“Sorry, to keep you waiting!” Harry announced from the open doorway.
“No problem, Mr. Potter,” answered Amelia. “I’m sure you needed the extra sleep.”
“Come on in and join us, Harry,” invited Kingsley.
“Is everything okay, Harry?” asked Alison as he grabbed a seat on the sofa and poured himself a cup of tea.
“Everything’s fine, Alison. Now what would you like to know Madam Bones that wasn’t covered in my note?” he asked then took a sip of tea.
“Could you just tell us everything from the start, please? I do have to file a real report and I’m afraid your note left out some important details.”
“Sure, but how are those two I dropped off?”
“The healer was able to heal some of the bones but not all of them,” answered Amanda. “They are currently experiencing several doses of Skele-gro for the bones that had to be vanished.”
“Ah, good old Skele-gro. I’ve had to endure that a time or two,” he said remembering, but not really in a fond way.
Harry then told the group that he was worried about the Death Eater idiots coming after Mandy, so much so that he couldn’t sleep. He decided to check the ward line for any problems. That’s where he came across the two Death Eaters working on bringing the wards down. He captured them then made sure they knew the folly of their ways before dropping them off at the DMLE.
Harry left out the part about the Parseltongue wards.
“Any questions?” he asked.
“Yes, I have one,” said Amelia. “How did you get into the DMLE last night? The guard near the floos had no record of you ever coming through, especially with two Death Eaters in tow.”
“That’s going to be difficult to answer,” he said.
“Please try,” she said determined.
“Well, you see, that would reveal another one of my family secrets and I just can’t do that.”
She sighed. “Very well, Mr. Potter, but please don’t enter an area you are not authorized to enter in the future.”
“Sorry about that, but I wanted to make sure you personally received the prisoners. I don’t trust that many people at the Ministry.”
“I understand, but please refrain in the future.”
Harry nodded at her.
”I suppose that is all we have to ask you. Please try and stay out of trouble.”
“I’ll do my best, Madam Bones. Say, Kingsley, would you do me a favor and let those two idiots know something?”
“What would that be, Harry?”
“Tell them that if I ever catch them doing something like that again, that next time I won’t be so nice,” Harry said seriously, then took his last drink of tea in his cup. He missed all the big eyes from the others in the room.
After Amelia and Kingsley left, Harry explained to Alison and Mandy that he did put up additional wards last night. That he put them outside their current wards and were separate from them. The wards he put up, he explained, will specifically keep out Voldemort and his Death Eaters only. No one else. In fact, they no longer will be able to mess with their existing wards since they now can’t get to them. Anyone who is not Voldemort or one of his Death Eaters will have to deal with just the existing wards.
Alison promised to explain it to David when he came home. David will want to check their wards and repair any damage done, she told him.
The next morning around ten o’clock, Harry and Mandy decided to go shopping with Alison. David had to go back to his office again early that morning, but promised to make a short day of it. Alison still had some Christmas shopping to finish and the young couple had all theirs to do. They had been safely tucked away in Harry’s chamber when not in classes so they hadn’t done any shopping for presents.
They decided to go to Muggle London first and get that out of the way. Muggle holiday shopping tended to get more crowded in the afternoon, as there were so many more of them. After they were done there, they grabbed some lunch before heading into Diagon Alley.
Almost as soon as they entered the Alley, they ran into Amelia and Susan Bones, along with Hannah Abbott who was tagging along with them. While shopping together, Madam Bones insisted Harry and Mandy call her Amelia while they insisted on their first names as well. Eventually, the two adult friends decided they needed to shop alone together for a while so they could buy some presents for the teens. Amelia impressed upon Harry not to let the girls out of his sight before they walked off.
After the teens finished shopping for presents for the adults, they decided to go get some ice cream at Fortescue’s Ice-Cream Parlour. They had only been there about five minutes chatting with each other and enjoying their ice creams when they heard a voice.
They all looked up.
“Hi, Tracey!” Mandy replied.
“Hello, ladies!” said Harry. “Care to join us?”
“Sure, that’ll be great!” answered Tracey.
“Have a seat, Trace,” said Daphne. “I’ll get us some ice cream.”
“Thanks, Daph. So, getting all your shopping done?” she asked turning back to the table of teens.
“Trying,” answered Harry, “but I think we’ve been too busy talking. It slowed us down a bit.”
“You got that right,” said Susan. “We haven’t shut up since we ran into each other,” she said with a chuckle. Susan had strawberry-blonde hair past her shoulders while her friend Hannah had dirty-blonde hair that just barely rested on her shoulders.
“It’s been fun though,” said Mandy. “Don’t get me wrong. I love all the time I get to spend with Harry in that hideaway of his, but it’s nice to get together with friends.”
“She’s right,” said Harry. “I love all the time we get to spend with just the two of us too, but spending time with friends is very important as well. I appreciate all of you.”
“Look at Harry getting all sappy on us,” said Hannah smiling. She tucked some of her hair behind one ear as she did so.
“Those Gryffindor’s say the darndest things, don’t they?” asked Tracey with a grin.
“I heard that,” said Daphne who had just come back with the ice creams for her and Tracey. She put Tracey’s ice cream down in front of her. Daphne had long pure blonde hair while her friend Tracey was a light brunette with hair just past her shoulders. “Watch it Potter! I’m not sure how to deal with appreciation.”
“Why’s that, Greengrass?” he asked with a smirk.
“As you can see, I just handed Tracey her ice cream and she said absolutely nothing in thanks.”
“Oh shut up you cold-hearted hag and hand me my spoon so I can eat it,” replied Tracey.
“See what I’m talking about,” Daphne said as she handed over the spoon to her friend.
“Poor Daphne,” said Harry.
“Yes, poor me, Harry. You see what I have to put up with,” she replied gesturing to Tracey.
Tracey was eating chocolate ice cream so she stopped eating for a second, looked up at everyone, and grinned with her teeth still coated in ice cream.
Everyone chuckled at the display.
Daphne took a seat next to Tracey and looked around. “How’s everyone’s holiday going?”
Everyone answered at once nodding their heads and saying ‘good’ or ‘fun’ or whatever.
“I saw in the paper this morning you were up to your normal stunts, Harry,” said Daphne.
“Oh really? What did it say?”
“It reported that a couple of Death Eaters were attempting to break down the wards at Mandy’s house when you found them then did a number on them before taking them to Susan’s aunt and turning them in.”
“Is that true, Harry?” asked Tracey.
“Sounds about right,” Harry replied.
“What all did you do to them?” asked Susan.
“Oh, I just broke a few bones. I wanted to make sure they knew I meant business about coming after my girl.”
“From what I read it was more than a few,” said Daphne.
“Well, I was very serious,” he replied.
They all looked around at each other while Harry suddenly had a precognition. He figured out that his eyes flashed when that happens so he got in the habit of closing them when he felt it starting. Harry closed his eyes and lowered his head.
All of the girls looked at him, wondering what he was doing. Suddenly, he opened his eyes and looked up at them.
“Pardon me ladies, but there is someone who needs my attention.”
Before they could process what he said, Harry was in motion. He stood and grabbed the chair he was sitting in, flinging it with one hand into the air. They followed the trajectory of it and saw it fly into the path of a green spell that was headed toward Mandy. The chair exploded stopping the Killing Curse and Harry threw up a shield in front of the explosion protecting everyone from the flying pieces of chair.
Instantly, he was gone without a sound. He apparated away and up on top of a roof where a man was getting ready to leave after the failed attempt. He didn’t quite make it. Harry apparated so fast that he was standing beside the assassin before he could even blink.
The assassin tried to bring his wand around on Harry but the speed in which Harry moved was unbelievable. Before he knew it, Harry had his hand wrapped around the wrist of the arm that held the longer than normal wand in it.
The assassin began screaming as Harry snapped his wrist and watched as the wand fell all the way down to the street. The people in Diagon Alley, who saw the exploding chair, looked up suddenly when the man started screaming. About that same time, they saw him sail off the rooftop and land with a splat in the middle of the street below.
Harry told him while he bodily threw him off the building that he would meet him down there on the street and he did. Harry silently apparated and landed right next to the assassin who apparently broke his neck when he landed. He was still alive but unable to move.
Leaving the assassin in the street, Harry apparated back over to Mandy and hugged her.
“Looks like Voldemort has decided to just kill you outright to upset me.” Mandy nodded into his shoulder. “That wizard was an assassin. He had a special wand for that type of work. His Killing Curse was headed right for you.”
Mandy leaned back away from Harry so she could see his face.
“Harry, I don’t know how you do that… but thank you.” She kissed him.
“Yeah, how do you do that Harry?” asked Daphne. “Your back was to the assassin.”
“Sorry, family magic,” he replied after he stopped kissing Mandy.
“Family magic?” asked Tracey.
“Yes,” he explained. “Your last name isn’t Potter so I can’t tell you.”
“Wow, when did the Potters get such cool magic to use?” asked Hannah.
“That’s when Harry here started expanding the family grimoire,” answered Amelia when she came up. “What happened Susan?”
“Evidently V-Voldemort hired an assassin to kill Mandy. Harry somehow detected it in time and blocked the Killing Curse with his chair. He apparated to the roof over there then he threw the assassin off of it.”
“Does that sound about right Harry?” she turned to him and asked.
“Pretty spot on. Oh, he was using a special wand.” Harry held up his hand high in the air and a very long wand came flying into it. He handed it over to Amelia.
“This is definitely an assassin’s wand. Is he still alive?” she asked looking into Harry’s eyes.
“He was the last time I checked. His neck’s broken though. I’m not sure how bad. He sustained that from the fall.”
“No, actually he was tossed,” Harry admitted, “…by me. I was a tad angry at him for trying to kill my girl.”
“I see. Shall we go take a look?”
“Just a second, Amelia. Dobby?”
“Yes, Harry Potter, sir?”
“Please take Mandy back to our place so she’ll be safe. Someone just tried to kill her.”
“Right away, Harry Potter, sir. Dobby will take good care of the misses.”
“I know you will, Dobby.” Harry leaned over and kissed Mandy again. “I’ll come and get you shortly when I’m done here.”
Mandy nodded then held out her hand for Dobby. Dobby took her hand and whisked her away to safety.
“I want you girls to stay here together until I’m through, understand?” Amelia asked the four teens left at the table. They all nodded.
“I’ll wait with them, Amelia,” said Alison.
“I’m ready now. Shall we?”
“Yes, Harry. Let’s see this assassin.”
They walked over to where the man lay. There was a bit of a crowd around but they were being held back by some aurors. They squeezed through and saw that Kingsley was bending over the man.
“I’m glad you guys got here so fast after my patronus,” said Amelia. “How’s he doing?” she asked Kingsley.
“He’s alive but he’ll be lucky if he ever has use of his legs or hands. It’s a pretty severe break to his neck and spinal cord. I’ve sent for an experienced healer. I’ll let a qualified healer make the final diagnosis.”
“Can he talk?”
“Sure. He’s not in any real pain besides a bit of a headache. Ask away.”
“Did you get his personal information already?”
“Yes, that’s all I’ve had time for so far.”
“What’s his first name?”
“Gustave or Gus.”
Amelia knelt beside the assassin so he could see her better.
“Gus? I’m Amelia Bones, Director of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement. I understand you were attempting to assassinate one Mandy Brocklehurst, but failed when Harry Potter blocked your spell and did this to you. Am I right so far?”
“Yes,” he croaked.
“What country are you from?”
“Who hired you?”
“The Dark Lord.”
“Did he say why he wanted you to kill Miss Brocklehurst?”
“No, he just told me who and gave me a picture of her. That’s all I usually get. I don’t really need to know why.”
“You understand, don’t you, that your assassin days are over? Even if the healers can heal your paralysis, you will go to Azkaban for life for use of the Killing Curse. I have your special wand right here,” she held it up for him to see, “and I’m sure the last spell used will be easy enough to get. I’m sure we can also dig into your past and tie you and this wand to some murders.”
“Alright, Gus, the healer should be here by now. I’ll let them see what they need to do before you’re moved.”
He just stared at her. Then he saw Harry behind Amelia once she moved. He looked up at him.
“Why didn’t you just kill me?” he asked.
Harry looked at him really hard before speaking. “That was my girl you tried to kill. Understand? My girl. The love of my life. Why, you ask? I’m not really sure. Don’t you worry about it though. The day’s not over… yet.”
His eyes widened a bit then he looked away. This boy was far more than what he was told. He had never seen anyone move as fast as this kid and the strength he has is phenomenal. The kid’s magical power was unbelievable too. He could feel it plain as day. He’d never backed away from a job before, but this was one he should have done his due diligence first, and then walked away. Now, he’d be lucky if he ever walked again.
After the assassin’s neck was secured and he was portkeyed away, Harry was able to leave Diagon Alley. He said good-bye to Susan, Hannah, Tracey, and Daphne who all insisted on giving him a hug first. He also told Alison that he would go get Mandy and see them back at their place a little later.
When he appeared in his apartment lounge, he didn’t see Mandy so he went out of the apartment and into the library and checked for her. Not there. Next, he went to the training room and checked. Not there either. He went back to the lounge and Dobby popped in.
“Hey, Dobby. Where’s Mandy?”
“The misses is in your bedroom, Harry Potter, sir.”
“Okay, thanks Dobby.”
Dobby popped off as Harry headed toward his bedroom. When he got there he saw that Mandy was lying in his bed with the covers all pulled up.
“Mandy? Are you alright? It’s a little early for bed don’t you think? Or did all the excitement tire you out too much?”
“No, I’m fine.”
“Then why are you in bed?”
She then threw off the covers and revealed her naked body.
“Why do you think?” she asked with a saucy smile.
Harry closed the door and locked it with a thought then made all of his clothes disappear the same way.
“Looks like Christmas came early!” he said.
“And your present has already been unwrapped!” she replied.
“What brought this on?” he asked as he climbed into bed with his favorite person.
“Make love to me, Harry. I really need you to make love to me. I need to hold you in my arms and I… I… just… need you,” she panted out in anticipation as Harry’s right hand, with the lightest touch, made small circles on her abdomen. The sensation caused her body to be covered in goose bumps.
“I love you, Mandy, and making love to you is my favorite thing to do. It would be my pleasure.”
Later back at the Brocklehurst residence, Alison was asking what took them so long. She was worried about them. Mandy decided to be as honest as she could with her mother. Of course, she had an ulterior motive.
“I needed some alone time with Harry, Mum. I needed him to hold me. I just …needed him.”
“Oh dear, you’re only sixteen.”
Harry decided to stay out of this and let Mandy handle it.
“Mum, I’ll be seventeen in less than three months. I’ll be an adult. You have to start letting go. Harry and I are in love. We spend all of our time together outside of classes. We even live together, for Merlin’s sake. Yes, it’s for our safety, but we’re not complaining about it. Not one bit. We’re actually enjoying ourselves.”
“Are you being careful?”
“I’m on the potion, Mum.”
“Did Harry,” she glanced over at him then looked back at her daughter, “pressure you into this?”
“Oh, please. I had to work like a house elf to convince him. I stuck with it though and eventually things went my way,” she said with a smile.
“You are definitely my daughter,” she replied shaking her head. “You see what you want and you go for it.”
Alison just nodded in reply, still trying to wrap her head around this latest news. Sex was not as taboo in the Magical world as most others thought about it, plus magical kids tended to grow up faster. Add to that the war and danger they were constantly in, and they were growing up even faster. But when your precious little girl was involved, it was still a shock to the system.
“Oh, by the way, Mum, Harry will be sleeping in my room for the rest of the holidays. I sleep much better that way. It’s up to you to let Dad know, …or not.”
Alison’s eyes widened.
Early on Christmas morning, in London, at St. Mungos Hospital for Magical Maladies and Injuries, a young sixteen-year-old teenage girl with black hair, slowly breathed her last breath. The healers had done all they could to save her and had even put her body in stasis to prolong her life for a while as they debated what to try next. They had brought her out of stasis a couple days ago and were trying some new potions to see if they would help.
While they were able to fix all of her broken bones, and there were many, with some crushed to a powder, the problems with many of her vital organs and her brain was very complicated. She had slammed into that wall with a force not many could imagine. Of course, had she lived she would have spent the rest of her life in Azkaban. That was the price you pay for using an Unforgiveable, especially the Killing Curse.
Yes, Pansy Parkinson was dead.
Her mother wept beside her daughter’s hospital bed. She had sat vigil with her daughter since she was told the news of what happened. She had already lost her husband recently, when he was at Malfoy Manor and the Potter boy had strode through looking for his girlfriend.
Priscilla Parkinson was not a Death Eater, she wasn’t magically powerful, nor was she that great with a wand, but she had agreed with her husband about blood purity. She never wavered on that. Now, she had no family left and the Dark Lord wanted all their gold to help fund his campaign. She was considering leaving the country before that happened.
Life was so unfair.
In another part of the hospital, there was a second patient that was doing much better than when he was brought in. He too was destined for Azkaban. The healers were miraculously able to heal his broken neck and the damage to his spinal cord. It was a fairly clean break on both. He was not yet out of the hospital but he was in no hurry to leave anyway. The auror guards outside made sure he didn’t leave on his own.
Gus was an assassin. ‘Was’ being the operative word. He was headed for Azkaban after this, but even if he wasn’t, his assassin days were still over. While he was now able to walk again and have use of his arms and hands once more, he could no longer hold a wand steady. The healers weren’t sure what was causing that. His hands would shake slightly whenever he used them to hold anything.
Madam Bones was able to tie him to some successful assassinations, get him on several counts of murder, and the judicial use of the Killing Curse. Azkaban was to be his home for a long, long while.
Voldemort, under the cover of darkness, in the wee hours of Christmas morning, travelled to the place where his captured Death Eaters were once working on tearing down the Brocklehurst wards. He wanted to see how far they got and perhaps he could overpower them now if they were weak enough.
However, when he arrived he immediately noticed he could not even reach the wards. Something was holding him back. After he studied it for a bit, he figure out it was another ward, only this ward was nothing he recognized. He couldn’t make heads nor tails of it. No ward he ever saw was like this one.
No matter how long he studied it, he could not do anything with it, and his knowledge of wards was considerable. The only thing he could tell was they were very powerful wards. Giving up he left, deciding his idea of attacking the Brocklehurst residence, was just taken off the table. He hoped they didn’t run into these wards anywhere else. That could be a problem.
When Harry and Mandy returned to Hogwarts for the next semester, they noticed several people did not return. Millicent Bulstrode was gone of course, since she was expelled for her part in Mandy’s kidnapping. The others were seventh years from Slytherin. There were three missing from Ravenclaw as well. All of the missing students were seventeen years of age and known to be either children of Death Eaters or staunch Voldemort supporters.
Harry was wondering if the shortage of supporters had caused Tom to request the adult students to drop out of their NEWTs and join his cause to increase his numbers.
Dumbledore announced a Valentine’s Day dance was to be held this year and all students fourth year and up were encouraged to attend with a date. Other activities were provided for first through third years. Same as the Yule Ball, the younger years could only attend the dance if they were asked by a fourth year or above to go as their date.
It was required on the first day back for the opening feast, that you sit at your own house table. Harry just made sure he sat where he could keep his eye on Mandy on those special days. After the announcement, Harry immediately got up and walked over to his girl. Luckily, the Gryffindor and Ravenclaw tables were next to each other but Harry and Mandy were both on opposite sides so they could see each other. There were many eyes on him as he made his way since Dumbledore was still speaking.
She saw him coming around the back end of the tables and when he stopped next to her. She turned to him expectantly and placed her hand in his. Her friends at the Ravenclaw table were all wondering what he was up to.
“Mandy would you do me the honor of attending the Valentine’s Day Dance with me?”
“Harry, you’re the only one I would ever go with. You know that.”
“I do, but I still had to ask. Besides, you’re so beautiful that I’m sure I just disappointed a lot of young suitors.”
Chuckling, she said, “They know you and I are together.”
“I think you underestimate your beauty, my love. I can feel glares of jealousy on my back.”
“Rest assured, my dear Harry, you are the only one for me and I will gladly accompany you to the Valentine’s dance… and any other dance in the future,” she added with a smile.
Harry kissed her hand and smiled back at her, “You are too kind, my love.”
With that, he turned and went back to his table, while Mandy’s dorm mates almost sighed at the exchange. Harry noticed that everyone was quiet all of a sudden and Dumbledore was no longer talking. He looked over at the Headmaster to see what was going on. The professor just looked at him and smiled as he made his way back to his seat.
“See, Mr. Potter knows exactly how to ask his special someone. Just follow his example and I’m sure many of you will have a great time at this Valentine’s Day dance. Notice that he also asked right away. This is important so no one snatches up the one you had your eye on before you finally make a move.”
Harry just shook his head then looked up at Mandy who winked at him and smiled.
Dumbledore went on to finish his announcements.