Third Time's a Soul Bond?

BY : Wilde_Guess
Category: Harry Potter > Slash - Male/Male > Harry/Ron
Dragon prints: 3779
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 9, "Truth and Dare," where Ron discovers that he is training a co-worker…

Our visitors had just left for the night. Neville, Harry, and I were alone.

"Guys," Neville asked. "I didn't mean to sound mean about the y-fronts."

Harry answered for both of us. "It's all good, Neville. With the reason why we needed to borrow them in the first place, I don't think that you would be expected to want them back! Do you want them back?" Harry asked with a grin.

Neville blushed and looked down, tracing the toe of his shoe on the rug. He muttered, "Maybe?"

He added, "But even if I didn't, I was still 'mean' with the way I said it, and I'm sorry. Friends?"

Harry replied, "Friends, Neville."

Harry himself blushed, and added, "If you were 'curious,' Ron and I might be willing to help with that, if the bond will let us. I was 'curious' too, before I met Ron and things happened. We won't say anything to anyone, so you don't have to worry about that. And, we won't say anything mean about how you look, either. But you do have to really want it yourself, not just because you're so close to our bond that it's starting to mess with you. You also have to promise that if we do do anything, that you won't blame us later on if you feel bad, or wish you hadn't done it."

Neville answered, "Sure! I'm not too sure I want to actually do anything yet, but I do feel 'guilty' that I've been seeing you guys starkers and hard all day, but you haven't seen me like that. Do you want to see?"

Harry answered, "Do you really want to show us? Not just because you're feeling guilty?"

Neville swallowed, and answered, "I want to."

Harry asked, "Have you ever wanked?"

Neville blushed and shook his head.

Harry asked, "Do you want to?"

Neville blushed bright red. He answered, "Will you guys show me how?"

"Ron?" Harry asked.

I answered, "This is more his and your idea, Harry. I'm alright with it, though if you both want to. Did we put the 'lube' in your trunk or mine on the train?"

"Mine, Ron. Why?"

"It will work better than spit."

"Ok, Ron" Harry answered.

I next spoke to Neville. "Neville, I'm cool with us wanking together this once. We'll see what happens if anything after that, ok?"

"Sure, Ron, what do you want me to do?"

"I'm going to ask you to get starkers in several steps, and have you grab a thing or two to bring into the common room. We'll do it right here, out on the floor. If you really want to do this, it will get you more excited. If you don't, it will give you more time to 'change your mind.' Sound good?"

Neville nodded.

I asked, "Will your house-elf say anything to anyone about this?"

Neville answered, "No. Mipsy keeps my secrets."

I cast a quick wandless privacy charm on the room and replied, "Ok. Take off your shoes and socks, and set them against the wall." Neville did.

"Ok, take off your robe, tie, and jumper-vest." Neville did. He folded the robe and set it on the floor next to his shoes. He set the vest and tie on top of it.

"Now, take off your shirt and undershirt." He hesitated just a little bit, but did so, setting them neatly on the growing stack of clothes.

He now stood barefooted and bare-chested in front of us. He was blushing, but also smiling.

"Ok, now, go in to Harry's and my bedroom. Get the sheet we were wearing, bring it out here, and spread it out on the floor. We'll be sitting on that together."

Neville grabbed the sheet, brought it out, and spread it out on the floor.

"Great. Now, take off your trousers."

Neville took them off. He was not only visibly hard beneath his y-fronts, but also just a little 'damp.' I guess he was thinking of 'something.'

I gave him his next errand. "Ok, now grab the tube of K-Y Jelly out of Harry's trunk."

Harry added, "It should be right on top. I didn't remember to even lock my trunk, so it should be fine."

Neville went into Harry's and my room again, and quickly came out with the 'lube.' Harry and I stood up, and removed each other's borrowed nightshirts.

I said, "Last chance to not do this? Do you want to wank with us?"

Neville blushed, and nodded.

I answered, "Ok, Take off your y-fronts."

Harry and I took each other's off, and Neville removed his own. We stood together naked. Neville wasn't really "pudgy," but he did have what some would call "baby-fat" still. But he didn't look unpleasant by any means. Neville wasn't quite as "big" as I was, but he was by no means small, either; particularly not for his age.

Over the next few minutes, we wanked together as we watched each other. Neville's self-confidence and 'body image' actually grew almost visibly.

As we cleaned ourselves with tissues, Harry asked Neville, "Are you 'curious' about anything else?"

Neville answered, "Not really. This felt great, but I was more excited about the wanking than being with two guys while doing it, even you two. Do I really look good?"

Harry replied, "Yeah, you really do. But I could tell that you had decided that this was enough.

"I felt that I had to show you, somehow, that there are very few things I wouldn't do for a friend, Neville; and that I trust you that you wouldn't want anything that I wouldn't willingly give you, or even think to ask for it. If you had wanted to do more, provided that it was you, and not you being affected by Ron's and my soul bond, I would have done as much as the bond allowed. And Ron would have, too.

"You have already helped the two of us; a lot. 'Thank you' doesn't even begin to cover it. But, while Ron and I are, I hope, your best friends, we aren't even close to being 'safe' friends.

"The Voldemort War will resume in full in less than six years, Neville. I will be at the centre of it. Even without this soul bond, Ron would be, too. If you stay at our sides, you will also be at the centre of the war.

"Ron will start training me as soon as we get this 'bond stuff' sorted. If you plan on staying as my friend, and at my side, then I need you to train with us, as well. If you…"

Neville stopped him, saying, "There is no other choice to it, Harry. We will train together.

"I am not Ron Weasley. I will not fight Dark Wizards for the rest of my life as an Auror, Battle Mage, or anything of the sort. But I will train the best that I can, and I will fight at your side until the war is won.

"Your parents are fully gone. I understand that more than many. Yet mine are well and truly stuck. They live without living, and they are dead yet not dying. They are truly trapped on the threshold of eternity, and I can neither draw them back nor send them forward.

"I do not choose to fight for revenge. To do so would require me to dig an extra grave for myself. I will not allow the enemy that satisfaction. Yet, I will fight with everything I possess, even my life itself.

"Death is not to be chased, certainly not at our young ages. But there are things out there that are worse than death. Voldemort and his followers are those things brought to life.  When the battle is rightly joined, I will fight as they do, without becoming like them. If they enter the field of deadly combat, they shall not leave it.

"So, when war comes, we will fight. Until then, we will train. If the enemy longs for 'rivers of blood,' then by our own toil, sweat, and tears we shall dig the rivers today. Come the day, the enemy shall fill the river with their own blood, not ours."

Harry and I both watched and listened as Neville spoke. We were both in agreement. He was telling the truth and would not back down or change his mind. He was with us.

Harry said, "Thanks, Neville. Just don't hate us a month from now. Ron built his first training course here when he was five. I'd hug you, but we're all still kinda…"

Neville quickly hugged Harry before he even knew what was going on. As Harry relaxed and returned the hug, Neville said, "Ok, you hug your friends. I get it. I also get 'first dibs' on the shower!

"Ron, unless you guys plan on just sharing Harry's toothbrush and stuff, you might want to wash your hands and get yours out of your trunk, since the house-elves can't get in to it."

Neville walked into the loo. He said over his shoulder, "For however long it's all three of us in here, we can 'work around' sharing the loo. We'd be doing the same with two other blokes in Gryffindor Tower, anyway."

Harry and I went into the loo. Fortunately, there actually were two decent-sized sinks, so we both quickly washed and dried our hands, along with getting our fronts just a little bit less messy to tide us over for our turns in the shower. Just before he turned on the water, Neville said, "My toothbrush is the red one. You two might share your brush, but I don't."

As we went into our bedroom to get the rest of our shower and hygiene stuff out of our trunks, Harry and I noticed that we had fresh nightshirts, undershirts, and y-fronts laid out for us already.

I opened my trunk for the first time since I closed it Saturday night after packing. I took out my shower and hygiene stuff, and closed the trunk without locking the first compartment. I called Mipsy.

"Master Ron called for Mipsy?" she asked.

I answered, "Yes. The first compartment of my trunk is now unsealed so the Hogwarts house-elves and you can get into it. Please let the other elves know."

"Mipsy will let the others know, Master Ron," she answered before vanishing.

"Why is your trunk locked and warded against house-elves, anyway?" Harry asked.

"I have my reasons," I replied, "and I'll let you know when those reasons become important. The only reason this became an issue is because I haven't been able to unlock it for the house-elves prior to now. If we had had things not blow up on us Sunday night, I would have opened it for them without their even having realized that it was locked."

I called Mipsy again.

"Master Ron called for Mipsy again?"

"Yes. If you can have whoever does it put the crests on the rest of my robes and change the rest of my ties and jumper-vests to Gryffindor colours, please?"

"Mipsy will do this herself. Mipsy will also be placing Master Ron's Seneschal badges on the rest of his robes, too." She vanished even before I could thank her.

Harry and I joined Neville in the loo with our stuff, and worked our way through getting showered and brushing our teeth. He was out before the two of us. When Harry and I left the loo, Neville was sitting in the common room with three steaming tokkuri and three saucers sitting on the coffee table.  He also had a stack of several comic books, set face-down.

He said, "I know it's late, but I'm used to going without enough sleep from time to time, and you guys can sleep in until ten in the morning if you want to. Seeing that it's still only a quarter 'til midnight, we can be up just a little bit longer."

Shrugging, Harry and I went in to the bedroom. As we put on our underwear and nightshirts, I asked, "Did you have other plans?"

"No," he answered. "We were both physically satisfied with our little 'experiment' with Neville, so I'm good. I'm also curious what the junk is that Neville wants us to share with him."

"It's sake, which is a Japanese alcoholic drink. I'm curious why Neville would drink it, though."

We returned to the common room and sat on the sofa, with Neville facing us across the table in one of the chairs. As we sat, Neville filled his saucer from his tokkuri and drank, with a smile of enjoyment on his face. I quickly showed Harry how to pour the sake without burning his hand, and had him try a saucer. He seemed to like it well enough. Satisfied that one tokkuri wouldn't hurt him or me; I poured my own and drank a saucer.

The sake was surprisingly good! Few of us Brits in either world were really into the stuff in the early 1990s, and fewer still actually went to the trouble of getting the good stuff. Or, when they did, they either served the sake that was supposed to be served hot cold, or served the cold sake hot. Neville got it right, though. Seeing that the Hat told me that all the rest of my first-class actually were eleven year olds, this had me even more confused.

"How is it, Ron?" Neville asked.

"You got the good stuff! That was why I was making a 'face,' if I was. You're just one day older than Harry. How would you know that much about sake?"

"Did you have comic books around your house when you grew up?"

I thought for a moment, and realized that we didn't really have any, at least not any that were newer than before I was about four. I never missed them, because I was too busy either studying, or whatever else, but not reading comic books.

I finally answered, "I was too busy reading other stuff to notice, but nothing newer than about 1984."

Neville said, "I know that real life is not a comic book, or a kid's book. But, I knew when we met on the train, that you were not 'just' Ron Weasley, but that you were the real life 'Hand-Cast Ronnie, the Wizard with No Wand.' The stories all said that you dressed in clean but scruffy clothes. You almost never used a wand. You had a trained Kneazle Familiar from the Far East that could wield magic. You helped those in need without accepting money in return, and that your only vice, though enjoyed only in moderation, was Dewatsuru Kimoto Junmai Sake, served hot and in saucers.

"Harry, growing up in the Muggle world, you wouldn't have seen this at all. But the 'Hand-Cast Ronnie' comic books were almost as big as the 'Harry Potter' comics, and sometimes even more. While you were recognizable by your hair, scar, glasses, and eye colour, 'Hand-Cast Ronnie' was recognizable by his red hair, blue eyes, and 'scruffy but clean' clothes. He was also famous for being able to hide in plain sight without even casting a spell, being recognized only at his own choosing."

I, of course, was beyond shocked. While I calmly continued to enjoy my sake, Harry was more than a little bit nervous. So was I, come to that. While coincidences do happen, the potential questions raised if this was not a coincidence were more than 'just a little bit frightening.' Or, it could just be Pandora Lovegood writing under a pseudonym.

I poured the last saucer in my tokkuri and set the empty vessel down. It immediately filled again, fresh and hot. While I didn't see her, Mipsy explained, "Master Neville's books say that Master Ron sometimes drinks a second tokkuri."

I drank my saucer and checked on Harry. He had drunk his second saucer and was drinking his third. I told him, "You won't want more than one of the little bottles that you are almost finished with. They are called 'tokkuri,' by the way."

He nodded pensively in silent assent.

Neville turned over the top comic book of the stack so I could see the cover. It featured both Harry and me, as we would look when we were around fourteen or so. He was dressed in what was a combination of dress robes and a Quidditch uniform, and I was dressed more or less, as I did when I wasn't in a school uniform. We were both riding brooms with our legs only. Harry was dual-casting with wands, and I was dual-casting without.

We were engaged in what appeared to be an aerial battle with a woman in a sphinx costume over the temporary Quidditch World Cup Stadium. Aurors were fighting other evildoers in the skies below us. I looked at the by-line for the comic book. It was 'The Opened Box.'

I asked, "Do you know when these first came out?"

Neville answered, "1985 or so."

I said, "Thanks for sharing this. I think I know the author, and if I do, I'm sure they didn't mean harm by this. Was I just 'famous' because of the comic book?"

"No. You were almost as famous as Harry Potter everywhere, though your last name has only been publicly known for about a year. Even the comic book never says."

Ok, if it was her, she was probably under orders. Along with the soul bond, that's two things I needed to ask Croaker about.

"Yeah, Neville, it is a bit of a shock, and throwing in the fact that I drink sake, and their actually naming my favourite brand of sake is more shocking still. I think I know who wrote it and perhaps a small part of why…

"Neville, by the way, do you have any part-time jobs that are not spoken of?"

He turned white as a sheet. He answered weakly, "But Great Uncle Algie only hired me this morning!"

I looked him in the eye, and Harry did too. I asked, "Have you knowingly told me any falsehood, ever?"

Without breaking eye contact, he shook his head.

I asked, "Have you ever knowing mislead either Harry or me?"

Again, he shook his head without breaking eye contact. I had watched him, and so did Harry. Even this Harry had a sense of if someone was trying to lie to him. Mine was much stronger, by necessity. Short of fetching my Veritaserum from my trunk, he was telling me the truth.

He turned his palms up, and slowly extended his forearms to me. He said, "My wand is in my right holster, which I still don't know how to use. My left holster is empty. I did tell Harry first, in a way…"

Harry added, "Yeah. I felt his auror holsters and his wand when he hugged me."

I checked both holsters. It was as he said. I told him, "Point your right arm away from us. Rotate your hand at the wrist slightly clockwise, while intending to have your wand in your hand." He did so, and barely caught the wand as it shot out.

"With your permission, I will take your wand from your hand. Do not try to cast." He cooperated, and I had Weasley Wand Number Nine in my hand. I 'listened' to it for a moment. It had chosen Neville at around seven o'clock Monday morning. It had yet to cast a spell. I asked, "Did your Great Uncle Algie give you anything for me?"

"He gave me five envelopes. He said that if I first trusted you with my darkest secret, shared sake with you, and you did not dose me with Veritaserum that you were to receive the second envelope. I was not supposed to tell you about the other four."

"Does he know what you asked us to do with you earlier?"

"No. Only my handler, and only because she saw. She said that she would be your handler now as well."

Without losing sight of Neville, I started to move toward Harry's and my bedroom to fetch our wands.

"Mrrow" Lucky Boy walked out of the bedroom, carrying all three holsters by the wrist-straps. He jumped onto the sofa, and dropped all three onto Harry's lap. Harry put his holster on and handed me mine. I sat back down, handed Harry Neville's wand, and put my holsters on. While I didn't need my wands for a lot of things, it was nice to have them. However, this was looking even more like a botched blind meet than anything else.

I asked, "Lucky Boy, what do you think?" He jumped off of the sofa, walked around, and jumped onto Neville's lap. He head-butted Neville in the face. Without thinking Neville started to pet the happy and purring Kneazle. Ok, that settled it. If Neville himself was in any way untrustworthy or about to attack me, he would have become the late Neville Longbottom. I would then have had to split my attention between calming Harry, fighting off Neville's house-elf, and vanishing the evidence.

"Lucky Boy, do you know Neville's supervisor from work?" He looked at Neville for a moment, looked back at me, and chirruped.

"Are you able to bring her to Hogwarts for a few minutes?" He nodded.

"Please do, I think that she may have 'seen' this coming."

Lucky Boy disappeared. About thirty seconds later, he appeared in the arms of Pandora Lovegood.

She drew up the other chair and started talking. "First, the three of you should know better than to invite strange women into your dorms at night, especially strange older women. Second, 'you're welcome.' Xeno tried it once on me with 'just spit.' He didn't touch me again for a week, and solid food for three days. Third, I told Croaker that he would be much better off making this assignment in person, even with the bother that is going on. Obviously, he had better thoughts. Any questions so far?"

I answered, "I have a lot of questions. I will be respectful and polite provided I'm not lied to, and that Harry is not lied to. Courtesy calls first, though."

I told Neville's elf, "Mipsy, bring one more tokkuri and saucer for Mrs. Lovegood, and please top them all off."

Turning back to Neville, I asked him, "Neville, what is your rank?"

He stammered, "Mage Trainee, sir."

I replied, "Mage Trainee Longbottom, Please take your wand from my hand. After doing so, point it straight up above the level of our eyes, cast Lumos, Nox, and then holster it."

He took the wand, and cast the two spells. The Lumos was pure white, and fairly bright. The Nox extinguished instantly. He hesitated, and said, "Great Uncle Algie put it in the holster for me. He said that you were supposed to teach me how to use it."

"Fine, lower your arm. Holding the wand more or less parallel to your forearm, twist your right hand at the wrist anti-clockwise while intending the wand to be drawn into your holster. Relax, and use the same amount of intent as you did when I had you draw it."

He did, and the wand holstered without any problems.

"Neville, how much of what we did earlier was orders, and how much was you?"

"It was all me…" he sniffed in a whisper as his tears started to flow. I watched. He was not acting. More importantly, Harry believed him, judging by his quickly moving around the table and hugging Neville as if life itself depended on it! I could feel the relief thrum through the bond.

I slipped into "Battle-Mage" mode and continued to talk to the mother of my childhood friend, but who now was a co-worker, and likely my superior as well. She was no less than my "official" contact with the DOM.

"Pandora, how far have you been read into this, and when."

"Six o'clock Monday Morning. Harry and you were at the top of the 'most-secret' blotter when Croaker read it at half-six. The first thing I had to do was convince him that this was a complication to your mission, not the central piece."

"Thanks, Pandora. I hope Croaker realizes that if I knew I was going to get soul-bonded and have my sexual orientation 'flipped,' that I would have told him."

"What about Luna?" she asked.

"I'd rather get the mission stuff sorted first. However, her 'chances' have actually gone up, unless you see that I shouldn't try. Harry will need to marry a woman, should our bond allow, which it just might. He insists that I marry as well. Out of the people I know of today, she is the most likely to accept me and my circumstances without any regret or recrimination.

"How far have you been read in, Pandora?"

"I am your 'handler' and advisor. This is still your mission. Croaker brought Longbottom in to help because of his instinctive understanding of soul bonds in general. Croaker wanted to send him in completely 'blind,' but I saw even greater complications if that happened.

"I saw Neville being 'curious' about Harry's and your circumstances, with the curiosity driven only partly by his exposure to your bond. I suggested that he try for what you did earlier tonight, but nothing further. After that, I saw him either doing more, but only before the weekend, or doing nothing and being equally happy either way, provided he was honest with the two of you.

"Provided he is honest, whether he does nothing, something, or 'everything' he will have no problems from the experience training or fighting the war. I still haven't seen any path guaranteeing victory or defeat. I have tried to look but my gift doesn't cooperate with being pushed.'"

I asked, "May Harry also join the DOM? Though he will fight no matter what, it's only right to pay him. And, having an official appointment may save us some amount of bother down the road."

"Croaker authorized me to appoint him, should he truly want to join. I haven't seen anything, so I can't give that kind of advice. If the mission is what I'm guessing it is, it will probably help. After the war, he can stay active, go into the reserves, or resign.

"If he plans on doing anything in the Ministry outside of the DOM, he will need to resign as soon as the mission is completed. If he is active with his family seat on the Wizengamot, he won't have to resign, but it might be a lot easier if he does. If he thinks he might want to run for Minister, he will have no choice but to resign as soon as the mission is complete, otherwise, he will not be able to get the votes to be elected."

I asked, "How 'accessible' is the Soul Bond registry? Who can see it?"

Pandora replied, "The registry is maintained by another department within DOM. I don't know which department handles it. What I know is this. We monitor the registry closely. The Department Head is informed no later than his morning briefing of any entry that shows up overnight.

"On Sundays, the Watch Officer can handle simpler matters until the next morning. Since the Watch Officer did not know that you were a Battle Mage running a mission, he decided and acted correctly.

"When there is an entry reported, normally a meeting is called immediately to figure out how best to help the couple. Public announcements are made automatically only in the case of male to female bonds, due to the killing of a female to female bonded pair in 1527.

"Even for the automatic announcements, the Department Head and Section Heads are required to meet within 48 hours to ensure the greatest assistance and least interference to the newly bonded couple.

"The Department Head can authorize someone who is actually listed in the registry to view it. Otherwise, it is not available to the general public, or most employees. There are typically no more than seven people alive at any point in time beyond those listed in the book itself who may inspect it."

"What has happened in my case?" I asked.

"Croaker ordered the whole damned business sealed since your mission is likely critical at least. We can release the information if needed for your benefit or the benefit of the mission. We do not intend to do so otherwise. All traces have been cancelled against Harry Potter, Neville Longbottom, and yourself."

I asked Pandora, "Will the DOM be able to offer any additional assistance other than having one Mage Trainee or possibly two? Perhaps training facilities on or realistically close to the Hogwarts grounds, so that we have more options than the Room of Requirement? Or, perhaps they can assist, or at least support whatever idea Headmaster Dumbledore may come up with in dealing with our privacy? And if the Department has a Pensieve they can issue to us, we'll need it desperately."

"Croaker has already put you on full pay, as well as Trainee Longbottom. Harry Potter will also be started on full pay should he join. Outdoor facilities are not likely any time soon since they would be too 'visible,' and we don't have that good of a relationship with the Centaurs.

"We will assist and support what Headmaster Dumbledore comes up with if it makes sense. We can also offer him suggestions. We can also strongly suggest that if it is at all realistically possible, that Trainee Longbottom continue to share quarters with you similar to if not this exact VIP flat.

"We are also looking into the possibility of getting the three of you off of school grounds for training related activities. We will have a training officer come in from time to time to evaluate what you have going, and offer pointers where and when needed. Once your office and living quarters are secured and secure, we will get you a pensieve."

Changing subjects, I announced, "Ok. That's work done, for now. Why the comic books? I can get that Mum and Dad hid this from me as a kid. I'd have hid this from me as a kid! But how bad is the fame everywhere else? And why did you write this? Having thought about it, I'm actually more touched than miffed, but why?"

"What do you know about fiction writing, Ronnie?"

"Not much, and hold the Floo."

I turned my attention to my lover and his friend. My connection with Harry wasn't blocked, but it was strangely quiet. Neville and Harry were holding each other (and not like Harry and I held each other, pervs!) and were almost asleep together in one of the wingback chairs. As I turned towards them, Harry was fully alert again.

"You still mad at us, Old Man?" he asked, hesitantly.

I answered as I walked towards them, "I was never angry at you, Harry. And I was only angry with Neville before I figured out that he hadn't been lying to us. Wake Neville back up. Pandora is going to tell us why she wrote the comic books about us. While we might get a Pensieve once our living arrangements here at school are finalized, he'll want to hear this first-hand. Unlike us, he grew up reading and enjoying them. If I were him, I'd really want to hear this, too."

Harry drew his wand, and cast a light Rennervate on Neville. As Neville started to fidget, Harry stopped him saying, "Relax, Nev; he isn't mad at us! Our 'handler' also wrote your favourite comic books. She's going to tell us why she did, and how she came up with the idea! Cool, huh?"

The three of us sat together on the sofa, with Harry between Neville on his left, and me on his right. Harry squeezed Neville's right hand quickly, and let it go. He had hiked our nightshirts up past the knee, and had his right leg draped over my left, caressing the inside of my left leg with his toes. We turned our heads toward each other as one, and quickly kissed each other. I felt him relax happily, but fully awake and alert.

Turning back to Pandora, I said, "Pandora Lovegood, this is my soul-bonded, Harry Potter. The young man to 'your' right of us is Neville Longbottom, heir of the Most Ancient and Noble House of Longbottom, and Harry's chief political ally. Harry, Neville, this is Pandora Lovegood. She helps her husband Xenophilius Lovegood publish The Quibbler, which is a weekly magazine. Her daughter Luna will be starting Hogwarts next year."

Changing subjects, I said, "As I had asked, Pandora; how bad was my 'fame' in general, and why did you write the comic books? You asked me what I knew about fiction writing and publishing, and I answered that I knew little or nothing. Please explain?"

She poured herself a saucer from her tokkuri. I followed her example, pouring one more saucer for Harry. As he accepted his, Harry said, "Last call for me, Old Man. Mipsy will send my tokkuri to Ignatius, I told her where to find him from your memories. Neville is already done, Mipsy sent his tokkuri to Percy, who is up alone and late studying in the common room."

Looking down at the table again, I saw only Pandora's and my tokkuri remaining. A small plate of "California Rolls", with wasabi, pickled ginger, and soy sauce on the side, was sitting with a pair of chopsticks. I fed Harry his first California Roll, to his pleasure and satisfaction. Eating one myself, I turned back to Pandora.

She told us, "The 'fame,' as you put it, was starting to get rather bothersome, even though your name at the trials was merely 'Ronnie X.' The defence barristers tried every trick in the book, and attempted to invent new ones, to discredit the story of how Pettigrew was exposed, to get the charges against him dismissed. While they failed their client rather spectacularly, they also started your 'legend.'

"You were hailed as a twenty MONTH old child who could wandlessly cast spells that would have challenged twenty YEAR old wizards with wands and verbalizing the spells! Most toddler magic is much tamer, such as summoning toys or books, banishing, colour changing, and changing the sizes of clothing.

"The 'legends' also grew, and started to get just as crazy as the stories about Harry Potter. Meanwhile, I was baby-sitting for your siblings and you, totally unaware that the young children I watched for Molly Weasley at home in trade for having my own child baby-sat were also around the centre of the debates and squabbles around the tea kettle at my workplace.

"But eventually, I came to the conclusion that the young boy who was always friendly to his older brothers and doted on his younger sister and my own daughter was the 'real life' 'Ronnie X.'

"I heard rumours that someone was going to write a children's book about 'Ronnie X,' or 'Hand-Cast Ronnie.' I decided that if anyone was going to write that, I would, and that if anyone were to make money off of it, you would.

"I copyrighted both 'Ronnie X' and 'Hand-Cast Ronnie' as soon as I realized that no one else had. I now had three months to write and publish a story! Under wizarding law, you can only hold a copyright on the names of 'fictional characters' for three months unless you actually wrote and published a story with the named character. This change was 'snuck in' by Lucius Malfoy to block Albus Dumbledore's attempts at giving Harry some privacy.

"This was just after you got Lucky Boy. I had been watching you as I either baby-sat or when you came by to play with Luna. I knew how you behaved, what you liked, and actually noticed just how much 'accidental' magic you were really doing and that most of it was no accident at all! So, I actually had a real 'character' I could 'build-up.'

"I had also taken Art at Hogwarts while it was still offered, and I was familiar with both moving and still comic books, since Xeno did contract printing for both at the time. I even had the final frame to the first storyline, Hand-Cast Ronnie, the Muggle Newsmen, and the Eggs.

"In real life, you explained to Luna while she had Ginny, herself, and you playing 'Cowboys and Indians' like she had read in a Yank storybook. You said, 'But we can't ride off into the sunset even if Mummy lets us, Luna! Yank cowboys can ride for days before they make the US West Coast. But we'd be at Land's End in under a quarter-hour by broom, and I didn't bring my swimming costume!' 'Hand-Cast Ronnie' sang as he rode his broomcycle off into the sunset: 'Oh, why can't I be a cowboy / as I ride off to the West? / I'll make Land's End in no time / and to swim, I'm overdressed!'

"I brought the gallery run for the first issue to your Mum, and I explained why I wanted to publish it. I also explained that there were other people out there who wouldn't be nearly so kind to their youngest son should they get to print. I also let her know that you would get the money for your 'tall-tales,' unlike Harry.

"Though she wasn't happy, she agreed, provided I did more to keep all the fame away from Ginny and you until the two of you started Hogwarts. And, despite your Mum and Dad's best efforts, with some behind the scenes help from Albus Dumbledore no less, there was a lot of 'fame' because of your outing of Peter Pettigrew.

"While it wasn't easy, we did our best. You never knew – even with your studying both the Grindelwald and You-Know-Who wars more closely than some adult historians. While you are very mature for your age, we're still not sure how well you would have 'handled' all the bother, and honestly thought that you shouldn't have had to handle it full stop.

"As for how she kept things from you at home…"

I added, "She put her foot down, Pandora. All of us kids have a saying about Mum: 'When Mum puts her foot down, best not be under it!'"

As I said that, Pandora turned slightly green. I asked, "What?"

She replied, "Rita Skeeter tried to bring your Mum up on charges of battery and attempted murder back in 1988. She claimed that Molly knocked her down and repeatedly stomped on her, until she managed to barely Apparate directly to St. Mungo's. DMLE threw her out after watching her memory in a Pensieve, and seeing your Mum look roughly five times the size of a Mountain Giant! Skeeter gave the memory from her hospital bed at St. Mungo's, mind you. And something had definitely done a number on her."

I said, "I doubt that Mum knew what she was doing. Rita Skeeter is a dung beetle Animagus. Mum wouldn't have attacked Rita Skeeter. But if a bug got into her hair? Different story. What would you do if a bug landed in your hair?"

"Point," she answered.

She finished up her tale. "Anyway, whatever I made went into a trust fund for you, Ron. On the issues that had the 'Boy Who Lived,' Harry's share has been locked up in a 'two and a half way' battle between Remus Lupin's solicitors acting as the Seneschal of the Most Ancient and Noble House of Peverell-Potter, the lawyers for the authors of the 'Boy Who Lived' children's books, and my solicitors. Mine merely state that they will pay the person whom is supposed to be paid once it is figured out by the courts, and that any legal fees incurred by the other parties are theirs alone. Mr. Lupin is also engaged in a suit with the 'Boy Who Lived' authors over their use for profit of the image of a private citizen.

"People in the publishing community have been waiting for the 'other shoe' to drop on 'Hand-Cast Ronnie' as well. While my actual identity is protected under charms similar to the Fidelis, people are unsure what you will do, or at least what your parents would do. Your identity as both 'Ronnie X' and the real-life inspiration for 'Hand-Cast Ronnie' came out in November of last year, and have only just made the latest revisions of the general histories surrounding the autumn of 1981."

I asked, "How good are the sales, really?"

"It's the best-seller in the magical UK, with really strong sales in the wizarding US, wizarding Western Europe, and both wizarding and Muggle Japan." she answered.

"What is the current storyline and how many issues would that storyline have taken to end?" I asked.

"It was an adventure based on your GCSEs, along with the usual 'bad girl,' 'Lady Sphinx.' The 'Boy Who Lived,' along with your 'sidekicks' 'Lady Red' and 'Lady Gold' have infiltrated a ring giving out fake GCSE results to make the Muggles more stupid and more easily invaded. You did this at the behest of the Minister of Magic, the Prime Minister, and the Queen herself. I've only put out six issues of the set of eighteen. Our series always started in March, with two issues each month except for June, July, and August. I've written and drawn the whole set, but haven't released the first September set, yet."

I thought, and then answered, "Ok. How much is driven by subscription, and how much are newsstand sales?"

"In the magical UK, it's thirty-seventy in favour of the newsstands. I don't remember off the top of my head for elsewhere."

"Pandora, do you have the capacity to produce a hard-cover Graphic Novel?"

"We can…"

"I would like to close out the 'regular' series with a 'bang,' if we can. Whatever the 'grownups' were up to, those kids enjoyed reading about a hero for several years. It would be rude of me to 'take my ball and go home sobbing' just because I'm really a real person who doesn't want to battle with a comic book character when sending out his CV. How 'over the top' is 'Hand-Cast Ronnie?"

Pandora said, "Other than battling 'bad-guys,' not that much, really. You don't live in a castle, you don't have 'over the top' friends or servants, other than being friends with and working with 'The Boy Who Lived' on some of your adventures, and you are famously not rich.

"The 'fictional' you lives on what he makes, is thrifty without seeming a miser, and lives at home in the country where he helps with chores just like any other boy. The home looks nothing like the Burrow, and it's only visited sparingly. 'Lady Red' and 'Lady Gold' always wear harlequin masks to 'hide' their identity, and the story is vague about who they are, and what if anything they are to you beyond 'sidekicks' and friends."

"Can we put out a hardcover Graphic Novel before Halloween?"

She thought, and answered, "Yes, I think so…"

I said, "If we can, I'd like that. If Harry will agree, we can tell a version of what happened with him and me in October and November 1991. We can also do a memorial panel to the 'Losses' of the 'You-Know-Who' War, and do a couple of pages of 'real' 'Hand-Cast-Ronnie' and 'The Boy Who Lived' at Hogwarts as classmates and friends ONLY, thanking the readers and breaking the 'fourth wall down' completely."

Pandora thought for a moment, and answered, "That would be much more 'sporting' than announcing that your solicitors have obtained a 'cease and desist' writ. Let me see what I can work up, and if I see any reason not to."

"Thanks, Pandora!" I answered. Noticing the rest of the audience asleep, and both tokkuri dry, I asked, "Can you help me get these two into their proper beds? Neville will need to get used to sleeping with his holster on, so unless you pinned him, we don't have to worry about that. I can get Harry's holster off, and I only remove mine out of courtesy to Harry."

Pandora answered, "We'll get Neville first. I helped pin him, so we can get the holsters off."

I opened doors and curtains, and pulled down blankets, as Pandora carried eleven-year-olds. Neville was straightforward, and a somewhat heavy sleeper. Harry wasn't quite so much, but he was tired enough to let himself be carried off to sleep in our bed. After getting him situated minus covers, I asked, "Pandora? Can you make it to a meeting this afternoon at half-five? Mum, Dad, Sirius Black, Remus Lupin, Headmaster Dumbledore, and we three boys will be there. You can come either as 'concerned neighbour' or as 'Masked Unspeakable,' which ever one will work?"

Pandora answered, "Croaker was on my case trying to get me to 'insert' myself into that meeting. Thanks for saving me a lot of bother. I'll be 'masked,' and you can say that you asked Croaker to send me."

I replied, "It works for me. Do I need to have Lucky Boy take you all the way to Devon, or can he drop you off at the train station in Hogsmeade?"

"The station will be fine. I'll see you later today, Ron," she answered as Lucky Boy jumped up into her arms. They disappeared, and Lucky Boy reappeared at the foot of the bed. I took Harry's glasses off, kissed him goodnight, and crawled over him. I Nox'ed the lights, closed the curtains, and pulled the blankets up over us. I was instantly and soundly asleep.


I was also "soundly" woken up a little after half-seven; the sound being my three brothers hammering on the door to the flat. Oddly enough, though I knew it was them, I couldn't hear anything beyond the pounding on the door. I rolled over a just-starting-to-stir Harry, and grabbed my wands on the way. I was wearing my holsters before I quickly passed the end of the bed, and was tying the cord of my bathrobe as I Lumos'ed the lights on in the common room. I opened the door to the room wandlessly from several feet away, and greeted my ill-behaved but well-meaning brothers in a quiet but unhappy growl.

"Shut up, come in, sit on the love seat, and keep shutting up!" I greeted them. As my right hand was raised with the slight hint of St. Elmo's fire dancing along it, they actually did as I asked.

"Now, quietly, what the hell are you doing here at half-seven pounding on the door?"

"No, Ronald. What are you doing here? The Headmaster announced Harry and you as 'temporarily indisposed.' They've told us nothing. What were we supposed to think? What are we supposed to think? You're our brother, Ronnie! Fred and George were so worried that they even told me about their 'trick map' and how it can find anyone in the castle! We're worried! Here you are, you're appearing to share a bed with Harry Potter, in a 'guest flat' with Neville Longbottom!" was Percy's contribution.

George and Fred added, "We really were and are worried with all the 'weird' stuff you get into, Ron." "And we even gave up the greatest secret to our pranking success to 'Perfect Prefect Percy' to get his help, too."

Harry just stumbled out of the bedroom, still half-asleep. I said to him, "Put on your robe over your nightshirt, and your holster if you haven't done so." He bared his right arm and showed me. While Percy and the Twins didn't know what to look for, I could see that he remembered.

I continued, "Good on you. After you get your robe on, wake Neville up. I'll introduce you around when you come out for Breakfast, which will be set up by the time we've taken care of using the loo."

I next called, "Tansy, Mipsy!"

Fortunately, both elves answered the call. "Mipsy and Tansy were called by Master Ron," Mipsy said.

I instructed them, "Between the two of you, and whoever else needs to work with you, I need a table for eight, three places on the long sides, and a place on each end, long ways. Harry will sit at the end closest to the loo. I will sit on the end closest to the door. Have an owl perch next to Harry's seat for his owl, and something taller than a chair but not quite table height by my seat for Lucky Boy.

"For beverages, send coffee, tea, pumpkin juice, orange juice, and water. For food, send a well-rounded assortment of the student fare, with an extra rasher of bacon next to Harry and an extra half-serving of kippers next to mine. Lucky Boy will need room for a bowl of kibble and a bowl of water.

"You can move the coffee table out of the way wherever until breakfast is done. I expect Professors Dumbledore and McGonagall as well. Thank you and thank you to whoever helps you."

Three blinks later, the table was set, as I had asked. Neville and Harry were just coming out of the loo, still more asleep than awake, but in their bathrobes and more or less ready to eat.

I said, "Harry, you'll be on the end by the loo. The perch is in case Hedwig comes to visit, since the table will be rather small. Neville, you will sit to Harry's right, with Percy sitting to yours. Fred, George, you will sit to Harry's left, leaving the two seats closest to mine on the end empty in case Professors McGonagall, Dumbledore, or both come to visit. I need to use the loo and wash up. I'll be out in just a minute. No being rude or snoopy until I get back, Weasleys! Got it?"

Everyone took his seat as I went into the loo. As I relieved myself, Harry asked over the bond, "What's going on, Old Man? Why are you angry at your brothers?"

I answered while washing up, "I'm angry because they were hammering on our door at half-seven shouting Merlin knows what! We'll also have to tell them about us, and I was NOT ready to do that yet."

I entered the common room to find total silence and no consuming of foodstuffs. I said as I walked to my end of the table, "I love you like the brothers you are, and I'm happy that you love me too. But I'm not happy that you showed up when and how you did. It's only the second day of classes! While you would've been told what I'm about to tell you soon anyway, I wasn't ready!

"I'll tell you that Mum and Dad already know all about this, and that they will tell the rest of the family that needs to know, not you. The rest of the school will be told whatever they're told by Headmaster Dumbledore, and you will only ever repeat what he and I say! This is a family secret, and about as big as those can get."

Standing by the 'head' of the table, I saw that Hedwig was perched next to Harry, who had given her a piece of bacon and was petting her. Lucky Boy was sitting on his 'stand' and watching. Neville, who was stuffed into the middle of all this, and was almost as worried as my three adored yet vexing siblings. I continued.

"I'll tell you by way of introduction. Harry, Neville? The prefect is my third oldest brother Percy Weasley. One of my twin brothers facing you is Fred Weasley, and the other one is George Weasley. You'll likely have to take their word for it, since only my younger sister Ginny can tell them apart reliably.

"Weasleys, the young man to Harry's right is Neville Longbottom, the Longbottom Heir and Harry's closest political ally, as well as a very close friend of Harry's and mine, and an expert on Soul Bonds. The gentleman at the end of the table is Harry James Potter. He is head of the Most Ancient and Noble House of Peverell-Potter, my liege-lord… and my soul-bound spouse and lover. Yes, I mean 'that' way, yes, we've already done 'that,' and no, you really don't want the details. Really. This is a family secret. Since Harry and I are magically married, that includes him, and because of the multi-generational alliances, the Longbottoms as well.

As I sat down to eat, Harry spoke in my mind, "So 'that' went well. Angry much?"

I replied, "You'll get used to it. Smile at them and start eating. It's still too soon for me to 'make nice.'"

Sometimes, Harry can be a little clueless as well. Either that or he was trying to 'lighten the mood.' He asked, "So, what's it like living with you guys, other than having the door broken down at half-seven when we were up real late the night before?"

One of the Twins decided to 'one-up' Harry and answered, "Not that bad. Which one of you is pregnant?"

Harry started choking on the bacon he was swallowing. Neville helped him.

I replied, "Guys don't get pregnant, idjit! If we could, we'd both be! And if either of us was in the 'family way' at eleven, we would be hiding from Mum at the magic school near Hokkaido, Japan!"

Payback! Neville was out of the 'line of fire.' Percy, George, and Fred each got the other with a mouthful of pumpkin juice! Fortunately, Mipsy was protecting the food. The 'overspray' visibly vanished so that both the food and our confidence in eating the food were spared. I continued as if nothing happened.

"Male to Male soul bonds are even rarer than male to female ones, though they are not unheard of. Ours was already full-tilt and unbreakable before we even kissed for the first time. Neither one of us was looking to marry a bloke just as we were entering puberty, but it happened, and we're happy together. No 'taking the Mick' until he's used to the way we Weasleys get on together, either!

"For reasons that I won't share, it has been even tougher on Harry than on me, and it has been tough on me. We also don't want our 'private lives' made public. And, we can't really be far apart for very long yet, and need to share the same bed to sleep comfortably, if at all. So, the Headmaster is trying to find a way to make things work without trashing Harry's and my reputations, or yours, or the rest of the family's! Have you figured out yet why I wasn't exactly happy to see my three favourite brothers who are attending Hogwarts with me this morning yet?"

Three sheepish Weasleys quietly started serving themselves, as one lover and his non-lover friend joined in. Lucky Boy started on his breakfast. I served myself some food and started to eat. Percy decided to help out and was actually helpful.

"Welcome to the family, Harry. Some rules in our house will not be broken, such as 'no entering another's bedroom without invitation.' I'm going to guess that that will be 'upped' to 'no breaking the privacy charms,' too, since I don't think that they will expect the two of you to 'stop' for two and a half months each summer.

"Others aren't quite what you'd expect. Mum does not allow outright bullying. If you actually do physical or magical damage fighting that requires a visit to St. Mungo's, or similar effort from her, then you're in real trouble. Also, no bullying or fighting with Ginny.

"Otherwise, we brothers are expected to 'work it out and get on with it.' If you pick a fight with your older brother and lose, well, you've lost. If you pick a fight with your younger brother and lose, well, you've lost. Ron doesn't pick fights, but he doesn't lose them, either.

"Mum gave up on trying to follow the 'rules' about 'underage magic' years ago, once she finally figured out that you can't take away a wand that doesn't exist! While we weren't 'supposed' to use our wands before school and over the summer, Ron was quick enough with a hex if you argued with him that she only ever 'caught' one of us with our wands if we were really being stupid!

"Also, from what I can guess, I'm not sure what summer will be like. See, Ron works part-time jobs, a lot of them. The last year he had to quit most of them so he could pass his "Muggle NEWTs' along with Ginny, our youngest sibling and only sister.

"But, one of those jobs was apprenticing under Garrick Ollivander, and you just don't quit that if you can avoid it. He is almost as crazy about wands as he is about his familiar. Neville and you might actually be carrying a wand that he made, instead of Ollivander himself! He reconditions wands, too. Fred, George, and I are carrying 'heirloom wands' that he reconditioned, and the wand he uses most of the time, at least when he actually uses one, is one he reconditioned twice that was originally Grandfather Septimus's."

I added, "Harry's wand was made by Master Garrick in 1927. Neville's wand that he just got yesterday morning was the ninth one I made."

The knock at the door was followed immediately by Professor McGonagall and Headmaster Dumbledore. I stood and greeted them, "This visit was not my idea, they invited themselves. I've just told them about Harry's and my situation with the soul bond, and how they aren't supposed to say anything to anyone about it." I looked the Headmaster in the eye and thought, "Only the soul bond. No time travel ever, please?"

The Headmaster nodded at me in acknowledgement. He took one of the empty seats, and Professor McGonagall the other, which was on the left and closest to Lucky Boy. The Headmaster served himself a decently sized breakfast, where Professor McGonagall settled for toast with jam and tea.

Professor Dumbledore said, "Fortunately, other than language that will see you loosing five points each from Gryffindor, you said nothing that will cause any problems. I am touched by your concern for your brother, and will take no further action."

Professor McGonagall reluctantly added, "Nor will I."

Turning her attention to the three of us who were supposed to be there, she stated, "Messrs Longbottom, Potter, and Ronald Weasley, your assignment for today will be to read the first two chapters in your Charms and Herbology texts. The charms covered in Professor Flitwick's class today will be the Wand Lighting and Wand Extinguishing Charms. If the three of you can all handle it, you may also go over some of the variants to the Wand Lighting Charm. Also, I have asked Miss Granger to share her notes with you once things are more or less settled out, and you start attending the regular classes."

With her instructions given, she finished her breakfast and left.

Professor Dumbledore said, "Unless your brother invites you up here, you must not come here again until we have decided on what the rest of the school is to be told, and where your brother and his spouse are to live. Secrecy is our greatest ally in getting things settled for them. There will also be one or more meetings in this room before things are settled. You will not attempt to insert yourself or otherwise eavesdrop, unless we actually call you to attend. Am I clear?"

All three of my brothers answered, "Yes, Headmaster."

He added, "You may visit until your first class starts, provided you have your study materials with you, and you are to your first classes on time. If at all possible, you should make every effort to not be seen leaving these rooms. I'll bid you all a pleasant day." He stood, having finished his breakfast, and left as well.

Harry asked, "What are 'Muggle NEWTs?"

I answered, "The proper name is the GCSEs, or the General Certificate of Secondary Education. They're basically 'exit exams' from comprehensive, and you take them when you're about to leave comprehensive and either go to University or start working in the Muggle world. They're the Muggle equivalent to the Nastily Exhausting Wizarding Tests, or 'NEWTs.' Ginny, Luna, and I took them this spring, and all three of us got top grades. None of my older brothers has taken them.

"I took them 'just in case' you had ever thought of taking them, so I would have some idea on how to help you get ready for them. You won't use the test results themselves in the wizarding world at all. But you can't get by living as a Muggle in the Muggle world as an adult without them. Both Universities and Employers hiring you for your first job will want to see them.

"I will only continue with Master Garrick, and I haven't even begun to figure that one out! I won't maroon you all day in the Burrow, but I'm not sure how interested you would be in learning wand-crafting, and I haven't a clue if you would be any good at it or not. I hadn't realized that I would be any good at it until I tried doing it."

Turning my attention to my brothers, I asked, "Do you have any questions that we can answer very quickly?" As I spoke, their book bags arrived in their laps.

I continued while I stood up, "It's half-nine now, classes start at nine, and the Headmaster already told all three of you that you couldn't skive-off for fear of attracting attention to Harry and me that we just don't need."

Harry figured out what I was thinking. We stood side by side, but with plenty of room to allow our brothers to leave unimpeded access to the door at whatever speed they chose to leave.

One of the Twins decided to be obstinate. He said, "I'm not so sure we're actually leaving right away, even though we have our book bags along. Seems that we have a Prefect along who for once will actually cover for us, while covering for himself as well." Harry and I dropped our bathrobes to the floor.

Percy, getting the message, said, "Now brothers, we shouldn't be intruding on a honeymoon, should we? Is the coast clear for us to leave?" The other twin nodded, but none of them appeared to be leaving. Harry and I dropped our y-fronts visibly to our ankles, faced each other, and kissed.

The other twin added, "It's clear, and clear that we want to clear off right now!" They quietly and quickly let the room.

I asked, "Neville, do you really need to read us the Herbology assignment?"

He answered, "Not really. A nap until half-one, a light lunch, and Charms starting at one o'clock sounds like a wonderful idea after the room is set back to rights, leaving the Orange Juice behind please?"

That quickly, and it was done. Harry and I pulled up our y-fronts while Neville watched, picked up our bath robes, and the three of us went back to bed.


Mipsy woke us up at 12:30. We had a heavier meal than a typical "lunch," since our meeting would only have appetizers and drinks. We decided that it would be easier to fight the "food coma" rather than go hungry later on.

After we finished eating, I said, "Neville, I'm sorry about last night. Harry and I are still 'out of sorts,' and will be for at least a few more days. In our at least temporary trade of 'Battle Mage,' you quickly learn that there is almost no such thing as coincidence. You get almost as paranoid as 'Mad-Eye Moody,' if you've heard of him, because they really are out to get you. But, I am truly sorry for making you feel bad. I had no excuse."

Neville smiled, and answered, "I forgive you, Ron, and thanks. I know I have trouble apologizing when I mess up, especially if I was only trying to do what was right.

"I also apologize for not making the meet-up correctly, and for imposing on Harry and you before that."

Harry said, "Your 'not-so-Great Uncle Algie' did Blackpool to you, all over again. You don't owe Ron and me an apology, though we gratefully accept it anyway.

"And you really didn't impose on us, either. You might have been asleep by then, but last night Pandora said that if you wanted to do 'last night' again, or more, that we could without any problems, providing it's you wanting it, and not the bond messing with you; and that if we did anything 'again' or 'more,' that we do it before the weekend.

"Neville, you are my closest non-bonded friend. We're within a day of the same age. You will remain a kid for a while longer. But Ron, even though he now accepts that he is just our age, isn't a kid anymore, and I'm quickly joining him.

"Ron and I are both each other's husbands and each other's wives. When we do it, even if we're being 'playful,' it's not playing. But if it's the two of us, even with Ron joining in, it is playing, even if we're kids playing with 'grown-up' toys.

"Sometimes, the closest of friends our age play 'Truth or Dare,' or 'Strip Poker,' or more than that. Not all do, and some who do weren't lucky getting friends and get hurt, or hurt each other. But for the ones who got good friends, it's just one more sign of trust. The kind of trust you don't talk about, but you just know.

"I've always worn my heart on my sleeve, Neville. I had to, to remember that I still had one! You're also only my second friend that I remember, and the first friend that didn't cross three lifetimes to accidentally marry me!

"So, it isn't you imposing on Ron and me. It's me imposing on Ron and you! If anyone owes an apology, it's me."

Neville said, "Harry, I do get it! Like you just said, you owe me no apology, but I gratefully accept it anyway.

"As for doing more, I'm kinda scared. Do Ron and you know that you had bum-sex in the Headmaster's Office? The two of you were 'out of it,' and it was scary! You threw Ron on his back, put his calves on your shoulders… and later jumped on top of him… I was frightened out of my mind! The Headmaster had to hit both of your bums with a spell so you didn't tear each other up 'down there…"

Harry and I were shocked speechless. I regained my voice first.

"Neville, whatever that was, that is not what we would do with you, and it's not what we do with each other, at least not the scary and violent part. We honestly didn't know, and since we had already done it once each, we just thought that we were still sore from the train and that the paracetamol had just worn off. And, it wasn't even 'satisfying.' Harry and I blew each other while you were taking your shower that night! If what you'd seen had really been us, it wouldn't have been scary, and we'd not have needed to do anything else. I'm guessing that it was just the bond trying to level itself out.

"As for what I need and want? I need Harry to be happy for my happiness, and I want you to be happy, too. If you want to 'play,' and don't mind playing with both Harry and me, I'm fine with it. If you decide you don't want to, that's fine, too. If you're doing something 'fun,' but you don't like it, where's the fun in that?

"If you want to watch, to see what it looks like when two guys have sex without being marionettes dancing on the strings of a runaway spell, we'll let you.

"But we don't need to decide anything this instant, and don't really have the time, anyway. Everyone else will be here at 4:30, and it's already after two. I'm still trying to decide if Harry and I should even try to get dressed, though you will need to in any case.

"I also know that we can't start classes before next Monday. Professor Snape was friends with Harry's mum when they came to Hogwarts from Manchester. Harry's dad and godfather bullied Professor Snape, and at least partially caused Professor Snape and Harry's mum to end their friendship. For many other reasons I will tell the two of you about later, Professor Snape either really hates Harry, or will have to pretend to hate him. Harry won't be ready for that kind of abuse on Friday, and neither will I. If we go into that lab on Friday, people will be badly hurt.

"So, we will have tomorrow, Thursday, and Friday if you want to 'try' anything. If you want to watch, depending on how late our 'guests' linger, you can watch us after they're all gone. So, go ahead and get dressed, Neville. Harry and I will just put on our bathrobes again and call it good."

Neville replied, "I agree on the bond for sure. You guys are definitely not ready for anything like you think will go on in Potions. As for 'messing around,' I'm still not so sure, but I'm not so scared anymore either."

He blushed as he quirked an eyebrow at Harry and me, and finished up with "As for the show after company leaves, I guess we'll see." Harry swatted at Neville's arse as he giggled into his bedroom to change. Harry felt far more relaxed and happy through the bond.

Ten minutes later, we were all back in the common room. Neville was in his full school uniform, and Harry and I were in our bathrobes. We talked about Neville's greenhouses and plants, satisfying our 'requirement' to work on Herbology until our guests arrived.

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