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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9. I'm the Sorting Hat

The sorting hat was without doubt one of the most revered magical relics of the Hogwarts' founders. Hermione didn't pay that reverence any mind whatsoever. The hat had hurt her Harry, and only the fact it was on his head at the time stopped Hermione drawing her wand. Instead she swiftly ripped that tattered old hat off her intended and uncaringly cast it aside. To Hermione, Harry's welfare was far more important than any magical headwear.

Harry was swaying on the stool so, in a scene scarily reminiscent of Halloween, she sat on the floor and guided her intended down beside her. Helping Harry's head gently find her lap, Hermione was soon running her fingers through his hair. She was trying to offer him some sort of comfort as Harry's entire body was currently shaking.

"Hermione... I think I preferred wrestling that troll. This was much worse..."

Hermione then found herself being shouted at by an aggrieved sorting hat. "Why did you stop me? Have you any idea what you could have done?"

"You were hurting Harry..." Hermione didn't say any more, she didn't think she needed to say anymore. That was all the justification she would ever need to take action.

The hat was not impressed with her reasoning. "Mister Potter has locked memories. I can't sort him with partial information, I was unlocking those memories..."

"You were hurting him, doesn't that count for anything?"

"I'm the sorting hat, I sort - and sing. It's what I was made to do - and you stopped me..."

"Listen to me, you moth-eaten piece of tattered old cloth. It was only the fact that you were on my Harry's head that stopped me incinerating you. It may have escaped your notice but you're not on my Harry's head anymore."

Realising that this was no idle threat from the enraged girl, McGonagall raced over and lifted the hat from where Hermione had uncaringly tossed it. A still angry Hermione just had to have the last word. "Your singing's shit too..."

Hearing Hermione swear told Harry exactly how angry she was, he comfortingly squeezed her hand. Even though his voice was shaky, the entire great hall heard him clearly. "Hermione, I saw my mum..."

That wasn't just a conversation stopper, the occupants of the hall held their collective breath while anxiously awaiting to hear more. "It was just me and my mum. I was in my cot - then this really ugly bugger broke into my bedroom. Blood-red crazy eyes and no nose... How do you lose your nose? That's just bloody carelessness - that's what that is."

Harry may have been rambling somewhat but Hermione could feel the tremors running through his body as he spoke about this. "He told my mum to step aside - what an arsehole! I was only fifteen months old, did he really think she was gonna stand there and let him murder me. The sick bastard knew she would never do that, he just wanted to hear her plead for her life before he ended it. She didn't though, she pleaded for mine. She begged him to kill her instead of me. She was willing to die for me, Hermione, and she did."

The two first year students currently on the floor both had tears running down their cheeks now. They were by no means the only ones. "He was actually smiling as he turned his attention and wand onto me. I saw him smile as he cast the killing curse at a toddler. He wasn't smiling when his spell was returned with interest. He screamed the place down as his body disintegrated into nothing... I hope it hurt, Hermione, I hope it fucking hurt..."

Leaning down, Hermione gently kissed her intended. "I'm sure it did, Harry. You okay now? Seeing that would be enough to make anyone scream..."

"That wasn't why I screamed. It felt as if that hat was attacking my mind with a blunt axe. It was bloody torture, Hermione. Thanks for pulling it off me, you've always got my back."

Albus had to wipe away a few tears from his own eyes before offering his hand to help Harry up. "I'm sorry, Mister Potter. I should have anticipated this. The sorting hat scans your mind to determine which house you're most suitable for. Your damaged memories would confuse it, leading to what just happened. It would try to unlock those memories so it could properly sort you..."

The hat seemed to take this as justification of what it had just attempted. "Thank you, Headmaster Dumbledore. Now I need to be placed back on Mister Potter's head to continue with his resorting..."

Harry now didn't want this hat anywhere near him, nor Hermione either. Dumbledore knowing they were a pair of time travellers was quite enough magical people being aware of their secret. The hat seemed to zero in on his earliest memories first. As the ministry had changed those since he was dropped at Privet Drive, it hopefully hadn't noticed he would be nineteen on his next birthday, not twelve. Harry may have been staggering slightly as he regained his feet but his voice was rock solid on this matter.

"Never going to happen. That hat comes anywhere near me or mine and I'm setting fire to it. You can sprinkle its ashes onto the new first years' heads in September, see if it says anything about them then. At least they wouldn't have to listen to it's singing."

The ancient hat took the verbal attack on its annual sonnets badly. It spent most of the year composing its welcome feast greeting. The sorting hat then treated the great hall to a rather 'off the brim' vocal treat. The hat thought it was in charge here, and let these young whippersnappers know it - by singing its decision to them.

"If I don't resort you then in Gryffindor you stay.

Those are the only options to come your way..."

There was simply no chance Harry was buying into that, and didn't care who knew his opinion. "That was certainly true when you were created. It might still have been true up until around a hundred years ago. Today, in nineteen ninety two, you're talking utter nonsense."

The hat was poo pooing that opinion until Harry started providing some facts. "The United States has a population of over three hundred million people, and also four premier schools of magic who accept students from all around the globe. There are magical schools in most corners of the world now. They don't have to be a thousand years old to be a good school. We'd much rather they placed their emphasis on preparing their students to face the approaching new millennium, instead of living on their past glories and stagnating to the point of being totally out of touch with reality. Hermione, I think your dad will be digging out the passports when he hears about this."

Now standing holding Harry's hand, Hermione noticed the third member of their trio was left stranded and bewildered at what was happening around him. She reached out and placed her other hand comfortingly on his arm.

"Neville, a passport is a muggle identification document. You need one when leaving Britain for another country. You know we only returned to Hogwarts after Christmas because the headmaster asked us to give this school one more try. We spent the holidays looking at alternatives however. Some of them look really good, and you're more than welcome to come with us."

This was what Dumbledore really feared. It was also a great shock to the rest of the hall. Harry Potter leaving Hogwarts - and Britain?

Having watched one shocking revelation being followed by another had an angry young man on his feet. "Headmaster, even without them being resorted, what we've witnessed here tells me all I need to know. I was only really introduced to Harry yesterday but could see all three of them being very happy in our house. I would like to invite them to join Hufflepuff."

Cedric's actions were soon shown to have the backing of his housemates as they enthusiastically applauded his suggestion. Knowing Hermione and Harry were academically the top two students in first year, and also seeing how many points they had amassed, produced an invitation from Ravenclaw too. While Neville's marks were only average, he could easily be worked with to get them up where a Ravenclaw's should be.

These invitations saw a backlash from the older Gryffindors. Oliver Wood was back on his feet. He had plans for Harry, those plans certainly didn't involve him becoming a Claw or Puff. "Headmaster, if there is no resorting then all three remain Gryffindors. I can certainly understand why they wouldn't want to return to their old dorms but couldn't alternative accommodation be found within Gryffindor Tower?"

Oliver quickly had the backing of his quidditch team. Katie offered Hermione a bunk in the second year dorm while the twins said they had plenty of room for Harry and Neville. McGonagall's thoughts however had turned in a slightly different direction.

"There is another option. We could give them their own accommodation within Gryffindor. They would still be part of the house, though hopefully separate enough to suit everyone's needs. What do you think, Headmaster?"

The twinkle was back in Dumbledore's eyes at that suggestion. His years of experience were also telling him they weren't out of the woods yet, they still had a bit to do. "I think that's a splendid idea, though only one of three choices within Hogwarts now available to them." Albus didn't mention the fourth choice the trio had, to leave Hogwarts altogether. The entire school was now well aware this was a very real option for these three.

The trio currently had their heads together and were discussing the situation before Harry gave their collective answer. "Sir, we would like to see this accommodation, and attend the Gryffindor house meeting before reaching any decision. We would also like to thank Hufflepuff and Ravenclaw for their most generous offers. Those are options that we certainly aren't dismissing. All three of us would just like more information before making a final decision."

Like Dumbledore, Harry made no mention of the fact that one house had remained silent on this issue. The chances of Harry Potter and Hermione Granger being made welcome in Slytherin were nil, so hardly worth commenting on that there was no offer made from that quarter.

As Minerva removed an indignant sorting hat and the stool from the great hall, Albus waved his hand and lunch appeared on all he tables. Neither Harry, Hermione nor Neville felt much like eating. They were also reluctant to return to the Gryffindor table, unwilling to give any false indications that their choice may have already been made. They left the great hall to all eyes following their departure.

There wasn't much appetite for lunch in the great hall either. Two of the tables were quite hopeful they may soon have three new first years swelling their ranks, while a third were plotting on how best to use what they had heard here today to their advantage.

At the Gryffindor table, even Ron wasn't eating. This more than anything illustrated the severity of the situation they now found themselves in. The way his twin brothers were glaring at him, Ron was thinking it would be a while before he ate anything in their presence again. It wasn't just Fred and George who were glaring at him though - all the first years were receiving the evil eye from their older housemates. Just the thought of this imminent house meeting had Ron feeling squeamish, so perhaps it was better if he didn't have any lunch.

The staff table too had been affected by what had just played out before them. None more so than a certain defence professor. Quirrell had also felt as if his mind was being attacked by a blunt instrument. Unlike Harry however, there was no one willing to rip the cause of that pain from his head. His master's anger had been mighty at the Potter brat's description of that Halloween night over a decade ago, and that anger was the cause of Quirrell's severe pain. There was nothing for the professor to do about the situation, other than bite his lip bloody while attempting not to scream out loud. His whimpers and moans were more than covered by the loud sobs coming from Hagrid. The big fool blowing his nose on that table cover he called a hanky was loud enough to cover the noise of a charging centaur herd.

He hadn't been able to attack the Potter whelp during his quidditch match, not with Dumbledore in the stadium too. He could hardly then whip his wand out in the great hall and extract retribution for Potter's deeds and words - not while Dumbledore stood right next to his golden boy.

Until safely ensconced in a new body of his own, the Dark Lord was well aware he and Quirrell were no match for Dumbledore at the moment. It would then be an act of extreme foolishness to jeopardise his plans to achieve that new body simply for the purpose of revenge on an eleven year old boy. That didn't preclude a little torture of his current host though.

-oOoOo-

The three first years entered a Gryffindor common room that was packed to the rafters. McGonagall was standing in the centre of the room and acknowledged their entry with a nod before beginning the meeting.

"It is my intention here to ensure the entire house knows the facts of this matter, before dismissing everyone but our current first year and all prefects. The quidditch match seemed to be the trigger that started all this off, and our team captain has asked if he could speak about that."

A clearly nervous Oliver was standing at the back of the room as all eyes turned toward him. Thinking of where to start, Oliver began with what prompted his change of heart.

"I would first like to say upfront that, as team captain and a quidditch player, I thought Harry's move to avoid hitting Diggory was not only a fantastic bit of flying - but also exactly the right thing to do. Quidditch is a dangerous sport and the professional leagues occasionally suffer from the odd fatality. The most common cause of those fatalities by far is a head-on collision between two players travelling at speed. Performing this manoeuvre played no part in Harry's decision to leave the team."

It's hard for a person to admit their own faults. The current situation of the entire house watching made that a hundred times worse. Oliver was a Gryffindor though so forged ahead.

"Professor McGonagall visited the team after the match and something she said had me up all night thinking about it. Sometimes the hardest thing for a leader to do is admit they made a mistake, I made a few of them yesterday. My disagreement with Harry was over his refusal to follow the tactics I assigned him, namely - follow Diggory for the entire match. Harry said he was eleven, and played quidditch because it was fun. Being ordered to follow another seeker around for the entire match certainly wasn't his idea of fun. There was an amicable parting of the ways - with Harry recognising that he couldn't just ignore his captain's orders and offering his resignation from the team."

Taking some support from the knowledge that what he was going to say would certainly please the rest of his team, Oliver put forward his idea. "While Harry is undoubtably a novice at quidditch, he doesn't fly like any novice I've ever seen. I should have recognised that - instead of trying to enforce specific tactics that eventually cost us our seeker. I was hoping to sit down with Harry this evening and see if we could find a method of developing some tactics that suited both him and the rest of the team. We would then have three weeks to practice those tactics before playing Ravenclaw. As you can see, having Harry issued with a house censure order was never going to come from me or any of his teammates."

This then had all eyes turning to Harry but McGonagall quickly regained their attention. "Thank you, Mister Wood. Not only for listening to me, but for taking those words to heart. You just proved my decision to appoint you captain was the right one. Since Mister Potter has some other decisions to make first, I will postpone our arranged meeting for forty eight hours. None of us expected the situation we now find ourselves in."

Minerva then addressed the rest of her house. "As to how we got into this situation, you have already heard most of it. Five of our first years had some issues with Mister Potter. As required, they took those issues to their assigned prefect. From there, things went downhill fast. Would you care to explain your actions, Mister Weasley?"

There may have been four 'Mister Weasley's' currently in the common room, McGonagall's gaze however was only locked onto one.

Taking some encouragement from how well Oliver's talk had been received by his housemates, Percy then attempted to justify his own actions.

"Over half of the current first year came to me with what I considered to be legitimate concerns regarding Mister Potter's suitability to be a member of Gryffindor house. Since he couldn't remember anything about his original sorting, and no one here can seriously doubt he's changed considerably since his accident, I felt it was only prudent that the sorting hat reconfirm Mister Potter is indeed a Gryffindor. I was trying to show the initiative I know you like from your prefects, Professor."

"Initiative would have been investigating the reasons behind these concerns. Initiative should have seen you seeking out the names not on that list - and asking why their names weren't included. That same initiative should have then led you to my office to report your findings. You didn't do any of that, and that's why we are here having this discussion. Being a prefect doesn't give you the right to decide someone should be censured to this level, handing the parchment to me as a fait accompli. There was no investigation…"

"I spoke to over half the year group…"

"You only spoke to the people who were making these accusations. That's not an investigation. You are being given a chance to defend your actions, in front of your housemates. This is something your chosen method denied Mister Potter. When each of you first stepped into Hogwarts, I told you your house would be your family. One of our family was seriously injured, courageously saving another member of that very same family. For other members of this family to then turn on Mister Potter, using an obscure procedure to cowardly and publicly stab him in the back…"

"The procedure may be obscure but it is still in the rule books."

McGonagall's glare at Percy's interruption finally got through to the wizard just how much trouble he was in. "This is why I'm taking your prefect badge away, Mister Weasley. Not because of what you did, more that you still can't see it was wrong to do so. Some of the rules around Hogwarts were put in place a millennium ago. It's still technically acceptable to restrain students using chains and administer punishment by a cane or cat-o-nine tails. Anyone attempting to use the rule book to implement such a thing will have what I leave of them passed on to the Department of Magical Law Enforcement in a jar. Is everyone here clear on that?"

She waited on everyone there saying 'yes, Professor' before McGonagall moved on. "This is how a house conducts their business. Discussing problems like a family - not displaying them in the great hall for everyone else to see. That will never happen again. I am your Head of House for a reason, no one will take matters into their own hands after today. Now I would like the prefects and first years to remain…"

She didn't need to say anything more. Those not required to stay got out of there as quickly as possible. Now it was time to get to the bottom of this matter. "I want to hear what these specific complaints were against Mister Potter."

Her remarks were addressed to the first years but Dean, Seamus, Lavender and Parvati all turned their heads in Ron's direction. Thankful that it was just first years and prefects now present, the youngest Weasley offered up what he hoped was an acceptable explanation.

"Harry was my best friend, then everything changed on Halloween. If anything, those changes became more noticeable after he returned from spending Christmas with Granger. Different haircut, glasses gone, new clothes - even his scar is fainter now. The Harry I knew would have caught the snitch yesterday, even if it meant the team celebration taking place in the infirmary. Harry himself said he couldn't remember his sorting, and that he was a different person now. I thought the hat confirming he was a Gryffindor would get me my best friend back."

"You thought an act of house censure would get your best friend back?" The disbelief in McGonagall's question was matched by looks from most of those who remained. Ron then really put his foot in it.

"I knew going to you with this would come to nothing. Harry is studying harder and every day becoming more like your favourite, Granger. Percy said a act of house censure would force you to confront Harry, you wouldn't have any other choice."

They had apparently only thought McGonagall was angry before. Now they got to see the real deal - and it was frightening. "This was done to deliberately bypass the systems in place to protect students?"

"It was only a resorting…" Ron's voice had faded into silence at the glare coming from his Head of House. He very wisely decided to say no more.

"We had this exact same discussion back before Christmas, Mister Weasley. You are still pursuing the same utterly selfish aim. You want your former friend back, irrespective of whether he does or doesn't remember you - or that he now has an intended by his side. That you roped in reinforcements to help you achieve your goal, and then deliberately set out to isolate and deceive your head of house from the process, will result in me taking both you and Percy home for a discussion with your parents." This left a pair of redheads white faced at that prospect.

McGonagall wasn't finished yet though. "This act of house censure was so undeserved and underhanded, Gryffindor had to suffer the indignity of another two houses inviting those members being forced out of our house to join theirs instead. Like the Headmaster, I too was ashamed of my house. The Headmaster said he considers there to be no first year Gryffindors and I agree. Everything that identifies you five as Gryffindors will turn grey, and remain so until we think you have once more earned the right to wear the red and gold. You may still find yourselves standing behind the new first years come September, awaiting to be resorted. You very publicly brought our house into disrepute, your punishment will therefore be public too. Removing house points won't really make a difference now. Your behaviour has already taken us out of contention for this year's House Cup."

All five were now sitting with their heads down as the suffered the ignominy of watching their proud colours fade to a muted grey. Minerva then turned to an until now silent Harry. "Mister Potter, have you anything you would like to say?"

"I have made my feelings on this matter clear to Weasley on a number of occasions. He obviously didn't listen then so I don't see the point in me repeating myself again. My opinion on this matter certainly hasn't changed. As to the other four, Professor, I have nothing to say. None of them had the common decency to talk with me about this matter before instigating an act of censure. Why should I speak to them now?"

Minerva had been keen to avoid a split in her house earlier in the year when Albus was teaching potions to just Harry and Hermione. Now that feared split had just become a chasm. It was a chasm between her students Minerva didn't know whether it would ever be possible to bridge. After ordering both Weasleys to go and wait outside her office, Minerva dismissed the rest before focusing her attention on the trio of first years now left.

"I've said it before, and I'll repeat myself here. I don't want to lose three of my best students to another house - or another school. I'm hoping I can provide you with the means to stay in Gryffindor without having to interact with the other five much more than if you were in another Hogwarts house. I would like to show you what we have available."

Heading for the boys' stairway, Minerva kept on going until she reached the top. Providing a password to the stone lion carved into the lintel above a heavy oak door saw that same door open and allow their entry. "Other than you three, only myself and the two senior prefects will know this password. No one else should be up here - unless you invite them."

She led them into a well furnished room. "This is the accommodation set aside should the Head Boy or Head Girl be a Gryffindor. It saddens me to say I can't see our present crop of prefects requiring these accommodations. This leaves them free for your use for at least the next two and a half years. The doors lead off to a pair of bedrooms, both containing bathroom and shower facilities. The castle will already have arranged for the boys' version to have two of everything in it. By the time Hogwarts students earn these rooms, they are considered responsible adults. Therefore there is no alarm on the bedroom doors. Miss Granger, will your parents have any problems with you living in an arrangement such as this?"

Hermione was already arranging in her mind what would be the study area, and also a place for just chilling out in front of the large fireplace. Recognising these accommodations were far superior than anything joining either Hufflepuff or Ravenclaw would provide had all of them excited. McGonagall was obviously trying to bribe them into remaining Gryffindors, Hermione thought the view alone was worth staying a lion for.

"No problems at all, Professor. They loved having Harry stay for Christmas and are already planning on having him spend part of the summer with us too." Hermione deliberately didn't say 'most of the summer', she didn't want anything to screw this up. A day that had started off so horribly had suddenly taken a major leap for the better.

Harry was just as excited, though playing it much cooler. "I think we should check out the rooms too…"

Minerva however was giving it the hard sell. She wanted these three to remain Gryffindors and knew just how to seal the deal. "The last time Gryffindors held both positions was when James Potter and Lily Evans were seventh years. Mister Longbottom, your parents achieved the exact same status three years earlier…"

Both boys had the exact same response to hearing that, 'my mum and dad stayed here?', and Minerva knew she wouldn't be losing any students from her house. She spent another fifteen pleasant minutes talking with the trio, before heading back to her office to deal with a situation she would derive no pleasure from.

-oOoOo-

Spending Christmas with Charlie in Romania meant that the Weasley parents, and their daughter, hadn't seen their Hogwarts contingent since the first of September. While two of that Hogwarts contingent were currently standing in the Burrow kitchen, this occurrence was not being celebrated by anyone present. With both boys keeping their heads down to avoid McGonagall's scowl, it was easy to deduce this was not good news they were here to deliver. After getting over the shock that the two boys weren't her twins, Molly's scowl was soon going full blast to match the one worn by the Head of Gryffindor.

By the time Minerva had told the story of what Ron and Percy had been up to, Arthur was scowling at the pair too. It was the littlest Weasley though who got the ball rolling.

"You tried to get Harry Potter chucked out of Gryffindor? How could you?"

Ginny had been looking forward to meeting her hero at Hogwarts for a few years now. Like most of magical Britain, the Weasleys had been more than surprised at reading Harry Potter already had an intended. The youngest member of the family had consoled herself with the fact she was at least going to be in Gryffindor with Harry and his intended for six years - they could possibly even become friends. Hearing that two of her brothers might have totally ruined that, might even be responsible for Harry leaving Hogwarts before she got there, had the little ten year old witch in tears.

Molly was comforting her daughter as Arthur struggled with the problem his family were now faced with. "Minerva, I really don't know what to say. What is Hogwarts' position on this?"

"Percy has had his prefect badge removed. I feel having him spend days at home or evenings doing detentions at Hogwarts would be detrimental to his education. This is his O.W.L. year after all, with those exams only months away. My intention was to leave him here so you both could have a talk with your son, with Percy returning to Hogwarts tomorrow in time for his first class. I've already had a long discussion with Ronald regarding this matter, it obviously didn't make any difference to his attitude. I'm hoping a week at home might see you achieving what I couldn't. Both your sons seem to have adopted the opinion that they haven't done anything wrong. I can assure you, Arthur, that is not the case. The innocent party in all of this is Harry Potter."

Taking a moment to control her anger, Minerva tried to explain the situation further. "We were lucky those three survived that night, with Harry being the only one injured. Rather than being thankful, Ronald here simply refuses to accept that, due to those injuries, Harry has changed. All this despite having the situation clearly explained to him on more than one occasion. He was undoubtably the instigator for this entire incident. Percy thought he could use this as an opportunity to catch my eye, making an early play for the Head Boy position. I'm afraid this was a very serious error of judgement. This error cost him not only his prefect's badge, but probably any chance of ever being Head Boy too. That, I think, is punishment enough for Percy - which is why he's being allowed back into Hogwarts tomorrow."

Both Arthur and Molly were quick to assure the Hogwarts Deputy Head that they would indeed be having words with their sons. Minerva then made it crystal clear just how much trouble their youngest boy was in.

"Ronald is hanging on to his membership of Gryffindor house by a thread. It wouldn't surprise me if, come September, he's standing behind Ginny while waiting to be resorted. Due purely to his lack of application in his lessons, it wouldn't surprise me either if Ronald was sharing some of Ginny's classes too. If your son showed even half the effort and determination to his lessons that he continually expends on trying to influence Mister Potter, Ronald wouldn't be in imminent danger of failing some of his first year classes."

With her piece said, Minerva flooed back to Albus' office at Hogwarts. That should be far enough away not to hear Molly when she finally exploded at her two sons.

-oOoOo-

As the trio of first years entered, those already in the great hall forgot about dinner. They were too busy collectively holding their breath to eat as the three headed straight for the Hufflepuff table. Harry was again shaking Cedric's hand. This time to thank him for his invitation to join Hufflepuff. Having noticed the first year Puffs had been quickly on their feet to support Cedric's proposal, Harry made a point of thanking them too. Just as with the quidditch match, Hermione and Neville followed Harry's lead in also thanking them. The same procedure then took place at the Ravenclaw table, introducing themselves to and then thanking the person who had stood and made the offer. Roger Davies wasn't used to being in the spotlight but truthfully told all three he just couldn't sit back and let an injustice like that happen. The first year Claws were also thanked for their support.

As they strolled to the Gryffindor table it was Neville who remarked that only the Slytherin and Gryffindor first years hadn't supported them. All three were left trying to figure how those two houses came down on the same side of something.

As the hall settled down, Dumbledore then moved to the podium. "I have no wish to overly disturb your dinner so what I have to say will be short. As you know, I have been covering the potions classes since your last teacher decided to leave us. Due to my other commitments, teaching a full schedule was never going to be more than a short term measure. I'm delighter to say that Professor Greenhorn will be starting with us tomorrow. He's more than qualified to hold that position, as he will also be remaining one of Barton's top potion masters. He will only be in the castle certain days of the week however, and only teaching fourth year and above. Professor Greenhorn will also be keeping his eye on any student he thinks might have the potential to be offered an apprenticeship with Barton's Potions. First to third years, I'm afraid you are still stuck with me."

This proved a very popular announcement, with everyone getting something from it. Barton's Potions were the premier manufacturer and supplier of potions in Britain. To be even considered for an apprenticeship with them was pretty special. Here they practically had their new potions professor as a recruiter. This was great news. Even the lower school were happy. Who was going to complain about having potions taught to them by Professor Dumbledore.

Sitting back down it was as Albus had hoped. He could feel the mood within the hall lifting all around him. After the lunchtime debacle, it needed lifting. There would have to be some adjustments made to the timetable to accommodate this but, since everyone else lived in the castle, that was not going to be a problem.

-oOoOo-

Neville was sitting with his two friends. He was trying to write a letter while unable to contain his chuckle. "My gran will never believe I'm sharing the Gryffindor head suite with you two." Thinking for a moment, Neville changed tact. "I am really pleased to be here with you both, and promise to make sure I give you enough time alone."

"Why thank you, Neville. We might take you up on that…" Hermione's pause had Harry looking at his intended over the book he was reading. He could see the mischief in her eyes as she delivered the punchline. "…but not until we hit at least fifth year."

After the laughter Hermione then got serious. "Thanks for supporting Harry, Neville. That really means a lot to us."

"Hey, Ron was wrong. I couldn't just go along with that…"

"Everyone else did, so thank you. Since the three of us are going to be living here, there's a couple of things you should know. It wasn't just Harry's recent memories that were affected that Halloween. All of his memories were scrambled. I'm just really glad he remembered me."

Harry's arm snaked around Hermione's shoulder as they sat together on the sofa, watching as Neville tried to get his head around that fact.

"All his memories?"

"Yes. As you can imagine, events from his childhood Harry thinks he remembers turning out to be wrong have been quite traumatising. That leads me to the other thing I wanted to tell are days, like today, when Harry really needs my support. I give him that support by cuddling in, talking over what has happened, and then both of us fall asleep in each other's arms. Harry will be sleeping in my bed tonight."

While Neville's chin nearly hit the floor at hearing that, Hermione was quick to reassure him there was no inappropriate behaviour taking place. "We're really just sleeping, Neville. My mum and dad know about it too - we actually slept together in my house over the holidays. I just didn't want us to be sneaking around behind your back."

"That's fine, Hermione. Thanks, you two, for trusting me with this. Ron made a big deal of Harry's bed curtains always being closed. Now I know why, but promise never to tell a soul."

"My mum and dad were very understanding about it. I can't see McGonagall being the same - she would have kittens if she found out."

Hermione and Neville were laughing at the joke before the shy Gryffindor got to experience first hand just some of the things Harry had to deal with on a daily basis. He had no idea McGonagall was an animagus, with her form being a cat. Neville then finished off his letter before heading off to the owlery to post it.

"I'm glad you told him, love. Like you, I think we're keeping enough secrets from Neville as it is."

"This way we don't have to maintain the charade of saying goodnight to each other, and then Dobby sneaking me into your bed."

"I bet dinner in Crawley was interesting tonight. You'd better send a letter home too, just so no one gets suspicious about our other communications method.."

At that, Dobby popped beside them with a note from home. Dan and Emma did indeed have a lot to say about what had happened.

-oOoOo-

Any day Hermione awoke in bed with Harry was already a good day. This one however was somewhat different. Harry was lying on his side, his head propped up by his elbow. His other hand was casually playing with her hair but it was Harry's expression that worried Hermione. He seemed lost in his thoughts.

"Something wrong, Harry?"

"Either I've just had the most vivid and lucid dream of my life, or that bloody barmy bunnet has really buggered with my brain. I think the hat might have messed with my blocked memories before you got it off me."

Hermione was now looking every bit as worried as Harry felt. So he pressed ahead, determined to discover which of these options his experience had been.

"I saw you walk down the main Hogwarts staircase in a simply stunning blue dress. I couldn't take my eyes off you, no one who was there could. You looked oh so beautiful, Hermione. Watching through that version of Harry's eyes as you then walked over and took the arm of a man who appeared to be some sort of army cadet... Well, that left me feeling numb inside… That was real? Was this that ball you mentioned?"

Wrapping Harry lovingly in her arms, Hermione tried not to let her tears fall. So much for their fresh start. Why couldn't he have remembered something else?

"Yes it really happened. The boy was from another school, that was their dress uniform. Viktor will be a famous quidditch player, one who most of the girls in Hogwarts were chasing after. I wasn't one of those chasing girls, which was the main reason he asked me. I don't follow quidditch and my best friend is one of the most famous wizards in the world. I just treated Viktor like a normal person and we enjoyed the ball…"

"…until Ron Bloody Weasley ruined it for you."

"You remember that as well?"

"I don't really think you can call it remembering, since I don't actually remember it as such. As I said, I wasn't sure whether or not it was a dream. I only know what I saw as I slept, nothing else."

While still holding him tight, a nervous Hermione asked the question she didn't really want to. "Are you okay with this?"

"I'm really pissed off that this has happened. Stupid resorting, we should just have left…"

"No, I meant seeing me with Viktor."

Harry was back up on his elbow, looking puzzled at Hermione's question. "I'll admit it was a hell of a shock but that was then, that was different… You're still my intended?"

Even being asked that question by Harry spurred Hermione on. "Of course I am. I'll be your intended until you put another ring on my finger. Then I'll be your fiancee, before becoming your wife. All I ever wanted was to be yours, Harry. Viktor asked me to the ball, you hadn't any intention of asking me, so I said yes."

"I asked someone else, didn't I? Oh shit - I bet I came to you for advice about it too. Sorry Hermione…"

Realising how well Harry was dealing with this, she told him all there was to tell - which wasn't much. "Viktor kissed the back of my hand at the end of the ball. That was all either of us wanted to happen - then Ron exploded in the common room."

Leaning down, Harry kissed her properly. "This Viktor fellow is gonna be out of luck this time around. I've already asked my beautiful intended to be my date for every event we attend. Seeing that dream - vision - memory - didn't change the way I feel about you in the slightest. I can tell you something I did learn though. The other Harry may not have recognised what he was feeling for you but I instantly did. We may have been raised differently yet the one thing both your Harrys have in common is that they love Hermione Granger."

This led to some more kissing, and certainly an easing of Hermione's worries. Harry however was still concerned.

"What if this isn't an isolated incident? I really don't want to be dreaming about a past I can't remember. At least I got to see the very beautiful Hermione Granger in my dreams last night. Since that event hasn't really happened in this time, it's quite easy to treat the whole thing as nothing more than a dream. The thought of seeing my Aunt Petunia being cruel to me, or Dudley and his friends beating me up - those I can do without. That would certainly qualify as a nightmare, and probably leave me in bits. It's one thing to be told about something disturbing, quite another to see it for yourself. I... I don't know if I could cope with that."

"I think that's the right way to treat last night, as a dream. That event hasn't happened yet - now won't ever happen - so why worry about it? If you have visions about your life before Hogwarts, I'll be lying right here beside you. Wake me and we'll try to talk it over. I'm here for you, Harry. Whatever you need, I'm right here."

"Beautiful, brilliant and so caring - a simply irresistible combination."

After snuggling some more, she felt Harry finally begin to really relax. "You got a handle on this now?"

"I think so. I'm me, and I'm comfortable with who I am. More importantly, my intended likes who I am. I'm not going to let a few dreams or visions change me into someone else. We travelled back in time, for me to be a wizard no less, and I got a handle on that - eventually. As long as I have you by my side, I can face just about anything."

Hermione's smile was all the answer Harry needed. She wasn't going anywhere without him and would be there to help with any dark times these dreams produced. He did have one last question however about what he'd seen in that dream.

"Hermione, what the hell was Ron Weasley wearing to that ball? It looked like an old pair of curtains..."

 
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