Warnings: Transgender hijinx.


Gender Blending.

Ron gave his big brothers a wary look. "It's only two days until your birthday, you won't get into trouble," Fred assured him.

"You can just hand us stuff," George agreed. "We'll do all the magic."

Ron sighed and slumped in on himself. "Will it hurt?"

"It shouldn't," George told him, giving him a smile and a pat on the shoulder. "Relax, it'll be very helpful."

"What does this new prank do?" Ron asked, looking at the ingredients. Not that he could identify most of them.

"It'll turn you into a girl for a day or two," Fred told him with a bright smile. "Lets you know all about them."

"Why would anyone want to do that?" Ron asked, inching backwards.

"How many times have you tried to figure out a girl? Or even a girl's body?" George asked.

"This way, you'll understand first hand. It can only help in most relationships."

"Besides, most boys have wondered what to do with girls anyway, this way they can figure it out in private," George finished happily. "Come on." He grabbed Ron's leg and pulled him closer again. "It won't hurt."

"If you say so," Ron said, giving him a skeptical look. "Have you tried this out before?"

"On mice," Fred assured him. "Worked perfectly. We're working on the dosage now."

"What are you going to do if mum notices she suddenly has more than one daughter?"

Fred smiled at him. "It shouldn't be that noticeable. Wear big shirts, it'll be fine." He went back to mixing. Finally he held a hand out and the last tray of ingredients was handed to him by Ron. "Thank you." He mixed those in, crushing them in the mortar with the other stuff. When he was done he pulled up a gob and formed two balls. "Here you go. I, of course, will write down any comments you make so we have proof that it works."

George handed one ball to Ron. "Just swallow, don't try to chew it. We'll work on flavoring it later." He swallowed his ball with a grimace. "Tastes bad."

"I know. I was thinking a grape flavor," Fred told him, making a note. He looked at Ron and his eyes bugged out. "Well, it does work on humans," he said, nodding at him. He looked over the firm, yet smaller body. "Oh." He looked at Ron. "Feel about yourself for a moment," he suggested.

"Why did we keep our dangly bits?" George asked as he looked past his small breasts at his own equipment. He patted himself down and found the extra opening. "The rest is there."

Ron started to shake, flopping backwards. A small seizure. "Damn!" Fred said, jumping up to get the antidote. "He shouldn't be allergic to any of this," he said as he poured it into Ron's mouth, watching and waiting while George forced his swallowing reflex. He sat down to make notes on everything they'd done.

George looked at Ron. "It's not fading," he said quietly. Fred looked up in alarm. "Did you vary the formula at all, Fred?"

"I increased the dosage by one half," Fred admitted. "It had to be done because of the differences of mass." He looked at Ron again and swallowed. "Mum's going to kill us."

"I think we'd better wake Ron up and get him back to the house," George agreed. He looked down at himself again. "This isn't right. I'm shrinking again."

Fred watched as his brother turned into his sister with some trepidation. "Hopefully it'll wear off. Did you swallow the whole thing?" George nodded, looking a bit miserable. "Calm down. It'll last a day, two days at the most."

"Hopefully," George said, looking at Ron again. The antidote still hadn't worked. He stood up and Fred followed his lead, waking Ron up and taking him back to the Burrow between them. By the end of the apparation, Ron was awake again. "Go to bed and try to sleep," he whispered. "We'll be back in the afternoon."

Ron looked at him, then at Fred. "What happened?" he asked. Neither twin said anything. "What happened?" he asked a bit louder.

"Shh." Fred hugged him so he could talk next to his ear. "There was a small problem, Ron, you just had a small seizure. We've given you the antidote and it hasn't worked yet," he whispered. "You'll be fine."

"How long was it supposed to take to work?" Ron whispered back.

"By now, but we're sure it'll work soon," George offered. Ron looked at him, starting to look a bit shocked. "Fred?"

Fred looked at Ron. "Go wake up mum and send her down, we'll go with you to the hospital," he decided. "It's our fault after all." Ron nodded, walking unsteadily up the stairs. "We are in such trouble," he told his twin.

George hit him on the arm. "This had better wear off or I *swear* you're going to wish you were a bludger."

"There are days when I already do," Fred sighed, rubbing a hand over his face. "This is our first mistake."

"It'll be fixed. I'm sure someone can fix it," George told him.

Ron knocked on his parent's door. "Mum?" he called quietly.

"Go away," Arthur called back.

Ron walked in. "Mum, it's important." Both parents looked at him. "I was helping the twins with their latest prank."

"What's wrong?" Molly asked. "Do you feel ill?"

"No, mum, I think it's a bit worse than that," Ron squeaked, starting to feel nauseous. "I think it's very bad and the twins said I should see someone soon." He wobbled and his father lunged, catching him before he could land on the floor.

"Dear Merlin, he has breasts," Arthur breathed.

Molly grabbed her bathrobe and put it on as she lit the lamps around the room. She checked her last son over, starting to get very angry. "He's got both," she said finally. "Boys!" she yelled.

Fred and George came up the stairs. "We gave him the antidote, it's not working yet," Fred told her.

Arthur was staring at George and eventually nudged Molly. "Put on some clothes, I think we need to see someone stronger than we are." Molly headed for the closet to pull both of them clothes to wear, then went to get something more comfortable for George and Ron. "What happened?" he asked while she was out of the room.

"It's supposed to change you for a day or two, so boys can know what girls are like," George told him.

"He had a small seizure and we immediately applied the antidote," Fred agreed, starting to nod. "Then we brought him right here."

"We'll talk about this later," Arthur said calmly. "Go wake up Ginny and let her know we'll be back soon." He stood up and got dressed, letting them watch over Ron.

"Do you have your notes?" Molly asked as she walked back in, handing George one of her old dresses and folding the other set of clothes up for Ron.

"A full set," Fred agreed. "I took notes on everything."

"We're always very careful, mum, you know that," George reminded her as he put on the dress. She snorted. "We came back here as soon as he was awake."

"Fine. You'll be coming with us to explain yourself," she said firmly. She got dressed in the bathroom and came back, letting her husband lift Ron so they could start to the hospital.


The mediwitch smiled as she came in, then looked at the twins, clapping. "You screwed it so very badly," she told them, still smiling. "His change is permanent."

"The seizure?" Fred asked.

"Yes, unfortunately it set it in," she said, walking over to where Ron was awake now. "I'm sorry, young man, we can't reverse this one. There's a good chance it will wear off in a few years."

"YEARS!" Ron shouted. "What am I supposed to do until then!"

"Well, the wonderful news is that you're in a state of flux," she explained, pulling out a chart. "This is how you're going to be until this wears off. Six days out of the month you'll be fully female. Six days out of the month, you'll be fully male. The rest will be a transition. It looks like you'll spend four days in each transition period being fully both, then slowly shrink the inappropriate ...organ as you change to fully one or the other." Ron gaped at her.

Molly coughed. "There's no chance of it dissolving sooner, like before he has to start school?"

The mediwitch shook her head, looking sad. "I'm sorry. I've asked everyone, even the reproductive people can't figure out how to fix this." She looked at the twins. "Your notes were a big hit though. They've taken them to look over."

"It worked on mice," George offered. "What about mine?"

"It should wear off," she said with a shrug, "with the wonderful side effect of you'll change randomly. Just out of the blue sometimes probably, no set schedule that we could find."

George blinked, then looked at his twin. "Do run," he suggested pleasantly. Fred hugged him and George shoved him. "How am I supposed to date like this?"

"Find someone very understanding," Arthur noted dryly, glaring at the twins. "We'll be discussing this later," he promised them. He looked at Ron, then at the nurse. "What about....children and things?" he asked, putting it delicately.

"As far as the reproductive person could tell, there's only a slight chance he'll ever be fertile." Ron sighed and seemed to slump in on himself. "If he does have a female cycle it may not synch with his change cycle so he might only have it once every three months. If he starts to have one, he'll definitely be fertile that way. If he doesn't, there's a good chance he may be fertile as a male, when he's fully male."

"What about the in-between times?" Ron asked quietly.

"As far as we can tell, you're not going to be fertile then. As of this moment, that is a guess," she said seriously. "So take all precautions if and when you decide to try things out." Ron shuddered. She gave him a reassuring smile. "Consider this, young man. You will be about the only man alive who can understand what a woman is saying when she yells at her boyfriend, what she's thinking about, and understand exactly why most boys take a long time to figure out a woman's body." She patted him on the foot. "It could be much worse."

"How would we handle feminine clothes and that sort of thing?" Molly asked.

The mediwitch shrugged. "I don't do much with clothing. Mostly I wear my clothes for here and a few pairs of jeans. You might ask someone like Madam Malkin herself." She smiled at the whole family. "Is there anything else we can do for you?" They shook their heads. "Ron, remember that schedule. Take it with you to school and put it up beside your bed. I'm sending notice to Madam Pomfrey so she can watch out for you, especially to see if you start having monthlies." He shuddered. "It'll be fine," she promised, patting him on the leg again. "At least they didn't turn you into a half-human or an animal."

"No, they just turned me into half a man," he said, glaring at the twins. "After dad's finished with you, I get a chance."

"We'll let you pummel them later," Arthur soothed, stroking his son's arm. "Is there anything else we have to be wary of?"

"Try to keep him from trying everything at once," she advised. "Go slowly with your experimentations. Don't go wild one weekend and decide to get it all done at once, Ron, you won't enjoy it as much and you'll find you'll be disappointed." She signed Ron's release order and left them alone.

Molly took the chart and put it into her purse. "Boys, home," she said firmly. Ron looked at her. "We'll floo over to Madam Malkin's right now, Ron," she told him. "Let your father yell at them for now." She took his hand and helped him off the bed, letting him lead the way to the floos.

Arthur looked at the twins, shaking his head. "I'm disappointed in you boys, you should have done more testing first." They nodded, looking at the floor. "Apparate home, I'm right behind you." They left and Arthur gathered up any stray bits of things they had left lying around, cleaning up the balled up tissues from Ron's crying and things like that. It wasn't good to make the mediwitches clean up after them. He headed home.


Ron looked over as Harry appeared in the backyard with the twins around him. "Hey, Harry," he called, waving from his seat.

Harry walked over and stopped, looking at him. He licked his lips. "What happened?"

"The twins backfired," he said bitterly, glaring at them.

"Want some juice, Ron?" Fred asked, hurrying into the house. George scurried after him, his dress flowing around his ankles.

"I thought they had done something very odd to George," Harry said as he sat beside his friend. "What did they do to you?"

"Same thing. Only now I get to be *both*," Ron said bitterly, adjusting the tubetop he had on under his shirt. "I'll tell you tonight," he sighed. "I'm in the middle of a mood swing and I'd really like to sulk for a bit."

"Okay," Harry agreed. "Am I sharing your room?"

"Yeah, you are." Ron gave him a hug. "I'm sorry I'm such a bastard, but this is horrible," he said quietly.

"Whatever it is, we can get through it," Harry assured him, patting him on the back. "You rest and we'll talk tonight after everyone's gone to bed."

"Can you help me plan on how to get back at the twits?"

"Sure," Harry said with a grin, heading into the house with his trunk. "Hi, Mrs. Weasley," he said, giving her a hug. "Thank you taking me in again."

"It's not a problem," she assured him with a smile. She patted his clothes smooth. "Did Ron tell you anything, dear?"

"Not yet. He said he'd tell me tonight."

"That's fine then. Just don't stare at him or George, it tends to set them off a bit." Harry nodded, looking confused. "You'll understand soon enough," she promised, handing him a sandwich. "Eat up, you look like they starved you again."

"Not quite," he said with a smile. "But nearly. Dudley's on a diet again. He's in *training*." They shared a laugh and he went to put his things in Ron's room. He walked back downstairs, eating the sandwich. He found George sitting in the living room looking miserable and Fred nowhere nearby. "You look nice in that," he said as he sat in the chair across from him. "It's a new look though."

George looked at him. "Ron didn't tell you?"

Harry shook his head. "He said tonight."

George laughed bitterly. "We botched up our latest trial run of a new prank. We're stuck this way for a bit." He hung his head, covering his face with his hands.

Harry looked him over, and the gears inside his brain suddenly slid into place. "You're a girl!" he said suddenly.

George looked up at him. "Yeah, I am. Ron's a half at the moment."

"At the moment," Ron agreed as he walked in. "Come on, Harry. I'll explain now. Otherwise things are going to get strange tonight. Mum said you're taking the fuckup's room instead of mine."

"Language," Mrs. Weasley yelled from the kitchen.

"Okay, Ron, whatever she says," Harry agreed, following his friend up the stairs. "What's going on?" he asked as soon as they were safely locked in Ron's room.

Ron flopped backwards onto his bed. "The twins were trying to make something so blokes could change into girls for a day so they could figure them out."

"That sounds helpful. Not everyone has someone like Hermione to explain women to them," Harry agreed, starting to frown. "So?"

"They botched the formula badly." He pointed at a nice chart on the wall. "That's now my life. George suddenly turns into a girl for no reason and I'm stuck changing back and forth, like the tides."

Harry stood up and walked over to the chart, finally squeaking and pointing at what he saw.

Ron nodded. "Yup, that's me. That's why mum decided it wasn't proper to have you in here this summer." He gave a bitter laugh. "This is not fun, no matter what they thought it would be. George has nearly lost his girlfriend over this and I'm not sure what Hermione's going to say." He pulled his pillow over his face. "I just want this to go away."

Harry laid down beside Ron and hugged him. "It'll be okay, we'll get through this together, Ron," he said quietly. "I'll even help protect you from the mean bastards at the school."

Ron hugged him back. "Thanks, Harry. Will you protect me from myself too?"

Harry pulled back. "You aren't going to try it out?" he asked with a grin.

"Oh, probably, but I'm not ready to think about doing that yet," Ron said, making a disgusted face. "Maybe not ever."

"Then I'll gladly protect you," Harry agreed, "even from yourself." He stood up and gathered up his trunk and the few things he had taken out of it. "Per...the fuckup's room?"

"Yeah. Next door." Ron pointed. "Ginny's in her room already."

"Thanks." Harry grinned. "Think about how confused Malfoy's gonna be when he sees you. You're going to be mid-female on the ride up."

Ron laughed for the first time in weeks. "Thanks, Harry, I needed that."

"Anytime. Let me drop this off and we'll go fly, okay?"

"Sure. I need to work on my balance . Madam Malkin said I'd need to." Ron stood up and readjusted the tube top again. "I don't like this thing."

Harry peeked at the spot Ron held out. "Tube top?"

"Alternate bra."

"Oh." Harry nodded. "For when it changes sizes?" Ron nodded. "Decent idea. The muggles have those in a lot of colors and fabrics. We could look when I have to go clothes shopping, if your mother agrees."

"She should," Ron admitted. "I'll ask her." He hurried downstairs to tell his mother the good news. "Mum, Harry said the muggles wear these sort of things all the time," he told her.

She smiled. "Good. Then I'll change some money over and we'll see what we can find," she agreed, giving him a hug. "How did he take it?"

"Wonderfully. Made a joke and all. He's right though, Malfoy's face is going to be priceless." He grinned and ran to get his broom. "We're going to practice."

"Have fun, dear," she called, watching as both boys ran out the door with their brooms. Molly smiled. "Trust Harry Potter to find a solution to even the worst things," she sighed in contentment.


Ron looked at the small rack then at Harry. "At least it's more than Madam Malkin had," he offered.

"It's the end of the summer. There's always more at the beginning," Harry admitted. He smiled at a saleswoman. "My friend here uses tube tops as bras under our uniforms. Do you have any more than that?"

She looked at the masculine looking young woman. "We have a few more on another rack, or we have sports bras," she offered.

"My weight fluctuates," Ron told her.

"Ah." She nodded. "Sports bras are still practical." She led her over to the rack and showed the few they had off. "These will flatten you down and give you a bit more support than those others do, young lady."

Ron looked at them. "What about when my weight fluctuates? I have this horrible time losing a cup size and regaining it." Not exactly a lie. He was only a 'c' cup by muggle standards, as the woman in the last store had told him.

"That's not a problem with these. This particular style is meant for a few cups." She handed one to Ron. "Go ahead and try it on." Ron nodded and walked into the changing room. So she went to help Harry. "Did you or your girlfriend need more help?"

Harry held up a shirt. "Would this be too girly for me?"

"Not in the least," she said pleasantly. "Are you gay?"

Harry shrugged. "I'm more not dating so I don't have to deal with attachments at this time," he admitted.

"Oh, you poor thing," she said, giving him a brief hug. "Yes, you could wear that easily. It should fit you."

Harry leaned closer. "I want to buy her something as well, can you help me with that? I've got three hundred pounds left on my shopping trip and only one more stop for me."

"We have modestly priced outfits over here," she said, leading him over to where some of the nicer outfits were. "Something like this?"

"I want her in something that'll make the other boys in school shut up. She's like my brother," he explained.

"Ah." She pulled out a small, gauzy, pearl gray and blue strapless dress. "How about this?"

Ron walked out and saw the outfit. "Putting my sister in something?" he asked suspiciously.

Harry grinned at him. "Something for the entering feast," he admitted. "Just to shut Malfoy up."

Ron walked over and looked at the dress, then at Harry. "Not a chance are you getting me into a dress, Harry. You know it won't happen for a while."

The salesgirl coughed. "Then let's try something like this," she said, holding out the more respectable pants and tiny top. "You do have an extraordinary body, it's clear you work out."

Ron looked at the pants, then the top. "Jeans?" he suggested. "Anything I get has to last me for a while." She nodded happily and pulled out a pair of hip huggers in his size, handing them over. "Thanks. Oh, the bra thingy fit." He walked back into the changing room, putting on the outfit. He came out and Harry whistled, then blushed. "I look good?" he asked, looking in the mirrors. He had to admit, he had a fantastic rear and since he was close to being all female he looked wonderful in the outfit. "I like this. But only for those special days," he decided, tugging at the top. "I think I need one a bit bigger."

"Oh, I know just the thing," the saleswoman said as she hurried to pull something off one of the sales racks. "It's still warm enough to wear this for a bit longer," she announced as she handed it over. "Try that one."

Ron walked into the changing room and changed shirts, coming back out in the tight tank top with the scoop neckline, which made the most of his tits. "I think this is a bit much."

"Put one of your uniform shirts over it," Harry suggested.

"Layering is always fashionable," the saleswoman agreed.

Ron looked at himself again, tucking in the tanktop to show off his flat stomach. "Okay, I guess I can splurge a bit."

"I've got this, consider it a breaking-in present," Harry said with a grin. "I'll take it, and the bras he'll need."

"I've got those. Mum gave me money," Ron said firmly.

"Then you get some more, that way you don't run out." Harry grinned and went to help him pick out some colors.

"We wear white shirts, Harry," Ron complained. But he accepted the two real bras, the few sports bras, and the three tube tops he liked, paying for as much of it as he could. Harry even let him carry the bag and wear the new clothes out. "You get to tell mum."

"I'm sure she won't be too upset with me," Harry said with a nudge. "Come on, I need jeans." He led the way to the department store, going to find himself some clothes that actually fit him. Since he was never going back to the Durselys, he could do that now. He came out with two bags of his own, enough to give him a week and a half worth of clothes, including sweats and pajamas. They called the knight bus and got on, heading back to the Burrow. "Mrs. Weasley," Harry called as they walked in. "I got Ron an outfit if that's okay."

"That's fine, dear," she called, coming out to meet them. Her smile faded a bit when she saw Ron's chest, but she started smiling again quickly. "I had no idea you were going to be that well formed," she said, hugging Ron. "You're adorable. And those clothes look wonderful on you, Ron. Don't forget to pack them." She kissed him on the forehead. "Did they have many?"

"They had those and something else," Ron said, taking off his shirt to show her. "They had these. They're meant for a few different sizes at once so it can expand and contract on me," he said happily. "And it gives more support. Now I know why Ginny complains about her back sometimes."

"I'm afraid that's more her monthlies," Molly told him, still smiling.

"Will you have those?" Harry asked.

"We don't know yet," Ron admitted, looking disgusted. "That's just icky."

"Sorry." He blushed. "I got myself some very nice clothes too," he said proudly. "And a shirt from the same place," he said as he dug it out. "See?"

Molly looked at the metallic blue shirt and smiled at him. "That looks like a girl's shirt, dear."

"It is, but I liked it and I couldn't find another one so I got it for myself," Harry admitted, grinning. "I dare anyone to say anything."

"I'm sure we can fix it so the buttons are on the right side," she assured him. "Go put your things away." She put a hand on Harry's arm. "You didn't have to."

Harry nodded, still grinning. "Yes, I did. He's wearing it on the train so we can shut Malfoy up about it from the beginning." Molly opened her mouth. "Really, it's better this way, otherwise it's going to get worse and he'll end up getting into a lot more fights. Plus, the girls will be behind him if they can *see* that he's going to be like them part of the time."

Molly relaxed. "That's good thinking, Harry, thank you." She kissed him on the cheek. "Did you have fun?"

"Lots. Besides, that whole outfit was on sale," he lied. "It's fine. I have the money to spend. Think of it as a reward for putting up with my bad taste all afternoon." He winked and hurried upstairs. He found Ron trying to put on one of the regular bras. "Sorry," he said, ducking back out.

"Get back in here and help me," Ron whined.

"Ron! I can't do that! You're partially naked!" Harry pointed out. "Ginny!" Ginny's head popped out of her room. "Ron needs some technical help."

"Fine," she sighed, coming down to help her sister. "Ooh, a bra." She showed him both ways of putting it on then stepped back and watched him. "Good job! It's nice to know someone else has a good rack in the family." She hit him on the arm. "George has those little tiny tits and he gets away without having to wear a bra." She strolled out and smirked at Harry. "You'd think you were scared of them," she scoffed.

"It's not like I see a set every day," Harry reminded her. She laughed and went back to her room. "Are you decent yet, Ron?" he called.


Harry walked in and flopped down on the end of Ron's bed, watching him try on his new female clothes, the stuff his mother had bought him. "I have what may seem like a silly question. Are you going to change your name during your exclusively female times?"

"What?" Ron turned to look at him, and quickly remembered he didn't have a shirt on. He pulled on the first one he found. "What gave you that idea?"

"Well, when the muggles who change sex with an operation do it, they change their names," Harry offered. He shrugged. "Just a random question."

"I think that'd get confusing," Ron told him, laying down facing him. "Can you imagine Snape's face the first time he gets confused?"

Harry laughed. "Yeah, I can." He reached over and nudged Ron on the arm. "What are you going to do first? On the train?"

"Well, I got a letter from Dumbledore and Madam Pomfrey already saying they knew and were going to try and protect me. I guess I'm going to talk to Hermione first, since I'm dating her and all, then see what happens. Maybe go talk to the ladies in the house, get their support up front." Harry nodded. "You wanna come with me?"

"I think someone had better. Has it affected your magic?"

"I find doing some things easier in my completely one or the other phase, but not in the center stuff. I think I'm getting overloaded, but we'll have to see about that." He grinned. "Wouldn't that be great, for me to have finally figured out why it takes me so long to learn everything?"

"Hopefully it won't make you go off badly," Harry told him. Ron giggled. He reached over to touch the more delicate nose. "You're so different like this, Ron," he said quietly. "It'll take some getting used to, but I can see that you're still you."

"You bet I am," Ron said, batting at the hand touching him. "Stop that. It makes me feel funny."

Harry grinned. "More than you usually do?"

Ron punched him on the shoulder. "Grumpy. Making fun of me will only get you beaten up. I'll have to tell Malfoy that you're my big protector and he has to go through you to hit me."

Harry gave him a serious look. "He's going to know that anyway," he said firmly.

"I can still take care of myself," Ron said, looking serious. "This changes nothing else, Potter."

"I know, but it'll be one less thing that you'll have to worry about. Give you at least a week to get settled in and all that." Ron nodded, he could understand that. "Besides, we all know I'm a *hero*," he said bitterly. "I protect people, that's who I am. Accept it now or we'll have to get into it soon. Even when you're a guy I try to protect you."

"Good point, but no more than usual, I'm not helpless," Ron said firmly.

"Okay." They hugged, then pulled back at the knock on the door. "What?" Harry called.

Arthur walked in with a large box. "For you, Ron," he said with a smile. "Your new robes finally came in."

Ron tore open the present, smiling at the tailored look of the robes. "These are great," he said, hugging his father hard. "Thanks, dad."

"You're welcome." He smiled at Harry. "Molly said you bought him an outfit?"

"Ron, put back on that other shirt, show him," Harry said, turning his head to look at the wall.

Ron shared a rolled eye with his father and changed his shirt, showing it off once it was tucked in. "How is it?"

"I think you look very darling in it," Mr. Weasley told him. "It shows off your figure very well, Ron." He patted him on the back. "Anything else happen?"

"No, dad. Not yet," Ron sighed. "Hope it's not going to."

"I am, son. I know how much worse it will be if you suddenly start having female problems." He clapped him on the back again. "It's almost dinner. Put those in your trunk and clean up, boys." He walked out, not closing the door behind him.

Harry grinned at Ron once Ron nodded that the coast was clear. "He knows I'm not going to do anything with you."

"It's standard. He does it to Ginny all the time," Ron said with a wave of his hand. "Don't worry about it. We're all getting used to this." He tucked the new robes into his trunk, then followed Harry downstairs to dinner. They talked about the mall and everything he had seen in it, including the people with the multiple piercings and the funny-colored hair.


Hermione found the boys in their usual compartment, frowning at them as she walked in. "What are you doing back here, Ron?" she demanded. "You're supposed to be up with the other Prefects." Ron looked up at her and she gasped. "What happened!" she yelled.

"The twins," Harry said calmly. "Sit, Hermione, there's a bit to discuss." He looked at Ron. "Want me to leave?"

"Nah, you already know the story," Ron told him, giving him a smile. He turned to look at his girlfriend. "Get the door, Harry." Harry stood up and locked it, then shielded it and pulled the curtains. "Hermione, this isn't all of me. I'm going to be changing back and forth throughout the month." Her mouth opened. "I wanted to tell you face to face because I didn't know how to put it in a letter. The twin's latest project misfired." She closed her mouth and shook her head. "It's all me, not some joke." He took her hand and put it on his breast, making her turn pale as she felt it. "See? I'm going to swing back and forth, spending most of the time as both. I don't want you to freak, but I had to tell you now."

Hermione swallowed hard. "How long?" she asked.

"Two weeks now. Like I said, I thought I should tell you in person." She pulled her hand back and put it in her lap. "I want us to stay together. There's a good chance it'll change back someday."

"Ron, I don't like girls," she said finally, looking at him. Her eyes started to mist up. "Oh! I've go to think!" she said, running out of the car.

Ron slumped. "That's that then."

"You broke up?" Harry asked.

"Yeah, we did. She can't stand me this way and I doubt she's going to come around soon," he said, looking upset. "I thought she'd be able to handle it."

"There's plenty of other girls and women out there who'll be more understanding."

"How? I can't date a lesbian and I can't date a straight one!"

"There's ones who're both," Harry told him. Ron looked stunned. He grinned. "Never thought about that?"

"No, I didn't know that," Ron admitted, licking his lips. "That'd be perfect though. I like breasts too much to ever give them up." He stood up and heaved Harry up with him. "C'mon, let's go face down the rest of our lovely Gryffindor ladies. They should know before they hear it in rumors." He straightened his tanktop and his overshirt, letting Harry proceed him. They found a knot of their yearmates in two side by side cars and tapped gently on the one on the right. "Can we come in?" Ron asked over Harry's shoulder.

"Sure," the girls said without looking. Ron flopped down next to the one who had spoken and she smiled at him. "What the hell!" Parvati yelled when she looked at him. The girls in the other compartment came over and stopped, staring at them.

"The twins did it," Harry said gently, shooing all the girls inside and closing the door on the cramped compartment, casting a spell so no one could listen in on them either.

"Technically," Ron said, reaching into his pocket. "This is going to be what I'm going through every month," he said, handing it to Parvati. "That's why we came down. I'm gonna need some major help," he admitted.

The girls passed around the chart, each of them looking at him afterwards.

"Where's Hermione?" one of the girls in the back, near Harry, asked.

"She broke up with me," Ron sighed, leaning back. It gave everyone a clear view of his new breasts.

Parvati, being closest, reached over and squeezed one. "It's real!" she said in outrage.

Harry shifted closer. "The twins wanted to create something that would allow guys like us to be female for a day so we could understand you better," he told her. The girls muttered some very uncomplimentary things about the twins. "It went wrong. Ron's now cursed to move back and forth between a man and a woman. Hermione's just broken up with him, and he's going to need some female help now and then. Can we count on you guys?"

The girls all nodded, looking faintly confused, but supportive.

"We'd do anything for you and Ron, Harry, even strange stuff like this," the girl in the back told him. "What do you need?"

Ron looked grossed out. "The mediwitches said it might be possible that I'll start getting monthlies sometimes," he admitted. "I have no idea how to handle that. I just couldn't ask my mum or sister."

"We can sit you down and tell you all about being female," Parvati assured him, patting him on the thigh. "It sucks that they did this to you."

Ron beamed. "George tested it too," he admitted. "He suddenly changes into a girl now and then. No warning most of the time." He shrugged. "At least he's mostly built the same, but it's very disturbing because he keeps changing into skirts each time he does it." They all giggled. "Besides, he doesn't have to put up with a bra." He shifted in his uncomfortably. "How do you girls stand it?"

"You get used to it," most of them said in semi-unison. Harry laughed.

Ron groaned. "It's only six days out of each month. Who has that schedule? I haven't memorized it yet." It was handed back to him and he tucked it into his pocket as he stood up. "Like it? Harry bought it for me as a breaking-in present."

"Hermione really broke up with you?" one of the girls asked.

Ron nodded. "She said she didn't like girls and ran away crying. I'm guessing that's breaking up." They all nodded and gave him hugs. "Thanks. So we can count on you to help out now and then? Give advice and all that good stuff?"

"Sure," Parvati agreed. "We'll give you lots of advice. We'll have a slumber party before you change back and we'll talk about everything, including boys." Ron blushed. "Ron!"

"I don't know about that stuff yet," he told them. "It only happened two weeks ago."

"I'm in charge of his libido and protecting him until he's used to this," Harry told them. "So if anyone tries to force him, or you ladies of course, I want to know." They all nodded, giving him patient looks. "Thanks. Ron? Prefects?"

"Malfoy will still be down there," he said bitterly. "I'd like to put that off."

"Then let's go tell the guys," Harry suggested. "Dean and Neville were back by us. Justin and Seamus were up further, I saw Justin's head as he ducked into a compartment."

"I'd rather go back and hide," Ron told him.

"Sure, we can do that too. Come on, I'll buy you a chocolate frog," Harry told him with a grin as he let himself and Ron out. "Thank you, ladies, you're very understanding." He followed Ron back to their compartment and locked them in. When the trolley came around, he bought them lunch and a lot of chocolate. "Remus said chocolate cures most of life's ailments," he told Ron as he handed over the first frog.

"It seems to. My body's been craving it today," Ron agreed as he ripped it open. "Shoot, Morgan LaFey again," he sighed, handing it to Harry.

Harry grinned. "We'll give the ones we both have to Ginny," he said with a wink. Ron laughed.


As soon as the first years were sorted, Dumbledore stood up. "Welcome to a new year at Hogwarts," he said, smiling at all the students. His eye caught Ron's and he groaned. "In addition to the usual announcements, we have one particularly strange one. Mr. Weasley?" he called. "Please stand up and come here."

"Do I have to?" Ron called.


"Fine." Ron stood up, his feet loud in the silent hall, and walked over to stand in front of him, then was motioned to turn around so he did. Many students gasped. "Try it," he warned.

Dumbledore reached down and patted him on the head. "Mr. Weasley was the victim of an unfortunate prank gone wrong, you will not pick on him," he said firmly, staring particularly at the Slytherin table and the new Head Boy. Then back at Hermione Granger, the Head Girl. He lifted his chin. "Ron will be switching back and forth throughout the month. We will try not to make this more difficult for him."

One Ravenclaw stood up. "This is real?" she asked.

"It is," Dumbledore assured her. "The twins were testing a new prank and it went horribly sideways on them." She nodded and sat down. "Mr. Weasley is in a fragile mental state and anyone who picks on him about this will be dealt with most severely, if not by the staff, by his friends. As such, Gryffindor will be having a meeting after dinner tonight to talk about the housing situation."

Ron looked up at McGonagall. "I'm getting my own room?" he asked hopefully. It'd be a first.

"I don't know yet, it will depend on your house," she said, giving him a smile. "You are most welcome to come to any teacher for advice," she reminded him. "As are the rest of the students who may find themselves confused by such incidences."

Dumbledore smiled at her. "Thank you, Professor. You may sit, Mr. Weasley." Ron hurried back to his seat. "The other announcements are the normal ones. The Forbidden forest is just that, off-limits to all students. There will be no pranks set off in the hall or our caretaker, Mr. Filch, will punish you most generously." He smiled at them and clapped his hands. "Platypus, fizzbang, lolligagger," he announced and the food appeared. He sat down and smiled at Ron. "He's going to have some problems," he whispered.

"We'll deal with it," Minerva McGonagall said firmly. "He's a strong boy, as proven by his not breaking down mentally yet.

Over at the Slytherin table, whispered plans were already being made to test Ron's new stuff. Draco looked amused at the pranks being planned. "Be sure to watch out for Potter and Granger," he warned quietly. Everyone looked at him. "It was the rumor on the train. Potter has officially taken Weasley under his protection, and Granger broke up with him," he said, giving the Gryffindors an amused look. Hermione caught his eye and glared, stroking her wand. He laughed. "Yes, they're going to stand by their little freak," he told them. He looked at his tablemates again. "Make sure that nothing you do reflects badly on the house, or on myself and Professor Snape," he warned. They nodded and went back to their planning, while Draco mused about how Weasley had seemed to glow in the candlelight as he had stood there. It was definitely an odd thing to have happen, something his mother would get a kick out of he was sure.


Ron faced the whole of the house. "I told our year earlier," he told McGonagall. She had put an arm around his shoulders and was supporting him.

"We've agreed to help him," Parvati told her. "But you can't really put him in with us, he's going to be a guy six days out of the month and partially a guy all but six."

Ron held up a schedule. "Can anyone copy this?" he asked. Hermione copied it for him, a few times over. He got free of the teacher and put a copy up on the announcement board. "There, now you can all see," he said dryly. "That way I don't have to answer so many questions."

Harry grinned at him. "One's going beside your bed, right?"

"Definitely," Ron agreed, nodding. He smiled at the guys in his room. "I guess it's up to you. Are you going to try and molest me?"

"No!" Justin snorted. He crossed his arms. "We talked during dinner, we don't see a problem with Ron staying in our dorm."

"He is not always male and that could cause some controversy," McGonagall noted. "We want to protect him, yet make sure you're all safe."

Ron looked over at her. When had he gotten so tall? She was his height, and he had shrunk three inches down to his female size. "I may try it out, but I can promise you I won't jump them in the middle of the night," he said with a raunchy grin.

She shook her head. "That is not in question. I have no doubt that you can find ways if you want to try those new parts out, young man. You students always manage to, no matter what the staff does to try and stop you." She looked at Harry, then at the other young men. "Would having Ron among you bother you?"

"No," Neville told her firmly. "He's still one of us, only now he has ...breasts," he finished with a blush, proud of himself for not stuttering over that important word. "We don't care. We don't like Ron *that way*."

Ron laughed. "Thanks, Neville, love you too." He blew a kiss and Neville blushed. "See, nothing's changed. Though if you want to give me my own room," he offered, letting it trail off. She frowned at him and he winked. "What?" he asked innocently.

Harry coughed. "I'm sure we'll all get used to it soon enough. Ron can retreat to the bathroom or change in his bed if he feels uncomfortable about his new...equipment. We're not going to suddenly turn into great pervs and start staring at them." He waved a hand at Ron's chest. Ron blushed. "Sorry, Ron."

"No, that's okay. I'm still getting used to them. Personally, mum said it'd be better if I carried on like normal so that's what I'm going to do. Yeah, it'll be uncomfortable for a few weeks, all that taking my shirt off in front of you guys, but I'm still a guy inside. No matter what cup size I wear." The girls clapped. "So?"

"We want him," Neville told their head. "It'll only get worse if you move him, make it seem like something dirty. Some of you have sisters and have walked in on them. And if not, you've probably got girlfriends." He glanced at Harry, who was blushing. "Or have walked in on Ron already," he said with a grin for his friend. "We'll deal with it like the...."

"Immature bastards you are?" Ginny suggested. McGonagall glared at her. "I agree with Ron, but even Harry still checks them out."

"Even I look," Ron told her. "So do you!"

"I know, and like you said, it's going to take a few weeks to get used to it. I want to know one thing, why doesn't he have to wear a skirt when he's fully female? If he can wear pants, we should be allowed to too." The other girls nodded.

"The school's dress code is not under discussion. It was thought that it would cause a hardship on your family to force him to buy more clothes if you must know." Ginny and Ron both glared at her. "Other than that, we agree with his mother. He should act like normal, as much as possible."

"But he's not," Hermione put in quietly. "Earlier, when we talked on the train, he sounded female. Gave me female reasons why nothing should change."

Ron shrugged. "I was trying to talk your language. Give me some credit at least," he sighed, sitting down. His back hurt.

"You did very well too," Hermione said with a faint smile. "I'm sorry, Ron."

"Not a problem. We're still through?" She nodded. "That's what I thought."

"Are you going to start dating guys?" one of the first years blurted out.

Ron looked at him. "Probably not. I'm waiting on all that stuff." He frowned at the boy. "Besides, you're much too young to think about such things. Most of us didn't get to that stage until our third years." The new fourth years laughed nervously. McGonagall chuckled herself. "Any other questions?"

"What do we call you?" Neville asked.


"Okay." He grinned. "Just wondering."

"No, I'm not changing my name. Harry asked the same bloody thing," he noted as he stood up. "So, can we go off to bed now? I want out of this contraption that men force women to wear."

"Panties?" one of the sixth year girls asked with a wink.

"No, the bra. Panties aren't much different. Just briefs instead of boxers," he said with a shrug, heading for the stairs. "Talk about me now, while I don't have to hear it."

Harry waited for Ron to close the door before looking at everyone. "Ron's asked me to protect him," he said quietly. "He doesn't know how far the Slytherins will go. If you hear something, I want to know about it. Send it up through to the upperclassmen if you can't find me directly," he told the younger kids. "Or see me in class," he told the upper ones. "I hate to sound paranoid, but Malfoy was staring at Ron hard during dinner."

Hermione nodded. "Me as well. I will protect Ron from *everyone*. Got it?" They all nodded. "Any other questions?" Most of the kids shook their heads. "Then go find your beds." They disappeared up the stairs, talking to their friends about this extraordinary occurrence. "Professor?"

"Very well handled," she admitted with a smile. "Five points to you both." She patted Harry on the head. "Your schedule is finally done, you'll get it tomorrow. We've made allowances so you're with Ron most of the time. I figured he could use the extra charms and defense work anyway." Harry gave her a grateful smile. "Now go to bed, the both of you. I'm sure Ron's waiting on you, Harry." He jogged up the stairs. "Hermione, do be careful how you enforce things. Remember, Malfoy has equal power to you," she warned before leaving.

"Not if I hex him into next year," she snorted before going up to her room. She pulled on her nightgown and settled in with a defensive charms and hexes book, just a little light reading in case they needed it.


Ron walked into Defense and took the seat next to the wall, letting Harry take the outside of their seat. This class was with Hufflepuff so it wasn't too big of a problem. Some whispers around them made him focus on the other students. "You can ask me questions," he noted quietly.

"Does it feel strange?" one boy from the table in front of them asked.

"The switching does. It comes and then it goes away again," Ron said with a shrug. "Itches kinda. I do most of the changing during the nights so I don't have to see them growing." He gave him a smile. "It gets worse when my John Thomas shrinks out of sight. Get a bit panicky about that." The boys shuddered. "It's gonna come back, the nurse promised it'd be back in about six more days." He straightened up as the teacher walked in.

The Defense teacher looked at Ron. "How are you feeling?"

"I feel pretty good most days, sir," he told him. "Not a bit of a problem so far. Trust me, you'll hear me screaming all the way from my room if I have one."

"Good," he said with a smile. "That's what we like to hear." He looked at the rest of the class. "As fascinating as Mr. Weasley's condition is, you can talk to him after classes and ask as many questions as you want then. In here, we will be working on advanced defense techniques and strategies this year." He nodded to Harry. "Some of you are already familiar with them. How many of you know how to conjure a patronious?" All the members of DA raised their hands, a good number of the class. "Well," he said happily. "Then I think we can start with a mild review today. Everyone take out some parchment and a quill, write down the defensive spells you know. The person with the least experience will set our starting point for review." Everyone wrote down what they knew, and of course the students Harry had trained had over two pages of spells. Harry put down some of the better hexes as well, just in case those were going to be relevant, making his the longest yet. The teacher had to wait on his paper. He smiled at Harry. "Good job," he told him. "Even remembered the more common hexes you use." He read through them as he walked around the room, nodding and switching to the next one. "I see most of you are capable up to and including the standard disarmament, the unforgivables, and the standard fourth year stuff. Your sixth year was spent on creatures?" he asked. They all nodded. "Good. What happened the fifth year?"

Ron raised his hand. "The prig Umbridge," he told him. "Some of us had to study on our own."

"Ah! I heard about that. I shall expect many more people that Mr. Potter trained among the higher levels then." He smiled at them. "Mr. Potter, Mr. Weasley, Mr. Longbottom, take these six students and work with them in the next room. Bring them up to at least the level where most of your cohorts started," he commanded, handing over the lesser trained witches and wizards. "The rest of you will do a short review, starting with stunning spells."

Harry stood up and pointed at the kids, a few of whom already knew they were going to be called, and took them into the next room. "Ron, pillows, Neville, take these two," he said, handing out assignments. Ron gathered pillows and Neville took the two least gifted, nervous looking students off to a quiet corner to talk to them first. "Ron, these two," he said, pointing them out. He smiled at his two. "Okay, let's start with the usual, the expelliarmus." He raised his wand and so did they. "Ready?" he asked with a smile. He pointed his wand at Neville and cast. But Neville fended him off by ducking and shouting it back. The students watched, clapping when Harry finally won, but Neville had Ron's wand. "Now you guys get to try it on each other," Harry said, handing back Neville's wand. He grinned at Ron, who shook his head. "Problems?"

"Show off," he said fondly.

Harry beamed. "Me?" he asked innocently. "You know I'm only trying to help."

"Good point. Better get them up to speed than to have them left behind. Even rear guards are helpful," Ron agreed. He looked at his students. "If something happens, we're going to get you up to the level of being able to fight well enough to get away. Fighting for real comes later." They all nodded and started to work.

When the professor walked in to check on them, he was pleased that they had gotten through so much of the work. "Very good, all three of you. Five points each. Are you restarting your little club?"

"No, we figured you'd do it for us," Harry told him, giving him a serious look. "How are they doing?"

"Most of them are doing wonderful," the teacher told him. "A few have forgotten some things, but realized what it was after seeing someone else do it." He smiled at Neville. "Mr. Longbottom, I was surprised that you knew so much."

"Sir, I trained harder when I heard Lastrange was out of prison." He blushed a bit. "I won't have her kill me the way she tried to my parents."

"That's fine, my boy. You've done very well. Next class, we'll be doing the same thing. I want to get them through the standard defense spells by three classes?" Harry nodded. "I know that's a bit much, but you've made excellent progress so far."

"Thank you, sir." Harry smiled at them and then walked out. "Guys, you blew him away. Do you want to set up a regular practice for DA?" His people nodded. "Fine, everyone free Fridays?" The Hufflepuffs on the quidditch team shook their heads. "Thursday?" Everyone nodded at that. "Good. Meet me in the courtyard an hour after dinner." Someone opened his mouth and Harry shook his head. "Not yet, later. When we see if we need it." The DA members nodded and Harry looked at the teacher. "That fine with you, sir?"

"Just fine, Mr. Potter. I'll be around to watch you now and then, informally of course." He smiled at Ron and Neville as they led the others out. "By the end of this term, before you go home for the holidays, I want you all to be proficient enough to be able to get away from a fight and protect your hiding spots. As soon as everyone's at the same level, we'll work on shielding, blinding, and protection charms. They're useful against many creatures and against an attack by the Dark." He smiled. "Dismissed." He grabbed Ron and Harry's arm. "I was asked to tell you that Mr. Weasley will need more work. Magic reacts differently to a man's call than a woman's call. It also reacts differently when one is both."

"I feel overwhelmed as both, easier in transfiguration and herbology as a female, and charms and hexes as a male," Ron admitted thoughtfully.

"That is as expected. Mr. Potter is to tutor you heavily until you are back to your former skill level. Do you understand?" Ron nodded, looking complacent. "Good. Go to it." He let the boys go, watching as they grabbed their things and left. "Why did I take this job?" he muttered as he cleaned up the classroom. "I don't like children, even if I am good. An auror, teaching," he sighed, sitting down. He had an hour now, best use it to recover.


Ron looked up as he heard footsteps coming up behind him in the library. He frowned when he saw it was Malfoy. He felt something in his lower parts go 'twang' and start to feel odd, but he ignored it. He had ignored it earlier as well, he could ignore it now. Though he'd be having a talk to one of the girls about it. Why was he attracted to that slime? "Couldn't wait?" he said snidely.

"What did you do to yourself?" Draco asked in an amused tone of voice. "Couldn't figure women out?" he smirked.

Ron looked at him. "No, actually, it's for people like you and your father so you understand that there's a difference between rape and sex," he said, looking very serious. "That way, women don't scream automatically when they see you." He smiled sweetly. "Just think, in a few weeks, I'll be back to a guy again."

Draco leaned down. "And then the cycle continues," he sneered. "Remember, we can track it, just like you do. I'd be careful what insinuations you make."

"Why? Gonna try something?" Ron sneered back. "If I decided to try these new things out, I'll make sure I pick a real man." He glanced around. "Hey, Neville, wanna come help me experiment with this new stuff?" he called. Draco looked flabbergasted, pissed and appalled at the same time. Neville looked stunned and Ron grinned at him.

Neville hurried over and gave him a hug. "You're serious?"

"Seriously thinking about it," Ron told him. "I figure you know what you're about and all that. Gentle and nice." He grinned. "You in, whenever I get ready to figure that stuff out?"

"Sure!" Neville said quickly, then at the librarian's glare he hurried back to his table.

"You will pay," Draco hissed, then he stormed off.

Ron looked back at the stunned and awed Crabbe and Goyle. "I'd follow him, before he does something dumb," he pointed out. They rushed out after their boss. Ron gave Neville a smug look and got one in return. They had worked this out earlier in Herbology, expecting this sort of thing sometime soon.

Madam Pince, the librarian, walked a large tome over. "I think this might help you figure out some things, more than Mr. Longbottom would," she said with a faint smile. "Very nicely done, now I don't have to deal with those two throwing books," she said before walking away.

Ron beamed and winked at Neville before opening the book. "There's a book on this!" he shouted. The librarian smiled at him. He checked the copyright date. "Oh, I've got to have this," he decided, walking it over to check it out. "Thank you," he said with a very nice smile, then he hurried up to the common room. Maybe Hermione would help him sort through the harder parts. He flopped down next to her. "I destroyed Malfoy," he said with a grin.

She hugged him. "I'm proud. How many hits did it take?"

"Just words," he said with his meanest smirk. "Look what Madam Pince found me," he said, showing it to her.

"Oooh! I knew there had to be a book!" she said, frowning at the wall. "She told me there wasn't!"

"I think she wanted me to have it first since I'm afflicted," Ron noted. She gave him a 'sorry' look and took it to flip through. "Can you help me with the more technical parts?"

"Of course, Ron. I doubt you'll need the more medical parts though, since you're not a true one."

"I am during at least eight days a month," he pointed out. She nodded, not saying anything. "Does it have an answer to me having monthlies?"

"That would probably be individual, but let me read it a bit and I'll see," she said, patting him on the knee. "Are you still playing this year?"

"Yeah," he said with a grin. "I'm going to continue to cream Malfoy, here and out on the field."

She laughed and gave him a one-armed hug. "I'm proud of how you're handling this, Ron. I really am." She flipped back to the medical section, reading quickly. "Ah-ha!" She pointed at a section. "Right here, under the frequently asked section. Most hermaphrodites do not have monthly cycles, but only about half can get pregnant. Muggle ones can't at all it seems, and then there's a section on why they can't and why most of you can't, and oh, look here, a pretty diagram about how it all fits inside you." He looked over her shoulder at it, nodding as he traced the various systems. "I guess that you have both and it's only the external that changes. Did the person who examined you say anything?"

"Not a bit," Ron said glumly. "She wasn't sure I'd get monthlies or be fertile." He took the book to look at the pictures.

"You could ask Madam Pomfrey. I'm sure she'd be able to tell."

Harry walked in and hugged Ron hard. "That was so wicked," he said with a grin. "He told Malfoy that he'd want a real man when he thought about trying his stuff out, then called Neville." Hermione laughed, falling onto the floor she was going so hard. Harry kissed Ron on the top of the head. "For that, you deserve the most wonderful treat. Wanna help with tryouts this year?"

"Sure," Ron said, holding up the book. "Get your lips off me and read this."

Harry sat on the back of the couch, reading the section Ron had been reading. "Well, that's not very helpful, is it," he said finally, handing it back after checking the next page. "But I guess it's a starting spot. Any new clues?"

"Not a one," Ron told him, relaxing against the arm of the sofa. "You all right, Hermione?"

"Fine," she said, climbing back onto the sofa. "Harry, you kissed him."

"I did?"

"It was an unconscious action," Ginny said from her spot by the fire. "He's had a few of them." She looked at her brother. "It's happened to a few of the guys. It's nothing sexual, he'd do the same to me."

"Gee, thanks, little miss psychology," Ron said with a grimace. "Any other insights?"

"Yeah, your bra's crooked, that's why it hurts," she said with a smile. "Do this." She straightened her back and pulled on the bottom. Ron did the same and sighed in relief. "Better?" He nodded. "Good, next month you'll know." She went back to her book. "When is DA starting, Harry?"

"As soon as I figure out if it's needed or if the teacher's going to do it for us," Harry told her, standing up and walking around to tip her head up. "It was unconscious. You never have to worry about me and your brother."

"Harry, if you want to shag Ron, mum'd be pleased. Go for it," she told him with a grin. "She suggested as much to me this summer before you came because she remembered my crush on you." She stood up and kissed him on the cheek. "Unless you turn out to be fabulous in the sack, you're safe from me." She strolled away, only stopping long enough to pinch Ron on the ear.

Ron and Harry both blushed. "Is everyone going to force me to try this new stuff out?" Ron whined.

"It might make you feel more complete if you did," Hermione offered gently. "More like a real woman during your female times." Ron glared at her. "Sorry, just a suggestion," she said smoothly, taking the book back. "Do you want me to summarize it for you?"

"No, I'll read it later," Ron told her, yawning. "I think I'm tired."

"Practice tomorrow," Harry warned, taking Ron's spot when he left. "I'm really not."

She smiled at him. "I know, you're scared. It's normal."

"Hermione, I can't very well take up with someone when I'll either be killed or have to emulate my worst enemy and murder him. It's not fair to expect a mate to put up with that uncertainty."

"I understand," she agreed. "I think you're missing out on a lot of the fun of youth; all the important social connecting and life skills you'll learn. If you live, you'll probably want to court someone someday and this is the age when you're supposed to learn how to do that, Harry. No one says you have to get married to anyone you date." She stood up. "I'm going to read this book so Ron can have it back tomorrow." She skipped up the stairs to her room.

Harry stared at the fire, thinking about that. He hadn't seen anyone since that single, disastrous, date with Cho in his fifth year. That was nearly a year and a half ago, and he was lonely. Plus, Ron would understand.... He shook his head, stopping that thought right there. He would not do that to his best friend. Never. Even if she was cute. He groaned and laid down, covering his face with a pillow.

Justin came over and lifted the pillow, looking down at him. "Scar?"

"Bad thoughts."

"Ron," he said with a smirk and a nod. "Can't quite wrap my mind around the whole 'rack' thing either." He let the pillow drop and went back to his books. "Harry, Potions paper," he reminded him.

"Damn," Harry muttered, getting up to retrieve his books and start working on that stupid paper. Though, with Ron being what he was, would learning how to use blood in spells really be so difficult? He could use Ron as an example, might make it a shorter topic. He hurried to the library to find the books he'd need. Madam Pince was happy to hand him one of them and let him copy sections out of the other, restricted, book. He found a lot, this would be a wonderful paper.


Ron walked into the Potion's classroom, nervous as anything. "You summoned me?" he asked the teacher, not looking at him.

"Mr. Weasley," Snape said, looking him over. "Did you know that you were the subject of two papers in my advanced NEWT class?"

Ron looked startled, looking at the teacher. "I was?"

"One, by your best friend, on the uses of your blood, and the other a poorer version of the same topic using you as a sacrifice." He handed them over. "I thought you should read them."

Ron looked at Harry. "Find anything interesting?"

"Yeah, I figured out why you're having that problem in the in-between time with transfiguration," Harry said smartly, losing his smile when Snape glared at him. "It was worthwhile since I'm helping him with it." He looked at the other side of the room. "At least I'm not intending to tie him to a stone altar and bleed him to death."

Ron finished the lesser paper and turned to Harry's. His eyes got wide, then narrowed and he glared at his friend, then his eyes got big again. He looked at the teacher. "May I copy this one for my own research, sir?" he asked finally.

"Just Mr. Potter's?"

"Like Mr. Potter, I don't particularly want to be someone's virgin sacrifice," Ron said dryly. "And I'd like to see them try," he said, looking at the Slytherin side. He handed back both papers and took the copy of Harry's. "Meet me in the library, Harry, we'll talk then," he said, nodding at Snape. "Thank you for sharing this interesting research with me, sir. Have you found a way to counter their potion?"

"I wasn't aware that I was supposed to be looking."

Ron groaned. "They said they sent it to you to see if you could tell if anything would reverse it," he complained. "I'll write the twins tonight. If that's okay with you?" he asked as an afterthought.

"It would be *amusing* to see their base formula," Snape admitted, crossing his arms and staring at the petite woman. "Did it ever work correctly?"

"On a mouse. They said they increased the dosage by weight," Ron said with a shrug. "They keep good notes."

"Have them send them on. At the very least we might be able to lock you into one or the other gender."

"Thanks." He walked out, silently telling himself that Harry would never do any of those things to him. He was his friend. Even the part about mother's milk wasn't going to happen, no matter how ...alarming, or arousing, or even astonishing the collection method was. He walked up the owlry, sending a quick note to the twins. Then he went down to the library to wait on Harry. He found him already in there. "You're not, right?"

"I'd never do it, but I thought, since we were researching it anyway, it'd be an easier paper," he said with a grin. "Did you mind?"

"Only if you thought about doing those things to me," Ron said firmly. He saw the blush and groaned. "Harry!"

"Sometimes a thought pops into my head, but I contain it," he explained, pulling Ron's chair closer. "I try very hard to not even consider it. It's dying off."

"Good. I like you, but not that much." They shared a look, then Ron shook his head. "Never happen. I don't get that tingle with you."

"Good," Harry said happily. "'Cause I think of you like a sister, er, brother," he corrected. Ron giggled. Harry laughed. "Thanks, Ron."

"Not a problem," he said, giving him a hug. "We done with me being the subject?"

"I did find two books with references," Harry pointed out. "Maybe they'd have something else."

"Maybe, but it seems more real if we're researching it," Ron said, slumping down a bit. "Like it'll never go away."

"I'm sure it will," Harry said, patting him on the arm. "Come on, I'm hungry and we've got practice tonight." He stood up and carefully pushed his seat in, like the librarian liked, then headed out with Ron beside him. "You're not angry?"

"Not at you. Yours was set in the theoretical. The other." He shuddered. "You should have read it. He was very graphic about what he wanted to do to me. How each thing would affect my blood and therefore give him greater strength in a potion to raise power." Harry stopped him, staring at him. "That's the one I was supposed to read, yours was just extra humiliation he could heap on top of us."

"Who was it?" Harry ground out.

"Don't go all 'man' on me," Ron whined. "It's handled. He can't touch me."

"I can make sure of it," Harry reminded him. "Who was it?"

"Someone who thought I was still a virg, Harry, relax. They can't do it and they wouldn't dare try with all the house breathing down their neck." He pulled on Harry's arm. "Damn, I hate this shrinking stuff almost as much as I hate the breasts and the extra parts. Come on, I can't pull you like I usually do."

"Coming," Harry said, silently vowing to shadow Ron if he had to so his friend would be safe. No one was going to hurt his Ron that way!

Ron beamed at him. "Think there's pudding tonight? I've been dying for some chocolate today."

"Hopefully," Harry agreed.


Harry looked up as Ron came into the library with a group of the Ravenclaw sixth and seventh year girls, talking about girl stuff. Ron was on the transformation back, you could tell by his face, his height, and his chest going back to normal. But still, he was talking in girl-language with girls about girly things. He mentally groaned. Ron was too much as a girl! Much too much.

One of the boys raced over and pulled Ron away, asking him if he could interpret for his girlfriend back into boy-language. There was apparently a blockage in the communication path called 'girls speak funny'. Ron gave him a wave and went to talk with them while his girlfriends went to their own table. Harry shook his head. Hermione would have loved this one if she had been here. When Ron finally came back, the couple was explaining themselves to each other and Ron was beaming. "Good work," Harry told him, pushing out a chair with his foot. "Starting to feel better?"

"Oh, yeah. My tits'll go back down to barely being there within a few days. I won't have wear a bra again for another twenty days or so," he said happily.

"What about the other stuff?"

Ron shrugged. "It's there, I don't pay it much attention. It itches a bit now and then, but I'm firmly ignoring it most of the time." He leaned closer. "No matter what the popular phrase says, you can't do yourself," he confided.

Harry knew he looked stunned, but he was. Then he burst out laughing, having to run from the room to keep from getting kicked out.

Ron smirked at the girls around him. "It's not true, when you tell someone off. You can't do that." The girls burst out in giggles as well and Ron relaxed. Until he saw Malfoy staring at him, then he ran a hand along his stomach, pretending to scratch an itchy spot. Malfoy glared more and looked away. Ron smirked. "Gotcha." Harry came back in and he took out his books to work on their defense paper.


Malfoy managed to get Ron alone in a hallway after Herbology a few days later, trapping him in a corner. "Back to having balls I see," he said snidely, looking over Ron's body. Ron shoved him, stepping away. "Not going to say anything?"

Ron yawned. "You're keeping me from a nap, Malfoy. What do you want? More teasing? Yeah, I've got balls again and the rest of the tackle to use with it. And?"

Malfoy sneered. "How delighted your parents must be in you and your *sister* George."

Ron shrugged. "Accidents happen. Nothing to be done now but fix it and live with it until a cure is found. Did you actually want something or are you trying to figure out how to ask me out for a snog and grope?" he asked dryly.

Draco's mouth fell open. "You hideous beast!" he yelled. "How dare you insinuate that I'd touch a thing like you!"

"You're the one who stared at my breasts for a week straight," Ron pointed out, noticing Snape coming toward them. "Now, anything else or are you going to leave me alone?"

"I'll get you," Draco warned. "You won't be so complacent." He turned and ran into Snape. "Sir, he was making fun of...my hair," he finished quickly with the best lie he could.

"Why would I pick on your hair, Malfoy? Besides the fact that you keep the gel business in business and that it looks like a dead animal asleep on your head by dinner?" He smiled at Professor Snape. "We were having a friendly discussion about balls and breasts, sir, apparently Mr. Malfoy has never seen any so has been staring at mine for the last few weeks to figure out what they were."

Snape kept himself from laughing. This change had helped Weasley's temper and insults greatly. He was nearly a match for him now. "Really? And yet, I've seen Mr. Potter doing the same thing, Mr. Weasley. He doesn't seem to bother you."

"Yeah, well, Harry's in high-repression mode. That whole 'gonna die or have to kill' thing is just sucking the steam so his mind's doing it for him now and again to show him how wrong he is." He grinned at Malfoy. "If you're that interested in dangly bits, I'm sure I could talk Harry into a three-way, get all those nasty questions about holes and what to do with dangly bits, and what they can do to you, out at once," he suggested. Draco went pale and spluttered. "Oh, well, your loss. If I may go, sir? I really would like a nap before dinner."

"Go," Snape said, getting out of his way. He grabbed Draco by the back of the neck. "This is your only warning. Dumbledore is protecting that boy like he is the Holy Grail," he hissed. "Leave him be. You will not like what happens to your reputation if you continue this program of harassment. Not to mention what it will do to mine, as I'm considered your guardian."

"He insulted me!" Draco reminded him.

"Suck it up. What he said had some truth in it. Your hair does look somewhat like a rug by the end of the day." He let him go. "Go back to the house or to the library. Go nowhere near Mr. Weasley or any of his friends." He waited until Draco had walked off in a snit to laugh. Really! That boy!


Ron watched as Malfoy watched him, then he looked down at his sister and Neville, who had been helping him plan things. "We ready?" he asked casually, taking a bite.

"Yeah, we are. I even got mum to help alter the dress," Ginny told him. "It'll look stunning on your figure, even if I do say so myself," she said proudly.

Hermione looked up from her reading. "What are you doing, Ron?"

Ron smirked and blew a kiss at the people watching him eat. "Playing," he said innocently. Harry choked. "You okay?"

"Just fine," Harry said, trying to breathe. He finally got his airway cleared and looked at his best friend. "Does this have something to do about you offering Malfoy a three-way with me?" Those who heard goggled, and the rest stared at them to see what they were doing now.

Ron smirked. "Since he seemed so *interested* in my new equipment, I offered him a pleasant chance to see what the things did," he admitted in his most sickly-sweet tone. "Since he obviously didn't know what to do with them, or with himself in relation to them." Harry spluttered again, starting to cough. Ron thoughtfully pounded him on the back. "Snape was standing there for most of it even," he said fondly. "He didn't say a word about it."

Hermione shook her head. "Thank you for not involving me in that one. I have no desire to be hexed this week, Ron." She looked at Harry, shaking her head. "Try taking a drink and long breaths," she suggested. She closed her book. "What's this new plan?"

"Oh, we're going to do it up a bit next month," Ron said with a wink for her. "Wanna help?" He sipped his juice.

"Ron, that's horrible," Hermione said, but she was smiling. "How high are we reaching?"

"Dress, heels, a bit of makeup maybe. Exploring my feminine side as it were." He grinned down at his new partner in crime, Parvati. "Isn't that right?" he asked.

"Oh, yes, some of us would *love* to get the lothario back," Parvati agreed, smiling at Ron.

"You know, with the way you guys are smiling at each other, they're going to think you're Ron's helpless love slaves," Ginny told them. Harry choked for a third time and left the room so his coughing wouldn't interrupt anyone's dinner. She smiled at her brother. "That was rather nice of him to not spew on us." Neville coughed himself and she patted him on the back. "There, there," she soothed, "it'll be okay. Harry can swallow his own tongue if he wants to." She and her brother shared a look. "In all the time we shared school with the twins, you'd think I would have noticed your naughty streak, Ron."

"The twins covered it up nicely," Ron assured her. "Less trouble for me that way." They laughed and the people at the next table shivered in fear.

"Mr. Weasley," McGonagall called. He looked up at her. "I want to discuss something with you. Please come here."

Ron got up and walked over until he stood in front of her. "Yes, ma'am?"

"What did you say that sent Mr. Potter from the room in a coughing fit?"

"Just that I was going to be ...exploring my feminine side next cycle, ma'am. I had planned on wearing a dress if that's all right with you?"

"That would be fine," she agreed, giving him a gentle smile. "Do not overplay your hand," she warned quietly. He looked a bit shocked. "You and your sister are nearly as bad as all of your older brothers combined."

He jumped up and hugged her across her plate. "That's the nicest compliment anyone's given me in years," he sniffled, heading back to his seat. "Ginny, she said that the two of us were worse than all the rest of us put together."

Ginny ran up and hugged her too. "Thank you, ma'am." She went back to her seat as well.

"Well," McGonagall said, straightening her hat. "I should compliment them more often. They've got very strong arms."

Severus looked over at her. "What are they planning?" he asked, sounding interested.

"Young Ron is planning on seeing if the feminine side is suitable for him to embrace," she told him, picking up her knife and fork to cut up some of her pork chop. "He plans on being dressed appropriately next month as a test."

"I see." Snape frowned at Ron, then looked at the members of his own house. He nearly swore. Malfoy was staring again. "We may have some problems," he admitted quietly.

Dumbledore saw where he was looking and nodded. "It will be taken care of," he assured his professor. He looked at Ron and noticed Harry had snuck back in. "Ah, good, he's decided to eat some more." He smiled at McGonagall. "You may want to check that outfit before he leaves that morning." She nodded, smiling back. He looked at Snape. "At least you don't have him for a class this year."

"Thankfully," Snape agreed, settling in to eat more of his dinner. Loud laughter came from the Gryffindor table again and he dropped his utensils, wiping his mouth as he stood up. His napkin dropped onto his plate. "I believe I'll finish dinner somewhere more quiet," he announced, leaving the hall.

Dumbledore and McGonagall shared a look and both groaned quietly. "This could get interesting," the Headmaster noted.

"Indeed," she agreed, watching the troublemakers in her house a bit more carefully. "Oh, dear, they've sucked in Longbottom," she sighed. Dumbledore stood up and left the room as well, going up to his office to lay in a supply of headache medicine by his grumbling as he left the table. She finished her dinner, watching over the little beasts.


The next female part of the cycle started on a rather dreary fall day. A bit of a sprinkle and some fog. Perfect for the outfit he had chosen. Ron slid out of bed and went in to take a shower, getting everything ready. He even forced himself to shave his legs and armpits. No use ruining it with the more boyish qualities he had. By the time he was done, he had only nicked himself a few times and they had been easily healed with a simple healing charm. He stepped out and grabbed his towel, not caring that Dean was using the toilet next to the showers. He walked out, going to put on real women clothes. That's why he missed Dean's groaning and lean against the wall to hide his rampant blush. He sat on the side of his bed facing Harry's, since he wasn't awake and wouldn't be until Ron shoved him probably, putting on first his undergarments, then his stockings, then the small slip dress Ginny and his mother had gotten for him. It was silky and smooth, fit every curve of his body but ended in a short flared skirt, and the bra straps were showing. He took off the bra and tossed it on his bed, deciding it looked just as well without it. It was the dull gray of the school uniform so he could probably get away with just a shirt over it. Unbuttoned he decided after looking at himself. He carefully slid into the heels Parvati and Ginny had helped him practice in, taking only a moment this time to catch his balance. Then he sat down to brush out his hair. When he was finally done, he reached over and shoved Harry until he woke up.

"Wha?" Harry asked, opening his eyes and squinting. "Today?" he whined.

"Today," Ron said with a grin. He stood up and twirled around. "What do you think?"

"I think Malfoy's going to be tripping over his tongue," Harry said honestly. "Neville?"

Neville came out of the bathroom, his toothbrush in his mouth. "Wow," he said, the toothbrush falling out. "Ron, that's stunning on you." He walked around him, nodding. "Wonderful look for you." He grabbed his toothbrush and hurried back into the bathroom.

"That's what I forgot," Ron said, heading that way.

"No!" Justin said, catching him. "Let the guys have a moment first." He and Ron shared a look, and both blushed. "With the way you look right now, it's going to take a few."

Neville handed Ron his toothbrush and a small cup of water. "Here. To save some modesty." He winked at Ron and headed over to get himself dressed for the day.

Ron brushed his teeth, then spit everything into the cup before handing it off to Justin. "Thanks. I'm gonna go bother the girls now. Gotta finish the look." He strolled out, his bag carefully across his chest, the strap between his breasts.

Justin fell onto the floor, whimpering. "Maybe this was a bad idea?" he suggested.

"He's just playing," Harry pointed out. "It's not with us."

"Yeah, but he looks like a girl!" Neville pointed out.

"For five more days," Harry reminded them. "Then he'll be good old Ron again."

"Yeah, Good Old Ron," Neville said, nodding. He looked at Justin. "You okay?"

"Gotta go," he announced, crawling into the bathroom, leaving the toothbrush and cup there. The other boys came out laughing, one of them being nice enough to put Ron's toothbrush back into its usual holder.


Ron tapped on Parvati's dorm room. "It's me," he called. There was a female squeal. "It's not like I don't know what you have," he said dryly. The door opened and Hermione let him in. "Thanks. I just need a touch to finish this." He was sat on Parvati's bed and the girls got to work on his hair, nails, and makeup. By the time he was done, everything was subtly highlighted, shadowed, or buffed perfectly. He stood up and let the girls see. "Do I pass?"

"Oh, you do," Hermione agreed, looking a little sad. "Breakfast?"

"Yeah, let's go," Ron agreed, taking his girls' arms and leading them down to the common room, where Ginny was waiting on them. She tipped her head to the side. "Too much?"

"No, perfect," she decided, following them down to the Great Hall.

McGonagall looked up as the doors opened, her mouth opening a bit as she gripped the Headmaster's arm hard enough to crush it.

Dumbledore smiled at Ron, then looked down at Severus, who was hiding his shock behind his napkin. A subtle look at the Slytherin table showed most of them, and most of the other gentlemen not in on today's escapade, staring at Ron as he moved. "He's very graceful on those little points," he said quietly.

"The ladies must have helped him," Madam Sprout offered. "His makeup is flawless." She watched how he sat. "So very graceful that way."

"Indeed," McGonagall said, eyes narrowed as she watched the Slytherins' reactions. Malfoy had paused with his fork halfway to his mouth. "Severus?" she asked quietly, nodding at the table.

"Malfoy," he snapped. Malfoy dropped his fork and stared at him. "Have you had word from your mother?" he asked in a gentler tone of voice.

"Oh, yes, sir, it came late last night. The creme you sent her worked wonders and she thanks you," he said absently, staring at Ron again. One of his bodyguards hit him on the arm and he glared at them both. "Leave me be," he warned.

"That's still Weasley," Crabbe pointed out.

"Yeah, and we hate him," Goyle seconded.

"Leave, now," Draco ordered. They sighed and stood up, leaving with whatever of their breakfast they could carry and their books. He picked up his fork and tried to be less obvious about his watching. What was Weasley playing at? He saw her laugh and clutch her sister's arm for support, and decided that there was definitely something going on. Weasley hadn't seemed to want to talk about his other side to anyone, now this? Potter came rushing in and Ron gave him a brilliant smile, making Potter freeze in place. Well, the rumors might have been true after all he decided with a smile of his own, albeit a bit colder and more cynical. He finished his breakfast and stood up, noticing his Head of House staring at him. He walked up there. "Is there another problem, sir?" he asked.

"Quit staring," Snape ordered. "You know the punishment if you bother him."

Draco gave him a tolerant and amused look. "Of course I do." He left the Great Hall, going to gather himself for this day. He had three classes with Weasley today and his patience was probably going to be strained.


Hagrid looked over as the seventh year class came out, looked stunned at who was walking beside Harry. "Ron?" he asked, mouth open. "What're you doin' in that?"

"I wanted to try it out for a day," Ron told him with a small shrug. "How do I look?" He did a small turn for him.

"Wonderful. Like a real girl," he said, nodding. "Those shoes can't be comfortable though."

Ron looked down at the heels. "They're not, but they go with the outfit and mum said that was important," he said with a grin. "What're we doing today?"

"Somethin' messy," he sighed. "You'll have to sit out."

"He can wear my robe over his front," Harry offered.

"No, I can watch," Ron told him, giving him a pat on the arm. "I have no doubt I won't be alone watching." He glanced at the Slytherins, most of whom were still staring. He smiled at Hagrid again. "How messy?"

"Kneeling in the mud messy probably. Wouldn't want to hurt your pretty dress. You lean on the fence and watch for today, I know you know animals well enough to be able to do this one." He walked to stand in front of the rest of the class. "Today we're gonna go over blessed creatures. Things that are said to be blessed with magic. Break up into groups, they're little, fast, and there're only six of them." The class slowly broke up and each group took up a station near a box. "Now be ready," he warned as he released the first one. The silver raccoon got free of the attempted grab and ran straight for Ron. "No, you leave him alone and get back here," he shouted at the little creature.

Ron squatted down daintily, reaching out a hand and making sucking noises. He hadn't planned this part, but this position gave Draco's group a stunning view of his excellent legs - even if he did say so himself. The raccoon sniffed him and moved closer, nuzzling his hand gently. "Good girl," he crooned, picking it up but not letting it get near his clothes. "I believe this is yours?" he asked Harry, handing it over.

"Thanks," he said, swallowing again. Ron grinned and he shook his head. "We're going to talk after class," he hissed, going back to the group with the raccoon.

Ron watched as the other animals were released and caught, looking at each one. He made what notes he could, managing to not spill any ink on himself, or so he thought. He realized later that he had a small blot of ink on him when Harry stared at it, or his chest, one of the two. He used the standard cleaning charm to get it out, dropping the ink onto the ground. As soon as the class was done, Harry took his arm and walked him back to the school.

"What are you doing? You're affecting the rest of us too," Harry warned.

"I'm not trying to," Ron noted, glancing around. He saw Malfoy a few people behind them. "Play," he hissed, kissing him on the ear. Harry turned bright red and Malfoy turned even paler. Ron watched as the other boy pushed past him. "Now that we're safer," he said with a grin. He checked, none of the other Slytherins were near them. "I'm sorry if I embarrassed you, but it'll only be for today, I promise."

"Fine, but you nearly sent Justin into shock this morning and I about had a heart attack when I saw you squatting down like that. I could see the tops of your stockings," he said, slightly outraged.

"I could be wearing less. Ginny did suggest that," Ron reminded him, walking him to their next shared class, Defense. He took his usual seat, ignoring Malfoy and his bastards. The other class section, the one they shared with Hufflepuff, was much more fun than this one. The auror teaching them usually wanted to strangle someone by the end of this class. He had even left off forcing the two houses to work together.

The teacher walked in and looked at Ron, licking his lips. "Mr. Weasley?"

"Trying out this side, sir," he said. "I wanted to know what a dress was like."

"That's fine. Can you fight in that?"

"My mum has, and I'm sure I'll have to learn anyway," Ron said pragmatically. He grinned. "If you want, I can try. I can't run," he offered, "but I can still duck and weave."

"Good." He looked thoughtful. Then he looked at the other side of the class. "Since so many of you are abysmal in this section, I'm going to try to breach the Great Wall of China again with a teaspoon and mix up the houses." There was a groan. "That means that the better trained people will take a group and work with them." He looked around, counting heads. "Where are the rest of the males?"

"In the bathroom, sir," one of the Gryffindor females said politely, smiling at him. "I think they're washing off the mud from Magical Creatures."

"I see. That's fine. Everyone up, the desks are about to be pushed back." As soon as everyone was up, he pushed the desks out of the way. "Wonderful. Weasley, since you're dressed today, take a that group of Slytherin males. A bit of a distraction is good to work against. Yes, Malfoy, your group." He smirked at the disgruntled noises that came from them. "Keep it up, I can assign Potter as well."

"If you wouldn't mind," Harry offered nicely.

"No, I believe I'm going to have you working against the females of that house. Hermione, you work with Ron today, you as well Neville. The rest of you work with Potter." They broke up into two groups, Ron taking this room while Harry dragged his into the next. "By the end of class, I want to have a threat assessment from each of you on who you wouldn't like to run into down a dark hall, and a general assessment of threat and ability about everyone else. Do you understand?" Ron nodded and Neville straightened up, nodding as well. "Good, begin."

Ron swung his wand around. "How did you boys want to do this?"

"I want to rip your clothes off and hurt you," one of the boys told him, glaring at him. "Pissy bitch. There's only one place for things like you."

Ron hexed him before he could do more than blink and the fight was on. Of course, Ron and Neville were the last ones standing. "Good work, Neville, let me unhex your stone arm." He cleared that one and looked at each student, walking around to see what had caught them. "Jelly legs, inefficient in a real fight. Stone, very nice. Bonelessness hex, very nice and efficient." He stopped at Malfoy, whom he had cursed personally to have overgrowing bodyparts, thus throwing him off balance. An odd curse that was in Harry's books from Remus. "I'd say that was practical. Can you still fire?" he asked pleasantly, standing just near enough that Malfoy got a good look up his leg. When the oversized hand on the normal wrist tried to come up, he leaned down a bit. "Hmm. I'd say this one worked very well in a fight. You?" Draco hissed something through his oversized lips. "What was that?" he asked, leaning closer. He smiled. "Yes, unfortunately it wouldn't fit under the dress this morning, kept showing." He stood up and continued on the circle, eventually taking half the paper Neville was writing on to make his assessments. They stayed like that until the teacher came. "We're done," he announced, handing it over.

"So I see." He looked at them. "Nothing hit you?"

"Neville had a stone arm, I restored it so he wouldn't have circulation damage, unlike that one," he said, kicking a foot at that student. "His'll be all over so it's not a problem."

"I see," the auror repeated, walking around to check each hex, smiling when he got to Malfoy's. "An odd choice. Which one of you?" Ron raised his hand. "Wonderful. Wherever did you find that one? I haven't seen that one since I attended school."

"Remus Lupin gave Harry a set of books on defense spells. It was in the third level one." He smiled. "It was a weak powered one, so I'm able to cast it a few times, it seemed to off-balance him, and it seems to have had the desired effect. Alive, but unable to cast for himself."

"Yes, wonderfully thought out," he praised. He freed everyone. "How about the rest of you?"

"It's not fair that he's working from other books!" Crabbe complained.

"Just because I study," Ron told him in his most sultry voice. Then he had to cough. "Doesn't mean you can't as well. Those books are available in the library, you too can read." He slid off the desk, smiling at the teacher. "Did you want them to try and hit us again?"

"No, I think that'd be pointless. Short of nailing your ...heels to the floor, I doubt they're going to hit either of you. Excellent work. Are you sure you won't join Potter in his training?"

"If you think I'm still qualified," Ron said, blinking. "Am I?"

"I'd have to check your grades, but we'll see," he said with a wink. "Go ahead and relax, the other class is nearly done as well."

As soon as the teacher had left, Malfoy grabbed Ron's arm, forcing him to face him. "What sort of game are you playing?" he demanded.

"I'm not. I'm simply trying out my other side." He got free. "Don't wrinkle my shirt, Ginny might get pissed and kick your ass for me. She can you know." He took Neville's arm to help balance himself on the way up the stairs to where the desks were, sitting on top of one and crossing his legs. "Might as well make the best of it after all," he noted when he saw Malfoy glaring at him.

Malfoy stomped up to stand in front of him, trying to menace him by being bigger. "I will get you yet, Weasel."

"No, you'll try," Ron reminded him. "As just shown, working with Harry has some advantages." He lifted his wand when Draco opened his mouth. "I can do it again," he warned with a snarly-smile. "Wanna go again?"

Malfoy sneered. "Duel?"

"Sure, why not." Ron slid off the desk, pushing the back of his shirt down as he walked down the stairs again. He faced off with his enemy, wand at the ready. "Full duel or just a standing one?"

"Standing," Draco said, opening his mouth to cast.

Ron was still faster from all the practice. "Luminos humanis." Draco lit up, blinding himself, and Ron ducked his curse easily. "Go again?" he asked in a bored tone.

"Enough," the teacher said as he walked in. He looked at Draco, then at Ron. "Going for humiliation?"

"I'm not taking it off," Ron pointed out, walking back up to his seat, followed by Harry, Neville, and Parvati. "He wanted a standing duel, he can be bright and shiny, just like his newly gelled hair in the morning. Blinds some of us when he sits down under a window with direct sunlight." The Slytherins laughed a bit and Draco raised his wand.

The teacher grabbed it. "I think I've had about enough of this. You can go to your next class that way, young man." He nodded at Ron. "Your observations were apt. I take it you've had to face him before?"

"A few times a year," Harry said dryly, sitting beside Ron. He nudged him. "Don't your feet hurt in those?"

"Yes, but I don't have any other shoes that fit during this time," Ron reminded him. He looked at the teacher again. "Are we dismissed?"

"Go," he said with fond tolerance. He watched as Ron and Neville walked out together, they had Herbology with Hufflepuff next. The Slytherins, especially Draco, had Potions. How very appropriate. He walked out into the hall, listening for the bellow.

Draco walked into Potions like nothing was wrong, but Snape grabbed him immediately. "What did you do?" Snape asked once they were in the hallway.

"I challenged Weasley and he lit me up in Defense," he defended.

Snape groaned and slapped the boy, just a gentle one. "You stupid idiot. He's setting you up."

"He may be, but he's also going to get it for what he did. How do I cancel this? The usual doesn't work, sir."

Snape glared at him. "I should leave you like that, but you'd give me a headache during class." He canceled the spell, then let the boy go sit down. He looked up the hall and shook his head at the waiting Defense teacher. At least the man knew what he was doing, even though he wasn't worthy of the spot. He walked in and slammed the door, but Potter happened to open it. "You're late," he snarled. "Twenty points off."

"Bell hasn't rung yet," Harry reminded him as he sat down, looking a little smug. "There's a new rating, sir, from Defense. We had to rate our fellow students. I was asked to give you these," he said, handing over the copied evaluations.

Snape dropped them on his desk. "You are late if I say you are late," he sneered.

"Fine, sir." The gong rang. "Then can I go and come back in ten minutes?" The other Gryffindors hissed and glared at him. Harry smirked at Snape and winked. "Ron laid a delayed charm on him during the fighting," he said when Snape moved closer. "I want to leave or want him to leave, sir. Before the bad things happen and you have to punish all of us, including your own house. You know it makes you more upset with the rest of us when you have to punish your own house," he said with a sweet and innocent smile.

"Leave, Malfoy," he said quickly. Draco ran from the room and started to not only glow, but spew this time, spraying liquid from every orifice. He looked out into the hallways, then glared at Potter. "Anything else?"

"I'm not sure, that's one of Ron's creations."

Dean walked over and looked out the door, then shook his head. "He'll blimp soon too," he told him, hurrying back to his seat.

"Why was he attacking Mr. Malfoy?" Snape asked in a deadly voice.

"Because the defense teacher wanted us to see who was the better prepared. I got the ladies of your house, Ron and Neville and a few of our ladies took on your boys," Harry explained. "That's also why you have the ratings, sir. So you'd know who needed more work."

Snape snatched them up and read over them quickly, then went to stop Malfoy from crying out in pain as he expanded and his clothes ripped. He canceled the curses bundled together, waiting for any other nasty surprises while the boy lay panting on the floor. "Go change and come back," he ordered, shutting the door. "Any other nasty surprises, Potter?" he asked.

Harry looked around. "Did anyone else get hit by Ron directly?" Everyone shook their heads and mumbled. "What was that?"

"Neville," one boy said a bit louder.

"Longbottom!" Snape said, incredulous.

Harry looked at him. "Yes, sir, he was one of *my* prize pupils. In DA of course." Snape looked flabbergasted. "He's in Herbology if you wanted or needed to speak to him."

"No, I'm sure this is done with," he said bitterly. He pointed his wand at the board and the potion appeared. "Figure out what's wrong with that one," he demanded, sitting down to reread the remarks. Perhaps he would speak to Mr. Longbottom and Mr. Weasley after lunch. They had a free period as did he.


Ron looked up as the Transfiguration door opened, admitting the late Slytherins. "Not have a good class?" he mocked as a few of them glared at him.

Malfoy stopped near him. "I should make you pay for the clothes you ruined."

Ron gave him an innocent look. "How would I have ruined anything of yours, except your good day?" he asked nicely, even smiling a bit. Malfoy stomped to his desk and Ron looked at the teacher, who was staring him down. He shrugged and adjusted his straps a bit better. "The Defense teacher told us to hex each other," he told her when she walked up nearer to him.

"I heard, the same as I heard you did very well," she said, looking down at him. "Do you wish to be an auror?"

"I'm not sure," Ron admitted. "With my condition is it even practical?"

"It could be a help, but we'll see how you stand," she told him, walking back down to the front of the classroom. "Today will be higher animate transformations for those of you who have mastered it, and for the rest you'll be doing what you did last time." She handed out the animals to the various tables, smirking when Malfoy started to curse at his because it turned its tail and hissed. She sat down to watch Weasley work, aware that his powers were fluctuating. Fortunately this seemed to be one of his 'on' days because everything started going right for once. He managed to change three creatures to her satisfaction and had surpassed most of the class by doing so. She smiled. "Ten points, Mr. Weasley, for that fine performance." He beamed and shifted, crossing his legs in the aisle instead of under the desk. "Not comfortable?"

"It's cramped under there," he pointed out. "I have long legs." He stretched them out for her benefit, and so everyone else could admire them as well.

"I see." She looked over, noticing Mr. Malfoy was still fuming and hadn't managed to change that creature yet. "I'd work if I were you, you have a practical exam on this very subject in two weeks." Ron groaned. "I know, but you have proven that you can do it. I'm sure we'll figure out a way for you to take that exam," she soothed, heading back to her desk.

Ron looked at Malfoy. "Need help?" he asked.

Malfoy stood up and stormed out, slamming the door behind him.

"Well, aren't we a drama queen," he snorted. Harry glanced at him. "I was trying to be nice after what I did to him earlier." He checked his nails, forcing himself not to pick at a chipped spot on his left ring finger. He saw Goyle looking at him and shifted, crossing his legs in the other direction. The boy's eyes bugged and he caught his eye, shaking his head. Goyle frowned and went back to his work. Ron waited for class to end, taking the time to check his makeup, just a little smudged under his eyes, and to recheck his nails, cleaning a bit of dirt out from under them. When the gong rang he stood up, grabbing his bag and wand. "I'll see you tonight," he told Harry. "Have fun in class." He grinned and hurried out. He wanted to spend his free time leaning on the balcony watching the first years struggle through flying class. There was a wonderful vantage point that he had found last year. He dropped his bag but kept his wand in his hand, leaning slightly over the railing. He heard footsteps but knew who it must be. "If you push me, I'm going to kill you," he warned quietly.

"Why would I do that?" Malfoy sneered. "Just because you're in the perfect position? Because it would humiliate you like you did me earlier?" He stepped closer. "You won't be that lucky when I deal with you."

Ron turned to look at him. "You've already lost, Malfoy. Seven years and for all the times you've made me lose my temper I've still managed to come out on top. This year isn't any different, breasts or not," he said with a small wave at his own. "If you hadn't stared so hard, you might not be in this predicament. So fix your head and leave me alone. I'll even call the truce myself," he said when the other boy's face hardened. "Personally, I'm enjoying this look. A lot of people think I look very cute in it, no matter that the shoes *do* hurt my feet." Draco backed off but that was mostly because there were a few muddy students coming up the hall from Hagrid's class. Ron gave them an encouraging smile. "He did it to our class too," he assured them. They giggled and ran past, going up to change. He looked at his enemy again. "This is entirely your own fault. You attacked first back in the beginning and I've retaliated. We've moved back and forth now for years. Grow up already."

Malfoy sneered. "You even sound like a girl."

"Really? Ginny and Hermione both noticed that but I hadn't thought I had it that down yet," he said, turning back around. "Leave, Malfoy. You're not my type."

"Oh, really? I think the lady doth protest too much," he said, stepping closer again.

"One more step and I'm dosing your whole house with what the twins did to me. I have the recipe and some of the leftover you know." He glanced back to see the shocked look and smiled sweetly at him. "They don't know this, but it's in a jar marked for the house elves and around its neck is a letter asking them to please give it to your house one morning during breakfast."

"They would never hurt a student," Malfoy noted, but he looked very unsure.

"Who said anything about them knowing what it does? I wrote it so that it says it's to help them calm their grief at what happened to me." He grinned again. "If I have to suffer, others can too," he said quietly. He straightened up. "Besides, maybe this way I'll find someone who's on the opposite schedule as I am. Someone to be male when I'm not and to be female when I'm not." He winked. "That's one way to solve the whole 'who do I choose' problem."

"You're insane," Malfoy breathed, starting to look scared.

"No, not really. A bit demented because of all this." Ron beamed. "McGonagall said Ginny and I together are worse than the rest of my brothers combined." Malfoy's mouth fell open. "You're playing a very dangerous game, Malfoy. Not only do I have the emotional calm that women have when fighting, but I also have my own brain and the memories of everything you've done to my house and my family. Combined, they give me the determination that not even Hermione can get past on one of her good days. That makes me twice as stubborn, doubly ready to cause you and yours harm, and more than evil enough to pull it off and laugh afterwards. Your choice." He bent back over, watching the students take careful zips around the field.

"You're not going to try and take me to bed?"

Ron snorted. "Furthest thing from my mind. I have no intention of putting a dick anywhere near those parts of me for a very long time." He glanced back and saw the speculative look. "You're not that hot."

"No, but I've noticed how you react when you catch me staring. It's fairly obvious," he said, waving a hand at the erect nipples he could see under the thin dress. "Cold?"

"A bit. Don't try to offer me a jacket." Ron turned back around. "You have no idea and it still wouldn't happen, Malfoy. Even if you were God's gift and it could turn me back." He heard footsteps approaching. "The kids are coming back." Malfoy moved so he was leaning against the railing, staring at the far wall. "Why did you even bother to come up here?"

"Snape forced me to. Said if I didn't he'd make my life a living hell by giving me to You-Know-Who as a playtoy."

Ron shook his head. "He wouldn't. He's seen too many go himself." He watched the kids file past, missing a few of the earlier group. "They've got to go to class too. I am still a Prefect," he noted for the students who didn't know.

One of the boys grinned at him. "They're trying to find clothes, Mr. Weasley. They should be along soon."

"As long as they are along soon," Malfoy said bitterly. The kids ran off, going back to class. "Snape's decided we're to be forced together until I get over my staring problem."

"Make it less obvious, I'm sure he'll relent."

"He's adamant. We're to meet him for dinner in his rooms tonight." He looked at the dress, then at the pretty face. "I don't suppose you'll change?"

"If I do, I'm wearing sweats and slippers. My feet hurt." Ron stood up and stretched, ignoring the small moan that came from the man beside him. "What time?"

"Sixish. Dinner."

"Fine, tell him I'll be there if he really wants me to be."

"Good." Malfoy stomped off, going to give in with apparent grace and humility, all the while fuming inside.

Ron went up to his rooms and took off his shoes, sighing in relief as he wiggled his toes enough to get feeling back into them. The door opened and he waved at McGonagall. "Come on in, I'm just getting the feeling back again."

"I understand. Women's shoes are not that comfortable for anybody, especially us." She sat beside him. "Professor Snape has decided that you will attend dinner with him and Mr. Malfoy."

"Malfoy told me but I had wondered if it was a joke."

"No, it's not. He thinks it's the fastest way to get the boy over his obvious staring problems. Though today was rather funny, even if it did affect your roommates." Ron groaned, flopping backwards. "They hadn't said anything to me," she offered.

"They know it's nothing different," Ron pointed out.

"Yes, but they're seventeen or eighteen and their hormones are just as randy as yours," she reminded him with a pat to his thigh. "Real stockings? My, you really were proving a point," she said with a smile. "The only thing worse are pantyhose. They cover everything and no air gets about there." Ron moaned again. "Sorry, Ron."

"Not a problem," he squeaked. "What am I going to do about that stuff?"

"You either ignore it or you try it out once or twice. Though if you do try it out, I'd suggest a long talk with Poppy first." She patted him on the thigh again. "Are you going to change before dinner?"

"Should I?"

"I think that outfit you wore off the train should do just about as well, especially if you leave off the bra," she offered. "Plus, you could wear sneakers."

"All mine are too big now. My feet shrunk with the rest of me."

"Then borrow Mr. Potter's. With the abuse he suffered he'll never get any bigger and he is about your present size."

"Maybe. Thank you, Professor."

"I am here if you need to talk about anything. Remember, boys are still fragile creatures and you shouldn't play with them too hard, they break." She left him alone to change.

Ron stood up and stripped down to his underwear, digging in his trunk to find something suitable for dinner. His jeans weren't in here, but he did have those tailored robes and pants that had been fit to this new form and shape. He pulled them out and went to wash his face, no sense in wearing the full kit for dinner. He came out and got his shirt on just in time, the door was opening. "Hi, Harry," he said as he sat down to pull on his pants. "Can I borrow some shoes?"

"I have a pair of loafers that are too small," Harry offered, digging in his trunk to find them. "Here you go, keep them if they fit." He sat next to Ron. "You're having dinner with Snape?"

"He's trying to break Malfoy of his bad habits."

"Like teasing?"

Ron smiled at him. "It was fun."

"It was," Harry agreed, "but I thought I might have to kill him to save you."

"Nah, it's okay. He's figured out now that he's not gettin' any. He'll calm down and I warned him to leave me alone. He seemed a bit...scared of what this new thing has given me."

"Which is?"

"The determination of a woman," Ron said fondly, patting him on the thigh.

"Ron, don't do that when you're in that form," Harry said quietly. Ron looked at him, looking a bit upset and hurt. "I'm sorry, but you do that and I keep seeing this really pretty girl, not you, and the girl is touching me, and I'm not sure how long I'm going to be able to hold off doing something dumb that'll drive us apart."

Ron shifted over, hugging him. "I know you're lonely," he said against Harry's neck. "But I'm still just Ron."

"But you're not," Harry said, getting free. "You're not Ron all the time and it's ..."

"Confusing?" Ron suggested lightly. "Try living it from this end, where each day you wake up and you look different and your body does strange things, and all of a sudden people who hate you think you're wonderful because you have breasts that stick up and bounce." He stood up and walked over to stare at his friend, eye to eye with him for now. "Trust me, the confusion and mixed-up feelings you have are *nothing* compared to what it's like on my side. I'd love to have another one of me to talk to about this, but there aren't any. You can't know what it's like to change genders until you do it. Being stable is fun, no matter how much we complained and whined about balls getting stuck to our legs, or the inconvenience of having hanging stuff, or even the problems we thought we had." He took a deep breath. "I'm sorry, Harry, that this disturbs you. If you and the others want it, I'll move out. McGonagall is about to force it anyway."

"No!" Harry said firmly, grabbing him to hug. "No, you're not going. We'll figure it out, Ron. We'll stop reacting soon enough."

"We'd do a lot better if it was just a natural thing," Neville said from the doorway. "Like everything was really normal. For the last few weeks I consciously forgot that you were going to hit this point again, until you started to sprout breasts." He grinned. "Can I get a hug too? You look comfy to hug."

"Sure, pile on," Ron said with a grin. "If it'd help, I'd run around naked in front of you guys again. That's not a problem."

"You're usually just as embarrassed as we are," Harry reminded him. "Maybe we should talk to one of the girls and have them help us."

"Parvati said she and her sister are trying to figure out how to desensitize us now," Ron admitted. "I keep trying to remind myself it's just a body, it's what's inside that really counts, but I keep getting flustered every time I feel wetness down there or I see my own breasts. It's really weird being a girl sometimes." Harry and Neville both laughed. "Now, we'd better stop this. I've got dinner with Snape and Malfoy. You two have got to jump Parvati and get her to figure out how to help us fix this. Got it?" The guys nodded so he tried on the loafers. "These are really comfy."

"I got them at the beginning of last school year but my feet outgrew them before my old ones wore out," Harry told him. "Go ahead and keep them." Ron beamed and grabbed a robe, leaving the room. He looked at Neville. "You too?"

"You wouldn't *believe* how many times I've heard the guys call out Ron's name recently," he said quietly, glancing at the door. "It's even beat Ginny's record."

"Wow," Harry said, sitting down on the end of Ron's bed. "You think we can straighten this out?"

"Hopefully. I don't like feeling awkward around Ron. He's always been really nice to me." He sat on his own bed then looked at the clock. "We'd better go or we'll be late for dinner."

"Yeah, I guess we should. We can talk to Parvati later tonight." Harry walked behind Neville, comforted that it wasn't only him having wet dreams about his best friend and his new breasts.


Ron looked across the table at Draco, then at Snape, reminding himself he had to be pleasant - he was a guest and the whole purpose of the dinner was to make Draco quit staring at his tits and ass. He could be a pleasant dinner companion for a while. "You know, this is really nice," he noted. Snape looked interested, putting down his wine glass. "For a few moments I had this horrible vision of you telling me I had to go to the Dark Lord as some sort of virgin sacrifice." Draco choked on his sip of water and Ron grinned at him. "Strange, huh?"

"It's probably all the sexual tension running around your dorm room," Snape assured him. "Not even Dumbledore would be that cruel."

Ron gave him a 'get real' look. "We both know that's a lie, sir."

Draco laughed. "You sound like that's a serious possibility," he pointed out.

"In the first war, it did happen," Snape admitted. "No one has suggested we try that trick again as of this point. Though I assure you, Mr. Weasley, you aren't the one who would be sent. Your nature would make him too wary."

"That's good to know," Ron admitted, relaxing again.

"You're a virgin?" Draco asked.

"Only in some ways," Ron admitted, blushing slightly. "I've only had the things for two months now."

"Good point," Snape agreed. He looked at his charge; he had taken over Draco's care since his father had went to prison. "Do apologize for that lapse in good taste and manners."


"That's all right, that's not the worst or most rude question I've had yet," Ron assured him.

"What was?" Draco asked. Snape cleared his throat. "If you'd be willing to share?"

"I think the worst one personally was 'do you ever wonder how you'd use both at the same time', but then there's the beautiful one from some girl who asked if trying me would make her a lesbian." He picked up his glass of water to sip. "Hadn't asked her to do anything, didn't even know her, but she still asked." He frowned and shook his head. "Some of the Ravenclaws are strange little creatures, let me tell you." He shifted, rubbing his arm against his left breast.

"Nipple itch?" Snape asked.

Ron nodded. "It happens after they've reached full ...girth I guess is the right word."

"Why did you change?" Snape asked him.

"Because those shoes hurt," Ron said firmly, smiling at him.

"I see. Perhaps not so great a plan?"

"No, I felt comfortable enough, except on all those stairs. The balls of my feet went numb and even now it feels like my feet are still in that same arched shape. It's decidedly strange."

"My mother often soaks her feet when hers hurt," Draco offered quietly, looking at his plate.

"She would know what heels felt like," Snape agreed. "A foot massage is also comforting to that problem."

"I was going to take a long, hot bath tonight anyway," Ron admitted. "Most of the other Prefects are out of the big bathroom by ten."

"Curfew is at eleven," Snape reminded him. "You do fall asleep in there."

"I'll have Hermione come get me on her last roundup," Ron said with a shrug.

"You really should be more careful of your skirt," Malfoy put in. "It raised quite provocatively a few times today. Especially when you were leaning over the railing." He stared at Ron, then smiled. "If you hadn't been you, I might have taken it as an invitation, which one of the young men who had to shower thought it was. He stopped me to ask if I was now with you." Ron groaned and shook his head. "It seems he idolizes Potter as well and wanted to make sure he wasn't hurt by all that. Again, a strange little Ravenclaw."

Ron nodded. "I figured as much. If people knew what Harry's life was like, they wouldn't idolize him, they'd look on in fear and wonder if he was going to snap some day." He glanced at Snape, but saw he hadn't realized by the stony look in his eyes. "Sorry, shouldn't have spilled that one if you didn't already know." He sipped his water, then took a bite of his salad. "This is really nice, thank you, Professor Snape, for having me."

"You're welcome. It seemed the most suitable way to cure this problem of Mr. Malfoy's."

"Next you'll be telling me I'm going to have to sit with Goyle?"

"Was he staring?" Draco demanded. Ron nodded. "You're to stay away from him, Weasley, I mean it." Snape smacked him hard.

"No, leave him," Ron said. "He has got a violent streak, I'm more than well aware of that, Malfoy."

"No, I mean he's got more than you realize," Draco said seriously. "Do not let yourself be trapped alone in a room with him. It won't turn out well and you'll never want to be yourself again. As one other girl has found out," he finished, a bit more quietly.

"That was him?" Snape asked.

"I couldn't prove it or I would have told you already," Draco sighed. "Please, don't let yourself be captured by him. It's almost as bad as what you think it could be."

Ron nodded. "That's why I've asked Harry to be a bit more protective of me. Of course, he's treating me like I used to treat Ginny, but I guess that's fine." He sighed and shifted, trying to get comfortable. "I think I'd better head back to my room, my stomach's a bit upset." He stood up. "Thank you again, Professor Snape. Malfoy, if I catch you staring at my breasts again I'll simply slap you next time." He nodded and left them alone.

"Is he starting a cycle?" Draco asked once they were alone.

"No, he wasn't. That's something else entirely," Snape assured him, giving him a knowing look. "Occasionally young women have ...feelings that they're not willing to admit. It seems to churn their stomach."

"Me?" Draco asked, looking shocked and hopeful.

"I would hope it would be you instead of me," Snape said dryly. "Finish up."

"Yes, sir." Draco poured some more dressing on his salad and dug in. "This is really good."

"I'll tell the house elves you enjoyed it."


Later that night, Ron woke up and swore he had heard his name. He sat up, rubbing his eyes to clear them. He checked the other beds but each of them had a lump of blankets. He climbed out of his bed and headed to the bathroom, thinking maybe someone was wanking off to him again. He'd caught one of the younger guys earlier and had sicced Hermione on them for an 'earnest and personal' talk. He grinned at the memory of the boy's face when she suggested they talk about his feelings about sex. The bathroom was empty too. He frowned and walked back to his bed, but there it was again. It was coming from outside. He walked over and peered out the window, frowning at the man standing down there. "Hagrid!" he said quietly. "What are you doing?"

"We need you to come down here, Ron, it's important. Somethin' wrong with the animals and I can't wake no one else."

Ron blinked a few times. Hagrid hadn't sounded like himself. "I'm not wearing any clothes, give me a few," he told him.

"Thank you, Ron. That's real kind of you." He lumbered off.

Ron watched the movement and frowned, seeing the different shadow. He felt warmth moving close to his back and glanced back. "Something's going on," he told Harry.

"You can't go out, I won't let you have my cloak," Harry pointed out.

Ron smirked. "Think it's Filch on night duty?" He closed the window and walked over to look at Harry's map. "Oh, Snape, perfect," he purred. He grabbed the pants outfit from earlier, putting everything back on. "Follow," he ordered, giving him a small wink as he slipped out of their room and down through the common room. It was deserted at this time of night so he was all right there. He walked out into the hallway and found himself caught. "Sir, I was going to call someone for help. Someone looking like Hagrid at my window saying he needed me because some of the animals were sick."

Snape frowned. "Really?" Ron nodded. "Then let us see to Hagrid," he said, pushing Ron a bit. "Walk, Weasley. You know better than to be out of bed." He heard the slithering behind him. "You might as well come out, Mr. Potter." He turned and Harry appeared, still in his pajamas, but with shoes and a robe on. "Are you in on this prank too?"

"No, there really was someone at our window," Harry told him. "Yelled up. It didn't sound like Hagrid, not the speech or the way he talks, but it did look like him."

"I see." Snape looked at them both. "Let's play this out, shall we?" he suggested. "I'd rather get all of you."

Ron frowned. "If we help you we're still going to get detention?" he said bitterly.

"Perhaps. It depends on how well you play your part," Snape informed them. "It would seem natural for Potter to follow you. Stuff that blasted cloak somewhere safe and follow." He walked off, trusting the boys to follow him.

Harry let Ron put his cloak into the Prefect's bathroom, in the hidden cupboard that was only his, then followed discretely behind Ron, pretending to be more asleep than he was. His wand was up his sleeve, just in case. They were met outside by someone who looked like Hagrid, but didn't move or talk like him. Ron stepped down a few steps. "What's wrong? Why didn't you just come up and wake us?"

"It was easier that way," he said, glancing at Harry. "Hey, Harry. It's not that big a problem."

"He woke me anyway," Harry said with a shrug. "Come on, let's go help." He followed Ron and 'Hagrid' down onto the grass, not surprised in the least when a few of the Slytherins came out of the shadows. "Gee, an ambush," he said dryly, going back-to-back with Ron. "Who would have expected this?"

"Me, last month," Ron told him, smiling nicely at the guys. "Leave us alone, guys."

"I don't think so," Goyle said as he canceled his illusion, becoming himself again. "You've managed to infect some of us and we want it to end. If we have to, we'll end you," he sneered.

"That's really brave," Harry snorted. "Come on. We've been in duels before."

"Against all of us?" Goyle sneered.

"Against more than you," Ron reminded him. "Harry and I both did combat stuff the last few years, Goyle." Goyle glared but lifted his wand. "Ready?"

"Sure," Harry agreed, sliding his own wand down.

"Do not even think about it," Snape said as he walked out of the doors. "Gentlemen, what *are* you doing?"

"He's got a spell on Draco and a bunch of us," Goyle shouted. "We've got to end it!"

"It's called lust, nitwit," Ron said snidely. "It's no more a spell than your height is." He saw the flash of fear and stepped forward. "Your height's a spell?" he asked. Goyle growled and started to raise his wand, but Ron caught his arm, squeezing in the spot that brought pain. "Don't even think about it. Just because I have tits doesn't mean I'm suddenly anyone but me." He stepped closer. "If you thought what I did to Malfoy today was mean, just you wait," he warned in a deadly hiss. Goyle got free of him and backed away. "Now then, are you going to stop?"

"You're a freak!" Goyle shouted, turning around and running.

"Inpedimentia," Ron said, freezing him. "You don't run *toward* the Forbidden Forest, Goyle!" he said in exasperation. "It'll only make you wet yourself, again." He got out of Snape's way when he was pushed, glaring at him. "I didn't hurt him."

"I noticed." He looked at Ron, slowly taking in his appearance. "It's the confusion," he told him. "You've managed to upset their orderly world and this is them trying to right it. Kindly quit picking on Mr. Goyle and the rest of my house, Mr. Weasley."

"I only picked on Draco," Ron said, crossing his arms over his chest. A few of the guys went slackjawed. "What?" he yelled. "I'm not that cute! They're not that big! And they're the same things your females have! Get over it." He turned and stormed back into the school, Harry behind him.

"Good work, Ron. I haven't had a chance to watch you in action in a while. You handled that with a lot of style."

Ron stopped and looked at him. "Harry, if you're waiting for me to pass out in your arms with a chorus of 'my hero' and a longing sigh, you're going to be waiting forever." He glared at his best friend, who was blushing. "What is it with you guys?"

"It's the newness," Harry said quietly, not looking at him. "I start to get over it, and then you come back as female and prettier each time." He glanced up. "I really don't mean to stare sometimes but you are very pretty."

Ron snorted. "You need the prescription on your glasses checked. I'm not that cute. My nose is still too big, my hips are too wide, and my tits aren't that bouncy, no matter what the bras make them seem like. It's just me, Ron. Really, it is."

"I know, but sometimes you move a certain way or you do something so not-you that it takes our breath away and we're stunned. Like today, with the dress. Or the heels. Even Hagrid was stunned because it's so not *you*, not the Ron we're used to."

Ron slumped a little. "I'm sorry, Harry, I'm trying really hard to be me."

"Just be you, don't try. We expect a little weirdness from you, just because you're a Weasley," Harry said with a grin. Ron scowled and shoved him, making Harry laugh. "See, that's the usual Ron we're used to, breasts and all. That slinky and sultry thing that came to breakfast this morning was scary." He put an arm around Ron's waist, turning them both toward their house. "Besides, they've got smaller brains," he said quietly. "You'd expect them to take longer. The guys in our house are mostly over it."

"Harry, I know you've wanked off to me. I caught a fifth year earlier. Hell, I caught one of the girls in the fifth year earlier." Harry looked stunned, mouth open, eyes wide. "I just want to be Ron, okay? Just me, the same as always. No matter that I do go all 'woman' each month."

"Then I'd stay out of the dresses, you looked like an evil Ginny." They shared a laugh as they walked back up to their rooms. Ron remembered to get Harry's cloak and brought it up, not noticing Snape lurking in the shadows near the Prefects bathroom himself. Nor did he hear the cursing for not getting Harry's cloak. He rejoined Harry in their room and found most of the guys were awake. "I'm sorry if I disturb you guys."

Dean grinned. "Wanna snog, Ron?"

"Dean, when I want to try that stuff out, I'm going for a real man. Neville," he said with a grin. "I know he's going to be gentle and sweet about it."

"We'd probably be sweet and nice," Seamus joked. "Might lose control though."

"That's why I'm not going to make your lives stranger," Ron said, smiling at them. "So, what's up?"

"What was that?"

"That was the Slytherins trying to get him for bewitching them," Harry said dryly, leaning back on his pillows, arms behind his head.

"Have they never had a wet dream before?" Justin asked bluntly. The other guys laughed. "Though I think they're right. Ron, you are different. Especially like that. You're not kicking and screaming about it."

"I did that the first time," Ron admitted sheepishly, looking down at his legs. "I raged and cried and screamed in the back yard for hours that first day. Mum was the one who got me calmed down and told me it'd be all right, that I should act like nothing's happened." He looked at the guys. "I'm sorry if you guys are uncomfortable."

"We're getting used to it, it's just you in full-woman garb was a bit much," Seamus offered. Everyone else nodded.

Ron beamed. "Thanks, guys, that means a lot to me. I probably won't be repeating it all that often. Those shoes hurt!" He got hugged and laughed on by everyone. "So are we okay now?"

"We'll be fine," Justin assured him. "Just ignore us if we drool and we'll ignore you when you do things like touch yourself."

Harry nodded. "Or reach down and scratch between your legs."

"Or even shave your legs," Seamus offered with a grin of his own.

Neville woke up. "What's wrong?" he asked, rolling onto his side. "Ron?"


"Are you okay?"

"Not even a curse thrown," Harry assured him. He looked at Ron. "What was that thing with the dinner with Malfoy and Snape?"

"Snape was trying to break him of his staring habit," Ron explained, scooting back on his bed. "He thinks that if he can break Draco then the others will fall in line faster. Besides, I think Draco acting like that upset him somewhat. The always cool and calm Malfoy being besotted over me?" He grinned sadly. "It was just a nice, friendly meal. Malfoy was on good behavior. Snape got us salads, then I left early because my stomach was churning."

"Probably sitting there with them," Neville said.

"No, I think it was something else," Ron admitted. "Did you know that girls get fluttery feelings when someone stares at them for too long? It was really odd feeling. I couldn't deal with it then so I came back up here to calm down. Hey, anyone got any chocolate?" Harry dug into his stash of chocolate frogs and tossed one over. "Thanks," he said with a weak grin. "This is still really odd to me too, guys, really. I'm not one of the guys anymore. I have *no* idea how I'm going to regain my balance for quidditch. I'm off-center even as a guy."

"I know where Katie Bell is," Harry offered. "I got an owl from her."

"Yeah, maybe I'll ask her. I'm built about like her," Ron said thoughtfully, snapping off the head to eat it first. He stared at the bathroom. Then at the other guys. "I'll make a deal with you. You guys can do whatever you want to to get over all this breasts on me stuff. You can wank off, you can get one of the ladies to help you. Anything. Just don't let me hear it. It was really odd hearing the fourth years earlier." He ignored the blushing. "I'll keep my dresses down to once in a while and we'll go back to ignoring it all, okay?"

"I don't think we can ignore it, it won't make it any easier," Harry told him. The guys nodded. "It's like earlier, when you touched my leg. All I could see was this pretty girl touching me. I couldn't get past that to the Ron/friends part."

"Starting to hug him more often might help us all," Neville offered. "A hug now and one in a few days, to get used to the feel of Ron again. We used to walk up and slap him on the back and stuff and we haven't been." He stood up and padded over, hugging Ron tightly. "They do feel a bit odd, squishy even, but you still smell like you," he told Ron, earning a grin. He pulled back and looked at him. "That wasn't so bad." He got another one and Ron squeezed him like he normally would. "That's a Ron hug," he said happily. The other guys lined up to hug him as well, Neville beaming at Ron. "Do we feel better?"

"A bit," Harry agreed. "I'm still going to have to get past the visual."

"We use the same changing room, I'm sure you're going to see them all the time," Ron told them, then he decided to take off his shirt. "See, breasts," he said, waving at them. "Large, heavy, painful, nasty things." Seamus stepped forward and got a closer look, laughing nervously. He gave Ron another hug and dove back onto his bed. "Feel better?"

"Yeah, I kinda do. They're real."

"That was my first remark too," Ron agreed. He grinned at the others. "Want to touch?" They all bounced forward to get in a small touch, nothing like groping, then went back to their beds. "We all good now?"

"Very," Harry agreed, smiling brightly for the first time in a few days. "Thanks, Ron."

"Hey, I had to touch them a few times myself," Ron admitted, grinning at the renewed groaning. "Not like that! Pervs."

That got some laughter and they laid down, chatting more quietly as they fell asleep.


In the morning, Ron walked into the Great Hall feeling much better. McGonagall caught his eye and he walked that way before sitting down, standing in front of her. "Yes, ma'am?"

"You were very good last night, Ron. Thank you for helping with that little problem."

"Which?" he asked. She raised an eyebrow. "The guys and I got more comfy with each other again," he admitted. "We're better now."

"Good. I like that idea. Continue." She looked at the men at her house's table then at Ron again. "Do try not to turn them into your drooling parade," she said dryly.

"I'm not trying to at all," Ron defended.

"Good. Go eat. You'll need it. That changing takes a lot of out of body."

"Tell me about it. I just wish I had the dangly stuff back already. I miss it when it's gone." He trudged back to his seat and sat down next to Harry. "She told me we did good last night with the Slytherins and to not turn you guys into a drooling parade after me." The guys in his dorm all laughed. He looked around the hall, frowning when he saw the emptiness of the Slytherin table. "Do you think they kicked them all out?" he asked, nudging Harry and nodding with his chin.

Harry looked over, then at the Head Table. "Snape's not there either." He looked at Ron. "Maybe they're having a wank session to get over you too?" Ginny spluttered from her seat. "Sorry." He grinned at her.

"Is that why you guys are better this morning?"

"No, we got hugs," Neville said with a grin for his friend. "Ron hugs almost as nice as you."

Ron looked at Neville. "Are you two going to announce yourselves as a couple soon?"

"Prat," Ginny warned, her voice going colder. "I can have male friends, the same as you have Hermione now."

"Yes, but they passed through that dating thing first," Harry reminded her gently. He liked Ginny, and Neville, they would be good together. He put a hand on Ron's leg under the table and squeezed. "I think your mother would be really proud if you took up with a great guy like Neville. He's steady, he's great in his areas. He's a good defender. Plus he's a really nice and sweet guy. Right, Ron?" Ron nodded, smiling at them, a nice, pleasant smile not the look of death he wanted to give them for being together.

"Really?" Neville asked Ron, looking into his eyes. "Are you sure?"

"He's being a big brother again," Ginny assured him, patting him on the hand. "I agree, he's a very nice guy, but I'm not ready to go steady with anybody yet."

"Yeah, you are," Ron decided. "You're dating Neville and we noticed this summer that you were mooning over him." Neville and Ginny both opened their mouths to protest. "No, I'm not going to say a thing if you start to date Neville, but you'd better treat him right. I don't want to see any playing around on your part, Ginny. Neville deserves better than that."

"All right," she said slowly. She looked at Neville and smiled at him. He looked over the moon about it. She relaxed again. If he knew, and was happy about it, then it made her happy, right? She looked at Ron, who nodded, then back at Neville. "Okay," she agreed, nodding and relaxing. "We're dating."

Neville lunged over and hugged her. "I'm going to be the best boyfriend."

"That would include letting her eat, Neville," Harry said, nudging him. "Dumbledore and McGonagall are both staring." Neville sat back down and gave his girlfriend a bright smile. "Thanks."

"Dating for now, no more," Ginny warned.

"That's fine with me," Neville agreed happily. He beamed at Ron. "I've been wanting to ask you if I could ask her out," he told Ron. "Thank you."

"You're welcome. You two are cute together," Ron pointed out. "Take her around Hogsmeade this weekend." Ginny gasped. "What?"

"I forgot that was this weekend," she hissed. "I...um...promised to walk around with someone." She looked at Neville. "I'll break it later today. I have class with him." Neville gave her another grin. "If I had known I wouldn't have accepted," she said, kicking him under the table. "Next time, give a girl some clues, Neville!"

He laughed. "Sure, Ginny. Want to go to Hogsmeade with me this weekend?"

She beamed. "Sure. I like the straightforward approach. I'm not that complicated." Ron and Harry both snorted. "Shut it, the both of you, before I put around the rumor that Ron's Harry's escort this weekend."

"I can do that," Harry offered to Ron. "That way you couldn't be jumped."

"I was thinking a larger group than two," Ron told him. "Hermione too?"

"Sure," Harry agreed, pulling some food over and dishing it out one-handed.

Ron cleared his throat. "Harry, remove your hand from my leg before McGonagall comes over and takes it off for you," Ron said in a normal tone of voice, noticing the older woman still staring at them. Harry pulled back and looked at his hand like it was some alien. "Thanks." He patted Harry on the shoulder. "Not ready for that yet."

"You know, now you can't tease Malfoy with Neville," Ginny told him. "Who're you gonna use now?"

"Oh, pick me," Justin said in a high falsetto from further up. He grinned at them. "Then I could get more hugs."

Ron snickered. "Justin, you'd cop a feel and you know it. Besides, aren't you supposed to be dating that Hufflepuff staring at you?" Justin blushed and looked at his girlfriend, who stormed out. "I'd follow before she blows, mate." Justin quickly followed her out of the Great Hall, going to explain what he meant. He looked at Harry. "I guess it's you and me after all."

"Okay," Harry said with a small, nervous laugh. Ron punched him on the arm. "Ow! Grumpy prat!" he said a little loudly, rubbing his sore arm. "What was that for?"

"For that look on your face," Ron told him. "That dreamy expression that said you're not going to be doing anything in class today and I'll have to take all the notes."

Harry blushed. "Sorry, Ron."

"That's okay, just leave it there, Harry." He shared a look with his sister and shook his head.

"Mum did say that she'd love it if I took up with Harry," Ginny pointed out. "I'm guessing it applies to you."

"I think of you both like my sisters," Harry said in his most hurt voice. "Or brothers, something! It's like thinking about snogging Charlie!" He shuddered.

Ginny snorted. "Mum was praying we didn't end up like Charlie. He must have snogged half the school."

Ron nodded. "He even had to give mum the bad news that he might have knocked someone up three different times, for two different girls," he agreed. "Mum was hoping so very much that we didn't turn out like him."

Seamus leaned around Neville. "After yesterday, you probably could," he pointed out.

"I'm not ready for that yet," Ron reminded him. "When I am, I'll put out an announcement and tell everyone how it went, but for now I think I'd better stick with the lighter stuff."

"Hey, we can do that too," Seamus offered, wiggling his eyebrows.

"In your dreams maybe," Ron snorted. "Oh, yeah, that was one, wasn't it?" He grinned and they laughed.

"Let's not talk about icky boy dreams," Ginny put in. "I don't need to know what you guys dream about...unless it's me." She grinned. The other boys laughed and Neville blushed. "Really?" He nodded, blushing brighter. She picked up her bag and patted his hand. "Come along, Neville, let's discuss these interesting dreams of yours. Dreams are fascinating things." He followed her out of the hall, ignoring the laughter.

Harry leaned against Ron's side. "That was too cute."

Ron pushed Harry off. "It was," he agreed. He looked over as Dumbledore cleared his throat then stood. McGonagall's glass rang when she tapped it. "Shit," he sighed.

"It has been suggested that we have another Yule Ball this year," Dumbledore announced. The entire room groaned. "I see." He smiled. "Are you sure?"

"Yes!" came back the various replies.

"Good, then we'll set it for three days before you leave for the holidays." He smirked and sat down. "I find them quite amusing."

"That's because you don't have to find a date," one boy at the Ravenclaw table yelled.

"Ten points off," McGonagall snapped. "You will address the Headmaster with respect, Higgins."

"Yes, ma'am. Sorry, sir, but you still don't have to find a date."

"No, I don't," Dumbledore agreed happily. "It was much the same during my time as well, young man. It's a rite of passage."

Ron pulled out the copy of his chart he kept with him and groaned. "Bloody hell, I'll be in the middle of a female phase," he sighed. He moved his plate and hit his head on the table a few times. "Why me?" he yelled.

"I'm sure you can go as part of a group," Harry offered, patting him on the back. "I won't be going with anyone and I'm sure Hermione hasn't picked up someone new yet. We'll go together, as a trio or something." Ron looked at him. "I promise, it'll be fine, Ron. Just remind your mother not to buy you pink."

Ron blushed. "Yeah, I'd better tell her that." He sat up, brushing some food out of his hair as he ran his fingers through it. "I'm gonna head up and do that now."

"Pig's at home, why don't you use Hedwig," Harry offered. "Tell her I'll send her my key to my vault if she'll take out some money for me too," he said as an afterthought. "I didn't buy any dress robes at all."

"Sure," Ron sighed, standing up and taking some toast with him up to the owlry.


Malfoy glared at Ron during their next Defense class together. "So, who are you going with? I know you have first choice of most of the school, outside of my house that is." He lunged at him and Ron kicked his feet out from under him, knocking him onto the floor by using his own momentum against him. "What was that?"

"I kicked your feet out from under you and watched you fall," Ron said. "I thought it was self-explanatory why you were lying on the floor." He stepped back and crossed his arms over his shrinking chest. "I'm not taking anyone if it matters to you. I really don't want to have to think about dating. Hopefully my mother agrees with me."

"I doubt it," Harry snorted as he walked over. "She sent me a letter today asking if that darling rose pink velvet number you saw in the shop was all right with you." Ron groaned and went to bang his head against the wall. "Leave him be, Malfoy," he warned quietly.

"I'm trying to be pleasant, as I was ordered to," Malfoy said warmly.

"Still, I don't want you upsetting him." Harry walked over and patted Ron on the back. "You okay?"

"Yeah, fine," Ron admitted. "No, the pink number isn't good for me. If I have to go, I want to go in style, not in pink." He nodded at the hall for the teacher's benefit and got a nod in return so he went to get a drink. This was just horrible. Plus, Harry was still acting worse than he ever had toward Ginny. Part big brother and part angry, jealous lover. And they weren't! He didn't feel like that about Harry, mostly. Though he would be good to him he supposed. Plus, he could take care of himself. Hell, it'd take someone like him to live in Harry's life. Anyone else would be flattened by the stress and all the other crap that came with dating Harry Potter. He slid down the wall, thinking hard. He hated being forced to do anything. Maybe he should write his mother tonight before practice.

"Weasley, the teacher wants you back," Crabbe called as he stepped out of the room. He looked Ron over. "You look sick," he said eagerly.

"Just a headache," Ron admitted as he stood up. He walked past the larger student and went back to his seat. "Neville, tell Madam Sprout I headed up to get something for a headache," he said quietly. "I'll be in, but late." He nodded, giving him an encouraging smile. "Thanks." He tuned out the teacher, which was a mistake since everyone around him was taking notes. He glanced at Harry's and found they had a paper due next week. Dirt!


It was the perfect day. It was warm enough to be on the mezzanine without a jacket. He was in that perfect inbetween spot where everything was balanced out. His breasts didn't hurt. The first years were zooming about happily, squealing in joy as they caught the quaffle Madam Hooch was tossing around. A perfectly wonderful day and he was happy. Until he felt the incredible pain to the back of his head and passed out.


Harry looked up as the Potions door opened, eyes widening at the scared look Neville had. "Excuse me, sir," he said, rushing out. "What's happened?"

"Ron's missing," Neville told him. "Didn't show up for Herbology at all." He looked at Snape as he walked out. "Sir, Ron Weasley is missing," he explained.

"I'll start searching this level. You search your house."

"Professor McGonagall already did," Neville told him. "I've searched all the places he likes to lurk."

"Including the one where he overlooks the flying class?" Draco asked as he joined them. "I've caught him off guard up there more than once. That's where he seems to spend most of his free period."

"Show me," Snape ordered. They followed him and Neville had to run and get sick at the spots of blood on the floor.

Harry looked at them. "They're still fairly fresh, not dried at all," he said thoughtfully, looking around. "Can we trace using these?"

"How would you know?" Draco demanded.

"Easy, I've seen enough of my own to know what coagulating blood looks like. That's still liquid so it hasn't been over a half-hour. Professor Snape?"

"I'll perform the search, go back to class and wait. Tell the rest of them to sit quietly then go on," he ordered Malfoy. Harry looked like he wanted to stay. "I will handle this, Mr. Potter."

"Ron's my family, sir."

"All the more reason to let me handle it. Go back to class, now!" Harry turned and jogged off. "Infuriating boy." But inside he was a bit afraid. The boy had been right, this was fresh blood. He cast a small tracing charm and followed the lights that picked out other spots of blood. Someone had been carrying him. He found a locked door. "Headmaster," he called. "We'll need your keys."

Dumbledore came jogging down the hall and handed over a special set of keys. "Here you are, I had to get them back from Argus." He pulled his own wand while Snape opened the door, walking in first. Ron was lying on an unused bed, his arm and chest bleeding from a few cuts. "Oh, dear."

"Potter and someone else had the sense to do a report on what to do with his blood," Snape reported as he picked the young man up. "Is he in the center of his change?"

"Exact center," Albus said sadly. "Take him upstairs. I'll tell Harry to join him."

"Shouldn't you be calling his mother?"

"Do you want to tell Molly what happened?" he asked quietly. Snape shook his head. "Neither do I. Search around for someone doing a power raising formula, Severus. A changeling's blood is most useful for those." He followed him up to the infirmary, telling Poppy what they suspected. Her lips tightened and she pulled the curtains around them so she could do a full examination. Twenty minutes later she walked out and shook her head, making both men slump in relief. "Find out who did this, Severus. Send Potter up. I'm going to do some discrete watching of my own." They left, both going to talk to people.

"Potter," Snape snapped as he walked in. "You're wanted in the infirmary." Harry's mouth opened. "He's fine. Living. Just a few shallow cuts." He saw the fire start in the main fireplace from the corner of his eye and nearly backed away from him. "I repeat, he is fine," he said calmly and slowly. The boy still leaked magic and he was dangerous when he was that upset. Harry nodded, catching the hint, and grabbed his things so he could sit beside Ron. "If *anyone* has knowledge of who did this, I will have it," he ordered. "Attacking another student in that manner is not only obscene, but strictly forbidden."

"You act like it's your own house," Malfoy said bitterly.

"It probably was." Snape looked at them. "Ron Weasley is, at least temporarily, a changeling." His more knowledgeable students stiffened at that. "That is why we are protecting him. I will know who did this by dinner tonight if at all possible." His house members, those who understood, nodded, including Malfoy. "Dismissed." They ran from the room, heading back to their house. It took all of ten minutes for Malfoy to find someone had packed some of their things and left the school. He nodded at the boy to leave, then picked up a beaker and threw it. This could only go wrong. Word would get back to Voldemort and that boy would be more wanted than Potter was.


Ron woke up and rolled his head to the side to see who was patting his hand. "Harry?" he asked, moaning slightly as he tried to sit up, but the firm hand in the middle of his chest stopped him. "What happened?"

"Someone bashed you on the head and cut you a few times," Harry said quietly. "Ron, do you feel any different? Like something else happened?" Ron shook his head slowly.

"Nothing of that sort happened," Madam Pomfrey assured them. "He didn't have enough time. He only drained a few pints of blood off him." She handed over a goblet. "Drink this, it will replenish the blood faster than a potion will," she encouraged with a gentle smile. Ron sat up with some help and drank all the juice. "Thank you. You'll be staying overnight, but are physically fine."

"They didn't...." Harry asked.

Ron shook his head. "No, I'd feel it if someone had tried something like touching me," he assured his best friend. He looked over as the Headmaster walked in. "Who attacked me?"

"The person who did it has been punished," he said in his most serious voice. "He finished his power potion and tried to claim his rightful place among the Death Eaters, citing his new powers. He lost his third duel. Voldemort was very impressed with him from what has leaked back." He grimaced. "Ron, you'll have to be even more careful. If word gets out of what you are, then Voldemort could well come after you for the same reasons."

"His blood?" Harry asked. "What'll happen if it mixes with mine?"

"Then he could possibly make a potion that would not only make him stronger, but also give him some defense against Harry," Dumbledore said gently. "I do not want you out of each other's sight. If that means that it has to appear that you're dating, then so be it." Ron nodded once. "Good. Harry?"

Harry swallowed. "I can do that, sir. I ... have some strong feelings for Ron anyway."

"Harry," Ron groaned, slumping back down. "I thought we worked that out."

"I know you don't want me that way, but..." He grinned. "I can't stop it anymore, Ron, and I'm not sure I want to."

"The best thing for you to both do is to take a quiet dinner tonight, alone, and talk this through," Madam Pomfrey advised. "Even if you don't have those fluttery feelings for him, it might not mean you don't like him. Many girls find that their most compatible person is their best friend." She patted the blankets smooth over Ron's prone body. "Try to rest. You should be a bit dizzy but otherwise fine." She led the Headmaster away. "What about the warnings not to consummate anything?"

"I don't think it will be a problem. Ron won't let himself be taken and neither will Potter," Dumbledore assured her. "Even if they don't end up together, it will still be fine." He left her alone with the boys, going to talk to Severus and tell him the bad news.


Ron was escorted into the Great Hall by his sister, Harry, and Neville, but paused when he saw the empty Slytherin table. "What happened?"

"They're in quarantine," Ginny explained. "Snape wanted to make sure that no one else got any bright ideas." She helped Ron into his usual seat. "There you go. Still feel dizzy?"

"Yeah, and craving meat," he said as he snatched the plate of bacon before anyone else reaching for it could grab it. "Thanks." They looked at him. "I'm fine, just got bled a little."

"Did the guy really die?" one of the third years asked in a timid voice.

Ginny patted him on the head. "Don't worry about it. This was their stupidity. Nothing to do with you or something that you'll do." She sat across from her brother. "I wrote mum." Ron paused in the act of piling his plate high. "She's not going to worry more because she was told. She already knew."

"That's why you've been so clingy?" Neville asked. Ginny smiled at him and nodded, a faintly sad tinge around her eyes. "Is it that important?"

"Ron's considered a changeling," Harry said quietly. "Changeling's blood is used in power potions mostly. The more corrupt you can make them the more power you can raise with it," he finished on a near-whisper. "Mrs. Weasley has the right to worry."

"I'll help watch out for you," Neville offered.

"Thanks, but I think I can do most of it myself," Ron pointed out, taking the juice his sister handed him. "Thank you." He poured himself some and drank most of it, then refilled his glass before putting it down. "I don't need watched like I'm some precious artifact."

Harry leaned closer. "Ron, the guy went and took on Voldemort. At the very least, let us worry for now, okay? If it makes the user think they're that strong then there's at least a dozen people who will want some." Ron blanched and Harry laid his hand on top of his. "So let us worry with you. It'll make us feel better and we won't have to hide it while we stalk you around the school and Hogsmeade." Ron nodded. "Thank you. Now, would you still like to go with me?"

"Sure," Ron agreed, nodding. "Since we were all but ordered." The doors opened and Malfoy strode in, sitting at his table by himself. "I wonder what that's about?"

"I think Snape's cleared him of anything to do with it," Ginny said thoughtfully. She looked at her brother. "He was taught how to treat you. Maybe Snape's giving you some extra insurance?"

"Eww," Ron noted.

"Oh, please. Every girl in this school, including you, gets wet panties over him sometimes, Ron. Even me too, no matter what sort of git he is. He's still rather sexy and hot sometimes. When he's not being a prat." She smiled to ease Neville's uneasy look. "It's a mass phenomenon. Some of us have better taste than that."

"Thank you," he said, kissing her on the cheek. "I knew you had better taste but I had no idea it happened to everyone."

"Why, Neville," she teased. "You too?" He shook his head quickly. "Just teasing, Neville. If you have squishy feelings for blokes, then just tell me."

"I like you more," he said firmly.

"That's good to know," Harry offered. Neville's eyes went wide. "Don't worry, I like you mostly as a friend, Neville. The same as I think I do Ron."

"Another nice thing to know," Ron said dryly. "We're going to talk about this perception problem of yours yet, Potter." The morning post came in and Ron's eyes widened when he saw the package coming in with Hedwig. "Mum!" he said in disgust.

"I think it's cute," Ginny said, looking at the pale pink velvet robe trimmed with lace. "We can probably work with that and make you look stunning in it, Ron." She beamed at him. "Anything in there for me?" Ron handed over the bundle with Ginny's name on the string. "Ooh, purple." She smiled at Neville. "What do you think?"

"I think lavender is a wonderful color for you, Ginny. We'll have to look around this weekend to find me something to match," Neville offered shyly.

"Okay." She patted him on the hand. "Then we're going to teach you how to dance." He laughed and hugged her, kissing her on the cheek again.

"Some of us are already dizzy, we don't need to see that," Ron pointed out. He looked at his outfit again, then picked up the note. "Mum said it's not the most wonderful, but something could probably be done with it," he announced. "Said we should be getting that lesson soon."

"Hopefully," Harry agreed. "Will you go with me, Ron?"

"Sure," Ron agreed, smiling at him. "We'll shop for you this weekend." He tossed over the small bag of cash that had been tucked inside his robe. "I'm assuming that's for you."

Harry looked inside, mentally counting the money and checking the key that had been put in there. "That should be more than enough," he agreed, looking at the remains of the package. "Any more notes?" One was found and handed over. Harry laughed and showed it to Ron, the admonishment to treat her 'very special son' right making him laugh too. "So, pink huh? Flower on the lapel?"

"No, we'll have to get you something that coordinates," Ron told him. "How much did you ask her to take out?"

Harry handed over the bag. "I didn't ask for anything. Just to get some."

"Oh, that's right. I included it in my missive of doom." He looked inside the bag, then at Harry. "That's a lot."

"It's only a handful," Harry said quietly. "I have it to spare at the moment, Ron." Ron handed the bag back. "Sorry, but it wasn't that much. It just seems to be because the inside of the bag is shiny."

"It's more than we usually spend all year on clothes," Ron reminded him.

"I know, and I didn't tell you that to piss you off." He took his hand to squeeze. "Help me shop for something stunning?"

"Sure, Harry. Just don't try anything with me."

"I won't, but I reserve the right to feed your chocolate frog addiction," he said with a grin. "It is only proper."

Ron shook his head. "We're not dating."

"You never minded before."

"Before no one was saying that we should be dating."

"So we're friends who escort each other places," Harry said with a shrug. "I hear that's fashionable."

"Practical as well," Ginny told him. "How much?" Harry handed over the bag. "Wow." She handed it back carefully. "Give that to McGonagall or someone to hold for you so it doesn't get stolen," she suggested.

"Yeah, maybe I will," Harry agreed, letting Ron go so he could walk up to her. "Professor?" he asked quietly. She looked down at him. "I asked Mrs. Weasley to take some money out of my vault so I could do a bit of shopping this trip to Hogsmeade. Would you hold it for me so I can't misplace it?"

She smiled and took the small bag, tucking it into her pocket. "Of course I will, Mr. Potter. Are you still going?" He nodded. "Is that your...date's new robe? Pink?"

"His mother picked it out. He's going to help me pick out something appropriate to go with it," he said with a shy smile. "I don't know what I'm doing."

"We'll talk later," she assured him. "I'll also move the clothing lectures up a bit." He nodded. "Thank you, Mr. Potter." He went back to his table. She patted the bag to feel how full it was. "A bit of goodly amount," she told herself. "Molly must think he'll need it."

"She probably went happy when she saw all the money in there," Albus said quietly. "He has a bit you know. Half a medium vault full." She looked impressed. "The rest comes to him on his twenty-first. I'm not sure if he knows that yet or not." He smiled at Draco. "I want to know what Severus is planning," he decided.

"Mr. Malfoy would be the perfect one, outside of Potter, to protect Weasley. He knows what the blood can do, and all it's uses most likely. His father was adept at potions and the Darkest of the Dark Arts. I wonder what he's doing to the rest of them."

"Probably some gentle questioning." He caught Draco's eye and motioned him up. "Why were you released early?"

"I'm to approach Weasley in the halls and tell him that I'm to protect him," Draco said in a calm voice, but you could see in his eyes that he didn't like it. "Professor Snape made sure I knew it was my duty to do so since it was my father's knowledge that's putting him in danger." Albus nodded but McGonagall opened her mouth. "Please don't," he said quietly. "I already have a headache and a half after last night. My father's journals, kindly stored in the library, on how to make someone like Weasley were found in the boy's things. Along with the spell the twins used, which was a take-off of something he did."

"That's fine," McGonagall said finally. "Mr. Weasley?" He walked up to them, his juice cup in hand. "There's been some news on your attack last night. Would you like to hear it now or later?"

"Later, Professor, if that's all right." He glanced at Draco. "May Harry come so I don't scream and rant?"

"Of course," she said kindly. "My office, ten minutes, boys." They nodded and went back to their respective seats. "I don't like this," she told Albus.

"Nor do I, but it does make sense. Who else would understand his father's workings better than the son."

"We don't know where Malfoy stands."

"For right now, Severus is holding him in check. If he slips his leash a bit, I'm sure Harry and Ron will knock him back for it," he said with a small grin. "They're known for it after all."

"Good point but I still don't like it." She sipped her juice. "Does this mean they'll have to form a threesome? We haven't had one of those in this school for ages."

He chuckled. "It very well might, but I wouldn't push it. Ron's not feeling that way about Harry, no matter how infatuated the boy is with him." He glanced around again, noticing one girl staring at them. "Go back to your breakfast and ignore us," he mouthed, remembering she could read lips. She shuddered and turned around, taking a big bite of eggs. "Watch that one, Minerva. She reads lips." He stood up and left her to handle the situation.


Harry and Ron walked into McGonagall's office, Harry pausing when he saw the other occupant. "What's going on?" he asked as he shut the door and locked it at her nod.

"Professor Snape has asked me to help you protect Weasley," Draco announced with distaste coloring his voice. He looked at Ron. "The spell that changed you came directly out of a journal my father left in the library. He had a full journal of what to do with a changeling and a great many plans written out for the eventuality of finding one." He lifted his chin. "We also found out this morning that he was planning on using it on me, or if he could force my mother to bear one, a sibling of mine."

"Being a pure blood would make it stronger," Ron finished. Draco nodded. "Harry?"

"I can protect you myself," he said coolly, stepping closer to Ron. "We don't need your help."

"Actually you do," Draco said, shifting in his seat so he could cross his legs. "Mathers messed up the incantation. There's been pages torn out and we're not sure who has them. Snape is presently going over every inch of Slytherin to see if anyone else has them. Since it was my father's works, I'm researching to see what else my annoying ancestor came up with." Ron went pale. "I was supposed to ask, do I have to guard your virginity still?"

"Malfoy!" Harry snapped.

Ron put a hand on his arm. "It's a fair question. The more corrupt I am, the more powerful it makes the blood," he quietly reminded. "Nothing's changed since Hermione and I broke up."

"That's fine then." Draco stood up and faced off with them. "This makes me no more happy than it does you two," he said in his usual deathly calm voice. "Unfortunately I owe Professor Snape my life and my sanity. I have to do this." He looked at Potter, then at Ron. "I'll leave you to figure out how best to do this but I will have to be there."

"Harry's been pushing to date him," McGonagall noted from behind her desk. Harry glared at her. "Do not give me that look, Mr. Potter, I can and will take points off you for it."

Ron swallowed. "I don't want this."

"Severus is working on the formula to see if it's reversible," McGonagall soothed.

Ron turned to look at her, head already shaking. "I had a small seizure after swallowing the potion," he said quietly, then he slumped. Draco caught him but it was Harry who sat him down and handed him the glass of water off the desk. "The nurses said it might wear off but the seizure did funny things. Even the antidote didn't work when the twins gave it to me."

"I see. I'll inform Severus and Poppy of this, Ron. For right now you need to calm down."

"How can I be calm!" he shouted.

"Ron, go sit and think somewhere," Harry offered. "We'll go to class and you'll tell us what you want." Ron looked at him. "I'm serious. Go find a quiet corner somewhere and sit. Think everything through. Write the twins and have them explain everything they did."

"Their notes mentioned the seizure," Draco admitted. "Snape does know. He showed them to me so I could compare them with my father's notes," he said when Weasley looked at him. He noticed the disgust. "I don't want to be here either," he said again.

"Go think, Ron. We'll be in class. Join us later." Ron nodded, putting the glass of water down and walking out. As soon as the door shut, Harry pushed Draco against a bookshelf. "If you so much as make him upset I'm going to beat your pansy ass, Malfoy," he warned. "Ron is special to me and I won't have you hurting him. No matter what." He stepped closer. "If you thought I was hard on you before you've seen *nothing* of what I can do. Do you understand?" Draco nodded, not looking perturbed. "Good." He looked at McGonagall. "May I go for a quick run through the edge of the woods?"

"No, but you may take a small walk down and sit behind Hagrid's cabin if you so wish," she offered. "I know you have him today." Harry nodded. Draco nodded eventually. "Then go and consider your options. I will agree, it is up to Mr. Weasley how best to manage this. It is his life that is being ruined by this." Draco nodded again. "Good. Dismissed." They left her alone and she slowly relaxed every muscle in her body. She had been ready to jump between Potter and Malfoy, but Potter had finally learned some self control it seemed. She heard an explosion and stood up, but it had been outside. She hurried that way, joining the Headmaster on the front steps. "What happened?" she asked, staring at the burning bushes.

"Harry tends to leak magic when he's upset," he told her. "Usually it's little things. This time it seems something upset him that much." He looked at her. "The situation?"

"Weasley's thinking about what he wants. I sent Potter to Hagrid. Malfoy is...."

"Behind you," he noted. He looked at the bushes. "Potter?" Dumbledore nodded. "Snape warned me he sometimes leaked magic. Can't he control it?"

"How could he? He wasn't aware that he needed to when the training would have done him the most good," she said smartly, making him flinch. "I assure you, Mr. Potter has all the control he can given his life. We're lucky he didn't blow up part of the school."

"Indeed," Dumbledore agreed. McGonagall looked at him and he nodded. "He is that strong. The same as I was at one point in time. We'll work on that during his training. He'll have to learn to shield better." He walked inside, letting the fires put themselves out.

McGonagall looked up at Malfoy. "You will not upset either of them. I won't lose everyone in the world because of some petty jealousy, Malfoy." She pushed past him, leaving him to consider his options and his attitude.

Draco put out the burning bushes with a water spell, then went to his usual spot to think, unsurprisingly near Weasley's since it had the best view of the playing field.


Ron strode into Defense as if nothing had happened that morning. He nodded at Harry, then glanced at Malfoy. "Harry, I think it's time we had a talk," he said, taking his usual seat. "Arrange to have a group mostly to ourselves today."

"Okay, Ron," Harry agreed, smiling hopefully at him. Ron shrugged and glanced at Malfoy. He nodded subtly. Harry caught the clue and his smile fell a bit, but he was still hopeful. "Want the back room?"

"Sure." Ron straightened up as the teacher walked in, raising his hand. "Sir?"

"Yes, Mr. Weasley?" he asked tolerantly, giving the boy an encouraging smile. He was so good, getting the boy to put forward a suggestion that he'd have to make anyway.

"Sir, Harry and I need to practice against each other. We don't have the push to get better against the kids we're teaching. May we break up our groups that way today?"

"Of course," he agreed easily. "That's a wonderful idea. That does mean that you'll be with Mr. Longbottom and a few of your former groupmates, plus Mr. Malfoy. Would that be all right?"

"Yes, sir, we can hex Mr. Malfoy into unconsciousness if need be," he said with his usual impudent grin.

"Very well. Go to it. Misters Longbottom, Malfoy, Potter, Weasley, and Misses Granger and Patil in the other room. I'll take on the rest today." They filed that way and shut the door. "Does anyone know what that was about?"

"Probably in reaction to Ron getting his head nearly caved in yesterday from behind," one of the Gryffindor females told him.

"Ah. I heard about that. I'll have to check on him later. Thank you. Let's work on those stunning spells, shall we?" He moved the desks out of the way, bringing over a pile of pillows. Some days, he thought, this might as well be remedial defense.

Ron looked at the group, then nodded at Hermione to block the door. "Okay, we've got to talk," he announced. He crossed his arms and looked at Hermione when she opened her mouth. "He needs to be included this time. Dumbledore, Snape, and McGonagall said so." He looked at the others. "Who here knows what a changeling is? Beside it being me?" Only his two friends and Malfoy raised their hands. "Okay, then you get to explain it, Malfoy, since your father did most of the research."

"A changeling, one who changes form or shape by definition, is a powerful entity," Draco informed the group. "The blood of a changeling is used in power raising formula, including a power raising potion that will give the user a temporary energy boost." He started to pace. "I didn't know this but my father did most of the research and left some journals in the library."

"One of which the twins got the potion that changed me out of," Ron added for good measure. The other Gryffindors, but Harry, winced.

Draco looked at the group. "When Weasley was attacked yesterday, the person cut him. Then they packed a bag and walked out to face down Voldemort to get a high position within his hierarchy. He died during his third straight duel." The other Gryffs looked sick. He shrugged. "It was his own stupidity. He should have read the next page that said it was temporary and how long it lasted based on the purity of the subject." He coughed. "In fact, the less pure, the stronger his blood becomes."

"Malfoy's been asked to help guard Ron," Harry told them. "Ron?"

Ron shrugged. "I need other options. Parvati?"

"Unless you're going to look like you're dating Harry and Malfoy," she said with a shrug. "I don't know how you can do that. Harry won't let you off by yourself with him?" Harry shook his head quickly. "And the rest of us, now that we know, will be on the lookout but we can't do everything. There's going to be times when you're alone or just with your ...significant other I guess you'd say."

Ron smiled. "That thought's occurred to me," he told her. "But I really don't want that. I'd have to warn my mother and Ginny, something might leak out."

"It may be the best option. Short of you taking up only with Draco and Harry stalking you around the school. Of course, that means that you'll end up shunned by some of the other Gryffs, Ron."

"I could say that I'm studying your condition," Draco offered. "Snape let slip that my father did the majority of the current research out about changelings. It wouldn't seem that odd for me to be shadowing you around, Weasley, but it would give me the pretense to not have to act like I adore you in public."

"That would limit the amount of time spent with him," Neville pointed out. "Yeah, you could get away with that for a while, but how often would you really need to check on him if that were the case? Would you need to be constantly around him?" The doorknob rattled. "Go away!" he called. "DA business, sir."

"Fine. I'll be back in five minutes. I'd better see evidence of spells." The teacher left them alone.

Neville smiled at Ron. "Whichever you decide, but there's going to be problems either way."

"I was hoping for a new option," Ron told them, pulling his wand. "Shall we?"

"We should," Hermione agreed. "Neville?"

"Of course," he agreed. "I've been practicing." They faced off and he won, stunning her so badly she fell backwards like a board. "Oops, sorry, Hermione. I didn't mean to hit you that hard." Her lips tried to move but failed.

Malfoy looked at the group, horror clearly showing on his face. "What did you do to him? He never used to be able to do that!"

"Umbridge," Ron said with a smirk. He nodded at Parvati. "You're next, deary. But tonight you've got to help me explain it in a way that won't get out."

"We'll tell the little ones that you're taking up with the slut because he can gently break you in. None of the rest of the guys can promise that or have the experience to give it gently."

"Plus, Justin and Seamus are together," Neville said happily, pointing his wand at Harry, but Harry got him first. "Ow!" he shouted, hopping around when his feet lit on fire. "Harry!"

"Sorry, I've been pissed all morning." He uncursed his friend. "I'm sorry, Neville."

"Meditate or something," Neville complained. "Or better yet, go beat up on the teacher. Ron?"

"I'm not in any better shape." He looked at Harry, then at Parvati, then at Malfoy. "Neville, take Parvati, then Malfoy, I'll work with Harry." He faced off with him and gave him a jaunty salute. "Come on, I know you can do better than a hotfoot hex," he taunted.

Harry grinned back. "I'll get you for this, Ron. If I have to pretend to kiss him, you're going to be sorry. I'm going to get you with tickle hexes in the halls." He raised his wand, but Ron fired first. He ducked and shot one back.

Neville and Malfoy watched the deadly dance with some trepidation. "Just think, they like each other," Neville said quietly. He looked at Malfoy. "If you hurt Ron, I'll have a go at you. I'm actually very good now at stealth maneuvers. I'm sure I can get Harry's cloak and special books as well." Draco swallowed. "Shall we? Parvati, uncurse Hermione and work with her?" he suggested.

"Sure. I know you're better, Neville. You wanted it more last year." She uncursed Hermione and helped her stand up. "You all right?" They both had to duck a random curse thrown from Harry, Ron was running now and laughing. "Boys!" she called. They cursed the both of them then turned back on each other. Petrified, what a way to spend a few minutes.

Neville laughed and shot a random one at Harry, trying to even the tide for Ron, but Harry sent one their way. Malfoy retaliated with a smirk and got his butt hexed into bigness again. Neville joined in with the laughing pair, chasing them around hexing each other. He managed to partially get Ron, one of his legs got the leglocker hex but not the other. Ron got him back and managed to hit him. That's when the teacher came in. He had to duck too. Harry had just fired off a royal blast, a breeze/fireworks combination spell that was meant to push people back and frighten them off. It was an instinctive reaction at best, but Ron saw his opening and got Harry where it hurt, making his head swell and followed it up with a gibberish hex. Ron danced around. "I won!" he crowed.

The teacher shook his head, smiling at the mess. "Well." He unfroze the girls, then helped Malfoy and Neville, then got Harry. "That was entertaining. Is that how you trained them?"

"No, that was stress relief," Ron admitted with a grin. "I hate my life."

"I heard." He patted Ron on the back as he walked past him. "Very nice work. Harry, you tried to curse me, I should have hit back."

"Sorry, sir, all I saw was the door opening and I reacted. It wasn't one meant to hurt you at least," he offered, hopeful that he wasn't going to get detention.

Malfoy shook his head. "Perhaps I should train a bit more," he said quietly.

"Yeah, you should," Neville agreed with a grin as he slipped past the teacher. "Ron won!" The class clapped. "Harry nearly got the teacher!" The class laughed and clapped, patting them both as they walked past to their seats.

The teacher cleared his throat. "I believe I should probably give out new partner assignments. For the next month, I want you to work in groups of three. Parvati, Neville, Hermione, I want you three to work together. You seem evenly matched. I hate to do this, but Potter, Weasley, and Malfoy, you three are together." He smiled at the remaining students. "The rest of you break up. You're about even at this point." That got some quiet talking going while people arranged groups. "Those who don't have one will have to join in on another, higher, group," he said when he saw one girl left out. "A group of four is acceptable."

Malfoy raised his hand. "I don't want to say this, but I haven't seen some of the ones they used."

"We have the books in our room," Ron told him grudgingly. "I'll give back the library's copy so you can check them out." He looked at the teacher. "You're sure?"

"I am sure, Mr. Weasley, if only because you and Mr. Potter need a threat to settle you down and make you quit running about."

"Real fights aren't fought standing still," Harry reminded him.

"No, they're not, which is a good point. Everyone else will be catching up to that one by the holidays. I want you to move on to concealment charms and various hexes for eavesdroppers and snoopers. By the holidays I want you three to be able to find any listening devices and disable them." Ron nodded, seeing the point. Obviously he had been told. The small smile told him that he was right. "Good. Mr. Longbottom, your group I want working on defensive strategies. I can't see you on the front lines, but home defense is a wonderful area for you it seems. Most of the ones you do best at are meant for close range fighting or for small groups. Therefore your group will be studying home defense. Ways of fighting in small groups, ways of defending a house. Spells and hexes to protect a retreating group." Neville nodded. He smiled at the other groups. "The rest of you I want up to their level by the holidays. Your grades are going to depend on it." He tipped his head as the bell rang. "One more note. Each *group* will be doing a paper each week on their area. I'll want a topic by next class, the paper the class after that. Do try to pick different areas instead of just getting more specific. Specific is wonderful, but you'll need more varied knowledge. Next term is for specifics and specializations. Dismissed." He grabbed Ron and Harry as they moved past him. "You two are just dangerous," he pointed out. "You could have hit the girls or Neville with another hex."

"We knew where they were," Ron told him. "We practiced this way against Malfoy in the halls."

"I see. I thought there was something going on there."

"Does that mean you were told, sir?" Harry asked respectfully.

"I was, Professor McGonagall told me before this class. I want you to work closely with him. It can only help you to get him up to your level. Also, if you wouldn't mind, no more wild cursing in the back room. Running games are fine, but I'd rather you did them outside so I don't have to fix the walls. Got it?" They nodded. "Good. I want a topic by next class." He let them go. "Oh, Ron, your grades look barely good enough. We'll meet tonight during your free time?" He nodded and hurried out. "Good." He sat down and put his feet up. "That was a nicer class. I like this idea. I'll have to give Minerva a box of chocolates or something for suggesting it," he said happily.


Ron looked at the Slytherins in the library with them and the dirty looks they were sending at Draco. "What do they know?"

"That we're being forced to work together on this," Draco admitted. "That part was let around. Between that and the knowledge that I'm the fount of all things changeling around here there's a few suspicions and suggestions on what should be done about me." He looked at Harry. "Any topic yet?"

"Since we're supposed to be working on concealment charms and anti-eavesdropping charms, why don't we do a general overview of the area?" Ron suggested. "I know practically nothing about them, besides those ears my brothers made."

Harry nodded. "Yeah, there's those, but there's got to be other means. This paper we'll do an overview." He looked around. "You notice he didn't give us a length?" Draco grunted in annoyance. "Then we can each pick an area and work on them," he suggested. "I'll do concealment. Ron, you take eavesdropping and privacy ones. Malfoy, you take hiding spots and how to conceal a hidden area or an object?" Draco nodded, writing it down and standing up to pull books. Harry looked at Ron. "And?"

"I don't know," Ron told him. "Like I didn't know at dinner. I have no clue."

"I'm still leaving it up to you. It would appear natural for you to work up to it after all we've been through," he suggested quietly. Ron smiled and nodded. "Just let me know what you want me to do."

"You're taking me to the stupid ball and this weekend we're shopping for you," Ron said firmly. Draco came back with a small stack. "That's all there were?"

"I prefer going through two or three at a time and most of the other books referenced these," Draco told him. "Well?"

"I think we should just work together for now, and if necessary we can add in what Parvati suggested later," Ron said quietly, leaning closer. Draco looked relieved.

"It would probably appear suspicious any other way," Harry agreed. "Plus, then you could use your idea as well."

Draco nodded. "That seems reasonable enough. Along with new assignment we'll have to spend some time together practicing."

"Yeah, because you suck and blow, Malfoy," Ron said with a grin. He pulled his bookbag up and took out the first few books in the set he had checked out. "This is the set Remus gave Harry. There's a whole series of them, I'm working through level four."

"I've gotten through six," Harry put in.

"Thank you. Have you checked them back in yet?"

"Not yet. I figured I'd do that when we figured out which books we were taking back to our rooms for the night."

"Thank you." Draco took the top one to flip through. "This is much more comprehensive and almost a manual in how to fight dirty."

"That's why Lupin gave it to him," Ron pointed out. Draco shot a glare at him. He grinned back. "There's many things you don't know so far, Malfoy, and I'm sure you'd be blown away from by some of it." He felt a hand touch his thigh. "Harry, I swear I'm going to cut off your fingers," he said coolly.

"That'd be wonderful but it's me," Ginny said from behind him, kissing him on the cheek. "What's going on?" She pulled a peppermint mouse out of his pocket and opened it, popping it into her mouth. "Gross taste after dinner."

"Too true," Ron agreed, popping one himself. "Defense."

"The teacher assigned us into small groups to focus on an area that we're going to need," Harry explained. "We got given Malfoy and concealment, privacy, eavesdropping, and hiding as ours."

"Plus they've just explained their wonderful method of learning all those unusual hexes," Draco told her, holding up the book he was flipping through.

"I went through the first one. Chapter six was especially helpful but we got most of the rest of them by our third year." She straightened up. "What else is going on?" Ron looked back at her. "Neville was stammering so I know he was lying."

"We'll be having a short talk with the house tonight," Harry told her. "That way we don't get hexed in our sleep because we have to work with Malfoy." She gave him a steady look.

"Later, Ginny, not out in the open," Ron assured her. "You and mum will both have to know." She accepted that and went back to Neville's side to help him. "Do you think Parvati let on?"

"I think Hermione and Neville did most of it," Harry offered. "She's been talking to a lot of the other girls about you." Ron opened his mouth. "She's still upset with herself because she couldn't accept who you are." He winked. "Unlike some of us."

"Potter," Malfoy warned. "Some of us don't need to be diabetic. Lay off the smarm." He glared at the person he was forced to work with. "If Weasley wants to take you to bed, he'll tell you. Women are like that, trust me." He went back to flipping through the book, shaking his head. "Why weren't we given these?"

"They're ten years out of date," Ron told him. "Besides, the teachers determine the books. Remember Lockhart's books?" They all shuddered. "Okay, what am I doing again?"

"Privacy," Harry told him. Ron nodded and got up, going to search for his own books, while Harry looked over at Malfoy. "I meant what I said."

Malfoy looked up at him. "I know. I believe that's up to Weasley, not you though." He closed the book and got comfortable. "I realize that you're socially inept because of your upbringing in the muggle world, Potter, but even they have to know that you don't force a partner into anything. Pushing them to go faster than they want to go means you'll lose them. Let him set the pace. It is his body after all, and his life." He opened the next one and sighed. "Another set of hexes I could have used over the years."

"The bed bindings?" Harry said with a smirk. "Did someone over there try something," he taunted.

Draco looked at him. "Books make excellent weapons. I suggest you never talk to me in that tone of voice again," he warned coldly. Harry shivered. "Shouldn't you be researching?"

"I've got the top three levels of that set and there's a lot in there. I thought I'd start with those," he admitted. "Using that as a stepping stone to see which areas were left out and if there's anything more generalized that is implicated."

"Always look at the references. They'll give you the other books you'll need to use." Draco stood up and walked up to the desk with his books. "Weasley wanted to return these so I could check them back out. Plus these."

Madam Pince looked over at Ron, who nodded and brought his own selection up. "Very well. Tell me first, young man."

"I had planned on it."

"I'm not sitting at that table with Potter any longer and you probably want to talk with your sister," Malfoy pointed out. "Start again tomorrow after dinner?"

"Again tomorrow," Ron agreed, nodding slightly. "You're not going to come up with a questionnaire, are you?"

"No, that would be reserved for the researchers themselves, unless something astonishing comes up," Draco told him. "That comes after a review of my father's works." He looked at the librarian. "Have they all been moved?"

"Professor Snape sent me the note earlier. I put them in the restricted section in one of the reading rooms, Mr. Malfoy. Whenever you're ready I'll let you back there and only back there." Draco nodded. "Very well." She finished stamping his books. "Two weeks." She took Ron's stack and smiled at him. "How are you feeling?"

"My head aches a bit but otherwise fine," he told her, leaning on the desk. "This new assignment has renewed my earlier headache. Do you have anything else on privacy spells? I'm one who likes most of the books around him."

"There are a few more but I believe your ...partner is working from them, Mr. Weasley," she said with a smile. "Now then," she leaned closer. "Did that other book help you? I've managed to find one but it's a bit more technical."

"It did actually," Ron admitted. "It had all sorts of stuff in there that I hadn't thought about. I had to have Hermione help me with some of the medical stuff though. How technical is this one?"

"Geared more toward teaching and people who would have to deal with it. Somewhat more medically based, but also a good section on powerflows and the problems associated with that condition. Also, since the changeling thing came out, there's been one book that I've noticed has perked up. It's in the restricted section, but we should be able to get you access if you ask nicely."

"I'd better figure it out now, just in case it is permanent," he agreed. "May I have the slip?" She handed it over and went to pull the other book for him, signing it out for him as well. "Thanks, Madam Pince. You're a dream." He walked his stack back to the table. "She said your stack had some of the stuff I'd need."

"Wonderful." Harry looked at him and the large stack of books. "There's that much on privacy spells?"

"I guess. I'll be right back, gonna pop down to Professor McGonagall's office." He winked and strolled off, heading down there. He found her locking her door and presented the slip. "On changelings," he said at her confused look.

"Oh!" She smiled and signed it. "I'm glad you're taking an interest and studying it, Ron. It will probably make so many things easier. Especially that flux that you keep getting."

"That's what I'm hoping to negate," Ron told her. "Thank you for putting the Defense teacher on our case. We destroyed his backroom for him," he said with a grin before walking off.

She chuckled. "I figured you might. You and Mr. Potter needed to blow off some steam," she told herself as she walked toward the staffroom. There was a meeting soon on what to do about Weasley and his tests.


Three weeks later, Ron looked down in his trunk and sighed. "Harry, I'm out of clothes."

"The house elves said the laundry would be done today," Harry reminded him. "Their machines broke." He looked at Ron, who was back to his female side. "You don't have anything?"

"That dress."

"Oh." Harry shook his head. "Better not." He looked around. "You could borrow something."

"None of the ladies wear my size," Ron sighed, sitting on the edge of his bed. "I heard back from Katie Bell. She was very helpful on the matter, even said she wanted to hit the twins for me," he said with a smile. He stood up and put on his last pair of underwear and then tightened his bathrobe. "I'll be right back. Maybe the ladies have a suggestion." He walked out, heading over to their side and knocking on their door. Hermione answered it. Her bed was closest to the door. "I'm a victim of the house elf machine problems," he told her. "I have *no* clothes outside a pair of undies."

Hermione let him in. "I'm not sure we can help you, Ron. None of us wear the same size, especially not bra size. You're a bit bigger than most of us." She looked at the other ladies, who looked clueless. "What about borrowing some of Harry's older clothes?"

"I'd like to, but with my chest?" Ron asked.

"Good point. Parvati, you've been helping him the most, any suggestions?" she called.

Parvati came out of the bathroom with green stuff on her face. "Let's go look in Harry's stuff, there's got to be something. Even if you do look like a little schoolgirl playing dress-up for a boyfriend," she said with a wink and a nudge. He laughed and followed her back. "Oh, Harry," she called from the doorway. "We're going to have to raid your clothes. You have more than most since you kept all those oversized nasty things." The guys let her in and she knelt in front of his trunk, pawing through it.

"What's that stuff on your face?" Justin asked.

She looked at him. "Do you think flawless skin is easy?" she countered. "This sucks the crud out of my pores and leaves my face feeling clean and soft." She smiled at Ron. "We'll work on that after the holidays, dear." She sighed. "Okay. Harry, you're dressed, right?" He nodded. "Then we're taking your spare clean shirt and tie." She handed them over. "Ron, pants?"

"They all disappeared," Ron told her. "Look if you want."

She opened his trunk and looked at the dress, then at him. "Not going to try it again?"

"Not without proper undies," he told her. "I'm wearing my guys' underwear again."

"Oh." She nodded. "Good idea. They're probably a bit baggy at the moment." She came up with a robe. "Okay. Harry has an extra pair of faded pants," she said as she found them. "There, put these on." She stood up and shook her head. "No bra and your nips will probably show through a bit, but it's the best we can do under the laundry crisis. Make sure your robe's fastened across your chest, just one button at the very apex, and it should be fine. Need socks too?" Justin tossed over a pair. "Thanks, Justin." She smiled at him. "Go ahead, I'll meet you downstairs in a bit." She winked again and left the room.

Ron cleared his throat. "It's unintentional if I make some of you hard or horny today," he told them, taking off his shirt. They laughed, used to it by now. "Hey, Harry, for Halloween can I go as something that takes a lot of clothes?"

"Sure, Ron, I'll help you find an outfit. Halloween is on a Saturday and we're allowed into the village that day too." He watched as Ron got dressed, wincing at the tightness of his shirt. He looked at the other guys, none of them had really big chests. Neville was the next to biggest after Ron in his male phase. "Neville, do you have a bigger one?"

"Not really," Neville told him. "Mine's bigger around the gut, not the chest." He looked at how the buttons were gaping. "Undo the top two, it might help some. Leave off the tie for now. You can claim you're stricken and laundryless, the teachers will understand."

"At least I don't have Snape anymore, he'd be taking off points by the minute," Ron pointed out as he undid the top two buttons and handed back the borrowed tie. "How's that?"

"A bit better," Harry said, fighting down the image of him resting his head between that awesome set of cleavage. He shook his head to clear it and noticed Ron grinning at him. "Teasing again?"

"No, just wondering what you were thinking," Ron said with a laugh.

"I was thinking that there's a spot that would fit my whole head," Harry told him honestly. He had promised Ron to try and work on these feelings and being honest with him when he had jolts like that was part of it. Ron groaned. "Sorry."

"No, you're right, it's much too tight. Mum would say I looked like a harlot on the prowl." Harry mumbled something. "What was that?" he asked, sounding shocked.

"I said even if you were, you wouldn't have much of a chance or a need to go out. There's plenty here who would support you," Harry admitted, hanging his head. "I'm sorry, Ron."

Ron sat next to Harry, forcing his face up. "It's not getting any better, is it?" Harry shook his head miserably. "Then we'll have to have another talk." He kissed him gently and this time that tingly feeling started. "Huh." He did it again.

"Hey, no snogging if we can't take pictures," Justin joked. Ron flipped him off and continued to kiss him. "Anyone got a cold water spell?"

"Don't you dare, this shirt will shrink," Ron panted as he pulled back. "Wow."

"You never felt it before?" Harry asked. Ron shook his head, staring into his eyes. Harry grinned. "Good. Now you know how I feel." He peeked down the top of Ron's shirt. "That really does show them off splendidly."

"I guess I'll spend today being stared at," Ron sighed as he stood up. He pulled on his socks and the loafers he had gotten from Harry a few months back, then the borrowed robe. "This is hopeless," he announced. "This won't even button." He handed it back. "I'm going against the dress code today, might as well get detention for all of it," he decided, taking Harry's hand to walk with him. Parvati's mouth fell open. "The robe wouldn't even go around them," he told her. She giggled. "So, how trampish do I look?"

"Very," she agreed. "Come on, McGonagall will you give you a slip at least." She walked behind them, smiling at the hands being held openly. "You two are so cute."

"Thanks," Harry said with a grin. "It all started because I got stuck in his cleavage and noticed my head would fit in there." She laughed, having to lean against a wall to hold herself up. "Sorry," he said when he saw Ron blushing. Then he noticed why. Malfoy and Crabbe. "Morning," he said tolerantly. He and Malfoy had learned how to tolerate being in the same room, and he was in a rather excellent mood that morning, so he could be nicer. "The house elves laundry machine is broken."

"So I can see," Crabbe said, licking his lips. "You look better than most of the girls in the school." Malfoy hit him on the chest. "Ow!" He saw the glare from Harry and remembered Snape's orders to not pick on Weasley or face Snape's wrath. "Sorry."

"That's all right," Ron told him. "I expect a lot of it today."

"Change shirts with me," Draco announced. "I'm a bit bigger than Potter is. At least you won't look lewd, which would look horrible on me of course," he justified when he saw Crabbe's speculative look.

Ron turned to face Harry, handing off the shirt over his shoulder and putting on the other one. This one did fit a little bit better. At least he could do up another button. "Thank you, Draco."

"You're welcome. We do have that paper due today in Defense." He walked away, tucking in the too-tight shirt.

"You gave Weasley your shirt," Crabbe hissed. "Why?"

"Because we're working as a group and him being that distracting would ruin my concentration in class," Draco hissed back. "Did you take a long look at him?" Crabbe nodded slowly. "Imagine having to stare at that while trying to hex him."

"Oh." He nodded sympathetically. "Better you than me. Good idea, Draco."

"Thank you." He walked in and sat down in his usual seat. "Not a word, Crabbe."

"Never, Draco."


Ron walked in a moment later and right up to his Head. "Ma'am, I'm a victim of the laundry not working," he said as she opened her mouth. "It's borrowed, I have nothing." She pursed her lips and nodded. "I'm really sorry in advance."

"That's fine. No under things?"

She shook her head. "And no one in the house wears my size. This is mostly Harry's and his spare robe wouldn't even button around my chest so I couldn't hide it."

"I see. I'll make an allowance today and make sure the elves get something of yours done today," she told him. "Go eat." He nodded and walked off, ignoring the looks the tight pants brought to his rear. "Dear Merlin," she sighed, ringing the bell to summon a house elf. She leaned down to get near it. "You must do something of Mr. Weasley's today, Winky. He's out of clothes and the ones he's borrowing aren't fitting correctly. He's about to pop out of his shirt." Her eyes went wide, house elves were very proper about hiding parts of themselves. "Can you please find some of his female clothes and do them today?" She nodded and disappeared. She looked over at Ron, watching his sister stare at him. That shirt couldn't be Potter's. The boy wasn't that big in the chest, even when he did buy all his shirts too big. She glanced at Malfoy and noticed he looked a bit shabbier than usual. A clue started in her head but she wisely kept it to herself.

However, Severus came in late. He took one look at Ron, then at Draco to make sure he wasn't staring again, and groaned. "The laundry?" he asked her. She nodded. "Weasley couldn't borrow something...bigger?"

"Not from his housemates," she told him quietly as he sat down. "Is that shirt Malfoy's?" she hissed. He nodded. "That's what I thought. Potter's never been that big in the chest."

"If he's hanging out of this one, then the other must have been nearly obscene. He was doing the school a public service," Snape decided. "Have you ordered it fixed?"

"I talked to Winky and ordered her to find more of Ron's female clothes and get something done. Hopefully it will be done soon."

"Hopefully before the whole school tries to touch them," he added. He caught himself staring and looked down at his plate. Who would have thought they were that...large. His sister and mother were more modestly built. "I wonder how he changed."

"In the halls probably, hopefully with someone shielding him." She smiled at her coworker. "Impressive, aren't they?" Snape nodded. "Any luck on curing certain people's staring problems?"

"For the most part," he admitted. "I think today they're going to backslide." He cut up his eggs. "Very badly."


Ron looked up as he walked out to Care of Magical Creatures, giving the stunned Hagrid a shrug. "I'm a victim of the laundry being down," he explained. "It's borrowed."

"I can see that. The tag is hanging out," Hagrid told him as Ron walked past him.

Harry quickly cast a concealment on that part. "Should I do one over the top button, Ron?" he asked, really wanting to do it. He wanted to be the one to look at them, not the nasty pervs in the school. And it seemed like there were a lot of them today.

Hagrid took off his overshirt and handed it over. "Here, put this on too, Ron, before you get hurt by some boys." He looked directly at Harry, then at Malfoy. "You never know what boys are up to when a pretty girl's around." He turned back to the rest of the class. "We're workin' with the younger kids' stuff today. They managed to botch up their flobberworms and skewrts so it's up to you, since you're supposed to be so good by now, to help me fix it. The flobberworms are by the sheds, the skewrts are in the back of my hut." They trailed off, most of them going for the flobberworms. Ron was rolling up the sleeves. He would have to talk to the boy's mother about this. Laundry or no, he couldn't go around like that. It wasn't proper for a girl to do so. Yes, Molly would have to hear of this. He made Ron keep it at the end of class so he'd have something decent to wear later on. Those nasty little boys weren't going to cause his favorite ones no end of trouble, especially that Malfoy. Why was Ron wearing his shirt when he was with Harry? "Harry!" he called, bringing him back. "What's up with him and the shirt?"

"Malfoy saw us in the halls and nearly bugged over my shirt on Ron's body," Harry admitted. "This one's nearly two sizes looser."

"Oh." Hagrid blinked a few times. He had been wearing worse? This one was *better*? "Well then, that's fine. Good of him for once. You make sure Ron keeps that overshirt on. You don't want all those nasty boys staring at her do you?" Harry shook his head. "Then you make sure to protect her today. You and Neville both. Especially from Malfoy, he'd take this as a sign that a favor was owed. I know his type."

"Thanks, Hagrid," Harry said, hurrying off because the gong had just rung. He ran into Defense and took his seat.

"A bit late, Mr. Potter," the teacher said tolerantly. "I expect better."

"Sorry, sir, Professor Hagrid wanted to speak to me privately."

"That's fine. Take your group into the back and *try* not to hide my filing cabinet again please." He smiled at Ron, then noticed the shirt he was wearing, following him back to the back. "Take it off, you can't fight in that." The overshirt came off and his eyes bulged. "Oh, dear." He quickly looked up. "Laundry accident?"

"The machines are down," Harry told him. "This was the bigger one."

The teacher looked at the three of them, ending up on Draco. "So I can see. Well, you can't wear that bigger one to fight in, just stay back here until you put it back on please. I don't need the other boys that distracted." He forced himself to not stare and walk away, locking the door behind himself.

Draco clapped. "Good job. You entranced him as well. A new snaring charm?"

"No, just cleavage," Ron said with a grin. He waved at it and Draco's eyes drifted down, getting a stuck. "See, not a charm," he said when Draco shook himself. "What are we doing today?"

"I was going to try and eavesdrop at the door, or make the sounds from the other room project. Then set up a shielding spell around us so we could talk," Harry offered.

"Go for it," Ron agreed, leaning against the wall. He unconsciously arched his back to take some of the strain off his sore muscles. These tits were annoying! He growled and scratched but Draco stopped him. "Don't do that!" he complained, getting free. "They itch!"

"It's the laundry soap. Nipples are very sensitive things. If you scratch them, they'll stand up more." He forced himself to quit staring, thankful to Professor Snape for his training in controlling his body's reflexes. Now if only he could control the other one. He watched as Harry worked on the charm. "Let me, Potter," he said, moving away so he'd have something to do. "I was eavesdropping last night from my bed. There was a bit of a debate going on about who would have to wear nothing due to the laundry." He glanced at Ron. "I think you won." He cast the charm and the sounds of fighting from the other room came through clearly. "There, how's that?"

Harry walked out and closed the door. "Say something," he said through the portal.

Draco leaned down. "I wonder if I can get away with touching them."

Harry walked in and slapped him. "You can't. Don't try." He looked at Ron, who was laughing. "Think you can do better?"

"Yup. Harry, you left off a term and Draco, you added a term. The limiting is an 'aho' sound, not the ' aha' sound you used." He smiled gently. "Come try the shielding spell so I can snap, Harry."

Harry blushed and walked over, casting the shielding spell around them. "I'm sorry, Ron, but I don't want him to touch you." Ron smiled at him. "Forgive me for being a jealous man?"

"Sometimes. But I don't think it can be helped today. I mean, look at me. I look like I'm suggesting someone pay me for it." That got a weak laugh. "Leave him alone. Nothing will happen that will make you uncomfortable."

"You're wearing his shirt, I'm already past that point," Harry pointed out.

"I could change back," Ron suggested dryly.

Harry shook his head quickly and stepped closer. "No, no changing back! I won't let that happen, please, I'll quit being so jealous, just don't change back. I might go off on someone and hurt them." The shield came down around them and he timed it. "Not bad, two minutes."

"I wasn't trying until thirty seconds ago. I agree though, please don't suggest we change back. I might have to do something inappropriate and I'd hate to have to beat your boyfriend." He sighed and looked at his own watch. "How much longer?"

"Probably the rest of the class," Harry said glumly. "We could work on something new since we have this section down pat. Home defense?"

"Done that," Draco and Ron reminded him.

Ron saw the glance again. "Oh, quit it," he said warmly. "They're breasts, with your reputation you've seen plenty of them! You don't need to stare at mine!"

"Yours aren't exactly like everyone else's," Draco reminded him. "You're bigger for one, and you're much more ...unique. That's what keeps most people entranced." He couldn't pull his eyes away from them, he really was trying but he couldn't. Not even the shove he got dislodged his gaze. "Damn hormones."

"Yeah," Harry agreed, staring as well. He glanced at the door and added a lock. "Can I, Ron?" he whispered.

"No! We're in class." Harry gave him a pathetic look. "One hug, that's it." Draco opened his mouth. "Don't even bother." He let Harry hug him, smooshing him painfully close. "Breathing is good," he reminded him. Harry let up some. "Feel better?" Harry whispered a dirty thought into his ear, making him blush. "Maybe later, Harry, definitely not with an audience." Harry let go of him and straightened himself out. "Thank you." He looked at the door. "Someone's coming, your warning is purple."

Harry unsealed the door. "It's open," he called. The teacher walked in. "Are you continuing to banish us back here?"

"Unfortunately I just got a message," he said, walking over and handing it to Ron. "He knows."

Ron read the short note, then handed it to Harry. "Now what?"

"Dumbledore said you're going to have to pretend harder, Ron. There aren't many who have the ability to stand against his wishes, it takes a lot of power to do so."

Draco walked over and took the note from the limp hand, reading it for himself. "Shit," he announced. He looked at the couple. "Well?"

"If you can protect him that way, do it," Harry said, slumping down.

"There is the idea of a threesome. We'd kill each other otherwise," Ron offered. Draco looked at him. "You're both powerful, each in your own way."

"Good point. Between them there's not many who would stand up to them, or against them," the teacher admitted. "Harry?"

"I just want him protected. I realized today how much he meant to me." He scrubbed his face with his hands. "He's mine, Draco," he decided. "You can be there though."

"That's fine. I doubt we'd spend much time together." He fiddled with his family ring then carefully pulled Ron closer. "This will sting," he told him, pressing the ring to the other man's neck, just below his ear. "This marks you as Malfoy property," he told them all as the ring ignited and burned a small mark onto Ron's neck. It was easily hidden by his hair. "Anyone who looks will see it and know what it means."

"Do you carry one?"

"I carry two," Draco told him, showing both his off. "The bottom one is for the heir. The other is for the intended or property, depending on the generation and the leanings of the person doing the marking." He watched Ron rub it. "Do a numbing, it'll be fine." Harry cast the numbing charm. "You as well, Potter, just in case. It will give you an extra help against Voldemort. My father was his, but I am not. My mother's too sick to be in the fight," he said at the questions starting from Harry's mouth. He marked him as well. "There." He adjusted his ring, turning it mute again. "That should help a bit for now, until you're more comfortable."

Harry and Ron looked at each other. "Only if you feel like it," Harry told him.

"I could use a hug," Ron admitted, holding out his arms. Draco gave him a long one, pressing gently closer. "Thank you." He got free. "Then that's really it?"

"For now. It can be removed. That will hurt more," Draco told him with a small smile. "When will you tell your parents?"

"Later today. I told her about the stuff earlier and she said it might be for the best. My father nearly threw a fit but my mother seemed to understand." Ron ran a hand through his hair.

"Don't do that, you look like you just rolled out of bed," Draco told him. "This will have to come out sooner." He noticed a glow on the door and flicked his wand at it. "Impenetrate." There was a scream from the other side. "Who else was doing privacy work?"

"I think I should find out," the teacher agreed. "You could use my floo to call your parents, Ron. There's about twenty minutes left." He walked out and found the person screaming about being deaf. "It serves you right for eavesdropping on them," he told her, uncursing her. "Go see the Headmaster." She walked out, still trying to get her full hearing back. "You will leave Mr. Weasley alone, he's just gotten some very bad news." Ron came out, dressed in the large shirt again, and headed for his office. A few minutes later there was a shriek and a large burst of flame came out of the room. "Ron?"

"Fine," he called back. "My mother's here."

The door shut after Harry and Draco walked out. "He'll be fine," Harry announced. "Some family business." One of the Slytherins shrieked and grabbed him, tipping his head out of the way.

"Get off him," Draco warned. "Leave them both alone." She backed off, eyes wide. "Now." She ran back to the other side of the room, cowering with a few other girls. "You will *all* leave Weasley and Potter alone. Their fates are now in *my* hands, no matter what that sickly, nauseating creature calling himself the Dark Lord says. Do you understand?" The Slytherins nodded. "Good." He stared at Crabbe, who flinched. "Tell them now," he suggested smugly.

"Earlier today, he changed shirts with Ron Weasley," he said quietly, staring at his boss. "His other one was tighter and Potter's. He's wearing it himself now. Draco, are you sure?"

"For now," he agreed. "Weasley's uniqueness is something that needs to be protected. For those of you who didn't know, Voldemort will never touch Weasley, either of the changed ones. If he does, he'll die instantly. Not just because of me, but because of what they are." The other Slytherins nodded. "Therefore you will leave them alone as well. Do you understand?"

"Yes, Draco," most of them agreed.


"I protect you," Crabbe said miserably. "I guess I can protect them when you're together."

"We don't really need it, but thank you," Harry told him quietly. "It's not a pleasant choice, it's a necessary one. Right, Malfoy?"

"Fine, but I happen to think we'll do fine hovering around Weasley." He looked smug as he looked toward the office. He saw the rage building in Potter's eyes and raised an eyebrow. "What?" he asked innocently.

"I think we should have a talk with your supervisor," Harry told him. "Along with mine."

"Dinner? I'm sure I can talk Professor Snape into it."

"Fine," Harry agreed. Ron came out looking a lot more tired. "You all right?"

"Mum agreed, it's the only way," Ron told them. He saw the scared looks. "You already told them?"

"Someone was listening," the teacher said quietly. "Then someone noticed Mr. Potter's red neck." He looked at Ron. "Are you sure, Ron?"

"There's no other way. To protect everyone everywhere I have to do this."

"It won't be that difficult. It's not like I'm going to demand things from you," Draco soothed, holding out a hand. "Come, stand between us so we don't fight. Did you invite your mother to dinner?"

"I did, I don't know why though," Ron said, looking confused.

"We'll talk about that later," Draco said gently. "Why don't you and Potter go take a long nap until then. Let me handle the rest of the school." They nodded and grabbed their bags, heading out. Draco looked at his classmates. "Any remarks?"

"I'll kill you if you hurt him," Hermione told him.

"I have no intention of it," Draco sighed. "You really don't understand, Granger. Which is surprising. Some of my housemates I would expect that from. From you? Have you not researched his condition at all?" He turned and walked out, trusting Crabbe to get his things for him. He headed to Snape's side. "It's done," he told him as soon as he walked in. Snape dropped the spoon he had been using to fish a wand out of a cauldron, turning to stare at him, his back stiff. "He knows. Dinner tonight?"

"I'll expect them and the Headmaster."

"And possibly his parents," Draco corrected. "The Defense class knows as well. Someone recognized the mark."

Snape looked at him. "Was that wise?"

"Can you think of another way?"

"No," Snape admitted. "I can't. Seven, be dressed. Weasley will have clothes by then or he can wear that little dress of his. Leave." Draco left, going up to the Headmaster's office. "That was a private conversation," he said at the first hint of gossip. "You don't know what it was about and will not discuss it."


The Headmaster escorted Molly, Arthur, and Ginny downstairs to Severus' room, tapping politely on the edge of the painting. It opened for them, making him smile at the Potion's master. "Ginny needs to know as well. She'll be leaving before dinner."

"Very well. There is enough if she wanted to stay. We've had to add a plate for Potter as well." He ushered them into the sitting room he was using for this occasion. "Sit. Draco and I can explain everything."

"I certainly hope so," Arthur said, looking over at Ron, who was back in that little gray dress. "You look very nice in that, Ron," he said with a smile.

"Thanks, Dad. The laundry machine's still broke, it's all I have left." He shrugged at his mother's critical look. "Yes, it's that dress, mum. The one we used to desensitize Gryffindor and drive the staring Slytherins insane."

"It certainly did," Draco agreed, handing out drinks. Ginny looked at hers. "You'll probably want one before this is done with." He sat down on Ron's other side. "First off, let me say we know who told Voldemort now. One of the young ladies in the second year admitted it earlier in a fit of tears. Apparently she has decided that I'm scary," he said dryly. "My father told Voldemort enough for him to want to learn more. There was a promise of making a changeling to restore the Dark Lord to even greater glory but of course my father was arrested before he could make that happen." He sipped his wine, looking at Ron. He ran a finger over the mark under his ear. "This really is the only way to keep him safe, and to give Potter an edge and some protection. Since those two are together, I couldn't break them up." Molly's breath hitched.

"As of this morning," Harry told her. He touched his own mark. "You know I'd do anything to protect Ron, Mr. and Mrs. Weasley. You too, Ginny. This was the only way we saw."

Mrs. Weasley drained her drink and took Ginny's. "I understand the reasoning, but to mark him, Draco?"

"It was necessary." He looked at Ron, still stroking the mark with his fingertip. "This mark will let me know if something's wrong with either of them. It will also give me some access to their minds. Traditionally it was used as a way to make sure a wife was faithful," he told his new mates. They shuddered. "I have no such needs, nor do I want to know what you two do when alone. I may get some bleedover from it, but I won't try to *force* my way onto either of you." Harry slumped a bit and finished his drink, which refilled itself automatically. Draco looked at the Weasleys again. "There are few families who can stand against Voldemort if they wanted to. It takes power, wealth, and influence to do so. For him to attack my family would be unthinkable; my father was one of his first converts because he would bring in others." Snape nodded at that. "I will not force anything onto them, other than my protection. And the occasional shirt when Ron runs out of laundry again," he finished wryly.

"He traded shirts with me this morning because I was borrowing one of Harry's," Ron admitted. "It was a bit tight."

"You looked like you had just crawled out of bed and were going trolling for another," Ginny countered with a smile. "Is this like a marriage?"

"If he chose to enforce it," Arthur told her, patting her before putting an arm around her shoulders. "Thank you for protecting our son, Draco. I know it bothers you as much as it does us."

"Technically I do have a small fascination for Ron when she's in this state."

"He," Ron corrected firmly.

Draco smiled at him. "Technically," he said again, "all changelings that change gender are considered female by nature, no matter what they started out as. That's the more powerful side, the one that makes them more dangerous and deadly, even if you had started out female."

"The whole conception and carrying thing?" Ginny asked. Draco nodded calmly. "Mum, can we please make sure the twins destroy that formula?"

"They already have," Arthur assured her. "I made sure of it."

"I have a copy of their notes, it's being added to the journal Draco's starting now. He's pulled all his father's research on this matter and will be moving it to an even more restricted area of the library. The Dark Arts Special Collections room." Snape sipped his own drink.

"We wish this hadn't been necessary, but we couldn't find another way, Molly and Arthur," Dumbledore told them. "Severus has been unable to find a way to change Ron back."

"There was a way, but he would have had to of come into this as a total virgin," Draco offered. "Most people do this on the very young, so they don't get conflicting senses and input. It lends a more natural feeling to the blood they'll need some day and allows them to control the actions of their new changeling. That way they can be sure of exactly what she does and does not do." He stroked over Ron's mark again. "Would it bother you if I bought Ron clothes?"

"Yes," Ron told him, brushing off the finger. "I'm not your playtoy, Malfoy."

"I never said you were, Ron, but I do have certain standards to maintain. What are you wearing to the Yule Ball?"

"I got him something. It's light pink and velvet," Molly defended.

"The clothes transfiguring lessons are going to happen the week before," the Headmaster told him. "Ron can fix the collar and sleeves then."


"We found a dress robe the last Hogsmeade weekend," Harry told him. "I coordinate very well with Ron."

"Good. Then I'll check yours and take it into account when I go shopping for myself," Draco said, sipping his wine again. "Ginny? You have a question?"

"Why now?" she asked.

"Word got to us today that Voldemort knew," Severus explained.

"Doing so now sets a precedent for future behavior. The longer lasting the bond is, the more people are going to respect it. Newlyweds are fair game, older unions aren't." He smiled at Arthur. "Didn't your family mark their mates at one point in time? Most of the old bloodlines did."

"We gave it up as barbaric a few centuries back," Arthur admitted.

"It can be, depending on what you use it for," Draco agreed. "In this case, it's extra protection." He looked over at Potter. "I know your parents left you funds. Correct?" Harry nodded, looking bored. "Then I have to ask, why do you dress like that?"

"This is new," Harry told him.

"Really?" Harry nodded, smoothing down his metallic blue shirt. "That looks muggle."

"It is, but I like it anyway," Harry told him. "You don't need to know about my past."

"It would effectively keep the Dursleys away from you for good," Ginny offered as a counter-argument.

"He'll still have to go back there for a few days," Dumbledore told her. "Right, Harry?"

"Yes, sir. Only a week, right?"

"That should be long enough, yes. The others can stay at the Leaky Cauldron or something similar if they wanted to. That way they'd be nearby if something happened again."

"What would happen?" Draco asked. Dumbledore looked at him. "It's not like I don't need to know."

Molly sighed. "Tell him, Albus. He does need to know. Or Harry could." Harry shook his head and drained his drink, starting on the next one. "Come with me, Draco, I'll tell you since no one else will." She led him into the bedroom, telling him about what she had seen and witnessed. He slowly stiffened up, nodding when she was done. "That's why you don't pick on Harry," she warned.

"After hearing that, I'm surprised that he didn't turn out wrong somehow," Draco said thoughtfully, staring at the other room. She turned his chin around. "I won't use that against him. I know he'll fight back if I do."

"No, you'll never use it because if you do I'll free my son the old fashioned way from your mark. If anything happens to Ron, I'll make sure he's a widow. Do you understand?" she asked quietly. He shuddered. "Good boy. It's smart to be wary of me. Your father underestimated me a few times and nearly died because of it most of them. Don't make that mistake with me or my family." He nodded. "Thank you." She walked back and sat down, stopping to give the boys a hug. "It'll be fine."

"Did you tell him about the tail incident?" Ron asked.

Molly groaned and Arthur laughed. "I'm sure he doesn't need to hear that one," Harry told him, frowning at him. "I think he knows enough already."

Draco came back out, in control of himself again. "I've seen worse among the wizarding community."

"Yes, there have been a number of students who have come in already under the Imperious curse," Dumbledore agreed.

"On their own children?" Harry asked. "Why?"

"Because children are noisy and messy by nature," Severus told him. "That way the parents have perfect little creatures who do as they're told, never cause problems, and never cause a disturbance that would take them away from their petty lives. Isn't that correct, Mr. Malfoy?"

"My father only did it once and got found out. He blamed it on a mysterious gardener," Draco reminded him. "I always wanted to see the asskicking the Headmaster would give him if I had come to school with it on me."

"Too bad that never happened," Arthur muttered. He finished off his drink and the glass refilled, unlike his wife's. "Thought I'd need it more?"

"Your animosity toward my family is well know, Mr. Weasley. I thought you'd need it before the night was done," Draco told him. "The same as I thought Potter might." Harry put down his glass. "Go ahead and get drunk, you wouldn't be the first who did that their first night in the family."

Ron took Harry's glass and drained it dry, then put it back down. "I needed it too." He licked his teeth. "What were you drinking, Harry?"

"Brandy in the wrong glass. It tastes better in the large snifters." Draco put down his own glass. "Are there any other concerns?"

"I'm going to say this now," Ron said quietly. "I'm not your toy. I'm not your plaything to dress up or down, I'm not some little doll you can order and badger, and I'm not your happy fucktoy either. *IF* I take you to my bed, it will be on my terms and my terms alone."

"Agreed," Draco said, nodding. "An unwilling partner isn't fun and not my thing. That was my father." He looked over at Harry. "The same goes for you. I won't push anything."

"Then we'll keep them in their own dormrooms," the Headmaster told everyone. "Harry, Ron, your house has already had a discussion about what's happened. Neville told them." Ron groaned and held his forehead. "He was decidedly eloquent in your defense. He was also very thorough about what could happen if you fell into the wrong hands. Most of your house assumes you now are, but a few of the older families in there told the others about what was going on, how this would protect both of you from Voldemort for longer." They nodded. "They've decided that it's fine for you to stay, though most of them pity you for having to go this far to protect each other. Oh, and I believe you'll find a small gift of some sort on your bed, Harry, for your earlier agreement to date Ron." He looked at Molly. "That nice Longbottom boy told me. Ron finally figured out that he felt something for Harry this morning when Harry admitted that he wanted to ...snuggle up to his chest."

Molly nodded. "They're the sort boys like to do that to."

"Fortunately mine aren't that big," Ginny agreed.

Ron covered his chest. "Don't talk about them," he whined.

"They are magnificent," Draco told him. "They're worthy of discussion, if only because they're still standing up. Usually by our age, any that large start to sag." Harry glared at him. "Just a comment."

"You spent every month since school started staring at them," Harry told him. "Did you plan this ahead of time?"

"No. When I figured out what had to have happened I started to consider my options. Knowing the Death Eaters, someone would remember all the times my father bragged about his plans to make a changeling of his own. I had thought there were other options until that Hagrid stunt."

"Hagrid stunt?" Molly asked.

"A bunch of the Slytherin guys decided to bring me outside by pretending to be Hagrid and asking for my help with a few of the animals," Ron explained. "They decided I had bewitched them because they were feeling lust."

"Some of those boys haven't felt a thing since their first words," Draco told him. Ron looked stunned. "Feeling leads to thinking your own thoughts. It's done by the same parents who would Unforgivable their own children. Dissidence is not allowed."

"Yours?" Harry asked.

"No, in mine you were allowed to feel certain things. Pride, vanity, pleasure, pain, not much else." Draco looked at him. "We'll compare stories some day, Potter. I think you'd find it enlightening at the least." He stood up and held out a hand. "Dinner?" he suggested to Ron. She let them both help her up. "I'm not the ogre you think I am."

Ron looked at him. "I've spent seven years fighting you, prove it."

Draco laughed. "I think I can do that. Are you still craving chocolate? I had the house elves make some special mousse for you." He pulled out Ron's chair for him, watching as Potter helped him into it. "Shall I do the same for you?"

"I can do my own," Harry said firmly. "I'm not femme or feeble."

"Just trying to be polite." Draco took his own seat on Snape's left hand. The remaining Weasleys sat across from them with the Headmaster and Snape on each end. Snape rang the bell and they were served.


Later that night, after a small shouting match and understanding finally hit their dormmates, Harry and Ron lay cuddled together in Harry's bed. "Ron?" Harry whispered. Ron snuggled in. "Ron?" he asked again.


"I thought about asking the twins to do it to me too, so you wouldn't be the only one," he confessed.

"Don't, it's horrible," Ron said as he forced his head up. "This changing is really not the greatest." He smiled at him. "Really?" Harry nodded, biting his lip. "You were willing to screw up your life totally so I wouldn't be lonely?" Harry nodded again, pulling a small baggie out from under his pillow and holding it up. Ron's breath caught. "That's the potion," he said.

Harry tucked it away again. "I thought you might like me better if I did," he admitted, wrapping Ron more firmly in his arms. "I want to be yours."

"Harry," Ron sighed, laying back down. "You didn't have to do that. I came around."

"I've had it now for two months." Ron pinched him, making him wince. "Sorry."

"Promise me you'll hand that to Professor Snape tomorrow."

"Yeah, I think I will," Harry agreed, yawning. He felt better now. "I remember how you said you wouldn't mind having someone on the opposite schedule from you. I figured I'd take it halfway through your female phase so we wouldn't synch up."

"Harry, never, *ever* think about that again. It's not nice. It's not healthy. I don't want to lose you."

"I didn't want to lose you to someone who stares down your shirt. I wanted to be the one who got to see it all and who could enjoy it." Ron looked up at him, shifting so they could look at each other. "I guess it's part of the jealousy I get blinded by, but I wanted to be the one you clung to when things went odd. I figured we could help each other through it all. And maybe you'd even let me worship you now and then," he finished with a shy smile.

"Really?" Harry nodded. "Wow. I'm stunned." He kissed him. "There's no worship needed, but I'm stunned. No one's ever been willing to change themselves for me, especially not that much." He kissed him again.

Harry grinned. "I thought it was necessary." He wiggled a bit to get closer, wrapping an arm around Ron's waist. "Is this okay?"

"Yeah, I'm comfortable with that." Ron relaxed, starting to drift off again.

"Ron, can I...touch?"


"Just a bit? Please?"

"Fine." Ron flipped onto his back and snorted at the tentative touches to his chest. "They're not breakable, Potter." Harry grinned and started to grope. "Ow!" he said when his nipple got pinched. He did it back to Harry. "None of that."

"Yes, Ron." Harry laid down next to him, head on his friend's shoulder. "Thank you."

"You're welcome. Anything else?"

"I can wait until you're ready."

"Good. Sleep now. We've got another classday tomorrow." Harry fell asleep, face pressed against the things that had drawn him. Ron shook his head. "Boys!" he muttered. Then he hit himself on the head. "What am I saying?" he moaned. He gave himself a good mental shake then closed his eyes, forcing himself to go to sleep.


McGonagall looked around her classroom, taking in Ron's changed appearance. He was back in fully male form at the moment, the last time he would be before the holidays. "Today we will start working on a different sort of inanimate transformation," she announced. "Doing this sort takes more concentration and a more vivid imagination, that is why we've waited so long to take on the task of changing our clothes, and later our persons." She smiled at them. "In front of each of you is a shirt. You should have read the chapter on how to do this last night. I want you to start with colors, the move to patterns once you have that part down." She walked back to where Ron, Harry, and Malfoy were sitting closely together. "I know you're at a weak point for this skill, Mr. Weasley, but try your best." Ron nodded, unfolding the shirt. "Try for the simplest things first. You can practice this later."

"There's a way around that problem," Draco informed them. "It's a matter of willpower to change your state." He looked at Ron. "I found the entries last night, I'll show you them later."

"How do I do that?"

"Concentration, like always," Draco said quietly. "By bringing up your feminine side it will even you out."

"But I have problems when I'm both."

"I know, but it's better than being blocked, isn't it? For now it should do."

Ron concentrated on his body, remembering the feeling of the breasts weighing his breathing down, the feel of the lighter frame and smaller parts. He pointed his wand and muttered the command to change colors, getting a half result. It was only half as dark as he hand wanted ti to be, light blue instead of navy. "Wow."

"Excellent. With some more practice you should be able to master that," McGonagall encouraged. "Continue this until you get it right, then move on to add patterns. Stripes or dots are easiest I've found."

Draco leaned down from his seat behind them. "This is entirely in your head. That blockage, all of it," he told them. "You can get past it with some work and effort. Try for something amusing, like plaid, she'll give you extra points if you can mimic her clan tartan." He worked on changing his own shirt. Color, pattern, and form were all completed. He had learned this one last summer when his mother had been stressing over a social event to help her. McGonagall came back and he held out his shirt with a smug look. "My mother taught me," he said at her skeptical look. "For a formal event."

"Oh." She nodded. "I understand that such things are important to people like her. Very well done, Mr. Malfoy, you even changed the internal color. Five points." She watched as Ron tried it again, getting plaid, her plaid. "Well done, Mr. Weasley," she said happily. "Ten points for getting past that and doing splendidly." She took his shirt to show off. "You see, if you concentrate hard enough, it can be most spectacular," she told the others.

Harry grinned at Ron. "Nice work." He looked at his shirt, trying for something equally as nice. A funny picture popped into his mind, a pair of pants he had seen in Muggle London when he and Ron had been shopping for him. The shirt in front of him changed to fit that pattern. Dark blue background, with silver paisley and red accents. He laughed and held it up. "I mimicked it," he told the teacher when she looked at him. He turned it around since he had only gotten the front half.

"My, that's ...good," she said, trying hard not to laugh.

"Fond of paisley are you?" Hermione teased.

Harry nodded. "It's got something to trace when you're bored." He worked on the back of the shirt, making them match, even matching the seams. McGonagall took it from him. "How's that?"

"Very good. Five points, Mr. Potter." She handed them a new set of shirts. "Now try to lower the neckline, hopefully without making it disappear." She went to help a few of the students who were stuck.

Ron chuckled, leaning against Harry's side briefly. "Paisley? Is that what that one's called?" Harry nodded. "Good job." They grinned at each other.

Malfoy clapped. "Wonderful job of showing off. You're not wearing that the Yule Ball, correct?"

"No, mine's a darkish medium blue," Harry told him. "It compliments Ron's nicely."

"Good." He looked at Ron. "Bring them down to my rooms tonight and we'll see if I have anything that matches," he said quietly.

"I think you're taking it for granted that we're going together," Ron told him.

Draco leaned forward. "I think you misunderstood what was said at dinner, Weasley," he hissed. Ron blushed. "Thank you. After dinner? We can figure out our next paper topic."

"I wanted to do one on what sort of defense can be done when you're captured," Ron said firmly. Harry shrugged and nodded. Draco shrugged. "Good." He turned back to his new shirt and looked at the normal collar, then squinted and bit his top lip, lowering it down to a large scoop.

"I think that'd show everything you had," Harry said gently. "Bring it back up by a few inches."

Ron held the shirt up against him and nearly squeaked. It did uncover all his breast area. He changed it back until it was more covering, but still lower. Then he changed it to Harry's pattern with a smug look at Malfoy.

"Very nicely done," Malfoy agreed. "T-shirts are easier than other fabrics though."

"We have a large piece of velvet for those who get to it," McGonagall said as she took the shirt to look at. "Paisley again?"

"I thought it was cute," Ron defended. "Plus, it's not got a plunging neckline."

"Very good. We'll be trying these on later, over your present clothes of course," she noted at the shocked sound from one of the females. She smiled and handed over some tougher fabric, gauze. "Try that one, Mr. Weasley."

"And do what, ma'am?"

"The same series. Each fabric resists differently due to their weave and what type of fibers were used to make it. Start with colors and move onward." She walked away, going to mark that Ron had finished that exercise as well.


Draco looked at the two robes, then at the boys. "Potter, make yours a few shades darker. Not navy, but a deeper blue. It should go better and make Ron light up." He walked over to his large closet and pawed through the robes in there. "This one I think," he decided, pulling out a dull gray, patterned one. The waves were woven in so it looked like oddly colored water. He held it against the other two and nodded. "Yes, this should do."

"That looks too small," Ron pointed out from his seat on the couch. He pulled Harry down next to him. "He does have better taste than either of us," he admitted. Harry grumbled something but quit glaring. He ran a finger across the back of Harry's neck, making him shiver and give him a kiss.

Draco rolled his eyes and changed Potter's robe for him, tramping down the urge to make it too dark. He was going to have to get over this animosity. He tried on his and found it to be too small. "I'll have to order a new one in this fabric," he decided, laying it aside for the next trip into town. He noticed that the couple were still kissing. He cleared his throat, breaking them apart. "Thank you. Ron, how is the topic looking?"

"There's enough subsections for each of us," Ron admitted, pulling his bag closer and handing over the list of things he had found.

"Wandless magic?" Draco asked, looking at him. "You mean like leaking?"

Harry shifted on his comfortable lap seat. "In the muggle world, there's stories about people who follow Nature and they use wandless magic supposedly. I owled Flourish and Blotts and they said they had a book on it, it's on its way now since we didn't have it in the library."

"Oh." Draco looked stunned. "Is it hard?"

"I don't know," Harry admitted. "It seems damn handy though. Especially if you're without your wand."

"You could just let go and leak some more," Ron gently reminded him. "You did yesterday and nearly sent all the dishes at lunch onto the floor, Harry." Harry frowned and looked at the carpet. "I know, it's your temper, but you've got to control it a bit better. Even if someone did try to pinch me on the butt."

"Who?" Draco demanded. Ron looked at him, one eyebrow drifting up. "Those marks mean that you're mine, Weasley, no one else should ever think about touching you. The appropriate thing for me to do is to hex them into better behavior."

"It was one of the fourth years in our house," Harry admitted. "He's got a crush on Ron." He leaned closer into Ron's body. "Hermione and Ron handled it."

"Good. Tell me the next time." He looked at Harry, who shrugged. "I think there's something around here that could help you with that leaking. How are your occulmentary lessons going, Potter?"

"Not very well. Why?" he asked cautiously, taking Ron's hand to hold.

"Because there's a book I found for you on meditation and shielding," Draco said patiently. "Not only will it keep you from feeling anything from me, but it will help the leaking, keep our game against each other fair, and keep you in a more even temper. Would you like it?" Harry nodded, looking at him. "Will you practice? Snape said you never did for him."

"I did, but I couldn't do what he said," Harry admitted. "All he ever did was attack me and expect me to put up barriers."

"Ah! That's the problem. Fortunately it can be cured. The red book on my second bookshelf," he said, pointing behind him. "Zen magic."

Harry stood up and retrieved the book, flipping through it. "This works?"

"It did for my mother in her youth," Draco admitted. Harry stared at him and Draco gave him a confident smile. "My mother has bad hormone swings with her cycles. She often leaked magic until my father forced that book onto her. I was about three and she had me do the exercises with her. Boring as hell, but necessary." He shifted in his seat and rang a bell, bringing a house elf. "Drinks," he ordered.

"I'm fine," Ron corrected. The elf left, not looking at him. "You didn't have to."

"It's a host's job to offer refreshments. Since we're working on that paper, we should probably get comfortable." Harry looked at him. "You can drink in here around my books as long as you're careful, unlike the library."

"Good point," Harry agreed, sitting down again. "We didn't bring down those books though."

"Use your wand, Potter," Draco sighed. "Not everything has to be that difficult. Summon the things."

Harry pulled his wand and summoned them, staring at Draco. "Sometimes doing things the ordinary way is more fulfilling."

"In this case it would waste valuable time," Draco pointed out. "We only have two days to write this one." The house elf reappeared with a tray of drinks and snacks. "Put it on the table."

"Thank you," Harry said, taking the tray. The elf gave him a smile and disappeared. "You could be nicer to them."

"Or else we'll sic Hermione on you for a lecture on elf rights," Ron said wryly.

Draco laughed. "Elf rights?"

"She wants to free them and let them form a labor union," Harry agreed, smiling. "We keep trying to tell her but she doesn't listen."

"What will she think of next? Forcing us all to quit wearing robes?"

"Just pants for women," Harry told him. "She and Ginny are both tied up in that idea."

"I agree. Skirts are uncomfortable," Ron agreed. "You have to watch how you sit, what you wear under them, who's behind you. You have to be very conscious of your clothes."

"That's why some women wear the long, flowing skirts. They can sit cross-legged on the floor and no one can see anything," Harry pointed out. "Like what George was wearing."

"I look short in them," Ron told him. "I tried, but I looked bad. My legs are my best point."

"They even out your chest," Draco said as he took a glass. "All right, let's start this thing. What order?"

"I think we'll have to go in page length again," Harry suggested. "We each pick a small part and go with it?" They nodded, opening a book and picking a topic to write about. Three hours later they had two feet of parchment written, but now they needed to join it together. "Mine flows into Ron's, but you've got that half-page," Harry said, frowning at the papers.

"Either we recopy it or we trim a bit," Ron agreed, looking at his section.

"Or we put chapter headings on them and put all these papers into a binder," Draco suggested. "A simple copying spell to put things into the proper order should be good enough." He dug out some clean parchment and started copying sections over, putting them into a logical order. "There, how's that?"

Ron pointed at his. "You forgot one."

"That one's so broad we can use it for next week's paper," Harry suggested. "Get a headstart on it."

"Okay." Ron grinned at him. "One less thing to worry about next week."

"Then two weeks from now we have to fit your robe to you," Draco reminded him. Ron looked skeptical. "Fit it to your assets and take into account your unique shape. That way we all look our best. I'll help Potter fit his as well." Someone knocked on his portrait and he walked over, letting the young female in. "What do you want, Patil?"

Parvati looked at Ron and Harry, blatantly ignoring him. "Aren't you coming to dinner?"

"We're working on the defense paper," Ron said dryly, pointing at it. "Are we still on for our talk tonight?" She nodded, smiling at him. "Then we'll work through dinner and meet you upstairs in about two hours?" She hugged him then left them alone. "Harry, I may not be back tonight. The girls and I are having a slumber party. Hermione may come over and sleep on my bed if we drive her to distraction though. I gave her permission."

"Why didn't she take her own room?" Draco asked. "It was her right. You could have been together down there."

"Because she thought she wanted to be around us more often than not," Harry told him. "This way we didn't have to make excuses to work with her."

"Besides, when she turned it down we were dating and McGonagall said I couldn't visit her in her rooms without a chaperone or another student. This way we could sneak around and snog without getting her into trouble," Ron added.

"Thankfully I don't have those restrictions," Draco sighed, standing up. "What about this new book? Will we need it right now?"

"Not yet," Harry told him. "I can do that part myself if necessary."

"Do you have those journal entries?" Ron asked. "Since we're taking a break and all."

Draco snapped his fingers and found the book on his cluttered worktable, handing it over. "The yellow ribbon," he noted, heading for the bathroom. "I'll be right back." He closed the door behind him, leaning on the sink and taking a few deep breaths. "Those two are going to be the death of me yet," he muttered, finding that minuscule spot of control. "Don't they realize that they're bleeding through the bond and it's echoing?"

Out on the couch, Ron had pulled Harry closer and kissed him senseless. "For being so polite," he whispered. "A reward for both of us." Harry grinned and stole another kiss before curling up with the new book. Maybe it would help. He had horrible control some days and this seemed interesting enough.


The day before the ball found the girls and a mostly female Ron tweaking his robe to make it perfect. The sleeves had been fitted, but weren't too tight. The hem was now an inch shorter than it had been. They figured his heels should do well enough for this outfit as well. Now they were working on the neckline. "You need something stunning," Hermione argued. "Something that dips a bit to entice and keep both your men out of trouble." The other girls tittered and giggled.

Parvati shook her head. "No, if he does that he's going to be at the mercy of Harry the lech all night. Have you *seen* how often he tries to stare down Ron's shirt?" That got more laughter.

Ron groaned. "I just want to look nice," he put in. "Something that maybe minimizes them but still makes me look decent enough." He looked down at the pink robe. "Not that I think I look good in light pink, but still."

"You do," Hermione assured him. "It suits your coloring. It even reduces your freckles." She ran her hands through Ron's hair. He hadn't had it cut in nearly three months. "We'll have to do something about this as well. It's not long enough to style classically or to pull back dramatically."

"You shouldn't pull it away from his face at all," Ginny put in from the corner she was inhabiting. The ladies were going to help her as well. "It makes his forehead look big." She gave her brother a critical look, noticing how his chest was flatter at this point. "Ron, are they going to grow tonight?"

"They should. Tomorrow's my first day as a full girl." He looked down. "Hey, I can see my feet," he said happily.

"At least until tomorrow. What about underthings?" Parvati asked, making Ron blush deeply. "You know, that goes nicely with the robe. Let Harry give you naughty thoughts all night, Ron."

Ron's blush got brighter. "He bought me things to wear under it," he admitted. The girls laughed again. "Really. Light pink to match." He reached for his bag and held them up. "See?"

"Those will hold you up," Ginny told him, looking at the bra. "Expect to be standing proud tomorrow."

"My back will kill me."

"At least you can breathe when they're up like that," Hermione told him. "One of my mother's friends had to hitch hers down because she couldn't breathe in a push-up bra. The breasts nearly crushed her windpipe according to her." She twitched the back of the robe around Ron's rear, making it fall better. "We're going to need a bit of fitting here, it's riding high on his butt." She frowned and lengthened the back by an extra inch, nodding when she was done. "That's good." Parvati helped her fit the back to his figure. "Even better," she said, sharing a look with her friends. "Okay, now we get back to the neckline."

"If he's going to grow tonight we should probably leave it," Ginny offered. "That way he doesn't end up lewd or off-center."

"Lower it another inch and leave it," Ron decided. "We can fix it again tomorrow if necessary." It was lowered for him and he took a long look at himself, nodding because he liked what he saw. "Decent." He hopped down and took it off. "Thank you, ladies. Can I run over and get help with my makeup and hair again?"

"We're having a day of beauty in the afternoon," Hermione told him, giving him a brief hug. "You're going to come over and we're going to do the whole lot of us." He grinned and hugged the other girls, leaving his sister for last. "What's Harry wearing?"

"A dark blue color."

"What's Draco wearing?" Parvati asked.

"A medium gray with subtle patterns in the weave. Looks like water." He shrugged. "He picked it out, not me. I only helped pick Harry's out." He gathered up his things. "Need my help?"

"No, I don't think we're going to go in McGonagall's tartan," Ginny said dryly, winking at him. "Go snog Harry so he leaves everyone alone." He hurried out. "Is it me or are they terminally cute?"

"They're terminally cute," Hermione said, staring at the door. "It's odd, but Draco's keeping them in line most days." The girls laughed. "Seriously," she said, turning to look at them. "He's stopped them from nearly shagging in the hall last Sunday. He's their voice of reason and sense."

"That is scary," Ginny agreed. "Malfoy has common sense?"

"Must have been all those curses Ron and Harry threw his way," Parvati suggested. "Okay, Ginny, you're next, dear." She put on her robe and stepped up onto the stool. Parvati clucked. "That is much too long. What was your mother thinking? And it's the wrong shade of purple for your hair." She and Hermione got to work on the robe, making her as stunning as Ron was. Neville would appreciate it greatly.


Ron and Harry walked down to the doors of the Great Hall, meeting Draco there. Draco immediately took out a lint brush and used it on Potter's robe. Then he stared at Ron's breasts. "Are you trying to stun everyone in there?"

"We fixed it before they finished filling in," Ron explained. The neckline was a bit daring, but he thought it was good enough. "I think it's okay," he defended at the raised wand.

"Weasley, I can see your nipples," Draco said firmly. "Every time you breathe. Just an inch higher maybe." He raised the neckline, then raised it another inch. "There, how's that?"

"I can still see them and most others can't," Harry said happily, smiling smugly. He had known Draco was going to do that. It saved him from having to try and messing up Ron's robe. "Any other changes?"

"No, I think we should be fine," Draco told them, putting away the lint brush. "Do you want left or right, Potter?"

"You could call us by our first names," Ron said bitterly as he took Harry's left arm. Draco offered his right. "Thank you."

"You're welcome. I thought you didn't want me that close," Draco said quietly, glancing around. "If you do, then I'll gladly call you both by your given name."

"Please," Harry requested. "At least in public."

"Then I shall. Let's go in and stun everyone," he told them. "Harry, door?"

Harry opened the door, letting them all in. There was some muttering going on but he ignored it. Ron did look stunning. He shot him a smile and held out a hand. This was swaying music, he could do that. "Dance?"

"Love to," Ron agreed. "Be right back." He let Harry take him out into the crowd, moving slowly with him. "This is nice."

"You look stunning," Harry whispered. Ron blushed. "There's this glow around you and you look like a fairytale princess."

"Thank you." He clapped as the dance ended, stepping back from Harry to do so. A firm arm went around his waist. "Get off," he warned, still smiling. He turned his head and found Crabbe behind him and Draco right behind him. "Off. Now."

"May I have this dance?" Crabbe asked. "And a short discussion?"

"If you must," Draco said firmly. Crabbe blanched. "Ron?"

"Sure, why not," Ron said with a shrug, letting the big goon lead him off a few steps. "What did you want to talk about?"

"I wanted to make sure you knew to treat Draco right," he said as they moved slowly. He wasn't much of a dancer and had little grace but he didn't step on toes. "Others have noticed that you're not that...intimate with each other and rumors are starting." Ron looked at him. "You know I'm bound to Draco by my father's promise, I'd do anything for the guy, but I won't see him hurt."

"I have no intention of hurting him. I'm not playing, Crabbe."

"Vincent. Since you're all but married to him you might as well call me by my first name. No matter the reason." Ron nodded, giving him a small smile as well. "Try to cuddle up to him. Plenty of us know why Draco took you in, we figured it out with a little bit of careful questioning to Professor Snape, but most of us figured you'd be closer by now." The dance ended. "Thank you," he said, bowing, leading her back to the two scowling mens' sides. "Draco." He nodded and went back to his date, Pansy.

Draco led Ron off. "What did he want?"

"He wanted us to be closer, said there were rumors." Ron envied him the grace he had, he felt like he was going to trip.

"Quit concentrating on your feet, let me lead," Draco commanded gently. "Did he say anything else?"

"Just that there were rumors started about why we weren't closer. It seems that they've been asking questions and think they understand why you, and I quote, took me in. He was very gentlemanly. Told me to call him by his given name even."

"Hmm." Draco twirled Ron around, surprising him before pulling him back in. "I like Vincent. He's steady. He does think and he knows what's going on. He watches things and people. Like the best professional bodyguards he's always alert for danger." He smiled down at his partner. "Though the closer thing is still up to you, we could make a decent show of it later."

"A kiss under the mistletoe?"

"Or something closer," Draco agreed. "Do you think Harry would mind?"

"Probably. He's a tad bit jealous in case you hadn't noticed," he said with a smile. "What did you have in mind?"

"Come, let's get you something to sip on and we'll discuss it together. Since it is the three of us." He led her back to Potter's side, getting drinks for them and heading to a table to watch the crowd go by. Many other girls walked up and gave him a shy smile, but he only nodded at them until Ginny came over. "May I?" he asked, standing up and holding out a hand. "Always good to get on with the in-laws." He smirked at her shocked look. She let him lead her out onto the floor.

Ron looked at Harry. "Vincent said that people are wondering why we're not closer," he whispered. Harry groaned and kissed him on the cheek. "Not us."

"I understood before, I'm not ready for that yet."

"A kiss under the mistletoe?"

"If I have to. I'm not sure I want to do that with him."

"You kiss me."

"Yeah, but you're not him." Harry grinned at the laughing Ginny was doing. "She's got her planning face on again."

"Oh, dear," Ron sighed. He looked down at himself. "Does this look too low to you?"

"If I could, I'd put you in turtlenecks," Harry reminded him, taking his hand to play with. "If that's what you want, Ron, I can't argue with you."

"Harry, the both of us or nothing."

"Yeah, I know." Harry considered it. This had been done for practical matters, nothing else. He watched Draco, trying to stay objective, but nothing was happening in his mind. "It's not like he's unattractive."

"No, he's very attractive and suave, he's even been gentle with us." Harry looked at him and Ron smiled. "I've been thinking too."

"We'll see how it goes," Harry decided. "If we have to, then I will."

Draco walked Ginny back, she was still laughing. "Thank you for the lovely dance."

Ginny looked at Ron's dress robes. "That's much better. I had worried that we'd gotten it too low."

"It was, I adjusted it up two inches," Draco said dryly, sitting down again. He patted Ron's hand. "Ready for another go?"

"Let me finish my punch. I didn't get a chance to eat earlier." He looked at Harry, who shrugged. "You could go out with Potter. He's about as good as I am."

"That's my cue to find Neville and pull him away from the guys," Ginny announced, walking away.

Draco looked at Harry. "Would you like to dance?"

"Sure, why not. Ginny looked like she had fun." He stood up and let Draco walk him out there. "Who's leading?"

"This is a formal dance. Do you know the steps?"

"Not a one," Harry admitted.

"Then follow my lead and skip every other person when the time comes," he said, taking their place in the line. They bowed to each other and started off on the waltz. "You do well enough," Draco decided after a few moments. "Remember, every other one until the end." They switched sides and Harry's side moved up so he got a new partner, Dean Thomas. Draco watched as Harry repeated the same steps, mindful to continue dancing with his partner, Pansy.

She took a step closer when it was time. "Are you together finally? I notice the mark hasn't lowered itself any." She stepped back.

He grimaced, clapping. "I'm taking my time. Doing so any other way would make them more of a target, as you well know if what I heard is true." She nodded, and then his side got to skip down to a new partner, back to Harry. "Sorry, had to talk to her."

"That's okay," Harry said as they walked around each other, free hands on their hip. Then they stepped back. "And?"

"There's more I've found out, I'll tell you later, when we're all together again." They clapped and changed partners again. He got back Pansy. "Well?"

"Why not?"

"Because innocence determines the strength of the blood," he reminded her. That was common knowledge since that one stupid person had done the potion.

"I hadn't thought of that," she admitted, walking around him. "So? Is he a good kisser? Or should I say she?"

"They're both excellent at it, but we tend to be more platonic while they get used to the idea. After so many years, we're slowly mending some fences." The clap/skip maneuver happened and he ended back with Potter at the head of the line. "I need to know how you feel about certain things."

Harry blushed and watched his feet. "I feel very well about a lot of things, it's just the person attached to the thoughts that's hanging me up," he admitted, stepping forward. They moved around each other again, hands clasped.

"Look at me," Draco commanded. Harry did so and he smiled. "We can fix those. Tonight, my room. It won't look odd at all and I've already received permission if necessary since we have to talk." Harry nodded and the dance ended so he gave Draco another bow. "This one's less formal, more like what you did with Ron. Would you like to continue?"

"I think we should hash this out now," Harry agreed. "I'm trying to stay honest," he noted as he moved into Draco's arms. "Am I leading?"

"If you like. The first time you step on me that's changing." He let Harry lead them this time. "Very nice."

"It was an option for gym class," Harry admitted. He shrugged at the amused look. "It got me out of soccer and lacrosse." He glanced around, smiling at Ron, who was dancing with Justin. "He looks so happy."

"He is happy. Things are finally settling themselves into a pattern." Harry looked at him. "I know what Ron is thinking, I need to know what you are."

"I don't know. It's ...different with Ron."

"Because I'm not female all the time?"

"Yeah." Harry forced himself not to touch his pocket. "I lied to Ron," he whispered. "And I think I should tell you why."

"You have some of the potion?" Draco said flatly. Harry nodded. "Why?"

"Because I adore Ron and I was willing to go through all that for him."

"Do you still have it?" Harry nodded. "In your room?"

"On me. It's usually in my bookbag. I didn't want to leave it lying around in case the house elves found it."

"I see. What did Ron want you to do with it?"

"Give it to Snape. I promised him I wouldn't take it."

"If you did, there's no guarantee that you'd end up like him. He had unique circumstances, Harry. You could do like the mice the twins tested it on and just change for a few hours."

"At least then I'd understand and be what Ron needs when he's different."

"Good point, and charming, but you could also die. That formula is three times stronger than it should have been. Weight wasn't the issue for dosage, moon phase was. Ron was allergic," he said at the clear question in the green eyes. "That's why he had the seizure." He stepped back as the dance ended. "I won't make you give it to me, but I don't want you to take it either."

"Yes, Draco. Is it really that dangerous?"

"For you, yes, it is," he said, looking totally serious. "Even if you were to change, the cranky one would have much more reason to hunt you down. You make him drool now, you'd have him salivating if you took it."

"Then I'll hand it over tonight," Harry said, heading to the knot of teachers. "Professor Snape?" he asked quietly. "May I have a word with you?" He got a nod and was let into the back hall. He pulled out the bag and handed it over. "Ron told me to give you this. I got it from the twins myself."

"You were going to use it to give Weasley an opposite?" Snape asked. Harry nodded, looking down at his feet again. "I see." He looked at the crumbled mass of herbs. "Thank you for turning this over. Is this all of it?" Harry nodded again, not looking up. He forced the boy's chin up. "It wouldn't have turned you for more than a day."

"At least Ron would have me that way for that long," he said quietly.

"You do love him," Snape said, sounding faintly amused. Harry nodded, swallowing. "Then Albus should be having a discussion with you soon, Potter. There are a few family things you don't know."

"We had a mark?"

"Weasley does. Your family didn't that I know of. However, the ruins of your parent's home, and your father's childhood home, were rummaged through and saved for you. You'll get it on your majority." Harry looked stunned. "We weren't allowed to say anything until you had found your perfect mate by your parent's wills. I believe you think you have."

"I have," Harry said, smiling. "Can I tell the others?"

"If you wish. Albus has in his possession the keys to those vaults. Mr. Malfoy would be one to ask what to do with the money you'll be receiving." He opened the door. "I'll be destroying this tonight. Tell Weasley he was wise to discourage you from doing this, no matter how ardent you feel about him." Harry nodded and left him alone. Snape walked back over to the Headmaster, showing off the bag. "He was willing to suffer for him," he said simply.

"I'll tell him what was found tomorrow," Albus agreed. "Remarkable that such a little thing would cause so many problems."

"Can you imagine what would happen if he had taken it and changed fully?" Snape asked quietly. They both shuddered. Voldemort would have come after them all to get his enemy if that had happened. There would have been nothing that could have stopped him.

Harry sat down next to Ron. "I gave Snape the rest of the potion," he admitted.

"Just now?" Ron asked. Harry nodded. "I thought you were going to give that to him months ago, Harry. How could you even think about doing this to yourself!" he asked angrily.

"Easy, Ron, for the same reason as he's already told you," Draco informed him. "He wanted to be everything that you'd ever need. It's a foolish, yet heartfelt wish." He looked at Harry. "It would have also endangered everyone within six miles of him because Voldemort would have done *anything* to get him if he had changed. Then he would have broken him in to make the perfect solution to gain power." Harry blanched. "You were right to hand it over and not try it."

Ron gripped Harry's hand. "I can't lose you so don't even think about it. Wait until after the fight if you absolutely have to, Harry, not now." Harry nodded again, looking miserable. "I understand and I'd welcome it if it wasn't so dangerous," Ron said in a gentler tone of voice, hugging him. "We have time for that. I'm not losing you, no matter if I have to kill old stinky snake guy myself." Harry looked alarmed, opening his mouth to protest, so Ron kissed him. "Deal with it, I'm not hiding. He won't take me during whatever fights you have against him."

"You won't be fighting," Draco said firmly. "He is devious enough to get you kidnaped during the battle. We'd hate to have to destroy a good portion of the countryside to find you." He and Ron shared a look. "For the same reason he couldn't take it and join you, you can't fight beside him, Ron," he said calmly. "That's part of why I'm here, to take your place during those fights. You'll be protecting the others, which is something you're excellent at. Not in the middle of the battle being risked." Ron opened his mouth and he grabbed Ron's hand, squeezing it hard. "Think about what will happen if you're lost," he hissed. "How devastated Harry will be, or your family. How the rest of the world may be in ruins because even if you die your blood will still have power."

"It will?" Ron asked quietly, glancing around.

"There are special funeral procedures to muddy your blood when you die so your remains aren't dug up to retrieve any of it."

"Do his parents know?" Harry asked, starting to turn green. "I can't lose you, Ron."

"I know, Harry." Ron gave him a hug to calm him down. "Do they?"

Draco nodded. "I sent them a copy of everything pertinent since they're on the forefront of the battles. Your powerflow issues, your burial hazards. All of it." Ron nodded. Draco smiled. "One other thing you have to think about is the fact that you absolutely should never get pregnant. No matter what. If you do, not only could you lose control and destroy a good part of the country, it's thought that the child will be doubly vulnerable while it adds another layer of corruption to your energy streams. That's one of the last anyone thinks about, but it's still a factor."

Ron shuddered. "Eww. I don't want to go through that anyway."

"Excellent." He smiled at them. "Now calm down and put that out of your mind until later, Potter. Sorry, Harry," he said at the dirty look Ron shot him. "Would either of you want to dance?"

"I think I want another turn with Ron," Harry said quietly, helping Ron to his feet and out onto the floor. "I'm glad I didn't go through with it now," he admitted after a few minutes of calm in Ron's arms.

"Me too. Hey, if cranky ass can hear your thoughts, can you tease him with the idea of doing it?" Ron asked suddenly.

Harry laughed. "We'll see. I don't know when he's in there and when he's not. It'd probably drive him into a frenzy of preparation and then disappoint him greatly at the least."

"Hopefully it'll depress him so much that he'll be incapacitated for a few weeks," Ron suggested, giving him a pinch on the butt. "Think about how he's got to be swearing. You're too ethical to use my blood to raise your levels. His greatest desire is in the hands of his greatest enemy."

Harry beamed. "I like disappointing Voldemort. Gives me the warm fuzzies. Just like you do." They shared a kiss and the kids around them clapped. "Thanks," he said with a bright blush. He took Ron back to their table. "Sorry, couldn't resist."

"That's all right," Draco agreed. "It's good to see you happier."

"I reminded him that his worst enemy's fondest wish is in the hands of the creature he loathes most," Ron said smugly. "It gave him squishy feelings."

Draco laughed. "I'm sure Voldemort is presently throwing many fits about wanting what Harry has. Or even what I have." He held a hand out. "Continue our discussion on the floor?"

Harry stood up and pulled Draco up, kissing him gently. "You treat Ron very well," he noted, taking Ron while Draco was still stunned. It was another waltz. "Do you know this one?" Ron nodded. "Good, you lead," he said changing places with him, much to the amusement of the girls he was now with. "I was never taught most of these," he explained. "Waltzes were taught as an alternate gym class," he said as he followed the movements of those around him.

"Muggles waltz?" one of the Slytherins down the line asked.

"They used to. Our composers wrote the music for most of them." He shrugged at her look. "They did. Mozart was a muggle."

"Hmph." She turned to the person beside her, moving with them now. "At least you got some classical education with them."

"Not really. It was that or soccer and lacrosse," Harry noted, following his new partner's lead. "I suck at this," he decided with a smile, making her laugh and nod. "Sorry."

"You have enthusiasm," Ron told him as they rejoined together. "That's what's important in these things. If I want to waltz I know to ask Draco," he finished with a grin.

"Yeah, he knows all these old dances," Harry agreed. "I wonder if all social gatherings are like this."

"Yup," Ron told him. "That's why my mother forced us to learn all these dances at a young age, just in case we needed them." He winked. "She'd be proud, I'm doing it in heels." The other girls laughed. "She never expected this when she taught me."

"At least you can lead," Harry offered. The dance ended and he hugged Ron. "A slow one?" he asked, listening to the music.

"Nope, another waltz." Ron looked around and motioned Draco over. "Harry doesn't know most of these. Do a few with me?"

"Of course." He nudged Harry out of the way. "Sorry." Harry walked off, watching them go at it. "Are you sure?"

"I'm sure, I like to dance. Mum used to dance with us in the living room." He smiled at his sister, who was laughing with Neville. "Even she learned."

"I'm glad it brings up happy memories for you. I had an instructor, of course," he said dryly as they started to move, a stroll then breaking up into four lines instead of two. "My father demanded I become proficient so I wouldn't embarrass him at events we held." He spun Ron around and took him back again, bowing to him. "We should hold an event after graduation." Ron stumbled and he covered for him. "Sorry."

"Does that mean what I think it means?"

"It would look odd if you didn't stay with me," Draco pointed out, giving him a faint smile. "You'll have your own rooms. I won't intrude."

"Yeah, sure," Ron agreed, his head starting to spin. "I hadn't even considered that. You remember Harry has to go home for a week each year?" Draco nodded, his face hardening. "What did mum tell you?"

"A few things. Things like you having to send food to him and how small his room is." He glanced at Potter, who was dancing with Parvati's twin sister. "Why he was so small compared to the other males in the class," he said quietly, looking back at Ron. He saw the anger there. "I haven't said anything."

"I'm not mad at you. I routinely rant about his Aunt and Uncle. They don't deserve his protection, not even for what little they did give him in protection and a place to sleep."

"I'm sure we'll have to go over that some day. Those sort of wounds fester and keep you from being your best." They did another stroll and went back to the two lines. "Were you wanting to visit my house this season? We could go for the holidays. My mother's in the South of France for her health. The snow makes her sick."

"Ask Harry. I didn't really have anything planned," Ron told him.

Harry's answer a few minutes later was, "Wouldn't that be tempting fate for an attack?"

Draco shook his head. "Not in the least. If we split up it would, but not if we all went together." He looked at Ron's form. "I noticed you didn't have any sweaters that fit this form. I need some and so does Harry. We could make a trip of it or stay here and shop in town," he offered.

"I don't want to accept presents," Ron said quietly, glancing around.

"It wouldn't be. I'm making sure you'll be safe and warm, not gifting you with outlandish things like jewelry." He gave them both a look. "Or you could have Potter buy you some," he said with a touch of bitterness in his voice.

"My family can buy our own clothes," Ron said more firmly.

"Fine." Draco leaned back in his chair. "You and your stubborn pride."

"My stubborn pride kept me from being humiliated by you more than once," Ron pointed out. He looked at Harry, who looked torn. "Not you too!" he said in disgust.

"Just on the sweater things," Harry offered. "Your mother said she sent you boy clothes because she wasn't sure what you would need as a female." Ron groaned and hung his head, shaking it. "Sorry, Ron, but it is a practical thought. Besides, Ma...Draco's right." Draco looked stunned, glass halfway to his lips. "I do need some more sweaters. I didn't buy any winter clothes when we went shopping before school started. I don't want to keep wearing Dudley's old castoffs and I'd like some new clothes of my own. But I won't force you to do more than come with me."

"Fine," Ron sighed, giving in. "I'll let you help me shop for sweaters, but I'm buying them."

"Fine," Draco agreed, putting down his cup. "May I get you a Yule present? Something nice, like a gift certificate to a store that sells clothes perhaps? In a reasonable amount," he said at the opening mouth, holding up a hand. "To supplement whatever your parents can spare. To all looking on, you are my spouses and I should be doing things like this," he explained at the hurt look, leaning forward. "I don't mean to be rude at this moment, but it is something to consider."

"I didn't want to consider that sort of stuff," Ron admitted, pouting.

"I had noticed that when I suggested we go to my home earlier," Draco said, smiling at him. "Come on, quit pouting. I'll buy you a pretty dress that stuns Harry speechless." He held out a hand. "There's another waltz coming, the pattern's about to repeat."

"Okay," Ron sighed, taking his hand and allowing himself to be led back onto the dance floor. "I really can buy my own clothes."

"I know you can. This is about upholding an image and the idea that we're official," he reminded him. "Usually I'd be expected to purge your wardrobe and buy you all new things, including jewelry and shoes." He smiled at the disgusted look. "For both of you."

"Harry's turning into a regular clothes horse. You'll have to spend a lot more on him than you would me. Besides, when I start working I'll be filling in my own closet."

"If you start working," Draco corrected.

Ron beamed. "I've been accepted into the auror training program with Harry." Draco looked stunned and actually missed a step. "You all right?"

"I hadn't known you wanted to do that. Congratulations, Ron." He shook his head. "Of course your wardrobe would be limited by that sort of activity and training. Still, I can afford to buy you new clothes until you start working. There's supposed to be a few years' training after graduation."

"Three," Ron agreed.

"Three? Really?" Draco shrugged. "No matter. Hopefully within three years this war will be finished and there won't be much need for you to go into the field and endanger yourself."

"You care?" Ron asked.

Draco looked at him. "I wouldn't have offered all this if I didn't have some feelings for you. They aren't as strong as Potter's, but I do have a bit," he admitted.

"Beyond the fascination with my chest?" Ron asked with a grin.

"Yes, even beyond those," he said with a smirk of his own. "I underestimated you for years until this forced me to take a look at you. You are very special in your own right, even without those," he said with a nod for the exposed chest. "Pull that up please, before I try to touch you and get beaten for it."

"We need to talk about that, don't we?" Ron asked quietly as they waited on the next dance. Draco nodded. "Is it important that we do?"

"It will solidify the marking, making it shift down to your stomach. Someone has asked why we haven't consummated anything and I had to point out that we'd have to move very carefully not to make you more powerful." He smiled as the dance started. "The Slytherins have been asking some very interesting questions about what you can do."

"Gee, more threats?" Ron asked.

"Probably not. Most of them are ambitious but realize that too much power is a bad thing, it brings the wrong sort of attention." He bowed to Ron and started off on this pattern, making Ron laugh. "What?"

"Ginny got tripped by Dean," Ron said, pointing that way.

"Ah." They switched sides. "Oh, dear, she did, didn't she? Did you want to help her repair that rip?"

"Nah, she's got it," Ron said with a smile for him. "Hermione's converging on her with McGonagall anyway. It'll be fixed quickly. Plus, no one's looking at her panties but Neville. I like that." Draco chuckled. "You think I'm overprotective?"

"No, I think that most brothers probably feel that way," he assured him. "So, my house for the holidays or here?"

"Here. I'm not ready to face your huge drafty house yet," Ron teased.

"There's only a draft on the third floor," Draco defended, but he was smiling as well. "We'll tell Potter in a few." Ron blew a kiss. "What was that for?"

"For trying to understand. If we've had to change our thinking, you've had to do double that."

Draco shrugged. "It happens. Most of what you saw was a facade, a set of armor if you will. It kept people away until I was ready to deal with them. I can't do that to you or Harry now so I had to let you closer faster. How is he holding up?"

"Well enough I guess. You should ask him. You two look really nice together."

"Thank you. Next dance probably. I'll even teach him how to dance a waltz properly so we can both escort you around." He winked at the laughter from beside them. "Harry never learned and Ron does so love to dance," he pointed out as he led Ron off the floor by taking his arm and tucking it around his. "Come along. I could use some punch. Harry," he said as he helped Ron into her seat. "Next dance is ours." He gathered more punch and brought it back, enjoying the shocked and confused look. "Don't worry, I'll teach it to you. It's not that hard, there's a full set of movements that are repeated in each dance, you only have to know which ones goes in which order for each piece of music." He smiled gently. "You seemed to have some basics already."

"Thank you, Draco." Harry sipped his punch, watching the crowd, noticing the sly glances they were getting. "We're being watched." He looked at Ron, who was fanning herself. "Are you all right?"

"I'm fine, just a tiny bit sweaty." Ron fanned Harry as well. "You're red. We've decided to stay here for the holidays since I didn't think either of us were ready to face Draco's house."

"Okay," Harry agreed. "Then I guess we'll be going that way next summer?" Draco nodded. "I'll have to spend a week with my former guardians. It holds the protection on their house steady."

"Then we'll stay in London so you have somewhere to run, then go home," Draco decided. "I could use the time in the city and Ron could probably use the time to get with the people training him. As could you." Harry nodded, looking happier. "Of course I'm going to give you a notification amulet so you can call us in emergencies. Just in case there's another dementor attack," he justified to ease the hurt look. "Would I need it for another reason?"

Harry glanced around. "Molly told you a lot."

"She told me a little," Draco corrected gently. "Not everything and definitely not the worst. She told me about you having to owl for food. About you needing to be rescued. Something about bars on the windows once. Your uncle's bad attitude about us. That's about all. If you need to tell me more to protect you then by all means we'll talk over the holidays," he offered. "We can even swap stories. Mine was never physical neglect, just emotional, but I think you'd probably understand better than Ron could." Harry nodded. "Thank you. Now, come along, let's join this next dance and we can make plans to go shopping in the village." He held out a hand as he stood up, taking Harry with him.

Ron waved McGonagall over, smiling at her. "What did you do to Harry to make him agreeable?" he whispered in her ear.

She blushed. "Nothing, Ron. He's doing it all for you. Do wield the power gently." She patted him on the shoulder. "Also, please adjust your bustline up a bit if possible. You've managed to stun a great many young men tonight. Their girlfriends are a bit worried about them." She wandered away, allowing the Headmaster to force her to join in the dancing. "Mr. Weasley thinks that we did something to Potter to make him more agreeable."

"Really?" Dumbledore asked with a smile. "I know I didn't."

"Neither did I," she said firmly. "I told him it was Harry doing it for him, he seemed satisfied. Have you heard if they're staying?"

"I overheard them making plans for shopping in Hogsmeade over the holiday break as I walked over to get you," he told her. "I don't believe they realized until tonight that they'd be expected to live with him as well." She laughed. "At least by the looks on their faces." He winked and spun her off, making Severus catch her. "Good job, Professor Snape, you dance with her for a bit, I'm going to break up the snogging Weasley," he said, heading to break up Ginny and Neville's clinch in the corner behind a drape. "Now now," he chided, but was smiling. "None of that on school property. Wait until the train at least." They broke apart and gave him sheepish looks. "Go dance, children. Enjoy the night," he encouraged with a smile. He looked back and saw that Severus had obeyed his orders, even though he was glaring in his direction. He waved gently and smiled back. "Now all I have to do is find him someone," he mused, heading to patrol the tables.


Christmas morning came and found Ron and Harry sharing Harry's bed again and Draco on Ron's old bed next to them since they had the room to themselves. They woke up to presents sitting on the foot of the beds, gaily wrapped and bedecked with many bows. Ron sat up and pulled his and Harry's joint pile over, frowning at some of them. "Why is your mother giving me things?" he asked Draco, holding up a small, flat package.

"My mother was happy when I told her what I was doing," he said with a smile. "She's a very thoughtful gift giver. Wraps beautifully as well. I wish I were half as nimble." He opened his first present, smiling. "My mother and her bookmark fetish," he said happily, holding up a hammered pure silver one.

"That's beautiful," Harry told him as he found his first present. "A Weasley sweater," he said with a smile as he opened it. His was green this year.

Ron found his and opened it, smiling at the new color. "Gryffindor red," he said happily.

Draco found a similar package and opened it. "Mine's blue," he announced, holding it up. "I take it your mother's now accepted me into the family?"

"Yup," Ron and Harry said together, giggling with each other.

"She gave me one my first year," Harry told him. "That and a bit of candy usually." He found the other present from the Weasleys and opened it, staring at the belt with the multiple cases on it. "Wow. This is not candy," he said as he pulled it out.

"A utility belt," Ron said, starting to be envious. He'd found his other one and it had chocolate frogs in it. "Wow."

"I'll get you one for your birthday since we're both going to need one," Harry told him, stealing a kiss. "Come on, let's open up the Malfoy half of the presents." He opened the first one carefully. Draco had been right, his mother wrapped beautifully with tasteful paper. He found a pen set. "Cool," he said, holding it up.

"Expect either stationary or a journal with that," Draco warned. Ron looked at him. "She gifts in groupings. If you get pens, you get things to write on. If you get jewelry, you get a complete set. If you ever find clothes, watch out," he said with a smile. "She's been on a rip at my father and tends to go a bit naughty and overboard. Last time that happened I got see-through boxers and a red silk set, along with a suggestion that I put them to good use and give her grandchildren early."

Ron laughed and opened his, hissing at the small chain. "Jewelry," he pronounced.

Draco slid over so he could see. "Is there a pendant already on it?" Ron shook his head. "Open that one next," he said, pointing at a tiny one. "It's either earrings or a pendant." Ron opened that one with shaking hands. "No need to be nervous, she's been wanting a daughter-in-law so she could share some of these things with another female," he soothed, stroking Ron's back to calm him down. Harry was staring at him. "It can be lonely being Mrs. Malfoy, Harry. All friends were carefully checked and only allowed at certain intervals so you couldn't get too close. She's never had anyone to really go shopping with." He saw the earrings and nodded. "I thought that was that set. My mother received those on her sixteenth birthday," he explained. "She always said she'd give them to a daughter or my wife if she didn't have a girl." He shifted over to look. "Open that one next." He looked at Harry's stack. "Open the green one," he ordered.

Harry picked it up and rattled it, then carefully tore it open. His breath caught. "It's a leather journal."

"Hmm." Draco looked at it. "She's very happy with you being in the family. I've never received one that nice." Harry looked stunned. "Usually I get cloth covered ones. Apparently she is very happy with me having both of you."

Ron opened the third box and took out the bracelet, breathing hard. "Wow," he said finally. It was a very fine chain, only a hair's width thick. "This is much too delicate for me."

"There's a protective charm on it," Draco assured him, giving him a small hug. "Are there others?" Ron held up one last box. "Open it."

"You do it, I can't take many more shocks," Ron told him, trying to hand it over.

"She gave it to you, Ron, you have to open it." They both watched as Ron opened the present with shaking hands. "She must adore this whole situation," he said at the sight of the picture book. "Those are my baby pictures."

Ron laughed and wiped one of his cheeks. "This is a great gift but why give them to me?"

"Because she wanted you to have them." He kissed her on the ear. "Harry, anything else?"

"Just one," Harry said, holding it up. This one rattled. He opened it carefully and stopped. "Huh," he said finally, pulling out the small necklace with the Malfoy crest on the pendant. "In case we needed more marking?"

Draco shrugged. "I've never seen that one before. It might have been a gift from my father to her on their wedding or an heirloom from my father's mother. You'll have to ask her when you officially meet her." He reached over and patted the shaking hand. "It's all right, they were meant to welcome you, not alarm you. We're not one of those muggle cults, really."

Harry laughed and put on the necklace, wincing as it burned him for a second. "What's that?"

Draco lifted the chain. "It's now part of you. I'll write her myself tonight." He nodded at the remaining presents. "Open those as well."

Harry got up and dug around in his trunk, coming up with a small box. "From Ron and me," he admitted as he handed it over.

"When did we go shopping together?" Ron asked, frowning at him.

"You said that would be a nice one the last trip into town," Harry told him with a wink. "Open them. I'll do mine afterwards."

Ron grunted but he did pick up his next present, opening that one. "Wow. That's a nice store," he said, smiling at the gift certificate. Not too large, but big enough that he could get a few things. "Thank you, Draco."

"You're welcome, Ron." He opened his and smiled at the small silver box. "This is very nice. I even have something to put in it," he noted, putting it onto his bed.

"You're welcome," Harry told him with a smile. He opened his first from Draco, gulping when he saw it. "Malfoy! Explain!" he said, holding up the sex toy catalog.

Draco gave him one of his most irrepressible grins. "I thought you could use something in there to figure out that last few things that you were wondering about so you didn't have to fumble around in the dark. There's a gift certificate in there if you want to use it. Together or not."

"Seriously?" Ron asked, taking the catalog to look through it. "Wow. This is some kinky stuff. Handcuffs?"

Draco and Harry both looked over his shoulders. "Fur lined handcuffs," Harry whispered hoarsely. "I think that's enough of a present in itself."

"Whatever you want from there," Draco reminded him. "No pressure to use it soon, that certificate is good forever." He nodded at the other two presents. "Get those as well. I'm proud of those."

Ron opened his and squeaked. "Leather?"

"For a coat, Ron," Draco said with an eye roll. "If you really want you could buy a leather pair of pants but I doubt Harry's going to let you out of the room with them on." Ron giggled, hugging him. "You're welcome. I noticed your coat was a bit tight. Leather will last for a long time and it might even come in handy during your training if you find the right one." He looked at Harry, watching him open his last one. "Do you like it?"

"I do," Harry said, holding up the keyring. "What's it for?"

"For your vault keys."

"I only have one."

"I snuck into Snape's office. That inheritance they told you about is in a few different vaults. This way you won't lose one." He smirked. "You can even hide them among your regular keys once you have some."

"Wow." Harry reached over and hugged him as well. "Thank you, Draco."

"You're welcome." He stood up. "I think I'll run down and change. Meet you at brunch?" They nodded so he gathered up all his presents, including the silver box, and left.

"Wow," Ron said, looking at the gift certificates. "He even rode the line between pushy and generous."

Harry pulled something out from under his pillow. "Those go with the ones I got you," he said with an impish grin.

Ron opened the envelopes. "The candy store. Flourish and Blotts. The clothing store in town?" He looked at his lover. "Really, Harry, you didn't have to. I didn't get a chance to buy you anything."

"Ah, but I have my present," Harry reminded him as he stole another kiss. "That's the one I want, along with another shot at touching you sometime soon."

Ron blushed. "Like this?"

"Any of the time," Harry said, his voice turning deeper. "Even during those few hours when you're basically neither."

"I don't have one of those," Ron told him. "There's that overlap." He carefully piled his presents on the bedside table. "I think I can give you that for a present. Just be more gentle this time." The curtains fell around them and he gave Harry and odd look. "No lights?"

"I don't think I could take being watched," Harry admitted, shifting closer.

"I'll let you go this time," Ron teased, stealing a long kiss. "Next time I want lights on so I can look at you." He felt the blush pop into being. "I don't care about the scars, Harry. I want to see you. See who's touching me."

"Next time," Harry agreed, leaning down to kiss the things he had touched the last time. Ron gave a surprised squeak. "Not good?"

"Very good, continue with that thought," Ron ordered, pushing his head back down. "Do a lot more."

Harry laughed and decided to do a lot of exploring this time.


Since there was only one table during the holidays, Ron took his usual spot between Harry and Draco, smiling at Draco. "Thank you," he said since Draco had held his chair for him. He looked around the table. "No teachers yet?"

"Dumbledore got a floo call and they all followed him," Draco announced, handing down the food since it was on his end of the table. "Did you have a good nap?" Both men blushed and he laughed. "I could only tell what was going on and that you enjoyed it, no specifics," he assured them. The teachers walked back in and he shuddered at the looks on their faces. "What happened?" he asked.

"Draco, I hate to tell you this," Dumbledore started.

"My mother?" he asked. Snape nodded. "No! She wasn't even in the country!" he said angrily.

"How?" Harry asked. "Was it an attack?"

"We don't think so. She was on a boat and it had a collision. The muggle on the other boat was also killed," Snape told Draco, forcing him into his seat. "Of course you'll be released for the funeral."

Draco nodded mutely. Ron looked over and tentatively reached out but Draco shook off the hand. "Don't, not yet." He put his elbows on the table and held his head. "What about the arrangements?"

"Her will was specific and I'm sure it will be followed," Snape said quietly, patting the boy on the head. "You'll need to travel home tomorrow to accept delivery of the body." Draco nodded. "Do you want them to go with you?"

"They'll have to," Draco whispered. He looked at the other two. "I'm sorry this is going to ruin your holidays," he announced. "I'll see you at dinner." He stood up and walked out, going to grab his jacket and broom, then fly off for a bit.

Dumbledore cleared his throat. "That wasn't the end of it I'm afraid. Harry?" Harry's eyes went wide. "Your Aunt and Uncle were attacked. This was an attack but they survived it. It looks like they were playing with them, not really attacking them. Your uncle has a fracture in his neck. Your aunt has a broken arm and a shattered collarbone. Your cousin was the worst hurt. He's in a coma."

"But the protection," Harry sputtered.

"They were out shopping," Snape told him. "You've been summoned to the hospital as their only living relative."

"Uncle Vernon has a sister," Harry said slowly. Snape shook his head. "What do you mean no? I know he does, she's the one I blew up before my third year!" he said angrily.

"They were with her," McGonagall explained. "They threw her into the street and she was hit by a car. She didn't make it. I'm sorry, Harry."

Harry went numb, his hands limp at his sides. "What do I do now?" he asked.

Ron pulled Harry's chair closer, wrapping him in his arms. "It'll be okay. I'll go with you and we'll figure it out," he soothed gently. He looked at the teachers. "Are they expected to live?"

McGonagall shrugged. "We don't know about the two men. His aunt will." Harry stared at her. "You'll both be leaving late tonight on the train and be in London tomorrow early. Ron, which one did you want to go with?"

"Whichever one needs me most," he said firmly. "Did anyone tell my mother?" Dumbledore nodded. "Then I'll pop around on her if they don't need me the whole time," he decided. He stood up. "Come on, Harry, let's pack you a bag." He walked him away, talking quietly to keep him anchored to the here and now.


Draco looked up as the train's door opened. There was only one compartment and he was sulking in it. "Why did you come?" he asked.

"I thought you might need the support," Ron lied. "Harry is spending a few days in London then he'll join us for the funeral."

"Fine," Draco allowed with a wave of his hand. He went back to his sulking and staring out the window. He noticed how Harry was leaning against Ron but figured it was their normal cuddling. He didn't pay any more attention than that. When they finally got to London, they split up, Draco handing Ron the portkey he had planned on using. "Use that on Sunday. We're burying her at the house," he said flatly, walking out through the barrier.

Ron tucked it into his pocket, then led Harry out to the cabs. They had gotten some money changed last night through one of the teachers. He got Harry into a cab and pulled out the address. "Royal Free Hospital & School of Medicine please," he said.

"Sure thing. He okay?"

"His guardians were in a bad wreck," Ron explained.

"Okay then," the cabbie agreed, taking off. "You've got money, right?"

"Yeah, some," Ron admitted. "How much is it gonna be?"

"Maybe five pounds?" the cabbie guessed. "Not more'n that. Only about five kilometers." He sped up to merge with the traffic. "You sure he's okay?"

"He's had a lousy holiday," Ron told him. "We got the news yesterday." He patted Harry's hand, making him look at him. "We're almost there," he soothed. "It'll be okay and I'll stop them from bothering you if they get snappy." Harry nodded and leaned against his friend's side.

"I don't got nothin' again' you doin' that, but the cops might if they see you, so be careful," the cabbie warned, switching streets.

"Sure thing," Ron agreed. "He's mine and he needs a hug." He paid the fare when they got to the hospital, letting Harry get out first. Then he took Harry's hand and their shared bag inside to the main desk. "We're looking for the Dursleys?" he asked. "Older man Vernon and a young man Dudley? The last was supposed to be in a coma."

"They're on family only wards," the nurse told them.

"I'm their nephew," Harry whispered. "They have custody of me."

"That's fine then," she said with a reassuring smile. "The older man is on the third floor, ward B, and the younger is still in the Intensive Care unit. Are you over 18?" Harry shook his head. "Then you'll need your aunt to accompany you. She's probably up there, hasn't left his side."

"Thank you." Harry led the way to the elevators. "Ron, are you sure you want to go with me?" he asked suddenly.

"I'm sure. We're all but married, Harry. Besides, you'll need the support." He took Harry's hand as the doors opened, walking out a step behind him. They heard Petunia before they found the right room, so followed her voice. "Hello, Mrs. Dursley," Ron told her.

Harry hugged her carefully. "You're all right," he breathed.

"What's this? Coming to soak up more of our money?" Vernon asked.

Harry looked at him. "I have my own now that I'm nearly an adult. They told me last night." Vernon humphed and shifted a foot. "How's Dudley?"

Petunia sniffed. "There's no change."

"Don't you start that again, the nurse said she'll have to put you back in a bed if you do," Vernon said gruffly. "Who're you? You look familiar."

"I'm Harry's fiancé," Ron told him. "And yes, you've seen me before. I'm a Weasley."

"You brought another of them here?" Petunia asked.

"I offered to come with him," Ron explained. "He shouldn't be alone. He's still in shock. They broke it over the meal." She nodded stiffly. "Should he go to the house and straighten it out so you can go home, Mrs. Dursley?"

"No, it should be fine. Vernon can't leave yet," she said coolly. "Thank you though." She looked at her nephew. "Why weren't we protected?"

"It only works on the house," Harry said hoarsely. "They didn't think there was a need for more." He looked at her. Then at his uncle. "I heard about Aunt Marge, sir, and I'm sorry about that as well."

"Thank you," Vernon said gruffly. "Isn't there something you can do?"

"I'm not a mediwitch," Harry told him. "I don't know more than how to fix a scrape or a small cut. Sports injuries."

"Oh." He looked at Ron. "Weren't you a boy?"

"Before," Ron agreed. Vernon opened his mouth. "My twin brothers botched a spell," he told him calmly. "I switch now. We're still engaged." He shrugged. "Harry's been the pillar of strength I needed through all this and he accepts me."

"You freaks must get along," Vernon said stiffly. "Go visit Dudley. Petunia, take them."

"Are you sure?"

"I'm sure. I can't take any more fussing. Get them out of my sight."

She led the boys away. "Thank you for coming and explaining to us why it failed," she said as she led them upstairs. She swallowed when she saw Dudley's form on the bed. "He's wasting away, but the doctors don't say anything when I complain," she said, glaring toward the nurse's station. "The sisters keep saying he's fat."

Harry wisely kept his mouth shut as he walked over to look at Dudley. "What did they do to him?"

"They bounced him about, hit his head on the pavement," she said, starting to sniffle. Ron pulled her closer and gave her a hug. "Thank you, young man," she whispered. "Even strange comfort is some."

"I'm still a full woman six days a month," Ron quipped. "I understand about crying now." He patted her on the back, letting Harry pay his respects. From what he could see, there wasn't anything that was going to happen to the boy's body. "Have they said anything yet?"

"Just that he seems to be stable and not getting any better," she said, pulling back and wiping her face off. "Potter." He looked at her. "You didn't have to come."

"I did," he reminded her. "You did raise me and you're about the only family I have left. You would have done the same when my mother was hurt if you had known." He latched onto Ron's hand again when he saw the truth in her eyes - she wouldn't have gone. "When is Marge's funeral?"

"Two days. She didn't want any visitation or a viewing." She pulled herself back together. "I don't know what I'm going to do without my Duddykins."

"Life has to go on," Harry reminded her.

"That's cold," she said hotly.

"That's survival," Harry pointed out. "That's what I had to do before." He squeezed Ron's hand. "We'll be in London until Sunday if you want us to go to Marge's funeral." She shrugged. "Where?"

"At the funeral home out by her house. You'll have to take a train out there. I have a card here somewhere," she said, digging into her purse. "Oh! I can't do this!" she said.

Ron held the purse so she could dig. "Being without an arm is hard," he agreed. "I had a broken one when I was three, I couldn't do anything for weeks because everything needed two arms. Climbing trees, playing with my brothers outside in the garden, all that." She gave him a look then found the card. He took it and tucked it into their bag. "We'll be there, Mrs. Dursley. What about your husband?"

"He's not to be moved. They said there's a risk of paralysis if he is moved wrong," she told them.

"Then we'll go and support you," Harry assured her. "I'll see you then?"

She nodded. "Noon."

"Fine." He gave her a careful hug. "Get better, Aunt Petunia."

"Are you coming back?"

"For the protection to stay on the house I have to come back for a week each year."

"Why bother?" she asked bitterly.

"Because the leader of the people who did this knows who you are and they like to attack in the middle of the night," Ron explained. She gasped. "Professor Dumbledore had thought that they didn't know who you were at all. Unless this was a fluke and they picked you randomly, the protection on your home will still stand. Especially if your husband is bedridden for a while." She started to tear up again. "I'm sorry, but if you don't want it we won't come back."

She shook her head. "One week."

Harry nodded. "One week each summer. That's all." He led Ron out, going back to the lifts. "This is hard," he said once they were alone outside. "Dudley did look horrible."

"I was watching his monitors. Weren't they supposed to have squiggly lines? The movies dad took us to when we were younger all had squiggly lines." Harry nodded. "Then the one attached to his head is going bad. It had almost no squiggle in the lines."

"Brain dead," Harry said quietly. "That's going to be hard for her to bear." He cleared his throat. "Maybe we should take a room at the Leaky."

"Yeah, I think we should," Ron agreed, fingering the wand in his pocket. The Knight Bus stopped in front of them with a squeal and they got on, Ron paying the fare for them. "The Leaky please," he said.

"Of course," the driver said with a smile. "Is there a problem?"

"Harry's muggle relatives had an accident," Ron told him. "Nothing major. We'll figure out how to get around tomorrow."

"Sure thing." The bus took off with a bang and a shudder.

Ron pulled Harry down beside him. "It'll be okay," he crooned, putting Harry's head on his shoulder. "No problems," he soothed, patting him gently. Harry closed his eyes, allowing the comforting for now.


Draco looked up as Ron and Harry walked into his house on Saturday morning. "Get everything done?" he asked snidely.

"I don't need this right now," Harry told him. Ron touched him on the back, calming him again. "I'm sorry your mother died, Draco."

"Are you?"

"Yes, I am. I would have given anything to have had a mother." He lifted his chin.

"Leave him alone," Ron said gently, forcing Harry into a chair. "Sit."

"Why should I?" Draco lashed out. "Because he lost his when he was a year old?"

"Because his uncle's sister and his cousin just died too," Ron said firmly.

"Ron, don't," Harry said, touching him on the side. "It's not important. He's angry and it's normal."


"They were attacked by some of your father's friends, Malfoy. His aunt was shoved into the street after being tossed about, his cousin just bounced off the pavement a few times."

"Oh." Draco sipped the drink in his hand. "I'm sorry then."

"It's not a problem," Harry told him. "You're in pain, I'm in shock and Ron's apparently on the rag." Ron punched him on the arm. "Sorry, Ron."

Draco looked at him. "You do look a bit pale. Why didn't you come here and stay?"

"Because we had to be in London for them," Ron pointed out. "His direct uncle and aunt were both injured as well."

"Who was killed then?" Draco asked, starting to look confused. "He had two wives?"

"No, the one who was killed was my Uncle's sister."

"Oh. Multiple children, no wonder," Draco said, shaking his head. "I'm not used to that."

"That's okay, it gets confusing even when you are used to it," Ron pointed out dryly. "I have cousins I don't even know the names of."

Draco clamped his lips together. "I won't say it," he said quietly and took another long drink. "Thank you for attending this with me."

"You're welcome. It's the least we can do," Ron reminded him, stepping closer. "Are you all right?" Draco shook his head. "Do you want help with anything?"

"No, everything's taken care of. I hate the waiting."

"Then go outside and fly, Draco," Harry told him. "It'll help you kill some time and the practice isn't going to hurt you any." Draco glared at him. "I didn't say that you need it, just that it wouldn't hurt you any," he defended.

"Fine. I think I will. Let me show you to your rooms."

Ron looked around. "If you want, we'll go back to the Burrow and wait until tomorrow."

Draco shook his head. "That's not right. You'll be upstairs in my old room." He led them up to his former room, opening the door for them. "Most of the other rooms have maiden aunts so it's not going to look suspicious if Harry sleeps on the sitting room sofa. Or if they don't realize he's not on the sitting room sofa," he said with a sigh. "I'll see you both later."

"Of course," Ron agreed, watching him stomp off. "Come on, Harry, you look like you could use a nap."

"I don't want to sleep," Harry said petulantly. "I've done enough of that for a year."

"I know, but I'll lay beside you. That way we don't have to face the family without Draco with us." He laid Harry down and hugged him close to his chest. "Relax," he whispered. "We'll go back to school soon." Someone knocked on the door. "Enter," he called imperiously. Draco walked back in with a small tray. "We're fine, really. You didn't have to get us breakfast."

"It's a restorative. I needed one as well," Draco told them, handing over the champagne flutes. "Drink." He used his wand to lock the door then curled up behind Ron. "May I?" he asked as an afterthought.

"Sure, go ahead. I'm very cuddly like this," Ron said before drinking the potion. "Eww."

"Sorry, had to mix it myself. Snape won't be in until tomorrow." He held on tightly, overlapping Harry's arms. "We could all use the rest. Nap, Potter."

"Fine, Malfoy." Harry closed his eyes, ignoring the restorative for now. He'd take it later.

"You should take that," Ron told him.

"Please. The wake is later and she always did want an Irish one."

"I thought your mother was Nordic," Ron said, looking confused.

"She was," Draco said into Ron's shoulderblade. "She envied those people who could celebrate the life, not the death. So we're having an Irish wake. Hopefully without all the drinking, but with some of my aunts that's not looking too promising." Ron sniffled. "Don't cry."

"I'm not, I'm going to sneeze," Ron said, sneezing on Harry's hair. "Sorry."

"That's okay," Harry said from his favorite position, face pressed into Ron's breasts. "I can shower before the wake."

"Yes, we should have enough time for that," Draco agreed sleepily. "You would make one hell of a mother, Weasley," he muttered.

"Thanks, I think," Ron told him, smiling as he got comfortable. "You two cuddle all you want." They nodded and hugged harder. Harry fell asleep first, but he hadn't slept in a few days, blaming himself for what had happened, just like his relatives did. Draco apparently snored when he had been drinking. He also left wet marks on his back from the drool. He'd have to talk to him about the amount he drank later. He would not put up with a drunken Malfoy for very long. No matter what reason.


Harry woke up and noticed the light was on the other side of the room. "Draco, we overslept," he said, forcing himself to sit up. Draco blinked at him. "We overslept. It's morning I think." Draco craned his neck to look at the clock and muttered something, putting his head back down. "Come on, we have to get up. The funeral's in a few hours and we've still got to bathe and get dressed."

"Fine," Draco said with disgust. "I don't want to get up yet."

"We missed the wake?" Ron asked, eyes still closed as he stretched. "How?"

"I must have botched the potion," Draco told him.

"I didn't take any," Harry reminded him. Draco stared at him. "I didn't."

"You haven't slept in three days, Harry, I'm surprised you got up at all," Ron yawned. "Go bathe, I'll go last." They headed into the bathroom, then Draco went to his own room. Ron slid out of the bed, walking in to join Harry in the shower. "Morning," he said with a kiss.

"Morning, Ron," Harry breathed. "Want me to scrub your back?"

"No, just share the water. We need to hurry up. It doesn't look right for us to be up here sleeping." The outer door opened and Ron got back out of the shower, grabbing a towel. "Professor Snape," he said with a frown. "When did you get in?"

"Last night. Where is Potter?"

"In the shower. We're saving time. How long do we have?"

"About two hours. Enough time to take separate showers. Where is Malfoy?"

"His room, he just left."

"Good. That looks much better at the moment," he said, looking down Ron's towel-clad body. "Finish up. The sleeping potion I gave you fixed the exhaustion the women downstairs noticed."

"You drugged us?" Harry said from the bathroom doorway. "Ron, you have the only towel."

"Sorry." Ron looked at him. "Why?"

"Because the women downstairs said you were too tired to be moving. They weren't sure how you got here, but they all hoped it wasn't by apparation." He looked at Potter. "How are they?"

"Dudley died late Tuesday, sir. He was buried Friday since my aunt decided she couldn't grieve without throwing herself onto the casket. My uncle's all but paralyzed. He'll be staying in the hospital for at least another few weeks before going to a care facility for rehabilitation and training in the use of a wheelchair. My aunt will have to have some work done on their house to make it ready for him."

"Fine. Finish bathing and come downstairs. There's a light brunch in the dining room." Both boys nodded so he left, going to find Draco. He found him leaning against a wall in the shower. "Good morning."

"With all respect, sir, fuck off," Draco said quietly, turning to look at him. "I don't want to be here."

"I know, but it is now your job to hold over all family events. Your others are showering together."

"How did Potter go along with this dead spot inside?" Draco asked him.

"He doesn't remember her. All he knew was his aunt." He shrugged at the stunned look. "You cannot miss what you haven't had. Now finish up. There's a light brunch downstairs."

"I don't want to eat." He grabbed his shampoo and started on his hair. "How long?"

"Just under two hours." Draco nodded so he left him alone.

Draco rinsed the shampoo out of his hair, ignoring the bald spot he usually covered up. He did it every morning, today was no different in that part of his routine.


Ron looked over as Draco walked into the dining room, giving him a tentative smile. "At least have some toast. To counter the dry heaves." He held out a small saucer with a few pieces of buttered toast. "It will do your stomach good."

Draco nodded and sat down, picking at the food for something to do.

Harry looked over, flinching at the ungelled hair. He reached out but his hand was slapped away. "Sorry. When did that happen?" he asked quietly.

"When I was six. My father ripped part of my scalp off. That's why I gel it," Draco said in a bored tone of voice. "You don't have to be here."

"Yeah, we do," Ron told him. Draco glared at him. "If you want us to leave early, tell us. I think it's only respectful to be here with you since she acknowledged we existed."

Draco shook his head. "Whatever." He ate a small bite of toast, then pushed the plate aside. "I'll see you out back."

Ron stood up, catching him before he could leave. "Don't, Draco. It doesn't make it any easier if you don't let it out." Draco stared down at him. "It doesn't. We've seen others who couldn't let it out and they died inside. That isn't doing her memory justice." Draco shook his hand off. "Be pissed, at least that will make you feel better. I'll even let you yell at me if you want."

"No, I don't want," Draco ground out. "I want this to be some perverse and obscene dream!" He stormed out, slamming doors behind himself.

"There's nothing you can do to stop that pain," Harry told him. "Losing your mother is one of the worst things you can go through. I still want to grieve for mine and it's been sixteen years." Ron gave him a hug so he patted him on the arm. "I know you want to nurture and make everyone feel better, but now's not the time. Wait until the trip back, let him have his grief for now." He swallowed. "You did really well at Sirius' funeral for me. You can do the same for him when he's ready." He pushed back and walked out, heading outside. He saw the gardens and went to sit among the flowers, hoping for some calm.

Ron frowned at the doorway. "I want my mother," he decided, heading for the nearest fireplace to call her. She always told him the right thing to do.


As soon as the train moved, Ron switched seats, pulling Draco closer. He was silently crying and it was disturbing to watch. He even fought back when the other guy struggled, holding him tightly until Draco gave up and cried on him. "It's all right," he soothed. "You survived this and you'll carry her memory with you. At least one person will remember her how she truly was." Draco nodded, relaxing against him. "Harry, want one too?"

"No thanks, Ron, he needs you more right now," Harry said as he laid down. "I think I'm going to rest. I had that dream again last night." He closed his eyes, using the bag as a pillow. "Wake me before we cross the border."

"Sure, Harry," Ron agreed gently. He stroked Draco's back until his hand was removed. "Sorry."

"That's okay. It's not that upsetting, just unusual." Draco sat up and scrubbed his face hard. "I'm sorry about that."

"A man always looks up to his mother, even if she's not nice, even if she's a mean and cruel bitch like Harry's aunt," Ron reminded him. "Especially if she's nice."

Draco nodded, pulling his knees up to rest his chin on. "She was to me. She had this invisible wall that came up whenever we weren't alone, but to me she was always nice and gentle." He touched his scalp. "She nearly killed my father when he did that."

Ron stroked the bare spot. "That's what mothers do. I can't even imagine losing mine." Draco nodded, resting against his side again. "Remember her, that's the best thing you can do. Don't hide the bad parts and don't overly think on the good parts, but remember her as she was."

"Where did that come from?"

"I called my mother yesterday and that was her advice," Ron admitted with a small grin when Draco looked up at him. "What? You think I'm that wise all the time just because I can speak 'girl' now?"

Draco shook his head. "Not now." He looked at Potter. "What happened to him?"

"He's still having nightmares about his godfather's death."

"I hadn't heard he died with his parents."

"His godfather was Sirius Black," Ron said quietly.

"Oh." Draco looked up at him again. "Did he ever meet him?" Ron nodded. "After he escaped?"

"Yes, he did. He and Harry got very close. We were trying to clear his godfather's name as well." Draco snorted. "That wasn't him, the explosion, he didn't do it."

"No, Pettigrew did. He's bragged about it a lot. That's why he was hexed nearly to death at least once that my father mentioned." He put his head back down. "When did he die?"

"Didn't read it in the paper?"

"Would I ask if I had?"

"He died when Voldemort attacked the Ministry our fifth year. A bunch of the members of DA followed Harry there because his godfather was in trouble, or so we thought." Draco nodded. "Heard about that?"

"That's when my father got captured. I asked the Headmaster for the truth about what had happened." He stiffened as he heard footsteps. "Snape." He sat up and wiped his cheeks again. "I don't want him to know."

"I'm sure he'd think it was natural," Ron noted, but he supported him in it. Reputation was everything to someone like Draco. When the door opened he waved. "Harry's taking up most of that side, but we've got a bit of room if you want to join us," he said pleasantly.

"I'm checking on you, nothing further," Snape told him. "Why are you so cheerful?"

"I'm not, I'm practical. Life has taught me that much," Ron reminded him. Snape nodded. "Do the other students come back Wednesday or Thursday?"

"Thursday, Friday's a free day," Snape told him. "You'll have a few days to yourself again." He glanced at Harry, then at Draco. "Why is he still tired?"

"He's having nightmares about his godfather dying," Ron said honestly.

"I see. I'll make sure the infirmary has something for that if it gets worse. Mr. Malfoy." Draco looked up at him. "You left your broom, I have it in my things." Draco nodded. "Whenever you're ready for it."

"Thank you, sir," Draco said quietly. Snape left them alone.

"I think that was supposed to be comforting," Ron said with a frown.

"It was. He reminded me he's looking out for me," Draco admitted, curling up against Ron again. "Thank you for this."

"I've always been a nurturer. That's why I started helping Harry, because no one else was."

"Why didn't you leave after you nearly died?" Draco asked. "He had Hermione."

"Yeah, but I figured I was on a roll. I had survived, my mum didn't hex me to death, and we won the house cup because of it. Besides, I believed in what he was doing. I hadn't thought that You-Know-Who would ever come back. Then there he was, and I was already involved because it had started out as a puzzle. I couldn't back out or Harry couldn't have stopped him. Plus, I survived, I thought it'd be okay, we defeated him. Then the next year my sister was the victim."

"But ... you're pure," Draco breathed. He hadn't made the connection before.

"Yeah, that's when I figured out that it wasn't just the ones he didn't like, it was everyone who was in danger, even the ones he did favor. I decided then it was worthwhile and if Harry needed me that I was there for him." He pointed at the hand lying on the other seat. "Look at the back of his hand. That nearly made him give up," he said quietly. "I'm the strength he leaned on to get through everything."

Draco sat up and leaned over, staring at the scars. "They're scars."

"They're words," Ron corrected. "Umbridge had this pen that took it out of your body when you did lines." Draco shuddered. "Why did you help her?"

"Because I could be a bully, I didn't have to face anything bad if I followed my father's orders," Draco admitted, leaning back again. "It was easy. My father told me to support her and it meant I would keep all my privileges, plus get a few new ones. It meant I was the special one." Draco glanced at Harry again. "If I had held off or went to another school I would have been the top student, no matter what. I'm bright, enthusiastic, I can play quidditch. I'm socially capable and superior to most students that would be around me. Then I started the same year as Harry Potter," he said dryly. "It took all that should have been mine and twisted it. Suddenly I wasn't even a pale shadow of second, I was reviled."

"Yeah, but you did it to yourself," Ron pointed out.

"I realized that later. Crabbe told me I was a bitch in our third year and it made me think about it. I was a bitch to be around. I was a sulky and pouty little boy. I had no friends and I was basically alone in Hogwarts."

"You could have changed."

Draco shook his head. "My father kept reminding me of what happened to little boys who disobeyed their fathers. Fortunately he didn't have anything to do with me that year or I could have seriously screwed up the tournament. Then, two days before we left for London, he came into my room without knocking and ordered me to support Umbridge, no matter what she did and said. Even if she instituted corporal punishment and killed someone, I was to support her. Even if it meant my own life." He shrugged. "So I went along because I knew what would happen if I didn't."

"Then he got arrested and all the threats were removed?"

"More like I saw how much of a bully he was and how little he could do to hurt me," Draco admitted. "The one to be afraid of wasn't my father, it was my mother when she was on a rip." He grinned sheepishly. "That summer she sat me down and told me everything. Graphically. How the torture went, what it looked like, what the victims felt, everything. Then she told me it was up to me to decide if I wanted to join my father in prison or if I wanted to stay with her and protect her. So I changed a little bit, but not dramatically. Then you happened," he said wryly. "Snape told her before he told me I was to guard you. She thought it was an excellent idea because she knew you were a good boy, as she put it, and could make me see the stupidity that was my father. And here I am," he said, waving a hand around.

"She got to see you change and she apparently approved," Ron reminded him.

"Oh, she did. She accepted you fully. She wrote me a letter before she left and forgot to mail it. It was on her dresser. She said that she was thrilled that I had, as she said, hooked up with you and were taking care of you. That I needed something to give a damn about that would like me back. Then she said she knew I should have had a pet as a child," he said, smiling slightly. "Sometimes my mother was a bit odd."

"A pet would have loved you back and taught you how to be loving," Ron pointed out. "Merlin knows I clung to Charlie's cat often enough when it was home." Draco chuckled. "See, you did what she wanted and it made her happy."

"Yes, I suppose so," Draco sighed, looking out the window. "Thank you, Ron."

"Not a problem. I'll expect you to return the favor when my parents go." He glanced at Harry, watching him thrash. "Potter!" he called sharply, waking him. "You were about to thrash yourself onto the floor, Harry," he said in a gentler voice.

"Thanks, Ron," he mumbled, flipping over to face the back of the seat. He sniffed a few times and switched back. "Butt smell."

Ron giggled. "I'm sure it does. I bet Goyle sat in that same seat a few times."

Draco broke out in laughter. "Probably," he agreed. "He did have a gas problem."

"I remember. He killed a few plants last year in Herbology," Ron reminded him. Draco nodded, laughing some more. "What happened to him?"

"His father had him taken up and he got the Dark Mark a week after he was expelled. He's a flunky there now. Still probably ranting about you and your bewitching breasts of doom." Ron snorted. "He did, he swore up and down that you had cast some sort of spell on him. From what little I've heard, his father seemed to think it was an odd power of being a changeling and was hoping his master didn't fall under the same spell when they caught you." Ron stiffened. "It won't happen. They won't get you."

"No, they won't," Ron agreed. "I've got to believe that or I'm going to let Harry hide me somewhere far away." He looked at Draco. "He was thinking about setting up a hidden muggle identity. Buy a nice house somewhere, act like we were going to university. Learn to drive and do things the muggle way, just to have a safe place to hide if necessary."

"That would be hard to do," Draco told him, starting to frown.

"No it's not," Harry told him. He sat up with a groan. "I have a birth certificate and ID cards. We can find someone to make some for Ron and you if you wanted one. There are schools to teach nearly everything we'll need to look normal. Driving, computers, everything." Draco was still frowning. "It really isn't that big of a switch and we could still use magic inside our house as long as the muggles didn't realize. Besides, it'd help me hide from all the stupid reporters."

Draco shrugged. "It's a worthy plan, but how would you hide yourself?"

"Easy, I put things in my name," Ron told him. "No one really expects us to stay together after graduation. Most Death Eaters wouldn't think to look for us in the muggle world either. They think we're afraid or sneering down at the lowly creatures."

"We do," Draco reminded him.

"No, you do," Harry told him. "Ron's father is obsessed. I grew up in there. It really isn't that hard, Draco. The driving thing maybe," he admitted at the incredulous stare.

"And who would think Harry Potter, boy who will save everyone, would be there?" Ron finished with a smile.

"How would we get papers?"

"I'm sure Dumbledore knows someone. If we had to, we could even appoint a secret keeper to hide the house's location. Not that I'm that paranoid yet, but if necessary."

"Pick Hermione or Ginny," Ron put in. "Girls seem to be more resistant."

"Possibly, or Neville," Harry agreed. "If we did it right, we could even have an area to practice our training in plus have a secure house."

"What about mine? I have to be there," Draco reminded him.

"We could switch back and forth," Harry admitted. "Set up an identity in the muggle world, go in weekends to uphold it?"

"That might be better," Ron agreed. He looked at Draco. "We could make you a skills list."

Draco shuddered. "Having to live around them is a sickening thought."

"Yeah, but it'd help protect us better," Harry pointed out. "We'd only have to pretend around the neighbors."

"Still." Draco glowered at the man across from them. "It's a sickening thought. To do things their way."

Ron leaned closer with that impish, troubling grin of his again. "Cars go fast," he told him. "Very, very fast." Draco looked a little more interested with the idea. "Like the cars the Ministry uses, only there are faster ones. Sleek little cars whose sole purpose is to look good and go fast."

"Like the Nimbus line," Harry put in. "Then we'd really have to pretend to be trust fund kids, but I'm sure we could do that."

Draco sighed. "We'll see. I don't like the idea though."

Snape opened the door. "What idea is that?"

"I was thinking about setting up a muggle identity just in case, so I'd be able to hide in plain sight," Harry told him.

"You would have to be careful about how you did things."

"We'd buy a house, sir," Ron told him. "The exchange rate is favorable right now. The neighbors might be able to look in the windows, but we could protect against that and they'd never know."

"Good point," Snape agreed, considering it. "There are many advantages to that plan, but for someone like Mr. Malfoy it would be a great shock."

"Then we'll stay at a real hotel this summer," Harry decided. "Let him see if he could live with it on weekends for a while, until it became necessary to hide."

Draco slumped down. "You're going to force me to do all sorts of nasty shit, aren't you?" he asked dejectedly.

Harry beamed at him. "You have no idea what the muggle world is like, Draco. There's a lot that you haven't seen yet. Fortunately, I can show you some of it. Not that I'm all that experienced," he admitted at Snape's look down at him. "I do know some things though. Entertaining things, fast things, heady things that will make you think it's not *all* bad."

"There won't be any servants," Draco pointed out quickly.

"Says who?" Harry asked. "We take on a squib as a housekeeper, pay them a living wage, and our secret's safe."

"Oh." Draco frowned again. "You've got this all figured out, haven't you?"

"I started thinking about it during my fifth year," Harry admitted. "Hiding in plain sight seems pretty nice when you're being hunted and reviled."

"Besides, you might find out that there's fun things to do there too," Ron reminded him, pinching him on the neck. "Things like strip clubs." Draco and Snape both looked shocked. Ron beamed at them. "Knew that'd get your attention."

"Women take off their clothes?" Draco asked.

Harry nodded. "So we've heard. Usually you spend money to have ten minutes to talk with them. There's rumors about being able to do more, but then there's more that you can't." He shrugged. "I don't know that much about it."

Ron beamed. "But we can check it out, right, Harry?"

Harry nodded, giving Ron a tolerant smile. "Sure, we can check one out this summer."

"That and those fast things, cars?" Draco suggested.

"Even those," Harry agreed. "I plan on buying something more practical than fast, but if you want fast you could buy something fast."

Their teacher groaned and left them alone. He'd report this later, after he got that vile image out of his head. Draco Malfoy driving a car. It nearly made him shudder.


That night Draco sat up on the bed he was borrowing. "You really were serious about that idea, weren't you?" he asked. Harry looked over at him and nodded, he wasn't moving since Ron was so comfy on his chest. "There really are advantages to living outside the community?"

"Some. There's more to living inside it, but having a life outside it as well would be the best option. It'd give us somewhere to send Ron if trouble started, plus his family. Besides," he said with a grin. "Think about all the stuff we can do there that we can't here. All we'll need is a convenient story and it'll be fine."

"If you say so," Draco said, lying back down. "How would we, as someone not fully adult, buy a house?"

"We are fully adults. Or at least you are. I will be next summer." He chuckled. "I can just see the look on Dumbledore's face if we proposed this plan."

"Did you know that half the point of the attacks the Ministry were doing on you was to make you give up?" Draco asked quietly. "So that when they were ready to be open, you'd be not only disgraced, but disgusted as well. That way Fudge would be the honored and cherished hero."

"I figured it might be. For right now, I'm not going to worry about that." He touched his scar, it hadn't hurt recently. "All I want is to fade into obscurity after Voldemort's gone. Not a hero, no fans, nothing like that. Just a nice, simple life where I can be myself and not have to worry about people finding me," he replied in his most gentle voice. "I want them to leave Ron alone too but I'm not sure how he feels about being a hero."

"I'm sure he'll tire of it after a while," Draco pointed out. "As much as it would set him apart from the others, it'd also wreck their lives as well as his. He wouldn't want that for his family."

"Hopefully," Harry agreed. He yawned. "What did you want us to show you when we sneak out?"

"Who said we were sneaking out?" Draco asked in an amused voice, turning on his side to look at him. "That would be foolhardy."

"It'd be practical," Harry countered. "Besides, there's hidden tunnels. We could get beyond them and find a floo. I'm sure we could make it to London easily."

"Think of the detentions," Ron sighed, lifting his head to look at his boyfriend. "Dumbledore might like you, Harry, but he won't stand for it."

Harry winked. "I think he's always expected me to be a bit like my father, everyone else does." He smiled at Draco, who laughed. "You see, it would set a wonderful precedent. Yeah, the twins flew out of here, we could run an underground of goods back to the school. It'd give us something to do besides think about our futures and all that crap."

"You don't want to be an auror?" Ron asked quietly.

"No, I do, but I want to have a life as well," Harry pointed out. "I want to be me, not the living legend, and definitely not the guy-who-hides-all-the-time that everyone wants me to be. I'm simply more careful in how and what I plan than my father was."

"Snape would kill me," Draco pointed out.

Ron snorted. "Only if you confessed or we're caught," he said smugly. "Tunnels?"

"Tunnels, cloak, floo," Harry told him. "Small smuggling business." He winked at the shocked look Ron was giving him. "What better way to set ourselves apart than to fill in a need that hasn't been filled recently? Yeah, the twins do a great business up here, but they don't get things that the other half and full muggle kids crave. Chips. Sodas."

"Porn," Draco put in.

"Do you ever think about anything else?" Ron asked.

Draco nodded. "At least twice a day."

Ron groaned and threw their extra pillow at him. "Behave." He looked at Harry. "That's very risky. My mother will kill us worse than anyone here will."

Harry kissed him. "Only if you confess or we're caught," he said sweetly. "Come on, Ron," he sighed at the stony expression his boyfriend was giving him. "I want to go out. I want to play and have fun. And hey, if we get caught, what are they going to do? Kill me? I doubt it."

"There are Death Eaters in London, Harry," Draco pointed out. "Dumbledore and Snape won't have to kill you."

Harry looked at him. "Voldemort knows that he'll have to kill me personally. Why would he let one of them do it for him? My lifeless body would only give him more support. Having one of your father's friends do it would give them that support, possibly even over their boss. Riddle was smart enough to realize that."

"If you say so." Draco shifted, turning onto his back again. "When should we go?"

"Tomorrow night?" Ron suggested. Harry looked at him. "I'm not letting you go alone. It'd look odd." He winked. "Besides, I saw a car in a picture while we were in for the funerals that I want to see in person. Ferrari."

"Oooh," Harry said, shivering. "Fast and sleek. Meant to be run fast and put away wet." He stole another kiss. "If you get one, could I go for a ride?" he teased.

"One of these days you'll have your ride," Ron reminded him, pinching him on the throat. "Behave or I'm going to take what's left of my tits and make Draco sleep over here instead of me."

"Sorry, Ron," Harry said, nibbling on a spot he had found on Ron's neck two weeks earlier, making him moan and go limp. "Want more?"

"No," Draco told them. "Not without some preparation. Something to shield you. Something to drain away any power surges. Even somewhere special if we can manage it. This is not the time nor the place for that."

"I think it's a wonderful time and place," Harry said petulantly.

"It would be, if we want everyone to know what he's just done," Draco replied sarcastically. "If you want to keep him safe, I'd wait until we can get you an anonymous location."

"Don't fight," Ron groaned, pulling the pillow out from under Harry's head and covering his own with it.

"We can't always hide!" Harry said warmly.

"You won't have to," Draco replied, shrugging at the looks he received. "Just that first time, and if possible the next few as well. The first times are always more special, and therefore give off more energy that can be seen. Your choice, Potter."

"My choice," Ron corrected. He kissed Harry until he went numb. "I say I want my first time to be somewhere other than the dorm."

"Yes, Ron," Harry agreed, smiling at him. "Hotel? A good one?" he corrected at the hesitant look. "One with room service and all that so we don't have to leave for the weekend?"

"I might like that," Ron agreed. "As long as it's still ...special in some way." He glanced at Draco. "He did have a point, Harry, and you know it."

"I know, but it sucks and I'm sick of worrying! I hate this fucking war!" Harry shouted.

Ron laughed, hugging him. "Me too. I'd rather it was all over with and you had already won. Then we could find what was normal for us and be happier than we are with this waiting . Until then though, we've got to be careful."

"And include me," Draco reminded him.

"And include him," Ron agreed, smiling at Harry. "Maybe he'll show us something," he whispered, stealing another kiss. The pillow was taken and hit him on the back, making Ron giggle. "Thank you, dear."

"You're welcome. Let's sleep since I can't do what I really want," Harry said glumly. "How long?"

"For you to find the perfect spot and to make it special?" Ron asked. "I don't know, how soon can you figure that out?"

Draco laughed. "There's an excellently shielded inn for wizards in Brighton, near the sea. It's a small community, but it's very touristy. The town caters to the sea trade."

"Is it nice there?" Ron asked sleepily.

"Very," Draco noted. "I've been there twice. It's as restful as you want it to be, but if you want to go exploring there's a bit of the muggle world there. The water is very calming and you can sit all day watching it from the inn's windows if you're on the water side."

"Sounds nice," Harry agreed. "Expensive?"

"Not very," Draco told him. "Why are you worried about that?"

"Because I hate carrying around money," Harry told him, cuddling Ron closer. "Would it be busy soon?"

"No, the holiday season won't start for a few months yet. Take him in the early spring, when the gardens start to pop up. Or take him now and watch the few boats. You'll have most of the inn to yourselves."

"Thank you, Draco."

"I live to serve," he said ironically.

Harry made a decision and patted the bed. "Come tell us what you saw?" he asked hesitantly.

Draco stood up and slid in next to him. "Is this all right?" he asked.

"Good with me," Ron said sleepily. "Are there big boats? Can't stand little ones, I get sick."

"There are many large boats. It's got one of the biggest yacht harbors in the UK." Draco stroked Ron's back, putting him to sleep. As soon as the snoring started, he looked into the green eyes. "I'm recommending this place because they're already shielded. It's a favorite place to take an affair so it's unscryable. There can be no eavesdropping in there," he said gently. "It's the perfect place to take in some vacation time without being recognized. Of course, you'll have to do a few things to hide who you are, but that shouldn't be so hard."

Harry nodded. "Thank you. Do you have a contact or should I send an owl?"

"Send an owl, your personal one," Draco advised. "Do not let his mother know or she'll start planning a real wedding and we'll all be trapped in tons of lace." Harry snickered. "You think I'm kidding, but the people I have watching over his parents said that she's hot on the subject. Said she's trying to make the most of a bad thing." He shrugged and curled up behind Ron's back. "Are you sure?"

"I'm sure. I can't hate anyone who's helping Ron, even if I dislike them a lot."

"That's very nice," Draco said with a smirk.

"Say more and ruin it," Harry warned.

"Of course." He put his head on Ron's back. "He is very comfortable."

"I know. We do this a lot these days. The other guys don't mind." He smiled down at Ron's back. "They've taken all this really well, even better than Ron himself has. Though Ron was more amused than anything by the guys wanking off to him."

"They did?"

Harry laughed. "All the time. He's very pretty in his female times and we get to see a lot of him during those times. Even Neville's seen more than he wanted to. Said he's trying hard not to compare Ron and Ginny." He gave Ron a squeeze. "I think she'll straighten it out in the end. She might scream but she'll make him see she's better for him." Ron mumbled something and shifted, burying his face in Draco's chest, but clinging to Harry. "I like these times the most," he admitted. "The quiet, warm ones."

"They're to be cherished because all too often the world intrudes," Draco agreed, taking Harry's hand to squeeze. "Can we work together at least?"

"Yeah, I think we can. You're trying to understand and I think that's the most important thing," Harry agreed. He closed his eyes. "Night, Draco."

"Good night, Harry," Draco said, watching them sleep until he drifted off, hand still clenching the others.


Dumbledore looked over as the students filed in, smiling and waving. "Welcome back," he said once everyone looked to be in their places. "I hope you all had a wonderful holiday, for now the end is near for some."

"Not near enough," one of the Slytherins called.

Dumbledore laughed. "Yes, I know, there is the anticipation of all students to go home again. Five more months," he soothed, holding up a hand. "We can persevere that long I'm sure. Now, eat and be happy." He waved a hand and the food appeared and he sat down. "I wonder what Mr. Potter is up to," he told McGonagall.

She frowned. "I'm not sure I want to know. I know that look all too well, I saw it nearly every day on his father's face." She glanced at the Slytherin table, seeing the unconcerned manner that Draco was giving off while chatting with his friends. "Either he's not involved or he's already signed off on the plan."

"The portrait in their bathroom did say there was some talking going on but he couldn't tell what," Dumbledore admitted. "It did say Harry noted he hated the war and wanted it to be over. That's all he said."

"Hopefully he isn't going to do something stupid," she said dryly. "A surprise attack?"

"He said he wasn't restarting DA because it wasn't necessary. With an adequate teachers everyone was getting proper lessons." He sipped his wine. "Perhaps we're overreacting. He could just be planning on getting some snogging time in with Mr. Weasley."

"Or he could be planning something much worse," she reminded him. He looked at her and she sighed. "We'll have to wait and see."

"Yes, we will," Dumbledore agreed, patting her on the hand. Later that night, he pounced on Severus before he could escape into his suite. "What is Mr. Malfoy planning?"

"I think he's planning on showing the irritating duo some ways to have fun," he noted dryly. "I have no idea about anything he's doing. He wouldn't tell me because he knows I'd catch him and punish them all." He crossed his arms. "What makes you think they're up to something?"

"Potter had the exact same look his father had when they had figured out how to become animagus," Dumbledore said quietly. "I thought it better that we figured it out now instead of after whatever has happened."

"I'll ask him tonight."

"Will he answer?"

"He will if he wants my protection or my help in their crazy schemes," he said dryly. Snape disappeared into his rooms, leaving the Headmaster standing there.

Dumbledore frowned, tapping his fingers on his thighs. "Well." He turned, heading to Gryffindor to talk to Harry personally. Maybe he could talk him out of doing whatever it was. He smiled as he walked in, not wanting to alarm everybody. "Harry, a word?" he asked. Harry gave him a dirty look. "Nothing terrible, my boy, simply a small discussion." He led the boy out of the house, positioning him against the wall opposite his own. "What are you and Mr. Weasley planning?"

"Nothing much. Our next trip into town mostly." He shrugged, losing his frown. "I'm trying to talk Ron into letting me buy him some more sweaters. I found one that would look stunning on him but he won't relent."

"I see." Dumbledore looked the boy over. "You do know I can tell when someone's lying?" Harry nodded. "And you know all the portraits report back to me?"

"I had noticed," Harry agreed. He leaned on the wall, pulling one foot up to rest flat against it. "So? I've nothing to hide."

"Are you sure you want to stick to that story?" Harry nodded. "Very well then. I will have to watch you harder I suppose." He started to move but Harry stopped him.

"We removed the portrait our fourth year for a reason, Headmaster. Young men often do things they don't want their teachers to know," he reminded the old man. "The young's entire purpose at our age is to get around the older generations and you should remember how very ingenious some of us are." He let the headmaster go, grinning at him. "With that said, I'm going to go get snogged within an inch of my life and then we're going to plan how to get a naked women who's not Ron into the boys' dorms." He walked inside, leaning down over Ron's head. "Dumbledore thinks we're up to something," he said quietly.

"What does he think you're up to?" Hermione asked, not looking away from her studying.

"He's not sure, just something. He doesn't know a thing, and he doesn't really remember being our age," he added with a wink for Ron, who relaxed under him. "But I did promise him I was going to be snogged within an inch of my life soon, so wanna take a walk, Ron?"

Ron snorted and shook his head. "You're a wanton beast, Potter. I should tie you down and make you beg first." He stood up though, taking his boyfriend's hand. "We're going to go punish him," he told their friend, who was trying hard not to stare in shock. "We'll be back in a few." He let Harry lead him out to the room they had used to practice Defense in their fifth year, whistling when he saw what was on Harry's mind. "Well," he said fondly, smiling at his boyfriend. "You still can't have anything."

"I only wanted to cuddle and touch," Harry pointed out, walking Ron back onto the big pile of velvet pillows and forcing him down onto them, his mouth already on Ron's neck. "If nakedness comes into it, that's all up to you, Ron. Remember, you tell me when to stop or I'm going to keep going."

"Hmm. Have to remember that, you have self control," Ron said, pushing Harry's head lower. "Try some more. You seemed to do really well before."

Harry laughed and undid the dress shirt as fast as he couldn't without tearing it.


Three days later found a few students missing at breakfast. McGonagall looked down at Snape. "Where might Mr. Malfoy be?" she inquired gently.

"I don't know. I thought he was already down here, his room was quiet when I walked past it," he said thoughtfully. He looked at the Gryffindor table. "Potter and Weasley?"

"Not in their beds," Dumbledore said as he walked in. "The house elves never had to make them this morning." He clapped his hands together. "Where might Misters Potter, Weasley, and Malfoy be?" he asked pleasantly. "They seem to be missing."

Hermione stood up, her movement loud in the silent hall. "I have no idea, sir. I haven't seen them since about eight last night. They were giggling about something and did not inform the rest of us." She looked at the boys, who shrugged or shook their heads. "Do you think this is serious or just Harry getting some exercise?"

Dumbledore laughed. "I'm sure they decided to play hookey for the day, nothing serious," he told her. "Thank you, Ms. Granger, five points." She nodded and sat down again. "If anyone should see those three, please tell them we'd like to see them," he said with a brighter smile. He sat down and looked at the two heads of house. "I get them first," he reminded them in his most pleasant tone of voice.

"If they live that long, you can have them," McGonagall told him, nodding as Severus made assenting noises. "How dumb can those three be? They're in no way capable of handling a real battle."

"I thought Potter and Weasley had fought in a few of them," Snape offered. Her face tightened and her lips turned white; it was the look that made many students fear her more than him, that 'scary bitch' look as most called it. "Never mind. If I see Mr. Malfoy, I'll send him to you first, Minerva. I'm sure he'd get quite a lot out of your lectures."

Dumbledore laughed. "I repeat, *I* get them first, then their heads of house." He picked up his fork and selected a pancake, dragging it over to his plate, where it was instantly fixed how he liked. "We should probably eat a lot, it's going to be a rather long day I suppose."

McGonagall snorted and Severus looked at him like he was insane. As usual.


Draco was led onto the car lot by a panting Ron and an interested Harry, but he saw something he wasn't sure about. "What is that?" he asked, pointing at the little roundish thing.

"Economy car," Harry said with a wave. "If I get one, I'm getting a Jetta," he said, pointing it out. "Safe, fuel efficient, but still fast and sporty."

Ron pointed at his dream car. "I want that one," he said with a goofy grin. The other men followed him over so he popped open the door. "Sit, Draco." Draco obediently sat and moaned as the leather conformed to his body. "According to the books, top speed's about three hundred kilometers an hour. Brakes on a dime. Has a kick-ass stereo system." He grinned at the salesman giving him an interested look. "My sugar daddy," he said with an impish grin. "He wanted to know what I wanted in a car."

The salesman laughed. "You certainly set your sights high, young man. That's a beaut, but she's a bit pricy."

Draco stood up and touched the warm metal. "How expensive?"

"About a hundred-ninety thousand pounds," the salesman told him.

Draco looked at Ron. "My car," he purred. Ron beamed. "You may ride in it."

"You'd give me rides?" He leaned closer. "Long, fast ones?"

Draco smirked and touched him on the lips. "I might even be persuaded to let you drive once you get your license," he said gently.

Harry cleared his throat. "We still have to find a place to park it, Draco."

"There's a wonderful garage down the street. High security." The salesman moved closer. "They're fairly inexpensive but they take care of the cars in their care." He looked from Harry to Ron to Draco. "How long have you been driving, young man?"

Draco shrugged. "Not long. Fortunately I'm a quick study. Would you show me how this one runs?"

"Of course," he said, hurrying back to get the keys. "You'll have to leave the other gentlemen here," he pointed out when he noticed how Ron was salivating.

"We'll go for a ride soon," Draco said, winking at Ron as he got into the passenger's side.

"Buckle up, sir. We don't want to break any rules, now do we?" he asked with a smile.

Draco raised an eyebrow. "If you say so." He watched how he put on the belt and mimicked it. "Can we go fast? I prefer speedy transport."

"If we can get a clear street, I can show you up to a hundred kilometers an hour. Any higher and the police are likely to stop us. But if you get them out into the country, especially on some of those unused roads, you can go flat out. 0 to eighty K's in under ten seconds," he noted proudly as he started the car.

Draco watched intently, smiling at how easy it was. Between this and the book Potter had gotten him he should be able to drive fairly well by the next day. "What levels do you shift at?" he asked.

"I listen to the engine. If it sounds like it's running high, I shift up. Of course it only goes to fifth," he explained at the longing look. He found a clear street and laid down on the gas pedal. "Watch out," he warned. "Going fast now." The car sped up more and more, and even Draco had to grab the bar on the door. "Do you like?" he asked as they slowed back down, traffic was just ahead.

"I like," he purred happily. "Ron may get his wish yet." He nodded. "Let me go to my bank. Hold it for a few hours." They went back to the dealership and he got out, putting an arm around Ron's shoulders when he jogged over. "Done," he said with a challenging smirk at Harry.

Harry snapped his fingers and pulled out two bags of money. "For my new Jetta," he said with a smirk. Draco groaned. "Want to head to the bank now or later, Draco?"

"Now," he decided, walking after Harry to watch him sign forms. This wasn't so hard. They came back later and he repeated these actions, having the cars sent to the garage until they could find a better place to store it. After they were done, Draco looked around the bleak cityscape. "Now where?"

Harry checked his watch. "We can either go check into the hotel, go eat breakfast, or go shopping for clothes." Draco's eyes lit up. "Let's check into the hotel first and then we can send everything back," Harry suggested.

"That would be prudent," Draco agreed, putting an arm around Harry's shoulders as well. "Where should we shop?"

"What do we want?" Ron asked. "Formal stuff, leather, regular jeans, shoes?"

"Yes," Draco decided, nodding. "Come along, Harry. Let's see if you can keep up." He winked at Ron. "You will not complain or I will turn you over my knee, Ron."

"Yes, Draco, but I get to talk to the girls."

"Fine." He led them out to where they could catch a cab. He wasn't quite ready to drive yet. It would take some trial and error on the dirt road at home before he was ready to show off.


Two nights later, Harry led Ron back into the castle, singing along with him. Draco, who was following them, managed to get everything hidden before they were found. "Filch!" Harry slurred happily, giving him a hug. "How's it hangin', dude?"

Filch shoved him off. "Dumbledore wants you three," he sneered. "Gonna get it now. They might even let me use my thumb screws again."

Ron laughed. "Screws," he giggled.

"You're drunk!" Filch accused.

"Yes, the lovely ladies at the strip club *insisted* that we continue to buy for them," Draco said, patting him on the chest. "We'll show ourselves up and see him tomorrow." He burped and kept down the alcohol by sheer force of will. "Ooh, that didn't feel good. Potter, bed," he ordered, pointing toward Gryffindor's tower. He noticed Ron was limp against Harry's side. "He all right?"

"Just 'sleep," Harry slurred, grinning at him. "Come on, you can sleep on his bed." He slung Ron over his shoulder and walked up to their tower. "Flubberbutt," he said firmly, nodding.

"Oh, it's you," the Fat Lady said, sneering at them. "You look like you're drunk. And him again?"

"The guys said we could," Harry said with a shrug, leading the way up. He got into their room unharmed by a miracle and flopped Ron onto the bed, making him wake up. "Get undressed, wanna cuddle," Harry said.

Draco shoved him face down onto the bed. "You need to cuddle the blankets, Potty. You're slacking."

Neville sat up and moved his curtains aside. "Are you drunk?" he asked in disgust.

Draco opened his robe and pulled out a large paper sack, disturbing his pocket of holding. "Here, have some. Then maybe you'll shag Ginny into the rug," he said, tossing over a bottle of sherry. "We've got plenty more." He stuffed the bag back into his pocket because he heard footsteps on the stairs. "People," he warned.

Ron stood up with a little help from Draco. "Help me get undressed?" he asked nicely, grinning at him. "I'll show you what I learned."

The door slammed open and McGonagall walked in with Filch behind her. "What is the meaning of this? Malfoy, you're not allowed in here."

"They said I could as long as I kept it rare," Draco defended. Harry giggled. He spanked him, making him yell and arch up. "Get up and strip. Then we'll do Ron."

"You will not!" McGonagall said, sounding shocked. "There will be no stripping in front of me!"

Ron beamed at her over Draco's shoulder. "I know how to do that now," he said happily. "The nice women were very happy to talk to me about girl things and what to do with the girl things, and even how to dance." His smile got brighter and sillier. "I promised I'd do it for Harry and Draco one night."

She growled, but the boys all giggled.

"We'll get you a pole and you can show everyone, Ron," Harry said, flipping onto his side and tugging on the back of Ron's pants. "Get out of those!"

"Pole," Ron giggled. "Yeah, I can do poles now," he agreed. "They taught me all sorts of neat stuff to do with poles."

Draco put a finger over his lip. "Don't spill it all yet," he whispered hoarsely. "Surprise us."

Ron hugged him hard, making him go 'oof'. "I can do that." He shimmied out of his new clothes and flopped down on top of Harry. "No fair, you're still dressed."

"We can fix that, just like we can fix that nasty hole in the wall," Draco reminded him, pulling his wand. "Fly away," he said, swooping his wand around. Harry's clothes flew off and landed on a chair, nicely folded and cleaned. He grinned at McGonagall. "My mother taught me that," he said happily, falling backwards onto Ron's bed. He did the same for his own clothes, ending up totally naked. He snuggled under the covers and sighed with pleasure. "We'll have to go back there soon," he told the couple.

"Yeah, wanna go back there," Harry agreed. "Have to win back my money at pool now that I understand it."

"You drank and gambled?" Neville asked, sounding even more shocked.

Harry put a hand in the air and wiggled it. "Played billiards. Lost fifty muggle pounds. Not much. Was very happy though. Strip pool the last few games." He sighed and closed his eyes. "Night."

"Night," Ron said against his neck. "Dream of me."

"Every night," Harry said contentedly. "Night, Draco."

"Sleep, Potter, or I'm going to show you graphically what to do with a woman the next time you get hit on by one and blush or stammer."

Harry laughed. "You already did that!"

"It was impressive, I didn't know women could scream like that in pleasure," Ron agreed.

Draco laughed. "I am good," he noted, then he closed his eyes and started to snore.

McGonagall shook her head and stormed out, going to wake the Headmaster.

"Thumbscrews, definitely the thumbscrews. Maybe even the headscrews," Filch said happily as he walked out, slamming the door behind him.

"What the bloody hell is going on!" Justin yelled.

"Not bloody yet," Ron mumbled. "Just happy and lucky. Pretty women." Both men groaned and shifted toward the sound of his voice. "Very pretty women who thought I was cute."

Justin groaned. "Someone cast a silencing charm on them," he whined. "We've got a test in Potions tomorrow." Draco cackled. "You're here too?" he asked, sitting up and pushing aside his bed curtains. He waved at Neville. "What happened?"

"They just came back and they're drunk," Dean put in.

"Plus, they had loose women and were gambling," Neville said, tossing him the bottle of sherry. "Draco pulled it out of a pocket in his robes."

The other guys got up and went to see if they could find it. They found it locked and had to settle for that single bottle, sharing it around the room. Neville even had some, and quickly got drunk. He wandered over to the girls' side and into Ginny's bed, giving her a strong hug.

"Neville?" she whispered. He kissed her. "Eww, you taste like liquor."

"Had to so I'd be brave," he explained patiently. He snuggled in, mimicking Harry's favorite position. Breasts *were* nice for napping on. "Thank you, Ginny."

"You're welcome, Neville. You rest." She stroked his back, laughing internally. She'd hear about it in the morning. "Is Ron back?" she whispered. He nodded. "Good. I want to know where he's been." He mumbled something about loose women and alcohol, but she was sure he was dreaming. Ron wouldn't do things like that.


Hermione drug Neville out of the bed and out of their room by his ear, dropping him in the Common Room. "You are *not* allowed to do that!" she said loudly. "You may not besmirch the girls just because you want to, Mr. Longbottom." She noticed him holding his head and smirked. "Sore head?" she asked snidely.

"Draco gave us some sherry," he said, holding his head. "Is Ginny all right?"

"I'm sure she's fine, she's still dressed. I *suggest* you go back to your room before I report you." He nodded, trudging that way. "Was Ron with him?" she demanded. Neville nodded again so she followed him, finding the guys looking at the threesome. Sometime during the night they had all drifted back to Draco's side, and were tangled up nicely. "What is going on!" she demanded. The boys parted, letting her see. She gasped and turned around. "They're naked!" It was easy enough to see since they weren't covered. She would not dwell on how hard they were or how much she missed Ron clambering over her when he passed out after sex.

"No shit!" Justin said, shoving her. "Get out of our room, before we report you!" She stomped off. "We should probably wake them up," he pointed out in a gentler tone of voice. "Before McGonagall gets up here again."

"What did they do for two days?" Dean asked in awe. "And is that a tatoo on Ron's rear? Their initials?" Everyone tipped their heads to look at it.

"I think it is," Neville said, starting to blush. He hurried into the bathroom. "I've got to talk to Ginny and apologize."

"Only apologize if it wasn't good," Justin called after him, making the other boys cackle. They heard heavy feet on the stairs and scrambled toward the bathroom themselves, though Seamus did cover the trio before ducking out.

McGonagall slammed open the door. "Get up!" she roared. One head, a blond one, lifted up and she was given the two-fingered salute before it fell back to the pillows. "What are you doing now?" she squeaked when she saw movement under the sheets.

"Going to rub off on them," Ron grumbled, shifting to get Harry's thigh. "Nice you," he said, patting him on the back. "Should sodomize you later." Harry laughed and arched back against him, making him groan. Draco swatted both of them. "Shut up, I'm getting some."

"Keep it up and we'll see how practical the knowledge those strippers gave you is," he said blearily. He looked at the door and saw a great, hulking, dark shape. "Oh, Severus," he said fondly. "Congratulate me, I own a car. It goes very fast," he purred, then he pounced Ron, making him shriek giggles. "Do not rub up against me unless you're going to finish it, tart boy. Or else we won't take you back there and I won't give you any more rides," he hissed, working himself off quickly.

"I'm not a sex toy," Harry complained. "Give me some Ron too." He stole the Ron, putting him under him to work himself off. He felt a hand come over to help and sighed in relief. "Thanks. I needed this." He started to snore as soon as he was done.

"No stamina, we'll have to fix that, Harry," Ron complained. "Draco, a hand if you please?" he pleaded. The sheet shifted and he squealed, arching up. "Thank you," he panted. "Bless you. You're very nice and good and sweet, plus nasty and reviling and revolting," he added when he saw the scowl.

"That's better. For that I should give you a short ride." He growled and bit Ron's ear, then Harry's neck. "Mine."

"Yours," Ron agreed dreamily. "Sleep again. Play later. More women?"

"We're back at the school," Draco reminded him. "That's why there are teachers staring at us."

Ron looked up and waved. "Hi. Good show?" He giggled and buried himself under Harry again, getting comfortable. "There, better," he sighed, drifting off again.

Draco gave a happy sigh and settled in to nap himself. He needed this after the last few days. They had been very busy. Ron squeaked and shifted away from his hand, waking up. "Then you should have done a healing spell like Potter did. No pain no gain," he taunted.

"Keep it up, I did learn that cockring spell," Ron reminded him. "It'll stay on until I take it off."

Draco shuddered. "Fine, what do you want? Jewelry? Horses? A new house so we don't have to fix the hole in the wall?"

"More later," Ron suggested slyly. "Sleep now, more later." He yawned and fell back asleep again.

McGonagall looked at Severus, who was scowling worse than she had ever seen him. "Your turn," she said, getting out of the way.

He flicked out his wand, sending a shower of ice over the boys.

"Not the ice dildo again!" Harry complained. "I didn't like it the last time, Draco!"

"Not me," Draco grunted. He shifted and grabbed his wand, tossing a harmless hex at the people watching them. "Go away," he said in his most deadly voice.

Snape grabbed the blond hair. "We'll see what you have to say when you face down the headmaster," he taunted, pulling him out of the bed.

Ron stood up and slugged the professor, mostly still asleep, and stole his Draco back from the stunned fingers. "Mine!" Ron growled. "Get your own walking sex encyclopedia and teacher." He snuggled between the men this time, falling back into a deeper sleep now that he was really comfortable.

McGonagall handed him her handkerchief, shaking her head. "Give them until school starts," she advised with a cruel smirk. "We'll come back and drag them through the halls in their present condition then."

"Not ashamed of my body any more," Harry said proudly, biting Draco on the shoulder. "The women said I was cute."

"What women?" McGonagall asked in disbelief. He was still a little boy, what woman would have said that?

"The strippers," Draco mumbled. "Night."


"Pole," Ron mumbled in his sleep, then he giggled. Draco poked him. He laughed some more. Harry shut him up with a hard kiss and he found a different dream to enjoy.

The teachers shook their heads and stomped out, slamming the door.

The other boys carefully peeked out of the bathroom, then hurried to get dressed and leave for the day. Showers could be had that night, they didn't need to be caught up there.


Draco complained as he was drug through the school naked, but the other two were right behind him. He was shoved into a chair and glared at the man across from him.

"Headache potion?" the Headmaster asked pleasantly, if a bit loudly.

"No, not necessary," Harry said with a shrug. "Sleep cured most of it after we were so rudely awoken this morning." McGonagall made a shocked noise and he turned on her. "What part of 'I'm still a normal bloke' didn't you get?" he asked angrily. "Yeah, I needed some time off, I did what most guys my age do, I drove really fast, talked with loose women, and got kinda lit. Happier now that I've done all this?"

"You also got tattooed and managed to scare the wizarding world to death," Dumbledore said patiently. "Do you feel better, Mr. Potter?"

Harry nodded. "Yeah, for now." He smirked at the professors. "Did you actually miss me or was this a worry that I'd be captured?" They went pale. "Thought so." He looked at the Headmaster. "With all due respect, this is my life. I'm still training but even *I* need time off now and again. Life can't be about training, it has to be about life." Draco clapped. "You're a lot more tolerable when you've had a few," he said snidely.

Draco reached over and patted the small happy face on Harry's chest. "Don't worry, it's the effects of the hangover."

Hagrid came in and groaned, covering his eyes. "I didn't need to see that. Harry, how could you?"

"How could I what? I'm seventeen, Hagrid!"

"Yes, you are underage, aren't you?" Dumbledore said calmly. "How did you buy alcohol?"

"My ID said I was twenty-two," Harry defended, with a gleam in his eye. "Think my dad'd be proud since it was his?" Dumbledore choked. "Anything else? I'm a bit chilly and I'd like some underwear if nothing else."

McGonagall cleared her throat. "You could very well have lost this war," she said primly. "You could also have upset your chances at being an auror."

Harry gave her a steady look. "Really?" he asked dryly. "Are you so sure they're not going to overlook a few things because they want me that badly? Because if not, I have other things I can do."

"You used magic around muggles," Dumbledore said.

Harry shook his head. "Did not! She's a wandless witch, we were comparing styles. We even wrote a paper on it."

Ron nodded. "It might need some revising, I think it's got a couple of fart jokes in there, Sir, but it is done."

Draco patted him on the shoulder. "I warned you that a quick-quote quill was a bad idea," he reminded him. He picked up the Headmaster's wand and summoned their clothes for them, then tossed the wand back so he could get dressed. "There, much better. Potter?" he asked.

"Why do I have a thong?" Harry asked, staring at it in disgust.

"You let Ron buy it for you and force you to wear it," Draco reminded him. The adults stared at him. "What? I talked him out of the leather underwear."

Ron giggled, snorting through his nose. "It was so cute, the look on his face," he laughed, curling up in his chair. Harry dropped a shirt over his lap. "Fine, I'll get dressed," he sighed, standing up to do so. "There, better?" he asked once he had on a pair of pants.

"Shirt as well," Hagrid said firmly. "Your....things may have shrunken away but you're still a girl sometimes and it's not right. I'll tell your Ma."

"Tell her, I'll probably brag about the stuff we did," Ron told him, giving him a smile. "We had fun, Hagrid. We're young men and we did what comes naturally, we released some stress."

"You had us worried," Snape hissed. "We had no idea where you were."

"Did you try to do a tracking spell?" Harry asked. He crossed his arms and looked at the teacher. "If you had you would have found us pleasantly engaged in having fun. We rode a big ferris wheel. We tripped up and down the Underground. We even ate some disgusting African cuisine I'm still not sure I want to know more about." He shuddered. "Are you sure they said that was pig, Draco?"

"As far as I could remember," he admitted. "If not, I'm very sorry for all of us." He saw Ron turning green. "You promised," he snapped. Ron choked it back down. "Thank you." He looked at Harry again. "It had to have been. What else could it have been?" He looked at his head of house again. "You never answered, did you try to track us?"

"We thought it wisest not to, in case you had been captured," Dumbledore said calmly.

Harry frowned, looking at him. "Why would it have tipped anyone off? The one we were taught is unnoticeable unless you're in a shielding building."

"Yeah, and the muggle theatre being shielded was a big surprise to me," Ron admitted. "What was the name of that movie again?"

"Warriors of Virtue," Harry said with a touch of disgust in his voice.

"Who would have thought muggles could get kangaroos to do that sort of fighting without an Imperious," Draco added, shaking his head.

"Kangaroos?" Snape asked, looking alarmed. "What did you do to him, Potter?" he growled as he advanced on the wandless boy with a hand out, ready to choke him to death. "He was a normal boy until you kidnaped him!"

"I went willingly. They promised to show me things that would make me think that the muggles are only half as bad as I thought before, which they did. They even showed me some of the bad sides so I'd have a clear view." He looked at Ron, then at Harry. "I accept," he said simply as he stood up. "I think I need a shower and some food. You should probably feed Ron as well, I think he's about asleep again." He nodded at the headmaster. "Do you want my Head Boy status revoked?" The older man shook his head. "Am I in detention?" The old man nodded. "With?"

"Me," Snape demanded. "I want them all!"

"Fine," Dumbledore said, waving a hand. "I'm sure you'll find creative uses for all of them for the next month or so." He glared at Harry. "We really were worried about you."

"Then you would have done a tracking spell, called Mrs. Weasley or the twins to see if we were there, and you would have asked us what we had gotten into instead of this mass interrogation and attempt at raising our fear of you."

"I think that's quite clear," McGonagall told him, staring at him. "Your comments last night left very little to the imagination, as did your activities this morning."

Ron looked at her. "We were only at the strip club for four hours, ma'am. We also did some shopping, took care of some necessities, and dealt with a few future issues, all while bonding closer. Which was the wish of some people," he said, first looking at Snape, then at Dumbledore. He stood up. "Right?" Dumbledore nodded. "Then why are you complaining about us having some fun? Yeah, we skipped classes. Yay. If you get us for it, you've got to get all the other students who skip by the lake and in the village. Not to mention the ones who simply hide in the storage rooms and read fantasy novels all day." He pulled on a shirt and popped his neck. "I think I need to go back to that chiropractor person. I undid all his good work on the dance floor."

"Was that the one with the pole?" McGonagall asked snidely.

Ron looked at her. "No, that was the strip club. Fortunately the ladies took pity on me because Harry told them that I was a transexual turning into a girl. They gave me all sorts of lessons on how to walk in heels, how to move my body when I get it again, things like that." He grinned. "Plus they taught me some of the easier pole tricks they use at work. Really nice women, ma'am. A few single mothers, a college student, and the wiccan we interviewed for our next defense paper. Oh," he snapped his fingers and pulled something out of Harry's pants pocket, the balled up version of their first page. "Here, for you, ma'am, since you were so worried about what we'd be learning." He took Harry's arm and walked him out of the room. "I'm famished."

"Me too," Harry agreed. "Draco?" He walked out after them. "Meet for detention tonight?"

"Of course," he said with a cocky grin. "Go soothe the frazzled tempers."

"That is one advantage of having no one to call and whine to about your behavior," Ron sighed. "How long do you think it'll take my mum and dad to get here?"

Harry laughed. "I'd be surprised if they weren't on their way now. Come on, race you to the kitchens?" He took off, Ron running after him.

"No fair, you got a head start. You're a sneaky, cheeky brat, Potter."

Draco laughed. "Yes, he is," he agreed quietly as he headed for his room. He needed a shower and to fix his hair.


Snape looked at the three men scrubbing his office floor. "How would you like to never fly again, Potter?" he sneered, feet up on the desk as the boys cleaned under him. "Weasley, you missed a spot."

Draco stood up and dropped the brush, pulling something out of his pocket. He held it up and then held it over the bucket of water. "Give me similar or ease off them," he warned in his nicest possible tone of voice, "or I drop the narwhal horn." Snape made a grab for it, but Draco stepped back. "I mean it. You wanted us to bond, and we did. You wanted us to get along, and we mostly do. Now either treat them like you would me, or treat us all like you do Weasley. Or else I won't show you what else we bought in town," he said suggestively, wiggling the bottle. The cork was coming loose and the Potion's Master barely caught it before the powder fell onto the floor. "Thank you."

"This doesn't get you out of trouble," Snape warned, sniffing the ingredients. "Where did you get this?"

"A Chinese herbalist near Piccadilly Circus," Ron told him. "Along with the herbal viagra, the julienned bear testicles and pancreas, the supposed unicorn horn, or even the bull's hooves in a vodka solution." He smirked at the interested look. "We had to find out where we could get all our necessary ingredients in case we implemented Harry's plan, sir."

"You're an annoying prat, Weasley," Draco warned. "That was most of our bargaining chips." Ron stood up and whispered something, making Draco go stiff. "You may not, I will not allow it. Potter, talk some sense into him."

Harry looked at Ron and Ron mouthed the suggestion again. "No," he said firmly, "I won't allow it either."

"What?" Snape drawled, complacent for now. They came bearing gifts? Then they knew they were going to get into trouble. "His blood?"

Ron beamed. "What an excellent idea, sir, but no," he sighed dramatically. "I was going to suggest that I knew where you could get virgin veela hairs." He winked and stretched again. "I'm heading for the loo. Be right back."

"I didn't dismiss you."

Ron looked at him. "What are you going to do, expel me for needing a piss?" he said with a shrug. "Yay." He walked out, going to use the bathroom.

Harry nodded. "That's a very good point. Even if Ron doesn't get into the auror training program, he's still got plenty he can do, including work with the twins," he reminded Draco.

Draco considered it. "I'd pay him to keep the house up," he offered. Harry beamed. "We'll discuss it if it has to happen."

"You found a muggle house?" Snape demanded.

Harry looked at him then shrugged. "Yeah, very nice place. Little isolated. Nice roads around it."

"You won't be able to fly there," Snape sneered.

Harry pulled out his wallet and the picture he had taken of him next to his baby. "So?" he said as he handed it over. Snape's face went pale. "I see you recognize the machine."

"Those are dangerous. People get killed in them every year." He stood up. "You won't be allowed to endanger everyone's lives by being stupid and young, Potter."

Harry looked at him, then burst out in laughing. "I'm a better driver than Draco is," he blurted out, laughing at the sour look on Draco's face. "At least it was only a pothole."

"Yes, but I was doing near two hundred at the time. Fortunately we were both capable of fixing the thing," he pouted. His poor car. He had nearly broken an axle.

Harry gave him a pat on the back. "Don't worry, it's fixed and it goes as fast as it ever did," he soothed.

Ron walked back in. "Is he pouting about his car again!" he demanded. Draco nodded, giving him a wry look. "I promise, it not only runs as good, it runs better," he soothed, clapping him on the back. "It even goes faster since we changed it to run on mostly magic instead of that inefficient gas."

"Yes, and all the potholes are fixed now thanks to Potter leaking magic," Draco said happily. He winked at his guardian. "I believe we're done for now?" he suggested.

"I think not," Snape hissed, stepping closer. "What car, boy?"

Draco pulled out his own picture and showed it off. "Pretty, isn't it?" he smirked. He took the picture back and strolled out. "I'll see you both in Defense tomorrow. Don't forget to revise the paper."

"Sure, Draco," Harry called. He took back his own picture. "Headmaster!" he called. Dumbledore came running. "I wanted you to see the picture of my baby," he said happily, showing it off.

"Harry, that's a car, not an infant," the Headmaster noted, looking at him. "Yours?"

"Mine," Harry said happily. "It goes up to 241 Kilometers an hour with good fuel efficiency and wonderful safety features," he said proudly. "We tested it out on the roads outside of London."

"You drove!" Snape yelled. "How dare you risk yourself that way!"

Harry looked at him. "You're giving me a headache," he said blandly. He looked at Dumbledore again, taking back the picture and putting it into his wallet. "It's a wonderful little car. I got it in teal with tan leather inside. A bit extra but very nice. It's also got a great sound system. Ron said he'd help me pick out music for it."

Dumbledore took Harry's arm carefully. "Come along, young one. I think we need to get you seen to." Ron started to chuckle. "You as well, Mr. Weasley," he said calmly. "Come, let's see Madam Pomfrey." He kept up a comforting stream of words all the way up, ignoring the way the boys looked at each other. "Poppy, I think Mr. Potter and Mr. Weasley may have a touch of alcohol poisoning. Harry said he now owns a car."

She clucked and herded them into a room together, checking them over. "What sort of car did you get, Mr. Potter?"

"A Volkswagen Jetta, Wolfsburg Edition," he said proudly, pulling out the picture to show her. "See? It's a nice combination of speed, safety, and efficiency. Malfoy got a sports car," he confided.

Ron snickered. "Yes, and he loves the fast, shiny thing."

Madam Pomfrey stepped out. "Headmaster, if I may see Mr. Malfoy as well?" she suggested.

"Of course, I hadn't even thought he might be ill as well," he noted as he hurried away to get the poor boy. He pounded on the portrait before walking in. "Draco, my boy, I believe you should head up to the infirmary so we can take care of whatever poisoning or curse or whatever it is on you three," he said calmly. "Come along now, no arguing."

Draco groaned as he stood up.

"Are you sore? In your joints?"

"No, that was a moan of disgust," Draco noted. "You didn't like Potter's car?" He pulled out his own picture. "Mine's faster and sleeker," he said proudly. "I nearly ripped it up yesterday afternoon, but it is a beautiful ride."

Dumbledore took him by the hand. "Come along, Mr. Malfoy. I'm sure we can cure whatever ailment has befallen you," he soothed, leading him up to the infirmary also. "Here he is, Poppy, with a car of his own."

Ron looked over at him from his bed. "He wouldn't buy me one, Headmaster, tell him he's mean," he teased, winking at Draco to show he was kidding.

"I'm sure you'll get one of your very own soon enough," Dumbledore said graciously, leaving the obviously demented youths there. He ran into Severus and McGonagall in the halls, stopping them. "Minerva, there's been a small problem. Potter and Malfoy have *cars*," he said quietly, glancing around.

"Whyever for?" she asked. "They're dangerous!"

"They're young men, we thrive on danger," Snape noted, walking around them.

"No! Severus, we don't know that it's not some sort of curse. Malfoy seemed very pleased to be driving a muggle contraption of death. You can't go near them, it might be contagious and I'm not sure what it would do to you."

"Fine," Snape agreed, mentally shuddering. "You say Malfoy's enjoying muggle things?" The Headmaster nodded. "Weasley and Potter as well?" The Headmaster nodded again. "I'll have one of Malfoy's friends come up and talk to him. Whatever it was clearly came from outside." He strode off, heading for the library. He found Crabbe and pulled him up by the back of his neck. "I have a job for you," he ordered, taking him out to the hallway. "You know how Malfoy was missing?" Crabbe nodded, frowning. "They apparently went to muggle London, did some shopping, watched a movie, and bought cars."

"Cars, sir?"

"Cars. Transportation devices that go very fast and kill thousands of them each year. We need to know if this is a curse or a disease. You will talk to him and see what is going on."

He had a wonderful opening, and did what Draco had suggested earlier since he had foreseen this conversation. "Sir, if I may be so bold, we could send him home for a few days," Crabbe suggested. "Put Potter and Weasley with him to keep them out of the way? That way no one else can be contaminated? I heard Potter talking Granger into going for a ride with him earlier, and she did relent eventually. It must be contagious, Pansy was saying that she thought they were cute cars."

He shuddered, he couldn't lose any more of his students to this odd behavior. "That is a good idea. Fifty points for it," he said grudgingly. "Go up to the infirmary right now and check on them. It was bad enough they visited clubs, strippers, and a wandless witch of all things." He strode off, going to sanitize himself.

Crabbe shook his head, but he did as ordered, with only a stop to get his books first. He walked into the infirmary and went right to Draco's side. "A car?" he asked, looking shocked.

Draco beamed and showed it to him. "In first gear it goes twice as fast as my broom," he confided happily.

"You'll have to show me. Professor Snape seems to think that a weekend at your house would do you and your mates good."

"If you want to come, you may. We'll have to floo over," Draco told him, putting his picture away. "Where's my robe!" he demanded. It floated over to him. "Thank you!" He dug into the hidden pocket, coming out with a small bottle of scotch. "Want some?" he asked, handing it over.

Crabbe hissed and put it into his pocket. "Not in here!" he squeaked. "We'll get caught. Later, when we're at home."

Draco sat up. "Potter's idea," he smirked. "To fulfill needs." Crabbe's mouth opened. "He's bored."

"Oh!" Crabbe backed up a few steps. "I hope this isn't contagious," he whined. "Madam Pomfrey, they'll be moved tonight to Malfoy Manor. Professor Snape said all of them were to go, just in case it's contagious."

"I'll let them get dressed once I have the orders," she told him, giving him a smile and a discrete check. "You seem just fine. No desire for cars or strippers? Though why they would want things to take the finish off wood I don't know," she admitted.

Crabbe cleared his throat. He wouldn't tell her, he wouldn't! No matter how much Draco was smirking at him. "Professor Snape said I was to accompany them," he told her in his usual firm voice.

"That's fine, Mr. Crabbe. Sit down and talk to Mr. Malfoy for a bit longer. I'll get the orders soon most likely." She went back to her desk.

Harry moved the curtain and put a finger to his lips. "We're hiding," he hissed. Crabbe nodded and Harry laughed. "We'll show you," he promised. "Draco trusts you to keep your mouth shut."

"He's very good at it," Draco agreed. "Aren't you, Vincent?"

"Yes, Draco. You know I'd never betray you," Crabbe said quickly. He didn't like the looks of this at all but he would get his friend through this, even if it meant his own life.


Go To Part 2: