds work but I feel that they are about to start the touch-bonding process in hours if not moments."

And of course, as soon as Neville said that, the PAIN hit! My mind was in a jumble of pain, trying to console Harry, Pain, Harry's Pain, background talking, and PAIN. Did I mention the pain? It would seem that orgasms aren't the only things that bounce around in these crazy bonds. I heard snatches of talk that I still can't figure out.

"Don't banish….magic…worse…Auror holsters, both Ron's forearms and Harry's right…Of course the house-elves can't get in to Ron's…I hope not…I want to watch even less than they will appreciate…MRROW…WHOOBRRK!..." Finally, the pain faded away, leaving Harry and me in a comfortable bed somewhere. I couldn't really see anything, but I felt Harry and could tell that he could feel me. We were kissing, and I could just feel that his glasses were missing.

I spoke in his mind, "Are you okay, Harry?"

He answered, "I think so, Old Man. Where are we? I feel safe, but don't know where we are?"

"I don't know, Brat. I feel Lucky Boy next to us. Where are we?"

Lucky Boy tapped our faces with his paw, bringing us back out to the 'real' world. We were still in the Headmaster's office. Our love seat was now a double bed, which was actually quite enough since we were hugging tightly enough that we were only taking about one and a half people's worth of room. We were side-by-side with our bodies facing each other.

I said out loud, "Let's try to sit up and 'face the music' if we can without letting go.

I then asked the other three people "How long were we out of it? Can someone give Harry his glasses? Where's our stuff? And how did you get our holsters off?"

Dumbledore answered: "In order; forty-five minutes more or less. Mr. Longbottom, if you please? It's all here in the office and will be returned to you well before you need it, and very carefully."

Professor McGonagall asked, "Why do you have two wands in Auror Holsters, Mr. Weasley? And why did you give a restricted magical item to an eleven-year-old civilian? Being your…lover… is not qualification to possess something you yourself shouldn't have."

Professor Dumbledore answered Professor McGonagall "I was aware that Mr. Weasley possessed two wands. Garrick gave me his reasons for Ron having them, and their holsters, which I quietly accepted and agreed with. This knowledge should not leave this room."

Neville quietly answered "Yes, sir."

I said, "Harry Potter is no civilian. I planned to give him the holster and teach him how to use it without attracting the attention of any who shouldn't know about well before I knew we were to be soul-bond mates. There is more we, or at least I need to tell that Harry already knows. However, after you hear it, I'll need an Unbreakable Vow from each of your or your consent to have that information Obliviated from your minds, along with an Unbreakable Vow not to tamper with either my mind or Harry's in any way. If Voldemort's supporters learn of it, it could easily lead to my death by torture, and the fall of the wizarding world to the Dark. Headmaster, here are three hints at just how big I'm talking. Fluffy. Stone. Prophecy."

All three present sobered up even more than they previously had been. Neville was visibly frightened.

Professor Dumbledore answered me "Unbreakable Vows are dangerous things indeed Ron, as I suspect you know. However, you do have my word that I will hear you out; keep your secrets at least as much as you actually need, and not to tamper with your mind or Harry's. Even an Unbreakable Vow can be bypassed if the person so bound is willing to die rather than keep their word, after all. If you entered this chamber without being able to trust that I would keep my word, then the 'folly of youth' has become greater today than even I had imagined."

I started off, "I have travelled against my will to the past two times, and have been involuntarily moved between dimensions at least once if not twice. If the Sorting Hat is allowed, he can vouch for the truth in what I say."

The Sorting Hat interjected "It is as the boy says."

Harry added, "Old Man told me all about it before I gave him my body. Though I did get him starkers first…" the last part being said rather smugly.

To Dumbledore's raised eyebrow, I replied, "I was forced from my first lifetime to the womb of my mother in my second, and widowed, at the age of fifty-six. I was just shy of twenty-five when I was involuntarily transported again, and widowed again, just shy of my twenty-fifth birthday. This is either my original dimension, or very close to it, and I am biologically five months or so older than Harry no matter what. So, his 'bedroom' name for me is 'Old Man,' and mine for him is 'Brat.' Since we've already been forced to share everything short of a live demonstration…"

The room was utterly silent for a minute or so. Professor McGonagall broke the silence.

"For what it's worth, Mr. Weasley, we didn't have much of a choice, either. We will respect your privacy."

Neville said, "Ron, Harry? Ron and I already said how my family and yours are tied together. I shared my circumstances where I did for your benefit, and only because I'll never really get Mum and Dad back. They are halted on the threshold of eternity, and I can neither push them forward nor draw them back. Your secrets are safe with me, and I will enthusiastically take an Unbreakable Vow if that is what is needed."

Professor Dumbledore took control of the conversation again. "I still say that the Vows are not necessary. It is tricky if not dangerous to try Obliviating any one who is soul-bonded, and I suspect that Neville has his own issues. Was telling him your past that important, Ron?"

"Neville was a major player in the war in both of my other lives. I believe that he will be an even bigger player in this one. While I don't recall Professor McGonagall being an Order member, she basically worked just as if she was."

Professor McGonagall asked, "Is there anything else I need to be here for this evening?"

Professor Dumbledore replied, "Not for much longer. There are 'married' or 'guest' quarters quite close to here. When we are done, we'll move you to those quarters, at least temporarily, while we figure out what else to do. Ron and Harry will be excused from classes for at least tomorrow and Tuesday, the excuse being food poisoning from the train…

"NO!" Harry shouted. Old Man's food is the greatest! You won't insult it where I will hear about it! It's the first food that had love…"

I kissed Harry to calm him down, though he still quietly sobbed. I said, "Perhaps, the food poisoning came from an odd-lot of candy or something? Or, maybe Harry and I were just eleven-year-old boys with eyes bigger than our stomachs since we bought two of every item on the cart plus a dozen extra Chocolate Frogs?

"Harry hasn't had a lot of friendship or affection in his life since his parents' passing. He is a fighter, and will defend what he sees as his from being casually trashed or stolen, like his Aunt, Uncle, and Cousin routinely did to him. Our emotional nerves are also totally raw. We might both say things in the next few minutes we wouldn't say as we might, if we said them at all."

Dumbledore said, "I understand, Ron. I will find some excuse that doesn't slander your skills as a chef. I will excuse Neville from classes tomorrow as well, at least for the morning. While he isn't ill, he will have been up rather late helping Madame Pomfrey, Professor McGonagall, and me get Harry and you situated. By Tuesday afternoon, I will have hopefully figured out how to handle things without revealing your relationship publicly, if that is indeed possible.

"If revealing things between the two of you is unavoidable, the two of you will remain 'ill' for the rest of the week and possibly the weekend while we figure out how to handle things while doing the two of you the least harm if any harm at all. Depending on how things progress with the two of you, Professor McGonagall should bring your schedules by sometime during the day today, since it's just after midnight now. Since at least one of you has actually taken the classes here before, I can trust that you can keep up with your homework, and each turn in your own work, not collaboration, when you return to classes. Mr. Longbottom can see to getting you usable notes for the classes you don't attend?"

"Of course, Headmaster" Neville replied.

I told Professor McGonagall, "I have nothing else that can't wait, Professor McGonagall. Even if it was your job, thank you very much for helping Harry and me this evening.

Harry added, "Yes, thank you very much, Professor McGonagall."

The usually stern Scotswoman had a tear in her eye. She answered "You're welcome, both of you. Harry, I was particularly proud to have taught both of your parents. When the Headmaster placed you with the Dursleys, I objected quite strongly, since they were the most unpleasant sort of Muggles I have had the sad fortune to see. Had I to do things over again, you'd nae ha' gan wi' them…"

Harry replied soothingly, "It's alright, Professor. Ron explained about the blood wards, at least as much as he either knew, learned, or guessed. You didn't know things would be quite so harsh…"

Professor Dumbledore stepped in again. "Up to this point, I have watched the Dursleys. Without Sunday's developments, they were just on the ragged edge of me keeping you in their care. The wards, even as feeble as they've remained with your Aunt's jealousy for her dead sister, and her uncalled for punishing of a nephew who neither caused or even knew of her grievances were that strong. However, despite the wards having turned away at least three attacks that I am aware of with the Dursleys being none the wiser, their conduct was that unacceptable.

"Your bond with Ron changes everything. Even with the Soul Bond Registry being kept secure in the Department of Mysteries, being Soul-Bonded is the same as becoming an adult by age in many magical instances. The Trace will have already have fallen off of your wands, and will not successfully cast or recast on any wand you actually own or use exclusively or regularly. While the instruments monitoring the wards haven't fallen yet, that is probably because of how young you actually are emotionally, Harry, even with you becoming knowingly and willing sexually active.

"Even should the blood-wards hold there is still Ron to think about. He is the most important part of your life just as you are of his. While Arthur and Molly Weasley will most assuredly NOT be happy that their eleven-year-old son has an eleven-year-old boy lover, they truly love their son and will allow no harm to come to him, or you. If the wards don't fall before then because of the bond itself, you would need to return to Privet Drive for at least a month after school lets out in June to recharge them. You won't be able to be as far apart as Devon and Surrey for an entire month then, so Ron would have to live in your room with you at Privet Drive. Arthur and Molly Weasley would not allow the Dursleys within a mile of any of their children; much less allow one to live in the Dursley's house unsupervised. So, the blood-wards are most likely a moot point even if they don't fall otherwise."

Dumbledore casually waived his wand. He announced, "The Trace is gone from all three of your wands. I know for a fact that Ron wasn't in London the day you went shopping Harry, even if he knew how to block the placing of the Trace or how to remove it."

I said, "I know both, Headmaster. But blocking the Trace stone or removing the Trace tests both body and soul of the person doing the blocking or removing for being 'adult.' Thus, I couldn't do it if I wanted. And the Trace Register at the Underage Magic office logs anytime a Trace is removed before it expires, and the person who removed it. We might need you to do something about that?"

Dumbledore replied, "The entry for a soul bond based removal shows up as 'name of wand owner,' 'date of Trace Removal,' and 'Department of Mysteries.' The Department of Mysteries in turn cannot volunteer the reason for the removal, and only the Director of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement, the Minister of Magic, and the Chief Warlock of the Wizengamot acting together and as one can sign the writ forcing them to provide the reason. I have it on very good authority that the Chief Warlock won't be signing such a writ anytime soon, if ever, unless it's to your benefit and advantage."

Getting things somewhat back on track, I asked, "So who is going to tell Mum and Dad? And what are the Dursleys going to be told, if anything?"

Dumbledore replied, "I will tell your Mum and Dad sometime tomorrow after your Dad returns from work, since he is working daytime hours this week. They will both want to come to the school right away to see the both of you. I will allow this, but only after I am certain that they will cause no avoidable problems. I'm sure you understand that they will be shocked, and may still be uneasy even after I am convinced that they won't cause needless 'difficulty.'"

Harry asked, "How many bedrooms will these quarters have? If there is a separate room so Neville won't be sharing with Ron and me, can he stay with us overnight? He's beyond dead on his feet, and probably won't appreciate having to deal with our dorm mates in the morning."

Dumbledore answered, "The apartment has two bedrooms, with a single en-suite lavatory with shower and tub. Ron and you will need to confine yourselves to holding each other until he leaves if you have him stay over."

Harry replied, "Ron and I aren't into giving performances, Professor. Neville, do you want to spend the night with us?"

Neville answered, "I don't want to impose, but I'd have to be carried back to Gryffindor Tower as it is, since I only got a couple hours of sleep Saturday night. Will the house elves be able to get my stuff for me? And what will I do tomorrow?"

Dumbledore replied, "If you need to sleep past lunch, check with me if I'm available, or go to your house common room. If you're up for lunch in the Great Hall, Professor McGonagall or I will see you. You will need to get notes for any classes you missed for Harry and Ron.

"If no one has anything else, we will adjourn to the 'guest' quarters, and get you three to bed."

With no one thinking of anything further, Harry and I wrapped ourselves in the top sheet as we got out of bed. While everyone else in the room probably already saw 'everything,' we weren't in any hurry to show them again to remove all doubt. Professor Dumbledore led the way down the magical spiral staircase, down the hall to the right, and to the portrait of a generic country public house.

Dumbledore told us, "The password is 'watchtower.' With the password pronounced, the door opened, and Dumbledore, Neville, Harry, and I entered. Professor McGonagall said, Good night, all, and left. The portrait closed behind us.

The 'common area' was about twenty by twenty-five feet, with a sofa, loveseat, and two wingback chairs. There was a fireplace along part of one wall, and three doors opened into the room in addition to the main entry. Dumbledore said, "The middle door is the lavatory. The room with Neville's nightclothes, bathrobe, fresh underwear and socks, and fresh uniform is Neville's for the evening. The one with Harry's and Ron's trunks and clothes is theirs. I'll leave you with your wands and holsters. Stay in this room until told otherwise, Harry and Ron. The house elves will bring you your meals as and when needed. Professor McGonagall or I will speak with the both of you later today. I bid you all a good night."

Professor Dumbledore left the three of us alone in the common room. Neville asked, "I've got your three wands and holsters. Where do you want them?"

I answered, "Let's find out which room Harry and I are sleeping in, and they can go in there. Harry is dozing on his feet, and I'm not that far behind."

We tried the room on the right first. It was Neville's. We went to the one on the left. Harry's and my trunks were at the foot of the full size poster bed. There were also two padded chairs, one of them had Harry's clothes cleaned and neatly folded, complete with Gryffindor necktie and jumper-vest, with his shoes beneath it. The others had mine set up the same way. I could tell because Harry's shoes hadn't been worn beyond when he put them on, on the train, where I had broken my shoes in during the two months I had them before school started.

I told Neville, "Set all of the wands on top of the chair furthest from the door, if you please and thanks? Then if you could help me get the Brat to bed? He's already asleep, and a lot heavier than he looks."

I dropped the sheet to the floor, and paid attention to getting Harry into the bed. Neville helped me open the curtains facing us, and pull the blankets and sheet down. I laid Harry out on the bed, removed his glasses, and set them on the nightstand closest to the side of the bed.

I looked at my lover, lying on the bed, as I held his left hand in my right. His right arm was laid out beside him as he lay upon his back. His face was peaceful and fully relaxed, making him somehow look even more innocent. Though in total honesty, most of the 'kinkier' ideas were his, and half of what was left he made 'kinkier;' not that I was complaining.

Other than the scar on his forehead, he had no scars visible as he lay on his back. He was about four foot ten standing, and I was already five foot one, but I was six month older than he was, and tall for my age. His feet were actually larger than mine were, and had just gone through a growth spurt in both lifetimes from a 5.5 to a 9.5 over the summer; I only wore nines. Yet, altogether, he was at that moment the absolutely sexiest person I had ever seen in three lifetimes, and I had wondered how I'd never seen it before.

He awoke in an instant, but without opening his eyes. He said, "Neville, please hang on a sec. Don't mean to be rude, but I'm going to share something 'nice' with the Old Man, and no, not that kind of 'nice.' You'll want to hear about it. Old Man, do not look away."

His expression became somewhere between being happy and in awe. He smiled that lop-sided grin that seemed so right on his young face. He stretched his feet without moving any other part of his body, other that 'that' which went from still fairly big back to rock-hard. He quirked an eyebrow, again without having opened his eyes, and wiggled his toes at me. He turned his head to face me directly, and finally opened his eyes.

His gaze was so beautiful; it was as if time itself had stopped! His leaf-green eyes were not a uniform colour, but all the shades were true green, were very close one to another, and radiated out from his pupils in very fine lines. His gaze seemed to pierce to my very soul.

He held my hand tighter, letting me know not to let go, and moved around just enough to be lying on his left side. He was raised up on his left elbow. His right arm lay along his body, his hand hanging loosely over his leg. His right leg was slightly bent with his left leg straight. He lightly caressed the top of his left foot with the toes of his right.

He said, "Put my glasses on my face, love; you've got to see this!"

As I did, he said to Neville, "The fading scars on Ron's bum were from an accident. It's his tale to tell, but he was not abused, like I was. It's his tale to tell, perhaps tomorrow. Mine was abuse, but the Dursleys didn't get physical that often once they realized that scars on the bum and back really don't come from 'rough horseplay.' As they would say in grammar class, the Dursleys are truly 'past tense' in my life; just so long as the berks clear off before the wards fall and they get murdered, I'm good."

He then said to me, as his eyesight 'cleared," Ron, I'm saying this out loud so Neville can hear too. I just wish I could show him."

Neville said, "Headmaster Dumbledore has what is called a 'Pensieve,' or so Gran says. They are fairly rare, so not many people have them. You can extract a copy of a memory with your wand, put it in the Pensieve, and watch it."

Harry said, "Cool! Thanks, Neville. I'm not sure I want a copy of this in Professor Dumbledore's Pensieve, but if we can figure out how to share this, you've just got to see it, although I'm not sure the emotions will 'carry through.'"

"Ron, look at me, but ignore your own sight, and see if you can use mine. If you can feel my magic and vision, make yours feel like that, and just watch."

As vague as those instructions were, I was able to follow them easily. In fact, he might have subconsciously tapped into my memories of looking through Lucky Boy's eyes when I tried it a time or two. I know it wasn't conscious, or else he would have used that as an example. I looked him intently but lovingly directly in the eye, and "changed over."

Even the Dursleys couldn't fuck this up, though with the crap eyesight Harry had even with "glasses," it wasn't as if they hadn't tried. Looking through his eyes, I finally realized just how stunning my own were, more in appearance than in function, though I've always had twenty-ten eyesight, so there's that too. They've always been a shade called "cornflower blue." And, looking Harry in the eye, I finally understood what I "did" to Hermione and Daphne in those other lifetimes. I could only gasp "wow" in quiet astonishment.

I then, using Harry's vision as a guide, moved to a point where he could see more of me without moving his eyes too much, though since we had to keep holding hands, our options were limited. Yet even with the crap eyesight, seeing my own body through his eyes, I was amazed at just how sexy I looked! He looked up at my (now rather tousled) ginger hair, my freckled face, and of course, he stopped on the eyes again. His gaze trailed down

I wasn't freckled that heavily right then. With "death by GCSEs" being the main feature of Ginny's and my lives, we didn't goof off or work very much out of doors. But, when the weather was even remotely warm enough to do so, I did all of my physical exercise and training outdoors wearing only swim trunks and trainers, to get as much sun as I could. As his gaze included my arms, I could see the "tan lines" left by my holsters, though my right "holster lines" were somewhat more distinct since I had only gotten my second wand and holster at the end of June.

When you "freckle," you don't get tan lines the way even tanners get, unless you get burn lines, which is generally not a good idea. But I could see the lines as Harry's gaze carried lower. He longingly admired the creamy-white skin that was normally under my swim trunks, and the whiteness of my feet, since I had not swam nearly as often as I had run the confidence course and otherwise ran.

He lovingly traced his gaze back upward, lingering on that, which was now rock-hard and glistening, before looking back into my eyes. He then "broke" the spell by going back to living life rather than gazing at me.

He asked, "Do either of you know how to turn the lights on and off in this place?"

Neville answered, "You use the 'Nox' spell to turn them off, and the 'Lumos' spell to turn them on. The ensourcelling on the lights requires a firm and direct voice, so it's unlikely to be 'accidentally' tripped."

He than asked, "Do you normally take your shower at night or in the morning?"

"At night, usually. Why?"

Harry said, "My life has been in a blender from half-two on the train, on. I am not handling it all that well, and Ron wants the doors left open so you can here if we, or at least if I have any trouble.

"Ron and I also need to take care of something that you don't want to hear, but won't take as long as your showering and getting ready for bed. So, Ron and I can turn out the lights in here if you can get the rest? And leave all the doors open please? His familiar uses the 'people' loo too, so leave the seat down and if there's a lid, leave it up please? Lucky Boy will banish a lid if you leave it down and he needs to 'go.'

"Okay, Harry. Got it. By the way, what's a blender?"

I answered, "Muggle version of a self stirring bowl, combined with a pitcher, run full-out."

Neville answered, "Ok. 'Night, guys" as he walked out.

Harry answered, "'Night, Neville. And thanks for staying, and keeping our secrets. I don't know what we'd have done without you, and it means a lot to both Ron and me."

"You're welcome," Neville answered while 'Nox'ing' the lights as he went.

Harry then said in my mind, "Look through my eyes again, Old Man. Your Brat needs a 'feeding,' and so do you! We need to make each other last for more than a half-minute, but still go quick enough that we're both 'fed and watered' and in bed before Neville is done with his shower. No charms, just us being quiet."

Looking through his eyes, I shuffled over to where he could "reach" comfortably. I marvelled as he went down, alternating his gaze between there, and my enraptured face gazing down on him…

Just as the water shut off from the shower, we were both wiping our lips with a couple of tissues from the box that was on the nightstand on Harry's side of the bed. Except for what we were wiping from our lips and mouths, which was still little more than saliva, we could have been finishing up a much more mundane "snack."

I then carefully crawled over Harry, got myself under the sheet and blankets, and pulled them up over us. Harry, with his glasses back on the nightstand, scooted over and wrapped his arms loosely about me.

"'Night, lover-mine" Harry murmured.

"'Night, lover-mine" I answered in return.

I Nox'ed the lights, closed the bed curtains, and pulled up the blankets over us. I hugged Harry to my chest, and we were instantly off in dreamland.



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