Severus Snape looked at the piece of paper left behind by one of the troublesome idiots he taught, picking it up to sneer at it and the idea it held. Until he caught sight of one word. Pregnancy. He skimmed it again, going slower this time, and recognized the handwriting. The person had turned in many papers to him and only a few of them were truly stupid in content. Then again, the girl who was researching pregnancies at her age only had two possible reasons: she needed the information or she knew someone who did. He carefully laid it on his desk and wrote out a note to the newest problem in his life. Then he wrote one out to her head of house. McGonagall *would* be stopping this with him this time. He sent them both off with a house elf, getting one response in the way of a teacher appearing a few minutes later. He handed over the paper with a bland look. "I'm sure you recognize the handwriting as well as I did."
She pursed her lips, looking it over. "Why would she be studying this?"
"There's only two reasons, Minerva. She needs it or she knows someone who does who's too shy to do the research themselves," he said simply, getting comfortable behind his desk. "Which do you suppose?"
"She's not dumb enough to have gotten pregnant," she said dryly, frowning at him. "Have you sent for her?" He nodded. "Where might she be?" He shrugged, pursing his lips. "I see." She looked at the nearest painting. "Tell whichever teacher has the sixth year Gryffindors this class that I will be seeing Miss Granger within ten minutes or else. Here, now." The painting nodded and ran off to do her bidding. She leaned against one of the student desks, giving him a long look. "Which do you think it is?"
"I have no idea," he admitted. "I don't pay that much attention to your house. You know that."
She snorted. "Of course you don't. That's why you watch over them like I do, to make sure they don't get into fatal trouble." He snickered at that. "It's not like we could have stopped them." She looked over as the door opened. "Hermione, explain this," she demanded calmly, handing over the paper.
She looked at it, then smiled at them. "I read over a theory in Germaine's book and I was doing research to see if it was truly impossible or not," she told her. "Not because I needed it."
Snape raised an eyebrow. "Germaine? That imbecile who decided that men should be the ones who bore the children?" She nodded. "Why would you possibly be reading *his* book?"
"Because it's fascinating," she said with a shrug. "Besides, I was bored. I've already done all my papers for the term, professors." She looked at her head of house. "I promise I won't try it but I believe I may have figured out the loophole he mentioned in chapter nine. He never went into it, but I think I figured it out, and if I did, then it would allow the process to happen." She shrugged. "Am I in trouble?"
"Only if you try it on others," Snape said darkly, glaring at her. She gave him a 'bored' look and looked at her head of house again. "Should we allow this to go on?"
"We can't very well demand that she stay out of the library," McGonagall said dryly, staring at her prize pupil. "Do not let that fall from your grasp again, do not use it on anybody, and do not let anyone else know that you're doing it."
"A few others have come to help me now and then," she admitted sheepishly. "Some of the girls really liked the idea. They're tired of feeling like brood mares."
McGonagall sighed. "Fine, I shall deal with them as well. We will be having an all-female meeting tonight, Miss Granger. Dismissed." She nodded, taking her notes back with her. "Severus, is there any way to make sure it *can't* happen?"
"It would take three herbs I do not stock in this school," he admitted, shifting some. "I refuse to stock two of them and I'm out of the other. The local herbalist knows not to sell two of them to the students and to warn us if any is bought. That's how we found out about those blasted twins doing the flame charms." She nodded, standing up again. "You'll watch her?"
"Of course. Thank you for telling me." She left, going back up to her classroom, who were supposedly reading quietly. Since they were first years she only expected them to be able to read, doing so quietly was beyond most of them and so was not fooling around while she was away. She dodged a paper airplane that had been charmed, then froze it with her wand. "Very nicely done. I'm sure Professor Flitwick will enjoy that," she said smartly as she went back to her desk. "Now, let's get back to work." She turned and the students went back to *trying* to change a pine needle into a pin.
The three Hufflepuff girls looked at each other, then nodded as one. One of them went over to where Hermione was working on a project to distract her while the other two snuck away her notes. It was very interesting if the rumors they had heard were true. Someone had said that they'd heard Professor Snape muttering about pregnant people and she had been to see him earlier that day. What they got instead shocked them. It was the spell, down to pronunciation guide, for a charm to make *men* do it finally. One of the girls cast a quick copying charm and hid their copy in their books, sliding the papers back onto the table before Hermione got done explaining the latest charm to their distracter. They all said their goodbyes and went back to their house to look over the spell. It was hard, but they could do that. The entire sixth and seventh year of Hufflepuff's girls had vowed to never be sent into a political marriage. This would only help them with that noble aim.
They brought it to their planning committee. Usually those girls only did parties and arranged for the weekly pampering sessions, but this spell would call for some delicate planning and they were the best.
Professor Snape watched as some of the Hufflepuff students got their morning deliveries, noticing how many of them had already run out of their potions ingredients by the owls that were doing the shipping. The one from the herbalist in Knockturn made him frown, but the girl only pulled out a small vial and it wasn't something he immediately recognized as being dangerous so he'd leave it alone for now. It was probably something for that stupid happiness potion they tried to brew annually. He'd worry, but they never got those right. He ate another bite of breakfast, watching Miss Granger as she read a nice, normal book on Defense. He'd have to get a look at it later to see what those three were planning this time. She always did their research; he was pleased that those two morons at least had enough sense to see that they weren't good at it and passed it off to someone who was. He glanced at his own house and noticed Draco frowning at the Hufflepuff who had taken out the vial. He'd have to speak to him later.
Later turned out to be right after breakfast because Draco waylaid him in the hallway. "Why would a Hufflepuff be getting a vial of smoke?" Draco asked bluntly. "Especially from Knockturn? The only thing I could think of was Mist of Argones."
Snape considered it. Draco had been closer so therefore would have gotten a better look. "That is an interesting question. I will examine it. Thank you, Mr. Malfoy. Ten points to Slytherin for that good job of handing over a forbidden substance." He headed for where the giggling masses of older girls liked to hang out, giving them a cold, draining look. "What was in that vial you received? It appeared to be a forbidden ingredient."
The girl in question swallowed, then slowly shook her head. "It was Ethereal Water, professor."
"Ethereal water?" he snorted. "I've heard of many obscure potion ingredients yet I cannot remember hearing about that one. Where is it?" he asked coldly. "We shall see exactly what it is."
"It's to make you glow like the ethereal elves, sir, to make you look like an Elven maiden, and I've already used it. Don't I glow?"
"No," he said coldly. "You do not. You have oily skin but there is no *glow* about you. Where is the vial?"
"I gave it to a house elf once I used it," she said, sounding even more timid. "I don't glow?" she asked, starting to have a lip quiver. "I really don't?" He shook his head, looking down his nose at her. "Then I'll have to get my mother onto them so she can get her money back," she announced, stomping her foot delicately. "Thank you, professor, for your honesty. I'll go work on my skin right now." She walked past him and she knew he had turned to watch her stomp off, but she kept her smirk to herself. Hufflepuffs may not lie most of the time, but in the name of expediency and doing the joint spell that would solve all their woes, well, it was a good enough reason she supposed. She went to move the vial she had in her trunk, moving it with the other ingredients. He'd never find them in that spot. Only a Hufflepuff would think to look inside the Friar's chair. She skipped back to the meeting area, smiling at her fellow conspirators. "I moved it, it's safe," she assured them. "Snape wanted to see it so I told him about the Ethereal Water and how it was supposed to make me glow." Her sisters in conspiracy nodded, smiling at her for her genius explanation.
Up the hall, Draco's eyes narrowed as he spied on the girls. Something was going on and it wasn't looking like something normal. Hufflepuffs never *planned* anything, nor did they conspire. He heard the gong and went to his first class, vowing to watch them harder. This was stranger than if Potter had invited the Dark Lord into the school. Yes, something was definitely going on.
"Ron, can I ask you a *big* favor?" one of the Hufflepuff sixth years pleaded as she walked up to him. He smiled at her. "I'm taking cooking lessons from the house elves and I need someone independent to taste test some pudding. Please?"
"Sure, I'm always up for pudding," he agreed happily. She handed over the bowl and spoon she'd been carrying. "Thanks." He took a careful bite, but a large one for show. "Hey, this is really good. It's odd tasting, like the sweetener's different, but I like it. Harry!" he called. "Come taste this!" Harry came back to where they were standing, scooping out a fingerful of it. "Isn't that good?"
"It's great," Harry agreed, grinning at the girl. "Trying to make him fat and slow for the game against us?" he teased.
She giggled and shook her head. "No, I'm taking cooking lessons and I needed someone independent to try my cooking. So it's good? It's really good? I switched out the usual sugar with honey."
"It's great," Harry told her honestly. "I love it. The honey gives it a slight aftertaste but the bananas cover it well enough."
"That's great, thank you, guys." She hugged them both then went running back toward the kitchen.
Ron dug out some more. "Take some more, Harry." Harry ate another finger full of the stuff then went back to what he had been doing. "Why are you staring at your father's trophy?"
"I'm trying to think and it helps sometimes when I have brain congestion," he offered with a grin. Ron laughed and finished the bowl of pudding, coming over to join him. The house elves would take care of the bowls. They always did.
The group doing the spell decided that they had to get Professor Snape as well and an ingenious way was found. They sprayed the first solution on the papers they had to turn in. It didn't affect the parchment in the least, but it would come in contact with his skin, which would make it seep into his pores and would get him anyway. Since there had to be at least twenty-four hours between the primer and the activator, they could do that tomorrow. So it was with great glee that sixteen Hufflepuff girls handed in their Potion assignments that day.
"Why do you look so happy?" Snape sneered at one of them.
"Because it's a beautiful day and I'm happy," she answered honestly. "Aren't you happy being a teacher, sir?"
"Ten points from Hufflepuff." He stopped to sniff. "Who has the honey in here?"
"Sorry, sir, we were doing honey facial masks this morning before breakfast," one of the other girls covered. "We thought we had gotten it all cleaned off but one of us must have some residue or something left. It's supposed to great things for the pores. Keeps away the nasty cystic acne too from what we heard."
He gave her a long look, then pointed at his desk. "All of you put your papers on my desk," he ordered. "Now." He put down the ones he carried then carefully went to wash his hands. He did not need honey on him. It would wreck things he was working on.
"Mr. Malfoy, would you take mine up there as well?" one girl asked nicely, smiling at him.
"No," he snorted. "I'm not your bloody house elf. Do it yourself." He gave her an odd look as he moved to put his paper on the desk.
She put her paper on top of his pad of parchment, making sure it had good contact before taking her paper up to the desk. "Mean bastard," she hissed.
"Thank you, I'll take that as the compliment it was meant to be." He sneered at her before getting back into his seat, taking off the top two sheets of his parchment pad and balling them up. They went into his bag when the teacher came back. He felt her drop something onto him and sneered at her. "What are you doing?"
"Sorry, I was putting on some perfume. Did I get some on you?" she asked. He wiped his hand off on his pants with a disgusted look and shifted his stool farther away from hers. "Sorry, Mr. Malfoy."
"Enough chatter," Snape announced. "We will be starting the weightlessness potion now." He put the potion onto the board then sat down to watch them. Draco had been correct, something was going on within the Hufflepuff house. It was almost like they were conspiring to do something together. He took one of their papers carefully by the corner and sniffed it, noticing the smell of the potion inside the honey, and grimaced. It wasn't a poison, but that would be out of character for Hufflepuffs anyway. He'd have to test a corner later. He made sure to wipe his fingers off once the paper was back in the pile. When he found out what they were doing it would mean quite a lot of fun with them he was sure. There were many things he could get them to do that he was too tired and busy to do for himself. Things like cleaning the grout between the stones in the walls with a small brush so it was clean and no longer moldy. Things like alphabetizing his sixteen ingredient cupboards. He may even decide to reshelve his personal library if there were enough of them. He'd been wanting to reorganize it by subject and author's last name. It would be nearly as much fun as making Potter and Weasley do it.
The next day, the girls liberally drenched themselves in the activating solution, hidden in perfume atomizers, and headed through the day. It wouldn't have much effect on those who hadn't been exposed to the priming solution but the rest of them would be on their knees begging for them by the end of the day. They may have made it a bit stronger than the notes suggested but they made sure they did it exactly like the notes had said. They'd just cooked it too long. Or so their helper had said. Now they were heading to breakfast and the first test would have to be Ron and Harry. They were sitting with their backs to the Hufflepuff table so the girls chose to sit behind them and chatter as a group. One of them sprayed her 'perfume' over her shoulder at them, earning many outraged yells of 'not at the tables' from their own housemates and both boys complaining about having to go around smelling like girls all day. They giggled and hugged them, then let them go, watching as their new captive audience went off to change. Those boys would be theirs!
The one who wanted Draco laid in wait for him in the halls, getting him as he walked past, then smirking at him. "Tag, you're it," she said fondly, hurrying off before he could open his mouth to yell at her.
"Stupid bloody women," he said, shaking his head. "Insane things. Hufflepuffs are just odd, and this is the worst lot yet," he complained as he walked in. "Do I smell like one of their bloody flowery concoctions?" he demanded of Pansy. She gave him a confused look. "One of the stupid little morons in Hufflepuff just sprayed me in the halls then said 'tag, you're it'."
She snickered and sniffed him, then shook her head. "No, you smell quite manly, Draco. It's a very spicy scent on your clothes. It works well with your own cologne."
"Good. At least I don't have to bathe again," he said as he sat down. "Some of them need lessons in manners. Spraying perfume in the halls! How girly is that!" he said in disgust.
"They are girls, Draco, and Hufflepuffs to boot. A bunch of them just got Potter and Weasley at the table."
He shuddered. "Eww. How could anyone want to date *that*?"
"They're Hufflepuffs," she reminded him. "They think they're *cute* and *manly*. They giggle over them."
"Better them than me," he agreed. He smirked at her. "You're sure I'm perfect?"
"Quite as perfect as normally," she assured him. Sometimes you just had to humor the boy. She handed down the scrambled eggs with a smile. "Are we still on for tonight?"
"Of course," he agreed smoothly. "Your dorm or mine for the summoning?"
"Yours, it's got better lights," she decided. He nodded, that was true, he'd had to fix that for himself. "Good, I'll be up there after curfew."
"That's fine," he agreed, loading up his plate. "You're sure I don't smell like one of them?"
"Draco, you smell like a spicy, sexy man," she promised half-heartedly. "Quit worrying about it." He nodded and ate, still glaring at the other table.
Professor Snape opened his door to admit the next class and nearly choked on the perfume floating from the waiting mass of Hufflepuff girls. "What have you been doing?" he demanded.
"Putting on perfume, sir. Magical Creatures was muddy and had smelly creatures." That was true enough but it was every class to them.
"Go wash it off," he ordered, pointing up the halls, unaware that it was too late for him. They pouted but he was firm in it. "Either you go bathe this instant and be back within five minutes or you lose ten points each minute after that and a round fifty if you don't bathe off that stench." They trotted to the nearest girls' bathroom, leaning against each other as they laughed. They swiped themselves with alcohol then went back to the classroom like they had been ordered to do, well within the amount of time to only get twenty points off each.
A few months later, Harry looked around Hogsmeade, trying to keep his stomach under control. "Maybe I need some time in the 3 Broomsticks," he announced to his friends. "I'm not feeling so well. Some lunch might help that." They walked him that way and were relieved when the place was nearly empty. "Madam Rosemerta, I'm not feeling so great. Do you have anything for queasy tummies?" he asked when she came over.
"Get me some too," Ron requested. "We're heading back after doing a bit of shopping," he promised at her long look.
Hermione shrugged. "I don't know what it is, I feel fine," she promised.
"I'll get you boys some toast and jam," she promised, going to do that and to make them some tea. She came back to find them both in the bathroom and Hermione pacing outside. "They all right?"
"No, they're getting ill," she sighed. "I hope this is only a little bug."
"It should be. Make sure they have the toast when they come out." She left it on their table and headed back into the kitchen.
Harry and Ron came out paler than usual and wobbled back to the table, nibbling on the toast while they regained their strength. Ron naturally couldn't stomach that so he ran back to the bathroom, but Harry managed to keep the toast and tea down. He looked over as the innkeeper came back, giving her a pitiful look. "All I need to do is to get to the sweets shop and buy some new quills," he said miserably.
"I'll go for you," Hermione promised, taking his money bag and the one from Ron when he came lurching back out. "You two go back to the school, now," she ordered, glaring at them both before flouncing out.
Madam Rosemerta checked their foreheads, clicking her tongue. "I don't know what's wrong with you two, but I doubt you'll make it up to the school in the shape you're in."
"They'll get it in the papers," Ron said miserably.
"It's only the flu, boys," she chastised gently. She called the school for them, getting the nurse quite quickly. "Poppy, love, Harry and Ron are down here sick to beat all. They've both thrown up in the last few and Ron couldn't even keep down toast. Think someone could come get them? They're worried about the papers again, of course," she snorted, rolling her eyes.
"That's fine, dear. We can send them through the floo if we have to. I'll have the Headmaster allow it. Keep them there and I'll be right down." Her head disappeared and she ran down to the office, rushing up the stairs. "Something's wrong with Potter and Weasley," she announced. "They're both throwing up in town."
"That's fine. Did you want to floo them?"
"Better that than bringing them back on stretchers," she said wisely. "Even if they do foul up the floo for a bit. The next person would clean it out." He chuckled and nodded, resetting the one for the infirmary. "Thank you, Albus. I'll give you a report since I know you'll need one right away." She hurried down there through his floo, not wanting to waste time by going back to the infirmary. "Oh, boys," she said half-heartedly. "What's wrong?" She tested their foreheads. "You're not warm." Harry rushed to the bathroom, making the school's medi-witch give his back a long look. "Hmm. And you don't seem like you have the flu either. Come along. Ron, just floo to the infirmary. It's Hogwarts Infirmary, dear."
"Do we have to floo?"
"You'd rather we carry you back on a stretcher?"
"No," he moaned, going to do as she said while she got Harry out of the bathroom.
Madam Pomfrey walked into the bathroom after a quick knock and went to help Harry by casting a counter nausea charm on him. "There, how's that?" Her answer was him getting sick again. "Oh, dear, that usually works. When you're done, come out and rinse out your mouth. We'll be flooing back to the school. I'm sure Ron's made a right mess of my floor but it's easily cleaned." She patted his back until he stopped then helped him rinse his mouth. She drug him back to the floo, waiting while he put some money onto the table from his pocket, giving him a smile for being so thoughtful. "That's a good boy, Mr. Potter. Come along." She let him go first, then sent herself. Ron was already collapsed on a bed and Harry was on his knees on the floor. "Come on, dear. Let's get you into a bed. I've got buckets for that." She helped him up and into a bed, casting a checking spell over them. She did it again just to make sure. "Hmm, there's no disease. Were you two hexed maybe?"
"No one's been near us," Ron groaned. "I'm damn miserable, how can this not be a disease?"
"I don't know, dears, but we'll figure it out. Would you like your mum or just McGonagall?" she asked sympathetically.
"No, please, not his mum. She'll fuss," Harry whined. "I can't stand that."
"That's fine for you, but I could use my mum, Harry."
"I'll get Molly and tell her that Harry's still feeling twitchy, how about that?" Madam Pomfrey offered, going to call in McGonagall, Molly Weasley, and her boss. "I don't know what's wrong with them," she told them all at once. "I couldn't see any disease. There's no evidence of a hex unless it's very powerful and both boys swear it's not. The anti-nausea charm didn't work either. I don't know what's wrong with them."
"The only time I've ever seen that one fail was with a pregnancy," Molly said thoughtfully.
"They're boys," Madam Pomfrey pointed out helpfully. "Anyway, Ron would like you to come up, Molly. Harry's being very flustered at the moment." She looked over as Draco Malfoy helped his head of house in. "Oh, dear, Severus looks ill too." She cut the connection, going to help him into a bed as well. "What happened, Mr. Malfoy?"
"I found him collapsed on his desk and he smelled like he'd been sick recently," Draco said grimly, frowning at her. "Well, help him, woman!"
"Right now, the best thing for him is rest. Potter and Weasley have the same symptoms and I'm figuring it out right now." She ran her wand over him, frowning at him. "You're staying as my one to check against."
"Why do you need a control?" Harry asked weakly. "Is Professor Snape all right?"
"He's fine. Just as good as you are."
"Then he feels like he's dying and his stomach's knotting?"
"Probably," she agreed lightly, frowning at Draco while pointing at a chair. "Sit." He sat, watching over his Head of House for her. "Thank you." She turned and found Arthur and Molly Weasley coming in with the Headmaster. "I'm not sure what's going on. I need to run a few more tests," she admitted. "It's definitely not a stomach virus."
"Do whatever you have to," Arthur agreed. "We want the boys to be all right."
"I'm sure they will be," Molly said wisely, going over to soothe her son the way only a mother could. "Ron," she sighed, giving him a small smile. "All right there?" He shook his head, looking miserable. "You poor thing. We're here now, we'll make sure everything is done to help you, son. My poor baby boy." She stroked his forehead, then went to get a damp cloth to wipe his face off. "There, now that's better, right?" she asked. He nodded, but grabbed the bucket and sat up suddenly, getting even more sick. "Hmm. Poppy, can you do a full spectrum on him? This seems so familiar, like he's had it before or one of the others has."
"I can't remember anyone but Bill being that sick," Arthur offered. "He had a nasty bout of the flu in his third year if I remember right."
"Fourth," Madam Pomfrey said thoughtfully, casting the full spectrum on him. She paused, then did it again. Then she turned and cast it on Harry. Then on the other two, then on Albus to make sure it wasn't giving her false readings. Molly, Arthur, and Albus all came up normal, but the others came up, "Pregnant," she hissed. "How?" Her voice started to get shrill. "How did this happen to men! This is not supposed to happen to men, and especially not boys!"
"Madam Pomfrey, I've already got a headache," Harry said miserably. "Can you please quit shouting and just explain to us why we feel like we're dying?"
She looked at him. "Mr. Potter, have you been engaging in any sexual activities?" He slowly shook his head, looking very confused. "Nothing?"
"Nothing out of the ordinary," he told her. "I don't have a girl, why?"
"Because you're pregnant. What you have is called Morning Sickness. It'll last for a few months at worst." He let out a small moan. "I will find out how. Mr. Malfoy, you are as well. I know you've shagged about half the bloody school. Whose is it?"
"I haven't had sex in months," he defended. "About four of them, thank you. I've been working on something with Pansy, but nothing that would do this."
"This is impossible," Severus said weakly from his bed. "We're men." He sat up, with a bit of help. "Where is Granger," he growled. Everyone looked stunned. "She was working from that stupid book, trying to make it work. I found her notes in my classroom one night. Where is she?"
"Her notes are in Minerva's desk," Albus told him. "Ever since she thought some girls had tried to sneak a peek at them. She told me herself what she had discovered."
"Hufflepuffs," Draco said suddenly. Everyone stared at him. "They've been plotting, getting strange ingredients, and they were going around spraying people a few months back."
Severus sighed and nodded. "They turned in papers that all smelled like honey and potions but I could not identify which one it was."
"They had Harry and me try some pudding that one was attempting," Ron offered weakly. "Can I kill the Hufflepuffs, mum?"
"No, dear, that's my job and then you get them," she said with a bright smile. "Which Hufflepuff?"
"Not Susan Bones, but I think we've been watched by all the other ones in that house in the sixth and seventh years," Harry said, forcing himself to sit up. "Are you sure?" Madam Pomfrey bit her lip but she did nod. "Would bringing someone in to make sure change that?"
"I'd like that as well," Albus offered. "That way we can see if everything is normal and if anything can be done about this." Madam Pomfrey nodded and went to call in a specialist. "For now, you four will be staying up here. None of you will say a word about this situation until we figure out what is going on." He left them there, going to find Madam Sprout to have her do a check of her house. They found a number of the girls throwing up in the dorms and sent for the nurse to make sure it wasn't the same cause. Unfortunately it was but they were confined to their tower and the younger years were kept away from them. Albus went to personally find Miss Granger, finding her on the path back. "Hermione," he said calmly. "We need to look at your notes, dear. It seems someone did get a rather good look at them and they've done something with them." She dropped the bags she was carrying and ran up to the school, heading right for the infirmary. "Oh, dear." He picked up the bags to send them to the boys' room, then went to see if he could help some more.
"What do you mean it worked? I only had a hypothetical primer potion in those notes!" she was yelling. You could hear her from down the hall. "No, I did not have the full formula in there! I had something to help you turn back the Cruciatus and the Imperious! Look at the notes yourself! I put them in with McGonagall when I caught some Hufflepuffs trying to sneak a peek at them!"
Albus and Professor McGonagall walked in together, her with the roll of tied parchment. "She is correct," she announced. "She did put them with me after some Hufflepuffs had tried to look at them in the library. She also does not have the entire formula in the notes." She handed them to Professor Snape. "This is what she had, all that she gave me."
Professor Snape read the notes, then groaned. "Are they pregnant as well?" he asked tiredly. Albus nodded. "Then we know who did it. It's a general fertility spell now. It would work on men, but both parts of the potion must be given. There's a third to turn it into a pseudo pregnancy. It's never worked in unison before. She's changed it slightly."
"Now it works," Draco said coldly, glaring at Granger. "I will kill you for this."
"I was only doing research. They took my research and implemented it. It was not my idea to stuff Harry and Ron up!"
"Or me, Miss Granger?" Snape said meanly. She looked stunned, then slowly slid to the ground.
"Well, now we know what she thinks of that idea," Draco said cruelly, taking the notes from his mentor's hands. "Can we fix this?"
"The doctor should be able to tell us," Madam Pomfrey offered as she floated Hermione to the other end of the ward and put her onto a bed. "I'm not sure if I should be mad at her or not."
"I'm going for mad," Ron announced. Harry nodded. "Along with some dead Hufflepuffs."
"We can bury them all together, make it a nice funeral pyre," Harry agreed coldly. The adults stared at him. "Now, everyone consider what'll happen when the child comes out," he said impatiently, "and who's going to be taking care of it, or who's going to try to attack because I'm suddenly weak."
Snape snorted. "Quite possibly," he admitted. "The Ministry would never let you raise the child however. They'd give them to those relatives of yours."
"Over their dead bodies," Harry said coldly, his voice seeming to drip with ice. "I will never allow another child into that house. There is no way anyone else should have to go through what I did." He got out of the bed and went into the bathroom, slamming the door.
Albus sighed. "That was totally my fault," he admitted. "I had thought they'd be better to him."
Molly picked up Harry's pillow and threw it at him, knocking off his hat. "I should hit you for what they did to poor Harry, but I'm too lady like."
"I'm not," Ron offered, raising a hand slightly. "Neither are the twins, who've been getting them back now for months."
Arthur looked at his son. "Let the Ministry deal with that, son."
"Fuck the Ministry, father. They can kiss my ass. They haven't fixed it yet and they won't be." He looked at his mother. "I'm giving them ideas."
"Don't tell them of this yet, son. Let me break the news to the family," she pleaded. He nodded, swallowing. She helped him sit up and handed him the bucket again, stroking circles on his back as he threw up. "There, there, it's not so bad. I had morning sickness with Charlie and Bill until my sixth month. With you I only had it for about four weeks."
"Four weeks of not being able to eat, being constantly sick and tired?" he asked. "I'm going to torture those girls," he said grimly. "I'll make their lives a living hell before I send them to a painful end and then burn their bodies."
"Burn the bodies while they're alive," Draco offered. "We can take their wand from them. That way they can't freeze the flames." Harry kicked the door. "Is he all right or being a drama queen some more?"
"Drama queen," Snape told him simply. "He always is."
Arthur went to check. "Poppy, there's a bit of blood now," he announced, getting out of her way. "I'm not so sure he didn't bite his tongue or something."
"I did the same," Molly reminded him with a small smile. "Arthur, go call the family together for a quick meeting. We'll do that tonight and let Harry come into it with Ron. All right?"
"That's fine, Molly love," he agreed with a light-hearted smile. He hugged his son once he was done. "You rest and we'll see what we can do," he promised, leading his wife off to tell the others. "Albus, we're taking Ginny," he called as they walked away.
"That's fine. Remind her not to tell anyone." He looked at Severus. "Could we turn this into a mirror pregnancy?" He watched as Harry was brought back out and tucked back in.
"Only if they gave it to us at the first," he said, handing over the notes. He glared down at Hermione's body. Then at his boss. "You will fix those girls. Correct?"
"I will be talking with them, but they did it to themselves as well," he pointed out gently.
"Yes, but they had no right to do it to us," Draco said firmly. "That's rape."
The Headmaster tipped his head. "I agree, and as such we will have to inform the Board of Regents. Do you wish to tell your father first?"
"Hell no, but I want popcorn when you do and a ringside seat," he said dryly, sneering at him.
"As a point of reference, how do we figure out which girl did it to us?" Ron asked. "Would they be the other parent?"
"That's a good point," Madam Pomfrey agreed. "It'll take us a few weeks to figure that out." He nodded, relaxing again. "We also do not know if it is reciprocal."
"It had better not be," Draco said darkly. "No child of mine will ever live with a Hufflepuff." He sneered at the woman coming in with a limp. "What?" he demanded. "Can't you see we're in the middle of a crisis here?"
"Draco, be a dear and get into the bed," McGonagall ordered, coming over to help him, whether or not he wanted to do so. "She'll be taken care of in the other room while you four lay there. I'll just remove Hermione as well." She floated the girl out and into the other room, closing them in there with the Headmaster.
"Now, what should we do about this, boys?" Albus asked. Snape glared at him. "It is not something that would be healthy for you to continue with," he noted gently.
"The healer will have to tell that," Snape noted. "It could be bound to us."
"I think I'd rather die than to live with the ankle biter inside me, or to have anyone else live that way," Draco said grimly.
"There's not many alternatives," Albus said calmly.
"Yes, there are," Draco informed him. "There are a few curses that will cause you to miscarry. There's also the muggle alternative for girls. They have a few different methods as well." The Headmaster looked stunned for a moment, then patted him on the foot and walked away. "I will not allow this to go on!" he called after him. "There will not be a Malfoy heir from me at this date!"
"Calm down. Your father will make sure of it," Severus reminded him quietly. He got comfortable in his bed, then got up to remove his robes, then got back in and got comfortable again. "There, I think that's more suitable."
Ron wiggled out of his robe and tossed it across the foot of his bed, then curled up on his side facing Harry. "Harry, you in there?" he called softly.
"No. I'm not. I have a normal life," Harry told him, looking over at him. "If I convince myself enough it may happen."
"I'm sure it will," Ron said supportively. There wasn't anything else he could do. Harry wouldn't let himself be comforted any further at the moment.
Molly looked at five of her seven children. Bill was on the floo behind her and Percy was still banished. "There's been a problem and this may not get out anywhere, boys, and Ginny." She smiled at her daughter. Then she looked at the twins. They were her problem children and would cause the most stink. "Some girls in the school were working on a theory that said anyone could get pregnant."
"Hermione was," Ginny corrected. "Why? Did it get out? She was really worried about that."
"Some girls in Hufflepuff apparently took it from her," Molly said calmly. "They tested it on a few people. They got themselves and a few others." She took a deep breath, looking at the twins again. "Including poor Harry and your brother Ron," she finished, stepping out of the way.
Charlie laughed. "Mum, that book was rubbish," Charlie snickered. "It wouldn't have worked."
"Hermione fixed the theory by merging it with another fertility potion," Ginny told him. "We tested it in Magical Creatures under Hagrid's careful watch with McGonagall's permission." She looked at her mother again. "Is that why Ron was puking all over Hogsmeade from the rumors?"
"Only in the 3 Broomsticks and the infirmary, but yes," Molly assured her.
Bill shook his head. "How?" he managed to get out.
"They tested it on him without his permission, Bill," she said firmly. "He said they got him to test some pudding one girl was learning to make."
"What about the girls? If I'm thinking of the right one, it would have made anyone who came into contact with the potions up the duff," George asked blandly. Molly nodded.
"Any Ron's or Harry's?"
"It's too early to say. They've only just started morning sickness." She sighed and sat down, looking at her children. "We don't know what to do about this, children. Ron's devastated. Harry's sullen and moody again. They're both fairly ill at the moment." She looked at the twins. "I know you've been helping Ron and Harry torture his relatives. Do not let on about this to them," she ordered. "Do not let them know. They'll try something for sure." They nodded together. "Good boys. They deserve every bit of hell you can give them, but I wish you'd be more quiet about it." She looked at Ginny. "There is to be no discussion of it."
"Mum, some of the other students saw Madam Pomfrey come down to get them from the Broomstick." Ginny shrugged. "They're already gossiping. It won't keep for long."
"Poor Harry," Fred muttered.
"Poor both of them," Ginny snorted.
"No, Ron's got us," George corrected. "Harry's not got anyone to stick up for him."
"We will be," Molly said firmly.
"Mum, what's the standard practice for anyone who gets caught as pregnant?" Fred asked. She looked stunned. "They get expelled, correct?" She nodded, still looking stunned. "It's usually only a marriage, an adoption, or a strong family with influence behind them that keeps the girls from having their wands broken."
"Harry's got none of that because you'll be protecting Ron," George finished for him. "Plus, since Fudge is being such an arse to him, he won't have any chance even if we could protect him."
"Then the only option is to terminate it or to get married?" Ginny asked. They nodded. "But he's not dating. And what about the rumors of Professor Snape and Draco Malfoy?"
"He's got his dad behind him," Charlie told her. "Snape can and will claim that he was done by a student and that he's the injured party. He can do that, he's an adult. Having one of the boys do it means that they'll have to go to court about it," he told her. "That would be disastrous for either Ron or Harry."
"So it's the family for Ron and someone immediately for Harry?" Ginny asked. "Isn't that a bit sudden?"
"Ginny, think about it," George started.
"What will happen when You-Know-Who finds out?" Fred finished.
"There'll be mass rejoicing and an attack," Molly agreed. "Still, it's a bit sudden, boys. I don't have the faintest idea of who I could set him up with that he might like in that way."
"Let us handle that part, mum," George offered.
"It'll take some sneakiness anyway," Fred agreed. They got up and walked out together.
Bill looked at his mother. "I still can't believe that's happened to Ron. I mean, Ginny I can see having an accident."
"Excuse me!" Ginny said hotly. "Do you think I'm suddenly the whore of Gryffindor?"
"No," he said, frowning at her. "But I know how easy it is to botch up a spell like a contraceptive," he told her. "You wouldn't be the first. I nearly had one of those myself." His mother raised an eyebrow in that universal 'oh, really?' look. He swallowed. "What I meant was that I thought Ron would be the least likely to have something like this happen to him. He's not the sort to fool around even."
"He and Hermione have had a few stunning moments," Ginny said dryly, smirking at him. "Professor McGonagall compared them to you and what's-her-name that thought she might be pregnant."
"She wasn't my girl at the time," Bill defended.
"Bill, unless you want to go finish that grave you've just started with a real shovel, I'd quit now," Charlie warned. He looked at his mother. "You're sure? Absolutely positive?" She nodded. "I want to know about this, mum. Yell if you need me." She nodded and he disappeared.
"So you're where Ron gets his habit to blurt out things," Ginny said dryly. "Must have been where you babysat him so often. Remind me to never let you sit any I might have far in the future." She got up. "Want me to start some water for dinner, mum? I figure you're not up to more than soup."
"Please, dear," she agreed with a small smile for her thoughtful child. She looked at Bill. "Really, Bill."
"Sorry, mum," he said, looking down at his lap. "That wasn't what I meant."
"Next time, try thinking first."
"Also, remember how to use a contraceptive or introduce me to your girlfriend."
"Oh, don't worry, I haven't botched one since then," he promised.
"All right, looking over the formula they used," Madam Pomfrey announced. "The child belongs to whomever you had relations with last, as long as it was within forty-eight hours, or whoever was on your mind if you had anything of theirs on you like a hair."
"I don't think either of those apply to me," Harry said timidly.
"Really?" Draco sneered. "Still pure are we?"
"Excuse me for having a life outside of my bed," Harry snapped back. "Some of us are rather busy not flunking his class," he said with a wave at Snape, "and every other class in this stupid school, plus quidditch practice, plus coaching, plus learning more defense than everyone else here so I can last longer during that final battle. Sorry, but being screwed into the bed doesn't always run into my mind first thing as a top priority."
"Enough," Snape said tiredly. "This snapping at each other is giving me a headache." He looked at the school nurse. "I'm also not in that category," he pointed out dryly. "Unless certain individuals put their bodily fluids onto me without my knowing."
She sighed. "Then it could be one of the girls' or all of the girls'." She looked at Ron. "You?"
"Hermione, but it was about three days before the pudding if I remember right." He looked at Harry. "Who did you get that t-shirt off of anyway? I know it wasn't one of your usual, it wasn't that big on you."
"One of the twins. After we helped them clean up the lab, we showered and I didn't have a shirt so one of them let me borrow one and I never gave it back yet," he said thoughtfully. "It's been washed a few times though." He looked at the school's nurse. "Can we do some sort of test to tell?"
She nodded. "In another two weeks."
"By that time most girls would have been expelled," Draco said dryly.
"You will not be," she offered in a gentle tone of voice. "We are keeping this out of the press for that very reason."
"Yeah, because no one will note that we were drug out of Hogsmeade," Ron snorted. "At the very least there'll be questions about what's wrong with Harry."
She nodded. "I've already been called to see if it was something serious. As far as they know, you have the stomach flu." She went back to her desk, letting them consider things.
"I'm not having a baby Hufflepuff," Draco announced, sliding out of the bed. "There's a way around that."
"The majority of that is how you raise the child," Snape said tiredly. "You were once as happy and cheerful as those children were. You simply never learned loyalty or the ability to stick to a project for very long." He looked at the other two, seeing them staring at each other. "Something you wanted to announce about it being reciprocal?" he sneered.
"Bugger off," Harry warned. "I'm not in the mood to deal with people at the moment."
"Potter, I'm shocked. Did you just threaten a teacher and swear at one?" Snape said with a touch of cheer. "Why, I believe that means your house will be losing about a hundred points."
Harry looked at him. "Go right ahead. I can and will tell the press. What do I have to risk? You have this whole job of yours." Snape's mouth opened. "Now then, some of us are trying to think. We'd like to do that in peace." He used his wand to draw the curtain around his bed and got comfortable again. "Bloody stupid, arrogant, arses. Who does he think he is?" he muttered.
"Mr. Potter, would you like something to settle your stomach?" Madam Pomfrey called.
"No, it's not queasy at the moment," he called back. "I just want to be left alone." The twins strolled over to Ron's bed and bent down to talk to him, whispering in his ear, then one looked over and winked at him, making him more happy. Surely those two could lift his mood some. "Hey," he said tiredly.
"Don't worry, we're coming over there soon enough," one of them promised. They went back to whispering in Ron's ear, getting a nod at the end. "Good enough?"
"Fine," Ron agreed. "Thanks, guys. Want to torture Bill for me?"
"Oh, I think that's manageable," the other twin said with a smirk. "Now then, Harry." They walked over, closing the curtain fully so they had a bit of privacy, even casting a privacy charm on it to keep out the other four nosy people in the room. "How do you feel?"
"Sick," he said succinctly. "Is there some good news?"
"Some," the first twin said with a smile. "It depends on what...."
"The Ministry decides about this case," the other finished. "There's every chance that they'll do like normal girls and accept ...."
"Marriage, strong families who'll adopt the child, or even their own family making sure that their wand isn't broken."
"Fudge hates me."
"He's not in charge of that, even if he does have some influence," one of them said, leaning down closer.
"We had a talk with Dad before coming up. He's had a quiet word with someone in the Underaged department."
"You know, the people who tried to break it last time because you were defending yourself?" the second one noted.
"Well, they said that they can't prosecute anyone who was attacked."
"Which you were."
"So that means that you'll be fine on that end, but...."
"You'll still be looked at funny if you don't manage to do something about this little one soon." He reached out to stroke Harry's stomach. "Any idea whose yet?"
"Not yet. She said it was either the person I had sex with within two days before the spell went off, which there wasn't one, someone I was carrying the blood, skin, or hair of on my body and thinking hard of, or one of the girls'."
They snorted, shaking their heads. "Probably not," they noted together.
"If it was one of theirs, they would be mirroring you with their own," the first noted.
"It'd be like carrying twins in two different bodies," the other informed him.
"Now, unlike getting seven women together with PMS, this sort of thing won't feed off each other."
"Which means we could pinch you and as long as none of them felt it..."
"It's not theirs"
"But it could be one of theirs and we'd find out which that way."
"Or there are various parentage spells."
"Madam Pomfrey said two weeks," Harry told them.
One of them snorted, the other shook his head. "There are ones that work nearly instantly, they're simply not as reliable."
"Ten percent of the time they're wrong," the other agreed.
Harry swallowed. "I was wearing that t-shirt you guys gave me after we cleaned up for you," he admitted quietly.
"Were you thinking of us too?"
"We thought you looked adorable in it."
"Then again, you're young and cute."
"Whereas we're worldly men of the world."
"And quite experienced."
"And quite wealthy."
"And quite nice when we want to be."
"And even quite special in case you hadn't noticed."
Harry beamed. "No, I had noticed that you both seemed touched in the head at times."
"Meany," one of the twins chastised, swatting him.
"Just for that, we won't cast it for you."
"No, please do," Harry said, pulling up his shirt to expose his stomach. "Please, I want to know."
"There's the quick way, the surer way, which can be dangerous, or the potion."
"The surer way," Harry decided. "How dangerous?"
One of the twins stuck his head out of the curtain. "Madam Pomfrey. We're doing a home test." He closed it firmly and then nodded at his twin to do it.
Harry nearly jumped as one of them grabbed his pillow and used it to cover his face. He fought with them, slapping at the hands holding the pillow. It was finally removed, allowing him to breathe. "What was that?"
"The person who fathered the child would feel a protective streak that would allow them to mirror some of the same things you were going through. It's like safety for the witch," the second one explained.
"Which is why the other parent will come down and complain about it," the first finished. He coughed and rubbed his throat. "Sorry, tickle."
His twin gave him a long look, then smiled. "Well, that seems fated then. Good thing I like all the girls, huh?" He stood up and patted Harry on the head. "I'll leave you two alone." He went back to sit with Ron.
"I didn't really feel that," he offered.
Harry snickered. "Your face is red, Fred."
"I'm George, and it may be, but that's because my twin just managed to embarrass me."
"What? Because he didn't demand to share?"
"Well, yes," George admitted dryly, smiling down at him. "May I pat again?" Harry nodded so he stroked over the tense stomach. "Relax. We'll figure it out."
"I'm not sure I want to," Harry admitted. "I'm tired, I'm sick, and I'm tired of this stuff already."
George's smile got mean and he winked. "Just remember, you're not alone. Ron has to do the same thing and he'll have to marry Hermione probably unless mum takes the child from him."
"She could do that?"
"She could," he agreed.
"Good, because she and Ron would fight all the time."
He nodded. "I noticed." He continued to stroke the stomach. "There's one last check I want to run and it won't hurt you." He pulled his wand and ran it over the stomach, earning a glow, a pretty silver and gold glow. "Hmm. The relationship test came out positive. I guess that shirt had some of my hair in the weave or in the collar maybe."
"It was washed a lot."
"Still, this is based on magic, Harry. It can happen that a hair on a shirt will stay on it for a while. Or haven't you seen Hermione coming out in clean clothes with cat fur that got washed into it?"
Harry nodded. He had heard her complain about that. "It still seems wrong."
"Maybe, but now it's done," he said gently. "Now I need to know if this is totally disgusting to you or are you and her going to do what we have planned and let us help?"
"Her?" he asked quietly, his hand drifting to his stomach. "Are you sure?"
"Not exactly," George admitted shyly. "But pretty sure, yeah. About the only other thing I'm unsure about is if it's mine or Fred's." He leaned down to kiss him on the forehead. "Think about it, okay? Mum'll be through the roof, but it'll be kinda fun."
"We'll even be able to help you train," Fred agreed as he came back. "So?"
"I think it's a girl, unless I botched that one," George offered, moving out of the way. He took Harry's hand off the tense stomach, letting his twin cast on it, getting the same result. "So, daughter or daughters?"
"Most auspicious," Fred agreed, grinning down at Harry. "The only first born Weasley daughters have been hell on the family, but they do great things. It's people like first daughters who make laws, create splendid things..."
"Who give us our pranking nature," George noted. "Back about six generations ago."
"Of course, if it's really his then we'll pout and wail on our mother until you give in."
"It'll be horrible," George agreed. "I could probably even get Bill into it."
"The last time I saw Bill he gave me a look like I was a baby getting into mischief."
"Yeah, he's got big brother syndrome pretty bad, but we love him anyway," George said with a grin.
"You'll get to help us cure him."
"Or make him babysit," George offered.
Fred looked at his twin. "Then you might end up with a daughter like Hermione or Percy."
"Not by the time we five get done with her," he said smartly, smirking at his twin. "Between us, Harry, Ron, and Ginny?"
"Then the child will be demented," Harry pointed out. "It'll be a cranky pranker who can't decide what position to play."
The twins chuckled and hugged him. "Welcome to the family, Harry," George said with a grin. "I'll wait until the official test results to get my answer." He winked and went over to bug his baby brother while Fred and Harry talked, probably about treating him right. "Are you okay with the fact that the child may be mine?" he asked bluntly. Ron gave him a shocked look. "There was some of my hair on the shirt he was wearing or something."
Ron licked his lips. "When you share that with McGonagall, can I be there?" he asked finally. George laughed and hugged him. "Have you told Mum yet?"
"Not yet. She's trying to plan how to protect you both. We'll just take on Harry and leave you with the rest of them. Remember to watch out for Bill."
"Got it," Ron agreed, sounding happier now. "He couldn't be in better hands. You guys can help him practice and study, plus give him a really good reason to win."
"I can only hope so," he agreed solemnly. "You all right so far?"
"A bit sick now and then. Can't eat, can't drink, and really can't sleep, but otherwise I'm fine. I'm hoping this passes. Otherwise I'll be barmy by the time it's born."
George pulled his wand and cast the charm on Ron's stomach, then smirked at him. "Hermione and it's pure gold. Little boy." Ron straightened up, giving him a long look, making him nod. "Really. Boy."
"Wow." He put a hand on his stomach. "What about Harry?"
"Looked like a little girl. Possibly a set of girl twins, but probably just one."
"Merlin," Ron breathed. "Like Great-Great-Great-Great-Grandmother." George smirked and nodded. "Then I really wanna be there when you tell McGonagall. Dumbledore should be there too. He was a year behind her if I heard right."
"What an excellent idea, Ron," George agreed. "Oy, Fred?" Fred opened the curtain between them. "You made him cry?"
"No, it was an early mood swing. I was telling him about Great-Great-Great-Great- Grandmother. What's happened?"
"Well, we think it's a boy," George told him. "It's definitely Hermione's. I even got her picture with the charm. Did you know that Dumbledore may have been a year behind our illustrious former pranker of the family? Ron wants to be there when we tell McGonagall and Dumbledore together."
"Add in our parents," Fred said with a wicked smirk, bestowing it on Harry. "Think that'll be okay? It'll be the most fearsome child in the world."
"Sure," Harry agreed. "I'll let you tell them all if you want. I'll probably be stunned stupid by then."
"That's what we're here for, Harry. Remember, you can lean on us," Fred assured him. "Now, kiss George and then we'll let you two rest." He patted Ron on the head. "I'd give you one but you might like them and then where would your girl be?"
"With Percy?" he suggested dryly.
"Or someone nearly exactly like him," Fred agreed happily.
"You know, when she heard she passed out?" Ron told him. "I mean, it's not even hers and she passed out."
"It's the thought of you getting huge and round," Fred promised, patting him on the head. "We'll work on the announcement tonight, Harry. You try to rest." He walked over to where Madam Pomfrey was. "We think we know who the child belongs to," he said quietly. "He was wearing hand-me-downs." He winked at her and walked over to where Draco was, picking a hair off him. "I didn't know you had a cat."
"I don't, I have an owl," he said glumly. Fred silently picked off another hair and dropped it onto the floor before walking away.
Draco's eyes widened as he caught the implication. "Madam Pomfrey," he called, sounding strangled. "If one of the hairs on us was from a cat, will I have kittens?" Snape gave him a disgusted look. "There's a lot of shedding beasts down there!" he defended. "One of the Weasleys just picked a few off! Besides, have you seen Madam Hooch? If she's possible, it is."
"No, it's not," she soothed, tucking him back in. "Even if you slept with it, it couldn't happen, Mr. Malfoy. Try to rest, all right?" He nodded, snuggling down again. "It's the hormones," she told his head of house. "I've seen it make a lot of young women paranoid about some of the oddest things." She smiled as she checked him then went back to her desk to make a note in Harry's chart. It would be a shame if it were Ron's or his cousin's.
Harry looked at the paper Monday morning, with the screaming headline proclaiming him 'nearly dead and unconscious from an illness in Hogsmeade'. He skimmed the article, it had it being some dark curse, though one source said it may have been something completely different. That a few of the girls up at the school were similarly afflicted. He waved the paper, bringing the nurse. "An unnamed source said some girls were suffering from the same ailment I was," he reported. "It's the only one that doesn't have me nearly dead, comatose, or being the victim of some horrible curse."
She read the article, then sighed and went to hand it to the Headmaster. "Here, he saw it."
"Of course he did. I would like to meet that unnamed source. They're quite chatty at times," he said sociably. "How is Mr. Malfoy?"
"One of the twins found cat hairs on him so he's worried he's having a kitten." He burst out in giggles so she nodded. "Seriously. He asked out loud in front of them."
"Oh, dear, that was quite funny. I like that one. Perhaps I'll tell that to Lucius later." The door slammed open and he checked his clock. "Ah, ten minutes early for once. I'm impressed, Lucius. Especially this early in the morning. Would you care to wait for the others to arrive?"
"What others? You said this was about my son."
"Your son, a few other sons, and a few girls," he offered.
"Draco impregnated someone?"
"No, but it's best you wait for a few moments more." He handed Poppy back the paper. "Do get the boys ready to be visited." She nodded, going back to do so for him. She was sure Lucius was going to be storming in soon. Dumbledore smiled at the concerned parent. "Tea, Lucius? You may find that you'll want something to calm your stomach."
"No, thank you," he said coldly. "I doubt I'll need it." He looked behind him as more parents were led into the room. "What is going on? Their children are Hufflepuffs. My son would not willingly consort with them."
"Relax, your son is not at fault, merely a side effect," he said calmly. He smiled at the parents. "Where is the other one?"
"She's on her way up, Headmaster," McGonagall said, leaning against the fireplace. "Did I hear correctly that the twins were up yesterday?" He nodded. "Good, it's good to know that Ron will be supported by them as well. I had fears that they wouldn't be understanding."
"Hmmm," he agreed as the other parent was led in and the door closed by Professor Flitwick. "Welcome. Please find a seat," he offered, semi-ordering. "We have much to discuss." He waited until the parents had all sat, then handed Lucius a copy of Hermione's notes. "Some of the Hufflepuff females have managed to come into possession of some theoretical charms," he announced. A few parents looked upset at that much.
"It's a fertility spell," Lucius said, his brow wrinkling. He looked up. "So?" He passed it on at the hand wave.
"It's a unisex fertility spell," Dumbledore corrected, staring at him. "And they used a few other students to test it on."
"Then our daughters are in trouble?" one of the Hufflepuff parents, who had been a Ravenclaw herself asked. She took the notes to look over. "These look familiar."
"A young lady in this school presently was working on making Germaine's book work," he explained. "Unfortunately the young ladies made it quite strong. They also didn't count on it working on those who were messing with it." The parents looked at him en masse. "Indeed," he said seriously. "As are the four men that they tested it on." He looked at Lucius, who turned red and opened his mouth. "Draco is in no danger, but he was exposed and it did work. It works quite well. One of the Hufflepuff young ladies is now pregnant with triplets." The mother gasped and he nodded that it was hers. "I believe they were trying to prove a point about them not going into arranged marriages. They had signed a pact to that effect earlier this year. As far as I can tell it was only your daughters who did the brewing, though I believe that a few more will come to light when this oddity is found out about. So far we've managed to keep it mostly out of the press."
"Potter's illness," one mother said, raising her chin. "Him and Weasley?" Dumbledore nodded. "And who else?"
"One of our teachers," he said calmly. "As Lucius' son pointed out, this is equivalent to rape." The parents all slumped and a few more burst out in tears. "That's why you're up here. We must decide what to do about the young ladies in question. They did do this against the men's wills. They did infect them with harmful magic and a very strong potion without telling them that they were doing so. I have spoken to the people at the Underaged Bureau, and they have said that the boys may not be kicked out for this, but the usual precautions should be taken for them. As for the girls...." he trailed off and waved his hands. "I'm not sure yet."
"You won't have to worry about my daughter," the Ravenclaw said bitterly. "Can we tell whose it is yet?" He shook his head. "How much longer?"
"According to Madam Pomfrey, two weeks," McGonagall offered. "The only two we're unsure of the parentage of are Draco and the teacher's."
"Was it Severus?" Lucius asked. Dumbledore nodded. "Interesting."
"Which, of course, means that he won't be coming out of this school again until this is resolved one way or another," Dumbledore told him. "I can't very well have him wandering around in that condition you understand."
"That would be up to him as to how he ...resolved it?" Lucius asked.
"You're on the Board. We've got a specialist up today to look them over. As he pointed out, it may be impossible to remove."
"Very well," Lucius said with a slight sneer. "Has my son said anything about anyone?"
"Only that we know that it could have been anyone he slept with within 48 hours before the potion was administered, that it could have come from some biological deposit on his body at the time, which meant hair or skin or something, or that it could have been from one of the women," McGonagall offered. "That at least narrows it down."
"Or, he said he found cat hair on himself yesterday and the hormones did do a bit of damage already to his reasoning ability." Dumbledore smiled at the shocked look. "He was a bit panicked but we believe it would be rare and only those with special qualities in their blood should worry about such things."
McGonagall coughed to hide her laughter. "As for the others, I'm not sure whether or not they're still quarantined to their dorms." Dumbledore nodded. "Then I'll gladly take them up there."
"Please, if you wouldn't mind. I'll bring Lucius upstairs."
"Tell Mr. Potter my daughter is very sorry," one mother said, sounding like she was making a promise.
"Oh, some of ours too," another mother promised, stopping her sniffling to make the same promise. "Thank you for trying to keep it out of the press, Albus." She stood up. "I think I'd like to kill my daughter now."
"Right this way," McGonagall agreed, leading them up to Hufflepuff's doorway. "They're here to see the girls quarantined upstairs."
"Of course. Horrible things, that stomach bug going around," the painting agreed as she moved out of the way.
The parents stormed into the tower like an avenging army. The other students ran out of the tower, especially those who were siblings of the older ones. McGonagall burst out laughing, heading back to her office. She had her breakfast waiting on her desk for her and it was going to be a jolly morning. Behind her a scream issued and it only made her laugh harder. She got what she deserved and none of them would be able to seriously harm their children inside the school. She went back to her office and tuned in a mirror to watch Lucius as he walked into the infirmary. She had excellent timing. She had time to butter part of a croissant before he walked in. She kicked back, putting her feet up in an extra chair while she watched it going on.
"Son," he said with great distaste. "Who was it?"
"I have no idea," he defended.
"You've had that many recently?"
"No, I've been too busy working on something to have a girl recently," he said bitterly. "We've been working on that charm you assigned me to research." Lucius glared at him. "So, no, father, I have no idea whose it is. Unless it's from the cat hair that's been covering me recently."
"It cannot be," Lucius said calmly. "It will not be so." He looked his son over. "When is this supposed specialist coming in?"
"After lunch," Madam Pomfrey offered. "She's the top obstetrics person in St. Mungo's." He tipped his head at that acknowledgment. "She'll be able to tell us more. Possibly even the parentage."
"I know whose mine is," Ron offered from his bed. "The twins cast this neat thing that let them see the picture of the other parent." He stroked his stomach. "Hermione and I need to have a talk. Can you have her sent up so I can kick her bum in private?"
"Of course," she agreed, pinching him on the cheek. "Try to eat the toast, Ron."
"I did try, and I kept down a few bites. I'm taking it that way." Harry came out of the bathroom and stumbled back to his bed. "He's got it bad."
"He does," she agreed, helping Harry tuck himself back in before handing him a new bucket. "There, try to rest, Harry dear. This part will be over soon enough." She stroked his arm then pulled the curtains around his bed. "Mr. Malfoy, leave the good Professor alone. He needs his rest," she snapped. He quit moving the curtain around Severus' bed. "Thank you. Please limit yourself to your own son. He needs you more at the moment."
"Of course he does." He looked at his son. "I will be back this afternoon. Hopefully it will have an answer then as to who you will be marrying."
"No one," Draco told him stubbornly. "Especially if it's the bloody cat's." Lucius gave him a look. "Before you suggest Pansy, I would suggest that you talk to her. She's got a streak like you, *Father*."
"Fine," he agreed, leaving him there. He went to find Pansy to talk to her. His natural daughter and his step-son should probably not be together. Then again, Draco's natural father was suffering enough for both of them at the moment.
Upstairs Draco flipped onto his side, noticing that his teacher was staring at him. "Yes, I've known now for a while. I don't have the Malfoy birth mark," he said quietly, pulling his curtains with his wand. "It was quite clear whose I was."
"I agree, it should have been. You think more than either parent when you choose to use your mind in the least."
Draco nodded. "Thank you, Uncle." He snuggled in. "Whose do you think it is?"
"I do not know," he admitted. He looked down at his body. "I know I fear whose mine is, but I do not know about yours."
"If it's *HIS* then there's a chance it's a cure to get a lot of people free," Draco offered. "It could be used against him."
"Six drops of blood mixed in the poison," Snape agreed. "We shall have to see." He got comfortable. "How much longer before the healer gets here?"
"Then I believe I'll rest for a while longer, before my arm has to be removed for the pain in it." He closed the curtains and closed his eyes, willing himself not to think about some things. If the child was Voldemort's then the world was in serious trouble.
Harry looked up as the healer came into his sectioned off bed area, blinking up at her. She was quite young. "Hello," he said quietly.
"Relax, Mr. Potter. I'm not with certain groups nor do I wish you harm." He smiled at that. "Now, do you have any idea?"
"One of the Weasley twins did some sort of charm that showed them a picture and made my stomach glow gold and silver. He said he thought she was a girl and that I was wearing his shirt when I was exposed."
"Entirely reasonable," she agreed, casting a different charm. "Hmm, single, female, and a Weasley," she agreed, smiling at him. "Let's do the other one, shall we?" She cast it and smiled then nodded. "They are quite good, even with this."
"I'll tell them so. Is she in any danger? I seem to be worse than everyone here."
"You're also in worse shape, you're more tired, and your body is more out of order than theirs are. What you go through with your training and the war means that you're doing more daily than they are." She patted him on the stomach. "Don't worry, you'll be fine. It will pass soon. Do you have any other concerns?"
"I still can't even keep down water."
"There are medicines for that and I will give the nurse some," she promised. "Anything else?"
"Do the words 'fat chance' mean anything to you?" she asked blandly. He sighed and nodded. "Good. Anything that strong could have definite effects on the baby. You must be careful and be careful what you're around." She stroked his cheek. "For now, rest and heal. It'll only get worse with time for a few more weeks." He nodded and let her pull the sheet back up. "Now, I'm off to see your friend. Anything else?"
"How long should we have to stay in here?"
"A few more weeks at the most for you. Until you're well enough to sleep on your own and try to eat regularly." She went to the next cubicle, shutting her and Ron in. "What's wrong?"
"Hermione hates me," he sniffled. "She said so. Said I was ruining her life. She's the one who started the research."
"Yes, but she never wanted it used on herself," she pointed out gently. "Let me check you over, Ronald." He nodded, lying flat on his back for her. "Thank you." She checked him over then smiled at him. "I would not worry, young man. It's not fully hers. It was not her hair on you."
"But we were together," he started.
She smiled and shook her head. "Are you sure of that?" She did the charm again, letting him see the picture this time.
"I'll kill her," Ron said blandly. "Thank you."
"You're welcome," she soothed, tucking him back in. "Try to rest and eat. I'll have something sent up for the morning sickness." She left, going to make notes on their charts. "I'll be sending some special medicines up for their morning sickness, plus something because two of them are exhausted in the extreme." She looked at the nurse, who was looking very worried. "Keep those two in here," she ordered. "Mr. Malfoy's other parent is not a cat, you can reassure him of that. He wasn't listening to me by that point. I didn't recognize her picture but it is a human. Mr. Potter's is quite a surprise but they had an explanation for it. Mr. Weasley may well need a calming potion soon. Apparently someone has been pretending to be his girlfriend recently," she sighed. "That's going to be explosive. I'm sure his mother will protect him somewhat but she may want to kill the child as well."
She handed over the charts. "There you go. If they want, all but two of them are capable of being terminated. Professor Snape's is too strong for that. It's leeching from his system already. The other, Mr. Potter's, is quite strong. I have no doubt that the child will be hell on this school and I can only hope I never have her as a patient. Get with my office later this week so we can discuss the schedule of checkups necessary." Madam Pomfrey nodded. "Good woman. Good job, and good luck with a few of them." She smiled and went to floo back to her office. She had already seen the girls and roundly berated them for the boys. She had never seen such irresponsible girls in her life. She wished the medi-witch all the luck in the world with those girls. The boys were adorable, especially the professor when he scowled at her.
Too bad he'd be taken now and she couldn't date her patients.
Harry wobbled into the meeting area and headed directly for a couch, flopping down with a sigh of relief, which made the twins grin at him. "She swears that there's no reason for me to be this sick. Even the new medicine isn't working."
"Sorry, Harry." George coughed to draw attention to him. "Are we nearly ready?"
Ron sulked in his chair but made a happier noise briefly.
"Thank you," Fred announced. "There are three ways for this spell to have worked. You could have had sex within forty-eight hours of being given the first part of the potion."
"You could have had something on you from the other parent, like hair or something."
"Or you could have been given the potion by the other parent," Fred finished with a smile.
"Harry was wearing one of our shirts when he was first dosed. We loaned it to him after we hired these two to clean up our lab," George told them. His parents gaped at him so he shrugged, looking sheepish. "The doctor agreed with our charms."
"You are charming," Harry agreed dryly. "She also told me I can't practice."
"It won't keep you from doing other things," Molly said absently. "Are you two saying what I think you are?"
"It's his," Fred said, pointing at his twin.
"Oh, um, well then," Arthur said, trying hard to come up with something.
"Plus, it is a she," George said with a crowning grin of achievement.
"Well," Molly said, licking her lips. She looked from Harry to the twins and then back. "Harry, dear?" she asked carefully.
"All I knew is that I had forgotten to give back the shirt," Harry said with a shrug. "That it's nice and comfortable and stretched in just the right places."
"All right then," Arthur decided. "It's interesting news, but what do you have plans to do, boys?"
"Are we late?" McGonagall asked as she and Dumbledore walked in together. "Is there some news?"
"Come on in," Harry said brightly. "We figured out where mine came from at the least. It seems that I was wearing George's shirt while I was thinking in front of the trophy case. She already knows her da," he said proudly. "She makes me less sick when he's around."
"She?" Dumbledore said, pausing to consider it. "When was the last first born female in a generation?" Something was tapping its foot in the back of his head for him to pay attention to it but he couldn't see it through all the clutter.
"The one right ahead of you, sir," Fred said helpfully, with a bright grin. "It's a girl baby Harry/George."
"Oh, dear," McGonagall said, one hand drifting up to cover her throat. "I think I'll be retiring in about ten years, Albus."
"You and me both," he agreed, looking at them. He looked at Ron. "Any news on yours?"
"It's a boy," Ron admitted. "There's been a girl pretending to be Hermione with her permission. She said so when I broke the news to her." He looked at his head of house. "So if you find one of our year dangling off a balcony, you'll know why."
She nodded. "I would assume so," she agreed. "Lavender or Padma?"
"I see. I'll do what I can to make her own up to it," she offered.
"We'll be adopting the child," Molly told her. "Harry, what will you and George be deciding? I'm assuming why this announcement was made."
"Well, we'd love to have him, mum," Fred offered. "But we'd have to switch rooms around a bit. I don't think he wants to sleep in our room just yet."
Harry shrugged. "I sleep next to your brother often enough. I seem to be sleep walking this year a bit," he explained at the looks sent his way. "I even woke up next to Dean once. He was not a happy person."
"No, that's putting it mildly. I didn't know he knew some of those words," Ron admitted dryly, smirking at him. "Maybe a good shag'll make that stop, Harry."
"Not while he's like this, Ron," Fred chastised. "It could hurt him or her."
"Her," Dumbledore squeaked. George beamed at him, grinning and nodding. "Just the one?" he asked hopefully.
"Just the one. We thought it might be twins, but twin girls as first borns tend to be bad omens for that generation," George offered. "Thankfully it's just the one and she's quite strong and good already."
"Good, good," Dumbledore said, nodding a bit to show he agreed with what he was saying. "I think I'm for a nightcap. Minerva?"
"Coming," she agreed, leading him back to his office so he could sit down and cry for the future of his beloved school in peace. "The strength of Harry with the twin's natures," she said thoughtfully. Dumbledore squeaked again and poured himself a large drink, gulping it quickly. "It can't be that bad."
"I was a year behind the last one. She drove six different teachers to attempt suicide in her first year. She learned subtlety after that. She's the one who convinced the castle to change the stairs now and then." He poured himself another drink. "She was only half as powerful as one of the twins."
McGonagall poured her own drink and gulped a good bit of it. "I'll be retiring the summer before she starts school," she announced.
He nodded. "That may save you, but poor Severus will never be the same."
She saluted him with her glass. "To each their own," she reminded him. "He's a Slytherin, he can handle her. I can't."
He nodded. "I fear I won't be able to either."
Molly helped Harry back into his bed, patting the sheets around him. "I need to know, dear, do you want my lunatic son?"
He grinned. "It's not as bad as it could be. It could be Ron's."
"True," she agreed after a moment's thought. "That may be a worse child. We would have to put away all magical objects before the child went to school each year." She stroked his cheek. "It's up to you, Harry. I will leave it up to you. They will take care of you beautifully. They will also answer to me if you're ever harmed. Remember, you're just like one of my own."
"Wouldn't that be incest?" he asked with a repressed grin. She laughed so he grinned at her. "It's fine. They haven't officially asked but I'm considering it."
"Good boy. It would make you happy and make them sorry for what they did to Arthur and me." She kissed him on the forehead. "You rest, dear. I'm going down to help Ron yell at that young woman." She closed his curtains then walked out, going down to yell at the woman herself. How dare she play with her son that way! She walked in and looked at George. "Are you offering your hand?" He nodded. "Good, then ask formally. He said he may accept."
"I was going to wait until he wasn't irrational."
"By then, the child will be in primary school," Arthur told him. "Do it now, George."
"Well, I'd like to make it special," Fred offered. "We'll do it this weekend, Dad." They all turned to look at Lavender, who was cowering in a corner. "Now then, dear. I think it's time we finished our talk since the fragile people are out of the room." She whimpered and shrunk further back into the corner.
Harry looked up as a large animated wooden statue walked up to where he was standing in Magical Creatures, looking up at it. It was easily eight feet tall and was carrying a large box. Harry slowly stepped away from the others, just in case it was an attack, but the statue put the box down and sat cross-legged in front of it. "Who is this from?" he asked calmly.
"Your intended sends this in greeting," the statue said, sounding slightly like Bill, or like someone imitating Bill maybe. "He wishes you to open it and decide on the merits of the gifts involved."
"Wow," Ron breathed, coming over to help. The statue grabbed him and put him in its lap but didn't try to hurt him. "Hey! I can help."
"It is his task and his decision," the statue said in a bad imitation of Ron's mother's voice.
Harry knelt to open the box, looking inside. He pulled back, watching as the balloons came out and floated up in an arch above the box. Then rainbow twinkles floated down from them. Next came a single flower done in silver. He pulled it out to look at it, putting it next to him. He pulled out the next part, putting the empty plates down on the ground as well. Finally he pulled out a single box, which he opened, and felt the transport spell moving him. He blinked once he landed. "I've never felt a portkey like that."
"That's because it was meant to move an area, not a person," George said with a slight smile. "Like it?"
"I do," Harry admitted, handing over the box. "What's in that? It wouldn't let me open it."
George smiled and set up the picnic he had planned. "Let's eat first, Harry. We need to talk for a bit. This is a serious decision and you'd best know more than the genial prankster that you've seen around the Burrow and the school." Harry nodded, getting comfortable on the blanket that was spread beneath them. "We're above the shop if it matters," he said when he saw Harry looking around. "This would be the nursery." He gave him another tiny grin as he bent to dish out the food. "I didn't cook, can't do it at all," he explained. "But Tom said it'd be good for you." He held out a plate. Harry continued to stare at him. "Harry?" Harry took the plate and ate a bite, still staring at him. "What? Am I funny colored? I know I was working on something earlier that could have done that."
"You're trying very hard to be nice," he pointed out. "I've seen the real you, even when you were frustrated, George."
"Really? Think so?"
"I know so."
"Eat some of the sponge cake, Harry," he instructed gently. "It won't hurt you." Harry broke off a corner and nibbled it, then his eyes went wide. "It's a fairly complex charm."
"So was creating a swamp in the middle of a hallway," Harry pointed out gently, moving slightly closer. "You didn't have to."
"I did," George corrected, smirking at him. "That way there's no surprises. Here, touch mine." Harry touched the piece of cake he held out then George ate it, right before he lunged over to kiss him. "You're sure?"
"I'm sure. We can both have nasty tempers," he said quietly. "I had no idea you had a jealous streak though."
George nodded. "I do," he agreed, kissing him again. "Here, you need to eat. It'll make the baby grow faster so she can be born sooner." He nodded, digging into the salad on his plate. "Huh. I would have thought you'd go for dessert first," he teased.
"I'm trying to be normal," he retorted with a grin. "Besides, I'm hungry, I couldn't keep down breakfast, even with the medicine." He ate another bite of salad. "I didn't know Tom could cook like this."
"His wife does," George said sheepishly. "He thought it was cute that I'm courting you." He dished him some more salad. "There, since it seems to agree with you so much."
"Thanks. The dressing is pretty good." He dug in, not ashamed to eat quickly. Then he wiped his mouth off and drank his water, watching as George watched him while he ate. "You can eat."
"I am. I'm nervous. Finish the sponge cake?" Harry ate another piece of it and smiled as the memory hit him. He slowly made his way through it, going through some of the highs and lows of the twin's lives. By the time he was done he was in awe. The twins were stronger than he had thought. They had done things that wouldn't be found at the school for years. He shifted closer, hugging George, who gave him another sheepish look. "At the worst, we'll be friends, George. Like me and Ron."
George smiled. "Sure, we'd like that. You do know that if you get one you get the other?"
"Are you going to share me?" Harry teased.
"Fred had better not try," he said firmly. Harry chuckled and poked him, making him grin. "Sorry, but I would get jealous. He doesn't share that with me." He kissed Harry again, making him smile. "There, I like that look on you, Mr. Potter." He put down the remaining food, taking Harry's face in his hands to kiss him again. "Mm, you taste good. You're right, that dressing is very good." Harry laughed and swatted at him, making George smile at him again. "You should be getting back to the school before they worry."
"Who did the statue?"
"We did. Fred did the voices."
"Hmm. I heard Bill's and Molly's. It was holding Ron still the last time I saw him."
"Good. Our little brother is nosy sometimes." He gave him a squeeze and handed back the box. "Here, take this to get back to the school." Harry opened his mouth but George smirked and waved, sending him back. Harry blinked at the statue as it came back into focus. "I'll see you tomorrow, keep that until this weekend and then tell me." The statue let Ron go and stood up, putting the arch of balloons back into the box before carrying it off.
Harry looked at Ron. "George said hi," he said blandly. "We had a nice lunch."
Ron beamed. "I figured it had to be with Fred's voice coming from the statue," he agreed, helping Harry up. "We missed charms."
"Hmm, oops?" he suggested with a smirk. "Come on, let's go to the next class." He tucked the box into his pocket, not wanting to see what was inside. He figured he might know and he could peek at it later. They walked inside the school and found McGonagall pacing in the entry. "It was George," he explained.
"Huh?" she asked, looking at them. "No, dear, it's not you. We figured as much when you disappeared. No, Severus is missing."
"Any idea who has him?" Ron asked. "Or should we help search the school?"
"You can borrow the Marauder's Map," Harry offered.
She pursed her lips. "He's not in the school, we've already checked. He was taken out sometime during lunch. Albus is out searching for him now."
"Do you think *HE* has him?" Ron asked. She nodded.
"Then we can do something about that," Harry decided easily. She looked stunned. "It's not that hard. He can't harm that child, or else he could die. Correct?"
"No, Severus would die."
"No, if Voldemort hits the baby, it'll do what I did," Harry reminded her. "The healer said so when I asked her. Dumbledore heard." She shook her head. He nodded. "It will. It's his blood, the same as his taint means that he can't do that to me again. If it's even his."
"Harry, you can't be thinking about..." Ron started but Harry had walked away and headed back outside after handing him a small box. He looked at it then at Harry's back. "George will kill you, Harry!"
"No he won't!" Harry headed for the barrier and disappeared, going to where he could feel the pull in his mind. He could feel Voldemort being happy and cheerful, the evil sinkhole in his mind felt that way today. He landed and glared at the three people in the room. "Get away from my future child," he demanded, wand already out. Snape glared at him. "Truth, did you or did you not have me in detention the night before the first potion was applied?"
"You were," Snape said bitterly. "You had caused another bloody mess in my dungeon." He stood up with a moan of complaint. "The potion would require a hair or a piece of skin."
"Or blood. You had all three on you after I scraped myself cleaning up the large cauldron. Plus, you were probably still cursing me to no end. That makes that my child most likely since my taint would have been sooner." He glared at Lucius. "Get away from my future child." The blond man backed up a step, getting out of his way. He glared at the stunned Dark Lord. "You as well."
"The child is mine."
"Prove it," Harry snapped. Voldemort looked confused. "Prove it. The child can't be yours. That would mean that you left biological deposits on him and I'm pretty sure he's not sleeping with you willingly." He sneered at the older wizards. "That means it's likely my child, and I will always come for my child. Hence, you being unable to hurt him because my child would do the same thing to you I did." He grabbed Snape and sent themselves off before the older men could get over their shock to react. They landed in Hogsmeade. "There, now keep up the story," he said gruffly. "That was a bit too close. If he wasn't so happy, it would ...." He trailed off as the sinkhole in his mind exploded in rage, grabbing his forehead. "Ow. He's not happy. Oops, I guess he'll want a new lieutenant soon if he keeps that up." He grunted and shook it off, looking at his teacher. "You're welcome."
"That was incredibly stupid, Potter."
"As you've said before, sir, stupid and brave can be synonyms." He walked off, still holding his forehead. "Get back up to the school. It won't work twice." Snape grabbed him by the arm and marched him up to the school. "Go slower please? Before I puke up the nice lunch George just fed me," he pleaded.
The older man slowed some in defense of his own stomach. If he saw someone getting sick, he'd do the same at the moment. Having had Voldemort cooing and touching his stomach had made him quite ill.
"Severus!" McGonagall yelled, hurrying down to grab him. "Are you all right? Mr. Potter, you are grounded! You have six months of detention and I should take points off!" she yelled.
"Fine," he complained, walking inside. "Just let me take something for my headache first," he whined. He let Ron walk him up to the infirmary. "I did a sneak attack. He never expected it and it stunned him."
"How?" Ron asked.
"Think, Ron, what was I doing the night before we were exposed?"
"Detention," he said blandly. "Oh, Harry, no," he said, stopping to stare at his back. "You told him it was yours?" Harry stopped and nodded back at him. "George is going to kill you, Harry."
"I'll floo him from upstairs," he noted, heading that way. "Where's the box?"
"Here," Ron said, handing it over before walking in the opposite direction. He wanted to be far, far away from that argument when it happened.
Harry took the headache potion as soon as the nurse saw him and held one up. "Thanks. Professor Snape seems to be uninjured." He looked at her. "Is it mine?" he asked quietly. She shook her head quickly. "I was hoping not, but I did have detention the night before," he admitted. "Then again, the Dark Lord thinks it is," he said smugly. He went into her office. "Can I use your floo? McGonagall just screamed and all-but threatened to spank me this time."
"Fine," she agreed lightly, shaking her head once the door was closed.
Harry settled in front of the fireplace, tossing in some of the powder he had grabbed before sitting. "Weasley's Wizarding Wheezes," he said quietly. A head appeared and smiled at him. "Fred?" The head nodded. "Cool, can I talk to George for a moment? I just did something stupid, yet necessary to protect someone else here at the school and I wanted to mention it before he heard rumors or from the paper."
"Harry, tell me you're not denying him," he said, frowning at him.
"No, I just had to find Snape." The eyes went wide and the head was replaced. "Hey, George. It was a surprise rescue. I stunned them by mentioning I had been in detention the night before we were all dosed. It's not true from what I hear, but it'll protect him more."
"That's fine, Harry," he agreed quietly. "Are you all right?" Harry nodded, smiling at him, a happy, pleased look. "You're sure?"
"Very. I just wanted you to know before you heard it some other way."
"That's fine then, Harry. Go take a nap? You look done in."
"I am a bit sleepy but I'm okay. I have potions next," he admitted with a small grin. "So therefore I don't think I'm going to be doing much at the moment. Should I open the box?"
"Yes," he said patiently. Harry pulled it out and opened it, smiling at the small ring in it. He held it up. "It's a marking ring. A symbol between us."
"Oh. Cool. It's very pretty. Can I say yes now?"
"No, you have to wait. There's other stuff I want you to see first."
Harry leaned closer so their noses were nearly touching. "George, as long as you don't share me, I don't care," he said simply. "It's got to be better than what I've had, which makes you next to Merlin for me." The twin looked hurt. "I'm not saying you can't spoil me and treat me nice," he offered with a small grin. "It'd be a nice change."
"Sure. Then we're still on for tomorrow?" Harry nodded, beaming at him. "Good boy, Harry. Now stay in the infirmary so no one can bother you and you quit doing foolish hero stuff. You be safe." His head disappeared, and little did Harry know but George went to have a stiff drink to get the image of a child between him and Snape out of his head.
"He'll be fine," Fred noted while he rung up a young witch. "He's Harry, he'll be fine."
"He just pulled off a spur of the moment surprise rescue and told a whopping lie," he complained.
Fred bagged up the purchase, then looked at his twin. "Which means that the old git will be protected. The skank can't touch him now, not if he thinks that child will be the one to make sure he wins."
George nodded. "I understand that, but he just did it on the spur of the moment!"
"He did the same when he rescued Ginny," Fred reminded him. "Harry's like that. Look at the battle at the Ministry."
"He'll be hurt."
"He might, but I doubt it'll be going on much longer. The skank can't possibly try against him like this. It'll make Harry more unpredictable and unstable. Remember the mood swing mum had when we potty trained ourselves?" he asked dryly.
George smirked back. "Oh, vividly. We thought we were being so good too." He sighed. "I guess it'll help, but still! I don't like that rumor starting."
"Well, who's going to hear?"
"If Lucius was there? Everyone," he said succinctly.
"Good point, but mum will know the truth. We'll be *fine*. Now, what have you got planned for tomorrow, my wicked, wicked brother? Stuffing up a boy two years younger," he said with a wicked grin. "Shame on you."
"Oh, I'm full of shamelessness," he agreed happily. "As proven by the thing that I've got coming out of the lab tomorrow night." He headed that way, much happier now. Harry had told him the truth first, before he could protest. That was an encouraging sign.
"Harry," Dumbledore said fondly as the boy was walked into his office by McGonagall. "How are you feeling?"
"Rational," he noted. "Why?" He smirked at Snape. "Has he said anything yet?"
"I did get an owl saying that he would be seeing me soon, but it almost sounded...fond," he said grimly. "It was still rather stupid. He'll find out sometime."
"Why? My magic and his magic are very close," Harry noted. Snape glared at him. "Hey, I'm only trying to keep you from dying at his hands for this." He smirked at him. "Has he been told anything about mood swings yet?"
"No," he admitted, looking in awe at the young man. "Nor shall I." He looked at Dumbledore. "He doesn't know Mr. Potter is one of those afflicted, all he knew of was myself and Mr. Malfoy. He encouraged Draco to keep the child, just in case Draco turned out to be a less than ideal minion."
"I see," Dumbledore said, looking at them. "Do you think this plan of Harry's has some merit or hope of protecting you?"
"While he thinks it's mine, he won't attack Snape. It'd be the one thing that could possibly break me," Harry pointed out. Dumbledore nodded at that. "By the way, I've already told George the truth. I felt he deserved it."
"Why?" Snape asked.
"Because I was wearing his shirt when I was dosed with the potion," Harry told him dryly. "He'd lent it to me earlier this summer when we had helped clean up a royal mess in the shop and I kept it. It had some of his hair on it...." he trailed off at the held-up hand. "Too much information?"
"Much," he said dryly. "Are you two...together now?"
Harry shrugged. "He wouldn't take my yes when I offered it. He said he wanted to give me a few more days of thought. Said he'd be seeing me again tomorrow, though I don't know how."
"Oh, I do," Dumbledore admitted. "He cleared all of this courting with me already." He gave Harry a stern look. "Do treat him right, Harry Potter, or else."
"I'd never dream of doing anything," he protested. "Not that I've had much practice but I'm a good friend at the least."
"If you call dragging your friends into trouble good," Snape said sarcastically.
Harry gave him a long look. "Ron followed, I never asked," he retorted, arms crossing over his chest defensively. "I even tried to get him to stay away a few times and he still helped. That was not my decision, it was Ron's. If you want to get mean and snarly about Ron's decisions, snap at Ron. Not at Harry." He looked at Dumbledore again. "At the very least it'll give him a few more week's protection until he can find out how to do a paternity charm. And again, my magic and his are relatively close. It's entirely possible that he may not be able to fully tell."
"You're not that close, Harry," Dumbledore warned.
"Then why do we have the same wand?" he asked simply. Dumbledore looked stunned. "Gee, shocked? I would have thought that the contagion principle that you gave me would have covered that," he offered. "So therefore it was a spur of the moment plan and it seemed to have worked. We got out of there without a single curse being thrown. They were too shocked to do anything about it. Plus, hey, it's a nice thing to not get hexed today. I might have thrown up on him if he had tried." He shrugged and left, going back to his resting. He was still feeling icky and he needed to rest before dinner so he could try to stomach some food again. Not that he'd promise to eat, but he would at least go and try to watch others eat tonight. Maybe nibble on some toast or something. He ran into Madam Pomfrey in the hallways. "What happens if the school finds out?"
"Then we'll do what we can," she promised. "Try to eat tonight, Mr. Potter. You need it."
"I'm going to dinner, but I'll only promise to watch others eat. Even that got me at lunch." He wandered on, going back to his house and a chair most everyone left to him these days. He pulled out the box and opened it, smiling at the small ring again. "Oy, Ron!" he called. Ron came down the stairs. "Where would that go?"
Ron whispered in his ear, then went on. "By the way, Harry, you don't have to get him one. That's given from the husband to the wife usually."
Harry gave him a long look. "Fat chance I'm the wife."
Ron smirked. "You might want to protest that tomorrow then." He scowled as Lavender and Hermione walked up to him. "What?" he asked grimly.
"C..can we talk, Ron?" Lavender asked quietly, glancing around. "Please?"
"Fat bloody chance," he snorted, going back upstairs. He went to sit on his bed, going back to his sulking. He wanted to kill them both, but his mother said he wasn't allowed to so he was still trying to harness that urge. Not that it was working very well, but he was still trying.
"Ron?" Neville asked quietly. "What's wrong? You look really pissed and we've all noticed it had to do with Hermione and Lavender."
"Yeah, well, they switched places once or twice and didn't tell me," he said grimly, pulling up his pillow to crush against his chest and hold. "I'm not talking to them, otherwise I might kill them both with my bare hands."
"Oh, okay then," Neville said, sounding relieved. "If it were me, I don't think even your mum would be able to stop me from yelling." He sat on the edge of Ron's bed, gently patting him on the arm. "Do you want to talk about it? I'm good at listening."
"Not yet, Neville. The situation's a bit more complicated than that," Harry said as he walked in. "Trust me though, you'll probably be hearing more than you want to know about that one. Hey, Ron, would it be all right if I cursed them both tonight?"
Ron grinned at him. "Sure, Harry, just don't get caught. Ask George for his suggestion, he'd love to help."
"Oh, I think I've got something he can build off of," Harry said with a wink. He laid down on his bed. "Madam Pomfrey got onto me in the halls about eating this meal."
"You should try, Harry. Even if you do get sick, at least you'll get some nutrients. Maybe they won't have to put you on vitamins or anything if you do."
"They're already discussing that," Harry admitted. He grinned at Neville. "Neville, walk us up to the infirmary later. Please?" he asked at the hesitant look. "We'll need someone to talk to and you're good at that. We just have to get you cleared." Neville nodded, though he clearly didn't understand.
"Are you sure, Harry?"
"We trust Neville and we'll need someone watching our backs," Harry pointed out. "None of the other teachers know, Ron."
"Good point. Fine." He grinned at Neville. "Let's go now?"
"Sure," Harry agreed, getting up again and grabbing the bed post until the world stabilized around him again. "I hate that. I want that to stop."
"Just wait for pyles," Ron said bitterly. "Mum said I'd get over having them when I got them." He let Neville help him up and they walked out together, heading up to the infirmary. "Madam Pomfrey, Harry's just gotten an idea," he announced.
"Yes, boys?" she asked, smiling at them.
"We'll need someone watching out for us in classes," Harry pointed out. "The other teachers don't know yet and we'll need someone to watch out for us in case something happens like another hexing match in the halls. We'd like to tell Neville if that's all right."
She looked thoughtful, then nodded once. "You may, but he must swear not to tell anyone else until it becomes public knowledge," she said, looking at Neville. "This is a very serious promise, young man. There is more at stake here than you realize."
"I'm a member of DA, ma'am, I can handle secrets," Neville offered. "I promise, guys. What's going on? It sounds like you're both really sick instead of just having the flu."
"No, we're pregnant," Ron told him simply. Neville blinked, then sat down in the middle of the floor.
"That's about how we felt," Harry agreed, helping him up with a grunt. "Now do you see why we need someone to watch our backs?"
"How?" Neville asked quietly. "I'm not, right? This isn't something that's going to infect the whole school?"
"No, this is fully the first Hufflepuff conspiracy in fifty years," Ron told him bitterly. "They decided to do this to us. Hermione did the research and they found out."
"Oh, my," he breathed, putting a hand on Harry's stomach. "The sickness and all that, that's normal?"
"If a bit extreme in Mr. Potter's case," Madam Pomfrey said with a smile for him. "Now do you understand, young man?"
"Oh, I do," he agreed. "Merlin, if You-Know-Who found out, we'd all be in trouble," he said with a nervous laugh. He touched Ron's stomach. "Who's? Lavender's?" he guessed at the return of the angry look. Ron nodded. "Oh, dear." He hugged Ron as hard as he dared. "It'll be fine. We'll help you kick her bum, Ron." He grinned at Harry. "We all noticed that the twins were seeming to court you so I'm assuming?"
"George's," Harry told him with a grin. "I was wearing his shirt and it had his hair on it somewhere." He coughed. "I also had to rescue someone earlier and told the person that I rescued him from that the child the other one was carrying was mine," he told the nurse. She pursed her lips but nodded. "I figured it'd give him some extra protection for a bit."
"It probably will," she agreed dryly. "It was still dangerous, especially with how dizzy you've been recently." She checked him over, then checked Neville just in case. "Good, you're perfectly normal Neville. Now, make sure to chide them gently when they can't eat. They really can't help it. Though they should be trying," she said sternly, giving Ron and Harry looks. "Unless they want to stay up here for a few more weeks?" The boys shook their heads and led Neville out, taking him back down to the Great Hall. "Those poor boys," she sighed, making another note in the file she was keeping on this. At least she had a helper to watch them now. Now if only she could get Mr. Malfoy to do the sensible thing and find someone like Mr. Longbottom to confide in.
Harry smiled as George's newest portkey brought him to a garden grotto. "This is pretty. Still the nursery?"
"No, our herb garden on the roof," he admitted. "I'm slowly giving you the tour," George assured him with a smile. "Sit and eat, Harry?"
"Eating may not be the best suggestion but I like to sit," he agreed, sitting closer to George. "We told Neville so we'd have someone to watch our backs. He's been mother-henning Ron all day." George chuckled at that and handed over a glass of something bubbly. "What's this?"
"Sparkling cider. Not in the least bit bad for you, but close enough to champagne for now." He clinked their glasses together. "To us?"
"To us," he agreed, kissing him before taking a sip. "That's pretty good."
George smiled at that. "Thanks. I'm trying."
"You're trying very hard, and you deserve so many brownie points for that, but I didn't need the intense courting. The very fact that someone wants me is still astounding to me."
George silenced him then pulled back slowly. "I do want you, I did before you got stuffed up. I simply thought I'd have to watch from afar and sneak peaks when we came back to the Burrow while you were visiting."
"I thought it was Fred who walked in on me."
"Only once or twice. The rest were me," he said sheepishly. "I used to sneak peaks in the changing room too. Oliver caught me once and about killed my scrawny butt."
"That far back?"
"Hmm, oh, yes," Fred said as he joined them. "How are we feeling today?"
"We're fine. Still queasy but otherwise all right," Harry admitted. "You're not going to ask to share me, right? I know it's been a nightmare I've had recently but I was truly horrified when you two switched out and then George got mad at me for being with you, Fred."
Fred giggled, a very unmanly sound, but he shook his head. "No, my tastes don't run your way in the least, Harry. I like breasts much too much to ever give them up."
Harry grimaced. "According to Madam Pomfrey and Neville, I may be getting some. They were chatting about that last night while she did check ups for our records."
"I'll manage to restrain myself," Fred promised, patting him on the back. "Ease that nightmare a bit?" Harry nodded, giving him a relieved look. "Don't worry, I'd think dreams like that would be too stunning to be anything but shocking. Being between both of us would be one hell of an experience."
George gave him a shove. "I don't ask to share your ladies."
"True," Fred agreed with a smirk.
"Don't worry, Harry, I'd never ask. Even if the thought popped into my head, I'd never do more than ask and you'd have the right to refuse." He held up a bite of cheese melted on toast. "Here, try this. Mum said she had luck with this recipe while she was with Bill." Harry nibbled it from his fingers and moaned, going limp against his side. "Good?"
"Wonderful. I've been down to oatmeal and toast. That's got flavor!" He sipped the cider. "You're wonderful." He snuggled into George's side. "Fred, when do you think I'll be able to return the favor and show him what's mine?"
"How about this Saturday?" he suggested. "We've got to do a bit of banking and shopping then. We can do the financial disclosure then." Harry nodded, beaming up at George. "Did you like the ring?"
"I do, but I'm getting him one too. Ron told me it'd mean I was the wife." He gave George a long look. "I've never even thought about that part of it."
George smirked at him. "We'll get to that eventually. I'm assured that you'll be nearly wetting yourself for me in a few weeks." He sipped his own cider. "Then we'll move slowly and make sure you like it. If not, we'll figure something out." He shrugged, keeping in his hurt look.
"You've never been with a bloke?" Fred asked. "I thought I heard you and Dean...." Harry shuddered. "No?"
"No, that was all Dean's thing. He was trying to brag. I've done some thinking, but never anything actually," he admitted sheepishly, blushing a lot. "Ron thinks I'm a prude."
"Ron thinks anyone who doesn't get shagged night and day is a prude," Fred told him. "That would be the rest of his family however. He's got mum's nature and it'll drive someone barmy someday. How goes the thing with Hermione?"
Harry gave them both a wicked smirk. "I've laid the groundwork for some enterprising and brilliant prankers to build up on their punishment. As of this moment, they've got some bloating, cursed to have really bad hair, and are generally feeling the effects of permanent PMS. And then on top of that I laid a small curse that gave them acne and bad breath. I figured you two could build on that somehow."
"Hmm, an attraction spell should about cover that," Fred mused, considering the ceiling. "We need to trim the ivy tonight." He looked at Harry. "Not very imaginative, little one."
"I was only laying the ground work for you two to make them truly miserable. It was Hermione's idea," he explained at the confused look. "She knew Lavender liked Ron a lot and she didn't want to be with Ron anymore. So instead of doing the humane thing and breaking up, she let Lavender pretend to be her each and every time they got together. She's gotten really good at Polyjuice."
"Hmm, an idea is starting," George admitted. "He's right, being miserable is a good start and then we can finish it with something astounding."
"Snape?" the other countered.
"That's mean, he's in enough pain as is," Harry offered.
"Hmm," Fred said, looking at his twin, then he suddenly smirked. "McGonagall?"
"A house elf?" Harry suggested sweetly. The twins snickered at that. "Especially since Hermione's still on her SPEW kick."
"No, it's got to be something that no sane person would ever *dream* of touching," Fred told him.
"There is that unfortunate segment of the wizarding world who likes their house elves too much," George agreed. "I've always thought that was Draco's problem."
"No, it's not, but I'm not sure whose child his is," Harry offered. "Maybe Goyle's?"
"Hmm, nasty thought," George said, feeding Harry another bite of toast and cheese. "Eat before it gets cold. It's supposed to be warm and gooey. That's part of its appeal." Harry nibbled contentedly, leaning against his mate's side. George checked his watch. "We're nearly out of time."
"Fuck time," Harry said bitterly. "I don't need to go to Potions today."
George smiled at him. "In that case, we could show you how we wanted to decorate the nursery if you wanted."
"Sure. Give me some more cheese? Please?" George fed him another bite, then kissed him again, making Harry grin and lick his lips. "Thank you, George."
"This is much more than I wanted to know about your relationship," Fred noted.
"Last I heard you two still slept in the same room," Harry reminded him with a smirk. "Doesn't that get inconvenient?"
"Silencing spell between us," Fred assured him. "That way we don't have to hear each other's things going off." He patted Harry on the head. "You're fixated, aren't you?"
"I don't know why. All I know is that I had these odd dreams for the last few nights and then George would get really upset and walk out on me. So I'd leave so you two wouldn't get separated and then the world would start to go to hell for me."
George cuddled him. "It won't happen, Harry. I promise. Odd dreams to the side, I'd never even think of sharing you. I'm not like that usually." He stroked the warm back. "You're running a fever?"
"It's nothing. Madam Pomfrey said it was normal with the way I've been sick. It's only a small one." He finished his cider then leaned against George's side again. "Neville said I was to ask where that ring was supposed to go. He thought it'd make a cute nipple or navel ring but Ron told him it was supposed to be a genital piercing."
"No, it's usually put into the ear," Fred told him, rolling his eyes. "Our little brother needs to be laid like he deserves, not by some tepid woman."
"Offering one of your women?" George teased.
"Hell no," he snorted. "My women are mine and they know that," he said smugly. "Speaking of, Harry, may I tell them?"
"As long as the truth doesn't get out," he offered. "We told Neville so we'd have someone to watch our backs in the halls. Oh." He sat up. "Draco tried to stab himself in the gut with a knife last night. His father prevented him from having it terminated, said he had to have it or else he'd be disowned and cast aside. He even had him Imperious'd by someone else. Dumbledore found it and took it off for him. The git took a dagger off Dumbledore's desk and tried to get his baby. Dumbledore managed to stop him before he killed himself too, but Madam Pomfrey said the baby may still be scarred since she had to heal them both. He's presently tied to a bed until they can get him rational again. Even Ron feels sorry for him at the moment."
"Me too," Fred agreed.
"I'm so glad we got Mum," George sighed. "Even though she doesn't understand us she'd never demand that we do things that'd kill us."
"He'll be fine so far," Harry offered. "He's just gone off the track of his mind. Snape's working on a special potion for him. He asked me to get him something since it can't be sent by owl if you'd two'd help me."
"Sure. What's he need?" Fred asked. "Maybe we have some downstairs."
"Some slow weed?"
"Slow weed?" George grimaced. "We'd better verify that one for him. That one's not exactly the sort of thing you give to pregnant people. It's a poison." He stood up. "You do that, Fred, while I take Harry down and show him our ideas."
"Sure." He hugged Harry as soon as they were both standing. "Welcome to the family. We'll do your ears later this weekend." He went to call the Potions' Master, just in case Harry forgot some of the message. "Sir," he said respectfully. "Harry said you needed him to pick up some stuff for you. He said slow weed but we weren't sure you meant what we thought you meant. Did you?"
Snape's head in the floo nodded. "Please. Also some absinthe if you can find it. We have brandy here."
"Then it is what I thought," Fred noted, nodding. "Fine. I can send it back with him. He'll be missing your class, they're talking about the rooms upstairs and about the marking ring George got him."
"Anything else, sir?"
"No, that would be fine. Thank you, Mr. Weasley. I trust you can keep this quiet?"
"Of course." He smirked. "We have a brother's girlfriend to deal with as well. It's all a new prank." He wiggled his fingers and cut the connection, going out to get that for him. He headed down into Knockturn, weathering the glares sent his way as he went into the apothecary down there. "Hello," he said cheerfully. "I'm in need of some supplies to get back at the girl who just fucked over our little brother." He pulled out pen and paper, writing Snape's things with their usual order. "Here you are."
"Slow weed?" he asked, giving him a look. "Absinthe?"
"We've got brandy already," he agreed dryly. "We're keeping it in mind for her, just in case she tries something else."
"Ah." He went to gather the ingredients for a homemade miscarriage potion, bringing them back with the others. "Ten knuts." Fred handed over the cash. "You sure you want to do that?"
"She intentionally didn't break up with him, just gave him to another girl using polyjuice who was pretending to be her."
"Oh." He looked stunned. "A Gryff?"
"Granger," he said bitterly. The man looked impressed. "So, yes, we're a bit pissed at her at the moment; we're stocking up on just-in-case supplies for both women at the moment. Speaking of, do you have any drabble batter?" He nodded, getting a tin of it. "Thanks." He put the money down for it too, taking it back to the shop. He tied the bundle of things for Snape and personally went back with Harry to deliver it, along with the batter he had mixed up for Hermione. He flicked some of it on her and Lavender, which caused a drop of drool to start on their chins. Harry gave him an awed look so he winked. "It's only until we can come up with something perfect," he assured him. "How did you like the plans?"
"I like the water theme better and it made George pout, but I liked his idea of doing the ceiling as trees and sky. Making it like you're in the middle of a pond in the woods."
"Interesting," he agreed. "We'll consider the illusions tonight," he promised, tapping on the Potion's door. "Here you go, sir. One Mr. Potter, late by our own fault, and one delivery that someone asked us to bring to you. He was most surly and nasty about it as well. Said you were too lazy to come get it." He smirked to show he was joking and winked at Harry. "You behave and we'll see you tomorrow, Harry." He walked off whistling, going to talk to the Headmaster. "Hello. Sorry to nudge in."
"It's not a problem, Fred. What's going on?"
"I was wondering if you could check Hermione and that bitch for us, just in case something's happened on their side as well. I doubt Lavender would be careful and the idea hit George last night."
"We hadn't thought of that, but I will ask the nurse to do so," he agreed. "What are you two planning?"
Fred cackled. "Great, mean, and nasty things. Harry's started so we can build on it. He'll fit right into the business, don't you think?" He smirked as he walked off, again whistling in pleasure. He saw a creature in the Magical Creatures pens and smirked. "Perfect," he agreed, heading back. "Did you know that Hagrid had a giant skrewt?"
"No, really?" George asked, catching his idea instantly. "What a wonderful thing. Which do you think?"
"I believe Lavender. I also believe that Dumbledore will have them checked."
George nodded. "Good. Mum'd kill her if she had done it that way and gotten herself stuffed up on purpose."
"Truly. Though I'd like to see that battle."
"Hmm, me too. I'm sure Ron'd put on a cheerleading outfit and cheer mum on too."
"That is a disgusting thought," Fred complained. "Please keep those in your own head. You and Harry both if possible. He's got some odd things in his head."
"Yes, he did," George agreed. "Truly horrifying but I suppose that's our reputation around the school."
"Or maybe it's the twins thing."
"Hmm, point," Fred admitted. "Just keep them to yourself. Otherwise I might get ideas and then we'd have to restart that wicked line and you know how many complaints we got about those."
George smirked at him. "So? We've got a back room for a reason."
"True," Fred agreed, going into the lab to work on something to get that idea out of his head.
George looked at the prank Harry had helped him with, putting it back into his pocket. Not perfect by any means but he was trying to help and trying to fit himself in. That was the important thing, that he wanted to be there and that he was trying so hard. Tomorrow they'd have to show him that he didn't have to try, and that he could be himself again.
Harry looked up as his name was called, giving Malfoy a bland look as he glanced around. "How are you feeling? I heard you went off," he asked quietly.
"Much better now. Thank you."
"It's not a problem, Draco. You didn't deserve that." The other boy relaxed until he heard other students coming their way. "Shall we?"
"I'm not interested in fighting, I wanted you to give a message to your little toys," Draco said with his customary sneer but you could hear he wasn't really into it this time. "Next time, tell them not to come back to bother our house."
"Your house is so much fun though," Potter said with a smirk. "Wanna see what I learned yesterday?" He cast the illusion spell on Draco, making him look like he had a long handlebar mustache and was wearing a ballerina dress. He laughed as he strolled off. "See you later, Malfoy."
Draco looked down at himself, then shook his head, trying to cancel it. "Potter!" he yelled when it wouldn't go away. "Take it off or I'm reporting you!"
Crabbe gave him a long look, then patted him on the back. "It'll be all right, it's only an illusion, it'll go away," he soothed.
"I want it gone now!" he demanded, stomping a foot. A quiet word floated out of the shadows and the illusion was gone. "Thank you, Professor Snape. Let me get him back?"
"No. I will do so," he said sternly, frowning at him. "Go back to the infirmary, Mr. Malfoy. You are to be resting, not taunting the Gryffindors."
"Yes, sir," he said, heading back upstairs. He hated the infirmary but he would do as his head of house said. He still felt nasty. He looked at the nurse as she came over. "Professor Snape sent me back," he said bitterly, climbing back into the bed he'd been in for the last two days. "Did it work?"
"I won't be able to tell until midnight," she reminded him, testing his forehead. "Who hexed you?"
"Potter cast an illusion," he said miserably. "I had a mustache. It was horrible!"
She made soothing noises as she tucked him back in. "You'll be fine. It wouldn't affect the potion, young man." She went back to her desk to note the incident. Those two would be the death of her yet, but they were rather fun sometimes. A mustache? It must have looked comical on his face.
Harry heard running feet and went to check on it, still under his invisibility cloak since he was out for an illegal midnight stroll to the pitch. He saw Draco come running his way and got in his way to stop him, dragging him under the cloak with him. He put a hand over his mouth. "Shh, Filch is coming," he whispered. Draco looked stunned. "What? No one deserves him after Ron threw up on him earlier."
"Thank you." They moved back into a side hallway and waited while Filch and Snape went past. Draco looked at him. "Why are you helping me?"
"Gut instinct," Harry said simply. "You're not happy this way, you're being tortured by this, and torture is wrong."
Draco nodded, that worked for him. At least for now. "Thank you. It didn't work."
"Then there's got to be other things."
"Snape's a master at potions," he said bitterly.
"Yeah, but he's not a woman," Harry pointed out bitterly. "They seem to know more about these things. C'mon, I know Madam Sprout knows about this and she knows more than she lets on." He nodded, going that way with Harry. They found her rooms using the map in Harry's hand and tapped gently, walking in when she opened the door before uncovering themselves. "Madam Sprout, they can't do anything about Draco's condition even though they've tried. I'm hoping that you, as a female, might have some better ideas than a mere man."
Madam Sprout hugged them both. "Oh, boys. You poor things." She sat Draco down and stroked his forehead. "There are ways that girls have been using forever. Even better than that potion, young man." She looked at Harry. "Thank you, Mr. Potter."
"I don't think it's right that he be tortured this way," Harry said simply. "I'm happy enough but I know he's not." He put back on his cloak and left them alone, heading back out to the pitch. He found Professor Snape looking up at the stars. "Turning into a centaur?" he asked, keeping hidden. The other man jumped, looking around. "He's with a female teacher. He's safe," he explained.
"I see. A wise choice in her own way. Do come out." Harry uncovered himself. "That stupid cloak," he said bitterly.
"I got it my first Christmas here," he agreed happily. "I figured a woman would know more ways and she said she did. I'm hoping I did the right thing?"
"You did," Snape noted. "Thank you."
"No one deserves what he was getting." He coughed. "How are you feeling? Been bothered yet?"
"No, not yet. He has been quite absent recently, and from what I've heard feeling quite gleeful. It seems he's happy even if it's his." He grimaced. "I thank you for trying."
"It's what I do," he reminded him. "If you'll excuse me, I needed to think. I was going for a hover by the far goals."
"Is that wise with how dizzy you've been?"
"If I don't, I'm going to kick someone in the nuts," he said dryly, heading for the other end of the pitch. He unshrunk his broom and hopped onto it, heading up into the crisp fall air with a sigh of relief. He turned and felt the dizziness start but forced it back down again. He would not give into it this time. Flying was too important to him to give up, even for ten months. Even for three. He did decide to hover lower however, just in case he fell.
"Maybe that thing with Draco was an early mood swing," he said dryly. "I don't usually care if he's all right."
"It's called empathy," Snape yelled. "Get down here! The Headmaster said so."
"The last I knew I wasn't betrothed to him or to you, sir. I'm perfectly safe up here. What's Voldemort going to do? Fly up here without a broom? He's a miserable flyer."
Snape looked stunned, going perfectly still. "Down, now," he said, pointing at the ground. "Before I suspend your flying for the next game."
Harry landed. "Can't a bloke get some privacy in this place to think?"
"No, this is a school. If you want privacy, become a monk." He dragged him inside and handed him over. "He was *flying*," he said bitterly.
"Actually, I was hovering at a reasonable distance from the ground, just in case the dizziness came back," Harry corrected. "I'm sorry, but I needed some time to think a bit. This has been an odd and long week."
"We understand, Harry, but we've just been warned that someone found out," Dumbledore said gently. "They know about Mr. Malfoy."
"Fucking hell," he said bitterly. "How?"
"He's with Madam Sprout."
"She tried something and can't end it either. He's in the infirmary," Dumbledore corrected.
"Fine. We'll protect him from Lucius. I'm not that fond of him since he tried to kill me in our second year." He walked back up to his house, going back to bed. "Ron?" he called quietly. Ron grunted and snuffled. "Ron?" he asked again, staying quiet.
"What's wrong, Harry?" Neville called.
"They know about Draco," he whispered.
"Shite," Neville said succinctly.
"What about Malfoy, Mr. Potter?" Dean called, flicking on the lights. "I thought you were dating one of Ron's brothers and he was dating Hermione."
Ron woke up, rubbing his eyes. "What's going on? Is it morning yet?" he asked through a yawn.
"No. The papers know, Ron."
"Fuck," he said bitterly, sitting up to curl around his stomach. "So everyone else will?" Harry nodded. "How do you know?"
"Dumbledore and Snape told me. Draco's back in the infirmary."
"Hell. Fine." He looked at the others. "We'll tell you, but you've got to keep it absolutely quiet." They looked stunned. "The Hufflepuffs...." he started.
"Them? What are they doing with Malfoy? And why is this a Gryffindor problem?" Dean asked.
"Shut it," Neville said firmly. "Those stupid brats made a fertility spell. They intentionally used it on some people without their permission."
"I'm one," Harry offered.
"So you're having a kid with one of them even though you're dating one of the twins?" Seamus asked, looking confused. "Do they know?"
Ron groaned and threw his pillow at him. "No, dumbass, we're the ones they tested it on."
"Oh." He got onto his knees. "OH! Oh, shite!" he said, looking at Neville. "You too?"
"No, we had him watching out for us," Harry told him. "It is a secret. It is not supposed to get out," he repeated. "No one is to know about me, Ron, or anyone else. If they found out about someone else, there could be a bit of an outcry and a storming by some parents."
"Is that what's wrong with those girls who were sick at the same time?" Dean asked.
Ron grimaced. "They got themselves when they did the potion on us."
"Oh, man," Seamus said, looking disgusted. "Eww, Harry. You too, Ron."
"It's not like we planned on this," Harry said dryly, glaring at him. "They wanted us to test some pudding one of them made, that's all we knew until we found out."
"How did they figure this out?" Dean asked.
"Hermione," Neville said bitterly. "It was her research and they stole it."
"No wonder you hate her, but what's with you and Lavender? I've noticed she's about a walking advertisement for those brothers of yours," Seamus said.
"Hermione made her some polyjuice with her hair in it," Ron said simply, letting them figure it out.
"Oh, shite," Seamus repeated, eyes wide. "Which is it?" Ron grimaced. "Oh, I'm so sorry, Ron. Don't they make a potion for that?"
"It won't work on some of us," Harry said bitterly. "Not that I'm not happy and things, but I didn't plan on being a dad at this age. George and I talked about that earlier. He didn't consider this option either."
"At least you two like each other," Ron offered dryly. "It's not Fred."
"True, it wasn't Fred's shirt."
"Huh?" Dean asked.
"It happened because I was wearing something that had George's hair on it," Harry told him. "That's all the spell needed. That, or sex, or the person who did the potions. So I got pregnant because I borrowed a shirt."
"Mine was the more traditional method," Ron noted for good measure.
"Wonderful," Seamus said.
"How far along are you two?" Dean asked.
"Just over three months," Harry admitted. "Firmly in the middle of morning sickness. Speaking of, Ron, your mum gave George this nice recipe for cheese on toast that worked wonders. You might get it from her. I managed to keep it down and eat a whole plateful of it."
Ron grinned at him. "I'll call her tomorrow. Thanks, Harry."
"Not an issue, Ron. We've got to stick together now. We're family." Ron snickered and batted at him, shaking his head. "I'm going to tell him yes."
"That makes you an in-law, not actual family, Potter," Ron teased. "You'd have to dye your hair to become a real Weasley."
"Think Moony would mind?"
"Probably," Ron noted dryly. "You'd look like some odd kid between your dad and our mum."
"That's another thought I didn't need to have," Dean announced. "Can't you two act normal sometimes?"
"It's not like we asked for this," Harry reminded him. "It was done to us, not something we asked for. Yell at the bitches who did this, not us."
"I'm not yelling, but it's odd, Harry. I'm used to little odd things, like your scar, not big odd things, like men being pregnant."
Seamus hopped up to walk over to them. "You were talking about Malfoy."
"We're leaving Malfoy alone," Harry said firmly. "They targeted him too. He tried to jump off a roof earlier," he explained. "Leave him be, Seamus."
"Fine," Seamus agreed, backing down on that. "Dean?"
"Not an issue. We try to leave him alone if he leaves us alone."
"Thanks," Ron agreed. "Remember, you can't let on that you know and you can't tell anyone."
"There'll be an attack?" Seamus asked Harry.
"He doesn't know about me but he may suspect. If so, he might try to attack me, but not the school. He's still scared of Dumbledore."
"That's fine, I can deal with that," Seamus agreed. He sat beside Harry. "Can I?"
"Sure. I can't feel anything yet but I'm assuming my stomach will become more touch- sensitive soon."
"Oh, she'll kick, Harry," Ron promised. "Mum warned me about that." He watched as Seamus touched Harry's stomach, then backed away quickly. "It'll be fine."
"I'm sure it will, but it's still odd."
"What else did you expect?" Harry asked. "It's us."
Seamus snickered and hugged him. "Fine. You're drawn to the oddness, or it's drawn to you. Just keep it away from us. I can't get it from hugging you, right?"
"Nope. It was two potions," Ron assured him. "One tasted like honey and I'm guessing the other was the day they sprayed us with perfume."
Harry nodded. "From what the notes said, yeah," Harry agreed. He looked at Dean. "Are you going to be all right with this?"
"No," he admitted. "But we're only roomies. It's not like it's mine."
Harry beamed. "No, it's not yours. Just think about how many stray hairs we could have picked up that day." The other boys shuddered. "So, anyone want to help us with names? George wants to name her something classical."
"Name her after Great-Great-Great-Great-Grandmother Morrigan," Ron offered.
"I kinda like that," Harry agreed. "Thanks, Ron."
"Welcome. Bring it to the gits tomorrow, Harry." He yawned again. "It's the middle of the night. Let's sleep on this." He turned off the lights and laid back down. "So, Harry, no nightmares tonight?"
"I told them both about them and they assured me that I wouldn't be shared."
"No, I don't think Fred's like that too much," Ron joked. "He's into girls a bit too strongly for you, mate."
"Thankfully. I don't think I could handle having them both. How would you work that out?"
Ron snorted, reaching over to swat him again. "You're so bad," he chastised. "Hey, can I have my pillow back?" It was tossed back to him. "Thanks." He curled up on his side. "Best rest now, Harry. There's no telling what they're doing to you tomorrow."
"I hope it involves food. They seem to make stuff I can eat."
"It probably will. Mum taught them that," Ron said, yawning at the end of that sentence. "Night."
"Night, Ron. Night, guys."
"Night, Harry," they called. "Night, Ron."
Across the room, Dean and Seamus shared a look, then shook their heads. Being the roommate of Harry and Ron was just odd sometimes. Maybe they'd be moved out to spare them some of the anguish of hearing them talk about babies. If only they could get Neville to go with them on this. They looked at him and Neville grinned.
"There's an open room downstairs," he whispered. "We'll ask." They smirked and settled in for the night. "Anything to not hear the sickness again," Neville vowed.
Harry pouted as he appeared in the main shop this time. "The other guys wanted us to switch rooms once they found out," he complained. "Even Neville."
"It was probably the prospect of hearing you be sick for the next few months," Fred soothed, smiling at him. "George is in the kitchen, Harry. Follow the smell of brownies." Harry beamed and headed that way, making Fred shake his head in awe. Pregnant people were amazing. And gave him some amazing ideas for pranks. "Hmm, a mood swing prank," he said, considering it. He had just the perfect person to test it on too.
Harry wandered into the kitchen, giving George a kiss. "Morning. We got our rooms switched because the guys complained once they found out."
"I'm sorry, Harry."
"I'm not, we've got a real room to ourselves now," he noted smugly. "Remember that old Prefect's room? The one with the bathroom?" George beamed. "That's ours now. Plus, it's got a working floo so we can get up to the infirmary or the kitchen without waking the whole house. McGonagall said so."
"Hmm, sounds like an invitation to me," he agreed, smirking at his mate. "Want one? I just pulled them out." Harry took one to nibble, sitting down to watch him work. "It's all right, it's not a prank or anything."
"I tend to nibble right now until I know that my stomach won't react," Harry told him. "You're the only ones who've gotten me to eat in the last week. I can't stand the food at meals."
"Mum said a house elf once made her feel off too," he assured him. "That could be it. If so, we'll figure out how to cure it." He snuck a kiss and Harry grabbed him, forgoing his brownie for a deeper kiss. "Harry," he moaned. "Naughty boy. You act much less innocent than you say you are."
"Hey, I've been thinking and dreaming," Harry retorted, but he was grinning. "I've wanted to do that now for two days."
"You can have another one once you finish the brownie and keep it down." Harry ate it quickly and waited ten minutes, then grabbed him to kiss him again. "You taste good."
"Thanks. I tried." He hugged him, pulling him closer. "Am I taking the tour of the bottom floor now?"
"No, I was going to take you upstairs to let you see our room," George told him. "I got caught up making the brownies." He handed over another and walked his lover upstairs to show him that floor, letting him examine all the rooms, including the new staircase from beside their bed up to the nursery. "I tried the illusion you suggested." He recast it, letting Harry see. "I think it's a bit strong though. You?"
Harry looked around, then nodded. "It is. Maybe if it was flat instead of a full-blown illusion?" Fred shrugged and flattened it against the walls. "I like that a bit better," Harry admitted.
"So do I."
"We've got time for this," Harry reminded him. He beamed at him. "Can I have another kiss?"
"After you eat the brownie." Harry obediently ate the brownie and received another kiss in return for it. "Good boy, Harry. Want another one?"
"I'd rather cuddle than eat," he offered. "Or cuddle and eat. I think I like the cuddling stuff."
"If I had known all it took to get you to be mine was to cuddle and feed you, I would have done it last year," he teased, taking Harry back down to their room to cuddle on his bed. It was a bold move but Harry snuggled right into his arms and let out a contented sigh. "Harry, I know you've got your memories in a pensieve in the Headmaster's office. Would you mind if we looked at it? Just so I can't do anything to set off a panic attack or anything?"
Harry shrugged. "Just don't hate me because of it."
"Why would I?"
"Because other people have in the past."
"For not having a good family?" Harry nodded. "Then they're stupid, Harry. No one could ever hate you for not having good parents. Now, if you didn't learn better maybe, especially if you passed it on. I think we'll have the opposite problem with you. You seem like the sort that'll overprotect a child to death."
"I'd never do it on purpose," Harry defended.
"Of course not," George agreed. "We'll be watching for it anyway, just in case you start to keep the kid from playing in the dirt and things."
"I'd never do that. Kids are supposed to get dirty and nasty at least once a week," Harry told him. "They're supposed to create messes and frustration each and every hour." He looked down at his stomach. "With who this one's parent's are, I'm expecting them more often and to be worse." George gave him a squeeze. Harry grinned at him. "Either that or it'll be like Percy."
George snickered. "It had better not be," he advised with a wink. "Want another brownie?"
"No, I'm too comfy to get more food," he admitted, snuggling back in. "That's okay, right?"
"Just fine, Harry. You be comfortable for a bit longer. Then I've got to get back to work and you've got to go back to classes."
"Bugger classes. Can I help in the lab again?"
"It's Fred's day, I'm doing the shop today." He stroked over the dark hair. "It'll be fine. You have no reason to doubt things."
"Of course I do. I've still got to tell my relatives."
"Oh, let us," George said happily. "Once it becomes common knowledge and all that of course," he said at the shocked look. "Seriously. We've been planning that one too."
"But they're muggles."
"No, they're annoyances," he retorted with a wicked grin. "Full out annoyances." He gave him a squeeze and caught a look at his watch. "It's about time to get you back." Harry snuggled himself in tighter, holding him as tightly as he could. "Hey, none of that now. You know we'll be coming up soon. Especially since you've got your own floo."
"McGonagall said it doesn't have an external exit," he said sadly. "She looked right at me when she said it too."
George snorted. "We can fix that as well," he promised. "There's ways around that if you have the right powder and permission. Which I do believe dad could get for us." He looked down at the limp body against his. "What's really wrong?"
"Fudge sent me a letter," he sighed, pulling it out to hand over. "He said he was thrilled at my desire to continue with this farce and congratulated me on being the one to ruin the wizarding world as we know it. He said it was my fault that other wizards got caught in this and that it was my fault they were suffering this way."
George snapped open the letter to read it, noticing the hidden digs in the flowery speech. He tucked it into his robe pocket. "I think Dad and I need to have lunch about that one," he decided. "Let me handle that one, Harry. He has no right to say such things." He gave him a squeeze. "Now, what else is worrying you?"
"We got told the papers knew about Malfoy but there wasn't anything in there today," he said quietly, looking up at his buddy. "Not a single comment."
"Hmm. Interesting." George gave him a kiss to distract him. "You worry too much, Harry. Let the rest of us handle some of it. We like to handle problems too you know. Mum loves problems, look at Ginny." Harry pinched him but he was grinning. "Now, I really do need to get you back to classes. McGonagall called last night to chew me a new one over how long you were gone yesterday. Up. I'll send you back with a brownie for Ron too." He helped Harry up and down the stairs, packing the majority of the brownies into a bag for him. "Here we go. Fred, I'll be right back," he called. "I'm taking Harry back to school."
"Fine," Fred agreed from the shop. "I've got a few minutes left before I have to go stir."
George winked. "Did you see the giant skrewt?" he asked as he created the portkey for his mate. "There," he announced, handing over the folded paper. "Read that when you're back at the school and don't show Ron." Harry nodded and took it, letting George activate it for him. He walked out into the shop to hand over the letter. "Do you want Mum or Dad?"
"I want Dad. Mum'll throw a bloody fit," Fred said as he handed it back. "What did you send him back with?"
"The folded paper on the counter."
"No!" He sent himself through the floo, going to where he could hear Harry chatting to take the paper from him. He glanced inside, then grinned at him. "Wrong one, sorry." He took some of Ron's paper and a quill, writing out the note George had spent all last night working on. Then he handed it off with a flourish. "That's some hate mail," he explained. "Have a nice night, boys. Ron, mum said she'd be back up this weekend so watch out." He headed outside to floo back, checking the message. It was indeed a hate letter to the shop, but it wasn't addressed to anyone. Harry would have freaked if he had read that.
"I'm glad that wasn't meant for me," Harry admitted with a grin. "George made brownies." Ron dug into the bag, coming out with two so they could nibble as they walked up to Divination. "Think I'll have a new horrible way to die?"
"I hope no one told her," Ron said bitterly. "I don't want to know what everyone's going to say."
"I'm sure some people will be like Fudge and blame me," Harry said bitterly, biting savagely at the brownie in his hands. They saw Malfoy at the bottom of the ladder, looking up it. "Morning," he said genially.
"Go away, Potter," he ground out.
"We're trying to go to class," Ron reminded him. "Go hide if you want." He climbed up the ladder slowly, making sure he wouldn't lose anything and that he wasn't looking up someone's skirt.
Harry patted Malfoy on the arm. "Brownie?" he asked, handing one over. Then he went up the ladder too. He sat down next to Ron, giving him a grin. "I'm having a good day. I got cuddles, I got fed brownies that were made by hand, and I think I'm having early mood swings," he said quietly.
Ron patted him on the back. "It's all right. They happen, Harry. I hear they'll get worse." They looked over as the teacher came out of her office, pretending to pay attention.
"Where is Mr. Malfoy?" she demanded. "I saw him here today."
"He was heading to the infirmary I think," Neville offered sheepishly. "He didn't look well, ma'am."
She gave him a long look, then nodded. "Very well. I had seen him turn very pale." She looked at the students. "Today we are going to start on the precise art of auguries. Who remembers what those were?"
Ron raised his hands. "Reading guts?"
She snorted. "It is much more than that, Mr. Weasley. Much, much more." She went to get them silver trays covered in intestines. "You can see portents in the lay and the color of the intestines, plus see the hand of fate within the texture and the smell. These are only for practice. These are not sacrificial victims who have been done in a ritual. We can find out much even with these meager offerings to the Gods." She put a tray between the boys and then watched as they ran off to be sick. "Well," she snorted, stomping back to her seat. "What was that about?"
"They've had the flu recently," Lavender said bitterly. "They must still be ill."
"Fine, someone make sure they get the notes. I will expect them to fulfill their project this time to the letter. Doing ritual work is quite difficult and exacting." She sat down. "Now, who can identify the animal first?"
"Sheep?" one girl in the back asked. She nodded, smiling at her. "Are they supposed to smell so bad, Madam?"
"They're intestines, they're not the cleanest of all organs," she reminded the girl more gently. "You should expect the smell of raw meat."
One of the Slytherin boys raised his hand. "I think mine's gone off. It's green in spots."
"Sometimes they are. Those are usually bad omens," she told him firmly. "Now, children, we will bend down to examine the intestines. Look at how they lay, take note of the texture and the smell. Turn to page sixty-eight in your book to interpret them."
The students shared looks before bending over their trays, most of them trying not to breathe while bent down. This was really gross.
Madam Pomfrey looked up as her two most usual patients walked in. "Skipping class?" she asked archly.
"We're doing guts in Divinations," Ron said, still pale and shaking. "Can we hide up here from the smelly, nasty things?"
"Go ahead," she agreed, going to talk to the Headmaster about that woman, again. Each year she had problems with that lesson. "Headmaster," she said firmly as she walked into his office. "She is doing it again. I've just had the first two students come up pale, shaking, and sick to their stomach from the auguries lectures. Before you know it we'll have that bout of poisoning from the children who don't wash their hands. You must stop her! Three of the most delicate students are in that horrible class! Plus a few of the girls."
"I'll see what I can do, but she has a point. Auguries are a time honored way of telling fate."
"So was reading the intestines of sacrificed humans, are you going to allow that as well?" she demanded. He smirked but shook his head. "Then stop her! Before I report her to someone higher! I will not have another sixty students in from the intestines that she uses! They're all horribly rotten, diseased, and far past their prime usage for that use. Besides, you know how often Hagrid's had a problem with those children! She assigns them to go out and sacrifice an animal!"
He nodded. "I'll see what I can do once again," he sighed. "Thank you. How are the boys?"
"Ill. Mr's. Potter and Weasley both came in pale and shaking. We've barely gotten Harry able to eat now and then if someone other than a house elf makes his dinner. This is not good for him, and neither is the stress for Mr. Malfoy."
"Fine," he agreed. "I'll try, Poppy."
"You'll do more than try, Albus. You're the Headmaster. You'll fix this before you have to come up and deal with most of the school being ill this year." She turned and stormed out.
"I believe she'll need a vacation this year," he mused, ringing for a house elf. "Would you please tell Madam Trellwany to come to me at her earliest convenience?" He nodded and disappeared to do that. He groaned and got comfortable again. He knew what Poppy was talking about, even he had gotten sick from one of the children passing on some sort of intestinal bug they'd gotten off the guts they used in Divinations. He sent a message out to Hagrid, warning him that the lessons had started and to patrol his animals more closely. Then he prepared to deal with a screeching woman.
Harry looked around as George called him back. This time there wasn't anyone there. "Hello?" he called. Fred popped his head out of the lab and waved him back. "Okay." He walked that way, rubbing his back. "Remind me why I fly again?"
"Because you're brilliant at it. Fall?"
"Nearly." He leaned up to look at the thing on the counter. "What is that?"
"We're not sure. Someone left it in here for us."
Harry frowned and cast a charm to check the magical aura of the creature on the counter. "It's harmful," he said. "It's got big dark spots that move like those wind storms." The twins looked at him. "Seriously! You can check for yourself," he offered. "Or we could call Hagrid. If it's dangerous he'd know."
"We called Species and they didn't know," George admitted.
"Really?" Harry went to the floo and called Hagrid. "Hey, Hagrid, what is this thing?" he asked, lifting it off the shelf by the paper it was sitting on. "It was left at the twin's shop."
"That's not a nice thing to have," Hagrid said with a glare at the beastie. "That's not a good thing, Harry. Get rid of that right now. Burn it. That'll clean off anything it left on things. If they've touched it they need to be checked over too."
"What is it?" Fred asked. "Species didn't know."
"It's a type of Salamander near as anyone's ever told me," he admitted. "It carries disease. Get rid of it and burn it. It's the only way." His head disappeared.
Harry waited until the fire was fully back then tipped it into the fire, watching as it burned. "Okay," he said, looking at them. "Who's up to a trip to St. Mungos?"
"We used gloves."
"They were dragonshide."
"Yay. You're still going," Harry said firmly, frowning at both of them. "Or else I'll have to make you both. I'm not telling your mother you got sick from a salamander thingy."
"You worry too much," George said gently.
"Has it occurred to you guys that it might have been an intentional attack?" Harry sighed, giving them a long look. "That they meant to leave something here that could kill you?"
"Fine, we'll go," Fred soothed, patting him on the back. "You as well. You were near it."
"Then we'll figure out how to clean the shop and the lab," George agreed, deciding to humor him. It'd only take a few hours. "Should we get someone in to watch the store?"
"Would it harm them?" Harry asked.
"If it's about the contact, we found it in a certain section of the shop and picked it up with the gloves on, then brought it in here directly. It shouldn't," George offered.
"Hopefully," Fred agreed. "I can't imagine a lawsuit from that however."
"Hey, then set up shop outside today," Harry suggested. "Like a sidewalk sale." They looked impressed so he gave them both a nudge. "Go. Now. I'll stay here for a bit. Where's the price list?"
"Everything's marked," Fred offered.
"The register moves if you need it to," George agreed, following his brother out before his mate could get more upset and have a real mood swing. "I had no idea he was so forceful," he whispered as they walked away.
"Looks like you've found yourself a top, brother dear."
George gave him a shove. "That'll be a bit inconvenient you know."
Fred gave him a look. "I didn't need to know that."
"Tough," he smirked.
"Hospital," Harry called after them. "And I expect it to be something that happens on both sides, Fred."
Fred and George shared a look, then smirked at each other before taking off. Little did they know that they were going to end up in quarantine and with a lot less stock after the Health center got done with them. It was a recoverable loss, but it was still disheartening.
Harry was escorted back into the school and up to the infirmary. "Madam Pomfrey?" the medi-witch said to get her attention. "He was exposed to a disease salamander but we show no contagion. We'll need you to watch him for two days and then monitor his progress otherwise. He did the correct thing in sending the twins to us." She looked at Harry, then at the other medi-witch. "Did you know of his unique condition?" Madam Pomfrey nodded, her lips pressed together. "That's fine. Because of that we can't give him anything if he does break out. So keep him in quarantine until we can be sure. A week at least."
"A week?" Harry shouted.
"Hush!" Madam Pomfrey ordered. "Full quarantine?" The official nodded. "That's fine. I've got a room set up for quarantine since we occasionally get chicken pox and things. Come along, Mr. Potter." She walked him back there and locked him in. "I'll send in some of your things later. Get comfortable."
"I didn't touch it!" he called. "I only touched the paper it was on!"
"Stay in there, Mr. Potter, or I'm confiscating your wand!" She went back to the main infirmary. "Should it harm him?" she asked quietly. The official shook her head. "Then this is just a precaution?"
"Mostly. The twins also appear to be fine, but we can't be too careful with this situation. Whoever sent it to them is in deep crap when I find them. Plus whoever in Species didn't identify it right off." She nodded then left, going back to finish her reports.
Harry looked at the wall with the fireplace, then summoned some floo powder, calling out to his arch supporter. "Molly Weasley." Her head spun into the fireplace and she smiled at him. "Mrs. Weasley, someone dropped a disease salamander in the twin's shop. They're in quarantine at St. Mungoes and I'm back at the school in the same condition. They're going to go through the shop and destroy whatever may have been contaminated. They'll need someone to monitor them, especially in the lab. Plus to make sure they don't destroy the whole store and the notes."
"Oh, dear," she said, shaking her head. "I'll send Arthur down to help at the shop while I check on the boys for you, Harry. You stay there and rest. You could always use the rest, dear. We'll rally around the twins, never fear." Her head disappeared.
"I think that was a bit premature, don't you?" Madam Pomfrey said as she walked in with a bag for him.
"They wanted to raze the store to the ground," Harry told her. "The twins would be devastated and their business might never recover from that. This'll protect things like their notes and their personal effects at the least." He sat on the bed. "I really wasn't exposed," he complained. "Can't I please see Ron at least?"
"No!" she snorted. "You can't be too careful with this one, Mr. Potter. You will be in here the full week until they clear you."
"I've got a game not two days after that. I need to practice because my balance is off."
"If I brought in your broom and you turned out to be infected, it'd have to be burned as well," she told him. He shuddered, curling up around his knees. "As for your balance, there are things you can do without your broom, including working with a small beam. One of those I can get you." He nodded, looking a bit more cheerful. "Now, I can get Mr. Weasley a message and allow him to come up and yell at you through the door if you'd like."
"We'll need it if I might not be able to play. Our backup isn't that practiced." She nodded, going to send him a message. "Have him bring up something for me to wear please," he called after her. "Something old that's expendable."
"Of course." She locked him in and went to get the other problem child into this mess, doing so through official means. The Headmaster gave her a long look as she walked in. "He's in quarantine."
"Good. What about the game?"
"That was his main worry as well," she sighed. "I can allow Mr. Weasley to yell at him through the door." He nodded. "Also, he'll need to bring Mr. Potter something to wear and his texts or a copy of his notes. If he turns out to be infected we'll have to burn whatever came in contact with him."
"That's fine, Poppy. I trust you to know best in this situation. Let me know what you need. As for Divinations, I have gotten a postponement of the auguries lectures," he offered. "It's the best I could do."
She snorted. "I'll have a talk with her myself this time if we end up with another mass of sick students, and she'll be with them or helping with them." She turned and left to find Ron. She tapped on McGonagall's classroom, smiling at her. "I need Mr. Weasley, where might he be? Also there's been some news you need, Professor." She came out into the hallway with Ron in tow, closing the door behind her. "Someone dropped a disease salamander into the twin's shop," she said quietly. "Harry got them to someone but he's presently quarantined for a week, or until they release him."
"Blast, the game!" Ron complained.
"You may yell at him through the door, Mr. Weasley, as long as you don't make a nuisance of yourself and try to keep it down a bit. He asked that you bring him something to change into, something that he could stand to lose if he ended up ill because we'd have to burn anything he touched. Also, he called your mother to have her help with the purging of the twin's store so they didn't raze it like they wanted to. The twins are in quarantine at the hospital."
"Who would do something so mean?" Ron muttered, heading up to their room to pack Harry a bag.
McGonagall looked at her. "Is he infected?"
"Not that the officials could tell, but they wanted him quarantined in case. They did find out about his problem but medical ethics demand that they can't inform anyone of it."
McGonagall nodded. "Thank you. I'll be up to check on him later."
"That's fine, Minerva. As long as we enforce the quarantine we'll be fine." She walked away, heading back into her own domain. Ron came up with the bag and let her check it before sterilizing it and sending it into him. Then he went to discuss strategy with his captain. They'd need it this time. This was disastrous for the team!
Harry looked up as someone knocked on his door, glaring at it. "What?" he called, sounding surly and nasty. He knew he was pissed and he wasn't going to hide it. They wouldn't release him for the game and it was pissing him off. "I'm busy! Can't you tell!"
"Mr. Potter," Madam Hooch called. "Where is the snitch?"
Harry frowned and got up to walk over so he could look out the little window. "I don't even have my wand! It's in the box beside the door because Madam Pomfrey caught me trying to break the lock charm again. I have no idea. If it's in here I haven't seen it. If it's missing, I've been in here for the last nine days." He could hear her foot tapping. "Hey, check the box. I don't have a wand in here with me." He went back to sulk some more on his bed. It figured he'd get blamed for this too. It seemed like everything was his fault recently. The salamander had probably been a plot by the Dark Lord to get back at him and to remove his support. Now the Ministry was being ordered to keep him in a little room while he slowly went insane. He looked over as the door opened and Madam Pomfrey walked in with the flying instructor. "Am I done?"
"No, but she'll be staying at the door. You stay there. Go ahead." Madam Hooch cast a summoning charm but the snitch didn't reappear. "As I said, he hasn't been out and Mr. Weasley hasn't said anything that I've overheard. Could it have been misplaced after the last practice?"
"No, I checked it last night," she said bitterly, glaring at Harry. "You're sure you haven't seen it?"
"I haven't seen anything," he said just as bitterly. "I've been stuck in here going bloody insane for the last nine days. By the way, if I have to look at another dish of food I can't eat, I'm going to throw it." Madam Pomfrey's eyes narrowed. "We both know that the house elves are what's upsetting my stomach. If you'd send in food, I'd cook it myself if I had to." He looked at the other woman. "As much as I'd like to claim that the snitch liked me that much, it doesn't. Now, can I please go back to sulking in misery alone?" The women left him alone, locking the door behind them. He glared at the door, muttering under his breath about the Ministry and women in general. It was a good thing he liked men apparently. Women were out to kill him even more than the usual threats. He went to call Molly to check on the twins. They had been released already, which was unfair since they'd been in more contact than he had. He couldn't get her so he sat back and pouted "This sucks," he announced to the silent room.
George walked into the school with his mother behind him, heading directly for the infirmary. "Release him," he demanded.
"I can't until I get authorization."
"You've got it. It's been two weeks. Even if he had been infected he'd be over it by now," he said bitterly. "You're driving him insane." She gave him a glare. "Fine. Here," he said, handing over the papers he carried. "Permission from the Ministry personally." She handed him the key so he went to let Harry out. "Good morning," he said with a smile. "Mum came up with me. We've managed to restock the store already and you've got a game in two days." Harry gave him a long look. "Yes, I'm real." He walked in and heard the door slam behind him. "That would be mum," he explained as he sat on the foot of the bed. "Don't you want to go, Harry?"
"Are you really here?"
"I'm really here," he agreed lightly. Harry slowly shifted forward until he was hugging him. "There, now aren't I solid?"
"Yeah," Harry admitted, relaxing against him. "Can we go somewhere? I need to get out of here."
"Sure. Come on." He stood up and led Harry back to the door, tapping on it. "Mother," he called when it remained closed.
"She's calling to make sure the papers are real," she said with a grimace. She waved at Harry. "Don't worry, dear, you two can stay in there tonight if you need to."
"But I want out," he complained. "It's been nearly two weeks. They still can't find the snitch."
"They can't what?" George asked.
"The snitch disappeared from the school's set of balls," Harry told him. "Right before the game I was supposed to play in. No one can find it. They've searched the entire school and of course I got blamed for it."
George rolled his eyes, but he patted Harry on the back. "It'll be fine," he promised. "I'm sure it's in the shed somewhere. It was the last time." He put Harry back onto the bed and sat next to him. "So, how have you been?"
"Bored and slowly going insane. She won't even let Ron come up to talk to me anymore. Said I was whiny and annoying. She also told me that I had to eat, even if it was making me sick."
George grimaced. "That is not right. We'll be fixing this, Harry. Remember, my mother is like one of those muggle rolling pins that they use on the roads. She will flatten people." Harry grinned at that, looking much happier with life. They both heard Molly start to yell and he sighed. "Sounds like she's going to go destroy the Ministry this time for it. I'm sensing the political hand of favoritism."
"It's entirely possible. I've gotten a second letter," Harry admitted. "This time he said he was going to show the world that I wasn't anything special and that no one would ever help me with the Dark Lord, that I'd die like I was supposed to have years ago." George raised an eyebrow so Harry pulled it out of the drawer and handed it over. "That's it."
George read it and snorted. "Oh, I so very much want to kick his ass now. How dare he blame you for what Hufflepuffs did!" He got up and went to the door, pulling his wand.
"Alohamora won't work," Harry warned. "It'll send you flying into the walls."
"Thanks for that, Harry." He cast a muttered charm and the door opened, so he walked out and handed the letter to his mother. "I believe I know why." He glared at the medi- witch. "I promise, he's not infected. He's coming home with me to prove it. If you try to stop us, I'll stun you and then kick you while you're down. You're making him paranoid and depressed. I doubt that's indicated in his delicate condition." He went to retrieve Harry and take him back to the shop, settling him into his bed. "There, you stay there, Harry. I'll be back in a bit with some soup?" Harry nodded, closing his eyes and falling asleep while his future mate watched. "Hmm, maybe later then," he agreed, going down to rant at his twin. "They're doing it on purpose," he said as he walked in. "Fudge ordered them to keep him in quarantine. I have no doubt of that."
Fred gave him a long look, then shrugged. "What can we do about this? Dad said he had it."
"Dad doesn't have it. Fudge's managed to get Harry kept in quarantine all this time."
"I thought you just brought him back."
"He's fine," George assured him, "he's also upset and going odd in the head. He didn't think I was real at first." Their mother came rolling out of the floo. "Before you say a word, we both know he's not ill."
"No, he's not. Madam Pomfrey did report him for being taken out of quarantine. They're going to call for a hunt for him, boys."
"Fine, we'll go see someone about that," Fred decided. He looked at his twin. "Call Tonks."
"Boys," Molly warned.
"Tough, mother. He's upsetting us horribly. He's behind some nasty things that've happened to Harry, including that Umbridge bitch," Fred defended while his twin went to call in the auror they worked with in the Order.
"Tonks, love, we've got Harry with us. He's perfectly fine. But there's a bit of news. Want to come hear it?" George asked with a smirk.
"Do you know how much trouble you've just caused?" she yelled.
"Tonks, think about who you just asked that to," Fred called. He looked at mother. "Did you keep a copy of the other letter?" She nodded, handing them both over. "Thank you. Hey, Tonks, we've got some reading material for you too."
"Yes, love, do come up," George said. "Bring the auror's healer up to check Harry too. I want an independent opinion. They were keeping him in quarantine to drive him barmy."
"Fine," she agreed. "Give us ten minutes. We'll come through the front door so don't hex us." She disappeared, going to talk to her boss. "Sir." He looked over at her. "One of the Weasley twins just called me. They said he's not ill. That he's not been ill. They asked us to bring our healer, an independent person, to look him over."
"Fine," the head of the aurors agreed. "I have no idea what is going on, but I'm tired of this game. Fudge can do his own dirty work this time."
"Yes, sir." She snapped off a salute and went to find their healer, taking him to the twin's shop. They even walked in the normal way as promised. "Okay, where is he?"
"Upstairs in my bed," George told her. He gave her a short hug. "We're all fine. We were cleared but this is against him, again." He led the healer upstairs, waving at the body on the bed. "Go ahead. Harry, it's someone to make sure you're fine. Someone Tonks brought," he said as the shifting body.
"Sure," Harry said tiredly. "Just make it fast. I don't feel good."
"Of course." The healer walked in with his wand already pulled. He ran a quick full spectrum check on the boy, frowning as he did it again. "I've never seen a disease that mimicked a pregnancy."
"It's not a mimic," Harry said bitterly. "It's something the Hufflepuffs decided to do to us. I'm not the only one." He sat up, letting the sheets pool around his waist. "That's about half of his problem with me this time. The other is the usual - I'm Harry Potter."
"We told you, you're changing it once you're married to George," Fred said from the doorway, leaning against Tonk's shoulder. "Seen enough?"
"Quite," the healer agreed, blinking at them. "You knew?"
Tonks shrugged. "I didn't."
"The Hufflepuffs took some of Granger's research and decided to protest the political marriages in their futures by making some men bear children. It's he, Malfoy, Ron, and Snape," George said from behind her.
"They were also caught in it," Fred said smugly. "Plus, there's some better news. Granger was fucking over our brother by giving him to Lavender without telling him."
"They dead yet?" Tonks asked. The twins shook their head. "You need help with that?" They smirked and shook their heads. "Shoot, spoil my fun. So, whose is his?"
"Mine," George said proudly. "He was wearing my shirt."
"Congrats, mate, you'll be one scary father," Tonks said, giving him a wink. "Hey, Harry, can I pat the tummy?"
"You can't feel her. I'm only four months along," he offered, pulling off his shirt. "But go ahead. I don't mind if George doesn't."
"It's your stomach, Harry," George reminded him. "So, are we clear now?"
"You're clear," the Healer agreed. "I do have the authority to release him from his quarantine and I will be filing those papers when I get back. Fudge can kiss my ass this time. What he's doing is inhumane." He put his wand back up his sleeve and looked at Harry. "You need to eat more, young man."
"Sorry but anything that the house elves fix makes me queasy," he explained.
"My mum said she had the same problem," Tonks offered.
"So did ours," Fred admitted.
"I'll have some soup sent up from the Leaky," George promised.
The healer nodded. "Good, also try for some meat and pastries if you can afford it."
"I can if they can't," Harry promised. "Can I go pop in on Fudge and scare the bastard?" Everyone in the room looked at him. "I just wanna make sure he knows I've got his number."
Tonks winked at him. "Oh, let me, Harry. I like him that much." They shared a wicked laugh and she hugged him. "Now, you rest and let George there pamper and spoil you until you're forced back to the school." She stood up. "Speaking of, where's the snitch?"
"Who knows," he said dryly. "Probably in the floo system? I've seen it a few times in the fireplace."
"Interesting," she said smugly. "C'mon. Let's go report so you can do the forms." She drug the healer with her, apparating from the shop to save time. They appeared in Fudge's rant to the press to find Harry. "He's fine," she called. Everyone turned to look at her. "The people who released him had an independent healer look him over since he'd shown no signs of being sick in the two weeks he was quarantined. Ask him yourself."
"This is not the time for this, Auror Tonks."
"Oh, blow me," she said smugly. "Go ahead, mate."
The healer coughed. "As some of you know, I take care of the aurors and I am qualified to release the boy. He is hereby released. He's perfectly healthy, if a bit underweight at the moment due to the stress of the situation he was forced to be in," he said, staring at Fudge. "I ordered him to eat, to rest in a bed that wasn't in the infirmary, and far away from people who would harm him over being who and what he is." Fudge swallowed, he could see it.
"So, whoever was keeping the Health people from getting to him, he's fine. We've proven he's fine. If they try to quarantine him again he's promised to fight back through the courts if I heard right. That'd be embarrassing, huh?" she asked with a bright grin at Fudge. She felt something in her pocket and patted it, then pulled out the letters. "Never mind, I believe the person doing it heard just now." She left, going to report to her boss. "Sir," she said as she appeared, handing over the letters. "I'm not sure if they're copies or the originals. One of the twins handed them over as evidence."
The head of the aurors looked at them, then at her. "This is a serious charge, Tonks."
"Yeah, well, if you knew what we knew about Harry, you'd be dead worried too," she promised. "I'm wondering how this hasn't hit the press yet, but they said something about a Hufflepuff conspiracy and a fertility spell?" The head of the aurors choked so she thoughtfully pounded on his back. "You all right?"
"He was one of those caught?" he roared. She wiggled a finger in her ear as she nodded. "Oh, Fudge has a lot to answer for then," he said, rereading the letters. "We will be having a long discussion with Minister Fudge."
"Can I watch?" Tonks asked, sounding happy at that thought.
"No, Tonks," he said patiently. "I want you to guard Harry whenever he's in the open. He's fragile at the moment."
"He's got that problem with house elves at the moment," she admitted. "He's not been eating a lot according to the healer."
"Fine. Whose, do you know?"
"George Weasley's. He said he was wearing his shirt and it happened. I didn't know you could get pregnant from that, but I'm supposing the Hufflepuffs made it that way on purpose."
"Probably," he agreed bitterly. "They actually wanted to prove a point that they weren't to be trifled with. So they infected the four men with the potions. Snape's another one. So's Ron and Mr. Draco Malfoy." She looked impressed. "So, yes, they did it on purpose. They took someone else's research and used it to rape those young men."
"Hey, then Harry's my buddy whenever he's out of the school. Should I camp in the twin's shop?"
"No, I'm sure they'll protect him quite well enough," he said smugly. "Make sure he gets back to the school soon and make sure he's guarded until you hear otherwise." She nodded, leaving him to make his plans to crush and destroy Fudge. "How could you do this, Cornelius?" he muttered. "He's our only chance of surviving!"
Professor McGonagall walked into the twin's shop, making everyone in there stare at her. "I believe it's been long enough," she announced. "Harry, you're dreadfully behind in your classes."
"Blow my classes," he said bitterly, heading into the lab. "McGonagall's here," he announced. The twins shared a look and went to talk with her.
"Absolutely not!" she shouted. "Mr. Potter!"
He stuck his head out, giving her a long look. "Can I actually go back to my own room this time?"
"Of course. You were cleared."
"And I won't have to see Madam Pomfrey again?" he pressed.
"She couldn't go against them, Harry. It would have meant her license," George offered.
"What else can they make her do?" he asked simply. "Sorry, I may be paranoid, but I usually have a really good reason." He went back to cleaning up some of the mistakes from earlier. He made sure each attempt's scatter was drawn out and marked on the bag they were put into in case the twins wanted to look back at them at some later date.
McGonagall came to the door of the lab. "She's sorry, Harry. She said she knew you'd be upset." He nodded, not looking at her. "That doesn't change the fact that you'll be in trouble if you don't come back. You're not old enough to quit school." He turned to glare at her. "I had nothing to do with it, young man," she said sharply. "We still haven't figured out what you did with the snitch either."
"I didn't do anything!" he shouted. "It's somewhere in the floo network. I've seen pop up behind someone's head." He went back to his cleaning. "I'm not sure I want to continue in there if things like this are going to keep happening. I hate being mistrusted and looked at oddly. Then this started again and I'm not prepared to defend people who don't like me." She gasped and he glanced back at her. "Try being me sometime, Professor. It'll be enlightening." He closed up the latest bag and let Fred take it from his hand. "I know I can't stay, that'd get you guys in trouble."
"No, it'd get your wand snapped," Fred said gently, making Harry look at him. "One more year and then you can quit if you want."
"It's not like I'm good in any of it."
"True, but you've still got to put in the time," George said from behind their head of house. "Try, Harry. Please? I'll still pop around as much as possible. Even through that floo you've got now," he promised. "You'd be miserable being a muggle again."
Harry sighed but nodded. "Fine. But I don't want this shit to continue. I'm tired of it. It's not my fault they picked me as a victim. It's not my fault that I'm like this. It's also not my fault that Fudge hates me for being born and living. I didn't ask for this."
"No, you didn't," McGonagall agreed. "I will be keeping a closer eye on those who interact with you, Mr. Potter. You have my word on it." He stared her down then finally nodded, allowing her to relax some. "I'll be back in the morning. I'll expect you to be packed and ready to return. There's been a bit of a schedule change for you boys as well."
"No more guts in Divinations?"
"That as well," she agreed lightly. "At least for now. You may be getting them later if we can't stop her. No, their mother is coming in to talk to you once a week now about what's going to go on with your bodies and the children. She'll be teaching you things like how to diaper and bathe a child, necessary things. It'll take one of your Potions classes away."
"I'm all for that," Harry agreed, happier sounding now. "What about the eating thing?"
"We've talked to the house elves and they've said they'll let you come down to fix yourself something now and then. They did say it usually passes by the end of the fourth month."
"Then what? Another two weeks without being able to eat at meals?" he asked. She nodded. "Fine. Everyone assumes it's some sort of punishment anyway." She shrugged and looked at George. "You're sure this is a good idea?"
"They can protect you best at the moment and I want you somewhere that you can be checked up on compulsively," George told him.
"We'll have him ready right after breakfast," Fred promised. "Anything else?" She shook her head. "Then we'll see you tomorrow?"
"Of course," she agreed, smiling at them and giving them a pat on the cheek before leaving them alone.
Fred glanced around. "I think I'm going to count the till," he announced, leaving them alone.
"You know I don't want you to go?" George asked gently.
Harry smirked at him. "It was kinda obvious you hated it as much as I do," he agreed. He leaned into his lover's chest to steal a kiss. "I kinda liked that nearly-naked cuddling stuff last night. Can we maybe do that again?"
George grinned and nodded. "Sure. Later. Let's finish cleaning up the mess." He pulled his wand and looked at the remaining mess. "You're very methodical."
"I thought you might want to look at some of the effects again later. That purple one was pretty neat to watch explode."
"It was," George admitted. He kept to Harry's system, working beside him to finish cleaning up the mess. Then they snuck up the back stairs to cuddle some more. "I'm getting your floo connected before too long," he promised. "That way you don't have to do without me and we can come bug Ron."
"I'm sure he'll love that," Harry said sarcastically. He leaned closer to lick across the point of George's chin. "If you do, can we keep Ron up too?"
"Sure," George agreed. "I like being noisy and outrageous. Maybe we can even have a go at it in the Common Room."
Harry snicked. "Sure. As long as we get the little kids out of the way."
"Of course. I'm not teaching sex ed."
Harry snuggled in harder, liking this nearly-naked cuddling thing a whole lot.
Harry looked up as Ron walked into their shared room, smirking at him. "The twins say hi and that they'll be up to torture you later this week."
"Of course. Why would they do anything else?" he asked bitterly as he flopped down onto his bed. "How are you feeling?"
"Satisfied," Harry admitted. "You?"
"Ron, you've got girls who'll squeal to touch your stomach."
"Maybe but it's not right," he said bitterly. "Mum said so."
"Your mother was married and I'm sure your father had a lot of fun with her at least the first time," Harry said wisely. "All the books I've found said so."
"Maybe," Ron sighed. "I still agree, it'd be icky with the little thing in there bouncing around."
Harry gave him a long look. "Then blow yourself off," he suggested.
"My wrist hurts," Ron admitted with a grimace. "I hurt it earlier in Creatures."
"I'm not helping you with that," Harry said dryly. He went back to his reading. "There's a new plate of brownies on the table by the fireplace."
"Thanks. Which one makes brownies?"
"Hmm. I might have to stop hating them soon." He got up and went to get a brownie, nibbling with some contentment. "Now I know why girls like chocolate so much. It's nearly as good even if you don't get touched and nuzzled."
"Ron, you've got to make a decision. Do you want to sulk or would you like to find someone to date?" Harry asked as he put his book aside and turned to look at his best friend. "There's plenty of girls in this school who'll date you if you even looked in their direction. Even with you being like that."
"Not really. It's like the girls think we got this done to us because we're bad men or something."
"That's just because they got Snape and Malfoy," Harry said with a hand wave. "It'll even out soon enough."
"If you say so," he said bitterly. He laid back down, staring at his stomach. "Why am I still going through with this?"
"Because Madam Pomfrey thought it might kill you not to," Harry reminded him. She had panicked after Draco's attempts to rid himself of the baby had failed and nearly killed him. "Is he sane again?"
"No," Ron admitted. "He slugged Pansy last night in the middle of the Great Hall. She hadn't even said anything, he just got up, walked down there and punched her. Then he smoothed his hair out and walked away whistling."
"Wonderful," Harry said dryly. "Well, that stuff'll stop soon enough I guess." He got comfortable. "Ron, do I and George freak you out?"
"No," Ron admitted. "Not in the least, Harry. Why?"
"Because your mum was giving me odd looks when I hugged George before he sent me back with McGonagall."
"I don't think she's made the transition from 'Harry, that boy we like as Ron's friend' to 'Harry, future Weasley'."
"Maybe," Harry agreed. He shifted again. "George is really sweet."
"Yeah, he can be, but let one person touch what he considers only his and they're toast," Ron advised dryly. "Never cheat on him and never touch his beater's club, Harry. Trust me on this. That was the only time I've ever seen him attack Ginny and mean actual harm." He got up to get another brownie. "How are they coming up this time?"
"But it's not hooked up to the outside."
"So?" Harry asked with a grin. "Do you think that'd actually matter to the twins?"
Ron considered it, then shook his head. "No. Not really," he agreed with a light grin. "You're sure girls still like me?"
"Padma was watching your back."
"She's pretty," Ron admitted. "But wouldn't this one freak her out? She's friends with Lavender."
"Maybe. You'd have to talk to her about that," Harry pointed out gently. He flipped onto his side, going back to his reading. "Has anyone figured out how these kids are coming out?" Ron went pale and shook his head. "I think we'll be asking this next time we see the healers."
"Tell me when you know, that way I don't have to hear all the gruesome details."
"Sure," Harry agreed, turning the page. "This is really neat stuff."
"What are you reading?"
"Fred gave me a book on how to make elementary pranks since I've been trying to help them in the lab. Some of it's stuff I can already do."
"Wonderful. If you find something to make those two things more miserable, let me know so I can watch it go off."
"We're working on it," Harry said smugly. "Just wait." He looked over the next prank but went on because he knew how to do that one already. Fred had shown him how to do it.
Draco's scream floated down the halls from the infirmary, and those hiking their way up there felt the need to break into a run to protect against whatever had created that noise. "What happened?" Harry demanded as he walked in, his wand already drawn.
"Nothing that requires you to hurt someone," Madam Pomfrey said, shooing them out of the way. "Go sit and wait on me." She got the sedated young man into the bed and tucked in, then closed the curtains around his bed. "He'll be fine," she offered when she noticed Ron's uneasy looks at the curtain. "It was not something to do with his condition really. Nothing you'll be going through."
Harry gave her a long look. Then he shook his head. "He finally figured it out?" Her sour expression said it all to him. "Did it come back? That sounded like pain and outrage."
"That is none of your business, Mr. Potter."
"It is if we're going to be doing this again afterwards," Ron offered. "I don't want to be like this forever."
"You won't be. It has a shelf life of three years at the most."
"What happens if I bugger George then?" Harry asked bluntly, making her blush. "Will it affect him? Or if I finally decide I want to know what that's like?"
"We will discuss that at a more private time," she instructed.
"Fat chance I'm coming up here by myself," he snorted. "Not a chance. Not after you kept me locked in that little room for two bloody weeks." She glared at him. He glared back and she took a few steps back. "I'm not going anywhere near you by myself, Madam Pomfrey. Any of my appointments, Ron's there with me or Neville or someone else is. I don't trust you like that." She nodded, letting her chin drop a bit. "Good. Now, is it going to happen?"
"Not that we can tell," she offered. "No one has done any tests on that matter yet. Miss Granger has been allowed to do one with mice."
"I noticed her taking notes while watching me recently," Ron said bitterly. "Can't I stomp her?"
"No, Ron," Harry said patiently. "Remember, the twins want to do that for you." Ron sighed and nodded. "Don't worry, we've already started on it," he promised. "It'll be very pretty when it happens."
"It had better be. I want to laugh long and hard about it," Ron said grimly. "So, you wanted to poke and prod?"
"I needed to check on the health of your children," she said firmly. She pointed at two chairs. "Sit, let me start what I need to do."
They sat, Harry leaning over to Ron to whisper at him. "I keep hearing them talk about the giant skrewt in the pens outside," he whispered. Ron giggled and gave him a nudge, but apparently he liked that idea.
Harry looked up as the Great Hall's doors opened with a massive 'thud', jumping up with his wand going into his hand automatically. He knew Ron was right behind him and that most of the students were screaming and running in the opposite direction. Especially their housemates. He saw Hermione was standing still, guarding some of the younger students as they ran, and a few of the Ravenclaws in their last year had their wands out as well. Oh, well, it looked like it was going to be one of those nights. "Wingardium Leviosa!" he cast, taking the troll's club away from him and using it to thump him on the back of the head. The troll gave him a hurt look before trying to snatch it and finally getting it because Harry had been pushed aside by a running third year. Then he swung at Hermione and picked her up, dangling her by her ankles to look at her. She drooled like his kind. She was ugly like his kind. She smelled like his kind. Plus, she smelled like she was in heat. He sniffed her a few times, then put her tiny, to him, body over his shoulder and walked away. He wasn't that picky, a midget trollette would be fine with him for now. This time at least. Harry looked up at the Main Table, finding McGonagall watching with her mouth open. "Should we follow them?" he called.
"We'll have Hagrid track him," she snapped. "You go check on the younger children." He and Ron nodded, trotting toward the stairs. She looked at her boss, who was still stunned, and got to do something she'd been wanting to do - she slugged him good on the arm. "Snap out of it!" she ordered. "He just kidnaped one of my students!"
Snape sat down, picking up his goblet to take a drink. "I hadn't known that trolls still courted that way," he noted quietly. Everyone stared at him so he shrugged. "It was rather obvious. It's not like they believe in take-away."
Dumbledore and Hagrid rushed out to stop the troll, hoping to save the girl before she was too terribly hurt.
McGonagall looked at him, her lips pursed together. "Do you feel vindicated now, Severus?"
He gave her a look then shook his head before taking a drink. "Not after what she did. I still believe she had malicious intent." He let out a delicate belch and put his cup down. "Excuse me. My stomach's a bit upset from the troll's stench." He stood up again, heading down to check on his students. They were mostly under their beds by now, but the older ones were gathered in the main room, wands out and at the ready. "Did everyone make it back?" he demanded.
"Everyone but Malfoy and a first year," Pansy noted. "Is he still in the infirmary?" Snape shook his head. "Then maybe he's hiding in the bathroom with the first year," she sneered.
He gave her a harsh look then went to find his favorite student. He found him rolling around outside, laughing his ass off. "Indeed," he agreed dryly, smirking at him. "When you're done, go back to the house and see if you can find the stupid little first year who's supposedly hiding in the bathroom."
"Yes, sir," he chuckled, getting up to dust himself off. "Well, Potter said he was going to have his new mate get her back," he said with a sneer. "Think this'll teach her?"
Snape shrugged. "Probably not. She is a Gryffindor." They walked back in together, going to their respective quarters. He found the first year trying to get into his classroom and drug her back to the house, shoving her inside. Then he went to have a quiet dinner without the fuss of the students in the Great Hall.
Ron sat in front of the floo later that night, smirking at the twins as they answered. "Thank you for letting me see that," he said quietly, breaking out in laughs. "You should have seen Hermione's face right when she realized she couldn't duck the swing. Then it kidnaped her." He burst out in giggles. "It was so funny. Even Malfoy was rolling around laughing."
"Good," one of them agreed.
"Excellent even," the other praised. "Too bad no one copied that for us. How are you?"
"Fine. Bit touchy of the stomach still, but otherwise okay. Harry's napping right now."
The first smirked at him. "No problems being in the same room with him?"
"Only if I can't find a girl soon. Otherwise I might have to jump him. He's still sleepwalking."
"The cure to that is a wall spell," the second offered.
"Taking what's George's would probably upset him quite a bit, Ron," the other advised.
"I'm trying hard not to, but there's no one here I can cuddle with," he complained. "Can't you guys whip up a girl for me?"
"That would be against the law," the second reminded him.
"Not that we've ever cared, but I'm sure there's at least one there who might want you. At least if you looked," the first pointed out.
"Harry said there's been a great number of girls watching your backside."
"Maybe," Ron sighed, curling up some. "I'm not sure I could handle them though. I think they're all watching me to see if I'm really sick or something."
"So spread a rumor that you're looking for a new girl," one of them suggested. The other nodded. "Everyone in the school knew you were on the outs with the prig months ago, Ronniekins."
"Maybe," he agreed, starting to look a bit happier with life. "So, that was neat," he admitted with a wicked smirk at them. "That dribble batter had just enough effect that you could almost see the troll's eyes light up when he saw her." Someone pounded on the door. "Oops, sounds like authority. Gotta go." He waved and turned off the floo, going to open the door before they could wake up Harry. "He's napping," he hissed, stepping outside the room to look at Padma. "Don't wake Potter up, he's not sleeping well again."
She crossed her arms, glaring at him. "What did Hermione do to earn your twin brothers being sicced on her?" she demanded in a quiet yell. As quiet as she ever got.
"Ask Snape," he said dryly. "Or ask McGonagall."
"She thought you've went too far."
"Wasn't me who turned into a troll lover," he said bitterly. He glared at the others in the common room. Their new room was right under the stairs and everyone could hear. "Padma, what do you know about Hufflepuff?" he asked. Her mouth opened and she let out a shriek, hitting him. "Hey! I didn't do it to them!"
"Padma, stop it," Harry snapped, opening the door. "Did George and Fred look pleased with themselves?"
Ron grinned and nodded. "Quite." He looked at Padma, then at Neville, who nodded. "Fine, you wanna know, you go ask Neville nicely or you ask McGonagall." He walked into his room and slammed the door. "Harry, go back to bed. You need the rest. You look done in again."
"I am," Harry admitted, crawling back under his covers. "I'm just so cold right now."
"You want my spare blanket?"
"No, it's not that sort of cold," Harry offered. "Thanks anyway, Ron. Hit me if I sleepwalk tonight."
"Sure, mate. Happy nap, Harry."
"Thanks, Ron. You too." He snuggled back under his pile of blankets, trying to get warm. He ended up curled in a little ball, still shivering as he fell asleep.
Ron gave his back a look then went to the floo, going to call his brothers back. "Oy, George, Harry can't get warm. He's got seven blankets and all. Is that normal?"
"No, it's probably loneliness," he admitted. "I'll send George up, Ron. Thanks."
"Thanks, Fred. I just got screamed at by Padma." He waved and disappeared.
Fred went to the front of the shop, interrupting his brother's stocking. "Harry can't get warm."
"Smashing. Then he's missing snuggling," he said happily. "I'll be back after breakfast to finish up." He disappeared, heading back through the floo they had connected recently. He landed in the Headmaster's office with a grin. "Sorry, needed to check on Harry. Ron said he's feeling off."
"He can go to the infirmary like every other student," McGonagall said from behind him.
"Would you trust her after what she did to him?" he asked plainly, giving her a long look. "How is Miss Granger? Ron told us she'd been taken. Did her natural taint now call out to them?" He looked at the Headmaster. "Sorry, but I need to check on Harry, sir. Excuse me." He walked out, unconcerned. They couldn't prove they'd sent the troll or that they'd made Hermione smell like a trollette in heat. The perfume bottle she'd received had come from a shop that had taken a write-in order, not from them. It was used by those who were trying to preserve the troll bloodlines, like his brother did dragons. He walked up to the painting and smiled at her. "Can I come in, love? Need to see Harry for a bit. He needs a good long cuddle." The Fat Lady gave him a look then shook her head. "Oh, come on. Please? Or can you ask Neville or Ron to come out?"
"No," she said. "The Headmaster said you're not allowed in."
He leaned closer and whispered to her. "My future baby's in there, madam, I need to touch them to soothe the mother. Please?" She got this sappy look and sighed, then opened the door for him. "Thank you, love. We miss having you at the shop. We could use paintings like you there." He walked inside, heading through the common room, which was silent. "They in the room down here?" he asked.
Neville swallowed. "Yeah, the one under the stairs, George. Go right in. Harry's napping right now." George grinned at him and did just that, closing and locking the door behind himself. He looked at Padma, who was still in shock from what she'd heard. "Now do you understand?" he asked quietly. "It's his in Harry."
"Oh, Merlin," she squeaked, then clamped her hands over her mouth, looking at him. "Who else knows?"
"The girls who did it and our dorm," Dean told her, patting her on the back. "Did you tell her all of it, Neville, about Hermione and all?" Neville nodded, frowning at him. "Fine. Good boy then. How did you know that was George?"
"Because the little one is his," he said simply. "It makes sense unless they're sharing him."
"Fred likes his women too much," Padma said, looking at them. "You knew?" Dean nodded. "For how long?"
"Since the night before they got their room switched. We couldn't stand them getting so sick," Dean said honestly. "Neville?"
"A few days longer," he admitted. "I was the one watching out for them."
"Ooh, poor Ron," she sighed. "And all alone now too."
"And single," Dean reminded her.
"And in that part where things start to get needy," Neville added with a grin for her. He patted her on the arm. "He was complaining about the girls staring at him and none of them wanting to date him."
She got up and went that way, using her wand to unlock the door so she could boldly walk inside and curl up behind him on top of the blankets to give him a hug. "I think you're very brave to go through with this, Ron," she whispered in his ear. "Now that I know, you're under my protection and I'll help you paste Lavender and the smug thing if she ever comes back." He rolled over to look at her, so she kissed him. "You're not up for grabs any longer," she promised. She stroked his stomach. "I think this is really cute and you look hot right now. You glow and you're happy, and you're cute," she finished with a blush. He continued to stare at her. "Want me to leave?" she asked finally. He slowly shook his head. "In shock?" she asked with a giggle. He nodded, then pulled her closer to kiss her. She went limp in his arms, liking this a lot.
"I expect to actually date," he reminded her. "I'm not in it for pity."
She tapped the end of his nose with her fingertip. "Ron, if this was pity, you'd already be naked and howling at the moon," she said honestly, smirking at him. "I've waited a long time to get you to myself. Now that I've got you no super brain without ethics is going to come near you again!" He grinned and kissed her again, pulling her closer.
"No shagging in front of us," George said quietly, making them break apart with blushes. "Thank you. Some of us don't need to see that."
"That's why we have curtains on the beds," she said smugly, pulling theirs. She was even nice enough to put up a silencing spell so the other couple didn't have to listen to her making Ron groan in happiness and joy. He certainly hadn't lost any skills with this new development.
George shook his head and climbed under the covers behind Harry's curled up body, warming him the natural way, by cuddling him. Harry uncurled and flipped over, pouncing him for his warmth. "You're freezing, Harry."
"Nightmares," he whispered, snuggling in tighter. "Night, love." George was stunned, but he did wrap him tighter in his arms.
That night was the first Harry hadn't had nightmares in nearly three years.
McGonagall looked over as Ron and Padma walked in holding hands, and Harry walked in wearing a goofy grin and a tie with the proper colors, but they weren't in the right order. She knew letting George in had been a good idea. Her boys looked absolutely better this morning. She nodded at Ron, who smiled and waved at her before sitting down. He kissed the back of Padma's hand and then her lips, before handing her the food she wanted and making his own plate fuller than it had been in a few months. "Good on her," she decided. She'd leave it at that. If Molly objected, that was her problem. Ron was now happy and Padma was not the sort to harm Ron in the least. There'd be none of that fooling around he got from Hermione with her. She looked at Severus, who was not looking happy with the state of his plate this morning. She cleared her throat and looked down at him again. "Severus, are you doing anything with potions for the state of those poor beings we're currently afflicted with?"
He nodded. "I have, but not all of it seems to be helping," he admitted.
"I found that some dry crackers, or very lightly buttered toast seems to help those with stomach problems, like some of those things in my house have," Madam Sprout offered, giving him a sweet smile. "Or eating smaller meals more frequently of light things."
Severus considered it and instead of his usual eggs he ate a piece of his toast. It did seem to help. "Thank you. I'll take that under advisement. How much longer should this...imposition last?"
"Probably another month at the most," Minerva McGonagall offered gently. "We could hold support meetings to share information about the afflicted members." He nodded, that seemed reasonable. "Good. Then feel free to come up to my office any time you need some help or information," she promised with a small, warm smile for him.
"And of course, if you need any further ingredients, don't hesitate to call upon myself as well," Madam Sprout reminded him gently. "I've already started some of the most usual plants growing in Greenhouse One." He tipped his head in acknowledgment. "Try some of the fruit, Severus, you'll need the vitamins probably. You're looking dreadfully run down."
"I'm fine," he stated but he did eat a few bites of the fruit cocktail that had appeared this morning. It was good, rather tart instead of too sweet this time. He found it soothed some sort of craving within him so he had a few bites more of it. Perhaps the interfering women were correct this time. He might even take them up on their offers of help and information if he needed something. He finished his breakfast and stood up, nodding politely at them before disappearing down to his classroom. The room smelled exactly perfect to calm his nerves. He was also safer down here. All those girls had been expelled from his class and no one dared bother him in his own classroom or office. He looked over as he heard footsteps, opening the portrait over the doorway to let in his fellow afflicted young man. "Mr. Malfoy. What seems to be the problem?" he asked calmly.
He looked at him, then sat down behind the first desk. "I need your help killing my father, Professor. You know he had the spell on me...reset. Correct?" Snape shuddered but nodded. "I want him to suffer. I want to harm him fully and make sure that he's never suffered like I'm going to make him before. Unfortunately, I'm restricted to this school until further notice. Therefore I would need an ...understanding adult to help me. Might you know someone?"
"I know of a few people," he admitted. "Including myself. Do you have plans?"
Draco smirked. "Some rudimentary ones. Nothing concrete yet. I was going to ask you if you wanted in on the planning as well." Snape smirked at him. "I know, but I'm not sure I can pull off what I *really* want to do."
"Bring them to me tonight before curfew, Mr. Malfoy, I will gladly help you with these plans of yours. It is a necessary thing after all. What he did was horrible and wrong." He shifted some. "Do you know who the new parent is?" Draco shuddered and nodded. "No reactions to end it?"
"No, sir, he wasn't stupid enough to put the Dark Lord into me. Instead they decided I should be carrying something so that even if you're not, they'll be able to have a certain seeker." He stood up. "I thank you for your indulgence. I'll see you in class and again later tonight." He looked at him. "Please don't inform anyone."
"I will not. Your secret is safe with me," he promised. Draco nodded and left. They both knew that Draco probably wouldn't be able to pull off any of his plans but whatever they could do, he would make sure to help the boy. How dare Lucius do that to his own son.
The rest of that month went about the same, with Ron and Padma making an attractive, and touchy, couple around the school. Harry started to relax again. Even Draco had been seen relaxing and not ranting or trying to hurt himself. So when Harry got the weekend off to go visit his intended, he was quite pleased with himself. His homework was caught up but a paper for Charms that wasn't due for another four days. He didn't care about the knowing smirks from the other Gryffindors, he was going to be getting out of the school and getting on with his life. At least for a weekend. He packed carefully, not wanting to overpack or to leave something behind. He even included the small jar of stuff that he had found in Hogsmeade the last time they'd been allowed down there. It said it was to reduce friction, so he supposed it'd be useful. He heard the knock on the door and opened it to find McGonagall not looking pleased with the world again. "Is George not coming?"
"Molly actually came for you, Harry," she said calmly. "She's in the Headmaster's office at the moment."
"Thank you." He closed his bag and followed her up to the office, even though she knew he knew the way up there. He walked in after tapping gently on the door, smiling and hugging Molly. "What's going on?"
"Oh, the twins are fine, Harry. They're just extremely busy with an order at the moment. Someone wanted them to make bags for a child's birthday present." She stood up and smiled at the Headmaster. "Have he and Ron been good so far?"
"So far they've been very good," he offered with a smile for Harry. "Remember to check in with me when you get back, Harry. I'll see you Sunday sometime after dinner."
"Sure." He followed Molly out, watching her make the portkey to the shop. They landed at the Burrow instead and he looked at her. "I can't go?"
"They said they'd come pick you up later tonight," she promised.
He nodded, putting his bag in the corner. "Okay, I guess that's fine. Need any help?"
"Well, I thought we could have a wonderful chat, Harry. Sit. Let me put on some water for tea." She bustled about for a few minutes before sitting across from him. "Now, tell me all about Ron's new girl," she said with a smile.
"Yes, her. Ron's only written that he's found a decent girl this time."
"Oh, she is. She vowed to help us get Lavender when it was time. She's also in awe of Ron. Loves to pat his tummy and all that. She's had a crush on him now for a few years. She nearly hit Hermione the last time she saw her and loved the troll that took her away." Mrs. Weasley gave him a look. "It's not my fault," he promised. "Nor Ron's."
"Fine," she said grimly. "I'll get on the twins later."
"You know, it could have been Percy," he suggested with a small grin. "He can be a bit protective of what's his now and then." She gave him another odd look so he grinned brighter. "It could have been. Think about how hard it would have been to call a troll to the school, get it through the wards, and all that. It had to have been someone who was in the Ministry."
"Good point," she sighed, shaking her head. She'd be talking to that boy later. That was a bad habit that she did not want to be carried on. "Are you all right, Harry? You look a bit pale."
"Hmm? Oh, I'm fine," he admitted. "Now and then I feel a flux like the magic's surging around me. Usually means someone's apparting or something," he admitted with a small grin. George appeared and he grinned at him. "She wanted to know about Padma."
"Then she can take her to tea. I need you to come help me now," he said firmly as he pulled Harry out of his chair and winked at his mother. "Thanks, mum. Have a nice tea." He double-flooed with Harry back to the shop, smirking at him. "So?"
"I nearly convinced her that Percy had to have at least helped with the troll thing. After all, you two wouldn't be able to get one through the wards," he said innocently, then he smirked.
"Smashing, Harry," Fred agreed from behind the register. "Now, go help George in the lab so I can have my time later." He nodded, following George, but stopping to give Fred a hug. "Well now," he said happily, patting him on the back. "We appreciate you too. Go play." Harry nodded, bouncing after George into the lab, letting Fred shake his head, but smirk in happiness. His brother's future mate was quite something else. He heard the explosion and winced, but laughter came after it so apparently it had been planned. Harry was good for his twin, he liked him for that much alone
Something came rolling out and a young girl in the store picked it up, squealing loudly as it shocked her and made her hair stand on end. "Mummy, I want this one!" she yelled, bringing it over to her mother for her approval. "It feels neat. Like when I stole your wand to shave the dog!"
Her mother patted her on the head, giving her a bright smile. "Of course, dear. As long as it's not a prototype." She looked at Fred, who held up a finger and went to check, coming back with a headshake and the baggie of renewing powder for the toy. "Thank you, Mr. Weasley. I'm sure she'll quit stealing my wand now," she shared with bright grin. She walked her daughter out, teasing some of the hair still standing on end into twisted spikes. "I like that look on you, dear."
"Can I have horns, mummy? I'd look good with horns."
"We'll try that next time," she promised with a smile for her daughter.
Fred snickered and went to look back in the lab. "She wants to make her hair into horns next time."
"Cool," Harry agreed with a grin. "I'm sure she'll look adorable and be the envy of all the kids on the block."
"Quite probably," George agreed with a grin for his boyfriend. It had been his idea after all.
Harry crawled into George's bed, snuggling up to him. "Got cold," he explained when he heard the inquisitive grunt. "Sorry if I chill you."
"You're not, Harry," George promised, kissing him on the top of the head. "Want to cuddle some more?"
"Or more?" he asked hesitantly. "I found some stuff that I think should work. Please?" he begged when George looked at him. George kissed him and Harry went along with the plans quite eagerly. He had been wanting this a lot recently. He broke away to get the anti-sticking formula he had found, bringing it back to put onto the bedside table.
George looked at it and broke out in giggles. "Harry, love, that's for doors and things. Not for things like this. This is for things like that," he said, pulling a bottle out of his bedside table and handing it over. "This was meant to be used inside the human body. That'd cause a big mess if you used it that way." Harry blushed. "What?"
"Ron got some before I left," he muttered, blushing brighter.
"Well, I'm sure his girl will instruct him differently," he soothed, pulling Harry back down to kiss him. "I love the fact that you thought ahead that far. We'll have to start slow then move forward." He moved the bottle to the pillows so he could reach it later, so Harry could be pulled back into his web of seduction. He had to grab his lover before he wiggled them off the bed, but he liked it since he moaned. "Sore?" he asked between kisses.
"Let me put up the silencing spell," Fred called, doing so. He really didn't need to know that much about how two guys did it. His two girls would be quite upset with him for those thoughts.
George smirked at him. "Now, if you get really into it and yell really loudly, it'll break that charm. Fred's made his girls do that before."
Harry grinned wickedly. "A worthy goal sometime this weekend," he agreed happily, diving back in. He was really liking this stuff! Now he knew why Padma always looked sore in the mornings after she had snuck in.
Fred looked over, grimacing as he strengthened the wall more. He would not be kept up by those two. He refused to be kept up by those two.
"No, Harry, not like that. Lick, don't breathe on it. "
Fred groaned and added another layer, knowing it was only going to get louder.
"Oh, Merlin, you mean I can do that too!"
"Sure. Now you try, just like I showed you."
Fred moaned and pulled the pillow over his head, trying to block out the screaming when George finally got there. Noisy asshole. He'd have to buy them a gag for a baby present.
Harry wandered into the kitchen the next morning, still damp from his shower but dressed in case the store was already open. He ran into someone's back and mumbled an apology before walking around them and heading for the fridge.
The woman he had just bumped into looked at her boyfriend, frowning at him. "Didn't Oliver tell you he'd kill George if he touched him?"
Harry backed out of the fridge, frowning at her. "What're you doing here?" he asked, looking confused, but adorable.
"We're his girlfriends," Katie said, nodding at Fred, who was smirking.
"Oh, okay." He nodded and found a glass and the milk he was looking for. "George is in the shower. He'll be right down." He headed back upstairs to look at the nursery some more. They probably needed privacy.
"Explanations would be a good place to start," Katie noted dryly.
"Yes, Fred," Angelina noted dryly, "why did you call us over and what news did you have to tell us this early?"
He swallowed. "It's a damn big secret." They gave him a long stare so he swallowed again. "You know how some of the Hufflepuffs have been complaining about political marriages?" They both nodded, starting to look like they were losing their patience. "Well, for some reason they decided that knocking some people up would get them out of theirs. So they took stuff Miss Granger was working on, and that's another long story by itself, and used it on some people. Like Harry."
"That book wasn't worth the spit used to turn the pages," Angelina noted bitterly.
"Granger," Fred said simply, crossing his arms over his chest, staring them down. "It came from a shirt believe it or not."
They gaped, then stared at the doorway until George came in searching for breakfast.
"I take it you told them?"
"The bare facts," Fred agreed, handing over the coffeepot.
"Headed back upstairs," Katie said, blinking a few times. "He's what?"
"He's up the duff," George said smugly. "Speaking of, can I bribe one of you two to talk to him about matters in the bedroom? He brought in door grease as a lubricant. Thought a blow was just that, a blow."
"I heard," Fred said dryly, frowning at his twin, who just gave him a smug look.
"Of course you did. You probably will again too," George agreed smugly, wandering out to check the shelves to see if anything needed stocked. "People are looking in the windows," he called after a few minutes. "I'm opening the doors."
"Thanks for the warning," Fred called back, shaking his head while looking at his girlfriends. "Now you know. It's still a bloody secret."
"Hey, fine," Angelina agreed quickly. "No one would believe us anyway!"
Katie nodded, gulping her coffee. "Not a problem on my end either. Let's go help stock stuff then we'll do the books for you." They headed out to do that for the boys, giving each other long looks for a bit before Katie slipped off to talk with Harry. "Hey," she said quietly once she found him, knowing how jumpy he could be. "You okay?" she asked when he didn't move. He nodded, grinning at her. "Want to talk?"
"Well, no. Thankfully," she admitted as she sat next to him, giving him a hug. "What's it like?"
"It's heavy and nasty, then I get sick a lot," he sighed, looking at his cold cup of coffee. "Then things start to sour my stomach."
"Add some cream," she offered, giving him a gentle squeeze. "Harry, would you like to ask some questions about anything? I may not have been there, but I've heard plenty from my mother and aunts."
"No thanks," he said, shaking his head. "I get pounced all the time by Madam Pomfrey for that stuff."
"Then what about pleasure, Harry?" He blushed bright red, making her giggle. "I know, I'm not the sort to ask those things to, but I can if you'd like." He leaned over to whisper in her ear and she giggled again, giving him a real hug and a pat on the back. "That's an easy enough thing. Take a long bath. It'll help that. It'll also relax you for more later," she said with a wink. "Trust me, there will be more if George is anything like Fred."
"I hope so," he agreed, grinning at her even though he was still blushing. "I'm supposed to be helping out too."
"I know. We can go down in a while, once things start to pick up. For right now, let's get you into a bath and then ...." She trailed off as George came in and stole Harry. "He's fine, just sore."
"I realize that," he said with a wicked grin. "The best thing for sore muscles is the same thing that made them sore." He carried him back down to their room, doing a general silencing spell so no one in the store could hear them. He didn't want to traumatize the children after all.
Katie curled up in a ball and giggled madly, smirking at Angelina when she came up. "George is just as bad as Fred is," she promised, allowing her friend to help her off the floor.
"Good, Harry could use something like that," she agreed, looking around. "What's this?"
"I'm guessing the nursery. Look, he left up the phantom furniture." The aww'ed over the crib then giggled again and went down to bug...er, help Fred with the shop.
Oliver Wood walked into the shop, grinning at the twin menaces that were his friends. "Okay, so you drug me here. Now what's the great news?"
Harry came rushing out of the back to give him a hug. "Oliver!"
Oliver grunted as he was hit, but he grinned and patted the younger man on the back. "Hey, Harry, can I breathe?" Harry laughed and let him go, going back to the kitchen. He looked at George, never losing his smile. "Didn't I tell you I'd kill you?" he asked calmly.
"It was the Hufflepuffs. They're the one with the potion that did it to him," Fred said with a shrug.
"It's a good thing it's mine instead of his," George agreed. "That would kill Fred to lose his women."
"Excuse me?" Oliver asked, looking around the store. "We alone?" Fred shook his head, pointing behind him. "Who?"
"The ladies, Harry, and one stunningly bright young woman behind you if you'd move," George told him. She grinned at him and came over with her arms full of stuff, then went back to get more.
"Now, dear, didn't your mum come with you this time?" Fred asked, going back to help her.
"No, she's resting at the ice cream shop with the new baby. So she gave me two galleons and told me to get stuff to make her laugh."
Fred winked and handed her a small tube. "You eat a nibble of that and turn into a fuzzy thing," he promised. "Just like an animagus."
"Wow," she breathed. "Can I afford this?"
"Sure. It's only thirty sickles and we like you. Let's go back and add up what you've got so far, okay?" She nodded, following him back. "Her mum and the new baby needed a rest so she sent her ahead to get some pretty stuff."
"I wanted some of that flower powder and some of the sparkling powder too if I could please," she said earnestly.
"Well, let's see what you've got so far," George offered as he added up stuff. "Hmm, with the tube, that's already two galleons and ten sickles." She pouted at him until Oliver tossed over a galleon. "Got a knut too?" he asked dryly. He dug one out and handed it over, frowning at the twins. "Okay, go get one bag of each and you're done." She nodded, going back with one of the women to get one since they were on a higher shelf than she could usually reach. Katie held them up and the twins nodded, bagging up everything for her. "There you go. Remember what we told you about the sparkling powder?"
"Always keep some water on hand, just in case. Otherwise I could singe the rug again," she repeated with a bright grin, taking her bags. "What about the furry thing stuff?"
"Don't drink milk or eat cheese for two hours before or after taking it or you could end up that way for *days* and then your mummy would miss you," Fred said, tweaking a horned-up ponytail. "There's directions on it for your mum." She nodded, waving as she skipped out. "Thanks, Oliver. She's a great little girl. Does a lot of our stuff." He glanced around, then back in the lab. "Harry's napping on top of the explosion powder again."
"That's fine. A little bit of blowing up is good for a boy," George reminded him with a grin. He looked at Oliver. "It's a huge secret, Oliver, but the Hufflepuffs decided that they were going to protest their future marriages by stuffing up some people. They got Harry and Ron both, plus Snape and Malfoy."
"Plus themselves because it became a super fertility potion," Fred added. "It's fairly neat. Harry's at the end of morning sickness and at the beginning of the napping and cuddle stage."
Oliver gave them a look, then shook his head, covering his eyes. "How far?"
"Four months and a bit," George said proudly. "He was wearing my shirt, which had my hair, which is how it's mine."
Oliver moved his hand, staring at his friends. "Have you hurt him?"
"I'd never hurt my boyfriend or my future mate," George defended. Oliver gave him a long look. "So he's a bit sore, but nothing unusual."
"He's still too young...."
"He's not," Angelina offered quietly. "He's not too young anymore. He's not a fourth year. He's a sixth year and nearly seventeen by the time the baby's born. Well within legal limits, Oliver. Plenty of girls are getting married at the same age."
"Which we will be," George assured him. "We're doing his earring tonight actually."
Fred grinned at them. "Hence the party in the making."
"Want us to get Alicia?" Katie asked. Fred beamed and nodded. "Sure. Let me go do that. They can share secrets about stretchmark creams." She winked and sauntered off, heading through the floo to her friend's house.
Angelina hugged Oliver, making him relax again. "See, not an issue, Oliver. We like Harry. Even if he did keep Fred up last night."
"Wonderful, and more than I needed to know," he assured her, giving her a pat. He looked at the twins. "Ron?"
"Oh, that's an entirely different story," Fred said with a mean smirk. "Apparently Miss Granger decided to break up with him without telling him. So she made Lavender some polyjuice in her image." Oliver and Angelina gaped. "Yeah. That's how we found out too. The paternity test." Oliver's eyes narrowed. "So far, we've had a troll come in to carry off Miss Granger. Apparently it thought she was pretty now."
"Hopefully they got to her after the sex," Angelina said bitterly. "He okay?"
"Padma finally got her wish. They're together."
Harry came out with a yawn. "Your mother was pumping me for information earlier on her," he admitted. He smiled at Oliver. "Hi again. Sorry, needed a short nap."
"That's fine. They explained it to me. Take all the naps you want, Harry." He grinned at him. "Feeling okay?"
Harry shrugged. "Most of the time. I've got some funny cravings but otherwise I'm fine. You?"
"I'm good. No recent injuries." He looked behind him as Katie and Alicia came out of the floo. "Good, we're all here. How much longer is the store open?" The door opened and the last customer's mother walked in holding up the tube.
"There's directions on it," Fred offered.
"She's allergic, boys. To the flower powder as well."
"Hmm. Let's make a note of that. To what?"
Fred wrote that down and winked, giving her something instead. "No unicorn fur."
"Totally tested and going out next week. It'll still do the same thing but she'll probably be more of a bigger creature instead of a cat or a dog." The mother read the ingredients then nodded, smiling at them.
"We'll let you have that at the same price," Fred assured her. "Oliver kicked in a few knuts for her."
"Thank you." She smiled at the twins. "Try to keep her away from the other stuff, please?"
"Sure. That's why we wrote it down," George promised.
"We'll go start on dinner," Katie announced, heading for the back rooms. "Oh, hi," she called, moving a young boy out of the back. "He was napping in the kitchen."
The mother sighed, taking the boy from her. "I'll hand him to Florian. He's got a running tab of lost kids in his place." She walked the boy out, turning to wave at whichever one was turning over the sign. "Come on, little guy. Let's get you found. What's your name?"
"Berry? Like Strawberry?" He nodded, smiling at up at her. "Then your mummy must have thought you'd be very sweet. I'm sure she'll be frantic looking for you." She walked him into the ice cream parlor, smiling at that proprietor. "This is Berry. The twins found him napping on their kitchen table."
He nodded, looking quite adorable. "Um-huh. They were talking about how Harry Potter's pregnant and so is Ron Weasley and someone named Malfoy and Snape."
The two parents shared a look. Imagination was wonderful at that age.
Harry walked into the school late Sunday night and looked around. He didn't think it was that late, but it was very quiet. He walked up to the Headmaster's office, passing Snape and Filch talking in the halls. "Did someone do a spell to shut up all the students? It's not even much past dinner yet," he asked as he headed down the correct hallway.
"Potter, the Headmaster is in bed now," Snape said firmly, catching him. "Do you know what time it is?"
"Try two in the morning," he said with a sneer. Harry frowned at his watch, then held it up, looking confused again. Snape gave him a long look. "Go to bed. Twenty points from Gryffindor for being out so late."
"Sorry. I guess all the clocks stopped at nine," he said with a shrug. He went up to his room, crawling into bed, noticing Ron was already in bed too. So he was extra quiet and careful not to trip over his bed this time. He had to get up to take off his clothes, but Ron barely grunted when he hissed as his new earring hit the pillow. He snuggled in, knowing he wasn't going to sleep past breakfast. It seemed like it was only a blink until Ron was shaking him. He looked at his watch, that now said 9:25, then at his bedside clock, which also said 9:27. He looked at Ron and picked up the clock. "That's PM, Ron."
"It's not, Harry. See, it's light."
"Unless every stupid clock in this castle is wrong, it's not," Harry insisted. "I just got into bed!"
"You got in just now?"
Harry nodded. "And Snape said it was two when by my watch it was nine-oh-five." He stood up with a groan and grabbed his robe and slippers, heading up to the office. If anyone could fix this, Dumbledore could. He got a few shocked looks. "It's the middle of the fucking night," he complained as he trudged. He hissed the password, Merry Fingers, then rode the stairs up before bursting into the room. His head of house and Snape were both staring at him. "It's not eight in the morning. It's not, none of the clocks say it is. Mine say it's barely nine-thirty." Dumbledore nodded. "Who messed with time?" he growled. "I'm tired and I want a bloody nap!"
Dumbledore cleared his throat. "Calm down, Harry. Sit, please. Tie your robe a bit tighter so you don't shock your professors. When did you get in?"
"By my watch, nine. By Snape's, a little after two."
"Interesting. What time is it now?" Harry showed it to him. "Very odd. Did your alarm go?" Harry shook his head. "Is it affected?" Harry shook his head again.
"Was it a prank gift from that stupid fiance of yours?" Snape sneered.
Harry turned his head, flicking his earring. Then he looked at the Headmaster again, giving him an expectant look. "Was it an attack or an accident?"
"I'm hoping it's an accident," he noted cheerfully. "In any means, you may go back to bed if you want."
"Fine. Thank you. Ron's having one of those disgustingly chipper days again." He got up with a groan, holding onto his stomach. "We had to tell Fred's girlfriends and Oliver, who all came up for the piercing thing we did last night." He wandered out, heading back to bed. A few of the Hufflepuffs smiled at him so he growled, making them tear up and run away. "I'll settle with you later," he promised, glaring at one of them who stopped to stare at him.
"Is that a bonding earring, Harry?" the stupid/brave girl asked.
"Yes, it is," he said coldly. "How's your own going?" She sniffled, backing away from him. "I know exactly who was in on that spell, dear. Including those who helped brew and those who helped plan." She broke out in tears and ran off, going to cry on her housemates. "Good," he agreed, heading back up the stairs. The Fat Lady's painting gave him a moment of pause. "Um, jelly bellies?" he guessed. She nodded, opening for him. "Thanks. Going back to bed with permission." He went into his room and flopped down again, quickly getting off his stomach and heading to the bathroom, then lying down in a more agreeable position. That hadn't felt nice.
Around lunch, when he was woken again, Ron was giving him a worried look. "You all right, Harry?"
"Hell no," he mumbled, turning his head the other way. "G'way, trying to nap, Ron."
"Yeah, but you need to eat too," he reminded his friend. "Otherwise McGonagall is going to come up and beat me stupid."
Harry reached up and accepted the apple from the plate, taking a large bite of it and putting it back onto the tray while he chewed, then he drifted off again.
Ron grinned at him. "What did the twins do to you?" he asked with a small giggle, leaving the tray there. He snuck out, making sure the door was closed as quietly as he could. Harry still threw something at it, probably the apple, but Ron shrugged it off. That's just how Harry was when he was tired. He grinned at Padma. "He's still tuckered."
"What did they do with him?" she asked with a blush and a giggle.
"Probably whatever you're thinking and more," he agreed with a bright grin and a wink. "C'mon. I need ta eat too." He took her hand and walked her down to the Great Hall, going to eat. "You know, that cottage cheese stuff you introduced me to was kinda neat. I hope we have more of that tonight."
She giggled. "You'd think you never ate normal food, Ron." He gave her a sideways look. "I swear, it's in about every dairy case in every market. It's for those on diets and those who just want something light. Then again, I like to have mine with fruit."
"I liked it with honey and fruit," he admitted, grinning sheepishly. "Mum always had us drink milk straight instead of anything else. Maybe some cheese and ice cream now and then, but mostly milk."
"Well, now you need more so my wonderful stepson can grow up and big and strong."
"I'd like for him to be big and strong after he comes out," Ron said dryly, smirking at her. "I can't imagine it coming out as big as me."
"It'd better not," she agreed, giving his hand a squeeze as they sat down together. She noticed Ginny looking around. "Harry's still in bed."
"Good. He probably needs the rest," she agreed. "I was wondering if they were letting Hermione back in with the normal students today. I heard they found her last night."
"Oh, I do hope so," Padma said with an icy smile.
"She too can hang off the balcony by her hair," Ron agreed happily, digging into the cottage cheese and the fruit mix, piling them high on his plate to nibble at them. "This is really good, Ginny. You should try it."
"Ron, I don't like cottage cheese," she complained. "Are you going to eat worse foods? I know Mum said it might happen." He looked hurt so she sighed. "Fine. You eat what you want and we'll all deal," she promised. He grinned again and dug back in, eating like he was starved. She and Padma shared a look, getting a grin in return. "Everything okay and normal?"
"According to the nurse," she agreed happily.
"Good. Now all we have to do is get Harry up there for his check up," she said grimly.
"He said he'd go if he had someone to go with him."
"Wonderful," Ginny said dryly. "You want it or me?"
"You go. He is your new brother-in-law," Padma said with a smirk. Ginny's open mouth stare was turned on Ron, who nodded.
"I saw the earring when I went to wake him up to eat something." He ate another bite of lunch and winced as the change gong rang. "Already?" He checked his watch. "It's not near time for that yet."
Dumbledore stood up. "For now, we will be canceling classes for the rest of the day. Stay in here, all of you, and eat heartily while we figure out what is going on." He, McGonagall, and Flitwick headed out together to check the official timepiece for the school, which set the local time and how slow the time ran. They found the switch set farther up than it should be and reset it, watching as the clock slowed back down to its normal speed. "There, that may have done it," he decided, going back to the Great Hall. "Enjoy the rest of today, take a long nap this afternoon, and be ready for classes to start again tomorrow," he ordered the students. "All is now well." The teachers went to their offices while the Headmaster went to check on Harry, then went to his office when he found the boy asleep. He obviously needed the rest.
When Harry woke up, it was early morning and he felt miserable. He got up and headed for the bathroom, stumbling over a few things on the way, like Ron, but that was fine for now. He relieved his aching bladder before getting into the shower, trying to wake up. He was soaping his stomach when he felt the first move, stopping and staring down at the lump in shock. "What are you doing in there?" he asked, touching it gently. There, it had moved again because he had touched it. "Sorry, love. Want me to stop touching you? I can if that's what you want."
"Harry?" Ron mumbled. "What's wrong?" He wandered in and stuck his head in the shower. "Problem? Cramps? Should I call for the nurse?"
"No, she moved," he said in awe. He pulled Ron's hand over, letting it rest on his stomach and the baby moved again. "See!"
Ron blinked a few times. "I think I feel something but you'd feel it stronger since she's inside you," he hurried to tack on when he saw the hurt look. He grinned. "Good job, Harry. Finish your shower so we can tell Padma the good news."
"Sure." He let Ron go and hurried his shower, getting done and drying off so he could put on his uniform for the day. Then he left the room, going to find a book in the library. He was sure that he had to do special stuff now that she was moving. Madam Pince gave him an odd look. "She moved." She smiled and gave him a pat on the back and handed him one of the new pregnancy books she was cataloging. "Thanks." He sat down to find the section for where he was, reading it thoroughly. Then he looked up at her. "Shouldn't I have to be more careful now that she moved? Like make sure I can't hurt her?"
"No, she'll be fine. That's why you have that fluid sack around her, Harry," she said gently. "Though, falling off your broom or something is probably not the wisest of ideas." He nodded, going back to his reading. She cleared her throat. "Breakfast, young man."
"Yes, Madam." He handed back the book and ran out, heading down to the Great Hall. He found Ginny and hugged her. "She moved." Ginny squealed and gave him a painful squeeze then let him have the new plate of ham first. "Thanks. Didn't your mum say that I had to be extra careful now?"
"No, that was back at the beginning because you were so dizzy." She smiled at Ron and Padma as they walked in. "She moved."
"He let me feel," Ron admitted with a grin. Padma gave Harry a hug but Ron didn't even look jealous because she came right back to his side. "Still doing it?"
"Yup, each time I touch my tummy. I guess she wants me to leave her alone."
"She's moving closer to feel you, Harry, not away to make you stop," Ginny offered, knowing Harry would be odd if he thought he shouldn't touch her. "Pretty soon she'll move for whoever touches her."
"Okay. As long as it's not hurting her." Ginny shook her head and he grinned, digging in again. "This ham and cherry thing is really good, Ron. Want some?"
"No, I'm not having a fruit day," he said with a frown. "I want something sweet and spicy at the moment."
"You can't eat hot candy for breakfast." Padma frowned at him, making him pout. "No, Ron. You have to eat real food. The baby needs real food."
"Maybe the house elves could candy a hot pepper or two," Ginny offered. Ron beamed at her for that suggestion. "Ask later. Make sure that they only make a few though." He nodded, digging into the eggs before Padma could pile his plate up for him. The women shared a look and grinned. The boys were so cute like this.
Dumbledore stood up and cleared his throat, getting silence. "Thank you. Today's Care of Magical Creatures lessons have been canceled. Hagrid isn't feeling well and is in bed. Please use that time to study for your other classes since it is raining outside." He sat down, smiling at them. "That is all."
Harry looked at Ron, who sighed. They didn't have it today. Lucky fourth years.
Ron looked around as he walked into Defense, nibbling on his favorite new treat. "This was a really good idea Padma had. Candied hot peppers fit exactly with what I've been craving."
"Ginny had it, Padma helped you talk them into it," Harry reminded him.
"Okay, so it's a good idea my little sister had. I'm sure she'll need the recipe some day." He sat down, finishing off that way as the teacher came down from his office.
The Defense teacher sniffed, then frowned. "Who was eating what in here?"
"Sorry, sir, I was finishing off my candied hot pepper as I walked in," Ron admitted. Then he let out a small belch. "I'll keep it out of here from now on." The teacher gave him an odd look but let it go this time. Ron burped again, quieter this time. "Sorry." Harry nudged him and handed over a roll of something, letting him have one. He read the label then smiled and popped one into his mouth, curing the neat heartburn he now had as well. He handed them back with a grin. "Thanks," he whispered. Harry beamed and nodded.
"Boys!" the teacher snapped.
"Sorry, just giving him an antacid," Harry explained.
"Fine. Pay attention please, Mr. Potter. I'm sure you'll want this information some day soon."
Harry gave him a long look, then pointed at the board. "According to the book, that second one on the list is in a different section because it spits acid, not poisoned fog."
The teacher gave him a scowl, then nodded. "That is very true. Thank you for doing the reading this time, Mr. Potter." He went back to his lecture, only occasionally frowning at those two. When class was done, he stopped them. "What is going on with you two?"
Harry looked at Ron, then up at him. "Didn't the headmaster tell you, sir?"
The teacher frowned at him. "No, he has not seen fit to enlighten me about any special clauses you have at the moment that enable you to disrupt my classes. I will not have you disrupting my class again." Ron burped and stole another antacid. "Do you have no manners?"
"Sorry, sir, excuse me. The baby likes the things but my stomach's still getting adjusted a bit." He grinned. "He's a great little guy, finds all sorts of neat stuff to eat."
"He'll probably play quidditch too," Harry agreed, grinning at him. "Think we can warp him to be a seeker if mine's not?"
"Hey, no fair! Yours will be a seeker. Your genes are stronger in that area than George's are. Help me make mine into a keeper or a chaser."
"Sure, Ron." He gave him a pat on the arm, then noticed the stunned look on the teacher's face. "Oops, I really don't think he knew." He walked over to the fireplace, tossing in a bit of floo powder that Madam Pomfrey made him carry. "Infirmary." The nurse's head filled the fireplace. "I think we just broke the defense teacher. He seems to be quite shocked."
"I'll be right down, Mr. Potter. Thank you. Head to your next class." He nodded and grinned, heading off with Ron in tow. She stepped out of the floo and helped the poor man to his desk chair, patting him on the hand. "It's all right. They're fine and normal. It's nothing you have to be that upset about."
"They're pregnant?" he asked in shock. She nodded. "How?"
"The same way the Hufflepuffs are," she said grimly. "Those stupid girls did it to them actually. Totally against their wills. Then they got caught in it as well," she sighed. He looked up at her. "Ask the Headmaster or Minerva. Do not mention it in front of Professor Snape. He's having a bad day you see."
"Him too," he squeaked. She nodded. "Oh, my." He passed out, apparently that had been too much for him. She sighed and got some smelling salts from her pocket, using it to wake him up again. This was really trying. The headmaster was going to have to tell everyone at once so they could quit doing this. First Hagrid because he had found out about Mr. Malfoy and now this one from Harry and Ron. This was very trying.
Harry looked up as Ron sat next to him at breakfast the next morning, noticing that the bowl beside his plate had peppers in it. "More?"
"They're brilliant, Harry. They cure everything. Want one?"
"No, I don't want spicy stuff," he sighed. "I'm not sure what I want."
"Try some milk first," Hermione said as she sat across from them. Everyone stared at her. "It could help."
"Miss Granger, you do realize that you are putting your life in danger at this moment?" Harry ground out. She flinched and started to open her mouth. "I wouldn't." She stood up and moved down to sit with the first years, making him sneer down at her instead of killing her. He didn't want to upset the first years.
"Harry, no unforgiveables at the table," Padma whispered. He forced himself to calm down. Then the baby kicked and he winced. "Shh," she said, rubbing his back for him like she had done to Ron the night before. "It's all right. Just calm down and it'll stop. Remember, the more upset you are, the more upset she is." He nodded and forced himself to be calmer for now. "Good boy, Harry. Oops, here comes McGonagall." She went back to her plate.
"Mr. Potter, are you all right?" she asked gently.
"Padma helped me when she kicked, Professor. I'm calm enough not to kill her at the moment."
"I'm not," Ron noted, glaring down there. Hermione flinched. He looked up at their professor. "Maybe she should be removed for her own safety, ma'am."
"Maybe the women who did this to us should all be locked together. It'd be a fitting punishment for them all," Harry said coldly. He stood up. "I'm going to call George from our room. I need some calming down." He stomped off, making sure his hand didn't stray toward his wand until he got back into the house. Then he sat down in front of the floo, letting out a small sniffle as he tossed the floo powder into the fire. "George Weasley." His mate's head popped up. "They let her back into the house and the first thing she did was sit down across from us and try to give me advice. I'm so pissed I'm crying," he complained. He wiped off a tear.
"It's all right, Harry. Just calm down. She'll get hers and you won't have to talk to her ever again."
"The bad thing is, I wanted to hurt her. I was reaching for my wand when Padma stopped me."
"Doing it at the table wouldn't have been wise, Harry. Use some cunning and get her where the teachers can't see," he offered gently. "That way you don't get into trouble."
Harry nodded, slumping down some. "Yes, George. Thank you."
"Hey, not a problem. If I was closer I'd give you a hug. Did she stop Ron too?" He nodded, now looking miserable. "Then we'll figure out something even worse to plague her with. Never worry, Harry. You've still got us and we're going to help you." Harry sniffled again but now he was happy. "Oh, no, you're having a mood swing." Harry nodded, bursting out into tears. "It's fine, dear. Just calm down. Everything is fine." He looked over as the door opened, admitting their head of house. "He's having a mood swing. Can you give him a hug since I can't?" She nodded, coming over to hug the poor dear for him. "Thanks. See, it's not that bad of a problem, Harry. She wouldn't dare come near you again. If she's that dumb then we'll deal with her." He nodded, calming himself down. "Now go wash your face and let's eat, all right?" Harry nodded, going to do that after a small smile for his teacher. "Granger was really that stupid?"
"She sat across from them and tried to give them advice," she agreed. "He gave her a warning and she moved down to the first years' spots. Your brother suggested we remove her from the house and your husband suggested we lock her and the Hufflepuffs and Lavender in a room together. We are quite lucky Miss Patil was able to stop them from hexing her into nothingness."
"I have no doubt that Harry's got enough rage in him at the moment to do an Unforgivable," George pointed out. She nodded, she'd be taking that up with the headmaster later. "What about the other teachers? Do they know yet?"
"A few do. Hagrid found Mr. Malfoy stroking his stomach yesterday and passed out. The Defense teacher passed out after he found out about Harry and Ron. Speaking of, your brother has started to eat candied hot peppers."
Harry came out of the bathroom. "We'll need more rolls of antacid. They're making him belch," he offered with a small grin. "Thanks, George."
"That's what I'm here for, Harry. You be good and behave for Professor McGonagall and I'll try to sneak up this weekend," he said with a wink for the teacher. "We are married now you know."
"I had noticed the earring marking him as yours but we have not seen any paperwork yet. Didn't you send that up with him?"
"Ooops, nope. We forgot to register it. I'll do that this morning," George agreed. "I'll owl the official stuff to you tomorrow. Have a good day, Harry, and don't curse her yet. Let us help." He nodded and waved so George cut the connection, looking over at his twin once he was at the table again. "Granger sat down across from them at the table and gave Harry advice."
"Is this the lack of common sense that geniuses sometimes get or did the troll bash out her brains?" Katie asked.
"Padma had to stop Harry from cursing her with an unforgivable at the table. He's also just had his first mood swing."
"Poor thing," Fred agreed. "We'll have to think up something much more wonderful for her." He looked at his twin. "I heard you mention going up. Are you leaving me here alone on Saturday?"
"Quite possibly. Or I'll head up afterwards. I've got to file the paperwork on the bonding today and send it to McGonagall so we can have conjugal visits. We need to send more antacids too. Ron's been eating candied hot peppers."
"Eugh," Fred complained, looking disgusted.
"Pregnant people do such things," Angelina said wisely. "My sister ate nothing but candied yam sandwiches with mayo for nearly two months."
"The last time Harry was up he had peanut butter and that muggle fluff stuff in a sandwich," Fred told them. "That was bad enough."
"Don't worry, you'll go through this some day," George taunted with a smirk. "You too shall have children on the way and you'll have to encourage and plead for them to eat something."
"Not after watching what you're going through. A single heir is a good thing for any business," he decided with a smirk for his women. "You don't want to get fat and round, do you?"
"Not presently," Angelina said dryly. "Sometime might be nice though."
"Yeah, what if his doesn't like pranks or doesn't have the skills to do them," Katie agreed with a smirk.
"Then he can get Harry up the duff again," Fred said wisely, smirking back at her.
"It'll probably be a great seeker," Katie teased, pinching George since hew as closer.
"She'll play beater like her dad," he said firmly.
"It's a girl?" Angelina asked. "I must have missed that part." George smirked at her. "What?" she asked cautiously.
"The first born women of a generation are *always* horrible prankers, dear," George assured her.
"So that means that Harry has to give birth before Ron?"
"That could be a hitch in our plans," Fred agreed dryly, looking at his twin. "How can we hold Ron's off?"
"I don't know, and if we tell Mum she'll probably make him go into labor early to be spared a first born granddaughter." George checked the clock on the wall. "I've got to call her anyway to see where the paperwork has to go." He slid off his seat, taking his plate to the fireplace to talk to his mother while he ate. "Molly Weasley." Her head appeared. "Mum, where does the bonding paperwork go?"
"You did that without telling us!" she shouted. "How dare you get bonded and not tell us! We are your family and we will be there for any and all events like this!"
"Mum, we only did it up to the earring. I figured we'd do the rest over the holidays so you could get whatever official you wanted to come up and do the vows," he said mildly. Talking to his mother when she was like this was much the same as dealing with a Harry mood swing he realized. "How do I help Harry when he's got a mood swing since I've got you on here and all."
"He's already had one?"
"Granger had the audacity to sit across from them at breakfast and offer advice." She looked stunned. "Padma kept them both from hexing her to death."
"I like that girl more and more each time I hear about her," she said thoughtfully. "Mostly, you weather mood swings, George. You try to soothe him and calm him back down. Anything other than that you'd have to ask your father. I never had any." He nodded quickly, not going to abuse her of that notion in the least. "As for the bonding, I'll have someone up here Christmas Eve. You'll be bringing him to the Burrow and we'll do it here. We did want to be there when you did the earring as well, son," she sniffed.
"Sorry, mum, we snuck it in before he went back to school. Had Oliver and the ladies up. That way you could have the full bonding you wanted over the holidays so everyone could attend." She nodded, liking that idea. "It also cut down on the anxiety that Harry would have. You know it's not good for him or the baby."
"True." She sighed. "Fine, I'll accept that then. Go see your father at work. He'll be able to walk you to the office. It's only a floor down from him."
"Thanks, mum. See you at the next game?"
He nodded. "Harry said he's not giving up flying and he said that Ron said he's playing too."
She rolled her eyes. "I'll talk to Poppy, have her help them change their minds."
"Mum, Harry loves flying. It's what he's great at. Taking that away from him would hurt him," he warned. She gave him an odd look. "As long as there's no medical reason not to, I'm not going to protest. I will be having a word with Madam Hooch about protection spells he can use, but I won't be stopping him from flying. It'll devastate him, mum."
"Fine. You have a word with the flying instructor after you put that paperwork in." Her head disappeared.
"Nice job," Fred called. "Good technique."
"Now remember that for the next mood swing Harry and Ron have," Katie teased with a grin.
George grinned at them. "Of course I am." He finished his breakfast and went to open the shop a bit early. He'd go visit his father right before lunch, that way he could get advice over the break and not make his father miss any work.
Madam Hooch strode down the halls quickly, heading for her three targets. They had class together right now and the teacher would be handing them over to her. She walked into charms and nodded at Professor Flitwick. "I need to see Potter, Malfoy, and Weasley," she demanded calmly. "There are matters that need to be discussed about the upcoming games."
"Fine," he agreed happily, sending them out.
She walked up the hall, expecting them to follow, taking them to an empty classroom. Where she shut the door and scowled at them. "Word has gotten back to me that you three plan on playing the rest of this year while in a delicate way."
Harry groaned. "Mum!"
Ron nudged him. "My mum, Harry."
"Never mind, I should have expected this," he sighed, looking at her. "Yes, Hufflepuff caught us. We're stuffed up. I'm going to be playing. I was going to ask for which charms I can use to protect my stomach later tonight anyway."
She pursed her lips, looking at the other two, who nodded as well. "Very well. There are four protection charms that are allowed on the field during regulation play. One of them is a charm to cushion your stomach. It can make bending over a bit difficult, but it is the best there is as it pads the external area. There is one that we can put on your uniform to deflect the pressure of a bludger hit, which basically makes it feel like it hit all of you instead of just one spot. There is one that covers your stomach in an impenetrable shield that is not like padding, just a shield, and will therefore not soak up any of the power of the hit but will keep it from physically harming your stomach. The last is one that we see most often in girls who want to miscarry. That one is where a weaker shield is put overtop of the problem area, like a bandage over a bruise. You will not be using that on my watch," she ordered. They all nodded. "I can teach you the first three now. You will see me before the game to have it checked over. If you so much as weaken it during the game, I will kick you out and ban you for the rest of this year. Is that understood?" They all nodded. "Good. Who else do I have to speak with?"
"Hufflepuff," Ron told her grimly. "Two of their chasers."
"I see." She looked them over. "Very well. Which one am I teaching first?"
"The shield that goes over your uniform," Harry told her. "Malfoy and I have to be flexible. I've been hit before so it won't bother me."
"A good choice," she noted, walking over to the board to write down the words to the charm on it. They pulled out pens and parchment, writing everything down.
Headmaster Dumbledore looked out across his teachers, grimacing at them. "It has come time to share some news with you that some of us have known about for quite some time." They stared at him. "As some of you know, Hufflepuff had some young women who decided to play with fertility potions to their detriment." The teachers all groaned. "They were trying to prove something to get them out of arranged marriages by using it on others. Some male others," he said calmly. The Defense teacher whimpered. "Those who were caught by them are doing well. We are monitoring them. They are already showing some from what I've been told."
"Is that why Weasley is eating candied hot peppers?" Madam Sprout asked. He nodded. "I hadn't been sure of him before."
"Weasley and who else?" Sinestra asked bitterly, her voice icy in the extreme.
"The boys had it done to them against their wills," McGonagall told her. The other teachers looked stunned. "They asked Ron to test some pudding if I remember right. So of course he shared it with Harry."
"They got Malfoy by some of the potion on some paper," Snape said grimly. "Then they activated it with the perfume they were squirting around that one day."
Hagrid looked at him. "You all right there, Professor Snape? You look a bit pale today."
"They got you as well?" Vector shouted. He inclined his head. "How?"
"Their potions homework," he said simply.
"From what I got out of them, the girls behind it wanted those that they gave the potion to as their own," Madam Sprout put in. "This way their future spouses wouldn't be picked for them but they could do the picking. You were just an added bonus, Severus. They said you were mean to them." He sneered. "I slapped that one for you."
"Thank you. I think I've come up with whole new tortures for their future detentions with me."
"Which is why they don't have detentions with you," Dumbledore reminded him gently. "That's why they get Filch instead." Snape growled. "I know, it's not as satisfying, but it does keep your hands clean if one disappears in the forest one night, Severus." He slumped some. "Now, as most of you have seen, we're at the stage where cravings start to appear, naps start to be needed, and where Mr. Weasley and his new girlfriend are caught in a teacher's closet because they couldn't wait."
"That's fairly normal," Madam Sprout offered. "That's usually how we catch the girls if not while they're sick."
"What are we doing about Mr. Potter's lessons?" Professor Vector asked.
"We're not harming him during them," Snape said dryly.
"I have instructed all three of the young players on how to shield themselves during games," Madam Hooch offered. "They were adamant that they're playing. They also know that if they do not use them then they will be banned for one year."
"Thank you," Dumbledore said, sending a smile her way. "That was one worry out of the way. They can play?"
"As long as there is no medical counter-indication. I've seen others who have played professionally while pregnant."
"Very well then." He looked at the other teachers. "This is also when a good portion of the accidental magics start to happen. I believe Miss Granger was affected by a bout of that when she nearly jumped off the balcony the other day. I do not know which one it was but I do not fault them for it. Minerva, did you award points to Miss Patil for stopping the boys from hexing her the other morning?"
"I hadn't," she said thoughtfully. "Harry went to call his husband and had his first mood swing during it."
"Fine, fine," he agreed happily. "Another wonderful thing to look forward to I suppose." He looked at the other teachers. "So far we have managed to keep this out of the press for the safety of the students involved."
"Was the troll the twins?" Professor Flitwick wanted to know.
"We can't prove yes or no on that one," McGonagall noted dryly. "I'd say yes though."
"It was very brilliant of them," Flitwick agreed. "We probably should stop it before we have another one."
"What is their problem with Miss Brown?" Madam Sprout wanted to know. "I hadn't heard of her being involved."
"Miss Granger gave her polyjuice a few times to pretend to be her," Minerva McGonagall said bitterly. "The child is hers." The other teacher looked shocked. "So I'm sure we'll see both of them plagued forever for that. Fortunately Miss Patil seems to love Mr. Weasley no matter whose child it is." The female teachers nodded at that, it was a good thing. "Mr. Potter will soon become a Weasley by marriage. I got their bonding papers this morning." She looked at their boss. "George will be up for a visit this weekend with his husband."
"That's fine, as long as his roommate doesn't mind," he said with a shrug. "I can't keep them apart. He makes Harry smile and laugh again." He looked at the other teachers. "We informed you so we wouldn't have any more episodes of teachers passing out. If you have any problems with them, do let us know."
"Can we stop Mr. Weasley from eating those peppers?"
"Harry said they're getting him more antacids soon," McGonagall offered.
"Yes, but it's quite sickening."
"Pregnant people are like that," Dumbledore reminded them all. "If we don't, we may have a show of tempers, which increases the likelihood of accidental magic use. I do believe that at least one of them is strong enough to collapse part of the school if he gets mad enough."
"I am releasing them from Divination," Madam Trelwany said firmly. "Their auras of pain and reluctance to accept this forced gift are bothering the other students in their work."
"Then they're short a class," McGonagall noted. "It's not like the boys asked to have this forced upon them and they're doing the best they can under difficult circumstances."
"Yes, but the pain they radiate is bothering to some," she said stiffly. "As long as they finish their auguries project I'll pass them for the year."
"Fine," Dumbledore agreed. "I'm sure the boys could use that class to take a nap instead." He looked at the other teachers, who shrugged. Apparently none of them were going to be that judgmental. "Again, we must be careful what we have those three children doing. The young women have mostly been forced to leave the school already but those three are still here and anything too harmful could be dangerous to them or their children. Please keep that in mind with your lesson plans." They all nodded. "Is there any other business?" No one said anything. "Then you are dismissed." All but the heads of houses filed out, going back to their offices to consider the situation, he hoped. He looked at the remaining teachers. "This will be difficult."
"No, it will be trying," Flitwick countered. "The boys will have some horrible problems soon and we'll simply have to move around them. I don't believe I've got anything too damaging on the curriculum coming up. Not until this spring anyway and I can excuse them from those."
"It is not generally known in the student body," McGonagall told him gently. "I had to rearrange my whole lesson plan totally thanks to this. Severus, how are your classes?"
"They're doing the same potions up to the point where they'd become dangerous. That is as far as I am changing my plans."
"Yes, but what about others using those potions on them?" Dumbledore asked. "Don't you have a sedative on this year's agenda?"
He nodded. "I do, but it is one that is safe to use on those who are pregnant. We do have at least two each year who do get pregnant, Albus, and my class is often seen as the answer to that problem."
"Speaking of, how is Mr. Malfoy?" Minerva asked quietly.
"Doing better than can be expected. He's plotting against his father at the moment. He's had some brilliant ideas that being here is keeping him from doing," he admitted honestly. "If it weren't for him being in school, he would have already taken care of that issue in a most messy and permanent manner."
"Then we'll offer him a safe refuge until we can get his father put back in jail," Dumbledore decided. "His mother?"
"Is ignoring it in the grandest fashion," he said bitterly. "You know how she is."
"I do, that's why I asked," Dumbledore agreed. "Fine. Mr. Malfoy has the right to stay over the holidays, even the summer one this year if need be. The others as well."
Severus nodded. "Thank you. I'll inform him of that. What of Potter and his marriage to the Weasley clan?"
"He and George have done the bonding. Molly said that they're doing the actual vows this holiday," McGonagall said with a small smirk. "We're invited up of course."
"I will probably decline." He stood up then grabbed his back for a moment. "Sorry, it still aches from sitting sometimes."
"It's perfectly normal," Madam Sprout told him. "You might also want to think about getting some looser robes, Severus. They're going to get tight once the baby starts to show," she said at his confused look. "Most pregnant women grow at least six inches around, if not more."
"I'll look into that as it becomes necessary. Has any other research been done on how these creatures are coming out?"
"Just that it's not adaptive so it'll probably be surgical," Dumbledore told him quietly. "Are you all right? Need an afternoon off?"
"I'm fine, Albus. Quit fussing." He walked off, heading back to his classroom. Malfoy was usually found in there after classes so he didn't hex the entire house. He found the boy reading in his usual seat. "The offer was just extended for you to stay over the holidays, including the summer one, if necessary," he said quietly.
Draco looked at him. "By then, my father will be dead." He went back to his reading. "I've heard news. The Dark Lord is getting anxious. Someone told him about Potter. I've hexed them for you."
"Thank you," he said, smirking as the boy turned the page. "Is there an attack planned?"
"No. He's going to try to separate him out again. Maybe while shopping or something. The news wasn't concrete, just rumors." He looked up again. "There's another rumor, this time from Greg's father. His father warned him to stay here over the holidays because his lord and master is planning a rite using human sacrifice on Solstice."
"Probably Potter. But if he's thwarted it could be anybody."
Severus nodded. "Very well then. Have you told anyone about your newest problem?"
"No, nor am I."
"You probably should tell him. There is a sympathetic link between the father and child. He'll eventually find out."
Draco closed his book. "I don't want to talk to the childish prat, much less give him that much power over my life."
Severus looked at him. "You may be surprised. After all, he is in the same condition you are," he said simply, sitting down in his chair. The pillow behind his back was just right to ease the aches and pains of the hard chairs the school employed as torture for the teachers.
"You really want me to tell him about this?" Draco asked, looking stunned. "What's he going to do? Cry on me?"
"Perhaps he'd take care of the problems in your life for you," Snape reminded him. "He is a hero after all." Draco's eyes narrowed. "It is always possible."
"Fine," Draco agreed. "If I must, I'll tell him."
"It was not an order, it was a suggestion. If there's an attack, you and I may be safe, but if the father of that child dies then it could cause you problems."
"Like raising the next hero," Draco said sarcastically. Snape nodded, that was a possible problem since the child was Potter's. "Fine, I'll tell him."
"Thank you. If you want, I can have him brought down here."
"No, I'll do it in an unobvious way. Unless you really want to give him detention for not doing something."
Snape gave him a look, making the boy burst out laughing.
Draco stopped Potter in the halls, looking at him. "We have to talk. Tonight, curfew, pitch." He walked off again.
Harry frowned and shook his head, but continued on to class. That had been odd. Very, very odd. Malfoys didn't request conferences, they ordered. That hadn't been an order though. Very odd. He sat down next to Ron, frowning at him. "I've got a meeting tonight after curfew."
"With who?" Ron asked.
"Malfoy." Ron looked stunned. "He just requested it."
"Requested? Malfoy?" Harry nodded. "Think it's a trap?"
"No, I don't," he said, still looking very confused. He shook himself when the teacher came in, trying hard to pay attention but it wasn't working very well. He'd get the notes off Ron and Padma later. Once he figured out what was going on.
Harry uncloaked himself once Draco walked out, whistling quietly from the shadows of one of the stands. "This way we don't get caught."
"Snape knows," he said dryly.
"Yes, but he'll still get me for it," Harry reminded him. "What's so important that you requested a meeting?"
Draco took a deep breath. "You know that my father had the spell reset?" he asked finally. Harry nodded, he had figured that out when Draco had started to scream a few months back. "It's yours."
Harry blinked a few times, leaning heavily on the wooden frame behind him. He licked his lips. "Whatever you want, Malfoy. I'm not going to push for anything, though I would at least like to visit, but if you don't want him I'll take him in. Even if George doesn't like it." Draco looked stunned. "I remember how unhappy you were with this the first time. I don't want to put any stress on you. All I ask is that I get to see him now and then if possible."
Draco's mouth hung open. "That's not why we're meeting!" he shrieked. "Do you not feel odd!"
"Very," Harry agreed calmly. "I'm not sure if I want to hug you or go kill your father for you." Draco blinked a few times at that, too stunned to talk. "But I'm not going to make any decisions for you or that one. Whatever you want, Draco. If you want this one to be the Malfoy heir, then I'd like to see them now and then. As often as possible really. If you don't want the baby, then George will have to deal with it."
Draco slumped. "You're much calmer than I was."
"That's because you were tortured."
"Good point," he said grimly. "You'd really kill my father for me?"
"If he's there when I face down the Dark Lord, hell yeah. He's another blight on the ass of humanity and he'll try to take over if I don't. It may be necessary. Though I'd probably try to have him arrested again first," he admitted.
Draco nodded. "Fine. I'll take that into consideration. Thank you, Potter."
"Not an issue, Malfoy. I know you didn't want this. I know you're not doing it to torture me or to get closer to me. You're the victim here." He shrugged. "Anything else?" He shook his head. "Then I've got to talk to George. Tell me by the time it's a week old, that's all we ask."
"Fine." Harry covered himself and wandered off again.
Draco took his spot leaning against the pitch, going over the scene in his mind. Harry hadn't demanded, hadn't yelled, hadn't even had a mood swing. He was clearly upset but it was for him instead of at him. That was definitely odd. That was not Potterish behavior in the least.
Harry snuck through their floo, going up to George's bed to wake him up. "We've got to talk," he whispered when he saw the blue eyes open. George nodded and got up, following him down to the kitchen so they wouldn't wake Fred. "Malfoy just requested a meeting tonight."
"Why?" George asked, yawning as he sat down. This was going to be one of those talks.
"His father had the spell reset on him." George froze, staring at him. "They redid it so it's mine now." George went limp. "He's not sure what he wants to do, but I told him it was his decision. That I wanted visitation at the very least. If you don't like this, I'm sorry. We can fight. You can dump me. But I'm not letting that baby go if he's not keeping it."
George frowned at him. "That's a bit sudden don't you think?"
"No. You didn't see Draco when this happened the first time, George. He tried to off himself to get rid of it. His father is torturing him by making him have my child. Draco didn't order a meeting, he requested one. He hasn't hexed a Gryffindor in two months." George shook his head. "He's being tortured by this. Yes, if it's mine, then I want to be a part of the baby's life. If it's mine and the option is either I take it in or it goes to someone like my aunt and uncle, I'm taking the baby in. I won't let another child go through that, especially not mine. I love ours, and you, but I can't let that child suffer."
"Harry, think about how complicated this could make things," he said calmly. "We've got the store to think about and all of that."
"I have a war to stop!" he said frantically. "I'm five-months pregnant, just got told I've got another one on the way two months behind this one, and that it's my enemy's child!" He calmed himself the best he could. "I'm leaving this up to you, George. If you don't want me knowing this new thing, then that's your decision and I'll take it. I can raise them both and you'll get visitation whenever you want. I won't even protest when you have the baby over for weeks at a time if you want. I simply can't let that child be tortured. Either he raises it and I get visitation or I raise it." He shrugged. "Those are the options. I'm telling you now instead of just hitting you with this in six months. I'm giving you the option to make your own choices and to tell me what you want. I'll accept whatever you decide."
"Shouldn't you have let me in on the first decision?"
"No. It's my child." George looked stunned. "It is. Even if I had known what this was about beforehand, Draco wouldn't have talked to you."
"Harry, this does change things drastically."
"No, you think?" he said sarcastically, a touch of bitterness in his voice. "Think about how I feel for a minute! I know what I'm saying, George, and I know how much I risk in giving you up by this, but anything is better than that child suffering!"
"Hey, no fighting," Fred complained as he walked in. "Another mood swing?"
"No, Malfoy just told him that he's carrying his child," George said bitterly.
"Oh, dear." He looked at Harry. "And your answer was....?"
"That it's his decision but at the least I want visitation. He'll have to have a Malfoy heir some day but I know they're torturing him with this." He crossed his arms over his chest. "I'm not doing this to hurt George, even though I know it is. Anything is better than this child being a sacrificial victim some day or going to someone like my relatives. I'm letting George decide now that he knows. He can have the earring back if he wants."
"Well, that's frightfully mature of you but you did just shock him greatly," Fred pointed out.
"Butt out," George told him.
"Fred, this is between us. We're going to have to have this fight sometime."
"Again, I'm leaving that up to you," Harry told him. "I'm leaving myself open to any possibility here. I'm not making any decisions. Draco's got the right to make the decision for the one in him as long as I get visitation rights. George has the right to dump my ass right now if he wants and I'll give you all visitation rights. I'd like to stay with George, but I'm pretty damn sure at the moment that he doesn't want to raise a stepchild."
"I need time to think," George said firmly. "Before I say things without meaning them and without thinking. I'll be up this weekend."
"You were coming up tomorrow night," Harry reminded him. He touched the earring, then took it off, handing it to him. "If you don't give it back, I'll understand. I'm not forcing you into anything, George." He walked away, going back through the floo to the school, then outside to fly around for a bit.
Back at the shop, George was letting out a stream of curses that would have shocked anyone, and would have his mother's wand shooting enough soap to cover him by now. "How could he do this to me!"
"Easy. He's considering the child based on what he knows the baby's life will be like," Fred said calmly. His twin stared at him. "You notice that Harry left himself wide open to be dumped and be without the other child? He's being thoughtful and it's killing him. I'll go with whatever you decide, Forge, but I'm not changing any diapers for either of them." He walked away, leaving his twin to rant in peace, like he wanted to. He called their mother for him though. She'd understand better.
Molly came out of the fireplace when called, not even having to ask. "Which room?"
"Kitchen. Harry just got told that someone put his child into Malfoy when they reset the spell."
"Oh, no." She walked that way, going to give her baby boy a hug. "You're not losing him," she promised as she grabbed him.
"Mum, he said he wants the child." He got free and glared at her. "How am I supposed to put up with that?"
"It'll be like having twins," she said dryly. He looked hurt. "Harry's being thoughtful and considerate, George. Did he demand that you take the child in?"
"No! He told me I could dump him if I wanted and then handed me the earring, told me to make a decision, and walked away!" He ran his hands through his hair, making it stand on end. "What am I supposed to do about this!"
"You talk to Malfoy first," she said calmly. "I doubt he wanted the child. The first one he tried to get rid of, even nearly jumping off the Astronomy tower to do so." George looked sick then shook it off. "Right now, Harry's got to make a decision about that."
"He left that up to Malfoy as long as he got visitation. Then he said that if I dumped him we could have visitation."
She hit him on the arm. "He's scared, George. Of course he said that!" He slumped, shaking his head. "He doesn't want to saddle you with an extra burden. He doesn't want you to have to raise his bastard son that he didn't want. He's scared that you'll leave him for this."
"He gave back his earring and told me to think and give it back if I wanted to keep him," he said bitterly.
"That's a very Harry thing to do," she agreed smugly. "It's not like the boy understands about relationships. He's never had one with anything." That made her son slump more and find a seat so he could put his head down. "Now, think about this. Do you care if that child becomes yours as well?"
"Yes." He looked up at her. "It's part Malfoy."
"And it's part Harry."
"Malfoy's still the mother."
She made him look at her fully. "George, his father had the first one removed, tied him down, and forced the second one on him. He did this after torturing the boy so the Dark Lord could have Potter's son to use as a tool. That's why they're leaving Severus alone, just in case his is Potter's as well." George moaned so she let his chin go. "Think very hard about this, son. He will take that child in, even if it means that he'll lose everything else in his life because of it. His parents were the same way. They would have ended up taking in any orphan who needed them, no matter how much Lilly would have protested it up front."
"It's still partially Malfoy's child."
"George, you're an adult, grow up," she snapped. He flinched, shifting away from her. "Malfoy no more wants this child than Harry really does. The only difference is that Harry knows what'll happen to this child if he doesn't take it in."
"He said he'd accept visitation."
"For now," she snorted. "He knows Draco Malfoy would never be a good-enough parent for his child. He'd eventually end up keeping it full time. Now, you can sulk, you can think, or you can toss him aside and let someone else pick him up, which is rather unlikely. The poor boy couldn't stand most people before, he certainly won't be able to now." He flinched again, putting his head back down. "Go to bed," she said more gently. "Think about it. He'll be expecting you to answer him soon."
"He did it without asking first, mum."
"George, what would you have done if he hadn't?" she asked calmly.
"Thrown a fit."
"Which would have meant that Harry would have lost his other child." He gave her a look. "Malfoy wouldn't have put up with it and he might have tried to hurt one of you. We all know he's not happy about this child. We also know that he's planning on how to stop his father permanently because of this child. His father either just created the next Dark Lord or made Draco switch sides for good. Either way he's going to be supporting Harry in this war. The child will make sure of it."
"He's tried to off himself, mother."
"Even then, he won't be supporting Voldemort. He just made a fatal error. Lucius made an even worse one. If his son is anything like him, then he's going to killing his father soon in the most horrible manner he can dream up."
George nodded. "Harry can probably give him some advice on that if Snape can't."
"Probably," she agreed. "For now, you need to decide if this is enough of a problem to give up your own child for good. Because you'll eventually drift out of custody if you don't have Harry with you. Most likely when he moves somewhere to hide." George shuddered. "This may be your choice but you'd better make it fast, George."
"Yes, mother. I'll talk to him this weekend."
"Don't try to sway the boy. He is stubborn and his mind is made up. He can quite clearly see exactly what that child would go through if it lived with anyone but him. Including the various bloody ends the Dark Lord has in store for it." He shuddered then rushed to the sink to get sick. "Now you see what he does. His was an instinctive reaction. You've got to think first." She helped him back up to his room, tucking him back into bed like he was a little boy again. "You try to rest. Let me know if I have to continue the plans or not."
"Good night, boys." She left, going back to tell Arthur. This was a horrible complication. They would stick behind Harry for his decision though. It was the right thing to do.
Ron walked into the bathroom the next morning, noticing Harry looked pale and tired. "You have more nightmares?" He stopped, looking at Harry's reflection. "You lost the earring?"
"No, I took it off." He looked at his best friend. "When they reset the spell on Malfoy, they made it mine."
Ron's mouth fell open. "Oh, bloody hell," he whispered in awe. "George won't help?"
"I'm letting him decide that. I'm letting Malfoy decide if he wants partial custody while I have visitation or if he wants to dump the baby on me."
"That had to have been a loud fight," Ron said in awe. Harry shook his head. "No?"
"No. I told Malfoy when he told me, then I went to tell George and told him he could tell me what was going to happen. If he doesn't want me, then you guys can still visit your niece whenever you want." Ron gave him a hug and Harry sniffled. "Thanks, Ron. I needed that."
"Of course you did. Can I tell Padma and Ginny?"
"No. George needs the time to think about this. Don't stick Ginny on his case too." He turned, going back to brushing his teeth. "I think I'm going to go up to the infirmary to sleep. I didn't get any last night," he announced, tossing down his toothbrush before walking off. The nurse took one look at him and stuck him in a bed with a potion for a headache. "Thanks." He curled up on his side once the curtains around the bed were closed, allowing himself to sulk in peace until the medicine sent him into a forced sleep.
Ron walked out of their room and up the girls' side, heading right for his girlfriend, pulling her out of her room and back down to his. "Malfoy's kid is Harry's," he said quietly, staring her down.
"Definitely. Harry said he'd take it in. He gave George back the earring until he decides what he wants. He's upstairs napping in the infirmary."
"Then we'll support Harry in whatever he needs," she agreed, kissing him on the cheek. "Shave, Ron. We'll pop up later during a free period." He nodded, giving her a real kiss before going back to his morning routine. She went back upstairs to warn Ginny and to tell the others to leave Harry alone for a few days. They didn't need the details but Harry didn't need the stress of people staring at him either.
"We need to talk," George said when Malfoy was let into the room where he was waiting. The other boy's sneer popped into place and he glared at him. "Shut the door, shut your hole, and sit down, Malfoy."
"Or what? You'll hex me? Will your husband let you do that?"
"Sit the fuck down!" he shouted. Draco sat down cautiously, staring at him to make sure another outburst wouldn't get himself hexed. "Thank you," he said more calmly. "I need to know what you want to do with the child. Harry told me last night and he told me what he had told you. I want to know if this child is going to become my next child or if it's going to be one that we're going to be visiting now and then. Any other decision is unacceptable to my family and we will be suing you over it."
"You want the baby?" he asked in shock.
"No, Harry wants the baby and I still want Harry."
"Oh." Draco looked down at his flat stomach. "I don't know what I want yet. I know I don't want to be pregnant but I can't do anything about that. *They* made sure of it." He looked at George, who was looking a bit pissed, but not at him. "I seriously don't know what I want. I'm also not sure I want my son to be raised by your family. Stepchildren are usually not very welcome."
"I don't believe in step-anythings, Malfoy. If that's Harry's child, then it's mine if we stick together. If not, then I'll probably still visit with it when you had custody to him and I go to see my daughter."
"You're going to dump him for this!"
"Then why is his earring missing? It's the news all over the school."
"He wanted me to have time to think, the same as he gave you. Speaking of, where might he be?"
"Rumors have him in the infirmary with a headache."
"Thank you. I'll be stopping up there next. Bottom line, Malfoy. Do you actually want to be a father to this child? To raise it, take care of it, change diapers, get thrown up on, all that stuff?"
"No, but there might not be any choice."
"There's always a choice."
"Not if this is the only Malfoy heir."
"Which is an interesting point, but you still like girls. You can't be with the other parent of the child to give it a stable home. I doubt your family would accept the baby as the next heir. I'm sure your father sees it as a useful tool."
"He said victim," Draco muttered.
"I said, he calls it a powerful victim or a sacrifice we all must make, including the child." George shuddered. "So, no, I'm not sure what's going on yet or even if I could give it to him. I may be forced to fight for it."
"The son, it is a son, correct?" Draco nodded. "The son would be ours. The same as mine and Harry's daughter would be ours. He'd be protected the same way."
"You're not listening! He may make me keep it!" Draco shouted, standing up to pace.
"So? We can kill him too," George said simply. "He's on the wrong side of the war. He may have bought his way out of prison, but can he continue to do so? He did torture you. You can prove he was consorting with the Dark Lord. You can also prove that he's a Death Eater." Draco stopped, staring at him in shock. "If you do turn against him then there may be consequences. I'm not going to lie about that. I will not let you hurt Harry though."
"What about my life!" Draco said bitterly. "Mine's in more danger! The rite at Solstice requires a pregnant victim."
"No one said you had to go home, Draco. The same as no one said you couldn't be locked in a room for your own good during the holidays. Your whole family makes grand plans because you can pull them off. There are always simple counters though." He stood up. "Now then, back to the issue at hand. Will I be having a son and a daughter or just a daughter?"
"I don't want it," he said bitterly. "If we both survive, I'll sign over custody to Potter. I'll even give him maintenance or whatever he wants as long as he keeps it far, far away from me."
"That's fine. I doubt you'll need to pay support for the child," George said gently. "I'll have the papers drawn up tonight. You'll be able to visit if you want, but you won't ever have to worry about taking custody. The child will be raised a Weasley." Draco slumped and nodded. "Now, I'd better get up there before Harry decides to panic and run out the door or some other odd thing."
"Thank you," Draco said quietly.
"We heard what he did to make this happen, Malfoy. No one deserves that. If not, then I wouldn't be so nice." Draco nodded and left him alone, and George calmed himself down again before heading up to the infirmary. He had Harry's Yule gift in his pocket with the earring and he wanted to give them both to him. He walked in and the nurse gave him an odd look. "My husband's not up here?"
"He left to go back to class an hour ago," she said primly.
"Do you know which that would be?"
"No, I'm sorry, I don't."
"Thanks. I'll find Ron then." He walked out, heading for McGonagall's office. She usually had some free time about now. He tapped on her door before walking in. "Where's Harry?"
"In the infirmary."
"They said he went to class an hour ago."
She looked up at him. "Not that I was told." She checked the schedule in her drawer, then looked at him. "If so he'd be in Charms next period."
"Thank you. I'm sending you the paperwork for Malfoy to sign custody of his to Harry." She nodded at that. "Now if only I could find him and make him take the stupid earring back."
"He gave it back?"
"No, he handed it to me and told me to decide what I wanted to do," he said bitterly. "He thought I was going to dump him over this."
"I'm sure that's a valid worry in his mind."
"Possibly, but it sucks." He heard the change bell. "I'll head to charms. Thank you." He left, going up the stairs to the other classroom, finding Ron when he came by with Padma. "Where's Harry?"
Ron frowned. "The infirmary."
"Tried there, they said he went back to class."
"Nope. I would have noticed him being in there. We were just in herbology." He looked at Padma, who was biting on her lip. "What?"
"There were a few Slytherins missing last class. Pansy, Crabbe, Belchly from what I hear. Plus a few Ravenclaws as well."
"Ron, where does Harry keep the map?" George asked, trying to stay calm.
"His trunk." They headed back to Gryffindor, going to find it. He finally found it in the bottom of the trunk and handed it over.
It was Padma who noticed something else was missing. "Where's Harry's cloak?"
"He laid it on the bed this morning," Ron said thoughtfully, glancing around the room. The house elves hadn't been in there yet, his dirty socks were still on the floor. He looked at George, who was staring at the map. "He on there?"
"No," he sighed, shaking his head. "Go back to class. Tell them I had a message from mum or something. I'll see you later." He headed out, going up to the office without bothering to do nice things like knock. He found the Headmaster in conference with Tonks. "He's not in the school. Rumors state some Slytherins were missing their last few classes and so were a few Ravenclaws." He handed over the map. "He's not on here anywhere."
"Where could he be, George?"
"Check with mum, just in case. If not, I really don't know." They both looked at the headmaster, who was peering at the side of the map, his glasses being used. George took it to look at it. "Crabbe and Parkinson just walked out of the Forbidden Forest." Tonks looked grim. "Race you to them?"
"No, I will handle this," Dumbledore said firmly.
"They won't tell you anything," George reminded him. "They will tell me." He tapped the map with his wand. "Mischief managed." He handed it back. "Hand that back to Ron please." He headed out, going to intercept the duo. Pansy saw him and screamed, hiding behind Crabbe. "Where is he?" he demanded.
"We don't have him!" Crabbe said, sneering at him. "No one does now."
George backhanded him, sending him crashing to the ground, then put a foot in the middle of his chest, right over the spot where the ribs joined at the bottom to hold up the diaphragm. "I'm not in the mood for this. Where is my spouse? Where is he right this moment or else I'm going to break your ribs and leave you bleeding internally." He pushed down and Pansy tried to pull her wand, but it was stuck in her robes. So he hexed her and looked down at Crabbe again, pushing a bit harder. "Now!" he snapped.
"We gave him to our Lord," Pansy sneered, finally getting herself free. George growled and she tried to cast a hex, but he was faster and meaner. She would be screaming in pain for hours as her body slowly shifted to that of another being.
"Where was the imbecile you handed him over to?" George sneered at Crabbe. "Quickly, before you join your new familiar."
"You can't do that! Doing transformations on someone else is against the law!" he shouted.
"So is handing over a student to You-Know-Who," he sneered. "Besides, I'm a father acting in defense of his unborn child. The link is making me frantic and lacking in sense. No jury in the world would convict me. If Fudge tries then he'll be facing another court a few days later for trying to kill Harry. But I can guarantee that if you don't tell me where you brought him then I'm going to make sure you never get to face a jury." The boy swallowed and nodded so he eased up on the pressure on his lungs. "Where?"
"Cornwall. Pansy's family home."
"Thank you. Are they still there?" He shook his head. "Where are they going?"
"They don't tell us such things," he protested. He screamed as his ribs broke then George walked off. "They'll kill him," he screamed after him. "Then you!"
George waved and headed off to the Ministry, going to find Tonks. "They took him to Cornwall, to Pansy's family home, then they disappeared from there," he reported. "Crabbe is right now having fun with his new familiar."
She gave him a long look. "It really is yours then, huh?" she asked with a smirk. He growled. "Fine. Let me get someone there. Plus someone to pick up what's left of Crabbe and his new familiar." She went to do that, getting her boss involved. He was already pissed about this situation and she knew he'd want to help. They took George with them, hoping he could calm Harry down when they found him. If they found him. It did give them enough to charge Pansy's parents with being Death Eaters however. They could break the information out of them if they couldn't find him more directly.
Six days later George was pacing the family home. He had been ordered back to it and ordered to stay in it. No one was going to charge him over changing Pansy but he could still be charged over hurting Crabbe that way since he was still considered an underaged wizard. Not that anyone would really do anything to him about it. He had been acting in extreme circumstances. Mysteriously enough, even Fudge had disappeared yesterday and the search had been stepped-up in panic. Everyone knew something was going to give. Solstice was in four days. Most of the major Death Eaters under surveillance had disappeared over the last few days. Others had also disappeared and had outed themselves that way. All George knew was that something horrible was being planned. He had told the aurors what Draco had told him and now more of them were frantically searching, just like George would if he were allowed outside of the house. He wasn't even allowed in the garden. They had caught him trying to sneak off.
"Sit!" Molly snapped finally. "You're wearing a hole in the floor and my nerves."
George gave her a look. "If it was dad, you'd be pacing with me."
"I probably would be, but it still wouldn't be helping matters."
Bill came out of the floo, looking around. "Anxious over the vows?" he asked hopefully. This didn't look like a happy moment to come home.
"Parkinson and Crabbe kidnaped Harry and drug him off six days ago," George told him. "No one can find them. Most of the Death Eaters have slipped off. They even managed to kidnap Malfoy and Snape out of the school without anyone seeing them." He went back to his pacing. "I'm going to kill him if Harry doesn't," he complained.
Bill stopped him to give him a hug. "He can't kill Harry, George. Remember what happened last time?"
"He's got a ritual to perform on solstice, it'll call for a pregnant person," George told him. "He's got Harry, Malfoy, and Snape."
"Okay," Bill said, thinking fast. "Have they tried tracking charms on the baby?" Everyone stared at him. "Can't you use the sympathetic link back to the father to find them? We can use George or whoever fathered the other two."
"I don't think anyone's thought of that," Molly said thoughtfully. She went to call her husband; he could pass it onto Tonks. "Arthur?" His head appeared. "Love, Bill's home and he just had an idea. Has anyone tried to use the link between the fathers to track the babies?"
"No, not that I'm aware of," he said thoughtfully. "I'll pass that on. Tell him I said hello and to get comfortable. It'll be a few days." He disappeared, heading over to where Tonks was pacing. "Bill's home."
"He's too nice a boy for me, Arthur, you know that," she said with a faint smile.
"Oh, I agree fully, but he had an idea. Can we use the link between the father and the baby to track them?"
She paused, looking at him. "You can do that?"
He shrugged. "Molly and Bill seemed to think so."
"Huh. Never heard of that. Let me ask." She went to where her boss was. "Sir, Bill Weasley just showed up at home and heard. He had an idea." He grunted. "Can we track using the father's link to the baby?"
He shrugged. "I don't know." He looked at the head of Law Enforcement. "Can we?"
"We have in the past but you'd need blood from the father. Do we know who any of them are?"
"Malfoy's is Harry's. Harry's is George Weasley. No one's sure of Snape's." The head of Law Enforcement looked at her. "George is presently locked in his mother's house wearing holes in her floor."
"Get him," he ordered calmly. She nodded, grinning as she went to do that. "How long have you known?"
"I didn't think it'd be an option so I left it there. That is why he beat up on the underaged wizard who kidnaped him and handed him over though."
"Fine. Thank you," he said patiently. He'd vent later when no one could hear him. George came out of the floo. "Sit, roll up your sleeve, and do not say a word," he warned. Surprisingly he did as ordered.
They landed in an old castle in Ireland, looking around the dreary exterior. They looked at each other, then broke apart into teams to search the place. The first one to find a body let out a scream and more of them came running. It wasn't anyone important, just a minor Death Eater. But there were more of them around and this one had been stabbed a few times. He hadn't been magicked at all.
They searched the castle top to bottom, finding many more bodies. They found Professor Snape laying in a room unconscious and bound, but living. Malfoy junior was found in a cell in the basement tied to the wall and bleeding but not dead yet. A few more prisoners were found and sent to the hospital. A few of the Death Eaters who had managed to survive were sent with aurors to guard them and to take statements one way or another. There was no sign of Voldemort or of Harry.
George was called in and he immediately headed for the cliff beside the castle, knowing something was going on over there. He's the one who found the stone altar with the body on it. His scream brought more people but it wasn't Harry either.
Harry limped into the school from one of the hidden tunnels to Hogsmeade, carrying the metal pan upstairs and up to the Divinations room. He tapped to be let up then climbed the ladder when it was lowered. He put the pan on the desk, looking at her, then took a piece of parchment and wrote out his interpretation before handing it over. "I'm done," he said calmly. "It says it's the end of the war." He turned and walked away, going away from the school before anyone saw him.
She looked at the covered mass, uncovering them. She frowned as she read them. "I see evil but I do not see an end to the war." She scowled at the parts, pulling down her book to read them again. Then it occurred to her who had handed it to her. She cast a charm on the pan to keep it in the same condition and got the Headmaster as fast as she could. "Harry Potter just handed in his auguries assignment," she panted, leaning against his arm since he had been coming out of the staff lounge. "He said it's an end to the war but the folds do not say such."
"What do they say?"
"Evil! Great Evil!"
He hurried that way, taking something off the chain around his neck. He looked at the pan, then put the vial of blood next to it, comparing the signatures in the magic. That's when he turned and got sick into her trashcan. Once he was done he summoned a house elf to take care of it and sent for an auror. They had to know. They had to find Harry.
Harry tapped on Oliver's door, weathering his surprised look. "Can I borrow your shower and a shirt?" he asked calmly. "I'm running away."
"From George?" he asked, letting him inside. "Shower's in the back. What did you get into?"
"I was captured, Oliver. It's been days since I had a bath," he sighed, heading back that way. He knew Oliver wouldn't turn him in while he was showering. He was here because Oliver wasn't sure he liked him being with George. Since George couldn't ever forgive him for doing what he had done, the same as he couldn't forgive himself, Oliver was the safest person around to hide behind for a few hours. Then he could get to Gringotts and escape. Before someone got the bright idea that he was going to take over and tried to capture him before he could. He climbed into the steaming shower with a sigh of relief, letting it take all the knots out of his shoulders and get the mud and blood out of his hair. He grabbed the soap and tried to get as clean as possible. Not that he'd ever be clean again.
Out in the living room, Oliver was calling Katie. The shop was closed and Fred hadn't answered the floo. "No, he said he'd been captured and it'd been days."
"Fred told us to stay home because there was an emergency," she said quietly. "Is he all right?"
"He was filthy and nasty, smelled off - like blood. Otherwise he was walking and lucid."
"Keep him there, Oliver. Feed the poor guy. He's got to need it. Give us time to find one of the twins or one of the other Weasleys." He nodded and her head disappeared.
He got up and headed back to the bathroom, knocking before sticking his head in. "Harry, I'm ordering dinner. Want something? It's late and you've got to be hungry. It'd give me time to run your clothes through the washer."
"I don't think I should."
"You've got to. I've got to spoil my goddaughter you know." He heard the tired sigh. "Besides, you can nap on my couch tonight. It's late. No one'll come around tonight and you can leave at dawn."
"Sure, Oliver, thanks. I don't want to get you in trouble."
"It's no trouble, Harry," he promised, purposely misunderstanding the boy. He went to call for takeaway and listen to the WWN to see what was going on. He heard the general call for Harry and grimaced. "He's not a dangerous criminal."
"I had to kill a Death Eater to get away," Harry said from the doorway. "You sure you still want me here? Fudge probably does consider me dangerous."
"Sit your tired butt down, Harry. If they try shite because of that, I'll help George stomp them myself."
"Sure, Oliver. Washer?"
"In the bathroom in the closet."
"Thanks for this. I'll repay you some day."
"The only repayment I need is you living and my goddaughter being born fine." He pasted his most stubborn look on his face, the one that used to come out when they had to practice in the pouring rain. "Put those nasty things in the washer, my robe's on the back of the door." Harry nodded, going to do that. By the time he got back, the pizza was there and Harry was ready to take a nap right there. "You rest if you need it. I'll get you up before dawn, Harry," he said gently. Harry shook his head. "Yes, Potter. You need a rest. You rest or else I'm going to knock you out." He slumped but did lay down like the good boy he was.
Molly answered Katie's call, frowning at her. "What's wrong, dear? Fred's not here."
"He's not back at the shop either. Oliver's got Harry."
"Tell him to keep him there," Bill warned. "Fudge just put out a call for him to be arrested for having to kill Voldemort."
"Yeah," he agreed bitterly. "Tell Oliver to keep him until around dawn and then I'll come get him." She nodded, disappearing to do that. "Mum, want to move countries? We'd love to have you in Egypt you know."
"Not yet, but I may someday soon," she said, looking pissed as hell. All her boys backed away from her, letting her go off wherever she wanted. She headed through the floo to the Ministry, using her natural charm and status as Arthur's wife to gain entry to the closed facility. Then she boldly strode up to where Fudge was holding his usual press conference. "That is absolute baloney!" she yelled over the babbling voices. "You've been a death eater sympathizer for years. Always taking money from Lucius Malfoy and his sort. Always doing as they say. Persecuting poor Harry because he survived. I won't have it anymore!" Everyone went silent. "You were there when he was being tortured. I notice you weren't one of the victims the Death Eaters had and were torturing. I also notice you never wear short sleeved shirts. Perhaps we should check your arms."
"Mrs. Weasley, you say dangerous things," he sneered.
"I may be but at least mine's the truth. I seriously doubt Harry stabbed all those Death Eaters to death. I have no doubt that he did what you've been forcing him to do, ending the war. I also have no doubt that if you come after Potter again you're going to be one sorry wizard. There will be no sorrier wizards on this bloody island." Everyone who knew her gasped and backed away a few steps. She was famous around the Ministry for soaping her sons' mouths at the drop of a swear word. "Harry did what you demanded of him. What you were too chicken to do yourself and too dirty to do yourself. If you're not a Death Eater then you've been a supporter all these years. As a lot of people can attest to. By the way, how is Dolores?" He swallowed. "I believe it's time to call for a no confidence vote, *Minister* Fudge, and I believe I know what the outcome will be. You get to Harry over my dead and mutilated body."
"He handed over intestines as an augury final," one reporter told her.
"Whose?" she asked again. "Was it a real human's or was it You-Know-Who's?"
"Then that's not a crime. That's something that would normally get him a reward. Or isn't there a reward for turning in Death Eaters and the Dark Lord anymore? You don't punish those who have to defend themselves and I have no doubt you'd have seen that if you hadn't locked yourself in a closet, you twit."
"Arrest her!" Fudge shouted.
"Hell no," the head of the aurors said from his spot. "I'm not. She's right. Potter did nothing wrong. For that matter, Molly, your son is not being charged. You can release him from your custody." She nodded, looking at Fudge again.
Fudge pulled his wand, but Molly was faster. "Expelliaramus!" His wand flew into her hand and Fudge was sent back a few steps. "You do not try to hit a mother, Cornelius. It is wrong. Your own would beat you senseless for your stupidity. I call for a no confidence vote."
"I second," one of the reporters called.
"You can't do that! I'm the Minister of Magic!"
"You need your butt shaved bald like the monkey you are," the head of the aurors snorted. "Molly, where is he? So we can check on him and get him any help he needs?"
"He's staying with a friend of his right now. Leave him there. He needs the comfort more than anything. If you try to retrieve him you'll scare him and then George will have to worry some more."
"Fine. Have George bring him in so we can get a statement from him soon," the auror agreed. If not, then there were only so many friends the boy had. They could easily find them all and find him by that method to watch him in case he decided to run anyway.
"I'll tell him. Thank you." She looked at Fudge again. "You touch Harry over my dead, mutilated body, Cornelius. I will not have you hurt that boy again. His whole life has been a wreck because of the people making choices for him. There will be no more." She turned and stomped out, heading home. She found Bill gone and sniffed. "Did Harry try to run?" she asked Ron, who was lounging on the couch with Padma, she assumed. Or hoped really since the girl was curled against his side napping and stroking his stomach.
"Yup. Got Oliver knocked out and ran off once his clothes were clean. Oliver was at home so they're hoping he stayed local. The Knight Bus won't pick him up except to bring him back here. I called them already. There's no Gringotts up there. I've got his key anyway." He shifted some. "Malfoy's awake and telling them everything. Harry went nuts and got Voldemort with a dagger, then got his wand. He used the wand to turn the others on each other while he dragged the body outside and did what Professor Trelawny's been wanting for the auguries lessons. He felt the aurors come in and left before they were released." He hissed and moved his girl's hand. "Padma, you're making him kick again," he complained. She woke up and gave him an adorably confused look. "You're patting the baby and making him hyper. He just kicked."
"Sorry, Ron." She smiled and kissed him gently, then put her head back down. Until she realized she had seen someone else, then she sat upright quickly and smoothed down her hair. "Sorry, Mrs. Weasley. I'm Padma, his girlfriend. I wasn't sneaking in a snog or anything, that would be disrespectful."
"I'd almost expect it from my boys," she said with a smile, shaking the girl's hand. "We'll talk later. Go back to your nap. Ron, babies kick. They're supposed to do that to remind you they're in there so you don't do stupid things." He snorted, letting Padma curl up against his side again. "Padma, if you want, I can set the cot up in Ginny's room. I've cleaned it since the last guest used it."
"I just had my nap for the day, I'll be fine to sit up with you and Ron for a while," she offered.
"It's not a problem, dear, really." She smiled at the girl and helped her to her feet, bringing her up the stairs to get to know her. She liked this girl. She was very nice and polite. Plus she made Ron happy. She even protected Harry so that was a very high mark in her book. She noticed the earring in the girl's ear and smirked at her. "Couldn't wait?"
"Not with the way I like to debauch your son, Mrs. Weasley."
"You might as well call me mum like the rest do," she said with a smile, hugging the girl. "I guess you won't need the cot after all then. Ron!" He ran up the stairs as fast as he could. "You should have told me," she said, swatting him. "First George does his without telling me and then you!"
"I was going to ask if we could borrow the stuff you were doing for George and Harry to do ours," he said with a small shrug and a grin. "I couldn't wait, mum. Besides, the son obviously likes her."
"Fine. Since you're that close I won't make her sleep with Ginny. I do not want to be kept up by you two celebrating your honeymoon. Do you understand?" They nodded. "Good, and no second child this year either." She walked away to tell her husband, who she hoped was the one who had just apparated in. "Oh, Charlie," she said, giving him a hug. "I suppose you heard?"
"Bill called to tell me so I came a day early. Any sign of Harry?"
"Not yet. Though there is some family news. Ron got impatient with his girl and marked her already. So we'll be doing his bonding even if we can't find Harry or George."
He laughed. "Good on him. Is she nice?"
"Very sweet. I came in and she was asleep on his shoulder rubbing his stomach."
"Ron!" Padma squealed. "Not in your mother's house. No more than snogging!"
"Oh, bring her down so I can meet her," Charlie yelled. Ron brought her down and he hugged her. "I'm Charlie, the wiser, smarter, and cuter older brother."
"I thought that was Bill," she teased, pinching him on the cheek. "You're cute enough I suppose, you look like Ron." She beamed at Ron, who kissed her again. "Ron!" She swatted at him, blushing a bit. "Not in front of others."
"Like we care if you two kiss," Charlie snorted. "Mum's just happy you're not the bitch he started out with."
"Hmm, oh, we've had some fun dealing with Hermione. Trust me, the troll was just the first step. By the way, how long did the twins say that hair loss potion worked? Lavender is still bald. Plus, did you see, she's got pointy ears kinda."
Ron giggled. "I'm sure it'll be just lovely when she and the giant skrewt get together." They let out simultaneous evil chuckles.
"Good, you found someone who can put up with you," Charlie told them, patting Ron on the back. He looked at his mother. "No word yet?"
"Not yet," she sighed. She looked at the clock that showed everyone's position. "Why is Arthur's reading 'danger'?" she mused. It moved back to work then back to danger. "Oh, really?"
"Oh, let me, mum," Ron said fondly, taking Padma with him. "Be right back all." They flooed to the Ministry and walked past the stunned guards. Ron was showing a great bit now. He walked into the uproar that was the press conference, leaning against his dad. "Dad, this is Padma, my fiance. We're using the stuff for George and Harry if you can't find Harry." He whistled, making everyone wince and look at him. "Would you like to know why Fudge is so adamant right now?" he asked, stroking his stomach.
One of the reporters squealed. "My son said something about you being pregnant!"
Ron nodded. "Hufflepuffs," he said with a grimace. "Dumbledore or McGonagall can answer all questions. Who else did he mention?"
"Harry Potter," she said with a swallow. She looked at the head of the aurors, who nodded. "He is?" Ron nodded, beaming at her. "Oh, really?"
"And Minister Fudge sent some very nasty notes to him about how he should be killed for doing that against the laws of nature, when it was done to us. Not by our will or with our permission."
"Hufflepuffs did that?" another reporter asked.
"They were proving that they were more than worthy to not be in arranged marriages," Ron noted with a shrug.
"They took some theoretical work another student did and used it for their own gains," Padma told them, stroking Ron's stomach. They both smiled when the baby kicked her hand. "Calm down in there, stepson. We love you," she crooned.
"Oh, fuck me," one reporter in the corner breathed. "Harry Potter's pregnant? Is it a good father, mother, whoever?"
"It's a Weasley," Ron told him. "Not mine."
"It's George's," Arthur said with a small smile for his son. "So yes, that is why Fudge wanted him so much worse now." Fudge started to splutter. "By the way, threatening my wife was not very wise, Fudge," he said with that same smile. "Do not do so again or I will charge you with it. Making terrorizing threats is still on the books." Fudge spluttered some more. "Come along, Ron. Padma, it's nice to finally meet you. Let's go talk, shall we?"
"Mum said she wanted you home. The clock showed danger, dad."
"I'm sure it did," he agreed, slamming the doors behind him. One reporter opened them and came chasing after them. "Yes?" he asked patiently.
"Is it a boy or a girl?"
"Mine's a boy," Ron told her with a grin. "Harry said to bugger off. He hates reporters and all that you've helped do to his sanity." Padma giggled. "He did. Said something about Skeeter and a volcano too." He shook his head. "Didn't quite get all that one." The reporter paled and backed away a few steps. "So, leave Harry alone. Anything for Harry comes to me first, then we'll pass it on once we find him." She nodded, handing over a card before running away. "Hmm, interesting."
"Ron, have I ever told you how much your fighting beside Harry has caused me to lose what little hair I had left?" he asked in a conversational tone of voice as he put his arm around his son's shoulders.
"No, dad, but I figured it out for myself." He grinned at him. "Right neat, huh?"
"Son, I worry about your sanity some days. Fortunately Padma seems like a very nice young lady who will keep you out of trouble."
"I'm not sure that's possible but I'll certainly try," she offered with a grin for him. He was a pretty cool parent, hers would have been screaming by now. "Oh, Ron invited my parents up the day after the holidays since your wife pushed back the vows and we're borrowing their officiant."
"That's fine, dear. We'd like to meet them. You seem very nice. It's good that Ron found a nice girl to like." He noticed the earring and looked at his son. Who blushed and grinned. "Fine. Then please don't keep us up tonight, son. It's been a trying few days."
"We won't. I won't do more than snog him in his parent's home," Padma promised.
"Even better. We don't need more grandchildren yet." Ron whispered in his father's ear. "I know, Ron. He's fine by the way. So is his father." Ron beamed. "I gave him the paperwork George had drawn up and he signed it immediately. So at least we know of two times that we'll have to see Harry. When he has his and when he comes out to take the second one."
Ron had a sudden thought. "Dad, couldn't Harry rent a place if he could find someone to rent it for him?"
"Yes, Ron. Why?"
"He can't run in the shape he's in."
"Good point. He'll need a nest to fluff up for the baby. You can't run with a baby." He considered it, then smiled. "I'll tell George in the morning if he hadn't thought of it. Any idea what he'd like?"
"Probably somewhere he could watch things. He seems to like to watch the stars and the water on the lake," Padma offered. "We've seen him staring at the lake recently. That and his broom."
"Oliver lives somewhere you can fly and by the sea," he said thoughtfully. "We'll start up there." He got them to the floo ports and watched as they sent themselves home then sent himself there as well. He wanted to hug his wife. "You were magnificent, Molly," he whispered, making her giggle and push her away. "Come on, Charlie can handle his own dinner. He's a big boy." He led her upstairs to cuddle with her. He loved his wife.
George tapped on the cottage's door, frowning at the young man who opened it. "You know, it took nearly two weeks for Tonks to tell me that there had been a Harry Weasley who had just moved. It took another four days to figure out that there wasn't one of those in the family. Yet." He dangled the earring from his fingers. "You managed to forget this the last time you popped around. Oliver was quite upset when he didn't see it." He forced his way inside, kissing Harry gently, putting a hand on his stomach. "She's not up?"
"No, she's napping right now. Has been all day," he said quietly, staring up at George. "Are you certain?"
"Very. Now, you're missing out on your best friend's wedding and you're missing out on your own. Put the earring back in, Harry, and come along. We'll come back here tonight for our honeymoon," he added with a leer. Harry blushed. "What? Don't want me?"
"No, I do," he said quickly, snuggling back into the warm chest. "Put it in for me?"
"Sure." He slid the earring back into the open hole, then kissed him on the forehead. "You might want to change clothes, unless you want to wear those rags to get married in."
Harry laughed. "Sorry, I haven't really thought about clothes recently. I've only got one other set and it's jeans and a t-shirt, and they're both dirty."
"Then it's a good thing Padma is a practical woman and took Katie shopping for you. Now, come along before I have to toss you over my shoulder. The daughter might not like that. Our future son would probably let out an evil chuckle but then again he may not end up like his father." He walked Harry outside, handing him the portkey. He kept an arm around him so he couldn't escape before getting home, then they were off. They landed and he kissed Harry again, earning some applause from the watching Weasleys and guests. "Let him change." He let Katie take his husband off to get changed, wiping off his forehead. "Sorry. He had the cottage a bit warm." He grinned at his mother. "It is a nice little rental. We'll have to remember that in the future." Harry came out dressed much better and he grinned, holding out a hand. "Come here, Harry. Don't make me hunt you down again or else I might get wicked and spank." Harry blushed but walked up, taking his hand. Then George walked him up to where the officiant was waiting. "I believe it's time."
"Of course it is." He smiled at Harry. "Are you ready?"
"Sure." Harry looked up at his mate. "You're sure?"
"Harry, do I have to kiss you speechless again?" Harry laughed and kissed him anyway, making George quite warm. "Do hurry," he told the officiant. "I think we've got a few plans for tonight."
The official snickered but opened his book, looking at them. "Harry Potter, do you take this wizard to be yours? If so, vow to him."
"George is my sanity and my life. He is mine as I am his."
Fred leaned closer to Bill. "If George is his sanity, we're all in trouble," he hissed.
"I heard that," Harry called. "Just for that, I'm keeping you up for the next month."
"He'll be too busy to listen anyway," Katie said sweetly, smirking at him when he looked back at her. "Isn't it George's turn so we can get to Ron's? That way he can finally shag his girl senseless."
George snorted. "Again?" He looked down at Harry. "You are my life and my light, my muse. You're mine and you'd better not run away again, Harry Weasley."
"Yes, George." They kissed again.
"And with that I think we've covered all the bases. You're married, go find a dark closet or some such," he ordered when they didn't stop and a small moan came from one of them.
"Hey, give us time to do this first so we can all disappear while mum deals with lunch," Ron complained. They pulled apart and grinned back at the other couple. "About time, Harry. Is there some sort of anti-breathing charm you used?" he teased.
"Just inspiration," Harry said cheekily, leading George to a set of empty seats to sit next to him, putting his hand on his stomach, that way the daughter could kick him for a bit. She had liked the kissing.
"Ronald Weasley, do you take this witch to be yours?" the official asked. "If so, vow to her. "
"Padma, you're the one who kept me sane and who might actually make my son listen to me, and me listen to common sense. Be mine?" he asked, bright grin and brighter blush in place.
She giggled and kissed him on the tip of the noise. "Ron, if you ever try to run like Harry did, I'm going to hunt you down and paint you fuschia. Then I'm going to have my wicked way with you. You're mine and no one else had better touch you ever the bloody hell again. Repeat your new mantra after me, Ron. Padma is right and a Goddess."
He grinned. "Padma is right and a Goddess, but she still burns toast," he said.
She giggled and pinched him but kissed him afterward.
"Again, all the bases covered, they're now a happy couple as well." Everyone clapped and he got to help with lunch then go back to his usual job. This was a fun hobby job he had as a sideline.
Molly broke up the kissing couples. "Lunch!" Everyone ran inside to be at the table, the couples next to each other so Padma and George could share naughty ideas.
"Oh, Ron, picked up a paper today for you," Fred announced, handing one down.
Ron read the Quibbler's headline and grinned, turning to the right page. Then he cleared his throat and read out loud. "According to an eyewitness report from the Quibbler's own heiress, Luna Lovegood, it seems that a new romantic trend has been started among the sixth years of Hogwarts student body. This reporter can only wonder where such ideas start from. First there was the girl who was taken by the troll with mating in mind, and her subsequent return two weeks later looking healthy, whole, and happy. Now it seems that a student has decided to top that by shaving off all her body hair that could cause injury when she and her lover, the mutated skrewt the Care of Magical Creatures teacher keeps as a pet, ran off on their honeymoon. It was apparently quite romantic. She ran outside in her white flowing nightgown, see picture taken from the school grounds on the next page, and climbed onto it's back as it flashed and roared off into the night of the Forbidden Forest.
"No one has seen or heard from this student yet, but our heiress was able to track down a centaur in the forest to ask if they had seen the couple. The centaur reported to her that the girl is now in their enclave and herd and quite a lot happier there since her skrewt was killed by a giant spider in the forest. He offered to bring her back so the Headmaster could finish her withdrawal papers but Headmaster Dumbledore has since said it wasn't necessary. That she could come back at any time. This reporter was present when this last discussion was had as our heiress had tracked me down to report this to me and we were having tea at the school. This reporter only wonders what's next. Perhaps a half human/half troll baby or a new three-quarter centaur? It seems that the mating urge is in the air at Hogwarts and that the warping the war did is only half as bad as it could be. Many thanks to Harry Potter and we wish him well with his new relationship. We also wish his best friend Ronald Weasley, who outed himself as one of the first ever male pregnancies in the recorded world, all the joys and happiness of parenthood and with his fiance Padma Patil. Good job both of you." He closed the paper after laughing at the picture with Padma. "Guys this is the best wedding present I've ever seen," Ron said fondly.
"Twertn't nothing," Fred said with a bright grin.
"It is an interesting formula and Hagrid *adored* it for use in his breeding program," George agreed.
"Though, a troll baby would be hard to carry," Fred offered.
"Hmm, they'd have to be bigger," George agreed, patting Harry's tummy for him. "I can only imagine the weight."
"Troll babies come out about two feet tall and about eighty pounds," Charlie told them.
"Well, I guess she'll be tons of fat then, won't she?" Ron asked with a grin. He looked around their mates at Harry. "Can we laugh?"
"Offer stretchmark cream," Harry said with a mean grin.
"They're not breeding compatible," Bill assured them. "No half troll babies. Not unless he shared her with something else. Though, the other girl could be having a centaur. They are compatible. Or else they never would breed at all. Any human cross is usually compatible enough to create kids from."
"Poor Lavender," Padma sighed. "Don't centaurs come out about a hundred or two hundred pounds?" Charlie nodded, smirking at her. "I'd hate to have to see that labor then."
Harry and Ron giggled. That was a bad thought.