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A/N: In my story I have tried to stick with canon as much as possible. In this chapter there are a few deviations from the established story but I had already laid the base of the tale in the first story.



Harry was awake shortly after the sun was up. Even though it had been a late night he was excited about the morning’s activities. The students would be leaving between eight thirty and nine to reach the train. That was earlier than normal but with the extra students the time was needed to get everyone settled. He sent a patronus message to Ginny letting her know to meet him for breakfast and be ready to leave at eight. That would give them an extra half hour to experiment with the school’s boundaries before heading home.

After a shower and shave Harry dressed in a comfortable pair of shorts and a loose shirt. He packed his bed clothes in his trunk along with Fawkes’ perch. “Go enjoy the day. We’ll settle in at home tonight.” The phoenix apparated out of the room, which had no real windows. Once he was satisfied that everything was tucked away he called for his elves. “Kreacher, Winky.” He tried to keep his voice low to not disturb the others who were still asleep.

The elves arrived with low pops and bowed deeply. Harry was glad to see that Winky was doing much better than the previous week. She wore a plain red tea towel now and it was impeccably clean. Her legs no longer wobbled as she stood and she was not hiccupping. “It’s time to head home Kreacher.” He stated unnecessarily. “I would like you and Winky to stock the ice box and make the house ready for guests then go to the burrow. Mrs. Weasley is throwing a big party tonight and I want to help her as much as possible.” Both elves nodded and were gone with a light pop.

Harry left the dorm and was the first student in the Great Hall. He took a moment and looked around the magnificent room one last time. His nostalgia was interrupted by a red-haired witch wrapping her arm around his waist. “Come on let’s grab breakfast.” Ginny said before moving to the Gryffindor table. Harry noticed that McGonagall and Flitwick had arrived and were halfway through their breakfast already.

Harry enjoyed a cup of coffee, some fruit and a croissant. A breakfast indicative of the guests the school was entertaining. Ginny took a few moments to grill some pineapple with her wand before devouring it as only a Weasley could. Harry smiled at his fiancé as she ate the fruit. “I hope Kreacher can keep us supplied in pineapple at Grimmauld Place.” He said rather nonchalantly.

Ginny gagged and nearly choked on her bite. “Sorry, that caught me off guard. Sometimes I can’t believe it. I knew it was happening but you saying it just made it all the more real.” She blushed at his smile. Ginny wrapped her arm around Harry and leaned a head on his shoulder. “Things are going to be different for us now. One last adventure and then we start real life.”

“An adventure with you by my side seems like the best possible thing.” Harry kissed her forehead. “Besides real life is playing quidditch for now. It can’t be that bad, although Kingsley and Gawain may have me studying a lot just in case.”

“Yes in case you get all noble and have to go defend the world again as only you can do.” Ginny sighed but Harry could tell she was joking.

“If that situation does arrive, you’ll be the first to know and I will gladly take you with me if you insist.”
“You better believe you’re taking me with you.” Ginny smiled and ate one of the pastries from the table.

Many students were coming down for breakfast when Professor McGonagall got up and started to leave the head table. Harry checked his watch and noticed it was time he made his way to the gates. “We should get going. That is if you want to know what this is about.”

“I’m not letting you keep any more secrets from me.”

She grabbed another pastry and walked beside him out of the castle. Professor McGonagall was waiting by the doors and walked alongside them. “Professor Flitwick is heading up to my office. Depending on what happens I might have him add or remove some of the wards.”

“Professor what exactly are we doing?” Ginny asked as they walked. “Harry only told me about this meeting last night after the ball.”

“Well we only arranged it yesterday at lunch.” Professor McGonagall smiled at the girl. “We are going to see just how powerful Harry is.”

“How so?”

“Well it is my belief that Harry has been feeling the school’s wards whenever he leaves. He has presented some compelling evidence and though he wasn’t aware of it does seem likely.”

“The school’s wards…” Ginny said out loud yet more to herself. “You mean the black stone by the path?”

“Exactly Ms. Weasley, that stone marks the edge of the wards. How did you come to that conclusion?”

“Harry shivers any time we walk by it, like he just got doused in cold water or something. I thought it was odd. Now it makes sense. I remember Bill once told me he could feel really powerful wards in the pyramids when he was breaking curses.”

“That is interesting Ms. Weasley. Had I known about that I would have had Bill join us this morning.” They were nearing the gates now and she slowed her pace. “I don’t think we will need him though.”

Professor McGonagall came to a stop halfway between the gates and the stone in question. “Ms. Weasley I would like you to go first. Harry has trouble with what I’m going to ask so I want to give him more time. Please relax your mind and try not to think of anything.” Harry realized now why she had said what she did. “Now once you feel like you have a relatively clear mind I want you to walk forward. Keep your eyes closed and see if you can feel when you pass the stone. Now Harry I want you to begin trying to clear your mind as well.

Harry began the process which he knew would take him a few minutes. He closed his eyes to better concentrate and tried to drown out the sounds around him. He barely registered when Professor McGonagall told Ginny to stop walking and open her eyes. She was disappointed to find she had gone 20 feet beyond the stone without feeling any difference.

Before long all Harry could hear were the sounds of the nearby forest and the wind rustling through the trees. Then he felt her lips brush against his ear. “Go ahead and walk forward I’ll make sure you don’t stumble.” Ginny whispered in his ear and took his hand. They walked together slowly Ginny following Harry’s pace and helping him find his footing with nothing more than gentle pressure on his hand.

Harry didn’t know how far they had been walking he felt the ground beneath his feet and the wind in his longer but still fairly short hair. Then he felt something else. It started in the fingertips of his right hand. Ginny held his left so he balanced the right away from his body. It felt like a tingle maybe like static electricity he learned about in muggle school. It became stronger and soon felt like a small vibration. In his mind Harry could picture where they were standing and in his mind’s eye he saw a thick golden curtain shimmering in front of him. He knew without knowing how that he was seeing the wards surrounding the school.

“Professor I can feel it. It’s like a tingle in my arm and a light vibration.” Harry explained. “In my mind it’s like looking at a golden curtain or rain.”

“I feel the same feelings when I’m near it but I can’t see it in my mind. Let’s see about some thing.” She launched some blue sparks from her wand. This was the signal to Professor Flitwick.

The diminutive professor began a series of complicated wand movements and incantations. A few minutes later he finished and waited for the next signal. Professor McGonagall said nothing and waited.

“What just happened professor?” Harry asked, keeping his eyes closed and relaxed.

“What do you mean Harry?”

“The vibration in my arm has increased a little, and just now the color changed, it’s duller more a bronze than gold.”

“To answer your question Professor Flitwick just added an additional ward. This one is not used very often because while powerful it has a component of dark magic to it. It seems that you may be able to not only sense the wards but whether the magic behind it is light or dark in nature. That is truly amazing. I wish we had more time to experiment but I can’t bring down the wards and rebuild them with completely dark magic ones like I would to try and truly test it. Maybe if your trip to Australia goes smooth we can arrange an afternoon meeting with Bill and Fleur since I’m sure he is more than capable of building and removing many wards. But for now your classmates are coming and it is time to say goodbye.”

Harry opened his eyes and looked around. He stood five or six feet in front of where the wards ended. He had been shocked that he was so far away from them when he first felt it. But he knew when he “saw” the wards how far away he stood. Even though he could no longer “see” the wards he could still feel the vibration running up his arm. The feeling disappeared when his thoughts focused on leaving. It seemed as of right now he had to have a relaxed mind and not focus on anything to feel the effects.

“Thank you Professor for one final lesson.” He held his hand out to the headmistress.

The older witch looked over him and then her normal stern expression broke into a rare genuine smile. “The honor and pleasure have been mine Harry.” She took his hand and pulled him into a hug. “It is important to remember that we leave now as equals. You never need to address me as Professor again though many students find the habit hard to break.” She then pulled Ginny into a hug as well. “The same goes for you to Ginevra. I do hope you learn to love your full name. It has a rich history and elegant sound.”

Ginny smiled, she didn’t dislike her name but she had always been Ginny. “Thank you Pr… Minerva.” She blushed slightly but the headmistress only smiled brighter.

“Your test scores will be waiting for you at the burrow. I am sure all of you will be pleased.”

“If Hermione didn’t break the record for most Owls she won’t be.” Ginny grinned.

“What about me?” Hermione called from the gates. People were starting to filter down from the school. The Beauxbatons students separating and making their way to their carriage while the others walked toward Hogsmeade.

“Nothing Hermione.” Ginny called back then winked at Harry. He gave her a light kiss, their first real kiss of the morning. “I knew something was missing from my day.” She said with another smile as Ron and Hermione joined the couple.

Professor McGonagall watched the young group. Their dynamic had changed in recent weeks. In the past they were four friends. Now though they were two couples. It was obvious in how they sat at the table for meals. When they walked together Harry and Ron stood to the outside subconsciously preparing to defend those they loved for an increasingly unlikely attack. Ginny and Hermione always stood together in the center Ginny on the left and Hermione on the right as they faced you.

“You guys were up and on the go rather early. What were you doing?” Ron asked standing next to Hermione and across from Harry as the group often did when talking together. He eyed the headmistress a little bit.

“I’ll let you four discuss that while I finalize the arrangements for the summer. It won’t be long and we’ll have some second years here for some extra lessons. It has been an honor to teach all of you. I will see you all tonight.” She sent a blast of red sparks from her wand to let Professor Flitwick know it was ok to remove the extra ward. Then she walked back toward the castle.

The group started to walk toward Hogsmeade and the train, Ginny smiled as Harry once again shuddered while passing the edge of the wards. “We were up early so we could discover more about my fiancé’s incredible powers.”

“Ginny not so loud someone could hear you.”
Hermione admonished her friend before realizing there was nobody within 20 feet of their group. “But do tell me what it is that Harry can do now.”

Harry and Ginny relayed the story and what they had learned this morning. It took the rest of the walk to the platform to fully convince Hermione of the details. She just couldn’t believe it was possible. It wasn’t the ability to feel the wards that she doubted but that Harry could almost see them and even perceive their nature. Of course now she wanted to go straight to the library and do research and see if anyone else was ever like that. She also wanted to arrange her own set of tests.

“Hermione we’ll have plenty of time for that after Australia. You can use the library at Grimmauld Place all you want.” Hermione stopped in her tracks as they got to the platform.

“Oh Harry we don’t even know where to begin with that. Just planning this trip could take weeks.” Tears welled in her eyes.

“Hermione we have been through much worse. We simply need to talk to Kingsley. He has some leads for us and won’t steer us wrong. And hopefully he will give us some studying to do while we’re traveling right Ron?”

“I hope so. I’ll need to do something. I’ll get bored beating you three at chess all day.” Ron laughed at his own joke.

“Hermione I think you should practice flying on Ron’s broom while we’re getting ready to travel.” Ginny said suddenly. “We’re all going to get new ones for quidditch so you can use his and if we need to travel a great distance you need to be comfortable.”

Hermione paled. She disliked flying on brooms. However she knew what Ginny said made sense. “I will think about that. But now we need to say our farewells.”

She was right many of the teachers were waiting on the platform. Hagrid was crying into a tablecloth sized hanky. Being the first students to arrive at the platform, Hagrid rushed over to them quickly. “I’ll miss ye lot so much.” He was still able to pull all four of them into one hug with his massive arms, though he was much gentler than they remembered.

“Oh I’m sure you’ll see us around.” Harry remarked struggling to get his head out of the fabric of Hagrid’s shirt. “What kind of friends would we be otherwise?”

“The absolute worst Harry.” Professor Sprout came and embraced the young wizard. “Do come and visit Neville and me next year. I’m sure you four can turn a few students’ heads just by walking around.”

“Thank you Pomona we will be sure to consider it, if we’re not too busy with practices and life.” Harry smile at the thought of walking through a group of star-eyed first years who had never seen him in person before.

After more goodbyes and requests to visit the four finally were able to board the train and settle into their cabin. There was a lot of noise as more students filed in, occasionally one would peek through the window before continuing on. Just before ten, when the train was set to depart, the door slid open. Celia stood timidly in the door with Draco looking over her shoulder. She looked a little nervous and he even more so. His collared shirt buttoned tight around his neck and at his wrists.

“You don’t mind if we join you do you?” She asked Harry in rushed Portuguese. It seemed that she wasn’t overly confident in her English.

“Sure let me just grab something from my trunk first.” Their trunks had magically appeared when they settled in the cabin and Harry climbed up on his seat to grab a small potion vial he had been given in Brazil. “Come in, sit and relax.” Harry smiled and spoke in English so the others knew what was happening.

Harry sat near the window on the right side of the room. Ron sat opposite him and Ginny and Hermione next to the men. Draco sat next to Ginny and Celia took a spot next to Hermione. Before long the train started moving and they were on their way home. The sat in silence for a while before Harry started chuckling. He continued getting louder and before long holding his side as he laughed loudly.

“Mate you’ve gone barking what is so funny?” Ron said studying the unusual actions of his friend.

“He’s always been barking if you ask me. All you Gryffindors are, always running into danger.” Draco tried to make a joke but it was much too serious. Ginny tried to smile but knew there was a grain of belief in his expression.

“It’s just all of us. We’re sitting here like timid first years too afraid to talk.” Harry continued laughing. “We’ve got to get over this insecurity especially if we’re going to be living together.”

And with that Ron and Ginny understood the humor and ridiculousness of the situation. Before long they were laughing just as strongly as Harry. Hermione and Celia chuckled a little but were rather restrained. Draco forced a smile but his heart wasn’t truly in it. “About the living arrangements Harry…” Draco started but was cut off.

“Yes about them.” Harry stopped laughing and turned serious quickly. “I’m afraid we’re going to have to make some changes or you won’t be allowed.”

“What kind of changes?” Draco eyed him suspiciously. He never fully trusted Harry and was always wary.

“Changes to your attitude.” Harry said bluntly and Draco recoiled like he had been punched. “You’re sullen and angry and lashing out. If it wasn’t for Celia here I don’t think you would’ve had any fun in the last few weeks. And I know you had fun last night.”

Draco seethed with anger. “You have no idea what I did last night and it is none of your business.” He adjusted the sleeve of his shirt as Harry felt the twinge in his forehead.

Harry had hoped he would be wrong. He couldn’t explain how any of this was possible. However there was no real other explanation for it. “I do know Draco and it really isn’t any of my business. I hope to stay out of your business in the future unless you wish me there as a friend. However I know there have been two versions of you around Hogwarts this year. The version that was friendly and likeable and made Ginny even temporarily forget about me.” The words stung Harry but he continued. “Then there was the angry fighting young man like at Christmas and the past few weeks since I’ve returned.” Draco didn’t say anything as Harry stood and faced him. “I’ve noticed, and I wonder if anyone else has, that in the weeks since my return you’ve stopped wearing short-sleeved shirts. Even in the midst of this summer heat.”

“So my fashion needs to change now?” Draco stood while also moving toward the door.

“Not at all Draco; nor would I presume to tell you how to dress. But I do know you’re covering something up and believe it or not I do want to help you.” Harry tried to reason and stressed his sincerity but Draco was too used to fighting with Harry.

“I have no idea what you’re talking about. I don’t have to listen to your baseless accusations.” He turned toward the door and Harry grabbed his left wrist. His hand followed pulling the sleeve of Draco’s shirt up to his elbow. Harry knew what was waiting but the rest of the room was silent as the black tattoo was revealed.

“Harry how did you know?” Hermione was stunned, although she had drawn her wand when she saw the dark mark on Draco’s arm. So had the others except for Celia who was too shocked to move.

“I think it might be a connection to what we were doing this morning.” Harry tried to wrap his brain around what should be impossible. The caster of the spell was dead the mark should have disappeared. “Somehow Riddle made the spell so it could persist after his death. And after all those years fighting him I became tuned to his magic I guess.” Harry couldn’t say after being a horcrux though he hoped his friends would understand. “I’ve felt bits of Draco’s emotions like I did during fifth year with Riddle, including his pleasure last night.”

Draco actually blushed though he still looked furious. “You’ve caught me with the mark what are you going to do now? Turn me over to the aurors I’ve done nothing wrong.” He tried to pull out of Harry’s grip.

“Everyone put your wands away.” Harry had never drawn his but he did as others stowed theirs. “Ron please hold Draco, tightly but try not to hurt him.” Ron moved and wrapped his arms around Draco’s chest and pinned his arms to his side.

Harry spoke quickly in Portuguese and explained the situation and what he had planned to Celia. She had been scared out of her wits until Harry explained the history and what the dark mark was. She nodded and stood next to Draco and took his hand. Draco relaxed at her touch and Harry proceeded.

“Ginny it may help if you hold Draco’s other hand. This may be fairly intense.” Ginny did as he suggested and Harry was glad the shades were drawn in the room. Finally he pulled a small vial from his pocket. “Draco stay calm and let me explain. This potion was given to me by the man who did my tattoo. It combined with an incantation can be used to remove the ink from my back. I am going to try and remove the mark from your arm. It will be painful but if it works you will be more in control of your emotions.”

Draco didn’t struggle and actually appeared relieved. He nodded and opened his mouth. Harry passed the potion to Hermione and then had Ginny hold up Draco’s arm so the mark was exposed. Hermione pushed the vial of potion to Draco’s lips and he drank it willingly.

Almost immediately Draco started to scream. Hermione panicked and cast langlock on him silencing the sound though the pain was still evident in Draco’s face. Rather quickly Draco’s skin became translucent. Soon Harry could see the muscles in his neck and the forearm he was focused on. It was a truly interesting site but not one he could linger on. He wasn’t sure how long the potion’s effects would stay and quickly cast his spell. “Expello atramento”

For a moment nothing seemed to happen. Then Draco’s body convulsed in new pain as thick black smoke started to pull itself out of his arm. It started slowly but its pace quickened; after about a minute Draco collapsed into Ron’s arms and the smoke hung in the air. Hermione used her wand to direct it into the vial that had held the potion only minutes earlier.

“I think that went rather well.” Ron said breaking the silence of the room. “Especially with how our plans usually work out” Harry couldn’t help but laugh at the comment. The others followed even Celia who still looked exceptionally worried.

“It’ll be ok. Trust me he will be the same man you love, maybe just a little bit nicer.” Harry put an arm around her shoulder and squeezed it reassuringly. “Now let’s make him comfortable while he recovers.” Celia sat next to the window while Harry and Ron lay Draco’s head across her lap. She had tears in her eyes and Harry knew the pair had bonded rather quickly. Ginny sat with his feet in her lap while the other three took the opposite bench.

“We could probably wake him up but I’d rather let his body recover from the shock if possible.” Hermione said to no one in particular. “But if we get to King’s Cross and he’s still out we might have to.”

The plump little witch pushing the cart of treats came and left without any of them getting much. The situation with Draco had left them hungry but as they wanted real food not sweets. Unfortunately there wasn’t anything like that on the train. About halfway through the trip Harry stood up like he’d been shot.

“Oh bollocks I just remembered none of you know my address!”

“You’re right Harry. The charm was recast and we never were privy to the location again. We’ll need to get it from the secret keeper.” Hermione confirmed his thought. Harry smiled and immediately summoned Fawkes and then sent the Phoenix off to Kingsley with a brief note.

Moments later the phoenix reappeared with a small note in his beak. Harry read it and passed it to the others. Just as they were finishing Draco started to stir.

He opened his eyes and studied Celia’s face for a while before smiling. “It’s gone. I can’t feel its influence.” Her confused look betrayed her ignorance of the situation. “I’ll tell you more about it tonight. There are a few things you need to know about me if you’re serious about being together.” Celia didn’t answer him but instead pulled him into a strong kiss.

Ginny and Harry shared a smile. Both were truly happy that Draco seemed to have moved on. “So what were you saying about the living arrangements Draco?” Harry asked innocently as if the previous incident had never happened.

“I’m not even sure I care what I was going to say. But Pansy and I need to know where you live.”

“Yea I just had the secret-keeper send a note. Go ahead and read it then I’ll go find Pansy.” Draco did and Harry stood to leave the cabin.

“Do you want me to go with you Harry?” Ginny asked.

“No stay you guys catch Celia up on some of our history. She only knows the big stories. It might help her understand a little about our past.”

The group had picked one of the first cabins in the train right near where the prefects would normally sit. So Harry turned toward the back of the train and made his way along the corridor. Students were gathered in the hall here and there trading chocolate frog cards or discussing plans for the summer. All conversation stopped as he passed, a few of the students said hello as he walked by but most seemed too intimidated to speak. He had really hoped the way he addressed the students at the magic demonstration would put them at ease.

About halfway through the train Harry found Pansy sitting in a cabin with various other girls from his year. He knocked and opened the door and all talking stopped in the cabin. “Am I interrupting anything?”

“Not at all Harry, come in take a seat.” Pansy gestured to an empty spot. She giggled lightly as she spoke.

“I wish I could Pansy. However I’m just here to give you this.” He held out the note and let her read it. He burned it afterwards knowing that the fewer people who knew the address the better. “Meet us on the platform at King’s Cross and we’ll head to my house before the party tonight.”

“Sure Harry, see you there.”

“And we’ll see you at the party tonight Harry.” Susan Bones said from the seat near the window.

Harry nodded and returned to the cabin. His friends were laughing about some story or another when he returned. The rest of the journey into London passed quickly with all the stories they were sharing. Finally the train pulled into the station and the students started to collect their belongings. Harry took a minute after grabbing his trunk to look around the train one final time. Then he stepped out onto the platform ready to head home.


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