You're my Density

Just Suppose Harry hadn't heeded his godfather's advice, and actually lost his temper at his trial? Time travel fic and title is 'Back to the Future' joke.

https://www.fanfiction.net/s/11033616/1/You-re-my-Density

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8. Catch the Snitch...

Harry was tempted to use his favourite word to describe witches and wizards again before something dawned on him, he was actually at least four years older than anyone else currently in the room. He still had to say something though.

"Oliver, do you hope to have a career in professional quidditch after you leave Hogwarts?"

"That would be a dream come true, why?"

"Oh, it just seems to me your seeker dying in his first match, your first match as captain too, might put a dent in those dreams."

Both twins were trying to hold their laughter while the team captain attempted to explain himself. "Eh, I was actually hoping you would choose the other option. You know, catch the snitch."

"Ah, so 'catch the snitch - or die trying' is supposed to be motivational. You really don't want me to die trying then?"

The serious Scot that was Oliver Wood didn't really know how to respond to that, Harry wasn't finished though. "Ollie, I'm eleven, Katie is twelve. The rest of the team are thirteen while you're only fourteen. This is not the premier league, or whatever league it is your quidditch professional teams compete in. We're a bunch of kids playing an inter-house game in our school. It's supposed to be FUN!"

Harry was now shaking his head in disbelief at his captain's attitude. "We're easily the youngest team of the four this year, which takes the pressure right off us. We don't need our captain trying to pile it back on - right before the actual match too. Let's go out there and do our best, we all want that, but we also have to enjoy playing too. Otherwise, what's the bloody point? I will do my best to catch the snitch but you can forget all about this 'die trying' shit. Hermione would kill me herself if I bought into that."

This was too much for Fred and George, they couldn't hold back their laughter at that image. This also set the girls laughing too, so it was a team of smiling Gryffindors who eventually left the changing room - all except Oliver. He'd put a lot of work into his first captain's speech, being laughed at was not the reaction he'd expected. Oliver would see how the team performed, and then get ready to rip them apart if Gryffindor lost.

Hermione was sitting right at the front of the stand, more in case she needed to use her wand than for the view of the match. She was surrounded by the rest of the first year Gryffindors, though it was Dumbledore sitting in the stand opposite who provided the support she was hoping for. A certain possessed professor really would have to be nuts to attempt anything with Dumbledore watching, a sure way to draw attention to Tom hiding behind the turban. Lee's commentary blasted out the arrival of the teams onto the pitch, Hermione though only had eyes for one player. She would be watching Harry closely for the entire match.

The teams lined up facing each other, standing there with nothing to do while Madam Hooch lectured both team captains about what type of game she expected from them today. Taking a step forward brought Harry to the player opposite, he stuck out his hand. "Hi, I'm Harry Potter. Hope you have a good game today."

His opposite number eyed the offered hand suspiciously before accepting and mumbling a response. "Cedric Diggory. Eh, you too..."

Satisfied with that, Harry smiled and moved on to the next player in the line. He repeated his gesture and received another handshake.

Katie Bell was a muggle born and quite used to seeing this type of behaviour at sporting events. This was her first quidditch match too. Following Harry's lead, she stepped forward and introduced herself to Cedric as well. The smile and warm handshake she was greeted with encouraged her to follow Harry up the line. With a few glances toward each other, the four remaining Gryffindor players decided to join in as well.

As was customary at these occasions, both team captains were ignoring the instructions coming from Madam Hooch in favour of staring daggers at each other. This little scene was blown apart by an eleven year old boy introducing himself. As a Hufflepuff, the captain was shaking that hand before he noticed what was happening with the rest of his team. The little girl then holding her hand out left him with no other option but to accept it. His mind though was wondering just what the hell the Gryffindors were up to. Harry's next move worried him even more.

"Madam Hooch, I'd like to thank you for giving up your Saturday morning to referee this match. Without your efforts, quidditch in Hogwarts simply wouldn't happen. Thank you so much for giving us all this opportunity to play."

Accepting the offered hand, the surprise was obvious from the world-weary flying instructor. "Mister Potter, I have been doing this since your grandfather was a student here - yet you are the first student ever to acknowledge my part in the process. Thank you for that, it is always nice to be appreciated."

Katie Bell soon became the second player to thank her, with the rest of the Gryffindors following suit. Not to be outdone, Cedric joined the end of the line and became the first Hufflepuff to thank their referee, the rest of the team wearing yellow and black taking up his example and doing so too.

It was a rather flushed Madam Hooch who eventually got the match underway. She was far more used to being shouted at than thanked.

Harry had only ever seen one quidditch match, the rescheduled Ravenclaw versus Slytherin. It was a dour, tactical match where each player appeared terrified of making a mistake. Fourteen kids on brooms should be all about having fun, and that was exactly what he intended to do.

Noticing that Cedric had taken up the standard seeker search pattern, high above the play and methodically covering the pitch, Harry used his own tactics. He appeared to randomly vary his hight and direction but always seemed to be going flat out while doing so.

The Hufflepuff chasers had been unsettled with what happened before the match, now they had a rogue seeker to deal with too. Potter kept appearing from any direction and interrupting their plays, sometimes zigzagging right across their path. The boy's own captain had no control over him so what chance did they have of predicting what he would do next.

This eventually proved too much for the quidditch aficionado, Ronald Weasley. He would give his left nut for the opportunity to play quidditch on his house team while still a first year. Harry Potter was bloody gifted that opportunity - with a Nimbus 2000 thrown in for free - yet was pissing it away in front of the entire school. He couldn't get a hold of Harry at the moment to give him a piece of his mind so Ron had to settle for venting his anger on the next best thing.

"Granger, your intended is a disgrace. They changed the entire quidditch schedule to suit him and now he's just arsing around out there. He's letting the entire team, and his house, down..."

Hermione didn't respond right away as Harry seemed to lose control of his broom for a second. She though had the advantage of having watched him in every match he had ever played, not forgetting his arial battle with that bloody dragon, so Hermione soon recognised what he was doing. Harry was in a tailspin dive that saw him shoot right through the outer left Hufflepuff hoop, seconds before Katie fired the quaffle past the distracted keeper and through the outer right to score her first ever goal.

As Oliver called a time-out, Hermione then turned to answer Ron's accusations. "Harry is searching for the snitch just as effectively as Diggory, he also just helped Katie score. He's disrupting Hufflepuff's chasers while searching too - so much so that Wood has only had one shot to save in the match. Before you open your mouth and let your belly rumble, just check the scoreboard..."

Ron's mouth was moving but there was no sound coming out as he searched for words to fall back on. Unable to refute any of those points, he had to settle for hurling insults. "Don't stand there and pretend you know anything about quidditch. Reading books about the subject doesn't mean you actually have any knowledge..."

"How the hell would you know? When was the last time you read a book?"

Ron was again left floundering for an answer as Hermione turned her back on him to concentrate once more on what was happening on the pitch.

Harry was facing those same accusations from his captain, and his reasoning wasn't going down any better than Hermione's had. "I told you to shadow Diggory, learn from him how it's done. If he sees the snitch, your lighter and on a faster broom - giving you a chance to steal it. That strategy will be useless though if you're messing around at the other side of the pitch..."

"That has me doing nothing but sit on their seeker's bristles and hope I can get in front when the snitch makes an appearance. What we're doing is working. We're all enjoying ourselves, our house is on their feet screaming their lungs out and Hufflepuff hadn't a clue how to handle us - at least until you called a time out."

"So you know better than me now?"

"No, I never said that. I told you I would do my best but I was gonna have some fun too. Staring at Diggory's back for the entire game is not my idea of fun. We're fifty points up and you've only had one save to make - we were murdering them so I don't see what your problem is."

"We'll have a major problem if you get injured with those stunts you're pulling."

"Hey, you're the one who wanted me to die trying to win us the game..."

Their argument ended when Madam Hooch called both teams to resume playing, with Harry going right back to what he'd been doing. He actually zipped right around the pitch, at the level of the spectator stands, with Hermione leaning over to high-five him as he flew past. This drew a cheer from those Gryffindors around Hermione, except for a now livid Ron.

The time-out had allowed Hufflepuff to reorganise slightly but they still couldn't cope with Gryffindor. The trio of red and gold chasers were on fire. With everything they tried coming off their confidence was high. Fred and George were also having an inspired game, hitting those bludgers with incredible accuracy and exactly where they would do the most damage.

With the score at one hundred and ten to twenty in Gryffindor's favour, Harry's tactics proved their worth as he spotted the snitch first. He was after it at top speed, his right hand reaching out to grab the elusive winged golden ball. It was zipping along about eight inches from his fingertips when Harry suddenly realised he had a very big problem. Cedric was bearing down on the snitch at his top speed too, but from the totally opposite direction.

Harry had to grab onto his broom with both hands and roll upside down to avoid colliding with the much bigger boy - at a combined speed that must have easily exceeded a hundred miles per hour. The buffeting alone nearly had him off his broom as he flew past barely inches under the larger player. Harry quickly regained control, spinning around to see Cedric in some distress and struggling to remain seated. Harry was at his side in a second, with all thoughts of the snitch now forgotten as he guided Cedric and his broom safely to the ground.

Cedric was on his knees on the pitch, almost as if he was trying to throw up. Noticing that he was having trouble breathing, Harry finally figured out Cedric was choking. When a few hard slaps to his back didn't solve the problem, Harry prepared to administer an abdominal thrust.

Just then the Hufflepuff captain arrived and grabbed Harry by the shoulders.

"Potter, get away from him."

Dragging Harry back provided more impetus to his clench fist held tightly under Cedric's ribcage. The air in Cedric's lungs was rapidly displaced, and there was only one place for it to go - straight up his windpipe. With a loud and rather wet plop, a saliva coated golden snitch flopped onto the grass pitch. Madam Hooch's whistle signalled the end of the game as, with a clearly audible groan, Lee Jordan informed everyone in the stadium of what had just happened.

"Diggory has the snitch, Hufflepuff win - one hundred and seventy to one hundred and ten."

Cedric was now on his feet as his teammates tried to congratulate him, he was pushing them aside though to reach Harry.

"Potter, I'm sorry. I was so focused on the snitch that I nearly got the both of us killed. I didn't even catch the thing. I was screaming in fright at how close we had come when it flew right in my mouth. I wanted Hufflepuff to win, but not like this. It feels as if I cheated..."

"You didn't cheat, Cedric, It was just one of those things that could happen to anyone. Congratulations on a good game." Cedric gratefully shook Harry's offered hand.

Turning to face his own captain, it was no surprise to Harry that Wood was livid. "If you had followed my instructions we would have won that match..."

"...and if my broom had wheels it would be a bicycle. Look Ollie, I told you I had no intention of dying trying to catch the snitch, I also told you I was going to have fun. This obviously doesn't fit into your plans for the team, and you are the captain, so I guess this is a parting of the ways."

Handing Oliver his broom, Harry once more shocked the quidditch captain. "I'm sure Professor McGonagall bought this broom for the team, rather than me personally. Pass it on to your new seeker, it really is a fantastic ride. Thanks for letting me play today, Ollie. I did my best, but sometimes you just have to admit your best wasn't good enough to win. Then it's time to congratulate the person who beat you."

Harry walked off to the stand that had held Hermione, intending to head back to the castle with her. Unfortunately Ron had been in the same stand and exited right behind Hermione. He was also every bit as angry as Wood had just been.

As Harry took Hermione's hand, Ron exploded.

"Your cowardice cost us that match. A true Gryffindor would have taken the hit and caught the snitch. Madam Pomfrey would have fixed you right up..."

"I have no intention of ending up in the infirmary to win a stupid school game. If you are so keen to do so Wood now has a vacancy for a seeker. Then again, that would involve having the ability to match what comes out your mouth. It's easy to be a great player sitting in the stands, Weasley. Get your arse on a broom and let the entire school see how good you are at quidditch - then I might listen to your advice..."

McGonagall was also in the same stand, she exited right into the argument and quickly made her presence known. "Mister Potter, that was a fantastic move you pulled to avoid that collision. Fifty points to Gryffindor for your timely intervention with Mister Diggory too. I will be having words with Wood about what happened after..."

"Professor, please don't. He's the captain and, like Ron here, he expects me to put catching the snitch before my health and wellbeing. I'm sorry but I'm not prepared to do that, it would seem I'm not cut out for this game. There are things in my life that are far more important to me than quidditch. If this means I'm not a Gryffindor then I'm sorry. I don't even remember how I ended up in Gryffindor House in the first place."

With McGonagall present, nothing else was said against Harry as he and Hermione headed back to the castle.

-oOoOo-

The atmosphere as Minerva entered the Gryffindor dressing room reminded her of a funeral, leading her to begin with a question. "Who died?"

"We lost, Professor."

"Yes, Mister Wood, I was a spectator in the stadium and do remember the score. I'll ask again, who died?"

"No one..."

"Exactly, no one died. It was a close call at the end there between Potter and Diggory though. We really could have had a fatality on our hands, but for Potter's brilliant flying. Speaking of which, I thought our team was excellent today. Gryffindor were easily the better team and I was very proud of every one of you."

"But Professor, we lost..."

"Wood, sometimes it's just not your day. I've been watching quidditch on that pitch for more years than I care to admit to, I've never seen that happen before. We are a young team, this was always going to be a rebuilding year. What I saw out there today was a team with the potential to monopolise the Quidditch Cup in the coming years. Then I discover that the best Gryffindor seeker since Charlie Weasley only lasted one game. I want to hear from my team how that happened?"

With all eyes upon him, Wood told the story. "Potter simply refused to follow my orders, and we lost. Potter confirmed he wouldn't follow my orders in future games either, so handed me his broom and resigned from the team."

Katie Bell was almost in tears as she rounded on her captain. "You told him to catch the snitch, or die trying. I wouldn't have followed that order either, I'm sitting hear wondering if I want to play again too..."

"You told an eleven year old boy that?"

"No...yes, that's not the order he disobeyed. We sorted that out before we left the dressing room. I ordered him to follow Diggory, using his faster broom and lighter frame to get to the snitch first. That's standard procedure with a novice seeker."

"Yes, but when have you ever seen a novice seeker who could fly like that?"

McGonagall had asked a rhetorical question but found it being answered. "I've never seen anyone fly like that..."

"Exactly, Miss Spinnet. Things continually change during quidditch matches, from weather conditions to personnel being injured. A team can't leave their dressing room with one plan, a plan that they then stick rigidly to for the entire match. We had Hufflepuff where they didn't know which way was up or down, why did we call a timeout?"

"Potter wasn't doing what I had ordered him to do..."

Having already suspected as much, though been too far away from their team huddle to be sure, Minerva was slowly counting to ten before she said anything else.

"As a leader, one of the hardest things to learn is when you've made a mistake. Before the match started I was worried that I had made a mistake by deciding on a fourth year captain, who was then surrounded by and an even younger team. Ten minutes into a match I thoroughly enjoyed, I was busily congratulating myself for getting it right. Now I'm not so sure I did. We've gone from a team that I thought played brilliantly today to one that is sitting here in danger of falling apart - with a match to be played against Ravenclaw in three weeks. Mister Wood, you have until Monday after classes to come to me with your plans for moving forward from here. I don't want anyone in this dressing room to leave here thinking they let Gryffindor down, I was proud of how every single one of you played today."

McGonagall left the dressing room wondering if her initial thoughts may just have been right. A funeral atmosphere was perhaps appropriate, since it would appear she just witnessed the death of, potentially, one of the best Gryffindor quidditch teams in decades.

-oOoOo-

Petunia Dursley was dressed to impress as she made her way along Piccadilly. One simply did not refuse an invitation to afternoon tea at Fortnum and Mason's, even if the unappetising topic of her nephew was certain to be on the menu too. Petunia had the added assurance of knowing that this Emma Granger was just like her, perfectly normal.

Making sure she was on time, Petunia was soon being led to the table beside the elegant grand piano - only to discover the dentist was already there. She then found herself shaking hands with a woman who looked as if she belonged in these rather opulent surroundings.

After the introductions, they decided to order their tea first. Twin silver teapots of Earl Grey were quickly delivered, the milk jug, sugar bowl and tongs being of the same material and design as the gorgeous teapots. A stand each of exquisite, yet tiny, cakes and sandwiches accompanied the refreshments, and was the main reason this was Petunia's first visit to the most famous tea room in London. Had these cakes and sandwiches been served to either of the men in her life, there would have been a loud and violent riot - especially if Vernon ever laid eyes on the bill.

Lifting a tiny sandwich onto her plate, Petunia thought she might as well get the unpleasantness over with. She then might be able to enjoy this treat.

"How did you get on with my nephew staying with you over the holidays?"

"Oh we loved having Harry stay. He's such a delightful young man, our Hermione is certainly very taken with him. Then again, it's easy to see why."

"I don't know what he's told you about us..."

Emma stopped Petunia before she could say anymore. "Didn't you read Harry's letter? He was in a bad accident at school, Harry was actually injured saving Hermione's life. That injury scrambled his memories, it's really remarkable how well he's coped since. The memories he has now of his earlier childhood are all muddled. Harry thinks you and your husband have been loving parents to him since his own were murdered. He looks to your son more as a brother than a cousin. Harry was reduced to tears when he left your house on Christmas Eve."

Petunia hadn't known what to expect this afternoon, this news though totally floored her. She sat there, not knowing what to say, so Emma just continued speaking.

"As I said, having Harry stay with us was a delight, and something we certainly won't have a problem repeating. He is though quite a stubborn young man. You see, to him the Dursleys are all the family he has - all the family he's ever known. Harry wants that family back, even though it might only really exist in his head. I wanted to meet with you today, mother to mother, to see if we can take the first steps down that road."

Finally finding her voice did Petunia no good. "I don't really know what to say. How do you answer that?"

"As a mother it's simple, you do what is best for your family." Petunia nodded in agreement, at least with the sentiment. She was just waiting on being told how having Potter back at Privet Drive would be the best thing for her family. Emma didn't keep her waiting.

"Harry is not just a special person to us, that whole world holds him special too. He and Hermione met their equivalent of the Prime Minister, who granted them both licences to perform magic outside their school. It was wonderful for us to see what they were learning."

Wonderful was not the word Petunia would have chosen to describe magic. Just hearing that specific word said aloud seemed to cast a spell on the sandwich she was currently eating, turning its once delicious filling to ash.

"Their headmaster even came to our house, he erected special defences around our home. It would seem the madness that saw your sister murdered has not gone away, but you don't have to worry about that. Your home has had these defences ever since the night Harry arrived."

Petunia needed a drink of tea after hearing that, and not just to wash her sandwich down. This was beyond anything she had feared. Something about those defences brought a memory to the front of her mind though. "Doesn't Potter need to stay in our house for those defences to work?"

A smiling Emma knew she had her now. "Almost right, Harry has to stay there, and also think of it as home. They calculated living with your family for ten days during the summer would recharge those defences for the year, we'll even let you chose which ten days you want them there..."

"Them?"

"Oh, I was just coming to that. You have a guest bedroom, and Hermione was planing staying there while Harry is with you. I'm afraid that's simply non-negotiable. You see they're a couple, and were so before Harry had his accident. Harry had obviously talked about his home life prior to his head injury, though Hermione refuses to tell anyone what was said. She did say however that she knew enough to ensure we would win any custody battle that went to court, though that is certainly something that none of us want. What Harry really wants is his family back, Hermione is determined to help with that - and neither of them know I'm here."

Taking a risk, Emma took a folder out of her bag and passed it to Petunia. "Open that carefully, we don't want anyone else here to see it."

Her nosey nature meant Petunia was always going to look. What she saw there was shocking, and not just because the pictures in the Prophet moved. "His intended?"

"Yes I know, hell of a shock for Dan, that's my husband, and me too. We sat them down, talked it over and then relaxed. You must have noticed those rings they were wearing, that signifies they are each other's intended. Should they change their minds, they simply have to take those rings off. It's just a way of offering Hermione some legal protection in their other world, which Harry keeps saying is nuts. Getting to know him over the holidays certainly eased any worries Dan and I had over their relationship. Yes they're certainly still very young but neither of us would be surprised if they ended up getting married to each other in the future."

"I knew this man, Snape, when Lily and I were children. It says here he was sent to prison?"

"Yes, he hated Harry, and took that hatred too far. He broke the law and was tried just before Christmas."

"Good, I never liked him. I will need to talk with my husband over the both of them staying, I've got your address so can drop you a letter..."

Taking back the folder that contained a magical newspaper, Emma then pulled out a business card and wrote their home phone number on the back. "This way you'll be able to contact us anytime. Who knows, one day we might even be related..."

If they were one day related, then afternoons like this may become the norm. That thought alone allowed Petunia to relax and enjoy her second cup of tea, and some quite delicious cakes.

-oOoOo-

The atmosphere at the Gryffindor table was poisonous. Ron had called Harry a coward, in front of many witnesses, and that accusation hadn't been denied. If anything, their former seeker had actually confirmed it. Ron was claiming the fact that Harry point-blank refused to take that hit to catch the snitch, and had since retired from the team, was evidence that proved his point. Harry Potter was a coward, and therefor shouldn't be a Gryffindor.

For the first time since he stopped being Potter's best friend, Ron was being listened to. This was heady stuff for the youngest male Weasley and spurred him on. Potter would regret ending their friendship as if it was nothing.

Harry and Hermione were soon disgusted by the reception they were receiving from their own house in the great hall, so going back to the Gryffindor common room was simply not an option they considered. A walk around the castle's many corridors was how they chose to spent the remainder of their day.

"Do they honestly expect me to risk my life trying to catch a little flying golden ball in a school game?"

"The other Harry would have. You were in the infirmary so often, Madam Pomfrey was threatening to name one of the beds as yours."

Taking a minute or so to think as they walked, Harry wondered if he'd come up with the answer to that mystery. "The other me was raised by this version of the Dursleys. He would have arrived at Hogwarts friendless, unloved and alone. I can see a child like that trying anything to be accepted, willing to go the extra mile to fit in. Going for that snitch today might have made me a hero - but for how long? Assuming Madam Pomfery was able to get me fit enough to play in time for our next match, would I have to do it all over again to remain popular? Fuck that!"

"You just pretty much described your other time in Hogwarts. It was constant pendulum where you were either the hero or the villain. We also spent a lot of time visiting each other in the infirmary. Personally, I'd much rather spend that time doing this…"

Pulling Harry into an empty classroom, she soon had her betrothed in her arms.

"Hermione, don't we need music to dance?"

"The way you dance, Harry, it doesn't really matter."

Being in Hermione's arms and having to concentrate on the dance moves really calmed Harry. He was beginning to enjoy this. So much so, he actually started to hear the music.

"Professor Dumbledore, we didn't see you there."

"Sorry to startle you, Miss Granger. I thought dancing required music, so I provided you with some."

The rather ornate music box did indeed provide a very pleasant tune to dance to. "Thank you, Professor. I'm teaching Harry to dance and he's picking it up quite well…"

"That's not what you told me."

This led to Albus chuckling, and getting to the real reason why he was here. "I couldn't help thinking I failed you somehow today…"

Hermione wasn't having any of that. "Oh no, Sir. Just you being there helped enormously. You won't have to worry about the other games though, since Harry no longer plays for Gryffindor."

"I heard that from Professor McGonagall, both she and I were most disappointed at your decision. The Gryffindor team really played a thrilling match today."

"Thank you for that, Sir, but I won't be changing my mind. Ollie is the captain and I wouldn't follow his orders, there really wasn't a lot of choice after we lost. I wasn't deliberately trying to undermine his authority, I just thought playing quidditch should be fun. You can't have one player in the team just doing what he wants though so I left - before getting pushed out."

"That was Professor McGonagall's reading of the situation too. She appointed Wood captain, she then has to let him do his job."

"Sir, there's no hard feelings between me and the rest of the team. I gave quidditch a try, and my best shot, but it just didn't work out. Gryffindor is disappointed they didn't win today - they'll get over it. This will also give me more time to practice my dancing, rather than spending hours flying about with Wood shouting at me."

"A very wise attitude to take, Harry. Since you will be practicing more, you may keep the music box. It's a conjured item but should last until at least the summer."

They resumed dancing as Dumbledore left, Hermione's smile though told Harry there was more going on here than he realised. "Okay, genius, I obviously missed something there. Care to take pity on we poor dummies and tell me what it was that passed over my head?"

"Oh Dumbledore was just supplying us with a way to get past Fluffy."

"I know I'm going to regret this but who or what is Fluffy?"

"The giant Cerberus that's guarding the third floor…"

"Who in their right mind… Wait, I know. Hagrid."

"Aw shit, I just thought of something. Hagrid hatches a baby dragon in his hut. It was us who convinced him he couldn't keep it, and arranged its transfer to a dragon reserve."

"A man who lives in a wooden house hatches a dragon egg, and then a bunch of eleven year olds have to help him do what - smuggle it out the castle? That makes perfect sense to me - not - though I would like to see a baby dragon."

"You'd like Norbert. It bit Ron and put him in the infirmary. The problem we've got is it was Ron who arranged for Norbet to be picked up - since it's his brother, Charlie, who works on a dragon reserve. I can't see Ron helping us this time."

"Hermione, saying Hagrid is a grown man is a massive understatement. He's also exceedingly knowledgable about all kinds of animals. If he can't see just how much of a really bad idea him hatching that egg would be, it shouldn't be down to a couple of first years' to pull his arse out of a dragon induced fire. As I see it, our only decision is whether we go to Dumbledore or McGonagall with this problem - at the appropriate time of course."

Hermione stopped dancing for a moment, stared at Harry and then kissed him. "I keep telling you we're not here to solve everyone's problems, then I go and fall into the same trap all over again. At least this time I've got you to talk me out of it, rather than your usual behaviour of leading the charge."

"Just why did Dumbledore leave us a means to get past that giant three headed dog? I refuse to call such an animal Fluffy."

"Like today, Dumbledore has no idea what he's supposed to be doing to help us. If things play out like we hope then we should be able to sit down with him come September and start working together. I don't know how he would react to some of the things we're intending to do - so it's probably better if he finds out about them when it's too late to change anything."

Ron was also trying to get some changes made, and finding himself with a receptive audience - the rest of the Gryffindor first years.

"Potter showed himself as a coward, in front of the entire school too. He also refused to investigate what's on the third floor, hardly displaying Gryffindor tendencies there either. He sits with Granger all the time in the common room, reading through a mountain of books. Then, when he comes upstairs, climbs into bed and pulls his curtains."

"Hermione does the same too.."

"Exactly Lavender, it's like they don't want to know the rest of us…"

"She's his intended, Ron. Even you must see…"

"Shut-it Neville. Nobody cares what you have to say. You're hardly a shining example of a Gryffindor either. I say we take this to Percy. He'll know what we can do about this…"

-oOoOo-

Harry and Hermione were leisurely making their way down to breakfast only to find their head of house intercepting them. McGonagall appeared in a rage but apparently not at them.

"Mister Potter could you please accompany me to my office. Miss Granger, since this will certainly affect you too, please come along as well."

Entering McGonagall's office, they were bade to take a seat as she lifted a piece of parchment off her desk before joining them. "I was presented with this first thing this morning, it fairly ruined my Sunday. It would seem a group of Gryffindor first years approached Percy Weasley about Mister Potter here apparently not being Gryffindor enough for their liking - and wanted the sorting hat to confirm your placement in their house. Instead of just bringing this matter to me as he's supposed to, our youngest male prefect decided he knew exactly how the situation should be handled."

McGonagall's exasperation with the situation was now somewhat explained, at least the bit where she wasn't angry at them. "Rather than bringing the problem to me, Percy Weasley chose to initiate an act of censure. This is what I was presented with this morning, thus forcing me to undertake an action I certainly don't want to - offer Mister Potter here the opportunity to be resorted…"

"If they want rid of Harry, then there is no way I'm staying there with that shower of…"

Hermione's angry rant was interrupted by a knock at the door. McGonagall rose to answer it, and found a nervous Neville Longbottom standing there. He may have been nervous but Neville was also determined to get what he came here for off his chest. "Professor, I am disgusted with the way my housemates are treating Harry. If he is forced to leave Gryffindor then I certainly don't want to stay. Is there any procedure that would allow me to be resorted too, or do I just need to annoy Ron enough to get him to go to Percy about me?" Neville had been practicing exactly what he wanted to say, spouting it all out while still standing in the corridor.

Opening the door fully to invite her student in allowed Neville to see Harry and Hermione already sitting there. "Thanks for the vote of confidence, Neville, and for letting me know exactly who is responsible for this."

Turning his attention to McGonagall, Harry made his thoughts on the matter crystal clear. "Professor, I have no intention of staying where I'm not wanted. Whether that means resorting into another house or us leaving for another school, we'll wait and see what our options are."

"I was required to approach you with this first, even though I was fairly certain what your answer would be. I now need to go and spoil the headmaster's Sunday too. If we can decide right now on going forward with a resorting, we could arrange to carry out the procedure at lunchtime. As your intended, circumstances being what they are, Miss Granger would easily qualify for the procedure too."

"What about me, Professor?"

"My prefect effectively taking the law into his own hands looks like losing Gryffindor two of its best students. I'd hate for that to become three, Mister Longbottom. Those actions also cost that prefect his badge. This matter should have been brought to me first. Then a meeting could be held to hear everyone's views on this matter, not just one side of the argument - that's the way the system is supposed to work. By putting their complaint in the form of this censure document, and with over half your house year-group signing it, my hands were effectively tied. I have to represent all Gryffindors, though I will be making sure my views on this matter are understood at the house meeting I'm calling for after lunch."

"Professor, you yourself told us our house was our family. That family is now trying to throw two of its members out, while I was told my objections counted for nothing. That's not a family I want to be a part of. Ron already treats me as some kind of joke. I'm not prepared to accept that for the next six years. I am prepared to contact my grandmother about me switching to another school if I have to."

"I would truly be sorry to lose you, Mister Longbottom, from Gryffindor let alone Hogwarts. All I can do is present your case to the headmaster, the final decision on the matter is of course his."

Neville nodded his acceptance and then the professor practically shooed them out of her office. All three understood her urgency however, she would now need to meet with Professor Dumbledore.

"I tried to talk sense into them, Harry, but sense and Ron don't seem to know each other very well."

This actually drew a chuckle from the couple as they made their way to a late breakfast. "Thanks for at least trying, doesn't look as if anyone else did. Would you really leave Hogwarts?"

Neville looked embarrassed but answered truthfully. "My gran confided in me that you two were thinking about it. I was hoping if you left..."

A smiling Hermione just made Neville's morning. "If we leave Hogwarts, we would be delighted if you came with us. Starting a new school is scary, having friends with you can make all the difference."

That took a weight of the young wizard's shoulders. Neville knew him even suggesting leaving Hogwarts would see his gran explode - but not if he was leaving with Harry and attending the same school. They would just have to wait and see how things played out.

-oOoOo-

The atmosphere at lunchtime was strange, and very tense. The staff table was full yet the professors all just sat there and stared at the students entering the great hall. Ron Weasley was heard bemoaning loudly about their being no food on the tables, and 'someone' should do something about it. Harry, Hermione and Neville were sitting at the very end of the Gryffindor table - the end nearest the staff.

When Albus judged over three quarters of the students were now present, and all the main players already here, he stood and solemnly made his way to the podium to address the great hall.

"The more astute amongst you will have noticed something is different today. What is different is that I now feel ashamed to have once been sorted into Gryffindor house."

This drew gasps of astonishment from three of the four houses, the Gryffindors could only look on in disbelief. "Yesterday, like most people here, I enjoyed watching a most exciting quidditch match. I watched the youngest seeker in over a hundred years pull of a quite amazing piece of flying to avoid the worst outcome possible for a quidditch player - a head on collision at speed with another player. I thought Mister Potter's actions as he then assisted his opposing seeker, and even congratulated him for winning the match, was sportsmanship worthy of my old house. I was apparently wrong. Some members of that house thought this was an act of cowardice, and initiated an act of house censure against Mister Potter..."

Albus was quite pleased to see Harry's former teammates all shoot to their feet, shouting words in defence of their seeker. He held his hand up to placate them. "I spoke to Mister Potter after the match and am well aware of what happened. He confirmed what I assume you all want to tell me. There was no animosity between any of you regarding his departure from the team."

With everyone staring daggers at him, Oliver was compelled to get his point across for the whole school to hear. "Headmaster, this is the first we've heard of an act of censure. It certainly didn't come from any of his teammates, none of us thought that of Harry. Some of his flying yesterday scared the life out of me, and probably the Hufflepuff team too."

Nodding at that, Albus continued. "Harry made his position on this matter clear to his teammates and captain. He then publicly repeated that opinion to Professor McGonagall and later me. In repeatedly and publicly standing up for his convictions, Mister Potter showed nothing but courage - not cowardice. His accusers though never even gave him the chance to answer for himself, but moved straight to an act of censure. This left Professor McGonagall no other option but to offer Mister Potter an opportunity to be resorted - an offer he has accepted. Mister Potter, please step forward."

As Harry stood and left the Gryffindor table for the last time, there were loud groans and cries of 'no' ringing in his ears. Dumbledore wasn't finished though. "For obvious reasons, those involved in this despicable plot against someone in their own house never approached Miss Granger for her opinions on this matter. For those same obvious reasons, Miss Granger didn't want to remain in a house that would treat her intended in this manner. She asked to be resorted too, and I couldn't in all honesty refuse her perfectly understandable request. Miss Granger, please step forward."

A now shocked great hall watched as Hermione joined her intended. Albus had a few more shocks for them yet. "In the so-called 'house of the brave', only one person had the courage to speak out against this travesty. That lone voice was ridiculed and then ignored, leading the last true Gryffindor now left in first year to request a resorting too. It is a request I have reluctantly decided to grant. Mister Longbottom, please step forward."

Hermione stepping forward after Harry was easily explained, once you took a minute to think about it. Neville doing so too was another shock. "My initial reaction was to leave these three true Gryffindors where they so obviously belong and resort the students who forced this procedure through. This however would not have been fair to the other three houses, encumbering them with these students. As far as I'm concerned, Gryffindor now has no first year students."

As the seriousness of their actions began to sink in, Parvati and Lavender were both in tears. Dumbledore then added to their woes. "Since Gryffindors chose this vile route to remove fellow students from their house, the house points these students have gained within Hogwarts should also be rejected..."

All eyes were then focused on the Gryffindor points monitor which seemed to be losing rubies at an alarming rate. It eventually stopped at just above half of its original volume, effectively ending any chance Gryffindor had of winning the House Cup.

"As you can now see, these are three students who should be welcomed into whichever house the sorting hat places them. Professor McGonagall, I'm afraid this sad duty falls to you."

As she walked forward with the stool and hat, Minerva made her feelings on this matter known. "This is not something I wanted, and it's already blindingly obvious this is a move that will be detrimental to Gryffindor house. I will be explaining my views in greater detail at the emergency Gryffindor house meeting being held directly after lunch. Mister Potter, could you step forward and be resorted please."

Neville may have been shaking like a leaf but Harry was calmly cracking jokes as he sat on the stool. "Hermione told me all you had to do to be sorted was wear an old hat, I thought she was playing a prank on me. Since I've already wrestled a troll though, I wasn't too bothered."

Having heard all about their original sorting from Hermione, Harry saw that barb hit his accuser of cowardice hard - just before the hat was lowered onto his head. He then heard a strange voice speaking to him about 'this will never do' before Harry's painful screams pierced every corner of the great hall.

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